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.

The Little Things

The mundane details of everyday life can dull and numb our ability to share. To share our excitement, our passions, our company.

On the way to the grocery store this morning I was confronted with a man confined in his motorized wheelchair creeping along opposite the direction I was heading. I wondered what would bring him out in the mid-day sun and my answer was just around the next corner. A woman, also handicapped in a motorized wheelchair, was waiting for the bus. Apparently this man had taken time, much time considering his rate of speed, out of his day to walk his girlfriend/wife to the bus stop.

Despite physical difficulties which most of us are thankfully free of, he chose to share that first step into the world with someone he probably shares much in common. A smile crept onto my face as they broke past the barriers of their mundane life.

Memorial Day Week

Week, that’s right, a whole week. Now I am not overly patriotic nor did I have much planned in advance. It just conveniently worked out that while most people were on hands and knees thanking the one above for a three day weekend, my superiors graced me with a five day weekend, er, week.

Prologue: Wednesday evening started pleasurably with cocktails and free appetizers at The Lounge, next to Spaghetti Warehouse in the Warehouse District of Austin. I got to meet a few new people, most of whom work at Texas Monthly. After having known a lot of the staff at San Francisco Magazine, it’s actually kind of funny how magazine employees from different companies have a lot of similar traits. Same pressures, same structure I suppose. Anyways, that slowly turned into an after party (after meaning “after the free apps were gone”) which turned into Thursday.

Day One: Somehow, a large group of friends also had this day off and plans were made to go to Wimberley and play some disc golf. For five dollars we had unlimited access to their 36 holes. With a snack in the middle that was pretty much the day, 5-6 hours of sun and fun. Well, I did have fun but unfortuanately on the last 2 holes I managed to lose two discs in the same water hazard. Psychologically beat down, I was. The course is highly recommended all the same, and after 6 appearances they actually give you a free disc. Only 11 more games and I’ll break even on equipment!

Day Two: Friday was the prerequisite chore day: lawn, laundry, vaccuuming, cleaning, etc.

Day Three: Um, back up a day. I get a call from my grandfather asking if I could help with the heavy lifting to clear his girlfriend’s porch for the pressure washing. “No problem, what time do you need me there?” Always, ALWAYS, get details before you commit to help. So Day Three began at 7AM with a lot of physical activity under fairly humid conditions. Must reward self. Centro-Matic at The Parish seemed like a fairly decent remuneration for my early start. This won’t be a review for that show, but the opening bands were better than expected and seeing Centro-Matic live for the first time was well worth the $10 cover.

Day Four: Recovery and dinner with my grandfather and sister at Matt’s El Rancho.

Day Five: I guess it was really more recovery, but the more active kind. I’ve written about the beauty of the Hill Country this time of year, and I wasn’t let down by Krause Springs. Jaunting out west of Austin in the early afternoon we managed to keep driving just a little further than most on the day actually labeled Memorial. Just enough people to not feel crowded but enough to still run into Taggart, a good friend who I have very rarely gotten to hang out with since moving to California. The waterfall feeding the creek is a fantastic environment that you can completely relax in, until you get hungry or it gets dark. Or until Marty turns to me and asks if I could run sound for Jared Francis that night at Lucy’s. Memorial Day Week over, time to get back to the “real world.”

Au Naturale

Sunday, the day of rest. Relaxation is at it’s best in Central Texas when the rivers start flowing and the sun begins to warm the hibernating masses.

Last Sunday was the first time that I have floated the Comal in New Braunfels in over three years. I caught the last gleam of sun in 2000 and floated the Guadalupe at the very end of the season on a week pass from San Francisco. Some things rekindle the spirits more than even your memories. Sitting in a tube with good friends as you pass the world by and soak in the nature bequeathed to us, the worries seem to slip off into the river and leave you refreshed. The free barbecue at Riley’s didn’t hurt either.

Wondering what was going to happen today as the big hand ticked away, Marty comes through the door with an announcement. “Get your bathing suit on!” An afternoon at the Greenbelt with Erin and Beth. The natural heart of Austin, the Greenbelt accumulates hikers, bikers, joggers, and loafers. We loaded up the dog and our stuff and drove off to meet Brandt’s playmate, Enzo. Splashing around in the rock strewn river, the dogs circled and jumped and swam. Their human counterparts took in the nature and laughed at the dog’s indescretions.

I’m not relegating nature days to Sundays but the past two weekends have really rejuvenated my spirits and reminded me what to really love about Central Texas, the nature of the area and the nature of our friends.

Summer Television?

A bevy of both broadcast and cable networks, including FOX and NBC, are debuting new television programming over the summer. After the success of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, American Idol, and the OC, which all debuted in the summer, execs seem to be manuevering towards year-round schedules. Trap those young minds and reel them in, keeping the mush fresh for advertisers to implant their messages.

It used to be an easy transition, once those repeats started playing and daylight began to seemingly last till morning, the kids knew to go outside and be active. Enjoy the summer vacation from formal education and reexamine the out of doors. Learn a new sport, read a book, play with friends until moms begin to yell, anything but sit inside and be fed a simplified stream of consciousness.

The networks probably feel that this is an untapped market, and with the increasingly miniscule budget requests of reality programming, why not exploit the opportunity. I wish them the best of luck. I also wish the best of luck to both kids and adults alike in really prioritizing personal programming. Hoping that they make the decision to choose which programs to spend their limited time on and then escape to enjoy everything the world wants to offer them, without the filter inserted by the television between the viewers and life.

The Socialism of Trash

We leave our trash can in front of our house seven days a week. Our neighbors leave their trash cans in front of their houses all week as well. Every Monday, the entire street rolls their trash cans to the curb for a gigantic trash can to roll by and collect the smaller amounts of trash.

And what if our trash cans are full before Monday. If we can’t close the lid, we get charged an extra four bucks (I learned this the hard way). But I’ve never heard of anyone stealing another trash can for the extra storage. Maybe we will borrow a little space in an adjacent bin, but I have never come home alarmed to find that we no longer have a trash can sitting out front.

The city distributes these bins to everyone when you sign up for garbage service, which everyone does when they first move in. You pay for the trash pickup service, taxes pay for the hardware and theoretically, I guess, the city knows who has which trash cans. If you have a problem with your bin, they bring you a new one. All of your trash can needs are met. No one has a reason to steal, borrow, or confiscate a bin that is not theirs. There seems to be no profound thoughts to exchange or relocate trash cans, because they are all the same and everyone has one.

We leave our trash can in front of our house seven days a week and socialism seems to make sure that it will be there tomorrow morning.

The Morning Show

I am still looking for that perfect wake up call. I have only had two alarm clocks in my entire life.

My first was a brown affair with a bright red LEd display. As far as I know, it is still ready to wake someone up at my parents house should the opportunity present itself. The alarm clock I adopted my freshman year of college has served valiantly for eight years now. The indiglo glow is much preferable late at night and I always set the date function but never use it.

I have always preferred the radio to a loud, jarring blast of pure sine waves. Give me a calm classic rock radio station that knows not to disturb anyone too early and I will be happy. Even talk radio if I happen to be getting up that early as long as the DJ’s (that don’t usually spin discs) aren’t too annoying. I don’t want Howard Stern, but something with a local flair can be good for easing into the sunlight.

Unfortunately I am still looking for THAT station here in Austin. I know I will find it, but until then I haven’t be waking up as easy as before.