Tag Archives: On Golden Pond

X-Plane 11 vs. Flight Simulator X

Greetings, readers. Yesterday morning I purchased the game X-Plane 11, the newest Flight Simulator. If I had a more powerful laptop or a top of the line desktop, I could max out the graphics and make it look awesome. Right now I have a choice. Have it look awesome and run slow as molasses, or make it look average and have it actually perform correctly. The sim I was playing before was Flight Simulator X, from Microsoft. What follows is going to be my comparison between these two major flight simulator games.

Let’s start with Flight Simulator X, which I’ve used for years. I must say at this point I prefer it better, for you can actually choose a flight plan in the game and load it. Also, I’m quite used to this game and have accumulated many mods (aircraft, scenery, etc.), and have gotten the settings just so. I can fly almost any aircraft with relative ease. Take-offs are a cinch. Landings … well, that is a different story. I’ve made a few, but if they had been real flights, the maintenance crew would have had a lot to clean up. Lol.

Flight Simulator X, or FSX as it is known, to me is easier to use, and it is easier to designate commands and functions on the keyboard. Also, I know exactly how each aircraft’s switches and knobs are used and what they are for. In the other simulator I am still learning. I give Flight Simulator X a solid score of 9 out of 10.

Now for X-Plane 11 and I am going to be brutally honest folks so here we go. The graphics are stunning, even when set to medium. But in the $60 base game, there aren’t that many aircraft to choose from. When downloading after the purchase, the computer prompted me with this question, how many countries and continents would you like to load? The more I clicked the longer the download was going to take. I decided to run a test and choose all. The download was going to take 12 hours. OMG! I canceled that download and simply went with Canada, the United States, Mexico, and South America. That in itself took 3 hours. So far so good.

Now for ease of play. As Norman Thayer would say in the movie On Golden Pond, “Good Gawd!” To load a flight plan takes a PhD. Thirteen-year-old YouTubers make it look so easy, yet this 53-year-old dude can’t figure it out. To be honest, I prefer loading the flight plan in the plane’s computer page that pop’s up, for in real-life pilots load their flight plans that way. It gives it that extra realism and I will learn it so help me, I am determined.

I actually got a plane off the ground yesterday starting from a runway. I was so happy with myself. And noticed that even with medium graphic settings, the sun shone off the airplane’s dashboard and moved across the control panel with the turning of the plane. That I thought was extremely cool. It also has a feature to have an artificial intelligence, or A.I., pilot that can fly the plane for you. I think you actually need a flight plan for this to work. I tried it without a flight plan and the plane took off from State College’s airport and nose-dived into the downtown streets. Oops. The graphics were wonderful as the alarm bells were sounding: Too low terrain, too low terrain. Crash. Obviously, I’m still learning how the A.I. pilot feature. It’s got to be more simple than that. How I think it works, folks, is that you choose an airport and a gate with engines off, file your flight plan in the computer properly, key word properly, and when all the ground vehicles have left, click A.I. Flies Plane for Me. Click it any earlier than that, and who the hell knows what is going to happen.

My preliminary score for this game, and yes, I will update this score in a later blog entry, is a very respectable 6 1/2. I’m going to talk via Facebook page to a couple of YouTubers I know to see if they can help me. Here’s a little something about me. Once I get determined to do something I won’t quit until I do it. I will get this game to run and I will play it.

Finally, prayers go out to all the victims and families in the California fire zones and also continued prayers to families who lost loved ones in the recent shootings. I’m praying that one day soon that the insanity will stop.

Well, there you go. That is today’s blog entry. Hope you enjoyed it. Here is what is happening the next two Thursdays. Moderate snow is expected in our area, so I am giving Rebecca a work from home day tomorrow. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, an obvious day off. So one of us will have a blog entry up tomorrow, we will work together next Wednesday as usual, and then have a Thanksgiving blog post up on the holiday.

Until then, have a great weekend, love one another and give hugs, take care, and happy reading.

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Eight copies of the new book ordered for trip to camp

Greetings, readers. I know that eight copies of Four’s a Crowd doesn’t sound like many, but this novel is about 300 pages long and I can’t load the trunk of the car down with boxes and boxes of books. I’m going to solve that problem by bringing plenty of business cards as a backup. The cards arrived this morning and are perfect. I’ve not made up my mind yet whether I’m going to charge my Bear Spring Camps family the full price of $14.99 or the discount price of $10.00. I am leaning towards the discount price, but I will have to clear that with the co-author Darren Taylor.

I little something about Amazon.com. As it stands now, the book is three selections down from the top of the page. None of us knew that Four’s a Crowd was the title of an old film. That is first on the list. Scroll down until you see a yellow book with a toppled wedding cake. That’s our book. I am confused by a list of booksellers on the side of the page saying they are selling copies of the book, new and used, for many different prices. I happen to know that we have sold only one copy through Amazon, to someone we know, so they do not really have any printed copies to sell. Upon ordering, a copy will be made just for the buyer, from CreateSpace, so there is no warehouse with a lot of copies gathering dust. There is no hard copy version, since the print-on-demand version for this book only comes in soft cover. The list price is $14.99, so if you see any other price listed right now, it didn’t come from us.

The idea to make business cards just for this project was one of our better ideas. They look ultra professional and have all the information you need, including a short book blurb on the back. The blurb reads: “This is the story of an elderly couple who moves in with their son and his wife. When Alice begins to have health issues, it makes life difficult for the Detmore family. Join them in their journey through this period of trial and tribulation.”

I cannot believe that it is almost camp time once again. I’ll leave in only a couple of weeks. Good God, as Norman Thayer would say. I am going to have to update my list of things to take … which luckily I found on the computer … and check off all my items. Mom’s binoculars are going, as is the Yahtzee game, a copy of the novel for me to read, and most importantly, the computer. If I have any good ideas for writing projects, I can work on those in the evenings.

Speaking of writing, as soon as the blog is published, Rebecca and I are going to work on a list of ideas for a TV pilot script that I am thinking about writing. I’ve been watching shows On Demand lately and finding all kinds of good things. Then I get depressed, thinking, gee, why couldn’t I think of that? Maybe I’ll come up with the next blockbuster hit. Maybe I’ll call it the Y-Files. Lol.

Okay, that is what is happening today. Sorry this entry is up a little later than usual, but due to a morning’s doctor appointment our schedule was altered. There will be a new entry up tomorrow, so until then, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Our Souls at Night

There is a new film on Netflix streaming that I have been watching in parts for the last week and finished today, called Our Souls at Night. It stars Jane Fonda as Addie Moore and Robert Redford as Louis Waters. It is a gentle slow-moving story of two people connecting to one another after decades of living in the same town. It is based on a book by Kent Haruf, which I see our local library has in its collection.

Our Souls at Night starts with two lonely people who have trouble sleeping at night, until Addie knocks on Louis’s door and asks him over to sleep in her bed. She isn’t proposing sex, just that they talk and keep each other company in order to fall asleep. He needs some time to think about it, but then agrees. It is awkward at first, but as they eat dinner together and lie down in the same bed, they begin to talk about the events of their lives and the choices they made. They become friends and companions. The town starts to gossip about them, and they brave it out. Partway through the film Addie’s grandson Jamie arrives to stay with her, played by Iain Armitage (the actor who now plays Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon on CBS). Having Jamie living there changes and adds to the relationship developing between Louis and Addie.

There is not much action in this movie, just the two main characters interacting with each other and other people. The big actions in the story come from decisions contemplated and emotional risks taken. There are no shouting matches, smashed dishes, or dramatic reveals. Just mature adults in relationships with the various people in their lives doing the best they can. By the end of the film, they have both faced mistakes from their pasts, and worked to make the damage better. The performances by Robert Redford and Jane Fonda are strong, understated, and good, from the first awkward pauses to the last comfortable conversation.

I plan to recommend this film for Joe, given his love of On Golden Pond. The films are very different, but they do both have as a plot point an older couple taking care of a boy for a while. In On Golden Pond, Jane Fonda played a character leaving the boy with her parents, and in Our Souls at Night, she plays the mother agreeing to take care of the child. I think Joe would appreciate having the same actress portray two sides of the same event.

I know not everyone has subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service. My thoughts on the various streaming services and the shows that some people have access to but not others might be a good blog topic for another day. But for now, if you do happen to have access to this film, I do recommend it for anyone who enjoys a gentle film about a developing relationship between two mature adults.

Until next Wednesday and a blog entry from Joe, I hope you are comfortable in whatever weather you have, take care, and happy reading.

A short blog entry today before I call bingo

Greetings, readers. I am still under the weather, but feeling well enough to call bingo tonight until our regular bingo caller gets back from work. Around 5pm, I’m going to Panera and get some turkey chili and coffee. That will not only clear my sinuses, but it should give me all the energy I need to get me through until 9:00.

It’s been a long time since I’ve called bingo and I hope it goes okay. Every once in a great while there is drama in the community room. When I call though, it’s my game and I let people know that I won’t take any shenanigans. As Katharine Hepburn said in On Golden Pond, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along?”

I canceled my afternoon appointment because I wanted to sleep. I need to kick this cold in the butt and be ready to go to work tomorrow morning. Unless I am hacking up a storm, I’m going. I love my customers and I can’t miss any more money. I wonder if any of my customers asked where I was on Tuesday? It’s not like me not to be there. Because I handle money though, I decided it was best not to go to work.

This blog entry is being created with me using my speech recognition program and I must say, it’s amazing. So far, I’ve ‘typed’ 239 words. For me and my writing career, this is the best thing since ice cream … and we all know how much I love ice cream. After my cold goes away and I’ve read and edited Four’s a Crowd, it will be time for me to begin the first of two projects I have in mind. Oh boy, I can’t wait.

Well, that’s it for this short blog entry. Very soon I am going to go outside and breathe some good air. Dinner should perk me up as well. When I get back from bingo calling, it will be lights out.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My last blog entry until I get back from camp

Greetings, readers. I am dictating the last blog of my year, I measure a year from vacation to vacation, as I sip a Coors Light. I spent most of the morning doing loads of laundry which will be packed in a day or two. I’m trying desperately to keep up with my tasks so I don’t get behind on what I need to do. A week from today I will be leaving and trust me, this week is going to go fast. Between having Rebecca here for two days of work next week and four work shifts at my fast food job, I’m not going to have a lot of time to do other things. My feet will be hurting and I will be quite tired. Rest and sleep will be #1 priorities on the down-time list.

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog – great view numbers by the way – I did locate my Take-to-Maine list and have begun to set a few things aside. I’ve also been in contact with my employer to make certain of what days and hours I work. I may need to ask off for the day before I leave; things might get too hectic around here.

What else is news with me? Well, I’ll share something with you. I am a huge fan of On Golden Pond. I had an idea for a sequel and wrote to one of the movie’s co-stars to test the waters of interest. To my happy surprise, Doug McKeon (young Billy Ray) wrote back to me. He told me that Ernest Thompson, who wrote the play, would have to be contacted before any work could be produced from my project. Even if I could not get permission from Mr. Thompson to use his characters, I still might work on the project just for fun and practice anyway when I get home. You never know what it might lead to.

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but after two beautifully cooler days, the humidity is back and it is forecast to rain in the early evening. I’ll have to bring my hoodie with me to work because I don’t want to stand at the bus stop this evening and wait unprotected. I certainly don’t want to get a cold right before vacation. That would be dreadful. My work shift today is 3pm to 8pm. I do love my job but believe me at the end of the shift my feet are ready to go home and be put up.

There is a little bit of a lull in town now, in between the arts festivals and the beginning of the college football season which begins in late August. If my sources are correct, the first four out of five games are at home. That is where I will be able to see if I am cut out to work the register at my job.

Next Wednesday I will be here but I will be doing last-minute chores. The blog will be written by Rebecca and if I’m here at the appropriate time, I will help edit it. I would like to take this opportunity right now to once again thank all of my readers for reading me and enjoying my blog over the past year. Trust me, this ride is nowhere near over.

Until soonest, take care, have a great couple of weeks, and happy reading.

I can’t believe it’s only a month and a half until vacation

Greetings, readers. Yes, the first week of August is quickly approaching. Before I know it, it will be the 4th of July, and that won’t leave me much time to prepare to leave at end of the month. This year I cannot wait; more so than in years past. Lots of plans are going to be made for this summer. Some plans for here in State College, including preparing for a performance in September, while other plans are for camp.

While at camp, my friend Dave and I are going to sit down and have one of our usual evening chats. Usually we just shoot the bull and it’s laughs galore. This time, however, I will have a serious topic for him. During the year, something has happened that I want to get his view on and we always have our best heart to heart talks face to face. The other evenings I am sure will be filled with story time for the kids and campfires. I’m not sure how many years I’ll still be going to Bear Spring Camps, so I am going to make a point to enjoy each second as much as possible. I remember when I returned to camp in 2009 after a hiatus, that I paid extra special attention to how beautiful the trees and lake looked and how soothing the birds and crickets sounded. I plan to have that same appreciation this year just in case it’s my last.

But getting back to this summer. I waited all winter for it, and here we are approaching late June already. As Norman Thayer, Jr. from On Golden Pond would say, “Good God.” Now some of you might correct me that summer hasn’t even officially started yet. For me, once the Indianapolis 500 has taken place, it’s the summer season. I go by my own calendar.

The biggest thing I’m going to do at camp this year will be the taking of detailed notes, because this is the final year that I will let pass without working on a book. Whether that is camp book 3, blog book 2 or other, that remains to be seen. When Rebecca and I begin work again on August 13th, we’re going to cook and book, no pun intended.

Enjoy the pretty weather if you have it, stay safe if you don’t, have a great weekend and happy reading.

The non-reader who wrote

Greetings, readers. Well, I finally did it. This past Sunday evening I confessed to my dear Godmother that I am a non-reader. I can read, but I’ll chose almost any form of entertainment over reading. This poses a question. Do I, a writer, have the right to expect other people to read my work?

I suppose I do, but as I told my Godmother, “I’m probably not going to write the 300 page novel, and I’m sure as hell not going to write the 900 page doorstop.” If a 150 page novella is in me, I’ll have to flex the writing muscles … as Rebecca likes to say.

I’ve often asked myself, why don’t I like to read? The answer is that my attention span is short. After 20 or 30 minutes I begin to read the same line 4 or 5 times. This is extremely frustrating. When I would have to read textbooks for college, I would have to fight my way through them and I retained very little, making test day a bitch.

Have I always been a non-reader? According to my dear departed mother, the answer is no. She explained to me one time that I used to have a small bag to carry my books with me everywhere I went, and would throw a crying hissy fit if I couldn’t bring my books with me. I wonder what happened to that avid child reader?

Back in my mid-twenties or so, I tried my hand at my first play. It didn’t work, but it did show me that I liked writing dialog much better than prose. I guess I’ve never been a good describer of things. A good writer has to paint the picture for his or her reader.

I would like to think, as I close today’s blog entry, that I’ve got several more books in me; not only to write but to read. War and Peace will not be my first choice, but neither will be See Jane Run. As “Norman Thayer, Jr” from On Golden Pond said fondly, “Maybe I’ll start with something from Reader’s Digest Abridged.” Until next time, take care, have a good day, and happy reading.