Category Archives: 90’s pop

When do I get to pay my way?

One issue I have found over the years when trying to arrange, or pay for things in the US, is that so many companies, and websites are just not designed for dealing with someone who isnt in North America. I’ve tried to buy things through websites over there, but unless your credit card details have a zip code, that you cant use them. Some, like AT&T have given me work arounds, that using 00000 as a zip code will work on their sites, and some others.

Other times I’ve tried that, no joy! The funniest thing was once when I was ordering a food delivery over there, tried to do it on their website, no joy. Rang up, they settled it, some way or another, no idea how. Another time I rang up, only to be told that I couldnt purchase what I wanted, because I didnt have a US address, no way, no how!

Recently I found out that its not only credit cards that cause issues with US firms. On my 2 previous trips to LA, I’ve used a company called Prime Time Shuttle to get me to, and from where I have been staying in Hollywood, ordering it online, no issues whatsoever. Anyway, somewhere in the last 18 months they’ve changed their site to something that I assume is more tablet/cell phone friendly, as a lot of sites seem to have done of late. Generally I tend to find these sites less laptop/PC friendly, which is what I use of course, but I survive all the same.

No, the snag is now, that before they will take a booking from you, they have to send you an authentication code to your cell phone. Even ignoring the fact that I dont have one over here, I certainly dont have a US one, as indeed anyone travelling from Europe, to LA would be in the same position. So yes, you’ve guessed it, I cant do a booking with them. I actually checked, to see if I had a UK cell phone, if I could get the code that way, but no, it could only be sent to a North American phone anyway! Fine, I have a way around it, by using a friend, while on Facebook messenger, get the code sent to her, she pass it on to me, and then… But seriously, should it come down to doing something like that, just to make a booking for a shuttle?

There is also an alternate company I can use, without the same issue, though of course I have no idea how reliable they are? I’d rather use Prime Time, who I know are reliable, but equally why should I support a company that doesnt seem to realize that people from outside the US would like to book with them? Or that there are still people in the world who feel no desire to own a cell phone! 😛

Of course, if anyone wants to solve the issue for me, by picking me up from LAX, late afternoon on 17th May, and get me to my apartment in Hollywood, then let me know! It would cost me about $25-30 by shuttle, so happy to pay that amount to anyone doing the same job for me, and saving me the whole US company insularity issue! Return trip would be early afternoon of the 27th if anyone wants to offer that too, same arrangement!

Shout here, on Facebook or Twitter (if seeing this there) or email me at stephmajor8@hotmail.com, if a willing chauffeur. Sorry, I’m not yet a movie star, but maybe one day lol…?

Video, a take your pick moment, from one of my favorite LA groups. First one is a live performance from Hollywood Forever cemetery in 2013. Seriously, if you havent been there, and get the chance to, its a must, especially if you like seeing the last resting place of movie stars, including Valentino!

This version is a symphonic version of the same song, which I love, but naturally, no live performances this way!

My journey will go on, and on

Yes, anniversary moment tonight. Handy I found out about this, because I’ve got 4 days off, including today, in the next 5, so if you wants blogs for each of those, suggestions might be handy!

Just over 100 years ago, there was only 1 way to cross the Atlantic, by ship. Nowadays, apart from people with a lot of time, and a lot of money, no one does it by ship. Why, when you can reach the East Coast of America in about 6 hours, and if you can get a direct flight, the West Coast in about 11, would you want to spend more than a week on the Atlantic Ocean, with very little to see?

But in truth, it was really only after WW2, and the invention of jet planes, that flying the Atlantic, as a viable means of transport became possible. And it wasnt until the 70’s, and 80’s that it became practical for most people anyway! Nowadays, if you didnt make that trip by plane, well it would be a strange event!

But 105 years ago, and yes, there is a clue in that date, if you wanted to cross the Atlantic for pleasure, to emigrate, or whatever, sailing there was the only way to do it. Given that the only time I have spent a long period of time travelling by sea (beyond a few hours) was up the Norwegian coastline, from Bergen to Kirkenes, and back, I have no idea what its like to be at sea for days on end, and seeing nothing but water. I’m sure if you’re into that sort of thing, fine, but not for me. At least that Norwegian trip, some of the stops were long enough to get off, look around, stretch your legs, but on that trip, bit tricky!

Yes, on 14 April 1912, there was a ship ‘speeding’ across the Atlantic. You might even have guessed its name by now, thats right, it was the Titanic! Supposedly unsinkable, but an iceberg was to prove that claim wrong. Unfortunately, due to the conceit of the owners, and said claim, there wasnt more than a few lifeboats, and more than 1500 people died that night. Its recently come out that there was a fire, which may have damaged the hull a few weeks before, which led to the incident, but in truth, now, we will never be sure. There have, over the years, been many movies made about that moment, though the most obvious is the Winslet/De Caprio movie of the 90’s. In fact, the first was made only months after the sinking, and included an actress who was on board the ship at the time! Most of the movie industry was still on the East Coast at that time, I might add.

But yes, the next time you hop on a plane, for a long distance flight, just remember that 100 years ago, you couldnt do that. A ship to New York took about a week, or just over. To travel to Australia, as many did to emigrate, must have felt like forever! Whereas now…

Yes, the video is the obvious Titanic related one, though no, it isnt Celine Dion! Its a Post Modern Jukebox moment instead. If you prefer the original, it shouldnt be hard to find!

Sliding Doors

Well, this will be my last post in my 59th year of this life. Yes, I know, I will be 59 tomorrow, but if you think of it, given that you’ve lived one year, before you become one…oh fine, you did! I also say this life, because as I know, I definitely have had one life before, almost certainly more, if the theory is right, but fine, now, the one before this one is a bit special to me.

Mind, you can start from there in this term I guess? If Clara Johnson hadnt smoked herself to an early death in the early 50’s, would I have been born? I assume I would have done, that someone else who had died by then, would have been my past life, but anyway? But would I then have that special connection to the Golden Age of Hollywood, who knows? Maybe not, or it might have been a more famous one, of course?

Tonight though, its that other sliding door that intrigues me, given the likelihood I was one of those born intersex at birth at around the time I was born. No, I cant be certain, ever, because the hospital I was born at, closed in 1967, and somehow I cyncically have my doubts whether the intersex babies were ‘officially’ recorded then anyway.

So, lets look at the possibility that the doctors decided (in their wisdom) that I was allowed to be a baby girl, where my life would have gone from there. Clearly its impossible for me to know what it would have been like, being a teenage girl, going on dates, and everything else. I’m also assuming that back then, those dates would have been boys, just because it was the norm, and expected thing back in the early 70’s. It might have led to marriage, it might have led to having children, and in time, grandchildren, or would I have been one of those ‘wicked women’ who lived with another woman back then?

Who would I have known, that I’ve never met in my life, because of that misplaced gender? Equally, how many people have I known (I can certainly name a few) who I would have missed out on knowing, if I had been a woman? Where in the world would I be today? I know its possible it would still be Huddersfield, and working in Bradford, but lets face it, the chances of that happening under those circumstances, miniscule. Equally, I might have, like Lillian Gish, gave up any interest in romance, to develop my talents, and lifestyle as an actress? In which case, like Clara, I could be in Hollywood, making movies? Well, you never can tell!

Sat here, writing blogs, if I’d been a woman since birth, again, who can tell? I doubt it, but just maybe…? One thing is for sure though, unless we can turn back time, to that day, 1 day short of 59 years ago, and take the other option, none of us will ever know for sure!

As to the obvious step I could still take, the answer is probably no, I’m not a fan of unnecessary pain, and I’ve already got a pair of knees that will need to be fixed sometime soon. So yes, I’ll probably end up as that crazy old spinster, assuming I live long enough for all that lol!

But yes, on that day in 1958, if the Doctors had told my parents that they had a baby girl…history would be very different, I suspect?

The video is from the film of the blog title, and is probably a song that Aqua should be better remembered for, than Barbie Girl!

Stand by me?

For those of us who followed Irish Cricket before 17/03/07, the events of that day were less of a shock than they were to most. Indeed, you could say that a few days earlier, when they only tied with Zimbabwe, that we were a shade disappointed by the result, half expecting a win, against a very ordinary team in truth, who havent got better over the years. But yes, that St Patrick’s Day win against Pakistan was the day the world as a whole woke up to Irish cricket.

Some of us, as I say, though in my case from a distance, had followed Irish cricket for more than a few years by then. Ancestry thing for me, as it was for a few of those players back in 2007. Yes, more than a few of them spoke with Southern hemisphere accents! Gradually over the years things have changed, and it was only this week that Ireland played a team where all 11 players were actually born in Ireland!

The rise of cricket in Afghanistan has been even more recent, though very dramatic all the same. Hopefully, at some point in the future, they may be able to play an international cricket match in their own country, though the security situation means it wont be just yet.

Over the next few weeks, in India, a virtual ‘international tour’ starts for these 2 teams. 3 twenty over games, 5 one day internationals, followed by a 4 day ‘test match’ makes up the tour. Yes, its only an Intercontinental Cup match officially, but given the changing situation within the ICC, next time they meet, it probably will be a test match, as both countries are likely to be upgraded over the next couple of years. Which, if they keep their word, will mean Ireland playing a Test Match at the home of cricket, Lords. Wow!

Its funny to think that just 10 years ago, if someone had said this would happen, even the Irish fans would have laughed at you, but now… I had, in truth, hoped to get across to a game this summer, but though I’m back in work, and the money is coming in again, its still going to be one trip too far, I suspect. But next year, fingers are crossed.

In truth, Ireland and Afghanistan will never rival the Ashes, or India v Pakistan in cricket rivalries, but for two teams that have built themselves up together, I’m sure the games will always remain special.

The video, what these 2 teams have done over the years. Until now, in associate cricket, but in the future, test series? Maybe in a number of years, those games may even be in Kabul? Lets face it, 30 years ago, the idea of international cricket in Belfast would have been looked on nervously, so…?

The best that you can do, is read the blog!

One of the amusing things about the blogs I write, is that WordPress provide stats, so I know how many views I’ve had in a day, who has requested every blog to be emailed to them once posted, and various other details. It also used to tell me how many had actually watched the videos, but now they are embedded in the blog, that fact has gone out the window. So yes, I find all these videos for your delight, and have no idea how many people actually play them? Dont worry, I’m not planning on giving up on them regardless.

But there is one thing that has amused me over the years, and thats some of the people who have ‘Favorited’ one (or more) of my blogs, but clearly not read it. How do I know this? Well, sometimes its down to the fact that the views number hasnt changed since hours before they liked it, I remember 1 memorable day when 3 people liked a blog, but I only had 1 view all day, and that was for a different article! Yes, tagging the word ‘fashion’ seems to set off all the clothes lovers of the world, though they clearly dont read any of the articles!

“But yes, someone has tagged fashion, I have to like that.” lol!

PS Mentioning Japan in a blog tag has pretty much the same effect.

But fine, the one that amuses me the most, by far, is politics related. Yes, any mention of Trump in a tag, seems to get all the right wing Conservatives over excited, and they like the post, clearly without looking at it, for the simple reason, every time I mention him, its not in a good way!

So today, I wasnt totally surprised when someone posting on here under the name of ‘Australian Conservative’ liked last nights posting about how Trump had so driven California to annoyance, that they are campaigning to have a vote to leave the US. Oh, and of course, my less than thrilling reaction to his decision to ban Muslims from so many countries as well. But yes, he liked that posting!

The irony, when people like your postings, and they have their own page on WordPress, it links 3 of their postings on the email. One of them, ‘My defense of President Trump’s refugee ban’! Yes, the complete opposite of what I said in the posting he liked! Oh, and the views number hadnt changed from this morning!

So yes folks, if you’re going to like a blog posting, whether its mine, or from someone else, take a tip from me, read the blog before liking it, just in case? 😉

The video comes from someone who was a one hit wonder in the UK, and the star of the film was British, but wasnt me!

Go your own way, California?

Well, given the ‘love’ there is for Trump on the West Coast of the US, I guess its fair to say that I wasnt totally surprised to hear today that California is talking about having a vote to decide whether, or not they should secede from the rest of the US. I mean, its not like the West Coast hasnt discussed this concept before, as the concept of Pacifica, which would be the 3 west coast states (including Oregon and Washington), parts (at least) of Nevada, and maybe Hawaii would become 1 independent nation. Given that it would include Silicon Valley, the Microsoft technology zone, plus the entertainment belt that is LA, it would probably have quite a decent economy in its own right.

But in truth, I’m not sure its ever got beyond talk, and video games as something that is ever going to happen. I’m only imagining the chaos it could cause, as New England (plus New York, maybe?) might then be tempted to do something similar, and just let the rest of the country get on with their Republican ways. I know, I know, its never going to happen, or seemingly wasnt before the latest Presidential election!

It now seems that California at least, has decided not to bother to wait for anyone else to decide, and are seriously talking about #Calexit, or variations thereon. The irony is, that the vote wont go to the people until next year, and then by the time everything is sorted out, and they are ready to go, well its possible Trump will be ready to go, as it will be 2019! And then, its possible, with their help, they might be getting a Democrat President again, with luck.

Oh fine, it would suit me beautifully if California had a slightly more relaxed immigration policy than the US currently has, but that might only be me dreaming.

To be honest, I have no idea how it would all work out, as logically, their main trading partner would be, you guessed it, the rest of the US. Well, unless anyone else is breaking away by then, and I suspect this might be the start of things, as Oregon and Washington are discussing a Cascadia nation as a result of this, so who knows? On a more pedantic note, how this would work out with their pro sports teams, I’m not quite sure? Having said that, the only one of those sports without teams in Canada is the NFL, so might be the same here?

So yes, I wouldnt mind being a proud owner of a passport from the Republic of California in the future, maybe? 😉

Oh, and while talking about that idiot in charge at present, his move this weekend, blocking Muslim refugees from 7 countries entering the US just stuns me. Funnily enough, those countries that Trump has business interests in, not blocked, hmm?… rolls eyes…

Fine, but just remember me, California, if and when the big day comes!

Fine, 2 videos tonight, for the price of one. Same group, best known over here for 1 song in the early 90’s, but neither of these are it. But yes, 2 suitable songs, from a group from Southern California, you bet! Firstly, the one you got a clue about in the blog title

Secondly, not the greatest version of a song that sort of gets mentioned in the blog, but if anyone wanted to see how Michelle Phillips (the last surviving member of Mamas and Papas) was looking recently, heres your chance!

Last Man On the moon

It was announced this week that the last man to walk on the moon had died. Fine, he was 82, which is a pretty fine age to reach, and we still have 6 people living who have walked there, but even so, its a sad landmark to make. Even more so when you realize that the last time we visited the moon was just over 44 years ago! Since, then, no one! Maybe because for the US, it was all about beating the Soviets to the moon, and once that was achieved, ambition over! The funny thing, of those that flew to the moon (15), but never landed, only 4 are dead! And one of those is the same man who was the last to put foot on the moon, Eugene Cernan. Yes, 3 people have flown there twice, but only Jim Lovell never landed, though he was meant to, but he was part of the crew of Apollo 13, so never got there.

I’m sure at some point in the future, some more names will be added to the list of people who have flown to, or landed on the moon, but when, at present, who knows? It surely makes sense to go back before they head off to Mars in a decade or so, but when did sense come into matters like this?

But yes, sadly, the last man to leave a footprint on the moon is no longer with us, RIP, Eugene Cernan.

Fine, the video. Well, I’ve been talking about a man on the moon, so…though fine, its safe to say Andy Kaufman never went there! REM, and Springsteen!

All I want for Christmas is?

Well, a good number of book sales would be nice, but I wont hold out great expectations for that. But if anyone needs a reminder of that address to go to, a good one is

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/merrybrooks

Thanks, in advance. Oh, and fine, I’d still like to do some post book research for the most recent one lol!

Sorry to disappoint some, but I’m not going to post some of the ‘more interesting’ suggestions I made over on the other blog, I think they might be a little too different for some of the people on here. But yes, if you’re open minded, let me know, and I can give you a few suggestions, from the pretty cheap, to the improbable, and a few things in between.

In truth, beyond the unoriginal things like chocolates, booze, and bath stuff, I havent much idea on the sensible options. I could do with some new underwear, nightwear, and a new pair of shoes, but none are things people can readily buy, without knowing me, I guess, even if they wanted to!

The one resolution I have for the New Year, is to get myself back in shape. No, not the obvious way, there isnt that much of me, anyway. No, I mean in the sense that I havent had anywhere waxed in over a year, and though most areas could do with some TLC, in that sense, the obvious ones are the eye brows, and underarms. But yes, all over would be good! I could also do with massages, facials and the like, so if anyone wants details of my favourite beauty treatment place, to get me vouchers, let me know?

More wealthy benefactors might want to spend a bit more, which would be handy, as I should be getting my semi-permanent make up treatment needs its top up session this spring. And yes, Paula, I know the eyebrows need sorting before I visit!

People even more crazy with money to blow? Well, I’m planning to go to LA in May, and if anyone wants to make it even slightly more of a movie star moment, then feel free to help!

Wishful thinking? Well, an offer of a theater run, or movie part from the US might be nice! I know, stop laughing! Oh, I’d need a Green Card/Visa for that, so give me plenty of warning! New name, new approval needed! Old one would have expired by now, regardless!

I know, you might love to know the more interesting items this ‘old lady’ would love, but hey, I dont want to shock the children, and fellow workers! 😉

Video? Well, I used the original video for this on the other blog, so for the few that know both, I’ll provide a different live one, from Mariah Carey, and one of my favourite entertainers, Jimmy Fallon.

Oh (North) Carolina

OK, Politics, and Transgender issues, great companions. I know, but on a night when I’m lacking for great ideas…

In March this year, North Carolina made the political news for all the wrong reasons, at least in a LGBT sense, but yes, mainly transgender. Yes, you remember it, the dreaded Bathroom Bill, officially known as HB2 in that state. Basically the one where transgender folk had to use the bathroom in public that related to the gender they were born in, not the one they are living as, or have surgically changed to.

To say it went down like a lead balloon with most people, including a good number of those living in the state, would be to put it mildly. Numerous pop concerts, plenty of potential employers, and their jobs, and sporting events all got cancelled, and/or moved out of the state.

Anyway, the Governor said he had all the support he needed, though many felt otherwise, and said that he should wait for the election in November before claiming that. To be honest, I did wonder whether the vast majority of folk in the state would actually vote against a Republican, even with this, but seemingly they have.

Only one little snag, 3 weeks after the election, and he hasnt yet accepted defeat! Yes, he lost, by at least 9,000 votes! North Carolina, I’m proud of you! But yes, as I say, he’s so full of himself, he cant accept he actually lost! Yes, the Republican’s took the election by storm, and he still lost!

Yes, hopefully one day soon, he will accept his demise, though I’m not holding my breath at present, let the new Governor take control, and get rid of this ghastly bill. It may not get North Carolina back the concerts, and sporting events, and conferences they’ve lost, but it may stop them losing even more!

No, you’re right, I have no plans to fly through Charlotte until they do, though to be fair, that seems unlikely at present, anyway.

Right, video time. A song from the 90’s, quite modern for me. Suitable title, even if its not about the state of that name.

There she goes again!

No, not going crazy again, not sure I’ve never not been crazy, but anyway… Something far more mundane, a little bit (well, maybe not so little?) of clothes shopping.

In truth, one of the main reasons for my trip into town today, was to get a birthday card for someone, for Thursday, which I at least managed to do. The secondary issue, a bit of clothes shopping for me.

No, nothing very exciting, but stuff that I needed. One thing I’ve discovered walking to work recently, is that even allowing for the fact that winter is coming, its a chilly zone I walk through, with a brisk wind, so wrapping up warm is a wise move. Snag is, most of my tops are of the lighter kind, not much use for winter weather, especially if the forecasters are right this year (they forecast this every year, mind), and that its going to be a cold winter, I need something warmer. I also needed a pair of gloves, for the same reason, and a winter coat too, as my anorak I’ve had for many years is coming to the end of its life as well. The latter, no one would know, unless I lifted my arms up high, but…

Luckily, there’s a charity shop close to the bus stop at the bottom of town, so went in there, hoping I might find something. A coat, a pair of gloves, and 3 tops (2 winter suitable, other vintage look) later, I walked out again! Several months ago, I won a contest on a Facebook group (I tipped well at golf at the time, less so lately), and got £30 of vouchers for the group of shops including Dorothy Perkins (Arcadia group?), and hadnt been inspired by the store across the road at work. I know a lot of the issue is me, and paying out large sums of money for clothing, even if I’m not paying for it, but…So I tried the store in town. Fine, price issue is much the same, but I found a reduced top for winter wear for £10, so hunted around, found a non winter, flapper type top for £20, and yes, issue of spending vouchers is gone lol!

The other main thing I needed was slippers, as my current pair are rather religious now (holy, groan) and I found a cheap pair of those slipper/sock type things, so will give them a try. Oh fine, its after this I went mad, given I was on a roll, and ended up in one of my favourite charity shops in town (Kirkwood Hospice), saw a gorgeous vintage style dress for £6.50, and fine, it came home with me too! May well wear it Thursday night now. My excuse, and sticking to it!

So, lesson learnt, musnt go shopping again too soon, even if I’m paying, and even if all the money only goes to charity shops! But if anyone wants to subsidize me, there are a few things I could get…? 😉 A pair of work shoes, for starters, though I suspect I will be in boots most of the winter. Nightwear, and bras, hmm, might be more critical lol!

Oh, bonus moments. One guy in one of the charity shops said he liked the way I was dressed, and another guy told me to “Be Careful, darling.” as I was trotting round a corner to make sure I got the bus home!

OK, video time. A bit more of Sixpence None The Richer, another cover song.