Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure


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Friday – 11 March 2016
It’s the end of the week! Of course, I thought that last week and wound up back in the office at 11:30 PM…

Tomorrow is opening night for Aida. If you:

  • are in the Salt Lake City metropolitan opera,
  • are looking for something different to do on a Saturday evening, and
  • like opera,

you should come check it out – ticket information can be found here. It’s pretty amazing. (Personally, it’s even more amazing, having seen what’s been going on behind-the-scenes.) Added bonus, you get to see about 100 more people1 (other than just Roy and me) dressed up as – and walking like – Egyptians:

AIDA: Captain (me) and Guard (Roy)

AIDA: Captain (me) and Guard (Roy)


Stray Toasters

  • Conversations like this are among the many reasons I love Sara:
    • 1:25pm
      I apologize, in advance, if I come home with a windmill tonight.1:34pm

      I’m sorry…. WHAT!?
      Like garden-sized windmill?1:36pm

      Well, I’m going to a vintage market… there’s no telling what I might come home with this time.1:37pm
      You bring home a windmill, I’m making a miniature golf course hole in the backyard.
      Just putting that out there.

      Sara Kelly Neal
      Okay, I accept that gauntlet.

    • Minister Golf
  • Does anyone have a recommendation for a good OBD-II diagnostic scanner?
  • What is the order of the Gorillaz videos in terms of plot line?
  • It seems as though Shohreh Aghdashloo has joined the cast of Star Trek Beyond. That’s just a bonus, right there.


1 – DISCLAIMER: Not all 100 will be Egyptian; some will be dressed as Ethiopians.

“Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?”

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"Haven't you always wanted a monkey?"

Thursday – 14 April 2011
It’s another glorious NBN Technical Friday. This morning started with clouds and a little snow… but it looks as though the sun is trying to put in an appearance. We’ll see how that goes.

Last night was D&D 4.0 night with and company. We adventured. We got loot. We walked right into the middle of a war between factions in a city… and had to choose sides. Hopefully, we chose well.

After the game, I headed home and occupied a nice and comfy spot on the couch, as my stomach decided that it wanted to try out a new acrobatics routine. I am attributing it to “The Revenge of Lunch!” Fortunately, by the time I got ready to call it a night, it was better. I attribute that to milk and Tums.

Stray Toasters



It’s Monday… pass the coffee.

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It's Monday... pass the coffee.

Monday – 11 April 2011
I just realized that it’s 11/4/11. Palindromic. Other than that, it’s just the start of another glorious week in Paradise.

The weekend seemed short, but I’m sure that’s because I spent part of Saturday in the office and got a lovely 5AM wake-up call from the office yesterday morning. Aside from that, it was a nice weekend. Yesterday, SaraRules! and I had brunch at Ruth’s Diner. As we were eating, we noticed people staring at the ridge across the road from the diner. Then we noticed them taking pictures. It didn’t make sense until we got ready to leave:

The elk was just standing there, taking in all that surrounded him. He was there for at least a good ten to fifteen minutes.

From Ruth’s, we ran a couple of errands before heading home for a bit. Then, it was over to the in-laws’ for Logan’s birthday dinner. Dinner consisted of barbecued chicken, roasted root vegetables, and salad. For dessert, we had a homemade gingerbread cake – some/most people had homemade applesauce for “frosting,” I opted for ice cream.

Last night, I slept moderately well. I woke up a few times, half-expecting to get another call from work and having to go in at O’dark-thirty. As it was, I roused myself about a half-hour early and just decided to make a day of it. Thanks to a bit of prep work last night, I was in the office about an hour earlier than usual, which means I’ll be leaving early, too.

Stray Toasters


“Easy like Sunday morning…”

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"Easy like Sunday morning..."

Sunday – 05 September 2010
So far, it’s been a nice and quiet day.

I slept in.
I decided to take a relaxing hot bath.
I finished Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days), which has been languishing on the bookshelf.
All the way around, I think that qualifies as a good way to kick off a Sunday.

Yesterday, SaraRules and I went for a walk along the Jordan River Parkway. We started at the 6400 South entrance and walked up to the 5400 South pavilions. We figured that the round-trip was somewhere between 2.75 and 3.00 miles.

Later in the evening, we met up with OnlyAly, and Jana and went to see the Real Salt Lake match against the New York Red Bulls. (Pictures here) I even ran into Tyranist and his wife, as well as my former coworker, Carilyn, at the stadium. RSL pulled out the win, which tied them for MLS’ longest consecutive home game win streak — 22 games. Added bonus: It looks as though we’ve converted a few more people into soccer fans.

Back at home, SaraRules and I watched Renovation Realities and Family Renovation before calling it a night. Schadenfreude at its finest.

Stray Toasters

If I’m up early enough, should I go to the driving range tomorrow morning…?


“A cunning woman is a dangerous thing.”

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"A cunning woman is a dangerous thing."

Tuesday – 16 March 2010
Last night, a group of us took the advice of Queen and had “A Night at the Opera.” We saw Utah Opera’s production of The Italian Girl in Algiers, by Rossini. Thanks to SaraRules, we had amazing seats: Grand Tier, second row center. This afforded an amazing view of the stage and supertitles.

The opera was more light-hearted than your standard fare. And, after the production, SaraRules informed me that it was directed by the same person who directed La Cenerentola a couple of years ago — once she said that, I could note similarities in the staging. It was a fun opera, made even more enjoyable by the group who went… and, more notably, by the fact that SaraRules was in the production. She was a supernumerary; her role was as one of the harem girls. She and her coworker, Melissa (another super in the production), even garnered a small write-up in The Salt Lake Tribune, where they were noted as being “remarkably funny.” It was a good way to spend the evening. The opera runs through Sunday, if you’re looking for a fun change of pace, you should consider seeing this production.

Stray Toasters

Back to the grind.


“Children growing up, old friends growing older…”

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"Children growing up, old friends growing older..."

Tuesday – 12 May 2009
Today is apparently Limerick Day.

Yesterday, loonybin88, Sean and I headed over to the driving range at Old Mill for lunch. I had a few good  drives, but it was apparent that it has been “a while” since I’ve teed off. I foresee more trips to the range in the next few weeks.

Last night, SaraRules and I played Trivial Pursuit. She kicked my trash, eight ways from Sunday. Seriously. In about twenty-five minutes. We both started off slowly… then, next thing I knew, she had four wedges. I managed to get four by the time she got her sixth wedge, but then she headed for the center space and wrapped things up.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
From an IRC conversation:

[23:23]  : blizzcon 2009 noncombat pet reward : grunty, the space marine murloc.
[23:24]  :

[08:26]  : nah, not going to blizzcon.  i was planning on buying the PPV broadcast on directv anyway though – grunty is an excellent bonus to go along with that. 🙂
[08:30]  Ahpuc: “grunty” ?
[08:30]  : The 8th Dwarf
[08:30]  : He was sick on the main day of filming, so they cut him out of Snow White altogether.
[08:31]  Ahpuc: Huh. I always thought the 8th dwarf was Sodomy, and they had to censor him out.
[08:32]  : Sodomy, or “Dom” as he was known in some circles, was replaced by Dopey… in an effort to make the movie more “family-friendly.”
[08:33]  Ahpuc: Family-friendly, because sodomy == contraception?
[08:33]  : Family-friendly as in “less therapy-inducing for small children”

Attack the day
Like birds of prey


Monday morning madness

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Monday morning madness

Monday – 11 May 2009
The alarm went off at 0620 this morning and I promptly turned it off, turned over and went back to sleep. My phone rang at 0650 (!), but it took a few moments to register that it was, in fact, the phone and not another alarm. Once that sank in, I looked at who it was (loonybin88) and answered it – it could have been a work-related “get into the office ASAP” issue, after all. It wasn’t. He was just calling to see if I’d be interested in going to the driving range at lunch… which does interest me. And that’s when I decided to go ahead and start the day.

Yesterday, SaraRules and I headed to the Garden of Sweden. We didn’t necessarily need anything, but it had been a while since our last trip, so we decided to head over and see what they had to offer. We wound up leaving empty-handed. Last night, after spending time with SaraRules’ family for Mother’s Day, we went home and watched Bullitt, starring the late Steve McQueen. It was good. It turned in a few directions that neither of us saw and thus kept us engaged. Good action. Decent acting. And a good high-speed car chase through San Francisco. I may have to pick up a copy of this movie for my collection. I give it… seven-and-a-half bricks.

Stray Toasters


Sleeping in? On a day off? Apparently not.

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Sleeping in? On a day off? Apparently not.

Friday – 06 March 2009
It’s a little after 8:00. (Or, rather, it was when I wrote that…)
On my Friday off.
Why am I already awake?

Could it have something to do with the fact that I slept poorly?
Or the weird dreams I was having?

I wish I knew.  But, there it is. The coffee pot is going, so I should have some liquid motivation in a few minutes. Or, as Dolly Parton put it:

Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch and try to come to life

This morning agenda has a couple of items on it:

  1. SaraRules and I are heading back to Heritage Gardens. As it’s on “The Even-Shorter List,” we want to confirm a few things about the venue.
  2. We’re off to see the Wizard Watchmen in a few hours.

This afternoon… who knows? And there’s Clitorati this evening.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
This I Believe: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

Stray Toasters

  • While I’m avoiding most reviews of Watchmen, I did read ‘s – she saw it last night. She reviewed it favorably, but she did say that someone in her group had not read the graphic novel and was a bit disappointed. She also noted that she didn’t mind the changes that had been made. I’ll take those as good things.
  • By way of MarknTyme: Saturday Morning Watchmen

  • Last night, I read JLA: Earth-2. Again. (I owned a copy years ago…) It was a good read. Again. The book tells the tale of a parallel Earth whose version of the Justice League is the Crime Syndicate of Amerika and whose Alexander Luthor is the world’s only hero. It’s an refreshing take on the classic “good vs. evil” story.
  • In a related note, I ordered the last three (3) ‘Clix I needed to complete my plastic CSA.
  • The Gospel Truth: Sometimes a Little Hazy
  • For :
  • Despair, Inc. is having their annual Retirement Sale.
  • Unemployment Rate Jumps to 8.1 Percent
  • Have any other long-time NPR listeners noticed that Joe Palca and Ira Flatow’s voices sound eerily similar?  Ira’s voice is “just a tad” higher-pitched than Joe’s.
  • Zombie brains hoodie
  • If the weather makes up its mind whether it wants to be hot or cold, it soon might be time to start thinking about getting over to the driving range…

Time to get this day moving along.


“I love you more than I did the day before I discovered alcohol…”

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"I love you more than I did the day before I discovered alcohol..."

Tuesday – 06 January 2009
Another cold and snowy day in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. “Snowy” may be a little bit of an exaggeration; there are flurries, though.

Getting back into the swing of things around the office.  And it seems that we’ve acquired a new team member, too.

Stray Toasters


“Saturday, in the park…”

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"Saturday, in the park..."

Saturday – 26 Sep 2008
Yesterday, after work, I went to Far West and played Matt in a friendly game of Heroclix. He won. My dice hated me, especially in the middle of the game. They proved this by missing any target number I needed by 1. Almost consistently. But, it was a fun game.

Post-game, I came home and watched part of the Presidential debate with SaraRules. I’m still curious about CNN’s real-time stat tracker, used to get the mood/opinion of Democratic, Independent and Republican voters. I’ll have to look up information on how it was gathered/tallied.

Clitorati was up next.  Coffee, dinner and the conversations were all good. I still need to finish the crossword puzzle I started, though.

This morning, “sleeping in” was over a little after 8:00 AM. I think that I’ve figured out “why” I’ve been getting up so early on the weekends: I have been pushing my weekday wake-up time forward (I’m close to 6:15 at the moment), so my body feels that 7:30 – 8:00 IS sleeping in. Oh, well. SaraRules fixed omelettes and hash browns for breakfast. They were a nice change of pace. Then we got ready for the day.

Today was “Company Party Day,” as both of our companies held their end-of-summer get-togethers today. SaraRules’ was up first; it was at Boondocks. We played mini-golf and arcade games (including Galaga and skeeball) and just hung out for a couple of hours. Next was my party; it was at Lone Peak Park. As this party is our “family-friendly” gathering, they had an inflatable balloon-house where the kids could jump around, a climbing wall, games and cotton candy. It was fun. SaraRules and I ate with Dwim and his wife. We talked about comics and politics and other assorted and sundry things.

We stopped in to say “Hi” to SaraRules’ family on the way back to my place.  They were watching Doom (not to be confused with Dhoom). “Somehow,” I’d managed to miss that movie when it was in theatrical release; seeing it with the family-unit, however, allowed for some prime MST3K-ing.

Low-key Saturday

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Low-key Saturday

Saturday – 16 August 2008
On the way home from work yesterday, I thought about coming home and taking a nap. It sounded like a really good idea. Instead, I wound up taking more pictures for auctions I plan on putting up today or tomorrow. So, while I didn’t get any shut-eye, I was nominally productive.

Last night’s Clitorati was kind of small, but nevertheless fun. While at the bookstore, I decided that I’d get the newly-taken pictures ready for their respective auctions – resize them, make any brightness/contrast adjustments, and so on. That’s when I discovered that some of the pictures came out a bit blurry. *BAH* So, I’ll be retaking those.

On the drive home, I considered playing a little CoH when I got in – nothing like beating down some criminals to wrap up the day. After I got in and started winding down, I realized that it was not to be. Instead, I hit the rack. I think I was out within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

This morning, I was greeted with a lovely headache. I have no idea why. Two Aleve, a few sips of water and a short trip back to The Dreaming later, it was gone.

I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing today, aside from meeting Perry for coffee in a little while. That’s something. I’ve considered heading to the Capitol to check out the Declaration of Independence display… but I’m not 100% committed to it. I’m sure that something will come along…

Stray Toasters

  • While chatting with Dwim, we were talking about Galactus. That reminded me of a Lil Formers toon that I had seen involving Galactus and Unicron. That somehow degenerated into something about Star Wars, which reminded me of this toon, also with Galactus and Unicron, but also incorporating The Darth Vader-Death Star Star Wars toy that Hasbro came out with a year or two ago.
  • Having not looked at the series for a while, I went looking through some of the other Lil Formers toons. This one made me laugh:
  • I came across an interesting book last night: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide. I thumbed through a bit of it – there were a lot of good selections in there, although I didn’t agree that all of them were “essential.”
  • Maybe I’ll (finally) head to the driving range before going to work tomorrow…

Quote of the Day
At dinner last night, we somehow got on the topic of Jimmy Carter and how, as a representative of The Carter Center, he’s visited a number of countries… often, against the wishes of the current administration. came up with his take on Carter’s response to a government official trying to tell him that he couldn’t go to a given country:

“Fuck you. Have some peanuts!”

To be honest, I would love to hear President Carter tell someone that.

“Hold it… I ain’t pushing no ‘Moon’ button!”

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"Hold it... I ain't pushing no 'Moon' button!"

Friday – 25 July 2008

It’s SysAdminDay!

In honor of this, I once again bring your Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie’s System Administrator Song.

Last night, I hung out with Allie and her friend, David; I haven’t seen her in close to a year, I guess. She’s in town for a CF treatment. When I talked with her earlier in the week, I told her that I’d come visit her. I asked if she wanted anything. Her response: Tiramisu. So, I picked some up and took it to her. It was a fun visit.

I got back home around 11:00. I turned on the TV and watched the tail end of The Late Late Show. I thought about hopping on PokerStars, but realized at 12:30 that I was tapped. So I called it a night.

Stray Toasters


“Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never gonna get it!”

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"Who needs sleep? Well, you're never gonna get it!"

Friday – 18 July 2008
Welcome to the weekend.

This morning’s goal was to sleep in. Apparently, my body had other ideas: Despite turning off the alarm, I was up a little after 7:00. And 8:15. And somewhere around 9. I got a call from Perry at 9:15 and decided to finally take the hint that I wasn ‘t really going to get much/any more sleep. He asked something that made me laugh though: “Did you take the day off because of [City of Heroes‘] Double XP Weekend?”

I’ll try the sleeping in thing again tomorrow.

Assuming I get in gear and out the door in short order, I’ll probably head up for a cup o’ Joe with Perry before heading to lunch with and Steph (former coworker of his). Maybe I’ll just go post-lunch.

This afternoon’s agenda includes (but is not limited to) some cleaning… although, I may sneak in a little game time, too. And the idea of hitting some balls at the driving range isn’t entirely off the table, either.

To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, I’ve got “nothing but air and opportunity.”

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
From a conversation with SaraRules about Mamma Mia!, a movie that she wants to see… and that I’ve agreed to sit through:

SaraRules: Entertainment Weekly called Mamma Mia! “exuberantly vapid”
Me: Yeah…
Me: I saw something along those lines online last night
SaraRules: Awesome. I can’t wait.
Me: hahaha
SaraRules: Dude, I’m sorry, but it’s a hollywood move musical based around the music of ABBA. How can anyone expect it to be art?
Me: High hopes?
Me: Wishful thinking?
Me: Miracle?
Pshaw. Delusions
SaraRules: Pshaw, now i have ABBA running through my brain.
Me: I’m sorry.
SaraRules: Hell, I’m not. Finding it on iTunes right now. 
Me: I love you… but sometimes, you scare me.
SaraRules: Because I like ABBA?
Me: No.
Me: Because you’re actively seeking ABBA out on iTunes. 😉

Time to start/finish getting ready to jet.

“That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!”

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"That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!"

The day has been pretty good. The highlight (at least so far) was heading to ‘s house with looneybin88 and JG to play a few games of Twilight Zone pinball at lunch. Other than that, it’s been a rather run-of-the-mill day in the neighborhood.
(…in the neighborhood…)
(…in the neigh-bor-hood.)

Not sure what trouble I plan on getting into this evening. Maybe a trip to Paragon City… or *gasp* even The Rogue Isles.

Stray Toasters

Quotes of the Day
Today’s gems both came at lunchtime and qualify as “Unintentional Porn Overheard While Playing Pinball”

  1. looneybin88 was on the machine… and doing quite well. He made a play that resulted in playing with three pinballs on the table. (You have no idea how many permutations that last sentence went through before I came up with something that wasn’t porn-tastic.) Someone commented on his making a good play and the rest of the conversation went down the proverbial chute:

    Me: Sun. Dog. Ass. (My usual ‘shorthand’ for “The sun shines on a dog’s ass, too…”)
    looneybin88: What can I say? I got skills!
    : You have skills… with a dog’s ass? I’m calling animal control.

    At that point, all three balls left the field of play as looneybin88 doubled-over, red-faced and laughing.

  2. All of us had a horrible third game… except JG. When he was coming to the table to play his second ball, he looked at our scores and said:

    Huh, all I have to do is beat myself.

    The rest of us looked at each other… and broke out in raucous laughter. JG, to his credit, stoically kept playing.

And now, to find some trouble to get into.


Saturday night’s alright for… um… other things than “fighting,” too.

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Saturday night's alright for... um... other things than "fighting," too.

Saturday – 12 April 2008
Today has been a lazy day, for the most part. Sleeping in. Breakfast. Reading the best Batman stories… that aren’t Batman stories: Confession, an Astro City trade paperback.

The stories were told from the perspective of Brian Kinney, a small-town boy who sought something more out of life than his hometown could give him. The story starts with him hopping a bus to Astro City… and the adventure takes off from there.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book also contained “The Nearness of You,” possibly my favorite Astro City story. I have a 1/2 issue with this story in it, but to find it collected in this TPB was a great bonus.

Later in the day, SaraRules and I popped out for an ice cream cone at the local DQ. After that, I hit the driving range with Lish. The range had a ton of gophers down near the distance markers. You’d see them exit their holes, run a few feet or yards and then… disappear into another hole. While I didn’t have many excellent drives, I did manage to hit the ball retrieval cart once. Post-driving range, Lish and I played on the XBox for a bit.

Stray Toasters

  • I discovered that access to a number of sites is being blocked, either by the local ISP (doubtful) or the management at SaraRules’ complex. Not adult sites. Nor anything controversial. I can’t find rhyme or reason to explain why these sites are blocked. (And I still don’t have access to CoX from here. Good thing I brought my XBox.)
  • Last night, I asked what did the item in this picture remind people of:
  • All answers agreed: A bat’leth.

  • By way of :
  • Thanks to for a link to Superman as a Scion.
  • Will DC lose Superman?

Tonight’s fare: Ballroom Dance concert… maybe. We shall see.