Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Emily in Paris, please read with caution.
Bonjour, mademoiselles and monsieurs!
I’m certain I’m not the only one obsessed with French culture, and of course, the latest Netflix series — Emily in Paris.
In case you’ve been living under the rock, Emily in Paris re-awakened people’s lust for travel. A bit of escape from the horrific reality we’re currently facing; a year that has gone haywire.
Think croissants, cobblestones, fine architecture, chic fashion, good food, art, and sex. This is the surface of what Emily in Paris is about: Emily Cooper’s hilarious misadventures in navigating her career, romance, and friendships.
While the series showcases how Emily documents her life and adventures in Paris through Instagram, there are a few things she forgot to bring. For a supposedly tech-savvy millennial, Emily Cooper forgot some travel essentials. Or maybe she didn’t know she needed them.
Based on a few episodes from Emily in Paris, I realized what gadgets must be deemed travel essentials, so we don’t experience Emily Cooper’s misadventures next time we’re in another country.
A battery-powered vibrator (so you don’t blow up the fuse)
First of all, Emily was in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend in Chicago. The couple was having sexy time via video call but crappy internet connection got in the way.
To continue pleasing herself, Emily pulled out an effin’ gigantic, old-school wired vibrator. After plugging it into an electric socket, the vibrator short-circuited the electricity in her apartment. The blow-up was so bad, it shut down the power in the entire neighborhood.
As funny as it is (and no, it wouldn’t really happen in real life), there are a lot of battery-powered, wireless vibrators. Some are even high-tech enough to be controlled by your partner through a mobile app.
Consider this next time when you travel. Although before you pack your sex toy, make sure it’s not illegal in the country you will visit. In some Islamic countries, they confiscate toys as they fall under pornographic material. Last thing you want is to get persecuted in a foreign land.
An instax printer or a pocketable instax camera
Paris is the so-called city of romance. You can literally feel the love in the air. Throughout the series, Emily captured streets, everyday moments, and her life in Paris and uploaded it to her Instagram account.
But to travel — or live — in a romantic city, moments should be captured in a sentimental and romantic way. For instance, preserving memories through a pocketable instax camera which you can bring anywhere, or an instax printer where you can print your photos directly from your smartphone.
That’s exactly what we did one Sunday morning along Upper East Side in New York City. That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. Of course, we weren’t able to, either.
But we caught some vignettes on film, complete with audio recordings using the Instax Mini LiPlay. We found a way to reminisce those moments. That’s something we believe should be part of any travel.
Get a smartwatch or other running essentials
Forgive me for crying out loud, but smartwatches are made to accompany you while you run. Not hold your gigantic phone with tiny hands, huffing and puffing along the river Seine.
It’s a good idea that Emily didn’t forget how important working out is. But it’s not exactly a good idea to hold your phone while you run. Better to invest in a smartwatch like the Apple Watch to measure your heart rate, track your miles, and answer calls while you listen to music through your wireless earbuds.
And if you’re not the smartwatch-wearing type, invest in pockets, running pouches, arm wallets, or wrist straps. There are different ways to safeguard your phones, keys, and other essentials without putting yourself in potential danger.
Besides, Paris — like any other city — isn’t exactly crime-free. You can’t keep running around like crimes don’t happen. Even when I was running around Taipei, a city with low crime rate, I didn’t let my guard down. The same goes for traveling to any other city. It’s always best to keep yourself safe, no one else will do it for you.
What to expect from Apple Music, TV+ and Arcade this Christmas
Enjoy A Charlie Brown
As Christmas season approaches and families and friends continue to prepare for their gatherings, parties, and week-long celebrations, here’s what to expect from Apple’s services to make sure the holidays are best enjoyed.
Apple Music: Carols Covered 2022
The selection of artists includes Amelia Moore, Brett Eldredge, charlieonafriday, Elio, Ellie Goulding, glaive, Jvck James, Katie Gregson-MacLeod, Muni Long, RAYE, Shygirl, SiR, and Yahritza Y Su Esencia.
A new Classical Carols Covered playlist, highlighting beautiful new versions of carols and festive songs performed by top classical artists, will also be available. Both playlists are available in immersive Spatial Audio.
Apple TV+: new originals, Charlie Brown
Meanwhile, Apple TV+ is ready to help families and kids spread the holiday love with a joyous lineup of new episodes of Apple Original series, as well as the streaming debut of holiday Peanuts specials.
As one’s holiday entertainment experience isn’t complete without the iconic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Apple TV+ is offering a free stream of the holiday special from December 22 to 25.
Here are other shows to enjoy throughout the season:
- Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock
- Interrupting Chicken (December 2)
- Pretzel and the Puppies (December 2)
- The Snoopy Show (December 2)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (Stream for free from December 22 to 25)
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (December 25)
Lastly, to make the holiday bonding even more special and fun with friends and family, here are a few games from Apple Arcade to check and enjoy:
- Amazing Bomberman
- SongPop Party
- Hanx101 Trivia
- Nickleodeon Extreme Tennis
- Gear.Club Stradale
- Hidden Folks+
- Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
- Jetpack Joyride 2
- Cooking Mama: Cuisine!
2022 FIFA World Cup: Apps, games, podcasts to check
The World Cup fever is on
The FIFA World Cup is arguably the greatest sporting spectacle in the world. In just a few days, the 2022 edition will kick off in Qatar.
But if you can’t contain the excitement as early as now, here are some apps, games, and podcasts from the App Store to keep yourself immersed in football World Cup content.
Football at your fingertips
For those who want to keep their focus on the sport itself, there’s FIFA+, the official World Cup app that has updates such as match highlights, insights, and live blogs.
In Singapore, there is meWATCH, an all-in-one entertainment hub which allows fans to cheer on their favorite teams when they go head-to-head live.
Listen to the game
After matches, tune in to a free and new limited podcast series from Apple News which follows the tournament: After the Whistle.
The podcast is presented by actor Brendan Hunt and NBC Sports host Rebecca Lowe, who will provide entertaining and informative takes on all of the action throughout the World Cup tournament.
Play the beautiful game
Lastly, if you can’t get enough of football, might as well get your hands on FIFA Mobile for an authentic playing experience that features all 32 teams.
There is also eFootball 2023 from KONAMI, which immerses you to a realistic football feel at the comfort of your own device.
If that still doesn’t cut it, put on your manager’s hat on in Football Manager 2023 Touch, which lets you manage squads and create your own legacy.
Now Playing: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
In case you didn’t notice, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters. It’s the much-anticipated sequel to the groundbreaking MCU film Black Panther in 2018.
People were looking forward to this movie for many reasons. Chief among them, how will it handle the passing of lead star Chadwick Boseman. Boseman is played T’Challa/Black Panther but passed away in 2020 after silently battling cancer. The film also has the unenviable task of closing the chapter on Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which many feel has been underwhelming.
Here, two of our team members discuss the film with some spoilers so this is your OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING. If you haven’t seen the film, we suggest you just bookmark this for now and come back after watching it.
Initial thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Levi: Disappointment might have filled Marvel fans throughout Phase 4, with one underwhelming film after the other. It was only fitting that the MCU capped this phase with a masterpiece. One that sets up everyone for Phases 5 and 6 while reigniting their excitement for what’s about to unfold.
Rodneil: Hmm… not quite sure I share the “disappointment” but I do recognize. I honestly feel like the MCU has become what Iron Man is to that universe. Harking back to what Happy told Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home, “Not even Tony could live up to, Tony.”
I acknowledge that not every show or movie has been strong, but I am personally not as disappointed as the general sentiment is. And Black Panther: Wakanda Forever closes Phase 4 in the most appropriate way which is bittersweet.
Thoughts on Namor?
Levi: It had all the elements of a cinematic marvel (pun intended), from how Ryan Coogler chose to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman by having the Wakandans offer a ceremonial burial to his titular role. At the same time, the ending also struck as what traditional critics call as an “unending” type. Again, quite fitting as there is just more to come from the MCU in the immediate future.
I am just relieved that Namor and his people are here to stay for what is possibly a mega-collaboration with Wakanda. It was alarming considering MCU’s sometimes penchant for expendable villains (See: Kilmonger). That kind of threw me back to the events of Avengers: Infinity War in terms of how vital the role Wakanda played, so it is intriguing what this partnership will have for the eventual Secret Wars phase, as teased towards the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Rodneil: Agreed. There was a moment in the film when I genuinely thought he was gonna be a one-off character. But I knew in the back of my head that they weren’t gonna get rid of him just like that.
But hold on, aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? What did you think of Namor as the primary antagonist?
A nuanced character
Levi: I was about to get there! I think Namor adds another layer to the movie as he acts more of an anti-hero, where he is neither the protagonist nor antagonist. Obviously, one can only speculate based on comics as to what he will really be, but as we all know, the MCU is a different animal. That’s a treatment we will definitely wait for, given how this film has set up the existing timeline.
Rodneil: I think he was very much the antagonist of the film. In the comics, he flips-flops between hero and villain. But his motivations have always been clear. He does everything he does for the sake of protecting his people. And that much is true for this film. He fights alongside whoever his motivations align with the most. Namor is refreshing because he is a very nuanced character, and that’s something we need to see more of in mainstream films, especially the MCU.
The backstory that the film gives him, as well as that sequence in the middle of the film he spent with Shuri perfectly solidified what kind of character he is. Now that we’ve spoken about the antagonist. Let’s switch to the other side, what did you think of Shuri?
Shuri and her character’s journey
Levi: Before I get to Shuri, yes, that is one great way of putting it. He operates on his own terms, which will again be crucial once we get to the latter stages of the MCU and the gigantic war that is brewing. In the first place, this movie also refreshingly brought us back to the surface – which we are just scratching – after spending time in multiverses the second Doctor Strange film as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home and across different dimensions – to align things looking ahead.
Anyway, Shuri was tremendous in leading Wakanda in the aftermath of T’Challa’s death. It was all worthy successor vibes for me. Obviously, if you have been following Marvel closely, it was only a matter of time before she finally dawned that Black Panther suit. But then again, it’s like she channeled her smarts in the lab to being representative of the entire Wakandan race through combat, doing so in such an emotional yet powerful manner which was just as energizing for all of us as she led everyone in the next chapter of her nation.
War and its consequences
Rodneil: Funny how you said it “brought us back to the surface.” Because, indeed, we have been dealing with the multiverse, magic, and cosmic things that tackling the very real feud between nations feels a lot more grounded despite the stakes still being really high. That’s actually one theme that I liked – how war isn’t romanticized. It’s portrayed as this horrifying thing where no one actually wins. And we need more of that idea being spread in as many media as possible.
Shuri was solid in this film. I loved her character arc. It all felt very real, especially all that rage. She was dealing with loss, pain, grief, and anger all at the same time and it dictated a lot of her actions. It was very compelling and was presented expertly all the way from when Namor finally attacked Wakanda up to the third act battle.
Levi: Speaking of wars, part of me initially thought there would be three players to the party with America threatening to wage war with Wakanda after their Vibranium detector got destroyed. I’m glad the overall direction of the movie focused on Namor and his Atlanteans, pinned against Black Panther and Wakanda.
What’s next for the MCU?
Levi: As mentioned earlier, it was terrific that they were able to introduce a new character who is not one and done, and an entire race to go along with it. And its aftermath with the two sides basically calling a truce to focus on an even more important matter in the future is kind of how you expected the MCU to close this chapter. We can’t get ahead of ourselves that much, but depending on how the first few movies in Phase 5 fair, we are probably getting a promising build up for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
Rodneil: Oh that whole America thing and Valentina being there is most certainly a set-up for the announced and upcoming film Thunderbolts. But I’ll save that discussion for another time.
Speaking of build-up, while Phase 4 does feel clunky and disconnected at first, I still very much think everything is leading up to somewhere. It just wasn’t as apparent as Thanos and the Infinity stones. There were just more characters, more universes, and more elements to introduce. As someone who’s familiar with how convoluted the comic books can get, we’re still getting only a mild dose.
On that note, this is getting a bit long, so let’s jump right into your final overarching thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Final thoughts on Wakanda Forever
Levi: You are definitely the more immersed Marvel guy between us two, but perhaps from a casual’s perspective, it was Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s ability to connect them back to the overall scheme of things MCU-wise that made it such a refresher, again, owing to the perceived “disconnect” from some of the other films in Phase 4 that perhaps at one point made them go “What is going on?”. That said, again, what a way to punctuate this phase and set us all up for the next two. Excited is an understatement. Also, we have Disney+ in the Philippines now to get us reacquainted with the storylines, so there’s that.
Rodneil: We’re just pretty much echoing each other at this point, but I agree, this is the best way to close a phase. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a brilliant story. As a film, it had such a big responsibility. It had to deal with the passing of Chadwick Boseman all while moving the plot forward for the MCU. At the same time, it still felt like a self-contained movie instead of just another forgettable chapter.
There are so many themes and emotions tackled here. There’s pain, loss, the cost of war, the consequence of revenge, and many more. All of it was handled and presented expertly. It’s easily the best film Phase 4 and gives us hope of better things to come for the MCU.
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