15 July 2010

Subterranean dreams

The dreams had come in the early hours of dawn, stealing in and filling my subconsciousness with fresh tales. The story this time was strangely about the design of a game where the protagonist venturing as a slave-miner within in a dim, subterranean world, had discovered a violent calling or as that of a gladiator who had embarked on a quest of vengeance and blood.

This was the only fragment that I had remembered.

M-346 Trainers for Singapore?

StrategyPage has announced that Singapore will be buying 48 Aermacchi M-346 trainers. 48? Really?

I wonder as to the reliability of this article. I checked the Ministry of Defence website but saw nothing mentioned there.

Has there been a leak?


I did more checking and found that piece of news on Wikipedia and upi. Upi.com's source is apparently from an article from Defense News. Hmm.. The upi article quoted an unidentified source as did the Defense News article.

Addendum II

This is open news. Every media in the world except the local media had reported on it. On the 12th of July, in Jane's, it is stated:

"The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has selected Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 aircraft ahead of Korea Aerospace Industries' (KAI's) T-50 Golden Eagle to meet its advanced jet trainer (AJT) requirement, a MINDEF official revealed to Jane's on 7 July.

Colonel Darius Lim, the director of public affairs, said that MINDEF is currently seeking to enter discussions with Alenia Aermacchi about the purchase of the aircraft, although he gave no indication as to when these negotiations might commence."

In an article in Flight Global on the 8th of July:

" "The South Koreans have been informed that the T-50 is no longer in contention, even though Singapore has not yet signed a contract with Aermacchi," says an industry source familiar with the discussions."

And in an entry in a blog about Korea:

"Official announcement won’t come until mid-July, but top industry sources indicate that an agreement is pretty much a done deal."

" July 8, 2010: Singapore has reportedly shot down Korea Aerospace Industries and chosen Alenia Aermacchi for military jet trainer aircraft, DefenseNews reports from Seoul."

""I've been told that the T-50 suffered another defeat apparently, as the M-346 has been picked up as the preferred bidder for the trainer jet contest in Singapore," the report quoted an unidentified industry source. "The Singapore government has yet to make public the result of its decision … and is expected to announce it soon."
The report said KAI spokesmen were unavailable for comment and an Aermacchi spokesman offered no information. A spokesman for Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration couldn't confirm the report."

The local media has absolutely nothing on it. There was hardly any mention of a competition of for a trainer. Given that this is a major purchase and a major use of the taxpayers' money, one would think that there would be more coverage.

Oh well. I know why one can't rely only on the local media.

Relegation candidates

The new season is almost upon us. Which teams do you think will be relegated in 2011?

  • Arsenal
  • Aston Villa
  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn Rovers
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton Wanderers
  • Chelsea
  • Everton
  • Fulham
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester City
  • Manchester United
  • Newcastle United
  • Stoke City
  • Sunderland
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • West Bromwich Albion
  • West Ham United
  • Wigan Athletic
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers

My 2009 prediction had two teams correctly picked.

This time, I think it will be the following:

  • Blackpool
  • West Bromwich Albion
  • Wigan

What do you think? Which teams do you think will get relegated?

My fondest hope will be that Manure (Manchester United) get relegated but you know it won't happen. If there is any danger, Manure will buy its way out of trouble, much like how they bought their titles over the last two decades.

14 July 2010

Dreaming of the city

Dreaming. When dreams intruded upon reality. It was disorientating when your dreams could appear more real than waking reality.

My interminable dreams last night was a poignant case in point, being a long series of enigmatic narratives, set in a vast city of labyrinthine streets, enclosed by silent buildings of three stories, basking in the glow of blue sodium lights.

In this quiet city bathed by surreal colours of lights and shadows, I had wandered through the empty rooms, climbed crumbling ladders of iron, and clambered through hatchways with elaborately cast hatches. I had found myself in the midst of many people, some of whom were dancing wildly in strange concentric formations and I made my way through these multitudes, driven towards some mysterious destination.

I found myself at the foot of an old stately bungalow, forlorn in its wasted state, formerly, being the India House. This abandoned white-washed structure, now stained with dirt, had seemed to have been slated for hasty demolition and then whimsically forgotten. Within the heart, I was directed by an old, wizened Indian jaga to the upper reaches of the spacious bungalow.

I strode through the empty interiors, ascending the floors via a strange circular ramp within the heart of the old bungalow which had seeming want to whisper to one of its myriad, forgotten tales of a glorious past. In a decrepit room, filled with old, faded rosewood furniture, I found Lyn, dressed in a set of burnished cobalt-blue plate armour with highly exaggerated ornate features. I recalled donning a set of the armour and glancing curiously at a full-length standing mirror, amazed and yet delighted at my visage.

I had departed from the bungalow later and was within the metropolis, now, busy with the snarling roar of traffic. Crossing a smog-filled street full of cars, framed by the golden glow of a late afternoon sun, I was in a building, housing well-furnished but seemingly empty offices. There was a gaunt figure in a small room within an office clad in bluish light and shadows. It was Wilfrid, a person who I know on Facebook and in the blogs had never had the pleasure of meeting yet. He was there, listening to a girl singing the eerie Doctor Who theme in Chinese on the radio. Strains of the theremin interspersed with a sultry Chinese voice emanated from an unseen radio.**

It was a mysterious series of experiences and when I woke up, these images had lingered in my mind. I stumbled downstairs, dazed, with my mind filled with images of a stone-hewed metropolis of ornate European buildings from the turn of the century.

Was it only a dream? Fragments of a false reality? A shadow world of Platonic proportions? An echo of my waking reality?

*I had drawn photo-realistic images from my dreams in some instances. This time, this was difficult if not impossible.
** Yes, the theme is instrument but the words had made no sense to me except I had remembered it as Chinese.

12 July 2010

X-Men: The Last Stand

I watched 'X-Men: The Last Stand' on DVD four years after the theatrical release. Wow, this instalment had killed off a lot of the principal cast, leaving little room for a fourth. However, the ending had cleverly left openings for another if great enough commercial success should warrant it.

I was not a reader of the X-Men comics previously and many of the superheroes were unfamiliar. I was never into power fantasies like superheroes, Sandman, vampires, angels and all that anyhow.

Still, I must admit that it took courage to temper with known canon and take great liberties with it, like killing off characters.

World Cup

I didn't stay up to watch the World Cup last night but my father and sister did. Either way, I am pleased that there is a new World Cup winner this time round. Having Spain or the Netherlands win would have been great either way. Heheh. Spain, worthy winners.

The X-Files: I want to believe

'The X-Files: I want to believe' movie was one of the worst that I have seen in years. I watched it on DVD last night. These adjectives come to mind: Boring, predictable, bland, forgettable, tedious...

There was a distinct lack of tension, a rather detached feel regarding the plot and the lives of character involved, a severe lack of pacing and structure. This movie has cured me of whatever nostalgia I may have had for this lousy franchise.