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.
When you’re a collector of everything, it can be difficult to decorate. I struggle with the delicate balance of displaying the collectibles I want to display and my space looking as if it could be on an episode of Hoarders. I may be a collector of everything, but I do not collect dead cats.
Not wanting to completely overwhelm myself, I’ve been taking it one tiny step at a time. My ultimate goal for my space is to keep it functional and simple but, of course, I want to display my collectibles. My problem has always been I want to display everything. Over the years, I’ve streamlined my displays. Even though they are aesthetically more pleasing to look at it, it still makes my space look cold and empty.
I applaud people who are able to live a minimalist lifestyle. I am not one of those people. I enjoy collecting and if I need something, I like that I actually have it and that I don’t have to buy it. Collecting brings me joy. A room with a bed and a plant does not bring me joy.
On the other hand, I also admire those who clearly have a passion and have no regrets about proudly displaying it. I have a kawaii collection that I love, but am still slightly embarrassed of given that I am a man in my early 30s. I know. I know. You’re all going to be, “You like what you like. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed.” I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not displaying any of my kawaii collection. They’re stashed away in two storage bins in my closet. Most of my Kawaii collection consists of stationery anyway, and I would rather not live in a space that looks like an office supply store for 11-year-old girls.
For now, I’ve limited displaying my collectibles to two areas: the top of a small bookcase and a display cabinet. I love the display cabinet because it’s really the only piece of furniture that I have that I can display my collectibles. As usual, everything else has been taken hostage by my books. I’ve been bothered how dark the inside is and you can barely see my treasured Batman action figures.
I knew tap lights and Command strips was my best option. I had tried this years ago with another piece of furniture, and it didn’t work out. The tap lights fell within hours, and I just gave up. I was sick and tired of my display case looking like a black hole, so I bought new tap lights and Command strips and hoped for the best. It’s been a solid two weeks, and they haven’t come crashing down yet. Now I feel confident enough to finally install that Hello Kitty wallpaper I’ve had my eye on forever.
You know society is digitally progressing at a rapid rate when you’re starting to be nostalgic over YouTube videos. No, I’m not talking about perky 19-year-olds talking about their makeup routines. I’m too beautiful for makeup. I am talking about BuzzFeed and similar channels where they take groups of people and have them do some sort of task. It ranges from eating Indian food to watching Bridezillas. It can go to the extreme like, I don’t know, watching porn with porn stars. No, I’m not going to link to that video. Instead, here’s a very touching Vienna Teng song. Enjoy, and you’re welcome.
Now, naturally, while browsing through the countless sea of videos from what I’m going to call shameless content mills, I went with the very familiar theme of nostalgia. The first two are obvious. PSAs remind me of my childhood and, well, I’m Asian. The last one, eh. I knew I wanted to link to a BuzzFeed video, but I wasn’t naturally drawn to any of them. In a quick panic, I chose the German food taste test one because I thought it was funny, and I took a German class in college five years ago. Eh, it counts.
Nobel The life of a Norwegian soldier intertwines with a political agenda.
Sure, it was difficult to watch a show with subtitles, but I just had to get used to not multi-tasking. There were quite a few scenes with English dialogue, and I was surprised each time. Given the nature of this show, there are quite a few non-Norwegians on the show. It’s not like they’re going to speak Norwegian to a Chinese person. I was still taken aback by the English dialogue. I was like, “Oh look, she’s speaking English. I can check my E-mail for ten seconds.”
The storylines are captivating and I was sucked into the story. I was a bit disappointed with the conclusion of the show because I thought they took the easy way, but the show was something different for me, and I quite enjoyed it.
Patriot An intelligence officer goes undercover in an engineering firm specializing in piping in order to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
It took me a while to actually want to watch this show because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to invest my precious, precious time on yet another show I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually watch. I finished the show in about five days, and again, it’s not a show I would typically watch, but I enjoyed it.
Different from most shows, it really only has one ongoing storyline with several sub-storylines that go with the main storyline. It’s literally like watching a 10-hour movie. Quite a few scenes are ridiculous, and it’s sometimes hard to follow, but I did like how it’s more of a comedy than drama. I don’t think I can take another House of Cards.
The shows I’m still watching, more or less
No Tomorrow A woman falls in love with a man who believes that the world will be destroyed by an asteroid.
It’s a cute, lighthearted show with a diverse group of characters. This is a show that has many identities. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s a drama. It has a main storyline, along with several storylines that both relate and do not relate to the main storyline. Heck, you can even say it’s a sci-fi because of the asteroid. This is a TV show for everyone. Well, it doesn’t have people dying every five seconds. But, hey, you can’t have everything. Try Fringe or Supernatural if you want to see someone being killed.
A man who recently got out of prison goes to a small town to find the woman he loves, and takes the identity of the new sheriff when he gets shot and killed in an attempted robbery.
I have an eclectic taste when it comes to TV shows. Im, into anything and everything. I am slowly realizing, though, that I have been going down a path of dark, twisted TV shows full with conspiracy, politics and murder. Ugh. I’m just describing House of Cards, aren’t I?
For years, I have been tired of the same old procedural shows, and have been more in favor of shows with interesting characters and ongoing storylines. I want to know if a main character is going to rise above their alcohol addiction. I do not want to know who killed the babysitter who was sleeping with her married employer with three children.
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’s been a very, very slow journey to try to finish Breaking Bad, but I’m making excellent progress. It’s only taking me three to four months to finish one episode. How exciting. In all seriousness, I will eventually finish it. I’d probably be on my death bed though.
I have since abandoned Awkward. I want to continue watching it at some point, along with Burn Notice. Also, I want to watch Ray Donovan. Stay tuned for part three of my 100-part series on this important, crucial matter.
Every time I hear someone is going on a diet or eating healthy, I silently judge them. This is OK because those same people silently judge me and others when we eat a bag of tortilla chips in one sitting with no regrets. I know. I know. This is not healthy and I should be running 500 miles every day and do sit ups and rub coconut oil all over my body to magically cleanse the fat away, but I refuse to eat leaves and pretend they’re chips.
OK. I’m not really being serious here. But when I watched this, I was like, “No. Just no.”
I am, of course, trying to, GASP, eat a little bit healthier and exercise and be a little bit more mindful of my health. Let’s call this Project One Tiny Leaf at a Time, or POTLAT for short. I’ve been eating more vegetables and walking more. When I say walking, I don’t mean walking to the mailbox and back. I mean actually taking time to walk just for the sake of walking, on purpose. Gasp.
My entire life, I’ve been struggling with eating mostly snacks and not really eating meals up until dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve been better with, you know, actually eating actual meals, but I do love snacks. To show my love for snacks, here is a list of snacks I’ve eaten over a long period of time.
Potato Chips Sweet Potato Chips Tortilla Chips Blue Tortilla Chips Ripping Tortillas into Triangles, Salting Them to heck, Baking Them and Calling Them Chips Pretzels (With Cream Cheese) Pretzel Rods Thin Pretzels Pita Chips Saltines Cheese Crackers Ritz Crackers Wheat Thins Triscuits (With Cream Cheese)
I, of course, do not eat all of this at once. I go back and forth and eat maybe three to four snacks at a time. Not in one sitting, of course. Right now, my snacks of choice are Tortilla chips, Cheese crackers, sweet potato chips and pita chips. Hey, I don’t discriminate when it comes to snacks.
As you can see, I like my snacks salty and mostly unhealthy. People usually suggest vegetables and nuts as healthy snack alternatives and I just look at them as if they’re an alien and say “I am not a rabbit,” and calmly walk away.
Admittedly, I’m not a big movie fan. It’s difficult for me to find a movie that I’m interested in. It can go either end of the spectrum. Either it is so uninteresting that I’m literally bored to tears or there’s so many things happening that I’m not paying attention to what’s going on. This is especially true with action movies. Yes, I’m someone who actually gets bored with the hero beats up 25 guys in five minutes. And then, for whatever reason, an explosion happens and more people die. Yeah… I prefer two people having a witty conversation and sharing friendly banter while eating grilled cheese sandwiches.
OK. That’s not what I quite had in mind.
If I had to make a list of all of the movies I’ve enjoyed watching, the list would be quite small and many of you would scream in horror and run away from my blog. At least one of you will force me to watch Jurassic Park.
Getting excited for a movie before it comes out doesn’t happen to me frequently. Particular with action movies. Everyone is excited and counting the days. Me, I’m just eating pasta watching reruns of House Hunters saying, “Meh, I might check it out from the library two years from now.” Once in a while, I do find a movie I actually want to see. I usually still wait for the DVD though. Hey, I’m Asian. That will always be my defense.
The Accountant When an accountant who has autism helps another accountant from a robotics company when she finds an accounting error in her company’s finances, they’re both targeted for death.
What’s more exciting than an action hero with badass fighting and shooting skills? An accountant with badass fighting and shooting skills. I like action movies, but I tend to get lost with the lack of a backstory and plotline. There is no shortage of backstory or plotline here. You immediately connect with Christian and you’re literally on an emotional rollercoaster, which makes it ironic since Christian cannot relate to people emotionally. I’m still going with it though.
Love, Rosie Based on the book Where Rainbows Grow by Cecelia Ahern, two long-time childhood friends have to balance their feelings for each other with the other aspects of their lives.
Spanning over the course of ten plus years, the movie explores the complicated friendship between Rosie and Alex. We get both points of views, and we see the ups and downs of their friendship. I was attracted to this movie due to the raw representation of real life. We all want t pursue things but something always gets in the way. At what point do we just say “screw it”? Not enough, apparently.
Woman in Gold Inspired by true events, a woman, with the help of her lawyer, the son of a friend, sues the Austrian government for possession of a portrait of her aunt.
As a man who values nostalgia and sentimentality, a movie about a woman trying to obtain an old family portrait from a government entity appeals to me. The fact that this is a true story adds to it. Helen Mirren’s sassiness helps too.
Over the past decade, we have seen the Internet change dramatically. There’s the obvious: We are more dependent on the Internet, and we’re on our phones a lot. I am, of course, not on my phone that much because I do not have a Smartphone. I actually have an anti-Smartphone, otherwise known as a disposable cell phone that I can lose and easily replace with little worry and much ease. Hey, look at me. I’m special.
I can barely remember what the Internet was like ten years ago. All I know is that it was nothing like it is today. It’s interesting because we were in a transitional period at the time. Back in 2007, we were still using Myspace and AOL Instant Messenger. A few years later, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and, oh yeah, Smart Phones took over. Several years later, well, they’ve dominated the world. Soon enough, we will just stop interacting with each other, lock ourselves in enclosed spaces, then die alone from natural causes. Sounds lovely.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about Web sites that were popular ten plus years ago that have disappeared into the woodwork. Why did they not stand the test of time? Do people still use them? What will happen to them later on? I don’t know what will happen to these Web sites in the future. Chances are likely that they will suffer the same fate of Michelle Branch.
When starting a blog, I’ve always advocated doing it on your own as opposed to using a Web site like Blogger or WordPress. I, of course, know that not everyone can commit to a domain name and a hosting package, but I recommend it if it’s possible for you.. The problem with Blogger and WordPress is that it gives you limited options for customization, and it gives you less control when it comes to coding and other things.
Blogger has fallen to the wayside in favor for other Websites and installing blog systems on their domains. I, myself, have never used Blogger. I’ve always had my own domains. I remember the one time I tried to start a blog on blogger, I had extreme difficulty. I don’t remember what happened. All I know is I was frustrated and angry. If I’m going to be angry and frustrated either way, I’d rather just do it on my own.
Flickr was never really a Web site that was extremely popular because it geared toward professional and hobby photographers. I feel like, over the years, it’s gotten less and less popular. I browse through photos for both blog posts and inspiration. It just reminds me that a lot has happened, a lot is going to happen and a lot is happening right now at this moment. It’s a reminder that I’m human. And, no, I do not get the same feeling from Instagram. Flickr is more “Look at this picture of a squirrel looking at a rainbow I took in the pouring rain on an empty stomach. Aren’t I awesome?” Instagram is more like “Look at my dog. He’s cute.”
Of the three here, Pandora was really the only Web site I used on a regular basis. I just started losing interest and got my music from other places, mostly YouTube. I do use Pandora from time to time, usually if I want to find artists or songs similar to ones that I’m already familiar with, or to listen to a genre station. One can only listen to Michelle Branch for so long. It is a good way to find songs you’ve never heard of before.
OK. You can send in the mob of angry Asians with bamboo torches now.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.