Articles

  • ‘I don’t know who I am without it’: the truth about long-term antidepressant use [The Guardian] – “Prescriptions have doubled in a decade, but very little is known about the effect of taking SSRIs for years and years. Is it a lifesaver or a happiness trap?” To be fair, this MUST NOT be taken as a case against antidepressants, which are the difference between life and death for many people. What is worth though, is having a better understanding about cases where SSRIs can genuinely help (which I have seen IRL) and those where they just cause side-effects with little relief (which I have also seen IRL).

  • The Hamilton Hustle [The Baffler] – I watched Hamilton, the musical this month. It’s a terrific work of art, and worth watching at least once if you can make it. That said, I never went in expecting to see an accurate representation of history. Turns out that this is not the case for many people, and as I later learned, Alexander Hamilton’s legacy is debated by several scholars. This isn’t very personal for me, and I’ve looked for opinions critiquing the representation of Hamilton in the musical. This article is one of them.

  • The Stubborn Persistence of Confederate Monuments [The Atlantic] – Based on a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, some 1500 artefacts dedicated to Confederate legacy still exist in the US. This article briefly describes the history of some of the more notable ones, and argues why taking monuments down is not tantamount to “erasing history”. Also related is this NYT article.

  • We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment [The New York Times] – Quoting “Our emotions are less reactions to the present than guides to future behavior. Therapists are exploring new ways to treat depression now that they see it as primarily not because of past traumas and present stresses but because of skewed visions of what lies ahead.”

Books

  • Proof – Well technically a play by David Auburn, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama back in 2001. We had to read it for acting class, and I’m going to perform a scene from it on the final day.

Arts

I’ve significantly cut down on watching movies and TV, as I spend more time indulging in performing arts and theater.

  • Hamilton Musical (San Francisco) – Hamilton is the rage these days, and they’re on tour in San Francisco. Don’t ask how I obtained tickets or how much I had to pay, but I will admit that it was right up there among the best performances I’ve seen on stage. Highly recommended.

  • Monsoon Wedding Musical (Berkeley) – I loved the Monsoon Wedding movie when I watched it a few years ago. Some of the more serious themes (not giving any spoilers away) particularly stuck with me, and I obviously wanted to go see it when the musical debut was announced at the Berkeley Repertory Theater! What’s more, it is directed by Mira Nair herself, and I was lucky to have tickets to opening night. I enjoyed it overall, especially individual performances, and even got to meet the actors (and Mira Nair!) after. While I thought that the overall thing still needed more polish (maybe I was unfairly comparing with Hamilton in my mind), I was happy nonetheless, particularly because I got to learn more about the acting careers of some of the actors. This is something I’m increasingly interested in, given my own interest.

Movies and TV Shows

  • Dear White People – I kind-of binge watched the TV show that’s being talked about a lot. It was interesting because it talks about a lot of the modern American social themes around racism, sexism, etc. while also depicting the underlying conflicts that shape individuals who participate in activism around these issues. I’ve been told that the movie (of the same name) is better, so I’ll have to watch that too.

Travel

  • Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Utah – Third new state in as many months! It had been a while since I saw remarkably beautiful landscapes like these.

Music

  • Masala Coffee’s Malayalam rendition of the Tamil song Kaanthaa is an earworm.


Miscellaneous

  • As my acting class nears an end, I decided to sign up for the Intermediate Acting class that will take place at the Berkeley Repertory Theater over the summer.

  • Among other personal updates, I now have bright red hair, and I’m quite excited about that.

  • WikiTribune is a new kind of news platform that is trying to recreate how news works. Through transparent funding and allowing common citizens to report news that is verified and fact-checked by professional journalists, it tries to bridge the gap between the proliferation of false news and the more traditional journalism done by media houses. I’m curious to see how this works out.

  • a16z AI Playbook – An introductory playbook to help beginners learn about AI.

- nRT