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My Bookshelf Listed at:

Fav Flicks w/ Links to great lines
(which I don't have the capacity to remember) Being John Malkovich
Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai ...
Fight Club
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Shawshank Redemption
Wo hu cang long
Big Fish
Scent of a Woman
Pix (pure paparazzi, no releases)
More fine Indian cuisine
Yercaud, India hill station
Field of Red Sox Dreams
Canada from St. Lawrence River cottage
Sunset at St. Lawrence River cottage
Corn Roast on Chennai, India beach
Bedtime for ducks in Ontario
Fishing in Ontario
Falls near Portland, Oregon
Dogs and deer at a dump in Chennai, India
My Royal Enfield Bullet in Chennai, India
Golden Showers in Chennai, India
Easter Bunny
You're Semi-literate
Goose on Watch Near Buffalo
Ft. Myers algae runoff
Hotel Runs in Chennai, India
Red Hot Poker in Oregon
Oregon Sea Kayak
Plumber doing business
Caching Mecca in Oregon
UP (Upper Peninsula), Michigan
Winter in NY
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario Fox

02/01/2002 - 03/01/200203/01/2002 - 04/01/200204/01/2002 - 05/01/200205/01/2002 - 06/01/200207/01/2002 - 08/01/200208/01/2002 - 09/01/200209/01/2002 - 10/01/200210/01/2002 - 11/01/200211/01/2002 - 12/01/200212/01/2002 - 01/01/200301/01/2003 - 02/01/200302/01/2003 - 03/01/200303/01/2003 - 04/01/200304/01/2003 - 05/01/200305/01/2003 - 06/01/200306/01/2003 - 07/01/200307/01/2003 - 08/01/200308/01/2003 - 09/01/200309/01/2003 - 10/01/200310/01/2003 - 11/01/200311/01/2003 - 12/01/200312/01/2003 - 01/01/200401/01/2004 - 02/01/200402/01/2004 - 03/01/200403/01/2004 - 04/01/200404/01/2004 - 05/01/200405/01/2004 - 06/01/200406/01/2004 - 07/01/200407/01/2004 - 08/01/200408/01/2004 - 09/01/200409/01/2004 - 10/01/200410/01/2004 - 11/01/200411/01/2004 - 12/01/200412/01/2004 - 01/01/200501/01/2005 - 02/01/200502/01/2005 - 03/01/200503/01/2005 - 04/01/200504/01/2005 - 05/01/200505/01/2005 - 06/01/200506/01/2005 - 07/01/200507/01/2005 - 08/01/200508/01/2005 - 09/01/200508/01/2007 - 09/01/200709/01/2007 - 10/01/200710/01/2007 - 11/01/200711/01/2007 - 12/01/200712/01/2007 - 01/01/200801/01/2008 - 02/01/200803/01/2008 - 04/01/200805/01/2008 - 06/01/200806/01/2008 - 07/01/200807/01/2008 - 08/01/200808/01/2008 - 09/01/200810/01/2008 - 11/01/200811/01/2008 - 12/01/200812/01/2008 - 01/01/200901/01/2009 - 02/01/200902/01/2009 - 03/01/200908/01/2009 - 09/01/200912/01/2009 - 01/01/201001/01/2010 - 02/01/201003/01/2010 - 04/01/201004/01/2010 - 05/01/201005/01/2010 - 06/01/201008/01/2010 - 09/01/2010

Adventures with YardBoy
aka PiraticPlogger (name concept: Pat W & Carl H)

disclaimer: most words in this Blog are taken from Anglo-Saxons without permission
ad-neutering/financial support: Carl H
modified Blogger template: Andrew Hoshkiw
Comments from HaloScan as BlogOut is down
Sunday, November 30, 2003  
Movies, right across the street from the Holiday Inn
Galaxy Cinema has great, high-back seating (tho not reclining) and decent popcorn. I've been on a binge to make up for what I've missed in Rochester & India:
Matrix Revolutions - more special effects from the first two releases. Is there a deep message & does it end here?
Bad Santa - greasy Billy Bob Thornton is perfect at saying "fuck" and two screwing scenes for a theater full of kids.
Timeline - much like the Crichton bestseller; a nice mix of tech, adventure & romance.

VERY Bad Santa

2:00 PM

Saturday, November 29, 2003  
I'm not a big fan of casinos & their calculated margins (player's losses), BUT...
the Casino Sault Ste. Marie was about the only place to get an American-style Thanksgiving turkey buffet here in SSM, Canada. Of course, as soon as I walked in the casino's front door, the promoters were on me like "flies on shit". They signed me up for a free "Winners Circle" membership which is basically a smart gamer's card that learns everything about one's playing habits. My hotel promotion includes a free $5 blackjack play (on $5 played) and $5 worth of slot machine tokens (on $5 purchased)... so I dropped $10 for about one hour entertainment. Additionally, dinners are nicely discounted and the casino has a better exchange rate on US$ than the banks. As we say in India: "what to do?"

3:14 PM

Friday, November 28, 2003  
HOGGING: do not try this at home unless you have Lipitor cholesterol-lowering meds
I was in Harvey's, a Canadian burger joint, and "Trevor" was taking his turn at the register (as opposed to flipping paddies, emptying the trash bin, etc.). He was pretty good at working his CRM (Customer Relations Magic). Trevor briefly described their poutine as a melt of freedom fries, cheese curd, and steaming gravy. It wsn't hard to sell me, tho hours later, I don't feel very hungry for Thanksgiving turkey. Come to think of it, poutine would be good veg cuisine for India. Hop to it, entrepeneurs ;^)


11:58 AM

Thursday, November 27, 2003  
Happy U.S. Thanksgiving
from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where Canadians celebrated their Thanksgiving last month. One of our Indian trainers instructed that subsidiary that the "day is observed by church services". News to me, but maybe I'm not a good American. Please use the Gimme Some Dirt (comments) section below to poll this religious revelation.

I believe the holiday will be observed by:
- eating/drinking (to the point of requiring antacids)
- napping (tho the tryptophan myth is mostly false)
- watching TV (traditional football games & parades)
- movies (keyed to theater releases)
- shopping (largest newspaper ads of the year in preparation for Christmas)
- hunting (it's deer season and a day off from work)
- arguing (US families are less nuclear than Indian)
- violence (mostly involving alcohol and opinions on carving turkey with a huge knife)

Enjoy ;^)

1:46 PM

Wednesday, November 26, 2003  
Stripperella - a TV cartoon, Tuesday, 11PM, TNN/Spike network (division of MTV)
After a 13 hour work day plus beer & chicken wings at the Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Holiday Inn, I mindlessly thumbed the TV remote past this animation. Something in my brain said: "back up." My initial obsevations after 30 minutes of slack-jaw amazement:
- Stripperella, exotic dancer by night, super-hero by day
- a Pushy Galore character (with apologies to James Bond)
- a Richard Slimmons character who made not-so-obscure references to "fudge packing"
- anatomical blur-outs
- middle finger salutes
- pole dancing (just like the Nekid Ballet)

Imagine my chagrin when I found Stripperella's webpage. It seems this farce is drawn by Stan Lee of comic book fame (including Spiderman) and voiced by Pamela Anderson. 'nuf said? Dare I mention that Stripperella is followed by another zany animation, Gary the Rat?

3:14 PM

Monday, November 24, 2003  
The Buffalo Bills lost again but at least it was 70°F at game time...
a record for western NY this time of year. It was nice to wake up early & get some fresh air. Later in the day, I stopped by to see the Bodhi (and family). Their "standing rib" was delish, but I feel like I'm reaching my beef limit. Lastly, I got a lot of shopping done this weekend for my new apartment:
King Koil bed
Toshiba TV (Surround-Sound is great)
Lane recliner
wireless router & notebook card (Free After Rebate thanks to Keith S)
Sony Memory Stick reader (FAR)
32MB USB drive (FAR)

DVD player is next as I missed a lot of movies during my 20 months in India.

12:32 AM

Saturday, November 22, 2003  
US House of Representatives passed weak spam bill today
The compromised measure largely mirrored the legislation passed by the Senate in October. Next week, Senators are expected to approve amendments added by the House and President Bush will likely sign the Congressional bill into US law.

CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) notes: "This legislation fails the most fundamental test of any anti-spam law, in that it neglects to actually tell any marketers not to spam. Instead, it gives each marketer in the United States one free shot at each consumer's e-mail inbox, and will force companies to continue to deploy costly and disruptive anti-spam technologies to block advertising messages from reaching their employees on company time and using company resources."

The bill sadly follows the opt-out process that has previously failed to reduce spam. Additionally, the bill will negate initiatives such as California's recently passed opt-in spam protection.

Personally, I question the effectiveness of US legislation on our Inboxes when the spamming could just be outsourced to other countries;^)

6:51 PM

For Sundar and anyone who wants to know...

upstairs, 2BR, big LR window great for plants '94 Olds Cutlass Ciera, 140K miles

5:12 PM

Friday, November 21, 2003  
Michael Jackson: runnin' from the Law

Michael Jackson
[a tip of the hat to Slurpee Slinger]

4:56 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2003  
DANGER ... DANGER, Will Robinson (apologies to Lost in Space)
Sify aka SifyCorp, Indian ISP, is hiring "web developers". For those looking, run away as fast as you can. Ask yourself: Is this company making money or bleeding? Ask your friends & associates: Who has any respect for Sify? Ask me: Sify doesn't even respond to my previous posts about negligible service. On 01 OCT, I was copied by Sify's Ajay Nambiar (Head - Customer Care) that "Please be rest assured that we will have this looked into and resolved." It's a good thing I'm not holding my breath, I'd be dead and in the grave (tho that might suit Sify).

1:41 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  
Maybe there's something different about me, but I just watched several television episodes of ...
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on the Bravo cable channel. Basically: straight guy makeovers by the "Fab 5", a quintet of sensitive and insightful gays. Very, very entertaining.

And has Chief Minister Jayalaithaa of Tamil Nadu, beloved Amma, still not straightened out English-speaking television in that part of India? Are the set-top boxes still not available to the common citizen for a reasonable price? Does Chennai remain the only city in all of India that makes it extremely difficult for Call Center employees to improve their English via television? Just one more reason why Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India ;^)

1:56 AM

Tuesday, November 18, 2003  
Vending machine company parlays its services to also become full-scale cafeteria
Our Rochester, NY call center cafeteria is looking better (or maybe I'm accustomed to the hot water line at our Chennai, India canteen). Loose Ends Vending appears to understand our paying employees. For example: the concessionaire rewards our regular buyers of bagels with a "buy 9, get 1 free" card. Let's hope they're smart enough to do the same with coffee, soda, donuts, sub sandwiches, etc. If not, I've got discount cards for Krispy Kreme donuts and great Pickle Nicks sandwiches just down the road.

The cafeteria currently features:
breakfast cooked to order
breakfast sandwiches ready in a warmer
full line of donuts, bagels, muffins, scones, ice cremes, 8-10 different coffees, sodas & juices
lunch cooked to order with 3 daily specials on a weekly menu
soup, chili, real sandwiches (not bread with "spread"), real burgers, full salad bar, pizza, etc.
Friday nights will soon have fish & shrimp frys

Below, you'll notice the "usability" of putting the Slim Fast diet bars next to the cookies ;^)
Another pic features a recent "pasta cooked to order" which included veggies, chicken, seafood, Primavera sauce, etc. Delish (even tho I've been sticking to soup & salad).

grill & sandwich bar cookies & oven

pizza, soda & juices pasta cook

4:55 PM

Monday, November 17, 2003  
AMC Project (American Movie Channel) premiered tonight with indy film maker Peter Mattei
Peter produces & "stars" in two amusing documentaries at opposite ends of the spectrum:
"I Want to be Clive McLean" (porn director)
"I Want to be Karan Johar" (Bollywood director)

Learn about what it takes to succeed in porn AND Indian film production. Beautiful scenery in both cases ;^)

On DEC 8-9, I'm looking forward to the The AMC Project: Malkovich's Mail, where the strangely talented John Malkovich will bring to life a number of screen-test treatments pitched to him by aspiring (if not begging) film makers and writers.

Peter Mattei John Malkovich

11:51 PM

Chapter 2: Perks (not) for American soldiers serving in Iraq
During one's tour of duty, there is a break period, something like a vacation, called "leave". The US government and its "Federal Home Leave System" will provide our soldiers a flight from Bagdad to:
Baltimore, Maryland
Dallas, Texas
Atlanta, Georgia
Frankfurt, Germany

other than those cities, our patriots are on their own, out of pocket. Too bad if one lives in any other of the 47 US states.

11:16 PM

I ate too much yesterday
At the tailgate party, I had an omelet for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and another sandwich during the football game's halftime. I couldn't even finish my steak dinner and I still have a pocket full of sunflower seeds (tho I did eat 2 excellent apples yesterday: GingerGolds). I started drinking water during dinner, hoping to get some comfort. In fact, I've been bad about drinking water since I've returned to the US. I haven't "found" or unpacked my Brita water filter and I'm close to buying a new one. The municipal water is extremely safe in the US, but a filter removes any off-taste or odor. I could easily drink the water as-is, but I think a filter encourages me the same as putting regular water into a name-brand bottle. With 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning and maybe 1 beer at night, I suspect I'm drinking less than my calculated water needs (unlike the 1.5 liters I drank at daybreak in Chennai, India).

Writing of apples, I bought some unpasteurized cider. It's got that little bit of fizz (carbon dioxide) as fermentation just begins. I need to find an airlock so I can make some "hard" cider and eventually freeze out the apple jack (brandy).

10:07 AM

Sunday, November 16, 2003  
Annual tailgate at "The Ralph"
Went with 110+ friends to see today's Buffalo Bills football game. We left Rochester, NY around 7:30AM in a 43°F drizzle and got to Ralph Wilson Stadium before 9AM. A "tailgate" is the rear panel that folds down on a pickup truck and lends itself to sitting and tabling food, booze, etc. Kudos to Rick Albano who organizes EVERYTHING and feeds us for US$10 each. By the time we got there, Rick had a canopy and tables set up in the car park (and the rain had stopped). He also has a seasoned griddle that turns out perfect omelets with sausage, ham, peppers, onions, potatoes & Italian bread toast. I never saw anybody go near the coffee urn probably because Mike K brings "Kosciol coffee" (Southern Comfort Manhattens) and I bring a gallon of spicy Bloody Marys. Everyone else brings beer. Around Noon, Rick brings out sandwich makings: all kinds of bread, turkey, ham, roast beef, and Italian salami. There's also potato chips, sunflower seeds, cookies, and other pocket-sized goodies to carry into the game at 1PM.

Buffalo lost to the visiting Texans (who intentionally committed a 2 point Safety in the last 3 seconds of the game thereby upsetting many of the betting pools). The stadium serves no beer after halftime and most responsible drivers quit drinking anyways.

After the game (4PM), we head back to the parking lot where Rick prepares a grilled steak dinner. As the sun sets, we're bloated, smiling and ready for our ride back to Rochester. I missed last years event when I was in Chennai, India, but this year revived a great tradition ;^)

Rick & Mike, special coffee & griddle Eric & Bob at tailgate

sandwich makings field view at 1X on new Sony P8

field view at 9.6X on new Sony P8 overdressed cheerleaders

marching band at halftime Paul seasoning steaks before grilling

9:42 PM

Saturday, November 15, 2003  
Sun and reasonable 40F temps have returned
It had been grey, rainy, and temperate on Monday thru Wednesday, but I drove to work in 50-60mph winds at 7AM Thursday. Needless to say (why do we say that when we're going to say it anyway?), the windchill was a forewarning to the horizontal snow that began in the PM. The Rochester, NY area suffered fallen trees, power outages, icy road accidents for some of those who tail-gated (imagine what would happen in Chennai, India) and at least one, related death. Some businesses and schools closed, but our Call Center and its telecommunications performed flawlessly.

On this beautiful Saturday, I've had a great breakfast (faithful readers know what & where) and enjoyed the newspaper. I read that the high school soccer semifinals were played on a snowy field. While a 20+ game season began in early September, it now seems unfair that two excellent teams don't get to display their talents, instead playing against the weather. After breakfast, I headed for the Rubber Ranch, but first stopped to see Lump (who excellently got my car back on the road) & Tish (who has been off cigarettes for 12 days now!). At the Ranch, the residents were "processing" some of their chickens for their larder. I have pix and readers can vote for publishing (or not) in the Comments (Gimme Some Dirt) section below.

11:54 PM

Friday, November 14, 2003  
God (and Charles Darwin) calling India. Hello?
A year ago, Bill Gates came to India, pocketbook open, on the cause against AIDS. IMHO, the response from Indian leadership was disappointing, if not deadly. Initially, PM Vajpayee cancelled his meeting with Gates. Actor-turned-Health Minister Sinha accused Gates and US Ambassador Blackwell of "spreading panic". Human Resources Development Minister Joshi stated that Gates had "overdone" his estimate of AIDS cases and his philanthropic donation. Duhhhh, can you say "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and "don't look a gift horse in the mouth"?

Here we are a year later and Jivha, The Tongue has followed up on the myopic DD program of the BJP ruling party. No, I'm not talking television, I mean Delusion & Denial. Officially (and who doesn't believe this is understated?), the Indian National AIDS Control Organisation says AIDS is growing in India at 15.4% a year. There are currently 4.5 million AIDS cases in India, second only to South Africa.

When I first came to India 20 months ago, I thought India (her religions and cows in the street) represented a respect for life. I quickly found out that part of the Indian government and her people were killing whatever they could with traffic lawlessness, pollution, and female termination (foeticide, infanticide, bride-burning). This AIDS issue might be the final call, a call from "above". And if you're a bit more secular, know that AIDS is one of the many operatives in "survival of the fittest". For the largest democracy in the world, please answer the call and exercise your vote ;^)

2:58 PM

Thursday, November 13, 2003  
I'm missing raita...
so I thinly sliced some cucumber and onion. I bought buttermilk for the first time in 53 years (I used to think it disgusting). I let the mixture "work" for a day and tried it at dinner last night. This creamy salad just didn't have enough tang. I stopped by my dry cleaner and asked the owner, a Tanzanian of Indian origin, for his advice. He said he used yogurt (curd). In the small town where I live, North Chili, NY, our one store does not have yogurt without fruit flavoring. I found some "plain" at Wegmans, possibly the world's best grocery store, near work in the big city of Rochester, NY. I added some to the buttermilk concoction and I'll re-test tonight.

2:24 PM

Potential downside of being an American soldier
Yesterday was Veteran's Day, a time some Americans honor US military personnel. It was not a holiday for most businesses other than gubbermint offices where many employees are not veterans. It was a school holiday, so many kids stayed home alone, not necessarily contemplating the toil behind their freedom & comfort. Our Call Center operation made absolutely no provision for Veteran's Day and I think we missed an opportunity to generate employee satisfaction:
1. Buy the veteran a cup of coffee (yes, we pay for coffee & tea in our US offices)
2. Let the veteran dress casual, eg. without a glaucoma-inducing tie. Our callers won't notice ;^)

The US government provides a pitiful veteran's burial benefit. In New York state, the average internment costs $6700 (three times the annual salary of a Help Desk Executive in India). A veteran's family typically receives a US$300 reimbursement unless the death is service related and then the payment tops out at US$2000. Thank you for serving your country and putting your life on the line (albeit a stingy line).

Specialist Jeffrey Vasko, a gunner with the US National Guard in Iraq since May, felt he had to call his mother back in Spencerport, NY to ask for new boots. She also sent him food, socks, and water purification gear. While that flushing sound you hear may be Spec. Vasko's military career going down the toilet, the US Department of Defense admits a shortage of batteries crucial to communucations gear. The US General Accounting Office reports 46% of troops deployed without all their immunizations (much like my introduction to India). The US Congress Armed Services Committee has been asked to investigate why there are low supplies of body armor despite an April allotment of $300 million ;^(

1:38 PM

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  
Cafeteria at Rochester, NY office surpasses Chennai, India office...
in variety & price. Yesterday, I chose a thick, creamy bowl of potato & bacon soup with a small salad from our Rochester canteen. And the bacon was lean! The meal cost about US$4 (Rs200). Our Indian operation does not give employees a choice: only veg is served. For Chennai workers who could manage the travel during their 30 minute lunch, a Chennai hotel might charge about Rs70 (US$1.40). Let me figure out my new Sony P-8 cam and I'll get back to a more colorful site.

Dinner at home was a capocolla sandwich with Ba-tempte half sour pickles (and Molson Canadian lager).
Let me first resolve: capocolla = capicola = capacollo = capacola = capocollo = capacolla.
Italian in origin, this is a sometimes spicy, dry-cured pork shoulder. AKA: prosciutto or bresaola.
Here's an excellent thesaurus on hams if you're not in touch with your meat ;^).

The deli clerk asked if I wanted an "assorted" (capocolla, salami, pepperoni, etc.) and I said "no, I want pure capocolla and I don't want it slathered in mayonaise, just a little olive oil & vinegar." Man, it was thinly sliced and delish.

capocolla Ba-tampte, the best

"Pickles" in India refer to just about any food product pickled or cured in spicy, red chili paste. My favorites include mango, bringel (eggplant), garlic, and prawns. Pickles in the US are cukecumbers cured in water with spices & vinegar. People of the Jewish pursuasion, however, benefit from their "kosher" dietary guidelines and enjoy what are arguably my favorite pickle: sours. True sours involve NO vinegar and are hard to find in grocery stores, even in a city like Rochester, NY with a million people in the metro area. Sours are cured in salt brine. The natural yeast in the cukecumber skin promotes the fermentation with lactic acid & carbon dioxide byproducts which in turn give the pickle its crisp tang. These pickles have to be refrigerated and eaten relatively quick as they will over-ferment (not that fermentation is a bad thing). Half Sours are only fermented a few days, retaining more crispness and cukecumber flavor. "Ba-tampte" (Yiddish for "good taste") is a topper.

If I wax on about fermentation, it's because I've cured my own sours and saurkraut (cabbage). At one time, I was even a commercial brewer of 7 types of lager & ale, fermenting 1000 liters, twice a week. If you visit the Molson Canadian site, you'll notice this product contains "hops". This perennial herb imparts dryness, if not a slight bitterness, to the brew. I know what I like and Molson uses a little. Becks has the best hoppiness, but is harder to find and more expensive. Kingfisher hasn't a clue, but is the least offensive beer in India.

Molson Canadian

10:00 AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  
MNF (Monday Night Football) and MND (Monday Night Diet) in the US
A diet is not necessarily low calorie tho scientists have discovered that putting rats on severely restricted intake will extend their lives. I am not a scientist (tho I play a brainiac in my many opinions). Nor am I a sharp-toothed, long-tailed denizen of the underworld regardless of what my ex-wife says. My goals are not longevity, rather bachelor's convenience, camaraderie, variety & hedonism. Care to join me?

A diet can be a unique culinary & social event. MNF lends itself perfectly to any number of bars, pubs, hotels, and friend's houses that feature beer and
1. chicken wings
2. pizza
3. bar-b-q
4. meatballs in sauce
5. submarine sandwiches (subs, hoagies, grinders, bombers, etc.)
6. popcorn, pretzels, chips & dip

American football has a "halftime" break that runs about 20 minutes and many establishments will serve the above for free in hopes of maintaining their clientele. During MNF, I'm on a seefood diet: I see it & I eat it. Of course, good Canadian beer specials help with the hogging ;^)

4:47 PM

Monday, November 10, 2003  
A weekend of snow, unpacking, washing and carnivorism
It was below freezing Saturday morning and the roof of my new flat held a "dusting" of frozen flakes. As the day warmed to just above freezing, the white precipitation disappeared. I went to my favorite burger joint (Sullivan's Char Broil) for what I call an angio-breakfast: sausage & egg on a grilled hardroll, deep-fried home-fry potatoes on the side with great, unlimited coffee. And there's always a free newspaper to read. I then went shopping for a bed and found Queen-sized matress/box sets reduced from $538 to $200. Headboards and supporting rails are as much... I think I'll do without. I next headed to Van Putte's garden shop for flowering plants to brighten up my large, south-facing living room ("hall", to our Indian readers) window. Soon after, I picked up my desktop (P3-700Mhz) from storage and admit that it's nice to be back on my 21" monitor. Saturday night, I stopped at a local North Chili bar that serves a 14oz. strip steak for $9. It wasn't the world's best strip, but better than the none I've had in 20 months and if they knew ANYTHING about Customer Service, I'd publish their name. Sunday morning was a repeat of the angio-breakfast without the snow (it's still below freezing). By noon, I was raking leaves at a friend's house before settling in front of their TV with a cold beer to watch some football (Tennessee crushed Miami). Later in the day, I took clothes dusty from storage to the laundromat. I wrapped up the evening by turning on my TV for the first time in my new flat. Here in the US, we have an interesting news show called 60 Minutes. The lead story was about an Army PFC Patrick Miller who was Jessica Lynch's hero in Iraq. It was the heroic truth of a truck driver not even qualified to use his weapon, but endless on courage ;^)

11:59 AM

Friday, November 07, 2003  
There was frost on my car's windshield this morning...
I let the car warm up, turned on the rear window electric defroster and the front blower. Then I cleared the outside windows with a scraper. This is all routine in Rochester, NY, but I wanted Indian readers to understand how Winter begins. Not only must we provide our own transportation to work, but we allocate extra time depending on our car's status. Later in the Winter, there will be half a meter of snow to be shoveled before we reach our cars. Then the car door or its lock might be frozen. Some Americans will spend 7000 INR (US$150) for a remote car starter so they can begin the process from the comfort of their home. Those rich Americans might have an easier start, but they'll still face a road full of others who haven't properly cleared their windshields. Sometimes the roads will be glare ice or deep snow and my 20 minute drive to work will slow down to an hour (or more). I already miss the short Chennai monsoon ;^)

5:12 PM

Thursday, November 06, 2003  
India pops up on the US "skivvie" radar...
and nationalism pokes its head up in apple growing country near Rochester, NY:

... my son volunteered to stay on in Iraq. Because he stayed, he was issued new underwear and T-shirts. The issued clothing had tags on it that said "Made in India."
... How can he [President Bush] ... take jobs from taxpaying workers here? Has he not seen the unemployment rate in his own country?
... the economy is going up and there are new jobs out there in all the countries other than ours. Not only did we lose troops on the overseas front, we also lost jobs on the home front.
William Pinkerton
Marion, Wayne County

WoW, the Prez sure knows how to motivate soldiers, but fails to educate Farmer Bill. There may be fewer skivvie (underwear) jobs (and skivvie tycoons), but don't overlook the savings/lower taxes. And besides, what's India supposed to do with all that genetically modified cotton? The skivvie sourcing might reduce the subsidies that India pays her farmers while criticizing the US (and other G-7 countries) for doing the same ;^)

1:56 PM

Wednesday, November 05, 2003  
My Indian co-worker wanted his last lunch in Rochester, NY at McDonalds or Wendys...
and I snickered. We'd have to drive 1 or 2km for those junk food joints. I walked him across the street to a local chain called Bill Grays. This and many others like it are what Americans call a char(coal) broil(er). Our visitor discovered that for the same price, one gets more menu options, fresh cooked, and larger portions. He wanted a chicken sandwich and he chose from:
1. Grilled chicken breast
2. Deep fried chicken breast
3. Deep fried chicken breast, Buffalo-style (masala)
4. Deep fried chicken breast, Italian-style (oil/vinegar/herb)

He ordered Buffalo-style after I assured him that it wasn't from the venerated water buffalo, rather, it was spicy like our local Buffalo (NY) chicken wing sauce. When the order arrived, he was impressed with its size and the fresh hard roll (pao to our Indian readers). He met his match with the included onion rings (batter fried) and freedom fries (I refuse to call them "French"). Our Indian co-worker was on a plane for India within 2 hours and probably didn't need the in-flight snack. THAT, my friends, is the Last Supper according to St. YardBoy, the Ambassador of Goodwill ;^)

11:28 AM

Tuesday, November 04, 2003  
One of my missions in the US...
has always been to enrich the experience of Indian co-workers visiting our Rochester, NY headquarters. Even when I've been in India, I've made arrangements back in the US for my friends to entertain the visitors, but the old adage says "to do it right, do it yourself". Yesterday was my first day back at work in the US and I discovered an Indian co-worker about to spend his last evening in Rochester, NY before returning to Chennai. I hunted him down and discovered that he needed to gift shop for a child. He had no easy transportation, so I drove him to Toys"R"Us. For the benefit of Indian readers, this is a superstore, part of a nation-wide chain. It's 15,000 square meters of competitively priced toys satisfying any imagination. My co-worker wanted a remote-control car and he had a choice of 50 different sizes, models, etc. priced from US$8 upwards. Needless to say, my Indian acquaintance was amazed. After we left the store, he was equally slack-jawed when I took him to what I slangly call the "ballet", one of several within 3km of our office. Well, there is dancing and undulating at the "Klassy Kat" club. OK... the topless tutu is better known as a thong. I bought my co-worker a beer and instructed him on what to do with a US$1 bill when a model-quality nymph was within centimeters of his face. We stayed for 3 different, but extremely buff dancers and then I drove the smiling man back to his hotel. Hey, I'm just helping to better international relations. Maybe someday, my co-worker will help an American in Chennai ;^)

BTW, the Madras Bulls motorcycle club once took me on a 300km roundtrip drive to Hotel Mass in Pondicherry, India. The scowling dancers were scarred, bruised, fat, and generally hating life. Don't bother!

12:08 PM

Monday, November 03, 2003  
Notice anything different?
I'm cold & wet. No, I have not become a Siberian sex-worker.

After 28 hours in Economy Class, I touched down in hometown Rochester, NY, USA. I'm extremely unhappy that NOBODY could convert my existing 62,000 Northwest Airlines WorldPerks miles into a Business Class upgrade. In Chennai, India, our company travel admin tells me to book my own tickets and Rosenbluth travel agency claimed that upgrades could never originate in India, only in the US. At Chennai airport, Northwest's partner, Jet Airways, suggested I contact the Northwest counter in Mumbai, India. In Mumbai, that Northwest desk claimed it would be another year before they had the tecnology to do upgrades. I asked what "technology" was required other than a telephone or Net connection. Northwest Mumbai said that Northwest Amsterdam, Nederlands, should be able to help me. After that 10 hour flight, there turned out to be no Northwest Amsterdam other than KLM who told me they had the upgrade ability a year ago, but Northwest had cancelled that privledge. On the next 10 hour leg to Detroit, USA, I learned that there were empty (but unavailable) seats in Business Class. I've sent an email off to Northwest and depending on their response, they may be getting my Stiffy treatment ;^(

1:27 PM

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