Sundar Narayanans Travelog
Sundar Narayanan : Desi Engineer in California married to a Desi Engineer. This is a log of my travel experience, food reviews and life's "little" quirks. . .
Disclaimer : My thoughts on this site are not intended to cause physical emotional or financial harm to any person or thing mentioned in this site or to the reader and I take no responsibiilty for the same.. So read at your own risk!! I also hope this font is large enough to be considered legal and small enough not to make my blog ugly !
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Monday, June 04, 2012
Moving to own Domain..
Moving over to my new domain at
Have set up RSS feed quick links on the sidebar for the Blog tab. Please redirect your RSS feeds using this link..
Have figured out the HTML editor on the site as well.
Will be playing with the site setup slowly over the next year..
Sunday, June 03, 2012
This post starts with an apology to Pavan Uncle and Deepti mami!
They visited the kids a few months ago and gave a gift. As is customary in the house, gifts are always opened at a later day. This one went to the garage shelf, thanks to San who doesn't believe in reading what the gift actually is before hiding it from the kids.
We reserve the right to hand over the gifts on days when the kids have to be bribed for something. We run out of bribe gifts and hence this rule! As it so happens, this gift was Christmas trees to be made of cookies which had an expiry date for the frosting and the cookies.
We still let the kids make the cookies with frosting, sprinkles, etc. but instead of eating it, placed it in the backyard..
Now that we have enough critters that visit us every evening and make it practically resemble the Fairyland projected in the latest Snow White movie. The kids and grandparents enjoyed watching the birds and animals come close to us to taste cookies..
It was great to watch them come and devour the decorated cookies, one piece at a time..
We are truly blessed with this 20 foot hedge that defines our backyard that makes any summer evening a pleasant evening!
Monday, May 28, 2012
We spent the afternoon at Brentwood, approximately 15 miles from Livermore picking cherries off the trees. The kids had a blast as we went with their classmates.
It was difficult to find a place that was open and it was more difficult to find parking and we got stuck in the return home traffic on 580 and 680 to San Jose... but, there is always a but..
It was great watching the kids go crazy with the picking, sampling, becoming instant experts on fruit ripeness metrology and watching them compare notes on cherry softness, color etc. It was hilarious!
The weekend has now come to a close and it is back to work and school tomorrow with two of six folks in the house still sniffling with a cold. In retrospect, it was a wise move not traveling far this weekend.
The parents who have extreme diet restrictions as well as movement restrictions have successfully made it from Cupertino to Great Mall and back and have topped the record with the Brentwood trip.
Next step, 2 hour trip somewhere.. fast.. so we can get ready for 4th of July!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
After many years, we are staying put at home for the long weekend, helping my parents adjust to the USA.
Daddy and the little one are also recovering from their sore throats, surprise gifts from the weather change here. It was a 15 degree drop from the usual high temps the last two days.
We decided to go hit the one local indoor place where the grandparents could walk and the kids could have fun for a few hours! The Great Mall..
It took us a good 25 minutes to find a parking spot, but off we went with the sea of people shopping for "sale" items and got the kids some summer wear.
They promptly posed for my indoor photo shoot.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The kids insisted on "bike riding as a family". So all four of us decided to ride a bike during the solar eclipse. It was interesting because we saw so many people in our street with video cameras on tripods and special glasses staring at the sun.
They probably all thought we were a weird family to go biking and ignoring a once in a lifetime event. Little did they know about my frustration.
People scared me about two things
1. Do Not look into the sun directly
2. Do not take pictures with the camera by trying to zoom into sun as it will damage your image sensor..
First I tried to cover the lens with some dark polythene. That created a large flare. Then decided to use my extender (which is a 2x) on my 70-200 mm f2.8 L (this is a 2000 dollar piece of glass) and initially San was giving me the look and saying "I hope you know what you are doing because you are not going to get any camera replacement money from this family!"
The thing becomes pretty bulky at this point, so a tripod is a must. (Incidentally, shot the hummingbirds kissing using this setup.. you can stay far enough from animals, birds and snakes and get shots with a 400mm setup as long as it is bright outside).
Now the extender puts the 200 f2.8 at 400 f5.6! Gets the sun pretty close. So I used a remote trigger and instead of staring at the sun directly, stared at it indirectly and took shots at 1/8000 seconds and f22 with an ISO set to 100. Pretty much pushed the exposure to bare minimum to get these shots. Also used a gap between branches in a tree to get the shots so that the Image sensor did not overload. Then cropped the images.
Next time there is a solar eclipse, going to leave home, hit the mountains and get some welders glass or the right polarizing and ND filter combinations and take photographs! (My CEO took some really neat shots using this method. He had to adjust the white balance. I didn't have to, but the effect is much better on his shots!)
A happy day!
While the torture of going through another round of antibiotics and all the side effects that come with it are going on, there was a happy day in the middle of all this.
My parents made it to the US in one piece after 10 years!
They did not get the hang of life in the US on their first trip. After much convincing they were this close to making it here three years ago before health concerns forced both of them to stay back.
Now they are finally here and will be staying for till Jr.'s 10th birthday!
The last time they were here, it was to celebrate her first birthday..
They were both weak and tired and were harassed by the Immigration / TSA dudes and that was shocking to them. They were the last ones out of their flight to make it out! I was sweating outside because it had been almost 3 hours since their plane landed and they did not show up. Didn't know how to reach them inside either.
Fortunately, one of the wheel chair dudes told me that they were sent to the "New Immigration counter" instead of the "line". The first thing my dad told me after getting in the van was "The guy who checked my passport was rude for no reason and the guy who checked my suitcase crumpled up ironed clothes for no reason. They have no respect for older people!"
How do you answer that one? Told him that TSA folks are usually guys who cannot be employed anywhere else. This is all about "Jobs" and the economy. I may have been rude to all TSA people with that comment but if one thing is going to unite Americans all over, it will probably be a healthy hatred for the TSA's harassment of non threatening folks. It has been 24 hours and they have gotten over it (I hope).
The kids are very happy with the grandparents being in the house. They are listening to young daddy stories. Stories which really need to be fact checked because daddy has a reasonably strong memory and grandma's versions seem to be way off base from the truth.. Nevertheless, as long as daddy's IQ in days of yore is getting a facelift, not complaining.
"Your father used to do an entire math book in one hour!". Eat your food. Your dad was the fastest at eating his lunch in the whole neighborhood!
The kids look at daddy with new found admiration.. Well this doesn't happen often! So soaking it up!
Have a resolution to
- get back in the hot room
- get to a gum specialist and figure out why there are recurring gum infections which lead to antibiotics which lead to killing all good bacteria in the stomach which lead to taking tablets with "bacteria" in them and losing 15 days of Yoga!
One thing is obvious. This is a spiral of good or bad and these days it goes uphill or downhill pretty fast!
If there is good health, there is regular exercise, good food, weight control, more exercise and so on
If there is bad health, there is no exercise, irregular food or sick food, no weight control and even less exercise
Time to change the trend tomorrow!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
A new home?
After toying with the idea of getting my own site and free myself from editing constraints on blogger, have decided to check out Squarespace!
They came highly recommended and are also a notch above the rest of the web hosts when it comes to Customer service. In the last 24 hours they have responded to me within the hour every time a query was sent!
Please check out this site and give me your feedback!
It will be a long process to sort out blog posts, entries etc.. but this is one of my hobbies and it is more than a hobby. So who knows, we might put a portfolio of images on this site and start covering Birthday parties and weddings, when time permits.