Numbers

I love mathematics. I was looking for ways to increase my knowledge in this area and stumbled upon Numberphile, a YouTube account dedicated to mathematics videos. All the Numberphile videos I’ve seen so far have been super interesting and easy to understand. Here are a few of their videos I enjoyed watching:

Vigor

Here are my fitness goals for 2017, in no particular order:

  • Bench press 1.5 times my body weight: This works out to be around 225-232 lb. I can currently do 3-5 reps at 205 lb. My goal for 2017 is to get to a 225-232 lb 1RM.
  • Workout at least 5 times a week.
  • Consistently squat 2 times my body weight: (by consistently I mean each time I’m squatting at the gym) This works out to be 300-310 lb. While I have done 1 rep at 315 lb in the past, my current squat weights are in the 225-275 lb range.
  • Start deadlifting.
  • Focus on parts of my body that (I feel) need to be improved upon: namely my shoulders, my abs, my pectoral muscles, and my calf muscles.

Seven

I’d been toying with the idea of buying a seven string guitar for some time now. Most of the bands I listen to (TesseracT, Periphery, Skyharbor, etc.) all use seven string guitars, and it would be awesome to be able to play some of their songs. Plus I feel reasonably comfortable playing a six string guitar. Minus solos. So last week I walked into Guitar Center and bought a Jackson seven string guitar.

I’m super happy with my new guitar – it sounds incredible, is very comfortable to play, and it looks beautiful.

I’ve currently tuned the seven string to BEADEAD so I can play songs from Polaris by TesseracT. I found a guitar transcription for the entire album and am very slowly working through Messenger and Tourniquet. TesseracT songs are quite challenging to play on the guitar, but the feeling of playing songs by your favorite band is sublime.

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My old Gibson Les Paul on the left, and my new Jackson seven string on the right.

Quotes: Q1 Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in Q1 2017:

Everything that happens doesn’t mean something else. – The Sunset Limited

She had heard it said that humans are supposed only to use about a tenth of their brains, and that no one was very clear what the other nine tenths were for, but she had certainly never heard it suggested that they were using for storing penguins. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Dirk hardly liked to think. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

She found him exactly where he was not supposed to be. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

No private detective looks like a private detective. That’s one of the first rules of private detection. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

It was his subconscious which told him this – that infuriating part of a person’s brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing. – The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

The music stopped abruptly, with the air of having delivered exactly five cents worth of joy. – Player Piano

“Tell me about today.” “Nothing about today. One more, like all the rest.” – Player Piano

The two were inseparable, though their personalities met at almost no point. Together, they made an approximately whole man. – Player Piano

Yeah, it’s tough – like anything else. Tough to be the best. – Player Piano

The television cameras dollied and panned around him like curious, friendly dinosaurs, sniffing and peering. – Player Piano

I do know that it’s far easier to ask questions than to answer them. – Player Piano

“I want a stronger word than happy.” – Player Piano

The truth can never be spoken without someone getting hurt, John. – Player Piano

Jimmy, I.Q. isn’t everything. Some of the unhappiest people in this world are the smartest ones. – Player Piano

Here you are at a crossroads, my boy. You’re lucky. Not many crossroads left for people. Nothing but one-way streets with cliffs on both sides. – Player Piano

We’ll rediscover the two greatest wonders of the world, the human mind and hand. – Player Piano

Vitae

(“vitae” means “life” in Latin)

What I said “Bye!” to in 2016

  • God/Religion: I became an atheist in 2016.
  • The fear of awkward conversations: One consequence of wearing your heart on your sleeve and always wanting to be open and honest with the people in your life is that it can lead to awkward, scary conversations. I used to be a bit afraid of them. However, I had so many of these talks (for better or for worse) over the course of 2016 that I can now have these conversations WITHOUT avoiding eye contact with the person I’m talking to.
  • My old job: I left LinkedIn in 2016.
  • ~3 inches on my waistline: I went from 30-31 inches at the beginning of 2016 to 28 inches as of December 2016. I’m still a bit amazed by this, because I wasn’t explicitly trying to lose weight.
  •  One of my best friends: One of my best friends moved back to India after being in the Bay Area for ~3 years. It was really sad to see him go, because I was so used to him being a part of my life here, and being able to hang out with him easily. In this digital day and age distance is a not a barrier between friends and we still message each other almost everyday, but I’ll miss all the adventures we had together when he was physically here.
  • Expectations: (still trying to decide how I feel about this) Towards the end of 2016 I realized that life is better when you have no expectations from anything or anyone. That way you’re always surprised when good things happen to you, because they’re always unexpected.

What I said “Hello!” to in 2016

  • A new most favorite person: 247cae00bedc4032b015212c1c72e800cf7b6dc2e4a41886d77bdceed4de6ee6
  • A new job: I joined Uber in 2016.
  • More respect, admiration, and love for my family and friends.
  • Running: 2016 was the year I started running seriously. While I’m not quite ready to say I love running just yet, I will say that I do enjoy it quite a bit.
  • Incredible books, albums, concerts, and research papers.
  • Emotions and Feelings: I experienced a wide array of emotions and feelings over 2016, some of which I never felt before. Looking back I think 2016 was the year I grew the most at an emotional level. I learned things about myself that I did not know.
  • A sense of style: I put in effort (and money) into dressing well and generally improving my stylistic sensibilities. I think on average I look better now than I did in pervious years. What do you think?
  • Improved writing skills: Apart from writing a lot (or trying to do so) on this blog, I also wrote a small book (~10000 words) in 2016, and a speech for my best friend’s engagement ceremony.
  • A Kindle: I bought a Kindle Voyage towards the end of 2016 and I adore it! While I still love physical books, my Kindle is now firmly entrenched in my life.
  • A nose piercing!
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2016 Favorites: Book

One of my goals of 2016 was to read 24 books over the course of the year. According to Goodreads, I ended up reading 33 books. This makes me happy.

Here are (in no particular order) some of my favorite books that I read last year:

It’s quite hard for me to pick one book as “Karan’s Book of the Year” for 2016. Each the books above had great stories, were well written, made me experience a smorgasbord of emotions, and had something that stuck to my soul long after the book was over. If I was forced to pick one, I would have to say that book would be The Nightingale. I felt that this book was pure literary perfection. As I said about the book in September

I LOVED this book! It’s beautifully written, with an engaging story, a haunting backdrop, and well developed characters. It made me cry quite a bit. This is one of my favorite books of all time

(why yes, I did just quote myself)

This simplistic review doesn’t even come close to describing how breathtakingly sublime The Nightingale is. Please read this book.

 

2016 Favorites: Album

My top 20 albums of 2016, in no particular order, are:

If I had to pick one album as “Karan’s Album of the Year” for 2016 I would say that would have to be Magma by Gojira.

When Gojira announced that they were releasing a new album in 2016 the Internet was abuzz with excitement. Me? Not so much; at that point in time I liked maybe 1-2 Gojira songs. However, given the excitement I sensed online I decided to give Gojira (just like I’d given Deafheaven) another chance.

I’m so glad I did.

Gojira’s music blew my mind. The guitar and bass riffs were groovy, dark, and crushing. Joe’s vocals were perfect for the tone of the music. Mario quickly became one of my favorite drummers. The musical atmosphere they created with each album was unparalleled.

In the months leading up to Magma‘s release I listened to Gojira almost every other day.

When Magma finally came out I listened to it on repeat for several days. I fell in love with this record. It was very different from Gojira’s previous releases — it was less heavy, featured clean(er) vocals, and was shorter and more straightforward (in terms of musical composition). But it was still a fantastic, beautiful record. It dealt with love and loss in a way only Gojira could. The picture it painted with its music was sublime. Each song is powerful and evocative on its own, and together they mesh together to create a aural masterpiece.

Goal Tracking: November Edition

At the beginning of the year I published a post outlining what some of my goals for the year were. In the spirit of being transparent, here is the progress I made on them over the course of November –

  1. 100% self availability over the course of the month.
  2. Volunteered for 0 hours  😦
  3. No procrastination!
  4. Continued being honest and open over the course of November. A lot was said in the eleventh month of 2016.
  5. Zero Rust progress.
  6. I read 2 books in November — When I’m Gone (some parts were good, but overall I thought this book was OK), and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (SO, SO, SO GOOD. I’m a huge fan of Douglas Adams, and this book is a great example of his literary genius).
  7. I read zero research papers in November.
  8. I wrote 7 posts.
  9. I didn’t really play much guitar in November.
  10. (a) (goal achieved)
    (b) (goal achieved)
    (c) (goal achieved)
    (d) (goal achieved)
    (e) (goal achieved)