Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dry Zone in Dallas

Yesterday I got the biggest surprise of my life since I arrived in the US. There are areas in DFW Metro and rest of the US where prohibition is in force. Yes stores in these jurisdictions can't sell alcoholic beverages including Wine and Beer. And if you want to have a drink with your meal at a fancy restaurant, you will have to get a Unicard - basically fill up some paperwork. The restaurant will take care of your paperwork. Much like the Permit Room system in Maharashtra, India.

We were trying to buy a bottle of wine to take to a friend's birthday party. The area was unfamiliar but we thought that every grocery store should have a wine section. But to our surprise we discovered this is indeed untrue and after visiting two grocery and couple of convenience stores at gas stations, intrigued we asked the last store why nobody seems to want to sell wine. Then the store executive explained that we were in the dry zone and we had to travel few more miles to get into a wet zone so as to be able to buy wine.

However there is no prohibition at home, one can drive to the next city buy as much wine and bring it back home. It is only that stores can't retail alcohol, and restaurants need Unicard to serve Alcohol.

Finding this type of zoning regulations in the US was a huge surprise. There are strange laws here too. I am definitely surprised.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Branson, Missourie: A place for fun and festivities this summer

Summer is the time when almost everyone in the US travel. While teenagers and older people travel by themselves to Europe, Mexico or Caribbean islands, families with children drive/ fly across the country visiting remote and well known parts of the US. This is the way young kids get to know their country and appreciate its recent history and heritage.

One of the most popular destinations I have heard about is Branson, Missouri. Sited in the Midwest region of US and famously known as the entertainment capital, Branson is famous for its shows. Summer is already here and the top destination on my list is Branson, MO. My internet research led to one of the most famous hotels: Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing. I have heard this hotel offers the most comfortable rooms and easy to access to all the shows and important tourist attractions. When I stay here I am sure to be in the center of all the action. Another hotel on my list of preferred places to stay is Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, also situated bang in the center of Branson, MO.

When I travel I like to stay in the heart of the city so I will have easy access to shopping, restaurants, attractions and in Branson, I am fond of the river walk. I would like to go for a stroll across the river walk every morning and do some window shopping, grab a leisurely breakfast. Another great place I look forward to spending quality time during my vacation is at the new Payne Stewart Golf Club, set amidst breathtaking scenery.

Branson's events are the most important attractions of this city. Summer events include the Father’s Day Salute, National Kid’s Fest at Silver Dollar City, the 10th Annual Clown Jam, etc. Apart from these mega events, there are hundreds of live entertainment, theaters and magic shows, musical performances etc. For those like me who want a little outdoor activities and regular attractions, there are numerous lakes, museums and theme parks, too.

Feeling geared up to visit Branson, this summer, I researched more about accommodation options and came to know that the Hilton hotels are offering some cool packages. Their advance purchase rates are applicable on online booking and it is lot cheaper than their regular rates. I am sure going to take advantage of this feature and book online.

My summer vacation is going to be a fun filled holiday at Branson, MO. What about yours?

Panoramic Summer Views

Summer in Texas is the season I dislike, the heat is searing and pierces into one's being. I would fall sick if I am out in the sun the whole day, probably because during the past year and half of being here I have been primarily indoors. Not like in Bangalore when I would be out in the open exposed to the elements more than one day a week. Anyway, one thing I like about summer in Texas is the opportunity to capture some great pictures in natural light. Beautiful cloud formations, colorful flowers, vast open spaces, large fresh water reservoirs, etc. I think the presence of over 100 large (really large) lakes in and around Dallas area makes it a tad cooler otherwise I am sure this place would have bee hot as hell.

Exposed to Asbestos at work? Get a good lawyer to fight your case?

One of the biggest risk Industrial workers face in their daily lives is that of exposure to hazardous chemicals. This day-to-day exposure to often-carcinogenic substances could lead to health disasters, not only affecting the workers but their families as well.

One of the industries predominantly related to exposing its workers to hazardous chemicals is mechanical fabrication. Individuals working in the areas of shipbuilding, automobile, building demolition and related areas are at high risk to asbestos exposure. These people and their families are highly susceptible to an often fatal form of lung cancer called Mesothelioma.

But what is worse is that workers diagnosed with Mesothelioma don't receive any compensation from their employers, though they are legally entitled to it. Though it is seems like a simple case of employee rights, organizations try and often succeed in avoiding payments. It takes an expert Mesothelioma Lawyer to get compensation to affected workers. The lawyer has to be aggressive and smart to be successful against corporations.

If you or your loved one is affected by this type cancer due to exposure to hazardous materials such as asbestos, get in touch with the right Mesothelioma Lawyers who will ensure that you receive the right compensation you deserve.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Review: Never Back Down

I watched this teenage fighting movie recently. This movie showcases how teenagers in the US are addicted to youtube and mobile video devices. The movie features illegal fights, teen rivalry in high schools, Multi media messaging and how videos are propagated among school kids in the US.

The movie starts off with a high-school football (American of course) game. One of the star players Jake Tyler (Sean Faris) of the winning team is taunted about his father by a disgruntled opposing player. Short-fused Jake gets into a fight and beats him up, this brawl is captured by spectators on mobile phones and uploaded to YouTube.

Quite expectedly Jake gets benched, but he is not worried because he transferring to a different school. Along with his younger brother Charlie (Wyatt Henry Smith) and widowed mom, Jake moves to Orlando, Florida where the latter has received a tennis scholarship. Jake's penchant for fighting and getting into trouble, upsets his mom (Leslie Hope).

At school, Jake attracts the attention of an attractive girl, Amber, and thinks he is set. But there is more in store for him, the boy friend of the girl who has seen his football brawl on youtube invites him for a party and challenges him for a fight. Inevitably Jake ends up broken and with a black eye. Jake feels let down by the girl who is having feelings for him and ends up becoming angry and frustrated.

One of Jakes class mates takes him to 365 Combat Club in which he starts training in Mixed Martial Arts. Finally after some twists and urns, Jake ends up it n the Beatdown, a free no holds barred illegal fight. There he gets even with the senior and earns the respect of all school.

While the plot is quite mediocre, the execution and story telling is very effective. The photography is excellent and of course the girls are easy on the eyes. I'd probably suggest watching it once, that too only if you are a big fan of free style fighting.

Accessories for meditation, music and therapy

The Buddhist and Hindu societies in India, Nepal, Tibet and other Asian countries are globally famous for their traditions, mythology, spirituality, music, etc. Over the past several centuries these societies have developed and fine-tuned several unique musical instruments which help individuals to meditate and attain deep relaxation of the mind. Nepal and Tibet are specially important in this respect because they have made significant contributions to the realm of spirituality.

Now thanks to globalization and convergence it is possible to live in the West and still have access to these exotic musical instruments and techniques. Silver Sky Imports has set up a new and unique online store to sell various musical instruments such as Gongs, crystal singing bowls, chakra singing bowls, Nepali gongs, among others.

If you are a meditation practitioner like me or a music lover or even a person seeking spiritual relaxation, this is the best place for you. The diverse array of products available will definitely fulfill your needs.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Colorful Texas Summer

Summer has started and heat is back with vengeance. But this is also the time when we get to see color in nature. A welcome change of scene from the boring grey and brown, leafless trees. This is the season when wild flowers blossom everywhere, in the parks, along side walks, creek sides, beside highways etc. I took this opportunity to shoot some of these wild flowers and here they are for you all to see.