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.
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.
Resuming regular routine on Monday was rough. A hot matcha latte made thing more bearable, but appetite levels had hit a new low. Munchies weren't even enjoyable at that point.
With the prevention of keeling over on the forefront, I requested a work-from-home chance the next day. Prior to settling into hermit mode though, I took advantage of an open slot for hair maintenance at Hair Bank. The salon was actually quite busy, resulting in a thirty-minute delay. This was the sole appointment that hadn't been punctually executed, however I will admit that I was in too dazed a state to be concerned about my return time.
Remember: Trust no one but Joy.
Also inevitable was a stopover for Hodo Kwaja treats - the inevitable inventory restock had inevitably befallen. (Honestly, I'm pretty sure they know me by now.)
Sick days call for comfort food, which is either plain congee (for those really nauseous days) or a piping bowl of wontons. And for that, Wonton Chai is my hero.
The office was a recipient of chocolatey souvenirs from Czech Republic, whose constituents were further appreciated with the assistance of Google Translate. The Mléčná s chutí višní (milk chocolate with sour cherries) and horká were my personal favourites of the batch.
Inspired by classic fall flavours, Pumpkin Spice Praline and Maple Butter Pecan donuts from the Innovation Cafe also infiltrated their way onto unsuspecting territory. The verdict, however, simply re-affirmed my previous statements regarding the venture.
Tuesday's horrific humidity subsided in the latter half of the work week, yielding blue skies and deceptively sunny conditions.
Undertaking an utterly public transit-dependent adventure with neither a hood nor scarf proved deadly at near-frost temperatures. Divine rays of warmth occasionally peeked out from behind the clouds, though seasonal levels were sustained.
The Wilcox is just terrible. I'm not sure why this fact hasn't solidified in my head, considering the unholy wreck that was the last experience.
Who am I kidding? It wasn't just the last one, but the ones prior as well.
Brunch options have expanded in the west side of the city over the years, however The Wilcox offered the benefit of proximity to City Centre grounds. The fault was entirely my own, for I suggested the establishment as the brunch venue for myself and my out-of-town climbing buddy.
A reservation with the specification of a window-side table was requested on the restaurant's website the previous evening, and received after multiple parking attempts was precisely this seating arrangement.
Compact brunch menus smeared with residual sauce were set before us. To my right was a neglected splatter of tomato sauce. Pounding tunes blared from above. It was apparent that few changes had taken place.
We settled for the Egg Benedict and Steak n' Eggs. The latter proved more versatile with greater degrees of personalization: guests could select their level of doneness for the incredibly puny sliver of "steak" as well as their preferred style of eggs. My preference lay with medium-rare meat and poached/scrambled eggs. An additional specification was the placement of all condiments on the side - a wise call since both the chimichurri and balsamic dressing were grease bombs in their own rights.
Another week, another several days of surprises.
A recent observation is that casual Fridays have gradually gotten less casual, that duties unfulfilled over the duration of the past four days accumulate to result in unnecessarily hectic pre-weekend periods.
Also adding to the equation my Moment of Eighteen marathon in the earlier half of the week, which provided nothing short of sleep deprivation and the ceaseless desire for caffeine.
In my defense, the series was very thought-provoking overall.
While it failed to draw a conclusion to the ongoing issue of interactions between disparate economic backgrounds, it provided an original outlook on the conflicts of youth. As with (almost) all Korean dramas, the prying input of parental figures could not be omitted; that said, I greatly valued the prioritization of maintaining personal integrity, that karma would advance in full force to those that strayed from the path of honesty and diligence. Moreover, the episodes were filmed with great artistry: from the medium depth of field to angle variety (stationary camera work and drone shots) to subtle lighting adjustments, there was little fault to be found. Needless to say, Ong's first lead role and Moonbin's first supporting role for television broadcast were aspects worth tuning into.
So as the fall flu bug closes in on me, let's recap on some of the week's (mainly munching) excursions.
1) A breakfast of corn flakes, (last year's) Count Chocula, and a tiny but tremendously greasy chocolate chip cookie.
2) ToPresso (Round 2)
In contrast to last visit's Almond Cream Cold Brew, the BOGO coupon was utilized towards a Ginger Milk Tea in hopes of soothing an aching throat. I first took to confirming the presence of ginger root in the beverage, as synthetic syrups would inflict the opposite desired effect. The girl behind the cashier noted that the drink would contain a ginger syrup, however its foundation was slices of the anti-inflammatory plant. The combination yielded a milky concoction with plentiful pungency, though it was much sweeter than preferred.
An Iced Chocolate Latte made up the other half of the BOGO order. The specimen was reminiscent of chocolate ice cream, simply adopting the form of an icy liquid in its stead.
3) Early Bird Espresso (Royal Bank Plaza)
Taking advantage of the last of Ritual's $1 Food Fest via an Iced Chai Latte probably wasn't the most informed decision on my part. The drink itself was tasty with minimal spiciness - just as I prefer - and the pickup process was speedy. But one glance at the rampant flies and prominent layer of befallen dust encouraged contemplation before ordering again.
4) The Night Baker (Farmers' MRKT at Royal Bank Plaza)
The final farmers' market of the season coincided with The Night Baker's last publicly pronounced pop-up (for the next little while anyway). Naturally, I made the trek over in search of the ever-fabulous chewy, stuffed cookies.
My birthday buddy and I go way back.
Back to our awkward teen years and cringe-worthy webcam group projects, from spending break time discussing absolutely nonsensical topics to filming a self-choreographed segment to a then-popular Franco-pop track.
As the years passed, it was inevitable that the frequency of our meetups dwindled due to schedule and financial restrictions. Semi-annual gatherings transformed into annual appointments, with a few sporadic meals in between.
The quoted individual recently returned from a three-week trek and, though it was yet her turn to walk down the aisle, I had the opportunity of catching up with her over a celebratory affair.
With a freshly-washed mane - a rarity, I dare exclaim - a crush velvet gown, and heels (another sight to behold), she nearly towered over me, someone who always prioritizes comfort over charisma. The ensemble was fit for a wedding, especially that of immediate family.
I was sadly not seated at Table 7, but my tablemates and general positioning within the hall compensated for that. Before each plate was a dainty butterfly cut-out, crafted in a similar manner to the glittery wedding invitation I had belatedly received from my birthday buddy. Glasses filled to the halfway point with champagne were set before each plate; ceramic tea cups and empty wine glasses beside it.
Seating was spacious, for the dining hall was vast. I was nestled between a few foreign faces near the dance floor, which meant a stellar view of the evening's happenings.
The menu was presented in both Chinese and English, thoroughly depicting a classic Chinese dinner lineup. It wasn't my style, but my insider informed us that the decision had been owed to familial preference.
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.