All posts by josesphmkockelmans

About josesphmkockelmans

Lots of fascinating things about me to come soon.

The internet has made me brain dead

Greetings, readers. Computers and the internet were created to make our lives easier and they have. In the process, however, I think they have turned my brain into oatmeal. Yesterday, I went to look up something in a search box on the Google homepage and before I could type it in I had forgotten what I was going to look up. OMG!

Now I know I’m no spring chicken any more, but if I can’t hold a thought for more than three seconds you might as well put brown sugar on my brain, add a little milk, and eat it. This is how I remember things being when I was a child.

If I needed to have a phone number, I went to something called the phone book with white and yellow pages and looked it up. Then I called out on something now called a landline phone. And in my earliest years, I put my finger in the little hole and used the rotary dial. Now, I bring up a name on my cell phone with a pre-loaded number and it auto-dials it. No fuss, no muss, no remembering phone numbers. If my mom wanted to cook or bake something she used something called a cook book and read it off the page. Today you go on your phone or tablet, punch in the recipe and read it from there. Also there are gizmos like Alexa that can talk to you via the internet and probably give you your cooking instructions. Another thing I used to do by myself is drive a car. Readers, as scary as this sounds, there are now cars that can basically drive themselves. Two words for you: No way! I’m going to be in control of any car that I drive. “Oh, but it is safer.” Yes, but if it breaks down and you think it is still working, then you better start digging your grave. You get my point.

When I was little I used to play something called a record made of vinyl. Then we switched to 8-tracks, cassettes, and eventually CDs. But now with companies such as iTunes and Spotify, you pay $9.99 a month and all your music is at your fingertips on phone, tablet or laptop.

I recently watched an episode of the X-Files from this brand new season where Scully and Mulder were eating in this restaurant run completely by machines. Mulder inserts his credit card and decided to not leave a tip because his meal wasn’t prepared correctly. All the sudden they find themselves prisoners in the café, have to break out, and spend the rest of the episode evading machines trying to get them. I’m going to have to watch the episode again because I really don’t understand why they were in Asia in these ultra modern houses where everything was run by computer.

Now let me explain something to you before I go much further. Do I use and enjoy any of these modern amenities? Absolutely. We couldn’t have done this blog without the internet. We would have had to put our thoughts down in book form or written articles for a newspaper. In the past, we would remember facts and figures either by writing them down or memorizing them, and children actually had to bring pencil and paper to school. Now in some places I’ve heard you can’t attend class unless you own a laptop. Have we actually begun to enter the Star Trek/Jetsons era? I suppose it is inevitable. In that respect I admire the Amish and the Mennonites. They try to keep it as simple as they can.

This afternoon, I have to go pick up two baseball tickets I purchased via the internet; yes, it is convenient. I am taking a friend of mine to a State College Spikes minor league game. Even in the age of the internet, we still have personal interactions.

Next week will go like this. Wednesday will be a regular day and Thursday I will have a doctor’s appointment, so I will dictate a blog via speech recognition to be edited later. I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

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Eight copies of the new book ordered for trip to camp

Greetings, readers. I know that eight copies of Four’s a Crowd doesn’t sound like many, but this novel is about 300 pages long and I can’t load the trunk of the car down with boxes and boxes of books. I’m going to solve that problem by bringing plenty of business cards as a backup. The cards arrived this morning and are perfect. I’ve not made up my mind yet whether I’m going to charge my Bear Spring Camps family the full price of $14.99 or the discount price of $10.00. I am leaning towards the discount price, but I will have to clear that with the co-author Darren Taylor.

I little something about Amazon.com. As it stands now, the book is three selections down from the top of the page. None of us knew that Four’s a Crowd was the title of an old film. That is first on the list. Scroll down until you see a yellow book with a toppled wedding cake. That’s our book. I am confused by a list of booksellers on the side of the page saying they are selling copies of the book, new and used, for many different prices. I happen to know that we have sold only one copy through Amazon, to someone we know, so they do not really have any printed copies to sell. Upon ordering, a copy will be made just for the buyer, from CreateSpace, so there is no warehouse with a lot of copies gathering dust. There is no hard copy version, since the print-on-demand version for this book only comes in soft cover. The list price is $14.99, so if you see any other price listed right now, it didn’t come from us.

The idea to make business cards just for this project was one of our better ideas. They look ultra professional and have all the information you need, including a short book blurb on the back. The blurb reads: “This is the story of an elderly couple who moves in with their son and his wife. When Alice begins to have health issues, it makes life difficult for the Detmore family. Join them in their journey through this period of trial and tribulation.”

I cannot believe that it is almost camp time once again. I’ll leave in only a couple of weeks. Good God, as Norman Thayer would say. I am going to have to update my list of things to take … which luckily I found on the computer … and check off all my items. Mom’s binoculars are going, as is the Yahtzee game, a copy of the novel for me to read, and most importantly, the computer. If I have any good ideas for writing projects, I can work on those in the evenings.

Speaking of writing, as soon as the blog is published, Rebecca and I are going to work on a list of ideas for a TV pilot script that I am thinking about writing. I’ve been watching shows On Demand lately and finding all kinds of good things. Then I get depressed, thinking, gee, why couldn’t I think of that? Maybe I’ll come up with the next blockbuster hit. Maybe I’ll call it the Y-Files. Lol.

Okay, that is what is happening today. Sorry this entry is up a little later than usual, but due to a morning’s doctor appointment our schedule was altered. There will be a new entry up tomorrow, so until then, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

Brand new business cards were just ordered and other topics

Greetings, readers. I’m very happy to announce that for a really reasonable price I have designed and ordered brand new business cards exclusively for the novel Four’s a Crowd. I think they look really sharp and will be here by the 24th. I will be able to do some scouting around to see who wants one. We have the pertinent information on the front and a little blurb about the book on the back. I think it is just enough to get people interested. The book is for sale right now at Amazon.com for $14.99.

This is one of my first attempts to try to stir the pot for this new book. I’m sure I’ll come up with other ideas as well. Darren is doing his part in spreading the word as he can when he and Rebecca are shopping or doing other errands. My motto is, every person you tell, could tell another person and the ball could get rolling that way. It is said that word of mouth is the best way to advertise.

There is a book fair at our local arts festival this weekend. Depending on hot it is outside, I might get to the book fair. I’m not one to stand out in the heat too long. I do plan on offering the library a copy or two for their collection. I forget whether they have a local author’s section, but if so that is where it would go. I cannot say enough about this book and how pleased I am on how it turned out. Darren’s work enhanced my story and made the novel complete, while retaining the true essence of my play, Kimberly.

On to something different, I found out yesterday, after the blog entry was posted, that the TV show LA to Vegas has been cancelled. Boo-hoo. Granted it was not the best show in the world, but if you wanted 22 minutes of a good laugh, it did nicely. I guess I’m going to have to find another show to watch, for I don’t think that On Demand keeps cancelled shows on for very long.

Speaking of TV shows, I’ve also been watching Gotham and the reincarnation of the The X-Files. Until the end of September, all seasons are On Demand. I used to watch The X-Files re-runs years ago and was really into it, and then as usual other shows came along. I ended my viewing evening with a couple of episodes of 9-1-1. I found out something extremely interesting during one of the episodes. A dumb-butt guy pilot dude thought it would be romantic to propose to his girl-friend by faking an on-plane emergency while having her read the handbook. Half-way through she got to the proposal part and went into what looked like a heart attack. When they got on the ground and paramedics arrived, it just so happened that said character was taking a medication that I am on, that causes heart palpitations, which I had. How cool is that? I am going to re-watch that episode, write down the name of that drug, and if I am still on it, get off it if at all possible.

Okay, there is my all over the place blog entry today. I enjoy writing these multi-topic blog entries now and then. I’m still trying to come up with a good idea for a top ten list, which I promise will be before I go to camp. Until next Wednesday, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

LA to Vegas – a diamond in the rough

Greetings, readers. I don’t very often watch shows on Demand, but a couple of months ago I caught the pilot episode … no pun intended … of LA to Vegas on Fox. I watched the first episode of this show and thought, How stupid, and didn’t give it another look. The other night I had nothing to do and thought, you know what, let’s go back and give that show a fair shake. I’m very glad I did. As the title says, it is a diamond in the rough.

The premise is quite simple. It is the cabin crew of four, a pilot, co-pilot, and two flight attendants, flying their regulars from L.A. to Las Vegas on Friday and back again on Sunday, on the fictitious Jackpot Airlines. On any given episode, as in most shows, the story will center around one character’s goings on, such as flight attendant Ronnie getting kicked out of her apartment, or Captain Dave not being able to fly because of a broken wrist. Although the 737 is full of passengers, there are a handful of frequent flyers. I shall now describe a few of them.

There is Nicole the stripper, who’s been lying to her mother about going to school while she works in a strip dance club on the weekend for extra money. She is sweet, smart, and very attractive. She is played by Olivia Macklin. Then there is Artern, played by Peter Stormare. I’ll be honest I don’t know if that is his true accent or not so I won’t even hazard to guess, but he is the bookie-loan shark character who is always getting into everyone else’s business. Even though that sounds like a bad thing, he can be kind, helpful at times, and is generally harmless. Next is flight attendant Ronnie. She is played by Kim Matula. She is my favorite character – and no, not just for her physique. Everyone turns to Ronnie to help them solve their problems, and she always puts herself second and comes to their rescue.

The other major players are co-pilot Alan played by Amir Talai, flight attendant Bernard, passenger Colin played by Ed Weeks, and last but not least good old Captain Dave played by Dylan McDermott. Yes, they do only use first names on this show. Alan lacks self-confidence of any kind. Colin the Brit likes to keep to himself but always ends up caught up in the middle of something. Bernard, the flight attendant, openly gay, is actually one of my favorite characters. He’s strong, knows what he wants, and is brilliantly played by Nathan Lee Graham. Last but not least, there is the arrogant, oozing with confidence Captain Dave, who thinks he is God’s gift to everything. This is where my title comes in to play the most. I cannot emphasis enough how much I hated this character in the pilot episode, but by the season finale he had mellowed and realized that this cast of characters were his family, whom he cared about. If you like Dylan McDermott, you will like this show. I gave the pilot a 0, but after watching all of season one, I give the series a solid 7-and-a-half stars out of 10. It is well worth a watch.

There is my entry for today. Until tomorrow, I hope you enjoy, stay cool if you are in the heat, and as always, happy reading.

The bowstring is wearing thin

Greetings, readers. Alexander Pope once said, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Oh, how true that statement is. And I ought to know, for I have erred quite a bit in my lifetime. From my failure to develop strong study habits, to my poor choices of girlfriends, from bad business decisions, and bad personal decisions, it seems as though my life so far has been a comedy of errors. There’s only one problem, life is not a comedy.

I have been trying very hard to forgive all my errors and, so far, with little success. I know, I know, we can be our own worst critic. However, on the 13th of this month, I will turn 53 years old and I have very little to show for it. There I go again, sounding like a stuck record. My bellyaching began with the blog entry, ‘Life doesn’t have a reset button’ and went downhill from there. Let’s review some of my minor failures.

I never learned to cook. So, I either have to microwave the simplest of concoctions, or go out to eat my meals. I never learned the art of being a good boyfriend … whatever that art is. I am zero for seven. What a stellar batting average. I wrecked my vehicle trying to play Mr. Nice Guy, when everybody told me not to. Now I have no car. Gee, the bowstring on my violin is fraying.

Okay, fair is fair. Let’s review some of my accomplishments. This should prove interesting. I have authored three small books and one play. I can care for myself reasonably well and stay within a reasonable resemblance of the budget. I have held down two part-time jobs in my adult life, the second not quite over. I have kept in touch with many friends and family, and have had two pets while being on my own. Let’s sum up. Well I’ll be damned. Although I did not list every good and bad point, the score actually came out to be five to four in favor of the accomplishments. Did I do that subconsciously, to bolster my own ego? Just like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop commercial … One may never know.

Looking back upon my blog entries, I just saw that the blog topic I was going to write about next Wednesday has already been done, and done well at that. So, I shall devise a brand-new topic for next Wednesday. I hope all of you had a splendid Fourth of July. I trust it was safe and, besides the fireworks, event free.

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

From Rebecca: Happy 4th of July 2018

Happy 4th of July to everyone who is celebrating our nation’s birthday! Happy Wednesday to all the readers from other nations! I hope all our readers are having a great day.

This is a stressful and chaotic time for the United States of America right now, but today is a reminder that our country started with a brave and daring gamble that people would govern themselves. It required individual states to work together to form one nation, with a balance of power. This country has had ups and downs, times of great strife and times of calm harmony, and through it all we keep heading toward the promise of that beginning, the promise of freedom for all of us.

Happy Birthday, the United States of America!

Three copies of our new book are headed to the local bookstore today

Greetings, readers. Yesterday afternoon a box arrived at my door containing three copies of Four’s a Crowd. As soon as we are done editing and posting this blog entry, Rebecca and I are going to mosey across the street to Webster’s Bookstore and Café. The owner has let me sell my books on consignment there before and one of her employees said that they would take three copies of Darren and my new book. I am hoping we will get a sale or two from that bookstore. That would be awesome. [Update, later this same day: We left two copies of the novel at Webster’s Bookstore and Café. If those sell out, more copies can be ordered. They were very nice to us.]

Next week, Rebecca and I are going to ponder ways to locally push the book. I know a couple of people in my building who belong to book clubs. If I can talk someone into choosing our book for the club, perhaps every member would purchase a copy. That would be awesome! There is also the local library, where we will ask them to put a copy in circulation. At this point I am trying anything I can to get the word out there. In my opinion, Four’s a Crowd is a winner and would be a good read for anyone. There is a little bit of mild violence, cuss words, and sexual innuendo, but nothing too outrageous. I wouldn’t recommend it for little kids, but I would for any adult.

Now briefly on to other news. I am mentally making plans for the rest of the summer and beyond. I am getting advice from all fronts of what I should do and it is only confusing me more. My feet and legs have responded to the summer off to rest but not as much as I hoped.

Next week one of things that Rebecca and I must do is make contact with the family overseas and other family friends. I tend to be lax in that area. Sometimes I think my cousin Wino (pronounced Wee-no) has given up on me.

Lastly, a welcome and thank you to any new readers who are checking out the blog for the first time. We love our readers and treasure you. I hope each and every one of you finds something that you like. Please chime in with comments if you have a topic you would like us to cover. Bear in mind, I don’t blog on politics much; for me that is a sticky wicket.

Well there you have it folks, today’s entry. Rebecca and I will be taking off work next Wednesday, the Fourth of July. Rebecca will put a blog entry up that day, and we will be back together working on Thursday. So until then, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Belated RIP to one of my favorite New York Yankee voices

Greetings, readers. When I watched New York Yankee baseball in the 1970s and early 80s there were many great voices. There was the trio of Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, and Frank Messer. I loved all three and they worked well together, but they weren’t my favorite. My favorite voice of the New York Yankees was the pubic address announcer with that wonderfully distinct voice, Bob Sheppard. From 1951 through 2007, he announced generations of New York Yankees players to the fans in the stands, on the radio and on WPIX television.

With his rich deep voice, he would so eloquently announce each player. It was as though he was making each batter feel like he was the most important player on the team. It would go something like this, “Now batting … the shortstop number 2, Derek Jeter … number 2.”  Players from Jeter to Jorge Posada to Reggie Jackson all had their names called in that wonderfully unique way.

I watched many baseball games from other teams and no pubic address announcer has caught my attention nearly as much as Bob Sheppard. I rank him right up there with legendary sportscasters Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, and Dick Enberg.

I was surprised to learn through his 2010 obit on the MLB website that he had called Yankees baseball games since the 50s. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Thurman Munson, and Bunky Dent had their names called by Mr. Sheppard. My two favorite moments were these: When the old Yankee stadium closed – Sheppard might have already been retired by then – he came on the P.A. system to a roaring crowd to say he hoped to see everyone at the new Yankee stadium. My other favorite moment was when he announced the great shortstop Jeter’s final all-star game at bat.

Mr. Sheppard, you will always be a bright spot in my childhood growing up watching Yankees baseball and I thank you for all those years of legendary P.A. work. I’m sure I’m not the only Yankees fan who echoes my sentiments. So to you sir, may you continue to rest in peace.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My summer writing schedule so far

Greetings, readers. Although I have had a number of good ideas for writing projects, getting words on the page are like pulling teeth. I yank and yank and yank, and then say oh, look, there is one sentence. Back in my 30s, before all my petit mal seizures, my creativity was much better. Ideas just flowed. I’m not certain if I really do have brain damage because of the seizures, but I feel as though I do. My medications work fine for what they are meant for but they may dampen my creative process as well.

The other day I started the sequel to Four’s a Crowd and got about a page down on the computer. I don’t know if it was because I was using the speech recognition program, or the outside noise at the time, or if something else was in the way, but words would not come easily, even with these characters that I know so well. I must admit that depressed me for the rest of the day. Kimberly, Lyle, and the rest of the Four’s a Crowd clan should have inspired me, not dragged me into the mud. Thank goodness for therapy every three weeks.

Rebecca usually tells me to just keep plugging away at it, flex those writing muscles and eventually it will come. I hope she is correct. I have my entire day planned out already. We have work hours this morning, a brief stop for lunch and a couple of groceries, and then I am going to try to work with the speech recognition program again. One of the problems might be that it hasn’t quite learned my voice enough for me to dictate a novel effectively.

My friend Dave suggested I try writing a children’s book. He was most impressed with how I, a few years ago, told his young nephews and nieces stories around the camp fire at Bear Spring Camps. Not a bad idea. And I know someone who just might be willing to illustrate it if she has time. I have already started a story, The Secret House, and have posted the first two parts of it here. I hope to write more of it and share it with you in the near future.

I’m being a little mysterious here, because I don’t want to divulge my ideas. It seems like every time I do it is the kiss of death. One time I remember telling my Godmother a story idea and she stomped the flowers out of it until it was dead. I admit that it was after one of her strokes and some of her social filters might have been gone.

I have next to me what I call my inspiration pad. If I have a dream or a day-dream and it really hits me and I have a great idea I am prepared to jot it down long hand. For as I may have mentioned before, my short-term memory is crap.

There is today’s update. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will be back with another blog entry and I have already chosen the topic. Unless something comes up, I’m going to blog about the legendary former New York Yankee public address announcer, the late Bob Sheppard.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news, good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.