Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Talk Figures!: A few random talking points.

There's has been alot to talk about with regards to action figures this 2012. 

It's almost like it's a very good year for toys. Marvel Legends has returned, Marvel Universe figures are still coming our way, GI Joe's 30th Anniversary is still ongoing along with the coming movie and toyline respectively, Star Wars has come back on the big screen and toy shelves with a few new things, Hero movies will be coming as well as their merch; with Avengers on the opening salvo. Other than that, there are still a few good things that are coming.

The US has an edge of the incoming wave of new toys. I have lurked and posted a few times at Toyark, a popular site and forum for toys, and I have read the plight and success of collectors fro the US. 

Even if the distribution of new wave and toys are a bit late, it will still come to them. Most surprisingly, most of their retail stores have put a few new toylines on clearance and it hasn't been even two months since it came out. I have also read about how a Toyark member is selling loose MU figures for $20 for 4 figures and whether or not the figs are hard to find, it's still the same price. "Just helping out fellow collectors", he mentioned in one of his posts. I was envious ad was immediately contemplating how to buy from this guy.

Here in the Philippines, we're lucky to have toy distributions for new toylines and figures. Even more lucky if they place any new stuff on the shelves. Markdowns do not happen until it's almost a year [or two] hat has passed. And unlike that Toyark member, most of the collectors in the community here have an "every man for himself" mindset. There are only a few who feel that collectors should help fellow collectors, no strings attached. I am glad that I have met fellow collectors who have real passion for what they're doing and not just thinkng of how to make money.

Moving on, as stated above...the Avengers movie is coming to theaters soon and the movie merch has already landed on our shores and shelves. I was lucky enough to attend the Movie Toy Launch and grab a few target figures. It makes me more hungry to want to watch the movie though. Speaking of Avengers figures, prior to them being released, there has already been a very lengthy debate about the figures' lack of articulation.

We were all a bit shocked and surprised when the initial product shots and descriptions about the movie figs came out. I've heard all of the talking about the lack of articulation. Mostly negative of course, but why won't it be? In the advent of newer figures being made and new articulation being put on them, Hasbro went all retro and made the Avengers 3.75 figs look and feel like they're from the 90's. I was a bit disappointed myself but with all things said and done, I'm just happy that they didn't have less than what they have right now.

I have three of the movie figures, an Loki and Ultimates Thor and Hawkeye, and all three are fun to play and fiddle with despite the fact they are missing wrist, ankle, waist and torso articulation. But irregardless, they all play the same as other figures. Sometimes, figures suffer if they have a ton of articulation *cough*Daredevil/Bullseye Comic pack*cough*. These figs were just right to me. As a kid during the 90's, I played alot with Toybiz Marvel figures with almost the same [or even less] articulation and had alot of fun. But I still hope that this won't greatly affect everything and that this won't be a trend, ie. less articulation and a higher price.

And I guess less articulation won't be a problem for MOC collector's since they don't even open their figures.....and yet, I stll see a few rants from MOC collectors with regards to it. *shrugs* Oh well...

From lack of articulation we now move on to packaging. Recently, MOC pictures of GI Joe: retaliation figures has been seen on the net and alot of people, again, have been stating that it looks "cheap", "ugly", "looks like a knock-off". But I understand them as GI Joe packaging has always been somewhat nice and clean to look at. The packing from the previous movie, Rise of Cobra, was pretty standard and neat. Then came Pursuit of Cobra which reverted somewhat to a redesigned 25th Anniversary look. Then the 30th Anniversary and Renegades figure packaging completely overhauled and simplified it more. 

For me, I don't get all the hubbub about the new packaging. Since I open figures and stash the card/package away, I don't mind it at all. I think that the packaging is still ok. It is part of movie merch after all. On this issue, I guess MOC collectors would now have a say in the discussion...while openers like me should let it pass.

One thing I couldn't let pass was an open letter to Hasbro with regards to the new toyline of "Movie Heroes" Star Wars figures. It was not a rant without alot of good points. Mainly on repackaging old figs without any significant change at all and the lack of articulation as well. I definitely agree with him bu then again repackaging an old figure is good especially if it was a bit hard to find. It was still an interesting read for me.

Even with the advent of all the new releases, all of the collectors here just wish for one thing. That they will all be released and sold to the mass market/shops. All the talks about pricing, articulation and packaging will come second. As long as we are all able to get our hands on them without any trouble from overpricing from hobby shops and sellers, it's all good. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The 28th Birthday~

When you get a little older, your birthdays will be a little less extravagant. But I guess that depends on if you have work on your birthday or not or whether you have friends and family who had time to prepare a party for you.

This year, I turned 28 and I still feel like I really don’t act like someone my age. And like previous years, I didn’t have much of a birthday celebration. However, this was my first birthday with my girlfriend so it still was a bit special.

Beef Misono, Shrimp Tempura with Fried[?] Veggies and [Possibbly] Butered Veggies

I had work the day of my birthday so I celebrated with my granmum a few days earlier. We went out to buy ingredients for her spaghetti. Afterwards, we ate at Tokyo, Tokyo. Why would this be something to be blogged about you ask? Well, this is the first time I was able to convince my granmum to eat at a Japanese restaurant…even if we really didn’t order something that was purely Japanese. Anyhoo, she enjoyed eating there so I guess this won’t be our last time to eat there. When we got home she prepared and cooked her spaghetti that really tasted good. It’s her own recipe and she’s been cooking it for me and my siblings on every birthday we had since birth.

The day before my birthday, I stayed over at my girlfriend’s house. I promised her that I’ll be staying and sleeping over since I can’t be with her on my birthday. As soon as I got there, we went out to buy ingredients for spaghetti. My girlfriend says that her mom has a delicious recipe. I can’t turn down good food.
So we bought 2 Kilos worth of pasta and it was more than enough for me, my girlfriend and her family. My girlfriend attempted to make me a cake but it somehow didn’t go as what she planned. But the end result was still edible and very delicious. Another added bonus was that my girlfriend’s mom cooked beef caldereta for lunch. Caldereta is one of my favorite foods ever, so having it on my birthday was really awesome.

Before the day ended, my girlfriend had a few of her old friends come over and we had a few drinks. I guess that’s a great way to greet my birthday. I had great food, good company…what more could I ask?
I got enough sleep that night and was awake even before my alarm rang. Surprisingly, I haven’t received a single text message of birthday greetings. It’s a bit understandable since I don’t really text other people much unlike before. I was a bit disappointed that my bestfriend didn’t send me a text. Usually, it was her text’s that I first receive during my past birthdays. I guess time just caught up with us, oh well.

My girlfriend woke up very early as well to greet me and to make me breakfast. She also fixed and packed spaghetti and caldereta for my lunch. I must say that it was very sweet of her to do so since she doesn't really wake up that early let alone do something like cooking and fixing food. It really started my birthday off very well.

When I got to work, there weren't that much people who I really got to know who knew about my birthday. Mostly, when people find out that it's your birthday, all they want is for you to treat them to something. Anyhoo, it was just another normal work day for me except for that fact that I had oodles of food. In addition to the spag and caldereta, I received a free Bday Blowout Pizza from Shakey's! So me and my shift buddy, Pete, both had satisfied stomachs that day. 

the free Bday pizza, spag and Caldereta

The ret of the day went on as normal. My celphone still stayed quiet but I didn't mind. I haven't really got around to check my Facebook account since I can't access it at work but I feel that at least people have greeted me there. By the time I got home, and after another round of my granmum's delicious spaghetti, I got on and was surprised to see the people who went out their way to greet me.

 I replied and liked each and every greeting and thanked each and every one as well. It turned out to be a very ok birthday. At least I was able to celebrate it with people I love. At least I was still able to celebrate it. 

OH! I almost forgot. What's a birthday without gifts? Unfortunately, I didn't get much. I just treated myself to a new pair of pants, granmum got me two new shirts and my girlfriend "got me" me a very cool perfume. I always wanted to try out wearing a nice perfume.

this smells so good!

To a new adventure o/
- the alansong-

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Very Late Valentines Day Entry..

Usually, when Valentines Day comes around, I was single as a solitary pencil in your pencil case [do kids even use those anymore? hahahah]. During college, I used to give a rose to my female friends and granmum...aaaand possibly a few to whoever my crush was or the girl I was courting at the time.

This was my first time celebrating Valentines with someone and moreso with a little messy girl that has a messy kitchen.

Unfortunately, with the both of us working, we couldn't really spend it together. We did spend the weekend before Valentines together and made it our somewhat "unofficial" Valentines date" but that didn't stop me from going out of my way to surprise her on the 14th.

The whole plan was to drop by her office after I get off from work and surprise her with Valentines gifts. It seemed like a good enough plan. I sent her a message through gmail chat on what chocolates she'd want to eat forever. She replied without ever getting a hint that she told me what she will be getting. Pretty cheap and underhanded I'm sure but just so she doesn't think that she'll be wary of my surprise.

The 2nd part of my surprise was the most hardest to get as almost everyone is buying them and their prices skyrocketed. Ut was hard enough to get roses but Yellow [her fave color] ones proved to be the hardest. During my lunch break, I scouted Robinson's Pioneer for that flower stall they had opened a few days ago. Why Rob Pioneer? I work nearby :D.

Anyhoo, the flower place was right there where it was and unsurprisingly, their prices were jacked up high. I checked their wares and planned to return and buy the flowers after work as they would prolly wilt if I bought them then and there and brought them to the office.

The whole plan almost blew up in my face as I got back to that stall after work. I never really imagined that there would be a whole shitload of guys swarming the whole stall.

I tried to find the flowers I picked out a few hours earlier but they were gone. There wasn't anything left in yellow and the others seemed dull. With that, I walked away and just got her the chocolates and went on my way. I was then regretting not buying earlier but then again wondered that if I did, would they have looked as fresh as they were a few hours ago. I just told myself to give her a 2nd surprise a few days after as the whole thing felt empty without a rose.

I was actually a bit late getting to her office. Their dinner break was already over and I was wondering if she'd be able to go down and meet me at the Starbucks Cafe where we regularly meet/go to at the 3rd floor. All my worrying was put aside when I saw a stall selling flowers a few steps after I walked inside their building. Naturally, the good ones have been gone and there weren't any nice yellow ones either. I just picked the biggest and [for me] last great looking rose and had it wrapped. While all that was happening, the girl with the messy kitchen was already waiting for me at Starbucks.

Hurriedly, I went up the escalators-turned-stairs [they were turned off] and trued to wipe off my sweat and compose my self as I was looking for her in Starbucks. It turns out that she was the one surprising me as she came at me from behind.

I gave her her gifts and told her all the mushy stuff someone like me could muster. She seemed very much delighted and happy and that all the effort was worth it. 

The day turned out a success..and both parties were particularly happy. I'm glad I was able to pull this off.

Valentines Adventure..complete!
- the alansong -