Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

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.

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Remembering my mother, Dr. Dorothy G. Kockelmans

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow marks the fourteenth anniversary of my mom’s passing. I was going to do a blog entry to mark the occasion, but realized we did this last year. That entry turned out so well, there was no need to do another one, and it is definitely worth a repeat post. That is something I hardly ever do, though WordPress has a handy feature to copy an entire post, tags and all. It will be linked to Twitter, Facebook, and the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page. Mom, this is for you.

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

June 14, 2017 Rebecca will have a blog entry up sometime tomorrow. I am still having computer issues. There is a slight chance I will be purchasing a new computer tomorrow, and if so I might chime in myself with a small entry giving you details. Wow, perhaps a double entry day. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of Star Trek holodeck programs I would have if the technology existed

Greetings, readers. As a Star Trek fanatic and a holodeck episode lover, I started to think, just what programs I would create and save if I had use of a holodeck. In the Star Trek world, even though a person is in a small room, the concept is that holographic images are displayed and moved so that people are tricked into thinking they have unlimited space. Here’s my list in reverse order.

#10. A visit to any city I chose. [Maybe one day I would create Paris and sit to enjoy coffee in an outdoor cafe. The next day, perhaps Rome to visit the Colosseum. Or to Devils Tower in Wyoming.]

#9. Drive a car to anywhere. [Oh, what fun it would be to drive to Maine any time I wanted to.]

#8. My own baseball league with my own home team and personally designed stadium. [I could see the Pennsylvania Lumberjacks, perhaps.]

#7. A house with a virtual family. [This idea, I must admit, came to me after watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Real Life”, where the Doctor created the perfect family, but B’Elanna Torres thought that was too easy and changed the program. I would set it up so that I could control the weather and the type of home and furniture we had, but I would randomized how my family reacted to me day-to-day to be more realistic. I would not have the “perfect” family.]

#6. A train ride to anywhere. [I could ride an Amtrak in America, take a local in New Jersey, or hop aboard the Orient Express. Lots of intrigue and mystery there.]

#5. Take a virtual cruise. [I could set it up for any number of days I chose and for any destination. I could take a quick trip to the Bahamas, or a cruise around the world, stopping at all the wonderful ports of call. This one would have to be saved and gone back to. ]

#4. An airplane ride to anywhere. [I absolutely adore aircraft. I wish I could fly in them more often. If I only had an hour, I would take a prop pane ride from State College to Pittsburgh. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I would hop a jet and fly cross-country to California. I could sit in my virtual airplane seat, take notes, and type my stories.]

#3. To speak to any writer I chose and pick his or her brain. [I could share my limited amount of work with them and ask them to critique it. Hopefully they would be kind.]

#2. A day at the beach. [Imagine the warmth, the sand, the smell of salt in the sea breeze, and of course, the ocean. I could spend hours in this program.]

#1. Recreate a day at Bear Spring Camps anytime I chose. [I would have a few scenarios in this program with different kinds of weather, different times of the year, and, of course, the people I know from real-life Bear Spring, as well as computer generated fictional families. You would hardly ever get me out of that program.]

Honorable mention: Camping in a tent. [I’ve never gone camping in a tent before, but if there was one big enough that I wouldn’t feel claustrophobic in, it would appeal to me. To hear the crickets at night and have my campfire going would be soothing and peaceful. I love nature, especially crickets and the sound of birds.]

There’s my list. I hope you enjoy. Whether you are a Star Trek fan or not, please do chime in with your list, either here or in Facebook.

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

Has the Penn State football team turned the corner?

Greetings, readers. The Penn State football team has begun its 2016 season with a 2-1 record, with wins over Kent State and Temple, while losing to Pennsylvania foe Pittsburgh. The last two seasons were both 6 wins and 6 losses; not great by Penn State standards. With the sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal over with, Penn State has had their full number of recruits to build the team up. Next season should be coach Franklin’s best since being hired in 2014, with the team hopefully winning at least 8 games this season. I’d be more than happy with that.

It’s very hard to build up a school’s sport’s program after sanctions. Some schools can do it in just a few years, while other teams take much longer. I’m sure it depends on the head coach and the recruiters. Also, the crime and penalty must factor in the rebuilding time. The fewer the sanctions, the shorter time it should take for a team to bounce back to prominence.

Penn State fans were spoiled. For decades we enjoyed 10 win seasons almost every year. When I was young, the question was not whether Penn State would go to a bowl game, but rather, which one. We might not be excellent every season, but I feel that good ol’ Penn State pride has weathered this storm, and that fans can see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel in Penn State’s history.

On a side note, the first anniversary of Traci and me being a couple is this Saturday, the 24th. Yay us! I am so happy that she and I are together. 🙂

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

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

Another short week for us, so if there is no blog entry tomorrow, I’ll try to put one up on the weekend. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Christmas Eve 2014

Greetings, readers. I am very excited that tonight I get to do my Christmas Eve Light Ride. I have a Zipcar on reserve that I will pick up, and then use to drive through the neighboring communities to see what beautiful decorations people have put up for Christmas. I will use most of the same route that I have enjoyed since childhood when my parents started this tradition.

There were some years when, due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to do my light ride, and I missed it a lot. A couple of years I had to do it by bus, which was not the same at all. It wasn’t the same route, and one time a bus driver actually asked me if I had missed my stop because he thought I had been on the bus too long. That was embarrassing. The next year I told the bus driver when I got on what I was doing, and that worked better. But I still prefer to have my own wheels.

The weather has been cloudy for almost two straight weeks, and mist and precipitation are in the forecast for this evening. However, the temperature is supposed to be above freezing. As long as it isn’t icy, I don’t care what the weather is doing tonight – I am taking part in my tradition.

I am all ready to go for Christmas. Decorations are up, I have purchased for everyone, and I have been filled with Christmas music. Yesterday, I heard Eartha Kitt’s version of “Santa Baby” for the first time this season. I can’t believe it took this long. Thank you, Music Unlimited.

Keekee has extra special treats bought for her as her gift. Everyone knows I spoil her rotten. She and I will spend a nice day together tomorrow and at 6:00 I shall be off to a local church dinner. I, of course, will be thinking of the family, especially Godmother. It is the first Christmas without her.

I’m off to Pittsburgh on Monday for an overnight trip to see the Penn State men’s basketball team play a couple of games. Poor Keekee will have to keep herself company until I get back late on Tuesday. Then, I am looking forward to the parades and big bowl games on New Year’s Day. My favorite is the Rose Bowl.

Rebecca and I will have work next week Wednesday and Friday. So readers, have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and we’ll see you next week. Take care and happy reading.

Top ten happy memories from my childhood

Greetings, readers. I thought long and hard this morning of things that made me happy when I was a youngster and teenager. The following is a list – this time in order – of the top ten happy memories.

#10. Watching the Indianapolis 500. [It used to be shown in prime time and they would always announce right before the show who had won the race in the ABC news break.]

#9. Trips to Pittsburgh. [In the early years, my mom practiced psychology not only here in State College but also in Pittsburgh. For the first eight or so years of my life, occasionally the family would take a weekend trip so she could see her Pittsburgh clients.]

#8. Park Forest Junior High Fun Nights. [Every six to eight weeks, on a Friday evening, the commons area and gymnasium would be opened up from 7 to 10pm for music, dancing, and basketball. It kept us kids off the streets.]

#7. The trip to Maine with Mom and Dad. [I had many fun times in the car looking at the pretty scenery, listening to my music under headphones, Dad’s classical music on the cassette tape, or having conversations with my family.]

#6. Watching college football games on Saturdays and NFL games on Sundays.

#5. A special weekend at the Altoona Sheraton. [About once a year or so I would beg Mom and Dad to go to Altoona to the Sheraton for a fun weekend getaway, mostly relaxing and swimming in the big, heated indoor pool.]

#4. The holiday season. [From the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade until the end of the college bowl season, it truly was my favorite time of year, and still is.]

#3. The Memorial Day carnival. [Expensive but fun. Sadly it no longer comes around anymore.]

#2. Nerf footfall and Wiffle ball games with my best friend Dave Trost.

#1. The Christmas light ride through Park Forest Village and surrounding areas. [Through my childhood and teenage years it remained the single happiest evening of the year.]

Ok folks, there you have it. Chime in with yours via reply. Let the debating begin. Until Friday, have a great day, take care and happy reading.