Archive for the 'zombies' Category

Brimful of Asha on the… 45!

Monday, October 26th, 2015
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.

::: thunk :::

Friday, May 29th, 2015
::: thunk :::

Friday – 29 May 2015
“The best laid plans of mice and men…”

That is an excellent quote for the past 36 hours. Wednesday night, thanks to a couple of adorable children, I had a less-then-stellar night of sleep. As I noted yesterday, I figured that I might hit the gym after they went to bed last night.

No go, Flight.

I didn’t get out of the office until nearly 8:30 last night, chasing down what appeared to be a mail server issue. (More on this later.) By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was eat dinner and then do a lot of nothing. I was  highly successful at accomplishing both tasks. Before going to bed, I resolved to hit the gym this morning.

Strike Two!

Last night, Diana started getting a little sick and was up many times in the night. Mostly moaning “Mo-o-o-o-mmy…..” or “Da-a-a-a-a-ddy…..” or both. A couple of times, she came into our room for cuddles and/or to sleep. According to our Sense, either Sara or I (or both of us) were up about seven times last night. That made getting out of bed damn near impossible. I finally dragged my carcass out from the sheets around 7:45… and I felt like a zombie. (But nowhere as perky as Gwen Dylan/Liv Moore from iZombie (1, 2).)

Back in the office a little early – and a couple of cups of coffee later – I was informed that last night’s high-profile, high-priority email emergency was not only non-existent, but also a complete misunderstanding/miscommunication between two parties.

*grblsnrkx*

#ajobaintnuthinbutwork #LifeInIT

Aside from that, it’s been a decent day. It’s been relatively quiet.

It was also coworker Adam’s last day. He got “an offer he couldn’t (and shouldn’t have) refuse.” Fortunately, we only live a couple of miles apart and our daughters like playing together, so I don’t consider this him riding off into the sunset.

Stray Toasters

Okay, there’s a little more work to be plowed through before the day is done.

Namaste.

Confession…

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Confession...

Thursday – 28 May 2015
Another #NBNThursday is here. This one even came complete with sun… which hasn’t been seen (to a large extent) in a couple of weeks. It’s been good to get rain, but it’s also nice to know that the sun still exists.

This morning, I skipped the gym (but, didn’t skip a leg day!). Last night was a … difficult… night for sleep: I had a troubled time falling asleep, and once I did, I woke up multiple times to deal with children who were not sleeping well. Yay. Something had to give and I decided that it was my getting up at 6:30 to go to the gym.

My current conundrum is: Do I go this evening or do I give myself a/another rest day and just go on Saturday morning?

I’ll figure something out. Eventually.

Namaste.

“Moving ahead so life won’t pass my by…”

Saturday, May 16th, 2015
"Moving ahead so life won't pass my by..."

Friday – 15 May 2015
I should get around to writing this before it is no longer Friday.

Things have been good during my extended radio silence. What’s kept me from posting? Basically: Laziness. I’ll freely cop to that. That said, I had planned to write something this afternoon, but wound up getting wrapped up in a project and the next thing I knew,  it was time to get Team DiVa from daycare. Oh, well, better late than never. On the other hand, I got to have dinner with these two cuties, so it was worth it.

Dinner with Team DiVa

One of the good things of the past two-ish weeks has been that Sara and I have rejoined a gym. More specifically we joined Vasa Fitness, a rebranded gym that we used to go to before Team DiVa was born. We’ve been trying to figure out schedules that would allow us to both work out 2-3 times a week.

Another good thing from this week, was in a training class for work (at home!) which had an east coast-based schedule. That meant that I was up each morning for a 7:00 AM class. That also meant that my “lunch” time was around 10:30 each day. I used that time to go to the gym, instead. I actually like the idea of getting up a bit early and starting my day with a workout. My plan is to keep getting up around 6:30 and putting in forty-five minutes to an hour at the gym before getting on to the so-called “friction of the day.”

Sidenote (since I just made a Rush reference): I’ve been tracking my visits to the gym on Swarm/Foursquare with the tags #carveawaythestone. Why? Because it’s less typing than #OhDearLordHowAndWhyDidILetMyselfGetSoOutOfShape and a bit less embarrassing than #WhyDoesThisHurtSoMuch.

And, being back in the gym means that I need to start tracking my workouts again. So, let’s get the past couple weeks out of the way:

  • Thursday- 23 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.3 miles
    • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets / 10 reps
    • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 90 lbs
    • Inclined Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 sets/8 reps – 2 sets, 70 lbs; 1 set, 90 lbs
  • Monday – 27 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Raises (Roman Chair): 3 sets/10 reps
    • Rotary Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Seated Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
  • Wednesday – 29 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curl: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Reverse Punches: 3 x 10 x 10 lbs
    • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 X 30 lbs (forward)
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 30 lbs (reverse)
  • Tuesday – 05 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, 1 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 x 8 x 60
    • Vertical Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Barbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Plank: 3 x 30 seconds
  • Saturday – 09 May 2015
    • Fitness Assessment
      • Walking High Kicks: 2 x 10 steps
      • Walking Quad Stretches: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Walking Butt Kicks: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Kettlebell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 x 15 lbs
      • Kettlebell Squats: 3 x 10 x 25 lbs
      • Lunges: 3 x 10 steps x 15 lbs (each hand)
      • Hollow-Body Hold: 3 x 30 seconds
      • Russian Twists: 3 x 10 x 20 lbs
  • Tuesday – 12 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Smith Squats: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wednesday – 13 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
    • Row: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Thursday – 14 May 2015
    • Treadmill: 10 minutes, ~0.7 mile (betw. 0 and 2% incline)
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25
  • Friday – 15 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 7 minutes, 0.75 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 1 @ 20 lbs/2 @ 25 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 2 @ 20 lbs/1 @ 25 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 2 @ 30 lbs/1 @ 40 lbs

And that was that. It’s going to take a while to get back to where I was when I stopped going to the gym, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Stray Toasters

  • Since cutting the cord, nearly two months ago now, I haven’t missed cable.
  • I’ve been quite pleased with and a occasionally surprised by my Comics-On-TV shows of late: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and iZombie.
  • By way of Mike B.: Space X gets certified to launch NASA science missions
  • I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron twice now. I’ll see if I can’t type up a two-part review in the next day or two.
  • Team DiVa asked me to play Candy Land with them last weekend. It was, not surprisingly, the first time I’d played the game in many, many years. And, it was fun, too.
  • Check out this Flash Gordon animated short, by Rob Pratt
  • Confederates in the Jungle
  • I don’t recall how I stumbled across this item, On Being a Cripple, by Nancy Mairs, but it is a fantastic and fascinating read. It is long and, for some, might not be necessarily “easy” to read, but I think that it’s very much worth the time to read.

And, it’s well into Saturday morning, now. I guess I’ll just schedule this to post sometime after the sun is up.

Namaste.

It’s like this was written about my day…

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
It's like this was written about my day...

Sara and I are in the middle of watching last night’s episode of The Walking Dead:. I was fast-forwarding through commericials, but missed my count and wound up going back to normal play speed just as this came up:

After spending the day with Team DiVa – and after the horrible night’s sleep, due to sick kids – I couldn’t stop laughing.

Well played, Vick’s. Well. Played.

Namaste.

A good weekend…

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
A good weekend...

Tuesday – 13 October 2014
This was, as the title says, a good weekend.

Friday was a “less than stellar” day at the office. Well, that’s not entirely true. The day started off poorly, but did get better. Friday night, I hung out with Jonni. For a bit. It’s kind of hard to hang out with someone when they’re performing. But we managed. I also got to meet Desi Rexx, formerly of the D’Molls; he was a very nice guy. Pictures here.

Saturday was kind of busy. In the morning, we took a trip to the Pumpkin Point Farms pumpkin patch. Pumpkins. Corn mazes. Tractors. Happy kids.

Team DiVa at the Pumpkin Patch

Team DiVa at the Pumpkin Patch

Saturday afternoon, we took the ladies to the home of their friends Isaac and Julia, for Julia’s second birthday party. The kids played well together.

Saturday evening, we went to the home of our friends, Dean and Marilyn, for Canadian Thanksgiving. As always, it was quite the feast. And the company was good. After we got the girls back home and in bed, Sara and I rounded out the night with Doctor Who: “Mummy on the Orient Express” (Twelfth Doctor) and “Blink” (Tenth Doctor), which is quite possibly my favorite episode of the show.

Don't. Blink.

Don’t. Blink.

Sunday, we woke up, hit our local bagel shop and piled into the car for an excursion to look at fall colors. Our trip took us through Heber City and the Provo/Orem areas. Along the way, we stopped at the Heber Valley Railroad, Deer Creek Reservoir and Vivian Park (the park at the far end of the HVRR’s run). Click here for pictures.

Back home for lunch and naps. And football. Oh, football.

The post-nap afternoon/evening was fairly low-key. We did video calls with family around the country. I truly appreciate that technology allows me to keep in touch with my parents – and sibs – and that we are able to see each other.  I am especially happy about the fact that the girls are able to see their relatives who they, otherwise, wouldn’t get to see more than once a year, if that often.

After bath and bedtime for the girls, Sara! and I watched the season premieres of The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead.

Namaste.

Of birthdays, family and friends, and Living Colour

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Of birthdays, family and friends, and Living Colour

Wednesday – 30 October 2013
It’s been a while, but I do have a few things to talk about. Granted, most of them revolve around the past week and my birthday, go figure.

And, as I mentioned on Facebook: Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to wish me a “Happy Birthday.” I truly appreciated it.

Last week wound up being very long, thanks – or “no thanks,” as the case may be – to Project: Cthulhu. I actually had a vendor rep on the phone for the better part of… six hours over two work days, trying to suss out what was wrong. And their documentation wasn’t much of a help; it was outdated and didn’t cover the correct procedure for what the vendor wanted us to do on the server. Yay. Late Friday afternoon, I had the brilliant epiphany to compare a working server to the one that was being “slightly difficult.” I found a discrepancy and started down a path to rectify it. Lo and behold, it worked. Work week: Saved.

I went home Friday evening tired and a little annoyed that finding the problem, even with the help of the vendor engineer, took so long. Those feelings melted away when I was greeted at the door by Team DiVa, bearing a box of RubySnap cookies and singing “Happy Birthday.” Sure, it was a day early, but it was very sweet. We had dinner and hung out that evening. Sara and I decided to watch Nightmare on Elm Street after the girls were in bed; I started nodding off during the movie. I decided to go take a hot soak and call it an early night. I did and I did. In that order.

Saturday, I woke up not really feeling any older, but definitely glad to have completed another circuit of the sun without any dire encounters with the Dark Lady. Sara made her famous (at least around our house it is) coffee cake for breakfast. We hung out at home all morning until it was time for me to go play dolls HeroClix. Birthday Bonus: It was an Event Week, so I wasn’t judging, but actually playing. It was a sealed event – buy a couple of boosters and build a team from the figures in the boxes. I put together an okay team, but got completely wrecked in the tournament. Didn’t matter because I had a fun time gaming and talking trash with the other players.

I came home and helped get the girls ready for dinner. Shortly after that, Sara’s parents came over – they were kind enough to watch the girls while Sara and I went out for birthday dinner at Rodizio Grill. Added Birthday Bonus: October is Rodizio’s “Wild Game Fest,” so you can sample a few exotic meats. We tried the frog legs and one of my favorites: rattlesnake sausage. We checked out with our Seven Deadly Sins card punched for “Gluttony.” (So. Very. Worth it.) Next: A stop at the Cheesecake Factory for some celebratory dessert. Then it was back home for a movie. Since it was my choice and I wanted something light – and hopefully funny – I picked Iron Sky, which I’ve wanted to see for some time. It was not a great movie, in fact it was pretty ridiculous, but I had a blast watching it. Seriously, how could you not appreciate – if not love – a movie about Nazis on the moon where the heroic lead is a Black guy?!

Sunday was, again, pretty low-key. We didn’t do a whole lot during the day. There were a couple of shopping excursions prior to Sara’s parents, Galadriel, Angy and Dave coming over for dinner. Sara baked a pretty wicked Devil’s Food cake for after-dinner birthday fun. After the guests were gone and the girls were abed, we settled in for cocktails and The Walking Dead. We were not disappointed.

Monday, the work week reared its ugly head once more. I headed in to work for a 9:00AM meeting… only to find that I was a week early for it.

*grblsnrkx*

Had I bothered to confirm the time/date, I would have either come in late or just worked from home. Feh. Fortunately, the day passed fairly quickly. I confirmed that Friday’s server configuration was indeed viable and handed it off to the vendor’s engineers shortly before lunch. I picked up Team DiVa from daycare and ushered them home for snacktime (RubySnap Virginia cookie!) and dinner. Then, it was off to Guys’ Night Out with the usual suspects.

Tuesday, was a quiet day. This was a good thing. Especially as, Tuesday Night, I was going to enjoy Sara’s final birthday present: Living Colour in concert. That’s right. Living Colour. (Yes, Cult of Personality Living Colour.)

Living Colour at The Depot

Living Colour at The Depot

I met up with Jeremiah and Zac at The Depot. They’d already scoped out a prime location about 5 or 6 feet from the stage. We were right in front of Vernon Reid (guitarist) the entire show. I also got to hang out with Robert V., Monica and Alessandro. Pictures (and some video) of the evening can be seen here.

It was an amazing concert, from start to finish. And they had the bass turned WAAAY up. Floor-shaking bass. They opened with Robert Johnson’s Preachin’ Blues (I think), and then went into Vivid. After Cult of Personality, Corey Glover joked, “And now, the rest of the fucking album…” You could tell that they were having a great time, both with the way they played and sang and the way that they interacted with each other and the audience. And if anyone was worried that these guys have lost a step or two…? Rest assured: They sounded fantastic. They started Open Letter (to a Landlord) by opening with a great rendition of Amazing Grace. Or, as I live-tweeted:

They finished out the set with Glamour Boys, What’s Your Favorite Color?, and Which Way to America. I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much of the album I remembered.

After a spectacular drum solo by Will Calhoun, they closed the show with a great crowd-backed rendition of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, Love Rears Its Ugly Head (which I was secretly hoping they’d do), Time’s Up, James Brown’s Sex Machine.

It was the perfect way to wrap up an extended birthday celebration.

And that’s pretty much that.

Namaste.

Team DiVa NBN Thursday

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Team DiVa NBN Thursday

Thursday – 22 August 2013
Another No Bad News Thursday is upon us. Amen.

Life’s been good. The family is doing well. Team DiVa continue to surprise us with things that they have picked up. And they are coming up – quickly – on their second birthday. Time does fly.

The family at Silver Lake

The family at Silver Lake

Vanessa (l) and Diana playing with Rokenbok Monorail

Vanessa (l) and Diana playing with Rokenbok Monorail

More monorail time!

More monorail time!

And, speaking of Rokenbok, the girls were featured on the Rokenbok Facebook page, in a picture that Sara! took over the weekend:

Stuff

Intense concentration…

Reeling by on Celluloid
Since Sara’s back has gotten better over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten back in the habit of Movie Date Night. Last week, Sara picked Gallowwalkers:

gallowwalker-dvd

Wow. This was NOT a good movie. (Although, I still think I “win” the “Choose the Most Awful Movie” award with The Spirit.) Let me just say that there is no need for you to check out this movie — we took that hit for you. You’re welcome.

blue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dart

That’s right… I resurrected the lawn darts to show just how bad this movie was. (And for those who are keeping score at home, I just effectively gave this movie a -8 rating. Yep, “negative eight.”)

Tonight was my pick. I rolled the dice and came up with Trance, a film by Danny Boyle, starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel:

trance_movie_poster

This… this was a good movie. It had suspense. It had some (not a lot, but “some”) action. There was an interesting twist – one that I thought I’d figured out about 1/3 of the way through the movie, but didn’t.

Seriously, though, if you are looking for an interesting movie that will keep you guessing, I give this a definite thumbs-up with an okay.

red_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_lego

 

Stray Toasters

  • For months now, Sara and I have been humming John Williams’ Imperial March (from Star Wars) to the girls whenever we change their diapers. It often winds up getting vocalized as “Bum Bum Bum… Check your bum… Check your bum…” Hey, don’t knock it – it’s kept them entertained.A week or so ago, I played this version of the song, from YouTube, while changing one of the girls. This may have been a mistake. Why? Because whenever it’s diaper-changing time now, they ask for “Bum bum check a bum…”
  • talesfromthecon_2013-08-22
  • Bee and Puppycat
  • I quite like this artwork , by Simon Stålenhag, and the way they mix science fiction pieces so casually in the environments.
  • jl8_140
  • Behind the Scenes on a Home Renovation Reality Show
  • There’s still time to get in on this Humble Bundle.

Now that I’ve done this entry, I should do the same for Pinstripes and Polos and Four-Color Coverage

Namaste.

“In brightest day, in drunkest night..”

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
"In brightest day, in drunkest night.."

Sunday – 17 March 2013
Happy (what’s left of) Green Lantern Day!

…or, as some people refer to it: St. Patrick’s Day.

This post actually started on Friday, but between bouts of laziness, keeping up with Team DiVa, going to the opera, and life (in a nutshell), I haven’t been able to get back to it until now. Better late than never.

Friday morning, Sara! flew down to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of a friend. This meant that Friday night, it was just Team DiVa and me. Suffice it to say that we all survived the experience. Saturday was a mostly stay-at-home day. Team DiVa and I did venture out around 4:30 for a bit; we stopped in at SteamHead Cafe to visit Melissa… who had left shortly before we arrived. Oh, well. The Toddler Titans had fun running around and exploring.

Saturday evening, Bonne came over to watch the girls while I went to the airport to pick up Sara and head to the opera. We attended opening night of The Magic Flute:

themagicflute

IMG_0002

Outfits for a night at the opera…

IMG_0215

The stage

I’d never seen The Magic Flute before, nor was I familiar with the story. I wasn’t expecting there to be asides in English, but there were. After the shock of that wore off, I sat back and enjoyed the show. It was fun. The leads were quite well-suited to their roles. The costumes were also good. If you have an opportunity to see it, I highly suggest it.

Today, Sara!, Team DiVa and I headed to Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast. A little later, I headed to Home Depot with Dave, to pick up the last of the drywall needed to complete the train room closet. Later, it was off to the in-laws’ for St. Patrick’s Day dinner:

  • Corned beef
  • Cabbage (with carrots)
  • Potatoes

…and some RubySnap Noelles for dessert.

And then, it was home for Team DiVa’s bedtime, a little clean-up and tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Stray Toasters

  • “Beware the Ides of March!”
    As I mentioned above, this post started out on Friday, known as “The Ides of March.” I had a really geeky moment at one point in which I realized that I want to create an RPG character named “Ides” and have him or her come from a land called “March.” Go figure.
  • DC’s Women Know How to Spend Ladies’ Night
  • Speaking of DC Comics and animation: I’m also watching the last episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice.
  • rl_20130315_2999
  • The last time I checked, the Ravens were down a net of six players. I have faith in management’s decisions, but I’m definitely curious to see how this shakes out in the long run.
  • Sinestropotamus and The Green Lamprey. Ha. Thank you, DC Nation Shorts. Nice way to end things.

Yeah, that’s good enough for now.

Namaste.

 

Good day, Monday…

Monday, February 11th, 2013
Good day, Monday...

Monday – 11 January 2013
A new week is upon us. ‘Nuff said.

This past weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s also been quite fantastic. Friday night, I had a classmate from high school spend the evening with Sara!, Team DiVa and me:

IMG_0014

James (above) came  to town a couple of months ago for a conference. Of course, his schedule was ever-so-slightly full, but he was due to come back to town this past week. We determined that we’d try to arrange our schedules so that we could see each other for a while. And we did. And, it was absolutely fantastic to see him.

I did some mental gymnastics and realized that before Friday, I hadn’t seen an of my classmates since graduation. Many. Many. Seasons. Past.

Saturday, Sara! had brunch with a friend, so Team DiVa and I spent the morning hanging out. It was a pretty quiet day around the homestead. After the little ladies went to bed, Sara! and I watched Juan of the Dead for Action Movie Saturday:

juanofthedead

Sara! had mentioned wanting to see this movie a few months ago, as this was apparently the first Cuban zombie film, , but it had fallen off my radar. It showed up in a Netflix envelope a few nights ago and we watched it. And it was worth it.

I’ll be honest, I drew more than one comparison to Shaun of the Dead while watching it. There were a number of things that were, indeed, similar. But, there was something that really set the movie apart: The Cuban point of view. That was something that I hadn’t expected, for some reason. And that’s a shame. Because it framed many/most of the sensibilities of the movie. As Sara! put it:

If you were going to get some of your friends together and make a movie, this is totally the movie that you would make.

And, she’s right. And with that recommendation, I recommend it, as well.

Sunday, I had a early morning: I had to be at work at 7:30 for a scheduled server maintenance window. 7:30. AM. On a Sunday. Yeah. And, what made it even better: It snowed Saturday. For the most part, UDoT did a decent job of plowing I-215; I just wish that they had done as solid a job on I-15. But, I made it to work. And the maintenance project went rather hitch-free. And I made it back home without incident. And, on the plus side: My work week is already 5 hours old. That’s going to be nice come Friday.

We spent the afternoon in, but had dinner with Sara!’s parents and Uncle Mike, who was in town for the day. Back home to put Team DiVa to bed and then it was time for the new episode of The Walking Dead. And, we even caught some of the Grammy Awards.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Here are three more people of note:

  • Judith Jamison – Dancer, choreographer, artistic director.
    Judith-Jamison_Photo-by-Andrew-Eccles-2010_690x389
    Born Judith Ann Jamison on May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She trained early in dance and music and attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy before performing with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. A year later, she moved to New York City to join the Alvin Ailey company and quickly became a principal dancer. Jamison stayed with Alvin Ailey until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances, including 1967’s The Prodigal Prince, 1969’s Masekela Language and 1971’s Cry, which was a 15-minute solo piece. Audiences also remember 1976’s Pas de Duke, a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov set to the music of Duke Ellington.

    After leaving the company to appear in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, Jamison began choreographing her own works and started the Jamison Project in 1988. A year later, shortly after Ailey’s death, Jamison became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

    Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was published in 1993.

  • Simmie Knox – Artist
    simmie_knox
    Born on August 18, 1935, in Aliceville, Alabama, leading African American portrait artist Simmie Knox has created vivid, lifelike renderings of such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Knox is the son of a carpenter and mechanic. But he spent many of his childhood years in the care of other family members after his parents divorced. Knox grew up poor with most of his family working as sharecroppers, and he himself took to the fields when he was old enough. Later Knox went to live with his father and stepmother in Mobile, Alabama. There he loved to make little sketches and to play baseball. One of his childhood friends was baseball legend Hank Aaron. At the age of 13, Knox was struck in the eye with a baseball. With encouragement from his teachers at his Catholic school, he started drawing as a way to help his eye recover from the injury. The nuns who educated him recognized his talent and arranged for him to have lessons from a local postal worker. No formal art education was available at his segregated school.

    After graduating from Central High School in Mobile, Alabama, in 1956, Knox spent several years serving in the military. He then attended Delaware State College as a biology major. While he didn’t excel at science, Knox did some wonderful sketches of microorganisms. One of his professors recommended that he take some art classes. While at Delaware State, Knox completed a full-sized self-portrait, one of his notable early art works. After completing his studies at the University of Delaware in 1967, Knox enrolled at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. There, he earned a bachelor degree in fine arts in 1970 and a master’s degree in fine arts two years later. At the time, abstract art was all the rage. Knox painted in this style for a time and even got the chance to display his works at a prominent Washington, D.C. gallery. His paintings hung alongside Roy Lichtenstein and other leading artists in this show.

    Still Knox wasn’t completely satisfied with his abstract work. He painted a portrait of freed slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1976, which now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to painting, Knox worked extensively in art education. He held many teaching positions, including being an instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts from 1975 to 1980.

    By the early 1980s, Knox had devoted himself to realistic portrait work. He explained to The New York Times, “With abstract painting, I didn’t feel the challenge. The face is the most complicated thing there is. The challenge is finding that thing, that makes it different from another face.” Knox found a famous patron in 1986 when he met comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby became an ardent supporter of Knox’s work, hiring for portraits of himself and his family. He also encouraged friends to commission Knox for paintings as well.

    Knox soon landed an important assignment: to capture the image of legendary U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall “could tell I was nervous,” Knox told American Artist magazine, adding, “But he told jokes; he told stories about his life. I came away feeling so good about the man.” He completed Marshall’s portrait in 1989 and continued to receive new commissions. Over the years, Knox painted the likeness of baseball great Hank Aaron, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, historian John Hope Franklin and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg among other famous names.

    In 2000, Knox received his most famous assignment to date. He was selected to paint the official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. With this commission, Knox made history. “I realize there has never been an African American to paint a portrait of a president and, being the first, that’s quite an honor and quite a challenge,” he told ABC News. Knox and Bill Clinton bonded over a shared love of jazz.

    Knox’s paintings of the Clintons were revealed to the public in a special ceremony at the White House in 2004.Knox works out of his studio—a former garage—at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He and his wife Roberta have two children together, Amelia and Zachary. Knox also has a daughter, Sheri, from his first marriage.

  • Alain Locke Writer, philosopher, educator

    alain-locke

    Alain Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885 to Pliny Ishmael Locke (1850–1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853–1922). In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. 

    In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. He formed part of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Locke was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his race before finally being admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907–1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.

    Locke received an assistant professorship in English at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. While at Howard University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

    Locke returned to Harvard in 1916 to work on his doctoral dissertation, The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value. In his thesis, he discusses the causes of opinions and social biases, and that these are not objectively true or false, and therefore not universal. Locke received his PhD in philosophy in 1918. Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953.

    Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African-American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. Locke edited the March 1925 issue of the periodical Survey Graphic, a special on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about its flourishing culture. Later that year, he expanded the issue into The New Negro, a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best known works. His philosophy of the New Negro was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component is overall awareness of the potential black equality; no longer would blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable white requests. This idea was based on self-confidence and political awareness. Although in the past the laws regarding equality had been ignored without consequence, Locke’s philosophical idea of The New Negro allowed for fair treatment. Because this was an idea and not alaw, its power was held in the people. If they wanted this idea to flourish, they were the ones who would need to “enforce” it through their actions and overall points of view. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neale Hurston.

Stray Toasters

I should probably post this before I forget. Again. For another two hours.

Namaste.

Friday: Things and Whatnot

Friday, February 8th, 2013
Friday: Things and Whatnot

Friday – 08 February 2013
It’s (almost) the weekend.

This evening, I’ll be getting together with a high school classmate for dinner. If memory serves, we haven’t seen each other since graduation… many moons ago.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s person of note: Zora Neale Hurston

zora-neale-hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston was the daughter of two former slaves. Her father, John Hurston, was a pastor, and he moved the family to Florida when Hurston was very young. She was born in Notasulga, Alabama, where her father grew up and her grandfather was the preacher of a Baptist church. Her family moved to Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all-Black towns to be incorporated in the United States, when she was three. Hurston said she always felt that Eatonville was “home” to her and sometimes claimed it as her birthplace. Her father later became mayor of the town, which Hurston would glorify in her stories as a place where African Americans could live as they desired, independent of white society. In 1901, some northern schoolteachers visited Eatonville and gave Hurston a number of books that opened her mind to literature, and this may be why she sometimes describes her “birth” as taking place in that year.

In 1904, Hurston’s mother died and her father remarried, to Matte Moge. Hurston’s father and new stepmother sent her away to a boarding school in Jacksonville, Florida, but they eventually stopped paying her tuition and the school expelled her. She later worked as a maid to the lead singer in a traveling Gilbert & Sullivan theatrical company. In 1917, Hurston began attending Morgan Academy, the high school division of the historically African-American Morgan College in Baltimore, Maryland. It was at this time, and apparently to qualify for a free high-school education (as well, perhaps to reflect her literary birth), that the 26-year-old Hurston began claiming 1901 as her date of birth. She graduated from Morgan Academy in 1918.

To support herself and finance her efforts to get an education, Hurston worked a variety of jobs, including as a maid for an actress in a touring Gilbert and Sullivan group. In 1920, Hurston earned an associate degree from Howard University. She published one of her earliest works in the university’s newspaper. A few years later, she moved to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where she became a fixture in the area’s thriving art scene.

In 1921, she wrote a short story, John Redding Goes to Sea, which qualified her to become a member of Alaine Locke’s literary club, The Stylus. Hurston left Howard in 1924 and in 1925 was offered a scholarship to Barnard CollegeColumbia University where she was the college’s sole black student. Hurston received her B.A. in anthropology in 1927, when she was 36. While she was at Barnard, she conducted ethnographic research with noted anthropologist Franz Boas of Columbia University. She also worked with Ruth Benedict as well as fellow anthropology student Margaret Mead. After graduating from Barnard, Hurston spent two years as a graduate student in anthropology at Columbia University.

Living in Harlem in the 1920s, Hurston befriended the likes of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, among several others. Her apartment, according to some accounts, was a popular spot for social gatherings. Around this time, Hurston experienced a few early literary successes, including placing in short-story and playwriting contests in Opportunity magazine.

In the mid-1930s, Hurston explored the fine arts through a number of different projects. She worked with Langston Hughes on a play called Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life—disputes over the work would eventually lead to a falling out between the two writers—and wrote several other plays, including The Great Day and From Sun to Sun.

Hurston released her first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine, in 1934. She also established a school of dramatic arts “based on pure Negro expression” at Bethune-Cookman University (at the time, Bethune-Cookman College) in Daytona Beach, Florida.Two years later, she received a Guggenheim fellowship, which allowed her to work on what would become her most famous work: Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). She wrote the novel while traveling in Haiti, where she also studied local voodoo practices. That same year, Hurston spent time in Jamaica conducting anthropological research.

In 1942, Hurston published her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. This personal work was well-received by critics, but her life and career soon began to falter. Hurston was charged with molesting a 10-year-old boy in 1948; despite being able to prove that she was out of the country at the time of the incident, she suffered greatly from this false accusation.

Despite all of her accomplishments, Hurston struggled financially and personally during her final decade. She kept writing, but she had difficulty getting her work published. Additionally, she experienced some backlash for her criticism of the 1955 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which called for the end of school segregation.

In 1956 Hurston was bestowed the Bethune-Cookman College Award for Education and Human Relations in recognition of her vast achievements, and the English Department at Bethune-Cookman College remains dedicated to preserving her cultural legacy.

A few years later, Hurston had suffered several strokes and was living in the St. Lucie County Welfare Home. The once-famous writer and folklorist died poor and alone on January 28, 1960, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.

More than a decade later, another great talent helped to revive interest in Hurston and her work: Alice Walker wrote about Hurston in the essay “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston,” published in Ms.magazine in 1975. Walker’s essay helped introduce Hurston to a new generation of readers, and encouraged publishers to print new editions of Hurston’s long-out-of-print novels and other writings. In addition to Walker, Hurston heavily influenced Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, among other writers.

reference: Biography.com and Wikipedia

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Nope. Still not Belgium.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Tuesday – 08 January 2012
Day Two: Go!

Last night, I decided to tackle some of the clutter in the unfinished portion of the basement. I didn’t make a huge dent in it, but I made a decent dent in it. There’s some And, I was able to move the printer out of the office and hook it up to the Mac that’s in there. I consider that a “Win.”

After that, Sara! and I hung out on the couch, watching Castle. I’d call that a good way to wrap up an evening.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve finally made the decision to pull the plug on my LiveJournal account. That’s where I originally started blogging way back in 2001; since moving my blog to WordPress, I’ve been on LJ less and less over the years. (Of course, it hasn’t hurt that a number of people that I’ve come to know on LJ have migrated to Facebook, other social media or their own personal sites.)

    For those of you who’ve been following my blog on LJ (via cross-post), please feel free to point your browser to Random Access, instead, as I’ll be terminating my LJ account at the end of the month.

  • Lousy Book Covers
  • Shelf Awareness
  • Zombie attack sheet-set

Right on to the friction of the day…

Namaste.

And then, it was Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
And then, it was Tuesday.

Tuesday – 18 December 2012
Christmas is nigh upon us.

Sara! and I finally got our Christmas cards back from the printer. We are quite pleased with them. Last night, before addressing envelopes, I may have put a loop of track and a trolley under the tree. Tonight, I may put a few buildings under there. We shall see…

Vanessa surprised me last night with a new phrase: “Chocolate milk.” It came out more like “Chah-mick,” but she was pointing at my then-full glass of chocolate milk when she said it… and then, along with Diana, proceeded to drink about half of the glass of milk before I got a sip myself.

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
From a conversation with Sara! yesterday:

 Hmm… which makes me think Jet Li won’t be in it… you certainly can’t have two Asian actors in the same action film.
 Kind of like the “No Two Black Guys” rule on The Walking Dead.
11:01am
Exactly! Come to think of it… there’s only one black guy in Expendables
Also true.
Namaste.

NBN Thursday Quick Hit

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
NBN Thursday Quick Hit

Thursday – 18 October 2012
Here’s some Team DiVa cuteness to start your day:

Vanessa, sporting my House of Blues cap

Diana, in my Ravens cap

Last night was Movie Date Night with Sara!. We started out watching a Danish film called The Substitute, that I’d ordered from Netflix. It was… slow. And, while it wasn’t a necessarily “bad” movie, neither of us thought that it was a “good” movie, either. At least, not in the 20 or so minutes of the movie that we made it through. And I can’t figure out “why” I chose that movie… unless it was recommended, based on something else I’d seen.

So, I called an audible.

We watched 28 Weeks Later. (And, yes, we made it all the way through that.)

  • Bonus: It fulfilled Sara!’s wish to watch horror/horroresque films in October.
  • Bonus: I had completely forgotten that Idris Elba and Jeremy Renner were in the film.
  • Geek Bonus: Rose Byrne, who played ‘Scarlett’ in the film, was also Moira McTaggart in X-Men: First Class… meaning that three of the leads have been in Marvel films:
    1. Idris Elba was Heimdall in Thor
    2. Jeremy Renner was Hawkeye in Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers

I also had a crossover revelation during the film: If someone had borrowed the “Stay in the house, Carl” line from The Walking Dead TV series and told it to Andy in 28WL, there would have been two big points:

  1. It would have been a VERY short movie, because…
  2. No one would have died because of Don (Robert Carlyle’s character)…
    …because the kids would have never gone to the house to get that picture…
    …which means that they would have never found their mom…
    …who wouldn’t have kissed Don, turning him into a rage-infected monster…
    …who, in turn, infected most of the civilians (and soldiers) in the newly-reopened London.

Q.E.D.

All-in-all, it was a good flick for a date night.

And it was a good day.

Stray Toasters

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, the train room has primer on the walls. Now, I just need to figure what color I want to paint them.
  • I even managed to get some sushi – for the first time in months – yesterday.
  • Revolution – Map of North America, 15 Years After the Blackout
  • I need to remember to turn off the sprinklers this weekend.

Namaste.

And then, it was Friday…

Friday, July 27th, 2012
And then, it was Friday...

Friday – 27 July 2012
It’s almost the weekend once more!

That’s right: High-five to everyone for the weekend! You made it through the week; you’ve earned one.

Stray Toasters

Have a great weekend!

Namaste.