A happy Friday and Beatles show pictures

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Greetings, readers. It is a gorgeous August … I mean May day. It is sunny, and today’s high will be 85 degrees F. Love it, love it, love it. The only thing that is a small minus in this situation is the fact that if I have my blinds open during work hours, my air conditioning unit is virtually useless. By tonight, however, I’m sure I will be comfy once again.

I’m planning to have a relaxed weekend, not worrying about any upcoming inspections. LOL. This evening I will watch some TV or listen to some music and turn in early. Tomorrow is laundry day, as I finish up the last little bit of the bedroom. Either today or tomorrow is vacuuming day. As you can see, I’m trying to get down to a clean up schedule of some kind. Back in the day of the happy homemakers, women and men wouldn’t think twice about which chore to do on what day to keep their homes clean. With me, I practically have to make a chart and tape it to the fridge. How lame is that?

Sunday afternoon’s plans are going to include a pre-Memorial Day party thrown by one of my good friends here in the apartment building. Scott and his wife Cathy always throw wonderful gatherings.

On to other news, thanks to Rebecca and her many talents, as she was able to figure out how to transfer pictures from my cell phone to the computer. She put some of them on the Performance Pictures page. Also, at the end of this blog entry you will be able to see four or five snapshots of me performing during my Beatles sing along show which took place on May 13th here in Addison Court. I hope you enjoy them and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them here or on my Facebook page. I did have other photographs taken and they are beautiful, but I am having problems getting them on my computer. If we are able to figure out how, I will share them with you then.

Lastly, I would like to let all my WordPress readers know that I am starting a vlog on my YouTube channel. I have seen people who have 50,000 subscribers – I have ten. Within the next week or so, I shall provide a link to my channel and anyone who wants to visit me there is more than welcome to do so. Subscribe and give those videos a like; it will help me out.

Well we are going to leave time now for Rebecca to put the pictures in, so I bid you a fantastic weekend, we will see you on Wednesday, and happy reading.

 

Poster for Joe's Beatles show May 13, 2016

Poster for Joe’s Beatles show May 13, 2016

Joe singing at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Joe singing at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Joe doing air drums at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016. Please ignore the yellow mop in so many of these photos.

Joe doing air drums at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016. Please ignore the yellow mop in so many of these photos.

Joe doing air guitar at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Joe doing air guitar at his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Joe's girlfriend Traci enjoying his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Joe’s girlfriend Traci enjoying his Beatles show on May 13, 2016.

Some people in the crowd, enjoying Joe's Beatles show and some afternoon snacks on May 13, 2016.

Some people in the crowd, enjoying Joe’s Beatles show and some afternoon snacks on May 13, 2016.

Joe singing and performing the Beatles at his show on May 13, 2016.

Joe singing and performing the Beatles at his show on May 13, 2016.

 

Whoo hoot! I passed my apartment inspection

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Greetings, readers. With the help of a good friend, I was able to pass my apartment re-inspection this past Monday. It was a trying and bittersweet day. Was I happy that I had passed? Absolutely. But a lot of stuff from my life had to be thrown away. As I have mentioned before, I’m a junior hoarder and we found bags of garbage inside bags of garbage and old papers. Not fun.

To be truthful, 75% of it was old clothes that either needed to be washed or were thrown away because they dry rotted. Family mementos were carefully placed in closets or drawers, and although I never would have thought it possible, the place looked great when we were finished. I actually have a bedroom again, not a storage unit.

I was proud of myself that I had kept my apartment in the half-decent shape that it was in from the first inspection the previous week. But if I had failed this inspection, I don’t know what would have happened. I enjoy living here and do not wish to have to move. Now I can relax, sign my lease in July, and it will kick in on October 1st.

On another note, since the inspection, I found myself retreating from real life by watching videos on YouTube of crickets, ocean waves, forests sounds, rain, and other such peaceful things. I searched for meditation videos, mainly from Japan and China. As I’ve said before, you can find almost anything on YouTube. Somehow I can’t help but wonder if this sudden desire to not live in my real world has a connection to having to lose so many of my things while cleaning out my apartment. My answer would be yes. Oh, my therapist will have a field day tomorrow. My favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes dealt with the holodecks, where people lose themselves in a creative fantasy land. I have the feeling that that was what I was doing when I would listen to these 8 to 10 hour videos.

Next, here in central Pennsylvania, we have gone from mid-spring to what feels like early July in two days. Today is sunny, hazy, and a luscious 85 degrees F. No coat, jacket, or even sweater is required. I didn’t look at the long-range forecast, but hopefully this wonderfully warm weather will last a while.

Lastly, I would like to thank Rebecca for the wonderful review and write-up of my Beatles show. Everyone seemed to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed performing it.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

R.I.P. to the victims of EgyptAir flight 804

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Greetings, readers. Today I am sad to have to blog about another air crash in the world. This past Wednesday night, an Airbus A320 took off from Paris, France headed to Cairo, Egypt with 56 passengers and ten crew members. They never made it. Somewhere over the Mediterranean sea the aircraft either exploded due to a terrorist attack, or suffered a catastrophic failure at cruising altitude. I can only imagine what those souls went through in their last moments of their lives.

I have re-watched a number of episodes of Air Crash Investigation in the last couple of days, especially the episodes dealing with Malaysia Air flight 370 and Air France flight 447. Those two incidents are examples of crashes that take many years to find an explanation.

In the case of Malaysia 370, searchers are still looking for the aircraft. Every once in a great while, a piece of that airplane will wash up on shore on islands by Australia. The plane must be somewhere on the ocean floor near that area. The only problem is that body of water is humongous. Eventually they will find the aircraft, I’m sure. In the case of Air France 447, that plane has been found and the cause of the crash was figured out to be mechanical failure followed by human error. It was a painstaking process which took years. I’m sure that when Malaysia 370 is found, its cause will also be determined.

If there is any silver lining to this latest tragedy, it might be this. Pieces of EgyptAir 804 have been found, according to this New York Times article, and hopefully for the families of the victims, answers will come soon. With answers comes closure. My heart goes out to the families of victims from all of the air crashes I have mentioned in this entry.

Next week should be a regular work week with at least two blog posts. Until then, do take care, hug your loved ones, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe performed the Beatles last Friday, May 13th

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Joe took a chance against the curse of Friday the 13th last week, with a performance of Beatles songs in the community room of the Addison Court apartment building. Except for a few problems, one of which delayed the show for half an hour, which I’ll get into in a moment, he defied the curse with a great show.

Joe did a bit of air guitar and air drums, but mostly he sang to the sounds of the Beatles playing through his speakers. Most of the songs were ones he had performed before in shows, but some were new for him, like “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” He started the show with “Twist and Shout,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and, and a new one for him, “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” Another song from his first set that he also performed for the first time was “Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown).” It has a different tempo than the others, and Joe did a great job adjusting to the change.

By the end of the first set, people were starting to join in the singing here and there. People were coming in and out of the room, and the audience size went from small to big and back again throughout the two and half hour show. But for one song, the one Joe has in almost all of his shows, the audience was spell-bound. He started “Yesterday” and it seemed that everyone got still and focused. By the end of the third line, we started singing in a low chorus, sounding mournful and reverent. Joe connects this song with a woman who lived in the building until she passed away, and he sang it for her in a tribute concert he did for her in July of 2013. He may not have been the only one thinking of Erin as we sang it with him. Looking back in the archives, I see that the first time “Yesterday” was in one of his show, in December of 2012, it was played on the cello. I remember that and it was uplifting and special, but I was more moved last week, as we all softly sang the song with Joe. Then he finished the set with “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” a song that lifted the energy and party mood again for the break.

Joe started the second set with two special songs, one to his girlfriend Traci Harter and the other a special request from the videographer. The one for Greg Brown, “And This Bird Can Sing,” was added less than two weeks before, so Joe warned the audience ahead of time that it would be rough. He did a good job with it though. Greg worked hard on the video and Mike Weaver did an equally good job taking still photographs.

The special song for Traci as a surprise, which Joe had to spoil the night before for unforseen personal reasons, was the theme song to Traci’s favorite TV show Reba, “I’m a Survivor,” by Reba McEntire. Traci liked it very much and was touched. She had someone record it on her phone, so she can watch it again. I used to watch Reba and knew the theme song, but the version Joe did was the full song from her album, which included lyrics I had not heard before. I was a little teary-eyed too, from the touching lyrics, and the sweet gesture of Joe singing them to his girlfriend.

Songs in his second set included “Lady Madonna,” “Come Together,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” and “Lovely Rita.” One song in particular impressed me. Joe sang “She’s Leaving Home” for the first time in a performance, and I was not familiar with the song before. In the chorus part, there is a section with lyrics from the parents in the story, sung a little softer and in between the main chorus lines. Most people would sing the more prominent lines, I think, and let the back up sing the softer words, but Joe did the opposite, giving voice to the confusion and hurt of the parents who don’t understand a daughter being so eager to move away from home. It was poignant and brought out the sad side of the piece. I thought it showed talent from Joe, to make that choice and to sing the section almost underneath the main part.

Joe was getting tired by the middle of the second act, and needed another short break, but he rallied. He finished the show with “Get Back” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise).

I mentioned that there were a few Friday the 13th issues, including the show being delayed at the beginning. The community room has a door to the bathrooms just behind where Joe was set up to perform. Just before start time, one of the toilets overflowed on the floor in the bathroom. The water had to be turned off at the pipe, and a maintenance man came through to fix and mop up. The mop was then left in view in a corner of the room, apparently the only place for it. Then later in the performance, a staff member had to bring back a big trash-gathering bin, go through Joe’s space, and return it to the closet. Joe understood, and stopped to let him through, then began that song again. Despite these challenges, and that he was getting tired toward the end, Joe gave it his all. It was a great show, that I enjoyed very much. We sang, we clapped, we bopped along, and we had fun. Good work, Joe.

We will get pictures of the performance up as soon as we can. It might be a week or two, but we intend to get it done.

Ok folks, what’s the best brand of laptop today???

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Greetings, readers. My ASUS computer is five and a half years old now and, although it is not in top condition, it still does everything I need it to do. The question is, for how much longer will it continue to work? It really is not considered a gaming computer, though through Steam I do play American Truck Simulator, Train Simulator, and before those, Euro Truck Simulator 2. All three titles, as you can imagine, are graphic intensive. I had to put the graphic settings on minimal just to get the games to run.

Within a year, probably less than that, the time will come for the old laptop to be replaced. My accountant understands this and I’m sure will budget some money for that purchase. I would like to get a laptop that has a better graphics card, so I can truly enjoy the full beauty of these simulators. Also, for our writing projects, the word processing system must be easy to use. I know that Windows 10 … or whatever version is the newest … has a touch screen option. That sounds like fun, but after a couple of days I will probably want to switch that option off, if I can.

What brand to buy, what brand to buy? Years ago I owned a Toshiba which was very good; I had that until I lost it during a bus trip. About six months ago, I went to Best Buy for a preliminary look-see and saw brands such as Acer, HP, Toshiba, ASUS, and others. I’ll be honest with you folks, this computer has been a Sherman tank. I want my next computer to last as long as this one has. The two obvious choices would be ASUS or Toshiba; the brands I have had and I know last a long time. Again, I must stay within my budget for said purchase. I cannot go out and buy a $3,000 desktop or $1,500 laptop.

If anyone has recently purchased a computer they are happy with, please share your story here or on my Facebook page. Also, please chime in with your suggestions and experiences.

As stated yesterday, this will be the last blog entry until next Wednesday, for my Beatles sing-a-long show is tomorrow. Rebecca and I will be doing that tomorrow. I bid you a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. Video segments or pictures of all my shows to come soonest.

I’m going to have a very busy week and weekend

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Greetings, readers. With my Beatles show this Friday, I’ll be quite tired after 4pm. The show is going to last approximately two hours. I know that might not sound very long, but there are many songs on the playlist. Selections include “Love Me Do”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Lady Madonna”, and “Get Back”. I’ve tried to choose a good selection of songs from their early years and their later years. Some I have sung in shows before, but a few I have never performed in public before. I am excited, but everything seems to crowding into the same seven days.

I was hoping to have this weekend to chill out after the show. A minor apartment inspection is taking place on Monday, so I’ll be doing a little spring cleaning over the weekend instead. As I’ve said before, I’m working on my junior hoarding problem, and I’ll need this weekend to get a couple of places the way I want them for the inspection.

One of the two places I’m worried about is under the kitchen counters. I’ll have to check for bugs and things of that nature; my girlfriend Traci told me that other people in the building have had small issues with little critters. The second area of main concern is my bedroom/storage unit. I think ten to fifteen trips down to the dumpster will do it. I definitely see myself throwing things away this time. As hard as that will be for me to do, I’ll feel better about myself when it is done, and there will be less stuff. I guess that is the whole point of spring cleaning.

This is the time line of what goes on in order for me to sign my new lease every year. In May, the inspection. With July comes the signing of the new lease, which begins October 1st. Sometimes I really don’t understand why things have to be done five months early. But I do realize I am not the only person in the building and these inspections, whether done by our office manager, or by our housing authority, must be done for everyone in the building.

I always hate inspections, I don’t think anyone loves them, and I will certainly be happy when it is over. I always work myself up to a big tizzy for nothing. A number of years ago, the person doing the inspecting was literally in my apartment for less than 60 seconds. I got a chuckle out of that.

We will be doing a blog entry tomorrow and going to the local library to print off the show’s playlist so that folks will be able to see what song is next. If I told you I wasn’t nervous about this show I would be a liar. Motivation for practice has been very low this past week. Though I am excited to do this show, I will be very glad when it’s over.

Until tomorrow, take care, enjoy the rest of your day, and happy reading.

I am learning to make budget

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Greetings, readers. For the past six months I have endeavored to finish the month on or under budget. So far I have failed miserably. Last month was the closest I have come, only needing $50 extra. Here is why I do not make budget.

Reason #1: Although my medications are not full-price because of my insurance, they do average out to about $75 a month. There is a big ka-ching out of the $600 right there. Meals on Wheels is helping me on food, but …

Reason #2: I like to enjoy my TV time munchies. The closest place to get them, plus cat food and paper products, is next door at the local pharmacy. I do look for the specials, which helps, but that particular store usually wants top dollar. Things like ice cream, chips and popcorn are quite expensive.

Reason #3: Occasionally I need to rent a Zipcar, such as for this Sunday to visit Mom at the cemetery. I am budgeting $20 – $30 for that. As you can see, blink and the money slips away quickly.

Lastly, I am still an impulse shopper. I am not nearly as bad as I used to be. At the beginning of each month when I have money, if I see that thing I really want, I usually break down and get it. I am pleased to say that in the last two months, I have not made any impulse purchases. I have told both Rebecca and Mr. Updegraff, the accountant, that we are going to use this computer until it dies. I am also still using my old PS3, and although it is not on life-support, it won’t last forever. I would like to get a PS4 before those go obsolete.

I feel bad when I make myself sound like a poor person. With a trust fund, I’m really not; though it comes to me in monthly installments. I’m still trying to learn to come in on or under budget each month. If I can learn to do this, I’ll feel better about myself and make that lump sum of money last longer.

When I was younger, my family made sure that I wanted for nothing. My folks did not teach me, however, how to save money or make a budget and stick to it. If I needed a little extra spending money, I got it. Now, I’m trying to work with a half-empty tool belt of life skills. Being aware of these issues, I will get better each day and each month. But it is a slow process. I’ll need some good wishes and prayers.

If you would like to leave a comment, or share your story, please do feel free. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

Grand Theft Auto V … the most violent game I have ever seen

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Greetings, readers. I watch some people play video games on YouTube. Many people, including my favorite YouTuber, Jeff Favignano, record these videos at least three times a week. One of the games they play is Grand Theft Auto V, as police officers chasing bad guys through the streets in cars. I was able to see the way it was played and liked this game. In the version with the police view, it is called LSPDFR (Los Santos police department first response.) It was quite intriguing. I was all set to buy a used copy of the game and try it. Then I found out how many mods you must have, updates, and other various rigmarole, and I concluded it was too technical for me.

I made the mistake of searching for other videos to see what else this game had to offer. I had heard that this was quite a violent game, but I didn’t know just how bad it was until last night. While I did not want to continue watching these videos, I wanted to see just graphic the game could be. Turns out, I was actually doing research for this blog entry. One unnamed gamer made several videos of his character with various rifles and machine guns, pumping bullets into anyone who moved. I noticed it was mostly woman. That person needs psychological help. Other violent atrocities included throwing a bomb at people, or throwing a molotov cocktail and watching people scream while they burn to death. OMG. Thumbs down to that one.

I was curious to see if there were videos dealing with sex in the game. There was way more content than I was expecting to find and I was horrified to know that children under the age of 18 can watch these YouTube videos. An example from the game is a young man in a fancy sports car picks up a prostitute, drives into a dark alley and then, in a first person view, the player gets to watch and listen to their character perform sexual acts. I believe there are three acts to choose from depending on price. The only good thing about this mod is that there was no complete nudity. Again, thumbs down.

On a gaming podcast, one of the people said that at least a player might not be out in the real world taking out their aggressions. That might be true. Personally, I believe it might have an opposite effect. People playing this game may see how easy it is to stab, maim, or kill and go out in the real world and try it. No, no, no. The more I watch these videos the more I hate this game. Not to be repetitive, but I will say if there was a version of the game that was only the police department, I might be interested in that. Besides that, this game is way too violent for me.

I’ve heard that GTA 6 is due to come out soon, and Lord only knows what that version will include. I think I am going to stick to baseball, football, and WWE wrestling games. They are much less violent. My rant about this horrid game is now over.

Just a quick update on what is going to happen in the next week and a half. There will be a blog post this Friday, and next week one on Wednesday and Thursday. I am taking a personal day on the 13th to perform a show for the folks at the Addison Court. There will be new pictures added in the picture gallery soon after the show is finished.

Until Friday, enjoy the next two days, take care and happy reading.

Body language and facial expressions

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Greetings, readers. As I was sitting in Panera this morning enjoying my coffee, I had the opportunity to observe several people. Being a writer, I am always naturally curious about folks, and sometimes see them as potential characters for my writing projects. In the span of twenty minutes, I saw a plethora of body languages and facial expressions that told me precisely how these people were feeling.

The first couple was a young woman and either a very close male friend or her boyfriend. She walked up to him with open arms and when they hugged the sweetest smile came over her face. It seemed to me that he was a special person to her and she was overjoyed and content to be in his arms.

Another group of people were not having such a good time. One woman sat with arms folded across her chest, not smiling. I learned in sociology class at Penn State that this is a classic symptom of a person who is not happy and defensive. Although the threesome was not shouting, it did appear to this observer that all three opinions differed. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

A staff member, who I am good friends with, stopped and talked to Traci and me for a moment. I could tell by the way she looked and acted that she liked her job and thought that she was pretty good at all the different tasks that she is assigned to. One day it might be prep, another day it might be wiping tables in the dining room area. While conversing with her, not only did I get the sense that she is happy with her work, but that she likes her customers and they are important. That is going to keep me coming back to Panera.

I got to observe a young college student working on her computer as she listened to music with earbuds. It is getting close to finals week here at Penn State and everyone is cramming for final exams. This young woman went from working hard to frantically searching her stuff for something she needed. She wasn’t in tears, but she may well have been if she hadn’t found what she was looking for.

Lastly, I have been in line at Panera during the busy times of the day and although the cashiers are taught to always give service with a smile to each customer, they know me and I know them and sometimes they let their guard down a bit. I’ll say, are you having a tough day, and they’re smile and shake their heads yes. I never pry, but I make light conversation, such as, don’t worry, it’ll get better, or something positive like that. Most of them seem to appreciate it, that a customer cared enough to inquire.

As a writer, I’ve observed people for many years and will continue to do so. If you have observed anything worthy of note, please leave a comment, here or on my Facebook page.

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

The technological age is starting to scare me

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Greetings, readers. I have seen YouTube videos and read on-line articles dealing with the wonderful new technologies in computers and robotics. It is causing me to wonder how much technology is too much. One TV commercial sells a doorbell with a little camera in it that, via your smart phone, you can see who is standing at your front door. The only benefit I can see from this is to make it look like you are at home even when you are not, in case that person is up to no good. Or, if you have forgotten an appointment that someone shows up for, you can apologize and tell them you will hurry home, if possible. The big problem I have with it is, depending on how much it costs, is it could be a waste of money. If the UPS man shows up, and you miss him, you have the option of asking him to leave it at the front door or hold on to it if you are afraid of theft.

Another interesting invention I’ve seen, created in Asia, are life-like humanoid robots which come complete with inter-active learning skills. Most can carry on a conversation, and some can get you your favorite beverage, and actually remember what it is after they are told once. I have no problem with that to a point. But when are humanoid robots going to take jobs from humans, such as working at a retail store, because they are so much smarter? These robots are absolutely incredible, but we need more jobs for people, not fewer.

As far as automobiles go, back in the 1950s and 60s, anyone with any kind of mechanical know-how could fix his or her car. Today we are driving junior space shuttles. A friend of mine told me that her car quit and would not start and all that was wrong with it was an oxygen sensor. Not the oxygen intake, the sensor itself. Think of it, folks, one sensor and the whole car shuts down. Too computerized for my liking.

Do I want to go back to the 1800s and live a life where there is no technology? No, I’m not saying that. But there has to be a point in time where we say an invention is just a little bit too scary. If that turns on us, we could be in trouble. Enough is enough.

Please chime in, in the comment section, with what you think about the technical advances of the modern world. Until Friday, have a nice day, take care, and happy reading.

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