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Archive for October, 2009

RCN

RCN is such a crappy cable service in NY. They are relatively new, and their program titles and timings are always incorrect. The quality especially when you change channels is quite poor. But they are getting better. They used to use a filter to keep out upgraded channels from basic service, but now they have a different technology. I have been using Time Warner cable all these years. TWC has monopoly in NY, and the good thing is that you don’t need to sign up for an annual package and can cancel anytime. When parents come over from India, I get Indian channels and then cancel when they leave.

But they need to get their customer service in order. I scheduled for a technician to come over, and he would not cross the hallway to set up cable in another room instead, since that room was not scheduled over the phone. That room is in another apartment (I am combining 2 apartments), so technically in TWC’s system/computer the rooms are two different apartments. I have 2 options – one, I set up a new account with both apartments under separate accounts. But I will be charged more. Two, I send them proof of combining both apartments legally, they will evaluate, enter into their system as one apartment, and then set-up cable service in the second room as an extension which is cheaper. So complicated!! Why are we humans so governed by computers? I mean, couldn’t they just change it over the phone instead of doing the evaluation crap? What do they care if its one or two apartments?

Now I know that RCN is no better. When you call, they will keep connecting you to someone else without telling you to hold and will abruptly put you on music, it takes ages to get hold of the right person, their website doesn’t give much info, their channels are not intuitive (why can’t Fox channel just say Fox instead of WNYW), titles of episodes are incorrect, timings are ridiculous (Seinfeld ends at 1:15am instead of 1am), prime channels are all over the place (Bravo is 108), and I have to yet find Lifetime for Project Runway. Title “Tere Naam” is really a Ramayana cartoon. There is one silver lining — the Indian channels are way better!! I have Star Plus, Gold, One, and ITV. Granted not a great line-up of channels, but at least its something. And there is a Bollywood on Demand — mostly oldies, but a handful of new movies like 8×10 Tasveer. I watched Billu, Golmaal Returns, and Chup Chup Ke last weekend.

I do hope RCN catches up with TWC — I have had enough of monopoly in Manhattan.

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Delhi

AM is going to Delhi. I wanted to give him a long list of things to buy… but will he know what I want and like? It has been years since I went to Delhi. I went with my parents as a kid and stayed at an aunt’s place. She had a cute white dog. They went out every morning to work, her daughter to college, and we had a maid serve us breakfast and dinner. It was quite cold, and we were always caught in the Delhi traffic. Old Delhi was so different from new, but I LOVE LOVE history. I loved going to Red Fort and checking out all the buildings. I wish I could go back to Delhi. Its a beautiful city, especially shopping. All top designers have a store here — some of them don’t have stores in Mumbai but have them in Delhi. Bangle bazaar, Lodhi, all the top designers — JJ Vallaya, Tarun Tahiliani, Manish Arora. Of course there are tons of new ones now. I wish wish I could go to Delhi and spend 1-2 days shopping. I like Delhi more than Mumbai for shopping.

What should I ask AM to buy? Bangles? Jewelry? Tops? Stuff for our new apartment? Painted pots? Handicraft? How will he know what I like? Maybe he can send pictures form his Blackberry and I could ask him to buy… What a shame – he is going to Delhi and I don’t have a list for him.

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Week 2

The demolition has been completed. Week 2 and everything has come to a standstill. I am waiting for the building architect and his engineer to let me know if we can move the duct which serves as a kitchen vent for the entire building. The Super is being annoying and saying no to everything. The contractor offered him money but the guy won’t budge. I do hope things work out – at this point I really cannot change the floor plan. All alternatives are worse.

My contractor is extremely annoying. Whenever my architect is around, he behaves differently. He is uncooperative, makes a big deal out of everything, tries to act funny, and smokes. Its so annoying. AM is in India so I have to deal with the damn guy. I trust my architect — she has a very good eye for things. She is able to look at photos and point out good ideas. Even though I may not have agreed on a few things initially, I have come around because after seeing photos I realize that she is right. So even if I don’t agree now, I know that she is right and its best to do it her way unless I feel strongly about something. The best decision I made — fire old architect, hire new one!

The contractor is another story. All contractors are like that — they will argue about everything and will do whatever they want. Any change you want to make, they will argue. I met one contractor who was much better, but his prices were way higher. Anyway this guy makes a recommendation which doesn’t work for me. He tells me, the Super is stupid, your architect is stupid. Everyone is stupid. I have a solution — here is my idea. He has such a big ego — a big big ego. So I made the trip to listen to his idea just to please him and motivate him. I wish AM comes back soon – the guy listens to AM, but with me he is annoying.

The worse things is, he smokes in my apartment. He has no manners and won’t listen when I tell him not to smoke. Its so disrespectful. How can someone smoke in someone else’s place when the host is saying no? So ill-mannered. I really really hate it when he smokes. Hate it. Its the most disgusting habit on earth – smoking. When we go to meet him in his office, he shuts the door and chain smokes. Its disgusting. I cannot breathe. I cannot stand it when he smokes in my house. If a contractor smokes before the owner, his men will think its okay to smoke and smoke in my apartment. The very thought disgusts me. I really wanted to write in the contract that every time he or his men smoke, I will charge him $1,000.

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UES is boring

I moved to the Upper East side 2 weeks back, and its boring as hell. Few people, nothing to do… lacks the hustle and bustle of the west side. It is much quieter, and I kind of like not having to wade through tourists, but its too quiet. I ordered in Thai, Sushi, and Indian, and they all fall short. The west side has way better restaurants and food. I have never thrown out so much food before. I am going to spend the rest of my Sunday on the west side and catch Whip it. I am dying to go to Max Brenner and taste their awesome hot chocolate. A great place to just sit quietly over hot chocolate and brainstorm ideas for my apartment. Thank God my stay is temporary.

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Corporate America sucks

Corporate America sucks. Big time. You get hardly any holidays and are worked to the brim. Corporate American culture is like a parasite — it sucks all the blood out of you till it bleeds you dry. First of all, the country has no culture to boast of so no holidays to accompany that. Hardly any national holidays. Then you have 11 sick days and 15 days holidays. My company has 17 paid-time off which includes sick days — although the summer Fridays are a BIG perk and unheard of. Second, people are just spokes of a wheel to management. While every spoke is needed to get the wheel to turn, management feels free to move the spokes around at will. In the process management forgets that these are people, not spokes. If you talk to management, you are given a crap-and-bull story bla bla bla. Management will nod their heads and agree with you, empathize with you, but do nothing about it. It maybe that they don’t have the power to do anything. All the business school crap that you read about motivation, communication, managerial skills, promotion, bla bla is all pure crap. I have not come across a single company that is not governed by office politics in these matters. Office politics – the biggest evil.

Europeans are the best. East Europeans have the maximum number of holidays and then Europeans. Italians don’t work in summer and go away on vacation. They close their workplace at 3pm!!! Ah the luxury… Canadians have the fewest holidays, then Chinese, then Americans. But China and Canada have more national holidays and their workplace is not as parasitic/vampire-like as America’s. This culture is spreading… multi-nationals in India follow American rules, but the average work time in India is 10 to 5. So even though people work Saturdays, the work hours are better. My British friend went to Tony Robbins’ conference, convinced her husband to go with her, and GOT HER COMPANY TO PAY saying that she had to go for motivational reasons. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? And she kept telling me to do it too!!!

Bloggers from my fav blog, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com, were in Europe for a conference. All the Europeans went out for drinks and had fun after the conference while Americans went up to their rooms and wrote for their blogs late in the night. Why do American lives revolve around work so much? Why do people live and breathe for work? Work is just one dimension of life — it is not life itself. I used to care deeply about my work – I still do – its hard not to care about something you spend most of your time and life with. But I have grown to understand that work is not everything – its just work. Like AM says, work is work, it is not supposed to be fun. Its just one aspect of life. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be.

Only in American culture is it common to visit shrinks. Clearly, people need it. With such a culture, stresses of everyday life, lack of appreciation, rude people to deal with, poor customer service, life is a bitch. All of this is manifold if you live in New York.

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Wendy Williams show

The worst show in TV history — Wendy Williams show. The woman prepares pages and pages of things to talk about and discusses everyday celebrity stuff. She is so annoying. And people watch her… OMG!!! What is with this country and Americans? How can they watch such a crappy show? She is the new Tyra for Joel McHale in The Soup.

10-11pm is the worst and most boring time of the day. There is nothing on basic cable. Jay Leno show on NBC — now I know the guy is not funny, his writers were. He has zero sense of humor, and his show worked only because his writers were good. Not that I watched his show regularly. I just saw clips in cabs which seemed very funny. Yawn. Wendy Williams show on channel 9. News on Fox and CW11. WTF am I supposed to watch? Thank God the cable guy is coming over tomorrow to upgrade my service.

I wanted to go out with friends but one of them has her in-laws over for Diwali — hopefully next week. I am so bored… yawn. Two more weeks to go.

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Its been ages since I last wrote here… ages. I have been sooooo busy these days with the renovation and work. I got a haircut today and my hair stylist, as always an advocate of letting my hair frizz stay, and I always want to straighten it out. Straight hair is easier to maintain, falls less (he says its a misconception), and is less entangled. Frizzy hair gets entangled and is all over the face. I have thick unmanageable hair, and straight hair keeps it out of the way — I don’t need to wash my hair everyday if I straighten it out. But I have this debate every single time I get a haircut. My hair stylist is awesome and after trying several places including well-known ones, I found him and have remained loyal.

I had dinner at Vatan, my fav Indian place. I went all by myself since AM is in India. I miss him a lot although its just been 2 days, but it was nice to go there — AM does not like Vatan. The waitress was like “you are all alone all by yourself”… duh — this is New York. Women wine and dine alone as and when they please.

My renovation has hit a standstill. We found a riser 12” wide in a wall — I was supposed to have an entrance there and not cannot because the 12 inch riser which is really the exhaust for the kitchen in the entire building blocks the way. There is a riser in the middle and on the side, so I cannot move the entrance by a few inches left or right. The only way is to move the riser or change the entire plan. I am quite bummed with the options — the room sizes are reduced a lot. Plus the space is less open. But I can do whatever I want in the bathroom and have it whatever size. I prefer the old plan. The building Super says I cannot move it. I told the building managing agent that they did not inform me and I have to incur costs of starting the process from scratch and breaking the wall. I am hoping that blaming the building will compel them to allow me to move the riser. Wishful thinking I guess… my contractor says to threaten to sue them. Not a bad idea — I could pose as a lawyer. Maybe that will move the needle.

Does anyone feel like slapping Nigel of America’s Next Top Model? He always talks like he needs to drink water… you know how your mouth is dry and you have to drink water else you use a specific tone… hard to explain. Anyway, Nigel bugs me. He sucks up to Tyrant Fangs all the time, and I cannot stand him. He is half Sri Lankan. The brings me to Tyrant Fangs – I mean Tyra Banks — she looks and behaves like Cruella Devil. She has lost weight this season though and looks much better. But she is annoying, and the highest paid actress in primetime TV — $30 million per year. I mean, what kind of a loser watches her talk show? Her crazy antics? OMG!! I cannot cannot stand her. Anytime she is on the screen, AM leaves the room. He cannot stand her and Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex & the City. Seriously, Tyrant’s show is sooooo dumb. Who the F watches it?

While commuting to my old workplace, I passed Tyrant’s studio and saw a long line of people waiting to be let into her studio in the morning. I would rather stay late in bed. The woman is crazy.

Its so lonely without AM — I miss him terribly. He left on Wed, and I could not sleep and was bored to death. Somehow even though we may not chat, I may watch TV or surf the net, we may be in separate rooms, it makes a BIG difference just knowing he is around. Even if he may come in late from work, just waiting for him is enough. Now I don’t feel like watching TV or surfing the net. I am so used to him and without him its so hard.

Life is hard. People who renovate need to literally leave their jobs because main places are open only on weekdays 8:30/9 to 5/5:30. I was late today — I had to go to Blackman, a plumbing store. Customer service is non-existent in NY… extremely poor. Salespeople at Blackman don’t even have the courtesy and are not even service-oriented enough to change their voicemail – their voicemail says they are open on Saturdays, their website says that, but they are short-staffed and are not open on weekends. The building doorman told me last Saturday that 30+ people had come to the store that morning and he had to turn them away. He told them to change their voicemail but they are too lazy. I mean its just a voicemail. Tells a lot about customer service. No wonder people buy online. People go to stores to view products and buy for best prices and convenience online. I plan to do the same for some products — I don’t trust the Internet.

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