Friday, January 31, 2014

Job Wanted; Miracle Needed

At the time I am posting this I am looking for a new job. After 13 years of being in the call center business, I am trying to change vocational directions. 

Over the last 35 years my full time jobs include having worked in an injection molding factory, as a delivery driver and warehouse clerk in auto parts store. I've been a packer in a seasonings blending plant, an inventory clerk at a classic car restoration shop, a medical claims agent, a call center supervisor and trainer, and finally an on-the-phone customer service representative at 2 other call centers. 
At this point in my life I am trying to get an administrative support position. This is going to be difficult to say the least. I believe I have the knowledge and skills that being an administrative assistant requires. I just don't have the formal education for and experience under the title of administrative assistant. When you consider this along with my age, the odds are against me getting the job I'm looking for.  

I realize this but at this point in my life I'm looking to do something that I will enjoy and will challenge me long range. I'd love to find a job that I could keep until I was ready to retire. 

All I can do is apply for jobs, present the positive aspects of my experience and pray for the best. I know there are other things I can do like writing effective cover letters, improving my resume, and be diligent in my search for any and every opportunity. But realistically, I have to admit that it's going to take the hand of God for things to work out the way I want them too. 

I'm trying not get too stressed out about it and doing what I can do. Also I'm praying every day that He will make open the door that's best for me.  

I know the word "miracle" is used much too often these days. But I believe that there are different degrees of miracles. There are those in which God accomplishes what seems to be impossible like curing cancer and such. Then there's the everyday miracles in which God does things that no one else can do like the birth of a child or a sunrise. But there's also the miracles where the people and circumstances involved all have to fall into place for things to happen. That's the kind of "miracle" I need to find the job I want. 

I'd appreciate your prayers for me. I need patience, persistence and faith. I'm must believe with confidence that God will come through for me. He has so many times before.   

Thursday, January 30, 2014

VW Disaster

This is the picture that accompanied the last time I mentioned the progress of my Lego Volkswagen camper van project on social media. That was January 4. I was really close to getting it completed. 

Late this past Sunday night I finished the build. It was done and it was beautiful. I was tired so I set it up on a book shelf and went to bed. My plans were to take a series of pictures and a video on Monday so I could publish them and brag on my accomplishment. 

Although this is not the one I built, here's a picture of what a finished van looks like.  I found this one on Google. 

The reason I cannot show you a video or even a picture of my
completed model is this: 

It's a 3 piece assembly that fell off the side of the passenger side door near the wheel well while I was trying to take pictures of my van. 

I put the van over on it's side to replace the dislodged assembly. In hind sight not a good move at all. While working on the wheel well I experienced a "minor" disaster. Other front end parts and assemblies came loose and fell off. Here is the result of this Lego destruction. 

Everything you see came apart except for the large sections which are the 2 parts of the roof. I took them off because the section on the left (with the luggage rack) was very difficult to put together. I didn't want them to come apart again. 

Now, just like Humpty Dumpty, I have to try and put the front section of the van back together again. The parts that came off were assembled in different sections. I don't know if I'll be able to do the "body work" without having to take even more apart. 

But once I do get it finished again, I am going to put it in a clear plastic case made specifically for displaying models. You'll see the results in a future post. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Computer Problems

I realize these things are prospectively inconsequential. As I write this post they have been resolved. But being the compulsive/obsessive person, I found them really aggravating because they happened one right after the other. 

Computers are like the "little girl with a curl" when they're good they're very good but when they're bad, they're horrid. I know computer problems are inherit with owning one. But that doesn't mean they're any less stressful.  

This past Monday morning an issue I have been experiencing with my laptop reached a point of no return. It had stopped recognizing  anything I plugged into the USB ports. This meant that I couldn't use my wireless mouse or back up my data on a portable flash drive. 

I wasn't sure if the problem was hardware or software related. So I took it to the Geek Squad at my local Best Buy store. 

The "agent" there told me that the USB port board that's soldered to the motherboard is going out. Once it stops working completely I'll have to replace the entire motherboard. That's a $300 to $400 Dollar repair. As old as the laptop is I wouldn't even think about putting that much money into it. 

While I was still in the store the USB ports started working again. The agent told me that the issue would get worse over time until it quit for good.  I took the computer home and devised ways around the problem for now. 

On Tuesday, I plugged the wireless mouse in again and it worked. Then I put the multi-port adapter into it as well. This is what it looks like.

When I plugged it in neither the adapter and the mouse would work. I disconnected both of them and rebooted. Plugged in the mouse and it worked. That's when I realized that the adapter was the problem. I haven't used it since. Now that issue is now apparently resolved. 

Also on Tuesday, I went to my desktop computer to listen to a song on my I-tunes. I have over 10,000 in my collection. 

Upon opening the interface I was notified by I-Tunes I could now download the most recent version of the program. The last time this happened I clicked "no" and put off updating I-Tunes for a long time. Eventually the version on my computer stopped working correctly. 

I wasn't going to let that happen this time. I pressed "Update" and the download started. Ten minutes later I got an "Error 7" message telling me that the update had failed. No problem, I closed the dialogue box. 

Moved down to the Start menu to bring I-Tunes back up. But it wouldn't open. The failed update affected the I-tunes that had been working fine. How could this happen? I followed what the great Apple gods wanted me to do. Now I've lost access to my gargantuan music stash.

I tried everything I knew and a couple of things I had to look up on Apple's support page. Among those suggestions was to uninstall I-Tunes. I couldn't still download the newer version. 

On the outside I was calm but on the inside I was extremely frustrated. It was one computer problem after another. This one was serious. It kept me from my music collection. 

How can the Rewind Guy be separated from his music?  If you don't know what that name means go back and read my January 19 post. 

I was down to my last resort. I'd wait until Wednesday morning but I did the only thing I could do. I called the tech support agents of the Geek Squad. 

The people I was about to call did the job I did from October 2012 to last October. I really didn't want to call them but I do have a Geek Squad tech support plan that's paid up until the end of February. I had no other choice but to use it. 

After about 3 hours of allowing a tech support agent remotely working on my computer I-tunes was fully restored and working. 

The resolution of those computer problems were a bit anti-climactic.  The issues seemed rather minor once they were fixed. But at the time they really stressed me out.

Perhaps I was making mountains out of a molehills. The problems were not something unique to me. Everybody has them. Maybe I should have just dealt with them and not moved on. But on a day when I was struggling for something to write about; at least I got a really long and dull blog post out of it. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RRRR! We Both Be Pirates

Here's picture proof that both Aria and her Papa can both play "pirate" at a birthday party very well. 

 The picture of me was taken in August 2010. Just before I went to entertain at children's birthday party. 

Aria's picture was taken this past Saturday at a friend's birthday party with a "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" theme. 

Taken 3 years and 4 months apart they show me that the two of us would make quite the pair of pirates. 

Perhaps one day, this unlikely duo of buccaneers can put on their pirate paraphernalia and dance at the pirate night party on a Disney cruise. 

Or how about going to a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World dressed as pair of pirates. We could even ride the Pirates of The Caribbean ride together. I'm just dreaming the dream.  

Even if neither of those things happen, at the very least, perhaps one day Aria and her Papa can have a pirate party of their own. Why not? We already have our costumes. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Decade Of Dory

It was the golden age of our new family and it lasted for about 3 years; 2003 to 2005. After getting married in December 2002 Paula and I spent those years doing out best to make a home for ourselves and our 2 sons, Michael and James. The story of how that happened is a blog post for another day. 

Today I want to focus on an event that turned our family of 4 into a family of 5. (technically we already had a 5th member of our family. Our cat, Lil' Bit had been part of Paula's family since 1993. So this event turned our family to a total of 6. But then cat's don't consider their owner's "family" we're their "staff", right?) 

It was January 27, 2004, exactly 10 years ago today. We had just come back from our first real family vacation together; a week long trip to Walt Disney World. 

Even before our trip, James had been asking if we could get a dog. I had rejected the idea because I didn't want to have to take care of it. James insisted that he would care for the dog and Paula persuaded me that it would be a good idea. 

On that Tuesday, Paula asked me to meet her at the local animal shelter to meet a perspective pet. That's where I met "Queenie" a stray that had been dropped off at the shelter. She was between 8 months and a year old. 

She was such a sweet dog and already house broken (a key selling point for me). We really connected with her in the little "get acquainted" room. We decided to take her home and make her our own. 

Here's a picture from the day we brought her home. 

The first thing I did was change her name. Still under the spell of our time in "Mickey's World" I decided that "Dory" would a good name. I loved the Finding Nemo character and it had a phonetic sound similar to the dog's shelter name. 

We spent the next decade with Dory as part of our family. It took a while for her to decide that she wanted to stay with us. But once we stopped her from getting out of the yard and wandering off she got very comfortable. This was her favorite place and position for most of her life. 

The adoption of her "sister", Angel, a year after Dory came to live with us was a wonderful thing for Dory. She and Angel loved each other from the start and were constant companions from day one. 

In the spring of 2013 Dory got sprayed by a skunk. It was an extremely traumatic event for her and for us. Shortly after that in early summer we found out that Dory had a tumor either on her kidney or her pituitary gland in her brain that cause her body to produce too much of a certain hormone. It was called "Cushing's disease." 

The vet told us that the treatment for Dory's condition would be very expensive. $600 for the initial treatment and then monthly treatments at about $200. Even then there was no guarantee how effective they would be. Sadly we decided against the treatments because we couldn't afford them.  

 This picture was taken in April 2013. It's the last picture I took of a relatively healthy Dory Elizabeth Havens. 

Her health went down hill quickly. She wouldn't eat, lost weight and muscle mass and strength. By the time July came around she was very thin and weak. She couldn't even get up and down the deck stairs by herself. 

With a very heavy heart, on Friday July 19, 2014, we took Dory to see Dr. Thomas for the last time. She was miserable and we decided that she shouldn't suffer any longer. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. 

It's been 6 months since she's been gone. Although they are happening less often, there are still times when I miss that dog so much that my heart breaks and my eyes blur with tears. 

But sharing my sadness is not the reason I am writing this post. It's to celebrate the day that one of the brightest stars to ever enlighten my universe came in to our lives. 

Although it was about 6 months short of an actual 10 years, the decade that Dory was in my life and in the lives of my family will be always be counted as blessed days. I'm so glad that on that winter's day in January of 2004 we brought her home to be part of our family. She always will be, my Dory Girl. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014


If you have ever seen or read an interview, where an actor or actress talks about their career, you probably understand that one of the most difficult aspects of that profession is the audition process. 

Now I'm not an actor but I have had some personal experience with auditions. I've had 4 over the last 13 years. The one I consider most important happened yesterday. More on that later. 

In 2001 the traveling audition bus for the syndicated version of the then very popular TV game show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" came to Nashville. 

I drove down to the Opry Mills Mall and took the audition test which consisted of 30 trivia questions. You had to score 80% or higher on it to continue with the process. I didn't get past that first level and was very disappointed. 

3 years later while in New Jersey helping my family clean out my parents' house so it could be sold, I went to see a taping of the "Millionaire" show in New York City. While there I took the audition test again. 

Didn't make it to the next level then either. But I did get to see them tape two shows and got a cool t-shirt. 

My next game show audition was the most unique of them all. On May 1, 2007 I went with my friend, Tim Colovos, to Indianapolis, Indiana to audition for the very popular game show, "Deal or No Deal". 

It was a real adventure. We started our 4 hour drive at midnight, arrived at Indianapolis at 4AM to wait outside a car dealership to get our chance to be on the NBC game show. 

We spent the night sitting outside with thousands of others. Our excitement for the opportunity to be a contestant and possibly win a "life changing" amount of money kept us optimistic. 

After 11 hours of waiting and moving from the back of the dealership's lot, to a switch back line inside the service bays, we got our chance. 

The audition turned out to be just 30 seconds long. You had that long to pitch yourself to a member of the show's casting staff. I used a ventriloquist puppet to do an impersonation of Howie Mandel the host.

But it wasn't enough. I didn't make it past that first round this time either. This picture of me standing with the official tour bus in the back ground is about as close as I got to "Deal or No Deal."

My latest audition came yesterday. This time I wasn't trying to get the chance to win a large amount of money. I was trying for, what would be for me, a dream job; the public address announcer for the Bowling Green Hot Rods minor league baseball club this upcoming season.

On a snowy morning, I went to the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center building (which is right next to Bowling Green Ballpark) to audition. 

I went into a rehearsal hall along with 9 others and read a sample script in front of a panel of 4 members of Hot Rods management.

I used all my combined experiences: being a radio DJ, recording Rewind programs, and hearing the PA announcer at the many Hot Rod games I've attended, to read that script like I was the one they're looking for.  

I think I put in a great audition. I was calm and used the right combination of a professional vocal presentation with just the right amount of enthusiasm. 

After all the applicants were finished with their tryouts, I felt that I was one of, if not, the best.  

The only reaction any of us got from the management team was a "thank you" and a promise that we would hear from them in a "few weeks." 

I'm not sure what's worse. Going to a game show audition, waiting in line for hours, or taking a test just  to find out immediately that you're not "contestant material." Or having to wait for weeks to hear if you've been chosen for one of your dream jobs. 

I've always heard that the best kind of job is the one that you would do even if you didn't get paid. Well if I get this Hot Rods job I will essentially be getting paid for hanging out at the ballpark. And I do that anyway. 

Did I hit a "home run" today at SKYPAC or will I find myself "0 for 3" on the field of auditions? Only time will tell. Either way I'll let you know.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Railroad Across The Street

I've lived on the same street for just over 11 years now. Paula has lived here for almost 19 years. Our neighbors, Diane and David, moved into the house across the street, shortly after Paula moved into our house in 1995. So they have lived on the street longer than I have.    

Last fall, after my knee surgery, I went to physical therapy at an office here in the grove. Much to my surprise I discovered that Diane worked there. 

Over the course of conversation I found out that her husband is a model train enthusiast and has a train layout in his basement. This really got my attention. 

Although I'm not a model railroader, I have close emotional ties to the hobby. My dad was a life long toy train geek. I have an HO engine and a couple of box cars that he built from kits and customized for his own layout. They are the personification of all the memories I have about my dad and his love for model trains. 

Now I don't get the chance to see or talk with David very often. So that day at the PT office I asked Diane to let him know that I would really be interested in seeing his train layout some time. 

That was back in September. This past Monday, I finally got the opportunity to see what's in my neighbor's basement. I was pleasantly surprised. 

Used with his permission, here are some pictures of my neighbor's model train set up. 

As you can see he has created a platform with two levels. Although you can't see all of it, you can tell that there's an "HO" track on the lower level. 

On the top level, the double track is set up in a  concentric circle pattern with an "HO" train running on the inside and an "O" gauge train traveling around the outer track.  

The blinking crossing signal on the right side of the platform is one of the many things I liked about this set up. 

The "L & N" signs are representative of the Louisville and Nashville railroad that serves at the inspiration the whole basement area. 

This is a view from the other side of the room. Also impressive is the O gauge CSX locomotive. It comes complete with both running and idling sounds along with smoke effects. 

I'd like to show you a video, but unfortunately, for some reason, it won't upload to this site. However I did manage to get it on my Facebook page. So if you are friends with me on FB you can go look at the 2 minutes I shot. Feel free to send me a friend request if you can't view it. You can find me @ :

David told me that, like most hobbyists, he has a lot more stuff than he has room to display. And let me tell you, he has box cars, engines, signs, and other railroad related items all over half of his basement. 

You can tell just from the pictures how much time and attention David has put into the layout and the entire train room. I felt privileged to be able to see it.  

Over the last decade I have been the typical neighbor to David and Diane. But I had no idea that an interest in model railroad would lead to an invitation to see something creative and unique in his basement. 

It's amazing what you discover about people when you take some time to get to know them. Thanks for the access David, I really enjoyed seeing it.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Does Some Damage

Last Monday the temperature in South Central Kentucky was around 55 degrees. It was a beautiful and relatively warm winter's day. It was perfect for getting out my grill and cook steaks for dinner. 

However the next day a winter storm came through early in the morning with some minor snow accumulation, temperatures falling into the teens, and wind gusts up to 30 MPH. 

I made the mistake of not cleaning the grill, covering it up, and putting against the house on the carport after using it the night before. 

Sitting out in the open, the grill, literally, fell victim to the high winds swirling through the area. It was blown off the back of the carport up against the backyard fence. 

When I found it, the parts of the grill were all askew and I had to be put back together. At first I thought it was no worse for the wear but I was wrong. 

Winter left its mark on the side of the stainless steel hood. 

The lid still opens and closes with no problem. So I'm not going to go through the trouble of taking the hood off and pounding out the dent. 

From now on I will be sure not to forget that it's winter and how quick the weather can turn. If I do, winter may just decide to leave me another reminder. Lesson learned.    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not So Sweet On My Favorite Treat

After reading my blog post about Tastykakes my wife, Paula, mentioned to me that she had never tasted Butterscotch Krimpets. 

That was a surprise to me. With all the Krimpets I consumed over the last year, I couldn't believe that I had never shared a pack with her. Guess I kept my cupcake habit a better secret than I realized.  

I explained to her what they were and how they tasted.  She commented that they may be something she would like. 

The next day I went grocery shopping at Kroger again. As I was checking out just to my right I saw a display of single packs of chocolate coated and powdered Tastykake mini-donuts. But among them were several packs of Butterscotch Krimpets.

I decided that I would buy a pack and give my wife the chance to see what she's missing. 

I waited a couple of days. After dinner I told her I had a treat for her. I broke a single cake in half and we shared it. 

I sat back and waited for her to taste it and tell me how much she liked it. It was just the opposite. She hated it. After one bite, she said that the icing tasted like it was made with lard and the cake had very little flavor. 

After one bite she didn't want any more. So I finished her half of cake. I eventually got rid of the other 2 left from the pack of 3.    

Sorry Paula. I really thought you'd like Butterscotch Krimpets but you didn't.  So now for sure, I'm through with the Tastykakes; at least for the foreseeable future.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Disney Pay And An Expose'

It's that time of year again when being a Disney fan pays off, literally. That's right every January for the last 10 years the Walt Disney Company has sent me a check. Why? Because I'm a stock holder. 

This is a replica of the single share of Disney stock I received as a Christmas gift about 10 years ago. It's now a little more of a collectible. The Disney company stopped issuing paper stock certificates last October.

Each year I get a dividend check in January. Here's this year's check. 

The amount of this year's investment return is on the right side of the check under the word "amount". Okay so it's not a lot of money but it is a check from the Walt Disney company. 

In the past I have kept the checks as souvenirs. But for the last couple years I've been cashing them.  Just another bit of "magic" that adds to my Disney Geekdom. 

The first book,  I've finished this year "Who's Afraid Of Song Of The South and Other Forbidden Disney Stories ",  is written by one of my favorite experts on all things Disney. 

Jim Korkis is a lifelong Disney fan and has had an all-star career as a Disney cast member. His discussions about Walt Disney World and it's history on Lou Mongello's WDW Radio podcast are pure Disney gold. 

He's currently not employed by Disney but he is still one of the best Disney historians around. This book is a three-part treat. 

The first two parts are all about the movie in the title. The film that's the "red-headed step child" of all the Disney movies. 

The most misunderstood film Walt Disney ever created has been unfairly labeled as racist and offensive since it's release in 1946. 

Korkis writes about the films origins, starting with Walt's fondness for the Uncle Remus stories during his own childhood, moving on to his plans to make a live action movie featuring them, and ending with his creative control of the actual production.  

In part two, the author then goes on to explore all the little known secrets of Song of The South, explain the "true and false" of  its surrounding controversy, and finally comes to it's defense. 

The third section of the book, the "Forbidden Stories" is a collection of legends and accounts of Disney's involvement in things the public doesn't know very much about. 

They are the stories of Disney's involvement in making public health films, campaign commercials, TV advertising, and some other things previously thought to be very "unDisney like."

I won't give everything away because some of the stories will blow the mind of even the geekiest of Disney fans. I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in the history of "the house that Walt built."

I would suggest that if you do read this book use You Tube and Google as companions to find visuals of what Korkis is writing about. (Let me give you a hint. One of the stories is about a poster that's got to be seen to be believed.)

The last section was by far my favorite part, but the whole book contains extensively researched material and is very well written. It is an expose' on parts of Disney history that is not well known but should not be forgotten. 

The history of the company is probably as important to Disney as any other company in the world. But it's back story is divided into pieces, like a jigsaw. As a corporation it will continue to add, subtract, revise and promote the pieces that best match the public image it's executives deem best for making profit. 

As a Disney geek I find that rather alarming and it keeps me suspicious of the corporation that pulls the strings on all my favorite characters and holds the key to the vault that holds many of my most treasured movies. 

But why should I be against a company doing what it has to do to make a profit? Isn't that the American way? Besides I get a check every January, don't I?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Just Asking....

After yesterday's post was up on the interwebs I realized that there are other questions I have about a few other things. Here are some of them. I'm not really looking for answers; just kinda wondering out loud. 

When did it become an effective means of promotion for businesses to have a person, with or without a costume, stand on a nearby corner and dance like an idiot? 

We've all seen them. How can someone dance constantly for the entire day? Are they that excited that the store they are working for is going out of business or jewelry is 50% off? How can they dance with no music? Is it in their head?  

Has anyone ever seen one and said to themselves, "Hey he looks really excited about that sale. Let's follow the arrow he's holding and maybe we'll find others like him."

It cannot be denied that America's love of NFL football is a much greater level of intensity than it is for MLB baseball. But why is the NFL's Pro Bowl, their all-star game, so lame? Fan's have gotten so disinterested that they now have decided to add a very strange twist. They game is no longer conference against conference. It's now a "draft" game. Two HOF players hold a draft to create the teams. What's up with that? Can't wait until the morning after the game to hear how low the TV ratings are. When's it on anyway?

With all the racial sensitivity these days why isn't there any public outcry about retail stores having "white sales" in a month that has the Martin Luther King holiday in it? Especially when featured items for those sales are sheets. 

Speaking of that, why isn't the day honoring MLK in February? That's Black History Month. Seems to me that it would be a better fit. 

Your answer could be that February has Presidents day and you wouldn't want 2 holidays in one month. Let me point out that January is usually the month that a new president is inaugurated. So a holiday honoring U.S. presidents would be congruent with that event wouldn't it?

Just switch the two holidays. That would make sense, right? Wait these are government designated holidays set up by Congress. When's the last time Congress made sense? 

So there's just a few questions and observations that are on my mind. The majority of my posts are focused on me and my everyday life. Today a bit more of an outward look at the way I see things in the world. Not groundbreaking stuff I wanted to write about. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Castaway" Question Has Changed

Russell Johnson made the most of his 3 year role as Professor Roy Hinkley on the iconic sit-com Gilligan's Island. 
His character made invented everything from a generator to a sewing machine out of coconuts. 
The role gave him life long popularity among the Gilligan's Island fans. He passed away last week. He was 89.

Now the passing of Russell Johnson brings up a different aspect to what has been a ubiquitous question among men ever since the SS Minnow left for "three hour tour". 

For almost 50 years male baby boomers had debated which woman shipwrecked on Gilligan's Island would be the castaway of choice should they find themselves in the exact situation. 

In other words, who would you rather be stranded on a dessert island with, Ginger or Mary Ann? Do you prefer the wholesome girl next door or the sexy salacious movie star?  

The debate is so universal among guys who grew up watching the show that all you have to do is give the choices and they know what your asking. It's a classic pop-psychology question.

Now the two actresses who played those characters, Tina Louise and Dawn Wells, are the only living original cast members from Gilligan's Island. Louise will be 80 years old in February and Wells is 75. 

Now this may seem a bit insensitive but you now have to think about changing the question or at least adding it to the conversation. Who will be one day be the sole survivor in the cast. 

Hard to believe that the new question may be more relevant to people my age than the initial one. It's just another indication of how quickly life goes on. 

So in this new debate who is your choice, Ginger or Mary Ann?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rewind Backlog

I'm spending a lot of time these days catching up at church. No, I haven't fallen behind on prayer or Bible study. I'm spending my time during the week in the church balcony. That's where the audio/visual booth is located. Here's what it looks like. 

The centerpiece is the soundboard with a CD recorder, a multi-disc CD player, and a cassette player (yes, some  people still use them) on the left and a computer and a DVD player on the right. 

For the last 5 years or so I have had the privilege of being allowed to use the booth as a recording studio for my Rewind programs. 

"Ron Havens' Rewind" is the name I attach to the music programs I record as a hobby. Don't ask me why I do it. I just really enjoy it. I've been writing and recording them since the early 1990's. 

Over time they have changed. The early editions focused on the genres and history of my favorite music. The very first one was devoted to comedy/novelty songs like: Alan Sherman's "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" and Ray Stevens "The Streak" and others. 

 In 1999, when I moved to Kentucky, that changed. The scripts I wrote became more about personal history. The first one, with this new focus, was a musical memorial to my dad. 

Since 2010 I have only managed to have the time to record two Rewinds each year. So I do my best to make sure I get those done. The first one is a "soundtrack" show. It's the combination of the events of the year intertwined with the music that reminds me of them. It's a kind of audio scrapbook. 

Think of it as it being a autobiographical retrospective with a "Casey Kasem Top 40 countdown" style. 

The second Rewind I try to I complete is one that features the music devoted to the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. 

In 2013 I wrote scripts for both of my Rewind shows. But life happened and I never made it to the sound booth to record either of them. 

So as the new year gets underway I am making a focused effort to get my backlog of scripts (the 2012 soundtrack and my 9th Christmas speical) recorded, edited and added to my Ron Havens Rewind program library. 

Once that's completed it's on to writing the 2013 soundtrack script and creating a recording set up at home. But it will not be the same as in the sound booth. For there I put down my recordings on CD, take them home, and then import them to the music library on my computer. 

So my goal is to digitally record my recordings directly onto the computer and do it at home. That way I can have a little more access so that this year's programs will be finished before 2015 arrives. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bittersweet Departure

Blogger's Note: I remember working on a post about this subject sometime last yeabut have not been able to find where I published it. So if I have written about this before please forgive me. I may be having a "senior moment."

My sweet tooth is in mourning. They were here and now they're gone. Could be found everywhere and now they're hardly anywhere. I gorged on them and now I have to go "cold turkey". What am I talking about? Tastykakes. 

These snack cakes are made by a bakery in Philadelphia. Until the last few years, they were only available regionally in the Delaware River Valley area that includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. They are now distributed in many east coast states, Florida and even here in Kentucky. 

I have eaten Tastykakes all my life. I had them as snacks any time, day or night, On countless mornings during my twenties and thirties, two packs chased by a pint of chocolate milk was my breakfast.

When I moved to Kentucky in 1999 I left Tastykakes behind. They weren't sold any where around Bowling Green. I could only get them when I went back to the northeast to visit my family. 

The Tastykake banner covers a variety of exclusive cakes. There's the unique tasting chocolate cupcakes. As kids we called them "3 in 1" cupcakes because that's how many were in a package. All the other chocolate cupcakes came two per package. Real imaginative huh? 

Then there is, what was my dad's favorite, Butterscotch Krimpets. They're yellow sponge cakes topped with a butterscotch flavored icing (also 3 to a package). 

Then there are my favorites, Kandy Kakes. They are a trio of 3 inch diameter round yellow cakes topped with peanut butter and coated in chocolate. 

There are others as well but those I just mentioned are the most important to my story. 

Last spring my wish regarding Tastykakes came true. When Hostess bakeries went out of business the empty shelf space in many area stores was filled with Philly's best snack cakes. 

Convenience stores sold individual packages and grocery stores family packs. I was so excited. I quickly became addicted to them again. I had them quite often. 

They were delicious but awful for my waistline. I had at least one pack everyday; devouring a a family pack in 3 days. Is it any wonder that I gained weight over the last half of the year?

Then came July and "the sweetest comeback ever" when Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Ho Hos showed up again on store shelves. 

The days of access to a bounty of Tastykakes were numbered. Gradually I saw less and less of them in fewer and fewer stores. 

Yesterday, I realized that Walmart in Bowling Green no longer stocks them. As a matter of fact Kroger is the only place I've seen them in a while.  

I took a picture of the shelf so I could show you Kandy Kakes and Butterscotch Krimpets at the only place, I know of, that still sells them. :(

There are still other generic types of Tastykakes being sold  (powdered and chocolate covered mini-donuts and honey buns for example) but they no longer stand out on the shelves; no longer differentiate the brand.  

As you can tell by the way I've written about them, the sugar addict in me, is lamenting the disappearance of Tastykakes. 

But the other side of the issue is that the change comes at a good time. Given the fact that I can't seem to resist those delicious packaged bakery goods; not being able to get them will help my effort to lose weight quite a bit. 

Now it's obvious that my attachment these cupcakes is not just the sugar and taste they offer?

TastyKake reminds of the people, places, and things, I called "home" almost 40 years. They are part of my roots. In fact, I would venture to say that the emotional attachment is stronger than the biological. 

So, unfortunately I must say farewell farewell my delicious Tastykakes. Parting is such bittersweet sorrow.