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The Tale of the Gumdrop Pirates

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The Tale of the Gumdrop Pirates

Tuesday – 02 June 2015
Today hasn’t been bad, on the whole. Sure, there was that whole “getting a ‘Can you look at this…?’ call at 5:30 this morning” thing. A problem that rectified itself while I was still hearing about what was broken.

*sigh*

Of course, that was after I’d been in bed for about four hours, because I’d forgotten to do some laundry that I needed for this morning – gym stuff, not skivvies – and had to stay up long enough to wash things and put them in the dryer.

*braincramp*

So, this morning’s trip to the gym was lost to the need for more sleep. I could have gone to the gym on four hours’ sleep, but I did that yesterday and I don’t relish getting that little sleep on back-to-back days.

Last night, I tried something new with Team DiVa. Rather than doing  Blue’s Clues or Wonder Pets before bed, I decided to go with a bedtime story for the girls. So… I went downstairs, got a few D&D supplements  (like you do), and proceeded to spin a tale about The Gumdrop Pirates – Captain Diana and First Mate Vanessa – “continuing” a story that my father-in-law made up for them a few weeks ago and that Sara spun a tale about, a few nights ago.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why the D&D books?” Easy answer: They gave me picture references for easy associations on the girls’ parts.

Examples: I told them that pirates had to have a sword, so they picked out the types of swords they wanted to “have” from one of the books. I was also able show pictures of a dragon (one showed up) and townspeople (because they started in a port town).

The other reason was: While I wasn’t exactly teaching them to play D&D, I did tell the story in an interactive manner, much like the way a DM sets the scene for a player group: I gave them a very broad situation – going to a store or talking to travelers – and let them tell me what they wanted to do. The basic story had them setting out on their ship, getting to port, getting supplies, traveling to a cave to find treasure (candy and gold coins – hey, it’s what they said they wanted to find), and returning home.

It went over well, the ladies did a great job explaining what it was “they” were doing and how they did it. My inner geek was pleased. After I finished the story, they wanted to tell stories, as well. They each told a variation of the story I’d just told, but with embellishments. I was quite proud of how they each put their own spin on the story.

After the ladies went to bed, I went downstairs to spend some time playing Disney Infinity… which is how I lost track of time and forgot about doing laundry, until far too late into the night.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Carve Away The Stone

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Carve Away The Stone

Monday – 01 June 2015
It’s Monday. It’s the first of June. And… something something something-or-other.

There’s far too much blood in my caffeinestream for me to be writing a post this early. And it’s already been far too long of a day – I received a lovely wake up call from room service our after-hours monitoring company at 4:15. One issue was a non-issue, according to my manager, the other was… relatively minor in my book, but still needed some attention.

An hour and change later, after getting confirmation that the alerts had cleared, I headed back to bed. In the back of my head was a notion to go to the gym. I pushed it way back. As I laid in bed, I realized a couple of distinct possibilities:

  1. I could fall asleep, just in time for my alarm to go off, or
  2. I might not fall asleep and just get steadily more irritable at not being able to sleep.

I got up and went to the gym. I have to say that it was more crowded at 6 AM than I expected – the ellipticals were almost all in use and the treadmills appeared to be equally employed. So, I skipped cardio today.

But, I didn’t skip doing my leg workout. One of these days, when I’m a bit more coherent – or, Heaven forbid, I actually plan it out the night before – I’ll add a couple of things to my leg routine. Since I was early (and also because I missed a few days last week with st00pid work issues and/or a sick kid), I went ahead and did my chest and biceps routine.

Back home, started waking up Team DiVa – Vanessa requested We Will Rock You (so she could sing to it) and Diana, much to my surprise, requested Because the Night, by Patti Smith… and to my greater surprise: started singing it! Yep, that’s my kid. After that, it was shower time and I just want to go back to bed getting dressed and ready for the day time.

Let’s see what the day brings.

Workout
Today was a double-workout day:

  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs (because I didn’t think to go do squats on the Smith rack)
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 65 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
  • Decline Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Barbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (fwd): 3 x 8 x 40
  • Wrist Curls (rev): 3 x 8 x 40

And it was good.

Stray Toasters

I should probably figure out what I want to do for lunch…

Namaste.

Mittwoch

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Mittwoch

Wednesday – 20 May 2015
I didn’t get up this morning to go to the gym. No, that’s not entirely correct. Let’s try that again: I woke up this morning, in time to go to the gym, but decided not to do so, thanks to a not-happy stomach and a headache. I regret nothing.

At work, I called into a meeting, had a couple of impromptu business-related talks with people and apparently spaced off another meeting altogether. Go, me! The later meeting was for a software upgrade – one that I didn’t have to do – and got pushed back a bit until I got to the office. It was further delayed by some VM issues, along with a side helping of someone needing a cluster of servers rebooted. The shutdowns were easy; the reboots were not, mostly because the servers were on a VMware host whose existence I was only tangentially aware of.

::: braincramp :::
“Drat these computers…”

But, I managed to get things resolved.

For lunch, Adam, Brad, Kelsey (!), and I went to Lucky 13. There was a pretty major wait for food, but it was worth it. I went with the Hot Pastrami and Swiss Burger; I was not let down.

Now, I’m tackling an issue that popped up this morning… as a side-effect of the software upgrade. We’ll see if that takes me until the end of the day to rectify.

Stray Toasters

  • David Letterman steps down from the late night stage tonight. I’ve been a fan of his since… 1985, I think. Possibly ’84. Either way, it’s the end of an era. I wish him well on the next leg of his journey.
  • I quite liked this series of strips from Sinfest:

    sinfest2015-05-13
    sinfest2015-05-14
    sinfest2015-05-15
    sinfest2015-05-16
  • Princes of the Apocalypse is D&D’s Killer App

.eof

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

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"Moving ahead so life won't pass my by..."

Friday – 15 May 2015
I should get around to writing this before it is no longer Friday.

Things have been good during my extended radio silence. What’s kept me from posting? Basically: Laziness. I’ll freely cop to that. That said, I had planned to write something this afternoon, but wound up getting wrapped up in a project and the next thing I knew,  it was time to get Team DiVa from daycare. Oh, well, better late than never. On the other hand, I got to have dinner with these two cuties, so it was worth it.

Dinner with Team DiVa

One of the good things of the past two-ish weeks has been that Sara and I have rejoined a gym. More specifically we joined Vasa Fitness, a rebranded gym that we used to go to before Team DiVa was born. We’ve been trying to figure out schedules that would allow us to both work out 2-3 times a week.

Another good thing from this week, was in a training class for work (at home!) which had an east coast-based schedule. That meant that I was up each morning for a 7:00 AM class. That also meant that my “lunch” time was around 10:30 each day. I used that time to go to the gym, instead. I actually like the idea of getting up a bit early and starting my day with a workout. My plan is to keep getting up around 6:30 and putting in forty-five minutes to an hour at the gym before getting on to the so-called “friction of the day.”

Sidenote (since I just made a Rush reference): I’ve been tracking my visits to the gym on Swarm/Foursquare with the tags #carveawaythestone. Why? Because it’s less typing than #OhDearLordHowAndWhyDidILetMyselfGetSoOutOfShape and a bit less embarrassing than #WhyDoesThisHurtSoMuch.

And, being back in the gym means that I need to start tracking my workouts again. So, let’s get the past couple weeks out of the way:

  • Thursday- 23 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.3 miles
    • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets / 10 reps
    • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 90 lbs
    • Inclined Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 sets/8 reps – 2 sets, 70 lbs; 1 set, 90 lbs
  • Monday – 27 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Raises (Roman Chair): 3 sets/10 reps
    • Rotary Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Seated Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
  • Wednesday – 29 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curl: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Reverse Punches: 3 x 10 x 10 lbs
    • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 X 30 lbs (forward)
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 30 lbs (reverse)
  • Tuesday – 05 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, 1 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 x 8 x 60
    • Vertical Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Barbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Plank: 3 x 30 seconds
  • Saturday – 09 May 2015
    • Fitness Assessment
      • Walking High Kicks: 2 x 10 steps
      • Walking Quad Stretches: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Walking Butt Kicks: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Kettlebell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 x 15 lbs
      • Kettlebell Squats: 3 x 10 x 25 lbs
      • Lunges: 3 x 10 steps x 15 lbs (each hand)
      • Hollow-Body Hold: 3 x 30 seconds
      • Russian Twists: 3 x 10 x 20 lbs
  • Tuesday – 12 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Smith Squats: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wednesday – 13 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
    • Row: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Thursday – 14 May 2015
    • Treadmill: 10 minutes, ~0.7 mile (betw. 0 and 2% incline)
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25
  • Friday – 15 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 7 minutes, 0.75 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 1 @ 20 lbs/2 @ 25 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 2 @ 20 lbs/1 @ 25 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 2 @ 30 lbs/1 @ 40 lbs

And that was that. It’s going to take a while to get back to where I was when I stopped going to the gym, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Stray Toasters

  • Since cutting the cord, nearly two months ago now, I haven’t missed cable.
  • I’ve been quite pleased with and a occasionally surprised by my Comics-On-TV shows of late: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and iZombie.
  • By way of Mike B.: Space X gets certified to launch NASA science missions
  • I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron twice now. I’ll see if I can’t type up a two-part review in the next day or two.
  • Team DiVa asked me to play Candy Land with them last weekend. It was, not surprisingly, the first time I’d played the game in many, many years. And, it was fun, too.
  • Check out this Flash Gordon animated short, by Rob Pratt
  • Confederates in the Jungle
  • I don’t recall how I stumbled across this item, On Being a Cripple, by Nancy Mairs, but it is a fantastic and fascinating read. It is long and, for some, might not be necessarily “easy” to read, but I think that it’s very much worth the time to read.

And, it’s well into Saturday morning, now. I guess I’ll just schedule this to post sometime after the sun is up.

Namaste.

“Carve away the stone, Sisyphus…”

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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.

Tautology

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Tautology

Wednesday – 18 February 2015
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also NBN Thursday Eve.

I was going to post something last night, but I got too distracted by The Flash and Firestorm(!)1.

And a RubySnap cookie and a glass of milk.

And Titanfall.

So, I’m posting today.

This past weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I took a trip to Promontory, UT to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (read: “TRAINS!!!”) and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. (For pictures, click here.) It was only a couple of hours to Golden Spike, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought. The site is way out in the middle of God’s own country, though. I commented to Sara! that for all the time – not really that much – that it took to get there at 65 MPH+, I could only imagine what it must have been like to try to cover that distance via horse, or wagon. Or, slower still, while trying to lay miles of railroad track. The site was nice, but I was a little disappointed that the locomotives weren’t on display. (That just means that I’ll have to head back up there to see the reenactment of the driving of the golden spike in May.)

From there, we headed out to the Spiral Jetty. While the two sites are only 15 miles apart, it took about 45 minutes to get from Golden Spike to the jetty. The water level on the Great Salt Lake was low. Very low. So low that we were able to walk out to the end of the jetty – 1500 feet – and we were still at least 300 feet from water!

Sunday, we decided to tackle a painting project: Our bedroom. Furniture out. Ladders in. Paint on. We moved our bed to the living room Sunday night, which threw Team DiVa for a bit of a loop Monday morning:

Diana: Why is your new bed in the living room?

Me: It’s not a “new” bed, we just moved it out here.

Diana: Oh.

We went on to explain that we did it since we were painting the bedroom; that answer appeased them.

Sara spent Monday morning/afternoon re-doing the baseboard and crown molding paint, while I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet, replaced four electrical outlets… and then tried to suss out why the overhead lights wouldn’t turn off.

*braincramp*

After a quick consultation with my father-in-law, he suggested that I check the old outlets and verify that they had broken metal connectors on the hot side. They did.  I broke the connectors on two of the new outlets and the lights worked in the manner to which we were accustomed once more!

We moved the furniture back in and slept in our newly-painted room on Monday night. Selah. It was a lot of ass-busting and elbow grease over two days, but it was worth it.

Stray Toasters

  • I stumbled across a picture of VP Biden holding/rubbing/whatever the shoulders of the newly-appointed Secretary of Defense’s wife last night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a caption:

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy...

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy.

  • Windows Updates. *sigh*
  • Despite the fact that Krispy Kreme UK unwittingly deemed today “KKK Wednesday,” I kind of still want a doughnut.
  • Today is apparently “National Drink Wine Day,” as well. I might have to imbibe a glass or two tonight.

And with that, I think I’m going to get “right on to the friction of the [rest of the] day.”

Namaste.

1Firestorm: The Nuclear Man debuted in 1978. I didn’t really become aware of the character until the second series, which started in 1982… but from then on, I was a fan. I haven’t been as invested in the New 52 version of the character, but I still like the character and the concept. So, when the news broke that he/they would be appearing on CW’s The Flash, my curiosity was piqued. The origin had been tweaked to fit the show, but it was close enough to the original for me. And, it featured all three of the main Firestorm characters – Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and (in a nod to the updated, pre-New52 character) Jason Rusch.

At the work week’s end…

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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.

Avengers Assemble!

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Avengers Assemble!

This afternoon, I went to the local Toys ‘R’ Us and picked up a new Disney Infinity Play Set. Since Sara! Got me a Nick Fury figure for Christmas, I decided to get the Avengers set…

infinity_avengers

…only to discover that I can’t the figure in this set. (He’s part of the Spider-Man set, apparently.) Oh, well. So I started out with Iron Man and then Thor and finally Captain America.

And I’ve been having a blast. Possibly even more fun than I should. And that’s just fine with me.

Namaste.

Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen…

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Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen...

Saturday – 17 January 2015
Okay, three-for-one time…

Day 15: Come up with your own Cabinet of Invisible Counselors. There are innumerable great men from history who we can learn from today. When thinking about your life or pondering some question or problem, yes, go to actual mentors and friends, but also take in the advice of men of yore. Write out who you would have on your list and what you admire about them. Having trouble coming up with a list? The comments in the post should offer plenty of ideas.

I wasn’t sure how literally to take the “take in the advice of men of yore” when I first read this. I decided to take a more “interpretive” stand with it, and thus my list will include men and women.

My list would include:

  • My grandfathers – One died before I was born, the other before I was really old enough to go to him for advice.
  • Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart – It would be fascinating to talk with them about being pioneers, despite the cultural and societal changes they faced.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X – I would like to discuss the more mundane/day-to-day struggles they faced that we never hear about.
  • Sun-TzuThe Art of War is one of my favorite books. I would want to talk with him about how he devised the strategies in the book and whether he ever considered them as having viable applications beyond the battlefield.
  • Neil Armstrong – C’mon, who doesn’t want to know not only what was it like to walk on the moon!? And he’s the second Boilermaker (Ms. Earhart was the other) list. Win-Win. Also, the challenges of shooting a tin can into space, get it to orbit another astronomical body, LAND on said body, take off from said AND return to Earth have to be many and varied. That’s knowledge and background to which I’d love to have access.

Day 16: Imagine that someone has decided to write a book about your life, just up to this point. What would the cover blurb say? Be honest here. Is it kind of boring? Are you happy with it? Now imagine what you’d like that blurb to say at the end of your life. What changes need to made for that to happen?

Yeah. I’ve been pondering this one and I’m just not sure. I don’t think that it would necessarily be anything out of the ordinary. Would it be boring? Dunno. I think that I live a kind of mundane life, but to someone else, it might be kind of out there. Am I happy with my life? Yep. No matter what I’ve been through, it’s helped to get me where I am.

Day 17: Hop on the internet and search for the biggest news stories in the year you were born. Infoplease is a great resource for this. Think about how these news stories, or even statistics, may have shaped your childhood or who you are today. For example, the year I was born, it was discovered that 98% of American households had at least one television set. I could write about how television influenced my generation, and continues to do so today, either positively or negatively.

  • Prime time football ABC begins it’s long running Monday Night Football
    I came into watching football kind of late: In my early 20s. A friend of mine introduced me to John Madden on the Sega Genesis and fan of the Miami Dolphins. I kind of latched on to the Dolphins as my first football team, despite the fact that I had grown up in and around Baltimore. (This was after the Indianapolis Professional Football Club left Maryland…) It was around this point that I started watching Monday Night Football and started paying attention to games on Sunday.Fast forward twenty years, I’m a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers)… and the Dolphins still hold a special place in my heart. I watch Sunday games – and Monday Night Football – when I can (and when the Ravens’ games are on).
  • World Trade Center is completed

    This picture was taken in 1999. And two years later, the towers were gone. This is what I had to say on that day. I haven’t been to New York for more than a layover since then, but I would love to visit the site on my next visit.

  • First F-14 Tomcat Tested – Dec. 21, 1970: The first ever F-14 Tomcat was tested; This led to use by the NAVY for about 30 years.This was one of my favorite aircraft in my early model-building years. Top Gun didn’t hurt my love for it either. While my favorite planes today are the SR-71 and the P-51 Mustang, I still appreciate the Tomcat.

Namaste.

Day Nine

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Day Nine

Friday – 09 January 2015
Day 9: On this day, simply write about your day. This may seem especially boring, but write out the events of your day. What time you woke up, what you had for breakfast, what your commute was like, what you did during at work, how you spent your evening. If you’re journaling in the mornings, write about the previous day. The beauty of this exercise is that you may discover something that you hadn’t realized. Maybe you weren’t very productive at work, and reflecting on it can allow you to analyze why. Perhaps you finished a big project on the house when you got home; you can think about what motivated you, how it made you feel to finish something big, etc. Don’t discount the seemingly simple task of writing about your day.

Let’s see…

This morning, I woke up at 7:15, when my alarm went off. I promptly set it to “snooze” and caught a few more minutes’ shut-eye. I actually got out of bed a little before 7:30. I showered, shaved and got partially ready for the day – my morning prep was interrupted by getting little girls out of bed and started on their day. I skipped breakfast… no, not entirely true: I delayed breakfast until I got to work (leftover doughnuts from last night’s Dunkin Donuts trip). I saw Sara and Team DiVa off and then headed to work myself.

The commute wasn’t bad. Traffic moved at a brisk pace from the freeway to the interchange I take to the other freeway that takes me to work.

Work was. There’s a project that I’ve been helping with that has hit a lot of snags along way. Yes, it’s sometimes the nature of the beast, but it’s made for a trying week. Coupled with the server issues that started last Friday, I was already at 40 hours on the week by this morning. I was in the office until nearly 6:30 tonight; I was beyond ready to put the office in the rear view mirror at that point. And I did. Quickly.

Home for dinner with Sara! and the ladies. We’ve been doing three meals a week from Blue Apron; tonight’s fare was: Spicy chicken tacos, avacado and jicama salad, and rice. It was a good dinner.

The girls are watching their pre-bedtime show now. I should be washing dishes, but I couldn’t find the motivation to do them just yet.

Maybe in a few minutes.

Besides, it’s afforded me the time to write this post.

I was tentatively supposed to play dolls ‘Clix with the guys, but no one turned out to be up for it tonight. Oh, well. I still have Destiny or Disney Infinity or Titanfall to get me through the night.

Namaste.

And, like that, December was halfway gone…

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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.

Thoughts for a Monday Morning…

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Thoughts for a Monday Morning...

Monday – 03 November 2014
A new week (and a new month, give or take a couple of days) is upon us.

Friday was Hallowe’en. After picking up Team DiVa from “school,” we got ready to take them trick-or-treating and prepared for visitors of our own.

Superhero Ballerinas!

Superhero Ballerinas: Batgirl (Vanessa) and Wonder Woman (Diana)

To check out more pictures of our resident superheroes, click here.

We took the girls out about 6:40 (after dinner and getting costumes in order); we didn’t run into other trick-or-treaters. Our neighborhood doesn’t have tons of kids, but there are a few around.  I had expected to see at least one or two costumed kids out there. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Not only that, but we didn’t receive any trick-or-treaters, either — we left candy and comics in a bowl on the front steps while we were gone. No takers. Oh, well. Their loss and more candy for us… like we needed it.

Saturday morning, Sara! headed off to quilting and Team DiVa and I hung out for a while. After Sara returned, I headed out to play in the “War of Light” HeroClix tournament at Dr. Volt’s. I went 1-2, but still had fun. Back home, Diana was starting to feel not-so-good, so we had a low-key afternoon around the house. I decided to see if there were any “new” cartoons that might be alright for the girls to watch. I was hoping to find something with Wonder Woman, but didn’t feel like giving Amazon money to watch old Super Friends episodes. I did, however, find episodes of Justice League of America and Teen Titans from 1967. The girls were able to readily identify Superman, Green Lantern, and The Flash from the JLA toons; they also mistook Wonder Girl for Wonder Woman in Teen Titans, but that was an easy mistake to clear up. On the plus side, they were rapt by the cartoons. Parenting win!

Sunday morning started early: 3 AM, when Diana started feeling sick (fever). She crawled into bed with Sara and me. For the next couple of hours, sleep became… not as easy as we would have liked. She went back to her room around 5 AM and we stole back to The Dreaming for a few more hours. After everyone was up, we went to breakfast at Millcreek Cafe and then took a Team DiVa-requested stroll around Wheeler Historic Farm. The girls took long naps, which afforded me the chance to put a major dent in cleaning up the Train Room. After nap time, the girls asked to watch more Teen Titans; so we did. Then it was time for Sara’s pre-birthday dinner at her parents’ house. Lamb curry. Pakora. Samosas. All good. Diana was still a little feverish and tired, so we put the girls to bed a little early.

Today, I’m playing Mr. Mom to one sick kid and one semi-sick kid, while trying to keep an occasional eye on work-related items… and watching more My Little Pony in one afternoon than I have in a month, apparently. That’s fine, though, because the cuddle factor makes it all worthwhile.

Namaste.

 

Two Score and Four

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Two Score and Four

Sunday – 26 October 2014
As of 7:00 AM EDT, I officially turn(ed) 44.

This has been a good year. I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to have spent it in the company of a great family and friends.

I took Friday off, as we have a project starting at work on Monday for which I need to be in the office. It’s surprising how much work I wound up having to do at various points in the day. By the time I had figured that I was done and could relax for the evening, one final thing cropped up. No rest for the wicked.

Yesterday, I didn’t get to sleep in quite as long as I would have liked, but you can’t really complain about a morning that starts with the little ladies coming in for “family cuddles.” Absolutely nothing wrong with that. We ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Dr. Volt’s. I picked up a few birthday presents for myself:

  • Adventure Comics #371,
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (1973), and
  • D&D Player’s Handbook (5th Edition) – not that I have a group with which to play, but “just because” is good enough. For now.

After nap time and running a couple more errands, we had family and a few friends over for cake and ice cream. Sara, made a Green Lantern-themed cake…

Yep, she knows me well. 🙂

…and it was good! Being the parents to Team DiVa keeps us “kind of” busy, so we don’t always get the time to spend with others. It was nice to take a couple of hours to unwind, sit and just catch up. Time well spent, I’d say.

We wound down the night with the premiere of Constantine and Doctor Who “Forest of the Night.” I enjoyed Constantine – it felt closer to the source material than the movie starring Keanu Reaves – but it was definitely a first episode. There’s still new show smell (actors getting used to roles, a lot of easter eggs and foreshadowing) on it, but I’m going to give it a go. The Doctor Who episode, on the other hand, I think may be the weakest episode (thus far) of the season. Oh, well. They can’t all be gold.

Today, not sure what’s going to happen during the first part of the day, but I get to choose the menu for tonight’s family dinner/birthday dinner. It shall be burgers and brats. Selah. Added birthday bonus: There’s a Ravens game this morning/afternoon. I’m good with that.

Time to see what the day brings.

Namaste.

Hello, Monday.

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Hello, Monday.

Monday – 22 September 2014
This past weekend was rather good.

I went into Friday thinking “Friday!” I came out of Friday “Blah.” We had a situation at work that lasted all day, meaning that I wasn’t really able to take care of any of the things that I had planned to tackle. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was call it a day. Sara, the girls and I went out for dinner. By the time we got home and got the girls ready for bed, I was ready to decompress… but didn’t know what I wanted to do. Sara! to the rescue: She brought me a glass of Maker’s Mark, a bag of Doritos and suggested that I vent some frustration in Titanfall.

Best. Wife. Ever.

Knowing that I had a fairly atrocious night’s sleep, Sara let me sleep in on Saturday morning. When I got up, Team DiVa and I went downstairs to watch a couple episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the second half of The LEGO Movie. After lunch, the girls went down for naps. I probably should have, as well. But, I didn’t. I did mow the lawn, though, so I’ll count that as a “win.” Saturday afternoon, we had a few friends over for a “Fall Cookie Extravaganza,” as Sara called it. It was nice to be able to hang out and just enjoy the company of friends… and cookies. The girls turned into quite the little hostesses, as well: They would ask everyone who showed up what drinks they want and would pour a small – VERY small – drink for them. (I really think that it was more a matter of them liking to use the lemonade and water dispensers.) We had dinner and then we watched a couple of episodes of Doctor Who – one with Twelve, one with Ten.

Sunday morning, we got up and got ready to go out for breakfast. Instead of heading to Millcreek Cafe, as is our usual Sunday morning routine, we drove up to Layton to meet our favorite Treasure Valley Rollergirl, Mia Wallups (a.k.a. Jen)! We surprised her by inviting Dave, Angy and Gala, as well. At Sara’s suggestion, we ate at Sill’s Cafe. And it was worth the drive.

Picture - (c) http://everydave.com

Angy and Jen (Picture courtesy of http://everydave.com)

I tried a scone (which was, literally, as big as my head!) and biscuits and gravy, which were fantastic. I’m not sure exactly what everyone else had, but the consensus was that everyone’s meals were good. It was also nice to catch up with Jen; life’s been busy for both of us and we’d kind of lost track of each other in the process.

We came back home, got the girls a light lunch, and then put them down for naps. Once they were safely asleep, I headed downstairs to catch what was left of the second half of the Ravens-Browns game. I’d been tracking the game’s progress and it had been a back-and-forth battle. But, in the end…

ravens-browns-week3-2014

Justin Tucker nailed an at-the-buzzer field goal to put the Ravens at 2-1 on the season.

After the game, I went to the Big Shiny Robot & Bohemian Brewery’s Nerd Swap Meet. I came home with a couple of finds:

When I got home, the girls wanted me to go for a ride in their “rocket ship.” I love their imaginations. I’m going to have to find them either astronaut costumes or, at least, a couple of astronaut helmets. Sara reminded me that we’d promised them a trip to “the Slurpee store,” so we returned to Earth and headed to the local 7-Eleven. Then, back home for dinner, kids’ showers, a show (and a few Schoolhouse Rock! videos) before putting the ladies down for the night.

We wound up the night with glasses of wine and The Strain.

All-in-all, a good weekend.

Stray Toasters

  • Sunday would have been my friend, Jess’, 40th birthday.
  • While watching the score of the Ravens’ game, I thought about how much I would have enjoyed watching the game with Brad and our late friend Dave, a Browns fan.
  • I picked up Destiny last week. I have yet to play it, as I discovered that I need to get a new hard drive for my Xbox.
  • I’m still forming an opinion about the new Doctor. But, at this point, I’m liking him.

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

Testing…

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Testing...

Saturday – 28 June 2014
Just testing out a new cross-posting plugin.

Sara!, the girls, and I have a 5k in the morning… in a few hours. I really should be in bed. More to the point, I should have been in bed at least half-an-hour ago. And, it’s not like this isn’t going to be a long day:

  • Young Living Farms’ Run Through The Lavender 5k at 7:00 AM. This will be our fifth year (!) doing this event. It will also be our slowest time, as the girls will be walking with us, rather than being pushed in a stroller or carried.
  • War Of Light (Month 1) HeroClix Tournament at noon. I get to play in this one, rather than judging it.
  • A friend’s daughter’s birthday party.
  • Another friend’s cook-out.

I’d be amazed if I’m even nominally coherent by the time the girls go to bed. I wouldn’t be surprised if my field of vision was reduced to this:

Not surprised at all. *shrug* I might just go to bed at the same time they do.

Okay, bed.

Namaste.