Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Won (again)

All of you may remember that I entered a contest by writing a post titled “By the Water Cooler” and I was declared one of the 5 winners. I wrote another post, I Won, announcing that winning. The story did not end here. Many of you may not be aware of further developments. Here it is.

Another blogger, YaadaYaada, claimed that a golu picture shown in one of my previous posts belongs to her. I took that picture from my wife’s golu picture collections. Therefore, I thought it was ours. I then checked with my wife and she said it is not ours. I immediately apologized to YaadaYaada and removed that post. YaadaYaada graciously accepted my apology and said: No Problem. I thought that was the end of the matter.

Ms. Parul Sharma, who organized the “By the Water Cooler” contest, and who is in no way connected with the YaadaYaada blog incident, decided to take it upon herself to punish me and teach me a lesson. In other words, she appointed herself as the Judge, Jury and the Executioner. She wrote a post and announced that she is removing my name as one of the five winners.

Ms. Parul Sharma may have thought that she was doing the right thing. But we also have to think if that is legal or not or acceptable in a civilized society. There are some people in this world think that “honor killing” is the right thing to do. Do we agree with that?

I could not believe what she did. She laid down the contest rules. I complied with all the rules. And then she declared me as a winner. What happened in another post with another blogger is none of her concern. I would have let the whole thing go if she had not insulted my integrity. Not only that. She questioned my sincerity when I apologized to YaadaYaada for an honest mistake.

Then I remembered an idiom made famous by Late Robert Kennedy. “Don’t get mad. Get even.”

I contacted a very capable lawyer in Mumbai. Explained her the whole situation as I saw. She agreed to represent me and sent a legal notice to Ms. Parul Sharma, requiring her to reinstate me as one of the five original winners. And, she got the message. On November 21, Ms. Sharma wrote another post, A very important announcement, declaring me as a winner (again).

Ms. Parul Sharma wrote in her post the following:

“SG, you are hereby reinstated as the winner of my contest. Please let me have your address in the next two days so that the book can be sent to you failing which I will send it to your lawyer”

I wrote a comment that I do not wish to receive her book.

I am sure she is not happy with this episode. But who cares?

I wish Ms. Parul Sharma success in winning The Man Booker Prize. The Booker Prize Foundation, its advisory committee, and the panel of judges will not change the “rules” after they announce the winner.

As Paul Harvey (Radio broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks) would always say “And now you know…the rest of the story”.

I want to thank all those who supported me on this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turn Out the Lights

I was tagged by Insignia. Very interesting tag. Not the usual stuff. So I thought I would give it a try. Here are the rules:

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay ? ?” you say:
I like you just the way you are

2. How would you describe yourself
I left my heart in San Francisco

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
Naan aanai ittaal adhu nadandhuvittal

4. How do you feel today ?
Sunshine on my shoulders

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Unnai kaanaadha kannum kannalla

6. What’s your motto ?
That Old Black Magic

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Marinedhirundhay Paarkum marumam enna

8. What do your parents think of you?
Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shining

9. What do you think of often ?
Memries, Like the corners of my mind

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Malligai en mannan mayangum Ponnaane malarallavoa

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
I want you to love me, like I'm a hot pie

12. What is your life story ?
Kilimanjaro – malai kanimanjaro - kanna

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Yane enakku mayakkam yane enakku nadukkam

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
June ponaa july kaatray

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?
I need another story

16. What will they play at your funeral ?
I was thinking about her

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
Enakku piditha paadal adhu unakkum pidikkumay

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Who can take a sunrise

19. What is your biggest secret ?
You think I'm pretty without any make-up on

20. What do you want right now ?
You were in college working part time waiting tables

21. What do you think of your friends?
Right right turn off the lights

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
So we back in the club

23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
Keep drinking cofee, stare me down across the table

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Vaseegaraa en nenjinikka un pon madiyil thoonginaal poadhum

25. What will you post this as?
Turn out the lights, The party’s over

I enjoyed very much writing this post. I want to tag Aparna, Raji, and Stranger.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interesting Times

May You Live in Interesting Times. This is a Chinese curse. It means “may you experience much hardship and trouble in your life”. (Uninteresting time is calm, quiet, and peaceful.) Chinese curses are very interesting.

Having said that, I would like to wish “interesting times” to the following:

Managers for not treating all subordinates equally.

Doctors who order unnecessary tests.

Politicians who do not serve the people.

Doctors who refuse to treat poor patients in an emergency.

Restaurant owners who make employees work even when they are sick. (I don’t care that much about them. I am worried about their transmitting their sickness to the customers.)

Airline pilots who violate the 8 hour rule between drinking and flying. (FAA regulation is 8 hours. Some airlines enforce 12 hour rule.)

Shop keepers who demand a minimum purchase to accept credit cards.

Customers who abuse the liberal "no questions asked” return policy.

Teachers who go out of the way to give lower grades.

Airline stewards and stewardesses who go out of the way to give worst service.

Insurance companies who refuse insurance to those who need it most.

Banks who charge a fee for keeping a checking account.

Credit card companies who change the interest rates and the revolving credit limits at their will.

People who deliberately want to bring down Apple’s stock price. (I guarantee they won’t succeed.) (Little bit of Joe Namath here.)

People who are unhappy because I am happy.

If you want to add some more people to this list, please be my guest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This was the final day of our vacation before returning home. We went to the Sea World in San Diego. It is mainly an oceanarium. We drove to San Diego the previous evening. Since we were planning to see only for one day, we chose 4 attractions to see.

Blue Horizons. This is a spectacular show with dolphins, the whales, and the acrobats. We enjoyed very much. This is the best attraction in the whole Sea World in San Diego. They warn before hand that if you sit in the first 14 rows, you will get wet when the dolphins splash water on the audience. We were sitting on the 10th row. You can imagine how we looked like after the show ended.

Please view the video clips of the show.

Learned from the MC (Master of Ceremonies) some information on Dolphins. They weigh approximately 500 lbs. They can swim at a speed of 22 miles per hour. They can jump 17 feet. They can dive 1200 feet.

Cirque de la Mer: Their description says: "Creatures from the fantasy world of Amphibia entertain you with their extreme acrobatics". But it looks somewhat like the other Cirque show. Only difference is this one is done over water.

4-D show with Sesame Street characters. It is a cool 4-D show. Not the best. But a decent one. Entertainment only for small kids. Does not entertain teenagers and adults.

World of the Sea Aquarium. It has warm water fish from many places in this world like Caribbean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. It also has fish display that simulates what we would see if we snorkel or scuba dive.

Of course, there are other attractions we did not have time to attend. May be next time. They are:

Pets Rule
Sea Lions LIVE
Shamu Show
Nightly Fireworks

Returned home to the Bay Area after driving for 7 hours from San Diego. Our next vacation (outside USA) is planned during February/March of next year.

Friday, November 12, 2010


(Note: So.Cal vacation Part 3 has to wait. My Picasa album did not have sound. Gave the lap top to the repair shop. They by mistake broke my keypad. They are replacing it. Will take a few days. That will be another post.)

We just saw the movie Megamind.. It is in 3D. It is an animated comedy movie produced by DreamWorks Animation and Red Hour Productions. I am not giving a review. I am just giving my impressions.

This is supposed to be a kid’s movie. What were we doing there? We are known to do crazier things. That would be a post by itself. But sometimes a movie made for kids can appeal to adults also. I think this is one of them. (In the theater we saw so many adults viewing this movie.)

Storyline? I was very comfortable with the story. Typical Tamil movie story. Megamind (super villain) and Metro Man (superhero) grew up together from childhood. In a battle, Megamind kills Metro Man. Now Megamind has everything in this world. Having everything is boring for him. So he takes an ordinary guy Tighten and creates him into a hero so that he can fight him. Now, the new hero Tighten turns bad and the original villain Megamind and the people want to destroy him.

We have to have a heroine. There is a newspaper reporter, Roxanne Ritchie, who always covers the antics of these 3 guys. All 3 guys are after her love and affection.

Now we come to know Metro Man is not dead. He is alive. Megamind and Roxanne begs Metro Man to destroy Tighten. Metro Man refuses by saying that he is now a Musicman. So, Megamind fights Tighten. Did Megamind destroy Tighten? Who won Roxanne’s heart? For answers, you have to see the movie. But I assure you it is a typical Tamil movie ending.

The Voice-Over cast was superb:

Will Ferrell – Megamind
Brad Pitt – Metro Man
Tina Fey – Roxanne Ritchie
Jonah Hill – Tighten

They did not overdo the 3D. The 3D was really impressive.

The only fault I would find is that the storyline is too difficult for kids to follow. But again, nowadays with kids writing complicated programs, this story may not be that difficult to follow.

At home I was analyzing the movie in my mind. (I analyze everything to death.) A bad guy need not be bad always. He can change. Megamind did change.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

We decided to go to a town called Newport Beach. We heard it was a pretty little town. But we did not know it is exclusively a rich area. According to Wikipidia, more than a quarter households have an income greater than $200,000, and the median value for homes exceeds $1 million. Newport Beach is famous for its Gondola ride. But we did not take the Gondola ride. We have been to Venice, Italy, and went on Gondola ride. Compared to Venice, this city’s Gondola ride did not impress us.

The streets are beautiful. You can look at them all day.

Many TV serials are based on characters (people) living in Newport Beach.

In the evening we went to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. While having dinner, you can watch medieval style games and sword fighting. Six knights wearing full armor clash in a combat tournament for the title of King’s Champion.

Audiences are seated in 6 different section of the arena. People in each section are to root for their own knight. They are given the matching color hat for their knight. People take this fighting seriously and shout at the top of their voices. We were in the Green section. But that night, the Green knight did not win.

Inside the stadium everything is medieval. There are no forks and knives to eat. We have to eat with hands, just like the medieval times. Even the soup is to be drunk like you would drink a cup of coffee. All the employees (bartenders, sales people at the shops, waiters, bus boys, people who greet you at the door) address all customers in a royal fashion. All men are addressed “My Lord”. All women are addressed either ‘My Lady” or “My Princess”. I could not digest this. I don’t like it even when someone calls me ‘Sir’. But many Americans seem to love this.

Here is something funny. During the show, they would announce over the microphone any important occasion that day for people like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. This announcement was funny, I thought: “Mr. and Mrs. Xxxx are spending their honeymoon. But what the heck are you two doing here?”

Here is a picture of a hash brown from McDonald’s. Goes well with coffee. Nothing like, as they say in Tamil Oru Kadi Oru Kudi (one bite one sip).

Please enjoy these video clips fom the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 1 of 3)

Last week we went on a short vacation to Southern California. We did not want to see the same Disneyland and Universal Studios for the umpteenth time. This time we wanted to see those places we have not been to so far. Therefore, we visited Disney’s California Adventure, a city named New Port Beach, Medieval Times Entertainment and Dinner, and the Sea World in San Diego.

Disney’s California Adventure is located next to the famous Disneyland. It opened in February 2001. This theme park is a tribute to the people of California and celebrates the richness and diversity of California. Since we planned to spend only one day there, we were not able to see all the attractions. We saw only the following:

Soarin’ Over California

This is their best attraction. This is a simulator attraction which lasts about 5 minutes. We are taken on a simulated hang glider attraction of California, flying over Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Creek, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, San Diego, Malibu, Los Angeles, and finally Disneyland itself. (Some of the other I saw I do not remember now). Imagine parasailing at 500 feet above ground at 100 miles per hour all over California. It was very exciting and at the same time very scary. We felt as if our foot is going to hit on top of the Golden Gate Bridge or on top a big tree. A must see. Since I could not take pictures, here is a youtube video.. But this does not do justice for the real experience. (This youtube video clip is almost 10 minutes. Please be patient. If you want, you can skip the first 2 minutes of pre-show.)

Grizzly River Run

We embarked on a white water rafting adventure along the foaming torrents of the Grizzly River. We went through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains culminated in a thrilling, spinning plunge down a runaway river. We loved it.

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

This is recommended for kids up to pre-teen age. But what the heck. We went. It is a kids make believe climbing fire lookout towers, slide down cable runs, slip through hollow redwoods, and navigate suspension bridges. We could not enter some of them because it was so tiny built for the kids. We enjoyed on the whole.

Hollywood Backlot

This is a replica of Hollywood backlot. Movie studio style gateway and other stuff give a Hollywood backlot atmosphere. Since we have seen the real Hollywood, we were not impressed. But something funny happened and we still laugh at our home.

We went to a thing called Animation Academy. I thought they were going to show how the animation movies are made. We stood in line for 30 minutes and entered. I was disappointed. It is a show teaching the visitors how to draw animation characters. There was an animation character professional taught us how to draw. In our family and friend circle, I am famous for my expertise in drawing. Even a 2 year old kid is better than me in drawing. When we came to know it was a drawing class, my wife could not stop laughing until we got out of the class. I have to hand it to you. The professional taught very well. Given below is that professional’s drawing of Mickey Mouse and my drawing after her teaching. Even my wife commented “not bad”. If you also think it is not bad, the whole credit goes to that professional for being such an effective teacher and not me.

Professional instructor's drawing:

My drawing:

World of Color

This is a night time water, color, light, and fire show. If I say this show is spectacular, it is an understatement. I thought the water shows in Las Vegas and Akshardham in Delhi were very good. But this one is far better. Please enjoy my amateur video clip.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Won

Remember, I recently wrote a post titled “By the Water Cooler” as an entry for a contest organized by the popular writer, Parul Sharma. She was going to select 5 winners and send each one of them a free autographed copy of her latest book, By the Water Cooler.

The 5 winners have been selected and the results were published in her blog, Radio Parul.

I am one of those 5 winners. I am humbled. Oops. I am honored.

I want to thank all my readers for their best wishes and encouraging words.

Here are the other 4 winners:

Vini of And Then

Aarti of Aarti Writes

Mom of RS from Mothering Multiples

SP Menon of The fragments of my thoughts

As suggested by Neha, I have posted here cover page of Ms. Parul Sharma's book, By the Water Cooler. This is her second shot at the coveted The Man Booker Prize award.

Monday, November 1, 2010


People say they are “humbled” when they receive some honor. Is it because they don’t want others to know how proud (arrogant) they are to receive the honor? Is it because they really think they don’t deserve this honor? Is it because they never want to be rewarded in front of others? What message they are trying to convey? I think the word choice is a little weird.

On the flip side, if the person says “I am honored”, then he/she is stating the obvious. A friend of mine told me “I am humbled” is a little more intimate than “I am honored”. He also said by referring to your humility, you are expressing an emotion or an internal condition.

It is a graceful gesture of accepting the honor with humility, rather than displaying vanity. It is a quid pro quo reciprocation of respect to the honor itself, and the person / institution bestowing the honor. This is socially appreciated, and often expected.

Me being me, I looked in the dictionary for the meaning of this word.

Humbled as a verb means:

a) to lower in condition, importance
b) to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
c) to make meek
d) to be overly submissive or compliant

If I use the above meanings I can translate like this:

I am "lowered in condition" by this honor.
I am ""destroying the will of something" by this honor.
I am now compliant by this honor.
I am now submissive by this honor.

I am lost. What do you think?