Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

::: thunk :::

business and economy, comics and animation, everyday glory, family and friends, food for thought, geekery, kids, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, music, office antics, the world, travel, zombies No Comments »
::: thunk :::

Friday – 29 May 2015
“The best laid plans of mice and men…”

That is an excellent quote for the past 36 hours. Wednesday night, thanks to a couple of adorable children, I had a less-then-stellar night of sleep. As I noted yesterday, I figured that I might hit the gym after they went to bed last night.

No go, Flight.

I didn’t get out of the office until nearly 8:30 last night, chasing down what appeared to be a mail server issue. (More on this later.) By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was eat dinner and then do a lot of nothing. I was  highly successful at accomplishing both tasks. Before going to bed, I resolved to hit the gym this morning.

Strike Two!

Last night, Diana started getting a little sick and was up many times in the night. Mostly moaning “Mo-o-o-o-mmy…..” or “Da-a-a-a-a-ddy…..” or both. A couple of times, she came into our room for cuddles and/or to sleep. According to our Sense, either Sara or I (or both of us) were up about seven times last night. That made getting out of bed damn near impossible. I finally dragged my carcass out from the sheets around 7:45… and I felt like a zombie. (But nowhere as perky as Gwen Dylan/Liv Moore from iZombie (1, 2).)

Back in the office a little early – and a couple of cups of coffee later – I was informed that last night’s high-profile, high-priority email emergency was not only non-existent, but also a complete misunderstanding/miscommunication between two parties.

*grblsnrkx*

#ajobaintnuthinbutwork #LifeInIT

Aside from that, it’s been a decent day. It’s been relatively quiet.

It was also coworker Adam’s last day. He got “an offer he couldn’t (and shouldn’t have) refuse.” Fortunately, we only live a couple of miles apart and our daughters like playing together, so I don’t consider this him riding off into the sunset.

Stray Toasters

Okay, there’s a little more work to be plowed through before the day is done.

Namaste.

A day like… well.. a lot of other days, really.

business and economy, everyday glory, food for thought, music, workout No Comments »
A day like... well.. a lot of other days, really.

Tuesday – 19 May 2015
This morning, I managed to get out of bed once again and make it to the gym before work. This is a “good” thing, as Guys’ Night Out was moved to tonight and trying to go to the gym after that would most definitely come under the heading of “bad idea.”

Work has been decent. There’s been nothing to complain about today. I like days like that.

Exactly.

Shortly, I’ll head home to (help) figure out what to feed Team DiVa for dinner and then prepare to bugger off for the aforementioned Guys’ Night Out. On the way home, I might even stop at the comic shop. Because nothing says “adult” like going to the comic shop when you want to.

Workout
While I did get to the gym this morning, I was still a little slow about getting there. Nevertheless, I was there and I did my workout. #neverskipalegday

  • Elliptical: 10 min/1.1 miles
  • Smith squats: 3 x 8 x 115 (I think, I need to check the weight of the bar)
  • Leg press: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Leg extensions: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Leg curls: 3 x 8 x 60
  • Standing calf raises: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Standing calf raises: 3 x 8 x 60

I could tell that it was a leg day when I got to work and my quads complained – just a little – all the way up the stairs. To be honest, I should: A) get to the gym earlier, and B) some lunges to my routine… despite the fact that lunges are of the Devil (…and the Devil is bad.)

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Cut… and….. print!

everyday glory, geekery, movies and TV, music, office antics, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
Cut... and..... print!

Wednesday – 22 April 2015
Today is Earth Day.

It is also No Bad News Thursday Eve.

But, possibly the most important news of the day is that my coworker, Brad, and I have come up with what could possibly be the best movie concept in the history of concepts that became movies.

We were deciding where to have lunch, when we settled on Five Guys. Then we started mutilating the name in Spanish: Cinco Hombres…

…which then became Cinco Muertes, “Five Deaths,”to our amusement.

At that point, Brad suggested that the Wu Tang Clan should portray the Five Deaths. This was, in my opinion, a great idea. But, I took it one step further:

 Cinco Muertes Silenciosas: The Five Silent Deaths.

In the tradition of only the best kung-fu movies, The Five Silent Deaths set out to avenge the untimely death of their master from a rival clan… each of them taking a vow of silence until their rivals had been destroyed. Brad questioned how well this would work, as it seemed to be counterintuitive to have Wu Tang Clan unable to rap. This was a good point. I posited that they would only communicate by beat-boxing. (There could even be a cameo from Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. Or even The Fat Boys.)

We let it go for a while and continued our drive to Five Guys.

Over lunch, we were talking about Nic Cage, King of the B Movies. It wasn’t long until our conversation turned towards The Rock – the best Michael Bay movie not to star Will Smith and not The Actor Also Known as Dwayne Johnson. For some reason, I then came to the conclusion that Nic Cage needed to star in a movie with Christopher Lloyd… and just let the crazy happen. Brad thought about this for a few moments and then noted that Crispin Glover should be added to the cast, along with Christopher Walken. I asked why not include Christian Bale, for some added intensity. Brad didn’t disagree.

Then, came the revelation: These five actors should be The Five Silent Deaths and that Wu Tang Clan could provide the soundtrack.

Somebody get me an agent, I have a movie to make.

110111-bill-paxton-kung-fu

1 – Apologies for any horrible bastardization of the Spanish language in this post. I took Latin in high school, so Spanish isn’t exactly my strong suit.

“Carve away the stone, Sisyphus…”

environment, event, everyday glory, family and friends, games, geekery, monkeys!, movies and TV, music, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »

Thursday – 02 April 2015
Another No Bad News Thursday draws to a close and I realize that it’s been a little while since I’ve blown the cobwebs off of here.

Life is good. I really can’t complain. Oh, sure, getting Team DiVa to actually go to sleep when we put them to bed can be… trying, but they’re kids. It’s normal. I just hope that this phase passes relatively quickly. (That’s normal, too, right? I mean, to hope for that as a parent…)

Last weekend, we took the girls up to Antelope Island. (On which, I have never seen antelope…) We did see bison, however. We also flew a kite and the girls threw rocks in the water. What can I say? It’s one of their favorite pastimes. They also touched the Great Salt Lake… and got a little muddy and sandy, which caused a little consternation on their parts/amusement on ours.

IMG_4083

IMG_4102

IMG_4088

I also stopped at a train store not far from the island, Almosta Junction. Although, compared to the last time I was there, it could just as easily be called “Almost a train shop.” It was a bit sad to see how little inventory they had. That store is definitely a labor of love.

Later that evening, I went to hear Jonni Lightfoot and W. James Woods play at a local restaurant.

IMG_4109

It was a good evening, until the waitress – not 10 minutes after I had paid – came back to tell me that they had no record of me having done so.

*grblsnrkx*

Fortunately, my bank and its app, had my back. Right there on the screen, big as day and twice as bright, was the charge against my account. Idiotsticks.

Stray Toasters

  • We “cut the cord” last week. We bought an HD over-the-air antenna (which has been great) and are just using our Roku (with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Sling). It’s been good. I do miss the flexibility of having a DVR to catch the things we miss, but I’ve been able to stream those shows, so no major loss.
  • This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. Every year, I recall the song Palm Sunday Downpour, as done by a trio of guys I know who used to go by the band name: Hat. On a lark, I decided to see if I could find a copy of the song on the ‘tubes. Lo and behold, I did. Not only that, It’s been updated and redone by one of the original band members, Christian Scott Martin. It’s not quite the version I remember, but it’s pretty damned close.
  • I’ve been playing – and enjoying the crap out of – Disney Infinity. I just finished the Avengers Play Set a few days ago. The final boss, a Frost Giant monster, took out my entire Avengers lineup. I wound up having to finish it off with Rocket Raccoon, which made me grin like a fiend. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll probably get started on the Guardians of the Galaxy set this weekend.
  • Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
  • Words that I never thought I’d string together: “Read this insurance company fan-fic.

That’s good for now. And, I can still get it in under the wire and still call it “today.” Nice.

Namaste.

At the work week’s end…

business and economy, comics and animation, event, everyday glory, family and friends, games, geekery, health, IKEA, music, office antics, science and technology, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »

Friday – 06 February 2015
My niece, Grace, turned seven today:

grace_7

Team DiVa and I got to talk with her – and her sisters, my sister and brother-in-law, and my dad – over Skype this evening. I believe that it was one of the most engaged conversations that DiVa has had over Skype.

Other things that made today good:

  1. Post-work/post-daycare with Team DiVa.
  2. An end-of-the-work-day chat with Sara!.
  3. Introducing Team DiVa to Undercova Funk before bedtime.
  4. Learning that Sana Amanat, former editor and co-creator of the new Ms. Marvel, got what are colloquially referred to as “big ups” as she was named Marvel’s new Director of Content and Character Development.
  5. Conversations about fashion and style with a trio of coworkers.
  6. A discussion with a coworker about my standing desk, her pilgrimage o The Garden of Sweden to acquire one… and the confused looks on the employees’ faces as they showed her their standing desk (much more expensive) and she kept telling them “That’s not it.”

Things that did not make the day good:

  1. Yet another email spam/virus outbreak at work. (Fortunately, we caught it quickly and got ahead of it before it became too widespread.)
  2. Not getting to eat lunch because of the above.

On the whole, I’d call the day a “Win.”

Stray Toasters

  • I am running a nominally Valentine’s Day-themed tournament tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of teams my players bring.
  • I should comb through the various and sundry links that I’ve posted here, see if the links are still active, determine if I still care about them, and pin the worthy on Pinterest.
    • I may even move The Covet List from an Amazon Wish List over to Pinterest, as well.
  • The Pro Dumpster Diver Who’s Making Thousands Off America’s Biggest Retailers
  • It may just be the way I’m wired, but I’m not sure that I entirely agree with How Often You Really Need to Shower (According to Science)
  • Speaking of which, how often do you wipe down your kitchen counters?
  • Marvel, in other news, also announced a new book, spinning out of the upcoming Secret Wars: An all-female team of Avengers.
  • And, before I forget: Someone at DC seems to have had a rectal craniotomy and decided to make Starfire a little more palatable/accessible to readers, including those who mostly/only knew of her from the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons.
  • I might actually be one step closer to running a new Shadowrun campaign.

Time to find something to do now that Team DiVa has finally knocked out for the night.

Namaste.

Day Eight

everyday glory, food for thought, music, science and technology No Comments »
Day Eight

Thursday/Friday – 08/09 January 2014
I was so intent on relaxing after work this evening, that I completely forgot about today’s challenge… until I had been in bed for a couple minutes. But, not wanting to skip a day, I got out of bed to do it.

Day 8: Take some time today to reflect on your career. Jot down a timeline of it, including all the ups and downs. What was your best experience? And the worst? What would you like your future to look like, in terms of your career? If you’re a young man and haven’t started in yet, focus on that future part. What do you want your work to look like?

Work timeline (very high-level view)
I have worked for:

  • Architecture firm (high school internship)
  • U.S. Postal Service (service employee/supervisor)
  • A friend’s auction management start-up (IT/Operations Manager)
  • A tech startup… that wound up getting acquired by a larger – much larger –  company (IT)
  • A consumer good manufacturer (IT)

I don’t know that I’ve had a “best” and a “worst” work experience. There have been good and bad points at each job. There were things that I loved, as well as things that I absolutely hated. Could I name them? Sure, but looking at the breadth of them, I can say this: All of the experiences have served as places and positions of learning and have helped mold me into the employee that I am today. To borrow a verse from Headlong Flight:

All the journeys
Of this great adventure
It didn’t always feel that way
I wouldn’t trade them
Because I made them
The best I could
And that’s enough to say…

I’ve found that I quite enjoy working in IT; it was something of an unexpected and unplanned career path, but it’s also been a good fit for me. I’ve been fortunate to be in positions learn about and work with current and emergent technologies. And, while some of it’s been a lot of “work” – and has had me nearly at wits’ end on occasion – it’s been fun. Besides, who doesn’t love a good challenge?!

I’d like my future to continue to chart an upward course. Would I like to “get out of the trenches” and into a management track again, someday? Sure, if the right opportunity presents itself. For now, though, I’m happy with what I do.

Namaste.

And, like that, December was halfway gone…

books, event, everyday glory, family and friends, food for thought, games, geekery, house and home, movies and TV, music, style and fashion, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
And, like that, December was halfway gone...

Monday – 15 December 2014
It’s been longer than I’d planned since my last post. So, let’s get down to business.

The last few weeks have been good. Thanksgiving went well. We managed to host and feed ten people to no ill effect. The girls have been sick. Gotten over it. I’ve been sick. Gotten over it. Sara’s worked a lot – apparently, the end of the year is a busy time for the ballet. The Nutcracker and whatnot. Go figure.

This past weekend, I also got around to installing the trim in the train room. I’ve got three walls done; now it’s just a matter of timing to do the rest. Well, timing and moving a few things. It’s not perfect, but I am proud of  the job. If nothing else, I’ll have a much better idea of what to do – and not do – the next time I have a reason to install baseboards.

Ahead, Christmas. I’m looking forward to it. Not just because “It’s Christmas,” but also because the girls are so excited about it. We started putting up our trees and other decorations a couple of weekends ago. The girls have been going on about “Santa’s going to love our pretty decorations!”

Stray Toasters

  • As of this weekend, we have seen Frozen… or, at least, Sara! and I have seen it. We’re not sure if the girls had seen it before. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it did surprise me in a couple of places.That said, I do understand Sara!’s irritation with Disney’s current marketing of the movie/DVD: All of the marketing seems to be geared towards Olaf (the snowman) and the Sven (the reindeer), rather than making note that the movie has not one, but TWO, strong female leads. Instead, the current wave points to “Hey, look at these funny characters!”
  • Speaking of which: When is the last time that Disney – not Pixar or Marvel – made a movie for kids that didn’t have a wacky animal or magically animated object as a sidekick/comic relief?
  • Titanfall is still fun… even when you haven’t played it in three months.
  • Pinstripes and Polos – because… self-promotion!
  • I can’t play “The Little Drummer Boy Game,” considering that one of my favorite Christmas songs is Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.
  • Two of my least favorite Christmas songs are: Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  • [REDACTED]
  • I’m about 2/3 of the way through Ace Atkin’s Lullaby, the first post-Robert B. Parker Spenser novel.

    It reads very similarly to Parker’s style; there are a few things that seem slightly off – more “slightly out of focus” than “this isn’t even remotely right” – but pretty much reads like I expect a Spenser novel to read.

And that’s it for now; time to finish getting ready for Guys’ Night Out!

Namaste.

A good weekend…

dining and cuisine, everyday glory, family and friends, movies and TV, music, trains/model railroads, travel, zombies No Comments »
A good weekend...

Tuesday – 13 October 2014
This was, as the title says, a good weekend.

Friday was a “less than stellar” day at the office. Well, that’s not entirely true. The day started off poorly, but did get better. Friday night, I hung out with Jonni. For a bit. It’s kind of hard to hang out with someone when they’re performing. But we managed. I also got to meet Desi Rexx, formerly of the D’Molls; he was a very nice guy. Pictures here.

Saturday was kind of busy. In the morning, we took a trip to the Pumpkin Point Farms pumpkin patch. Pumpkins. Corn mazes. Tractors. Happy kids.

Team DiVa at the Pumpkin Patch

Team DiVa at the Pumpkin Patch

Saturday afternoon, we took the ladies to the home of their friends Isaac and Julia, for Julia’s second birthday party. The kids played well together.

Saturday evening, we went to the home of our friends, Dean and Marilyn, for Canadian Thanksgiving. As always, it was quite the feast. And the company was good. After we got the girls back home and in bed, Sara and I rounded out the night with Doctor Who: “Mummy on the Orient Express” (Twelfth Doctor) and “Blink” (Tenth Doctor), which is quite possibly my favorite episode of the show.

Don't. Blink.

Don’t. Blink.

Sunday, we woke up, hit our local bagel shop and piled into the car for an excursion to look at fall colors. Our trip took us through Heber City and the Provo/Orem areas. Along the way, we stopped at the Heber Valley Railroad, Deer Creek Reservoir and Vivian Park (the park at the far end of the HVRR’s run). Click here for pictures.

Back home for lunch and naps. And football. Oh, football.

The post-nap afternoon/evening was fairly low-key. We did video calls with family around the country. I truly appreciate that technology allows me to keep in touch with my parents – and sibs – and that we are able to see each other.  I am especially happy about the fact that the girls are able to see their relatives who they, otherwise, wouldn’t get to see more than once a year, if that often.

After bath and bedtime for the girls, Sara! and I watched the season premieres of The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead.

Namaste.

Firebug

everyday glory, kids, music No Comments »
Firebug

Monday – 06 October 2014
Sara! picked up JD McPherson‘s Signs and Signifiers CD a couple years ago. It’s stayed in pretty much constant rotation in her car’s CD changer.

Team DiVa – being the information/media sponges that they are, coupled with having us for parents – have rather eclectic musical tastes from “The Valkyrie Song” (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie) to Schoolhouse Rock! to Bob Marley to Sesame Street’s C Is For Cookie to The B-52s (Love Shack and Rock Lobster) to Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking.

Firebug thumbnail

That being said, it really doesn’t come as much as a surprise that they sing as much of the chorus of Firebug as they know when it comes up. This happened yesterday, on the way home from the zoo:

.

For those who’d like to hear the full song, click below:

Namaste.

Where in the world…?

comics and animation, everyday glory, geekery, music, the world, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
Where in the world...?

Thursday – 21 August 2014
I’ll just go ahead and apologize up front for this post now.

I found the last picture in this post – HEY! No skipping ahead! – a few years ago. It still makes me laugh. I found the other pictures over the past week, while looking for something totally unrelated.

Separately, they all have their amusing points.

Collectively, they tell something of a story.

I imagine it going a little something like this…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namaste.

Suits me.

everyday glory, movies and TV, music, office antics, style and fashion No Comments »
Suits me.

Wednesday – 20 August 2014
Suits. It’s no secret that I like them and that I like wearing them. Sure, there are occasions for wearing suits, but for me, said “occasions” are “practically anytime.'” That sentiment is considered “a little” odd for someone working in a non-management position in IT, where the assumed standard is often t-shirt and jeans or, at most, business casual. But, that’s just the way I’m wired.

This morning, I opted to wear my navy pinstripe suit (with white shirt, red jacquard tie, cordovan loafers, and my Superman braces). Just because.

IMG_0003

It's a bird, it's a plane...!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…!

I arrived at the office at the same time as my coworker, Nicole. She noted that I was wearing a suit and that it looked nice – for which I thanked her – and asked if there was any particular reason that I chose to wear a suit. I offhandedly said, “It was clean.” Then I amended that statement with, “…and it’s a day that ends in ‘y.'” She laughed and nodded. A few moments later, we parted company, heading to our respective parts of the office.

A short while later, she sent me the following message:

http://vimeo.com/37855064 – this is the song that came to mind when you commented on your suit. 

I didn’t have a chance to check it out when she sent it. After lunch, I remembered that I had the URL still sitting in a message window. I clicked it and watched. The title, “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit,” made me grin like a fiend. The video itself actually made me laugh.

Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit from Livia Gondim on Vimeo.

…and I might just have a new theme song.

Namaste.

It’s the post that never ends…

books, comics and animation, event, everyday glory, family and friends, geekery, movies and TV, music, travel No Comments »
It's the post that never ends...

Tuesday – 15 July 2014 Thursday – 24 July 2014
A new week is upon us now two days old.
An even newer week is upon us… and is almost over.

That’s right, this is a post that’s been so delayed and off-put that it’s taken over a week to complete. I’m just going to leave the core of the original post in place and just append the newest additions to the end of it. Because I can.

Tw0 weekends past This was a good weekend. We kicked it off Friday evening with the Deer Valley Music Festival – Utah Symphony performed the music of John Williams. And, as if they knew that I was in the audience, they opened the concert with Superman March. The concert wasn’t solely Williams’ music;  Team DiVa even heard a song that they recognized: On the Beautiful Blue Danube, which they know from their Classical Baby DVDs. After the concert and after the girls were in bed, I played ‘Clix with coworker Adam… until the wee hours of the morning.

Which made for a short sleep cycle on Saturday, as little girls bounded into our room before 8 AM. I spent the better part of the day with them, as it was Sara!’s Saturday to play. This included letting them watch The Lion King... which lead to Vanessa singing I Just Can’t Wait To Be King Begin.

All. Night. Long.

It was more funny than annoying.

That Sunday, we got up and went to breakfast at Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks. Then it was off to run a few errands and then back home to get ready for our annual ice cream social. This year, we had more kids than we have in the past. We also prepared for this with: Ice cream cones! I am happy to report that the cones were not only a hit, but were utilized with minimal spillage!

Ten days ago Yesterday was Monday. ‘Nuff said.

This past weekend, we headed up to Idaho to celebrate Sara!’s grandmother’s 90th birthday, which was actually last November. But, as it fell right before the holidays, the family decided to hold off until (nearly) everyone would be available to convene and celebrate it. So, this summer was chosen as the “when” and central Idaho was chosen as the “where.”

I like traveling. Granted, I haven’t done a lot of it in the past few years, but I do enjoy it. With toddlers being added to the mix, there are things that you learn and accommodations that must be made in travel arrangements. Things like: Potty breaks. Before children, pit stops and bathroom breaks only occurred once every couple of hours, if that often. With kids who are on the tail-end of potty training, these breaks become more of an “ad-hoc” thing. And the ad-hoc can be pretty damned often. Case in point:

  • Sara and I have made the same trip, before kids, in a little over five hours.
  • This trip (to Idaho, at least) took roughly 7.5 hours, including six (6) bathroom stops – a couple of which I don’t even want to talk about – and a stop for dinner.
  • The trip back was about six hours – with only one stop for a potty emergency.

The trip itself was fun, though brief. We got in late Friday evening; Sara! scored us wonderful accommodations, via AirBnB. We stayed in what was effectively a mother-in-law apartment of a home overlooking the Salmon River — the river was about 50′ from our bedroom patio door:

airbnb

IMG_0160

This also offered Team DiVa the opportunity to throw rocks into the river, which they did with great aplomb.

Saturday, we spent the day with the family – aunts, uncles, cousins, kith an kin. And Sara’s  grandmother, of course.

IMG_0136

Sara made a quilt for the occasion, with hand-signed/stamped/imprinted pieces from everyone  – except the newest addition (within the past few months) – in the family:

IMG_0150

It was nice to have a chance to visit with everyone. That evening, we headed back to the apartment to put the girls to bed (well past their usual bedtime). Sunday morning, we woke up, got dressed, packed and hit the road… back into town, for breakfast. We ate at the Tea Cup Cafe & Bakery. It was an unexpectedly refreshing place. And, I would have to agree with the high ratings on Yelp.

On the way back to SLC, we stopped in Arco, ID. Why? Because there’s a submarine sail there. Why? Okay, that one, I can’t really answer.

USS Hawkbill (SSN-666)

After that, we stopped at EBR-1 for the Team DiVa’s first nuclear power plant field trip.

ebr1

No, it didn’t trigger any latent X-genes or metagenes. Unfortunately. They had a ball. We made it back home without too much incident.

Stray Toasters

  • Today is Pioneer Day in Utah.
  • Today is also National Tequila Day.
  • I find it highly amusing that the two fall on the same day.
  • On a recent trip to the party supply store, we bought superhero masks for the girls, in four different colors. Why? To keep them from stealing mine. Because they liked them. Earlier this week, they decided to wear them in the car on their way to day care.
    20140723_173552
    Sara! asked who they were.
    Diana (green mask) said, “Green Lantern!”  (Yeah, definitely my kid.)
    Vanessa (blue mask): “Somersault!”
    (Backstory: A couple days ago, their Aunt Jen was teaching them to do somersaults in the back yard. I guess it made something of an impression.)
  • I finished listening to Stranger in a Strange Land last week; it was the first time I’ve read/listened to the book in at least ten years. I read something recently that posited that Jubal Harshaw, not Valentine Michael Smith, was actually the protagonist of the book. Looking back, I can see some validity to that argument.
  • Plum Stitch. If you haven’t been there, go now. I’ll wait right here until you get back.
  • I introduced the girls to Smashmouth’s Walking on the Sun this morning last week. It went over well.
  • Coworker Brad and I have been recasting movies and TV shows today. It’s helped to make the day pass rather quickly.
  • I’ve found that watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic with the girls isn’t so bad.
    What is bad: When the vershluggen theme song pops into your head as an earworm.
  • One week ’til Guardians of the Galaxy. Tickets have been acquired.

That’s all. For now.

Namaste.

Team DiVa/No Bad News Thursday

engagement/wedding/marriage, event, everyday glory, family and friends, music, opera, travel No Comments »
Team DiVa/No Bad News Thursday

Thursday – 08 May 2014
First off: “Happy birthday” to my stepmother and brother!

147 456

Around the homestead, things have been good. Not to say that they haven’t been “interesting,” but the overall take is “good.” Most of the “interesting” revolves around Team DiVa. Go figure. Here are just a few examples:

  • Almost every car ride is either narrated or seranaded. If it’s the latter, it can be pretty much anything, from Wheels on the Bus (Go Round and Round) to I’ve Been Working on the Railroad (which I did not teach them, by the way) to Three Little Birds to Hourglass.
  • We went to the zoo last weekend, to check out the lions at the partially-opened African Savannah (among other animals).  The girls liked the lions, but weren’t terribly impressed. Granted, the lions were just lying there surveying things like they owned the place. And I can’t lie, I thought about this:

    …more than once. It made me grin like a fiend.
  • Sara! introduced the girls to taking showers last week. They have been a pretty big hit. I’m sure that it would also look rather comical to an onlooker. (Hell, it looks pretty comical to me when I’m giving the showers.) It’s usually Sara! or me in gym- or swimwear, and one or two very soapy and giggly little girls. This is something of a departure from just a few months ago, when the shower was very much a “nope, not me” thing for them, even if it was just to wash their hair.
  • We’ve returned to story time before bedtime. The girls pick their favorite-book-of-the-night (which can change at a moment’s whim) for us to read. A couple of nights ago, we started story time with Vanessa’s book. When it was time for Diana’s book, she informed me that she was going to read it. And proceeded to “read” it… the only thing: It wasn’t exactly the story as I remembered it, but it was awesome – and a bit hilarious – to hear her take on it.
  • Yesterday morning, we were awakened by both little ladies coming into our room to climb into our bed. At 6:30, a full hour before they usually get up. We still haven’t gotten the real reason “why,” but I suspect that someone had a bad dream. Usually, when they come into our room on the weekends, shortly after they climb into bed – and when they are done with family cuddles – they want to “do/play Globey,” which is their term for playing with the World Atlas app on my iPad. In order to (hopefully) stem the tide on that, I told them that we couldn’t do Globey since it wasn’t Saturday or Sunday. Surprisingly, they accepted that at face value and didn’t ask about it again.
  • Last night, when I came home from work, after saying my “Hellos,” I sprawled out on the living room floor. What I didn’t know, was that this was apparently the international signal for the girls to pile onto my back. At one point, it was… uncomfortable. I made this know by saying “Ow!” At this point, Diana got off my back; Vanessa, instead, stayed on my back, but kissed me on the back of my neck and rubbed my head.

And, I should probably throw a couple of pictures of the girls up here, as well:

photo 2

photo 1

…and, if I can get this to work, even a video:

Fun with Meerkats!
[KGVID width=”568″ height=”320″]http://blog.echopulse.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_2380.mov[/KGVID]

Stray Toasters

And with that…

Namaste.

No Bad News/Team DiVa Thursday

everyday glory, family and friends, kids, music, opera No Comments »
No Bad News/Team DiVa Thursday

Thursday – 20 March 2014
It’s the first day of Spring. Seems like the perfect time to clear the cobwebs off the ol’ blog.

Last night, Sara! and I attended Utah Opera‘s production of Turandot. And “production” is the perfect word for it because it was more than just a “performance.” The staging, the set design, the costuming, the performers. All of it. It was quite literally amazing. If my count is correct, this was the 26th opera that I’ve seen… and it easily makes it onto my “Top 5 Operas” list. The three-act story had elements of drama, comedy and intrigue deftly woven throughout and never felt like it was dragging.

During the first intermission, we were advised by Christopher MacBeth (Utah Opera’s Artistic Director) to wait for Turandot – performed by Maida Hundeling – to first sing. He wasn’t making idle boasts; she was fantastic, truly a pleasure to hear sing and to watch perform. To that point, all of the performers were great. I’d also give a special note to Kelly Kaduce, as Liu, who turned in a stirring aria in the third act.

If you have a chance to see Turandot during it’s run, by all means: Do so.

Team DiVa has been doing well…

Digging for fossils at the Museum of Natural History

Digging for fossils at the Museum of Natural History

At the "Chocolate" exhibition at the Museum of Natural History

At the “Chocolate” exhibition at the Museum of Natural History

On the terrace at the Museum of Natural History

On the terrace at the Museum of Natural History

Post-haircut

Sporting new hairstyles!

And, this was taken this past weekend:

The little ladies have entered the realm of potty training. It’s been going well. Sure, there are still a few mishaps and accidents, but that is to be expected. Fortuately, both girls seem to be excited by the idea of using the toilet and wearing “big girl” underwear.

I usually play music when I wake the girls in the morning. Usually, it’s Rhapsody in Blue, or The Ride of the Valkyries (this video is actually their favorite version) or Cristofori’s Dream. The girls will often ask for them by name (“Rhapsody,” “Hoyotoho,” and “The Dream Song”), if I haven’t started the music before waking them.

We’ve also introduced them to other genres of music. They’re fond of Bob Marley and Miles Davis, by way of Sara!, while I’ve most often let them listen to more pop/upbeat fare. And, let me tell you that listening to a couple of two-and-a-half-year-olds trying to sing the chorus of Squeeze’s Hourglass – which is one of their current favorite songs –  is hilarious.

All in all, life is good.

Namaste.

“Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by…”

everyday glory, food for thought, music 2 Comments »
"Moving ahead so life won't pass me by..."

Friday – 07 March 2014
was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning when Jim Croce‘s I Got a Name came on. I’ve heard it on-air a couple of times over the past few days. Both times, I’ve wound up singing along with it. Quite happily and loudly, as I recall. (Fortunately for everyone, I was alone in the car and the windows were up.) I enjoy the song’s melody and lyrics, along with the message that it conveys: Someone who is content with who he is and where he is going in life.

If you’re not familiar with it, take three minutes and enjoy:

Jim Croce died the day before I Got a Name was released. I never really appreciated his music until a few years ago. Sure, I liked Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, but I wasn’t really aware of much more of his discography beyond those songs and Time in a Bottle , I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song, and Operator. Over the course of his eight-year career, he recorded five studio albums and eleven singles – the fifth album being release posthumously.

If you have a chance, fire up your favorite Internet-based music application and listen to some of Mr. Croce’s work. I am reasonably certain that you won’t be disappointed.

Namaste.