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The Secret House, part 2, a continuation of a short story

Greetings, readers. A number of you suggested that I continue the short story I wrote and posted a couple of weeks ago and I thought that would be a good idea. It’s not exactly my four paragraph blog entry, so be prepared. Here it is and enjoy.

The Secret House – part 2

It was 9:30 in the evening again, and Toby, and his sister, Angela were sent upstairs to bed by their parents. The children pretended to look disappointed, but had secretly been planning to explore the secret house above the attic once more. Toby had shared with his sister his marvelous discovery. It was no surprise that she did not believe him.

After changing into their night clothes in their respective bedrooms, the children quietly convened near Angela’s bedroom door.

“Just wait till you see it,” Toby remarked. “You won’t believe your eyes.”

Nine-year-old Angela loved to play devil’s advocate. If her older brother said one thing, she would believe the exact opposite. When first told of the secret house above the attic, Angela thought Toby was crazy. They were about to find out who was correct.

“Switch on the lamp over there,” Toby commanded.

“Don’t boss me around,” Angela snarled. “You’re not the boss of me.”

Toby shushed his sister, deathly afraid that voices from upstairs would get an inquiry from mom or dad; the last thing Toby wanted. After Angela had switched on the light, Toby quietly slid open the closet door and moved the stepstool underneath the attic hatch door. He clicked on the closet light and told his sister that he would go up first so that he could offer her a lift if she needed it.

Toby hoisted himself up into the attic and to his joy and relief, his secret house was still there. He beamed a great smile down at his sister.

“Okay, now you got me curious,” Angela replied, as she smiled back.

The young girl heaved her way up and found herself on the lush carpeting in that lavish bedroom. “Oh my gosh.”

“See, I told you. It’s all here,” said Toby, pleased with himself that he was right and his sister was wrong. By the look on Angela’s face, her brother concluded that she wasn’t all that upset with being wrong.

“Is it okay if I have a look around?” Angela asked.

“Yeah,” Toby replied. “Just try to be quiet. We don’t want to get caught, do we?”

Angela quietly explored the bedroom for a solid five minutes. She laid on the bed, brushed her brunette hair with a hairbrush while looking into the full-length mirror, quietly opened the empty drawers, and then set back down on the bed. “What is this place?”

The two children explored every room in the house, thoroughly but quietly. Angela was amazed and delighted with everything that greeted her brown eyes. Her favorite room was the living room, where the big screen TV and air hockey table were located. “Toby, I’m dreaming, right?”

“Not unless I am too,” Toby answered. “You should’ve seen my face the first time I saw this place. My chin about hit the floor!”

With a smile, Angela quietly shushed her brother, for now he was getting excited and a bit loud. Who knows, perhaps their parents can’t hear them up here in their secret room. After the children explored every room, Angela was drawn to the front door. It still looked foggy and ominous outside. “You want to go out?” Toby asked, extending his hand.

“I don’t know,” Angela replied, with some trepidation in her voice.

Angela took Toby’s right hand and he opened the front door with his left. The two explorers walked out of the house and instantly a beautiful front yard with a white picket fence replaced the fog and mist. Angela squeezed Toby’s hand, both in fear and delight.

“Toby?” Angela began. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see a front yard with the fence, some other people in their yards, and a few cars passing by,” said Toby. “What do you see?”

“The same thing,” said Angela.

What appeared strange to the children was that the other people in their yards didn’t seem to notice the youngsters in their night clothes. One neighbor was gardening, another was mowing the lawn. There wasn’t much traffic; just the occasional vehicle pulling into a driveway.

“Toby, where in the heck are we?” Angela asked.

“I’m not sure,” Toby began. “But I’m getting freaked out. These people don’t even seem to see or hear us. It’s like we’re not even here.”

Toby clutched his sister’s hand and pulled her toward the front door of the house. Toby, one usually not to be afraid, was having difficulty wrapping his head around why the onlookers didn’t seem to see them. He decided it was time for them to go back inside. Once back inside the secret house, he closed the door. Once again, the fog outside instantly returned. Angela gasped, and took a step backwards

“Oh, that’s so creepy,” she whispered.

Making quite certain that the door was locked, Toby and his sister walked back towards the attic hatch. After sliding down back into the guest room, Toby noticed on the wall clock that again only a few minutes and gone by. “Awesome!”

The children quietly walked back to their bedrooms, gently closed their doors, hopped into bed and went to sleep. Before getting into bed though, Toby wandered should he tell his parents. He knew they would never believe him. That … is for another day.

 

I certainly hope you enjoyed part 2. As you can deduce, there will be at least one more part. Rebecca will do the blog entry tomorrow for I am taking a personal day to get ready for a weekend trip. So until I am back next Wednesday, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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Arg!! Oh what a terrible morning

Greetings, readers. What a morning Rebecca and I are having. If it was not dealing with a serious matter to me, I could have seen Tim Conway doing this in a comedy sketch. It would have been hilarious. Here’s what happened.

I had one simple phone call to make. All I had to do is tell a human being on the other end of the line that I wanted to verify a piece of medical information for my insurance. In 45 minutes, readers, and after calls to three different phone numbers, do you think we actually got a human being? No. I don’t count the person who told me that I did not call the right number. I can see Tim Conway on a speaker phone – push 1 for English, 2 for Portuguese, 3 for Spanish, etc. Fifteen different languages all the way to Scandinavian. Meanwhile, Harvey Korman would be laughing at the faces Tim Conway would make in exasperation. Yes, folks, on TV it is funny. In real life, not so much. Rebecca suggested that we take a break and write the blog entry while my phone charges a bit. I think it was an excellent idea. I feel better already.

I already have in mind the idea for the next short story blog entry. As one of my readers requested, it is going to be a continuation of Toby’s adventures in the attic. I’m going to let my creative juices flow and push the envelope, as people say.

As I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post, my speech recognition program, for lack of another term, got set back to factory specs and I am in the process of re-teaching it my speech patterns. It should not take too long. The more I use it the more it will work. I have two appointments this afternoon, but I am going to write this evening and much of tomorrow. By then I should have the speech recognition program back to the way it was. It had actually learned my voice quite well, I was most pleased, but then it re-set. Sometimes, though, I still want to be that Tom Hanks character on Cast Away, who was all by himself; on an island or in a cabin in the mountains, and just write, write, write. However, this is something called the real world and I do have a plethora of appointments to go to.

Okay, I have sufficiently ranted and raved, and I feel better. When Rebecca and I wrap up this blog entry we will try again to contact the agency I need to talk to.

I bid you all a great weekend and that short story will be ready for Rebecca to cut and paste into the blog on Wednesday. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown like my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Schlow Centre Region Library revisited

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Back in October of 2013 I wrote a post on libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library. I said a lot of good things in that one, so here is the link you can follow if you want to read it too. Since I wrote it I got faster internet at home and stopped using the library for their computers and internet, but I still go there once or twice a week to check out books and CDs. It is still one of my favorite places in the world.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother-in-law might enjoy audio books and I wondered over to that section. Sure enough, Schlow has a large collection to choose from, including a lot of the J.D. Robb series that we both read. I knew about this section before, but until I was looking into them I didn’t appreciate it. It impressed on me one of best features of libraries, that they offer so many different resources and we might not need them for years, but when we do want something, there it is.

The upper level of Schlow contains the audio books, CDs, large print books, young adult novels, graphic novels, books for sale, public computers, helpful staff, non-fiction books, fiction books, a wide range of newspapers and magazines available to read, tables and chairs, two rooms with doors that close to use – one includes materials for crafts, and desks with plugs for people with laptops or who want space to study. The lower level contains the children’s section with computers, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, helpful staff, graphic novels, and games. Thinking about it, I am amazed by the variety.

Last year, I was looking at books on a return cart and picked up the first novel in an unusual series, Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. The main character, Fiona Griffiths, has a rare mental condition that she struggles with to do her job on the police force in the U.K. I would never have found this series without seeing it at Schlow. I wanted to read more of these books, so I looked him up in the catalogue, and the library only had the first one. So I did an interlibrary loan request for the second book in the series once I looked up the title (my first time doing an ILL) and waited about a month for it to come in. When I picked up the book, I noticed it had Schlow Centre Region Library identification on it, and looking through it I realized it had the signs of being a print-on-demand book. They might not have been able to find a copy in other libraries. I realized that Schlow bought the book to fill my request and to put in their collection. Wow. I know at least one other person read the first one because it was on the return cart, so I hope that my request helps someone else read the second book, and now the third book. I want to read the rest of the series, but knowing that Schlow would buy the book instead of borrow it, I waited a few months before requesting the third one, and will wait a few months before asking for the fourth one. There are six books in the series and I would feel guilty asking for so much of their resources in a short period of time. I don’t have the space on my shelves or the money to buy the series on my own.

I had already noticed some books on the shelves that looked like print-on-demand (Joe’s books from CreateSpace are print-on-demand so I know the specific look of the back page) and was impressed by the many ways that the library supports all these industries in publishing and entertainment. Yes, we the public use it for free, but the library bought it all. That is a lot of money going into the world, and libraries are constantly having to raise that money – from government sources, from selling books and items donated to them or off their shelves, from local fund drives, from business donations, and from patron donations. They also need to keep the lights on and pay the staff. It makes me proud that I donate two dollars a week; I couldn’t afford to give Schlow a hundred dollars in one go, but by the end of the year my two dollars adds up to that. They do some much for me and the community.

I want to close with one paragraph from my October 2013 post, which sums up what I want to share about libraries in general.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

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

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.

I can’t be here today so I am sharing an older blog post with you

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I am at my job today, so Rebecca picked out a blog post from my second full year of blogging to re-post. She looked for one that has not showed up in our stats since the year it was written and that she thinks is good enough to be seen again. She chose one that she said was heartfelt and might appeal to many readers. When she mentioned it to me yesterday, I thought it was a good choice, too. So here it is, I hope you like it. I will be back with a new entry next Wednesday.

R.I.P to legendary sportscaster Pat Summerall

April 17, 2013

Greetings, readers. Yesterday word went out that Pat Summerall died at age 82. I loved listening to him broadcast games, with Tom Brookshier, and later with John Madden. I will miss his voice.

Pat Summerall was a sports broadcaster from 1962, when CBS hired him, to 2011 when he did pre-game coverage for the Cotton Bowl.

He played football from 1952 until 1961 for the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Cardinals, and the New York Giants. The following year CBS picked him up and he began his broadcast career including a record 16 Superbowl broadcasts.

Personally, even though I knew that he was a football player in the 50s and 60s, my earliest recollection was watching a weekly show called This Week in Pro Football. He and his partner Tom Brookshier would recap the games from the previous week. I enjoyed their narration style, the slow motion instant replay, and certainly that NFL films soundtrack playing while they showed the clips. That show ran from the late 60s through the 70s, according to Wikipedia. Pat and Mr. Brookshier also played themselves in the famous 1977 movie Black Sunday, in which terrorists plotted to crash the Goodyear blimp into the Orange Bowl stadium during Superbowl X.

After that, I would watch Pat and Tom broadcast a couple more seasons of NFL games before new partner John Madden came in. Summerall and Madden were the team to beat as broadcasters go for many, many years.

Pat Summerall also broadcast golf tournaments. As I am not a golf fan, I did not partake.

On a side note, as with many famous people, he did voice overs for shows. He did an episode of the Simpsons with his partner John Madden.

I would put Mr. Summerall’s voice right up there with my all time favorites: Dick Enberg, who still broadcasts San Diego Padres baseball games, and the late Curt Gowdy.

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

Sharing another story from my second book with you

Greetings, readers. I am sharing a story, “Going Down the Runway,” from my second camp book, published in 2012 from CreateSpace.com. I have written three books that I published using CreateSpace, a publish-on-demand site which I have had good experiences using. I am proud of all of them and the hard work I put into them. All three books are available through CreateSpace, or through Amazon. The first two, about Bear Spring Camps, are also available on Kindle (I haven’t put the third one on that platform yet.) In case you are interested in looking them up, here is the information to find them. You can find most of same information on the Books for Sale page.

My first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3625476, Amazon.com, and Amazon Kindle. I have shared two stories from this book in the blog before, about a tribute to my mother the year she passed away, and about when I fell asleep fishing.

My second book, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, is the one I am sharing a story from today. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3674407, and Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle. I shared one story from this book already, about a run-away boat.

My third book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, has entries from my first year of doing this blog. It is available on my e-store, https://www.createspace.com/3678800, and Amazon.com.

Without further ado, here is the story. I certainly hope you enjoy it.

Going Down the Runway – The worst mishap the Galileo ever
endured was due to lack of planning. It was a hot breezy afternoon.
David, Pop, and I decided to cool ourselves down with a long boat
ride. Mom decided to stay behind on the porch with a cool drink. We
were going to go to the other side of Great Pond where any breeze
might be stronger. It was an area that none of us went to very often.
After we got back, I wished that I had, the night before, asked Mr.
Mosher for a lake map that I could study before we left. But I didn’t.

The ride started out in North Bay as usual. We then started
making our way through Chutes Channel to the other side. We were
enjoying our ride with the Galileo’s throttle open to full. She was
getting a good workout. On this rare occasion, I was not at the helm.
Dave had taken a turn driving and then Pop took his turn; a rarity for
Dad. I should have been paying attention to his driving so that I
could assist him as needed, but I didn’t think of it.

It was during Pop’s turn at the wheel when the minor tragedy
occurred. We were on our way back to North Bay (where we knew
what the markers meant) but we were unsure of the markers on the
other side. He had to navigate the Galileo in an area where rocks
were abundant. On one side was a row of green markers and on the
other side, approximately ten yards away on the left, was a row of
red markers. Pop must have thought that in between the rows of
markers was the danger zone. As it turns out, it was the safe passage.
Just like landing an aircraft, we should have aimed right down the
middle of the runway. Pop veered to the right toward the rocks.

By this point in the ride, I was sitting in the front passenger area
half asleep. I got a rude awakening. As the propeller smacked
against a boulder just underneath the water surface, the Galileo came
out of the water for a fraction of a second. Pop immediately brought
the boat to a halt. As he lifted the engine up with the automatic
lifting device, he asked, “Davey, do you see any damage?”

Dave, though not really wanting to be the bearer of bad news,
replied, “Um, yes, sir, there is.”

I quickly walked back to where the engine was. Luckily the boat
itself was undamaged. To this day, I don’t know how the propeller
was the only thing that hit the rock, but it happened. With the
propeller in the mangled shape it was in, we weren’t getting out of
that spot on our own. I reached into the glove box, got the air horn, and blew it to call for help. After several minutes, someone came to
our aid and carefully got us out of the rocky situation we were in.

Once back in deep water, the ride home was slow but
uneventful. The propeller was just useable enough for us to drive our
boat back to our dock at the slowest possible speed, although the
engine put out a rough quiver. I kept thinking to myself, now how
am I going to explain this to Mother? Pop assured me that he would
take full responsibility. I felt guilty, yet relieved.

That evening, Mother went up to supper early to place a call to
the marina right before it closed. A mechanic was up the next
morning to not only install the new propeller but to inspect the
engine for any other damage. To my relief, when the new propeller
was put on, everything else checked out ok. Mom told all of us that
she would greatly appreciate it if we would stay on our side of the
lake.

The next morning, Uncle Cy, David, and I planned and partook
of a fishing trip. The engine started up as usual and ran smoothly. I
purposely opened her up to full throttle to check for any vibration.
Thankfully, it was as though the entire incident never happened.

A month or so later, when the marina bill was sent to our home
in Pennsylvania, Mom showed me how much the new propeller cost.
I felt like crawling under the rock that we had hit.

My feet and legs are still on the mend

Greetings, readers. Although I have a little bit of walking to do in town today, which can’t be helped, I plan to spend the majority of the day off my ailing feet. I am still recovering from my fall the other week, where apparently I twisted my left knee badly. After yesterday’s work shift, I sat down to my crew meal and when I got up my legs almost couldn’t support me. This is when it is time to throw the bottle of pain reliever in the tote bag. Tomorrow before my extra work shift, I’ll go ahead and take two Aleve.

I’m filling in for someone tomorrow and it will only be the second time I’ve worked three days straight. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I am a part-timer. As I believe with most people, once you are on the job and working, you don’t have time to complain or think about discomfort. For me, getting up at 5:00 to do the few things I need to do on my computer as I have my morning coffee, means that I go to bed around 9:00pm. Under normal circumstances, that would be a wee bit early for me, but when I am tired, I sleep.

Speaking of sleep, when I get those extra hours, I’ve noticed that I have pretty vivid dreams. Recently I’ve been dreaming about my parents, and Bear Spring Camps in an altered form. Just a couple of nights ago, I somehow took a chainsaw and destroyed my mom’s car. Then I wanted to drive it. She told me, no you can’t drive anymore. This, I am sure my therapist would say, is me telling myself that I should not own a car for a multitude of personal reasons.

I’m still having tons of fun with Out of the Park Baseball 18, but if any of you, my readers, know the answer to the upcoming question, please chime in here or on Facebook: All my players’ injuries seem to be season-ending. Does anyone know a way to adjust injure severity mid-season? Or do I have to wait until the next season rolls around to make adjustments? I am losing so many players on my Pittsburgh Steel Hounds, and the entire league is as well. I’ve searched through the manual and screen pages to see if I can adjust the severity of said injuries. So far, no such luck. I even went so far as to go on Twitter and tweet Out of the Park Baseball 18 directly and so far they have not replied. I still feel it’s the best baseball simulation ever made, with MLB The Show a close second.

Finally, I get a chuckle when Rebecca and I go through our stat numbers and the blog entry about my restful summer comes up. I met none of these goals, nor am I going to any time soon. I work four days a week and quite literally need to be off my feet as much as possible on my days off. With me having my job, this summer and now early fall has been way more hectic, but also fulfilling, than I ever thought it would be. I actually enjoy hopping on the bus early, getting my breakfast there, and clocking in. So far, so good, except for some construction woes. It seems like State College goes through a multitude of construction every summer. On this particular project going through the main artery of town, a problem arose and they had to redo all of it. One time I sat on the bus for 20 minutes and moved half a block. My job has a policy that if you call in and let them know that you on a bus delayed by traffic, it is an excused lateness.

So much for my hodgepodge couple of days. Until next time, I bid you a good day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Hectic day at work yesterday

Greetings, readers. I was planning to have a top ten list of my pet peeves today, but I discovered that I had already created the list on August 22, 2012. Well, good news for you, I have another topic in mind and I think it will interest you.

Yesterday where I work we got slammed. There was a bomb scare at a nearby business, and all their workers were told that they could gladly come in to our place and spend their down time indoors and out of the rain. They arrived around 3:30 and stayed until almost 7:00. Working the register for me is usually a quiet time in between customers where I can restock things, wipe down tables, and think or meditate. No such thinking or meditation happened yesterday. It was literally non-stop action, and it was good, it gave me an introduction to what the Penn State football weekend is going to be like. We won’t even have time to breath.

When Wal-Mart was given the all clear, their workers profusely thanked us, gave us cupcakes, and departed. We thought we could stand down. LOL. I saw a school bus pull in. My manager’s heart sank, and one worker who was already cut had to sign back in.

The football team from Tyrone, Pennsylvania was in town for some function, complete with the entire cheerleading squad. I told my friend Tasha, “You work register two and take the cheerleaders. I’ll take the team on register three.” We got them in and out in approximately 40 minutes. Not too shabby. When it was all over, and the high-fives were being given out, I realized something at the same time my manager did. I hadn’t made one mistake.

I think it was a combination of adrenalin and being hyper-focused. It was by far the most efficient I’ve ever worked on register. I would like to be that way every day, but I fear that I am one of those people who needs to be pushed to the limits before I shine.

After being cut for the evening, and knowing I had just missed a bus, I called a taxi cab. No waiting around for me, my feet were screaming obscenities at me and I wanted to get home. I work another five-hour shift today and then have two days off. I’m looking forward to that quite a bit.

On a side note, I’m no longer going to tell you, my readers, what is planned for the next blog, for half the time it doesn’t seem to work out. I can tell you one thing for sure though, I am taking a personal day tomorrow and Rebecca will be putting up the next blog entry with her own topic.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, 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.