Tuesday, May 4, 2021

[풀버전] ♬ 기도 (I'll Be Your Man) (Stray Kids Ver.) - 스트레이 키즈(Stray Kids)




My last post was January. It's now May. I told you I wasn't that into reading or writing blogs, so totally on brand. I thought that maybe my new obsession with the Stray Kids would make me want to blog more about them. That was the plan at least. 

I'm more obsessed than ever with them now as all-round brilliant performers and producers. Mind-blowingly talented group of young men. As a writer I've learned that producing quality content and persistence in doing that is the path to success. But it's hard. Balancing quality with speed of production. I feel I'm improving in both areas, but then I look at the enormous content the Stray Kids (SKZ) produce and it's mind-boggling. (Even though many of their songs admonish not to compare yourself with others, it's almost impossible not to be in awe of the quality and quantity of their content). True, they have an entertainment company backing them, for better or worse (more on this in a moment), but still. I haven't even begun to appreciate all their work because I was too busy enjoying their more recent big hits that attracted me to them in 2020 when I first heard of them. The wealth of content online of not only their music videos, but their practice videos, their fan cam videos, their live performance videos, and all their other gigs and then there's their VLives, zones, bubbles, and zoo where you see their playful personalities and humor. I've always been partial to adolescent boy humor, one of the reasons my husband and I hit it off when we first met, so the SKZ good-natured teasing of one another and their repartee is endearing. 

From a marketing standpoint, getting to know them more as people and finding out how tight they are as a group, is so powerful. Their loyalty to one another and the fact that none of them are selfish or narcissistic is refreshing. They all seem in awe of each other's talents and the producers, 3Racha consisting of Bangchan, Han, and Changbin, are truly brilliant in the way they showcase each member's strengths and blend them all together to produce perfection. That's why I love God's Menu so much because it represents their group so well in concept and practice. 

Two more points for today. I love their lyrics. First of all, I love all the songs where they blend Korean with English lyrics. Absolutely love. But the meanings and themes are classic and very positive in general (more on this in a minute). My current inspiration is My Pace, a song they released a while back, but it speaks to me as a writer and all the advice I've read to writers: don't compare yourself to others, keep looking forward, don't worry about being slower than someone else, keep on keepin' on, pretty much. Also, since I'm also on a newly rigorous exercise regimen to rid myself of the stress-induced extra pandemic pounds I gained, I'm listening to SKZ with ear buds and, wow, really appreciating all the details and voices so much more. New appreciation for Changbin's rapping and gruff voice juxtaposed with the honey-voiced Seungmin and melodic Chan, the strong voices of Felix (his deep voice is amazing--and incongruous given his angelic looks), Han, and Hyunjin, and the sweetness of IN and Minho. Especially in My Pace, for instance. 

Secondly, I'll address the two parenthetical asides I mentioned above: their entertainment company, JYPE, and their departure from positive themes. They are interrelated and both tied to the main reason why I haven't blogged since January: Hwang Hyunjin, my ultimate bias in kpop terminology. He was suspended by JYPE from all activity in late February due to alleged bullying...in middle school...by someone who claimed he hurt their feelings back then by his gruff attitude. After an investigation by JYPE, the bullying claims were dismissed, Hyunjin apologized for any hurt he had ever caused and, you'd think, that would be that. But no. JYPE decided to put him on hiatus, seemingly their call, not his. (I'm gleaning all this from online buzz since JYPE has not posted any updates since their initial couple of announcements which were vague). JYPE never said for how long the hiatus would be. Apparently, typical hiatus in the kpop industry is two to three months, and it's already been more than seventy days. I know with all the horrible problems in the world this seems like no big deal, but that's exactly the point. SKZ and their positive attitude has been a lifeline to joy in the past dark year to so many young people (and older, ahem). Other than Schitt's Creek, I can't think of another entertainment source that represents so much positivity through their uplifting messages about self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care, acceptance of all, gender neutrality, and love for all. And Hyunjin and the other seven SKZ members embody that positivity. So when the original true eight OT8 are broken up, we all hurt. The camaraderie of the fandom has helped all of the Stays endure his absence, but I am amazed at how much it's affected me. 

Which brings me to their last Kingdom performance where they did a cover of BTOB I'll Be Your Man, but changed the narrative by having the song about a young innocent child who died and how the SKZ made a deal with the devil to trade their lives and die so he could be brought back to life. From what I've read, the best analysis of their performance is the young boy represents Hyunjin and that they are going through hell until he returns. Very powerful performance you can view above. Unless he has requested such a long hiatus himself, which we doubt but who knows since JYPE has been quiet, the length of his hiatus or punishment seems out of whack with his purported offense, especially because he apologized profusely. Anyway, we all hope he'll be back soon and we wish him and the other members continuing success and happiness.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

 First post of the new year - January 31, 2021

I finally feel like getting back to blogging again. I've never been into blogging that much to be honest, whether it's posting on my own blog or reading other blogs. I think part of the reason is that I'm on Twitter a lot and if I see someone promoting their recent blog post I'll sometimes look at it then, but I almost never read blogs otherwise. And even though I subscribe to blogs I must admit I rarely read them. I feel guilty spending time reading blogs instead of writing and reading other things that I feel help me more with my writing. 


Okay, now that I have my full disclosure out of the way, I can confess what has motivated me to get back to blogging. Stray Kids. Yes, I am probably their oldest fan "girl" or "Stay" as their fans are known as, but I feel compelled to share my enthusiasm for this mighty and abundantly talented K-pop boy band (and cute, make no mistake, each member has their own brand of charm, my "bias" as its called is the sex symbol of the group and dancer extraordinaire, Hyunjin). 

My obsession has surprised no one more than myself. I happened onto them one night on Twitter. One of the book blogger accounts I follow (must confess cannot remember who it was) posted a short video link to YouTube. I think it was God's Menu one of their biggest hits that had just been released. I was mesmerized pretty much right from the start. Probably after the second time I viewed it, since there's a lot to absorb in all their MVs. Because they are absolutely brilliant! 

Future posts will be devoted to "reviewing" (who am I kidding, "praising in detail" will be more like it) their huge body of MVs and other content. They produce so much content for their Stay--super productive bunch of young men. So my posts will focus on their MVs and dance practice videos (my faves) to open up discussions and interchange about this amazing group. 

Mystery Fanfare: CHRISTMAS CRIME FICTION ROUND-UP: Authors A-Z & S...

Mystery Fanfare: CHRISTMAS CRIME FICTION ROUND-UP: Authors A-Z & S...: Over the past few weeks, I've posted my Christmas Mysteries List in multiple parts . Here's an updated Final Round-Up all in one ...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Izzy: 4-Month Update

Izzy is now healthier. When we got her in January she was underweight and had a thin coat. Let's just say she wasn't the direct beneficiary of all the food she ate (aka she was infested with a variety of intestinal parasites aka worms--ugh!). With the help of our wonderful vet, she's now 8 pounds and has a beautiful coat that's as soft as a bunny's, appropriate since she is a little cuddle bunny.


Izzy's favorite activity is chasing squirrels in our back yard. She tries to climb trees to get to them. The squirrels love to taunt her. One is sitting on the fence gloating because Izzy thinks it is still in the tree.


She also likes sleepovers with her pal, Ken. Okay, "likes" might be a bit of an exaggeration. They both tolerated each other during their first few sleepovers. They both have progressed from being neutral to mildly liking the experience. Baby steps.


Izzy is very playful and likes to drag my shoes into her bed, no small feat (pun intended) given her size.





No doubt about it, Izzy is now feeling more secure and relaxed. We didn't hear a peep from her for the first three weeks (the trait my husband liked most about her). Scratch that. She's very vocal now. A very good watch dog who, like Mitzy did, goes bananas when any delivery person drives down our street, let alone approach our front door. But she is a very friendly and affectionate pup and listens to me more than Mitzy ever did. Usually. However, I learned the hard way that she is a door darter not to be trusted when I cracked the door open to pick up the just-delivered mail on our doorstep and she took off in a blur of fur. I ran after her shrieking as she hightailed it down the driveway after the mail carrier and toward the street. Thank God she stopped to smell the roses, or more accurately, the scent of a dog who sprayed there. I scooped her up, picked up the dropped mail, and padded back inside very grateful to have averted disaster. Lesson learned.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The First Month: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?

The short answer: both.
                                                                            Izzy
Housebreaking continues to improve. Izzy so wants to please us and is a creature of habit. Both good things. But she's also a little, ahem, In and Out burger, and I must watch her every second after she eats to encourage her to go outside or on the wee pad. If I remember to immediately take her outside we have success. But she still doesn't love walking on a leash. Anytime she has an accident inside we firmly tell her "no." Anytime she goes on the wee pad or outside she gets a small treat. Each day gets better. Meanwhile, we've been gating her in an alcove that connects to a small bathroom with a tile floor when we leave her alone.

However...Izzy has never met a gate she couldn't beat. The first time she showed total disregard for barriers was when I gated the stairs to keep her on the ground floor. It was an eighteen-inch high gate I use to contain my younger daughter's pekingese, Ken, whenever I petsit him. Ken respects the gate. Izzy pushed it over and scaled it like it was a fun hurdle in an agility course.

                                                                          Ken
I dragged out the twenty-four inch gate that has contained two children, five dogs, and two cats. Okay, the cats always went wherever they damn well pleased, but the wood and plastic mesh gate worked just fine with the kids and dogs. This gate was battered and the plastic was separated from the frame a little. Ken respects this gate. Not Izzy. After I gated both doorways of the bathroom and put Izzy inside before going out one day I turned around and she was in the hallway. Didn't I just put her in the bathroom? I wasn't positive, but pretty sure. I put her inside once again and was telling my husband my uncertainty when we look down and see Izzy pushing her head through the gate. It was like the pink slime scene from Poltergeist. The hole was small but she wanted out, and out she came.

So until I order new gates with wire mesh, Izzy will be shut in the bathroom with the regular doors whenever I leave. No views for you, Izzy.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day Two: Izzy Gets her own Harness

Izzy had captured my heart. She already was a superhero in my eyes. She didn't need to wear Mitzy's red harness/cape to prove it. So the next day I embarked on a new harness expedition to PetCo with Mitzy's harness in hand for size comparison. Almost all of the harnesses had a heavy plastic piece to adjust the neck which would be way too heavy for Izzy's little neck. I hadn't weighed her yet but the rescue lady described her as "just five pounds." I wanted one like Mitzy's, soft mesh fabric only. Christmas buyers had clearly depleted Petco's harness inventory. Then at the bottom of the rack I spotted a little red harness with black trim that was similar to Mitzy's. It matched nicely with the two leashes I already had too: one red, one black, both with rhinestone trim. The red one was Mitzy's and the black one belonged to the late, lamented, Baxter, a senior Yorkie. The Yorkie character, Bear, in FRIGHT ON, is mainly based on Baxter. To complete the package, and feeling very tech-savvy, I engraved a chrome, bone-shaped ID tag using Petco's magic machine and attached it to the harness. When I got home and tried it on Izzy, it fit like a charm, even though she reminded me of Marcel the monkey from Friends. We kept the harness on her the whole day so we could quickly attach the leash to take her outside when she needed to go. For housebreaking to progress, anticipation, timing and speed were critical factors. She wasn't thrilled with being on a leash (she bit the little rhinestone trim, either as a display of her hatred for being tethered or as a test to see if they were real diamonds), but overall, she seemed fine with her new harness.

Until it was time for bed. When we removed it she ran around  the house like crazy, happy to be unencumbered.

Next on Adventures in Izzyland: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Izzy's First Week: Day One

The pet rescue lady was supposed to check out our house to see if it was pet safe on Saturday, January 9th between 11 - 12 noon. She needed to drive down to Irvine to fetch Izzy from her foster home. She overslept, there was the typical LA traffic, and she didn't make it to our place until 4pm. The anticipation was killing me--I'd only seen pictures of Izzy online. What if I didn't like her? What if she didn't like me? Gah! It was like waiting for a blind date.

As soon as they parked I ran out to meet them. It was love at first sight! Izzy was super friendly and affectionate right from the start. And simply gorgeous! She's a cream sable Pomeranian, cream and beige coat with black tips and highlights.

The rescue lady knew love when she saw it but she still wanted to checkout the back yard. The first thing she noticed was our driveway gate. It needed to be made escape-proof. Izzy could squeeze through the four-inch slats. Dog fencing would fix that. But until it arrived Izzy could only be allowed outside on a leash. I only had Mitzy's old red harness. The rescue lady rigged it temporarily so it would fit by putting Izzy's arm and neck through the same hole. Izzy looked like she was wearing a superhero cape.

Adoption contract was signed and fees paid, medical records were reviewed, and feeding instructions given. She liked Orijen fish, Zuke's treats, and teenie weenie Greenies. Izzy had been spayed the previous Saturday and couldn't be bathed for another week. Same with flea treatment. We should crate her at night until she was fully housebroken.

That first night she didn't eat because she was excited and I'm sure stressed from being shuttled around, operated on, and meeting many new dogs and people in the last nine days. She followed us around and fell asleep next to me on the sofa while we watched TV. She didn't pee or poop outside. She peed on the wee pad inside. Baby steps. But she slept through the whole night in her crate in our bedroom with nary a peep or stirring. So far, so good.

Coming up: Izzy meets some of the family