A Choo Review

A ChooI came across this movie from a review by someone else and although it was not highly rated thought it was interesting enough to check out.

About

Warning: Spoilers

Growing up in an orphanage Wang Yi Zhi and Ye Jian Han both fall in love with Hsin Hsin. She happens to mention that she would fall for a strong man and in order to win her heart one of the guys becomes a boxer and the other a policeman. The story centers around Wang Yi Zhi who is trained by ex-superhero Flash.

Hsin Hsin falls in love with cowardly superhero Sonic, and when she is kidnapped it’s up to Wang Yi Zhi and Ye Jian Han to save the day, and win her heart, by defeating the evil Cube.

“A Choo” [打噴嚏] is a Taiwanese movie released on 15th July 2020. It is 1 hour 42 minutes in duration and can be found on Netflix.

Cast

The cast in this movie is very impressive.

Chen Tung Ko plays Wang Yi Zhi
One of the few actors I had never heard of and placed in a lead role, his performance was good. He has a mix of leading and support roles in other movies but no TV series, as far as I can tell.

Darren Wang (Wang Dalu) plays Ye Jian Han
I have seen Darren in several productions including film Super Me. He is becoming extremely popular with two films and two TV series currently in production.

Ariel Lin plays Hsin Hsin
I always thought Ariel was a singer but hadn’t realized how many Movies and TV Shows she’s been in.

Louis Koo plays Flash
I was stunned to see Louis Koo in this production, mind you he is starring in so many movies these days it’s difficult to miss one. To think last week, we only saw him in All’s Well End’s Well. His part was serious with a bit of comedy thrown in. He has six different films in production, not sure where he gets the energy from.  It was great to see him in this production.

Review

During the movie I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I was thinking it’s just a film about two guys trying to win the heart of a female but never expected it to be about superheroes. So, the two main superheroes involved; Flash ended up a recluse and Sonic was a coward. It was up to someone with no powers, as much as he wanted them, to save the day.

The production quality was surprisingly good, especially the CGI. With Netflix’s investment in the movie the production team were able to afford outsourcing it to a quality effects company, I don’t know really.

If there is one thing to remember about the movie it would be “if you get knocked down, keep getting up” or maybe “you don’t have to be a superhero to achieve remarkable things”.

I’ve heard that many people enjoy the work of Giddens Ko who was the screenwriter on this movie.  He is a well-known Taiwanese novelist, film director, screenwriter, and film producer. I heard that in 2014 the CCP ordered all his works in China be removed from bookshelves for supporting an organization that was involved in the Hong Kong protests. However, many of the cast in A Choo were Chinese, so not sure if China still dislikes him.

Like others, I would give this movie a 7 out of 10.

Trailer

2021-09-13T20:05:48+00:0013 September 2021|Review Taiwan|0 Comments

World Trade Center

It’s been 20 years since terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City. At the time I was living in Denver, Colorado and everything stopped as this incident was happening. I remember an acquaintance whose daughter was born during the incident.

In remembrance of that day, I thought I would share some pictures of my visits to the building.

2021-09-12T05:59:29+00:0012 September 2021|USA|0 Comments

Tim Hortons Coffee Bar Review

Never heard that Tim Horton’s was producing a chocolate coffee bar before until I found some in the supermarket checkout aisle, so here is a review.

Who is Tim Hortons?

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by Canadian Hockey player of the same name, Tim Hortons, and Jim Charade. It has become Canada’s largest fast-food chain best known for its coffee and “Tim Bits” but also sells other bakery items plus sandwich type fare.

They were bought out by Burger King in 2014. Its majority own is Brazilian investment company 3G Capital. They now have outlets around the world including in China. The first Tim Horton’s I noticed in London UK was in Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus.

We don’t go in them too often, mainly when we are “on the road” travelling on vacation when we are desperate to use the toilet!

Chocolate Coffee Bar

Evidently Tim Hortons Coffee Bar has been in production since 2019, I discovered food blogs review the “Double Double” branded one since 2020. See Foodology. According to the site they are being produced in Miami, however, I did find one here in a supermarket in British Columbia. They might be available in their coffee shops; I haven’t been to any in 2+ years to find out.

Tim Hortons Coffee Bar

Review

Oh dear, it was bad.

I was hoping for better, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It came with three large pieces, not very delicate looking at all with a coffee bean pattern on top. I think they could have been smaller break off chunks.

The alleged “coffee” flavour was completely overpowering I didn’t even notice the chocolate. The flavour tasted very bitter and a bit like chemicals. Then it left a sickening after taste in my mouth, I had to rush for something to mask it quickly. I’m not sure how they could have screwed this up so much.

The best coffee/chocolate combination I’ve had in Canada are the Milk Chocolate Coffee Creams in Purdy’s, fantastic combination of flavours, not overpowering, very mellow and creamy. They remind me of a Belgian coffee truffle from yesteryear. However, the Tim Hortons coffee bar was more like a cheap Hershey style chuck chemicals in it to make it last for years type product.

If anybody wants to try the Tim Horton’s product, they are available at Real Canadian Superstore for CAD1.88, maybe other locations too.

2021-09-11T21:47:31+00:0011 September 2021|Food|0 Comments

All’s Well End’s Well Review

All's Well End's Well 2009The Hong Kong movie All’s Well End’s Well was a great find and we really enjoyed it, this is my review.

About

There is a series of films called All’s Well End’s Well, these are the ones I know about:

  • All’s Well End’s Well – released in 1992. I believe this is the first one.
  • All’s Well End’s Well Too – released in 1993
  • All’s Well End’s Well 1997
  • All’s Well End’s Well 2009 – this is the one we just saw
  • All’s Well End’s Well 2010
  • All’s Well End’s Well 2011
  • All’s Well End’s Well 2012
  • All’s Well End’s Well 2020

They remind of the “Carry On” movies in the UK.

The 2009 movie focuses on the crafty Casanova relationship advisor Dick Cho and a stern magazine editor/writer Yu Chu who is determined to spend her life single. Cho is hired by Chu’s brother to try and find her a relationship which leads to many hilarious situations.

Cast

The actors in this production were just incredible, from the out takes at the end it appears they were all having such a good time working on this production, it show’s in their performance.

Louis Koo as Dick Cho
We’ve seen this actor in many productions, mainly films, both recent and in the past. His best performance has to be in this film. I’ve been wanting to watch the 2001 TV show “A Step Into The Past” that he starred in, but haven’t had the time, I understand he is reprising this role in a film called “Back To The Past” release date to be announced. He has 6 films he has committed himself to acting in, wow, he must be extremely popular.

Sandra Ng as Yu Chu
We haven’t seen this actress in many productions but recently saw “Enter The Fat Dragon” which was great. Her performance in “All’s Well End’s Well” was just brilliant, so funny. I understand she also appeared in the 2010 and 2012 films. Sandra has directed 1 film called Goldbuster and produced 3 films must recently “Zero to Hero”. I can’t wait to see her other work.

Review

As you might have guessed by now, I really enjoyed this movie, it’s as if it was made for me. It was a typical old school comedy romp that only Hong Kong can produce. It did remind me of a British “Carry On” movie but not so rude.

I can’t think of anything bad to say about this movie. Exceptional story line, character development, most of the main cast had a big part to play, it was well executed, and timing is everything in a comedy. All the actors did a fantastic job.

Summary

As soon as I finished the movie I tried to find where I could watch the others, I did manage to find a place that sold the DVD’s so I will probably buy them at some point.

I’m not sure why it’s so badly rated on IMDB with a 4.8/10 rating, but this is the case with many Asian movies. It didn’t bother me but it’s an observation I keep making. I would rate it as a 9.5/10.

The 2009 movie can be found on Netflix. I really recommend it to everyone.

Trailer

2021-09-13T21:31:13+00:009 September 2021|Review Hong Kong|0 Comments

Canada Election Time: Surrey Newton

The Canadian Election has been announced to take place on 20th September 2021, this is a quick review of who is running in my own local area.

During A Pandemic?

There has been a great deal of talk about why the election is being held now, according to some Mr Trudeau promised there wouldn’t be held now and is only holding it since he is sure to win. Not sure whether that is true or not. Either way, it does appear this was unexpected and prospective candidates do appear to be slightly unprepared for this eventuality, so I do feel for them in a way. They are doing the best they can under the circumstances.

Our Area

We live in the Surrey-Newton area of British Columbia. It is a diverse district but has many issues from crime to empty stores. At the time the election was announced there were no candidates in the area listed aside from the incumbent from the Liberal Party. As a Brit I find this a little odd that each party didn’t have representation here already.

Liberal Party

My neighbours talk about Sukh Dhaliwal as being heavily supported by the local community but wasn’t sure what he’s achieved for the area.

Looking through his twitter account:

  • He has only mentioned climate change 3 times in 2021.
  • The last time he mentioned wildfires was back in 2016.
  • He has mentioned homeless once in 2021.
  • He has mentioned health many times in 2021.
  • He has mentioned COVID 9 times, pandemic sixteen times, and vaccine seventeen times, in 2021 (Note: some crossover where all phrases intermingled in one tweet)
  • He has only mentioned LGBTQ once in 2021 and throughout his time on twitter.

A good percentage of his tweets or retweets are at the federal rather than local perspective. Now and again, I am given a little insight what he is doing locally but not a great deal. This is the case in the US too.

Let’s have a look at his entry on the Liberal Party website:

Liberal Blog

Well, that’s not good! No platform for the local area but you can see a very brief resume about him.

On the web: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Liberal Party Website

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party candidate for this area is Syed Mohsin. So, let’s see what we can find out about him.

First, I went to the Conservative Party website and saw their list of candidates. In the little container they have for him there are no links to any social media accounts. Not a good start. However, when I click on the “Learn More” link the site just times out, also, there is no security certificate on the domain either.

There is a Conservative Party website for our area, but it doesn’t list the candidate’s name.

So, I have nothing to go on to assess what this part will do for this area.

NDP

This one is looking more hopeful.  The NDP candidate is Avneet Johal.

Avneet has two sub-domains at the NDP website, so https://surreynewton.ndp.ca just redirects to https://avneetjohal.ndp.ca.

His resume looks good, hits some of the keywords I like such as “mental health”, “diversity”, “climate” & “jobs” etc.

When I go to the websites News section, it’s a little disappointing as the entries are from a federal rather than local perspective. There is nothing there which outlines his platform/manifesto for this area.  The Events page is empty at the time I visited it. The Volunteer page has a picture of Jagmeet Singh, which is lovely, but it would be better to have Avneet’s picture there. He needs to fast track his campaign to beat the Liberal Party candidate.

Avneet doesn’t has a Twitter account, I can’t find one and none is listed on his NDP website. He appears more active on Facebook and Instagram but not everyone has those platforms, and he needs to be everywhere given that this might be a more social media/digital election.

On the web: Facebook | Instagram | NDP Website

Green Party

I cannot find a candidate listed for this area. Again, I have no idea what the party would do for Surrey Newton.

People’s Party of Canada

Pamela Singh is this party’s candidate.

Pamela has an entry on the PPC website with a short bio, but right now that’s about it. So, I can’t comment on this candidate right now.

On the web: PPC Website

Independent

Parveer Hundal is an Independent candidate running in this area.

Parveer is very articulate and sounds as she would be a great representative for Newton. She appears to be focused on crime, which is high in the Surrey, British Columbia, area.  Looking through some keywords/subject specialties on her resume/outline I see “crime”. “youth”, “housing”, “mental health”, “overdose”, “health care reform”, “affordable education”, “diversity”. I don’t see mention of climate change or LGBTQ issues.

On her website she needs to link to any social media account she has and keep pushing the message out. She also needs to write a platform/manifesto and keep plugging away with more blog/news items.

On the web: Instagram | Elect Parveer Hundal Website

Summary

Likability

While nothing to do with their policies the two most approachable candidates for me are Parveer Hundal and Avneet Johal. We need some young forward-thinking candidates who are great for the community and represent the youth who will be most affected by issues like climate change.

Policies

I would like to compare all the parties but there is little or no presence from the Conservatives, Green Party and PPC. I just don’t know what the Liberal Party candidate has achieved here or what his manifesto is. The candidate who has outlined their policies/vision the most is Parveer Hundal.

When I speak to neighbours they say the Liberal candidate will surely get back in, no one knows what he has done but since he has the support of the community, he’s bound to get the most votes. The Labour Party in the UK was overconfident, and they were slaughtered at the last election, this could be the case here. Trudeau is extremely unpopular here in my community, I suspect they’ll be looking for someone else. Either way, I wish all the candidates my best.

When I become a citizen I look forward to voting in the next election.

2021-09-11T23:05:17+00:004 September 2021|Canada|0 Comments

Pipeline Movie Review

Pipeline Movie PosterFor Asian movie night this week we saw Pipeline (파이프라인), a Korean movie released in May 2021 and available to view on Viki.

About

To make himself rich and pay back loan sharks Hwang Gun Woo hires a team of misfit “experts” to siphon oil from the national grid into his own storage facilities. Things go sour when he threatens the teams’ lives for not meeting his deadline and spying on them.

Cast

Seo In Guk as Kan Se Doi (aka Drill-Bit). He is the leader of the team, also known as Captain. I haven’t seen this actor in other products, but he is popular starting his career as a pop singer. He is known to have some health issues along the way including bulimia, he was told to lose weight, and Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition, which made him exempt from military service.

Leo Soo Hyuk as Hwang Gun Woo, the bad guy. As well as an actor he is also a model. I haven’t seen him in any other productions.

Jung Jae Kwang as Sang Goo. He played a support role, police officer, in this movie but I mention him since we saw him in It’s OK Not To Be OK, he played patient Joo Jung Tae.

Review

I thought this was a surprisingly good movie, better than I had envisaged. I did think beforehand why they would make a pipeline seem exciting, they should have named it something else, either way it was worth the watch.

I thought the actors and storywriters did an excellent job of the cast interactions, some of its drama, and some of it very humorous. I’m sure the story was a bit farfetched and headed into an odder direction with the bad guy’s goals being that of a mad scientist towards the final 30 minutes of the movie. It was a shame they knocked off one of the team, but I guess that’s what made the bad guy so evil.

It had some special effects. The oil running through the pipes wasn’t well done. The pipeline exploding in the hills of Korea was well done.

Many of those reviewing the movie clearly watched the movie because of Seo In Guk, one said “I wouldn’t be bored with him reading the entire phone directory”.

Summary

I would give this a 7/10. Much better than anticipated, worth a watch.

Trailer

2021-09-13T21:31:59+00:0016 August 2021|Review South Korea|0 Comments

Joy of Life Review

Uncle Wu and Fan XianJoy of Life is a Chinese program that was broadcast between November 2019 and January 2020.

About

The main character is Fan Xian who was bought up by his Grandmother and following the visit from a stranger he heads to the capital to find out more about his mysterious Mother which leads him into political intrigue.

Cast

Characters of note are:

Zhang Ruo Yun plays Fan Xian. For some reason he looks remarkably familiar but looking through his CV I don’t see anything he’s been in that we’ve watch. Watching various videos online he does seem to be playing himself in this show. He seems to in the process of many dramas and appears to be very popular actor now.

Wu Gang plays Chen Ping Ping. We’ve only seen him in the film Super Me, he was vastly different in that movie. He played the part of creepy Chen Ping Ping very well.

Guo Qi Lin plays Fan Si Zhe. We felt he should have had a larger role in the show, one of our favourites and this is the case with fans. He’s character is the underdog and sweet.

Thomas Tong (Tong Meng Shi) plays Uncle Wu. An extremely popular actor with numerous projects in the pipeline. His character in this show was very mysterious and was always around to protect Fan Xian. His character was like Daredevil, not exactly blind but wore something round his eyes so he couldn’t see, not sure if he is blind.

Review

Major spoilers.

There is one side of the story which is Fan Xian discovering his mother’s past and his venture into the world of politics. The other more scifi/fantasy part is something they never got into much. In what looks like the present a university student who looks like Fan Xian is drafting a story which is in fact what we see in Joy of Life. Then there are clips of dream sequences (?) when Fan Xian 1) sees himself in a modern hospital in a coma, 2) his real home is a huge city of the future covered in ice and 3) Fan Xian retains some knowledge of the future or a parallel universe. Hopefully, those will be explored in seasons 2 or 3.

The first episode was a little odd, I wondered if this was a comedy show, it was slightly annoying. Then it became more serious and complex with twists and turns. The main character just got too annoying at times, it felt he was indestructible and not learning anything along his journey, little character development. Uncle Wu and the brother Fan Si Zhe were our favourites and should have featured more in the show.

The special effects are becoming more sophisticated in Chinese drama shows and this series was no exception, really raising the bar. It seems the production company may have put in quite a bit of effort with the musical score, sometimes it was over-kill but appreciated that there wasn’t too much repetition. The closing title’s theme was fantastic, the best I’ve heard out of all the drama’s I’ve seen.

Summary

This drama is well worth the watch, ignore my negative criticisms as these are just my observations. I would give it a 8/10. Other reviewers have given it an average of 9/10 as I’ve seen on various Asian site.

Trailer

2021-09-13T21:32:29+00:0014 August 2021|Review China|0 Comments

iPhone Upgrade 6 to 12

I decided to upgrade my iPhone this month from a version 6 to 12 Pro for various accessibility and technical reasons.

Why Upgrade?

The number one reason was accessibility. I was beginning to find it difficult with the smaller screen size of an iPhone 6. I did increase the size of the fonts but that didn’t really have the effect I desired. It was also becoming fiddly with my fingers and thumbs. I can read perfectly with my glasses on, but I have a habit of forgetting to take them with me, like all the time, so to perform basic functions like handling calls and paying things was an issue.

Second reason was technology, some apps had stopped upgrading. The apps would still work under the outdated version but really needed the security functions the updated ones offered.

What Phone?

I decided to buy the iPhone 12 Pro. Screen size was the main benefit which was instantly noticeable when I bought it. I didn’t want to upgrade to the thirteen, I’m a little superstitious, and couldn’t wait for the fourteen to come out.

On my old iPhone 6 I only had 16Gb of space which was extremely limiting for what I needed to do. Having said that I disciplined myself not to keep any data on it for long which I transferred to the cloud or airdropped to myself on my desktop computer when arriving home. Since I was used to that routine, I only bought a 128Gb model.

I did consider the number of videos I might film in HD or 4K which take up a lot of space, however, this is something I do very rarely. I take more pictures and conclude that this model would be fine for my needs.

Obviously, the other technological advantage was the ability to reinstate or upgrade existing apps.

The Transfer Process

I went through transferring the data using the method in the video below, the video was one of many on YouTube but this one was particularly helpful and very descriptive.

I still had issues with some apps, re-registering or verifying from my old iPhone. Here is what I had issues with:

  • HSBC UK and Canada: needed to scan in a QRCode on my old phone to re-register my login credentials on my new phone.
  • WhatsApp: like signing up but bringing across my data which sits on their server
  • Telegram: re-registering but needed to verify with a code sent to Telegram on my old phone
  • BC Health Gateway: this was the most complicated and forgot most of the steps now to describe them here, but I got there eventually
  • Apple Pay: needed to re-register my credit cards, which was a bit of a nuisance, but understandable
  • Adobe: the login process with Adobe is slightly labour intensive but then I found their “Account Access” app which makes the process easy, it’s worth considering if you use any of their apps on the iPhone of iPad.

So, I would recommend when upgrading phones do not give up your phone immediately as you might need it verify yourself on another device.

Review

I have to say the iPhone 12 Pro is genuinely nice, way better than the iPhone 6, which a much sleeker feel, with lots of screen space. So far, and I’ve only had it a few days, it feels great so far.

2021-09-11T23:20:59+00:0013 August 2021|Technology|0 Comments

Fire in our Neighbourhood

FireOn 3rd August there was a major fire in the apartment block right opposite to our community here in Surrey, British Columbia.

We were having dinner at around 17:45 in the evening and started to hear a lot of commotion outside. Our apartment doesn’t face the street so we couldn’t tell exactly what was happening and kind of just went about our business as usual. Living surrounded by seniors it wasn’t unusual to hear emergency services coming and going anyhow.

It wasn’t until slightly later we realised the gravity of the situation. A major fire had started in the apartments across the street. The facade of the apartment affected looked just as it usually does. However, we did see water being sprayed on the back of it by a fire engine, the one of many emergency services that had arrived in the area. If there is anything going on I tend to stay away as I don’t want to be in the emergency services way and I felt incredibly sick for most of the day.

Later in the evening, the wind must have changed direction and blew the smoke over our community. It was a sweltering day but had to close all the windows because of the overwhelming smell. So, not only did I feel sick, but also hot and overwhelmed by the smell of the smoke. All these were minor issues compared with how events unfolded for the victims of the fire.

Although pending an investigation by the authorities the fire was reportedly started by an unattended BBQ. The structure of the building, especially the roof, made it difficult for the fire brigade to put out, who were on-site for two whole days. They left by Thursday morning when the area has been gated off and a 24/7 security guard posted to ensure looters, and such don’t attempt to enter the now abandoned property.

The local paper, The Surrey Now-Leader, has a good summary of what happened. On day 2 of the fire a YouTuber flew over our area with a drone to record what was happening at that point:

On the event of the fire the evacuees were led into our community by a team of volunteers including the Emergency Preparedness team. They were able to provide them with water, shade, toilets, comforting them and so on. One person was in distress after losing a pet in the fire. The media and other observers were also able to set up using our facilities. It’s great that all these people came together.

It’s very unfortunate that many of those will be unable to return to their home for some time to come. With the extent of the damage, it will take an exceptionally long time to fix what has been destroyed, I’m not even sure if the building must be torn down and rebuilt. I guess the coming weeks will have answers for those affected.

It’s tough to plan for such events but with potential flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and other effects of climate change one must do what one can to ensure you can get back on your feet quickly after a disaster.

2021-09-12T03:55:32+00:006 August 2021|Canada|0 Comments

Twitter Blue Review

A subscription add-on to the Twitter service started here in Canada recently so I thought I would check it out for a while.

What Twitter Blue Includes

  • Bookmark Folders – users already have access to store their bookmarks but upon subscription, they are able to file them in folders.
  • Undo Tweet – a tweet is sent on a delay giving the user time to review before it is sent, like the delay you can set on emails going out. A user can stop it being sent and change any of the text. Once the tweet has been sent you cannot undo it.
  • Reader Mode – able to read long threads in a newspaper-style format
  • Icons – some more icons available for the user to choose from
  • Support – Twitter promised a faster route to obtain support

Cost

For Canadian users, the service is CAD$3.49 per month which, after-tax in British Columbia, works out to be about CAD$3.91.  So really, that is $4.00 a month just about.

Review

The only benefit that was moderately useful to me was the Undo Tweet feature, but that turned out to be a bit of a nuisance waiting for something I had already reviewed to be sent. You can’t set up a delay on each tweet just on all tweets going out. Twitter has pitched this as an Edit feature but falls short of actually editing an entry once it’s been posted, in which case you have to delete it and post it again.

The bookmark feature is moderately useful but I tended to actually place them somewhere else outside of Twitter.

Icon. Well, that’s just silly really, I don’t really care about what icon is there on my iOS screen.

Support. I never noticed any route to gain faster support, felt I was the same as anyone else.

The Twitter blue service isn’t even available on Desktop, even though I had access to it via my iPad and iPhone. Since I use my Desktop the most I wasn’t even benefiting from it for most of the time I was on the service.

What Made Me Cancel

I wasn’t impressed with the service at all.  If they are going to charge they really should have been more imaginative. All users should have access to the Undo Tweet feature anyway, it may make people think before they tweet anything offensive.

If I had many thousands of followers and a business I would find Twitter Blue useful, but I am just an average user with not a large impact on there.

Also, today, Sunday 1st August, Twitter has been down all day and felt I wasn’t going to pay a special price for something I can’t even access from hours upon end.

2021-09-12T04:09:07+00:001 August 2021|Social Media|0 Comments