Tag Archives: Train Simulator

From Rebecca: Re-post about school friends and Facebook

As I wrote yesterday, I am re-posting an entry from Joe’s third year of blogging. I had a lot to choose from, including a few From Rebecca entries that I liked. Going through the year, I saw that early 2014 was really cold with a lot of snow, that Joe discovered Train Simulator on Steam, and wrote a lot about sports and his childhood.

I picked this entry to re-post because I think most of us can relate to time passing so fast since high school, and using Facebook to keep us in touch with people we met way back then. And in touch with people we met since then, too.

Joe will be back with an entry next Wednesday. Until then, enjoy this blast from the past.

Catching up with school friends

October 10, 2014

Greetings, readers. Although I will never consider myself old, I had a strange incident happen yesterday. I was communicating on Facebook with a friend of mine who I always visualize as that teen-age kid I went to school with. When she was telling me about her poor health, I remembered, oh, yes, she is almost 50 years old, just like I am. We aren’t those young kids anymore.

My knees creak, my neck hurts, and sometimes I can’t get to sleep for love nor money. And as far as running, heck some days I can barely jog across the street. Yes, even though I consider myself young at heart, I am a middle-aged person. I must remember this.

Facebook gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with many of my friends from school. It’s so strange that I always think of them, no matter who they are, as the kids I used to know. I think that is because we don’t go out and party together, I don’t go to the school reunions, we just don’t hang out. So those visions from the past are all I have.  I wouldn’t trade the memories of those early years for all the world.

It’s funny. When I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t think I had many friends. Now I can go through the yearbook, looking at all the pictures, and I smile knowing that I had many more friends than I thought. Up to this point I really have had a good life.

This brings me to an idea. Maybe sometime this spring or early summer, after the snow melts, I am going to see if a group of my school friends would like to meet somewhere and hang out for an afternoon or evening. Perhaps we can book a hall or a hotel’s dining room. That would be cool. As a lot of you know, I dwell in the past. I think it would be a good thing for me to see my friends, swap stories, and get re-acquainted.

Switching gears, over the last few days, I’ve had some time to think about my recent obsession with simulation games and “playing” in general. My mom, the psychologist, probably would have told me that I am trying to go back to my childhood where life was perfect, my problems were taken care of for me, my friend David was there to play with, and TV shows and sports were there to be enjoyed. That’s my opinion. This Monday, I will see what my therapist will say.

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

P.S. I am very happy to see the recent upsurge in the viewing of my performance pictures and my book page.

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Still trying to figure out my life

Greetings, readers. I shall try not to bore you with my depression, and actually I’m not even sure it is depression. I am experiencing low energy levels and I am taking more naps than usual. I would consider my diet mediocre at best; more protein might help, as would less junk food. Still not having a job is weighing heavily on my mind. I was hoping to be gainfully employed last August. But that opportunity fell through. As we approach late fall and early winter, it seems all the jobs in town are taken.

It could be the fact that my medications are making me sleepy, or a case of mild depression, but I am now averaging two naps per day. Way too much sleep. Recently I just finished watching over 100 episodes of the new Hawaii Five-O, each episode about 45 minutes long, in a three-week period. Imagine if all those evenings were spent writing creatively. I might have 100 pages. But no, I was entertained, but nothing with my name on it came from it.

As I’ve asked myself before, do I still wish to be a writer? Yes. I do not wish to be a non-writer who wrote three books and a play. If that is all the Lord wanted me to do in the creative writing realm, I wish He would let me know. I’m not sure what else I would be passionate about. I wanted to be an airplane pilot as a child, but health issues put an end to that at age 16. I’m sure one of these days soon, I’ll find a job at one of the local stores. What I should do is get up at 6:00, plant my butt in a chair at 7:00, and write until 9:00. But no, I check Facebook, I check Twitter, I play Train Simulator, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil soccer.

Sometimes when I am depressed I can actually imagine myself in a nursing home, sitting in a chair, watching TV or listening to music. When I used to visit my father at the local nursing home, I could tell how depressed he was. He tried to hide it, but he couldn’t. He was in his 70s when he went in. I fear because of my monetary situation and handicaps that I might have to go to assisted living much earlier.

On a brighter note, the Penn State football team won another game and they are well on their way to a New Year’s Day bowl game. Yay, Coach Franklin and team.

Next week we will be working on Wednesday and taking off Thursday for Thanksgiving. I will put up at least one blog entry and possibly two.

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

Bear Spring Camps 2016 was one of the best ever

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe I’ve been home almost a week. Time is flying already. In the early morning hours I’ve had time to reflect on this past vacation. I have so many fond memories. Were some things different? Yes, and even though I don’t love change, I must admit, I enjoyed the changes.

For the first time since I’ve been going without Mother to Bear Spring Camps, I traveled up with Dave Trost and family in their minivan. I was still able to take most of the things I always took, and seeing the sights as a passenger again was welcomed. We did leave for Maine, and leave from Maine, early in the morning. So the first few hours were in the dark. We had to pick up David’s daughter Emily’s friend in New York City; that was most interesting. We drove right by Newark International Airport. As some of my regular readers know, I am a flight simulator hobbyist, and have “flown” out of that airport many times. Everything looked so familiar.

As we approached New Hampshire in the daylight, I anticipated seeing the Piscataqua River Bridge and my favorite state of Maine. The Trosts take a different route than I do when I am driving the route to camp, and shoot off from I-95 to I-295. Somehow the Lord must have awakened me at the proper time, for just as I opened my eyes, we were passing Portland and I got to see the baseball stadium, the East Deering Swing Bridge, and the B&M Baked Bean factory. It was like someone plucked me from the vehicle and put me back in my train simulator. What a thrill!

We arrived at camp in time for dinner, the noon meal, and right away I noticed a major change. The wooden dining table chairs, which I had seen since childhood, were replaced with brand new metal chairs. Oh, my. After the shock of “I hate new things” wore off, I accepted Dave’s logic that they will be much easier to clean. Before the vacation was over, I must admit, I actually liked them better.

The first few days were quite routine, picking right off where we left off, visiting friends, taking the boat out, and doing all the things we did 52 weeks before. As I mentioned in my first camp book, it truly feels like you never left. We pushed the play button and continue the movie. An odd but wonderful sensation.

Mid-week brought the heat wave and Thursday’s happy hour. Tallie, a Mosher family relative, came for her annual visit and boat ride. It was a gorgeous day. Tallie and I took many pictures with various views of the lake.

The rain came on Friday. That was fine with me, for we got our morning fishing in before it really came down, and then the afternoon was for packing anyway. I must say, I was grateful for the rain; it was way too dry in New England. Leaves were already turning.

Before departure evening, allow me to share what I consider the highlight of the trip. Dave’s nephew Cole had the fishing day of fishing days. He caught a couple of white perch, several bass, and his prize, a 24 inch pike. He had that for supper, before he ate his lobster, and enjoyed every bite. Cole was using top water lures for the most part and got extremely excited when a good fish was on his line. He’ll even agree that he sounded like a little kid, whooping and cheering, and yes, shaking. After the pike was reeled in, he needed help to get the fish unhooked, not only because the fish was biting the net, but Cole couldn’t control his shaking hands. So yay, Cole, on the best fishing day I have seen in quite a while.

Finally, the last night was bittersweet. Packing preparations were made with the checks and double checks to make sure nothing was left behind. Then it was time to wait. Dave and family leave early in the morning, so I slept from 9:30 until about 2am. I sat patiently until they arrived in a driving rain to pick me up at 3:30. I went back to New Jersey with them, for what they call lobster fest. It was delicious. I then took a bus from Harrisburg back home.

Overall, I consider this one of my finest Maine vacations. It was relaxing, stress-free, I walked a lot, and eat like a horse. I give this vacation a 9 and a half out of 10. Had there been more Yahtzee, it would have been perfect.

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

Ok folks, what’s the best brand of laptop today???

Greetings, readers. My ASUS computer is five and a half years old now and, although it is not in top condition, it still does everything I need it to do. The question is, for how much longer will it continue to work? It really is not considered a gaming computer, though through Steam I do play American Truck Simulator, Train Simulator, and before those, Euro Truck Simulator 2. All three titles, as you can imagine, are graphic intensive. I had to put the graphic settings on minimal just to get the games to run.

Within a year, probably less than that, the time will come for the old laptop to be replaced. My accountant understands this and I’m sure will budget some money for that purchase. I would like to get a laptop that has a better graphics card, so I can truly enjoy the full beauty of these simulators. Also, for our writing projects, the word processing system must be easy to use. I know that Windows 10 … or whatever version is the newest … has a touch screen option. That sounds like fun, but after a couple of days I will probably want to switch that option off, if I can.

What brand to buy, what brand to buy? Years ago I owned a Toshiba which was very good; I had that until I lost it during a bus trip. About six months ago, I went to Best Buy for a preliminary look-see and saw brands such as Acer, HP, Toshiba, ASUS, and others. I’ll be honest with you folks, this computer has been a Sherman tank. I want my next computer to last as long as this one has. The two obvious choices would be ASUS or Toshiba; the brands I have had and I know last a long time. Again, I must stay within my budget for said purchase. I cannot go out and buy a $3,000 desktop or $1,500 laptop.

If anyone has recently purchased a computer they are happy with, please share your story here or on my Facebook page. Also, please chime in with your suggestions and experiences.

As stated yesterday, this will be the last blog entry until next Wednesday, for my Beatles sing-a-long show is tomorrow. Rebecca and I will be doing that tomorrow. I bid you a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. Video segments or pictures of all my shows to come soonest.

I saw two good movies last night

Greetings, readers. I was searching through YouTube for something enjoyable to watch, besides Reba, and I typed in Sherlock Holmes. To my happy surprise, several of his films were listed. Both of the films I watched were from the 1940s. The first one was actually just under an hour long and the second one, slightly longer, was an hour and eleven minutes. Oh, how times have changed. Today you are hard pressed to find a film under an hour and a half.

The first movie I watched, from 1946, was about a murder that took place on a train and was called Terror by Night. The two stars were Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. From the outset I knew I’d be hooked because the story began with Holmes and Watson going to Edinburgh, Scotland on a train. Holmes was to guard a valuable diamond, and of course that was the prize catch for someone to steal. Shortly into the movie there is a murder; the son of the elderly woman who owned the diamond. Holmes and Watson conducted interviews with the suspects on the train one by one to discover who the thief and murderer was.

What really made this movie enjoyable for me was it took place on an old steam locomotive. As some of you might know from me writing about Train Simulator, looking at the old English carriages, with each compartment having its own door, was nostalgic. Another thing that was enjoyable for me was that these two films were in black and white, and the special effects were minimal. Back then, they concentrated on story line quality and good acting. I’m not going to give away the ending to either of these films, no spoiler alerts here. So let’s move on to the second film.

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, from 1942, was an equally intriguing and enjoyable film. It was set during World War II, as the Third Reich was destroying London. Everyday a radio broadcast, at first believed to be from Germany, would hit London’s airwaves, not only describing how poorly England was doing in the war, but also warning of impending disasters. Holmes found it odd that these catastrophes would occur either as the broadcast was taking place or shortly thereafter. It was fascinating to me to watch Holmes in action as he deduced where these broadcasts were actually coming from.

Both these films starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, who were in series of Sherlock Holmes films in the 1940s. I do understand that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original setting for his stories and books was in London and in the late 1800s. That was another thing I found so interesting about these two films. You can take these two characters and 221b Baker street, put them in any era, and it works. How brilliant.

Not only has last night’s entertainment spurred my interest in watching more of these films, but after work hours I’m going to the library to get one of the original books. I’m looking forward to it greatly. Remember, I did want to read more; it is on my list of things to do.

I shall keep you updated with how my new interest in Sherlock Holmes progresses. I don’t know how many movies were made but I intend to watch them all.

Until Friday, have a wonderful couple of days, take care, and happy reading.

Train Simulator 2016 is a pain in my tracks

Greetings, readers. I can say with all certainty that the anti-virus system AVG does not like Steam company games. For the past couple of years, I have very much enjoyed Train Simulator 2015 and 16. Yet, every few months, usually after an update, AVG will consider the game a threat, will take the executable command, and stop the game from starting. Now for anyone with computer smarts who would know how to easily put something on the exceptions list, that would not be a big deal. I do not. So for a day or two or three I have to uninstall the game, reinstall it, and keep my fingers crossed. Eventually AVG asks me if I want to put the game on the exceptions list and it runs smoothly for a while.

Along with Flight Simulator, Train Simulator has become my morning routine. I like to make my coffee, boot up the computer, choose a run, and play it. Well, the last week was a pain in my tracks.

I actually came up with a solution, albeit rather dangerous. I turned AVG completely off. Yes, folks, I was careful not to go onto the internet before reactivating the anti-virus and firewall. So far no harm done. The computer was running a wee bit slow this afternoon during work, so I think I’ll run the virus scan while I run my afternoon errands.

Eventually, I want to change my gaming time to early evening, and use the morning hours for writing. Dictation works brilliantly for creating the blog but not so much for other projects. Reason for that is as of yet unknown.

Yes, I’m 50 years old and playing games, and when they don’t work right, Joey gets cranky. Who am I, Peter Pan? No, I think one day I will grow up, put games behind me, and either write that novel or go find another job. Remember, I have to get a job before retirement age. LOL.

I’m taking a personal day tomorrow and possibly Friday, depending on how much I get done. Rebecca will be working on an entry for a future date. If we are together on Friday, we will have a new entry as usual.

Until next time, take care, stay warm, be well, and happy reading.

I’m back from Bear Spring Camps and feeling renewed

Greetings, readers. As always, I had a wonderful time at Bear Spring Camps this year. I saw family and friends, partook of all the delicious food, had gallons of coffee, and fished until my heart was content. My biggest fish was a 13 inch bass, but it sure did give me a good fight.

The weather, except for one day, was beautiful. I will admit it was not as warm as it usually is when I’m here. Low to mid 70s was the high all week. I chose to not go into the lake to swim this year. At night it was mid to upper 50s.

During one of the evening suppers, I stood up and made a toast to the family who adopted me all those years ago. It seemed to go over extremely well. Although I hadn’t practiced it per se, I was quite happy that I didn’t stutter or fumble over words. One of the points I made, and I will admit it choked me up a bit, was when I said, “I always go back to Pennsylvania, but when I go to Maine, I come home.”

This Bear Spring Camps season was a wee bit unusual in a good way. Best friend, Dave, had all his family with him, including his nephew Cole, and they chose to come up to breakfast around 8:00. Only I was up at the dining room right at 7:30. It felt a bit odd to sit at that big table all alone until one of the nephews joined me. That was usually Nick Carroll. Starting my breakfast first, meant that I was finished first. Sometimes I would have a third cup of coffee and talk to Dave about morning plans, but more times than not I would excuse myself and go down to the cabin.

On Wednesday, I did get a pontoon boat for three days. I made full use of it, including an early morning fishing trip on Friday. That is something I haven’t done in over 20 years. The scenery was amazingly beautiful. The way the fog and the mist lifted off the lake gave the shoreline, with its trees and houses, an almost otherworldly quality. Next year, if David wishes to go early morning fishing, I might just go with him every time. We’ll see.

After supper was my time. I sat in my cabin, did a lot of thinking about the upcoming year, and hosted story time for all the little nieces and nephews that enjoy that so much. This year I actually sang songs for them. I think they were impressed. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I must admit the kids threw me a curve ball when they did not want to hear camp stories, but instead asked for ghost stories. It took me a while to get into it, but towards the end of the evening, I had Ava and Kennedy on edge. When the propane heater kicked on, everyone jumped. That’s when I knew my stories were effective.

My side trips to Portland, Maine were wonderful. I wanted to drive on Commercial Street in the Casco Bay area of Portland. The reason might sound silly, but there’s a Train Simulator run that goes right down that street. It was a surreal experience passing all of the businesses portrayed in that simulation. Everything was exact. Farther down the road, and purely by chance, I found Benny’s Famous Fried Clams, a seafood shack-type eatery with a delicious lobster roll and tasty clam chowder. It’s going to be my new stop for when I go to Maine. I have to give Rebecca’s father’s GPS back, so I’ve written down all the addresses for next year.

I feel completely recharged with new ideas for writing, which is exactly what I hoped to have accomplished, and there is a slight chance that I will be able to go to camp for two weeks next year. Time will tell.

This blog entry will be linked to my Facebook page and to the Bear Spring Camp page as well. I have decided to make it a policy that only blog entries that deal directly with Bear Spring will be linked there.

Lastly, special thanks go to Rebecca for taking good care of Keekee and to Rebecca’s father for loaning me the all important GPS.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Getting ready for camp is filling my brain

Greetings, readers. Another Thursday blog entry. With all reservations made early this year, I find myself wanting to dig out the list and begin to put things for camp in a special spot in my apartment. When I was little, my mom would always put everything by the closet doors in the foyer. That was her special spot. The night before the car got packed, that area was so full of stuff that we couldn’t even open the closet doors. With my small apartment, I don’t have that big an area, and it is a little too early anyway.

I do have my list on the computer and it’s already updated. Things I’m taking include a flashlight and batteries, an umbrella, a radio, and a GPS unit. And, of course, my clothes neatly packed.

This year’s side trip, if I can find it, is going to be a certain street in Portland, Maine called Commercial Street. I have seen a representation of that street all year in the Train Simulator computer game. To my happy surprise, when I did some research on Google Earth, everything was exactly as the computer game depicted. I can’t wait to see it. I’m going to purchase at least two disposable cameras. I’ve been keeping up to date with the weather in Maine and it has been good. Hopefully that trend will continue through my vacation. Something I’m going to add to my list, which I’ve never brought before, will be books from the library in case it rains.

Speaking of books, unfortunately no new pages of the Dickens book I’m reading were read this morning. I wanted to try to read some of it every morning. But my sinuses said no. I told Rebecca to come late so I could have a nap. I am 50 years old, I’m entitled.

Yes, there will be a blog entry tomorrow, but I had this idea and I thought let’s do it. I realize we have been blogging a little bit more than usual the last couple of months, but inspiration strikes. Rebecca and I continue to set aside Wednesday and Friday as our blog days.

This morning I awoke to a wonderful sight. It was something called blue sky and no clouds. It had been cloudy and rainy pretty much since this past Sunday. After work hours, I’m going to go run a couple of errands and fully enjoy the sunshine.

If you have good weather then enjoy it, do take care, and until tomorrow happy reading.

My latest simulation craze: iRacing

Greetings, readers. I have written about hobbies like Flight Simulator and Train Simulator before. Thanks to search engines and YouTube, I have found that in the last few years there is a simulation game for almost everything. Granted, some are more realistic than others. There is Farming Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2, and my new personal favorite, iRacing.

Today let’s talk about iRacing. Oh my goodness. It is a pay site, and for approximately $12 a month you have access to driving in virtual race cars (with accessories), on real tracks that are perfect in every detail. You can also do things like host races, create your own racing team (and color your cars any colors you wish), invite friends to join your racing team, watch others race, and practice in the virtual vehicles. Yes, you do have to purchase additional cars and tracks, that is how iRacing makes its money. It is definitely worth it, however.

The graphics are absolutely amazing, and new tracks and cars are being developed all the time. Coming soon is the legendary Nurburgring test track.

I should not get into iRacing, because I will have to purchase a steering wheel, shifter and pedals. It is impossible to play this game with mouse and keyboard only. The controller package ranges from $60 up to $200 or more. That is a chunk of change.

Right now I think I shall be content to watch people practice. I might cancel my subscription after this month, and watch all the enthusiasts on YouTube that are into iRacing. I can just see myself in a couple of years driving a virtual stock car around the Daytona International Speedway. And knowing my luck, crashing it horribly. Ha ha.

In weeks to come, I shall watch YouTube videos of Farming Simulator, Construction Simulator, and any other type of simulator I can find. If I deem them exciting enough to blog about, I shall certainly do that.

With our 400th blog entry quickly approaching, if any reader has a topic that you would like me to blog about, chime in, in the comments section, and I will certainly consider it.

Until next week, take care, enjoy the early summer, and happy reading.

Of my simulated life and my real life

Greetings, readers. Since Christmas Day, I have been on my laptop computer playing the Sims 3 Deluxe game. I’m not sure exactly why the game is so addictive, but every time I start playing it I just have to continue. One more click, one more command, just five more minutes. Next thing I know an hour has gone by.

I saw that the Sims 4 is either out already or coming out soon. As you all know, computer games of any kind strive for improvements and realism. I’m certain that Sims 4 will be no different.

Last night I created a character, an adult, and I tried to make him just like me. I added a little grey hair on his head, some grey in his black mustache and chose personality traits close to my own; including absent-mindedness. I had to laugh at how close he is to my true life personality.

My gaming habits worry me though. I seem to be losing myself in not only Dungeons and Dragons, but my three simulator games. I’m going to talk to my therapist and even heed Rebecca’s advice to volunteer somewhere, or perhaps even get a part-time job. I need to feel useful.

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Day. I certainly did. I partook of the local church’s dinner which was quite good. In the future, however, I will pass on the sauerkraut. It was yummy but it didn’t agree with my system. My favorite was the brown sugar candied yams. I could have walked into the kitchen and dove into the pot. LOL.

Lastly, I’m having company this Sunday for tea and snacks. How English! I was going to use my Grandmother’s tea service but I don’t want to drop and break anything so we use mugs. Perhaps another time. I don’t generally entertain in my small apartment but my living room area and kitchen are clean enough to have visitors. Yay me. I am actually sticking to one of last year’s resolutions. Slow progress, but progress.

Until next week, when Rebecca and I will work a full three day week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.