Thursday, May 13, 2021

Apple Fan Boy and the AirTag

So, Apple has introduced some new products. They include a new purple iPhone, colored iMacs and the new AirTag (more about that in a minute) 

I will admit to being an Apple fanboy- to an extent. Yes. I did stand in line for the opening of the Apple Store at the Grove (what I won't do for a free t-shirt!) but no, I didn't camp overnight so I could be the first person in. I did not buy the first iPhone, or even the second. Up until very recently I still had an iPhone 4 and I still have and use a 14 year old MacBook. Yes, they tend to be somewhat style over substance and initially more expensive but if you are still able to navigate life with a 14 year old PC without issues or viruses, then I salute you. 

I did however recently break down and get a new (ish) iPhone. My old one held a charge for maybe 20 minutes and for some reason the reception was so poor that even with my tinfoil hat and sitting on the lip of my balcony I dropped calls. Apple decided that I had been a good enough person to warrant a small amount of credit, so I splurged on a newer model “refreshed” iPhone. I figure I will be living with this one for a good 10 years.. 

Which brings me back to the AirTag. They released this little doohickey for people to track lost or misplaced things like keys or bags. Now, I only very rarely misplace my keys outside of my apartment (one memorable occasion recently dropping them on the street and once having a neighbor returning them from the door of my car) but for $29 and no monthly fee I thought “why not?” 

Well, it certainly does what it says it will. I paired it with my new iPhone then walked away and used the “find my...” app to track it down. It gave more or less turn-by-turn directions until I could find it. If I had left it in, say, a pair of pants, I could even make it chirp to assist in the chase. It was a little more like playing that “getting warmer, getting colder” game than the demo suggests, but it worked. Handy for those of us who don't always put their keys in the dish. 

As far as losing it (and trying to find it) outside, I haven't tested that yet. But I did find out something interesting. Apple built in something for the security conscious (or paranoid) among us who fear that vengeful exes or government agents will be gluing AirTags to the inside of our front bumpers to find out if you are really going out to the 7-11 for smokes and a Big Gulp or to Live Nude Girls Girls Girls for an assignation. (I assume that would be the interest of the former; the latter would just track your cell phone.) But clever Apple thwarts this by telling you via your “find my..” app whether an unrecognized AirTag is following you around. This I found out by running some errands while carrying my work iPhone, with which the AirTag on my car keys is not paired. It saw that a rogue tag was in the car and reported the incident and even gave me a map route, showing that the tag was with me. Cool. 

Downsides? Well, he tags come in only one format: a rounded disk that requires an accessory to attach it to anything. This can be as simple as the 2 for $6 silicone thingy I got on Amazon up to the (not ready for delivery yet) $600 Hermes combination AirTag holder and luggage tag, in leather, with Hermes branded AirTag. Naff? You betcha. I want the $349 key ring. In Orange. 

That and the fact that the form factor is only the disk. It's main competitor, Tile, has different ones that can slip into a wallet or stick onto, say, a TV remote- easily the most searched for thing in my house. But then again, I assume that they do not have an easily replaceable battery than can be picked up at any drug store. The fact that Apple included that feature is not only laudable, but, for them, an even unto itself. 

So the days where I waited with bated breath to see if the new iMacs would be in purple or puce are passé. But at least I can find my car keys.. 

Photo: Apple

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Pansy and the Pandemic: One Year Later

Well, it's one year later, more or less, and things are starting to get back to "normal." Well, as "normal" as we can get: schools are starting to re-open. you can dine in (in limited numbers), go to the movies (in limited numbers, both because of restrictions and because a couple of movie chains gave up the ghost), and the traffic and the air quality is almost back to the dismal pre-covid days. Just yesterday there was the ultimate sign that Los Angeles was over the hump: Channel Two preempted hours of coverage of anything for another one of those LA Institutions, a freeway chase. They only went to split screen to inform us that the Staple Center had been disinfected and would be open for the big game tonight.

Glad there's nothing happening in the world.

As we move more toward "normalcy" there are a few things that I, selfish creature that I am, will miss. Certainly the air in the first couple of months after the lockdown. It was amazing what can happen to the sky after a decent rain in Los Angeles if nobody is driving their cars. I will miss at the lack of rush hour, which started pre-lockdown at 6AM and went on until about 9PM on weekdays, and that was just the surface streets. I will miss Zoom meetings (If they ever truly go away) and the notion that a decent shirt, clean face, and appearance of concentration is all you need to get through that hour. I won't miss waiting in line to get in the store, hoarders, and crazy people who insist that masks are a commie satanist democrat plot Hillary, Dr. Fauci and George Soros came up with over a few brewskis.

Which brings me to..

I will, in a week, be receiving my second vaccination jab, in no small part because of a local anti-vaxxer and anti mask "advocate" who I will refrain from calling a local loony (oops! Too late!) She apparently had a meltdown (this time not on camera, how novel!) at a local market and decided to call for a boycott. Of course I decided to call on said market and shop. When there I was chatting with the owner, with whom I have been friends for thirty years or so, he told me the whole story and how a mutual friend informed him of the boycott. Mutual friend and I got to chatting and I lamented that I was unsuccessful in getting an appointment for the vax. Being she, she had me one in ten minutes. So while Ms. "Stop the Steal" would appreciate neither the irony nor the humor, the fact that I will be "Thoroughly Moderna Pansy" by the end of the month has a lot to fo with her.

Photo: Me in my Satanware (actually Lilly Pulitzer, but some would say it's the same thing. Taken by me.

Monday, April 20, 2020

I'm back: a "safe-at-home" Rant

The picture is from the Milwaukee Independent of a protester in Brookfield, Wisconsin who was moved to risk the health of herself and others because that tiresome stay-at-home order is keeping her from getting a nice feathered trim and some kicky highlights. Never mind that deaths from Covid-19 today are up over 36000 (230 in Wisconsin.) What’s a few random dead people when your highlights are turning brassy? After all, it’s not like it's someone we KNOW..

One of my friends challenged a group of us to try to save the post office by actually using it and sending letters. Crazy, huh? So I am sitting here at the computer pounding out this while listening to the “New Yorker Radio Hour,” because that’s just the way I roll. So six of you will get this in the mail. Aren’t you lucky?

Now, I’m sure that you are just as bored as I am with the “shelter in place” thing. Here in SoCal getting into a market can be something like lining up for government cheese in the 60’S era Soviet Union. Our local market has everyone lining up (keeping six feet part, natch) and will not let you dare enter with the re-useable bag we have been told to bring for years now. No, the plastic bags are free-flowing and free. People here have stopped hoarding TP, or maybe it’s just that it is almost impossible to get and the few places that do have it will not allow you to take more than two rolls at a time. The aisles at Trader Joe’s have been made one-way and the staff restricts the number of shoppers who can be in the store at once. Ralphs and Pavillions so far don’t, so while you go through everything but a Lysol© car-wash on the way in, it’s a free-for-all inside. Until recently, farmers markets were still open with no oversight at all: you could get your Kale with a side of Covid in Brentwood until a Schwartzenegger kid posted a photo to instagram of unmasked yuppies cheek-by-jowl over the designer tomatoes. That changed fast.

Lots of meetings that were previously held in person from AA to Yoga classes are now being held on Zoom. This has led to a phenomenon called “Zoom Bombing.” Where d-bags with nothing better to do infiltrate a meeting and start posting chat image with racist slurs and picture of their genitals (It must be tragic to go through life with an outtie for a belly button and an innie for a penis.) The life-threatening mega close-up of my face these meetings insist upon showing is hard to love, but I do not have to wear pants, even if I make a point to do so.

Beaches in Southern California, parks and other such places are closed. Of course this does not stop people from climbing over the barriers to get there. That big wave or selfie of you looking out over the Valley is far more important than you taking care of yourself or others. Of course since Cheetoh started tweeting “LIBERATE (insert state here)” we have hoards of double-digit IQ types saddling up the SUV, affixing the flag if not a mask and exercising their right to be an idiot, even unto blocking an ambulance from a hospital in Lansing, Michigan. It really speaks to the fact that the powers that be have no view of the future than further than their nose. Newsflash Cheetoh: when these crazies get Covid, they might not be alive to vote for you, or at least too sick to do anything but mail in a ballot. But then, you’re gutting the postal service, so that won’t work either.

The only upside is that at least here in SoCal the air quality is magnificent. It’s sad that this is at the cost of many jobs that may or may not come back when this is all over. I was listening to some pundits who were saying on NPR that this situation cannot help but pound home to the average Joe or Jane that climate change is real and we do personally have an effect on our environment. Sadly, I don’t buy it. I have a feeling that after this is over and people have some disposable income again there will be an orgy of spending on the useless crap that we always thought that we “needed.” I already had an acquaintance tell me all about the new iPhone that he said I should get. “It’s only $399 and has everything you want on it!” Well, I think I will stick to my paid for iPhone 4, thanks.

I hope you are getting out, masking up and maintaining social distance. That you’re staying safe and saying sane. Write back if you feel like it; help keep USPS alive. Start collecting stamps!

Image: Milwaukee Independant 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dear Apple, when did you become Microsoft?

Dear Mr Cook:

I know that the chances of your reading this, much less responding are about the same as me winning next year's Academy Award for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, but I still have to write..

There seems to be a growing shift away from Apple being the company that is seamless to one that has more seams than all Frankenstein's creations combined. It started a couple of years ago when "the cloud" was introduced and people like me who had been early adopters of iTunes and had a separate id for their iTunes account (in my case my Yahoo! mail) and an a .mac account (which I was then paying for) which could not mesh.

Now it is the idea that we've bought into multiple devices and have told me that this miraculous "cloud" will make downloads instantaneous and wonderful and candy will rain from the sky when we're on our iPad or iPhone and want to download an app. But the (at least for me) reality means having to sign multiple times into iTunes (which since I've had the phone for for four years and the tablet for one I would hope you'd recognize) remember the intricate password you'd forced me to choose (written on a pad in my bedroom closet) and then get the security code on my credit card and enter that. I'm seeing seams. Lots of them.

Even worse is that you ask me to provide payment info for my work phone. Which I am not paying for.

All of these are for free apps.  Do I need to type this in bold face? FREE APPS.

What exactly is the reason for doing this?

I guess there could be some security reason that would keep terrorists from downloading a new version of "Angry Birds: Park Avenue" on my account, but then, since I registered all of my devices I assume that you know them. I also assume that this being 2014, and the fact that you sell multiple devices that you are in some way able to track them, attach them to a single user and track their purchases via location. So for instance, the fact that I wanted to download a Kodak Kiosk Free download at the Beverly Connection would not necessitate a trip home so that someone trying to download Angry Birds  Free in Sri Lanka would be thwarted.

Instead, I'm the one being thwarted.

Image: Wikimedia

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rodeo Drive Concours

Here are the photos I took from the Rodeo Drive Concours held on June 15th, 2014.

You can read about the event here

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day

Tomorrow is Father's Day. I want to remember my father, who was a Captain and Master Mariner in the Merchant Marine.

My Father was apparently known as one of those "wild" Pease boys in my hometown in Massachusetts. Of course in those days I suppose that being "wild" could mean parting your hair a half inch to the left or wearing a red tie on Thursday.

I do know that he saw my mother (who was several years older) driving through town in her Ninety-Eight convertible and decided that she was the woman he would marry, He wooed and won her and in a short period of time they were married. My mother used to joke that the whole town used to think that she went from being a suspected lesbian to being a tramp, since courtship and marriage were so quick. She quipped that they thought she had to get married, but she kept her legs closed for three years just to keep mouths closed and to postpone my older brothers birth.

Dad had a goofy sense of humor; not above pulling his partial forward to make a punchline. He also had an unshakable sense of family. We moved his stepfather into our house and we all thought of him as our "Grampy" until his death, as we had with my uncle for whom I am named.

Our living situation was not standard: Dad worked for months on his ship, and then had months off. I actually found this to be kind of cool; Yes, he'd be gone for periods and in the pre-FaceBook days we'd sometimes celebrate Christmas via Polaroids and trans-continental phone lines that seemed like you were under 300 feet of water.

But when he was back, he was back 100%

In summer we'd take long drives in the beach wagon, stopping at the Dairy Bar for a soft serve for all of us, even Jackie the dog, who always went with his butt against the front seat center armrest and nose in the AC vent. That is, until the farts kicked in and Jackie would make a beeline for the third row with a canine look of "don't hate me"

The thing I remember about my father is that he had an open heart. He took his stepfather into his heart and home and gave me the gift of knowing my "Grampy." I distinctly remembering him saying that  he wouldn't care if one of us came home with a mate who was "black, white or sky-blue-pink."

The worst part of him dying when I was so young was that I never really got to know him. I remember him as a figure or a force- the laughter, hiding in his jacket when watching a scary movie, his infrequent  anger when I was being a devil child (and oh baby, I could be and still can…)

Dad, I wish we'd met..

Photo is Dad receiving an award from the Secretary of Transportation (the Gallant Ship award) for his role in rescuing sailors from a sinking (I think) Swiss freighter in the 60's when he was on the Cotton State. 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Star Sightings

Having worked retail in both New York and Beverly Hills (well, years ago) I've had quite a few run ins with people who were stars, or thought they were. I'm not going to go through the boring "this person was an a$$hole" ones since that doesn't float my boat, but there are a few of them that I remember since they were such a delight.

The first one was when I worked at Dean and Deluca back in the 80's. Oh we'd get stars in there all the time- I remember Richard Gere looking very American Gigolo coming in and posing by the pasta. Beautiful, but short. I used to smoke back then, and would duck out in my white shirt and apron even in the dead of winter for a nicotine-fueled mental health break from stocking shelves. At the time Katharine Hepburn was filming a movie called "Grace Quigley" directed by Anthony Harvey, who apparently lived above us on Prince Street. Hepburn had made several appearances at the store, but this one time I was smoking on the stoop as she arrived. I didn't want to intrude on her so I sort of went into New Yorker "you're famous so I don't see you mode." She looked at me with her arms full of packages and asked if I would yell up to "Tony" since the buzzer seemed to be broken. I did as she asked and then she very gently told me that it was freezing outside and I was "red as a beet," and that since I was standing there as a well brought up young man I should hold her parcel until Tony came and collected them. She was of course perfectly correct; I held the packages.

Later I worked at a gourmet store near Bloomingdale's. I brought the place, filled with jaded New Yorkers to an absolute halt by announcing I had seen Garbo. Out at lunch walking around I had seen her- a striking older woman who reacted to my look of surprise and recognition with a look that read "please don't react and please don't approach."

I didn't.

Kitty Carlisle Hart came into that store once and flirted so outrageously I considered converting..

In Beverly Hills I worked at Rizzoli when they had a store at Two Rodeo and there were are few stand-outs. Betsy Bloomingdale was one of the nicest, most approachable people we had as customers. Jackie Collins was a staff favorite- she'd come to sign her latest Full Frontal Jackie: Limo, Publicist, Hair. But so nice to everyone we looked forward to seeing her. On off days she'd pop in in a ponytail and sweats looking not a minute over 30 to chat about the new fiction and buy.

One day this absolutely gorgeous woman came in and bought a ton of stuff. I knew I'd seen her somewhere but couldn't figure it out where. She could read my face that I knew her and was giving me the most teasing (in the most innocent way) looks. Finally she gave her Amex: Pamela Hensley! Princess Ardala in the flesh!

Sharon Gless and I chatted about CC Brown's chocolate sauce. Personally, I think that anyone who likes to eat likes to do other things as well. From the gleam in her eye, any man who's spending time with Sharon is having a great time..

I particularly remember talking with Molly Ringwald. I was manning the register and we had a vivacious chat about the book "The Rules." which corporate forced us to carry and put by the register. I considered the book swill as did she and we had rather a time discussing it.

I'll close this with the time I waited on Faye Dunaway. I was working in West Hollywood as a waiter and was covering a breakfast ship for someone who called in sick. Ms. Dunaway has a reputation of being "difficult" as an actress. I can only say that as someone who served her breakfast, she was friendly, undemanding and left a good tip.

So Faye is okay in my book.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Who's Tasting Whom?

I was watching "Visiting... With Huell Howser" (and missing him) when he visited a place in downtown LA that processed meat. Huell freaked out when confronted with a bin full of cow tongues awaiting blanching.

I could kind of relate.

I can still remember the first time I ate tongue. I was hanging out with my bestie Moo and her mother invited me to stay to dinner for the first time. Being a well-brought-up teen I didn't do the classic American teen thing and ask what was being served, I simply accepted with a thank you and called my parents to tell them I was dining at my friends house.

Background on friends: dad was a doctor, mom the head of the Italian language department at our local women's College. They were very European- it was the first home in which I experienced Pesto.

It was also the first home I experienced tongue. At that dinner. We sat at that table and the tongue was wheeled out for carving. Whole. On the plate. It was carved and served.

It was delicious.

Image: Wikipedia

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remembering a Friend

Today I went to IKEA to buy some furniture. Of course this ended up being a process, ordering a pickup from ZipCar, remembering where the hell Burbank is, trying to resolve my shopping lists against massive piles of stuff called "Flövig" or "Hœkenføn" or "Plęnf." By now at 8PM I have assembled most if not all of my furnishings and am sitting back with some Trader Joes's tamales and a glass of red wine.

I also had to populate some of the storage I bought.

Some of it was books or little things I had collected over the years, little things I had from my family home. One of them was a little a little silver bowl given to me by my friend Mimi, which I was polishing with toothpaste (which works marvelously, especially with the natural ones without harsh chemicals.)

If you've been an avid reader of this blog, you know all about Muriel "Mimi" Monette. If you were lucky enough to have known her, you would as I do still remember and treasure the times you had together. One day in the last year of her life after a jaunt to Malibu (Santa Barbara at that point was too taxing,) after out customary glass of champagne at her apartment she picked up a small silver dish and told me "I want you to have this." I demurred at first but she insisted, so I took it, and still have it.

But you know what I really regret, and am horrible enough to admit? That I didn't ask for a couple her paintings! Mimi was an artist- the best kind. One who did it for the pleasure it gave her, and if she painted you the pleasure it gave the subject. She especially loved the coast of Southern California and loved painting the life guard stations from Santa Monica to Malibu.  There were at least a couple of those paintings I wish I had been crass enough to just ask for rather than just admire.

But, I can content myself with her letters in her strong script which I've kept, a small silver bowl, and many delightful memories of my dear friend "Mimi" Monette.

I hope her family treasures those paintings.