Monthly Archives: January 2016

Another hodgepodge day

Greetings, readers. It is a partly sunny Friday afternoon, but it is cold outside. I’m glad to see the blue sky here and there, but I could do without that wind. As I get ready to make my weekend plans, there is something I want to do with someone at 3:00, and when I get home I intend to write. My new short story is going well and I am psyched about that. This morning for the first time in a long time I actually felt like I was in that zone that I love to be in. It is as though I am seeing what I am writing as if it was a movie.

To another topic, my blog entry from yesterday was well received – no negative comments. I understand that I could have taken a shovel and bashed the hell out of Donald Trump, but I chose to play it a little bit safe and that is okay for now. I will see how I feel about that as the general election gets closer. Am I going to write blog entries about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the frontrunners in the Democratic party? Not as of this moment, but you never know.

In cool news, I noticed on Facebook that today is Alan Alda’s 80th birthday, so happy birthday to him. M*A*S*H was one of my favorite shows. Also, I saw yesterday on Facebook that the DeLorean car company is going to resume production for the first time since 1982. Thumbs up to that.

Yesterday also marked the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. I have watched many documentaries dealing with that disaster and if NASA had listened to the expert who said it was too cold to launch, those wonderful folks would still be alive. We’ll chalk that up to another tragedy that didn’t have to happen.

Finally, in this hodgepodge blog entry, I can’t believe that pitchers and catchers report to spring training a month from now. It seems like the Kansas City Royals just walked off the field after winning the World Series. It is true I guess that baseball has the shortest off-season, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It would not amaze me if in 10 or 20 years baseball was played year-round in the United States in a brand new league. There are plenty of domes and stadiums down south and out west to make a second baseball league a viable prospect in cities that don’t have major league teams now.

Well, there you have it, these are my thoughts on my day. We’ll be back next week with at least two new blog entries. Until then, have a fantastic weekend, take care and happy reading.

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Do we really want Donald Trump as President?

Greetings, readers. I’m finally going to do it. I’m going political. There comes a time when every blogger has to put his or her two cents in about the presidential candidates. I’m taking my two cents out of my pocket today.

Over the years I’ve tried not to offend anyone. I’ve been Mr. Safe. That might very well end today. What follows, I feel very strongly about, and I’m going to share with you my personal feelings on candidate Donald Trump.

From what I’ve seen on the Yahoo! news page and heard from TV news anchors, Mr. Trump will say just about anything that comes to his mind. He does not stop to think rather said language is offensive or not. That is where he is going to get himself in the deepest trouble. I know for a fact he has taken potshots at women, and Latinos. Well, Mr. Trump, right there you have just pissed off a huge contingent of voters. Oops.

The other big concern I have is his lack of foreign policy experience. If his temper and mouth go unchecked, he would be very likely to insult or anger a foreign head of state, causing us to lose allies, which we need in these terrorist times. I’m not saying he would get us into a war, but the odds are high that he might. The man scares me.

I would suggest to Mr. Trump that as an alternate strategy he use his business smarts to aid our ailing economy, and also create opportunities for the physically and emotionally challenged. I have a handicap, though slight, and there are lots of people like me who could benefit from just such an endeavor.

I do admire his courage during his bid for the presidency, but I fear he lacks the necessary skills to be taken seriously. I know that at this point he is leading most preliminary polls. I’m just worried about when the first crisis happens. In good conscience, I cannot vote for him. My vote will go to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a good day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my most annoying habits

Greetings, readers. After taking several days to think about a good top ten list topic, I have come up with this one. There are many annoying things that I do, and they must be bad, because I realize them myself. I thought it would be a good exercise to write them out, so that not only you my readers can see them, but I could take a look at them myself and work on my faults. So here we go.

#10. Eternal pessimism. [If there is a dark cloud around the silver lining, I’ll find it. I think I get this trait from my father. Mom was the exact opposite.]

#9. My annoying verbal tics. [I’ve had many of them over the years. The latest is yes, yes, yes, or right, right, right. I’ve been trying to break myself of this one of late but so far no luck.]

#8. My slight anger issue. [It takes a lot to get me truly angry, but once I am, I feel a degree of rage that frightens even me. I have to sit down and work on calming myself to get rid of those feelings. It’s not a pleasant 15 or 20 minutes.]

#7, My sometimes erratic driving skills. [Many people have told me what a wonderful driver I am and most of the time I agree with them. However, there have been times that I’ve just done some dumb things. They have led to speeding tickets and dented fenders. The way I was taught to drive by my mom, I should know better. But, hey, what can I say, I’m a guy. Sometimes we do reckless things.]

#6. Spouting my mouth off. [Sometimes when I’m extremely upset, I’ll say the first thing that comes to my mind to someone. Such as, so-and-so politician is an idiot, or I hope that guy gets hit by a truck. Do I mean these statements? Of course not. Perhaps I need an anger management class.]

#5. Living space neatness issue. [Although I have made strides in important areas of the apartment, there is still much to do. Mainly the bedroom and the walk-in closet. Very soon, i.e. the next inspection time, I see myself biting the bullet and literally throwing things away to get them out of here. That will be a sad day for me.]

#4. Enjoying too much leisure time. [I find myself playing video games, watching TV or movies, or listening to music way too much. although I do have this evening blocked off for creative writing, I should literally unplug all fun things, sit my butt down in a chair, and write my stories. I am a writer. A writer writes.]

#3. Too indecisive. [Probably brought on by my low self-esteem, I jump the gun and ask for help or opinions too quickly. Most of the time I already know what I want to do, but there is a need to touch base and get that second or third opinion.]

#2. Impulsive spending. [Although I’m not as bad as some people, when I have money I tend to stock up on things, buy a few niceties, and then the last few weeks of the month I am again scrimping, saving, and worrying.]

#1. Cat litter box issue. [Even though I do take care of it, I should do it much more often. To clean it out hurts my back when I bend over. I’ve tried sitting on the toilet seat with the bag in front of me, but I just dump it on the floor because of my shaky hands. I must admit, if I scooped it out every day, there wouldn’t be a problem. But I am a lazy ass, so I don’t. Today I am going to surprise kitty cat Keekee, buy that $10 box of cat litter, drag it home, and use it. My little girl deserves a clean bathroom.]

There you have it. I took a hard look at myself, and yes there are things I don’t like. I have many things to work on. Please do chime in with your list if you wish to or leave another kind of comment here or on Facebook.

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

Feeling low as the first snowstorm approaches

Greetings, readers. As the title implies, this is not the promised top ten list. The last 72 hours have been filled with, not depression, but just extreme low energy. I tell myself that I’m going to do this or that and then I sit down in my chair and those plans go out the window. I don’t think I’m sick or depressed, but I’m sputtering.

If this continues through the weekend, I’m going to call my primary doctor and schedule an appointment. I’m not too worried about this, but to give you an example of what my body is going through, I overslept and was late for work. And I live at the “office.” I had to call Rebecca and change our meeting plan.

Now that I’ve been talking to Rebecca for a while and dictating, I’m starting to feel a little bit better. But my internal energy meter still seems low. I shall confess to you that the past week or so I have gotten out of my up at 5:15 and at Panera at 6 AM routine. Maybe my body is rebelling against that. I need to force myself to turn off TV, go to bed early, and get back to that routine. I do enjoy having my early mornings. But in the mood I am in right now, all I want to do it sleep.

Well, I shall fight though this day and get some good work done, and do my very best to have the top ten list either early next week or on Wednesday.

With the impending snowstorm, you might very well see a blog entry over the weekend to let you know how much snow central Pennsylvania received. The latest forecast I’ve seen is calling for 4-8 inches over an 18 hour period. Not the worst storm I’ve been in, but supplies will have to be purchased today. I just don’t see myself going anywhere tomorrow. That’s okay though, it’s a Saturday and I can sleep if I want to.

Speaking of the snowstorm that is about to clobber the northeast, this will be the first significant snow of the winter for us. There is a small part of me that is excited. I like the snow when it is fresh and white. Once it turns black from the cars driving through it, not so much.

Well, Rebecca and I are off to do our other writing plans for the day. Next week will again be a normal three-day work week with at least two blog posts.

Stay safe in the snowstorm, do take care, and happy reading.

My short story writing plans for tomorrow

Greetings, readers. With my creative juices flowing, I’m going to write the first draft of tomorrow’s top ten list either tonight or early tomorrow morning. This will leave Rebecca and me more time to work on my new writing exercise. I have decided to prime the pump, as Rebecca would say, and dictate to her very short stories.

The inspiration for this happened by chance. While listening to my Spotify music provider, I discovered that along with many different types of music, there is also a spoken word category. There I found everything from novels to the shortest of short stories. After listening to a couple of short stories read aloud, I dreamt what it would feel like to have one of my short stories read by these wonderful voices. So tomorrow I’m going to have three or four general topics written down on a piece of paper. For instance, the day at the beach, or a romantic interlude at a cabin. I’m just going to begin dictating from a good starting point, work the story, bring it to a climax, and have a cheerful conclusion. At least, we’ll be writing again.

Yes, I do call the blog entries writing, but I want to get my brain more engaged and have some works which at some point could be compiled in a book.

I talked to Rebecca about this briefly yesterday and I think she likes the idea. So please readers, wish us luck.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, be careful in the snow, take care and happy reading.

Want to buy some stuff for cheap? Plus, a joke.

Greetings, readers. Today I am in one of my fickle moods. Things have not bounced my way since this past weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs both lost their playoff games, and I didn’t quite get as much reading done on Four’s a Crowd as I had hoped. Before I get into the particulars, I’ll start you off with a joke.

Q: Why didn’t Han come out with the rest of the orchestra?

A: He was practicing his solo.

Okay, okay, I know that was terrible. Hopefully some Star Wars fans will get a chuckle.

There are days that I am happy and bouncy and everything is right with the world. Today is not one of those days. I’m still having budget problems which seem to be getting worse not better. And big expenditures are on the horizon. As my girlfriend tells me, we just have to take one day at a time. And she is correct. If I really stopped to think about what was coming up in the next three months, I’d probably go crazy. Hopefully by April, I’ll have my new permanent budget in place and money issues will be better. In the meantime, I’m looking around my apartment to see if I have anything to sell.

On a side note, about Keekee’s vet visit last week, I received her vaccination certificate in the mail today. She is now legally healthy for another year as far as the rental office goes. At this very moment, she is staring me down, waiting for her dinner.

Tomorrow afternoon, I have therapy at my new day and time, and will have plenty to discuss with Dr. Joanne. After that, I’ll go visit Traci and we will watch something fun on TV.

With the Pennsylvania primary coming up in the spring, it’s going to be time for me to take a hard look at the candidates. I loath politics. But if I don’t do my part and vote, I’ll have no leg to stand on to complain if the other person wins. I’ve made a joke to several people that if a certain candidate is victorious in the Presidential race, I’m going to move to Mexico. I don’t think I’m going to have enough money to do that. Most people don’t think that he is going to win though, so that is not going to be a problem.

On Friday, I’m going to have a top ten list for you and I’ll dig deep down and make it an extra special one. Tomorrow I’m going to read over several of the top ten lists to make certain that I don’t accidentally repeat myself.

Until then, stay warm if you are in the deep freeze, take care, and happy reading.

Keekee got a good report and busy weekend is coming up

Greetings, readers. I got the call from the vet this morning and my kitty cat Keekee, who is almost 10 years old, got a glowing report. All tests came back negative. This made me extremely happy. The grand total of the bill did not make me happy; it was over $300. My accountant agreed that pets are worth it. He has a cat and he understands. I won’t need to do this again for at least 6 months. Now that Keekee is what they call a senior cat, she is supposed to have semi-annual check-ups.

Now for the busy weekend news. I have six chapters of Four’s a Crowd, Darren’s novel from my play, to read over and edit. I’m going to dive into this project beginning tomorrow morning. I am going to ask Rebecca for the flash drive she has, with the rest of the chapters, so that I can put them on my computer and print them off at the library at my leisure. Most of Saturday will be taken up with this project. The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon, and as a fan I must watch that play-off game.

Although this TV feature has been around for a while, I am just beginning to get acquainted with my cable provider’s on-demand service. Most movies and specials are pay-to-view, but I can find a few shows that are free to watch. On my budget, free is the right price. If I can find Reba or Downton Abbey, I will partake of some of those episodes in the evenings. I wish I could find Upstairs, Downstairs but no such luck.

Next week will be our first full work week in a while. You may expect at least two blog entries, possibly more.

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

From Rebecca: Top ten list of Pixar films

I knew I had watched a lot of the Pixar films over the years, but I was surprised to see that I have watched all of them, with the exception of the latest one, The Good Dinosaur. So doing an entry on my top ten favorites turned out to be a good idea. I like the themes found in the Pixar movies – following your dreams, accepting other people for who they are, friendship, family, loyalty, and kindness. I like how Pixar studios explores worlds we never think of and shares it with us to enjoy too.

I have combined a few films together with their sequels, so there are more than ten movies here. I did not include Ratatouille here; I enjoyed it but not enough to make the list.

#10. Up – 2009. The story of an old man following the dream he and his wife had before she died. Along the way he befriends a lonely boy, a dog, and a wild creature. At the beginning, the film has the best and saddest montage, mostly without dialog, of the man’s life with his wife. Themes include helping others and following your dreams where ever they lead you.

#9. A Bug’s Life – 1998. This movie is set in the world of ants and grasshoppers, where a young ant endangers his colony and has to leave to find help. He finds a strange set of other bugs to come and help. It is a world where a small drop of water and a rolled leaf can become a telescope, and a bigger drop of rain can be a dangerous water balloon. Themes include working together, standing up for yourself against bullies, and seeing value in differences.

#8. WALL-E – 2008. This is a little harder for me to describe, but most of the action takes place on a generational spaceship where the people are waiting for a wasteland Earth to be ready for life and growth again so they can return to it. WALL-E is a trash-compactor robot that falls in love and wakes people up on the ship. Themes include the environment, belonging with someone, being aware of what is around you, and hope.

#7. Inside Out – 2015. This movie is about emotions and memories, set mostly in the mind of a young teen-age girl. I like it’s message that as we grow up, our emotions and the memories they call up are more complicated and combinations of more than one strong feeling. Themes include growing up, the changes in adolescence and life, and family.

#6. Brave – 2012. This one is also about growing up, as a young woman is expected to marry when she would rather be free, and shoot her bow. There is a conflict between her and her mother. Themes include being true to yourself, follow your dreams, kindness, mother/daughter relationships, and family.

#5. Monster’s Inc. – 2001, and Monster’s University – 2013. I like the original film better than the sequel. Set in the world of monsters, one day a child gets through the doorway and causes havoc. Themes include friendship, loyalty, and overcoming bias.

#4. Cars – 2006, and Cars 2 – 2011. Set in a world of cars that looks a lot like our world, a race car has to make repairs to a small town before he can leave for a big race. He makes friends of the town’s people along the way. The sequel continues his friendships with the town’s people. Themes include Route 66, friendship, loyalty, respect for people and history, and kindness.

#3. Finding Nemo – 2003. Set in the world of the ocean and the fish life in it, a boy fish is taken by a diver. The fish father overcomes his fears in order to find his boy, while the boy works, with help from other fish, to leave the fish tank and get back to his dad. Themes include family, helping others, determination, overcoming fears, and letting a child achieve for himself.

#2. The Incredibles – 2004. A movie about superheros who have to live as average people and hide what they are, as seen through one family of superheros trying to blend in. Trouble finds them, and they need to use their powers again to save the world. Themes include courage, family, being true to yourself, using your natural talents, and kindness.

#1. Toy Story – 1995, and Toy Story 2 – 1999, and Toy Story 3 – 2010. I love all three of these movies, set in the world of toys and what they do when the humans are out of the room. All three have a strong story line that works on its own and the sequels build on the other movies. Emotional and gut-wrenching at times as the toys deal with their boy growing up and not playing with them as much over time, the movies also have messages of hope. Themes include friendship, belonging, purpose, loyalty, and kindness.

I look forward to watching whatever Pixar comes out with next. Their movies are filled with humor, insights into life and the world, and hope.

For yesterday, a brief remembrance of Air Florida Fight 90

Greetings, readers. I know I have blogged about this topic before, but yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Air Florida flight 90 crash. As PALM 90 took off from Washington D.C.’s national airport (I think it is called Reagan National now), during a heavy snow storm, the flight was doomed from the word go. As the 737 rolled down the runway with its engines clogged with ice and snow, there was virtually no chance of a safe take-off. The pilots, who admittedly lived in Florida and never needed their de-icing equipment, failed to activate it before the flight. Had they done so, this tragedy, I think, would not of occurred.

I started to wonder how many family members and friends of the victims would still be alive after 34 years. For those of you who are, I’m certain that that date always brings a sting and pain to your heart. Once again, I offer my heartfelt condolences, prayers, and good thoughts.

This is the first blog entry of two today. Rebecca will have a top ten list coming up shortly. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Christmas things put away and creative juices flowing

Greetings, readers. For today’s blog entry, I’ve decided to share with you what I did late last night and this morning. I looked at my apartment and literally said out loud enough is enough. My girlfriend, Traci, gave me a storage bin and I used that to put my Christmas decorations in. After labeling the box, I put it in the walk-in closet. With Star Wars music playing in the back ground, I got inspired. I thought to myself, with a little work I could have this place ready for me to begin on my writing projects as early as tomorrow morning.

After putting away all the small Christmas decorations, and putting things back on the credenza where they go, I unplugged my portable speakers and attached them to my record player. Yes, I do still have plenty of vinyl. I’ve always done my best writing with John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra playing in the background. One day I will listen to Star Wars: A New Hope and the next day might be The Empire Strikes Back. I’m very excited about the prospect of creating again. The blog is so much fun, most times I don’t even consider it work, though it is writing.

After I took a short break to rest my back, I tried out the old stereo. Besides the speed being a wee bit fast, it sounds great. With all the holiday goings-on over with, such as light rides, movies, and gatherings, it is now time to sit my butt down in a chair and spend the next several months doing some good creative writing. Even if none of it gets sold, I firmly believe I will be flexing my writing muscles and adding tools to my writing tool belt.

Wednesday will be a day off for personal reasons, but Rebecca and I will be back with our usual two blog entries, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

I’ll be watching the Steelers in the play-offs on Saturday, so go Pittsburgh. I bid everyone a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.