Tag Archives: writing

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

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

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Top ten list of things I would have liked to do in life

Greetings, readers. This is not a list to bash my self-esteem, but it might just serve to open my eyes and let me see some of the jobs or occupations I dreamed about having when I was younger. So here we go, and as always this is not in any particular order, except for #1.

#10. Be a writer with a lot of books and screenplays under my belt. [Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve had many good starts on writing projects but they all seem to fizzle out quickly. Sometimes it is a problem with the story line, other times people beat me to the good idea, and a lot of times it is my body not cooperating.]

#9. Own my own vehicle again. [After my 2008 crash and other issues I won’t get into, my monetary situation is such that owning a vehicle is impossible. It’s too much money for maintenance, repairs, gas, parking, etc.]

#8. Play sports. [At age 52 and a half, my days of playing a pick-up game of football or softball are long behind me. My legs and knees are stiff and sometimes it is a chore just to jog across the street.]

#7. Have a son to carry on my name. [My plan to have a family young, in my 20s or 30s. is long gone. For me to be a father, I would either have to adopt a child or marry someone young enough to have a child. Most women in the age bracket of 20s or 30s would find it creepy to marry someone in their 50s.]

#6. Be a professional entertainer. [For years I was so shy, I lip-synced in all my musical performances that I did for family, friends, and, later, for my pals in my apartment building. Now that I’ve learned to drop my shields and actually sing, I’ve found out that I am not all that bad. Another chance wasted. I could have been the next member of KISS. Lol.]

#5. Own a house. [Yes, good old pride of ownership. I know it comes with its costs. I’d have to pay property taxes, mow the lawn, and fix the pipes. But I would have loved every minute of it. When I go to visit Dave and family in their house, I feel like I’m home. Here, it just feels like I’m in my apartment.]

#4. Be a TV sports broadcaster. [When I was a child, I loved watching Curt Gowdy call NFL football games. He had a style all his own. Later, there were the teams of Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy, and of course, Dick Enburg and Merlin Olsen. My favorite sportscaster though was the incomparable Howard Cosell. He knew his job inside and out, was incredibly intelligent, and covered every event from football to boxing with style and dignity.]

#3. Be a truck driver. [For a while when I was younger I had the notion of being a truck driver. I would have been able to see the country and do something I love to do; drive. Health reasons killed that idea.]

#2. Be a talk show host or D.J. [When I was a little boy, I had an old-fashioned tape recorder and I would pretend I was a D.J. I would announce the songs and then play them on my record player. It was so much fun. I also loved Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. I had a fantasy that one day maybe I would have my own talk show or take over for him when he retired.]

#1. Be a pilot [I’ve always been fascinated by aircraft and my dream as an early teen was to be a commercial airline pilot. My health issues at age 16 ended that dream promptly.]

Well, there it is. Again, I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party. I’m just showing you, my readers, and me, my missed opportunities. I’m starting to find my niche in life and it could very well be that I write plays and either adapt them to a novel or give it to someone else to do it. Dialog just seems to be my thing.

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

Making plans for a Thanksgiving visit

Greetings, readers. The bus tickets have been purchased and I am going to be on my way. Dave and family invited me to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend and I gleefully accepted. After checking out Zipcar and Hertz I figured out that Megabus was the way to go. For a modest price, I will be able to enjoy a five-day mini-vacation.

I am able to go because of generous friends who offered to take my work shifts on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Two people offered and I hope my manager doesn’t schedule them both because one will be angry at me. If either one of you is a regular reader, you have just saved my weekend and I owe you a favor.

I’m going to have to look at the Megabus website again to see if I can bring a suitcase and a carry-on. If it is one or the other, the computer will be staying home. In the late evenings at David’s, after our brotherly chats are over, I like to go upstairs to my guest room, crawl under the blankets, and check my email or listen to music. The one thing I am worried about is that my body is programmed to wake up at 4:00am; that will not be happening at David’s house. I will be sleeping in.

I can’t wait to get there and enjoy the family’s hospitality. The Thanksgiving meal itself will be in the dining hall at Geri’s church and it is big enough for the entire family. I will probably ask David if I can say Grace or make a speech, as I always tend to do. I’m looking forward not only to the feast but also to be with family once again. I shall treasure every moment.

What are the things I am thankful for this year? With my life looking up at the moment, here is my brief list: I am thankful for my kitty-cat Keekee, who is in good health, besides perhaps a slight eye issue; she’s doing great for being almost 13 years old. I am thankful for my family and friends and the possibility to travel and see them. I’m also grateful and thankful that my job has worked out and that most managers think I am doing an excellent job … and making a little extra scratch doesn’t hurt either. Lol. Last but not least, I am thankful for Rebecca and Darren for their years of not only friendship but of hard work to help me put these various writing projects together. As I told my friend this morning, I don’t care if Darren’s book doesn’t put me on the map, I’m hoping it will put him on the map. Kimberly was a cute play. Was it polished? Not by any means. Darren took a good solid skeleton with some meat on the bones and turned it into a literary breathing human being.

I wish to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and readers. Your support over the last year has meant so much to me and has kept us going. The recent upswing in view numbers is continuing and we like it.

I said yesterday that this entry would be a top ten list, but other work earlier this morning took time away from our working hours here at the office, so the promised top ten list will come as soon as I come back from vacation. My mistake.

Next week Rebecca will post two blog entries, most likely re-posts of her choosing, as I will be on the bus and in New Jersey, cramming myself with turkey and trimmings.

So until next time, have a wonderful holiday, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Blog schedule for July and August

Greetings, Joe’s readers. You are seeing a lot of From Rebecca entries lately, and while I hope that all of you enjoy reading my pieces, I know that you are partaking of Joe’s blog to see what is on his mind. Last week, Joe’s friend Dave came to visit on Thursday, and two weeks before that Joe had something personal came up. Please bear with us, both entries this week will be from me, and this will continue off and on just another month. There are reasons for that.

This week doctor appointments have knocked out the working together time for Joe and me. Today Joe is at a check-up with his primary physician, and tomorrow I will be helping my husband Darren and his mom at an urgent doctor’s appointment for her; with her mobility issues and bringing the car around to the front of buildings, it is so much easier to get my mom-in-law to her appointments if there are two of us. To make up for the lost work time tomorrow, I am writing the blog entry for Thursday too.

Next week will be normal for us, working Wednesday and Thursday together. As usual, Joe will dictate the blog posts while I type, then we will edit. Joe will be busy getting ready for Bear Spring Camps, so I imagine that his other writing will be halted for the time being, but he will do the blog.

The following two weeks, the first two in August, Joe will go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and I will do those four blog posts from home. I will be spending time with his cat Keekee during regular work hours, so those entries will be a little later in the day than usual, but I will get them up on those Wednesdays and Thursdays.

After that, Joe will be back and we will go back to normal with two blog entries a week from Joe on various topics. I expect him to come back with lots of motivation and ideas for the rest of the year, as he does after every vacation at Bear Spring Camps. He will be raring to go with ideas for writing, cleaning, organizing, and improving his life in general. It is always an exciting time to be working with him.

So hang it there with us for the next month. I hope you will like my posts, and Joe will be back before you know it with more of his thoughts and wisdom, plus he will be here both days next week.

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

I am set to enjoy a productive and restful summer

Greetings, readers. Some of you might be thinking that my title sounds like a contradiction, but that actually is what I am planning to do. I have several changes in my daily routine already in place, including meditation three times a week. It is very cleansing. I’m also going to leave time in my daily schedule to write, write, write. Rebecca and I have been talking about that magic formula for me and we may have found it. Short stories in 15 to 30 minute play or script form which then can be turned into prose. I’ve only been good in long projects twice in my life, so perhaps that 500 page doorstop novel is just not in the cards for me. I don’t think I have the patience for it.

So what is in the cards for this summer? I have many things on tap. Task #1 is a complete overhaul of this apartment. By September 1st I want to turn the living room into the bedroom and visa versa. I also want to completely rid this place of clutter.

Task #2 is to improve my health through meditation and yoga. I’ve never done yoga before and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what all it entails, but if it can improve my health I will at least check it out. My diet is going to get an overhaul as well. With spring time here, fresh fruits and vegetables are in the grocery stores. Two of my favorite summertime treats are blueberries and watermelon. There is a bus that stops right at our local Giant supermarket.

Before I can go to the supermarket, however, a complete clean out of my refrigerator will have to be done. I get Meals on Wheels and eat them most of the time, but occasionally I don’t like what is offered, and on those dark cloudy days that I am depressed, it is ice cream dinner to the rescue. So I will admit that my refrigerator does get cluttered with some of their trays.

My final big project for the summer is to grab a friend, pay him or her a few bucks, and clean up my walk-in closet. I have a gazillion VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and cassettes. Every item will have to be carefully gone through to see if it makes the cut. If it doesn’t, out it goes. I need to be able to walk in my walk-in closet.

I must remember that even though I have set a target date of September 1st, I won’t beat myself over the head if I don’t get it done until October 1st. Let’s not forget that I will be away for 10 days in August for my yearly trek to Maine. I’m starting to feel better about myself and my apartment. I just have to tell myself that these changes will be done and the key is to do a little each day.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about an issue that took place here at Penn State in February. I was going to blog about it today, but after discussing it with Rebecca I was so upset about what happened that I need a day to cool down, so that I can calmly explain what happened and my feelings about it.

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

Star Trek Continues … continues

Greetings, readers. On Twitter, I follow one of the cast members of a wonderful Star Trek fan produced series. She is Michele Specht, who plays Counselor Elise McKennah on Star Trek Continues, which also stars Vic Mignogna as Capt. James Kirk. I wrote about the series in a previous post. I tweeted to my acquaintance, Michele Specht, and she informed me that there will be three more episodes produced this coming year. I am super excited.

I truly thought Star Trek Continues was over after just eight episodes. CBS, which has a brand new Star Trek series on the way, and the parent company Paramount decided that they were going to block everyone’s creativity by exercising the copyright infringement law. I shall try to keep my cool as I dictate this, so here goes.

I can understand if the new Star Trek series would not want fans producing material with the brand new characters. But in my humble opinion, any fan film which portrays the earlier characters, such as Kirk and Spook, are simply paying homage to a wonderful series and franchise. To my knowledge they are not making any money or profit from it, so who are they hurting?

There are three wonderful series’ that I watch on YouTube; Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Phase II, and Starship Farragut. Me being a struggling writer, I would love to write an episode for any of these series’. But how do we convince CBS and Paramount to ease the restrictions? I don’t know that we can.

A couple of the guidelines that I read about are that any future fan fic film of Star Trek can only be 15 minutes in length or shorter and can use no previously created character. No Kirk, no Spock, no beam me up Scotty; what’s the point?

I have already made contact with Michele Speck with a question about writing a script for Star Trek Continues. I don’t know if any other episodes are planned after the aforementioned three, but hope springs eternal. I’ve always been a sci-fi nut, and a Star Trek fan in general, and this topic, if anything, can yank me out of my writing rut at warp speed. So wish me luck; in six months to a year from now you just might see my name on one of those series’.

Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow and I will have a top ten list for you on a topic yet to be determined. Until then, I bid you a good day, take care, and as always happy reading.

When I’m writing I hate the red squiggles

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was a slower day on my writing project than I hoped for but I was working on my character sheets. Two days ago when I was typing I made a number of typos and as usual the spell checker put red squiggles under them. Some people can ignore that; I am not one of those people.

Every time a word is misspelled I must go back and correct it. It’s just a thing with me. What I should do is press on, ignore it, and fix the mistake later. In time when my writing flow is better I am sure I will do this. To aid me as I am trying to get into my flow, I’m going to look for the option to turn the spell checker completely off. I know that option exists. Even though I am only on page 11, I still feel like I am in second gear, where I write everyday, I can see the action in my head, and the words come easily. With yesterday being a not so great writing day, today must be better. I cannot lose my momentum.

Here’s how today is going to go. Rebecca and I will work until 12:45, then it is off to the pharmacy to get a few items, after that I will meet Traci for a quick snack, and then I will begin my work. I’ll need to stop around 6pm, because I am calling bingo tonight at 7:00. I’ll probably get back from bingo about 9:00 and then I’ll read and watch TV to relax and wind down. I find that if I’ve worked hard on my book I enjoy my off time that much more.

Our area is once again in the national news. Though I will not go into that much detail, I was very angry to see that the son of Jerry Sandusky was charged with a sex crime similar to what the Penn State’s former defensive coordinator was convicted of. Here we go again. More accusations, more trials, and another black eye for Penn State. I’m just tired of it now.

Finally, as I approach my 600th blog entry, which will be posted sometime in mid-March, I wish to ask if you, my readers, have any topic you would like me to cover. If I get a good list from folks, I will choose one and blog about it for the 600th entry.

That’s all the news for today. Until next Wednesday, have a fantastic weekend, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

An update on my goals from this past August

Greetings, readers. I came home from Maine last August all full of energy, expecting to have a job within weeks of my return. To my disappointment, that job offer fell through. I was so disappointed I kind of went into a shell and did not look elsewhere. That is about to change.

Although I thoroughly enjoy writing the blog with Rebecca, a writing project must get underway immediately and come to completion in an attempt to make money with it. I know money isn’t everything, but it sure helps pay the bills, and a job would give me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Next week I am going to start by going next door to the local library and ask if they are accepting volunteers. Once I get used to getting out of the apartment and keeping that regular schedule, I shall look for a job that pays. There is one draw back to this plan.

It is already February. As my regular readers know, my annual trek to Maine in August is very important to me. It is a family reunion. If I were to start a job now, I might not have enough time in to request a summer vacation. I would have to sacrifice Bear Spring Camps for the job. I’m not a child anymore and I completely understand that a paying job would take precedence.

Hopefully I can volunteer or get a part-time job until camp time, and then when I return in late August I can reaffirm my plan to get that full-time job, and also be a writer. I know it is time for a life change when I feel guilty playing video games or watching too much television. The life of no responsibilities must end. As I get older, I do not wish to hit retirement age having hardly ever worked. To me that just seems too dumb.

Fear not, I know God put me on this Earth for a reason or reasons. I shall find all of them. Among my many appointments and apartment building obligations I will find time to be a productive member of society.

Okay, I’ve vented for today. I beg your pardon if I get a little repetitive now and then. Consider this a form of therapy for me.

Until next week, possibly earlier, have a fantastic weekend, take care and as always, happy reading.

Every time I see a writer

Greetings, readers. Many times when I go to Panera café I see a gentleman who is a hard-core writer. His name is Steve, last name unknown. He has a ritual kind of like mine. He selects his favorite table, purchases his food, gets out his paper and pen, and starts to write. Whether he is taking notes, working on a story, or just doing a writing exercise, I have no idea. My point is that he writes. That’s the difference between Steve and I.

Here’s what I do. I select my favorite table, get my food, open my computer, check my emails, listen to music, chat on the phone, you get the idea. I do anything but write. At 51 years old, I’m almost ashamed to call myself a writer. Yes, I’ve written three books and a play, so I suppose that qualifies me as an author. I so desperately want more. The problem is at the current moment my body and brain are not quite cooperating. I’m going to look into computer software that allows me to speak into a microphone and the program will type what I say. My laptop has a speech recognition program but it has many flaws. I have difficulty getting into any flow. A trip to Best Buy will be forthcoming.

On today’s schedule is this: After the blog entry is done, Rebecca and I will fill out paperwork for an upcoming foot doctor’s visit, then it is monthly office cleaning day. After Rebecca leaves, I might even run the vacuum, ha ha. This afternoon I have a bank run to make and I must stop at the pharmacy. This has the potential to be an expensive day; I must begin to pay off my deductible for the new insurance year. Finally, tonight I will call bingo. I missed my last turn so I promised the gang that I will call the next two Thursday evenings. We all have to do our share.

What I am going to do this weekend is concentrate – perhaps even writing it down – on making a daily schedule that always includes writing, even if that means taking out such things as flight simulation, Facebook chatting, or YouTube watching. I’ve said it before but every day the feeling gets worse. I must either be a serious writer soon, or pull the plug and get a full-time job somewhere.

On a sad note, a very special RIP to the legendary actress and dancer Mary Tyler Moore, 1936-2017, who passed away yesterday. She will be greatly missed.

Next week Rebecca and I will be back with you with two more exciting blog entries. So take care, have a great weekend, and as always, happy reading.

A low-key day, plus a movie

Greetings, readers. I just woke up from a nap and my eyes are killing me. Sometimes when I sleep my sinuses back up and put pressure on my eyeballs, causing pressure and blurriness. After a while, my vision goes back to normal. This phenomenon makes typing a problem to say the least, but I shall push on.

Yesterday’s entry about taking a favorite old TV show and writing an updated version of it got comments on Facebook, letting me know that two ideas I had are already in the works by other people. It figures. I told Rebecca yesterday that I will find a TV show or movie idea and reboot it and this news does not change my mind. Oh! But don’t worry, if an original idea also bonks me over my noggin’, I’ll most certainly add that to the list.

On to another topic. Today I’m finally going to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m really looking forward to seeing a Star Wars film without most of the characters I know, such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m sure I’ll love it.

After I get home I shall call bingo, then I’ll watch a little bit of TV before going to sleep. Next Wednesday I plan on posting that top ten list I’ve been promising. 😉 So until then, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.