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've been debating reverting to numbered recaps for simplicity's sake.
That said, I won't deny that, now that winter has officially arrived, hibernation tendencies are in full effect. (This can also be interpreted as the sheer desire to snuggle beneath fuzzy covers, embracing its coziness in lieu executing acts of productivity.)
One of my biggest gripes from last winter was the blatant absence of blue skies. Dreary greyness, blurred lines of day and night, and slick, desaturated streets - these were uncommon sights to central and east Canada. I pray that the same fate does not fall upon on us this time around.
Following the announcement of oncoming slush, I embarked on a frigid walk along the waterfront.
Peculiar it was that, while the trees remained in full fall swing, the air spoke in a frost-laced tone. Mother Nature is clearly conflicted.
I also happened to catch IMPULSE's on its final week of operation. Sans illumination and sans seesaw partner, it was quite mundane of an experience.
The holiday season welcomes more than just precipitation, however. Chasing the sugar rush that was Halloween are the vast assortment of indulgent treats resulting from countless end-of-year gatherings.
Hershey's was quick to hop on the holiday bandwagon, introducing a bakery/café pop-up inside Scotia Plaza.
Along with timeless Kisses and decadent brownies in the display case, the limited-timed installation featured "mixed-to-order" cookies.
The concept was simple: Customers chose their pick of cookie dough (Original or Peanut Butter), and then picked three toppings from the bar. Employees operated in a four-member assembly line, each adopting roles such as the Form Filler, Topping Scooper, Mixer and Moulder, and Baker. Cookie dough scoops were placed onto parchment paper for shaping, then baked for about three minutes - just until the chocolate began to become gooey.
"Winter is coming." booms a sinister voice in my head.
The season most dreaded by Canadians is nearly upon us, its inevitable appearance foreshadowed by Mother Nature warnings of frost and powerful gusts.
But alas, I shall continue to bask beneath the rays of sunshine until the fateful day dawns upon us
Early in the week, I was summoned to the east side of the province - even further than the city's east limit of Scarborough. Being a commuter through and through, I chose the GO Train (and the utterly dismal municipal bus) over the estimated two-hour drive. I predicted some nap time, or at least a breather from nervewracking wayfinding procedures induced from unfamiliar surroundings.
With a starting point of Union Station, the entire journey approximated two and a half hours, including transfer time.
Once business had finished, I patiently retraced my route. This time, my endpoint would be Mississauga.
I don't know how the residents of Whitby survive with a GO-connecting DRT route operating every thirty minutes during weekday peak hours. Suburbs aren't renown for public transit, however I can't say Mississauga nor Markham fall within such a dire category.
Moreover, there was but only one option to kill time in the presence of Wi-Fi: our nation's (supposedly) favourite coffee shop. A severe lack of McDonald's in the walkable vicinity meant securing a Four Cheese Bagel from Tim's. Albeit warm (and delivered to me with an even warmer smile), its dryness was unmistakable. The absence of butter had further emphasized the bagel's denseness. In contrast, muted were the normally fragrant qualities of cheese.
I demolished the snack fairly quickly, which made the wait for the bus seem even lengthier in comparison.
Eventually, it pulled up outside the municipal building, then rushed its only five riders in the direction of Whitby GO.
I pry my eyes open to the chilly sombre mornings.
The world is dark, and the air laced with frost.
An extended arm reaches for the alarm, which vibrates and rings.
The blanket is removed, and all ease is lost.
Lurking around the corner is none other than your internal clock's worst nightmare: Daylight Savings.
The shift in seasons prompt changes in our daily habits:
We may also end up munching a bit more, then resort to hibernating within the comfort of our homes, baking up sweet treats to combat the frigidity of the external mercury levels.
A few tidbits of the week are as follows: a box of goodies from The Danish Pastry House (that went unsampled by yours truly), Banana Bread Beer (that went unpurchased), new Fresh Foam Craig Trails to combat grade differences in the concrete jungle, and a preview of Bluestone Lane's Yonge/Queen location.
More Matcha Cookies were attempted (and butchered with an accidental dumping of baking soda), and patriotic cans of Royal City were acquired in anticipation of the eminent Canadian moment.
A Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddle and Brewed Coffee pairing facilitated the morning routine. The McD's App enabled the meal for under five dollars - a wonderful combination of sweet maple griddle cakes and savoury, headache-banishing fillings, accented with a jolt of caffeine.
Positively necessary was the purchase of this duo, for what ensued was a visit to City Hall, an urban landmark towards which I embody feelings of resentment and grief.
A short breather allowed a visit the McDonald's flagship at Yonge and Elm, and prior to that a stopover at CoCo. Who would've thought that this mere trek would have resulted in a wad of saliva being hurdled in my direction, tainting not only my jacket but my beloved new tote as well. And yet, there are those that wonder why the intersection of Yonge and Dundas makes headlines for its detrimental acts to society.
Growing up, Little Bear played a prominent part in my childhood. The same can be said for Pokémon, as well as all its forms of N64 releases, and I hope I'm not dating myself here.
Phineas & Ferb filled the mornings of my pre-university prep days, and then select anime series in my convention-attending days. My final days on campus marked the gradual complete transition to K-Dramas.
So I guess this is a really long way of saying:
I didn't grow up with Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss hardcovers were always one of those books at the children's section of the doctor's clinics that I never dared to touch due to hygiene reasons, just like those wooden bead contraptions (that have now become obsolete in the age of iPad-wielding toddlers). To the best of my memory, the books smelled like dust and stale cheese.
Having said that, I was nonetheless ecstatic at the announcement of a Dr. Seuss Experience exhibit. This was especially the case when I inspected further: its presentation grounds of Square One was far closer than the AGO.
Me being me, I signed up for one of the first spots the first day of the exhibit's public unveiling. Contrary to my assumption
of the exhibit being held in the holiday market spot next to UNIQLO, it had, in fact, taken over the old Sportchek location on Rathburn, outside the shopping centre. This discovery emerged amidst casual discussion with a coworker - one that I cannot appreciate enough, for I probably wouldn't have double-checked.
The parking lot was largely vacant at our time of arrival. With windows decorated with the range of Dr. Seuss characters though, we knew we had arrived at the correct location.
Beyond the doors was the exhibit entrance, in addition to a gift shop and simplistic photo-pretty backdrop. A stroller parking area by the staff-monitored access was an early indicator of the event's popularity amongst families with young children.
The precise meaning of a "friend" differs from person to person. For some, it describes an entity whom with one has spent the longest portion of his or her life, while others may depict it as someone who shares roughly the same geographic coordinates, thus permitting frequent meet-ups.
My lack of local friends has never failed to raise eyebrows. Yet, I am one to believe that friendship oughtn't to possess physical boundaries. The start of a friendship lies not with residential proximity, but rather a shared connection - a fated encounter that interests both and discourages neither. Sometimes, it is a shared fondness for exploring potentially overrated eateries in the city.
In many cases, it is the unyielding affection for our support system: a K-Pop group that deserves nothing but our adoration and admiration.
Fast forward about three months, it felt as if it was just yesterday that my Thai ahgase and I were dancing along to the encore tracks at the Keep Spinning World Tour in Toronto. She had left for the motherland not long after, while I had slowly grown accustomed to my new schedule.
The seasons had changed when we were reunited, though the fire within remained as passionate as the concert day.
We took to our regular Koreatown excursion, for the Bloor-and-Christie strip offers convenience as well as variety. Swinging by Hair Bank for a quote led us to feast our eyes on the wooden exterior that would soon be Daldongnae. It stirred up the meat-lover within one of us (Hint: it wasn't me).
Eighty minutes of coin karaoke equated to fifteen dollars, each song demanding a seventy-five cent fee. Though the booth was warmer than we would have liked, the experience was nonetheless enjoyable.
Continuing on with the fun, we strode about the area in evaluation of our dinner options. Burning Friday, a recent addition to the lineup, had piqued our interest initially. Perusing the menu after our dehydrating singing sesh though, it suddenly didn't seem as attractive anymore.
Thus, we retraced our steps, hopping onto the front steps of The Korean Kitchen.
More pub than restaurant, the establishment was home to an impressive count of alcoholic arrays, not exempt of cocktails either. Homestyle cooking in the form of jjajangmyeon and mandu-gook were absent; in their stead were bar snacks: chicken wings, bulgogi fries, and the shop's signature jokbal. Three varieties of pigs' feet (or pork hock) were available: Original, Garlic, and Spicy. A Half & Half option pairing the latter two flavours was an apparent popular choice.
At our time of entry, the restaurant housed only one other table. Staff members were still in the midst of opening preparations, evident by the hazardous puddle of water by the bathrooms that had been left unattended. The female member of staff came around to take our orders early on in the evening, speaking English in a more eloquent tone than expected. Her goth-like appearance caught me slightly off guard at first: the bold red lips against ashy white skin, the Emily the Strange haircut with blunt bangs, and the menacing nose ring contributed to an aura of mystery. Clad in a grey sweatshirt and jeans, the male member of the serving staff sported a decidedly average appearance in comparison. His skills at articulating the English language also revealed themselves at a surprisingly consistent level.
Our table order comprised of Fish Ball Soup, a Seafood Pancake, and a Half & Half Pork Hock with sauces on the side. Makgeolli and Sprite were also requested, and along with them came a bucket of high-sodium popcorn and edible twigs (fried noodles perhaps?) coated with cinnamon sugar.
The Fish Ball Soup was not mild, as one would expect. A sip of the broth warned of ghastly peppers and, soon enough, jalapeno slices began to make their appearance. The fish balls were standard fare - as standard as frozen fish balls could be. Flat fish cakes à la aburaage jackets, chunks of agar jelly, and scallop-like ddeokbokki segments filled the remainder of the bowl.
One bowl in and the concoction was deemed too fiery for comfortable consumption.
"Are you doing anything for Halloween?" asked an innocent fifth-grader.
"Are you giving out candy?"
"Then what are you doing??" she pressed.
"I'm going to work."
"That's so sad." The concept of reality began to dawn on her. "You should be a kid again!"
Alas, time and space are not mediums that permit backtracking in the world of nonfiction.
The week commenced with many a snack, including LINE Friends-themed Pepero, Cadbury squares transported directly from the UK, and mini cupcakes bearing a 1:1 ratio of cake and frosting.
On a particularly damp day arose uncompromising cravings for cookies. And, against my discretion for the city's current transit system, I set out on a lunchtime commuting mission.
TTC was able to whisk me to College and Ossington in roughly forty minutes, but making it back within the one-hour time frame would have been impossible. So again, against my better judgement, I pulled aside to the nearest Starbucks and opened Google Play. It was time to try Uber.
In case you're wondering, I was still late. On the brighter side, I was dry and less tardy than if I had opted for retracing my path via the subway.
The fervent forage for fall foliage is largely owed to our province's brief transition seasons. Autumn is short-lived in these parts of the country (and spring is even shorter). Looking back, I don't think a single Thanksgiving has ever been exempt from such hunts - this year inclusive.
The trek along Mount Nemo's North Loop and the connecting Bruce Trail had been tiring yet fulfilling. The day that followed was more sedentary in comparison, as it involved driving aimlessly in almost-cottage country for more multi-toned leafage sightings.
We drove until hitting Simcoe County, stopping only for lunch upon witnessing the first highway-side McDonald's sign.
It was an interesting McDonald's - for all are, except that this location housed both the old-fashioned children's play area while supporting the newer McCafé additions and mobile order features. There was even a kid-friendly colouring station - spotless from regular upkeep - with a triad of crayons and the newest Peanuts x NASA release. It was by pure coincidence that these shades comprised of my (and orangecane's) top-ranking colour choices.
2-for-$10 McWraps were obtained: both Chicken & Bacon, one Crispy and one Grilled. Monopoly stickers were an unexpected bonus.
Secured separately was one of the ten limited edition "Discover Space" toys.
The journey northbound resumed afterwards.
With orangecane having denied my proposal of a weekend hiking trip out of filial piety, the next best thing was a one-day operation closer to home.
The previous day had been a gloomy one in more ways than one, with the availability of transportation completely in the air. Extending outside my realm of control, the response was hysterical. Thankfully, the issue was resolved shortly after, abolishing the potential obstacles that would have otherwise hindered my upcoming plans tremendously.
We commenced the day at Galleria for a quick lunch. The Korean supermarket has undergone a face-lift since my last visit, now offering hot meals straight from the kitchen and a dining area in which to consume those hot meals. The expansion project initiated the setup of a north entrance - one more access point to the parking lot - as well as bathrooms (unvisited) and plenty of ground-level group tables. Raised booths were positioned along the perimeter; one large party room was also present.
Hygiene levels were mediocre, as one would expect, with some wet surfaces and sauce splatters clearly evident on the beige walls surrounding us.
Disposal bins were separated into compost, recyclables, and landfill. Whether diners bothered to sort their waste is a different story altogether though.
Styrofoam cups, a microwave, and a hidden water dispenser were other components of the space.
The midday meal was a pick 'n' mix box for orangecane and a day-old sashimi salad bowl for me; these were decisions that had respectively stemmed from a desire for spicy crab legs and out of concern for budget cuts. Apparently, a certain ahjumma had fished out all the "meaty" sections, leaving only a small quantity for orangecane to choose from.
My own bowl, which was being sold at a 20% discount, contained finely-chopped mango bits, seaweed salad, salmon sashimi chunks (unmarinated), and a rock-solid foundation of sushi rice camouflaged under a dusting of shredded lettuce. Taste-wise, it was passable, until the bottommost layer was reached. That said, the stale grains of vinegar-tossed rice was nothing a quick zap in the microwave couldn't amend.
We stopped at the nearby McDonald's for a bathroom run before the drive. It was at our time of egress that I swatted myself for not suggesting Happy Meals. Lo and behold: the Peanuts x NASA collection has dropped.
The drive to Mount Nemo was largely uneventful, especially with majority of the journey being traversed on local roads. It wasn't until we reached the entrance that we'd be undergo one of the most peculiar - and most frightening - ordeals of our lives.
The conservation area witnessed an overload of eager ̶h̶i̶k̶e̶r̶s̶ wanderers over the long weekend, and with the main point of access being comprised of only one-way roads, there was an inevitable bottleneck effect. We waited patiently for the queue to inch off the main road, then slowly made a right off Guelph Line.
From the opposite side was a vehicle making a left turn into the same facilities, whose driver hesitated not even a nanosecond to suppress the horn as retaliation. It was clear as day that we had the Right of Way, however the middle-aged man was adamant in his unjust ways of driving and furthermore rolled down his windows to express his displeasure at us.
Towards two clearly confused Canadians, he began to point fingers and lash out in a foreign language. It was inaudible at first, but I slowly recognized it as uneducated squalls of Mandarin when the sullen lady in the passenger seat chimed in. We simply stared back at him, utterly unamused at his behaviour. Eventually he pulled into the queue, and we followed suit. Still, the windows were open and his wrath could be heard being directed behind him. Again, we stifled a laugh and rolled our eyes in contempt.
View the full album HERE !
As far as personalities go, orangecane and I couldn't be further apart, and this very observation was validated through our habitual tendencies. She makes no appearances in this entry, however I was constantly reminded of our conversation - with You Are playing as BGM - every time I cocked my head upwards to gaze upon the cloudless skies above me.
The first order of business for the week was consolidating my Rec Room credits. The Roundhouse Park location re-invited one of my old favourites, Kung Fu Panda, where I spent a solid twenty minutes trying to grab all the golden dumplings (to no avail, of course).
A shocked stool plush keychain was redeemed as consolation.
Nearby was Chipotle, where I had specified an order of Carne Asada Salad (with guac!!!) in advance. In sheer contrast to my first encounter with the system, my bowl had been assembled perfectly to my liking. The pickup process was smooth, the online order staff member was swift, and utensils/napkins had already been placed into the bag. Adding to my day was the adorable message adorning the aluminium cover.
Midway through the week was my two-time-postponed meetup with feedthebear. And naturally, we had slotted in a few new dining destinations surrounding our point of congregation.
With a bit of time on my hands, I opted to swing by Thank U Coffee first. The understated café had ranked high on my list of to-gos, and I must say that it did not disappoint.
The walls bore a variety of finishes: lacquered in a lush forest green, faux brick appliqués, and even a vivid mural owed to the artisty of a local creator. Light fixtures were sophisticated orbs resembling a tumble of roughly wound steel wire; they cast a cozy glow throughout the space, further accentuating the luminosity of the colours found within.
An extensive menu was found to the right of the entranceway, its prices unmistakably at the higher end of the spectrum. Piquing my interest was the Canadian Latte, which I was informed to be shaken by hand to yield a thin layer of surface foam. When I took to asking "What makes it Canadian?", it was noted that the name had been determined by a Canadian, and the inclusion of maple syrup had been tested in its initial stages but was ultimately deemed unsuitable for the final formula.
I later chose a regular-sized Thank U Coffee - essentially a latte with Earl Grey syrup (and no leaves in sight). The result was fragrant, delicious, and hit all the notes for a great iced latte. Needless to say, though, it was priced steeper than one would prefer.
I stayed a while, long enough to learn that the café owned by a young Korean husband-and-wife duo. They were entrepreneurs with a vision: the wife extremely friendly and made attempts to acquaint herself with every patron that waltzed through the door, including the Ritual frequenters.
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.