All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

Goodbye old brick building next door

Greetings, readers. I’m feeling a bit sad today because a very old building, which I thought would stand forever, has been completely torn down. During my lifetime, the old brick building next door to Addison Court Apartments was a Weis supermarket, and later a CVS pharmacy. When I was a small boy, my grandmother used to get her hair done in a salon in the back of the building on the first floor. Oh, what vivid memories.

I’m not exactly certain of the building’s complete history, but I have some recollection of it either being a furniture store or another supermarket before it became Weis. I’m going back into my brain for memories around the year 1975, so some details will of course be sketchy.

This morning I watched the bulldozer mash up the last bits of rubble and put them into big piles. A while later, two dump trucks arrived and debris was loaded on, one truck at a time. Truck A would take off and dump its load somewhere, while truck B was loaded with more debris. This is going to be an endless chain of events throughout the day. When all the pieces of rubble have been cleared, the next step is for the construction workers to come in and begin digging – probably with jack hammers – to get down to the proper depth to build the new parking garage. In the old brick building’s place will be a brand-new, seven-story apartment building for students and ‘young executives’.

I don’t know how much of my wonderful view I’m going to lose. The old brick building was only three stories tall, with apartments on floors two and three. I took the eighth-floor apartment because I loved the view. Well … we’ll see how much of it is left when the new building is complete. I know that my town has quickly become a small metropolis, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. One major high-rise downtown has already gone up, with a sister building set to be built right across the street from it. Oh joy, oh bliss. I’m certain it will be several months before the new building is complete. I’m praying the building will not have balconies. Can you just imagine how loud it will be, and the school semester parties the kids will have? Oh brother!

I shall keep you up-to-date on the progress of the new building, and let you know if there will be any businesses on the ground floor. I’m certain the building will be modern and beautiful, but to me, nothing can replace an old brick building which was part of my childhood.

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

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A major decision has been made

Greetings, readers. I have thought about my writing career long and hard, and have asked myself what are my options. Money to continue paying Rebecca is dwindling, though she earns every penny of what she gets, and the blog itself is not set up to make money for me. The book, Greetings, Readers, sold a hand-full of copies since 2013, so a book 2 of blog entries is not even an option. Between low funds, battling depression, and years upon years of seizure medication (and seizures) I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t have the right stuff to be a writer any more. Maybe I never did and getting those first two camp books out were just because of my passion for Bear Spring Camps and all my friends who go there.

I’m seriously considering shutting down writing operations at the end of the year. Unfortunately, this would also include the blog. I am leaning towards keeping it open for everyone to enjoy with the occasional new entry. I might reconsider my plan, but that is how it looks now.

Rebecca and I were discussing earlier this morning an idea I had for a GoFundMe page. I need $$$ to find and pay a publicist who can push Four’s a Crowd. I worked too hard on Kimberly, the play on which it is based, and Darren Taylor worked too hard on the novel for it to just wither and die. Rebecca also put in extensive hours on both projects, and it would be a crime for her work to be for naught. If we could find a publicist and get Four’s a Crowd off the ground, that would re-energize my desire to be a writer.

***

Well, here it is a half hour later and we’ve had our weekly meeting with my accountant. I don’t like being interrupted when we are writing the blog, because it gets me out of rhythm, but sometimes it can’t be helped. The meeting went extremely well and the idea I had to help promote Four’s a Crowd has been approved. The next step is for Rebecca and I to research publicists and take notes. That will be done next Wednesday. I will probably dictate a blog entry and have it ready for us to edit and post early so we have extra time to do our research.

Continued prayers go out to the flood victims and their families in the Carolinas and wherever flooding hit. I’ve heard that Wilmington, North Carolina is now an island. There is not one road that is passable by car as of late yesterday.

Like last Thursday, I have something to do tomorrow, so I’ll dictate a blog in the morning and Rebecca will edit and put it up no later than tomorrow evening.

Please do take care, have a wonderful day, take care of one another, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Watching The Price is Right

Joe is taking a personal day, so I am writing the blog post today, from my home. Darren and I have The Price is Right on television right now. Drew Carey is the host, and has been for just over ten years, since Bob Barker retired. I have watched the program off and on since I was a child, and its familiarity is like comfort food in troubled times.

You have probably known the show since childhood too. It has contestants bidding on a prize to see who goes up to play the next of six games, two sections of spinning the wheel, and ends with the showcase showdown. They often have gimmicks, like big money week or an episode for just expectant mothers, but the basic structure of the show is always there underneath the added bells and whistles.

Bob Barker was the host for a very long time, and was so good at the job. Smooth, unruffled, genial, and welcoming, he obviously loved the show and loved what he did. When he retired, it seemed impossible for anyone to fill his job. Bob Barker was The Price is Right. Drew Carey took over, and at first it seemed true that no one could replace the long-time host. Drew Carey was stiff, had trouble explaining the games, and sometimes played around with the products on display. That first year was rough. But he got better, of course, and grew into the show. Now, more than a decade later, Drew Carey knows the games inside and out, is better at explaining them, and while he still moves a product on set occasionally, he is as smooth with the contestants and flow of the show as Bob Barker.

I don’t get to watch the show a lot, but when I can catch it, usually on Mondays or Tuesdays, I enjoy it a lot.

Joe will be back next Wednesday. As he would say, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Slightly under the weather and I’m about to build another Noah’s ark

Greetings, readers. Whoever said that you should take your medications at the same time every morning is most correct. I took my meds later than usual and although not by much, I could not listen to my morning music because I felt slightly seizure-ish. I’m fine now, but I hate it when my morning routine is interrupted. It is hard to describe how it feels. I remained completely awake and alert but my arms and hands didn’t do what I wanted them to do. I had to shut down the computer and rest.

On to the weather, prayers go out in advance to the folks in the Carolinas, who are about to be slammed by what is now called a “monster hurricane.” I will be donating later in the week to a GoFundMe page for hurricane relieve efforts, and I encourage you to do the same. In a few days, central Pennsylvania is forecast to get the outer ring of this humongous storm. This comes shortly on the heels of three straight days of hard rain from the remnants of the last hurricane, Gordon. Not to make light of the areas affected in the south, but we can’t take a whole lot more rain because of area flooding. This is after we had three solid weeks of rain in August. We had two weeks of drying out with a heat wave, before these latest storms. We don’t need more rain.

I watched quite a bit of week one pro football and was not impressed with my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, readers, these Cleveland Browns are a better team than last year’s winless club, but come on … we should have beaten them by at least 14 points, despite the rain. This week we play the Kansas City Chiefs. If we are not careful, we will be 0-2. The Philadelphia Eagles squeaked out a close one after looking pathetic in the first half. Maybe I will become a Philadelphia Eagles fan. A lot of folks in our area have become New York Giants fans to watch former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. I had an opportunity to do the same, but chose to watch the pathetic Steelers instead. Bad choice!

I’m taking tomorrow off for personal reasons, so I’m going to ask Rebecca to put up a new blog for everyone to enjoy tomorrow. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, please stay safe and dry, and as always, happy reading.

I scored a good pair of computer speakers this morning

Greetings, readers. This morning at the corner store I spotted a very reasonably priced pair of computer speakers from a brand called Creative. I read the box and they seemed to be of good quality, so I nabbed them. Rebecca helped me unravel everything, take twisty ties and plastic off, etc., and so far I think they sound great. It will take me a little while to get used to the volume knob which seems a wee bit sensitive.

My Altec Lansing speakers, which I had for years, finally gave up on me. I had them at least 6 years, so I’d say I got my money’s worth out of them. With all the music I listen to and the gaming I do in the mornings, good laptop speakers are a must. Plus, I need them for when I give performances for the folks at Addison Court. When Rebecca leaves today, I’ll hook them up and see how the old fishing game sounds on them, followed by a rousing round of My Summer Car.

Speaking of My Summer Car, the creator has added a stove in the kitchen which if you are not careful you can start a fire and burn the house down; yet another way to die. The creator, known as ToplessGun, is a mad genius. His sole purpose in life is to invent new ways to kill you in the game. When filling your gas tank while smoking a cigarette, you can actually start a fire and blow yourself up. I was watching a YouTube video of a gamer purposely trying to do just that. Why? To see if it worked. It did, gloriously.

My all time favorite booby trap, is when you are driving along, getting ready to cross the railroad tracks and you don’t hear the train coming until it hits you. Your windshield goes red with blood and they play the “You’re dead” music to laugh at you.

Moving on to another topic, the heat wave is almost over, thank God! It’s not going to be as brutally hot today and there is a chance of a thunderstorm later. If that happens, it will definitely cool things down. I’m not saying I am looking forward to winter, mind you, but days with temperatures F in the 60s and evenings in the 40s sounds very nice right about now. We’ve had upper 80s to near 90 for a whole solid week, one of the hottest stretches for the entire summer.

Keeping in line with the weather topic, thoughts and prayers go out to the flood victims in the South and the Gulf Coast. I know that New Orleans was bracing for another flood; I hope all the levees held. To me this hurricane season can’t be over fast enough. I’ve never been in one, but I have felt the remnants of a hurricane as a lingering passing storm moving through Pennsylvania. That is as close as I want to come, thank you. So if you are down South, please be safe.

There is today’s blog. Rebecca and I will be with you again next week. We both bid you a wonderful weekend, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of things I hope to accomplish this autumn

Greetings, readers. I asked Rebecca to check when the last top ten list was and on what topic, it was back in April with a list of things I wanted to do this summer. Eight out of ten isn’t bad folks. So here is a list of things I want to do or continue doing in the autumn of 2018.

#10. To get it out of the way, To continue selling copies of Four’s a Crowd. [I sold seven out of eight copies while up in Maine, which was wonderful, but sales on Amazon are as of yet sporadic at best. If you purchase my book, tyvm. If you like it, pass the word on to your friends.]

#9. Find a place for everything and put everything in its place. [In an apartment slightly bigger than ten shoeboxes, to do that is difficult. But I am proud that I am trying  and that I am making progress.]

#8. Find gainful employment somewhere here downtown. [Unfortunately, I burned all my bridges at my former fast food job and I do not think they would take me back.]

#7. Continue working on a TV series pilot script. [I have two ideas in mind, both of which have hit early road blocks, but it is nothing I cannot overcome.]

#6. Find a new way to take care of my nails. [The salon I used to go to across the street is closed, and between the cost of the service and the added price of a Zipcar, the road trip to the other location in East Freedom, Pennsylvania is an unfortunate impossibility.]

#5. Try my hand at either Match.com or eHarmony.com. [I think it is time I try my hand at a relationship one last time. I’m 0-8 but I feel it’s time to give love one last shot. You never know.]

#4. Either get back to my religion, Roman Catholicism, or join another church closer to my apartment. [Long story short folks, I need more religion in my life. I am searching for some big mid-life crisis answers right now.]

#3. Continue working with my cat, Princess Josie. [I am making progress at teaching her certain things, but she still does things I don’t want her to do, like nipping. She is so different from Keekee, and I am still adjusting to the changes. I need to get some things she needs, like chew toys, while still training her away from bad behavior. I love her so much, and it is a completely blessing to have her here at home.]

#2. With the help of my therapist, learn to become stronger at setting personal boundaries. [I’ve always had a problem saying no to people, and it has bitten me more than once. I must learn to say no, and no means no.]

#1. Upgrade to a refurbished PS4 so I can get back to watching my Netflix and YouTube on my big screen TV. [Again, this will take money and money is tight right now. I might put this on my Christmas list as a gift to myself.]

There you have the list, in no particular order. Tomorrow we’ll be back with another stimulating blog entry. So take care, stay cool, thank God this heat wave is almost over, and as always, happy reading.

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.

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.