Monthly Archives: August 2017

Technology grrr 7

Greetings, readers. This morning I was up at 5am as part of my new daily routine. I had the computer running by 5:15 and all was well. It had had some problems with running slowly yesterday, just like my old ASUS had before I got the Hewlett-Packard this past spring. Then this morning in the middle of doing something, the HP decided to have a mind of its own. With my Facebook page frozen and the control-alt-delete function not working, I had to do a hard shut-down; holding the on/off button in until it shut off. My new HP didn’t like it.

The first time it restarted normally but was running slower. Something was beginning to be amiss. When it froze a second time and I had to restart it, all it showed was the cursor twirling with the HP logo in the background and didn’t do anything else. I let it sit while I made coffee and got dressed. Still twirling. I went to the bathroom to wash up, came out, still twirling. After what seemed like forever, I did another hard shut down. I got out the old ASUS computer, and to show you what kind of morning this was, I couldn’t remember the old computer’s password. Grrr!

When I went to get my laundry, I was literally talking to myself in the hallway when Rebecca showed up. I think she got an internal chuckle. I told her what was wrong and asked her if she remembered the password. Luckily, she did. We were all set to do the blog entry on the old computer, when she noticed that the battery compartment was becoming extremely hot. I had her immediately shut it down and I unplugged it before taking the battery out. The fan is probably not working in it anymore. At that point I was beginning to think that the blog entry was going to have to be from Rebecca at her place.

I decided to give the new HP one last try. This time the screen said something like Automatic Repair in Progress. That looked promising. We waited to see what happened. It then gave a prompt to restart the computer, which we did. And to our delight, the new laptop is once again working normally. No delays, slowness, or freezing. I still don’t know what is causing the issues, however.

I did not get to listen to my music, I did not get to check Facebook and Twitter, and all the other websites I usually check before work hours. So frustrating. I’ve decided I am going to take the computer into Best Buy’s Geek Squad and say, “This computer is only roughly three months old, it should not be having these problems. What is going on?” The technician will probably say, “You have two programs fighting one another,” or “Hey look, we found a virus.” This issue is not life-threating to my computer, it is just damned annoying. When the computer is shut down the correct way, all programs are supposed to shut off. I don’t think that is always happening with my machine. There goes $60 for the service charge, even before they do anything to it.

Before I close, I wanted to take a minute to send out prayers and good wishes to the flood victims in Texas, Barbados (where a new storm is forming) and also the victims of flooding in Asia during a rather bad monsoon season. Best wishes go out to those victims and families.

Next week, we will be working Wednesday and I plan to take a personal day on Thursday. I might use that entire day to begin a writing project. I have some good ideas cooking in my brain. So until next week, have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Advertisements

I reconnected with a special friend recently

Greetings, readers. For a couple of years now, on and off, I have been trying to reconnect with someone I met in junior college. Her name is Tess (last name withheld for privacy reasons). I last saw her in 2003 when she and her husband Chris came to my mother’s viewing; I don’t remember whether their two young children came with them or not. It is amazing that 14 years had passed since I had heard her bubbly cheerful voice. She is such an upbeat person and it is quite easy to make her laugh.

Over the past few years I had left messages on their answering machine with no reply. I figured either they have moved, switched numbers, or she had forgotten about me. The other day I called the number that I had in my cell phone and it was going to be for the final time. I was planning to erase the number if she didn’t call back within a couple of days.

My heart sank when the answering machine activated and I began to leave my message. To my happy surprise, Tess picked up and we couldn’t believe that we were speaking to one another once again. She had a couple of errands to run but definitely wanted me to call back later that evening. I, of course, cleared my evening calendar. I made sure my cell phone was charged, for Tess and I had a lot of catching up to do.

About 9:00 I called and she was there. Tess explained that she had to be in bed by 10:00 and I was thrilled that we would have a whole hour together. We reminisced, told jokes and stories, and did all the things that people do in the let’s-get-caught-up process. She told me that she never got my other messages, that her machine sometimes eats them. I told her that I wanted to see her and the family before winter time. She agreed, but no firm plans have been set yet. They live about 3 hours away from me and I will suggest that we meet about half-way. I am already eagerly anticipating that day.

To show you haw time flies, I asked her how old her children were. She said 21 and 24. I immediately went into my old man voice, and asked her if she had seen my dentures. She laughed hysterically. I will admit back in junior college I had a crush on Tess but she was taken and I respected that. I consider her one of my closest friends. She knows secrets about me that not many people know.

There are a few other people in my life that I would like to reconnect with and I hope to fulfill that dream one day. I’ll take those dreams one day at a time and finding Tess is one dream fulfilled.

That’s my big news and I will leave you with this. Major prayers go out to the flood victims and their families in the states of Texas and Louisiana. The pictures from the news are horrific and I plan to donate what I can to the appropriate Salvation Army. I am also inspired by the pictures of people who have helped other people, whether it be by using their boats to help rescue or by going out into the water to rescue people and animals themselves. I am glad to see that there is so much goodness and charity left in the world.

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

From Rebecca: The eclipse last Monday

As most people in the world know, last Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon passed in front of the sun for a total eclipse. The path went over the United States and a lot of people went to places where they could experience the totality, some traveling for hours or even all day. Other areas not under the direct line got a partial eclipse. A lot of excitement built for the day. For weeks people on TV and the internet talked about it, and gave the same advice to not look at the sun without special glasses, to avoid eye damage and blindness.

I didn’t get special glasses or make a pinhole viewer, so I made sure not to look up at the sun during the partial eclipse that we got here in central Pennsylvania. I did see it get dim outside, and the light turned a strange yellow for a few minutes. Then it was back to normal again. Still kind of cool to join in with other people even that little bit.

I was interested enough to watch the coverage the network stations had on. They had correspondents in several towns on the totality line and would show what they experienced as the eclipse moved from west to east. I switched channels a bit, but mainly watched the NBC and ABC folks. The viewing audience and I watched people react to the sky turning dim, then dark, as they witnessed the moon move in front of the sun, obscure it, and then pop a ball of light from one side as the moon moved on to reveal the sun. I enjoyed watching the process, over and over, from each location. It looked magnificent.

There was a lot said and written about this event bringing people together for something other than anger, and it does seem like our nation put down its usual problems for one day to share in an amazing natural phenomenon. Something awesome and awe inspiring.

As Joe says, until next Wednesday, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

Hectic day at work yesterday

Greetings, readers. I was planning to have a top ten list of my pet peeves today, but I discovered that I had already created the list on August 22, 2012. Well, good news for you, I have another topic in mind and I think it will interest you.

Yesterday where I work we got slammed. There was a bomb scare at a nearby business, and all their workers were told that they could gladly come in to our place and spend their down time indoors and out of the rain. They arrived around 3:30 and stayed until almost 7:00. Working the register for me is usually a quiet time in between customers where I can restock things, wipe down tables, and think or meditate. No such thinking or meditation happened yesterday. It was literally non-stop action, and it was good, it gave me an introduction to what the Penn State football weekend is going to be like. We won’t even have time to breath.

When Wal-Mart was given the all clear, their workers profusely thanked us, gave us cupcakes, and departed. We thought we could stand down. LOL. I saw a school bus pull in. My manager’s heart sank, and one worker who was already cut had to sign back in.

The football team from Tyrone, Pennsylvania was in town for some function, complete with the entire cheerleading squad. I told my friend Tasha, “You work register two and take the cheerleaders. I’ll take the team on register three.” We got them in and out in approximately 40 minutes. Not too shabby. When it was all over, and the high-fives were being given out, I realized something at the same time my manager did. I hadn’t made one mistake.

I think it was a combination of adrenalin and being hyper-focused. It was by far the most efficient I’ve ever worked on register. I would like to be that way every day, but I fear that I am one of those people who needs to be pushed to the limits before I shine.

After being cut for the evening, and knowing I had just missed a bus, I called a taxi cab. No waiting around for me, my feet were screaming obscenities at me and I wanted to get home. I work another five-hour shift today and then have two days off. I’m looking forward to that quite a bit.

On a side note, I’m no longer going to tell you, my readers, what is planned for the next blog, for half the time it doesn’t seem to work out. I can tell you one thing for sure though, I am taking a personal day tomorrow and Rebecca will be putting up the next blog entry with her own topic.

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

It has been an off morning for me

Greetings, readers. I like to have a morning routine in place so I can do the things I need to do before Rebecca comes or before I go to work. This morning was not one of those mornings. It was about as topsy-turvy as it could be.

First of all, I did not sleep very well last night which prompted me to want to sleep past my usual wake up time. Then I went to take meds only to discover that I had no milk, which I need for these pills. Off I walked to the convenience store. When I got back from that, my sinuses decided to say,”Let’s run away.” And they ran and ran and ran. Thank goodness the end of the allergy season is coming soon. By the time I took my meds and got my allergies under control, it was going on 9:00. Rebecca arrives at 9:45. I had precious little time to do more than to check Facebook, Twitter, and other such sites.

The current time as I dictate this is 11:00 and my morning seems to be back on track. When I was at camp, I would awaken around 5:30, much earlier than usual. A couple of mornings I would actually get into my rental car, drive to get my paper, and then continue driving around until time to pick up David for breakfast. A couple of mornings I took my meds at the Sweet Dreams convenience store about a mile and a half away from camp. Just like in any coffee shop, there were daily locals who would sit, have their coffee and talk about the goings on of the day. They allowed me into their circle, asked me where I was from, and how my week at camp was progressing. That was nice of them, they made me feel welcome.

I have an appointment this afternoon across the street, where construction on the sidewalk is going on in front of the business. I thought I would have to cancel because it looked like I couldn’t enter the building. I called and found out there is indeed an entry way to their front door. I will be able to keep my appointment. My afternoon is looking better than my morning. After my appointment, I will get together with Traci for coffee, and then I will have a free evening. I am already planning to turn in extra early tonight. I see bed coming around 9:30 or 10:00.

I know this wasn’t the most exciting blog entry ever written, but it was what happened for me today, and that is what a blog is for. To get you, my readers, up to date on what is happening with me, and sometimes Rebecca.

Before I close, my prayers go out to all those touched by violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Next Wednesday I will have a top ten list ready for you. So until then, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps 2017 was a smashing success

Greetings, readers. I am back from Bear Spring Camps and ready to begin work again. I am feeling energized with many ideas for blog entries and personal writing projects. I sat in my cabin every evening listening to the crickets and the loons while I was deep in thought reflecting on the year to come.

First of all let me tell you about my rental car. OMG! The 2017 Hyundai Tucson is that company’s small SUV. It had adequate space, more than enough power and every gadget and readout known to man. With cruise control on the interstates it averaged 31.5 miles per gallon. Not too shabby. Along with the GPS unit I purchased, I was easily able to go on my side trips. I stopped at Portland, Maine on the way up and on the way back, and even spent an hour at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. I used my computer’s webcam to take a few snapshots. Only one turned out very well and I put it up on Facebook.

I used the computer’s webcam to take this photo. I think it really well.

As Rebecca said in her blog entry a couple of weeks ago, I got a late start the Thursday morning I left for camp and was only about 30 miles down the highway at lunchtime. I stopped at the Flying J truck stop for lunch, over ate, and then had to blare music and freeze myself with air conditioning just to stay awake. The Hyundai had Sirius XM radio, which I took advantage of quite a bit. Did I love that car? I put 1,455 miles on it. That should answer the question. I always tell myself I will drive back to Maine during the year but that never seems to happen, nor do I think it will this year. I will have to return to using Zipcars for my driving around town.

Driving down the lane to my cabin for the first time brought back all the wonderful memories of years gone by. I felt Mom with me in the car and in the cabin many times. I had a nice surprise; the tree in front of my front porch was trimmed back a bit, giving me a better view of the lake.

It rained a bit more than usual. When it was raining, I had to go inside and close the door. At night time I don’t mind that. During the day there is not much to do. I tried a couple of times on rainy afternoons to connect to the Dunkin’ Donuts internet in Waterville and I am sorry to say I didn’t have much success. I always got coffee and a doughnut. Not much changed in Waterville or Belgrade Lakes, but not much ever does.

I went early morning fishing just once and it was a truly magical experience. For a short time we were fog bound, then it lifted to be a gorgeous morning. The lake’s water level was higher than it has been in a number of years. That was good for people with pontoon boats like me. I’m already signed up for next year and am eagerly awaiting August 4th.

I had one disposable camera and I think that 25 out of the 27 shots will be good ones. On two occasions the camera was slipping out of my hand when I heard the click, so I will have a beautiful blurry shot of a boat seat and another of my foot. Better to do that then drop the camera and lose all my pictures.

When I came home Sunday afternoon, Keekee was beside herself. She meowed, jumped on me and nuzzled, wanted food and lots of loving. She is a happy kitty cat once again. I am sure her extra affectionate mood will calm down when she realizes that I will not be going anywhere else again soon.

How would I rate this trip? Family and friends: 10 out of 10; the weather: only 7 out of 10 [more rain than usual]; fishing: 8 out of 10 [usual for me, fantastic for others. Both Dave and his nephew Cole caught pickerel and pike.] Food; 10 out of 10 as usual. For an overall score of 8.75 out of 10.

There is a summary of this year’s Maine voyage. As much as I loved being there, it is good to be back so we can get to work. Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I was reminded about holodecks yesterday

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Right now I am sitting in Joe’s place with kitty cat Keekee nuzzling my arm and shedding like crazy. I am feeling a lot better and able to spend a bit more time with her today.

I was looking at the view statistics for the blog yesterday and noticed that someone found one of last year’s top ten lists, about what Joe would do in a Star Trek holodeck. A holodeck is a device that is programmed to replicate people, places, and objects so they appear to be solid and can be interacted with while in a special room. After all this time I had forgotten about Joe doing this post. If you want to read it yourself, here is the link. I read it over myself last night, and was impressed all over again by the idea of it and by Joe’s choices of things to experience. I want to do many of those things too; take a cruise, visit Bear Spring Camps, ride on a train. With enough skill at programing, anything is possible. I would also want to visit the past, see places how they used to be, like State College a hundred years ago. What did people wear, sound like, what were their houses like, what businesses were running then? I would want to walk in and look around, touch things, taste the foods, talk to the people. All while keeping safe and healthy in a controlled environment. It wouldn’t be real of course, and might cost as much or more as doing an activity in real life (like taking a cruise) depending on the prices for the technology, but it would be fun.

There are a number of video game companies trying to develop a virtual reality system, and from what I’ve read they have come a long way in the last few years to making something that feels like you are in the video game and interacting with a setting. The technology is still a long way though from walking into a room and hearing the wind blow through the trees you can see and smell, which might never be possible, but they are working on it.

One detail that always bothered me though is how the people using the holodeck went for a distance without hitting the room walls? I don’t remember the Star Trek writers ever addressing that issue, which I understand, but they had episodes where characters rode horses, walked the streets of a town, and traveled for long periods of time. I can understand the view on the walls shifting, but did they shift the floor too? This is an issue that the virtual reality game developers are having to address, with different approaches and solutions. One company is using a platform like a treadmill where the player walks and moves through the world of the game without roaming all over the room. That might work, but as an overweight person, I imagine it would not be available for all people and all sizes. It is interesting to watch the progress in that field though.

So, I would love to explore in a holodeck, though I probably never will. I enjoyed reading Joe’s entry about it again, though, and thinking about all the possibilities that a holodeck could offer. To be instantly in a far land, another place, or in a far time, experience  it, and then instantly be back where I started a few hours later, would be amazing.

What do you think? Where would you go? What would you do?

Until next week when Joe will have two more blog entries for you, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Long day

I’m sorry for the late blog entry today. I intended to write it at Joe’s this afternoon, but my day went another way. I had a tooth removed last week, and this week I have an infection on that side of my face. I had to see a doctor about it today, which took a while because it was an emergency appointment, and by the time I got out I needed to go home instead of work. I did stop by to feed Keekee and check up on her, but wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with her and to give her much petting like I wanted. I hope to do better the next few days.

I talked to Joe and he is having a good time. He said something about a get together tonight. I didn’t get any details, but I bet he is having a porch party. He loves those, and I remember him telling me that he likes to have at least one of them every year at camp. I hope he is having a great time with his yearly neighbors.

Joe also said that he was having trouble finding an internet connection there. I know the main house was supposed to have internet, but if that is true I don’t know why it isn’t working for Joe. He was using a nearby fast food restaurant for internet yesterday and wasn’t there for long. He might not see this post until he gets back, just like old times. If you are reading this entry this week Joe, Hi!

As Joe would write at closing, until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am typing this on Joe’s old computer

Joe took his new laptop to camp and left his old one behind. There is just enough life in it to do a few things, like the next few blog entries. The funny part here is that I have been so pleased since Darren and I got fast internet in our place to be able to do my blog posts from home when needed, and now I am excited about being able to do them during work hours at the office while Joe is away. I guess I’m happy either way. If I do them during work hours, you will get the posts earlier in the day, which is good.

Joe got a little bit of a late start this morning, but he is on the road now, on his way to one of his most favorite places on the planet. In two days he will be sitting on his cabin porch looking out at the lake. He will also be visiting with his buddy and brother Dave and the rest of his family, something he really enjoys doing. He made sure to pack his Yahtzee game and score pads.

Joe’s cat Keekee is hiding somewhere in the room. She hates it when Joe leaves, so she hates it when he bustles around packing luggage and bags. She has had a tough few days, and she will be a sad cat until Joe comes back. In a little bit I will feed her and I hope that helps her a little. She likes her soft food a lot. I’ll be in and out of Joe’s place while he is gone to feed and check on her, as I do every year. Poor sweet cat.

Joe just called and said that he made it to a truck stop for a bite to eat and then he will be on his way again. He said that if I was still writing the blog entry, which I am, to tell his readers that he loves the Hyundai Tucson that he rented. I am glad he has a car he is comfortable in; otherwise it is a long trip.

That’s it for today’s blog post. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

I am further ahead on packing at this point than I was last year

Greetings, readers. I am still here today, and to my surprise I have time to dictate a short blog entry. I am going down a list of activities to get ready to leave for camp. I have a lot of items checked off already, like laundry done, packing things like my GPS, and double checking on my rental car so there will be no surprises when I pick it up. I want so much to be organized and on top of details like my mom was, and Rebecca thinks I am doing a great job.

Last year, as I recall, I was frantically doing a load of laundry the morning I was to leave. To some people, that might sound perfectly fine, but I like to have the car packed and ready to go early in the morning. That way, I can grab a quick breakfast and get on my way whenever I am ready. Most people, when they travel, don’t have a specific departure time, but my mother always tried to leave at 10:00 in the morning. Through trial and error, she found out that it put us in Connecticut – our evening stop – late in the afternoon and just before she got overly tired. This is a timetable that works for me too.

The last couple of years when I drove to Maine, I found out that I have to take more frequent breaks, but I still hope to arrive in Southington, Connecticut before dark. That is my goal, because my nighttime driving vision is not what it once was.

I have to make certain that Keekee is well taken care of in between Rebecca’s almost daily visits. That means cleaning out the litter box, making sure her water bowl is full, stocking up the dry food in her gravity feeder, etc. I think Keekee already knows that daddy is going away. She is very clingy towards me today and keeps meowing at me as I dictate this entry.

On the way up I will be stopping at Portland and visited Hadlock Field and purchasing some Sea Dogs souvenirs. Right after this blog entry is over, Rebecca will have the pleasure of watching me plow through the clutter on Dead Red to find the last year’s purchased Sea Dogs hoodies. I don’t want to have to purchase them again.

Rebecca will be doing the next three entries and then I will be back. That will wrap this short entry up for today. Please wish me a safe journey and a happy vacation. As a lot of you know, I look forward to Bear Spring Camps every year.

Until soonest, take care, have a great two weeks, and happy reading.