Monthly Archives: October 2017

A welcome to new readers and it’s chore day for me

Greetings, readers. Before I begin today’s blog entry, both Rebecca and I highly suspect that we have some new readers on board. A hardy welcome goes out to each and every one of you. The last few weeks we have seen a lot of ones next to a variety of entry titles, suggesting that people are exploring the site, which adds up to a lot of views in a day. In almost six full years we are finally seeing our daily view numbers go from the twenty range to the thirty to fifty view range. These are the numbers I’ve been dreaming about. I realize that some of my views might be bots, especially one day last week when one entry got a large spike out of nowhere, but to me a view is a view. We love our numbers. Rebecca and I check them every work day.

With this being my second of two days off from the fast food job, it is do-everything-I-need-to-do-at-home day. Such tasks include laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and probably some more paper shredding. I don’t want to wear myself out too much, before going back to the job tomorrow.

Switching topics, Rebecca showed me the title page that she has done in the CreateSpace formatted blank for Four’s a Crowd. I must say it looks great. I think this novel is going to be a hit. I can remember working on the play it is based on for years and years, on and off. I’ve often tried to pin down the date of which I began the project or even the year, but it is difficult. I’m going to say that the play Kimberly was at least six years in the making through its four complete drafts. Then after that, Darren took almost four years adapting it into a novel. I am most proud of not only my work, but his work too, and Rebecca’s. This project is truly a team effort.

As my readers from yesterday may remember, we had an R.I.P. to Robert Guillaume, but I also learned that Fats Domino also passed away, yesterday or the day before. I’ve been told by many people that famous folks seem to pass away in threes. It is odd how that usually comes to pass. We’ll see in another day or so if another famous singer or actor dies.

This Saturday the Penn State Nittany Lions will play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio State in what I expect they are calling the revenge game. Ohio was number two last year when we beat them here at home; now we are the second ranked team in the nation and Ohio State would love nothing more than to ruin our dream of a national championship. This is the only game I am truly worried about. It is funny that Penn State plays better when I don’t watch them, so I think I will let the bar crowds let me know who is winning. The fact that I live downtown, makes that easy; if I hear loud cheers, whoops, and screams, I know that Penn State just did something good. If it is eerily quiet, I can deduce that we are probably losing by three touchdowns.

On that day, Saturday, my work shift ends at 3:00 and I will probably be home around 4:00. With a 3:30 kick off, I should be able to enjoy most of the game, but as soon as I see Ohio State winning, off it goes. LOL.

As far as I know, next week will be a normal work week for Rebecca and me. It will all depend on if they need me to come in to work on Thursday. So until next week, I bid all of you a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. I’m going to do a little research for Wednesday’s blog topic about a YouTube video I was told about. I don’t want to give my opinion on it until we have both seen it and know exactly what it was all about; but it better not be what I think it is … [Update: 10/26/17 After doing some research today, I found out that the incident in question happened in 2009. Since it is so old, I decided that I will chose another topic next Wednesday.]

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I survived six days in a row at my job

Greetings, readers. I am enjoying my first day off in a week from my fast-food restaurant job. I usually only work four days a week but we are short-staffed and the extra pay will come in handy. I can’t wait to go on-line Saturday morning when my next paycheck comes in automatically with direct deposit and see the total. I got a raise this past pay period, so I should be seeing a much bigger number on the screen. Exciting.

I thought I would be drop-dead exhausted by yesterday, but I seemed to have hit a groove. Sunday had an onslaught of steady customers from 10:15 am to 2:00 pm. Nobody got a break. The consumers consisted of the Penn State football crowd getting breakfast before leaving town and Sunday church goers having their quick meal before or after services. I thought that by 1:00 pm most people would be home watching pro football. Nooo. I was grossly mistaken.

Monday and Tuesday’s shifts were “easy” by comparison. I’ve been at my work place now since May and I know the register pretty well. I don’t need to ask for help nearly as much. Oh, I’ll make a mistake once in a while, and have to call for one of my managers, but they are more than willing to come and help.

On to another topic, my friend Traci is letting me purchase her paper shredder, something our office desperately needs for all the documents I receive. This morning I was hard at work shredding old papers with my name and address on them. I had to be very careful not to put any staples through it. So far it works great. It might just be the best $20 I have spent in a long time.

I am fighting myself today, my readers, to not erupt in flames verbally about President Donald Trump. I constantly have to bite my tongue and sensor myself on this blog. If I said half the things I truly feel, I would probably be put on some internet watch, so I will leave it there.

Rebecca and I are working together both today and tomorrow, so we will have a regular work week again. She gave me a report on her progress this last week on getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publishing in a few months. Regular readers know that her husband Darren adapted my play Kimberly into a novel. She downloaded a formatted templet from CreateSpace.com, filled in information such as the ISBN numbers we got from CreateSpace, the title and author sections, expanded the number of formatted chapter slots, and then cut and pasted each chapter from Darren’s files to the formatted file in the appropriate chapter slots. She said she still needs to do a few final touches, then we can upload the file and order proof copies. We will do a last edit from the proofs, make corrections, then approve it to go live and start selling books. We are all excited to get this project going forward again.

Lastly, an R.I.P. to one of my favorite actors of the 1980s, Robert Guillaume. His work includes the TV shows Soap and the extremely popular spin-off Benson. I watched every episode of Benson and quite a number of episodes of Soap. You did a wonderful job, Robert.

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

From Rebecca: Re-post about school friends and Facebook

As I wrote yesterday, I am re-posting an entry from Joe’s third year of blogging. I had a lot to choose from, including a few From Rebecca entries that I liked. Going through the year, I saw that early 2014 was really cold with a lot of snow, that Joe discovered Train Simulator on Steam, and wrote a lot about sports and his childhood.

I picked this entry to re-post because I think most of us can relate to time passing so fast since high school, and using Facebook to keep us in touch with people we met way back then. And in touch with people we met since then, too.

Joe will be back with an entry next Wednesday. Until then, enjoy this blast from the past.

Catching up with school friends

October 10, 2014

Greetings, readers. Although I will never consider myself old, I had a strange incident happen yesterday. I was communicating on Facebook with a friend of mine who I always visualize as that teen-age kid I went to school with. When she was telling me about her poor health, I remembered, oh, yes, she is almost 50 years old, just like I am. We aren’t those young kids anymore.

My knees creak, my neck hurts, and sometimes I can’t get to sleep for love nor money. And as far as running, heck some days I can barely jog across the street. Yes, even though I consider myself young at heart, I am a middle-aged person. I must remember this.

Facebook gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with many of my friends from school. It’s so strange that I always think of them, no matter who they are, as the kids I used to know. I think that is because we don’t go out and party together, I don’t go to the school reunions, we just don’t hang out. So those visions from the past are all I have.  I wouldn’t trade the memories of those early years for all the world.

It’s funny. When I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t think I had many friends. Now I can go through the yearbook, looking at all the pictures, and I smile knowing that I had many more friends than I thought. Up to this point I really have had a good life.

This brings me to an idea. Maybe sometime this spring or early summer, after the snow melts, I am going to see if a group of my school friends would like to meet somewhere and hang out for an afternoon or evening. Perhaps we can book a hall or a hotel’s dining room. That would be cool. As a lot of you know, I dwell in the past. I think it would be a good thing for me to see my friends, swap stories, and get re-acquainted.

Switching gears, over the last few days, I’ve had some time to think about my recent obsession with simulation games and “playing” in general. My mom, the psychologist, probably would have told me that I am trying to go back to my childhood where life was perfect, my problems were taken care of for me, my friend David was there to play with, and TV shows and sports were there to be enjoyed. That’s my opinion. This Monday, I will see what my therapist will say.

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

P.S. I am very happy to see the recent upsurge in the viewing of my performance pictures and my book page.

From Rebecca: Joe has a head cold but is feeling better today

As I said in the title, Joe has a head cold this week, which he hopes is gone by his restaurant shift tomorrow morning. He called me yesterday to discuss our arrangements today and his voice sounded rough, but it was much better when I met up with him today to take care of a few work items. He was still stuffed up, but his voice was smoother. We had our meeting, and then he said he will rest today to get ready for tomorrow.

I have noticed that the last month or so Joe has been stressed and tired when I’ve seen him, so maybe it isn’t surprising his body sat him down to rest for a short time. It is a good reminder that in our busy lives we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. We need to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise, take time to relax in a peaceful space, and be patient with ourselves when we make mistakes.

Easier said than done, of course. I certainly could do better. It would help me to eat more vegetables and fruit. I need to start stretching exercises and I keep putting it off. I tend to push my bedtime to get just seven hours of sleep, give or take twenty minutes, even though I do better with eight. I do get some peaceful time to relax and that is nice. I read a lot and that is good.

We seem to live in fast-moving, chaotic, stressful times now. It is difficult to take in the world’s non-stop disasters, crisis points, threats, injustices, and needs, and still function in our own lives. All the more reason to balance all that out with some self-care. I hope you, readers, are able to stay healthy and sane in a world that seems to be more insane with every day. Both Joe and I appreciate you reading his blog, and we want you to be okay. May you find a peaceful place today to rest, relax, and renew. I hope that Joe gets well overnight, and feels renewed, too.

I will be putting up the blog post tomorrow; I intend to do a re-post of one of Joe’s past entries. I plan to choose one from his third year. The re-posts seem to work, and it is a good way to get a second chance to be seen for a good post that didn’t get a lot of views the first time. If you read this on Joe’s site, you will see at the bottom that WordPress has three selected posts that it suggests as related choices; this is another good way to see some older posts. I like this feature a lot. Until tomorrow, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Thinking about my writing career after my baseball game crashed

Greetings, readers. I awakened this morning at 4:00 as usual to do my morning routine, which consists of making coffee, checking my Facebook account, and updating the day’s goings on with the Steam video game Out of the Park Baseball 18, where I have created my version of the World Baseball League. Well, yesterday as work hours with Rebecca were ending, the computer threw a whole boatload of updates at me and this morning my game file was gone.

I want it made clear right now, I do understand that this baseball league was a game and completely fictitious, but I am still feeling a weird sense of loss because my month and a half of game playing is gone. I came up with my own teams, uniforms, and logos for the caps, and even a few names for some players. I was perfecting my league. I was the league’s commissioner. And now all those hours perfecting the league are gone. I am completely in a funk. Am I going to call my therapist? No. I think I can drag myself out of this on my own.

The one thing this incident does prove is that my creativity and imagination for being a writer must still be there. That is good news because my dream of being a writer has not completely died. Although Bear Spring Camps book 3 is looking less and less likely, either a new book of blog entries or a book of my own short stories might be a plausible option. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be a writer so bad. I could dream up anything at anytime. Then the seizures hit and as I get older it is becoming increasingly more difficult to create.

Now to update on my feet. As I mentioned before in the blog, I slipped and fell a few weeks ago and am okay except for my feet which I stand on for 5 hours every work shift. Just when I think everything is healing, I come home from work and it feels like there is an elephant sitting on them. This is almost enough to make me want to quit my job. There is only one problem; I like the income too much. It is solving a great number of problems.

Lastly, here is my plan for the rest of the day. I have an appointment this afternoon at 3:00 and dinner with a friend this evening at 7:00. Squished in between that and after dinner, I am going to try to recreate the World Baseball League on the game. Once I delete the whole file, there will be no going back. But it is most doubtful that I can get the old file to run correctly. There went a month and a half. 😦 (Quick question: Does anybody know what a SQUILE file is? That is what the computer says it is missing to run the World Baseball League’s file.) I have to get to sleep no later than 11:00 if I am going to function at all at work tomorrow morning. I do not see myself getting up at 4:00am. I am a tad worried because my body does not do well when I change my daily routine. If I take my pills at a later time, sometimes they don’t work as effectively.

Well, what do you know, a two-day work week, and a happy anniversary to Rebecca on our 7 years of working together. We’ve done short stories, essays, three books, one editing of a play, and now we are working on the novel that Darren adapted from that play. As far as I know, next week will be a two-day work week also. I will need to check my schedule at my fast food job.

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

Rebecca and I have been working together for 7 years tomorrow

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe it has been seven years already since Rebecca agreed to be my typist and editor. That job quickly morphed into personal assistant, but that is okay. The main job is writing. After almost seven years together, we have put out over 600 blog entries, three books, and part of a book (written by Rebecca’s husband Darren) based on a play I wrote before we started working together. Oh, and by the way, that book is coming soon.

Yes, we’re very excited about Four’s a Crowd. Although we still have one or two edits to go, I’ve read the project and it is awesome. You’ll love it. Very soon Rebecca is going to begin putting it into the CreateSpace formatted templet, cutting and pasting each chapter in place, and we need to write a book description, before uploading the file to the publisher. Then it will be time to order proofs and we are going to do our final edit right on the pages. Proofs are never for sale, so what the heck, let’s mark them up.

When the book comes out, I’m going to go to Webster’s bookstore across the street and ask the owner, a personal friend of mine, if she would take several copies on consignment and push them. The worst thing she could say is no. I already have a few people from Facebook who I will go out on a limb and say will be guaranteed buyers. I have one phrase for you folks: Spread the word … please.

I’m extremely excited about this project, and Darren, who had lost all hope when things were moving slowly, has renewed enthusiasm as well. I’m not going to set an exact release date, but let’s just put it in the ballpark of January or February of 2018. I think we can do it. Updates as they happen.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to those families affected by the California wild fires, and by Hurricane Nate. I don’t know how long those fires will burn, but from what I saw on TV, they have already ruined several wine vineyards. Expect the price of wine from California to skyrocket. Also, an R.I.P and condolences to Tom Petty, a great singer, and his grieving family and friends.

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

Re-post of an entry about my Cerebral Palsy

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I have a shift at my job today and left the blog to Rebecca. She said she would either write a new post or re-post a little-read-but-worthy one just like she did last week, and it turns out she chose to re-post. She picked one from the end of my second full year of blogging, where I wrote about my Cerebral Palsy and how it worked in my life. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week.

CP and me

November 15, 2013

Greetings, readers. This is my one and perhaps only blog entry dealing completely with my affliction from cerebral palsy. I have been looking at blogs and websites about CP for a project, and have connected with a couple of people in the same boat, and I now have my own case on my mind. I have mentioned my CP in this blog here and there, but I have not done a post about it and how it effected my life.

I have had it since birth and will die with it. However, thanks to my well-meaning but over-protective parents, I didn’t know I had it until around the age of 16. Up until that point, I was simply told that I had a weak left side and the whole topic of being different from other people really didn’t come up at the dinner table.

Let’s start from childhood. Vivid memories of Tuesday evening swimming lessons at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania YMCA conjure up images of cold swimming pools and a little boy trying not to drown. I remember thinking to myself that I should be able to do what all the other kids were doing – swimming. I could just barely tread water. I knew it was time to quit when my favorite part of the evening was when it was time to leave, and I could put my quarter into the vending machine and get my plastic NFL helmet for my collection.

Around the age of 10 or so, I suffered what I still call to this day my klutz year. I was a normal active boy enjoying Nerf football and Whiffle ball, but in the span of twenty-one weeks I suffered three broken fingers, one smashed elbow, and a broken wrist … all on the same arm. The arm that I tended to fall to – the left. I was cast-free for one week before I smashed my elbow, then for one day before I clobbered my wrist. Not deterred from wishing to feel normal, I continued to play outdoor sports.

In my 20s, I remember playing racquet ball, with my friend from high school, which can be a brutal sport. We created our own game and called it Tenaquet. We served overhand and we gave each other two ball bounces rather than one. That aided my bad balance and Jim’s bad knee. What fun we had. When my knees and my back started to go haywire, I had to officially ‘retire’ from sports.

Around this time, it was becoming painfully obvious that attending Penn State University day classes was not for me. I was having a very hard time with taking notes and I was a horrible test taker. Later I figured out why. Even though I can read, my retention isn’t quite up to par. I had to withdraw and never did finish. I think Mom understood, but was in denial that her son couldn’t finish college. Just a couple of years ago, I found out from my Godmother that Mom had the measles when she was pregnant with me. This could explain why my brain didn’t develop correctly. Perhaps in some strange way she felt responsible. Which of course was ridiculous. Things happen.

As I briefly mentioned in other blog posts, things like my balance and fine motor skills are effected; not to mention the fact that I have seizures. But every day I do the best that I can do. I can just give people 100% of all I’ve got on any particular day.

On the positive side of my mild CP: I can walk, I can jog, I can drive a car. I can write. And I can give a fairly proficient air guitar show. Also, with the help of Flight Simulator X, I can even be, in a way, what I always wanted to be growing up as a kid, which was an airline pilot.

Overall I would have to say that my life has been good and I have learned to live with my mild disability as best I can. Having the knowledge as a child that I have CP may or may not have made a difference. Who knows, I might have been worse off. Unless someone invents a reliable time machine, I will never know.

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

The 52 year old kid

Greetings, readers. I’ve often told myself and other people that I’m young at heart and I feel like a big kid. I really have not taken life seriously, upon reflection. At age 15, I should have gotten the job that I have now, which is a cashier at a local fast food restaurant. That is the time I should have learned the importance of saving money and having my own. Still my favorite recreation is playing video games or watching them on YouTube. I don’t sit down and write for hours and my hands have not had 35 years of hard labor. What does this say about me?

I’m about to open up a little bit and share. My mom, God rest her soul, loved me and yes, overprotected me. I was basically taught that everything would be okay and that I would be provided for, I think because of my disability. To young parents: This is a mistake. While I had a happy childhood, and young adulthood, I’m still trying to straighten out the curves thrown at me later in life.

At this point of my life, I had envisioned myself writing several books, a couple of plays, and maybe even a pilot for a TV series. Well, only a fraction of those things actually came to pass. I guess I’m alright with that. But at age 52, with a brain that’s been slightly damaged by seizures and dulled by medication I don’t know how much creative writing I have in me for future projects.

When I sit down to play my games, I can lose myself in my own little world and forget all my worries, such as my handicaps, and my monetary situation. Then the phone will ring, or I’ll have to put laundry in the dryer, or go buy that jug of milk, and back to the real world I come. I can do it. Sometimes I just don’t like to.

Is this escapism? Or just a single guy wanting to have a hobby? There’s a question for you. If I were to ask my therapist, she would probably say it is a little bit of both. Am I going to change my ways and become Mr. Ultra Serious Man? Hell, no. I don’t want frown lines on my forehead. The Lord made me the way He wanted me to be, and that is good enough.

I again have a work shift tomorrow, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog from home, either a fresh one from her, or another re-post of a previous blog from me – most likely from my third year of blogging.

Now we have some good news to share with you. I have decided, with Rebecca and Darren’s go ahead, to begin final editing work on our novel, Four’s a Crowd. As my older readers may remember, it is based on my play Kimberly from several years back, which Darren adapted into a novel with my imput. I think Darren was excited when we had our conference call this morning. It was bugging me no end that my work from days gone by and his recent very hard work had stalled in the mud. I see this on CreateSpace for sale by February 2018 … earlier if we get our butts in gear. 🙂

Before we close, prayers go out to the families and survivors effected in the senseless shooting in Las Vegas. There are people like that in the world who do monstrously terrible acts. As I understand it, he committed suicide. What a coward. He didn’t have the courage to serve his jail time and pay for his crimes. Now he will have to deal with a Higher Power and face his final judgement there.

Well, that is the news from today. Until next time, have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.