So…Lady Gaga is in my living room singing ‘You and I’ in a dress not made out of meat

Up until a few years ago, I’ve always had difficulty with finding current music that didn’t want me to rip off my ears and scream in frustration. This was especially true in 2010. I blame Lady Gaga for being all the rage back then. I seriously can’t remember any other music artist who was popular at the time. Well, maybe Beyoncé, but Beyoncé’s timeless. She’s also a survivor.

Ugh. I really need to stop posting pop songs from the early 2000s. I guess it’s a part of my brand though.

I’ve noticed for the last five years or so that mainstream music has changed dramatically. It literally went from this:

to this.

Apparently we no longer want to feel as if we’re in a futuristic night club grinding with other hormonal twenty-somethings. We want to feel as if we’re lying down on a beach staring at wave after wave forgetting our stressful lives even just for a moment.

OK, there is still a lot of electronic, over-stylized, over-sexed pop music out there, but I have been noticing that a lot of songs from the past few years have a nostalgic quality to them, as if I’m being transported to the past. I don’t know, am I right or am I just a crazy person trying to live in the past?

But, then again, look at the song that’s on top of the billboard charts as of right now.

And it’s Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran. Not someone you’d think who would write a song that makes you want to make love to a stranger in a nightclub filled with other strangers making out with other strangers. But, hey, it is what it is.

Everyone should buy a lifetime supply of toilet paper with flowery designs on them

As a person who gets easily overwhelmed by, well, everything, I find lists and guides that, according to a random person, I should buy, read, eat or make love to. OK, maybe not the last one.

This is especially true if I’m looking to buy something. As many of you know, I am both a collector of everything and a man who cries a lot. I think this makes me the perfect person to make a guide of items everyone should have in their home, apartment or bomb shelter. Hey, no judging here.

To keep the hate mail and the amount of angry Asians chasing me with bamboo torches to a minimum, I am going to be vague and broad. In order to not scare anyone off screaming in absolute horror, I have decided not to recommend anything that may or may not suggest that you should buy a Michelle Branch CD. Or any female pop star from the early 2000s. Sorry, Avril. You’re a lovely person, but it’s complicated.

Let’s get started. Shall we?

Any piece of art that’s not purchased from Wal-Mart, Target or any store where you can buy artwork, hot dogs and Barbie dolls in one shipping trip.

I know everyone is sick and tired of people singing the praises of Etsy for affordable handmade items, but you can’t beat Etsy if you want affordable art. There is, of course, the option of brushing random strokes of black paint on piece of cardboard and duct taping them on the walls. Don’t mind the wrinkles. It just adds character.

Long-time readers of this blog are familiar with these animal mask illustrations. If you were to ask what my style is, I would just slightly nod my head and point my finger to them. Unfortunately, the person I got these from is no longer selling on Etsy.

Here are examples of artwork you can purchase though.

8×10 “It Was Me, I Let the Dogs Out” typography print, $12
8×10 Jetpack Penguin illustration print, $15
Pigeons on a Pier photograph, various sizes/prices

A collectible from your favorite TV show, movie or other interest

I am a big TV fan, so as a result I have a lot of collectibles from my favorite TV shows, namely Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory and, of course, Dexter. Some people might say that it’s childish to display action figures and bobble heads you’re an adult, but what exactly do they expect adults to display? Wooden bowls with fake fruit, miniature dog statues made of jade and tall clear vases with flowers that will die in two days? No thank you. I’m sorry, but brown withered petals scattered on a table is not the look I’m going for.

If you do not have a favorite movie or TV show, don’t fret. You can get something related to an interest. Perhaps you are fond of cats. If that’s the case, why not get a crazy cat lady action figure?

OK. Maybe you can just get a little owl figurine.

A practical item you can both display and use

I am, of course, not suggesting that you just put a kitchen knife on your coffee table. This is not a guide to how to scare off guests the second they come in.

For me, I have a compass sitting on a side table. It’s only a $5 cheapo from Wal-Mart. Yes, I don’t need compass to find my way to the bathroom, but if I ever decide to, you know, be out of character and go on a long, dangerous hike in the woods, at least it’s there.

A stack of books

I know we’re in the digital age, and many of you are using an electronic device of some kind for your book-ish needs. Not I. After all, I am still living as if it’s 2004.

With that aid, I still read books the old-fashioned way, and I just like holding a book in my hand and flipping through the pages. What am I supposed to do with a tablet or Kindle. Wave it as if I don’t care? Plus, stacking tablets just doesn’t have the same feeling as a stack of books. A stack of books says “I read. So?” A stack of tablet says “Yeah…you’re going to rob me, aren’t you?”

A vase, a glass bowl, a bottle, or something else pretty to display that makes you look like an actual adult who doesn’t decorate with Breaking Bad bobble heads, even though you do

Now, this is actually something that most adults would actually display in their apartment. I am not one who follows the crowd. As I’ve said many times before, I have a disposable phone, and I like it. I have to be honest, though, I like having something nice and pretty on a table. And sometimes it’s nice to have something that doesn’t remind you of a bald Bryan Cranston.

No, I just tripped over some aspirin, fell and broke my arm. A normal day, really.

If you haven’t noticed, I have the tendency of starting something and not finishing it. It’s a personal flaw but to make myself feel better, I’ve convince myself that it’s just an Asian problem. If you happen to be Asian, there is no need to gather a large mob of other angry Asians and chase me with bamboo torches. I’m not being serious. Although, “Asian being chased by mob of Asians” would be an amusing headline.

I have posted multiple times about staring at a tower of books silently mocking me for not reading them and being completely overwhelmed by the large amount of TV shows I have to watch and, of course, crying in both instances. Yeah, there’s a lot of metaphorical crying in my life.

While I have yet to read a book for more than ten minutes in the past several months, I have made progress on my TV watching. Yes, I do hear the subtle sound of one hand clapping. Thank you for the applause. As always, it hasn’t been consistent. There are days where I binge, and there are weeks where I don’t watch anything. Honestly, though, watching a few TV shows for 15 minutes for a few days is what I call a lot of progress for someone like me. And, yes, this is an afterschool special in the 90s.

Here are the TV shows I’ve been watching here and there for the past few weeks.

Breaking Bad

A high school chemistry teacher who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis reaches out to a former student in order to sell meth to provide money for his family.

It took me a while to get into Breaking Bad. That’s actually an understatement because it took me no fewer than 20 attempts to watch the first scene. My recollection of it is that it’s long, dense and boring. For a show like Breaking Bad, I didn’t expect it to be the equivalent of reading Shakespeare.

As I slowly chipped away at the episodes, I was captivated by the characters, the storylines, the explosions and, of course, the ever-growing pile of bodies in Walter’s metaphorical closet. There are, of course, some scenes that resemble the opening of Breaking Bad but I’ve realized something: I can just skip it rather than suffer through a slow agonizing death.

I could not find an actual trailer for Breaking Bad that wasn’t fan-made, so just for fun, I chose this. Enjoy.

Nobel

The life of a Norwegian soldier intertwines with a political agenda.

I grew up in a traditional Chinese household where Chinese movies and TV shows were often in the background. Because of this, I’ve always been a romantic for foreign movies and TV shows, specifically with subtitles. They give you insight to another culture and exposes you to different languages.

After watching a number of foreign TV shows with English subtitles, I’ve learned they’re not really practical at this stage of my life because I tend to multi-task. Although it makes lovely background noise when you’re typing up a casual blog post about your lovely twig collection, it doesn’t really work if you actually want to follow what’s happening.

I am not usually into military/political dramas, but the show focuses on not only political and military storylines, but also focuses on the personal lives of the characters and the relationships between them. There are so many procedurals shows these days, that this seems like a breath of fresh Norwegian air.

Awkward

When a wallflower teenager has an accident after reading a depressing and insulting letter from an unknown person telling her she needs to change, everyone thinks she tried to kill herself.

OK, so this isn’t the typical show you would expect a man in his early 30s to be interested in. Although, in my defense, I was in my mid to late 20s when I discovered it. Hey, it’s just a fun, light-hearted TV show about a teenager on the fringes of social norms who finds herself in the center of everyone’s attention. Oh, and everyone thinks she’s suicidal and depressed. Normal stuff, really.

Let’s play a game! Did Kenny buy a portable DVD player or a set of 100 gel pens? Oh, and he bought a lot of other crap too.

As an Asian American raised by two very traditional Asians born outside of the US, it goes without saying that we don’t celebrate many holidays. Actually, the only holiday we actually celebrate is Chinese New Year. I know many of you are not surprised by this.

Oddly enough, my father went out of character this past Christmas when he gifted me a wallet. He, of course, told me that he got me a wallet roughly a week before he gave it to me. He clearly doesn’t know how giving presents work. Funnily enough, I forgot that he told me, and I was pleasantly surprised when he just casually handed me the wallet saying, “here” and calmly walked away as if giving a gift to a co-worker he barely knows.

I have grown accustomed to buying my own stuff instead of relying on gifts. Sure, gifts are a nice gesture, but eh, call me a simple man for wanting to buy what I want when I want it.

Lately, I’ve been buying from Amazon excessively. What’s funny is that I’m trying to be more minimalistic and focused with my purchases. Yes, I can hear you snicker and silently mocking me as you read this. That’s OK. One tiny step at a time, I guess.

Now, needless to say, it’s Amazon, so of course, I bought a number of books. I don’t think any of you are interested in seeing pictures of random books, so I am merely showing the items that will shock and awe the majority of you. One of you possibly might vomit.

First, let’s start off with the mundane. Here are just some knives for my collection.

I’ve always wanted a fountain pen, but I couldn’t commit to a high-priced one, so I just bought a cheap one from a brand everyone should recognize, heh.

I like Breaking Bad, so…

Yeah…

I needed a body wash, and I wanted to try something that’s advertised for men just for kicks. I was drawn to this particular one because I thought it smelled of coffee due to it saying “COFFEE” right on the label. Turns out it’s made of coffee, but not scented with coffee. Yeah, what I got was the familiar combined scent of clean laundry, aloe and rubbing alcohol. It’s not a bad scent though.

I don’t really have a need for packing tape right now, but I wanted to pick up this six pack just in case. And, yes, I just used “six pack” in a non-alcoholic context. Booyah.

And, of course, everyone needs Claritin.

Oh, and I bought gel pens.

Dancing all the way to my laptop with a bowl of popcorn to watch Breaking Bad

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when you drink your beverage of choice heavily sigh regretting all the things you should have done, but didn’t. I, of course, say this while looking at the large tower of unread books that continue to mock me to this day. I do have plans though. I will be at home watching Breaking Bad, weeping into my popcorn. Let’s celebrate the end of the year with outdated music videos that make you feel guilty that you’re sitting at home watching Netflix instead of going out with friends. Yay.

Although, maybe it’s a good thing I’m not out partying. Pass the popcorn please.

I look all around me, and all I see is a lack of deer heads

I may be a collector of everything, but I will be the first to admit that it is a pain to find what I’m looking for. Seriously. It took me five years to buy a compass, and it’s not even a part of a collection. I admire those who are passionate about one thing and collect over time. Me, I collect, well, everything. Figures. Coins. Stamps. I even have a knife collection. Yes, a knife collection. You can’t get any more manly than that. Well, except for deer head mounts, but that’s a little bit too manly for me.

I haven’t really added all that much to my existing collections lately, but I’ve slowly been going through my collections to see what I have. I will then browse online to see what’s available, and I may or may not buy something. How exciting.

I’m not a big anime fan, but I have watched a number of them over the years. I’ve been wanting to re-watch some of my favorites from my younger years such as Tenchi Muyo, Dragon Ball Z and Death Note (pretty much anything that was available on Cartoon Network 15 years ago, heh), but I really haven’t had the time. I have enough TV shows to watch.

For years, I’ve been wanting to collect anime figures, but I got too overwhelmed with where to buy, what to buy and whether or not it’s worth it for me given that I’m not a big Anime fan to begin with. So, I started small with key chains, cell phone charms and other small accessories.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, he has a lot of Sailor Moon stuff.” Yeah, I went a little overboard.

Oh, look. Death. How fun.

No anime collection is complete without some Naruto.

More manly anime to balance out the excess of Sailor Moon.

And just a bunch of stuff from various shows that I don’t watch. Sometimes I don’t know whether to call myself a collector or a hoarder. Sigh.

I am writing the saddest memoir ever…it involves books and, well, not finishing them

It’s been well over a year since I’ve finished a book. I am still hoping for the giant miracle of finishing one book before the year ends. If that happens, I might as well enter the lottery.

Enough about books I haven’t finished. Let’s talk about books I have finished. Admittedly, the list isn’t long, but I am still quite proud of myself of reading approximately 30 books in less than a year. They’re all of varying genres and themes. Coincidentally though, all of the books below are about death. I swear, it was by accident. I’m a person who likes variety. I guess here you could say there’s a variety of different types of deaths here, heh.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

A man with Tourette’s is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of his boss and mentor.

Lionel Essrog struggles with Tourette’s, a disorder where he has uncontrollable tics and involuntarily shouts random words and sounds. What a fun thing to have, I know. As a young orphan, he is taken under the wing of Frank Minna, who owns a private eye company. Now a grown adult, Lionel’s world comes crashing down when he witnesses the murder of his boss and mentor during a routine stakeout.

It is obvious from the complex and sometimes hard-to-follow narration that Lionel struggles with his Tourette’s on a daily basis. It has literally taken over his body and soul. Although Lionel has Tourette’s this isn’t a story about a man who has Tourette’s. This is a story about a man who is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of someone close to him.

We Hope You Like This Song by Bree Housley

A woman grieving over the death of her best friend since childhood lives her life as her best friend would.

In her touching and heartfelt memoir, Bree is still grieving over the death of her childhood best friend Shelly, who died years prior from complications from childbirth. In order to cope with her grief, Bree, along with her sister, decided to live their lives as Shelly would. It would be a year-long project where they would do a weekly task and blog about it.

The book focuses both on the past and the present of which she wrote the book, which was roughly the late 2000s. It explores all aspects of her life and leaves no stone unturned. She basically opens her life for everyone to see. Me, I like to hang an opaque shower curtain between me and the world. You are welcome to seeing some things, but not everything.

I am personally fond of memoirs because we get insight into someone else’s life, even if we have no idea who they are. It’s as if you’re in someone’s else head. You see what they see. You feel what they feel. When they want to stab someone with a pen, you want to stab that person with a pen too.

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

After her husband dies of cancer, a woman decides to move from California to Oregon to start a new life.
Sophie Stanton just lost her husband to cancer, but she is not sitting in her bathtub crying her eyes. No, she’s not that type of widow. Instead, she crashes her car into her garage door. Now, that’s my kind of widow.

After what feels like an eternity of sulking and grieving, she decides to move to Oregon to start a new life. SHe does get a new life, but it’s not all smelling of roses. In fact, it smells a little bit like fire.

While it sounds like the book is full of clichés, the truth is it’s a breath of fresh air and humor to an otherwise sensitive subject. We have no time for crying here. OK, maybe a little bit of crying is OK.

Help, my Twitter account has fallen and it can’t get up

I often talk about how I’m not as technologically savvy as most people are. This, of course, extends to social media. For the longest time, I only had a FaceBook account that I used mostly for games. Now, it just collects dust as if it’s George Bush autobiography.

A year ago, around the same time I started Nostalgicism, I decided it was finally time to make a Twitter account. Personally, I have no need for Twitter. I do feel I need to socialize and network more than I am and, let’s be honest, I’m not doing all that much in terms of socializing and networking, heh.

Using Twitter may seem simple to most but for me, it’s completely overwhelming. The problem isn’t only figuring out what to say. It’s also finding people to follow and trying to get people to follow you while at the same time avoiding telling them outright to actually follow you. It’s tricky business, and why I ended up abandoning my account for several months.

Recently, I’ve started using Twitter again, and unsurprisingly immediately started to get overwhelmed. A series of frivolous questions came flowing into my mind. How do I get more followers? How do I find more people to follow? How do I decide who to follow? What do I want to achieve on Twitter? And most importantly, how do I force myself to use Twitter on a regular basis and not want to both cry and die at the same time?

The answers to these questions are unknown at the moment. The plan right now is to take things slowly and at least spend a little bit of time on Twitter on a regular basis. Sigh. I wish I were living in 2004 right now.

If a man cries in front of their Netflix account, does anyone hear it?

It’s nearly the end of the year, and I haven’t finished a single book. It’s safe to say that I’m not going to complete the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. The yearly previously, I had read roughly 25 books. Although I did not complete the challenge, it was still an accomplishment because, well, before that point, I didn’t even read 25 books total outside of an environment of mandatory reading. Yeah… and I call myself a writer and book lover. Lately, I’ve just been sitting on a tall tower of books and crying. It’s a familiar image to all of you, I know.

On top of the tall leaning tower of unread books, I also have an ever-growing queue of TV shows that I’ve been wanting to watch for years. Yes, I said it. years. You may think to yourself, “But, Kenny, all you have to do is sit on your butt and watch them.” I am, unfortunately, not someone who can just sit on a chair for an hour watching a TV show without distraction or interruption.

Not having a TV makes TV watching difficult because I am not able to watch new TV episodes as they come out. That’s OK though because I have like 500 TV shows I want to watch, and I can’t figure out how it’s possible for me to watch everything before I die.

I have decided to go through Netflix and Amazon Prime and make a list of all of the TV Shows that I either want to start, finish or watch again. Grab yourself a tub of popcorn and be prepared to shake your head at me in disappointment.

Shows I need to finish

Mr. Robot
Revenge
Breaking Bad
Person of Interest
Parks and Recreation
True Blood
izombie
The Arrow
The Flash
Dicte

Shows I want to Start

Halt and Catch Fire
The Vampire Diaries
The Originals
The Wire
Awkward
The Newsroom

Shows I want to re-watch

Burn Notice
Dexter
Veronica Mars
Suits
Gilmore Girls

If anyone has any insights as to what they would or would not recommend, let me know. If I can narrow down the list, maybe I can stop crying over the amount of TV shows I want to watch.

Looking at this, I actually expected worse. The problem is with a lot of the shows I’ve started, I don’t know where I left of. This is especially a problem with Revenge. You do not want to know how many times I’ve started from the beginning. Oh well. I’ll figure it out. At least Emily VanCamp is cute.

Listening to Dolly Parton While Avoiding Watching The Wonder Years

If you browse the archives of my blog, you can see that I don’t talk about anything before the 1990s. Well, this is a blog about nostalgia, and I was born in the mid 80s, so I apologize if I don’t show a deep, burning love for Elvis Costello or I Love Lucy.

I have tried to explore other decades when it comes to pop culture, and I’ve had mixed results. With TV shows, it’s difficult for me to engage in a TV show that I feel I can’t relate to and, for some reason, that tends to be more with older shows. With movies, it’s easier but I still have a limited interest in watching older movies. I always go back to my comfort zone that is the mid 90s and beyond. I guess that makes me a contemporary person. Or possibly retro now that we’re dangerously approaching 30 years since the 90s. You decide.

With music, however, it’s more timeless. It doesn’t matter how old the song is, It can be listened to repeatedly, and one can be immediately transported in time. For me, it’s easier with audio than it is with visual media.

I gathered various songs from different artists and genres from various decades. They range from the 50s to the 2000s. Surprisingly, I did not choose Michelle Branch. I did, however, choose someone remarkably similar to her. Eh. Sue me.