All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

Oh, what a morning I had

Greetings, readers. I was going to make a YouTube video for my new gaming channel and also dictate the first draft of the blog using my voice recognition software before Rebecca got here. Well … none of that got done. I got up at 3:45 as usual and by 4:15 I was in a full back spasm already. What to do, what to do. There was only one answer. I shut down the computer, put my full coffee cup in the microwave for later, turned out all the lights and went back to sleep. Now, most people would love to do that, but I have grown to savor my early mornings. It is peaceful, it is quiet, I can get my day started, and make plans for later in the day. I’m just glad this was not a workday at my fast food job, so that all the things I didn’t get done this morning I will have time to do this afternoon.

I don’t know what triggered the back spasm. All I did was get up and make coffee. If carrying a coffee cut weighing only a few ounces throws my back out, then just go ahead and put me in the old folks home. Yes, that is an exaggeration, but that is how frustrated I was this morning. Joe gets cranky when his plans go awry.

When I woke up from my “nap”, I was able to put up a new video on my gaming channel. This afternoon, after my banking and an appointment, I’m going to put up my first Canadian Baseball League video using Out of the Park Baseball 18. Even in the one pitch per batter mode, the video will be at least an hour and a half long. That’s not the problem. Once I am done uploading it to YouTube and put all the tags and descriptions on, it will be approximately 8:30. On a work night, I go to bed around 9:00, so very soon after the video is uploaded and live, it will be lights out for me.

I work 10am to 2pm at the fast food job tomorrow, and here in State College this is the weekend for the Penn State Thon, the 48 hour dance marathon they do to raise money for childhood cancer research. This weekend and the next one will be unusually busy at the restaurant. The weekend after Thon will be my most hated time of the year, State Patty’s Day weekend. All the college children use those two days of a made-up holiday to see how drunk they can get without being arrested or dying. I say that because a couple of times, drunk college students have fallen from apartment balconies. In the past we have had slightly warmish weather. I am praying for negative 5 degrees F. May they all stay in the bars or at home, not parade downtown and scream their lungs out.

Two more things before we close. The Wednesday blog entry, #700, will be a combination thank you entry and top ten list. I’ve been thinking recently about how the internet has been affecting our local economy. One store, Sears, which has been around since I was a child, went out of business, and a clothing store called Bon Ton is closing in a month or two. Now, I am guilty once in a while of shopping on-line, I will admit that, but for those of you who do it all the time, you’re helping to cripple local businesses and chains. Get out once in a while, go to your local store, and buy something there. In the long run, you will be glad you did. You will be helping to stir the pot of your local economy.

Finally, heartfelt condolences to the families of the shooting victims in Florida. I saw the breaking news this morning and thought to myself, here we go again. I’m not calling it a copy cat shooting, but we’ve had these random acts of violence way too often. As I understand it, the shooter will be facing at least 17 counts of murder and I hope he gets convicted on each one of them. He destroyed and cut short people’s lives and will cause never-ending grief to the victim’s loved ones. My heart bleeds for them.

I’m going to end this blog entry here and on Wednesday we will write the aforementioned entry 700. I bid you good day, have a safe weekend and give a family member a hug, and as always, happy reading.

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I have decided to make gaming videos on YouTube

Greetings, readers. As we approach blog entry 700, I wondered if there was another way or medium I could use to be creative. The answer came to me a few days ago. I’ve watched many videos on YouTube of people playing various video games. Fishing Planet is a big one, as are the two truck simulators. I have most of those games downloaded on Steam and with a new app I got for free, I can now record videos. You can’t see my face, but that’s okay.

I have five videos up so far and have my very first subscriber. My channel, The JMK Gaming Channel, is up and running. I have three videos up of me playing the game Fishing Planet and two of Train Simulator 17. I’m impressed on how remarkably smooth my narration is; I’ve only stuttered a couple of times. Well what do you know, I have another forum on multimedia to show off my talents.

When I play Fishing Planet, I can actually imagine myself in Maine holding that rod. The ambiance of birds, insects, and a slight breeze makes the game incredibly realistic. You’re not in a speed boat, you are just standing on the bank or bridge, depending on your location on the map. I’ve always loved Train Simulator and the Portland, Maine run is my favorite scenario. My favorite game is Out of the Park Baseball 18 … and I’ve already pre-ordered OotP 19. I am in control of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League. I am the general manager of the Winnipeg Bluebirds. I raced through season one just to get a little history in the league and this second season so far I played every game. My team was one game away from winning it all last season. This season, with all of our injuries, I doubt we will make the playoffs. Within a week or so, I’ll be starting a series on the gaming channel for Out of the Park Baseball. Viewers will have to excuse me if I am 8/10ths of the way through the season; we will just pick it up from there. And season three will be a blast.

Other games I am going to play on my channel will be Fernbus Simulator with a coach bus driving anywhere in Germany, and Plague Inc. where I literally get to destroy the planet’s population. That one is a kind of a weird game, folks. A few months ago I also bought for cheap a game called House Party. The sole objective is to find the woman who you want to do it with and do it. It has one feature that will have Rebecca either laughing hysterically or rolling her eyes – this game, if you push the right button, you will hear the guy’s zipper unzip and you will see him pleasuring himself. That is when I stopped playing the game. I’m old school and things like that should be kept private. One cool thing about that game, however, is behind the young lady’s house is a big back yard with a fire pit which is very beautiful to look at.

With this blog entry being posted on my Facebook page and my Twitter page, some might say this is an advertisement for my gaming channel. I don’t think so, but I am going to link to the Bear Spring Camps page to let my friends there know that Fishing Planet, a remarkably realistic simulator, will be featured often.

Next Wednesday will be the 700th blog post. That is unbelievable to me. I want to thank everyone who has read us over the years and invite you all to stick around for the next 100.

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

I’ve been watching Star Trek: Enterprise on Netflix recently

Greetings, readers. Over the past several weeks, I have been watching and thoroughly enjoying Star Trek: Enterprise. It was not one of the more successful Star Trek spinoffs, but it did have a cult following. The series ran for four seasons and ended in a unique way. More about that later.

The show depicts the Federation and the world of Star Trek approximately 100 years before James T. Kirk and the iconic Enterprise NCC-1701. Jonathan Archer is the captain of the NX-01, the first warp five starship. He is played by actor Scott Bakula, of Quantum Leap fame.

I am currently one episode away from being finished with the second season. So, I’ve watched about half the series and am loving every minute of it. If I had to make one observation of something about the series which doesn’t quite make sense it would be this …  most of the technological gizmos that the crew carries around with them, such as phase pistols and scanners, look more modern than what Kirk, Spock, and McCoy used. I realize I’m being picky, but this is supposed to be 100 years in the past. McCoy had a lit-up salt shaker as his medical scanner.

In the last episode, (spoiler alert below) we see Commander Riker and Counselor Troi on the Enterpirse D, just as if it were an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Riker was studying something about the end of Archer’s mission and the final episode of the series was supposedly a holodeck simulation. It was cool to see the characters Riker and Troi again and even a voice splice-in of Commander Data. Although Riker never interacted with Archer’s crew directly, he did observe such things as Chief Engineer Trip’s noble sacrifice to save the ship and Captain Archer’s final speech at Star Fleet Headquarters. The last scene of the series was Riker and Troi shutting down the holodeck program and going back on duty aboard Picard’s ship.

Now on to some other characters. T’Pol is the Vulcan science officer. She is played by Jolene Blalock. I must admit dear readers, but at first, I did not like this character. She’s grown on me though. To me she’s a Vulcan who is trying to act like Voyager’s Seven of Nine. Blalock does a wonderful job, but her voice is just a little too sexy in my opinion.

Next is the chief engineer, Charles Tucker III, who goes by ‘Trip’. At first, I couldn’t figure that one out, but then it hit me. Trip is for triple and triple is the third. Got it. He is played by Conner Trinneer. Trip is from Florida and has that slight southern accent. In the series, his sister is killed during a vicious attack on Earth. Trip is the do-gooder of the series and usually ends up getting in trouble for it. During one episode, there was a character who had no rights and was treated like a pet. He took interest in her, taught her to read, to enjoy music and other interests. It was against that species’ wishes, so of course the Captain reprimanded ‘Trip’ and for a while the Captain was quite disappointed in his officer.

I would have to say though that my favorite character is the doctor, Phlox. He is a Denobulan. That’s easy for me to say. He is extremely positive, very friendly, and does his very best to save all his patients. Whether it’s the actor, John Billingsley’s regular way of speaking or not, Phlox has a very whimsical cadence and distinct diction. Charming, yet strong, he is one of the biggest heroes of the series to me. During one episode where the crew was being invaded by aliens which were basically wisps of smoke, Phlox was able to save the ship from being taken over, and in turn save the crew.

I don’t have enough time to give you a synopsis of every character, so I suggest if you have Netflix, check it out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Journey along with the crew of the Enterprise NX-01. You will get a brief glimpse into not only the beginning of Starfleet and the Federation, but enemies such as the Klingons and even the Borg. After you have watched the entire series, I’m quite certain that you will want to start again and boldly go where no one has gone before.

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

P.S. I was happy that the Eagles won the Super Bowl, but all the local Eagle’s fans kept me up Sunday night until close to 2:00 in the morning. Not good.

From Rebecca: Ugly day outside

Greetings, Joe’s readers. It is a snowy, rainy, icy mess outside, though I am surprised that the few cars I can see on the road outside my window are moving okay. Joe and I are not working together today, because of the bad weather. Pennsylvania had a storm overnight that is continuing all day, as those of you who live in this state already know. Northern PA was forecast to got more snow, southern PA to got more ice, and central PA, where Joe and I live, got a mix of snow and rain. Yesterday, authorities asked anybody who could stay off the roads today to do so. A lot of people still have to get out and about, but for the rest of us it is a Snow Day! No school, no work, stay home all day!

The schools, a lot of businesses, and  Schlow Centre Region Library are closed for the day, adding to the feeling of a shared community experience and a holiday. Although there are a lot of people who still had to go for important commitments or to go to work, and they didn’t get to share the holiday. I know that I could have gone to work today if I chose to do so, since the bus system is still working. (A big shout out to the drivers and staff of CATA – Centre Area Transportation Authority – for always getting me to and from work no matter how bad the weather is. The bus might be running late, depending on the conditions, but it always comes. In fact, their buses are running today.) And I have better balance when walking than Joe, who really cannot go out in snow and ice because he might fall and injure himself, so I could have made it to his apartment to work. Joe arranged for me to stay home today, to not have to slog through the cold, snow and icy slush, and I am grateful to be able to sit in a warm room, snug with my legs in a blanket, typing this on my home computer.

I decided to stay home last Sunday too, instead of visit my family as usual. We had a snow storm that day which gave us about three inches of snow, and now I am home during this one. I am wondering if I am getting more timid as I get older. As long as it was snow and not ice, three inches didn’t intimidate me before, even when it was falling while I drove. Although, looking back, I did drive in some bad road conditions when I was younger. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to the bottom of a certain hill and stop safely. Age is supposed to give us wisdom, but maybe that is what shutting down options looks like. We decide not to eat a super hot pepper and now we are wise because we didn’t burn our mouth like a foolish young person. Put like that, refusing to try new things looks noble, doesn’t it? It is true that older bodies don’t heal damage as fast, and a fall can take us out for days instead of hours. Maybe being careful is wisdom.

I hope you are all warm and comfortable, if not right now than by the end of your day. Joe and I will be working in the same room tomorrow, and he will have a new blog entry up. Until then, take care, have a safe day, and happy reading.

I need to get back to reality… now!

Greetings, readers. For a very long time now I have found myself caught in a half-world of virtual reality. I don’t know whether it’s my depression or whether I just love being a big kid, but my favorite thing to do is to play video games … and eat ice cream. I know I’ve talked about self-improvement before, but I’m going to take steps starting today to make those improvements happen. I saw on an episode of One Day at a Time last evening where the main character was told by her therapist to use her cell phone and describe all that was going on in her day and then play it back. When she did, she heard just how bad she sounded and that she needed to go back on her antidepressants.

Now, I’m not off my antidepressants, but I’m going to use the same tactic of recording and listening to hear just how my typical day transpires. I can already tell you it’s not going to be pretty. I am dictating this blog entry with my voice recognition program which has a feature to play back what I have dictated in my own voice. Yes, dear readers, I am going to play it back and listen to it. Ready? Here we go.

My typical work day is as follows: my alarm will go off at 3:45 AM. First thing I will do is stride slowly to the kitchen and make coffee. I am nothing before my morning coffee. Once my morning beverage is next to me at my desk, I’ll turn on the computer and get ready to play the morning baseball video game. My fictitious Winnipeg Bluebirds are in second place but fading fast. For those two hours, I am so engrossed in that game, and if I’m not careful I could find myself late for work. Out of the Park Baseball ‘18 has everything; it is by far the best baseball simulation out there. That brings us to approximately 6 AM.

Next, I will close down my computer and take my medication. Lord help me if I forget that. Between 6:15 and 7:45, I will enjoy my second cup of coffee and either listen to music or play Fishing Planet, a remarkably lifelike fishing simulator. You start at level 1 with only one rod, one reel and light tackle and bait. I’m up to level 5 now. I’ve watched YouTube videos of people in the higher levels angling for big bass. This is another game that I can lose track of time playing and I must be cautious. Can’t be late for real life, you know.

At 9:38, I catch the morning bus to my fast food job. Between the hours of 10 and 3 PM, I feel like a normal person. I’m out in the world, interacting with others, making coffee, telling jokes to my coworkers and having a great time. What do you know? I’m a normal person … but just until 3 o’clock.

When I get home at 4 PM, I figuratively crash. I will plop myself down on my recliner chair, watch TV, and most times, fall asleep. Oh, I feel so old. When I come to, an hour or so later, I won’t notice the emptiness of the apartment without Keekee and need to go grab some ice cream. Yes, even with a therapist and antidepressants I still need my comfort food. It makes me feel better and it makes my dentist rich. If I have to go to my fast food job the next morning I will turn in for the night no later than 9 PM. Years ago, the evening was only just getting going at 9 PM. I set my alarm for 3:45 AM, and do it all again the next day.
I’m going to take a break now and make this contraption read back to me what I just typed, then in the final paragraph I shall summarize. Be right back.

After listening to the 667 words I just dictated, it is painfully obvious to me that except for a five hour span during a few afternoons a week, I am completely not in reality. I am in virtual reality. It is comfortable there, but I must leave soon. If I don’t, I feel I will be completely devoured and unable to get back to what I would consider a ‘normal life’. I will keep you all up to date on my progress.

Next week, I will blog on Wednesday about the Canadian football league. Until then, have a great weekend, to take care and as always, happy reading.

Life without my KeeKee

Greetings, readers. I’ve been struggling very much to cope with the loss of my cat, Keekee. This Friday, it will be only two weeks since she’s been gone. It feels like much longer though. There are many tough times, but I think the toughest is when I come home from work or from doing errands. I open the apartment door and expect to see Keekee run to greet me. That will never happen again.

It’s funny how in 12 years there are so many habits that a pet owner and their pets can form. My cat and I had what I called our breakfast routine, our time for dinner and our time to “go sleepies.” Every night when it’s time to turn out the lights I’ve caught myself a couple of times wanting to begin the evening routine, but stopped myself, thinking just how crazy it is for me to talk to myself. Yes, it is very difficult for me.

You always think you have tons of time with your pet, but you never know. I found that out the hard way. What I thought was a tooth problem turned out to be cancer of the tongue. She had no chance to win that battle. She was born on approximately January 25, 2006 and she passed over the rainbow bridge on January 19, 2018.

This blog entry is not going to be that much longer, dear readers. It is still very painful for me to talk about her. I’m sure that every day will get better and better and I do plan on adopting another support animal in April or May. My biggest concern is that I will use the same phrases that became such a part of Keekee and my daily routine. It took Keekers just two days to learn the phrase,’ dinner’. Cats are extremely smart and I don’t think it will take my next furry buddy long to learn all those fun phrases and routines I come up with.
I am looking for a cat which has already been litter trained, approximately one-year-old or less and short-haired or hypoallergenic. That would be my best fit. I’ve already looked on Paws.com, and found a couple of cute choices. But it’s too early. I have starred the website so that I can easily find it again when the time is right.

I used my voice recognition program to write this blog entry today, then edited it with Rebecca when she got to work. A funny thing came up because of that. I spell KeeKee with a capital K in the middle. Rebecca has not been doing that for entire history of this blog; she has spelled it Keekee, and I let it go. Today, I spelled it with two capital Ks, and that is how it is spelled in the title. We changed the spelling to Rebecca’s version in the body of the post to stay consistent with previous entries.

As for tomorrow, I’m not certain whether Rebecca and I will be getting together or not, though one of us will do a blog entry. I either have to pick up Keekee’s remains this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Yes readers, I did have her cremated and am going to bring her home. She will sit next to my parent’s two poodles and my other cat from long ago, Peaches.

Until very soon … possibly tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and, as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Our Souls at Night

There is a new film on Netflix streaming that I have been watching in parts for the last week and finished today, called Our Souls at Night. It stars Jane Fonda as Addie Moore and Robert Redford as Louis Waters. It is a gentle slow-moving story of two people connecting to one another after decades of living in the same town. It is based on a book by Kent Haruf, which I see our local library has in its collection.

Our Souls at Night starts with two lonely people who have trouble sleeping at night, until Addie knocks on Louis’s door and asks him over to sleep in her bed. She isn’t proposing sex, just that they talk and keep each other company in order to fall asleep. He needs some time to think about it, but then agrees. It is awkward at first, but as they eat dinner together and lie down in the same bed, they begin to talk about the events of their lives and the choices they made. They become friends and companions. The town starts to gossip about them, and they brave it out. Partway through the film Addie’s grandson Jamie arrives to stay with her, played by Iain Armitage (the actor who now plays Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon on CBS). Having Jamie living there changes and adds to the relationship developing between Louis and Addie.

There is not much action in this movie, just the two main characters interacting with each other and other people. The big actions in the story come from decisions contemplated and emotional risks taken. There are no shouting matches, smashed dishes, or dramatic reveals. Just mature adults in relationships with the various people in their lives doing the best they can. By the end of the film, they have both faced mistakes from their pasts, and worked to make the damage better. The performances by Robert Redford and Jane Fonda are strong, understated, and good, from the first awkward pauses to the last comfortable conversation.

I plan to recommend this film for Joe, given his love of On Golden Pond. The films are very different, but they do both have as a plot point an older couple taking care of a boy for a while. In On Golden Pond, Jane Fonda played a character leaving the boy with her parents, and in Our Souls at Night, she plays the mother agreeing to take care of the child. I think Joe would appreciate having the same actress portray two sides of the same event.

I know not everyone has subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service. My thoughts on the various streaming services and the shows that some people have access to but not others might be a good blog topic for another day. But for now, if you do happen to have access to this film, I do recommend it for anyone who enjoys a gentle film about a developing relationship between two mature adults.

Until next Wednesday and a blog entry from Joe, I hope you are comfortable in whatever weather you have, take care, and happy reading.

R.I.P. to Jean Bennett

Greetings, readers. This is a long overdue R.I.P. to a wonderful lady and fellow Bear Spring Camper, Jean Bennett. She passed away on January 6, 2018. Mrs. Bennett was a sweet lady and loved her entire family very much. There are many nice things I remember about Mrs. Bennett and this piece will be a tribute to her.

Though she was a reserved woman, she always greeted me with a warm smile and hello. She collected donations for the camp’s annual softball game to benefit Pine Tree Camp for mental and physically challenged children, and took pride in doing so. During said game, she was the score keeper. I remember every time the campers would not score during an inning, she would turn the zero into a frowny face. What fond memories the brain can conjure up; I haven’t thought about that score sheet in years.

When it was their turn to host happy hour, Mrs. Bennett was the supreme hostess. She and her husband Mr. Bennett had a nice selection of refreshments, hard and soft, for everyone to enjoy, as well as snacks, cheeses and dips. They had the largest cabin, with what I think is one of the best views of the lake.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are two of a handful of folks that I put in the category of ‘my mom’s crowd’. When I was growing up, just like I had my crowd at camp, she had hers. They are people in their 60s and up. If I continue to go to camp for another decade or so, I hate to say it, but many of my mom’s crowd that I knew as a child may be gone. I’m not saying anything negative about the new folks, but every generation has its own unique feel.

Mrs. Bennett, I miss you. I know you and Mr. Bennett are up there in heaven having a happy hour and keeping a watchful eye on your family. Thank you for your friendship of all these years and much love.

I’m taking tomorrow off as a personal day but next Wednesday’s blog topic will deal with my new fascination on YouTube. I’m currently watching Canadian Football League Grey Cup games from the mid-1970s. Rebecca will put up an entry tomorrow. It is too soon for me to do a post about losing my cat KeeKee, but I plan to do it next Thursday. So until next week, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe’s kitty cat Keekee passed away today

Greetings, readers. Keekee passed away this afternoon at 2:10. Joe will probably post a blog entry about this soon with his feelings and thoughts. I wanted to put up an entry with the news and a few photos of her today. She had cancer, and Joe didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer. She was at the vet’s for two nights and then today they put her to sleep. Joe was with her.

I am feeling sad, of course. I’m used to seeing Keekee every week when I go to work with Joe in his office/apartment. She was usually quiet while we worked, though every once in a while she would want all the attention in the room on her. I haven’t thought about it lately because it has been a long time since she did it, but once in a while she used to just zoom from one end of the room to another and we never knew what set her off. All work would stop for a few minutes until she calmed down again. A lot of times she would curl up on his lap when he dictated the blog entry, and then jump up ready to eat when he asked if she was ready for dinner.

Those of you who are long-term readers of this blog know that Joe goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine every August and that while he was away for that week and a half, I would take care of Keekee. I made sure her water bowl had enough water, that her dry food was full, that she got half a can of moist food, and kept her company for a few hours. I would post entries about how she was doing and how much she was shedding (she shed so much when Joe was away!) By the end of the first week he was gone, she would want to be pet a lot. It was actually the only time I would pet her so much and for so long in one sitting.

I promised photos and here they are. I will miss Keekee very much.

 

 

 

 

I had to take Keekee to the vet

Greetings, readers. Today’s entry was going to be a R.I.P for Jean Bennett, who passed away recently, and I will write that soon, but something happened yesterday that is filling all my thoughts. I had to take my beloved kitty cat to the vet, for she had a lot of mouth pain. As it turns out she had two bad teeth which had to go … that was the easy fix. She also has a tumor on her tongue. That might not be able to be fixed.

She stayed at the vet’s office overnight and will be examined thoroughly today as well as operated on as necessary. They are also going to do a biopsy on the tumor, and the results won’t be back for five or six days. I’m hoping that one of the vets can simply remove it today. If they leave it in her until next week, which will facilitate a follow up appointment, I’ll have to watch her not eat for seven more days. That will make Joe’s stress meter run high. I just called a moment ago to see how she survived the night. Keekee is an indoor cat, and she is not used to being away from home for more than a few hours at the vet’s office. The nurse says she was hiding behind her little litter box, but other than that she was doing okay. She’ll be put under mid-afternoon and my vet said he will give me a call when the procedure is finished. I’m hoping she’s done today so I can go out and bring her home, because I have shifts at my fast food job the next two days. Keekee takes precedence however, so I may have to call off to pick her up and bring her home.

Last night was very strange, not having Keekee here, as was this morning when she didn’t come running for her breakfast after my alarm went off. I’ve never thought of Keekee as a support animal, but I suppose she is. My family and I have always had pets, and if it is Keekee’s time to go to kitty cat heaven, I will wait until after this coming camp and then look into perhaps getting another feline friend. Just to be clear though, nothing will ever replace Keekee. No other animal will have her exact habits again. There is still a decent chance that everything will turn okay and she will be around for many years to come. I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

To the Bennett family: Mrs. Bennett was a dear friend of mine and at Bear Spring Camps was one of my mom’s crowd, as I like to say. An R.I.P. in her honor will be written next week.

Until next Wednesday, take care, think warmer temperatures, and as always, happy reading.