Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

It’s almost February…

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It's almost February...

Thursday – 31 January 2013
I woke up this morning to this:


Yeah, waking up to a warmer temperature than most days’ highs over the past few weeks is a good thing. Even with a 30% chance of snow.

I know that there were no Team DiVa Tuesday photos, but Sara! was quick enough – and kind enough – to snap a picture last night before the ladies went to bed, so that there’s a Team DiVa No Bad News Thursday picture:

Story time!  Diana (l), Vanessa (r)

Story time! Diana (l), Vanessa (r)

Reeling By On Celluloid
Last night, Sara! and I watched Seven Psychopaths:


This was an odd movie. This is not to say that it wasn’t a very enjoyable movie, though. It was riotously funny at points. It was poignant at points. And, to be honest: There were a fair number of “What.. just.. happened…?” moments, too. In many ways, it reminded me of Pulp Fiction or Go, in the way that it combined a number of seemingly disparate arcs into one story. (And, like Pulp Fiction, this movie had Christopher Walken. Win-Win.)

Sara! brought up the point that she’d want to watch it again, as there were a couple of things early on – before she grokked the rhythm of the movie – that she’d like to see, with the understanding of how things unfold. I’d gladly be down for watching it again. And, I happily recommend this movie.

(I would have given it seven bricks – to keep with the “Seven Psychopaths” theme, but it was an eight-brick movie.)

Stray Toasters



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Thursday – 31 January 2013




Another Pleasant Valley Snow Day

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Another Pleasant Valley Snow Day

Wednesday – 30 January 2013
More of Mother Nature’s frozen mocking laughter is falling on the Salt Lake valley this morning.


The roads were actually in decent condition; the drivers, however… *shakes head* There was a roughly 6-mile stretch where the average speed dropped from 45 MPH all the way down to 15 MPH. For no apparent reason that I could see.

On the “plus” side, it’s new comics day as well as Movie Date Night. Double-plus win.

TeamDiVa Tuesday pictures were cancelled yesterday, as the little ladies have colds and aren’t quite up for taking pictures. They have coughs and runny noses, but they seem to be getting over the rough parts of it.  They’ve been rather clingy, understandably… not that I need excuses for kid cuddles.

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s good for now.


Daddy-DiVa Saturday!

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Saturday – 26 January 2013
It’s the weekend. Selah.

It’s been a good and somewhat busy week.  Sara! has been attending a conference this week, so it’s mostly been Team DiVa and me at home at night. We all survived. That’s a good thing. Sara!’s conference ends today, but for most of the day, it’s just me and the little ladies.

Sidenote: Some people have made the mistaken assumption that I refer to the girls as “Team DiVa” because they are – or will possibly be – little divas.  Despite one of their grandmother’s being affectionately referred to as “The Diva” (Capital “T,” Capital “D”) by family and friends, we don’t plan on the girls being spoiled little brats. (Spoiled, maybe. Little, only if they don’t get their mother’s height. Brats, no. Period. Full stop.)

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Vanessa (l) and Diana

We call refer to the girls as Team DiVa because of their names. Hence the two capital letters in “DiVa,” rather than just one. We noted the “nickname” when we chose the name – and, no, we didn’t choose the names to create the nickname. I don’t think that we were really planning on using it until someone asked us if we were aware of that “DiVa” could be made from the girls’ names. From that point on, it just kind of… stuck.

Besides, it makes for an easy way to refer to them as well as a handy hashtag for Twitter.

Stray Toasters

Huh, there are a lot of ‘Toasters about women and women-focused topics here. That’s okay, I want Team DiVa to as many good examples of good female role models as I can find.


Team DiVa Tuesday

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Team DiVa Tuesday

Tuesday – 22 January 2013
Before it’s no longer Tuesday, I’d figure that I’d try to get a Team DiVa picture or two posted:

Ball Pit!!!

Ball Pit!!!


Vanessa, not minding being in a picture...

Vanessa, not minding being in a picture… too much…

Team DiVa (Diana on the left, Vanessa) hanging out with Mom and Dad before we headed out to the opera

Vanessa… not wanting to take any more pictures.

And there you have it.


‘Clix, Opera and the AFC

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'Clix, Opera and the AFC

Monday – 20 January 2013
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.



This past weekend was a good weekend.

Saturday, I judged a HeroClix tournament. I set up an event for my friend, Keith, who is in town on vacation. Keith was the judge for ‘Clix tournaments when I first started playing, so I was happy to do it. There was a good turn out for the game – we wound up with 12 players.

After the game, Sara! and I headed out for the evening.


That’s right, time to break out the tuxedo..

It was the opening night for Utah Opera’s staging of Florencia En El Amazonas:


This is a fairly “new” opera, first staged in 1996. The set design also included a projected background, which changed over the course of the opera, making it appear that the boat (the main piece of scenery) was traveling on the Amazon River.

The Utah Opera costume shop also did an outstanding job of outfitting the cast. There was also a big of… whimsy in some of the ladies’ dress designs. I was particularly taken with the costuming of one of the male leads, to the point of wanting a couple of the pieces for my own wardrobe.

The music for the opera was well-suited to the story. It wasn’t oppressive or heavy; on the contrary, it was lively and, quite frankly, beautiful.

Something else that I enjoyed was that the libretto was amazingly well done. The stories in many operas are fanciful and often rely on some “magical thing” to happen to wrap things up by the coda. That wasn’t the case in this opera. Far from it, in fact. It was easily one of the – if not THE – most realistic bit of storytelling I’ve seen in an opera. The characters were… human, not just characters and far from being caricatures. Their motivations and reactions were incredibly well-grounded.

I haven’t determined exactly where it falls, but this is definitely on my favorite opera list. I highly recommend  seeing it to any and every one.

Sunday, or at least the early part of it, was mostly spent around the house. The afternoon, however, was dedicated to football. Brad and Keith came over to watch the AFC Championship Game…

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
28 – 13
The Ravens headed to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship:

  1. The Patriots beat the Ravens in last year’s matchup.
  2. The Ravens beat the Patriots in Week 3 of the regular season.
  3. Coming into today’s game, Tom Brady was 5-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Pats were 9-point favorites.

There was a lot of expectation that tonight’s game would turn out like last year’s…

…but the Ravens and their fans knew that they didn’t want Ray Lewis’ “Last Ride” to end in New England.

The game was close in the first half, with New England drawing first blood with a field goal. Baltimore answered with a touchdown in the second quarter. New England put up another FG in the 2nd and the teams went into halftime with the Pats up 13-7.

The second half belonged to the Ravens. They put up another 21 points while keeping the Pats out of the end zone and out of field goal range.

On the Pats’ last drive, Brady was moving his team downfield well. It looked like they were about to put 6 points on the board until Cary Williams picked off a pass.

Joe Flacco was able to take a knee and send the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years.


Congratulations to the Ravens on a fantastic and well-played game.

On to New Orleans, where the Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh will face the San Francisco 49ers, coached by former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh… John’s brother.


Stray Toasters

Yeah, my team is going to the Super Bowl. Boom!


Team DiVa Tuesday

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Team DiVa Tuesday

Tuesday – 15 January 2013
It’s been a couple of weeks, but here is a bit of Team DiVa goodness for you:


Vanessa (l) and Diana


Vanessa (l) and Diana (close-up!)


Diana (l) and Vanessa


Diana helping Mom lower the mattress frame on a crib





And there you go.


“This mornin’, I shot six holes in my freezer…”

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"This mornin', I shot six holes in my freezer..."

Monday – 14 January 2013
It’s cold here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain.

How cold? Well, this is what greeted me when I checked the weather before getting out of bed:

What?! I was reading on my iPad before going to sleep; it was right there. Don’t judge.

This was the difference between my car and outside as I got ready to head into the office:

Yes, that is a nearly 70°F difference. So, like I said: It’s cold.

Reeling By On Celluloid: Tomb Raider
As of last Saturday, Sara! and I finished our run of Bond’s movies… since Amazon wanted me to buy Die Another Day. Yeah, that was not going to happen. We decided to start a new run of movies; we just had to decide on a theme. We wound up going with “Action Movies with Strong Female Leads.” That, in turn, lead us to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.


We’d both seen the movie before and knew that it was light on brainpower and fairly full of action. Win. Win. And something that we’d forgotten: Daniel Craig was in the movie. That’s right. James “Double Oh Seven” Bond. Well, five years before he was Bond. And who could forget that Ms. Jolie’s father, Jim Phelps, I mean Jon Voight was in the movie, as well.

And, in the final analysis: It was fun.

Instant Replay: Football
Saturday afternoon, the Ravens took on the Denver Broncos:

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
38 – 35
The Ravens traveled to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Number 1 in the AFC Denver Broncos for the AFC Divisonal Game. Going into the game, the odds were stacked against the Ravens:

  1. The Broncos gave the Ravens a thorough trouncing in Week 15, just four weeks prior.
  2. The Ravens were playing on a short week – having played in an AFC Wild Card game on Sunday.
  3. Peyton Manning was 8-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Broncos were 9-point favorites.
  5. Playing in Denver meant that the Ravens would not only have to travel across the country, but they would also have to acclimatize (quickly) to the thinner air at the higher altitude.

And, there was also this gem, as tweeted by the Ravens’ own Terrell Suggs:


But, as Han Solo once told C-3P0: “Never tell me the odds.”

Because the Ravens went to Denver to make like Big Daddy Kane and Get the Job Done.

The game was close all the way through; the score wound up being tied a total of five (5) times! There were amazing plays on both sides

At the end of regulation, the score was tied 35-35.

Then came overtime.
Then came the second overtime.

Then, Peyton Manning threw a pass… that was picked off by Corey Graham.  That set up a game-winning Justin Tucker 49-yard field goal, sending the Ravens to the AFC Championship game.

After the game, two future Hall of Famers met at mid-field for the last time as competitors.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.10.16 PM

Congratulations to the Ravens on a great game.

Hey, Joe…?! How does it feel to go into Denver and handle business like you did on Saturday?


Next stop: New England.

Stray Toasters


And then there was Friday.

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Friday – 11 January 2013
Today has been a good day. Even with all the snow.

The morning commute was about a half-hour long, give or take. The drive was made a little better with the addition of two fifty-pound bags of salt to the trunk. (I have a rear-wheel drive car that apparently puts out A LOT of torque at low speed.) But, on the whole, it was uneventful.

The evening commute was slower than expected, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as last night’s two-hour journey. I made it home in about 45 minutes.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.



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Thursday – 10 January 2013
Another NBN Thursday in the valley draws to a close.

When I woke up this morning, it was in the low 40s. That means that today started off warmer than it’s been during the day for the past week.

And then a snowstorm blew in.

Temperatures fell.
Traffic got stupid.
Yada. Yada. Yada.

And, I’m not kidding about the traffic. My commute home  – depending on the route I take and time of day – is usually about 20 minutes. Today, it was just shy of 2 hours. But, Sara! kept Team DiVa up until I got home, so I was able to end the evening with a smile. And a late dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Tonight was a perfect night for it, too.

Stray Toasters


“I am the law.”

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Wednesday – 09 January 2013
It’s midweek…
New comics (and maybe a ‘Clix or two) day…
And Movie Date Night!

The workday has been… busy. Not cripplingly so, but enough to keep me engaged for the better part of the day.

Last night, Sara went off to Girls’ Night Out, so I stayed home with Team DiVa, had Chinese food for dinner and watched three episodes of the Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who.

This morning, my mother in law posted the following Team DiVa video:

Tonight’s Movie Date Night fare: Dredd.  (So far, it’s not bad.)

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s going to do it for now.



Nope. Still not Belgium.

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Tuesday – 08 January 2012
Day Two: Go!

Last night, I decided to tackle some of the clutter in the unfinished portion of the basement. I didn’t make a huge dent in it, but I made a decent dent in it. There’s some And, I was able to move the printer out of the office and hook it up to the Mac that’s in there. I consider that a “Win.”

After that, Sara! and I hung out on the couch, watching Castle. I’d call that a good way to wrap up an evening.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve finally made the decision to pull the plug on my LiveJournal account. That’s where I originally started blogging way back in 2001; since moving my blog to WordPress, I’ve been on LJ less and less over the years. (Of course, it hasn’t hurt that a number of people that I’ve come to know on LJ have migrated to Facebook, other social media or their own personal sites.)

    For those of you who’ve been following my blog on LJ (via cross-post), please feel free to point your browser to Random Access, instead, as I’ll be terminating my LJ account at the end of the month.

  • Lousy Book Covers
  • Shelf Awareness
  • Zombie attack sheet-set

Right on to the friction of the day…


And that was how I spent my summer vacation… I mean “weekend.”

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And that was how I spent my summer vacation... I mean "weekend."

Sunday – 06 January 2013
I have had a great weekend.

No, seriously.

Saturday, I judged a HeroClix tournament at Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. We had a good turn-out; we had ten players. While there, I received a message from my friend, Jonni. He had a show Saturday night and wondered if I would be able to make it. After consulting the Lady Sara!, I learned that I’d be able to make the show. Win.

I came back home and finally got around to making a fix to the railing and got some help from an unexpected quarter.

>> Fast Forward >>
After Team DiVa was in bed, I got ready and headed to the show. Doing some mental gymnastics, I realized that I hadn’t seen Jonni play – Hell, hadn’t even seen him (other than online) – in over ten years. Yeah. That long.

This was taken 10 January 2002 at the release party for his second CD:

This was taken Saturday (05 Jan 13) night:

And, it was a lot of fun. We’re trying to figure out a time when we can get together for lunch or dinner or something.

Instant Replay: Football

Today, I got to watch the Ravens-Indy game. Brad and Dave came over to watch the game, as well.

Indianapolis Professional Football Club at Baltimore Ravens
9 – 24
The Ravens played their first playoff game of the 2012-2013 season today…

…the same day that Ray Lewis played his last game as a Raven at home.

The first half was mostly a defensive struggle, but the Ravens went into halftime with a 10-6 lead.

In the second half, the offense went to work, racking up 14 more points and holding Indy to just another field goal.

Baltimore wound up with the ball as time wound down and for the final play, Ray Lewis came in at running back…

…and after the clock ran down, he treated Baltimore to a final dance.

After the game, Ray took one last celebratory/congratulatory lap around M&T Bank Stadium.

Congratulations to the Ravens on a job well done and “Thank you” to Ray Lewis for an amazing career and legacy.

Next stop: Denver.

And, to wrap up the weekend, Sara! and I are watching Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Stray Toasters


New Year: 2013

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New Year: 2013

Tuesday – 01 January 2013
Welcome to 2013: The Year of the Snake.

Today is also the seventh day of Kwanzaa; today ‘s principle is “Imani” or “faith”:

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

I hope that everyone had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and that you have a prosperous 2013.

Be well and be good to one another.