Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Madoka & Homura Magica Figures

I am a big fan of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (魔法少女まどかマギカ) and it's a bit unfortunate that the animé is considered "old" already here in the Philippines: Madoka figures and merch are very rarely found... So, when the wife and I went to Japan, I really looked for Madoka figures in stores. I went to the Nishiki Market near our hotel and, lo and behold, there's a shop that sells animé figures!!! Of course! That was in Japan after all...

I immediately looked for Madoka figures and I saw several kinds of all five characters! I wish I could buy all of them then but I didn't have enough space on my luggage to fit the five boxes. So I just bought my two most favorite first Kaname, Madoka and Akemi, Homura.

Here are some photos of the two figures.

The lighting set up was simple: just one speedlite and a reflector. That's it. I just adjusted the positions of the reflector and the speedlite depending on the shot that I wanted to get.

Now, for the other three figures... Have to convince the wife to go back to Japan! :)
Gear used to make this post:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Mizuno Wave Lightning RX3 Review

When the wife and I came back to the Philippines, one of the things that I love to do the most is playing badminton with friends. Our games are slightly competitive but still fun and, of course, you can always get a good workout when you play badminton for two hours or more.

But the thing that I lacked before was a good pair of indoor shoes. I have running sneakers but it could be a very dangerous thing to use when played indoors, on wood, in a very humid gym: the court will be moist and the traction offered by running shoes will not do on a moist, plain surface. Actually, I slipped several times which prompted me to use my basketball shoes. The traction is right but that pair was very heavy.

So I decided to get a pair of shoes that is really meant for indoor sports and one that is not very heavy.

Enter the Mizuno Wave Lightning RX3.

This pair immediately caught my eyes in the sporting goods store. However, the price of the shoes set me back so I decided to try some other cheaper pairs. The other pairs did not agree with my feet, either the arch is wrong or the fit is wrong or the pair of shoes simply isn't comfortable to wear...

So I called up the sales clerk and told him that I wanted to try the Mizuno pair.

That pair of shoes and my feet were a match made in heaven! The pair of shoes felt really comfortable and light. The fit of the shoes around my feet is snug and my feet do not wiggle inside. This may be a hightop pair (or high cut, as it is called in the Philippines) but my lateral movement is not impaired by it.

But of course, the ultimate test was when I started playing badminton with it. And the Mizuno Wave Lightning RX3 performed admirably. I can move easily, the shoes are light, and my feet do not overheat because of the vents around and under the shoes. And more importantly, I do not slip because the gum sole has a perfect grip on the badminton court, whether it be a wooden surface or acrylic mats. I guess I'll only slip with this pair solely due to my own clumsiness. :)

And I don't only use this for badminton. When the wife and I shoot some hoops, I use this pair and I can go after the basketball and "drive to the hoop" with aplomb. Well, with the little basketball skills that I have... :) This pair of shoes is a really nice pair to own!

This pair of Mizuno athletic shoes is Highly Recommended!!!

How the product was shot:

Gear used to make this post:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Case for an iPhone's Case...

Every time I get an iDevice, the wife gets a headache. Yes, the wife. This is because every time I get a new device, an iPhone, an iPad, even a MacBook, I always agonize about getting a case for them or not. The wife is very supportive and always comes with me to accessory shops (and even go through different online shops when we were still living in the U.S.) to look at different types of cases. She says she's fine with the ordeal but I can sense the discomfort in her every time I say "I just want to look at some cases..." Yes, that's how she loves me...

Anyway, why do I agonize about cases?

This is because Apple devices are so damn pretty!!!

On one hand, you want to protect that beauty, to preserve its pristine condition, to always have it look like new... Cases will preserve this pristine condition most of the time. Also, cases will protect your devices if ever they take a tumble. Yes, the wife's iPhone 5c was dropped and we had it repaired but it doesn't feel the same anymore. It is now creaking and, though the display looks the same, the experience of using it now doesn't feel like it came out of the design labs in Cupertino... (Yes, it was repaired by a third party repair shop here in Metro Manila.)

On the other hand, putting the device also has its set-backs.

Apple spent millions of dollars and hundreds, if not thousands, of man-hours to come up with beautiful designs; I feel like it's an injustice to the Apple design team to put such a beautiful piece of hardware in a case that will make it 10 times thicker (ok, I exaggerate. Or maybe not...). The thing is, you buy an iDevice for its beauty and ease-of-use. Why, then will you suddenly put it in a cage, hiding its beauty and making it harder, even if just a little, to operate? It's like you buying an off-road vehicle but you not wanting to take it off-road because you don't want to put mud on it. Or you getting a beautifully wrapped Japanese candy but you not wanting to eat the candy because you don't want to ruin the packaging.

These do not make sense...

And Steve Jobs himself said one should not put an iDevice, an iPod in his example, in a case because the things that make the iPod yours are, one, the music you put inside it and, two, the dings and scratches you put on it when you use it. The imperfections the iPod suffers because of how you use it make that particular iPod yours. There are some tens of millions of iPods out there but the one with the scratch on its back is yours because you are the one who dropped it.

The ding on one of the corners of my iPad makes this particular iPad mine because it was the wife who dropped it. And my love for the wife wasn't lessened because of that. And I love the iPad more. (Yes there were a couple of seconds of trepidation right after she dropped it but all was forgiven.)

So, did I get a case for my iPhone 6+?


At the beginning, I put the phone in a wallet. As with my previous iPhones (4 & 5s), I didn't put them in a protective case  whenever I use them. However, I put them in a sleeve when I put the phones in my pockets. Why? Because I don't want my keys and coins scratching up the displays. Yes, a few nicks and scratches are fine, but I don't want to add them up deliberately. And in the case of the 6+, there is always that fear of bending it whenever I put it in my bag. The wallet case, with my cards and IDs, acted as an exoskeleton for the iPhone. The wallet, cards and iPhone, collectively, are much stronger than the iPhone on its own.

I put the 6+ in a wallet because I don't want my stuff in my bag bending the phone...

And I am a bit worried about that protruding camera lens...

However, there were several occasions already when I almost dropped the phone. Once, I was walking to meet up with the wife when a teenage kid bumped into me: that almost knocked the phone off my hand! Another time, I was eating some fries while reading tweets one handed and the phone almost took a tumble to the floor; good thing the phone landed on my lap instead!

Now, why did these things happen?

It's a combination of two things: the iPhone 6+ is too damn slippery and too damn big!

Having a bigger screen has its benefits, as I mentioned here, but it makes the phone harder to wield also. This is one of the reason why it is not advisable to use the iPhone 6+ one-handed! Well, at least if you are not a 6'8" athletically gifted person...

So how did I remedy this?

I got a case that is nearly transparent and thin enough so that the beauty of the phone can still shine through. A case that can be easily put on and peel off whenever I want to use my Olloclip, a case that adds some "stickiness" to the phone. With this case, my fear of the phone slipping off my hand is greatly diminish. And yet the phone's thickness is not that much different than if I use the 6+ completely naked...

But of course, this does not make the phone drop nor weather resistant. But I am fine with that.

Am I afraid of accidentally dropping the phone while using it? Absolutely! There is a high chance that that will happen. But this makes me take care of my phone more. This makes me more careful of how I use it. Now, I won't go out of my way and intentionally scratch and drop my phone but I am happy with my choice.

And when I get a new iDevice, I will look at cases again and the wife will have to agonizingly go through those each time. That's just the way I am.  And I don't think I'll change: at the end of the day, I would still wish the design to be the one highlighted, I would still wish to use the iDevices the way they are intended to be used.

And if I ever use a case, a protector, I still would want it to be as minimal as possible. And my friends who gave me advice that I should get a sturdier casing for my phone just have to forgive my, ahem, insolence.

I just hope I don't drop my phone...

(Typed on an un-cased iPad.)

Photos shot with an iPhone 5s using the iOS app Hipstamatic:


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