Saturday, December 29, 2007

bLaugh funny

Another great one from the folks at bLaugh. It's an old one, but it's really great. I do hope they will start adding new cartoons on a more regular basis in the coming year. Until then, I am digging out some of the older ones. Enjoy!

Are You a Twitter Ninja?

On packing and moving

Well, the new year is almost here and I wonder what it will hold for us. We've just moved this year, so it's unlikely that we'll be moving again in the coming year, so that is one relief. In any case, I will be holding on to details of these New York movers just in case we need to be moving again. There is nothing more important than having a good moving company to take care of everything for you. It's what lets you keep your sanity and considering the number of times we've been moving, it's something that is required.

The first time I did an overseas move, I had to pack everything myself and ship it to an agent who crated all my boxes together in a wooden box and shipped them to me. I received my stuff three months later in perfect condition, although the customs agents swiped a couple of items from my boxes while it was being inspected. I didn't even find out about it until I opened everything and found several items to be missing. Then I remembered one chap peering intently into the box where I had packed the missing items, so it all added up. Oh well, it wasn't too much of a loss anyhow. The point of the matter is that unless you have a professional packer, you're always going to get into scrapes like this. So I learned my lesson well and from then on only hired the best and the brightest of the packing world.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A busy year for Blogger

2007 has been quite a busy year for Blogger, with the new version of Blogger becoming available, a variety of new widgets for the sidebar, availability in 26 languages, transliteration in Hindi, Blogger photos in Picasa, autosave, profile search, video upload, Blogger Play and so much more. In fact, when I went through their list, I realized that there was some new stuff that I totally missed and will now go back and check out and probably add to my blog. I have been using Blogger since 2004 and since it was my first blog platform, I got quite attached to it. I do have a Wordpress blog and love the way I can tweak it in a way that Blogger just is not able to, but then there are lots of advantages of this system as well. For one, it is great for a beginner and for someone who is not able to devote too much time in crafting a unique blog theme for themselves. I love their drag and drop menus, which make it so easy to move things around, add things, take stuff out and best of all, be done in just a few minutes, all without having to consult a manual. Looking forward to all the good stuff Blogger will come up with next year. Check out a full list of what they have been up to on the Blogger Buzz blog.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Philippines: a whole new world

Just when I've been thinking that things are getting a bit boring and we're getting stuck in too much of a routine and repetition about our travel plans, I find out about some incredible destinations in the Philippines. OK, I know, it's not as if I didn't know about it earlier, but for some reason it was never on my travel radar, as I assumed it to be a hot and crowded urban sprawl. Well, it's not and once you leave the cities, Philippines offers some pretty spectacular sights, for beach lovers, nature lovers and adventurers, high end as well as budget travelers.

The thing about traveling to new places is that it opens up our mind and by deciding on a destination beforehand is like simply closing your eyes, which is a such a waste, right? So, with the new year's coming up, I have decided to be more open about new destinations and not let my pre-conceived notions or lack of information get in the way.

OK, back to the Philippines and what started this whole thing is that I got a comment from the Travels and Tours blog site and so went there to have a look and became totally enchanted with visiting places like Cebu or Illigan City or the numerous other destinations that would be just super to visit. As with any new destination, one needs so much information about the place, accommodation, food, culture, flights, etc and Travel and Tours seems to have a pretty good job and giving lots of information on each destination, making it easier to figure it all out.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Music from the stereo or cable?

After the hectic rounds of shopping to set up home, we have not been able to do any follow ups at all, and so whatever was left then, still remains to be done. Thankfully, there is not much stuff left to be done, and we need just odd pieces here and there, such as a shelving unit for the pantry, a console table for the hallway and a stereo cabinet of some sort. So far, we've been listening to music on the DVD player but need to get around to buying a stereo system with a 5 CD changer, so we don't need to change the CDs so often.

What has delayed the process is that we get some really great music via our cable. There are 10 channels of music ranging from dance, rock, hit-list, classical, jazz, country, world carnival, urban, easy listening and love songs. There are no ads on it at all, and the music plays on and on for as long as you want it. We listen to the classical, jazz and urban channels quite often and so haven't really been in a rush to get around to buying a proper music system.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No vacation this time around

OK, so our holiday weekend plan is officially off, since I haven't been able to book a place that I liked and also since I have been dumped with a ton load of assignments all of a sudden. That's the bad part of being a freelancer, the holidays of the country that I stay in don't coincide with the holidays of my clients, so the end result is that I usually end up working during the holidays as well. During Thanksgiving time, since most US writers were on vacation, I had tons of work and the same seems to be happening now with Christmas coming up. As a freelancer, I do get to take a lot of time off in longer stretches, but a lot of time, I end up working when everyone around me is on vacation. So, as you can see, I am currently quite bummed out. Hope to shake off the mood asap though :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Do you know a "granny pirate"?

I couldn't resist putting up another cartoon from bLaugh. It turns out there are tons of old cartoons that I have not seen as yet. I started exploring some of the older ones, when I found this one that I really wanted to share out here. Enjoy, its a good one!

Granny Pirate

Coming to terms with problems

There are lots of places one goes to take a break, but it seems that lately, the most happening places have to do with drug rehabilitation of some sort. Teenagers and young adults are only following the precedence set by celebrities and are going in for such treatments more openly now. While once it was considered something to be hidden, these days people are quite proud of the fact that they are able to face their problems head on and take steps to fix them. Not so sure how well this system will function in the long run, but for now it seems that more younger people are making the decision to get professional help.

Umm, could it be more obvious?

Found this funny cartoon on bLaugh. It's quite an old one, but surprisingly I hadn't seen it before. I love almost everything I have seen on bLaugh, their cartoons really hit the spot. Enjoy!

What is it Boy?

Traveling the home exchange way

Finding a nice place to go to for the holidays is not easy work if you start off late. We've been searching for a nice 3-4 day vacation and have not been able to find either a nice place to stay or any special deals. Part of the problem is that our area of search is rather limited, since my visa is being processed and I cannot leave the country. But, if I could, we would be on our way to some place like Cyprus or Croatia!

I think I am through looking for nice cozy hotels to stay at though, and am now seriously thinking about doing a home exchange program, where we stay in someone's home and they or someone else stays in ours. At first, it seemed like a bit too much, to have someone stay in our home when we're not there, but it seems to make sense the more you think about it. After all, we could go and stay in someone else's house as well.

One of the best sites for home exchanges is JewettStreet, about which I have been planning to write for simply ages. JewettStreet.com is THE place to head to for any and all kind of information on home exchanges, and to find your perfect place. I have several destinations and homes in mind and would love to plan a trip for sometime next year. It really is becoming one of the best ways to see a new city or country and besides the small annual fee, your entire stay is free. What's better than a free vacation? More vacation time!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Are you hoping for a ring this Christmas?

In the holiday season there seems to be no better present than gifting diamond rings. Well, if you ask me, there is no perfect time to give or get a diamond ring, as it is the gift that makes it all perfect. For a lot of consumers, diamond rings are the best way to make Christmas seem magical and special, and retailers are aware of this sentiment and come up with some sensational offers to tempt customers. The variety and prices of diamond rings is really getting to be quite amazing, so it really is possible to own a diamond ring no matter how small your budget might be. Are

The new alternative: Neighborrow.com

Have you heard about a site called Neighborrow.com? I read about it in the comment section of Apartment Therapy New York today and I had to go deeper to seeing what it was all about. It's a simpler and both cost and time effective method of getting products and services to those who need them. You can find your neighborhood and find items that you would like to borrow or trade. So whether it is a sofa bed that you need to borrow for some house guests or some DVDs for the weekend, it's all made quite simple through the people at neighborrow.

Through a wine bottle

I don't think I ever put this photo up here before. Its a picture of the view out of our old kitchen window, through some old bottles of wine. I love colored glass and love to display it in front of a window or an a ledge, and somehow this these bottles looked really nice on the windowsill. I had to toss all my colored glass collection when we moved here, so the photos are all I have left of them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Las Vegas beckons!

The holidays are almost here, so are you all set for a nice fun vacation? Interestingly a great place to go to around the holidays is Las Vegas, which is not only about gambling any more. If you want a nice relaxing spa weekend that is also possible in Las Vegas, and remember the city is not only for the richest of the rich, there are plenty of discount hotels Las Vegas as well. Whether it is for a quick gambling weekend break for for a nice long shopping and spa vacation, Las Vegas really has something for everyone. Don't be wary of the city, don't underestimate it, and don't stay away from it for too long!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Flickr dilemma

I've been working a lot to sort out my pictures on Flickr and Picasa lately. I seem to have lots of doubles for some reason between these two photo storage solutions besides the photographs I have saved on my computer as well. For some reason, I have two huge batches of photographs on Flickr that I do not have on my computer anymore (or on Picasa either) and so need to download them one by one, unless someone knows if it is possible to download a batch from Flickr?

It sounds really tedious and time consuming but if I want those pictures, there is no other way I guess. When I switched from Yahoo photos to Flickr, they said it again and again, that there would be absolutely no restrictions at all and that the service would always be free, but now it seems that as a free account holder, I can only access 200 of my photos and the rest will stay 'hidden' until I delete some of the visible ones to free up some space.

Here's one of my favorite photos that I have taken. It was taken while we were driving along Cayuga Lake, just north of Ithaca, NY. This is a small version, since the larger one does not fit here. Click on the photo to see it in all its glory!

Driving along Cayuga Lake, NY

Friday, December 07, 2007

An old one

Here's an old post that I wanted to share. It somehow ended up in my draft box, so I thought I would post it now.

Delhi's been getting a lot of bad press lately with the sealings of commercial establishments in non-commercial zones, the way the Delhi Police handled the situation and the riots. Sunil Sethi writes about the rise of anger and hatred in the city.
An excerpt:
I have seldom seen the city gripped by such a prolonged series of panic attacks -- not even in its worst moments of crisis such as the anti-Sikh riots that erupted after the Indira Gandhi assassination. People are worried about their homes, their work places, their livelihoods, their future; the uncertainty has added up to a trauma seemingly without end.

Read the full article here in Rediff.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home office blues

One of my agenda's of late has been setting up a nice home office for myself, replete with all kinds of paper, post-it notes, advertising pens, clips, magnets and so on. Since I work from home, it is a good idea to segregate my work area from my regular computer use also, I thought. I have cut back quite a bit on my working hours in the past few months, but still need to have a good set up that I can go to and finish any work I might have as soon as possible. I like to be organized and this is one way to take care of that for me.

Where should we go for a vacation?

It's been a while since I blogged, just got busy in my work and somehow time flew by. Besides work, I have been busy trying to find a nice getaway for the end of the month. yes, I know the timing is really bad, to start looking for a Christmas/New Years Eve vacation at the beginning of December, but I thought it would be a good way to check out some of the last minute travel sites that I have been writing about. Well, things do not always work out quite as well as they should, and so far I have not been able to find either a flight or a hotel/B&B of my choice and within my budget.

My destinations of choice are Egypt, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey and Greece, all warm weather destinations that are full during the winter season. There were lots of great deals to Egypt if one traveled at the beginning of the month, buy nothing after the 10th of December. I'm wondering if we should just shelve the plan and look out for something in these locations at the end of January, after which we will not be able to go, since we will be having guests come stay with us, as well as a business conference to attend. We had already planned to take a trip back home sometime in Feb or Mar and don't want to give that up either.

Hmmm....lets see what happens....