Tag Archives: shooting

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.

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.

I’m about to be blocked out of my hobby!

Greetings, readers. As some of my regular readers may know, I am a flight simulator hobbyist. It is so relaxing to sit in my chair looking into my simulated cockpit and looking at the beautiful blue sky at 36,000 feet. I am a hobbyist pilot for PacificAirways.net. A couple of weeks ago I requested a hub (airport) transfer from Miami to New York, but I didn’t get an email saying it was approved or denied. Yesterday I got a message that I am about to be terminated.

I’ve been trying for several days to log on to the website and the page is asking me to enable cookies. There is only one problem with that. According to the computer settings, they are already enabled. What to do, what to do? With the help of Rebecca’s nimble fingers, we typed an email to Pacific Airways and explained the problem. Hopefully someone reads it in time and has the answer to my browser problem. I have 2,000 flight hours accumulated and would hate to see that all go up in smoke.

Usually I use simulators as an anti-depression tool, but pairing it with the airline hobby is an added bonus. I’ve flown everything from the smallest Dash-8 to the Airbus A380. Such fun it is. I actually wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid but once all my health problems hit, there went that dream.

Speaking of wonderful blue sky, it is a gorgeous day here is central Pennsylvania. TIs a bit nippy, but the sky is blue, the clouds are white, and the leaves are turning colors. All in all it is going to be a gorgeous autumn day. Tomorrow we are expecting rain and turning colder with temperatures really nose-diving over the weekend. Fun, fun, fun for the Penn State game.

I will close this blog entry with this paragraph, “Dear Lord, I pray that these senseless shootings happening across our country and around the world cease. They cause death, destruction, and misery. Absolutely nothing good comes of it, except temporary jollies for the shooter. Then that person’s fun is over, for they are either shot dead by police, commit suicide by shooting themselves, or spend the rest of their lives in prison. Please, Lord, make it stop. Let’s shoot love around the world, not bullets. Amen.”

There is today’s blog. We’ll be back next Wednesday. I’m going to try to have the first draft completed via the speech recognition program; wish me luck on that. Until then, love one another, take good care, enjoy your weekend, and, as always, happy reading.

Starting the blog entry now to finish it later

Greetings, readers. Thanks to what I was sure was a head cold but seems to be allergies now, I asked Rebecca to come to the office later than usual. So we are scrambling for time before my accountant’s meeting. Oh, those busy Wednesdays. So I will dictate and Rebecca will type until it is time for said meeting, then we will save, close the computer, and finish this entry later in the morning.

First of all, condolences to the families and victims of the Texas church shooting last Sunday. We seem to have a string of senseless, violent attacks in this country; one which was declared flat-out terrorism. What is going on, and how can we get it to stop?

While we are on the subject of condolences, for all of those baseball fans out there, R.I.P. to a fantastic pitcher Roy Halladay, who died in a single engine plane crash in Florida. He was retired, but only 40 years old. Philadelphia Phillies fans must be in mourning and in a state of shock.

Speaking of sports, the other night I watched on YouTube a classic Monday Night Football game from 1978; it was the Miami Dolphins versus the Houston Oilers. It was back in the day when everyone thought Houston was going to win the Super Bowl and the entire Astrodome was full of light blue and white pom poms. It was truly a college football game atmosphere, said announcer Howard Cosell. I love YouTube, I can find almost anything on there. That game was so good, I think I will watch it again tonight … if I can see it.

Speaking thereof, yesterday at work, I lost my glasses. I put the stem of my glasses in the neck of the sweatshirt like I always do and went outside to collect the trash around the parking lot. On the ride home, I looked down at my hoodie, and lo and behold, no glasses. Crap! If they cannot be found, I will have to get a new pair from my eye doctor. There goes the money I was going to save for a PS4. I hate when I do dumb things. Rather or not this is classified as a dumb thing, I couldn’t sleep because I felt like it was. All I had to do was leave my glasses near my work station or in my bag and this would not have happened. I just wasn’t thinking.

Break now for meeting with accountant. Okay, back again.

I’ve not chatted about the weather in a while, so here’s an update. It got cold yesterday and snowed much more than anticipated. My computer weather forecast didn’t even make any mention of snow, that is how surprised I was. Today, however, my day off from my other job, it is sunny and beautiful. It looks like it is about 80 degrees, but it is probably only in the 30s. Yes, winter is coming. I must admit I like late fall more than I used to. The holiday seasons are just around the corner, and before I know it I will be watching my Thanksgiving Day Parade, having a feast, and planning what to buy folks for Christmas.

Lastly, kudos to President Trump for his trip to Asia. It seems to be at least a mild success. I’ve not seen in the news that he shot his mouth off or said anything that he’ll have to retract later. Why am I getting the distinct impression that he is getting the hang of the job? Maybe he is just a good actor.

Well, that’s the news, I think tomorrow I will take a day off to rest and do personal projects around the apartment, for I will be working on Sunday at my other job, because it is the homecoming weekend for the Penn State Nittany Lions football team. They play Rutgers University. Good luck to PSU. That will be a five-day work week. Now I know that doesn’t sound too bad for most, but for a part-time employee with leg problems, it is no fun. I can put on a smile and give a good show. I really like interacting with the customers, so that gets me through.

Until next time, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

The 52 year old kid

Greetings, readers. I’ve often told myself and other people that I’m young at heart and I feel like a big kid. I really have not taken life seriously, upon reflection. At age 15, I should have gotten the job that I have now, which is a cashier at a local fast food restaurant. That is the time I should have learned the importance of saving money and having my own. Still my favorite recreation is playing video games or watching them on YouTube. I don’t sit down and write for hours and my hands have not had 35 years of hard labor. What does this say about me?

I’m about to open up a little bit and share. My mom, God rest her soul, loved me and yes, overprotected me. I was basically taught that everything would be okay and that I would be provided for, I think because of my disability. To young parents: This is a mistake. While I had a happy childhood, and young adulthood, I’m still trying to straighten out the curves thrown at me later in life.

At this point of my life, I had envisioned myself writing several books, a couple of plays, and maybe even a pilot for a TV series. Well, only a fraction of those things actually came to pass. I guess I’m alright with that. But at age 52, with a brain that’s been slightly damaged by seizures and dulled by medication I don’t know how much creative writing I have in me for future projects.

When I sit down to play my games, I can lose myself in my own little world and forget all my worries, such as my handicaps, and my monetary situation. Then the phone will ring, or I’ll have to put laundry in the dryer, or go buy that jug of milk, and back to the real world I come. I can do it. Sometimes I just don’t like to.

Is this escapism? Or just a single guy wanting to have a hobby? There’s a question for you. If I were to ask my therapist, she would probably say it is a little bit of both. Am I going to change my ways and become Mr. Ultra Serious Man? Hell, no. I don’t want frown lines on my forehead. The Lord made me the way He wanted me to be, and that is good enough.

I again have a work shift tomorrow, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog from home, either a fresh one from her, or another re-post of a previous blog from me – most likely from my third year of blogging.

Now we have some good news to share with you. I have decided, with Rebecca and Darren’s go ahead, to begin final editing work on our novel, Four’s a Crowd. As my older readers may remember, it is based on my play Kimberly from several years back, which Darren adapted into a novel with my imput. I think Darren was excited when we had our conference call this morning. It was bugging me no end that my work from days gone by and his recent very hard work had stalled in the mud. I see this on CreateSpace for sale by February 2018 … earlier if we get our butts in gear. 🙂

Before we close, prayers go out to the families and survivors effected in the senseless shooting in Las Vegas. There are people like that in the world who do monstrously terrible acts. As I understand it, he committed suicide. What a coward. He didn’t have the courage to serve his jail time and pay for his crimes. Now he will have to deal with a Higher Power and face his final judgement there.

Well, that is the news from today. Until next time, have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.