Monthly Archives: May 2019

Getting ready to be a gamer and brief review of City Car Driving

Greetings, readers. When I was a little boy my Dad called me the button pusher. When we were in a hotel or on a cruise ship and we went in the elevator, I just had to be the one to push the button. I found it fascinating for some strange reason, but mostly because the button lit up and little Joey was helping. Later I graduated to making things with my Science Fair 75 in 1 Electronic Project kit, in which I could connect wires, and connect circuits so that lights would light up and buzzers would buzz. It was such fun. In the mid-to-late 80s when video game arcades were at their peak, I was already a heavy gamer, playing football, ice hockey, and my personal favorite, Galaga. I was never very good at it, but I loved Galaga.

Jump forward to the present day and via the Steam gaming company, I’ve played baseball, gone fishing, and driven numerous vehicular simulators. My latest craze is a game called City Car Driving. It was the right price and it is modded very well, which means people are creating vehicles to use in the game all the time. My favorites are the Volkswagen Bus and Beetle. Everything else stalls out when I try to get it out of first gear. Something tells me I would not do well trying to drive a stick shift in real life.

So here is a little review about City Car Driving. It’s been out for a couple of years so it is not a new game by any means but I love it, for you can choose to play in the United States, the European Union, Germany … which I always thought was in the European Union … Australia, and Russia.

For $24 and change, the graphics are pretty good and the map is intensive enough that even if you go around in circles, you can always find a place that you haven’t explored yet. You are supposed to gain points by transporting goods and people. The higher you level up, the more vehicles you can unlock and use. Hell, I’m still trying to learn how to steer and shift gears, much less do tasks. That will come in time.

Along with over 300 downloadable mods in the Steam workshop, the game comes complete with the four seasons, and four times of day; early morning, afternoon, evening, and nighttime. The game is so graphic intensive at times with the AI traffic that I have to set the graphics at medium for the game to run. So, I’m not getting to enjoy the full look of the game. Still it is okay with me. In a few weeks we shall revisit and I shall give you my final score, but so far I give this game a solid 7 out of 10.

On to a different topic, for those readers who live in Central Pennsylvania you will know that for the last few days we have had terrible thunderstorms, complete with tornado warnings. Yikes! I think these storm fronts are originating in the mid-west. Prayers go out to the families in Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio where tornados did terrible damage and people lost their lives.

It is supposed to storm here later this afternoon. I’ll have to turn the router off … again. I can’t afford a power surge and have the router blow out. I am not a happy camper without my internet.

Finally, R.I.P. to the late great Packers quarterback Bart Starr who passed away the other day. He was the winning quarterback of the first two Super Bowls. You will be greatly missed, Sir.

Until Sunday, when I will put up another blog entry, stay safe if you are in a bad weather region, spread love all around, and as always, happy reading.

Advertisements

I hope you are having a good Memorial day weekend

Greetings, readers. So far my Sunday has been wet! It was pouring down rain as I walked home from church. I do have plans to go to a neighbor’s party later, where I will have fun and stay dry. After that, I think I will take a nap, so I decided to get this blog entry done before the party.

I have a fundraiser I am doing for a friend of mine, who is about to lose her apartment. I hope to raise enough money to keep her in her home for at least another three months. If you feel like donating, the link is here. Thank you.

I want to say thank you to all the military people who have served our country. My prayers go out to all of you who have lost loved ones in the service of this country. Thank you for your sacrifice.

I will be back on Wednesday with another entry. Until then, have a good week, take care of each other, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe is flattened by back spasms

Greetings, Joe’s readers. When I got to work today I found Joe walking bent over and in pain. He tried to ease his back spasms by lying down for a bit, but he said he couldn’t find a comfortable position and felt like a Mexican jumping bean. Next he tried walking it off by going up and down the hallway, which seemed to help a little. This is the worst spasm he has had in years, kicking off a pain every few seconds. I hope he feels better soon. He asked me to write the post today, because he can’t sit down or focus long enough to dictate it.

When I come to work every Wednesday, I set up a card table to put his laptop on for me to use to type dictation. Joe is sitting at the table now, seeing if leaning forward in a different chair will help. So far no success. He is looking for that one magic position that will get it to stop. As we only work together one day a week now, this is really putting a crimp in today’s progress.

I am actually amazed by how much Joe can do on a day to day basis with all the physical problems he has. It keeps him from doing some things he really wants to do, like write for a few hours at a time, but he is able to do a lot of things he needs to most of the time. A day like today where he is stopped by his body is a good reminder of how well he usually does.

——————-

Joe got his back to calm down at least enough to try to dictate a few paragraphs.

Hi, readers. Thanks to Rebecca for getting this one started. It took two Aleve and a big swig of NyQuil to calm this spasm down. This was probably the worst back spasm in a couple of years. If I only knew what I did to make it start. I was just sitting at Panera taking my meds. Yes, my body has a mind of its own. Like Rebecca said though, most days I can get by with no problem.

Something else is weighing on my mind, which unfortunately I cannot disclose at this moment, but suffice it to say that prayers are needed for a good friend of mine on a couple of levels. Prayers for her would be much appreciated. Tyvm.

We have enjoyed several beautiful mornings in a row; a little unusual for State Cloudy, Pennsylvania. I’ve heard the forecast calls for rain overnight and tomorrow morning, but I will take every nice morning I can get.

Traci’s sister Roni is scheduled to meet us tomorrow morning at 7:00 for coffee at Panera. Hopefully it will not be downpouring then. Friend Smith will also be there and is eagerly looking forward to meeting Roni. It should be a very pleasant gathering.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. Again, thanks to Rebecca for getting it started, and you will be happy to know that finally at 11am the back spasm seems to be over. Thank God!

I’ll dictate another entry on Sunday, so until then, have a wonderful few days, take care, and as always, happy reading.

I need to define my life

Greetings, readers. What does that mean; define my life? It means that right now I feel like I am spinning my wheels in thick mud. I am going from day to day doing all of the necessary tasks just to get by. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I sat down at the computer and wrote a story for three or four hours. This blog entry might sound like a broken record in places, and I will apologize in advance. However, there are some things on my mind today that I need to purge. So, here goes.

When I was much younger, I thought that I would graduate from college, marry a college sweetheart, be father of two or three children, and own a house with a white picket fence and a nice SUV. Ha-ha-ha. Like, that happened… not. I can see my family now. I would marry an attractive, intelligent woman, who is just as old-fashioned as I am. We would raise our two children, hopefully a boy and a girl, teaching them morals and values which would make them loving, caring and productive members of society.

Back to defining my life. On July 13th, I’m going to be 54 years old. I have held two jobs, each one lasting only one year. Yes, I do have my published books, and that’s good. I need more. Somehow, I have to break this mold, go out into the world, and make my mark. There are plenty of places in town which are hiring right now for summer and fall. I’m going to try to line up a job which I will begin after I get back from Maine in August. I also need to become more social. I am not saying that I’m going to hang out at bars. I have recently joined the local Presbyterian Church, which offers many opportunities to get closer to the Lord, and also to socialize and meet people. Of course, I did not join the church to find my next girlfriend. That would be crazy. Am I one of those souls who are destined to go through life alone? Well, I’ve got news for you. Through my friend Dave and his family, I have enjoyed being Uncle Joe to all the nieces and nephews, and now to their children as well. I have been quite blessed. Perhaps… just perhaps, God gave me that family to go through life with. I have been honored.

I don’t think anyone’s life turns out to be exactly what they hoped it would be. We all just have to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. I have numerous health issues, but I firmly believe that the Lord does not give me anything I can’t handle. It’s tough sometimes, but with a good therapist, wonderful friends, and a fantastic personal assistant in Rebecca, everything I need to get done gets done.

Lastly, of course I have my kitty cat, Princess Josie. I will be posting a photo of her here on the blog site ASAP. So, keep a lookout for that. Until Wednesday, I bid you a wonderful Sunday, have a great start to your work week, and as always, happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps opening and other goings on

Greetings, readers. I pretty much stuck to my to-do list this past week, but I had one miserable failure. I was supposed to work on two chapters on the new camp book. I actually sat down many times but either the phone rang, nature called, or someone knocked on the door. I know interruptions should not be an excuse, but for someone who has slight brain damage from seizures and concussions, it is an excuse. I’m bound and determined to get this last camp book published, but I doubt it will be before I go to camp this August.

Speaking of camp, Bear Spring Camps either opened this past Saturday or it will open soon. I always enjoy knowing my favorite place in the entire world is open for business. It is a short season but that is probably dictated by weather and the fishing season. I still have my video tapes from Maine from many years ago, hidden away somewhere in my walk-in closet. Once in a while I’ll stumble upon one, take it out, and watch it. Even those that were taken in the mid-1980s still have excellent picture and sound quality.

On to another topic now. I wrote a Facebook post just the other day after learning that actresses Peggy Lipton and Doris Day had passed away. I made mention in said post that famous people seem to pass away in threes. Wouldn’t you know it, the next day, the wonderful Tim Conway went to his eternal resting place. It is strange how that works, but it happens a lot. I shouldn’t be surprised though, with me in my early 50s, all the wonderful actors and actresses I knew as a kid are either old or have died. It is a fact of life.

Before closing, I will mention the weather, simply because it is so gorgeous out today. A rarity for State College, Pennsylvania. It is a sunny day, a few puffy clouds, with warming temperatures and a light breeze. I would like to order a few more days like this, gift wrapped, please. At my estimation it has been a cool breezy spring and I can’t wait for the warmth of summer. Do I want a 100 degree plus heat wave? No, for I am not a kid anymore and cannot run and play. I might only be 53 years old, but sometimes these legs and hips just don’t want to move. Most mornings, readers, I will use my walker, and I am not too proud to say that, for I would rather use it than lose my balance and fall.

Prayers for the families of the great entertainers we lost recently, the Lipton family, Doris Day’s family, and of course the family of the great Tim Conway. Also, prayers to anyone who needs them.

I’m going to put up this weekend’s blog entry either late Saturday or Monday morning. I have an unusually hectic Sunday planned. So, until then, I bid you a wonderful few days, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms & I’m enjoying my DVDs

Greetings, readers. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, grandmas and Aunts. This is your day, so enjoy all the pampering, the cards, and hopefully the lunches that you are taken out to. As many of my regular readers know, my mom passed away in 2003. However, I took my friend Smith, who is mom, grandma, and aunt all rolled into one, out to lunch at Panera café after church. The church sermon was wonderful, coffee hour was very enjoyable, and our lunch could not have been better. Smith said that I really made her day special.

Let’s see what else is new. I have been thoroughly enjoying my Charlie’s Angels DVDs, but I’m a little bit worried that part of season four is missing. There should be twenty discs; two per packet. I’m going to count them this afternoon. It just so happens that season four is my favorite season. Yes, readers, I did like the Shelley Hack season. Was she the best actress in the world? No. Nonetheless, I thought that season had a lot of good stories. Miss Hack went on to star in the short-lived series, Jack and Mike.

What is the weather like today you ask? It is raining, cool, and positively miserable. It is not good for Mother’s Day plans here in Central Pennsylvania. Hopefully moms don’t have picnics or any other such activities planned. I would dare venture to say that folks took a look at the weather forecast a day or two ago, and made plans accordingly.

Finally, I will be able to cross off this task from my new weekly to do list. I’ve done my banking for the week, almost finished the blog entry, and one other thing that I can’t even remember what it was. Lol. what I still need to do is start work on two chapters for the new camp book. I was going to do that Monday afternoon, but a friend of mine asked me to go to a movie. Perhaps I can get some writing done in the late morning, or the early evening. I must keep this project moving forward.

There is this Sunday’s blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back at it on Wednesday. So, until then, I bid you a fantastic few days, take care of one another, and as always, happy reading.

I scored the complete Charlie’s Angels series on DVD. Sweet!

Greetings, readers. After many years of searching, I finally found my dream DVD collection. I was a huge fan of the Charlie’s Angels TV series, from 1976 to 1981. Yes, Farrah Fawcett only lasted one year, plus a handful of episodes, and there were more cast changes than a successful TV show should have had, but I loved it non the less. So put on your bell bottom slacks, plug in your lava lamp, and get ready to take this stroll down my mid-70s memory lane.

In ’76 I was 11, and yes I liked girls already. Then came the show Charlie’s Angels in September of that year. I had always like detective shows and mysteries and along came three beautiful ladies in lead roles as detectives.

The original cast was Kate Jackson as Sabrina Duncan, Farrah Fawcett as Jill Munroe, and Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett. During the first season, TV ratings were off the charts. Farrah Fawcett had posters galore, and was the hottest selling ticket in town. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if memory serves, it was more story in the early seasons and more body in the later years.

To the best of my knowledge, Farrah Fawcett left because she was dissatisfied with her role in the series but agreed to make guest appearances in the second season. Enter Cheryl Ladd who played Jill’s younger sister Kris Munroe, for the show’s final four seasons. I loved her! She had looks, acting ability, grace, and style.

At the end of season three, Kate Jackson departed and was replaced by Shelley Hack. During that fourth season, the show took a turn … not for the worst, but for the different. They decided to glamour up the girls. Shelley’s character, Tiffany Welles, was a high-class beautiful woman from the Boston area. Not your typical California beach babe. I liked it a lot, but apparently that didn’t go down so well with the show’s fan base. I read somewhere once that during the cast party at the end of season four, everyone was told how well they did that season and was asked back for season five, except for Shelley Hack, who was dismissed. As Stephanie Tanner would say, “How rude.”  For the fifth and final season, Tanya Roberts was added as Julie Rogers. At first I must admit, readers, I didn’t like her, but she grew on me. Side note, Tanya Roberts was the only Angel to also to be a Bond girl. I learned that recently when I watched 007’s A View to a Kill.

And we cannot forget, dear readers, lovable David Doyle as John Bosley, the office manager who always sat behind the big desk and tried not to lisp. Charlie was played by the incomparable John Forsythe who went on to star in Dynasty along with Joan Collins.

What did I love about this show? These stories were hardly ever about catching a bad guy while the Angels were wearing bikinis. It was not all sex. Did they have their scenes in bathing suits? Of course they did. But there were many episodes where they were not in swim wear at all. The stories were good, the acting above average, with guest stars a plenty, including Jim Backus, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, just to name a few.

The one thing I didn’t like about the series, was the treatment of Shelley Hack. Did she win an Emmy award for her acting ability? No. But if the series was only going to go on for one more year, why not keep the continuity?

This afternoon … if I can get my PlayStation 3 to turn on, I am going to dive in and binge watch. I’ll gain five pounds by tomorrow. Side note about me readers, I cannot watch TV without snacking. It’s my one really bad habit.

Do you have any favorite episodes or favorite Angels? Let me know in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page. I’m sure I’m not the only one to enjoy Charlie’s Angels. No need to be shy or embarrassed.

Until this weekend, have a wonderful few days, spread love around – this world can sure use it, take care and, as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of things I hate and love about going to a movie theater these days

Greetings, readers. When I was a teenager, I would go to the movies on a Friday evening about twice a month. These days, if I go to a movie theater twice a year, it is a lot. Today’s top ten list are reasons why I don’t like going to the movie theater anymore… Plus a few reasons why I do. So sit back, grab some popcorn and a soda, and get ready for today’s list.

#10. The overall quality of films today [There are still a lot of good films out there, but unless you’re into Marvel comics… which I am not, I have to search for something I am willing to spend beaucoup bucks on.]

#9. The lack of fan interaction [Unless you want to stand in a long line on opening night, most film showings play to half-empty theaters. To me, if there is no fan interaction, and the film is not ultra-exciting, it can be a most boring and expensive 90 minutes.]

#8. The price of a ticket [Now I know it was more money back then, but I remember the good old days when $1.50 got your matinee ticket and two dollars bought you an evening show ticket.]

#7. The price of popcorn and other such snacks [Continuing along the line of money, I find it absurd to pay 5 to 8 dollars for popcorn, and slightly less for a large drink. Not everyone is made of money, and can spend it just to see a flick.]

#6. The size of the theater [In 1977, when Star Wars came out… oh, I am sorry… Star Wars: A New Hope, it played at the Garden Theater which probably sat up to 250 people or more. It had the ground floor filled with seats, plus a big balcony. Today, many theaters will have rooms for perhaps 100 people. More rooms = more films = more money!]

#5. All the sequels lately [Star Wars has had its prequels and sequels, Star Trek has had numerous films with old crew and new; and dare we not forget the gazillion Fast and the Furious series. Let’s think of something new.]

Okay, now for four reasons why I still do enjoy going to the movies.

#4. Full theater surround sound [Today, when you are watching an action-packed film with plenty of explosions or sci-fi laser fire, it is so great to hear it all around you. This is something that you just could not get back in the 70s and 80s.]

#3. At least in my small metropolis, we have relatively new theaters [Sure, there was something wonderful about the classic old theater with its beautiful balcony, but the aforementioned Garden Theater caught fire due to old and faulty wiring. It was such a great loss.]

#2. Most movie theaters around here are kept up to a high standard [I cannot remember the last time I walked into a movie theater and it either smelt bad, or was excessively dirty. I’m not going to count the few popcorn kernels which fall out of bags that kids are carrying. Kids will be kids.]

#1. Even though it is outrageously expensive today, if the film is good, the theater is a great place to take a family and enjoy an evening out. [If you think it is expensive now, wait five years. Some people will be paying their entire week’s paycheck just to take a family of four to the movies.]

Well, there you have it. That’s today’s blog entry for you. I hope you enjoy it. It is the first top ten list which I have done solo, and I’m not sure how smooth it’s going to be. Until Wednesday, when Rebecca returns to help out, I bid you a wonderful rest of your weekend, take care, love one another and happy reading.

Why does Panera Cafe’s music have to be so dang loud?

Greetings, readers. As a lot of you know, from reading my blog, I normally start my day with friends Smith and Traci, enjoying coffee at Panera. Recently the music level has been that of a dance club. I’m not kidding. I’ve spoken to numerous managers about it, they all claim it is set at that volume level by corporate policy. However, the last two days out of three the music was at a wonderfully low volume, making it painfully obvious that if the managers really want it lower, they’ll do it.

What ever happened to the old adage that the customer was always right? I’ve asked on more than one occasion if they could please turn the music down. Some associates say yes, only to be overridden by their manager. “Oh, it’s corporate. We can’t do anything about that.” I’ve often wondered if it was an attempt to get people to not loiter in the café; to eat and get out. But students who are the steady customers of Panera will sit there as long as they are going to, regardless of how loud it is. Most just put earphones on. So if Panera is making the music loud to clear out their restaurants, it’s not working.

When I go over in the mid-afternoon, and there is about 100 people chatting away, I can barely hear the music. So if I am lucky enough to have any Panera corporate employee reading this blog, here is a suggestion: When you just open your store and there are a handful of people in it, set the volume lower and around lunchtime, feel free to crank it up.

The three musketeers, as we are known, love going to Panera for coffee, but if we truly can’t talk to one another in a normal voice, we might have to go elsewhere. There is a Sheetz, Webster’s Café, and a little coffee shop called Saints in the vicinity.

Well, let’s see what else is going on in the world. There was a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte … I thought guns weren’t allowed in schools. There is a blizzard in the Rockies … again I thought spring was here. And of course the mid-west states like Texas doesn’t need anymore rain. Have we really screwed up our planet this much? This is beyond climate change. To me this seems like the beginning of the end times. I’ve heard theories that this could be the last generation on earth and I’ve also heard theories that all things will even out and the weather will calm down eventually. One thing is sure, glaciers are melting and small islands are sinking under water. More than likely, they won’t come back. In a way I am glad I didn’t father a child, because that child would have inherited a world with an unfixable climate problem.

On to a nicer note, this Sunday I will dictate a top ten list, which I have never done without Rebecca before. I’m not exactly sure what the topic will be, but I will give it a go and make it as interesting as possible. The top ten lists seem to be a hit, so look for that this weekend.

Until then, do take care, love one another, let’s end all this damn fighting, and as always, happy reading.