Monthly Archives: September 2012

Top ten best bad films I know

Greetings, readers.

This is a list of my personal top ten best bad films I know. It’s sad to say that I do like most of these. An honorable mention to this list is Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra. The four-hour and three minutes multimillion dollar extravaganza that was so expensive to make that there was no way it could ever make a profit. I loved it until intermission. Then, in my opinion, it got boring as hell.

10. Barbarella

9. Fire in the Sky

8. The Herbie the Love Bug series. [Although they were cute]

7. Groundhog Day  [I liked it the first two times the day happened and then I just wanted to punch the tv screen.]

6. Rocky 5 [Yo, Adrian. I didn’t even fight in this one.]

5. The Mist [I think this was a recent remake of the 1980s the Fog by John Carpenter.]

4. Airport ’79 the Concord [Awful special effects]

3. The Ghost in a Teeny Bikini [As an indication of my naiveté, I actually couldn’t tell if the sex scenes were real or faked.]

2. Godzilla vs. Mothra … or any of the Godzilla movies for that matter.

1. Freefall Flight 174 [Even though I loved it]

I shall be leaving for a long weekend tomorrow. Next week will be our 100th post. It’s going to have to be well planned out and something of substance. I promise you readers I shall not let you down. Until then, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: 50 First Dates

I love the 2004 movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It is the story of a man who falls for a woman with short-term memory loss who never remembers him the next day. All the actors, especially Sandler and Barrymore, produce great performances. I found the characters believable and I liked spending time with them. The film has a lot of humor as well as romance.

When we first met Lucy, she doesn’t know that she is re-living the same day, the last day she has in her memory. Her father Marlin, played by Blake Clark, and her brother, played by Sean Astin, are also trapped in the same day so that they can help her be happy. Every night they reset the stage for her. Then comes Henry, who wants to spend time with her, and has an idea to make a new way. And it worked. He set them free to a new life. And then some complications set in.

*SPOILER ALERT* Part of why I love this movie so much is that the solution at the end with her waking up to a video, husband and child is that they were able to come up with a system that works without magically curing her. She still has the same condition, but they found a way to work with it and be together. *END SPOILERS*

I also love Sandler and Barrymore in The Wedding Singer, and may write about that another day. But for heartwarming, I love 50 First Dates.

A number of things to report today

Greetings, readers. Thanks to Rebecca’s intelligent nephew, who suggested Firefox to help us with our computer woes, my computer seems to be working much better. So thumbs up to him. The first problem we were trying to alleviate was a quite annoying word-underlining pop-up ad dilemma. This has been plaguing us for a number of weeks now and seemed to be getting worse. Firefox has cleared that problem up, but caused  a typing lag while Rebecca was typing in today’s blog entry. So we finished it in Internet Explorer.

This week we also had a problem with a search tab that was suddenly attached to the window we had open, and would not go away. We finally found the correct program to uninstall in the add/delete programs section of the control panel. A very minor thing, but a pain in the butt none the less.

One of the solutions for us to try to fix these problems was to clear the cache and cookies. The password for one of my programs got lost in the shuffle and I had that one on auto-save. I was afraid that I would have to start from scratch with that website. But it turned out that the password stayed intact. Whoo-hoot!

Now onto other things. A number of weeks ago we added two tabs/pages to my blog site. One is titled Books and includes the book cover photos and short blurbs for my two books. The second tab is called Gallery and has various photos from my past; paintings from my parents house, two pictures of my old boat, and one of Keekee my kitty cat.

Kindle conversion for my second book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, due to a mistake of my own, will take longer than I had anticipated. What I did was, I thought that I could get it ready myself and have it up on Kindle on the release date that I had chosen. Well, it looked like shit! So I had to unpublish it and we had to have CreateSpace do it. It will take two to three extra weeks. Boo hoo. The book is still available on my e-store and at Amazon, as well as at local stores Appalachian Outdoors and Websters Bookstore and Cafe.

At the end of the work day today, Rebecca will be doing all of the usual end of the week paperwork, including backing up everything we’ve done for the week on thumb drives. This is our Friday 2:45 ritual. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Sharing a story from my second book

Greetings, readers. I wrote yesterday that I will be busy. While you wait for my next new blog entry, here’s something for you to feast your eyes on. From my book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, I chose one of my favorite stories with my buddy and brother Dave Trost, Run-Away Boat. Enjoy.

Run-away boat 

        It was a hot early August day, and David and I decided to enjoy our daily afternoon boat ride. We usually took the Galileo, of which I was always the captain, but on this particular occasion we decided to take the small camp boat so that Dave could take the helm. He called his boat the Spidinkies. He got that name from a family member who used that word instead of cussing.

We made one complete lap around North Bay, which in the smaller boat took twice as long as in the Galileo. Dave asked me if I wanted to go around again. I said sure, why not? It was a beautiful day, we had plenty of gas, and nothing else was planned for that afternoon. Dave began the second lap.

Then it happened.

I do not know what possessed me to do this, but I, a crazy young teenager, dared the driver to jump out of the boat. David told me later that he yelled up to me not to dare him because he would do it, but I didn’t hear him. I yelled back again, making sure that my voice was heard over the engine, “Dave, I triple double dog dare you to jump out of this boat.” Figuring that sanity and his sense of well-being would override temptation, the thought never entered my mind that he would actually take me up on the dare.

I heard nothing in reply and for a few moments the Spidinkies turned as it should have to avoid markers and other boats.

We passed Snake Point and began running parallel to the lakefront, within sight of the cabins. There was a platform anchored about thirty yards from shore that people used for diving and lying in the sun. We were approximately eighty to one hundred yards away when I noticed three beautiful teenage girls, about fifteen or sixteen years old, sunbathing. Unless we turned quickly, the boat would hit the platform and the girls.

“Ok, Dave, nice, slow, easy turn.”

Nothing happened. Well maybe he just didn’t hear me.

“Ok, Dave, nice slow …”

Then horror hit me. Could it be that this slightly older, slightly wiser person took the dare? I realized I had to look back. To my shock I was in a run-away boat. Dave was treading water with one hand while waving to me with the other about fifty yards back. Blind panic set in. I jumped over two bench seats – carefully – to get to the engine.

I had two options. Option number one was to turn the boat to the left away from shore, which would have thrown me off balance and caused me to go into the drink as well. Option number two, and the one I chose, was to put the engine from forward into reverse without pausing in neutral. The engine whined with resistance and the propeller broke the waterline for an instant. I felt like the captain of the Titanic praying that he didn’t hit the iceberg. All three girls dove off into the water, swimming toward safety. Dave told me later that he had reduced the speed and thought I knew he was jumping out. He assumed I would have plenty of time to take control of the boat. To me, it felt like the boat was going full-speed and that it took forever for my thirteen year-old badly balanced body to avoid disaster. The boat stopped mere feet from the diving platform before slowly reversing.

After I had gotten the boat under my control, I looked back at Dave. His coy smile had long since gone from his face. I went back to him, the engine sputtering, not running smoothly at all. When I got to him, I shouted over the engine’s noise, “Do you think that was funny, mister?”

Now to this day I do not recall his reply verbatim; I think I was too angry. But suffice it to say that since he left me in the lurch, I would leave him. I drove away, leaving him to swim to shore. Granted it wasn’t that far of a swim. Little did I know that he would get the last laugh.

While all this was going on, I failed to notice that my mother was sitting on the porch and saw the whole thing. As I docked the boat, she came out to greet me. “Why did David jump out of that boat?” she said. And I, the naïve truth telling idiot that I was, offered up, “Because I dared him to.”

Mother couldn’t believe what she just heard. Oh, she was proud of her son for telling the truth, but not for being so irresponsible as to dare the driver of a moving object to jump out. Moments later David arrived on shore. He has a knack of sneaking up on me if he wants to. Oh, yes, he was going to have his revenge for being left behind. And my mother, God rest her saintly soul, never let on that he was standing directly behind me.

“But Mom,” I explained, “I didn’t think he would really do it.”

I kind of had a sense that my buddy and brother was behind me. I can just feel those kinds of things. I slowly turned my head around to see him grinning at me. I stood there, Mother to my front, David at my rear, trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this predicament. The way I had it figured was that I had two people upset with me. After several minutes of explanation, squirming, and perspiring, Mother looked at David and said, “So he dared you, huh?”

He shook his head in the affirmative with a big grin on his face. Right there I knew I’d had it. Dave looked up at her and said, “Mom, can I dunk him?”

She waited for an agonizing second before saying, “Sure, why not?”

I tried to flee. I took a step and a half before I felt David’s arms around my waist. “Where do you think you’re going, Kockelmans?” he joked.

I could always tell when David was not really mad at me. Yet my leaving him in the lake did require a good dunking. And at the count of three, that was exactly what I got. Into the shallow water I went with a kersplash. Luckily, I was in my bathing suit so it didn’t matter.

“Ok,” I said, “fair is fair. Dave, remind me never to dare you to jump out of the boat again.”

“Joe, never dare me to jump out of the boat.”

“I hate it when you do that.”

The next morning, unfortunately, we had to have the engine looked at by one of the cabin boys. He popped off the top to give it a good once over. To my relief, the damage was minimal. The engine was not ruined.

That ended my daring days. Any such further dares of my friend David occurred on dry land.

Take care, hope you enjoyed the story, and until soon . . .

I’m afraid I’m becoming a hoarder

Greetings, readers. This is a rare, Tuesday entry…, one typed in without my trusty assistant. I shall have to be extra careful for typos. The reason a blog post is going up today instead of tomorrow is because I will be on a much different schedule, at least until Thursday.

Now, on to today’s topic. I live in a very small, one bedroom apartment. The key word there is small. However, that does not explain why, in recent months, my house cleaning skills have… well, shall I say… become less than satisfactory. I was never one to keep my place ‘eat off the floor’ spotless, but even so, I’ve been in a steady decline in this area for a while now. Here are a few cases in point.

First, when I’m watching TV or a movie, my empty bag of chips will get tossed onto the floor. Near the trash bag? Yes, but not in it. Snack boxes and bags just keep piling up next to my chair until I simply can’t stand it anymore. Then, and only then, do I pick it all up and take it out.

Second, cardboard boxes of stuff are piled up in both my living room and my bedroom. Have I ever heard of sorting and throwing away? Guess not. In my one chair I have newspapers I brought home from Maine. I’ve been home now for five or six weeks. Are they just going to set up housekeeping and move in? Are you stating to see a pattern here?

Lastly, when anybody asks me when I’m going to clean up this dump, I just give them a blank look and shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know. Someday.” But someday never comes. Well, it’s about to. I’ve reached my s.s.p, short for shit saturation point.

This week, and probably next, I’ll basically be moving out and then moving back in again. Only what’s needed will be gaining entry past the front door though. I expect I’ll have to call for a dump truck. Lol. I shall keep you up to date on my progress.

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

From Rebecca: Technology Grrrr!!!

This won’t be a long post, I don’t have much time. Joe and I tried to fix something on his computer and it looks like it didn’t work. Ugh!

I love technology. I love typing on a computer versus a typewriter, and I enjoy CDs and DVDs more than tapes. Just to name a few things. But I hate not being able to fix a problem.

I love the internet and the sites I visit. And Joe and I use it a lot for looking stuff up while we work.

Though I do love some old-fashioned things more than the modern tech version. I will take a physical book over an e-version any day.

Gotta go.

Has the pilot light gone out?

Greetings, readers. Since Saturday, I have been pondering this question. Let me explain. For the past two years, after Bear Spring Camps in August, I was filled with excitement about my new writing ideas. This year, not so much. Not only is my overall mood not what it was, but my enthusiasm for creation has hit a brick wall, minus my blogging, of course.

Book sales of Tales from North Bay and Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories were less than anticipated. Obviously I wasn’t expecting to earn a mint. But at least enough to cover some costs would have been nice. I do have three major ideas for writing projects this year. Camp book 3, a children’s book series, and a series of short stories based on a fictitious hospital or clinic set in the California Sierra Mountains. Ordinarily, I would be jumping for joy and not able to wait to get to work. Here it is September 12th and I just can’t seem to get out of neutral. I hope this problem is temporary.

I’m quite certain that Rebecca will offer some helpful suggestions to get me going again. She always seems to have gems that do the trick. My sincere hope is that by the beginning of October, we shall light the fire and creation mode will kick into high gear.

This morning I was up bright and early at 7am; deathly early for me. With Panera coffee in hand, flight simulator on the computer and tablet in front of me, I made lists and checked them twice. It appears that the children’s story series has the inside track. Not that this is a problem, but this project will require an illustrator. To this point, I have been able to keep all of the gains from previous projects, but that would change when making a contract with the illustrator who may want a lump sum per picture or part of each sale.

The next likely would be the California mountain hospital project. These are going to require research because the first story will take place around 1900, perhaps slightly before, and each subsequent story will take place a few years later than the previous one. The research will entail names of diseases, physical and mental, symptoms, and the cures of the time. To me this sounds like a fun project.

The project that is hanging on by a thread is camp book 3. I’ve not determined whether I am tired of them, whether I have no more to say on the subject, or whether I’m bummed out that sales took a nose dive.

In early October, I will do an update on this post, letting you know how my minor writer’s block is progressing. Hopefully I will be able to get through the quicksand, get back out onto the racetrack, rev up the engines, and speed out another book by next August. Or at least be well on the to doing so.

Until very soon, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Should a writer have a secret project?

Greetings, readers. I have often pondered this very question. Should I, or any writer, have a secret project that no one else knows about? In my earlier years, I said no. Why wouldn’t I want a friend or an editor to read what I am writing, as I progress, in case it is mostly garbage. But now I’m not so certain.

In the last six months or so, certain things in my life have transpired to make me re-ask this question. Should I have that secret project? It would be the project that I could put on my earphones and, in my own little world, dive into writing. My own personal movie theater, if you will.

A few weeks ago I sat at the local coffee shop with tablet in hand and thought to myself, ok, if I am going to do this, what will be the topic? I came up with a few good ones and a lot of clunkers. A little more thought must to put into it before I determine whether this private project will be undertaken.

I am going to ask that either later today, or next week, friend Rebecca chimes in with her two cents on this question. And of course, any of my readers who wish to reply as well, please feel free to do so.

On to news of the weekend, very quickly, the Penn State Nittany Lion football team is at Virginia, and I will be gaming (D&D) with Rebecca and her husband Darren on Saturday as well. Sunday evening is dinner at Godmother’s as per usual; I always have a nice time there. And wouldn’t you know, another week is in the books. Until next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Flight Simulator X helps fight my depression

Greetings, readers. Today I will be blogging about one of my favorite computer programs. It’s called Flight Simulator X, by Microsoft. Not only is the attention to detail more than I could have imagined, but the program also has one interesting and unexpected benefit. It helps fight my depression.

Yes, I have suffered from mild depression for many years now. My health is holding its own at the current time, but there are some days, and sometimes some weeks, when I just don’t feel like myself. Flight Sim X, as I call it, aids me in that.

If in real life it is a cloudy, rainy day, I can turn on my laptop, plug in my earphones, hop into an “airplane,” and climb to 25,000 feet where there is nothing but clear, blue simulated sky. And for some reason it helps. It’s a proven fact that people who live in sunny warmer climates suffer from less depression than people who live in regions that are cloudy and rainy. Now I realize that this is just a computer game, but if you use your imagination it is amazing the benefits you can receive.

Also, when my plane is cruising at 25,000 feet sometimes I will turn the camera view to outside, be a passenger, get out my tablet and begin writing. With the sound of the jet engines coming through my earphones, it blocks out all the extraneous sounds that might distract me. More often than not, ideas seem to flow better. I suppose it is because I am in my own little world under my earphones and I can fully develop whatever idea comes into my mind and put it to paper.

I was eagerly awaiting Microsoft’s next version but they “went another direction” and decided to let another company take over the flight simulation hobby market. For me, as long as this program works, I’m happy. The one thing that it really does is let me be something I always wanted to be as a young person, but couldn’t because of my health problem. Gee, how did you guess? That’s right, I wanted to be a pilot.

Until Friday, take care and happy reading.