Taking Stock

I never thought I would say this but I’m am taking stock. It seemed like only yesterday, I at the tender age of sixteen had to go down the the Bureau of Records at the New York City Health Department to get a copy of my birth certificate. It seems during some sort of kerfuffle at home, the original document was either lost or destroyed. I needed a replacement copy in order to get my “working papers”, which in turn would allow me to hired for my first job.

My first ever job was no biggie. It was a Summer job s through Youth Corps, and working in a day camp. It paid very little, in fact, I think we made below minimum wage. But no one fussed back then because we were grateful to have work and make a little money. I was happy to get off the hot streets of New York City during the Summer, and go on some great trips and have fun with the kids.

Back then the few dollars helped to buy a few Back to School outfits, perhaps a warm coat, some school supplies, and a few trinkets. My late Mom always admonished me to open a savings account and start saving. Which I never did, you know silly, air-headed teens. Yep, I was one of them.
I’ve been working steadily ever since then (which was in 1975) until now. From the summer jobs I went to full time by working at The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. This is a city agency which regulates yellow cabs, their owners, and drivers. This was my first foot through the doors of law enforcement.

This was also a very intense learning experience for me. Me, being a very shy and introverted soul, was inducted, more like shanghaied into Public Service Boot Camp 101. How? I was simply thrown to the wolves……….

It was rough, I tell ya……..

In addition, I had no clue that the yellow cabs on New York City’s streets were so heavily regulated. I’d see them pass me on the busy streets, but didn’t know that everything from fares, pick up sites, drivers keeping records of each trip, to their personal grooming, number of continuous hours behind the wheel, to the paint job was under TLC scrutiny.

Speaking of paint job, did you know that there is a specific shade of yellow every NYC taxi must be painted? If that shade is just a tad off, too bright or too dull, the taxi company or garage can be summonsed and fined. The vehicle must be taken out of service until it is properly painted, inspected, and approved.

The same goes for the lettering which is printed on the side of every New York City cab. If TLC decides to use say “Tahoma” style lettering instead of “New Times Roman”, every single cab must have all of their information painted in that font.

It also used to be that only one specific brand of vehicle was allowed to be part of the yellow cab fleet. It used to be mandatory that the fleet be uniform. Back in the 50’s and 60’s the fleet were solely the Checker cabs.

They were big, wide, boxy cars that were roomy enough for luggage without having to stash it in the trunk. For past twenty years or so, the fleet consisted solely of Chevy Crown Victoria’s. But, recently TLC has allowed the addition of the Ford Escape, the Toyota Corolla, the Ford Highlander, and I can almost wager I saw a Land Rover or two. As long as the vehicle can be “hacked up” (customized with the special equipment used by TLC cabs – partition, GPS, On Duty Light on roof, two way radio, meter, trouble light, the paint job, plus the medallion, rate card, insurance, and drivers who have a Chauffeurs license), it can become a yellow cab.

My dealing with the public came from interacting with the cab drivers themselves. TLC has a taxi court, where drivers attend hearings for their summonses and find out the fate of their licenses. Idiot driver = fine. Bad driver = suspended license. Very bad driver = license revoked.

Many drivers didn’t speak and/or understand English very well, as a result, they were always in trouble with the law. They did not comprehend that there were strict laws which governed what they did in, or with their cabs. Many times I wondered how did they a) pass their driver’s license test, b) pass the “hack” or taxi license test? I was laughingly told by seasoned co-workers that, “They paid an English speaking friend or relative take and pass the test for them.”

Another beachhead I had to surmount was the cultural divide. As I child I grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood but not quite so multi-cultural. I being Black and West Indian, grew up with Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Chinese. However at work, I met and had dealings with people from all corners of the globe, everyone wanted to argue. And the argument was always the same.

“But, in my country we can do this, that or the other.”

My response was always: “Well, this is the United States and you can not do that here. If you do, you get a summoned, wind up without a license, or wind up in the clink.” Then came the crying and moaning: “How am I going to feed my six kids and two wives with no license?”

“Well, you should’ve considered that before you tossed your passenger out on her noggin, and threw her luggage out after her.” You see what I went through?

Yes, that really did happen, numerous times……….

Needless to say, many drivers were forced to find other means of support because they could not conform to TLC’s standards. To me some were downright too dangerous to drive anything but one of those old fashioned red wagons. However, that was just my opinion.

After fifteen years of working for The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, I was ready for something new. It was both interesting and scary working there. Interesting because I’d met so many people from all over the world.

It was scary when after the first World Trade Center bombing the Three Letter Agencies (CIA, FBI, and ICE) came to our main office to comb through our records. Why? Because those very same bombers had been cab drivers! OMG! I believe this is when they started officially profiling NYC cabbies as part time bombers. Supposedly using the funds they earned to either buy and make bombs themselves, or send it back to their country to purchase weapons.

So in 1995, I took this as a cue to get gone, so I took the opportunity to jump ship to another city agency.

That will be the subject of “Taking Stock – Part 2”

Twitter Tips

It seems like FaceBook is not the only place some funny business is going on. If you have been using Twitter for more than 6 months you’d know what I mean.

First of all, If you don’t know anyone on Twitter it is easy to get lost in the sauce. It would be nice to have Twitter greeters to show you around and introduce you to all of the features that are on there, but they don’t. . . . . . yet. . . . . ..

First of all, when one joins Twitter one should have in mind the following things. One, what is your Twitter Handle or name going to be?

This is where you decide if you want to make up a name for yourself, or use parts of your real name. Are you planning to join a particular group on Twitter? Twitter is broken up along the lines of groups or interests. For example there are those who love dogs, cats, sports, politics, religion, or follow particular types of music or certain celebrities .

I mentioned these groups in conjunction with Twitter Handles because you may want to have a handle to match your interest. Like “IceKitty”, if you like cats, or MasterBowwow if you like dogs, or BballKing because you like basketball, etc. You kinda get the picture, right?

Now, if you are a celebrity, or politician, or into marketing, or author it will be solely up to you to decide if you want to use your real name, or chose a nom de plume. However, if you are into marketing or an author, etc, you should chose wisely, as this particular handle is going to be a marketing tool and thus part of your branding.

Another thing you should consider is what kind of avatar or photo you are going to use to represent your tweets. Again this may depend upon what you are interested in. If it’s dogs, perhaps a cute pup, or if it’s cats, a cute kitten, a flag if you are patriotic, etc. Or, if you are really brave, a photo of your marvelous self. With or without a wide brimmed hat, large Snookie like sunglasses, veils, or gas mask. . . . . . Yes, I’ve see all kinds. . . . . .

What you are going for is to have people connect your name automatically with your photo. This photo should be unique enough that they well say, oh yeah that’s so and so. . . .

Another reason a photo is so important is the fact that if you don’t have a photo Twitter will give you one. An EGG! That’s right, a WHITE EGG on a blue, black, green, yellow, red or orange background!

I’ve been on Twitter for nearly two years now under a different handle which is strictly Christian and Political. So, when I, or my fellow compatriots see an EGG show up on our timeline, according to the content of the tweet, they are considered either a newbie or a SPAMMER!

The concept of a spamming is thus. Register and sign on to Twitter with some half tailed name and no avi (avatar) so you can start bombarding peoples timelines with crap. In their rush to do this, most SPAMMERS forget to post an avi or a BIO on their page.

If you want to know if they are legitimate, all you have to do if you are on the PC to click on their name, which will bring up their page. If they haven’t bothered to post a BIO nor an AVI, they are a SPAMMER! BLOCK! BLOCK! BLOCK! If you are using your SmartPhone all you have to do is long-press or click on the avi which will bring you right to their page.

Also, when you get to the spammers page, another thing to check is how many friends do they have, if they have like 5 friends, 3 followers, but tweeted 900 tweets, that is a SPAMMER for sure!

Twitter also has a provision for reporting spammers. Unlike Facebook, Twitter really does listen to their users and shuts these slime balls down. So, don’t be afraid to report them!

The next tip it to know your followers. If they are writers and authors make sure you keep abreast of who follows and keeps in contact with you. If you get tweets from them which are strange and out of character, DM (direct message) them and let them know their account may have been hacked.

Twitter etiquette: If you retweet someone, they should either thank you (shout outs) for retweeting them in a single or group thank you (shout outs). If someone retweets you, you should show the very same courtesy. Try to do this as soon as possible, because as you gain followers, this can become overwhelming to keep track of.

There is a website named: FollowFriday.com which is very helpful. You must be on a PC (It may be available for I-pad, and tablets too) for it to work. What you do is go on and register your Twitter account, and it analyzes you account for the week and shows you who the most active TWEETERS are on your time line. These are the ones you should give SHOUT OUTS to. Right on the site you can compose your tweets of the names and tweet them out. However, this unfortunately takes time and if you don’t have time, it may be easier to tweet your SHOUT OUTS right back.

Last but not least, Twitter security. Spammers love Twitter, Many of them register because they want to advertise all kinds of crap. I’ve been bombarded with diets, and just plain junk. Then there are ones who just send you a tweet with a link.

If you don’t know the person and they tweet you a link without hashtags (#), and even if you do, don’t click that link!!! Those kinds of links can lead your computer to malicious websites which will plant destructive cookies in your hard drive. This will either destroy your computer or remove personal information that can be used for id theft later. Or they may lead to something pornographic . . . .

Some examples of suspicious messages:

This is a favorite of mine

@WackaWaka @WriteTillDawn  Someone is saying horrible things about U. Click this link 2 C http://bitlybaloneysalmai. . .

My first thought was: Who the heck is WackaWaka? And: Who the heck cares what people are saying about me? That should be your first thought too. The next thoughts are to be

I know, I have not addressed all of the issues on Twitter, and did not intend to. This is just a mere primer for those who are just starting out. It’s sort of a cushion for diving off the deep end of the pool, which Twitter is so oft likened to.

Happy Tweeting!

Family Re-Connections

If it wasn’t for the train delay, I wouldn’t be writing this. I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams this could or would happen.

THE BACKSTORY: Before I was forced to place my Mom in a nursing home back in 1999, she had managed to sever connections all of her family members. That meant both here in the United States/New York City and back in the West Indies (Saint Kitts and Nieves). All I can recall is that all the addresses and phone numbers suddenly disappeared and there was no way to regain them. So, for more than thirty years I’ve been out of touch with my cousins.

When Mom died I tired everything in my power to find at least one cousin. Because I knew if I’d contacted one, that one would’ve let everyone else know. But, unfortunately, I was unable to contact anyone. Even after putting up a Facebook page dedicated to my Mom. I did that in the hopes that someone would look us up and find us. At least in time for her funeral. It never happened.

So, yesterday (10/11/2012) I was on my way out to Bible Class but I couldn’t catch a downtown train. The train I needed was stuck between stations and was not pulling into the station. So, I decided to take the train uptown, cross over and take the express back downtown into Brooklyn.

While on the downtown express, I found a seat, pulled out my Galaxy Tablet and began reading. I noticed a woman sitting beside me but didn’t pay her any mind. However, she kept staring at me.

Finally she asked, “Pardon me but are you Nanci?”.

I looked up warily because I didn’t recognize her at all. I said “Yes”.

“You don’t remember me?” she asked.

I looked at her again and I certainly didn’t. After all, it’s been over 30 years.

“I’m your cousin Debby!” she said.

“OMG!” I replied. Fifteen minutes of continuous yakking (trying to make up for lost time) ensued. We both made sure we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. I also promised to send Debby my Facebook page link and links to my blogs and stuff.   Debby promised to let everyone know that she had found me and give them my information……….

Like Counselor Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “I sense a big re-union coming on.” In the end before I disembarked, Debby told me that she’d commuted on that particular train, every weekday at that same time for the past three years and never saw me until today.

The reason this happened? It was God’s appointed time.


What Do You Write When You Feel Blah?

What Do You Write When You Feel Blah?

I‘ve been feeling blah for the past few weeks. It hits me every year about this time. When the seasons change from Summer to Fall, as I watch the days grow shorter, the leaves fall, and feel the temperature drop. All I want to do is curl up in bed and hibernate.

The psychiatrists have a term for this. It’s called Season Affective Disorder (SAD) and apparently many people suffer from it. This condition comes from the light deprivation which comes from shorter days and longer nights.

I’ve worked, the midnight shift for the past going on 19 years now. So I find it rather strange that I would suffer from a condition which affects “day walkers”. But, there is always an exception to the rule. Apparently I am “it” this time around.

You can read all about the symptoms and care here:

The only symptom I don’t have is the increased appetite. In fact I have very little appetite, but, I do suffer from the rest. My personal solution is to get out as much as possible. Even though I have a strong desire to become a hermitess. . . . . Yes, I made up that word.

Another problem I have is I don’t feel like writing much. Last year I was possessed by NaNo, so much so that I spent the entire Winter on what I had written that November. That was one wild and crazy ride and I promised never to do that again, unless of course after I’ve retired……….

I didn’t have plans to enter this year, because I already have enough unfinished projects on my plate. I happen to be obsessive about finishing one before starting another, as I also have a nasty tendency to forget what I don’t finish.

However, I believe NaNo2012 would be good therapy for me, even if I don’t win. It’s something which will keep me focused for the rest of the cold months until Spring.

Plus, it will keep me out of the doctors office. . . . . . .

The Tech Lowdown #1

The Tech Lowdown – Volume #1

I am by no means a tech expert. I may call myself a Geek Warrior Princess, but I just happen to love computers and electronic gadgets. I love testing them out, comparing, and rating them. I figured while I’m doing this I may as well start writing about a few of my so-called tests.

My standard mantra for dealing with technology is simple. Never, ever buy the first generation of anything. Why? Because that is the model the company has rolled out, which is filled with bugs, to test the nettle of the buying public. If a great hue and cry arises, the company hastens to back to the drawing board to work the kinks out that they should have caught in the first place………… So, why did YOU buy it? Curiosity………

For my latest rant, I will lock my phasers on none other than the Kindle Fire.

I had acquired a few extra duckets and went out and purchased both a Kindle Fire and a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. At first silly me, I thought they were very similar. Nearly four weeks later, after intense testing (playing around with both gadgets like a kid on the playground swings, sliding pan, and see-saw), I have come to the realization that they are NOT similar! Not by a long shot!

The only similarities they have are the fact that they are both rectangular in shape, with the Tablet having the word SAMSUNG printed across the bottom. The other similarity is both must have WiFi in order to work. Without WiFi both devises are rendered mostly useless. I found this out the hard way.

You’d think the store personnel warn people about this first before selling them……. DUH.

The Amazon’s Kindle Fire, is Kindle’s version of introducing color to what was formally black and white. Like when color televisions first came out. A definite step up from the Grey Kindle family, yes? Ummm, maybe not……..

I may have mentioned it before, but I must take the time to mention it again. In order for the Kindle Fire to work, you must have access to WiFi. That means either your own secure wifi hook up at home, or work (if they allow you to use it). Or you can take your chances with public wifi in places like McDonald’s. Starbucks, and The Olive Garden, to mention a few.

The very first thing you must do upon opening your new Kindle Fire is to register it on Amazon. As stated before, you must do this via WiFi. Since I didn’t originally have WiFi, I tried hooking my Fire up to my computer via USB cable to register it that way. FAIL!

There is a method to the WiFi madness. Once you register via WiFi, this is the method you will receive your media. Unlike the Grey Kindles which receive media through the Amazon FREE Whispernet (which is their 3g network available for Grey Kindle users). For some inexplicable reason Amazon decided to dispense with this handy feature when they designed the Fire. Shaking My Head……

After you have registered your Fire, you are now ready to move in your reading material. You can either start off afresh if this is your first account, or go to the Amazon Cloud, peruse your previous purchases and download some or all of them.

However, there are other things you need to do. First you must download apps. After all, the Kindle Fire is web capable (to a certain degree) and if you like Face book, Twitter, and other social sites you will have to do the Download Boogie.

The Kindle Fire has about ten pre-installed apps. If you want more you have to go to the Amazon App store and either download them for free, or purchase them through your already established Amazon account.

Warning, the Amazon App Store is nothing like the Google Play App store. The cupboard is bare and they have a limited selection of apps which you may like. I lucked up when I found Plume (a third party for Twitter), Photobucket, and a Bible app to tweet and post scriptures to Facebook.

Don’t bother looking for Gmail, or Google, they are not there, however Amazon does provide you with a generic email app. You can also download games and puzzles that you enjoy.

One of the problems I encountered was the lousy pre-installed browser The Kindle Fire uses. It’s useful to surf the web, that’s it. But if you want to watch a video or video clip, you will need a browser which contains video capabilities (I can’t recall if it is Java or Adobe plug ins you need). So far the only suitable browser for the Kindle Fire of that caliber is “Maxithon”, recognizable by the white M on a blue background. So I had to download that.

Now the other problem I must address is the audio. Unfortunately I’d been spoiled by Pinky, my Gray Kindle. Instead of reading a book, I could switch to audio, put in my earbuds, and have the computer voice READ the book to me. Guess what? The Kindle Fire does NOT have this capability. Yes, I even spent about two hours trying to find and download a audio app which would do this for me. My result was another FAIL!

So, I signed up for Audible, where you can buy and download audio books. Upon signing up one gets two free credits which are good for two audio books. I immediately got “The Help”, and “Roots” (because “Roots” is narrated by none other than “Avery Brooks” of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” Fame). Melt……

Silly clueless me thought these two books were going to show up on my Fire. If you have multiple Amazon reading devises, you can select a specific devise to download media to. I chose my Fire, but that was another FAIL!

After looking for the audio books for two days on line and in my Drop Box, I finally found them, guess where? They had been downloaded to PINKY my Gray Kindle, not my Fire! This is further proof that the Kindle Fire has no audio book capabilities.

This also means I will be canceling my “Audible” subscription when the 30 day free trial is over.

I’m so sorry The Kindle designers took a giant step backwards in this area. I really LOVED being read to.

I was also disheartened to learn that Kindle Fire App Store does not have Drop Box. The only comparable app is SugarSync, recognizable as a green hummingbird. It works pretty good, but it’s no Drop Box. Alas, it is somewhat helpful to download documents/manuscripts to read on the Fire.

There is also a handy Kindle Fire App called Quick Office, recognizable by a gray square with one small blue square, orange, lime green and purple, with a “C” across them all. It has a nifty feature which allows you to write a Microsoft Document (if you can deal with the silly on screen keyboard and auto correct). Once you save it, you can have the app read what you wrote back to you! That I absolutely love! Now if this app can do that, why can’t the Kindle itself do this for books?

My over all opinion of the Kindle Fire? It’s a good e-reader and a fair internet surfer. If Amazon wants the Fire to be a better e-reader and internet tool they will definitely have to enhance their browser, bring back the Whispernet option, bring back the audio read back of books, and last but not least, provide better apps. Most of the negative app reviews mention that many of the apps look and operate as if they were hastily cobbled together in order to meet public demand. That’s definitely not a good way to get and keep customers, Amazon.

I hear the next line of Kindle Fires are out. I sincerely hope they are worth the nearly 500 smackaroos Amazon is asking for them…………

As for me, though I do love my Fire, when the question of reliability and versatility comes up, I will stand by my Gray Kindle, Pinky…….

Is It SOUP Yet?

A funny thing happened to me at the supermarket On Monday. I’d been out sick from work with a horrible stomach virus and the doctor had recommended I eat soup. So I went to friendly neighborhood supermarket to look at their selection.

Although Pathmark had many brands on sale I didn’t like what I saw. So, I decided to do something I hadn’t done since my mom was alive and living with me about 15 years ago. I decided to make my own soup.

So, I went to what I’ve dubbed ( now don’t get offended ) The Spanish Aisle. This is where they have all of the rices, spices, dried beans, etc. I bought four packages of Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix. My personal favorites are yellow split peas but I decided to try the 16 bean instead. I went to the meat section and bought 2 cut up smoked turkey wings.

I took all of my selections to the check out counter and I was peppered by the check out girl who literally didn’t understand why I was buying such items.

“What do you do with this?” she asked, as she pointed to the packaged smoked turkey wings.

“You use them for soup.” I replied.

“And what do you use this for?” she asked when she saw the packages of dried beans.

“You rinse them off, put them in a pot of boiling water for about 2 hours to make soup. You put the turkey wings in for seasoning.” I replied.

“I never heard of that.” she said. Poor thing probably doesn’t even know how to cook. When I was growing up EVERYONE knew about Goya beans! What has happened to this so-called Generation Y? Poor things don’t know squat. . . . .

Somebody’s gotta teach them so I’m gonna start here

Dawn’s Soup Recipe

One medium sized stock pot Or one large wok
One or two packages of Goya Dried beans (Sixteen Bean Mix, Green or Yellow Split Pea,  Black Bean, Lima Bean, etc.) depending on how many you plan to serve
Two smoked Turkey wings or Pork (Pig Knuckle) or Stew Beef, if you prefer
Bunch of Scallions
Bay leaves
Olive oil

I like my soup to be thick like stew so I add two packages at once. First empty packs of beans into collender and rinse beans under warm water. Dump thoroughly rinsed beans into pot or wok. Add twelve cups of water. Add chopped up scallions, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and two or three tablespoons of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Water formula – two packs of beans add twelve cups of water. One pack of soup – add six cups for water.

If you or family member(s) are on a salt restricted diet don’t add salt because the smoked turkey wings (or pork) will contain enough salt to season the soup. You don’t want to ruin your soup by adding too much salt which will make it taste like the Dead Sea. . . .. Also remember this if you choose to use celary. Celary is naturally high in sodium content so of you add cut up celary, forget the salt shaker.

Bring to boil under a low flame if using a wok, or a medium low flame if using a stock pot. Cook for approximately one and a half to two hours. Stir often and cover with lid partially open to prevent boil over.

You will know the soup is cooked when the beans have softened, partially dissolved, and the broth has thickened.

This a cheap and healthy meal for those cool Fall and cold Winter days. Great to take to work for lunch also.


Common Sense Crime Prevention #3

Here on the North East coast (New York City) when the weather is nice, everyone wants to partake of it. New York City’s nightlife is always busy, but it especially ramps up during the warmer months. Not only do the law-abiding citizens like the balmy nights out on the town, but so does the criminal element.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and dine with friends, or hang out at a club. But, while you are there please make sure you keep track of your property. If you don’t, it will soon walk away, assisted by a different pair of hands and feet.

Ladies: Before you go out do not to take a large bag. Select a small bag and put a few essentials in it.

If you carry a wallet, do not carry every single credit and debit card that you own. Select one or two that are “good” and leave the rest home. Heaven forbid your wallet gets stolen, you will have a lot less cards to account for, report stolen, and call credit card companies to cancel.

Most clubs require valid identification to enter. What’s the best id to use? A drivers license, period! NEVER EVER EVER carry and use your passport! Why? A United States Passport is a hot commodity on the black market. In a crowded situation like a club or bar, it’s amazingly easy for the bouncer to lose it, or steal it. Now you have a national security issue on your hands because you don’t know who has it.

That’s a horrible thing you just said about the bouncer. . . . .

Yep. Unfortunately some bouncers are not as clean as the pure and driven, snow. Some have criminal pasts which is why they are bouncers in the first place. . . . And you’d be surprised how many bar and restaurant employees are part of the criminal element on the side to supplement their legitimate pay.. . .


Ladies: Never, EVER leave your bag unattended for any amount of time. That means not to go dance, use the ladies room, or take a puff break (in New York City you must smoke OUTSIDE the bar/restaurant).

This includes leaving your bag with friends, or companions. Often times they get too distracted and caught up with the atmosphere to recall they were supposed to be watching your property, and it gets stolen. Then there is the possibility that your so-called friend(s) may be the culprit. . . . .

Yes, I’ve seen many cases where the BOYFRIEND was the one who stole the woman’s wallet. That speaks volumes doesn’t it?

Ladies: Never put your bag out of your sight. This means hanging it behind your chair, sitting it on a chair next to you, leaving it on the bar, or placing it on the floor. That old saying: “Out of sight, out of mind.” is very true.

I recommend carrying a small purse or bag because it is easy to keep in your lap, or if it has a strap, on your shoulder.

Ladies: Never return to a drink. This means if you order a drink, step away to dance or smoke, then come back. Don’t drink that drink! Why? Because you don’t know who might have dropped something into it. You don’t want to wind up being a case of date rape.

So, you met this guy and his seems to be perfect. Reality check! Honestly, do you really, really expect to meet your dream guy in a bar? Remember the whole concept of a bar is to get drunk and perhaps get a little “candy” on the side. Definitely not the place to find the love of your life.

Back to the guy, there is a distinct possibility that “he’s not all that into you”. I say this, because in New York City (and other cities) there are teams of criminals who specialize in working in bars. Usually one male and one female working together. After all, look at the environment. Most bars are poorly lit, noisy, crowded, and 95 percent of the patrons are sloshed and or high. So none is the wiser. . . . .

They work like this. The male will distract the female, by chatting her up, while the female accomplice goes through and lifts the woman’s wallet (from her unattended purse). If the purse is small enough, she will take it to the ladies room, pick the wallet clean of credit cards, ids, cellphone, and cash and throw the bag and rest of it contents into the trash.
The female might then go outside, on the pretense of taking a smoke break, to hand off her catch to the drop. This is a person who is waiting outside the club, and will take the cards to the nearest all night drug store, or nearest ATM and try to get as much cash as possible, or to purchase as much ill gotten goods as possible. Most times suspect couple will disappear to do their dirty work in another club or bar.

I don’t know how it is in other cities, but in New York City, many of the clubs have surveillance cameras. If you are a victim of such a crime, you must do two things. One immediately report it to the police, then the club will have to hand over their videos to the detectives for further investigation.

Two, report it to your credit card companies and cell phone carrier. Cancel your credit cards and your cellphone service immediately. Do not wait for a good Samaritan to return the property to you. The longer you wait, gives the criminals more time to drain your accounts or run up your cellphone bill.

Lat but not least, after you’ve been a victim of above mentioned crime, if you get a mysterious phone call offering to meet you at an undisclosed location and sell you your property back. Call the police immediately. They will arrange to have undercover meet them instead of you. NEVER meet anyone who offers this!

You’ve already been victimized once, you don’t need to be victimized twice.

Stay alert and be smart, because the criminal element is. . . . . . .


Officer “Tuff Luv”

All Good Things Come To An End

All good things come to an end and this was a good ending.  

What am I talking about?  The end of the Tasha Turner Coaching Virtual Blog Tour!

IW learned a lot of great things on the tour even though I was not able to finish it out.  I happen to have a very odd work schedule which hindered me from collaborating and making timely posts.  However, I was able to post for most of it.  

First of all, I met some great people!  First of all Tasha herself, who was very patient.  Let me put it this way, she had and has the patience of a saint!  Despite the fact that she’d had a horrible car accident and was going through recovery and therapy at the same time.  Tasha definitely had the patience of Moses.  

Second, I’d never heard of a virtual blog tour before.  I had no idea that like minded people would want to post on my blog, and their friends would want to come by and visit, leave comments and perhaps follow my blog. And I could do the very same for the ones whom I’d collaborated with for that particular week.

Of course that meant I had to tidy up stuff a bit.  Just like having guests at home, I had to kind of redecorate.  Unfortunately, I had to do it in the middle of the tour, for other reasons.  

I also learned that my blog was a marketing tool.  If I seriously wanted to be a published author my blog would be one of the methods of getting the word out to people that I not only wrote books, but also blogged.  

Another effective method of getting the word out or marketing was a Facebook fan page.  So, I set one up, which has links back to my blogs and gives statuses on what I plan to publish in the near future.  

An additional method of marketing was Twitter.  Though I’d been on Twitter for about two years before I joined TTC-VBT, and thought I had things downpat, I really didn’t.  I really didn’t understand the whole concept behind all of the links and hashtags until the blog tour.  I think I failed that course though, because I never could get it quite right, but I enjoyed trying to learn it.  

In conclusion, I want to thank all of those who allowed me to post on their blogs and those who posted on mine.  Thank you so much for your friendships and the learning experience.  The chance to help and encourage one another was invaluable

Last but not least, I thank Lady Tasha Turner who put all of this together and stuck with it to the end, despite the circumstances.  You rock Tasha!  



A Surprise Encounter

Last Wednesday (09/04/2012) I went shopping, or at least tried to. I was looking for a specific piece of computer hardware and I went to about three different computer stores. Or rather, stores that sell computers and other equipment, looking for my gadget, and I never found it.

I had my eye out for a ZipLink, which is essentially a retractable computer power cord. I had one for my netbook, which is infinitely easier to carry than a regular cord. I was thinking I could use my old Ziplink, but the old one uses a two prong plug and my laptops both require a three prong one. This was why I was on the hunt. I know I can probably buy the thing on line, but I’m old fashioned and love to go into stores, look at, feel and by things the old way.

On the way home I took the bus. I get on and a mother with her four sons are already on the bus. They were all out of control and raising Cain. The youngest, who was just a baby was screeching his little head off. The two middle sons were play fighting with each other and raising a ruckus. And the oldest son was hanging upside down off the seat and singing at the top of his lungs “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle. .” over and over and over again. His mom was so busy screaming and cursing at his brothers, she didn’t have time for the older kid. Yep, a typical “Ghetto Family”.

So, I kept frowning at the kid because he was disturbing my quiet time on the bus. I like to spend my commute reading and I couldn’t read with all of that clamor. Not only was he disturbing me, he was disturbing other passengers too. Two ladies got up and moved to the front of the bus. I didn’t bother to move because I was getting off after a few more stops. But I tossed an evil eye or two his way.

When I got to my stop, low and behold, The Ghetto Family gets off too. Only I got off the front of the bus (in NYC we have those long “attenuated” buses on some lines) and people can get off in the back.

“Oh no!” I thought to myself, as I walked down the same block behind them. Now the oldest is following me and singing his song loudly, instead of keeping up with his brothers and mom.

“Oh my God! He’s doing this on purpose!” I thought as I walked. Because he was walking right next to me and looking up into my face! I was obviously going to have to go head to head with the “Demon Child”!

“Now remember, Nanci this is someone else’s kid and you can’t do a Johnny Bravo or Jackie Chan on him.” I thought to myself, wondering if I should abruptly cross the street.

“Are those the only words you know?” I asked on the spur of the moment.

“Yeah.” he replied.

“In order to properly sing a song, you should learn all the words.” I said.

“Were you mad at me back there on the bus?” he asked.

“Yes.” I replied.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because you are not supposed to sing so loudly in public like that because annoys people.” I replied. He had no reply almost as if his little ten year old mind was contemplating what I said.

“You better catch up with your family because they are leaving you.” I said, as I watch mom woman-handle the stroller containing his baby brother, down the subway steps followed by his rambunctious brothers.

“Oh they are not gonna leave me.” he said, confidently. Then he tossed off a quick wave and dashed off.

My heart melted at that very moment. His mom was so busy with his younger brothers, she simply paid him no mind. I guess she thought since he was older and therefore didn’t need any supervision.

What I thought was merely “acting out” was just his way of trying to get attention.

I hate to ask, but I wonder how many other kids do the same thing?

Recalling 9/11

First I must apologize for being a day late, but definitely not a dollar short.

I recall 9/11 just as clear as a bell. Many of you don’t know I live kinda, sort of near the area of what was back then designated as “Ground Zero”, after the strikes. It’s about a half an hour walk because I know all of the shortcuts. If I take public transportation that’s another story. . . . . .

Anyway, back in on that day, it was a beautiful and sunny morning. I had just gotten up and was prepared to go out and jog, when I heard two things out of the ordinary. One, a very loud jet engine, then a loud thunder clap. The jet engine I did not think strange because we used to get low flying jets on their way to and from the airports all the time. Especially when the weather is cloudy.

The thunder clap I thought strange because it was sunny out. I turned on the radio and heard Curtis Sleiwa (head of the New York City Guardian Angels) on the WABC morning show announce that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.

I personally wondered how in the world could someone do that. After all, the World Trade Centers were the biggest things on the New York City skyline! One had to be BLIND not to see them! An accident perhaps?

I immediately turned on my TV to confirm. I was greeted with the sight of one building in flames, and watched with horror as another plane crashed into the second tower, then all television coverage went down. Why?

Because at the time all New York City communications, radio, television, emergency transmissions were being beamed from one of the World Trade Center buildings (I forget which one, but it had a huge broadcast tower on it). WABC happened to be one the few stations how had back up towers in New Jersey. Everyone else’s were dead.

I spent that day and the resulting year or so in horror. The resulting and lingering aftermath was the dust and the smell, and like a lot of people in my neighborhood, I got sick and stayed sick with constant colds and flu symptoms. They didn’t tell us until much later, that we were breathing in toxins.

There was no where for me to get away from the smell the dust and the horror. I work for NYPD and I’d go to work and watch the guys come back from “The Pile” with their dark blue uniforms covered in dust and ash. As I said before, no one told them that they were covered in toxins that would both sicken and eventually kill some.

Now 11 years later the pictures, are still hard to look at. Especially moving and heartbreaking are the photos and videos of people jumping from the windows . . . . .

The announcers keep saying that nearly three thousand people died because of 911. Between the direct hits on the towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. I honor that total but I must also honor those who have died and were sickened as a result of rescue efforts and exposure to toxins.

That list is still growing, and I will never forget . . . . . .