Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Deja Vu - Road Trip

Benni was such a good doggie and didn't complain until the very last hundred miles.

Five star motels were not in the budget. Not even ONE star.
And, given a chance, once inside, some are not SO bad. That is, if you can stand the colors and the guy in the next room watching TV all night. My guess is that he was passed out and couldn't care less about the blasting TV. I am a light sleeper and EVERYTHING keeps me awake. 
Not quite the leaning tower of Pisa. Amerika.

We went from this:
To this - in a matter of a hundred miles east to west. This is when Benni whined so much we had to us make a pit stop.

Today is cold. Can't get away from it. But Benni always seems to make the most of it and always finds a stick to play with.
Our current digs. Thankfully, quiet and cozy.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Central Park NYC

Amidst a busy time of year and the beginning of my seasonal doldrums and irritability phase, I decided to take a day for myself, without Benni or Leon and go to New York with a friend who belongs to the CT Pride Hikers.

Although not the usual type of hike, they had a hike through New York's Central Park scheduled for Saturday the 20th.

I've been to New York, though not as often as many Connecticut residents. Usually it's been for a specific purpose - to drink alcohol when we turned 18, to eat at Momma Leone's, to march in Gay Pride, to see Hairspray, to get across the George Washington Bridge, to walk the Greenway, to see the Cloisters, but I'd never gone to Central Park.

It was a place I knew was there, I could see it while marching down Fifth Avenue, but I had never been in it.

So Bob and I drove down to New Haven and took Metro North into Grand Central Station.

Here are some photos of an exhibit at Grand Central's Transportation Museum Gift Shop.

Walked to FAO Schwartz, a big toy store where we saw a cute guy demonstrating magic tricks - and outside, the Apple Store.

Then it was off to meet the group in front of the Park Plaza Hotel where some of us went for a comfort stop. I would have liked to wander around the great foyer and take pictures, but time did not permit. Off to the park with our tour guide Doug Burke.

Too bad it was bone-chilling cold - not quite what Accuweather forcasted. I'd like to come back there in the spring - when it is green and full of flowers and cute guys biking, skating and sunbathing.
This is the Dairy.

 The bubble guy.

 The Bow Bridge.

 In memory of John Lennon.

 I want to make these benches for our back yard.

After lunch Bob and I headed back to Grand Central where Bob checked out a bakery and then we hopped the train back to Connecticut. I'll probably go on another CT Pride Hike in the spring.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"DAVE" or "Those Pesky Security Questions"

Can somebody please tell my why some Russian school kid can hack into the CIA or Bank of America and the North Koreans can read everyone's emails at SONY, but my 76 year-old neighbor lady cannot get ATT.net to tell her what her own email password is?

My good friend Dottie (whose dog Katija is our dog Benni's bff) decided to finally get an iPod. Partly because we told her how easy it would be just to do email and internet stuff.

Dottie doesn't do much with technology and her old laptop is a bit of a clunker, so she thought it was time to get modern. Leon and I said we'd help her. We assured her it would be a piece of cake to get going. We do Apple stuff all the time.

So we all go off to the Apple Store at the mall and she picks out an iPod, not the top of the line, but a modest iPod with everything she could possibly use and more.

What Leon and I did not take into consideration is that Dottie does not remember her email password because she never had to actually use it once her Windows email client was configured.

Dottie doesn't recall ever having or using a password for email. But she does have a few passwords scribbled in her notebook next to things like Amazon and Ebay.

We tried each of those at the Apple Store with the Apple Tech who helping set up the iPad. No, that's not it. Tried it with an uppercase letter. No, that's not it. Tried a different spelling. No that's not it.

The geek who set up her Windows computer must have either made up a password and never told her or she never wrote it down. He obtained her password and programed it into the Windows email client. She never had to access email directly and so never used her password.

Of course, there are ways to obtain your password if you forget. Just go into Yahoo or ATT.net and follow the prompts.

So over approximately an hour and a half at the Apple Store we did:

Enter your USER ID.

Type in: email address

ATT.net: For security purposes please answer the following questions:

ATT.net: What was the name of your first pet?

Dottie: Well, it could have been Tiger.

Type in: tiger

ATT.net: What was the farthest place you've ever traveled to?

Dottie: Well, I went to Budapest last year.

Me: No, Dottie, it has to be a place you would have answered when you set up your email years ago, not last year.

Dottie: I never answered any questions like this.

Me: Well, You used to live in Germany, so lets try Germany.

Type in: germany


ATT.net: Sorry, the answers you provided don't match those we have on file.

Start over. USER ID

ATT.net: For security purposes please answer the following questions:
               What was the name of your first pet?

Type in: tiger

Dottie: I think maybe I spelled tiger with a Y.

 Backspace, type in: tyger

ATT.net: What was the farthest place you've ever traveled to?

Me: You lived in Munich, didn't you?

Dottie: Yeah, Munich and Berlin, and some other places.

Type in: munich


ATT.net: Sorry, the answers you provided don't match those we have on file.

Another attempt:

ATT.net: What was the name of your first pet?

Dottie: Maybe I should use Blacky. He was my first dog, Tyger was a cat. Blacky had been scribbled in Dotties notebook so maybe Blacky is the key.

Type in: blacky.

What is the farthest place you've ever traveled to?

Me: OK, let's stick to Germany.

Type in: germany.

Sorry, the answers you provided do not match those we have on file.
You have made three failed attempts to retrieve your password. 
For security reasons your account will be locked for one hour. Please try again later.

For further assistance you may access ATT Live Chat.

Me: Let's try the live chat.

Enter your USER ID.

ATT.net: Hi, Dorothy,  this is Shamantha. For security purposes can I have the 10 digit account number associated with your email account.

Type in: area code and phone number

Shamantha: Thank you, how can I help you?

We explain Dottie's dilemma.

Shamantha: I think I can help you retrieve your password. I'll just need you to answer a few questions for security purposes.

Dottie: OK

Shamantha: Who is your favorite singer?

Aside: Dottie: I don't know. Me: Didn't say you love Cher. Dottie: Yeah, Cher.

Type in: Cher

Shamantha:I'm sorry that is incorrect.

Dottie: It's been years since I used my password and I don't remember answering any questions like this. I type in what Dottie just said.

Shamantha: I can give you a hint. It begins with D.

Aside: Dottie: I don't even like music or singers. Me: What about Donna Summer? Dottie: Who's that. Leon: Donny Osmond? or Dean Martin? Dottie: None of them.

Figuring Dean Martin is closer to Dottie's generation I type in Dean Martin.

Shamantha: No, I'm sorry that is not the answer we have on file.

Type in: What do we do now?

Shamantha: I can give you a phone number for ATT.net support.

Condensed version of what happened the following evening when we again attempted to help Dottie get her password:

We dial the number Samantha gave us: This is Barbara at ATT.

She asks for a 10 digit account number for security purposes. She asks how can she help. Dottie explains her dilemma. Barbara says ATT no longer handles support for internet, that is now Frontier. She gives us the number. That number is no longer in service. We call back the first number. We finally get a working number and get in touch with Frontier and they transfer us to ATT because they don't have passwords for ATT.net accounts. ATT sends us back to Frontier. Frontier says maybe we should try getting support from Yahoo because Yahoo handles ATT.net email.

We go on Yahoo and type in USER NAME.

Then click on Forgot Password.

Please type in your USER NAME

The security page for ATT.net pops up

For security purposes please answer the following questions:

What was the name of your first pet?

Me: let's try tiger again

Type in: tyger.

What is the farthest place you've ever traveled to?

Me: OK, let's stick to Germany.

Type in: germany.

ATT.net: Sorry, the answers you provided do not match those we have on file.
You can access Live Chat for further assistance

Needless to say, Dottie still has not configured her email account on her new iPod. She really doesn't want a NEW email address as all her contacts have the current one.

Now on an Apple computer there is a thing called Keychain. You can go into Keychain - provided you have the master password - an see all the passwords for all the accounts and websites that you've signed up for. I have no clue how or even if you can do that on a Windows computer. Dottie will get in touch with the geek guy who set up her laptop computer several years ago. Maybe he knows.

His name is Dave.

Last night as I was lying in bed, I had the devious thought that Dave is the key:
I bet he answered all the security questions himself:

What was the name of your first pet?

What is the farthest place you've ever traveled to?

Who is your favorite singer?

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Little Bit of Paradise

I wish I had an inspiration to blog about something interesting, entertaining, timely, political, philosophical or profound. There is plenty of that around the internet and people who do it much better than me. So, until something inspires me:

As promised, here is the full Bird of Paradise:

And a second bird on the way (This will be the first time we've had two blossoms):

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Little Color on a Winter Day

The Bird of Paradise has blossomed again - the last time was in 2009. Don't know if it is just a cyclical thing or something I did - plant food, repotting, change of location.

OK, I jumped in too quickly with this post. I am noticing that the blossom is not yet fully opened - and there is another stalk with another blossom coming up. Will have to update later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One Thing That Facebook Is Good For

Anyone who's on Facebook can go to NOM's Facebook page and answer their question:

 "Is there a couple in your life who have a strong, lasting marriage that inspires you? Tag them in the comments!"

Apparently the site has been flooded with comments from gay, lesbian, bi and trans folks as well as straight allies who are naming same-sex couples who "have strong, lasting" relationships/marriages.

After all, it is the National Organization for Marriage, and well, the growing number of same-sex marriages shouldn't be left out! Many of us have been together much longer than many straight couples and much longer than the length of time since our marriages became legal. Leon and I are just going on two months after a 26 year engagement. I wonder if it will last.


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