I feel like there’s a bit of recency bias creeping into these notes — I should probably start taking notes mid-week, but that seems like too much work. Moving on.

My “inner circle” of friends have all flown into Bangalore and will be here for quite a while. I’ve gone out more times this past week than I did all of last month. A few of us discovered—to our collective delight—that we’re all suddenly interested in learning the same random skills: shuffling and poi. We’re planning to meet up to learn together, so let’s see how that goes.

A conversation with Monica happened, about being a more assertive Chief of Staff. She said it’s possible to get others to do things that you’ve asked for, without having to magically transform into an extrovert. That surprised me mostly because I thought it was my personality getting in the way, despite having living proof that one doesn’t have to be loud and ‘in your face’ to get others to recognise you (although I’m sure that helps, for good or for bad). I told her I’d love to take some lessons. She has acquiesced.

I never thought too much about ice. It made my drinks nice and cold, and sometimes it came in funky shapes. Then Rahul introduced me to the world of cocktail ice and I realised I am such a noob. Apparently, the quality and integrity of a cocktail sometimes comes down entirely to the kind of ice you use. The shape and size controls what pace it melts at and how much water dilutes your cocktail. The texture can absorb the cocktail’s flavour. Clear ice is denser, lasts longer, and makes a drink taste much better than if you were to use regular cloudy ice. How it makes a drink look, which I thought was most important, is actually one of the last things drink-maker-people might consider. This is a rabbit hole I never thought I’d go down.

I finished reading The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Whatever I thought I was getting into, it certainly wasn’t this gestures in general direction of book. Goodreads classifies it as “grimdark military fantasy” and I couldn’t engage with it as any other fantasy novel because it kept sparking memories of hours spent reading about the Second-Sino Japanese War. Some parallels were too glaringly obvious to ignore: Nikara as China, Mugen as Japan, and Speer as (sort of) Taiwan. But then there were shamans and gods and a university system that gave The Name of the Wind vibes. There’s a lot to unpack, and I need to go back and read it again before I move on to the next book in the trilogy. Also, someone tell me how to stop myself from reading other people’s book reviews — they’re usually so all over the map that they don’t even help.

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How do some people command a room? and more