Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday's bizarreness + Goody-Japan (review) updated again

It seems that I always experience something bizarre on Sundays. Nope, this week is not about another stranger approaching me for lunch again. Haha.. On the bus today, I overheard a guy having heart-to-heart talk to his friend about his relationship problems. It was not that I deliberately wanted to eavesdrop but the guy was talking a bit too loudly. His girlfriend just told him that he is not man enough. Ouch.. I guess "not man enough" is something that every male will take offense with. He also mentioned how his girlfriend refused to tell another guy who was getting closer to her that she is already attached. Hooo.. Hearing this things make me think again on finding a girlfriend and getting into a relationship. Haiz.. Girls and relationships are soo troublesome.

Intentionally or not, eavesdropping is never a good thing so I got my dose of karma not too long after I alighted the bus. On the escalator down to Orchard Road, on the few steps below, I saw this guy putting his arm around his friend's waist. Hmm.. I thought this was suspicious but let's not assume. They might be friends or brothers. Reality check! When they walked away, they held hands and they kissed! O M G. I am never comfortable witnessing PDA (public display of affection) but seeing that from a gay couple is more uncomfortable than from a straight couple. I thought I am quite open to gays in the sense that I am not a homophobe.. But seeing a guy on guy action live like that is still weird.

As of yesterday, Goody-Japan revised their proxy fees/commissions and it becomes a viable alternative to FromJapan. Previously, Goody-Japan has a tier-ed fees which is rather expensive and non-user friendly. They changed, simplified, and lowered their fees now with 200 JPY + 8% of item price for auctions and 400 JPY + 7% of item price for shopping. The minimum fee will be 500 JPY while the maximum will be 5000 JPY.

For cheap items, Goody-Japan is still more expensive than FromJapan. However, for medium-priced items, it is now a viable choice as they don't charge 150 JPY for checking the items. And depending on the size and weight of the item, the extra 5% from shipping fees that FromJapan charges can make a difference. For expensive items, Goody-Japan wins hands down now! I have not been using Goody-Japan lately so I cannot comment on their customer service nowadays. I hope the lowering of the fees is not coupled with lowering customer service standard.

So in summary:
So with all the changes, the pros of Goody-Japan are:
-Will help you to contact the original seller for more details of the items***
-Automatic email confirmation for your deposit and your bidding
-Able to help with return of damaged item***
-Great initiative to notify buyer about damaged item on arrival***
-Great packaging
-Idiot-proof and informative webpage
-Competitive proxy fee for medium-price items and a maximum 5000 JPY fee for expensive items

While the cons:
-No manual control of bidding
-No "search function" and no "translation function"
-Relatively pricey proxy fee for cheaper items
-Lazy customer service which does not respond to customer's enquiry***

I am unable to confirm those points I indicated with *** above as I have not used them for the past many months.

Friday, July 25, 2014

WDCC Peter Pan: Forever Young

WDCC Peter Pan Forever Young was first released in 2005 (which means Cinderella's glass slipper as the mark) and suspended in 2010. Suspended means that the production was stopped temporarily and it might be produced again in the future, unlike retired which means that the piece will never be produced again. It does not really matter now as the WDCC line already met its demise. The original price is USD 99. The box measures 20.5cm (L) x 13.5cm (W) x 13.5cm (H). The figurine itself is about 12.7cm tall and the diameter is 8.8cm long.

The one I bought was produced in 2008 with Aurora's/Sleeping Beauty's crown as the mark. I paid USD 80 for this (+USD 47.20 shipping). Sadly I bought this from an asshole. The item is described as excellent but Pan's face has some black dirt and there are some sticky things on the base. However, the most irritating part is how this asshole overcharged me for shipping. The printed shipping label only showed shipping fee of 32 bucks. I am still irritated with the fact that I saw this only after I left a feedback. If I knew earlier, I would definitely give this asshole a negative. When confronted about this, the asshole turned nasty and rude. Typical seller that you should avoid. Sorry for too many assholes as I don't know if the person is male (bastard) or a female (bitch). So if possible, please avoid buying from this seller (eBay id: cdallbuf). Okay, enough of this asshole let's see the pictures.
The box, the figurine, and the certificate of authenticity
The packaging is very compact and it saves storage space for the box. Love it!
Again I don't see any link between the title of the figurine with the pose. It should be called Peter Pan and his Panpipes or something.
Not too pleased with the rather disproportionate hand and fingers
Black dirt around his right eyes and cheek
Shiny knife
The base with Aurora's crown mark
The content of the clear envelope for the Certificate of Authenticity
 Both sides of the Certificate of Authenticity
Model sheet
The sticker is not used to seal the clear envelope. Yay!
Again I still feel that this is rather an underwhelming WDCC piece.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Strange encounter with a stranger

One weekend passed and I still have not overcome my angst over my appraisal. Haiz.. My colleague noticed how I become much angrier at work recently. Oh well.. I guess I have decided to drop all pretense and just be who I am. I survived school days (and did pretty well) as a slacker anyway. What's the point of sacrificing myself and my health for work stuff and not getting any appreciation? So yup, just do the bare minimum and taichi arrows when they come.

After mass on Sunday, I finally decided to try Baja Fresh Mexican Grill at Hotel Rendezvous. It has been tempting me for the past 3 weeks but I did not feel any sense of satisfaction. Haha.. I guess Mexican food is just not my thing. I am more of a beef person than a chicken breast person. Nearing the end of my meal, I had the following interesting encounter.

Suddenly a lady came in and asked if she could chit chat with me. The first thing that came to my mind is parents' advice to avoid strangers. Haha.. I could imagine the "Huh? Wtf?" expression across my face at that moment. The first thing that crossed my mind when a stranger approached me from nowhere is either to sell something or it is some church outreach.

Well it was kinda awkward but in the end we could strike a 5 minute long conversation. It is not exactly surprising for me as my job requires me a lot of talking with strangers and if they are nice enough, I am also okay to have a less reserved conversation. However, one bad thing about me that I notice is how I tend to be very honest and may divulge too many unnecessary details even to complete strangers. Oops... Better learn to keep my mouth shut.

Anyway, I pray for a girlfriend and this is not exactly what I have in mind, God! Haha.. she was older than me and I am sure she is married already. I want someone of a girlfriend or wife material to approach me this way. Haha.. Guys also can :p Not as a partner in life but more for companions to have meals or play games/sports together lo. I am lonely mah...

The outcome of Indonesian 2014 Presidential Election was just announced and I just hope that God will protect Indonesia. Politics can be bitter but I think that people should learn from Madam Hillary Clinton. I remembered how intense her rivalry with Obama was and although in the end she lost, there was no bitterness and she supported Obama. When asked about how she overcome this, she said "You can't be tied up in politics. You gotta turn to governing and make life better for people.". Yes politicans should learn from her. There are winners and there are losers. But remember that in the end, all the competition is for public greater good. With people like her, no wonder USA is a powerhouse and they have democracy. In Indonesia, we call it democrazy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Disney Dudez


I came across this video from the related videos suggested by Youtube when I was browsing Aladdin song yesterday. I was expecting it to be a parody but hey, all the guys can sing well! They belong to a boyband called IM5 which I have never heard before. Anyway, I tried searching for their original songs and their music is not exactly my type. So I shall just enjoy them singing Disney songs. And in my opinion, people who can sing Disney songs well are good singers. Haha.. 

I love the arrangement too. Never know that you can sing A Whole New World with the One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful tune. The opening tune for Kiss the Girl here also sounds like I've Got Sunshine song (I just realised that the song title is My Girl haha...).

Unfortunately, one of the guys quit the boyband and they had to get a replacement. This was incorporated to their second video. Despite singing songs from Frozen, I find this video not as good as their first one. I mean they can sing well so why don't just they sing Let It Go properly instead of jokingly?


They also have a third video. You can skip the first 2 minutes as it is purely talking. Not exactly a fan of the song choices or the arrangement. And seriously, I never know that Once Upon A Dream can be an enjoyable song. Thanks to Angelina Jolie and her Maleficient.


Nick Pitera gets famous for singing both male and female parts of A Whole New World. So it is just apt that he finally makes a one-man tribute to Aladdin on Broadway. It is nice to see him doing something more like a video clip nowadays instead of the self-made 9 windows in his olden days. Haha.. Not a fan of his version of Jasmine actually as he still sounds quite masculine. It is not exactly helping that the original Jasmine's singing voice belongs to Lea Salonga.


Okay, let's turn to something serious and emo a bit. I am sure everybody knows the latest news since yesterday night: Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down when flying over Ukraine airspace. If it was really indeed shot by the Russian, will the US retaliate? Will this herald the 3rd World War?? Things are not going to well.. Up to know, it is still unknown whether it was a deliberate act or it was an accident to shoot down a civilian flight. Even if it is an accident, I can't imagine how the people involved will feel right now for killing 295 innocent lives. Sigh.. Is the end of the world coming nearer???

Other than this, there is a lot of hoo-hah locally about the LGBT for removal of certain books from the National Library. I don't want to take sides but seriously it is kinda scary to see how aggressive the LGBT community is promoting their alternative lifestyle. It is not exactly helping that the straight community wants to do away with anything not straight and hence creating the friction..

Are these signs of the end of time??

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baklava

I still have yet to overcome the angst, the anger, and the disappointment after my appraisal. Not sure if it was due to the venti-sized Starbucks drink or the anger that made me unable to sleep at the night. I was very distracted at work too and I did not know if it was because of the lack of sleep or because I was still very bitter about the day before. So I decided to follow my impulse and just took a day off today!

I met up with a cousin who was here for a short trip before she continued with her journey back to Brisbane. Yup it was Din Tai Fung again. Haha.. earlier this year, her dad (my uncle) and her sister were in Singapore and we had lunch there. It was time for me to return the favor now. Lol..

Anyway despite all the sleep, all the binge eating, as well as the gaming I did today, my emo-ness is still unabated. Sigh.. I should know my trigger factor, when I feel down, I tend to shop on impulse.. And as of now, there is nothing that I like to buy so the money goes to food.. which will lead to acne.. and will lead to fat issues.. which will make me more emo eventually. Haiz..

Takashimaya is currently having a food fair. Yesterday when I passed by from the 2nd floor, I smelled good food. Haha.. When I went down today, it was rather disappointing as I was expecting something really good or something really unique and I never saw before. Last year, I came to know Schneeballen. The exotic food for this year is Baklava. It is a Turkish/Middle Eastern delicacy. You are going to laugh at my reason for getting interested in this food. It does not look very appealing to me and I don't really like sweet stuff too. I am tempted to try this because Aladdin's Genie mentioned this in his song Friend Like Me. Lol!

Baklava comes in 57th second. Haha..

Unexpectedly, that video brings me to a series of related videos and I have spent more than an hour on Youtube! The related videos are related to Aladdin musicals.


Genie is awesome! Amazing voice, amazing stage presence, and basically amazing live performance. The music should be louder and could be better as on certain parts, I feel that the music is kinda boring. Having said that, it still made me groove on my chairs when watching this.. Aaah.. would be great if someday they bring this musical to Singapore. I will definitely watch this although I am not a big fan of the guy who plays Aladdin. His face and hair look like the cartoon but he is too muscular! Aladdin is supposed to be a street rat who has to steal food. How does that make him super buff? Lol..

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How much more must I do???

I just had my appraisal this afternoon and my head feels like exploding right now. I received conflicted messages although in the end, it made me wonder why I have to do so much if in the end I just receive a rating which is the same as everyone. I definitely did and contributed more things as compared to 2 years ago but I got the same thing as last year's appraisal. I might as well do as little as 2 years back.

I hate to be an asshole and harp on my achievements when I am doing things. But when things are over, I can't help to feel justified that I have done more than what peers do. After all, which other person with 2 year experience is considered as the 2nd-in-charge of a branch? I may not be doing things 'well' (enough for the bosses' expectations) but circumstances forced me to do more things so I think I deserve some credit on that. There is no point verbally acknowledging these when in the end, the grading is the same as last year when I did much less.

I know I have strengths and weaknesses and I am not too bothered about my weaknesses being pointed out. Honestly, I am more of a negative person. I tend to be critical and look towards the negative things that may come with changes or new things and I will be brutally honest about it. I am okay with 'being negative' being pointed out but I am absolutely enraged when that puts me under "Need Development" category. It seems that authorities hate dissent and want to suppress disagreeing voices. It is not surprising now why people tend to be very agreeable, will not voice out any issues, and just simply agreeing with whatever the people on top says as being honest and open will just impede your career. Seriously why bother asking people for comments if you are not prepared to hear something different from your own views? And when someone airs his/her views, of course the main objective is to make others agreeable and take on his/her sides. It is as simple as that. Otherwise, what's the point of even saying anything? Don't be surprised now if I just keep quiet during meetings or ignore emails if really that is what they wish to see.

Sigh.. if someone were to headhunt me to move somewhere now, I will gladly do that. I start to hate the way this company assesses and rewards performance. They can sugar coat in whatever they want but most people will fall under the "Good" category and that is unfair. Getting "Fair" is almost unheard of. Even some of my staff who are extremely incapable, the people on top is always discouraging us from giving "Fair" grade. I honestly don't know who will fall under the "Excellent" category.. Perhaps it is reserved only for those who are entitled for promotion? I don't know.. One thing I am sure and I know, I have done more things as compared to 2 years ago and it is very disappointing when I don't get anything extra or better than my appraisal last year! Even my annual increment is 0.05% lower than last year's increment! Yes it is almost negligible but the fact that it is lower just drives the point that I am lousy.

There is a choice for me to disagree with the appraisal. But seriously, what's the point? The letter for the bonus and increment etc has already been printed.. Lol.. And anyway it is not my nature to demand credits for what I have done. I will just do my job well and let others judge how well I have done it. And considering that the good things are acknowledged and I still get the peanuts that I am getting, yes, I feel under-appreciated.

Monday, July 14, 2014

WDCC Peter Pan: "Nobody Calls Pan a Coward!"

WDCC stands for Walt Disney Classic Collection which is a series of collectible porcelain figurines of Disney characters. Its history dated back since 1992 with Schmid as the initial manufacturer until 1998 when Disney took over its manufacturer. The production license was granted to Enesco in 2004. Sadly, on the 20th year of Anniversary of this line, Enesco did not continue with the license and the line met its tragic end when Precious Moments took over in 2013.

In 20 years of its history, there are hundreds of WDCC figurines. Each figurine bears a signature marks/stamps which represent the year of production. The marks change every year and usually important icons in Walt Disney history is chosen such as steamboat wheel (from Steamboat Willie), Donald Duck's sailor hat, Mickey's Sorcerer Hat, Dumbo's feather, Cinderella's shoes, etc. For the full list of the marks and which years, I will recommend this page. There are open edition, closed edition, numbered limited edition, production year limited edition, and retired edition. One interesting to note is that open edition figurines can have different marks/stamps as they can be produced in different years.

That's a brief introduction to WDCC and now I shall move on to this WDCC Peter Pan: "Nobody Calls Pan a Coward!". The first edition was released in 1993 with treble clef mark and "40th Anniversary" mark in gold at the base. The piece is retired in September 2000. The original retail price is USD 175. The box measures 13.5cm (L) x 13.5cm (W) x 20.5cm (H) while the figure itself is 12.7cm and has a diameter of approximately 8.8cm.

Sadly, I was a noob to WDCC when I bought this and mine was the one produced in 1994 (dancing flower mark and no "40th Anniversary" embedding). I paid only USD 70 for this (which was a good bargain) and shipping cost me USD 35.27. I don't understand how the shipping for this can be similar to the giant Disney Parks Peter Pan 60th Anniversary statue.. Bleah.. The box is not in A+ state but I am just glad that the figure arrived in one piece.
The box, the figure, certificate of authenticity and promotional insert
 The rather beaten up box
The dancing flower mark/stamp is also present on the box!
The styrofoam!
I seriously don't see the link between the pose and the title of the figurine
 360 degree view
Great details.. but the teeth are rather scary haha..
The base with the dancing flower mark
 I don't feel secure seeing how the figure is linked to the base..
 The certificate of authenticity
 The promotional insert

This is my very first porcelain figurine and I feel rather underwhelmed. For its original price, I find this too simple for my liking. But I still like it because if I hate it, I will be tempted to sell it. Haha.. The beauty of porcelain is its durability. It is amazing that a 20-year-old item is still in this condition. I wonder if my Japanese PVC figurines can last this long. I don't think plastic can survive that long. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Art of Disney Theme Parks: Peter Pan 60th Anniversary

I honestly don't know the official name of this statue so I assume that whatever is printed on its base is its official name. However, a lot of shops are listing this item as Disney's Peter Pan and Tinker Bell 60th Anniversary Medium Big Fig or Statue. I think that the word 'medium' does not reflect the size of this statue. Haha.. As the name suggests, this statue was produced in 2013 to commemorate 60 years after the release of Peter Pan by Walt Disney. It is a Disney Theme Parks exclusive item although strangely, I did not see this around when I went to Paris Disneyland last year and I never saw this in Disney Online Stores.

Not sure how much it originally cost but I got it from eBay for USD 129.95 and thanks to eBay Global Shipping Programme, international shipping only cost USD 35.86 which is cheap considering the size as well as the use of FedEx. The packaging box measures 34cm (L) x 35cm (W) x 52cm (H) and the official size of the statue is listed as 15" (H) x 9" (W) x 9" (D) or basically a diameter of 9" and a height of 15". Using my ruler, the statue stands at about 40cm tall. Peter Pan is 30cm tall while Tinker Bell is about 5cm tall. The artist behind this masterpiece is Costa Alavezos.

To be honest, I don't know what to expect as this is my first ever resin figurine made by a Western company. It looks great on photos and the price is much more reasonable. There is no way a resin figurine of this size will be so cheap if it is made by a Japanese company. Even 1/8 PVC figurines nowadays can cost USD 100 or more.. What's more: it is a Disney-related product which can be very expensive if the license holder wants to make it expensive.

Apparently price is correlated to the quality. When viewed in general, this is an awesome statue. The colours are vibrant (although there is minimal shading and gradation of colours) and the details are fantastic. I have to applaud the way they depict Tinker Bell's pixie dust to depict her flying. It looks sleek and natural with the overall statue. However, the paint job is downright terrible. When you look at the small grooves and crevices, it really feels like the statue is painted by some school-going kid who just wanna get the painting done as soon as possible and can't be bothered about the grade.

Enough of words.. Let's see the pictures now :)
The plan and cheapo packaging box
This sticker is the only decoration on the packaging box :(
Tadaa......
360 degree overview
Face is good.. but look at the shoddy paint job between his clothes and his chest/arms as well as his hair and his face
Just a different lighting
Tinker Bell with terrible make up.. But considering that her face is only about 1cm, I guess this is the best that they can do
Her wing is worse-looking than the pixie dust effect!
Love the glitter effect which gives a magical vibe.. Not meant to be a butt shot.. Haha.. 
Terrible fingers :(
Another bad paint job near the ear, on the pan pipe, and a chipping on his chest
I honestly don't know why I took photo of his crotch..
Look at that crappy shoes
Love the base but it will be much better with some shading
Hmm.. I prefer to have the leaf branches painted brown instead of green
The rock is well-sculpted but the colour is not convincing as a rock
The base
Considering the price, I guess it will not be fair for me to complain so much about the statue. Overall, I love the statue. Perhaps I am a bit biased because green is my favourite colour so seeing so much green in this statue makes me very happy. For people who hate green, the lack of shading can make this look rather 'sickening'. Haha.. But hey, we hardly have Disney's figurines at this scale so this is definitely something that I am proud to own.

In fact, I am looking for 20th Anniversary of Aladdin.. for reasonable price of course!