week in review 06: a cabin in the woods

This past week my dear friend Brittany and I rented a cabin near Guerneville and it was a much needed respite from *~*waves hand vaguely in the direction of 2020*~* all of it. We spent the week rarely leaving the property and avoiding the internet while we mostly read, watched movies, and enjoyed each other’s company. Brittany is the kind of friend that I can be truly, unapologetically, weirdly myself with and I honestly don’t know that there is anyone on this earth who can make me laugh the way that she does. It was a perfect week.

Of course, it flew by incredibly fast and now it is Sunday night and the scaries are particularly heavy after 9 days away from the home office. I’m not gonna lie, it felt so good not having to worry about the crushing pressure to maintain a can-do productive attitude at work while trying to stave off the equally crushing emotional toll of a year that presents new horrors daily.

I don’t want to bum everyone out too much talking about that which we are all feeling, so here is a vlog of our week in the cabin. I am fairly proud of how it turned out:

11 Things I Consumed Recently

  1. This beautiful response to a letter asking if it is okay to have hope in 2020
  1. John Oliver’s episode on the current Supreme Court situation which counterpoints that things are slightly hopeless but not entirely
  1. A fun thing I’ve gotten into in quarantine is Cheers which I am currently watching for the first time. It’s great! Who knew?
  1. James Hamblin’s incredible book Clean: The New Science of Skin, which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about and now has me seriously considering switching to a once/week shower schedule (will keep you updated)
  1. The man who guesses paint colors on TikTok. I’m cri
  1. The Zillow listing for a house where every photo is more absurd than the last. It is worth clicking through all 73 photos. It feels like someone built a replica of the homes I built when I played The Sims Livin’ Large and I want it.
  1. All 113 blog drafts from the blog I kept in my early twenties. This blog is connected to my old blog so when I went to write this post, I noticed I had all these drafts from my old blog and oh boy was it an adventure into 2011-2013 Ameena’s brain.
  1. Buzzfeed Unsolved Supernatural which I had never watched prior to yesterday and have now managed to watch nearly every episode
  1. The Masked Singer Season 4 (I don’t really want to talk about it)
  1. All 9 episodes of The Haunting of Bly Manor. It got real confusing in the middle and I was almost convinced I would have to hate it and then of course it all came together and I liked it a lot (but not as much as Hill House, but then again I don’t like many things as much as I like Hill House)
  1. The first 7 episodes of The Vow on HBO. We were very distraught to learn it is still airing and now we have to wait for the last 3 episodes like everyone else.

week in review 05: sleep? no thank you

I assume a lot of you feel me when I say my anxiety has been steadily (exponentially?) increasing these past two months in a way that makes my March anxiety look like a walk in the park. It has gotten to the point where my doctor and I decided I should go on medication for a little while, so that’s what I did this week. I am honestly kind of surprised it took 31 years for me to get to this point. 2020 will do that to ya, though.

I’m hoping I only have to be on it through the election, but I guess that ultimately depends on how the election goes. Either way, I already feel significantly better since going on it which is a welcome relief. My only complaint is that it might be giving me insomnia. It’s as if all my anxiety is suppressed during the day and when I lie down to drift into oblivion — BAM — it all comes rushing in and I have a mild panic attack. Then it’s goodbye sleep! Know you never!

The timing of this really couldn’t be worse because I am also currently on a sort of social media hiatus so insomnia just consists of me staring at the ceiling while my thumbs ache for something to scroll (I say sort of cause I’ve logged onto Instagram and Twitter once or twice to share content (I am who I am), but otherwise I haven’t been scrolling or checking any stories since news broke of RBG’s passing). I think stepping away from Instagram and Twitter might be doing more for my mental health than even the medication, tbh. 10/10 would recommend.

I bring all of this up because 1: I think it is important to normalize medication for mental health and 2. I am writing this at an ungodly hour because sleep is an impossible dream. It also does not help that a couple of hours ago I heard a couple of big booms so I foolishly googled “San Francisco news” to re-assure my anxious brain that it wasn’t anything to worry about and was accosted with multiple headlines about home break-ins nearly doubling in the city since March. So, since I am officially never sleeping again I figured I might as well blog! If I can call a list of things I consumed over the past week blogging. Which I can. Because this is my blog.

13 Things I Consumed This Week

  1. I have been resisting the pull of BTS for years but their Tiny Desk Concert (or Tiny Dance Concert as I thought I heard one of the guys refer to it) has made my resistance entirely futile. One of the singers gave me full body chills so many times I had to take a screen shot and ask my friend (who is full ARMY) who it was (Jin, of course).
  1. This piece on the whiteness of true crime and how it is shifting was great

The comfort narratives of true crime can’t hold when we’re shown, again and again, how the criminal justice system doesn’t work for untold millions of Black Americans. The cathartic release of a trial leading to conviction falls away with the understanding that mandatory minimum sentencing, underfunded public defenders, discriminatory jury selection, and prison abuses work together to destroy lives. Even wrongful conviction narratives, outrageous as they are, serve as comfort food for white audiences, who pay more attention to newfound freedom than they do the decades of despair over indifferent cruelty, and the lack of resources upon venturing out into the outside world.

  1. Back in April I stumbled into the world of booktube and have yet to look back. I was so enamored I even started making my own book videos (comment, like, subscribe, etc). One booktuber who remains a constant bright spot in my life every single week is Noelle Gallagher. Not only will I blindly follow every book recommendation she makes, I find her videos to be incredibly calming. I could listen to her read nutritional facts off of cereal boxes and still have a great time.
  1. Three songs I’ve had on repeat most of the week: Sometimes – Rich Bryan, Cocaine Jesus – Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and Mood – 24kGoldn & iann dior
  1. I have long believed that the best two videos on all of YouTube are: 1. Jurassic Park Melodica and 2. Tom Holland’s Lip Sync Battle. This week I accidentally stumbled on a reaction video to Tom Holland’s performance and, reader, it SENT ME. I don’t know that I have ever cackled before but I definitely cackled watching his reaction. And then I watched it 4 more times. His reaction is all of us the first time we watch this performance. The Tom Holland part starts at 3:29:
  1. I found myself listening to the entirety of The Eminem Show on Wednesday which felt noteworthy yet inexplicable?
  1. When I am not on hiatus, I spend an inordinate amount of my time on BoJack Horseman meme accounts thanks to the stupid Instagram algorithm. Been thinking a lot about this one this week:
  1. I really enjoyed this episode of Haley Nahman’s podcast which further explores her critique of Emrata’s viral essay. Heads up, I think it might only be available to paying subscribers but she is well worth the subscribe!
  1. I watched The Social Dilemma and even though it was more of a 3-star watch (the scripted parts kept taking me out of it) it still gave me a lot to think about regarding my role in surveillance capitalism as a person who works in tech/data. Tyler Oakley has a great summary if you don’t have time for the whole doc.
  1. Joji’s new album Nectar is *chef’s kiss* and will certainly be on heavy rotation for the rest of the year
  1. This piece on what it means to be Black in the outdoors is worth your time
  1. I’ve been shitting on gallery walls for years, so trust me when I say I am just as confused as you that I’ve been lusting after Desenio’s pre-made gallery walls for my living room
  1. I was in the mood for some ~spicy~ romance reads lately and decided to try dark romance since I’ve seen chatter about it on booktube. I read three books by Penelope Douglas since she seemed to be a solid staple of the sub-genre and y’all it was a RIDE. The first book I read was so laughably bad that it kind of came full circle into good again? I mean, good in a way that I was fully entertained but mostly not in the ways the author had intended. The second book I read was fine. And then the third book was so smutty it was basically pornographic in extremely problematic ways. Overall, I would say the experiment was not a success, but at least now I know!

One final thought, I know I have mentioned several times I have spent most of quarantine on YouTube. At first I thought it was the thing saving my sanity during this hellscape of a year, but now I think it might be doing the opposite. This realization made me think of this scene from The Incredibles which made me laugh at myself:

Incredibles You Didnt Save My Life GIF - Incredibles YouDidntSaveMyLife  Ruined - Discover & Share GIFs

week in review 04: let’s try this again shall we?

Whoopsie, I kinda dropped the ball on this whole blogging thing didn’t I? Here’s hoping this second attempt goes slightly better than the first! In the spirit of Haley Nahman and her incredible Maybe Baby newsletter (legitimately the best thing in my inbox every single week), here are 15 Things I’ve Consumed Recently:

  1. In a possible stroke of brilliance on my part, I had my first therapy session ever on March 13, 2020 — 5 days before San Francisco went into shelter-in-place. One of the things I’ve been regularly discussing with my therapist is just how much trauma we’ve all had to process in an incredibly short amount of time. It seems like every single day we are faced with a new horror and because the wheels of capitalism must keep on churning we are having to quickly “be okay” while never having the space to truly process everything that has happened. Our tanks are depleted but there’s never been more pressure to act as if they are full! It’s exhausting! Anyway, I’ve been having a hard time fully putting all of this into words so when Anne Helen Petersen slid into my inbox with her essay on the habituation of horror, I immediately forwarded it to my therapist. One of the best things I’ve read in weeks.
  1. Related: this tweet
  1. I tried on a pair of Good American jeans recently and ????? I’m in love.
  1. Learning that Harry Styles will be co-starring in a movie with Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and the queen herself Dakota Johnson is possibly the only good news of 2020 so far
  1. Obseeesssssssssed with this Blink-182-ified cover of Semi-Charmed Life. I love that you can tell when he is singing as Mark vs Tom. It is truly brilliant. It also made me feel nostalgic for something that never fully existed?
  1. This piece about the pandemic’s effect on the most vulnerable people living on the fringes in Orlando. This is a side of Orlando that I was completely oblivious to when I briefly lived there and it was heartbreaking to see so much human suffering in the shadows of the most magical place on earth.

  1. Like most people Online I read the Emrata essay earlier this week and felt truly indignant on her behalf. But then the more I thought about it, there was something about it that felt….very off to me. Luckily Haley Nahman was there to break it down for me in her latest newsletter (seriously the cream of the crop among newsletters).

  1. I enjoyed the Fast Times at Ridgement High table read so much more than I thought I would. Everyone was talking about the Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt of it all, but I really think we should be talking about the fact that this is Shia LaBeouf’s world and we are all just living in it.
  1. I’m Thinking of Endings Things: a book I loved and a movie I did not.

  1. This Esquire piece from 2016 on The Falling Man in one of the most iconic photos from 9/11

“Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn’t jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God. Oh, no. You have to fall.”

  1. This…..song……is……..perfect?????? Still a hard pass on Euphoria tho
  1. My friends and I have become increasingly obsessed with watching/reading/listening to things that scare us and I recently learned that this is actually a common coping mechanism for people with anxiety. Validation!
  1. I’m having a hard time not listing a different YouTube video for every one of these, but I’ve honestly spent most of quarantine reading books and watching YouTube so *shrug emoji*. Anyway, I recently fell down the rabbit hole of vocal coach Natalie Weiss’ sessions with her students and she’s so good. I can’t sing at all, but even I feel like a better singer after watching these. The power of the YouTube!
  1. This podcast episode on the appropriate number of times to shuffle a deck of cards was delightful

  1. Okay, this last one is kinda cheating cause this is something I would like you to consume which is my new booktube channel! I’m having a lot of fun with this new quarantine hobby and would really love if you checked it out. Here’s my latest video:

week in review 03: because vegas

I spent this past weekend having a truly wild time in Vegas at a Bachelorette party so I think it should come as no surprise that I did not have a lot of time for reading, watching, or listening this week.


The Making of the Fox News White House, Jane Mayer for The New Yorker 

What It’s Like to Go to the Oscars With a Nominee (Who Wins!), Priyanka Mattoo for Vulture. This was delightful and made me cry by the end.


I started re-watching LOST and it’s the best decision I’ve made all year. Perfect show is still perfect .


the seventies, my magnum opus spotify playlist

The Week Ahead

I’ll be focusing on recovering from back to back weekend trips and hopefully working on a new data project to share on the blog!



week in review 02: it’s waiting there for you

I spent this weekend in Park City celebrating a dear friend’s 30th birthday. It was a weekend full of good food, good company, and good rock climbing. I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the week ahead!


The Desperado , Ciara O’Rourke for The Atavist

Parkland: A Year After the School Shooting That Was Supposed to Change Everything, Patricia Mazzei and Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

The Love Story I Never Thought to Tell, Caroline Donofrio for A Cup of Jo

The Secret History of Women in Coding, Clive Thompson for The New York Times

A Friendship Baked in the Great British Bake Off Tent , Julie Beck for The Atlantic

MIT Professor Kieran Setiya on the Living in the Present, the Paradox of Egoism, and the Hollowness of the Goal-Driven Life, Charles Chu for The Polymath Project

Recapping the 1999 Oscars Ceremony, When Shakespeare Beat Spielberg, Richard Lawson for Vanity Fair


This week I mostly watched more episodes of The Challenge and saw Free Solo for the third time and Ralph Breaks the Internet for the first time.


Shrugging Destiny (w/ Paul F. Tompkins), Off Book. This is the funniest podcast episode I’ve maybe ever listened to?

059 – Africa (w/ Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna), Punch Up the Jam. More Zach and Jessica!

The Week Ahead

This week I get to attend my monthly Data Science Study Group and I am excited to carve out time to work on new projects.

week in review 01: beginnings

I started a blog! Let’s kick things off with some of my favorite things this week:


The case for capping all prison sentences at 20 years , German Lopez for Vox

Data science is different now, Vicki Boykis

Calendar. Not to-do lists., Devi Parikh

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Will Make You Laugh So Hard It Hurts, Amanda Hess for The New York Times. PWB is someone I have loved for a very long time. If you haven’t seen Fleabag yet, please see it immediately.

Stop shaming recipe bloggers for writing a lot, Chloe Bryan for Mashable

Imposter Syndrome in Data Science, Caitlin Hudon

Naval Ravikant’s Guide to Choosing Your First Job In Tech, Caleb Kaiser for the AngelList blog


Right now the only thing I am capable of watching and talking about is MTV’s The Challenge and I will make no apologies for this. I have managed to watch three full seasons of this show in about two weeks and yet I somehow still manage to convince myself I don’t have enough time to work out. ::shrug emoji::

Anyway, The Challenge. Let’s discuss.


Over My Dead Body

The Dropout. Give me all of the Elizabeth Holmes content, please.


The Week Ahead

I’ll be attending two tech meetups and preparing for a weekend in snowy Utah.