First Homebrew - Making my own beer

This beautiful unbranded bottle of beer you see here contains a beer that is so unique that only 20 such bottles exist in the entire word. That is because I brewed this beer myself. From start to finish, from the process of fermentation to bottling to carbonation, everything was done by yours truly at home.

First things first, YES this is perfectly legal. I checked. I am in the clear until I make huge quantities or try to sell it. Homebrewing is perfectly legal in India for personal consumption.

Why?

Well, why not? I like beers. They are the only form of alcohol I consume and that too I do because I like the taste of it. I like to try new beers just so that I can try new tastes. Considering that home brewing is a relatively cheap hobby this was the logical next step.

How?

I build products for a living so I approached this hobby also with the MVP approach. I purchased the bare minimum equipment that would be needed to make the first batch with some scope for future expansion. I am currently in the POC (proof-of-concept) phase of this hobby and I will take the next leap only when the POC becomes a success.

Outcome?

I will be honest - it turned out way better than I had expected. There was alcohol, so fermentation was a success. There was fizz, so carbonation was success and there was this nice hoppy flavor and smells that you get from the really nice niche breweries. My expectations were very low considering it was the first batch with minimal equipment. I did not even get a hydrometer so I didnt even know how much alcohol was produced exactly. (My estimate is somewhere between 3-4%).

Next steps

The next batch has already gone into fermentation in which I made some improvements to the recipe with some additions. This is a slow process which even at its fastest takes 4-5 weeks for the final product to be ready which is a nice addition to the activities I undertake. In terms of consumption neither do I drink that frequently nor do I drink that much so every single batch should last me many months. I plan to share most of my products with friends and family.

In case you want to know more about the process or just want to grab a homebrew with me just hit me up and we can plan.

Cheers!!

Read more »

...

Who will you hire - Smart or Nice?

For the past 10+ years I have managed engineering teams of various sizes, tech stacks and capabilities. No matter which team I am working with, building it out and expanding has always been a function that has excited and scared me at the same time. From the face of it hiring for tech positions seems fairly straight forward. You filter out candidates by years of experience in relevant technologies, throw a few tech questions and them and choose the ones who answer most of them. Easy! Nope. I started my stint as an engineering manager doing exactly this only and oh how I have been burned. It is very easy to fall into the trap that is this process’s simplicity if one is not careful. The biggest mistake I, as a lot of managers also do, made was judging the candidates in isolation. Judge them only on the basis of their skills and knowledge and speed at which they solved a problem without giving much thought to how they go about doing it. This, I tell you, is a mistake and the worst thing is that it takes a lot of time before you realize where it went wrong.

Read more »

...

Observations of a new father

This is clearly not the best title for this small write-up because if it was it would have been something like “Important lessons learnt..” or “What you should know…”. Something really assertive that would have been a more, let’s just call it compelling click. But it is not and here we are. The reason for this is simple. I do not think that what I have experienced or rather any father could have experienced in mere 4 months can be lessons that can be shared with others. I will go to the extent that this domain, parenting, is almost always learned by self-discovery and no about of reading parenting books and watching youtube videos will prepare you for what will actually happen in your life. Hence there are all what they truly are. Observations. Observations of the impact and the changes that have been brought in my life by my baby girl. Although one can say that there is always some learning in all experience, as you read ahead, I do not make any such claims. These are just my observations.

Read more »

...

Book Review : Win Bigly - Scott Adams

I don’t know Trump. Let me rephrase this. As an Indian, my knowledge of the American President is rather limited. Primarily because since he is not my president I don’t need to necessarily stay informed about him. And whatever news about him that trickles down to me via media, mainstream or social, is not very positive towards him. It also does not help that I am a fan of Stephen Colbert and his disapproval of Trump is world famous. The point I am trying to make by all these words is that very little positive is known to me and people like me about Trump. This has always caused me to pause and wonder that it cannot be an accident that this man has become the leader of the free world without having any redeeming positive qualities. He has got to be good, and rather brilliantly, at something which helped him defeat someone like Hillary. Hillary, who everyone thought was the only “logical” choice of the two.

Read more »

... ...

Screw this 'Pehredar Pia Ki' petition

There is a change.org petition making rounds which is asking for a ban on a TV serial “Pehredar piyaa ki” on grounds of it being a bad influence for “our kids”. A quick summary for the fortunate ones who don’t know what it is. The story is basically a 10-year-old getting married to an adult woman, who is basically his bodyguard. The perpetrators of this petition have problems with the visuals of the kid “flirting”, “stalking”, and other related negative words this grown ass woman. They have a problem with this being a) aired and b) aired at prime time which might affect “our children”. Just be clear, whatever is in quotes in this writeup is that way deliberately.

First, my thoughts on this. All of this. If this show is bullshit and regressive, this petition is bullshitter and regressiver (yup, i made words). If you put a gun to my head and ask me to choose one to defend I will defend the show against the petition.

Read more »

...

Man-spider

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - The spider that bit Peter Parker gets Peter Parker powers.

“This is it.” he thought and closed his eyes. All eight of them. He had been standing here for more than an hour now, not that human units of time mattered to spiders. He had tried jumping many times over but stopped himself at the very last moment. This time he did it. As soon as his feet, all eight of them, left the branch instincts kicked in. Pure primal survival instincts. He realized what was happening. That’s what you do when you have super sharp reflexes. He started working against the instincts and pulled his libs inwards to turn himself into a ball. He needed to gain momentum and enough speed to make sure that he breaks through the surface tension of the pond and drowns. Yes, drowns. That’s important for this to be a successful suicide. Suicide. That’s a funny word. Until last week he did not even know it existed. Until last week everything was different. He was just another teenager. A little rebellion here, a little angst there but nothing out of the ordinary. Just like any normal teenage spider. School was good. Webbing was his favorite subject. Because MJ was there. Beautiful MJ. What? Who’s MJ? I meant Silky. Yes. Silky. The most beautiful spider in the whole world. She was the reason he took Webbing. What kind of spiders needs to study webbing he used to think. Things were going great. Until last week. Now he can’t live with himself. Live with this guilt. Uncle Ben’s death was his fault. He could have saved him. How could he face aunt May every day? She didn’t know that I was there when Ben was shot. She couldn’t know. She would not be able to live with this knowledge. He couldn’t live with this. He had thought a lot about it and suicide was his only option. Yes. This is the only way to rid himself of this agony. “I should have impacted by now. Or maybe I did and died and didn’t even feel it. Maybe I am in spider heaven.”. He opened his eyes and he saw water. “I must be drowning. But I don’t feel wet. And I can see water. I should be in the water”. He uncurled his first left leg and reached for the water. He touched it. Yup! Water. He was confused. He uncurled his body to try to figure out what was going on. “Why am I hovering over water? Are spiders repelled by water? I should have paid attention in the physics class. What now?”. He twisted his body around to see what was going on. Nothing. It’s just his luck to be stuck like this. He just wanted to die. Was that too much to ask? “How am I turning around? What am I pivoting against? Don’t tell me”. He turned around to see his back side. “Spidergod damn-it!”. He could see a thin shiny strand of silk going all the way from his back side to the branch from which he had jumped. “Fuck this habit” he muttered as he pulled himself up by the silk strand. “I can’t go through this again.”. “Oye fly-fucker! What the hell do you think you are doing?” someone yelled. He turned around to see who it was. Steve, his best friend. He can’t deal with him now. He will be all questions now. He just can’t. Steve was already there by the time he reached the branch. “Did you not hear what I said?” asked Steve punching him on his third right shoulder. “What are you doing hanging here? We are not supposed to be near the pond. What’s going on?”. He will have to tell him now. “I’ll tell you everything but you will have to promise that you won’t try to stop me. I could have saved uncle Ben that day. The day he was shot, I was there with him. And I didn’t do anything to save him. He will never be back and I can’t face Aunt May anymore. I just..”. I was interrupted mid sentence by a jaw breaking smack right across my face. My vision was hazy in 6 of my eyes and I tried to concentrate on Steve with the remaining 2. He was yelling at me. “Are you on drugs? What is the matter with you? You tell me what have you been doing these days? We are spiders. We come out of eggs. We don’t have Aunts and Uncles. Who the fuck is this Ben who you are babbling about? I knew something was wrong with you. You have been acting weird, weirder, ever since you went into that building on the dare. Did any of those humans do anything to man? Tell me what happened”. Recollections started dawning on me. Yes, I went into a building last week. I did not want to but I was dared and I didn’t want to be called a weakling for not completing a dare. I had to bite a human there and come back. Yes. That’s what I did. I found the scrawniest, most loser looking kid and bit him. He was the runt of the litter. All other humans were mocking him and teasing him yelling “Keep up Peter Parker.”.

Read more »

...

Hello World

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - Magic is discovered to be real. The catch? Spells are just like computer programs: difficult to write, and even harder to do correct the first try. You’re a spell bug tester, and you’ve seen just about everything go wrong, but today’s typo is on a whole other level…

It is a yet another uneventful day. Deepak is still a pig but that isn’t new. All testers are explicitly taught to always sandbox the environment before testing any spells but noooooo that was too mainstream for good old Deepak. Spells are like code. Just giving them a read is never sufficient to fully understand and verify what they do. There is a reason our jobs exist. So that we test all spells written by rookie wizards before they are moved to production to find all bugs, yeah we copied nomenclatures from programmers; sue us, and check them for all boundary conditions. It’s tedious but fairly basic. You setup the environment, isolated and as per the specs and run a battery of tests. Having been doing it for 4 years now it has almost become a second language to me. I, for most spells, can tell the issues that will come in a spell even before running any tests by just reading them. Yet, I never assume, like this ass Deepak, and follow the testing guidelines to the T. And that is why he has been in the form of a pig for 3 days and I have the “Best Spell Tester” trophies for all the years I have worked here.

Read more »

...

I'm feeling lucky

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - Google released its new self-driving car. You step in and press “I’m feeling lucky”

“God fucking damn it! What does it even mean? Tell me what does “Late LG load” even mean? You stupid car! I said “8 MG road” I yelled at the car. Regret had started creeping in my mind. Early adopter my butt. I should have waited for Google to perfect their voice recognition before getting this stupid self-driving piece of junk. Every. Single. Time. I watch this snazzy product video and fall for it. Stupid stupid. This thing doesn’t even have a steering wheel. Why would you do that? I’ve been at it for more than half an hour trying God knows how many destinations to try to take it for a spin but Indian accent + Indian road names = Big fucking nope. This is bullcrap. It will have to go back. I didn’t get to drive it even one. What a shame. It would have been so cool to be driving down the Delhi roads in India’s first self-driving car.

Read more »

...

Book Review : Modern Romance

Scroll to bottom to see the video version of this post

Lets do on thing. Lets take a break from the genre of dystopian novels and discuss something else this time. I recently finished watching Master of None, highly recommended by the way and that gave me an idea that we can in todays video discuss Modern Romance. A book written by Aziz Ansari the protagonist in Master of None and a well know comic. Most of you might have seen him in Parks and Recreations and his own standup specials. I read this book very recently and saying that this is an enjoyable book would be an understatement. Now one would assume that a book written by a comic would be humour only with very little meat. One would be wrong for assuming that. How do I put it. This book is freakonomics with humour on steroids if that means any thing.

Read more »

...