Sunday, August 25, 2002

Note the time. I was just awoken by the SECOND fire alarm since my last post a mere 5 1/2 hours ago.

Did I mention this place is wrong.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

So I got home from the party (very interesting traditional Indian affair by the way) and got to enjoy ANOTHER fire alarm. I had time to take my shoes off when it happened.

The system display panel in the lobby (I learned to check this some time ago) said something about a dry pipe or hose in the sprinkler pump room. I will sleep well knowing the building's safety features are not functioning properly.

The fire department came (again) and I casually ignored their request that we remain downstairs after noting that we we're in no immediate danger and I had been waiting in the lobby for 45 minutes. At least it wasn't happening at 1:00 am a neighbor joked.

And we just had another one. This is the THIRD fire alarm we have had in a little over a month that has occurred AFTER midnight!

The building manager arrived on site after the first incident and had someone ticketed for parking in her spot. She is the same person that inspired the four page diatribe I included in an earlier post.

Six days left and counting. This place is just wrong.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

So in all of the confusion surrounding my move to California, I paid very little mind to the fact that I have an engagement party to go to on Long Island at the Huntington Townhouse. Thanks to Chaqui's constant reminder that we needed a gift and we needed to decide on attire, I realized that I am woefully unprepared for this event.

My days working as a writer have left me with an unrealistic perception of what "formal attire" is (i.e. khakis and a shirt with buttons) and has left me in a physical condition that is embraced a little too tightly by the one suit I do own.

In the American tradition of placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of others, I blame our capitalist system and its willingness to blindly accept the saturation of fast food establishments across this great nation of ours. Damn corporate tyranny!

If a national fitness program had been implemented for adults similar to the one in place in our country's schools, this never would have happened.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I buckled. I talked to my bank and they would not take loose coins. I had to face CoinStar.

Cashed out at $487.13! CoinStar didn't do too bad either. They got almost 50 bucks from me.

It's better than spending the next week rolling coins.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Here are the pics I promised:

All dimes:

All quarters:

The mountain:

Coins are dirty:

Saturday, August 17, 2002

I have been hoarding most of my loose change for over 3 years now. A penny saved is a penny earned I guess. I started saving when I arrived on the east coast and it seems I have ended up with nearly two quarts of pennies (I can't bear the thought of counting them) and an equally large number of quarters. Dimes and nickels are also abundant.

I am terrified of the possibility I may have to roll them myself, yet too stingy to pay the small percentage required by the machine at the grocery store. Given the quanity of coinage I'm dealing with it will likely be a tidy sum.

It's really heavy. 48 pounds!

Yes, I weighed it. Yes, I know I have a problem.

I'll post pictures soon. Yes, I took pictures.

In an effort to escape the small mountain of currency, I picked up a copy of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. I can't remember the last book I read where I was hooked by page 2.

I'm on page 48 now. Only 1111 pages to go. He was big into coins too...collecting millions of dollars in tolls.


Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Contrary to what it might say in the Subject line of the email, NO URGENT MESSAGE will ever be sent to you from

Monday, August 12, 2002

I do not like the word "whimsy."

"Whimsical" is perfectly acceptable. As is "flimsy."

More to come.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

I confess...I watch it. I have tuned in to both episodes of the Anna Nicole Smith Show on E! It seems the shows producers are making an attempt to cash in on the popularity of a similar reality show on a competing network: The Osbournes.

But while Ozzy and Co. demonstrate genuine affection, love and support for one another, the Anna Nicole Show seems to have just the opposite. There seems to be very little genuine affection in Anna's remarkably bizarre world. She coos to her son...and her assistant...and her lawyer...and her dog. She humped a strangers bed. She gave the ashes of her dead husband a personal tour of her new home. But I get the distinct feeling that all the people she has direct, repeated contact with are reluctant to get too close. Even her son gave her a half hearted hug and then retreated to his room in this last episode.

Sure Anna made a feeble attempts at parenting (by reminding her boy that he must attend to his studies before he attends to his game console) and even gave him a high five as he made his retreat. But the way she interacts with the people she is closest to seems like the way she may have acted with patrons in the "gentleman's bar" she used to work at. It seems like acting.

The way the show portrays things, it seems that poor (and I use that to describe her lamentable social life only) Anna spends most of her time with her dog, her lawyer, her assistant and her decorator (the freakish Johnny Trendy). Her son is a peripheral character. She has not had sex in two years.

Compare this to the Osbournes where the whole family goes on tour together. Jack and Kelly hang out together. Support and torture each other. Ozzy and Sharon seem very affectionate in ways that make it clear they have a decades long association. To the dismay of jack and kelly, it seems that Mom and Dad probably do it on a regular basis.

The common threads are endless. Reality based TV about the daily lives of celebrities. Both shows prominently feature a plethora of pets. There are some weight problems on each side. However, The Osbournes answers a fascinating and legitimate question: what is life like when your dad is a rock star who once bit the head off a bat? The Anna Nicole Show is just a vehicle to watch the trainwreck tribulations of a plump former Playmate.

It isn't pretty but it's hard to look away.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

OK. There are two things I should tell you:

1. Over the last 6-9 months I have been "displaying" Poland Spring water bottles at my cubicle. There are about 70 of them now. No reason for it at all. I guess you could call it pop art. You could call it a beacon that makes me easy to find in my new location. You could could call it pointless.

2. Our company just reorganized our office and there is a terrible mess left over from our move.

Now, I just learned that one of the senior managers finds this display unnecessary, perhaps a bit unpleasant. As part of his efforts to complete the clean up process he asked one of the admins (not me) what was up with the water bottles. She told him that she was not aware of their specific purpose, but informed him that it may not be an issue since I was leaving the company. At some point in this conversation I was referred to as "The Water Bottle Guy".

He should have known my name. As someone who has been contributing to the health of the organization for the last three years he should have spoken to me directly and he should have known my name.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

"fuck online ads.
that's all i have to say
fuck 'em fuck 'em fuck 'em
fuck banners, fuck pop ups
fuck all of them
fuck you classmates, fuck you X10, fuck all of them"

Thank you Mark. I couldn't have said it any better.

Friday, August 02, 2002

So I emailed a copy of this letter to the regional manager. He replied:

Thank you for your email copy of your letter to Carol.  While we agree that there have been some issues at Park Square West, I assure you that they have not gone unaddressed.  Management is attempting to resolve many of the issues you mention in your letter, and in fact have already resolved a few of them. 
I would like to extend my best wishes to you in your relocation to a new home, and perhaps if things don't work out at your new location, you would consaider moving back to PSW.  We are anticipating that the remaining issues will be cleared up soon and that living at PSw will be a pleasant experience free of issues.
Again, thank you for your email and we wish you the very best in your relocation.

Thanks for nothing Wendell. I can't wait to move out.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

August 1, 2002

Carol Duggan

Dear Carol:

Please accept this letter as official notice that we will be leaving Park Square West when our lease is up on August 31, 2002. While there have been things that I have enjoyed during my stay at Park Square West, that list has been out shined by the number of issues I have had with the building. I am including a list of those issues so it will be possible for you to take action against them in the future. These are the primary factors behind my decision not to renew my lease at Park Square West.

o Security
This is atrocious. The most secure area of the building is the recently opened tea garden. The security policies that are in place are still unclear to me. I was told that the concierge was to lock all exterior doors before making rounds in the building. That does not happen. On numerous occasions I have left the building and been gone for up to 30 minutes at a time without seeing the concierge or a locked door.

The policy of locking the doors after 11:00 p.m. is also troubling. I have been locked out of the building and been forced to stand outside while I waited for the concierge to return. On one occasion it took me a while to notice the concierge was smoking in the garage and could not hear me tapping on the window. I walked around so I could enter through garage and decided to try the side entrance. It was not locked and I proceeded to my apartment without being noticed. Systems should be in place to ensure residents have 24 hour access to the building.

What I find most frequently is that the concierge is standing outside smoking. Be it out on Summer Street, on Palace Way or in the garage, it is easy for anyone to walk in off the street and gain access to the building.

I can only assume that your policy on food deliveries is an attempt to address this type of issue. I find it as ineffective as it is inconvenient. Forcing me to pick up food from the lobby because you want to restrict access to non-residents (despite the loopholes noted above) is ridiculous. I suggest the following policy:

o Call the resident to confirm the order
o Send up the delivery person
o Make sure he/ she exits the building promptly
o Have the person sign in/out if necessary

This is just one possibility that may not consider all of the factors the policy attempts to address. Regardless, there has got to be a better way to deal with this problem.

The security in the parking garage has not fared any better. The gate has repeatedly been stuck in the up or down position. At times when this has happened on a weekend, I have seen the gate remain open until Monday. Both my girlfriend and I, on separate occasions, have had to manually open the gate on our own. It has been an upsetting inconvenience. The fact that there has already been a vehicle broken into in our garage makes it a legitimate concern.

o Facilities

Fire alarms have been a consistently present nuisance since I moved in almost a year ago. The two alarms we have had recently have been exceptionally aggravating since they both occurred after midnight. Until recently the most aggravating alarm had been the one we experienced in the afternoon on September 11th.

I have also had consistent problems with the toilet that is installed in our unit. Reuben has already been to our apartment to fix it once and it will need his attention again. Conversations with other tenants have made it clear that this is a widespread issue. It is not something I would expect in a brand new luxury apartment building.

The parking meters are less of an issue and more of an annoyance. There may be a reason why they cost three times more than any other parking meter I’ve seen in the city. You may even be able to explain why they are enforced until the early morning hours. Perhaps someone is trying to recoup losses from the months of free parking that was available to anyone who knew it was there. The discrepancy between other parking meters and the one’s in the garage is disconcerting.

o Responsiveness
There have been a few bright moments regarding the response to maintenance requests. Reuben’s visit to fix our toilet at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday was appreciated. Sadly, the response to such requests has not been very consistent. I had to make repeated requests for the following both in writing and in person:

- Email address – While I was assured that all the equipment was in place, this feature of our internet service took months to implement.

- Stain on the carpet – This was a remnant of the construction that had been there since the day we moved in. I asked Paul Rogan (the older gentleman who was overseeing operation when we moved in) if he could send someone up to take a look at it. It was not until a number of written requests were made before Reuben showed up to fix it. He determined that the stain was from glue that was spilled on the carpet.

- Entry – I had to make a number of requests that someone call first before entering the apartment. This request was ignored on more than one occasion. You once startled my girlfriend when you knocked and then quickly entered the apartment before my girlfriend was able to get up off the couch.

- Latch for the door – We noticed that other tenants had latches installed on their doors for an added level of security. I had made a number of similar requests in writing and in person due to the security issues I listed above. It was never installed.

- Communications – Serious situations that had a direct impact on the place where I lived were never discussed. Management chose not to address the actual fire that we had on the fourth floor, or the police raid that occurred on the second. The fact that these VERY serious events were never openly acknowledged leads me to wonder what has happened that I don’t know about yet.

o Deception
When I was making the decision on where I would be moving to, I was relying on the information I received from the leasing agents at a number of different buildings. Andreena and Dale gave me misleading and inaccurate information that would have affected my decision to move to Park Square West.

- Satellite television – On Internet sites and in the literature I had seen, the apartments were advertised as being cable ready. When I went to sign my lease I was told that I could "choose" to sign up for satellite. Expecting the benefits of satellite I signed up. I was not aware that I would not have access to Pay-Per-View, the interactive program guide, Dolby Digital broadcasts, broadcasts in HDTV or that I would have to sign up for additional features and rent a box to get any of them. When I tried to arrange for cable service, I learned that satellite was my only choice, and an inferior one at that. Knowing that would have affected my decision to sign a lease. Looking at the description on I noticed that the site says the apartments are wired for digital cable, which is a gross inaccuracy. Digital cable, to my knowledge, is not even available in Stamford. The only digital programming available in Stamford is satellite.

- Resident directory – We were told that guests would be able to contact us using the resident directory in the lobby. Months later, I found out that there were never any plans to activate them or keep them current.

- Access card – As far as I can tell there was no intention of offering this feature either. Seeing that an access card is already being used for the rooftop garden, I feel it is still something worth considering. It could help alleviate some of the security issues I mentioned and may even make it acceptable to get food deliveries again.

- Viewing security cameras – Andreena mentioned that, with the satellite service, we would be able to view the building’s security cameras on one of the channels. When I asked why this feature had not been implemented yet, I was told me there were no plans to offer such a thing.

- Putting green – The only putting green I have seen is the sporting goods special that was in the lobby for a while. Now even that has disappeared.

- Construction – The construction at the Palace Theater was a known issue and we considered it before we decided to sign our lease. What we did not consider is that construction would still be going on at Park Square West a year after we moved in. I believe I was told the estimated date of completion would be some time in October, 2001.

Park Square West is a beautiful building in a fine location, but despite all that I feel that I am not getting what I paid for. My stay there has been disappointing. I hope that you find these criticisms helpful and can use them to improve the quality of service you provide to your tenants.


Jonathan Speights
Alba Ayala
Apartment #418

Cc: Wendell Yee