Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time lapse sky videos

Time lapse video set to music:  simply beautiful!

See more here:

Be sure to go to full screen for the best viewing.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"The Fat Lady Sings on Immigration"

I couldn't have said it better so I will let a professional expound on the subject of immigration, respect for law, and the crazy house that California has become:

The World Turned Upside Down

When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown and marched his troops off the battlefield his military band played The World Turned Upside Down, a fitting song title for his predicament.

I thought of that today when I pondered the current situation here in California.  Illegal aliens (not undocumented workers or any other politically correct euphemism) residing in California will now be permitted to obtain California driver's licenses.  There are other moves afoot to allow the same group of people to serve on juries, vote in local elections, and have other privileges of those who are citizens either naturalized or born.  If the actual intention is to stop the incidents of hit and run by unlicensed drivers or in my case and the Missus, the illegals who hit our cars (yes plural and more than once in the Missus' case) and then nonchalantly shrug and say, 'illegal - no license, no insurance' and more or less dare you to do something about it, then maybe, perhaps, possibly I might support this new law.  But my suspicious side tells me that this is just one more step along the road to legitimizing the many who reside here illegally, costing the county and state hundreds of millions of dollars in expense each year.

While thinking of this I also pondered the state government that is in the process of ceasing the sale of any semi automatic rifle that uses a detachable magazine, hunting and target arms included, and making the registration of said arms mandatory with heavy felony penalties to back up the law.   Many shooters and gun owners probably think that this new law will only effect evil black rifles, not their Remington 8 rifle that great grand dad used to hunt white tail back in Michigan and now Junior owns in sunny California; that is if they even know about the impending law.  But it does and if someone fails to register that old huntin' gun they are in for a world of hurt.   Media has been very, very quiet about this looming law probably so as not to stir up the apathetic citizenry.  By the way, the law is written so confusing and so contradictory that many will fall foul of it and not be in compliance while trying to comply!

What is illegal is now legal and what was legal is now illegal.  It is truly a world turned upside down.  Or as astronaut Taylor shouted in the movie Planet of the Apes  "It's a mad house, a mad house!"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oblivion music video

So, have you gotten the impression that I liked the movie Oblivion with Tom Cruise?  Yep, I did, very much so.  I also liked the music and the title song.  Here's a video put together by a fan which hopefully won't have too many spoilers in it.  If you haven't seen the movie yet, you probably shouldn't watch this or you'll know what is going to happen as you watch the movie.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The 782 yard shot

I admit it, I saw this on another website and stole it from there but what the heck, everyone needs to see Matthew Quigley and his .45-100 nail a wood bucket at 782 yards from the standing position!  I used to be able to shoot like that back in the day....well maybe not quite that well...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Labor Day hike

So, there it was, Labor day, over 100F, dripping wet humidity, and blazing sun and we said to each other let's take a hike!   So we loaded Kerby up in the Jeep, drove along the Foothill freeway to a spot that we've often seen from the freeway, got off the exit and got ready to walk.  The hike starts along what appears to be the original road that was in place before the freeway was built in the early 70s and takes a right turn to go up the ridge to some radio repeater sites and then (I have been told) continues down the other side into Los Angeles proper.  Our goal was to try to make it up the hill to the towers.

When we started we noticed that we were only meeting people coming down the hill.  No one was going up.  That was because they started earlier in the day when it wasn't so doggone hot!  How hot and humid was it?  It was so hot that the Missus who doesn't ever perspire was glowing as they say.  I was just out and out drenched. Total round trip was only six miles but it felt like twelve to me.

Here we go!

Starting up the hill from the parking spot.  It only got steeper from here
Looking  down the hill to the Jeep (can you see it and the Iraq war tire cover?) and the freeway nearby

Up we go!  Kerby already suspects that this was a mistake

The sign marks the right turn to go up to the towers

This firebreak was the shortcut to the top.  We met a very buff guy coming down the trail about a third of the way up and then met him again about two thirds of the way up!  We can only guess he ran down the hill, up this way to the top and was on his way back down again!

There is our goal

Still going up

Some welcome shade along the way

I was still feeling the effects of my illness - this hike was a struggle for me

Some houses on the other side of the freeway

That road is how we got to this point!

Still going up!

Nice view from up here

We had to be getting closer

Yay, we made it!
Headed back down with Kerby off the leash so she didn't pull the Missus down with her
Where we'd been

Almost back!  The water we carried lasted just long enough

Presenting....The English Ukulele Orchestra!

If this doesn't put a smile on your face and get your foot tapping then you are more of a grouch than I am!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two movies over the weekend

We rented two movies on the Pay-Per-View box this weekend.  First up was Oblivion with Tom Cruise

The Missus and Young Daughter and Young Son saw it together at the theater but for some reason that none of us can remember I wasn't able to go so we rented it so that I could see it.  I liked it very much.  Besides the good story line, the great effects, the very nice setting (mostly shot in Iceland) it made me think about the movie and the plot line after it was over.  When I go back and think about a movie the next day or the day after then I know that the movie made an impression on me.  I enjoyed the characters and the love lost and found for two characters and love found and lost for one of the same persons and another.  I also liked Tom Cruise's character who says near the end of the movie "Everybody dies, Sally. The thing is, to die well" .  Well worth your time.  I am ranking this as in my top five SF movies of all time, I feel that strongly about it.

The other movie was Contagion with Matt Damon and Gweneth Paltrow (among other big name stars)

This movie was appropriate for me in particular since I was sick and probably contagious and infecting everyone in L.A. county for the past week.  It was an-of-the-world-as-we-know-it movie without excessive hyper violence and drama but rather professionals doing what they needed to do to try to save humanity.  Of course being a Hollywood movie the main character (Matt Damon as a suburban Minneapolis dad) owns no firearms until society starts to break down and his neighbors are shot one night by intruders.  The next day Matt goes to another neighbor's empty house, breaks in and steals the neighbor's shotgun for protection.  I guess this way Matt wasn't the evil gun owner, his neighbor was instead and Matt reluctantly had to arm himself.  Maybe Matt learned something after making this movie.

We enjoyed this movie as much as someone can when watching people die for no fault of theirs except to be susceptible to the disease (Matt was immune).  A well done flick and something to ponder when the next report of bird flu from China is heard on CNN.

The 21st century arrives at Grouch estates

I gave the new battery powered lawn mower a try on Saturday.  No more priming and yanking, priming and yanking to get the bloody gas engine lawn mower started.  With this thing you push a button, pull up on the safety handle and off you go!   The battery lasted long enough to cut both the front and back yard but it was in the yellow zone when I finished.  The instruction manual says that after the first couple of uses and recharges the battery's useful life will be greater.  I guess it doesn't matter as long as it has enough juice to finish the yard at Grouch estates.

Young daughter took a picture of me and the ultra modern lawn mower in action.

Citizen Grouch holds the 21st century in his hands

The dreaded extended holiday but feelin' sick blues....

So, here it is a nice four day holiday for me and I'm sick...again. This happened in November over Veteran's day which was another four day holiday and here it is again.   It started coming on Tuesday and by Tuesday night I couldn't sleep due to the congestion, labored breathing, yucky stuff in the throat, the works.  Wednesday morning I got up, struggled to work, and after two hours threw in the towel and went home.  That night was another struggle to sleep and Thursday morning I felt that I should really stay in bed but once again off to work I went.  By that afternoon I was running a fever and sweat was pouring off my forehead.  My co-workers told me I really didn't look well and should go home but I had my first class of my next five-week master's session starting that night so I stuck it out and went to class.  I was so hot and apparently so fevered that my glasses were fogging up and the sweat was pooling below my eyes and running down my face so that I had to constantly mop up the sweat.  No one wanted to sit near me for some reason.  Friday I was in a daze and Saturday was better but not even at 50% strength.  Today I'm about 85% and by Labor day I'll probably be 95% and ready to go back to work.  What happened to the holiday?