Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Trip to Cascade Springs

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Trip to Cascade Springs

Monday – 13 June 2016
Yesterday, we trekked back down to Utah County and into the Uintah National Forest in an attempt to (finally) visit Cascade Springs. This time, we were successful!

The trip started off well enough, driving into the canyon. As the road ascended slightly, things continued to proceed apace. As the road climbed higher and we started hitting more switchbacks, I became “a little less okay.” A little bit of backstory:

  • I grew up in states that are, for the most part, pretty damned flat.
  • When, in these states, roads rise (reasonably) in elevation and/or border a sharp drop, there are guard rails on the shoulder.
  • On one of my first visits to Utah, I was taken up Little Cottonwood Canyon, to Snowbird. It was on this trip that I discovered what I considered – and continue to consider – Utah’s laissez faire attitude towards winding roads and guard rails. I found this mildly disturbing.
  • A year or two after moving here, I was taken for a picnic overlooking the Bingham Canyon Mine. The road to the picnic spot was roughly a car-and-a-half wide for two-way traffic; I didn’t deal with that very well. (I’ve been told that it’s amusing/disturbing to see a black man white-knuckling the “Oh Shit Bar” over the window.) I was disturbed enough by the ride up that I did to not want to eat, though I did look at the excavation pit. And it was a very quiet ride back down.
  • Years later, I went for a drive up to the C Overlook, in Cedar City. Again, no guard rails. I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but the road was wide enough to give me a modicum of comfort.
  • Shortly after that, Sara took me up to Cedar Breaks, near Cedar City. Most of that ride was fine, although there were a couple of sections of road that had far more of a “scenic view” than I generally care for, but I managed the trip alright.
    • I got a measure of revenge a few year later by inflicting that same ride on my brother-in-law, John. He had the same rough reaction that I did, so I felt nominally better about things.

All of that to say that I have a healthy respect for gravity and my as-yet undiscovered ability to fly without an airplane. (I’m absolutely fine with traveling in planes, though.) That, combined with a lack of rails and only small berms on the sides of the roads, meant that I was “quiet and pensive, my thoughts apprehensive…” for portions of the trip.

Apparently, that’s a trait that Vanessa has inherited from me, as she was rather vocal about her displeasure and discomfort over some sections of the roads we had to take. Diana, on the other hand, couldn’t have cared less… other than “it [was] taking too long.”

Sara and I reassured her that she had nothing to worry about. (True, although I fully grokked her apprehension.) But, we both dealt with it – I’ve always said that Vanessa would make a great Green Lantern – and finally reached our destination.

Team DiVa at Cascade Springs

Team DiVa at Cascade Springs

Pictures of our walkabout can be seen here.

It was a very nice spot and we only walked the smaller loop, as the longer one would have been a bit long for the little ladies. Then we were done and ready to head home. Vanessa and I steeled ourselves for the trek back to civilization. until we noted that there was another road that headed over a different ridge and came out near Midway and Heber. At this point, Sara was up for it and I figured that it couldn’t be much worse than the trip in…

…and it wasn’t!

Sure, the road was once more guard rail-free AND it was a dirt road, but it was about three car widths wide in most places. Hallelujah! We made the bumpy not-nearly-as-fast-as-we’d-expected journey down the mountain. We ate lunch at the Hub Cafe, just off the main drag in Heber. After lunch, it was time to head home.

All-in-all, it was a good trip, but if we do it again, I’d probably opt for taking the road through Heber, rather than the forest.

Disney Infinity: So Long, Farewell, Goodbye *

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Disney Infinity: So Long, Farewell, Goodbye *

Tuesday – 10 March 2016
Disney has decided to shut down Disney Infinity in June, following its releases for Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory.

Nick Fury and the Avengers vs. Loki and a Frost Giant

Nick Fury and the Avengers vs. Loki and a Frost Giant

I’ve enjoyed this game immensely, but I was also thrilled to be able to share it with my daughters, who love running around in Toy Boxes that I’ve either made or found on the Disney Infinity Community site. I don’t know if the standalone games and downloaded Toy Boxes will be playable without the Disney servers running in the background, but I will be testing that out over the next few days…
Beyond the potential lack of recreation for me and my kids, the shutdown also has larger ramifications: Disney also shut down Avalanche Software, the studio that’s behind franchise. This means that nearly 300 people – including three friends of mine – were just informed that they were being laid off.
The official press release follows:

By now you may have heard the news that we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity. From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you—our fans—and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game.

Our goal for Disney Infinity was to bring the best of Disney storytelling to life in homes around the world, and with your support we accomplished that. We hope you had as much fun playing the game as we had making it.

So what’s next for Disney Infinity? We have two final retail releases coming, including three new characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass later this month, and the Finding Dory Play Set launching in June.

And as we turn to the next chapter in our story, I want to thank everyone who helped bring Disney Infinity to life, particularly Disney’s Glendale-based production and publishing teams, our external development partners, and of course the incredible Avalanche team for their tireless dedication to this project.

But most of all, I want to again thank you for making Disney Infinity a part of your lives—and for adding to the Disney legacy by being a part of this community.

I wish for the best for the people affected by this turn of events.

*-  Apologies/”Thank you” to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Serious Question about NC House Bill 2…

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Serious Question about NC House Bill 2...

Monday – 02 May 2016
Something came to mind a few minutes ago and I am trying to wrap my head around the legal shadings surrounding it.

Let me back up and say that I think that NC HB 2 is one of the more idiotic, bigoted and offensive laws that I’ve heard of being proposed, let alone one that has actually been enacted. So, if you’re a fan of this law, you might want to ignore the rest of this post.

In broad terms – and according to the letter of the law – users of public single-sex, multiple occupancy restrooms must use the bathroom that matches their birth gender identity, correct?

I have two 4yo daughters, who I am not about to make – or allow, really – go into a public restroom by themselves. Multiple reasons. But, if I take them into the men’s room, am I in violation of the law?

I was talking this out with my friend, Chris, who pointed out the following:

Chris
Tricky. THEY would be the ones in violation of the law.
I think it has an exception for kids under a certain age, but I don’t know what age that is.

Rob
Right, but there’s the whole issue of them being not of age, so wouldn’t responsibility/culpability fall back on me?

Chris
You know, I’m not sure how that works. If they’re 12 and burn down the school, you’re not criminally responsible, but you might be on the hook for civil financial penalties.

That being said, there is an exception for: To accompany a person needing assistance

For me, that’s part of the problem: The girls are fully capable of going without assistance, for the most part; they are, however, too young to go unaccompanied. And, for example, on nights when Sara works and I take them out to dinner, they have to go to the men’s room to use the bathroom.

Chris responded to that with:

And yeah, I see nothing in the law specifying an age. Now if you tried to take them into the ladies room, I think they’d be more likely to try to enforce it than vice versa. But it seems to me that, technically, they don’t NEED assistance and so they would be in violation if you took them into a men’s room. Probably no judge would uphold it, but it would be a hassle for sure.

So, if I were to bring the girls to visit their grandparents in NC and we were to go out and I wound up having to take them to the restroom, would I have to worry about someone getting their dander up and trying to drag me to court – or even jail – because I had to take them to the “wrong” bathroom?

Food for thought.

And, I welcome any serious discourse on the matter, especially from anyone who lives in NC.

“If I Had $1,000,000…”

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"If I Had $1,000,000..."

Thursday – 21 April 2016
Today is/should be “No Bad News Thursday,” although it’s doing its damnedest to try and fail at that.

You have one job, Thursday! ONE. JOB.

Despite its attempts to be difficult, the day is still proceeding fairly well.

A friend posted an item, via yourclassical.org, saying that Marian Anderson was going to be on the new US $5 bill.

marian-anderson

With all of the hullabaloo given to Harriet Tubman on the face of the $20, I was somewhat skeptical.  I decided to go to the source and validate this claim on the U.S. Treasury website.

Lo and behold, it is true!

INTRODUCING THE NEW $20, $10, AND $5!

Excerpted from the site:

  • The New $20: The front of the new $20 will feature the portrait of Harriet Tubman, whose life was dedicated to fighting for liberty. The reverse of the new $20 will depict the White House and an image of President Andrew Jackson.
  • The New $10: he new $10 will celebrate the history of the women’s suffrage movement, and feature images of Lucretia Mott,Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony,Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, alongside the Treasury building. The front of the new $10 will retain the portrait of Alexander Hamilton.
  • The New $5: The new $5 will honor historic events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in service of our democracy, and will feature Martin Luther King, Jr.,Marian Anderson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The front of the new $5 will retain the portrait of President Lincoln.

Well done, Treasury. Well done.

A few thoughts on family and funerals…

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A few thoughts on family and funerals...

Wednesday – 05 April 2016
I am writing wrote this on an airplane. I spent the last three days at home in Maryland. I went home for a grandparent’s funeral – my stepmother’s mother. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but it is never pleasant. Of my step-grandmother, I can honestly say this: At no time in the forty odd years that my father and stepmother have been married, she never treated me differently than any of her other grandchildren. Ever. And she was a loving great-grandmother to my girls, as well. She was a lovely woman and a genuinely good person. She will be missed. Greatly.

grandma anderson

Taken a three years ago…

I didn’t make any concrete plans while I was in Baltimore… for the most part. Of course, I was going to get crab cakes – living in a landlocked state made that something of an imperative. But, I also wanted to get together with a few people, schedules permitting. That part worked out reasonably well. I wasn’t able to connect with a few of my former classmates, but I was able to spend time with family. And, that was fantastic.

Sunday night, when I got in,  was able to spend three-plus hours talking with my father and brother. Opportunities like that are far and few between, as we live in different parts of the country. The conversation ranged over a number of topics, but it was great to just be able to sit in the same room and talk with the two of them.

Monday, after the funeral proceedings, I went out to visit an aunt and uncle. I didn’t them that I was in town, nor that I was coming out for a visit. That might sound a bit presumptuous, but I have what I consider a very good reason for that:

Before I moved out west, I would occasionally take a day trip to my paternal grandmother’s; she lived about three hours from where I lived. I would show up and there would be a spread of food laid out for me. I appreciated that, but hated that she went to the work for me to be there for an hour or two.  So, I stopped calling before heading to her house. That served a few purposes:

  1. She didn’t worry about me being on the road,
  2. She didn’t spend part of her day preparing a meal for me,
  3. I got to give her an unexpected surprise, and
  4. If she wasn’t at home – as happened a couple of times – she didn’t feel bad about missing me AND I got a great afternoon’s scenic excursion out of the deal.

So, as I noted, I didn’t tell my aunt and uncle I was coming by. This turned out to be equally fortuitous. Apparently, my aunt was having a kind of a “down” day and needed a boost, which she said my visit provided. (WIN!) I also got to sit and talk with them for a couple of hours, which was fantastic. I got to hear a few stories about when I was little and I was also treated to a story from (and about) my uncle that neither I nor my aunt had heard before.

Tuesday was a little more open-scheduled. We slept in and then met another aunt and cousin for lunch. We were going to go to one of my old haunts, but it wasn’t open for lunch. My sister suggested a nearby option, that also had seafood. Good call. Actually, excellent call. After that, my brother and I decided to walk over to the Inner Harbor and do a little shopping. We also had a chance to talk one-on-one, face-to-face. We also walked up Federal Hill, to get pictures of the skyline.

The Inner Harbor (taken from Federal Hill)

The Inner Harbor (taken from Federal Hill)

 

That evening, I made plans to meet my god-sister at her parents’ house. We talked for about an hour and a half, before she had to leave. After that, I sat and talked with my godparents for the next four hours. Again, I got to hear stories and learn a few things. I consider it time well-spent. By the time I got home, it was well after midnight… And my entire family was still awake. That was a not-so-minor surprise. And we proceeded to talk for the next couple of hours.

This morning Yesterday, my parents, siblings, and I went out for breakfast. I can’t recall the last time that the five of us – just the five of us – were able to do that.

Breakfast with the family...

Breakfast with the family.

It has to have been nearly twenty years, if not more. Again, time well-spent. We said goodbye to the ladies at the restaurant and headed to the airport with my father. All too soon, my time at home was at an end.

Despite the reason for us getting together, I had an amazing time with family and extended family. It also punctuated how valuable they are to me. It also made me even more appreciative of the fact that Sara, the girls, and I were able to go to Boise over Easter and visit her grandmother… who has become my sole remaining grandparent.

Namaste.

“He’s not concerned with yesterday, he knows constant change is here to stay…”

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"He's not concerned with yesterday, he knows constant change is here to stay..."

Thursday – 25 February 2016
Another fine day in the valley…

Long story, short version: Stuff. Things. Adventure.

The slightly less-abridged version is: I woke up a little early and did a short workout with dumbbells and a Swiss ball this morning. I went to work , dealt with the usual things, dealt with one not-so-usual-anymore thing, and even wound up having a coworker decide to have “Neal Day” and wear a suit in my honor.

Suited

Changing the work dress code, one coworker at a time…

Sara pinged me in the late afternoon to ask if I’d mind picking up Team DiVa, as she had to work late. That also put me in (nominal) charge of figuring out what to do for dinner. I delegated that responsibility to the little ladies. We wound up going to McDonald’s. It wasn’t a total loss, though, as they asked if we could eat there, so they could play in the PlaySpace. (An easy way to make my kids happy? Bet.)

After dinner, we arrived at home a couple minutes before Sara. Sometime between her getting a bite to eat and giving the girls a bath, I fell asleep. Quickly and rather deeply asleep. I missed bath time, but I was up for pre-bedtime prep.

The little ones are now asleep. I have read comics. And, I do believe that there is a nominal amount of gaming in the evening’s future. Selah.

Stray Toasters

And, with that, it’s time to figure out what game to play…

Namaste.

Thursday Night Something-or-other

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Thursday Night Something-or-other

Thursday – 11 February 2016
Today was supposed to be #NoBadNewsThursday. It started that way. About a hour-and-a-half into it, however… not so much. One of the servers at work decided to try a new trick:

  • It was powered on.
  • It could see – and transmit to – the network.
  • NOTHING on the network could see it or any of the traffic it generated.

And, to make things even more interesting: This was tied to a production (as in “manufacturing”) system. So, it was “kind of” important.

To quote Dr. Sam Beckett: “Oh, boy…”

I – and a couple of network engineers – troubleshot it for about an hour before we came to the inescapable conclusion that it was not a network problem. Digging into things a little further, I saw that it was pending a reboot. That didn’t solve things. Next up: Check its updates queue. There were a few sitting there that needed to be run. So I let ’em fly. Reboot 2: Electric Boogaloo. Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. It started rolling back the updates. (That’s usually not a good sign.) I checked update error messages when it came back up and saw that they failed because the hard disk was full. As in “Zero. Bytes. Free.” There was a good bit of cursing on my part, to be honest. Then it was a dive into the storage array and VM systems to make space appear. Then present it to the server. That all worked. Then I tried the updates again. Lo and behold, they all went through with no problems. (There may or may not have been a few “Amens” and “Thank yous” that went up at this point.) And, almost automagically, networking traffic all worked again. I verified with one of the network guys and an end user that all was right with the world again… and it was. Selah.

Part of getting through the day included being taken to lunch by networking vendors. It was not only a good change of pace, but it brought my day back from the Precipice of Doom.

After work, I picked up Team DiVa from daycare. Home. Dinner and dessert. They even got in almost 20 minutes of Disney Infinity playtime before it was time to start bedtime prep. Selah.

Carve Away the Stone
I’ve made halting steps at getting back to the gym. Last night, I considered going… then I opted out, because it was damned cold outside. I did, however, still manage to get in a bit of a workout, courtesy of my dumbbells, Swiss ball, and a couple of suggestions from YouTube. Was it quite the same workout I would have gotten at the gym, no. But, I wasn’t just sitting on my duff doing nothing, either. I’ll call that a win.

Stray Toasters

Alright, that’s it for now. I think I’m going to catch up on a show or two before calling it a night.

Namaste.

Tuesday Musings

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Tuesday Musings

Tuesday – 25 August 2015
Today is my “Monday,” due to staying home with a sick little girl (and a non-sick one) yesterday. I thought that I might be able to squeeze in a bit of work, but opted to just hang out with them. And, in my humble opinion, that was the best call. We had a fun day. And, last night, we assembled a play castle for them.

The started decorating it last night. And resumed this morning, after breakfast.

Over the weekend, we also took them on their first visits to a trampoline park (for a friend’s birthday) and to the “planet museum,” as they have taken to calling the Clark Planetarium. Both were fairly big hits, although Vanessa was definitely not a fan of the “motion” in the movie – Perfect Little Planet – in the planetarium dome. To be fair, I don’t suffer from motion sickness, but I could easily understand how someone could succumb to it while watching that film.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

We’ve got a pulse!

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We've got a pulse!

Friday – 31 July 2015
It’s been a few NBN Thursdays – and Fridays – since my last post. Figured I should get back to it.

At the beginning of the month, we went on vacation. It was a greatly needed break from the norm, for the most part. The parts where the girls got sick, we could have probably done without, though. But, seeing new family, old friends, and other relations was good. Highlights of the trip included (but were not limited to):

  • A family reunion

    Family Tree

    Family Tree

  • Seeing my parents
  • Team DiVa’s first fireworks display
  • Team DiVa playing with cousins they don’t get to see very often, other than on Skype or FaceTime
  • Setting off the alarm at my mother’s house – twice – prompting a visit from the sheriff’s department
  • Taking Team DiVa to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Greensboro Science Center
  • Seeing another high school classmate for the first time since graduation

    Rachel

    Rachel

  • Surprising my aunt – on her 60th wedding anniversary, no less – with an impromptu reunion of some of the kids she used to babysit and our kids
  • Catching up with friends
  • The very serendipitous meeting up with another friend, while stopped at a traffic light

Yes, there were a few so lowlights – what trip doesn’t have something go not-as-right as it could – but why dwell on the negatives?

All-in-all it was a decent trip and we all survived. I’d call that a “win.”

Workout
This will be coming under a separate post. I’ve got a plethora of backfill to cover.

For now, though, let me just say that I am still not a fan of lunges, which I did yesterday. And my glutes are “thanking” me for today.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Friday’s interminable ramble…

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Friday's interminable ramble...

Friday – 12 June 2015
It’s the end of the (work) week. Amen.

It’s been a good, though tiring week, as Sara! spent Tuesday through Thursday at Altitude Summit… including being a panelist on Wednesday. This means that Team DiVa and I had to fend for ourselves on those days. We all survived the experience. And, we even managed to do an art project and make s’mores in the process. I’d call it an all-around “Win.”

Photo Jun 11, 7 47 58 PM

Photo Jun 10, 8 01 11 PM

I even made it to the gym five days this week; I haven’t done that in a few years.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
My news feeds have been full of articles about Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP and how it appears that she has lied about being Black. The story apparently came to the national spotlight after her mother outed her. It’s interesting to note that this story is not about someone adopting or borrowing from a culture, but rather has asserted, to no small degree, that she actually is a member of that culture.

What I find curious is that no one has talked about the historical precedent for the reverse of this: Light-skinned Blacks “passing” as White. For decades in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, people of mixed race and fair complexions lived among the general populace, identifying as White… or at least claiming to be, when it benefited them. For a fictional account of such “passing,” I highly recommend reading Mat Johnson‘s Incognegro (1, 2, 3).

incognegro_vertigo

I don’t know of any stipulation in the NAACP’s charter that requires members to be “of color.” Hint: There isn’t one. ANYONE is welcome to join.

From the items that I’ve read, no one is calling into question her right to be a member of – or to be president of – the Spokane chapter, which is good. The whole issue seems to stem from her racial identification.

I am most curious to see how this shakes out.

Workout
I should probably log these before I forget. Again.

Monday

  • Elliptical: 10 min/1.1 miles
  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70

Tuesday

  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Wednesday

  • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (fwd): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (rev): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs

Thursday

  • Elliptical: 5 min/0.55 mi
  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Friday

  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs

Stray Toasters

I think that’s good for now.

Namaste.

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.

::: thunk :::

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::: 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.

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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.

“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.