Lucky daddy for sureSat, 26th Aug '06, 4:10 pm::

While talking to Lanie about her visit to an animal shelter today, I recollected the day I got my little kitties. I guess I'm just lucky as hell.

I remember walking into the first animal shelter I've ever seen. I went into the first room on my left that had some animals, saw two little black kittens in the first cage right in front of me. For a second I thought, "hmm black cats..." The lady picked up Giga and handed him to me. Giga purred. Tera was purring in my friend's arms. I said "Alright, let's get the paperwork done..." and the lady was surprised, "Already? You sure?"

I couldn't control my smile when I said "Yes, I am." And I still am. And I'm still smiling.

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Thu, 24th Aug '06, 9:50 am::

It's a sad day for Plutonians. Pluto is no longer a planet.

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Sun, 20th Aug '06, 12:05 pm::

I got back home from my 2 hour kayaking trip to Weedon Island. It's about 25 minutes away from my house and so I left at around 6:30am. I was in the water by 7:15am and here's my Weedon Island kayaking pictures. It was simply gorgeous. There was a triathlon (run, cycle, kayak) scheduled around 8am so I wanted to get out of the water by 9:30am. I kayaked the 4-mile trail in just over 2 hours. Of course I wasn't doing it for speed but for the photographs and natural beauty. I did practice rowing fast to see how well my kayak handles - beautifully. I can't wait till I explore more places like this. Next week or weekend after - Crystal River :)

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Sat, 19th Aug '06, 10:35 pm::

It's been a pretty relaxing weekend so far. Last night I took an unspecting Brian to see Snakes on a Plane movie party in Channelside, Tampa organized by Tampa Bay Farkers. If you don't know much about a movie, here's a brief summary without any spoilers. Basically, it's a very VERY cheesy B-grade movie starring Samuel L. Jackson stuck on a plane with thousands and thousands of snakes! The reason why this movie became a cult-classic with a huge fan-following even before it was released was because the movie accepted the fact that it was a really bad movie and didn't attempt to pretend like it was Jurassic Park or something. I like honesty. Sitting in the movie theater with tons of other screaming and cheering fans made me feel like I was watching a Rajnikanth movie in Calcutta. I absolutely enjoyed it.

Today, I've been just chilling around the house. I cooked dinner and worked on some computer-ish. Here's some pics I took of my kitties being lazy as usual. They love just sleeping at my feet when I'm on the computer.

I'm pretty excited about tomorrow. I hope to wake up real early and take my kayak out for it's maiden voyage on a 4-mile long kayak trail in the Weedon Island, about 15 miles from my house. I tested my kayak earlier this week to see the balance, speed etc. but it was only for 10 minutes. So tomorrow's gonna be real fun, especially since the island is known for some beautiful wildlife views, historic Native American settlement, and a 50-ft high lookout tower. Around 7am when I get into the water, the tide's going to be slowly rising. It's supposed to be best around high tide while will happen around noon. I'm hoping to take my camera with me. Let's see if I capture anything pretty.

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Different parameters of relationshipsFri, 18th Aug '06, 12:25 am::

On the surface, this has been a relatively normal week for me, with the usual deal of work, bills, home, chores etc. Nothing really out of the ordinary. Well almost nothing. The two read-but-unreplied emails waiting in my mailbox, sent by the two strongest humans I personally know - my dad and my uncle, keep staring at me every time I check my email, as if mutely yelling at me to hit 'reply' and type away something beautiful and worthy of their dignity. Alas, it's not easy.

My dad sent me an email last week telling me he missed me. It was so loving and sincere that when I showed it to a friend of mine, she wanted him to adopt her. Few days later, his brother, my Paresh uncle, emailed me to tell me how my cousin Keval is slowly getting better. While mentioning that he was pleased to read my views about life on my 'blog, my uncle wrote about his thoughts on life, knowledge, and relationships. It didn't occur to me until now that while millions of people live their entire lives without even saying "hello" to their parents and elders, I take for granted all the support and love in the world that I get from my family without even asking for it once. And then when someone tells me they love me or miss me, I find it extremely difficult to respond to them. Woody Allen's America does that to you.

I wouldn't even have begun writing this 'blog entry tonight had I not clicked on this video of father & son unknowingly. Team Hoyt is a father-son team of Dick & Rick Hoyt, "from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And if they're not in a marathon they are in a triathlon - that daunting, almost superhuman, combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America." It sounds like typical father-son adventurous duo till you realize the son, Rick, can't walk or talk. The father pushes, carries, lifts, and pulls him from the start till the end. Every year at the Boston Marathon, this team gets the loudest, most-cheerful standing ovation. I know this particular video has some typical-cheesy music but that didn't stop me from sobbing for 4 minutes and 14 seconds, and then again for 4:14 when I hit replay. Last time I was in India, Google Videos weren't accessible from there. I think it's a good thing because I don't think either my dad or uncle will be able to control their tears if they saw this video. I mean it made me so weak in the knees that I decided to shed my fake outer-shell of "I'm so awesome and my life is so great" and admit that I sobbed and cried uncontrollably when I saw the video.

Like my dad always says, I rarely propose concrete well thought-out arguments on my 'blog entries, and usually ramble aimlessly. Today is no different. Yet, almost always, I have underlying themes. I guess tonight, it's the latent energy to persevere. By latent energy, I mean the hidden strength that these two stalwarts in my family seem to possess since birth. Ever since I was a kid, they were the two strong brothers I could always look up to for help, advice, and guidance. To me, they were and are now more than ever, the resolute pillars of persistence. In my eyes, nothing has changed, rather they both have shown time and again that they're getting wiser and more down-to-Earth by the day.

But in their eyes, something has changed. They now think of me as a mature grown-up man that they can share their views with, as equals, instead of just teaching me like I'm a student and they're teachers. That is something new to me. Suddenly, I'm seeing them in light I've never expected, as real humans with strengths AND weaknesses. While my dad and his elder brother have always tried to be my best friends, I'm new to this aspect of theirs - the side in which they stop being perfect figures of authority and become my friends with unhindered emotions and honest feelings - no pretense of being the bigger man.

But I'm so used to them being the head, the father-figure, the authority, that this closeness is leaving me speechless. The weirdness is of course that I feel completely comfortable in writing about it here in public, I guess, because I am so used to being honest and open here. Writing becomes difficult as soon as I have a specific audience.

On my 'blog, I write for everyone and no one. I write for me and for you. But in an email or phone conversation, I have to talk direct with one person and then depending on who that person is, it's either casual or formal, easy or difficult. For now, it's a new experience for me to get to know my dad and uncle on a man-to-man level. It sounds so generic and mundane when it happens to other people but like my uncle said, "as you go in deeper into life, you will open new horizons of knowledge and see different parameters of relationships."

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Wed, 16th Aug '06, 7:15 am::

First thing I do every morning as soon as I wake up is read my emails. Now a lot of people say that is a bad thing to do but it helps me instantly transition from the sleepy state to alert/awake state. And somedays, there's some good news in an email or two that jump starts my day with a smile.

My Paresh Uncle from Mumbai, India has emailed me a couple of times in the last week or so to tell me that my favorite 'blog reader/critic is back! His son, my cousin Keval, has been recovering slowly but steadily for over two years now. Lately, my uncle has been showing Keval the pictures I've taken while travelling around. We don't know yet if Keval likes the nature pictures. If he does, I'm going to take my kayak and camera around everywhere from now on.

As I write this, my little devil kitties are jumping and fighting all around the house. They chase each other, one of them grabs the other and pins them down, then the grabbed-one escapes, and the cycle starts all over again. I've seen their playful antics tens of thousands of times and am still amused by it each time. For now, it's time to hit the shower and get to work. I'm working on some exciting stuff!

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Tue, 15th Aug '06, 8:05 pm::

Just over a year ago, I bought an inflatable kayak to learn the basics of kayaking. It took a while but now I've completely grown out of inflatable toys. So today I bought myself an Ocean Scrambler XT Angler sit-on-top kayak. Also bought a Yakima roof rack for my little Scion xA. Of course, as soon as I bought all this, I had to take it out on a spin. Since Lake Seminole has been closed since January (as I just found out), I went to Boca Ciega Millenium Park. I was in the water for ten minutes and the clouds started rumbling in the distance. I've never paddled back to the shore faster :)

My kayak is actually one of the best kayaks I've ever tried. It's amazingly stable and can go quite fast with relative ease. Only one problem so far: Slippery when wet - it's very tough to lift on top of my car after kayaking. I guess with practice I'll get used to its 51lb frame. Otherwise, it's a kickass kayak with a huge water-tight hatch, comfortable seat, and lots of storage space. And the guys at Canoe Country said I can pretty much bring it in forever in case there are any problems. These things last for a long long time.

Now I'm gonna find new places to take my kayak for a spin. Unless it's raining outside, I don't think I'll ever be bored at home again.

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Tue, 8th Aug '06, 11:10 pm::

Just got back home from watching Talladega Nights with my buddy Brian. It's about Nascar and most people probably won't like it but it was hilarious.

Oh and I got the kitties a box for their birthday. Here's Giga-in-a-box livin' it up. And here's both of them wondering what mysteries it holds.

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Tue, 8th Aug '06, 8:15 am::

My little devils are two years old today! Free cardboard boxes and aluminum foil for all!

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Tue, 8th Aug '06, 8:10 am::

Sometimes a coin-flip can make your day :)

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Sun, 6th Aug '06, 5:00 pm::

Everyone has heard the phrase "living on the edge," mostly used to denote a risky, adventurous lifestyle. There are so many sayings like that we use on a daily basis but rarely think twice about their origins. Living on the edge is used to describe the animals that feed and graze on the fringes or outlines of a large herd. In a herd of a million zebras or a shoal of billion sardines, the creatures that live on the edge get the best food and cleanest water. They also get eaten first. Living on the edge is a natural example of the risks vs rewards principle that we're all familiar with - the higher the risk, the greater the rewards. I always knew what living on the edge meant, just never realized where it came from. I just presumed it meant something along the lines of living by the sword or the edge of knife. Animal Planet opened my eyes.

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Thu, 3rd Aug '06, 8:25 am::

New pics: Me and Me and Mega - Me!

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