22 April 2006

Last Night

Last night, I was at NYDC at the Heeren, writing my diary. And I had some ideas for a series of small illustrations. Hmm...

Later, I took a look at one books on the Russian front at Borders. 'Tank Rider', 'Thunder on the Dnepr' and so forth.

On another note, I also looked at 'The Black Prince and the Sea Devils: The Story of Prince Valerio Borghese and the Elite Units of the Ecima Mas'. Amazing stuff. I guess English language publications will have an Anglo-Saxon orientation in them. This is a little known aspect of the Second World War.

And what do you know, the Admiral was in Black Angus, feasting as usual. He will make Nero proud. He came by and browsed and bought two more volumes. Later, he summoned his NTUC Comfort battlewagon which towed him home.

On posts, what follows will be a series of blog entries on Shanghai. I should get them posted before they get irrelevant. Hopefully, I can get some illustrations posted too in the coming weeks. Kitten pictures too.
Nanjing Road, Shanghai

Nanjing Road is the equivalent of Orchard Road in Singapore, Oxford Street in London and Fifth Avenue in New York City. It is much much more and different of course.

These are photos from my trip a month or so earlier.


Has capitalism and consumerism descended in China? Yes. With a vengeance. It's amazing.


There are old majestic European buildings dating back to the 1920s. Relics of the International Settlements of that period.


Multi-storey shopping complexes. One strange thing. I see relatively few internet cafes. I have read of them in China. Strangely enough, I spotted two at Nanjing Street.


This is, of course, not the upscale section where the Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci shops are located. It's much further.

21 April 2006

Drafts!

I have so many draft entries. It will probably take almost two months to publish them all... Forty more entries.

Anyway, it's a nice rainy Friday! WOO HOO! The weekend is here! I will probably head down to Borders to comb for books. I was at Kinokuniya at Bugis Junction last night but there wasn't anything interesting.
A Voyage Beyond Nippon

After running 13 rounds at Toa Payoh Stadium last night, I took a bus to Ajisen, which was some popular Jap eating establishment at the Bugis Junction, where I met Brian aka The Grand Admiral of Japan and Amelia. Brian, as usual, had finished a 15-course meal eons ago while Amelia was just finishing up. Amelia had just sent her mid-range Canon scanner for repairs. Later, we went to an electronics shop where Brian was drooling over an x-Box 360 and a Toshiba plasma TV. He also wanted Ghost Recon. I was looking at the different packages of Auto Assault. After which, we were at Kinokuniya where the Admiral of Japan bought several hundred bucks of books on his fetishes while he regaled us with his pearls of Nipponese wisdom. How could we not be impressed with his munificence and wondrous tales? Then, we went to Absolute Comics where he again indulged himself.

Then, we were in the Admiral's territory again, a MOS Burger joint for a quick drink.

Such is the life of Nippon Greatest* Admiral who when asked about his friend in the UK could only stammered, 'Which friend?'

*In stature of course...

A Wreckage of a Metropolis

2002 saw the release of the turgid 'Metropolis' which is based on a 1949 comic from Osamu Tezuka who was best known for being the creator of the cultural icon, Astroboy.

This tedious and derivative effort directed by Rintaro, based on a screenplay by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, included cliches and obvious elements from Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis', 'Bladerunner', and many other movies. How tired could this be? Gunfights, chases, detective in trenchcoats, evil leader, innocent girl with powers, falling masonry, bad dialogue coupled with a horrid half-dead discordant jazz soundtrack. Familiar?

The final cliched attempt at poetry through a jazz or big band soundtrack which was, of course, set against the destruciton of the tower at the climax was simply trite. How much unoriginal could this get?

I watched this a month back and was disappointed.

20 April 2006

'Mars Polaris' Tangerine Dream

I have been listening to Tangerine Dream's 'Mars Polaris' CD when I wake up every morning.

I don't know why but it seems right.
Depeche Mode Limited Edition Live Recordings


There will be concert CDs available for the Depeche Mode 'Touring the Angel' world tour.

The website: http://www.depechemodelive.com/ is offering limited edition live recordings of the North American tour including Mountain View, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Toronto and more. More will probably be available later.

Of course, this is from the same people which operates http://www.liveherenow.co.uk/ which also has live recordings of the Erasure, Goldfrapp, Client, Heaven 17 tours.
Tiny!

This was taken a week ago. I will put a more recent one up soon. She's grown quite a bit plumper.

19 April 2006

The stadium lights went off

Last night, I just hit the 3.6 km mark when the stadium lights went off. Oh well. I will have to go earlier this evening.

My timing has improved somewhat over 2.4 km but it is simply not enough.

'Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods', H. John Poole, Ray L. Smith

Yes, Islamic terror must be defeated. It is clearly the biggest single danger facing the world besides environmental problems. How?

Massed firepower may not provide the solution for now. Instead, it can be counterproductive due to collateral damage. This book examines the methods and tactics* used by extremists, from ambushes to suicide bombings in various conflicts including the Palestinian terror campaign to the Iraqi insurgency. This book states the obvious for those who are familiar with the Islamic terror operations. Narratives and accounts. Nothing very difficult. However, it serves as a useful reminder for the men on the ground. It also serves as a single collation of the tactics used. A useful volume.

Given the fickle public opinion today, it is hard to envisage a long term plan in Iraq that will satisfy them. Realistically, it will take years before Iraq can be reformed. The occupation of Japan and Germany after the Second World War had shown that a not inconsiderable period of time is needed.

Hopefully, people worldwide, especially Europeans, will awaken to the threat of Iran and realise that pre-emptive strikes are necessary to remove this growing threat. Iran is run by madmen. Remove the leadership.

Similarly, unless Hamas reforms, there may eventually be a need to remove them.

*Islamic terrorists generally employ tactics involving squad level or individuals. They are not organised for high level operations.
"Butt-stroke them," Johnson said. "Use your E-tool. You're trained in hand-to-hand stuff. Or are you afraid of those fedayeen in their ninja pajamas?"

Exerpt from 'The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines' Bing West and Major General Ray L. Smith
My Pre-Orders

GMT Games

Games Charging Now

Gustav Adolf the Great $45 1 825 In Final Development
Mamluk $14 1 912 In Final Development
Pax Romana $42 1 866 In Final Development
Simple GBoH Battle Manual $22 1 772 In Final Development



Games That Have “Made the Cut” But Not Yet Charging

Onward Christian Soldiers $46 1 702 In Final Development
Prussia's Glory II $42 1 619 In Final Development
RAN (Samurai II) $45 1 699 In Final Development
Sword of Rome Expansion $14 1 610 In Final Development
The Conqueror: Alexander the Great $38 1 736 In Final Development
Unhappy King Charles $46 1 665 In Final Development
Winds of Plunder $31 1 581 In Final Development


Games That Have Not Yet “Made the Cut”

DIF Sqdrn Pack 2: Bombers (New!!) $14 0
Gergovia (New!!) $14 0
Great Campaigns of the 30YW (New!!) $38 0

New Card Decks for 2006 Editions

WWII Barb to Berlin 2006 Cards $11 0 NEW!!
For the People 2006 Cards $11 0 NEW!!

Deluxe Maps

Empire of the Sun $14 1 0
For the People $14 1 0
Sword of Rome $14 1 0

Decision Games

To be listed

OSG

To be listed

Columbia Games

None for now.

18 April 2006

Dungeon & Dragons Online Cancelled!

Yes, I have cancelled my Dungeons & Dragons Online subscription due basically to boredom. Good riddance! I have better ways of spending my time.

The letter:


==============

Hello Shyue Chou,

Your DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE(TM): Stormreach(TM) : "Primary Subscription" subscription has been deactivated.

To manage your account or resume this subscription, please visit
https://billing.turbine.com/.

To manage your Turbine Account, login with your username, "xxxx" (without quotes), at: https://billing.turbine.com/


Thank you,

Turbine Account Team

-----------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2005-2006 Turbine, Inc. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE, Eberron, Stormreach, Dungeons & Dragons and D&D are trademarks or registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast Inc. in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions, and are used with permission. Turbine, Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty, Asheron's Call: Throne of Destiny and Throne of Destiny are trademarks or registered trademarks of Turbine, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Pace

I need to increase my pace. I ran 2.4 km last night with a good pace in the initial three rounds. The final three took much too long.

I need to also do sprints and pull-ups. Groan...
Kitten in Ambush


The kitten awaits patiently...


Growl.... she pounces!

17 April 2006

Initial Impressions of Erasure's 'Union Street'

Erasure's 'Union Street' is the latest release from Erasure following the mellow and excellent 'Nightbird'. However, after the very self-indulgent and audacious failure, 'Other People's Songs', and the badly produced* and again indulgent, 'Loveboat', Erasure appeared not to have learned their lessons and instead released yet another self-indulgent album. It is obvious that Andy Bell is in love with his voice as this uninteresting accoustic release sees him singing old Erasure songs to the accompaniment of a guitar. Vince Clarke is reduced to doing the production of a lacklustre vocal and guitar performance. While a few tracks worked well in a raw accoustic form like 'Spiralling', the others just sees Bell droning on and on, singing by numbers. Given his myriad experience in many concert performances, it is puzzling to see such a performance.

Previously, Erasure had released accoustic tracks on singles that were a lot more interesting than this set found in 'Union Street'.

'Union Street' is worth a spin but it is not particularly memorable given the vocal performances and the choice of tracks. What happened to that Erasure of yesteryear, with its glittering pop gems?**

*It seems that Flood would rather produce another U2 album and despite their long association, the production values of 'Loveboat' is appalling. Was Flood drunk when he produced that? It is hard to tell. 'Loveboat' was undistinguished with poor singles but the bad production made it impossible.
** Erasure's 2003 release 'Nightbird' is excellent. I can't understand why they are bothering with this...

Addendum

After listening to it a few more times, 'Union Street' is decent, definitely worth a listen if you like Erasure's work, I do. There are some highlights. However, it does not mean that this is not a self-indulgent work.

16 April 2006



My Kitten

A rare moment where the kitten is not running around, playing with something or climbing. A moment of introspection? Naaaah...