Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

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"You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

Tuesday – 09 August 2016
Have you ever had one of those moments when you read something and it seems perfectly logical in your head – for a few seconds, at least – and then you have to retrace all of the steps to make sure that you really read it properly?

Huh.

Yeah, okay… that makes sense.

You have?

Good.

How about one of those moments when you read something AND it seems perfectly logical in your head AND you retrace all of your mental steps… yet it still seems a little off?

YeahbuhWHAT....?!

But… that… doesn’t even make good crazy peoples’ sense…

That happened to me a short while ago.
And it proved to me that I’ve been in Utah too long.
Naturally, it came by way of Facebook…

A friend’s wife posted something about a family they know who is moving. She added:

“Thank you to all the First Pres worship team who came to celebrate…”

And the first thing in my head was: “The First Presidency1?!”

Nope. She meant “First Presbyterian.”

D'oh!

*derp*

1 – For those of you who either: A) don’t live in Utah or B) not Mormon, the First Presidency is the presiding or governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hell: The Musical

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Hell: The Musical

Monday – 18 July 2016
It’s the day after National Ice Cream Day and, for my sin of gluttony, I think I’m going to Hell.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

Yes, yesterday was National Ice Cream Day.
Yes, I did eat ice cream.
Yes, I ate “quite a bit” of ice cream.
(And, yes, there’s still a lot of ice cream in our freezer.)

But, those are not the reasons I probably have an eTicket to Hell reserved in my name. Like so many others, my road to Hell was paved with good intentions. And it even started so innocuously. Need proof? Here it is:

Earlier, I received an email with a link to this article: Incredibly Epic Statue of Ancient Chinese Warrior God Unveiled. And they weren’t just whistling Dixie (or any other song, for that matter); this statue is rather epic. Bonus points for truth in advertising. Seriously, check out this statue:

Guan Yu - photo (c) CCTV News China

Guan Yu – photo (c) CCTV News China

So, I’m looking at this statue when, out of the blue, a thought pops into my head:

Battle of the Titans: Guan Yu vs. Big Butter Jesus!

 

It proceeded to go downhill from there. Rapidly.

For the unfamiliar, here’s some information about Big Butter Jesus and here’s a look at His Oleo Holiness:

Big Butter Jesus - photo (c) The Huffington Post

Big Butter Jesus – photo (c) The Huffington Post

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s, quite obviously, a statue of Jesus… and it’s not made of butter.” You’re right. It is and it isn’t, in that order. So, how did it wind up with the sobriquet “Big Butter Jesus?” Because of Heywood Banks and this song:

So, yes, thanks to a couple of giant statues, Heywood Banks, and the way my mind is wired, I’m going to Hell. Handbasket. Gasoline draws. At least I’ll have something to listen to on the way there:

Namaste.

“…’cause I’m the Tall Cool One and I’m built to please.”

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"...'cause I'm the Tall Cool One and I'm built to please."

Tuesday – 28 June 2016
Over the past few years, Sara and I have talked – mostly idly – about replacing some of the appliances in our home. One that we knew was on the long-range forecast was the refrigerator. It has, in the last three weeks, vaulted to the lead – something about having to defrost the bloody thing three times in less than two months kind of gets your attention. We hadn’t really discussed the type of replacement fridge we wanted; we just knew that we needed something “not as old” as our current fridge. Last night, we packed up Team DiVa and headed to the local Home-Away-from-Home Depot to check out the options.

Not surprisingly, they had many options.

One of the first ones we saw was a petite – no, really, we’re talking 9 cubic feet – fridge. I commented that we had found our fridge and that we could call it a night. I even suggested that we could get two for less than the price of one full-sized refrigerator – at almost the same storage capacity. I don’t think that Sara actually vocalized her thoughts, but the eye roll spoke volumes.

We looked up and down the aisles at the various models and prices: top-freezer, bottom-freezer, french door, four-door, ranging from $300 – $4500 (I’ll come back to this one in a minute). Team DiVa took advantage of this opportunity to open the doors that they could… and were shocked that some of them were “brr-coldy inside!” Shocked, I tell you!

I’d mentioned before that we weren’t sure what model we wanted. While walking around, we decided that a side-by-side model would be best, as it would allow the little ladies better access to both fridge and freezer – a prospect that excited both of them.

Fridge

And, although they didn’t say anything, I’m pretty sure that the built-in ice and water dispenser will be a hit as well, given how fond they are of the one on their grandparents’ refrigerator.

About that $4500 refrigerator that I mentioned earlier: It’s a four-door, 27.9 cubic foot appliance. With a touchscreen. And cameras. Just let that sink in. Ladies and gentlemen, say “Hello” to a fridge that costs many times more than a mortgage payment: The Samsung Family Hub 4-Door Flex French Door Refrigerator

samsung_fridge

 

The lower-right door? It can be either a fridge or a freezer. It has three (3) cooling zones – top, bottom-left, and bottom-right. The touchscreen? It’s wifi-enabled AND you can stream music to it or mirror your TV output to it (as long as it’s a qualifying model). Don’t want to open the door to look in? It has cameras to look at what’s inside. Yeah. Someone needs to drop a mic and walk off-stage…

…but for that kind of money, we could get a new air conditioner and keep the whole house cool. Granted, probably not “ice cream and frozen meat” cool, but you get the idea.

The new addition to the kitchen family will be delivered next week.

And this is how we kill a language…

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And this is how we kill a language...

Tuesday – 21 June 2016
Excerpted from a conversation:

[11:48 AM] Dave1: Dave2, interesting. You said earlier “guessing another breaker needs replaced”, and that use of “needs + past participle” is quite localized to western PA. http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/needs-washed

[11:49 AM] Rob: Dave1: It’s not that localized. I hear it here all the time.

[11:50 AM] Dave1: uhoh, it’s spreading.

[11:50 AM] Rob: It’s fostered my “Whatever happened to transitive verbs?” question

[11:50 AM] Steve: dear god. we must stop it.

[11:50 AM] Dave2: oh….more likely is my shitty typing…I would have vocalized “needs to be replaced” or “needs replacing”

[11:50 AM] Dave1: There might be an Oregon branch of it: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/needs-washed

[11:51 AM] Dave1: “You’ll see that although it’s concentrated in the areas I just mentioned, it’s certainly not limited to them. For example, I was surprised by the number of people in southern Oregon and southern Idaho who reported hearing “needs washed” kind of sentences.”

[11:51 AM] Rob: Yeah. That.

[11:51 AM] Dave1: (red means ‘not heard’)

[11:51 AM] Steve: looks like the Dakotas are the only safe place left.

[11:52 AM] Dave1: isn’t that because there’s nobody there? 🙂

[11:52 AM] Steve: probably.

[11:52 AM] Steve: oh. and Maine

[11:52 AM] Dave1: the lobstahs kill anyone who says ‘needs washed’ in Maine.

[11:53 AM] dga: DFWTL.

[11:58 AM] Rob:Old furry lobsters.

[11:58 AM] Steve: Fury Lobsters.

[11:59 AM] Rob:Nick Fury Lobsters!

[11:59 AM] Steve: Fast and the Nick Furious.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go write a fan-fic about one-eyed, secret agent lobsters in obscenely fast cars….

Opposites attract (or “That’s a heck of a way to run a railroad…”)

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Opposites attract (or "That's a heck of a way to run a railroad...")

Saturday – 18 June 2016
I’ve often said that Sara is something of a saint for putting up with a lot of my geeky habits, be they gaming, trains, comics… or anything in between. That said, there have been more and more signs that she’s getting to be geeky by osmosis – he occasionally makes comics- and/or science fiction-related comments that would, previously, be more attributable to me. Here is a prime example from earlier today (along with a bit of backstory):

Backstory

I have a model railroad. It’s O Gauge, which I may or may not have gotten into because it “happens” to be the same scale as HeroClix. (Lucky coincidence…?) When we bought our house, it had about 1/3 of the basement was unfinished; with the help of a few friends and my father-in-law, I’ve built a train room. The fact that the room has also become my office and gaming room is a lucky coincidence/fringe benefit. No, I don’t call it a “man cave,” because I quite frankly abhor that term. I usually just call it “the train room,” or “my room,” or “The Toy Box.” But I digress. The room was finished about two years ago, give or take a couple months. Details have kind of slipped away. I finally built a train table and put up an actual working layout about a year ago. I finished the train table (added another 3′ section) and redid the trains on it.

One of the things that I realized is that I can pretty much have what I want on my layout, like a “Conjunction Junction.” (What’s your function?) Other things that might wind up on the layout might include a “Petticoat Junction” and/or a Botany Bay, if I create a seaport area…

Something that I recently decided is that I wanted to build a small version of Stark Tower/Avengers Tower and put it on the layout.

Stark Tower

Stark Tower

I have to admit that I was pretty amused and enthused about the possibility of actually putting my Quinjet on the landing pad, as well.

picture (c) Figures.com

picture (c) Figures.com

Once I got under way, I realized something in practical application that hadn’t occurred to me in the theory phase: At the size I wanted to do the tower, it would require at least three linear feet – and about 3-4 square feet – of space on the layout for the building’s base. That’s a problem, as my table is 11′-6″ long. That’s a LOT of real estate. So, I started rethinking the idea.

Today, I came up with a great alternative: The Baxter Building – home of the Fantastic Four.

Baxter_Building_001

picture (c) Marvel

This was great on a number of levels:

  • It’s still a rather iconic comics building.
  • It has a MUCH smaller footprint.
  • I have Fantastic Four ‘Clix who could be on the roof, preparing to take on the latest threat… as a train rolled past the building.

I even considered the prospect of doing the 4 Freedoms Plaza incarnation of the building…

End of backstory.

While we were out running errands today, I mentioned to Sara the conundrum I’d been having about what building to put on the layout, after realizing that Stark Tower would have to wait until I decide to either move my office out of the train room or we move to a place where I have a lot more room for a layout. I also mentioned the Baxter Building idea. She listened and, without missing a beat, said:

“You could just do Titans Tower.”

It was like a shaft of light shone down from the heavens. For a moment. Just as quickly as the words had formed in her head and crossed her lips, her face contorted into the classic “I can’t believe I just said that…” expression, as she realized that her nascent geekiness had bubbled to the surface and erupted like Vesuvius reborn.

And, yes, I reveled in that moment and the look.

But, I also decided that Titans Tower will be the new addition to the train table.  (Good thing I have some extra Titans lying around.)

Namaste.

Lady Day

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Lady Day

Friday – 17 June 2016
We’ve made it to the end of another week. Selah.

My friend, Dave, posted a link to the following article in a chat a little while ago:

The tongue-in-cheek way the women of Google are responding to a shareholder’s sexist comment

Synopsis:

The women of Google have come up with a clever, tongue-in-cheek way to raise awareness about gender equality after an investor made a sexist remark at the company’s annual shareholders meeting last week.

Now other Googlers are standing up in solidarity by designating this Thursday and Friday as “Lady Day.”

The idea sprouted in an email group for alums of a Google leadership-development program for women. One employee suggested that they should all change their titles to “Lady ___” in acknowledgment and lighthearted protest of the incident. As in “Lady Systems Engineer,” or “Lady People Analytics Manager.”

As of now, more than 800 Googlers — women and men — have changed their job titles in the company-wide directory or in their email signatures.

I recommend reading the entire article.

Google also came up with a new graphic to help illustrate the point:

So, for the day, you can refer to me as “Lady Systems Support Engineer.”

Solidarity – along with equality – is a pretty awesome thing.

Namaste.

Disney Infinity: So Long, Farewell, Goodbye *

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Disney Infinity: So Long, Farewell, Goodbye *

Tuesday – 10 March 2016
Disney has decided to shut down Disney Infinity in June, following its releases for Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory.

Nick Fury and the Avengers vs. Loki and a Frost Giant

Nick Fury and the Avengers vs. Loki and a Frost Giant

I’ve enjoyed this game immensely, but I was also thrilled to be able to share it with my daughters, who love running around in Toy Boxes that I’ve either made or found on the Disney Infinity Community site. I don’t know if the standalone games and downloaded Toy Boxes will be playable without the Disney servers running in the background, but I will be testing that out over the next few days…
Beyond the potential lack of recreation for me and my kids, the shutdown also has larger ramifications: Disney also shut down Avalanche Software, the studio that’s behind franchise. This means that nearly 300 people – including three friends of mine – were just informed that they were being laid off.
The official press release follows:

By now you may have heard the news that we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity. From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you—our fans—and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game.

Our goal for Disney Infinity was to bring the best of Disney storytelling to life in homes around the world, and with your support we accomplished that. We hope you had as much fun playing the game as we had making it.

So what’s next for Disney Infinity? We have two final retail releases coming, including three new characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass later this month, and the Finding Dory Play Set launching in June.

And as we turn to the next chapter in our story, I want to thank everyone who helped bring Disney Infinity to life, particularly Disney’s Glendale-based production and publishing teams, our external development partners, and of course the incredible Avalanche team for their tireless dedication to this project.

But most of all, I want to again thank you for making Disney Infinity a part of your lives—and for adding to the Disney legacy by being a part of this community.

I wish for the best for the people affected by this turn of events.

*-  Apologies/”Thank you” to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

I’m (a) super… (Part II)

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I'm (a) super... (Part II)

Monday – 07 March 2016
When I signed up for a part in Aida, I knew that there would be a couple of proverbial hoops to jump through. Rehearsals. Props. Costuming. All of which is to be expected when you’re in a production, be it stage or screen.

One of the things that came later – in the details of what it meant to be cast as a male super (a.k.a. “the fine print”) – was that I would have to be clean-shaven for the part. Finding out that I had to shave wasn’t a deal-breaker, but that’s not to say that I didn’t inquire as to whether it was an absolute for the role. I did, it was.

I’ve worn a goatee since… 1991 or 92, if memory serves correctly. Since then I have been clean-shaven exactly twice: Once for a friend’s wedding (September 1993)

1993

1993

and once for a Hallowe’en costume (October 2005).

2005

2005

 

As the pictures show, there is precedent for me having a naked chin. That said, Sara had never seen me without a goatee, nor (obviously) had Team DiVa. So as to not have an encore presentation of their reaction to Sara’s cutting her hair a few months ago – let’s just say that “less than pleased” is a gross understatement – I told them a few days ago that I was planning on shaving my goatee. That hurdle passed fairly easily. This morning, I asked them if they wanted to watch as I shaved it off, since I won’t see them until tomorrow morning – tonight’s rehearsal runs until well after their bedtime. They were both enthusiastic in saying “Yes!”

I went about my usual morning shaving routine, but also pulled out the clippers, to thin the goatee before using the razor. The girls kept asking “When are you going to shave it off?!” I had to inform them that it had to be done in steps. They were okay with that… but still impatient, as the hair apparently wasn’t coming off quickly enough for them.

A few minutes later, the deed was done:

Going, going, gone...

Going, going, gone…

And this is how I’ll look for the next two-ish weeks.

Namaste.

“He’s not concerned with yesterday, he knows constant change is here to stay…”

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"He's not concerned with yesterday, he knows constant change is here to stay..."

Thursday – 25 February 2016
Another fine day in the valley…

Long story, short version: Stuff. Things. Adventure.

The slightly less-abridged version is: I woke up a little early and did a short workout with dumbbells and a Swiss ball this morning. I went to work , dealt with the usual things, dealt with one not-so-usual-anymore thing, and even wound up having a coworker decide to have “Neal Day” and wear a suit in my honor.

Suited

Changing the work dress code, one coworker at a time…

Sara pinged me in the late afternoon to ask if I’d mind picking up Team DiVa, as she had to work late. That also put me in (nominal) charge of figuring out what to do for dinner. I delegated that responsibility to the little ladies. We wound up going to McDonald’s. It wasn’t a total loss, though, as they asked if we could eat there, so they could play in the PlaySpace. (An easy way to make my kids happy? Bet.)

After dinner, we arrived at home a couple minutes before Sara. Sometime between her getting a bite to eat and giving the girls a bath, I fell asleep. Quickly and rather deeply asleep. I missed bath time, but I was up for pre-bedtime prep.

The little ones are now asleep. I have read comics. And, I do believe that there is a nominal amount of gaming in the evening’s future. Selah.

Stray Toasters

And, with that, it’s time to figure out what game to play…

Namaste.

Thursday Night Something-or-other

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Thursday Night Something-or-other

Thursday – 11 February 2016
Today was supposed to be #NoBadNewsThursday. It started that way. About a hour-and-a-half into it, however… not so much. One of the servers at work decided to try a new trick:

  • It was powered on.
  • It could see – and transmit to – the network.
  • NOTHING on the network could see it or any of the traffic it generated.

And, to make things even more interesting: This was tied to a production (as in “manufacturing”) system. So, it was “kind of” important.

To quote Dr. Sam Beckett: “Oh, boy…”

I – and a couple of network engineers – troubleshot it for about an hour before we came to the inescapable conclusion that it was not a network problem. Digging into things a little further, I saw that it was pending a reboot. That didn’t solve things. Next up: Check its updates queue. There were a few sitting there that needed to be run. So I let ’em fly. Reboot 2: Electric Boogaloo. Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. It started rolling back the updates. (That’s usually not a good sign.) I checked update error messages when it came back up and saw that they failed because the hard disk was full. As in “Zero. Bytes. Free.” There was a good bit of cursing on my part, to be honest. Then it was a dive into the storage array and VM systems to make space appear. Then present it to the server. That all worked. Then I tried the updates again. Lo and behold, they all went through with no problems. (There may or may not have been a few “Amens” and “Thank yous” that went up at this point.) And, almost automagically, networking traffic all worked again. I verified with one of the network guys and an end user that all was right with the world again… and it was. Selah.

Part of getting through the day included being taken to lunch by networking vendors. It was not only a good change of pace, but it brought my day back from the Precipice of Doom.

After work, I picked up Team DiVa from daycare. Home. Dinner and dessert. They even got in almost 20 minutes of Disney Infinity playtime before it was time to start bedtime prep. Selah.

Carve Away the Stone
I’ve made halting steps at getting back to the gym. Last night, I considered going… then I opted out, because it was damned cold outside. I did, however, still manage to get in a bit of a workout, courtesy of my dumbbells, Swiss ball, and a couple of suggestions from YouTube. Was it quite the same workout I would have gotten at the gym, no. But, I wasn’t just sitting on my duff doing nothing, either. I’ll call that a win.

Stray Toasters

Alright, that’s it for now. I think I’m going to catch up on a show or two before calling it a night.

Namaste.

Kids and the Things They Say

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Kids and the Things They Say

Tuesday – 10 November 2015
Sunday evening, as we were heading home from dinner with Sara’s parents, Vanessa started coughing. Well, “coughing” may be a bit of an exaggeration. It was more of a “cough-like throat-clearing,” but she’s been doing it for a few days.

I said to her: “Vanessa, can you stop coughing…?”

Without missing a beat, she replied: “I can’t control my coughs, like Elsa can’t control her ice magic.”

Not only did my four-year-old daughter shoot me down, but she did it with a perfectly apt analogy.

Sara and I are either totally winning at this whole parenting thing… or we’re in a whole lot of trouble.

Brimful of Asha on the… 45!

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Brimful of Asha on the... 45!

Monday – 26 October 2015
I was born forty-five years ago today; it was also a Monday.

My sixth birthday…

The past year has been a good one. I have been blessed and lucky enough to have spent it among some rather amazing people and had the opportunity to do a few cool things.

In celebration of what I’ve come to refer to as “International Robert Neal Day,” I took Friday and today off. For some reason, I thought that I’d have gotten a lot more rest out of it than I did. But, when I consider the reasons that it was so busy, I’m glad that I had the time available to do so.

Friday, Sara and I dropped Team DiVa at daycare and then took a drive up Emigration Canyon to Ruth’s Diner for breakfast; I hadn’t been there in at least a year or so. After a couple of other stops, Sara dropped me at home and went off to do other fun things. I worked on a Pinstripes and Polos post for a while, until it was time to pick up Amy, who was in town for an event that I’ll get to in a minute. It was her first time back here in a couple years, if I remember correctly. We hit a few stores including: The King’s English Bookshop, The Train Shoppe, and a couple other places before meeting back up with Sara and Team DiVa. That evening, we had dinner with Amy, Russ, Gala, and a few others, but wound up missing Clitorati.

Saturday, we got up, dressed, and headed to Bountiful for Galadriel and Russ’ wedding – the aforementioned event.

#TeamDiVa2011 and @saravictorious – before the #wedding. #GaladrielAndRuss

A photo posted by Rob (@shadorunr) on


Sara was Gala’s Matron of Honor, which put me in the role of “Crowd Control/Damage Control” with Team DiVa. This came to a head during the processional, when Vanessa decided, “I want Mommy…” and began crying and getting loud about the issue. Not wanting to be “that parent,” I got her under my arm and made a beeline for the nearest exit. This didn’t help matters much. A minute or so later, my friend, Leah, came out with Diana in tow.

Great.

The girls finally calmed down enough that we were able to go back and watch the remainder of the wedding. We got back just in time to hear Topher give THE BEST wedding sermon from the Book of Batman that I have ever heard. Seriously, it was fantastic. And very appropriate for the bride and groom. (I learned later that Gala had more than “a hand” in crafting it.) As Matron of Honor, Sara also gave a lovely and heartfelt speech during the reception. The rest of the reception was equally nice and the girls were decent through the rest of the event… and I ran into a number of people whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.

We came home for a little downtime, before heading to Russ’ parents’ home for Reception 2: Electric Boogaloo. Actually, Sara and the girls had some downtime, I went out and ran errands. The evening reception was a rather informal barbecue. It was nice to let the girls run around and play – and eat a bit – while Sara and I had the opportunity to chat with adults.

Yesterday, I woke up a bit after Sara, who was awakened by Diana, who had an irritiable stomach and needed to poop. (What?! I’m a parent of toddlers. Surely, you realize that at some point, I’m going to talk about poop at some level.) And poop, she did. A lot. And often. Fortunately, as she cleared her system, her stomach felt better. Hallelujah. Most of my day was spent watching football and cleaning the train room. I can actually see the floor in there, now. We went to the in-laws’ for family dinner and came home to get Team DiVa ready for bed and for us to get ready for The Walking Dead. While I won’t go into spoilers, I will say, “Wow…” Yeah, that’s pretty spoiler-free.

Today, I don’t know what manner of mischief I’ll get into. But, I’m sure I’ll think of something. CBS is giving me – and the rest of the country – the pilot for Supergirl for a present. That was nice of them. Hopefully, the Ravens can scrape together a win for me tonight, as well. I’d appreciate that, given how this season is going.

Geek Conversations: Thanos and Ray Lewis

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Geek Conversations: Thanos and Ray Lewis

Tuesday – 04 August 2015
So, this just happened:

Keith: Envision, if you will, Thanos doing the Ray Lewis dance.
Me: I can totally see that. Right after winking half of the universe’s population out of existence.
InfinityGauntletSnap

ray-lewis-s-last-dance-o

Keith: WOO!

(Images added for those who don’t get the references.)

We’ve got a pulse!

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We've got a pulse!

Friday – 31 July 2015
It’s been a few NBN Thursdays – and Fridays – since my last post. Figured I should get back to it.

At the beginning of the month, we went on vacation. It was a greatly needed break from the norm, for the most part. The parts where the girls got sick, we could have probably done without, though. But, seeing new family, old friends, and other relations was good. Highlights of the trip included (but were not limited to):

  • A family reunion

    Family Tree

    Family Tree

  • Seeing my parents
  • Team DiVa’s first fireworks display
  • Team DiVa playing with cousins they don’t get to see very often, other than on Skype or FaceTime
  • Setting off the alarm at my mother’s house – twice – prompting a visit from the sheriff’s department
  • Taking Team DiVa to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Greensboro Science Center
  • Seeing another high school classmate for the first time since graduation

    Rachel

    Rachel

  • Surprising my aunt – on her 60th wedding anniversary, no less – with an impromptu reunion of some of the kids she used to babysit and our kids
  • Catching up with friends
  • The very serendipitous meeting up with another friend, while stopped at a traffic light

Yes, there were a few so lowlights – what trip doesn’t have something go not-as-right as it could – but why dwell on the negatives?

All-in-all it was a decent trip and we all survived. I’d call that a “win.”

Workout
This will be coming under a separate post. I’ve got a plethora of backfill to cover.

For now, though, let me just say that I am still not a fan of lunges, which I did yesterday. And my glutes are “thanking” me for today.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Monday… something… something…

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Monday – 15 June 2015
The new work week is under way. Where did the weekend go?! Oh, yeah… it was devoured by doing things. But, there was a fair measure of productivity involved.

Friday night we went to Noodles & Company, at Team DiVa’s behest. (Remember that point, it comes up later.) We haven’t been to N&C for a while, mostly because Diana decided a while back that she no longer likes macaroni and cheese. This was unfortunate, as we had long been able to get a regular-size bowl of mac and cheese and split it between them. They’d eat and life was good. So, we were a little surprised when they both said that they wanted to go. As much as I enjoy the food at Cafe Zupa’s, I was glad for the change of pace. So, we were off…

Vanessa boldly asserted that she wanted mac and cheese and Diana agreed to spaghetti with alfredo sauce and broccoli. Done and Done. There was a bit of… consternation on the girls’ part, when we got them water, rather than root beer.

*sigh*

We averted total drama meltdown by sacrificing my root beer to the girls. Shortly thereafter, the food arrived: Mac and cheese and spaghetti. Vanessa looked at hers and decided that she “…[didn’t] like that macaroni and cheese!” At the same time, Diana complained that she didn’t like her spaghetti, either. (It’s spaghetti. What’s not to like?!) Turned out that she didn’t like the alfredo sauce because it didn’t look the same as the sauce we used at home. Both girls resolved not to eat dinner.

::: braincramp :::

We got past macaroni disaster after Sara! stirred the shredded cheese in with the hot noodles. All of a sudden, it was the “right” macaroni and cheese! Hallelujah! One kid down, one to go. Diana still wouldn’t eat the noodles, but she was picking some of the broccoli out and eating it… as long as it didn’t have any of the alfredo on it. In an effort to both save our sanity and avoid sitting in the restaurant for hours, watching a child not-eat, I went and ordered a small bowl of spaghetti and broccoli. A couple minutes later it appeared, Diana was appeased and dinner was eaten. And I had a lovely serving of spaghetti and broccoli (with alfredo) to go.

The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful. Mercifully. A little after 8 PM, I received a message from my friend, Andrew:

Do you want to be in a movie, playing a well-dressed asshole at the bank?

With a line like that, how could I say “no?” So, I didn’t say “no.” And that’s how I wound up going to bed at 10:00 on a Friday night, so that I could get up at 3 AM to make a 4 AM call. About an hour later, I got another message, noting a change in venue. Still a 4 AM call, though.

Going to bed so early on a Friday seemed “wrong,” on many levels. But, I did it. Or, I tried to. I had the worst time getting to sleep. By the time the alarm went off, it felt more like a resignation to just get out of bed than having gotten a decent night’s sleep. Up. Shave. Dress. Go.

I got to the location with time to spare… and kill. The next five hours were spent learning lines, prepping, and shooting the movie – a short film for the 48 Hour Film Project. The cast and crew were great to work with and made it a very pleasant experience. “Pleasant” is an understatement, actually. It was a lot fun. I’ll post more about it when I can.

At 9 AM, I was done and headed home for Adventure #2: Going with Sara! to take Team DiVa to their first swimming lesson.

Poolside!

Poolside!

Things started off well enough. Then things went a little skewampus:

  • The girls were listed as being in the wrong class – not the beginner class. (Quickly resolved)
  • After a few minutes of dangling their feet in the water, Diana decided that “swimming” wasn’t for her. The reason: “I don’t know how to do that…!” The “that” in question was blowing bubbles in the water, which their instructor was showing the kids how to do.
  • A minute or two later, Vanessa was out of the water, too. Same reason. No amount of reasoning could persuade them to go back in the water. Sara finally told them that we couldn’t go to Redfish Lake this summer if they didn’t at least try. Voila! Success! Children in water!

Not too surprisingly, by the time it was over, they said had a great time and wanted to do it again.

The rest of Saturday was a little blurry – mostly because I was horribly tired and undercaffeinated. But, nothing of great import happened. Sara! and I did cap off the evening with cocktails and a movie: The Sorcerer and the White Snake, a Korean film, starring Jet Li. It was a little disjointed – a good bad movie, possibly a bad good movie. The jury is still out. It wasn’t great, but I’m still not sure if it deserves LEGO bricks or lawn darts.

Sunday was “cleaning up” and “room rearranging” day, after breakfast and a trip to Wheeler Farm.

Playing at Wheeler Farm

Playing at Wheeler Farm

Back home for lunch, a movie for the girls/nap for me, and then cleaning! We also rearranged the girls’ room for the first time since their beds went in. They seem to like the new layout, which is good, since they can’t really move the furniture by themselves and I don’t plan on moving it again for a few months, at least.

Workout
I made it to the gym this morning for a slightly abbreviated workout (skipped elliptical):

  • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 125 lbs
  • Standing Shoulder Dumbbell Press: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Barbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (fwd): 3 x 15 x 40 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (rev): 3 x 15 x 40 lbs

Stray Toasters

And, we’ll call that good for now.

Namaste.