Monthly Archives: March 2013

Blog comment policy update

Greetings, readers. Today, Rebecca and I accepted a comment from someone who came across my entry “Preliminary report card on MLB13: The Show.” The comment was on topic, which I was thrilled to see, but it contained an advertisement on how to get more readers by going to a linked website. This in itself might not have been a bad thing, but at present I cannot get into any kind of advertisement that I might have to pay for later. I marked the comment as not spam and then snipped the ad part off the end before I approved it. We reserve the right to edit any solicitous comment.

So please, by all means, do comment. But no more advertisements. Thanks and have a great day.

The Show – MLB13 vs MLB12

Greetings, readers. This is my second, and possibly final, report card on MLB13: The Show. As usual, OMG I love it. However, there are a few things, much to my dismay, that I either don’t like as well or fail to see any significant upgrade from last year’s version.

First off, and to me most important, is the replacement of Dave Campbell with Steve Lyons. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry on this topic, I believe the franchise was going for someone more youthful – just my personal opinion. For someone new, it seems like Steve was not allowed to bring his own personality into the game by receiving new lines to say; when playing the game, I hear Steve saying some of Dave’s lines almost verbatim. I would have preferred that the writers come up with a different way to say the same thing.

The lines of dialog this year seem to be more repetitive than in years past. Especially in beginner’s mode, where there is lots of computer assistance in the defense. The same situations come up with the very same dialog supplied. I briefly tried the next level the other night, with less computer assistance than I was used to, and noticed that the more errors I committed, the more play specific dialog was used. For example, “Oh, the catcher just threw the ball into center field,” an error which would almost never happen in computer mode.

The graphics are as good as they are going to get with current PS3 technology. The faces and stadiums look the same as last year. There were a few changes to details, like fireworks displays after a homerun or a home victory were moved from being shot into the sky to the stadium’s Jumbotron, but graphic-wise it looks the same. When the PS4 comes out in a year or so, I will be very interested to see whether or not the graphics and all the subtle nuances will have substantial improvements. Obviously, there is only so much realism you can put into a game. This is not Star Trek holodeck technology we are talking about. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

MLB13’s biggest gold star, which 12 did not have, is to load up your favorite teams in the appropriate brackets and do the playoffs without having to play a full season. With newer camera angles, more exciting music, and a brief shot of the pre-game team’s line-up announcements, I was more than happily surprised at that part of the game’s realism. I watched a few YouTube videos on this game and learned that the online features and the Diamond Dynasty mode have also been improved. I must admit, I have only tried Diamond Dynasty a few times and I don’t play online, so I really can’t make a fair judgement. If any of my readers are avid online gamers, please chime in with a comment.

MLB13: The Show … I’ll say final report card grade: A-. Though I didn’t blog about it at the time, last year I gave MLB12 a grade of B+. I gave this year’s version the bump up because of the post-season mode, which is actually my favorite part of real baseball.

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

Self dream analysis

Greetings, readers. My last few nights have been filled with extraordinarily vivid dreams. It is not uncommon that I can remember bits and pieces of my dreams, but seldom can I piece together most or all of the dream. Two nights ago I had a dream so vivid, it was like I was watching a movie. And yes, I can confirm that we do dream in color.

My dream started off on some kind of ferry boat on a lake or a river. The young lady with me was an acquaintance; I shall not give her name for privacy reasons. This young lady – from my past – I always had a secret crush on. That is probably why she was in a very attractive bikini. She and I were definitely a couple, absolutely in love. We were closer than in real life. To me, I think that is why we dream. We allow ourselves the chance to fulfill any fantasy that we know would never be able to come true otherwise.

As this dream went along, I found my best friend showing up looking quite a bit younger than he is now, and I recall him mentioning that my lady friend and I shouldn’t be together. Obviously at the time this made no sense. I believe I have since figured it out. It was my friend’s way of protecting his “little brother” from whatever embarrassment might come about.

Then the dream got a little more racy. The young lady and I retired to our state-room and had a little extracurricular activity. Then before I knew it, we were off the boat and in my parents’ house. That’s dreaming for you. Without rhyme or reason it was, “Beam me up, Scotty,” time. I heard my young lady’s voice from down the hall, and I wanted to thank her for a particularly good time. When I got to the door, I heard her boyfriend’s voice. To me, I think that was reality kicking in. I walked back down the hall, and as I remember, I awakened not too long after that.

Last night’s dream was even more bizarre. I was in Maine at a camp, but as usual for my dreams, it was not Bear Spring Camps. It was different. It was hours before we had to leave to go back home. I was going to take one last ride before returning my rental car, which we had rented for me to putz around in. When I went to get into the car, it was filled almost to capacity with cases of soda, beer, and other party type fixings. Again, there’s dreaming for you, for this made no sense whatsoever. I am not having a party any time soon in my waking life. I could not figure out where to put this stuff. I kept telling my mother I’ll put it on the porch or I’ll put it in the trunk. I remember my mother getting angrier and angrier with me with each moment. I just decided to throw all the crap in the trunk and go take my drive. As I began to leave the camp area, I ran out of gas. Then my alarm went off. This morning’s first words out of my mouth … and I am not kidding … “Well that was a weird one for you.”

There are some dreams that you can easily figure out what they mean if you just use your head. Like dream #1. The young lady from my past was extremely gorgeous, I had a secret crush on her and she did have a boyfriend – the boyfriend from the dream. The river cruise lent the perfect opportunity to put said lady in a sexy bikini. As for dream #2, with my last ride and vehicle crammed with edible crap, I still have not pieced that one together yet. I’ve not driven since my accident in 08, except for a few times when I rented a car. My waking life can be messy and chaotic at times. That might be where this dream is stemming from.

Finally, as I get ready to close this entry, I was reminded of my recurring car dream. This is the one where no matter how nice of a vehicle in real life I had, I would always dream about my parents’ garage and wanting to drive my old clunker, that I purchased for cheap at the used car dealer near my home. Usually, it was an old Volkswagen Beetle or Rabbit. The last time I had this dream, however, all the cars in the garage, including my mom’s, were black. I awakened with a smile that morning because I quickly pieced together that I going through a bout of depression, hence everything black. I had a smile on my face not because I was depressed, I had a smile on my face because I figured it out so quickly.

Yes, I have had some doozies over the years. I could go on for hours. Maybe at some point in the future I will post my top ten list of crazy dreams.

Until next time, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.

P.S., if you have a crazy dream that you would like to talk about, please post it in a comment.

From Joe and Rebecca: Corrections on the blog

Greetings, readers. As those of you who are regular readers know, my next book will be blog posts from my first year of doing this blog. As we started going through the entries on our A-Z document, we noticed some typos and other errors that we corrected, and that we want to correct in the blog as well. This led to a discussion between Rebecca and I.

{From Rebecca: I have a perspective on changing things in blog entries after they are published, that comes from reading other blogs and seeing how they handle changes. I also read a blog post – a long time ago – on why changing or just deleting posts and/or comments on blogs is wrong. It takes something off that blog, after some people have read it and some people have not, and that is not playing fair. I am paraphrasing and I don’t think I am clearly stating the author’s point, but that is the gist of what I read as far as I can remember. The changes I see on other blogs are handled with a strike through of the part being changed and the correction next to it: example, The broon brown dog jumped. So that is where I was coming from on making changes in the blog.

{However, the changes we have found so far in the first few posts in the book are simple typos, and Joe would like to just change those in the blog without calling attention to the mistakes. It is his blog so he will do it the way he wants to, of course, but he values my opinion. I thought it over, and realized that the spirit of the issue is that typos and inserting a word in to clarify a sentence does not change the meaning of an entry. But changing someone’s name or spelling of a name, or adding a sentence/paragraph to a piece, etc., is different. That would change the meaning of the post enough that we would then want to let people know that a change was made after the post was published on the blog. ┬áThe best way to do that is with the ‘strike through the old version next to the change’ approach.}

From Joe: I agree with Rebecca and this is going to be our new adopted policy for changes. Hopefully there won’t be many to change, but we wanted to have a stated policy in place. And this entry today is to let you know what we have come up with. A small change will just be edited in, and a large change will have a strike through next to it.

From both of us, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

The new USFL update … and ouch, I hurt!

Greetings, readers. Yes, blog readers, as my title tells you, this is a double subject blog entry. The biggest reason is that both topics are not long enough to warrant their own entry. I don’t usually do this, though I have in the past. I shall start off with the new and improved United State Football League.

I have lost all enthusiasm for this new league. According to internet sources, the league was supposed to begin last year (March of 2012). Then, a last-minute notice said that they were going to do some restructuring and that play would begin March of 2013. I couldn’t wait. I opened up the website to check for teams names and cities, and was disappointed to find that the project was purchased by another owner, and the “new time-table to begin play” is March of 2014. I now say, why even bother? To me it appears painfully obvious that you can’t get it together. If I were the PR person for this league, I would have strongly advised against putting out any start date. I think I would have just said stay turned, we’re coming soon, and kick-off will happen when we are ready.

As some of you might remember, the old USFL failed miserably after three seasons. The new USFL, I fear, will never get off the ground at all.

On now to something else. Usually at eleven o’clock in the morning on work days, I walk over to Panera Bread cafe and have a cup of coffee while I wait for Rebecca. Not ten minutes after I sat down in that comfy booth my back went into total spasm. At first I thought I could ward it off before Rebecca arrived. Not so. I told her that I would do my very best not to let it ruin the work day and in my opinion I haven’t.

These attacks don’t hurt per se. It’s more of a feeling of tightness and a jumping leg muscle. I suppose that is the most embarrassing part when I am out in public. I was mentioning to a friend of mine just a half hour ago that one time my spasm was so bad that it actually side-lined me for the whole day. Now, readers, I don’t have back spasms that severe very often. Well, it is time to edit this now, so I’ll say my good-byes until later in the week.

Think spring, take care and happy reading.

5/8/13 Update: Today, while editing for the book, we clicked on the link for the new USFL website in this post and found it no longer working. Rebecca and I literally spent a half hour trying to locate said website. Either the new league has given up all hope or whoever is promoting it has given it a new website which we have yet to find. We took out the link that had been in this post since it doesn’t go anyway anymore.

Quick hello and many thanks

Greetings, readers. has a feature that lets us see how many views each blog post receives each day. I have been noticing in the last few weeks that my post, Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, has a lot of people looking at it. This pleases me very much. When I posted this entry in March of 2012, I never dreamt it would be far and away the most read entry, at 169 views.

I certainly hope that people find it comforting, informative, and inspirational. Rebecca and I have seen on the stats page that this particular blog entry has been viewed all over the world, especially in Europe, which is where Pop was born.

Again, many thanks, take care, and continued happy reading.

Preliminary report card on MLB13 The Show

Greetings, readers. As all my frequent readers know by now, I am a gamer. Being a tremendous baseball fan, my favorite video game, since its inception six or seven years ago, has been MLB The Show. I, yet again, eagerly anticipated March 5th when the latest version of this game hit the stores. I, like a little boy at Christmas time, with debit card in hand, pre-paid for my copy the day before. I was taking no chances.

After arriving back at my apartment, I cancelled most of my day’s plans and got down to the fun of figuring out the game and all that it has to offer. The first thing I did was to adjust the sliders, as they are called. These control how easy or difficult the game is to play. Once I peaked and tweaked those, I played a one-inning game in each of the brand new, fictitious, minor league and exhibition stadiums. Fantastic! With my eyes blitzed after several hours of playing, I took a short break before finishing the evening with three more short games, checking out the teams alternate uniforms. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking good. Can we say mid-to-late 70s? Love those old caps.

As a fan of ultra-realism, I always enjoy the commentary or play-by-play, of the game. Steve Lyons replaced long-time original announcer Dave Campbell, who had been with the franchise since 2007. Dave Campbell, 71, was replaced by Steve; for youth, I think. That’s fine. But I miss old Dave Campbell with one of my favorite expressions in the game, “Close, but no cigar.” The other two announcers from last year, Matt Vasgersian (who has been there since the game’s inception) and Eric Karros, are still there. Though I enjoy what Steve Lyons brings to the broadcast, in my opinion, from what I’ve heard so far, Steve and Eric’s voices are too similar.

There are many changes to the game this year, too numerous to mention. Here is a link which will allow you to not only read about that, but all the highlights in this new version.

I’ve titled this entry preliminary report card, because it will take me several weeks to go through everything to my satisfaction to where I can post an update. But at first glance, after having the game literally 24 hours, MLB13’s preliminary grade is … A-.

Until soon, stay warm, stay healthy and happy reading.