Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thank you Fitbit

Yeah this sounds like a commercially motivated post. And if I think hard enough, well, it is!

I have been using Fitbit(s) for over 3.5 years now. They have been practically tracking my every move ever since I bought my first one. And I am sure they are doing tonnes of longitudinal research to analyze how "people like me" live.


The innocently sounding "Every breath you take" song from Police has taken a completely different meaning these days. With everyone from Google, to the agency that shall not be named, to fitness tracking devices have been diligently "watching" us.

Anyway, the intention of this post is not to scare you. But I have been growing increasing dependent on Fitbit for my "fitness goals". The company on its end has been diligently helping me track my habits. In the recent couple of months I have had some major troubles with my devices and they have been always sweet enough to give me replacements without any complains. I believe they realize my longitudinal value as a "happy customer" as much as I rely on them for my everyday tracking!

So thank you Fitbit. You are helping me a lot.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses was "the" band during my teenage and then under-graduate years. Sweet Child O' Mine was our anthem, and I believe everyone of us could sing it at a moment's notice.



So I was thrilled when I heard GNR is on tour and covering Singapore this time. I managed to see them live yesterday and yeah it will go down as one of my most memorable concerts ever. I got transported 15 years back and felt young and (not so wild - yeah I was studious you know!). But anyway, loved it, screamed and jumped to my heart's content.
 
Not in this Lifetime Tour



Both Axl Rose and Slash have visible aged. But their energy and showmanship remains amazing. Every time I see a band that I grew up with, I realize how old I am. These guys were all my teenage idols and now they look like a bunch of old uncles!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Survived the cold

Having born in the western part of India and then subsequently hardly ever seeing temperatures below 24°C my tolerance to cold is abysmal. And the previous attempts when I did go to colder places like in cold classrooms or in the summer in cold places, it was a nightmare for me.

This time around, I made it to some of the coldest places in Central Europe in the dead of winter and survived to tell you guys the tale. The average temperatures were -1° to -3°C and the coldest I survived was -9°C. Now before I start, this is how I mostly looked during the entire trip:

Covered from head to toe except for a small slot for my eyes to see where am I going. I pretty much made sure that not a single body part was exposed. And then, for the parts that were covered, I made sure that I had several layers. On an average (warm day of a -1°C) I was 5 layers of woolens and thermals. And on particularly cold days, I went up-to 7 layers.

And like a true Oscar award winner, I would like to thank Uniqlo for making amazing winter clothes and Timberland for making shoes that could survive the cold and provide me the grip on slippery surfaces. Finally I would love to thank Mumbai and Singapore for being warm and sunny so that I can just wear a shorts and t-shirt and comfortably walk around.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Coffee on-board

I am sitting in a high-speed train, having a coffee and looking out the window to a snowy landscape while traveling at 150 Kph. I have nothing much to do than admire the landscape and think about having finally fulfilled this dream that I had for years.

I always wanted to board a train, travel through a cold country and have a coffee on-board. Never figured why I so "wanted" to do this. Maybe because of the British cinema that I was exposed to in my early life, or maybe because of the video games that I played that were set in cold landscapes with trains in them (e.g. Project IGI, Return to Castle Wolfenstein etc.)

Now, I have nothing much to write. But I am blogging cause I want this moment to last for eternity. And it feels exactly the way I felt it would feel. Of course, surfing the internet on the train was not a part of the deal!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

49 Weeks to 2018

Have had some of the busiest days of my life in the last month. So when other things take priority, blogging goes on a back burner. Hope you all had a lovely start to the new year, and wish you an amazing year ahead, or rather wish you happy 49 more weeks to 2018.

Depending on how you compartmentalize your days, they can be very long or very short! Hang on to your resolutions and make sure you achieve them this year!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Uniqlo-ed

I was doing my annual closet cleaning yesterday and it suddenly dawned on me that I have slowly and steadily Uniqlo-ed my wardrobe!

For those of you who do not know, Uniqlo is this Japanese fast-fashion brand. And like everything else I know of Japan, it is of awesome quality, unique (and surprisingly affordable). What began as a liking for their casual clothes, now has become an obsession, and I am pretty much dressed from head to toe by just one brand. Tch tch.So from casual shirts, T-shirts, Formal shirts, trousers, jeans, shorts, gym apparel, undergarments, winter clothes to socks, I can now just pop into 1 store and buy my entire wardrobe. Wow! So much for not being brand conscious!

Now, since this ain't a paid endorsement, I won't recommend you to try the brand yourself. But well, if you have been shying away, may be you should drop by a store today.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Amazing Transformation

YouTube recommended me this video yesterday of Aamir Khan going through an amazing body transformation for his new movie Dangal. It is amazing to watch a fat middle-aged Aamir turn into a fit young Aamir in a matter of 5 minutes (well, okay the actual timeline is 5 months).

It's amazing, inspiring, and to be honest - near impossible unless you got absolute discipline, self-control and a whole lot of time and money. I feel it's inspiring for people who have been struggling with their weight for decades (yours truly). So here it is in all it's glory:


This transformation reminds me of the two greatest movie transformations that I have seen in my lifetime. First is Tom Hanks - in Cast Away. He managed to loose almost 23 kgs for his before and after in Cast Away. It was jaw dropping to see him that way in the movie!

Then, what I consider as the craziest set of body transformations yet - Christian Bale. He has been pushing his body to the limit of craziness by going through gains and losses for several of his movies.
I would recommend you see his transformations here.

In short he went from 83 kg (2002) - 55 kg (2004) - 86 kg (2005) - 61 kg (2006) - 86 kg (2008) - 66 kg (2010) - 108 kg (2013). I can't even imagine how he could do it for all his roles and such a short span of time!

Anyway, for minions like you and me. It's just a gentle reminder that anything is possible. And yeah - proper diet is more important than just doing regular workouts!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mochi

This is a very special post for me. Mainly for 2 reasons.
  1. This happens to be my 400th blog post. Yeah. Persistence.
  2. A friend of mine just came back from Japan and got us a big box of Mochi. I managed to finish half of it in a matter of 2 hours. Now I am delighted, contended and have a sugar high as I write this post
So to celebrate this momentous occasion (and my sugar high) I shall write about this amazing Japanese sweet that I have been eating for the last 2 hours. So what exactly is mochi? It's a rice cake made out of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and molded into a shape with a sweet paste filling inside it. The variety that I just ate had a matcha filling (Japanese Green Tea).

Now like everything else Japanese I have talked about here before (Ronin, Ramen, Fine DiningWasabi, Pocari Sweat , Poke-Yoke, Umbrellas, etc.) this innocuous looking dessert has an astonishing way of making it. The glutinous rice is actually pounded using a Wooden mallet and someone's hand in an alternate rhythm! And if that doesn't sound dangerous enough, I recommend you watch the video below. Mind you, it's his actual speed, the video speed hasn't been increased:


Now I know this is in no way a lethal food like the Fugu. While eating the Fugu, you are trusting the chef with your life (literally). To quote Wikipedia verbatim about Fugu, it says:

Fugu poison is 1200 times stronger than cyanide, and there is no known antidote.
 Wow. So much for satisfying your taste buds (a few seconds of pleasure?)

Anyway, coming back to my main topic of Mochi, I understand that these days many Mochis are prepared by industrial machines pounding the glutinous rice, and not many chefs risk their hands to make the perfect Mochi. However, I still think of all the effort people put in to make the "perfect" food, just so that someone somewhere can fest on a box of finger licking good Mochis and write a blog!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Reddit - read better news!

Facebook is now the world's biggest media house just because of it's sheer power of distributing news across the globe than any other media company. Most of the world consumes its news (real or otherwise) from Facebook.

While I have also consumed news on Facebook, in the recent past I have actively stayed away from Facebook for a while to not let all the negativity affect me. I still use Feedly as my feed reader (after the Google Reader fiasco) to read my favorite bloggers and websites.

I have also been heavily reliant on Reddit to get my crowd-sourced news especially for the "breaking" stuff and to follow the news topics that I like. So I thought, I let you guys know about Reddit, if you have already not heard of it.

Reddit is like a community sourced news portal, where you have people voting for the articles and news that they like. Eventually the most voted news/ articles make it to the top of the front page which keeps changing all the while. Besides, Reddit also has these various "sub-reddits" where you can follow a community curated topic of your choice. So what on Reddit do I follow and I recommend?

Here are a few of my favorite sub-reddits that I recommend:

LifeProTips - Small quirky tips for managing your life
ExplainLikeImFive - Explanations on complicated topics given as if you are a 5 year old
TodayILearned - Something new to learn for the day
AskReddit - People asking questions on reddit, and getting answers!
UpliftingNews - Positive news of good things that happen in the world
History - Your daily dose of History lessons
Fitness - The name says it all
GetMotivated - If you need motivation, this is the right sub-reddit

Sunday, November 6, 2016

It is up to all of us

There is this absolutely stunning documentary released by National Geographic with Leonardo DiCaprio about Climate Change and what we need to do right now to prevent a catastrophic destruction of our planet. I think this has been the best made documentary ever on this topic and is a mandatory see for every human being.

Edited on 13/11/2016 - Looks like National Geographic took down the video from YouTube. I investigated, but can't find the reason why. So the only thing that is legally available now is the trailer.




Though I thought I knew so much about Climate Change before, this documentary really changed my perspective even further. I would highly recommend each one of you to take the time and see this documentary as soon as you can. And then try hard to change your lifestyle in a meaningful way.

Consume differently

I believe as human beings if we are cognizant of the effect of our actions on the environment, and take positive steps to reduce it, we can really achieve a lot in a very short amount of time.