31 July 2010

Chipa Chipa

Apparently this means "sticky" in Hindi slang. It perfectly describes the weather outside.

I took the afternoon and evening off yesterday to enjoy New Delhi with a friend and colleague.

My good friend, Toast, would absolutely hate being in New Delhi this time of year. Yesterday it was hot (~100F) and muggy. The rain came down in tiny droplets all day; not enough to really make you wet but enough to show that the humidity was up there around 100%. It made even strolling slowly through ancient Mughal mosques and tombs a sweaty, sticky enterprise. I'm usually quite tolerant of humid heat, having grown up in South Florida. Yesterday even made me uncomfortable.

There was a moment of respite at the Lotus Temple. We reached the terrace at the temple just after sundown and were greeted by a cool and comfortable breeze. It was needed after the sweltering day. Unfortunately the inside of the temple was still and hot. I wish they had opened all the glass doors around the temple to let nature and wind through. Still, the architecture was impressive. Outside and from afar the petals of the lotus give an expectant feel as though they might open at any moment. Inside the temple is purest white and marble all about. There is a golden sunburst at the peak of the temple with stone lines reaching all the way down to broad arches circling the congregation. The lines give a sense of radiant godhood shining down on the worshipper while at the same time uplifting the heart. While your spirit reaches up for the divine the heavy marble arches keep your body firmly grounded. Its very peaceful and uplifting. Even the podium is made of transparent polyurethane so as to not mar the overpowering sense of purity within the temple.

Too bad the teachings of Baha'i are a load of bunk.

30 July 2010

Brave New Metro

The Metro opened in Sector 18 Noida since the last time I was here. I love taking local transit whenever travelling. So when I go shopping tomorrow with a colleague I'm going to take the metro down to India Gate to meet her. For 19 rupees instead of probably closer to 1000 rupees for the hotel car to take me, I can mingle with the people and explore the central downtown area. This is going to be fun.

Updated: The New Delhi Metro was clean, well running and easily navigated. So different than the city streets. Now if only it was far more ubiquitous. The Metro continues to expand; but, even the tracks that are planned are not enough to dramatically improve the street traffic.

29 July 2010

Chinese Food in India

Don't eat it. Its not good.

Every food is altered to match the local palate. Indian food in the US tastes different than Indian food in India. Its milder and generally of lower quality because the clientele isn't used to such spiciness and doesn't have the discerning taste with the food style. Chinese food seems to be particularly vulnerable to this type of "localization" of the flavor. Chinese food is *dramatically* different in China vs. US vs. Europe vs. India. In India, the Chinese food tastes very much like Indian food with too much and too varied spices. If you happen to order a dish that just doesn't translate to the Indian palate, such as the classic Hong Kong dish Scallops with X.O. Sauce that I ordered last night, its just plain weak and uses very low quality ingredients.

The rice sucks, too. Indian rice (basmati) is good if cooked in the Indian style. Basmati rice does not go with Chinese food. Chinese rice cooked by Indian chefs does not work.

Save the Internet

I agree with Al Franken, this really is the first amendment issue of our time. Go and make your voice heard. It is imperative that you do so.

I've seen the underbelly of corporate skullduggery first hand. Its more an issue to find ways to drive profits than actual malfeasance; but, you will indeed see abuse of internet access to certain sites if we don't stand up for Net Neutrality now. Do it.

28 July 2010

And Now I Know Why

Apropos to the most recent post here, after walking out of the hotel and getting blasted with 105 degree F heat at 9 AM I now know why everyone was saying the rain and wind were "good" weather.

Updated: 10:15 PM now and still over 90 degrees F outside.

27 July 2010

Talking About the Weather

An interesting phenomenon is that people in different cultures have a different idea of what is "good" weather.

It gets hot here in India - really hot. Yesterday the weather was overcast and windy with the normal sporadic heavy squalls of mansoon season. Everyone I crossed in the hall who made small talk mentioned how wonderful a day it was outside.

* Bursts of heavy rain
* Wind
* Low, overhanging black clouds

"Oh, what great weather we're having today."

Go figure.

26 July 2010

Back in India

I'm in Noida again, just got to the hotel room about an hour and half ago. The flight was both good and bad.

The good was that I upgraded to business class. So I got a lot better sleep without the soreness of sleeping in coach. Right now I feel totally rested and caught up on my sleep. This is rare thing when young children live at home and work hours take their toll. Unfortunately it also means I'll be up all night and have a heck of a time at the office tomorrow.

The bad news was that it took two days to get here. I had a small plane ride from San Jose to LA. In LA my connection was 2 hours delayed, so I arrived in Chicago too late to catch the flight to Dehli. The airlines put me up in a hotel about 45 minutes out of Chicago. There was nothing - literally - around the hotel. I couldn't even walk to a Starbucks! So I was stuck at the hotel until the next evening when I could catch a plane to New Dehli.

Not surprisingly, I miss my family something fierce.

17 July 2010

Copy Cats

As with all children, the girls often try to copy us exactly. They're in that awkward age when they try to do everything themselves but usually cannot actually accomplish whatever task they're trying to do. After practice and multiple failed attempts, they sometimes succeed. Yesterday there were two good examples of the girls succeeded after lots of tries:

We were going to go out for a walk but had to get ready first. Hirono and I were rushing around filling sippy cups, collecting snacks, getting the diaper bag ready, etc. Alisa became impatient. I asked her to wait a bit more. She said "OK" and walked off toward the front door. Two minutes later we hear "Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!" She was standing beside the front door with her shoes on. She had put them on herself, correctly. Even the velcro straps were in the right place.

Leia is fascinated with the shower, though often afraid of it. We returned home from our walk very late last night (Leia threw a tantrum on the walk home which delayed us by about 45 minutes.) By the time we reached home is was time for the girls to go to bed; but, they still needed a bath. Leia decided she wanted a shower instead. She boldly got into the shower and stood ready to be washed. She even held the shower head most of the time so that I could wash her down. When it came time to wash her hair she readily tilted her head way back and let me rinse off the shampoo without getting any in her eyes. If she takes a shower regularly that will cut the bathing time down from about 30 minutes to about 5. Nice!

15 July 2010

Good News Times Two

Its not often you hear two items of good news in a single day.

13 July 2010

I. Can't. Move.

I went to the gym yesterday for the first serious weight lifting workout since the girls were born. I can't lift my arms higher than my shoulders or stretch over the desk to pick up the phone.

12 July 2010

Family Portrait


There's a bunch of new photos up at Flickr. We spent the last few days in Reno while Hirono's parents are visiting us for a couple of weeks. Its been really good for the girls' ability to think and communicate in Japanese. We also had a ton of fun exploring the Reno region with the girls. There's so much to see in this great big world of ours.

06 July 2010



Leia loves to dance. She's been taking every opportunity to do so, regardless of the type of music. From head banging to Black Sabbath to kids' dances on the TV show おかあさんといっしょ to my own drumming or pipe playing she'll jump and bop around to the beat. Alisa often joins in; but, Leia is boundless energy.

05 July 2010

New Game

Alisa's new favorite game: get in the tricycle and have Daddy push it really fast while yelling out "Rock and Roll!" at the top of your lungs.

Fun and Games

We spent July 4th at a friends house. They had a rather large party and a couple of young girls were present. Leia and Alisa had a grand time following these older girls (5 and 7) around the yard. I really enjoyed watching them play games like "Ring Around the Rosies" and rolling down the grass and jumping over each other in an impromptu steeple chase.

There were also three dogs at the party. Leia wanted to pet them but was scared of them. When she came home she would say each of the dogs' names and pretend to pet them. Her imagination is evidently very vivid because she seemed to really believe she was petting the dogs. She let her sister pet the dogs, too. Then when an adult came to pet the dogs she would cry out "No!" and not let us near her imaginary dog.