Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Rear View

Thank God for the Digital Camera!There was a time when a roll of film was expensive, developing and printing the pictures were time consuming . And you could capture just 32 pictures on a roll. Imagine the pain when you came back and developed pictures like this!!

and this

Now, all you need to do is move them to the recycle bin without any remorse. And with memory cards, one can experiment and sure enough you get better with practice.
See the results - this one was obviously used to posing with and for humans.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Giving away a billion....

Most of us have at some time or the other dreamed of what we could do with a little extra money. And what if we came into more than extra money?

I read this article in Newsweek -Why I’m Giving Away $1 Billion by Peter G. Peterson -which is a good read. Peterson, at 81 found himself a billionaire. To quote the article - I began wondering: what do I do with $1 billion? The idea of trying to make the money grow felt empty to me. For my father, who saved or gave away so much of his modest income, the ultimate pejorative was "big spender." So buying a yacht was out of the question. I started looking at the lives of other billionaires. Almost all the ones I most admired were major philanthropists: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad—each with a passion to do good, each getting so much pleasure from giving their money away.

He set up a Peter G. Peterson foundation and placed his 1 billion $ to it. And for those who wondered why he gave his billion away he has this interesting anecdote-
Kurt Vonnegut once told a story about seeing Joseph Heller at a wealthy hedge-fund manager's party at a beach house in the Hamptons. Casting his eye around the luxurious setting, Vonnegut said, "Joe, doesn't it bother you that this guy makes more in a day than you ever made from Catch-22?"
"No, not really," Heller said. "I have something that he doesn't have: I know the meaning of enough."

Peterson concludes that he has far more than enough.

So how much is enough. Not many can hope to be millionaires or anything close to that. We do lead fairly comfortable lives, but we can definitely do with some more. Maybe even if it was not for us, surely we could keep aside something for the children. Let them start life on a firm foundation. The list could be endless and it would not even seem selfish if we wanted to invest our money wisely. Are philanthropic deeds only for the wealthy? One need not wait to have far more than enough. There are times when nothing is ever enough. Yet, giving away a little of what we earn towards a good cause can give a lot of happiness. Try it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Holiday in Thailand

Strange as it may seem, Thailand never figured in the list of 'places I want to visit'. But when you plan a holiday at short notice, Thailand we found was one of the few countries that had a visa on arrival for Indians, everything fell in place in 5 days and we were ready to travel. Thailand it seems is in the news for all the wrong reasons. And many feel that it is not an ideal destination to travel with the family. I think our trip proved this wrong.

The Thai also are a friendlier lot than the Singaporeans or the Chinese. They are very hardworking no matter what they do! Especially the old ladies who have these tiny kiosks on the street. I have come back extremely impressed by the people and the country.

A few sights we enjoyed -

The Pattaya Beach. Looks lovely, but the beach here is rather dirty and nothing to rave about. But you could spend some time just lazing around, weather permitting!
The picture below was taken from the speedboat as we approached Ko Larn Island ( Coral Island). Here the sand is white and the water absolutely clear and very safe to wade and swim.

The Noong Noch Village - Tropical Botanical Gardens was started by a lady ( obviously very wealthy) and spreads over 500 acres. The landscaping is beautiful and has special enclosures for orchids, bonsai, cacti among other plants. And in the next picture, you can see they have recreated the Stonehenge.

Bangkok has over 300 temples and the temple with the Reclining Buddha is very famous. Another temple is the Marble Temple which houses the beautiful Buddha seen below:

Bangkok also has many street stalls. This was taken around 4 pm. Many of the stalls had still not been set up. But a variety of food is sold at reasonable prices. The food is considered safe, but being vegetarians, and not speaking the language was a barrier, but we did have tasty food at the food courts where we could read the contents of the dish ( in English) before placing an order.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The little owl in the address bar...

(above image dryicons.com)

I hope you have notice the little owl in the address bar - I have been trying to upload a favicon for over a year. And I stumbled on this post by Just call me A (on her blog Color Me Sunshine) and followed the instructions. Voila!

If you are successful in your attempt, do drop by her blog and thank her.

Oops - this disappeared when I changed the template setting. But you can still try it!

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