My relationship with my hair (The ones on my head i.e.) has been rocky to say the least. I had mentioned before, that I hate haircuts. Experiencing hair loss for quite a few years, I had made up my mind that I will not end up like Pathetic Fool 6. In the beginning of the year, I had decided that I would exit with dignity, and that time has come.
Few days ago, I made the leap and shaved all the hair off my head, for good. This was a moment I had been dreading for years, but surprisingly, the act ended up being liberating beyond measure. I can think of the following ways it has improved my life
No need to comb anymore. One less thing to keep.
No need to apply Minoxidil anymore. Further saving of money, no more low blood pressure.
No need to wait for the tresses to dry after a shower.
No need to worry about hiding the slowly-expanding bald-spot on the top of my head.
Haircuts are now a thing of the past. It is so liberating to shave my own head without having to speak to someone or going somewhere. Further saving of money.
No need to wear a cap while swimming.
No need to worry that wearing a helmet will squash my hair flat. Plus points for safety.
No need to worry that getting wet in the rain will squash my hair flat. The rain drops just roll right off.
Hair not getting in my eyes anymore.
No bad hair days.
No need to buy and track shampoo anymore. Further saving of money.
All in all, this was one of the best changes I made to my life and there’s no looking back.
I caught Influenza A last week. The first 2 days were so bad, I couldn’t even get up from bed most of the time. The third day, I decided to watch Demolition Man. It is a classic 90s action movie with oodles of adrenaline; about a 90s cop (Who doesn’t give two fucks for collateral damage) being put on ice and then being thawed out 30 years later. It is also one of the first movies to have predicted woke culture. Having seen it at least 20 times during school days, I decided to watch it again and see what I notice now. This follows a similar exercise that I did a while ago.
What I noticed
How does it matter if you cryo-freeze a prisoner for 1 day or for 30 years? For the prisoner, it is still over in the blink of an eye (It is later revealed in the movie that the prisoners were mostly conscious, but they didn’t know that before).
Why is the communication system in a robo-car called FiberOp? I would assume most consumer communication would be wireless and video service providers would be abstracted from ISPs?
Retina/Iris scan don’t work if the eye is severed from the head.
Why would handcuffs have passwords? Shouldn’t they, too, be biometric?
Seeing the penii of many men in a movie is not as shocking anymore.
Why is Lenina Huxley always typing on the police computer terminal first and then asking the same question via audio? Shouldn’t the interface be more simplified?
Even 20th century technology wasn’t that bad that frying 1 camera caused every camera in 6 blocks to go offline.
Someone saying “ching-chong” when they see people of Mongoloid descent would not have been acceptable in 2023, even if the character was a villain.
Why would someone (Lenina Huxley) who knows so much about the 20th century be surprised that John Spartan doesn’t know how to use the three sea-shells or have sex using a brain-machine interface?
They never address the topic of whether only San Angeles went woke, or the entire US or the entire world.
Why was there a cryo-tube in a pneumatic arm at the end-fight scene?
Overall, it is still a very entertaining movie. Stallone acts well, but the real credit goes to Sandra Bullock, who was just supreme. Especially her incorrect 90s quips like “You licked his ass” and “Let’s go blow him”.
Wandering Earth is the name of a short story. But also the name of a book with a collection of other short stories. I found them immensely enjoyable. Unlike Ted Chiang, Liu Cixin‘s stories are centred around China with Chinese people as main characters. The stories are too good, I must write a bit about each of them individually.
The Wandering Earth – This story is about the Sun eventually going supernova and humanity’s plan to move the earth to Proxima Centauri.
Mountain – This story is about an alien spaceship visiting earth and how one man climbed a water mountain to speak with them.
Sun of China – This story is about China constructing an artificial reflector in space to engineer their climate and a group of mere window-cleaners who maintain it.
For the benefit of mankind – This story is about an assassin going about his business while an alien race is on the cusp of invading humanity.
Curse 5.0 – This story is about a jilted lover unleashing a harmless computer virus to insult her ex. And how a bunch of drunk homeless people accidentally modify it to destroy humanity.
The Micro-Era – This story is about how humanity genetically engineers themselves to microscopic size to escape annihilation. And a macro-human who was in space for decades’s encounter with them.
Devourer – This story is about spacefaring dinosaurs coming back to earth to take humans with them and raise them for livestock.
Taking Care of Gods – This story is about the gods returning to earth and how the earthlings treat them.
With her eyes – Cannot say anything about it without spoiling it.
Cannonball – A story of a Chinese scientist over decades of cryogenic sleep.
The Village Teacher – A story about a teacher’s dedication to his students and how that eventually saves the planet earth.
The Time Migration – Is a story about immigrants travelling through time to experience what becomes of humanity.
2018-04-01 – This is a story about humans editing their genes to age slower and live longer.
Fire in the Earth – This one is not actually Sci-Fi at all, but nonetheless a good story about mining reforms.
Contraction – Perhaps the most fascinating of them all. It is about the universe stopping its expansion and beginning the contraction phase.
Mirrors- This one is about someone inventing a supercomputer which can simulate everything since the Big Bang. It reminded me of the TV series Devs.
Ode to Joy – A bizarre story about an alien mirror arriving to the Milky Way to play an inter-galactic concert.
Full-Spectrum Barrage Jamming – A fascination story of war between NATO and Russia. Till the end you keep thinking “What does this have to do with Sci-Fi?” And then you realise.
Sea of Dreams – This one is about a low-temperature artist visiting earth and putting all of earth’s oceans in orbit.
Cloud of Poems – This one is about gods coming to the solar system and using its matter to write all combinations of Classical Chinese poetry possible.
The Thinker – Is about a doctor and an astronomer stumbling into a galaxy-spanning discovery and how they track it over decades.
After this, I started reading The Supernova Era, my first full-length novel from Liu Cixin. It is about all the adults on earth being killed by a Supernova and the children taking charge. Much of it was Chinese propaganda and well-known stereotypes. American children doing drugs, carrying guns and shooting each other, threatening to sue, impeaching their President, Britishers always delivering memos about everything. Similarly, the Japanese children have been depicted as blood-thirsty savages, their children eating a live whale.
Not willing to commit to another full-length novel, I started Twisted Planet Book One by a lesser-known author named Peter Schinkel. It contains many Sci-Fi short stories. I found them to be reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. My only gripe is that some of the stories were a bit too short. Like just a page.
No more Sci-Fi
I had enough of Sci-Fi by now, so I started reading On Love and Sex by Khushwant Singh. There was not much love in it, mostly sex. Lectures on sex, Khushwant’s first hand and second hand experiences. Like most Khushwant novels, it didn’t disappoint.
I probably won’t do much reading in October, because my parents are visiting and I have loads of TV shows to catch up on.
In August, I decided to continue my Science Fiction streak. I saw an advertisement for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and decided to give it a go. Within a few pages, it was clear to me that this was the best Science Fiction novel I had ever read.
Andy Weir is quite unlike the other Sci-Fi authors I normally read (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov etc). While the latter are serious and scientific, I found Andy Weir to be positively comic. But that doesn’t mean the science is lacking; that is also explained in detail. After a long time, I had found a book that I couldn’t put down and was completely engrossed.
Apparently, there would be a movie based on this book which I will surely go watch it.
I saw a recommendation from Andy Weir for a book called Recursion by Blake Crouch, so decided to give it a go. Recursion is a psychological thriller mixed with Sci-Fi. It took a lot of mental power to keep track of all the time travel, but the story was engaging. I was afraid it would become as complicated as Tenet, but thankfully, it didn’t. One of the most intense books I have ever read.
After this, I went back to Andy Weir‘s Artemis. Just like Project Hail Mary, it was humorous Sci-Fi. The book also has a unique protagonist – A promiscuous–saudi female porter on the moon. I really enjoyed the book, although I found some parts a bit hard to believe.
After this, I went back to Blake Crouch‘s Upgrade. It was entertaining, but nothing special. I probably won’t go back to the author again.
Amazon recommended me Exhalation by Ted Chiang, which is a collection of short stories. The short parables were perfect for weekday reading, where I could finish 1 story before I went to bed. The stories had a definite Black Mirror vibe.
PS: I also switched from reading on my Kindle Paperwhite to the Kindle app on the iPad, because I also wanted to read magazines. Below are the magazines I am reading
May to September is the season when it rains in Bangkok. I love the rains. Reduces my stress levels so much. I love it so much, can’t stop gushing about it.
The best part about rains here are the fact that 99% of the times, it happens at convenient times. It almost never rains
7:00 to 08:00 – When it’s time to go to school and office
12:00 to 13:00 – When it’s time to go for lunch
16:30 to 17:30 – When it’s time to go back home from office
Last year I remember getting stuck at office without transportation only a couple of times. This time, luckily it has happened only once, and I just walked home with an umbrella.
This is also the time to celebrate Onam. Looking around on Facebook, I found a restaurant (Jhol) which was serving Onam Sadya. We ordered some to eat home and it was so delicious, I still cannot believe it.
The quality of the food was incredible and the taste was amazing. There were total 32 dishes and even though the quantity was much more than I could normally eat, the taste more than made up for it.
In July, I went back to my trusty Kindle. I had a yearning to read Sci-Fi and not able to find anything new that I wanted to read, I went back to books I had already read.
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the rare books, which was adapted from the screenplay of a movie, also written by Arthur C. Clarke along with Stanley Kubrick. Now, there are 2 versions of the book. The original one and the one based on the movie screenplay. I seem to have read the original one, because when I moved on to the second part, I could see several inconsistencies. That is because the second book onwards are adapted from the screenplay version instead.
I had an exam in May that I needed to prepare for. I also had guests over for a few days, so I didn’t read anything at all, all May. At the end of May, I started reading The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond. It was a nice sweet story about a little Garhwali girl who lives in the mountains. The only problem with this book was that it was too short.
Next, I moved on to Sudha Murty. I remember reading her books to my daughter when she was small and she had just launched a new book series, so I gave it a go.
The series is about a dog that Murty’s rich family adopts and how life is with him over the years. It was a nice read, although I feel it is targeted more towards children.
In July, my wife gifted me Chowringhee by Sankar, which is about the life of people working and staying at a Hotel in Kolkata. The book reminded me of the book Hotel by Arthur Hailey which I had read when I was young. It was still refreshing to read Chowringhee, as it brings many things new. The ending was too grim, however.
What is Indian food? If you ask a Caucasian, he would probably say Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Naan. But the real answer is, there’s no one thing called “Indian Food”. How do you define it, then? That’s the question that the TV show Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaaniyan tries to answer. I mentioned this show briefly in my list of favourite TV shows of all time and believe that it now needs its own post.
Raja, Rasoi aur Anya Kahaaniyan is probably the most comprehensive look into what Indian food is. Each episode takes a look into a different part of Indian cuisine, divided carefully using state/region or cities. They discuss the following parameters for each of these cuisines
History of the cuisine
History of the various produce being used in these cuisines, along with their country of origin and when they came to India
Which meat is used where and why
The evolution of the cuisine over centuries
The role of royal families in preserving these cuisines
My favourite episodes over 4 seasons, in chronological order are the ones below
I am watching the entire series again for the second time and really enjoying it. If you like Indian food and interested to know more about it, I definitely recommend this show. Streaming on EpicOn (All Seasons), Netflix (Only 1 season) and Discovery+ (First 3 seasons).
This post is a follow up to my last one. I was introduced to Live Albums when I moved to Nagpur. People in our college used to share 3-in-1 live concert DVDs with each other. I have already written about my favourite concerts, so this post is only about live albums. Below is the list of my favourite live albums of all time.
Hell Freezes Over (1994) – Eagles
My favourite live album of all time and my introduction to Eagles, as a band. In fact I didn’t even hear the original version of Hotel California till years later and was then surprised to find out it was so different. Overall, this album is just magical. Everyone performed perfectly. I remember the first time I heard it, at a friend’s house, his father had found the DVD. It was also Eagles’ reunion concert and as Don Henley says, “we never broke up, we just took a 14 year vacation”.
My only gripe with the album is that they replaced many songs’ live versions with studio versions which are inherently inferior. One example of this is “Learn to be still”.
Pulse (1995) – Pink Floyd
One of my favourite live albums of all time, Pulse is Pink Floyd at its epic live psychedelic best. I have listened to this album countless times and can never get tired of it. The album starts with the epic “Shine on you crazy diamond” and ends with an epic rendition of “Comfortably Numb” with extended solos.
This live album reminds me of Whoreko, I don’t know why. I am not a huge fan of Nirvana‘s heavier work, but this concert showed their “acoustic side” and boy, was it awesome. This concert also introduced the Meat Puppets & Pat Smear to the world.
Ok, Ok, so technically this is not a live album, but it is shot as such, simulating a concert in Pompeii (without audience). The tracks are all psychedelic and the version of echoes in this album is a masterpiece, especially the bass.