Tag Archives: state college pennsylvania

All the ducks are in a row for Maine

Greetings, readers. I am extremely relieved today. Weeks ago I had procured all the hotel rooms for my trip up to Maine and back, and only needed to confirm the car rental. I also bought a baseball game ticket for the Friday evening game in Portland – Go Sea Dogs! Unless it rains, I will actually be inside Hadlock Field. I have seen it from the outside twice. This will be the first time that I hunker down Friday evening in Portland. Saturday morning, I’d better get an early start, or I will be stuck in a lot of traffic on I-95 on the way to camp. It is going to be an enjoyable vacation, I can feel it.

Until just a short time ago, I still had not nailed down the rental car. The agents and I were playing phone tag. Finally, this morning, I got a hold of the person I was trying to talk to all along, and he confirmed that there would not be a problem, and that I would definitely have a vehicle August 1st. Now all my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed and it should be a stress free vacation … and let’s face it, to be stress free is why you go on vacation in the first place.

On to the next topic, I’ve been getting into the X-Files lately. Boy is that a strange series, yet I’m drawn to it. All seasons will be On Demand until late September. I have no idea where they will be going after that. I don’t have enough money to cough up to buy all 11 seasons, so for now On Demand, Hulu and other such viewing choices will have to do. The first season wasn’t too bad. I’m currently watching the second season; it is much creepier. I am also as a writer learning how characters meet in episode one, and by the middle of the second season, Dana Scully, usually very strong and in control of herself at all times, lets her guard down enough to trust Fox Mulder in a vulnerable moment where she broke down in tears and needed a hug. I won’t be able to watch all the episodes before leaving on vacation, so I think I will skip around to different seasons so I can get an overview. It should be interesting.

Lastly, ouch – I whacked my small toe on a box. It’s not broken, but I think I did stove it pretty good. I have the feeling it is going to be tender for a few days. That will teach me not to clean my room.

As I sign off, I hope that those of you in any flooded areas are well. We had torrential rain here yesterday in State College, Pennsylvania. Today, so far, not so bad, though more storms are expected. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will not be sitting in the cabin in Maine during a week of rainy weather.

I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the morning, but Rebecca will put up tomorrow’s blog entry and I am quite certain it will be a good one. Until next Wednesday for me, take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

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Top ten list of things gone by the wayside part 2

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list is a continuation of a previous entry of things gone by the wayside. It has been quite a while since the first part came out on February 1, 2013 and Rebecca and I have managed to come up with ten more. So here they are in no particular order.

10. Older aircraft. [Oh, the days of the DC3s, the Boeing 727s, and the DC10s. As most of you know, I am a flight sim buff and I’ve always enjoyed the older aircraft for their nostalgia. If I had a bucket list, one of the things I would do would be to fly on a DC3. They were manufactured in the 1940s, and according to the internet, there still are a handful of them still in service.]

9. Wholesome television shows. [When I was little, The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie were two huge hits for CBS and NBC. I always loved watching the Walton and Ingalls families go through their daily lives, whether it would be fun times or hardships. There was never really any violence in those shows and even if something bad happened, the goodness of the people in the community came to the aid of the people in need.]

8. Children’s lemonade stands. [These might not be 100% gone, but I’ve heard that in some states parents actually need to get a permit, and one poor child’s lemonade stand was shut down by the police for lack of said permit. I remember having a lemonade stand when I was 9 or 10, and later in life, if I was driving around town in my car and saw one, I would make it a point to stop and have two cups. Those kids deserved the extra quarter.]

7. Typewriters. [Oh, yes, the days of Wite-Out. I remember vividly writing my early writing career stories on a typewriter. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite key is the backspace key; the old typewriters did not have that, hence my favorite product was Wite-Out. One college professor, I recall, did not allow Wite-Out and on one tough term paper it took me three tries to type the final page. When I was done, and I knew the term paper was just so, I threw the typewriter down the cellar steps. Mom laughed for an hour, saying, “I told you that one letter stuck, but you wouldn’t believe me.”]

6. The United States Football League – founded in ’82, ceased in ’86. [It took nearly a year to set up before playing began. The United States Football League, the spring time competition to the NFL, lasted just 3 seasons, ’83 through ’85. There were many factors to why it failed: #1, It expanded too quickly. #2. It paid humongous salaries with money it didn’t have yet. And #3. When Donald Trump, then owner of the New Jersey Generals, decided it would be a great idea to move to fall football and compete directly with the NFL, it was the beginning of the end. President Trump, you did not make the USFL great again, you killed it.]

5. Mom and Pop stores. [This one was going to be hardware stores, but Ace Hardware is still going strong so we changed to the Mom and Pop variety stores. You know the kind I mean, they sell a little bit of everything. State College had one such store, O.W. Houts & Sons, but when Wal-Mart came in, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Houts family would either sell or retire. I miss that store tremendously, it was part of my childhood. My mom shopped there every Saturday and sometimes I would go with her.]

4. Manners. [Quite recently, I was working the cash register at my job, when a mother and her two children walked up. The daughter, approximately age 10, gave me her order and said, “May I please have …” before everything she wanted. It was truly a wonderful thing to see; young children with perfect manners. I actually complimented their mom.]

3. Goodyear Blimp. [When I was a pre-teen, the Goodyear Blimp would always come to State College, Pennsylvania for one big Penn State home game. It would arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday, fly around at night advertising, and leave after the game. Over time, it began to only come the morning of the game and would be gone right afterwards. Now the Goodyear Blimp doesn’t come at all. We’ve had other blimps come and cover the games, but to me if just isn’t the same. Many an evening my mom and I would sit on the front porch in the fall and watch the blimp fly overhead and advertise their latest tire offers. Oh, if only to hear that low-pitched droning sound of its engines one more time. That sound is truly unique.]

2. Television variety shows. [Gone are the days of the Carol Burnett Show, the Sonny & Cher Show, and other such weekly variety series’. TV has evolved into mostly reality shows of a different sort now, mostly sleazy and sex related. And the one attempt at an old-fashioned variety show a couple of years ago was canceled after a few episodes. Take it from me, bigwigs of the major networks, the TV variety series is dead and gone. R.I.P.]

1. Handwritten letters. [This one holds a special place in my heart, for not that many years ago, I would write letters, and more importantly, Christmas cards. Yes, you can still buy Christmas cards and send them, but I’ve heard from retailers that sales decline every year. And why shouldn’t they, you can go on the internet and send any kind of e-card that you want for free on most websites. The fancier ones might only cost ninety-nine cents. That is still a much cheaper option then driving to Hallmark, finding that pretty card, bringing it home, putting a stamp on it, and taking it to the mailbox. I don’t know if writing letters will ever come back and replace email; I highly doubt it. I know it won’t for me. I have a dear friend in Romania and relatives in Holland, how easy and convenient it is to type an email, have the program spellcheck it for me, and after I hit send, the email the is half-way around the world within a minute. A letter would take a week or more.]

Well, there you have it, part 2 of things gone by the wayside. Tomorrow will be a personal day for me, and I’ve asked Rebecca to put up a blog entry for me. I’m sure she will do her usual good job. So until next Wednesday when we both return, I bid you a good week, take care 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.

Fourth of July fireworks and the weather

Greetings, readers. For the better part of a month State College, PA. has been in the throes of a dry spell. When does it choose to rain? That’s right, the night of my fireworks. Kitty cat Keekee and I wait all year for it, and that evening all we really saw were colored clouds. To be honest, they were pretty but it really wasn’t the spectacular show I was hoping for.

The 4th of July afternoon got off to a lovely start when Traci’s friends invited us for a picnic dinner. They really went all out. Everything was exceptional from the steaks right down to the coffee ice cream. Towards the end of dinner, around 3:00 in the afternoon, I was noticing the cloud getting darker. That was my first hint of a possible rain snafu.

I was home for a number of hours before it actually started to rain. I heard it pounding off my window, checked my clock, which read 7:00 pm. My heart sank. You see readers, as I might have mentioned before, there are certain days and holidays that I really look forward to. The 4th of July is one of those days. It ranks right up there with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Christmas morning. I usually have a clear view of the fireworks from my window, so I can sit in my own comfy chair and enjoy the display. Not this year.

Could I change the weather? That answer is a big no. The machine to do that has not been invented yet. Humans have to take the weather as it comes.

After the fireworks were over, I made myself a cup of coffee, got on the computer and chatted with friends on Facebook. By 11:30, my finger was hitting the back space key so often that I said to myself, sorry friends, it is time to go to bed. That was my 4th of July.

An upcoming event which I am really looking forward to is the wedding of my Goddaughter, Ashley Trost. I’m a proud Godpoppa. Traci and I will leave via Zipcar on July 16th and get back on the 18th. Then next month is the Maine excursion. I always look forward to that and I hope to bring back new stories for a possible third camp book. I’m going to take a small tape recorder with me and turn it on when I talk to David. Together I am sure we will come up with lots of good ideas. Gee, there went the whole summer.

We will see if I can put another blog entry up tomorrow. I am taking a personal day on Friday for a doctor’s appointment.

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

The Arts Festival is here again

Greetings, readers. Today is children’s day at the 49th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Every July artists from all over come to display their wares. The first day, always a Wednesday, is for kids. They can play in the water bucket soaker, have their faces painted, and eat lots of yummy food. I believe that at our local library they have activities that kids can participate in indoors.

Tomorrow the booth sales begin up on campus and downtown. Goods include pottery, drawings, leather goods, sculptures in wood and metal, paintings, and glass works. I will admit that since everything is handmade, the prices range a bit high. But people do buy; sales have been good the last few years I’ve heard. One big factor is the weather.

It’s a running joke that during Arts Festival it is either a hundred degrees or it rains everyday. The forecast that I read called for cooler and drizzly. To me, that is not pleasant to walk around in. If I want to shop for things, I’ll go to a nice indoor mall or flea market.

In Boalsburg, a town not far from here, is the competing festival, the People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts. It has only Pennsylvania artists and has been running for 23 years. I’ve not visited it and to tell you the truth I’m not sure why. For one thing, I don’t have a car any more, and I would expect parking to be a hassle anyway. There is a bus that goes to Boalsburg, but I don’t have enough interest in it to go. If I want to go to a festival, there is one outside my front door.

Tomorrow I plan to partake of some of the delicious food. There are some choices that I don’t ever see except during this festival, like corn dogs and bunt cakes. Instead of meeting Rebecca at Panera, I might meet her in front of the library where there are some benches.

Friday or Saturday, I’ll walk down Allen Street and see what kind of live music they have playing. I can’t stay long, because the volume bothers my brain. A couple of years ago, I walked right by one of those big speakers on the way to a bus and it damned near put me into a seizure. Not fun. I do like to see what’s going on, just so I can say that I was part of this year’s festival crowd.

Until Friday, enjoy the good weather if you have it, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

Decisions, decisions

Greetings, readers. Life is full of decisions. From a very early age I always had to make decisions of what I was going to do that day. Would I wear my red sweater or my yellow sweater? When Dave came down to play, would we play Wiffle ball or Nerf football? As the years went on, and I got into high school, those decisions were more long-term. What college was I going to? What should I major in? Etc.

To answer those last two questions, I stayed home here in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, majoring in Liberal Arts and taking some night-time writing classes. Around the age of 20, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer. I’ll be honest with you readers. I wrote a lot more back then. I could put classical music or a Star Wars record on in the background  and type for hours. For some reason, now I can no longer do this.

More recent decisions have dealt with my writing career and its recent lack of productivity. Yes, Darren is still working on turning my play Kimberly into a novel called Four’s a Crowd, and that is showing remarkable promise. When she is home, Rebecca is the editor of the project and is currently proofreading it. I am trying to figure out what I am going to be doing next. I firmly believe that it’s going to be a fan-fiction script for a web-series called Star Trek Continues. I came up with a very good outline, with Rebecca’s help, but after looking at it more closely, I realized that my idea was perilously close to an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  I told Rebecca, and I’m promising you my readers, this project is not dead. It’s just on hold for a while until I can come up with an idea that is more my own.

As far as decisions for later in life, they would include: Where am I going to live in my golden years? Will I move to sunny Florida, steamy Arizona, or California? Probably not. Something tells me that I shall remain here in State College the rest of my life. Mom and Dad are buried here, and actually my plot is also there, near my mother.

The decision whether or not to get a used car, to take a cruise, or to marry again are the three big ones. At this point, due to finances, the cruise might be a fantasy. The vehicle will always remain on my wish list. And a second wife, well … time will tell.

Until tomorrow, when I hope to have the top ten list I am working on completed and ready to go, take care, think spring, happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, and happy reading.

Same bat – time, same bat – channel!

Greetings, readers. As promised, here is my blog entry on the topic of the 1960s Batman series. The new movies, as well as the old comic books, portrayed the Caped Crusader as a darker figure. Not quite evil but almost. The 1960s TV series was anything but that. The show was labeled a comedy spoof, yet the acting quality makes it still one of my favorite shows today.

The major players included Adam West as millionaire Bruce Wayne and Batman. Adam had a knack for over acting everything, but it worked so well. I remember as a child wanting to be that man, whom I saw on the TV screen. He lived in that big house with nice things and drove around in that super cool car, the Batmobile.

Burt Ward played Dick Grayson and Robin. Along with his costume, he only wore a black mask over his eyes, and yet not even Aunt Harriet knew it was Dick Grayson. Major hand wave there; in the interest of fun we’ll let it go.

Speaking of hand waves, the biggest one of the entire series happened in the third season when new character Batgirl arrived on the scene. Is anyone really going to try to tell me that Commissioner Gordon couldn’t realize the voice coming out of Batgirl was that of his own daughter Barbara? The man was not that inept.

Some of the notable villains and villainesses were Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, and Julie Newmar as the Catwoman. They are who I call the big four. All other villains and villainesses are smaller potatoes in my eyes. I heard once on an interview show that it was something of a status symbol if you were asked to be a villain or villainess on Batman. My favorite minor villainess was the lovely young Joan Collins as the Siren.

Shifting gears, no pun intended, the Batmobile was based on a concept car, the Lincoln Futura. I’ve seen photos on Yahoo!. You can definitely tell it’s the Batmobile. It’s too bad that Lincoln never produced the car for the public. That would have been cool. One of the six Batmobiles the show used was in State College, PA. at our annual car show a few summers ago. What fun it was for me to stand right next to such an iconic vehicle.

Though Batman only went two and a half seasons (it was a mid-season replacement when it premiered) it took the nation by storm and fizzled out just as quickly. By the third season, ratings had dropped. Batgirl was a nice change but the Aunt Harriet character was all but dropped. She was always traveling, they said.

They have had several renditions of Batman since this series, including cartoons and feature films. My favorite, however, will always be the ’66 to ’68 Batman. Adam and Burt, thumbs up for a job well done.

Until next time, take care, happy reading, and to the Batpoles!

What’s going on with me today, 10/3/14

Greetings, readers. It is a dreary Friday afternoon here in State College, Pennsylvania. Already the temperature is getting cold and the wind seems to be coming from the North. I’ve heard from at least two people already that this winter is going to be a brutal one. That news does not make me happy.

As you know, I am a spring and summer person so I naturally dislike the winter. But after being told of extremely cold temperatures with lots of snow and ice, I can see myself just staying in my apartment or the community room much more than usual from about November until April. Not a happy prospect.

The one good thing that might come out of it, with fewer trips to Panera Cafe I will be saving some money. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. With my new morning routine, I’m over to Panera around 7:15, have a blueberry muffin or some other delicious pastry, and of course have my share of coffee. When I look at the bill – $4 and change – it doesn’t seem like much until I realize that I do it 7 days a week.

Something I have failed to mention. I have recently got back my disks from Netflix. And even though money is going to be a wee bit tight, I have decided not to cancel it. I truly enjoy having all of Netflix’s library to choose from. This leads in to my big problem. One which I have already discussed with my psychologist. The problem is this:

I am a Train Simulator hobbyist, and Flight Simulator hobbyist, and as of just yesterday, a Truck Simulator hobbyist. Add that to my occasional gaming and movie watching, and I am deathly afraid that I am giving up on my writing career. I have plenty of time alone to be creative, to do something work related, and so far since camp we have several blogs to show and only one new short story for camp book 3. I was hoping for at least two more by now. The fact that I had a sinus infection for a week didn’t help matters. I do have a sneaking suspicion that when the weather turns yucky I will stay inside more, make coffee at home, and make use of the brand new internet connection provided downstairs by the management of my apartment. Rebecca is likely to come in one day and be swamped with work. Time will tell.

Lastly, for next week, as far as I can tell it is going to be a normal work week, with two blog entries and time for creation. I do have many doctor’s appointments in the next couple of months, but I have tried to schedule them around our work days. Please, readers, if you would, throw good thoughts my way for extra creativity. This new book is going to need it.

Until Wednesday, enjoy your weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Back from camp renewed and energized

Greetings, readers. After a wonderful vacation in Maine, I’ve come home with an entire new outlook on writing. It is so positive I can’t even begin to tell you. But I will try.

For several months now I have been playing around with the idea of a third and final camp book. But I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Then the idea hit me. Over the next several weeks I am going to create from scratch two fictitious characters, a man and woman, both probably in their mid-20s. They will be the newbies at Bear Spring Camps. Not only will this third camp book contain true stories from my camp life, but also it will have fictitious stories told by the new Bear Spring Camp’s couple.

I started to think of all the stories I could tell and in my mind I already have several that I can expand on. If I put my nose to the grindstone, we could have a new book out by next July. That is my goal.

Now, about the vacation itself. It was one of the very best ever. I was completely calm and at ease, laughing, telling jokes and stories, eating like a horse, and making people happy. The camp menus changed very little, thank goodness. I did everything I wanted to do and more, including renting a pontoon boat for two days. I am going to do that next year for the whole week. It was much easier for me to get in and out of, as well as a better area for fishing; as you know I need all the help I can get. Five stars for the pontoon boat idea.

The first few days were long and filled with fun and good times. The last couple of days seemed to go by very quickly. I guess we all knew the end was near. Friday afternoon, of course, was packing day. I thought to myself I’ll wait and do it after supper. Well, a thunderstorm came and knocked out the power for two hours. So much for packing. Still, the next morning I was packed and ready to go, and on the road, by quarter to ten. I had told Rebecca, and I might have mentioned it in the blog also, that I thought this year might be my swan song at Bear Spring Camps. Well, I’ve got news for you. I enjoyed this year so much that I’ve already decided that I will be back next year. My arrival date is August 8th, and boy I can’t wait.

I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on my writing projects, as well as what’s going on in State College, PA. I can tell you already that students are beginning to flood back in. Classes start in two weeks. Where did the summer go?

Finally, Keekee was one happy kitty-cat when I came in the door. She missed her daddy. She was literally underfoot for a day and a half. She seems to know now that I am home and she’s gone back to her regular routine.

Until next time, have a great day, happy reading, and stay tuned for more details about my trip and about my up-coming musical performance at Addison Court. 🙂

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.