Today is the anniversary of Never Hollowed By The Stare! This blog is 13 years old!

To all my followers:

Ⓣⓗⓐⓝⓚ。:.゚ヽ(。☉౪ ⊙♥)ノ゚.:。+゚ Ⓨⓞⓤ☆

I’ve gained and lost some followers recently, so I’m especially grateful for those who stuck with me all these times!

Never Hollowed By The Stare started as random posts in Tumblr back in 2011 and eventually evolved into a book blog in 2016. I moved to WordPress in 2018 after the massive Tumblr purge that shook many fandoms to their core. It became a self-hosted site in 2020 and 2021 became the busiest year for me. Then, I took a more laid-back approach when work-life became too hectic.

Now I’m happy that I more or less hit a good balance between personal life, work, and blogging/hobbies.

For my 13th blog anniversary, here are 13 things about me that are not book-related.

1. Last December was the first time I ever visited another country. My friends and I went to Hong Kong! And I totally loved it there! I’m a huge fan of Hong Kong movies and I was pretty excited we were staying at the Chungking Mansions, which was the location of Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express. Though I was surprised that the Chungking Mansions is managed by Indians and that it was sort of their hub.

We also went to Mid Levels, which was the location of the classic BL movie, Bishounen. It was quite the uphill trek and I was too out of breath to really take in the site. I loved that most of HK is a walking city and I (hopefully) lost a few kilos exploring for hours on foot. I even broke my sandals from too much use!

I can’t wait to visit again! Hopefully, attend Clockenflap or explore more movie locations.

2. Finally saw the Arctic Monkeys live! This is the 2nd major concert I’ve ever attended and I couldn’t believe I finally saw the band I’ve been following since the beginning of their career!

That photo I took of the band is the closest that I’ve gotten near them. Next time they tour here, we’ll try grabbing VIP tickets ASAP so we’d be even closer to the stage. We weren’t able to before because those VIP tickets sold out in a minute!

The crowd was awesome! Everyone sang along to all the the songs. Some from the newer albums that I’m not too familiar with. I came with my friend who is also a lifelong AM fan. He’s the only person I know who loves post-punk as much as me. It was a dream come true for both of us.

3. Speaking of Arctic Monkeys, I know I’ve mentioned this before in a tag, but some of you might still be wondering. Never Hollowed By The Stare is from the lyrics of Secret Door.

Fools on parade cavort and carry on for waiting eyes
That you would rather be beside than in front of
But she’s never been the kind to be hollowed by the stares

So you can see how special the band is to me, even if their sound has evolved so much now, it’s becoming an acquired taste.

4. I started collecting perfumes recently and am now addicted to fragrantica.com. Top favorite is Celine Black Tie, which is an absolutely gorgeous vanilla rum scent! Celine Rimbaud is also divine! I’m a huge fan of the unisex Haute Parfumerie collection and I’ve almost completed the series.

Also, loving Lush Vanillary which is a classic vanilla scent, although an office mate said it smelled like cinnamon. The infamous Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille is a disappointment since it smells too much like dank tobacco leaves to me. Le Labo Santal 33 is even worst. It just smells like sweating wood.

I’m mulling over creating an Instagram/Fragram for my collection, but the last time I tried Instagram for this blog, damn Facebook locked it! That’s why Never Hollowed By The Stare doesn’t have an IG.

5. All my life, I thought I wasn’t allergic to anything. Then I discovered a couple of years ago that I’m allergic to petroleum jelly after using Vaseline lip balm. My lips would crack so bad they bleed. The only lip balm that works for me is Burt’s Bees.

Even more recently, and just when I bought several bottles already, I found that I’m allergic to perfume. My skin would itch and peel after spraying the same spot on my wrist. Not to be deterred, I ended up spraying perfume on my clothes as a compromise because I’m not throwing away expensive bottles.

6. Whenever I’m outside, 7/11 is my comfort place. Don’t like the bar my friends pick? I go my separate way and head to the convenience store for the usual sandwiches. Feeling lost in a new place? Find a 7/11, get a sparkling drink, and learn the lay of the land. Want a late night snack? There’s a store across the street for a Minestrone Milk Tea and a Korean egg drop sandwich.

I love checking the merch in the store since they have Asian specialty drinks not found in groceries. I was amazed at the sheer number of 7/11 branches in Hong Kong. It’s so ubiquitous, every corner has one, or even two! Another reason why I love HK.

7. I don’t like mixing nuts in food. I could eat peanuts or almonds on their own just fine, but put them in cookies or cakes, nuh uh, not touching that! Nuts in chocolate is a crime! Nuts in ice cream is even worst! Nuts in Pad Thai is okay since I can’t taste them.

8. My first ever anime was YuYu Hakusho in 1993. I didn’t even know the term “anime” back then. Hiei, being the dark broody one, predictably became my favorite character. And the gay tension between Kurama and Hiei was so strong, lil innocent me sat up, took notice, and thought, there’s something going on between these two…

Needless to say, Hiei and Kurama was my first ever ship, though I didn’t know what they were yet. Then, internet entered my life, and with it, enlightenment to all things “yaoi.” It was a rabbit hole I gladly fell into and still in to this very day. No thoughts of coming out this Wonderland, none whatsoever!

I’m on the fence whether to see the live action YuYu Hakusho. Especially since they changed the story to fit a movie format. Is it any good? Would I have regrets seeing it? (Please don’t ruin my childhood, Netflix)

9. One of the biggest frustrations of my life, especially one who loves indie rock, is that I never learned how to play a musical instrument. I am one of those fast learners who gives up easily if they don’t pick up the skill quickly. In a word, lazy.

But I have created two songs. One was during a high school project where we were to write a song. My song was “I’m Your New Pet Dog” which I sang to the accompaniment of a borrowed musical pencil case with a little keyboard. Seriously, this musical pencil case was a thing back then. The song has a childish tune with childish lyrics and I’m amuse that my classmates still remember it to this day as a cutesy nursery rhyme. Unknown to them it was a song about bullying.

Another song I co-created was our HS class song called “Four Roads”. I wrote the lyrics and a classmate composed the melody. It was the story of our class through the four years we were together. Even today, I keep thinking, would a band accept me as their lyricist even if I don’t know how to play an instrument?

And with Christmas, I thought I should write a Christmas song and it would be ka-ching ka-ching, like Mariah Carey. LOL. Yeah, right. Maybe someday.

10. I am very specific as to which browser to use for what purpose. Chrome is only for email and local searches. My main one is Opera for blogging, books, music, and international searches. Edge and Firefox are for everything else.

Why? Because I hate how intrusive Chrome is. I especially hate that it keeps giving me baby formula ads because Chrome AI hears me baby talking my cats, but it thinks pet ads make it too obvious they’re spying. Also, repeatedly getting content that revolves around my country makes me feel like I’m in an echo chamber.

I use Opera for the VPN. I love it because I get search results from Europe or South America. It gives me a different perspective. I even enjoy the ads because it’s a glimpse of another culture. My world is very small, resources are limited, and I rarely get opportunities to travel. Sometimes, this is is the only way I could expand my horizons.

11. I used to be the worst at packing bags. I went to a university in a faraway province and every weekend, I would stay at my cousin’s house which was a few towns from the campus.

And I would pack nearly everything I owned from my dorm for the two-day stay! Because you never know when you need the purple corduroy pants for a trip to the mall or if you’re finally in the mood to read those inch-thick quantum mechanics notes you photocopied a couple months ago. At one point, I even threw in an honest-to-goodness oven toaster, because I might feel like toasting bread anytime.

I must have looked liked a pack mule lugging all that junk because a random stranger once approached me and asked if I needed help. I said no because stranger danger, but looking back, my god…if I could pack the kitchen sink I would!

12. I don’t drink or smoke, simply because I don’t see the point. I tried alcohol when I was in college and being drunk, I wasn’t relaxed or tense. I felt nothing. Meh. Cigarette smoke smells horrendous. I’ve tried it and it gave me bad breath so I don’t see the appeal either.

I used to joke that if I were a punk, I’d be straight edge because I am ace and, at one point, I was a vegetarian, too.

When I saw that news about people calling Miranda Cosgrove a loser because she doesn’t drink or smoke, I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at her haters. Girl is living her best life and she’s doing it with a clear head and clean lungs!

13. Writing down my goals here is the surest guarantee that they would never see the light of day. I don’t know why, but I’m like the opposite of those planner people. That’s why I stopped making TBR posts long time ago.

I like keeping my goals in my head while I take steps to make them a reality. So I’m not making any promises or announcing any plans about my blog. Just know I’ll keep at it.

I hope you got to know me a little better and thank you for reading!
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Here’s to more blog birthdays and boys loving boys!

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