Drive-In Movie  

Posted by Ray in

The Memorial Day weekend was a movie weekend. The first movie we saw was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull. It was a huge disappointment. I did not expect it to be as good as the Last Crusade, but the new movie failed to score even half the points. The ending was just ridiculous - wasn't like a Spielberg movie.

The next day, we decided to go for a drive-in movie. It was a funny experience. My wife, My SIL, My brother and I drove to the drive-in theater around 9 PM. After we brought the tickets and tuned in to the FM channel carrying the audio of the movie, I realized that the gas tank was almost empty and so I had to drive out of the theater having an Indian moment by asking the box office clerk if we could drive back in after we pump some gas. We made a re-entry after 10 minutes and the movie had just started. It took us close to an hour to find the perfect angle to park the car so that all four of us could see the screen clearly. After we parked the car, my wife and I walked to the snack bar and brought some pop-corn which was ridiculously priced. We brought some pop-corn and ice-cream. What's a movie without junk food?

The movie was over by 11:30 and as I was driving out of the theater, I was forced to make a U-turn and make a second re-entry - this time to catch another movie at the same theater. Once again I had my second Indian moment of the day. I asked the box-office clerk if we could watch another movie with the same ticket. She said, "Oh yes. You have paid for your movies".

Wow...what a deal - pay $9 and watch two movies. This time we parked at a better angle and watched the movie Iron Man. After about 1 hour into the movie, all of us fell asleep except my brother. He asked me to drive home as he was the only person who was watching the movie. So I woke up and started driving and reached home around 1 AM. The next morning the car looked like a trash bin with pop-corn strewn all over the place.

Overall it was a very good weekend.

Monday Morning  

Posted by Ray in

This morning when I picked up my car from the BWI Airport Daily Garage, it was covered with bird poop. The reason I park my new car in the garage is to keep it new and shiny, at least as long as I can afford the $10 a day parking charge. I did not expect to see bird poop all over the car. It so happened that I had actually parked right below a bird's nest - looks like they had a large family up there - probably had other families visiting them for the weekend. I couldn't open the door as the door handle was smothered in you know what. I had to get in the car through the front passenger side door. I took my car straight to the car wash and while waiting for all the bird poop to wash away, here is a couple of interesting things that I heard on the local radio station.

1. 1 Gallon of Gas - 5 cents
An 88 year old lady named Gladys was being interviewed and she mentioned that she remembers the time when a gallon of gas cost only a nickel. Now it is closing in on an amount that is 100 times more than the price that Gladys can remember. She also said how things have changed at the Gas Station. Now you have so many questions to answer at the gas pump. First you have to select the card type - debit or credit and in some cases a very annoying request for a zip code. Then you have to say if you need a receipt or not. Then you have to select the gas type - Regular, Plus, Supreme. You are not yet done. Do you need a car wash today? That is another question. And for folks who requested a receipt, you have the inconvenience of waiting for the receipt to print. At 88 years, Gladys says she hasn't much time left and she just wants to pump gas and not answer a bunch of questions. Who can blame her?

2. The American Economy
I heard this piece of news on NPR. The Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is cautiously upbeat about the economy.

Hmm...what is the meaning of being cautiously upbeat? Just a few weeks back Ben Bernanke was cautiously optimistic. So why was Bernanke cautiously optimistic and why is Paulson cautiously upbeat. What is the difference? There is no difference. As Ben Bernanke used the word
cautiously optimistic, the Treasury Secretary wanted to show his command over the English vocabulary. Now he has to say something that means nothing. He cannot use the word 'nothing' for it because people would easily understand it. At the same time he cannot repeat what Ben Bernanke said for that would render his office as redundant. A new term is coined and out it comes - cautiously upbeat.

Imagine Homer Simpson talking with the Treasury Secretary (or with Ben Bernanke)

Homer: um...Mr. Secretary (or Mr. Fed Chairman), are you concerned about the economy?
Secretary/ Fed Chairman: Ah...Homer...I'm cautiously upbeat (optimistic) and ....
Homer: Wohoooo!! (Homer runs out to get a donut)


Posted by Ray in

China Earthquake (Translated using Google Translator)

Nature is the face of God and God is angry now. As the Chinese people believe, so do I that a natural disaster happens when God (or the power above) is not happy. While mankind has been able to conquer Planet Earth and study and land (rovers) on different planets, still we don't have an answer to the chaotic happenings in our planet. Weather is a Chaotic phenomenon and so are natural disasters. to some extent we can predict certain disasters (like a cyclone), but it is beyond human power to control or prevent these happenings.

Nature is so humbling. Everytime we run loose with some theory that makes us feel that we are on top of the world, Mother Nature steps in and humbles us all. But at the same time it is Mother Nature who springs up all miracles. When I was driving to work yesterday, I was listening to the news on NPR and this news made me smile and it just made me thank God with great joy. This was the news: A woman who was burried under the rubble for about 50 hours was pulled out alive by rescue workers. Here comes the amazing part of it - She was 8 months pregnant.

I feel very sorry for the thousands of people who lost their lives. There will be childless parents and parents without a child. Time is the healer. It will take a long time for us to forget but the people who were in the midst of all this will have this traumatic experience etched in their memory forever. The Earthquake where thousands died and a pregnant woman who is alive after being buried for 50 hours - if God can do this, I'm sure He will help all those who are affected.

As it is stated in The Gita, Whatever will happen, that too will be for good.

Disasters break the boundaries of the world. It brings people together. India helped Pakistan when Pakistan was badly hurt by an Earthquake. We now see Japan and Taiwan willing to extend a helping hand to China. I'm glad that beyond all the political bickerings and fights, an invisible love exists that unfortunately comes out only during natural disasters. If we can bring it out during tough times, it is easy to bring it out during other times as well. Love All.

Though we are powerless to prevent these disasters, we do have the power to help the thousands who are suffering. Make a small donation to help the Relief Efforts. You can make a donation here.

Here and Now  

Posted by Ray in

The blog has nothing to do with the "Here and Now" talk show hosted by Robin Young of WBUR.

By saying Here and Now I intend to write about the activities that I'm involved in.

1. ToastMasters International

I'm now a member of the White Oak ToastMasters. I'm hoping to improve my public speaking skills by being a part of this club. To learn more about the ToastMasters, click on the link above.

2. Silver Spring Writers Group
This group is organized by a good lady names Jane. Again, wanted to improve my writing skills. My first task is to write a short story which will be critiqued by the other members of the group in the June meeting.

3. Reading Books
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Kite Runner, Marley & Me, Watership Down, Out Stealing Horses, Into the Wild, A Woman in Jerusalem, Memory Keepers Daughter - all these are some of the books that I have read recently.