Sunday, February 18, 2018

Where am I from?

The Missus got each of us the DNA test for Christmas.  The family story has been that we are German/Irish although my maternal Grandmother's maiden name was Pattison which is an English name.  None the less, here's my DNA readout:

Europe/West (the German part): 37%
Ireland/Scotland/Wales:              35%
Great Britain:                              14%
Scandinavia:                                 9%
Africa, North:                               2%
Everything else
(Spain, Eastern Europe, etc):      the rest

So let's stop for a moment and contemplate the human history that brought this mix to be me.  Sure, we get the German part and the British Isles part, but what's up with the Scandinavian business?  Interesting bit of history there, involving marauding Danish Vikings who terrorized the British Isles for centuries and who colonized parts of Great Britain and intermarried with the locals.  The Vikings were so feared (and very rightly so) that a special prayer was coined just for them: "God save us from the Vikings". 

So there is a good chance that some Viking men hooked up with some women of the Brit isles not all that long ago historically speaking and shoved some of their DNA into my family make up.   I guess I have the Viking DNA to thank for my lifelong desire to explore (but not to conquer) the far reaches of the world.

So, now that the Danes have been handled, what's up with this 2% North Africa strain?  I remember as a kid my uncle announcing quite loudly to a family gathering that my nose was 'Jewish' much to his great amusement.  He was a very loud Irishman and loved to announce things at great volume.  My parents were at a loss to defend my somewhat large and oddly shaped (for the German/Irish family) nose.  Actually my nose may be the only remnant of a North African Berber who found his way into my family tree.  When did this happen and how? 

All in all my DNA results were more interesting than the German/Irish heritage that I expected.  That is of course if they are indeed factual and not spiced up by the boys in the lab to provide an interesting story for me!  If I had the dough, I'd do the test again and see how it comes back the second time around.

Can't wait for the Missus' results!

Monday, February 12, 2018

How did this happen?

Who's watching "Victoria" on PBS Masterpiece theater these days?  Great show, the Missus and I enjoyed season I and we're most of the way through season II.

A new character was introduced in this season, an elderly woman who is the Duchess of Buccleuch and the Queen's mistress of the robes.  Also a scold and someone who the young queen Victoria finds to be stodgy and grumpy.  As I said, we are enjoying the heck out of the show.

I was watching the credits for the show when I saw that the Duchess of Buccleuch is played by....Diana Rigg!  How can this be?!  Mrs Peel, what happened?

Mrs Peel?

Every teen boy of my era was in love with the kick-ass, sexy, and enigmatic Mrs. Peel from the TV show, the Avengers.  When she moved on from the series we all mourned her absence from prime time TV.

We all age and it is great that Diana Rigg is still working and having fun with her role in Victoria but until now, she was eternally youthful in my mind.  I guess I see my own aging in her.  May she continue to be seen by audiences across the world.  She is still the fearless Mrs. Peel even in her golden years!

Mrs Peel!

We were young once...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hey there! Anyone still checking Citizen Grouch?

On the off chance that anyone is still regularly checking this site after an absence of about 5 months, I'm back.

There's been a few changes in my life, the biggest being the departure from my job at the trash yard.  February 9th was my last day.  I really couldn't take the absurdly long hours, the 6 day work week, the attempted bullying by my boss (bullying, really?  At my age?) the swarms of rats and flies ( I had rats in the walls and ceiling of my office and flies falling into my open can of diet Pepsi), and the pressure, always the pressure.  So one day I said 'enough'.

 I realized that all of the above kept me from doing many of the things that I like to do, this being one of them.  So now I'm back.

Now the next worry: how to pay the bills without a job....Nah, I'm not going to worry!

Stay tuned for some updates.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Movie night: Blade Runner 2049

Young son and I had a movie night tonight since the Missus is doing her annual Fright Fest gig at 6 Flag Magic Mountain.

Young son has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of "Blade Runner 2049" and now that it's in the theaters we were off to see the show.

For those who know our family history, we dined at "Cousins" before the show, so we got a great start.   The original "Blade Runner" is a major favorite for YS and a good movie in my book too.  He has the original version, the extended version, the director's cut, and who knows what other versions of the original movie.

This movie takes place 30 years after the original movie in a dystopian future with an L.A. that is in constant rain and something that looks like snow but might be ash falling.  Ryan Gosling (who just happens to look like Older son) is a replicant LAPD officer sent to run down and kill renegade fellow replicants.   The movie is dark, atmospheric, thoughtful, slow but not dull and with occasional bursts of violent action  The music is perfect for the dark themes in the movie. 

I found it to be mesmerizing but it was a good thing that the Missus wasn't with us; she can't sit still in a slow-moving movie like this.   Without revealing too much, the ending was both sad and hopeful.

Young son and I both give it 4 out of 4 stars.  And yes, you need to have seen the original before you see this one if you want to have a smidgen of a clue why what is happening, is happening.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"What Was Lost Is Now Found"

In October of last year the Missus was complaining that she was getting so skinny that her engagement ring was trying to slip from her finger.

 We thought no more about it until early in November after returning from an evening walk she exclaimed in dismay that her engagement ring was no longer on her finger!

When we were on the walk, I thought I heard something 'ting' as we were crossing an intersection.  I had looked down at the street at the time but didn't see anything.   After she told me about the missing ring, I retraced our route but didn't see anything.  I tried again the next day but still didn't find it.

We put up signs in the neighborhood, visited the Sheriff's office in case someone found it and turned it in and I even went to the local pawn shop and notified them to call me if someone brought it in but no luck.

I was still working at the city at that time and the sewer guys told me that they found lots of jewelry in the sewers when cleaning them out which they promptly took to the local pawn shop.  Wonder if that is why Ed Norton stuck with being a sewer worker instead of getting a job with Ralph's bus line?  But I digress...

This afternoon the Missus suddenly called that she had good news to share.  She was busy putting up Halloween decorations around the house and when she pulled one of them out its box, her engagement ring was attached to the decoration!  The decoration hangs from a large spring and that is what her ring was attached to.  How did that happen?   Poltergeists perhaps?  It was a Halloween decoration after all.

What was lost is now found, so the line in the song "Amazing Grace" goes, and it was amazing that the ring showed up again!

Never despair, what is lost may be found again, whether it is a ring or something else less tangible.   I am a believer now. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Grouch family visits the fair

the Missus, young daughter, young son, and I visited the Los Angeles county fair on its final weekend the past Saturday.

Unfortunately for the other fair-goers in our group, I checked my company phone just before we were ready to leave to drive to the fair and discovered that a titanic career-ending calamity had occurred the night before (not that I plan to have a career with this company, but still..) which put me firmly in the grouch zone.

I pretty much steamed all the way to the fair but managed to leave it behind when we got there.  When we checked in to buy our tickets, the nice lady somehow spotted the Missus and I to be seniors so we got in for free.  Young daughter used her military ID and the ticket lady was happy to use my retired military ID to get young son in, so none of us had to pay!

We needed to rent a wheel chair for the Missus as she has stress fractures in her foot and isn't supposed to walk.  Thus the point of today's rant and roll.  The fair was mobbed, really mobbed, and about 99% of the people there ware completely oblivious to the Missus in her wheelchair.  Trying to get through the crowd, both outside and in the exhibit buildings was a real effort.  People just didn't see us and would walk in front of us as we were wheeling along, or stop short, or a group of people would block the entire aisle and not register that the wheelchair with the Missus was trying to come through.

All of that grief was balanced though by the few saints who held doors open for us, stepped out of the way, or held back others so we could come through.  God bless them, one and all!  It opened our eyes to what the wheelchair bound must put up with.

The kids rode a few rides, we ate lots of mega-expensive food, young son and the Missus went into the Lorikeet experience where YS was mobbed by the tiny buggers who pecked him over and made it into a love fest.  Birds just seem to like him!

We ended up by seeing the vintage trains and then headed home.  The line waiting to come in at 5:30 in the afternoon had to be a hundred yards long.  The group Chicago was playing on the stage in the evening so perhaps that was the draw.

We've been to the fair before with the children when they were small, and hopefully we'll get to go one more time before we move out of California.

There's nothing like a fair for fun!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Outlander - the TV series

The Missus is a devotee of the "Outlander" book series.  She has read each and every one and reveled in the kilt and heaving bosom plot lines.  When Starz started showing the video version of the books, she turned up her nose at it when she viewed a preview.  "That is no Jamie" she sniffed about the leading kilt-man.

The other day I realized that the first episode is available on the On-Demand app on our cable system and best of all, it is free so we watched it.

I thought it was all right and the Missus enjoyed it but no Starz channel for us.  Los Angeles County library to the rescue!   They have both season 1 and season 2 on DVD so we now have the first 6 episodes waiting to be watched.

(None of this is going to make any sense to those who don't have a passing familiarity with the story line)

In the show, the husband of Claire in 1945  (Frank) seems to be a decent chap:  loving, drives a cute MG convertible, adores his wife, served in the Army during the war (as did Claire).  His failings?  Well he is a history professor so he loves to research the past and explore old ruins.  If he isn't careful, he'll become an old ruin himself someday.  Claire seems to be hoping for something more exciting in a man.

And, when visiting Scotland what do you know but she is transported through time to 1743 Scotland!  Where she meets men in kilts!  Brawny men with muscles!  And claymores!  And have Scots accents!   And, she is rescued by a young brawny man with muscles who is wearing a kilt and wielding a claymore in her defense.

Pretty much everything husband Frank up in 1947 isn't.   I saw once again that the cut goes between exciting and dependable.    Women say they want dependable but they desire exciting.  

It can be tough being the dependable one.  Hang in there Frank, she'll come back to you eventually.