Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Museum Visit to LACMA

One of the days on the long weekend, we drove up to Los Angeles to visit the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) – the largest art museum on the West coast.

First stop was Border Grill for lunch.  Annika tried something new and had some corn tamales and actually liked them.  We went there after seeing one of their chefs on Top Chef Masters – a reality cooking show.  I personally think the food was a bit over rated.  It was too bland and “gringo” for my tastes.  Probably why Annika liked it.

The kids mostly gravitated to the “modern” art.

After the museum visit, we went to Magnolia Bakery.  This is an awesome cafe with some of the best tasting cupcakes – decadent and high calorie.  Just what the kids need.

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Annika’s Got Talent

Annika and her friends performed at the school talent show to the Single Ladies.

Here they are hamming it up.

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Halloween Fun

The kids dressed up at school for Halloween before going out for the night.khare-blog-205

They have gone from being princesses, angels and cartoon characters to ghoulish vampires, ghosts and devils!


Here is Annika with her friends.


The best part was the haunted house in Serrano.


Here they are counting and sorting their loot at the end of the night.


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Disneyland Birthday

Last weekend, we took advantage of the Disneyland birthday offer and went back to Disneyland.  Here is a rare picture of Vikram and Annika in true harmony!  This is why they call it the happiest place on earth.



Here is Nikhil, Vikram and Anjali on the Matterhorn ride.


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We took the boys to Laser Quest in Fullerton for their birthday party.  Here are some pictures from the afternoon. Each got to invite four friends.  They had home made cake and In-N-Out for lunch.



Anjali also took them to Disneyland’s California Adventure which was offering a “free” day on your birthday promotion deal.




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Before our Universal Studios passes expired, I took the kids for one last day to visit the park.

Here are the boys being arrested by the local cop.  Annika enjoyed her moment in the sun.

The new Simpsons ride got a thumbs down from the kids – too short for the long wait.   Instead, we ended up riding the Mummy Ride three times whch was by far their favorite ride in the park!


Here we are at our favorite Crepe Restaurant.


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Halloween Party

We had a Halloween block party at our house yesterday.

All of the kids dressed up as did many of the parents.

Here is Annika as Princess Rosalina from Super Mario Brothers Galaxy.  Don’t ask why she picked that, but she was very specific about what she wanted to be this year!  Anjali sticthed her costume for her because it was so unique. Next to her is her friend Lizzy.

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Happy Diwali

We had a Diwali get together with Arun, Jo and their girls this week along with all of the requisite fireworks.

It got quite smoky and loud with the firecrackers, smoke bomb and whistling fireworks.

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We went to Disneyland on Saturday.  We got there when the park opened and literally walked onto most of the rides.  We completed all the major roller coasters by lunch time (Space Mountain, Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain.

In the afternoon, we went to California Adventure.  This was our first time there.  The rides were much more exciting.

Here are the kids at the Hollywood Hotel ride.  This is the same ride they have at Disney World in Orlando.  Way cool!  We rode it twice.


We also did the California Screamin ride twice.

By about 5 o’clock, we were all pooped and hungry!  Nikhil had a race out in Corona early the next morning so we decided to head back home and get some rest.

One last pose in front of the faux skyline.  Note the realistic clouds and shadows.

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Our 5 year old Dell computer died last week and took along all of the pictures on my hard drive.  I am planning on sending it in to a data recovery service that will charge $600 to try to see if they can recover any of the pictures.

Anyway, after being upset with Dell, I went to the Apple store and picked up a new 24″ iMac to see what all the fuss was about. The hardest part was figuring out where the on/off switch was on the Macs!

I was able to very easily upload new pictures from our camera – just plug it in.  No Canon or other software to install.  The uploads even seem faster.

Picasa, my old editing tool on the PC doesn’t work on the Mac, so I am now learning to use iPhoto.

I haven’t quite figured out how to save the image in a lower resolution so the file uploads to WordPress are quicker, but the cutover was pretty painless.

And look, no more wires cluttering up my desktop.  I have a basketful of cables going in the trash!

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On Thursday night, Anjali and I went to a concert at the Pacific Amphitheater. The opening band was the Psychedelic Furs. I remember listening to this group back in the early 80’s. Their claim top fame was “Pretty in Pink” which they saved until the very end. A couple of other songs they played that made the charts included “Ghost in You” and “Love My Way”. Their performance was mediocre at best. The lead singer must be in his late 50’s now and his voice was not quite what it used to be! He also doesn’t get around quite the way Mick Jagger does! Lucky for us, it was sunny, warm and quite relaxing as we watched some of the characters dancing all around us!

The headliner was a group called Yaz (or Yazoo at one point). Their lead singer is Allison Moyet and she is supported by her synthesizer player Vince Clarke (formerly of Depeche Mode and afterward at Erasure).

Here are Anjali and I enjoying the concert.

By the time Yaz started, the concert had filled up. This was their final stop of the tour, and probably the final stop of her career. Allison Moyet still sounded awesome. Unfortunately,  she has ballooned up over the 200 pound mark and doesn’t look like her former self! At one point she remarked that her rubber soled shoes don’t let her move around the carpet as well as she would like.

Anyway… enough commentary. Her singing redeemed the night as she banged her way thru all of her classic hits. These included “Nobody’s Diary”, “Good Times”, “Sweet Thing” and “Don’t Go” . She came back for a two song encore which included “Only You”.

Here is a clip from “Don’t Go”. By the way, his entire synthesizer mix was on his Apple laptop!

We had a great time at the concert.

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For the 4th of July festivities, we went to Tustin High School. In order to get parking and field level seating, we got there around 6:30.  We had Subway sandwiches for dinner along with crackers, hummus and white peach sangria.  Thanks to Bobby Flay for the sangria recipe!

About an hour before the fireworks started, the field filled up.

I took about 20 shots of the fireworks and only one came out pretty good!

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Last week Annika and her friends performed in the school talent show.

Here they are after getting their makeup and costumes done.

Here’s their performance. It is a song by Smash Mouth called All Star.

And here are the glamour girls after their fine performance.

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Terry and Kriss came down from Seattle this weekend and hosted a fun evening at the Wine Cellar in Irvine. It is actually a wine storage building that we used for our private party. The Bordeaux was flowing from about 5pm until closing. Following are a couple of pictures from the evening.

Here are the 3 birthday girls: Joy, Kriss and Kim.

And here are the Real Housewives!

Real Housewives from Orange County

It was a very fun evening albeit a bit chilly in the 57 degree temperature controlled wine locker but a wonderful relief from the 90 plus degree temperatures in SoCal this weekend.

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Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world, producing the most films with the largest audiences. It makes up to 800 films a year – twice as many as Hollywood and about 14 million Indian people go to the cinema each day!

Last Saturday night, we went to see Ayushee perform at the Bollywood dance contest sponsored by UCLA but with all the major colleges in the Pacific competing. This included USC, Berkeley, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCSD and USF to name a few.

All in all, I was impressed by the creativeness of the students in coming up with the story line, costumes, music and set design. A pretty complete presentation.

The winner was UC Berkeley with UCSD coming in a close second.

Here is a cut from Ayushee’s performance.

Note to Ayushee:  It was a tremendous effort and clearly a lot of hard work went into the preparation and practice. On the funny side, I thought the American Idol spoof at the beginning was pretty good.

As a novice observer, I have several recommendations for next year’s contest.

First, it was clear to me that the winning teams had some big time support for costume design, set design and construction and choreography. As a USC student, you should leverage the outstanding talents of the USC School of Cinematic Arts which is one of the leading (if not the top – behind UCLA) schools in the country for film. Seek out a prof and some film students to help you.

Second, your costumes need to “pop”. The winners all had brightly colored costumes with sequins and sparkle. Costumes cost money, so see if you can get some rich USC alums to help sponsor you. Let them know you lost to UCLA and you should have money flowing in!

Finally, get some more students to participate. The winners had big numbers and that helped make a grander impression on the large stage. Eighteen to twenty dancers seemed to be the magic number.  But get quality over quantity (no bellies hanging out – you know what I’m talking about)!

Congratulations on a job well done. Anjali and I had a great time watching all of the dance productions. We’re coming again next year!

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Last weekend, we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Honda Center in Anaheim with our cub scout den. Anjali and I had seen them 16(?) years ago in Long Beach and they were up to the same old antics – water in the stands, confetti, and playing with the kids and the fans.


Here is Annika enjoying the antics.


Here is Vikram with his friend Michael.


It was a fun evening!

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Last week, Anjali took the kids to the Natural History Museum on their day off.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

Here is Vikram at the rock exhibit learning about one of the excavation machines.


Here they are with their friends Ryan and Brandon.


Here are Nikhil, Annika and Brandon in front of the polar bear exhibit.


Here are Vikram and Annika in front of the dinosaur exhibit.


Here is the whole gang in order (Nikhil, Anjali, Annika, Vikram, Ryan, Brandon and Robin)


Here is Nikhil at the white polar bear exhibit. Check out the height of the bear!


And finally, at the end of a long and tiring day, the kids are ready to Relax!


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We are in the small minority of American families that did not watch the Super Bowl. Instead, we decided to spend the day up in LA.

We started off at the Griddle Cafe in Hollywood – this was rated a top 10 breakfast restaurant by City Guide and City Search and we can see why. At 9am there was a 1 hour wait, but we got lucky. Alex (the maitre d’), must have thought Anjali was a movie star because he seated us in the VIP room. This was a separate private table in the back of the restaurant. Quite a fun way to eat breakfast. The food was awesome and the service very good. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

After breakfast, we went to Universal Studios. There was a light sprinkling of rain that turned into a major downpour and flooding. Here we are on the shuttle tour inside the park.


We were lucky to escape the rain and flooding, only to get caught in a firestorm. This was from the set of Backdraft.


After the fire, the kids were eaten alive by Bruce from the movie Jaws.


And then, Nikhil was chased by a mummy from the movie The Mummy.


We then witnessed a plane crash on the War of the Worlds set.

After such an adventurous day, Anjali got to be a real movie star when she was cast in the Nutty Professor movie alongside Eddie Murphy. Check out her audition tape in front of a live audience of thousands.

By the time we were ready to leave the park, the weather had cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful day in sunny Southern California.


We left the park about 5PM and still got home in time to watch the last 8 minutes of the Super Bowl. As it turned out, this was the most exciting few minutes of the entire 3 hour broadcast.

Oh what a day!

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Universal Studios

Anjali and the kids went to Universal Studios this week with Sushi and Nancy and their kids.




Here is the whole gang.


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Sony 52XBR4 Update

I thought I’d provide an update on our Sony 52 XBR4 TV after having it now for a couple of months.

First, on the CNBC ticker problem I mentioned: I believe this to be a problem with CNBC and not the TV. Last week, DirecTV added CNBC-HD to their lineup and the ticker now scrolls just fine. In fact, the picture quality is amazing. However, CNBC is still broadcasting their motion video in SD over the HD channel (kind of like cheating). Their video covers a smaller area on the screen so it appears better.

Also, in the last month, DirecTV has added several other HD channels including Sci-Fi, HGTV, Food, USA and others to where their selection now tops both Cable and Dish network. The quality difference between the 1080i output of DirecTV and their usual “SD” format is like night and day. The choices being broadcast in HD are sufficient enough and the SD quality poor enough to where I do not want to watch SD broadcasts and tend to flip over to something (or anything) on HD.

We have watched several DVD’s and the pictures are very nice. I have yet to purchase either the Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player as I am hoping that the market will sort out a winner soon. I did note that Costco is carrying a $250 HD-DVD from Toshiba while the Sony is at $450. This is a significant price differential with the only difference that I can see being that the Toshiba is 1080i while the Sony is 1080p. Can anyone tell the difference?? I am hoping that by Christmas time, the market will provide a better indication. Right now it is wait and see for me.

We have also hooked the Nintendo Wii to the TV and the picture is pretty good but not stunning. I believe that the best the Wii is capable of is 480P and it shows!

Anyway, if you are in the market for the 52XBR from Sony it is a very good TV that I expect will last for many years to come.

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