Friday, December 23, 2016

Office Christmas Party afloat!

Many people get to attend a Christmas office party.  Not so many people have their holiday party on board a cruise ship!

The Missus and I were invited to board the Ruby Princess, moored at San Pedro last Saturday to join her co-workers for a really great treat. 

After boarding the ship we were treated to carolers and a tasty snack in one of the ship's buffet rooms, then we had time to tour part of the ship.

Next came a prime beef lunch (which was more like dinner and way more than we could finish), then a speech by the company president, some gifts were raffled (the Missus didn't win anything sadly) and then we got another treat: a floor show with singing, dancing, and magic, done very well I must say.

Time for a bit more ship touring and back on the dock and on our way home.

My office parties were never like this!

The carolers who sang for us at the pre-lunch snack and again at lunch.

With the Missus' co-worker and husband

I bet that pool feels good in the summer!
"Pictures or it didn't happen"

The U.S.S. Iowa moored nearby

Entertainment in the atrium - these guys were enthusiastic and good.


This should be called "death by chocolate"  It was good.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Two For One Grouch Movie Review!

This past Thursday the Missus, Young Son, and I rendezvoused at a theater in the valley to see the new Star Wars movie "Rogue One".  As Snoopy often wrote "It was a dark and stormy night" - literally.  Los Angeles was in the grip of a very infrequent heavy storm of cold wind, driving rain, and gridlocked traffic but we all made it in one piece to the theater.

If you haven't seen the original Star Wars movie, this one will only give you 75% effort as it ties into that movie.  If you have seen it, you are in for a grand ride.


The main character in this movie was a spear carrier in the original.  What's a spear carrier?  That's the person in the ranks, the anonymous soldier who doesn't get the medal and who doesn't make it to the history books like the general or the princess but has a story all of their own.

This movie cleverly extracts bits and pieces of the original movie, fits them into this spear carrier's story and shows just how the faceless troops in the backround actually help win the war.

This movie was 10 time better than last season's Star Wars movie and 10 times less sappy.  Gritty is the word that comes to mind for this one.   

If you are at all a Star Wars fan, treat yourself and see this one.  Then we can discuss it.

I'll give this one 4 stars out of 4.

Next up:  La-La land.  A modern musical about a man and a woman living in Los Angeles who want to be true to their dreams, who meet not so cute but keep running into each other until they realize that they are falling in love.  But those pesky dreams keep getting in the way...

I loved this movie, just loved it.  I loved the scenes of Los Angeles, the cast, the songs, the dancing.  I loved the story.  I so wanted this couple to get it all: fame, fortune, love.  But real life isn't like that, is it?  

Did I say that I liked this movie yet?   4 stars.

the Little Tree that Could

For decades the Grouch family had been getting the family Christmas tree from the U-cut it lot in town.  It was a family tradition to find, measure, assess, cut, transport, and set up the freshly cut tree.  We would always put down a full sheet of plywood and with much gritting of teeth and tapping of nails, set up the electric trains.  It was quite the production.

Two years ago the Grinch company that owned the land which the U-cut it tree lot leased took back the land  and the tree biz was kicked out.  No more cutting down fresh trees for us.

Last year a friend of the Missus got us a monster 8 ft tree through a school fund raiser.  The trees were cut in Oregon and raced down the coast into our hands.  The trees were so fresh and so heavy that Young Son and I struggled to get the tree set up.  In fact we had to get a plus size tree stand to handle the weight and trunk diameter of the monster tree.  It was a great tree and it supplied some good firewood for our future fireplace fires.  Alas, that was the last year for the school fund raiser.

So this year Young Son and I had to go to the tree lot at the local home improvement store to buy a tree.  A tall tree was 5 ft, and most were even shorter than that.  There were a lot of Charlie Brown type trees for sale.   We picked out the tallest and best proportioned tree we could find.  All five feet of it.

The tree was so short we skipped the usual giant piece of plywood and the electric trains and went to a small piece of plywood and some Lego train track and cars.

Only about a third of the ornaments were used and new mini lights needed to be bought and placed on the tree but when it was done it didn't look half bad.  Not bad at all!

So here it is, the little tree that could did bring Christmas cheer and happiness to the Grouch household!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New mountain off road trip on Bundu Trek

A new post on Bundu Trek about our mountain trip back in October!

The Revolt of the Machines - continued....

So the other day Young Son came into the house with his face grim and announced that his car needed to go to the repair shop.  He said it with such seriousness that I was suddenly concerned that the engine had fallen out the bottom of the little red Fiat and was laying spread across the street.

Fortunately instead of the engine falling out, the driver's window had fallen down inside the door.  He had managed to get it up part way and there it sat.  I pulled it up the rest of the way and lodged a piece of cardboard in the track to hold the window in place for his drive to the repair shop the next day.

That evening the Missus came to me to say something was wrong with the clothes dryer.  It was running but not making any heat.  I did my best: I unplugged it and plugged it back in but no bueno, Considering how old the dryer was, it looked like it was time for a new one.

While we were waiting for the new dryer to be delivered I detected a strange sound coming from the dish washer - kind of a muffled keening,  like a warning of impending doom - or a bearing failure those being the same thing.  I told it firmly that we were not having any of that nonsense in this house and to keep cleaning those dishes.

Don't they say these things come in threes?

Christmas LIghts 2016

The Missus, friend G, and I visited one of the neighborhoods near our church last night to view the utterly fantastic and amazing annual Christmas light extravaganza that they do each holiday season.

The display on Wakefield court has made national lists of the best neighborood light displays and it is well deserved honor.

The Missus and Friend G take in the lights and fun

This house was hosting a dinner party in the midst of the revelry outside
The Missus and friend

A Christmas Flipper?
The Missus liked this sign

Everyone loves penguins!