Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

A happy Memorial Day to any who may read this blog. The Grouch family has been active in the military business since 1863 and fortunately has never had to pay the ultimate price of loss of life for our country. The Grouches have served in the Civil war, WW1, WW2, Vietnam era, the Cold war, Gulf war 1, Noble Eagle, Gulf war 2. A sincere prayer for all who have served, are serving, and the families who have lost service members over the years.
This Grouch and young son went to do a bit of off-roading on Sunday (we went to Church Saturday evening so all was done properly). Young son humored me by going which was very nice of him. Here he is in his Indiana Jones fedora in front of our trusty Jeep.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What a Week!

What a week! The Grouch family had not one, not two, not three, but four big events all in the past week!

We started Monday with eldest son's honor convocation at CSUN for his honors achievement in History. The ceremony started at 6 p.m. and was held on the CSUN library lawn. Who could imagine that it would rain that day! Fortunately it didn't rain hard and the rain was finished just in time for the ceremony to start.

Some of the Grouch family plus eldest son's lady friend who must remain nameless in respect to blog etiquette.

Eldest son and friend with the evidence of his achievement displayed for the world to see.

We had one day's rest and then back to CSUN Wednesday morning for eldest son's graduation. We arrived in time to get seats but the lady friend and her mother got there at the last minute creating a cliff hanger atmosphere. Mrs. Grouch had to get stern with someone who harbored the idea that he would take the saved seats. Mrs. Grouch stared him down and saved the seats.

The Grouches, The lady friend + mom and two more eldest son friends. But wait, there's more!

Friday evening young son was confirmed after two year's of preparation. Eldest son was his sponsor. They both look fantastic and the parents don't look too bad.
We're not done yet!

Saturday, eldest son held a party for his friends to celebrate his graduation. People came all the way from San Diego to attend the party of the year. The pool was heated to a balmy 85F which was a good thing because the temperature dropped that day to the low 60's with high winds. It got chilly! But since they are all young the weather meant nothing to them. They swam, they drank, they played music 'till 3 and had a great time.

Simultaneously, young son and Mrs. Grouch traveled to West L.A. to see and participate in a midnight showing of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show", that staple of college campuses throughout the 70s. Young son and friends were outfitted in appropriate costumes by the mother of one of the show-goers and all looked the part of RHPS participants. A little known fact is that Mrs. Grouch saw the RHPS in London as a stage musical in its first run when she was in high school. The high school was a Catholic school and the nuns chaperoning the class trip had no idea what RHPS was about when the tickets were purchased. Fortunately the nuns didn't attend the show. Mrs, Grouch and young son and friends had a good time and got back to suburbia at 3 a.m. I stayed home and I admit that I was sound asleep by then.
Time for the Grouch to go back to work and get some rest!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Desert Trip

My buddy Rick and I took a trip out to the desert and mountains on Saturday. It was a great time and since it was I wasn't grouchy at all. I made this same trip some years ago when I had a different jeep, my hair was bit darker, and young son wasn't just about as tall as I am (as he is now)
Same trip, different Jeep

New Jeep, same trip - this is in the Mojave next to a watering hole built by the CCC in May of 1936. We were there 74 years later, the same month! Is that cool or what?

On this trip we saw one mystery snake (laying in wait for unwary creatures coming to drink from the water run off from the well) and three rattlers like this - except two were even bigger than this one!

The trail runs in a corridor through a wilderness area and climbs from 2,000 ft to 6,600 ft. The trail apparently was a paved road at one time in the past and here and there remnants of the concrete can still be seen but mostly it is a heavily rutted and off camber trail more suited to dirt bikes than Jeeps. The scenery is very nice. The trail dead ends at a cabin called McIver's. This is the view from the porch

The view from the side of the cabin - the area burned several years ago and is just coming back now.

McIver's cabin - anyone may use it for 48 hours, then it must be vacated for the next person. There are some expired cans of beef stew and the like inside for stranded dirt bikers. We encountered a group of dirt bikers as we traveled there who stayed for a bit and then raced off, leaving us to the quiet of the cabin and the stream running nearby. It looks like a great place to spend 48 hours! When it was time to go home we stopped for dinner at Primo Burger in Mojave, a eatery that lived up to its name. A new tradition was quickly established that will involve dinner at Primo Burger at the end of each desert trip!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Grouch Returns!

My new job and life in general has been keeping me so busy I haven't had time to blog for several weeks. That, and the fact that nothing interesting is happening in my life so why bother writing?
But, finally something worth commenting on! As a government employee feeding at the trough of public taxes I had the opportunity today to journey to the Long Beach convention center to attend a police vehicle equipment show on City time. it was an hour's drive to the show and wouldn't you know that I left work too soon and had to kill an hour waiting for the show to open. Darn! The convention center is right near the water (and the aquarium) so I took the opportunity to walk around the yacht harbor and spy on the boats.

The water wasn't really green but the cell phone camera was doing the best it could. I just finished reading "Song of the Siren" by Ernest K. Gann in part of which the author writes about his epic trip across the Pacific in a old steel hulled 3 masted ship that he purchased and renovated. He later sold it to a fellow who turned it into a school ship which was sunk by a white squall and had a movie of the same name made of the incident. This ship reminded me of that book.

In the distance sits the Queen Mary slowly rusting in peace. A newspaper article said recently that the shell plating is so eroded that the ship would never survive a trip in the open sea again. The Grouch children enjoyed touring the old lady several times in years past. The best part (and the creepiest) was seeing one of the massive ship propellers in the water from a special vantage point and contemplating what it would be like to see it actually turning from so close.
The weather was fantastic, sunny and in the high 60s. I couldn't believe I was being paid to play hooky. The police equipment show was interesting but I ended up staying too late and got stuck in traffic; 2.5 hours home at about 5 mph part of the way. At least the Jeep has a/c and satellite radio!