Tweet, Tweet, Twitter

Greetings, readers. For approximately two years I’ve been on the social media network called Twitter. I like it very much and it’s great fun. I follow almost all the Star Trek stars, some of my personal friends, and tons of sports teams. It’s nice to keep up with what’s going on in short little Tweets, as they say.

When I first began, I had a devil of a time compacting my thoughts into the 140 character allotment. I kept forgetting that every hit of the space bar counted as a character. In two years, I think I’ve gotten somewhat better at being more succinct. It’s actually a challenging writing exercise for me to think of what I want to say and then make it fit. I will confess that on a few occasions I do need to compose two connected tweets because what I need to say just can’t be chopped down.

My pros for Twitter are these: I like its current format and relative ease on how to find everything. Now that I am used to it, that is. It is easy-peasy to follow people and 35 people have followed me back – including the Minnesota Vikings pro football team.

My cons for Twitter are these: My biggest one – I know it’s because I’m not famous – is that almost no one replies to me. I can count the number of responders on one hand. Including my cousin, and a video gamer who goes by the handle Jamin000, and an inspirational blogger with cerebral palsy. Another con is that sometimes, especially early on, my blog entry would not appear in my Twitter feed as it should have, and I would need to go back and re-establish the link in WordPress. In the last few months it has been working much better in both my social media places.

Now here is something that is both a pro and a con: You don’t need to have someone following you to follow them. That makes lurking a little bit easier. On Facebook, you have to either like someone if they are famous, and have them like you back, or send a friendship request and have that person accept it before communication begins. To me, I like that little bit of added security.

Rebecca and I both have the habit of checking Twitter and Facebook one after the other. The two seem to go together. I must admit to liking Facebook a wee bit more. However, the more I use Twitter, the more comfortable I get with it.

If I had to give Twitter a mark out of 10, I would give it a healthy 8.5. I’m not the kind of person who would stay on something such as this if I didn’t really like it.

Until next week, have a great weekend, stay warm, and happy reading.

Reconnecting with friends 2: massive fail

Greetings, readers. Over the years I’ve lost touch with some friends and I miss them. Some I have reconnected with, especially through Facebook, but a few I am still looking for so that I can re-establish the friendship. On two separate occasions this past weekend I came oh so close to making contact with friends from long ago. Thanks to an internet service, for a very inexpensive price, I was able to get leads on my two friends. After plugging in their correct middle initials, I was happy to see that I had indeed found the people I was looking for.

I tried to call friend number one and got the family’s answering machine. I could tell right away it was my friend’s husband, who does know me quite well. My mom and I have visited with them many times on our Maine vacation trip when we would stop overnight in Connecticut. I left a detailed message on the answering machine and either they don’t remember me – which would be disappointing – or the message was never relayed to my friend. I’m sure she would have called me. Oh, and yes, I did leave my phone number.

That same afternoon I found a friend of mine from junior and high school who still lives here locally. Yesterday afternoon with address in hand, I went to the house. I must admit I was a little nervous. But when the young gentleman answered the door, I explained who I was and why I was there. To my disappointment, I learned that the information from the website was outdated and that friend number two no longer lived there. Oh, if I had only done this a year ago. To think, every time I went to Denny’s, she was a stone’s throw away.

Maybe I’m not supposed to find my friends. Perhaps it’s not in the cards. I’ve asked for help on Facebook, hoping that perhaps friend number two’s brothers will see it and respond. Then I realized for them to see it they have to be on Facebook, and to my knowledge they are not. So, I could not ask them directly where their sister is.

I’ve decided I’m not going to push the issue and I’m going to back off for a while. If I’m meant to reconnect, it will happen. I hate losing friends, I always have. I’d give my left arm to know where my junior college girlfriend is today, but she is probably married with a wonderful family of her own. I was never very good in the romance department. That’s why I am about to become 50 years old and am still unmarried.

As far as the rest of this work week goes, yes a new blog will be up on Friday on a yet unknown topic. I’m sure that Rebecca and I will come up with a good idea. I’m struggling today to deal with the weather. It is raining, not snowing, but it is that cold damp rain. I knew it was coming because this morning my left knee was aching. As my mom used to say, I have accuknee, instead of Accuweather.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I like about myself, to stave off depression

Greetings, readers. Two nights ago, I was suffering from a terrible bout of acute depression. Last night was better and today I am my cheerful self. I am very happy to report this. I’ve decided that this top ten list will describe my positive qualities; I can think about them when I’m down.

#10. I’m a caring person. [Sometimes I go out on a limb and be what a friend used to call too nice. Can a human being actually care too much???]

#9. I try not to gossip. [Gossip leads to drama and there is enough drama in my apartment building. Because of this drama, I tend to stay in this apartment more than I should, but that’s okay.]

#8. I am a very young at heart 49-year-old. [Most of the time I still feel like a big kid.]

#7. I am a hopelessly old-fashioned romantic. [This one is a double-edged sword. When I think about how romantic I can be, I remember that at this moment I don’t have a girl-friend. Oops.]

#6. I try to be as independent as I can. [However, I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I think some people would be.]

#5. When I do drive the Zipcars, I am a very safe driver. [Driving gives me back some control and independence that I’ve lost in recent years.]

#4. I am usually optimistic and have a never say die attitude. [When Dave and I would be playing sports when we were kids, he would tell me how much he admired the fact that I just never gave up. When you are losing 42 to nothing, most people would.]

#3. I am keeping my apartment clean to a better degree. [My bedroom is three-quarters finished and surprisingly the worse area is now the living room, which unfortunately doubles as our office.]

#2. As instilled in me by my parents, I am polite to my elders. [No matter what happens in the apartment building where lots of elderly people live, I will not lose my temper with my elders in their presence. That is just not how I was raised.]

#1. Even though I don’t have any of my own, I am excellent with children. [When I joined David’s family many years ago as Uncle Joey, all the nieces and nephews came to love me as though I was truly one of the family. Now that they have children of their own, it’s happening all over again. I am truly blessed.]

{Special from Rebecca. Joe is a very good friend. He is loyal, thoughtful, and accepting. If you are one of his friends, you are a lucky person indeed. When we were in high school I was a mess, and projected a vibe of leave me alone. One day Joe sat down next to me and started talking, as if I was open and approachable. So I responded as if I was. And then a friendship began. I am blessed to have him in my life.}

Well, there they are. I hope that some people can look at this, and if not get inspired, at least get a smile out of it. Until next week, have a good weekend, happy first day of spring, and happy reading.

Decisions, decisions

Greetings, readers. Life is full of decisions. From a very early age I always had to make decisions of what I was going to do that day. Would I wear my red sweater or my yellow sweater? When Dave came down to play, would we play Wiffle ball or Nerf football? As the years went on, and I got into high school, those decisions were more long-term. What college was I going to? What should I major in? Etc.

To answer those last two questions, I stayed home here in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, majoring in Liberal Arts and taking some night-time writing classes. Around the age of 20, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer. I’ll be honest with you readers. I wrote a lot more back then. I could put classical music or a Star Wars record on in the background  and type for hours. For some reason, now I can no longer do this.

More recent decisions have dealt with my writing career and its recent lack of productivity. Yes, Darren is still working on turning my play Kimberly into a novel called Four’s a Crowd, and that is showing remarkable promise. When she is home, Rebecca is the editor of the project and is currently proofreading it. I am trying to figure out what I am going to be doing next. I firmly believe that it’s going to be a fan-fiction script for a web-series called Star Trek Continues. I came up with a very good outline, with Rebecca’s help, but after looking at it more closely, I realized that my idea was perilously close to an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I told Rebecca, and I’m promising you my readers, this project is not dead. It’s just on hold for a while until I can come up with an idea that is more my own.

As far as decisions for later in life, they would include: Where am I going to live in my golden years? Will I move to sunny Florida, steamy Arizona, or California? Probably not. Something tells me that I shall remain here in State College the rest of my life. Mom and Dad are buried here, and actually my plot is also there, near my mother.

The decision whether or not to get a used car, to take a cruise, or to marry again are the three big ones. At this point, due to finances, the cruise might be a fantasy. The vehicle will always remain on my wish list. And a second wife, well … time will tell.

Until tomorrow, when I hope to have the top ten list I am working on completed and ready to go, take care, think spring, happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, and happy reading.

Time seems to fly when you’re having fun

Greetings, readers. When I was a small boy in elementary school, school days felt like weeks and the weekend felt like ten minutes. I’ve often wondered why that was. A minute is a minute and a day is a day, etc. I suppose it’s how our brain perceives time.

I’ve had it happen many times over my lifetime that when I’m doing something fun, time flies. When I’m studying, doing something boring, or doing something I flat-out don’t like, time seems to drag.

This morning I got up at 6:45 and thought to myself, “I have the whole morning ahead of me.” I checked Facebook, practiced for my show a little bit, and ran a train simulation. Next thing I knew, it was 11:30. I had to shut down the computer and get ready to go meet Rebecca at Panera.

I can’t change how I perceive the time or how it goes. I know when I go to Bear Spring Camps, the first few days seem normal, but the closer I get to the day I leave, the time just seems to speed up. Back in the day, when camp used to have the benefit softball game, I really got the sensation that the finish of the game was the beginning of the end of the vacation. The game happened on a Thursday, Friday was mostly packing up, and Saturday morning was saying good-bye, having that final breakfast and getting on the road.

During my college years, when I really struggled with my classes, I felt like time was traveling through molasses. Then came the weekend. Penn State football on Saturday, rah rah rah. On Sunday, I’d watch the Steelers and Eagles. And then it was back to classes on Monday and time would drag again.

In conclusion, there is probably some theory from some scientist that deals with this topic, but I can only speak from my own experiences. If you would like to, please chime in with your experiences on how you perceive time or any stories you would like to share in the comment box.

As far as next week goes, I’m taking a personal day on Wednesday, so I believe we will put up blog entries on Thursday and Friday. At least that is the plan for now.

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

I had a great weekend with my buddy and brother

Greetings, readers. The long-awaited weekend visit of my best friend Dave has come and gone. It was a wonderful four and a half days. We met Rebecca and Darren for lunch on Saturday afternoon and talked a little about the book project. Later that evening, Dave and I met my cousin Ed and family for dinner. We chose our local Chili’s restaurant for both meals. It had very good food and the service was excellent. Dave and I got there early in the evening and we had to wait for a table at the bar. I partook of a Bud Light in a frosty glass. It was the first beer that I had had in at least a couple of years. I enjoyed it very much. When it was time to be seated for dinner, I switched to my stand-by beverage, coffee.

Sunday and Monday were filled not with PS3 baseball as I thought, but with Disney movies on Netflix streaming. When I watch TV alone, that is not my first choice, but I will admit Dave chose some Disney flicks that were quite enjoyable. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was excellent in story and acting, and had exquisite animation as well. Another two favorites of mine were Pocahontas and Atlantis: the Lost Empire. I can’t get into the actors who did the voices, but if you are into Disney movies, I’ve given you a few good choices to check out.

Dave and I also made much use of my new Keurig coffee maker. That is coming in very handy. Dave enjoyed the Panera K-Cups as well as the Donut Shop blend. Our favorite movie snack, however, was the Tostitos Scoops with creamy onion dip. Most delicious.

I talked to David brother to brother about a few issues that I wanted to get straight. Our conversations were enlightening and I was satisfied with the outcome.

The weekend went fast and on Tuesday morning when it was time to take David to the bus in a Zipcar, the car I was supposed to have wasn’t in its parking space. Oops! I called them up, nicely chewed them out, then Dave and I hopped a cab to get him to the Wal-Mart parking lot on time. He called me from the Megabus and told me everything was fine, but with their policy he couldn’t talk very loud.

All in all I give this visit a 10 out of 10 rating. No brotherly quarrels, spats, or problems that would ruin the weekend. The fact that I had to put us in a cab was quickly overlooked. Yes it was an expense I wasn’t expecting, but no harm no foul. Zipcar did refund my money.

As far as the rest of the week, my accountant wants us to look up some information about a local ambulance subscription service, in case I ever need to use them again in the future. Regular readers will remember that I needed an ambulance a couple of weeks ago and apparently I will pay full price for it.

Rebecca and I are back to our regular three-day work week and another blog will be posted on Friday. Until then, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe has a busy weekend

Hi, all. As regular readers know, Joe’s friend David is coming here for the weekend. Yesterday, Joe found out that other relatives are coming in this weekend as well. Very exciting but it will take a lot of his time and energy. So he will be too busy to do a blog entry today. Darren will get the chance to meet David tomorrow afternoon when we join them for a meal. It should be fun and I am looking forward to it.

We are forecast to have warmer weather this next week, which is so welcome. Hopefully it will melt some of the ice and snow that has been in parking lots and lawns for over a month.

Until next Wednesday, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Same bat – time, same bat – channel!

Greetings, readers. As promised, here is my blog entry on the topic of the 1960s Batman series. The new movies, as well as the old comic books, portrayed the Caped Crusader as a darker figure. Not quite evil but almost. The 1960s TV series was anything but that. The show was labeled a comedy spoof, yet the acting quality makes it still one of my favorite shows today.

The major players included Adam West as millionaire Bruce Wayne and Batman. Adam had a knack for over acting everything, but it worked so well. I remember as a child wanting to be that man, whom I saw on the TV screen. He lived in that big house with nice things and drove around in that super cool car, the Batmobile.

Burt Ward played Dick Grayson and Robin. Along with his costume, he only wore a black mask over his eyes, and yet not even Aunt Harriet knew it was Dick Grayson. Major hand wave there; in the interest of fun we’ll let it go.

Speaking of hand waves, the biggest one of the entire series happened in the third season when new character Batgirl arrived on the scene. Is anyone really going to try to tell me that Commissioner Gordon couldn’t realize the voice coming out of Batgirl was that of his own daughter Barbara? The man was not that inept.

Some of the notable villains and villainesses were Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, and Julie Newmar as the Catwoman. They are who I call the big four. All other villains and villainesses are smaller potatoes in my eyes. I heard once on an interview show that it was something of a status symbol if you were asked to be a villain or villainess on Batman. My favorite minor villainess was the lovely young Joan Collins as the Siren.

Shifting gears, no pun intended, the Batmobile was based on a concept car, the Lincoln Futura. I’ve seen photos on Yahoo!. You can definitely tell it’s the Batmobile. It’s too bad that Lincoln never produced the car for the public. That would have been cool. One of the six Batmobiles the show used was in State College, PA. at our annual car show a few summers ago. What fun it was for me to stand right next to such an iconic vehicle.

Though Batman only went two and a half seasons (it was a mid-season replacement when it premiered) it took the nation by storm and fizzled out just as quickly. By the third season, ratings had dropped. Batgirl was a nice change but the Aunt Harriet character was all but dropped. She was always traveling, they said.

They have had several renditions of Batman since this series, including cartoons and feature films. My favorite, however, will always be the ’66 to ’68 Batman. Adam and Burt, thumbs up for a job well done.

Until next time, take care, happy reading, and to the Batpoles!

I think I hit rock bottom last night

Greetings, readers. I’m not certain whether the remnants of my illness is toying with my emotions or what, but last evening as I was watching television, I broke down and cried several times. I wasn’t sobbing, mind you, so we’ll call them junior nervous break-downs. I’ve experienced this phenomenon before but not since I’ve been on my anti-depression medicine. This leads me to two questions. One, is the dosage as strong as it should be, and two, for some reason could it have completely stopped working?

Body chemistry is bizarre and I don’t begin to claim to understand it. Maybe after a major illness it takes a week or so for regular medications to work normally again. I certainly hope so. I have an appointment with my psychologist on Monday, and I’ll be bringing a list of things to talk about so as to not forget anything.

The bedroom cleaning began yesterday and will continue at 3:00 with a hard choice made. The lamp that was my mom’s which sat on the credenza is going to be put on the swap table in the community room. It’s mildly broken and I have another lamp on the credenza now. I don’t like throwing out possessions that my parents had, as most of you know, but I have no choice. It is now or never, Dave comes Thursday.

Since getting back from the hospital on Tuesday, I am horribly behind on correspondences on Facebook and Twitter. After the blog entry goes up today, Rebecca and I will check emails and social media, leaving time to do our files back-up work as we always do on Friday.

Next Wednesday, the blog will be about one of my all time favorite shows when I was a boy. The mid-1960s Batman series. I’m watching the DVDs now, and am thoroughly enjoying them. That’s going to be a fun blog entry for me, giving my recollections and opinions on three seasons of campy fun.

Until then, take care, keep warm and dry, and happy reading.

Ouch! That nasty flu bug bit me

Greetings, readers. I am finally home from the hospital, after a two-and-a-half day stay that felt like a week. My first six hours were spent in the ER, having blood drawn and IV needles inserted. What I thought was going to happen was: I would go, get my IV fluids, feel better, and come home. If I knew the doctor was going to admit me, I would have packed my backpack with my computer and a few other niceties from home.

Sunday was a complete wash-out. Monday I felt a wee bit better. By Tuesday I knew I was ready to come home because I was getting antsy. I was back to my spunky self.

As I was lying in my hospital bed, I watched a little TV, listened to some music, but mostly I slept and used the restroom. My biggest inconvenience was that I had to ring for a nurse every single time because the IV stand had to come with me into the bathroom. The nurse had to unplug that from the wall and make sure I didn’t damage the IV connection in my arm with an abrupt movement. On Monday evening I felt strong enough to take a walk in the hallway up and back; my nurses felt that was a very good sign. One of them said that they were going to suggest that anyway. She explained that they like to get the patients up and moving sooner rather than later to avoid stiff muscles or bed sores.

On a personal note, I wish to thank Rebecca and Darren for not only visiting, but for getting me home late yesterday afternoon. I got back just in time to feed Keekee, who missed me immensely, and to prepare myself something very light to eat. I’m still taking things rather easy. Keekee was happy to see me. She seemed very hungry so I immediately gave her half a can of moist food. I never have to worry that she will starve, because I have her feeder always filled and she can nibble on that as needed, and her water dish is nearby also. This came in handy when I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital.

I’m going to wind up this rather short blog entry because Rebecca and I have to work on a kitchen cabinet which needs to be emptied and taken down to maintenance. This morning, as if the Lord was laughing at me, I pulled the front of the drawer right off when the nails gave way. One more thing to add to my to-do list before Dave arrives in a week’s time.

Until Friday, stay healthy, best wishes if you are ill, take care and happy reading.