December 31, 2012

The List for 2013

Nothing like a public list to track and motivate yourself.

Here goes the list

  1. Get fitter
  2. Read more books
  3. Watch less TV series
  4. Complete the next half marathon in under 2:30
  5. Lose weight
  6. Avoid junk
  7. Travel more
As usual, no specifics. Prefer the general. Will take stock once a quarter.

And yes, Happy New Year to everybody.

December 12, 2012

The Reading Habit and How it has been Changing

Just finished reading Born to Run. An excellent book and highly recommended. Also the reason for this post.

I have been reading for as long as I remember. Have always partial to fiction and considered non-fiction to be too boring to read. I actually hate the preachy books a lot more though. Also, the reading habit has been in decline for some time over the last few years. Then the Kindle happened. Which helped reverse the problem to a certain extent. It has also been totally worth every cent that has been spent on it.

Anyways the reason for the post is not to brag about the reading habit having been revived (the last para having taken care of that). It is more about the type of books being read. Some non-fiction, some new topics. I might be finally acquiring some taste, getting sophisticated and all that. Or it might be that the fiction is not so interesting these days. Probably the latter. Who prefers non-fiction over a good work of fiction anyways? Always been a fan of large than life action and the espionage genres, but the advent of technology has almost killed it. Bring back the World Wars and the Cold War anyday and I will take it.

But yes, the last year and half has seen me read around 40 odd books - not half bad by any standards. And the interesting thing is the non-fiction list here. And it is only set to grow. Times, they are achanging.

Here is the list of the books I have read in the last year and half. Courtesy the Kindle. Forgot the paper books read in this period. Will be a few more.

Book Name Author
The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell
The Black Swan Nicholas Taleb
The Psychopath Test Jon Ronson
Anthem Ayn Rand
Thinking, Fast & Slow Daniel Kahneman
Polyester Prince Hamish McDonald
Dexter is Delicious Jeff Lindsay
Dexter by Design Jeff Lindsay
Dexter in the Dark Jeff Lindsay
Dearly Devoted Dexter Jeff Lindsay
Darkly Dreaming Dexter Jeff Lindsay
The Way to Dusty Death Alistair Maclean
Air Force One is Down Alistair Maclean
The Spy Clive Cussler
The Chase Clive Cussler
The Last Testament Sam Bourne
The Big Short Michael Lewis
Outliers Malcolm Gladwell
Blink Malcolm Gladwell
Freakonomics Steven Levitt / Stephen Jubner
Kill Shot Vince Flynn
Inheritance Christopher Paolini
Scarecrow & the Army of Thieves Matthew Reilly
The Rainmaker John Grisham
God's Debris Scott Adams
The Blockade Runners Jules Verne
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Charles Mackay
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
Deep Fathom James Rollins
The Master of the World Jules Verne
The Wrecker Clive Cussler
Born to Run Christopher McDougall

August 26, 2012

Half Marathon done.

Decided to go for the half marathon finally and also managed to finish it.
21.09 kms. 3:06:00.
One more item off the ever changing bucket list.
Not bad for a first attempt. Especially considering that I have hardly gone out for the last 10 days. Next target would be to run comfortably under 3 hours, possibly closer to 2.5. That would take some doing and some practice too. Since I am not planning the next one anytime soon, should still be possible.

July 31, 2012

Signed Up for a Half Marathon

Just signed up for a half marathon. The Airtel Hyderabad Marathon. 25 days to go. My first ever attempt. No training. Just hope to finish half of it. And maybe the other half too. That would make it 21.09 kms. Main aim would be to finish this before the organizers wrap up for the day.

Will keep this space updated.

I'm running AHM|2012

July 3, 2010

Out come the knives

Was just wondering why I am not able to bring my usual sarcasm to my writing. And as usual several seconds of deep contemplation later, I was quite close to answering the question. As close as I am to solving the world's peace problem. And so here I go.

Immediate provocation for this post come from the people who have been commenting on Raavan recently. Multiple reviews have been irritatingly repeating the same thing, that the movie is average, but the production values and cinematography is outstanding. Yeah, right, I believe you people. Coming as it is from a bunch that would probably not be able to recognize the business end of a camera if they bumped into it. But then, is it not something to expect from a nation's people where the majority of the people have no hesitation in proclaiming loudly from rooftops how Sachin should be batting. Never mind that the closest they would come to him would be...well...never mind. Rich, telling Sachin which shot he should have played with the gifted hindsight. Or telling the Pathan brothers how to play the game. Ok wait, that one is acceptable.

In other news, read a couple of days back that our honourable Home Minister feels that the violence in Kashmir was caused by anti-national elements. Really? And I here I was, stupid enough to think that peace loving patriots were the cause. Used to respect the guy, but you can never have too much of a good thing I guess. Must confess that he is an improvement over the previous joker who occupied the office. The level of improvement probably Bangladesh could do with to think they can play Test cricket.

I should do this kind of thing more often. The world needs it. No,  who cares about the world? I need it.

Expect more regular posts and all that in this space. About as often as you would expect the Dutch beating Brazil in a World Cup quarterfinal.

June 19, 2010

Retro Steps

Following the recent Asia Cup matches and the T20 world cup in the Windies, I could not but help notice that I might probably never get around to stop following cricket completely. I follow almost formats of the game these days, mostly on the net. Even if it is not India that is playing. And just realized that Tests are what I enjoy the most these days. Not completely sure what the reason is, but most probably it has something to do with the overdose of T20 I guess. One dayers seem to have too much of a lull in the middle overs. Was always there, but it has been brought home more emphatically with the advent of the shortest format of the game. Cricket is constantly evolving and I would love to see the dual innings idea tried out in ODIs soon. Cricket is going the football way in some way with IPL bringing in the club culture, and quite successfully at that too.

Started to say something and then seem to have gone off in quite a different direction. Should stop doing that. Or at least stop doing it too often...

April 25, 2010

New York, je t'aime

Yes, I do. Had the chance to visit New York last month during the Easter weekend and I really liked the place. I  have never been the type that understood why people keep saying one city has a faster pace of life than some others. Always been of the opinion it is more of an individual trait. One is laidback or not. Anyways, been digressing here. New York has a vibrancy of its own, something that is better experienced rather than explained. NY has been the closest I have experienced to being in India after coming here. There is something about the chaos in the city, the free movement of people that is a welcome relief. The ability to move around without inhibition, the comfort of a crowd and most importantly it is a city where the streets are not deserted by 7 pm. The simple pleasures of life, like walking without people staring at you as if you are form a different world, which I probably am.

Every city here has a similar thing to offer, with a signature skyline, some museums and a bridge with a view. NY has all that and that little extra. The Empire State Building is something you should definitely not miss when you are there, especially the audio tour which is a brilliant touch. And while I am at it, I would not really recommend the National History Museum, you are better off spending your time at the Central Park just outside. There are a lot of other things to see there too. Look up any NY guide and you will get your

New York. Do visit. Highly recommended.

And yes, it was a very good weekend as Kajal, Kunal and Puneet turned up. Not to forget the perfect hosts for the trip, Amrapali and Sachin - Thanks a ton guys !!

Advertising & TV in the US

Another US related post. And no, this is not going to be gyaan about advertising. Just a layman's view of what the ads on TV seem like. Or as some of you might say, a not so layman view of the whole thing. I think I preferred the advertising in India. Seriously, the quality of the ads here leave a lot to be desired. At least the ones I see on the list of channels I surf regularly. It is as if the advertisers have made a not so subtle assumption that the targeted audience are probably too dumb for sophisticated ads. The ads seem tailored to cater to the lowest common denominator, making it really tough to sit through them. They spell out everything explicitly, leaving very little or nothing to the imagination.

I really do believe that lack of talent is definitely not the root cause for this because the TV shows here are of top quality. Well, some of them to be honest :) The creativity and sophistication of the TV series and movies somehow has failed to spill over on to the ad world. An interesting dichotomy probably and one for which I have no clear explanation. Any pointers anyone?

The ads range from dumb to ridiculous to just plain irritating. Especially the pharma ads, which typically have 1 minute of extolling the virtues of the drug followed by 5 minutes of side effects. Funny. And yes, insurance is way, way too expensive in the US. Else there wouldn't be so many ads on so many channels all the time, right?