Friday, September 24, 2010

Rant interlude: The moons of Jupiter

Jupiter is the closest approach to Earth it has been since 1963 and won't again be until 2022. I read 'Farmer in the Sky' by Robert Heinlein as a teen about the terraforming and colonization of Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system and by default the largest moon of Jupiter. Tonight I unlimbered the spotting scope and trained in on Jupiter. At 45x I could see some color on Jupiter and three of the moons in a line, one being Ganymede. Maybe someday people will colonize a terraformed Ganymede and be farmers in the sky. I hope for our survival as a species something of that nature comes to pass.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Rants

Time for some rants. I'm going to spread them out so as not to overwhelm the readers of this blog.

Rant #1 (not much of a rant; I will start off easy). So there I was on the crowded afternoon train. The conductor had just got done announcing that no one should take up more than one seat per butt. I spied a seat with stuff piled high; a sleeping man, a middle aged woman; a young female deputy (no, this isn't the beginning of a tasteless joke). I say to the three "anyone sitting there?" The man sleeps on. The woman says "it's not my stuff'" and say 'Sir' to the guy to wake him up to move his junk. He sleeps on (or at least keeps his eyes closed). The female deputy stands up and says "here sir, have my seat." I don't want her seat, I want the seat that has the guy's junk on it. I thank her but decline. She says she will not sit in that seat and I should put my aging behind on the seat cushion and rest my greying head (she didn't really say that but I knew that is what she meant). I told her that I would not sit in the seat and she should sit back down. She refused to sit in the seat and said that I might as well take it because she would stand all the way home before she would sit in that seat. While we were discussing it a young guy squeezed behind us and sat in the seat. The deputy walked over and sat next to a woman on a bench seat and the sleeping guy slept on with his stuff still piled up on the seat so no one could sit there. I ended up standing the whole way home. Everyone including me was too polite to give the guy's foot a good kick and tell him "get your crap off that seat before I take it off and throw it out the door at the next station." I swear I'm getting closer and closer to being Michael Douglas' character in 'Falling Down'.

Stay tuned for:

Rant #2: the produce train or Chiquita Banana and her sisters go shopping and come home on the train.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

He's in!

So, older son got the call on Friday; he's hired! He will be working for the Federal Government in an agency that is not the CIA but is something that he says we shouldn't discuss so I won't. We may be able to ride the train together as he goes downtown if our schedules correspond. That will be nice. Hopefully he is on his way to an interesting and ultimately rewarding career. it is an entry level job so he won't be rushing out to buy a house next week. He'll be occupying the front room at Grouch acres for several more months at least.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fair update

We went, we saw, we ate....we didn't have any of the chocolate covered bacon much to the Missus' sadness. We rode some rides, looked at pregnant farm animals, walked through the buildings with the cheezy stuff for sale, ate snacks, and left with our wallets empty and our tummies full.
Some of the things we saw and did (click on the picture for a larger view!):

The Budweiser Clydesdale team was there. See 'em while you can because the new European owners of Anheuser-Busch says they got to go. The Belgians have no interest in anything American except the money. What do you expect from imitation frogs?

The Missus liked the dog topiaries. She also liked the grey merle Sheltie that was up for adoption at the fair along with other dogs and could have been talked into bringing it home except someone had already got there first and claimed it. The dog was pretty cute and calm.

The Grouch and young son got to drive bumper cars which is a lot like everyday driving in L.A. except that the cars here are generally smaller than what is encountered on the streets.

The fairgrounds is home to several steam engines including a Big Boy locomotive (it is huge, hence the name)
along with a Pullman car, a special horse car (used in the movie Sea Biscuit) and a caboose which young son looks out of like a '30s knight of the road. The Pullman sleeper car tour was very interesting.

Young son paid a dollar to see the world's smallest horse.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Older son has been applying for jobs since before he graduated from College in June. It's a tough job market out there as everyone knows but being the Grouch's son he is a resourceful and clever person and he did not give up. This week he got good news that has excellent possibilities of morphing into a position doing something interesting with good career possibilities. Stay tuned and I will report back in about a month. That's all I'm saying now.

We're off to the L.A. County fair today, the home of the fried everything. They literally fry just about any type of food to sell such as Twinkies and Klondike bars. We are of course going for the chance to look at the 4-H displays and the like and not the deadly food. We're sticking with that story. A double bonus is that two of us get in for a buck apiece with my retired military I.D. The Grouch is also cheap, I mean frugal, so this gladdens my heart.

And, since it is 9-11 and Patriot Day.....never forget

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finders, Keepers

So the missus found a watch on one of her marathon walks about a week ago. Somewhere there is a very sad nerd because we found his watch. It is a Casio G-shock digital watch, alarm, stop watch and probably time travel device. It is big, black, and plastic. In fact it is huge. It was laying on the sidewalk so she scooped it up and brought it home. Being a good citizen and all around nice person she placed signs in the area giving our phone number to any nerd who may have lost a watch. No one called. Perhaps someone's wife or girl friend snatched it off the wrist of their nerd0-inclined significant other and threw it out the window of a moving car because they couldn't stand its beeping and multiple displays and looming presence and that is how it ended up on the sidewalk. But I digress. Today I stepped up the tempo on our shared good-citizenishness and took said nerd watch to the local p0lice station to turn it in so it may be reunited with its grieving owner. The nice person on duty took all of my information and the watch. As he was turning away I called after him to ask just what the procedure is to claim the watch if Mr. Nerd does not come forward to claim it? I was told that there is no 'claiming it'. If no one comes for it then it is destroyed. End of story. It seemed to be to be a real disincentive to turn in found property and I felt compelled to say so. Another deputy chimed in (we have deputies because we have a Sheriff because this once was indeed the wild west) and said that no one turns in stuff and no one comes to the station to look for stuff - unless it is a wallet. Silly me. So, I took the watch, left my name and phone number in case someone realizes that their giant G-Shock watch is missing and foolishly shows up looking for it.

It's on my wrist now. It is growing on me, actually.