Friday, May 31, 2013

What's happening in there?

Saw this sign when taking a walk one morning recently - it was on a low rent commercial complex.   Seems like the perfect way to conceal something really bad happening inside!

Monday, May 27, 2013

A music video with Spitfires!

A video from the grand old days of MTV - when music videos told a story along with the music!  I remember seeing this back in the day and liked it then and like it now.  I rediscovered this group and the video when listening to Sirius radio today driving the Missus home from the grocery store.  What's not to like in a music video with airplanes and Land Rovers!



Happy Memorial day

Happy Memorial day 2013; I hope at some time today we can all stop and think about those who sacrificed their lives for us and our country in one of the many conflicts that this nation has been in since 1776.  Especially let us remember the many young men  and women who have given their lives in the ongoing war in Afghanistan.  It is truly the 'forgotten war' and the deaths of our service men and women gets a page four mention in the newspaper if at all.  Say a prayer for them and their families and remember their sacrifice in your heart.

Off road trip - Santa Barbara / Upper Oso campground

On Sunday the Grouch and other intrepid explorers journeyed to the upper Oso campground outside of Santa Barbara for some sightseeing and driving.  The area was pretty crowded being that it was the holiday weekend but we still managed to find some quiet areas.  Young Daughter and I took a hike in the area a couple years ago after some heavy rains and had to wade through a wide and deep creek to get to the trail head but not this time.  There was water flowing in the stream and many people having fun it it but we weren't there for fun, we were there to see and drive!

So, off on our trip:

As far as we could drive, time to get out and walk.

Starting the hike.  It's a nice dirt road and would've been fine for driving but alas only the Forest Service gets to use it.

Rugged country

Nice and green!

Don't know if this is from a fire or because it is in a rain shadow but a very different contrast to the green foliage  around it
After the hike we drove in a another direction and saw two mule deer grazing by the road.  Look at those ears!

There are at least two deer in there
We took a road that climbed up the mountain  and followed the coast.  That's the ocean out there.

The intrepid explorers taking a break

Beautiful country!

The high ground always gets some commo installations

Look, nature!

After we traversed the trail we dropped down to Solvang, bought some Danish pastries, ate at Pea Soup Anderson's and made the long run back to our happy valley.  A long and dusty trip but a good time had by all!

Old Iron

Spotted this Buick Roadmaster in the parking garage where I work and just couldn't resist taking a picture of  it.  Now, that is a car!

Bird business

I was out in the back yard the other day doing yard work, filling the bird feeders, and generally being the lord of the manor when I noticed a scruffy looking bird at the finch feeder.  The finches are greedy little birds and in their eagerness for a free meal will usually stay on the feeder until I am a couple feet way and then they fly off.  This one didn't seem interested in going anywhere so I walked closer until I was right next to it on the feeder and realized that the poor thing was blind.  One eye was missing and the other was completely white and sightless.  Was it born that way or lost them recently?  When I was about 6 inches away it sensed me and fluttered off to a nearby tree and stayed there so I got the Missus' camera to document the bird.  How it managed to survive like this is amazing!   When it flew it hovered more than flew purposefully and flew feet down ready to land.

The bird knew something was up as I took its picture

What an amazing survivor!  It later flew off.

For the past couple of months we've been finding feathers in the back yard and I've assumed that it was one of the many neighborhood cats snacking on our poor birds.  The cats are a menace and shouldn't be allowed to roam free but try telling that to a cat owner.  Can I let me dog roam free in their backyard?   Anyway the cats may be eating the birds but this hawk is definitely enjoying the larder.  I saw him come screaming in with a bird in its talons; it landed on the wall and commenced to pulling the bird apart and having lunch.   

Mother's day for the Missus

So, at last some photos of the great Mother's Day celebration for the Missus at her favorite restaurant!  In attendance were all of the California-based Grouch family plus Older Son's lovely lady friend.  A grand time was had by all!

The Grouch clan plus lady friend enjoying dinner.  The Missus sure looks a lot younger than me.  

Older Son and lady friend who made delicious cake-pops for the Missus as a  Mother's Day present.  She knows the way to the boy friend's mother's heart!

The Grouch family minus Older Daughter (in N.C.) with some of the Mother's day gifts.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thanks Chik-Fil-A' and the Navy credit union!

 Chik-Fil-A' and the Navy credit union teamed up to give free meals to military members and their families today.  Yay!  Off we trooped to the local CFA for a meal on them.  We like eating there anyway and a free meal makes it even better.  This is the third free meal from CFA; a while ago they provided free lunches to all of the Joes at Los Alamitos JFTB when I was there on a drill weekend and gave a coupon for another free meal on them to be used in twelve months.   CFA is alright with me!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jack Reacher - the movie

The Missus is a big fan of the Jack Reacher books and tonight we rented "Jack Reacher" (the movie).  It was a good flick and Tom Cruise is always fun to watch but the major bonus for us is that it was filmed in Pittsburgh PA of all places!  Talk about nostalgia!  It was fun seeing sights from the old home town.

I recommend the movie even if you are not from the 'burgh.

Friday, May 17, 2013

R.I.P. E. Robert Kinney

E. Robert Kinney, former CEO of General Mills and inventor of the fish stick passed away recently at age 96.  As a major-league consumer of the fish product food during my childhood (along with Spam and  fried baloney) I owe a debt of gratitude to this man who provided me and my siblings with an easy meal that seems to have provided enough nutrition to get me to age 59. 

I am no longer a consumer of fish sticks, having moved on to higher end foods such as frozen chicken patties and tater tots but I will always remember the taste and texture of the fish sticks (or fish-things as we have called them in the past here in the Grouch family).


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's day to Moms everywhere but especially to three very important Moms that I know - 

To my mother who did so much for all of us and frequently got heartache and  trouble in return from  us.    Her love and  sacrifice for her children was unending.   Yes, that is the Grouch, age 5 in the back photo bombing away!

To Older Daughter and mother of Little Ladybug.  Life has thrown her a curve ball but she pulled up  her socks  and got on with life and being the best mother in the world to LLB.  

To the Missus, the best mother in the world ever and the best wife and companion a man could ever hope for.  Life hasn't been always easy with me I am sure but she has been kind, loving, and supportive for me and for our children.  She can be tough when required, loving always, and beautiful forever.

A science fiction experience in North Carolina

So, the Missus, Young Daughter and I traveled to North Carolina to visit Older Daughter and little Lady Bug on the occasion of LLB's first communion.  That will be the subject of yet another post but now I'm going to mention our tour of the Hunt Library at NC State University, a truly amazing place!

While we toured it I kept getting images in my head that related to science fiction themes - maybe it was the jet lag!   Anyway, here are some and if you are a fan of any of the shows mentioned, let me know if you get the connection.

The amazing automated library system that selects and delivers tomes for busy students

Beautiful in its symmetry but almost scary in its sterility but it reminded me of a truly disturbing movie I saw once:

Anyone seen the movie Cube ?

The egg chair seems to be popular at the library but once again it seemed familiar to me...

Ah yes, number two liked to sit in one in the show The Prisoner!

Who knew replicators actually exist!

See, here is the proof!  But wait a minute...haven't I heard of a replicator before?

Yep, there it is...only this one makes food.

This interesting display played a musical note for each panel and if a person is talented enough and fast enough a tune can be played on it!  It got me thinking about a really weird movie from 1964 about some time travelers that has something like this...

Here it is!  By the way, the lady playing the light board is a Playboy playmente from 1960.  Did she time travel too?

Wonder if this will replace the piano?

To be up front, this isn't at the Hunt Library but rather at a terminal at the Denver airport.  It is  very post apocalyptic looking and very appropriate for this blog post.  I saw this on my way back home from NC.  It is 0.5 miles around the loop for this concourse so I managed to walk 3.5 miles while waiting for my flight.  Of course the Missus bested me by doing 4.5 miles while on her separate flight at the Boston airport!

The Missus goes Hollywood (again)

So, when I was off in the desert a couple weeks ago blasting away with our evil black rifles the Missus was attending the annual Cowboy Poetry Festival held in our happy little valley at the Melody Ranch.  This is an event that has been gong on for quite awhile and is a lot of fun.   When it first started some years ago it was fairly small and not that well attended but it has grown each year to a really big event.   I haven't gone for several years but the last time we did, we saw the group "Riders in the Sky" perform and not only were they an excellent singing group but they were so funny I laughed until my eyes watered.  

As I mentioned the event is held at Melody Ranch, formerly owned by Gene Autrey and the location for many, many movies and TV shows.  It is currently owned by the Veluzat brothers who make the venue available for the festival.  Previously when we attended there were not any displays of movie memorabilia and if I had known what I was missing I would have gone with the Missus instead of to the desert!   The last time I went I picked up some fired blank cartridge cases from the dust in main street left behind from a recent filming.

The Veluzat's also have a storage yard for their movie armored vehicles near one of the main streets in town and about 20 years ago when passing by I noticed the  front gate was open so I walked in!  I introduced myself and got a quickie tour of the movie vehicles parked there.  They were busily converting an M-4 Sherman tank to an ersatz PZKW Mk4 for an Arnold movie (that was never made) called SGT Rock.  The Missus saw the same tank on her visit and took a picture for me.  They also had armor used in Red Dawn and Flight of the Intruder.  I noticed later that they no longer keep the gate open so I guess my visit was a lesson learned for them.

Here you are - entering Melody Ranch!

Main street with Cowboy enthusiasts

Lots of western stuff going on - rope tricks
Artists (he's signing a poster for me)

There has to be horses and riders

Some cowboy music

Now the fun stuff!   From Tremors

The stagecoach at work in the movie

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing  That had to hurt!

This looks familiar...

Ah!  Doctor Jones I presume...

the Missus' favorite TV show - she brazenly walked onto the set one day when it was filming in our area and got to meet Dana Delaney

This has probably been in several dozen films and TV shows over the years

The ersatz Mk4 that I saw being built a long time ago

From Red Dawn probably built on an M47 chassis

Speaking of M-47 tanks - the very tank that Arnold drove as a draftee in the Austrian Army.    He was goofing off one day during his service and forgot to set the parking brake and it rolled unmanned into a river.  Seems not to have hurt it at all.

All in all the Missus had a great time and I wish I had been there.  I'll have to be sure to go next year!