Sony WH-CH520 Headphones

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO250
“Sony Headphones” Cedar Park, 2023

This year I got a set of Sony WH-CH520 headphones for Father’s Day. I wanted some wireless headphones that I can use with my phone and iPad, and even my Macbook Air and these Sonys fit the bill. The features I love:

  • Wireless: Bluetooth means I can connect to all my devices.
  • Lightweight: The plastic material is light, but seems robust.
  • Battery life: 50-hours! Impressive.
  • Looks good: They come in black, blue, or white. I chose white because they look so clean.
  • Microphone: I can use it to make phone calls.
  • Equalizer: Using the free Sony app, you can set your levels easily.
  • Price: At $59, these won’t break the bank.

I’ve only been using them for a short while, but I love them. They are very comfortable, and don’t make my ears hot. They also sound great! I have the bass enhancer activated (and bass boosted in the EQ). Very nice!

If you would like some nice, inexpensive on-ear headphones, the Sony WH-CH520 model is worth checking out!

The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2017) – Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/3.6, 1/120 sec, ISO320
“Huang Rong” Cedar Park, 2022

I finally watched all 52 episodes of the 2017 Chinese television series “The Legend of the Condor Heroes”. I enjoyed it quite a bit!

After reading the books (which I loved), I was curious to see how this latest re-telling of the Condor Heroes story would be. I was pleasantly surprised that the first episodes’ characters, plot, and overall feeling matched with what I had imagined in my mind when I read the books.

The kung fu moves were excellent and they spent a lot of effort in the flying effects, the spinning moves, and the choreography in general. It was interesting to me that in the books and also the live-action series, most of the kung fu is not meant to deal lethal blows. Even when fighting with weapons, the conflict was to show superiority, and trying to kill someone is a serious line that only the villains were willing to cross.

Speaking of the kung-fu, many of the moves has specific names, and in the tv show, they flashed subtitles when the person used the move. Pretty cool!

One criticism of the TV series I have is that the special effects were sometimes horrible. Laughably so! In fact, they were so bad, didn’t mind it so much after a while. They did their best! And the fighting was awesome, after all.

This adaptation stuck close to the book’s plot, but at the end I think they skipped over a lot. For instance, when Viper Ouyang was harassing our heroes in Mongolia, he suffered some hilarious indignities, however the TV show only showed one of them, and even that was toned down.

Overall, though, I thought the 2017 series was excellent. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the legendary wuxia series.

Pompo: The Cinéphile

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Pompo-san” Austin, 2022

My friend and I went to see Pompo: The Cinéphile at the theater as part of our anime-watching habit. Whenever GKIDS has a special screening, he buys the tickets, and I buy the beer (the theater has beer on tap!). It’s something I really look forward to!

Anyways, I thought the movie was excellent. The plot is basically the making of a movie, but there are so many little inspirational nuggets thrown in that I was kind of blown away and even got a little emotional. What a movie! And maybe it was the beer too. But regardless, Pompo: The Cinéphile left me with a positive attitude and life seemed just a bit brighter.

A very nice little gem of a film. Go see it!

Legends of the Condor Heroes

Jiang Yun Xing /Quercus Books

I’ve been enjoying the classic series Legends of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong so much. I just started book four, A Heart Divided, which is the final book of the translated series. The story is so much fun!

The story is Wuxia, or ancient martial-arts heroes genre. Do you know the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? That is a good example of Wuxia.

When I started the first book, A Hero Born, I was a bit overwhelmed by the list of characters at the beginning. What was I getting myself into? But soon, I was caught up in the story, and the character list came in handy to refresh my memory.

I was very curious as to how they could describe the fast-paced action of the wuxia movies, but Jin Yong (and the book translators) do an amazing job of imaginatively describing and naming the different moves and it’s incredibly fun to follow along. I love the heroes, and love to hate the villains. My favorite character is Cyclone Mei, who is featured in the illustration above. She’s one of the villains, but… it’s complicated! 😀

I read the popular She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan, but didn’t enjoy the story or characters at all. The Legends of the Condor Heroes is way more my type of book.

There’s a Chinese television series from 2017 that I will watch after I finish the books. Besides spoilers, I don’t want my imagined versions of the characters to be influenced by the actors in the drama. I prefer to look to the illustrations (which are sparse) from the book.

For more info, you can read this article from Alan Yu at NPR about Jin Yong and his amazing series.

Okay, back to A Heart Divided!

White Snake 白蛇:缘起 and Green Snake 青蛇

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“White Snake” Cedar Park, 2022

This evening I watched the Chinese animated films White Snake 白蛇:缘起 and Green Snake 青蛇 back-to-back. I thought the animation in both was great, but enjoyed White Snake much more than the sequel.

The setting of White Snake’s ancient China was more appealing to me than that of Green Snake’s dystopian mish-mash city. White Snake was filled with stunningly beautiful scenes, whereas Green Snake was filled with non-stop action, which was hard to take for two hours.

I believe there will be a third movie in the series, but it looks like it’s going to jump a thousand years into the future… oh well.

As far as the plot of both movies, they were nothing special. I think the main draw for me is the beauty of the animation (where the first film really shined). But I am still hoping for a more interesting plot to tie up the series.