Procrastiblog

April 22, 2007

The Universe (Sort Of) Hates Me…

Filed under: India, Not Tech — Chris @ 6:42 pm

Well… Let’s call it a patent dislike.

I specifically left the house this afternoon to get my wedding band resized—an errand I’ve been meaning to run for about six months now*—only to find that every jewelry store in Park Slope is closed on Sunday. What’s the deal?

But you know who is open on Sunday? The 5th Avenue empanada lady. You know how much an empanada costs? A dollar twenty-five. And you know what they are? Delicious.

Eat that, universe,

* The band has seemed a little too big since I got back from India, probably because of the 10 pounds I lost there (which have oddly stayed off, even after I returned to my customary diet of cow, pig, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream). The band has fallen off my finger twice: once on the street in Sunset Park and once on the beach in California. I haven’t determined the precise combination of external/internal/body temperature and humidity/sweatiness that puts it in the danger zone, but I find that I self-consciously walk around with my hand curled in a fist, lest the band leap from my finger and into a sewer and/or the jaws of a whale.

[UPDATE] Upper East Side jewellers have a better work ethic, but $80 to shrink a platinum band a half size? Is that really how much it costs?

April 7, 2007

एक्ष्केल्लेन्त् वर्क, टोबी

Filed under: India, Not Tech, Waste of Time — Chris @ 4:21 pm

Mr. Kellner (who else?) wins the prize, which is no prize. Bonus points if you know where it came from. BTW, my browser doesn’t even render this script properly. Something to do with the right-to-left text.

April 6, 2007

आ गूढ़ ग्लास इन थे बिशोप’एस होस्टल

Filed under: India, Not Tech, Waste of Time — Chris @ 12:30 pm

Blogger snuck a Hindi transliteration feature into the post composer. Why? I don’t know. Does it work? Beats me. What does it say above? Does it make any sense?

September 9, 2006

ATM: Success

Filed under: India — Chris @ 8:04 pm

My Indian Citibank ATM card worked at the local Citibank branch. It did not work at the deli ATM or at some other random bank (Commerce Bank, I think). This is good because, without my knowledge (due to the closure of my company email account), I got a final payroll deposit of several hundred dollars.

September 8, 2006

N.Y. Dosas

Filed under: Food, India, Not Tech — Chris @ 11:07 pm

I had my first post-India dosa today and… it met expectations. Which expectations were to be disappointed.

You may ask yourself: why would someone just two weeks back from India buy a dosa in New York anyway? And I would answer: because the dosa guy is one of the only interesting places to get a “fast” lunch near NYU.* The other top contenders are Two Boots and Mamoun’s.** (Now that I think about it, I haven’t been to Two Boots or Mamoun’s yet. Somehow today I had the overpowering urge for a dosa. (Damn you, id!))

On the upside, I noticed that the dosa guy also offers uttapam and puttu, which I know I like, but have not had often enough to be a snob about (yet).

People of the world: NYU lunch joints. Recommend. A satisfying lunch has to be purchasable for $5 or less*** and it has to be fast take-out.**** Within five minutes of Warren Weaver Hall is preferred. (Joe’s and Two Boots have me covered for pizza slices. Falafel, schwarma, and South Indian are also covered. (Duh.) If I start going to Chipotle on a regular basis, Hilleary will divorce me.)

* This will seem absurd to some. Having haunted the NYU area for 11 years, I am ridiculously jaded.

** Pamela’s merits an honorable mention (primarily and inexplicably for the peanut butter and apple butter sandwich), but they closed over the summer…

*** Private to Tobi: that’s like five billion Rupees.

**** Fellow NYU grad students seem to think sitting down for an hour at lunch is reasonable. They are wrong.

September 6, 2006

Laundering Money

Filed under: India — Chris @ 8:40 pm

For the benefit of future foreign MSRI employees and other Americans in possession of a Citibank Suvidha account:

1) It is possible to transfer your Rupees to a US bank, see below.
2) I have not been able to use my Citibank India ATM card in the US, but I haven’t actually tried very hard. It is not a PIN issue, as I can check my balance—it just won’t let me take out cash.

To transfer your money to the US, you need to:

a) Have your passport, visa, and pay slips that have been signed and sealed by the company. In my case, I brought every single pay slip and they were stamped and signed by HR.

a) Go to the Citibank Suvidha office in the Prestige Meridien building on MG Road. This is not the regular Citibank branch office out front, but a special office which is reached by walking around the building to the left, up a staircase, and past a Cafe Coffee Day. You will be asked to sign in. You need to talk to, IIRC, Shamila at the second desk on the left.

b) Fill out a form requesting “Remission for the Maintenence of Family”. Do not ask to close your account. This will cause a controversy. For the amount you will write something like “X Rupees in USD” to signify the conversion of your Rupee balance to US dollars. I believe there is a fee of Rs 1200 for the transfer.

c) Be careful when you sign the forms. The most commonly heard phrase in the Suvidha office is “signature mismatch”. (Do you actually know how to sign your own name? You’ll get to find out!)

D) Et voila. Your money will appear in your US bank account within a week.

[UPDATE 9/9/2006] ATM card works in U.S. Citibank ATMs. Has not worked as yet in non-Citibank ATMs.

September 4, 2006

The Thrilling Conclusion to the Mystery of the Stolen Whiskey!

Filed under: India — Chris @ 8:24 pm

On August 21, 2006, the company purchased me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label* which I promptly turned over to Jonathan, who had gifted me the stolen whiskey. By some twisted Indian logic, this event was precipitated by my mentor’s threat to buy me a bottle of whiskey himself by the end of the day if the company wouldn’t. Thus endeth the Story of the Whiskey.

* Let’s ignore the difference between Tennessee and Scotland and call it even.

September 1, 2006

Back in NY

Filed under: India — Chris @ 4:14 am

So, yes, I am back in NY. I arrived back last Sunday. It is surprisingly not-weird to be here. It feels just like… being home.

I dropped off the face of the blogging Earth two weeks ago because (a) I had an enormous amount of work to do before I left Bangalore, (b) I’ve been just totally disoriented since I got back, and (c) NYU handed me a new laptop on Monday and I’ve spent all of my computer fiddling time since then trying to get wireless and “suspend to RAM” (i.e., sleep) working under Linux* (not responding to email, catching up on blogs, or getting any real work done).

I’ve actually got a bunch of things stacked up that I need to blog about, including: an end to the Saga of the Whiskey, the final lessons of India, the irritating trip home amid the Liquid Explosives Scare of ’06, the Ballad of the Lost Bag, and “closeted gay friends: what’s the deal?” Stay tuned.

* Anybody? Tips? The PC’s a Dell Inspiron 6400, the wireless card’s a Broadcom 1390, which I finally got working with a custom-compiled ndiswrapper**. Suspend to RAM seems hopeless.***

** NDIS!! Oh, how I loathe you!

*** As a result of my summer employment, I am feeling marginally more inclined to fuck it and just run Windows XP. The thing is, I spent an inordinate amount of my summer trying to get Cygwin and MSVC to play nice together and I long for a nice, reasonable command shell and a compiler to go with it.

August 19, 2006

20:12 IST, 19 August 2006

Filed under: India — Chris @ 9:21 pm

There’s this project on Flickr to have lots of people submit photos they took at exactly 2:42pm GMT, 19 August 2006. At the appointed hour (as ajudged by my insanely accurate timepiece), Carolyn and I were stuck in traffic coming back from Koramangala. I’m not sure what the exact rules are wrt sub-minute accuracy and what-not, but I now have three candidate pictures for submission. Let’s take a vote!

The auto driver next to us (not our auto driver!), who thought we were two completely insane tourists:
12 IST (Auto driver)

Carloyn, centered and washed out by the flash, with a hint of another auto driver giving us the skunk eye:
12 IST (Carolyn)

Carolyn, off-kilter and trying to simultaneously take a picture of me:
12 IST (Carolyn, reflexivity)

Vote in comments.

Day Report

Filed under: India — Chris @ 9:08 pm

Vijay invited us to visit his Dad’s business, which is AFAIK to train pilots, build specialty aircraft, and sell aviation novelties.
I didn’t even realize it was Vijay’s family business until we were already there and he said, “Do you want anything? Just take it.”

Vijay and His Dad (in Plaque Form)

After a while I got bored and decided to just annoy Deb.

Deb

Later, we went to Cunningham Rd and had a disappointing meal.

Disappointing appetizers

What a day!

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