Saturday, March 31, 2007

invisible be@rbrick, invisible me

Now you see me,
now you don't!
Hear from me,
no, you won't.

Will fly away
to feed my mind,
A short adventure
I hope to find.

Away from home
and my laptop, too,
Might stop blogging
for a week or two!

I'll miss the sched
when blogs are awarded,
But I might get lucky
so I'll send a proxy.

Invisible man,
that's what I'll be
just for a while...
Hope you'll miss me. :-)

The Invisible Be@rbrick (above right) is based on the lead character of the 1933 movie, The Invisible Man. Adapted from H.G. Wells' 1897 science fiction novella, the film is about a scientist who theorizes that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will not be visible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.*

The Be@rbrick is part of a 5-piece set called Universal Studios Monsters commissioned by Toys R Us, the international toy store chain. Others in the set are Dracula, Creature. Metaluna Mutant, and Wolf Man.

(*info from Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

my pet's cute canine be@rbrick

When I was new in advertising, I read somewhere that for an ad to get attention, there were several tricks. One of them was to use animals. After years of watching commercials, I'd have to agree. Who doesn't love a pet who can act? For me, the most outstanding use of an animal in a recent TV ad would be Bridgestone's Dog from BBDO Bangkok.

My dog, Kenzo (above, left, cuddled up with my 2006 Year of the Dog Be@rbrick, an exclusive for the Hong Kong Be@rbrick Fan Club), is cute and talented enough for the tv screen. Aside from knowing how to fetch his rubber ball, he can express different emotions: 'excitement' when he plays 'bite that finger', 'defiance' when he refuses to get down from my bed, 'shame' when he knows he made 'poopoo' where he shouldn't, 'fury' when he sees our neighbor's noisy little chihuahua, and 'sweetness' when he rests his head gently on my arm when I am sleeping.

Kenzo can act. You can tell by his eyes. :-)

Monday, March 26, 2007

the case of the bogus be@rbrick

What do Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Rolex, etc., and now, Medicom Be@rbrick, have in common?

They've all been faked!

Of the two Bloody Be@rbricks above, can you tell which is the impostor? In reality, the fake one (on the left) is much bigger (6 inches) than the original (2.6 inches). The original (on the right) is more angular, shinier, and simply better made. The hoax is made of softer plastic. And because of its rounded feet, the thing just won't stand properly.

How do I know? I have both! The fake one was a gift from a sweet, thoughtful and... clueless friend. :-D

The designer, Hiroto Komoto, toy enthusiast and lead singer of the Japanese Band High Lows, should either be fuming... or flattered! As Charles Caleb Colton said, 'Imitation is the sincerest form of...'

Friday, March 23, 2007

the oscars of bloggywood

Me? A finalist for the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards?

Me?!! A finalist for the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards??!!!

Who would have thought?! I was just surfing quietly through Technorati's pages, trying to find a 'search widget' for my blog when I accidentally stumbled upon a link that had an article on the finalists! I learned much later that it was my business partner & lifestyle blogger Socky who nominated me. And she never told me, too!

To commemorate this, I've taken a picture of my Golden Ticket Be@rbrick (above left, based on the prized ticket, right, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) against the backdrop of my blogpage. Completely golden and shiny as hell, it's the closest thing to a real Oscar statuette, which is how much I value this award at stake.

How has this affected me? I've been staying up late, late, late! I tell myself, 'I'm being judged! What pressure! What fun!' :-)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

bears gone bad!

Beware! This plastic toy devours little kids! :-o Mori Chack's Be@rbrick (left) is an adaptation of his original Gloomy Bear (below right, eating its owner, Pitty), complete with sharp claws and fresh blood dripping down its mouth. Because Gloomy is a wild bear, he cannot be tamed like a pet dog. In time, his savage instincts are unleashed and he starts to bite the hands that feed him.

The designer toy culture is decidedly an adult market, hence, the popularity of toys of a dark nature: little pirate girls like Jurevicius' Scarygirl, Kozik's cigarette-smoking rabbits, Fowler's Monsterism town folks, Dalek's axe-wielding Ice-Bot, and Horvath's Uglydolls.

When gruesome teddy bears replace the sweet, button-eyed ones we slept with as kids, we know we've not only grown up, we've also grown different: we've learned to walk on the dark side of life, begun to enjoy the thrill of violence, and found a way to see the beauty of ugly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

a be@rbrick's flight of fancy

The Avian Flight Be@rbrick (right), released at the 2005 Taipei Toy Festival, features a whimsical pattern of birds with eyes like saucers. Designer Nathan Jurevicius, a graduate from University of South Australia, already had a background in editorial illustration before he collaborated with the Hong Kong-
based toy company, Flying Cat, in 2002.

Of all the toys he conceptualized, he is most famous for Scarygirl (left), the cute but slightly odd little girl (in a pirate's costume) who was abandoned late one night and was later found and brought up by a giant, intelligent octopus named Blister.

Scarygirl's mysterious past is the basis for the adventure that ensues. The two travel to a large and dangerous city in search for answers, guided by a mystic rabbit called Bunniguru.

I'd guess that Jurevicius had an overactive imagination as a kid. And even at 33, when asked in an interview how he displayed his toy collection, he answered, "I like to position them in odd ways - some holding other toys, some balancing on top of each other." A man child!

Truth is, I could probably say the same for all the thirtysomething toy collectors I know! :-)

(Scarygirl pic from

Saturday, March 17, 2007

the great unwashed bear

What a dirty little Be@rbrick – a scowling slob with soiled undies, runny nose, food crumbs around the mouth... and you haven't even seen the shit in the back yet! (Ooops!)

JUICE, the edgy street fashion store owned by Hong Kong pop royalty Edison Chen (below right), celebrated its 2nd year anniversary with this scruffy 'So...Hi!!' Be@rbrick (left).

TIP: The best way to clean a Be@rbrick is to give it a bath. Soap and water. Don't worry, it's made of hard plastic, and the design doesn't come off. Just leave them on a towel to dry.

But never, nevah use a loofah, okay? :-)

(E. Chen pic from

Thursday, March 15, 2007

rare bear or typical teddy: the subject of rarity

The two Be@rbricks on the right are obviously similar. From the pattern to the color scheme (a cross between Hawaiian floral shirts and traditional 'blue and white' Delft pottery from the Netherlands, seen below left).

But mind you, they are quite apart in terms of rarity. There is 13.54% chance that you can get on the right, and only 1.04% chance that you'll find the one on the left!

Rarity is a come on, but it's definitely not everything when it comes to Be@rbrick collecting. (I mean, EXTREMELY RARE PICS of strange Asian cockroaches maybe on sale at Yahoo Auctions – true!!! – but the very thought of bidding makes me wanna throw up!) My thinking: hard-to-find or commonplace, design comes first!

(Delftware from

Sunday, March 11, 2007

be@rbricks in disguise / part 2

Back in my hometown, Batangas (Philippines), the annual 'fiesta' banquet wouldn't be complete without the popular dish called 'Kalderetang Kambing' (Spicy Goat Stew). Because of this, I've been witness to the slaughter of poor little goats in our backyard, where most of the cooking was done. But when the continuous bleating became more deafening by the minute, I would lose my pity and actually
become annoyed!

Last 2003, I regained my taste for the goat with the Year of the Goat Be@rbrick (above left), a commemorative design issued by Medicom for the Hong Kong Be@rbrick Fan Club. It has a strong 'cuteness' factor, even though its lines and colors are modern and streamlined.

The Series 12 Cow Be@rbrick (above right) wears the distinctive nose ring. Did you know that the ring is there for two reasons? One, farmers tie a rope to it and use that rope to guide them in the right direction during transport. Two, it is attached to the nose to successfully wean the calf. The nose ring interferes with the feeding process, frustrating both the calf and the cow. When this happens often, the calf gets used to the idea of not being able to feed and is successfully weaned without going through the trauma of separation.

Poor animals!

Friday, March 9, 2007

jelly bears, anyone?

These are called Jelly Bean Be@rbricks. Colorful, translucent,
and yummy-looking!

While most of these are uniformly plain like gummy bears and jelly beans, there are slight differences in the surface quality (some are matte, others are shiny). There is also a series that has the Jelly Belly logo on them. A particularly interesting 'jelly' bear is the Thermo Bearbrick, which changes color according to temperature. (Someone I know actually placed it in the freezer just to test the claim. See archives: Profile of a Be@rbrick Collector.)

Warning: These are not edible. Please keep out of reach of children! :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

be@rbrick from sin city

Sin City is a tag name for an urban area that caters to various vices like sex, gambling and drug use. (Uhmm...Las Vegas?)

Frank Miller's film noir-like series of graphic novels with the same title is based on such a setting. One of the protagonists, Marv (below), is a 7-foot tall man with a heavily scarred face and a flattop buzzcut. Always dressed in a trench coat, leather pants and boots, Marv spends his time on the streets doing odd jobs for various people. He suffers from a mental condition that causes him to "get confused",

which is believed to involve short-term memory loss and possibly hallucination. His parole officer supplies him with medication to control his condition, but does nothing that could possibly curb his violent nature. Marv's personal code of honor dictates the repayment of debts and a sort of chivalry towards women. A classic example of a noir anti-hero.

The Sin City bear (above right) is based on the Marv's extremely tough and violent character. (And you thought Be@rbricks were cute and sweet, didn't you?)

(Marv pic and info from Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

yo bear & ho babe

Yo! Lots of Be@rbricks out there are designed and produced by hip street wear fashion brands such as Stussy, SSUR, BAPE, Mastermind, and Nike.

Among these is the Series 13 Secret STPL Be@rbrick (right) from Staple Design, a graphic design firm and fashion brand founded by New Yorker Jeff Ng.

Ng and his team have designed for other brands such as Nike, Louis Vuitton/Moet Hennessy, Timberland, Sony Playstation, Puma, Burton Snowboards, Uniqlo and more.

To promote Staples' 10th anniversary, Jeff Ng teamed up with Japanese photographer Yonehara to creates a series of photos starring Japanese porn star Maria Ozawa wearing the 10th Anniversary t-shirt (left).

The X logo (10 years) on Maria's tee is the same one that's on the STPL Be@rbrick. Now doesn't that just give a whole new meaning to these cute little toys? :-)

(Ozawa pic from

Monday, March 5, 2007

x-rated be@rbrick

Kids, close your eyes and move on to the next blog! The pic on the left is a Sex Doll Be@rbrick designed by Ukrainian Ruslan Karablin. (Note the bear's lower orifice. :-0)

Karablin is an artist/
designer/curator who founded SSUR (Russ spelled backwards), a popular streetwear line in NYC. Born in Odessa, Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, New York,

his work was largely influenced by artists Keith Haring and Stussy, inspired by modern pop culture, and centered on sex, politics and protest. He started making t-shirts in 1989 to promote his paintings. Today, SSUR Plus, his Manhattan store, is one important destination for streetwear and street art. Because of guys like Karablin, art and commerce are not only alive and well, but symbiotically co-exist! What a feat!

Friday, March 2, 2007

be@rbricks in disguise / part 1

Be@rbricks are so lovable even when they're not being themselves – when designers transform them to other species (from Ape to Zebra) in the most ingenious ways. These are called 'animal' Be@rbricks and there's a one in every series (set of about 18 Be@rbricks) that is released periodically.

One bear cries 'Hoot-hoot-hoot'.
The second sings: 'Tweet-tweet-tweet'.
And the third one croaks, 'Bud-wei-ser'!