Friday, 27 June 2014

ThreeA - Adventure Kartel : Dead Astronaut Gangsta.













What you talkin' 'bout punk?
Gimme room as I light up the boom
Cock the hammer, wave the white banner
Ever heard a glock go 'click like a camera?
Cock the hammer!
Cock the hammer, it's time for action!
- Cypress Hill, Cock the Hammer.

flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.
- Virgil, The Aeneid, Book VII, line 312.

No victims, only volunteers.
- The Dead Astronaut Gangsta.

A (mis) interpretation:
 
Name: Louis Senen Muggerud.
Age: Unknown.
Alias: The Dead Astronaut Gangsta / Espíritu Asesino / Waed وعد
Affiliation: 32nd Battalion (former) / Le Clan Défunt (current) / Rogue trader (current) / Independent space jockey (current).
Abilities: Unbound soul; absolute immortality; astral manipulation; ectoplasm manipulation; imperceptibility; teleportation; electromagnetic spectrum manipulation; pressure manipulation; gravity manipulation; expert marksmanship, cunningness.
Std. armaments: "Mary Jane" - .50 semi-automatic pistol x 4; "C.H.O.L.L.O." - ENVIRON space suit x 1.

1891. Apellon 13. The seventh manned mission of Terra Apellon Space Programme and the third intended to land on Mars as part of the Mars Exploration Programme (MEP). The flight is commanded by L.S. Muggerud, together with Command Module Pilot, Stephen Oriol, and Mars Module Pilot, Henry F. Schroder. Their official objective is to explore Elysium Planitia. But the true mission is a top-secret assignment by Terra Military Intelligence to assassinate Jon J. Carter, the first man to land on Mars in '65. Carter, through a series of political maneuvering, has succeed in being appointed Mars Planetary Governor with the title Archduke bestowed upon him by the Council of the High Lords of Terra. He established the Archduchy of Mars and the Carter Dynasty. Carter rules the planet nation with an iron fist, hold the governments of Terra at bay with economic powers and popularity with the population, whom has been invited to populate the terra-formed Red Planet with promise of wealth, resulting in the Great Migration.
The crew of Apellon 13 are specially selected members of the elite 32nd Battalion, known as Os Terríveis, infamous for their atrocities  and gained the most enemies killed during the United Americana Borders War. They succeed in assassinating Carter through a staged "accident". Five minutes into flight back to Terra, the Faster Than Light (FTL) engine overheats. All electronics and controls are shut down. Antartica Traffic Control attempts to communicate with them but to no avail. Search and rescue mission is launched from the Solomons in an attempt to find Apellon 13 based on the flight path trajectory and energy emission. Or, if the FTL had gone haywire, which historically happened before, at least find pieces of the shuttle. They couldn't find anything. Nothing at all. Truth is that the military intelligence officers do not want any witnesses. Carter is succeed by his son, Archduke Carthoris.
2001. 500km above Terra. On board the Acheron, a Dante-class frigate, the Dead Astronaut Gangsta is watching a science fiction thriller which takes place in space. The opening sequence says at 600km above Terra the temperature fluctuates between 120 and 100 degrees Celsius. It further adds that there is nothing to carry sound, no oxygen, and no air pressure. It concludes with the line that life in space is impossible. Astro G laughs. He agrees with the first two lines. The last line is a load of hogwash. To him at least. For though he is dead, Astro G possesses an independent soul that isn't bound to any plane of existence and its restrictions. An Unbound Soul. It enables him to cross or travel any realm as a soul freely and not be bound the realm of the dead. He is a member of Le Clan Défunt or Clan of the Deceased lead by Les Mort. Astro G does not know why nor how he becomes an Unbound Soul.  Having drank from the River Lethe, his memories are vague by this point. He doesn't remember his name, Muggerud. All he remembers was being trapped in another dimension known as the Immaterium after the shuttle entered a realspace-warp overlay where terrible entities dwelt within. He does not remember the ultimate fates of Oriol and Schroder. How he re-enters realspace is also forgotten. All he knows is that time stands still in the Warp, decades have passed since then and he is a Rogue Trader, smugglers and merchants whom most view as outcasts, scoundrels and pirates operating their businesses in isolation without the Warrant of Trade, and outlaws whom are beyond the control of Terra and Mars. The Great War has created a huge black market with demand for anything from basic needs to expensive, exotic goods. Astro G, although having an unstable personality, exudes confidence and are highly charismatic, is also roguish and thuggish. He is a skilled negotiator and cunning trader with wide networks of profits and exclusive trading rights. Astro G is a hardened killer when the situation demands or to put out competition, often leading to violent confrontation. A mercenary and contract killer as well, Astro G provides his service to the highest bidder, with a reputation of being unstoppable and relentless when tracking down his target with a 100% kill rate, earning him the nickname Espíritu Asesino or Soul Assassin. Occasionally he gets into conflict with legally appointed merchants of Terra and Mars but such conflicts are often settled amicably by the merchants due to Astro G's reputation. Except for the incident involving the rescue of the porn star nymph Isobelle Pascha in space after being offered a considerable sum of money by Elaine "Big Shadow" Von Sydow which puts him into the limelight of media for a few seconds. He also operates a guerrilla radio station, Radio Free Dada, from the Acheron with an anti-authoritarian theme. It's niche is broadcasting subliminal alternative music, below the threshold of human hearing frequency. Guess appearance in his morning show include the famous Peppermint Grove and Funlicker 2215, amongst others.
Astro G is a skilful space navigator. He is one of the most demanded pilots to smuggle human immigrants, if the price is right, capable of bypassing even the strongest orbit detectors and defences. Astro G often steers his ship deep into space, sometimes beyond the Outer Rims, exploring the far regions of the galaxy, the areas within his reach as yet unvisited by humanity. He have even attempted to cross the great starless voids of intergalactic space in search for technology or minerals. Astro G often returns laden with the treasures of space - alien artefacts, rare and precious minerals, and undreamed-of technologies - to be traded and unload to rich individuals or merchants from Terra, Mars, the United Space Colonies Federation and factions such as the MOD. The aristocratic ruling classes crave the exotic, often paying outrageous sums for goods imported from distant locales. Clothes, foodstuffs, jewellery, and art are all highly desirable to those who wish to make a display of their wealth and influence, whether real, imagined, or feigned in the interests of fashion. He will re-supply and rest until the next foray into the darkness of unknown space or making a milk run for the nations and colonies. Astro G answers to no one, except maybe for Les Mort, but apart from watching the percentages, he is a true rouge. But he stands by one rule. There is no back off once a deal or contract is agreed upon. Astro G is so good that he always deliver, earning him the nickname Waed or promise as the caliph traders of the Republic of Middle East call him. Renege of a deal would results in penalty of unbridled pain.
Astro G is one of the most formidable individual in existence of his time. He is an absolute immortal, truly indestructible and eternal. He is unable to die, get sick, or be permanently wounded. Any injuries he suffers immediately heal, even if his body is disintegrated, blown up or destroyed at the sub-atomic level, he will still return to life, in an un-conventional sense. Regardless, Astro G would still feel pain. And he has begun to feel boredom and stagnancy of living. Signs of emotional withdrawal and mental downward spiral due to endless time have begun to manifest itself. He is still susceptible to psychic attacks and can be rendered mentally inert by mental assaults by powerful psykers such as the likes of the N.O.M. Legion. As such Astro G wears his necromancy enhanced ENVIRON space helmet and space suit which gives him a degree of protection from such attacks. Extremely powerful mage such as the likes of Bleak Mission or psyker from the N.O.M. Legion may also be capable of wiping Astro G out of existence or seal him within an empty dimension with no chance of escape.
Astro G also possesses the power to generate and manipulate astral energy, allowing him to travel to the Seas and Highways of the Dead, which he calls "Davy Jones' Locker". He interacts with the spirits and making spirits visible to others. He could astral traps a spirit or daemonic entity as well as potentially harming the dead souls. He can allow others temporarily to be able to astral project as well as blocking others from astral projecting, such as in the case of a daemon, by sending them back to their bodies or the Warp if they had already projected. Astro G is himself, however, vulnerable to individuals possessing the same ability.
As an Unbound Soul, he can create, shape and manipulate ectoplasm, a variable-state form of matter-energy coming from the Realm of the Dead beyond the realspace. Taking form as raw seething energy, a misty vapour or viscous gelatin, ectoplasm reacts to normal matter/energy in unusual and useful ways, including being able to ignore most of them. Astro G utilises this ability as a form of ectokinetic combat by incorporating ectoplasm into physical combat, allowing him to directly bypassing defences such as armours and striking directly at the opponent's soul. Ectoplasm also enables Astro G to act as medium, secreting or emitting ectoplasm in order to facilitate communication with ghosts and souls of the departed. Business is good, as lots of people seek him out to speak to their deceased relatives, lovers and so forth. Astro G can also coat these spiritual entities in ectoplasm in order for them to interact within the realspace. Often he would use this to summon and create an army of dead souls. And ectoplasm itself is a much valued ingredient in alchemical magic of which Astro G sells to the highest bidder.
Astro G is totally imperceptible if he chose to, and cannot be detected or communicated with by external forces. In that state, he cannot be physically or mentally touched or perceived, by smell, touch, vision, hearing, taste and gives off no heat, auras, energy detection or leave any evidence of his presence, yet the space he occupy has no lack of it. To all senses, Astro G doesn't exist. He is undetectable by x-ray scans, sonars, radio detections or any other technological detection. Astro G cannot be perceived by mental, telepathic or spiritual powers. He may not even be able to be remembered, or perceived as existing at all. However, Astro G could still be able to interact with others through use of any other abilities they possesses, and so may also still be able to attack a target. Regardless, this ability would not work on someone with powerful, enhanced awareness or enhanced senses.
Astro G has the capability to teleport at will, without a teleporter device, moving instantaneously from one location to another without physically occupying the space in between. He thinks of a destination and can appear there at will. Astro G often utilises teleportation offensively, and quite powerful, as a spatial attack, while offering superiority in terms of movement speed and distance coverage. This include avoiding harm, going great distances, move past physical obstacles and teleport other objects. Astro G would teleport objects into a target and crushing them, causing telefrag, which can punch holes or bisect the target. He could also teleport parts of his target away, "flash-stepping" or short-distance teleportation and remotely teleport his target or object to another location without transporting himself along. Astro G could also teleport a target to himself. Astro G could only teleport within a particular number of times per time span. Overusing this ability could lead to self-damage although not death. He is also limited to teleporting object or target within a certain mass or density and only within a particular distance from where they are to begin with. Powerful psykers could negate this ability. This is why Astro G doesn't mess with "da big dawgs", a term he uses to describe the N.O.M., and "gotta maintain" if he were to confront one.
Astro G can manipulate electromagnetic spectrum, the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, which in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength, consists of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays. He can infuse electromagnetism during physical combat, using electricity and magnetism to defeat their foes, such as electrocuting or messing with metal and technology if his enemy has them, cook them alive through microwave or simply through radiation sickness. But he is unable to create electromagnetic energy, being limited to manipulating only from already existing sources. Astro G is also limited to amount of energy he can hold within himself.
Astro G can manipulate pressure, application of continuous force by one body on another that he is touching, or the exertion of force upon a surface by an object, fluid, and others, in contact with it. He can enhanced his strength by increasing the pressure on his hands and feet exert on a surface. Astro G could often  crush heavily armoured foe with this ability. He could manipulate pressures inside living beings, leading to instant death, equilibrium distortion and even inducing extreme pain without necessarily killing his enemy. Astro G could also manipulates and distorts the space-time to generate a spatial pressure, which can crush the target with tremendous force either directly or by generating a burst of powerful shock wave . Since this is a spatial attack, it cannot be negated by conventional means. However, Astro G has to be in contact with the object/person he wishes to pressurize/ depressurize. This ability is useless in a vacuum or void of space, to the irk of Astro G, being a deceased astronaut and spends more time in space than possibly anyone else. 
Astro G can manipulate gravitation and gravitons. He could levitate himself, wall walking and bend gravity to make the surrounding environment very “heavy” or “light”, causing objects to “fall” toward another object by "nexus inducing", flattening objects through gravitational field, and generating miniature black holes to compress objects into oblivion. He can repel and attract matter and energy regardless of its mass or move objects in a manner similar to telekinesis. One of his most formidable abilities, Astro G uses this power to repulse people or objects with such force that could shatter practically anything, increasing gravity to crush his opponents or decreasing it to render them defenceless, as well as surrounding one's body in a gravitational field to amplify their physical strengths. Defensive uses include creating a gravitational force-field to repel  all manner of attacks or anchoring oneself to the ground. He is however, being limited to manipulating only from already existing sources and useless in areas with no gravity which is not much of an issue for Astro G since technically anywhere, even space, has gravity.
Astro G is an expert marksman. He has four .50 semi-automatics which he endearingly call "Mary Jane". He never misses and this skill is matched only by the likes of the Blind Cowboy and Merde Mission.
 
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According to the ThreeA Wiki, Dead Astronaut Gangsta is an early Ashley Wood character which is incorporated into the Adventure Kartel line. This figure comes in standard black, or 3AA white and for the retail channel, Dead Cosmonaut Golovorez in classic "Soviet" colour-way. Also comes in 2-pack combination with bonus accessories in the form of a 3A flag and an "escape hatch" as part of the AKlub offering, of which once completed, there would be a free Ms. Shadow for the collectors. I didn't "sign in" as I did for TKlub, solely because it is too overwhelming. If 3A were to offer a single figure, I would jump onto the wagon without any second thoughts. Unfortunately, 3A decides to offer a "double" figures of each set with different colour-way. I don't need two Dead Astronaut Gangsta (or previously, two Golden Dolphin). I guess I would have to hunt down Ms. Shadow in the secondary market and get crunch by the price. Anyhoo, back to the astronaut. It is, undoubtedly, one of my new favourite figures from 3A and amongst the current collection. I just love the look of this figure - wide, fat-ish - with the grimy, "black" colour-way (I actually think hard which colour to get during drop time. I decided black is the one to go since there is no astronaut in black space suit anyway. Esther remarked why would an astronaut be in black space suit, of which I said, yeah, it's fiction. And the character is dead anyway) and tubes. Perhaps in summary, it reminds me of why I collect 3A in the first place. The "dirty black" is close to the Badbot and Kyuuketsuki TK, a favourite personal colour. I wish they would apply this to the WWR robots. It has a lighted-up feature around the helmet. The battery slot is within the backpack, hidden by a flap. I did not try because typical of 3A, there is no instruction what battery to use. Regardless, I am cautious when handling this figure due to his fat-ness and weight. If I held the figure by the legs during posing, it tends to bend over, on the knee joints, which if happen regularly, I am worried might "give out". I am also paranoid about the bending of the "tubes", so I just try as much as I could, not to be too "adventurous" about it. And both boots leg aren't slot into the peg when opened.  There is limitation to articulation due to the "fat" padding within. Again the mis-interpretation is all personal fan-fiction, non-official. I am not sure what WAED stands for. Took inspiration from Gangsta genre rappers theme, Apollo 13 and WH40k universe, Rogue Trader. According to the poster and one-page comic, this character is supposedly engaged by Lil Shadow to kill Tommy Mission as an "anniversary gift" for their relationship, and later to call it off but couldn't.
 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Esther's Birthday 2014.






Happy Birthday dear!

ThreeA - Adventure Kartel : The Red Atonement JC.








Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
- Psalm 23:4

When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
- Deuteronomy 20:1

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
- Revelation 6:12

A (mis) interpretation:
 
Name: Javier Fernandes Chigurh.
Alias: The Fighting JC.
Age: 50 years old.
Affiliation: Manny's Gym (former); The Thirteen Acolytes (former); The Adventure Kartel Collective (current).
Abilities: "The Exegesis", "The Red Atonement" - divine empowerment; "The Ten Commandments", "Palm in the Face" - divine martial art; "The Eye of Providence" - divine sight; "The Revelation" - enhanced wisdom/knowledge; divine protection; prayer empowerment; indomitable will; purification; healing; exorcism; peak human physiology.
Std. armaments: Himself.

 
2001. New Andria. District 12. Tommy Mission is listening to Garland and Faust new release in his record shop doubling up as home when the vid-vox beeps. 'Bonjour. Vinyl Mission, this is Tomm..' answers Tommy before he is cuts off by an incredibly agitated, gaunt looking face and loud voice. 'TOMMY! WHERE'S JC?!' asks Baron Seth von Sydow. 'The f*** I know, old man. What am I? His nanny?' retorts Tommy. 'You've got an attitude, sonny. I shall personally yank your jaw off but not tonight. So, WHERE. IS. JC?' the Baron asks once more. 'No offense blood drinker but I DON'T F***KIN' KNOW!' Tommy shouts back. There's no love lost between the 1000 years old New Andria''s dhampir governor-general and the young, hip mage and monstrum venatorum. Caught in between their animosity is Lil Shadow, the Baron's 300 years old youngest daughter whom Tommy is hopelessly in love with. 'Listen boykie, I need to know where the old man is, because this is serious, capisce?' said the Baron. 'Everything and anything is serious from and about you. If it is so serious, why calling me? Johan is around. And its not like there is Zomb incursion into the town,' Tommy replies. 'That's precisely IT! Foolish child. Didn't you hear the siren? And I thought you are supposedly having a Batcave in there. How the AK continues to survive really perplexes me,' the Baron growls. Tommy keeps quiet for a second. Seth might be right. He was so busy listening to the music with his Sennheiser just now, Tommy would not have heard the siren. And the alarm - which would automatically cut off any activities within the shop when armed and activated - is due for a maintenance of which Tommy keeps postponing. 'Ok, yeah. So what's up? Why the urgency, ahem, Guv,nor?' Tommy changes his tune. 'Only because of Elizabeth I am doing this, Tommy. Only because of Liz. Coz she thinks of you as her closest friend in three centuries. Get that in your thick skull. Now, two hours ago, the Eye picked up a platoon of Warzombs on the Southern Gate. An engagement occurred against them with the ANKOUs. Those maggots bypass the hydro-wall by using a breacher siege drill and tunnelled beneath the defence perimeter. We got it under control but turns out to be a ruse to turn our attention away from the actual assault,' explains the Baron. 'The actual assault? Which is?' Tommy asks. 'A mega-swarm. In the South West. De-activated all electronics through an EMP from the Glow Worm, including the hydro-wall. Once the super high pressure jet was off, they threw themselves against the walls so thickly that even the super-viscous liquid could not keep them out. Bloody Zombs. Use their own pile of mangled, tangled bodies to climb and creep over into...,' the Baron about to continue before Tommy cuts him off this time. 'District 10...' Tommy face drains itself of blood and looks pale. 'It is wiped out before the ANKOUs could even respond. When they did arrived, District 10 is no more,' the Baron suddenly looks paler than his already pale face. 'How many Seth?' asks Tommy. The Baron keeps quiet. Tears begin to well up on Tommy's eyes. 'We managed to patch up the generators but the melta towers had automatically burnt everything down. The KA Mumbs and ANKOUs reinforcement pushed back the remaining Zombs but...there's nothing left there,' says the Baron. Of course. Just liquid, vaporised matters of what used to be buildings...and people. 'They captured several hundreds back to the Carrion City,' the Baron adds. 'What has all this got to do with JC then?' Tommy asks while fighting back more tears. He instinctively thought of the anti-depressants. 'Since the steady built-up and massing of Zombots at the Northern Frontier borders from the islands across Adriatic Sea, we've been talking to that son of a corpse Zomb MD. A negotiation to put down what would be a major attack across the entire coastal line by the Bots. You couldn't possibly miss the sound of the forges firing up again, could you?' explains the Baron. 'YOU WHAT?! A united front with the Zomb Horde? I thought you are mad but I couldn't believe what I am hearing right now,' Tommy bristles with anger. 'LISTEN! New Andria would not survive a two front assaults! I have no choice. Everything gonna go if I didn't! You know damn well that we are not prepared for any Bots attack,' the Baron shouts. 'What's in for the Carrion Lord, then huh?' Tommy questions Seth. 'Vengeance. It seems his beef with King Thumb and the other Bots warbosses are greater than the long feud against...me and this town,' replies the Baron. 'But he goddamn massacred District 10! You and that filthy bastard owes District 10 an apology!' screams Tommy. 'It wasn't him. A sub-horde decided to break away after hearing about the alliance. Took matters into their own rotten hands,' said the Baron. 'And you choose to believe him? That's real sweet. The dhampir and the plague lord holding hands after years of fighting. Now that's a Hallmark moment. What for, huh? Is this all that it comes to? Shiny happy people, Guv?' chides Tommy. 'I don't expect nor want your trust coz I don't need one. My decision is above you boyo. The alliance ends when the Bots are pushed back or preferably annihilated. I don't owe anyone any apology,' the Baron says. 'In fact, why am I explain all these to you? Now, where is JC? Coz I don't want him going "Rambo" on the Zomb Horde, got it?' said the Baron. 'That's what he would be doing right now if I were him, Seth,' replies Tommy. 'Do you expect him to come back alive?' asks the Baron. Tommy just keeps mum and switches off the vid-vox. He invokes the Hand of Fate. And sees the outcome. Tommy hears the mocking laughter of his dead childhood pals, and of Fortuna.
Carrion City. In the darkness of global dimming, JC arrives. Alone. The winds howl. Debris roll around mounds, pits of human bones and rusting war machine carcasses. The Warzomb sentries couldn't believe their glassy eyes over the watchtower. 'Fockin 'ell. 'Tis 'im!' say the sentries and sounds the alarm. 'Commanda, lookit!' points a Warzomb. The Potato Commander stands and behind his veil, gurgles. 'He finally losses it. Fire at 'im with all youse got, boet,' the Blightful One orders. JC roars and the "Exegesis" super plasma heated blast vaporise pockets of Warzomb on defences within the entire perimeters in their pillboxes. A chain of massive explosions occur. The Warzombs run helter skelter. Potato ducks for cover. He avoids the divine energy blast in the nick of time and retreats. 'Bad day...,' says Ol' Potato. 'Zomb MD! Hear me! One thousand heads I shall take tonight! Tonight! The Red Night!' screams JC as he smites open the Black Gate. The massive iron gate is imprinted with his palms. 'C'mon you worms!' JC challenges and thus begins an epic battle. One man against thousands upon thousands of the Zomb Horde, arm with all sorts of melee weapons, pilling, clawing and biting at him. JC stands his ground, pushing ever deeper into the labyrinth-like Carrion City innards with unstoppable berserker rage. JC finds himself fighting in semi-dark, tight spaces, claustrophobic, haphazard corridors of foul smelling filths, the air choking with flies and diseases, floors thick with slimes and crawling madness, and rotting structures seeping with decay. He wades through the still moving torn up Zombs. Unstable structures fall and give way, dredging up foul debris all over. JC decapitates the Zombs as he moves ever forward. Deep within the Necropolis, the Heart of Darkness screams, 'The Son is here!' The Zomb MD seems calm while continuing with his zombification works on unfortunate victims. 'Do something!' shrieks the Heart. 'Nothing can be done. This is no man,' the Plague Lord replies. A mighty punch caused a group of Zombs to smash through a wall. JC reaches a massive hall, nightmarish with its Nurgleth-tainted, twisted bio-mechanical architecture. A sort of death-metal like concert seems to be going on. Dragos Eraphis and the Cloven Hearts, champion of the Plaguebearers and the Apostles of Contagion do not stand a chance as JC plows through them and the walking dead crowds. 'F***! Not when we're into our final encore! JC, you...,' Eraphis is about to say something before Javier gives him a Palm in the Face. Dragos blocks the blow but it is strong enough to hurl him several meters into the air and smacks right into a speaker. 'No, no, no. Not the K5!' says Dragos as JC smashes the champion's prized bass signed by Fieldy. 'Oi Antonius?' says JC. 'Yeah?' replies Dragos. 'Korn sucks!' Dragos throws the Judgement of Carrion at JC. He deftly catches the plague axe and hurls it back to Dragos, embeds it right between his eyes. 'Of all nights...,' muttered the champion as he falls into unconsciousness. The Zomb Horde begins to rush at JC, surrounding him. 'You just costs us two hundred brains for the concert! Refund!' shouts some of the Zombs. As JC tithers on total physical breakdown, he is suddenly imbue with new found rigour. He begins to turn red with wrath in entirety. 'Red atonement, motherf***ers,' said JC with a wheezing and hoarse voice. JC then jumps into the air and lands upon the primary congregation of the Zomb Horde...
'Half-breed. I thought we have an agreement. Do you not trust me? District 10 isn't of my doing. A rogue horde,' said the vile creature on the other end of the vid-vox. 'No, you filth, I never trusts you and will never be. But I have no choice and so do you right?' replies the Baron. 'Indeed. The feelings mutual. The new captives are un-harmed, though you may wanna inoculate them as soon as possible. I shall release the captives back to you before 10.15pm tonight,' says the Zomb MD. 'Why 10.15pm?' asks the Baron. 'Coz it sounds...cool,' replies the Zomb MD. 'And you owe me an explanation for JC's incursion into my city. He truly is, one of the greatest champions of New Andria. Mowing down one third of my Horde with nary a thought, and taking down some of my greatest Zombs, blood red with wrath due to some mis-placed sense of righteousness,' says the Zomb MD. 'I don't owe you any explanation. His act is of his own. Without any clearance from me. He shall be severely dealt with when he comes back,' replies the Baron. 'Oh, I think you can save that for Tommy. 'Coz JC is dead. Here. Look. A recording of the incursion,' says the plague lord as he transmits a separate vid-vox to the Baron. Indeed, JC had gone "Rambo" alright. But towards the end, it looks like JC fell into a chasm, pulled by a chain of several hundreds of falling Zombs clinging onto one another. The image is quite fuzzy. 'If he's dead, so be it,' says the Baron with a tinge of sadness.
Some where several miles away from the Carrion City. JC walks out from the foul putrid sewerage pipelines. A Zomb, calling himself Terence, had found him un-conscious and woke him up. Suffering from total physical exhaustion, body broken, JC summons his last ounce of strength, says a prayer and crawls through miles of the sewerage tunnels. Exiting the foul place, JC takes one last glance at New Andria and walks off to clean himself and recuperate.
 
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The Red Atonement JC (or is it the Red Night JC?) is surprise drop which features an all blood red colour-way plus a bonus severed Zomb head (I got the red haired one). I just couldn't resist a JC to be honest. Couldn't go wrong with one. Later, a Custard Hair Killer JC is released but that one has a tighter window of preorder but its ok coz not really into blond JC anyway. Something about an all red JC which heighten the already mean fighting machine new look to another level.             
 

Friday, 20 June 2014

ThreeA - The Adventures of Isobelle Pascha : A Quiet Night In with Isobelle Pascha & Lizbeth Paramour 2-Pack.









"Truth! stark, naked truth, is the word; and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow the strip of a gauze wrapper on it, but paint situations such as they actually rose to me in nature, careless of violating those laws of decency that were never made for such unreserved intimacies as ours; and you have too much sense, too much knowledge of the originals, to sniff prudishly and out of character at the pictures of them."
- John Cleland, Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.

“Obscenity only comes in when the mind despises and fears the body, and the body hates and resists the mind.”  
- D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover.

She's unavoidable, I'm backed against the wall
She gives me feelings like I never felt before
I'm breaking promises, she's breaking every law

- Robert Palmer, Simply Irresistible.
 
A (mis) interpretation:

Names: Isobelle Pascha and Lizbeth Paramour.
Age: 23 years old.
Affiliation: The Neo-Libertine Movement; The SXCLB; The Nymphs.
Abilities: Lust inducement; love manipulation; pleasure inducement; hormone manipulation; pheromone manipulation; semi-immortality.
Std. armaments: 3A "Cammy" camcorder; "Big O" dildo x 2.

It has been a hectic week. Isobelle Pascha, porn star supreme, AV producer, Pulitzer Prize erotic novelist winner and sex activist extraordinaire is with Lizbeth Paramour, up and coming starlet herself and Isobelle's muse, are taking a break from the week long Safari Heat live tour, enjoying a quiet night in one of Isobelle's penthouses in the upscale mega block "Savannah", Pan Am City Two. 'We sure made those audiences worth paying their money for the shows,' says Liz. 'Of course, darling. Bless Aphrodite,' clinking their glasses together. Liz sips her Lafite and begins to look at Isobelle lusciously. Her lusty gaze did not escape Isobelle's sight. 'It's boring. Are any deri heru still open?' sighs Liz. 'It's almost dawn...even a Snoggler would all be leased out by now,' replies Isobelle. 'What about...us?' Liz proposes, eyes twinkling. 'I have been waiting for you to say that,' replies Isobelle, putting down the wine. 'Turn on the Cammy. I want to see everything,' Liz demands. 'You sure read my mind. Big-O is ready as ever. Pity Miyu not here,' Isobelle muses. 'We can always show her the vid-vox later. Stop talking, please. Let's not waste a second further,' Liz requests.

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A Quiet Night in With Isobelle Pascha & Lizbeth Paramour 2-Pack is yet another seemingly endless wave of releases of variants from 3A, opened for short pre-order window period during the New Year. I chanced upon it during a random check on Bambaland and there are two colour-ways available - the white latex/blonde hair and 3AA Exclusive black/red hair (Isobelle). Both sets come with either G.I.D. or black sex toys. Looking back I should have gone for the non-3AA ones, the reason being I want less black in the collection. The figures are fine, except for, again, the hand sculpts, which are rather rough. Headsculpt facial features are also slightly un-even. The seams/edges on the latex dresses, in comparison with the SXCLB set's Lil Shadow ones, are a little bit less refine. Posturing is a challenge but I am so used to it that, with a little bit of effort, the figures would be able to stand properly but not overtly ambitious stance. The sex toys are a nice inclusion, quite in line with the playful, sexualised theme of this line, but it has debut earlier in the aforementioned SXCLB set so the shock value has lessened. The camcorder is a nice addition too but I wish the LCD monitor could be made sturdier, as it tends to be loose and pop out (but luckily could be as easily slot back in). Overall I love this set, as it is quite in line with what I think of the World of Isobelle theme is.  

Sunday, 15 June 2014

ThreeA - Adventure Kartel : Peppermint Grove.









“Art", "Bop" and "rock and roll" and whatever is all just a joke and a mistake, just a hunka foolishness so stop treating it with any seriousness or respect at all and just recognize the fact that it's nothing but a wham-o toy to bash around as you please in the nursery, it's nothing but a goddam Bonusburger so just gobble the stupid thing and burp and go for the next one tomorrow; and don't worry about the fact that it's a joke and a mistake and a bunch of foolishness as if that's gonna cause people to disregard it and do it in or let it dry up and die, because it is the strongest, most virulent, most invincible Superjoke in history, nothing could ever destroy it ever, and the reason for that is precisely that it is a joke, a mistake, foolishness. The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious.”
- Lester Bangs, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.

Music, you now, true music - not just rock n roll - it chooses you. It live in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the cast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It's a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America. Did you know that "The Letter" by The Box Tops was a minute and 58 seconds long? Means nothing. Nil. But it takes them less than two minutes to accomplish what Jethro Tull takes hours not to accomplish! You see this? This is fatuous, pseudo blubber! You know, I mean, which is fine, but to foist it off as art. The Doors? Jim Morrison? He's a drunken buffoon posing as a poet. Aw, give me The Guess Who. C'mon, they got the courage to be drunken buffoons, which makes them poetic. Yes? No. Live "American Women"? Have you ever - the most brilliant piece of gobbledygook ever! Give me some "White Light/White Heat". Iggy Pop! Amen.
- Lester Bangs (character), Almost Famous (2000).

You know, because once you go to L.A., you're gonna have friends like crazy. But they're gonna be fake friends. They're gonna corrupt you. You got an honest face, and they're gonna tell you everything. You cannot make friends with the rock stars. If you're gonna be a true journalist - you  know, rock journalist - first, you will never get paid much. But you will get free records from the record company. There's just...f***in' nothin' about you that is controversial, man. God, it's gonna get ugly, man. They're gonna' buy you drinks. You're gonna meet girls, they're gonna fly you places for free, offer you drugs. I know, it sounds great but these people are not your friends. These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of rock stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it, you know? 'Cause they're trying to buy respectability for a form that is gloriously and righteously dumb. Now, you're smart enough to know that. And the day they ceases to be dumb is the day it ceases to be real, right? And then it just becomes an industry of...cool. I'm telling you, you're coming along at a very dangerous time for rock 'n' roll. I mean, the war is over. They won. And 99% of what passes for rock 'n' roll these days, silence is more compelling.
Hey. You have to make your reputation on being honest. And, uh, you know, unmerciful. If you get into a jam, call me. I stay up late.
- Lester Bangs (character), Almost Famous (2000).

A (mis) interpretation:

Name: Amanda Grove.
Alias: Peppermint / The Queen of Indie.
Age: 36 years  old.
Affiliation: Freelance robot bounty hunter / Freelance music journalist / Independent media artist and entrepreneur.
Abilities: Samhildánach - martial art; peak physical condition; hunting intuition; enhanced tracking; intuitive aptitude; kinetic energy manipulation; vector manipulation.
Std. armaments: Scáthach - power gauntlet x 1.

2001. The Northern Frontier, New Andria. The final days of the Robot Islands War. Amanda "Peppermint" Grove, famed freelance music journalist, and owner and maker of the ultra limited Botkins brand of bags, has been coaxed out of her retirement by personal friend and close acquaintance, Baron Seth von Sydow, with his slightly, mentally off tangent little brother, Robbie Grove aka The Golden Dolphin. Now, as she stands amongst the choking, convulsing ruins of the former free trade zone, sea port and space harbour, she takes a break and have a glimpse of what her life journey has been up until then. 'Smell like a teen spirit,' says Robbie, the Golden Dolphin. Not sure what so golden about his kid brother Pep thought. 'That obvious, huh?' Haven't showered for days, Rob,' Pep says as she looks along the horizon from atop a derelict industrial complex. 'But it's gonna over soon.'
Named after a affluent, western suburb of the now destroyed Perth  district of Western Aus Republic, Oceania, Pep is first and foremost a music journalist, known for her leading influence on rock music criticism. She adopts a radical and critical style of working, reminiscence of the late Lester Bangs.  She would write continuously while chain-smoking away Chesterfields, occasionally fuel by speeds and cough drops, through all assignments type on a repro-30s vintage Underwood portable typewriter, often on a continuous roll of tele-type paper. Once she finishes, Peppermint would send it to the respective publishers through the Mojo. Infamous reviews published under a major music magazine, The Jumping Stoned, of Peppermint's unadulterated, merciless, straight arrow to the heart criticism, albeit a constructive one, include The Black Rainbow and The Funlicker 2215. Peppermint once try to seek a court injunction to stop any form of "fart-istic or otherwise" sound made by the replicant mercenaries and assassins masquerading as a boy band, the TKYO and later, The Yellow Hornets from within her hearing distance. Peppermint said of them, '...make-up, androgynous cartoon wanna-be. Like plastic choking up the drain. In their case, my brain. In Techni-color.' She reserves a rare praise for mostly independent works, such as the likes of the short-lived Missionary Position, which subsequently lead her to become acquainted with Zomb hunter and occult investigator, Thomas "Tommy" Mission of the Adventure Kartel. Tommy, to put it lightly, was swooned and gushed by her presence during an interview with the band. After being fired by the publisher, Peppermint starts her own zine, Indie Circuit, which topics, apart from her music reviews, include fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, riot grrrl and intersectional feminism, single topic obsession, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media, with contributions from friends and like-minded individuals from the same circle of society and culture. She releases it online and the zine becomes incredibly popular and widely distributed. 
Pep is also a writer, radio host, film maker, photographer, poet, publisher, spoken word artist and activist. She release her books and art-zine through her independent publishing company, Print?. Peppermint has written, directed and produced several independent short films through her own independent company, Free Soda, which ushered in the Post Pre Modern New Old Wave Renaissance genre involving creative techniques and non-linear, guerrilla style method of filmmaking. She owns her own independent clothing line and accessories. Her handmade Botkins hand bag, is particularly popular amongst aristocratic fashionistas and indie crowds.  Online cyber-trading on secondary markets sky-rocketed and bootlegs become widely available, much to Pep dismay as she intends for the entire sales proceed of the originals to go to her charity of choice.
Leading an alternative lifestyle, with fiercely independent socio-philosophical views, thoughts and anti-commercial approach earns Pep the nickname "The Queen of Indie" and often considered one of the leading "it" girl in the 90s.
She starts moonlighting as an independent bounty hunter specialising in hunting down rogue robots throughout that decade. Got a Snoggler gone all sexed up and refused to back down even when the owner was lying on his bed all pulped up like a risotto? No worries. The Popbot your neighbour just leased has levelled and slaughtered the entire neighbourhood with its Big Poppa guns? No worries. A Nabler nabbed your wife? No worries. The cloned pet parakeet is missing? No worries. No wait, Peppermint leaves that to the BMPA (Bureau of Missing Pets Agency) to deal with it.
Pep retires and retreat back to her homeland of Aus Republic after ten years in the robot bounty hunting business due to physical and mental stress. She comes out retirement when news of the Robot Islands War reaches her through the Golden Dolphin and to help his little brother out from a case of escaping from a sanatorium. Weaning herself off the drugs and junks she put into her body, Peppermint trains with superhuman resolve within three months to regain her former physique. And off she goes on the Western Express to New Andria with Robbie, who is on the loose from the authorities but with the promise of a clean slate for him by Baron Seth von Sydow. 'What's with that dolphin head gear Rob?' Pep asks his brother, bemused. 'Take it off, people are staring,' Pep requests. 'No. F***kin. Way, Chubby. Maybe they recognise ya,' Robbie retorts. 'Pep, are you...off the gears? Completely? Clean?' asks Robbie. 'Yup. Took awhile. Seen too many statistics. Don't wanna be another numbers on the chart. Got into the same training regime. Back to basic and moving forth. I think the retirement actually took a toll on me. I miss it. Nothing as good as getting an au naturel high from kickin' some metal arses. And putting down some petulant, snobby, self-conscious hip rock star poseurs.' replies Pep. 'Why ya hate them so much? I think their songs not bad. And they look...cool,' says Robbie. 'That's the point. These poseurs, and I'm being polite at the choice of word, steal the meaning of cool and choke it out of the concept of cool. Their vintage gears, implanted beards, Buddy Howdy rim glasses, the quiffs and now, even inks on their anorexic bodies. Literally turned indie into an institution. That ain't cool, Rob. That's cheatin'. But enough of that. How 'bout you?' Rob looks and says, 'The Gospel of Golden Dolphin says "one must be clean of all form of intoxication like a clear, blue ocean." I'm not crazy. Do you believe me?' Pep looks up. 'Of course. You're my brother. If four Liverpudlian fobs could pulled it off, after gone high in India and produced one of the most significant, yet opulent, bloated and overrated album in history, so could you. And we found those gauntlets didn't we? Like they are waiting for us there all along. You ready?' asks Pep. 'Yeah,'  said Rob, as the ship touches down on the tarmac. 'Then let's go pop some bot heads,' Pep says.
As a bounty hunter, Peppermint possesses extraordinary talent and instinct in/for hunting all things. She possesses uncanny ability to track anything under any conditions, sense the weaknesses of her prey and exploit them, and finally kill or capture her prey. She can track her targets down easily via various means, ranging from scents to footprints. Peppermint can follow tracks that are days or even weeks old, and may be able to reconstruct what has happened by sniffing around the area she is searching. Peppermint also has the capability to instantly learn and understand the complexity and exactness of organisms, objects, and even powers without the need of long-term or special education as part of her intuitive trait. She wears the right side of a pair of the power gauntlets Robbie and her found on the Perth Crater, with the etching, Scáthach. Once put on, the gauntlet, like all power weapons, glows and emits matter-disruptive energy which could break down any physical object on the molecular level.
Pep learns and masters a unique hand to hand combat martial art she found on a Standard Template Construct called Samhildánach. It enables Pep to create, shape and manipulate kinetic energy, the energy possessed by any moving object. The kinetic energy gained during the acceleration process changes once the speed also changes. Pep can transfer kinetic energy from one object to another, thus strengthening their attacks, or tearing holes in walls with a simple touch, turn an object's potential energy into kinetic energy, making it explosive, or cause target to be unable to move or unable to stop if in motion.  Pep fused this ability into a form of kinetic physical combat, enabling her to channel kinetic energy through different parts of her bodies in order to enhance the strength of her physical attacks, giving her enhanced condition such as enhanced strength, speed, jump and vibration emission which generates destructive shock waves, including devastating air-burst. The robots at the receiving end of her power fist and kicks are often grounded to nothing more than scrap pieces of metals.
Pep could also manipulate vector by redirecting matter and energy either through direct or indirect contact. She can change the magnitude and direction of an object to manoeuvre it in the desired way, regardless of pre-existing vectors. This also applies to static or non-moving objects, technically speaking, the object still has momentum as it is moving through space. Since nearly everything in existence has vectors, manipulation of them can essentially grant the Pep an absolute defence that prevents her from harm, among many other possibilities which includes inertia negation, power reflection and deflection. However, Pep requires physical contact and limited to affecting only matter. Psykers and mages could forgoes vector movement can bypass defence. She is also limited to controlling certain amount of vectors at a time, and distraction may leave Pep open for counter-attack. Prolong battle may also tire her out.

 
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Peppermint Grove is the sister of the previously released The Golden Dolphin from the Adventure Kartel lineup, named after and perhaps inspired by the real-world suburb of Peppermint Grove in Perth. The figure is sturdy this time 'round and loves the overall representation and design. Comes with blind-boxed boots color-way, I am hoping for the 'mint green' or 'red' but got the 'blue' ones instead. Its alright. To be honest, I have no idea how many color-way of boots for the draw. Comes with a bot head bag which has quite a short strap to pose it ideally as per prototype pics. At least for me. And the short skirt is well, short, as in it hitches all way up, exposing the undies. There's the robo-fist, which I couldn't remember the official name. Up close and personal, Peppermint is kinda...peculiar looking. I reckon that's because she lacks eyebrow. There're freckles. I notice ever since I got into 3A, every details, which never cross my mind or considered trivial before, now counts. Even though most are just really...trivial. Perhaps it is due to too many variants for me. Like chasing the colours of M&M. No brown please. Guess which band infamously put that into their concerts contract? Since Pep is a music journalist, indie queen, the late Lester Bangs crossed my mind, including the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrayal of him in Cameron Crowe's 2000 Almost Famous.  

Friday, 6 June 2014

ThreeA - The Adventures of Isobelle Pascha: Kuma Attack Pascha.







I’m a bear, bear, bear, bear
I hate fighting, bear, bear, bear
My rivals are fried shrimps
I bet I was chocolate in my past life
I’m a bear, bear, bear, bear
Bonjour! Je m' appelle kuma.
Comment ca va?

- Utada Hikaru, Boku wa Kuma.

Meet me by the old tree.
Lets go bearing.
 
A (mis) interpretation:

Name: Kuma.
Alias: Ursa Minor.
Age : 26 years old.
Affiliation: The Neo-Libertine Movement; The SXCLB; The Nymphs.
Abilities: Lust inducement; love manipulation; pleasure inducement; hormone manipulation; pheromone manipulation; semi-immortality.
Std. armaments: Cosplay bear costume; lightning claw - power weapon x 2.
 
1977. The Porn Wars. AV actors and actresses took it to the studio lots and slugged it out against one another, with allegiance to their respective production companies. The statistics were high. Initially a petition to improve the porn industry male and female workers' rights, Joi Ryder escalated the entire concern into a massive issue which spread from  Pan Am City Two's S-9 pleasure district, United Americana to Tokaido City's Kantō sector of Eastasia, eventually snow-balled into an all out global battle of the sexes which involved every parties in the industry from major studios to vid-vox amateurs. Respective governments of the seven nations had decided to not get involve politically but provided a minimum civil security provision in the form of respective sectors EMGY TRG  Crisis Corps should things get out of hand. All the combatants lucked out. It was a brutal fight. In S-9's infamous Kalifornication zone, Jeremy Focker was bludgeoned with an eighteen inch dildo by Mango Swift, splitting his skulls open. Mango was in turn eviscerated by Chokoreto Balls' monomolecular wire ejaculated from his motorised dildo model Kanamara 5000. Balls had his balls and genital chomped off by Hot Gate's dentata. Except for Kuma, a descendant of Callisto, whom stood high amongst the mess. Through the blessing of Artemis, Kuma managed to subdue Pan and his Satyrs. Not without a challenge of course. A contest of sexual skills was held between Kuma and a champion of Pan, Silas Sixx, formerly known as Silenus. Kuma, still cladded in a bear costume from the set, didn't once gave in despite the incredible sensual amount of arousals exercised by Silas. In fact, she succeed in reversing it and after a marathon sexual sessions of three days, three nights, Silas fainted and suffered from erectile dysfunction. Pan conceded defeat. Hermaphroditus or Rue Pall, as the dual sexed demi-god/goddess was known, then declared an end to the fighting, and instead turned upon the greedy studio owners, with freedom and liberty to dictate their own contracts, nature of works and benefits. The Porn Wars also indirectly inspired the re-birth of the Neo-Libertine Movement. Bodies of the AV actors and actresses were resyk into other materials such as Soylent Green for consumption. Majority of the Eastasian ones specially ear-marked for the fledging Luthor Bean Sr. newly found corporation whereby their DNA were extracted for a ground-breaking experimentation on genetic engineering and replication.
 
...........................................................................
 
The Adventures of Isobelle Pascha never seems to cease in its variants, and like mentioned in previous post on the Dark Side of Her Moon version, this 3A line is very much in the veins of Barbie Dolls. There are too many versions/variants to mention here and irrelevant to this post. And 3A has just announced a so-called "Vol. 2" to be launched soon. If they are clones like the Popbot line of Tomorrow Kings or Queens, I am fine. But no. Yet I got pulled back in. Anyhoo, Kuma Attack Pascha is cladded in a bear, Koala bear to be précised, cosplay suit and comes in three colour-ways. The headsculpt (I am not sure whether all are opened or closed eyes) comes with either the regular hair style or tied up. Bambaland offered a set of three combo or blind boxed. Due to funding at that time, and to save up bullets for more, well, interesting characters (but primarily the hinted to drop but now seem forgotten second WWR superset) to cum, I mean, come, I chose the latter option. Again, always look out for a surprise, random drop of the day, which is a shadow colour-way, the all black Krieger variant. I cross my finger hoping that it would be either the white or brown one but alas my prayer is not answer and I got the black one instead. Nevertheless it is alright as the headsculpt is the one with tied up hairdo, for the lack of better wordings. I sapu some glue on certain parts of the ankle pegs in order for the figure to posture and stand properly (as it is really loosey-goosey taken out from the box) without sacrificing the peg rotation. And of course, Pascha stands towering over the rest. The photos above are "inspired" by the works of Ashley Wood and Milo Manara.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Family Outing - Legoland Park.






 






 






 
 










 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
School holidays, took the opportunity to bring the family to the Its Playtime! indoor theme park and LEGOLAND in Nusajaya, opposite Kota Iskandar, Johor last weekend. Stayed for three days, two nights at Traders Hotel, Puteri Habour. When Esther mentioned about Johor, I imagine a bustling, traffic choking place. But the entire place, Kota Iskandar, is stress free, maybe because it is still under major, and I mean really major, development. It reminded me of Publika and Solaris Dutamas when I was amongst the first few tenants there. New and fresh. Five years later, well...Anyhoo, the first day, went to Its Playtime!, located within walking distance from the hotel, both situated within the Little Red Cube, a new mixed family outing, shopping centre which front a marina with numerous yachts. I never seem to be able to properly pronounce the word yacht (is it "yuck" or "yahrch"?). The hotel is great, with a skybar and heated pools. The kids and Esther, with Will, Karen and their kid, John, enjoyed themselves. After a quick Sushi King lunch (it's been a while since I drive "long distance", Esther took over while I napped over the second half of the journey), went to Its Playtime!, which houses Sanrio Hello Kitty Town, The Little Big Club and Lat's Place. We decided to skip Hello Kitty and Lat's Place due to the kids demand and went straight for The Little Big Club, which spread over two levels and show-cast familiar, popular children characters - Bob the Builder, Barney (he will always spook me out), Angelina Ballerina, Pingu (who?) and Thomas & Friends. The interactive activities and numerous rides made it worthwhile for the kids (and myself honestly. I enjoyed sharing these sort of activities with Chloe and Dylan. Bring the kid out of a late 30s old sourpuss in me again). After a swim (didn't join in and stayed at the side coz of the tattoos but a lot of youngsters and uncles didn't seem so coy. Tattoos seem to be the in thing now. Esther and Karen teased me for not being a "show off" and shy. Darn.) dinner at Brussels where after nice pork knuckles, burgers, and mussels washed down with several pints of white beers (sorry, hate lager), went for a early rest and nice sleep. Next day, after a tremendous portions of hotel breakfast, its time for the LEGOLAND Park. Just a short drive away, there are the dry park, the water park and a hotel. Although we arrived really early, there were already lots and lots of people queuing for tickets. There are so many rides and attractions. We skipped the water park though coz the dry park alone is tremendous. Chloe raised a short ruckus, for my dear timid daughter doesn't really like places which were hot and humid with long distance walk from one theme place to another, which is like me (believe me, I was sweating and drenched five minutes into the park). She also got really scared and cried, poor her, when we rode "The Dragon", the "most extreme" roller-coaster there. Esther and I consoled her by saying she had "Conquered the Dragon" and that helps. Dylan took it all in his stride and enjoyed himself tremendously, as well as John. All of us even repeated some of the rides (but no, no more conquering the Dragon). The primary attraction for me is actually the Miniland, which represents majority of the worlds major landmark, made of Lego bricks with sound effects and movement to boot. Gave me some ideas about my own toy collections diorama. The un-predictable weather (earlier was hot and humid, followed by raining of cats and dogs proportion, repeat) dampened the mood abit but its ok. We finally left after six hours worth of playtime together, and more importantly, the kids enjoyed themselves to the fullest, we made way back to the hotel, had dinner at Ying Ker Lou (great Chinese dishes), a bottle of wine at Expresso Garage (and another Caesar Salad. The café curiously has this "Wong Kar Wai-ish" feel to it. Think Chungking Express) and called it a night. We made home the next day around noon, after another tremendous portion of hotel breakfast spread (Esther "signal" that its time for my belly to stop "protruding out"). At Will's suggestion, we stopped by Johor Premium Outlets. Esther got herself some nice attires at discounted prices but I had to hold off from them after going in the direction of vintage repro stuffs. Esther insisted she drives and we finally arrived home at about seven in the evening, where Mom awaited and prepared dinner for us, including some delicious self made bak chang. Esther said I am a bak chang myself. I looked at Chloe and Dylan, and checked if they were happy with the trip. The resounding positive affirmation from them made me happy indeed and worth the journey (and money).