Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome October

October is here - bringing cool breeze and wonderful temperature for us to enjoy. Lots of things happening in October - stores will be stocking up Christmas decorations, people will start planning for thanksgiving, Christmas and new year, etc.. apart from scaring each others during Halloween.

For gardeners, it's time to plant those bulbs for spring flowers. I check this site to learn what's going around Atlanta and for last minute planning.

October is the national breast cancer awareness month, & the national domestic abuse awareness month.

Important dates:
October 8   - National Children's Day
October 8   - Yom Kippur
October 10 - Columbus Day
October 13 - Sukkot
October 31 - Halloween

Yeah, it's time to change out background - let's do it sometime next week.


If you know

If you know who you are, it is simply because you know who He is.

If you know who you are, you will understand that you are greater than the circumstances of your birth and your present environment.

If you know who you are, the future is not something you dread but something you can hardly wait to shape into a masterpiece.

If you know who you are, you will make it your greatest ambition to make other people’s lives better because you showed up.

If you know who you are, other people’s opinions of you won’t make you doubt your own ability or character.

If you know who you are, you will be gracious in defeat and humble is victory, knowing that you can’t be defined by a single event in life.

If you know who you are, it’s a Life of Integrity easy to celebrate other people because their greatness takes nothing away from your own legend.

If you know who you are, you are not so caught up in trivial and local championship contests since the whole world is your for the taking.

If you know who you are, other gifted people don’t provoke inferiority in you because you know that you also have something significant.

If you know who you are, you also understand that all of heaven and earth has been set up to help you fulfil your God-given destiny.

If you know who you are, you will realize that the best environment for your Spirit and Soul is the presence of God.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Elephant house

Three mischievous boys went to the zoo one day on a school outing. They decided to visit the elephant enclosure, but within an hour they were picked up by a police officer for causing a commotion.

The officer hauled them off to security for questioning and the zookeeper asked them to give their names and say why they had started the trouble in the elephant house.

The first boy was neatly dressed and said, “My name is Gary, and I was just throwing peanuts into the elephant enclosure.”

The second also looked sharp as he related the same story. “My name is Kevin, and all I was doing was trying to throw peanuts into the elephant pen.”

The third boy was dirty and disheveled by the ordeal and said, “My name is Peter but my friends call me Peanuts.”


Clean clothes

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman watched her neighbor hanging washed clothes outside.

“That laundry is not very clean,” she said. ”She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her washed clothes to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean washed clothes on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.I wonder who taught her this.”

The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”


Here I am to worship

One of my favorite worship songs that I often listen to.

I usually close my eyes while listening to this one.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Never ever give up

School was all but impossible for Sparky. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics, Latin, algebra and English in high school. He didn't do much better in sports. Although he did manage to make the school golf team, he promptly lost the only important match of the year. There was a consolation match and he lost that, too.

Throughout his youth, Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually disliked by the other students; he wasn’t considered consequential enough for that! He was astonished if a classmate ever said “hello” to him outside school hours. He never found out how he would have fared as a “date.” In high school, Sparky never once asked a girl out. He was too afraid of being rejected.

Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates, and everyone else knew it, so Sparky simply accepted it. But one thing was important to Sparky: drawing. He was proud of his own artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year in high school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of his yearbook. They were turned down. Despite this particularly painful rejection, Sparky had found his passion.

Upon graduating from high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was told to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject matter for a cartoon was suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time on it and on the other drawings. Finally the reply from the Disney Studios came. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the loser.

Sparky wrote his own autobiography in cartoons. He described his childhood self, a little-boy loser and chronic under achiever. He was the little cartoon boy whose kite would never fly, who never succeeded in kicking the football, and who became the most famous cartoon character of all, Charlie Brown!


Sparky, the boy who failed every subject in the eighth grade and whose work was rejected again and again, was Charles Schulz.

File:Charles Schulz NYWTS.jpg

Charles Schulz persevered. He succeeded beyond his wildest imagination. He earned and deserved that success. He had failed at everything else he had tried. He endured rejection. It took a lot of trial and error to finally find out what it was that he was supposed to do. But he never quit. Because Charles Schulz persevered, the world is richer. Peanuts ran for nearly 50 years, almost without interruption. During the life of the strip, Schulz took only one vacation, a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday.

Schulz had been asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century."

Yet, in a December 1999 interview, just two months before his death, holding back tears, he recounted the moment when he signed the panel of his final strip, saying, “All of a sudden I thought, 'You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick - he never had a chance to kick the football!'”


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fireman Billy

A story about the last wish of a dying child.

The 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, he also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parents he wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. but she still wanted her son's dreams to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?" "Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up." Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true."

Later that day she went to her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six year old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can comedown to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! "And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat -- not a toy one --with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It's just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room? About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital, extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window and 16 firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?" " Billy, you are," the chief said. With those words, Billy smiled and closed his eyes one last time.


New day

Right now, it's Tuesday, Sept 27th 6:07 AM EST in Atlanta.  But, in Line Islands, it's already the dawn of Sept 28th.

So, following up from my yesterday's puzzle, if I have to start the birth of a day somewhere in the world, while I live in the East coast, I should start it at 6:00 AM EST the previous day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wrestling angry bulls

Guess how guys in Madagascar prove their manhood and become hero - by wrestling angry bulls.

Watch this video to see their cultural heritage called Savika - a rodeo type sport (caption included).


Tech news

In the tech world, the only thing that remains constant is - change. What used to be hip yesterday could be obsolete tomorrow. Myspace used to be the social media leader until recently; now it's fb. Tomorrow it could be something else. You can just imagine how much this change makes technology consultants stay on their toes.

While it's fun posting things on the social media, a wrong post or something said about you by your friends could hurt you. Here is how: many large corporations are now doing 'social media background check' along with the regular background check to hire potential employees. They could refuse you a job based on some nasty posting you did, or something your friends may have said about you few years ago. So, be aware of how you handle the social media.

Fb started off as an address book with photos and profile back in 2004 at Harvard. If you search me on the social media, chances are you may not find me. It's because I can (still) remember the name, address, phone, email, birthday and interests of those people in my life - my wife, child and one (or two) friends. Granted, none of them would be available via social media (or even phone/text) if I am in an emergency - my best bet would be to call 911 instead.

Social media is for individuals who have hundreds, if not thousands of friends spanning across various continents and numerous time zones - those who need to constantly announce their whereabouts in this galaxy, else their friends and family will start panicking; those who need to publish pictures of their vacation travel, fun with friends, celebrations etc..; those who need to share their life accomplishments with their acquaintances, etc. If social media is to keep in touch with family and friends, guess what - my family and friends, if I ask them, will tell me, "We are toooo much in touch with you - what we need to do is to stay away from each other for sometime."

A recent survey results showed that 68% of women and 54% of men use social networking to communicate with friends; 60% women and 42% men use it to stay in touch with family; and 34% women vs. 22% men for colleagues. Click here to read more.

Use social networks to keep in touch

Facebook is introducing numerous changes along with new looks.  Click here to read a guide on everything you need to know. This article will prepare you for the new change.

However, if you are a regular fb user, be aware that the new features may not be as private. Here is that news article.

Meanwhile, Google + has started it's race in the social networking arena and added 43 million customers. If you are a regular google user, you must have already got the invite to switch to Google+.  Click here to view the demo about Google+.  By the way, this is not the same +1 you observe during google searches and blog articles, but is linked to Google+.  To use the +1 feature, you have to be logged in.  Once you click on +1, the entire screen will disappear followed by an explosion and you'll be taken to the next generation internet browsing experience using semantic Web 3.0, while the national anthem of your country of choice plays in the background - just kidding!!!!  The +1 button gives your approval, (along with optional comments) to the next reader visiting that site/article.  In other words, +1 is a digital recommendation indicating, "cool stuff" and will appear in google searches as well - similar to stars when we buy a product online after checking user reviews.

Even though I know that none of you readers will make a bold move by pressing the +1 button during this lifetime, below is a video explaining the +1 button for those interested.

I would recommend you give at least couple of weeks before you switch over to Google+ if you have not switched yet; unless you volunteer to be the guinea pig for testing.

Certain human behavior - 3

Today, let's take a look at the Tennis Dilemma, while discussing 'Certain human behavior.'  I am bringing this article to a closure with this post.

You and two of your tennis friends are independently offered the use of a tennis court. Each of you has to decide on the spot and without any opportunity to negotiate or communicate which offer to take:

(a) 45 minutes of tennis at court A, or
(b) 60 minutes at court B.

If all three of you opt for the same court, you can all play but you have to share the court amongst the three of you, so that each of you will play 2/3rd of the total time available. If one of you selects a court different from the choice of the two others, (s)he is alone and can not play any tennis, while the other two each have the court of their choice available to play for the full time allotted.

Which tennis court do you choose?

Do I hear 'B'? Good! With tennis court 'B' available for a longer period and all other things being equal, non-stupid persons will select option 'B'. Assuming that your two friends make the same rational choice, you will each enjoy 40 minutes of tennis.

"What is the dilemma?", you might ask, "there is only one reasonable choice! I know option 'B' is best, and so do the two others. I would never select 'A', that would leave me empty handed and give them the full 60 minutes of tennis."

If these thoughts crossed your mind, you have fallen victim of Cipolla's law** on non-stupid people underestimating the damaging power of stupid individuals. Let's see why this is the case.

As we have seen, you will be doing well with your rational choice for option 'B' as long as at least one of the two others behaves rational as well.

But what if both others behave stupidly and select court 'A'? This changes things dramatically. You end up alone at court 'B' which gives you zero minutes of play, while the two others each enjoy 45 minutes of tennis.

How stupid is that?

Imagine the discussion afterwards. "You should have selected the other court" you shout at your friends when they have finished their game.

"Why would we?" is the calm reply.

"Choosing 'A' is a really stupid move!" you burst out, "choice 'B' gives much more playing time!"

"How much time would we have received if we had selected option 'B'?

"We would each have had 40 minutes!"

"Ha! We have played for 45 minutes. I think you are stupid!"

Loud laughter surrounds you while your 'stupid' tennis friends walk to the tennis bar, leaving you speechless.

What can you do, if you are in such circumstances, over and over?  You should not be thinking, "Thank God, I am not the only one - I've got company." Instead, you need to act intelligently.

Ignorance is the condition of not knowing, and this is often referred to as being stupid. Stupidity is often a choice about how informed we are (or appear to be) when we speak and act. The atmosphere or environment we are venturing into and how much prior knowledge we have in that field comes handy. To make a sound judgement, you need trustworthy information/evidence in that area. In a society where there is so much 'grape vine communication' going on, it's hard to assess who's speaking the truth and whose information is credible. You have to be the judge, based on prior history and experience in that field. Don't just believe everything that you hear - first check your source, and your source's source if necessary. Most of the times, it's hard to verify the 3rd circle. If you do not have credible information, it's better not to construct such a model - lean on your own opinion, instead.

In other cases, stupidity appears in the form of how we reason. This makes us less familiar with reasoning and results in poor decisions, thus making us look stupid to others that have better reasoning skills. Majority of the stupid decisions are made because the entire group is following someone's advice blindly - without challenging it. Independent thinking is the key here. Think out the solution for yourself first. If you are fully convinced of a solution, rather than keeping quiet and follow the lead, you should discuss it with your trusted friend(s). Open up their minds - share your wisdom. Probe them with questions and let them think rationally.  Share the first hand experience(s) you have. Let them think for themselves and do the reasoning based on the pointers you provided, rather than 'follow the pack' blindly.

In an essay by Scott Berkun, he explains: "The problem with smart people is that they like to be right and sometimes will defend ideas to the death rather than admit they’re wrong. This is bad. Worse, if they got away with it when they were young (say, because they were smarter than their parents, their friends, and their parent’s friends) they’ve probably built an ego around being right, and will therefore defend their perfect record of invented righteousness to the death. Smart people often fall into the trap of preferring to be right even if it’s based in delusion, or results in them, or their loved ones, becoming miserable." Click here to read the entire essay.

There are many interesting reasons that I read up during my research on this particular topic, but I am cutting short and choose not to elaborate any further.

---- Additional Info-------

**Carlo Cipolla, a UC Berkely professor, wrote a humorous treatise, "The Basic Laws of Stupidity," which was a national bestseller in Italy and was produced as a play in France. He outlines 5 basic laws of stupidity, which are listed below. Click here to read the treatise. Most of the time, Law # 4 applies to majority of us.

The basic laws of human stupidity:

1st Law: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

2nd Law: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

3rd Law: A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

4th Law: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

5th Law: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

Credits Tennis dilemma: Johannes Koelman

Celebration duration

Here is a puzzle I was working on:

Suppose I want to celebrate a certain birthday - say Sept 27th, from the moment that day is born somewhere in the world, until it's the last minute of Sept 27th at the other end of the world, how many hours should I be celebrating? 

Answer: The celebration can last for 50 Hours.

----- Additional info----

Explanation: The first and the last time zones are 26 hours apart. Any given calendar day exists at some point of the globe for 50 hours. Sept 27 will begin at time zone UTC+14 (Line Islands) at 10:00 UTC, Sept 26 and will continue until UTC-12 (Baker Island) at 12:00 UTC, Sept 29.  

UTC = Coordinated Universal Time. UTC is used on the internet.  An example is while to calculate the time an email is send and received. The sender time zone is used to calculate the send time, but this time is recalculated by the receiver mail client, and shown according to the receiver time zone.

Now, if you are interested in doing the math for UTC conversion, here is the formula:

"Time in zone B" = "Time in zone A" − "UTC offset for zone A" + "UTC offset for zone B".

Let's do a simple math to find out the time in San Francisco (UTC offset= −08) when it is 09:30 in New York (UTC offset=−05)

Time in San Francisco = 09:30 − (−05:00) + (−08:00) = 06:30.
Yes, when it's 9:30 in NY, it is 6:30 in California.

Anyway, 50 hours gives me the number I was looking for. Next, when should I start the 50 hour celebration?  I mean, it would be nice if I knew the start time in EST - that would have been so convenient. Once I figure that out, end time would be 50 hours later (right?).


Prayer time

By reviewing the scripture and by observing the way Jesus lived while on earth, we notice that Jesus spent a lot of 'quiet time' with God, praying.  Luke 5:16 quotes, "Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." Being the only son of God, being part of the Holy Trinity, being the sinless person, why did He have to pray so passionately and regularly to God? The question is quite astonishing.

The theological explanation is, "Jesus wanted to stay in tune with His Father - to carry out His Father's will.  Jesus wanted to maintain the relationship with His Father through the vehicle of prayer."

By looking at Jesus, we learn that prayer is the only means through which He obtained the energy to sustain and carry out His ministry.

If Jesus needed prayer to stay in-tune with His Father, how much more prayer do we sinful mortals need?

If Jesus, the great teacher, was seeking God's blessing to complete His mission, how much more blessings do we require to carry out those tasks vested within ourselves?

Speaking from my own experience, here's what I have to share:
- Once we start spending quiet time with God, we will start receiving God's eternal love.
- Once we start receiving God's eternal love, we will soon realize a fact - the more we get to know God, the more we will love Him.
- Knowing that God loves you, sees you, hears you and is with you - is such a spectacular feeling!!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is here

Fall is already here!!

If you are like me, and enjoy going around, take a peek at activities in and around Atlanta, this fall season.

Oktoberfest in Helen
Where: Town of Helen, GA
When: September 22 – October 30

North Georgia State Fair
Where: Jim Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Rd SW, Marietta, GA 30008
When: September 22 - October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Festival at Stone Mountain
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: September 30 - October 30, 2011 (Fridays - Sundays)

Taste of Atlanta
Where: Tech Square
When: October 22 - October 23, 2011

Field of Greens Festival
Where: Whippoorwill Hollow Farm
When: October 2, 2011

Smryna Fall Jonquil Festival
Where: 200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna, 30080
When: October 22 – 23, 2011

Oh no - I did not miss out on Halloween!! It's always on the cards.

We started pulling out our fall clothes from the closet. It's quite chilly during early mornings - but nice; I enjoy it.

The best view of fall - trees changing colors is visible in the Smokey Mountains. We may head out to the Smokeys, to get a glimpse of nature changing color.



How sweet of the girl taking care of the guy with her (matching pink) bag.

Coming to think about it - how selfish of the guy not to use his (black) bag.

Maybe she is the one and only rain-lover?