Superhero Supplies by jameskadamson

Superhero Supplies by jameskadamson

A former boss of mine would disappear every day for 15 or 30 minutes and take a walk around the neighborhood.  Working in a recording studio without windows or clocks on the walls, you can really forget that there is a real world outside.  I’ve co-0pted that idea here in New York.  Sometimes on days when I’m working from home and can forget that I haven’t left the house in three days.  Sometimes on weekends with Erin.

This weekend, Erin and I tried to go see the Big Wheel Race in Central Park.  Which, as it turns out, was not where all the reference material said it would be.  Same problem as two years ago.  We did eventually find a group of about 20 people, one of whom had a big wheel.  The other three “big wheels” were homemade alternatives, including a six wheeled bobsled.  Big Wheel Race fail.

Undaunted, we kept walking.  Hiking down Madison Ave. from about 90th, we got to see a part of NYC that we rarely take part in.  Boutique stores (more kid’s clothing places than you can shake a stick at), restaurants, streets fairs in the process of being dismantled, the J.Crew Men’s store (the grey wool jacket looked great, as well it should for the nice sum of $995), discovered where to get my Superhero Supplies, a “quick” side trip to Dylan’s candy store, and, ultimately, dinner at Hill Country Chicken down on 25th and Broadway.

We probably should have cabbed some of that.  Or taken the subway.  But we walked.  A lot.  I haven’t mapped it out, but we did 5 miles, easy.  At times, it was trying and I was grumpy.  But in retrospect, I got to share new parts of the city with Erin.  And this city is too big to not find new parts to enjoy every chance you get.

I’m looking forward to our next walkabout.

Calling for good customer service

This one’s gonna be a little Godin-esque.

Reading the headlines this morning, an article about actions the FCC was taking caught my eye:

The Federal Communication Commission will propose rules on Thursday requiring mobile phone companies to alert customers by voice or text message when they are have reached monthly usage limits and are about to incur extra charges, the commission’s chairman said Tuesday.

This, of course, is not in response to customers who might use an extra $10/mo because they have a low txt plan.  It is in response to bills that are 10x the regular amount.  Apparently a Boston customer received a bill for $18,000.  That would shock the hell out of me.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have surpassed their usage limits and received huge invoices in surprise.  This trend is accelerating with smart phones and data downloads that are difficult to gauge during regular usage.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have had to call customer service and beg for their invoices to be awarded a credit.  This is a cost to the telecoms regardless of whether or not they collect that revenue or not.

The cell phone providers will, of course, talk about how they offer tools for the customer to check their balances.  These are light years ahead of where we were ten years ago in almost all measures, except one.  They still require the customer to act.  Regularly, so they catch an overage early and don’t continue to add to the tab.

So why not kill two birds with one stone, now that the technology to provide this service is reasonably priced.

Voluntarily give your customers a heads up.  Then it’s their choice to continue their behavior.  You’ve acted responsibly, winning additional customer good will.  You have a record of notification to refer to during the inevitable customer rant if they ignore their warning.  And maybe, just maybe, you’ve tipped the scales enough to avoid government regulation because of actual customer service being performed.


MESA Grill

MESA Grill NYC (5th between 15th&16th)

A big part of my decision in coming to NYC had to do with experiencing what this city has to offer.  While I’ve poked around a little in Queens and have gotten into Manhattan a couple of times for some great music, the food hasn’t been a priority.  Last night, however, we had a fantastic dinner at Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay’s original restaurant near Union Square.  Despite arriving early, we were able to be seated a little before our reservation.  I highly recommend asking for a table on the balcony overlooking the room.  We decided to skip the appetizers and head straight into the entrees.  Both Erin and I had prepared by reviewing the menu during the day, but new things kept popping out at us, tempting us.  Finally we decided:

N E W  ME X I C A N  S P I C E R U B B E D  P O R K  T E N D E R L O I N
w i t h B o u r b o n – A n c h o C h i l e S a u c e + S w e e t P o t a t o Ta ma l e w i t h C r u s h e d P e c a n B u t t er

S P I C E  R U B B E D  N E W  YO R K  S T R I P  S T E A K
w i t h H o u s e – Ma d e ME S A S t e a k S a u c e

The steak was perfect, the tenderloin was one of the cooked to juicy perfection, and the sauces added the perfect depth to the meal.  Mashed potatoes with cilantro and sauteed spinach completed the main course.  We finished it off it one of Vicki Wells’s dessert creations:

M I L K  C H O C O L A T E  C O F F E E  B E A N  T A R T
w i t h C a r a me l i z e d B a n a n a s + P a s s i o n f r u i t – B a n a n a S y r u p

What it doesn’t really mention is the sorbet, which despite being a tad bit overpowering, was too delicious to ignore.

All in all, a delicious meal and an amazingly friendly staff.

So I finally did it…

Did what, you ask? Moved to New York City? Well yeah, but that was two weeks ago and I’m starting to settle in. Moved on to another work environment? I’ll miss my “other” family, but I said goodbye last year.

No, what I finally did, was back into the floor to ceiling steam pipe in our apartment bathroom, without a shirt on. Oddly enough, it’s hot. Really hot. Leave a burn mark hot.

So needles to say I will be paying a bit more attention while getting ready in the morning. Safety first.

Miss me?

Can’t believe that the last time I posted was on return from the UK  in Feruary.  That was the very beginning of a long year that I am hopeuflly wrapping up very soon (seeing as how I don’t really have much time left).  I won’t fill you in on all the details in this post (mostly because then what would I write about), but life in all it’s details is dragging me to places that I couldn’t imagine at the time of that last post.  Hold on for 2009!

not a single one like the other

The sky cried snowflakes as we departed in the dark for the train station. My eyes were damp, mostly from the snowflakes that stopped short of my protruded tongue as I stared upward in disbelief at some of the largest, lightest crystals I have set eyes upon. This has been a brilliant week in yet another new country (adding an additional port of call to my “might return eventually” list), but my bed and the the superbowl are calling me home. At least for two nights.

manchester, i almost knew ye

i made it from the airport to the train station. we went bag to pick up a bag that didn’t quite make it on time, of course it was dark the entire two hour drive. we visited a store for work; that lasted about 30 minutes. when my hotel slipped an invoice under the door, a full 24 hours earlier than anticipated, my backup plan (if for some reason all of the rooms were booked) would have been to find a place in manchester to stay the night and shorten the trip to the airport in the morning. plan b did not happen, so we’ll be taking a train back from leeds tomorrow and connect straight into the airport. i almost feel like i’ve been to manchester. but not quite.

english to english

a quick guide to what you will hear in the uk:

cheers=thanks or goodbye
g=ground floor, cause hitting 1 doesn’t get you all the way down
mash=mashed potatoes
check=bill, they still know to get money before you leave the restaraunt, regardless
whigwham=manual card carbon copy machine
dual carriageway=two lane road (same direction) with high speeds
mobile=cellphone (capital I sound)
pint=oh c’mon, it’s a pint. more beer, less problems

…and many, many more. if i wrote them all down you’d just miss out on discovering this “foreign” language for yourself.


saw a little more of the country today. we even ventured out of yorkshire to lancashire. suprisingly there are quite a few counties, most of which i will in no way have any connection to on this trip. the cities turn pastoral very quickly on departure and there are some amazing farmhouses and stone fencework everywhere. even passed by one old farm whose owner would not sell when they decided the motorway would cut directly through his homestead, so they just ran the road around him and built a tunnel to use for getting livestock and himself out of the middle.

quick note on the roads here. in town the names are posted, but not like the us. they are at the corner of the street, usually only about three feet above the ground and only the name of the street on to which you are turning. larger roads are numbered and begin with M (motorway), J (junction) or A or B (sized between the city roads and the motorway, A being bigger than B). oh, and the post codes. imagine zip codes that begin in the center of town and work their way out systematically so that you can actually tell how far away it is from the city centre and in which direction.

dinner was consumed at Loch Fyne. fantastic sea food with a scottish background. even had glenlivet water (presumably from the same spring used to make glenlivet scotch). still and tasty.

baby you can drive my car

until the last member of our team joined us, i was well on the way to making reservations with hertz to get a rental car. had that happened, i might have given up and returned to the terminal to catch the train to leeds. just leaving the manchester airport is a task left for skilled motorists. driving on the right side of the car and the left side of the road is against every instinct that i have developed since i was sixteen. well, fifteen with a permit. okay, okay… fourteen with parental supervision. geez…twelve, but that was on dirt roads at our deer lease. anyways, after a few days of observation, i’m convinced that i need to give it a go. the pedals are in the correct alignment, the gear shift pattern is the same, and as long as i don’t panic, driving on the wrong side…sorry the left side isn’t that big of a difference. the roundabouts would challenge most americans, but understanding the rules and the flow of traffic, it seems more efficient than most intersections of a grid. the oneway roads seem to lead you away from where you need to go in the sake of conserving this sense of order, but many US downtowns can easily be just as confusing. i’m not convinced it’s a better system, only that were i to live here, i could enjoy driving as much as at home (especially if i could get my hands on a tasty audi s series or a vw tdi that can’t be imported).

enjoyed portuguese fare at a restaraunt called nando’s this evening. while i abhor the language, the food was very good and the wine delicious. olives for starters and a half chicken with corn on the cob and garlic bread filled the plate. nothing i haven’t made for myself, but a little treat of spices added that I hadn’t tasted before. as the cold weather moves in, it helps that the restaraunt is just around the corner from the marriott. now to connect to the internet and get some work done.