Monthly Archives: January 2017

Every time I see a writer

Greetings, readers. Many times when I go to Panera café I see a gentleman who is a hard-core writer. His name is Steve, last name unknown. He has a ritual kind of like mine. He selects his favorite table, purchases his food, gets out his paper and pen, and starts to write. Whether he is taking notes, working on a story, or just doing a writing exercise, I have no idea. My point is that he writes. That’s the difference between Steve and I.

Here’s what I do. I select my favorite table, get my food, open my computer, check my emails, listen to music, chat on the phone, you get the idea. I do anything but write. At 51 years old, I’m almost ashamed to call myself a writer. Yes, I’ve written three books and a play, so I suppose that qualifies me as an author. I so desperately want more. The problem is at the current moment my body and brain are not quite cooperating. I’m going to look into computer software that allows me to speak into a microphone and the program will type what I say. My laptop has a speech recognition program but it has many flaws. I have difficulty getting into any flow. A trip to Best Buy will be forthcoming.

On today’s schedule is this: After the blog entry is done, Rebecca and I will fill out paperwork for an upcoming foot doctor’s visit, then it is monthly office cleaning day. After Rebecca leaves, I might even run the vacuum, ha ha. This afternoon I have a bank run to make and I must stop at the pharmacy. This has the potential to be an expensive day; I must begin to pay off my deductible for the new insurance year. Finally, tonight I will call bingo. I missed my last turn so I promised the gang that I will call the next two Thursday evenings. We all have to do our share.

What I am going to do this weekend is concentrate – perhaps even writing it down – on making a daily schedule that always includes writing, even if that means taking out such things as flight simulation, Facebook chatting, or YouTube watching. I’ve said it before but every day the feeling gets worse. I must either be a serious writer soon, or pull the plug and get a full-time job somewhere.

On a sad note, a very special RIP to the legendary actress and dancer Mary Tyler Moore, 1936-2017, who passed away yesterday. She will be greatly missed.

Next week Rebecca and I will be back with you with two more exciting blog entries. So take care, have a great weekend, and as always, happy reading.

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Feeling better after a rough weekend

Greetings, readers. Friday, late afternoon, I was bitten by the flu bug. It wasn’t the worst case I’ve ever had, but still it was very unpleasant. Most of the weekend was spent on my recliner chair sleeping. I had absolutely no appetite or motivation to do anything. When I was awake, I did think of Air Crash Investigation (ACI) episodes to find on YouTube for research. Here’s what happened.

The episodes I know I wanted to include in a new top ten list are gone, probably due to copyright infringement. That is the big issue when people post material that is not their own. Sure, old TV shows and classic sporting events are wonderful to watch again, but I am almost positive that the posters did not get permission from the networks. Usually such videos will stay on YouTube a few months until they are flagged by someone and then the site will remove the video and give that person a warning. This is how I watch ACI.

One of my favorite episodes, the story about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crash has been removed. Other episodes have been reposted by folks who for some reason didn’t do it correctly and the audio is either too fast or too slow. Not everyone has great equipment or knows what they are doing.

Let me tell you about one episode that I’ve watched over and over again, “The Crash of the Century”. It was a special two-hour episode. Two 747s, a Pan Am and a KLM, were bound for one of the Canary Islands. After a terrorist bomb went off in the terminal, the airport was closed and all aircraft were diverted to the tiny island of Tenerife. They landed and waited a number of hours for permission to return to their original destination. A terrible fog rolled in and blanketed the airport just as the pilots were given that permission. It was a race against time to fuel up, start-up, taxi, and take off before the fog made it too dangerous to do so. Here was the mixture for failure. There was an air traffic controller whose English could have been better. The crew of the Pan Am was looking for their turn off but missed it in the fog. The Dutch KLM aircraft which had taxied first, was ready for take-off, and the captain would wait no longer. Disregarding every rule in the book that pilots follow, he started his take-off run without permission and plowed right into the Pan Am jet, killing 583 people.

In a future blog entry I’d like to do the promised top ten list, and will do so if and when I can find ten episodes that I haven’t already blogged about, in a reliable medium.

That’s it for today. I’m going to enjoy a walk in the sunshine later on. I’ll grab a cup of coffee and meet Traci, and this evening I think I will watch a movie. Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

A low-key day, plus a movie

Greetings, readers. I just woke up from a nap and my eyes are killing me. Sometimes when I sleep my sinuses back up and put pressure on my eyeballs, causing pressure and blurriness. After a while, my vision goes back to normal. This phenomenon makes typing a problem to say the least, but I shall push on.

Yesterday’s entry about taking a favorite old TV show and writing an updated version of it got comments on Facebook, letting me know that two ideas I had are already in the works by other people. It figures. I told Rebecca yesterday that I will find a TV show or movie idea and reboot it and this news does not change my mind. Oh! But don’t worry, if an original idea also bonks me over my noggin’, I’ll most certainly add that to the list.

On to another topic. Today I’m finally going to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m really looking forward to seeing a Star Wars film without most of the characters I know, such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m sure I’ll love it.

After I get home I shall call bingo, then I’ll watch a little bit of TV before going to sleep. Next Wednesday I plan on posting that top ten list I’ve been promising. 😉 So until then, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

I’m on the verge of a major writing idea :-)

Greetings, readers. I have enjoyed the series reboots of Fuller House and One Day at a Time on Netflix very much. That gave me an idea. Why not think of a series from the 1970s or 80s and write a pilot script for it? Hey, don’t laugh. I know lots of TV shows.

At first I didn’t like the idea of reboots, but they seem to be the in-thing in television entertainment. Let’s see what’s already been done: The Love Boat – disastrous!, Charlie’s Angels – even worse!!, The Bionic Woman… lol. My point is, I know reboots have a tendency not to work rather than to succeed. But I am encouraged to give it a go because of the overwhelming success of these recent Netflix original series’. I feel confident that I can find an old show and bring it back to life.

The key is to add enough new elements to the mix so as to make it my own idea. For instance, The new One Day at a Time‘s family is Cuban, where the original show’s was not. They live in Los Angeles, not Indianapolis, etc. If I can find the right series, with the perfect new angle, watch out! I will once again be in writer’s heaven.

Some of my favorite series’ that I have enjoyed are Cagney & Lacey, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, and Starsky and Hutch. My first idea this morning, I must confess, was a female version of The Rockford Files. Luckily, the original Rockford Files is on Netflix right now, so I can study the series in-depth. Then before I write my pilot script, I can peak and tweak, create my own new characters, and begin the first draft.

Whichever series I choose, it’s going to be fun. I feel like I am ever so close to finally getting into that writing groove that for so long I have been searching. I even found on Spotify music a movie soundtrack that I used to play over and over again while writing 15 years ago. I can’t tell you how many pages I cranked out to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back record one side two. 🙂

For those of you who were expecting the new top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes, that is still in the works and will be put up next week. I’m taking a personal day tomorrow but I will post a new entry a little bit later than usual in the day with Rebecca’s help in editing.

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

Enjoying virtual flight on YouTube

Greetings, readers. A number of people on YouTube put up videos of themselves being on an airplane, with their little camera facing out on to the wing. I have used some of these videos for ambient background noise to help with sleeping, and sometimes just to enjoy them. My question is: How do they do it?

I’ve Googled the equipment that is used as stated in their description and obviously it is electronic. Please, readers, correct me if I am wrong, but I thought all electronic gadgets had to be turned off for taxi, take-off, and landing. No matter. It really does add to the experience. The camera that is used can fit into the palm of your hand and can be clamped down to the window of the aircraft. I believe, but I’m not certain, that it plugs into a computer’s USB port and you can record directly into the computer.

One of my favorite videos is a flight on American Airlines from Las Vegas, Nevada to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. I really enjoy the few moments after take-off when big mountains come into view followed by the pretty clouds, and before I know it we are at cruising altitude with lovely blue skies. It was a daytime flight and everything was as bright and clear as could be.

There is more than one person on YouTube that does this. My favorite is someone who posts as inflight Video. He has videos from all over the world and my guess is that when he travels anywhere for business he records the flight. Why does this fascinate me so much? Here’s the answer.

As friends of mine and my steady readers know, I love aircraft and flying. Early in life I had thoughts about being a commercial pilot. Health issues closed that door. I do not have the time nor the money to hop onto an airplane anytime I want, turn right around and come home again. I’m silly, not stupid, and taking a several hundred-dollar joy ride for the day is out of the question. My Aunt Marilyn lives out west so I could have an opportunity to fly cross-country, I just have to find the time and funds to do it.

For now though, the flight videos on YouTube will have to do. I hope to visit my Aunt sometime in the coming year. We’ll see if that transpires.

The last two little tidbits. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the ill-fated Air Florida Flight 90 disaster, which occurred in 1982. My blog entry on this event still gets a few views during the year and I expect more around the anniversary. This post, as well as my very popular top ten list from the show Air Crash Investigation, made me think, what if I did another top ten list of favorite episodes from ACI? There are so many to choose from. I don’t think I’ve seen them all, but the ones I have seen I remember quite well. I think for next week I shall take notes and try to come up with another ten episodes for a second list. Am I expecting the same high numbers as the first top ten list? It certainly would be nice but I am grateful for any reads I get on any blog entry. I’ll get to work on that one this weekend.

Before I sign off, prayers going out to all who need it in areas of the country experiencing droughts, floods, or blizzards. The weather has been kind of freaky this winter.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, happy reading.

I think I’ve discovered why I’m so sleepy

Greetings, readers. Although it is true that I don’t usually get eight or nine hours of sleep a night, I still often feel like my medications are zapping me of energy from the late morning on. Even the nights when I do get a lot of sleep I am still needing a nap. Rebecca told me about a conversation she had with someone who is changing from the same anti-depression medication that I take because it caused them sleepiness. This is information I did not have before. On Friday I am going to talk to my therapist and see just how true that is.

At first I thought my lack of energy and appetite were the winter blues. But in the last several weeks we’ve had a few days of sun, with temperatures in the upper 30s F. I enjoyed them very much. I walked around, went to my favorite hang-out and saw my friends. Still I did not want to eat very much and my favorite word was nap. I concluded that it must be my four seizure medications. Now I am wondering if it is the anti-depressant, or even that medication in conjunction with the seizure meds.

Even at this very moment as I am dictating this blog entry I am doing so with eyes closed. I am coherent and am aware of exactly what I wish to say next. There are some mornings when Rebecca is not scheduled to work, that I will close down the computer, shut off the lights, and go back to sleep – sometimes for as long as four hours. That is one hell of a nap.

Another thing that has me a little worried is that my weight is 190 pounds. I was at 204 not too long ago. On the good side, my blood work is perfect. Pulse and blood pressure are outstanding. I just need to find what is draining my energy and appetite.

If indeed it is my anti-depressant, I think I can get by without it. I see my therapist every two weeks and have more coping tools in place to battle depression. One tool is watching stand-up comedy on Netflix. Gabriel Iglesias has a new special out and also Anjelah Johnson, whom I wrote to on Twitter complimenting her on her performances. To my surprise and amazement she wrote back and thanked me. I felt so special.

For my regular readers and family members please do not worry. I’m planning to take steps as soon as this Friday to rectify this situation. I hope that in a week or two I will be back to the energetic self that I enjoyed when I was younger.

Finally, on a side note, though I did not watch this game, congratulations go out to the Clemson University football team on winning the National Championship over Alabama. It was a close game and Clemson won with six seconds to play. I really feel for the fans of Alabama.

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

I love my life, but not today

Greetings, readers. It has been a very frustrating morning but the worst is over. A simple task which should have taken five minutes took nearly an hour. Here’s how it all went down.

I noticed this morning that I needed to call the pharmacy and order a few prescriptions. The first three weren’t a problem. My one seizure med was the one that hit the snag. They said I had already picked that one up last week. Where was it? I had lost it somewhere. We went through four months of empty pharmacy bags and receipts and it wasn’t here. Panic time. I opened my bag with the current med bottles to confirm I didn’t have it, and there it was. Phew. But then I couldn’t remember the name of the med I did need to order. I know I take four seizure meds and after all this time their names should be burned into my brain. One of them wasn’t. Poor Rebecca had to sit here while we went through empty bags looking for that one empty ‘script bottle. Oh, joy, oh, bliss. Yes, she calls herself my assistant, but I think today she went over and above the call of duty. Thanks go to Rebecca. I got the name of the med and was able to order it from the pharmacy. My usual system of putting newly purchased meds in the current meds bag and of making a mental note for which meds are low and need to be called in that day, has worked perfectly for me for a long time, but today it failed.

We did get the problem sorted out and this afternoon I can pick up my new ‘scripts. But dang blast it, it really makes me nuts when the simplest of tasks takes way longer than it should. I know, I know, this happens to everybody from time to time, it just seems like it happens to me more than it should.

After about 40 minutes of what I would call a waste, we were able to begin my blog entry for the day. I was going to blog on a completely different topic, a RIP for my friend and neighbor Rita. I may still do that topic next week, especially if I can get her daughter’s permission to use Rita’s full name.

My friend’s death has hit me harder than I ever expected. Because of a language barrier (she was Russian) we did not have long conversations, though she did speak some English. It was more or less the daily pleasantries that we could exchange while passing in the hallways or outside the building. I think the suddenness of her death is what is effecting me the most. She is here one minute and gone mere hours later. It has made me think of my own mortality, not that I think I will die tomorrow, but it does point out that one never knows. We can be gone in the blink of an eye.

Rebecca and I will be in the office next week as usual on Wednesday and Thursday with two more interesting blog entries. If I get permission from Rita’s daughter to go into more detail, I shall on Wednesday. If not, I’ll choose another topic.

Finally, the Penn State Nittany Lion football team gave a valiant effort in the Rose Bowl but came up just short against the University of Southern California. This was the highest scoring Rose Bowl in history and the most exciting one that I have ever seen. Kudos to both teams on a great season.

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

From Rebecca: Reflections in the first week of the new year

For the first time in three weeks, I am sitting in the office, AKA Joe’s apartment, at work. Two weeks ago I had surgery to take out my gallbladder. I truly expected to be back to my normal routine the following week, but I was fooling myself. While I was able to go home the same day as the surgery, I needed a little more than a week to recover, rest, and heal. My husband, Darren, was a big help to me, especially in the first few days when I was groggy, cranky, and in pain.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to write a blog entry and edit Joe’s entries from the comfort of my own home. That was mega-cool. Thank you to Joe for letting me do that and for your patience and support.

Speaking of modern technology, last year we got high-speed internet at home, and we have been enjoying Netflix streaming through Darren’s PS3. He especially likes watching shows with no commercials. He was watching Lost for a while, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched the four-part special of Gilmore Girls, and Longmire. While I was recovering, we started to watch The West Wing, and we are up to the second season. It has been a while since I watched it, and I am enjoying it a lot. I remembered some things and other parts were a surprise reminder. So many of the issues were from the Bill Clinton presidency and I am strongly reminded of that administration with its ideals and its problems. We binge watch a bit, but we want to be careful with the PS3 so we don’t wear it out. A few hours at a time seems to work for us. I am certainly looking forward to exploring more of what Netflix has to offer in the coming year.

So, back to a new year starting. Next to me, I have my work folder ready for notes and reminders and my new engagement calendar, full of January’s information, and waiting for the appointments yet to be made in the next twelve months. We ended 2016 with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds nationwide, and locally the shocking unexpected death of a resident of Addison Court Apartments, Joe’s next door neighbor. A new year feels like a new start, like anything good is possible. I’m ready for that new start and I want it. There was so much yelling and strife in 2016, and with the new Presidential administration coming in there will have to be a lot of people taking action to hold on to civil rights in the coming four years. But right now, this day, 2017 is a new beginning and it has a lot of promise.