N-N-1 callout

I will be hosting a new N-N-1 on July 22nd. If you are interested in participating, please take a picture on Sunday, July 16th at 4 p.m. your local time. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. If you know of anyone else who might like to participate, please pass this information on to them with a short description of what N-N-1 is. Here is a link to a previous post that might help explain N-N-1.

Oh. The email for sending the picture and writeup, or to ask any questions, is houseman@comcast.net.

2-2-1 revisited

While patiently waiting for vaayadipennu to finish publishing the most recent N-N-1, Anju and I decided to revisit our original concept, 2-2-1. We went so far as to try to take our pictures at exactly the same moment. Trying to determine the date and time for this momentous project turned into an “After you Alphonse” routine until I remembered that a gentleman should never argue with a woman. So I decided that we would take our pictures on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m. in Penang, Malaysia. Let’s start with Anju. I hope that you enjoy the result.

I came face to face with one of my many scary zombie dreams in real life, as part of my job. As someone who has a ‘cliché’ fear of crowds, I’ve never actually had to face this fear head-on. Living in highly populated cities just means you learn to manoeuvre out of stressful, overly crowded situations. Not this time. I had to attend an event in Penang (Malaysia) with over 20, 000 highly passionate people in one small arena for the duration of a week. For most of that time, I spent in a circle similar to the one in the photo. I now feel equipped to write a short story about zombies!

Meanwhile, 11 time zones away.

Lafayette Courthouse Square

It was a dark rainy morning in Lafayette. It was so dark that I had to lighten the picture in order to make out the courthouse with the scaffolding around the dome. You can tell that it is still raining from the glistening streets and the rain drops that were on the lens.

There weren’t many people on the street even though it was a non-holiday weekday morning.I suppose they were avoiding the wet. The scaffolding is there so that the dome can be repaired and painted. It is evidently a long process because it was started in the autumn last year. I’m pretty sure no work was done to the exterior that day.

N-N-1 again

It has been about three months since the last N-N-1. Rather that let it fade in to a mere memory we’re doing it again. One of the things that I love about N-N-1 is how people from different parts of the world connect electronically to share brief moments of their life. We see differences and recognize similarities. To me, it shows once again that while there are billions of people in the world, humanity is a singular noun.

The first participant is Pins n Ashes.


I was at one of my favourite restaurants, lunching with friends enjoying one of my favourite meals. Poori masala as we call it.


Next is Her Royal Highness Princess Butter with a picture and story dear to hearts of many Princesses. Oh, and thanks to the Princess we now call this process N-N-1 rather than just sticking in numbers that change with the number of contributors. 


We wondered about them when they had accidentally ‘disappeared’ during the Halloween party. We were almost sure when we saw them bonding in the research lab. We had called them out during the Christmas Secret Santa party when they both went to the room ‘tired’. K5 and I had ended up as neighbors in my last year at SDSU and CT was there a lot! It all became superbly clear after he moved in. Chadillac Thrills thought he was being sneaky! Haah!  After 5 glorious years of friendship, love, game nights, Grad school, traveling, pizzas and boba tea, parties, camping, hiking, they are getting ready to spend their lives together, officially as a married couple. The anticipated engagement did not happen during their Europe trip, although there is an adorable picture under the Eiffel Tower tagged #didnotpropose. But it happened in true Chadillac style, calmly and sneaky-ly, where they started playing Sunday night games and there was the diamond in the Lego sets. I am glad to have witnessed the making of this amazing couple, right from the inception of their relationship. I am even happier that they consider me close enough to be a part of this beautiful journey. Last Saturday afternoon, at David’s Bridal, I helped K5 try on different shades of white, as she took on her role of a bride-to-be. There were tulle and organza, sweetheart necklines and mesh capes. There were pearls, lace and sequins. There were Zac Posens and Vera Wangs.

And, so it begins…

PS : Please pray that I can RSVP “Princess Butter + 1” for this August 2017 wedding…

From the happiness and dreams invoked by Princess Butter, Cupitonians turns us to the forces of nature and humans in a great metropolitan environment.  

Bangkok trafic
Bangkok traffic

While things are not as severe in the slightly posh area of Bangkok where I live, the country has been suffering from a triple whammy of massive thunderstorms, high tides, and a run off from the North causing some chaos in our day-to-day lives. The other day, we were stuck in street floods where the water came up to our waists. So if you were hoping to take a leisurely drive out of Bangkok into the suburbs or maybe to the scenic countryside, or that lovely turquoise beach you had been planning your once-in-a-lifetime holiday around, may the force be with you because the traffic in Bangkok sure as hell isn’t.

From the hectic city life of Bangkok, we turn to a placid Saturday afternoon in my life.

A quiet day in a city park
A quiet day in a city park

Trying to decide what I should capture in my picture was not easy. I mean I could have taken a picture of restoration work in our house. Or I could have driven down town to get a picture of our non-bustling city. Or I could even have gone into the country to get yet one more picture of a barn..I love barns. But instead I went to a nearby park to see what was happening. The answer was “not much.”There were a few men fishing, a few people walking, a few people talking on their phones (Do they never stop?). If you look very closely at the rock to the right of the fountain, near the bank, you may see a turtle sunning itself. Good luck.

N-N-1 update

It has been around two and half months since the previous N-N-1, and I believe it is time for another. I am using this update to invite new participants. If you are unfamiliar with N-N-1 you can click on the link above to see an example. In brief, it is an opportunity to see and read what different people, in different parts of the world, are doing at the same time of day on a specific date.

For the next N-N-1, I am asking people to each take a picture at 2 p.m. (their local time) on Saturday, October 8th. They then have until 2 p.m. (again, their local time) on Saturday, October 15th to send me their photo and a short write-up about it (50 to 250 words) along with the name of their blog.

I’ll compile the photos and write-ups into a post. I’ll email the participants a link to my post which they can then reblog if they wish.

If you want to participate, email your picture and write-up to houseman@comcast.net. You can also direct any questions to that email. If you contact me in advance, I’ll send you a reminder email.

N-N-1 Picture Challenge

Wow! When I asked Princess Butter to host the N-N-1 challenge I had no idea how great a job she would do. I asked her because I enjoy reading A Splash of My Life. Who knew she also has great organizational skills and could bring in so many other new people and perspectives? I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do.

A splash of my life...

After the last picture challenge that we had, Mr. Norm Houseman contacted me with this amazing thought that I could be trusted with the responsibility to host the next challenge. Oh, bless him! I took up the task promptly, super-excited, because it was the first time I was doing something like this on my blog. I emailed a lot of people from Norm’s and my contacts and I got a good number of people to respond! Trust me, I was beaming with pride when I was compiling all the pictures in the blog post! Everyone has done a great task and got my ‘Evening Vision’ to life in different time zones. As the host, I had the liberty to chose the time and date and I decided that it should be 7 pm on 2nd July. I don’t know why, but I feel the world looks the best in the…

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5-5-1 and growing>

After an initial 2-2-1 (two people, two places, one time) and two subsequent 3-3-1 (three people, etc.) we are once again expanding. The original concept was that all of the participants would take a picture simultaneously; then write a short piece about the picture. It worked. But with the addition of more people, in more time zones, it became apparent that either some people would be taking pictures in the very early morning, or the very late night. We didn’t want that. So this time around we decided that we would all take a picture on Saturday May 28th at 10:30 a.m. local time. What follows is the result. We’re starting with The Girl Next Door in Bangalore, India.


This is the view that I get to see from the terrace of our apartment – houses, houses, houses and more houses is all that meets the eye, as far as you can see. I can’t help but wonder if there were as few trees around here as there are now, or did they go on reducing in number as more and more houses went on being constructed. From this vantage point, the pace of urban development is rather shocking – I’m sure no one can look at this view without gasping at least a teeny-weeny bit. I wonder if one day, buildings and concrete is all we will see anywhere we go, the birds and animals and trees being pushed out of their spaces little by little, and then some more, and then some more, and then some more… Where are we heading to, really?

From India we move to Thailand with this picture and background information from Anju at This Labyrinth I Roam.

5aWhen you’re dating a teacher and all your days start at 5ish am, 10:30am on a Saturday is a magical time when the room is just the right temperature and your bed has wrapped itself around you. Fortunate for me, unfortunate for the 2-2-1. I happened to be at work this Saturday, which I would say was a great stroke of luck. I was all poised to take a stunning photo of the downtown Bangkok skyline but I happened to be elbow deep in glue making toys for kids of Burmese construction workers. The migrant workers come to Thailand for a better lifestyle but can’t afford to send their kids to school. As a solution, UNICEF in collaboration with the property developer came up with an idea called The Good Space where the kids have access to a safe environment to learn and play and pick up skills that would prepare them for proper schooling. While quite amateurish, and you can see my art and craft skills leave much to be desired, I had a great time making these toys that I know will go a long way in making a difference.
And now, from California is Princess Butter from A Splash of My Life.

DSC_8869bI was at Laguna Beach in the morning to get a shot of what represented Southern California living, the Pacific Ocean! But it was so cloudy and dreary. Then, I spotted these guys representing what I think is another aspect of life here that I love.. And I knew I had my picture.

One thing that I find very striking about California and USA in general is the love for sports, fitness and outdoor activities. If I go to the park early in the morning on weekends, I will easily catch people getting together to play basketball, soccer, and even cricket! People will gather even on weekday evenings to play. These people are inspirational. It is easy to say that I don’t have time to do these things and not feel too guilty. But I see complete professionals taking some time out of their busy schedules to exercise their bodies, minds and have fun in groups or with families. This spirit has rubbed onto me as well and I have become one of those people who will look forward to working out in the evenings, and going on walks or swims with friends. I even play in a softball league on Wednesday evenings. The thrill of a win, the high of a happy hour, the playful ribbing for a bad pitching, the excitement of a hustle to the next base, knowing that I have burned some calories and deepened some friendships. I am lovin’ it.

Next we move up the coast in California where Jan of Jan’s Doodles offers this picture and text.

IMG-20160529-WA0004I was in California for the Memorial Day Weekend. This picture was taken in Los Altos where I brunched that morning. She is called the “Guardian” of Los Altos. The artist is Karen Cauvin Eustis . She was supposed to be installed as the Guardian of the coastline in Mississippi on the day hurricane Katrina hit (which was ironic). And so she was shifted to Los Altos as a Guardian of Hope.
I have been there a few times and every time I look at the statue it intrigues me.  She has wings and is beautiful, yet she looks sad and lonely. Makes you wonder about life and some philosophies.

Tip: If you are ever in the Bay area do visit Los Altos and maybe brunch. It has some great spots and is a beautiful place to just walk around.

And finally, there is me.

hospital b

This slightly blurred picture is of the place I had spent three days. It isn’t a sharper image because I almost forgot to take the picture. Thank goodness for alarms on smart phones. I was waiting for the nurse to finish the discharge papers when the alarm went off, so I whipped out my phone and took a hasty picture…thus the blur.

Why was I there? The short story is that I developed a nasty infection in my foot and my podiatrist sent me to the hospital to get hasty treatment with IV antibiotics. I expect that I may put together a longer post about that experience in the future.

That’s it this time around. Thanks to all who took part in this post! I hope you enjoyed contributing as much as I enjoyed looking at your pictures and reading your words. If anybody else wants to join in next time, please leave a comment and we’ll add you to our contributor list and contact you about our next get together.

3 – 3- 1, A Time And Space Experiment

Just a note to welcome The Girl Next Door to this 3-3-1, which she hosted. Remember, if you want to join the fun, leave a Comment and we will contact you with the necessary details.

The Girl Next Door

I will start out by explaining what 3 – 3 – 1 is. ‘3 – 3 – 1’ stands for ‘Three people, three places, one time’. It is a time and space experiment of sorts. It goes like this – three people living in three different places click a picture at the same time of the day, agreed upon beforehand. These pictures (along with a short introduction to them) would show just how different the lives of people can be, in spite of existing in the same world at the same time.

The idea of this experiment was born some time ago, when two bloggers known to me were discussing about a picture one of them posted. The two bloggers got fascinated by the idea that two people can be leading such completely different lives, at exactly the same time. Out of their discussion was born the idea of doing…

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3-3-1 – A time and space experiment

A while back Anju of This Labirynth I Roam https://cupitonians.wordpress.comand I published a 2-2-1 (two people, two pictures, one time). This time around we are joined by Sayantan of Know-All’s Box https://knowallsbox.com/. The purpose of these posts is to show the contrasts in place and view of people with a similar goal. If you would like to participate, leave a comment and one of us will contact you. Or, start your own 2-2-1 and let us know about it.

This Labyrinth I Roam

The first edition of 2-2-1 saw a collaboration between Norm from Classical Gasbag and myself. The idea was to capture the differences in culture, geography, traditions across various time zones. Luckily, the two of us weren’t the only ones who liked the idea. We’ve had a few volunteers for the project and while logistics will always be a nightmare, you will see more posts in the months to come.

Just to reiterate, the point of this collaboration is not to have a well-curated collection of flawless photos but to capture emotions, flaws and the flow of real life at a set time across borders and across the limits of time.

Say hello to Norm, the Classical Gasbag, and the creator of this series!

Indiana Lafayette USA Morning on the farm

When it is 7 p.m. in Bangkok, Thailand it is 8 a.m. in Lafayette, Indiana, USA. From where I live it is…

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2-2-1 (two people – two places – one time)

Today’s post is different than anything that has been published here before. I am taking the opportunity to collaborate with my dear Internet friend Anju, from This Labrynth I Roam! We have been corresponding for quite some time now, electronically as well as by snail mail. Anju is currently living and working in Bangkok, Thailand and I’m here in Lafayette, Indiana. We often share photos that we’ve taken. That is how this blog post came about.

Recently I sent her a picture of a white barn in a bare field. She said that she thought it was beautiful. To me it seemed a far cry from the lovely pictures she sends to me of the colorful places she visits in and around Bangkok. Then it struck me that if each of us took a picture at the same time, and then wrote about the time and place, it would show the contrast between our lives and environments. We could merge them into 0ne blog post that we would both publish. This post is the result…well, kind of. 

Due to a number of factors, we missed taking the pictures at exactly the same time. Blame me for over (or under) thinking the situation. I let little things like the fact that Anju works and that I don’t; we live 12 hours apart except it is now 11 hours because Daylight Savings Time kicked in after our planning; and I was enthralled by the NCAA tournament and was watching basketball most of the day and night. Still, we tried, and I love Anju’s part of this post.

If you like this idea and decide to do something similar, please let us know so that we can see the result. If you would like to collaborate with one of us, let us know and perhaps we can work out the details.


Going in to be stuck
Going in to be stuck

I admit that this isn’t the most exciting or interesting picture that I’ve ever used in Classical Gasbag, but it was the one available when I was supposed to be taking a picture at the same time as Anju…I think. I was going in to have some blood drawn and to pee in a jar so that new lab work could be done prior to my doctor’s appointment next week. Sometimes you take what you get.

I have to do this once every three months, except I’ll do it again between my June and September quarterly visits. I’ll have different blood work done for a different doctor in August. I really look forward to those annual events when they do, as they call it, a rainbow draw, because the vials for the blood are color coded for different tests. On those days I feel like I’m leaving a donation.

Today wasn’t such a big deal. I spent some time in the waiting area, observing the other people. There was one man who looked so nervous that I thought he might bolt before his name was called. But he manned up. There was a couple who surprised me when they went back for their labs together. What was that about? Soon they emerged and left the building together. There was another couple who were so busy talking that they didn’t hear the woman’s name called.

Then it was my turn. The frazzled young woman (she appeared to be around twenty years old) who was taking my blood spent a little time mentioning how nice the weather was. Then she went on to say that the snowbirds were returning from Florida with their winter tans and smiles. She aspired to become one when she grew older. Then she was finished with me and I left.

I was surprised that she hadn’t asked me to pee for them, but I wasn’t going to argue even though I had prepped for that test by drinking a bottle of water earlier. One tries to think ahead. As I walked to the parking lot I passed the couple who had done their labs together. They were reentering the facility. What was that about? Did one of them forget to bleed? Oh well; not my problem.

I stopped at the grocery to pick up a few things. By the time I was back in the car, that bottle of water was kicking in. I quickly calculated the route home that would involve the fewest traffic lights. One tries to think ahead.

And now, Anju’s picture and post:

The Monitor Lizard Canal
Lunch at the Chid Lom CanalI am used to cheap, fresh, hot meals available just outside your door on street stalls or little ‘hotels’, as we call them in India. Thailand ups the game to levels I have not seen in any where else on the world. They have street stalls for yummy Thai food but also stalls for freshly squeezed juices, for all sorts of exotic fruits, for cold Thai milk tea that is the only respite for the hottest weather in 59 years, for home-made cookies and for expertly mixed cocktails.
One of my favourite spots to have a sit down lunch that doesn’t break the bank is this canal. I have no idea what it’s called and so, obviously, I took the liberty of calling it the Godzilla canal. Sometimes when the weather is good, you have pairs of huge (and if I say huge, they are huge!) monitor lizards that come out to lounge on the canal walls. These are special moments to me and my excitement is dismissed quickly by local Thais to whom this is a daily sight. Just watching the mini-godzillas take in the afternoon sun makes me realise how often we screw up our own priorities as humans.
Lunch is always a feast – a big cup of rice with Thai-styled meat and veggies is only 86 cents. If you prefer noodles instead, they have all sorts of mind-blowing varieties. My favourite is the glass noodles – thin, see through and sucks in all the flavour from the veggies and meat. A 16oz glass of milk tea with ice costs about 60 cents and 200 grams of fresh fruit costs about the same. My favourite currently is the mini pineapple I’ve only seen here.
Despite the heat, it’s such a treat to be able to go out everyday for a nice lunch. We move from an airconditioned homes to an airconditioned train and straight into a 16 degree (Celsius) office. Apart from getting our dose of sun, it’s a rare glimpse into Thai culture that is often in the sidelines when you’re living the city life!