Saturday, April 20, 2024

A visit to Universal Standard, and then to Game Night


I try to go to game night every night our hosts invite us in to their home.  Sadly, I found out something about two of our regulars that I almost wish I didn't know.

But first....

A few days ago, I registered for an in-person shopping visit to Universal Standard.  Having been there for sample sales, I was prepared for almost anything.  Would the place be organized mayhem, such as it is when they hold a sample sale?  Or, would the place look like a normal store, with a little bit of everything to try on.  Today, things were much better than expected, as I was greeted with a glass of Proseco, and then the stylist asked me what I was looking for (mostly dresses).

When I go to Universal Standard's sample sales, I wear a unitard, over which I wear a shirtdress as a duster.  This way, I can take off the top layer and be able to try on clothes without other women seeing that I am wearing falsies.  I could have avoided the headaches of doing so today, as I had a dressing room all to myself.  Given this unexpected luxury, I stripped off the unitard, and got dressed in several of the outfits selected for me.  (I wish I could have taken pictures of me in each outfit.)

The first of these outfits was a white shirt with linen pants with a stretch waistband in aqua..  If the shirt were a little longer, I might have bought this outfit.  But, if my "tucking" comes undone, I don't want my pants to give away what genitalia I possess.  (I still may consider it in the future, but not right now.)  Next was a Polo shirtdress in "Botanic" (think of a rich forest green).  It looked and felt good on me.   But I didn't feel like dropping $138 for this dress right now.  After this came two items that wouldn't work on me, and I didn't bother trying on.  And then came the button-up shirt dresses I had problems with. Although the stylist (read: saleslady) said most of what she selected looked good on me, I felt that 2 of the 3 shirtdresses ranged from "not worth buying" (due to bad button design) to "acceptable as a gift" (I'd wear it if I got one as a gift, but wouldn't buy it) to "I'd buy it if I had extra money to spend".  The last of these dresses had the right length for me to wear as a dress alone, and could be worn with leggings, or worn as a duster.  What surprised me was that a jumpsuit looked nice on me.  I'd  still want to wear a shirt of jacket as a topper.  But I'm thinking of going for it.  Sadly, I had to leave without buying anything.  So, I returned home to rest a little before going back out to game night.

- - - - - - 

Game night was nothing special - even though I didn't get the chance to play anything.  There were only 6 people there (including myself), as 2 of the other regulars didn't show up.  I found out over a chat that went on at the game table, that one regular didn't like another regular because she learns new games slowly.  (This fellow is a hard core gamer who likes being the center of attention, and he doesn't get along that well with people who aren't as aggressive as he is in game play.)   Although I don't have problems with him, I now wonder what he says about me behind my back.  But that's another story.

I started to have a good time when the hostess and her son came back from his weekly Chess tournament.  Today, he got beat by someone more skilled than he is.  But he is learning quickly.  First, I chatted with the hostess for a while about things in general.  Then, I chatted with the son about chess.  I told him that I used to be decent as a kid, but I'm a terrible player 50 years later.  It'll be fun to relearn the game from him.

While at game night, Vicki sent me a message.  She'd like to go to the Flax Designs warehouse sale, where they are cleaning out inventory in what they call a "Barn Sale".  Although it will take over 3 hours (each way) to get there and back, the sale prices can't be beat.  So I said Yes to Vicki and offered the chance to have RQS come with us.  (RQS said no, so we'll shift our weekend plans by a day or so that weekend.)

It looks like I'll be doing even more shopping soon!



Friday, April 19, 2024

I get frustrated when a business says something is delivered when it isn't.


How many of you use Amazon and get notices that your products have been delivered when this is not so?  Well, I'm tired of these presumptive notifications from vendors, as false positives cause a lot of grief when deliveries are time-sensitive.

Years ago, I subscribed to Amazon Prime because they advertised 2-day delivery for most products.  This was very important, as Amazon was the only place where I could find a girl's locking diary that I could give to a young girl before Christmas.  Today, things are different.  On Amazon's site, they tell users to do the following:

1 - Confirm shipping address in Your Orders
2 - Look for a notice of delivery attempt
3 - Check around the delivery location
4 - Ask your household members and neighbors
5 - Wait 48 hours for the package to be delivered
6 - You can check with the carrier

You'd think that Amazon (and its carriers) could always take a photograph of the delivered object where it was delivered, and include that photo as part of an email confirming delivery.  This was helpful to RQS when her package was delivered to the building next door, and made it to her place a day later.  But false positives can cause big problems.

Quite often, I get false positives from Amazon and UPS regarding product deliveries.  The worst of these occurred a while back when UPS and I got our signals cross when I ordered a phone from Motorola.  The confusion had me going back and forth between UPS and Motorola trying to find out where the product was delivered and how to get a replacement shipped to me.  I ended up paying the first month's installment on the phone before I actually received it.  Although Amazon can be bad, but UPS can be worse because they consider a product to be delivered - even when they hand it off to the post office for last-mile delivery.  This happens quite a bit for many small items, and no notice is available on UPS's site to tell the recipient that they handed off the delivery to USPS. 

Shortly before the pandemic and during part of it, I was a customer of Freshly.  Their food was good, but their last mile delivery was terrible.  Out of 13 shipments, only 3 or 4 were delivered correctly.  My boxes were left behind entry doors where I couldn't see them, left in other doorways where no one cared about them, and in one case, left in front of a vacant apartment where the food was left to rot for a week. Although I got reimbursed for my losses, I got annoyed at the last mile delivery service they used - LaserShip.  Like many "Gig Economy" services, LaserShip bid out its deliveries to the lowest bidder, and this often meant that products were delivered incorrectly, if at all.  I'll bet that firms like this were the cause of Freshly's demise.

What in the world should we do as consumers?  For me, I'd report the products as missing as soon as they are marked as delivered and found not to be so.  Someone has to pay the cost for false deliveries and businesses have more clout than consumers to insure that their products get delivered properly.  So, make them pay the cost for the problems they created until these problems are fixed.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

I'm almost ready to sign away my old car.


Sometimes, I feel like I'm negotiating a contract with the fellow on the left.  DCD asks me a lot of questions that he should be able to answer by himself, such as computing Connecticut's tax on the car which he will soon be registering.

The other day, I met for DCD for a bite to eat, and I was ready to sign the bill of sale and the title, so that he could take these forms, plus the release of lien, and get the car registered in his name.  He wasn't ready to do that, as he still had to schedule an in-person visit to Connecticut DMV to get the car registered and get the plates for the car.  Hopefully, we'll be able to take care of this soon.

- - - - - -

Right now, the old car is sitting in an assigned parking spot, waiting for DCD to drive it away.  I want it gone by the end of the month, as I don't want a car I can't drive sitting in my driveway as long as my old PT Cruiser sat after its transmission failed.  Although I gave away that car 10 years ago, it never got on the road again.  The new owner planned to get the car fixed and never did, as he passed away before he had the chance to do so.

I'm lucky to have two parking spots I can use, as one spot blocks in the car in front of it when two cars are parked in these spots.  This is not much of an issue for a married couple, as they would be able to move a car so that the blocked-in car could get out.  But it wouldn't work if the two cars were owned by non-relatives. Yet, if I could find a Cheap, Low-Mileage, Well-Maintained 2 seat gas fueled Smart car, I might buy it - if only to be able to visit RQS and have a good chance of finding a parking spot quickly.

- - - - - -

If this deal with DCD falls through, I might put my old car back on the road again, just to have something cheap to drive to RQS's place.  Hopefully, this won't happen.....

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

I'm gonna sit right down and write myself an entry....


Well, most of my friends know I enjoy much of the music from the 1930's thru the 1970's.  Disco left me wanting for music which had more than just a danceable beat.  The 1930's & 1940's were the era of the big bands, and I'll always enjoy hearing the music of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and others popular way back when.  The 1950's brought us Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis and others.  And then Beatlemania hit in the 1960's with the British Invasion.  By the time the 1970's came around, I had started listening to Country music, and developed a taste for Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and others.  RQS has noted that most of the people who made the music I enjoy are dead.  And yet, due to the recording technology of the 20th century, their performances will always live on.

Lately, I've been listening to pop standards made popular by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and others.  There is something about the lyrics of these classic performances that makes much of today's music sound like crap.  Yes, the Beatles and the Stones helped move music away from just being "Silly Love Songs" and brought pop lyrics into a more serious vein. 

Today's music leaves much to be desired.  Gone are the days where Cole Porter could write about a certain Miss Otis killing the love of her life and apologizing to her friend because her execution would interfere with their lunch date.  Even the Beatles' Maxwell's Silver Hammer had fun with a serial murderer.  The lyrics of today will talk about murder, but without any subtlety.  I miss the subtlety of old music and lyrics.

There are many musicians I wish I could have seen in person.  I once had the opportunity to listen to Paul McCartney in person, and skipped out on it for an Off Broadway play.  I have seen Paul Simon, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John and others in person.  But there is no way I will spend my money on overpriced NYC tickets, given how much coin is being demanded for these tickets.  (There is no way I will spend $500+ to see the Stones at MSG!) Given how old that many of my favorite surviving performers/groups are, I would rather spend my money to lesser known musicians and some up and coming musicians who make music that I can enjoy at an affordable price.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Goosebumps and the Subway

This past weekend, RQS and I rode the subway more than usual.  First, we found remnants of a subway station entrance that is still used for location shoots.  And then, we caught a film crew packing up for the day.  

But first....

On Saturday, RQS and I went to the Nom Wah Tea Parlor (Nolita) to feast on some Dim Sum.  It was been a long time since we were there, and we didn't want to risk not being able to get served at their Chinatown location.  While there, we saw some subway times reminiscent of the subway station we just exited:

When I asked the fellow behind the counter whether the store's dining area included part of a subway entrance, he confirmed my suspicions and told me that the site was still used for an occasional film shoot.  (The staircase in the last picture above would have led into Nom Wah's dining area, on the other side of the Bowery from where the current entrance/exit is..)

But this was not all of our subway stories for the weekend.

Earlier on the weekend, NYC DOT (Dept. of Transportation) posted quite a few "No Parking" signs through RQS's area of Queens.  The parking restrictions were there to facilitate Goosebumps' film crew in getting their equipment and people to the site.  Given that I am very familiar with film crews, having worked near a studio in Lower Manhattan which always had film support vehicles and trailers on the block, I was still very surprised to find how many parking spaces that Goosebumps needed.

I made the "command decision" for the two of us to pass by where they were filing today's action.  And we saw the crew shutting down production for the day/  What I found most interesting was the renaming of the station above the staircase to the station master's kiosk.  (Look for Avenue X, with an orange circle with a white F route ID on it.)  We didn't know we were in South Brooklyn! 😇

Seeing everything made me very glad that I didn't bring my new car into the city this weekend.  At best, I'd have to leave RQS on Sunday afternoon.  At worst, my car would have been towed (and damaged) because I didn't leave before the tow trucks arrived.  Either way, I got the chance to see how much it takes to do a location shoot in NYC.

This is one time I'm NOT a tourist in NYC!

Monday, April 15, 2024

1960's Music


New York City is filled with many old buildings, many of them over 150 years old.  The above building has to have changed hands many times, so the 1873 and 1906 markers above the windows no longer have much meaning in today's world.  Was the company who built this building founded in 1873, and moved to this building in 1906?  So much history in this city has been torn down, paved over, or altered beyond recognition.  

This weekend, RQS and I went to see an off-Broadway play called "A Sign of the Times."  It's plot (or what little you can call a plot) is there to tie 1960's era songs together to tell a little tale of a small town girl who comes to NYC in the 1960's and finds the world much different than she expected.  As much as I love 1960's music, I'm not sure of what to make of this play.  RQS enjoyed the music very much.  But I was underwhelmed about how the songs were assembled.  Although I loved the songs and enjoyed the performers singing these songs, I felt that many of them were flat - because of how the people who orchestrated this piece of fluff changed the feel of some of these songs.

Would I recommend seeing this play when in NYC?  Yes.  Like the outside of the above building, the music from the Brill Building keeps getting reworked for better and worse.  All the casual listener of 1960's music will remember may be the original performances and maybe occasional covers of these songs.  But these were great songs, with only one clinker (in my humble opinion) in the bunch.  And I'm glad that someone has put them together for a new audience....

Sunday, April 14, 2024

I'm still having minor issues with the new car


Yes.  When one buys a new car, one has something akin to teething pains when one is learning about the quirks of the car.  And I am learning quick!

Yesterday, my car wasn't recognizing voice commands when I wanted to make a call to one of my friends. A call to the salesman gave me an idea of how to resolve this problem.  Now, I have lost some of the features of Android Auto and of Subaru's Starlink for another unknown reason.  I figure that I'll send another message to the salesman - only to let him know that what he suggested worked, and that I have another problem that I'm working on.  (No, I'm not asking him for help on this one.  But I figure that he will be able to help someone else with my Android phone issues using the info I give him, as his main phone experience is with iPhones.)

- - - - - -

In a previous post, I commented on the "secret" sharing of driver data between Auto Manufacturers, Lexis/Nexis, and Insurance Companies.  This practice disgusts me, and I might have called off my car purchase if I had known this before writing a check for the down payment on my new car.  Today, one of the worst offenders, General Motors, has announced that it will cease sharing this information with data brokers.  Hopefully, other automobile manufacturers will follow GM's lead and stop their data sharing as well.

As I'm writing this entry, I'm watching a video regarding the Infotainment Screen and its use on my new car.  I figure that this is a video I should save, as it's easier to watch this video than to read a 500+ page user manual.  Hopefully, I'll learn enough about my new car, that I can drive it like I had years of experience beforehand, instead of feeling like an idiot at the controls.

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...