Main > Joel's April 2003 News

"So Joel, yet I can't turn away."
--George Koshy

Wednesday, April 30th 2003

I'm done. I'm going home!

Today, in appreciation of how helpful the our client has been, Karen and I went in search of donuts or other nice food item to bring to the office. We spoke to the hotel concierge today, and she spent 10 minutes on the phone with, like, 4 Dunkin' Donut stores. Finally, she told us about one near the office. When we get there, no Dunkin' Donuts. How does my "Poker Luck" follow me all the way to Mexico? We walked around for a while, but most posterlerias (pastry shops) are closed. We end up going to a nearby Sanborne's, and selected a cornucopia of donutes, cookies, and assorted pastries.

They were pretty happy when we got back and distributed it all, so I guess they weren't expecting us to be all nice. Especially being auditors. That felt good.

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What luck!

We had our closing meeting today with the subsidiary's CFO, the Compliance Officer, and some other big wigs. It went very well, and Lucinda said we did a good job. Now here's the good part: As we walked into the building lobby, they've got a big display showcase with company paraphenalia. You know, pens, desk clocks, etc. In the bottom right, they have a big duffel bag with the company logo. How much? $125 pesos! That's like 12 dollars! They even gave me a $5 employee discount. I got a duffel bag AND a souvenir. It's pretty big, too.

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Mi Viejo Pueblito

After we got back, we went to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Mi Viejo Pueblito (My Old Little Town.) My enchiladas with mole were okay (I've decided I don't really like mole), but I had this soup with a chipotle pepper. It was the hottest soup I've ever eaten. I was sweating, and I was hurting, but it was awfully good. I think spicy food is fun, because it's a more interactive meal.

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Ice, anyone?

I'm back in the hotel now, and I started reviewing my hotel bill. I just found out that they're charging us per minute for local calls (my internet dial-in calls), and one of my calls came out to $66 US dollars. Can

you imagine a local phone call costing $66 bucks? Karen and I complained, and they're going to apply a 25% discount this time. Oh man, I'm going to hear it when I try to explain to Jack why I have numerous phone call charges over $60 bucks. See, I like how the Four Seasons hotel does nice stuff for you like filling your ice bucket with ice twice a day, and have free bottles of water in the room at all times, and give you complimentary shoeshines, but geez, they charge you a lot!

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I'm a pirate! Argh!

I picked up some souvenirs for some of my coworkers, so I hope they like them.

Anyhow, I really should get on with life. I have to go to the gym, pack my bags, and get some sleep. I've got two alarms on the alarm clock (4:30am and 5am), and two wake-up calls (4:30am and 5am), so that should get me up and about. Karen and I are sharing a cab ride at 5:30am to the airport. Flight is at 8am, so I should have plenty of time. BTW, based on my new shaving cream, I've found my future pirate name: Tough Beard!

Tuesday, April 29th 2003

It's time to start watching ER. Parminder Nagra, the breakout star of the indie hit Bend It Like Beckham, is joining the cast next season as a series regular. An indian? On primetime? Alright!

One more day to go. I'll start packing tonight.

Some more good news: I got a bunch more compliments on my Spanish today! My federal tax refund finally came through, and payday is Thursday. Ooh, my bank account is feeling SO good this week.

I watched a Friends episode English! I hadn't see it yet, so I think it was a broadcast from this season. The gang was playing the lottery, and Chandler was unemployed. At the moment, I'm watching Smallville for the first time. It's actually mildly interesting. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (of Home Improvement fame) was the guest villain.

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Auditors having fun?

We had lunch again with the Mexican auditors, but this time we paid. We went to some restaurant nearby, and I had some quesadillas that didn't look like the regular quesadilla. They were smaller, and more 3-D. I also had some peppercorn steak. Incidently, I had some "Mexican" french fries with my lunch yesterday, and I missed them! Anyway, back to lunch, it was really nice. I have to tell you, having lunch with these people is always like a party. I have to say that everyone I've met here, EVERYONE, has been so kind and helpful.

Today, I received a surprising email from my old high school classmate, Donny. He was "Googling" online awhile ago one day for Members Only jackets (hey, don't ask me), and during his search, he found my website. He said he was entranced by my story of wearing my Members Only jacket to school all the time, and he realized it was ME. I don't have that info anymore, so it must have been a LONG time ago. Anyway, I wrote him back. Doing a little search, he's part of this band Chesterwhite, and they do gigs all around the NY-NJ area. They also have some good reviews from various sources, so I think I'll check them out when I get back to the States.

The States? How long have I been out of the country already?

And just as a bonus, here are two pictures of the conference room I've been working in for the past 1 1/2 weeks.

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Karen, working too hard
Lucinda, happy at the end of the day

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Nice shirt!

With Karen, I went hunting at that Sanborne place again. She had seen some luggage. Guess what? They DID have regular luggage. The larger pieces were a bit expensive, and the smaller duffel bags were okay. I just don't know if the smaller bags would hold enough weight though so I don't get charged again. I'll think about it.

I dropped off my shirts for the hotel to dry-clean. Yeah, no wonder the hotel staff are so nice: everything is so darn expensive. 6 shirts cost $40. Yes, U.S. dollars. I asked for them folded though (for packing purposes), and I must say they do a good job! The wrapping even says "Four Seasons."

My boss, Laura, sent me an invitation today to attend the Member Appreciation dinner for the NY Chapter of the IIA on May 30th. Why? In appreciation of the great work I did on the chapter's website. How cool is that? It'll be at some restaurant in Little Italy. Thanks, Laura.

I can't wait to be home and eat a burger and fries. It's always the little things in life that you truly appreciate.

Monday, April 28th 2003

Two more days to go.

Today was an extremely boring day. Nothing interesting happened. I mean, nothing! I checked a whole bunch of websites for my seemingly interesting friends, and not one person updated their site. It was like some grassy webserver conspiracy. I'm so ready to go home and see my cat. Oh, also my fiance. Also, my dear sweet computer. And my bills. Hmm, yeah, I miss them too.

Even though I miss being home, deep down, a little part of me, the IT consultant part, is glad to be travelling again. Not sure why. Maybe since I was so used to travelling every stupid week. Maybe a little nostalgia?

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CNET announced that an updated release of Microsoft Windows, code-named Longhorn, was leaked, and they took a peek at it. It looks very similar to Windows XP, but there a few new GUI (interface) features. Excited? Try not to hold your breath: it's slated for release in late 2004 or early 2005.

Plans for this weekend are already shaping up. Doug invited a few of us to go out Friday night for someone's birthday party. I don't really know if I'm up for it. Also, some of his friends are kinda flaky. No offense, dude, but you know it's true.

Num has agreed to see X2 with me, but we also have to start our wedding registry. Wedding registry? Already? Wow. I agreed, but I still win, because that means she has to sit through a Blockbuster rental of the original X-Men movie before we see X2. Moohoo-haha. Yeah, you heard the hamster on the wheel in my head spinning ever so quickly, didn't you?

I went hunting for a cheapy duffel bag today after work at this Sanborne department store next door to the hotel. They only had a midsize leather duffel bag for $1749 pesos, or approximately $160.

Uh, no. I'll try the Liverpool department store near work tomorrow. If they don't have it either, then I'll think of one more place to try Wednesday night. If they don't have it either, sorry NYL, you're stuck.

Went running tonight, did 2.5 miles at a pretty fast run. Afterwards, grabbed some bananas and 2 bottles of water, and sat in the courtyard, gazing at the sky.

I'm happy.

Sunday, April 27th 2003

And the weekend is all over. I think it went entirely too fast, but that's every weekend, right?

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Oruzco mural

Today, I went on the tour to see a few of the downtown Mexican government buildings where we could see the works of Rivera, Oruzco, and Siqueiros. Some were just amazing in the amount of effort to create them, and a number of them made me say, "Well, that's nice." A select few I was actually able to connect with, like this Oruzco mural of a Spanish monk converting an Indian. I think it says alot of the Hispanice people's experience with Christianity: a kiss on the lips by the monk, but also suffocating to the Hispanic people.

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Temple Mayor

I can usually connect to a work of music, but never to artwork. Surprisingly, this piece by Oruzco really conveyed an emotion. A momentous day in the life of this Ipe.

You'll also see it in the gallery, but we also got to see what's left of the original great Aztec temple. Cortez, the bastard, destroyed it, but the Mexican government is excavating what's left. What's interesting is that, in building the great cathedral (in the photo gallery), they used a large amount of materials from the Aztec temple.

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Palace of Fine Arts

Today, I also saw a Mexican take a siesta, and the really beautiful Palace of Fine Arts. After I got back, I got all cleaned up, and went out to dinner with Raul and his wife Patricia. They took me to Don Carlos, a pretty nice restaurant in the state of Mexico (Go North, young man!), and we watched a number of performances, including amariachi band and a cockfight. Yeah, I wasn't happy about the cockfight, but it was pretty tame, and didn't use any of the usual razor blades on the feet. I think it was just for show. Check out all the photos in my really large Mexico photo gallery.

Man, the weekend is totally gone. We have 3 more days of work, Lucinda is flying in tomorrow, hopefully another lunch with the Mexico auditors (plus Lucinda) on Tuesday, a closing meeting on Wednesday, and then I fly out on Thursday morning @ 8am. At some point, I need to pick up a new duffel bag. I do NOT plan to get hit with another $100 airline fee. The cheap Indian spirit within me refuses to let that happen!

Chirag just started a personal website. I think it looks great, and has a cool artsy theme. Check it out, folks. It doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday, April 26th 2003

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The House-turned-Museum

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Xochimilco Floating Gardens

It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm back from my tour. This morning, Karen and I went on our tour of the Delores Olmedo Patino Museum, which was her house. She was a big art lover of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and other Mexican archeological art. Her house and the surrounding grounds were converted into a museum. You can't take pictures inside, but I took some nice ones outside.

Afterwards, we travelled to Xochimilco, the floating gardens of Mexico, and the hotel even provided a little lunchbox for us. Hands down, this hotel is the best hotel I have ever stayed at. The tour ran from 9:30am-2:30pm (got back at 4pm because of traffic), saw lots of sights, lunch and drinks included, for only $15. Is that a deal or what?

What I've learned today:

  • Peacocks are very pretty, but make the most irritating squawk known to mankind.
  • Peakcocks can fly.
  • The story of Montezuma's revenge is allegedly based on a liquor made from a cactus given to the invading Spaniards, and given to them to drink. They weren't familiar with it, and got really sick. As per Mexican myths and legends.
  • There's a Koreantown section in Mexico City. What else do they have in this city? Can you imagine Koreans speaking Spanish?
  • You know how we have the show "Cops"? Well, guess what they have in Mexico. Yes, an exact copy, the Mexican version, filmed in Mexico, called "Policias." Dude, WTF?

Did I mention that peacocks are as annoying as hell? Also today, Karen and I asked one hotel guest on the tour about himself. He was here on business. We ask what kind of business. His response?

"It's secret."

Alright then, I guess I just met my first secret agent!

After we got back, Karen and I walked around Paseo de la Reforma strip, and saw some of the landmarks. We found the Zona Rosa district by accident, and saw a lot of Americans. We tried to go to Chapultepec Castle, but when we finally found the entrance, a policeman told us it was closed. I was disappointed, but then I bought some ice cream, and all was right with the world.

Karen and I went out to the Polenco district to eat at this restaurant called "Izote." We had a great conversation (and pretty fancy dinner) talking about world politics and stuff, for TWO HOURS. Who would have thought Karen was so cool and down-to-Earth? I think she just earned herself a wedding invitation.

New pictures are all in the Mexico gallery. I should have plenty more to add after tomorrow.

Friday, April 25th 2003

3:55pm, in the office, going back to the hotel in 95 minutes!

So, I've been part of this Yahoo! group related to church, debating this new group that some people are trying to form. The denomination is the Church of South India (CSI), a rather inclusive denomination. Now, a bunch of these people are trying to set up separate organization tailored and geared towards Malayalees (Indians who speak Malayalam) and are linking it to one single diocese in the Indian state of Kerala. They want to promote Malayalee culture and traditions, and are tying this within church.

Promoting culture and traditions is fine, but they've been rather vitriolic towards critics, are rather secretive about their activities, and making many ethnocentric statements about how great Malayalees are and wanting to preserve "culture and traditions." Very backwards, if you ask me.

Unlike other newsgroups that I've been in, this one is exclusive, and the Moderator will review each posting. Anything he didn't agree with, he wouldn't post for discussion. He's started kicking off people who he didn't agree with, and now he kicked me off too. Oh well. has an interesting article called Why do Pregnant Women Become Murder Victims. Well, I'm sure every guy out there has an idea why, but most of us wouldn't act upon it. Murder is murder. The worst reason the article mentions has to be for monetary gain. That's just disgusting.

I'm going out to dinner with Raul (one of the Mexico auditors) and his friends on Sunday. He's picking me up from the hotel @ 3:30, and we're going to this place that will have a couple of live bands playing. Should be very cool.

Some Mexican cuisine news. The cactus you can eat is called norpal. It's the rather popular cacti to eat. Today for lunch, I had fajitas, but I had a fascinating drink called horachata. It looks like milk, but it is made up of water, rice, flour, and some melon seeds. It was actually pretty good.

Nothing going on tonight for me. I think I'll just hit the hotel gym for some quality time with the weights and a sexy treadmill.

Thursday, April 24th 2003

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Chewie is back!

Wait, let me get this straight: Chewbacca is coming back in Star Wars: Episode 3? Whoa!

After a lot of driving around (and being taken for a ride) with our taxi driver, I'm back in the hotel room. The driver picked us up from work, and we drove to the Sony store I saw in the Polenco district. I ran in, but they only had an expensive floppy disk adapter for Memory Sticks, which cost over $120 US dollars. They were totally out of the Sony mouse-with-built-in-stick reader and wouldn't have a new shipment for 2 weeks. They directed me to Palacio de Hierre, which was this "store."

Turns out, it was a palacial mall, complete with multiple fancy-shmancy fountains outside. I wish I took a picture, but I was on the cab meter! I ran in, eventually found a Sandisk ImageMate 6 in 1 USB reader, where I can read SD cards, Memory Sticks, Compact Flash cards, etc. It cost $690 pesos ($69 US dollars), and I charged it to my business AMEX. Oye, they're going to think I'm scamming the company.

The driver decided to take the LONG way home, giving us an impromptu tour. I saw some cool stuff, like an old aquaduct that the ancient Aztecs used (going too fast for a picture) and President Vincente Fox's estate, but the bill came out over 600 pesos, which is 60 bucks, which is 6 times the usual cab fare. Again, I'm probably going to be in trouble when I get back.

So as we drove through the Polenco district, I found out there are all sorts of ethnic neighborhoods. All around Polenco is the Jewish neighborhood, and we saw all these Hassidic Jews walking around. There are also Arabs and Indians and Pakistanis all around. Go figure!

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"Friggin huge!"

The reader is working fine, and I've added pictures throughout this page. I've also started adding pictures to the Mexico gallery, and plan to take more this weekend when I go walking around. Woohoo!

New picture came out from The Hulk movie coming out this summer. Pretty neat, and the Hulkster is HUGE!

BTW, Missy is still eating, but Namita says she doesn't know where all the "poop" is going, because it isn't in the litter. Hmm, yeah, I told her to wait a day. At least she's eating. We know where the poop HAS to be at this point....inside a very expensive cat.

Wednesday, April 23rd 2003

11:09pm, in the hotel room, doing nothing in particular

She's eating! Namita has been checking on Missy today, and she's been affectionate, eating, and it's all staying down. Missy was good too. A little prayer goes a long way, eh?

Today, I woke up in the pitch black of my room to the sound of sirens. The clock wasn't on, and I wondered what time could it be. "It can't be late, can it? It's still dark. Maybe it's still early."

Then a little voice inside my head asked, "What if the curtains were closed, but it was late?" I got up, checked my watch, and it was already 8:15am, and I was supposed to be in the lobby in 10 minutes! I called Karen's room, told her to meet me at 8:45am instead. The pillow fell down near the cord, so maybe it unplugged the clock. The luck I have, right?

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Out to lunch with the Mexican auditors

Today was a fun day. Martin set up a lunch for us with some of the Mexico auditors, and two of them I met when they came to NY in March. We took a taxi, and met them at this restaurant. I took plenty o' pictures, and it was really great to hang out with them and talk. They were a fun bunch. I mean, Karen and Martin are great too, but you know, hanging out with more people is even better.

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Guy Pearce, walking softly, carrying a big stick
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Samantha Mumba, 800,000 years into the future, and she teaches English. Right....

My Espanol is getting better as I listen to people speak, and watch tv. At lunch today, I impressed the group with language that just started to pop into my head. Even Karen mentioned a few times today that my Spanish was really improving, since I'm starting to really communicate with the people around us. Talk about good stuff, right?

You won't believe this - I found my last possible solution for my picture uploading fiasco. The restaurant we went to is in the Polenco district, which is all upscale and such. Stores like Louis Vutton, Salvatore Ferragamo, and all the rest. As we're in the taxi on the way back, we pass by..... a Sony store! Can you believe it? Martin and Karen agreed to come back with me tomorrow (Thursday) to check it out around lunchtime. If I can't get a Memory Stick reader at this place, forget it!

I skipped dinner, and I'm still sore from running last night. I was kinda bored in my hotel room, so I rented The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce and Samantha Mumba (yes, the singer with the one song.) I chatted online with Ranjith beforehand, and he said the movie was okay, not great. Dude, you were right.

Nothing major going on tomorrow. I bought an Espanol-Ingles dictionary (and even had a small conversation with the store clerk in Spanish) at this store next door for 66 pesos ($6 dollars), so I'll be keeping that by my side at all times.

Tuesday, April 22nd 2003

1:22pm, in the conference room, waiting for lunch

I stayed up late last night, woke up late today, missed my train....

Wait, that's not right. This is Mexico.

I stayed up late last night, watching this documentary on scorpions on the Discovery Channel. I woke up at 8:10am, and I was supposed to meet Karen at 8:25 in the hotel lobby. I showered and everything, and met her at 8:35am. So, 20 minutes? Pretty darn good, I must admit.

I walked around a little at 12:30pm, and Radio Shack doesn't have Memory Stick readers either. Darn! Okay, 1:30pm, and time for lunch. It's still early, but we're starving!

2:49pm, in the conference room, desde (after) lunch

Enchiladas de pollo y mole con arroz, mmmm. We took a hike to this diner-type place, El Gran Gogun Suizo. I had enchiladas, but I still don't know what the "mole" was. It was just this brown sauce over my enchiladas.

In the news today, some Glen Ridge, NJ lady (my town!) was charged with keeping 23 cats, 2 iguanas, and a turtle in absolutely filthy conditions. One cat was found dead, and the place reeked of feces and urine. Hmm, speaking of urine, Missy is returning today. Hope she'll start eating again. Lastly, a NJ man was arrested for recently finding out his wife was having an affair, waiting at the local bar, and then running the offending man over with his pickup truck. The guy's alright, but I'm sure he doesn't look too pretty.

One more meeting today, we should outta here by 6:30pm, and then I'm going to the hotel's fitness center tonight. Martin gave us the lowdown on "mole." It's actually a mixture-type of salsa. It has a certain chile pepper ground up into it, chocolate (I knew it!), and a few other things. And here I was, just thinking it was just another generic brown sauce.

5:21pm, in the conference room, waiting to go home already

The car service is coming at 6pm, but I'm tired and really want to go home now. Must....look....busy....for...40....more...minutes. Damn, did I really have to stay up until 1:30am watching a documentary on scorpions. Did I just say that? I used to stay up until 3:30am working on websites, or playing games. What's wrong with me? Am I turning into an old fogey.

Well, speaking of being an old fogey, today is my birthday. I am [drum roll] 27 years old. Usually, I do a lot of introspective walking around the night before, thinking about my life, reflecting on the past year, thinking about where I am now in my life, and where I'm going.

Instead, I watched a show about scorpions. I did learn a lot about them, so I guess that's not such a waste.

11:34pm, in my hotel room

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday today. Even my dad and sister called me at the hotel room.

After I got back, I spoke to Num, and she brought Missy back home. The cat is happy to be home, but she's still not eating anything. If she doesn't improve by tomorrow, we may have to take her back.

After we got back from work, I had an excellent dinner at the hotel: sopes, which is like fajitas, but really really small, and with chorizos (sausages.) I went running after that in the gym, and I feel better about myself for it.

Since I'm having so much trouble getting the right camera accesories, I may just hold onto all my pictures until I get home next week. Speaking of pictures, I signed up for a 5 hour tour this Saturday to see the Floating Gardens and also visit Frida Kahlo's home, which has been converted to a museum. She has a lot of murals, so it should be pretty interesting.

Finally, Num did a little Photoshop work as a mini-birthday present for me. Thanks babe for all the hard work!

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Monday, April 21st 2003

3:35pm, 10th floor, in our office on Presidente Masaryk Calle (street), stuffed after a big-but-authentic Mexican lunch

So, this is the list of what I've forgotten so far:

  • my Spanish - English / English - Spanish dictionary, and all my classroom materials
  • those little collar plastic things that you stick into your shirt collar so they'll stay nice and pointy
  • USB cable so I can upload my pictures, once I download the Sony DSC-P71 camera driver
  • a number of documents, like an org chart and a few other pertinent materials that tell me about the subsidiary that I'm at right now. This includes a detailed explanation of their systems, etc. My other colleague here with me has them, so it's not a total loss.

The weather is pretty nice so far. An auditor from another subsidiary, Martin, is here and will be helping us with translations. Together, we all had a pretty interesting lunch at this restaurant down the street. Lunch starts around 2pm here in grand old Mexico. I had this dish - breaded steak filled with "corn fungus?" and some guacamole and also cactus on the side. The cactus is prepared in such a way that it looks very similar to green beans. In all, it was pretty dope. I don't know about the corn fungus, but it looked and tasted like spinach, so I didn't complain.

Martin also showed me where the local OfficeMax is, which is down the street and around the corner. I'm going to quickly check it out after work so I can get a USB cable. I hope it doesn't cost me too many pesos. It's hard to judge what are normal prices here, since everything is in pesos. At the airport yesterday, I saw coffee cost $21, but it seems that if you divide by about 10, that helps you understand the exchange rate better. So, the lunch we had that cost $380 pesos is really about $34 US dollars, and that expensive coffee at the airport was about $2 US dollars.

9:11pm, Four Seasons courtyard, happy after enjoying his "sopa de zucchini"

Man, this is nice. I was a little hungry, and I debated getting room service. Since the prices were so high, I figured I'd take my laptop down to the restaurant and get some soup. I'm sitting in the courtyard at the moment, I just finished my zucchini soup, and I'm planning to order some "crujiente de manzana con salsa de calvados" or Apple Crumb with Calvados sauce. I doing my best to interject as much Espanol into my conversation. Today wasn't so bad, since Martin was doing a lot of translating. As people speak, the cobwebs in my head start to disappear.

I'm really trying!

Anyway, I just ordered my crujiente de manzana (with some yum yum salsa de calvados -- whatever Calvados sauce is) and I'm just taking in the awesome night air. As Martin was telling us today, Mexico City (or Mexico D.F. - Mexico District Federal) is at a high elevation so the extreme heat that the rest of Mexico experiences doesn't often affect them here. I'm sitting in the cool and comfortable night air, with a nice fountain splashing away, and with all the nice trees and such around. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

I miss Num, and being home a little, and I wish I was there to take care of Missy, but there is a certain adventurous feeling to know that I'm typing away on my laptop, sitting in a courtyard, in Mexico. Pretty cool. What would be even better is if Num WAS here, and I didn't have to be in the office all day.

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After work, Karen and I went exploring the local business area. She went to look for a belt, and I ran to the local OfficeMax to find a USB cable. Verdict? No, the business end that attaches to the camera doesn't match up with ends on the USB cable. Somehow I muddled through Spanglish with an OfficeMax employee to determine that there was an Apple store ("Mac store? Apple? Dos calles? Gracias Senor!") back where our office was. I hiked back, with only 30 minutes before our car service showed up at the corner of .....Horacio y Mariano Escobedo.

After massacring more Espanol, none of their stuff fit either. Actually, they had the same USB cables. At first depressed, I realized I could get a Memory Stick reader and just read from the Memory Stick directly, skipping the camera. I hiked back to OfficeMax with only 15 minutes to spare. After more Spanglish, nope, no reader. With 5 minutes left, I walked to the corner, found the driver, found Karen, and I went home.

Then I spoke to Num with the corporate calling card, and my Dad, and I felt better. I'll try Radioshack and two other places the hotel front desk recommended. Speaking of Radio Shack, I must say that there are a LOT of American things here. Most of the cars are the same as the U.S., and I've seen OfficeMax, Radio Shack, Dave & Busters, Tony Roma's, Pizza Hut, and more. Go figure.

I was going to run tonight @ the Fitness Center, but I did a number on my ankle in my haste up the stairs going to OfficeMax the second time. I'll go tomorrow night instead.

If I can get the Reader tomorrow somehow, I'll start uploading.

BTW, spoke to Num today, and she told me that Missy isn't vomiting anymore. The doctor is pushing for an ultrasound, but at an additional $545 U.S. dollars (not pesos), we're going to bring her home. She's still not eating, but Num thinks (and I agree) that it's probably just the scary environment. She also said the IV needle in her front leg is rather disconcerting.

I'll update y'all when Missy returns home. Num did some research, and it's possible Missy ate some of the leaves of one of my plants, and the vet said those leaves could cause her to get sick or cause renal (kidney) failur. Even though she's not sure, she's going to move the possibly offending plant to her place. We don't know if Missy really ate those leaves or not, but she's not taking a chance.

11:21am, my bed, watching and learning more about the Italian Isles with Brook Burke

Whoa! I've been watching some TV here in my hotel room. A little here, a little there. Some shows are in Spanish, and some are in English. I get Fox, E!, and I think an NBC knockoff. Anyway, are you familiar with the Wild On! show on E!? You know Brook Burke as the host, they go around the world, checking out the world's hotest spots. Brook is no longer the host, but her old shows are still on. Since the show is in English, I thought the show was the exact same show as broadcast in the States.

Nuh-huh. Dude, they cut out footage for the U.S. version, because I'm watching their show on the Italian Isles, and there have been a lot of topless women on. Uh, topless, and no fuzzy, blurred out areas. Damn, I had no idea! Who knew that they would have different "rated" versions of American tv shows? More restricted versions in America, and more "open" versions in the rest of the world.

Holy crap! Now they just did a snippet on snorkling off of Sardinia, mentioned that swimsuits were optional, and the chick swimming on TV was totally nude (curtains matched the carpets, btw.) Damn! I had no idea! Who knew?

Sunday, April 20th, 2003

2:52pm, soaring at 10,000 feet over Washington, D.C.

Hola, my paquitos! It's 2:52pm Sunday afternoon, and I'm flying over Washington D.C. as we speak. My Delta flight took off relatively ontime, and I'm happily typing away. Aw, this is fun. Now, if only I can get some work done before my battery dies. It's at 65% at the moment.

I packed too much clothing. My tourister bag was overweight (65 lbs, max is 50 lbs), and I had to pay $100 to allow me on. I'll have to do the same thing on the way home, unless I buy another luggage bag, and then it's okay. Go figure.

As usual, I always forget something on any trip I take. I didn't even leave Newark, and I realized that I forgot the USB cable for the digital camera. Great, so now I can take all the pictures I want, but I can't upload them anywhere. Well, that's one problem with my plan. The other problem is that my work laptop isn't automatically recognizing my camera, and I need to install a driver for it, but in the 10 minutes I spent so far, I couldn't find it online. I'll have to do some online research this week to find it. Otherwise, this site won't be so colorful during my trip.

As we soared to 31,000 feet, I realized what else I had forgotten: my English-Spanish / Spanish-English dictionary! Also, all those papers I kept in case I ever went to a Spanish-speaking country. ARGH! Maybe at the Atlanta airport, I can pick up something? Karen and I will have an Mexico-City-based auditor with us who'll be doing translations. Still, I think I need a book.

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The wedding ceremony
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Sitting around
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Vinay and an open bar, a bad combination

Alright, back to working on the Friends Photo Gallery updates. Num and I got all super-dressy and attended Sanjay's wedding last night. Pictures came out pretty nice, and you'll see as soon as I upload them. Hope it won't take too long from the hotel room. To make room to the ever-expanding Friends album, I've shifted everyting over, creating a page 4. Recent pictures start on Page 1, oldest on Page 4. Geez, too much explanation.

So as you heard, Scott Peterson was arrested on double murder charges. Innocent until proven guilty, I know, but the Modesto police stated that they could never quite eliminate him as a suspect. Also, his suspicious behavior, and now his wife and child washing up two miles from his alibi. Selling his wife's car, and the house, changing his appearance, not cooperating with police, not searching for his missing wife.

Innocent until proven guilty, but the guy was acting guilty from the start. Man, did he really kill his pregnant wife? Crimes of passion are always the most fascinating, and also abhorrent.

One of my favorite comedians, Aisha Tyler, is guest-starring on the show Friends for the next four weeks. I wonder if I get NBC in Mexico? Probably not. I have to remind Namita to tape it for me. Aisha Tyler used to be on Talk Soup, which was this 3x a week show on E! that showed interesting clips from the talk shows, including late-night shows like The Tonight Show. Anyway, this was during the height of the million talk shows that were on. Yes, Jerry Springer clips were rather prominent. Anyway, Aisha was the last host they had, and she was absolutely hilarious. Also, very hot.

Did I mention that my cat is sick? She hasn't been eating since Tuesday, and has been throwing up at least twice a day. She's staying at the Verona-Montclair Animal Hospital for observation, and is on an IV at the moment. We got a call from the vet today, and there's still no change. Nope, no idea what's wrong with her. We hope to have more blood work results on Monday. Will keep you posted on Missy's situation.

BTW, the cost so far for Saturday's visit to the vet, plus staying over this weekend, plus 2 X-rays has been $1300. Ouch! Poof! There goes my bank account, and we still don't know what's wrong with her.

6:47pm, 30,000 feet, somewhere over Mexico

I have....10% battery.....power....left. Almost....drained of....power.

I've had some interesting people on the flights so far. We're supposed to land in another hour. I've filled out all my forms to enter the wonderful land of Mexico, and once all that is done, I'm hoping that the hotel will have remembered to send a car to pick me up.

Damn battery power. Better shut down pretty soon. I made a Mexico photo gallery, in anticipation of good pictures. We'll see if reality matches my dreams! In the meantime, no peeking!

9:41pm, Room 540, The Four Seasons Hotel

I'm sitting in my pyjamas, I'm online, and I figured out how I can upload my files. I'll try to pick up a new USB cable so I can upload pictures. Oh yeah, baby! is now going INTERNATIONAL!

Looks like I need to purchase more luggage. Now that I'm relaxed in my hotel room, I checked out my tourister. It's ripped! I took a picture, and will upload later this week. Do I have to buy two pieces of luggage now? Dammit! Maybe I should just invest in some duct tape.

And as a good example that I'm in a foreign land, I'm watching this telethon, and at the moment, a group of 20 beautiful people are doing a huge medley of songs. Two of the items have been the "Macarena" and that annoying "Las Ketchup" song from last year. Oye!

Friday, April 18th 2003

It's Good Friday. I have church service in the evening, but we have to stop over at Macy's in Paramus to get Sanjay's wedding gift. His wedding is tomorrow night. Normally, I say I like to be well-prepared, so I would've waited until tomorrow afternoon, a mere few hours before the wedding. :) This stupid fiancee of mine wants to get it now. Sigh. What's wrong with the last minute?

Hmm, I've decided to install Dreamweaver on my work laptop, so I can update while I'm in Mexico. Figure that'll be a cool thing to show my trip highlights while I'm still out there. I'll have to test it out tonight to make sure.

Wednesday, April 16th 2003

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Not a bad job for 15 teenage girls
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Not one person in this movie liked Mr. Beckham

Wednesday! Alright! Thursday is my last day in the office before my trip, because I'm taking Good Friday off. What a good Christian I am. I have a lengthy meeting in the afternoon to prepare for the Mexico audit, and I want to clean my office before I go. There are stacks of papers everywhere, laying around since last June. I desperately need to clean up. Ah, the life of an auditor -- stacks of documentation.

Today at work, they had an Easter Egg hunt in the cafeteria. Yes, I participated, but I went with a bunch of women, can any man out there blame me? I won a stuffed bunny rabbit doll. I gave it away to another woman in the department. There was no way I was going to walk around with a bunny rabbit.

Tonight was India night, it seems. Num and I went to our favorite Montclair Indian restaurant Natraj for the dinner buffet (Oh, to be Indian!) and then walked up to the Clearview Clairidge Cinemas to (finally) see Bend It Like Beckham. It's an interesting story, so I'll say it's decent. Also, you gotta support the Indians!

I got the answer to my Turbotax e-file debacle: It's the fault of the IRS. After a search on the TurboTax website, I found this gem on the FAQs.

How many state returns can I file electronically?
"IRS regulations mandate that one state tax return can be electronically filed per federal return. If you are filing returns for two or more states, choose which state you want to file electronically, and then print and mail the remaining state returns."

I've learned now that the IRS limits you to e-filing only 5 Federal tax returns. Also, I learned all I wanted to know about JELF states:

I already electronically filed my federal return; can I electronically file my state return?
"If your state is an independent state for electronic filing purposes, you can transmit the state return without the federal return. However, most of the states in the electronic filing program are Joint Electronic Filing (JELF) states. JELF states require that the state return be transmitted electronically at the same time as the federal return. If the federal return is transmitted without the JELF state return, the state return must be filed by paper."

All very fascinating, isn't it? Who needs Nyquil anymore, when you have this stuff.

Tuesday, April 15th 2003

I have missed my train 3 times this week, and it's only Tuesday. WTF? Monday morning, I woke up late. Monday evening, I have no idea what happened, but I had plenty of time, was walking my normal pace, but I ended up missing my train anyway. Some weird temporal anomaly straight out of Star Trek, I bet. This morning, I finished reviewing my taxes at 7:38am, and did the whole e-file thing for NJ and Fed. I spent too much time printing up my returns that I ended up missing my train this morning by, oh, a couple of feet. I ran and everything.

I ended up sitting on a bench for the next 45 minutes, reviewing my taxes, waiting for the 9:15am train to come around.

At work, I speak to a few people, and I start wondering why Turbotax said I couldn't choose another state (NY) to e-file at the same time. I had to choose "Fed and NJ" or "Fed and NY." I did "Fed and NJ" and planned to mail the NY return. Then this morning, I figured, "Hey, I can always come home, and just e-file NY only. That should work! I don't have to mail my NY return after all. I'm so smart!"

I get home after another hard day at work (preparing for the Mexico audit), and I start up Turbotax. What does it tell me? "Sorry, Turbotax only allows one Federal filing and one State filing. You must print all other returns."

This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. I paid for two copies (one is unlocked from the cd when you provide a credit card) of Turbotax State so I could file in NY and NJ. What is the technical problem with e-filing as many times as I want? I'm already paying via credit card for each filing. What's the big deal? I had the return with me the entire day, but didn't mail it out. Now I'm home in NJ, and not one of the Post Offices is open at 6:30pm.

I asked Namita, and she tells me to check out the Paramus one. Turns out that PO is open until midnight, and I race up there. What a looked like I was at Great Adventure or some other theme park. I had a weird inclination to buy some junk food.

Mailed it out, and that's it for my taxes. Now I eagerly await my tax refunds, which should get here sometime in May. Unless I get audited, which is always likely for someone like me. Also, this week, I am going to seriously complain to Intuit about this whole e-file limitation. I want an explanation on this.

They caught Abu Abbas finally near Baghdad. Hmm, what other rats are they going to catch in Iraq, I wonder?

Monday, April 14th 2003

So......I'm watching this Married by America show. In case you didn't watch, neither couple gets married. Right now, the blonde "coulda-been-a-contender" almost-bride is bawling in a closet after her groom rejected her at the altar.

I wonder why people still go on these shows, but then ABC has started their 3rd season of The Bachelor, so the marks keep coming.

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Time Magazine
April 6th-11th

I just don't understand the logic of the White House to still be rebuilding Afganistan, and then start a war with Iraq. Now that we've barely got Iraq under control, before we've even stopped the looting, we're already threatening Syria. How can Muslims in the Middle East not think we're on a crusade? Time magazine has weekly politcal cartoons, and I found an excellent one that fits my feeling.

Ohh, I'm still doing my taxes. Well, I think they're all done, but I need to review it one more time. It's 10:22pm, so I hope it doesn't take very long tonight. I already spent some quality time this evening adding 20 pictures to the church 2003 Album, so that's an accomplishment. You know, choosing pictures, fixing them when appropriate, resizing, blah blah. Now that I finished that, I still need to update THIS site, then fix some errors on the NYIIA site, then review my taxes one last time.

Oh, don't forget play with the cat. I haven't been spending quality time with her, and she's been all bitchy to me. So far, I've played a little, and she's feeling better right now, so I must be doing a good job of entertaining her.

My friend Leena was kind enough to demonstrate my ignorance. For all you people out there that didn't know, a fiancee is the woman who's engaged, while a fiance is the man in the engaged couple. So, Num is my fiancee, and I'm her fiance. Interesting? No? Blame Leena.

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Jenny Cu,
we love you!

In other friend news, my friend Jenny is struggling with....deciding how her new haircut and highlights came out. Oh Jenny, shouldn't you be more concerned that this Tommy Tutone fella has got your number?

I subscribe to some Yahoo newsgroups, and one of them is for CSI Youth. Recently, we've been all discussing some new organization that the "Indian-born" generation is trying to start, which I see as a bad thing. Anyway, in the midst of all this, one guy I USED to be friends with has been having a heated discussion with someone else on the group. It's some bad blood between the two, but he's been cc:'ing the entire group, so we've been hostage to all the back-and-forth. And quite seriously, the majority of us could care less about the details. A number of us have written him, but he won't stop the arguing. Sorry, I just wanted to vent.

I had the BEST ice cream sandwich today. On the way to the bank, the Good Humor ice cream truck was parked outside. I went to the bank, and on the way back, bought this GIANT ice cream sandwich. Oh, it was sooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I mean, so good, I was making Homer Simpson yummy noises while eating it back at the office.

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BMW 330i sedan

Hey, I think I've found my next car. I had looked (longingly) at the BMW 3-series, but the cost seemed a bit high, and I've heard problems with traction in the snow. Combine them both, and it wasn't looking so great. Driving the car seemed alright, but Num felt the passenger side was a little uncomfortable for her legs (the center console stretches into the passenger side. Odd.)

I'm not really buying a car anytime soon, but I do this for lots of things, and it gives me an idea of what I'm working towards in life. Anyway, I looked at a few cars, like the Jaguar X-Type, Mercedes-Benz (anything sporty), Audi A8, the Acura TL sedan, and even Saab, like the 9-3 or 9-5. Basically, a nice luxurious-type car, but sporty and fun to drive. Anybody who knows me, and has been unfortunate enough to be in the car with me when I'm in a good mood, knows that I enjoy driving my car when driving on the open road. Oooh, baby. Surprisingly enough, my Honda Accord handles pretty well. The V-6 and suspension may have something to do with it.

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Infiniti G35
Sports Sedan

But I digress. I'm looking forward to my next car, it has to be sporty and fun to drive, have nice features, but it MUST be reasonably priced. Fun is nice, but I'm not buying a sports coupe. How could I pile a bunch of my friends and go anywhere in a coupe, or pick up a big TV from Best Buy or lumber from Home Depot? Well, I think I found it. The Infiniti G35 sedan. So far, the reviews are excellent, and after nearly fully-loading the car with nice features, it's cheaper than the 330i. Much cheaper. Ooh, that's music to a cheap (we prefer "frugal") Indian's ears. Next year? Oh, may-be!

Final notes, because the cat wants to play some more. India appears to be entering the 21st century, or maybe just the 20th century. This month, five new 24-hour news channels are launching, and they're all Indian. That's great. Next time I go there, I won't be stuck watching the crappy state-run Doordashan channel again. That station is the pits.

Seriously, this is the final note. I watched parts of that Swordfish movie with John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry. To sum it up, what a dumb movie. First of all, they just threw up "cool-looking" words that seemed like hacker commands, which was totally bogus. How Hugh Jackman's hacker (black-hat or white-hat) character was attempting to break into the DOD system was even MORE bogus, and the scene with Halle's breasts? Yes, her breasts are nice, but this was the big "I'll only do it if it elevates the quality of the movie" deal? Puh-leeze.

Sunday, April 13th 2003

Okay, so I pretty much did my taxes. I hope everything is correct. I'll review again Monday night, then e-file and mail everything out Tuesday. So far, I get back from Fed and NY, but stupid NJ wants more money. Grrr.

I went to church at Hudson Valley today, because it was English service, Palm Sunday, and Parish Day. Before my camera batteries died, I took some pictures, and will post them online tomorrow night.

So, the U.S. military found Saddam's love shack? From what I read, it's a pretty classy place -- naked pictures of chicks, shag carpeting, and a mirrored bedroom. In other Iraq-related news, Spain just expelled some Iraqi diplomats after raiding the embassy and discovering a large cache of weapons and ammo. What is going on? I mean, even the diplomats are hoarding weapons.

Saturday Morning, April 12th 2003

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I think I love the Iraqi Information Minister
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Kim Jong II, leader extraordinaire

I am getting to be a pretty good cook! Yesterday, I was in charge of making dinner. I made stir-fry chicken over rice and it was absolutely awesome. I mean, stir-fry chicken with broccoli, pearl onions, green beans, and red peppers, and white rice. I made it spicy and tangy and tasty. The fiance came over, and I completely wowwed her.

That's right, baby! Anyway, I woke up 6am this morning, and I've played with the cat, and I've updated my church website. All that's left taxes. Blah.

In the news, I miss the Iraqi Information Minister. I mean, come on, how outrageous was this guy? American tanks are rolling through Baghdad, and he's telling the world, "The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad." How great are those comments? Aw, we'll miss you Mr. Saeed al-Sahaf.

I also believe that "The Great Leader", Kim Jong II of North Korea is just a weird guy. Besides the usual comments coming out of North Korea, just look at this photo-op.


Thursday, April 10th 2003

I caught the 6:32am train out of Glen Ridge, and got to the office at 7:15am. I was the first person on the floor. I actually had to go back downstairs to get the key to open the place up. I've never done that before.

Meeting went okay, and kinda continued throughout the day. I have another important 9am meeting tomorrow, but this is what we call a "Risk Assessment" meeting when we start a new audit. I'm wrapping up one audit, am in the midst of a new audit, and will be starting another one in time for my trip to Mexico. That's why I'm going to audit an international subsidiary.

I forgot to mention it, but I bought a brand spankin' new umbrella on Tuesday morning because of all the rain. I've been using this stupid Totes umbrella that didn't really cover my body, so that I'd still be wet after using. I got a monster one now, and it works great.

No, I don't believe in horoscopes, but I've always found it odd how the Taurus description fits me to a tee. Here's mine.

"Stubbornness and stability are double-edged swords, since clinging to the familiar cuts both ways. Your devotion to the notion of classic love makes you among the most romantic members of the zodiac. Your tastes run toward meaningful, erotic relationships as opposed to fast, filthy fixes. Your marathon practicality pervades professional and personal realms, as you doggedly nurture goals to their conclusions. Your process is to prepare plans and proceed methodically from start to finish. You're anything but a quitter. The downside is that you're disinclined to cut your losses. Clearly, you'd rather fight than switch. The problems that stem from your need to control your environment, yourself and others are the price you're willing to pay to drive your destiny. You seek comfort with a vengeance in your work ethic, possessions, financial security and efficiency. Sometimes you unduly sacrifice pleasure for business. But your sense of humor, generosity and sincerity can be illuminated by the sunshine of someone who accepts you as you are and is willing to play conformer to your reformer."

Wednesday, April 9th 2003

Yes, today is Wednesday, and we're officially just about over the "hump." Tomorrow is Thursday, which means Friday and my friend, the weekend, are not far behind.

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Four Seasons Hotel
Mexico City

It's official: I'm going to Mexico for work. I made my travel plans, and am leaving on Easter Sunday in the afternoon, and will be back May 1st. My goodness, 10 days in a foreign land. It should be exciting. I'm flying out in the afternoon on Delta, layover in Atlanta (Good old Hartsfield!), and then on AeroMexico down to Mexico City. I'm staying at a rather nice hotel, it seems.... The Four Seasons Hotel. A fitness center, spacious rooms, two nice restaurants, hmmm, I'm going to have a good time. Although I can't drink the water. Argh.

So Baghdad fell today? Geez, where is Mr. Saddam? Under some rubble? In a tunnel? Eating his green eggs and halal ham?

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Poppy Montgomery on "Without a Trace"

I still like watching the CBS show Without a Trace on Thursday nites, and one of my favorite stars, besides Anthony LaPaglia, is Poppy Montgomery. CNN's Showbiz department has an interesting article about her life so far.

I'm contemplating a trip to India later this year with my...fiance! Namita in December/January. It's just talk, and nothing definite. Neither of us has been to India in a million years, so it's probably a good time to go back. Anyway, I was checking out prices, and I almost fell out of my seat. Regular coach/economy seats are about $1600-1900. However, if I'm going to fly 16 hours each way, I want to fly Business or 1st class.

I checked the prices, and Business class seats start at about $4000 on Air India, and jump to $6000 on Delta Airlines. Don't even ask about 1st class seats: they all start $6000 and begin reaching $9000 roundtrip. Yikes! I want to fly with some class, but these prices hurt! Well, I have some time to decide on what I want to really push for. Man, the cheap Indian accountant in me has a hard time making this sound economical.

I bit the bullet. I drove to Best Buy in Secaucus and bought myself a copies of TurboTax Deluxe and TurboTax State. There are some pretty decent rebates with both, so as long as I don't screw up my taxes, I'll definitely save some money this year on doing my taxes. As to whether I get back money this year or if I owe more, well, that's up to mighty TurboTax. I'll be sitting down and doing my taxes Saturday morning. If you see me online, DON'T DISTURB ME!!!

Yo, what is up with all the retro shows and movie remakes? Alright, so the following shows have been remade or returned into comics or movies:

  • Thundercats (new comic book series)
  • GI Joe (new comic book series)
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (new comic book series)
  • The Mod Squad (movie)
  • Transformers (comics AND tv cartoon)
  • Spider Man (movie)
  • The Hulk (movie)
  • Daredevil (movie)

The reason I'm bringing this up is that you wouldn't guess what tv show is coming back now as a movie. Starsky and Hutch! Yeah, that's right, the two guys with a red-and-white car. The two cool police detectives and a big ol' red flashing light on the top. It stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Carmen Electra. Who would have believed it?

Doug got me two tickets to see Chicago - The Musical on Broadway. He got them FREE! Ah, the marvels of living and dying in the world of Advertising.

In the "Interesting Tidbit" section of my news, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to take South Central LA off the map. It's going to be renamed simply "South Los Angeles." Supporters call it a first step in getting outsiders, particularly the media and filmmakers, to recognize that what they have been calling South Central is an ethnically diverse region with proud neighborhoods and even a few million-dollar mansions.

Alright, it's 12:25am, and it's time for bed. I have a very important Risk Assessment meeting at 9am SHARP, and I CAN NOT BE LATE FOR THIS MEETING. I have to review my speaking notes, and can't be running in late, all flustered.

Running in flustered is what I save for Fridays.

Monday, April 7th 2003

Still sick. I woke up late, and walked into the office at 10am. I actually walked around the office all day in a fog. I'm not feeling much better this evening either.

Courtesy of "The Man Named Shah", we have some pictures from last Friday evening. These are from dinner at ESPN Zone. Again, Sanjay is the one getting married.

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Kenar and Vib

(Waiting on line) Sanjay, me, Kenar, Vib, Chirag

Gautam, me, Kenar, Ravi
Chirag, Vib, Sanjay

Alright, I still gotta finish the bills, and then I'm going to get some sleep! Oh wait, I gotta do dishes and take out the trash. Darn, I hate domestic life.

Sunday, April 6th 2003

12....52.....AM. It's Sunday night, and I'm still sick. I'm in the midst of playing with the cat, cleaning up the piles of papers scattered around (including some bills), and I'm doing bills as I find them. And, in a testament to the fact that the weather patterns are really screwed up, we're looking at an official winter storm tomorrow with 4"-6" of snow. And I have an important conference call tomorrow morning at 10am, so what to do, what to do.

Of course I'll show up to work. Or at least try to. We'll see what happens with the trains. While the cat rests, let's recap the weekend.

ESPN Zone, Time Square

Friday was a little celebration for Sanjay H.'s upcoming nuptials. He's getting married on April 19th, so Vib, Chirag, and a few others like myself took him out for the traditional "Bachelor Party." Of course, this event shouldn't be confused with the 80's movie "Bachelor Party" starring Tom Hanks. Actually, that might happen, considering Doug and Paul are doing mine. Hmm, I really have to ask all participants not to bring a camera.

Anyway, I went home, and was going to drive in, but decided against it considering Fri evening Lincoln Tunnel traffic. I just freshened up, put my contacts in, and jumped on the next train. I met up with Kenar and company at ESPN Zone. I might ask Chirag to send me a few pictures that he took, since I forgot my camera.

Afterwards, we took him....elsewhere. Needless to say, fun for all, and we upheld a manly tradition. I'll be at Sanjay's wedding in 2 weeks, and that's actually going to be the first Hindu wedding that I attend. Should be interesting.

Saturday was another miserable day of rain. I also was still sick. I went visiting my parents in the afternoon, helped my Dad clean up the old house before they do the closing this week. My mom prepared some food for me to take home too. How nice are they? Saturday night was pretty much a bore.

Sunday, Namita and I attended Christ Church in Ridgewood, NJ. It's actually where our wedding is going to be, so I wanted to check it out, and I dragged her along. My parents said I'd been there, but I couldn't remember. As soon as we drove by, I remembered. "Oh yeah.....I have been here before." Two weddings, actually. One ended in divorce, but the other one is still going. 50/50 so far, right?

Sunday night, here I am. Still sick, a snow storm coming, and the cat is waiting to play with the yarn some more. Ah, another lazy Sunday.

Thursday, April 3rd 2003

Lttle is known about the colossal squid but it is a bigger species than the giant squid.

It's 7:55am, and I'm home. I woke up at 6:30am, and felt horrible. Sore throat was going strong, still a headache, etc. I was feeling sick yesterday, but I hoped it wouldn't be so bad. Yeah, right. So, I'm taking a personal day (since I'm out of sick days.)

Now that I'm home, I'll rest, I'll drop off my shirts at the cleaners....and pick up my contacts and glasses.

Wow, anyone see this article on the colossal giant squid fisherman found off of Antartica, New Zealand? Eyes the size of dinner plates, eats Patagonian Toothfish (which grow to two meters in length), 330 pounds, and 25 tooth-like hooks. Straight out of the movie "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Here's an interesting quote:

"The species, whose scientific name is mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, was previously thought to have lurked at least 800 meters down in the freezing waters near Antarctica, but the specimen found a fortnight ago was near the surface.

"....said the discovery raised questions about what else was down deep in the ocean. We know so little about the marine environment in general. If animals like this are turning up, what's going to be at 3,000-meters (10,000-foot) depth. We don't know."

Pretty cool, I think. Fascinating, even.

Later Thursday evening, April 3rd

So, I'm wearing my glasses right now. Oh, it feels so good! New contacts too, and I'll wear them tomorrow for Sanjay's thing. Sanjay's thing? Yes, this guy, Sanjay, he's getting married in June, so a bunch of us are taking him out tomorrow night. Yes, I'll have pictures.

Here's a funny forward from Kenar to end the evening.


  • Between 18 and 20, a woman is like Africa. Half discovered, half wild, naturally beautiful with fertile deltas.
  • Between 21 and 30, a woman is like America. Well developed and open to trade especially for someone with cash.
  • Between 31 and 35, she is like India. Very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.
  • Between 36 and 40, a woman is like France. Gently aging but still a warm and a desirable place to visit.
  • Between 41 and 50, she is like Yugoslavia. Lost the war, haunted by past mistakes. Massive reconstruction is now necessary.
  • Between 51 and 60, she is like Russia. Very wide, borders are un-patrolled. The frigid climate keeps people away.
  • Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Mongolia; with a glorious and all-conquering past but alas, no future.
  • After 70, they become like Afghanistan. Almost everyone knows where it is, but no one wants to go there.


  • Between 15 and 100 a man is like Iraq, ruled by a dick.

Wednesday, April 2nd 2003

I feel kinda sad that people don't seem to like the brown M&M's. If I was a brown M&M, I'd tell everyone to eat me.

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Some sultry scenes from Kama Sutra

Here are the long-awaited pictures from Kama Sutra and Evolution, which I finally am adding to the Recent Movies section down below.

In other news, my new business cards finally came in. It feels so good to see my career officially taking it's next big step. Now, I just need to start studying for that CIA exam!

Let's see. I gave blood yesterday at work, and I'm hoping to join the "Gallon Club" by donating 8 times in one year. I like to help, but don't know if could donate eight times. Well, we'll see. I've been donating since my senior year of high school. I remember it vividly, because I told my parents I was going to do it, and they freaked out. I stubbonly said I would, and they (specifically my Mom) caused a huge ruckus. I remember getting home the night before the big day of donation, and my aunt and uncle were sitting on my living room couch. They had been called in to do an intervention.

After a very uncomfortable discussion, I donated anyway the next day.

Yesterday's donation wasn't the most comfortable session for some reason. I felt really weird afterwards, and fell asleep pretty early last night. Like 9:30pm. With my contacts in.

Speaking of vision, it's been eight business days since I ordered my new glasses, and I'm dying here, waiting for them. As I rub my eyes, I call up Lenscrafters to ask about the mysterious whereabouts of my glasses, which, I thought, was going to take "about an hour." Anyway, what does the salesman tell me?

"They're here, all ready to go, sir!"

Somebody tell me how long they've been sitting at Lenscrafters? You know what? I don't want to know. I'll just get irritated.

Now that the big wedding news is finally out, I've got lots of people wishing me a heap of congratulations. Thanks to Meg, Josh, Evans, Mahesh, Vib, Chirag, Teena, and a slew of others. Much appreciated. To the guys, I'm going to say, "Wait until the Bachelor Party!" Since Doug and Paul are arranging the whole thing, I'm pretty sure somebody that weekend is going to get arrested.

I got a printout of my available vacation hours, and it turns out that I have about 18 days of vacation time. In honor of that, I may take some time off on Friday!



Dining Table and chairs
--Christmas gift from Num!

Wine Rack
--Christmas gift from Julie!

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