21 September 2006

The basu! Newsletter - Vol. 4
2006 September

The Best Thing, Ever - My New Big-Screen TV
The best thing about being married, by far, is my brand new big-screen TV. Luckily, both Rosanne and I realized that our situation would be untenable without two DVRs and two TVs, and she really wanted a big-screen TV. We went in to Fry's to buy a cordless phone, and I happened to glance at a tiny advertisement for a "name-brand" DLP TV at a really low price. The next thing we know, a TV arrives at our doorstep (well, it was a huge hassle - but that's a story for another day...bottom line, Fry's skimps on the price and customer service, so be forewarned). I almost started crying when I finally got all the HD channels, they were all so beautiful. I now find myself racing home from work just to watch those crazy HD-only channels (INHD, HDNet, etc.). I know I have beautiful Hermosa Beach right next to me, but why bother with the youthful crowds, and sand, and noise, when I can watch a beautiful Caribbean sunset on INHD (they have taken most of those old IMAX travelogues and re purposed them for couch potatoes like myself). Watching the US Open on HD, and now NFL Football has been knee-buckling. The only problem is that DVDs don't look as nice when they are blown up so big - in fact, watching movies on HBO HD may be better bet than watching them on DVD, though you have to wait a lot longer for them to get to HBO. I would love to get my hands on one of those new Blu-Ray or HD-DVD players, but they're still a little too expensive. Oh well, there's always hope...

Married Life
On the other hand, I don't think married life is going so swimmingly for Rosanne. She has to work pretty hard as it is the end of the quarter for her. [Deleted]

In the middle of all this the poor girl ends up making dinner for me every night as the commute from Orange County makes me reach home later than usual. She also has to deal with all the boxes that seem to have taken up permanent residence in the living room, and for some reason these boxes all have my name on them. Add this to the fact that I am unable to walk along the beautiful strand that borders the beach because the concrete is murder on my fallen arches, and I don't have time to go the gym - for a girl used to exercising and being out and about, it probably isn't much fun. Oh well. at least she is taking advantage of my inability to read anymore. I am still trying to finish The Da Vinci Code (Matt Matyas lent it to me before the movie opened) and had borrowed Under the Banner of Heaven from the local library (a quick walk from here). Since Rosanne finished her book (Kafka on the Shore) and mine was available, she ended up grabbing it from me. And of course, since I am the fabulous husband that I am, I let her have it.

Family Pet
Rosanne brought her cat with her cross country, a sweet little Persian nicknamed Dori (her full name is Endora Louise Mickelson Basu). I used to be pretty wary of cats, but my old friend Jazzy (then neighbor's Tabby who used to visit me in Santa Ana) got me over that. Dori is a strange little cat, very skittish, always looking out the window. She has become friends with me because I can always be counted on doing the one thing she likes the most in the whole wide world - having her back patted. Seriously, you pat her back, and pretty soon she's going crazy. i am trying to train her like a dog though. She has begun to understand basic commands like "Come." I am also trying to teach her how to fetch (I am using cat-sized tennis balls), but she mostly just ends up batting them around. Oh well, I'll train her yet...

Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach is amazing! There are so many great places to eat around here, that it's a wonder I am not getting fat - oh right, I have to walk to these places since there is no parking to speak of. There is an amazing Cajun place called The Ragin' Cajun - not only is the food great (crawfish etouffe, peel-n-eat shrimp, all spicy!), but it is very down-home, reminding me of the time I watched Spike Lee's heartbreaking Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke. There is a amazing little crepe place called...Crème de la Crepe, run by honest-to-goodness Frenchies (Rosanne found this out when she made conversation with a waiter and we had to listen to his sob story about how the attitude towards the French changed after the war in Iraq). We found a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place called Chef Wang's Kitchen, run by Chef Wang and his wife. Seriously, Chef Wang has been cooking in the kitchen himself for the past 20-or-so years, and the food he makes is delicious! Rosanne found a place called Chef Melba's Bistro, run by Chef Melba. You can watch her cook while you eat, and the sea scallops I had were, quite literally, the best ever! There's a cute little Hawaiian place called The Beach Hut, who make their own special "House" Sauce that go perfectly with their breakfast bowls. Mediterraneo is a fabulous tapas place, and those little plates of food really do fill you up. But my favorite place so far is Big Mike's Philly Steaks which have the first great cheesesteaks I have had outside of Philly. The sandwiches are incredible! Of course, this is just the beginning. I can't wait to explore the rest that Hermosa Beach has to offer.

My Poor Santino
My poor Santino, my beloved 2005 Prius (Package 7), was involved in a scrape the other day. I am heartbroken, the poor chap had his front fender bent in a bit (not so you would notice, but it breaks my heart every time I walk in front of it). I will have to get it fixed before any rust sets in. I would be more upset if the accident wasn't actually my fault. I rear-ended a pick-up truck because I thought he was going to go through the light. He didn't go through the light, I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late. Luckily he was driving a big ol' pickup truck, and the only thing I hit was his hitch. And the only thing he hit of mine was the front bumper. Whew - got off lucky, but I do feel bad for poor old Santino.

Indian Wedding
I think the Indian Wedding planning is going on fine without me. All's I know is that I am going to show up in January, I'll get married (again), and then I'll come back to my beautiful big-screen TV! Oh, yeah, there will be fun and festivities in there somewhere, so I look forward to seeing you there. January 27 - 30, 2007 in Kolkata, India.

New People
We've had tons of new people join the office. Bart's little sister joined the dMarc team. I forget what her name is, but I just call her Li'l Bart. She seems to be a nice enough little girl, but has severely disappointed on the embarrassing-stories-about-Bart front. She did, however, tell us about the time his twin sister dropped him from a treehouse when they were climbing up. And he had full head of platinum blond curly hair. Matt Matyas joined as our Customer Solutions Engineer. He is a very agreeable young man, full of beans and the kind of naive get-up-and-go that makes you believe (once in a while) this world could be a good place. Our Pod got a new Account Planner, Ruben Pranata, who captained the UCLA MBA Poker Team, which means Bon loves him already. Ruben is a Senior Account Planner, so that automatically makes him the most senior member of our Pod. Elizabeth Newman and Kristy (or is it Kristen, I can never remember) joined as the ACs in Auto and Retail respectively. We also have some very lucky person who joined Entertainment as the new sales person. I say lucky because a) she works in Entertainment; b) she works from the Santa Monica office (coming down a couple of times a week); and c) she lives in the Pacific Palisades (which, prior to Hermosa, had been my dream place in LA). We also have a bunch of ex-Maximizers here. Jessica McNaughton is here with Auto as their Strategist. Johanna Richardson and Rebecca Collins have both joined dMarc; Rebecca is down in the Irvine office, while Johanna is up in Santa Monica. In fact, I have spied both Aubrey Sabala and Lindsay Johnson with the young Turks at the dMarc sales team (including another friend of Ben's - he's made a pretty packet from all his referrals). It looks Kidswim is finally moving away from our office and to the other side of the aisle.

Atul Got Neel
Atul Sabharwal has become the proud parent of a fine young boy, Neel Sabharwal. By all accounts they are all doing well, though for the boy's sake I hope he takes after his indomitable mother.

Rich Got Married
Rich Chen got married to Esther Yoo in a ceremony down here in Newport. The ceremony was much like Rich himself - sweet, funny, and touching. You can check out the video of Rich singing his original composition "Esther Yoo": http://tinyurl.com/ljl9h

Chris Got Lost (And Then Found Love)
Chris McCarley completely disappeared on all of us, then finally re-emerged out of the blue. His mother is doing as well as can be expected, his house just narrowly missed Hurricane Ernesto, and he's dating someone called Emily. Apparently she works with retard...sorry, developmentally delayed children, is very tall, and runs marathons in her spare time, which means she is way too good for him. You can check her out on Chris' blog: http://cmccarley.blogspot.com/

Oliver Got Better-Halved
I have absolutely no idea what Oliver has been up to, but he visited Chris over the Labor Day Weekend to take pictures (and no, I wasn't invited). His better half, Kristen, has been making all the arrangements for their trip to India, so at least she seems to have her act together. And, oh yeah, I think he also had a birthday in there somewhere.

Amy Got Older
Amy Loh has become an East Coast snob ever since she went off to New York. I have no idea what the heck she has been doing, excepting becoming even older on September 30.

Paige Got Into Oregon
Now that Paige is off in Oregon no one has any clue what she has been doing. Paige, how come you won't come back?

Bart Got Promoted
Our favorite cantankerous pretty boy got promoted to Senior Account Manager - making this his fourth promotion in two and a half years. Not bad for a lonely farm boy from Michigan. Rumor has it that he is moving up to Mountain View, but he (as usual) is being very cagey about it.

Kelly Got Found Out
Kelly Blackford used to be cheerleader with the San Diego Chargers! Can you imagine, we have a real-life NFL cheerleader in our midst! I, for one, think that's pretty darn cool.

Southwest Finance News
A lot of stuff has been going on with my team - the fearless Southwest Finance Pod. Erin was completely freaking out because we have had an unceasing succession of meetings and she was remodeling the interior of her brand new house. Poor girl was mis-diagnosed with an ulcer, which was later found to be some kind of throat disease. She now has to inhale her medication for the next two months. Poor girl, if that wasn't enough she also has to have knee surgery. Bon , as you may or may not have heard, is expecting another child. He is currently in Rome on vacation for a friend's wedding. I am actually surprised that he hasn't tried to contact us on his BlackBerry. Mark has become engaged and he is expecting to get married next August. His fiancée and him just adopted the cutest little dachshund puppy called Peanut.

As you can imagine all kinds of crazy sports things have been going on. The insufferable Tiger Woods keeps on winning. Roger Federer is, quite simply, the greatest athlete on the planet. I really do fall bad about Floyd Landis - I had had enough of bloody Lance Armstrong, and too bad that whole story about the guy with the busted hip, who pulls of the miracle comeback ended up getting tainted. I have always thought that Marion Jones was tainted, and was sad to find out that Justin Gatlin was too. I was lucky enough to see Greg Maddux pitch a one-hitter at Dodger Stadium the other night, but man oh man oh man, how about that amazing finish against the Padres? Bottom of the ninth inning, the Dodgers down by four runs, we have four consecutive home runs to tie the game, and then Nomar hits the game winning home run in extra innings! Amazing. The Yankees are doing well, which is always good to see, but I'd be absolutely devastated if the terminally overrated Derek Jeter wins MVP. It was good to see Sachin Tendulkar back, putting together another fabulously entertaining innings - and, of course, we lost. Typical. It was also good to see the hapless West Indies take down the unstoppable Australian team thanks to another sparkling inning from Brian Lara. I can't wait for next year's Cricket World Cup! I really can't believe how exciting the whole wild card race is again this year, though I have a horribly sneaking suspicion that the St. Louis Cardinals are going to upset the New York Mets and get to the World Series. The USC Trojans have been steady, workmanlike, and efficient - not something I had ever thought I was going to say. I had become so used to seeing them overwhelm everyone (well, not everyone, but let's not talk about the game against Texas just as yet) that it's a little shocking to see them win this way. I think they are better than people think they are, and I am really, really glad that Notre Dame got creamed by Michigan. I don't want to hear anything about Charlie Weiss again. The NFL is topsy-turvy, as usual. The Giants come back from 20 points to beat the Eagles. My favorite team the Panthers are 0-2; the Vikings are 2-0. The Bears are scoring points. Carson Palmer acts like nothing happened to him at all. Pittsburgh looks shaky. The Redskins are done. Thank God I can watch all the games on my beautiful Big Screen TV!

I had been lucky enough to have seen a few concerts recently. Rosanne and I caught Bloc Party at The Greek Theatre, and it was (sad to say) a little underwhelming. I don't think they were used to a space as big as that, and I just think they need to do new songs. We saw Mates of State open at the Greek, and really liked them. We had caught them earlier at Coachella, and they were excellent at the Greek. But the stunner of them all was Death Cab For Cutie. They brought the house down in a way I would not have guessed listening to their intimate, gently melodic songs. They rocked, and it is now up there with one of the best concerts I have ever seen!

I didn't get to all the movies I wanted to this Summer, and now that the late-Summer rubbish has gone, we can look forward to a wonderful Fall. I haven't had much of a chance to go out for movies as the apartment is a mess (mostly thanks to me), but we have been watching tons of movies on Netflix (on my beautiful big-screen TV). I am really dying to see Half-Nelson, the new movie with Ryan Gosling that is getting such great reviews. All the King's Men with the cast to end all casts (Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Kathy Baker) finally opens next weekend - it has been sitting in the can for almost a year now. Unfortunately, the early word has not been great (any time your print ads have to run a quote from Larry King, you know you are in trouble). However, the director is Steven Zaillian (the director of such good movies as A Civil Action and Searching for Bobby Fischer, and the writer of Schindler's List), and for my money he is the greatest living director no one has ever heard of. But the movie to end all movies is The Departed. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it's based on the Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, and it's about an undercover cop who infiltrates a notorious crime syndicate at the same time someone from the crime syndicate is infiltrating the police. Not only does it sound cool, but it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone...and the great Jack Nicholson! I cannot wait!

Well, that's about it from my end of things. I leave you with this quote from Phil Jackson (okay, he may not have said it, but I heard it in his audiobook):

"Unceasing change turns the wheel of life, and so reality is shown in all its many forms."

Until next time.


07 April 2006

Man of Constant Pain - What I have to do in the name of teambuilding! Posted by Picasa

23 March 2006

Valley of Impending Doom! - Death Valley (Scotty's Castle) Posted by Picasa

Mountain of Mystery - Yosemite's Half-Dome during President's Day weekend 2006 Posted by Picasa