31 October 2008

Red Alert! Installation limits

Thanks to a red alert from Teck Loong and additional information from Leonard Lin and Gary Ng, I will not be purchasing Red Alert 3 and Spore. These two games have installation limits in that one can only install it on a machine a limited number of times.

Previously, I have had some interest in the two abovementioned titles. Given the limits, I will steering clear of them, I will reserve my money for other titles.

A hole in the paper

My Canon PIXMA iP3300 printer punched a hole in the paper this morning. A new feature! Heh. 

18 October 2008

Mimi with a myna

My mischievous cat, Mimi, caught a myna today. He was meowing loudly to everyone, proud of his new toy. To my astonishment, the myna sprung up in a split second and flew off when I approached. The myna was playing dead all along!
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Lying in a mock coffin

Apparently, there is a mock coffin in Orchard Cineleisure. It was placed there to promote a new movie from Hong Kong. People are allowed to lie in it. Heheh. So, Speedweed came on Windows Messenger and started talking about it:

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:41 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:41 AM):

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:41 AM):
i'm going to cineleisure later

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:41 AM):
gona lie in the mock coffin there lol

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:42 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:42 AM):
And get a friend to take a photo?

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:42 AM):
That will be freaky for the Cheena types.

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):
Who can be highly superstitious.

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):
i want a pic taken

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):
You, my friend, 'mock' the traditions!

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):
and use it as my display pic!

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):
You go against the grain of 5000 years of Chinese history!

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):
hey.. normally

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):
u've got DIE to try it

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (9:43 AM):
You're scary.

SpeedWeed -  Anyone want to join me on saturday and lie in a mock coffin? says (9:43 AM):
not to mention, u'll not get to feel it

Casa Verde

I had pizza at Casa Verde at the Botanic Gardens last night. I had a pizza prosciutto e funghi there. Delicious. Recommended. 

Do make reservations if you are going for dinner on a weekend. It was almost full on a Friday night.

17 October 2008


I can't believe it, KRAFTWERK WILL BE PERFORMING IN SINGAPORE! The legendary band of computers and electronic equipment with songs like 'Computerworld', 'Home Computer', 'Pocket Calculator', 'The Robots', 'Antenna', 'Radioactivity'. They are coming! They are coming!

I am EXCITED! WOO! HOO! Kraftwerk!

15 October 2008

Suicides: Jumping in the path of an oncoming train

Jumping off the tracks seems to have captured the imagination of suicides in Singapore. In the sixties in Singapore, there were a few blocks of highrise HDB flats that were known to be suicide blocks as suicides would travel long distances to jump there. Right now, the suicide zeitgeist, at least amongst the population here is jumping onto the path of an oncoming train. This meme has caught on like wildfire. 21 jumps locally last year.

Incidentally, there was a report in the Straits Times yesterday where it was stated that there were 200 attempted jumps in the London Underground annually.

My observation here is that the power of memes cannot be underestimated. My interest here is not in that of suicides but rather the transmission of ideas. How did this method catch on? Was there much publicity? In the early years, the media had simply stated that the falls were accidental or people fainting. I mean, right, do people faint in the bus bay of an oncoming double-decker? I think not. Can a meme like this be stopped once it had proliferated?

Well, at least until the next new macabre idea.

14 October 2008

Maps and street directories

I have stopped using Streetdirectory.com almost a year or so ago. I have switched over to the Google maps and Streetdb

A call from Streetdirectory.com

Strange. A lady from Streetdirectory.com called me up a few minutes ago. After explaining how good they are and what their website can do, they said they have me on a 12 month programme with two months free! Wait a minute! I didn't ask or agree to anything. What!? They had asked for my business contact information for updating and I was happy to provide it. Then, I asked what of SLA's lawsuit? The lady claimed that there was no such thing. I said I remember that their company was famous for their lawsuits too. I told them that I wanted nothing to do with their company. The call ended there.

That was certainly not the strangest of calls that I have received. I have received calls from women with robotic, monotone voices pushing investments. I have also received numerous calls from Standard Chartered Bank.

Cane toads, undead and jungle warriors

Another exchange with Kuoby online.

Kuoby says (11:20 AM):
they should introduce cane toads in singapore to wipe you out

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:21 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:21 AM):
That would be rather nasty.

Kuoby says (11:21 AM):
you deserve a nasty end

Kuoby says (11:21 AM):
even the depths of the singapore jungle didn't want you

Kuoby says (11:21 AM):
you're a hard pest to kill

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:22 AM):
I do? Why is that?

Kuoby says (11:24 AM):
i think because you're already undead

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:25 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:25 AM):
How would cane toads deal with undead?

Kuoby says (11:25 AM):
you tell me, you're undead and a frigging pest

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:26 AM):
Whoa whoa!

Kuoby says (11:48 AM):
no no, it's rude

Kuoby says (11:48 AM):
you're not a pest

Kuoby says (11:48 AM):
not undead

Kuoby says (11:49 AM):
you're a jungle warrior!

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:49 AM):
I am a jungle warrior? Then, what was I fighting?

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:49 AM):
Am I like McCain then?

Kuoby says (12:02 PM):
you are unlike anything on earth.

Kuoby says (12:02 PM):
you are above all

Chuang Shyue Chou says (12:03 PM):
Well, everyone is above you given your height.

13 October 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This would be another first for Woody Allen. A new setting, Barcelona. 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' was a delightful comedy about a series of relationships centred on a Spanish artist. Neurotic characters? Yes. Sex-obsessed characters? Yes. After all, this is a Woody Allen film, an unusual as it was set in Barcelona instead of his usual Manhatten haunt. Picturesque Barcelona. The dialogue was comedic, the characters highly interesting and human, possibly all of them were just facets of Allen himself. However, I sensed a lack of depth as compared to some of his earlier efforts for some reason. The shifting relationships, the openness of the relationships, the changing emotions and attractions made for humourous situations. Allen's films are a pleasure to watch and this one is no different. 6/10

A very long engagement

I watched 'A very long engagement' on DVD two weeks back. This Jean-Pierre Jeunet film which was characterised by strong moments of irony and black humour was about a woman's faith and her relentless search for her fiancé. In terms of structure, the film resembled a puzzle box which was opened in the course of the protagonist's endeavour to discover her fiancé's fate during the Great War. Unlike some overdrawn emotional melodrama like the turgid 'Legends of the Fall', the nuances of the behaviour and eccentricities of the characters gave a sense of realness, a human touch that did not feel clichéd. The incredible cinematography and the breathtaking scenary which formed the backdrop of this film were out of this world. My descriptions would not do it justice. 6.5/10

p.s. I wanted to pick up my pens and draw immediately after I watched this film. I had also wanted to travel too. To think that places of such immense beauty ...

12 October 2008

A schizophrenic rarity

After hearing Feltsman and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra perform Sergei Prokofiev's rather schizophrenic and at times violent, Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat minor op 10. at the Esplanade a week ago, I decided to give it a look at the racks at That CD store at Great World City and Borders last night. Fruitless. Well, this piece appears to be somewhat obscure. Hmm..

The poor condition of cinemas

I have been noticing the condition of the various cinemas when I was watching films in the last week. 

Lido was quite rundown when I watched 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'. The place felt dirty and the sound was horrendously loud. Meanwhile, at GV Great World City, when I saw 'Burn after reading', the sound was somewhat faulty. What is happening? Why are cinemas here so bad?

I also notice that many cinemas play their movies too loudly. I wonder why. It is not unlike the loudness war in the mastering of CDs. I suppose if the trend continues, will many of the audience desert the loud cinemas for the comfort of their homes?

Burn after reading

The latest Coen brothers film, not unlike their previous efforts, was a study in folly and stupidity. I saw this humourous take on the fallibility of people at GV Great World City last night. 'Burn after reading' was about an attempt to blackmail an ex-CIA analyst after the files of his assets fell into the hands of a bumbling duo from a gym. That resulted in a series of attempted blackmail, divorce cases, murders, defection and subsequently a few puzzled people. Hilarious!

The excellent cast, not because they were stars, but the cast, led by the versatile and funny John Malkovich, gave a stellar performance and essentially gave voice to this march of folly. 7/10

10 October 2008


I watched this recent commercially unsuccessful remake of 'The Invasion of the Body Snatchers' which was an adaptation of the Jack Finney classic science fiction novel, 'The Body Snatchers'. The initial premise was promising and intriguing but the film slid into a series of clichéd chases, substituting unnecessary and inconsequential action for plot and finally an implausible, convenient, clean Hollywood tying up of ends. Quite a waste really. 5/10

Mamma Mia

I watched 'Mamma Mia' at the Cathay cinema at Causeway Point on Thursday evening. The musical was an exuberant, over the top affair with hints of Hindi musicals and more. All of my favourites amongst the many ABBA songs were sang. My favourites included 'Lay your love on me', 'S.O.S.', 'Take a Chance on Me', 'Voulez Vous', 'Dancing Queen' and 'Gimme Gimme Gimme'. There were many laugh out loud moments in this corny musical. The moments of sheer ridiculousness were pure joy. I had not expected this. Great fun. 6/10. 

09 October 2008


Two weeks ago, I watched 'Wall-E' in an almost deserted cinema at Great World City. This, the latest overhyped and vaunted of the Pixar releases, was a lacklustre piece about two charmless robots. The statements on excess and waste in the form of a derelict earth and a decadent spaceliner of pure indulgence were force-fed with little irony. Likewise, the comedy was slapstick and clumsy. Were they trying to do a Charlie Chaplin? If so, it was bland and tedious. Like other movies of the Pixar irk, 'Toy Story' and 'Toy Story II', this charmless tale while competently told, had little to recommend except for some good backdrops. Overrated, money-spinning vehicle. Spare us. 4/10

Illuminating games

Chris Farrell had one of the best running online commentary on boardgames and wargames until about one and a half years ago when he took down his blog. He is now back with a new one. Splendid! Welcome back Mr. Farrell.

08 October 2008

06 October 2008

New games

Two new wargames arrived by mail today. Clash of Monarchs and Successors.

A spam mail from AVG Security

I just received a piece of spam mail from AVG Security. Funny how a company like this that is supposed to safeguard one from online predators sends spam. Bravo.

Anyway, I stopped using their free AVG anti-virus software about a year or two ago after finding AVG to be deficient.

Games for Sale

I'm clearing out some games, I need space for my books! These are games that I have either played once or never played. In some instances, I played only half a game before moving on to others. And I have laminated the cards of a few of these games. They are pretty much as good as new, close to mint condition.

Board Games

Fearsome Floors (Finstere Flure) (German edition) - $45.00

Carcarssonne: The Castle (German edition) - $29.00

Too many Cooks - $16.00

Feuerschlucker - $17.00

Station Manager - $28.00

Wings of War: Famous Aces - Reserved

Flinke Finger* - $17.00

Employee of the Month - $21.00

Intrige - $27.00

Wyatt Earp (German edition)** - $27.00

Democrazy - Sold

Fantasy Business - Sold

Most of these games are language independent. For the German edition, the English language rules are easily available.

Computer Games

Dungeons & Dragons Online - $40.00***

Prices are not negotiable. I'm not interested in a trade either as there isn't a game that you have that I will possibly want. Unless it is books... For the sale of stuff, we can arrange a day in the Orchard Road or Novena area to meet.

Send email if interested. Email: cyberiad@pacific.net.sg

* I have not looked at this card game. I don't know if it is language independent, has English rules or otherwise.
** Not language independent. You will need to do some work on this.
*** The first month of freeplay is gone. You can pay with your credit card for additional time.

04 October 2008


I picked up two volumes of Elfslayer at Fat Boy's last night. I thought that Nathan Long had managed very competently to take up the mantle left by William King some years ago. Elfslayer is a continuation of the tale in Orcslayer.

03 October 2008


I started on the prologue and first chapter of Dan Abnett's new hardcover 'Titanicus'. First impressions? Laboured prose, bombastic and opaque. Hopefully, the pace will pick up later.

The Downfall of the Novel

Perhaps partly to blame for the novel's downfall are the temptations of the Internet, such as blogging. The Web, she says, "produces some pretty depressing people who don't know anything about anything."

From the 17th March 2008 Wall Street Journal interview titled 'Provocateur' with Doris Lessing.

01 October 2008

National Tourist Office of Spain

I called the National Tourist Office of Spain and was told that I could come down at 2:00 pm. I was there promptly at two but there was no one. Oh well.

National Tourist Office of Spain
541 Orchard Road
#09-04 Liat Towers
Singapore 238881
Telephone: +65 737 3008
Fax: +65 737 3173
Email: singapore@tourspain.es

What can I say?