Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Paradigm Shift

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Paradigm Shift

Saturday – 10 November 2012
This is a short post that I’m going to link to a long(er) post by someone else.

Namely, this post.


Well, because I can. And because I really like what the other poster had to say, especially in light of the way that so many users of various social media sites have polarized into “This is the Best/This is the Worst Thing to Happen in/to/for America” camps since the election.

So, read the post – or don’t; that’s your prerogative – although I’d seriously recommend reading it.

And consider what she has to say…

…and consider your reactions, positive and/or negative, since Tuesday’s results were announced.

…and consider what’s better: Finding a way to work together for the betterment of our nation or finding a way to point fingers at what “the other guys” are doing or have done wrong in the past.



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Thursday – 11 October 2012
Today (at least what’s left of it) is 10-11-12 Day.

It has been a good NBN Thursday.

I was also informed that there’s also some good news from one of the East Coast contingents of the family. Good news is always welcome.

Today was also the first International Day of the Girl.  Timely, considering that this just happened a couple of days ago:

That, I believe, is all that I have for the moment.

Wait… the NFL just delivered a little more good news: The Titans took down the Steelers in the last few seconds of their Thursday night game.


Nope, *still* not Belgium.

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Nope, *still* not Belgium.

Tuesday – 26 June 2012
I want to go on the record as saying that having twins who are crawling and cruising is:

  • Fun,
  • Entertaining, and
  •  A little tiring

Often, they both head in the same vector. However, those times when they don’t…? Let’s just say that I’m getting an inkling of what it’s like to be an NHL goaltender.

Over the weekend, we made a day trip to Cedar City to see my brother-in-law, John, who spent a week in Las Vegas. Being so relatively close, we decided to meet for lunch before he headed back to Baltimore and give him a chance to meet his nieces:

Diana, hanging out with Uncle John

Vanessa and Uncle John

Diana and John hit it off almost immediately; Vanessa decided to scope him out a bit before deciding that he was alright.

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“I wish that I could live it all again…”

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"I wish that I could live it all again..."

Tuesday – 19 June 2012
This morning, Sector 2814 (at least the portion of it that contains our living room) is being protected by two members of the Justice League:

Vanessa, as a rookie Green Lantern

Diana, as Batgirl-in-Training (complete with her own… um… Bat-saucer)

Shortly after these pictures were taken, the mini-Leaguers decided to do some combat training (also known as: “Using Daddy as a climbing toy”). Since they are both cruising – and not always wanting to go in the same direction – this taxed my abilities to keep both of them in arm’s reach. Fortunately, Bonne was here to help keep up with them.

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The Green… Nightlight?

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The Green... Nightlight?

Thursday – 14 June 2012
Not only is it another NBN Thursday in the valley, but today is also Flag Day.

In Team DiVa news: The girls apparently want to skip crawling and go straight to walking:

Vanessa (l) and Diana

They are “cruising,” where they’ll hold onto something and attempt to use it to toddle around. But, anything that makes a sound sometimes distracts them, which leads to a problem with that pesky “balance” thing that they haven’t managed to overcome yet… and most often winds up with a gravity-induced sitting down.

Diana will… pseudo-crawl… but that’s usually only under duress and/or to get closer to someone who will hopefully pick her up. Go figure.

Last night, Sara! (a.k.a. “She Who Still Rules”) and I watched John Carter (not to be confused with Coach Carter) for Movie Date Night.

I haven’t read Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars yet, so I don’t know how faithful or far afield the movie’s plot was from the source material. But, it was an enjoyable film. Yes, we did wind up MST3K-ing parts, but… *shrug*… what’re ya gonna do?

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Wednesday and all’s well…

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Wednesday and all's well...

Wednesday – 06 June 2012
New comics day.
Pasta and Movie Date Night… maybe.

Yesterday, the destruction of the grotto demolition of the gazebo was complete. There’s now just a slight depression (and a little debris) where the gazebo once stood. Pictures here. Now, we just need to decide what we want to do with the space.

Last night, Logan and Sanaz came over to watch the girls so that SaraRules! and I could have an actual, out-of-the-house date night. It was glorious. We went to see The Avengers – second time for me, first time for SaraRules… and it was just as much fun the second time around. While she enjoyed the movie, I had to ‘splain a few things about characters to SaraRules! after the movies. (Comics, go figure.) But, it was a great way to spend a Tuesday evening.

And, yesterday also saw a notable dip in temperatures around here.  It was in the upper 90s on Monday; yesterday barely made 60.  And last night, we actually had to turn on the furnace. Yeah. Welcome to June in Utah.

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A pre-summer Monday…

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A pre-summer Monday...

Monday – 04 June 2012
A new week is here.

The weekend was good – and fairly busy – weekend. We started with a pancake breakfast/car show, supporting the local Boy Scout troop. Next, SaraRules! went to quilt club while I stayed home with Team DiVa. After she got back, I headed out to judge a ‘Clix tourney. And, if that wasn’t enough: We also attended a friend’s birthday party.

Saturday night has now unofficially become “Action Movie Saturday Date Night.” We didn’t know what we wanted to watch, so we left it up to the Fickle Finger of Fate method of “Hey, what does Netflix have to offer?” We wound up watching Trollhunter:

It was surprisingly fun. And funny. We went into it with no real expectations or assumptions, but were quite well entertained by the time the credits rolled. I also found that I liked what they did with some of the mythology of the creatures.

Sunday was a little more relaxed… although it did start early: We hit the Wasatch Front Farmers Market. The rest of the day was spent mostly hanging out with SaraRules! and Team DiVa. I wrapped up the evening upgrading my game box from Windows XP to Windows 7. Finally. And by “upgrading,” I mean “I did a clean install on a bigger hard drive.” Now, I just need to reinstall the games. And remember to copy my bookmarks over.

And, speaking of Team DiVa:

Diana (in her custom Batgirl onesie)

Vanessa (in her custom Flash onesie)

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Friday free-for-all…

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Friday free-for-all...

Friday – 01 June 2012
A new month is upon us. Among other things, this means that I need to get to the Hallmark store and pick up a couple of important birthday cards.

We haven’t done anything new/else with the decking of the gazebo. Yet. But, maybe I’ll be able to get to it sometime in the next few days.

Team DiVa, on the other hand, continue to be adorable and entertaining.

Diana (l) and Vanessa

I’m hoping to get a new video of them doing what they do posted soon.

SaraRules! and I watched Blade Runner: The Final Cut the other night. After catching the tail end of the movie on cable a couple of weeks ago, we both realized that neither of us had seen the full movie in years. So… watched it. And it was good.

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And with that, I’m off to save the world.
Or destroy it.
Or something in between…


“Long live the…” Oh, I totally misread that.

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"Long live the..." Oh, I totally misread that.

Tuesday – 22 May 2012
Today’s another sunny day in the valley.
Tomorrow, however, there’s rain in the forecast, long with a nearly 15 degree drop in temperature. Yay.

There will (hopefully) be a new Adventure Babies: Team DiVa video short in the next few days… if I can catch them doing one of their new cute habits.

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It’s Tuesday, but this still isn’t Belgium.

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It's Tuesday, but this still isn't Belgium.

Tuesday – 15 May 2012
Huh.  It’s been a week since my last post. And there have been goings-on… which is to be somewhat expected, as seven days have gone by.

The biggest happening is: I resigned last week. And it was good. I’m going to miss the people. (And possibly the view from my window, but they are looking at moving fairly soon, so the view was going away anyway.)

The next biggest happening was that Sunday was Mother’s Day. More specifically, it was SaraRules!’ first chance to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother.

We had a fairly quiet morning at home, and then dropped the girls off at the in-laws’ while SaraRules! and I went to the Utah Opera performance of Of Mice and Men. It was my third American opera; I was cautiously optimistic, as I was one-and-one on American opera to this point. My optimism was rewarded. I enjoyed the performance.

And, just in case you needed more Team DiVa cuteness:

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Wednesday – 14 March 2012
Midweek…? Check.
New Comics Day…? Check.
Pasta and Movie Date Night…? Raincheck.  (We’re having company for dinner this evening; PMDN will be tomorrow.)

And, on top of all that, it’s Pi Day. (See also: The Pi-Search Page)

Last night was relatively quiet. Team DiVa didn’t go for a stroll, but there was some pre-bedtime playtime. After the girls were down and dinner was eaten, I got around to herding a bunch of free-range ‘Clix. I’d been negligent about sorting them for longer than I’d care to admit. After that, I made my way onto CoD: MW3 with a coworker. I had some horrible rounds. Seriously bad. I thought about changing my gamertag to “BulletMagnet” at a couple of points.

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And then, it was Friday once more…

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And then, it was Friday once more...

Friday – 08 March 2012
End of the work week. Amen.

Last night, we modified the Adventure Babies’ sleep schedule once more. For the past month, SaraRules! and I have been waking them up for a feeding and diaper change just before we go to bed. This has greatly facilitated their sleeping through the night. We have gradually stepped down the amount of formula we gave them at this feeding for four weeks… until last night. Last night, we went to bed without waking the girls first. No diaper change. No feeding.

Diana (l) and Vanessa, ready for breakfast

Diana slept until 4:00 this morning. And, there was no whining or crying when she woke, just some cooing. I got up, changed her and put her back in her crib. By this time, Vanessa had awakened; again, there was no crying. SaraRules! got up and changed her. Then we both went back to bed. The girls talked amongst themselves for a few minutes and then went back to sleep until 7:00 AM.  I consider this “a success.” We’ll see how things carry out from this point forward.

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Halfway There (Part I)

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Halfway There (Part I)

Wednesday – 07 March 2012
It’s the middle of the week. And it’s new comics day. And it may or may not be Pasta and Movie Date Night.

But, more importantly: It’s Diana’s 6-month birthday!

Both little ladies are doing well, despite long crying jags in the wee hours of this morning: Diana started around 2:30, Vanessa around 4:00. We’re trying to get the girls to learn to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night, so we didn’t go immediately rushing in to comfort them…
…which made for a long couple of hours.

…which, in turn, led me to sleep on the couch downstairs so I could get my last few hours’ sleep (and not have an encore presentation of Monday).

But, by the time I looked in on them around 7:15, they were all giggles, grins and kicks.

Kids. Go figure.

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In like a lion…

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In like a lion...

Thursday – 01 March 2012
March kicks off with an NBN Technical Friday.

And there’s snow; granted it’s from last night…

… but it’s still snow.

After getting Adventure Babies to bed last night, SaraRules! and I settled down to pizza and a movie. Yes, it was “Pasta and Movie Date Night,” but we decided to call an audible and have pizza instead. For our movie, we watched The Thing (2011), a prequel to the 1982 movie. It wasn’t awesome, but it was far from the worst movie that I’ve seen.

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Quote of the Day
Today’s nugget of wisdom comes by way of Texts From Last Night:

A houseboat for a bachelor party is a terrible idea, we nearly die when on dry land, so how the hell are we supposed to survive a 3 day binge on a massive lake?


“Take the last train to Clarksville, and I’ll meet you at the station…”

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"Take the last train to Clarksville, and I'll meet you at the station..."

Wednesday – 29 February 2012
Midweek. Check.
New comics day. Check.
Pasta and Movie Date Night. Check.
Leap Day. Check.

That’s right. It’s that one day we get every four years to balance out the calendar vs. earth’s orbit of the sun.

It also happens to be the birthday of my Aunt Mary and my Uncle Marion.  Having a birthday once every four years? And I thought that having twins with different birthdays was awkward!

And, it’s apparently Superman’s birthday, too.

Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at the local Best Buy to pick up a copy of Justice League: Doom, DC Animation’s latest release, based on the JLA: Tower of Babel story.  (And, this is the last movie worked on by the late Dwayne McDuffie.) And, they were out of them. Well… at least the blu-ray, which I wanted. *sigh* So, I headed back home to hang out with SaraRules! and the girls before heading off to Guys’ Night Out. The girls went to bed fairly easily, allowing me a few spare minutes to run all over Hell and half of Georgia to a not-quite-so-local Best Buy. They had it.

Guys’ Night Out was good. Along with the usual suspects, we had a couple of new faces. Good food. Good beer. Good conversation. All the earmarks of a great way to spend an evening.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s item is: The Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states then in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. at that time.

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln announced that he would issue a formal emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None returned, and the order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation made abolition a central goal of the war (in addition to reunion), outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.

Slavery was made illegal everywhere in the U.S. by the Thirteenth Amendment, which took effect in December 1865.

The Proclamation applied only in ten states that were still in rebellion in 1863, thus it did not cover the nearly 500,000 slaves in the slave-holding border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland or Delaware) which were Union states — those slaves were freed by separate state and federal actions. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties then in the process of forming the new state of West Virginia, and seven additional counties and two cities in the Union-controlled Tidewater region. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and 13 named parishes of Louisiana, all of which were also already mostly under Federal control at the time of the Proclamation. These exemptions left unemancipated an additional 300,000 slaves.

The Emancipation Proclamation was incorrectly ridiculed for freeing only the slaves over which the Union had no power. In fact 20,000 to 50,000 were freed the day it went into effect in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves were freed at once on January 1, 1863.

Additionally, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to ending slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 4 million, according to the 1860 census were freed by July 1865.

While the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Of the states that were exempted from the Proclamation, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia prohibited slavery before the war ended; however, in Delaware and Kentucky, slavery continued to be legal until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment went into effect.

The Proclamation was immediately denounced by Copperhead Democrats who opposed the war and advocated restoring the union by allowing slavery. Horatio Seymour, while running for the governorship of New York, cast the Emancipation Proclamation as a call for slaves to commit extreme acts of violence on all white southerners, saying it was “a proposal for the butchery of women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, and of arson and murder, which would invoke the interference of civilized Europe.” The Copperheads also saw the Proclamation as an unconstitutional abuse of Presidential power. Editor Henry A. Reeves wrote in Greenport’s Republican Watchman that “In the name of freedom of Negroes, [the proclamation] imperils the liberty of white men; to test a utopian theory of equality of races which Nature, History and Experience alike condemn as monstrous, it overturns the Constitution and Civil Laws and sets up Military Usurpation in their Stead.”

Racism remained pervasive on both sides of the conflict and many in the North supported the war only as an effort to force the south back into the Union. The promises of many Republican politicians that the war was to restore the Union and not about black rights or ending slavery, were now declared lies by their opponents citing the Proclamation. Copperhead David Allen spoke to a rally in Columbiana, Ohio, stating “I have told you that this war is carried on for the Negro. There is the proclamation of the President of the United States. Now fellow Democrats I ask you if you are going to be forced into a war against your Brethren of the Southern States for the Negro. I answer No!” The Copperheads saw the Proclamation as irrefutable proof of their position and the beginning of a political rise for their members; in Connecticut H.B. Whiting wrote that the truth was now plain even to “those stupid thick-headed persons who persisted in thinking that the President was a conservative man and that the war was for the restoration of the Union under the Constitution.”

War Democrats who rejected the Copperhead position within their party, found themselves in a quandary. While throughout the war they had continued to espouse the racist positions of their party and their disdain of the concerns of slaves, they did see the Proclamation as a viable military tool against the South, and worried that opposing it might demoralize troops in the Union army. The question would continue to trouble them and eventually lead to a split within their party as the war progressed.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in November 1863 made indirect reference to the Proclamation and the ending of slavery as a war goal with the phrase “new birth of freedom”. The Proclamation solidified Lincoln’s support among the rapidly growing abolitionist element of the Republican Party and ensured they would not block his re-nomination in 1864

In the years after Lincoln’s death, his action in the proclamation was lauded. The anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated as a black holiday for more than 50 years; the holiday of Juneteenth was created in some states to honor it.

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