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Category: whine

07/31/07 03:25 - 65ºF - ID#40322

Laundry Grossness

(e:libertad)'s post about laundromats set this one in motion. I think this is a good time to whine about the laundry in my building basement.

I am somewhat grossed out by the washers and dryers in my building. The small holes where you pour in the detergent and the softener are coated with gooey hideousness and I am convinced that mutant bacteria might be growing and thriving in that semi-solid mess as we speak. In addition, my clothes come out decorated with long blond hair, even though I obsessively clean out the lint chamber.

The situation is, I suppose, not without merits. I now possess the exclusive knowledge that someone with silky golden mid-arm length hair or perhaps a dog-walker with an especially hairy golden retriever charge lives in my building. As attractive as this makes my building, I
am not sure that I really need to be festooned with keratinized souvenirs to appreciate this fact. I hate that I need to lint-roll my clothes after they come out from the machines to avoid looking like the woolly mammoth every time I wear the affected clothes. I have not quite reached the point where I am inspired to lug my laundry to a commercial laundromat but the long blond hair might just be the last straw that breaks the camel's back.

Oh, and the washers sometimes charge you twice for one cycle. When I complained to the manager, he passed the buck to the Maytag company. I was under the impression that "Maytag" was a creative play on the name of the building - Mayflower. It appears, now, that I might have been mistaken.

And since I am whining about the machines, why not whine about the basement and the elevators too? The basement used to be a fall-out shelter back in the 1930s, so the only way to the basement is via the tottering old elevators - that don't work for about 10 days in a month. I don't want to be perceived as an imbalanced whiner, so let me point out the pros and cons of such a predicament.

1. Yay! Can't do laundry, 2 hours saved. Get back to the paper you never finished reading.
2. Yay! Get some exercise, climb up and down five floors and tone those deviant muscles that have been sitting around all day.

1. One more day of digging in the laundry basket for clothes to wear.
2. What if you are doing your laundry, came back upstairs because you can't stare at the machines (however hypnotic and soothing that may be) and the elevators chose to stop working? Wear pillow-cases and blankets to work and pretend its halloween?

The basement itself is a rather spooky place. It has motion-sensor fitted lighting. But sometimes, even if you do the savage version of the Irish jig, the lights don't come on. And I have no idea where the light-switches are; perhaps there aren't any. Being left in the dark in the basement can be compared to being left in the dark in a groaning hull of a ship that hit an iceberg and is sinking. Same sounds, feeling of impending doom and a massive partially-filled freaky hole in the wall (part of an old heating system/chute for garbage?).

There. Now you know the trials of my typical laundry-day. Cheers!
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Permalink: Laundry_Grossness.html
Words: 554
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/27/07 10:31 - 73ºF - ID#40273

New Employee Orientation Follow-up

@(e:Paul): I thought the fire drill would be cool too, until they decided to take the show outdoors. We formed a small queue to have a go at pushing the fire extinguisher handle. I admit that I did look forward to finally being able (and required) to operate that mysterious red omnipresent cylinder. I am sure, so did a vast majority of those who were in the small queue. However, the wind turned against us (quite literally) and blew all the chemical fire-extinguishing smoke all over us. Many of us breathed it all in.

For those among you, who have never had the fine opportunity of experiencing this potion from hell and are interested, it has an initial bitter taste with a distinctly chemical sour overtone. Since it is a very fine aerosol, it insidiously coats the lining of your throat and makes you gag everytime you swallow. For about 5 hours after you inhale the chemical, you feel as if you have a sore throat and drinking hot tea or coffee makes it worse since the sour overtone intensifies and the bitterness in the tea/coffee is magnified about ten times over.

If not anything, the orientation taught me that fire-fighters deserve a lot of respect for what they do, not just because of the obviously dangerous life-endangering nature of their jobs, but also their willingness to continue fire-fighting after being exposed to this vile chemical day in and day out, in addition to the smoke from the fires. If I had to be a fire-fighter, I wouldn't last even a day. So thank you for sticking out your throats and necks for the rest of us.

@(e:Chico) Yep! uber-creepy is the most apt word to describe the logo on that neck-band. :) "Corporate Replicant"? Heh. Now that would be uber^2 creepy! I think we are not very far off from a scannable bio-genetic material of some kind on all our IDs.

@(e:mrdeadlier): I did take a deep breath and look what happened!!! ;)
Jokes apart, I didn't know the real motivation for Roswell turning into a corporation - so thanks for the information! It does need all the money it can get if the money is going towards funding the goals in its mission statement. By the way, is Dr. Trump of Roswell related to the other Trump we all know and don't love?

@(e:jenks): Ah! So the "Institute" part of the name wasn't so decent either. It is somewhat unfortunate that HIPPAA rules, instead of making things better, are steadily taking things towards the worse. I agree that patient privacy must be given the importance and consideration it deserves, but blocking medical record-access/authorization for ER situations is damaging to all the parties involved.
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Permalink: New_Employee_Orientation_Follow_up.html
Words: 458
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/26/07 02:31 - 70ºF - ID#40254

New Employee Orientation

I am required to attend new employee orientation tomorrow and I am dreading it. I work in a corporation. Its Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation. They couldn't stop at a decent sounding "Institute". They had to go and add a "Corporation" into it. Now to justify adding that extra word (and wasting tons of paper and ink, printing that extra word) they have an employee orientation where they rope in all the directionless sheep and put them through the shears from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.

To make it even more foreboding, they sent me an official letterhead memorandum about it. The description of the orientation has informed me that "The program allows for an "on your own" lunch break". I wonder what that will be. They will put us all in our corners and order us to eat? That sounds so stressful.

Plus I noticed people wearing an ugly and creepy looking fluorescent green neck band to hang their IDs on here and when I took a closer look today it had "Corporate Compliant" printed all over it in the most uninspiring plain font you could think of. I am afraid I am going to end up getting and being forced to wear one of those monstrosities. It isn't enough that I have a pathetic dress sense to start with. Now Roswell "Corporate Compliance" might require me to look even more dowdy via their totally repulsively coloured and printed neck bands. I know that they need to inject some uniformity among their staff but hey, spare the poorly dressed ones!

I think earlier they used to give out this nifty navy blue neck band with "Roswellness" printed on it. But that seems to have undergone a deterioration and ended up with a nasty colour *and* incredibly lame logo. "Corporate Compliance"??! It sounds so hideous - as if you were faceless spineless drones in a tyrannical corporation.

The bottom line is I don't want to go to a boring orientation at 8:00 am and I certainly do not want to wear that absurdly and most garishly designed neck band!
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Permalink: New_Employee_Orientation.html
Words: 346
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/23/07 06:24 - 76ºF - ID#40220

Verizon is a modern day Shylock!

The whole $14.99 a month for the first year from Verizon is a BIG LIE!

This was my first bill which came in today: $180.03

I expected the first bill to be high but take a look at what pushed it up:

The basic "flat rate local service" had an initial charge of $77.46 and a recurring charge of $73.09 (for less than 2 months)!! $70+ for a simple landline with NO frills (no long distance, whatsoever) is prohibitively expensive.

Added to this was a $29.48 charge for the modem and the DSL.

I did what any sane person should have done at 8:00 am today. Called the freaks and cancelled the verizon local service. Now I have the DSL without local service for $30 a month.

I just can't help thinking what a tonload of LIES the $14.99 a month plan is. More crafty is Verizon's very cunning delayed bill which ensures that you cannot return their money-grabbing service within 30 days - because you don't realize what a bundle of money the whole mediocre service will cost per month, before looking at the first bill.

I hate Verizon. Officially. I can't wait for this year to be over, so I can dump them. Because if I dump them now, the Scum-ridden Shylocks will charge me $79 for dumping them early. What a royal pain.

Hope you all ingest E-coli ridden food, Verizon, along with all your rude employees and rot away with the most severe of bloody dysentery - from which you never recover and die a most painful and slow death on some maggot-ridden bed!

No thanks for making my Monday the most abominable Monday I have had in a few years!
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Permalink: Verizon_is_a_modern_day_Shylock_.html
Words: 279
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/23/07 02:40 - 64ºF - ID#40215

Virtual Clinton-Bailey (Farmer's Market)

I finally located my camera's USB cord. It was carefully coiled and fitted into my coffee making filter - that was fitted into a mug that was packed in a woolen stocking that was under a pile of other assorted lost items in my humongous suitcase that I opened and rifled through today.

For people who lost their patience, that means I can post more pictures. :)

I trooped to the Clinton-Bailey market Saturday morning - it took me an hour and a half to get there because I didn't stick to the very careful instructions that Jessalyn (at work) gave me. I did mean to, but here's what went wrong --instead, of going downtown and taking Bus No. 2, I took 22 and landed on the Walden-Bailey crossing at precisely 8:30 (yeah, I got up late.). and waited an hour for the 19 to Clinton-Bailey. In the hour I was there, I saw 4 Bus No. 6s. I thought that was most unfair.

The Clinton-Bailey farmer's market is about a minute walk west of the Clinton-Bailey crossing. It's a bigger market than the Elmwood-Bidwell farce and has a much more wider variety of produce.


I was told that the wholesale farmers come to the market as early as 4:00 am and the ones that remain in the market after 7:00 am are not the wholesalers but the regular small scale farmers. Which means I can't buy wholesale at all since I am pathologically incapable of waking up so early when my brain knows it's Saturday!

However, most of the "small scale" farmers had HUGE trucks filled with produce - since they set up shop from 7:00 am in the morning to around 4:00 pm evening.

Prices were very reasonable - $1 for 3 big zucchinis:


$1 for a lb of grapes (green/red)
$1.50 for a lb of peaches
$2 for a box of blueberries

$4 for an enormous basket of cucumbers.

The better looking produce was usually costlier.

An exception was this farmer who was selling very fresh red/green/yellow peppers @ $1 for 3

Produce was the not the only focus of this market. The covered shed hosted multiple "garage sales".

Just outside the covered shed was a stall selling various brick-brack including fake flowers.

If you got tired strolling through the market, you could sit down and enjoy the sunshine on these flower-flanked benches scattered thoughtfully throughout the market.

And I was not the only one with a camera.

On the whole, I liked the market, but its a bit too far away from downtown for regular grocery trips. The prices are good but not extraordinarily low enough to entice me into investing a major part of my day just getting there. Recommended: for the best and the cheapest fresh peppers in recent grocery trips + a variety of reasonably priced seasonal fruits/berries/veggies, if you have the whole Saturday morning to spare.
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Permalink: Virtual_Clinton_Bailey_Farmer_s_Market_.html
Words: 503
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/15/07 10:28 - 71ºF - ID#40118

Buffalo Grocery Review: A'Chau Oriental

A'Chau 2 Oriental Food Market, 833 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213

This Vietnamese store is located at the east corner of the crossing between Rhode Island Street and Niagara Street. The name A'Chau apparently means "Asia". For those intrigued by the "2" in the store's name - the owner told me that they had (still have?) a branch of the store elsewhere in Buffalo, and that this is the second branch.

A'Chau is primarily a seafood/meat grocery. Those really into seafood should check out this place sometime. There was enough specialty seafood variety on its shelves to make me wonder if they had caught, processed and bagged every creature in the Pacific, the Atlantic and maybe all the local lakes and rivers, put together. The frozen/refrigerated meat section also looked quite extensive. I am not sure what the prices were like, though.

The vegetable section had no less than 26 different varieties of south-east Asian greens (yes, I counted!). (This is a handy guide to greens: ) It also had lemon-grass,thai-basil, mint, galangal and kaffir lime/lime leaves. However, none of the greens were out in boxes, as is common practice in Chinese stores I have been to. They were all packed away in plastic bags and in cold storage. The owner told me that the "fresh-vegetable-day" for the store was Tuesday, and that the "seafood-day" was Friday - when things come in from NYC. That could have explained the refrigerated produce or maybe the store is especially careful about not losing any of the produce due to lack of refrigeration.

The prices for the greens and the rest of the veggies/fruits (Cucumber, Chayote, Green Beans, Onions, Potatoes, Eggplant, Okra, Cabbage, Bitter gourd, green papaya, jackfruit, lichee, tomatoes, (sad-looking) mangoes, apples, watermelon, persimmon etc.) were at par (maybe slightly lower) with say, Wegmans. They are not as low as Guercio's which makes it hard to justify daily grocery shopping here, unless the objective is to cook specifically with those 26 delicious varieties of greens.

I was mildly bothered that the prices were not very prominently displayed and that I had to ask the owner for the price, each time I was interested in anything. He had to take the plastic bags out of the fridge and weigh them on the check-out counter to tell me what the price was. Some bags had price tags stuck on them, but it was difficult to see them well without opening the door of the fridge.

Additional attractions in this store included Shitaké mushrooms and other wild Asian mushrooms (wood-ear/cloud-ear, button, oyster), several different varieties of rice noodles/vermicilli and a million different varieties of stir-frying/cooking sauces, spice-medley-pastes and flavoured oils (I even saw a duck-flavoured sauce specifically for basting spring-rolls).

The store has a shelf of green teas, snacks similar to the ones in any corner grocery store (chips, puffs etc) but labeled in Vietnamese/French, the usual selection of southeast Asian crockery, small strange gifts, exotic snacks, soaps/detergents/cosmetics etc. As a unique touch, they had ornamental (perhaps) traditional swords in black scabbards with filigreed silver trims for about $30 each hanging by the check-out counter.

The two other oriental stores in the vicinity that I had planned on scoping out were either closed or non-existent. The "99 Oriental Food Store" [837 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213] across the street from A'Chau, was boarded-up and locked. As an additional sign of dereliction, its closed glass doors were cracked with what seemed like a mob-stone-attack. The "Buffalo Asian Market" [594 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14201] was untraceable. If anyone has had better luck in locating this store, please feel free to add a comment.

I thought the neighbourhood was fairly safe to walk on except for a few people who seemed to think I might have a dollar to spare for them. I might not venture out here after dark though.
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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_A_Chau_Oriental.html
Words: 648
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/14/07 10:43 - 66ºF - ID#40110

Buffalo Grocery Review: Wegmans Amherst

I am sure this huge chain needs no introduction to "Upstaters" and there is really no need for an official review, but I was somewhat impressed by the Wegmans on Amherst St. today and feel impelled to share. :)

I am not sure how many of you have heard about their leviathan branch in Pittsford, NY (for those not familiar with it, here's a review: ), but in my opinion, the Amherst St. Wegmans almost compares to the Pittsford one, and in some instances, is even more spiffy!

I loved the full-scale functional toy train with all the bells and whistles above the bulk candy in the store. The Pittsford leviathan doesn't have anything half as interesting as this! The cheese selection and the hummus/olive selections are as good, if not better and the bread section had some very interesting pita bread - 5 different types of naan! missi roti, low-carb-high-fibre (28%) pita, Markook-Roumali, Kalamata bread; varieties I have never seen at Pittsford. Its possible they were introduced in the last month but its equally possible that they are local to this branch. Plus they had a far wider variety of wegmans, tribe and summer-fresh hummus. (still recommend the ones at Guercio's btw) .

Their bulk food section had the cheapest banana chips (sweetened *and* unsweetened) I have seen; imported from the Philippines and fried in coconut oil. They also had a wide variety of dried fruits, flax seeds and cereal at reasonable prices. So I don't recommend the Lexi Coop for bulk cereal/nuts/dried fruits anymore. This is a much better place to get them.

Their tea selection, though not as extensive as one at Pittsford, is still impressive. They had almost the entire Twinings catalogue there. And they have a fresh Pizza corner.

Spent a couple hours just wandering through the store today and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! Recommended for leisure grocery shopping, if not regular.

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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Wegmans_Amherst.html
Words: 323
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/12/07 10:54 - 71ºF - ID#40090

Buffalo Grocery Review: Lexington Coop

Lexington Coop: 807 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, 14222 -->On the southeast corner of Lancaster Avenue and Elmwood Avenue.

I have been to this grocery about three times now and though I find it to be rather expensive in general, I think it has some very cool stuff on its shelves and some things are reasonably priced.

I would especially recommend it for NOTHING. the orange juice ($1.89/half gallon) and the bulk dried fruits/nuts/cereal. It is also one of the very few places around downtown Buffalo that sells Al-free deodorants.

I love how this place always has the right kind of scents in every aisle! I wonder how they manage that. In the produce aisle, it smells like fresh tomatoes and sometimes bell peppers. In the cosmetics aisle, it smells earthy and cool - I think it might be the handmade soaps. In the bread aisle, it smells of wheat and cinnamon. In the small kitchen/salad bar, it smells... well, simply delicious. They have lavender soaked cleansing towels near the entrance and it smells great when someone grabs and uses one! You can actually smell the delicate scent of lavender for about 30 metres all around the store.

The prices in the produce/bread section are, as I mentioned before, expensive. I know I might sound like the crabby old lady that (e:zobar) mentioned in his comment, but I just can't bring myself to buy any of the produce or the breads here. They are really fresh and very tempting but the temptation goes out as soon as you see that they are priced a whole $1 - $2 more than the rest of the grocery stores around downtown. As an example, the 160g loaves of Banana-nut, Date-nut, Zucchini-nut bread from a bakery called "Perfectly baked breads and desserts" (?) is $2.50 instead of the $1.50 at which it is sold at Guercio's and in the Elmwood-Bidwell market. I know the store needs to make a profit, but this is almost a 66% increase in price.

I am guessing the store is located in a relatively affluent neighbourhood, so people who buy here do not really need to worry about paying a couple dollars more for each of their groceries. But in the long run, the extra dollars do add up to a sizeable amount.

Recommended: For orange juice, bulk dried foods, healthy cosmetics (well, they do have a monopoly here).
Not Recommended: For poor graduate students and people who are looking to stretch their dollar.

PS: They hiked the price of the orange juice to 2.49/half-gallon. That makes the hike to this store for one single item totally worthless; especially when I can get orange juice at Guercio's for cheaper. Yeah, you heard it Lexi, you can suck that half-gallon orange juice up your nose, you 32% price-hiker, you!!

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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Lexington_Coop.html
Words: 471
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: e:strip

07/11/07 08:42 - 71ºF - ID#40061

It was great to finally meet you!!

(e:paul), (e:Jim) and (e:enknot) (well, maybe the title of the post doesn't apply to you, but hey, it was great to see you again!)

Since this is my new favourite pic...

Thanks once again for all the good things that has brought into my life ver2.BuffalO. :)

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Permalink: It_was_great_to_finally_meet_you_.html
Words: 54
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/08/07 12:58 - 75ºF - ID#40003

Elmwood-Bidwell "Farmer's Market"

"Farmer's Market": Elmwood & Bidwell, Saturdays: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

This was a letdown. A huge... no an enormously disappointing one. I know people praise it to the heavens and I went expecting the place to be jam-packed with farmers - and I mean genuine farmers from all across WNY. I went in and had to retrace my steps to see if this was indeed the famed farmer's market. Don't get me wrong. The setting was great. Sunshiny day, fiddlers playing melodies, a live bee apiary and a stall by the Elmwood Village Association promoting the Buffalo Old Home Week. What was missing were farmers. There were approximately 18-20 stalls and about 6 had fresh produce! The produce was shiny and fresh, but the prices were astronomical. I mean $3 for a small head of lettuce is atrocious! I had a sneaking suspicion that the "farmers" were residents from around the park selling stuff from their kitchen gardens. The prices strengthened that suspicion.

Alright, I may be a bit biased. But I am strongly of the opinion that this is not what a farmer's market looks or feels like, having regularly been to a few across the country. A genuine farmer's market is where people can go and buy bulk produce at prices waaaay cheaper than your local supermarket. A farmer's market definitely is not a bunch of elitists selling produce for triple the price of any corner store. If you want to see a real farmer's market, pay a visit to Rochester's Public Market: ( ) on Saturdays. You will know what the competition looks like.

The "farmer's market" at Elmwood & Bidwell won't get any further patronage from me. Thanks to this disgrace, I had one severe episode of heart-breaking nostalgia for Rochester. :(
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Permalink: Elmwood_Bidwell_quot_Farmer_s_Market_quot_.html
Words: 315
Location: Buffalo, NY



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