A low-key day, plus a movie

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Greetings, readers. I just woke up from a nap and my eyes are killing me. Sometimes when I sleep my sinuses back up and put pressure on my eyeballs, causing pressure and blurriness. After a while, my vision goes back to normal. This phenomenon makes typing a problem to say the least, but I shall push on.

Yesterday’s entry about taking a favorite old TV show and writing an updated version of it got comments on Facebook, letting me know that two ideas I had are already in the works by other people. It figures. I told Rebecca yesterday that I will find a TV show or movie idea and reboot it and this news does not change my mind. Oh! But don’t worry, if an original idea also bonks me over my noggin’, I’ll most certainly add that to the list.

On to another topic. Today I’m finally going to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m really looking forward to seeing a Star Wars film without most of the characters I know, such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m sure I’ll love it.

After I get home I shall call bingo, then I’ll watch a little bit of TV before going to sleep. Next Wednesday I plan on posting that top ten list I’ve been promising. 😉 So until then, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

I’m on the verge of a major writing idea :-)

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Greetings, readers. I have enjoyed the series reboots of Fuller House and One Day at a Time on Netflix very much. That gave me an idea. Why not think of a series from the 1970s or 80s and write a pilot script for it? Hey, don’t laugh. I know lots of TV shows.

At first I didn’t like the idea of reboots, but they seem to be the in-thing in television entertainment. Let’s see what’s already been done: The Love Boat – disastrous!, Charlie’s Angels – even worse!!, The Bionic Woman… lol. My point is, I know reboots have a tendency not to work rather than to succeed. But I am encouraged to give it a go because of the overwhelming success of these recent Netflix original series’. I feel confident that I can find an old show and bring it back to life.

The key is to add enough new elements to the mix so as to make it my own idea. For instance, The new One Day at a Time‘s family is Cuban, where the original show’s was not. They live in Los Angeles, not Indianapolis, etc. If I can find the right series, with the perfect new angle, watch out! I will once again be in writer’s heaven.

Some of my favorite series’ that I have enjoyed are Cagney & Lacey, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, and Starsky and Hutch. My first idea this morning, I must confess, was a female version of The Rockford Files. Luckily, the original Rockford Files is on Netflix right now, so I can study the series in-depth. Then before I write my pilot script, I can peak and tweak, create my own new characters, and begin the first draft.

Whichever series I choose, it’s going to be fun. I feel like I am ever so close to finally getting into that writing groove that for so long I have been searching. I even found on Spotify music a movie soundtrack that I used to play over and over again while writing 15 years ago. I can’t tell you how many pages I cranked out to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back record one side two. 🙂

For those of you who were expecting the new top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes, that is still in the works and will be put up next week. I’m taking a personal day tomorrow but I will post a new entry a little bit later than usual in the day with Rebecca’s help in editing.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a good Wednesday afternoon, take care, and happy reading.

Enjoying virtual flight on YouTube

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Greetings, readers. A number of people on YouTube put up videos of themselves being on an airplane, with their little camera facing out on to the wing. I have used some of these videos for ambient background noise to help with sleeping, and sometimes just to enjoy them. My question is: How do they do it?

I’ve Googled the equipment that is used as stated in their description and obviously it is electronic. Please, readers, correct me if I am wrong, but I thought all electronic gadgets had to be turned off for taxi, take-off, and landing. No matter. It really does add to the experience. The camera that is used can fit into the palm of your hand and can be clamped down to the window of the aircraft. I believe, but I’m not certain, that it plugs into a computer’s USB port and you can record directly into the computer.

One of my favorite videos is a flight on American Airlines from Las Vegas, Nevada to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. I really enjoy the few moments after take-off when big mountains come into view followed by the pretty clouds, and before I know it we are at cruising altitude with lovely blue skies. It was a daytime flight and everything was as bright and clear as could be.

There is more than one person on YouTube that does this. My favorite is someone who posts as inflight Video. He has videos from all over the world and my guess is that when he travels anywhere for business he records the flight. Why does this fascinate me so much? Here’s the answer.

As friends of mine and my steady readers know, I love aircraft and flying. Early in life I had thoughts about being a commercial pilot. Health issues closed that door. I do not have the time nor the money to hop onto an airplane anytime I want, turn right around and come home again. I’m silly, not stupid, and taking a several hundred-dollar joy ride for the day is out of the question. My Aunt Marilyn lives out west so I could have an opportunity to fly cross-country, I just have to find the time and funds to do it.

For now though, the flight videos on YouTube will have to do. I hope to visit my Aunt sometime in the coming year. We’ll see if that transpires.

The last two little tidbits. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the ill-fated Air Florida Flight 90 disaster, which occurred in 1982. My blog entry on this event still gets a few views during the year and I expect more around the anniversary. This post, as well as my very popular top ten list from the show Air Crash Investigation, made me think, what if I did another top ten list of favorite episodes from ACI? There are so many to choose from. I don’t think I’ve seen them all, but the ones I have seen I remember quite well. I think for next week I shall take notes and try to come up with another ten episodes for a second list. Am I expecting the same high numbers as the first top ten list? It certainly would be nice but I am grateful for any reads I get on any blog entry. I’ll get to work on that one this weekend.

Before I sign off, prayers going out to all who need it in areas of the country experiencing droughts, floods, or blizzards. The weather has been kind of freaky this winter.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, happy reading.

I think I’ve discovered why I’m so sleepy

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Greetings, readers. Although it is true that I don’t usually get eight or nine hours of sleep a night, I still often feel like my medications are zapping me of energy from the late morning on. Even the nights when I do get a lot of sleep I am still needing a nap. Rebecca told me about a conversation she had with someone who is changing from the same anti-depression medication that I take because it caused them sleepiness. This is information I did not have before. On Friday I am going to talk to my therapist and see just how true that is.

At first I thought my lack of energy and appetite were the winter blues. But in the last several weeks we’ve had a few days of sun, with temperatures in the upper 30s F. I enjoyed them very much. I walked around, went to my favorite hang-out and saw my friends. Still I did not want to eat very much and my favorite word was nap. I concluded that it must be my four seizure medications. Now I am wondering if it is the anti-depressant, or even that medication in conjunction with the seizure meds.

Even at this very moment as I am dictating this blog entry I am doing so with eyes closed. I am coherent and am aware of exactly what I wish to say next. There are some mornings when Rebecca is not scheduled to work, that I will close down the computer, shut off the lights, and go back to sleep – sometimes for as long as four hours. That is one hell of a nap.

Another thing that has me a little worried is that my weight is 190 pounds. I was at 204 not too long ago. On the good side, my blood work is perfect. Pulse and blood pressure are outstanding. I just need to find what is draining my energy and appetite.

If indeed it is my anti-depressant, I think I can get by without it. I see my therapist every two weeks and have more coping tools in place to battle depression. One tool is watching stand-up comedy on Netflix. Gabriel Iglesias has a new special out and also Anjelah Johnson, whom I wrote to on Twitter complimenting her on her performances. To my surprise and amazement she wrote back and thanked me. I felt so special.

For my regular readers and family members please do not worry. I’m planning to take steps as soon as this Friday to rectify this situation. I hope that in a week or two I will be back to the energetic self that I enjoyed when I was younger.

Finally, on a side note, though I did not watch this game, congratulations go out to the Clemson University football team on winning the National Championship over Alabama. It was a close game and Clemson won with six seconds to play. I really feel for the fans of Alabama.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, do take care, and happy reading.

I love my life, but not today

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Greetings, readers. It has been a very frustrating morning but the worst is over. A simple task which should have taken five minutes took nearly an hour. Here’s how it all went down.

I noticed this morning that I needed to call the pharmacy and order a few prescriptions. The first three weren’t a problem. My one seizure med was the one that hit the snag. They said I had already picked that one up last week. Where was it? I had lost it somewhere. We went through four months of empty pharmacy bags and receipts and it wasn’t here. Panic time. I opened my bag with the current med bottles to confirm I didn’t have it, and there it was. Phew. But then I couldn’t remember the name of the med I did need to order. I know I take four seizure meds and after all this time their names should be burned into my brain. One of them wasn’t. Poor Rebecca had to sit here while we went through empty bags looking for that one empty ‘script bottle. Oh, joy, oh, bliss. Yes, she calls herself my assistant, but I think today she went over and above the call of duty. Thanks go to Rebecca. I got the name of the med and was able to order it from the pharmacy. My usual system of putting newly purchased meds in the current meds bag and of making a mental note for which meds are low and need to be called in that day, has worked perfectly for me for a long time, but today it failed.

We did get the problem sorted out and this afternoon I can pick up my new ‘scripts. But dang blast it, it really makes me nuts when the simplest of tasks takes way longer than it should. I know, I know, this happens to everybody from time to time, it just seems like it happens to me more than it should.

After about 40 minutes of what I would call a waste, we were able to begin my blog entry for the day. I was going to blog on a completely different topic, a RIP for my friend and neighbor Rita. I may still do that topic next week, especially if I can get her daughter’s permission to use Rita’s full name.

My friend’s death has hit me harder than I ever expected. Because of a language barrier (she was Russian) we did not have long conversations, though she did speak some English. It was more or less the daily pleasantries that we could exchange while passing in the hallways or outside the building. I think the suddenness of her death is what is effecting me the most. She is here one minute and gone mere hours later. It has made me think of my own mortality, not that I think I will die tomorrow, but it does point out that one never knows. We can be gone in the blink of an eye.

Rebecca and I will be in the office next week as usual on Wednesday and Thursday with two more interesting blog entries. If I get permission from Rita’s daughter to go into more detail, I shall on Wednesday. If not, I’ll choose another topic.

Finally, the Penn State Nittany Lion football team gave a valiant effort in the Rose Bowl but came up just short against the University of Southern California. This was the highest scoring Rose Bowl in history and the most exciting one that I have ever seen. Kudos to both teams on a great season.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Reflections in the first week of the new year

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For the first time in three weeks, I am sitting in the office, AKA Joe’s apartment, at work. Two weeks ago I had surgery to take out my gallbladder. I truly expected to be back to my normal routine the following week, but I was fooling myself. While I was able to go home the same day as the surgery, I needed a little more than a week to recover, rest, and heal. My husband, Darren, was a big help to me, especially in the first few days when I was groggy, cranky, and in pain.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to write a blog entry and edit Joe’s entries from the comfort of my own home. That was mega-cool. Thank you to Joe for letting me do that and for your patience and support.

Speaking of modern technology, last year we got high-speed internet at home, and we have been enjoying Netflix streaming through Darren’s PS3. He especially likes watching shows with no commercials. He was watching Lost for a while, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched the four-part special of Gilmore Girls, and Longmire. While I was recovering, we started to watch The West Wing, and we are up to the second season. It has been a while since I watched it, and I am enjoying it a lot. I remembered some things and other parts were a surprise reminder. So many of the issues were from the Bill Clinton presidency and I am strongly reminded of that administration with its ideals and its problems. We binge watch a bit, but we want to be careful with the PS3 so we don’t wear it out. A few hours at a time seems to work for us. I am certainly looking forward to exploring more of what Netflix has to offer in the coming year.

So, back to a new year starting. Next to me, I have my work folder ready for notes and reminders and my new engagement calendar, full of January’s information, and waiting for the appointments yet to be made in the next twelve months. We ended 2016 with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds nationwide, and locally the shocking unexpected death of a resident of Addison Court Apartments, Joe’s next door neighbor. A new year feels like a new start, like anything good is possible. I’m ready for that new start and I want it. There was so much yelling and strife in 2016, and with the new Presidential administration coming in there will have to be a lot of people taking action to hold on to civil rights in the coming four years. But right now, this day, 2017 is a new beginning and it has a lot of promise.

I wish everyone a very happy 2017! :-)

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Greetings, readers. This blog entry is going to be rather short one. I want to wish everyone a very happy new year. I have had many personal ups and downs this past year, and am looking forward to 2017. The highlight of the year was, of course, getting engaged to Traci. My marriage proposal to her during my latest show was a special moment for both us. The lowlight for my apartment building and its community was the loss of a number of residents this past year. It is always a shock and we miss them.

On Monday afternoon, the Penn State Nittany Lion football team will play in the Rose Bowl vs. USC. A friend told me that two players on the Penn state team have been suspended. That is not going to help our chances of winning the game. However, I applaud the coach for taking action if it was truly necessary. That takes guts.

I shall be doing all of my traditional things on New Year’s such as watching parades, football games, and, on New Year’s Eve, watching the ball drop from Times Square.

After the holiday season is over, Rebecca and I will get back to work on a fairly regular schedule. This coming Wednesday, however, I need to take Traci to an appointment, so Rebecca will do a blog entry from here at the office.

A most joyous and happy new year to all my loyal readers and friends. Please leave a comment if you wish and let us know what some of your New Year’s Day traditions are.

As always take care, have a great holiday weekend, and happy reading.

We began blogging 5 years ago on Thursday!

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Greetings, readers. I got a notice on my WordPress.com page that I have been blogging, with Rebecca’s help, for five years now. Wow! Time sure does fly. With almost 600 entries completed, we’ve no end in sight. We have blogged on a variety of topics, from plane crashes to R.I.P.s to reviews of video games and everything in between. Are we going to keep going? Of course!  🙂

I’ve said before that I try to stay away from blogging about politics. This coming year, I might take a stab at it. I’ve always been shy about sharing my political opinion, until this year around the election. In years past, people have told me that my candidate was the wrong choice, or that my beliefs were incorrect; I shouldn’t believe this, I should believe that instead. Every four years I get a headache so terrible I feel my head will explode. Well, I have opinions and I can stand by them. I can write about them in this forum.

Other topics that we’ll be blogging about will include what’s going on in the news and R.I.Ps to famous actors, actresses, singers and other people of note.  Rebecca also suggested that perhaps I blog about other episodes of the show Air Crash Investigation that I have watched and particularly enjoyed. The original entry, Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, is still the one that has the most views of all the other blog posts put together. The post I did after that on one of the episodes, The Air Crash Investigation episode on The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crash, also gets regular views. The entry, In memory of Air Florida Flight 90, is very popular, too. I know I have a morbid fascination with airplane wrecks, so I will try not to choose this topic to often.

No matter what topics I write about, I look forward to another year of sharing them with you. I am grateful that you take the time to read my words, and that some of you respond with your own thoughts in the comments.

Before I go, I want to wish Rebecca well. She’s been a tad under the weather. I’m happy to say that she is doing much better and will be back with us next week.  I shall put up another blog entry either tomorrow or Friday.  Until then, take care, have a great day and as always, happy reading.

Merry Christmas everyone

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Greetings, readers. As my regular readers know, I love Christmas and this time of year. I try to keep up with as many family traditions as I can. I have my decorations up, but not as many as I would have liked. I did my annual Christmas light ride with Traci, who is now my fiancé, and we both had an excellent time. Just as we had given up all hope of seeing the Santa Firetruck, there it was, returning to base. They must have begun a bit earlier than in years past.

I hope you and your family are having a great holiday, too.

Until next week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Playing Axis & Allies with my husband

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My husband, Darren, introduced me to the game Axis & Allies, and a few other games, in the first year of us going together. Axis & Allies is a strategy board game based on World War II. One person plays for the axis countries and the other person plays for the allies countries. The rules explain how to split up the countries if there are more than two players.

The game is very complex, which is what Darren loves about it. There are land units (like tanks and infantry), air units (like fighters and bombers), and water units (like carriers and submarines), and they all have their own rules for movement, attack, and defense. The game uses six-sided dice to determine if attack rolls or defense rolls are successful, which adds a bit of luck into this game of skill. The rules may take longer to learn than for simple games like Clue or Risk, but beginners can play Axis & Allies without too much trouble.

I have my favorites of the land, water, and air pieces. I love tanks, though they cost 6 money units to buy, because they move two spaces on the board and are a hit on 3 for both attack and defense. That means that they hit when I roll the dice and get a 3, 2, or 1; they miss when I roll a 4, 5, or 6. Battleships are great (20 money units to buy!) because they can take two hits before being destroyed, and destroyers are good because they can bypass the special powers of the submarines. Bombers (12 money units) are great for attacking because they attack on a 4, hitting on a 4 or less, but they are bad when defending because then they only hit on 1s. The variety of pieces and rules makes for a game of complexity and depth. Like chess, a person can improve greatly over time and work out strategies to do better each game.

There are many versions of this game, and Darren has most of them. Europe, Pacific, global (which is both Europe and Pacific combined), 1940, 1941, 1942, Guadalcanal, and one set in WWI. The axis countries are Germany, Italy, and Japan. The allies countries are Great Britain, Russia, France, United States, Australia with New Zealand, and China. The basic rules are the same for each edition, but there are a few changes that keep the games fresh for experienced players.

I like the game a lot, but after ten years of playing it with Darren, I had gotten tired of it. For a few years we rarely played it. Then this year we started playing it a different way and it has worked very well for me. We play only one round in a day, leave the board set up, and play the next round another day. By the time I get tired or it is hard for me to keep focused, the round is over. This solution wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works great for us. We played through a Europe game twice in the last six months, and are about to start a Pacific game. I miss having the dining room table available, but that is the main downside and I can live with it. Playing two games so close together this year, I noticed my strategy plans and skills getting better. Darren helped me a ton during the first game, and not as much in the second. I am looking forward to seeing how much better I do in this upcoming game.

Darren likes playing with me, but he also misses playing with other people, with different skill levels. He used to have a couple of friends who would play, but for one reason or another they haven’t been around for a while. If any of you are interested or know anyone who would be interested in playing Axis & Allies with Darren, let me know in the comments and I will get back to you to make arrangements.

Joe should have a new post up before the weekend, probably tomorrow. I will close as he does: Until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.