I heard Chopin's 'Mazukas' as background music in Kinokuniya last night. Wondrous. It is certainly much better than the R&B crap that one hears in Borders.
Meanwhile, the selection of books in Borders is getting worse and worse. Vampire-romance porn, the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, more Freaknonomics, and also those how to get rich books. Oh no!
The military section has shrunk from ten shelves to a miserly three shelves, now mostly filled with American triumphalist stuff like 'The Pacific'.
The history section has shrunk significantly as has the science section. Likewise, the science fiction and fantasy section are now filled with vampire-romance porn or Star Wars novels. Terrible.
The music section in Borders is now nonexistent. Borders used to have a great classical section, second only to the one in HMV. Today? Nonexistent. Likewise, the selection of music CDs used to be good, including many Metropolis Records, Projekt Records, 4AD releases. Now? It's mostly Lady Gaga and R&B. I have pretty much given up on Borders except that it is just about the only bookstore open late that I can browse at.
The only saving grace about Borders these days is that it is open till midnight on weekends. Kinokuniya needs longer operating hours. It needs to open till midnight.
My cat had caught a variety of animals and insects over the last two years, this morning, he outdid himself. Mimi caught and killed a 40-cm long snake. He was proud of it and stood by his trophy, showing it to whoever would see it.
Meanwhile, two weeks of excellent footballing news continued. Manure had gotten dumped out of the Champions League by a resurgent Bayern Munch, which was excellent news, then, they stumbled by drawing against the middling Blackburn Rovers. Much earlier, they had succumbed to the Chelsea onslaught which was, of course, splendid. Too bad for Sir Red Nose. And that bit about 'typical of Germans', hilarious!
"There was no threat and the referee wasn't going to do anything about it until they surrounded him. It is typical of Germans. They are like that."
What a bad loser. Hopefully, Manure (Manchester United) ends this season with only the League Cup to show.
On digital painting, my problem is the time and energy needed to develop techniques and best practices. In terms of opportunity costs, I have prioritised reading above that. I have also put drawing in a traditional sense above digital means. I have only so much time and energy.
Just as I was finishing this entry, some lady from some agency representing AIA just called, 'Hello, I am Sugiano (or something) from XXX agency representing AIA..' I said, 'I'm not interested' and hung up. It is not worth my time listening to their prepared scripts and their reactions to negative responses, they have scripted returns too.
'Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World A.D. 1200 to 1860: Equipment, combat skills and tactics' by Michael E. Haskew, Christer Jorgensen, Chris McNab, Eric Niderost, Rob S. Rice. The sections on Chinese warfare is sparse in this volume. It's mostly about the Mongols, Japanese and others. The Chinese? Defeated city-dwellers!
'Medieval Chinese Warfare 300-900' by David A. Graff.
Pigment ink sketch. This had been in my sketchbook for a while now, well, since 2008. I finally finished it last week. Like the preceding piece, this is a scene of a lake with a mysterious building on an island.
Pencil doodle. I was just messing around with pencils while I was in the office reviewing some documents. Heh. Well, I liked the slopes and the trees and I could have expanded further. Anyway, back to work. Haha.
Pigment ink sketch. This was swiftly sketched in pencil in 2008 and finally the proper ink rendering was done in March of this year. I decided on a light touch instead of one with more textures as the place is fairly open without much shade.
Given the amount of material on samurai warfare out there in English, I would really like to see more volumes on warfare in China, and please, not another volume on the Mongols! Enough! Five thousands years of military history and every other book on warfare in China in English are about Mongols! What about studies on the conduct of warfare during the Warring States era? What about the scholarly reconstructions of campaigns and battles of the Three Kingdoms era? A book on the Manchu banner armies?
I would like to see detailed reconstructions of well-known Chinese battles. The study of these reconstructions should include order of battle, logistics, casualty figures, leadership, battle plans, equipment (arms and armour), and more. Good illustrated volumes would be greatly welcome.
I would also like to see significant military campaigns of that era studied through rigourous lenses which should include grand strategy, operational planning, geopolitical realities, and more.
I would also like to see studies tracing the development of Chinese arms and armour.
Lastly, I really wish that Western scholars would abandon the Giles-Wade and adopt the pinyin system. I find that the Giles-Wade system does make for very confusing reading. If not, at least provide both transliterations, side by side and not in a glossary.
Pangloss taught metaphysico-theologico-cosmo-nigology. He could prove to wonderful effect that there was no effect without cause, and that, in this best of all possible worlds, His Lordship, the Baron's castle was the finest of castles and the Ladyship the best of all possible baronesses.'
It is demonstratable,' he would say, 'that things cannot be other than as they are: for, since everything is made to serve an end, everything is necessarily for the best of ends. Observe how noses were formed to support spectacles, therefore we have spectacles. Legs are clearly devised for the wearing of breeches, therefore we wear breeches. Stones were formed to be hewn and made into castles, hence his Lordship's beautiful castle, for the greatest baron in the province must perforce be the best housed; and since pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year around; consequently, those who argued that all is well have been talking nonsense; they should have said that all is for the best.
This was a dinner last year with old friends at the Tanglin Tree at Tanglin Road. There was once a charming little house which housed the Tanglin Post Office here but it had been torn down decades ago and replaced by a modern structure which houses Friven & Co., the Tanglin Tree, HSBC, and a few other shops today.
The Water Margin. This consisted of a series of tales, some totalling seventy while others totalled a hundred and a hundred and twenty. These tales told of different campaigns by the group of bandits to put right the empire.
36 Stratagems. This, of course, consisted of thirty-six Chinese idioms which had specific events behind them, some dating back two thousand years. The Warring States Period. Some are on the level of strategy while others are battlefield tactics.
An letter to all DuneMUD players by Dan aka Paradox expresses his thoughts on the game.
Here are a few quotes:
"It blows my mind that the goal of half of the playerbase when engaging in PVE combat is to actually keep their enemy alive as long as possible."
"Most of the issues are a result of horrible decisions made by other people long before Mreh, Clutch or myself had the ability to stop them."
"The oft raised issue of “balance“ is hilariously oversimplified by players with no real insight into the mechanics of things. Consider for a moment that Dune was created in 1993, and since that time has been staffed by volunteers of varying age, skill, nationality, and goals. "
"Presently exactly one person has a shell account: Mreh. It is also a non-root shell account. What this means is that we can’t easily do anything especially advanced. I can’t search the mudlib (thousands and thousands of files) for where old code is used or not used. We can’t set up test instances of the MUD or upgrade the driver easily."
and the most important bit:
"There are more issues, there are likely more fixes. All of them require tough chocies. All of them require a metric fuckload of boring work."
Is DuneMUD on the threshold? Possibly. I have not played for a few years. The DuneMUD that I know somewhat and even then not well is that of the mid-nineties. Even then, my knowledge of that game is limited. It will take me a while to pen my thoughts. Dan has raised important issues. I do not know as to the audience and if there will be any replies to his thoughts.
*Yes, the fonts in this post are messed up. I cut and pasted the quotations. It is not worth the time doing something about.
This was a dinner with old friends who were old colleagues. We had dinner at Fish & Co. and Bakerzin last year and we would usually meet up a few times a year.
We had last been in the same office over a decade ago, suffering the same frustrations. All the same, it was great when one finally left that hotbed of politics and favourites. A most 'Dilbertesque' workplace. I remembered a pre-meeting to prepare for a meeting. It was surreal.
Time had flown then and in an eyeblink, it had been more than a decade since we all left.