What do I do with an expired Metrocard or one that has too small of an amount to use?

March 21, 2012

Here is what I learned in my quest to deal with the 20 or so Metrocards I found around my house when I moved.

1. You can use up the small amount of a Metrocard on a bus and make up the balance with change. However, you won’t be able to use the card for a transfer if you do this.

2. If your Metrocard is not expired, you can bring it to any attended station booth and ask them to consolidate multiple cards or add the remaining balance to a different card.

3. You can choose to add money to the card at a Metrocard Vending Machine. However, if it is a month or less until expiration of the card, the machine will ask you if you want to transfer it to a new card.

4. If the Metrocard is expired, but expired less than two years ago, ask the station booth attendant for the form (with the accompanying addressed, stamped envelope) to send in with your expired Metrocard to get the balance from your old Metrocard sent to you on a new card, with a new expiration date. Then, you can consolidate, as explained in item 2. Warning: the MTA told me they were “three months behind” in processing these, when I spoke to them in March, 2012.

5. If your Metrocard’s expiration date was more than two years ago, forget it, you’re S.O.L., baby. Throw it away.

6. No, you can’t check your Metrocard balance online. Yes, you should be able to, given today’s technology, but you can’t. You can check it at a Metrocard reader in a station, though.

7. You can check your balance by phone IF you are enrolled in EasyPay. If you have read this far into this post, you are not enrolled in EasyPay. Forget it.


Alert: Uniqlo 5th Ave now carries kid’s clothes

March 21, 2012

UPDATE: September 2012

Uniqlo kids clothes are WAY better now than when they were re-introduced in New York this past March when I hated them (see below).  I was just there and thought there was plenty of great stuff, especially for toddlers.  My only complaints were that the clothes don’t go big enough in size.  The XL underwear, for example, is the right size for an 8 or 9 year old kid with an athletic build.


I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is that when I passed by the Uniqlo store at 53rd and 5th in NYC today, they had kid’s clothes in the window. The bad news is that the selection is minimal, and what is there sucks. There is a small selection of skinny-fit jeans (same style for boys and girls), a few ugly girl’s sweaters, some lightweight, zip-up hoodies, and some uncomfortable looking boys clothes (button-down shirts for very little kids). Uniqlo has apparently decided to go after that ever-expanding “kids who like needlessly uncomfortable clothes” market. We all know how big that is.

Uniqlo is my favorite clothes store, I have been waiting for YEARS for them to carry kid’s clothes again, and I was ready to spend a lot of money on a whole hell of a lot of kid’s clothes. I walked out of there with 3 pairs of socks (for myself) and a pair of promotionally-priced boxer briefs ($3.90!) for my husband. Epic fail, Uniqlo.

Good book for 8 year olds?

March 16, 2012

Aside from the typical answer of Harry Potter (which was AMAZING), my family absolutely loved The Ordinary Boy series (obviously, start with book one). I reviewed book three in the series.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, Book 3: The Great Powers Outage (Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy)The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy, Book 3: The Great Powers Outage by William Boniface
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. The Great Powers Outage was my favorite of the Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy series, of which this is the third (and latest) book. To my knowledge, Book 4 is not yet out, nor do I know if it is in development. However, I can tell you that everyone in my house is eagerly awaiting it.

In this episode, everyone in Superopolis loses their power. It’s up to Ordinary Boy to figure out what happened and how (and if!) to fix it. The plot refers to elements in Books 1 (The Hero Revealed) and 2 (The Return of Meteor Boy?), which makes for a very satisfying read. While not as technically complex as the non-linearity and recursiveness of Book 2, The Great Powers Outage was richly layered, with the peripheral stories of the class election (an indictment of the American political process, minus any ideology or dogma) as well as the tale of the founding of Superopolis and the origins of The Li’l Hero’s Handbook. The book was also a simplistic, but very effective lesson in cause and effect, especially regarding correlation vs. causality. In spite of more pronounced destruction of evil compared to Books 1 and 2, no villain (or government) took a worse beating than Pringle’s Potato Chips (very thinly disguised as “Pseudo Chips” in the book), in my humble opinion.

I feel that this series is perfect for ages 8 to adulthood. Yes, I would recommend it for adults, too. It’s well-written, irreverent, smart (not dumbed down at all) and is entertaining on many levels. Children can enjoy the books and still miss many of the more sophisticated references or underlying meanings. But the humor is solid even without these.


p 131 (O-Boy is disappointed with his teacher’s level of ambivalence and his classmate’s lack of curiosity):

“I’m not trying to put anyone down.” I insisted. “I’m just trying to get answers. Isn’t the whole point of school to seek out knowledge?”

“Not particularly,” Miss Marble responded gloomily. “I’m afraid the point of school isn’t so much about learning things as it is learning not to say things that irritate other people.”

“But how else do we gain knowledge?” I asked. “Shouldn’t we always be asking questions and trying to use what we discover to make life better?”

“You’re free to do all that” — Miss Marble nodded — “as long as you don’t upset anyone in the process or challenge any of their beliefs.”

View all my reviews

Also, see this more recent post on great books for early middle schoolers.

When is the next NYC Shredfest?

March 14, 2012

Shredfest is my Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, Vernal Equinox and Washington’s Birthday all rolled up into one!  I cannot wait to shred my old bank statements,  to-do lists and discarded photon torpedo blueprints on-site with several, if not dozens, of other Manhattanites!  Shredfest happens all over NYC, in all five boroughs, and it will take place on Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 10-4 p.m.  Mark your calendars. I’ll see you and your high school diaries there!

Can you buy truly raw almonds in the U.S.?

March 2, 2012

In 2007, a law mandating pasteurization for all U.S. almonds was passed.  Some of these pasteurized almonds can be sold as “raw,” which is deceptive and wrong in my opinion, but legal nonetheless.  A consumer can apparently get around this rule by either buying truly raw almonds from abroad, or buying truly raw almonds in bulk from a U.S. almond farm.  I buy mine from Briden Wilson Farm.  I have purchased several 10lb boxes of raw, organically grown almonds from them, and I have no complaints.


%d bloggers like this: