Tag Archives: Mexico

I am way behind in my yuletide preparations

Greetings, readers. It is quite bizarre how fast this Christmas season has flown by. I could swear I just woke up on Thanksgiving morning and watched the Macy’s parade with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. I blinked my eyes twice and it is December 20th. I’ve only listened to a hand-full of Christmas carols, and my apartment is not decorated at all. Bah humbug to me.

There have been a number of things that I believe has caused this delay in decorating. First of all is my job. I come home from it tired and needing to sleep. I don’t seem to get much done on the days I have a shift; it is work, eat, and sleep. On the days I don’t have a shift, I have work with Rebecca and errands to do that can’t be done on job days. Second is the time I have spent proof-reading and editing Four’s a Crowd. Apparently I am the last of the readers to finish my editing. Shame on me. Luckily I know the material like the back of my hand, especially my part of it. Once I get rolling, it won’t take me long. Lastly, when I could be reading at 4:00am, I am playing Out of the Park Baseball 18. Today was game 5 of the completely fictitious Canadian Baseball League World Series. Somehow my brain isn’t engaged for activities like reading and editing at 4:00 in the morning. Fear not, Darren and Rebecca, it will be done.

After the holidays, I plan to revamp my schedule. Whether that means taking some time off from work, or changing my job schedule, has yet to be determined. I’m certain that everything will fall into place. It always seems to.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected in the Amtrak train disaster, as well as in the tour bus accident in Mexico. So sad. The California wild fires, although I’ve heard they have been partially contained, will probably burn for another several days. I’ve been calling my aunt, who lives near one of the fire areas, and she is uncomfortable from the smoke but holding her own.

Finally, very soon two of our long-time establishments will be going out of business. Not because of the economy, but rather the sale of the building in which they are housed. Spats Café and Speakeasy has been around for 30 years and the Rathskeller Bar has been underneath the cafe in the same spot for many decades. I always hate it when establishments go bye-bye, especially the ones I remember as a youth or a teenager. The State College area is not really effected that much from the recession because there are a lot of college kids who attend school every year and need books, Penn State clothing, souvenirs and anything else Penn State they can get their hands on.

I wish everyone good luck with their holiday shopping. Enjoy your plans with family. And until tomorrow, take care and happy reading.

It’s going to be a hectic few weeks

Greetings, readers. Until further notice, Rebecca and I are going to have a different work schedule. She will come in on Wednesdays as usual, and we will write the blog entry, check the mail, and have the weekly meeting with my accountant. For the next two to three weeks, quite possibly, I will have work shifts at my job on Thursdays, in addition to my regular shifts on Fridays and Saturdays. My poor aching feet! This means that Rebecca will be working from home and doing that day’s blog entry. It’s not an ideal situation for my creative writing, but we can make do.

I’m kind of in a dark place right now emotionally, but that never lasts very long. I feel myself slipping into a rut, then every other Friday I see my pay come into my bank account and all is right with the world again. In the next few days I am going to sit down, re-prioritize a few things, and get back to my happy place.

Today is the last day of our Indian Summer, thank goodness. Today’s high is 86 degrees fahrenheit and tomorrow might not even reach 70. Yes, I will admit it, it is going to feel so good. I know I tend to talk about the weather too much here in the blog, but 86 degrees in late September is a bit much. President Trump, are you sure you don’t want to change your mind about climate change?

After work hours today, I have to do a quick load of laundry and go visit my friend Traci at the hospital. The poor dear broke her ankle yesterday. It was not exactly the birthday present she was hoping for. After that is home to bed to get ready for job work shifts Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I enjoyed the football games this past weekend, with one notable exception. I want to speak briefly about the trend in sports with players failing to show respect for our National Anthem. Before I get to that, let me mention my biggest pet peeve about the whole thing. I’m going to say it once and once only: Black players talk about their race; are we not all of the human race? I do believe they are referring to their ethnicity. I am the same race as all other people: Black, Asian, Latino, etc., but a different ethnic background. There I have now scratched the chalkboard with my nails. I hope in the future people will learn not to mix up these two terms. Now back to the games this weekend. For a couple of hundred years or so at sporting events there had never been a problem that I know of with putting your hand over your heart for the National Anthem, why should there be a problem now?

After I dictated the paragraph above, Rebecca and I got into a discussion to answer my question. She talked about the reason that the original player, Colin Kaepernick, began to take a knee during the National Anthem, to protest black people getting killed by the police and not getting justice in the courts for it. I didn’t know that. She acknowledged that this weekend many of the people on the fields taking a knee or linking arms were protesting being told to give up first amendment rights by the President, or having him tell the NFL who to fire. Which she knows is also a worthy cause. Though she also hoped that the linked arms were also a message to black people that the NFL supports their rights, too. It was a good discussion. Here is my take on it.

Although I agree with the right to protest, I am just afraid that this might mushroom into something where people putting their hands over their hearts will be the exception rather than the norm. Personally, I’ve not gone to many live games, but the few I have, I’ve either placed my hand over my heart or saluted the flag. The flag of the United States means a lot to me. Even though I never lost a family member to war, I know that the military protects those freedoms that sometimes I take for granted. The flag represents those freedoms.

Okay, I’m done ranting now. For tomorrow’s blog post, Rebecca is going to go back into the archives to pick a good entry that hasn’t been viewed much and share it again. I will be back next Wednesday with a new post. We will get back to our regular two-day work week as soon as possible.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to the people in Puerto Rico and the other Caribbean islands who have been so devastated by Hurricane Maria. Also to the folks in the Everglades and all the victims of the recent storm activity. This also includes the people in Mexico still recovering from the earthquake and aftershocks.

Until tomorrow for Rebecca and next week for me, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Out of the Park Baseball 18 is a hoot

Greetings, readers. About a month ago I purchased from Steam a really good-looking baseball video game. I watched the trailer, and thought to myself, that’s for me. The price was right, and I love sports games, so I clicked purchase and downloaded it. My fun was just beginning.

Obviously I was going to take a good look around the game to see what it had to offer. I quickly learned that the graphics when playing a game are something from the 1990s. That, my readers, is this game’s only downfall. OOTPB18 more than makes up for the bad graphics with every conceivable statistic you could want and several game modes you can choose from. You can be the manager of the team or the general manager and hire and fire as you see fit. You can play a season from any year 2017 all the way back to the beginnings of baseball, including the Negro leagues. I’m not certain if all the correct players are there since the Negro leagues were before my time, but I imagine that they have as many correct names as they could find, with all appropriate statistics. There is an on-line mode which someday I will try out and all major league teams have their own appropriate farm systems in place. lt is such fun to watch the Portland Sea Dogs – the Boston Red Sox AA team – play a season.

Now, for my favorite part. You can create your own league. When I saw this, I went bananas. I spent an entire evening putting together my new league. The NABL, or North American Baseball League. I have two teams in Mexico, one in Cuba, and yes, Montreal has a team again, the Montreal Mounties. With me being from Pittsburgh, you just know I had to have a team representing my home city. The Pittsburgh Steel Hounds got off to an 8-2 start and have fallen on hard times since. I tried to renegotiate a new contract with my best player and when he didn’t respond, I withdrew the offer, intending to make it better, but to my surprise and utter disappointment, he, “will no longer negotiate with this team.” Now I know how George Steinbrenner felt.

Another cool feature is the daily news page, complete with newspaper, all the leagues’ activities, team injuries, and standings. It’s your whole league in a nutshell. This is what I do when I get up in the morning; I check my team’s page as I sip my morning coffee.

Also, there is a fantastic feature called real-time simulation. When activated, the games will be played at true-to-life speed. You see just the box scores in this mode, which in itself is intriguing. If there is a pitching change needed in any of the games, there will be a pause of a few minutes. That is how real this game is. If you choose to view the game, it will speed up again.

This is one of those games that I am going to discover something new about a month from now. It is never going to get old to me. Me and my North American Baseball League will be very happy I’m sure for many seasons to come.

Here is my final score, no pun intended. Graphics: 4 out of 10. On-line mode: bravo, lets give that a 10. Statistics: 10. Ease of Operation: 9. Features: 9.5. Bringing the final score to a 8.5.

A side note for you. Because of my fall last week I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning. I didn’t want to take another personal day, but I also don’t want to damage the foot if there is something wrong that can be taken care of now. Rebecca will have another blog up tomorrow, and I will be back next week, hopefully for both blog days.

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

Top ten list of my favorite TV shows

Greetings, readers. Over my lifetime I have enjoyed many television programs from the 1970s right through the 90s. Though I have watched a few episodes of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike and Molly, I just don’t get into network programing nearly as much as I used to. I have much more to do, and outlets such as Netflix streaming and YouTube give me all the entertainment I need. TV shows, movies, and even concerts are there on offer. Here’s a top ten list of my favorite TV shows. I’ll try to put them in order.

#10. Family Matters. [A very nice family show with the geeky boy next door whose wonderful catch phrase was, “Did I do that?” You got to love Steve Urkel.]

#9. Fresh Prince of Bel Air. [I’ve been a big fan of Will Smith, mostly from his movies, but this show was exceptional. The young boy from Philly who got sent to Bel Air to live with the rich aunt and uncle. Wouldn’t that be nice. As a side note, this is also one of my girlfriend’s favorites.]

#8. Maude. [This was Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan’s first TV venture together. I laughed with them in Maude, as well as in their later series The Golden Girls with Betty White and Estelle Getty.]

#7. The Love Boat. [All aboard on Captain Stubing’s love boat. I watched it each and every week for years. The first few seasons were from the port of L.A. down to Mexico and back. A whole cruise shown in an hour. In later seasons, guest stars got to fall in love while traveling to exotic and rare destinations.]

#6. Full House. Fuller House. [Now we are starting to get to my really favorite shows. I watched every episode of Full House and taped them all when they were on reruns. Danny, Uncle Jesse and Joey helped guide the three girls through topics such as sharing a room, their first loves, and in a very poignant episode, where was their daddy during the San Francisco earthquake. It’s spin-off, Fuller House, which premiered last year on Netflix, picks up with D.J. Fuller widowed with three boys. The whole cast, except the Olsen twins, took part. As far as I know, there will be a second season. I can’t wait.]

#5. Charlie’s Angels. [When this show aired in 1976, I was 11 going on 12. Young, beautiful women in skimpy outfits or bikinis. Yes, I’m going to like it, shoot me. For any real Charlie’s Angels fan, I’m sure you’ll agree that most of their stories were good ones and well written. And let’s not forget David Doyle as Bosley and John Forsythe as the voice of Charlie. Two excellent actors.]

#4. Star Trek. ST: The Next Generation. ST: Deep Space Nine. ST: Voyager. ST: Enterprise. [Well, the secret is out; I am a Trekkie. I love the whole idea of the almost perfect future universe. I adore holodeck episodes; the idea that you can walk into a room and it becomes anything you wish fascinates me to no end. To be honest, I did not watch every episode of Enterprise, but most Trek fans did like it.]

#3. Cagney and Lacey. [A wonderful police drama in the 1980s about two women police detectives dealing with not only their jobs but their home lives. Mary Beth’s husband Harvey was a wonderful character and magnificently played by John Karlen. On a down note, midway through the series, Christine Cagney got a love interest, but for some unknown reason the writers made him an almost exact duplicate of Harvey. This did not go down well with me. This series dealt not only with police issues, but with Christine’s loss of her father and her own alcoholism, as well as the brilliantly written two-part episode dealing with Mary Beth’s breast cancer. If there was a down side to this series, it was the lackluster series finale. Apparently CBS didn’t know if it was being renewed or not, so the women were instructed by LT. Samuels to paint the ladies’ room. If they didn’t get promoted to the major cases squad, they would have a, “freshly painted bathroom to come back to.”]

#2. Reba. [This is a series I watched with my girlfriend Traci in reruns. I had heard about it but never watched it when it had its first run. The show deals with a divorced woman devotedly religious, played by Reba McEntire, as she struggles to make ends meet, fights with her ex-husband and his new wife, and loves and cares for her kids. The show is set in Houston, Texas, and in the early years, son-in-law Van plays high school and then college football. For a brief period, he turns pro, but an injury ends his career. That allows Reba and Van to partner up in a real-estate venture. Actress Scarlett Pomers dealt with an eating disorder fairly late in the series and missed a season. She triumphantly returned in the final season.]

#1. M.A.S.H. [The is quite possibly my favorite show of all time. I watched it religiously in prime time and in reruns as a teenager. For a half hour each night, I would picture myself there in Korea with all my friends; Hawkeye, Trapper, B.J. and all the rest. My favorite episode, which according to Loretta Swit changed the series, was called Comrades in Arms. Hawkeye and Margaret were sent to another M.A.S.H. unit, their jeep breaks down and they have to hide. When shelling of the hut they are hiding in starts near the end of part one, they embrace and seem to fall in love, though that is a misunderstanding. At the end of part two, they are not a couple, but the dynamics of the characters changed for the rest of the series.]

Well, there is my list. As usual, please chime in with your top ten list in the comments if you wish. Have a great Friday and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

I’m getting into controversy today

Greetings, readers. I was going to write a blog entry this morning about how upset I am with CBS and Paramount’s decision to clamp down on Star Trek fan fiction films and episodes. I still need to do a little more research into the guidelines that they have set up. So far I am not impressed. I do understand that Star Trek is the intellectual property of Paramount and CBS. However I am a firm believer that any non-profit fan fiction production is simply a love letter to the series, and really will not hurt the new show coming out in 2017. Could I be wrong? Most definitely. To me though, if I owned a song or film and someone honored me with a tribute, I would be flattered as long as they weren’t making a gazillion dollars off me. As I understand it, fan fic films make little or no money. It is all for the love of the series.

My topic today will be about how disgusted I am with the political onslaught the American people have to put up with until voting day in November. Let’s go over the main candidates. First is Hillary Clinton. There is speculation at this moment about her health concerns. Some folks would have you think she is dying. The truth is that she has a case of pneumonia and will most likely be fine.

I want this understood right now before we go any further. I have not gone on to any websites for the front running candidates. Former Secretary Clinton is a Democrat and her opponent Donald Trump is running as the Republican candidate. Gary Johnson and his running mate are the Libertarian candidates who, I feel, have zero chance of obtaining the presidency.

I don’t particularly like Hillary Clinton. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because of all the accusations against her all these years. Maybe it is because she comes across as a cold woman. She and her husband have been in trouble since Arkansas. Rebecca has explained to me before what she knows about the scandals and accusations against Hillary Clinton, but I just can’t shake the feeling that she did something wrong and got away with it. Is anybody perfect? Of course not. Everybody has faults, but when you are running for president they are always magnified. I do like some things about Mrs. Clinton. She is highly educated with way more foreign policy experience than Donald Trump. She might not be as powerful a speaker as her opponent, but she can back up her claims.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, comes across to me as a pompous, arrogant ass. He is a racist, a bigot, and on at least one occasion, made fun of a handicapped person. That is when he lost any hope of my vote. Even though my handicap is mild, I will not support anyone who makes fun of a physically challenged person, for political gain or to prove a point.

Mr. Trump’s idea to build a wall between Mexico and the United States and have the Mexicans pay for it, is, quite frankly, absurd. Do I want illegal aliens taking our jobs? No. But there must be a better way than duplicating the Great Wall of China. To be perfectly honest with you readers, I did watch a couple of his speeches on YouTube, and I’ll give you that he is a rousing speaker. But that is it. I don’t think any one of his policies would work. Now let’s go into his economics. Multiple casinos – bankrupt. Trump Airlines – failed. A lot of his business ventures have gone belly up. I don’t know what makes him think that he is qualified at all at being our president. Here is another point for you. Does Donald Trump have any foreign policy experience? I would wager no. If Mr. Trump squeezed through by some miracle to win the White House, he will have to have advisors on top of advisors. And as is shown many times on news clips, Donald Trump likes to talk, not listen. Donald Trump would make George W. Bush look like a great president. With Donald Trump’s big mouth, we just might get into another war. One we might not be able to win.

Do we really have a great choice for president this time around? I suppose Hillary Clinton is the lessor of two evils. And her foreign policy experience is a plus. As long as the Clinton’s can keep their noses clean for four to eight years, we might be okay. If Donald Trump wins, I might be blogging from Canada. Ha ha.

This might not be my greatest blog entry ever, as I don’t go into politics often. I did want to put my two cents in about the major candidates. You may be wondering who I am going to vote for. Quite honestly, I’m not certain yet. Could it be Bernie Sanders? Possibly. Could it be Hillary Clinton? More than likely. Will it be Donald Trump? ROTFL. Definitely not.

One thing I do know is that the mud-slinging from this election has gone on way too long. It is the reason I rarely watch TV anymore.

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