Monthly Archives: November 2012

B-I-N-G-O!!!

Greetings, readers. Last evening, as I usually do on a Thursday, I participated in our weekly game of Bingo here in the apartment building where I live. I am one of three callers and this week it was my turn to play. Two bucks gets each player three cards. I consider myself a seasoned veteran player with a couple of years under my belt. Thursday evening Bingo is actually what brought me out of my shell here.

Let’s go back a couple of years or so, when a neighbor on my floor and his wife suggested I come down and play Bingo with them. At that point I had always associated Bingo with carnivals, nursing homes and retirement villages old folks homes. But I said okie dokie, I’ll give it a try, figuring I’ll go once, maybe twice. Now I always attend, unless I have another pressing engagement. I am one of three callers and we all take turns.

Besides the regular Bingo, as it is called, we all enjoy various games. The small picture frame, where we need all the numbers right around the FREE SPOT; the large picture frame, for all the numbers around the border of the card – down the b’s, across the bottom, up the o’s, and across the top; and a fan favorite, the layer cake game where you win by getting the numbers covered on the top, middle, and bottom rows. My personal favorite is the letter T, which is rather self-explanatory. I didn’t know that there are that many games of bingo.

When it is my turn to call, I choose to call a more deliberate game, one of a slightly slower pace. One of our three callers I think has a favorite show on at a certain time and tends to rush through the games. Our newest caller, who has only a couple of nights of calling under his belt, has done remarkably well. I still remember how scared I was my first night.

Most everyone will agree that we don’t play for the money, we play for the fun and the comradery. We play every Thursday promptly at 7 … well, not always so promptly. Usually if one of our regulars is running late we will give them an extra five minutes or so. : ) My one friend, Tom, is always enthused to see me for he knows I will usually have a joke waiting for him. I just love to make him laugh.

Just to finish up, after Thursday night Bingo is over, comes the preparation for the Friday workday. Today, we wrote part of a short story and our usual Friday blog post. I am so glad that the weekend is right around the corner. Yay, Saturday gaming day!

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

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The top 10 things I would do if I won the Powerball jackpot

Greetings, readers. As this title implies, this shall be a straightforward entry. The top ten things that I would do if I won or shared a huge lottery jackpot, in no particular order (although #1 and #2 are my top two).

#10. Pay off my debt.

#9. Treat all my friends to one big dinner party.

#8. On a more serious note … I would give a substantial amount to local charities. Specifically, money to help people who need low-income housing, to feed the hungry, and to help give less fortunate kids things like Christmas presents.

#7. Buy a house. A big house. (With a maid, butler, and chauffeur.)

#6. Buy a car.

#5. Again, on a more serious note. I would use some of the money to pay for my completed education. I would finally get my degree at Penn State University.

#4. Speaking of Penn State, I would donate some money to the University.

#3. I would travel to a couple of places that I always wanted see. One is Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and the other would be a return trip to the Caribbean.

#2. I would buy another boat and call it the Galileo II and pay for Bear Spring Camps for, oh, at least the next ten or fifteen years.

#1. Take a world cruise on one of the Cunard ships. Yes, I want to be treated like royalty for a change.

Until Friday, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.

Talking turkey

Greetings, readers. As I prepare for the holiday season, there is much to do here at my apartment. Ever since childhood, the holiday season began on Thanksgiving morning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Even though Mom and Dad are gone now, kitty cat Keekee and I will partake of the parade together on TV, keeping the tradition alive. I have already set my alarm for 8:45. The parade is on from 9 until noon here on the east coast.

At two minutes until noon is when good old Santa Claus turns the corner in front of Macy’s on 34th street; when I was a kid, that is when the Christmas season began at my house. Today, I more or less hold to this equation because it isn’t too long after Thanksgiving that my Christmas lights go up around the apartment. Last year my “Christmas tree” was my big coat rack. Yes, I have pictures. I also got creative and strung up lights around picture frames and bookcases. As a matter of fact, here are a few pictures.

My version of a Christmas Tree

 

Lights around snowy scene painting
Lights around bookcase

 

As for the weather for late November, it is glorious. Not a cloud in the sky with a high temp of 54. I’ll take that every day that I can get it. I do like cold and snow around Christmas, I must say, but being someone who just hates being cold, sunny and warmer always makes me smile. One of these day when and if arthritis sets in, I will probably have to scootch to the Carolinas, Florida, or perhaps Arizona. But for now I am content with State College, PA. Before I turn it over to Rebecca, happy Thanksgiving to all, do take care in your travels, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Happy Thanksgiving everyone. My family is meeting my step-dad in Mifflinburg, so I really like the warmer weather for tomorrow too. We will have good conditions to drive in. Have a good holiday.

Update on my writing, show, and following weekend 11/15/12

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was so filled with activity that writing unfortunately took a back seat. Today I’m back in the saddle on the writing horse and ready to do some good work this afternoon. Rebecca and I shall begin with a blog post and then move on to story ideas for my next project.

After work hours are over, I will be heading to Panera Bread for coffee and a practice session for my upcoming show. When I first started practicing my singing a month and a half ago, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very good. But lately, with my partner’s help, the two of us have begun to sound much much better. With her natural singing talent, it is quite easy for me to let my hair down, drop some of my inhibitions, and just relax and have fun. With only a month until the show on December 14th, we still have at least two full-scale rehearsals to do, and I have to concentrate on my final tune-ups on my air guitar/air drum parts of the show (no pun intended).

As far as the rest of the week goes, tomorrow evening is supper at Godmother’s, Saturday is gaming day, supper again at Godmother’s on Sunday. And at some point, my holiday decorations will have to come out of hiding, so that after Thanksgiving they can be put up. I am a humongous Christmas time fan. It’s my favorite time of the year, in fact. However, there are a couple of businesses around town whose corporate decision is to take down the Halloween decorations and string up the Christmas lights on November 1st. Wasn’t there a holiday in between called Thanksgiving, people? It just seems to me that sometimes corporate America wishes the year away from us; that we are not allowed to enjoy every holiday. More on that in another blog entry.

Lastly, Penn State’s final two football games are at home. This Saturday they play the University of Indiana. Sunny and cold is the weather forecast. It always amazes me that no matter what the temperature is, there is nary a seat to be found. Especially for a Big Ten game.

For those of you who shall be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, stay safe. We will catch you at some point next week, and as always, happy reading.

Ok…, I’m a paranormal buff

Greetings, readers. As a Netflix subscriber, I’m always searching for shows and movies dealing with the paranormal. Tonight I’ll be letting you in on some of my favorite shows, movies and also…, something that happened to me.

First, the movies. Paranormal Entity and the Paranormal Activity series come to mind and are good flicks. Are they true??? I don’t think so, but some of the effects really made my skin crawl and the hair on the back of my neck stand up. That doesn’t happen easily. I also love the “They’re heeeere!” from the original Poltergeist.

Next, TV shows. I’m really into Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. The cast can debunk most of the tapes sent in by people, but every once in a while, there’s a case that makes me go, “What the heck!” An example. There was a segment about an old theater where a ghostly apparition was seen in a balcony seat. During the cast’s investigation, there were unexplained heat signatures in the very seat in question. Hmm. Makes you wonder if there’s something to it. : )

Lastly, my own experience. Years ago when I was married, our pup, Sassy, saw… something in the hallway of my old house. It scared her half to death. She jumped into my lap and would not get down. My wife checked the hallway and found nothing. Poor Sassy shook uncontrollably for several minutes. That four-legged daughter definitely saw or sensed something that freaked her out.

Is there paranormal stuff going on out there? Chime in with a reply and share your feelings or experiences. Until next time, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Two films about father and son relationships

I spend a lot of time at Schlow Centre Region Library every week after my work hours with Joe. Schlow has a collection of DVDs that I browse through a lot. In the last couple of months, I found two films there centering around father and son relationships. I feel blessed to have a library where I can find character driven independent films like the two I am writing about today: The Music Never Stopped and The Thing About My Folks.

The 2011 movie, The Music Never Stopped, stars J.K. Simmons as the father and Lou Taylor Pucci as the son. Based on a real case history that was published in An Anthropologist on Mars by Dr. Oliver Sack, the movie is about a father (and mother, played by Cara Seymour) who reconnects an estranged son who recently had brain damage. The son will only respond to the music of the 60s that he grew up to as a teenager, and it is through this therapeutic tool that the father begins to hear his son speak and see the painful events of those years through his son’s perspective. It is a good film, and I highly recommend it. Especially if you like the music of the Grateful Dead – it is the son’s favorite band.

The 2005 movie, The Thing About My Folks, stars Peter Falk as the father and Paul Reiser as the son. Paul Reiser also wrote the screenplay. The father and son relationship is explored on a road trip they take together, after the mother has left the father with a note on the refrigerator. The father, owner of his own business until he retired, was away a lot and distant when the son was growing up. The son felt resentment about that and it is one of the many issues they work out on this trip. The acting of Peter Falk and Paul Reiser add believability and humor to material. The movie never felt mawkish or trite.

These films are about people learning that what they thought they knew about their family wasn’t the whole truth, and how they respond to that new information. I enjoyed both of them.

I can’t seem to get into that writing zone

Greetings, readers. Back 15 or 20 years ago, when I was trying my very best to type my own writing, I was able to get into what I call my zone. I could see everything I was writing as though it was a movie. It didn’t matter whether I was writing a short story, trying my hand at a novel, or a play, things just seemed to flow better back then.

Jump forward a few years. My health declined, and I can no longer type or write longhand as easily as I need to. Two years or so ago I hired writing assistant Rebecca and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She has been invaluable. The only drawback that I am finding is that sometimes I don’t feel like I’m in that zone. I can’t dive into my project for one reason or another.

What to do, what to do? I’ve often thought about writing in the middle of the night. Heck, I’m an insomniac half the time anyway. Rebecca can always edit when she gets to the office. So far out of the one hundred plus blog entries, I have done exactly five by myself. Am I dependent upon Rebecca? I don’t think so, however, I do tend to wait until Rebecca gets here to work. Perhaps I have fallen into a comfy zone.

As far as my typing skills go, my favorite key is the backspace key. That brings a chuckle down at the diner. When my musical performance is over in mid-December, I am going to – not re-evaluate my writing situation – but restructure it. Rebecca and I will still type the blogs and I will still dictate new material to her. I will also get more hands on with my career. With two books published, and new stuff on the burners, it’s time to pop this career into the next gear.

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

P.S. Look for a blog entry from me this weekend and one from Rebecca next week.

On with the show, times 2

Greetings, readers. Thank God this election is over. I’m not going to tell you if my man won or not, but even if he didn’t, I’m just so glad that this whole two-year political bombardment is done. Between the primaries, the debates, the advertisements on TV and radio, MSNBC and FOX News’ round the clock analysis, I couldn’t take it one more day.

Oddly enough, though I did not scour webpages, I did pay very close attention this time around to the candidates, especially on the national scene. What I fear happening in years to come, however, is going to be right after the inaugural speech that we will have ads from candidates for the next election. Note to political heads: Stop the madness!

I stayed up until 2:30 last night watching speeches from both the winner and the loser, and found both people to be gracious and eloquent. I sincerely hope that republicans, democrats, and independents, can put their differences aside and take care of the people they are representing; the citizens of the United States. This country has problems that need solved and it’s not going to happen by one party trying to block the other just so they can win the White House four years from now.

On to another topic. Rehearsal for my new show is coming along splendidly. I’m sure my Beatles performance next month with a friend of mine will be a smashing success. So far my play list stands at 28 songs. If that seems a bit long to you, remember that most early Beatles songs were just slightly over two minutes. Be that as it may, I’m going to talk to my friend and see if there are any songs which she wishes to whittle out.

This coming week, besides writing, I will have to begin my mental and physical preparation for the show. I’m not as young as I used to be, and an intense air guitar air drum show does take a lot out of me. I’ve already decided that if I start huffing and puffing after two songs, I shall bag the air guitar and just concentrate on the vocals. There is a very slight chance that one or two songs will be recorded and possibly put up on the blog at some point.

Until next time, take care, enjoy the weather if it is nice where you are, and happy reading.

Happy Friday to all! 11/2/12

Greetings, readers. As I begin my usual Friday blog post, a number of things are weighing on my mind. First, the weather forecasters tell us that we are still going to see a fair amount of cloud cover today, and our first sunny day since the storm won’t be until tomorrow. Note to Lord: I am a depressed person. I need my sunshine!

Second, work is finally proceeding nicely. This is putting me in a better mood. For a while it was feeling like I was pulling teeth just trying to write two sentences that weren’t crap. Writing assistant Rebecca has been a source of inspiration with suggestions and exercises; most of which are paying dividends.

Third, I am looking forward to tomorrow’s weekly Dungeons and Dragons gaming day. When I first started playing, almost two years ago, I didn’t think I would get into it as much as I have. It’s quite fun on a Saturday afternoon. We laugh, we joke, and we kill some nasty beasties.

Lastly, as the month ahead needs planning, I must sit down with pen and paper and plan out as best I can my spending schedule for the rest of November. Recently I have been a spend-thrift. This must be slowed down. You see, living in a small apartment, going out is nice, but with the price of coffee on the rise, places like Panera Bread, Ye Old College Diner in downtown State College, and Dunkin’ Donuts must be cut back. : (  Actually, learning to make my money go further has been a goal of mine. So everyone please wish me good luck on this.

Have a great weekend. Please do chime in to any of my recent posts if you wish. Take care and happy reading.