The blog’s new look

Greetings, readers. I thought it was time for a change to the look of the blog. We had the previous style for quite a while, and as people say, change is good. The new theme is called Big Brother. I really don’t know why it is called that, but it is. I was drawn to its simplicity, great look, and, being a Penn State fan, the blue on white color scheme.

I wanted to try to put a picture of Keekee back on the home page at some point. I don’t think that I’ll do it with this choice. The colors would clash. Also, without a picture, the latest entry is visible on the screen without scrolling down. I was afraid that Rebecca wasn’t going to like the choice, but she did. We are both very happy that all the tabs for other pages are clearly visible up top, and no one has to search for them.

Another reason for this blog entry is that I am considering taking a personal day tomorrow. So if I do take that day off, we will have our quota of two weekly blog entries. It’s very important to me to do this. I enjoy relaying what goes on in my life, and Rebecca has told me that some blogs start strong but don’t get added to for months at a time. Although the comments are few and far between, I do have a nice number of followers. Never having any negative comments, I must be doing something right with my choice of topics.

I mentioned before that I was going to discuss topics a little more controversial at times, such as news and politics. In a previous post, I mentioned the Washington Redskins and their team name offending people. I can also see the same thing happening with the Confederate flag. I do not like racist people and do not condone it in any way. I learned that the suspect shouted racial slurs before and during his shooting spree in the church in South Carolina. Today I saw in the news that TV Land is pulling the reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard. The show’s famous car the General Lee had a Confederate flag on the roof, and that flag is extremely taboo right now. In 1865, when the civil war ended, both sides of the conflict became once again the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes is our national flag. People in this country should learn to put their differences behind them. There is enough hatred in this world, why don’t we show the rest of the globe that the color of our skin means nothing. It’s a person’s heart, mind and soul that is important.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and happy reading.

Yes, yes, yes and right, right, right

Greetings, readers. Something new has been added to my list of quirky and annoying habits. It has become so bad that I am keenly aware of it. Oh, what my poor friends must be going through.

As the title implies, I have been catching myself saying the phrases “yes, yes, yes” and “right, right, right” way too often. I can’t honestly say how long I’ve been doing this. I would estimate six months to a year. I have no memories of this verbal tic as a child or a teenager. If it is annoying me this badly, I can only imagine what my friends think.

Now, how to stop it. I’m going to talk to my psychologist this coming week to see if she has any suggestions. I am quite sure that she will. Rebecca is a good enough friend that I might ask her at some point to very politely point out to me if I revert back to the bad habit. I think if I put my mind to it, I can stop it myself. I don’t do it during dictation, but if I am around people, having a conversation, it rears its ugly head.

I’ve always had nervous tics of some type or another. From my early teenage years on, until just last year, I had an annoying head twitch that could only be stopped, oddly enough, by wearing glasses or a hat. It was either putting pressure on a certain pressure point, or was psychosomatic. This whole year from camp on my head tic was virtually gone. I was so happy. It seems to be coming back a little bit. More work for my psychologist.

The other nervous condition that I can remember as a younger child, in my elementary school years let’s say, was a mild stuttering problem. My mom used to make fun of me a little bit, which just made the problem worse. Being a psychologist herself, I believe she was trying to use reverse psychology on me. Big mistake. By my mid-teenage years, my self-confidence improved enough that most of the stuttering issue was gone.

Other issues too personal to mention are personal skeletons in my closet, but I think everyone has those. We must all deal with them in our own way and in our own time.

In closing, I will wish all of you peace if you need help in healing any ailment, I wish you also a good week, and as always, happy reading.

What an extremely frustrating morning I had

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe this computer is cooperating. I woke up this morning at 8:00 and by noon I had gotten absolutely nothing done. My five-and-a-half year old Asus computer was flipping me off and giving me the f-word. I was not pleased.

I had hoped to check Facebook and Twitter by 9:00 and then spend the rest of the morning writing new pages on my novel. By 11:45, I was so frustrated that I almost opened my window and let the Asus fall to its death. I’m very glad I didn’t, since I wouldn’t be able to type this entry in now.

Some pop-up ads come up last night. One of them had some sexual content on it – I have a feeling that might be the culprit. After work hours are concluded, I’m going to run the virus scanner, the mal-ware scanner, and de-frag the computer. Hopefully this will solve the problems.

I’ve told myself that I want to try to keep this computer running until October. With camp time just around the corner, I really can’t be spending money on both things right now. This Asus will have to do. If it breaks down completely, I think I actually have a typewriter somewhere. Ah, remember the good old days.

On a positive slant for today, the weather is beautiful outside. Sunny, warm, a cool breeze, and moderate humidity. I sure could take more of these. Rebecca tells me that rain is on the way for tomorrow, so I’ll probably be taking my hoodie to gaming day.

Next Friday, I hope to have some kind of post dealing with the 4th of July. I’ve always loved that holiday. And when the fireworks are shot off at the stadium, Keekee and I have a great view from our living room window. I turn off all the lights, open the windows, and Keekee and I watch what I tell her are “the boom booms.” She is fascinated by the many colors.

Hopefully this entry will post without any issues, and it will link properly to Facebook and Twitter. If it doesn’t, we will fix it later. I bid you a super weekend, do take care, and happy reading.

My day today and plans for the week

Greetings, readers. Right before today’s weekly meeting with my accountant, I realized that I had forgotten my keys at Panera Cafe. I was in luck in two ways. First, Rebecca has a key to my apartment for when I am in Maine, and second, Panera is right across the street. I was able to retrieve the keys in time for my meeting.

It is a good thing I retrieved my keys because there was plenty of mail to go over. After all the bills were paid, and other tasks finished, it was time to come up to the office and get to work. Rebecca and I always begin our work week reviewing last week’s blog statistics. Numbers have been holding steady and the entry about the Air Crash Investigation series continues to be the most popular entry of all.

On a weather front, no pun intended, I could see from my top floor window a horrific thunderstorm yesterday; complete with thunder, lightening, dark clouds and rain that was blown literally sideways. The one thing it did manage to do was knock the humidity way down. Yesterday evening and today have been sunny and much more comfortable.

After a coffee date this afternoon, I have an open evening where I plan to do some writing. I am keeping my new project tightly under wraps, because I am on page one. I’m not going to get overly excited about it just yet, but still it feels good to be creative again. I have made a decision and it is this: If I have another unproductive year [measured from camp time to camp time] I’m going to close down the writing career and cut bait.

As far as the rest of the week goes, I do plan to go to the Thursday night church dinner. It will be a nice follow up to last evening, when I had a delicious bowl of spaghetti at Denny’s. I am trying to improve my diet. It is becoming a top priority. My health is starting to suffer; I’ve dropped weight. Some people eat when they are depressed; when I am depressed I eat all the wrong things.

On Friday it will be a regular work day and also a free evening. By Saturday’s gaming day, I hope to have between five to eight pages on my new project done. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, this is only the second or third time I have tried to write a novel. Wish me luck on this project, I’m going to need it.

If you are in an area of good weather today, enjoy it. Take care, stay safe, and happy reading.

Here is a Friday blog entry on a Thursday

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow I am going to be working with Darren on edits and proofing for Four is a Crowd. I still have many chapters to read tonight and tomorrow morning. I must be ready by 1:00 pm. I have had a lot of fun reading this novel, which as my regular readers know is based on my play, Kimberly. I deem Four’s a Crowd to be excellent.

The working plan is for Darren and I to meet at our local library, Schlow Centre Region Library, at 1:00 and go over the entire novel. This sounds like a 12 hour task. It really isn’t. The draft I have on my computer is almost the final. I found just a few things here and there in each chapter that I want to go over with Darren.

This will probably take us a couple of hours, and if there is any time left, I will see what Rebecca has been up to; she will also be in the library. Soon, probably after I get back from camp, it will be time to search for agents and send query letters. That’s the drudgery of being a writer. Being unknown writers, our finished product might not be accepted by publishing houses. If worse comes to worst, then we will self-publish the book and learn how to promote it.

On a fun note, the last couple of evenings I have gone to YouTube and watched old Indy 500 races from the early 70s. What a treat it was to watch the old ABC crew back in action. Names such Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Dave Diles, Chris Economaki, Sam Posey, and Jackie Stewart, among others. For two hours at a time I was able to picture myself back home, sitting in front of the living room TV screen. Oh, those fun memories of childhood.

Well, this will take care of our blogging for this week. Both Rebecca and I will need tomorrow to be open. So have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

:-) #400! :-)

Greetings, readers. In three and a half wonderful years, we have reached entry #400. Wow! Let’s set off the fireworks. When I first began blogging, I thought I might do it for a year before running out of ideas. Not so. I am happy and proud.

In the year or two to come, I plan to write blog entries dealing a little bit more with current events and political stories. My hope is I can broaden my horizons and add a few topics to my repertoire. You probably won’t see me go into conspiracy theories, but you never know. I do have a theory about Malaysia 370.

I know I’ve had many top ten lists, posts about the weather, and entries about my day. That’s why I feel it’s time to expand. I’m still going to do the top ten lists, because they are very popular. That pleases me no end. Also, look for several more ‘From Rebecca’ in the next twelve months.

My next performance, in my apartment building, is tentatively scheduled for October or November. I’m quite certain that there will be pictures to be added to the gallery and possibly even short video clips. I still have pictures from my last show that need to be transferred to the computer before they can be added to the picture gallery.

In a couple of weeks, I’m planning to change the blog’s look. There are certain features that Rebecca and I would like the readers to have easier access to on the blog page; such as tabs, archives, and the calendar. We will have to choose a theme that is refreshing and new, but works for both of us. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

As far as my health goes, I’m feeling pretty good for a guy about to turn 50 in a few weeks time. I’m enjoying the summer, I’m trying to get a little more exercise, and of course my kitty cat Keekee keeps me on my toes. She is my new alarm clock, because she wants her breakfast well before I wake up.

Rebecca and I have some more editing to do on Four’s a Crowd. Any more big news about possible release dates for the novel will be shared with you when it’s time.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my readers for perusing the previous 399 entries. Here’s to 400 and beyond. Please leave me a comment with blog topic suggestions, if you wish.

Have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite beverages

Greetings, readers. This is a top ten list suggested to me by Rebecca, which I find to be an excellent topic. I have loved food and drink as long as I can remember and have enjoyed many beverages throughout my life. So here is the list, in no particular order, hope you enjoy it.

#10. Fanta grape soda. [This product was a big part of my life in the 1970s, because every August at camp I would take my quarter to the old Coke machine and either get a Coke, a Fanta orange soda, or a Fanta grape.]

#9. Fanta orange soda. [Same as #10. This product is back in stores as of the last few years. I shall look to see if the grape soda is back as well.]

#8. Royal Crown Cola. [RC cola to me was an extraordinarily smooth soda. I enjoyed its taste very much. As memory serves it was a little more expensive than Coke or Pepsi, so my parents opted not to buy it very often.]

#7. Earl Grey Tea. [I must admit I am not a huge tea fan, but Earl Grey has a wonderful flavor, and for all you Star Trek: Next Generation lovers, it is of course the beverage of choice of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.]

#6. Green Tea. [Some green teas I have tried were a little on the strong side for my liking. The K-Cup green tea that my friend Marjorie gave me, however, is excellent. Much smoother, and with honey, a delicious evening time treat.]

#5. Cappuccino. [When I was younger, my family and I went to Italy where my dad taught for a few weeks. I was able to enjoy that rather strong coffee with the delicious chocolate flavoring, whipped cream, and small cookie wafer on the side. Strong, but oh, so good.]

#4. Generic soft drinks. [When I was living at another apartment building years ago, there was a grocery store across the street. They had their own brand of soda in the machines. As I recall, a quarter could get me a cola, ginger ale, lemon-lime, root beer, or cream soda. I will admit with a smile, for a store brand it was pretty darn good.]

#3. Hires Root Beer. [As a child during summer, I would always have a Hires Root Beer during our cook-outs. Mom loved that beverage with her hamburgers and watermelon. Oddly enough, when summer was over, she would switch back to either Coke or Pepsi. Until the age of 10 or so, I thought it was available only during the summer. Hires Root Beer is still available, but not at stores I shop at.]

#2. Budweiser Light Beer. [I’m not big on alcohol, and can’t have it very often anyway because of my meds, but every so often I have the craving for a cold beer. That beer of choice is Bud Light in a frosty mug. My father, born in Europe, drank his beer at room temperature. Oh, hell no.]

#1. Coffee. [I have enjoyed coffee since the age of ten. As far as I know it did not stunt my growth. After much trial and error, I have discovered that my favorite is what they call a light, morning blend, made by Ripafratta. I buy this brand, discovered by chance, and it is perhaps the best coffee I’ve ever had.]

Well, there is the list. Please chime in with comments or your own list. How about that, a three-entry week. On Wednesday, stay turned for entry #400! It will be a special one, I promise.

Until then, have a great weekend, enjoy the early summer, and happy reading.

Joey is cranky

Greetings, readers. When I was a little boy and things weren’t quite going my way, my mom would ask me, “Is Joey cranky?” That really got under my skin and I remember that phrase to this day.

This morning I was up before 7:00, and as I was feeding Keekee, I could already tell that my allergies were going to be a pain in the ass. I had plans to be reading Four’s a Crowd no later than 9:00. That way I’d have some food and coffee in me along with my medication and I could concentrate. My allergies said ha ha, we’re not cooperating.

By 10:30, I was so exasperated that I could not get my morning reading done before I had to leave to meet Rebecca, that I closed the computer, said a few choice phrases, and went to my recliner to put my head back. By the time I had to leave my apartment, my allergy attack was over.

Why does this make me cranky? Well, with Darren waiting for the project to be read, I am kind of in the hot seat to get it done. And, basically, I wasted three hours this morning. This evening I will put my ‘do not disturb’ sign on my door and read my chapters then. If it is my turn to call bingo, oh well, I will make sure to do it next week. I can’t accommodate everybody.

I’m also a little bit cranky because of a news story I read this morning. I read that in Overton Texas this past Monday a police officer shut down the lemonade stand of two little girls because they did not have a permit. Their objective was to earn enough money to get their dad a Father’s Day gift. Perhaps technically lemonade stands are illegal, but I’ve seen them all over my town, and I can’t believe that this police officer had nothing better to do crime-wise than to bust two little girls. Thumbs down on that one.

However, this makes me think that if I ever do decide to have an outdoor air guitar performance, I’d better look into all the technicalities. Luckily, our municipal building is right next door.

One bright note, it is a rather hot but sunny day here. To me it feels like the real first day of summer. Rain is expected later and we do need it. So let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. Ha ha.

I’m thinking of having a top ten list for my next blog entry which will either be tomorrow or on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

I plan to read and edit Four’s a Crowd today

Greetings, readers. The other day I was inspired by Rebecca’s husband Darren. As a lot of you may know, Darren is turning my play Kimberly into a novel. The third draft of Four’s a Crowd is finished. We were looking for readers, with what we call fresh eyes. That way they can pick up on any flaws in logic. So far no luck with readers.

I have decided to take on this section of the project to critique and edit it. Admittedly, I probably know the story too well, but I will try my darndest to stay objective and keep a close eye out for anything that needs correcting.

I don’t have goals very often but I have one now. The goal is to have the thirteen-chapter book read and critiqued twice by August 5th. I leave for Maine a day or two after that. While I’m gone, the project will be turned back over to Darren to make corrections and we will call that the final draft.

The step after that will be to communicate with lawyers, draw up contracts, and then find an agent. I’ve decided that this book is too good to be self-published and sit on shelves because we don’t know how to market it. Between now and August, Rebecca and I will look at a possible list of agents. We will have to have a query letter and also a sample of the finished work ready to send to the agents.

If this book is as good as I think it is, we may be sitting on the launching pad. I don’t think it is going to hit Oprah’s top ten list, but I see it selling much better than my first three books did, which were self-published. Darren’s worked hard on this project, as I did years ago. I’m hoping that Four’s a Crowd will at least get us on the map.

On to other things, my kitty-cat Keekee is looking me right in the face meowing for her dinner. Before editing, I’ll probably give in and give her what she wants. I am pleased to say she got a clean bill of health yesterday at the vet’s office.

Tonight I have very simple plans; reading, reading and more reading. Even though my eyes become strained quickly, I want to finish at least through chapter five tonight. I began using a color coded system in my editing process but that slowed me down tremendously. I think I will grab a tablet, have that next to me, and make my notes there rather than constantly changing font colors. To me the use of that time was counterproductive and I could have gotten more done.

On a whoo-hoot note, I signed my letter of intent to stay here at Arnold Addison Court apartments for another year. Yes, it is small and yes the Penn State crowd can get loud sometimes, but in the end I really like my place. I have no immediate plans to leave. If I’ve counted correctly, I’ll be starting my tenth year here come October. How time flies.

It’s time to get onto other work so I will wrap up with my usual ending, bidding you a good day, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

My latest simulation craze: iRacing

Greetings, readers. I have written about hobbies like Flight Simulator and Train Simulator before. Thanks to search engines and YouTube, I have found that in the last few years there is a simulation game for almost everything. Granted, some are more realistic than others. There is Farming Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2, and my new personal favorite, iRacing.

Today let’s talk about iRacing. Oh my goodness. It is a pay site, and for approximately $12 a month you have access to driving in virtual race cars (with accessories), on real tracks that are perfect in every detail. You can also do things like host races, create your own racing team (and color your cars any colors you wish), invite friends to join your racing team, watch others race, and practice in the virtual vehicles. Yes, you do have to purchase additional cars and tracks, that is how iRacing makes its money. It is definitely worth it, however.

The graphics are absolutely amazing, and new tracks and cars are being developed all the time. Coming soon is the legendary Nurburgring test track.

I should not get into iRacing, because I will have to purchase a steering wheel, shifter and pedals. It is impossible to play this game with mouse and keyboard only. The controller package ranges from $60 up to $200 or more. That is a chunk of change.

Right now I think I shall be content to watch people practice. I might cancel my subscription after this month, and watch all the enthusiasts on YouTube that are into iRacing. I can just see myself in a couple of years driving a virtual stock car around the Daytona International Speedway. And knowing my luck, crashing it horribly. Ha ha.

In weeks to come, I shall watch YouTube videos of Farming Simulator, Construction Simulator, and any other type of simulator I can find. If I deem them exciting enough to blog about, I shall certainly do that.

With our 400th blog entry quickly approaching, if any reader has a topic that you would like me to blog about, chime in, in the comments section, and I will certainly consider it.

Until next week, take care, enjoy the early summer, and happy reading.