All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

It looks like it is 50 degrees, but it is only 19

Greetings, readers. Sitting here in my chair by my living room window gazing out at the construction site and the Days Inn behind it, the sun and blue sky make it appear as though it could be a nice warm day. In reality, it is only 25 degrees F. When I left for coffee this morning at 7:30, it was a balmy 19. Tee-shirt, hoodie, down coat, knit hat, and gloves was mandatory outer wear. Even as a child I hated getting dressed up like a polar bear just to go outside without catching pneumonia. Yes, readers, appearances can be deceiving, for the high is only expected to be 32 degrees at 3:00pm.

As I’m dictating, clouds are thickening. According to the weather forecast, this was supposed to be a “partly sunny day.” I suppose this still qualifies. I know sometimes at camp in Maine, it can be cloudy in the morning, yet the afternoon can be sunny and beautiful.

On to another topic, which I will call mini technology grrrr, last evening I was looking for a baseball game for the laptop which is mostly an app for iPhones. I found it, but do you think I could download the damn thing? Finally I had to stop to go to sleep. I will try again another day. The game is called 9 Innings Baseball and when I play it on my iPhone it is awesome. The graphics are unbelievable. Yes, readers, you know me, I am a big kid at heart and love my baseball and football games, a.k.a. simulations. Some of them are so complex you need a PhD just to operate them. I’m not certain if it will happen in my lifetime, but one of these years I think a Star Trek type holodeck will be invented and you could magically appear in any baseball stadium or local ball field you want, and enjoy watching any two teams you can imagine. Boy, I hope that does happens in my lifetime. If I’m ever lost, you would know where to find me.

Finally, prayers go out to anyone affected by the cold snap from Canada to central Texas. Two words for you people … bundle up. Please remember to check on family and neighbors, and don’t forget the elderly and the homeless.

Speaking of the homeless, next Wednesday’s blog entry will be on this topic. I think it will be a good post. Until then, take care, have a great week, love one another, and happy reading.

Times are a changin’

Greetings, readers. The nine-year stint of Rebecca and I working together will be coming to a sad end at the end of this year. Many factors on both sides have made this the only logical choice. Fear not, blog readers. While I might not post new entries twice a week, I won’t be closing the blog down either. As well, Rebecca asked me if she could add an occasional From Rebecca from time to time in the next year. Obviously, I said yes.

I’ve been going through a rough patch recently. A very sweet young lady – a server at Bear Spring Camps for many years – was hit by a car in Florida and killed a few days ago. It made me wonder: A wonderful person with her whole life in front of her is called home and I, a gamer and absolute loafer, continues to walk the planet. Hmm. I don’t see the justice in that. Probably I’ll get to live to be 106, playing baseball video games right up to the end.

A high school classmate of mine is back in the hospital and not doing well. Pinky, you have to make it, Kid. I’m not ready to add your name to the curse of the class of ’83. I’m praying for you constantly.

It is a beautiful sunny day here in central Pennsylvania, yet cold. There is nary a cloud in the sky. The days of 60º F are gone until springtime, I’m afraid. I must say with climate change we were warmer here longer in the fall season than in years past. I will take it.

I cannot believe that we are getting to the home stretch of the Penn State football season, and just past the mid-point of the NFL season. It truly feels like the older I get, the faster time seems to go. That is probably because the majority of my years are behind me. I’m not that young kid anymore who could run around and play sports. Hell, with my knees I couldn’t even run to a bus.

Now, readers, as you know I am not one for conspiracy theories. The other day I was doing errands with a friends and I saw something weird in the sky. I can only describe them as chem trails, a term I learned from a former friend that meant she thought the government was spraying chemicals in the air. I hope never to see another cloud like that again. It was definitely not a vapor trail from a jet liner at 33,000 feet. I know the difference. This was low and perfectly curved, as though it would fit around a big pipe. As Arte Johnson on Laugh-In would say, “Verrry interesting.”

Lastly, I’m still getting used to my new smart phone … very slowly, and thanks to the winning costume at the Halloween party, I won a Kindle Fire. That’s right folks, I went from having a dumb phone to having two smart devices in a week. There will be a learning curve. I must say though, I am enjoying both gizmos.

 

Me at the 2019 Halloween Party as C3PO at Addison Court Apartments. I won the contest!
Me at the 2019 Halloween Party at Addison Court Apartment as C3PO. I won the contest!

 

That’s it for today. I can’t guarantee a blog entry for the weekend as you know, but I will try. We’ll be working together until the end of the year, so until next Wednesday, take care, have a great week, love one another, and as always, happy reading.

I have come into the modern age

Greetings, readers. I don’t have the newest iPhone, the 11, but I did score the iPhone 10 for a very good price at Target. I’m still learning all its features and how to use them, and how not to get caught in paying for every little app that I look at. I tried to download CNN, which a neighbor told me is absolutely free, and before I knew it I was asked to supply credit card information. I don’t think so! Tomorrow I will go back to the store where I bought the phone and ask if this is normal. It may very well be that all the “free” apps are billable after a certain trail period. I have a 2g plan and I am hoping that it is enough to check an occasional email as well as a quick bit of internet searching. I have my trusty laptop for the bulk of that.

Yes, it is going to take several days, if not weeks, to learn all that this phone can do, what apps if any are truly free, and how to FaceTime someone. The phone did not come with a stellar instruction booklet; these days I think you are just supposed to look it up online. My friend, Smith, gave me a wonderful pen with a stylus on the end so that my greasy fingers won’t be smearing the screen all the time. Thanks and kudos to her.

There is a possibility that I will get my job back at the old fast food place I used to work. It will do me good to get out of the apartment and earning money again, however I must say I’m worried about my feet and hips. I hope they can take the pressure. I’m going to have to look for a Dr. Scholl’s foot machine and try to get a comfy insole to cushion my feet. That would help a lot.

My books are not selling very much. I did get one sale for one of them this last week. As we all know, $1.09 will not pay the rent. Lol. It would take a lot of $1.09s to even come close.

Very briefly, here is an update on the new building next door. They are starting to lay the red bricks on the outside and it is really starting to look nice. I have seen a drawing of what it is supposed to look like when it’s finished. It is a gorgeous looking building. Right now, not so much. Wouldn’t it be nice if a fast food chain moved in to the first floor? I could work there and be steps from home at the end of a shift.

Tomorrow there is a costume party for Halloween. I am going as C-3PO. I shall endeaver to put a blog entry up Sunday or Monday complete with at least one picture of said costume; if I can’t figure out how to do that with the new phone, we will post it next Wednesday. Until then, have a great few days, take care, love one another, and as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite movies

Greetings, readers. It has been a long time since we have done a top ten list and as mentioned before my favorite movies seems to be a good topic. The choice for #1, 2, and 3 are in order, the rest are not so much. So here we go.

#10. The Village – 2004. [Bryce Dallas Howard gave a remarkable performance as Ivy Walker, the blind heroine who had to overcome her fears and travel to the town to get medicine to save her fiancée’s life.]

#9. Smokey and the Bandit – 1977. [Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jerry Reed did a marvelous job in their roles respectively. This movie, as well as two others in this list, came out in the era before VHS tapes. I went to see this film 13 consecutive Friday nights in the theater. I laughed and cheered every time.]

#8. King Kong – 1976. [This is another one of these movies that I saw multiple times. This film fascinated me. This was the first film that Jessica Lange appeared in and she did very well. The special effects were above average in my opinion. Another note is that it was held over four times and was at our theatre for 56 big weeks. I saw it ten consecutive weeks.]

#7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977. [As a young teenager I was fascinated by UFOs. I loved the cast’s performances and of course I was naïve enough to actually think there was a UFO landing strip behind Devil’s Tower. I saw this film weekly all 12 weeks it was playing in town.]

#6. Green Book – 2018. [I saw this film only once during a Monday afternoon film festival with a friend. It was one of those of films that you never want to end. I loved it from the first scene to the last. It told the true story of a Black musician in the 1960s who went on tour and eventually became the victim of bigotry and racism. The scene that affected me the most was when this African-American gentlemen was told he could change and eat in the broom closet.]

#5. Star Wars: A New Hope – 1977. [Anyone who was a science-fiction buff at that time would have loved this picture. As the film starts with the now-famous line, ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …’ it leads to the feeling that anything is possible. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford give wonderful performances as well does Sir Alec Guinness.]

#4. The African Queen – 1951. [I saw this film a few weeks ago when I rented it from our public library. I had heard about it for years but had never seen it. Boy, had I missed a good one all these years. It was my first Humphrey Bogart picture and both he and the impeccable Katharine Hepburn were amazing. That is a picture that I would highly recommend to anyone and I intend to watch it again soon.]

#3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – 1982. [Ricardo Montalban said in an interview once that he had to re-watch the original episode “Space Seed” to learn how to get back into his character. It worked. He gave a masterful performance as the villain Khan. After Star Trek: The Motion Picture was more or less a bust, the folks at Star Trek know that this second film had to be a blockbuster, and it was. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not seen it.]

#2. Cleopatra – 1963. [The 1963 version of Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor has fascinated me for years. Liz gave a stellar performance as did Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. It was the most expensive film made to that date, and if I have heard correctly, it actually lost money because of it. SPOILER ALERT: From the opening of the film to the intermission shortly after Caeser’s death is a marvelous and exciting motion picture. The film took on an entirely different feel in the second half, and I have never been able to stay awake through it. A real snoozer. I tried the entire film straight through as well as with a break; same outcome. I loved part one, didn’t really care for part two. Her performance is what ranks this movie so high.]

#1. On Golden Pond – 1981. [My favorite movie of all time, it stars Katharine Hepburn with Henry and Jane Fonda. The writer of the play On Golden Pond, Ernest Thompson has a cabin somewhere on Great Pond in Maine and it is rumored that Golden Pond and Great Pond are one and the same. The film was shot on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and it really captured the essence and beauty of Great Pond. I have seen that film probably over 100 times.]

If I ever do a part two of this favorite movies list, George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol will certainly be on it. That is a list to think about.

There’s our list for today. Please chime in on Facebook or here in the comments section with your list. Let’s get a debate going.

I shall try extremely hard to put up a blog entry this Sunday or Monday. So until then, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

Cloudy rainy day and I feel blue

Greetings, readers. After several days of sunny weather, central Pennsylvania is in the midst of a chilly damp rainy day. My just operated-on-shoulder is letting me know it, with painful twinges. Most people prefer sunshine, which provides everyone with much needed vitamin D.

I am also in a melancholy mood because I found out some not so great news on my monetary status. I am poorer than a I thought I was. I knew very well that I wasn’t rich, but things are not as rosy as I had hoped. I might very well have to get memory foam in my shoes and try to get my fast food job back. A night-time manager that likes me very much would, I think, re-hire me on the spot. I’m not desperate enough to play lottery tickets just yet, but … that day may come.

On to the Pittsburgh Steelers, back-up quarterback Devlin Hodges performed well in Sunday’s night win over the Chargers. That makes us 2-4 and we still have a chance to make the playoffs. If Mason Rudolph clears concussion protocol, we’ll see if he gets the start in the next game. The Steelers have a bye week coming up. A lot of my NFL teams are tanking this year. I do like the Cleveland Browns, simply because they have been so horrid for so long. Someone has to root for them. And the Philadelphia Eagles lost this past Sunday. I thought they would be a stronger team. We’re a couple of weeks away from the season’s mid-point and it will be interesting to see which teams turn it around.

Note to our readers: There will not be a Sunday blog entry this weekend, but look for one next Wednesday and the following Sunday. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will post a long overdue Top Ten List. We haven’t done one of those in ages.

Continued prayers go out to all who need it all over the world. I keep praying for people to give peace a chance and things just seem to be getting worse. I would not like to think that this is the biblical end times, but only the Lord knows. I’ll make a statement right now: If it is, I’m ready.

That’s it for today. I’ll have to hunt down my umbrella, I have errands to do this afternoon. So until next time, take care, have a fantastic week, and happy reading.

Construction woes and I’m losing my view

Greetings, readers. My view is almost gone. The monstrosity which I call the apartment building next door is almost equal to the height of my apartment building. Ninety-five percent of the view that I took this apartment for is gone. I can no longer see Beaver Stadium, the baseball field, the hospital, or Mount Nittany mountain. Next 4th of July I might be able to see the highest of the fireworks, perhaps not. I am not a happy camper.

I must say, this construction team has made remarkable progress the last couple of months. As far as I can tell, only a couple more floors remain to be built. Then all work will be concentrated on the inside, including plumbing, lighting, and floor plans. I will be very happy when all the workers are inside and that massive crane is dismantled and gone. On windy days they can’t lock it down and it turns into a weather vane.

It is set to open next August, with the underground parking area in the back. Right now there is an alley in the back next to a hotel’s restaurant. Unless they change something dramatically I have three words for you: can you say massive traffic congestion? Somehow I don’t think this plan was thought out very well. Another thing I will be happy to get rid of is the constant beeping of the trucks backing up. They deliver steel, cinder blocks, and concrete for the floors. Every truck that delivers must back up to get out. Whatever happened to peace and quiet? Welcome to a construction zone.

I see a bunch of workers coming down as I am dictating this on Wednesday to be posted on Sunday. It must be their lunch break. Yay. A half hour of relative quiet. I’ve heard confession is good for the soul so here it goes: I suppose when this building is finished with the sidewalk, trees, and entrance in place it will look beautiful. From all the pictures I’ve seen though, I don’t see us getting our parking lot back. That would perturb a lot of people.

R.I.P.s go out to actress Diahann Carroll and actor/comedian Rip Taylor. Both were extremely popular and will be sorely missed.

I saw the winter forecast on the internet yesterday and one major source, a map from Accuweather, had stormy conditions from Virginia all the way to Maine. This is not good news for people with walkers like me. I see plenty of mornings this winter going to Traci’s for coffee. Here’s a novel thought, I might even make coffee here at home.

By the time this blog entry appears Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be well on their way to being 1-5 … oh, did I really say that? I should support my team better than that. However with the lack of a running game and a third string quarterback starting for us, we have to cross our fingers and toes.

Well, this entry will be set up to post live on Sunday at 3:00pm Eastern Time. If I forget to post it on Facebook, most of you will see it on Monday.

Until next Wednesday, take care of yourself, love one another, and happy reading.

Oopsie, I forgot, my bad

Greetings, readers. This is the first of two blog entries I will write today, for I completely failed to post one as promised this past weekend. I got so wrapped up with football and other events. For the time being my plan is to do a blog entry for Wednesdays and one to post on Sundays every week.

Unfortuanantly my writing projects have stalled again, but hope springs eternal. I’m having a dinner meeting with my co-creator to discuss project number two. I think when I take more detailed notes, I will be able to get a much better start. I tried to write the ending she wanted first, which was a tactic I used in a very successful writing project of my own many years ago. That decision failed miserably this time around. I’m going to have to pick my co-author’s brain for character traits and start at the beginning.

Over the last week and a half, I’ve tried to keep my creative brain moving by watching three films from the library: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Rebecca’s highly recommended film Invincible; and the classic, The African Queen. Invincible, about Vince Papale of the 1970s Philadelphia Eagles team, was a feel good story and highly inspirational. You have to love those true stories. STII is still considered the best Star Trek film. I saw in an interview, with Ricardo Montalban, that for the first two weeks of rehearsal he was reading the lines like Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island; he had to go back and watch the original series Star Trek episode “Space Seed” to get back into the character of Khan. And believe or not, The African Queen is my first Humphrey Bogart film, you can’t do better than Bogart and Hepburn.

Watching STII inspired me to go to YouTube and re-watch all of the episodes in the Star Trek fan fiction series called Star Trek Continues, which was produced by Vic Mignogna. Vic does a better William Shatner’s version of Kirk than William Shatner did. Amazing. Too bad Paramount shut them down. Their reason was copywrite infringement. I think it was because they were too good.

On to sports news, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-4 and barely have a pulse. Quarterback Mason Rudolph was clobbered by two of the Baltimore Ravens’ players and got knocked senseless. It didn’t help matters that he had to walk with help into the clubhouse because the cart broke down. A black mark for the Heinz Field staff.

Staying within our division, the Cleveland Browns got pummeled 31-3 by the San Francisco 49ers Monday night, thus rendering the AFC North the weakest division in the NFL. When a team is 1-4 and they still have a good chance to make the playoffs, that is a sad division.

That’s going to wrap up blog entry number one, for our weekly meeting is going to take place any minute. This entry will go live today. Entry number two will be written today and will be scheduled to go live on Sunday afternoon. Again, I apologize for my faux pau. In a week or two’s time, I shall try to find a time of day that I can pump out a Sunday entry by myself.

Until next time, take care, have a great few days, love one another, and happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps is officially closed for the season. :-(

Greetings, readers. October 1st is not my favorite day of the year, for it marks the official closing of Bear Spring Camps for the season. Every camper for now must begin to dream about next year’s vacation. We have a wonderful Bear Spring Camps Facebook page which helps a lot. There guests can write about their experiences and put up pictures and videos. My favorite video was Parade of the Loons. Whoever put that one up … thank you!

Now the lakeside attendants, formally known as cabin boys, are busy at work winterizing and closing the cabins. They will make note of any major repairs that need done before next May’s opening day.  When I was a youngster, one of my dreams was to be a Bear Spring Camps cabin boy. Then I saw just how hard they worked and somehow know that my weak arms would not be up to the task. I think I remember helping to bail out boats after a rain storm once or twice in my early teenage years.

Very soon, if not already, Peg and Ron Churchill will be off to where they winter. Their son Spencer will be there throughout the cold months to keep an eye on the place and they have an associate who helps out as needed.

Am I getting depressed as we type this blog entry? Maybe melancholy would be a better word. I always enjoy the spring and summer knowing the camp is open, even though I am only there for a week in August. A couple of years ago, someone posted a picture of the lane down to the cabins completely covered with a foot and a half of snow; I definitely would not want to draw the task of plowing the lane. I imagine that a plow would be attached to one of the old trucks and slowly but surely they would inch down the drive until all of it was plowed. And yikes if they got stuck.

Do I already have dreams of next year? Of course. Every good Bear Spring Camper does. As I’ve said before, with my monetary situation being what it is, I don’t see myself going for that many more years, but gosh darn it, I’m going as long as I can. We did post photos from this year’s camp experience, for those of you who wish to take a look.

On a side note, yay for the Pittsburgh Steelers! They finally won their first game of the season. With the score of 27-3, if appears that the young quarterback had a half-decent game, for it is going to be Mason Rudolph the rest of the way … unless he gets hurt. Also, on a baseball note, congratulations to the Washington Nationals for winning the National League wildcard game. I’ve read on social media folks talk about extending the wild card game to a best-out-of-three series. I would vote yes for that. To play a whole season and have it shattered by one bad game just doesn’t sit well with me.

Since we’ve talked about Bear Spring Camps for the most part in this entry, this will be linked to the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page. I hope you all enjoy.

As always, prayers go out to those who need it.

Look for a new blog entry either Sunday evening or Monday. Remember, it is football season and I love my football.

Take care, have a wonderful few days, love one another, and as always, happy reading.

Sunday evening blog tentatively set to begin again October 6th

Greetings, readers. Yes, folks, it has been too long now not having two blog entries up per week. If the truth be told, I was going to wait until football season was over, but I think I shall try to sneak in an entry on late Sunday afternoons or evenings. My readers have come to expect two blog entries a week and as you know we aim to please.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will know I am trying to shake a cold right now. I just got finished telling Rebecca that I feel perfectly fine but sound very stuffy. If I hadn’t felt terrible two days ago, I might have actually called this an allergy attack. Remember it is fall here in central Pennsylvania. Happy second day of fall!

It is a gorgeous day here, nary a cloud in the sky. The new building next door is being worked on in earnest. They have five stories complete on my end of the building and four stories on the end closer to Beaver Ave. Completion date is set for next August, so quite soon the plumbing, lights, and the electrics will have to be put in. That means that the outside of the building must be completed first. It seems like only yesterday they were using the jack hammers to excavate for the foundation.

I saw a marked improvement in the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend though they lost. Mason Rudolph was a wonderful young quarterback and I’m hoping he gets his first win this Monday night at home vs the Cincinnati Bengals. Other NFL surprises are the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. The Bills are 3-0??? And the hapless Redskins are 0-3. I think Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden will be ousted if he loses to the New York Giants on Sunday.

In other sports news, the baseball playoffs are just around the corner. The Pittsburgh Pirates will not be in it, so I’ll take a quick glance to see if there are any other teams I am interested in rooting for before investing my time.

While watching NFL football, I have seen advertisements for new and returning TV series’. I’ve got to tell ya, I can’t say that I am truly dying to see any of them. If I really wish to see something there is always that beautiful invention called On Demand. With my new writing project now well under way (yay!) I think I shall watch TV catch-as-catch-can on Demand. I love Xfinity and its cable box.

Continued prayers go out to all who need it.

That’s all the news from here. Until next Wednesday, have a good week, take care, and happy reading.

A year to appreciate State College, and what’s up with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Greetings, readers. I am going to thoroughly enjoy this coming ‘year’ – from August until late July – in the local area I’ve known since I was a child, paying special attention to each and every holiday. I didn’t do much for Labor Day, though obviously I was aware of it. The next holiday I will take part in is Halloween. I always loved it as a child and fully intend to watch the State College Halloween parade. I missed it last year, darn it.

Before I make it sound like I am going to die next year, I’ll share with you my tentative plan. There is a possibility, which has grown stronger with each passing year, that I may move to New Jersey, close to where David and family are. Another option would be to move to California and keep my Aunt Marilyn company. Although I have many friends here in State College, PA. my desire to live out the remainder of my days in this area is waning. I just feel like I am in a rut. Every time I try to get out of it I slide right back into it. So …

I will take extra pleasure on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The holidays have always been my favorite time of the year. I will make certain to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and I will find a Christmas Yule Log presentation somewhere (we don’t get the TV station WPIX New York anymore, darn it.) And, of course, I will find some way to obtain a vehicle to partake of my Christmas Light Ride.

Something to share with you now folks, I asked Rebecca if I was having trouble focusing on today’s blog, and she said yes, so I slapped myself; literally. It was a wee bit harder than I wanted it to be. I’ll mark that down in my book of things to tell my therapist next time.

On to something else now, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in deep trouble. With Ben Roethlisberger out for the season it is up to Mason Rudolph to step in and carry the load. He looked good in Sunday’s game, though it was a losing effort. The Seattle Seahawks were just a little bit better. Our biggest problem is our defense. It needs to firm up. Right now, it can’t stop a toy John Deere tractor. Perhaps a new defensive coordinator is in order.

Yes, folks, I’ve been watching a lot of football the first two weeks of the NFL season, and I’m shocked that the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets are each 0-2. Am I going to abandon my Pittsburgh Steelers team? Heck no. The way things are now I only see us winning 6 games or so. The upside of that is they might get better draft choices for next season. I hate to see anyone’s career end, but Ben … it might be time to pass the torch to the youngster.

Prayers go out to EVERYBODY who is facing a natural disaster or a personal challenge.

Until next Wednesday, have a great week, take care of each other, and happy reading.