Awesome Toy Collection – Aliens vs. Predator

From my awesome toy collection, here are some photos of my Aliens vs. Predator figures:
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These are the Aliens from the “Aliens” film series. From left: Gorilla Alien, Snake Alien, Warrior Alien, Scorpion Alien (x2), Flying Alien Queen, Buffalo Alien, and four face-huggers in the front. The Aliens take on the form and abilities of the hosts the face-huggers implant themselves on.
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Here are some of the US Marines assigned to deal with the Aliens threat. From left: Drake, Ellen Ripley, and Bishop the Android. In the background is an Alien infiltration suit. Check out the oversized bayonet on Drake’s weapon.
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20081031_3predator_maskedThree Predator warriors, also on the hunt for Aliens. The Predators consider the Aliens hunt as a rite of passage.
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The Predators unmasked.
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Showcase – Dilbert comic strip

This is a “Dilbert” comic strip from some years back, one that caught my attention and has held my interest, and I would like to share it with you.

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In this issue of “Dilbert”, Asok the intern (who is obviously a Star Trek fan) was duped by a colleague into thinking that a dire emergency has occurred, and that he must crawl his way through a passage and shut down a reactor before it blows up and kill everybody (a fairly common situation in the Star Trek universe). And almost immediately, Asok finds himself stuck in the opening and subject to ridicule by the rest of the office.
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I see the last panel as a metaphor of someone being stuck, totally engrossed in someone else’s idea of fantasy, that he or she is unable to discern between fantasy and the real world. And frighteningly, I do see these things happening around me, from people who dump thousands of their money into purchasing whatever Star Wars collectibles that come out, to Lord of the Rings worshippers who envision commonplace occurrance as coming from a page of Tolkien’s mythology. I even know of a friend who thinks “Star Trek” every hour of the day, perhaps even striving to live the life of an emotionless, logical Vulcan to escape from the realities of life in the real world.
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Personally, I find there’s nothing wrong in deriving fun from watching some awesome great show, the danger comes when an obsession grows so big that nothing else matters, not even family or friends, money being spent wantonly and without thought on purchasing collectibles, and worst when some fantasy-world thoughts and ideas intrude and strike root into everyday thinking.
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So guys, don’t enslave yourselves to anyone’s idea of fantasy, be it Gene Roddenberry’s or George Lucas’. Recognise the distinction between fantasy and the real world, you may find some parallels, but never, ever, mix the two up.

Photos of new acquisitions

I’ve acquired several new items to add to my awesome collection:
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20081012_Lily_SloaneFrom “Star Trek First Contact”, the Lily Sloane action figure. Lily Sloane is the assistant of Zephram Cochrane, the inventor of the warp drive. Now she joins my pantheon of Star Trek action figures.
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And this is awesome, the Iron Man mask. It was selling at a fraction of its original price at a toy clearance sale, so I thought I’d collect it.
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Since my Iron Man mask is on display, I thought I’d also upload a photo of another mask, the V mask from “V for Vendetta”. I bought it nearly a year ago.
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Heh, heh. I couldn’t resist.

Awesome comic collection – Squadron Supreme

During the 1980s, Marvel Comics decided to spoof the heroes from their Dreaded Competition (DC Comics), by introducing into their storylines new characters who resemble the DC heroes and have similar powers, only that they are evil villians which the Marvel heroes have to confront. As a result, characters such as Hyperion (a spoof of Superman), Princess Power (spoof of Wonder Woman), Nighthawk (Batman spoof), plus numerous others, were introduced into Marvel comic storylines, that were surprisingly welcomed by the readers. After a while, Marvel decided that the DC spoofs were good guys after all, explaining away their evilness as having been under the mental influence of a malevolent alien entity. And this group of superheroes subsequently banded together to form Squadron Supreme.
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However, as a result of the actions of the Squadron Supreme members while under the evil alien influence, their Earth (an alternate Earth, separate from the mainstream Marvel Universe Earth, if you get what I mean) has fallen into a post-apocalyptic state. There is political turmoil, economic chaos, starvation and epidemic. Squadron Supreme decided to put their superpowers to good use by helping to solve the problems of the world, for example by stopping crime, distributing food supply, banning all firearms, modify the behaviour of criminals so that they could do no further evil, finding cures to all illnesses and maybe even prevent death, basically trying to create a utopia, first the USA within a year, then the rest of the world.
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All these sound like a good thing, except for several dissenting members of the Squadron, who were able to recognise immediately that there is no quick fix to all the problems of the world. And so the Squadron Supreme comic miniseries details the efforts of the Squadron to create a utopian society, as well as the Redeemers, former Squadron members who are determined to stop the utopia program at any cost. And why exactly is the utopia program so “evil”? In order to introduce the various programs the Squadron had to assume absolute control of the USA, impose onto the public who may be unwilling to accept certain measures such as gun control, or surrendering the right to die. The behaviour-modification program is even more controversial, with the Squadron Supreme using the behaviour-modification machine on their former enemies such that they even join the Squadron to do good, oblivious to whether they are doing it according to their will. Furthermore, even Squadron members begin to abuse the system, in one case with a member compelling another member to love him, and in numerous other cases with members ordering former-criminal members to do certain questionable tasks, just so because they have been programmed unable to betray fellow members of the Squadron and therefore report on their actions.
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And in the final confrontation in the last issue of the miniseries, the Redeemers fight with the Squadron, resulting in a bloodbath on both sides. Nighthawk, leader of the Redeemers, was able to convince Squadron leader Hyperion that the utopia program was flawed. The program required benevolent people to oversee, but as the Squadron was not immortal, the program could become abused by their successors and future generations could become tyrannised by these human rights-violating measures and technologies. Even though Nighthawk gets killed after making his great speech, Hyperion surrenders on behalf of the Squadron and agrees to begin dismantling the utopia program.
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Hey this sounds like a great story, and out of this 12-part comic miniseries I was able to collect 10 issues, lacking #1 and #5. And then I found that the Squadron Supreme omnibus (all 12 parts plus 1 crossover) was available from the local library, which I borrowed and then was able to read what I had been missing. I decided against buying the omnibus, opting instead to collect the missing individual issues as and when I finally come across them.
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In search of: Squadron Supreme #1, #5, and Captain America #314.

Showcase Documentary Series: Digging for the Truth

I want to showcase “Digging for the Truth”, a documentary series now showing on the History Channel, with Season 3 starting on 6th October, Mondays 9pm with repeats through the week.
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In each episode of “Digging for the Truth”, the host, Josh Bernstein, goes on location to investigate various ancient mysteries, in an effort to help the TV audience uncover the truths behind each mysteries, or at least gather and compare between all available evidence and come up with the most probable explanations to the mysteries, and allowing the viewers to judge for themselves which explanation to believe. Among the mysteries DFT has investigated include the Stonehenge, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Nazca Lines, and the fall of various MesoAmerican civilizations.

Personally, I feel that many of the topics DFT has investigated have a rather Christian-Judeo slant to them, including searching for the Holy Grail, the lost Ark of the Covenant, locating King Solomon’s gold, or finding the Queen of Sheba, just to name a few. An episode even investigated into the claims of the Da Vinci Code, joining among the multitudes of documentaries that have been produced just to disprove the Code. Nevertheless, since various other ancient mysteries from other civilizations are also showcased in DFT, I think that DFT presents a good mix of ancient mysteries from around the world to the curious audience.

Host Josh Bernstein shows his dedication in solving the topics at hand by literally going to the extremes, from climbing all over the place to burrowing his way through narrow tunnels. And Josh wears his cowboy hat while at work, coupled with his ubiquitous sling bag, leading TV audiences to make comparison of him to the famed fictional adventurer-archaeologist Indiana Jones, something that Josh dislikes but the History Channel has actually capitalised on to promote DFT. Josh actually has a double major in anthropology and psychology, and he runs a survival school in Utah.

After hosting DFT for 3 seasons, Josh switched over to the Discovery Channel to host a new TV documentary series, while a new host, Hunter Ellis, a former military pilot now into showbusiness, presented DFT season 4. And DFT has gone downhill ever since, as the new format of show presentation (more action-orientated) and the new host’s lack of charm or tact, failed to capture the imagination of the TV audience. While History Channel has not officially cancelled DFT, no new episodes have been produced since season 4 ended.

So, enjoy “Digging for the Truth” while it airs, catch season 4 when it begins showing, and catch the repeats of season 1 and 2 when they occasionally come on schedule on the History Channel.