Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Team DiVa Tuesday – 28 May 2013

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Team DiVa Tuesday - 28 May 2013

Tuesday – 28 May 2013
It’s another TDVT here in The Land Behind the Zion Curtain. Let’s get to it…

Vanessa on a tire swing

Vanessa on a tire swing

Vanessa LOVED this. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen her get so much enjoyment from a swing. And, in an interesting turn, she was even willing to swing with other kids.

Diana on the big kid slide

And for the record: Diana had a veritable field day climbing up on the slide and going down by herself. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her part way down the slide, because every time she went down it, she had a huge grin on her face.

It’s not just a toy; it’s a hat!

We got Daddy’s iPad again!

And there was also this gem from Friday…

Sara posted the following on Facebook:

Robert had probably the best moment of his life as a father tonight… Diana picked up a John Stewart Green Lantern figure and called it “Daddy.”

Long story, short version: I was looking for toys around the house that the girls could play with. I found an unopened set of Justice League Unlimited figures, including the aforementioned John Stewart GL (ex.: figure on the far left). The rest went pretty much the way Sara explained it.

And, yes, I freely admit that I was rather proud of our Little Bean for making the connection.

Of course, she might have just been gunning for “Favorite Daughter” status.

Either way… “Win.”


“Lest we forget…”

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"Lest we forget..."

Monday – 27 May 2013
It is Memorial Day in the U.S.

Taken at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Nov. 2004

Remember that today is about more than sales and barbecues… or just a day off of work. Take a few moments to recall and thank the servicemen and women who fought – and have fallen – to preserve our freedom.


Team DiVa Tuesday – 21 May 2013

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Team DiVa Tuesday - 21 May 2013

Tuesday – 21 May 2013
The day has gone by pretty quickly, but I remembered that this needed to be posted.

Storytime with Mom

Storytime with Mom

Diana, starting on her Rule 63 Nick Fury costume a little early...

Diana, starting on her Rule 63 Nick Fury costume a little early…

Vanessa, courtesy of my iPad

Vanessa, courtesy of my iPad

So many things…

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So many things...

Monday – 20 May 2013
So, it’s been slightly longer than I’d intended since the last non-Team DiVa post. Time somehow manages to just slip away.

It’s been a good couple of weeks, for the most part. Home life has been good and, aside from spending far too many Saturdays in the office – it’s the best opportunity for server maintenance in a couple of cases – work’s been good. This past weekend was something of an exception since the maintenance that I requested and called back to verify on fell through. The service company shipped the wrong part AND didn’t review the error report I sent. Monkeys.

After the failed maintenance window, I headed back home. Sara! and I, thanks to the help of our friends, Dave and Angy, managed to put another nail in the coffin of a landscaping project that’s been long talked about and a tad slow to come to fruition: We got rid of the shrubs in the front yard. Dave and Angy brought over a stump grinder and, after about 75 minutes, the stumps of the shrubs were turned into mulch.

The girls have been doing well, for the most part; Diana had a brief bout of some food not agreeing with her over the weekend, but seems to back to her usual form again.

Reeling by on Celluloid
Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen four movies:

Four very different, but very entertaining movies. So let’s dive in:

  • The Cabin in the Woods
    This movie was made between the time that Chris Hemsworth got on Hollywood’s radar as George Kirk in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and was bulking up to play the God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.I was recommended to watch this by a coworker. The only thing that he told me about it was that it was a horror movie. Okay, fair enough. Or so I thought.

    Yes, this was a horror movie, but it’s also something… else. Something different. The first few scenes of the movie don’t, at first, give you a sense of what’s to come. I was quite confused when the movie started — to the point of wondering if I had the right disc in the player. Just as the confusion was peaking, the opening credits came on-screen. But it still left a little bit of a disjointed feeling.

    The rest of the movie was entertaining. And strange. Very strange. But, I have to say that the strangeness only added to the movie’s appeal.

  • Star Trek Into Darkness
    As just about anyone who knows me is aware: I’m a Star Trek fan and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of my all-time favorite movies. I think that it’s not just a great Star Trek movie, but a great movie in general. In fact, I usually refer to it as “…a great movie, with Star Trek trappings,” because it’s so well-done. When  rumors first started appearing that Into Darkness was possibly going to feature a variation on that story, I was pretty much ready to line up and tell the ticket seller, “Take my money!”Then, word broke that it wasn’t going to be a take on the original ST II. Okay. Fine. I can live with that. When I started watching the trailers, I caught hints of something else. Something familiar. But I was a little hesitant to think that Mr. Abrams and company would pull that particular trigger. Why? A couple of reasons:

    1) As much as I’m a fan of Star Trek: TOS, I’m an even bigger fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And the inkling that I was getting was something that was first seen on DS9.

    2) Abrams’ movies have reset the timeline, effectively, meaning that everything I knew about [REDACTED] never happened… or at least never existed in the way I knew.

    So, I went into the movie with as open a mind as my Trek-loving self could allow. Turns out, I could allow a lot. Abrams did a good job of expanding upon the story he started in the first movie. This movie was very upfront about showing young Captain Kirk’s penchant for flouting – or just outright ignoring – regulations. And, it was no less upfront about showing the consequences of those actions.

    We were then introduced to the movie’s antagonist, John Harrison. A man who is not what he originally appears to be; there’s something about him that just rang a little “off.”

    And, with that, the chase was on. Abrams took viewers on an action-packed, explosion-filled ride.


  • Crazy, Stupid, Love
    This was another coworker recommendation. To be honest, I didn’t have an interest in this movie when it was out and wouldn’t have given it a second thought had he not suggested it. Having watched it, I must admit: It was a lot of fun. More so than I would have expected.Steve Carell portrays a Cal Weaver, a man who finds that his wife wants a divorce. He accepts it, as best he can, and tries to get on with his life.

    Enter Jacob, a young man who seems to have it all and seems to have no problem meeting attractive young ladies. Jacob then becomes Cal’s mentor and the two begin a journey to get Cal back in the proverbial game.

    Bittersweet hilarity ensues.

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    I never read The Hobbit nor the Lord of the Rings Trilogy growing up. I own the Trilogy; it was given to me as a gift a few years ago, but I haven’t made the time to read them. So, when this movie was announced, I was interested in seeing it, but had no idea what to expect.It was a beautifully rendered film. Peter Jackson once again brought the world of Middle Earth to lush life. Again, having not read the books, I was surprised to see some familiar faces in the film.

And there you have it.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve been reading and listening to The Sword of Truth series. One of the recent books focused not on the usual characters, but on a couple of supporting characters. It was set basically between a couple of books that I’d already read; it was a little disconcerting to try and figure out the sequence/time frame. It also took me until about two-thirds of the way through the book to really warm to the new characters. But it wasn’t a necessarily “bad” book. I’m just glad to be back with characters I’ve been reading about for the prior six books.
  • By way of Sara!: 100 Films | 100 Behind the Scenes Photos
  • Looks like we’ll be getting a new Blink ‘Clix. Finally.
  • Pixel art from obscure video games
  • Bans on Same-Sex Marriages Can Take a Psychological Toll
  • One of my coworkers’ sons did a report on The Battle of Antietam for school. He not only did a report, but he made a stop-motion LEGO video to go along with it. I just saw this video and was duly impressed by it. I asked how old he was, just for reference. He’s 14.


Team DiVa Tuesday – 13 May 13

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Team DiVa Tuesday - 13 May 13

Tuesday – 13 May 2013
It’s Tuesday. And before I let the day slip completely away, here’s today’s goodness:



Vanessa and Diana, at Hogle Zoo

Diana (l) and Vanessa, at Hogle Zoo




Polar bear!

Okay, we took a break. Let's go!

Okay, we took a break. Let’s go!


Team DiVa Tuesday – 07 May 2013

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Team DiVa Tuesday - 07 May 2013

Tuesday – 07 May 2013
The day nearly got away from me before I remembered that I needed to make a Team DiVa post. (Yep, it was one of those days.) But, here we are and here it is:


The ladies have discovered the fun of playing with keys

photo 1

Diana and Sara, reading Diana’s Free Comic Book Day comic

photo 2

Vanessa, reading her Free Comic Book Day comic

And, once again, because it still amuses me:


May the 4th be with you, Cinco de Mayo, and the Revenge of the 6th… or something like that

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May the 4th be with you, Cinco de Mayo, and the Revenge of the 6th... or something like that

Monday – 06 May 2013
A new week begins, after a good weekend.

Friday felt like it was nine days long. Not so much because I went to the Iron Man 3 premiere on Thursday, but because I had one of my worst night’s sleeps in many months. It took forever to fall asleep. I had what I’m figuring was a reflux event an hour or two later. The girls woke up around 5:00 AM. So, when the alarm went off, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep the day away. But, that was not to be. So, I got up and got right on to the proverbial friction of the day. Fortunately, it wasn’t a “bad” day. Just long. On the up side: We visited our friends, Dave and Angy, Friday evening. On the way there, we told the girls that they were going to see two dogs. All the way to Dave and Angy’s they kept saying “Two dogs! Two dogs!” And they repeated it all the way home, as well. It was cute.

Saturday was a long day. It started with Sara! heading off to her quilt club, which meant that Team DiVa and I got in some quality time. At one point, Diana asked for “gah-layo.” I had absolutely no idea what that meant. So, I tried a couple of known favorites. No dice. I finally got around to trying a couple of Baby Einstein videos… and then I saw it in the history: “Baby Galileo.” No sooner than I clicked on it than both girls were all smiles. I also managed to catch this:

After Sara! got home, we headed to Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection for Free Comic Book Day. There was a line down the walkway outside the store, and it was nearly the Team DiVa’s lunch and nap time, so I just planned on heading back to the store after the girls went down for their naps. And I did. It was good. I got to hang with some of the Volt’s staff and see a few people I hadn’t seen in a while.

From there, I headed to Hastur Games & Comics. I had promised my friend, Charity, that I’d pop into the Hello, Sweetie! Podcast event.  I was only able to stay for a few, but I was able to keep my promise.

I headed back home to help with Team DiVa’s dinner and pre-bed prep. After that, I got ready to head to Abravanel Hall for Utah Symphony‘s performance of “The Music of John Williams,” conducted by Jerry Steichen.

photo 2

The musicians of Utah Symphony (taken before the concert)

Sara! stayed home to watch the ladies, so I went with my friend, Bonnie, who needed to attend a concert for one of her classes. I also met up with Melody and Jack and Dave and Kim during intermission. Win-Win. It was a fantastic concert. They opened with a medley from the Star Wars movies. An amusing sidenote: Sara! took part of my Jedi costume to work for Jerry to possibly wear for the concerts; he came on-stage wearing the overtunic. It made me chuckle. What I didn’t realize, until after they had finished playing the Star Wars medley, was that Sara! had also given him my lightsaber…. which he then proceeded to play some of the settings on-stage. I realized something during the concert: I’ve heard Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme many times over the years, but there was “an added element” to hearing it performed live. And hearing “Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Yeah. Pretty awesome, too. The only – ONLY – disappointing point of the concert was that they didn’t perform Theme from Superman (Main Title). Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all.

Sunday morning started far too early (7:30 AM), when Diana decided to let everyone know that she was not only awake, but didn’t intend to spend any more time in her crib. I had barely gotten her and brought her into Sara! and my bedroom when Vanessa announced that she wanted to hang out, too. And thus, started the day. Sara! made a coffee cake for breakfast, while I hung out with the little ladies. After breakfast, I tamed the fury that is the lawn. I came back in and had a bite for lunch and then got ready for work. Yep, work. On a Sunday. Fortunately, things went well and I was only there for a couple of hours. I got home in time to hang out with Team DiVa for a bit before dinner. Being Cinco de Mayo, Sara! prepared chicken enchiladas and margaritas. And they were good. Very good, indeed.

And here we are, once more, at Monday.

Bring it on.


Iron Man 3 and stuff and things

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Iron Man 3 and stuff and things

Friday – 03 May 2013
It’s almost the weekend. Thankfully, as this has been a somewhat busy week.

Last night, I was asked to attend an Iron Man 3 premiere… as Nick Fury. Having dressed as Nick Fury before and having all of the parts of the costume already – except for being unable to find my eyepatch, of course – it was an easy thing to agree to do. This time, I asked my friend Melody if she’d mind helping me make one modification to my costume: Scars. With a little latex, some eye shadow, some foundation, and a few pieces of tissue, she went to work.

photo 3

photo 5

Less than 45 minutes later, I was good to go.

I headed up to the Megaplex Legacy Crossing theatre to for the “Iron Man 3 Red Carpet Party.” The event included a “Make Your Own Armor” (out of cardboard boxes, glow sticks and other ephemera) workshop, trivia games, an obstacle course event, and photos with those of us in costume. I was a bit surprised that there weren’t as many young kids as I had expected, but that didn’t keep the older kids – and some of the older not-kids – from having a good time:

photo 3-1

photo 4-1


I actually remembered to get a semi-close picture… at the end of the night.

And then, it was time for the big show:

Iron Man 3 Final Theatrical One Sheet Movie Poster

After the disappointment with X-Men: The Last Stand – franchise’s third movie, but with a different director and going in a different direction than its predecessors – I was a bit leery about Iron Man 3. Things that helped to mitigate my trepidation were:

  1. John Favreau was attached to the film as executive producer
  2. I’ve seen some of Shane Black’s work… and liked it.

The lights went down, the trailers rolled (and, let me say: The Man of Steel trailer in IMAX 3D was pretty fantastic) and then the movie began…

Two hours and some change later, it was over. It held up very well with the other two movies in the series, while having a slightly different tone — it felt a little lighter, overall, without being comedic. Robert Downey, Jr. was… Robert Downey, Jr…. and seemed very comfortable climbing back into Tony Stark’s shoes once more. I was happy to see Don Cheadle get more screen time as well as seeing Rhodey interact more with Tony. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts had… decent screen time and had some very good moments. Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian was an interesting character and an interesting business counterpart/foil for Tony. Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was not what I expected, but was creepy in his own right.

And the post-credits scene? I’d argue that it’s the best one that they’ve done yet.  Yes, even better than Thanos. Or schwarma.

All-in-all, it was a fun ride and one that I recommend.



Okay, who broke the weather…?

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Okay, who broke the weather...?

Wednesday – 01 May 2013
New comics day… although I actually picked up my things a little early.
Movie Date Night.

And then, there’s this…


This is what The Weather Channel app showed this morning when I was getting ready for work.



Note today’s forecast: 55. “Plenty of sunshine. 0% Humidity.”



So, why was there snow on the lawn this morning?!

If I’d been a little quicker on the draw this morning, I’d have gotten a picture of it snowing. Big, white, fluffy flakes of Mother Nature’s frozen mocking laughter.

Oh, well.