12 November 2005

Say Hello Wave Goodbye: In Memory of Meow

Meow. My little cat.

He's been gone for a week. I am quite certain that he was run over. Poor Meow. He visited my kitchen when he was a kitten. He was meowing loudly for food then and I fed him. In the days that followed, he would always be waiting eagerly for me when I got home for work. Running and meowing when I got back. He used to follow me around. Oh well. I shall miss Meow.

"Oh oh oh...Say hello, wave goodbye
Say hello and wave goodbye
Say hello, wave goodbye

'Say Hello, wave Goodbye' Marc Almond


I'm just experimenting around with shadows and colours.

"Her skin is like velvet
So I went to her home
Her place like a palace
With things you can't own
Her skin is like velvet
And hear how she sings
Hear how she sings..."

'Velvet' A-Ha

11 November 2005

Moon Terrace

This sketch is based on a photo in a book of a location in the Chinese city of Nanjing (Nanking).

"The only life he's ever known {the empty world that he'd made his own}
but I don't believe I'm made of stone"
'King of Stone' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Wake up!

Woo! Hooverphonic's 'Wake Up' was released in late August. I didn't know. Obviously, no local distributor or store carried it as the market for CD singles today is dead. Sembawang Music has stopped carrying new singles (they are clearing out old stock), Gramaphone does not carry CD singles period. That leaves only Tower Records (which is not the most updated of places) and HMV.

There are a few small independent stores that carry a limited number of singles around town. ie Roxy Music, Music Hut (Toa Payoh).

"See these arms that were broken, how they held you so.
Never once did they fail you, they won't let you go."
'Wake up' Hooverphonic
No more sweet Music

Good news! Hooverphonic has released a new single, 'Wake Up'. That will be followed by a new album 'No More Sweet Music' on the 14th of November. That is just next Monday. Yes!

The last two albums were somewhat ordinary when compared with the fabulous first two albums 'Blue Wonder Power Milk' and
'A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular'.

"Over decades, now this romance has sustained us all.
Never questioned, only giving what it made us for."
'The Romance of the Telescope' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Memories of Park Mall

Today, Park Mall houses a shopping mall with a focus on house furnishings and offices in the upper floors. I have fond memories of this august structure when it was known by its previous moniker, Supreme House. I recall visiting DTS Computers with my mommy in 1982 or 1983 and buying our first Apple IIe computer with a wide Apple III monitor.

Supreme House also housed the well-known 'Silver Spoon' restaurant then. When the complex was renovated sometime in the nineties, it was given a new name, Park Mall. New tenants were brought into the complex to inject new life. New restaurant concepts and new franchises were set up. TGIF (or simply Friday's) the restaurant and the Jack in the Box fast food joint were once here during their short-lived forays into the Singapore gastronomical battlefield of eateries. Has it been a decade since Friday's left?

Such are memories...

"A darkened shadow hides my face
I hope I won't forget this place"
'Everything must perish' Front Line Assembly

10 November 2005

The Island of a Thousand Days

No one would understand. He saw that this was the perfect spot. A place for quiet contemplation. A place of solitude. A private place. A private world.

It was perfect.

An ink sketch done using Faber-Castell technical pens.

"We're just waiting looking skyward as the days come down
Someone promised there'd be answers, if we stayed around."
'The Romance of the Telescope' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Bright Spot in a rather Dismal Week

The only piece of good news in this rather dismal week is the announcement that the new Covenant single "Ritual Noise" will be released in January 2006. The single is from the band's upcoming album "Skyshaper".

In other news, it would appear that De/Vision has finished their new album "Subkutan". Let's hope it will be as electronic as the previous two.

The original information can be found at Sideline.

"Once again he's all alone
Here I am the king of stone"
'King of Stone' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Byzantine Cavalryman, 14th Century

An ink sketch of a dismounted Byzantine cavalryman with a torch at night.

Illustration Friday Theme: Night

"You see the new sensation,
I heard it call your name.
You're running 'round in circles,
You're making right again.
(The) telephone keeps ringing,
Your head is in the sand,
(The) future is unfolding,
But it's not what you had planned."
'Call my Name' Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
After Action Report (05.11.2005): 'Sword of Rome'

I have waited a long time to play GMT Games' 'Sword of Rome'. The 'Sword of Rome' is a strategic level treatment of the struggle for supremacy on the Italian peninsula during Rome's early years. The wargame utilises a system that is similar to Avalon Hill's highly sought after classic 'Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage'.

Before commencing we tried a sample turn with 5 rounds. After which, we randomly decided who should represent which power.

The Greeks - Seow Buay
The Gauls - Wei Yi
The Romans - Chris
The Etruscans and Samnites - Shyue Chou

Turn 1
The game started with a Gallic onslaught. The Gauls (Wei Yi) plundered the Etruria. The Etruscans (Shyue Chou) deign to take the lands back and instead strengthened the support of their cities to 3.

Meanwhile, Chris activated the Carthaginians and engaged the Greeks (Seow Buay) in a few indecisive manoeuvres and battles in Sicily. Chris had three 'Neutral Power Activites' cards and he used them well. The Greeks (Seow Buay) were fully occupied in the south. I couldn't do much as most of my leaders require '2' and above cards to activate. I was holding too many '1' cards and I passed a few rounds. Then, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) seized the Roman city of Capua which had a support value of '1'.

The Gauls (Wei Yi) then commenced besieging the Roman city of Narnia, capturing it. At that point, Wei Yi played a Desperate Times card and attempted to seize a first turn victory but was somehow unable to secure the needed VP.

Turn 2
The Etruscans (Shyue Chou) proposed an alliance with the Gauls (Wei Yi) who agreed after I pointed that the Gauls could plunder the Samnites (Shyue Chou) and Romans (Chris) while having clear lines of communication north to their bases (and also that the Etruscan lands are still independent and have not recovered from being plundered). Two Gallic armies began moving south. A Gallic army began plundering Roman and Samnite lands shortly after.

This provoked the Romans (Chris) who had just started beseiging Antium which belong to the Volsci and also attempting to take Narnia back through another siege. Subsequently, Chris activated the Transalpine Gauls who took a few of the Gauls' VP spots, thus sending the second Gallic army back north. Then, Chris ventured with another Roman army which proceeded to destroy the first Gallic army.

I had three 'Neutral Power Activates' cards but I waited for the Greeks (Seow Buay) to move west towards Lilybaeum. Following that instance, I played the 'Mamertines' card, and endeavoured to trap the Greeks a la Stalingrad, by turning the Greek city of Messana behind into an independent one while manoeuvring a Cathaginian army to offer battle. The Greeks (Seow Buay) managed to win a battle with both sides incurring casaulties and he rushed back to Messana to lay siege on it.

Towards the turn, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) broke its alliance and attempted to seize two Gallic VP spots for an instant Turn 2 victory. I played a Desperate Times card but was thwarted by another card. Following which, the Gauls (Wei Yi) began guarding their lands with a Gallic army.

Turn 3
The Romans (Chris) managed to capture two cities and building another walled city. The Gauls (Wei Yi) and Romans (Chris) became allied. Weakened after the previous push, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) began consolidating and grouping their two armies into one. The Gauls managed to re-capture their VP locations while preparing against the Transalpine Gallic army which was massing north.

The Greeks (Seow Buay) were re-building their support.

Towards the end of the turn, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) began to attempt to seize Gallic VP spaces again. This time, the Romans (Chris) tried subjugating my tribal lands and also besieging the captured Roman city Capua and eventually capturing it. The attempt to intercept that army saw the loss of a minor Samnite (Shyue Chou) army. The preventive measure would have worked if not for the Desperate Measures card I was holding. I played one before Seow Buay's round and was denied. And I played one before Chris' round and was again denied. Finally, I played one at the end of the 5th action round and was able to occupy a few Gallic VP spaces for a 11 VP win.

Thoughts on Strategies for the Etruscan and Samnite player

"When silence comes in, and creeps underneath the skin
If the lost word is lost and the spent word is spent
This is the time, this is the place where the story ends
Where the story ends
Where the story ends"
'The Story ends' Clan of Xymox

09 November 2005

Sword of Rome: Thoughts on Strategies for the Etruscans and Samnites

From the game I have played, I realise that the Etruscans and Samnites are difficult to play since the Etruscans are sandwiched by the Romans and the Gauls and the Samnites are sandwiched between the Greeks and the Romans. With two cities, the Etruscans would have difficulty building a significant army. Similarly, the Samnites have three reinforcement areas. Here are my thoughts:

1. The Etruscans and Samnites must deny an alliance with the Romans in the early game. It does not mean that they should attack the Romans. Allying with the Romans in the early game would allow allow the Romans security to build up their cities, really a no-no. Numerous Roman walled cities in the long run are bad news. Besides, if there is a need to break alliances, the Etruscans and Samnites do not have many areas where they can reduce support (-3 support) and it would be dangerous to do so for the two Etruscan cities.

2. The Etruscans and Samnites must preserve a field army to force decisions. Other armies are always almost going to be larger and more numerous since the Etruscans and Samnites are two separate powers with half the strength of the Romans, Greeks or Gauls. Thus, it is imperative that they maintain a field army which can threaten and defend. If necessary, use the bribery ability or rough connection to avoid battles. Only engage if there is really a need or if there is an easy opportunity. (ie undefended Roman city, weak Roman army, etc)

3. Take the opportunity to seize a Roman city in the early game if possible. This can set the Romans back quick a bit.

4. Keep the Romans busy and don't let the Gauls keep you busy.

Session Report of 05.11.2005

Strange highs and strange lows
That’s how my love goes"
'Strangelove' Depeche Mode
Meow is lost!

I am sad. Meow is lost. It has been four days since I have seen him. I called the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) this morning and asked if they had gone on a sweep for cats and dogs at my place. They told me that cats are not targeted. Phew.

He was a kitten when he first appeared in my kitchen one evening. I was reading a book in bed when I heard a 'meow' from the kitchen. I rushed downstairs and saw a little hungry kitten.

I fed him with leftovers. In time to come, he became part of the family and was affectionate. He would greet everyone with a 'meow'.

"When silence comes in, and creeps underneath the skin'
If the lost word is lost and the spent word is spent
This is the time, this is the place where the story ends
Where the story ends
Where the story ends"
'The Story ends' Clan of Xymox

The Cult of the Indulgent: Damien

This is the tribute to the Cult of the Indulgent. The obese. The numbers of the obese in Singapore has been multiplying. Fat little boys and girls now flood the streets. Hail to the new Every Man.

"Bought this guitar
At a shop called mars
But on the way back home
Strange things happened in my car
Started to play
All by itself"
'The Magnificient Tree' Hooverphonic

08 November 2005

His Last Command

I just finished reading it last night. Wow! A great piece of pulp fiction. Engaging, tension-filled with twists and turns. Great fun.

I can't wait to read 'Sabbat Worlds'.

"Here's where the story fails
How did it come this far?
Here's where the picture pales
Is this the way things are?"
'The story ends' Clan of Xymox

Cult of Neil

This is a tribute to the Cult of Neil. Neil Gaiman appears to be just about the most popular comic book writer around here. Every designer, young person and comics fan worship him. Thus, I have a little tribute to the local Cult of Neil. Simple ink sketch.

07 November 2005

The Awaiting Man

He stands waiting for the day.

A quite sketch. I am learning to use electronic ink markers on Painter IX. This could be better. Anyhow, it's an experiment.

"Hold your head up high-for there is no greater love
Think of the faces of the people you defend
And promise me, they will never see the tears within our eyes
Although we are men with mortal sins, angels never cry"
'Winterborn' The Cruxshadows

06 November 2005

Lone Tree on a Knoll

A lone tree atop a knoll. One sees a lone tree on a hill top in almost every cliched film or advertisement. Anyhow, this piece was done using electronic oils.

"This magnificent tree
Appeared in my mind
Even without leaves
It’s strength was divine"
'The Magnificient Tree' Hooverphonic