Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 3: A day with Meg, Charity, and Lola

I'll bet that Meg is an early bird by nature. We've been trying to set up a museum run for a while now, and when everything is finally a "go", she said to meet her and charity at the Smithsonian Castle at 9:00 am. Yours truly is not one to get up early when not reporting to work, and today was no exception. So I texted Meg that I'll be at the castle at 9:30. But I didn't need to bother - construction related headaches on all of WAMTA's Metro lines caused Meg and Charity to be late. While waiting, I had a nice conversation with the security guard at the Castle. This elderly gentleman was looking at taking a special vacation, and I talked about San Francisco. He asked me to write down what I was saying, so that he and his wife could use my notes when they plan their trip.

Eventually, Meg and Charity arrived, and we walked over to one of the art museums on the National Mall. The focus of the exhibition was destruction as art – and most of the work was quite boring. Only two videos captured my interest, although there was a video of a performance by Yoko Ono ("Cut Piece") that may have caught my interest, had I not seen it before. And, as one would expect, there was the obligatory picture of Meg and me in the ladies' room. (You can read Meg's take on the day's events here and here.)

(Meg and me)

We left the museum, and walked over to the National Museum of American History. This time, I had more fun there, being able to enjoy some of the exhibits with others – including Julia Child’s Kitchen, Archie Bunker’s Chair, Dorothy Gale’s Ruby Red Slippers, and Miss Piggy.

I took photos of both Meg and Charity at this museum, but I made a mistake - I had my camera set for "museum mode" (read: no flash), and my unsteady hands made each of the pictures blur unacceptably. It's time to retire this cheap camera and use something better - and I plan to do so before my next long distance trip.

At the end of our exploration, my feet were hurting and Meg’s feet were hurting, so this would be the last museum for our day. After bidding Meg and Charity a fond farewell, I went over to Lola’s yogurt shop on U Street, with a stop by the National Building Museum. (Due to the WAMTA Metro problems I noted earlier, I didn't get to the museum until 4:40 pm, and this didn't give me enough to take the self-guided tour. So, I took a few photos of this classic interior and proceeded to Lola’s place.) However, I did get a couple of pictures of some of the maintenance being done on the Metro, and I'm sharing them here - as I did for the New York Subway.

From what I can tell from the insulators in the second photograph, they must be doing some third rail maintenance. I'm glad I wasn't working on the railroad all that live long day.

Arriving at U Street, I met Lola’s sister (I’ll be darned if I can’t recall her name) and we had a gab fest for hours. (I really enjoyed being able to have a conversation with her – she’s just as open and friendly as Lola.)  People were going into and out of the shop, and I was gabbing with some of them as well. One of these people (I can’t remember her name either) is a teacher, and we had a long talk about politics, poverty, and education policy in the US. This lady and I were both disgusted with “Red State” attitudes which add moral stigma to a person's financial failure, when many of the factors are out of a person's control. (Please remember – I am a classic conservative who believes in the power of markets. But I am also a social liberal, who realizes that a well-educated and empowered public is our best hope of preserving the American republic.) 

This lady teaches high school classes with 47 students, and half of the students are forced to sit on the floor because they do not have enough chairs in class. This is inexcusable in a first world country – and yet, we tolerate this because we do not value our children or their education enough as a society to fix this and other similar problems. We then talked about children going to school only to receive the two hot meals they’d eat during the day, as their families were on public assistance, and what their families received didn't cover rent, clothing, and food – and I mentioned that I was grateful that LBJ was the right person to follow JFK, as he was forced to implement some of JFK’s high and mighty ideas about a great society. (I’m leaving out a lot here, as I have already become long winded.) But I made this lady’s day, and as she left, we hugged each other as kindred female spirits.

Eventually Lola showed up, and we were able to talk. As things quieted down a little, it was the three of us gals talking as only women do without men around. Here is where I felt a little guilt for the first time for “impersonating a female” – I was telling true stories about my life, wrapping a single falsehood around them. Instead of revealing that I was transgendered, I preserved the illusion that I was a natal female. I was having no problems giving the important people in my life impromptu sex changes as part of this conversation.  And I was bonding with Lola and her sister, sharing things about ourselves which included both Lola and I dealing with alopecia by wearing wigs. (I wonder what she'd think if she knew my hair loss was typical male pattern alopecia.)

(Lola's sister, me, and Lola)

Again, it was time to go, and Lola walked me over to a nearby Ethiopian restaurant (Etete) so I could get a bite to eat before going back to the hotel. As usual, service in Ethiopian restaurants is slow (or non-existent by New York standards), but the food was good. Would I go back there again? Maybe. But I'd want more time and someone to spend that time with.

I got back on the Metro and headed back to the hotel. When I got back, I took care of things such as makeup removal, and got into writing this blog entry. Two things got in the way – the internet connection was slower than molasses (and would be non-existent when I completed the posting), and I was too tired to finish this entry before passing out on the bed from exhaustion. So, I’m finishing this entry on my last day in town, and letting my external cell phone battery pack charge for my trip home.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 2: Out and About - It's just Shear Madness

I couldn't resist setting up this shot. Once taken, I sent it to a few of my friends who know me in female mode, simply saying ""Greetings from Washington, DC".

Today started out like a typical Saturday morning for me - sleeping late, and getting out even later. But I was not in NYC mode, where I could assume that the attractions would be open late. Instead, I was in DC mode, were I was out the door before 11 am - still late for the rest of the world.

I didn't want to get into the above dress just to walk around DC. Instead, I put on something a little less flashy....

My first stop was the Museum of Crime and Punishment.They had some gruesome stuff there, but for the most part, they focused on crimes which took place within the past 200 years or so. It was worth the effort to see Bonnie and Clyde's car, riddled with bullet holes.

After I left the museum, I made my way to the National Geographic Society, where I saw their exhibit of Peruvian gold.  If you're in the DC area in the near future, do go see it. (I wish I could supply a picture, but photos were prohibited.) The Society's museum is a nice place to visit - but something was a little lacking for me.

It was starting to get late, so I oozed over to the Kennedy Center to pick up a ticket to Shear Madness. This production gets the audience involved in solving a murder mystery which takes place above a unisex beauty salon. The audience gets to participate in solving the crime - and there are some great laughs. I could have gotten rush tickets for $25 if I stayed on site until 6:00 pm. But I used my AAA discount and paid only $37.50 - still a cheap price for 2 hours of entertainment. This allowed me to get back to the hotel and change into my new frock - and pretty myself up for a night at the theater.

After freshening up, I went back to U Street, and met the same lady I talked with the night before. Tonight, she was busy - and her sister was in the store. All 3 of us got along well, and if we were all in the same town, we'd be having fun with frequent hen parties. But this lady said that the dress looked great on me, as demonstrated in the photo below.

But I chatted too long, and barely made it back to the theater on time. (And I barely had time to ask someone to take a couple of pictures of me in this dress.) When I got to the elevator to take me up to the theater, I noticed that there were a lot of young folk (children and adolescents) in the line. It seems as if there were 3 schools with kids in the theater that night. So, I had to find my way between these hordes of children to get to my seat. And when the ticket taker addressed me as "Ma'am", I didn't pick up on it at first - but quickly realized that he was addressing me, and instructing me to take yet another elevator to get to my seat.

Before the main part of the performance started, they were setting a mood with lots of good 1950's/60's music while simulating the actions of a beauty salon - including the washing of hair.

You may wonder - if most venues say no photography, recording, etc. of the actions on stage are allowed, why did I take the above picture?  Simple - I took 3 photos before the notice was given, and then put my cell phone away when instructed to. Since no important action took place at this time in the performance, I feel it acceptable to post a picture here, so that others will get an idea of what the setting is.

Shear Madness is a little like a modern reworking of the "Mystery of Edwin Drood", where the audience gets to determine the final course of action in the play. It is a very pleasant diversion, but one which might not play well in New York without the proper Off-Broadway venue.

Soon enough, I was on my way back to the hotel for the evening. Although I could have used a bit of food, nothing was open. I became a little curious about a bar that was open near my hotel, so I stopped by and had a quick drink. If there was a place where I could get in trouble as a T-Gal, a bar is the place! But I had an uneventful drink, and started walking to the hotel next door. While crossing the parking lot, I saw a young woman being accosted by a drunken man who wanted her phone number for a a date. He was giving her trouble, but she was able to walk away. I decided to come to the assistance of the lady, so she would have some support if this fellow didn't let her go away in peace.

Did I say that the fellow was drunk? When I came to the woman's aid, he shouted something about me not picking the lady up for an evening spin. The lady was more aware than he was - especially when I noted that I felt she may need some assistance. And in woman mode, I said - "What do men really want?  We know what they want, but wonder what they expect...." She sensed that womanly bond, and we left the parking lot in peace, then went our separate ways.

There is something that one of my Facebook friends (who I met at Fantasia Fair) noted in her space - she feels that she was damaged as a male, and she relates much easier to people when in female mode, because her female side wasn't damaged by emotional injuries in her youth.That may be true with me. But if I were offered a magic pill to become fully female in body - I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 1: Mount Vernon - Transit Problems, Crazy People, and Rain

This is the view from my hotel room in the daytime.  Isn't it nice?  Sadly, the hotel I'm staying in (the Channel Inn) will be closing shortly after I leave, and I'll miss having an affordable place to stay in a clean and safe neighborhood. Even now, they are trying to promote the new development - a development which doesn't seem like it's needed in a neighborhood that is both safe and quiet at night

But the prime focus of today's post is today's visit to Mount Vernon (pictured below).

Getting here via mass transit is very easy from DC - Just take the Yellow line to Huntington, then catch the 101 bus for a half hour ride to General Washington's homestead. So this is what I did, and it was a pleasure to be treated like a woman. In fact, one family asked their boys to get up so that I could sit on the bench while waiting for the bus. Although I told them they didn't have to do this, it was nice to see a family doing its best to look out for the little comforts of others.

Arriving at Mount Vernon, the driver gave us these admonitions: (1) Do not take any other bus than the 101 for the return trip, as all other buses stop all over the place before reaching the Metro station, (2) Pay very close attention to the bus schedule - you don't want to wait an hour for the next bus, and (3) make sure to spend at least 2 or 3 hours exploring the place.

After paying my admission, I decided to tour the grounds before walking through the mansion. There was a lot to see, but I knew that this would be an abbreviated visit due to the expected rain later in the day. So I focused on what I could see in one and a half hours, so I could catch the 2:30 bus back to the Metro station (The next bus was over an hour later, and that would bring me back to DC after the expected start of the rain.) By the time I was done, my sandal clad feet were starting to get tired - and I was glad to get to the bus stop on time.  However, the bus wasn't there on time....

There were several of us waiting, and I struck up a chat with a couple from Chicago. Several 151 and 152 buses came and left, but no 101. So we made a choice - risking the longer ride back on the 151, instead of waiting for the 101. And that choice proved to be a bad one. Not only did the driver take the wrong road, and have to make a U-Turn, but we saw the 101 as it arrived 20 minutes late. The 151 buzzed all over the place, as we "saw how the other half lived."  And we then had "fun" when a crazy person got on the bus, decided not to pay for the ride, scared people on the bus, then exited the bus. His hand was bleeding, and he was waving it in front of the driver and the riders - who knows whether they will disinfect the bus later? After an hour, we finally made it back to the Metro station, and it was back to the hotel.

Before reaching the hotel, I decided to stop into the local Safeway to pick up something to eat. While waiting to pay for my sushi, I looked at the non functioning self checkout stations, and another crazy person started giving me a hard time, shouting I was cutting in front of him. I backed off. When one station opened up on my side, I offered it to him, and got even more belligerent - this got me a little scared. After I finally checked out, I spoke to the security guard, and he told me that he saw the whole thing - and that the crazy person was just that - someone who had a problem, and wanted to take it out on others. Maybe, being en-femme protected me from someone starting a fight with me - who knows?

When I finally reached the hotel, I decided to set up this computer to receive pictures from the trip, and to write today's blog entry. And it was just in time, because the heavens opened up shortly after I got in the door. This gave me a chance to write the first part of this entry before going out again....

After things dried up, I decided to go to U Street and try to find the store that sold me my two favorite pairs of clip on earrings. Sadly, the store is gone. However, it gave me a chance to get a pedicure (the lady who owned the place barely spoke English, and didn't realize that I wanted a mani-pedi), and have my feet treated like a queen. Since she stayed late to take care of me, I gave her a $10 tip on a $35 charge - is this enough to be considered a good tip?

Once I left the nail salon, I decided to walk to the other end of U Street and get some frozen yogurt. Last year, I visited this place and had a great conversation with the owner. When I got there this time, we were speaking like we were old friends, and I was there as she closed the shop at 11:00 pm. As usual, I gave an instant sex change to everyone in my life when my gender would be an issue - my late wife became my husband, my girl friends became my boyfriends, etc., and I was accepted completely as a woman. It's a shame that men and women (usually) can not have this kind of rapport. For this reason alone, I'd rather have been born a genetic woman.

I'm pretty sure that we'll stay in contact - we exchanged contact information, and I gave her the email address I reserve for people who only know me in female mode. So, assuming we are in active contact with each other, it will be as Marian and not as Mario.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 0: Traveling to DC en-femme

I wasn't sure I'd actually do this until I finally started doing my makeup.  At that point, tbere was no going back for me.  The trip would be en-femme,  and I'd be all alone in my travels.   But there was nothing to worry about. Save a few minor glitches,  it was an uneventful trip.

After seeing my doctor in the morning, the rest of my day was free. So, I pruned some stuff from my suitcase,  and still had too much, yet not enough.  Around 6:30, I drove to the train station and parked my car. While waiting for the train to New York,  the train I usually take home arrived, and I saw some people I commute with. Did they recognize me? Who knows? I won't say anything.

When I got to Grand Central,  I noticed that I was having trouble with the suitcase.  It wasn't rolling freely. I figured that I could figure it out later. And I was able to make it across town without problems.  After a quick bite to eat, I waited for my train.

The train was finally open to receive passengers,  and I made my way to my seat without incident.  No one challenged me, nor did I expect it. However, it was a very uncomfortable trip, as the fellow in front of me reclined his seat to the maximum, and I had no room to move. Thankfully,  he got out in Philadelphia,  and I had room again.  Too bad the a/c didn't work. I was wishing I was en-homme so I wouldn't have to wear the wig. Even the young lady behind me stripped down to a strappy tank top.

Arriving in DC, I found out what the problem was with my suitcase - the rubber was coming off the wheel,  and preventing it from rolling.  I quickly found a workaround, and oozed over to the taxi stand. Although it was 20 people long when I got there, it moved quickly,  and I was at my hotel by 1:30.

Last time I visited this place, I was told to request a room with a water view. Well, I didn't have to ask. I got one, and I can't wait for morning to come. For now, its time to take off my clothes, my makeup, my wig and my falsies. I need my beauty sleep.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Atlantic City - A nice place to gamble, but you wouldn't want to live there.

How many people are familiar with the fact that the game of Monopoly first came out in the Great Depression?  (World of Monopoly - 1933)  

When I was a child, I loved to play this game, and wished I could play it with real money one day. Alas, that day never came, and I stopped playing the game as I developed other interests. So the adult I've become couldn't help but smile, yet be sad when she saw this set. (They paid WHAT for that?  World's most expensive Monopoly set - $2,000,000) Now I can't even afford to buy the game!!!!

This Easter, I spent time with GFL and her immediate family. It was nice to be able to see her grandson again - he's a joy, even when he's causing us a little grief. (But, isn't that what little children do at 20 months?) The next day, I ended up driving to Atlantic City with her, and the town wasn't what I was expecting - I didn't expect to see a series of high rise hotels on the spit on the other side of a large wetland area. 

As much as I'd have liked to get a shot of the wetlands, I'd have been a fool to try and get one while driving. Instead, I was able to capture some shots before we went inside to eat....

If these shots were taken 2 months later, the scenes would be packed with in-season vacationers trying to have a good time. Instead, many of the people on the boardwalk are simply walking between casinos to see what the other places are like. When GFL and I walked along the boardwalk, I noticed street names that looked all too familiar -  they are all on a classic Monopoly board. It seemed very strange to be seeing these streets in real life after seeing their namesakes on the game board.

As much as I'd like to be back when the weather is warmer, I can't see doing so. There's not much for me to do here except gamble. (This T-Gal is not going swimming, as I would not fill out a swimsuit well. And I'd hate to risk having my wig get ruined in salt water....)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Visiting coworkers in New Jersey

No, my office isn't this far into the dark ages, but it seems close at times. But ever since the merger of my firm with one of its former competitors, we have been playing a game of "Musical Chairs" in regard to where our offices will be.

Before my "Project from Purgatory" ended, I mentioned to an off-site coworker that I'd like to get together one day and have a drink. Although we did not have that drink today, I was finally able to visit his office - and see why one coworker was willing to disrupt everyone else to work close to home. This office is on top of a hill, with views of many miles on a clear day. It is a suburban office view that one might envy, and yet, it is a pain for people to reach if they must use mass transit.  (The picture below came from a nearby building with lesser views.)

Chatting with this gentleman (and others I've dealt with over the years), I learned a little more scuttlebutt about my boss - and how his boss once left our firm rather than work for my boss. And he confirmed that my project was doomed to fail, given the case of players involved. In short, I was set up - and there was nothing I could do to fix things.

After a couple of hours, it was time to leave. And I wished that I could have found a place to change into Marian Mode, as many of the stores I'd have liked to shop at were in New Jersey. So I ended up driving home - and took it easy for the rest of the day. Although I could have changed into Marian Mode and gone out again, I'd have been putting even more miles on my car's odometer - something I didn't need to do after putting in over 600 miles in 5 days.

As is my custom, I will leave you with this little tune....

Dolly Parton - 9 to 5

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quickie: Transgender Traveling - it's the only way to go!

All right, I happen to enjoy finding historical pictures. And this woman is returning from Cuba on Pan American Airlines - Remember them? But do you know who this lady is? We should all be grateful to her for being one of our pioneers....

And as I often do, I'll leave you with a tune I might have used before....

The Charmer - Is She Is or Is She Ain't

Packing for a trip to DC for a Spring Weekend

Yes, I will likely travel with way too much stuff in my luggage. Although I'll be gone for only 4 days, I'm likely to pack more than enough for me to be gone for a week and a half. Why is this the case?

Packing for a male is relatively simple - just put your toiletries and one set of everything you'll need for each day in the bag, then remove half of the items you can wear more than once. For a female, it's much more complicated, as one has to be attentive to many more things - color, texture, style, etc.... Add to this a miniature version of a makeup chest (which I've not perfected yet) and a few more items, and you can get the overflowing bags in the above photo. And for a T-Gal, it's even worse, as one has to bring stuff to perform one's daily hair removal routine.

In Washington, I plan to catch up with another blogger (I'll ask her whether I can mention her in this blog's entries), as well as have a quiet weekend for myself. It'll be nice not to worry about work, or worry about what may happen to GFL and myself in the future. And it will be a great way to recharge my batteries, being on another trip en-femme - with no way to transform myself back into boy mode until I get home.

I'll be staying at the same hotel where the following picture was shot.

Maybe, I'll catch up with this maid again.  However, she intended to change jobs and work in a place with better benefits. Hopefully, for her sake, she was able to do so. If she is still working there, I hope I bump into her - if only to say hello.  (We were once Facebook friends, but we lost contact with each other.) At least, I have a wealth of options of what I can and will be doing in DC this trip (including the National Museum of American History), as I have no fixed schedule, save for a possible baseball game.

Instead of my usual little ditty, I'll link to a comedy routine....

Abbott and Costello - Who's on First?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Amtrak - A (mostly) East Coast option for travel between major cities

If one looks at the BLUE and AQUA lines in the above map of Amtrak routes, you'll notice that most of the country is covered by routes that run once or twice each day. For many people, these are tourist trains, and symbols of government waste.  However, the public wants to keep these routes alive, as (in the case of the Southwest Chief, from Chicago to LA) provides at lease one needed job in each of the rural towns where the train stops.

Looking at the RED routes, you'll notice that the trains run more frequently, and provided a much needed alternative to other land and air travel options. In the case of my upcoming trip to Washington, trains run hourly and half hourly, 24x7, between New York and Washington, and are almost as frequent between New York and Boston. It is this mode of transit I'll be using for my trip to Washington. And I plan to travel both ways en-femme.

Years ago, I used to make once per month runs between New York City and Rochester, NY to date a woman I was seeing at the time. As a result, I got to know the Amtrak route (and timetables) for trips between these two cities. Each time I passed through Utica (picture below), I always wished I could stop at the newly restored station and then take the tourist train wwhose route had its terminus in Utica.

Now, I no longer have any reason to go to Rochester, and I haven't been there in years (save for an Amtrak train passing through on my way to Croton). Instead, my last 2 trips on Amtrak have been to Washington, DC.

Washington's Union Station is one of the pearls in Amtrak's system. I have been to at least 2 of the others - Los Angeles' Union Station, and Chicago's Union Station.

(Los Angeles)


Aren't these beautiful places?  Sadly, New York lost one of its railroad gems about 50 years ago when they tore down the original Pennsylvania Station, leaving only Grand Central Terminal. (Although Grand Central Terminal is on my list of favorite places to catch a train, it is no longer served by Amtrak and not on my list of stations for long distance travel.)

Today, going through New York's Pennsylvania Station is very much like a trip through Dante's Inferno, except that most people might say that Hell would be a more pleasant experience.

As you might guess, this picture was probably taken on a quiet day at New York's Penn Station....  Do you think I'm joking?  This is only the Long Island Railroad's side of the station. The New Jersey Transit / Amtrak side of the station is below.

And this (Pennsylvania Station) is where I'll be heading for my trip down to Washington....  Why can't New York have 2 great railroad stations, each a classic like Grand Central Terminal below?

Am I giving New York's Pennsylvania Station a unfair comparison?  Yes - it's even worse than in my pictures. But it is the loss of this great example of public architecture that started the movement to preserve great public buildings. And I am grateful that I am able to commute into a Grand Central Terminal that looks as good as it did 100 years ago, instead of into a dump like Pennsylvania Station has become....

So I'll leave you with a nice little tune....

Glenn Miller - Pennsylvania 6 - 5000

PS: Do you know what business this telephone number reaches?
       (It still does at the time this entry was written....)

Going out and about en-femme in changing seasons.

Imagine me having to pack for a trip to Washington, DC at this time of year. In less than a week, we've seen the weather in the Northeast go from 70+ degree daytime highs to mornings where I'm scraping ice off the windshield of my car, It's hard to decide how much layering I'll need for this trip.

Given how well I've been accepted while out and about en-femme, I intend to go out to a ball game while in DC. It'll be interesting being a T-Gal in a sea of testosterone. But this means I'll have to carry something with me to keep warm during a potentially brisk evening.

Towards the end of my trip, I'm expecting the temperature to skirt with the high 70's and low 80's. This will be the highest temperature I think I can tolerate while wearing my favorite wig. I'm hoping that I don't have to return to an old standby, but cooler wig, I once used, just to deal with the heat.


I wonder how many of us have trouble keeping cool while en-femme during the summer. Do your wigs contribute to your perception of how warm it is? For me, I know that my wig adds at least 10 degrees to the temperature I'm dealing with. And this means that I can't stay outdoors for long during a summer in the Northeast without starting to sweat profusely. Of course, this meant that last year when I went up to Saratoga, I had to go to the track en-homme when it would have been the perfect time for an en-femme outing.

This is my experience talking to me. I love going out and about. But I have to be constantly aware of the weather when making plans to be en-femme. If I didn't have to worry about how warm my wig was making me feel, I'd have a lot more fun going out in the summertime.

Luckily, it's not summer yet, and I can adjust for the changing seasons.....

So I'll leave you with a little ditty sung by a man best known for his silent work....

Charles Chaplin - The Spring Song (from Limelight)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quickie: Dodging a different kind of bullet

There but the grace of god go I....

Occasionally, I go on a particular dating site to see how many people have visited my en-femme personal ad. Today, I did that, and a picture I did not expect to see came up on my screen.

No, the picture was not that of GFL - she does not seem to be an active user. If she was an active user, I'd already be out of the way, licking my wounds and waiting for them to heal before dating again. Instead, it was a picture of a lady I dated once - who noted in her ad that she recently had an occurrence of cancer.  I feel very sorry for this woman, knowing how my wife felt when she went through the rigors of Chemo - without long term success.

There's a part of me who wants to send my wishes for her to have a swift recovery. But that would not be possible given the nature of her cancer. It would also be foolish, as I would not want this person to think I'm looking to date her. 

I guess this is part of being human - to wish someone you hardly knew to have her health return....

Quickie: Shopping Channel Curiosity

This quickie post has nothing to do with my transgendered nature, save that I have bought some of my feminine wardrobe from the on-air merchant selling this tablet computer. (And since I am not in the business of being an unpaid shill, I'll display the product, but not say where it comes from, nor will I give much more information.)

Occasionally, I find a curiosity being sold on-air, and this tablet is one. When I first saw the on-air presentation, I was thinking that it was another Win-RT (Read: Windows 8 for ARM chip) tablet. And what struck me was that this on-air merchant had an IOS (Apple) and Android app for quick online sales, but none for Win-RT. But it appears that this tablet is running with an Intel chip, and may be a good deal.

Why do I question the quality of the deal?  Microsoft made it hard to compare "apples to apples" with its tablets, as their low end tablets required special software for an unpopular platform. However, their higher end tablets were equipped with Intel chips, execute the standard x86 instruction set - and can run most windows programs. And in fairness to Microsoft, they needed to take a gamble with Windows-8, and try to have the same general interface in use on all devices running "Windows".

Will I buy other things from this on-air merchant in the future? Yes! I have generally been very satisfied with their offerings. But I doubt I'll be happy with anything running Windows-8 (or any of its variants).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sometimes, I associate with people who do the work of three men: Moe, Larry and Curly

I was originally looking for a color picture of the Three Stooges, but when I stumbled into this one with Larry in what appears to be a dress - I couldn't resist putting this at the top of this post. But the reality of the Stooges was very different. They were hard workers who never made much money from their craft. And out of "uniform" as "Stooges", they were just hard working men trying to get by, like most of us.

As much as I'm not much of a fan of their comedy as an adult, I loved them as a child, and would gladly associate with them if they were around today.

Recently, my co-op started to paint the have the hallways painted. And after the first hallway was painted, it was decided to paint the next group of hallways a new color. Of course, the walls in all the hallways had to be prepped for painting, and the wallpaper was peeled from the walls leaving an ugly mess. Since I'm on the board, I can't discuss any of the issues from a board member's perspective - I can only talk about what is public knowledge. And I'm unhappy with what I am seeing. About the only thing I feel I can safely say about the internal workings of the board is that I feel that they are trying to do the best by their shareholder/tenants.

The things I experience as a member of the co-op's board is nothing when compared to what happens in larger organizations. I work for a "Too Big to Fail" financial services firm, and I see bureaucracy being paralyzed, and when it acts, makes a lot of dumb mistakes. And even then, the stock market provides a check and balance (of sorts) to help limit the number of mistakes being made. But institutionalized stupidity is front and center when it comes to governments. And it would be impossible to expect otherwise, given the dysfunction we see in both State and Federal governments.

When I took my first cross country trip, I met a man who worked for Kansas's income tax bureau, and he stated that a significant amount of revenue could be gained by hiring more tax auditors, and prosecuting tax cheats. In fact, the hiring would be self funding, as each dollar spent for an auditor would bring back 10 dollars in tax revenue. Sadly, Kansas is a "Red State", and "Tea Party" politicians there out to cut government spending no matter what. They wanted to use a chainsaw when a scalpel would do. What happened? They cut the budget by 10%, and expected the tax bureau to continue bringing in the same revenue. During our conversation, this man told me that he had been called on to testify before that state's legislative committee - and the state senator (?) didn't want to hear this man's honest testimony. Instead, they made sure that someone else would testify the next time - and echo the party line. This man was chastised for telling the truth - and I feel sad for what likely was done to his area. 

Of course, ineptitude and incompetency are found int he Federal government as well. Regardless of what political party you vote for, there is no excuse for a shutdown of government that cost us more money than it saved. And now, the sequester that everyone feared, the use of a chainsaw to cut Federal spending is not looked on as badly as it once was. Like Kansas, the Federal government has resorted to a brute force set of cutbacks without real thought from the political collective. But there is no longer any way to get the political collective to agree on anything except death. (They do have the power to eliminate taxes for their friends.) And even then, they will find ways to argue.

Like the Stooges, most people only see the public persona of those they deal with in a professional setting. I can guarantee you that people I work with have never seen me in Marian Mode, nor will I ever give them the chance to do so - unless I decide to transition on the job. One thing I can say - I intend to make sure that both my public and private persona are associated with being competent in whatever I'm associated with. Hopefully, if the "Three Stooges" come up, it will be because they were professionals at what they did, as I try to be in what I do....

And a fitting tune to close out this post....

Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk