Monthly Archives: September 2015

From Rebecca: Time for the new fall season on network television

Every fall the big networks start a new season for their programs, with new projects they bought from pilot episodes in the spring, and with the next season of shows renewed from last season. A new line-up, new schedule, and new stories. I get so excited. I get the TV Guide magazine, and for the last few years in September, they have covered the new shows in one issue and covered the returning shows in the next. I read these issues with marker in hand, seeing which shows I’m interested in and which I’m not, noting the day of the week they will be on and when they start. This year was no different, and I have enjoyed the shows that have premiered so far. More premiers to come in the weeks ahead.

The new fall season is a tradition I have followed since I was a child and teenager. TV was a lot different back then, with only three major networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC plus PBS. Not every household got every channel though, because of using an antenna that might not receive them all. If you watched TV, you watched shows from their line-ups, and chances were high that your neighbors and co-workers watched the same thing the night before. No VCRs or other recording devices, so we watched shows as they aired or we missed them. Well, until re-runs in the summer, when networks would often repeat the just-finished season of a show to fill the slow summer schedule.

We would often watch one channel the whole evening, like CBS’s Monday night line-up, or NBC’s Thursday block of shows. Some of the shows I watched back then were Cagney & Lacey, All in the Family, M.A.S.H., Wonder Woman, Hill Street Blues, and Masterpiece Mystery.

In the 80s and 90s, other channels launched, some successful and some not. UPN, Fox, WB, CNN, HBO. Now we have hundreds of channels to choose from, depending on our cable package, and more shows than we can keep up with. We also have new shows all year round, not just in the fall, from this array of cable networks. This influenced the major networks to also run new shows in the spring and the summer. Shows I watch now, from my choices of network and cable channels, are The Good Wife, Modern Family, Mom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Doctor Who, Face Off, Downton Abbey, and Major Crimes.

In last few years, the field of choices has grown again, as the internet sprouted sites for web-shows with original content that did not start on television or a television network. Hulu, Netflix, and other sites have followed with original content of their own that can be streamed and watched on whatever electrical device we have. This can be exciting, but also overwhelming, and no one can watch everything that is available.

So I am glad that the major networks, now CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, with PBS and CW, still have the fall season, with new shows and new seasons for the returning programs. Though they space out the premiers a lot more than they did, and some shows don’t premier until January, it is still a fresh start and a definite new slate. One of my favorite traditions.

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I’m not ‘single and looking’ anymore :-)

Greetings, readers. First off, sorry for no blog entry on Friday. I was hoping to get it up yesterday, but too many good football games were on tv. Anyway, yes, I have a new girlfriend [last name withheld until I get her permission to divulge it].

Traci is a very nice woman I met about a year ago. We met at social functions in the apartment building, and during the year, our friendship grew little by little. After a long while being on my own, it is a slight adjustment getting used to having to be there for my girlfriend. It’s an adjustment I don’t mind making. 🙂

What do we like to do together? I’m glad you asked. 😉 We love to watch Reba, listen to music, go to Panera and have long chats. I’ve got bad knees and she has a bad back, so those long, moonlight walks will have to wait. She’s not into bingo like I am, but we discover new mutual interests all the time.

Where will this relationship go? Time will tell, but I have a great feeling about it.

Until Wednesday, take care, have a great rest of your weekend and happy reading.

Train Simulator 2016 is a pain in my tracks

Greetings, readers. I can say with all certainty that the anti-virus system AVG does not like Steam company games. For the past couple of years, I have very much enjoyed Train Simulator 2015 and 16. Yet, every few months, usually after an update, AVG will consider the game a threat, will take the executable command, and stop the game from starting. Now for anyone with computer smarts who would know how to easily put something on the exceptions list, that would not be a big deal. I do not. So for a day or two or three I have to uninstall the game, reinstall it, and keep my fingers crossed. Eventually AVG asks me if I want to put the game on the exceptions list and it runs smoothly for a while.

Along with Flight Simulator, Train Simulator has become my morning routine. I like to make my coffee, boot up the computer, choose a run, and play it. Well, the last week was a pain in my tracks.

I actually came up with a solution, albeit rather dangerous. I turned AVG completely off. Yes, folks, I was careful not to go onto the internet before reactivating the anti-virus and firewall. So far no harm done. The computer was running a wee bit slow this afternoon during work, so I think I’ll run the virus scan while I run my afternoon errands.

Eventually, I want to change my gaming time to early evening, and use the morning hours for writing. Dictation works brilliantly for creating the blog but not so much for other projects. Reason for that is as of yet unknown.

Yes, I’m 50 years old and playing games, and when they don’t work right, Joey gets cranky. Who am I, Peter Pan? No, I think one day I will grow up, put games behind me, and either write that novel or go find another job. Remember, I have to get a job before retirement age. LOL.

I’m taking a personal day tomorrow and possibly Friday, depending on how much I get done. Rebecca will be working on an entry for a future date. If we are together on Friday, we will have a new entry as usual.

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

We’re wondering what the fascination is about Top ten list of modern convenience

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I always get a chuckle every time we check our blog stats for each week and see Top ten list of modern conveniences has gotten more views. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy when any of my entries are viewed. But, when I wrote this piece in February of 2013, I must admit I didn’t think it was going to be as popular as it has turned out to be. As of yesterday, it has been viewed 991 times since I posted it. In comparison, a top ten list from the same month, Top ten list of my favorite TV cars, chimed in with a whopping 9 views to date (although that does not count anyone who read it off the home page without clicking on it when it was first posted).

Rebecca has a theory which I agree with. She thinks that a teacher somewhere around the world is using it in class to show students computer skills, explaining to students how to do searches and then open the links. It also might be that teachers in other countries are curious to know and show their students what this blogger from the United States thinks modern conveniences are.

It’s funny, for when I was 13 years old, a record player was a modern convenience. Now it is something called a collectible. Back in my mother’s era, automatic transmission on a car was a convenience or luxury. You see where I am going with this.

What will modern conveniences be 20 years from now? Will we have the Jetsons flying car? Or perhaps Star Trek transporter technology or a holodeck? Who knows? But I am certain that 30 years from now, people will pick up a Blu-ray disc and laugh because it can hold only one movie at a time.

Getting back to my opening paragraph, I’m thrilled that this entry continues to get reads, or at least clicks. If anyone knows why this piece is so popular, or has a theory about it, could you chime in below in the comments section or leave me a note in Facebook?

In closing, it’s a Penn State home football weekend, complete with a night game. I hope all the college students behave themselves, and don’t show up to the stadium too intoxicated. If you are a local reader, please be safe around town this weekend, and to all readers, have a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Well wishes to family of local construction worker

Greetings, readers. Something was on my mind this morning and I just had to share it. I found out yesterday that there was a power outage near where I live. The local Panera Bread, across the street, went dark for half an hour. I found out later that the loss of power was caused by an unfortunate accident down the street.

A construction worker at a site nearby was electrocuted. From what we can learn in today’s local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, he did survive. If this is incorrect, I will update this entry. The power had to turn off the power to extricate the man from the building site. He was life-flighted to a hospital.

When I learned of the severity of the situation, I admit it really distressed me. I was not certain rather that person had been killed or just seriously injured. I started to think what it would have been like if it was one of my relatives or even me. It is such a violent thing to go through and I can only imagine the long-term effects that a body would suffer after such an accident.

Again, my thoughts are with the family. If any of my local blog or Facebook readers know the family, please do let them know I am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Until tomorrow, take care and be well, and happy reading.

Another Bear Spring Camps season is almost over

Greetings, readers. It is hard to believe that another Bear Spring Camps season will be over in just a few weeks. The last day of September is when the final group of campers go home. The next three or four weeks Ron, Peg, and the cabin boys do such tasks as take the docks out of the water, and winterize the cabins. If they have time, I suppose they may make a few minor repair to cabins that need it.

It seems like just yesterday that I told Rebecca that Bear Spring was open for the season. That was way back in mid-April. Never having worked there, I really can’t tell you if time to seems to drag or go quickly for the staff, but for the observer who only spends one week up there a year, this summer whizzed right by.

As I’ve said before, I will continue to go to Bear Spring for as many years as I possibly can. When my financial situation no longer permits it, I’m going to be quite sad. A treasure chest of wonderful memories are stored up in my mind for me to remember the rest of my life.

Thanks to social media, I’m now Facebook friends with a number of other campers who go at different times than I do. I like to see their pictures of the lake and of the different people that they hold so dear. It’s been said that in September when you come to supper bring a flashlight, it gets dark quite early. I only experienced that once, in 2000, when Dave and I went back for an extra week.

There’s a slight chance that I’ll bring someone with me next year. I know I’m getting way ahead of myself as usual, but as always, I over-analyze and over-plan. If it happens, I’ll think she’ll like it.

In two weeks, my favorite place of all time shuts down for its fall and winter nap. A month or two later, before the winter hits, Ron and Peg will head to sunny Florida. I cannot thank Ron, Peg, and their family enough for their hospitality over the years; as well as all my friends and family who have loved me. I can’t wait for opening day 2016.

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

Top ten list of the worst tragedies

Greetings, readers. First of all, my heart goes out to the families of the victims from the attack on September 11, 2001. Never, ever, forget. Keep them close to your hearts and hopefully a tragedy such as that one will never happen again.

Here is a top ten list of tragedies that I remember; that have either happened in my lifetime or that I have read about.

#10. The Oklahoma City bombing. [Ruthlessly planned and executed, it destroyed a building, killed human beings, including little children in the first floor daycare center.]

#9. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [For 87 days, oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by British Petroleum, completely destroying the eco-system in that area.]

#8. The Johnstown flood of the 1977. [A terrible line of thunderstorms passed over Pennsylvania and stalled over Johnstown. Almost a foot of rain fell on the city. Dams broke and roads and bridges were washed away. This was Johnstown’s third flood. Some of this information came from the flood museum site.]

#7. Hurricane Hugo. [A massive storm which killed many, injured more, and did billions of dollars in damage, in South Carolina.]

#6. Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas. [After a 51 day stand-off, the authorities moved in on a cult and an inferno began. It is not clear how the fire started but almost everyone inside burned alive.]

#5. Titanic. [In April of 1912, one of the worst maritime disasters occurred. The so-called unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and went down. There weren’t enough life boats for everybody and a real pity, which I found out many years later, was that they were only approximately one day away from their destination of New York City.]

#4. The Hindenburg. [On approach to Lakehurst, New Jersey, the massive airship was either struck by lightning or a massive static charge ignited the hydrogen. It quickly became a fireball and its metal frame fell to the ground. Very few survived and most burned alive.]

#3. Hurricane Katrina. [In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina went over Southern Florida, gained steam again in the Gulf of Mexico, then slammed into Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. The beautiful city of New Orleans was effectively drowned. Not only from massive storm water amounts, but also by a break in the levees. In my opinion, relief from the federal government was slow and grossly ineffective. There are many families still trying to recover.]

#2. Pearl Harbor. [The Japanese thrust us into World War II with this attack. On that fateful December day, numerous seamen lost their lives, and the destruction to ships and the military base was great. This would have made number one on my list, but my next choice occurred when I was alive.]

#1. The attack on September 11, 2001. [Just the phrase 9/11 still conjures up visions of death and destruction. I can vividly remember sitting in front of my television watching reply after reply on CNN or Fox News. The twin towers, a symbol of our financial strength, was destroyed. The Pentagon, a symbol of American’s military might, was damaged and then repaired. United flight 93, some experts concluded, was on the way to the capital building; we will never know. The first heroes of this war brought down that aircraft, denying the terrorists their prize. In the months following the attack, I must admit President Bush had his shining moments, but the war on Al Qaeda, because there are so many of them, I fear will go on indefinitely.]

#1 and #2 were attacks on both ends of the country. We can never allow this to happen again.

There is my top ten list. I hope it stirs emotions in you, and I invite you to leave comments on Facebook, Twitter, or here on the blog.

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

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing

Greetings, readers. I’ve been watching reruns of Forensic Files on YouTube the last several evenings and have found one distressing thing. Although it is a marvelous program, that shows how criminals can be apprehended and convicted by forensic evidence, which I love, the episodes are depressing. If it’s not a murder, it’s rape, torture, kidnapping, or something else that is grizzly. The other evening I watched twelve straight episodes and went to bed feeling like crap. My psychologist will have to hit me on the wrist with a wet noodle.

I don’t know if this is a form of self-punishment or abuse, but something psychological is going on. This is not the first time I have done this type of behavior. I can sit for hours on end and watch the best of YouTube marriage proposals, service men and women surprising their loved one, and all kinds of tear-jerking events. I suppose I get some entertainment out of it, but I just basically get depressed because of it. That much is emotional overload.

What to do, what to do? My doctor will have her work cut out for her. She’ll probably suggest watching these things in small numbers or perhaps not at all. With my morbid fascination with air plane disasters, crimes, death, and carnage, there must be some underlying reason why I am drawn to such things.

This morning, before Rebecca came to work, I purposely stayed at home, made my coffee in my Keurig, and played a game on my PS3. Nothing depressing about playing MLB15 The Show.

I’m sure when this blog entry will be posted to Facebook and Twitter, my family and friends will offer advice on how to help me. That will be most appreciated. For the most part, I’m feeling better in years past. I’m keeping to my early morning schedule, and seem to be getting a lot more done. I just have a few rough edges to work out and I will be a happy person around the clock.

Can anybody really be a happy person around the clock? I fully understand the answer is no. But I hope to be one of the people who can be cheerful, pleasant, and thankful about 95% of the time.

Before closing, welcome back Rebecca, missed you. The blog entries suffered. {From Rebecca: I missed you and being at work, too. *waving* Hi, readers!}

Until Friday, when I hope to have a top ten list ready to go, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

R. I. P. to a neighbor in my building [edited]

Greetings, readers. Rebecca is still recouping from a cold, so I am here typing the blog entry today. With the name withheld for privacy reasons, I do need to get something that’s been bothering me off my chest. So, here goes.

A gentleman from our apartment building passed away a few days ago. It has hit me unusually hard. I would see him at Panera cafĂ© sometimes in the morning, having his coffee while reading his newspaper. We would wave or say hello. Sometimes if there was something on his mind, he’d let me know about it. I guess his death has hit me hard because I’m getting a bit older now, and the thought of my demise creeps into my brain every now and again.

He was a WWII Vietnam veteran, and was well liked and respected in the building. I won’t go into the details of his passing, but I will say that he apparently passed away in his sleep; a peaceful way to go.

Well, I salute my friend who came to a few of my shows and enjoyed them. *SALUTE!*

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

Short blog today due to illness and time constraints

Greetings, readers. Joe here typing this entry. Rebecca is under the weather and won’t be coming in to work today. I am also struggling with a personal issue which took place at my apartment building yesterday. So, the entry slotted for today will be put up either tomorrow or Friday.

Until then, hang in there, have a good day and happy reading.

Ps – if you have loved ones who live alone, check on them often; especially in the hot weather.