Monday, October 30, 2006

NH & Boston - Oct4-8 2006

Had always wanted to see the famous fall colors @New Hampshire - so off we sailed away on Continental airlines to Manchester, NH. Slight mistake there ... it was supposed to Northwest ... but then due to bad weather on a sunny day in Houston, we were re-routed via continental and then re-re-routed to Delta ... nevertheless we finally made it to Manchester on time ... and about 7 hours late :) The rest of the trip was fun ... even the rental car was nice ... a Pontiac G6 GTP

The first moring we promptly woke up early and left the hotel by 10:00 am. Our first stop was the Lost River gorge ... nature at one of its surviving best ... not sure if it is apparent from the following pics but, the plants here grow on rock!!! or rather on the lichen that grow on the rock! Naturally such trees are not very tall ... but trees nevertheless ... nice!

Spent a lot of time driving @NH ... pulling off the highway for scenic views etc. - very very pretty landscape - although you kinda get used to it after a few hours ... kinda take all the vibrant colors for granted - duh!

That evening D had booked front seats to the BlueMan group show "How to be a Megastar 2.0" at Manchester - but that is another post altogether - to summarize ... the show was AWESOME! Thank You D :)

Next morning was @the Kancagamus highway which cuts across some of the most breathtaking views of the mountains ... we stopped for a few hours at the Flume Gorge ...amazing what all transpired during the ice-age!

We then took the Cannon Aerial Tramway which takes you up the mountains for some more colorful views ... this picture was my favorite - the tower on top of the mountain was frozen in parts and I thought this was the stairway to heaven ... of sorts :)

The evening was spent @the Conway Scenic Railroad which pretty much took us up and down the same road that we drove by!! quite a scam I must say ... but it was fun riding a train ... nevermind the fact that I could have run faster :)

Picked up Shaibal from the airport that night and moved to a motel closer to Boston. The next day was spent walking the freedom trail in Boston - now thats a city ... its got a pretty downtown and so much history unlike the oil riches & concrete in Houston ... we just loved walking around the city ...

Vinod and Roshni joined us in the evening and we had a nice dinner @Lil Italy in Boston and then talked about everything and nothing into the night.

Woke up early (again) for breakfast at 9am :) Vinod and Roshni unfortunatley had to leave shortly after ... so it was Shaibal, D and I who set out towards MIT and Harvard

Something inside me never liked Harvard for some reason ... we wont go into that right now ... but I was so sad to see that MIT had a boring campus while Harvard was a lot like Berkely ... everything was on the street - of course we were extremely lucky to bump into the Oktoberfest and we enjoyed walking around listening to live performances, eating samosas (on yes there's hajaar indian joints around Harvard - go figure) , and even having Kashmiri tea ... very very nice. This lady Mieka Pauley, is an cool singer ... stood there listening to her for a while ... will upload her live performance some other time ...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Memory Dump

Lots of things ... been wanting to say some for a while now ... in no specific order

1. Battlestar Galactica is one of the best TV series ever ... scratch that - it is THE BEST TV series ever! Now I'm not really a "TV" watcher but I generally get to see the good ones and this series tops it all. Have seen the first 4 episodes of the 3rd season and OMG these guys are more than awesome ... nuff said - go watch it.

2. Golmaal (2006) was a really funny movie. I don't remember the last time that I watched a movie 3 times in 3 weeks! Funny thing is that I missed a lot of one-liners the first time around ... caught them with subtitles - LOL

3. Vishal Shekhar are superb musicians ... I would watch out for the "theme" songs in each movie album - they kinda freak out on those songs. "Get into my car" from Dus and "Golmaal Theme" are my recent favorites.

4. I'm stuck at one point in Prince Of Persia - The Warrior Within, and its frustrating that the Dahaka gets me for no fault of mine ... have tried everything ... except one move - will try that ASAP!

5. Need to pick up my Guitar more often - last night I played "Aadat" by Jal for some time ... love the song ... and really easy chords too - Cm Bb A Bb ... nice

6. Zubeen Garg has a very nice voice and makes good music too. Music for "Strings - Bound by faith" is superb ... his vocals on other soundtracks too is neat.

7. Got myself a 300GB HDD ... feels odd to have 100GB free space :)

8. Helped build a Childrens playgroud last Friday - along with 60 odd colleagues from work ... was a lot of fun ... lot of engineering ... and even more hard-work ... proud of myself. Discovered a few things ... mixing cement by hand is a hard task, a pitch-fork picks up more mulch in each scoop than a shovel does!

9. I still can't understand Iron Maiden - heard their latest album three times ... and I can't remember even one tune - Sorry Dr. J - either they're awfully monotonous or I'm Iron Maiden deficient ... I think I know your answer!

10 . Pyaar Ke Side Effects is a very nice movie ... unconventional but extremely funny ... mostly observational humor ... nice. I really like Rahul Bose but for me to rate him out there I would like to see him carry off a "gaon walla" role ...

11. Don ... why why why Shah Rukh Khan? Did he steal Farhan Akhtar's favorite chair? And I met like 3 people who adore SRK ... seriously - WHO are his fans?

12. Batman - Child Of Dreams was a nice book. The first half was superb ... the second kinda failed to keep the tempo tight.

13. Wolverine remembers everything now. Oh wait I think I already wrote about that earlier.

14. Ramayan Reborn is actually set in 3392 A.D. - the first book was very tight - loved it - read it three times already ... can't wait fot the next issue - and they even threw in a 12" x 30" poster inside the book - SWEEEEEEEEEEEET.

15. I worked out 12 times in the last 4 weeks (I was on vacation for one) - not bad me thinks.

16. Have been ignoring Fruity Loops for a while now ... need to pick up on that - or stop talking about it!

17. Have been Orkutting for the past couple of weeks ... kinda responsible for the time away from the blog ... interesting to find more of us (old old agnelites) out there ... but don't have access to Orkut from work ... can't decide if that is good or bad!

18. I think I finally know how it feels to fall out of a friendship ... can't say if it is because of the fact that we became friends fairly recently ... still ... I thot we were good friends (still think so) ... still hurts a lot. Have been wanting to dedicate a long post for all my friends ... some of whom I know for 22 years now ... will definitely do so soon. Just know that I love all you folks out there.

***end of memory dump***

Season's Greetings

Happy Season to everyone ... I know I haven't been able to call/e-mail you ... but know that I thought of you :)

This awesome pic I got from Brij's post.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Map My India

A Big thanks to Vipul for sending me the link to MapMyIndia

Yep, as the name suggests, its an online Map of the roads in India ... and a detailed one at that too. I've been playing around the website and the tool looks promising. A far cry from the measly bangalore map CD that we bought for 200 rupees!

Few quick comment
- the Maps looks very nice
- The Accuracy is not pin-point but it gets you in the vicinity
- The maps also include Landmarks and important-places - very handy
- Apparently online maps for India have been around for 2 years now!!! hmm ...
- Names of roads need to be consoidated - At many places two names appear ... hope this will kick-off some related and overdue activities as well
- The service is integrating (or already has) with other services as well - Mobile, GPS, etc.
- Thank You CE Info Systems (press release) This compay seems to be doing a lot of good work.
- Thank You Rohan Verma - the 21-year old Stanford student - who conceived this.

Nice ... Very Very nice.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Event or Game?

Went to watch the Rockets vs Grizzlies pre-season game yesterday at Toyota Center. Now all of us (Agnelites) grew up playing Basketball - we love the sport - playing it and even simply watching the intense inter-disctrict matches in Vashi ... flood-lights and all ... those days!
Circa 2006 - Houston - NBA ... move aside cement court and flood lights ... enter glossy wodden floors you can use as a mirror and air-conditioned arenas with comfortable seats ... hmmmm - this promised to be intersting -
Half naked cheerleaders with silver pom-poms, the Houston-Rockets mascot (a bear thingie riding a segway), Floor dancers, Power dancers, kiss cams, move-your-booty cams, dance cams , extremely clinical breaks (there was some entertainment at every time-out!) ...

We were losing (despite the amazing start) and still all the show-baazi continued ... unabated ... the mascot dude was in the stands entertaining people even when there was just 3 minutes left to play and the competition was fierce! All these characters were not even watching the game ... even this large group of dumb-asses (read Rockets fans) - who never stopped screaming - the 2.5 hours that we were there!

So here I am thinking ... am I watching sports or an event?
Was the game interspersed by these "entertainment" activities OR were the entertainment activities interspersed by the game!
In this country I can't tell! ... And I don't know what to make of it ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

and in unrelated news ...

the Yahoo Time Capsule is up ...
now what would I want to post here ...
what about you?

Mere Desh Ki Dharti ... aur Google Earth ka kamaal

Just got back from a vacation in New Hampshire and Boston ... feeling quite lethargic to post anything ... and then I read this - "Google Earth aid for Maha farmers" - Farmers in Maharashtra used Google Earth to fight their case ... makes my day!
I can't take this huuuge smile off my face ... and just the other day we were discussing on the real "potential" in India ... but thats a discussion for another time.
Right now its the farmers and Google Earth ... yaay!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A weekend in India … or was it in Houston?

Friday evening at the Meenakshi temple … full of people – desis – and everyone was in their blings … silk clad maami’s flaunting their gold and jewels … and sarees too. Mamas generally gawking here and there … or taking care of the babies! Oh yes Navratri was everywhere … the idols at the temple were prettier than usual … they had an awesome golu set up with a wide variety of dolls ... heck all the ladies at the temple got a free saree and everybody enjoyed live music and prasadam dinner! The temple looks much prettier at night too!
Must admit tho' that that the occasion was far cry from piety and meditation … it was a bling event and we accepted it for that.

These Radhe-Krisha idols have to be one of my most favorite idols if not "the" favourite ones on the planet! They were decked up in style :)

Saturday morning at durgabari. Move over 9 yard kanjeevarams and hello Bengali silk in your face, chubby faces, flowing hair, rolling r’s and more bling. Had no clue that there is a Durga temple in Houston … and so many Bongs too. Felt at home amidst all the Bongs … lots of memories … the dances at Durga Puja @Vashi in another life … Nandita Miss … Hindol … sigh … I digress! Getting back to the pujo – The idols were magnificent – the decoration superb - Just like the idols back home (altho they tell me that they are going to have a new set of idols next year coz a hungry rat ate the backs of some of these!!! Some appetite I say!)
The bhog (obviously) was extremely tasty – yum yum. We lingered around the place meeting lots of people … the only names I can retrieve from memory are Pinky and Tukur (Bong “pet” names Of Course) – lets not even venture into what their real names are! That’s a separate post altogether. So yes we “hung” around … watched an upcoming Bengali-rock band who played quite decently – never mind the dire-straits like sound … all in all a lot of fun … but we had other things to attend to and hence made our way back towards home … after 5 hours at the pujo. A big thanks to Oindrilla for inviting us and making us feel so comfortable at the event.

Evening rolled by and we prepared ourselves for the next item on the menu – ojheee raayyyy … yes it was dandia time … donned our kurtas and set off towards Reliant Park … little did we know that the venue for dandia at Houston is a Basketball stadium … a really really large one at that! Sure enough the floor was packed with desis … almost like we had crawled out of the woodwork to assemble here! Not only was the floor packed but even the seats (yes there were a lot of desis being desis and just watching the dance like it was some show or something! But we shall not get into that right now!) were packed. Un-frakkin-B-lievable! I have never seen so many desis in one place in the US – no not even in the Bay! And the thought that most of the Bongs were missing here (they would be at durgabari) and the Southies too (Navratri time at the temple) made me think – just how many desis ARE there in H! Like Soumya mentioned – theres one billion of us in India and prolly another billion spread across the rest of the world!
The dandia was awesome …the A/C and clean floor not withstanding :) I thought my legs were going to say enough and disassemble! Nothing like that happened (thankfully) and we limped back towards our cars after 2am … sweet sweet time we had.