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What has happened to the girls in SM Rookies?
So for those who don’t know what is this question about:In December 2013, SM Entertainment created a special trainees’ team called SM Rookies, where they put their most talented trainees, who had the biggest potential for debuting and promoted them under the team’s name before they officially debuted under some group - they were performing at SM Town’s concert, had a show where they were covering Disney songs, playing games and introducing each other and where other, already known SM artists, were being MCs, releasing dance practices, and many more… (in the end, you can still watch videos from that on YouTube).From this team came all NCT members and also the majority of the Red Velvet members (I think that Joy is the only one who wasn’t included in SM Rookies)- members of both groups were promoting with this team until SM officially debuted them in groups we now all know.The members of the NCT Dream, we know today (without Chenle) were doing the Disney show with several of the girls who didn’t debut in Red Velvet but were instead planned to be in a girl group that is going to be formed this or the next year. Spoiler alert - out of 6 girls who were supposed to stay in the SM until the formation of the next group, only one of them is still in the company.So who were they and what happened to them?XU YIYANG- She is the oldest out of all girls as she was born in 1997 (23 years) and also one of two Chinese girls, which were on the team.Moving to Korea in 2014, when she was seventeen years old, she was introduced to SM Rookies in late 2016 and being titled as a twin of Krystal Jung or Victoria from f(x) thanks to her gorgeous face. There has never been much content with her because of how “late” she joined the team and also because she stayed in it only for two years before leaving back to China.(As of right now, she is a best friend with Liu Xiening - Sally of GUGUDAN)Surprisingly, she became an artist under a company owned by Tao (former member of EXO, who left SM in 2015), and this year, she participated in CHUANG 2020 - which is something like the Chinese Produce series, where Tao, Luhan, Kris and Victoria were the mentors.Even though she gained a huge amount of popularity and fans throughout the show and people were sure that she is going to be in the final line-up no matter what, she ended up being 8th (the final group, which debuted as Bon Bon Girls 303 has 7 members). There was a tsunami of hate towards the show as there were many proofs that she was in the final line-up, but the company of another girl bought thousands of votes at the last minute and kicked Yiyang out of it.As of right now, she is a solo artist under Tao’s company and has released a few Chinese singles....KO EUNJI - KOEUN- She is the second oldest out of all girls, being born in 1999 (as of right now she has 21 years old and for the NCT Dream members, she was “noona” back then)She was a trainee for 8 or 9 years and to SM Rookies, she was introduced in 2015. Her specialty was vocals and because she was one of the oldest girls back then, she almost debuted with Red Velvet - as you can tell, it didn’t work out, but she was featured at the beginning of “Happiness” and still is a great friend with Yeri.Unfortunately, she left in February of this year, even though many people thought she is going to be a leader in the next girl group. After her departure from the company, she opened up her personal Instagram account and for quite a while following all the other girls who were in SM Rookies with her, but she recently unfollowed everyone, just like Xu Yiyang.EDIT: Now there are also speculations, that she has joined BigHit entertainment - HYBE Entertainment to be particular, which is planned to be a sub-label of BigHit, run by former SM’s creative director MIN HEEJIN - with two NiZiu trainees but nothing has been confirmed, so we will have to wait I guess - but she has been posting stories about her and other girls practicing, so it looks like she will try to break in the industry again.(Koeun is the one in the middle with the bear thing on her head and Hina - another ex-SM trainee - is the one in the left corner with bangs + as you can see, on the screenshot I took a month ago, she was still following 17 people, but now she doesn’t follow everyone, which sparked up speculation of her signing with some label.)...HERIN- Just like Koeun, she was introduced to the team in 2015 as a thirteen-year-old (born in 2002) who could play the violin, excelled in acting, and with Mark was the only English speaker of the Disney channel show as she was born and lived/lives in the United Kingdom - Manchester.She left the company in 2017 in order to join a survival show Idol School that formed a group we now know as fromis_9. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it into the final line-up, ending after the 10th episode on 22nd rank and definitely giving up on her idol life after this. She moved back to the UK and started her own YouTube channel - BONJAVENUE and studies drama school in London.Herin still remained a very close friend with Yeri of Red Velvet and spends time with her, whenever she has a chance to visit South Korea - as she does so every year. Now she is a normal 18-year-old girl who enjoys spending time with her friends as you can see on her social media accounts....LAMI- She was introduced to people already in 2013 when the team was formed and immediately became their maknae as she was born in 2003 - being only ten-years-old when “debuting” with the team. Lami was a child actress and model ever since she was 9, playing in several dramas before and during her trainees years.Even though she was undoubtedly the most popular member of SM Rookies, she still left the company with Koeun in February this year, continuing her high school studies in a normal school and opening her Instagram, where she also posts quite often and follows other girls there.Recently, Lami posted a bunch of photos from the Mickey Mouse Club period and Hani liked her post.In her case, there is a chance, that she will come back to the industry, as she is only seventeen-years-old, but as of right now she wants to graduate from high school....HINA- Another member who is a “foreigner” = she is half-Korean and half-Japanese who can speak both languages. Hina is the same age as the 00′ liners of NCT Dream and was introduced to the team in 2015 with Koeun and Herin, being specialized in dancing, especially in hip hop.She graduated from SOPA alongside Jaemin and Jeno and was in the company up till now, making it on the list of trainees who will probably debut in the next girl group in all the videos circulating on the internet. Just a few days ago she opened her personal Instagram account, immediately getting follows from her former co-trainees, which sparked up a debate about her leaving the company.With this being said, she probably also gave up on the idol life.SO THE ONLY MEMBER WHO IS STILL IN SM…NING NING- I said in the beginning that Xu Yiyang was one half of the girl China line. Ning Ning is the second one, being born in Harbin, China. She is 18 at this moment (being born in 2002 just like Herin), was introduced to the team in 2016, and specializes in vocals - the fun fact is that she was in the same talent show in China as Chenle, also participating there with her vocals.She loves to paint, can play piano, and loves NCT - she even got a bunch of hate from NCTzens after she said that Renjun is attractive. People still hope that she is under the company and will eventually debut as the last girl who lasted throughout the years.FAST FORWARD TO THE BEGINNING OF THIS MONTH - NingNing is a member of SM’s new girl group Aespa, which debuted on November 17th, 2020 with a song titled “BLACK MAMBA” = being the only girl out of the six who debuted under SM.She is their main vocalist and maknae.
What is Christmas like in your country?
Christmas is taken very seriously in Iceland. The whole house is cleaned, everyone gets something new to wear, people buy the best food, decorate the house inside and out and bake hundreds of cookies. It is truly a feast of the senses.Long before Christianity was introduced, people in Northern Europe celebrated winter solstice which ushers in gradually lengthening days. In Iceland, winter solstice celebrations were grand events. Landowners would invite many people to their house, and people would feast and drink extravagantly. After the adoption of Christianity in the year 1000 in Iceland, this celebration was integrated with the Christian Christmas Celebration. Thus, Icelandic Christmas are historically two celebrations: Celebrating the birth of Christ and celebrating the beginning of the lengthening daylight hours.The Icelandic word for Christmas, Jól, contains no reference to Christ or the church. It is a Norse word and also existed in Old English as Yule.Four Sundays before Christmas we make a candle wrath decoration with four candles. You light one candle each Sunday... The first Sunday you light the first one, the second Sunday you light candle one and two, the third Christmas you light candle one, two and three and finally on 24th of December you light all four of them...1st of December we put Advent light onto a window sill, and they are lit from the first Sunday of the Advent and until January 6. Advent light is seven electric candles arranged in a triangle-shaped candelabra.Icelanders take their Christmas decorating very seriously. Everyone decorates. The most common decoration is Christmas trees which are almost universal in Iceland. The trees are decorated similarly to the United States, i.e., with lights, garland, ornaments, etc. Live trees are still the norm although in recent years more and more people have been exchanging them for artificial ones.Laufabrauð, literally ‘leaf bread,’ are round, wafer-thin deep-fried wheat cakes with intricate decorative patterns. They’re delicious served with butter and add a festive touch to Christmas dinner and Christmas parties. During Advent, families, and friends often get together to make Laufabrauð as cutting the patterns is delicate and time-consuming work. Frequently they will throw their artistic skills into the mix, resulting in some very fine specimens that are considered too pretty to eat and tied up with red ribbons and hung as decorations.The baking of cookies for Christmas used to be the barometer of domestic excellence in Iceland. Throughout the country, Icelandic homemakers work overtime to bake a dizzying number of different cookie sorts – and are not above boasting about it. Baking six sorts normally generate applause, 12 sorts are regarded with such awe that it is like announcing you just climbed Mount Everest in high heels.Sending Christmas cards is an important tradition in Iceland. People send cards to their more distant relatives, and friends and even children send cards to their friends. It is very important not to leave anyone out, especially of that person sent you a card last year. Many families send dozens of cards each Christmas and receive dozens of cards in turn. This is sometimes the only correspondence between distant friends or family members, and they often include more in the card than just a Christmas greeting. It is traditional to at least thank for the year that is about to pass and, more often than not, a comment about seeing each other more often in the new year is included. Or, if people live far away, they may mention that everyone in the family is well and something special that has happened in the past year. One never uses Christmas cards for anything but happy news and wishes. In the last couple of years however the numbers of cards you receive have dwindled since people are starting to send their Christmas greetings in a Facebook post...One of the unshakable traditions of Advent in Iceland is the Christmas buffet. Most restaurants offer them, and almost everyone will partake at least once during Advent. These are lavish affairs typically containing dozens of dishes, different types of herring, smoked and cured salmon, reindeer pâté, smoked puffin and much, much more … and that’s just the cold dishes. Hot dishes will normally include the ubiquitous smoked lamb, roast pork with rind, rack of ham, turkey, and more. And let’s not even mention the stacked dessert buffet.Icelanders have not one, but thirteen Santas, or Yule Lads. These lads are not related to Santa Claus in any way. They are descendants of trolls and were originally used to scare children. In the last century, however, they have become a lot friendlier.Their names are: Stekkjastaur (Sheepfold Stick), Giljagaur (Gilly Oaf), Stúfur (Shorty), Þvörusleikir (Spoon-licker), Pottasleikir (Pot-licker), Askasleikir (Bowl-licker), Hurðaskellir (Door-slammer), Skyrgámur (Skyr-glutton), Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-pilfer), Gluggagægir (Peeper), Gáttaþefur (Sniffer), Ketkrókur (Meat-hook) and Kertasníkir (Candle-begger). As you can tell from these names, the lads are very mischievous, and they have retained their unique characteristics to this day. They live in the mountains with their parents, Grýla and Leppalúði. They come to town, one by one, in the days before Christmas. The first one arrives on December 12th and the last one on December 23rd. Formerly, they tried to pilfer their favorite things or play tricks on people (hence their names), but now their main role is to give children small gifts. Every child in Iceland puts their best shoe on their bedroom window sill on December 12th (some try to put their boot, in the hope that they may get more, but so far the Yule Lads haven’t been fooled) and they get a small gift from each lad when he arrives in town. But beware not to be naughty, or the lad might just leave a rotten potato in your shoe!They often make appearances at Christmas dances, which are very popular among Icelandic children. Children dance around a Christmas tree and sing carols. The highlight of the dance is when one of the Yule Lads joins the celebration and dances and sings with the kids and usually gives them a goody bag before he leaves.The day after Christmas the first lad returns to the mountains. Then they leave, one by one until the last one leaves on January 6th, which is the last day of the Christmas season.An old Icelandic folklore states that everyone has to get one new piece of clothing at Christmas. Anyone who was left out was in danger of being eaten by a malicious beast called the Christmas Cat. The Christmas Cat is Grýla’s cat, and every effort was made to ensure that no-one would “go to the Christmas Cat.” Thus, everyone worked very hard to make a new piece of clothing for each member of the household.To this day, everyone gets a new piece of clothing either before or at Christmas.Þorláksmessa (Thorlaksmess) is the day before Christmas or December 23rd. It is the biggest shopping day in Iceland as people run to the stores in a frenzy to get the last Christmas presents.In between running out to get the last gift, people participate inSkötuveislur or fermented skate parties which are without a doubt one of the more bizarre Icelandic traditions. Every year on December 23, Icelanders get together and eat skate (the fish) that has been sitting in a closed container and allowed to ferment for a month or more. By that time, it has a smell that will clear your sinuses from about a mile away. The main headache is how to get the smell out of your house before the bells start ringing in Christmas. As a result, many people choose to partake of this delicacy in a restaurant, or cook it in the garage or even outdoors. Predictably, not everyone is partial to this tradition.Iceland’s traditional Christmas drink is a non-alcoholic mixture of the locally produced Maltöl and Appelsín (orange soda). Each family member tends to have his or her own opinion on what constitutes the perfect mixture of the two: 50/50 or 60/40, Appelsín first or Malt first? Debates can go on for hours, days or even years. Some avoid the stress of figuring out the correct ratio, by buying it premixed. But where is the fun in that...24th of December many families have the tradition to serve an almond/rice pudding at noon, and the one who gets that single almond that was in the pot wins a price. But you are not allowed to tell if you got the almond until everyone has finished their pudding.All regular public services come to a standstill after 4 pm 24th of December. No buses are running, no restaurants or places of entertainment are open. Fishing vessels are moored in port. Even hospitals are half-empty, for patients are allowed to go home if this can be done with safety. Those who live alone visit close relations or friends; it is simply assumed that everyone wants to be a member of a family at Christmas.The ringing of the bells of the Lutheran Cathedral in Reykjavík, broadcast nationally as the beginning of a special religious service, is a signal for all to embrace and wish one another a Merry Christmas. This is the formal beginning of Christmas. After that, it is time for dining.For centuries, smoked lamb, or hangikjöt, was the traditional gourmet Christmas meal, although this has changed in the last few decades. Most families tend to stick to one single tradition for their Christmas meal. The popular fare at Christmas includes rjúpa, or rock ptarmigan, and hamborgarhryggur, glazed rack of ham, traditionally a Danish meal. Also, catching on in the last few years are reindeer, turkey, and even Beef Wellington. A smoked leg of hangikjöt is still enjoyed by many on Christmas day.On 24th I cook hamborgarhrygg (glazed rack of ham) with caramelized potatoes, salat, souse, red cabbage, and sweet corn. For dessert, we have ice cream cake decorated with fresh fruit, and on the side, we have hot Rollo souse for those who want. But, on Christmas day, we have Smoked Lamb.Christmas Eve is the high point of the holiday season in Iceland, and the sumptuous dinner is just the beginning of the night. But what the children have been waiting for so long - the opening of packages - cannot take place until a few details have been attended to: the table has to be cleared and the dishes washed, but there are many willing hands for that. The big moment arrives when everyone is sitting comfortably in the living room. And what can be found in those beautifully wrapped packages? Interestingly, books have been among the most popular items for Christmas gifts in Iceland for decades. Parents often give their children items such as clothes, skis or related gear, CDs or books. In recent years a cell phone has been at the top of many young people’s wishlist, and many have gotten them, introducing in Iceland the age of the cell phone. There are exchanges of gifts between the children, between husbands and wives, between visiting grandparents and the younger generations. There are presents for everyone from everyone in that pile at the base of the Christmas tree. It is a cheerful scene, full of warmth and happiness.People rarely leave the house on Christmas Eve - except for going to church, and that practice is not very widespread. The streets are deserted; it is the quietest night of the year in towns, but just about every building is wearing a finery of bright lights. Many families end the evening by watching a late religious service on TV officiated by the Lutheran Bishop, or reading books they got as Christmas gift. I for one got 25 books this Christmas. If anyone happens to want some refreshments afterward, there is plenty of home-made pastries, coffee, and soft drinks. This is not a night for anything stronger.As a rule, people sleep late the following morning. A festive Christmas Day lunch is traditional, but there seems to be growing preference for a dinner that is the main meal. Christmas Day is typically used for visiting family. Public services remain minimal or nonexistent. Although the Second Day of Christmas (Boxing Day, December 26th) is a major holiday - celebrated, among other things, with additional family visiting - the general scene in towns and villages by then calls to mind an ordinary Sunday. Buses are running again on regular schedules, and restaurants and places of entertainment attract crowds, especially in the evening - rather larger ones than usually on Sunday: it is finally socially acceptable to “lift a glass” as the saying goes in Iceland.31 December we sit down and have the traditional gourmet Christmas meal again, for us, it's the glazed rack of ham. We take our time to enjoy the meal. At 10 pm we all sit down in front of the TV and watch The New Year's comedy or New Year's Eve's Ridicule which is an annual Icelandic television comedy special that is broadcast on the public television network Sjónvarpið. It has been shown annually since Sjónvarpið started broadcasting in 1966. The show is an important part of Icelandic New Year's celebration for most Icelandic families. It focuses on the recent year from a satirical standpoint and shows little mercy toward its victims, especially politicians, artists, prominent business people, and activists. The show's ratings on Sjónvarpið, the national broadcaster, are among the highest in the world.If Icelanders don’t drink on Christmas Eve, they most certainly make up for it on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is probably the biggest party night of the whole year. The most distinguishing characteristic of an Icelandic New Year’s Eve is the fireworks. Everyone buys fireworks, and on this night everyone is allowed light fireworks. And Icelanders make sure they take full advantage of that. Fireworks are lighted all night long, reaching the high point at midnight, when the sky lights up for a few minutes as the fire trucks and harbored ships ring their bells and blow their horns to welcome the new year. It is certainly the grandest display of fireworks you will ever see. After midnight, people gather either downtown to go clubbing or at parties where they drink the night away, often until the early hours of the morning.January 6th is normally referred to as þrettándinn (13th day). It is the last day of Christmas. According to legend, the last day of Christmas is just as magical as the last day of the year. By this day, pretty much everything is back to normal; everyone is back at work and schools have started. In the evening of this day, families usually get together, have dinner, then go out and watch bonfires and fireworks shows where the hidden people, elves and trolls, emerge from their hidden habitats and try to lure humans into their world.When they return home, they might light the remainder of their fireworks from New Year’s Eve and bid farewell to Christmas.
What is the most surprising thing about being a professional poker player?
“What is the most surprising thing about being a professional poker player?”It sucks.I mean, don’t get me wrong. It was *awesome*. I loved almost every second of it. But it also totally sucked.I started playing cards in college, and started playing online senior year (this is 2001-02). I put $50 on Paradise Poker and lost it, put on another $50 and lost it, and on the third $50 I just ran it up – that was the last time I contributed external funds to my bankroll. By graduation I had a very modest online bankroll ($500-600?) that I used to play $5 SNGs, single-table $.10/.$25 NLHE, etc. The next year, I worked for my alma mater in a largely residential position, which didn’t pay a ton but I basically had no expenses (and thankfully no loans), and on nights and weekends I kept the grind going until I had maybe $2500-$3000. Then I moved to Boston to live with some college friends, one of whom had just quit his “something financial and boring” job to play cards professionally, so I figured I’d do that to.It was a bit rough at the beginning, because I had absolutely NO liquid assets when my poker bankroll was basically all the money I had to my name after I made my initial rent/deposit payments. My poker playing roommate had money in the bank, so he would usually write my rent checks while I transferred the money to him in-game (thus minimizing the time involved when my bankroll dipped). But from September through December of that year, playing mostly $1/$2 NLHE, I made somewhere in the range of $15-$20K, which was more than enough to start doing some 6- to 8-tabling and eventually to move up limits.Here’s something for consideration: in particular because I had no loans at the time, and because I was still able to coast on my parent’s health insurance for a few years, I had virtually no requisite life expenses other than rent/utilities, food, and car. I can’t recall the exact amount, but let’s say a total of maybe $15K/year. Even after all of the extra tax burden caused by my income bracket and self-employment addons, imagine having poker net you even $30K over the year. $15K of pure “mad money” as a 23 year old might as well be half a million, in particular if you’re not someone who cares much about flashy clothes, clubbing, etc. Now, realize that my income after taxes was notably more than that $15K. I was able to do basically whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, but also to continue building my bankroll – which enabled me to expand my multi-tabling and continue to move up limits, which then just meant even more income.By early 2005, I was 15-tabling the $5/$10 NLHE on PartyPoker, and would always add on the $25/$50 or $50/$100 LHE games on PokerRoom when they ran (because oh my f-ing god, that was the most lucrative game I’ll ever play in my life!!!). I would get up at noon, leisurely eat something and hopefully shower, then by 1:30 or 2 I’d sign in and play until 6ish when my roommates got home from their sucker day jobs, grad school, etc. I’d dick about with them until 9, maybe 10, then grab a bunch of beers and go back to my computer and bang out a few more hours. I’d usually get involved in a tournament or two (the PokerStars $11 rebuy was a popular option), and depending upon how those went would stay up until I finished. If I was getting a little drunk, I’d usually get out of all of my “regular” cash games and fire up UltimateBet, where I had once randomly discovered about $27 on there that I had never cashed out, so it would be by “drunk fun fund” where I’d play at 3am, until I ran that up to $10K or so and had to start taking it a bit more seriously (I kept meticulous records no matter what, which were useful when I discovered that – with no memory whatsoever – I had made $3500 in 12 minutes playing $25/$50NL while blackout drunk one night). Then, if I was still up when it was getting near 5am, I’d go scare the crap out of my one roommate who got up early to work out, then go to bed. Rinse and repeat. It was a great life.Except, as I say, it sucked.My life had absolutely no structure. That sounds amazing for people who feel crushed by structure, but it gets old *really* fast.I had virtually no responsibilities. That sounds amazing for people who feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, but it gets old *really* fast.I was basically fortunate beyond belief to be in a semi-long distance relationship at the time, because I’d never have been able to maintain a proper one with my schedule.I didn’t need to “work” every day to make ends meet, avoid “losing my job”, etc, which meant there were times when I didn’t play for a week or maybe just played 1-2 days, which meant that I was making *way* less money than I should have been if I had any work ethic whatsoever…but I never needed to have one, and so I never did.And so on.Basically, it was damaging to me as a person in absolutely every way, but I was too young and too immature to realize this. And then on top of that, unfortunately I am in possession of something of a conscience. Poker is the only legal vocation (of which I’m aware) where income is derived without helping anyone, anywhere, in any way. Nobody benefits from me “doing a great job”, and objectively people suffer. I was more or less ok with taking people’s money, since they were most definitely going to lose it to someone, and at that point I was just as good of a recipient as anyone else. But what really put the poison ever so slowly into my soul was that I didn’t contribute a damn thing to the world.Playing poker professionally has this same basic impact on everyone, though some are better at dealing with it than others. I guess for those who don’t mind the soul-attrition, or the fact that the game becomes overwhelmingly less fun with every million hands they play, maybe it doesn’t quite “suck” for them as much. And for those who win, it really is quite good money.But basically, everything that made it amazing when I was 25 years old also made it suck. Which, in reference to the question, was most certainly the most surprising thing for me.