29 March 2012

Hack, Hack, Cough-cough

New Jersey Transit claims not to allow smoking in stations. But people smoke regularly at the Long Branch Station, and for years I've been complaining regularly about it to the NJT people.

I've mentioned it to the conductors.  They say it's not their job to enforce it.

I've gone to Customer Service at Penn Station in Newark.  They told me to call the police.

I called the Long Branch police.  They told me to call the New Jersey Transit police. Yeah, right.

I went to the ticket booth and asked the attendant to make an announcement reminding people they're not allowed to smoke on the platform.  "Attention passengers static.  Please be considerate of your fellow passengers and static static static platform."

(To be fair, there is also another ticket seller.  When she sees me coming, she goes right to the mike, and she's clear.)

I emailed the American Lung Association.  They said they'd see what they could do, and a few weeks later there were lots and lots of nice new "no smoking" signs in the station.  People still stand under them smoking.

I went to Customer Service at Penn Station, and got a nice email message thanking me for my complaint and telling me they would increase patrols at the station.

And I got to the station yesterday, and watched two men smoking under a no smoking sign.

27 March 2012

So Wrong, So Many Ways

Look what came through on my twitter feed the other day:
Presumably "work" is distinct from "life," and presumably men do not worry about balancing the two. 

Is "life" the same as "housework"?  Do "ladies" spend their whole lives worrying about how to keep the house clean?  For the "maids" in the "maid brigade," presumably "work" is equivalent to "cleaning"; how's their work/life balance?

Grrrr.  Eco News folks, you can do better.

26 March 2012

Hmmm.... Can I Buy It?

I almost blew it yesterday morning and violated my no-shopping vow, in which I don't bother wondering about how great the email deal is going to be, because I'm not buying stuff.  So I've unsubscribed from a bunch of email lists for corporate deals, and I ignore invitingly open doors next to sale signs.

But yesterday, when I should have been grading papers, I finally read the New York Times review of Blue Water, White Water, about how doctors and nurses treat a guy stuck in a hospital bed, and then surfed over to the Amazon page for the book.

The Kindle version is $4.99, which is basically my threshold.  At that price or lower I'll buy it right away, because even if I wait for used paperbacks to hit the market, they won't be much cheaper.

I hit "buy now," and was saved from an immediate impulse purchase only by the fact that I wasn't logged in to Amazon.

But wait a minute.  I'm teaching an independent study this semester on Chaucer and disability, and I have an article coming out in an academic journal on blogging disability.  Does that mean the book is fair game, because it counts as "work" and not "pleasure" reading?

25 March 2012

Slowed Down, Seeing Stuff

I've been walking a lot lately, and seeing things I don't usually see.

Did you know what Manhattan has a Mechanics Alley and an Elk Street?  And that the East River is actually a tidal strait and not a river at all?  I've noticed it's tidal, with water flowing in different directions depending on the time; now I know why, because I noticed a sign with than and other information while walking through Stuyvesant Cove Park a week or so ago.

According to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, Elk Street was named for a group of actors that formed in 1867 in objection to a law that closed the saloons on Sundays.  Now they do charitable work.  So much for my ideas about elk roaming Wall Street when the Dutch were in charge.

(Click through to that link -- there's interesting information about a lot of other streets there, too.)

I'm cleared to start biking and running again, so I'm likely to miss seeing this kind of stuff.  But I'm inspired to make occasional time for some long city walks to I can move at a slower pace and see more.

22 March 2012

Biker of the Week

I think this wins the award for the most interesting thing I've seen transported by bike in quite a while.
He said when he carries a sousaphone back there, he REALLY gets attention.  The light was changing, no time to find out he was.

17 March 2012

Green ... Washing at the Hyatt?

I'm in a hotel, and there's a little sign in the bathroom that says they're not replacing linens and towels every day to save resources, and if you want fresh ones, you can call the front desk.

So I don't call the front desk, because I'd rather save resources.

But I leave the room for a few hours and when I get back, the towels I left hanging in the bathroom have been replaced with fresh ones.  The sheets too, apparently.

A couple of hotel stays ago, there was a similar sign about saving resources; it said to leave the towels on the floor if you wanted fresh towels.  I dutifully hung up the towels so I could reuse them, but they got replaced anyway.

So what gives?

15 March 2012

On Not Shopping

Having decided not to shop has cleared out a lot of space in my head. 

Walking down 23rd Street, I pass American Apparel, where they're advertising an end-of-season sale, and I don't have to think about whether I should go in and buy myself a new pair of leggings, because I've decided to live without new leggings indefinitely.

I pass Straight from the Crate, and I think briefly about salad plates and throw pillows, but then I remember I'm not shopping, and that's the end of that.  It's a real relief, actually, to just let go of the idea that maybe I should be thinking about what purchases might "improve" my living space.

I get an email message from Banana Republic advertising a sale, and think about clicking through to the web site to browse, and then remember again that I'm not shopping, and so I don't end up spending half an hour browsing recent sale items wondering what I should add to my work wardrobe.

I had no idea how tense the idea of shopping, and the anxiety about spending money linked up with the idea that shopping is supposed to make me better looking and my home more welcoming, was getting me until I just --- stopped.


14 March 2012

How Long Do You Think I Can Go Without Buying Anything?

"Anything" has to be defined and limited a little: I'm not giving up on food, or on clothing and books for The Offspring, or soap and toothpaste. 

I will need gas for my car, though I'm limiting driving by taking public transit as much as possible; if my bike needs repair, I'll buy what I need to keep it running.  Running shoes also fall into the "essentials" category.

But I'm thinking about clothing, kitchen and other household stuff, books for pleasure reading (i.e. not for teaching or research), music, movies....  I've got plenty of unread books in my apartment already, and there's always the library.  If a plate or a wooden spoon breaks, I've got plenty of extras.

I lost the heel off a boot a couple of weeks ago, but it needs repair, not replacement; ditto for the sock with the blown-out heel.  I'll have to investigate getting dress shoes resoled, when the time comes. 

Pi Day, 2012.  That's the start of this experiment.  How long do you think I can go?