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?

Asian Guy Pretending to be White Insults White Guys and the White Things They Like

I do not consider myself as a very masculine guy. I do not care about sports. I do not work out. I don’t know a thing about cars. I, of course, feign my masculinity by collecting knives. I then lose my masculinity little by little every time I post a Michelle Branch song. So, that is why I am going with something slightly more contemporary and edgy.

I’ve always believed that I had a wide taste in music. Well, I can sum up my music taste into three categories: Sad folk songs, feminine pop songs from pop singers who have long since disappeared into obscurity, possibly to coffee shops in the midwest and a genre I like to call “White guy music.”

Well, now is the appropriate time for a mob of angry white men to chase me down with torches but I’m actually being quite broad here. To me “White guy music” is pretty much any rock song sung by a White guy or a group of White guys. OK, maybe I’m being a tad racist. But, eh, I like calling it White guy music. Sue me.

Hmm. Now I’m wondering what White people think Asian Americans listen to. Perhaps, in their heads, we’re listening to K-pop boy bands or we’re sitting in a circle holding hands while listening to the soothing sounds of monks chanting. I don’t know. I’m not a stereotypical Asian. I listen to sad French pop songs.

And I’m not even joking.

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 BeyoncĂ©, but BeyoncĂ©’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.

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.

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.

Timeless Thoughts – Michelle Branch will sing my theme song, and she will enjoy it.

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.

Most people ignore the opening credits of TV shows. I love them. I am especially fond of those that consists of various scenes from the show and a memorable theme song. Over the years, though, TV shows are doing away with opening credits and are just flashing the title of the show for five seconds. Yeah, sure. That will satisfy the viewers and make us continue to watch the show.

You might wonder, “What the heck are you talking about, and why does it matter so much to you?”

I like using visuals just as much as I like to use words Since it would be odd and inappropriate to use a giant inflatable banana in this instance, here are a few examples of opening credits with character/scene montages.

It might seem so small and trivial, but it’s the heart and soul of a show. Longer opening credits establishes the overall feeling and tone of the show and gives viewers both something new and old to remember the show by. For shows lasting several years, we get to see the changing cast and different scenes throughout the seasons. Let’s face it. What are we going to remember more?

This?

Or This?

I’m a simple man, but white text on a back background with eerie suspenseful music isn’t all that nostalgic to me. It’s just sad.

If you squint your eyes, you can barely see Michelle Branch in this blog post

I don’t consider myself as a big Michelle Branch fan, but I do talk about her a lot. She s one of the few music artists I’ve discovered as a young age. As a teenager, I listened to mostly country music, which meant I had little to no exposure to other genres. I was a late bloomer. Over the years, my music taste has shaped to what I can only call “oddly eclectic. I often talk about Michelle Branch on my blog, but there are others that remind me of my past in some way. It’s just fun to always mention Michelle Branch because no one I know would guess that I actually who she is. Actually, I’m kind of afraid to know what the people I know thought what kind of music I listened to when I was younger.

Gavin DeGraw

As with a lot of people, a lot of the music I listen to come from popular culture, specifically TV shows. I was never a die-hard fan of One Tree Hill, but I watched it from time to time. I was instantly moved by the theme song because it brought out the rebel in me. That, or I could relate to it. I can’t remember.

Jack Johnson

I don’t exactly know I came across Jack Johnson (not to be confused with actor Jake Johnson). It might have been from Pandora. It’s a very laid-back acoustic style that I’ve grown accustomed to. Very much like Michelle branch, he has more or less disappeared. Where have they all gone to? Seriously, they’re probably hiding in a farmhouse in Indiana.

Green Day

I can already feel you judging me. Hey, I like Green Day. Sue me. I think I originally heard them in an old Disney Channel commercial in the mid-2000s. OK, you can punch me in the face now.

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.

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.

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)