Eri and Maggie’s Squid Game Review

Warning: This article may contain spoilers of Squid Game Season 1

If you have been on any form of social media the past month, you must have heard all about the new Netflix series, Squid Game. I felt the need to watch it as soon as it came out: As a K-Drama addict myself, why wouldn’t I? Now, this is something I don’t like to brag about, but I stayed up until 2 or 3 AM to finish some episodes in the midst of midterm season. Would I recommend you do that normally? Obviously, not. But, Maggie and I can guarantee you that Squid Game is an exception, and it is worth losing a few hours of sleep for a few days (or one day if you are brave enough to binge everything in a night). Here, we will give our own reviews on the series; while we will *try* to not spoil anything big, there are no guarantees… sorry :(((

Premise

Squid Game is a dystopian series where the contestants compete against each other in six childhood-inspired games with deadly twists. The one surviving winner obtains a cash award. Although the participants chose to take part in the games, they were predetermined as those who are in charge of the game picked people who are suffering from crippling debt and would most likely want to gamble their lives for money. 

Eri’s Review

To start off, let me say that Squid Game takes you on such an emotional rollercoaster. The majority of the times that I have cried on campus so far have been by watching this series. As someone who doesn’t cry often, this is a pretty big deal. Let me say the two characters that I got especially emotionally attached to (I will not be spoiling if they die or not):


1. Ali Abdul (Player #199)

Ali is an absolute sweetheart. From the moment he saved Gi-hun (Player #456)’s life in “Red Light, Green Light,” he’s had my heart. Even in this dystopian world where you literally are in a situation of life and death, he still manages to care about the other people in the game and always puts their lives out first. He’s too precious and too good for this world that it’s so so sad to see when he gets taken advantage of. If he’s not your ideal significant other, I can’t talk to you.

I mean, look at him. He’s literally glowing and, overall, adorable.
Source: NBC News

2. Kang Sae-byeok (Player #067)

As with the millions of other people who have watched the series, I am absolutely obsessed with Sae-byeok. First of all, she is so, so gorgeous. While she was risking her life playing the games, I couldn’t stop myself from saying “Wow, she’s so pretty” every few scenes (my friends can attest to this).  I definitely wasn’t the only one because the actress who played the role, HoYeon Jung, gained 13 million followers on Instagram in less than 3 weeks. 

She just *cries* looks perfect. Her hair, her skin, everything.
Source: Insider

In the series, she also has an amazing backstory: She escaped from North Korea with her brother, and she joins the game to be able to get him out of an orphanage and live with him. It makes sense why she doesn’t trust most of the other players in the game, I’m sure that more than 80% of them were snakes. 

For introducing me to these two amazing characters, I give the series 4.5/5. I took the 0.5 points off because the ending was not satisfying; it was as if they were asking Netflix to make another season, but I would have been fine with one season with all the original characters. However, I guess the series got it right, it really does come down to money at the end of the day…

Maggie’s Review

Before I hop into things, I wanted to preface this by saying that I watched the whole series in one day in two-times speed. Yes, that’s right. I like watching my kdramas like how my Philosophy professor lectures – at the speed of light. 

I would say Squid Games is one of the best thriller kdramas I have watched, and, trust me, as someone who’s watched over 100 kdramas (give or take), you definitely want to take that to heart. 

Its unique dystopian twist combined with its commentary on economic inequality keeps watchers on their toes while subtly critiquing the debt-infused system many citizens are lured into by loan sharks and debt collectors. Watchers are so engaged that many have attempted to interpret the director’s purpose of Squid Games – coming up with all sorts of theories about Squid Game’s purpose from a critique on neuroliberal capitalism to a warning against communism. But, whatever the political message behind it is if there even is one, it’s a great drama. 

And now, since Eri went over her favorite characters, I want to take the liberty to go over my favorite character. Drumroll please…

Han Mi-nyeo! 

God, what a misleading picture. Anyway – unlike Eri – I won’t spoil anything, you can thank me later. But, her character is definitely iconic. If you have watched the series, you know why. If you haven’t, be prepared to love and hate her all at once. Take that how you will. I know for sure, I will be looking at bathrooms differently for the next few months…

Overall, I give Squid Game a 4/5 stars rating. I’m not a big fan of thrillers and all the gory blood effects so that’s where the 1 point deduction comes from. Granted, that is a biased rating: taking off a point simply because of the genre it is. Anyway, if you haven’t watched it, what are you even doing? Jump on the bandwagon already! And for all my peeps without Netflix, steal your roommate’s password! If you need any kdrama recommendations or any sites to  *legally watch them, you know where to contact me!

Closing Remarks

Squid Game is definitely worth the hype and a great way to get exposed to kdramas for those who have never watched any. Plus, you can join the trend of making dalgona cookies for a fun cooking process with a tasty reward at the end.

Reviewer’s Eri and Maggie Out.

Writer Spotlight: Jon Pejo

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Jon becoming the most important member of The Hoya: blog editor.

As the new semester begins, we at the Blog figured it would be a good idea to introduce our readers to the newest blog editor: His Royal Highness Jon Pejo! For those of you who don’t know, Jon is a senior in the College studying English and history and has already left quite a legacy behind at Georgetown. From New Student Orientation (NSO) to The Hoya, almost everyone knows Jon’s name. But who is Jon? Cece Ochoa and I spent some time with Jon to get to know him a bit better. 

Jon’s Latest Articles:

What’s the most recent article published under Jon’s name, you may ask? It’s “9 Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season.” Yes, it’s from 2019, but the topic is very relevant today. Is Jon also a prophet by predicting the current dangerous flu season? Read the article to find out! (Also, get your flu shot kids!)

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Jon as Doc Brown from “Back to the Future

However, Jon has started a new column with the lovely former Blog Editor Abby Weintz on how they are the old ones at Georgetown now. While the first article, “Senior Year: A List of Grievances,” is under Abby’s name, all of us in the section can swear that Jon did contribute. The piece answers some commonly asked questions from the first month of being back on campus, such as, “Why is Lau 2 dead silent?” Great job, Jon, on writing your first article in almost two years!

Fun Facts About Jon:

Where might people know Jon from?

He has been very active in NSO! Additionally, he was named Georgetown’s Funniest Human in 2020, so he’s kind of a big deal. Finally, he sang Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” on a table at a Club Filipino event while he was sober. 

What is Jon’s favorite Georgetown memory?

Jon has enjoyed all moments of NSO. Ask him about any specific day he worked at NSO, and he will definitely have a good story to tell about it.

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Jon retelling his stories from NSO to the Class of 2060.

What is Jon’s favorite campus food?

He loves Leo’s garlic breadsticks. Not going to lie, the breadsticks are one of the best you can get, and, dare I say it, they might be as good as the ones from Olive Garden.

What is on Jon’s senior year bucket list?

For whatever reason, Jon’s senior year bucket list includes catching up on lost time at The Tombs. We think it’s so he can perform Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” with a larger audience and possibly under different circumstances. Anyways, keep an eye out for Jon’s ~incredible~ singing talent at The Tombs this year!

Who is Jon’s favorite Georgetown graduate?

Given Georgetown’s incredibly long list of notable graduates, none stand out to Jon more than Bradley Booper. You may remember Oscar-nominated Bradley Booper in iconic roles such as Broot, the lovable tree in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” or in movies such as “The B-Team.”

What is the best thing about the Blog, according to Jon?

Here at the Blog, there’s one thing we can all agree on. No, it’s not that the best chef is writer Lincoln Le or that WordPress is the best platform available. It’s that objectively, without a doubt, the best part of the Blog is Jon Pejo. And we’re glad to see he agrees!

What does Jon hope to accomplish as senior editor of the Blog?

While the virtual Blog was full of fun, wholesome, chaotic vibes, Jon’s number two priority is to keep and improve these vibes as we return to in-person blogging. What’s his number one priority? Is it having fun? Of course not. It’s a strategically planned TikTok takeover! So keep an eye out for all your blog favs (i.e. Jon Pejo) on The Hoya’s TikTok!

Any closing messages?

As Jon put it kindly, “God bless President Kennedy.” Unfortunately, he could not stick around to explain this one. So, uh, we’ll leave this to reader interpretation. 

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Jon leaving the interview.

Closing Remarks:

All of us here at the Blog are very excited to see the long tradition of having such amazing editors continue. We are so excited to see the Blog flourish this semester and hope you all stick around to catch Jon’s future articles!

Header Image: Vogue

Oh No, the Cicadas Are Coming! How To Prepare Yourself for the Weeks Ahead

As many of you may already know, the cicadas will be invading the DMV area in the next few weeks. If you didn’t know, let this article serve as a warning. Periodical cicadas emerge every seventeen years, and this year happens to be the lucky 17th year in the cycle.

To prepare, I will be introducing products you can buy so you don’t have to call 911 when you accidentally see, smell, hear, touch (or taste?!) the insurgence of cicadas.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Headphones are a must. Cicadas are loud — so loud that they could cause hearing damage. So, while the Bose or Beats headphones are on the more expensive side, trust me, they will be needed, like these noise-canceling wireless Beats for $300. There is a plus side to getting headphones, too: instead of hearing cicadas, you can keep your mind at peace by listening to your favorite bops. Want to listen to rerecorded Taylor Swift singles? Go for it. Want to blast out some rock-and-roll that will have passersby glaring at you for the sound getting out to others? You can do that, too. This is a judgment-free zone.

You know you want to show off those moves like Jimmy Kimmel
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Basically, we have what Michael Scott calls a win-win-win situation here: You don’t hear cicadas, and you can listen to your favorite playlist. And, as the moderator, I feel happy that we are all satisfied.

Michael’s happy, Angela’s happy, and Oscar’s happy. Success.
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Horse Blinders for Humans

Human Horse Blinders That Blocks Out Distraction Exists - 9GAG
TECHCRUNCH

Did you know that horse blinders for people exist? Because I did not. While they look a little funny — to say the least — but they do seem effective. When you want to take a walk outside, try these on, and see what happens! You definitely won’t see the cicadas roaming around on trees by the sidewalks with these blinders. Alternatively, the next time you study at Lau, you will be super focused, and you will literally be blocking out the haters.

Alpine Touring Boots

La Sportiva Spectre 2.0 Alpine Touring Boot | Backcountry.com
They look pretty durable to me
BACKCOUNTRY

I don’t know if these boots will work well, but when I googled durable boots, and they came up, so let’s trust Google here. Cicadas shed their skin, and I absolutely cannot take the sound or feeling of when I step on an exoskeleton. Hopefully, these Alpine boots will prevent you from feeling these creepy-crawlies on your foot, but no guarantees. 

Bug-Repellent Suit

Netsmen Wearable Mosquito Suit
Cute.
THE GREEN HEAD

Don’t want a cicada to accidentally land on your favorite shirt? No worries, just put this suit on top of your clothes! Even if you’re out for a romantic night, I’m sure your date will understand this wardrobe necessity. Or, encourage them to wear a bug-repellent suit, too, because who doesn’t want to twin with their date? That would be super cute. And, you will also prevent bug bites, which I think is a big pro. I despise when mosquitoes have to stab my face, fingers or toes. Even if I might not be in Washington, D.C., you might see me wearing these around this summer…

Portable Hose

Reelcraft® Portable Hose Reel and Cart | Hoses, Nozzles, & Accessories -  Beacon Athletics
This is a power statement.
BEACON ATHLETICS

I didn’t know this until today, but one way to repel cicadas is to knock them off by spraying water with a hose. That is why I recommend a portable water hose. Like a fire extinguisher, having it right by you may come in handy. Not to mention, you can also spray water at your friends if they make you mad and you want to get revenge in a dramatic way. 

If you haven’t noticed, all the products I mentioned have multiple uses other than for cicadas, meaning that they might be worthwhile investments for everyone, even if you won’t experience the cicada season. Don’t worry, I am not an official sponsor for any of these, I am simply doing my job as a blogger to bring the freshest information to you, so these goods are what I think will be the best.

Anyway, to those who will be in D.C., all I can say is good luck; you have my best wishes.

Header Image: VOX

Let’s talk about the Grammys

On March 14, the Recording Academy held its 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Want to see some highlights from the show? Watch Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak sing “Leave the Door Open” or Queen Bey herself, Beyonce, break the record for the number of Grammys won by any single artist. Both will truly make your day.

But, I’m here to talk about one group that did not receive enough attention: BTS. Yes, I am an ARMY, but their talent is undeniably amazing, and I am truly saddened that they did not receive the attention they deserved.

So, I did a little bit of research, being the ~investigative~ blogger that I am, to find out more about the scam — oops, I meant spectacular, my bad! — business of the Grammys.

The Voting Process

If you go on its website, the Recording Academy lists out how the voting process works. Seems pretty simple right? However, you may have noticed that it does not mention a word about who the voting members are, except that they are “artists, producers, songwriters, and engineers.” Because the Academy would not tell me who these members are themselves, I looked up the diversity of the United States music industry. (I’m basically becoming Sherlock Holmes at this point.)

The results are shocking… or should I say expected? In the United States, non-Hispanic white artists comprised 62.5% of the occupation, while Black artists made up only 11.6% of the sector. Asian artists came in fourth place, with ONLY 6% of the industry. 

Okay, so let’s do some basic transitive property-type logic here. If the Grammy voting members are composed of the so-called “music creators,” and there is heavy underrepresentation of the Asian community in the industry in the first place, then what does that mean? There are likely few Asian artists who have voting membership. It seems to me that the Grammys are not a reliable way to tell if the artist is talented or not.

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This is exactly how I felt after doing some geometry-type theory as an SFS student. #math

2021 Nominations

Now that we got the basics down, let’s look at the nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The most famous fields are Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. BTS was not nominated for any of those awards, yet they did get nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their hit song, “Dynamite.” 

But, wait a minute. BTS released TWO albums (“Map of the Soul: 7” and “Be”) during the eligibility period (Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020). If you need a reference, they released the same number of albums as Taylor Swift, for all you Swifties out there. Not to mention, both of the BTS albums hit number 1 in the US charts (not that the rankings matter for Grammys, but it is monumental for an Asian pop group). I fully believe that BTS should at least have been nominated for Song of the Year, which is voted based on the lyrics of the song. The “Be” album, recorded and released during this pandemic, has songs that cover many emotions that many of us have experienced this past year, from fear, burnout, loneliness to happiness.

Furthermore, the most well-known song, “Dynamite,” talks about taking joy in the little things in life. For instance, the first two lines in the first verse are “Shoes on, get up in the morn’ / Cup of milk, let’s rock and roll.” If you don’t know the song by heart at this point, please do so because it will literally make your day. And these lines serve as proof. I, for sure, don’t feel like rock n’ rolling when I roll out of bed, half-sleeping at 8 a.m. Nevertheless, if you do listen to this song, it will get you moving and energetic. Even if you are a terrible dancer like me, it will make you want to show off your moves from the robot arms to the chicken dance, and why not?

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It’s sad my dancing is currently at Oscar level. …

The song is about enjoying your life, so let it be how it wants! “Dynamite” has been a perfect anthem during the pandemic to find meaning in the remote life that we have right now, so wouldn’t it make sense for this song to at least have been nominated in this time setting? This album is especially relatable because we are all going through the pandemic together, and members of BTS have gone through similar experiences as us. If they weren’t nominated for this year’s awards, when will they be? 

The Awards Night

Before we talk about BTS’ nomination, let’s talk about their red carpet. The red carpet officially kicked off at 6:30 p.m. EST, which corresponds to 7:30 a.m. Korean Standard Time. The members woke up at 3 a.m. to dress up and put on makeup, and they looked amazing, as always.

2021 grammy awards bts
METRO
Can you beat that 7 a.m. look? No one can.

Even with their commitment to the red carpet, the media did not recognize this dedication, so while they woke up for the Grammys, they only received minimal attention. That’s sad. Get your act together, Recording Academy. 

Now, let’s look at the award BTS was actually nominated for: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. This award recognizes the artistic excellence of the group. I’m not saying that the song that won, “Rain on Me,” is not good. In fact, that song is iconic. But, I am going to put it out there that overall, “Dynamite” had such an enormous impact on so many lives that it shouldn’t even be compared to the other songs. The lyrics, along with their clear voices and their choreography, together, create a song that is true art. 

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If this gif doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will

Did this blog just become a rant session for me? Possibly, yes. Nonetheless, the Grammys at its current state is not looking too great. The Recording Academy should at least make its voting process more transparent and work to diversify the members to give all talented artists a chance. Until then, “MIC Drop”(ed)… sorry had to put that in there :D

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“Everyday we vibin’, mic drop, bam”

Alternatives to Ted Cruz’s Escape Plan to Cancún

When the massive snowstorm hit Texas, the state had to deal with many catastrophes, such as power outages and food shortages. While Texans were struggling to stay warm and safe, what was Sen. Ted Cruz seen doing? He went on a plane to go to Cancún, hoping to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Out of all the things he could’ve done to escape to the resort, he decided to wear a Texas state face mask, making him easy to catch.

Here are some things Ted should’ve done to make it to Cancun without being seen:

Get a private jet

I mean come on, why would Ted go on a United flight at the Houston airport when he knows there will be a crowd of people ready to take a video if they see him? With his privilege, renting a plane should not have been that hard. Although I am not a celebrity, at least I have the brain cells to figure this situation out.

Get a disposable phone

This one should’ve been easy: Go to Walmart, get a Blackberry, text to friends and family about the getaway from that phone, and smash it up into pieces and throw it into the Gulf of Mexico, obviously. As a “Gossip Girl” fanatic, I thought Ted could pull a Gossip Girl move because why wouldn’t he say “XOXO, you know you love me” to his constituents?

Hire a doppelgänger

Rumor has it that each person has two doppelgängers somewhere in the world. However, Ted Cruz is special. He has a handful of look-alikes in the United States alone. Kevin Malone from “The Office”? Definitely looks like Ted. Mrs. Doubtfire is 100% related to Ted. He has this great network of Ted Cruzes in the world but doesn’t take advantage of it. Smh my head.

KNOW YOUR MEME
I bet you’re thinking, “Wait, which one is the real Ted Cruz?”

Get a K-Pop Makeover

This one is my personal favorite. Why wouldn’t anyone want to look like they’re a part of BTS or Blackpink? Of course, these groups will not support Ted pretending to be one of them, but I’m just putting the idea out there. Ted could really get clear skin, color contacts, and new metallic hair color.

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Should Ted have even gone to Cancún in the first place? Absolutely not. But, if anyone is thinking of escaping from reality unnoticed and safely making it to your Ritz-Carlton suite in the future, then these four tips will definitely come in handy. You have my word.

Expectations vs. Reality of Virtual Freshman Year: A Timeline

May-July

Let’s face it: as a current freshman, we have had a difficult semester so far, especially because everything is online. When we talked to upperclassmen before committing to be a Hoya, they promised us a wonderful campus life, but here we are … So, I’m going to list five expectations and realities of what we’ve gone through, from the summer to now. 

Expectation #1: The Roommate Process

We all made Facebook accounts to find our potential roommate. We were expecting something similar to “The Bachelor,” in which we would have a few candidates in mind who we wanted to room with, but we narrow it down to THE ONE. 

Or, we waited until CHARMS opened to have our own Tinder experience to see who we matched with.

Reality #1: Umm … Where Will We Be Living?

While our friends from high school were getting ready to leave their homes, we waited, and then waited some more, and waited a little more …

… only to find out that most of our roommates were going to be …

… our “cool” parents. So much for the freshman dorm experience.

August

Expectation #2: First Day of School

Whoo!!!! We made it! Our first day of college. We were ready to pop off with our glamorous outfits for the new start of our lives.

We were also excited to meet some potential BFFs: the Patrick to our Spongebob.

We might have been running across campus to make it from Car Barn to the ICC for our classes on time after realizing how far away they were.

Reality #2: First Day of ~Zoom~ University

How was the first day of college, you may ask? Well, our looks definitely weren’t 100% fresh. Our top half? Maybe. Our bottom half? Definitely not. If you have worn jeans to a class and not just sweats, I want to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. 

In terms of our best friends — yeah, definitely not. In large lectures, people turn off their cameras, and in seminars, there’s no time for socializing. Guess we’ll have to wait a few more months to find real friends.

And, as for making it to class on time, that’s easy-peasy. Just by walking, at max, 10 steps, I can go from my bed to my desk. It’s almost impossible to be late to a class, but I will admit it can happen once in a while. Time is irrelevant right now.

Expectation #3: CAB Fair

We would have been on Healy Lawn, super excited to see all the clubs Georgetown has to offer. From a capella groups to ~exclusive~ consulting clubs, we would have walked around and experienced it all by signing up for a million clubs, especially the ones that bribed us with free food.

Reality #3: Shindig

Let me just say that Shindig was an interesting experience. With freshmen and club leaders not knowing how the website worked, it was semi-chaotic. And, all I could hear was my computer fan working up because my laptop was HOT. My poor computer was ready to explode at any minute.

Word on the street is CAB Fair will be back on Zoom(!) in a few weeks. Only time will tell.

September

Expectation #4: The Campus Life

We were definitely warned about some aspects of the campus experience. First, the rats. We heard the horror stories of seeing them running around in the middle of the night and creeping into the dorms. We were prepared to at least try to befriend them.

Then, there’s Leo’s. Many upperclassmen have also said that it’s college food, so you can’t expect it to be a Michelin-star meal. 

Next up is the @georgetownhotmess account on Instagram: the infamous page dedicated to cringeworthy moments on campus. From bugs coming out of Leo’s food to rats popping out of garbage cans, we saw it all. My high school friends asked me before I committed to Georgetown if I really wanted to go to a college with roaches and rats everywhere, and I fully said, “Yes. And, your college isn’t cool enough to have a hot mess account on Instagram.”

Finally, there are the parties. We would have spent our weekend nights with our friends having the time of our lives. With the perfect shot on the Vil A rooftop, our Instagrams would have officially confirmed that we were a real Georgetown student.

Reality: Virtual “Campus” Life?

One thing is for sure: For those of us at home, we still have not seen any of the famous Georgetown rats. Maybe that’s a good thing because the campus rats get more freedom and less hatred. Hopefully, those rats are partying for us on campus.

And, maybe it is a great thing that we still get one more semester at home with better food, but I for sure am craving Epi quesadillas right about now.

The same goes for the Hot Mess Instagram account. I definitely would rather not eat food with roaches in it or experience horrifying events in the bathroom that some students have noted.

The big sad part is the parties. Being alone in a room on Zoom is just different. The typical online games like Skribbl.io will do for now, I guess. Hopefully, spending at least one night a week drawing random stuff will make all of us Picassos by the end of the year.

October

Expectation #5: Study Groups for Midterms

For the big lecture classes that have midterm tests instead of essays, the ideal would have been studying together with the ~perfect~ study group. Imagine the squad from “Community” but so much better.

Reality #5: Not-So-Fun Studying

Studying together virtually is super difficult. Especially for big classes when everyone has their cameras off, it is not easy to find people you connect with. If we want to find someone to study with, we have to work for it: ask for their numbers, if they want to study together on Zoom, etc., which requires so much more effort than in normal times.

Obviously, college life is drastically different this semester than in the past. We feel more disconnected, and for those of us living in smaller towns or cities, there are not that many fellow Hoyas living by us. That being said, when we all get to be on campus together, it is going to make the college experience so much better. We will get to enjoy on-campus life more than any other class because the first semester of college online was rough, and no one else has gone through it. So, whether it will be in January, March or August, I cannot wait for our class to finally unite together in person. Until then, remember to wear your mask and stay safe, Hoyas.