27 October 2013


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Adventure at Punggol

An adventure with Sweetie! What a wonderful little adventure at Punggol! A nice stroll.

A memorable walk. And a lot of travelling on the LRT and MRT trains.

Singapore Sports Hub

The Singapore Sports Hub under construction. This is the replacement for the historical and iconic National Stadium which had existed on this site for decades.

25 October 2013

Leisure Park Kallang

Leisure Park Kallang is a sleepy little mall located at the outskirts of the city proper. This is a rather odd location which attracts a diverse crowd of people on weekdays and weekends.

22 October 2013

Drawing forests

I am returning to drawing forests. It has always been my passion to draw these European fairy tale-inspired scenes.

I will see if I can push it further. I will also see if that can be put in some other context.

Man of Steel, Gravity, Dark Knight Rises

I have not watched the Man of Steel, nor am I particularly interested. Given the last Nolan effort, I wish that Nolan would return to his inspired movie-making and continue along the vein of films such as Memento and Inception and drop superhero movies altogether.

Gravity is another movie that I have little interest in. It is another space accident movie, in the same vein as that of Apollo 13. This is a disaster and survival movie. Granted that the science is mostly okay and that there are spectacular effects, I am still not particularly interested.

I will probably watch them one of these days years down the road when I can borrow them or something or if I am just bored. Heh.

"AND this meanwhile there came Sir Palomides, the good knight,
following the Questing Beast that had in shape a head like a
serpent's head, and a body like a leopard, buttocks like a lion,
and footed like an hart; and in his body there was such a noise
as it had been the noise of thirty couple of hounds questing, and
such a noise that beast made wheresomever he went; and this beast
ever more Sir Palomides followed, for it was called his quest. "

Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK IX, Sir Thomas Malory

20 October 2013

The Thief

'The Thief' is fairly short, not unlike Haruki Murakami's 'After Dark' with themes of alienation and more. Trendy literature like Murakami? You bet! The narrative was fast-paced and engrossing, however, it begins to falter when Fuminori Nakamura struggled to find a satisfactory means to conclude the staged tale.


I am not sure about a sense of irony. I am not sure if this were meant to be a satire. However, according to reports, Morrissey had wanted his autobiography to be on Penguin Classics, bearing in mind that this imprint is usually reserved for the works from the likes of Jane Austen, Homer, Kafka and others. This volume has not even been proven to withstand the test of time, it was just released! (and it wasn't released before that.)

Then again, there is a call for Bob Dylan to be given the Nobel Prize for literature. Oh dear. What is the world coming to?

Screenshots of SimCity Social

This was a game I had played. It was a complete waste of time.


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Alphaville - Summer Rain (Extended Version)

19 October 2013

The Dark Knight Rises

I was reminded of how poor Dark Knight Rises was when I read Wilfrid Wong's review of it. I had enjoyed most of Nolan's previous endeavours. My hopes were very high.

Sadly, the movie didn't meet expectations. It was ponderous and tedious with lots of logical inconsistencies and improbabilities. Yes, this is a costumed superhero movie, however, Nolan had previously added a strong dose of realism in the previous one, one would expect that the script would at least respect the audience's intelligence. With this one, there was no chance.

The villains were ridiculous, the plot premise was ridiculous as were much of the other aspects of the movie. Oh well.



18 October 2013

Incomplete thought

I found this old fragment in my drafts folder.

"I had a strange dream tonight of being in the jungle with some Cambodian troops. There was a border incursion, akin to that of the recent Suluk one in Sabah, Malaysia, and the troops were detailed to..."

I have no recollection of this dream anymore.

16 October 2013

A glorious afternoon in the sun

It was a wonderful way of spending the afternoon with Sweetie. We were wandering by the quiet waterfront and riverside yesterday. A glorious afternoon in the sun. We must do this more often.

Concept art books of films

I have been looking through a fair number of conceptual art books of movies. I have read 'The Art of Robots', 'The Art of The Incredibles' and much more. When a book becomes a self-indulgent and self-congratulatory volume, it makes for tedious reading. It make one realise that such volumes are often for the unthinking believers, the sheep-like worshippers who lap up every word said.

The self-reverential tone of these 'art of' volumes for movies, especially animated ones are often shameless in that regard, and in my opinion, they do a disservice to its readers with the lax editing and often not carefully selected content.

When such a volume is conceived, the writer could consider these points:

1. What is the intended audience? Fanboys? Artists? Potential artists? Perhaps, a combination of all of them?

2. Why is this volume written? Is it intended to give people of a glimpse of the process? Is it to preserve the conceptual aspects for posterity? Is it to satisfy the fans of the movie for more material? Is it to make money and promote the upcoming movie? Is it a combination of all the factors? Perhaps a balance should be struck?

There are many considerations and none of them are wrong. For me, I know I like initial conceptual sketches, comparisons to the final renderings, and good art that inspires me. What I dislike would be the self-congratulatory tones often found in the writing of the volumes, how great this person is, how great that other person is. I don't need to know that, the work will show. Likewise, I don't need a volume full of screen captures and stills from the movie. I can watch the movie for that.

These volumes are uneven, some are great, while others abysmal. I buy them selectively and for the others, I borrow them from the library.

15 October 2013

The state of the art

She has inspired me during the creation of the most unlikely of things, my drawing of robots, mecha and powered infantry. I created over a hundred variations in the space of two months.

Meanwhile, my futuristic city series winds to an end. I have only one more drawing to complete. I had been drawing them for a year. Previously, I had draw a few but they were somewhat simplistic and not as exploratory as this set.

I am back to doing my imaginary shophouse and cityscape of Singapore series as well as my forest series. I hope to render a larger series for the latter.

I have also taken to doing portraiture studies.

14 October 2013

Fauré - Nocturne No. 6 in D flat op. 63 (Hamelin)

Fauré, Nocturne No 4 in E-flat Op.36 played by Albert Ferber

Dassault Mirage 2000 Red Flag (2013)

Her way of moving was no mortal thing
But of angelic form: and her speech
rang higher than a mere mortal voice.
A celestial spirit, a living sun
was what I saw...
Francesco Petrarca (Translated by A.S. Kline)

Techno-thrillers of yesteryear

When I was seventeen or so, I read a number of techno-thrillers. Those were really the initial years of the techno-thrillers. It was when wave after wave of such volumes had come into its own after the initial few volumes. I read the first novels of Harold Coyle, Stephen Coonts, Dale Brown, Ralph Peters and such.  I read them because of the scenario projection and the realism of the tactics and hardware described in them. I became disillusioned I found that when a lot of them were wish-fulfilment fantasies filled with blood lust. I had wanted hard realism that came with scenario projections.

Thus, after reading a number, I had turned to academic military texts and such. They were a lot more informative in my opinion.

10 October 2013

03 October 2013

The Hunt for Patriotic Wish-fulfillment Fantasies

Tom Clancy, the inventor of the techno-thriller, is dead.

I read the first one, 'The Hunt for Red October', in 1985. It was rather novel then, a tonic for the defeatist attitudes that were still prevalent in some quarters in the height of the cold war. It was a relic of the Reagan years, where such a thriller served as a form of morale booster and also a herald of the Reagan military buildup. The subsequent novel, 'Red Storm Rising', was a piece of wishful thinking, self-indulgent third world war wish-fulfilment fantasy, essentially a waste of time, one would be better served by reading Sir John Hackett's 'The Third World War' (1978). After which, I tried 'Patriot Games' which I could not finish. His patriotic ra-ra volumes weren't my cup of tea, they were too much wish-fulfilment books, not unlike those power fantasies (Sandman, superhero comics) that teens indulge in.

Today? Well, I think they are unreadable, perhaps, only as a product and relic of their times. One could find cultural artifacts and attitudes in them.

I guess the surprise is of his sudden and somewhat seemingly early death.

As for Larry Bond, I have read one I think. I have also read some of the new breed of technothriller writers that came later. If it were going to be techno and war thrillers, I would prefer realistic treatments rather than patriotic wish-fulfilment fantasies.