Bear Spring Camps opening day 2017

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Greetings, readers. Although Bear Spring Camps has a relatively short season of only four and a half months, I do get excited on opening day. I’ve been going to this camp, located in central Maine, since I was five years old, and have truly loved every moment of it. As I get older though, and as my monetary situation changes, it is becoming obvious that my years at camp are numbered. I might only be able to go another three to five years. I have learned through inspirational videos to treasure every moment of life, which is how I am looking at the camp experience.

I saw on the Facebook page for Bear Spring Camps that Peg and Ron are beginning their 34th year of them running the business. The camp opened in 1910. Peg’s grandfather started it, and at some point her father and mother took over the day-to-day running of the camp. At the beginning, it was truly a fishing camp, with quite rudimentary cabins. Now they are quite plush and filled with modern conveniences like small refrigerators, and new wood stoves in some of the cabins. Last year my cabin got an upgrade with new wall insulation and a larger living room area. I really like it. I’m going to keep that cabin as long as I’m able to.

When I was younger, I would buy a calendar at a souvenir shop in Belgrade Lakes and number the days until I would be back at camp again. I was that obsessed with it. I don’t do that any more, but I do keep track of things like the camp’s opening day, closing day, and I still do get very excited about two weeks before I am to arrive for my week at camp in August.

I wanted to take Traci with me this year, and still might if I can talk her into it, as it will feel strange being engaged and not with her for 10 days. We will miss each other of course, and talk to each other every morning and evening on the phone. That is what we did last year and it worked very well.

As a long time Bear Spring Camper, I wish Ron and Peg Churchill and family a successful 2017 camp season, and I can’t wait until August when I will get there for my week at camp. I will fish, swim, go on pontoon rides, visit with family and friends, and have my annual happy hour. As many of you know, I am a man of tradition.

Next week I am expecting a two blog work week. One of them hopefully will be a top ten list. Until then, I bid you a great weekend, take care, enjoy the warmth, and as always, happy reading.

More plans for this summer

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Greetings, readers. Last week I blogged about my plans for a restful summer and those plans are still in place. However, a dose of reality set in and if I am going to get married next year I had better get myself a job, and perhaps further my education. I am currently looking at Southern New Hampshire University on-line. I have seen and heard some good things about it. The only bug-a-boo would be the overall cost.

I looked at Southern New Hampshire University about a year or so ago and it was not a good fit then. But I have found a major/course of study in creative writing with emphasis on script writing. Right up my alley. If the school experience doesn’t break my bank, I think this would be well worth it. Not only would it flex my muscles and get me writing things other than the blog, but it might very well prepare me to be able to work in the television industry. That would be awesome.

The other big news is that I got myself an application for a local eatery and I’m going for it. I was not going to get a job until after I got back from camp, but if I could get hired, I could begin earning money right away. Although the wedding reception will not be extravagant, it will not be cheap either. We need, “money, money, money … money.”

It is sunny and warm in central Pennsylvania; something I’ve been waiting a long time for. I am definitely a late spring and summer person. Here in State College we expect a high temperature of 87-89 F. degrees. Three days ago we were struggling to break 55. What a difference. If I had my way, with Joe’s weather’s machine, I would have bright sunny days with white puffy clouds, some showers at night to keep everything green and looking beautiful, and snow on the ground around the winter holiday time. Obviously, no such machine exists. Bah humbug.

Lastly, I’ve got a doctor’s appointment right after work tomorrow, but we should have time to put a blog entry up before I have to go. I’ve had pain in my head for almost two weeks now. It is not crippling, just damn annoying. Please wish me luck on finding out what this is.

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

Penn State did not cover up fraternity crimes

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Greetings, readers. As I dictate this entry today, I’m trying to hold on to my sanity. Last night was not a good night. My neuralgia head pain would not let me alone. I finally got to sleep around 1am. With knitting needles poking me in the head every half-minute, sleep, concentration, and work is difficult. But Rebecca and I press on.

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to blog about the charges against the Pennsylvania State University students at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity concerning the death of one of their pledges, Timothy Piazza. I was shocked to hear that after the young man fell down steps the rest of the fraternity members, except one, did nothing. They wanted to sober up first before they called 911. As I understand it, one young man wanted to get help immediately but was overruled by his fraternity brothers. He is not being charged. Eighteen frat brothers are facing many charges related to his death, including reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. I applaud Penn State and the authorities for throwing the book at these young men. They were old enough to know better.

The two things that really angered me were how long they waited to call authorities and the lack of urgency in the caller’s voice (the 911 call was released the other day). As I was listening to this 911 tape on an Inside Edition YouTube blurb, it was evident that the caller was desperately trying not to get into trouble but knew the situation was much more serious than he was letting on. He made no mention of the young man’s head injury. The only thing he did right was he said yes when the 911 operator asked him if alcohol was involved.

If I had my way, all fraternities and sororities would be shut down for five years. But, as Rebecca pointed out, most of them do a lot of good for charities, especially in regards to our annual dance marathon for children’s cancer research every February. The fraternity in question has been closed permanently. I applaud this move. My heart goes out to the parents of this young man who wanted to be a brother so badly that he agreed to be hazed, and lord knows what else, and consumed enough alcohol to not to be able to navigate steps. I hope underage drinking was not part of this but I believe it was. To all those young men in the fraternity who endangered someone who trusted you and then did nothing to help him, I have news for you. You’re lives are fucked. Enjoy it.

I know I am not usually this upset when I dictate a blog entry but I hate senseless deaths and this was certainly one of them. This was absolutely avoidable.

Next week we will have two more blog entries for you, on a much cheerier topic I’m sure. I bid all the moms a happy Mother’s Day and I bid my readers a good weekend, and as always, happy reading.

I am set to enjoy a productive and restful summer

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Greetings, readers. Some of you might be thinking that my title sounds like a contradiction, but that actually is what I am planning to do. I have several changes in my daily routine already in place, including meditation three times a week. It is very cleansing. I’m also going to leave time in my daily schedule to write, write, write. Rebecca and I have been talking about that magic formula for me and we may have found it. Short stories in 15 to 30 minute play or script form which then can be turned into prose. I’ve only been good in long projects twice in my life, so perhaps that 500 page doorstop novel is just not in the cards for me. I don’t think I have the patience for it.

So what is in the cards for this summer? I have many things on tap. Task #1 is a complete overhaul of this apartment. By September 1st I want to turn the living room into the bedroom and visa versa. I also want to completely rid this place of clutter.

Task #2 is to improve my health through meditation and yoga. I’ve never done yoga before and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what all it entails, but if it can improve my health I will at least check it out. My diet is going to get an overhaul as well. With spring time here, fresh fruits and vegetables are in the grocery stores. Two of my favorite summertime treats are blueberries and watermelon. There is a bus that stops right at our local Giant supermarket.

Before I can go to the supermarket, however, a complete clean out of my refrigerator will have to be done. I get Meals on Wheels and eat them most of the time, but occasionally I don’t like what is offered, and on those dark cloudy days that I am depressed, it is ice cream dinner to the rescue. So I will admit that my refrigerator does get cluttered with some of their trays.

My final big project for the summer is to grab a friend, pay him or her a few bucks, and clean up my walk-in closet. I have a gazillion VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and cassettes. Every item will have to be carefully gone through to see if it makes the cut. If it doesn’t, out it goes. I need to be able to walk in my walk-in closet.

I must remember that even though I have set a target date of September 1st, I won’t beat myself over the head if I don’t get it done until October 1st. Let’s not forget that I will be away for 10 days in August for my yearly trek to Maine. I’m starting to feel better about myself and my apartment. I just have to tell myself that these changes will be done and the key is to do a little each day.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about an issue that took place here at Penn State in February. I was going to blog about it today, but after discussing it with Rebecca I was so upset about what happened that I need a day to cool down, so that I can calmly explain what happened and my feelings about it.

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

From Rebecca: My day so far, May 4, 2017

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Hi, Joe’s readers. I would have started this blog entry earlier, but I had to wait for Microsoft updates to process. After my husband Darren used the computer this morning, it downloaded updates when he shut it down. When I turned on the computer early in the afternoon, it installed those updates – for an hour and a half! I’m not used to updates taking that long. I read a book for a while, Borderline by Nevada Barr, until Darren started playing a video game, God of War Ascension, and I started watching him.

Darren is still playing while I write this. He is occasionally getting his butt beat but is holding his own. Lots of hand-to-hand combat with a few puzzles here and there. I don’t play many video games myself, though I used to when we first dated and early in our marriage, but I love watching Darren play. Sometimes I can see things that he misses, especially for the puzzles, and then it feels like I am doing it too.

I slept in this morning, since Joe is taking a personal day today and I didn’t have to go into work. (I love being able to do the blog from home!) When I woke up, Darren and I spent some time together. We watched The Price is Right while he ate lunch and I ate breakfast. We watched a bit of the news, then I turned on the computer to do this entry, and then waited for the update.

Later this afternoon, Darren and I will clean the apartment. We clean as we go and keep it tidy for the most part, but every other month or so we do a more thorough job. One will take the kitchen and the other will take the bathroom and vacuuming. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to do, which isn’t bad. We used to do it every month, but we don’t get to it that often any more. We probably should though.

I will finish the night with the CBS lineup on television and a check on the internet. Everyday at some point I look at the sites Tor.com, John Scalzi’s Whatever blog, Carrie Vaughn’s Filling the Well blog, Facebook, Twitter, and the web comics Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg Court, and Girls with Slingshots. I look at other sites sometimes, like PBS, but those are my favorites.

So, that’s my day off. Cleaning, blog entry, internet, video game, television, eating, and my sweetie, Darren.

Joe will be back next week with posts. Until then, as Joe would say, take care, enjoy May the Fourth Be With You Day if you are a Star Wars fan, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Oh, what a storm we had

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Greetings, readers. In central Pennsylvania this past Monday evening we had a one of the worst thunderstorms I’ve experienced in a long time. The clouds grew dark, the wind whipped up to past 50 miles an hour, and there was a torrential downpour. At its worst, the rain was coming down sideways. I was certainly glad that I was inside.

We had known about the coming storm all day and I caught many people throughout the morning checking out the weather apps on their smartphones to keep track of the impending storm. These folks wanted to get all their chores done and get home. I was with Traci at a doctor’s appointment and luckily, though it was windy, the rain waited until we got home.

Around 6pm the rains came. The power in my building flickered, went off for 30 seconds, and came back on. People in my building were lucky. Others around the area, such as Rebecca and Darren, not so much; they lost power for almost 3 hours. Some folks in the outlying areas had to wait until the next morning for their power to be restored, and in other areas, according to the Centre Daily Times, it might still be off until later today. Rebersburg, PA. got a F1 tornado.  Many trees and power lines blew down. A friend of mine who is a CATA bus driver told me that her daughter lost all the big trees in her back yard. I remember as a child how much I loved our big old trees at my house. I would have been devastated if a storm blew them all down. The bus driver also told me about her eerie ride home after work where all the businesses and street lights were dark where she lived. Years ago in a different power outage, I drove in the same conditions and it was strange. I had arrived at Denny’s just after the lights went out and I had to go back home without the aid of street and traffic lights; the intersections had been extremely dangerous.

After the rain the cooler temperatures rolled in and it is going to remain cool all week. Now I’m not complaining, but it is May. We should be in the 60s and 70, not in the upper 40 and mid 50s. This blogger is not very happy. But as I told the bus driver last evening, Mother Nature is fickle and can do anything she wants, we have no control over it.

Briefly, I saw a diagram on the Weather Channel depicting that the cool temperatures will be with us all week. There will a stalled low pressure system over our area because a high pressure system in the Atlantic ocean is not letting the weather system move off the East coast. Cool and rainy, not good unless you are a flower. Lol.

Switching gears, I’m taking a personal day tomorrow and Rebecca has agreed to post a From Rebecca entry for me, which I am sure will be a good one. Please look forward to that tomorrow. Take care, and until next week, happy reading.

I’m into yoga and meditation now

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Greetings, readers. Since my message therapist, Alan, retired a few years back, I have had to find ways to keep myself feeling healthy and energized. Alan did chakra and energy work on me and it was truly a wonderful experience. He was able to open everything up and allow my natural body energy to flow. It has been forever since I’ve done chakra work and I need it badly.

Thanks to several channels on YouTube, there are numerous relaxation and yoga videos on offer. Ninety-nine percent of them are free and range from 20 minutes to 10 hours. One night I feel asleep to soft deep relaxation music especially created to help people sleep better. It worked for me, I was visiting the sandman within minutes.

I’m thinking of actually taking a yoga class, but they are probably $60 an hour, which is not in my budget. So for now I am going to have to keep myself healthy by eating better and watching these wonderful videos to help me relax, focus, and keep my chakras open the way they should be.

When I was younger, I did not believe in any of the Eastern medicine practices. Today, they are intriguing and enlightening. I believe in them very much. I had a friend tell me once that they are hypnosis; that is incorrect. It is true that they are for deep meditation, but it comes from the inside instead of the outside.

I have tried hypnosis videos and, at least on me, they don’t work. One that I viewed told me that I wasn’t going to be able to move. After watching the twirling spiral for 15 minutes, I stood right up. Another said I was going to bark like a dog; no such happenings. Those videos are just for fun. The yoga, relaxation and meditation videos do have merit and worth for well-being.

With all of my medications for my health issues, I’m constantly seeking ways to feel better. Is my diet the best that it could be? No, but I am working on that. Am I going to do three hours of deep meditation every morning? Doubtful. For now I think I will use it when I need it. But if I notice a marked improvement in health, I shall increase the number of times a week I participate with meditation.

On a side note, for any of my friends who read my blog who are Bear Spring Campers and did not hear the news, long time head cook Mr. Pearl passed away a day or two ago. So sad. Rest in Peace my friend.

Next week I’m anticipating a regular work week. I’m going with Traci to her doctor on Monday and there will be work days on Wednesday and Thursday. Until next week, I bid you a happy weekend, do take care, and as always happy reading.

My Summer Car help request and other topics

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Greetings, readers. I know I just blogged about My Summer Car not too long ago, but it continues to bother me. In the latest update, the creator of the game added a wonderful moped (to me it looks like a dirt bike) and it is the only vehicle that I can drive with my frame-rate problem. Yes, that is my issue. Even on the crappiest settings, my frame-rates are horrendous. The van barely moves, as well as the diesel truck, and the boat won’t start, so I am forced to use the moped to get to town. That in itself was fun, I was finally able to buy things at the store, however I have no vehicle to get the items back home, as there is no basket on the moped.

I created a YouTube video approximately 5 minutes in length describing my woes of playing My Summer Car. If anybody can give me some tips or pointers on how to make the game run better, or any game with frame-rate problems, please leave your suggestions in the comment area either here or on my Facebook page. I would greatly appreciate any help.

Okay, on to other news. I found out that my idea for my new writing project cannot be done. Not only are the folks I was going to write it for basically finished with their productions, but the list of restrictions from the Star Trek world governed by CBS and Paramount are so ridiculously stupid that I can’t even work with them. For instance, your project can only by 15 minutes long or 2 parts for a total of 30 minutes. It has to be family friendly, so there goes any fight scenes or phaser battles, and I wouldn’t even be able to show them having a drink. Lord forbid little Johnny or Susie see the characters drinking Romulan ale. The whole thing is so frustrating.

I actually had a good idea with a strong story and subplot. I was excited about the project, and then just for giggles I wanted to see what the guidelines actually were. My excitement faded away quickly. I think I’m still going to do the project just for the writing experience. It would definitely get those writing muscles working again and boost my creativity. Will the story be able to be produced by anybody? I doubt it. Oh well, so it goes.

Okay, I’m done ranting and raving. I do have one other thing I want to share with you. Last week I had a comment in the spam filter that I deleted, but the question was close enough to a real one that I thought I’d answer it, in case I was wrong about it being from a spam bot. It asked about how I do the coding for this blog, and do I use html code. WordPress is a great host that does the work for me, even though I am using their free version. I log into my account, see a dashboard with different categories, click Add New Post, and I have a window to type the blog entry into, with easy to use features to put in a category and tags. When I am ready, I click Publish, and WordPress puts it live on my page. I would recommend WordPress.com to anyone who wants to do a blog, even if they are not tech savvy.

There’s my blog entry for today. Again, please if you would, watch that YouTube video and give me any help you can.

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

Top ten list of favorite Star Wars characters

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Greetings, readers. Rebecca had a good idea for the top ten list and I decided to go with it. The characters on the list were from any of the films thus far: Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens. As it so happens, I did not pick any characters from Rogue One. This list is in no particular order, as with most of my top ten lists. At the bottom, Rebecca put in her list and the list from her husband Darren. There is a lot of overlap, but there are a few differences too. I think you will find it interesting.  So here we go.

#10. Rey. [From Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she is an orphan, her parents were taken away, leaving her on the planet Jakku to fend for herself as a scavenger. While living on the planet, she stumbles across the droid BB-8 and Finn, a storm trooper who turns good, and her adventure begins. I put her on my list because she is a well-developed character, who is brilliant and a strong female lead.]

#9. R2D2/C-3PO. [The droids from the original films are two classic Star Wars characters who everyone knows. Anthony Daniels plays the somewhat winey C-3PO and does a marvelous job. Though he sometimes gets in the way, he always seems to have the answer when it is so desperately needed. 3-PO, as he is referred to, interprets the beeps and whistles of his young counterpart R2D2.]

#8. Lando Calrissian. [Played by famous actor Billy Dee Williams, this character first appears in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He is caught between helping Han Solo and company and protecting his mining operation and city from the dreaded Empire.]

#7. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. [Luke Skywalker’s trusted friend and eventual master, he sacrifices himself midway through Star Wars: A New Hope to become stronger with the Force, in order to help Luke destroy the dreaded Death Star. This character is played by the famous actor Sir Alec Guinness.]

#6. Leia Organa. [Played by the late Carrie Fisher, she was the heroine in the original movie set. The princess of Alderaan, Leia had to be rescued by Luke and Han in Star Wars: A New Hope, before fighting valiantly on Endor alongside Luke and Han as they tried to blow up the second Death Star. She will make her last appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as she completed her filming before she passed away.]

#5. Grand Moff Tarkin. [Played by Peter Cushing, a wonderful English actor, he “held Darth Vader’s leash” as stated by Princess Leia. Working closely with Darth Vader, his plan was to rule the universe with the threat of complete planetary destruction by using the Death Star in the original films. Thanks to Luke Skywalker, he was not successful. Though he was a bad guy, I always liked this one; I think it was the actor’s performance that hooked me.]

#4. Darth Vader. [Darth Vader, AKA Anakin Skywalker, was the morphed machine produced by the evil Emperor after a brainwashed Anakin Skywalker was nearly burned to death.]

#3. Yoda. [Brought to life by the late Jim Henson, Yoda was the Jedi master who trained Luke Skywalker on the planet Dagobah. He taught the ways of the Force, and quite truthfully is one of my favorite characters of all time. In the prequels done later, we can also see that Yoda can wield a mean light saber and is quite proficient.]

#2. Luke Skywalker. [The bored-to-tears teenager who lived on Tatooine was the nephew of a farmer and his wife. His big dream was to go to the academy and train to be a Jedi like his father. Little did he know who his father was. SPOILER ALERT: We have hints that Luke Skywalker is turning toward the dark side as early as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with the black glove covering his mechanical replacement hand. There is also talk in this upcoming movie that Luke may be turning toward the dark side. Dressed in a grey cloak in the trailers, we’re not certain if Luke is struggling with inner turmoil as he fights to stay on the good side of the Force.]

#1. Han Solo. [The old space pirate, as stated by Lando, Han Solo, with his ship the Millennium Falcon and co-pilot Chewbacca, fly across the galaxy, delivering cargo as they can. He has been known to cheat some people, so his reputation is tarnished. Yet in the end, he becomes a hero in not only the original films, but in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. SPOILER ALERT: His death scene caused a few tears in the theatre when I watched it.]

Honorable Mentions: Finn and BB-8 were heroes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In a new plot twist which I loved, Finn, an Imperial Stormtrooper who just didn’t want to kill any more, turns good and helps Rey and BB-8 get where they are going, with the help of Hans Solo.

The Millennium Falcon is not a living character, but to me it has certain characteristics all its own, and as soon as you see this ship you know you are watching a Star Wars film. I equate it to the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek.

For those of you who wonder why I did not add Chewbacca, Boba Fett, or any of the other classic characters, we could only have ten. In the future I might do a part two on this topic, time will tell. Please chime in with your Star Wars characters, either here or on my Facebook page. Here are Rebecca and Darren’s picks.

Rebecca’s top ten, which is pretty much all good guys: #10. Finn. #9. Poe Damero. [A pilot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #8. Rey. #7. R2D2/C-3PO. #6. Chewbacca. #5. Yoda. #4. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. #3. Luke Skywalker. #2. Han Solo. #1. Leia Organa.

Darren’s top ten, which leans heavy toward the bad guys he loves so much: #10. Leia Organa. #9. Chewbacca. #8. Luke Skywalker. #7. Lando Calrissian. #6. Kylo Ren [The bad guy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #5. Yoda. #4. Han Solo. #3. Boba Fett. [A bounty hunter in the original series.] #2. Darth Maul. [One of the bad guys from the prequels.] #1. Darth Vader.

I bid you a wonderful weekend, I’m going to work on my health issues to find out why I’m so tired all the time, so that I can hopefully become more productive. Writing blog entries is fun, I enjoy it, but I want to continue my novel or begin a television episode script. Remember, writers write.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful several days, take care, and happy reading.

Star Trek Continues … continues

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Greetings, readers. On Twitter, I follow one of the cast members of a wonderful Star Trek fan produced series. She is Michele Specht, who plays Counselor Elise McKennah on Star Trek Continues, which also stars Vic Mignogna as Capt. James Kirk. I wrote about the series in a previous post. I tweeted to my acquaintance, Michele Specht, and she informed me that there will be three more episodes produced this coming year. I am super excited.

I truly thought Star Trek Continues was over after just eight episodes. CBS, which has a brand new Star Trek series on the way, and the parent company Paramount decided that they were going to block everyone’s creativity by exercising the copyright infringement law. I shall try to keep my cool as I dictate this, so here goes.

I can understand if the new Star Trek series would not want fans producing material with the brand new characters. But in my humble opinion, any fan film which portrays the earlier characters, such as Kirk and Spook, are simply paying homage to a wonderful series and franchise. To my knowledge they are not making any money or profit from it, so who are they hurting?

There are three wonderful series’ that I watch on YouTube; Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Phase II, and Starship Farragut. Me being a struggling writer, I would love to write an episode for any of these series’. But how do we convince CBS and Paramount to ease the restrictions? I don’t know that we can.

A couple of the guidelines that I read about are that any future fan fic film of Star Trek can only be 15 minutes in length or shorter and can use no previously created character. No Kirk, no Spock, no beam me up Scotty; what’s the point?

I have already made contact with Michele Speck with a question about writing a script for Star Trek Continues. I don’t know if any other episodes are planned after the aforementioned three, but hope springs eternal. I’ve always been a sci-fi nut, and a Star Trek fan in general, and this topic, if anything, can yank me out of my writing rut at warp speed. So wish me luck; in six months to a year from now you just might see my name on one of those series’.

Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow and I will have a top ten list for you on a topic yet to be determined. Until then, I bid you a good day, take care, and as always happy reading.