My Central NewJersey

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New word for WikiPedia – workation

Workation, a new submission for wikipedia

I’d like to introduce a new word that came into my vocubuary this week. This word is “workation“. No you probably can guess what this word means…

A “workation” is when you are on your vacation but continue to work as if you were still working. It’s also when you go on a mandatory vacation, but continue to show up at work or work from your home in the belief that you are actually on vacation.

So whenever you go on vacation and work at the same time.. So what’s the simplest way to define a workation? A workation is simply a working vacation!

You can tell everyone you are on workation!

Have a great holidays everyone!

Two “Graduates” in 2010

Two graduates in one Month! One from elementary school the other from High School!

So this is the end of the school year for both my kids. Amazingly, both are taking the next step in both of their educational life in 2010.

One is graduating from High School and the younger one is “graduating” from the 5th grade to the 6th grade this fall.

My baby took me to her ceremony at her school yesterday and observed a truly touching ceremony for the 5th grade “graduates”. The school and the PTO put together a fantastic pictoral presentation of the kids as they progressed from Kindergarten to the 5th grade. A few kids made some excellent speeches. What I liked most was that every parent was given a wonderful flower as a gift from the school. Each child was given a “certificate of completion” and CD of the slide show that was presented.

Honestly, I was truly amazed at the difference these days compared to what I experienced in NYC when I progressed from the 6th grade to the 7th grade!

The presentation gives the kids a sense of accomplishment that was truly lacking when I was growing up in the public school system of NYC in Queens.

For many of us who were pre-teens in the early 70’s ,   it’s just a minor memory of going from the security of elementary schools to the perils of Junior High school (Grades 7 – 9).  Today’s kids have the opportunity to create  a long lasting “time capsule” of all their accomplishments during their steps through the educationaol system from kindergarten through high school graduation. I think this is fantastic! I’m kind of envious that we didn’t have this opportunity when we were growing up.

Of course my older one’s High School Graduation is within the next few weeks and her celebration started a few weeks ago with the Senior Prom. Even the Prom  was well orchestrated by the school. They made the kids sign a “contract” before they sold them any tickets to the prom. In addition, they actually took the kids by bus to the mall where they spent the night partying with their friends. The school system created a safe environment for the kids to celebrate. When I was growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to my High School Prom. I guess that’s the result of being  so “uncool” when I was growing up!

I’m truly proud of both my kids for the steps they are taking this year in their education. One is leaving the security of  “High School life” and entering the independence of the college life. The other is expanding her horizons by leaving the structure of elementary school for the “chaos” of Middle School.

I wish both my girls success in their steps that they are taking this year. Of course what this means is that Dads taxi has less of one child to drive around and more of the other! I guess this is part of the growing up process for me as well!

Dad

Puneri Attitude – Indian Premier League (IPL) fan rules

IPL rules for behavior in Pune Stadiums

In India right now  the rage is the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Cricket. Indians are fanatical about their cricket and honestly,  I’m starting to get into it as well  I continue my vacation tour of the country..

The IPL is similar to Major League Baseball where players are “drafted” and teams are created for cities.  The owners of these teams are Bollywood stars that have bought these teams.  Each match is a quick match (only a few hours, as opposed to the days normal cricket matches take.

Suffice it to say the IPL is like Baseball on Steroids when it comes to sport in India.. I’m still trying to understand the game, but when it comes to  cricket, the madness rules in India. Every action related to the IPL is microscoped and analyzed. Any comment by an owner is scrutinized.. Hey wait.. it’s similar to the National Football League as well!

Pune is designated as a city for the IPL.. Full credit for everything beyond this goes to Deepak Iyer.   I read about his blog entry  in the local paper. The following rules for watching Puneri IPL cricket matches.. These rules for fan behavior are posted outside the stadium whee the matches are to be played.. I don’t know whether these rules are for real, but knowing the Puneri attitude, I suspect these rules are very real…

I found these rules to be very entertaining to say the least.  What amused me the most was that I think that the rules listed below are Not in jest, but rules that will be enforced..

As a courtesy to the blogger (Deepak Iyer), I have extracted in it’s entirety (including the Marathi font of devangi) for your viewing pleasure.. Keep up the great work Deepak!

Oh I forget that the proposed uniform is all in Marathi..

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*ह्या पाट्या आहेत त्या’मैदानावरच्या’ …..

Signboards at the stadium

१. सामन्याची वेळ तुमच्या तिकिटावर छापलेली आहे, उगाच कधीही येऊन गर्दी करु नये.

The match timings are printed in bold letters on your ticket. Do not crowd this place by showing up whenever you please.

२. सामन्याच्या वेळेच्या आधी ३० मिनिटे मैदानात प्रवेश दिला जाईल, तुम्ही गडबड केल्याने सामना लवकर सुरु होणार नाही.

Entry begins 30 minutes before the match and not before that. Your haste will not ‘prepone’ the match.

३. खुर्चीचा वापर फक्त बसण्यासाठीच करावा… एका खुर्चीवर एकच !

Chairs are strictly meant for sitting ONLY. And only one person on each chair please.

४. मैदानात पिण्यासाठी (साध्या) पाण्याची व्यवस्था केली आहे, थंड तसेच फिल्टर्ड पाणी आपण दिलेल्या तिकिटाच्या पैशात मिळणार नाही, उगाचच आयोजकांकडे हट्ट धरु नये.

Only tap water will be provided inside. The price of chilled or filtered water is not included in your ticket. Do not bring such silly complaints to the organizers.

५. मैदानावरचे कॅमेरे हे सामन्याच्या हालचाली टिपण्यासाठी आहेत, उगाच हिडीस चाळे करुन त्यांचे लक्ष वेधण्याचा प्रयत्न करु नये.

The cameras in the stadium are only to record and telecast the match. Do not try to distract the cameraman with your silly gestures.

६. आपण पुण्यासारख्या एका सुसंस्कृत शहरात एका सार्वजनिक ठिकाणी सामना पहात आहोत ह्याचे भान ठेऊन चियरलिडर्सना खाणाखुणा करु नये किंवा त्यांच्याकडे डोळे फाडुन बघुन लाज आणु नये. अश्लील चाळे कराल तर नुसतीच पोलीस कारवाई नाही तर धिंड काढण्यात येईल.

Please remember that you are watching the match in a city that is the epitome of culture. Do not bring disgrace to Pune by making lewd gestures or ogling at the cheerleaders. Such acts will be met with not just police action, but also with public humiliation.

७. फुंके ( सिगारेट, बिड्या, चिलीम ), थुंके ( तंबाखु, गुटका, मावा, पान ) आणि शिंके ( तपकीर आणि स्वाईन फ्ल्युग्रस्त ) ह्यांना मैदानात मज्जाव.

Smokers (cigarettes, bidis), Spitters (tobacco, gutkha, paan) and Sneezers (snuff inhalers and swine flu carriers) prohibited.

८. मैदानात दारु विक्री केली जात नाही, मैदानात दारु पिऊ दिली जात नाही, मैदानात बाहेरुन दारु पिऊन आल्यास प्रवेश मिळणार नाही.

Sale of alcohol is forbidden, bringing alcohol is forbidden and entry when drunk is forbidden.

९. मैदानात विकत मिळणार्‍या खाद्यपदार्थांची आवरणे, पिशव्या तसेच पाणी किंवा शितपेयाच्या बाटल्या मैदानात फेकु नयेत, बाटलीवरुन खेळाडु घसरुन पडुन जखमी होऊ शकतो ह्याची किमान जाण ठेवावी.

Do not throw any kind of waste (paper, plastic, cans) into the playing field. Be aware that players can slip and injure themselves.

१०. सामन्याच्या वेळी खेळाडुंना पाठिंबा देताना हळु आवाजात आरडाओरड करावी. हा क्रिकेटचा सामना आहे, तमाशाचा फड नव्हे !

During a match, keep your voice low when cheering for your team. This is a cricket stadium, not a fish market or a tamasha.

११. अनोळखी वस्तुंना स्पर्श करु नये … व्यक्तींसह !

Do not touch unknown objects… or people!

१२. मैदानातील मोठ्ठे पंखे फक्त दुपारी आणि गर्दी असलेल्या ठिकाणीच लावण्यात येतील. पंख्याखाली बसण्यासाठी मोठ्ठ्या आवाजात भांडण करुन आयोजकांना त्रास देऊ नये.

The stadium fans will be turned on in the afternoon, and in crowded stands only. Do not argue loudly with the organizers just because you want to sit under the nearest fan.

१३. स्त्रियांचे स्वच्छतागॄह, खेळाडूंचे पॅव्हेलियन, चियरलिडर्स पोडियम, व्हीआयपी गॅलरी, पत्रकार कक्ष इत्यादी ठिकाणी उगाच जास्त घुटमळु नये.

Do not loiter needlessly near the ladies restrooms, players’ pavilion, cheerleaders’ podium, VIP gallery, press box, etc.

14. सामन्यातील कसल्याही घटनेचा ( सामना हरणे, षटकार मारणे, धावबाद होणे, झेल टाकुन देणे वगैरे ) राग खुर्च्यांवर काढु नये.

Do not vent your anger at any incident (losing the match, run-out, sixer, dropped catch, etc.) on the stadium chairs.

15. सामना पहायला आलेल्या प्रेक्षकांचे खेडाळु, चियरलिडर्स, व्हीआयपी यांच्याबरोबर अथवा खेळपट्टी, पत्रकारकक्ष, समालोचन खोली, पॅव्हेलियन, व्हीआयपे बॉक्स इथे ‘फोटु काढुन मिळणार नाहीत’ किंवा त्याला परवानगी दिली जाणार नाही.

The audience is forbidden from snapping photos with players, cheerleaders, VIPs or at the pitch, press box, pavilion, VIP box, etc. Permission for the same will not be granted.

16. सामन्याच्या वेळेदरम्यान तुटलेल्या चपला, कापलेले खिसे, मोडलेला चष्मा, हरवलेली पर्स, गायब झालेला मोबाईल ह्यांची जबाबदारी आयोजकांकडे राहणार नाही. समोरच पोलीस स्टेशन आहे, तिकडे जाऊन तक्रार करावी.

Management cannot be held responsible for your stolen purses, lost mobiles or broken spectacles. There is a police station nearby. Take your complaints there.

17. हे पुणं आहे, शिमला नव्हे, उन्हाळ्यात गरम होणारच, पण म्हणुन मैदानात सामना पहायला शर्ट काढुन बसु नव्हे. अशा निर्लज्ज प्रेक्षकांना बाहेर काढले जाईल.

This is Pune, not Shimla. It is obvious that summers will be very hot. This does not mean you can take off your shirt. Such indecent spectators will be thrown out of the stadium.

18. पाऊस पडल्यास पैसे परत मिळणार नाहीत, कॄपया हवामानखात्याशी सल्लामसलत करुन मगच तिकिट काढावे.

The ticket price will not be refunded in case of rain. Please check with the meteorological department before you buy your tickets.

19. परदेशी खेळाडुंच्या अंगचटीला जाऊ नये तसेच त्यांना स्थानिक भाषेत गलिच्छ आणि अश्लील शिव्या देऊन वेडावुन दाखवु नयेत. ते आपले अतिथी आहेत, आपण घरात पाहुण्यांशी असे वागतो का ?

Do not needlessly rush to make bodily contact with the foreign players, or pass lewd remarks at them in the local language. They are our guests. Do we behave like this with guests in our own home?

20. राजकीय नेते, सरकारी अधिकारी, स्थानिक दादा ह्यांचा वशिला लाऊन फुकट पास मागु नये. परवडत नसल्यास झाडावर चढुन सामना पहावा.

Do not ask for ‘free passes’ just because you know a politician, government official or a local goon. If you can’t afford tickets, climb on nearby trees and enjoy the match.

21. खेळाडूंना गाढव, माकड असल्या कुठल्याही प्राण्यांच्या उपमा देऊन चिडवू नये. असे करताना आपणच त्या प्राण्यासारखे दिसतो.

Do not insult players by addressing them as a donkey, monkey or any other animal. You will look like one if you do.

22. स्वच्छतागृह स्वच्छ ठेवावे. स्वच्छतागृहातून घाण येते याची तक्रार खपवून घेतली जाणार नाही.

Keep the restrooms clean. Do not complain about foul odour from restrooms.

23. समोर नाचत असलेल्या चीयर लीडर्स जरी “मस्तानी” असल्या तरी आपण “बाजीराव” नाही. म्हणून कृपया सामना खाली बसून बघावा.

The cheerleaders are as attractive as Mastani, but you are not Bajirao. Therefore, please be seated during the match.

24. वरील सुचना ह्या चेष्टेचा विषय नव्हे ह्याची नोंद घ्यावी, ह्याची चेष्टा करणार्‍या प्रेक्षकांना संपुर्ण सामना संपोस्तोवर अंधार्‍या खोलीत बळजबरीने बसवुन ठेवले जाईल.

Please note that the above rules are not to be taken lightly. If you are caught poking fun at them, you will be kept in solitary confinement in a dark cell till the end of the tournament.

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***ह्या पाट्या आहेत त्या’आयपीएल-पुणे संघाच्या कार्यालयातल्या” ….

Signboards outside the IPL Pune team office :

१. फक्त दिवसाचे सामने खेळले जातील, त्यातही दुपारी १-३ असा विश्रांतीचा वेळ राखुन ठेवावा लागेल.

All matches will be played only during the day. Also, keep in mind that 1 p.m.-3 p.m. is our afternoon nap time and this will not be compromised at any cost.

२. रात्रीच्या सामन्याचा चार्ज वेगळा पडेल, कुठल्याही परिस्थीत रात्री ८ वाजता सामना संपवण्याची जबाबदारी आयोजकांची राहिल, सवड मिळाल्यास उरलेला सामना दुसर्‍या दिवशी खेळता येईल.

Matches played during the night will be charged extra. It will be the organizers’ responsibility to end the match by 8 p.m. The rest of the match may be played out the next day, at the sole discretion of the team management.

३. सोमवारी सुट्टी घेतली जाईल.

Monday will be a holiday.

4. सर्व लोकांना जाहीर निवेदन देण्यात येते की “आयपीएल-पुणे संघ ( पुण्याचा अभिमान, महाराष्ट्राची शान ) ” ही आमचा पुर्णपणे स्वतंत्र संघ असुन “मुंबई इंडियन्स, महाराष्ट्र” ह्या संघाशी आमचा कसलाही संबंध नाही. त्या संघाशी केलेल्या व्यवहाराची जबाबदारी केवळ तो मराठी आहे ह्या कारणाने घेतली जाणार नाही. तसेच त्या संघाच्याविषयी आमच्याकडे कसलीच चौकशी करु नये.

We hereby declare that ‘IPL Pune team’ has no affiliation to ‘Mumbai Indians’. Any transactions done with Mumbai Indians will not be honoured by us just because they are Marathi too. Likewise, do not inquire about Mumbai Indians here.

5. हा क्रिकेटचा संघ आहे. उगाच गाण्याच्या स्पर्धा, नाचकामाचे कार्यक्रम, पाणपोईचे उद्घाटन, नव्या दुकानाची चित्रफीत कापणे ह्या आणि अशाच इतर कामांसाठी खेळाडुंची चौकशी अथवा मागणी करु नये.

Please note that this is a cricket team. Do not needlessly make inquiries or demands for our players to make appearances at singing competitions, water-fountain inaugurations, ribbon-cutting ceremonies or other similar activities.

6. क्रिकेट हा एक खेळ आहे ह्याचे भान ठेवावे, आम्ही मॅचफिक्सींग करत नसल्याने जिंकण्याची कसलीच गॅरेंटी देता येणार नाही.

Please note that cricket is a sport. Since we do not fix matches, there is no guarantee that we will win.

7. देणग्या मागणारे, गौरवनिधी सामने आयोजीत करणारे, सर्व्हे करणारे, फुकटात जाहीरातीसाठी कार्यक्रमाला हजरी लावण्याची विनंती करण्याची शिष्ठमंडळे आदी तत्सम व्यक्ती किंवा संस्था ह्यांना सक्त प्रवेश बंदी आहे, ह्यात कोणत्याही कारणास्तव बदल होणार नाही.

Donation seekers, benefit-match organizers, survey-takers or representatives of any organization seeking ‘free passes’ for publicity and similar persons or entities are strictly prohibited. No concessions shall be made on this policy for any reason.

8. आमचे प्रतिस्पर्धी संघ कमी किमतीत खेळत असल्याच्या बढाया आमच्यासमोर मानु नये. आमचे इथे क्वालिटीला प्राधान्य असल्याने कमी किमतीत सामना खेळवण्याचा विचार केला जाणार नाही.

We are aware that competing IPL teams play for a lower price — you do not have to inform us. Such teams know what their performance is worth. Quality is of utmost importance to us, so we will not consider lowering our price.

9. आपण आमच्या खेळाबद्दल समाधानी असताल तर इतरांना सांगा, नसाल तर योग्य आणि सभ्य शब्दात आम्हाला सांगा, योग्य दखल घेतली जाईल.

If you are satisfied with the team’s performance, kindly let us know. If not, write to us in civil language. We shall look into it.

10. आमचेकडे शाळकरी संघांना ट्रेनिंग दिले जात नाही

We do not train school teams.

11. आमच्याशी ठरलेल्या करारानुसार सामना झाल्यावर आमच्याकडुन सदिच्छा म्हणुन खेळाडुंचे टी-शर्ट्स, ट्रॅक सुट्स, टोप्या, बॅटी, चेंडु अथवा तत्सम कुठलेही किमती सामान भेट मिळणार नाही. उगाच हावरटपणा करु नये.

Under the terms and conditions agreed upon, you will not receive any t-shirts, track pants, caps, bats, balls, etc. as memorabilia after the tournament. Do not display your obscene greed here. Tantrums won’t work.

Diary – Mumbai – 3/19/2010

Dad’s taxi is in Mumbai this week on vacation.. see his travel diary..

We came to Mumbai on the 15th of March and we quickly realized what Indian Summer truly is.. The heat is on! We’ve been here a few days now and I gotta tell you, the blistering daytime heat just drains you of all your energy. You are constantly bathed in sweat (not a pretty picture) and feeling exhaustion. Fortunately for us, my cousin in Mumbai has an amazing house with Air conditioning and the works.. Thank god for my dear Ravi!

When we are at Ravi’s house, we are truly home.. all the conveniences of home, plus all the love and affection that anyone could want. At times, we just don’t even want to leave the house in Mahim. His building is centrally located in Mumbai with easy access to both downtown and uptown parts of Mumbai..

We had planned to do some sightseeing, but due to the heat, we have just spent the last few days Shopping!

My younger daughter is really suffering from the heat. She just refuses to go outside, unless she gets bribed.. oh well nothing new here.

From the last time I visited Mumbai ( 2 years ago), you can see the infrastructure changes that have taken place. Similar to Delhi, there are many more flyovers (bridges) in place to alleviate the traffic congestion. These flyovers do this purpose, but the traffic getting to these flyover’s is just unbearable. Especially if you are sitting in an non air conditioned Fiat taxi..

FYI: The rule of driving in Mumbai: There are none! Do not look sideways or backwards, only look forwards.. I have to commend the drivers of Mumbai, they certainly would feel at home driving in Manhattan.  Blaring horns and heavy traffic at every turn. Even with the price of gas hovering at about $5 a gallon, it has not discouraged the mubaiites from buying cars.. Cars are smaller of course, but they are quite comfortabe.

Due the enormous influx of money..many families are living the good life, with cars, drivers to drive their car, and over 200 channels of satellite TV!

As a passenger in a car the front, try not to look anywhere but straight forward as this alleviates the anxiety that you will feel when you are in the car. Fortunately, the speed of the cars is only about 25 to 30 mph on the roads. The number of cars, taxis, buses, trucks, pedestrians all sharing the road in unbelievable. Rush hour is 24 hours. You may get better results if you try to travel in Mumbai during early morning hours or after 9:00 PM, otherwise, good luck.

Mumbai is a tale of two cities. The “Haves” and the “Have Not’s.”

In order to survive in this city you have to have Money and lots of it. If you don’t have the lots of the Rupee you will be in serious jeopardy of survival.  Fortunately for me, I’m here spending in converted $ and let me tell you something, the value that you get for the $ here  is excellent due to the 1 to 45 conversion ratio.

If I were to earn in Rupee, it would be difficult for me to spend 2 to 3 Thousand (yes I said thousand)  the way I am right now. Of course this amount only includes the taxi’s, food and miscellenous expenses that you incur on a day to day basis.

If you are coming to India, I recommend you pad your bank account and bring an ATM card… You will hit the bank over and over again. Remember that you will get the highest rate when you do your conversions at the ATM machine and face fees from both the local and your bank. Be careful and don’t take small amounts out.. take larger amounts out?

For the past few days we have been seeing a few of my cousins in Mumbai and doing quite a bit of clothes shopping for the girls. Best thing about shopping in India is that when they know you are spending money, you will be offered soft drinks as soon as you sit down. You are treated like royalty at the mega malls. Of course we are flagged as “foreigners” as we are wearing shorts and have our famous “American Accent”.

The city on the whole is huge bustling metropolis with business and residential towers being built everywhere. The roads are under construction which contributes to the traffic jams!

The construction of tall towers, residential (unaffordable) towers, is just unbelievable. The common man (middle class) will be priced out of most of the housing that’s being built.. In one of my prior blogs, I talked about the slums… Well from what I’m seeing, these slums are being torn down one by one and being replaced with high rise buildings… The rules have gotten stricter so the lower class slum dwellers are now getting new housing and are being forced to utilize them for a period of 5 years. In the past I heard that these slum dwellers, took the money and just relocated. Now these slum dwellers are actually living in the government towers being built. This is great progress.

Don’t misunderstand me, the poverty is still here.. It just seems to be more controlled. I look around and I see a lot less beggers. Perhaps I’m not looking close enough? When I was in the upscale part of Mumbai (by the Taj and the Gateway of  India), the beggers were out in full force.

Everyone here tells me that the difference between lower to middle to upper class has gotten wider.. I do tend to agree, but opportunities abound everywhere. If you want a job, a job is there in the multiple mega malls that continue to spring up all across Mumbai. I went to one yesterday in Mumbai. The Phoenix is a mega mall with food court, Staples, Supermarket, restaurants, Best Buy Type electronic store, Movie Theaters. As you will quickly see, the trend to having a super mall is all over Mumbai. The security and the choice of one-stop-shop is exemplified in these Malls. Every suburb in Mumbai has at least one mall! Oh goodie, more places for me to spend.

These super malls are not driving the local markets out of business. The malls provide an upscale shopping environment. The local markets are a sight to see as well. Fruit stalls, vegetable vendors, small stores.. it is a crazy sight that you have to see to believe!

High Street Phoenix is spread across three zones — Skyzone, Courtyard and Main Street Boulevard. While the leading national and international retail outlets feature in Sky zone, Courtyard represents various eating joints, The Bowling Co and Big Bazaar outlet. MainStreet Boulevard houses formal and casual clothes, premium accessories and jewellery brands.

These types of malls are seen all over Mumbai and they are truly a joy to shop in with every possible product you may want to purchase. Some of the prices do compare to the US, yet others (electronics) are easily double.

Tip: Make sure you bring along a calculator to convert from Rupees to Dolllars. You could easily destroy any resembence of a budget by not doing the proper conversions.

Today we just came back from the Colaba Causeway. We did quite a bit of shopping from the street vendors and the exclusive boutiques.. Negotiating with the street vendors is an art..

Tip: Walking away is the best way to get a best price.. Never ever pay the asking price. The boutiques are all fixed price..

Tomorrow we are off to Goa! It is one of the vacation paradises in India.. Beaches and sun! To me Goa is my ancestral home. I have quite a bit of family in this seaside city which is South of  Mumbai.. More heat, yeah!

Leaving Mumbai with this thought: Within the next few years, Mumbai will become wealthier than any city in the US. Technology, wealth, infrastructure and the business’s that call Mumbai home will grow exponentially. I am really overwhelmed by what I see here and hope to come back and spend more time in the city where I was born the next time I visit.

PS: I forgot.. the food.. the food is to die for. You can get any type of food within any locale. Where we stay in Mahim, you only have to about 500 yards  and you have a choice of  vegetarian, non-veg, chinese, goanese and South Indian cuisine.. Oh yeah.. I forgot the pizza joint!  The quality of food is amazing! I can easily gain 10 to 15 pounds if I stay here for more than a few days..

There is so much more I can write about this city.. I am just totally overwhelmed by my visit this time.. I’m not only proud to call myself an ex-pat from this great city, but an admirer of the abilities of the residents of this great metropolis.. You know how they say about NY: “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere..”, Mumbai can easily step into NY’s shoes and say the same thing..

If someone can make it with success in this city, they can succeed any where!

Ok folks.. will write some more when I get to Goa!

New links: iPhone

New links category for iPhone apps

I keep seeing some great sites related to Free (which is my favorite word) iPhone applications. See the Sidebar for this new category of links.  Let’s start with 6 iPhone apps that will save you a bundle.

Tele-Marketing annoyances

telemarketingI was trying to sleep in on Saturday morning, but who calls me but a call center tele-marketer employee from India trying to sell me 1 cent calls to India.

How did I know this call was from India? First off the the guy says he was calling from Florida, USA.My first response to myself, this must be a call from India. I could hear the chatter of the call center in the background of course..

I’m groggy and trying to tell him to take me off his calling list and he just keeps on talking! Now that really P*ssed me off. That’s when I hung up!

I guess even being on the Do not call list is not good enough these days for this calls from  telemarketers from India..

As soon a I hung up and went back to Sleep…

Comcast calls me with a survey on how I like their customer service.. Needless to say they got pretty low ratings…

Jimmy D: God Bless, we will miss you

Tribute to my friend Jimmy D L P who passed away on October 5th

Jimmy de la PenaThis post is a tribute to my friend Jimmy de la Pena, who died on October 5th, after his courageous battle with Cancer for the past 18 years. He was only 56 years old..

Not only did I lose a great friend, we lost a true angel who walked amongst us.  He finally succumbed to the cancer that ravaged his body for so many years.

He fought cancer valiantly, and never once did he complain of the surgeries, treatment he had to go through. He just rolled with the punches and always came back smiling. I never once heard him say that why was this happening to him.. Every time I saw him, he didn’t even mention what he was going through unless I asked him. Even then when I asked him, he just laughted it off.

I met Jimmy over almost 12 years ago and over the years, he became a part of my family. My kids called him “Uncle Jimmy” and he was like a brother to me.

Jimmy never said anything bad about anyone. Regardless of what they had done to him. Many had done injustice to him over the years that I knew him, yet he just shrugged it off and just laughed about it. His kindness and his love of life was infectious.

We love you Jimmy, and god bless you as you are now an angel in heaven!

Words cannot describe how much we will miss Jimmy. God Bless him wherever he is. I’m sure he is smiling down at us and just waiting to tell one of his funny stories from the MTA.

We are back

So we are back to being on WordPress. Lost some post’s, but hey that’s part of life.. amoghe.com no longer works..

OMG-XP Volume is dirty

what to do when “your disk is dirty” on an XP based machine

Before I start let me wish everyone a happy “Cinco De Mayo”.  I got my day started with a flurry and I knew this would be a post that I’ll look back at and say hmm..

So this morning I booted up my trusty Dell XPS 400 and I get the BOD (Blues screen of Death) screen and it tells me that my “Volume is dirty”.  First I said WTF, and then I said OMG, I’m screwed.

Fortunately, I didn’t freak out and jump up and down.  Instead I let XP run through it’s rituals and fix the hard drive for lost clusters and lost links. This took about 10 minutes and the machine booted up into XP.

Yes, I know I wouldn’t have this problem if I had a Mac (that’s for my friend G, who’s now returned to his motherland in Michigan)

I went to my spare VISTA machine and Googled “My drive is dirty” and found out that I wasn’t screwed, but just that data on the drive had become corrupted. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound like good news. Yet I’m sitting here on my Dell and typing this update.

Fortunately for me, I let  XP do it’s thing and it ran through CHKDSK and verified there was no structural damage (and verified the drive integrity).

I consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable about funky XP messages, but in my 25+ years of working on computers, I’ve never seen this kind of message.

I found the following in one of  my favorite sites – The Tech Support Guy forum as a solution to this problem:

Keep in mind this will work if you are able to get into Windows.. AFTER the Chkdsk runs to try to fix the problem.
Click on the Start menu and open the run dialog.
2. Type “cmd” and return (without quotes)
3. Next type “fsutil dirty query <letter of drive that chkdsk keeps checking>” (for example, C:
4. If the returned message indicates that the volume is dirty, go to step 5
5. Next type “chkdsk <drive letter> /f /x”
If you get this below answer YES.
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be
checked the next time the system restarts? <Y/N>
6. After that finishes, repeat step 3.
7. If the volume is no longer dirty, reboot and chkdsk should not reappear.

The “fsutil dirty query” reports the current state of the flag.
“Chkdsk /f” forces Chkdsk to run whether or not the flag is dirty— it’s a way to ensure that errors are fixed, regardless of what the flag says.
“Chkdsk /x” goes a little further and helps ensure that any files that were left open get closed; it actually implies “/f” so you don’t need the /f if you’re using /x .
With either /f or /x, at the end of the run, Chkdsk should set the flag to clean

Anyway the lesson to be learned here.

Backup, backup, backup… Something I need to do today..