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© Rakhesh Sasidharan

Elsewhere

… forcefulness (personality) of the magician’s character

A paragraph from “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, which I am still reading.

“But in the end,” added Dr John, “it is by the imposition of his will upon his patient that the doctor effects his cure. It is the forcefulness of the doctor’s own character which determines his success or failure. It was observed by many people that our father could subdue lunatics merely by fixing them with his eye.”

“Really?” said Strange, becoming interested in spite of himself. “I had never thought of it before, but something of the sort is certainly true of magic. There are all sorts of occasions when the success of a piece of magic depends upon the forcefulness of the magician’s character.”

So true!

[Aside] Quote

Listening to “The End of the Affair” narrated by the amazing Colin Firth (a pleasure so far to listen to! wow). This sentence caught my attention:

How twisted we humans are, and yet they say a God made us; but I find it hard to conceive of any God who is not as simple as a perfect equation, as clear as air.

[Aside] Quote

Came across this when listening to “Fahrenheit 451”:

We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.

It’s from a book by James Boswell and the full paragraph is worth reading.

[Aside] Quote from Mythos

Listening to Stephen Fry’s Mythos and I loved this epitaph from one of the stories. That of Phaëthon, son of Phoebus Apollo the sun God, who rode his father’s sun chariot for a day but lost control and ended up scorching Africa in the process (thus creating the Sahara desert). This epitaph was offered by the American classicist Edith Hamilton.

Here Phaëthon lies who in the sun-gods chariot fared.
And though greatly he failed, more greatly he dared.

[Aside] Sherlock Holmes quote

Was listening to “The Mystery of the Cardboard Box” in the bus after a particularly shitty day and loved this ending paragraph. It resonated with me.

“What is the meaning of it, Watson? said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. “What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”

Godless poem – To Love What Death Can Touch

Just finished watching “Godless”. I took my time with this show coz even though I liked it I don’t think this is something I could binge watch. Funny though, that’s something I had wondered to myself – how come I like this show but don’t feel like binge watching it; does it mean I don’t really love this show thaat much? – until I came across a comment from the show’s creator and director Scott Frank on how he too feels this is not a show one can binge watch. It’s a slow burn, best enjoyed over a long time. (I think he said so on the NPR Fresh Air podcast).

A lovely poem from the show finale:

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
to be,
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
to love.
For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.
To remember this brings painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

– Yehuda HaLevi

That poem’s something.

It’s funny how when I read a written poem it doesn’t hit me as much as it does when I see it on a scene or someone recites it. I guess when I read a poem I just read it without really feeling it.

Endless Night

Just finished listening to Agatha Christie’s “Endless Night”. It was an amazing listen. Very unlike in tone and story to Dame Christie’s usual detective stories (but with a plot twist she has used in the past but which nevertheless came as a surprise to me here too). This was a dark story and I enjoyed it!

Came across the following from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” via this book and I liked it a lot:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

A good quote from “Murder is Easy”

Just finished listening to Agatha Christie’s “Murder is Easy” and came across this quote towards the end. Loved it.

Bridget: Liking is more important than loving. It lasts. I want what is between us to last, Luke. I don’t want us just to love each other and marry and get tired of each other and then want to marry some one else.

Luke: Oh! my dear Love, I know. You want reality. So do I. What’s between us will last for ever because it’s founded on reality.

Two nice quotes from “Wakefield”

Saw “Wakefield” (movie) just now. Loved it. Not at all what I had expected from the synopsis. That sounded like a creepy/ stalker sort of movie, but the actual movie was amazing. Two nice quotes from it.

This is from a point in the movie where the main character (Howard) realizes how he has escaped from a prison of his own making (his past behavior and insecurities):

If anything, I’ve come into my senses fully.

My god, I can see it so clearly.

I’ve constructed the whole thing.

The jealousy …

… the resentment …

…the selfish urgency.

Howard is victim.

Howard is persecutor.

Howard has mastered the world.

That was my prison. That’s what I’ve escaped.

Leaving me where now?

An outcast of cosmos.

And this is just a line he says sometime as he is watching his wife.

I just want you to want me as much as I want you.

Good stuff!

A nice quote from Maigret “Night at the Crossroads”

On men. I liked it. Found it to be very insightful and true. 

I liked Michonnet. 

He didn’t want to protect me or kiss me, or own me. He just saw a scheme where he could make some money. 

Men aren’t usually that honest with themselves. Women are a fantasy, or a path to redemption, or a way they can escape their life. 

Maybe all men want to trap you in the end. And I was sick of that. 

Broadchurch

Binge watched “Broadchurch” Season 1 last year. Loved it! It was a brilliant show about the impact of a little boy’s murder on a small town and how it unravels everyone’s lives and exposes secrets. Not just the plot but the mood, the music, the cinematography, the actors – it was all very well put together. 

Binge watched the US remake “Gracepoint” last week. It was good for a US show but not that great compared to the original (I always feel the darker British shows are better than American ones). They stretched the plot a bit but the characters and the mood was good. The ending was a letdown though. An unnecessary and illogical twist just to make this show appear different? That was a letdown. 

This week I binge watched “Broadchurch” Season 2. Was a but apprehensive coz WikiPedia it didn’t have much favorable reviews and I really didn’t want to spoil my memories of the first season, but all those worries were unfounded. “Broadchurch” Season 2 is equally great! Different from the first one but a great and sensible follow-up to the events of the first Season, with another murder mystery thrown in at the side. “Broadchurch” is never about the murder mystery anyways – in both seasons the case is solved because someone confesses – it’s always about the impact on everyone else and the revulsion at what happened. 

Don’t approach “Broadchurch” Season 2 expecting similar plot lines as the first one. Season 2 is similar but different. 

Two other good shows I enjoyed this year but didn’t get a chance to mention are “Fortitude” and “Ascension”. Check these out if you haven’t already!

Update: I liked this quote by Paul Coates in Season 2 Episode 7 (it’s from 2 Corinthians 12:8-10):

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

[Aside] What doesn’t seem like work?

From this essay by Paul Graham:

If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for.

That essay links to another longer essay about work and doing what you love. Have added it to my Instapaper queue.

[Aside] Some quotes

On passion

I think it’s not exactly true to say that if you do something you are passionate about, the money will come. But, if you do almost anything really diligently then the money will come. And it takes passion to have that kind of diligence. And … if you almost anything really diligently you will figure out what parts of it like and what you don’t and that will help inform your choices (when it comes to choosing a job or doing another thing). 

– Isaac Schlueter (from this podcast)

On money

Money is not the root of all evil. The love for money is the root of all evil. 

– Apparently this is the original version but somewhere along the line became misquoted. I came across this via another podcast (I think Jonathan Strickland said the correct version on the podcast)  

[Aside] Quotes from Jeff Bezos interview

Jeff Bezos is one of those CEOs I admire. He is different. Has a long term vision. So it’s always fun to read an interview of him. Here are some quotes from a recent interview of his. Stuff I believe in and agree with but put way better by him.

On Experiments

… one of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold. It’s incredibly hard.  Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.

What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence. … Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets. That’s when you’re desperate. That’s the last thing you can do.

My main job today: I work hard at helping to maintain the culture. A culture of high standards of operational excellence, of inventiveness, of willingness to fail, willingness to make bold experiments. I’m the counterbalance to the institutional “no” who can say “yes.”

On Time

Where you are going to spend your time and your energy is one of the most important decisions you get to make in life. We all have a limited amount of time, and where you spend it and how you spend it is just an incredibly levered way to think about the world.

On Passion

Probably my favourite quote of all. Because I am big on passions. And my biggest passion is computers, which I don’t know why is the case but it is.

… you don’t get to choose your passions. Your passions choose you.

[Aside] Quote

Mentioned by Dr. Lawrence Krauss in an episode of the Triangulation podcast:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

A great episode to listen to. I was reminded of Richard Feynman’s books while listening to this.

Science is all about asking questions and being in wonder. It’s the journey. It’s about fun and being enthusiastic.

Two great states to be in are 1) confused and 2) not knowing. It’s only when you think you know it all that there’s a problem! And it’s ok to be wrong. You learn when you realise you are wrong!