November 2023 in a NutshellPosted on Wed, Nov 22 2023
Geez, it's been quite a while since the last In a Nutshell posting, but this was indeed a crazy year so far which came with a lot of changes in my private but also professional life. Thus, bare with me when I neither had the time nor was in the mood to put up a new post.
As it has been nine months since the last In a Nutshell post, I'll try to cover as much as possible and important.
- I rarely follow read suggestions by other people, but The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov has been one of the rare exceptions which got recommended by a co-worker and I didn't regret a single second. Real and Surreal are heavily intertwined in this masterpiece. There are a lot of philosophical and social themes, with quite a political background, which subtly and indirectly reminiscent of the Stalin era, with a very delicate and artistic expression.
- 3 X Carlin: An Orgy of George including Brain Droppings Napalm, Silly Putty, And When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops? by George Carlin has been my backlog for quite a while. Though I am a huge fan of Carlin's political and black humored observations on language, psychology and especially religion I found never really the time to start this collection of books - a failure that gets corrected now.
Due to the lack of a more recent In the Nutshell posting, there's quite a list of shows I have watched throughout the nine months. Either way, I'll just pick some that really stood out.
- I don't think that anyone could seriously doubt that Star Trek: Strange New World is the best thing that has happened to the franchise. If you haven't seen it yet, you should put that on the list.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks; frankly, I wasn't sure if an animated Star Trek show would be my cup of tea, but this really got me. The characters are adorable, and each episode is such a fun ride that I had to watch one episode after another and basically binge watch all four seasons. Boimler, Mariner, Tendi, Rutherford for the win!
- The third season of Star Wars: The Mandalorian is what one would expect, more of the same, but still a must see. Which brings me to Star Wars: Ahsoka. For some reason I still think this could have been so much more, but the effort was there. It is not a bad show per say, but somewhat there is something missing to really make it outstanding. Unfortunately a missed chance.
- Lastly, I followed a recommendation by a co-worker to checkout a show which ignited a new passion: Indian TV shows/webseries. As old as I am I still remember that flood of Bollywood movies that aired on German television and back in the day I had checked that in the category "Was there. Don't need it". I was utterly wrong. Not about Bollywood, that's still crap as confirmed unisono by my Indian co-workers, but about the Indian movie market.
- The recommended show has been The Family Man which is just an amazing show. It follows the story of Srikant Tiwari, who works in the TASC and who investigates in a possible terrorist attack, while simultaneously following his slightly unsettled family life. The show is inspired by real life newspaper articles.
- Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story is extremely well produced with a brilliant actor, depicting the main protagonist of one of the biggest scams of the Indian stock exchange. If this kind of show is your cup of tea, you should also check out Scam 2003: The Telgi Story by the same producer. It follows the real-life story of Abdul Karim Telgi who was involved in the 2003 stamp paper counterfeiting scandal worth of INR 30,000 crores
- Took me a while to pick up Panchayat as I feared it might be too Indian as the series deals with the experiences of an urban engineering graduate, unfamiliar with village cultures, who on completing his degree gets a low-salary position as a secretary of a Gram panchayat in a remote village called Phulera in Uttar Pradesh. The characters of the show are just adorable, the jokes and dialogues are on point and in general it's easy to get into the show. You really want to know what the next wild thing is that the villagers are going to drive the main character insane with.
- Just calling out a few more shows I have watched throughout the last couple of months (listing certainly not complete): Jamtara (crime, mobile scamming), Guns & Gulaabs (black comedy, totally nuts), Decoupled (comedy, the husband is just sick in the best way), Mirzapur (crime), Scoop (thriller, adaption of real life events), Paatal Lok (crime) and quite a few more.
- The first video game I want to mention is in my collection for quite a while, but I suspected that I might spend too much time on it like I already did with several Elder Scrolls or Yakuza titles. Thus, I tried to avoid The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to my best and for as long as possible. Nonetheless, at some point, mostly due to the lack of other options, I just started it and it was exactly as I suspected: a time killer. Hours were just flying by, but I fully understand and second why this Wild Hunt is considered a masterpiece. I haven't fully finished so far, as I had to interrupt for the next entry.
- Pre-order placed. Something that happens rarely, but as soon as there is a new installment of the Yakuza franchise or it's spin off Judgement, I'm unable to resist. Here comes Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. I have to admit that I skipped Yakuza: Like A Dragon due to two reasons. Firstly, I don't fancy the round based fighting approach as I really enjoy that streetfighter-esque style of beating the shit out of goons. Secondly, the lack of Kazuma Kiryu, the charismatic and iconic main protagonist of the first six titles. The second I started the game I felt like coming home. Though there is no real change compared to the previous titles, the atmosphere is still strong, the fights offer a few new options and those side quests are sick and wild as always. Already love it.
- Podcasts never really cut it for me, but one of the rare exceptions is Smalltalk Japan. Every week, Mitch and his co-hosts upload an English podcast about Japanese news, culture, and everything that you love about Japan. Probably not everyone's type of humor, sometimes profane, but I truly enjoy the commentary on the news articles.
- The blog was undergoing a couple of changes prior to this In a Nutshell article of which I will just randomly call out a few. The Uses overview received an update, likewise I made a few changes to the About page. The most obvious change is that I have changed the main font again, please welcome Mona Sans.