31 August 2007

It's Friday! Finally!

Two things have come up. I am thinking of visiting the Army Open House to get a glimpse of the new Leopard 2A4 MBT and watching the new movie, 'The Last Legion', based on Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi's 2002 novel. He is the Professor of Classical Archaeology in the "Luigi Bocconi" University of Milan.

30 August 2007


Duels is an extremely addicting browser-based game of gladiatorial combat that was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Digg and Slashdot.

Since Colin introduced the game in an email, I have been playing keenly. At least, since last Friday.

My character Oggg.

Warrior. Path of the Warrior.
Level: 27
Record: 779 - 74

The guys are also playing Duels. Their characters:

Mortyl (Wilson)
Thuggg (Kuoby)
Ripper (Colin)
Pathfinder75 (Willie)
Thugg (Kuoby)
Ksyn (Anthony - And he fights with swords in real life!)

I have a record of 779 wins to 74 losses mainly because I pick on opponents a few levels below mine. I have also got a good record against opponent of even levels and one level higher. With my build and gear, I can generally beat NPCs six levels above me.

The game is very gear-dependent, much like Diablo and the World of Warcraft. Thus, the guy with the better weapon and armour generally wins. The equipment system in this game is fairly elaborate. Likewise, the skill system.

Highly recommended! Join me!

29 August 2007

I was at the IRAS building this morning for a tax briefing. Then, I hurried to the office.

24 August 2007

Phew! End of a long week!

The Wall Street Journal recommended this game. And so did Colin. Suddenly, Wilson, Kuoby and I are addicted.

Player - Character Name
Shyue Chou - OGGG
Kuoby - THUGGG
Wilson - MORTYL
Colin - RIPPER

Join us!
I ran a short 2.0 km run last evening. Invigorating.
Borders discount

25% off books with an additional 10% off for cardholders. Offer valid till 6th September.

25% off magazines. Offer valid till 6th September.

In case you are not aware, it is permissible to use multiple coupons.

23 August 2007

22 August 2007

I re-read 'The Complete Yes Minister' a few days ago and I am re-reading 'The Complete Yes Prime Minister' for the first time since 1989. They were funny and they are just as funny today!

Some things age well while others don't.

20 August 2007


Something from the morning's exchange on Windows Live Messenger:

Kuoby says:
i'm a brass half-dragon orc.

18 August 2007


The kitten has grown quite a bit. Here are two photos my sister took of it.

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17 August 2007

I gave away my Tribal Wars account to some 14-year old girl residing in Ang Mo Kio. I have had enough of that game. Too much time spent.
Actually, I heard stuff about his poison some months back.

I found out that this 'friend' I have is two-faced. A regular Janus. He's been saying untrue shit behind my back. Wow-whee. What have we here? A poisonous fucker.

I am furious.

15 August 2007

Singapore Botanic Gardens V

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Singapore Botanic Gardens IV

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I went for a run last evening. 3 km at most. Then, I had kebabs with Colin at Far East Plaza. Urm, paradoxical I guess.
Safari versus Mozilla

In this blog report on ZDNet, it would appear that Steve Jobs would wipe Firefox off the face of the earth:

"Notice how Steve seems to be indicating that Safari will wipe out the competition and leave only IE and Safari in the running."

Well, I guess he could try. Meanwhile, another report stated that 75% of people who downloaded Firefox did not use it.

Can evil Jobs win?
Everton 3 Spurs 1

Too funny! Martin Jol and his vaunted strike force!
Skyspy, the Clown from Waterford

Another in-game conversation on DuneMUD:

Skruideli tells you: skyspy the paramedic's newest slogan is "hello, my name is skyspy and I am your paramedic tonight, I know you are worried but I assure you, I have a perfect record, no survivors to date"

14 August 2007

Mitsubishi ATD-X stealth fighter

The recent American refusal to allow the Japanese Self-Defence Force to purchase F-22A Raptors after the several incidents of Japanese firms leaking sensitive technology to the Chinese had resulted in the Japanese launching a stealth fighter programme. This project, according to an Aviation Week & Space Technology blog report by Bill Sweetman, an aviation authority, had received French support in terms of testing facilities and more. It was not inconceivable as the Dassault Rafale did incorporate characteristics of low-observable aircraft.

Another article noted:
"So it was that on August 9, the above photo was taken of what may be Japan's next-generation fighter. The 46 foot long carbon fiber mock-up was designed and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, builder of the Zero, at their Komakiminami Factory in Aichi prefecture. Freshly returned from France where it had undergone testing of its stealth technology, the sleek mock-up foreshadows what just might be the future of Japanese military aviation."

Thailand to purchase 96 BTR-3EI

In a recent report, Thailand will be purchasing 96 8x8 BTR-3EI armoured personnel carriers from the Ukraine. I will assume that these are derivatives of the Ukrainian BTR-90s.

It is also noted that most of these armoured personnel carriers will be deployed in the south of Thailand to combat the Islamic extremists and separatists.

11 August 2007

More Football Predictions

Relegation candidates for this season?

1. Wigan
2. Derby
3. West Ham

Yeah, I wish Sunderland and ManU would be relegated. Hahaha.

Who do you think will get relegated?
Football Predictions

Here we go. I will make some silly predictions for the season.

The standings at the end of the season:

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Spurs
5. Arsenal

It will be interesting to see if they turn out right at the end of the season next year.

Mind you, I am not a ManU fan, I don't like them but I am realistic. What are your predictions?
Freeman Dyson's Heretical Thoughts

Freeman Dyson has three heretical thoughts on global warming and climatic change. The first:

"My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. "

Essentially his first point is:

"As a scientist I do not have much faith in predictions. Science is organized unpredictability."

His article is well-worth reading. It is meant to be thought-provoking. His suggestions of possible solutions are intriguing as are his perspectives.

10 August 2007

08 August 2007

Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the Military

I picked up 'Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs' by Lewis Page at HMV at the Heeren over the weekend. The 2007 edition of the book was surprisingly priced at S$12.95 which was far below the British listed price of $24.00 (based on a rough conversion). For a sense of perspective on the British military's procurement and its top-heavy structure, this book was quite unrivalled.

The author ranted against the rather abysmal SA80 IW (L85) assault rifle and its derivative the LSW (L86) and exposed the waste involved in the rebuild to the L85A2. Who wouldn't rant against such waste and callous disregard for the frontline serving troops?

Page also exposed the procurement decisions made in the choice of the A400M transport aircraft (FLA), the 'new' Merlin helicopter, the Type 45 destroyer, the Typhoon and more.

It's quite a worthwhile read, not dissimilar in a superficial way to A. Hadley's 'Straw Giant' which exposed the waste in the US military in the early eighties.

I would recommend this to everyone with an interest in military affairs and procurement.
"Whatever happens,
we have got The Maxim Gun
And they have not"

Hilaire Belloc
I went for a short run in the evening yesterday. After which, I read Lewis Page's 'Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs' while listening to Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Scheherazade for orchestra Op35'.

This composition has always been a personal favourite.

07 August 2007


A new superhero with Robert Downey Jr. playing Ironman is due out in 2008! WOO! This should be interesting.
Goodness, it is already 3:46 pm. It's been a rather hectic day. I haven't had much time to sit and clear certain work.
It's dinner with Lam, Alvina, Amelia and Colin at Outback tomorrow. Heheh. It's been a while since I have seen Alvina.
Busy busy. So much work.

06 August 2007

Borders Discounts

Borders 25% off books coupon (Expires on 09.08.2007)

Border 20% off CD coupon (Expires on 09.08.2007)
Jason Bourne: The Adolescent Power Fantasy

Who doesn't like the Jason Bourne amnesia thrillers? In book form, this was, of course, a fun read when I was fifteen or sixteen. In a way, it is a teenaged adolescent power fantasy. Secret assassin powers and all!

However, it does get tiresome, like many other fantasies of this form, be it in the techno-thriller genre, spy genre, SF genre, fantasy genre or comics.

And what of real life?


Having read quite a bit about memory and also other mind-related subjects, well....

Speaking of which, the cinematic Jason Bourne, aka Matt Damon, seems to be somewhat pudgy in the trailers.
Drat. Now, there is a blackout on the fifth level corridor.
Lift problem again. Damn.
Knocked Up

Awful, awful flick. I watched this a few weeks back. Initially funny at the start but the toilet humour and the predictable plot were too tedious to bear halfway through the movie. The characters protrayed were unlikeable.
The Aviator

I watched 'The Aviator' last night. What a muddle. Like 'Gangs of New York', Sorcese's biopic, 'The Aviator', was tedious and directionless. What a waste.
Wow! A busy morning. The service lift has broken down or jammed for some reason. Fortunately, it was a simple fix.

This has the makings of a busy week.
Dead writers write more books

Colin and I had had this running joke for years. We said, as soon as an author dies, you would expect a deluge of 'new' books bearing his name in huge bold fonts and some minor writer in small print. This had proven to be a winning formula in the publishing world apparently and we didn't expect anything less.

In the case of Robert Ludlum, since his death, at least new twelve books were released! The New York Times in an article titled 'The Ludlum Conundrum: A Dead Novelist Provides New Thrills' and the Independent in an article titled 'The Ludlum identity: How a bestselling author was Bourne again' examined this phenomena which had been around for over the last decade and a half at least. Since then, Eric Van Lustbader, a bestselling thriller and fantasy writer in his own right, best known for the huge hit 'The Ninja', had been contracted and had written two more of the Bourne books.

Meanwhile, bestselling fantasy writer David Gemmell had died lately, only completing two books in his Trojan War trilogy. This should not be too difficult for a ghost writer as the Trojan War was well-known. I would be expecting new volumes from David Gemmell to come out soon. Books on the Drenai world and more! A deluge!

There had been so many new novels on Asimov's Foundation and Marion Zimmer Bradley's myriad creations since their deaths too.

Of course there were also the sons and daughters who continued their parents' legacy in extending those original works . The works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert came to mind immediately.

Publishers and the estate of the late writer milking the devoted fanbase? You bet!
State of Progress: Tribal Wars, World 5

The tribe had collapsed. From rank 10, it had slipped to 21st. The leaders' morale had collapsed due to lack of general activity amongst tribal members and a general war by the top tribes against our tribe. As a result, there were mass desertions. Pretty sad.

So many villages lost. So many players lost. Just too bad.
State of Progress: Tribal Wars, World 5

My Tribal Wars status. 402, 911 points. 39 villages. I hadn't been doing much. I was pretty much not doing much for a month except for a short war about two weeks ago. My tribemates are so inactive. There seemed little point in continuing that war.

My continental ranking on continent 64 had slipped to seventh.

And my global ranking 170th.

My offensive points were at 304,057. Oh well. I am not far from ceasing play. It had gotten somewhat stale.

05 August 2007

Orchard Central: The Transformation

The construction of Orchard Central. In the seventies, this site used to be a busy night market. A pasar malem as they called it. It was across the road from the old Keok Road Market. I doubt if many people can remember the old Keok Road market which had been replaced by Orchard Point.

The old Keok Road was a street of shophouses. I could still remember it.

Orchard Road would soon be transformed.

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04 August 2007

I am concerned and worried. I did not have the mood to venture down to PageOne at Vivocity last night. I don't think I will be doing much today either. For that matter tomorrow. Oh well.

02 August 2007

Constant Battles

This illuminating book by Steven A. LeBlanc, an archaeologist and Director of Collections at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, explodes the myth of the 'noble savage' and that people lived in ecological balance in the prehistoric and distant past. Like Jared Diamond, LeBlanc illustrates the ecological destruction of the environment in various societies which then lead to a drastic population drop. Carrying capacity of an area. Fortified villages and more.

On a per capita basis, tribal villages lose up to 25% of their population in constant battles, ambushes and massacres. Constant battles were the norm for the whole of human history.

On another note, the startling thing is that infanticides were common up to the last two centuries.

This is not a 'war' book. It is an book on ecological balance and anthropology. I highly recommend this book to all my friends and visitors to my blog.

01 August 2007

Quite a bit to do. Quite a bit of stuff with the Building Constuction Authority, IRAS, PUB, SCDF and more. I will need a break soon.
I have been reading a bit on the LCS. I suspect that the programme will not come to fruition.
Focus focus. The work has to be done.
Sketching at a Cafe

Happier times.
Tentative. Early Friday evening, PageOne at Vivocity. Late Friday night, Borders. Heh.