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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The inconvenience of temporarily unavailable convenience features!

I have been very inconsistent lately in my posts. I was having car trouble that got on a lot of people's nerves. It all started a few weeks back when, while driving, a message came up in my car's instrument cluster" Battery protection: convenience features temporarily unavailable". Next day it was gone, I drove for a few days and then it came again. I called the local dealership and took the car. In the diagnostic tests; both the batteries were charged (yes the car has 2 batteries) battery control module fine, alternator working. No malfunction was found and the car got a clean bill of health. Next day the same message came and then within few minutes replaced by another message "convenience features available again". After that the 2 messages started coming simultaneously, on their free will. Oklahoma is hotter then hell these days I was in no mood of getting stranded on a highway in three-digit heat.

I have an excellent relationship with the local dealership, I get the best service one can get, but they said they couldn’t randomly replace a part without pinpointing the fault. And they were right. Since the messages were gone most of the time when the car would reach the dealership, it was hard to figure out what was going on. Seemed car was playing tricks.

How can you feel good if someone you love, is sick and the doctors are unable to find the cause of sickness? My cars and I have a close relationship, and since this is my daily driver it is even closer. I was in a bad mood.

Feeling frustrated I sent an email to Dr. Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of MBUSA, asking if they had some magic at the headquarters to help fix my car. I was pleasantly surprised that next working day I got a call from MBUSA, I was assured that company cares for it's customers and will work with the dealership to solve my problem.

The car went back, my dear friend Mr. Sims, Director of service and parts drove the car for a day and discovered a lot of spooky stuff with the car. For example on a highway when he was doing 72 mph, the car was showing 45mph in the cluster.

It was discovered that battery control module needed a software update and so did the instrument cluster. It was basically a software glitch. During this ordeal discovered that 25 computers, 24 to run all the systems and the 25th to make those 24 run smoothly, control my car.

I am glad I got my car back today; it is fixed and runs as it is supposed to be. I am grateful to all the mechanics, my service advisor and Mr. Sims at the dealership and Dr. Lieb's office and Mr. Romy at the headquarters who made efforts to get the car fixed.

There is a car company in these times that stands by it's products and its customers, I was starting to have doubts in their slogan "Best or nothing" but I am happy to say they have eliminated my doubts.

I am back to normal, will soon do the next post.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thought of the day!

Itzhak Perlman, one of the world’s greatest violinists, contracted polio at the age of 4. Ever since, he’s had to wear metal braces on his legs and walk with crutches. Once when he was giving a concert, a string on his violin broke. Instead of calling for a new violin he continued to play on three strings. When the concerto was over, the audience gave him an ovation and called on him to speak. He did. He said one sentence that everyone there knew referred not only to the broken string but to his disability and much else that is broken in this world. He said: “It’s our task to make music with what remains.”
Excerpt from BBC Radio 4 thought for the Day, 15 December 2006

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Taj Mahal

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal in honor of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a fine specimen of Mughal Architecture, (which is an amalgam of Islamic, Indian and Persian architectures).

Taj Mahal was built at a time of great power and prosperity of the Mughal Empire. There was no expense spared in the construction, the best of manpower and materials were used. Construction started in 1632 and ended in 1653, though the main mausoleum was finished in 1648. 

A board of architects worked on the project, with Shah Jahan himself supervising. Principal architect was Ustad Ahmed Lahori, with Abdul Karim Mamur Khan and Makram Khan on the board to assist him.

Portrait of Emperor Shah Jahan
Mumtaz Mahal
Tomb has the central focus and sits in the middle of the complex on a square plinth.
Building is constructed of white marble, with a dome and finial on top. The big doorway is arch shaped. The original finial was of gold, which was replaced in 19th century by gilded bronze copy.
The four minarets are 140 ft. tall and are constructed a little away from the plinth. Reason is to protect the tomb from the falling debris from a falling minaret. Each minaret is divided in 3 equal sections. Each minaret has 2 balconies and a finial balcony on top.
The whole complex is sided by a sandstone wall with additional buildings, including tombs of some other Royal family members and of the most trusted servant of Mumtaz Mahal.
There is a main gateway at the front, it is built with marble and red stone, and decorated the same way as the main building. At the end of the complex, there are two identical red stone buildings opposite each other.  The western structure is a mosque, and the opposite and identical building (called; answer) was built for architectural balance. The only difference  in the two buildings is that of the floor and a lack of a “Mihrab” in the mirror building.
Main gate
Main gate view
Exterior decoration is done with inlays, stucco, paint and carving. Mostly abstract forms, calligraphy and vegetative motifs are used in the décor. Most of the calligraphy is done by inlaid jasper and black marble.
Closeup of an inlaid panel
Detail of inlaid work of precious stones
Main entrance arch doorway

Sunset at Taj Mahal
At a full moon night

Will do 2nd part with the interior and other details.
 Credits: Google, google India, wikipedia etc.

Blogger trouble!

Some thing is going on with Blogger, I am unable to upload pictures lately. I don't know if it is only with me or with other bloggers as well.  Till the time it is solved, can't do a new post.
See you later

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pain Poilane

If you are a bread person, this post is for you. I love bread, all kinds of bread. I can just have bread and butter for a meal. Some mornings we just have bread of course with French butter and coffee for breakfast, and it rocks.

No one makes better bread than Poilane , Paris. There sourdough is their most famous bread. Pierre Poilane founded the boulangerie  in 1932. Later his son Lionel Poilane took over the operations. Lionel is credited for reviving the traditional way of making sourdough bread.

Poilane breads are made by hand in wood burning Oven, in the 2 bakeries in Paris. Each day about 15,000 breads are baked that are not only consumed in France, but all around the world.
Lionel Poilane and his wife died in a helicopter crash, in October of 2002. They were going home, to the small island Iles des Rimains, which Lionel owned. His daughter now runs Poilane .
If you live in New York city, you are fortunate enough to buy Poilane bread, or as in French, Pain Poilane, at  Agata and Valentina.

Lionel Poilane
Round Sourdough
Poilane Apple Tarts
Apollonia Poilane

 Credits: BBC, google, wikipedia

Paisley Curtain is six month old!

 Today, Paisley Curtain is six month old. It has been a very interesting and unique experience. It was an unknown territory for me, though I have been enjoying Architect Design, Eddie Ross, and my other favorite blogs but never thought of having one of my own. I had a business of art, antiques and interiors; and was dealing with a number of local galleries and antique stores. Most of them do have websites but none had a blog. I asked them if they knew if anyone was doing one from here, but the reply was always, no.

The girls in my life, my beloved wife and daughter, encouraged me to start my blog and helped with the initial layout and of course with the name. December 17, 2010 I posted my first post " What's in the name". Here I am 6 months and 69 posts later.

Though my main audience is USA, but I have people reading my blog from countries that you would not even think of. Number of visits I had on the first day, it humbles me to see that many every minute now.

I would like to thank each and every one of my readers. My special thanks to the followers of the blog, who had such confidence in my blog they decided to publicly, follow it. My special thanks, to, Architect Design, to, Inner City Style and to, Maison de Lin for their support and to my “girls” who are my biggest critics and supporters. I would not have done it without you and I will not be able to do it without you.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kansas City Fountains

No other city in the country has more fountains than Kansas City, well it is the City of Fountains.

Interestingly while living in Kansas City I never paid much attention to these fountains, but now when I visit Kansas City, I like to spend time at these fountains, specially ones in the Country Club Plaza. 

Country Club plaza is the first shopping center in the world designed for the shoppers arriving by cars. It was built in 1922 by J C Nichols. The architectural  design is that of Seville, Spain. Today's post, is on Kansas City Plaza and the fountains.     
Diana and Cherub Fountain
Sea Sirens Fountain
Neptune Fountain
Pomona Fountain
Cat Fountain
This is the most interesting fountain, called the Frog Fountain. Seems the boy is urinating on the frog, but it is the frog that is squirting water on the boy
Fountain of Bacchus 

Credits: google, wikipedia etc