Getting to know myself intimately in a very public way.

I’ve said it once, I will say it a million times. I hate it when people ask me what my favorite things are. I immediately panic and my mind goes blank. By now, I should know that I always have to have default answers to questions I know I will get asked on a regular basis. Where are you from? What are your favorite TV Shows? What music do you like? What types of books are you? What type of Asian are you? Luckily, I know that I’m Chinese, so that’s one question that I don’t have to worry about. Yay. I will take a moment to celebrate by throwing dried rice up in the air. Oh, wait. That’s something else. Screw it. I’m throwing dried rice in the air to celebrate my Asianness.

You must want to ask me, “Kenny, how do you not know where you’re from?” Well, it’s complicated. Depending on my mood, I will give a range of answers. I usually just say that I’m from Queens, New York because that is where my heart is. Technically, though, I’m from New Jersey. Eh, it’s close enough. I do have a long-winded answer waiting in the wings for when I want to explain the saga of where I’m from.

For questions regarding my favorite things, I usually just say “A little bit of everything.” Sometimes they leave it at that. Other times, they ask specific question after specific question, and I’m lead down to an existential rabbit hole of awkwardness and regret.

The main reason why I do not like to mention the things I like is because I am a bit cautious about mentioning things that the other person might not be aware of. I always assume that the only shows they know of are Friends and ER and they’re only aware of super-mainstream bands and artists to, like, I don’t know, Madonna, the Rolling Stones or Beyonce. During one such occurrence, I said I liked Billy Joel and Hootie and the Blowfish. They’re fine, but they’re not really an accurate representation of what I like.

So, here I am, putting myself out there. I will essentially have a conversation by myself with the point of asking various “What do you like questions?” If you choose to leave now, I won’t blame you. I’m just hoping I don’t shrivel up and, you know, die.

What kind of music do you like?

Folk, Rock, Pop

How interesting. What are your favorite musicians/bands?

Joshua Radin, The Black Keys, Aerosmith

How about movies. What type of movies do you like?

Pretty much everything except for horror.

That’s a shame. What are your favorite movies?

50/50, Juno, Hot Fuzz

What’s 50/50?

It’s a comedy/drama about a man dealing with cancer.

Sounds sad. Do you watch TV?

Yes, I watch petty much everything.

Oh, great. Like what?

Burn Notice, Dexter, Breaking Bad

What do you like to do for fun?

The usual boring stuff. Writing, Reading, Web Design

Oh, you like to read? What do you like to read?

Pretty much everything. I especially like memoirs and autobiographies.

Can you give me some examples?

Amy Poehler’s book. There are others, but they’re really not well known. I like to read memoirs written by eveyday people.

How wonderful. I have to go now. Goodbye. -scurries off-

Um, bye.

Timeless Thoughts: I swear I’m not eating healthier. I’m just trying to please my parents.

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

Chinese takeout. It’s the two words every health nut run away screaming from. There’s just no way of trying to be healthy when walking into a Chinese takeout restaurant. When you’re going in, you know you’re committing multiple sins, gaining twenty pounds and possibly sacrificing your future child.

There was a time not so long ago where I would have absolutely no remorse going to a Chinese takeout place. I always get the same thing: sesame chicken, roast pork fried rice and two egg rolls. Extremely decadent, full of calories but it was a guilty pleasure I didn’t feel so guilty about. I know. I know. You’re hungry and you’re going to blame me for calling for Chinese takeout and basically ruining your life. You’re welcome.

I have always had certain health issues and, for the longest time, I didn’t take care of myself in terms of diet. You don’t want to know the number of nights I ate take out and never looked back. Heck, even when I started to take care of my health issues, I still ate takeout like there was no tomorrow. I like to both thank and blame my father for this sudden change. He happens to be a cook at a Chinese takeout place. I know. What a coincidence. It’s also horrible.

There was a time in my life back when I was eating sesame chicken on a regular basis where we would have the same old conversation over and over. It went something more or less like this:

“Ah-yah, Kenny. You need to stop eating sesame chicken. It’s so sweet.”

“But I like it.”

“The sauce has too much sugar. It’s bad for your health.”

“Ugh.” -sighs-

I did eventually stop because it just wasn’t worth it to have my father look at my in disgust every time he would see an empty takeout container in my trash and shame his head in disappointment. . Of course, my father does work at a Chinese takeout place, so it’s difficult to avoid eating Chinese takeout all together. When I do have it, I usually get Beef and broccoli lo mein, which my father approves. Ugh. I’m such a good son. I know.

Oh, look, I’m sitting on a tower of unfinished books and crying. Again.

Yes, the metaphorical crying is starting again.

I am going to step out of the shadowy depths of mediocrity and procrastination I’ve been hiding in for quite some time now to reveal that, yes, I haven’t finished a single book this year. Call the cops, alert the media, and send in the angry mobs with torches demanding that I finish Gone Girl.

Up until the end of 2014, I didn’t even start reading on a regular basis as an adult. I read here and there but for the most part, there was a whole lot of wanting to read and ultimately not reading in the end. I know it’s a sad revelation coming from a person who calls himself a writer. I am also a human though. Thank goodness I am not a turtle, or I wouldn’t have an excuse.

From September 20014 to May 2015, I read roughly 25 to 30 books. Although I did start reading on my own accord for some unknown miraculous reason, most of my reading came from doing The Book Riot 2015 Reader Harder Challenge. After May, however, I returned to the land of wanting to read, but for whatever reason unable to read a book for more than five seconds.

As noted in this post, I was planning on doing The Book Riot 2016 Reader Harder Challenge. I had even compiled a complete list of books to read for the challenge even before the start of the new year. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked out. I know. I know. What a surprise.

I had checked out seven of the books from the list from my local library. At first, I was optimistic because I knew I could renew the books a maximum of three times. This mean I could have them for up to three months. That’s plenty of time, I thought, to read seven books. This is especially because I chose mostly books I thought I could finish in a short period of time. Yeah… I was wrong.

For weeks, the books just sat there and as usual, I just stared at them knowing that I should read them, but ended up doing nothing. Eventually, I did read approximately. 40 pages of Stacy Pershall’s Loud in the House of Myself. I guess I should give myself a pat in the back and cry at the same time.

After five months or so of not doing much reading, I looked at the list of books again, and I came to the conclusion that for some of the categories, I’m going to have to choose another book. I just don’t feel comfortable with some of the selection I made several months earlier. I, of course, knew that I might do this later on, but I looked at the list and I thought, “Ugh, I think I’m going to change half of the list.” I’m impossible, I know.

Below is the original list of books I chose, along with any changes I have made.

Read a horror book – Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (Novel in a Series)

Read a nonfiction book about science – That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life by Joe Schwarcz (Nonfiction) Changed this to Stiff by Mary Roach

Read a collection of essays – Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (Collection of Essays) I am the fence with this one because I am currently in the middle of it, but I would honestly want to choose something else

Read a book out loud to someone else – I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church (Picture Book)

Read a middle grade novel – The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey (Juvenile Novel) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a Biography – The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan (Biography) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a dystopian of post-apocalyptic novel – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguo (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read a book originally published in the year you were born – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award – Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Collection of Essays)

Read a book over 500 pages long – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read a book under 100 pages – Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (Memoir)

Read a book by or about someone who identifies as transgendered – She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Memoir)

Read a book that’s set in the Middle East – Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (Memoir)

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia – First They Killed My Father: A Daughter From Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung (Memoir)

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900 – The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (Novel) Might change this to something else.

Read the first book in a series by someone of color – Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older (Novel in a Series)

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years – A Silent Voice Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)

Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Novel)

Read a nonfiction book that about feminism or deals with feminist themes – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Memoir) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a book about religion – O Me of Little Faith by Jason Boyett (Memoir)

Read a book about politics, in your country or another – Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States by Kevin Bleyer (Nonfiction)

Read a Food Memoir – Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Make From Scratch (Memoir/Cookbook)

Read a play – Proof by David Auburn (Play) Would most likely change this to something else.

Read a book that has a main character that has a mental illness – Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall (Memoir)

OK, so I really only made one change but, yeah, it is clear that more changes will need to be made. Particularly, I don’t know, actually reading and finishing them.

Revealing my deep dark secrets through my DVD collection

When it comes to technology, I’ve always been a few steps behind. I’ve never owned an Ipod or mp3 player. I still have a pay-as-you-go phone. I barely use Facebook or Twitter. The one thing I have done is rely on streaming services and the like for my media needs. Oh no, I’ve become the worst thing possible: a millennial. Quick, someone, save me from this horrible fate.

I collect pretty much everything. Although I have a decent DVD collection, it is nowhere near as large as I would want. I know. I know. It’s starting to becoming outdated to own a DVD collection now, but I do like having DVDs on hand. It takes me a while to finish a series. Heck, I’m still on season 3 of Breaking Bad. It’s also nice to have them on hand when the Internet connection is down. Here is what I currently have on my DVD shelf. On top of this, I have dozens of DVDs hidden in the depths of storage.

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I’m more of a fan of TV shows than movies but because of Netflix and other streaming services, I pared down my collection mostly TV shows that are unavailable online. Yes, among the pile of forgotten DVDs are various seasons of Friends. I know at least one of you is crying right now.

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I also have quite a few animated and anime TV shows. Although most of them can be watched online, with these particular shows, I like having DVD copies of them to preserve my nostalgia and memory of them. I’m such a sentmentalist, I know. That’s what you get from a person who has a nostalgia blog though.

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I’ve found it to be extremely difficult for me to find movies that interest me. With that said, as you can see, I like pretty much everything except for horror movies. If I wanted to be scared, I’d watch House of Cards. But, of course…

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I think I’ve lost all credibility since I happen to have this.

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Yeah, don’t ask.

Timeless Thoughts: An hour of television that doesn’t involve someone being horribly murdered

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

Whether you’re turning on the television or going through Netflix, you will surely be bombarded with crime drama after crime drama after crime drama. For the past several years, I’ve wondered “When are we finally going to get fewer crime dramas and more light-hearted comedy-dramas? Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps the Powers That Be thought they were making progress when they gave the green-light to various remakes of movies turned crime dramas. Yeah, to me, they took a giant step backwards.

What’s wrong with a nice comedy-drama about a group of people trying to deal with everyday problems of everyday lives? Sure, you don’t want to watch someone do their taxes, but there are literally a billion possibilities for interesting story lines. Addiction. Mental Illness.Medical Condition. Extreme fear of bunnies. The possibilities are endless.

Over the years there have been a few shows here and there that were hour-along and did not involve a cop with a mysterious past solving crimes or a grumpy doctor who hates everyone. Every time these shows come along, it makes me smile. Below are just a few moments that I find amusing from non-crime dramas that I love. Yay for no one being murdered.

Not Keeping Up With the Newses: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and my commenters are celebrating wildly

After a flurry of activity in the comments section in my last post about trying to keep up with the news, I’ve decided to not worry about it as much as I have. Yes, you can all celebrate and have your cake now. I hope all of you like plain old vanilla cake with white icing. No chocolate for you.

Almost everyone who comment shares the same viewpoint: The news is depressing, horrible and should be avoided at all times. While I do have the tendency to give in under peer pressure, I just haven’t had much progress with keeping up with the news anyway. So it all works in the end, heh.

While I would still like to stay informed with the news and will continue to do so, I’m just going to do it the lazy way and just rely on CNN, Yahoo, local news sources and, of course, The Onion. And, yes, I’m totally being serious about The Onion.

Timeless Thoughts – A time when people actually went to the library to browse books and not their E-mail.

This post is a part of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly link-up hosted by Georgie and Tara where bloggers share something they’ve missed from their past. OK. OK. That’s basically my entire blog, but I’m doing this anyway. Sue me.

At one point or another, I am sure that almost everyone had a fascination with the public library. A place where you can check out books and use a computer and other resources for free? Yes please.

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However, over the years, I’ve slowly realized that public libraries have turned more into Internet cafes. Go to any public library and you’d see a crowd of people in the computer areas and absolutely no one browsing books. They might as well remove all of the books and turn all libraries into giant computer hubs. I guess it’s a good way to get people to actually go to the library, heh.

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I’m usually the only person browsing the shelves whenever I go to the library. There are usually a few people browsing the DVDs but the bookshelf aisles are deserted. It is quite serene and peaceful to browse books with virtually no interruptions. From time to time, I do get a slightly annoying librarian asking if I need help. I’m literally in the middle of bookshelf land going through books. No, I don’t need help. OK. OK. I know you’re a librarian and it’s your job and you have to eat but, still, don’t disturb me, unless you want me to stare at you with disgust and hatred.

All kidding aside, it is quite sad that as a society, we’ve all been accustomed to doing things digitally. Even I have been starting to check out books from the library online and having them delivered to my home. Going to the library just doesn’t have the charm and appeal as much as it used to. Of course, I did used to go to the library on a regular basis for a number of years and after a while, I just slowly realized that it wasn’t as fun going to the library as it used to be.

It has been a while since I’ve been to the library. The times I have gone in recent times have been more enjoyable than it used to be. I still love libraries, but it might as well be a Blockbuster, but with computers.

Singing about the struggles of blogging or, you know, actual social issues people care about

It makes me very happy whenever I hear a song that’s not about love. We get it. You’re in love or you’re out of love or you have a crush or you’re having a threesome in a hot tub. That’s great. That’s wonderful. But we need more songs not about love, breakups and everything in between. That includes intense lovemaking in a hot tub.

Seriously. There needs to be a boycott on love songs. Sara Bareilles is doing it. Why can’t everyone else?

Enough about love. Let’s move on to songs about depressing social issues, shall we?

Walkin’ On the Sun – Smash Mouth (Consumerism, Drugs)

The origins of this song is ambiguous at best. The sad depiction of our society is subtlety masked by the upbeat melody and humorous lyrics. Seriously, though, forget about drugs. Just waiting for a package of batteries for six to eight years would kill me.

The Remedy – Jason Mraz – (Healthcare, Cancer)

OK, maybe healthcare is a bit of a stretch here. This song was written when a close friend of Jason’s was diagnosed with cancer and is about how it impacted his life. Every time I listen to this song, I imagine a rebel trying to deal with a world of corruption. Or I just have a wild imagination. You decide.

New Americana – Halsey (Legal Marijuana, Same-Sex Marriage)

The most recent of the three by far, the song is about how the world is changing and focuses on legal marijuana and same-sex-marriage. It has a pleasant, slightly eerie tone, but I would have preferred something more upbeat. Yeah, despite my adoration for Michelle Branch, I am more of a rock guy than a pop guy.

Keeping Up With the Newses – The parents lost their jobs, the kids are hungry and the dog is dead

So, quite a while ago, I posted about a personal project where I wanted to keep up with the news more often, and let’s just say I have not been doing a very good ob trying to stay informed of current events and pop culture. Surprise. Surprise.

I chose a number of publications to browse on a daily basis, and the only one I’ve really used is, The Orlando Sentinel. I only do so to keep up with local news, and honestly I’ve been feeling severely underwhelmed due to the poor Web site layout. Every time I browse the Web site, I just feel like there aren’t a lot of articles to read at one time. At worst, there is nothing for me to read. AT best, I read one article about a person or a group of people who have died a horrible death. How fun.

On top of The Orlando Sentinel, I’ve also relied on the old standby of random articles from the front page of Yahoo. I’m a man of tradition, I know. I do still want to keep up with the news, but I need to come up with a routine that’s even more simplistic than the one I came up with all those months ago.

This is the plan so far:

– Instead of The Orlando Sentinel, I’m going a local news network for local news. Something like News 13.

– Try and use CNN for national and international news, but if I can only rely on Yahoo, then so be it.

– Use both Vulture and The AV Club for pop culture new instead of one or the other.

– For now, don’t browse specialty publications.

I don’t know if this is going to work out or not, but we’ll see. Maybe I should just rely on The Onion.

Remember These? (Songs) – Michelle Branch is nowhere to be found in this post

When a person has a blog where they talk about things that they find nostalgic, there will be a time where they will consistently get comments along the lines of “I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds interesting.” This blog is no different. So to mix things up a bit, I will list a series of things, of which I’m sure all of you would recognize at least one. If you don’t recognize anything, then I suggest that you stop locking yourself in your bedroom and get some fresh air. I, of course, say this in the most friendliest, kindest way possible.

I’ve chosen six songs that are all pop songs from the mid to late 2000s by non-American singer-songwriters. Yes, it’s a very specific theme that I accidentally came across. How many songs do you recognize? Please say at least one, or I will cry. You know I will, and you don’t want me to cry. Really, you don’t.

This is the Life (2007) – Amy Macdonald (Scotland)

Suddenly I See (2004) – KT Tunstall (Scotland)

Warwick Avenue (2008) – Duffy (Wales)

Bad Day (2005) – Daniel Powter (Canada)

Sweet About Me (2008) – Gabriella Cilmi (Australia)