Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Utah County…

art, baseball, business and economy, computers, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, football, games, health, office antics, politics and law, trains/model railroads, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
If it's Tuesday, this must be Utah County...

Tuesday – 05 April 2011
Day two of the work week… and I’m in the south office today. Some of us are doing rotations down here once a month. And, today is my day. Well, one of them — I think I’ll be back down at the end of the month, too. Oh, well.  It’s a nice change of pace.

Last night, after dinner, SaraRules! and I ran a few errands and then went to Frogurt for dessert. It was good and it wasn’t as tart as the yogurt at Red Mango. (On the other hand, they didn’t have a Green Tea Yogurt, so it’s kind of a draw.) We wrapped up the evening with an episode of Castle and an episode of Top Gear.

I stopped at Pin-up Girl Espresso this morning, to get a caramel mocha for the road. I was pleasantly surprised to see (former) Pin-up Girl Erin in the window. I didn’t get a chance to ask if she was going to be a semi-permanent regular in the store, though.

And tonight is D&D 3.5 night.

Stray Toasters


Friday free-for-all

baseball, books, business and economy, comics and animation, computers, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, food for thought, geekery, health, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, style and fashion, the world, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?!, workout No Comments »
Friday free-for-all

Friday – 01 April 2011
Hello, 9/80 Friday off!

Oh, yeah… and today is April Fool’s Day, too.

Last night, SaraRules and I decided to enjoy get a bit of exercise, while enjoying the sunny and warm Spring evening. After a bite to eat at Noodles & Company, we went for a leisurely walk through and around Wheeler Historic Farm. It seemed as though many other people had the same idea, as we passed many other walkers during our trek. Back at home, we watched some programs that we’d recorded, along with an encore presentation of a Top Gear show from 2008, in which the hosts traveled the length of Vietnam – over the course of eight days – on motorcycles… which had to be one of the most non-intentionally funny trips ever recorded.

Today, I need to take Defiant back down to Expercom so that it can have its PRAM battery replaced and also be refitted from being a TuxedoBook back to a BlacBook. (Although, it’s gotten some interesting looks and lead to some amusing questions about “why” it has a white keyboard…)

Stray Toasters

And now, off for brunch with.


“Look at me, I can be centerfield…”

art, baseball, business and economy, comics and animation, computers, everyday glory, games, geekery, health, movies and TV, opera, politics and law, science and technology, stage plays and theatre, style and fashion, travel No Comments »
"Look at me, I can be centerfield..."

Thursday – 31 March 2011
It’s a blue sky NBN “Technical Friday.” And I’m good with that.

Last night was supposed to be D&D 4.0 night. So, after dinner, I ran a couple of errands and headed over to Hastur Hobbies to partake in hack-and-slash goodness. I arrived to find no one from my group there.


I went back through my messages to see if I had missed something. I had. had called the game earlier in the afternoon… but, that message was basically attached to another thread of messages, so I didn’t catch it when I skimmed over them.


That just meant that my evening freed up for me to go and hang out with the missus. Which I did. For the most part…

…until I decided that the best thing for me and my newfound head cold was a nice relaxing soak while reading the day’s new comics haul. And I was right – it was good.

A little later, SaraRules! and I finished off the last DVD of Mad Men that we got from Netflix. I now understand what and meant by “the lawnmower episode,” and why they both agreed that I’d “get” it as soon as I saw it.

This morning, I woke up with this song running through my head…

…and I was okay with that.

Stray Toasters


MDK Friday.

art, baseball, business and economy, comics and animation, everyday glory, geekery, history, LEGO and Rokenbok, monkeys!, news and info, office antics, stage plays and theatre, the world, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
MDK Friday.

Friday – 25 March 2011
It’s Friday.  The end of the week. And for this, I am grateful. It’s my 9/80 “on” Friday, which is typically a quiet and low-key kind of day.

So, why is my blood pressure – and my annoyance level – through the roof?

Maybe it could be due – in some small, almost insignificant part – to the fact that I spent part of my morning elbow up in trash looking for a piece of equipment. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The day started nicely enough. Got up, got ready for work, stopped at Pin-up Girl for a cup of morning go-juice. So far, so good. Got to work, ready to tackle the items on my day’s agenda. And shortly after that is when I discovered that all was not well in Mudville:

We had scheduled technicians to come in and deal with a problem with one of our cooling units. This service has been on the docket for three weeks now, as the part needed had to be special ordered and fabricated. Okay, fine. That’s the cost of doing business. Because of the nature of the work, we had to schedule a time for a tech from our fire control system vendor to turn off our fire suppression system. So, three weeks… all leading up to this morning. Call it “confluence.” Call it “convergence.” Call it what you will.

The fire control tech showed up and did his thing. No problem. The HVAC guys showed up to do their thing… and that’s when we noticed that something was wrong: The part that we had ordered – and that had been sitting on a table, awaiting installation – was nowhere to be found.

* braincramp *

So, the hunt began. In the server room. In the storage rooms. In the labs. Nothing. That’s when I started making calls. No one knew where it was.

* severe braincramp *

I put a call in to our cleaning crew, to see if they possibly tossed out the box last night, not seeing the part inside. They didn’t think so, but the boxes they did throw away went into a recycling dumpster. *sigh* Great. Next stop: The dumpster. Brian, one of the HVAC techs jumped in. No luck finding the box or the part.


Just after I got back to my desk, the cleaning company called back: One of the cleaners remembered throwing away a few boxes… in the trash dumpster.

So… back downstairs we went. Brian and I hopped into the front of the dumpster, but didn’t go too far in for a couple of reasons, the BIGGEST one being: It was a trash compactor. I’ve seen Star Wars: A New Hope. More than once. I know what happens to people in trash compactors. I also don’t happen to own either a protocol droid or an Astromech droid, so there was NO way I was wading in. (Besides, I didn’t know if there was a monster lurking below the surface, just waiting to drag me under.)

NOTE: At this point, I almost defy anyone to claim to have had a worse morning than I had, based solely on the fact that I was in a dumpster, looking for a part that obviously didn’t want to be found.

We didn’t find the part. Which means that we have to order another one. And schedule a time for the fire control and HVAC guys to come back in. Which means that we’re looking at – bare minimum – two to three weeks from now before this problem is fixed.

The odds against this confluence of nearly impossible events coming together, in just this way, to bring us to this improbable outcome is mind-boggling.

And, it’s snowing.

How’s your Friday?

Stray Toasters

  • Today, I would definitely be more of a Red Lantern than a Green Lantern: I’m ready to punch monkeys in the throat right now. Repeatedly. And hard.



“A rolling stone gathers no moss.”

art, baseball, business and economy, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, food for thought, games, geekery, history, house and home, movies and TV, music, science and technology, trains/model railroads, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"A rolling stone gathers no moss."

Tuesday – 22 February 2011
Work Week: Day Two. The sun’s out, but the temps are still kind of low. (Although we might actually break 40F today…)

On the “up” side, I am definitely feeling better. I also no longer sound (completely) like a reject from the old Budweiser frogs commercials. I’m still a bit congested, but I can breathe… for the most part.

Last night, SaraRules! made a tasty chicken pot pie for dinner. We ate and watched a couple of episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles and then a couple of episodes of House Hunters.

Generally speaking, I enjoy House Hunters, but last night’s episodes contained a couple of families who the Logic Fairy seemed to overlook – or at least skimp on – when she was doling out common sense:

  1. A family in the suburbs of Louisville, KY decided that they wanted to purchase a vacation home.
    (So far, so good.)Let me reparse the above with the kicker: “…they wanted to buy a vacation home, twenty minutes from their current home.” Yeah, we were dumbstruck. They wanted to take out a second mortgage ($250, 000) on a “vacation condo” in downtown Louisville. Twenty minutes away. That doesn’t even make good crazy people sense.
  2. The second family wanted to buy a new home in which to raise their 18-month-old daughter. Their main “wants” were:
    • One level.
    • Three or more bedrooms.
    • A yard for their daughter to play in.

    All-in-all, their wants weren’t too outrageous… especially when compared to some of the things that people have sought on this show. The “one level” requirement was because they saw stairs as a safety hazard. (I guess they’d never heard of a child safety gate. *shrug*) They saw three houses:

    1. One level, but the “back yard” was largely taken over by a large, in-ground swimming pool.
    2. Multi-level house, with a couple of notable potential hazards.
    3. Two-level house with a loft.

    They chose House #1, despite the wife’s early – and quite vocal – objections to having no back yard and the giant water hole. I can understand some of their reasons for avoiding the second house, but the third house’s stair “problem” could have easily been handled with a gate.

I also spent a little time in Metropolis before bed. I started off just flying around, exploring parts of the city that I hadn’t yet visited. I decided to tackle a mission that I’d let languish for a couple of levels.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s personality is: Carter G. Woodson (1, 2, 3)

Carter Godwin Woodson was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to value and study Black History. He recognized and acted upon the importance of a people having an awareness and knowledge of their contributions to humanity, and left behind an impressive legacy. A founder of Journal of Negro History, Dr. Woodson is known as the “Father of Black History.”

The son of freed slaves, Woodson worked as a sharecropper and a miner to help his family. He began high school in his late teens and proved to be an excellent student. Woodson went on to college and earned several degrees. He received a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming one of the first African Americans to earn a Ph.D. at the prestigious institution. His doctoral dissertation,The Disruption of Virginia, was based on research he did at the Library of Congress while teaching high school in Washington, D.C. After earning the doctoral degree, he continued teaching in the public schools, later joining the faculty at Howard University as a professor and served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Convinced that the role of his own people in American history and in the history of other cultures was either being ignored or misrepresented among scholars, Woodson realized the need for research into the neglected past of African Americans. Along with Alexander L. Jackson and three associates, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History September 9, 1915, in Chicago. That was also the year Woodson published The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861. His other books followed: A Century of Negro Migration (1918) and The History of the Negro Church (1927).

After leaving Howard University, Dr. Woodson devoted the rest of his life to historical research. He worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications. He noted that African American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.” Race prejudice, he concluded, “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.” In 1926, Woodson single-handedly pioneered the celebration of “Negro History Week”, for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week was later extended to the full month of February and renamed Black History Month.

Dr. Woodson’s most cherished ambition, a six-volume Encyclopedia Africana, lay incomplete at his death on April 3, 1950 at the age of 74. He is buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland.

Stray Toasters