Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Benefits/needs of the many versus the whims and wants of the few....

Spock: Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh...
Kirk: ...the needs of the few
It's been a while since I last wrote an entry which describes my particular opinion on any particular issue. I've mentioned on my blog description that I shall not touch the subject of religion nor politics, and for that I shall be meticulous about the subjects that I shall rant about. I have no intentions to make this blog a controversial one....nor to receive a busload of unwanted criticisms/negative comments on the stuffs that I write. After all, this is supposed to be fun...writing on 'safe' subjects that everyone can comprehend and read. Right, on to the jizz of the article.....
I think it's sufficient for me to generalize on the issue (without zooming into any particular ones) which I would like to highlight over here. Even by doing so, I think that most intellectual bloggers/readers will be able to grasp the issue and come to their own conclusion. I was told by my wife that a friend of hers had written a controversial entry on her blog on a particular current world issue.....and for that, she had received flaks from all kind of people via negative comments on her blog. Though some praised her for raising such an issue and for being stern in choosing her stance, it was kinda annoying reading those 'negative ones' and it made me wonder whether those disgruntled people really did their homework aka thinking outside their box (brain matter) or looking at things on a bigger picture.
The picture above is a scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (which happens to be one of my favourite sci-fi installment as well). It was a scene where Spock diligently sacrificed himself relentlessly by going into a radiation-contaminated room to save The Enterprise from a certain doom. In his dying breath, he uttered those memorable movie lines. Coming back to the argument raised by the poor blogger mentioned above....she had called for an end to the boycott of certain products from a certain country by a certain group of consumers; in view of that these would not create the mass results that these group of people hoped for.
My view is simple. I'm not trying to take sides nor trying to make right of what is wrong. Sure, a mass boycott will lead to a demise of a particular product/brand, hence leading to the the decline of the profits of a particular organization in a particular country...eventually....IN THEORY. But think of the wheel of employment. In Layman terms (aka bahasa yang difahami manusia biasa/ sejagat), what if a particular 'boycotted' organization has already provided hundreds (possibly thousands) of employment to hundreds (thousands) of needy citizens (aka you and me)....say in the Asian region? Would these people have to let their steady source of income go in favour of those minorities who called for the products/brands that their employers produce? Would they have to endure the headache of finding other means of feeding their family?
Truthfully, I do feel that most concerned citizens of the world are calling for an end to this particular conflict....hence some may feel that the boycotting of the products/goods from organizations that originate from the country that is deemed to be endorsing the whole episode will make a difference. But pause for a moment.....think....think again....and then dwell in your deep thoughts......come to a rational conclusion. Read those memorable movie lines above again........
Well, these are my two-cents' worth.......feel free to derive your own judgements and conclusions. All I can say is that....Mr Spock was right. Logically.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Butterfingers finale @ Istana Budaya 17-18 January 2009

This might come as a little late as far as the post-mortem reviews go. The event took place almost 2 weeks ago. For those expecting a full review of the sessions will find that this entry is just a recollection of me being there to witness the live shows myself. Heheh...anyway.......
For the benefit of those not familiar with the band, Butterfingers is a Malaysian band often credited as the catalyst who propelled grunge music into the local music industry in the mid 90s. Though their early incarnation was touted as very Nirvana-esque, their solid and dynamic progression to date in producing surprises in every of their musical offerings amazes many. Having shaken off the 'grunge-only' tag, their steady evolution saw them, eventually, dwelling into combining Malay folk tunes with modern rock twists. Their latest album, Kembali, is one helluva fine album indeed. So much so, it was spunned endlessly in yours truly's car CD player since its release way back in August '08! :p
Right, so there were 4 sessions altogether....with those who opted to go for all 4 shows given a special bulk discount price of RM120, where else those who only wanted to catch the shows individually would have to fork out RM35 per show. Brief details of the shows are as follows:
2.30-4.00 pm: 1996-2001 acoustic session
8.30-10.00pm: Kembali acoustic session
2.30-4.00pm: Transcendence 10-Year anniversary rock out session
8.30-10.00pm: Kembali electric-set
Yours truly bought tickets for the 1st and last show (family commitments and due to some other pressing matters). A special thanks to my wife who took full-time duty to take care of our baby son, without which, I could not have made it for both sessions. Though' the pictures above shows 4 tickets, only 2 were mine, the other 2 belonged to a friend of mine who also took time off from his gruelling shift-laden work to attend Butterfingers' last shows.
Did I say last? Yeah, I did. Their website (and later during the final moments of the show) mentioned that the band would take a break and go into an indefinite hiatus. One would be continuing his studies in the States and one would be pursuing a career in Canada. This would be the last chance to catch them 'live' since they implicitly mentioned again and again that the band would be laid to rest for the next 5 years or so.
So why only the 1st and the last show you may ask? Well, the 1st set, is sort of a 'must-watch' for me...since they were playing their staples from '96-'01. And they did not disappoint by playing the songs from 1.2 milligram right up to Malayneum albums. Honestly, I was hoping for more songs from their 1st two albums with less focus on their Transcendence & Malayneum albums. The song lists if I may remember vividly were Delirium, Epitome, Mating Season, Ruin By The Selling Out, Moksha, Fire Is A Curse, Girl Friday, Faculties of The Mind....*phew*...can't remember the rest, but they ended the set with The Chemistry (Between Us). By the way, in my opinion, the set looked like a reminiscense of MTV's unplugged session for a certain Grunge band in the early 90s.....complete with organised seating arrangements, orchestral backing and all! There was an opening act by another local band, Bunkface, which I didn't pay attention to as much, since it wasn't really the genre/type of music I listen to (huge nod to Sum 41 and Green Day it seemed!).

While I missed the 2nd set, I felt that I can afford to miss it since I would be watching the electric version of the set the day after. So, I won't be talking much on the 2nd show. Now, the 3rd set however, was such a roaring success according to those who were there. Though they played mainly songs from their Transcendence album, they also played songs from their 1st 2 albums...which were the ones I was hoping to hear in abundance! Dammit...hehe....
The 4th set is the one anxiously anticipated by most Butter fans as they were scheduled to play their Kembali album in totality (tho' they missed to play the one song I was hoping they would reproduce live!). Upon entry, I noticed that their orchestral backing was still utilised for this particular electric set, so expectations were high on the type of sound that was going to be produced. I managed to weasel my way to be in the 2nd row right in front of LoQue (the lead guitarist) to get a clear view of his guitar playing (ulterior motive! Heheh). Another downside was that I was also right in front of the right speaker, so I anticipated a blaring time.....(prepare, my-dear-ears!)...but surprisingly the noise level was quite tolerable, in fact I was able to hear the crowd's constant chattering around me.
The set kicked off with Air Liur Di Kuala Lumpur....followed by the rest of the Kembali repertoire.......Bebas, Maharani, Terus Terang, Merdeka, Joget Global etc. In between those songs, they also played songs from their Selamat Tinggal Dunia album, which I often neglect prior to to attending the show. They sound excellent performing the songs live, and I have since learnt to appreciate the 'Dunia album more after hearing the songs being performed with full of energy. There were a couple of times were the band stopped for their break and the MCs would go around and asked the crowd on who were their favourite Butter personnel is....as usual many chosed the lead singer or the lead guitarist himself, but interestingly, one of the attendees managed to mentioned Kalai, their former drummer's name. Interesting nod to the former member.
One point to ponder was that that the whole 4 sets were taped and are expected to be released as a DVD box-set. So those who can't get enough of the band (or couldn't make it for the sessions) could still experience the ambience later. Over and above, I think it was a good sign that Istana Budaya is beginning to mellow down and allow a rock band to perform at an otherwise theatrical/protocol-infused venue. I sense that more and more rock acts are going to take place there as well in the near future. Heheh.....
Well, that's it from me......

***Apologies for the low clarity/lack of pictures. There was a house rule that prohibits audiences to bring cameras in. And stern warnings were given to those who try to snap with their camera-phones (tho' some did managed to slip in their digitals and DSLRs anyway!).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hot Toys' Nurse Joker....(What the...?!)

Hey, just wanna share something interesting that I'm sure most fanboys/collectors are aware of (due to the repetitive visits to Hot Toys' website!). We've got the normal edition (purple-suit) Joker and then we were astonished by the almost life-like Bank Robber Joker. Now check out this statement taken off HT's webpage:
"This year's defining moment was when Heath Ledger received a posthumous award as best supporting actor for his brilliant performance in "The Dark Knight". Hot Toys fans are lucky enough to have their The Joker figurines as a best memory of this talented actor. If you are regretting to miss both versions, you may still pray for one more... "
Now, what exactly do these people mean by "....for one more...."? Is it implicitly suggesting that they are contemplating yet another version of The Joker? Whatever it may mean, HT is definitely milking more profits from those who already have the previous two versions. What accessories that it may come with? Nurse uniform and the red-haired wig? Endless possibilities.....
On the other hand, this may pose as a good news for those who hadn't the chance to own neither of the previous versions....:p

Movie Masters Two-Face figure!!!!!

Anyone remember the Movie Masters TDK line released some time ago? The Joker was highly sought after; due to its' 'lead-painting-poison' hullabaloo which leads to it being pulled back from shelves all over the world. Hence, created a mass scarcity of stock worldwide. Thank God I got 2 of those...heheh. Apart from Mr Ledger's figure, we also got Batman (original suit), The Scarecrow and The Dark Knight action figures from the early wave. Since then, fanboys have been praying hard that Two-face would be eventually released.
I was browsing thru Toyfare #138 at one of the bookstore in town yesterday and came across Mattel's newest assortment of 6" Movie Masters figures. This wave includes Batman, Harvey Dent (Variant)- Joker Thug (Brown Suit), Harvey Two-Face. Note that Harvey Dent (pre-burned face) is a variant figure for Harvey Two-Face. These are expected to be released in the Spring of 2009.
My only comment is that they should've included other prominent characters as well, like Jim Gordon, Carmine Falcone or Salvatore Maroni even. These will complement the line perfectly as they are essential in the graphic novels AND the big screen adaptations. The other thing is, the brown-suit Gotham thug could have easily become Bank-Robber Joker had his suit be grey; and a little modification on its' hair length and colour! And yet ANOTHER Batman?? *sigh*

Monday, January 12, 2009

The 2009 wish-list of a Geek action-figure enthusiast!!!

It's way into January '09 and most fellow collectors have made their inaugural purchases...or should we say their 'inaugural haul' for the year already. As for me, I had to initially settle with the BR Joker as my sole Hot Toys 12" figure (my wallet still yet to forgive me for purchasing that one!).....I'm still reeling from the aftershock that a 12" action-figure can truly breach the unthinkable RM450 mark......that's well above USD135 a pop! Well, enough whining.....I finally got my Hot Toys TDK from a fellow collector/toy-store-owner for an irresistable price last weekend (by which I mean waaaayyyyy below market price and it's original selling price), so I'm guessing that I'm beginning to accept the fact that Hot Toys poured a lot of efforts and love into producing these great 'realistic and life-like' action-figures, hence the price tag warrants it. So much so, I'm thinking of getting Harvey Dent next, and I'm already on the wait-list for the 1st (purple suit) Joker's last batch stock in March '09! Heheh, talk about being a late collector of the 12" HT Dark Knight line.

Anyway, due to my recent re-discovered love for the 12" figures market (I was a nut for collecting the Sideshow Star Wars 12" line before), towards the end of 2008 saw me purchasing several excellent 12" action-figures, in particular Sideshow's Indiana Jones, The Tomb Raider and of course THE 12" figure of the year...the Bank Robber Joker. I enjoyed them so much that I've decided to pre-order several more 12" action figures due to arrive in Q1 and Q2 '09. Which one you may ask? Well, you'll just have to wait and see...heheh.
Is 2009 going to be a 12" scale fiesta for most of us?? Bring on the 12" troops!!!!

Is this gonna be a renaissance of action-figure collecting trend for me? Will I ever forget the sheer joy and madness of hunting down 6" action-figures (Marvel Legends and the likes!)??

Well, not really, I've got my sights on a few since last year. Come March '09, The Watchmen movie will grace the silver screen, and along with it comes the excellent action-figures that stayed faithful to the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons work (even tho' Moore didn't want any part in the movie!). I'm getting the 6" line for sure.....but the 12"? One look at the prototype/preview pictures, I can only say, honestly that these are NOT Hot Toys NOR Sideshow Toys quality. Apart from that, I'd say I'm pretty hyped up about Alex Ross' JSA Series 1 line to be added to my excellent Justice line of figures.

We geeks will rule 2009.......'nuff said.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Give peace a chance!!!

By now the world is setting its eyes on the invasion of Gaza City by the Israeli forces. At the point of typing this, latest news showed that more than 700 casualties were suffered on the Palestinian front, civilians and children included. More than 3000 people were also wounded as a result of Israel's rockets. Though Israel cried foul too with a meagre death toll of 11 (also at this particular point of time of typing), neither Israel nor the Hamas forces in Palestine has agreed on any ceasefire or call for truce.

What have the so-called 'veto-ist' countries done so far?

As a Malaysian, I'm proud too know that Malaysia, together with a large number of other Muslim countries have mounted pressure on the United Nations to convene and discuss on the critical condition that is happening in the region. A lot of countries condemn this act of aggression and will now try to call for a UN sanction to force Israel out of Palestinian soil. Further resolutions are also suggested for immediate despatching of humanitarian aid to civilians injured in the conflict and to pressure the US (as the main ally of Israel) to play a more 'prominent' role in ending the carnage in Gaza. Worst of it all, the UN is anticipating a delay tactic from the US to stall the special ad hoc meeting to discuss measures which will end the cease-fire.
The pictures of death tolls and civilians/children getting killed are deemed to graphical to most, but nevertheless it has opened the eyes of the world on how cruel and inhumane the Israeli forces are. Not gonna post those here......you can search for 'em on the internet. It breaks my heart to see parents weeping for their lifeless children and vice-versa.
What has the world gone to? Is this the last oppressive action of the Republican Party at the White House? Will the Democrats maintain status-quo and remain mum on the subject when they take over next? Are you listening/watching the news, Mr Obama?
The great John Lennon once said (or rather sang...):
"Ev'rybody's talkin' (a lot) 'bout Revolution, Evolution, Flagellation, Regulation, Integrations, mediations, United Nation, congratulations....All we are saying is give peace a chance!!!!!!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crappy action-figure v.2009, the list starts now....say hello to Playmates' Terminator: Salvation toys!!!

Hmm, this particular article on "Crap-on-the-way" by my fellow collector buddy, Adrian got me laughing off my office seat just now....heheheh! Or to put it more delicately, he calls it the "S**t list of toys"! Since I have a few more minutes till the 'official' lunch hour ends, I think I'd scribble some thoughts on the matter.

I think most of us, when we were children, didn't care as much on how our toys look like. Well, it's adequate if it's just a glimpse of what the characters were portrayed like in their respective TV series. Heck, one might even laugh at the image of past 80's toys ie. Thundercats, Silverhawk, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe and the likes...they look so cartoony now if compared to modern action figures produced by Hot Toys, Enterbay, Sideshow Collectibles or even HASBRO to some extent.

Seeing a teaser poster for the movie......

And the random cool images from the movie......

One could expect to get action-figures of such quality....

Or at least (at minimum!)........

...to be produced with the present modern mass-market manufacturing capabilities of toy companies nowadays.

But instead, we're getting these....(one of the images taken from Playmates official news release..).......

See pictures of others at Adrian's blog. Talk about going backwards......while these were definitely acceptable in the 80's.......it's definitely gonna be passed on by many.......

Here's another review that tends to sound a liiiittle bit dissapointed as well.

*Sigh*......the governator would've been very disappointed

Blyth Spartans 0-1 Blackburn Rovers....What the h***?!!!!

Yeah...the title said it all...what the h***?!!! I know that Rovers won (at this point it may or may not be redundant to reiterate once again that I am an ardent Blackburn Rovers supporter)....but only one-nil against a non-league team??!! What the h***?!!! (again!). To pile on the abysmal performance, the player who scored (right pic), Carlos Villanueva, who was also the man of the match by the way, is on Rovers' 'To Scrap' list by the end of January '09!!! It's funny that thousands of fans can see that this young 22-year old lad made ALL the difference in an otherwise lacksture/drab performance by scoring an impressive curling freekick...yet he's bound for the gutters (aka shipped out of the club come end January '09).
Obviously Rovers is keeping the wrong players and trying to ditch all the best ones out......
What the h****?!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Collection_01

Well, for the record, I'm not very good in blogging about toys, let alone doing a detailed-part-by-part review of any particular action-figures. There are great ones on the internet, namely www.mwctoys.com or www.afhub.com just to name a few from the western world. On the Asian front, those listed on my sidebar are but a few awesome ones from my fellow blogger colleagues! These are great passionate bloggers who constantly review their worldly-posessions with great enthusiasm!!! Armand, Adrian, Joshua, Razman, Shaun......are but a few excellent Asian toy bloggers on the net right now to me, great pictures for references too! These are the guys who raves religiously about joint-articulations, paintjobs, head sculpts, figure scales etc. I highly recommend those who are about to dwell into the marvellous world of action-figure collecting to read their reviews and marvel on their photo shoot, really top notch!
As for me, i think it's fitting/sufficient to post just a few pics of my worldly-obsession here. My wife and I have been ardent (tho' not as religiously as some hardcore collectors!) collectors of movie memoribilias, action-figures, and other collectibles since '99. We didn't have the time to catalogue or document our collection before, but recently I had been largely motivated by some fellow Malaysian collectors, seeing that they took the trouble to document their precious loot and all.
I'm in the process of catalogue-ing our collection bit by bit and shall be posting them in my flickr account from time to time. I invite those who're interested enough to view some of my humble toy/action-figure collection to redirect themselves to my flickr link. In the meantime, these are some pictures taken from the flickr account, some of which have appeared before on my earlier blog post. Enjoy......