Friday, May 08, 2009

Interesting and Strange Signboards

America is all about business and marketing. Everyone here wants to sell something to you. These people have certainly mastered the art of selling over the past few generations. Everything here has a price tag attached to it... that is capitalism I suppose. But as a country which respects its history (very short), heritage and the contributions of most of its citizens (born or otherwise), I really have great respect for the US.

I have been living here since the past year and a half and have seen many interesting, beautiful and sometimes downright funny sights. I'd like to share some of them in this blog.

You can't get a decent funeral without paying a lot of money. And funeral homes compete like FMCG brands for business. This can happen only in a highly capitalistic economy like the US

One can view numerous memorial signs across the US, honoring the memory of people who worked for this country. Respecting those who contributed for the nation is very integral and should be emulated everywhere else.

And this is also possible in the US... I wonder whether the board has been purposely placed reverse or it is a mistake...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Be Kind to Animals week: May 3-9

This is the Be Kind to Animals Week and what are your plans? How can this day be best celebrated? In my opinion the first and foremost thing to do is to take extra care of your pet, give it a treat, take your dog to the park and let it enjoy the outdoors. One way to pamper your pets is to buy cool stuff for them online at Bring Pets Home website. By doing so you not only get direct access to the offerings of several popular retailers but also you are helping abandoned and shelter animals. Because a percentage of the proceeds will directly go to the health care and food expenses of shelters.

Due to the recession and the large number of home foreclosures, hundreds of pets have been abandoned. These abandoned but highly lovable animals are now at shelters across the country. In a bid to raise awareness about the importance of treating animals kindly and not to abandon them the American Humane Association has launched the Be Kind to Animals Week® May 3-9, 2009. One way you could show your kindness to animals is by donating to shelters. You can start by giving just $1 at this a fundraising Web site specifically created to help shelter animals.

Another reason why animals end up at shelters is by accident. Some pets don't wear their identification on them always, sometimes owners may forget to put them on. If they get lost during this time then it is pretty much impossible to trace its owner. Hence it is important that every pet has its own identification tags which are comfortable, firm and easily readable. You could buy these cool stuff online on the Home Again Web Site and add a $1 donation for shelter animals. As part of the Be Kind to Animals week HomeAgain will make a donation through the website for every pet registered during this week.

HomeAgain is one of the premier agencies in the area of helping recovery of pets. Several owners lose pets and find it very hard to find them again, Home Again steps in and helps recover them. Till date HomeAgain has helped recover over 500,000 lost pets, commendable achievement indeed.

HomeAgain also offers medical insurance for pets and a toll free 24/7 emergency medial assistance hotline. If you are facing a medical emergency related to your pet call 1-888-HomeAgain. HomeAgain suggests that Microchipping is the safest, non-tamperable method of identification which also offers the most sure shot way for reunification of pets with owners.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Getting closer to the finish!!!

Long semesters somehow give this feeling of fatigue towards the end. First the four months of the long semester seems to drag on for ever, then every other day we have a test/ quiz/ exam which makes the course seem stressful. Now after four months of grueling drudgery the semester is finally coming to an end. Each one of my classmates appear stressed about grades and glad that it is coming to an end.

On my front, I am glad this is over, but this is not the end. It is just a station in my journey, I have a long way to go before I can get off the train and say I have arrived. So far the academic journey has been pretty good, mostly As... I hope this continues the same way till the end.

For now I look forward to the semester ending on Monday when I have my final exam and then for the next one month I can concentrate on finding a job, before summer classes begin. For now finding a job is the priority.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Win Charter Gift Cards worth $1000-5000


Do you think you are paying too much for your internet, phone and cable bundle? How would you wish to win gift cards worth $1,000-5,000? Well in this economy each one of us would be happy to get any money or gift. Well the opportunity is here, thanks to Charter's Free Gift Card Sweepstakes.

Charter Communications has launched new products in the area of home entertainment. Their new bundle offers give you savings on cable television, internet and phone every step of the way. To promote the new bundles and make it popular among consumers the company has launched a new marketing campaign. One of the most attractive parts of the campaign is the rewards. Come end of this month (May 2009), Charter Cable will be giving away high value gift cards.

The sweepstakes are open to every resident of United States and there is no purchase or conditions attached to enter. The company promises that everyone who enters will win a minimum of $75-100 worth gift, depending on the offer they choose.

Are you all cued up about the contest? Do you want constant updates? Well then you can FollowCharter on Twitter and get all the latest info about their offers, sweepstakes and savings.


Unique bicycles at MS-150

One thing that never ceases to astound me is the innovation that people do to get their custom set of wheels. Be it motorized or human powered, people imagine, think and work hard to create what they want. During the MS-150 I noticed that there were several participants who rode bicycles that looked different. Their vehicles actually set them apart and made them the center of attraction (at least for me). Since I didn't carry a camera during the ride I googled and found couple of pictures on Flickr. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.
Pictures from the photostream of cotmweasel on flickr

Enjoyable Holidays in Kissimmee Florida

Florida is ranked among the most popular holiday destinations in mainland US. Within this sunshine state, the city of Kissimmee has been gaining popularity among visitors lately. Kissimmee is especially suitable for individuals and families who wish to enjoy a multitude of activities such as heritage trails, arts, dining out, music and theater, etc.

Kissimmee, Florida has something to offer for every discerning traveler. For history buffs the heritage trail would enable exploration of the region's glorious past. The area's cattle ranches, antiquated homes, arts districts and museums are well worth a visit. A very popular pastime in Kissimmee is going to the theater.

Apart from the mainstream tourist haunts, Kissimmee offers numerous attractions that are absolutely free such as the charming old town shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. The Friday and Saturday night car shows on the streets provide an opportunity to look at old beauties. For architecture enthusiasts, there is the historic courthouse (oldest in the state) and the Kissimmee Sculpture Experience, a vast open area of tree-lined streets with numerous artworks on display.

With so many things to do it would take lot more days than just a weekend for the complete Kissimmee experience. How would you like to enjoy a Kissimmee holiday absolutely free? Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? But it is possible. As part of the sweepstakes, Kissimmee is offering three weekend getaways (3 days and 2 nights) for couple and two week long vacations for family of four.

Are you wondering how to win these free holidays? Well all you need to do is to visit their website and sign up for their sweepstakes, the last of which will be drawn on June 1, 2009. There is not much time left, enroll now. Just log on and register and who knows you may be the lucky one!


Monday, May 04, 2009

MS-150 Video

Last weekend's MS-150 was not a complete success. Weather played spoilsport and the organizers had to cancel the 2nd day's ride. Here is a video I found on youtube which shows views of rain and flooding in the Texas Motor Speedway area.

Online Stock Trading Game

With the bloodbath going on in the stock market, people are trying to learn new tricks to keep up with the tough economy. How would you like it if you could indulge in a game of virtual stock trading? This game from UMDO is a fantasy stock trading game which provides the same thrill and profits of the real world.

This is one game which I am sure everyone interested in the financial market, speculation and making money would find thrilling. How does one play the game? Simple just log in and pay the fees to enter the game. From then on it is how you position your portfolio against other players. The person who earns the highest return on his/ her portfolio is the winner. It is not tough and you don't need to know economics, accounting or do extensive research to be good at this. It is all made very easy and simple, everyone could play, enjoy and learn from this platform.

The gaming platform offers real-time market data, information and numerous reference tools to help players make trading decisions. So if you are interested in the financial market and want to make money, stop going to wall street and rush to UMDO.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

MS-150: 87 miles in 5 hours

Yesterday was the first day of MS-150 (2nd day was canceled due to rain). Got up at 5 in the morning and was pretty tensed because I wasn't sure how good my stamina was and I didn't want to make a spectacle out there. We proceeded to the starting point and were with the Team Bike Mart by 6.30 am. The entire area around the Frisco Roughriders Stadium was full of bicyclists, all of them attired in professional gear, colorful jerseys, cycling shorts, gloves, helmets etc. There were very few people like me who were not in bicycling gear but in normal sporting attire.

Looking like the odd man in sporting clothes:), that's meeee.

After some customary speeches by the National MS Society officials, sponsors and government officials the rally was flagged off. I was in the second team to be flagged off and we set off on a steady clip, moving at 20 miles per hour. I was surprised with myself that I could maintain this high a speed, maybe it was the crowd and maybe it was the road. But my average speed to the first rest point 9 miles away was 17.6 miles per hour. This was the fastest average of the day.

The real countryside roads began after the first break point and we passed through vast open spaces of back country Texas. Vast ranches, occasional homes and open space with a few horses running around characterized most of the route. At the second break point my average speed had dropped to 15 mph, which I maintained for the rest of the ride. It was a humbling experience to see people around double my age passing me on the road. I lost count of how many people passed me rushing speedily onwards towards the finish line. Just after the third rest point the route took us along the banks of the 30,000 acre Lake Ray Roberts, this humongous water body looked more like an ocean, than a dam/ lake/ reservoir. The 2.5 miles water front ride was one of the most beautiful in my opinion.
Half way through we stopped at Sanger, Tx a small town of 4,500 people and I was shocked to see an ultra-modern soccar and tennis stadium in this back of the boon docks place. Sprawling parking lots were enough to house over 3,000 cyclists, volunteers and service personnel.
Post lunch the ride took us through the hilly part of the DFW metroplex. This was perhaps the toughest section of the ride as we meandered up and down hills, dales and added to that the roads were pathetic, loose gravel, potholes and what not. Cars and trucks whizzed past us. It was a common to hear the rider at back shouting "Car Back" and "On your left". The latter uttered when someone wanted to overtake another rider. I picked up the rhythm and started yelling "On your left" as I passed couple of riders.
Frankly I expected to take lot more time, perhaps the full 8 hours to complete 87 miles of bicycling. I am glad I was able to finish it in just about 5 hours time including the last 5 miles through a thunderstorm. I was drenched to the bone by the time I rode across the finish line in the Texas Motor Speedway. Every millimeter of my skin was soaked, I was cold, hungry and my butt was sore. As I crossed the finish line, official photographers flashed, one of the officials congratulated me that I was among the first 500 to finish. Boy! I was glad it was all over. Then after couple of hours of socializing with riders and strutting around the Texas Motor Speedway, I loaded the bike onto the car and returned home for a hot shower and dinner.