Libar Hard Ciders!

The order is in – I’m getting some apple juice to try and make my first batch of Libar Hard Cider(s)! I’m trying two varieties of yeast with the first batch. Once the carboys are loaded tomorrow it will a couple of weeks for the yeast go to town and then we will (hopefully) celebrate the first case of ciders! Looking forward to plan that Libar Cider party.. :) Continue reading

Tryst with South America Visas!

So turns out among other things an Indian passport and South American visas dont so together! This December I’m planning to do a hiking trip with a good friend of mine starting with Peru, going through Bolivia, Chile and ending in Argentina.

I was hoping roughly to following this itinerary – Peru (Dec 19-23), Bolivia (Dec 24- 27), Chile (Dec 28- Jan 6) and Argentina (Jan 6 – 10). Continue reading

Interactive Barstool – Hmm..

So when I bought my house among other things one of the quirks was that the bar height for the kitchen was too high. The highest barstool I could get was 34 inches but my bar needed 38″.  As I learnt woodwork and finished my storage room and setup a small electronics setup, the desire to build a cooler barstool surfaced.

So among other things what did I want in barstool? Since I already bartend and provide a very unique speakeasy setup I wanted the barstool to be unique, and have a cool design and lots of lights!

Following are few ideas from my pinterest board:
Follow Vaibhav’s board Interactive Barstool Design Ideas on Pinterest.

So in addition to it having a cool design, lots of lights what do I want this barstool to do?

  • Encourage people to talk to each other
  • Make it easy for the bartender to be more hospitable to you
  • Detect when someone is too drunk to drive
  • Provide a virtual coaster — to let people know that I’m still at the seat!
  • Have a coat hook

Now that I have put some thought, how should I go about building it?
I’m planning to use the Intel Edison board to enable this stool to be connected to a phone app and you can program Edison in Node.js! I want to keep the design simple but elegant with Gaudi like curves and a simple hinging mechanism, a laser cutter would be sufficient for the job! I want to add a artisically designed acrylic piece to the wood work so the lights some through. I’m planning to use simple 10-12 LED lights per stool.

Can this be done in 48 hours?
So why 48 hours  you say – well i’m thinking of doing this project at startup weekend makers edition. I think if I have a woodworker, a 3D/2D designer, a couple of softeware devs and one electrial/electronics engineers on my team then we can pull this through fairly easily and even have time to enjoy a couple of drinks and play some fun games with our stools!

Euro Trip 2014 – A Travelogue

After every trip I think of so many things to write about. So many questions to explore about culture, language, cuisine and technology. But time is limited and life catches quickly!

So what should I write about by three week trip to Europe! I’ll try to capture the essence, some pictures, some tidbits and promise to write more later :). Before leaving I said to friends that I don’t really like Europe but I treasure the travel for opportunity to spend time with friends and family. And above everything else big goal was to practice traveling light. Continue reading

Bicycle Touring Victoria Islands

Over the labor day long weekend I did 3 day cycling tour in Victoria Islands with a good friend of mine. Given the ease of getting from Seattle, good camping and amazing riding – I would say this is a great tour to partake!

The first day we biked about 10km out to a park from the Victoria ferry terminal but then did a 20km round trip to Victoria to get dinner! On the second day we biked about 75km from Fort Victoria to Sooke Potholes park and then onward to French Beach Provincial Park and on the third day we make the journey back to Victoria covering about 65km.

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Fig 1. The Three Day Route

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Festival of Forgiveness – 2014

Over the past year, if I have hurt your feelings knowingly or un-knowingly in any way or form, please forgive me – Michammi Dukham, Khamat Khamana. I sincerely wish that you will also forgive my shortcomings.

So why ask for forgiveness?
Well, today is the “Shyamapana festival”. Shyamapana is a festival of forgiveness; its popular among folks of Jain faith. This day is a culmination of a weeklong fest of repentance called “Paryushan“. To quote an article :

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Santa Rosa Half Marathon

In addition to experiencing the California earthquake 25 miles from its epicenter in Napa, we had an eventful family weekend completing the Santa Rosa Half Marathon. We convinced Shriyansh to run and without training he finished his first half marathon in 2 hours 18 minutes and now he is hooked to run more! Last year we did this event as a family 5K, I guess someday we might consider a family marathon…

I did my all time best (official time – 2 hours 13 minutes for 13.1 miles) but wished I could have run a bit faster the second half (usually I’m able to). Following are my stats from the weekend –

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Prior to the run, I did a hard week of 8+ miles runs and had hurt my back. One lesson learnt from this half marathon is to stretch and take care of that back and not to over train!

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I’m thinking to sign up for the Seattle Rock n Roll in November, it will be great to keep to cadence of a half marathon every quarter or so! May be buy the Rock n Roll pass.

The Sramanas– Embracing Spiritual Hacking

Every year I try to keep some focus on fasting, meditation, spiritual pursuits and reflection during the week of Jain Paryushan. This year is no different – I’m making sometime to learn more about Jainism, other spiritualties and reflect. My goal is to complete reading the book “Goodness without God” this week, more on it later. In this post I wanted to focus on Sramanas, and their effect on world spirituality as early as 6 B.C.

Wikipedia talks following about Sramanas:

The Pāli samaṇa and the Sanskrit Śramaṇa refer to renunciate ascetic traditions from the middle of the 1st millennium BCE.[4] They were individual, experiential and free-form traditions, independent of society; and in religious competition with Brahmin priests, who as opposed to Śramaṇas, stressed mastery of texts and performing rituals.

Growing up I heard the word Sramana quiet a bit and it is mentioned fair times in the Jain religious scriptures I have by heart. Only this week I’m getting to learn more about the broader context of the movement and associated thoughts. The Shramanas were the free thinkers and spiritual hackers of their time. They gave up the worldly life and the existing Vedic traditions to explore and discover new ways. Since they didn’t believe in authority of Vedas they would be termed as Nastiks.

Among the multitude of Sramana movements a few created their own thought stream and philosophical or religious schools. The Carvakas believed in perception, and to an extent established one of the earliest hedonistic school of thought – in ones life equation net pleasure should be more than net pain. They did not believe in cycle of life and birth. On the other hand the Jains stressed on non-violence (Ahimsa) believed in karma, cycle of life and birth. Whereas the Buddhists thought stream believed in a middle ground. A notable fact in all of these philosophical and religious viewpoints is that they were the rebels or reforms in Vedic thought process (or the mainstream if you will), trying to simplify and make spirituality relevant from the technicalities of time. They were spiritual hackers!

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Fig 1. The Sramanas

So why did I pick to read “Good without God”? I think the Sramanas very much like the modern days atheists or agnostics did not believe in one almighty powerful force controlling the fate of each individual and the premise of “Good without God” seems to imply that. I’m looking forward to reading and learning more..

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Fig 2: Reading Assignment

Bicycle touring with me !

With Miyar Adventures I’m hoping to offer some guided bike rides this summer through early fall.

Currently  three trips are on the dock with flexible dates.

  • Seattle to Vancouver Bike Ride (3 days):
    cycle-ride
  • San Francisco to LA (6 days):
    cycle-ride-sf
  • Banff to Jasper (6 days):
    cycle-ride-jasper

I would love to gauge interest on this – please drop me a note if you would like to join.

I’m also game to host a seminar to go through the biking prep for long rides.