Saturday, April 30, 2022

I'm a little concerned about supply chain issues getting worse.


Several months ago, I mentioned that it took forever for me to get this replacement head unit for my air conditioner. Supply chain issues prevented it from being manufactured and delivered in a timely manner. Today, I watched a video that makes me think that this incident may just be the tip of an iceberg...

One of the things I've noticed when I went to the beach with FH last years was the presence of cargo ships sitting outside New York harbor.  They had yet to cross under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge and enter the Ports of NY/NJ for unloading. Today's video came from someone who seemed to be a survivalist by nature, but had a valuable insight to what's happening on the West Coast.  His most salient point in the video had nothing directly to do with the problems with world shipping.  Instead, it had to do with the Russia-Ukraine war.  Even though Russia is not well integrated into the Western economies, we lose a lot by cutting off trade with Russia, and he focused on their fish and fertilizer exports.  He also noted that Ukraine being a bread basket for the world.  Couple these factors with supply chain issues at major ports, and we likely will soon see major food shortages - even in the USA.

I feel that we will have to learn how to live with sudden short term periods of scarcity as supply chain issues work themselves out.  Smart people will need to learn how to maintain inventories of things they need, so that they have reserves for when selective items are temporarily scarce and hard to find. Strangely enough, this will pump up our economy while making things worse.  America has always been a land of plenty, and this period of temporary shortages will be a hard thing for Americans to get used to. It will likely cause major social disruption, as our culture defines America as THE land of plenty (for a price) when we're not in the middle of a world war.

You may ask, what does this have to do about being transgender?  The answer is simple.  When times get bad, people become more conservative and prone to populist insurrections.  January 6, 2001 was just the start of a problem for us transgender people, as people in "Red States" now feel free to enact laws regarding what we can and can't do with our bodies (think of abortion laws and transgender participation in sporting events).  As things get worse for the general population, politicians will make minorities like us sacrificial lambs to deflect attention from the fact that they aren't getting anything done to solve the problems average people face.

I can still remember the name calling that FCP did after the unfortunate dissolution of our friendship. In many ways, it showed the true nature of what she felt inside about me.  (Just drop the words of anger, and focus on internal definitions...)  We will see a lot of that in our friends as things get hard for them.  They will be saying that there are more important things to worry about than gender identity, expression, and preference.  And from their perspective, they may be right.  But from our perspectives, it reaches deep into our identities of self - and this could be a live or die issue for many.  I am lucky NOT to have severe gender dysphoria.  But what about those who do?  Can they live, much less, prosper in stealth mode?  I don't know.

As the fictional Margo Channing once said: "Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night." I'd change that to say it's going to be a bumpy year or two at best....

Friday, April 29, 2022

Thoughts on a past lost to time


Something got me thinking about my former travel partner.  I'll admit that it was because of my stupidity that I lost her as a friend. Yet, I'm not really sure about the quality of the friendship we once shared.  Thinking back on it, there may have been a codependency factor involved that made the dissolution of the friendship more painful for the two of us.

I'm very glad that FCP has had two happy events occur in her life in the past few months.  And I'm sad that I couldn't be there to share them with her.  Yet, she's not with me as I explore things with RQS, building up a shared set of happy experiences..  We both lost a lot when the friendship ended, but this is a part of life.

One of the things that FCP said to me in the process of cutting off communications was that I did not betray XGFJ, and that she is glad that I am communicating with her again.  What she doesn't want to see is the fact that XGFJ betrayed me.   Although I have forgiven XGFJ for her actions, I doubt that we'll be any closer than we are now - two people with a shared past that have less and less to talk about as time pulls us away from each other.

- - - - - -

But enough about FCP and XGFJ.  There are other things that time has erased from my life.  For example, the older I get, the harder it gets for me to remember many of the details of my late wife.  She had a habit of saying "N double-A s t i" for "Nasty".  There were many more quirks that she had, but most of them have moved into inaccessible areas of my memory.  I miss those memories, yet it is a good thing that most of them are inaccessible.  It would be a bad thing to bore RQS with things about my late wife's life, and for her to bore me with things about her late husband's life.  We are only able to share the most important things about our late spouses' lives, and we understand the losses that the other has felt....

There's a part of me that mourns the loss of the career I enjoyed (for the most part) for the better part of 40 years.  The opportunity to work as a programmer again is tantalizing, as it was the type of work I most enjoyed.  Yet, I'm way past my prime, and I would not gain much from retooling for work best done by a younger person. Yet, I could sacrifice some of the time I have left to me to end my working career doing the type of work that gave me pleasure when I started in the workforce.

- - - - - -

One of the things I miss since I've been employed at my present job is reading for the enjoyment of it.  By the time my day ends at the office, my mind is fried.  I've made so many micro decisions that I have no energy left to make any of the big ones.  This has resulted in an inability to clean up my apartment, and an inability to do much of the reading I enjoy so much.  Hopefully, by the time I get to take my next long vacation, I will have recharged my energy enough so that both my apartment has finally gotten cleaned up and that I've regained my ability to enjoy a long book.  I'd hate for these things to have gotten lost with time.

- - - - - -

All of us have friends and family we have lost over the years. Many of us have had to reinvent ourselves to live with a purpose in life. As for me, I live to learn - about myself, about others, and about the world in which we live.  From each loss comes an opportunity to grow.  And I intend to use those opportunities to grow instead of being burdened by them....


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Several people agree with me about this one....



About a week ago, a headhunter called me about a possible position.  However, I was considered too rusty for them to refer to my former employer.  After chatting with a couple of people I realized that this was a bottom fishing headhunter who doesn't know technology that well.  

The headline for the ad read as follows:

Job Title: Mainframe Programmer
Location: New York, NY or Pittsburgh, PA
Duration: 12 months initial contract & high possibility of extension
Need to come in the office one day/week

Since I posted the email last week, I won't post the full text again.  The fellow that runs the shop is making decisions as if the mainframe is just another set of letters in the alphabet soup of computer jargon.  As such, one would want the freshest of skills in any person being presented to a prospective client.  However, no one is being trained for mainframes anymore, and several people say that many firms are desperate to temporarily hire retirees to get them to the point where their old systems can be retired.

Given that the headhunter and I have no written contract or obligation to work with each other, or to keep each other's secrets, I will probably contact people I know who might still work at the old place.  Who knows, I might just get lucky....


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Another quick post about some conversations


Tonight was a night of chatting.  If it wasn't KM from work, or Stephanie from Texas, it would be RQS keeping me chatting until after midnight.  So I won't have too much to say right now.

- - - - - -

The day at work dragged on, as I had a hard time staying awake.  At least, I was able to get a full day's worth of work done - even with the trouble I was having staying alert.  Since I planned to talk with KM after work, as well as Stephanie via Zoom, then chat with RQS, I knew I'd have no time to do any of the other important things I wanted to do tonight.

KM told me about the goings on at the office from her perspective.  She's looking at the company from a youngster's point of view, someone who comes from a bluish collar background.  She sees opportunity in its chaos.  As for me, at an age where I should be considering retirement, I see something else - a company struggling to define its core business for future growth.  Sadly, I had to cut her off, as I had to connect with Stephanie.

Stephanie and I had a more meaningful chat.  She wishes that she could have met me much sooner in life, as we would have developed a closer friendship.  Little does she know that she would have seen me in a very different light had she done so, as I had yet to come out as Marian at the time.  Yet, I can see myself being like an older sister to her.

Once done with Stephanie, it was time to chat with RQS.  As usual, we had a long chat where I did most of the talking.  That seems to be OK with her, as she seems to enjoy hearing what I am saying.  We'll see if this continues over time....

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

A quick post about being bored with a board


I knew when the day began that it was going to be a very long one.  And it was....

For no reason at all, I woke up a couple of times during the night and fell back to sleep. So, when the alarm woke me at 6 am, I worried that I would need more sleep to get through the day.  But I was amazed that I didn't pass out.

By the time 4:30 pm came, I was ready to fall to sleep.  I was a little depressed because the headhunter that contacted me wanted someone with more recent experience.  He has a problem - no one with mainframe experience is being developed in American schools.  Today's young programming types are studying the client-server technologies, as this will be their best shots of doing interesting work.  So, only old people like me, many of which are already retired, have the skills required by this headhunter's client - the bank I once worked for.  This means, that if I want a job, I'll have to contact people I know who still work at the bank.

Once in my car and on the way home, I called up the local taco joint to order tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch.  And when I got home, I stripped out of Marian's outfit and put on Mario's outfit, as I had a board meeting to attend.  Although I won't go into any details about what we discussed, the work of our former and current managing agents came up in our discussion.  And I can say that we had important comments about areas of improvement which could be made by our current managing agent.

Eventually, that meeting ended, and I called RQS.  I found it hard to believe that we were on the phone for over 3 hours.  Could you imagine how late we'd be talking if we were in the same place AND if I didn't have to go to work?

Monday, April 25, 2022

A speed bump in the road....


Last night, I called RQS and Vicki had a chat with her.  This triggered some thoughts in RQS's head, and she's not yet comfortable seeing Mario turn into Marian....  She didn't realize that we'd be spending the day together with me in Marian mode while going up to a store north of here to do some dress shopping.  I told her not to worry, as I will not push her into meeting Marian until she's ready to do so.  She echoed something XGFJ mentioned after we broke up, that there were 3 people in this relationship.  In a way, she's right, and it's something not always easy for someone to be comfortable thinking about.  I told her that she doesn't have to meet me in Marian mode until she is comfortable - and that's my highest concern.  

XGFJ said several things after we broke up, some of which conflicted with each other regarding me as Marian.  (No, I won't go into them here.)  But I will say that RQS is much more articulate in expressing her concerns, and that we have a better chance of having a long term relationship. The big question is: How best to introduce me (as Marian) to RQS, so that she isn't uncomfortable.  Hopefully, I will have an answer to that question soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Cleaning the mess that has become of my Apartment.


Strangely enough, my bed has more stuff on it today than when this picture was taken.  Yet, I was able to sort through more stuff today than I have been able to do in the past month.  And I have a fighting chance of having this place "clean" enough to have RQS up for a visit.

Vicki and I were supposed to meet today for dinner and a concert in Tarrytown.  The one catch - I really needed this day to clean things up, as I'd have the most free (and energy filled) hours to allocate to this task in one day.  So I skipped out on going to church as I originally planned and started work on the apartment.  

The corner of my bedroom nearest to the nearest part of the bed I sleep on has been an awkward mess for a while.  Now, I've cleaned out that corner.  Additionally, the pathway on the other side of the bad has been cleared out (for the most part), and I have been able to relocate some things into better locations in the room.  I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm hoping that it's not from an oncoming train.

When 3:30 pm came, I reluctantly stopped work on the room and got ready to see Vicki.  As many of my readers readily understand, I tossed several dresses onto my bed to wear tonight, and chose a blouse and trouser outfit in its stead.  (As much as I enjoy seeing Vicki, I'd have rather not gone to the concert.  But she had already bought the tickets assuming I'd be with her, and I didn't want to disappoint her.)

We ended up going to a Taco joint near the theater, and both of us said "Meh!" about the place.  The food was adequate, but not satisfying.  Next time, we'll go somewhere else.  And then it was off to the theater for the next 2 1/2 hours.  To call the first performer mediocre would be a compliment at best.  The second performer struck a chord with Vicki, but not with me.  Next time, I hope she remembers that I wasn't impressed with this guy and goes alone.

On the way home, I called RQS and introduced her to Vicki.  RQS noted that Vicki is like a sister to me.  It's nice to know that these two women will likely get along when they finally meet.

RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...