Saturday, January 15, 2022

I wanna do Debbie! (That should get your attention.)


Most people of my generation remember "Debbie Does Dallas" as a porno flick.  But how many of my readers also know it was an Off Broadway play, where the sex has been stripped out and replaced by the addition of music?

"Debbie" got its start at the New York Fringe festival.  Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing this play at the Jane Theater.  If I remember correctly, the play moved to a larger theater, to accommodate the many people who flocked to the theater to have a great laugh.  Sadly, by the time I was able to convince a then girlfriend to see the play, it was closing.  Luckily, I have the soundtrack from the play and was playing it at the office while I performed my mindless tasks.

One of the highlights of the play is the song "Small Town Girl", where Debbie sings about her hopes and fears as she's about to go into her future.  With the exception of the mention of the Cheerleader uniform and its colors towards the end of the song, it could  have been sung in any Broadway musical.  

Would I pay to see this musical if it were staged by a professional company?  Yes!  All of the set ups for sex scenes are left in, the sex taken out, and the inane lines from the original film will make any adult laugh out loud.  Even now, I can remember the setup for what would have been a lesbian sex scene, and the last line uttered before a scene break: "I love it when you help me stretch."  Yes, you'd have to see the performers to get the joke.  But it got everyone laughing.

With all that we've gone though in the past 2 years, this play might be just what we need to get the laughs needed to make it through the day.

I want to do Debbie again!!!!




Friday, January 14, 2022

Bureaucracies, the bane of modern civilization - a short post.


The "All American Cubicle Farm" - it's one of our culture's unfortunate exports to other countries. When one has to deal with a problem transaction, your call is often routed to people like these to deal with you and your problem.  Sadly, it's the very reason many people prefer IVR systems (IVR - Intelligent Voice Recognition) over interacting with people.  As for me, I prefer people to machines, as only they can point a person in the right direction for problem resolution when a SNAFU is encountered.

Tonight, I had to deal with a problem getting my NCL Latitudes Points (frequent cruiser points) credited properly. Only after getting someone somewhat knowledgeable, I was pointed to the right area (an email form, sad to say) that will get to the right people who can help me with my problem.  AARGH!!!  While I was in the mood, I was also inclined to communicate with the travel agent who handled my most recent cruise.  I figure that I'd pose some questions, and see what he comes up with before I call him tomorrow evening.

In both cases, I was dealing with people in a Cubicle Farm.  And it's something I don't like about our modern age.  Hopefully, I'll get things resolved before I take my Hawaii cruise.  If so, it'll be another trip as Marian unless I'm sailing with a new girlfriend.  Either way, keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Where is Skeeter Davis when you need her for a theme song?


At the time I started to write this entry, I was watching a film on Netflix called "Don't Look Up."  It's the story of two people who find a planet destroying comet, and all of the lunacy that happens when politicians and businessmen try to spin this knowledge for their own gains.  

All too often, we're finding that our political leadership uses emotional manipulation to keep the common people under control.  Much of our media dulls our senses, so that we won't notice the truths we have to deal with on a regular basis.  In the film, the media is painted as only wanting to deliver "happy news", trying to spin the projected destruction of the earth into an event that will benefit us all.  This is too close to real life for comfort, given the amount of "happy news" being broadcast on network TV.

What would happen if there was an extinction level event?  Given the past few years of politics, I think we'd fail to rise to the challenge.   Hopefully, Skeeter Davis would have had an alternate version of "It's the End of the World." in the can for us to listen to.

- - - - - -

But enough of that....

Today was a typical weekend day that started out with nothing for me to do, save clean up this apartment of mine.  And I proceeded to kill time as to not do that.  Then, I still have a hard decision to make - do I really want to keep this job I have?  I like having the money from the job, but I don't like how drained I feel after a long day at the office.  No, I can't complain about how I'm being treated.  It's the nature of the work environment that I don't like - it's an electronic assembly line that doesn't allow much for social interaction.  This is a problem for me, as I need more social interaction than I'm getting now.

After wasting the whole day in bed watching TV, I decided to go out as Mario.  It feels a little strange getting dressed this way, but it is the quickest thing I can do to get out - even if only to fill my car up with gas.  Unfortunately, I went to the wrong supermarket (ACME) as they did not seem to have a section where I could find pre-made meals that I could heat up at lunch.  So I picked up a couple of frozen dinners, and will eat them until I can go to Stew Leonard's or Wegmans to get something "Fresh."

Once I finished dinner, I called CWS.  Three hours later, we realized how long our call was, and called it a night.  But that wasn't the end of phone calls.  My friend Patty texted me to wish me a Happy New Year, and we ended up on a phone call that lasted another hour or so. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The end of a week, and I'm all alone.


I really don't have much to say about today.  I had nowhere important to go, and no one important to see.  Yet, most of my time was occupied by one thing or another.

- - - - - -

Around noon, I met with another co-op board member to work on the meeting minutes.  Between the two us, we did little for the minutes, and a not of talking.  It was a big waste of time.  And then, I had to rush out to Greendrop to make another charitable donation - another 2 "donation bags" were cleared out of the house to do some good for somebody....

My return home was not meant to keep me inside for the rest of the day.  Yet, that's exactly what it did.  So, I ended up sorting through many of the papers cluttering up my desk and making the mess on top of it a manageable one.  Afterwards, I ended up chatting with friends - one of them until midnight.  

Tomorrow, it'll be the first day of the new year (yes, this entry was written over a week and a half ago), and it will be time to get out of the house.  With the omicron variant of Covid-19 going around, many of my friends are hunkering down again until another "all clear" is given.  As for me, I plan to be careful.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Bahamas Cruise - Afterword


One of the reasons I took my recent cruise on NCL was to build up rewards points for the Hawaii cruise I am planning to take next year.  My former cruise partner got me addicted to having a meal or two in NCL's specialty restaurants, and I missed them on the two most recent cruises I took without her.  Luckily for me, on my most recent cruise, I met a dining partner ready and willing to have me share her table at two of these restaurants using her coupon.

- - - - - -

At the time I booked my trip on the Gem, I was supposed to get two extra points per night on the ship. This would mean that instead of having 70 points, and remaining in "Gold" status, I would have 84 points and be promoted to "Platinum" status.

If you look at the benefits offered to Platinum status members over Gold status cruisers, I would get two specialty restaurant meals each time I cruise.  And I wanted to make sure I get it with this cruise.  Unfortunately, NCL did not credit my account with the 21 points I expected.  They only credited me with 7 points.  So I called NCL around 6 pm on the Wednesday after the cruise.  After a disconnected call, I was able to reach a service agent who agreed with me - I was supposed to get credit for 21 points, not 7.  She said that she would reach out to the points department, and get this problem resolved.

At the time I started this entry, NCL has yet to credit me with the extra points.  This is not a make or break issue for me.  But it is something I will include in a letter to the CEO if the issue is not resolved in my favor within the next week.  If it is resolved, I will send a thank you letter.  Either way, I have something to write about - and I will keep my readers informed.


Monday, January 10, 2022

I'm finally back home!


I'm glad that I saved Google's discontinued photo system (Picasa) to edit images.  It does much of the simple edits that I want to have done without having to use a complex tool such as GIMP.  Sometimes, all I need to do is adjust a picture so that staircase steps are parallel to the ground, and to strengthen colors that were weak in the original photo.  In addition to simple cropping, that's all that was done to make this picture worth publishing. I mention the editing process for the above picture because I find it easier to do on a desktop than on a cellphone or tablet.  So to get a good copy of this image (the only selfie I took on my trip), I had to do it at home.

- - - - - -

When I got home, the first thing I had to do was unpack.  While unpacking, I found the costume jewelry that I had accidentally left at home.  But I found another thing to be missing - a set of keys used to open up my downstairs storage compartment. Even worse, the key to the co-op's board meeting area (a vacant studio apartment we bought at the bottom of the market) was also missing.  So I ended up asking a fellow board member to make a duplicate key for me.  (We were supposed to meet at the end of the week, so that I can show him how to do things on his computer and be able to edit meeting minutes in my absence.)  This board member decided to test out the replacement key and found that someone broke into the apartment.  Luckily, nothing in the apartment was worth anything to a thief.  But id result in a call to a handyman to secure the apartment for future use.

The second day after my return from the cruise, I was told that the old payroll system was cutting a check for me.  Something got fouled up, as I had my pay being sent to two accounts.  75% would go to an account at bank #1, and the remainder would go to bank #2.  It seems as if the conversion to a new payroll system (to be used in the new year) caused the problem.  The new payroll system does not allow this type of pay split - all money has to go to a single account.  So I'll bet that someone decided to change my status to requiring a paper check be cut, and force me to deal with the issue in the new payroll system.

By the time the end of the week came, I was in the mood to leave my job.  No, this was not an issue of anger or frustration.  It was simply an issue of whether it was worth my time to deal with the issues of working on an electronic assembly line in a time of pandemic resurgence.  This is a decision not to be made lightly.  Yet, it is a decision I should make soon - I can no longer be ambivalent about wanting this job.  The first person I talked about this was my friend Vicki - and she gave me some food for thought.  But I'll be speaking with other friends over the weekend, as I want to be sure of any decision I may make by the next time I report to the office.

PS: I just found out that a former friend became a grandma.  Congratulations!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Bahamas Cruise - Day 8 (Debarkation)


I woke up very early and packed.  Part of me wished I could safely go back to sleep.  But I knew better.  If I had taken the opportunity to go back to sleep at 5:00 am, I'd have missed the above shot, as the ship made its way through New York harbor.

When 7:00 am came, I made my way to the main dining room, and had a leisurely breakfast.  About an hour later, I said goodbye to some of the staff there, and made my way to the atrium to wait.  This was not a day to wear a dress - unless it was treated as a longish tunic.  And that's what I did.  I didn't stand out. Eventually, my luggage tag color was called (there were not many of us), and I made my way off the ship for the last time, and into the ship terminal.

Entering the terminal, I knew that my large bag should be in the "gray" luggage section.  But it wasn't.  This could be a big problem for me!  I had so much stuff that would be impossible to replace at short notice in that bag.  Thankfully, I asked for assistance.  And 20 minutes later, my suitcase was found. Then it was off to customs (where there were only 3 stations servicing our ship's passengers) where I waited on line for another 15 minutes before being free to catch a cab outside.  You'll notice that I hadn't mentioned that I have masculine ID, but was presenting as a female.  I've done this enough times, that it's not a big deal to me or the customs agent.  Hopefully, newcomers to our "tribe" will see this and overcome their fears of traveling in their authentic gender.

The cab ride back to Grand Central was uneventful, save that I noticed that the "clock" wasn't ticking.  I ended up getting charged the same for my ride to Grans Central, as I was charged "on the clock" coming from Grand Central.  (I'll have to ask if there's a flat rate from the cruise ship terminal to certain NYC destinations.)  And I was again lucky - I had 15 minutes to find the train to Croton.  And less than 90 minutes later, I was home....


PS:  It seems as if I accidentally grabbed someone else's "App-Hailed" ride.  This explains the flat rate of $20 to go from the Cruise Terminal to Grand Central.

PPS: It was so much nicer at the end of this cruise NOT to be concerned about a former cruise partner's feelings about waking up early on debarkation day.

An early dinner with a friend

  Last night, I mentioned to Pat that I wish I could have been born a cisgender female who looked like this when younger.  If I were younger...