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Visiting NYC

We spent a few days in New York City this month. We had an apartment right near times square which made the trip very convenient with the kids. We spent time with Janice’s twin sister and her family as well as Janice’s mother. The visit to the metropolitan museum of art was quite an adventure for the children.

Independence Day in the Capital City

For Independence Day, we decided to spend the long weekend in our capital city, Washington DC. Janice and the kids were already in Maryland for Unity's summer camp. I flew in Friday evening. It was a really hot few days, so we tried to spend as much time indoors as we could. The indoor activities primarily included visiting various museums that the kids would be interested in. We went to the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the International Spy Museum. Sunday afternoon we camped out under the shade of a tree at the National Mall (halfway between the Capitol and the Washington Memorial) and waited for the fireworks. The fireworks started about a half hour after dusk, about 9:20pm. The two photos above capture the view of the fireworks from our location. The photo below shows us trekking around DC between museums on Saturday. Wesley was getting a piggy back ride from Janice for part of the way.

Visitng Germany

During my trip to Germany last month I was able to spend a weekend in Bielefeld with my uncle and aunt (photos above are in Bielefeld). It was great to catch up with them over a relaxing couple of days. During my trip we drove to Osnabrück to visit the Felix Nussbaum museum. Felix Nussbaum was a jewish artist born in Osnabrück in 1904. The museum exhibits more than 160 of Nussbaum’s work of jewish life in Germany that he painted before his extermination in Auschwitz.

Underwater Photography

I have been experimenting with underwater photography recently. It is rather expensive to get an underwater housing for an SLR camera, but for about a tenth of the price of a housing you can get a point-and-shoot camera that is good for 10 meters (33 feet) under water. I got one of these cameras and experimented in our swimming pool over the last couple of weekends. Here are some of the photos.

Wesley Turns 5

For Wesley’s 5th birthday we celebrated just ourselves in the evening since it was a school night (photo left). The following weekend we had a pool party at home with his cousins (photo right).

PBS Writing Contest

Unity is a prolific writer. Her 3rd grade teacher from John Cooper recommended that she enter into the PBS writing contest where children from various schools submit their writings based on rules published by PBS for the contest. This year there were 600 entries from which they pick 1 winner and 10 honorable mentions from each grade, kindergarten through third. Unity received one of the honorable mentions. We were invited by PBS to an award ceremony at the Children's Museum in Houston yesterday. Her teacher was also invited. Pictured here is Unity with her teacher right after the ceremony at the Children's museum.


Apple Aperture 3

I upgraded to Apple Aperture 3 shortly after it was released. I was fortunate enough that that I did not experience some of the initial upgrade woes (much discussed in various photography fora), but apparently those issues have since been fixed via the patch releases (version 3.03 is the current one). You can see the new features and specifications on the Apple website, so here I wanted to share my personal experience with Aperture 3.

Overall the experience has been very positive. Read on to see what I liked and disliked about it. Read More...

Micro Four Thirds

I have been eyeing large sensor small cameras, particularly the micro four thirds format, for some time now. The obvious reason to get a small camera is that it is with me more often, especially when I am traveling—which I do frequently. Carrying the hulking Nikon D700 with its huge lenses is not always practical, for example when I am out at dinner with the family or at a school event with the kids. Two things had been holding me back until recently. The first was the that the right product (for me) wasn't out yet—each of the initial first generation products on the market had some shortcoming. The second was that these cameras were not supported by Apple Aperture which is my primary raw converter, photo editor and cataloguer. Read More...

Spring Break

For Spring break this year we went to Joshua Tree National Park in California. There we met up with Janice's mom, Richard and Tamara, and Tamara's parents Carol and Henry. Richard had arranged for an historic adobe house at Twentynine Palms just north of the Park. Click here to view the photographs from the trip and click through for a map. Read More...

Unity turns 9

Unity turned 9 last weekend. To celebrate, we took her and her friends to Landry's seafood restaurant for lunch followed by the Alley Theatre to see Wonderland: Alice’s New Musical Adventure. Click through to see a couple of more photos. Read More...

Unity learns to canter

Unity has been walking and trotting on a horse since she started her training. A couple of weeks ago, I took her to the riding lesson and she was very excited when the instructor let her canter on the horse. She came home all giddy and jumping up and down talking about the exhilarating feeling the cantering was.

Universal Studios, Orlando, FL


Unity’s 9th birthday present was a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando to see the Harry Potter World (photo left). We spent two days there during a school holiday. The Harry Potter rides were quite amazing. Wesley wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides, so Janice and I had to take turns with Unity on the rides—she got to ride her favorite ones twice as a result. We also saw/met some of the traditional characters including Scooby Doo (photo right), Back to the Future and the Simpsons.

"I can" is contageous

Each one of the TEDIndia 2009 talks has been fantastic but this one is my favorite so far. This woman, Kiran Sethi, is inspiring hundreds of thousands of children to take charge. The impact she is going to have by empowering children over the next decade (and beyond) is incredible. I watched it with my eight year old daughter, Unity, and she loved it as well. Then she and I discussed what she learned. You have to watch this ten minute talk to see how Kiran Sethi is changing the world.

Out with Unity

Unity and I went out this afternoon to spend some quality time together. It was a chilly day, so we got some hot chocolate and peach gelato and sat outside. We then explored the Woodlands Waterfront area for a while—the walking was good exercise for me. Later we drove to Lake Woodlands and fed the ducks. We sat and watched the all the different colors changing every minute as the sun was setting by the lake. And then it was time to head home for dinner. The best part of the few hours was the great conversations I had with her about life's little (but important) lessons.

Pictured here Unity is walking briskly near the Woodlands Waterfront area earlier today.

The second hip

I had the right hip resurfacing done on December 2, 2009. This time the recovery was much quicker that the last time. I had a checkup with the doctor at 5 weeks. He gave me a clean bill of health and removed all the range of motion restrictions. The x-ray on the right is from the checkup last week. You can see the cobalt prosthesis on both hips now.

I am already walking without a support this week and the right leg is almost as strong as the left leg. I don't quite have the full range of motion yet, but today I started my physical therapy, so it is a matter of time until I get there. I am hoping to go hiking and get on my bike in the Spring.

New Years Eve | Bollywood Style

This year's New Years Eve party was hosted by Kanika and Arun. We are asked to arrive in our Bollywood best. The week before the party each couple was given a Bollywood movie song (and video) to which we had to perform a dance.

Janice practiced her dance at home earlier in the day and we decided that at the party we would go first to set the bar for the rest of the crowd. It was quite a blast. Everyone had their Bollywood get up and everyone got into the dancing and singing. Kanika and Arun were the most gracious hosts. They served incredible wine, hors d'oeuvres, and dinner—Bollywood style, of course. We had a second round of food and aperitifs after midnight. You can see the photos
here. Below is the list of the Bollywood movie songs given to each couple. Read More...

Christmas 2009

Here is a video clip of opening presents on Christmas morning at home. For some reason the timestamp on the video camera was left on, so you can see that we got a late start on Christmas morning.