Monday, February 26, 2007

Fossil Rim

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center ( is a popular wildlife sanctuary in Glen Rose, a small town about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Dallas. Its 1800 acres have been divided into large pastures and several special management areas keeping thousands of exotic, threatened and endangered animals from different parts of the world. They roam freely in these areas and a scenic wildlife drive in our own car through these pastures lets us interact with them closely.

We started the trip from Dallas at noon and the 1 hour 20 minutes long drive showed us the beautiful country side of Texas.

Long stretches of roads that meets the horizon,

picturesque cottages,

and huge farm houses were surely sights worth the long drive.

After buying the tickets and a pack of animal food, we started the drive through the sanctuary.

The expansive pastures were filled with animals of all kinds. There were lots of varieties of deer, and the brochure explained them as Fallow Deer from Europe, Axis Deer from India, Gemsbok from Africa, Oryx from Arabia, etc.

The animals appeared very friendly and calm and didn’t bother about the vehicles passing through their haven continuously.

In fact most of them approached the cars, some even posing for the photos

and some looking for the food.

Some dared to peep inside the car to get a better bite, forgetting about their long and spread horns.

We were told not to get out of the car. Though I had a plan to get out, it was never required as all animals were easily accessible from the car itself for taking photos.

Another instruction was not to feed the animals from hand. But nobody seemed to go with this rule. Where else you get a chance to pat and feed animals like giraffe and zebra who roams freely?

It took more than three hours to complete the drive and in between we shopped from the gift store and had lunch from the Overlook Café on a small hilltop providing panoramic view of the sanctuary.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dust Storm

It was a sunny and clear day, when I went out for a weekend lunch buffet. Though there was a ‘High Wind Warning’ and ‘Blowing Dust Advisory’ from National Weather Service, the wind was not very strong at that time.

And what I saw when I returned home after lunch was really amazing. The wind was so strong making driving difficult. The whole sky was yellowish orange and the visibility was reduced.

When I stepped out of the car, I could feel the dust in my throat and eyes. The powerful wind storm has carried with it a massive amount of dust giving an ominous orange tint to the skyline.

Later from news sites I gathered more details about this event. The wind speed was more than 50 miles (80+ kilometers) per hour. This dust storm was first of its kind in Dallas area and has caused lots of problems across North Texas. Thousands of homes were without power and hundreds of flights were cancelled at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Luckily, everything was fine at the area where I was living, and the strong wind lasted only till night.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Am I a Gadget Guy?

Yes… Now I think, I am a GG (Gadget Guy). When I first visited Fry’s Electronics here in Dallas, I was totally amazed to realize that this big super market is just for all these electronics gadgets. My amazement doubled when I saw people moving around pushing big shopping carts and picking these gadgets as if they are doing their weekly grocery shopping. Then at my office, I saw people scanning Friday news paper ads for deals in these gadgets. Now I am afraid I am becoming one among them… the very lot whom I was amazed at first.

I started buying these items as it turned out to be necessities (the usual excuse!). First I bought an 80 GB external USB hard drive which was so slim and cute and was costing only 100 dollars. Did you notice that ‘only’ word I used? That is the problem here when you see all these shopping deals. You feel like you are getting it for such a good price.

Next was an external key board and mouse which was essential for spending extended hours with a laptop.

Now I bought my dream laptop. An Intel Core 2 Duo with preloaded Windows Vista was available from Dell with a great deal of 1000 dollars. I have all the details about it at my technical blog CT Labs and the specifications are on my website The Cool Wayfarer.

Having another laptop demanded that I should have a wireless router to setup a wireless network at home. I can connect to the broad band internet from both laptops from anywhere in my apartment. So I bought a Netgear Router, again for a deal. It was only 20 dollars.

What is the great fun if you have a wonderful laptop and no microphone to speak with your friends over net? Moreover the speech recognition system in Vista is surely worth a try as I am looking forward to having all these blogs done just by dictating it to my laptop. The Gigaware headset with noise canceling microphone was bought through another reduction sale deal that cost only 10 dollars.

I also bought another external mouse (this one was really cute as you can wind-up the cord around the mouse and pack it nicely) for the new laptop. The sad part (or the amazing part?) is that I do not see an immediate end to this gadget shopping spree as my wish list is getting longer day by day. Things like Digital SLR Camera, More memory cards, USB Flash drives etc should be bought for sure when these people are selling them with great deals… right?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Family Man

Being a family man back again is cool. Life now moves in an orderly manner. No more sleepless nights with computer and sleeping days on weekends. Week days now starts with a good break fast. Then I carry the tiffin with lunch to work. These days, the work pressure is less compared to those initial days and I can be back home in time.

Weekends are busy with shopping. We tried all shopping malls like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and Fiesta. There are lots of Desi super markets too where you get Indian grocery. The problem with most of them was that they sell expired items. Most of the packets will not even have the expiry dates displayed. Also we did lots of experiments with cooking and at times we had my friends join us for lunch.

It is not uncommon these days to meet your long lost friend from another country. Abhilash was my colleague at Soft Systems, Kochi and ever since he left Kochi for his studies in UK, we have never met. Now he is here, right here in Dallas... actually just few miles away from my apartment for a short term project from his company in Pune.