However, coffee drinker statuses never waver. We simply seek the next caffeinated thrill, whether it be iced lattes or affogatos.
Our household has always had coffee drinkers. Once upon a time, we even did daily Timmie's Drive-Thru runs and, if I remember correctly, my go-to choice was either an Iced Capp or Vanilla Yogurt. The menu has undoubtedly undergone several changes since then, and so have we, whom no longer pay for the painstakingly watery cups either.
However, coffee drinker statuses never waver. We simply seek the next caffeinated thrill, whether it be iced lattes or affogatos.
No summer is complete with a trip to Port Credit, and no waterfront experience is complete without ice cream, especially irresistibly creamyartisan flavours.
Solely operating during peak sunshine season, Scoops is a local favourite that took to offering sugar/waffle cones in a cup and 500 ml or 1 L takeaway containers in the face of the current pandemic.
Although Piña Colada sorbet was quite a dismal pick, Cappuccino Crisp did not disappoint. The velvety Maple Walnut we brought back was another winner that incoporated the best of conventionally Canadian maple ribbons with crunchy walnuts in a luscious vanilla base.
The return trip marked my first visit to McD's since Vancity Blitz three months prior. And while probably not the most health-conscious choice, Chicken McNuggets with honey and BBQ sauce were the ideal companion for makgeolli.
Loyal visitors of this space may be familiar with Ark + Anchor, or more specifically their croissants from de la terre.
As the yearning for pain au chocolat surfaced, my mind instantly flew to the website of my favourite stall in the Hamilton Farmer's Market. Lo and behold, free home delivery was being offered!
Work-from-home duties have not only buried me alive, but proceeded to sprinkle its seeds in preparation for eternal embedment. I've seen more of spreadsheets than happenings of the outside world lately, which ̶a̶p̶p̶a̶r̶e̶n̶t̶l̶y̶ ̶ appallingly isn't surprising amongst the working group of which I am acquainted.
My response to a friend's inquisition of "Did you want more tea bags?" prompted the realization of a newly-founded dependence on caffeine.
Cooking and kitchen compilations can be viewed as chores to some (many?), however they are personally interpreted as moments of creative release. Bearing more nimbleness than artistic expertise in the fingers and limbs, the creation of comestible compositions between frenzied work tasks is not nearly intimidating an undertaking if scheduled judiciously. The reasoner within appreciates gustatory genesis, for it serves the dual, or rather, primary, function of providing sustenance.
My endless fascination with tall, fluffy pancakes has been imprinted in my memory with the testing procedures of countless pancake recipes (only one bearing fruit). A few years have since passed, and while I've accepted my fate, the craving for warm, syrup-drizzled flapjacks does creep up on me.
Unpopular opinion: The economic pillar shall forever supersede the social pillar.
If there's anything I retained from my twice-enrolled, once-failed, and once-grudgingly-re-enrolled second year environmental course, it's the concept of The Three Pillars. Prior to undergoing any work, a project should be evaluated against the economic, social, and environmental pillars as criteria for execution.
And while each of these elements are pivotal in decision-making, one tends to forget to nothing can operate in the absence of economics. For without capital, there is no funding for implementing environmentally sustainable measures. For without work, one cannot afford to sleep with a roof over his or her head, regardless of whatever respect society shoves.
I abide by a pragmatic approach to living, because where there is a cause, there is an effect - most evident in the re-emergence of COVID in areas that were once deemed to have entered a "safe(r)" zone. Regardless of the sun's position in the sky, work is work, and work needs to be done. I'm not one to protest sanity breaks, of course, and was more than willing to justify it with a cool cup of CoCo after a tumultuous Monday.
Being thoroughly drained by an endless assortment of tasks (the "cause") yielded an out-of-character meal of instant noodles (the "effect"). The foray into fast food was a result of exhaustion and a consequential reluctance to cook. For the wellbeing of my tastebuds, the so-called broth of dehydrated MSG particles was diluted with thrice as much water, then had its nasty, hollow aftertaste nullified with a turmeric cold brew.
I suppose anxiety is a common spur of sugar-laden creations, for a dream about emails set me off in pursuit for brown butter cookies. "But not just any brown butter cookies." my subconscious announced, "We're doing matcha."
An embarrassingly elongated roster of attempts in my back pocket, I opted to modify Tasty's edition, for I had not the patience to caramelize butter and strum my digits along the table edge as it re-solidified. Truthfully, it was my own fault; I oughtn't complain.
I'm not, really.
Brown butter is aromatic in ways unique to itself - an acquired redolence, if you will - and, just as many other bakers will heed, is worth every second of added effort. But alas, the luscious caramelized bits were nowhere to be tasted in the final product, overwhelmed by none other that sugar: a sickening sweetness capable of driving some to the point of lunacy. Admittedly, the texture was quite a nice mix of crunchy and chewy, though nonetheless a subpar formulation in my books.
Woe is me for straying from the great SK!
Monday comebacks, with the exception of GOT7's, prove tricky acts to support. The influx of emails, paired with abrupt realization of imminent meetings, tend to prevail over 8 AM live showcases. My roster of Not By The Moon promotions remain unresolved, while indulgence in ASTRO's Knock activities are slowly but surely underway.
Prior to the release of third instalment in The Book of Us, DAY6 announced a hiatus from promotions due to health and anxiety issues. The situation was unforeseen, especially given that the news had circulated within 24 hours of the drop of "The Demon".
Five days of on-and-off screenwork later, I finally had the opportunity to familiarize myself with Zombie.
It was dark.
Dark red makeup with bluish undertones to replicate bruised flesh.
Dark and tiny was the ̶s̶e̶t̶ room, seemingly teeming with torturous tension.
Dark was the aura emitted from the hallucination-like post-production effects.
But darkest of all were the lyrics to the song - radiating one's deepest, dreariest deliberations towards living, or the mere thought of not.
Zombie depicted emptiness in the eeriest way thinkable, as if the world no longer held happiness.
"Though I want to just dream on. / 꿈꾸도 싶어도"
"Tomorrow will be no different. / 내일도 다를 것 없이"
"Give me back my tears, they’ve run dry. / 마른 내 눈물을 돌려줘"
"I live counting the time 'til I close my eyes. / 그저 잠에 들기만을 기다리며 살아"
Boredom is a state to which I cannot relate.
The thought of being idle is appalling.
The thought of being unproductive is repulsive in every aspect.
The thought of being lethargic and proceeding about without purpose does not entice me.
So while there are those that have been involuntarily bound to their homes without much work, the same simply cannot be stated for the remainder of society. At one end of the gamut are unconstrained souls, leisurely spending their days browsing Netflix while inverted on their sofa, and at the other are front-liners and employees working remotely in essential services.
With that said, being unduly occupied still overrules the inactive lifestyles led by many during this quarantine period. We're growing accustomed to the work-from-home procedures, inclusive of its around-the-clock responsibilities.
Things I learned during Corona (Rev 3):
Amongst my endless endeavours in the kitchen this week are the following:
1. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (thanks SKU!)
I've said it already, though I'll state it again: Few changes have taken place in my day-to-day activities, minus the arduous ordeal that is hour-long grocery shopping trips.
But humans are dynamic after all, and so while "unprecedented times" are here, the theory of natural selection applies still
I'd like to think that I've adapted to the lengthy lineups and costlier checkout totals, as the outcome of these successive trips are expense reports, (food) trend forecasts, and the most important result of all - mitigation measures. Undoubtedly due in response to my efforts was a treat in the form of Wonton Chai.
Cravings are more or less kept at bay by the ability to reproduce a similar enough product in the comfort of one's home. Mild exceptions remain, with Pocky being one of them.
Those that hadn't been on too friendly of terms with their kitchen haven been coerced into a changed mindset.
Yet those previously accustomed shall simply yearn for undertakings of greater difficulty.
Crafted from scratch were a series of lunch and dinner items, which sadly proved unsuccessful in lasting longer than several days.
Dish #1: Macaroni x Ground Beef x Sautéed 'Shrooms x Tomato Conpoy Compote Feat. Fried Egg
Seemingly effortless, there was a tremendous amount of preparation work involved. Other culinary techniques were also deployed, though somewhat subconsciously in my regard: boiling, marinating, sautéeing, pan frying, and, finally, broiling for a crunchy gratin-esque covering.
After a weekend of mayhem, I started my week off solid: An event known none other than GOT7's long-awaited comeback.
Oh, swear Not By The Moon.
Since mid-October, my weekly KDC sessions have repeatedly been supplying me with new perspectives. As much as dance is a form of exercise, it is also a medium of expression, surpassingly so.
Despite being an amateur at "feeling the groove" while memorizing a sequence of movements, the classes were always a blast, and always a portal to absorb new information. Contrary to my initial belief, the choreography introduced did not have to be reproduced identically. Rather, it seemed that both participants and instructors preferred slight modifications, such that the moves aligned with one's original style.
I grasped the core meaning of "community" - a space free of judgment and brimming with absolute freedom, a collective of positive vibes and mutual encouragement.
KDC classes bridged the gap between Intermediate and Advanced levels, which was, admittedly, still too advanced for the likes of me and my lack of practice. Years of recreational badminton have honed my hand-eye coordination, yet left my sense of rhythm stagnant. The ability to move my body with grace was impaired. I was but a zealous concert-goer unaccustomed to the complex steps of urban dance.
However, the more experienced attendees did not bat even an eyelash. Many were more than willing to lend a helping hand - or arm, or leg - in assisting newbies like me learn a new move.
The term concluded with a double class: the first incorporating b-boy vibes and the second fluid attitudes à la house and ahgase's very own Hit The Stage champion.
One Beginner class and two KDCs later though, I was more than ready to call it a day. The team at the nearby McDonald's was apparently aware of this as well, for I lucked out with a triple-sized Vanilla Cone due to worker error.
This single serving was sufficient in compensating the dissatisfactory swirls of the past.
In review of the rest of the week was an incredulously lengthy baking session, which, in turn, resulted in a decent batch of gingersnap cookies and a not-so-spectacular dual-toned pound cake.
You Calling My Name is a revolutionary concept for ahgases, especially those that have stood their ground since the beginning. Unprecedented in sound as well as style, the approach shifts from enigmatic synth sounds paired with powerful vocals to soft, seductive utterances and "sorrowful" verses.
Clad in fitted leather suits - with some strategically positioned slits - the MV depicts a desire for one's name to be called, along with regret for having caused feelings of pain to a past lover. The foundation of the song stemmed from fanchants, an impactful element of live performances and, especially, concerts.
In the 90-minute-long showcase, the boys discussed the back stories behind B-side tracks, choreography trivia, and the members' individual efforts to sharpen themselves in preparation for the comeback. Leading up to the comeback, the already lanky maknae lost 3-4 kilograms, while our sunshiney otter summoned absolute willpower to drop 8 kilograms (the equivalent of 17-18 pounds!!), even exercising after hours amidst a global world tour. His efforts did not go unnoticed, for the 96-liner is rapidly rising on my list. Crash & Burn showcases his charisma and extensive vocal range, which is only further enhanced by smoky makeup and coloured lenses.
As for the title track, 니가 부르는 나의 이름 (You Calling My Name), there is not a single member engaged in the K-Pop scene who can deny the dynamic of my husbae. His newfound confidence enabled stylists to dress him in mesh and see-through apparel, moreover dismissing the all-too-frequent undershirt layers spotted in previous comebacks. My sanity, as well as the the minds of countless others, were thoroughly degenerated with the mere sight of him. New ahgases shall never comprehend the lengthy journey that was exposure beyond the neck and forearms.
The physical album was - and still is - beautiful, of course. Photobook contents did not adhere to the customary age-based sequence, therefore resulting in anxious flips of the page; units graced different sections of the booklet, while (closeup) solo shots followed suit.
I am a being that values words, but even more so actions - specifically, acting upon those words.
But in a world where time is limited and desires are vast, and restrictions of three utterances per member is imposed during ten-second hi-touches, many of these thoughts are reluctantly suppressed. These unfulfilled objectives reverberate within the sheath of one's body, deflecting off the organs as would a 90s-inspired pinball machine, ultimately becoming words that carry on in one's mind. Mere words that may mean less than a grain of sand to anyone outside the fandom, but hold colossal connotation amongst the like-minded. I am referring to none other than the meaning of being an ahgase.
To each their own, and to each their respective fandom. The IGOT7 referrence is as significant to me as my name and occupational title. For not only is it an indispensible part of my lifestyle, it assumes a portion of my identity - something accrued with experience, something that has withstood the test of time, and something that manifests continually with the passing of each and every day.
Us, as "baby birds", were granted the ability to fly,
To be liberal in this expansive, indeterminate world.
To soar, as high as our wings will enable us and as far as our dreams extend.
To flutter and possibly falter, because hindrances are inevitable.
And to glide, once adequate strength has been mustered to rule out the negativities in our immediate vision.
We were bestowed a nest - a home to call our own
With entry unbound by season, economy, nor country.
It was nest that extended far and wide, wherever GOT7's music had penetrated.
Home Sweet Home
The spot where one commences the early stages of his or her life,
The place that encourages when spirits have been devastated,
And, lastly, the destination providing ultimate comfort when one wishes for nothing more than consolation.
An ahgase never betrays this bond -
Defined by family, integrity, and strength.
GOT7 taught us that there is no stronger force than a unified promise.
Who Am I?
I'm the one that talks fashion and K-Pop randoms behind Quirky Aesthetics, the one who contributes honest opinions about commercial beauty items on Review Junkie, the one that obsessively shares photos of food on Pinterest, the one that loves her DSLR more than her own being and the one that wants to work in the transportation sector for a living.