Saturday, January 22, 2022

My day overfloweth


As many of my readers are well aware, I normally go through the week with a bit of sleep deprivation.  Today was one of those days where I could have used another two or three hours of sleep.  So I had to fight off the impulse to sleep much of the day.

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One of the things that is a blessing and a curse of my job is the repetitive nature of many of its tasks.  Today, I shifted between two of these tasks.  The first task involved finding index documentation not captured during image scanning and insuring that each document had a clean index before deleting the indexing page from the document.  The second involved doing manual OCR scan of information found in a document and entering it into a data base.  Neither of these tasks takes much brain work.  So one can easily lose track of time while listening to music on an MP3 player.  Yet, one can that time moves slowly when one has things on her mind.  Because the tasks are so repetitive, one can get into a groove, and start nodding off.  This happens to me often.  So I have developed some tricks to keep from falling asleep on the job.

After 8 hours of pushing keys and moving mouse, I could have very easily fallen asleep.  Unfortunately, I had a co-op board meeting to attend to.  And this took up most of the evening after I got home.  Hopefully, my visit to the land of nod will be better than last night's visit....

Friday, January 21, 2022

One day at a time


Right now, it seems as if most intelligent people are participating in a slow motion pandemic shutdown. The roads are less crowded than before I went on my cruise. Businesses are telling their workers that it is OK to work from home for another month or two. And people have again become wary of any activity where they would be in direct or indirect contact with a large number of people.

It seems as if everyone I talk to has come into contact with someone who has been infected by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.  And they are afraid of getting sick - even if fully vaccinated and boosted.  Some vaccinated people have heard horror stories about booster shots going wrong.  Others are sick and tired of the virus, and decided not to bother with the booster.  (My brother is one of these people, and he has gotten infected.  What's worse, he would prefer to get sick than to have been boosted.  Go figure.)  As a result of all this, people are staying home in droves.

This has gotten in my way, as none of the people I might see on weekends are comfortable going to restaurants any longer.  It doesn't help that our local governments are not comfortable instituting capacity limits in public places - they want people to go about their daily business with as few impediments as possible, as they don't want the economy to freeze up again.  So, by not sending a message to be cautious, the people who would be cautious are overcompensating for the lack of informed guidance from our politicians.

As for me, I'm willing to take my chances.  I've been vaccinated and boosted, and am not in the mood to go back to the mindset we had in 2020.  The other day, I chatted with my ex-girlfriend, and she noted that it was almost 2 years ago that everything shut down.  What she didn't recall was that I was trying to get her attention NOT to attend any public events her meetup group was having.  It's amazing that we're seeing similarities in what we're going through now with a time that things were much worse.  It'll be years before people have a "normal" reaction to events - this pandemic has over sensitized people to fearing the risk of illness.  I just wonder what our (great?) grandchildren will be thinking when another pandemic is likely to strike....

Thursday, January 20, 2022

I'm thinking of booking another cruise before my Hawaii trip.


The above is a map showing the ports on a cruise I'm interested in taking.  Given the uncertainties of the cruise industry at the time I write this, I'm not sure of whether my Hawaii cruise will become a reality later this year.  Although I've been to 4 of the 6 ports before, I'd take this 10 day cruise on the NCL Joy so that I could visit Boston (again), and to visit the ports of Charlottetown and Sydney.  (I'd also gain the 10 Latitudes points I need to achieve Platinum status if my complaint to NCL isn't addressed properly.)

The last time I visited Boston, I was on a cruise with my former cruise partner.  She insisted that I hang out with her son and his girlfriend (now wife), while I wanted to go to the Union Oyster House and to see the USS Constitution. If I take this trip, I will likely be able to do both activities I wanted to do on my last trip to Boston AND get back to the cruise terminal in time to return home.  It'll be interesting trying to go through a military checkpoint with a male id, while presenting as a female.  (And it'll give me a good idea of what to expect when I visit Pearl Harbor, later in the year.)  

However, this is not the only trip I might take.  There is a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise out of Bayonne that goes to Halifax (NS) and Saint John (NS).  That'd be a much cheaper cruise for me to take AND it would give me an idea of whether I'd cruise with RCCL in the future.  Yet, there is another cruise that really piques my interest - a 16 day Princess Cruise out of Brooklyn to Greenland, stopping at Halifax (NS), Sydney (NS), Nuuk (Greenland), Nanortalik (Greenland), Qaqortoq (Greenland), and St. Johns (NL) before returning home.  The latter cruise may be a budget buster, and would likely require that I travel as Mario.  Saint John (NB) and St. Johns (NL) are not to be confused with each other.  The city in New Brunswick is not that interesting.  But visitors to Newfoundland praise its town.  So this place will be on my list places to visit as I plan future cruises. 

Unfortunately, many of the cruises I plan to take will cost some serious coin.  But it's the price I have to pay to make up for lost travel time....

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Being lazy can be so refreshing.


I've been trying to find the dress in this picture amongst the clothing in my storage containers.  Sadly, I either donated it by accident, or it is hopelessly lost amongst things I've tossed away.  After letting my apartment go to hell for the better part of two years, I've been slowly working my way through all the clutter in my place.

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After doing nothing all day yesterday, I thought I'd have the energy to get a bit done today.  Surprise!  I had even less energy than yesterday.  I was barely able to get myself moving until 4 pm.  And then, I got a call from TCL that lasted 2 hours.  (I really didn't want to stay on this long, but something happened that she needed to talk about - and we did just that.)  But this got in the way of my plans to shop at Wegmans, and then call for NCL for information on the Hawaii cruise I plan on taking.

Once done with TCL, I got showered and dressed, and off to White Plains for food shopping. On my way home, I called MWL to keep in touch.  Like me, she did a lot of nothing today, save that she took down some of her Xmas decorations.  It was a pleasant chat, and she told me how Covid (Omicron) is affecting her lately. Like CWS (and my new friend, RQS), MWL isn't going much of anywhere these days.  Almost all my friends are afraid of the Omicron variant.

I never accomplished two of the things I wanted to do today - Laundry and Calling NCL for cruise information.  Yet, I'm comfortable with what little I did today.  I've needed to rest for a while, and I've gotten two days of needed rest this weekend.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The first snow of the season


I wasn't in the mood to go to work today, and the snowstorm gave me the perfect excuse to stay home.  Yes, I could have gone into work.  But that would have gotten in the way of catching up on some much needed rest.  And I wasn't going to let that happen.

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The plow had come a couple of times during the night, and there was 4"-5" of snow on the cars in the parking lot.  Instead of getting up earlier than usual to both get dressed as Marian AND clean my car of the snow on top of it, I decided to stay in bed an extra couple of hours and get dressed as Mario for the task of car cleaning.  Luckily, the snow was still fluffy, and I could easily brush it off without trouble,   So, off I went to get a late breakfast (or early lunch, as it might be called), and then back to the homestead.  But I wasn't inside for long before the plow came one last time to clean out the parking lot.  So, it was back into the car, and off to an already plowed visitor's spot.

When I finally looked at my email, I received an email from my pen pal in Canada.  Seems like life isn't going that well for her.  Her mom is ill, and needs surgery.  And if she survives the surgery, they don't know how well she will function.  Afterwards, I decided to see what was doing with my former cruise partner's niece, as she was dealing with stage 4 cancer.  Sadly, her niece passed away before I had the chance to visit.  I sent a message to my former friend to tell her of Becky's death - and have not heard from her.  Just as well.  She'll never get over her hatred for me, and there is no longer any chance to patch things up.  There is one last message I have to send her, and I plan to do so in a couple of weeks. At least, no sane person can say that my last messages were nasty or those of a nasty person....

Monday, January 17, 2022

My Vinyl Collection


I have over 600 Vinyl LPs. None of these records have been played in years, and in many cases more than a decade or two.  So I figured that it's now time to sell off my collection, and get pennies on the dollar for what I spent on these recordings.

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In my 30 years at the bank, I met many interesting people - some of which were vendors.  (My former cruise partner was one of them.)  So I had a list of people I could call on for unusual needs, such as selling off my record collection.  When I wrote my friend, I received the following response:

That's an easy one!   Sell it to me!

I buy collections every day, just about.

You know me.  I think you know I'll do my best to be fair.

One way or other, let's get together and I'll give you an estimate.  If it seems fair to you, you can sell to me.  If it doesn't meet your expectations, I will advise you on your other options.

You are definitely in a good position either way, as you know the right guy!

Couple of important notes, though.........

Hopefully you haven't sold any, or given any away yet?   Rule of thumb with collections (and this can be records, or books, or stamps, coins, comic books, baseball cards, etc).  The records may all be good ones, music wise, but the value is almost always in 10% or less of the collection.  As soon as you start pulling out a few pieces, you greatly affect the value of the collection.  The biggest mistake I see people make on a daily basis is that they sell a few pieces online, or let a friend take a couple of handfuls.  Once you do that, you often can't get anybody to buy the rest of the collection.  Invariably, those few pieces almost always are the most desirable ones.  Whether you sell to me, or not, I very strongly advise you to only sell the collection as a unit, all or nothing.

The other thing, I am very interested, but am headed to Florida next Monday for most of the rest of this month.  I don't know how ready you are right now.  I may have some availability to look at it tomorrow but, failing that, it will have to wait until I get back.

There are some albums I plan to keep, but the vast majority are taking up space that I need to use for other purposes.  So, I told my friend that we'll get together when he gets back.  This gives me about 2 weekends to make these albums accessible.

How much do you think my friend will bid on this collection, not knowing what I have in it?  No, I'm not looking for a ball park figure.  Instead, I'd like to know what people think these albums are worth - even though I wouldn't use any of these figures to determine whether my friend is making a fair bid.  Remember the key figures: 600+ albums purchased at $10/each.  I have my own guess in mind, and I want to see what others think.

More on this soon....

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Covid and Cruising


Today, I read some online journals which noted that NCL was cancelling cruises on 8 of its ships due to uncertainties related to the pandemic.  NCL is not alone, as many ports are refusing to accept ships if there is a hint of Covid on board.  And this is causing many cruisers problems, as at least one cruise was cancelled on the day it was scheduled to sail.  I can only imagine what potential cruisers felt when they arrived in town, and found that their trip was cancelled. 

The act of planning a cruise has taken on new risks.  In the past, all one had to think about was arriving in town a day before a cruise, this would provide adequate margin for delayed flights and allow for cruisers to make it to a cruise terminal on time.  Now, cruisers must test negative for Covid before leaving for the cruise, and hope that they test negative again at the port.  Cruise ports may now refuse to allow a ship to dock, and people may not be able to go on the excursions they wanted when they booked their cruises.

I'm trying to nail down what NCL is doing for its 11 day cruisetour.  If you have to be Covid tested negative within 96 hours of boarding the ship (to ensure that NCL gives you a future cruise credit, instead of forfeiting your cruise payment), then you would need to be tested on Tuesday for a cruise leaving Saturday afternoon.  (Wednesday would be a transit day, and Thursday thru Saturday would be occupied by land touring.)  There is no reasonable way that the average person should gamble $5k/person with this risk factor. So I want to find out what NCL's procedures are for their cruisetours, as this would require a different process from a normal cruise.

At the time I'm writing this, the Pride of America's sailings have been cancelled for the next few weeks due to Covid.  If I book the flights on my own, then I have to work with a travel agent to get things changed/fixed.  But, if I let the cruise line book the air legs of the trip, they are responsible for making sure that my air arrangements are taken care of.  This is a great convenience, considering that several cruises out of Miami, Florida have been cut short.  (Who wants to get stuck in Miami for a week, because a cruise returned to its home port several days early?)  Considering that one woman I cruised with last month has just had two cruises cancelled on her, it's nice to be able to let the cruise line deal with all of the hassles of cancelling flights to and from the destination ports.

Right now, the CDC is recommending that even fully vaccinated and boosted people avoid cruising for the present. If one has already scheduled a cruise, one should see what the line's Covid cancellation policies are, and act accordingly.  As for me, I plan to book my Hawaii cruise now, and hope that things have improved by the time my trip is set to start.

Norwegian Fjord Cruise Vacation - 06/28/24 (Zeebrugge, Belgium)

Today is our last stop in mainland Europe, and our last shore excursion.  We have been choosing relatively low energy shore excursions, as n...