September 1st, 2007



I placed an order, a couple of weeks ago, for some prints through I ordered five 8X10s, a couple of poster-size prints, and some smaller prints. One of the 8X10s arrived with some kind of large smudge on it. I checked the original, which is a scanned black-and-white picture, and saw nothing resembling that smudge. The smudge also contained some color in it, reddish, which certainly was not there.

I wrote to the snapfish customer service through a form on their website that was specifically for refunds or replacements. I received nothing in response, no answer at all. That was at least a week ago. So today I wrote again, asking why I haven't heard from them and saying if I don't hear in the next couple of days I will never order from them again.

I am noting this here because if I do not get a satisfactory response I want people to know.

Saturday morning walk

We left the apartment at about 9:25 this morning. The air was cool, the light beautiful. It rained a little yesterday so the crud was gone from the air. It felt wonderful.

I decided to head north today. No pet parks in that direction but I figured Floyd would be fine with a bit of a walk. We walked straight up Amsterdam, taking in the smells of the bakeries and restaurants, delicious aromas. We passed playgrounds and some official buildings and a park I want to look at again another day. I decided we'd go up to 90th Street, turn right, turn right again on Columbus, and head back that way. Columbus is a bit of an upscale shopping zone, with lots of cool coffee places and restaurants and shops. It's fun to windowshop there.

On 90th, between Amsterdam and Columbus, we found the West Side Community Garden. Quite a nice surprise. My first inkling was a sign posted on the outside of the iron fence telling about the type of bees to be found there. No stingers. Not to worry. Intrigued, I found the opening and went in. What a lovely place. Lush, full of flowers and other plants, arbors, a circle where people can gather, benches, an inner gated area where, I gather, people maintain their own crops. Collapse )

There's dirty and there's dirty

I have mentioned in this space before that I wonder about the way the producers choose homes for Clean Sweep and similar American reality shows. I know there are always two people involved, for some reason, two residents. Also, I've noticed that these homes suffer more from runaway clutter than from actual dirt. They seem like homes that got away from normally neat people. The windows aren't too dirty, there aren't cobwebs all over, there isn't sludge.

The cleaning experts are kind and careful of the residents' feelings and they usually provide goodies for them - new furniture, paint, snazzy clever rearrangements. There are often prizes to be won.

Not so with the British How Clean is Your House? In this show, the intrepid cleaners enter real nests of infestation and horror. They do not spare the resident's feelings - the ones I have seen featured just one resident each time  - and they don't offer any prizes. They take samples and send them to the lab. After they have cleaned the place up, and we aren't talking just one room here but the entire place, they tell the resident they will be back to check on them. When they return they are usually not very hopeful. Some people get the message and manage to keep the place up but others start falling back into old bad habits. Easy enough to do.

Have a look at this image gallery from one cleanup. No holds barred here. This is the real thing.

What's especially cool to me is that not only do these two tackle incredibly dirty places, honestly much worse than my worst days and years, but they do it with cleaning products readily available and inexpensive, not to mention safe. No piles of dangerous chemicals for them. They use grapefruit with salt to clean a bathtub and sink, coffee to restore wood, and so much more. They take on the worst possible situations and prove that these solutions really work.  I see that they now have a book and you can be sure I'm putting it on my wishlist.

I really like the British attack reality shows. Another one is Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. In this show Gordon Ramsey, a top chef (not from the series) visits failing restaurants and in one week tries to put things right. He does not mince words. But while he can be deadly when chewing out an errant chef he also takes time to let others know their value. Some restaurant owners are willing to take all his advice; others are unbelievably resistant. There is something much more real about Brit reality than American. At least this type.

Oh yeah. I'm enjoying my time in New York. Watching British television...