Sunday, June 21, 2015
I have literally lost count of the time when the Yemen conflict started as the Houthi Shiite militia has taken to the streets fighting a Saudi Backed leader whose is fighting to regain control of a country where almost forty percent of the population is Houthi Shiites and the rest are Sunnis with terrorists thrown in for good measure. It all started with corruption (what else is new) in the government and perceived or not marginalization of Houthi rebels. The Saudi always insecure sees them as threat to their security and accused Iran (whether rightly or wrongly ) of supporting them and has launched an aerial assault on them which can be dubbed a Saudi inspired and force coalition by a bunch of countries who are indebted to Saudi money in their times of need. Now it was payback time and the rest you know is still going on but much of the bombing is being done by Saudis, the rest just there to show their support (and gratitude). Now the question arises here that where was this grand coalition when Israeli was bombing Gaza Strip and killing Arab Muslims. Why that is the Muslims are great in killing other Muslims but when it comes to have a fight with Non Muslims they chicken out. The reason is quite simple that there is so much hatred between different sects of the Muslims that they don’t have the time to think about other religions. They are busy trying to point fingers at other Muslims for not being enough Muslims or don’t even consider them Muslims and the racists and nationalist attitude of some Muslim countries (not necessarily Arabs) also have something do with do with how Muslims behave towards each other. Until the above mentioned tendencies are put to rest and buried, all these conflicts among Muslims will keep on going making them further and further behind progress of other nations.
The drought in California, USA enters its fourth year with not enough rainfall and snow levels in its mountain at their lowest levels. Although we hear about the western U.S. in some kind of constant drought but now California has been the exceptional case as drought conditions have forced the government there to implement strict water cutting and rationing laws designed to cope with this emergency. Although I believe that the government was slow to cope with this and still thinks it can ride this through as you have seen the reports about wealthy people not accepting the new reality. But until strict measures are taken including providing water for certain times of day, this restriction, initially voluntary is not going to work. Water is the most essential ingredient and as the population has grown in California, the water requirement has also grown without a corresponding increase in rainfall and snow. Although the farmers with the most senior water rights are being asked to reduce water intake, this water rights issue should be scraped once and fall as it was done more than a century ago with less population and plenty of water. Some people are digging wells draining the underwater ground water so much that it is just a matter of time before it will also dry up to. Punitive fines not in the hundreds but thousands of dollars a day for water wasters including running water and washing their cars should be the main concern and if this does not work, then water supply should be reduce or curtailed for some hours each day. I know it is draconian and in an advanced country like the U.S. not happily accepted but if there is less water to begin with, then all people will suffer for the sins of the few who refuse to acknowledge that they live in a desert area sustained by artificial sense of abundance water supply.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently came out with a report that shows satellite imagery saying that the earth’s ground water is being depleted very rapidly and maybe we will be running out of water. It shows the most stressed out areas in South Asia, Arabia and Africa. Now we will never know how much water is left and neither does NASA but this is a worrying sign. We may never be able to run out of water but the shortage of water and especially clean water will also be an issue. Look at what California in the U.S. is going through with droughts in the fourth year and no sign of ample water, and this I am talking about the most advanced country in the world. Despite all the human development and advanced, humans have not be able to replete water with a so called artificial water to sustain life. We are constantly looking out of water in far reaches of space and also in our own world, water scarcity has been issue as human population increases and water is being divided among more humans. We are constantly looking at the sky for rain and when sometimes it does not fall that much, we are scrambling to restrict water usage. If you see from world history, wherever there is water, life springs up and if don’t use water carefully we will not be able to sustain any form of life in the future. Remember despite what some people think, water is not an infinite resource and the dire predictions of NASA may still come through as humans are wasting water at an increasing rate.
Nowadays social media has become such a powerful tool that anybody be that an ordinary person or a celebrity can bring them either instant popularity or instant scorn in a few minutes. With social media, people have started to become careful about what they say even offline but sometimes people do say things that are hurtful to other people’s feelings and when the general public start to gave them backlash then they scramble to either retract their statement or say that it has been taken out of context which is one of the most favorite words out there for people who have said something utterly despicable. It is a good thing that people are vigilant enough to point out that something is wrong with that person’s statement that they force them to say sorry but do you believe that the person who said that thing did not think it twice before saying it or believing in what they have said. Sometimes even if a person says something which can make sense faces backlash then in that case I believe political correctness has run amok. Okay I can understand that something should not be said in any circumstances and even if that person believes otherwise, he/she should keep it to themselves in this age of fast moving news. But if you believe that what you have said is right in all fairness then you should stick to it as you will and could not please everybody and there is bound be some people who will take offense of your stand for and against certain issues. But sometimes Silence is Golden and you should keep your mouth shut because if you say something it can come back to haunt you years down the road.
A few days ago a white gunman entered a historically black church where there was some bible study going on and opened fire killing nine members and fleeing. Thankfully or luckily whatever you want to say, he was caught in a traffic stop in another state. And it was a pure Christian on Christian attack but with a racist overtone. Now whatever the media is calling it, one fact should be established from the start. It was and is a terrorist act. Terrorists used to be and still are in majority of cases Muslims but the definition of terrorism should also include other races and religions. A terrorist by means of his/her act tries to terrorize and make people afraid of his/her actions and make people live in fear and this has what happened in South Carolina. It was a terrorist attack and a domestic one in that as people should be truly afraid of since it is home grown and bred and nothing to do with religion at all. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones and also encouraged by their strength to forgive their loved ones killers. But still it will be hard to make your live move on because people who were praying to their lord and not harming anybody were gunned down just because they happen to be of black color. But they still humans and creation of GOD. Nobody has the right to be a judge of what and who is right or wrong and these racist tendencies should be discouraged and pursued wherever it exists or appears because without it America would not be a safe haven for anybody.
A story about a Veteran Con man and his many adventures. Need I say more. Just for time killing and nothing much. Not Recommended
A dinosaur created in lab wrecks havoc on the visitors of Dinosaur theme park in this exciting and thrilling addition to the Jurassic Park movie franchise. It is best scene in the theaters. Recommended
Sunday, June 14, 2015
From there we headed towards Hanauma Bay but we reached there just it was about to close. It is a great place to snorkel and relax but we were too late to enjoy it. We saw another mountain nearby called Koko Crater where people will trek to around 1100 stairs or so to reach the top. No can do either. We had lunch nearby and then headed towards our resort going through some of the exclusive residential areas of Honolulu. At night we had dinner at the resort restaurant and enjoy the beautiful night and the surroundings. The next day was our flight so we had to pack our stuff and go to sleep early. Getting up early in the morning was very hard especially it was our last day. I bought some coffee and donuts from the resort breakfast area and after checking out headed towards our car. During the drive back to the airport, my wife was crying to say goodbye to Honolulu and she did not wanted to go, but it was time to leave and get back to reality. Before we had to give our rental car back, we ate and fill up the car with gas and headed for the bus to take us to the airport. We took some snacks at the airport so that we don’t get hungry on our flight which was thankfully 9 hours, two hours less than before. Again short of entertainment options on the Hawaiian Airlines ® the flight was smooth and we did not had any problem reaching our destination in New York, thinking again about the time we will come back to Hawaii.
The next day we went to a place called Waimea valley and falls, it was just across the Waimea beach where he had went before. This is almost a mile trek to a fall where people take a dip and enjoy some swimming. I had to opt out because I do not yet know how to swim but there were enough people to enjoy the falls and the wildlife and trees. On the way back we stopped at the souvenir shop to get some souvenir, and then my wife had a almost obsession to look for a beach where you can find sea turtle. We asked around and found a beach where there was nobody. It seemed like a private beach but still there were no people around. And we did find a turtle coming on the beach, he/she was damn slow to walk which was good for us since we were able to come near and take some pictures. Then we again headed back to eat lunch and then came back to the resort to chill out. The next day was supposed to be a full busy day as we decided to head to Honolulu and go to Pearl Harbor where we saw and toured the ship USS Missouri where the Japanese surrendered in World War II to the Americans. We also had a shaved ice to share and bought some souvenirs at the souvenir shop. After that we went to the Waikiki beach but did not stay there as we headed to the inside of a dead volcano Called Diamond head Crater. We read somewhere that we could drive through in our car but no such luck as we had to park our car and then trek on foot. No thank you a steep walk it would have been.
The day was not already ruined just because of a phone as we ate lunch in a nearby town which had subway® in it and a great ice cream place called Angels. After taking a nap at the resort and we were lazy enough not to go outside and we decided to order Pizza which came pretty fast considering it was not in the same town that we were in. After eating it was time to take to go sleep. The next day we decided to explore the beaches alongside the road. First we went to Waimea Beach which was not that far but it the parking was horrendous as the parking lot was small and people were more. I dropped off my family and starting circling around the lot to see if anybody is going to leave and after a few circles I found a spot. I went to the place where my family was enjoying the sun and the beach. After staying there for an hour or so, we headed towards shark cove, a beach supposedly with sharks nearby, no such luck there. We bought some T-shirts from a vendor nearby and then went to the grocery store to do shopping again. We had a coffee beside the grocery store with a friendly staff. We had a lunch in a place called Giovanni’s Shrimp which was very cheap and they gave a lot of food with it. My wife had coconut water which was not as tasty but it is still considered healthy. At night we went again to the subway® place and on the way back saw a beautiful temple which was shining in the dark. We decided to explore it and found out it is a temple/church of the Mormons, the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
It shows that you don’t need to go to a fancy place in order to enjoy good food. After eating there, we headed back to our resort. Although it was not that late but the driving was on a road with few people and lights. A thing that we noticed was that even with minimal light and few people around, we saw some people walking with a woman and baby stroller too which seems to suggest that it was very safe to walk there at night. Anyway reaching our resort, I dropped my family and looked for the parking as the place was packed and you had to really look for a parking spot even far from your resort. I did not mind as I loved walking and the weather was accommodating. Even entering the resort you are greeted by the resort staff and lobby is lively enough that you can sit there and enjoy the ocean view. The next day was the beach day besides the resort. The resort offered two hour snorkeling gear but it was not that of a great use as my wife, despite my insistence on taking her phone, decided to go into the water, forgetting that her phone was in her pocket. She tried to salvage it by doing everything, like burying in the sand for a while but it was no use. But she was not determined to ruin her vacation by mourning over the loss of her phone. I did not know that as I was venturing on the other side of the beach and came to know about when I came back. In the meanwhile, my daughter had received a cut on her hand and we headed to the first aid guy on the beach to get some band aid.
So we wrapped up the first day by making plans for the next one. It was not difficult to make such a plan as we were there to relax and not have a rush to see different sites. The next day we did some swimming in the pool with a background of the beach and since we did not have any grocery stocked in, we decided to do some grocery after the swimming. Although Hawaii is expensive as compared to mainland U.S. due to the fact that they have to import almost everything by air or by sea, I did not felt it expensive. You can say that we did not have a choice but to be fair, when you are in vacation, you really care about how much you are going to spend if you stay in your budget. Along the way to the grocery store, you will numerous beaches and one of the beaches we visited was Sunset beach. Like any other beach in Hawaii at least, it was beautiful with sandy beach and clear water hitting the sand and people just sunbathing or taking a dip in the ocean. It was sunny day and everybody was having fun in the sun. After staying there for a while, we headed back to our resort. If you happen to drive on the north shore of Hawaii, you will see lots of truck vendors selling Shrimp and fish and one of the famous one was Kuhuku Grill in the small town of Kuhuku past our resort. At night we decided to venture to that place and there was rush of people as they were taking one order at a time and then you had wait for your order which was although freshly made but took quite a bit of time. The place was not that fancy but the food was good.
As soon as we left Honolulu, the traffic became thinner and thinner with the sight of high rises and houses vanishing behind us and lush open spaces in front of us. We drove through some of the best beaches as we were eager to reach our destination. When we finally reach our resort, it was beautiful right beside the sea. It is called Turtle Bay Resort. It is on the north shore area of Oahu Island far from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and very tranquil. After checking in, we went to our room and as we entered the view from the room were breaths taking as the waves were splashing against the sandy beaches. The Swimming pool nearby and you can see the whole view of trees and mountains around you. It was like we were in a magical land (I would not call it heaven or paradise because I have not been there (yet)) with few of the maddening rush that you experience in a big city. Here you can easily forget all your worries (for a while at least financially) and just to absorb the views. For us the first day would be rest after a long flight and a long drive. It was almost getting dark but when you are in such a place where you can hear the waves splashing 24 hours a day and the weather is the same all around; your tiredness vanishes very fast. The room with a view was great with the bathroom in a superb condition. For me I always check the bathroom in every hotel or resort I stay. Because if the Bathroom sucks, my stay will not be that great even if you are in a magical land called Hawaii.
But the flight was smooth and the attendants did their best to accommodate their guests. When we landed safely, the baggage was on the other side of a building so we had to drag ourselves there to get it. The weather was picture perfect and we were so excited to reach our dream destination. After getting our luggage, we had to board a bus to take us to the car rental agency Budget ®. Unlike some other car rental companies, they were located not on the airport but a short distance from it. After going through all the formalities of registering our car, we got a mid size Nissan® Sentra ®. Since the food situation on the flight was not to our liking and it was in the afternoon we decided to take our lunch right beside the car rental parking lot. As usual McDonalds ® came to our rescue and after eating it, it was time to go to our resort. Our GPS®, which we have taken to guide us to various destinations around Aloha, refused to recognize the address we put in, as if it did not recognize Hawaii. After working on it for a little while, my wife and I gave up on it and used the map given to us by the Car rental company to guide us to the resort. It was actually one and half hour drive from the airport and as we realized, Hawaii is no different when you are travelling through the city streets and highways. We had hit the roads right at the rush hour and it was packed by luckily we drove through it since we were so mesmerized by the whole Hawaiian experience, the weather and the mountains and the scenery all around.
So on a Sunday, we ventured warily but definitely excited about our trip to Hawaii. After the usual and customary security check, we went to the gate and got seated and got some snacks as we did not have our breakfast yet. The screen was saying Honolulu eleven hours flight. Although it was cold, I decided to wear a T-Shirt and with slippers on and I was feeling the chills a little bit, but I did not wanted to carry on shoes since it is very disturbing to take off and put on especially during the security check. But for the beach purpose, they were perfect. Well the time came for the boarding and we went inside the plane which was packed. After putting our carry on in the overhead compartment, we got settled and the flight took off on time. You know I have this problem that when the plane takes off and when it lands, there is some queasy feeling in my stomach that does not make me feel good but once I am in the air, it is fine. Well apart from the trip which went smooth with food and snacks provided on equal time, the terrible part of Hawaiian Airlines is that you have to pay for your movies or entertainment and most of the goods snacks were on sale. The sale part you can deal with, but in order to kill 11 hours sitting in a confined area and most of the time on your seating doing nothing is not the sort of activity people want to deal with. But now we know and we can use this lesson to see which airlines are good. My wife told me that Hawaiian Airlines was the only nonstop Airlines and she had a package so we were kind of stuck with the airline.
I am sure you may have a hidden desire to vacation at least one time in Hawaii and so it was our dream to visit it too. I had been there long time ago with my parents, but not in married life which is a whole different experience. So rather than wait for a some opportune time to visit, we decided this was the year that we will make our dream come through and so with that thought in mind (and finances too), my wife always the resourceful in looking for good enough deals so that we don’t break our bank in the process but also have a decent accommodation during our stay, found one in Oahu, Hawaii. Although before I move on, I would like to emphasize that all the products and accommodation I am mentioning is my own personal opinion based on my experiences and I don’t endorse them and are not paid by any of the companies involved (although secretly I wish I was paid but that is another story). So after much searching in which we had a choice in a budget either to go to Europe or to Hawaii. Europe is a good attraction but I have a problem that my passport was going to expire at the end of August and since we are a beach family (I am beach and mountain person, my family only beach but they also enjoy the mountains but not more than me). Hawaii became the winner at the end and my wife chooses an all inclusive package deal with Hawaiian® Airlines. The most dreaded part of the trip was the eleven hours nonstop flight from New York to Honolulu airport. But that was the only way to go to Hawaii.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
My wife ordered it and it was supposed to come in five to seven days time with standard free shipping but it came within four days which was a pleasant and happy surprise. I waited for the weekend to come so I should unpack it and then plug it in with the old one going down in the basement till the time I can go and clean the hard disk and discard it. After plugging the new one, I had to learn a new Operating system while I had to older one Windows 7 and now it is an upgrade to Windows 8.1. Although I had heard complaints about it but for now I am trying to adjusting to it and it is not too bad one you start the hang of it. With any new thing you have to adjust to your own specifications and with the new computer I had to download all the browsers and other software needed to work on that I had previously installed in my older computer. With new computer plugged in, my wife said it is time to order new wire keyboard and mouse so that the wires do not get entangled with other wires. With these new things I am all set to work on my blog and other things and I am back in business with my computer adventures. So do you research and instead of going for the most powerful computer, weigh your finances and chose the one which is most suitable for your needs for a couple of years (but you do use your computer for longer than that). My older one lasted almost four and half years and hopefully this one will last the same time too.
The other one AMD ® was my first computer and it worked fine until it also died. Both the companies have fine processors but with price range for all market segments. For me it all boiled down to how much I would want to spend and if it would be a laptop or a desktop or even a new version in which you just browse the internet and they have much lower storage capacity. I searched for laptop but ultimately decided that a desktop should replace a desktop. I don’t know about you but I am so used to desktop that it is hard to change the habit to do work on a laptop when I am in the house. When you are on the go, there is no comparison about it and you should and must use laptop as most of the laptops do the same function as a desktop but with more mobility. Now I have been using the Microsoft® operating system for the longest time and it is hard to switch to another one but I am warming to the fact that the other ones like Google Chrome ® and Apple ® operating systems also deserve another look and maybe to have an alternative, but the Apple ® one is so expensive that it is right now out of reach of my financial, so I decided to stick to what I am most familiar with and use in the office atmosphere which is Microsoft ® windows. And looking at the price range, my wife ordered a Lenovo ® computer with the cheaper or you can say a slower processor by Intel ® but I am very happy with it as I am not doing anything which I am pressed for time that I cannot wait to process it fast enough.
Well now back to where I was. While my computer was on the last legs of its life, I hurried transfer all my important files on my flash drive. Notice that I said important files, some of my files were not that important and I knew that if my computer went down I would not be that worried about losing those ones, that is why I never saved those files on any of my storage devices. Anyway, before I was going to buy my computer, I would have to see how much I would want to pay for the new one. I started to look around at various online and other retail sites for a new computer and my wife started the same (she ultimately ordered one). Now the decision was which one would be more suited. I became interested in laptops as they were becoming cheaper with more processors and computing power but my heart was still stuck with desktop as I was replacing a desktop. Although I don’t use that much storage space but still I wanted to buy with enough storage for my files. Nowadays when you are looking to buy a computer you have a standard storage space of 500 GB which is enough storage space. You can pay some more money and get a 1TB storage space, but for now 500 GB of space was sufficient for me. There are really two companies out there who dominate the computer market in processors, Intel ® and AMD ®. Intel ® is more expensive and the dominant one. And even in that category, they have different stages of storage for different market segments.
I have all the time in the world to save my files and I don’t have the money to spend more money on USB 3.0 so that my files can be save X amount of seconds or minutes earlier. I would rather wait and do something else while waiting for the files to transfer. If I had less time or if I have more files to download, then maybe I may invest in more fast flash drive, but for my now this may suffice. And now you have so many choices to save their files on several of the cloud services which gives you enough free space that you save on multiple places and also since many households have more than one computer, like laptop and desktop that you can save your files across several computers besides cloud services. And I did the same thing, saving my files across multiple places of storage so that I can access it even if I am away from my home computer. Another day I was reading that besides flash drive, you can have your own personal cloud storage which you can store your files and they come in various storage sizes reaching up to colossal space of 48 TB which is enough to storage a lifetime of stuff. I know that is my expensive but the most affordable one are 16TB and 20TB which is nearly 1600 dollars with the former being around 900 dollars. So there are now more options for storage than ever before and the technology is still improving very rapidly.
Recently my computer was acting very strangely lately and was shutting down by itself and also restarting for no apparent reason. And also when I was on it sometimes the mouse froze in the middle of web browsing and I had to shut it down to restart again. Sometimes it started to make weird noises and there was no picture on the monitor and I had to the same again, shut it down and restart again. I had misplaced (consider it careless enough to lose) my recovery disc for computer operating systems. I also talked to some IT people who said that it was a motherboard issue and I had to go the tech to fix it and somebody else said that I should contact the manufacturer to find out if they will be able to send me a replacement operating system disc. I was not sure initially what to do since I love my computer but it was making me a little frustrated that it was acting up but I guess it was time to replace it with a new one. I decided that since it was eventually going to die sooner than later, it would be wise to save my files on a flash drive, so I drove to a tech store and got a 32GB drive for less than 12 dollars. Nowadays they are so cheap that it is much easier to buy it to backup your files. I did not even know that there were two different versions of it. I as usual for financial purposes bought a USB 2.0 flash drive because they were cheaper. But there is also a newer kind which is called USB 3.0, the difference between the two being 3.0 is faster and it can take less time to transfer your files than the other one.
The conflict between a group of People’s Liberation Army and group of bandits during Chinese revolution, with big budget action sequences and storytelling on a grand scale. Long but entertaining. Recommended
Saturday, June 6, 2015
A secret spy agency recruits an unsuspecting candidate in order to train him into fighting an emerging global tech threat in this highly entertaining fun action movie. Recommended
An okay horror movie about a group of medical students trying to bring dead to life with horrible consequences. Thankfully it ends not too soon. Not Recommended
A sci fi movie about an ordinary woman who is thrust in a position to save a world while fighting with evil aliens. Great action sequences, although a commercial failure. Recommended
Another failure from Johnny Depp, playing as con artist trying to retrieve a painting believed to be inscribed with secret codes about Nazi Loot. Avoid it if you can. Waste of huge cast of talented actors. Not Recommended
A revenge movie about a cop whose family is killed and he travels to Thailand to wreck havoc on human traffickers. Waste of Tony Jaa talent and his martial arts movie. Just for curiosity sake, watch it for Tony Jaa. Recommended with caution
And they keep on making it with more sequel as a marine protects a high value targeted woman who has exposed corruption evade mercenaries out to kill here. Decent fight scenes but more of the same. Expect more in the future. Recommended for action fans only.
This game of Parkour is getting more popular each day as a down on his luck messenger gets involved with a group of Parkour loving people who involve him in criminal activity. An okay movie. Recommended with caution
I don’t know about other critics but this is a fun British-Lithuanian about four first time robbers who get somehow stranded in Eastern Europe and try to escape an assortment of shady characters. A hyper active movie no doubt. Recommended
A linguistic professor is diagnosed with early onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease in this award winning movie. The struggle of the professor and her family with the disease is worth watching this excellent movie. Recommended