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 Let’s celebrate the end of the year with outdated music videos that make you feel guilty that you’re sitting at home watching Netflix instead of going out with friends.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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Going back to 2010 and watching TV shows on ABC no one knows

I like to think of myself as a television fan who has vast knowledge more on obscure, barely-known shows than popular shows that almost every person in every country has heard of. Like seriously, if you’re Australian and you haven’t at least heard of Friends, I will slap you with a bald eagle. And you will like it.

I am quite fond of the year 2010. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s because it’s the year I decided to go back to college. Maybe it’s because it was just a good year for television. Or it’s just a round number. I don’t know.

When I think of good TV shows in 2010, I often think of ABC. This is mostly because it was the network I was watching quite a few TV shows that premiered (and later got canceled) that year. I, of course, don’t discriminate against any network. I just used to watch a lot of ABC at the time. Like I always say, sue me.

My Generation
Summary: A mockumentary drama about a group of people in Austin, Texas who participated in a documentary about their senior year of high school ten years prior, the documentary crew comes back to see what they’ve been up to.

Note: I wrote a more detailed post here.

The Gates
Summary: The new police chief of a gated community quickly realizes that the people aren’t who they appear to be.

The Deep End
Summary: Five first-year lawyers start their careers at one of the most prestigious law firms while trying to juggle both their professional and personal livesw. Think of it as the lawyer version of Grey’s Anatomy with not as man sex scenes.

When hashtags and memes ruin anti-tobacco ad campaigns

I am sure it’s to no one’s surprise when I say things have gotten progressively worse when it comes to television. Our society is drowning in crime procedurals. Cartoons of today are nowhere near as good as cartoons from over 10 years ago were. Worst of them are, HGTV is no longer showing home decorating shows. It’s really depressing. Now, things have gotten even worse. The Truth, an anti-tobacco ad campaign, has had a makeover to appear to a younger generation, and it’s not pretty.

Started in 1999, The Truth’s main objective is to educate the younger generation about the truths of the tobacco industry. Over the years, it’s gone through several different campaigns. They first started with commercials that were dark and sent a powerful message. The first commercial they released in 2000 showed a group of people dumping 1,200 empty body bags in front of a big tobacco company in order to symbolize the amount of people who die each day (at the time) from smoking. Toward the mid 2000s, they aired commercials that were lighter where group of people sang songs that mocked the tobacco industry. They then did a total 180 when they showed commercials featuring ex-smokers with various defects. They’re very similar to the Tobacco Free Florida commercials. I will do everyone a favor here and not link to these videos. They’re quite disturbing, and I do not want to scar anyone for life. Since 2014, they have decided to get away from being rebellious, serious and informative, and stated a campaign aimed toward teenagers and college students to stop teenage smoking. The aim is to end teenage smoking. Yeah, good luck with that. You need more than memes and hashtags to stop any demographic from smoking.

Not surprisingly, I like the older commercials better. Sigh. I’ve officially become one of those people who shouts “BRING BACK THE OLD STUFF.” Well, at least it fits with my blog.

Timeless Thoughts: Crying in the corner where a TV should be

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.

You come home from a hard day of work. All you want is to relax and enjoy your life. You walk into your living room and see your loving TV. It immediately greets you with open arms. You smile at it as if you’re seeing an old college friend you haven’t seen in years. You then sit down on your couch, grab the remote and enjoy your shows.

I am one of those unfortunate people who does not have a TV. I heavily rely on online resources. You might think, “Oh, it’s enough. Go cry about something else.” I am here to tell you, no, it is not enough, and I will not stop crying over this unfortunate loss.

Taken from here

You may wonder why I ultimately gave up having a TV. The honest answer is that it was one less thing for me to move with me, and I thought I could survive using Hulu and Netflix. I have but, believe it or not, as a result, this choice has made me nostalgic of having a TV. I’m like the only person who sees a TV as nostalgic, as most people still have one. I’m a disturbed person, I know.

In my college years, I took a class called TV and Society. Yes, there are such classes. Don’t be so shocked. In the first class I attended (I signed up for the class late), the professor asked who didn’t have a TV. I was the only person who raised their hand. She looked at me as if I showed up to the class naked. She then looked at the class and proceeded to say, “There’s always at least one.” I politely laughed while secretly thinking, “Um, I didn’t want to lug a TV with me every time I moved. I’m not an alien.”

Not having a TV (and cable) was ultimately my personal choice, but I reminisce every single day about turning on the TV and finding something, anything that will satisfy my soul for at least a little while, at any given moment. I can, of course, do that now with my laptop, but it’s simply not the same.

I will eventually get a TV but for now, staring at my laptop for hours with a look of disappointment and contempt, will do.

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Taken from here

The only guide to TV voice overs in the entire universe

I’ve mentioned my fondness for voice overs in TV shows before, but I feel like it’s necessary to go further in depth. Let’s face it, this is part one of 500 posts. I hope you’re in your pajamas and you’ve got your popcorn ready for snacking. You’re going to be here for a while.

Believe it or not, there are different types of TV voice overs. If you’re not really into voice overs, it’s easy to jumble all of them together. Fret not, with my wonderful, twisted sense of humor, here is a short guide to help you navigate the confusing world of TV voice overs.

The “This is my life, and I hate it” voice over

Full of unlimited angst, apathy for society and witty one-liners, the narrators of these voice overs are not happy with their individual lives and are dealing with their problems through self-deprecation, negativity and sarcasm. The voice overs are sprinkled throughout the episode. At times, some appear to be thoughts that the characters are thinking at that very moment. Two such examples of this are Dead Like Me and Veronica Mars

George Lass is a young woman who unexpectedly dies from an exploding toilet and becomes a reaper. Not surprisingly, George is disappointed that she’s done nothing with her life and that she has to stay away from her family. The interesting thing is that although we see just a small glimpse of her life before she died, it appears that her personality didn’t really change. She’s always been sarcastic and apathetic. Over time, she becomes less angry and is more accepting of her situation, but she is who she’s always been.

Veronica Mars is a teenage girl who works for her father, a private investigator and has learned a thing or two from her. She’s trying to solve the murder of her best friend, Lily. Veronica’s life went downhill after Lily’s death and, as a result, she, well, hates everyone. Unlike George, she went through a drastic personality change due to a series of events that are briefly shown in flashbacks and told through voice overs. Although Veronica does change over time, its clear that she’s never going to be the person she was before Lily’s death.

The “I am detached from my life, and I might be a sociopath” voice over

Cold, methodical and detached from society for whatever reason, the characters of these voice overs are often dealing with difficult situations, like the characters above, but instead of sarcasm, they find comfort in burying themselves in isolation and self-destruction. The voice overs are usually either at the beginning, end or both of each episode and are often technical and not specific to them as individuals. Two such examples are Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge.

In Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith Grey is one of a group of medical interns starting their first year of interning at Seattle Grace. We quickly learn how damaged Meredith is, mostly due to issues pertaining to her mother. She is deemed by her colleagues as “dark and twisty” in the beginning. Little by little, Meredith finds her way and carves a nice little life for herself. Unfortunately, life keeps throwing her and her fellow colleagues horrible situation after horrible situation.

The voice overs are usually of a medical context and are completely devoid of Meredith’s personal life and situations. It’s as if she’s doing the narration of a medical documentary. Though they don’t really add anything to the story line, they add to the tone and overall feeling of the show.

Revenge is about a young woman named Amanda Clarke, who is now under the identity of Emily Thorne, seeking revenge on the family that destroyed her family. Like Veronica Mars, Amanda goes through a major change off-script and goes through a smaller change over time.

Unlike Grey’s anatomy, the voice overs aren’t as consistent. For the most part, there is usually a detached, technical voice over at the end of each episode, but there is no voice over in the beginning. The exception to this is the first episode where Emily gives a more detailed voice over where she talks about her past and how her story is one about revenge and not forgiveness. In some episodes, there are no voice overs.

The “What to do if you need to make a bomb out of cleaning supplies” voice over

A complex mash-up of the other two, in this vice over, the narrator is throughout each episode, but the voice overs consist of mostly technical instructions, as if it were a how-to video instead of a TV show. A good example of this is Burn Notice.

Michael Westen is a burned spy who is trying to find out who burned him. Not surprisingly, the situation is more complicated than he thought. Meanwhile, he helps everyday ordinary people with their individual problems, mostly dealing with criminals wanting to kill them for whatever reason. The voice overs add a layer to Michael’s cold interior and we see he really is a spy with a vast pool of knowledge and unlimited skills.

Michael reveals virtually no personal details in his voice overs and is simply providing information, whether that’s how to build a bomb out of cleaning supplies, the reality of being a spy or thoughtful observations.

In the beginning of the first episode, Michael explains what being a spy is really like:

“Covert Intelligence involves a lot of waiting around. Know what it’s like being a spy? Like sitting in your dentist’s reception area 24 hours a day. You read magazines, sip coffee and ever so often, someone tries to kill you.”

Sounds like fun. I’m in.