Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“I am made from the dust of stars and the oceans flow in my veins…”

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"I am made from the dust of stars and the oceans flow in my veins..."

Thursday – 16 August 2007
Another day of bliss in Happy Valley.

Today’s big news: I tried a new max weight on bench press – 275 pounds.

I managed to do two reps at that weight. The first one was slow, but steady… the second one was wobbly. I tried 300 pounds. The operative word in that sentence is “tried.” The bar just hovered (BARELY) a couple of inches above my chest. I’ll get there someday.

But, I got the 275.
1.71 times my body weight.
And that is chock full of awesomeness.

That even makes up for the plethora of road monkeys that I had to deal with this morning.

The Best: Hungry Like the Wolf
Duran Duran (video) vs. Bruce Campbell (video)

Bruce Campbell. No contest.

The Scales of Justice
Last night found the Hand of Nefer-Tem in Paragon City, once again. I teamed up with members of my supergroup… kind of. Two of them were running characters who had “aged out” of the primary group and have since been moved to the senior group – kind of like graduating from the Teen Titans to the Justice League… or from the New Mutants to the X-Men. We were up against The Carnival of Shadows. There was much dying and resurrecting and/or hospital-going. But the experience, even despite the XP debt, was good; I’m roughly 60% of the way through Security Level 32.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Fortune is random, Fate shoots from the hip…”

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"Fortune is random, Fate shoots from the hip..."

Thursday – 09 August 2007
Three down, one in the chamber and one to go.

I ran out of coffee creamer last week and neglected to pick some up. But, I’m trying something (again) that I haven’t done in a while: using ice cream instead of milk. I like it. I still need to find the right blend, but it seems like two(-ish) tablespoons do the job nicely for my travel mug.

She Talks to Angels is nearing completion. Thank God. (No pun intended.) I have a little more detail work to do and it should be pretty much good to go. I’m also deciding whether I want to color the piece or just color selected parts of it. I’m also thinking about how I want to do Ed’s Song. The content will remain as I planned, but I may go for more of a sketch style than a detailed drawing.

The Best: Pink Cadillac
Bruce Springsteen vs. Natalie Cole

The Boss’ version is a hard-driving (again, no pun intended), almost-garage band sounding song about a guy’s love for his ride. (As much as I hate to make the comparison, it’s kind of like the way Danny Zuko sings about Greased Lightning in Grease.) Ms. Cole’s version has much more of an R&B feel and swing to it… but it just doesn’t handle the curves quite as well as the original.

This one goes to Springsteen.

The Scales of Justice
I found my way to Paragon City last night. A few members of my SG and my coalition were on, but they were already involved in teams and/or missions. After some aimless wandering, I decided to hop the train to Brickstown. A little more wandering, but I did find some bad guys in need of a beat down. I headed back to Talos Island and was invited to join a team… in Brickstown. I joined the team and got back on the train. We went up against The Council. In the words of Dr. Peter Venkman: “We came, we saw, we kicked their asses.” After a couple of missions, I decided to call it a night.

Stray Toasters

  • I discovered Matt Silady’s The Homeless Channel last night, while cruising boingboing.net. Very interesting premise. I will have to add this to my next order at Dr. Volt’s. I signed up for the THC GoogleGroup last night. At the bottom of the sign-up page was a section for comments, so I left one. Less than an hour later, I received confirmation of my acceptance to the group… and a brief “thank you” message from Matt.
  • Stardust opens this weekend. I need to see it. I also need to get in a viewing of The Bourne Ultimatum.
  • And, speaking of Mr. Gaiman’s work, from the movie Mirrormask: Close to You
  • In further efforts to bend my brain, sent me a link to this post. I told him that it was both awesome and scary… at the same time.
  • Yep… more things to add to the Covet List. (, you might want to check this out, too.)
  • You just don’t get it
    What it is … well, you’re not really sure
    You move like you’re walking on this ice
    Talking like you’re still insecure
    Time is a spiral – Space is a curve
    I know you get dizzy, but try not to lose your nerve
    Life is a diamond you turn into dust
    Waiting for rescue, and I know you just
    Don’t get it
    You just don’t get it
  • I know that there is a Speed Racer project in development; I loved the cartoon as a kid, but I’m only *ehn* about the prospect of a live-action movie. But… Warner Brothers is now talking about making a Jonny Quest movie. This piques my curiosity quite a bit. Hopefully, they won’t dumb it down; the 60s series was pretty well-written, even if some of the episodes’ content would be dated today; the 80s/90s series also had intermittent glimmers of greatness.
  • , you should click here.
  • From the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” File: American Red Cross Sued for Using a Red Cross
  • Wizards of the Coast has made a lot of their D&D content available for download. Geeks…? Online..?!? Who’d’ve thunk it?!
  • A Million U.S. Idiots

Namaste.

“It’s not unusual…”

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"It's not unusual..."

Monday – 06 August 2007
Calls have been made.
Numbers have been bandied about… and they weren’t quite as hellish as I had feared.

I found out that one of my coworkers was diagnosed as having a brain tumor over the weekend. He is one of the non-monkeys and a genuinely all-around nice guy; this was about the last thing that I think anyone would have expected. It’s amazing how Life can put things into perspective. He’s in the hospital and will undergo surgery tomorrow to (hopefully) remove it. They expect things to go well, but – as with any major surgical procedure – there is a modicum of risk involved. So, if you have a prayer or good thought that you can spare, I’d ask you to send it in his and his family’s direction.

Rush is but mere hours away…

The Best: Kiss
Prince vs. Tom Jones and The Art of Noise

His Royal Badness vs. The Voice.

While the Jones/AoN cover of the song is good, it just doesn’t stand up to the original, falsetto-toned version.

Stray Toasters

  • Until today, I didn’t know that Morris Day was Prince’s cousin. Learn somethin’ new everyday, I guess.
  • I like Tom Jones’ cover of Baby, It’s Cold Outside, performed with Cerys Matthews of Catatonia.
  • No, his mind is not for rent…
  • Bad cops to wear Hello Kitty armbands
  • Goldfish.  Tasty Pretzel Goldfish…

*stares out the window*

Namaste.

The Best: Minnie the Moocher

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The Best: Minnie the Moocher

Cab Calloway vs. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

This one is pretty much a no-brainer: Cab Calloway.

Don’t get me wrong… I like the BBVD version, but up against the original? The Man? Sorry, the new kids just need to sit down and recognize the heat. They came up with a very worthy cover – and it does swing – but this is definitely one of those “Second-best just isn’t good enough” cases.

“I’ve got celestial mechanics to synchronize my stars…”

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"I've got celestial mechanics to synchronize my stars..."

Wednesday – 01 August 2007
Two down, three to go and a new month begins.

I don’t know what the deal is/was, but last night’s sleep was phenomenally craptacular. I think that I was awakened – for no apparent reason – at least three times between 2:00AM and 5:00AM. And, I woke up again at 5:56… 29 minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off. *grblsnrkx*

Last night was a game night: All Flesh Must Be Eaten. We didn’t die, but a Plague Marine did its damnedest to try and change that. We aren’t out of the scenario – or the proverbial woods – yet. But, we did manage to show the Marine who had superiority through numbers/firepower. Barely.

The Best: Come Together
The Beatles vs. Aerosmith: I like the Aerosmith cover, quite a bit… but, for me, the boys from Liverpool’s version has the edge.

Stray Toasters

  • I am now the owner of a pair of fencing foils. Just because.
  • By way of ThinkGeek: The Government Manual for New Pirates and Pirates for Hire hat
  • I received the same email (body, not headers) from my mother and a coworker today. asked if I have ever seen them both in the same place at the same time. I haven’t. He suggested that I drive a stake through the coworker’s heart… just to be sure.
  • Transform and roll out eat up!
  • I (still) think that this is a great video: All I Want Is You, by U2
  • Vincent: Want some bacon?
    Jules: No man, I don’t eat pork.
    Vincent: Are you Jewish?
    Jules: Nah, I ain’t Jewish, I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.
    Vincent: Why not?
    Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don’t eat filthy animals.
    Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
    Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That’s a filthy animal. I ain’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got enough sense enough to disregard its own faeces.
    Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.
    Jules: I don’t eat dog either.
    Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
    Jules: I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.
    Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
    Jules: Well we’d have to be talkin’ about one charmin’ motherfuckin’ pig. I mean he’d have to be ten times more charmin’ than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I’m sayin’?
  • Apparently, ordering diagnostic equipment is very similar to using a Wish spell in D&D: You have to be VERY specific in what you ask for, or else you get… what you ask for as opposed to what you wanted.
  • The photography of Kat Bret
  • Because sometimes you just need yet another geeky tech site: Gizmos for Geeks
  • Sometimes Salvation, by the Black Crowes – a song I haven’t listened to in a while… and a video I haven’t seen in an even longer time.

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

“They’ve given you a number… and taken away your name.”

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"They've given you a number... and taken away your name."

Monday – 30 July 2007
Return to the work-a-day grind.

Yesterday was good. I didn’t make it to the Garden of Sweden, but I did manage to pull off a few other tricks, including lunch with , a brief stint in Paragon City and seeing , whom I haven’t seen in what has to be at least a year-and-a-half.

The Best
I may have to consider something of a “variation on a theme” (I’m not sure if the pun is intentional or not) to handle instances where an artist/a band has redone one of their previous works. In some cases, the artist/band just reworks the piece; in others, they are working with another artist or group.

Stray Toasters

Blue skies and gentle landings.

“It’s great to learn… ’cause knowledge is power!”

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"It's great to learn... 'cause knowledge is power!"

Friday – 27 July 2007
Four down, one in the chamber.

I don’t know what happened, but I must have been phenomenally tired last night. I slept like a proverbial rock. I even slept in a little this morning.

The Best
Many moons past, I was given the Schoolhouse Rock! Box Set. All of the Schoolhouse Rock! songs that many of us grew up singing along with… in glorious CD form. Some of ’em in stereo, even!

Fast-forward a couple of years: I discovered Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, covers of fourteen Schoolhouse Rock! songs.

Fast-forward again, to the near past: Given my new hobby in determining “The Best” versions of songs, I wondered who would win in an SR! vs SR!R battle. So, I listened to the originals and covers. Below is my take on the songs1:

 

Song

 

Original Artist

 

Cover Artist

 

Best Version

I’m Just a Bill Jack Sheldon Deluxx Folk Implosion Original
Three Is a Magic Number Bob Dorough Blind Melon Original2
Conjunction Junction Jack Sheldon Better Than Ezra Original3
Electricity, Electricity Zachary Sanders Goodness Cover4
No More Kings Lynn Ahrens Pavement Original
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World Bob Dorough Ween Original5
My Hero, Zero Bob Dorough Lemonheads Draw
The Energy Blues Jack Sheldon Biz Markie Original6
Little Twelvetoes Bob Dorough Chavez Original
Verb: That’s What’s Happening Zachary Sanders Moby Original
Interplanet Janet Lynn Ahrens Man or Astro-Man Draw7
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly ,Get Your Adverbs Here Bob Dorough Buffalo Tom Original
Unpack Your Adjectives Blossom Dearie Daniel Johnston Original
The Tale of Mr. Morton Jack Sheldon Skee-Lo Cover

And there you have it.

Coming soon: The Best – Classic Cartoon Themes vs. Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits

Stray Toasters

Notes (The Best):

  1. Results may vary, by user
  2. Blind Melon did a nice job of trying to keep some of the sound and feel, but the original hits all the marks.
  3. C’mon… it’s Conjunction Junction. Do I really need to spell this one out for you? Jazz.
  4. As much as I like the late Mr. Sanders’ work, Goodness makes this song their own.
  5. Ween did a great homage to Bob Dorough’s version… but came up a little short.
  6. The was very close: You’d almost swear that Biz Markie was channeling Jack Sheldon.
  7. This is a photo-finish. Both versions have merit for their respective sounds.

Up out.

Namaste.

“Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom… Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom”

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"Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom... Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom"

Tuesday – 24 July 2007
Merry Mormon Christmas!

It’s Pioneer Day here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. The commemoration of the day when Brigham Young, leading “a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest: A shining planet territory, known as Earth Deseret,” came into what is now known as the Salt Lake Valley and said, “That’s it. I’m done. Set up camp. Call me when supper’s ready.” What this mainly means is that many local businesses are closed (not us, though…). And there will be parades. And fireworks. And stuff. And whatnot.

Last night, after work, I hung out with and the kids for a bit. I also borrowed her copy of Deathly Hallows. I think I made it to page 16 before I was powerless to resist the siren call of the bed.

And that’s another thing…

I know that dreaming basically sticks the subconscious mind on a couple of Vivarin and two liters of Mountain Dew. But, last night…? Damn. Who added crack to the mix?!

Most people who know me (especially at Clitorati) know that I think in terms of pop culture media/trivia and “hyperlinked” thoughts – and there’s not necessarily much conscious thought given to some of the connections I make… but the connections are logical and valid, when I trace them back.

Last night’s dreams were bi-fucking-zarre. Not only was the pop culture trivia there, but a lot of disparate parts of my life… all jumbled together.

I woke up, staring at the ceiling… and I think my first waking words were literally,”What the fuck was that?!”

The Scales of Justice
Before reading, though, I took a trip to Paragon City. No sooner than I had logged on, I was invited to join a team of my supergroup members. We took on The Council and The Freakshow. There were no Shadow Freaks, though… I was a little disappointed. But, it wasn’t my mission, so not part of my storyline. Oh, na. We also took on a safeguard mission: Prevent a bank robbery. We did. With the quickness. (And… there were a few deaths, but that’s not what we’re focusing on here.)

The Best
Madonna’s cover of Don McLean’s American Pie just hit the iTunes rotation. It’s good. I like it. (Of course, I also like Weird Al’s parody, The Saga Begins (video) But, I think that Mr. McLean’s version wins out over the former Material Girl’s version.

Stray Toasters

  • Welcome to Post #500, according to WordPress.  (It’s not exactly 500, but I don’t want to burst its bubble.)
  • I need to remember to download Northern Strike.
  • Zaz!
  • Much to Tyranist’s chagrin – and my satisfaction: Samuel L. Jackson has been confirmed as General Nick Fury in the upcoming Iron Man movie.  This makes sense, as the Ultimate version of Nick Fury was based on Mr. Jackson’s features.  Hilary Swank has also been confirmed to appear in the movie, in an as-yet undisclosed role – I’m personally banking on her playing Natasha Romanova, the Black Widow.
  • Mandelbrot Set you’re a Rorschach Test on fire
    You’re a day-glo pterodactyl
    You’re a heart-shaped box of springs and wire
    You’re one badass fucking fractal
    And you’re just in time to save the day
    Sweeping all our fears away
    You can change the world in a tiny way
  • By way of : Female Orgasm is Deadly for Men
  • I like Basia’s Time and Tide; I have for many years.
  • Iraq War amputee’s bionic hand moves all five fingers
  • I still contend that the themes from Thunderball and Duck Dodgers, both done by Tom Jones, sound eerily similar.
  • Wii speeds up the rehab process
  • Secret list of buildings you can’t photograph
  • Jane, divided
    But I can’t decided which side I’m on

Namaste.

“Moments caught in flight…”

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"Moments caught in flight..."

Sunday – 22 July 2007
After errand running and an unfulfilling (and debt-increasing) trip to Paragon City, I headed to and Jack’s wedding reception. It was nice and I got to see quite a few people I haven’t seen in many rains. I was also reminded that m3l is one of the first people I met after moving out here.

Post-reception, I came home and puttered around the apartment for a bit before heading to breakfast. joined us. Hopefully, we didn’t scare her too badly. At least, nothing that a little psychotherapy and or hypnosis can’t take care of.

The Best
Last night, I heard a cover of Easy Like Sunday Morning. I had heard it many times before and it’s a decent cover… but I still think that The Commodores’ version – the original – is the best one.

Likewise, I was listening to Annie Lennox’ version of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Good version, but still not quite enough to knock Procol Harem’s version out of the box.

Stray Toasters

  • I got bored again: Family pictures
  • I haven’t rushed out to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; I’m more inclined to pick up a new Spenser book before breaking my neck to power-read HP7. Sure, I’ll read it. And, yes, I’m going to make efforts to avoid seeing/hearing spoilers, but I’m not too stressed about it.
  • “Super plasma frag some bitches… expialidocious!” and “Napalm is Nature’s toothpaste!” (by way of Ctrl-Alt-Del)
  • Chafing and vagina dentata.
  • I’m about *this far* from rewriting King of Pain as a testament to life in Utah on a Sunday, like I did with Salt Lake Valley Sunday.
  • Amusing sequence: Applegeeks Issues #123 and #124 and Ctrl-Alt-Del “Issue 124 and a Half”
  • …and that reminds me: Sequins vs. Sequence
  • I think I may have just broken
  • This is definitely going on the outside of my cube wall at work:
  • 10 tech disappointments… with cool names
  • I may wind up at a driving range within the next 36 hours. Maybe less. Maybe much less.
  • Irregular Webcomic: Not just entertaining, it’s educational, too!
  • By way of :

    …and…

“And now, for something completely different…”

Namaste.

“We travel on the road to adventure, on a desert highway, straight to the heart of the sun…”

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"We travel on the road to adventure, on a desert highway, straight to the heart of the sun..."

Thursday – 19 July 2007
So far, it’s been a fairly decent day. The worst thing, so far, was the collection of monkeys on the road during the morning commute. Slow-in-the-fast-lane monkeys, truck-driving monkeys, monkeys who didn’t know how to merge when an opening was presented. Monkeys. But, I managed to make it down to AF without having to unload the disruptor cannons.

I had another good – and tiring – day at the gym. Today’s bench presses were:

  • Set 1: 205 pounds/10 reps
  • Set 2: 205 pounds/10 reps
  • Set 3: 200 pounds/8 reps and 3 (slow and painful) reverse reps – instead of pushing the bar up, I had to allow it to/make it slowly descend

So, I’m pretty jazzed about that. Now, it’s just a matter of continuing to move that weight… and eventually see how much I can increase beyond 200 pounds.

The Best
I’ve been a fan of the song Tempted, by Squeeze, for many moons.
I’m also a fan of the Rockapella cover.

I’m a bit torn over which version is “The Best,” but I think that the Rockapella version edges out the original, ever so slightly… because of the harmonies that the group added.

Stray Toasters

  • I’m not sure why continues to try to kill me… but she does. Although, today’s attempt was far less painful than last week’s. In fact, I even found this one entertaining and amusing.
  • Seems as though Carmen and (and a few other family-types) may be in the area next month. If the timing is right, I may be able to kill multiple avians with a single piece of silicate.
  • By way of : Messner ‘in God’s hands’
  • Moab Brewery. (Damn you, !)
  • That’s it. I’m moving to Sweden. Not (just) because of the Garden of Sweden, but because of this: Swedish woman gets superfast Internet.
  • : Based on your comment, as we were leaving Clitorati last week, I think that I’ve found a theme that works: Parisien du Nord (instrumental), by Cheb Mami and K-Mel. This isn’t to say that I won’t change my mind at some later date, but this works pretty well for now.

Namaste.

“IKEA: meatballs, tasty…”

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"IKEA: meatballs, tasty..."

Sunday – 15 July 2007
I woke from an otherwise good sleep a few times this morning… “just because,” as best I can figure. Around 9:30, I had my fill of lying in bed, so I made my way to the Command Center. After a few minutes of surfing, messaged me to see if I was still interested in going to the driving range. I was, so I got ready and hit the road.

I had originally considered going to Pebblebrook, in Sandy, but we opted for Murray Parkway, instead. Nice driving range and you can use drivers there. We hit a couple of buckets of baskets of balls. She said that my form looked good, but she suggested that I move in – slightly – on the tee. Lo and behold, it made a decent difference in my drives – better contact and fewer ground-skimmers.

Afterwards, we headed to the Garden of Sweden. We’d worked up appetites on the range – and we had both skipped breakfast – so we decided to have lunch before shopping. Swedish meatballs. Salad. Potatoes. And “Chocolate Overload Cake.” Mm-hmm, that’s right. Then the shopping began. My mission: Dining room table. We wandered through the store, looking at other things, before going to get… the… the… um… Where are the tables that are supposed to be here?! *blink* The entire bin of boxes – no, where the boxes should have been – was empty.

*braincramp*

Fine. I went to find a sales associate. He looked. None in the store. I corrected him: There was one – the floor display upstairs. He made a call… and a short while later, I was the proud owner of a new table, at a discounted price. Selah. We loaded it into <lj user=”suzie_lightning”>’s car and brought it here. It looks good in the dining area… but in it’s “small” form, the room seems to swallow it. To me, that just means that I need something on the walls to fill the blank space. Good thing I have a couple of ideas of how to do that.

The Best
Although it’s not radically different from the original, I prefer the No Doubt version of It’s My Life to the Talk Talk version.

On the flip side, Genesis’ version of Land of Confusion still wears the crown, although the Disturbed cover isn’t bad… it’s just not the same. Likewise, I prefer the Don Henley rendition of The Boys of Summer to the version by The Ataris.

Stray Toasters

  • I talked with the ‘rents today. They’re doing well.
  • I exercised restraint in the Garden of Sweden, quite a feat for the Patron Saint of Poor Impulse Control.
  • This looks interesting…
  • The world is not enough
    But it is such a perfect place to start, my love
  • For Derek: Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen #1
  • If Daredevil is known as “The man without fear,” doesn’t it make more sense to juxtapose him with Hal Jordan (or any other Green Lantern), whose power derives from his/their ability to overcome fear (or, in Jordan’s case, be without fear)? Instead, they always stack him up against Batman. I can understand that, in the sense that aside from DD’s radar sense, he’s the closest thing to “baseline human without superpowers” to put up against Gotham’s protector… aside from the late Captain America. But still… *shrug*
  • Pop Quiz: What do you do when the God of Hunger – the very same god you’re trying to destroy – shows up to say “Hi,” while you’re in the middle of trying to get one of the weapons you’re planning on using to destroy him?Did I mention “He’s a god,” already? I did? Okay… just wanted to be clear on that point.

    I think that it basically comes down to: “We’re boned.”
    (Remember Dunwich County? Yeah… that level of boned.)

  • I realize that putting old shows on DVD and sticking ’em in your local video purveyor is the new “in” thing, but I would have never expected this show to get that treatment.
  • Comic Urban Legend: Marvel Comics once had a line of female superhero comic books. Answer.

Time to figure out what I plan on doing for dinner… and what to do this evening.

Namaste.

More than meets the eye…

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More than meets the eye...

Saturday – 14 July 2007
For reasons yet unknown, I was up at 8:15 this morning… after going to be sometime around 3:30. Not that this was a problem, per se, I just wasn’t expecting to be up quite so early.

Last night was apparently Rob the Route Planner (not to be confused with Bob the Builder) night – both Dad and Adam are travelling, and I was acting as remote navigator. Not a problem, especially as I’m kind of used to the role, but it was a little amusing. Adam is traveling a small portion of the route that I took when I moved out here, so I was passingly familiar with some of the things he should look for, but had to consult the Internet and a Rand McNally atlas to fill in some gaps when he got into an area that I didn’t travel. And I neglected to ask him to stop in Metropolis, Illinois to get a picture of the Superman statue. And, I just spoke with Dad; he’s about 10 miles out of Reidsville – he’s stopping in to see Mom and my stepfather and one of my aunts on his way home from West-by-God Virginia. He’s spoken with Adam this morning, who is already underway on the next leg of his trip.

Last night was also Clitorati night. Good turn out… and Acolyte Derek also put in an appearance at coffee. The conversation-to-musical reference generator in my head was turned up to 11. I think that it amused Chris S. to find out just how quickly – and randomly – it worked.

This morning, I watched a “new” episode of Legion of Super-Heroes: “Phantoms.” In it, Clark inadvertently releases a criminal from the Phantom Zone. This results in lots of property damage across New Metropolis as the Legion tries to wrangle him back into the Zone.

I saw Transformers (again) with <lj user=”duckspeaker”> and his… friend and/or co-worker (I think), Terry. Watching robots wantonly blow up lots of property is a great way to start off a Saturday afternoon.

The Best
New addition to the list: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – I Wanna Be Like You (from The Jungle Book).
You can check out a version of it here.

Four-Color Coverage
This week’s take included eleven weeks of Countdown, DC’s latest weekly maxi-series that I had originally intended to skip… until I found out that Karate Kid seems to be featured in it. Which means that it’s a Legion tie-in, even if only tangentially. Which means that I am compelled to buy it. So, that said, let’s get to it:

  • Action Comics #851 – Superman is trapped in the Phantom Zone, while General Zod, Ursa (and a few other Kryptonian villains) are free on Earth. But, just like Ringo Starr, Superman gets by with a little help from his friends. Or just one friend, in this case: Mon-El, who at this point had been in the Zone for about 15 – 20 years… of the 1,000 years that he would wind up being there.
  • All-Star Superman #8 – More adventures on Bizarro World. And Lois discovers Superman’s secret. No, not that he’s Clark Kent (that was Issues #1 and 2… and she didn’t believe him). The secret that his mission to the sun in Issue #1 is killing him.
  • City of Heroes #20 – Final issue. This issue has a big knockdown, drag out fight that lasts for seven pages, establishes a few changes in the CoH/CoV uniferse and alluded to a few things in the upcoming in-game update, Issue 10. There was a little too much exposition in this issue and it felt as though they tried to wrap things up a little too quickly. But, what’re ya gonna do?
  • Countdown #51 – 42 – Something is amiss in the newly reborn DC Multiverse. The Monitors – DC’s answer to Marvel’s Watchers – are back; they who haven’t really been seen since 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now, there are 52 of them – one for each level of the new multiverse. And, at least one of them is on a mission: Eliminate anomalies in the timestream/multiverse – namely, anyone who should be on one Earth, but has migrated to another one.The mysteries don’t end there. Why is Jimmy Olsen suddenly exhibiting superpowers? What’s happening to Mary Marvel? What are the Flash’s Rogues planning? What’s the story behind the Athenian Women’s Help Shelter… and what’s Harleen Quinzel’s angle? Who’s killing the New Gods? What is Monarch planning for the new multiverse?One thing that I am appreciating is a look at some of the between-the-pages scenes that occurred during “The Lightning Saga.” Case in point: A scene aboard the JLA Watchtower, with Dr. Mid-Nite, Dream Girl, Karate Kid and Starman looking down on Earth:

    Dr. Mid-Nite: Does she still look the same in your era? Or have we managed to completely pave her over by then?
    Karate Kid: Actually, Earth’s axis is tilted differently in our time. The South Pole’s in Australia…
    Dream Girl: Can we please not make chitchat? I’m worried about the others.
    Dr. Mid-Nite: Understood, Dream Girl, but we’ll find them, safe and sound, just like we found you.
    Karate Kid: We appreciate your Justice Society and Justice League putting everything into finding our lost teammates, Dr. Mid-Nite… but Dream Girl says one of us is going to die before this is all over, and she’s never wrong about these things.
    Dr. Mid-Nite: Perhaps… but all of you experienced memory loss when you arrived here from the thirty-first century. In the case of Starman, the cognitive impairment was, shall we say, even more profound. How do you know Dream Girl’s precognitive abilities aren’t similarly affected? Just let us finish tracking down your missing teammates’ flight rings. We’ll bring them back here safe, just like Dream Girl. And, hey, at least you’re not locked up in one of our holding cells anymore.
    Karate Kid: Aren’t we? You’ve given us free run of the station, but we’re effectively in quarantine up here.
    Dream Girl: Val, this man is trying to help us.
    Karate Kid: He’s diagnosing us, Nura. He knows a potential infection when he sees one.
    Dr. Mid-Nite: Fair enough, Karate Kid, but can you blame me for being cautious? You very nearly took down Batman!
    Karate Kid: I was mind controlled. I’m not a threat anymore.
    Dr. Mid-Nite: *hh* Do you know why you traveled a thousand years back in time to come here?
    Karate Kid: You know I don’t.
    Dr. Mid-Nite: Do any of you know why you’re here?
    *blank looks on Dream Girl, Karate Kid and Starman’s faces*
    Dr. Mid-Nite: Then until we’re sure your mission isn’t something along the lines of “Kill Sarah Conner,” I suggest you relax and enjoy the view.

    …and…

    *Karate Kid approaches Batman on a Gotham rooftop*
    Batman: People who try to sneak up on me usually regret it.
    Karate Kid: I’m sorry, Batman. I didn’t come to make trouble. I just wanted to say that the Legion is returning to the Thirty-First Century. I’m going to go rendezvous with them right now…
    Batman: Don’t let me keep you.
    Karate Kid: Before I go, I, uh… I am humbly grateful to have fought such a skilled martial artist–
    Batman: Don’t. You outfought me. Once. You wouldn’t in a rematch.
    Karate Kid: I wasn’t trying to rub your nose in it. I only wanted to… Never mind. *flies away*
    Batman: *smirking* Did you expect a sidekick job?

  • Fantastic Four #547 – I think that this has to be one of my favorite issues of FF ever, if only for the following exchange between Storm, The Thing and The Black Panther:

    Storm: I can’t believe you said that.
    Thing: I didn’t say it, I’m just telling you what Michael said.
    Storm: You can tell Michael Collins that my hair is completely natural.
    Thing: Okay, you know. Whatever. Sorry I brought it up.
    Storm: This is not a weave. Go ahead.
    Thing: Go ahead what?
    Storm: See for yourself. Pull my hair.
    Thing: Are you nuts?
    Storm: *wrapping strands of hair in Ben’s hands* Hard as you want.
    Thing: I don’t want!
    Storm: Do it. *irritated look on her face*
    Thing: *lifts Storm a few inches off the floor… by her hair* There. Happy now?
    Storm: I think I proved my point.
    *Black Panther walks into the room*
    Thing: T’Challa, I can explain…
    Black Panther: Don’t bother. She’s very sensitive about her hair. Word of advice: As you value your life, never ask her if she’s wearing colored contact lenses.
    Storm: I ‘m not!
    Black Panther: I know, my love. *walks out of the room*

  • Green Lantern #21 – Aftermath of the attack of the Sinestro Corps. 59 Green Lantern rings seek replacement bearers. Most of the Guardians are… ignoring… the Blackest Night prophecy. Two Guardians – Sayd and Ganthet (surprise) – don’t think that it’s a wise course of action…. and recruit Officer 2814.1 (Hal Jordan) to spearhead an attack against the Sinestro Corps. But, what is it that Hal Jordan (still) fears?
  • Justice Society of America #7 – Another post-“Lightning Saga”thread weaves through this story, with Superman visiting Starman at the Sunshine Sanitarium:

    Starman: *singing* “…to make me fret, I fly a-round! I had strings, but now I’m free– there are no strings on me!” *walks into the cafeteria*
    Doctor: Good afternoon, Starman. You did a very good thing this morning, pulling that school bus from the river. You saved a lot of kids and made a lot of parents happy.
    Starman: Well, today should be a good day for everyone, Doctor. It’s Wednesday, after all.
    Floyd: Hi, Starman.
    Starman: Hi, Floyd. Oh, yes! *bends down to look at Sloppy Joes on the lunch counter* They don’t have these when I come from.
    *off-panel voice* Excuse me, Starman.
    Superman: I know the Justice Society wants a few words with you , but since we’re old friends– I asked for some time first. I want to know more about what’s happened with the Legion. And I want to know more about you.
    Starman: *chompf* You ‘anna ‘oppy ‘oe, Kal?
    Superman: I’d love one, Thom.
    *the pair get lunch trays and sit down*
    Starman: Aren’t you going to drink your milk?
    Superman: Um, no.
    Starman: It makes your bones stronger. You’re not still mad at me, are you, Kal?
    Superman: I’m not mad at you, Thom.
    Starman: The we’re still friends?
    Superman: The Legion will always be my friends.
    Starman: Mine too. I like Power Girl an awful lot, but not in the way I love my Dreamer. I can’t wait to see her again. *chompf*
    Superman: Why didn’t you go back with the other Legionnaires?
    Starman: I wanted to, but I can’t. I’m here to help.
    Superman: Help who?
    Starman: Myself. And Earth, too! The black hole is supposed to help her see the truth. Then he’ll come and why… the Justice Society of America shows us all the way. The world needs better good guys! That’s not just our world, you know. Or our time. But the future isn’t up to me to save. I have my own job. I have gravity powers! I’m quite happy about that. *uses his power to crush a milk carton*
    Superman: Why did the Legion come back here?
    Starman: There’s trouble in the 31st Century, you see. The big three say you can’t help them.
    Superman: Why not?
    Starman: Why Clark Kents can’t come! It’s common sense.
    Superman: When they opened the Speed Force, Wally West and his family came back.
    Starman: And they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place! Pfft! Just ask him.
    Superman: But is that why the Legion were here? To bring the Flash home?
    Starman: From the vibrational plane! Zip! Zoom! The Legion of three worlds! Do you remember XS? She had such a crush on you. And I got to meet another Thom and another Thom!
    Superman: I don’t understand what you’re talking about.
    Starman: Yeah. Me either.

  • The New Avengers #32 – Welcome to “Who Wants to Be a Skrull-ionnaire?” There’s tension on the team. After last issue’s revelation that Skrulls may have replaced some of Marvel’s best and brightest, now the question looms: “Who can you trust?” In the New Av’s case: It seems to be no one. Not even your teammates. Where are Scully and Mulder when you need ’em?
  • Supergirl #19 – Finally! FINALLY! Kara grows up, grows a pair (so to speak) and owns up for her actions – or lack thereof – over the past year. Maybe this book will actually see some progress and story advancement now…
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #43 – The Silver Surfer arrives… and he’s not exactly the harbinger of good news.
  • Ultimate X-Men #84 – Wolverine lets off a little steam. Stryfe attracts the attention of a fleet of Sentinels. Bishop’s team of X-Men makes a public appearance.
  • Uncanny X-Men #488 – Nightcrawler and the Professor go off in search of Magneto. The Morlocks declare war on the over-world. Storm, Hepzibah and Warpath head to the Morlock tunnels in search of some answers, which leads to this scene:

    Storm: Can both of you concentrate, please? We’re about to enter potentially hostile territory.
    Hepzibah: I do not like tunnels either, Storm. Especially not ones that stink of rats and vermin.
    Storm: For me, it’s a little bit worse than not liking them, Hepzibah. It’s worrying that they might drive me insane*hovers down into the sewers*
    Hepzibah:
    Warpath? What does she mean?
    Warpath: Storm’s claustrophobic. Can’t take being in small places, or being boxed in. It takes all she’s got to even go into these tunnels.
    Hepzibah: Then let us not leave her on her own down there. *drops through manhole… into sewer water* Ukk. This is so unclean.
    Storm: Heh… you look…
    Hepzibah: Careful with your next words…
    Storm: I was just going to say… dignified. You look dignified. For a wet cat.
    Hepzibah: You are a brave woman, Storm. Very brave woman.
    Storm: You don’t know the half of it.

Stray Toasters

  • I spoke with Dad and Adam again today; their respective trips are going well.
  • I am going to have to replace my cell phone. Today. This one is on its last… hinge.
  • To go to the Garden of Sweden or not to go? That is the question.
  • I should install – and play – Locomotion. Finally. I’ve had it since God was a boy.
  • I think that I’m actually craving Ika… and maybe a few other types of sushi.

Time to get something to eat and get some errands taken care of.

Namaste.

“This jazz is so…”

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Friday – 06 July 2007
And so, another week comes to a close.

I’m trying something a little different with this post: I turned off the PostAvatar plugin because it seems to cause WordPress to eat posts. Which it did to this post a little while ago. Which it has done many times before. Which is annoying. So, I’ll just try embedding the icons by hand, for a bit and see how that works out.

Jason, James and I had off-site training today. It was good. There were interesting applications of technology. There were sections on personnel relations, including inter-office communications. There were exercises in creative thinking. And… and… Oh, Hell. We went to see Transformers. There. I said it. It had action. A little suspense. Lots of shit blowing up – even more that Live Free or Die Hard! And it was fun. Sure, there are old-school purists who will find things to complain about:

“Waaaah, Bumblebee is supposed to be a Volkswagen…”
“Optimus Prime never had ghost flames…!”
“According to episode blah-blah-blah…”

I would just like to remind those people of one tiny, miniscule, almost-insignificant fact: It’s a movie… based on a cartoonbased on a line of toys. Sit down. Shut up. Enjoy the ride. It’s fun. Thank you, move along. *ahem* Where was I? Oh, yeah… It was fun. Definitely worth seeing.

The Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival opens this evening; I might even go to coffee a little late, so that I can hear Diane Reeves perform. And the festival closes down with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Yeah… I’ll be spending a little time downtown this weekend.

Stray Toasters

  • I have an idea for my new lyric-to-drawing piece. Now I just need to draw it…
  • is trying to kill me. Again. This time, this is her weapon of choice.
  • It seems as though my young acolyte/apprentice has started the clock on his fifteen minutes of fame – he’s the one talking about the Wii in the home video clip.
  • bunny
  • A few days ago, made a comment about Marvin Gaye’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner being the “best version ever.” I’m not sure that I agree with that, but I did agree with his choice of Ray Charles’ America the Beautiful. For many years, I’ve thought that the late Mr. Charles’ rendition is the definitive version. That led me to consider other songs that have been covered by different artists and which of those versions I consider “The Best.” So far, I’ve come up with the following:
    • Al Jarreau – Since I Fell for You
    • Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
    • Tina Turner – The Bitch Is Back
    • Bruce Willis (yes, that “Bruce Willis”) – Good Lovin’
    • Was (not Was) – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
    • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (ft. Henry Rollins) – War
    • Me’Shell Ndegeocello – Poison Ivy

    I’ll be adding to this list, as I remember/discover other songs that fit the bill. I may even make it an item/feature unto itself

  • Microsoft to extend Xbox 360 warranty, take $1 billion hit
  • Dwim showed me this video yesterday. It made me laugh. A lot.
  • Real Life
  • Arf Forum: Unholy Marriage of Art & Comics
  • I [heart] my blender.
  • Laptop typewriter mod
  • Blood ties: Yakuza daughter lifts lid on hidden hell of gangsters’ families

Up out.

Namaste.