Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

No, this still isn’t Belgium…

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No, this still isn't Belgium...

Tuesday – 18 October 2011
Documentation. WHEEEEE! Yeah, maybe if I keep trying to convince myself that I’m having fun, it will either come to pass or I’ll actually start believing it.  (cue: Journey)  That aside, it hasn’t been a bad day.

Last night, I got home to find SaraRules! carrying Vanessa, who had apparently decided that she needed to be held/cuddled for most of the day… while Diana was just taking it easy in her crib. The girls were good, if a little restless, for most of the evening. In fact, they were quiet and calm enough that SaraRules! and I were able to watch a little of the second half of the Dolphins-Jets game. Hey, “some football” is better than “no football.” It would have been nice, however, if the Dolphins had bothered to show up for the game. *sigh*

Stray Toasters


Saturday in the valley…

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Saturday in the valley...

Saturday – 08 October 2011
Today is Yom Kippur (it actually started last night at sundown). I’d like to wish my friends who celebrate it a safe and good day… as well as an easy fast.

Today is also our resident Kid Flash’s one-month-day.

Last night, SaraRules!’ friend from the Justice League Junior League, Jana, came by to visit and meet the girls. It was nice getting to chat with her for a bit. After the visit – and feeding the girls – SaraRules! and I managed to squeeze in a little time to catch the new episode of Fringe. Thank Heaven for DVRs…

Today, SaraRules! slipped out for a bit to go to her quilt club, while I stayed home with the girls. They actually let me sleep until nearly 10:00, which was great, as I was up (and intermittently napping) with Diana for a good portion of the wee hours of the morning. I’m heading to Dr. Volt’s for their 21st Anniversary Sale and Signing. If you’re in the Millcreek area, you should stop in and check things out.

And, this evening: Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

Stray Toasters

Up. Out.


“No one gets to their Heaven without a fight…”

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"No one gets to their Heaven without a fight..."

Thursday – 06 October 2011
Not only is today another NBN Thursday – and rainy (or snowy, up in the canyons) – but it’s also my father’s birthday. Today would have also been ‘s birthday. Football seasons aren’t quite the same without him around.

Unless you’ve sequestered yourself from news sources for the past 24 hours, you’re most likely aware that Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs has died:

As Mr. Jobs, himself stated in his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005:

“…you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect somewhere down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path. And that will make all the difference.

” Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to Heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary….”

As I posted in a tweet earlier:

Steve Jobs looked to the future and constantly pushed forward to achieve his vision. We should all strive to do the same. #foodforthought

And we should.

Stray Toasters

Right on to the friction of the day…


“I wandered home through silent streets and fell into a fitful sleep…”

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"I wandered home through silent streets and fell into a fitful sleep..."

Thursday – 04 August 2011
It’s an early No Bad News Technical Friday for me. And, considering how I slept and that I have a project coming to a head today, I could really use that whole “No Bad News” factor.

I don’t often have dreams that continue after I’ve awakened and gone back to sleep, but I had one last night. And it was bizarre. It was (mostly) bizarre in its content – a zombie dream – but because of some of people in it, as well: Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed.

* blink blink*

I’m sure that there were others, but they were the two I immediately recognized and still remember.

The zombies moved faster than the shambling creatures from George A. Romero movies, but weren’t running at a flat-out sprint like the “rage-infested humans” from 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later. They were somewhere in the middle — fast enough to be a concern, slow enough to be outrun. Of course, there’s always the prevailing thought that “You don’t have to be faster than the zombies, you just have to be faster than the slowest person in your group.”

The dream wasn’t your standard “Here come the dead” fare, either. It started off that way, and then turned into “behind the scenes in government response:” Lawyers and armed guards. Political leaders being ousted due to their lack of response. Black helicopters flying to “undisclosed destinations.”

Yeah.  It was that weird.

There was a point where it cut over to Rocky – working in some kind of storefront office – and Apollo Creed, training for an event. One of the other characters (Paulie, I believe) from the movies was there, as well. He was suffering from a form of amnesia or Alzheimer’s; Rocky and his guys were preparing to send him away – to Italy, I think – for some R&R. At that point, I was asked to go upstairs (to a living area) and keep watch on someone else. I could see people cautiously wandering the streets, trying to avoid encounters with the undead. I remember feeling a sense of dread, almost expecting this person to turn into a zombie, as he appeared near-death to begin with. I think that he was starting to die/turn as I woke up.

Let’s just say that it wasn’t exactly the most restful night’s sleep.

Stray Toasters

The project I mentioned at the beginning of the post wrapped up this morning… and it went more smoothly than I had hoped. Selah.


“This is the noise that keeps me awake, my head explodes and my body aches…”

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"This is the noise that keeps me awake, my head explodes and my body aches..."

Wednesday – 17 November 2010
Midweek… which means that it’s Comics (and Sushi) Wednesday!
I’m not sure if I’m partaking of sushi today.  We’ll see how the morning progresses.

Last night was D&D night with and company. We met a new NPC. We’re not sure about him yet. There are a few signs that he may not be “a good fit” for the rest of the party. We’re keeping an eye on him. On the other hand, he does provide another pair of hands and weapons in a fight. That’s good, because our current quest has us in the ruins of what appears to be an old temple… complete with its very own horde of zombies. Yay.

Today, we’re having our furnace replaced!
Out with the old and busted.
In with the new hotness… literally.

Stray Toasters

And that’s that…


Hurry up and wait.

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Hurry up and wait.

Friday – 24 September 2010
It’s almost the weekend.

Last night, DM’ed a Forgotten Realms game at Hastur Hobbies.

I didn’t go.  Instead, SaraRules and I cut down a couple of trees in the front yard and then ferried the remains to neighborhood clean-up dumpsters.  Mmm, chainsaw… There are still a couple of 3-to-4-foot tall stumps to be dealt with, but the major damage has been done.  Who knows…? Our house might actually have some decent curb appeal when we’re done.

After that – and a bit to eat – it was time for the season premiere of Fringe. I daresay that this is going to be an interesting season. Next, SaraRules watched the latest episode of Project: Runway, while I finished reading the last of Wednesday’s comic haul.

Human of the Day
I know that I often tout SaraRules as being the coolest/greatest/most awesome wife. Ever. Well, quite frankly: She is. On top of everything else she does to prove it, today she (once again) brought something to me, at work, that I was too addle-brained to remember to bring with me. And, I have to admit that getting to see her once more in the morning isn’t a bad thing, either.

Stray Toasters


“Jesse..? N-naw, Jerome! Yes! O-E-O-E-O!”

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"Jesse..? N-naw, Jerome!  Yes!   O-E-O-E-O!"

Tuesday – 17 August 2010
It’s another good-looking day here in the valley.

And, because it was playing on the radio, during this morning’s commute:

Last night, and his son, Josh, came over to watch football and play with LEGO, respectively. We watched the Giants take on the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium, home to both teams — last night, the Jets were the “home” team. Both teams looked good, but the Giants seemed a little more hungry for the win… or perhaps they were just out for revenge after the hit that QB Eli Manning took near the end of the first half. Either way, the Giants came away with the win: 31-16.

Monday’s step count: 4,648

Stray Toasters


O Canada…!

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O Canada...!

Thursday – 01 July 2010
It’s kind of nice – and refreshing – to have the start of a brand-new month be an NBN Thursday. It puts a nice spin on things, I think.

It is also Canada Day.

Alpha Flight is a team Canadian super-heroes.
(There’s even a maple leaf on Guardian’s costume!)
To me, that’s a “Win-Win.”

Last night, SaraRules fired up the grill and cooked up some mighty tasty burgers. (Have I mentioned: “Coolest Wife Ever,” lately?) After dinner, we headed up to her parents’ place for a bit — We spent some time with the grand’rents and I helped her dad troubleshoot a new wireless router he’d picked up.

Back at home, we wound down the evening with Top Gear and comic books (me) and ice cream (again, me). I tried to make it through the first two segments of The Late Late Show… and failed miserably. So, off to bed.

Yesterday’s step count: 3,937

Stray Toasters


“If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you’ll understand…”

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"If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you'll understand..."

Monday – 28 June 2010
Another work week begins. I’m trying to decide if it’s going to be a full 40-hour week or if it’s trending towards 36 or less. At this point, I’m feeling like the “36-” idea sounds pretty damned good.

I also feel like I really want to be over this sinus congestion. I’m not sure if it’s due to something that SaraRules brought back with her from California or due to the weather rollercoaster (of love! Say what?!) that we had here a week or so ago. Either way, hopefully Sudafed can keep me from looking like a Garbage Pail Kids throwback.

For some reason, I woke up this morning with Shawn Colvin’s Steady On running through my head. Good thing I like the song.

Yesterday, , and Matt came by for brunch… and to help me figure out what was wrong with the sprinkler system. It basically came down to the lawn care equivalent of a PEBCAK — As I never adjusted the solenoids on the valves for the system at the Taylorsville house, I never knew that they could be opened to help drain the system. Fortunately, and Matt knew this. A few twists of the screwdriver an not only did the waters flow, but there was actual, honest-to-goodness water pressure that went along with it! (The head in front of the sitting room windows looked more like a riot water cannon than lawn sprinkler… but at least it worked.) Thus, I’m making and Matt co-Humans of the Day for yesterday.

Later in the day, SaraRules and I went to see Knight and Day. Yes, I know… a lot of people think that Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise Crazy, but I don’t have a beef with the guy. In fact, despite my theory that many Tom Cruise movies were actually the same movie:

Young hotshot (fill-in-the-job title) is known for not playing by the rules.
He gets a reputation for being arrogant and/or reckless.
He is given (fill-in-the-task) and muffs it ~or~ he crosses the wrong person.
He struggles to make a comeback (Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years…).
He saves the day by the end of the movie.

…I found Knight and Day to be fun and entertaining; it was like a mix of “Mission: Impossible meets True Lies.”

And, just how many movies does the above formula work for?  Let’s see:

Just saying.

Anyway… the movie was fun and made for good lazy afternoon fare.

We wrapped up the day with dinner at the in-laws’ place and a movie, Shutter Island, which holds up as a solid film even on subsequent viewings.

Yesterday’s step count: 4,653

Stray Toasters

And that’s good for now.


Another Pleasant Valley Father’s Day…

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Another Pleasant Valley Father's Day...

Sunday – 20 June 2010
It’s Father’s Day. With that in mind, I’d like to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to the fathers in my family:

Today’s “Human of the Day” award goes out to these guys.

Yesterday was a good day.  It started with a trip to the Downtown Farmer’s Market with SaraRules and the in-laws. They’ve expanded the market a bit, so that it now takes over all of Pioneer Park. Of course, that moved the “fringe” artisans from the area at the south end of the park to the adjacent corners and streets.

Next, I headed up to Dr. Volt’s to run another HeroClix tournament. The format was the “HeroClix Wrestling Federation,” in which players had six figures, up to specific point values, and played them tag-team style against another player’s six-figures — when a figure took damage, the player rolled a six-sided die to see which other figure “tagged in.” It is always a fun format to play, and is pretty well-received by the players. I even got a chance to play — the bye rounds, but still… I got to play.  I went with a Sinestro Corps-themed team:

  • Yellow Lantern

    (gallery aa-figure-044)

  • Scarecrow

    (gallery bn-figure-003)

  • Sinestro

    (gallery cr-figure-055)

  • Sinestro Corps Batman

    (gallery aa-figure-100)

  • Parallax

    (gallery cd-figure-219)

  • Superman Prime

    (gallery aa-figure-060)

After the tourney, SaraRules and I went out for a bite to eat and then headed downtown to check out the 2010 Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival.  We arrived too late to see Team Chalkolicous in action, but we still strolled through and took a look at all of the pieces that people did over the course of the event: Pictures here.

Later in the evening, we finally got around to seeing Kick-Ass. It was quite fun and, as I recall, it adapted the source material fairly well… with a couple of changes.

This morning, I woke up and strolled up to Pin-Up Girl Espresso.  Christy fixed me an Iced Caramel Silk, which was quite good. Shortly after I got back home, the in-laws dropped by to chat for a bit while out running errands. Then, breakfast — Blueberry muffins FTW!!!!

Next on the agenda: A trip to The Garden of Sweden and maybe even a home improvement store or two.  Win-Win!

Yesterday’s step count: 6,517

Stray Toasters


“I wish the real world would just stop hassling me…”

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"I wish the real world would just stop hassling me..."

Thursday – 17 June 2010
So… it seems as though today is actually my mother’s last day of work.  She had told us “the 16th” when we visited last month, so that’s what I went with. *shrug* Whether it was yesterday, today (or even tomorrow), she’s put in nearly 40 years in the public education system, which is a long time to work in any one job.

I’m also hoping that today actually is an NBN Thursday. I think that last week’s deviation from the norm has affected this week… at least, that’s what I’m attributing the week’s problems to. Last night, SaraRules and I came home from work to find water in the basement. On the floor.


It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.  It appeared that the feed tube for the swamp cooler disconnected from the pipe that goes to the roof and sprayed over the floor in the unfinished portion of the basement. Fortunately, most of it stayed in the area where there’s a floor drain. Thank God.  The rest of the water flowed onto another part of the floor that goes under the stairs that lead to the main floor (concrete slab) and a little got onto the landing at the bottom of the stairs — about ten or so square feet of carpet.


I headed back to work to get the ShopVac that I had borrowed from my father-in-law, while SaraRules headed to Target to get a couple of fans. We vacuumed water out of the carpet and padding. Twice. Then, we set up the fans to dry things out. We’ll see how much – if any – vacuuming we need to do tonight.

All things being equal, I consider it no small blessing that the water was confined to a couple of areas and that the “damage” was not nearly as bad as it could have been.

Yesterday’s step count: 5,937

Human of the Day
My mother.

Stray Toasters


“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus…”

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"I Can't Believe It's Not Jesus..."

Wednesday – 16 June 2010
Today is not only (Sushi and) Comics Wednesday.
Nor is it just my mother and stepfather’s anniversary.
Today also marks my mother’s last-day-EVER of teaching.

I hereby declare today “Triple-Win Wednesday”.
I also declare my mother today’s Human of the Day.  (Yes, I’m biased. But, it’s my blog; I’m allowed to be.)
And for today’s musical fare: Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine:

Last night, SaraRules and I had dinner with the in-laws, including the brothers-in-law and Swiz. Grilled Salmon. Salad. Asparagus. Homemade rice pilaf. Mojitos. It was a good dinner, all around. And, for dessert, Logan and Swiz made mini-pecan tarts, which were very tasty.

Back at home, SaraRules and I enjoyed a quiet (read: “uneventful”) evening. After the headaches of Monday evening, it was a very welcome change of pace. We wound down the night with last Thursday’s episode of Burn Notice.

Yesterday’s step count: 3,987

Stray Toasters


Saturday Quick Hit

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Saturday Quick Hit

Saturday – 08 May 2010
Today is my brother and step-mother’s birthday.

I hope your birthday falling on Mother's Day doesn't inflame an unresolved parent-child power struggle

This morning, SaraRules and I went to Wasatch Community Gardens‘ Plant Sale – SaraRules wanted to get some plants for her new garden. We then headed up to Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast. Then back home for a bit until…

…I headed to Dr. Volt’s for today’s tournament: 300-point, sealed event. I picked up a couple of boxes, so that I could play the bye round. I drew another Kal-L Black Lantern figure… which I wound up trading to Jeremiah for a Black Hand figure. Leaving me two chases to track down.

Stray Toasters

  • I owe Ms. Galadriel a huge debt of gratitude for her suggestion of taking 800mg of Ibuprofen to help with the pain and swelling of last night’s sore throat. She gets my vote for Human of the Day.

This evening, I’m not sure what manner of trouble we’ll be getting into, but I believe that it involves a trip to the local Home Depot or Lowe’s.

And with that…


On a rainy Wednesday…

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On a rainy Wednesday...

Wednesday – 21 April 2010
Another Comics and Sushi Wednesday is upon us.
And, it’s also Melissa S.’s birthday:

Your birthday is a welcome opportunity to celebrate something in April unrelated to hideous biblical tragedies

Last night, Chris and I were supposed to get together to play dolls. Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Jeremiah – one of the guys from Dr. Volt’s – asking if we would be interested in checking out the store’s display copy of the soon-to-be-released Blackest Night set.

Um… YES!

So, after work – and a quick dinner with SaraRules – Chris and I met at Jeremiah’s. And we saw the new hotness. And it was good. Selah. I’m looking forward to picking up this set. After we shot the bull for a while, we finally decided to play a game. 1200 points. Chris vs Jeremiah and me. (Pictures here.) In the hour-and-a-half we played, there was only one casualty: Jeremiah’s Sinestro Corps Batman. And then it was time to put away our toys and go home. It was, nevertheless, fun.

I’ll take a moment here to thank SaraRules for suggesting that I take the evening off from the hullaballoo of packing and do something fun. Best. Wife. Ever. In fact, let’s just cut to the chase and make her today’s Human of the Day.

Stray Toasters


Saturday: Aftermath

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Saturday: Aftermath

Fait accompli.
“It is finished.”

After nearly six (6) hours of prep, cutting, hammering and gluing… the dining room floor has been installed!

SaraRules and I met Minion #2 — who is steadily working his way up to “Henchman #1” — this morning and headed to Home Depot to pick up supplies for the job. Quick trip in and out.

Our next stop: The house. We unloaded our car and the truck and got on with the gettin’ on. We pulled up the last few feet of tack strip and decided on a game plan. We started from the north dining room wall and worked our way back towards the wall shared with the guest bedroom.

How does it look?  Take a gander for yourself:

We think it looks pretty damned good. The last touch is to find a chair rail that we like and apply it to the walls.

All-in-all, it was a busy — but very productive — day.

SaraRules just nominated Minion #2 as today’s Human of the Day for all of his help in getting things done this morning/afternoon. I can’t say that I disagree with her on that.