Sunday, April 22, 2007

More diversions

Another weekend post that is meant to reflect on things other than the mundane.

A reading update is long overdue on this blog, and I am still planning on a dedicated post on recent reads soon. For now, a couple of books will get a mention in this post.

Watching clouds: when was the last time you looked up to see clouds and marvel at the vareity of forms, or tried to estimate their height or guess the wind direction from them ? Don't recall ? Then it is time to peek at the skies the next time you are going nowhere in commuting traffic. The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney can be your handbook. Check out the related website - The Cloud Appreciation Society. You can see my own attempts to capture clouds here - I still have a lot to learn!

More blog bling: I have been slowly adding a few more widgets to my blog page. These mostly link to my other interests and activities recorded elsewhere. There is the Kiva link on the right tracking micro-loans to enterpreneurs in the developing world, and there is the link to my picture portfolio at flickr. I have just added a Yelp link to reviews, of eating places and more. I am considering a few more similar additions. Since I am still experimenting with these, any feedback is more than welcome.

Bird-watching: Watching our avian friends has been something of a hobby for a long time, but until now I did not take it seriously enough to try and identify the species. You can see some of my bird pictures here. The patience needed to take bird shots, especially close-ups, is astounding. Having a high-zoom camera is a plus, but that is not enough. Learning to tip-toe, to move your camera in slow-motion and the ability to hold your breath and not blink, are all things you learn on your way to good bird shots. This was the toughest one so far, but I hope to get even better at it over time. I just started reading To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son and a Lifetime Obsession - the story of one of the greatest bird-spotters of all time. It is a stunning story. I will be glad if I get to see, in the wild, a tenth of the number of species, over my lifetime.

Here are a few more interesting links.
The City Birder: blog on bird-watching in Bronx/NYC.
SF birds: a list, linked to details, of birds seen in and around San Francisco.
Birds on stamps: a site dedicated to listing every stamp with a bird on it!

Electric Carnatic: I should warn you that like with any class of music, taste for Carnatic music is more acquired than anything else. Carnatic is the traditional/classical music of South India, with a history of atleast 300 years. Over time, a number of Western instruments, ranging from violin and saxophone to mandolin and the electric guitar have become part of the scene, along with the dozens of traditional instruments like tabla, veena and mridangam. For Carnatic on the electric guitar, there is none yet to match performances from Prasanna. Check out the Sindhu Bhairavi recital on YouTube - the recording is not clean, and there is background noise, but that doesn't do anything to diminish the beautiful sounds! For a clean sample without all that noise, check out Indra's Necklace, on Rhapsody. I hope you enjoy it.


Post a Comment

<< Home