Puerto Rico trip
- Give us this day, our daily bread… and our iPhones 🙂 Nov 23, 2014
- The girls could not be happier to get out of cloudy and grey Atlanta… Nov 23, 2014
- Shakespeare. Circa 21st Century 🙂 Nov 23, 2014
- View from the room Nov 23, 2014
- Quiz for all selfie takers – see if you can answer this… Nov 24, 2014
Notice the following selfie. It is a proper selfie – taken with the front camera of an iPhone (evident by the fact I could not use the flash). No timer was used and there was no third person involved as well as no editing was done. Yet, you can see both the arms of both the subjects fully.
How was this done?
- Somebody has called dibs on our breakfast leftovers!! Nov 24, 2014
- Sun’s up! Nov 24, 2014
- Interesting cop car lights Nov 24, 2014
- The idea was to go for a walk on the beach… Nov 24, 2014
- The teenagers just decided to carpe their diem… Nov 24, 2014
- What does not mix with water? Nov 24, 2014
- Nikispeak … Nov 24, 2014
Finally, some one on one time with ten year old Niki over lunch. Some samples of the conversation will prove why I look forward to these one on one times…
Me: What’s top of your wish list in life?
She: Getting a monthly allowance.
Me: Sure. We can talk about it. We just need to decide what I am not going to pay anymore for and what is your budget. You do need to keep track of expenses.
She: Hmmm…. Sounds like a lot of work. Let’s keep the current arrangement where you pay without any upper limit….
Me: So, any cute boys in school?
Me: How come?
She: I am still in the cootie stage!
She: So, Dad, did you buy mama any gift for her birthday yet?
Me: No. Why?
She: I was hoping to write my name also on your gift!!! I have no allowance money!!!
- Sharmila was excited beyond belief!! Nov 24, 2014
- A mixologist’s dream come true!! Nov 24, 2014
- The ultimate stamp of authenticity… Nov 25, 2014
- Our breakfast company is back!!! Nov 25, 2014
- La Coca Falls Nov 25, 2014
- La Mina Falls Nov 25, 2014
- Hike in the rainforest… Nov 25, 2014
- That is messed up. Nov 25, 2014
Driving on the highways of Puerto Rico, I felt uneasy somehow. Something was not right. Being in a very different place, I was applying total caution – stayed in the right lane, within speed limit and all that. Still, things did not feel right.
On a hunch, I asked Sharmila to Google something. Sure enough!!
In Puerto Rico, all distances are posted in kilometers but all speed limits are posted in miles per hour!!!
Go figure!! These guys must be very good at multiplying and dividing by 1.6 🙂
In any case, I speeded up as I switched to my comfort zone – the left lane 🙂
- “I got my eyes on you”!! Nov 26, 2014
- Open hours are way overrated… Nov 26, 2014
- The coffee cup! Nov 26, 2014
- Up in the air!! Nov 26, 2014
- Niki blissfully bodysurfing… Nov 26, 2014
- Completely engulfed!!! Nov 26, 2014
- From the canon turrets of Castillo San Felipe del Morro Nov 26, 2014
- Looking into the vast ocean – from the fort.. Nov 26, 2014
- Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sharmila’s 20th birthday! Nov 27, 2014
- The Indians are here! The Indians are here!! Nov 27, 2014
Last night, it seems, Puerto Rico got overrun by the Indians! Around evening time, we noticed a sudden spike of Indians on the streets, hotels, beaches and so on. That reminded us how every Thanksgiving week when we go to South America / Central America / Caribbean to celebrate Sharmila’s birthday, we also run into a lot of Indian guests the evening before Thanksgiving.
At the risk of stereotyping.. ah, who am I kidding? To stereotype a lot, you know those are Indian folks and not locals by a few tell tale signs – for example, all those people gathered around the large chessboard on the floor by the hotel pool early in the morning egging their kids on for the next move? Indians, for sure 🙂
Second, we tend to be very loud in public places. We are not parents of the ilk that would get up from their lobby chairs to tell their wayward young kid gently to not go out of the hotel doors. We yell from across the lobby “Ay, Rajesh! Bahaar mat jaana. Bahaar bhaloo hai”. (Don’t go out. There is a bear outside). Obviously it is a bear sick and tired of the cold up north and decided to get to the Caribbean 🙂
Finally, all those people – especially ladies – getting into the beach after sunset in their jeans just as everybody is walking out? That is us, Indians!! 🙂
Joking aside, over the years, as I have talked to a lot of them and tried to create some intersections, I have learnt that it is pretty much the same set of reasons why Indians in US travel so much during Thanksgiving. First, Thanksgiving is a celebration of family. Most of us, immigrants, tend to not have any family to get together with in this side of the world.
Second, we are also unified in our common fear of the cold. We just do not like cold. A few days of no work during the advent of winter is as good reason as any to hightail it to the warmer beaches.
Finally, Thanksgiving is the glorious season of overeating turkeys. We are the vegetarians. You do the math. 🙂
- My loot! Nov 27, 2014
- Another first for flight delay! Nov 27, 2014
- Ferguson – Big Data, Bias and a Megaphone Nov 27, 2014
I cannot seem to escape the retinue of updates from my Facebook friends sending me their points of views on what is happening in Ferguson. Actually, I look forward to my friends’ opinions. First, they are very smart. Second, I am always interested in views and counter views. Unfortunately for me though, my friends are not sending me their views / counter views after looking at a lot of data and then taking the time to write out their well formed opinions.
What I am getting is my friends sending me yet another link – with a line penned by them which basically says “Yeah – whatever he said”. Funny part is that if one puts all the so-called-facts from all my friends’ links together, it makes for a real self-contradictory hodge podge of a story.
I asked myself what might be driving this behavior. In my own analysis (admittedly, I am not the sharpest analyst around) this is a by product of three things. First, we have a “Big Data” problem. Second, we have the problem that we do not recognize “Bias” within ourselves. Third, technology platforms like FB, blogs etc give each one of us a big, faceless “Megaphone”.
First the big data problem: Given any event, it used to be that the sources of information were limited in number – you know there were a few newspapers and a few TV channels creating original content. Today, there are numerous blog sites, talking heads, expert columns and so on spewing out zillions and zillions of points of views / opinions / “facts”. As a consumer of information that is just way too much information to digest. You do not have time nor the ability to process all that. That is a true Big Data problem.
Then comes the Bias angle. Forget the biases of the creators of content. As a human being, faced with the Big Data problem, we narrow down our sources of information. And without exception, we choose sources that bolster our inherent belief (bias). There is a fascinating book that deals with this cognitive bias topic called Descartes’ Error. For whatever it is worth, cognitive bias was absolutely required for humankind to survive. In this case, though, it serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If one believes the police officer committed cold blooded murder, one always gravitates towards articles and blogs that quote “facts” making the above case. Similarly, for those who believe the police officer had to kill as a self defense. One has great doubts when reading “facts” suggesting the opposite of one’s inherent belief. It creates a conflict between the limbic part of our brain and the neo-cortex part of our brain that makes us very very uncomfortable.
As an example, none of my friends ever post two different links – one making the case and one negating the case. In fact, for most of my friends, based on their past posts, I can predict with pretty good accuracy which way their latest link is going to opine.
Finally, you have this great thing called social media, blogs and such. They are great platforms. But like every platforms, they are merely tools. They have their positives and their negatives. One of the feature of these platforms is that it lends its user a big megaphone. It allows the user to say anything. Usually without much “talk back”. When is the last time you have seen, in any blog, a comment has been as long as the post itself? Or the same person walking into a party and as freely opening up the topic of discussion by stating his and her points of views without solicitation?
The above three often interplay in very interesting ways. Have you noticed how most of the time the comments to posts are made by people who agree rather than disagree – especially on divisive topics like politics, religion etc? That is the Megaphone and Bias playing together. And guess what happens when people use the Megaphone to talk about how they so much agree with views that agree with their “Bias”. They create more “Big Data”!!!
My point is not that people should not express their points of views. They absolutely should. I look forward to those, hopefully, opposing views. But I would love the courtesy of somebody writing out their thoughts instead of sending me all those links. Usually, I do not follow those links.
Perfect would be if one could make the points, the counterpoints and then give his or her opinion on where her belief system is pointing to. Now, that would be a great post to read. Not like the boring ones I write 🙂
- Thanksgiving: Different year, different place, same message Nov 27, 2014
This year it was Puerto Rico. Instead of looking into the volcano, Sharmila and I stared into the limitless ocean. And as Sharmila and I reflected on our lives, we came to the same conclusion we come to every year.
Thanksgiving: That ultimate symbol of strength of a family. For immigrants from India like us, when visiting our traditional family typically involves a trip to the doctor for a malaria shot, invariably “family” has taken a larger meaning in life. It has afforded us to truly embrace the larger sense of the word family.
For the last twenty plus years “family” has mostly meant those beautiful people we had the privilege of calling our friends in our journey thru multiple countries, states, cities, jobs….In that journey, our roads met and those friends chose to take a few steps together with us. Those few steps – as ephemeral as they might be – has made all the difference to the two of us.
This message is our sincerest form of saying “Thanks!!! Thanks for taking a few steps together with us. It has made the journey so enjoyable that we no longer care about the destination!!!”
- Nikispeak: Giving Thanks Nov 28, 2014
- Playing with the panoramic mode on the iPhone Nov 28, 2014