Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Timeline (Michael Crichton)

7669In an Arizona desert, a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within twenty-four hours he is dead, his body swiftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world, archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an astounding technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but to enter it. And with history opened up to the present, the dead awakened to the living, these men and women will soon find themselves fighting for their very survival -- six hundred years ago.

I hadn't known who the author was until much later. Despite not knowing about Michael Crichton, I'm sure the Jurassic Park series is a bit of a household term. I had also read The Lost World but the author had not registered to me then either. Anyway, written by the author of Jurassic Park, Timeline is a similar mixture of science, history and fiction. Science because there is an awful lot of explaining of quantum physics and diffraction and waves. History because the content of medieval descriptions, whether the architecture, the people or the events, comes to par with the science. And fiction because... well... it's clearly fiction.

To be honest, I had expected the novel to be as fast paced and gripping as the reviews at the back said it would be. I wasn't disappointed while I was reading the book, but in retrospect, I found some aspects of the book to be lacking. The characters seemed to shift too much to be realistic while some did not change at all. There were moments when I would pause and say "Really?" in response to something a character did.

Besides that, the story carried too many elements of Jurassic Park. There was the same theme of 'entertainment', where the technology in Timeline was supposed to be used to give people a chance to personally experience history by sending the present to the past- while Jurassic Park simply brought history to the present. Perhaps this book was also written to be turned into a movie, however I have a feeling that the movie would have been a ridiculous flop.

To sum up, I would give Timeline a rating of 3.5/5. It's interesting enough to keep reading (especially if you make it past the science parts- those are pretty hard to understand). The ending is not as nice as I thought it would be and I felt as though several characters were written 'out of character'. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable few hours spent on reading.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Second Year

It's been a week since the new academic year started! I didn't want to talk about this initially because I was still waiting for my result for my first year exams. I hadn't been worried about my result throughout the duration of the exams and the breaks, but I always find myself anxious a week before exams (where I feel as though I did not study enough to pass) and the week of the result (where I suddenly remember all the stupid things I did throughout the year and on the exam that could disqualify me from passing).

This entire week was spent in a sort of frozen agony- people were pranking their friends with "The result is out!" and other heart-attack inducing phrases of the like. It didn't help that we had the new first years at the college too- we were so used to being first years that it was hard to adjust being called second years.

I go to college with two of my classmates and friends so we're all usually in one boat on several situations. For this Friday, one of my friends was debating on going home herself, leaving only two travelling companions, including myself, so it wasn't a surprise that, when it was announced that the result would be out that day, we both immediately conspired to wait in campus until we knew we had passed.

The lobby was absolutely full with the constant ruckus of conversations and discussions. People flitted from group to group to talk about the result, whether they intended to induce panic or to calm their fellows. I, for one, did my best to calm my friend by talking about an interesting nursery rhyme type of story that my mother had shared with my siblings and I- it was about a bird who had it's mate taken by an evil Raja and so set out to rescue her, gathering many companions on the way who would travel in the bird's ear.

I had run out of other stories to tell so I decided to tell her about how my brother was a simulated patient for an examination that took place at the conference my father arranged. Basically, he had to act as a patient while all the doctors took turns to role play and examine him. Examination etiquette require you to ask for the patient's name and this was where his mischief would begin. He would name himself the oddest of names that no one would be able to pronounce, let alone remember. The cause of his make-believe injury would change from a knife fight to a hippogriff slash. It was all very entertaining, but I can't imagine how the doctors examining him must have felt.

I had now effectively run out of anything that would keep my friend's mind away from impending doom. Fortunately, I was saved by one of the many people who were literally floating around the place, inserting their opinions on whatever conversation they chanced upon. Our new companion was a kind soul who tried to smooth out worry lines by explaining the math of the situation. It was told that there were 10 people who failed, so she explained how these people would obviously be of the lower percentile group and that neither of us were below 20, effectively reducing our chance of being one of the class failures. Her conclusion was appealing and certainly put my anxiety to rest for the time being. I can't exactly say the same for everyone else.

We'd been sitting for at least an hour, despite rumors saying only half would be needed. The thing about worrying and anxiety is that once you reach your limit, it just falls apart and you start getting either very angry or just really tired. I was really tired and we decided to just forget about and go home- the result wouldn't change, whether we were there or not. Nevertheless, the whole way home, my friend was busy texting the people who were still on campus- many had left earlier that day and returned only for the result. Her phone rings suddenly and she picks it up, listening intently before exclaiming "I've passed!"

"Check mine!" I said eagerly to her, wanting to get this wait over and done with.

Within two minutes, I got the crude picture of the verdict: QUALIFIED. By how much? I didn't care- not for now anyway. Passing was enough for me and I found this ridiculous grin on my face as I sauntered home and announced that I was now truly a second year med student

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Knit and Purl

I'm not exactly the most dedicated knitter out there but I have my phases of getting back into the habit. Usually these phases last for a month or two before I move to something else- the cause of this is usually tackling a project that is too large for me to handle. The last time I got into the knitting phase, I had tried to knit patches for a quilt. I had went out and bought different skeins, all sober winter colors that I imagined would look nice on a knitted blanket. Warm brown, inky black, light grey and a creamy white. Suffice to say, I only ended up making one patch before giving up. It would take forever to make multiple patches and it was actually starting to look hopeless. So yes, I gave up, for the time being.

With a two week break after my annual exams, I pulled out my skeins and needles and decided to try something small. A bit of Googling followed by browsing through multiple galleries of photographs with captioned instructions, I came across this project. Fingerless gloves? Super cool! Only a few hours to knit? Even better!

The first glove didn't turn out as well as I liked- it was too large. The second (the pair of the first) was just right but I still had to fix the first one. I took pictures of the next pair I knitted- the yarn was different so it ended up a little smaller than I wanted but my mother suggested small was better since yarn stretches anyway!

Behold, the fingerless glove by Kanra

I've been given a suggestion to knit the fingers too but that's a little tricky and not something I'm comfortable trying yet! For now, I'm knitting another pair (this time it's black!). I was thinking about making it a little longer (up to the middle of the arm) but again, I don't think I've mastered this project yet! Nevertheless, I'm really glad I finally found a project that is simple, easy and can be varied from glove to glove. I definitely recommend this for beginners like me!

Have a nice day!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One Year Blog Anniversary!

That's right! It's 6th December, bringing the first year of The Lunar Descent to a close! There's a couple of ways to celebrate this one year anniversary, so I'll try pulling together as many interesting things as I can!

The Lunar Descent is most certainly not my first blog and will probably not be my last. My first blogs were all messes that could not last even three months. Next came "the emo wolverine writes"- the blog still exists as I am using the URL but the name and face has changed. The emo wolverine writes is the predecessor of the Lunar Descent, the content and style is mostly the same but with the Lunar Descent, I try to take a more serious role. The Lunar Descent is not a dump file for all the pictures I take on trips, it is not for abstract soliloquies that make sense only to me. I write here to reach out to you, the reader, and expand both of our horizons.

On this blogging journey, I have made a variety of friends, the first and foremost would probably by Kashaf- thanks for dragging me into this virtual world. She was a regular blogger and as much as I admired it, I could not find the same motivation to write- not for a few years at least. We even tried to write a joint blog, one that remains a speck in the digital sea and has not been updated for quite a long time. That blog too was quite abstract and it took several more attempts before the emo wolverine writes was made. The first friends I made would be Tiger Lilly and Maine Lyn before I stumbled on Teenage Blogger Central and found myself a new blogger gang with F, Envy Fisher, Bryleigh McCarty and Riley. It didn't take long for #spacepoliceradio to be born either, with a wonderful addition of Katyayani, Shubhaish and Dian!

The point of this is to say that blogging has opened a new sphere of social media for me- one that is not as flimsy as friendships forged on Facebook (those tend to be non-existent), Twitter or tumblr. I have enjoyed my experience blogging and I hope to continue- not just for myself but for all of you as well.

Before moving on to the future, it's only fair to give a glance to the past. I present to you my favorite posts of 2015 and your favorite posts of 2015!

Maybe the game is just popular, but you guys seemed to have liked this post too, despite the horrible rating I gave to it and the overall frustration I described about playing this game!

Another popular blog post where I wrote about how the seemingly hardest module was going. My favorite part of this post was definitely the letter to the cadaver that I shared!

This is definitely my favorite blog post. I spent a lot of time drawing these little Jerkweens and I had a lot of fun making up the acronyms! I'd say that How to turn Your Life into a Pakistani Drama: The Jerk Mom Edition comes close, but falls behind on my list :)

I poured my soul into writing this post and I feel like it came out pretty well! I just really wanted to condense what I learned in this first year and if I could send a letter to the me of a year ago, this blog post would have been it.

This is my favorite post in terms of photographs. The commentary on the year of 2014 and my personal achievement only serve to complement the photographs and I can see myself flipping back to this post every now and then.


Well, that's all for this post! If you're interested in giveaways and other awesome stuff, you can always join A Little Yarn Blossom's 2nd blog anniversary giveaway

There's also a blogger event that is on it's first stages- it's like a secret gift event, to a blogger, from a blogger. Interested? Comment your enthusiasm here to join!

Have a great week!
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