Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“You… you’ve got me? Who’s got YOU!?!”

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"You... you've got me? Who's got YOU!?!"

25 April 2013
It’s another sunny – and moderately warm – NBN Thursday in the valley.

Last night, was not only Movie Date Night, but it was Sara!’s turn to pick a movie. The only things that she would say about the night’s fare was that it required – REQUIRED – popcorn and that it was “the greatest movie ever made.” I was intrigued by these comments, to say the least.

After a messy dinner  (Two toddlers with Greek food… and rice. Do the math.) and some clean-up, it was time for the movie. And I was, to say the least, surprised by her choice:

That’s right: Superman. My all-time favorite movie.

Best. Wife. Ever.

So we sat on the couch, ate popcorn, and watched Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder and company bring a small slice of the DC Universe to life. And, once again, I was transported to a happy place in my childhood. I  was also able to pick out a few things that I’d never paid attention or associated with the movie before:

  1. Faster than a speeding bullet: Clark snatches the bullet out of mid-air during the mugging.
  2. More powerful than a locomotive: This one comes up twice:
    1. Teenaged Clark is races the train through rural Kansas
    2. Superman subs in for a missing rail as an Amtrak train approaches
  3. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound: This one’s a given – he flies throughout the second half of the movie.
  4. Who can change the course of mighty rivers: Not so much changing the course of a river, but he creates a makeshift dam to stop a river from destroying a town
  5. Bend steel in his bare hands: Again, another two-fer:
    1. He tears the door to Lex Luthor’s lair off it’s hinges
    2. He tears off the door to Lois’ rental car after the California earthquake

At the end of the movie, Sara! admitted: “You know, I hadn’t thought about it the last time we watched it, but that was actually a pretty good movie.” (I simply nodded and smiled at this. Hey, I’m biased… not stupid.) I did have to correct Sara!’s misconception of the “spinning the world in reverse” visual and explain that it wasn’t him turning the world backwards, but that it was simply a representation of him going back in time. (For which there are a great many references in the comics…)

All-in-all, it was a fantastic movie date night.


Stray Toasters


“To the moon, Alice…!”

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"To the moon, Alice...!"

Thursday – 14 March 2014
It’s another fine NBN Thursday in the valley.

The following was culled from the “It Happened in Chat” file:

(12:35:03 PM) ***Steve crash lands.
(12:39:54 PM) Rob: Airplane or Airplane II style?
(12:40:02 PM) ***Beth goes ‘heh heh heh.’
(12:40:40 PM) Steve: Airplane II with Shatner guiding me in. ’cause that means we have a moon base and won’t die out as quick when the asteroid hits the earth.
(12:40:58 PM) Rob: Moon base.
(12:41:18 PM) Steve: I don’t worry about gun control. I worry about extinction level events.
(12:41:21 PM) R0b: You’re forgetting/overlooking two potential obstacles, though.
(12:42:59 PM) Steve: obstacles?
(12:43:03 PM) R0b: Yeah.
(12:43:28 PM) R0b: 1. The giant metal baboon-looking robot that Michael Bay chronicled as living on the moon.
(12:43:32 PM) R0b: 2. Nazis.
(12:43:35 PM) Steve: shatter is involved. we don’t believe in the no-win scenario.
(12:43:41 PM) Steve: shatner.
(12:43:42 PM) Mike: william shatter.
(12:43:57 PM) Steve: how could i ever turn off autocorrect? it is so lovable.
(12:44:59 PM) Steve: oh shit. nazi transformers on the moon. *calls michael bay*

Just like that.


Oh, hello there!

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Oh, hello there!

Thursday – 23 August 2012
Man, I turn my back on this thing for a minute… and nearly two weeks go by!

To make up for it, here’s a little Team DiVa goodness for you:

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Yep, they’re in overalls that their grandparents bought them – and have been waiting for them to grow into – a few months ago. What you can’t exactly tell is that they are also wearing matching/coordinating t-shirts that their Aunt Galadriel bought them: Diana’s says “Copy,” where Vanessa’s says “Paste.”

These shirts, in fact.

The girls are doing well. Diana’s has trying out the whole “walking” thing; Vanessa has taken steps, as well… just not as frequently (or as daringly) as her big sister. They are also learning some sign language. So far, the big hits have been:

  • “Change,” as in “change your diaper” (although, we don’t get this one until after we ask if they need a change…)
  • “Water”
  • “Ball” has picked up some traction lately
  • and a sign that Vanessa has come up with for “excuse me,” which she seems to have picked up from something I do when I say it.

And, at this point, we are slightly over two weeks away from them turning one-year-old. Wow.

Sidenote 1: Last night, I started teaching the girls to shake their fists and scowl – although, so far, I’ve only getting smiles and smirks – when I say “DOOOM!”  It’s pretty amusing.

Sidenote 2: I totally missed an opportunity to video Diana rocking out to Rage Against the Machine’s Renegades of Funk. BAH!!!

Stray Toasters

  • The Ravens came up with a big win in Preseason Week three tonight. 48-17 over the Jags.
  • The train room is coming along nicely. Walls are up and mudded. Ceiling went up – and was mudded – this past weekend. Just need to go back and sand and add a coat of topping compound on the ceiling… and then we’re ready for painting!
  • Vote for Robot Hall of Fame 2012 inductees
  • Wow.
  • I’ve been enjoying the new Sunday Ticket commercials with Deion Sanders and the Manning brothers.
  • The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy
  • Starship Troopers: Invasion.  Uh, riiiiiight.
  • It seems that there’s some… static… between Paul Ryan and Twisted Sister over the use of We’re Not Going to Take It on the campaign trail. Okay, help me with a concept: How hard is it to call a band – or their designated agent – and ask permission to use it before making it part of your media presentation!? It’s not rocket surgery, is it?
  • Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home’

Okay, off to do some gaming, I think…


In the middle…

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In the middle...

Wednesday – 11 July 2012
It’s 7/11…

…which means that it’s Slurpee Day at your local 7-Eleven.
…which means free mini-Slurpees at your local 7-Eleven.
…which means… Oh, Hell.  If I have to spell it out for you, then what’s the point!?

It’s also new comics – and new ‘Clix – day.

And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, it’s Movie Date Night, too.

Triple score!

Stray Toasters


“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.

Stray Toasters


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?

Stray Toasters

Thursday (or something quite like it)

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Thursday (or something quite like it)

Thursday – 07 June 2012
Not only is today NBN Thursday, it is also my mother’s birthday:

And, it is also the day that Diana turns 9-months-old:

To celebrate the day, the girls get to go for another visit to the pediatrician… which means: Shots! (Which also means “Cranky children this afternoon.”) Yay.


Well, as it turns out, the girls did not have to get shots today. But, they will be getting four at their one-year check-up. (Joy of joys.) On the plus side, we found out that their pediatrician’s office will be moving… to our neighborhood right before that visit. So, I guess that means the offices will still have that new car office smell.

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s good for now.


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:

Stray Toasters



The memory of you.

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The memory of you.

Thursday – 03 May 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley.

This morning, Diana decided that 6:20 was a good time to wake up. She’d managed to roll herself onto her stomach again. I rolled her over and put her blanket back on her and hoped that she’d knock out for another half-hour to hour.

No go, Flight.

She played in her crib until I 6:50. (And, yes, she’d inverse-turtled herself a couple more times by then.) When I went in, Vanessa was also up; I decided to turn on their light, do their morning diaper change and start their day.

And then, I started mine.

Last night, SaraRules! and I watched Royal Wedding for our Date Night movie. I’d gotten the movie from Netflix “a while ago,” mostly because I wanted to see Astaire’s famous dance around a hotel room:

I wasn’t disappointed. For a 60-year-old effect, it was pulled off very well. And the movie itself was rather light-hearted and fun and a good way to spend the evening.

|| PAUSE ||

Mornings were always rough, not that Carl would admit it to anyone. Mornings always reminded him that she wasn’t there to share the new day with him. He looked at the other side of the bed and ran his hand over the spot where she used to lay. “Good morning, sweetheart,” he said. He swung his feet out of bed and sat up. He paused, hands on his knees, before standing up. A yawn – one that sounded more like a wild bear’s growl – forced its way to freedom.  He scratched his chin, stood and shuffled to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, Carl made his way downstairs. He stopped in front of the cluster of pictures at the bottom of the stairway. He reached up and touched the picture in the silver frame. Her picture. He smiled… and his heart ached a little. He stood there a moment before continuing on to the kitchen. He fixed a bowl of oatmeal while waiting for his coffee to brew. When breakfast was ready, he sat at the small table and ate. He looked out the window and watched as people headed to wherever they were going. Work? Home? Vacation? He shrugged. He didn’t really care. They were just going places.

After breakfast, he went back upstairs and got dressed. He didn’t have anywhere to go, but Carl had never been one to just sit around in his bedclothes all day. It just didn’t seem right. He came back downstairs and sat down in his comfy chair. He turned to look out the window, watching another little slice of the world passing by.

Adventure is out there, he thought. But not for me. Not today.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters


“Tuesday afternoon…”

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"Tuesday afternoon..."

Tuesday – 10 April 2012
Another day in the valley. And it’s a rather nice day, at that. A bit breezy and few high clouds, but nothing horrible.

And, today is also my brother-in-law, Logan’s birthday:

Last night, SaraRules! had a Justice League meeting. My father-in-law came over to help me get Team DiVa ready for bed and to do some duct work in the basement. Both jobs were successful. When SaraRules! got home, we relaxed and watched a bit of House Crashers and Yard Crashers to wind out the evening.

Stray Toasters


On this day of Thor…

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On this day of Thor...

Thursday – 05 April 2012
Another Thursday in the valley. Hopefully, this one will maintain the NBN tradition; it’s doing pretty well, so far.

This week’s been pretty decent. Busy, but decent. SaraRules! and Team DiVa are doing well.

Diana, Sara and Vanessa



Last night was Pasta and Movie Date Night. It was SaraRules!’ turn to pick a flick; she chose to start catching up on Mad Men. I was good with that, considering that we’re a season-and-a-half behind. We watched three episodes and are only two away from only being one season behind. (Hey, we’ll take the small victories where and when we can.)

I didn’t play MW3 last night, opting to read some of yesterday’s new comics. As part of the haul, I also downloaded Marvel Comics’ Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1 – available only as a digital comic – which serves as a prelude to the Avengers vs. X-Men miniseries, which also started yesterday (technically, it came out on Tuesday, but let’s not quibble). If this is a possible look at “the future of comics,” as it claims, I have to give it thumbs-up for presentation. Well played, Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.