Tag Archives: job

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

Until next week, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

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I am sick and tired of life

Greetings, readers. I have felt very strange over the last couple of months and until recently I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bothering me. Well, the picture is becoming a little bit clearer now that the fog has lifted, and I don’t like what I see.

My desire to write is at its highest point in two years. When I say to write, I obviously mean work other than the blog. My problem now is that I have no time or energy from working at the fast food job to do said writing. I am 52 years old and I feel like my life is a waste.

On the positive side of the job,  I am an extremely outgoing person at my cash register, and my regulars love me. I do get a lot of enjoyment and self-esteem from this work. I feel, however, that I must give serious contemplation to either quitting or, at the very least, taking a few months off.

This winter has been brutally cold and walking to and from busses to go to work has already become a hated chore.  I get up at 4:00 in the morning to check Facebook, have some coffee, and listen to music before I have to get ready to go. I blink twice, and it’s 8:10. There goes that morning. I come home from work, dreadfully tired, with feet aching, I put a little food in me, watch an episode or two of something, and usually have lights out by 9:30.

On my three days off from my fast food job, I write with Rebecca for roughly three hours, and I must also do all the chores that need to get done and I had no other time to do, such as appointments, laundry, shopping, etc. When in the hell do I have time to sit down and write? Some might say at 4:00 in the morning. Ah, no, my functioning brain is barely active at that time. In the evening? I’ve actually caught myself falling asleep during my TV shows. Again, the brain is not in creative mode. You can see why I’m depressed.

Do my therapy sessions help? Yes they do, for a short time, but then I begin to look at my life in general and I come to the conclusion that I have wasted most of it. Three quarters gone and only a quarter to go. I have three books to my name, which if you put all three together, don’t equal the pages of Darren’s novel adapted from my play. I would have to say, Dear Readers, that my biggest accomplishment has been this blog, and that is primarily thanks to the help of Rebecca’s typing and editing skills.

Now, don’t worry folks, even though this entry is full of red flags, I am a fighter and a survivor and will do whatever I need to do to get this situation under control. Tomorrow, I’ve cleared the docket to read and edit Four’s a Crowd, either in the morning or, if I have Rebecca come in, after she leaves. I always try to leave each entry on a bright note, and here it is. I ordered speech recognition software for the computer. Once it comes in and I master that, I won’t have to type anymore. That could solve many problems quickly. Cross thy fingers.

Until next time, stay warm, have a great day, have a cup of coffee or hot cocoa for me, and happy reading.

Don’t cross the boss!

Greetings, readers. Last week I learned a valuable work place lesson. I heard through ‘the grapevine’, that one of my superiors said something uncomplimentary about me. I decided to nicely confront him about it. After our discussion, I was satisfied with the outcome and thought that all was peachy again. Umm, wrong.

Another one of my superiors was also in the meeting room that day and was actually part of the conversation. Now, I feel that the second manager is treating me differently than she did before. She isn’t nasty, she’s … colder. I’ve always had a low self-esteem issue and it could be that she is having other problems at work or perhaps personal problems, and the timing of her indifference is a huge coincidence.

The time that I am spending on reading Four’s a Crowd and editing, as well as my own personal writing projects, has suffered greatly in recent months. I may have to make a decision soon whether or not to stay with the job and earn money (which eases the stress of daily life) or to quit my job and write. I know, I’ve talked about doing more writing before, but things always seem to come up. Work, health issues, a performance, or time to go to Maine, are good examples of what gets me off track. Will I miss the income? Absolutely. But I know of another place which would hire me if I could just pass their on-line entrance exam. It’s practically across the street from where I live.

I’m going to play the wait and see game for about a month. That will be two more pay periods. During this time, I will be keeping eyes and ears open to see whether or not everything calms down. Hopefully it will.

On a minor note, did I put up even one decoration for Christmas? No. I did not. However, I did go to two holiday meals and yes, I stuffed myself stupid. Next year I vow to decorate this apartment to within an inch of its life. Lol.

Finally, a R.I.P. to one of my favorite sportscasters of all time, the legendary Dick Enberg. He passed away on December 21st at the age of 82. For many years he announced pro football games on NBC and, in his later years before retiring, he was one of the play by play announcers for Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

Tomorrow will be a personal day and either Rebecca or I will put up the blog. Who knows, there might even be two, one from each of us. Until then, take care, stay warm if you are in the frigid cold snap, and happy reading.

A new look for the new year

Greetings, readers. As you can see, I’ve changed the look of the blog. I’ve decided to keep this look for at least three or four months. During this time, I’ll see if it is functional, easy to use and rather or not we like it. I won’t make any rash decisions, but if after that time Rebecca and I don’t think it’s what we want, we’ll go back to the look we had before, which was called Chateau. I do happen to like that one very much. This theme is called Twenty Thirteen.

Guess how much Christmas decorating I did yesterday. Not a gosh darn thing. The news I found out yesterday dealing with my workplace threw me for a loop. I’m not going to go into specifics here, suffice it to say it was not pleasing to me. I might ask for a leave of absence to heal my legs and feet and to concentrate on my writing. If I cannot be accommodated, well I tried. I don’t want to admit that Mom was right, but she might have been correct that this type of job is too much for me.

I have two ideas for a writing project in my mind. And even though I would miss the income from not working at my restaurant job, I feel the need to be creative. I think that is what the Lord put me on this planet to do and I must pursue it. Hopefully my manager will understand. I purchased voice recognition software that will hopefully let me dictate easily the dialog and prose I have in my head into a word document. As I’ve mentioned before, when I try to type things, my favorite buddy is the back space key. That is just too frustrating and slow.

I have one minor appointment this afternoon, and after that some decorations are going to be put up in this place. If I don’t do it soon, I might as well not do it at all. Bah humbug. To be honest, as I might have mentioned before, I don’t know why I’m not in the Christmas mood this year. The days seem to come and go and before I know it, it is bedtime again. I think to myself, sometimes out loud, well that is another day I didn’t get done what I wanted to do.

I wish to give Christmas and holiday greetings to all my blog readers around the world, with good wishes for a prosperous and happy 2018. There are many things that I am going to do this coming year. I’m going to put together a second blog book and get it out. I am going to begin to eat better, and one way I will do that is during the next Lent. Yes readers, I am making it public, I am giving up ice cream for Lent. I’m sure I can do it if I put my mind to it. Now watch, I’ll just substitute Doritos. Lol.

Please leave a comment in the comment area and let us know how you like the new look of the blog. So far, I like it a lot.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see you then, perhaps with a top ten list. 🙂 Enjoy, stay warm, and happy reading.v

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

Greetings, readers. A bizarre thing happened last afternoon and evening that I wish to share with you in case any of you know what it might be and can give me advice in the comment section. I woke up from a nap to find both my hips and lower back stiff as a board. Occasionally I would have a sharp pain on one or both sides. It did not keep me from walking down to my appointment, though I was uncomfortable. Later, when I was watching television, I got a knife jab in my right side that made me consider going to the E.R.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain was almost gone, much to my relief. I don’t remember making a false move or lifting anything heavy, but obviously I strained something. Thank goodness this morning the pain is gone. I still wish I knew what it was and will it come back. Now on to other news.

Rebecca, Darren, and I are proofreading our copies of Four’s a Crowd. I’ve already found one scene that there is going to be head-butting about. It involves the female lead character saying a word I’m not comfortable with. The question is, with Darren the author of the novel, and me the author of the play it is based on, who should get the final say? Hopefully we can compromise.

More news. My Beatles sing along show is tomorrow, but at 3:30pm, not 1:00. There was a slight mix-up in the entertainment schedule and my show will start after the country line dancers are finished. It should make for a wonderful day’s entertainment. I will be singing along to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl CD, and my friend Mike Weaver will be singing a few Christmas carols while I take a break between my two sets. I’m a tad worried that Mike and I have not had a practice session yet, but we’re not professions and if a clunker is made, it is okay. I’m sure folks will love the show.

It will be very odd not to go to my other job tomorrow and I do thank my manager Savannah for giving me the day off to do the show. I will work at my fast food job on Saturday, probably have off Sunday, and return to my regular schedule next week.

After Rebecca and I are finished with this blog entry, I am going to go on the Zipcar website and reserve a vehicle for the my Christmas Eve Light Ride. This year I want to book early to make sure I get a vehicle. I believe my other job will be closed that evening, so a work shift should not get in the way.

On a sadder note, I was in a bit of a funk yesterday when I learned about NBC’s Matt Lauer being fired for sexual misconduct. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has lost its shine for me now. He was the co-host of it for many years and that team was part of my special day. I watched part of it at David’s this year and have it set in my YouTube queue to watch anytime, but will probably not watch it after this. Next year it will be Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and ?. If the allegations are true, Matt Lauer deserves to be locked up. I guess you never know about people. It is getting harder and harder to trust anyone in this world, but with my jolly personality, I shall try.

Lastly, I’ll be doing my show tomorrow and most likely be doing my own write-up about it for a blog post. Rebecca is unable to attend and if memory serves this will be the first show she has missed since we began working together. I just know that I am going to criticize my every mistake as most artists do. I promise I won’t be too hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, happy reading.

A compliment at work yesterday made my day

Greetings, readers. Yesterday I was on the last day of my five-day work week and feeling a bit worn out and discouraged. I was not ready to quit by any means, but the shine of the job was wearing off. Then it happened. As my boss was working on one of the ordering iPads, we got to talking. One of the employees was sent home early because we were much slower than expected. I told my boss that I knew I was not his fastest cashier and offered in the future to be the one sent home. He then told me that I was one of the nicest and friendliest cashiers he’d seen. He said, “Why would I want to send you home?”

That was exactly the shot in the arm I needed for the rest of the work day. I was on cloud nine, knowing that I was one of their go-to people. Now, believe me, the person sent home is no slouch either; she’s been working with an injured foot in a boot and has done a remarkable job. I truly now feel like I am part of the team. Someone whom they know they can count on when needed.

Am I glad for my two days off, today and tomorrow? Oh, yes. As easy as the cash register job has become now, since I’ve learned where every menu item is, it still puts a strain on my feet. Tomorrow I will be purchasing my new shoes. That should help. But after 50-some years of basically sitting around, any kind of long-term standing begins to hurt me and make me stiff.

At the end of my shift yesterday, I met my friend Jim and one of the things we talked about was the TV show Star Trek: Enterprise, which is currently on Netflix. I did not watch it during its first run, but I am enjoying it now. The whole concept of the era before Captain Kirk, which had less technology but better special effects, somehow initially turned me off to the series. The acting is excellent and all the main characters are strong. It is a pity the show only lasted four seasons.

I am still enjoying Out of the Park Baseball 18 immensely. When I manage a game, I like to see every pitch and every play. (There is a one-pitch per bat mode, where every time you tap it the game shows just the ball that went into play and the play’s outcome. Faster, but not what I want.) When I have the time, I really enjoy the realism of a real-life paced game. I am still trying to create my very own fictitious league; several attempts have failed. I would have to rate this game one of the ten best I’ve ever played.

This is a regular work week for Rebecca and me, where we work today and tomorrow; my days off from my other job. I am planning to do a little bit of laundry, a little bit of shopping, and a lot of time with my feet up. Lol. Tomorrow I will have a top ten list for you, so until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A welcome to new readers and it’s chore day for me

Greetings, readers. Before I begin today’s blog entry, both Rebecca and I highly suspect that we have some new readers on board. A hardy welcome goes out to each and every one of you. The last few weeks we have seen a lot of ones next to a variety of entry titles, suggesting that people are exploring the site, which adds up to a lot of views in a day. In almost six full years we are finally seeing our daily view numbers go from the twenty range to the thirty to fifty view range. These are the numbers I’ve been dreaming about. I realize that some of my views might be bots, especially one day last week when one entry got a large spike out of nowhere, but to me a view is a view. We love our numbers. Rebecca and I check them every work day.

With this being my second of two days off from the fast food job, it is do-everything-I-need-to-do-at-home day. Such tasks include laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and probably some more paper shredding. I don’t want to wear myself out too much, before going back to the job tomorrow.

Switching topics, Rebecca showed me the title page that she has done in the CreateSpace formatted blank for Four’s a Crowd. I must say it looks great. I think this novel is going to be a hit. I can remember working on the play it is based on for years and years, on and off. I’ve often tried to pin down the date of which I began the project or even the year, but it is difficult. I’m going to say that the play Kimberly was at least six years in the making through its four complete drafts. Then after that, Darren took almost four years adapting it into a novel. I am most proud of not only my work, but his work too, and Rebecca’s. This project is truly a team effort.

As my readers from yesterday may remember, we had an R.I.P. to Robert Guillaume, but I also learned that Fats Domino also passed away, yesterday or the day before. I’ve been told by many people that famous folks seem to pass away in threes. It is odd how that usually comes to pass. We’ll see in another day or so if another famous singer or actor dies.

This Saturday the Penn State Nittany Lions will play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio State in what I expect they are calling the revenge game. Ohio was number two last year when we beat them here at home; now we are the second ranked team in the nation and Ohio State would love nothing more than to ruin our dream of a national championship. This is the only game I am truly worried about. It is funny that Penn State plays better when I don’t watch them, so I think I will let the bar crowds let me know who is winning. The fact that I live downtown, makes that easy; if I hear loud cheers, whoops, and screams, I know that Penn State just did something good. If it is eerily quiet, I can deduce that we are probably losing by three touchdowns.

On that day, Saturday, my work shift ends at 3:00 and I will probably be home around 4:00. With a 3:30 kick off, I should be able to enjoy most of the game, but as soon as I see Ohio State winning, off it goes. LOL.

As far as I know, next week will be a normal work week for Rebecca and me. It will all depend on if they need me to come in to work on Thursday. So until next week, I bid all of you a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. I’m going to do a little research for Wednesday’s blog topic about a YouTube video I was told about. I don’t want to give my opinion on it until we have both seen it and know exactly what it was all about; but it better not be what I think it is … [Update: 10/26/17 After doing some research today, I found out that the incident in question happened in 2009. Since it is so old, I decided that I will chose another topic next Wednesday.]

I survived six days in a row at my job

Greetings, readers. I am enjoying my first day off in a week from my fast-food restaurant job. I usually only work four days a week but we are short-staffed and the extra pay will come in handy. I can’t wait to go on-line Saturday morning when my next paycheck comes in automatically with direct deposit and see the total. I got a raise this past pay period, so I should be seeing a much bigger number on the screen. Exciting.

I thought I would be drop-dead exhausted by yesterday, but I seemed to have hit a groove. Sunday had an onslaught of steady customers from 10:15 am to 2:00 pm. Nobody got a break. The consumers consisted of the Penn State football crowd getting breakfast before leaving town and Sunday church goers having their quick meal before or after services. I thought that by 1:00 pm most people would be home watching pro football. Nooo. I was grossly mistaken.

Monday and Tuesday’s shifts were “easy” by comparison. I’ve been at my work place now since May and I know the register pretty well. I don’t need to ask for help nearly as much. Oh, I’ll make a mistake once in a while, and have to call for one of my managers, but they are more than willing to come and help.

On to another topic, my friend Traci is letting me purchase her paper shredder, something our office desperately needs for all the documents I receive. This morning I was hard at work shredding old papers with my name and address on them. I had to be very careful not to put any staples through it. So far it works great. It might just be the best $20 I have spent in a long time.

I am fighting myself today, my readers, to not erupt in flames verbally about President Donald Trump. I constantly have to bite my tongue and sensor myself on this blog. If I said half the things I truly feel, I would probably be put on some internet watch, so I will leave it there.

Rebecca and I are working together both today and tomorrow, so we will have a regular work week again. She gave me a report on her progress this last week on getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publishing in a few months. Regular readers know that her husband Darren adapted my play Kimberly into a novel. She downloaded a formatted templet from CreateSpace.com, filled in information such as the ISBN numbers we got from CreateSpace, the title and author sections, expanded the number of formatted chapter slots, and then cut and pasted each chapter from Darren’s files to the formatted file in the appropriate chapter slots. She said she still needs to do a few final touches, then we can upload the file and order proof copies. We will do a last edit from the proofs, make corrections, then approve it to go live and start selling books. We are all excited to get this project going forward again.

Lastly, an R.I.P. to one of my favorite actors of the 1980s, Robert Guillaume. His work includes the TV shows Soap and the extremely popular spin-off Benson. I watched every episode of Benson and quite a number of episodes of Soap. You did a wonderful job, Robert.

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

From Rebecca: Joe has a head cold but is feeling better today

As I said in the title, Joe has a head cold this week, which he hopes is gone by his restaurant shift tomorrow morning. He called me yesterday to discuss our arrangements today and his voice sounded rough, but it was much better when I met up with him today to take care of a few work items. He was still stuffed up, but his voice was smoother. We had our meeting, and then he said he will rest today to get ready for tomorrow.

I have noticed that the last month or so Joe has been stressed and tired when I’ve seen him, so maybe it isn’t surprising his body sat him down to rest for a short time. It is a good reminder that in our busy lives we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. We need to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise, take time to relax in a peaceful space, and be patient with ourselves when we make mistakes.

Easier said than done, of course. I certainly could do better. It would help me to eat more vegetables and fruit. I need to start stretching exercises and I keep putting it off. I tend to push my bedtime to get just seven hours of sleep, give or take twenty minutes, even though I do better with eight. I do get some peaceful time to relax and that is nice. I read a lot and that is good.

We seem to live in fast-moving, chaotic, stressful times now. It is difficult to take in the world’s non-stop disasters, crisis points, threats, injustices, and needs, and still function in our own lives. All the more reason to balance all that out with some self-care. I hope you, readers, are able to stay healthy and sane in a world that seems to be more insane with every day. Both Joe and I appreciate you reading his blog, and we want you to be okay. May you find a peaceful place today to rest, relax, and renew. I hope that Joe gets well overnight, and feels renewed, too.

I will be putting up the blog post tomorrow; I intend to do a re-post of one of Joe’s past entries. I plan to choose one from his third year. The re-posts seem to work, and it is a good way to get a second chance to be seen for a good post that didn’t get a lot of views the first time. If you read this on Joe’s site, you will see at the bottom that WordPress has three selected posts that it suggests as related choices; this is another good way to see some older posts. I like this feature a lot. Until tomorrow, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Thinking about my writing career after my baseball game crashed

Greetings, readers. I awakened this morning at 4:00 as usual to do my morning routine, which consists of making coffee, checking my Facebook account, and updating the day’s goings on with the Steam video game Out of the Park Baseball 18, where I have created my version of the World Baseball League. Well, yesterday as work hours with Rebecca were ending, the computer threw a whole boatload of updates at me and this morning my game file was gone.

I want it made clear right now, I do understand that this baseball league was a game and completely fictitious, but I am still feeling a weird sense of loss because my month and a half of game playing is gone. I came up with my own teams, uniforms, and logos for the caps, and even a few names for some players. I was perfecting my league. I was the league’s commissioner. And now all those hours perfecting the league are gone. I am completely in a funk. Am I going to call my therapist? No. I think I can drag myself out of this on my own.

The one thing this incident does prove is that my creativity and imagination for being a writer must still be there. That is good news because my dream of being a writer has not completely died. Although Bear Spring Camps book 3 is looking less and less likely, either a new book of blog entries or a book of my own short stories might be a plausible option. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be a writer so bad. I could dream up anything at anytime. Then the seizures hit and as I get older it is becoming increasingly more difficult to create.

Now to update on my feet. As I mentioned before in the blog, I slipped and fell a few weeks ago and am okay except for my feet which I stand on for 5 hours every work shift. Just when I think everything is healing, I come home from work and it feels like there is an elephant sitting on them. This is almost enough to make me want to quit my job. There is only one problem; I like the income too much. It is solving a great number of problems.

Lastly, here is my plan for the rest of the day. I have an appointment this afternoon at 3:00 and dinner with a friend this evening at 7:00. Squished in between that and after dinner, I am going to try to recreate the World Baseball League on the game. Once I delete the whole file, there will be no going back. But it is most doubtful that I can get the old file to run correctly. There went a month and a half. 😦 (Quick question: Does anybody know what a SQUILE file is? That is what the computer says it is missing to run the World Baseball League’s file.) I have to get to sleep no later than 11:00 if I am going to function at all at work tomorrow morning. I do not see myself getting up at 4:00am. I am a tad worried because my body does not do well when I change my daily routine. If I take my pills at a later time, sometimes they don’t work as effectively.

Well, what do you know, a two-day work week, and a happy anniversary to Rebecca on our 7 years of working together. We’ve done short stories, essays, three books, one editing of a play, and now we are working on the novel that Darren adapted from that play. As far as I know, next week will be a two-day work week also. I will need to check my schedule at my fast food job.

So until Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.