Monday, June 30, 2014

Gettin Jiggy With It "Old Style"

This was originally written on January 27, 2001, but for some reason I must have hit "save" instead of Post. So here you go.

A friend surprised me this week with a vintage present, a cassette tape of the original "Into The Woods" cast album! We've been talking about this show recently, because it's Sondheim and we've been on a Sondheim kick since we went to NYC and saw Company. He asked me if I knew the music and I said "Oh yeah, I used to have it on cassette tape and it was one of my favorite tapes when I was growing up. "

Which made me have a vintage thought........thinking about the last time I really listened to this tape.....on a cassette player.....I was suddenly transported back to the late-mid-Eighties (That's the nice way to say 1987)....there I was in High School with my big hair and geeky glasses....pretending I was straight.

Looking back on it, I was SO GAY the funny thing is that I REALLY thought I was hiding it. I used to listen showtunes on my cassette player for God's Sake. I had all the hits of the day on cassette: CATS!, Phantom and Les Miz. I had listened to those cassette tapes so many times that the ink was rubbed off of the label....and then somewhere around 1987 or so "Into the Woods" came around. I had already been to New York several times by this time and I was mad that I heard about Into the Woods - after it had already closed.

I love this soundtrack, a few months ago The Boyfriend bought the "revival" version with Vanessa Williams - ick she can't hold a candle to Bernadette Peters. I used to listen to this tape more often than the others because I knew all of them by heart and this was new. Also this was Sondheim, and to me Sondheim was hi-brow! You either appreciate Sondheim or you don't, I'm not going to try and explain it. Unfortunately I never had the chance to see this live, but I used to sing the songs all the time. I'm sure I was singing out loud in the car and not even caring, all the while thinking that people thought I was straight.

The only problem with this gem of a musical find is that I only own one cassette player (remember when it used to be "I only own 1 CD player) and that is in the boombox that I keep in my bathroom! (And it's the same one that Ms. Mac has) So the last few days I've been listening to it while I'm getting ready for work in the morning. I've been singing in the shower, surprised at how many lyrics I's really weird, I haven't listened to this version in probably 15+ years but it comes back so quickly.

Isn't it great though when you can be transported back to a place just by listening to music?

So, I'll share my High School picture if you'll share yours....who's going first?

**POST SCRIPT** I still love "Into the Woods" and I'm really excited that a movie version is being filmed now and will be out soon.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Does Uber Hurt Taxi Services?

I'm sure that it does, but in my experience NO!

I just started using Uber about a month ago and I've used it about 6 times so far.  All of the trips have been short (going to the besties house to hang out and drink) but they were efficient.

The neighborhood that I live in is not well traversed by Taxis, in fact I don't think I've ever seen an empty Taxi on my street looking for fares.  Even if I walk two blocks to the "main thoroughfare" it's still hit or miss, there is no reliable Taxi service in my neighborhood.  Yes I can call a Taxi company and order a Taxi but there are many problems with that: firstly, just trying to get to dispatch.  The few times I've called to order a Taxi it has taken multiple calls to the dispatch to even TALK to someone who may or may not be able to get a Taxi for you.  They'll "say" they're sending one out, but there's no guarantee, so you could be sitting there forever waiting for a cab.  Even if they do dispatch, that doesn't mean that a driver will pick it up.  Most drivers want long expensive fares to the airport (who can blame them) they don't want to schlep me between my house and my besties.

The nice thing about Uber is that it is FAST, I mean like super fast.  You can't order an Uber car until you're ready to walk out the door.  The first time I ordered an Uber it was there before I was done brushing my teeth.  When you pull up the Uber app you see immediately how long it will take to get a car, the longest I've ever seen it for my neighborhood was 7 minutes and it arrived a few minutes less than that.

After you order an Uber you immediately know who your driver is (one day my drivers name was Sunday) along with a picture, the kind of car they're driving and their license plate number.  Then it's just a matter of waiting, but there's not much waiting.  You get a text to confirm your Uber and you get a text when they're close by.  Heck you can even follow along in the app to see EXACTLY where they are.

Once you're in the car is the only time I've had an issue with Uber.....where to sit, front or back?  It feels natural to get in the back seat of a Taxi, because you're protected by that plexiglass separating you and the driver, but in an Uber it feels weird to get in the back seat, like you're Miss Daisy or something.  I've ridden up front twice in my trips the rest were in the back seat, its cool, it just feels weird.

The other nice thing about Uber is that it's cashless.  No fumbling trying to pull money out of my pocket, no trying to figure out how much of a tip I should give, you just get in the car, politely tell the driver where you'd like to go and that's it.

I know the Taxi companies are complaining that Uber is not playing fare, but in my opinion it's the Taxi companies that need to step up their game.  If a Taxi company could provide me with the level of service that Uber provides me, I would use it!  But they don't.  You can't track an ordered cab, that is if you can order it to begin with, you can't be guaranteed you'll find a cab on the street, you can't go cashless (I REFUSE to use my credit card on one of those machines in a cab), but you do always know that you should sit in the backseat!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Nintendo discontinues online gaming for Mario Kart - I'm devestated

Why Nintendo, why did you do it?  Why did you discontinue the Wi-Fi connect service for Mario Kart?

Is it all because your shiny new Mario Kart 8 came out for Wii U a few days ago?  Are you just trying to be mean?  

I'm not buying a Wii U, dude, so I guess it's over between us. 

Mario, we had a good run.  I bought you a year after you came out and we played a lot of games.  First we played tennis, oh god did we play tennis.  We got to the point where we were playing 2-player/4 handed tennis.  Where one remote controls the front player and one controls the back player. I'll tell ya, my roommate and I were REALLY good at 4-handed Tennis.  

We had our Wii-mbledon Tournament that one year, where I had fake grass as a table cloth and we had a ten dollar entry fee.  The winner, after many rounds won the grand prize of a $109 and a tiara.  And then we met Mario Kart.

Sorry Tennis, your old hat now and we've played you so many times that even we were bored of you - it was bound to happen.  Mario was new and shiny and bright....and FAST!  

And you could play online against people around the world!  Oh the joy of being able to beat a kid in Germany who you knew was only 5 and taking a whipping from the Granny in South America.....playing you online was fun!

The first time I saw Rainbow Road I think I peed a little - that thing scared the crap out of me!  Not anymore, now its the one I choose when I want to fuck with a group or show them who's boss....and then get quickly knocked off the first jump by that Asian person who is up at 6am playing before work, WTF!

The other great thing was that you could play against friends, and set up your own races, and we did that too.....with Conference Calls!  Oh yes, you heard me right.  We had a standing Sunday night invitational set up that started with everyone getting on a Conference Call.

Playing online against people you don't know is cool.......but playing against people you know AND be able to talk shit while you're playing them is fucking priceless.  We did that for about six months, it was fun while it lasted....but you can only talk so much shit...and play so many rounds before even that gets boring.

But I wasn't done with you Mario Kart, nope.  Even after my BFF and I would play online against each other, until.....he sold his console.  So then I was left to my own vices.

Oh Mario Kart, you don't know how sad I was tonight.  I had gotten home from work, went to the gym, had eaten and taken a shower and I said "Hey, I'm gonna play some Mario Kart tonight" and I was happy.  

I turned on the TV, the Wii powered up and made that nasty whine, I punched through the menus and hit the Wi-Fi Connect service.....and that's when I got the error.  Error....oh that's strange?  Oh wait, I don't think I'm connected, I changed my router...let me check.

I went through all the diagnostics, did a system update and thought "well that's fixed it" to only be presented with the same which this time I first the words didn't make sense, I didn't want them to make longer available.....that's when things went grey and and I slumped back in my chair......I clutched my pearls and whispered "discontinued" over and over like someone doing the rosary.

A few hours later I came to, my hand hurting from clutching the Mario Kart steering wheel so tightly.  I thought, I can get through this.....let's play a game.  

Well that didn't work, it sucked.  Just KNOWING that I was never gonna be able to yell at some 7-year old somewhere in the world who was fucking bumping into me and being a pain made me not able to play.  I just couldn't enjoy it.  

Playing the computer sucks!

There is some joy in this though, it's not just me.  Nintendo discontinued the entire Wi-Fi Connect Service for Wii and DS.  

You always know it's going to happen, in the back of your mind, you don't want to think about when it's going to happen, but you know it's gonna happen. Sooner or later, but it's still hard when it happens.  You're just not as strong as you thought you'd be when it happened, but you get get through.