Saturday, November 6, 2010

Busy Year

It's been over 8 months since I last posted on this blog which is way too long between posts.  Time flies by, but that's no excuse.

2010 has been a good one (so far).   I ended one contract and started another in July.  This one is based in Charlotte, but after I worked the first couple of months, the remaining time is mostly from home.

After 4 years on one cell phone, we recently purchased Smart Phones (HTC EVO on Sprint)  Getting used to using it, especially the touch screen functions, but I've only had it for 2 weeks so far.

Summer brought us a vacation in the Mountains, with the whole family and celebrated our granddaughter's first birthday. 

And finally the election is over--the ads are gone, but it seems like everyone is disgruntled about the results.   I'm not.  More incumbents were voted out this year than in any year since I've been voting against the incumbents since 1982.  Of course, the incumbents I voted against this year both won.

Stay Gruntled, enjoy the weather (no matter what it is), and I'll catch you in a another 8 months or less.

P.S.  If you didn't change the clocks back yet, please do it soon!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics

The 2010 Version of the Winter Olympics from Vancouver ended tonight.  I always enjoy the Winter Olympics much more than the summer games. In the summer the only events I really follow are Swimming and Diving, and  Gymnastics.  

Winter Olympics have so much more.  Here are my Top 10 favorite moments of these Winter Games. 

10.  Canadian Figure Skater Joannie Rochette taking bronze after her mother died.

9.  J.R. Celski  returning to the Short-Track for the first time since an injury to his leg and taking Bronze in the 1500 Meters.

8.  The girl who fell while hotdogging in the 2006 Olympics, when she would have won the Gold without it, failed to redeem herself by going off couse in one of the heats in her event. 

7.  Canada wins their first ever Olympic medal (Summer or Winter) on Canadian soil, and then goes on to win 13 more.

6.  The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden won a grand total of ZERO medals in the Nordic Combined Events.   The last time that happened was in 1988 when the Olympics were also held in Canada--Calgary.

5.  The USA won their first medal ever in Nordic Combined, and won a medal in all 3 events, 4 in total--One Gold and 3 Silver.

4.  The USA 1 Sled with Steven Holcomb won the first USA Olympic medal in a Bobsleigh race since 1948.

3.  The fourth arm of the Olympic Torch not going up in the Opening Ceremonies.

2.  The announcers getting all excited about how the drivers in the 2nd heat of the two man Bobsleigh were doing so much better than the first run, while I couldn't help but notice that the times were slightly slower for the 2nd heat.

1.  The Aerials.  I don't think I've ever watched them before but I was truly impressed by the Women who soared 4 stories into the air.  Then the men just were even more amazing.  Makes me wonder how this sport even got started.

Although I got annoyed by most of the announcers by Day 3, I truly enjoyed this Olympics.  Now I only hope that we see new people in many of the sports in 2014.   

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving and as we reflect on the year, there is a lot to be thankful year even in a "down" year.  

I'm thankful that I have a wonderful and supportive family who have helped out in a year when things got a little tight, and were there to keep me less stressed about the time it took to find  a new contract.  I'm also thankful that my career so far has been as good as it has and allowed me to have the skills necessary to land the contract that I ultimately got, working with 3 other people I know, and a 4th that seems like I've worked with him for years.

I'm thankful for my Grandmother who turned 100 this year and thankful for all the time I have been able to spend with her over the years.  I'm mostly thankful that she remains relatively healthy, alert and able to do a lot of things for herself, and that she was able to move to the wonderful place that she lives in now.

I'm thankful that my kids have all graduated from school and are now both teachers and are working.  I'm thankful that they have found spouses that they love and cherish so much, and that they found each other and are part of our family.

I'm thankful for the ups and downs of life, the ups which are great to celebrate, and the downs that just remind you that you are human, and we should take nothing for granted. 

But I'm mostly thankful for my Granddaughter, a gift to us from God, and has come into our lives because of the love of two people who love her so much that they entrusted her care with two others who will continue to love her as their own.  We are so grateful to have her in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Turn Back the Clock Night

It used to be easy.

Back in the 60's and 70's when life was a lot less complicated and analog clocks were the norm rather than the exception, changing from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time was easy.  simply turn the dial counter-clockwise (now there's an outdated term for you) one complete revolution, and there you go.  Usually you had a kitchen clock, and a bedroom wind up alarm clock.  And maybe a big wall clock in the living room. And your wrist watch required you to pull a little pin out and spin the dial back. 

Ah, the good old days.

Now, it's a major event to turn back the clocks, if you even need to do it.  There are clocks in everything.  From VCR's, TV's Computers, Microwaves, and now even my watch has 3 different time zones on it.  Some of them set themselves automatically because I told the thing where I live.  Some you still have to manually set them.   And they are all digital.

And that's the problem.   I don't know which ones to set ahead of time and which ones not to.   The computers are all easy.  The software will automatically move back at 2 AM tomorrow morning, so that it will be 1 AM.   The Tivo will also set itself, but I'm not sure whether the VCR/DVD player or the TV's will reset or not.  Not a big problem since I don't record anything on tape anymore.   Used to be a problem if I was recording something on Sunday.

I have 4 clock Radios.  One I know has to be set, but it only moves forward.  So I can't move it backwards, I have to move it AHEAD 23 hours to get it set.  And it doesn't have a separate hour and minute button, so I have to hold the button down until it fasts forward through all the minutes and hours 1,380 in all.  Thank goodness it speeds up after a few seconds.

The other 3 I'm not sure what they will do, so I have to wait until Sunday morning to see what time it sets too, or doesn't.  I'm pretty sure my watch doesn't reset itself in any of the time zones, so I will use that as my baseline to determine what time it is tomorrow.    I also have an atomic clock that I think sets itself (it has some kind of radio signal), but I'm never sure.

Then there's the analog clock on the stove, that still needs to be dialed back an hour, but the plastic thingy that makes that easy to do, broke off years ago, so I either have to destroy my fingers to do it, or find the old rusty pliers to set it.

And finally the cell phone.  That simply needs to be turned off and turned on again to reset.  Please don't call me with questions.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only took 9 months

On January 22nd, I was informed that I would be laid off by my former company.   On October 22nd, I was officially offered a position that I would accept. It was actually my 2nd offer, but the first one wouldn't start until early December, and would be back on the east coast.

It has been a long and sometimes frustrating process, but in the end, I got most of what I wanted.  I will be working with a new version of the software that I have been using for 25 years, as well as an increase in pay from the last time I was working (although fewer benefits),  and I will be working near home without travelling out of town every week.  All in all not a bad deal. 

More details will be coming, but the anticipated start date is November 2nd.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall TV Season

You may think I haven't been blogging for a while, but I actually have, on the companion Totally Gruntled Rockies Blog which you can find a link to through this blog.  My wife and I actually got to attend the two playoff games in Denver.  Despite the cold and the two losses, the games were a lot of fun and exciting right to the end.

I'm still following the baseball games, but with a little less gusto.  I grew up as a Phillies Phan, so I'm hoping they repeat as World Series Champion.

In the meantime, I thought I'd post my thoughts on the Fall TV Season.

Each year, my wife and I go through the descriptions of new shows and decide which ones are worthy of a "3 Episode Tryout."   Then we record them on the DVR and watch them.

Sometimes we make it through all 3 episodes before deciding yea or ney.  We also chose many more than we usually do, one because this year for the first time in a while, there are a lot of new half-hour comedies on, and two because we have no life, as I still haven't found a new job yet.

So here are the 1st Annual Totally Gruntled Critic's Choices for the fall:

It turns out the Comedy is not really that funny.  The best of them was Community which wasn't too bad, but not great, but then they moved it an hour earlier on Thursday, which made it conflict with two other shows, so we dropped it.   We also looked at ABC's Wednesday night Lineup starting with Hank, The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town.  We were very hopeful of Modern Family, but it only lasted two episodes with us.   Something was annoying to us about it, and it just didn't strike us right.  Probably the whiny, stereotypical characters, that didn't really show that much depth.  Hank, we were pretty sure we wouldn't like, because we just don't think Kelsey Grammer is that good as a lead character, and in that sense we weren't disappointed in watching only the pilot episode.  The Middle was better, and had better  characters, but we haven't watched anything beyond the first episode, which did have it's moments.   Courtney Cox is good in Cougar Town, but it's just one joke (middle-aged woman looking for young hot guys) and the joke got old halfway through the 2nd Episode.

On Monday's we added CBS' Accidentally on  Purpose, a Jenna Elfman show, which has a similar premise as Cougar Town, but with a little more substance.  We already watch How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory, both of which originally thought we wouldn't like, but after giving it the old 3 episode tryout we loved, (although HIMYM may be past it's prime), so for now we are sticking with Accidentally on Purpose.  In it, Elfman's character gets drunk and beds a young guy, and gets pregnant.   She continues to have a relationship with the father and even allows him to move in together, but doesn't let him sleep with her anymore.  The development of one of the father-to-be's friends could save the show for us.  Kind of like the Morgan character on Chuck. 

FOX introduced the Pilot to Glee back in May which is an hour long musical/Comedy , and we were intrigued enough to continue it into the fall.  Initially we liked it and still like the music and the Glee Club characters, but the plot lines have got pretty ridiculous pretty fast, especially with everybody quitting, joining, rejoining, infilgtrating, changing directors,  pregnancies, non-pregnancies, and assorted relationships or non-relationships.  It's really become too schizophrenic for us, and we are dropping it.  

On the Drama side, we've had a little more luck.

We started with CBS' "The Good Wife" where the wife of a disgraced (and jailed) politician goes back to work as a lawyer, while continuing to raise her two adolescent children with the help of her mother in law. She is in competition with the young brash associate who settles cases rather than try them.  Christine Baranski is one of the Partners in the Law firm, which is an interesting choice since she has done a lot of comedy in the past.  I think once they put away the cheating, thieving husband for good, this show has a chance to shine.

We also watched ABC's The Forgotten, which is a team of volunteer detectives who try to identify and then figure out what happened to dead bodies that turn up and reach dead ends with the police.  It's an interesting premise and is based on a real "Forgotten Network."   We got through 3 episodes of this, but after the 2nd one, I knew I was going to forget it.   The stories are interesting, but the leaps the characters take to get to a conclusion, are so contrived, they seem more like guesses that turn out to be amazingly true.  And as the clincher, the narration of each episode by the dead character is just, well creepy.

We made it through 40 minutes of the 2nd episode in the new Sci-fi drama, FlashForward on ABC.  In the first episode, everyone in the world goes unconscious for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and most people see a "flash" of the future 6 months from now.  Some had no flash, and one person is found on a camera still conscious.  The main character sees a flash of his future investigating his flash, while his wife flashes having an  affair with another man.   The rest of the first episode and the next starts the investigation and putting clues together as well as revealing other peoples flashes.  It looks interesting enough, but got too convoluted with all the visions, to continue to watch.  It also reminded me a lot of the first season of Heroes, where they tried to stave off Hiro's vision of the future.    Perhaps I'll watch the season ender of the this one in April or May, but I really don't want to see all the stuff in between.

NBC has a new medical drama on Wednesday's Mercy, primarily centered around 3 nurses, Chloe,  who is new and a little naive (from Amish Country in PA), Veronica who is recently returned from Iraq, and having Marital problems, and Sonia who is fairly normal, but still has issues with cops one of whom she is sleeping with.  Trouble ensues when a doctor comes in who had an affair with Veronica in Iraq.   Veronica is trying to reconcile with her husband who also had an affair when she was in Iraq, but is kind of a slacker.   I didn't expect to like this one, and expected another Grey's Anatomy (which I grew tired of after the first season), but this one is looking pretty good and we are staying with it.  

We were also curious about Eastwick on ABC, which has three women who are witches and don't really know it, but a mysterious evil guy arrives and starts causing trouble.   Maybe if you were a fan of Charmed this might be good, but it wasn't our cup of tea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bella Update at Two Months

Just spent the long Labor Day Weekend with Isabella in Utah. This is our second trip out there since she was born. At two weeks, she slept a lot, but now at two months she is much more active. She has also gained over 2 pounds since birth.

Here are pictures at 2 weeks:

Now at two months:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Isabella is here!

Nothing is as exciting as a newborn baby, especially in your family. I remember the days that each of my children were born, and I wouldn't trade being there for anything else that I've done in my life.

Today marks the culmination of a huge journey for my son and his wife as the miracle that they have been praying for for several years made her entrance into the world this morning at 7:58 AM Mountain time.

About a year and a half ago, just around Christmas, 2007, they started applying for adoption, and were approved to adopt in the spring of 2008. Then came the waiting, for someone to choose them and allow them to raise their baby. As mentioned in an earlier post this year, they found someone in March and have spent much time getting to know each other a little bit over the past few months.

Today Isabella Harmony arrived. Isabella is the name my son and daughter-in-law chose, and Harmony is the name the birth parents chose forever giving her a bond with both families. The sacrifice of the birth parents will be longed remembered, as they have given us all a gift.

Welcome Isabella! I'm proud and very gruntled to be your Grandfather and I can't wait to meet you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baseball is a Funny Game...

Which is probably why I like it so much. It can be frustrating, mind-boggling and exhilarating all at the same time. It's also streaky.

I grew up as a Philadelphia Phillies fan. To the best of my knowledge, I don't remember the 1964 season when they had a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games to play. And blew it by losing 10 in a row before winning the last two games. No, I became a fan the next year, when they would have some very miserable years, before they finally won their first World Series in 1980.

In 1976, the Phillies had a 25-5 run, from late April to early June moving to a 32-11 record and never looked back as they finished with 101 wins.

Sometimes a good run can carry you for the rest of the season:

The 1982 Atlanta Braves started the season with a 13 game winning streak--then were 76-73 the rest of the season, and won their division.

Sometimes you a good start is just the beginning:
The 1984 Detroit Tigers won 35 of their first 40 on their way to winning the World Series


I became a Colorado Rockies fan in 1993 when they began, but I really started to follow them in depth in 1997 when I moved to the Denver area and fell in love with Coors Field. No, I became a fan right when they would have some miserable seasons having losing seasons for the next 10 years.

During the 2007 season however, my full allegiance moved from the Phillies to the Rockies despite both teams having amazing finishes:

The Phillies avenged the ghost of 1964, as they overcame a 7 game deficit to the Mets by winning 13 of their last 17 games, while the Mets lost 12 of their final 17.

Meanwhile the Rockies who were playing .500 ball all season, and had never in franchise history had more than a 7 game winning streak, won 11 in a row, lost 1 and then followed that up with a 10 game winning streak propelling them to their first World Series via the Wild Card Berth. Amazingly, they had to overcome a 7.5 game deficit to the Mets with only 15 games to play to do it.

Which brings us to this year. The Rockies were buried 12 games under .500 and in the midst of an 11 game road trip in which they had lost the first 3 before heading to the 1st and 2nd place teams in the Central division, when they started on another 11 game winning streak. Many times, especially if you are really a bad team, the end of the streak will send you back into a tailspin, but the Rockies met the loss with a 6 game winning streak. Overall, they have currently won 21 of 25 and are about to embark on a stretch of 16 home games out of the next 20 games after today.

Good news for the Rockies?--Like I said Baseball is a funny game. Check back with me later this month.

Friday, June 12, 2009

24--Season 7 Wrap Up

My wife and I have never watched 24 as it is shown on a week to week basis. It's always been some kind of watching it in blocks at the end of the season or after the season. I'm not really sure how people watch it on a week to week basis. In Season 6 we tried watching 4 hours one night a week for 6 weeks ending at the end of May when the season ended. That was very difficult.

After watching Season 7, it will probably be our last. Even though my hour by hour depiction was slightly off, but most of what I predicted would happen, happened, it's obviously too predictable and formulaic.

It was nice to have the geek contest between Chloe and Janice. Agent Walker was a nice addition and watching her evolution of being appalled by Jack's methods to using some of them was interesting. Apparently she will be on again next year.

I also realize that you have to suspend a certain amount of belief in nature's laws, as you do in most action movies as well, but the Tony is alive scenario was absurd to begin with and his cross, double cross, triple cross (and possibly a quadruple cross) got old, and made the whole storyline more absurd than normal. In retrospect some of his actions earlier make no sense in light of his character at the end.

The most amazing thing about the whole show was the fact that NO SATELLITES WERE REPOSTIONED during the entire 24 hours!!!!

For those of you who continue to enjoy this show, continue on, but for me I'm done with it (at least until next June.)