Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Burn Down the Mission…”

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"Burn Down the Mission..."

Wednesday – 11 January 2017
Yesterday was a troubled day. I was of ill humor for the better part of the day, thanks to external forces.

I resolved to bend. Not break.

I also had a seemingly all-too-rare John Stewart moment (1, 2):

Some bridges are need to be burned.

Reflecting on that, I even carried the thought further: Some bridges need to be burned – not only to keep you from going backwards – to keep others from dragging you back.

I also realized that in some cases, I don’t just want or even need to burn the bridge, I want to do it so the bridge burns and those on it are purged in the cleansing fire.

I’m not looking back, but I want to look around me now.

Despite being overcast and rainy and this morning’s comedy of errors – I overslept, spilled a LOT of water on the floor while trying to change the water filter in the refrigerator, and spilled a bit of coffee on myself right before leaving home – today has been much better and I’ve solved a work-related problem that contributed to Tuesday’s irritation. These are wins and I’ll gladly take them.

Stray Toasters

  • This weekend, I stumbled across the Wisconsin-Purdue basketball game and decided to watch it. About 1/3 of the way into the first half, Vanessa came in, sat down, asked what I was doing, and who I wanted to win the game. I explained that I wanted the Boilermakers to win and why – I went to school there. She was so surprised/excited by this, for some reason, she raced out of the room to tell Diana. Mission accomplished, she came back and watched most of the game. Enthusiastically cheering when Purdue scored, not-quite-booing when the Badgers scored. Diana came in for a fair portion of the second half. It was great. We might have to attend a local game and see if that holds their interest as much.
  • Sometimes, working with  a view of the mountains and the airport’s take-off/approach path doesn’t totally suck.
    • Last week, I saw Southwest Airlines’ Maryland One landing. Sure, it’s not really a little slice of home, but it was close enough for me. It surprised me, though, as I didn’t know that SWA was still flying unique liveries like that. I’ll have to keep an eye out for others.

      picture (c) Smithsonian Institution

  • Stan Lee – and other guests whom I wouldn’t mind seeing – was just announced as coming to Salt Lake Comic Con FanX in March…
  • #AlwaysForward
  • Everything really is awesome: The Daily LEGO Project finds the whimsy in everyday objects
  • The Jackal
  • I’m almost done with Dragonflight, the first book in the “Dragonriders of Pern” series. I’ve been enjoying it, despite a few questions I’m sure that almost any Pern-related wiki could answer… but I’m hoping that they play out in the story.
  • 5%
  • I can find music by Yoko Kanno and/or “a band called The Seatbelts” on Spotify, but neither of them are Cowboy Bebop-related, unfortunately.
  • I might play with my trains a bit this evening…
  • …there might even be whiskey involved.


New week. New post.

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New week. New post.

Monday – 22 April 2013 It’s been a bit and I have some time (at least I did last night), so I figured that I should get in a new post. Today is Earth Day. Last week, Sara! and I finally got around to watching Django Unchained.


It was a very Tarantino take on a “historical movie” in the same way that Inglorious Basterds was a “historical movie.” (With this in mind, I’m not really sure what everyone’s beef with it was. It’s not Roots, but it’s not trying to be Roots, either.) I found it to be a fun – and funny – movie. It entertained. It told a story. And it didn’t take itself overly seriously in doing so. cowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hat This weekend was a good one. Saturday morning, Sara!, Team DiVa and I had breakfast with our friend Steve, who was in town with the touring production of West Side Story. We went to The Other Place, not just because it’s a good place for breakfast – and was close both to where Steve was staying and the theatre – but also because it’s a kid-friendly place. As an added bonus, I was able to scheme with our friend, Josh, to get him (and his wife, Aly and their very cute five-month-old daughter) to surprise Sara and Steve. Sara suspected that something was afoot, but Steve was surprised. I’ll still take that as a “Win.” After breakfast, we came back home and I played with Team DiVa for a bit before heading out for a ‘Clix event: Month Five of the WizKids’ “No Man’s Land” event. It was a sealed booster draft – buy two booster packs and build a team – and my packs were not really full of “awesome.” But, I built a team and I played. I wound up going 1-4, but since I normally don’t get to play (and I already had the prize support for the event), I was just there to have fun. And I did. After the game and dinner, Sara! went to see West Side Story; I stayed home with Team DiVa. We watched some Team Umizoomi. We read Moo, Baa, La La La and Barnyard Dance. We put money in their banks. We got them ready for bed. All things considered, they took great mercy on me. After post-bedtime cleaning, I played a bit of DC Universe Online and then watched my first episode of David Tennant’s Doctor Who. I liked it. I look forward to seeing more of his Doctor. Sunday was a fairly low-key day. Breakfast. Shopping. Hanging out at home. I also mowed the lawn for the first time this season. Hell, the first time this year. Sara’s parent’s came over for dinner. Sara! and I also watched Disney’s Tarzan; I haven’t seen it in years, but Sara! had never seen it. It’s not necessarily the best movie ever, but I enjoy it. I also watched my second Tennant Who episode. Stray Toasters


Daddy-DiVa Saturday!

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Saturday – 26 January 2013
It’s the weekend. Selah.

It’s been a good and somewhat busy week.  Sara! has been attending a conference this week, so it’s mostly been Team DiVa and me at home at night. We all survived. That’s a good thing. Sara!’s conference ends today, but for most of the day, it’s just me and the little ladies.

Sidenote: Some people have made the mistaken assumption that I refer to the girls as “Team DiVa” because they are – or will possibly be – little divas.  Despite one of their grandmother’s being affectionately referred to as “The Diva” (Capital “T,” Capital “D”) by family and friends, we don’t plan on the girls being spoiled little brats. (Spoiled, maybe. Little, only if they don’t get their mother’s height. Brats, no. Period. Full stop.)

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Vanessa (l) and Diana

We call refer to the girls as Team DiVa because of their names. Hence the two capital letters in “DiVa,” rather than just one. We noted the “nickname” when we chose the name – and, no, we didn’t choose the names to create the nickname. I don’t think that we were really planning on using it until someone asked us if we were aware of that “DiVa” could be made from the girls’ names. From that point on, it just kind of… stuck.

Besides, it makes for an easy way to refer to them as well as a handy hashtag for Twitter.

Stray Toasters

Huh, there are a lot of ‘Toasters about women and women-focused topics here. That’s okay, I want Team DiVa to as many good examples of good female role models as I can find.


“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called ‘Life.'”

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"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called 'Life.'"

Wednesday – 25 April 2012
It’s the middle of the week… which means that it’s new comics day as well as Movie Date Night.

Last night, Matt, Dave, and I missed our usual Guys’ Night Out activities and, instead, went to see the Utah Jazz take on the Phoenix Suns in a game with major playoff implications: If the Jazz won, they would be in the playoffs. If they lost, Phoenix would have to lose their next game and the Jazz would have to win their next game.

Needless to say, there was a lot of anticipation about this game. What we didn’t know until we got to the Energy Solutions Arena was: Tip-off had been delayed from 7:00 to 8:30, for TNT’s broadcast coverage. On the other hand, this gave us plenty of time to get something to eat. We opted for Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. And we finished it off with gelato from Capo Gelateria.

Meanwhile, back at the arena, we got to our seats and got ready for the game.

This was my first Jazz game in over 14 years; I haven’t been to one since before I moved out here. Seriously. And it was a great game to attend. The Jazz played well, except for late in the 3rd and early in the 4th quarters. But, they pulled it off with a 100-88 win, clinching a playoff berth.

It was a fun way to spend the evening and a great change of pace for Guys’ Night Out.

Stray Toasters


“Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain…”

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"Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain..."

Wednesday – 16 November 2011
I realized this morning just how glad I am that it’s midweek and that only two more days separate me from the weekend. Not that it’s been a bad or particularly long week; I’m just ready for the weekend.  (Cue: Loverboy)

Last night, while Wonder Woman SaraRules! was off saving the world with the Justice League at a Junior League meeting, Sanaz came over to help me watch the girls and get them ready for bed. The “care and feeding” part isn’t so bad when solo, but trying to get both girls to bed by oneself would be “a bit” much. And the help was greatly appreciated. Diana knocked out fairly easily; Vanessa, however, got a bit of a second wind after her bedtime feeding and fought sleep for a solid 20 minutes before finally following Morpheus into The Dreaming.

On the plus side of SaraRules! not being home for dinner: It was a veritable “Feed Yourself Free-for-All” night for rounding up victuals. Thus, I had Beef Lo Mein. Selah.

Stray Toasters

And it’s new comics day!


“O, Canada…”

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"O, Canada..."

Friday – 01 July 2011
It’s finally Friday. It’s my 9/80 “on” Friday, but it’s still “Friday.” And it’s the First of July. And it’s the beginning of a long weekend. Win. Win . Win.

Today is also Canada Day.

Happy national birthday to our beer and hockey-loving neighbors to the north!

Last night, SaraRules! and I did a little more to consolidate offices. We also looked at repainting the soon-to-be-guestroom. We headed out to the local Home Depot and picked up a couple of paint samples. We painted a couple of test sections and waited for them to dry. When we came back to look at them, we decided on Lemon Ice… which looks much more like it should have been named “Lime Ice,” but oh well. It will be a good shade for the room.

I also managed to sneak in a few minutes to run my trains. It was relaxing. And fun.

Stray Toasters


“Everything’s Going Green”

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"Everything's Going Green"

Thursday – 02 June 2011
Another “Day of Thor” (look it up) is upon us. I’m hoping that it follows the appropriate “No Bad News” protocol. That would be a “good” thing.

This morning, I woke up with the opening theme from Love, Sidney in my head. I have no idea “why,” as the show hasn’t been on the air in over 20 (nearly 30) years. Granted, I’m a fan of some of Tony Randall’s work, but why not the theme from The Odd Couple?! As Dr. Rosenblatt would say, “It’s so bizarre…!”

Last night, I had forgotten that SaraRules! was going to a presentation of Die Walkure, presented by Fathom Events at the local cinemaplex. As had to postpone our D&D game, this meant that I was left to my own devices to find something to do. I wound up doing the dishes and some laundry. (*shrug* It needed to be done…) I also went to the gym. There was a brief internal struggle about did I really want to go, but it was overruled by the “You need to go” camp. It’s still slow-going, but at least I’m doing something:

  • Elliptical: 15 minutes, approx 5.5 MPH pace
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 135 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Shoulder Press (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 35 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 125 lbs
  • Reverse Fly: 3 sets/10 reps, 50 lbs

I was quite happy to be done with the workout… while kind of looking forward to getting into the gym again. Go figure.

When I got back home, I treated myself to a little DVR fare while waiting for SaraRules! to get in. I’m almost up to the season finale of Human Target. (And I’m still wishing that USA or some other channel would pick it up next season.)

Stray Toasters

And now… lunch!


“Join the Dark Side; we have cookies!”

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"Join the Dark Side; we have cookies!"

Thursday – 24 March 2011
It’s a grey, rainy No Bad News Thursday in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. WHEEE!

Last night was the first D&D 4.0 game that I’ve been able to attend in the past… three, I think… weeks. And when I arrived, it was without my character. This was a fact that I didn’t recognize until I’d walked in the door and thought “Shouldn’t I have something else?


Yep. Genius move on my part. So, I got to play the part of one of the NPCs. An evil NPC, at that. I believe that it was the first time in all the years I’ve played D&D that I’ve actually played a character with an evil alignment. And, it was fun. I think that I caught a couple of my party member when I… kind of… started a fight with a bunch of guys because my character didn’t like his attitude. (We won the fight, though.) Partway through the game, I had an apostrophe epiphany: My character might actually be in my car, not at home… so I went and checked. Lo and behold, there it was.

::: facepalm :::

So, I went and got it. I played both characters for a few turns, until the NPC left the game. (His story arc was done, I didn’t get him killed.) It was a good game session.

Stray Toasters


“Commencing countdown, engines on…”

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"Commencing countdown, engines on..."

Monday – 21 March 2011
It’s the second day of Spring. Here behind the Zion Curtain, it’s grey and drab… although the sun appears to be making some efforts at breaking through the clouds.

This past weekend was rather low-key, which wasn’t a bad thing. Saturday, I had breakfast with Chris before heading over to Dr. Volt’s, where I judged a HeroClix tournament. There was a good turnout, with nine players. As there was overlap between the last DC 75th event and the new Giant-Size X-Men release, I just combined the prize support for the winners. That seemed to go over fairly well. Saturday evening, SaraRules!’ parents and grandmother came over to visit for a bit. We capped off the evening watching Demolition Man; it had been many years since I had last seen it.

Sunday was another quiet day… or, at least, it started that way. Perry called in the late morning to elicit my help in moving some of his martial arts practice equipment. We headed over and chatted with Kate and him for a bit; then he and I set about the heavy lifting. After that, SaraRules! and I caught a matinee of Battle: Los Angeles. This movie’s been getting knocked around in the reviews, but it wasn’t all bad. In fact, it was decent.  About halfway through the movie, I realized what it reminded me of: Independence Day. The only things missing were The Fresh Prince, The Fly and a virus-uploading MacBook. It was still a decent popcorn flick.

After the movie, we headed over to the in-laws’ for a belated St. Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. SaraRules’ grandmother was in town, so we hung out with the family for a bit after dinner. Then it was back home for relaxing with DC Universe Online and a couple of episodes of Mad Men.

Stray Toasters

And that, I think, is a wrap.


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Monday – 14 March 2011
It’s Pi Day.

It’s also ‘s birthday.

This weekend was good… even with losing an hour on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Saturday, SaraRules! and I had brunch with Logan and Swiz, before the four of us went off to see Utah Symphony’s performance of Peter and the Wolf, accompanied by Ballet West II. In the afternoon, I headed up to Clearfield and Ogden to check out a couple of train shops. Saturday night, SaraRules! and I attended Utah Opera’s opening night performance of Mark Adamo’s Little Women. I’m not typically a fan of modern classical music, but this is the second of Mr. Adamo’s works that I’ve heard this season… and I’ve enjoyed both of them.

Sunday, we took my car in to get the brakes worked on and then drove down to The Garden of Sweden. Amen. Next, I headed to West Valley Hobbies for a quick fix before we, along with the in-laws, headed to the Maverik Center for a Utah Grizzlies game. The team tried – hard – to give the game away, but managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat mediocrity and send the Stockton Thunder home with a loss. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet and low-key.

Today, it’s more grey than I’d have expected after yesterday’s stunningly beautiful day. Oh, well.

Stray Toasters