10 June 2006

City of martyrs salutes Zarqawi



Quoting from the report:

He regards Zarqawi is a hero, a martyr who died in the name of Islam.

"He was a great leader - he fought for Islam," says Sheikh Kada, drawing nods of approval from the 10 men sitting in the circle.
"I'm happy that he is dead because he is now going to heaven."

Yet more Islamic terrorists. Even young ones.
Illustration Friday sketches

I used to contribute a lot more to those illustration Friday sketches but lately, I have been preoccupied mostly with reading history.

In time to come, I will put up more sketches. There are stacks all over the place which I should scan one day.

Impossible Landscape

A narrow path leading to a vast forest stretching as far as the eye can see. Just a fancy. A silly indulgent piece.

Small piece measuring about 14 cm x 21cm. Faber-Castell pigment pens.

09 June 2006

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

I must say that I am impressed by the level of immersion I experienced in the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

The interface is highly intuitive. And there are few commands to remember. Yet the wealth of detail is there.

Wilson had highly recommended this one a few months back but I have not taken the time to give it a try out until last night.

These are actual screenshots and not silly cutscenes which are used to attract the gullible.

Source: Screenshots are from the Elder Scrolls website.

Pillbox at Ken Ridge Hill?

I stumbled upon this structure behind the National University Hospital (NUH) one day. Is this a pillbox dating from the last war or is this something far more mundane?

Given that this is beside an empty carpark on a hilltop, there is some possibility. I don't know.

08 June 2006

Book Hunt II: Thirty Years War

Now, the first two appear particularly interesting and I would purchase them if available. The third volume is available online but nothing beats a real book.

Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635 (Contributions in Military Studies) (Hardcover)by William P. Guthrie
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Greenwood Press (October 30, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN: 0313320284

The Later Thirty Years War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia
(Hardcover)by William P. Guthrie
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Greenwood Press (February 28, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN: 0313324085

History Of The Thirty Years' War In Germany
(Paperback)by Friedrich Von Schiller
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (June 30, 2004)
Language: Englisha..
ISBN: 1419124293
Book Hunt: Thirty Years War

The are the books I will be hunting for:

Cambridge Modern History
Title: The Cambridge Modern History, Volume IV, The Thirty Years' War
Editors: Ward, Sir A.W.; Prothero, Sir G.W.; Leathes, Sir Stanley KCB
Authors: Ward, Sir A.W.; Brown, Horatio F.; Leathes, Sir Stanley KCB; Reddaway, W.F.; Prothero, Sir G.W.; Lloyd, E.M.; Shaw, W.A.; Tanner, J.R.; Brown, P. Hume; Dunlop, R.; Firth, C.H.; Hume, Martin; Brosch, Moritz; Edmunson, George; Egerton, H.E.; Clutton-Brock, A.; Boutroux, Èmile
Publisher: The Cambridge University Press
ISBN: None
Print Status: Out of print

Asch, The Thirty Years War
Title: The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618-1648
Author: Asch, Ronald G.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Inc.
ISBN: 0-312-16585-4 (paperback); 0-312-16584-6 (hardcover)
Print Status: In print

Lee, The Thirty Years’ War
Title: The Thirty Years' War
Author: Lee, Stephen J
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 0-415-06027-3
Print Status: In print (2d ed.)

Pagès, The Thirty Years War
Title: The Thirty Years War: 1618-1648
Author: Pagès, Georges
Translators: Maland, David; Hooper, John
Publisher: Harper & Row
ISBN: 06-136034-1
Print Status: Out of print

Yes, I do have the Geoffrey Parker and C.V.Wedgwood volumes. And other related ones.

The Art of World of Warcraft by Brady Games

The character and racial concept sketches in the books are fascinating and like many many other art books of games and movies, it opens a door to the hidden process of creation which involved a lot of people. The rendered 3D images though pixellated are also depicted next to the sketches and a friend or two have expressed their disappointment at the poor quality of the captured images in the book.

However, the other captured images in the book do not disappoint and these include the breathtaking cut-scenes used in the game and best of all the images of the landscapes in the World of Warcraft.

The settings (including buildings, bridges, etc) and the landscapes of Warcraft are, in my opinion, one of the highlights and strongpoints of the game. The art book does not disappoint and it has both the concept sketches of the various landscapes and the final computer imagery.

Lastly, the binding of this particular volume can be abysmal. My book fell apart as soon as I opened the last page. Apparently, I was not the only person to have experienced that. A reviewer in Amazon also had the misfortune. So, before one were to purchase this volume, one should examine the binding carefully. The glue used was apparently lacking.

07 June 2006

Sim Tower

For the past two nights, I have been engrossed with building my tower. Maxis' old Sim Tower game has always been a favourite, yet, I have only played it a little throughout the years.

Last night, I finally built a 100-storey 5-star building with a cathedral on top. I could see a more efficient way of this tower the next time round. It's an intriguing puzzle in a way as one has to manage changes as they occur. One cannot adopt a top-down plan and expect things to fall into place as initially finances are very limited. And some infrastructure, once built, cannot be removed.

Now, I will embark on conquering a Napoleonic game.

Rain rain

What a contrast May and June is proving to be. Sunny days, blue skies and all. These were a series of images taken of the afternoons in April. Warehouses and factories under grey skies.
Lothlorien Forum

I have left the Lothlorien Forum for good. I can't agree with the tyrannical policies and double standards there. Good riddance.

From the last looks of it, the place is descending into some form of an anti-government forum with political agitation and more. Not far from what you see on the newsgroup soc.culture.singapore anyway. Common fare. If you enjoy vehement anti-government fare, anti-PAP tirades, this may just be the place for you.

Too bad that the original favour of the Lothlorien BBS is lost.
Outside The Heeren on a Saturday afternoon

Images taken from the camera on my mobile on a late Saturday afternoon.

It has been sunny lately.

Anyway, the large HMV store in the Heeren appears to be downsizing yet again. HMV did downsize the second floor unit a few years ago. Now, it looks as if HMV will be downsizing the first store frontage substantially.

It is quite a pity as HMV used to offer a great variety of music, movies, and magazines. The selection in the music section has shrank again and again over the years. It is quite a sorry sight now.

Meanwhile, Tower Records has downsized itself practically out of the market. There is only a tiny outlet left in Suntec City. Whatever happened to that large megastore in Scotts Road?

I guess downloads of mp3 files on bittorrent, Napster, AudioGalaxy happened.

06 June 2006

Mamluk: 13th Century Warfare in the Latin East

This expansion to the GMT Games' 'Devil's Horsemen' came in yesterday. The expansion features the battles of Mansourah where the Army of the Seventh Crusade (King [Saint] Louis IX) fought the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt (Emir Fakr-ed-din) in Egypt, February 8, 1250 and the Second Battle of Homs where the previously invincible Mongols of the Ilkhan Horde (Mengu Tamar) fought the Mamluks (Sultan Qalawun) in Syria, October 29, 1281.

The contents of the pack includes:

140 Full-color counters
One 34"x22" full-color map
16-page Rule and Scenario Book

Pax Romana: The Ancient Mediterranean World

This game just came in the mail last night.

Quoting from the GMT Games website:

"PAX ROMANA covers the Europe from 300 BC through the end of the 1st century BC, when control of the Mediterranean was in a state of flux with four empires possible. And it does so with a scale and system that is filled with decision-making tension but also highly accessible and easy to play. The emphasis is on strategic operations, from raising armies to colonizing outlying areas, to fighting barbarian incursions, to maintaining political stability at home.
PAX uses a unique marker-oriented play sequence that provides surprise and opportunity, plus a deck of unusual cards that provide the historical background of events and calamities within which the players must operate.

Each turn represents 25 years, with the movement of forces and the shifting of power occurring at a proportionately very large scale. Combat takes place throughout the game, but they, too, represent ongoing conflict as much as individual battles. But even here, subtleties are built-in: force composition matters – armies overbalanced by cheap light infantry suffer penalties, while cavalry can single-handedly make the difference between winning and losing – and knowing when and where to make a stand and when to withdraw to safer places can literally decide the fate of a power for an entire generation."

The contents of the game includes:

Three 1/2 inch & one 5/8 inch Counter Sheets
55 Event Cards
One 22"x34" Mapsheet
2 Player Aid Cards (11"x17")
Standard Rules Book
Advanced Rules Book
2 Combat Ratio Cards
2 6-sided dice

This monster which can accommodate 2-4 players will take at least 10-15 hours to play per scenario.

Oooh, intriguing.

I bought an interesting Michael Grant book titled 'The Mediterranean World' a few weeks ago.
Napoleon at the Crossroads

OSG has announced that the cutoff for pre-orders of Napoleon at the Crossroads is due to end at the end of June 2006.


3.75 mi. per hex, 3 days per turn, 3,000 men per Strength Point.

COMPONENTS: One 22" x 34" map and 280 two-sided counters; 56 pages of rules including campaign analysis; 10 player aid cards, including French andCoalition March Tables showing the set-up positions in all 9 scenarios; Turn Record Card; Displays, Charts & Tables; Game box.

o Single-sitting Scenarios and Campaign Game in 2 sittings.
o Full color 22 x 34" map by Grünitz and Youst covers the whole theater including parts of Saxony, Silesia, Brandenburg and Poland at 1:375:000. Hexes represent 6 km of actual terrain.
o Each turn represents 3 days; 3,000 man Strength Points.
o Part of the "Campaigns of Napoleon System," 2X Series.
o March Tables show the set-up positions of all units and Leaders on 8 critical days.

Source: Newsletter from Kevin Zucker

05 June 2006

Burning Heels

I ran a brisk 2.6km at Toa Payoh Stadium this evening. I could feel my heels burning. The heat dissipation from this pair of Brooks running shoes is not superior to my previous New Balance ones.

Anyhow, my pace had increased as compared to my pace in April. I could feel the heat on my soles when I run now.
The better writer

I was having a conversation on MSN Messenger today when AK mentioned that he had finally read Colin's blog and he thought it was well-written. I told him that Colin has always been an excellent and witty writer* and is a better writer than AK. AK, being a top, highly-paid, award-winning copywriter, was scandalised by that comment and he was obviously displeased. After several more exchanges, with me having great fun, poking him about it, unleashing one broadside after another...

This was part of what transpired after:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Seriously, I do think he is a better writer than you.
AK says:
well, you haven't read anything i have other than usual work.
AK says:
that's not a good comparison
Chuang Shyue Chou says:
You claim to have better writing hidden somewhere?
Chuang Shyue Chou says:
AK says:
i don't have any, because i simply haven't written any.

*Colin's emails and forum posts are witty, well-written and entertaining. His blog is not very reflective of that.
God Module 'Empath'

01. Catalyst
02. Telekinetic
03. As The Night Falls
04. Entranced
05. Reverse Inversion
06. Curse
07. Levitation
08. Dear Dead Flesh
09. Ever After
10. Lunacy

Six months after I placed an order with Amazon, a note arriving informing me that this CD was not available. Well done Amazon! So, I did an eBay search and found this brand new item at half the cost. What can I say? I promptly bid and paid for it.
paternalism ( P )
n. A policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.

adj : benevolent but sometimes intrusive

Source: Dictionary.com

We see censorship in the media. We see political correctness and self-imposed censorship. We see a system of rules regarding censorship. We see censorship everywhere.

Yet, when it comes down to it, people here do want censorship, consciously or unconsciously. And at the end of it all, they deserve the society they have built.
Metal Tragedy

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese kid whose parents saved a sum of money and then sent him to Singapore for his studies.

The boy appeared to be a decent, prim and proper kid. After he arrived, he came to live at this hostel pictured here.

He had a room with a large window (not pictured here) and he soon became quite a big fan of heavy metal and hard rock, growing his hair and stuff. He looked nothing like the Chinese boy who first came here.

One day, he started playing his guitar (or perhaps his air guitar) and jumped vigorously on his bed which was right next to the large window. Needless to say, while headbanging or rocking away, he flew off the bed and out of the window.

The heart-broken parents came and claimed his body within the week.

*This was reported in the Chinese papers and there were two photos of the boy. One with his hair intact and one with his heavy metal hairstyle. This tragedy happened some months ago.

04 June 2006

Armchair General

Paradigm Infinitium has began carrying the Armchair General magazine. It is S$7.10 a copy.

Terence first showed us an early issue about a year or two ago. The magazine does appear promising, especially for wargamers.
The Longhouse, Uncle Joe Western Grill

This is the Longhouse hawker centre at Upper Thomson Road. Uncle Joe Western Grill, located in the Longhouse, is, according to Lam, the best western food hawker stall in Singapore. And I believe he has tried many.

And I am inclined to agree with him. This stall serves the usual chicken chop, bolognaise spaghetti and sirloin steak. In addition, it serves sausages of different varieties in a sausage dish with mashed potato! A German-styled dish! Amazing.