Tag Archives: Joe

From Rebecca: Editing Four’s a Crowd from proofs

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe, my husband Darren, and I are doing the unusual practice of doing heavy edits in the proof copies of Four’s a Crowd. Usually this would be done before the proofreading work, but we got blocked and needed a way to push forward. As regular readers know, Joe wrote a play, Kimberly, which four years ago Darren began adapting into the novel Four’s a Crowd. Darren and Joe would get together every few months and touch base with what Darren was doing with Joe’s characters and plotlines to expand them, and make notes on moving forward.

Darren finished writing the first couple of drafts, then we printed off copies so that the three of us could do edits. We did a couple of rounds of that, in starts and stops, and then sometime in the last year the progress just got stuck. As the three of us worked at different stages, we would think that one of us was doing something with the book, only to find out that the person thought that someone else was doing something, so all three of us would be in waiting patterns. And then nothing moved forward on the project for many months and Darren gave up.

Someone, I think it was me, suggested we just jump to the next step, which was getting proofs, and edit from there. Which we did, and the project is moving rapidly now. We are using the print-on-demand publisher CreateSpace for the novel. Joe had a good experience with them when he published his three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Beyond North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger. I downloaded the CreateSpace formatted templet, and started plugging in the content. We had to wait a couple of days for the review, but then we were ready to order proof copies.

For Darren, this was the first time he held a bound book with his name on it as author, and he was pleased. The book is thicker than we imagined, and has a heft to it. We are all really proud of it. We will be changing the front cover photo, we still need to put in author photos, and make a few more cosmetic changes, but it is already an impressive achievement.

We got four of copies for editing, one for Darren, one for Joe, one for me, and one for Darren’s mother who agreed to read it and give us feedback. Darren’s mom read the book in two days and loved it. She pointed out a few things to change that helped a lot. I was going to say that Darren finished his editing yesterday, except he is sitting on the sofa right now with a pencil in his teeth and the book in his hands making more changes. Joe plans to do some editing with his copy today, while he also rests from a very busy week. I am on page number 232 out of 300 in my copy, so I don’t have much left.

Except for Joe who is using a sheet of paper, we are making our changes and suggestions right in the book with pencils. I am not sure why, but it is so satisfying to write directly in the book. The novel feels so much different in bound form than in loose sheets of typing paper, and editing in that form feels different too. Darren has already put his mother’s changes in his copy, then when I am done he will put my edits in his book too. In early January, Darren and Joe will have a meeting to go over Joe’s changes and put those in Darren’s copy too.

Then we put the edits in the manuscript computer file, upload the book to CreateSpace again, get another proof (which should read a lot smoother and faster), edit and change and upload again, and when we are ready, we will hit the publish button. And then Darren and Joe’s book will be out in the world ready to buy, hopefully by the end of March 2018. We will keep you posted.

Joe will be back next week with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would write, take care, have a great week, and happy reading

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From Rebecca: Joe is relaxing and resting today

Joe has worked a lot at his other job this last month and he will work from tomorrow through next Tuesday, before working with me again next Wednesday and Thursday, so he took today for a personal downtime day. And I have to confess, I worked an extra shift for my other job last Saturday, and at the time it didn’t seem to tire me out, but now I am enjoying having an unexpected extra day at home. So far, it has been nice.

After I publish this blog post, my husband Darren and I are going to play a section of a board game called Descent. It is a game he had for a while and we started playing it off and on a few months ago. Darren likes strategy games that are complicated and take many hours to play all the way through, like Axis & Allies, while I like simple games that can be played in less than two hours. It is therefore difficult for us to find games that work for both of us. Descent seems to be a good in-between game. It has sections that can be played in a few hours, and while there is a whole booklet of rules and takes a bit of strategy, playing it was easy for me to learn and is as simple as I need it to be. I play the easier side, the overlord, which helps. Darren plays the two hero adventurers who use weapons and powers to fight my monsters and gather loot. Enough complication for him, while I have enough simplicity with my monsters and their spelled out powers. A nice way to spend the afternoon.

Four’s a Crowd, the novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly, is one step closer to being published. Yesterday I uploaded the file to the CreateSpace site, and later today Joe will look at the interior review page, then click save and continue. He will fill out a few more boxes, then send it to be reviewed by the site, then we can order proofs. We will edit the proofs, make corrections, then do the process again. We expect to have the finished book ready to sell early next year, hopefully by the first of March.

Well, that is my day. I hope you are all having a good time, and that soon you have a chance to step out of routine and refresh too.

Until next week, take care, have a great week, 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.

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Top something list of businesses no longer in State College

This is not the typical top ten list that you are used to reading here. I had the idea of a list of businesses that used to be in State College, but aren’t any more, but when I talked it over with Joe and my husband Darren the three of us came up with more than ten. I tried to write the post in prose form instead of a list, but that version was soooo dry and boring. So I went back to list form, but the list is not an even ten, and is in categories, so it is a top something list. They are in no particular order and I will start with #1 and go down to #6, the number of categories I reached.

State College is a busy, thriving place. It is the main campus for the Pennsylvania State University, it has a steady local community, and is surrounded by a lot of small towns with people who drive in for various reasons. We have had a lot of businesses come and stand for decades, some have come and lasted for many years, and some have come and gone so fast that they barely made a ripple. The reasons these businesses left State College are many, from the owner(s) retiring, to the money running out, to the rents rising too high, to the lease not being renewed, to society moving on to another form of entertainment, etc. All three of us grew up in this area and remember a lot of changes over the years.

#1. Businesses in downtown State College a long time ago, that left a long time ago: Danks department store; a five and dime store that I think was G. C. Murphy; four or five movie theaters, including The Garden and The Movies; Svoboda’s Books; and video game arcades, including Playland and Campus Casino.

#2. Businesses outside downtown a long time ago that left a long time ago: A&P grocery store; Riverside grocery store; A&W Root Beer stand; Hills (the Hills Plaza is still there with other businesses in it, but the main building is sadly sitting empty after all these years); K-Mart (I sometimes give directions to people using the phrase, “Past where K-Mart used to be, even though it left State College a few decades ago;) and Hardee’s.

#3. Businesses in the Nittany Mall (I haven’t been there for a while, alas, so this is an old list): Sun Coast Video; Gee Bee department store; KB Toys; and B-Dalton.

#4. Businesses that Darren, Joe, or I have worked that are no longer here: CiCi’s Pizza; Kentucky Fried Chicken; BiLo Foods and then Jubilee grocery stores; Ponderosa Steakhouse (I still miss their food so much); Shoney’s restaurant; and (I worked at B-Dalton too, but I decided to put that in the Nittany Mall entry.)

#5. Businesses we lost in the last 1 or 2 years (many of these were sudden and unexpected): Denny’s; Eat’n Park; Don Patron (our favorite Mexican restaurant;) Mario & Luigi’s; and Chili’s Grill & Bar.

#6. Businesses we lost in the last 15 to 20 years (assuming my memory for time is correct): Arby’s; Nittany Line Hobbies & Toys; Starlite Drive-In theater;O.W. Houts & Sons; Blockbuster Video; and Hollywood Video.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Most of these places are on my list because they meant something to me, I used to go there a lot, or they were part of the landscape of State College. Are there businesses you can think of that I didn’t mention, from State College or from where you live, that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to share in our comments. We love hearing from you.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I was reminded about holodecks yesterday

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Right now I am sitting in Joe’s place with kitty cat Keekee nuzzling my arm and shedding like crazy. I am feeling a lot better and able to spend a bit more time with her today.

I was looking at the view statistics for the blog yesterday and noticed that someone found one of last year’s top ten lists, about what Joe would do in a Star Trek holodeck. A holodeck is a device that is programmed to replicate people, places, and objects so they appear to be solid and can be interacted with while in a special room. After all this time I had forgotten about Joe doing this post. If you want to read it yourself, here is the link. I read it over myself last night, and was impressed all over again by the idea of it and by Joe’s choices of things to experience. I want to do many of those things too; take a cruise, visit Bear Spring Camps, ride on a train. With enough skill at programing, anything is possible. I would also want to visit the past, see places how they used to be, like State College a hundred years ago. What did people wear, sound like, what were their houses like, what businesses were running then? I would want to walk in and look around, touch things, taste the foods, talk to the people. All while keeping safe and healthy in a controlled environment. It wouldn’t be real of course, and might cost as much or more as doing an activity in real life (like taking a cruise) depending on the prices for the technology, but it would be fun.

There are a number of video game companies trying to develop a virtual reality system, and from what I’ve read they have come a long way in the last few years to making something that feels like you are in the video game and interacting with a setting. The technology is still a long way though from walking into a room and hearing the wind blow through the trees you can see and smell, which might never be possible, but they are working on it.

One detail that always bothered me though is how the people using the holodeck went for a distance without hitting the room walls? I don’t remember the Star Trek writers ever addressing that issue, which I understand, but they had episodes where characters rode horses, walked the streets of a town, and traveled for long periods of time. I can understand the view on the walls shifting, but did they shift the floor too? This is an issue that the virtual reality game developers are having to address, with different approaches and solutions. One company is using a platform like a treadmill where the player walks and moves through the world of the game without roaming all over the room. That might work, but as an overweight person, I imagine it would not be available for all people and all sizes. It is interesting to watch the progress in that field though.

So, I would love to explore in a holodeck, though I probably never will. I enjoyed reading Joe’s entry about it again, though, and thinking about all the possibilities that a holodeck could offer. To be instantly in a far land, another place, or in a far time, experience  it, and then instantly be back where I started a few hours later, would be amazing.

What do you think? Where would you go? What would you do?

Until next week when Joe will have two more blog entries for you, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Long day

I’m sorry for the late blog entry today. I intended to write it at Joe’s this afternoon, but my day went another way. I had a tooth removed last week, and this week I have an infection on that side of my face. I had to see a doctor about it today, which took a while because it was an emergency appointment, and by the time I got out I needed to go home instead of work. I did stop by to feed Keekee and check up on her, but wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with her and to give her much petting like I wanted. I hope to do better the next few days.

I talked to Joe and he is having a good time. He said something about a get together tonight. I didn’t get any details, but I bet he is having a porch party. He loves those, and I remember him telling me that he likes to have at least one of them every year at camp. I hope he is having a great time with his yearly neighbors.

Joe also said that he was having trouble finding an internet connection there. I know the main house was supposed to have internet, but if that is true I don’t know why it isn’t working for Joe. He was using a nearby fast food restaurant for internet yesterday and wasn’t there for long. He might not see this post until he gets back, just like old times. If you are reading this entry this week Joe, Hi!

As Joe would write at closing, until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: I am typing this on Joe’s old computer

Joe took his new laptop to camp and left his old one behind. There is just enough life in it to do a few things, like the next few blog entries. The funny part here is that I have been so pleased since Darren and I got fast internet in our place to be able to do my blog posts from home when needed, and now I am excited about being able to do them during work hours at the office while Joe is away. I guess I’m happy either way. If I do them during work hours, you will get the posts earlier in the day, which is good.

Joe got a little bit of a late start this morning, but he is on the road now, on his way to one of his most favorite places on the planet. In two days he will be sitting on his cabin porch looking out at the lake. He will also be visiting with his buddy and brother Dave and the rest of his family, something he really enjoys doing. He made sure to pack his Yahtzee game and score pads.

Joe’s cat Keekee is hiding somewhere in the room. She hates it when Joe leaves, so she hates it when he bustles around packing luggage and bags. She has had a tough few days, and she will be a sad cat until Joe comes back. In a little bit I will feed her and I hope that helps her a little. She likes her soft food a lot. I’ll be in and out of Joe’s place while he is gone to feed and check on her, as I do every year. Poor sweet cat.

Joe just called and said that he made it to a truck stop for a bite to eat and then he will be on his way again. He said that if I was still writing the blog entry, which I am, to tell his readers that he loves the Hyundai Tucson that he rented. I am glad he has a car he is comfortable in; otherwise it is a long trip.

That’s it for today’s blog post. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Blog schedule for July and August

Greetings, Joe’s readers. You are seeing a lot of From Rebecca entries lately, and while I hope that all of you enjoy reading my pieces, I know that you are partaking of Joe’s blog to see what is on his mind. Last week, Joe’s friend Dave came to visit on Thursday, and two weeks before that Joe had something personal came up. Please bear with us, both entries this week will be from me, and this will continue off and on just another month. There are reasons for that.

This week doctor appointments have knocked out the working together time for Joe and me. Today Joe is at a check-up with his primary physician, and tomorrow I will be helping my husband Darren and his mom at an urgent doctor’s appointment for her; with her mobility issues and bringing the car around to the front of buildings, it is so much easier to get my mom-in-law to her appointments if there are two of us. To make up for the lost work time tomorrow, I am writing the blog entry for Thursday too.

Next week will be normal for us, working Wednesday and Thursday together. As usual, Joe will dictate the blog posts while I type, then we will edit. Joe will be busy getting ready for Bear Spring Camps, so I imagine that his other writing will be halted for the time being, but he will do the blog.

The following two weeks, the first two in August, Joe will go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and I will do those four blog posts from home. I will be spending time with his cat Keekee during regular work hours, so those entries will be a little later in the day than usual, but I will get them up on those Wednesdays and Thursdays.

After that, Joe will be back and we will go back to normal with two blog entries a week from Joe on various topics. I expect him to come back with lots of motivation and ideas for the rest of the year, as he does after every vacation at Bear Spring Camps. He will be raring to go with ideas for writing, cleaning, organizing, and improving his life in general. It is always an exciting time to be working with him.

So hang it there with us for the next month. I hope you will like my posts, and Joe will be back before you know it with more of his thoughts and wisdom, plus he will be here both days next week.

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

From Rebecca: Happy Birthday, Joe

Today is Joe’s birthday, and if you read his post yesterday, you know that he is spending it with his good friend and brother David Trost, who is visiting for a couple of days. I’m sure they are having a great time together. Hi, guys! Happy Birthday, Joe!

I have known Joe since we went to high school together. I was a bit in my own world back then, but Joe easily befriended me anyway. He has always been interested in other people, in seeing the good in them, and being a good friend to them. These are traits he still has. Once in a while someone will take advantage of his niceness, of his easy trust, and it will make him feel stupid for a bit of time. But he is still willing to help the next person he sees that needs assistance and offer a shoulder to cry on. I admire that. It is my natural inclination to pull away from people I don’t know, and Joe’s natural inclination to move closer in order to say hi. He is a special person.

As I’ve said before on this blog, it has been an experience to watch Joe in his fast food job. He has approached it with so much excitement and joy, even though lately he has also experienced some of the disappointments and mishaps that can occur at any job. He will be taking a couple of weeks off in August when he goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and no doubt when he comes back he will start a new work schedule as the town gets ready for the Penn State fall semester.

Joe wrote yesterday that he will be back next Wednesday with a review of his laptop, but he has an appointment that morning, so he will probably do that on Thursday instead. I might be writing the blog entry again next Wednesday, unless Joe gets back in time to do it.

As Joe would tell you, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.