Thursday, 15 December 2011

Jeff visit

We played host last night to Jeff, who flew in from St. Louis for the joint purpose of meeting a few New York bloggers and seeing Elaine Paige play Mrs. Lovett in New York City Opera's production of Sweeney Todd. Unfortunately, La Paige stood him up and took the matinee off, but we city blogger boys delivered.

Accompanied by Bob and Mike (who I had the great pleasure of meeting for the first time), we did the Greenwich Village piano bar circuit. A grand time was had by all, and rest assured that there are four more livers in recovery in the city today. Some more than others (*cough* Jeff *cough*).

And to close out the weekend, I thought I would leave the following images for those of who demanded proof:

Funny situation

Last week, I received the last bills for utilities and services at my old apartment. Most of the invoices were for minimal amounts, as I had closed the accounts at the very beginning of the billing cycle. I was confused, however, when I received a full month's invoice from Time Warner Cable.

I was relieved when I called Customer Service and was told that the paper invoice was issued before the disconnection was fully processed, and there was in fact a credit balance on my account due to overpayment in January. Since Time Warner's practice in dealing with residential moves is to close the old account and create a new one, I asked if the credit balance could be transferred to my current account.

"I wish that I could, sir. It doesn't quite make sense, but it is Time Warner's policy to mail you a refund check, and it will take six to eight weeks," the good-natured rep informed me.

"Well, that is kind of stupid, but hey, I'm still getting money back, so no biggie," I said happily. "How much of a credit do I have?"

"That would be a whopping $1.32, sir."

"Wow. It's almost as if I've struck oil."

"Yes sir. Just be sure not to spend it all in one place. Thank you for calling Time Warner cable."

So in six to eight weeks, I'll be a $1.32 richer. Who wants a sugar daddy?

Broken gym membership

Well, I did it. I broke in my gym membership. Not at all in the mood for a trip through the slush and sleet, K. and I braved the elements and headed up to the gym together. I had decided to do twenty minutes on the elliptical machine to break myself in to a new routine. Grumpy as all hell, I donned my new workout clothing (which makes me look, how shall I say, anatomically super-sized, if you know what I mean...not that nature didn't give the pants plenty to work with, mind you...but every little bit helps), grabbed my iPod and put my new "gym mix" on shuffle, and I was off.

After forty-five minutes, I finally decided to get off the machine before my legs turned to jelly. I probably shouldn't have gone quite that long on my first outing, but I found myself having a good time. I could watch the video screen on the machine, check out cute boys in spinning class across the studio, take fleeting glances of lithe young things doing sit-ups in the corner, or just zone out.

I also discovered that "Sk8tr Boi" by Avril Lavigne and "Defying Gravity" from Wicked (the final two minutes of the song, anyway) make for PERFECT elliptical/treadmill accompaniment. I can easily jog fast enough to maintain my maximum heart rate and keep rhythm with the music. Maybe it's the musician and former dancer in me, but I found it difficult to jog to music that didn't have the same tempo as my legs. The hunt will continue until I have a perfect workout songlist programmed!

Afterwards, as we made the wobbly-legged walk home, I was feeling particularly proud of my workout and how much I found myself actually enjoying the gym experience. Naturally, I felt that I deserved a reward. Some ice cream, naturally. It made sense, having burned off enough calories for two serving sizes during my time at the gym.

I'll just have to run for an hour and a half tonight since I actually ate four serving sizes.


I do my best to provide my readers with important information that I feel should not escape their attention. Once in a great while, something so earth-shattering and vital comes along that I must simply demand all of you take notice immediately. With that, I instruct you all to listen closely: says "Italian film idol Raoul Bova, who starred in Gap's 'Tempted' ads last fall, reappears in the new men's ad. The spot is set to 'I'm Free,' which is performed by the Soup Dragons, and highlights Gap's Stress Free khakis and shirts, a new collection of spill-, stain- and wrinkle-resistant clothing for men."

Oh yes, he's back, ladies and gentlemen. And he's just as fine as ever. In case you haven't already caught the new commercial and drooled over him to the point of dehydration, as I have, you can watch it online here.

And if you're looking to meet him in person, you can find him just to the right of me in my bed at night (with Jude to my left...they get along so well).

So happy to provide this public service to all of you, my loyal and faithful readers. Now, grab a bottle of water (or a bottle of lube, if need be) and enjoy.


With Time Warner Cable's DVR (digital video recorder), your relationship with your television will never be the same!" So says the Time Warner website. I think what they meant to say was more like, "With Time Warner Cable's DVR, your relationship with Time Warner will never be the same!" The people at Time Warner Cable are lucky that I'm not the type to take my sawed-off shotgun to their headquarters and start a free-for-all...yet.

After completing our 8-Minute Abs, Arms and Stretches tonight, K. and I plopped down on the couch to catch Will & Grace. Suddenly, my DVR rebooted itself. When it took five minutes to turn itself back on, a sinking suspicion came over us.
We attempted to pull up the backlogged listing of programs that had been stored on the DVR since we moved into this apartment. It was all gone. Almost thirty hours of programming erased. Most of the menu features didn't work, either.

I picked up the phone, furious. The representative who answered, a young-sounding woman who answered the phone more cheerfully than she should have, tried to walk me through the manual rebooting process.

"Look," I said to her, "You and I both know that rebooting the DVR isn't going to accomplish a thing. So let's just skip that phase. You will see from my service record that I am now on my third DVR unit. Third. I have spent hours waiting at home or on line at Time Warner Cable to replace this. I have spent hours on hold with Time Warner Cable when I have called to phone in the problem. I am not spending any more of my time to fix this problem."

"I understand, sir." Her voice quivered ever so slightly.

"Let's make sure you do," I snapped, not allowing her the chance to give me other options first. "I am not going to go to Time Warner Cable to wait in line tomorrow. Nor am I going to believe you when you tell me that the next available service appointment isn't until next Thursday. I spend upwards of $120 a month on what are supposed to be Time Warner's premium services, between the DVR and my cable internet. And this is what I get in return. Three faulty units in barely five months, and endless run around. You will send a technician tomorrow, with a replacement box, at a time that is convenient for me."

"Yes, sir. Well, I'm not supposed to issue appointments until after the weekend, but...okay, I can get you in tomorrow between twelve and four."

"Good. Thank you for being the first person at Time Warner to actually listen to my needs and not simply do what is convenient for your company."

And that is that. I clearly got through to her, as she left me her name and direct exension for future issues. My only regret is that I didn't demand billing compensation, but that phone call will come once the technician has been here. A letter to Time Warner won't be far behind, either.

For the additional $6.95 per month, the DVR was simply an appealing and affordable alternative to TiVo. I'm starting to wish I had just forked over the cash and done it right in the first place, but that's just not an option for us right now. Stay away from Time Warner if you can, unless you want endless headaches.