Tag Archives: music

Why does Panera Cafe’s music have to be so dang loud?

Greetings, readers. As a lot of you know, from reading my blog, I normally start my day with friends Smith and Traci, enjoying coffee at Panera. Recently the music level has been that of a dance club. I’m not kidding. I’ve spoken to numerous managers about it, they all claim it is set at that volume level by corporate policy. However, the last two days out of three the music was at a wonderfully low volume, making it painfully obvious that if the managers really want it lower, they’ll do it.

What ever happened to the old adage that the customer was always right? I’ve asked on more than one occasion if they could please turn the music down. Some associates say yes, only to be overridden by their manager. “Oh, it’s corporate. We can’t do anything about that.” I’ve often wondered if it was an attempt to get people to not loiter in the café; to eat and get out. But students who are the steady customers of Panera will sit there as long as they are going to, regardless of how loud it is. Most just put earphones on. So if Panera is making the music loud to clear out their restaurants, it’s not working.

When I go over in the mid-afternoon, and there is about 100 people chatting away, I can barely hear the music. So if I am lucky enough to have any Panera corporate employee reading this blog, here is a suggestion: When you just open your store and there are a handful of people in it, set the volume lower and around lunchtime, feel free to crank it up.

The three musketeers, as we are known, love going to Panera for coffee, but if we truly can’t talk to one another in a normal voice, we might have to go elsewhere. There is a Sheetz, Webster’s Café, and a little coffee shop called Saints in the vicinity.

Well, let’s see what else is going on in the world. There was a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte … I thought guns weren’t allowed in schools. There is a blizzard in the Rockies … again I thought spring was here. And of course the mid-west states like Texas doesn’t need anymore rain. Have we really screwed up our planet this much? This is beyond climate change. To me this seems like the beginning of the end times. I’ve heard theories that this could be the last generation on earth and I’ve also heard theories that all things will even out and the weather will calm down eventually. One thing is sure, glaciers are melting and small islands are sinking under water. More than likely, they won’t come back. In a way I am glad I didn’t father a child, because that child would have inherited a world with an unfixable climate problem.

On to a nicer note, this Sunday I will dictate a top ten list, which I have never done without Rebecca before. I’m not exactly sure what the topic will be, but I will give it a go and make it as interesting as possible. The top ten lists seem to be a hit, so look for that this weekend.

Until then, do take care, love one another, let’s end all this damn fighting, and as always, happy reading.

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Oops. sorry about that, and belated Happy Easter

Greetings, readers. I was completely embarrassed when Rebecca texted me informing me that I had forgotten to put up the weekend blog. I said a few minor expletives, apologized to her and asked if she could put up a short blog entry on Monday. She, of course, said sure. I just knew that one of these weekends it was going to slip my mind. If it was going to happen, it was logical that Easter weekend would be it. Sunday morning I went to church, came home, went out with friends for a buffet dinner, and after all that food and two desserts, I came home and slept like a log. My “nap” lasted until 10pm. Needless to say I didn’t sleep much the rest of the night. I hope your Easter was as good as mine, with many blessings and a wonderful day spent with family.

Topic number two. The apartment cleaning. Yes, April 22nd came and went and as promised to myself, I began work on the kitchen. Ready for your funny of the day? A person starts a major cleanup project with one new trash bag in the box and no disinfectant wipes. Sure, I’m prepared. Lol. I must say, it looks a lot better. Then I walk into the living room and I see just how much I have to do. Slow and steady wins the race.

I can’t believe that Bear Spring Camps opens in less than a month. I’m already getting into my camp routine. My TV cable has Music Choice, channels dedicated to playing different genres of music. I enjoy listening to their easy listening music station, and having about an hour or so of what I call wind down time right before bed, which may include listening to crickets, loons, or a thunderstorm on Spotify. Between Music Choice, Spotify, and YouTube, I can find almost any background “white noise” choice I desire. When I am actually at camp, and I’m by myself, I like to lock the screen door and have the wooden door open, turn off the lights, and sit on my sofa, while I watch the twilight disappear into darkness. The easy listening radio station in that area of Maine disappeared long ago. So I will either listen to nature or a cassette tape on low volume. Trust me, when you spend an entire day in the sun, the breeze, as well as eating three wonderful meals a day and expending energy, you are more than ready around 9pm to wind down and call it a day.

Finally, prayers go out to the injured and families of victims from the church bombings in Sri Lanka. I said it before and I will say it again, we need to stop the madness. People must learn to get along with one another and to treat others as you would wish to be treated.

Until this weekend … I hope … have a great few days, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

Technology grrr 7

Greetings, readers. This morning I was up at 5am as part of my new daily routine. I had the computer running by 5:15 and all was well. It had had some problems with running slowly yesterday, just like my old ASUS had before I got the Hewlett-Packard this past spring. Then this morning in the middle of doing something, the HP decided to have a mind of its own. With my Facebook page frozen and the control-alt-delete function not working, I had to do a hard shut-down; holding the on/off button in until it shut off. My new HP didn’t like it.

The first time it restarted normally but was running slower. Something was beginning to be amiss. When it froze a second time and I had to restart it, all it showed was the cursor twirling with the HP logo in the background and didn’t do anything else. I let it sit while I made coffee and got dressed. Still twirling. I went to the bathroom to wash up, came out, still twirling. After what seemed like forever, I did another hard shut down. I got out the old ASUS computer, and to show you what kind of morning this was, I couldn’t remember the old computer’s password. Grrr!

When I went to get my laundry, I was literally talking to myself in the hallway when Rebecca showed up. I think she got an internal chuckle. I told her what was wrong and asked her if she remembered the password. Luckily, she did. We were all set to do the blog entry on the old computer, when she noticed that the battery compartment was becoming extremely hot. I had her immediately shut it down and I unplugged it before taking the battery out. The fan is probably not working in it anymore. At that point I was beginning to think that the blog entry was going to have to be from Rebecca at her place.

I decided to give the new HP one last try. This time the screen said something like Automatic Repair in Progress. That looked promising. We waited to see what happened. It then gave a prompt to restart the computer, which we did. And to our delight, the new laptop is once again working normally. No delays, slowness, or freezing. I still don’t know what is causing the issues, however.

I did not get to listen to my music, I did not get to check Facebook and Twitter, and all the other websites I usually check before work hours. So frustrating. I’ve decided I am going to take the computer into Best Buy’s Geek Squad and say, “This computer is only roughly three months old, it should not be having these problems. What is going on?” The technician will probably say, “You have two programs fighting one another,” or “Hey look, we found a virus.” This issue is not life-threating to my computer, it is just damned annoying. When the computer is shut down the correct way, all programs are supposed to shut off. I don’t think that is always happening with my machine. There goes $60 for the service charge, even before they do anything to it.

Before I close, I wanted to take a minute to send out prayers and good wishes to the flood victims in Texas, Barbados (where a new storm is forming) and also the victims of flooding in Asia during a rather bad monsoon season. Best wishes go out to those victims and families.

Next week, we will be working Wednesday and I plan to take a personal day on Thursday. I might use that entire day to begin a writing project. I have some good ideas cooking in my brain. So until next week, have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

A short Sunday evening entry for you. :-)

Greetings, readers. I had a productive, but strange weekend. On the one hand I got some reading done on Darren’s novel, but I was fighting depression all three evenings. Tonight seems to be better. As I am writing the first draft of this post, I’m listening to the first KISS album … titled KISS. The title is simple, but it works.

It seems like every time I put on an old album or watch a classic TV show, I find myself strolling down memory lane. The early years that are most precious to me are between 1975 and 1983; 5th grade through the end of high school.

On the YouTube front, I’ve been making myself laugh hysterically with ‘Fail’ videos. You know the ones. They’re the videos where kids wipeout on their skateboards doing stupid and dangerous stunts, or folks swing from ropes attached to trees and the rope breaks before they get over the pond. I’m not laughing at them falling, but I do get a kick out of their buddies with the camera laughing and invariably asking, “Are you okay?”

Well, I’ve got a moderately hectic week coming up, complete with a dentist appointment and my yearly eye exam. I’ll be getting to bed here soon, after some videos or music. So, until Wednesday, take care, enjoy and happy reading.

My morning went by too quickly

Greetings, readers. Some tummy troubles awakened me 15 minutes before my alarm would have gone off, but that was okay for I had gone to bed early the night before. Around 8:00 I was doing the bathroom conga line again. Obviously something I ate the night before didn’t agree with me. To top it all off, then my back went into spasm. Oh, what a joyous morning. I told myself if I hurry up and take two aspirin I can nip it in the bud. By 9:15, I was back working on my computer.

I checked Facebook, Twitter, and emails, the same thing I do every morning, and then listened to music. I always like to have an enjoyable morning free of stress before the afternoon workday begins. Not that work days are stressful mind you, but I have never been the kind of person who can wake up quickly. It takes a long time for my engine to fire on all cylinders.

At Panera I got a treat and surprise. I saw my girlfriend’s sister, who was there having a work meeting. She told me to tell Traci, “See you guys Saturday.” I’m looking forward to it.

Speaking of weekend plans, a week from next Saturday is my Goddaughter’s wedding. Traci and I will leave early that Saturday morning and I expect to arrive in New Jersey no later than 1:00. It is going to be a spectacular day. I wish my Goddaughter Ashley and her husband-to-be Derek all the best.

As far as next week goes, it will be a three-day work week, but Friday might be an abbreviated work schedule. I want to be ready with the proper amount of medication, money and everything else I need, ready to go for the trip. When it comes to traveling I am exactly like my mother was; she didn’t leave anything to chance.

Until next Wednesday, have an awesome weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Things are moving in a positive way

Greetings, readers. I have been energized the last few days with a positive feeling to make changes in my life. I know, I know, I’ve said this a hundred times before. But I think it is time for this procrastinater to just do it. Since last September, I have successfully adjusted my sleep pattern, and I am working on my slight hoarding problem.

My therapy sessions with my psychologist are working so well, that my creativity is returning. It was buried under depression for at least a year. Now, I sit during the evenings thinking of scenarios, plot points, character names, and titles. I also have selected what I call music to write by, which is either classical music or movie soundtracks. I can’t write to music that has words, because I will sing to it.

I’m also very pleased that I am finally breaking out of my shell which had been preventing me from being more social. I’ve been attending the church dinner a little more often, and I hope to make contact with a new person whom I hope to one day call a friend.

In other news, it will be a sombre weekend because Mother’s Day is coming up and I’ll be going to the cemetery to visit Mom and also my Godmother. I’m hoping for nice weather. As soon as this blog entry is posted, I will be reserving the Zipcar.

We had a hard rain storm this morning and my ceiling began leaking again for a few minutes. I’ve already told management and they are going to call the roofers to once again check it out. I don’t know why they can’t find the problem.

Rebecca and I are taking the next two days off for personal days. If I can, I’ll post a short entry on Friday. If things get too hectic with what I’m doing, we’ll get back to normal and have a new entry up next Wednesday. It will be a top ten list on some fun topic as of yet undetermined.

Until then, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

Mid-July means arts and crafts

Greetings, readers. This Friday’s blog entry begins by talking a little bit more about the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. It has been going on as long as I can remember and attracts hundreds of thousands of people a year. For local businesses in the downtown area it is an economic boost. A store owner once told me that he relies on Arts Festival week and the home football games of Penn State to keep his business going until the holiday shopping season.

I’ve walked down Allen Street only a couple of times so far this year but have seen many, many people enjoying the music, the good food, and the sidewalk sales. My favorite thing to do, which helps on a hot day like this, is to walk through a man-made area with ferns and shrubbery while a gentle cool mist comes down from a hose over top. It is so refreshing. The little children enjoy the water-dumping machine. Buckets fill with water, get too heavy, and tip over on the waiting children. Gleeful screams and laughter can be heard all day long from this area. I remember about five years ago when State College was having a rather nasty heat wave, I emptied my pockets and walked under the water buckets clothes and all; it felt so good.

For serious Arts Festival folks, the sales booths go up the Penn State campus, almost to Pattee Library, and wander around to some of the side streets of campus and downtown. At specific venues there are live music events as well. It can be a daunting day out if it is hot and humid; but people shouldn’t worry, because there are always bottled water and lemonade stands. Artists create wood sculptures, they make leather goods, and many people either paint or sketch. People come from near and far for the variety of artists. The festival is so big each year and there are only so many slots to fill. Many artists come back as many years as they can.

There’s also a festival called the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts out in Boalsburg PA, not far from here. It was started several years ago by local artists who couldn’t get a spot at the one downtown. They run simultaneously and as far as I know both are attended well. I’ve personally not been to the one in Boalsburg because it is hard for me to get out there and the one here in town in almost at my front door.

As for Rebecca and I, next week will be a regular work week, complete with two blog entries. We are giving much thought to the upcoming 300th blog post. Both of us want to make it something special.

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

From Rebecca: Birthdays

Birthdays are on my mind lately. My family has a few birthdays in March, including my husband Darren, and including someone yesterday. I wished the woman with this milestone a happy birthday, and she expressed regret that she was getting older. I think a lot of people feel that way; that we love the special day but don’t like seeing our age number go up. I know most of us don’t feel like our age. I am almost 50 years old, and most days I feel so much younger. I still want so much in my life, can it really be  half over? And then my body aches or my feet hurt, and I feel way older.

When the month of someone’s birthday is here, the next time I see him or her, I say, “Happy birthday month!” I wish people a happy birthday week, too. I like the extra time to celebrate people I love, especially if I can’t be with them on the actual day. Birthdays represent the day we came into this world and that is awesome. And we all deserve a day to feel special, if only to ourselves. We all have an impact on the world, we all change things big and small in the world around us, just by interacting with others. We touch so many lives. On our birthday, we celebrate another year down, and another year ahead. We celebrate being alive.

Though part of that is also seeing so much change: where we live, where we work, where we shop, what we buy. Familiar businesses go away, new buildings go up, streets get new names. We see changes in music, film, and technology. I have two nephews and a niece all under 20 years old. When I was their age, my sisters and I were still playing albums on the turntable and just getting into cassette tapes to listen to music. My teenage and pre-teen relatives listen to music on their electronic devices. Thankfully there are still radio stations, so I can keep up with the new music. As an old-fashioned, getting older person, I wrote the first draft of this blog post in longhand on paper before typing it out on the computer screen; if I were younger I might have an electronic tablet for that. New technology is fun, but the old stuff is good too. Getting older means balancing all the technology and choosing what works for us from what is available.

I have a blessing that I usually use for birthday cards, to reflect that birthdays are the start of a new year. I bless you all with it now: May you be surrounded by joy, love, light, strength, comfort, laughter, and peace.

….. But I can’t help falling in love with you

Greetings, readers. The other day I was sitting in Panera cafe having my morning coffee, when I heard a song over the stereo speaker which reminded me of a very happy memory from a few years ago. I was still married at the time and my wife Georgia and I were on a trip. I believe it was a dinner cruise. Every so often I get in a romantic mood. Mr. Old-Fashioned comes out to play. There was a wonderful band playing and the band leader was taking requests. I thought to myself, how cool would it be to request a song that Georgia and I could dance to?

I excused myself from the table and walked up to the area where the band was playing. I asked if they knew the Elvis Presley song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” feeling relatively certain they did. When he said yes, I requested it and told him that I would bring my wife up to the dance floor.

I didn’t get that romantic very often. But the mood just struck me and I thought, let’s throw caution to the wind, as I kept my fingers crossed that she would want to dance in front of everybody.

There were obviously a few requests before mine because it took awhile for our song to be announced. Georgia knew I was up to something but didn’t know what. As the song started to play, I asked her for the dance and we enjoyed a very romantic few minutes. All eyes seemed to be on us.

When the song was over, we went back to our table and people told us how well we danced, and how cute we looked together. As I’ve stated before in my blog, music is a big part of my life. And I will always equate that song with that happy memory.

From Rebecca: Joe brought the Beatles music to State College

Joe put on his performance of Beatles music last Friday night, December 14, 2012, with two friends of his, at the Addison Court community room. The trio sang in various combinations and they sounded great. They started at 7:15 and when I had to leave at 9:00 they were two-thirds through their song list.

The performance was relaxed and masterful. Joe started the show by introducing them as the Bedbugs and the first song was “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They followed it with “Twist and Shout” and they were able to persuade two audience members to get up and do the twist at the front of the room. Joe and his partners knew all the people in the audience and they interacted with everyone during the show, especially between songs. By the time the trio got to the 16th song, “Come Together,” many in the audience were softly singing along. As the evening went on, a few people here and there had to leave and the audience got smaller, but instead of ruining the experience, it gave the remaining audience members a feeling of closeness. I left during the second ten-minute break, and knew that I was missing out on something great with the final ten songs. The last two songs they sang before I left were two of my favorites, “Lady Madonna,” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Copies of the playlist were given out so everyone knew the song order, so I know the last two songs of the evening were “Good Morning, Good Morning” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise.”

Joe had been practicing singing his playlist for months and he sounded smooth, and practicing with one of his partners for weeks. The third member of the trio only had two weeks practice with the music but sounded as good as the other two; he also played the tambourine on some songs and surprised us all with some loud yelps at appropriate places. The second member of the trio sang beautifully and had two solos. Joe also had two solos.

A friend of the trio played her cello during the song “Yesterday” while just Joe sang. The cello went so well with that song, and the musician played it perfectly. It overpowered Joe’s singing a little, but luckily his voice could still be heard as he brought out the wistful and soulful qualities of that song.

To Joe and his partners: Good work and thank you for an entertaining evening. I enjoyed it very much.