Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: vlogging

Blogging is dead. RIP, blogging.

I have been a writer all my life. I started writing (very bad) poetry when I was six or seven and wrote my first short story (along with really bad crayon illustrations) for elementary school. It was a murder mystery set in a school in which the unpopular girl is murdered. I don’t remember by whom, by probably the popular girl. Or maybe it was the other way around. It was probably the other way around, actually, knowing me.

I spent most of my free time reading and writing. It was in part because that’s what I enjoy doing and in part because I had no friends. I was a weirdo with many home issues–and I was (and am) Asian before it was trendy. There were people who were friendly enough to me, but no real friends. I think it’s also because I was so downtrodden by the time I was seven (when I first thought about killing myself) that I wouldn’t have accepted any overtures of friendship even if they were offered.

So I retreated into the fantasy worlds of the books I read and the ones I created. I always had a storyline going in my mind–at least one, but usually several. I found the real world lacking so I was grateful to escape into my mind. And the books I read when I was younger ranged from Trixie Belden to The Scarlet Letter. I read the latter when I was in fifth or sixth grade just because it was in the library, I’m betting. I hated it. Even at that age, I thought Hester got a raw deal. Also, why was she shielding the priest? It turned me off Hawthorne. I also tried to read War and Peace around the same time because it was the biggest book I knew of. I gave up on it halfway through because the names were confusing me. I didn’t realize connect that everyone had a half dozen nicknames so I thought they were all new characters. I never bothered to pick it up again, which has not bothered me one whit.

In college, I made the conscious decision not to read dead white men any more than I had to. I had one white dude tell me it was just as discriminatory for me not to read white men as it was for the entire educational system to only have people read dead white men. Putting aside the fact that I am just one person and it’s a false equation, I retorted that I bet I had still read more dead white men than he had writers of color. He had nothing to say to that. I would still say the same to anyone who questioned me about it now. I’m also not saying I wouldn’t read white men–just that I would need an awfully good reason to do so.

I started writing fiction because there was no one like me in the books I read. Back in the aughts, Asian women became hot. But, it had to be first generation Asian women who were SUFFERING. They had to be married to asshole men and be downtrodden in their lives. They had to have abusive mothers as well and they were absolutely not allowed to have any joy in their lives. Basically, The Joy Luck Club writ large. I remembered I was in Modern Times bookstore (RIP) is San Francisco with a friend, leafing through the new Asian books, when I was pushed to exclaim, “If I never see another book about three generations of miserable Asian women, it’ll be too soon!” My friend was embarrassed, but I was pushed to my limits with the notion that Asian women could only star in books if they were miserable the whole time.

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Am I too old to be new?

Blogging is dead. I know this and yet….

The written word is my forte. I am at my best when I can take my time and put some thought into what I’m saying. It’s why I prefer email to texting as well. I like the asynchronous nature of the medium and if I need to be more immediate in my communication, then there’s messaging and the phone for that.¬† I hate texting and refuse to do it for the most part, by the way.

I’ve been talking to my brother about making videos. He does it for his realtor business and he’s been urging me to do cooking videos. He’s willing to help me out. When I mentioned that if I were going to do videos, I’d want to do something I liked doing rather than hated doing. Yes, it would be funny for me to do cooking in the dark or something like that, but if it got popular, then I would have to continue cooking. I have thought about doing a cooking channel based on me finding delicious and simple gf/df recipes, but….

Some background. I have watched many cooking videos. 90% of the ones I’ve seen are women. They start out with an interminably long story about how they went to Target with their kids and bought more than they thought they would. I. Don’t. Care. This happens on cooking websites as well. A ten-paragraph long intro to the recipe. I know why they do on websites (because they want to keep you there), but I hate it. I also don’t like it on YouTube when they give their spiel (“like, share, and subscribe!”) at the beginning rather than at the end.

I do understand that they’re trying to create a community and make connections. I know that on YouTube, it’s about personality. And that is where my problem lies. I hate all that crap. I don’t mind a bit of sharing, but ten minutes upfront is way too much. I don’t care about your kids; I really don’t. My brother really liked My Drunk Kitchen and urged me to watch. I didn’t find it funny at all. Then again, I’m very anti-drinking, so there’s that.

Side Note: I hate most comedies–sitcoms, romcoms, etc. I’m much more for conversational humor than pratfalls, gags, and actual jokes. I also hate shouting and exaggerated reactions, which cuts out three-fourths of YouTube. One prime example of someone I hate is jacksepticeye, an Irish guy, who does games. I thought, “Oh, I like British people. I like games. This will be cool.”

Friends, let me tell you, it wasn’t cool. He screams at the top of his lungs all the time in a very grating voice. Putting aside the screaming, I just don’t trust anyone who is at that level of agitation all the time. It’s not real and he’s doing it for the clicks. I mean, that’s why everyone on YouTube does what they do, but there’s a way to do it authentically that doesn’t blow out my eardrums or make me roll my eyes.

Here is quite possibly one of my favorite food YouTubers. Jun’s Kitchen. He’s Japanese and really good with his knife skills. He’s one with nature and animals as is obvious by his interactions with his cats. He doesn’t talk much during his videos and while, yes, he does do that slice of life thing, it seems integrated with the videos–not just an addendum because it’ll get clicks. He only posts a video every month or so, but he has a large fan base.


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Girls on Film

Today’s post is supposed to be on fun (following my self-set schedule), but it’s not going to be on something fun so much on…well, let me just explain in my own, sweet, meandering time. I want to start vlogging because it’s what all the hip, happening kids do these days. Even though I’m an old, aching crankster who wants you to get off her lawn, I want to give it a whirl. Why? There are several reasons. One, many people don’t want to read longform posts these days. I understand because people are busy, not as interested in reading, blah, blah, blah. It makes me sad, but I acknowledge the reality. Personally, I don’t want to watch a video of someone talking about something and would rather just read it, but I think I’m in the dwindling minority these days. Two, I used to be a performer back in the day. I was with Theater Mu, and then I started doing solo performance pieces. It was hard work, but it was so damn rewarding. I would feel as if I was going to throw up ahead of time, but then I’d be riding high afterwards (followed by a crash, damn it). The several minutes after a performance was exhilarating, and the applause was just the icing on the cake.

I am a writer. I have said before that it’s in my blood, but I’d give it up in a heartbeat if I could be on stage. I wouldn’t want to give it up, obviously, but if I had to make the choice between writing and performing, it would be the latter every time.* I loved being in front of a crowd, and I fed off the energy of a live performance. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, obviously, and I can do it copiously day after day (though I will admit that some days, it’s hard to crank¬† 1000+ words a day), but the interactivity of it is limited. I write my posts, then I publish them and send them off into the ethers. I may get a response; I may not, but there’s no immediate reaction to it. On the other hand, when I perform, the stakes are so much higher. I’ve forgotten my lines while performing, and it’s the worst feeling in the world. I’ve delivered flawless performances and have received standing ovations, and it’s the ultimate high. Seriously. Noting has felt as good as the applause I’ve gotten for my performances. Not sex. Not getting good grades in school. Not finishing the Sword Form (though, to be fair, that’s more a subdued and sustained feeling of bonhomie). Not eating a whole pint of peanut butter fudge ice cream (back in the days when I ate dairy).

I remember one performance in a workshop where I received the best reward when I finished my monologue–silence. Oh, I know everyone’s about the standing O, but there’s nothing like that moment of stunned silence at the end of a performance which indicates that your audience is so absorbed with what they’re experiencing, it takes them several seconds to transition back into reality. I remember another for a dyke event in which I stripped down to my panties and received a thundering standing ovation at the end of the piece. I remember another that gave me so much trouble as I was writing it–it was a performance from my heritage culture (Taiwanese) for children, and the kids loved it. It was worth every gut-wrenching moment of writing it just to have that experience.


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