Saturday, October 7, 2023

Lunch with a friend, and a lost credit card.


I really didn't think I'd want to get up this morning, so I made sure to set several alarms to get me moving in time for lunch.  Each month, a friend of mine from the census gets together with me and we have lunch at a nearby restaurant.  Today was no different, save that I was a little bit "off".

Considering that it was finally too cool for me to wear my summer dresses.  So I had to pull out something a little bit warmer to wear - a long sleeved blue dress with matching blue tights.  Although it's been forever since I put on a pair of tights, I felt comfortable, knowing that my "junk" was safely tucked and would stay in place during the meal.  (Soon, I will be wearing my Fall/Winter wardrobe exclusively, and I will miss the comfort of my Summer wardrobe.  But I digress.)  Once dressed, I was out the door, and at the restaurant only a few minutes late.

Not seeing my friend's car, I knew to walk into the place and look for my friend - who was sitting by the front door.  However, we ended up moving from our original table, as it was too loud where we were.  So we took our napkins, utensils, and menus and proceeded to the back.  And this was much more comfortable than where we were first seated, making it much easier to chat without a lot of the noise being made up front.  For the most part, our chat was mostly about the trips we took and the trips we were about to take. So, I won't mention much here.  But I was uncomfortable, as I felt "off" from the time I got up.  As a result, I was glad when 2:30 came around, and we bid each other farewell.

With lunch being done, it was time to fill my car with gas.  And this is where I noticed that my Exxon card was missing.  Normally, I keep it with my cell phone, so that I can use it in either gender presentation.  But it was gone.  So I proceeded to the BP station in town and filled up there.  From there, I went home and filed a missing card report.  Dollars to donuts I'll find the old card before its' replacement comes in....

Friday, October 6, 2023

My checking account shrinketh...


Like many retirees, I am draining both my savings accounts and my checking accounts.  I made the decision to do this when I quit the job I had at the imaging firm.  As much as it pains me to see my balances go down, I know that this annoyance will end soon - when Social Security payments kick in.

- - - - - -

Unlike many people, I am lucky to have a pension, a reasonably sized social security payment (as of January), and a 401K which I have only touched once.  Managed properly, in an age of low inflation, I am reasonably set for life - as long as I stay tolerably healthy.  And I will be trying to stay tolerably healthy for as long as I can do so.

But what does this all mean?

In order to stay healthy, I will need to lose weight and become more active.  The older I get, the harder this is to do. There is a benefit to this - I will be able to refresh my wardrobe from more sites that I can now choose from.  It'll be much easier to buy nice clothes when I'm a size-22w than now, when I am a size-28w. 

- - - - - -

And now, back to checks....

I rarely write checks these days, save for those recipients to whom I don't want to make electronic money transfers.  When I was gainfully employed, I worked on machines which would process over 2mm checks per day, items moving through check sorters at 20 mph.  Now, if a bank receives a check, it is captured where it is received, and digital copies of the check are electronically exchanged between banks.  Check volume is only a small fraction of what it once was, and that is a good thing.  Yet, I miss the old way of doing things.  It was tactile (in some ways) and physical.  Today's method of moving money may be more secure, but it is too easy to lose track of where one's money is going.

Would I switch back to paper checks for most of my bills?  No.  Even I respect today's reality and accept change for the benefits it provides.  But I do miss the days when I was paid very well for a business model which is mostly obsolete now.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

I just ordered a new dress. (Now to find one to donate....)


The other day, I saw this dress on the One Stop Plus / Catherine's site.  Before I decided to buy it, I consulted with RQS, as I will be wearing (sometimes) it when we go out together.  However, I won't be sure if I like the dress until I see it on me.  This is one reason why I wish Catherine's still had its retail stores.

- - - - - -

Over the years, I have learned how to dress as a woman by buying many things that didn't work that well on my figure.  Most of those garments have been donated to charity, with more to come as I clean out my closets and drawers.  I have found that long tunics and leggings work best for me in casual mode (when I'm not wearing a dress), but there are some blouse/trouser combinations that work for me as well.

My rule of thumb is to donate one article of clothing for every one I buy.  Last night, I decided to get dressed (in female presentation) and drive to Wegman's for a grocery run. However, I couldn't find the lightweight duster I would wear over my unitard. So, I wore a shirt dress from a Universal Standard mystery box for the first time.  Just as I was about to turn into the store's parking lot, I discovered that I left my wallet at home.  As a result, I didn't bother stopping to pick up food, and proceeded to go back home slowly and on side roads.

This morning, I was too tired to do much of anything, and didn't bother getting showered until mid-evening.Before I left, I found the duster I was looking for last night, and put it aside for the next time I wear the unitard. So, I moved my ID and money back to Mario's wallet and made my drive to White Plains.  $88.00 later, I was on my way back home with most of the things I was looking for, and a couple of things that were unplanned purchases.

- - - - - -

During the ride home, I touched base with RQS at our usual time.  Something must have been wrong with one of our phones or the phone network, as her voice was coming in muddy - even after a couple of tries to get a clear signal. Luckily, neither of us had that much to say to each other, and we will catch up with each other at the "Same Bat Time and Same Bat Channel."

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Are we ready for Electric Cars? Not Yet!


The above 3 pictures illustrate why America is far from ready for electric cars.  The owner of this Nissan Leaf had to string an extension cord from inside his corner apartment in Queens, NYC to a special charging cable, then use a protector for the cable as it crossed the sidewalk to finally reach the charging port in the car.  If the questionably legal space near the owner's apartment not been available, the owner would not have been able to charge this car, as there were no charging stations nearby.  In this community, electric cars are far from ready for prime time.

Why do I mention this today?

Lately, the big automakers are starting to push electric cars.  Yet, most of us are in charging station deserts. There is a big disconnect between reality and the hype.  Without a big change, we are going to get screwed big time by the changeover to electric vehicles.

- - - - - -

Do I support electrification of the transportation network?  Yes.  But we can't achieve this by 2035, as California and New York have mandated in law.  Our transportation needs alone are part of the problem, as we live in densely packed cities, sprawling suburbs, and distant rural areas.  Although frequent and convenient mass transit might solve the transportation problems in the cities, it does not solve the problem for the suburbs and rural areas.  To solve the needs of the suburbs, we would need upgrades to the electric grid, many thousands more charging stations, and quicker charging cars - to name a few things. And to solve the needs of the rural areas, we might need larger batteries with more storage than available now.  Yet, our driving habits would also need to change, as many Americans (like me) still are in love with the road trip.

The transition from horse and carriage to the fossil fueled vehicle did not happen overnight.  Nor was this a complete transition, as we have electric powered mass transit in many cities.  Like biological evolution, we will likely see "obsolete" structures continue in niches, such as the horse drawn carriages in Central Park. 

- - - - - -

Will we see the end of the gas powered car?  Probably not in our lifetime.  Many of us find it time and cost effective to drive our own cars for round trips under 300 miles, especially when driving between cities/suburbs and rural areas.  For example, for me to see my brother in another NYC suburban community, I can drive to his house much easier and quicker than I could get there via mass transit.  (Yes, it's much easier for me now, given that LIRR East Side Access is available.  But it doesn't deal with about a mile and a half of walking between my apartment and the bus, the bus and the MNRR train station, from Grand Central (MNRR) and Grand Central Madison (LIRR), and from my brother's LIRR train station and his house.)  Given that the further one lives from dense cities that mass transit becomes impractical, the more likely is is that one will need a car for medium to long distance trips.  And electric cars are not ready for this task, nor will they be ready in the next few years.

- - - - - -

So, where does this leave us?

Government is rushing ahead with unrealistic deadlines that can't be met. There is no urgent priority to make this transition, like the priority we had in secret for the Manhattan Project. The public is resisting, both with ethical behaviors (such as NOT buying electric cars) and unethical behaviors (such as blocking the few electric charging stations available for these cars).  But the message is clear - we are not yet ready for this transition, and won't be when the government has mandated it takes place.  

So, how can we change this?

We need something similar to a "Marshall Plan" to build up the electricity infrastructure to support the  future transportation needs of our society.  We need more energy, delivered over more power lines, and stored at more charging stations.  We need cars that can be fully charged in 5 minutes, that have a range of 300+ miles, and cost less than gas cars to own and run.  Without this, we will have a transportation nightmare within a decade.

I am not saying what we have to do as individuals.  But I am saying that we need to be skeptical of the promises made by big government and big business, as they do not yet reflect reality.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How does one change a lifetime of bad habits?


Over the past week, I came to realize that I have to change one of my habits - and fast.  I love to eat, but my choices in what I eat are sub-optimal at best.

Although I won't go into details, I found that I have all the symptoms of something serious.  Yet, my doctor never asked me any questions in regard to me having these symptoms.  This makes me uncomfortable in how he manages his patients.  But I am also responsible for this, so I won't blame things on him for my own irresponsibility.

Can things be reversed?  For the most part, yes.  But only if I lose weight by changing my diet and getting more exercise.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do this.

Any ideas on how to slowly make the changes I need, so that I won't fall back into old habits?

Monday, October 2, 2023

Sad News, with more to come (eventually)


Today's post will be a short one.  But it involves sadness caused by a situation that I have no control over, and frustration because I have limited access to information.

As I have mentioned before, both my aunt and uncle are in nursing homes for the ailments of old age.  When RQS and I were in Los Angeles earlier this year, we were not able to see my uncle, as he was just told that he'd never be leaving the nursing home due to his frailness.  Today, I finally heard from my uncle, and he is in a bad way.

Last year, my uncle fell and broke his hips.  From what I can understand, he is not a candidate for hip replacement surgery.  All they could do is patch him up.  He has been in the nursing home since then.  When I spoke to him in December, he still had the voice of a man who would resume his life as soon as he was certified able to do so.  Of course, this time never came.  In June, I talked with him for 5 minutes, and he still had a tolerably strong voice.  But it was one weakened by circumstance.  Tonight, he could barely hear me on the phone, and his voice sounded like someone with no interest left in living.

He is depressed, in part, because he has no children, and because his nearest relatives live a continent away.  Neither my brother nor I can hop in a car to see him.  If we were to visit, he'd have to hop on a plane, spend at least one night in LA, and then fly home after the visit.  This is why I scheduled a California Coastal Cruise for this past June.  If he was unable to see us, we'd still have a great time on the left coast.

After our too short phone call, I called my brother to report on things.  My brother gave me another tidbit of information which I did not have.  And I asked him to relay my concerns to my uncle's agent, as I do not have the agent's name, nor do I want to be the point of contact for information regarding my uncle's affairs.  (Also, I feel that my brother knows more than he lets on, and doesn't trust me with anything.  But that's another story for another day.)  Hopefully, I'll get more information soon.  But I know that in the long term, it will only be bad news.  And I feel sad about things that eventually must come.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Black / Jew Love (don't blame me, that's what THEY called it.)


The other night, RQS and I went to see a one person performance (When Your Soulmate Dies) in an Off-Off-Broadway theater.  As I was led to believe, it was going to be the story of a widower talking about the loss of his wife.  But it was much, much more than that.  It was the performer's way of getting people to open their eyes and see of the injustices in our culture that we take for granted.  And it succeeded in (1) Bringing the audience to laugh until we cried, (2) Lifting the veil off many people's misconceptions of white and male privilege in our society, and (3) Making me wish I had gotten the chance to meet a woman whose life ended way too soon.

- - - - - -

Instead of telling their life story out of sequence (as performed), I will boil the two hours spent here into several (all too short) phrases:

  • White Man meets Black Woman at work.
  • The couple have a successful marriage.
  • The couple develops a very funny Husband/Wife comedy act, but our culture prevents it from hitting the big time. (You'll have to hear his explanation for yourself.  I agree with him,)
  • The wife is diagnosed with kidney failure, cancer and Covid-19 during the pandemic.
  • The husband sees how the culture victimizes women and people of color in themedical establishment.
  • The husband uses his "act" as a catharsis to help him heal

Am I doing him or his performance justice?  Not in a long shot!  Hopefully, you'll go to the Alchemical Theater at 50 West 17th street (12th Floor) in NYC (Saturday Nights at 7:30) and see for yourself.

PS: RQS gave him Permission to Cum.  (You'll have to see him to understand that.)



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