Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Medicine side effects

So the doctor today gave me a new prescription for my medical affliction and I read the side effects of the stuff.  I've come to expect various horrible possible side effects like fingernails turning green, horns sprouting from the forehead and the like.  This medicine though has the most interesting side effect of all:  may cause bizarre behavior or extreme excitement .   Sounds like the contagious enthusiasm that we saw  in a play once.  When I told the Missus about the 'may cause bizarre behavior' she asked how anyone would be able to tell if I was suffering from it.  What did she mean by that?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Goodbye 'Fringe"

I have been a fan of the TV show "Fringe" since the very beginning and the Missus joined me in my love of the show over the last several seasons.  The final show of the series was on last week but we weren't able to watch it because the DVR wasn't programed for a two hour finale and only gave us the last hour.  Yesterday we watched the first hour on the internet at the Fox website and tonight we got the second hour that we had recorded.  It was an exciting end for the show and a bittersweet end too. 

I enjoyed the characters in the series and of course the weird story lines.  The show's gadgets were very realistic looking...gadgets, with flashing lights and gleaming metal and translucent plastic, just what I'd expect advanced technology to look like.  But the real draw for me were the characters themselves and the themes of the show:  love, loyalty, a belief in God, the importance of family, dedication to one's duty, and self sacrifice for others.  Kind of surprising these days with the cynical attitude in the entertainment world towards these ideas. 

An episode that has always stuck with me involved a scientist who had a harsh quarrel with his fiance days before their wedding and left her in anger.  She was killed in an accident shortly after that.  He developed a way to time travel to go back to just before the accident to be with her; she was overjoyed to see him back again after having left shortly before angry over their argument.  Then the truck slammed into them and they were both killed but were together.   It also weaves in Walter Bishop's view of God and God's forgiveness of him for his past sins.  A very powerful episode.  Read the synopsis here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Tulip

I'm sad to see the show go.  It was something that the Missus and I shared the enjoyment of and the stories were always entertaining but  I am thankful that the series wrapped up with a satisfying conclusion to the whole thing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Citizen Grouch recommends: Little Century by Anna Keesey

Like most avid readers I have authors that I enjoy reading and I seek out their efforts because I know that I will like what they offer me.  Now and again I take a chance at the library and pluck a book off of the new book shelf to give it a try.  The other day the title of a book caught my eye and I pulled it off to take a look at it.  The book was
Little Century by Anna Keesey, the story of a 18 year old girl from Chicago who travels west to the Oregon prairie to stay with a distant cousin when her parents die.  The story is set at the turn of the last century and is an engaging, somewhat leisurely tale of a girl becoming a woman who stakes a homesteading claim, grows in maturity and becomes a key person in the investigation of a murder.  As the linked review mentions, at the beginning the book may be mistaken for a romance novel but there is much more to it than that.   The story held my interest and kept me involved to the melancholy finish to the book.

 I recommend it to one and all.


Elsmere canyon hike

The Missus and I went for a hike today in the new open space preserve near our happy little town (which I hear is now the third largest in Los Angeles county!).  The day was sunny and 70F and very windy.  Unfortunately we didn't bring a camera so no pictures this time.  We joined the Elsmere canyon loop trail about half way through and went clockwise on it, hoping to in fact loop all the way around back to where we started.  Unfortunately for us because the trail is relatively new the signage was pretty sparse and when we got to a decision point of which way to go, the trail was not marked and we ended up reversing course to go back the way we came.  The trail is a mix of broken up pavement, dirt path, sand path, rocky path, steep narrow path....This isn't a trail for the old and infirm for sure!   Along the section we walked are rusting artifacts of the oil fields that used to be active in the area along with the solidified mounds of crude oil that leaked from pipes and turned to rock hard tar boulders. 

The hike was nice but strenuous and it would have been good to actually make the complete circuit of the loop trail.   Subsequently we determined where we went wrong and are ready to try it again on our next long weekend.  Our mileage was a bit over 4 miles for the walk.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Charley Brown's Christmas tree

Being the cheapskate that I am, I drag Christmas trees home that the neighbors put out for the city to pick up  and cut them up for firewood.  it is work but it gives me exercise, saves me some money and sometimes I find forgotten tree ornaments which I return to the family where I got the tree from.  A usual haul is about 8 trees which gives us enough wood for a couple months of weekend fires.   The cut wood seasons for a year and then goes into the fireplace to warm us up.  Even the Missus is in the spirit of  the game and drags home trees that she finds on her evening walks.  The other day when she was out walking she came across Charley Brown's Christmas tree and felt that anything this small and forlorn needed to feel complete by becoming firewood so she brought it home.

Baby it's still cold outside!

How cold did it get last night in not so warm southern California?  Below freezing for sure!  When I dragged myself out of be at 8:30 this morning (it is Sunday and I did stay up 'till 1 a.m.) there was still ice on the sidewalk in the shade around the pool at it was 30F on our patio.  The dogs slipped and slid on it when they went running out which was pretty funny to see.  If it had been me slipping and sliding on the ice it wouldn't have been quite as funny. This is our remaining patch of ice at 9:30.  By the time the Missus gets up it will be all gone.

A bad guy in Houston TX was having a really bad day when he got a taste of his own medicine from two armed good Samaritans and a German shepherd dog!


My favorite part:

“I don’t believe in guns,” said Dorsey. “I don’t own a gun. I’m totally at the mercy of my saviors. They obviously sent two angels to help me. These people protected me when I couldn’t protect myself.”
After the robber had been shot, police say he jumped over a fence and was attacked by a German Shepherd. That attack prevented him from getting away.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Baby it's cold outside!

We're in the middle of a cold snap.  At  9 p.m. tonight it is 38F and by morning it will be in the low 20s!  The news said San Diego had frost on the beach sand Saturday morning.  This darn global warming is sure making things hot around here!

Thanks National Charity League Orange County and Chick-Fil-A!!

So, here I was at drill today when we were told that Chick-Fil-A was going to hand out free meals to everyone on the base for lunch. Yay!  I love Chick-fil-A so at noon off I and several others went to the appointed location.  When we got out of the vehicle we were greeted by a gauntlet of cheering, pom-pom waving teen girls who cheered every soldier who walked into the meal zone.   We signed in and were given a T-shirt with a coupon for a free Chick-Fil-A meal, a plush cow mascot and some home made cookies.  We were taken to the tables and told to sit and the lunch would be brought to us.   We got a sandwich, water, fruit and more cookies and more cows and candy.  There were at least a hundred girls and women busily making valentines to send to troops overseas and more girls circulating around with yet more cookies and snacks for anyone who might still be hungry.  Chick-Fil-A had easily a hundred sack meals made up ready for soldiers to take with them.  The enthusiasm from the volunteers was amazing and all of us left the event with full stomachs and pockets full of cookies, bananas, and more cow mascot toys.

My unit had some new recruits attending their first drill and one asked me if it was like this every month. 

Thanks National Charity League Orange County chapter and Chick-Fil-A!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Arnold's tank

I saw today that the former Governator has the M47 tank that he drove when a draftee in the Austrian army stashed at Melody ranch in our hometown.  There is a cowboy poetry event held there every year which the Grouch family has attended in the past.  I had the opportunity to view the military equipment collection mentioned in the article about 15 years ago when the foolishly left the gate open and I walked in and got the grand tour.  Nice people and a great collection!

The article:

Be sure to watch the video also.  When I was at Ft. Carson in the early 80s the Army used radio controlled M47s as moving targets on the tank gunnery range.  I got a call one day when I was duty officer that one of them was on fire 'down range' as it was called.  There wasn't much I could do but suggest that they call the fire department and stand back.


The Grouch goes back to school

I was fortunate to be selected by the California Military Department for an education grant so I starting on a Masters of Leadership degree at a local college.  Yesterday was the orientation morning.  The head of the program stated that our blood pressure levels, undoubtedly elevated at the thought of being in school would be much lower at the end of the orientation since we would know everything about the program.  Let me say that the more I heard the higher my blood pressure went!  The program is a one year endeavor which means one night a week for four hours and lots of reading, writing, presenting, and a capstone project due at the end of the year.  Yikes, what have I gotten myself into?!  

Then I went to the bookstore to find the textbooks and learned to rent two books will cost $65, parking for the year is $140 and I am the oldest person in the class.  I hope I can keep up.

Stay tuned for further reports.