Archive for June, 2010

iPhone 4: T-minus 7 days

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 by poojaland

So I happened to be one of the lucky few (or, I think 600,000, the Interwebs are saying?) who managed to successfully preorder an iPhone 4 when preorders opened up Tuesday. I say that casually, because this was NOT an easy task!! I first tried via Apple.com around 9:30 p.m. PT Monday, thinking maybe since it was after midnight ET, I could get in. However, either the site was geofenced and didn’t show me the “Preorder” button, or else the option simply wasn’t available to anyone.

Got in to work around 8:45 Tuesday morning. Got back onto Apple.com, entered my phone number and then the system began trying to access the AT&T database to confirm my upgrade eligibility. I sat there and stared at the lovely spinning wheel, until a couple minutes later, I got an error message saying it was unable to process my request at that time. Tried again…same result. Long story short, I tried to preorder the phone via my secondary desktop computer about every 15-20 minutes while my main desktop was executing a task or saving a file or something (my main computer is five years old, so I’m often waiting for it to do something!). Mid-day, no result. I pulled up some of the tech Web sites, and they reported that most other prospective preorderees were having the same issue — even trying to order from an AT&T bricks-and-mortar store was either unsuccessful or very time-consuming.

Finally, at 4 p.m., I was able to submit my order. And thank goodness — for one thing, AT&T apparently ran out of their allotment at 1:30 p.m. And a co-worker of mine submitted his preorder Tuesday night, and was told the phone wouldn’t arrive until at least a week after its official launch (I double-checked my order status on Apple.com this morning, and it thankfully still says my phone will arrive on launch day, next Thursday the 24th). Apparently now, if you preorder a phone, the delivery date isn’t until July 14 (more here). Don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d had to wait longer than the 24th! Though, of course, there’s always that possibility that the phone will be delayed anyway.

It’s all kind of silly, I mean, I’ve had my current iPhone for a year and a half now, but I’d gotten used to upgrading my phone once a year, so I’m a bit overdue! Plus, I just can’t wait for all those cool new features. Due to the Apple.com order-confirmation page saying a signature is required for delivery of the phone, I’m even going to work from home next Thursday so I can be there to receive it (unless, of course, I discover the delivery will be late).

Let the countdown begin!

Birthday weekend, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by poojaland

So I turned 32 yesterday. Turning 31 last year thankfully will keep me a bit numb until I hit 35, when I’ll then start feeling the panic of being on the down slope to 40! Anyway, dramatics aside, it was a really great weekend. The weather, which has been, as I mentioned in my last post, sucktackular, finally took what all we Seattleites hope was a turn into summer — it was in the 70s and gorgeous. I took advantage of the weather, getting in some tennis yesterday morning with my sis. Then we ended up spending the rest of the day together. We headed to the University District to swing by my favorite bubble-tea place (not that I need an excuse to go there every week already!), and then on the way back home, swung by a local fire house that was having an open house, as it’d just opened. We knew the festivities had started at 1, and though it was 3:30 by the time we pulled up, we thought we might still be able to take in some eye candy (read: fire fighters). There were a few people milling about outside the garage, but it was unclear as to whether we could walk into the station or what. Just then, a fire fighter started walking by us with some piece of equipment, and my sister oh-so-graciously asked him, “So, is this thing done, then?” He said “Yep!” Bummer!

Next, we hit the road to the east side of town to help my parents out with a concert. Stuck around for maybe an hour, and then we headed back to my neighborhood to grab some dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants, so I could get my beloved Mongolian Tofu (one star, with brown rice). The manager and I are friendly now — I go there once a month or so — so when he came by to say hello, I made sure to casually get in, “Oh, it’s actually my birthday!” Alas, I didn’t get anything special, though, as my sis and I were leaving with our leftovers, he gave us each one of the chocolate-covered fortune cookies they sell for $1. Fancy!

The rest of the night was really mellow. We just chilled on the couch and watched “The Rocker,” which was actually not too bad, thanks to local boy Rainn Wilson playing the lead character.

Today was more mellow.. did some light house cleaning, watched “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (I’m cringing a bit as I type that, but I have Blockbuster online rentals, so it’s not like I went to the store and picked it out! it actually wasn’t *too* bad)  made food for tonight’s Sunday Night Dinner (deep-fried tofu with a delicious peanut dipping sauce) and then went to Sunday Night Dinner. That was a relaxing — and fun and satisfying — way to wrap up the weekend, as it is every month. Jen, our host, made a delicious two-layer chocolate-berry-whipped-cream-shortcake for us to enjoy, which I decided she’d made as a birthday cake for me, hope she doesn’t mind my thinking that ;o)

Now, I’ve just finished up the fun process of writing up my annual review for work. Just when you’ve written it, submitted it and sat back and relaxed, a few months go by and it’s time for mid-year reviews!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to Part 2 of my birthday, which will be an outing with the girls next weekend. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates then as well!

“i” can’t resist

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2010 by poojaland

iPhone 4 (pic courtesy of Endgadget). Click the link for Endgadget's story on the phoneI’ve had an iPhone 3G since October 2008. I skipped upgrading to the iPhone 3GS last summer on the recommendations of some technophile friends (“Wait until next year, they’ll have more and better features”) — the main upgrades on the 3GS I cared about were the slightly better camera, video-taking ability and compass. I’m glad I waited, as the recently announced iPhone 4 is truly with upgrading to. My main complaint with the 3G is the super crappy camera: It has no flash, no focus (auto or otherwise), no zoom, no lighting controls … it was basically a flash-less point-and-shoot. But now, on the iPhone 4, the resolution is bumped up to 5 MP from something like 2, there’s a flash, plus focus and zoom. Really annoying how Apple was able to get away with withholding those features until the fourth iteration of the iPhone — the HTC Evo has an 8 MP camera! And even my Sony Ericsson phone from a couple years back had a flash and zoom controls.

Anyway, I think I’m going to take the leap and preorder my phone next week. And then eagerly count down the days until the phone officially comes out on June 24. Make no mistake — I’m most decidedly and proudly NOT an Apple fangirl. But for me, right now, the iPhone just fits most of what I want and need in a phone.

The saga of … bedding

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2010 by poojaland

Sorry for the radio silence!

I haven’t had not enough or too much going on — I’ve just been even lazier than usual! However, I thought you all might enjoy hearing all about my latest saga. So … Back in 2000, soon after I moved to L.A. for a few years (while I was in grad school), I decide to graduate from the traditional bedding set up of a comforter/sheets/pillowcases to duvet/sheets/shams. I figured this would be an easy way to periodically switch up my bedding by buying new duvet sets, and on top of that, duvet covers are easier to store than comforters. As a bonus, they’re also a lot easier to wash. However, I didn’t realize just how expensive duvet covers — not even duvet sets that include the shams — can be (hold this thought).

Roxy "Flirt" bedding

A couple years back, I decided to get some new bedding, as my current duvet set, which was a originally a very vibrant and colorful striped pattern, had started fading. Pretty early on in my shopping mission, I came across a great set by Roxy at Bed, Bath and Beyond. And, awesomely, all of the bedding was on clearance! So I think I got all the various pieces for less than $100. At right is the bedding set I got (it’s not readily available any more, so I’m posting the best shot I was able to find). You can’t see it in the picture, but the bedding set also had these really cute sheets, which were white with small green and blue dots.

Anyway, the bedding looked great, and made my bedroom look very colorful. However… I soon discovered that this particular set, which was nearly 100% polyester, was not suited for a household in which there’s a cat who isn’t shy about hopping on to the bed (and, in fact, sleeps on the bed every night, nearly the whole night). Problem is, Buster’s nails catch on the material, and then cause noticeable snags. I was so bummed when I saw what was going on! The material of the duvet wasn’t even a consideration when I was shopping around.

So, despite the snags, I stuck with the bedding for another few months, but finally, about a month ago (I’m thinking 8-9 months after buying the Roxy bedding), I decided it was time to finally upgrade. My requirements: 1) the duvet cover needed to be 100% cotton; 2) the pattern needed to be somewhat colorful, but light enough to not noticeably show Buster’s hair, which ranges from white to red.

With those points in mind, I began my mission. However, I was not as lucky this time around. And, to my dismay, I discovered that the duvet covers I was liking — mostly at Macy’s — were upwards of $150-$250 — just for the duvet cover itself! I did a little bit of shopping around online, but I’m one of those people who likes to see things in person and touch them, etc., so that didn’t get me very far.

Kas "Camila" bedding from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Long story short, after visiting two Macy’s stores, Target, Ross and Bed, Bath and Beyond, I finally decided on a set at the latter store. Even with a 20% off coupon, the duvet cover set me back (“only”) $80. Then, I was a bit shocked to discover that the shams were $40 each. Really, they’re nearly the cost of the duvet?! And why are they sold one-per-package? Not sure why anyone would buy just the duvet and no (0r one, unless your bed is a twin) sham(s), but … whatever. To the left is the bed set I finally went with, Camila by Kas. There’s more white to the set than I’d like — and the sheets I bought separately are white as well — which means more frequent washing, but on the other hand, Buster’s hair won’t show as easily, and I really do like the pattern of the green leaves. Cost aside, I was really surprised how hard, during all my shopping, it was to simply find a duvet-cover pattern that I liked. Seems like so many of the covers had silly flower or plaid patterns, or were some strange material like denim. But, for now, I’m pleased with what I ended up buying. And a few weeks later, everything’s holding up really well. Oh, and for the record — of the gazillion pillows shown in the photo, I only bought the two sham covers (see the pillow in front of the green euro sham on the left). I then bought a cheap(er) dark green pillow at Target that coordinates nicely with the entire set. The filled pillows are $30 or $40 each, and I’m just not quite willing to commit yet more money to this little quest..