Category Archives: Writing

Robots

I generally have avoided reading Science Fiction. It has not interested me. I find this surprising considering that I am a big fan of Doctor WHO, Star Trek and Star Wars. I absolutely loved GATTACA. Terraforming and colonizing of other planets fascinate me. Seven of Nine played by Jeri Ryan is one of my favourite movie characters. Now I am faced with an interesting challenge. I hope I will be able to do it. The challenge in the story competition is to write a story where the robot is friendly. In interestingly enough I watched an episode of a series where the protagonist seeks to check if a particular computer has achieved true artificial intelligence by asking a series of questions and tweaking the Turin test. Maybe an idea will come to me as I head over to bed. So far I have been using the competition challenges to develop my novel further. However, this is going to be different. I really don’t envisage a place for robots in the world I have created. If you have any ideas then let me know.

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Filed under Blog, Fantasy, Movies, Novel, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars, Writing

Inverse ETF

There is a big difference between betting and investing. Investing in inverse ETF’s equates to betting. This article talks about the demise of XIV. People investing in products such as XIV should be given a lobotomy sponsored by the NHS. This is starting to bring back memories of 2008. The culprit was Hedge Funds then. Today it is ETF’s. That time one person I spoke to that worked for a bank that was heavily marketing Hedge Funds admitted that they did not read the fine print and did not know about gating. Another person told me that he was told hedge funds would never lose money. I wonder what that person’s view would be on ETF’s today. I am not a betting man but if I was then I would say that he would cease investing in ETF’s for the next one year. I would be telling him to keep his wallet out.

The active versus passive debate has been skinned so many times that there is nothing left to skin. The answer is that there is a place for both. However, in neither should there be a place for inverse ETF’s. There is nothing wrong with shorting stocks or ETF’s. You cannot crucify the undertaker for making money when people die. Investing in inverse ETF’s is like injecting yourself with a lethal substance hoping that you will make money off the insurance. The reality though is that action of your will probably leave your health beyond repair and cause heartbreak to the ones closest to you.

Except for two people; everyone else I know who passed through the gates of Credit Suisse has been glorified cold calling salespeople. Their structured products are so beautifully created that the client will not even realise that the only people making money are the banks themselves. Of those two people, one died and the other is a gem of a person who is thankfully working for another institution. I have told him that leaving Credit Suisse was the best thing that he did. It has been some time since I spoke to him. Maybe I should now.

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Filed under Banking, Blog, Business, Compliance, ETF, Family Office, hedge funds, Indices, Investments, Market Outlook, Market Timing, Private Banking

Bitcoin: Digital gold or fool’s gold?

https://vanguardblog.com/2018/02/06/bitcoin-digital-gold-or-fools-gold/

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Filed under Blog, Business, Compliance, ETF, Indices, Investments, Market Outlook, Market Timing, Private Banking, Regulations, Tax Avoidance, Vanguard

Bahubali

Baahubali and the sequel are probably the first medieval fantasy in India that can be considered world class. This is strange considering the rich mythology and history of India. That though is for another day. Please be aware that there are spoiler alerts.

For my novel, I wanted things to be as realistic as possible. I researched armour and weapons. I found this experience very insightful. The problem though is that I have started seeing medievial fantasy movies with a critical eye. This post is by no means a critique on the movie. There are plenty of those around including silly ones that show the absence of an item in one shot to the other. I am looking at this purely from the practicality of the weapons used. I do not want to talk about the maces used as I have found them very impractical. Cinematically they look great but they are far from any sembelance of reality.

The weapons used seem to be in line with the talwar. I am not an expert but the swords used in the movie are less curved than what the talwar is supposed to be. The other big mistake is that one of the swords called Sikhander which is shown briefly in the movie is brought from the Middle East seems to be a Middle Age European sword rather than a scimitar which would be expected from that area.

Personally I think that the main sword used though reasonably accurate. The complete hilt is good. The crossguard could have been wider. The pommel seems to be useful as a blunt weapon too. The weapon is designed as slicing weapon and is mostly used like that. The part of the movie that I also like is the way the armour is used. I am comfortable with the “artistic” freedom used to wear sleeveless armour. I love the use of gambesons in the movie along with the use of plate and chain mail.

I hope this will usher in a new breed of movies in India.

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Filed under Blog, Bollywood, Fantasy, India, Medievial, Movies, NaNoWriMo, Novel, Writing

Macro or Micro Writing?

I came across this article. It proved to be an inspiration. When I look back at life I do wonder what would have happened if I had to get into humanities rather than finance. Writing is something that has always attracted me. I love the way that random words can be put together to create an immortal thing of beauty. Don’t get me wrong. I love finance. I love the way the markets dance like lovers under a starry sky. Sometimes they tread on each other’s toes and sometimes they seem to glide like shimmering silk. Getting into finance is like being bitten by a vampire. It changes your life forever. The thrill of seeing the decisions you make paying off. The disappointment of looking at lost opportunities. The new things you learn every day.

Writing is like watching life being born as soon as your fingers come off the keypad or the ink from your fountain pen starts to dry. The happiness I get from writing a story or a blog is completely different. You leave yourself exposed on a pedestal. You start to instantaneously wonder whether anyone cares about what you write because you have not got any views or likes.

I have always been a macro person. I do not want to concentrate only on one topic. I am a complex person with interests in diverse topics. Why should I shackle myself to just one topic? Yes, it is easier to get followers like that just as it is easier to get a job when you concentrate on one particular sector in the equity market. However, there is no fun in that. I want the world to read what I have to say about everything I want to write about. I want to do that without having to become a leader of a country who has a twiddly finger and a twitter account. I think I have just set myself a lofty ambition. Let me see where it gets me.

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Filed under Blog, Business, Investments, Leaders, Novel, Poetry, Politics, Writing

Capture the flag

I have been following a group on discord called Writers Block. They have a weekly writing competition. I have not been able to finish and submit a story yet. However it has given me the opportunity to develop the mythology and characters of the story I started writing for NaNoWriMo. I hope I will be able to complete NaNoWriMo this year. Below is an expanded story of a scene that figured in that story. I would truly appreciate any comments.

The Abbot looked onto the field from his battlement. The students were getting ready over a “game” of capture the flag. The play area was circular. Teachers and students alike were placing bets. Whisky and beer flowed freely in the crowd. The rules were simple. There were twelve players in each side. The flag had to be visible at all times. Wooden replicas of swords and knives were to be used. Blunt rubber arrow heads were to be used. Similarly magicians could not cast spells that could cause serious harm on their opponent.

“Start in the middle. Collect your flag and pole on the sound of the horn. Flags should be visible at all times. You have time until the second horn to set up the pole and then the game begins. Play hard and play fair.” One team wore green gambesons and the other blue. The umpire climbed up the ladder to a high pedestal. He signalled that the trumpet be blown. The green team started digging the ground. Their magicians started preparing the ground. As soon as the flag was brought they started to call roots from the ground and entangled it around the pole. The mages stood in between the infantry and archers.

The blue team started to secure themselves in the centre of their half. Clarke the mage stood next to the pole and cast a fog spell that surrounded the edge of the circle. The soldiers formed pairs. Each member of the pair stood opposite each other. Every pair stood three hands away and together they formed seven concentric circles.

Perspiration flowed down the brows of the contestants. The hot midday sun made everyone sweat. The second horn sounded. Green arrows flew through the air The mages shot through the air. Clarke raised a shield and the infantry raised their bucklers over their heads. The green team saw a gap and rushed towards it. The magicians fell back. The archers dropped their bows and charged behind the warriors. The first three green players were dispatched as soon as they entered. Then the first person from the blue team fell. No sooner did that happen than the entire team moved three spaces right to fill the gap. This followed each time someone from the blue team fell. The front line of the green team were down. The archers proved to be a different challenge.

The intensity of the battle increased by the minute. The mages of the green time tried penetrating the magic shield but whoever was casting the protective spell was good. In all the fervour they failed to notice a petite figure sneak by the circumference. Burly Bruce fell down even before he felt the tap on his neck. Brighid climbed up the pole and untied the flag. She proceeded to dash across the ground. Before anyone had released anything Brighid disappeared into the circle of her team. Clarke helped her hoist the green flag up. There was silence. Then in unison the remaining blue team erupted in joy and carried Brighid on their shoulders. The green team were in shock. They slumped to their knees. They quietly got up and took their fallen mates to the infirmary. They dreaded what awaited them. Bruce lay in quite slumber and drooled dripped onto the ground. Brighid tightly knotted his shoes and feet together and skipped away happily towards her room.

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Filed under Fantasy, NaNoWriMo, Novel, Writing

2018

2017 was a year filled with death and disappointments. I possibly kept two of the resolutions that I had set forth. I am possibly going to approach this year slightly differently. Our vicar mentioned that the Ten Commandments and sermon on the mount can essentially be broken down into the following

1) Relationship with God.

2) Relationship with family.

3) Relationship with society.

I will do my best to be true to these. I do not know how successful I will be. I do hope that if I work on these areas then I will grow as a person. I strongly believe that the only sign of life is change. Last year felt very stagnant. Stagnation is the first sign of death. I do not want to die as yet as I know that I have not fulfilled the purpose why God placed me on the earth. I do have to clean up the dirt of 2017 before it festers into malaria ridden mosquitoes. I do believe I can achieve this through the support of my family and my church. 2017 will probably be a watershed year that will have a lasting impact on my remaining life. I do hope that it will be a nadir where I can rise like a phoenix. The sermon and theme song from Chariots of Fire are running through my head. Isaiah chapter 40 seems to be the passage for me this year just as Acts chapter 2 and Psalms 69 were mine for the last year.

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Filed under church, Isaiah, Psalms, religion, Writing

The wind has subsided

It is with deep regret that I have decided to halt my progress in NaNoWriMo. Sadly reality is significantly stronger than fantasy. Life and death gets in the way. When my world and characters take over my mind and thoughts than the people who matter then there is a problem. I have enjoyed this process and NaNoWriMo gave me the impetus that I needed. One of my characters now has turned from a figment of my imagination to someone who breathes. Other characters came into his life who I never thought of. I have dealt with and killed a few demons that haunted me. I should admit that I found it satisfying although I wish that I made them suffer more before killing them. I have created a world.Religions and customs have started to form. I came across a quote which said that everyone has one good book in them but that’s where it should stay. I hope that I will have more than one book in me and the time will come when I can set it free. I like the process of writing and would love to be called an author. There is truth to writing even if it is fantasy. I would dare say that fantasy is more honest. Characters hate people. They love others. You will know if people like your book or hate it. Some of my favourite books are by Raymond Feist. One of the worst series and books is also by him. In the world of investments you never know who your friends are and who are your well wishers. You maintain relationships because you never know when you will need to wipe the dust off that business card to get some information that will make a big difference. You never know what people think of your ideas.

Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy is one of my favourite poems. I know my destination. NaNoWriMo was the wind that caused my ship to anchor off. I do not know how I will get there or when nor who I will meet on the way. I will finish my novel which has a working title of “The priests of Konkor.” At the risk of sounding too cliche; “Watch this space.”

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Filed under Fantasy, Investments, NaNoWriMo, Novel, Poetry, Raymond Feist, Writing

Epilepsy

I have Epilepsy. It scares me. All I know is how I feel after I have a major seizure and the relief I feel when I have a jerk. I want to raise awareness about epilepsy and other mental issues in the book I am writing but how can I do it justice when all I remember is the disorientation after I had a seizure. The incoherent childlike ramblings, the stiffness of my muscles, the ache in my head and the sound of fear in the voice of my wife. I feel guilty when I see the tears on the face of my wife. The death of my friend David has put the mortality of my life into the forefront of my mind. What will happen if I have a seizure and fall on the tracks of the tube? What will happen if I get hit by a vehicle while crossing the road? How will my wife cope? Sometimes I wish I could see what happens to me during a seizure. For now, I will have to settle for knowing the feeling of feeling electric tingling in my brain and the momentary loss of awareness.

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Filed under Epilepsy, Fantasy, NaNoWriMo, Novel, Writing

The Priests of Konkor

The priests of Konkor is the working title of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. I am glad that I started the project. It is an exciting process though I must confess that writing the quota of words per day is daunting. I do not know if I will finish in time. I like the way the story is progressing. I am starting to bond with my characters. I would like my readers to do that too. I will not forget how one of the scenes in a book by Raymond Fiest made me feel sad because of what happened to the characters. Fantasy is more than swashbuckling knights, fire breathing dragons and pointy hatted wizards. It is about transporting people into a different world and making them feel the depth of emotions that the characters go through. I have also found myself starting to learn more. I am sure I will be a theoretical expert in anatomy,botany, forging and many more topics by the time I finish writing 50,000 words.

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Filed under Fantasy, NaNoWriMo, Novel, Writing