Friday, August 31, 2012

Final Fantasy VIII Transcendent Artist's Collection: Selphie, Quistis & Leviathan

This is supposed to be the rarest and the most expensive statue in the whole set. I never expect that I would be able to get this so I could not believe it when it came up on eBay a few weeks ago. And I am extremely glad that I am able to own this!! Yiihaa!! The price is quite crazy (crazily expensive) considering that the box was somewhat damaged. Most likely it is because the auction is not restricted to US address only and hence the whole world can bid for it. Anyway, don't care! At least I don't need to constantly checking internet to find this. And another pleasant surprise is that this is somehow able to avoid taxes. That is a miracle.

The box is about 37 cm (L) x 23 cm (W) x 44 cm (H) and the statue is about 13 inches tall. The serial number is 215. Leviathan is awesome! I am impressed with the details of the skin (more like the scales) as well as the fangs which are very realistic. Unlike Odin which is barely recognisable, Leviathan's face is also gorgeous (although it can still be better if the eyes are somewhat more obvious).

The humans, unfortunately, are atrocious. I think it is a problem with the sculptor as Rinoa (who is also sculpted by him) is equally atrocious. Selphie's and Quistis' faces are ugly and they do not look "alive" like Seifer. BIG disappointment as I like people more than monsters (and Quistis is my favourite character T_T). The overall "feel" of the statue is also somewhat weird. Quistis is smiling while Selphie seems hurt after a battle (where is the other half of her nunchunks? why is her shirt damaged?).

Enough of words and it's pictures time!! Enjoy :D
Front side of the packaging box
Back side of the packaging box
Top side of the packaging box. A bit "wavy" due to water damage :(
The side of the packaging box to show the water damage :(
Serial card
Never knew that the other side of the card has this picture. Will take Seifer's one next time.
Unboxing... The statue consists of 3 parts: each of the characters
The statue and the packaging box
 Close-ups of the statue now
 
 
No idea why Selphie becomes Sephine.. Lol

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Marina Bay Sands, Singapore)


I finally went to Harry Potter: The Exhibition yesterday. I am glad that the initial plan to go on a weekend failed because I was too lazy to queue. Yesterday was awesome as there was hardly any queue. With less, crowd, there was more space and time for me to look and fiddle around.

I am not gonna write about what the exhibition is all about. I am sure there are plenty of information around. I am going to write what I think about the exhibition. One word to sum it up: disappointing! Perhaps my imagination about what I would be experiencing or seeing was too wild that reality shows otherwise. Haha.. Anyway, I bought and read 2 large books about the making of Harry Potter movies so I have seen plenty of the props in pictures. I was eager to see the real thing. But really, what's good in movies/photos is not so good in reality. Most of the clothes look "dusty" and worn out. And I doubt the "authenticity" as I don't think the actors and actresses were that small in size.

The lighting was pretty dim that it was pretty hard to read or scrutinise the details of the props. That is another minus point. I read that the exhibition is small bla bla bla but I never imagined that it would be that small. Haha.. Well, I won't complain about the size as there were only about 20 people inside the exhibition area. But I shudder just by thinking how chaotic it would be inside if I come on a weekend =x

Anyway, at the point of entrance, I was allowed to take a photo against a green screen. I thought that there would be more props instead of only Gryffindor and Slytherin scarfs (and what's the point of having 2 when only the Gryffindor one was offered?? I like green leh!). I also thought that I would be able to choose a scene or something so I was prepared to spend $20 to get the photo. Nah.. The end product was really the person (me) pasted on 6 backgrounds!! Aiiih!! There was an option of getting 3 photos for $50 (plus the digital copy). Since I am quite a narcist and I did not look so fugly yesterday, I chose 3 lor~~. For memory sake.. once in a lifetime. Haha.. I was expecting a CD for the digital copy but I was given a code to get from website. Each photo is only ~500kB size o_0 Bleah.. Although the dimension-wise is pretty big (2400 x 1800 pixels).

After that, the Hogwarts experience began with "boarding" the Hogwarts Express. It was bloody dark that people barely took notice of the train. And we were sort of hurried to go to the next segment which was interactive: the sorting hat. I prefer it to be random. It was lame because the MC was asking the persons who sat on the chair "Which House would you like to be?" and then the MC would press a button that the Hat will put the person on the House that the person wanted.

Then we entered the Great Hall to see random scenes from the first until the last movie. Kinda lame. Moving on is the exhibition hall itself. As I mentioned in earlier paragraph, I was not too impressed with the props lah. Even the wands look so thin and flimsy. I like my "pirated" China-made wands better haha.. Anyway, the thin wands make more sense that they can break easily in the story ba.. And because they are lousy, my money is saved lol.

Inside, there were only 2 things that visitors could touch: the Mandrake, and the Quidditch. The Mandrake was bad too.. It was supposed to be hard to pull but I found it quite easy. It used spring mechanism but I guess kids would find it hard to pull. The Mandrake's scream was barely audible -_-" I think the sound of the TVs or the Fat Lady's singing was louder and more irritating than the Mandrake's. Not impressed!! But the material of the Mandrake was kinda good. I felt like I just touched something disgusting and natural. Haha..

The Quidditch was the best part, in my opinion. Always thought that the Quaffle would be as hard as volley or basket balls. It was quite hard but still "squeeze-able". Haha.. But the size and weight are realistic enough for a sports game.

Fast forward to the end: the souvenir shoppe (don't ask me why it is called shoppe). The prices are ridiculous la -_-. The movie making book was sold for $200 when I bought it in Kino for less than $100. Siao.. I know the chocolate frog and the Bertie Bott's Beans would just be chocolate and Jelly Beans but I expected the packaging to be somewhat like in the movie.. NOT! I still buy one each ($6 each) for the sake of taking photo as a keepsake. Will update about the taste as well as the Chocolate Frog card after I open ba.

I bought Gringotts Coins replica from Noble Collection for $75. Cry :'( I mean I like coins.. But I should have realised that they marked up the price quite badly after I realised the book price mah.. Haiz.. I checked the retail price from the online shop (or even from Amazon) is about USD 30 only nia.. Kena ripped off. Anyway a bit more of the coins, the Galleon, Sickle, and Knut are plated with gold, silver, and copper respectively. They are quite heavy and the engraving is not bad lah.. The box is atrocious though -_- so cheaply made.. And there were only 5 sets left so the glass were either cloudy or cracked. Bleah.. I don't know the person lied to me or what.. She told me that everything was on display. There is still 1 month to go and no more coins? Bullshit!

I was also tempted to get Hogwarts (and the Houses) emblems. Lucky I did not buy. Haha.. Firstly, the painting was fugly. Not ugly, but fugly. Secondly, I realised (at home) that the one sold at the exhibition was not from Noble Collection and hence explain the fugliness.

Okay, time to show off my loots from yesterday :)

Entry ticket (Top) and Voucher to redeem the photo (Bottom)
The $6 Chocolate Frog
The $6 Bertie Bott's Beans
Gringotts coins replica


Everything that I got yesterday. I don't normally post my photo but I guess this is to small to see my face anyway :p
Anyway, despite how bad it was, I still think that my $157 was well spent and I was happy. Haha.. It is once in a life time and I am a fan of Harry Potter anyways :p  One thing I regret was not taking photo with the giant wall image of Harry, Hermione, and Ron prior to the entry. Gosh.. It was BEFORE the exhition so phototaking was still allowed. Oh well.. Too late to realise.. Only realised when asked to show the ticket further inside.

Mischief managed!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Something happened last week which changed my mindset and my approach towards the motherfuckers and bastards whom I see daily. I met this couple who asked me to teach them how to use glucometer. They actually purchased it many months ago but they did not use it. The husband was just discharged from hospital. The reason for admission was loss of consciousness due to hypoglycemia. That was a bit shocking to them that they decided to take a better care of their health. 

I am not cursing them or anything. In fact, I feel a bit sad because they are a lovely couple unlike the majority of the 70-80 old decrepit walking fossils around. Well the learning point is: seriously, why should I give a fuck about your health if you can't even be bothered with it? Just do whatever you want and wait until something knocks your head to wake up you up to actually believe what we are trying to do. Yes, keep drinking the cough mixture and I hope someday you fall asleep in the middle of the road and some vehicles would just run over you or you would just drop off your window. Yes, keep abusing the antihistamines and let your bladder burst due to inability to pass urine. Yes, keep abusing the hydrocortisone cream until your skin is no more (although I think your skin is just too thick that no matter how much steroid can thin it, it will still be to thick). Yes, keep abusing the H2RA or PPI until your stomach becomes hole-y. 

I just don't understand these people. You know that your stomach cannot tolerate certain food then don't eat those food. Why are you eating and then relying on medicine -_- If you know that your knee cannot tahan contact with the floor when you are mopping the floor, then change the way you mop the floor instead of relying on medicine -_-

Okay enough rants of these idiots. Let's talk about good people now. Yesterday, Neil Amstrong passed away. Who is he? I am sure most people know him. Even people in the future will know him as he is forever etched in history as the first man to walk on the moon. I read more about him and he is actually a very humble person. Despite his "popularity" and the fact that he will be forever in the history, he did not become a "celebrity" due to his status. May he rest in peace. And to quote his famous words: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind".

Another "feel good" story I discovered last week was about billionaire Ty Warner. I actually never heard of this name previously. Anyway, he happened to lose his way and was asking for a direction. A woman helped him. She was actually in the midst of raising funds by giving flyer for a stem cell procedure she needs to save her life as she has kidney failure. Ty Warner sent her $20000 check to cover the cost and left her a very touching handwritten note: "Someone up there loves you because I was guided to meet you Saturday. I never lose my way, but fate had me lost and ask you for directions. The rest of the story I hope will be a wonderful new life for you." God bless this wonderful man and this lucky woman.

Human is greedy and ungrateful by nature. I am expecting to pay tax for the last 2 toys that I ordered. To my pleasure, 1 arrived today. I was lucky that I did not need to pay tax. Whoever handled it mistook the postage fee for the value declared and hence it did not need to go through custome. Unfortunately, the other one got stuck in the custom. Sigh.. That means I will definitely need to pay tax for that. Seriously, I should be grateful for paying one instead of 2.. Plus the fact that the one which is stuck is actually the cheaper one.. But oh well, pardon me... I feel emo.. Why can't be both evade the tax T_T I will post about these latest toys tomorrow perhaps hehe...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Final Fantasy VIII Extra Soldier Series by Bandai


Hi, I am back again with another post of my toy collection. This time is Final Fantasy VIII Extra Soldier Series by Bandai. I believe they were released circa 1999-early 2000s during the Final Fantasy VIII boom. Initially, there are 8 figures being sold individually as per Irvine and Quistis' packaging as shown in the picture. Other than the 2 of them, the other characters are Squall, Selphie, Zell, Rinoa, Laguna, and Seifer. Then for some reasons, the boxed sets were released with the addition of Edea, Moomba, and Angelo. 

I never actually imagine myself having this after reading all the reviews that this set is one of the lousiest set of Final Fantasy VIII figures. Well, I guess Bandai just cannot beat Kotobukiya. Haha.. Anyway the main reason why I bought this was the price. People are usually selling these at ridiculous prices. I spent about $100 to get all of this. That works out to be about ~$10 per figure which I thought was pretty reasonable. Another reason for buying is Edea, Irvine, Zell, Moomba, and Angelo figures. Unfortunately, Zell and Irvine are not included in the Final Fantasy VIII scale 1/6 Kotobukiya figures. And there is hardly any Edea, Moomba, or Angelo figures around

So is the quality really that bad? Hmm.. actually they are not that bad.. They are atrocious :p Haha.. Squall had crossed eyes too. Lame crap la! I did not try the stand and the accessories so I cannot comment on how bad they are in these aspects.

But oh wells, what is bought is bought. Having these for the sake of being a hardcore fan of the series. Haha.. Anyway thanks to the atrocity of this set, it made me decided NOT to buy the series by Banpresto whose figures are more or less of the similar size of these. I would expect similar quality too? Haha..

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Decisions

People will call me foolish for spending most of my hard-earned money for toys. Last month, I spent quite crazily. And as I thought that things could not be worse, I spent more than the amount I spent for last month within 1 night yesterday. Of course coming to the decision to buy the things was not easy but eventually lust won over me. After all, these are vintage limited edition stuffs. And as I am not into the recent stuff, these vintage things are few last items that I would ever wish to get. After completion, there would be no more to buy even if I have the money.

After making the payment, reality started to sink in. Sigh.. It was a huge amount actually. It was about 2 months of my mother current pay actually o_0 If my parents were to know, I am sure they would slaughter me into pieces. But guess what, I did not feel that bad. In fact, I do not feel any regret or remorse. Perhaps I would regret more if I did not buy. Yea.. call me psychotic..

The fact that I am not feeling any regrets makes the stupid/foolish/idiotic decision actually feels "right". Why do I say so? This time it did not feel like my first ever complaint. At that time, I had regrets like "grrh why could not I shut up my mouth for few seconds?" or "why could not I just scream behind?". Things like that.. The regret made me think that my action was wrong and I should not have done so. Deciding to have embark on a future on a foreign land seems to be a "wise", "good", "brave", or "smart" decision to many. However, who cares about what people say when I myself don't think it was a good decision.. when I always think how my life could be better and happier if I did not make that decision etc...

Bleah.. I sound like defending myself for my impulse shopping haha.. But really no regrets lah haha.. Because alternatively, I cannot think of what better things I could spend my money on LOL.. Ok.. promised, after completing this set, I would stop stop stop.. 2 more figures from the set haha..

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces Series by ARTFX/Kotobukiya

Oops paiseh.. A few years back, I told my friends that I would only collect action figures of human characters, not that of monsters. I have to eat back my own words now as in the end, I actually bought Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces Series by ARTFX Kotobukiya and completed them all! Haha..

I cannot find information about the original release date/year nor about the original retail price. The set was released as 2 versions: coloured and clear. There are 8 figures: Ifrit (comes with Tonberry), Siren (comes with Cactuar), Shiva (comes with Carbuncle and MiniMog), Odin (comes with his horse, Sleipnir), Gilgamesh, Diablos, Bahamut, and Cerberus (comes with Angelo). This series is also known as the Build-a-Ragnarok series as in the first release of Japanese version, each GF comes with a piece of Ragnarok. Upon completing all 8 figures, these pieces can be combined to build the spaceship. Unfortunately, the US version did not come with the Ragnarok pieces. Instead, I read that the Ragnarok was sold separately. Other than that, the main difference is that Japanese version comes in grey packaging box while US version comes in red packaging box. Anyway, due to cost issue and ease of finding, I am getting the US version.

To be honest, I am quite amazed with this set. Firstly, the size of the figures are amazing. Diablos, Bahamut, and Cerberus are about 30cm long in their widest part. And considering that these were produced many years ago (I am assuming at least 10 years ago), the quality of the plastic used is definitely more awesome than the plastic nowadays. Initially, I only bought Cerberus because of Angelo. I thought it would be cool to have Angelo to accompany my Squall and Rinoa PlayArts figures. The high quality of Cerberus tempted me to eventually collect them all. The packaging boxes are much thicker and sturdier than the boxes used nowadays.

Enough with words and let pictures paint a thousand words.

Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces Series by ARTFX/Kotobukiya
Ifrit (and Tonberry)
Siren (and Cactuar)

Shiva (and Carbuncle and MiniMog)
Diablos
Bahamut
Gilgamesh
Cerberus (and Angelo)
Odin
In total, I forked out $512.97 which is about $65 for each figure. Considering the size and the shipping fee, I think it is not bad. Considering the recent figures which are always close to $100 each, I think it is good. Lol. Of course the amount could have been lower. I did not know that there is a local seller who is selling Shiva and Cerberus cheaper than what I paid. It could have saved me $40. After I purchased Diablos, there was another seller which could have saved me another $30-$40 (not sure because I did not ask about international shipping fee from him). Oh well, that's life. At least I no longer need to hunt for these items online. Yay!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Olympics 2012 Part 2

As promised, this is my entry about the second half of the Olympics 2012. Firstly, lets start with tennis. With the exciting Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray a few weeks before the Olympics, the Olympics final between the two was definitely worth watching too. It is another difficult choice to make. On one side, I was cheering for Fed Express. He, perhaps, is the greatest tennis player ever born. Despite the many grand slams, he had never won an Olympics medal before. I thought it would be nice for him to complete his career. On the other side, it had been ages before England produced any winner in home land, particularly in Wimbledon. Well, even though Olympics final is not Wimbledon, it was played at the same court. And it was quite heartbreaking to watch Murray's Wimbledon loss too. Anyway, this time congrats to Murray because he got the gold. And congrats for Federer to accept his loss graciously by saying that at least he had a taste of winning an Olympics medal, albeit a silver. And it was a bit of waste that Murray lost his mixed double final for a silver -__-

No idea why Murray looked like the loser and Federer looked like the victor here
For the female side, the Williams sisters are still dominating after all these years with them winning their 3rd consecutive Olympics gold for female doubles and for Serena to win gold for the singles.

Since they rose to stardom, I could never distinguish which is Serena and which is Venus.
Moving on the track, the lightning Bolt struck again, not once, not twice but thrice in the 100m sprint, 200m sprint, and 4x100m relay. That put him in history books to be the first man to retain 100m and 200m gold in 2 consecutive Olympics. Well done for that considering all the skepticism surrounding him at the heats. No doubt that he is a great athlete but one thing which totally puts me off: his arrogance with him calling himself great etc. Urrgh..


Lastly, diving! Nope, I did not actually hear much about the diving prodigy (Tom Daley) successfully won individual bronze for 10m dive. The one which made the most splash (pun intended) last week was Stephan Feck and his failed diving. Ouch.. Based on the close ups, apparently he got a bit of problems in bending his knees/legs while performing his somersault. He landed on his back and I could not imagine how painful it was. Not to mention all the "humiliation" with people labeling it as the worst dive or the most embarassing dive bla bla bla.. Thank goodness it was a 3m dive. No idea what would happen if it was a 10m dive. Anyway, I thought it was quite hilarious when I read an article by Yahoo! which mentioned "What the Feck" in the news about this. Haha.. Anyway, I think people should not be that bad. Among all the water sports, I think swimming is the most exciting to watch while diving is the most "difficult" for me to watch. I just can't fathom how these people overcome the height and perform acrobatics which most people do not even dare to do in their dream. I always cringe at the various twists and somersaults.. It does scare me to think how accidents can always happen like the diver hitting the plank or slipped from the plank.. A sport not for the faint hearted.



I thought Olympics 2012 started great.. Unfortunately it ended quite in a bad taste for me. I had high expectations for Spice Girls performance especially after I saw the pictures. Posh looked hot on the taxi roof! Haha.. Sadly, the performance turned out to be quite rubbish. They butchered the songs :( They were screaming and shouting instead of singing.. Sad.. considering Spice Up Your Life is actually my favourite. And although usually I think Mel C has the best voice among them, her voice screwed up the whole performance this time as it did not blend well with the rest. And the action on the taxi roof was also -_- I have seen J Pop singers singing on bus roof around the concert hall from many years ago leh!


And damn you Olympic channel for disallowing video viewing from non-Youtube sources. Might as well you remove that "embed" and "share" function!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shipping mysteries

After experiencing online shopping for the past 2-3 years, I still cannot fathom how shipping rates are calculated. There are occasions when sellers are obviously trying to earn via excessive shipping and packaging fee. But there are more occasions when sellers are being truthful. To make things easier, lets just use USPS (United States Postal Service) for shopping from US merchants and just focus on the honest sellers.

Today I received a package of action figure from Amazon.com (I will talk about the figures some other day when the other figures have all arrived). It was shipped last Wednesday so item was actually delivered in less than a week. And guess how much did I pay for shipping? Less than USD10. Plus the label stated that it was EMS shipping. Compare that with the flat shipping rate from Amazon.com for manga purchase which is USD 12.49 per book. My mangas came between 2-4 weeks previously. Comparing the size of a manga vs of a scale 1/8 action figure as well as the duration taken for shipping, the shipping fees just do not make any sense..

When I bought a few action figures from eBay, I paid about USD 15 for a Final Fantasy VIII scale 1/6 action figure (this was honest as I could see the shipping cost on the stamp by USPS). Clearly Amazon.com is just being ridiculous to derive USD 12.49 per manga right? Jeez.. Anyway, interestingly, the USD 15 shipping from eBay took me about 2 weeks to arrive, not 1 week EMS shipping like Amazon.com. I know USA is a damn huge country but will international shipping rate really differ that much?

There are also occasions when sellers are only shipping to US address (and I have to utilise the super duper expensive and unreasonably-priced vPost service) with shipping costs which boggle my mind too. Take for example the Final Fantasy VIII scale 1/6 figures, there are sellers which ask for USD 10 fee for domestic shipping. I am really scratching my head..

Anyway so far I think USPS are reliable. Regardless of the size of the package, on average it takes 2 weeks for the item to arrive. Of course I had experience of lost packages too: 2 Gundam Wing mangas which I ordered from the same seller. Perhaps there was a problem with that seller (no idea which part of US the seller is) but I am not too bothered about it because I got my refund. Heh!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Feeling nostalgic

I just went out for dinner with a few Indonesian friends who are in Singapore for holidays plus some who are already here to work. We are junior and senior high school friends although it does not necessarily mean that we used to be friends when we were in junior and senior high school. Haha.. Anyway spending time together was like a time machine which brought us momentarily back to our glorious junior and senior high school times. The times when we were still young, childish, crazy, and etc. Lol I usually show some inhibition when going out in public but today I think I went a bit loud and crazy, just like how I used to be many years ago.

I feel a bit emo now.. Again I think that I was capable of enjoying a more fruitful friendship and social network if I never left for Singapore :( Look at me now: I am just a bitter and antisocial guy. I am too lazy to make friends as for the past 10 years, never once I felt that I ever met someone who I can consider as friends. I don't think it is because of me being negative or what. After all, I had a good life previously. And I am always open for new friendship etc.

Truthfully, among the people whom I hang out with today, only 1 is a close friend of mine. Sometimes friendship is magical. We were classmates in year 1 of junior high school but we only became close when we were in neighbouring class in the following year. Fast forward a few years, I left for Singapore and she moved to Korea. Despite so much separation, everything just goes naturally when we meet, as if we just see each other the day before. I am not close to another friend (who is working here now) but I *think* we were classmates in year 2 of junior high school. The other one is actually my close friend's friend. My friend only knew her when they were classmates in senior high school. By then, I was already in exile. I only came to know her after that. And today she was also with her younger brother who is studying in US. He is also a bit crazy type and that's why we all could mix well even though it was our first time meeting him.

So yea, the problem is not with me :(

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Final Fantasy VIII Transcendent Artist's Collection: Seifer Almasy & Odin

Last Wednesday, I collected this figure from the post office. I only had the time to snap some pictures this afternoon so I can only show off the pictures now :) Hehe..Although this is a second hand item, I still regard this as a brand new item. Why? Because despite the fact that the item was released more than 10 years ago, I received it still in top condition. The packaging box is still shiny and there is no dent whatsoever.

The size of the box really startled me. The box measures 44 cm (L) x 19 cm (W) x 34 cm (H) and weighs at about 3+kg. No wonder it cost me a bomb for the shipping! The figure itself measures ~48cm in its full glory. It also comes with the serial card numbered #0840. Yay! Words cannot describe this beauty so let the pictures tell the story.
Front side of the packaging box
Back side of the packaging box
Top side of the packaging box
Serial card
Enough about the box, moving on to the statue itself now.
Unboxing.. The statue has 4 parts: Seifer, gundblade, Odin's head, Odin's horn
The statue and the packaging box

Some close-ups of the figure itself.
So is the limited edition of 3000 pcs being sculpted by sculptors real? Or is it just a gimmick? Let's compare them side by side.
Left: Figure #0840  Right: Figure #0803
Figure 0840 cost me $348.39 and 0803 cost me $250.87.  Should I sell the damaged one? A bit sayang leh!! Haha.. Still hunting for the other 4 now to complete the collection although it is a huge headache thinking about storage considering the size of tbe packaging boxes!