Saturday, May 23, 2009

Internet Provider Fail!

Yesterday I suddenly got disconnected from the internet while I was working. I checked my land phone and there was no dial tone.

My phone was dead.

I wonder if petty crooks stole the telecom cables in my neighborhood again. Sheesh!

I had no way to call our corporate DSL support number, so I drove all the way to some shopping mall just to use a payphone. I only had 7 pesos worth of coins with me, but this should be enough to report the issue.

I put my 5 peso coin in the slot and dialed the corporate hotline.

Voice Mail: "Sorry, this number is not allowed"

Sigh, apparently pay phones cannot access our DSL corporate hotline number. I'll have to go through the regular customer hotline instead.

Voice Mail: "Welcome to bla bla bla. Dial 1 to know more about bla bla bla, 2 to report a bla bla bla"

Garando: "2"

Voice Mail: "New and exciting features await you... bla bla bla bla"

The queued advertisement took about 2 minutes to finish. BUT there were three different advertisements queued.

Voice Mail: "Sorry all agents are busy. We appreciate your patience, we will get to you shortly as soon as the next agent becomes available."

Whistling along with the waiting music.

Voice Mail: "Sorry, all agents are busy. Bla bla bla bla"

Garando: "Sigh... "

Very bad music cuts in again.

Voice Mail: "Sorry, all agents are busy. Bla bla bla bla"

Garando: "Sorry, all agents are busy. Bla bla bla bla"

Very bad music continues.

Garando: "Oh, I give up! You win. I'll try calling again later."

I hung up, pushed the coin return switch, and waited for my coin to fall down to the change slot.

Nothing happened.

I slapped the side of the phone a couple of times, and still nothing happened.

Garando: "Stupid phone, ripped me off! That was 5 pesos for nothing!"

Then I saw a label at the top of the instructions, in really small fonts.

"This public telephone unit does not give change."

Garando: "You've gotta be kidding me..." (slaps forehead)

I decided to give it another shot. I only had two 1 peso coins left, so I had to make it count! Inserted the first coin, and dialed the customer hotline again.

Had to wait through the same annoying advertisements. Good thing the meter only starts when I actually get to talk to someone.

Voice Mail: "Sorry, all agents are busy. Bla bla bla bla"

Garando: "What's new?"

Voice Mail: "Sorry, all agents are busy. Bla bla bla bla... click!"

Operator: "Hello, how may I help you today?"

Garando: "Hi!! Boy am I glad to hear you! I need to report my land phone connection. I don't have a dial tone, I think I'm completely cut off."

Operator: "Have you checked your cable connections sir?"

Garando: "Yes, I did."

Operator: "And it's all connected?"

Garando: "Yes."

Operator: "May I have your name sir?"

Garando: "Sure, I am... Oh wait, I'm almost out of time, I'm calling from a payphone so I need to put one more peso in..."

Operator: "Sure, sir."

I put my last coin in the slot. I got another minute to finish up.

Garando: "Done. Let's do this fast though."

Operator: "Ok, no problem. And that number is at your residence, correct? Can I have the number please?"

Garando: "Yes, it's ###-####"

Operator: "Thank you, let me repeat that. It's ##... POP!!"

Garando: " ??? "

Operator: " ... "

Garando: "Hello?.... Hello?...."

Operator: "...."

Apparently the pay phone had lost its dial tone.

The phone was dead.

Same with all the other pay phones next to it, all three. Completely cut off with no power. Very familiar.

Garando: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

As I write this, I still have no internet at home and I am posting from my office. I apologize for not being able to reply to your comments, or do some bloghopping. Will catch up soon as this mess gets sorted out!

Garando mode:
I wish I was Simon Cowell because I really want to hurt their feelings right now!
Read More......

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Warsaw, Poland: Series 1 (part 2)

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Here's the second set of my photos, plus the continuation of my very "engaging" chess match.

read part 1

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Continued from part 1...

10 zlotys at stake, my first ever Polish chess match began.

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I didn’t even break a sweat.

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Because in a blink of an eye, the game was over.

I got my ass kicked, dragged around the town square, and handed back to me... all in just under 5 minutes. I - lost!

He even helped me get out of five “check” situations, how pathetic is that?

Garando: “Wow, you’re very good.”

Old man: “ … “

Garando: “Ok my turn! Let’s play DAMA!”

Old man: “ ? “

Garando: “That’s a popular game where I came from.”

Old man: “ … “

Garando: “We usually use pebbles or used soda crowns after vandalizing the sidewalk to draw the pattern used for the game… but we can use your chessboard instead.”

Old man: “ !!! ”

Garando: “Don’t worry, it’s easy! Let’s play for 20 zloty.”

Old man: “ %$@#*&%# (speaking in Polish).”

Then as fast as he appeared, the chess master hastily walked away.

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…with my 10 zloty.

I wasn't sure what he said when he left, but it sounded like it had a lot of consonants.

I hope he didn’t misunderstand that I wanted to vandalize his chessboard. Dama was only Chinese Checkers after all.

(more photos here)

Garando mode:
I should have just bought gelato instead...
Read More......

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hunt for Garandee's Omiyage

I only had one day to explore Warsaw so I had to make the most of it. With such limited time, I had to squeeze the search for Garandee's specific omiyage (souvenirs): traditional Polish cups.

Failure was not an option, unless I want to risk sleeping in the living room for a couple of days.


Three hours into my sightseeing, I got lucky and came across this little gem.


It had the cups she wanted, but unfortunately almost all the shops in Warsaw are closed on Sundays... including this one.


In order to find my way back to the shop in the next few days, I took photos of the alley it was in...


...along with the street name.

I was bound to come back, or die trying.

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Getting there was a 30 minute walk from the office, and twice I missed the closing time by about 5-15 minutes. On my last day in Warsaw, out of desperation I left the office at 4PM and finally made it!


While I was going through the cups, I remember she told me to choose based on her taste, and not mine. This was a challenge considering all the underwear and shirts she's bought me the past couple of years.

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Eventually, I chose and bought three types. It wasn't that hard considering that there were only four designs available anyway.

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Back home, Garandee was ecstatic that she setup her makeshift studio the moment I pulled the cups out of my suitcase.

And here's the rest of the loot I managed to "smuggle" out.

cheese, Polish dumplings & sausages

fresh bread


and of course, chocolates

Thanks to my good friends Kasia, for giving those Polish chocolates, and Iza, for accompanying me back to Cepelia.

Garandee mode:
Good job, Garando!
Read More......

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Warsaw, Poland: Series 1 (part 1)

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The Polish are generally a warm, friendly and very accomodating people. This is one of the reasons why I truly enjoyed my short stay in Warsaw.

I spent an entire Sunday exploring the city watching and taking photos of people as they made the most out of the weekend's final day. I even had the opportunity to hang-out with one of the locals!

Yes, just one.

I’m shy kase.

I think he talked to me first.

Anyway, more on that after the photos.

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After about 12 hours of sightseeing, I finally sat down and stretched my tired, sore legs on one of these nice benches at Rynek Starego Miasta, the marketplace at the center of the historical Old Town called Stare Miasto

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All of a sudden an old man sat next to me.

Old man: “Hello.”

Garando: “Oh! Hi.”

Old man: “Would you care to play chess?”

Garando: “Uhhh… sure, why not?”

Old man: “For a moment, I shall arrange chess board.”

Garando: “Alright…”

Old man: “Ok, it is set. You know, I played chess in London!”

Garando: “Nice... I played chess in elementary.”

Old man: “Where?”

Garando: “uh.. 3rd grade?”

Old man: “Anyway, let us make game more interesting, yes? 20 zloty!”


I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned “elementary”. Now he knows I suck in chess… big time.

Garando: “20 zloty?! That’s a bit too high isn’t it? I only have…”

Old man: “Ok, 10 zloty! Good for cigarette, yes?”

Garando: “Deal.”

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He asked me "heads or tails", tossed a coin, and as expected, I lost. And this is why I never bother with the lottery.

He gets to make the first move... and so the battle for the 10 zloty began!

To be continued…

(more photos here)

read part 2

Garando mode:
Yikes! How do these little horse things move again?
Read More......

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Danger Of Sleeping

Garandee: "Garando! Look at this... What's that?"

Garando: " ...GASP! That's a picture of me sleeping with my mouth open. IKAW!!! You took my photo!?!?"

Garandee: "See? That's proof that it's not only me. You're even worse."

Garando: "Well, be glad that I don't snore."

Garandee: "Hmmm... maybe."

Garando: "Now go ahead and delete that before someone else sees it!"

Garandee: "I already sent it to Mom."

Garando: " !!! "

Garando mode:
Someone will find a peanut in her bellybutton when she wakes up... Read More......