📅 Monday 4/10/21 to Sunday 17/10/21

It has been a hectic fortnight, especially between uni assessments and life doing its unique thing by throwing challenges in the way. Positively, Sydney is safely out of lockdown and things are not just opening up, but quickly returning to a sense of normal! So sit back, grab a drink and have a read of all the things I've been up to this past two weeks - or bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need a film recommendation or some new music to listen to.

Jump to sections below:

👨‍💻 Website work

  • Added a mail feature! Hit the blue "Subscribe" button in the bottom-right for 1 article in your inbox every 2 weeks 😄 The email will be my fortnightly article (the very same one you're reading now), which contains updates on my activities as well as links to any articles produced for that interest area.
  • Apologies for the lateness as well - had a particularly stressful situation Monday night where I thought I had broken the entire website during a back-end update (some file paths were missing or out-of-place). Luckily I was able to recover everything, but lesson learnt - always make a back-up, and document everything!
  • In true coding fashion, modularity is key - so if you're interested in any particular area from Books/ Movies/ TV especially, I will have Life of Karrot article links within each section for further reading. Alternatively, use the sections on the home page to explore your areas of interest 😊

♻️ Volunteering

  • For USYD's Business Information Systems Association (BISA):
    • Wrote and published the copy for an exciting Tech Employment Panel event! Also tried out publishing an Instagram reel which was fun, particularly with getting the right timing and mood from the music choice.
  • For my high school alumni organisation the Old Falconians' Union (OFU):
    • Filmed a congratulations and good luck message for the Class of 2021's Graduation. Heartbreaking to see it conducted online, but hopefully we all return to a semi-normal lifestyle soon.
  • For 180 Degrees Consulting (180DC):
    • Attended the interim presentation night, where our team received feedback on our presentation content, structure and storylining. Was especially rewarding to see the growth in a few slides which improved immensely after a few days editing.

✍️ University Studies

Coming back from the mid-semester break, weeks 8-10 were hectic with assessments. For my subjects, I:

  • Worked on a database assignment where we had to create SQL Tables and Assertions from a conceptual data model for people and vaccinations in a hospital. Fun, especially seeing how to run database code on Grok and PostgreSQL.
  • Worked on various Python and bash assessment tasks. These were not as fun, although I did learn a bit about networks and pipes.
  • Took on the Product Owner role for the major group assignment in my Agile Development unit. This has been a refreshing change of pace from just pure programming, in that I am considering the user journey and experience through User Story cards. This includes translating requirements into functionality and creating and managing a timeline of the project's completion through our team's Sprint phases.
  • Have been able to experiment with Tableau, a visualisation tool for Business Intelligence. It's really interesting to see how data can be filtered, represented and compared, as well as the unique insights generated that can improve a business's operations.
  • Had to write a Business Intelligence section of a report and presentation for a fictional new start-up product - WorkIn. This was an interesting exercise in applying lecture content around BI Architecture such as Data Warehouses and choosing how our 'start-up' would employ such technologies in its marketing and operations. After editing the other sections of the report we did a team presentation.

🤵 Professionalism

  • Adjudicated the Schools Debating Network (SDN) Semi-Finals on Friday 8th October. Despite the online format, students pushed through and I heard a lot of interesting arguments for/ against advertising targeting children, reporting on celebrity's private lives and law enforcement monitoring online communication. It was also fun to catch up with other adjudicators in our panel format, including my own high school debating coach.
  • Attended the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN) Network Event on Saturday 16th October. This was an engaging interactive event, which unexpectedly forced me to work on and present my elevator pitch. I met over 20 individuals from varying industries and even countries (Australia, NZ, Malaysia), and it was a blast to hear everyone's backgrounds and aspirations. I look forward to the conversations that follow, although it did personally raise some debate on how I spend my free time and whether conversations with every person from differing industries will greatly benefit both of us. Despite that, I look forward to engaging with more YSPN programs in future as I grow professionally.

📚 Books I've been reading

10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades

Finished Saturday 9th October, 2021

Read this out of order according to which parts required prioritisation. Some chapters are pretty barebones/ the minimum, others can be found on Thomas Frank's Youtube channel. However, it was still a beneficial read, and I highly recommend it for late high school and early university students.

Click here for a detailed book summary!

Start With Why

Still reading!

Click here for a detailed book summary.

Revolutionary Road

Finished Tuesday October 12th, 2021

I figured I need to explore new genres, and so here I am ticking off old to-read shelves and exploring American 20th-century classics. This read was similar to the movie, although I was able to appreciate its dissection of the American Dream much more in this medium - so much so that I will in fact be writing an article on the representation of the American Dream through books and movies in future. Looking out for that in the next fortnight!

Stories of Your Life

Still reading!

Following on from my re-watch of Arrival (read the review here in my Dune Part 1 Article).

Read here for my experience so far.

🎥 Movies I've recently seen

Exploring some past acclaimed films, as well as a recent Netflix film. All focus on the relationship between two characters, with everyone else virtually non-existent or in the background.

The Lighthouse

Watched Oct 02, 2021

A captivating watch, with some great black and white shots, haunting lighthouse sounds and a cyclical story that descends into madness. For me, there were two readings of the film: a more grounded take where Pattinson slowly loses his mind because of his past and the isolated setting, and a darker but more mythological version where Dafoe is trying to convert his second into a creature of the dark.

Slow, but engaging throughout, especially from the acting chemistry between the two characters. It's not just their explosiveness that is interesting, but the rich English accents and mysterious backstories. If you're inclined to it, The Lighthouse will leave you with chills.

The Guilty

Watched Oct 10, 2021

I fully regret watching this movie, and now don't even want to go anywhere near the more acclaimed original. Gyllenhall's acting is the only thing worth half a star in this movie (and his character is not likeable), as well as the effort to try and create a script and make a movie which earns the other half-star. The plot was dull and full of telling rather than showing, with reveals that did nothing for me as a viewer. Highly recommend you watch the authentic original movie this was based off, as it has to be better than this.


Watched Oct 11, 2021

A heartfelt romance that seemingly strays from its science-fiction classification but remains an example of the genre's diversity. Joaquin Phoenix is given the space to showcase a lovely performance as letter-writer Theodore, who fulfils others' emotional needs but has a lonely post-divorce existence himself.

The supporting cast of Johannsson, Adams, Pratt, Mara and Wilde provide snapshots of different relationships and share almost philosophical questions on ways of living. In fact, there's a lot to unpack here on judgement and lifestyle, aided by soft music and held camera shots against semi-futuristic environments of varied but subdued colours. I read the film's conclusion as truly making a statement on the interrelationship between technology and humanity, but this could definitely be subjective.

A very adult film, but one that will leave you thinking.

🎵 Music I've been listening to

Stay Forever (feat. STRFKR) - Whethan

I can't remember how I came across this song (possibly at the gym?), but it has been on repeat, especially due to the riff in the second half. I love STRFKR's less-human-than-human voice, and the up-tempo rhythms. Below this head-nodding single are a few other tracks by the two respective artists that I have enjoyed.

Million Mile Reflections - The Charlie Daniels Band

Contrastingly, I remember loving the instrumental and storytelling aspects of The Devil Went Down to Georgia earlier this year. I was curious to learn more about The Charlie Daniels Band and put on the Million Mile Reflections album on a whim. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, with the variation of tone and general catchiness catching me off-guard. I'll be listening to more of this 1950s-70s American band in the future!

📺 TV Shows I've been watching

Marvel's What If

Really enjoyed this show, although it has definitely felt the most superfluous (or just for super fans) of all the MCU Disney+ efforts thus far.

Will write an article on all the Marvel shows from 2021 ranked after I finish watching Hawkeye, which premieres Nov 24th.

You, Modern Love

These are two very different romance shows, and I'll be writing an article comparing the two of them over the coming weeks.

You takes rom-com tropes but combines them with a thriller aspect, whilst also critiquing the social media driven culture of today. Modern Love is much more optimistic, showing how relationships can struggle or thrive in diverse settings with unique voices.

Parks and Recreation

Been enjoying episodes of Season 2 as a short break from work with dinner. I hope to write an article in future where I compare all of the episodes, but I feel I have a long way to go before finishing (and I'm not complaining!).

😅 Phew! You've reached the end of this fortnight, thank you for reading.

If you're interested in more content like this, hit up the homepage and have a browse. If you want to get in touch, my details are in the "Contact" link below!

👍 Hope you have a fantastic fortnight ahead.