'Hey Naj, Watcha Thinkin?' - Volume 1

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Hey Naj, Watcha Thinkin? | No. 1

Well hello there. It's me, Naj.

So I was thinking, I should start a blog. 

But then I was like, wait, I'm an email specialist.
I should totally blog using my totally amazing email skills.
And voîla - here we are with the first edition of... 

This newsletter is going to be a hybrid of my personal musings, curated collection of things I've found and tucked away in my bookmarks and mainly animated gifs I found very amusing.

It might get deep sometimes, but mainly, this is a way for me to have a conversation the best way I know how. At home, in my pyjamas, and typing on my laptop. 

Okay, let's get into the meat of what caught my attention recently, including:
  • Music from Itzy, Lizzo and more
  • Thoughts about Rupaul's Drag Race Season 11
  • Love, Death and Robots
  • Badger, badger, badger, badger...


With my ears and everything
As a great philosopher once said,

makes the people,
come together,

My relationship with music runs deep, but these days it's a way for me to concentrate on tasks at hand. I am now 30 and the majority of my days are spent on amassing currency that allows me to stay in my current residence and buy essential nourishment, so music makes this process much less painful.

You can usually find me at work with my earphones in and bopping to Die Antwoord if I'm stressing about deadlines, or at home, blasting some 90's new jack swing when I need to get some laundry done.

As far as music goes, I'm either really late to the party, or right there when a track is about to blow up. Either way, my selections are normally pretty eclectic, so hopefully you'll discover something you enjoy.
In this era of political instability, doom and gloom and general mistrust of the human population at large - I find myself gravitating towards the things that give me a happy.

Bubblegum K-pop (and the insane production value behind its music videos) is one of the things that make me bop, so hearing this was a pleasant surprise on my random Spotify mix. 

If you've never dipped your toes into K-pop, give it a try. What have you got to lose? Or do you really want to keep listening to mumble hip-hop on to the top 40 charts???
An absolute bop/groove. Ugh, what can I say - the lyrics are great, the vocals are flawless and the music video just makes me smile so much. Lizzo is the artist we don't deserve and she JUST dropped a collaboration with Missy Elliot. UGH SO GOOD.
Minimalist loveliness and a voice and aesthetic I'm so jealous of. Listen to this on a Sunday morning when the morning sun is shining and you're feeling a little bit like you're in a rom-com. Special thanks to my niece for suggesting this one. 


And how Yvie Oddly grew on me...
If you know me, then you probably know I am obsessed with Rupaul's Drag Race. I've watched every season along with Untucked and All Stars. It's safe to say that I'm... a fan.

I know everybody says this about every season after season five (with the very big shoes of characters like Detox, Alyssa Edwards and Alaska to fill), but the first episode of Season 11 was feeling a little... dare I say... meh

However, I have to say that the incredibly weird Yvie Oddly grew on me - I've grown to respect this drag queen's approach to conflict resolution, and I couldn't take my eyes off her during Trump: The Rusical as an utterly terrifying, and yet mesmerising Kelly Conway.

(Insert Trixie Mattel scream here)

Brava and snaps at Miss Yvie - I hope she keeps it weird.

Of course, it would be remiss of me to not give a shoutout to Brooke Lynn Heights and Miss Vaaaaanjie. Miss Vaaaanjie.




a.k.a. my vices (apart from all those Sylvanian family dolls I've been collecting) 
This gem popped up in my Netflix homepage like it was nbd but it was very much a bd. A bfd, if you will. It's easy to get jaded with sci-fi offerings at the moment, especially with the superhero-saturated market but this was such a refreshing treat to the senses. An 18 episode anthology series of shorts that are incredibly moreish and was a much needed palette cleanser. My personal favourites were 'Good Hunting' which made me cry, and 'Sonnie's Edge'. 
This Russian-made game was a real pleasure to dive into, and I found it easy to get into the world even though this threequel is my first experience of the series. It reminded me of Rage with a dash of Fallout. While some parts of the game did seem a little bit rushed, I enjoyed the balance of storytelling and action. Hot tip: play through with Russian audio on, it's so much more immersive and I found that there were clearly some things that weren't translating as well in the English version.
Okay, I admit, super late to the bandwagon here but I wanted to watch this one when the rest of the internet had stopped talking about it, and it was absolutely worth it. At some points while watching this, I found myself literally gripping a cushion with the tension and dread this masterpiece in horror created.
If you haven't had the pleasure of watching this movie, do yourself a favour and don't read anything (else) about it. Just watch it fresh. 
It's a weird time in the gaming calendar where many of us are waiting for the real juicy releases to drop - so I've just started replaying Dying Light. This parkour zombie game from 2015 was an absolute delight because I hadn't expected to enjoy it so much when I first played it, and I'm STILL enjoying it!! The graphics still hold up, the parkour still feels pretty smooth and I'm still chucking firecrackers into oil puddles and watching zombies turn into walking bonfires. 


Remember that one badger video?
If you're about the same age as me, you are part of the in-between generation - that strange middle place where you've spent some of your adolescent and adult life before and after the internet.

I can remember the days before smartphones and having one of those clicky Nokia contraptions with a full QWERTY keyboard. I can remember when watching videos on the internet meant loading an embedded 3 minute Quicktime video for 10 minutes.

This newsletter is an ode to the heyday of the organically weird and wonderful. Being viral hadn't been honed down to an art by meme-stealing social media content creators and was purely a happy accident by some weirdos who put a surprising amount of effort into flash animations.

(Big love to my favourite OG blogs. Pink Is The New Black and Fourfour (I miss Winston). Special commendations to tumblrs of yore, inothernews and Babe City Babes)

I plan on recording my personal memories of this strange time, back when Facebook was a thing that happened to other people and you'd start conversations with "a/s/l?". Ah, IRC. 

One of my personal favourites:
I was reminded of this gem by a coworker who introduced a badger emoji into the company slack. We now use the badger emoji to encompass all emotions. 

I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure I first watched this on Newgrounds. 

There is no context to this video, and someone actually took the time to animate it. Please enjoy. 


And that's the end of my very first HEY NAJ, WATCHA THINKIN? It's been cathartic.

Some ideas for upcoming newsletters:
  • Craft tutorials
  • Suggested icebreakers for your next soirée
  • My super quick corn chowder recipe
  • A list of things I've overheard in Salisbury, where I live, like "You've simply got to get the pink Hunter wellies".
What did you think? Did you find something you hadn't known about? What shall I write about next?

Tell me all about it: najmahsalam@gmail.com 

I hope you have a great week, and tbh, you're alive and you're doing great, which is pretty good considering the climate we're in. Keep your head up. 

HEY NAJ, WATCHA THINKIN? is a personal blog and newsletter by Najmah Salam.
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