Monthly Archives: August 2018

I’ve been keeping to a Bear Spring Camps schedule

Greetings, readers. As I tend to do every late August, I desire to still be at Bear Spring Camps, my favorite place in the whole world. Although we got no relief from the heat this year, seeing all my family and friends made the temperature a moot point. Camp is centered around the three meals served in the dining room at specific times. When I come home, I like to keep that routine going as long as I can.

I’ll have my morning coffee and muffin either at home or at Panera at 7:30. During the lunch meal I am usually busy but if I can I’ll grab a quick something at 12:30. Camp’s evening meal has always been at 6:00 and at the very least I’ll grab a cup of coffee or a soda at that time. That might sound silly to some of you, but I love to reminisce about the wonderful times I have at camp and the wonderful food they serve.

Last year I got up at 3:45 in the morning … every morning. This year so far I have been averaging 5:00 or 6:00. Why the change you might ask? The truthful answer is I don’t know. Before, I would go to bed very early, get up early and play video games or write, until Rebecca would come at 9:30. Now I am a little bit more squeezed for time, but it is not bad.

I am getting into one very bad habit that I used to have, which is watching re-runs on TV in the evening. Last night, before I knew it, it was ten minutes until 11:00. I quickly stopped the episode of The X-Files I was watching (that show can be addicting) and hurried off to sleep. No 3:35am for me this morning. By wintertime I will have thrown away all the desires to keep a camp schedule and do what my Aunt Marilyn does; she eats her meals when she is hungry, and she told me that could be any time of day. One time I visited her in California and she mentioned that I was too tied down to a clock.

This morning I am feeling sorry for myself as I dictate this blog and here’s the reason why: If I was to put all my energy that I use in creating these fantasy worlds that I sometimes use to escape my real life and put them towards creative writing, imagine the stories I could come up with. I have a writing project idea for a man and woman to be the main characters set in a camp-like atmosphere, but every time I try to start it, I hit a brick wall with concrete behind it. It is extremely frustrating.

Sometimes my brain works overtime when I am trying to get to sleep at night. Perhaps I should invest in a digital recorder. I would have it by my bed and if my creative brain starts working overtime, I would begin dictating notes, character names, etc. I wonder if anyone knows how much a good digital recorder costs? Hint, hint.

There’s today’s blog. I know I rambled a little bit but I tend to do that from time to time. Next Wednesday I plan on dictating the blog via the soon-to-be-out-of-date voice recognition program, and Thursday is still up in the air. I think we will be here in the office but I’m not certain. Until then, have a wonderful weekend, please stay cool if you are in the heat wave, take care and happy reading.

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This heat wave is enough to make me hate hot weather, and that is saying something

Greetings, readers. A very happy, hot Wednesday to you from here in Central Pennsylvania. We are in the grips of a late summer heat wave with temperatures approaching 90 degrees with very high humidity. My air conditioner up on this top floor doesn’t like it. I’m not expecting it to be an icebox in here, but according to my little thermometer, it is 81 degrees F in our office. I have even tried using my fan to blow the cold air. It works a little bit, but not much.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a hot weather person. I’m starting to change my mind. Do I want sub-zero and ten inches of snow and ice? No. But 70s during the day and upper 40s at night would be lovely right now.

Knowing me, I’ll be bitching come winter, wanting the heat of summer time back. It is human nature to want what we don’t have. I’ve noticed that in other people and especially in me. This weather pattern is an excellent example of this.

This heat wave, I think, has affected the health of my good friend and payee. Today was what we call pay everything day, which happens on the last Wednesday of every month. Today, he stopped by briefly, handed me the checks, and was on his way to the ER. I wish him well. I would not be surprised if this heat wave has something to do with him feeling poorly. When I see him next week, I will ask him how is feeling.

While Rebecca and I swelter here in the heat of the office, today is the day I have to make my decision of which entertainment service I am dropping. I picked up Hulu and Sirius XM music on their free month trials at the beginning of August, but quickly came to the conclusion that I cannot afford Spotify, Netflix, Sirius XM, and Hulu. One has to go, at least temporarily. It was a difficult choice, but I’ve decided to drop Hulu. Hopefully at some point when I have more money saved up I can pick it up again. It is well worth it.

Lastly, Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow, albeit an abbreviated day, for I have an appointment later in the morning. I must apologize for not clicking that Facebook button under last week’s post for a few days. I’m still getting used to that. The beauty of having Rebecca here is that we can publish and click the button at the same time. No fuss, no muss, no forgetting.

So until tomorrow, take care, stay cool in the heat, have a good day, and happy reading.

Update and goings-on with my speech recognition program

Greetings, readers. This is my second attempt to dictate a blog entry using my soon to be out of date speech recognition program, Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 13. According to the email I received the other day, I can pay $100 for an updated version to keep on using the product I’ve already purchased. That’s crazy!

I suppose that the money will go to continued support, upgrades and patches, especially after a Microsoft update. I am seriously considering paying the hundred dollars. What must’ve happened is I purchased the speech recognition program towards the end of its run. Perhaps a new product has come out. Either way, it’s either shop around, cough up the money, or use it the way it is until it stops working.

Things like this just happen to me all the time. I finally find something that works for me, and poof, it either stops working, or it’s almost immediately outdated. It’s funny, because as I’m using it now, it’s only made one mistake. Just as it’s learning my voice and mannerisms, the product version is becoming obsolete. Grr.

Again, this blog entry will be ready to go tomorrow morning around 11 AM. Rebecca and I will either edit it as soon as I’m finished, or she will at home later. It will be scheduled to automatically publish Thursday morning. Then tomorrow morning after I read it, I have to click the Facebook button. Yes, WordPress.com did change a few things, and the new entry does not automatically link to my Facebook page. For now, it still does to Twitter. I have a feeling though, that at some point, Rebecca or I will have to manually click all the links every single day.

Finally, I have to begin to figure out what’s going to happen with my monetary situation for this coming year. I was hoping to continue to sell books, and not return to my fast food job. Those plans might’ve already been thrown out the window. There are many places hiring around town, which is where I want to work. I’d love to find something within walking distance from my apartment. I shall probably have to find said job within a month. We shall see, and time will tell.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

I hate it when game cheat code websites mess up my computer

Greetings, readers. For the last couple of days I’ve been playing My Summer Car, that very fascinating independent game from Finland. Well, in eight attempts to get from day one to day two, I was 0 for 8; very frustrating. I figured there has to be an easier way to do this. That’s where YouTube came in.

There were many videos on how to get money for nothing, and other cheats. I watched one video that seemed encouraging and easy to do, and downloaded the website which was needed. It was tougher than it looked so I closed out the website, only to find out that it had installed a search engine bar on the top of my computer. Oh joy, oh bliss. Luckily after going to the settings and control panel, I was able to uninstall the website and the search bar. Why can’t my life be easy?

You may ask, why do you want to cheat? I shall explain. My first attempt while trying to hurry to the store so my character won’t starve to death, I lost control of the vehicle, slammed into a tree and died. On the second attempt I tried to use the boat to get to the store. After 50 pulls on the cord, with the engine not starting, I was so upset I got back on the moped and drove it full speed into the lake. I think the creator of this game has a warped sense of humor. It is so difficult to truly get the game started.

I am giving into the temptation and I’m going to try to find cheat codes. I ran out of time this morning, so I think this evening will be spent watching videos to attempt to find safe websites that don’t put malware or viruses on my computer. Good luck. Cheat code websites are known to do this.

While I am on the topic of video games, my laptop was almost thrown out of my eighth floor window yesterday. While playing American Truck Simulator I tried four times to drive to a certain point, complete the trip, and park. Only at the very end of the run to have the air brakes fail on me. For all you truckers out there, you know what that means. The truck won’t move. If and when I get a steering wheel and pedals, that will help that game immensely. American Truck Simulator and its European counterpart Euro Truck Simulator 2 are much more enjoyable and easier when you don’t have to steer with the arrow buttons. I am keeping my eye out for a wheel and pedals in my price range.

We are taking another day off tomorrow, so just like last week, later this morning I will dictate to Rebecca a second blog entry. We’ll set it up to go live at 11:00 in the morning. It worked very well last week. So until tomorrow morning, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Princess Josie was very happy to see Daddy

Greetings, readers. When I arrived home this past Sunday afternoon, I could hear her royal highness, Princess Josie, meowing even before I got to my door. Somehow she knew Daddy was home. When I got all my stuff inside and sat down on my recliner, I was greeted most affectionately. It is wonderful how pets give unconditional love. I missed her terribly and was just as glad to see her.

First thing I did was give her moist food, a few treats, and later, a nice long ball toss session up and down the hallway. She loves to chase her little rubber ball and try to stop it like a hockey goalie.

After that, I put my stuff away and began laundry detail. Josie did not want to leave my side, so I allowed her to come out into the hallway with me and walk down to the laundry room. She was sniffing my shoes quite heavily, probably because she smelled the camp cat, who came up to my cabin door a few times and hung out with me while I was at Bear Spring Camps. As a matter of fact, Kimba woke me up one morning at 4:00 am with a loud chorus of meows at my front door. Normally I wouldn’t have minded or even heard her, but it was so hot up there this year that I slept with camp windows and the inside wooden door open, locking just the screen door. Oh, yes, I heard every insect, loon, wave, and happy group of people at every campfire. But I would much rather have that than try to sleep in a sweltering hot cabin without any air flow at all.

On the topic of camp, the Canada Geese family has grown to over thirty. They are beautiful birds, but all they do is eat, poop and breed. Next year I expect to see at least forty of them up there. Something has to be done. I am not trying to be cruel, but Dave the bird expert says that they will come back to the same spot to lay their eggs, so unless they are deterred, the gaggle will certainly have an increase in population. And then the lake front attendants will have more waste to pick up off the grass.

Back to Josie, this blog entry’s original topic, she did not do what Keekee used to do, which was ignore me for a day when I got home. She would actually be glad to see me for 10 or 15 minutes then show her displeasure of being abandoned by Daddy by giving me the cold shoulder. I fully expected to have this happen with Josie, and I am extremely happy that it didn’t. BTW, many thanks to Rebecca for stopping in, checking on her, and keeping her company. Thumbs up.

Well, there’s today’s blog entry. We’ll be back on Wednesday with another exciting topic to blog about. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

What a great trip I had and boy was it hot

Greetings, readers. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I go to Maine to cool off from the midsummer’s scorching heat. This year the average daytime temperature was in the upper 80s with one sunny day reaching 92. Yes, readers, I went into the lake for the first time in four years.

The rented pontoon boat, which the Trosts and I shared the cost of, was moored down at David’s dock this year because of my Goddaughter Ashley’s advanced pregnancy. The boat ran well … once we got it started. Getting the engine to turn over was another matter. Both David and I agreed it either had a clogged fuel filter or the fuel pump was starting to go bad. I made mention of this to Spencer, the owners’ son, who is now running the camp for his Mom and Dad. Spencer is the fourth generation of the Mosher family, on his mother’s side, to run the camp.

Our server in the dining room this year was a delightful young lady by the name of Eleonora, and as you can guess by her name, she is Italian. One of the family members, Joan, spoke Italian, and she and Eleonora, I’m sure, had delightful conversations. I overheard one of them, but of course I was unable to understand what they were saying. I hope Eleonora returns next year. I would very much like for her to be our server again.

Last year’s big upgrade to the dining room was new chairs. This year’s improvement was track lighting instead of the big flourescent bulbs. Once you got used to it, it was very nice. The only problem is from the front porch it was hard to tell when they flicked on the lights. In years past, there was no doubt, the entire dining room became bright, and it was time to eat.

The Thursday highlight was lobster night with live entertainment. This year, a man played an acoustic guitar while a woman (not certain if it was his wife or not) had a tambourine. They were quite good, but if the truth be told, both Dave and I agreed that they weren’t quite as good as the performer that Peg hired the previous two years; Dave suggested to me that he was probably all booked. One of the stand-by songs, which the campers requested and sang along with, was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” That song has special meaning to me, for I performed it during one of my shows at Addison Court.

What will next year hold? Well, I did very well with my spending, so I already have enough money for next year’s camp. I’m going to get a part-time job around town, to get a little extra pocket change which will help. Mostly though, I am going to concentrate, at least through Christmas, on two writing projects. A story about a young man and his girlfriend in a Bear Spring Camps type setting, and also I am going to try to develop and write the pilot for my own original sit-com or drama. Wish me luck.

Okay, there’s the news from this year’s camp adventure. As I say almost every year, it is great to go on vacation, but once it is over, it is good to come home. I am taking a personal day off tomorrow, and Rebecca will take one next Thursday. But fear not, a new blog will be posted both days.

So until next time around, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I made a change to the blog page

Hi, Joe’s readers. When we look at the number of views for the blog, Joe and I notice that each post day a lot of his views come from Facebook. The statistics page breaks down the number of views from Twitter, Facebook, and the WordPress reader. So I was a bit bummed to see a notice from WordPress that they will no longer automatically send each blog entry to post on Joe’s Facebook profile page. We both like sharing with our friends and family on Facebook, and also it cuts down on the number of views. Double bummer.

I was looking at the blog site settings to see if there was a toggle to switch back on (there isn’t) when I noticed a feature I had forgotten about. Under each individual entry is a section of sharing buttons, and Facebook is one of them. From now on, we will just use that button to share on Facebook. While I was in settings, I also saw a place to click so that these share buttons show up on the home page, under each entry. Cool! I called Joe to ask if he minded if I make this change, and he gave the okay. So I added some buttons for other places to share, and clicked the box to have the buttons on the front page, too. Please let us know how you like it, or if you don’t.

While I had Joe on the phone, he said it was hot in Maine this year and that he was having fun. He had me put the phone on speaker so he could say a few words to Princess Josie. When she heard his voice, she tilted her head and sniffed the phone. So cute.

Well, next week Joe will back here and blogging. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I AM writing this blog entry from Joe’s old laptop

Hello, Joe’s readers. Joe’s old laptop is slower than I am used to writing on anymore, but it seems to be working just fine now that the security update is finished. It started last Thursday, and finished today when I turned the computer on again. I didn’t use the laptop in between because I wasn’t writing a blog entry until today.

Joe is having a good time in Maine and even did some swimming in the lake as it is hotter than usual up there this year. I have talked to him a couple of times while he has been gone.

Princess Josie, his cat, has been a handful today. I have been checking up on her since last Thursday, but haven’t stayed very long on those visits. Today and tomorrow I have hours to spend with her, and she is using that time. She is demanding many head rubs and a lot of attention. It made it difficult for me to do some of the file sorting I am doing with the extra hours without Joe here. I have half a trash bag of paper and envelopes to throw out and a huge envelope of paper to be shredded. Quite an achievement with Josie needing attention in the middle of the sorting.

Those of you who are regular readers know that in the past I have taken care of Joe’s late cat Keekee on this long vacation week. I will say this about Josie, she doesn’t shed as much as Keekee did. Keekee was a lot calmer and less exasperating, but I would take handfuls of fur off when petting her. (I really miss Keekee right now.) Josie is a one-year-old ball of energy who keeps jumping on the table and trying to get into my papers. She is sweet though, when she is playing hockey with a bottle lid or when she takes a rest. I’m glad I have the chance to know her.

On another topic, it stopped raining around here for a couple of days, but we got hot muggy weather instead. I felt like I was going to melt by the time I got to work today. It is forecast to rain today and tonight. I don’t know if the humidity will get better or not. On the plus side, humid and hot is normal for August in Pennsylvania. When was the last time we had a normal weather month? Maybe I should be celebrating as I slog through the seasonal heavy air.

I will have another blog entry tomorrow. Until then, as Joe writes, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am not writing this entry on Joe’s old laptop

Hi, Joe’s readers. Before he left on vacation, Joe dug out his old laptop for me to use while he was gone, since he took his current laptop with him. It needs to be kept plugged in when in use and is a bit slower, but the last time we used the old thing it still connected to most of the sites we want with no problem. This morning we plugged it in, made sure the tricky power pack stayed connected with the green light lit, and powered the laptop up. No problem. I looked forward to writing the blog post at Joe’s, maybe with the title, From Rebecca: I am doing this entry on Joe’s old computer.

Then a Microsoft box popped up that read it needed to update the security, don’t unplug or turn off the computer, it might take almost an hour, you can still use the computer while it downloaded and installed the updates. Well, that sounded like a great idea to me, it had been a while since we used it, and I would feel better using something with up-dated security files. I had stuff to do in the meantime.

Joe took off after giving me instructions for the care of kitty cat Princess Josie. I settled in to go through a bunch of paperwork, old invoices, medical files, old bills, other mail, etc. from the last few years and sort out what needed to be shredded, thrown away, or kept. I did that for a productive couple of hours while the Microsoft program kept downloading and updating, slowly going from 0 % to 100% over and over. It did not let me do anything else while this was running. Two and a half hours later, the process finally ended, only to put up another message that it would have to re-start the computer to finish the up-date, it would only take another couple of hours. I didn’t have that long, so I shut the computer down. I will have to try it again another day, maybe next Wednesday when another blog entry is due.

Other than that, and the persistent rain we still have this week, it has been a very good day. Princess Josie, also known as P.J. or just Josie, was okay being alone in my presence for the day. I expect by this time next week she will be missing Joe a lot, but hopefully I can help her past some of the loneliness. She is a beautiful cat, energetic and curious. She gets into so many things we don’t expect her to, like my folders and papers when I am there.

That is it for today. I’ll be back with another blog post next Wednesday and Thursday. As Joe would say, take care, have a great week, and happy reading.

T minus one day to vacation and oh, my God, am I not ready

Greetings, readers. I am so not my mother. My mom would have had everything ready to go and sitting by the front door of the house days ago. Me, I’m still doing laundry less than a day before pull out time. Do I have my lists? Yes. And I know where everything is. I just need to gather it, pack it and put it off to one side. Ready for the bad news, readers? It looks as though I will be traveling both days in the rain. Not fun. Oh, sure, I’m going on vacation, heading to Maine, my favorite place, but traveling in good weather is always nicer and safer.

The Hertz rental car I’m going to get is a ‘Chrysler 200 or similar’. I’m praying for the Chrysler 200. I’ve driven one before and loved it. I will have my handy-dandy GPS unit with me to help the way. I also want to have the Hertz agent, if the car is equipped with it, set up my cell phone so I can make calls hands-free.

As I look around the room at all the things I’m going to take, I’m calm and content that I know where everything is. I won’t be rummaging through closets looking for a piece of equipment, such as a radio or a box of CDs.

At this moment, here comes kitty cat Josie. I am reminded about just how much I will miss her and how she will miss me. In just the first three months or so, we really have developed our daily routines. I left her for a long weekend once when I went to see my friend Dave and family, but how she will react to me being gone for more than a week, time will tell. The good news is that Rebecca will be here to feed her, give her water and treats, and to keep her company during frequent visits.

Before I know it, I will be sitting on the porch of cabin # 23 looking at the lake. According to my computer weather map, it is going to partly sunny, and 85 – 90 degrees F most days. That is a little bit hotter than usual for Maine. I’m taking my swim trunks for I do see myself going into the lake this year. I don’t like cold or cool water, so I’ve not gone in for a swim for at least three years.

Buddy Dave told me to bring the Yahtzee game because he wants to have a tournament and declare a champion and I am going to hold him to it.

Okay, I think I’ve got all the news out and into the blog. At 1:00, Rebecca will depart, I’ll meet my friend at 1:45, and pick up the car at 3:00. As you can see, this will be a hectic afternoon. I will see you in a couple of weeks. Rebecca will be in charge of the blog until I get back. So until then, take care, have a great a vacation if you are going on one at the present time, and, as always, happy reading.