Saturday, April 6, 2024

I got a call today - my new car has arrived!

 

Now is the time, the Walrus said, to speak of many things.  Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and whether pigs have wings....  Well, I probably have mangled a line from Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter".  But I feel that I could write a short story about buying a car with the little nuisances I had to deal with in the process of doing so.  Yet, this is not the place for a long, drawn out story.

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So, what did I end up doing?

First, I drove to the bank to get a cashier's check to pay for the car.  Given that inflation has taken a lot of value from our currency, I still find it hard to believe that I paid more for this car than I put down as a down payment on my apartment.  And then I was worried a little that I didn't get the right kind of check from the bank.

Next, it was a call to my insurance company to find out what I need to do to get the insurance transferred to the new car.  I learned that things had changed, and that once the paperwork is started, the old car is covered for 24-48 hours.  This is good to know, as I will need to make sure that DCD can pick up the old car with his own plates.

Finally, I was able to contact the salesman to tell him that I'd be coming in on Tuesday to pick up the new car.  Of course, he wants me to speak to a final person who will try to sell me add-ons.  I know which ones I want and don't want, but I will deal with this on Tuesday.

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Now that my need to be out as Mario was over, I could rest a bit before going to a meetup as Marian.  It was nice to pretty myself up again, as I know that I'll soon be stuck in Mario mode for the better part of a week. But I wasn't sure that I wanted to go to the meetup, and I would have been better off by bailing out.  The activity was a music themed bingo at a local sports bar, and it was too loud there for me to enjoy myself.  If I didn't have a bite to eat while there, I could have gotten into playing bingo.  So, with this in mind, I took my leave a little early and drove home for the night


Friday, April 5, 2024

Lunch with RO - a short post

 


Today's post is going to be a short one, as I was very tired after a long drive and a big lunch with a friend who knows I am transgender and treats me as a woman.

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RO and I usually try to get together every 4-6 weeks or so.  Although we once dated, we are just friends - especially when the two of us are in stable, committed relationships.  So our conversations tend to be those where we catch up on events going on in each other's lives, and not sharing our troubles with someone who has a sympathetic ear.  Our lunch fit that pattern today.

Given that we live 2 1/2 hours away from each other, we have found a few places to eat in locations halfway between our homes.  Today's place was a Greek restaurant near Patterson, NJ at which RO has feasted before.  And this was a good choice, as the food was good.  It was also a mistake, as both of us spent twice as much as planned.  Luckily, I had cash on me, and room in the back to take my leftovers home.

Would I eat here again?   Yes!   But I'd be careful with my spending, as it is way too easy to get lost with appetizers, large platters, and desserts.



Thursday, April 4, 2024

Some Disturbing News in the Times today

 

A recent New York Times article noted that many automakers are selling information on the driving habits of car owners to organizations such as LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where it is then resold to insurance companies. This is disgusting to say the least.  Most people owning late model cars weren't properly notified information about car owners' driving habits would be shared with outside companies.  In the case of GM cars, people were led to believe that data was being shared with Sirius/XM, so that they could subscribe to satellite radio services, and nothing more. As noted in the Privacy Not Included blog: SURPRISE!!!!!

As I am in the process of buying a new car, I have to be aware that my new car may be able to send this data to LexisNexis as well.  Supposedly, Subaru has an option to turn off the transmission to LexisNexis. I will ask the salesman about this before I sign the final paperwork on the car, as this will affect the options I select when using the new car.

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Why is this so important to me?

I don't care much if the government is able to locate me.  I do care if private industry is able to accumulate information about me without my permission.  Many Americans distrust government, but will surrender information to private industry at will.  It's bad enough that firms such as Amazon and Google have as much information about us as they do.  But, unlike government, there are no limits to what they can do with this information.

Given that the IRS knows how much we make, how much we pay in taxes, and how much we own (for the most part), I trust government more than I trust big business.  Big government drowns in the amount of information they have, and it is very constrained in how the data is used.  So, I consider big government the lesser of two evils.

Yes, there is always the possibility that personal information can be abused.  But it is easier for people to hold government accountable for the misuse of data than big business.  And we should remember that when we hear representatives of big business advocate for their positions.....

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How to Find Out What Your Car Is Doing

  • See the data your car is capable of collecting with this tool: https://vehicleprivacyreport.com/.

  • Check your connected car app, if you use one, to see if you are enrolled in one of these programs.

  • Do an online search for “privacy request form” alongside the name of your vehicle’s manufacturer. There should be instructions on how to request information your car company has about you.

  • Request your LexisNexis report: https://consumer.risk.lexisnexis.com/consumer

  • Request your Verisk report: https://fcra.verisk.com/#/




Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Posting a Bond

 

By now, out 45th president will have gotten a surety bond to pay the civil penalty for misrepresenting the value of his assets, or New York's Attorney General will have started the process to collect over $400,000,000 from him.  March 25th will have been a very interesting news date to say the least.

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I have gotten to the point where I can only skim the news, as there is so much misinformation coming from #45 and the GOP.  Even my own congress critter (who I have no respect for, as he has broken his campaign promises) has had to echo the lies being spewed by the GOP.  The public is weary of this nonsense, but is powerless to stop it until Election Day.  If #45 (and the GOP) loses again, we will likely be rid of this threat to democracy.

But this doesn't mean we are out of harms way....

The MAGA movement will likely metastasize, and a similar cancer in the body politic will come near the levers of power.  Anyone in the LGBTIQ community will be at risk, as the GOP's ranks have been contaminated by Fundamentalist White Christian Nationalists.   They won't rest until we are back in the closet.  But I'm not interested in going back in the closet.  I enjoy life now.  Being able to interact with the world as Marian is much more rewarding than being closeted as Mario.

So, each time #45 suffers a setback, I will cheer.  The man is evil, and destroys everything he touches.  Let's hope that's brought to justice before Election Day....

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

I'm a little upset at someone who just can't wait....

 

The other day, I offered DCD a deal where he could buy my car for 2 years of affordable car payments.  I'm not in any hurry to give him information on my car needed for registration until I have the same information on my new car ready for my insurance agent.  Knowing DCD as I do, he's in a rush to get things done, and I know that he'll screw things up if I supply information ahead of time.

Recently, DCD started pestering me for this information, saying:

In my efforts to plan accordingly between insurance, DMV, and our logistics, I wanted to talk about a game plan since we are in the last two weeks of March.

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I understand your concerns. Keep in mind that I am not legal to drive your car until I register it. I do have old plates, but I am not supposed to use them.

I tried to make an appointment with DMV. I was not able to determine how far out they are with appointments.


Yes, I know that things should be OK.  However, I'm doing things on my time frame, not his.  By the time you see this post, I should be in my new car, and this will have been resolved.  I'll have transferred my plates and insurance to the new car, and DCD should have started the process of getting new plates and insurance for what will now be his car.

Keep your fingers crossed that my car will come in on time....






Monday, April 1, 2024

Being rudely awakened

 


This morning, I was enjoying a moment of relaxed semi-consciousness when my alarm went off to remind me to take my morning pills.  If that wasn't bad enough, my land line rang and a car salesman called to find out whether or not I was still interested in buying a new car. And then, my brother called to ask me what I thought of a house in Florida he was interested in buying to run as an AirBnb.   AARGH!

Of course, this wake-up call ruined my day.  Later on in the day, my brother called again.  Seems like he found a house that he'd like to rent out, and have me make a $100k investment with him.  He's thinking of renting the place out for a few years, and then use it as a retirement home. The last thing I want is to take this much of a risk with my money, especially when dealing with Florida real estate.  I don't know the region that well, and I don't trust the market in Port St. Lucie.  Ex-GF-M's parents used to live there, and they didn't see their house appreciate in value as much as they expected.  Even with the advent of Brightline high speed rail extending service to Orlando and Tampa, something tells me that this will not be a good bet for us.

Luckily, I remembered what George S. Moore said in his memoir, "A Banker's Life" - one should have at least 3 ways to get one's money out of a deal.  I mentioned this to my brother, and he only saw 2 ways to get his money out of this deal. So this slowed him down a bit.  I mentioned that Delaware property near the ocean might be a better bet, as it's a more mature market that would be easier to monitor while living in the New York City metropolitan area.

Hopefully, my brother won't rush into this deal.  I'm afraid that he might be in for a rude awakening if he goes through with it.  

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Spring is coming and I am not!

 

With a title like that, you'd think that this non-op trans gal would want to be in an advertisement for ED drugs.  But you'd be wrong!  What I'm talking about here is our political landscape and the lies that were implied by the rebuttal to our president's State of the Union address.

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Now, I rarely listen to any political speeches, as they tend to be things to stir up a politician's base, that of his party, or both.  Nothing important is usually said, except when they are causes for alarm.  Even Trump's rants are not worth listening to, as nothing important is being said, save that he claims to be a victim of the "Deep State" and that he intends to get even if he is returned to power.  Yet, some people hang on every word.  

To me, she shorter the speech, the better.  Lincoln said a lot in a few words at Gettysburg.  It remains one of the most powerful speeches ever written in the English language.  Yet, it was so short, that photographers didn't have the time to set up their cameras to capture Lincoln while at the podium.  Does anyone remember much about Kennedy's speeches, other than the phrase "Ask not what your country can do for you..."?  What about Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech?  If anything, we remember a catch phrase from these speeches, such as Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  So, I didn't bother watching Biden's SOTU address, as nothing of note (other than its tone) might be worth noting.

However, I did get convinced to watch the GOP's rebuttal to Biden.   It was so bad, that I couldn't get through watching the whole thing, as it could be right out of an ad to become a handmaiden in "A Handmaiden's Tale."  Several comedic takes were made of this speech, including a version on Saturday Night Live.  In short, the rebuttal showed how the mainstream of the GOP wants to return America to the 1950's, where white women were kept at home, LGBTQ's were kept in the closet, and where Blacks, Latinos, and Asians were nowhere to be seen - except as "domestic" workers, farm hands, and Chinese laundries.

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If the GOP thinks that their rebuttal speech will cause more people to come to the GOP's way of thinking, they must be "nucking futs!"  They have shown how out of touch they are with the American public as a whole.  Yes, much of the GOP still lives in areas where it is 1955.  But even then, Jackie Robinson was leading Brooklyn's beloved Dodgers to their only World Series title earned in Brooklyn.

The world has changed, in most ways for the better.  I hope that we can get as many of our friends in swing states to vote our way - if only to protect the hard earned freedoms we now have.  The only return to the 1950's I want is on a functioning time machine, so that I can see the Dodgers win the Series, and to see Don Larson pitch his perfect game in the Series the next year.

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...