Taking pictures of a crowd

Taking pictures of a crowd is a test of patience and luck. As a photographer, you are waiting for a moment so you can "capture the moment." For a picture that is filled with heads, you may look for unity: everyone focused in one direction. You may look for uniqueness: I still remember the picture of a lone German fan (in yellow, or white) in a sea of red shirt Korean fans during the 2002 World Cup.

In this picture, I find the diversity in anticipation.

And yet to have this picture taken the way it is taken, you need things to fall in place. You need the two people in blue (they do stand out, don't they!?) to look back for their friend. You need the ladies in frnt to be lookng for something in the bag. You need that bored looking man in dark grey. You need the little girl in red who is loosing patience. You need all the folks on the left to all be in anticipation.

And that is life. Sometimes things just fall in place. All you have to do is click. So click whenever you can.


What is this...?

Well, I saw this attached to my analyst's phone. Quite normal right? Female sign with headphones, perhaps...?

Except that when it first caught my eye, this is what I saw:

So, what is this?
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Services in China

Restaurant services in Shanghai are notoriously bad. Most of the time it's a matter of attitude. And then there's this:

Josekin: May I have a glass of warm water?
Waitress: I'm sorry, sir, we only serve bottled mineral water.
Josekin: Not warm, right?
Waitress: No.
Josekin: Do you serve anything warm?
Waitress: Green tea or red tea.
Josekin: I'll have green tea then.

About 10 seconds into me sipping my nice and warm green tea did I realize... didn't she use warm water to make the green tea (RMB 38, by the way)!?

Stupid Josekin? Stupid waitress? Or smart business?


Trade off analysis

I'm a huge fan of The Sports Guy. Despite his decline as a writer since he joined ESPN, I always read his articles religiously. Thanks to Google Reader, I'm extremely updated on his articles... as opposed to checking into ESPN every 10 minutes to see if The SG posted a new article. Ah, the good times.

Anyway, this morning I saw that SG put up a whooping TWO articles! The first one was on home field disadvantage... which should really be the home field betting bias given the lack of advantage that home field really has. The home team is overly favored, not that the field is useless. Whatever, he's a journalist, I'm an economist. Anyway, back to my trade off analysis.

Damn I digress too much.

I've never delayed reading SG articles... except that I was watching Lost Season 2 this morning. The show was getting good, and I did the very unexpected: I stopped reading the article!! And let me tell you, it was quite a struggle.

The problem with the SG is that his articles are usually constantly good while a TV show like Lost has ups and downs. When the cliffhangers are good, it makes Lost so irresistible! Of course, as I turned my attention to Lost... my mind would wander back to the article. Perhaps I should finish the article before I watch the TV show. It's going to take only 5 minutes...

So I went back to my laptop and started reading... except that I was completely distracted. Back to Lost.

Literally, this went on for 2 minutes before I realized the obvious solution... play the DVD (by the way, RMB 5 per DVD, RMB 30 for the whole 4 seasons of Lost!) and take my laptop with me. This will work.

Not. I ended up watching 2 full episodes (the cliffhanger was too much for me to press the stop button) before I turned my head to the laptop to read the article.

Oh, dilemmas in life.


Different perspectives

Dug up an old picture and really liked it. It seems like the girl in dark (AL) has a bit of a photofront (i.e. she's reacting to a camera being pointed at her)... nonetheless, I like this picture quite a bit.
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Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is indeed quite photogenic from all sorts of angles. I remember seeing it for the first time about 10 years ago when I visited NYC with FK. We took a ferry tour that went under several bridges. Only the Brooklyn Bridge caught my eye (and the Statue of Liberty). On this visit, PNGF took me to the Brooklyn side and we walked back to Manhattan.

Lots of patterns to play around during this nice day out on the bridge. I think I took about 100 pictures before distilling it down to about 8 to 10. I especially like the last one.

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Signs from New York

Wall street, what have you done...???

How would you read this?

In Obama, we trust?

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Meet THE Brand in China: Me & City

Several weeks ago when I arrived in Shanghai for my new case (yes, I've moved on to skin care from telecom), I was surprised to see Wentworth Miller of Prison Break to be plastered all over the city, starting from being on EVERY SINGLE in-cab TV. In the biggest shopping street in Shanghai were his posters everywhere.

There was a big launch of the brand Me & City that was hosted by Mr. Miller sometime in October, and the buzz apparently lingered until now (and possibly beyond), hence all the advertisements.

There was only one problem: I've never heard of Me & City! It sounded like an old European brand that's trying to revive itself or something. Or a very new US brand.

Luckily, there's Google! Ops, I forgot, this is China. Google isn't very good in China. Luckily, there's Baidu! Ah yes, a much better search result.

Turns out, Me & City is a "high end" brand for a local Chinese apparel retail company, which of course is called Meters Bonwe... don't laugh... I actually think this may work.

I mean it'll definitely work in China. But the brass at Meters Bonwe must have a much larger view for M&C. Their "mass brand" uses Taiwanese singer Jay Chou as their spokesperson. Upgrading to Wentworth Miller is a whole new ball game that has eyes on exporting the brand abroad more than on preying on the Chinese middle class with overpriced over designed products.

I took a quick look at the store and the products. Not a bad selection but quite expensive for China... if I never did any research, I would have thought it's a foreign brand with a good local twist. Price wise it's similar to Esprit and slightly lower than Zara.

Not bad, not bad.

A Chinese brand that may compete with the likes of Esprit and Mango? I'm excited already. (Though I wouldn't buy from it)
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You win, and then?

Obama wins as expected. Now what? For Obama's tireless supporters, I hope they find something to fill their lives. For Joe the Regular, I'm definitely looking forward to a new presidency that will act competently. That's all I ask: competent.

Obviously Obama is a fresh force with a nice and clean resume for the White House. It doesn't seem like he is just another politician (that's you, Hilary). It seems that he will bring about change. After all, that's been his campaign for the last 2 years! It seems that he can bridge differences. It seems that... all this is very Utopian and idealistic.

Many people interview very well; only a fraction of those people will actually do the job well.

Many couples have a galmorous and perfect wedding; only a fraction of them will have the long lasting perfect marriage

Mr. Obama, people say you've ran the perfect campaign with the perfect events (e.g. financial crisis, lame duck president, Sarah Palin) going in you favor. People say your speeches are among the best (his speech at Chicago was very good and almost moved me to some tears). People say you are the agent of change. People say you will bring perspective and humility to the White House. It is now your chance to do it.

"Yes we can"? "Yes we did"? All this will be bullshit if you don't "yes here goes".


Bad Blogger and Election Day!

*Note: you MUST read to the end and click on the link... it will put the smile on your busy day

I am a bad blogger. Last post was on October 19th!

Since then, I could have shared...
  1. Beautiful pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge... I actually think my photography has improved a little bit for whatever reason. I've been more patient in preparing my camera for the photo instead of snapping away
  2. The end of my 7-month telecommunication case
  3. The my half day beach time (sigh)
  4. Attending a recruiting session as a recruiter or (welcome, former IB recruits!)
  5. Attending a recruiting session for Chicago GSB (welcome, laid off bankers!)
  6. Finishing the ironic book "Damn it feels good to be a banker"

Anyway, I was watching US elections on CNN in Shanghai and just heard the following:

  • Commentator X: Let me share with you what we know for sure based on our projections
  • Commentator 1: As you can see, McCain is leading Obama in by votes...
  • Commentator 2: These numbers mean nothing since only a very small number of votes have been counted...
  • Commentator Y: We've just beamed in from Chicago. What you are seeing here is the hologram of ... this is the first time on cable television....

(Josekin: so... do you know for sure? or are you projecting? Did you just report for 5 minutes something that doesn't even matter? why do I care about a Hologram?)

By the way, the analysis on early results on Indiana was excellent. They went into the State, looked at county by county votes and compared it to the 2004 election, showing that some of the key Democrat counties have not been counted, that Obama is actually winning some counties that were previously Republican, and that he's only losing by a few percentage points in counties where John Kerry lost by a landslide four years ago. Therefore, Obama is doing quite well in Indiana. Now THAT is what I call a good analysis.

(I know you don't care... but I'd vote for Obama. As PNGF aptly put, President Palin just sounds like a real disaster. My precinct is in Mass and my vote doesn't really change anything. Um... or does it matter...!? This is HILARIOUS!)