Tang Wei in Finding Mr. Right (2013) / Meeting April After More Than A Decade

I knew the actress looks familiar when I watched Finding Mr. Right on Netflix tonight. It was none other than Tang Wei. I watched Lust, Caution back in 2007, right after I joined a bank – my current employer. Also roughly the year I met April whom I have met once again tonight through a bank event.

What a coincidence.

Find Mr. Right is an amazing Chinese movie inspired by I supposed Sleepless in Seatle. But it’s way better.

What a great movie. Such chemistry.

A Chinese mistress who has decided to give birth to her son in the US – because she couldn’t have done so in China – fell in love with her driver who is a divorcee with a daughter. What a great recipe for a story. I was genuinely moved. Tang Wei is such a great actress. She doesn’t age at all. She is timeless.

Back to this evening. I have attended yet another event organized by my bank. Yet another talk on recession and rising interest rates. I didn’t manage to meet my relationship manager. But I am thankful for yet another nice meal at a hotel.

If I am to sum up the evening, it is about reducing expenses and grow income.

Motherhood statement eh?

Back to April, as it turns out, she recognized me before I do. She prides herself on having a “face recognition” ability. I don’t dispute that. I am terrible at recognizing faces or names.

April arrived late. And immediately upon being seated, she struck up a conversation with me. 15 years I have been with this bank, she brought back all the fond memories and the painful ones. Not exactly remember what she did. But I do remember her being in her black dresses.

But hey, we age. Though she said I didn’t.

Cosmetic.

In the end, memories keep flooding in. Yes, I do remember.

We made fun of April. She does have a sister called May, doesn’t she?! In fact, I remember she has two sisters. April, May, June …

A Big Man with Tatoos & The Long Videos I’ve Watched on YouTube

Let’s talk about some of the “longer” videos I have watched on YouTube of late.

Ironically, while I am a YouTube content creator who tends to live stream and create rather long videos of more than an hour each, I seldom spend the same amount of time watching YouTube videos. I could argue that if I do, I would have no time to create content.

YouTube video title: AIMI KOBAYASHI – final round (18th Chopin Competition, Warsaw)

I have watched the 45 minutes long video of a Chopin Competition on YouTube. It was a Concerto in E minor, Op. 11. To be frank, I am more familiar with Beethoven and Mozart. I enjoy listening to a piano concerto – or violin concerto for that matter. But my head just doesn’t seem to be able to wrap around Chopin.

Aimi Kobayashi is a Japanese pianist with a small frame. I observed that perhaps as a ritual, she would arrange her pendant at the beginning of each movement. To ensure that the musical note was facing the front. She has this very intense look while playing the piano. Almost uncomfortable to watch. I felt as though my face cringed watching her playing the piano. Chopin doesn’t talk to me. Listening to his music through Aimi, Op. 11 must have been a very painful piece of music.

I can’t really tell how great the performance was. Reading some of the comments, Aimi has taken the liberty to slow down the music and interpret it the way she wanted to tell her story (slow pain, perhaps). Some commented that this must have put her in the fourth position rather than higher. Again, I am no expert. I was used to having different Swan Lake CDs and each has its own pace. She must have had such high confidence whereby she didn’t even need the musical scores in front of her. That was the very first thing I noticed when she sat in front of the piano, even before she performed. I often visualize myself in the performer’s shoes when I watch a live recording.

Another video I watched was titled “Russell Peters | Notorious Full Special” (70 mins). It was recorded in Australia in 2013 in front of 14,000 fans. What a huge turnout! These days, I love standup comedies. These comedians have special skills. Some like Russell Peters are able to interact with the crowd and crack jokes on the fly.

But that’s not what I am trying to say in this post. In that video, Russell made some jokes about tattoos (and how people would regret having them). This evening, it was raining. Not too heavy to the point whereby I couldn’t go out. But it wasn’t too light either. Yet, I saw many people walking outdoors without umbrellas.

When I arrived at the nearest food center, I ordered QQ la mien set that came with four dumplings and a small bowl of soup. Somehow, on a rainy day, I craved that.

Opposite me was a Chinese man of a very large size. His thigh was as big if not bigger than my waist. He wore no expression eating his chicken chop and chips quietly. Underneath his right forearm, there were very large English words saying “Good Boy”. I recalled Russell Peters’s video on tattoos and I was quietly giggling inside. As I was wondering why a Chinese man of his size would tattoo “Good Boy” on his arm, I saw more English words on his left forearm. I couldn’t see very clearly at first. But I could guess that must be “Bad Boy”.

What a bizarre pair of tattoos. Maybe he is forever torn between good and evil.

Shortly after I have started eating my dinner, I saw this girl who worked at the stall nearby. She was also of a larger frame compared to her other colleague although nothing compared to Good-boy-bad-boy. She kept on hitting his arm hard. I mean, that looked like real punches. Good-boy-bad-boy was emotionlessly still. The girl seemed to be playful with him. Hitting him. Touching his phone (he was watching something I would presume). They could be …

Siblings?

And then I recalled, this Good-boy-bad-boy is actually the chef at the mixed rice stall! I vividly remember how impressed I was when I saw him cook the dishes. When I cook Chinese dishes, I cook for 1 or 2 potions. When he cooks, he cooks for I reckon 50 to 100 potions at a time. That is some mad skill and strength. He did it with such dexterity and speed. It was fun to watch.

Looking back, I don’t think that they are siblings. Maybe the girl likes to bully him. Maybe he is a teddy bear at heart despite his size and his good-boy-bad-boy tattoos.

Apple AirPods Pro Gen 2 versus Jabra Elite 75t

Okay. Let’s keep it short and sweet. Jabra Elite 75t is no march to Apple Airpods Pro Gen 2, except perhaps the fitting. We shall get there in a bit. Also, do note that these two earbuds are one generation apart, with Apple’s being the latest.

What an upgrade from Jabra to Apple.

First and foremost, my earbuds should allow me to make phone calls. Jabra is terrible. My voice is always too soft. Without ANC for my mic, it is impossible to use Jabra when I’m outside.

I am an audiophile. I would say that Airpods has better clarity. But Jabra has better bass and fuller sound, albeit a bit muffled. It is down to personal preference I would say. Also, Airpods by default switch on ANC. Jabra has to do it every time you put on your earbuds.

What is good about my Jabra is the fitting. It sits very nicely in my ears. I can’t say the same with my Airpods. It fell off my ear once. I have tried out the default medium tips. They have passed the fitting test. I have also tried out the large tips. They have also passed the fitting test. For a better result, I need to clean my ear with tissue paper prior to wearing my Airpods so that they won’t come loose. That is not very environmentally friendly.

I suppose in life, you just can’t have everything.

Photo Comparison: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max versus Nikon Z6 – Tiong Bahru

These days, I have read more and more reports on how premium smartphones could replace some DSLR or mirrorless cameras. So I have taken my brand new iPhone for a test against my Nikon mirrorless camera today in my neighborhood of Tiong Bahru.

Before we start, this is not a lens contest. But instead, I focus on the results. It is the ease of shooting with a smartphone versus the traditional photo processing of a DSLR or mirrorless camera. In this test, with my iPhone, I shoot in HEIC format and edit the photos directly on the phone. I don’t have an application that can edit Apple’s ProRAW format so I leave it to the phone to do its magic.

As for my Nikon Z6, I am using a 35mm lens. I shoot in raw format and edit the photos using DxO Photolab 2.4. It is my usual editing style using only digital filters. The Nikon’s JPG export photos are compressed (80% quality) to keep the size comparable to Apple’s HEIC photos. The results are as follows.

A few highlight comparisons:

After thoughts:

Because iPhone 14 Pro Max’s main camera has a wider lens than my Nikon’s – 24mm versus 35mm – photo composition is going to be different. The results from iPhone are of course heavily processed with the benefit of HDR among other Apple proprietary algorithms. This may make some of the photos ‘pop’ more compared to a traditional camera. My Nikon prime lens obviously has better sharpness, which you can only tell the difference when you zoom in. I still prefer the processed photos from my Nikon Z6. But with the convenience of a smartphone, both in photo shooting and editing, the results from my iPhone are decent.

In short, if I am going for a nice holiday, I would certainly bring my Nikon Z6. As for my day-to-day needs, my iPhone should suffice.

iPhone Diary Day 2 – Let’s Talk About Always On & Dynamic Island

When iPhone pro series first announced, I followed some of the influencers on YouTube wanting to hear their views. After all they are the Apple “experts”. To my horror, some would suggest turning off always on feature because … they can’t tell if they have locked the phone?! That’s the strangest thing I have seen, coming from Android whereby the premium phones have this feature years ago.

I like always on. I can tell the time and see the notifications without tapping onto the screen. What’s not to like? Just that Apple’s implementation is quite different from say Samsung’s. It seems less minimalistic and more elaborate. I have no idea how Apple manage to find the extra battery to power the always on display. I certainly prefer it on.

Testing the iPhone 14 pro max x3 camera.

Prior to getting my hands on with the phone, I was rather intrigued by “dynamic island”. In reality though, I don’t find dynamic island in any of the iPhone setting. I hardly interact with it and very few occasions I see it in action. Spotify and WhatsApp calls. That’s about it.

I do like iPhone speakers though. How do they make it so good?

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