• Eyes on Fire - Blue Foundation
  • Rooster - Alice in Chains
  • Jigsaw Falling into Place - Radiohead
  • Quien Fuera - Silvio Rodriguez
  • La Tortura - Shakira

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An active long weekend

I just returned from a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable long weekend in Colorado. I took a day off so I was able to spend close to 4 days in my favorite state. Aparna and I joined Mom, Dad, Manju and Pramod in a whirlwind tour of the state's National Parks.
Day 1: Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak.
Day 2: Sand Dunes National Park.
Day 3: Mesa Verde
Day 4: I completed the Bolder Boulder 10k.

Though it was hectic, we had a great time. We ended up driving up to 2-3am daily because we underestimated driving in the mountains. I can't really complain about having to drive at 30miles per hour in places like Durango and Ouray. I don't know when I'll think I had enough time to take in everything. These trips feel so rushed. Maybe I can take a sabbatical and enjoy time in the mountains for a couple of months - then I'd be satisfied.

We also got Mom to hike up half the way in Sand Dunes national park. Dad was alway enthusiastic about hiking but getting Mom to try it was an accomplishment. Climbing in sand is no joke. We were close to wasted by the time we got up there.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Annadaata sukhibhava

Loosely (and lousily) translated - that means "May the Lord bestow happiness upon the one putting food on the table".

So, I was at work the other day - keeping fairly busy - when I get this mail from Aparna.

From: Prasad, Aparna (US - Atlanta) []
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12:57 PM
To: Sekhar Putcha
Subject: Lunch

Is ready in case you plan to come.
Menu: Grilled veggie pocks (Feta spread, sautéed veggies with fenugreek, olives, and dash of maple), comes with a side salad an scrambled eggs.

This was following by a phone call from her informing me that the pressure cooker just exploded while she was cooking. 'So, the whistle blow really loud? Were you scared?'. She confirmed - 'No, the cooker exploded like a bomb .. almost in my face. The Dal is all over the place'. In my defense for what is to follow, I was on a conference call already - so my mind was all geared up for the ensuing meeting .. in spanish!!!

So, I asked the wrong question. "what's the damage?". It should've been "Are you OK honey?". The reaction was along expected lines. I wrapped up the call - or waited till it wrapped itself up and then headed for home practicing vague excuses for thinking about the kitchen floor and ceiling and all the cleaning I had to do intead of worrying about her life. Mea culpa!!

After a little bit of groveling, she relented and the food was served! Yumm. I should seriously consider starting a vegetarian sandwich/wrap place. Aparna can get really creative with sandwiches.

Hopefully, she is reading this and I'll get more such meals.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Budday cupcake

Aparna baked me a Chocolate Souffle tonight. This one is fresh in the oven for y'all.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm a wedding crasher

So I was in Canada the past week seeking yet another visa for re-entering the United States. The only difference - this time my company footed the bill for the visa expenses :-).

I decided to go to Calgary as there were no appointments available in Toronto - hence no Niagara. Calgary is no slouch though. It's the gateway to the canadian rockies and I sneaked out on Saturday to explore some of it's treasures. A pity I couldn't spend more time here. Banff and Lake Louise were beautiful on a hot sunny day.

I was armed with a camera but with no human subjects to shoot - I really didn't want to be alarming locals by taking unsolicited pictures. However, I couldn't resist the temptation to click away to two wedding photo shoots I witnessed that day. One was at Lake Louise (below) and the other at Vermillion lakes (above) near Banff.

When the bride and groom were posing at Lake Louise, an old jolly couple passed by and warmly complemented them, "You look gorgeous!". The bridge gushed, "Thank You!!!" in an Oh so american (or canadian) way - the features drawing inward while craning the neck and cocking to one side - to which the old man quipped, ".. and so does the bride!". I thought the bridge was going to burst into tears. I could barely contain my laughter.

The other highlight was that a black bear crossed the road in front of me while I was driving. Made my day. I'd love to come back to Canadian rockies again sometime. Lake Louise was a disappointment particularly because it was all frozen - I felt gutted.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

intrusive or un-intrusive

Depth of Field - Three words. They have taken on a whole new meaning ever since I got the 50mm Nikkor lens on my budday. The ability to obscure everything but the subject was something I always wanted - and to be able to do that in low light has just made it that much more fun.

Now I can take very sharp pictures in low tungsten lighting - giving my subjects a nice warm cast. The best part though (for me atleast) is that the subjects never realize they are being photographed. No flash - no self-consciousness. Plus, I can take the pictures rapidly - because the camera doens't need to recharge (which it would if I were to use the flash). So, is it not intrusive in the sense that my subjects can go about their business (unless they hear to AF beep and/or the shutter release clack) OR is it intrusive because they never realize they were shot? Either way, I'm not stopping :-).

Here's one of those intrusive shots ..

Happy Birthday to me ..

According to the Telugu/Hindu calendar I was born on Buddha purnima or Vaisakha purnima which falls on May 2 this year (according to the Hindu Calendar). Incidentally Buddha and Annamacharya were also born on this day. I still believe I will make *something* of myself - dream on!

Also, on the same day, my sister-in-law gave birth to her second - a beautiful hair baby boy. Obviously, she was thrilled that he was born on the same day I was. A very auspicious precedent - she seemed to suggest. Still, I couldn't help wonder why they both (Sekhar Sr.) sounded nervous when I pointed out (quite happily) that we technically shared our birthdays. Ever since my cute little niece broke my heart when she made clear her preference for Aparna's handbags and shoes to my skis, I've been pinning my hopes on the new arrival. Hopefully, I can have him on the slopes as soon as he can stand on his feet.

Oh, and I got a super gift this birthday from Aparna - a Nikkor 50mm 1.8D lens.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My best portrait shot to date ..

TOOT TOOT TOOT !!!!! (<--- Blowing my Horn)