[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Aspen Ideas Festival

Monday, August 4th, 2008

“Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world – all gathered in a single place, ready to teach, speak, lead, question and answer – all interacting with an audience of thoughtful people who have stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought and discussion”

Thats a blurb from Aspen ideas festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute. They bring the likes of Bill Clinton, Thomas Friedman and host of other leading thinkers to share their perspectives in a serene Aspen mountain side.

A week of thought-provoking, meaningful and fun conversations – all available online for folks who couldn’t be there in Aspen.

Hot air balloon festival

Monday, August 1st, 2005

It has been weeks since we had been to any serious outdoor event or activity. We had taken it easy especially with only 4 days left to leave for our vacation (with all the travel and visiting to do, its hardly a ‘vacation’) to India. This past weekend, we hit out groves again and went to the hot air balloon festival at Readington. It was less than 5 miles from where we live and would have been a terrible thing to have missed it being so close. We joined with two other colleagues families to enjoy the evening and it was a gorgeous view to see all the giant balloons inflate and float up in the air. Some of the balloons were based on themes such as one that was shaped as pepsi can, another as an eagle, another as honey bee and one balloon as a cute baby monkey.

With propane flames filling them, the balloons started prominently glowing up as the sun started hitting the horizon. The event was at the local airport and yet, jam packed. There would have been easily 20,000 to 30,000 people on site. Infact, it was a three day festival and fair with foods, snacks, rides and art and game shows. To add to it, they had a classic rock band, a former STYX lead singer Dennis Deyoung performing live on saturday evening. After the 7 pm ascensions, We stayed back to listen to dennis sing few of his classics and they sounded pretty good, though we haven’t heard him before. Apparently, he was a 1970s star who is now in his late 50s. but still sounded fantastic, just as Phil Collins still amazes me.

More pictures of the festival here.

I caught up with digital camera and my Gallery installation to uploaded a lot of pictures that I should have long ago.

Sruthi’s visit to NJ [Ganesh – Sruthi’s Daddy’s blog]

A visit to Macy’s Flower Show

oh and this cute little “buddy” picture I took with two sweetest toys we have. Sadly, his hair style is blacked out with the background, but trust me, he has one of the hippiest hair styles you will ever see, just like this.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24th, 2004

Inspired by neighbours who enthusiastically displayed their joy and peace with lights and christmas tree decors, we built a christmas tree for ourself just for fun. It has come out reasonably well and with changing-fiber-optic lights it is a delight to watch everynight. Harini also made all the gift boxes, santa claus to make it look like on real christian christmas tree. A way for us to say Merry Christmas to everyone.

full view
[With night lights on]

close up
[up close. Santa, too tiny for the tree but still working hard to save the gift boxes for the christmas night. Included among the gifts is a sweet puppy for that kid who always wanted to have a puppy for christmas!]

Gilligan’s Island at Work

Monday, November 1st, 2004

Friday was a big day in our office. It was the official halloween party day and the entire building was bustling with people constumed up in all colors. The most common theme was ‘To Scare’ but our team chose to stay bit different. A few weeks ago, I was introduced the 70s classic TV series called ‘Gilligan’s Island’.

Original Island

Soon after its first series in 1964, Gilligan’s Island had become a super-duper hit. It began as just another comedy sitcom (comedy serial) where a group of people gets stranded in a deserted island somewhere in the middle of ocean. But soon the characters in the island, the best among which is Gilligan, won the love of every American, especially young adults. I guess, they were so realistic and adorable, everyone loved them inspite of their stupid acts. I am least qualified to write any more than this about gilligan’s island, but I can say from the two episodes that I watched that it was hilarious. Hundreds of websites and fan groups still talk about the show and its unforgettable characters. Infact, TBS is running a new series called ‘The real Gilligan’s Island’, a latest flick perhaps based on the original.

All that said, our team chose to enact Gilligan’s Island for this hallween. Since there are only a 5 or 6 characters on the island, our team soon ran out of any characters for me. Even otherwise, my features arent matching anyone either. I was requested to be a Tarzan attacking the island, but i kindly denied it to avoid a no-constume role!. But things didnt go on thursday and the person whoever was supposed to be the crucial character, Gilligan, had an emergency to attend to. And so now you can guess, the great great myself was rather forced to be Gilligan on friday.

Dressing up like Gilligan was actually very straightforward. He wears a white classic sailor’s hat with a white-collar rugby jersy, a worn-out sailor’s white shoes and a kakhi pants rolled over to his knees. All is cool, except for a one. Gilligan was only 5 foot tall and to match that I have to slice the lower half of my legs! But everyone was kind enough, in the spirit to save our halloween party, agreed to have a 6 ft Gilligan. So I, coming from nowhere, became Gilligan after only knowing about him for a few days!.

Skipper and Gilligan
[The skipper of the wrecked ship smacking Gilligan ]

We rushed to a local clothing store, but the closest to a Gilligan’s sailorcap I could find a was a JLo ( Jennifer Lopez ) ladies cap with jazzy silver chains around it. With the chain removed going in friday, everyone appreciated the cap for its originality!

The crew
[The whole Gilligan’s Island crew at Met including a chimpanzee but not the two chics next to Gilligan from the original picture above 🙂 ]


Friday, October 8th, 2004

No its not OCTOBER FEST,its indeed OKTOBERFEST the spelling is right! This is a little different becoz its german. You might see the word being used all over the world, but the origin and the original OktoberFest is held infact in Munich, Germany. A good friend of ours had visited germany last week and was explaining us about this. Which is when we learnt that its actually a relatively unknown but famous festival in germany. Precisely, this is how the festival has become popular – Word of Mouth! Nobdoy advertises for it and yet surprisingly millions from across the globe flock the small city of munich every year!

I learnt its an ” An autumn festival that emphasizes merrymaking and the consumption of BEER“. So thats the fest. Drinking barrels and barrels of BEER. Indeed a place to be isnt it? Remember european beers are much popular than the tame american ones ( source: Mr.Sudhar 🙂 ) This year’s Oktoberfest started on Sept 18th and came to an end on German National Holiday, 3rd October 2004. In total, 5.9 million people visitied it inspite of the bad weather and the best part is a whopping 5.5 MILLION litres of BEER was consumed ( meaning : went into the bellies and into the drains eventually! :)) ).

The immediate question that came to my mind was why is it called Oktoberfest when its actually held in September? Apparently, It was first held in 1810 in honour of the some Prince marriage to some Princess. Then, the festival began on October 10th and ended on Oct 17th with a flamboyant horse race. Even the following years the festival continued to happen the same way, but eventually festival got so popular and prolonged that they moved it earlier in September to start with. In additioan, the warm days and less chilly nights of september helped people enjoy the gardens outside the tents and “Die Wiesen”, the fields outside ][learning some german here : heheheh].

“The MaB” is the man! Most important of all the BEER in the fest. MaB is a one litre Beer, imagine a liter costs almost 7 euros and thats 40 Million Euros right there! The highlight of the events is Oktoberfest Costume and the Rifleman parade


The next Oktoberfest is on 17th of September 2005. Lets seee if we can challenge sudhar’s belly there?