Archive for July, 2006

New Cars!

July 31, 2006

There might be a new direction for Rohit Connexion (no, I wasn’t trying to rhyme), but we’ll find out more in the next couple of weeks. If everything comes through, it should make for an interesting few months ahead.

Other than that, I’ve had a lot to think about in terms of the direction my life is going to take. Rohit (my boss’s boss, roommate and family friend) and I had a good talk on Friday about my goals, and I’m starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be best for me to wait until Fall 08 before I get my MBA. That way, I will be better equipped to filter the useful stuff from the bullshit when ;I actually do get to class. The drawback, of course, is that I probably won’t be single by then. *sighs* I mean, I can hold off my parents for only so long…

Also, Roshni told me that she received my driver’s abstract from the California DMV, so I guess it did only take two weeks or so. That means I’ll have my own wheels within the week. Unfortunately, I still have a bus pass for the full month of August, so I might be using public transport for a few more weeks, if only to feel like I didn’t waste $59 CAD (that’s CAnadian Dollars for financially unaware).

As for the post’s title, Rohit and I went to the Acura showroom yesterday. He’s looking to get a new car for his folks, since his mom’s getting her knees replaced. We started out by going to the Toyota showroom, and it was closed. Let me repeat, so you can digest that. A car dealership that stays closed on Sundays! ;The Lexus showroom (which is owned by a separate dealer, I think) was closed too! ;But Acura was open, and since I’m kind of a Honda/Acura fanboy, I nudged Rohit to go check it out, even though he was dead set on getting a Lexus brand for his folks. He liked the cars they had, especially since he was potentially looking for one for himself (I recommended the TSX for him.) Unfortunately, because of the kind of business they’re in, his dad needs to have a high value car to impress the construction workers. And to an unsophisticated buyer, Acura just doesn’t have the cachet of Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus. *shrugs* Oh well…

Also, there are a couple of other activities I’m going to try and get myself involved in, especially since I should be getting a car soon. One involves community service, and the other is a vocation I’ve wanted to try for a long time. More details when things firm up.

Lastly, since I got myself a Social Insurance Number last week, I get paid today. YAY! Well, I should, at any rate. But Rohit was signing checks yesterday morning, and claims not to have seen mine in the pile. Bastard.

A Theft and a Night Out

July 23, 2006

So, on Wednesday, I bought 36 protein bars, worth approx $60. I leave them on my desk at work because I only plan to eat them at work. On Thursday morning, I didn’t notice if they were there or not, since I wasn’t looking. I went out to our client’s site and was there all day. Get back, looking for a protein bar, and they’re gone! Can’t find them, no one’s seen them. Ugh.

In even more good news, I talked to my sister today. While the Honda was parked somewhere, someone apparently scraped the back fender. Left a dent approximately 1 inch long. Repair costs will be around $250. I’m still debating if I should get it fixed or not. She’s going to send me a picture of it. I guess the main reason I’m not as angry as I should be is because I was kinda expecting this to happen. *sighs*

In more positive news, I went o Whyte Ave last night with Rohit and some of his friends, to say goodbye to one guy leaving for an MBA in Toronto. I had a few good drinks, including a couple of combos I hadn’t tried before, and I saw a lot of good-looking women, which at least tells me they exist in Edmonton. Too bad I didn’t have time to shave or change before we went there. I had a four-day stubble and was wearing a flannel shirt over my jeans. Flannel! I felt like a lumberjack! Ugh… Still, it was fun.

Today, the parent company organised a golf tournamen and BBQ. I hit one good drive off the tee, and a couple of tolerable fifty-yard worm burners . The BBQ was ok. Had a couple of grilled portobello mushrooms and some salad. Came home at 2:30, crashed at 3, just got up 30 minutes ago. Rohit’s at a wedding reception, and the bus service to our neighbourhood stops before 7p on the weekends, so I guess I’ll be watching Monk Season 1.

Yes, they really do say “ey”

July 18, 2006

I’ve been lazy. So sue me. Life’s been all right here these past two weeks. I’ve been slowly getting used to the whole Canada lifestyle. It feels different here from the US, even though people look the same and even sound similar. A little more relaxed, a little more familiar, a lot more friendly. Seriously, a random guy at the bus stop started chatting with me, and we were talking about the Edmonton Transit System (which is surprisingly good).

A little background. My dad’s very good friend, Radhe Uncle, has a successful housing development company here in Edmonton. His son, Rohit, also works here, and they run the company together. A year ago, they decided to try the IT market by starting an IT solutions company, with a guy named Adil from the University of Alberta. This IT company is where I work, and I’m living with Rohit. There, background done.

I got a bus pass last Friday. The original plan was to get me a company car, but the insurance company needs a copy of my driving record before they’ll add me to the policy. But to get aforementioned copy, I need to interact with the dreaded DMV . I called them, and they said it normally takes about two weeks to process, but if they’re sending it to Canada, it’ll take four to six weeks. So, I did the only natural thing I could do. I couriered the request form to Roshni in Houston, and asked her to overnight it to the DMV. They’ll take two weeks to process it, since they’re mailing the driving record to a US address (hers). Then she’ll overnight it to me. Total time taken? About four weeks. So I got a bus pass. I got one for August too, just in case, but I don’t know if I’ll use it enough by then to justify the cost. We’ll see.

One good thing about the bus route I take to go home is that it goes right by the YMCA where my company has negotiated a 50% discount on the premier membership . It’s a really cool facility, and one of the coolest features is the FITLINXX system installed. Makes it a lot easier to keep track of my workouts, in terms of what weights to use, and even what settings I use on the machines. Less stuff to carry around = good. And, of course, they have the Holy Grail of any gym: towel service. Ooohhhh… Even 24 Fitness didn’t have that.

I haven’t gone out too much yet, but that should hopefully change soon. The West Edmonton Mall (North America’s largest) is an hour away by bus, so that hasn’t been tackled yet. However, I did go to Whyte Ave (where all the “cool” people go), which is near the University of Alberta. Needless to say, while having lunch on the sidewalk, there was a lot of good looking foot traffic.

So far, I’ve met a few of Rohit’s friends, and they all seem like a fun bunch of folks. His girlfriend is especially cool, and I think I like hanging out with her more than I do with him. She’s a lot of fun, and she’s one of those girls who doesn’t try to put on one of those “ladylike” airs. She also thinks I’m kinda heaven-sent, because I reminded her about Rohit’s birthday last week, and because I have some habits which she wants Rohit to adopt (like eating and working out regularly). I’ve told her to keep a lookout for cute friends, since I’m going to be here for a few months.

On that note, I’m not really sure how long I’m going to be here. I was thinking till the end of the year, but my dad seems pretty sure I’ll be coming back to India by Diwali (November or so). His company is getting a lot of new orders, and he says he’ll have plenty of work for me when I get back. Now, I just need to figure out if I want to go to India or not.

*Update* ;An hour ;after my original post, Adil hit me with three projects to get done before the end of the week. And here I thought this was going to be an easy day. * sighs*

The beginning of the rest of my life

July 6, 2006

Tuesday was my birthday, and marked a rather anticlimactic end to a relatively tumultuous few weeks. No one died, and I’m still single, but a lot of stuff has changed. Let’s go over the highlights (as is the norm when I don’t update for a while and things happen)

* I finally sold my first baby, my 2001 Nissan Altima. I started out on Craigslist asking for $6500, and I eventually sold it for $2400. Turns out, I was lucky to get even that much. I’d had little success with private parties, so I started going to dealers. One of them did a full checkup of the car, and said that there were too many problems with it for them to even consider getting it for any price. The engine mounts were gone, and the engine was literally hanging in its cradle. He even considered it unsafe to be on the road. Funny thing is, my mechanic never found any of these issues. Anyway, I had previously gotten the offer for $2400 from another dealer, so I took it back there the next day, told them I accepted their offer, and sold it to them on the spot. I even checked the sale contract. They were re-using the standard contract that they usually use to sell a car themselves. It said the buyer was getting the car as is, the seller was not making any guarantees, and verbal promises from the seller were not binding. Music to my ears. I also made sure to deposit the check that day itself.

* Packed my Accord to the gills and drove to Sugar Land . It took me two days, driving 940 miles (13.5 hours)on day 1 to Willcox, AZ. Spent the night at a Motel 6, then drove 970 miles to Sugar Land (another 13.5 hours). Turns out, central Texas is a nice place to drive. Traffic on I-10 is pretty sparse, the land is relatively pretty (if devoid of human life), and the legal speed limit is 80 mph.

* Finally managed to get a recommendation from Lockheed (thanks, Eric), and figured out what paperwork I’ll need to get through. If only my flight wasn’t arriving there at midnight.

* Travelled to Florida for the family trip. Spent 3 nights in a pretty nice condo, about two minutes from the beach. Almost the entire weekend was spent either in the condo, on the beach, or at the pool. I even have the sunburned shoulders to prove it. The one time we went out was on Sunday night, when the “kids” went clubbing. We found a decent club called “The Swamp” that had some good music, and a good-looking crowd. I went in with my two substitute “wingmen”, since my primary choice decided to get hitched and have a kid last year. Alas, both my compadres found success almost immediately, leaving me to fly solo the rest of the night. Then, following a rather annoying pattern in my life, just when things seemed to be looking up towards the end of the night, the situation was quite literally dragged away from me (or it walked away, I’m not sure yet). Still, it wasn’t a total loss. We all went to the Waffle House afterwards, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I was quite entertaining in my “loosened” state. On Monday night, the family celebrated my birthday (two hours early to accomodate my two year old niece, the cutest thing ever) with a homemade eggless brownie cake, and a custom designed t-shirt. All in all, a nice evening, topped off with a fun game of Judgement. Line of the night went to Dev, who decided that he would win all three hands of a three card round. On being asked if he was serious, he said, “Did I stutter?” I will not rest until I have found a way to use that line myself. My actual birthday itself wasn’t that great. Twelve hours in the car driving back to Sugar Land, with the last six hours spent driving through rain. We picked up some Dominos, and Ankit was excited to see the “new” PS2 I was leaving for him.

* Regarding my Swamp misadventure, I did shoot an arrow in the dark after I got back. I know it won’t hit anything, but at least I tried. That in itself makes me feel better.

* Hung out with Nishma on Wednesday evening. Apparently, I missed a hell of a convention, and I would have “met a lot of people”. *shrugs* I made my decision, for better or worse, so I’m not going to complain and whine about it now. Besides, JAINA 07 is in New Jersey. We went for a drive, and since we had nowhere specific to be, I decided to swing by the house that I’d lived in for the first six years of my life. I’d wanted to see it for a long time, and I figured now was as good a time as any, what with the navi and all. It was kinda cool recognising some of the streets from 16 years ago. I wonder if I’ll feel the same way about the Bay Area, 15 years from now?

* Tomorrow morning, we’ll figure out what to do about my car. Either we transfer it to Vinubhai’s insurance and Roshni can drive it, or it stays parked in the driveway, never to be moved until I return. I bet I know what Roshni is hoping for.

* Tomorrow afternoon, I leave for Canada. I have no idea where I’m going to be in 6 months, quite literally. I could still be there, or I could go to India (either continuing as part of Rohit Connexion, or just working with my dad separately), or I could come back to the US and try to find another job here. Plus, there’s the possibility of an MBA next year, not to mention the continuing pressure from family on finally getting married. All in all, it’s a very uncertain time, made worse by the fact that I don’t like uncertainty. I don’t mind trying new things, so long as I know exactly what it is I’m doing. It doesn’t help that there isn’t anyone I can really talk to about it. But that’s another blog post for another day.