And this time, I didn’t forget the gravy…

I was going to do one of those nifty ‘my day in pictures’ posts today, but all of the pictures I really wanted to upload did not come out nearly as nicely as I wanted. That and I realized, on a work day everything’s pretty freaggin’ boring in my neck of the woods to boot! So, I’m going to do it again one of these weekends coming up when the chickie and I venture out somewhere cool. Probably when she gets back from the UK next week or something, unless she’s got another business trip lined up.

Anyway, went to one of our new favorite restaurants today which just happens to be right around the corner from me. It’s called East and it’s somewhat of an Asian fusion restaurant and so far it hasn’t failed. I tried a new appetizer today, a yellowtail tataki:

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Man was it as tasty as it looked! The chickie had a very tasty wonton soup though I didn’t manage to grab a pic of it. For our entrees, she chose the orange beef dish which had a nice spicy kick to it and OMG look at that presentation!

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I had the same thing that I tried last time just because I love the combination of mangoes and chicken so much. This dish delivers on utter and complete awesomeness:

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Was I stuffed after that meal. 🙂

Not much else to report, though I did manage to take a decent photo of something which makes me smile every time I look at it:

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I wonder if rats can make good vegetarian

Wow, so how’s about that episode of Hell’s Kitchen tonight eh? I won’t ruin the episode for anyone who might have Tivo’d it, but I was very happy to see the outcome of that asshat chef’s performance in the kitchen. I also agreed with the choice of the person who left and felt that what Chef Ramsey did for the person afterwards was above and beyond classy.

Speaking of haute cuisine, the chickie and I went to see Ratatouille this weekend and we really enjoyed it. The movie was very well put together, the animation was really well done and I had such a hard time picking out which actor played the voices in the movie. If you’d ask me, I couldn’t still tell you who played who. One of the cooler things I liked was the small lessons they had throughout the movie, such as the beginning restaurant scene where Remy was pointing out the roles each chef played in the kitchen. That and the tips Collette gave Lingiuni in terms of efficiently working with the food and keeping a proper layout in front of you. Luckily, there weren’t too many brats in the theatre with the exception of one that just would not shut the fuck up towards the end of the movie. Thankfully, his parents realized that he was interrupting the theatre and took him out to whine and cry outside. All in all if you enjoy food and have always wanted to see the basics of how kitchens function in a restaurant (rather humorously to boot), it’s definitely a movie to watch. It’s definitely not as gritty, scary and honest as let’s say Kitchen Confidential (Anthony Bourdain is teh <3!), but then again this is directed to kids.

After the movie we were starving so we decided to head on over to a restaurant that opened up somewhat recently near the theatre. Now, this is the first time either of us have ever been to a fully vegetarian place, so it was something we were both quite excited about. Well, maybe I was a little more excited than her, but nonetheless it was a new place and I LOVE finding new places to eat. So we get in and I’ll have to admit it’s not as visually appealing as it’s Union Square sibling, however the staff was very friendly and we were seated promptly. We gazed over the menu and asked each other various questions about what we thought each thing was and decided to try out the sampler for two to start out. We wound up enjoying only a couple of the items (the Smoked Beanloves and Yam Fries) on it and found the rest to be rather bland or entirely too smoky to enjoy. For our entrees I tried the ET (pretty much grilled veggies) and my lovey had the Dumpling Soup with Veggies. I found my dish to be not too bad, though it seriously could have used a flavor infusion of some sort. The chickie liked her soup with the exception of the dumplings which, to quote her, “tasted like dirt.”

Ohhh boy did they ever… 🙁

Sooo, after that we tried out the desserts. I had the cheesecake which would have been a heck of a lot better to me if they just served it without the blueberry sauce. She had the key lime one which looked kind of soupy to me when the waitress placed it in front of her. After a few bites, she neatly placed her napkin on it which pretty much assured we would never step foot in the place again. While it’s good that there are restaurants out there like this, this one just did not do it for us. Who knows, the chef might have had an off day, but I’d rather try the one in NYC one of these days just to see if the food might be better.

On the brighter side, I FINALLY got my haircut today and WOOOOOOOOO! It feels fantastic not brushing the hair off of my forehead now! 🙂

You know hair is completely overrated

I’ve got a mop on my head… Well not literally, but my hair has always grown fast and right now, you could flip me upside down and dunk my head into a bucket of Pine Sol if you wanted. I’d suspect I’d do a rather fabulous job on your hardwood floor too!

Back when I used to shave it, my hair seriously took no more than a day and a half to grow enough to be able to buzz with the first attachment on my clippers. Yeah, it’s like the cerebrospinal fluid in my head has a little bit of Miracle Gro mixed in it or something. Many a barber in the past always commented that my hair was the fastest growing they have ever seen which of course made their greedy asses all that much happier. Anyway, since I started growing my hair this past spring, I’ve been trying to get frequent haircuts to keep it from bushing out. I’ve let my hair grow out for about two weeks too long, so a couple of days ago, I scheduled an appointment for tonight at 7:30 with my stylist. I’ve never looked more forward to anything in my life than getting my buzz on earlier tonight. With this heat, this damn bush on my head has been holding heat in like you wouldn’t believe and holy shit the morning bed head is just fucking epic.

Wait, what’s that you say? Oh yes, I used the word stylist up there. You see, I’ve have always called the gents who cut my hair barbers. Apparently hair dressers all over the place got together and staged some form of coup and found the term rather dated. So out of courtesy for those in the ummm, hair arts… I use the term stylist. Got it? Good.

Anyway, I show up to the place and the bastage who cuts my hair went to bloody Chicago! To make matters worse, absolutely no one was available for the rest of the night to buzz my head down. So, I rescheduled my cut for this coming Monday and my freaking head is itching like you wouldn’t believe. 🙁

I swear if there weren’t so many people who would shoot me dead for shaving it back down, I’d have done it already…

How to speak Comcastian

Man, I wish I found this back when I had troubles with Comcast.

I couldn’t tell you the aggravation I’ve experienced with the fucking morons working at the customer tech support department for issues I needed which eventually got to a network tech. The senior or networking individuals however, are a completely breed of folks because the ones I dealt with were usually quite experienced and extremely friendly. The trouble is getting past the initial ignorant and usually rude schmucks (who think themselves as the gurus of all IT knowledge) reading from a script and manual and on to someone of a higher caliber. The most recent troubles involved some horrible packet loss on our connection. After a fair bit of detective work, we figured it was from a shotty connection from our cable modem to one of the next hops on our network (which did not have to do anything with our cable line itself). So, many months ago we called up Comcast support with our problem and we explicitly tell them the problem is *not* with the cable line, but in their network center. So, the thick-accented Indian fellow decides that the proper solution was to send out a cable tech to diagnose our line. Turns out our line was fine (what a surprise) and the tech says it’s not the line so he promptly leaves to go masturbate in his van before his next gig.

In all fairness to the cable tech though, there was a fairly attractive Mexican girl who lived downstairs and according to the chickie, she enjoyed hanging around without underwear on while wearing short skirts.

So we placed a call into Comcast again letting them know that we were correct and there was no problem with the cable line, yet we had a internet connection that was dropping between 25-45% of our packets. Which for a gamer, network admin and pr0n downloader was completely unacceptable… So, what does the next thick-accented Indian chap do to fix our problem? Why you guessed it, send out yet another cable line tech. So this goes on for about 2 or three more times over a period of a couple of months at which point my roommate and I had enough. I call up Comcast and just as the phone tech was about to say he was going to send out another cable tech, I stopped them and in the most berating fashion possible, I asked to speak with their supervisor. Supervisor comes on and I explain my situation to which she recommends:

Wait…

Wait for it…

Yes, a cable tech to diagnose our line!

I think I must have burst a blood vessel in my brain when I heard this. So, at this point (after wishing I had the Darth Vader grip of doom) I ask to speak with a networking person in as calm a manner possible. So 15 minutes later, I get one of the networking folks working in one of the local data centers I think. I proceed to explain our situation to the guy and he puts me on hold for a few moments as he goes to do his thing and test my connection. As it turned out there was a faulty network device somewhere on our network segment which the networking guy told me would be replaced within a few hours. Since then, our packet loss went back down to 0, the latency stayed at an all time low and Jada Fire and I became good friends yet again.

Anyway, if any of you tech-minded folks out there ever need to have a new modem purchased from a store enabled or are having some issues with your connection, the following advice from a stwrtpj on Slashdot is a breath of fresh air.

The key to working with Comcast is to have some basic technical knowledge of cable internet. Once you show you know the lingo and you know the basic technical aspects, you’ll either get the support person to “talk up” to your level immediately or switch you to someone that knows. Most support people have at least heard some of the terminology, usually enough to know if they’re in over their head and need to route you to someone else.

For example, if you buy your own modem, NEVER say “I need my new modem INSTALLED.” Say “I need my new modem PROVISIONED”. 95% of the support people will know right away what you need and won’t bother asking you about Windows and you’ll be online 15 minutes later.

Know how to get to the status page of your modem (usually http://192.168.100.1/ [192.168.100.1] but may vary depending on model). Know that your downstream signal needs to be between -10 and +10 dBmV. Know that your downstream SNR should be above 33. Know that your upstream power should be between +30 and +50 dBmV. When my signal dropped because of a splice in the line gone bad, I didn’t tell Comcast “my internet don’t work”, I told them, “my downstream power is -16, which is out-of-spec, I need a tech to take a look at this”. I had a tech out the very next morning and was back online by the afternoon.

Also, whenever you have a problem, BEFORE you call do the mantra of restarting your cable modem, router, and computer. Even if you know this will not fix the issue, do it. Then take the router out of the loop and do it all over again. Then when you call, tell them you did all this already. This will save time.

In all the times that I have had to call Comcast for technical issues, not once did the subject of Windows ever come up.

I suppose it may just work for any of the cable companies out there. Though from my personal experiences, Comcast is just one of the most horribly run cable companies out there. Luckily, I’m going back to Cablevision at my new place whom I have always had great dealings with.