Tag Archives: Penn State University

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.

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Re-post of an entry about my Cerebral Palsy

Greetings, readers. As I wrote yesterday, I have a shift at my job today and left the blog to Rebecca. She said she would either write a new post or re-post a little-read-but-worthy one just like she did last week, and it turns out she chose to re-post. She picked one from the end of my second full year of blogging, where I wrote about my Cerebral Palsy and how it worked in my life. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next week.

CP and me

November 15, 2013

Greetings, readers. This is my one and perhaps only blog entry dealing completely with my affliction from cerebral palsy. I have been looking at blogs and websites about CP for a project, and have connected with a couple of people in the same boat, and I now have my own case on my mind. I have mentioned my CP in this blog here and there, but I have not done a post about it and how it effected my life.

I have had it since birth and will die with it. However, thanks to my well-meaning but over-protective parents, I didn’t know I had it until around the age of 16. Up until that point, I was simply told that I had a weak left side and the whole topic of being different from other people really didn’t come up at the dinner table.

Let’s start from childhood. Vivid memories of Tuesday evening swimming lessons at the Bellefonte, Pennsylvania YMCA conjure up images of cold swimming pools and a little boy trying not to drown. I remember thinking to myself that I should be able to do what all the other kids were doing – swimming. I could just barely tread water. I knew it was time to quit when my favorite part of the evening was when it was time to leave, and I could put my quarter into the vending machine and get my plastic NFL helmet for my collection.

Around the age of 10 or so, I suffered what I still call to this day my klutz year. I was a normal active boy enjoying Nerf football and Whiffle ball, but in the span of twenty-one weeks I suffered three broken fingers, one smashed elbow, and a broken wrist … all on the same arm. The arm that I tended to fall to – the left. I was cast-free for one week before I smashed my elbow, then for one day before I clobbered my wrist. Not deterred from wishing to feel normal, I continued to play outdoor sports.

In my 20s, I remember playing racquet ball, with my friend from high school, which can be a brutal sport. We created our own game and called it Tenaquet. We served overhand and we gave each other two ball bounces rather than one. That aided my bad balance and Jim’s bad knee. What fun we had. When my knees and my back started to go haywire, I had to officially ‘retire’ from sports.

Around this time, it was becoming painfully obvious that attending Penn State University day classes was not for me. I was having a very hard time with taking notes and I was a horrible test taker. Later I figured out why. Even though I can read, my retention isn’t quite up to par. I had to withdraw and never did finish. I think Mom understood, but was in denial that her son couldn’t finish college. Just a couple of years ago, I found out from my Godmother that Mom had the measles when she was pregnant with me. This could explain why my brain didn’t develop correctly. Perhaps in some strange way she felt responsible. Which of course was ridiculous. Things happen.

As I briefly mentioned in other blog posts, things like my balance and fine motor skills are effected; not to mention the fact that I have seizures. But every day I do the best that I can do. I can just give people 100% of all I’ve got on any particular day.

On the positive side of my mild CP: I can walk, I can jog, I can drive a car. I can write. And I can give a fairly proficient air guitar show. Also, with the help of Flight Simulator X, I can even be, in a way, what I always wanted to be growing up as a kid, which was an airline pilot.

Overall I would have to say that my life has been good and I have learned to live with my mild disability as best I can. Having the knowledge as a child that I have CP may or may not have made a difference. Who knows, I might have been worse off. Unless someone invents a reliable time machine, I will never know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Rebecca: Happy Birthday, Joe

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

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

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

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

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

Penn State did not cover up fraternity crimes

Greetings, readers. As I dictate this entry today, I’m trying to hold on to my sanity. Last night was not a good night. My neuralgia head pain would not let me alone. I finally got to sleep around 1am. With knitting needles poking me in the head every half-minute, sleep, concentration, and work is difficult. But Rebecca and I press on.

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to blog about the charges against the Pennsylvania State University students at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity concerning the death of one of their pledges, Timothy Piazza. I was shocked to hear that after the young man fell down steps the rest of the fraternity members, except one, did nothing. They wanted to sober up first before they called 911. As I understand it, one young man wanted to get help immediately but was overruled by his fraternity brothers. He is not being charged. Eighteen frat brothers are facing many charges related to his death, including reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. I applaud Penn State and the authorities for throwing the book at these young men. They were old enough to know better.

The two things that really angered me were how long they waited to call authorities and the lack of urgency in the caller’s voice (the 911 call was released the other day). As I was listening to this 911 tape on an Inside Edition YouTube blurb, it was evident that the caller was desperately trying not to get into trouble but knew the situation was much more serious than he was letting on. He made no mention of the young man’s head injury. The only thing he did right was he said yes when the 911 operator asked him if alcohol was involved.

If I had my way, all fraternities and sororities would be shut down for five years. But, as Rebecca pointed out, most of them do a lot of good for charities, especially in regards to our annual dance marathon for children’s cancer research every February. The fraternity in question has been closed permanently. I applaud this move. My heart goes out to the parents of this young man who wanted to be a brother so badly that he agreed to be hazed, and lord knows what else, and consumed enough alcohol to not to be able to navigate steps. I hope underage drinking was not part of this but I believe it was. To all those young men in the fraternity who endangered someone who trusted you and then did nothing to help him, I have news for you. You’re lives are fucked. Enjoy it.

I know I am not usually this upset when I dictate a blog entry but I hate senseless deaths and this was certainly one of them. This was absolutely avoidable.

Next week we will have two more blog entries for you, on a much cheerier topic I’m sure. I bid all the moms a happy Mother’s Day and I bid my readers a good weekend, and as always, happy reading.

When I’m writing I hate the red squiggles

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was a slower day on my writing project than I hoped for but I was working on my character sheets. Two days ago when I was typing I made a number of typos and as usual the spell checker put red squiggles under them. Some people can ignore that; I am not one of those people.

Every time a word is misspelled I must go back and correct it. It’s just a thing with me. What I should do is press on, ignore it, and fix the mistake later. In time when my writing flow is better I am sure I will do this. To aid me as I am trying to get into my flow, I’m going to look for the option to turn the spell checker completely off. I know that option exists. Even though I am only on page 11, I still feel like I am in second gear, where I write everyday, I can see the action in my head, and the words come easily. With yesterday being a not so great writing day, today must be better. I cannot lose my momentum.

Here’s how today is going to go. Rebecca and I will work until 12:45, then it is off to the pharmacy to get a few items, after that I will meet Traci for a quick snack, and then I will begin my work. I’ll need to stop around 6pm, because I am calling bingo tonight at 7:00. I’ll probably get back from bingo about 9:00 and then I’ll read and watch TV to relax and wind down. I find that if I’ve worked hard on my book I enjoy my off time that much more.

Our area is once again in the national news. Though I will not go into that much detail, I was very angry to see that the son of Jerry Sandusky was charged with a sex crime similar to what the Penn State’s former defensive coordinator was convicted of. Here we go again. More accusations, more trials, and another black eye for Penn State. I’m just tired of it now.

Finally, as I approach my 600th blog entry, which will be posted sometime in mid-March, I wish to ask if you, my readers, have any topic you would like me to cover. If I get a good list from folks, I will choose one and blog about it for the 600th entry.

That’s all the news for today. Until next Wednesday, have a fantastic weekend, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

Novel underway and coming along nicely

Greetings, readers. For the first time in many years I am absolutely psyched about a project, other than the blog or one of my performances. In the last two days I have written six pages and 2,100 + words. About a month ago I had an idea for a novel and I just decided to go for it. I do understand that six pages does not usually equal a chapter, but I got to a good stopping point, and it is still a first draft. The first draft is what I call creating the skeleton. Once I have the skeleton in place, I can add the muscles and tendons, the skin, and the features. In other words, I can flesh it out, no pun intended.

Without going into too much detail and ruin anything, it is a paranormal story. I am quite intrigued by that phenomenon. Unfortunately, readers, I am going to keep details to myself for now. I shall share little tidbits as the book progresses. As some of you may know, beginnings of my projects have always been my bugaboos. If I can just pop it into second gear, I’ve got a chance. And yesterday, for the first time in years, I felt that gear click in.

Another huge thing that I did which I believe will be a major plus, was to use my computer calendar to set up what I call work shifts. Just as if I was going to work at a store or café, I set up blocks of time to put my butt in the chair and type. So far so good. Yesterday I was supposed to work until 2pm – okay, okay, I conked out at 12:45, but for me that was a good start. It is going to take a while for me to build up writing stamina but it will happen.

Most writers write an outline and know exactly where their writing project will go next. I don’t. Which is probably why I have failed so much. I’ve always been the kind of person to take a story to a certain point in my mind, write it down, and then see where the story goes next. Although it is only the first six pages in the first draft, I am getting the sense that my characters are a bit flat. When I wrote my play Kimberly, poor Lyle Detmore never did come to life, until Rebecca’s husband Darren turned the project into a novel. Now there is a writer for you. This time I have hope that the editing process down the road will help me with this problem.

The photographs from my latest show, which was on December 2, 2016, are now up on the Performance Pictures page. I proposed to Traci in between the sets, and I have included a couple of pictures with the two of us. Please feel free to check them out.

On a side note, condolences go out to the family of the Penn State student who passed away the other day at one of the fraternities. It was a horrible tragedy. No parent should have to bury their child.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. I will working on my writing project today from 2pm to 5pm. Wish me luck that the engine keeps running. I will put a new blog entry up tomorrow, I am taking a personal day to write more on my story and Rebecca will edit the blog entry from home and post it.

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

Health update and plans for tomorrow

Greetings, readers. With my sinus infection still holding on, Rebecca and I have emails to doctors to write, which may or may not take a lot of time. So, I have decided to hold off the top ten list until tomorrow.

It’s going to be a busy week for me with upcoming appointments and possible impromptu doctors visits. Oh, the joys of being sick during the fall. Once all the college kids come back to Penn State in late August they bring all their germs with them. For once, I can pinpoint precisely how I got sick. Our local pharmacy has this screen to sign with a pen, and of course all the sick college kids use this pen to sign their name for their prescriptions. Even though there is a big jug of antibacterial hand sanitizer, no one seems to use it, including me. When I picked up my antibiotic a few days ago, I made damn sure to use the hand sanitizer, which I will do from now on.

I’ve not decided on a topic for tomorrow’s top ten list but I will probably write the draft tonight so that tomorrow Rebecca and I can edit and put it up.

After today’s work hours, Traci and I are going to get coffee somewhere and enjoy the afternoon. This evening I will turn on Netflix streaming and watch the new Hawaii Five-O series. The show has been on since 2010, but I never really got into it until now. I’ve decided to watch every episode (all six seasons) and give it a fair shake instead of comparing it to the original series.

Well, there is my day in a nutshell. Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

New chair has arrived

Greetings, readers. I will dictate this blog entry while my voice holds out. I’m still getting over whatever this cold/infection thing is. Although my sinuses are clearer today, my throat is scratchy and half an octave lower. Oh dear, oh dear. We are writers, so we carry on and write.

The big news of the day is that my new recliner arrived. Well, new for me. I got it at a used furniture store and it is in extremely good condition. To my surprise and joy, Keekee also seems to like it. It is very soft cloth material, blue in color, and is wider and longer than my other chair. It was a very good purchase, especially since I got it on sale. When the old chair was removed, I quickly had to run the vacuum and get all the little bits and pieces of the last eight years of snacking and tissues out from the space. It was a chore, especially at 8:15 in the morning, but I got it done.

The delivery men placed the chair down and plugged it in, and didn’t really wait for a tip. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do that or not. Perhaps it is factored in to the delivery charge. Even with that extra charge, I still think I got a great bargain.

On a side note, it is a foggy morning here in State College, PA. It was quite cool last night, when I had to step outside at 3:30 in the morning to get fresh air for my ailing sinuses. As with most people, I don’t sleep well when I am sick; I keep waking up and that is extremely annoying.

Both Penn State University and State College Area High School have their homecoming games this week, which means two parades and plenty of people here for the weekend. I thought my cousin Eddie and his family might come in from New York, but I just spoke to him and he is going to choose another weekend. Eddie graduated from Penn State and loved every minute of it. He always attends at least one game a year.

Lastly, on the bus the other evening, there was a report of two people dressed in sinister clown outfits wielding weapons. The bus drivers, via telephone, were kept up to date on the whereabouts of these two clowns. They were hoping they would not board one of the buses. I asked my bus driver what the protocol was in case something like that happens. She said that if they weren’t carrying weapons in their hands, then they could get on the bus. They couldn’t if they were brandishing weapons. When I got off at my stop, there was no update, so I never did find out exactly what happened. I assume that all these clown sightings across this area and across the country are due to next year’s release of the remake of the movie It, which was based on Stephen King’s original novel. I think these people are sick to willingly want to scare people. Sure, on Halloween kids and teenagers dress up in costumes. Folks around the country expect it then; not now. All I know is, if I see one, I’m going to duck into the nearest establishment.

Well with my voice almost totally gone, I will end this blog entry here, and tell you that next Wednesday I will have a top ten list for you. Take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

UPDATE: 10/19/16 I have a photo of the new chair now to share with you.

My new [used] recliner. Arrived at my place on October 6, 2016.
My new [used] recliner. Arrived at my place on October 6, 2016.

Please get both hands on the wheel

Greetings, readers. With the Penn State students coming back this week, the downtown traffic has increased. Today as Rebecca, Traci, and I were crossing the street in the cross walk, a car turned left, getting a little too close to Traci for my liking. I glared at the driver and saw that she was on her cell phone, not hands-free, and had only one hand on the steering. Folks, that is illegal.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard horror stories in the news about car accidents where the driver is on the phone either talking or texting. If you do not have your concentration fully on your driving, pull off the road. It is not very often that I yell at someone in a car but this vehicle did not yield for Traci. The driver’s mind was elsewhere.

Have I talked on a cell phone while driving? I must confess yes, but usually just long enough to say, “I’m driving, I’ll call you back when I pull off the road.” Unless it is an absolute emergency, whatever someone has to tell me can wait until I get to a rest area.

What are some other things I wish drivers wouldn’t do? Well, lets see. I saw a man shaving once while driving. A young woman trying to put on mascara. And the scariest of all, on an interstate no less, a young child steering the car, sitting in daddy’s lap, while daddy controlled the gas and brake. I would have suspended that man’s license indefinitely. But I guess junior just had to drive that day.

Readers, please, if you are a driver, heed the laws of your state. Here in Pennsylvania the law is no talking on a phone at your ear, no texting, but you can talk on a hands free device. It is just too dangerous, and if you injure or kill someone you will have to live with the consequences the rest of your life.

My next blog entry will deal with my wonderful vacation, where almost nothing went wrong. Suffice it to say for now, I had a marvelous time. Details to follow.

Until Friday, take care, many thoughts and prayers to the folks down south and in Louisiana who are dealing with the flooding, and happy reading.