Tag Archives: State College

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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My feet and legs are still on the mend

Greetings, readers. Although I have a little bit of walking to do in town today, which can’t be helped, I plan to spend the majority of the day off my ailing feet. I am still recovering from my fall the other week, where apparently I twisted my left knee badly. After yesterday’s work shift, I sat down to my crew meal and when I got up my legs almost couldn’t support me. This is when it is time to throw the bottle of pain reliever in the tote bag. Tomorrow before my extra work shift, I’ll go ahead and take two Aleve.

I’m filling in for someone tomorrow and it will only be the second time I’ve worked three days straight. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I am a part-timer. As I believe with most people, once you are on the job and working, you don’t have time to complain or think about discomfort. For me, getting up at 5:00 to do the few things I need to do on my computer as I have my morning coffee, means that I go to bed around 9:00pm. Under normal circumstances, that would be a wee bit early for me, but when I am tired, I sleep.

Speaking of sleep, when I get those extra hours, I’ve noticed that I have pretty vivid dreams. Recently I’ve been dreaming about my parents, and Bear Spring Camps in an altered form. Just a couple of nights ago, I somehow took a chainsaw and destroyed my mom’s car. Then I wanted to drive it. She told me, no you can’t drive anymore. This, I am sure my therapist would say, is me telling myself that I should not own a car for a multitude of personal reasons.

I’m still having tons of fun with Out of the Park Baseball 18, but if any of you, my readers, know the answer to the upcoming question, please chime in here or on Facebook: All my players’ injuries seem to be season-ending. Does anyone know a way to adjust injure severity mid-season? Or do I have to wait until the next season rolls around to make adjustments? I am losing so many players on my Pittsburgh Steel Hounds, and the entire league is as well. I’ve searched through the manual and screen pages to see if I can adjust the severity of said injuries. So far, no such luck. I even went so far as to go on Twitter and tweet Out of the Park Baseball 18 directly and so far they have not replied. I still feel it’s the best baseball simulation ever made, with MLB The Show a close second.

Finally, I get a chuckle when Rebecca and I go through our stat numbers and the blog entry about my restful summer comes up. I met none of these goals, nor am I going to any time soon. I work four days a week and quite literally need to be off my feet as much as possible on my days off. With me having my job, this summer and now early fall has been way more hectic, but also fulfilling, than I ever thought it would be. I actually enjoy hopping on the bus early, getting my breakfast there, and clocking in. So far, so good, except for some construction woes. It seems like State College goes through a multitude of construction every summer. On this particular project going through the main artery of town, a problem arose and they had to redo all of it. One time I sat on the bus for 20 minutes and moved half a block. My job has a policy that if you call in and let them know that you on a bus delayed by traffic, it is an excused lateness.

So much for my hodgepodge couple of days. Until next time, I bid you a good day, take care, and as always, 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: I was reminded about holodecks yesterday

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Right now I am sitting in Joe’s place with kitty cat Keekee nuzzling my arm and shedding like crazy. I am feeling a lot better and able to spend a bit more time with her today.

I was looking at the view statistics for the blog yesterday and noticed that someone found one of last year’s top ten lists, about what Joe would do in a Star Trek holodeck. A holodeck is a device that is programmed to replicate people, places, and objects so they appear to be solid and can be interacted with while in a special room. After all this time I had forgotten about Joe doing this post. If you want to read it yourself, here is the link. I read it over myself last night, and was impressed all over again by the idea of it and by Joe’s choices of things to experience. I want to do many of those things too; take a cruise, visit Bear Spring Camps, ride on a train. With enough skill at programing, anything is possible. I would also want to visit the past, see places how they used to be, like State College a hundred years ago. What did people wear, sound like, what were their houses like, what businesses were running then? I would want to walk in and look around, touch things, taste the foods, talk to the people. All while keeping safe and healthy in a controlled environment. It wouldn’t be real of course, and might cost as much or more as doing an activity in real life (like taking a cruise) depending on the prices for the technology, but it would be fun.

There are a number of video game companies trying to develop a virtual reality system, and from what I’ve read they have come a long way in the last few years to making something that feels like you are in the video game and interacting with a setting. The technology is still a long way though from walking into a room and hearing the wind blow through the trees you can see and smell, which might never be possible, but they are working on it.

One detail that always bothered me though is how the people using the holodeck went for a distance without hitting the room walls? I don’t remember the Star Trek writers ever addressing that issue, which I understand, but they had episodes where characters rode horses, walked the streets of a town, and traveled for long periods of time. I can understand the view on the walls shifting, but did they shift the floor too? This is an issue that the virtual reality game developers are having to address, with different approaches and solutions. One company is using a platform like a treadmill where the player walks and moves through the world of the game without roaming all over the room. That might work, but as an overweight person, I imagine it would not be available for all people and all sizes. It is interesting to watch the progress in that field though.

So, I would love to explore in a holodeck, though I probably never will. I enjoyed reading Joe’s entry about it again, though, and thinking about all the possibilities that a holodeck could offer. To be instantly in a far land, another place, or in a far time, experience  it, and then instantly be back where I started a few hours later, would be amazing.

What do you think? Where would you go? What would you do?

Until next week when Joe will have two more blog entries for you, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

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.

Morning allergies, go away, come back another day.

Greetings, readers. Right now as the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees, my allergies have certainly started to kick up. It also could be that kitty cat Keekee sleeps next to me in my recliner chair. But the first few hours of my day are a sneezy disaster.

No matter what time I seem to get up, which is anywhere in between 5:00 and 7:00, the first thing I do is sneeze. Sometimes I’ll take a spritz of nasal spray, but usually I have to let it run its course. Mornings are my computer and writing time so it does get a bit frustrating when I am trying to concentrate on what I’m doing while being plagued by sneezing and a runny nose. With every passing hour though it does get better. I’m having a cleaning person come in to help tidy up in a couple of weeks and she will systematically get this place in order. Good-bye dust! I think my allergies will be much better after that.

I’ve always been prone to allergies. I can remember some spring and fall days when I was a child, being absolutely miserable. I tried the allergy medicine of the time and I remember it helping a little bit but not completely. I don’t know where I got my allergies from, for neither Mom nor Dad seemed to be a sufferer.

For those of you who know me, I am not giving up Keekee though there are times when she sheds dramatically. Luckily for me, I’m in Maine at that time, and am spared the worst of it. I love my little girl, and would rather wear a dust mask then to give her away at this stage of her life. There are always allergy shots and other drastic measures. It will depend on if my allergies get worse or not.

On a side note, KISS came to the Bryce Jordan Center this past week, and I held firm in my decision to save money by not going, as much I wanted to. The money for the ticket can be better spent elsewhere. It is a shame, since it will probably be the last time they come to State College. Thanks to someone who uploads videos to YouTube, to my great surprise the entire show is there in multiple segments. How nice. I won’t have to miss it after all. The only downer, that person started their recording half-way through the first song … which just happens to be my favorite. What can you do?

Until tomorrow morning, enjoy your day, take care, love one another, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Very long day

It is almost midnight and I am finally able to get to the blog entry for today, Wednesday. I had a couple of ideas for blog topics, but they aren’t ready and it has been too long a day for me to do either of them now anyway. In many ways, things worked out so smoothly today that I thanked my guardian angels for the help. In others ways – like a two-hour thunderstorm that made it necessary to have our internet router unplugged – things had to wait for better timing. Looking back, it was a very good day, but this post is way later than usual.

Joe’s cat Keekee was doing fine when I visited with her this afternoon. She was not as clingy or needy today as I expected her to be, though she did want my attention and head rubs. She was also shedding a lot, though a little less than in the past. All in all she does not like when Joe is away, but she is doing better this year.

I haven’t talked to Joe in a few days, but I heard from someone who did talk to him this week that he is fine and enjoying himself at camp. The weather was so hot and stifling in State College today, that I enjoy the idea of being by a lake in Maine. I am glad that Joe was and I hope it was a great day for him.

If it works out, I might write Friday’s blog entry tomorrow and schedule it to post on Friday afternoon. If you see it pop up during the afternoon on Friday, you will know that my plan succeeded. As Joe would write: Until next time have a great day, take 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.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m going to forgo the KISS concert

Greetings, readers. The other week, I saw on the electronic billboard outside the Bryce Jordan Center that my favorite band KISS is coming to do a concert in August. At first, I got happy heart palpitations. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that being a person who has not made budget in six months, there was no way I could realistically expect to save up for a ticket.

I have seen my band in the past. They came to State College in 1996, 1998, and either 2000 or 2001. So if I miss them this year, I will not cry in my beard.

KISS has been my band since 1975. You would think that the urge to go to the concert would overwhelm me and that I would have to get a ticket. So far, not so. I will admit I do suffer from impulse shopping, so I was happy to see that I was able to resist the urge to stop the bus, run up to the ticket counter, buy a ticket, and get back on the bus. Maybe KISS really isn’t the band for a 50-year-old after all.

I think another reason why my interest is low is that none of my friends are big KISS fans. If there were three or four of us who could chip in the money for the really good seats, and make a party evening out of it, that would be one thing. Instead, I would be going alone, for my girlfriend does not like the band, and I would also have to worry about such things as the noise level and blinking stage lights setting off a seizure.

Time will tell if I will call the ticket office just to see how cheap the cheap seats are, but I really do believe that I will not be going to this show. For me, a KISS fan who has every album and most CDs, I call that a budget victory. One battle won, many more battles to go. 🙂

R.I.Ps go out to former WWE wrestler/manager Chyna (real name Joan Laurer) and of course, to pop music star Prince. You will both be missed.

Until next week, I wish everybody a fantastic weekend, take care, and happy reading.