Welcome to the April 2012 edition of Soshified Spotlight.

Just like every other month, we’re once again highlighting a regular member in Part 1, and a Soshified staff member in Part 2.

This month, we’re featuring WingedCBAM in Part 1 and xocescaxo in Part 2, which you can read here. WingedCBAM, or Arnell, is a videographer from Houston who works with our very own michaelroni. Being very big into K-pop, including Girls’ Generation, Arnell has participated in and actually taught dances for flash mobs. He has also produced his own Korean single before and performed it live with his band. Read on to learn more about Arnell.

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What is your first name?

Arnell. I don’t know anyone personally that shares my name.

How did you find out about Soshified and why did you decide to join?

My best guess is from subbed videos on YouTube. Once it became harder to find complete series or some videos started to get deleted off YouTube, I joined Soshified so I can get all the treats there.

How did you come up with your screen name?

It derives from a decade old screen name I used, WingedVoX. The VoX part came from me being a huge fan of BabyVoX when I first got into Kpop. They were my first favorite girl group. There’s more to the origin and creation of the name, but that could go on for a long time explaining. And since SSF is for SNSD, I thought having VoX in my name wasn’t appropriate. So I kept the Winged part and went with CBAM (ka-bam, like an explosion). CBAM is a fake band I made up with friends and those are the first letters of our names (Cindy, Barry, Arnell, and Michael-michaelroni).

Go ahead and tell us about the “Winged” part of your screenname.

The short story is that I have a thing about angels and in particular their wings. That happened in high school because of an influence of “Final Fantasy VII” and Sephiroth’s “One Winged Angel” theme and “Neon Genesis Evangelion” with them talking about angels all the time in that series. I then came up with my own theory of angels and love in general and it was something I really believed at the time. You could say it was a…”Cruel Angel’s Thesis”… *cough* It was actually called “Rurouni Angels.” I only shared that theory with a few people though. Do I still subscribe to it? Over the years my thoughts of what love is has been altered, but it more or less still follows the same theme as what I originally came up with.

But the combination of “Winged” and “VoX” came when I had to come up with a name for my character in “Phantasy Star Online” for the Gamecube. I made new character completely different from my Dreamcast version that I simply named “Saitoh” after my favorite character from “Rurouni Kenshin. The angels theory and BabyVoX were my big things I cared a lot about so I came up with that name on the spot. 10+ years later, the name still exists.

Where are you originally from, and where do you currently reside (city and country for both)?

Born in Houston, TX USA. Currently residing in Sugar Land, TX. Same thing. I live 5-10 minutes from my original home in Houston.

If we were visiting you where you live for one day, where would you take us? Why are these places so significant?

I’m not too savvy on the sites of my hometown. I’d point you to others that do know the city better, ha. But I still know of places that I would like to take people that are unique to me. Heck, we could actually do them all in one day.

– Soundbox Studios. If you like hiphop or would like to learn then I’d take you to the Soundbox for a class and participate with you. One of my close dear friends of 15 years is one of the owners and he and a few other friends I made there teach as well. Plus if you’re a fan of ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew), Season 6 Champions I aM mE came from there and do teach classes when they come back to town. You can actually see one of the studio rooms in the first episode of Season 6 when you see them practicing and talking about themselves. I’ve actually taught 2 Kpop flash mobs there myself.

– Korean Noodle House. This is a small family run restaurant that is easy to miss. I’ve missed it trying to go back there once, ha. While you can find Korean food elsewhere in Houston, the food I’ve had here has always been better. And I’ve done well with preserving how good it is to me by not going there a bunch of times to spoil it for me. I’ve only taken a few friends there since I feel it’s a special place to not just bring anyone.

– Waterwall. It’s a large wall of running water, awesome! But seriously, it’s cool to see and to take pictures at and the park area is a good place to chill at. It’s also one of the places I did a flash mob at where we crashed a wedding/quinceanera/prom photoshoot (forgot what it actually was).

– Town & Country City Centre. I just really like this city centre. You can watch movies, go shopping, go eat, go drink, or just relax outside. Sometimes there are outdoor events going on that are fun to watch or take part in. It’s a really good area and a good atmosphere.

If Korean Noodle House is so good, wouldn’t you want to share it with everybody instead of keeping it secret?

Well, if everyone knows, it’s not so special anymore. I used to go to a few restaurants all the time with friends and after a while it just lost its luster. I do this with a lot of things especially food. I really like sweets like chocolate, but I don’t eat them all the time because of I did then I would get tired of it. But since I ration it out, it’s great everytime.

How did you get involved in participating and teaching K-pop flash mobs? Tell us about the best mob you’ve ever been a part of.

The first one happened when there was a craze of SM Flash Mobs going around (to get SM to have concerts in their town), a small group of friends that met online in Houston started the idea (as best as I can remember). They somehow found my company, RFM, and asked if we could do the media work for it. The video and photos were actually going to be used by SBS in a Flash Mob special (that to my recollection did air), but there was a mix up with that and they never used ours (darn it).

But in the midst of talking about the flash mob itself, I mentioned that I used to teach dances and knew quite a few SM dances so I offered that additionally. Since they had no lead person to teach the choreography, I took on that role. They already chose the songs they wanted to do (10) and I only asked them to change one, SHINee’s “Hello” to “Lucifer” since it fit better. I had to learn/brush up on only 4 of them in 2-3 days to be ready to teach them. They were also looking for a place to rehearse and I pointed them to Soundbox Studios and got them a good price and times for rehearsals. So I ended up having a big hand on both the performance and production sides of these; teaching and coordinating the flash mob itself while getting my production crew ready and instructing them on how things were going to go.

The second one was for the “Dreamstage Korea: Global Auditions 2011.” Most of the same crew from the SM Town one participated again along with some new faces. I had to learn more dances this time from artists I wasn’t really into either. Learned 4 new ones out of 11. This one had a sort of storyline at the beginning, which was nice and made it have reason for more and more people to join in rather than just have a bum rush of people come in at once like the SM flash mob. Both came with stresses since there was less than a few days that they actually were able to rehearse.

It’s hard to say which one I liked better. I lean a little more towards the SM Town flash mob because I’ve been an SM fan going back to H.O.T. and S.E.S. But I will say that the Dreamstage was a better end product.

Tell us a little about your life. What do you do full time and in your free time?

Full time, I am co-founder/part owner/videographer/video editor for Royal Flush Media. Michael is also part owner and our lead photographer. I also run RFM’s YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter. If I don’t have a project that I’m working on, I’m trying to find us work wherever possible like weddings, dance events, etc. We did do work for Soshified during their LA fan meet-up in 2011.

Free time, I don’t maximize it and I have a lot of it. I like to play video games, but I don’t play as much as I used to. I stick with my Wii and 3DS (Nintendo raised from 8-bit to current generation). If there’s a game I just bought, I’d spend time playing that or catch up on things I wanted to watch. This year I actually started making video sketches on YouTube under the name WingedVoX. I ended season 1 back in March to just take a break for a while and do some work, but I’m hoping to get back to that soon. My most viewed video is actually an unboxing video for SNSD’s US album.


What’s the most interesting thing about you and/or that has ever happened to you?

Believe it or not, I actually have my very own produced Korean single. In 2004, I won a music contest on a Korean music show called “Revolution” on I-Channel (International Channel). They flew me out to New Jersey and we produced a song and filmed some stuff for a music video they were going to make and shop around to a few music companies in Korea. The song had no name at the time and I didn’t know any Korean at the time either. I had to make up my lyrics for my part (rapper). Those were to be in English and I was told what the song was about. I had to write about a couple that broke up, the girl left the guy, he feels confused and doesn’t know what to do, and to leave it so that there is a positive spin at the end. That was all the instruction I was given and to this day I don’t know what the song means translated.

The band and Korean vocals were done by a local New York band called “The Tears.” The song was produced and created by Yuichiro Oda. The female vocals were provided by Yuko Darjeeling who works with Oda-Sensei. English rapping vocals and lyrics…that’s me, ha.

Unfortunately, the video was never completed as the company that produced “Revolution” was cancelled. I still kept the song and actually performed it with CBAM wielding fake instruments during my 25th birthday, the first and only time I ever performed it in public. I made a few edits to the final version of the song that was produced to make it a little more unique. I also named the song “Angel” based on how I felt my lyrics reflected on the song (which could totally be clashing with the Korean lyrics, but I don’t know that, ha).

I submitted the song to “SSF’s Got Talent” on Cesca’s radio show. So there are a chunk of SONEs that have actually heard it thanks to Cesca playing it on air.

How and why did you produce a Korean single, especially if you didn’t know any Korean?

That was the prize for winning the music contest “Revolution” held; to produce a song and music video and a chance at Kpop stardom. They were taking submissions from anyone and knowing Korean wasn’t mandatory. It’s kind of common to see a non-Korean person as part of an idol group nowadays, but 10+ years ago, not so much. That would’ve been interesting had that actually taken off. I would have started that trend a long time ago.

For people who are first meeting you (like most of us), how would you describe yourself?

I’ve been told over the years that I don’t leave the best first impression and that’s based on my look. Even if I try to change my look, I still get it. People have pegged me as looking like a gangster, thug, thief, troublemaker, etc. I’m far from any of those things, but unfortunately that’s what I’ve gotten pinned as going back as far as high school. I’m actually pretty laid back and very selfless. Rough exterior, but a kind hearted hero on the inside. I can actually be pretty quiet upon meeting new people, but I don’t mind being approached at all. You want to play games? Let’s do it. Thirsty? Let’s go grab some drinks. Hungry? Feed me. Karaoke? Pass me a mic. You want to just relax and learn about each other on a personal level? I’d prefer it. Just keep the loitering to a nice minimum. I actually don’t like to waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do.

If I have to put it in Soshi terms, I have an Ice Prince persona like Jessica, but have an overall goofy/charismatic quality like HyoYeon (probably why they are my top 2 girls).

Tell us some things that most people don’t know about you that you think they should.

I’m a lifetime wrestling fan. Grew up watching it and always have watched it. I actually have a replica championship belt with my name on it (it’s my SSF profile icon). I’ve also cosplayed as Edge and CM Punk for the last 2 Halloweens. I’ve also had to defend my interest in this multiple times ranging from “it’s not a real sport” and “it’s too violent.” I have my counters for that, but in the end it’s something I enjoyed watching when I was growing up. Please don’t tear down things I like. I never would do that to others especially if I know little to nothing about their interest.

Is there anything big in your life that you’re working on? (This can be related to school, career, hobbies, family, friends, etc.)

Well, a lot of my focus has been put on RFM ever since last year and now WingedVoX this year. I’d appreciate any support I can get for those. Other than that, I’m hopelessly waiting on the one thing that takes me out of my current life and sets me down the path I’m supposed to travel.

What are your interests outside of Girls’ Generation?


I’m really into the Warner Premiere DC movie series. I’ve been a big fan of Bruce Timm’s work dating back from the original “Batman: The Animated Series” to the latest “Justice League: Doom” movie. I’m not the most knowledgeable in comics, but I really get into these animated series and movies.

I did start to learn a few magic tricks a couple years ago. Magic was something I did enjoy watching when I was younger. I actually lost interest in performing them because most of the times when I showed it to friends, they didn’t care or just tried to dissect the trick itself. It’s easier to amaze younger kids or strangers. I still learn though, but rarely show tricks to anyone now. Plus my slight-of-hand was never smooth because I’m usually nervous when I try to pull one off.

I’ve always liked to dance ever since I was young. I got into actually learning choreography in high school and even taught friends. It’s something I’ve always done and incorporate it as part of my exercise. And I go to Soundbox occasionally to learn and get better. I’m not the best by far, but I can learn and teach others. Of course I’ve learned choreography from my favorite artists and the majority lately had been SNSD dances.


How did you first become a fan of Girls’ Generation?

I did know about the girls when they debuted, but I didn’t follow them. I just thought a group that large was kind of ridiculous at the time. It was also around the same time that I wasn’t listening to Kpop as much as I used to. I became a fan during “Gee” (Korean version). This was actually during a period that I was going through a lot of personal family issues that went on for many months. It was emotionally taxing and a large aura of negative energy that I had to deal with daily. The upbeat nature and colorful brightness of “Gee” really caught my attention and I welcomed it with open arms. I needed this positive energy at that time. While I had to always be around what was going on with my family, Girls’ Generation became my escape and pretty much the only reason I smiled and felt happy. I’m eternally grateful for them because of this.

Who is your favorite member and why?

Jessica is my favorite member, but I actually do not remember when and what was the actual reason she took the top spot for me. HyoYeon was my first number 1 girl because she was the reason I knew about SNSD in the first place during their debut. At that time, she reminded me a lot of one of my ex girlfriends (blonde hair, facial features). And HyoYeon is just a phenomenal dancer and girls that can dance really well get extra points in my book.

What is your favorite Girls’ Generation song and MV and why?

Favorite song has to be “Himnae” (Way To Go). According to my iTunes, it’s my most played SNSD song. It’s just a fun energetic song that can put me in a good mood. The dance is fun also as well as the music video for it.

Favorite video…I don’t think I have one. I enjoy them all, but I don’t think I’ve ever said “this is my favorite SNSD music video.” I will say that “Genie” (Korean version) did have the biggest impact on me. I clearly remember watching it for the first time with my mouth wide open in shock and amazement of their transformation from cute to sexy. None of their other videos has made me do that.

What is your favorite Girls’ Generation moment and why?

Without a doubt it was when 8 of them (sans Tiffany) made an appearance on “Intimate Note.” I’ve watched that so many times that I can mouth what they say, ha. That was the first time I got to see them yelling at each other, making fun of one another, and ripping into each other while revealing things about them that I didn’t know about. It was just so different and funny to me to watch them going at it, ha. I’ve always wondered how it would have been if Tiffany were there and the things she would have said.

How has Girls’ Generation impacted your life, in specific areas or even as a whole?

My bank account is smaller, ha. I have more pretty girls on my walls. My wardrobe is a little more colorful.

While BoA is and will always be my first Kpop love ever since she debuted and CSJH was the reason I got back into Kpop, SNSD will be my main reason I stay interested Kpop.

What do you like most about Soshified, and why? Any section in particular you’re attracted to?

I frequent the GorJess Spazzers and HyoHunnies Den of Sin because…well, they’re my favorites. I’ll download anything the subbers do and I thank them because I do know how hard it can be to sub videos.

Other than that, the DJs are awesome. I don’t listen to them all, but I like listening to Jennie, Michelle, Jen, newcomer Ava, and especially Cesca. Can’t go wrong with Cesca. She’s amazing and highly entertaining. I think most SONEs that do know me is from Cesca’s shows. I used to hit on her on air all the time, I won her recent Christmas contest, and have made the phrase “TaeYeon’s Thong” very popular lately.

I understand that you were originally supposed to go on the Soshified Field Trip. What happened to you that made you miss the trip?

Heart issues. Normally I do get nervous flying, but this time I actually passed out due to an elevated heart rate. That never happened before. This occurred during a connecting flight from Houston to Denver and only 20-minutes in I passed out. I don’t even remember the moment it happened except for the fact that was getting uncomfortably warm, but I was told everyone heard my laptop fall to the floor. The person sitting next to me woke me up by pushing against my arm. I remember coming to while he was pushing me and calling out for an attendant. Attendants came and asked questions and gave me a cold cloth to cool myself off. Witness accounts thought I had a seizure.

I felt okay shortly after and the rest of the flight until we started to land. I immediately got warm and my heart was beating like crazy. When we landed in Denver, one of the attendants helped walk me out to where a medic was waiting for me out by the gate. More questions asked and my blood pressure was taken (which was off the charts) and was suggested to go the hospital since it could be something else since I had no pre-existing conditions. That was when Michael and I rode an ambulance to a nearby hospital. Blood was taken, they gave me food, an IV was hooked up to me, had an EKG, and more questions were asked. The hospital itself was so busy that I didn’t even get a room. I was just outside in the hall on a hospital bed.

In the end, the x-factor to everything was a 5-hour energy drink I took before leaving for the airport. I took it because I barely slept the night before since I was so anxious about the field trip. I’ve had one before, but actually felt nothing from it. Totally opposite effect this time around.

It was around midnight in Denver when we finally left the hospital. It was either then or after we made it to a hotel that I decided not to continue on the trip. I was completely drained after everything. And I know some people will think and I’ve actually been told “you just passed out” and it’s not so bad, but that wasn’t the only thing that got to me. Another was the thought of it happening again on the flight from Denver to San Francisco or from there to Korea. And then if I didn’t get better, I don’t think I would’ve been able to enjoy the trip itself and end up just sitting in a hotel in Korea instead or at a Korean hospital. I’d rather be sick at home and not a foreign country. Years ago I got sick on a trip when I went to Colombia. It was tough communicating to the family of my girlfriend at the time since they spoke little English I and I knew little Spanish. I just imagined a similar situation, but worse since I wouldn’t be able to ask any of the field trippers to NOT do what they came to Korea for just to take care of me and keep me company. That just didn’t seem right to me at all. I already felt bad that Michael had to be with me through this ordeal in Denver and that he had to figure out how he was still going to make it out of there and not miss the trip. I am forever thankful that he was there to help me though. Also, I couldn’t back on a plane anyways. After seeing Michael off, I was on the phone with my mom (a nurse) and she tried to convince me to fly back home and I freaked out. My heart rate jumped again and I almost had a panic attack at the airport. I’ve been to an airport since then and I’m okay, but the thought of getting on a plane doesn’t sit well. When the SM Town concert in New York happened and when the girls came again for David Letterman and other promotions, my immediate thoughts were trying to figure out how long it would take to drive there. Flying just wasn’t an option.

In the end, I stayed a couple days in Denver and had one of my closest friends fly out to Denver. We then rented a car and drove 22 hours from Denver to Houston. I was glad to be home, but not reason I was home. I actually didn’t listen to any SNSD music (unless someone else played it) and stayed away from Soshified (aside from reading Michael’s fan accounts written about the trip) until their anniversary of that year happened just to help remove myself from thinking I missed a really great opportunity there. I’m not bitter about it as I got over it thinking my health was more important. It probably just wasn’t meant to be.

I did write about the whole ordeal in detail on my blog. If you’re interested in reading all about it, just start at 07.19.11. There was a lot I had to deal with that day and the couple days I was in Denver.

http://forevergracefulimpact.blogspot.com/2011/08/july-2011-entry.html

And I actually still have heart issues ever since then. I was fine for a while, but then I had a panic attack shortly after my birthday party that year and a series of attacks later that month. I’ve been taking daily medication to lower my heart rate and I have another type of pill to take in emergencies, which has only been 4-5 times since then. I was doing okay for a few months until March of this year when similar complications arose along with other medical things I’ve just had to deal with. It sucks to say, but ever since passing out on the plane, I’ve had this and other medical issues to deal with for almost a year now. I’m not in horrible shape now as I’ve felt the best I have in a month now, but I’ve had to cut back on many activities and watch what I eat/drink a little more carefully now. A lot of people actually still don’t know about my health issues or about me not going to Korea. Most assumed I went as I went off the radar for the duration of the SSF field trip. It just wasn’t something I wanted to broadcast.

Tell us a little bit about Michael.

I knew Michael before SSF. We met in college at the University of Houston and ended up being in the same clique of friends that formed in the game room. So I knew him before he developed great photography skills and before he even knew who Girls’ Generation were. Thanks to me, he found 10 wonderful girls to love.

You can ask Mako if you want to know more about Michael, ha. Makoroni!

Is there anything else about you that you would like to add?

Other than the SONEs I’ve already mentioned, I’d like to give a shoutout to the MidDrummer pairing. Yo to the SONEs that I met at the LA meet-up in 2011 (I was the guy that danced to “Hoot” and taught “Gee” by myself in front of everyone). Hi to all the Houston/Texas SONEs I’ve met. We should all get together again. Next meet-up in Houston, we’re eating at Korean Noodle House.

Support your friends. Support is a great tool in a person’s success and we can always use more of it.

“There’s nothing, nothing, nothing in the world like the respect of your peers and the people you work with.” – Ric Flair

Thanks for reading. Be healthy, be thankful, and be loved. Take care.

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Huge thanks goes out to Arnell for participating in Soshified Spotlight this month. As usual, you can submit nominations for future Soshified Spotlights if you’d like to participate or if you’d like to get to know a fellow member better. Instructions on how to do so can be viewed at the Soshified Spotlight Solicitation announcement.

Remember to read xocescaxo‘s Spotlight here.

You can also read past Soshified Spotlights by clicking on the “Soshified Spotlight” tag below.

Compiled by: residentbenchwarmer@soshified.com
Graphic by: cioco@soshified.com

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