Saturday, April 27, 2013

School update - Three down!

So I finished up class number three this past Thursday, only nine more to go!   Our last class was a debate between pro and anti for legalization for marijuana.  The teacher delighted in putting me on the pro side but I did my best and in my humble opinion, we creamed the anti side (of which most of them were actually pro legalization).  It was fun and I as always feel ancient with my fellow students all but one are under 30 years of age.  I do get to play the role of aging sage in the class though!

The Grouch family and a young visitor

A couple weekends ago we had the pleasure of a very young visitor in the house who stayed the weekend with us.  She is two and a very sweet girl but very active.  She does many of the things that I remember our children doing at the same age including signaling that she wanted pick up by lifting her arms into the air and making finger motions like she was grasping something.  I knew immediately what was needed.  So cute!   I don't know how those Hollywood celebrities do it, having children when they are in their 50s.  One weekend was enough to wear both the Missus and I out!

She loved the piano!

Composing her own tune

Everything was removed from the shelves by her.  We got to put it all back

She is as cute as can be and a sweet, sweet child.  It was fun taking her to church and for walks through the neighborhood in her stroller.  We will miss her.

Birthday weekend desert shooting trip

So, last weekend was my birthday weekend and for a special treat I went with some friends for a day of shooting in the BLM territory past San Bernardino.  It was supposed to be in the high 80s and sunny.  By the time we left the shooting area in the afternoon it was in the mid 90s, dry and very sunny.  It was great!

Wonderful desolation!   We had to drive on some dirt and sand roads to get to the area. 

We chose this hillside as our backstop.  The bright white mark about half way up was a cast iron plate that we put as a  long range target.  Our direction of shooting was not towards the relay site on top of the ridge!

Getting set up to shoot

Targets are out and ready to go!

Some of the intrepid shooters

Looking towards the firing line from the target side

Clay pigeon fun (biodegradable pigeons only)

Smoked it!

I had a great time and it was a fun way to spend my birthday weekend.  By the time we packed up and were ready to go we were feeling the effects of the heat and dryness.  After this we had a three hour drive home but it was worth it!  Yes, we picked up and removed every scrap of shooting flotsam including all of our fired cartridge cases.

P.S.  the pictures were taken with my new digital camera, a birthday present from the Missus!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One TV show I am watching and one I quit

The Missus and I started watching "The Following" with Kevin Bacon as a replacement for "Fringe" which ended recently.  Why are we watching it?

1. It has Kevin Bacon in it.  How can you not watch a show with an actor named Bacon?
2. It is creepy.
3. It is a creepy show on the Fox network.

So far we are enjoying except that the bad guys seem to have extraordinarily good luck  and the good guys the reverse.  The wife is stupid and someone needs to introduce Kevin to the concept of a back up piece in an ankle holster.  Other than that so far so good.

We also started watching "The Americans" on the recommendation of Older Son.  He likes it but after three episodes we had to ditch it.  The premise regards a pair of Soviet agents posing as husband and wife in 1980s America.  I didn't like the stories but even more so as a cold war warrior I'm not going to watch a show that sympathetically portrays enemies of this country who are actively working for our downfall.   I mean, how about a show that portrays German agents posing as a husband and wife in wartime America actively working for our defeat and the triumph of fascism and Nazi Germany over the world?  That would go over well, wouldn't it? 

We're waiting for the premier of "Defiance" on Monday and hopefully it will be a worthy fill-in for "The Walking Dead" for Young Son and I until the next season starts.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seen today

As I was driving to lunch from the base where I drill I spied a tiny little car in front of me.  A Nash Metropolitan!   This was the original 'smart car' a miracle of compactness.  My aunt Jean had one, a pink and white convertible as I remember. She wasn't really my aunt, she was my father's niece but we called her aunt Jean.  She was a lively and funny lady and once put out her cigarette on the back of my hand as we rode in the back seat of my parent's 57 Plymouth.  She thought she was putting it in the ash tray on the arm rest but my hand was in the way.  I yelled and knocked the cigarette flying where it landed on the clear plastic seat cover and melted a hole right through it! She was stylish and had a loud laugh and was always very nice to us children.  Even though she was my father's niece they were close in age and was the only relative of my father's except for his brother that I can remember.
The car I saw today was the same color as the one in this picture borrowed from the Internet.  It was cute and looked showroom new and very tiny.  It looked like fun but not for a normal size adult male like me.  A nice bit of nostalgia and a quick flashback for me to younger times.

What is the best age?

The other day at work someone implied that I was soon going to be in the age range to collect social security.  I corrected the person (no, I didn't do violence to his person but close) and told him that on the outside I may look as I do but on the inside I am 25.  I mentioned this to the Missus later and she said that 25 is too young, perhaps 35 is a better age.

I thought about it some more.  18 is too young.  No personal resources, acne, insecurity...who needs it?   25 was a time for me to just be starting on my married journey with the missus which was a wonderful time in my life, very exciting and fun.  By 35 I was reasonably secure financially, started a new job in a new state, was still fit and flexible, no grey hair and no glasses.  Maybe 35 is the best age.

But, I guess the best age is wherever you are at because it means you are still above ground and kicking!

Monday, April 8, 2013


So, there I was on a Friday afternoon on the Metrolink commuter train, riding home to Grouch estate in the happy little valley.  I was done with work for the week and better yet, oldest Son was riding the same train with me.  We were sitting and chatting and catching up on life.  What could be better than that?   Just to add frosting on the cake, as the train passed the end of the runway at Bob Hope airport what should I see but a B-17G sitting with all four engines turning, waiting its turn to go.  It was beautiful, all olive drab and bright insignias.  An MD-80 was lined up and ready to launch, the B-17 was in the ready position.  The contrast between the  two eras was stunning and the sight of the B-17 at the very airport that B-17s flew from during the Big One gave me chills.

Yesterday the Missus and I were out for a stroll, just a four mile walk.  It was a sunny day and mild, just perfect for a walk. I was with the Missus. What could be better than that?   I heard the distinctive sound of round engines, turned around to see a B-25 fly overhead at only a couple thousand feet!   I love the B-25, the nemesis of the Japanese in the Pacific and the Axis in North Africa and Italy.  To see one still in the air gave me the chills again. 

Living here does have its advantages!