4:48 PM | Author: Siva
In the events that followed the ban on blogs, we talk about censorship. We talk about freedom of speech. We find short cuts to read the blogs. We plan to file PILs. But what is this world coming to ? Did anyone bother about that poor webserver which is getting millions of requests to those blogs, but has to block it. Simply bacause it was "ordered to" block them. How emotionally draining will that exercise be ?. Here is the story from the webserver's side.

Note : It is hosted on geocities :-). If you are in India : please use tor. It is a rare, old forward, customized for the ban.
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1:07 AM | Author: Siva

My bro Suraj forwarded this picture last week. Is that a resilient family ? Check out the poor man who is in the background. I can assure you that this isn't just a pose for the photo. Those people sincerely want to watch the serial. I have seen such personalities. I guess, it all started with Ramayan and Mahabharath. But that was fine. Some Mythology, some war, it was sort of ok. There will even be a confusion when there is a one day match to switch between DD-1 and DD-2.

At the same time DD had this 13 episode serials. Some of them were quite decent and it gets over in 13 weeks. So we were still in safe territory. KB's Rail Snegham was pretty decent. But that was it. I was left behind there. I wasn't part of the mega serial boom. But it happened and the boom is at its peak now. In Tamilnadu it started with Chithiiiii. It led to the development of the following characters.

Grandma : you will often hear her talk to grandma2 "sandala pavi, gayathriya kai vittutane". If you assume she is talking about your ex-girl friend gayathri and plan to confess then you are in serious trouble.

Mom : "It is already 8.30. Why don't you come and have dinner ?" Is it because of the couple of inches we lost ? No, Wrong again, it is because kudumbam starts at 9.00.

Sis : "What are you watching ? Is it good ? ". That probably means give me the remote and get out.

Dad : "vaada sappitralam." That means let us eat fast or we won't get food for another hour.

Seriously, these are real people. There is this girl we know. She is a s/w engineer. Being in a thankless job she works till 8.50 pm. Then her poor boy friend has to drop her at home. He again picks her up at 9.30 pm for dinner. 9.00 - 9.30 was her serial time with some kudambam, kaviyam type serial. It doesn't matter that your own life could be in jeopardy. What if the poor BF gets frustrated ? Who cares ? It appears people need that peek into some other people's problems. Most of these serials satisfy that longing for the gossip. They satisy the urge to see what is happening in the next door. But the problem is "the girl next door" has a drunkard as her husband and is perpetually crying.

For a change I would like to see a mega serial like "the girl next door" itself. Let me not care about Day-Night matches. Let me forget about food and make my mom wait for me. Ah, if had all my wishes granted then I wouldn't be blogging about this now, Will I ? :-)
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3:24 PM | Author: Siva
Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi (Annoying(?)* King Pulikesi-23), is banned in Karnataka. Rakshne Vedika and Kaveri Kannada found the conspiracy of the Tamils. Pulikesi-2 defeated mahendravarman a tamil king in the 600's A.D. But mahendravarman's blood line is still a closely guarded secret. But they found it. Yes it is director sankar. He made it big into movies with one goal in mind. To avenge the defeat mahendravarman suffered against pulikesi. But he cannot blow his cover by directing a movie on pulikesi. So he instead produced one which portrays pulikesi with vadivelu !

Now tell me, how cheap can these people get ? Don't these guys have some sense of humor ? Can't they see vadivelu ? How can that character hurt sentimets ? I was looking forward for this movie, a political satire(probably) after a long time. Anyone remember cho's Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq ? The least common denominator of the bangalore is dictating terms once again. God save the high cort judges in Bangalore. They need to go to their grand kids' history books now.

* Imsai is not annoying as in Somnath Chatterjee, but it is annoying as in Sidhu. Something you can laugh at.
** The ban is true, Karthik, my friend in Bangalore, went to see it but couldn't. PVR refunded the money.
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10:17 PM | Author: Siva
Pt. Lobbos & Carmel
South Bay,
originally uploaded by rsiva.
I hope I saved the best for the last. Point Lobbos is one of the best places we visited in this trip. Carmel is on the way. So it doesn't hurt to stop. PT.Lobbos where land, sea and the sky merge mesmerizingly. Check out the photos.

Tip : If you ever plan to visit Point Lobbos take your lunch. There is not even a snack shop in the park.
PS : flickr doesn't allow me to create more than 3 sets. I have started using flickralbum. If you want descriptions click on the photos themselves.
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1:34 PM | Author: Siva
It is appalling how our politicians can react to a situation of emergency. When they get the news of 8 serial blasts in mumbai and 5 in Kashmir, they call a meeting, they meet for an hour, then they issue lame statements. They claim that these attacks won't derail the peace process.

If we do little thinking then we will see that it requires a coordinated effort to carry out such an operation. These 13 or more guys should use something to coordinate. Can it be phone calls or e-mails ? They couldn't have just used sign language. Do we have the technology to track all of those phone calls ? My guess : In India it is not good enough to catch them. They didn't apparate into the mumbai trains. Can we trace them ? No we don't have surveillance cameras in place in most of our public areas. Sure they are invasive. But I would prefer to be safe. When we don't spend our money on security we are doomed to what happened yesterday.

Media and Politicians are claiming the 'resilience of mumbai'. The point is not being resilient or succumbing to the terrorists. The point is we don't need to face those misfortunes to be resilient later. We deserve a safe life.

If I were to write a letter to Dr.Singh -
Dr.Singh, this is the best opportunity to hunt these idiots. You have provided photographs of their camps for years now. Can you take security seriously and start spending on it ? Can you order a surgical strike on these camps ? The international community will support you now. Pakistan can't support these extremists atleast for now. If you lack the technology or the guts for the operation then stepping down will be a better option. When there are serious problems we need leaders who lead from the front. (Please don't give us a feeling George Bush would have been better)

Let us not issue statements like "We urge Pakistan to take steps to dismantle the infrastructure as early as possible". Thankfully, the word is atleast urge and not request ! Forget the economy bouncing back, stock markets rising despite the attacks. That is your forte. For once let us talk about the problem in hand and solve it. We won't become a super power unless we act like one. We won't get the Security Council seat with desires. Deserve it by showing that we will hit back strongly. For god's sake, ACT.
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10:22 PM | Author: Siva
South Bay
South Bay,
originally uploaded by rsiva.
Some of the beautiful places south of the bay area are just 1-2 hrs drive from there. Big Basin Redwood state park is one of them. When you are surrounded by those giant redwoods some 2000 years old, some 300 ft tall, you literally see how small you are against nature. We also did the 17-mile drive. It was nothing great when compared to the drive along Highway 1, but we just drove the 17 miles as we were staying close by. The lone cypress gave some good photo ops.
Tip : If you are planning for a short day trip in the bay area then go to big basin. Lot of people will suggest mystery point and 17 mile drive. Big Basin is better and little known.
PS : flickr doesn't allow me to create more than 3 sets. So please use the next photo option starting from the current link
10:40 PM | Author: Siva
SanFrancisco & Pacifica
San Francisco & Pacifica,
originally uploaded by rsiva.
San Francisco is famous for the quote "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." which is often misattributed to Mark Twain. But it lived upto the quote. These photographs are taken in a june afternoon. The second part of the photographs are from Pacifica. This is a small town fondly called the fog capital of the world (like the Basketball's "World" Champions - Miami Heats). Our hotel Best Western lighthouse was right on the beach. Wonderful place.

Tip : If you are visiting San Francisco then plan your stay in Pacifica. It is just 15 miles south of San Francisco. But it is away from the city with a beautiful rugged and fogy coastline.
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1:56 AM | Author: Siva
originally uploaded by rsiva.
These pictures are from Yosemite National Park. What a place ! Breathtaking scenery, serene beauty, Nature at its best. Million words won't describe it. So let me leave it to the pictures.
Tip : Don't go on a holiday weekend. Stay inside the park even if it is expensive. you won't regret it.
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4:21 PM | Author: Siva
After a week's trip to different parts of California, I am slowly settling back to normal life. With close to 500 photographs, I won't be able to upload them all. We were fortunate to see some of the best places in California. I am going to upload the photos as various sets over a week. Below is a small sample from my wildlife set.

Most of these photos are from two places. Pt.Lobbos state park and from our whale watching trip. No photo can do justice to the magical beauty of Point Lobbos. We were happy that this place is still not in the tourist radar. Hence retains the magic.

We went 2.5 hrs into the sea to watch whales.(Sanctuary Cruises, Moss Landing) The trip was well worth it. To see 4 of those huge whales, move in tandem, blow, dive, breach out of water, play going sideways was an experience to itself. All this happens from 100-150 ft from where you stand. It is their territory. They dictate the terms. They dive, disappear for 4-5 mins and then reappear. Sometimes dangerously close to the boat, sometimes far away. If you are in the bay area don't miss these.

Wild Life,
originally uploaded by rsiva.
Whales, Birds, Sea Lions in California
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