Born in 1986: Politely smiling and watching the confused faces when you tell people you make a living making videos on YouTube

Call me odd, but I’ve always been fascinated by people born in the same year as me. Perhaps it’s because of the simple reason that I have something in common with another person, but I don’t get the same feeling with anything else. When I see another Asian, I don’t go, “Hmm. I feel connected to that person on an emotional level,” like I do with someone else born in 1986. I guess it’s just the novelty of being born in the same year as someone. We’ve been more or less exposed to the same things. Pop Culture. Current Events. The rise and fall of Shia Lebouf, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. OK, maybe I was the only person who followed that.

I have been wanting to start a series for a while, but like with many, many things, I had put it to one side with the intention of eventually doing something within the next 15 years. Well, here it is. I know that all of you are disappointed that I’m not doing Fashion Fridays but I don’t think any of you would be interested in seeing photo after photo of me wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.

I often talk about how much society has changed due to the technological advances. Even just 10 years ago, we were still using Myspace, and YouTube was just starting out. Now, I can’t imagine not having YouTube. I don’t know how I survived all those years on the Internet without having one Web site to view videos and having to go from site to site. For my first installment, I will be talking about people who make a living uploading videos on YouTube. I attempted to find three people born in 1986 who write obituaries, but I gave up after seven years of searching.

Ana Kasparian (News/Politics)

I know many of you are going to be like. “Um, who the hell is this person? I’ve never heard of her. She must make sewing videos or something.” Well, no, but I am sure there are many, many well-loved sewing ladies on YouTube.

Ana Kasparian is one of the hosts of the news show The Young Turks. I don’t often watch the show because it’s a tad, too, um, intense for me. I’ve mentioned in the past, how I was trying to keep up with the news. Well, I failed horribly. Although, to my credit, I have finally come up with a system that has worked for me for a while. I just casually browse the Yahoo homepage for a few minutes at a time until something catches my eye. Ana, I know. You’re shaking your head at me and silently judging me, and I’m OK with that.

As I was trying to find a video with Ana, I knew I wanted something light-hearted and recent. Well, I stumbled across this from almost nine years ago, and I thought, “Yeah. I’m going to use this.” Oh well. One out of two isn’t bad.

Michael Stevens (Science/Tech)

Michael Stevens is the creator of VSauce, which focuses on science and technology. It started out as a video game channel but when he uploaded science videos, people were like, “Wow, this science video is great but what is up with all of these Call of Duty videos?”, so it morphed into a science channel. He mostly focuses on answering scientific questions we all wonder about. Why is yawning contagious? Why are things creepy? Why do Asian men cry ten times more than White men? OK, maybe not that last one, but I’m sure it’s something you want to know.

Jenna Marbles (Comedy)

OK. This is the person almost everyone is going to know. She’s blond. She’s loud. And she doesn’t care about what you think of her. She’s pretty much the opposite of me.

Her content has varied over the years. They range from her just talking to having conversations with copies of herself to reacting to videos to her doing a specific task. Guess which one I like the most?

Yes. If you want my attention, attach balloons to your dog. Actually, no. Use your ferret. That will get you more views.

Oh, and there’s a wax statue of her.

Please don’t tell me you love me. Or our car will break down in the middle of a country road.

I am often self-conscious when it comes to my likes and interests. I collect Kawaii stationery. I like romantic comedies. I’m fond of interior decorating shows and blogs. I watch Project Runway. It goes without saying I’m in touch with my feminine side.

I do have the tendency to avoid female pop music. It just feels like an area that is reserved for young girls and, well, I am neither. I am fond of Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Pink and a few others. I have to clarify something. I’m not as big of a fan as I often portray in my blog. I like her, but I’m not like an obsessed fan who has every CD, posters all over the world and a life-size cut out of her in my bedroom.

I still don’t have a 100% grasp on my music taste because, well, it’s all over the place. Here’s a quick sampling.

No, I’m not a White guy. I don’t even know how to classify my music taste. If someone were to ask me, “What kind of music do you listen to?” I’d just stare at them for a few moments and say, “Oh, a little bit of everything,” and if they ask for specifics, I stumble for like five minutes until I say a random mainstream artist that I kind of, sort of like. I wonder if other Asians do this. If you happen to be Asian, let me know.

IAlthough I am a little embarrassed about liking female pop music, I would not hesitate telling someone I like Michelle Branch. I do have a few guilty pleasures when it comes to female pop music. I like how all of these music videos tell a story.

A girl is having commitment issues, along with car issues.

Demi Lovato looks like she actually wants to kill herself in a bathtub. And she’s apparently having hallucinations that she’s climbing Mount Everest.

And, oh look, Adele is having a nice stroll at a park, and she’s trying really, really hard not to cry.

All kidding aside, the songs are all quite emotional and the music videos capture the raw emotion of each song. I see more videos of crying girls in bathtubs in our near future.

I know I have to stop thinking what others think of my personal taste. That’s hard to do when I’m listening to Lady Gaga and imagining a crowd of 100 people shaking their heads and giving me looks of disappointment and disgust.

A teacher, a priest and a blogger walk into a bar and… everyone’s on their phone looking at cat videos.

It’s difficult not to say our society is ruled by technology. When you walk into a room, you are surrounded by people being glued by their phones. Me, I’m the guy staring into space while eating a sandwich, thinking whether or not he should have chicken or pork for dinner.

When you’re not seeing someone on their phone, they’re in front of a computer. Seriously, if you go to your local library, walk around and you’ll see rows upon rows of people sitting in front of computers, a few people sitting, most likely on their phones and aisles and aisles of books with no one browsing them. OF course, people still use libraries to borrows books and other things. They just do it online. Seriously, they should just turn libraries into government-sanctioned Internet cafes and become the book borrowing equivalent to Amazon. If you happen to be a government official who has the power to turn public libraries into Internet cafes, you are welcome to steal my brilliant idea.

In the past, with TV shows, I had always felt that there was a disconnect between the real world and the fictional world when it came to technology. People were depicted talking with their friends right before work instead of the reality of sitting in front of a computer for hours doing nothing. I guess that wouldn’t translate well on screen.

Of course in more recent years, technology has more of a presence on TV shows. Social media mentioned more often. People are always using their phones. People are in front of their computer more. And on top of all of this, there are a handful of TV shows that focus on technology. I’m still waiting for a three hours scene of a guy in front of a computer doing nothing though.

Person of Interest
A man who created a government program that predicts pre-meditated terrorist attacks and other crimes enlists the help of an ex-CIA operative to help with non-terrorist attacks that the machine deems “irrelevant.”

As previously mentioned, I am not a big fan of crime dramas. Person of Interest is not your ordinary crime drama though. For one, the victim of the week is usually not dead. And for another, the victim of the week is not necessarily a victim. The “person of interest” can either be the victim or the perpetrator. Of course, it’s not always black and white. A lot of the cases have gray areas, which is refreshing.

There is, of course, a bigger picture here. Is the government really watching us? Do they have a specific agenda? Why do they want to know what we’re having for dinner? OK, fine. It’s chicken and rice. I’m Asian. You know I’m having rice for dinner.

Eye Candy
A hacker, who has been looking for her missing sister for years, stumbles across a serial killer who targets his victims on a dating ap.

It’s not enough that the protagonist is trying to find her sister who was kidnapped years earlier, but that she’s also a genius hacker who is tracking down a serial killer whose sexual orientation is ambiguous. And, on top of that, her best friend is close friends with your arch nemesis. God, talk about torturing your characters.

Now, this is clearly a TV show that attracts someone much, much younger than me, but I like the urban grittiness of it and, yes, I just invented a new term. I have mixed feelings about shows with characters who are trying to find the identity of someone. I’m always trying to figure out who it is, and it’s almost always one of two scenarios: it’s obvious who it is, or the person turns out to be a character who isn’t introduced until much later and usually only appears in one or two episodes. It distracts me from the show., and that’s the last thing I need with a show that’s essentially a combination of Mr. Robot and Criminal Minds.

Mr. Robot
A mysterious man approaches a hacker about joining his anarchist group that is targeting the largest corporation in the world.

I was immediately drawn to Mr. Robot due to the voiceover and the tone of never-ending pessimism. I guess that’s one thing that it has in common with Dexter, heh. It is clear that this isn’t a show about rainbows and unicorns and cute cats. No, it’s about corruption, chaos and burning hard drives in a puppy-burning furnace.

Eli, the protagonist, has a me vs. the world mentality. Although he has friends and people who care about him, he feels alone in the world and wants to make a difference. He goes down into a rabbit hole and doesn’t know where it leads to. I hope my rabbit hole leads to cake.

I’m nervous, but on the surface I look like a normal Asian man

If you have followed my blog for a while, you would notice that I’m quite an eclectic person. I collect, well, pretty much everything. I’ve watched sitcoms. I’ve watched crime procedurals. I’ve watched family dramas. I’ve listened to country music. I’ve listen to rock. And, yes, I’ve listened to sad French songs.

I am a human being though, so there are obviously things I am not fond of. Heavy metal scares me. Doctor Who seems like a foreign language to me. And for the life of me, I can’t get into watching a sports game. Literally, I’m like, “Ugh. I’d rather watch some two women yelling at each other because she looked at her the wrong way than watch guys tackle each other in a football game.”

I do try to go a little outside of my comfort zone from time to time, and there are a few things that I’m fond of that I wouldn’t normally be interested in.

Lose Yourself – Eminem

I am open to pretty much every genre of music except for rap and heavy metal. It is largely because I just can’t enjoy myself listening to either genre. This is a rap song that’s easier for me to listen to and, of course, there’s the nostalgic factor because I consider this the most iconic rap song from when I was a teenager. I had always thought it was from The Green Mile. It turns out that it was from 8 mile. Yeah, a rap song would have been inappropriate for a supernatural drama about a man on death row. Also, The Green Mile came out two years before Lose Yourself did. Oops.

Scream

There are basically two forms of horror movies: there’s a killer on the loose and is killing off characters one by one or there’s a spirit in a mysterious, old house and it’s killing off characters one by one. There are a few exceptions, of course, but everyone dies. I don’t mind horror so much but they do tend to get boring if you already know everyone is going to die at some point of the movie. It would be a nice change if there were a horror movie where everyone survives. Perhaps one person loses a leg. Another person might gain an intense phobia of frogs. There are a lot of ways to torture characters other than just killing them. Killing people is boring.

I haven’t watched that many horror movies. The only one that I’ve watched and liked was Scream. I couldn’t really get into the sequels for some reason. Like with Lose Yourself, I like it, but I remember more because of the nostalgia factor. I honestly can’t remember a lot from the movie other than a lot of people getting killed and David Arquette. Yes, I remember David Arquette. He’s one of a handful of celebrities from Dancing with the Stars that I actually knew before they appeared on the show.

Stargate Atlantis

Likewise with horror, I don’t watch much sci-fi. In fact, I had trouble coming up with anything sci-fi from my youth. The closest I came up with was Stargate Atlantis, which is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1. Stargate Atlantis was a lot easier for me to get into and understand. I do remember watching Stargate SG-1 when I was a child but alas, I was a child and I don’t remember most of it nor being a big fan of it. I watched ER as a child. Does that count?

Help, a kawaii store exploded, and I can’t get up.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a kawaii stationery purchase. I, of course, went to my go-to source for kawaii goodness, KawaiiYa. This time I knew I wanted to make a large purchase but as usual, I didn’t want to take the plunge right away. Well, I finally did it. And, yes, I went big.

That’s right. 48 items. And that’s not including the 20 items they sent as freebies. I can imagine the woman putting together my order freaking out and having a nervous breakdown. “Omg. This Asian man is going to kill me. This is literally going to take me days. Ugh. Oh well. At least I have vodka.”

I don’t receive as many kawaii packages as I used to, so here it is still in the box. Needless to say, I was happy.

And here they are, in neat little piles on my dining table. Now, for those of you who are familiar with kawaii items, you may notice that I completely avoided buying one specific type of kawaii stationery item. I find mini memo pads completely useless, and I actually decided to get rid of most of the ones in my collection. They’re just too mini for me. I’m a grown man, and I need big memo pads for my big self.

These are the items I got for free with my purchase. I ended up putting a lot of the sticker sacks in my declutter storage. Yes, I have an area designated for items I no long want. I’m just too lazy to actually declutter, so I just designate a decluttering area. Clever, I know.

I wasn’t sure if I should have bought sticker sacks because I’m not a big fan of them now, but I bought a handful. I ended up accidentally buying a few I already had and then others I’m like, “Ew, why did I buy that?” Off to the decluttering area they went.

Yeah, I went a little crazy on the sticker sheets. Before this purchase, I had 80 something sticker sheets, and I wanted to get up to over 100. Goal completed.

No kawaii stationery order would be complete without a boatload of memo pads. I accidentally purchased one I already had. Oops. That one is heading straight to my declutter area, heh.

I only had one large kawaii letter set, so I had to purchase more. Did I have to purchase six? No. But why not?

I’m quite satisfied with my purchases. But ugh. I want to live in Japan, so I can get more of a selection for cheaper prices. Although I would most likely have to hire a 20-year-old Asian girl to go to the store for me to avoid being creepy. So I guess it balances out.

“You might’ve solved that puzzle with just one letter, Shannon, but at least I’m going to the bonus round. And I don’t have to slap you.”

I do not want to sound like an ignorant person, but I’ve never really understood the appeal of reality television. Now, I do love game shows, so I am fond of reality TV competitions but really, I can leave them or take them. I like the game show element of reality TV competitions. I like to see the different challenges. I like seeing their plans and strategies. I like to see people succeed, and I cringe when people fail. And ultimately, I like to see the winner crowned in the end.

If there is no competition element of a reality TV show, then there’s just no interest from me because I don’t really want to watch a group of people in a house being filmed all day. Now, if it has a specific focus, like a couple buying a house or a group of people trying to save a non-profit organization, then I’d be interested in watching. I know those aren’t really considered “reality shows,” but technically they are. It’s just a different genre. Honestly though, I’d rather watch Wheel of Fortune.

It’s a lot more entertaining. Look at the middle woman. She touches her hair and adjusts her shirt for a few seconds, then she’s like, “What the heck just happened? Oh well. At least I still won. Suck it, Shannon.” OK. Maybe not that last part but let me have my fun, OK?

I am sure all of you are familiar with Big Brother. Big Brother, of course, combines the “Let’s spy on a group of random strangers and lock them in a house and see what happens” element with “Let’s have a competition and hope no one punches anyone in the face when they lose.” Again, I am not so much interested in the conversations and drama. I’m just there for the games. Although, it is slightly amusing to see someone lose their shit once in a while.

But if I wanted to watch groups of people interact with each other, I’d rather go to the mall. And as a bonus, I can get myself a soft pretzel. Mmmm. Soft pretzels for the win.

Getting the evil eye from that one woman in Ohio whose house is buried under 15 feet of snow and is freezing her butt off.

As we’re approaching the end of the summer, I personally can’t wait to get cooler weather here in Central Florida. Of course, it doesn’t really get that cold here. Most Winters, it doesn’t get much below 40 degrees Fahrenheit here. Of course, I don’t have the backlog of temperatures from the past five Winters next to me. All I have is a half-bottle of Diet Sunkist. I’m sorry to disappoint you if you love data and statistics, but this isn’t the blog for you anyway. I, however, like to satisfy everyone if possible, so here is a video of a man doing a Ted Talk on the analyzing the statistical data of a week’s worth of Ted Talks. Enjoy.

I know most of you are from cold weather areas, and you’re probably thinking, “Kenny, you’re nuts. You live in Florida, and I’m in England. It’s August and it’s 60 degrees, and that’s the best we can hope for. You’re bathing in the sunlight with your post 80 plus degree weather. God, I hate you.” And, yes, I know I’m not being 100 percent accurate here because I’m using Fahrenheit and not Celsius but I’m a lazy Asian American. Sue me.

I’ve always preferred the freezing cold over excruciating heat. I know. I know. Being buried under 15 feet of snow, shoveling through snow every day isn’t fun and wearing 15 layers of clothing isn’t fun, but neither is wanting to die every time you walk out the door and sweating in two seconds. In November.

I, of course, do understand that there are areas with all four seasons with freezing winters and hot summers, but I grew up in New York and the summers were nowhere near as bad as they are here. At this point, I’ve lived in Florida for solong with the humid summers and mild winters that living in a cold weather climate strongly appeals to me, but I don’t truly know how awful it is to live in an area with horrible Winters. I still want to live in an area where it’s November, and I’m not thinking that the weather needs to be colder.

Or maybe I should just bury myself in ice in my bathtub.

OK. This time every woman in the world will hate me…because of my ability to eat cereal.

Commercials. We all hate them. We especially hate them when we’re watching videos on the Internet. OK, fine. If we want to sit on the couch and watch an emotionally exhausting episode of Grey’s Anatomy, we can deal with commercials. But if we want to watch a five minute video, then even a 30-second commercial seems excessive. Yes, there is sometimes an option to skip the commercial, but that isn’t guaranteed. It’s like a game of Russian Roulette. OK, fine.no one is dying from watching commercials, but we feel like we’re dying. Does that count?

Since I do not have a TV, the only commercials that I watch are online. honestly, it’s not that bad compared to TV advertising but, damn, it is annoying when you get a 30 second commercial you can’t skip. Now, with YouTube, if I’m able to click on a link to the commercial, browsing the comments is an added bonus. It’s amusing to me to see people freak out while I’m just sitting here thinking, “Eh, I liked the commercial,” and I continue eating my roast beef sandwich. Here are three such commercials.

The One That Applauds Women for Eating

When I first saw this commercial, I thought it was a simple commercial with a simple message: “Women can do anything.” I approved. A few seconds later, I was like, “Wait, did they just congratulate women for the ability to eat?” I am trying to imagine the dozens of meetings that would have taken place for this commercial to be aired, and I can’t even fathom who thought this was a good idea. Look at my picture. I can eat too, you know. And I’m a man. GASP. And I’m Asian. DOUBLE GASP.

The One That May or May Not Be Racist

I’m not a big fan of these Gorilla Glue commercials, but I find it quite silly that some people actually think that this particular commercial is racist just because the actors are Black. Of course, they don’t find it racist when there are Gorilla Glue commercials with the same concept, but with White actors. I also don’t understand what would make this commercial racist. Something involving her wanting clear glue and not white? Well, first. White glue is usually school glue, and you can’t, like, fix a screen door with White school glue. Stronger glues tend to be clear. I don’t know. I don’t see a problem with it. It’s not like she’s looking for a glue made out of White people.

The One That Makes You Lock Yourself in Your Room and Cry Until You Die

I am quite partial to commercials that make me want to cry. It reminds me that I’m human. Of course, a lot of people have the issue with companies exploiting our emotions to sell their product. Well, this particular commercial is from Zillow, which if you don’t know is a Real Estate Listing Web site and is actually free to use. It’s not like someone from Zillow is killing your husband in order to force you to sell a house and buy a new one; plus Zillow actually wouldn’t benefit from it. Just enjoy the story that’s being told and eat a sandwich. You’ll feel better.

But I don’t want to go outside today. I need to watch Breaking Bad, damn it.

Oh, no. It’s that time again. The time where I share my incredibly slow progress with random frivolous goals that don’t matter in the end. Be thankful I haven’t had the time to post about organizing my craft supplies that I hardly ever use. The photos would be horrible and inconsistent, and editing photos are a pain in the butt, and they never come out the way I want them to. Seriously, just watching photo shopping videos makes me want to cry.

As everyone already knows, I’ve been trying to watch TV more often. There’s been a little progress here and there. Out of all of the things I’ve been wanting to do, it’s clearly my best success; although I’m still not watching as much TV as I want to. I know. I need to have more fulfilling goals. Oh well. One thing at a time.

What I’ve Finished

13 Reasons Why (Season 1)
Shooter (Season 1)
Rectify (Season 1)

What I’m Currently Working On

Rectify (Season 2)
Breaking Bad (Season 3)
The Blacklist (Season 1)

I used to be a big fan of criminal procedural shows until it just got too boring and clinical for me. I did watch the majority of the first season of The Blacklist, but I’m re-watching it and skipping all of the parts not relating to the main character storylines. I’m such a TV snob, I know, but I do not want to see random people killing random people episode after episode after episode. Like seriously, been there, done that.

What I’m Planning to Watch Next

Awkward (Season 1)
Mr. Robot (Season 1)
Ray Donovan (Season 1)

And a million other shows.

At this point, I’m not even keeping track of the TV shows I want to watch. I just do it impulsively. Sigh. I know. Not a good way to achieve a goal. Oh well. I’m Asian, and that will always be my excuse. If anyone has any TV show recommendations, please let me know. I’m desperate.

OK. Not that desperate.

A man gets off work, gets the mail, pays his bills, eats a steak, and cries for no reason. The end.

It is no secret that I prefer realistic movies that depict everyday situations over international spies trying to stop acts of terrorism, groups of attractive young adults getting killed one horrible death after another or, I don’t know, two middle-aged British comic book nerds trying to protect an alien from being captured by the US government. Apparently, I’m a simple man who is attracted to simple things.

Now, when it comes to movies inspired by true events, that’s a little bit more complicated. The type of movies I like to watch tend to be more light-hearted comedy-dramas that make you smile and be happy that you’re alive, and most movies inspired by true events are, well, not light hearted and generally do not make you smile. Some quick examples: Shattered Glass, The Perfect Storm, A Beautiful Mind. Yeah, all great movies, but not the most uplifting.

I don’t often keep up with upcoming movies but lately, I ‘ve been looking at trailers and looking up upcoming movies. I’ve noticed quite a few biographical movies. All of them appealed to me, not because they’re feel-good, lighthearted comedy dramas, but because they all depict real life situations that people can relate to. All we need now is a movie inspired by the true story of a struggling blogger who’s trying to balance their blog, their job, a relationship and their large collection of Batman figures. Oh, and freaking out every time their internet connection takes more than two seconds to load something. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

The Big Sick
Based on the lives of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his writer wife Emily Gordon, a Pakistani man struggles with his relationship with a White woman due to the objections of his traditional family, and things get complicated when she suddenly falls ill and is hospitalized.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a romantic comedy inspired by true events. It’s a breath of fresh air, since most movies inspired by true events are heavy dramas that focus on situations that, yes, could happen in real life but isn’t necessarily as relatable. This movie is filled with them: falling in love with someone and struggling to make the relationship work, trying to please your parents but yourself as well, race issues, coping with health issues, etc. Even though it is a movie that depicts everyday life, it stands out and warms your heart. But not warm enough for it to burst out of your chest.

Stronger
Inspired by true events, a man has to cope with losing both of his legs after a bomb goes off at the Boston Marathon.

OK, I have to admit something. Although I am, of course, well aware of the Boston Marathon bombing, I was not aware of this particular story. I’m drawn to this particularly because I enjoy stories of people dealing with difficult situations. This will definitely be difficult to watch though.

I do have to admit that I was distracted throughout the entire trailer because I thought Jake Gyllenhaal had a strong resemblance to Steve Carell in this movie. Well, right now he doesn’t because Steve Carell now has gray hair and apparently Jimmy Fallon is going for the Mr. Potato Head look.

Thank You for Your Service
Based on the biographical book of the same name by David Finkel, a group of soldiers struggle with returning back from a tour in Iraq.

Based on the trailer, this looks to be like yet another generic military movie about soldiers unable to move on from their tragic past. Again, though, I’m a sucker for a story with a protagonist struggling with a problem, especially one that’s more internal than external. Ugh. I know I’m horrible. I would rather watch a movie about, let’s say a woman struggling with an alcohol addiction over a sexy spy doing a sexy mission with a team of sexy spies. I’m tired of sexy. I want raw emotional excruciating pain that makes you scream in the pouring rain and wish for a quick death that will never happen. Is that so hard to ask for?