Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Olympic Medal Winner

Here’s another challenge from Cool and Collected. What am I really really good at they might ask?


If procrastinating was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal around my neck.

Seriously, it’s not like I like to delay things or love to put off certain things in life but sometimes it does keep me on my toes knowing that I live on the edge. Weird, I know.

I do remember stuff and how crucial it is to get things done but sometimes the thought of doing it ‘later’ or ‘there’s plenty of time left to do it’ overwhelms me.

When it comes to my pop culture collecting habit, I often get a lecture from my better half on how I’d like to wait until the collectibles that I really want for my collection are wearing thin at retail shelves before I finally take the plunge to buy them. How about that for some cheap thrills? Hah.

Head on to the Cool and Collected blog for more postings by other bloggers.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Shelfie

Some time back there was this super-cool league of extraordinary bloggers headed by the equally cool Brian from the Cool and Collected page. The league went on an indefinite hiatus so I was obviously surprised when Brian announced its return albeit a slightly different name. I like the more simplistic name now (doesn't roll off the tongue! hahah...).

Anyway. I'm kinda late with my posting. The assignment was given about a week ago. But I guess better late than never eh?

The first official assignment for the PCL is to snap a picture (or pictures) of your favorite toy shelf/shelves. This is something I can really do right now since my man cave is currently under yet another round of re-arranging exercise. I have a shelf or two that is untouched so those are the ones I'm gonna show right now. I love all of my toy shelves but sadly these are the two I can proudly show off right now...haha.

This is where (most of) my Marvel Legends end up being displayed. Many more are still lingering around my work table...waiting to be slotted somewhere inside the already congested ML shelves here. Pardon the Hellboy and The Walking Dead figures at the bottom right...they're due to be moved somewhere else after this.,...heheh.

This is my The Force Awakens shelf. I think I may have several more unopened 3.75" action figures of the movie somewhere. But until I have time to free them from their plastic cells these would be my current view of my TFA shelf.

Check out the rest of the entries from other bloggers HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2016

My quick thoughts on the Suicide Squad film…(may be spoilers, so beware!)

Ok, just to kick off things, let me just say that for those of you who loathed the Suicide Squad movie by just reading Rotten Tomatoes’ review or by those people who have nothing to say but negative things about it, I strongly suggest you to watch the movie first before you pass any similar comments. 

Face it, if you still have the same opinion AFTER you watch it, it’s highly probable that you had that mountainous expectations that the movie would at least match the previous DC flicks from Zack Snyder or Christopher Nolan. Well, it didn’t. Suicide Squad wasn’t exponentially great but it was one heckuva’ fun popcorn movie to watch. 

So much potential i.e. the characters’ backstory needed to be explored further and more subplots are needed to clarify certain things etc. but in my opinion, Suicide Squad is by far the BEST modern DC movie to date. It was entertaining (not Marvel-type entertaining but it’s pretty close) and much more engaging than the recent DC movies as of date. 

Personally, I think Zack Snyder tried too hard to maintain the grittiness of Nolan’s Bat-bale trilogy style that he forgot how to make movies fun for the audience. I love Dawn of Justice (maybe because of Batfleck) but on a comparison basis I’d say ‘Squad was a better film overall for me. Your mileage may vary. 

I find it funny/ironic too that there were no real threats to the world until a ‘proposed’ member of ‘Task Force X’ went rogue and became the villain herself (ooops, did I say ‘herself’? Hope I didn’t give anything away…haha). 

I think Will Smith and Margot Robbie absolutely stole the show for obvious reasons. Jared Leto wasn’t that bad as The Joker. I wish people would stop comparing him with Heath Ledger because their interpretations on The Joker were different. Ledger’s Joker was a total psychotic dude (as my wife like to say it) while Leto tried to bring the comic version of the clown prince to life in Suicide Squad. I love that split second screen time of Harley Quinn dancing in her jester suit with The Joker. That was a definite nod to comic book painter-artist Alex Ross. 

The post-credit scenes didn't do much for me. We all know what's coming next already by watching Dawn of Justice.

Overall, it was a very fun movie (notice that I’ve used the word ‘fun’ several times now) and those who say that Marvel movies are way too ‘colorful’ or too ‘happy’ must realize by now that they were generally more accepted by movie fans and Suicide Squad is just starting to do just that. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dear collectors, Nothing haunts us like……..

Nothing haunts us, like the things we didn’t buy.

I saw these words of wisdom on the front wall over at a book store the other day and I immediately said to myself that this would be a good discussion topic for my blog. As a toy collector, I can totally relate to this (in fact, my wife still hasn’t forgiven me for not picking something up on the cheap many years ago despite having the chance to do so) and I’m sure MANY more of you can too.

So what I’m gonna do is list down some stuff, as far as my memory permits me, that eluded my collection due to my reluctance/spur of the moment inability to spot a gem/plain stupidity/sheer ignorance. These may not mean much to some but as of date these are still part of that hole in my collection.

   1) Kenner’s Jedi Spirit 3-pack (Obi Wan, Yoda & Anakin) – this deserves top spot simply because this was THE item that sparked my interest to start this article in the first place! And yes, my wife still haunts me about them every time I talk about hard-to-find collectibles. To further add salt to my injury, it was then only RM20 or a mere USD5 by today’s forex rate. It was the ONLY Jedi Spirit set amongst a sea of Jabba’s Skiff Guards set but I somehow chose to pick up something which was not only in abundance but obviously a per warmer. Years later, the Jedi Spirit set remains a favourite among collectors despite the Power of the Force action figures being totally outdated and laughed at due to its funny body proportions and cartoony face sculpts. I often get reminded of that moment in time every single time I reach the end of Return of the Jedi i.e. that Ewok celebration scene on Endor. Hasbro has yet to re-visit the Jedi Spirit set and thus the PoTF version still holds its relevancy till today. Yup, I'll never hear the end of it.
   2) Coleco’s Starmax Bomber – This is probably my biggest toy regret back in the 80s. I was a huge Starcom fan back in the day and this was naturally a must-get for any fanatic of the cartoon show. Many of my friends at the time had already gotten their mitts in the uber cool Space Marine vehicle piloted by that even cooler Capt Rip Malone but I was struggling to find one at my local TRU. After a couple of failed search attempts due to unavailability of stock, my late dad (God bless his soul) asked me if I’d want to give the TRU store another chance during the weekend. Being the impatient little man that I was, I declined the offer and bought myself a Starwolf instead (That’s the little foldable aircraft that fits into the Starmax’s cargo hold) and a bunch of other random stuff which incidently amounted to what the Starmax would’ve cost anyway. Not one half an hour later we made our way to another retail store in the same shopping complex (OMG I totally forgot it exists!!!!!!) and there in their crowning glory were endless stacks of crisp Starmax Bombers boxes. I knew I couldn’t get another toy until the next weekend but guess what? All of those stocks of the ‘Bomber was gone too by the time we made the visit the following weekend. I never got to own a Starmax Bomber despite it being so high up on my want list until today.

   3) The Real Ghostbusters: Firehouse Headquarters – The year was 1987 and Kenner had just released the huge Ghostbusters HQ for your cartoon versions of Peter/Egon/Ray/Winston. My late dad (again) played a monumental role in almost getting me possibly one of the coolest toy playset ever that came out from the 80s. When I said ‘almost’ I meant to say that I had the chance to own this but seeing that I was very much into M.A.S.K. and G.I. Joe at the time, I chose to get some other things instead (totally forgotten what they were) because everybody else in school has had most of the latest M.A.S.K./Joe toys already. I can vividly remember the Firehouse sitting pretty at retail and I think they stayed there for a considerable amount of time since most boys were venturing into other adventure-type of cartoon series by then and the toys from the likes of Thunderhawks/GI Joe/Cobra/Centurions etc. My dad offered to get the Firehouse for me (I’m assuming now that it was on some sort of sale) but I simply fell into buying what was popular and widely available at the time. Stupidest decision ev-er!

So, what about yours? Would be great if you could list down your ‘regrets’ and link them up in the comment section below.

Terminator/Skynet/Genisys prophecy coming true?

I certainly did not play any Pokemon digital/virtual/trading card games whatsoever when I was younger although I was guilty of helping my little sister (then) to take care of her endless Digimon virtual pet devices. That’s the extent of my adventure when it comes to these Japanese media franchise.

Recently, I tried very hard to ignore the global phenomenon that is Pokemon Go but it was hard considering that almost every single media, electronic especially, had something to say about the matter. I know that the ‘augmented reality’ settings allowed users/players playing it on their androids or iOS systems to search for monsters in the ‘real world’…that much I know and I do not have any further plans to go deeper to find out more.

Today, we read about how the game is finally released in Japan (yes, where it all originated from) after seeing releases in most parts of the world first:

Fans of the virtual game were actually jumping for joy as they downloaded the game into their smartphones. Inevitably, it creates more zombie-like humans whose eyes get glued to their screens for most part of the day and proceeded to put the game as their main priority in life.

Some dude on the internet just declared that he won’t be able to concentrate on his office work/social life now that he has the game on his android device. Many other outrageous twitter/fb statuses seemed to confirm this solidarity pledge.

Now, this is just sad:

Nobody said you can’t enjoy the fruits of life in whatever form that they may come in but please be reasonable and stay safe guys.

But I digress. As always.
I wanted to say that the whole Pokemon Go phenomenon reminded me a lot about how people in Terminator Genisys were highly anticipating the Genisys system. Once it goes live it will be EVERYWHERE and UNSTOPPABLE. Perhaps there is some degree of truth from the Terminator film franchise, that one day machines will completely ‘take over’ our lives. They already have their headstart when smartphones were invented.

Pokemon Go is the next level in achieving the prophecy set out in the Terminator movies…..ain’t it? Your thoughts?

Footnote: The cool image above is not mine. It was taken randomly from:  http://newsthump.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pokemon-go-terminator

Monday, August 1, 2016

Reflecting on the life of a toy collector….

Here are a few thoughts I had on my hobby and life-long interest while I took the train to work this morning. 

Sometime back, during one of my end-of-year rant, I made myself a promise that I’d reduce my purchases of the higher end collectibles and limit myself to only buying action figures from the 6” scale aka my favorite scale. This resolution is not only more economical to a typical wage-earner like yours truly but it just made much sense for my toy habit in the long run. Today I am proud to tell everyone that I only buy a sixth scale figure eg Hot Toys and such, once in a blue moon. 

On the hindsight, I suddenly find myself buying 6” action figures on a consistent basis these days. Too frequent I should say! Ain’t my fault really. There are simply too many cool stuff available for me to choose from right now. Hahah. 

Which brings me to the subject of toy blogging. 

Gradually, my blog postings have become more regular these days. Not as regular as the days of yore but it is making me write every other day so that’s a positive sign. I kinda got inspired the other day when I read an excerpt of an interview with Stephen King that he makes it a point to write every single day. He does it religiously even if the writings do not make sense or eventually make their way to the dustbin. Go figure. 

I write almost anywhere. Sometimes I do it when I do my business in the cubicle, or when I decide that I’m too lazy to go out for lunch at the office, but these days I find myself writing mostly during my late night coffee rendezvous at home or on my android writing app during my home-to-office to and fro train trips. 

But I digress. This isn’t a post about ‘writing 101’. 

Some of you may say that the blog isn’t updated as much as I say it should be and that is true as well. You see, I have several posts ready already but I don’t seem to have much time these days to actually post them and upload the corresponding pictures for them. 

On another note, I will soon have another guest writer for the blog. This has been in the works for quite some time now. What’s unique about this upcoming writer is that he’d be writing about his toy experience from down under i.e. from the Land of Oz! The “Rebel Legion of Writers” is gonna hit full swing soon (yup I know, 2 writers do NOT make a ‘Legion’ but I am trying my best to get more writers contributing their piece on the blog soon so keep an eye out for that). 

Till then. 

My quick thoughts on Star Trek Beyond (wee bit spoiler…haha!)

My family and I saw the latest installment of the post-JJ Abrams Star Trek movie the other day and I must admit that I was pretty excited to watch a Star Trek film as much as I anticipate any other Star Wars sequel. I was an ardent fan of the original Shatner/Nimoy films and TV series and I was mighty impressed with the way JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise. With all of these in mind, I was expecting a heck of a ride from Star Wars Beyond. 

Let me first start by saying that I was rather excited to hear that Simon Pegg was one of the writers for ‘Beyond. I’ve always imagined him as the British Kevin Smith and in my opinion it was a matter of time really before he gets to write the screenplay for either Star Wars or Star Trek. There’s the thing. When you rope in a funny man to write a screen play there are bound to be some humor and light-hearted moments in the film. This is fact. 

For instance, the beginning of the film reminded me a whole lot of Tim Allen’s Galaxy Quest which coincidently is a parody of the whole Star Trek film franchise. Seriously I refrained myself from laughing (too hard) when I saw that the ‘threatening’ alien-monsters were actually minnow in size compared to Kirk. 

Almost immediately after being saved from the ‘monsters’ James T. Kirk went into his usual inner monologue mode and began talking on how their 3rdyear from a 5-year journey into space had become more like ‘episodes’ from a sitcom i.e. repetitious/monotonous routines in their daily lives on board of the USS Enterprise. This act of breaking the 4th wall is evident when Kirk commented on how he had to wear the same yellow-colored shirt every single day in space. 

On a more serious note, Kirk began questioning his life motives and began mulling with the idea to leave the helm of the Enterprise for a (get this)…..desk job? Now, that’s some serious career changing decision he’s got there! I think the producers did a good job in portraying Kirk’s more sensitive side here. 

The mind-boggling alternate universe/timeline first introduced in the first Abrams-led film continues where we got to know of the death of Ambassador Spock (compete with a Leonard Nimoy image eulogy) I like the part where they showed a picture of the ‘alternate universe’ crew of the USS Enterprise in a photo from the ‘alternate’ Spock’s stash of personal belongings. Nostalgic feeling evoked. Checked. 

I like it that Chekov gets more screen time in ‘Beyond. His longer than usual survival-mode screen time on the planet with Kirk serves as a touching tribute to Anton Yelchin and there was that tribute at the end for him. Sad news indeed because we just got to see how Chekov’s character develops in the movie and we shall never get to see how Chekov is going to turn up in the next (confirmed) sequel of Star Trek. I’d like to see where the producers take the character next. Will they kill the character off or would they take another actor to replace Yelchin? We’ll find out sometime soon. 

Great to hear a ‘classic’ track in the form of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage playing in the movie. Wonder if they’ll continue to use more ‘classic’ tracks in the upcoming movie? 

One more thing before I sign off, is it just me, or the character Jaylah felt like Abrams’ ‘Rey’ for the Star Trek universe? A lone female, surviving and wandering alone on a deserted (albeit not a desert) planet? The similarities are there I tell ‘ya. 

Overall, I think Beyond was a tad better than Into Darkness although many fans of Benedict Cumberbatch might sneer me for this statement. It was a blend of good ‘ol Star Trek goodness and some good fun humour courtesy of Simon Pegg being one of the writer for the film. Will I watch it again? Yes but I’ll probably wait till the blu ray comes out.