Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Grouch v. Virus - victory!

It took a truly international effort and three nights but the virus has been vanquished.  I contacted my anti-virus provider via their website; a young woman representative from Canada called me back - her strong Canadian accent gave her away (BTW, why do adult voices sound young vs every other age up when they don't sound young until senior citizen time when they sound old?).  She arranged the next night for a tech from India to call me who took over my PC before my very eyes, detected bad files, blasted them to oblivion, ran numerous detection and deletion programs from around the world, told me the PC was clean, ran the anti-virus one more time was still infected.  'That is so sad' he told me.  So, I was told to stand by my phone the next night between 8 and 10 p.m. when a big gun was going to call and resolve the issue.  I got the call at 9 and he went to work.   This guy was all business, very brisk and confident.  He ran a couple more programs, deleted stuff, reinstalled stuff and fixed a problem with Windows while he was at it.  An hour later all was good and he signed off.

An unsettling thought came to me while I was going through all of this.  What if the anti-virus companies are the creators of the viruses to begin with?  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  Who will watch the watcher?  We may be doomed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grouch vs. Virus

The Grouch's desktop PC is infected with a nasty virus which after 3 nights of trying to eliminate it, is still hanging on.  I am writing this from the Missus' laptop so no fear of infection for those accessing this blog.   As soon as I get the PC cleaned I will be back to posting.

See you soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Missus gets lucky

The Missus got lucky the other day.  She called into a radio contest and won some tickets.  What did you think I meant?   An FM radio station was doing a contest of 'identify the non-singer celebrity singing a song'.  Now she has never been lucky calling in before, but this time she actually got through!   The DJ had made it easy for her and gave an over the air clue that the singer 'had gone where no man had gone before'.   When they picked up the phone the Missus shouted "William Shatner!"  That wasn't the right answer and they sent her on her way.  That only left Leonard Nimoy so the Missus dialed again (or punched the buttons, no one 'dials' anymore) and amazingly she got through again, this time with the right answer. Yay!   She won two tickets to "Million Dollar Quartet" at the Pantages theater.  She invited me to go with her so I  got lucky too!

See you at the show!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Citizen Grouch Recommends: "The Decendents" and "We Bought a Zoo"

Before I get into the latest movie reviews let me say that we have entered the 00's and bought a flat screen TV.  How did this happen?  The Missus and I were discussing what to get Young Son as a graduation present.  He wanted a laptop which of course he will use for college.  I mentioned (again I am sure) that I got a dictionary for my graduation present.  The Missus couldn't remember what she got and I asked her what she would like to go along with Young Son's gift.  She quickly replied with a flat screen TV so that is what she got.  It is only a 40" model which Older Son dismissed as completely inadequate for watching but since our other TV was a 30" CRT beast I feel it is a step up.  I was shocked at how heavy the old TV was when it was dethroned from the TV stand in favor of the new device.  What was in that thing anyway?  Is the tube lead lined??   Our smart and frugal Young Daughter it taking it away to replace her previous TV, an even earlier hand me down from a friend.

So, to the movies.  We rented two movies recently, both excellent and surprisingly with common themes.  Both center around a husband and father who have suffered the loss of the wife.  Both guys have been a bit absent perhaps in the lives of the children and neither has the whole being the mom role down.   Both have troubled kids to deal with while facing an enormous challenge in their life that they must confront and master.  And both movies are ultimately love stories about the love that they felt for their wives and how they must deal with the loss.   One man who had issues with his wife when she was alive comes to realize that despite all he still loves her; the other knows that his love continues on for his departed wife and he helps his children see and remember her too.  They both had Grouch and the Missus with teary eyes at the end.

The movie is slow and thoughtful and shows a man who under pressure from multiple shocks and two daughters who are acting out with self destructive behavior manages to come to grips with his (spoiler alert!!) unfaithful wife and reform his family after her death.   I loved the music and the scenes of the islands and the story too.    If you like fast paced, laugh out loud type movies, don't see this.  But if you want to see a thoughtful movie about a man who at this point in his life must grow up and be a man and a father and recognize that he hasn't been pulling his weight as both, then see this one.  Four out of Four stars from me.

Another movie with a dead wife, an acting out son (notice he didn't make the movie poster) a man whose career may have taken him away from home too often and a challenge in his life.  In this case the challenge is a small zoo that he bought.  Based more or less on a true story (you can look it up) it was a fun movie with a good plot line and a bit predictable but the love story for his dead wife was what got me.   She is always with him and even with the presence of the young woman zookeeper who came with the zoo when he bought the place he never forgets his love for the wife.  The scenes where his wife comes to life for him through his memories were definite eye-waterers.  He seems to know that someday he will have to let go of his wife but not yet, not during the movie.  We both enjoyed it and the happy ending was the cherry on top of the desert.

I'll have to give this one Four stars too.  You'll like it. 

Young Son's graduation

A couple weeks ago it was time for the last of the Grouch kids to graduate from high school.  He's the fourth in line, the baby of the family who is now old enough to enlist in the Army, buy a firearm, vote, enter into contracts, and start to steer his own course in life.  It was a proud moment for us but also sad too.  Although we will hopefully be around to see little Ladybug our grand daughter receive her diploma and other grand kids too yet to be, this is the last time for the excitement of the family rushing from various points across many miles to gather at the local college football stadium, sitting on the metal bleachers and watching hundreds of happy and excited young men and women file into the stadium to start their next stage on the long journey of life.   As for the other three Grouch kids I wondered what the world holds for Young Son and what triumphs and disappointments will he encounter on his own highway in life?

Enough ruminating, time for pictures!   It was a great afternoon for an outdoor graduation (which is the only way it happens around here).  We had the Grouch family minus Oldest Daughter and little Ladybug who (for non Grouch family members reading this) happens to reside on the other side of the country.   The class of 500+ filed in and took their seats.   All the speeches and all the diploma handing out took less than 2 hours.  This is down to a science, believe me!   Six high schools process through this venue, one evening after another over a six day period.

Young Son and his friend who happens to be a girl pass by on the way to their seats.  He's the one waving.

There they are, the class of 2012.   I thought in 2012 there would be flying cars and moon bases but at least we got computers that talk to us.

Young Son waving once again.  He managed to pick us out of the sea of spectators from a good distance away. 
At the end of the ceremony the spectators charged the field and the graduates scattered.  There we were but where was Young Son?  In the picture is yours truly, Older Son and lady friend, Young Daughter and a close family friend.

We found him!  

The two Grouch guys, handsome and smart!

Of course there needs to be a picture with the proud parents! 

The two Grouch family "Youngs"   Young Daughter was quite the high school grad, winning multiple academic achievement medals.  She looked like a Soviet field marshal with all of the tin hanging around her neck.

Out for a late evening dinner at Young Son's favorite steak joint.  The waitress brought him  a special graduate desert.

Some of the graduation gifts.  When I graduated in 1972 my parents gave me a Webster's dictionary.  I still have it and it is still used regularly by the family.  It has traveled to Europe and back and across the country with me.  I hope Young Son's dictionary gives him equally loyal service.