Managed to hunt down (with help from hifiguy!) cheaper copies of the US hardcover edition of the last book in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Won't need to shell out $50 for The System of the World at Borders after all!
A combination of hunger, a fit of nostalgia, and the fact that there really isn't a good variety of snacks for sale anywhere in the immediate vicinity of Buona Vista MRT all resulted in my buying a pack of Yan Yan. I open it, and on the inside of the cover there's a printed message saying I've won... another free pack of Yan Yan. The odd thing is that there was no sign of a promotion anywhere in the shop. Even the shopkeepers didn't know and had to call up the distributor for confirmation. Talk about random luck.
Toy technology and design has improved by leaps and bounds from when I bought my last Transformer (from the pathetic Action Masters line) and there are some interesting sculpts and figures out there, like the Beast Machines version of Blackarachnia.
In the last couple of years Hasbro executives have gotten smarter too -- they seem to have discovered the monetary benefits of issuing repainted versions of older toys. Let's take our lady Transformer Blackarachnia as an example. There are three versions of that specific figure. The first is from the Beast Machines toy line. The second is from the later Universe toy line. The third is also from the Universe line, but packaged together with another Transformer (also a repaint) as a K Mart exclusive, and renamed Crystal Widow.