27 October 2007

The Accidental Browser

Last night was a night of accidental meetings with old acquaintances and colleagues. I was browsing at Borders after a hunt for books at PageOne earlier when I bumped into Serene. Then, I bumped into the person formerly known as Cynthia. She was now Victoria. Well, they looked pretty much the same as when I knew them about seven to eight years back.
Cold Food in a Grill (and it's not salad)

I stumbled upon Hog's Breath at Vivocity last night. I found it tucked in a secluded corner on the third floor when I was dodging a crowd of dizzy, screaming teenagers which had gathered to gawk at the Rock, a some time wrestler and thespian wannabe who presumably was set up to be the Arnie of the 21st Century, albeit, lacking Arnie's screen presence, which really wasn't saying much.

I ordered the Tex-Mex Combo which came cold! The steak was rubbery and cold. The chicken wrap thingie was cold as were the fries and rice. The mushroom soup was watery and had something weird inside. This little adventure reminded me of the period just before the demise of Denny's, Chilli's, Planet Hollywood and TGIF franchise in Singapore when the quality of the food served deteriorated alarmingly. They were clearly on their last legs then. I would be sticking to Outback, Black Angus and Hard Rock Cafe when it came to food of this kind.

The two concessions? The service was good. The view from the bar counter overlooked the bridge adjoining Sentosa. Magical!

26 October 2007

Aviation Art

Peter Dennis, an illustrator whose work had graced the covers of some of the Osprey titles, shared his technique in an blog entry. He provided a step-by-step narrative of how he was given a sketch by the author of the volume. There, he would prepare sketches and acquire the necessary models. The whole process was quite instructive.

I was grateful for his generosity in sharing this.
A possible Turkish invasion of Northern Iraq

The denial of the Armenian genocide in the early 1900s, is indicative that the Turkish majority has not still not come to terms with the myriad minority groups within the country.

From the an article in the Independent:

"It is no longer an irrelevant relic of its failed bid to lead the 15 million Turkish Kurds to independence which collapsed after its military defeat in the 1990s and the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999."


"But the strength of the PKK position has less to do with geography and more to do with the politics of the region. Since it was founded in 1978 the PKK has always benefited from Ankara's refusal to recognise that there is a Kurdish minority and the stifling of all means of constitutional protest. It still does."

Will Turkey now send its army into northern Iraq?
It's finally Friday. I was browsing at Borders for a short while last night. I will probably head down to Page One at Vivocity this evening.

25 October 2007

Success! The Canon PIXMA iP3300 is printing now. Weird. I can't for the life of me figure out why it was just not printing earlier.
High Castle

Watercolour, pigment ink and pencils.

I have an ASUS GigaX1008B 8-port Fast Ethernet switch setup. The other computer is ready for use. I will have to setup an email account for that.
The Canon Pixma iP3300 is proving to be a pain. The paper is refusing to feed. Ack. Why? Why?
Industrial-strength deterence in the form of an IBM Aptiva

I am frustrated. I have an old IBM Aptiva which houses an ancient Pentium 200. The old Aptiva is housed in an industrial-strength chassis. Heavy, impenetratable, and likely to withstand hits from RPGs. Try as I may, I just cannot not prise the solid metal covers from the casing. I need the information in the hard disk inside the casing.

24 October 2007

F-15 versus Su-30MKI: A South-East Asian perspective?

The USAF is considering upgrading the radars of its fleet of F-15C fighters to an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array). The consistent defeat of F-15s by Su-30MKI in simulations was a major factor.

Quoting from the Defence Industry Daily:

"With cruise missile defense rising in importance, and longer-range detection of threats desired, upgrades are necessary. They may also correct a known air-air weakness that can reputedly be exploited by aircraft like Russia's SU-30 family. Thus far, 18 USAF F-15Cs have been modified to carry APG-63v2 radars – a misnomer, since the upgrade uses a revolutionary new technology that bears little resemblance to its predecessor."

In recent years, the Indonesian and Malaysian procurement of the Su-30MKI had brought a new dimension in terms of long range strike capability for this region. The replacement of the Singaporean A-4SU Super Skyhawks by the F-15SG with its AESA radar would provide Singapore with an equivalent strike and air defence capability to its neighbours.

Quoting from the Defence Industry Daily:

"The F-15SG will be an advanced version of the U.S. Air Force's F-15E Strike Eagle, with minor customization to Singapore's specifications and the most up-to-date avionics available. The higher-thrust GE F110 engine will be used in place the Pratt & Whitney F100 engines that power some F-16s and most F-15s. AN/APG-63v3 AESA radars will be included, and there are rumors that a number of Israeli electronics and self-defense systems will be part of the F-15SG as well. Sniper XR surveillance & ground targeting pods, and IRST systems built in for air-air engagements, will also be added to Singapore's standard equipment list."

The recent Thai announcement of their purchase of the JAS-39 Gripen had signalled a general modernisation of the regional air forces.

Image source: Boeing
Grumman TBF Avenger

Sketch and watercolour with pigment ink of the Grumman TBF Avenger. Marie's Watercolours, Chung Hwa Pencils, Faber-Castell Pigment Ink.

The Grumman TBF Avenger (and also TBM as built by Eastern Motors, a GM subsidiary) was one of the great aircraft that assisted in turning the tide against the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1942.
Lexmark Z25, an inkjet forgotten by Lexmark!

Oh no! My old trusty and thirsty (for cartridges that is!) Lexmark Z25 Inkjet is not supported on Windows Vista. Lexmark does not seem to be updating their drivers. This is annoying. I will have to find a means to print.

I will really prefer not to have to purchase a new printer just for Windows Vista.

I guess this means that this will be my last Lexmark product too.

23 October 2007

I went for a 5 km run this evening. I was focused and kept a steady pace.
Douglas TBD Devastator

Sketch and watercolour with pigment ink of the Douglas TBD Devastator. Marie's watercolours, Chung Hwa pencils, Faber-Castell pigment ink. Simple sketch.

The Devastator torpedo bombers valiently attacked the Imperial Japanese Navy at Midway, sacrificing themselves in an attempt to sink the Japanese aircraft carriers. After that action where the majority of the aircraft were wiped out, the Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers became the mainstay of the US Navy.

This little sketch is a tribute to those brave men who defied the Imperial Japanese Navy and paving the way to eventual victory.

22 October 2007

Douglas SBD Dauntless

A sketch of two Douglas SBD Dauntless divebombers. Diverbombers of this type were instrumental in smashing the aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy at Midway in June 1942, thus saving civilisation as we know it.

Watercolour, pencils, pigment ink sketch. Faber-Castell pigment ink pens, 0.1, 0.2, Maries' Water Colours and Chung Hwa pencils.

Simply sensational! I didn't want Hamilton or Alonso to win. And they didn't!

What drama!
We stop only for a big pile of cash

I had thought that those vacant taxis circling around nightspots were deliberately waiting for telephone calls for increased revenue while refusing to pick passengers up. However, I learned from a Sunday Times report that apparently, they were actually violating their taxi contract, in a way, touting. They were on the prowl for the ignorant and the naive as to charge them fixed rates of $20.00 to $35.00 per trip. These taxi drivers had this practice for ages. They had also been playing a cat and mouse game with the taxi company inspectors and could easily recognise those inspectors by sight. They also maintained lists of fellow errant drivers as to provide some sort of an early warning system. One of the drivers as quoted in the report was said to have a list of over 130 names.

This really explained quite a bit why we often see empty vacant taxis circling around Clarke Quay and refusing to stop when one tried flagging them down.

Anyway, I take buses and trains.
This is quite a bad week in sports for England. First, the loss to Russia in the Euro qualifiers. Then, the lost Rugby World Cup final. Finally, the Hamilton loss in Brazil.

I am still reeling from the F1 Grand Prix result. Staggering! At least, the two tainted drivers from McLaren didn't win.

21 October 2007

I swam 20 laps this morning. This has become a regular thing. Good. I need to run more often and I need to increase my running distance too.