Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trashed up Hiking Trails in Texas

The tower in Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, Plano, one of my favorite places to hike, bicycle, or simply walk amidst nature. I haven't visited this nature preserve in quite sometime... perhaps 6 months or so. Last time I was there I noticed tons of trash around the creek and the hiking trails. I thought I'd post these pictures on my blog to make people aware how much trash is being mindlessly discarded in public spaces. If this trend continues there will be no pristine natural place where one could spend a quiet moment. I wish people would be more careful about the way they discard their trash. There are enough trash cans and recycle bins in the nature preserve, one just needs to have some patience to carry the coke cans, plastic wrappers, and other trash to them.
The picture below is how the nature preserve looks during a fall sunset. Let us ensure that it is kept this way and not full of plastic and other trash that is seen in the pictures above. If you have any feedback or opinions on this do let me know!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Creating Artworks

Here is a bookmark I created while exploring the options presented in InkScape, the freeware alternate for CorelDRAW. The software is indeed good with a few glitches, but then when compared to $500 plus which has to be spent to buy CorelDraw I'd rather live with the glitches. I will work on the software more and try to come up with more designs. Feel free to copy and use them in your blog/ site, one request though attribute them to me and if possible give a link to my blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Holidays are here!!! Where are you going???

Every year I look forward to this time of the year. There are several reasons for this anticipation, firstly the weather is simply superb; secondly the holiday season is just round the corner. It is time for families to get together and celebrate festivals, enjoy holidays, and probably take trips to exotic places. As for me I have kinda decided where to go and where to stay. I will be heading straight to Branson, Missourie and my stay will most probably be at the exotic Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing or the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel.

I chose these two hotels because they are offering some fantastically customizable holiday packages startring at just $329 per night from November 15 through December 23. I wouldn't miss this opportunity to enjoy with the family in the warmth and comfort of an Ozark Mountain Christmas.

Why, Branson? Because I have heard so much about this city from family, friends and read about it online. This is the ultimate place for shopping, relaxation, and live entertainment. The reason for choosing Branson to holiday during winter is the numerous live events that take place here. The festival of lights will have all of Branson aglow. There will be special holiday shows and over a one-mile long drive through light displays. This would be a great place to spend the holidays with the family.

Why Hilton because the Branson Landing passport is loaded with discounts at several exclusive shops, restaurants and also at Aspire Medical Spa. For the tiny tots in the family there is Santa himself handing out presents, cookies and goodies. This Santa's coming to town package starts at just $189 per night.

The kids would be thrilled to be on the Polar Express. There is a Package option which starts at $289, for a family of 4 including deluxe accommodation, a ride on Polar express and a souvenir ceramic mug. If you would rather content yourself with just a ride in the Polar Express then the tickets would be just $49 for adults and $39 for children (2-12).


Book Review: Into the Wild

Tragic Saga of a Spiritually Confused Rebellious American Young Man
Author: Jon Krakauer
Publisher:Anchor Books, New York, 1996, 207 pp.
Attracted by the title and the cover image of a youngster sitting on a bus, I bought this book in an estate sale for $1. This is the work of a journalist turned author who is also into outdoors and adventure sports. The book traces the journey of a rebellious, confused, young man Chris (Alexander) McCandles along the South, West and mid-west parts of North America till his death in Alaska.
The book starts off with a brisk pace with the picture of an optimistic, proud, Alex McCandles seeking a ride to Denali National Park, Alaska. Alex's intentions was to live off the land in the wild away from civilization for some time and discover himself.
What is intriguing about Alex is that he belongs to a fairly affluent family, ha gone to college and could have done whatever he wished. On the contrary he chose to live like a tramp often calling himself "Alexander Supertramp". An excerpt from his diary reveals that Alex "lived on the streets with bums, tramps, and winos for several weeks".
One thing is obvious the author has unnecessarily glorified the exploits and the tragic story of McCandles. In my opinion McCandles was nothing but a confused, high-energy young man with no emotional, and spiritual foundations. He had access to money and hence he could lead a wayward life. He drops his adventures midway when he suffers setbacks and moves to the next item, which makes him a person of weak resolve and scant dedication/ commitment. His story is worthy of telling because it displays the underlying confusion and mental and spiritual weakness of the youth of America. The story of McCandles has also been made into a major motion picture and quite predictably it did not do very well at the box office.
Though in substance the book is not path breaking in any sense. It doesn't offer any insight into life in the wild or the lessons one could learn while alone in the forest etc. But in terms of adventure, what not to do in the wild, and a good read this books scores above most of its peers. After reading the book I have two things to say, one it is a very well written book which makes the reader stick to it to completion; and two Americans especially its youth are in desperate need of true spiritual teaching. This kind of rebellious behavior which often ends up in self destruction like it did for McCandles would greatly reduce if only people are more spiritually aware of their place in the cosmos.

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Data Recovery Planning

If you work in the IT industry you will be aware of this. For those of you who have online banking accounts, online correspondence, online business, etc, make a proper disaster recovery plan to save your data. You may be in for a surprise when you least expect it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today is National Writer's Day

The Showpiece of the Western World... i.e. US of A is built on the solid foundations of Marketing and business. The smooth-talking marketing experts of this country are constantly looking for ways and means to sell something to their own people and to people of other nations. Today, October 20th has been declared as the National Day on Writing.

Who declared this day as such? Well the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) decided that October 20th should be the National Day on Writing and the senate Senate passed the motion on October 8th. So from this year onwards October 20th will go down the history as the National Writing Day.

The broad aims of the National Day on Writing are:

  • Celebrate the foundational place of writing in Americans’ personal, professional, and civic lives.

  • Point to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university.

  • Emphasize the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions.

  • Recognize the scope and range of writing done by the American people and others and honor the use of the full range of media for composing.

  • Encourage Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.

  • Next year onwards one can expect to see millions of greeting cards, gifts, celebrations, functions, etc, which will see millions of dollars going to these manufacturing and marketing companies. This is how the world's richest country becomes even richer...

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Computing and Automation for the Emergency Departments

    Computer software is available for pretty much every specialized application one can think of. Recently I came across EDIS a software solution exclusively for the emergency departments of healthcare facilities.

    Downtown Dallas Views

    Downtown dallas is one heck of a congested area with narrow roads, high rise buildings, very few parking facilities. Since all the major corporations, museums and galleries are located there lot of people travel to downtown for work and pleasure. Here are few pictures....

    Job Search Needs More than just a Great Resume!!!

    The recent economic downturn has made the job market highly competitive. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there looking for a job. How is it possible you make yourself uniquely different so that you will land the job? Moreover the bad news is that most people who have lost jobs are men and not women. It has become increasingly challenging for men to land jobs in this economy. In order to get men out of this predicament, Gillette decided to commission a survey of HR professionals to find out what it takes to be successful in interviews.

    According to the survey of over 500 HR professionals commissioned by Gillette (R) it seems that personal grooming creates a much greater positive impression than even the firm handshake. Over 84% of the HR professional surveyed agreed that a well-groomed employee is more likely to climb the corporate ladder than other who are not so well-groomed.

    In order to help the millions who are unemployed Gillette promoted the Gillette Career Advantage program by engaging career expert, Mark Jeffries and GQ style correspondent, Brett Fahlgren. These two professional will add to the knowledge derived from the HR survey and enhance it with new insights and provide the much needed advice for guys who are looking for jobs.

    This program features expert advice from Mark Jeffries and Brett Fahlgren; a career quiz; a comprehensive hire guide compiled from the views of HR professionals from across the country. This is designed to empower men and give them the tools necessary to succeed in the job market.

    Ofcourse if you would like to know more about the survey and read the raw data, findings and get details about Gillette products, the Gillette Resource Center is at hand to clarify all your doubts.


    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Two years down....

    It has been two years since I landed here... two years since I went home... two years since I tasted true Masala Dosa of Janata Hotel, Malleswaram... Two years since I had the spicy Szechewan Fried Rice at Beijing Bites or Chungs... Two years since I walked down M.G. Road... Two years since I climbed rocks at Ramanagaram... two years since I hiked in the green mountain ranges of Devarayanadurga... two years since I swam in one the pristine azure waters of Y.G. Gudda dam or Kanva dam or Manchinbelle dam... I could go on and on about all the things I DID NOT get to do in the past two years.

    But I would rather focus my post on all the things I did in the past TWO years. First of all I made a 100 percent score in Mathematics (college algebra), a score that I had never made all my life... My academic progress was so good that I was chosen for the Dean's list of exemplary students... I was the star of a panel discussion on fuel consumption in which I beat the crap out of Americans who were contemplating whether the federal government should force India to stop TATA from manufacturing the Nano.

    I have traveled to 9 states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Arkansas) out of 50 in the US. I have been to Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Walnut Canyon and a host of other natural wonders in this country. I have learned how to rollerskate (still not an expert) without falling on my butt every time I attempt to move forward on the wheels. I participated in two long distance bicycle rides the MS-150 (90 mile) and Collin Classic (55 mile). I hosted a Kannada radio show on local desi FM station for over six months.

    I still haven't found a job - this is the longest unemployed stint in my life after I started working. It sure feels like being a vegetable... but with the economy going south I take small consolation with the fact that I am not alone in the job market looking for work.

    Do I have regrets for having left India? Yes of course... who doesn't? I think there would be a very small population of this immigrant nation who wouldn't miss their home country and at some point regret having come here.