Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Service of When Little Things for Some are Big to Me

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

I’ve written a few times about how little things mean a lot. This post is an updated version.

I was so happy when a few sprigs I cut from an overgrown geranium took root. Over the years, I’ve found this plant to be persnickety and not easy for me to propagate. I’m always tickled when one of the shoots takes hold.

Friends know how much I love to receive cards—e- or paper–and I am grateful for each one. This year I recently received a Freshcut orchid and a rooster who plays polka on an accordion in addition to a fabulous selection of others.

My heart sank when a clock I’m fond of refused to work in spite of countless batteries I’d install. I brought it to Jennings on First Avenue in my old neighborhood and after a new motor, it’s good as new. So happy to see it back in its place above my kitchen door.

Friends who have a weekend home in Connecticut have brought me fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from a local farm every Sunday for weeks. What a treat!

When I learned that a series I’m attached to—The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix—will have a third season, I was elated, even though I probably won’t see anything until 2025 due to the writer and actor’s strike.

My bathtub drain was clogged. It took the handyman/porter a few minutes to remedy what I feared would make a major mess. It didn’t. Whooo hooo!

What things that may be little to some are big–and meaningful–to you?

Freshcut orchids

Service of Rituals

Monday, October 17th, 2022

This doesn’t fit precisely in the “Little Things Mean A Lot” series on this blog nor is it just the same as the more recent Service of Rituals and Traditions, but it’s related. I thought I’d add some of my own to the ones readers sent and The New York Times published recently in “The Little Rituals That Keep Us Going.”

The Times article’s subhead went: “Reading Nancy Drew. Watching the birds every day. Counting yellow doors. Thousands of Times readers shared their wellness ‘non-negotiables.’” Dani Blum wrote the article.

Mine aren’t charming or creative however they give structure and happiness to my life.

My newest ritual is a quick game of Wordle. I came late to the game. At this writing I’ve played 57 times. I find I do best when I play early in the day.

WMNR’s classical music entertains me all day. I listen live through my laptop. Almost no talk.

I will miss the Australian drama, “A Place to Call Home,” that for 67 weeks made me look forward to Friday pm on PBS. A friend showed me where else I could watch the program if I had a conflict causing me to miss an episode.

I take advantage of long phone calls by watering or tending to plants. I have a bunch and now that they’ve moved indoors it’s easier to do.

I eat waffles or pancakes every Sunday morning.

Now that I work at home, I like to officially end the workday between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 with a glass of wine and some cashew nuts. I’ve read that cashews are healthy—I ate peanuts before.

By 10:00 a.m., I’ve completed a list of chores as I used to when I left for an office. I don’t want to see an unmade bed or a dish in the sink after that.

To close the night, I like to watch an episode of a funny series on Netflix such as Seinfeld or Schitt’s Creek.

What are some of the rituals that keep you on track, make you happy and that you look forward to?

Service of I’m Not Weeping: Feeble Crises Due To Tech Blip

Thursday, December 9th, 2021


Image by Ashish Bogawat from Pixabay 

I couldn’t tell if Sarah E. Needleman was being sarcastic when she chose the examples for her article “Amazon Outage Disrupts Lives, Surprising People About Their Cloud Dependency,” in the Wall Street Journal.

Disrupts lives? She reported that as a result there was one couple who had to manually feed their cats “like in ancient times,” the husband said, because their automatic cat feeder didn’t work.  A man complained that he had to use a broom and dustpan to clean up crumbs from the muffin he dropped on the kitchen floor because his Roomaba robot vacuum was disabled. Another felt lonely because he couldn’t ask Alexa for news updates or the weather. Alexa’s disconnect disrupted a woman’s day because she couldn’t ask it to turn on and off her lights. In addition, as the outage impacted Zappos, she couldn’t track a package.

Note: None of these people were disabled and dependent on technology to literally work for them. So I am not weeping.

About the December 7 cloud interruption Needleman wrote that “Amazon Web Services is the largest cloud-computing service provider in the U.S. The outage of much of its network lasted most of the day and disrupted several of the tech giant’s services, as well as many of its corporate customers’ websites and apps.

“It affected the company’s videoconferencing tool Chime and its home-security system Ring, plus many third-party applications that sit on top of Amazon’s cloud, including Ticketmaster and streaming services from Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc.

Echo smart home box
Image by hamburgfinn from Pixabay  

“For many consumers, it was an awakening to how many internet-enabled devices they now have in their homes and how much even some of their most basic daily needs depend on a connection to the cloud.”

Basic daily needs? What happened to food and shelter?

My health insurance company tried to get me to download an invoice when in the past they’ve mailed one with months worth of coupons. I was burned by linking to a fake document so instead I called to confirm what I thought was in the document.

This insurance is solely for the old and the ancient. I wonder if I’m alone in requesting paper for what doesn’t fit in an email. I’m not a total luddite: I’m happy to access my bank accounts online but I’m the one seeking the information and inserting my user names and passwords.

As technology surges on, I’ve noticed a vigorous trend for old fashioned marketing at the same time. This is the first year in ages I’ve been inundated by catalogs. I photographed the ones that came in just the last few weeks–photo below. I haven’t ordered from a catalog in a dog’s age. Can’t figure out the timing of this approach.

Are you addicted to your cloud and app-connected devices? If the reporter is serious and the lives of the owners of these devices are “disrupted” when they don’t work, impacting their “basic daily needs,” what does this say about the direction of our society? Should one company have so much “power” over people’s lives?

Service of Favorite Films II

Monday, March 8th, 2021

As of Friday, New Yorkers are allowed back in movie theaters at a pandemic-safe 25 percent. Will they go?

So many films are available on demand or on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. I only subscribe to Netflix and have loved series like “Lupin,” “Marcella,” “Heartland” and “Anne with an E”  and films like “The Intouchables,” and “Midnight Diner.” I can’t keep up with all the entertainment. On my to watch list are “Made You Look,” “Captain Fantastic” and “Sister Sunshine.”

I’m still enamored of favorites on Turner Classics such as “Chariots of Fire,” “Roman Holiday,” “Brief Encounter,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Way We Were” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

Will people be happy to stay home or are folks desperate to get out? For a year we’ve watched movies from the comfort of our sofas accompanied by our choice of snacks. On streaming services we can watch whenever it’s convenient–there are no show times–stop a flick or episode to text a friend, wash a dish, grab a nibble, replay a missed section or visit the loo.

Before sharing an indoor space with strangers for two hours with masks on–or off-and-on between handfuls of popcorn and sips of soda–some will wait for 70 percent of us to be vaccinated or at least to see if any venues require proof of covid-19 vaccination.

Is New York being too cautious to the detriment of the economy? Mississippi and Texas have lifted all pandemic restrictions including mask-wearing in all venues.

Going to the movies makes for a perfect date for teens and college friends, for folks who want to get out of the house and as an excuse to meet a friend and grab a bite before or after. I’ve loved going to the movies alone or with a pal. When my husband watched football or golf many a Sunday I’d be off to the flicks. I’ll expect I’ll return but not yet. And you? Are you waiting for herd immunity to kick in? Are you happy to forever cocoon in place to satisfy your flick fix?

Service of Dreading the End of a Beloved Book or Series

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Belgian Neuhaus chocolates

As I reach the end of a much-loved book or Netflix series I dread the anticipated feeling of loss. I’ll miss the characters I’ve befriended, fiction or non. With options to mingle and in-person entertainment cut off–especially for the covid-cautious–it helps to have something to look forward to if there isn’t a good movie on Turner Classic, a scheduled live online concert or event or reruns of a favorite series like “Blue Bloods” or “Law & Order.” [I miss Jerry Orbach.]

The only reason I dislike e-books is because I can’t gauge when the end will happen–how many pages or chapters I have left. So how can I slow down so the book lasts longer? I want to pace my reading as I do consumption of fancy chocolates. I try to eat only one a day.

I borrowed Erik Larson’s “The Splendid and the Vile” from the New York Public Library at a busy time and hardly started it when the library took it back. I’m now #195 in line for 255 copies. I haven’t mastered the pace and timing of borrowing. When I select a few books they all seem to arrive in my virtual book box at once.

I try not to binge watch episodes on Netflix of “West Wing,” “Call My Agent,” “Broadchurch,” and “The Crown” that I save for late night. I even split into two nights a good flick “The Half of It.”

E-books at the NY Public Library

I was disappointed by the first episodes of Darren Star’s new series, “Emily in Paris.” Maybe I’ll become fonder of the characters as I continue to watch.  He also created the iconic and fun “Sex and the City” among others. While the City of Lights never looked better and the fashions are terrific, so far the dialogue is predictable and characterization of the Americans and French clichéd, the former optimistic, friendly and creative, the latter luddite, unsociable and grumpy. Paris is also a highlight of  the “Call My Agent” series but the characters and situations are quirky and funny. [One of the actors called her agent because the director insisted she lie nude in a casket. The nude part was OK but being depicted dead in the altogether not so much.]

What entertainments do you look forward to during the pandemic? If you borrow e-books from a library how do you time your reservations so you don’t end up with either none for days or too many at once? Can you recommend some books–e, audio or traditional–TV series, movie or programs on a subscription-based streaming service? How many services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, or Disney do you subscribe to? Which is the best? How do you find time for more than one?

Service of Little Things Mean A Lot III

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Money plant cutting

Since the pandemic began, I’ve written two previous Service of Little Things posts. Two of the following four little things may really be big.

My vote counts

I’m grateful for the link a friend sent me for the skinny on which exemption to check to legitimately send for an absentee ballot in New York State. https://www.nbcnews.com/specials/plan-your-vote-state-by-state-guide-voting-by-mail-early-in-person-voting-election/.

When I drilled down to New York, https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html I learned which option to check: “Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).

Queries to the NY Board of Elections and to one of my senators had gone unanswered.

 A tree grows in a NYC high-rise

I was thrilled that a cutting from a money tree, aka Pachira aquatica, Malabar chestnut or Saba nut–seems to have taken root. This baby [photo above] is two months old. I feel joy watching it grow.

E-book heaven

And while this isn’t little–I splurged and bought myself an iPad and I’m thrilled with it–the book world is my oyster thanks to the New York Public Library’s e-book collection. Some books I’ve reserved, photo right. I’d never wanted to read a book on a gadget but the library is still closed and in any case I am uncomfortable borrowing a book during the pandemic. Like any convert, I’m taken with this space saver that almost everyone else has owned for years.

Talent to Amuse

I learned that a wonderful series on Netflix–“Call My Agent”–is in production for another year. In French with subtitles, it’s a well done, funny show that takes place mostly in Paris. It’s about a quirky collection of talent agents and their famous clients.

Do you increasingly appreciate little things in these unsettling times? For what are you grateful?

Service of Fakes: Phony Laughter Doesn’t Cheer

Monday, July 20th, 2020

The first “fakes” post in 2016 was about food. A bunch of others followed on various aspects of fakery mostly published in 2019.

Laughter has been a most welcome part of my life. If I’m at a restaurant and see people at an adjacent table doubling over in hysterics I enjoy the scene even if I don’t know what’s tickling them. However just as I don’t like the aftertaste of faux sugar–I’d rather not have any diet ice cream, cookie, yogurt or soda–I don’t react well to pretend laughter.

Since the pandemic started, the weekday morning talk show hosts I listen to on a commercial NYC radio station increasingly roar at nothing hoping to achieve a cheery atmosphere. I realize they are trying to mitigate these calamitous times but their mirth is phony and the triggers childish–often mean-spirited–hardly worth a mild chuckle. NPR isn’t exempt. On one of its Saturday morning programs involving a host and a few participants the grating, forced mirth of one of them, shrieking at every sentence uttered by the others, pierces my eardrums and annoys me in equal measure.

I laugh all the time without being prompted by soundtracks while watching programs on Netflix such as “West Wing,” “Call My Agent,” or “The Gibson Girls;” favorite vintage movies like “Auntie Mame” on Turner Classic Movies or while reading a book–The Gentleman from Moscow these days.

An exception may be the late night show host-comedians Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers or Jimmy Kimmel. They might need an audience soundtrack as their pandemic format suffers without the jollity of a live audience.

Does hearing someone laugh–even if the person is faking it–cheer you? What makes you laugh these days? Is there anything that you should like or appreciate that you don’t because it’s ersatz or fake?

Service of What Will Change and What Will Remain the Same: So Many Questions

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

When I see a street with nobody on it in NYC I’m usually on alert. Now I’m relieved. Will it always be so?

I keep a few hidden dollars around just in case and have for decades. On occasion Homer would leave a note saying he owed the envelope $X. Now it turns out dollars and coins may spread coronavirus. Recently E-ZPass announced it doesn’t accept cash anymore nor will Metro-North Railroad and some restaurants have had this policy for a while. [I wrote about the trend in “Service of Cashless Restaurants” in 2018.] So is cash on the way out permanently? If street vegetable, fruit, coffee and falafel vendors return will they only accept credit cards?

Will we have the option of going to the movies anymore? A friend who just saw “Emma” at her neighborhood movie house suggested to friends that they watch it on Pay Per View as they shelter in place admitting she preferred seeing it on the full screen. Do enough people agree? Will Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Turner Classic Movies fill this hunger?

If hair stylists remain closed will long hair on men of all ages become the fashion and gray/white hair for women of a certain age?

Printed copies of newspapers pile up at the office. Is this the death knell for the print versions?

How about church, temple and synagogue attendance–more or less once the crisis is over and services resume?

Will more people telecommute to save employers the cost of rent? Local hosts on 710 WOR Radio are on-air from their homes now and some save hours a week in commuting time. Speaking of real estate, will more people flee from living in cities where viruses thrive on crowds? We all press L for lobby in elevators.

What about teaching: Will the cost of college shrink as techniques to teach online become more compelling and interaction realistic through technology? Will gathering in classrooms become obsolete? What will happen to all those buildings?

Will enough people have learned to cook and/or to order in to make restaurants less tempting?

Will sports fans have found other interests? Will libraries close forever as people increasingly download books and will borrowed books be forever suspect? What about the classes and lectures held at libraries?

What about auto-pay? If a bank account is bare, won’t people want to strategize about which bills to satisfy and not have vendors grab at the overdraft willy nilly?

Too many questions. Should we not ask them now?

Service of Subscription Services

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Tempted to sign up online for the $2.00/week New York Times digital subscription or The New Yorker Magazine’s 12 issues for $12 but haven’t fallen for either yet because you may end up paying for them for the rest of your life or spend half that time shaking them off? I’m afraid of subscription services because I suspect that they are impossible and/or time-consuming to shed.

When we moved we got a year of Netflix for free with my FIOS bundle–internet, TV, phone. I love it. Goodness knows what the additional charge will be–in February 2020–to my super hefty FIOS bill. I’ve marked my calendar for January to remember to find out what the damage will be and to take appropriate steps.

Joanna Stern reported in The Wall Street Journal‘s Personal Technology column that she’d paid $540—or $15/month for three years—for an electronic fax service she used twice. “The charges regularly hitting our credit cards have expanded far beyond video and music-streaming services and, yes, newspapers. The average American pays $237 a month for subscription services, according to a July 2018 report from West Monroe Partners.”

She added: “The technology industry loves the term SaaS, or Software as a Service. It’s the idea that software isn’t just bought once and installed, but rather is subscribed to and always updating. Microsoft Office 365? SaaS. Google Drive? SaaS. Your kid’s coding app? SaaS again.

“There’s also CaaS, Content as a Service. Netflix ? Hulu? Spotify? Apple News+? All CaaS. And then there’s HaaS, hardware as a service. Your connected door lock, thermostat, security camera, maybe even your car or your toothbrush, now come with subscriptions.” I did NOT sign up for Onstar emergency services that came free for a few months with my GM car. The company never had my credit card number.

Do you have so many subscription services you can’t keep count? How do you keep track of them all? How long does it take you to notify them of your new number if you lose your credit card? Have you had trouble ridding yourself of any?

Service of Subscriptions: A Winning Business Model—Sometimes

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Before Amazon customers buy a toothpick, its 100 million Prime subscribers have handed the company from $77.88/year to $119/year, representing the cost to students and everyone else respectively. [Some may be grandfathered at $99.99.] Nobody outside the company seems to know the breakdown so you can’t do the math but 100 million paying $1/year would represent a tidy sum.

Subscribers get benefits such as free fast shipping for eligible items, shopping deals, streaming films and TV shows.

According to Rachel Siegel of The Washington Post, “The real money, though, is in the buying power these shoppers wield: Prime members reportedly spend an average of $1,300 a year on Amazon, compared with $700 for its customers who are not members.” And it seems that many of the former don’t comparison shop.

The subscription model works for others such as Netflix, which Siegel reported has 125 million members. Health clubs too—which count on people paying for a year and not returning after a few months.

On the other hand, MoviePass has had trouble calculating its fee and benefits–a shame as the concept originally served a purpose, especially for customers in cities where one movie ticket costs upwards of $15. Its monthly fee will soon increase to $14.95 from $9.95. According to Nishant Mohan in The Wall Street Journal, “MoviePass, which has more than 3 million members, lost $98.3 million on $48.6 million of revenue in the quarter ended March 31.”

Tuesday’s Journal reported that the company would limit subscribers from one movie a day to three a month. Ben Fritz wrote that the company had forecast 5 million subscribers by December 2018 which chief executive Mitch Lowe admits might not happen quite that fast. He told Fritz: “Ultimately, I believe this is a 20 million-subscriber business over the next three to four years.”

Meanwhile, it’s trying to stay afloat. It has competition such as AMC Entertainment Holdings with 175,000 members with a monthly $19.95 charge to see three movies a week at its US theatres. MoviePass “plans to limit the availability of first-run movies opening on more than 1,000 screens during the first two weeks.” It also has had technical glitches. One recent day its app featured showtimes for e-ticketing theatres, only, and none others.

I’ve noticed disgruntled customers gripe on social media. One subscriber wrote on Facebook: “I’m unable to cancel my account. They say you’re liable for a year. It’s crazy. You have to go thru their app for customer service and that took more than 2 hours.”

Have you had trouble getting out of a subscription? How many times can a company stumble and succeed in the end?  Are there some subscriptions you endorse? Any you don’t?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz