There’s always room for more music: Summer 2019

There have been so many great music releases this month, so here’s a post to update my Summer 2019 playlist.

Title: 멍청이 (twit)
Artist: Hwasa

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song so r e l e v a n t it’s a bit scary. Great song regardless of how much it hits my heart!

Watch/listen here

Title: Judge
Artist: JERO

JERO’s been a long-time favourite, so it was great to get some new music from him!

Watch/listen here

Title: Cold
Artist: Se7en

I haven’t heard Se7en’s music in YEARS, maybe even 10 years? This one is self-composed and it’s so good!

Listen here

Title: Trip All Day (Feat. Moti)
Artist: JUNE

I thought this was a pretty cute song! Not very familiar with JUNE, but his agency uploaded a live video of this song too, such great live vocals!

Title: 내비게이션 (Navigation)
Artist: Hui (Pentagon)

Honestly, I’m really sad that I didn’t find this earlier. Very quickly made it into my best-of: all time playlist! (✧ω✧)

Watch/listen (live) here

Title: 별 (Little Prince)
Artist: Loco, Yoo Sungeun

This one is from the drama Memories of the Alhambra!
( ‾́ ◡ ‾́ )

Listen here

That wraps up my top tracks from December 2018 to February 2019. Excited to see what autumn has to offer!


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Sayonara summer: February at a glance

Second month of 2019 is pretty much done and dusted! It seems to have absolutely flown by (unmistakably the shortest month of the year) and I’m reaching a very important stage of my PhD candidature. This month has been pretty slow in terms of progress, but I have (guiltily) taken some extra time to chill out. I think it’s doing me some good, honestly, so let’s recap what’s happened this month:

Work-related achievements

  • Won the poster award at the local conference!
  • Submitted an important report for an upcoming milestone
  • Took some really beautiful photos on the microscope

Things I’ve watched

I made the mistake of getting Netflix and have fallen into an endless hole of sitcoms and kdrama.

The Good Place
I’d been wanting to watch this series for the longest time, so of course it would be my first pick after getting Netflix (≧∀≦)
Smashed through 3 seasons in record time too. What a breath of fresh air!

One Day At A Time
If you’re looking for something to watch that is equal parts hilarious and wholesome, look no further. Finally got around to finishing season 1 and completed season 2 just in time for season 3 to come out!

Memories of the Alhambra
This one was also a great choice. So nice to see a different concept like this and the plot definitely kept me on my toes.

Strong Woman Do Bongsoon
My first time seeing Hyungsik act and was not disappointed! Kung Fu Hustle meet Criminal Minds, this drama did so well balancing comedy and an intriguing plot.

Things I’ve read

I haven’t been very good with my reading this month. I had initially picked up The Color of Lies by C.J. Lyons but have since put it aside. I’m only about a chapter in, but I feel that it’s definitely written for a younger teen audience. It’s probably that now is not the right time for me to pick up a novel like this, so for now it’s shelved as on-hold.

I did also start Antigoddess by Kendare Blake, after having watched The Good Place and felt itchy to read something mythology. This one fits more with what I needed to read at the time rather than The Color of Lies, but then managed to get distracted by Netflix. It’s definitely not unusual for me to cycle through reading-watching-playing different things, so I will come back to this eventually!

Things I’ve listened to

While backtracking music, I came across 내비게이션 (Navigation) by Pentagon’s Hui. I’m a huge fan of Wanna One’s Energetic, which is also one of Hui’s songs so it made sense to look for more! This one was a great find.

And of course, MONSTA X dropped their comeback album We Are Here, full of quality songs. Definitely MX style and the B-sides are incredible too!

Some fun things

  • Worked an easy cover shift at my tutoring job and had a nice lunch with a friend from work
  • Caught up with the girls from high school over a night in with pizza
  • Felt alive again after doing an exercise class I haven’t done in around a year and released what “no pain, no gain” means
  • Celebrated the completion of 2 PhDs in our lab!

Things I’m looking forward to in March

  • Getting over this confirmation milestone so I can move on with my life
  • (Getting over this confirmation milestone so I can start a new drama)
  • Getting started with this pilot study so I can move on with my life
  • Putting in some applications for some important programs/events!

We’re about to officially step into autumn, but ironically the 1st of March will be a toasty 37°C… Hopefully the weather is a bit kinder, and may we all have an enjoyable month!


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If you must blink, do it now

If there is one thing you must know about me, it is that I have a deep appreciation for stop-motion animation. More specifically, for the works of Laika Studios. Travis Knight is the mastermind behind the production of these animated masterpieces like Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls. The most recent film was 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings. These films are small in number, but epic in production quality.

image: jacobsoup

Kubo and the Two Strings is the first Laika film to be directed by Travis himself and goodness what a beautiful story it tells of magic, family and memories. It follows Kubo, a performer who brings his stories literally to life with music. This piece is truly complete with stunning visuals, elegant music and a unique story.

These films can be quite dark!

I’ve grown up with those around me firmly believing that anything ‘cartoon’ or ‘animated’ is merely for children. Having more and more exposure over the years, works like the Laika films completely banish these ideas! Kubo and the Two Strings, particularly, is more suited for a mature audience. I mean, the sisters manifesting from the river?! That scene chilled me to the very b o n e. The story also has such great contrast between dark and light. One moment the story is completely horrifying, then next, beautifully colourful and cheery. It’s work like this that makes me believe in magic.

Paranorman was more comedic but it also boldly touched on some issues that many family films tend to skim over. And all that really needs to be said about Coraline is: The Other Mother.

Laika studios has really evolved…

Through the years, we’ve really seen Laika animation technology blossom. Starting with Coraline, which was an incredible feat at its time, stop-motion animation has become almost flawless. Libraries of thousands of unique facial expressions, tens of large detailed sets, the many, many frames that go into making a single sequence! So much effort goes into creating these pieces and it is not appreciated even nearly enough!

For Kubo and the Two Strings, I especially appreciate the thorough research into a culture that probably not many of the designers were familiar with. Every fabric pattern, details in the towns, every element was so well-researched.

Not too long ago, Laika had an exclusive exhibit at the Portland Art Museum showcasing more of the behind the scenes. (Also the Laika x Nike collaboration? Those kicks looked awesome!) I’m so glad it existed, although I couldn’t go there myself. Hopefully in future they have another exhibit! I hope that more people are able to realise the beauty of stop-motion. It truly has a special charm unmatched by any CG animation.

Where to from here?

Laika has a film set for release in April, The Missing Link. Judging from trailers, this one seems more light-hearted! I’m really excited to go and see it.

And just some fun facts…

I was just having a look at Travis Knight’s profile and before becoming an animator, he started off as a rapper (Chilly Tee).

His father is a co-founder and current chairman of Nike. This explains the Laika x Nike shoes!

Travis also recently produced a live action film – the newest Transformers film. I still need to see that one.

On the wavelength of stop-motion, there are a couple of other non-Laika honourable mentions:

  • Mary and Max (2009)
  • Anomalisa (2015): This one, I’ve had a friend rave about. I’ve only gotten as far as the trailer so far but wow, quality!

There’s still a lot out there I haven’t seen or even heard about before, so long way to go! May we discover some more gems down the stop-motion rabbithole.

Well, for now…

Welcome to 2019: January at a glance

I c a n n o t believe it’s already time to say goodbye to January. I’ve been back at uni since the second day of the year, but somehow, things have felt pretty stagnant! I know in my case (and definitely not uncommonly), I am much harsher on myself and expect much more compared to what I expect from others. I’m still coming to terms with being satisfied with how far I’ve come, and reflection is a big part of this process. That being said, let’s see what I got up to this last month!

Work-related achievements

  • Made my first poster for a local conference
  • Took on a new leadership position for a student association
  • Smashed through a series of experiments with our post-doc, E
  • Found out some really interesting results!

Things I’ve watched

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

After hearing A absolutely rave about it in the lab, I went to see it with a few friends and was completely blown away by the animations!

Currently watching: Duet Song Festival
I’ve seen plenty of amazing performance cuts on Youtube (like this one and this one) and decided to start watching episodes in full.

Things I’ve read

Picked up my Kindle again sometime in December and read steadily into the new year!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

This one was a reread. I picked up this series initially probably 10 years ago!

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Followed through with Book 2 from The Iron Fey series

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Got ~70% of the way through this and couldn’t read any more.. I wrote a few things about it here.

Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

Thoughts on this one are here.

Currently reading: The Color of Lies by C.J. Lyons
Reviews are a little mixed but I’m giving it a go!

Things I’ve listened to

APink’s title track응응 (Eung Eung) from their new mini Percent dominated my top tracks in the first half of the month! An absolute jam

Then second half, ASTRO came back with a full album All Light and I fell down a rabbit hole (note my Youtube history consists of a bunch of their fancams, live performance vids, and the iconic Catching Cicada video). 전화해 (All Night) is a true masterpiece. Congratulations to the boys for their first music show win with this album!

Aside from these songs that I put on repeat 741,879 times, there are some other picks for the month.

Some fun things

  • Testing my green thumb and saw my first seedling sprout (am likely to win a challenge against our post-doc, N)
  • Established a culture of playing Monopoly Deal during lunchtimes

Things I’m looking forward to in February

  • Crunch time with new experiments
  • Long overdue catch-ups with a variety of friend groups

After listing all these things down, I realise I did quite a few things after all! (≧∀≦) May Feb be even better!


header image: seantookthese

New year, new tunes: Summer 2019

The first seasonal playlist of the year! Here are a few picks from Summer 2019:

Title: Emotion (Feat. Woodie Gochild)
Artist: Jhnovr

The album cover is giving me some real OPM Genos vibes. Nice track with a refreshing beat (๑˘︶˘๑)

Listen here

Title: 잠에 들지 못해 (Tuesday)
Artist: Sunkiss

Her voice reminds me of Hoody. The song is self-produced, -written, -composed and -arranged.

Listen here

Title: 친구의 친구를 사랑했네 (I Loved My Friend’s Friend)
Artist: YUMDDA

A short track with pretty interesting vocals.

Listen here

Title: 센 척 안 해 (One of Those Nights) (Feat. Crush)
Artist: Key (of SHINee)

Thank you to F for recommending this to me. Crush, I am ashamed I didn’t hear this earlier! Forgive me!

Listen here

Title: 오토바이 (Motorbike)
Artist: SOMA

Chill track with an animoji lyric video!

Watch/listen here

Title: 1월이 오면 (Gone)

Slow guitar and sweet vocals with summer night feels.

Listen here

Title: 이 노래가 클럽에서 나온다면 (Fire Up)
Artist: Woody

One of my favourite picks for this season so far!

Listen here

Title: All Night (전화해)
Artist: ASTRO

What a jam (*♡∀♡)

Watch/listen here

Title: Way Back Home
Artist: SHAUN

Also another one recommended by F – thank you (*¯ ³¯*)♡

Watch/listen here

Title: Falling Down
Artist: DooBoo

Hehe, her stage name is tofu ٩(・ิᴗ・ิ๑)۶

Listen here

Title: 왼손 (Left Hand)
Artist: NewKidd

A smooth R&B track! These kids are pretty cute..

Watch/listen here

Aaaaand, that’s a wrap! Happy listening!


header image: joshwithersart

Sexy time, all the time: Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

I can no longer remember which novel started it all, but one of my most treasured friendships blossomed in the realisation that we shared a common taste in urban fantasy. Back then, my dear friend raved about a series: Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh.

Finally.. after about 10 years.. I have started it!

Continue reading

It’s a disaster alright: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Now, this book is a bit far from what I usually read. It is without any faery magic or paranormal beings. It is raw and encapsulates the American college student culture that I cannot even begin to understand. It is dirty and disturbing in ways different to the horrors of dark fantasy. Buckle up, because I have a lot of things to say.

Its title is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

Continue reading

Hi hello 你好。

So, starting up a WordPress blog, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with it. I was under the impression that most have a designated theme, whether it’s life advice, a platform for news, a photography portfolio, or just sharing recounts of everyday life.

Being a research student with a number of side interests, I thought maybe I’d blog about one of these things. Maybe a blog to share my thoughts on books I’ve read. Some attempts at higher level thinking. Maybe some snapshots of what life is as a PhD student. Or even just a place to recommend music, film, etc.

Unsurprisingly, after much deliberation, I couldn’t choose and so I decided actually, I won’t choose!

This blog is therefore a mishmash of things that are me.

Don’t hesitate to drop me a message. Who knows where this blog will go, but let’s find out together! ٩(◦`꒳´◦)۶

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