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TV Viewing for 2014

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Busy putting together a list of television shows I plan to watch in the first half of 2014. Not in any particular order:

  1. The Century of Warfare [DVD]
  2. The Shield: Season One [DVD]
  3. Rescue Me: Season One [DVD]
  4. Story of Film [Netflix]
  5. Dirt: Season One [DVD]
  6. Ancient Aliens: Season One [DVD]
  7. Homeland: Season One [DVD]
  8. I, Claudius [DVD]
  9. Edward The King [DVD]
  10. Justified: Season Three [DVD]
  11. Justified: Season Four [DVD]
  12. Dexter: Season Eight [DVD]
  13. Duck Dynasty: Season Three [DVD]
  14. Duck Dynasty: Season Four [DVD]
  15. House of Cards: Season Two [Netflix]
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Written by niraj

January 2nd, 2014 at 10:45 am

Movies Worth Watching for 2013?

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I’m interested in only watching two movies for rest of 2013. One being David O. Russell’s American Hustle.

The other being Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

Oddly both take place in New York and both involve con men. I like con men because they have to survive on their wits alone, while most thieves must rely on violence or the threat of it.

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Written by niraj

December 25th, 2013 at 10:34 am

A Very Small Reading Update

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In April 2013, I created a list of 65 books that I wanted to read – had to read! – within the next two years. As of today, I’ve read only four books on the list. I have a bit ways to go. It’s not like I’ve not been reading, far from it, but as is my habit I tend to stray from my path and read books that catch my fancy.

Nevertheless, I’m concentrating on the following five books and hope to finish them before the year is out. Three of them are on the list and the other two are not.

This  reading list does not include books about finance and investing which I’m doing as part of my self-education program to become a better investor/trader. This will be an ongoing thing and not impact my main reading projects.

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Written by niraj

November 16th, 2013 at 9:57 am

Posted in books,Uncategorized

Damages: Season Five Thoughts

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Half way through the final season of Damages I’m realizing it’s going to end in disappointment. A series that showed so much promise at the beginning only to degenerate, in the end, into, well—the best I can say—mediocrity. The causes of its downfall are numerous.

Aside from the bad writing and questionable direction, some of the casting choices are just outright head-scratchers. For example, the idea that Ryan Phillippe can be some kind of a Julian Assange-type hactivist doesn’t carry credibility beyond the script (and a bad one at that) he emerged from. The man can’t act. He may look pretty, but he can’t act worth a damn.

In this final season, there’s a noticeable addition of profanity, nudity, and sexual content. I’m not being prudish just saying that these abrupt addition is an incongruity, that doesn’t move the story along but seem gratuitous and out of place.

It’s a shame that both Rose Byrne and Glenn Close have to deal with such an insipid production. The brawl between their characters is epic and worth watching even if everything else around them is falling apart. Nevertheless, even with their combined herculean efforts to save the show from its shortcoming, it still falls flat on its ugly face.

I don’t know what happened. The show started slipping after its third (and last good) season when it moved from FX to DirecTV, which not only cut the number of episodes but, it seems, the production budget too. Just to be fair, season four is only slightly better than season five.

I should abandon the season and move on. Rewarding mediocrity is a crime, but I’m invested in this series and want to see it through. Who knows? Maybe things will get better, but I’m not holding my breath or crossing my fingers.

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Written by niraj

November 11th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Pulp Fiction…A Forgotten Medium

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For most of us our familiarity with pulp fiction most likely comes from Quention Tarantino’s brilliant movie of the same title. The film was an homage to the storytelling style that dominated the first-half of the 20th century: lurid, sensational, fast-moving short stories, which covered almost every genre, published on cheap (pulpy) paper and sold for a dime or quarter. Though pulp fiction magazine go far back as the late 1800s and existed into the early 1960s, its peak—the so-called golden age—were the 1920s-1940s, snuggled in between the advent of radio, the Depression, and before television hit its stride. It was a source of entertainment for millions, who, on almost a weekly basis were enthralled with stories that provided escape from their dreary lives.

I’ve always been interested in pulp fiction magazine of the early 20th century. It was mostly a passing fancy, more interested in the history of these influential periodicals then their contents. I’m taking it a step further by reading many of them as I can.

Here’s a brief interview with novelist Elmore Leonard, discussing the movie 3:10 to Yuma, which was adapted from Leonard’s short story, which was originally published in a pulp fiction magazine.

This is the first time I’ve heard of a pulp magazine called Argosy, which according to my research was one of the more popular pulp fiction magazines of its time. I was instantly hooked. . I proceeded to scour the internet for more information about this medium. In the process, I found this incredible documentary about pulp fiction magazine on YouTube. Produced by something called UFOtv, a web site that sells UFO-themed media,  it focuses on the science fiction aspect of pulp fiction magazines. Nevertheless, it gives nice overview of the history of this medium. Check it out below:

In the process, I bought many of these magazines via eBay, where they are packaged onto DVDs. I’ve also ordered some original pulp magazines just so I can appreciate the tactility of the real thing..

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Written by niraj

September 13th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading Update – May 2013

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I’ve just completed my last book – The Instant Economist by Timothy Taylor – on my reading list that I started way back in 2012. It has been slow go, especially at the beginning, but things picked up in 2012 after reducing time devoted to the “evils” of social media.

While I was finishing off once reading list, I was slowly—and ambitiously—compiling another that should take me till the end of the year and probably beyond it. The list is tentative, of course, and contains all types of genres, sizes, and lengths. There’s even a graphic novel in there. J

Anyway, here’s my list:

  • Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley
  • Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
  • 3 Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger
  • The Trials of Socrates by I.F. Stone
  • The Zeroes by Randall Lane
  • Hedgehogging by Barton Biggs
  • The Fifties by David Halberstam
  • Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
  • Inside the Sky by Robert Langewiesche
  • Sahara Unveiled by Robert Langewiesche
  • The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
  • Taking On the Trust by Steve Weinberg
  • The Defection of A.J. Lewinter by Robert Littell
  • One Minute To Midnight by Michael Dobb
  • The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester
  • The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Watchman by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
  • In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
  • The Declaration of Independents by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch
  • The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov
  • The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner
  • Teachings From the Worldly Philosophy by Robert L. Heilbroner
  • Panic by Michael Lewis
  • Grand Pursuits by Sylvia Nasar
  • The Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton
  • Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary by Bertrand M Patenaude
  • The Chief by David Nasaw
  • Best Music Writing of 2005 edited by JT Leroy
  • Ten Cent Plague by David Hadju
  • Extra 2% by Jonah Keri
  • Hitlerland by Andrew Nagorski
  • Stranded edited by Greil Marcus
  • Marooned edited by Phil Freeman
  • Let it Blurt by Jim Derogatis
  • Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
  • The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor
  • The Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammert
  • Readme by Neal Stephenson
  • Quest by Daniel Yergin
  • The Whole Equation by David Thomson
  • True Crimes edited by Harold Schechter
  • The Ideas of Great Philosophers by William S. Sahakian and Mabel Lewis Sahakian
  • The Puzzle Palace by James Bamford
  • The Skeptic by Terry Teachout
  • The Pirate Hunter by Richard Zacks
  • Hedge Fund Market Wizards by Jack Schwager
  • Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson
  • Engineers of the Soul by Frank Westerman
  • A Mencken Chrestomathy by HL Mencken
  • Literary Rogues by Andrew Shaffer
  • India Becoming by Akash Kapur
  • Culture edited by John Brockman
  • Mastery by Robert Greene
  • The Information by James Gleick
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  • Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
  • Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • Why Does the World Exist by Jim Holt
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • A History of Egypt by Jason Thompson
  • The Hemlock Cup by Bettany Hughes
  • The Creators by Daniel J Boorstin
  • The Discoverers by Daniel J Boorstin
  • Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
  • Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner

Wish me luck!

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Written by niraj

May 3rd, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Posted in books,Uncategorized

Yes, I’m Alive and this Blog Exists Post

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Just writing to remind people that I’m alive and well — relatively speaking, of course– and this blog is still somewhat active, albeit with longs periods of uncontrollable hibernation. Work keeps me busy. My reading stack has not changed since my last update. Social media has been sucking the life out of me, especially Twitter.

So very little cultural edification other than the fact I’ve been watching a lot of Blu-Rays and DVDs. I’m currently going through the new Quentin Tarantino box set, which is quite excellent. I would like to say I will write a review of the damn thing, but you know me and promises.Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Hope to post again soon.

 

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Written by niraj

November 30th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Resolutions for 2012

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My one and only resolution for 2012, that I know I will break, is to blog more…

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Written by niraj

January 2nd, 2012 at 7:13 pm

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Basil On The Rise

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IMG_1515
Originally uploaded by nagarwal

Planted some basil plants in the garden this season. As you can see, they are coming very nicely. Can’t wait to put in my pasta and pizza dishes.

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Written by niraj

July 3rd, 2009 at 6:17 pm

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Boy did this year suck total ass! Hope 2009 is much better:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
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Written by niraj

January 1st, 2009 at 12:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized