Monday, October 30, 2006

Long Delay

Very sorry.

Six days between updates. That's a new record I think.

There's not much to write about this days. Nothing important anyway.

I went to Diana's and Cyrus' wedding dinner on Saturday night. It was a grand affair. They didn't spare any expense. It was fun. Alvin Leong is one damn good photographer. He's kind of expensive, but after seeing some of his work that night I kind of understand why.

The rest of dinner was alright. I didn't really say much to everyone at my table on account of a banging headache which mercifully petered out as the evening went on. Some funny stories were told.

I didn't get to say much to either bride or groom, which was a shame. They were both quite harried, having to greet everyone at each table. There were many tables.

I hope that they will be happy and that their married life is as great as the reception. They are very lucky. In this world these days, it's hard to get that lucky. Both very nice people.

After dinner, I went to meet up with Rin, Jerome and Zack.

There were no negative vibes that night. I didn't feel sorry for myself and I wasn't plunged into introspective mode. I guess I really am alright now. The fact that no one asked me any "dumb" questions really helped though. I was kind of worried about that.

I did realize other things. Things concerning my rapidly advancing age and the fact that middle life is less than a decade away. I realize that I'm not really going to have a stereotypical, normal, average future so to speak.

I'm not really sure if I'm 100% comfortable with that idea yet. I do wish for some of the trappings of "normality" sometimes.

I guess it'll be all ok in the end. I hope. I do realize that this "normalcy" that I sometimes want won't happen without any effort. We'll see if I ever get enough motivation.

In other news, I watched The Prestige on Friday night. It was awesome. Spectacular even. Rivetting stuff. Go and watch it. You won't regret it. Seriously.

The end of the year is upon us already. In my work calenday, today counts as the first day of the first week of November. Already I'm feeling the holiday spirit!

This year I don't think I'll be doing anything special on New Year's Eve. Especially considering that I have to work on New Year's Day itself.

I have a feeling that this year, the end of the year will be a quiet, peaceful one. That's just fine by me.

This week I will start buying parts for my new system. I'm planning to slowly build it up so that I don't overload my credit, starting with board/cpu/ram this week. This is going to be fun.

So, how has every else's weekend been.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More About Football/Selamat Hari Raya!

I'm very engrossed by FM 2007 right now. Hence the "disappearance".

*football starts here

Talking about FM 2007, the Football Manager franchise gets better and better with every installment. This one is the best one yet. This one is also the most challenging one to date. Yet somehow, not as frustrating as some previous versions of the game.

Most likely this is due to the extra speed boost courtesy of the optimized coding. I really appreciate this. Previously, Football Manager games were notorious for being very slow and unwieldy.

I've started a few FM games. I learnt the ropes by managing Brighton and Hove Albion. Later I started a French League game, managing Toulouse FC. I also started a Serie A game, managing AC Milan just for the heck of it. I usually stay away from the big clubs. I like to play down in the lower leagues which is usually quite challenging.

That doesn't mean the managing a club like Milan any less of a challenge however. The challenge is different.

Anyway, the experience of playing Milan is quite exciting. I have a squad of stars, millions in the bank and skyhigh expectations from the board of directors (Silvio Berlusconi!) and the fans.

I don't play this AC Milan career often. It's there for pure fun factor. Managing a world superpower football team is fun!

Yesterday, I started my "proper" campaign. I created an English/Irish manager and started the game with no job. Later, I was offered the vacant AFC Bournemouth job. I took it.

What a far cry from Milan! They may both wear the same colours (black and red stripes) but they are from different worlds. Bournemouth are a small, mediocre team with little cash, a little stadium and little hope of ever leaving League 2.

Yes, I'm finding it harder than usual. Goals are hard to come by, so winning is rare and precious (unlike Milan). Defence is pretty good but I'm finding it hard to kill off opponents and win games. I draw a lot of games (0-0 and 1-1). Especially at home.

I cannot strenghen the squad much because I have no money to sign people and I can't get anyone on free transfer because I can't pay their wages.

I'm loving it though.

FM may not have the glitzy graphics some games have, but when it comes to management simulation all the others don't even come even remotely near in terms of realism and depth. I urge all football fans to try it.

*end of football talk

In other news, today is Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I have many friends who celebrate it and I wish them all a blessed and joyous holiday.

This also means that there's no one in the office right now. Today should be a quiet-ish day.

Last week I said I wanted to do something about lists. Here is mine:-

Things I need to do this week.

1. Get my replacement door. It will cost RM226/-. Not including spray, which will cost RM180/-

2. Get the guy who hit me to cough up at least 50% of the total cost at the end of the month. I'll worry about the other 50% later.

3. Look through all the CDs in my car. I have stuff in those CDs that I don't have in my PC.
3a. Buy a CD marker.

4. Back up ALL my music. I have 40Gbs of it. It will take 12 DVDs.

5. Play guitar. I haven't played in a good long while and I really should because we have 3 really good guitars in the house. The callouses on my fingers are gone so I'm going to have to build them up again.

5. While I fix my door I might as well fix that ugly dent in the bonnet of the car, which was my own fault (parking mishap).

6. Close unnecesary bank accounts. I have 2 accounts that are dormant. There is money in them.

If I do half these things by this time next week, I'll be quite happy.

That is all for today and Selamat Hari Raya again to all those who are celebrating.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finally, FM 2007

I was reading Suanie and from there I got the very interesting and very hilarious MadHaiku! It's absolutely brilliant. Check it out.

And talking about brilliant, this morning I downloaded Football Manager 2007. The game hasn't been officially released yet, but from what I can tell it's the full version with all the leagues and correct updated data. Now, I would buy the original like I did with Need for Speed:Carbon, but it would cost RM149. Personally, I think that's just a little too much. I'd buy it if it cost half that.

So I started the game up and picked one of the managerless clubs in the English Football League, Brighton and Hove Albion. My first impression is good so far. The game is very fast now, unlike before when clicking continue would begin a very boring wait. The makers of the game claims to have optimised the code and from what I can see so far, I believe them.

The interface is very slick, similar in look to the previous FM 2006 but with extra bits thrown in.

The match engine looks the same as before, but I only played one match before I left for work so I wouldn't know for sure until I play more matches. The new features are quite nice, prematch team talk, more options to interact with players (like asking them if they know of any other footballer that I can sign for the club) and of course the feeder club. Or rather in my case, my parent club which in this case is Le Havre AC.

There is a great number of new little touches to the game and I wouldn't be able to write about all of it. Lets just say that in relation to FM2006, FM2007 looks kind of the same but not exactly the same.

Like I said, I've only just played one friendly match (I forgot against whom) and lost it 0-1. So I'm still getting used to it before I go play seriously... and manage a team in Italy. Or maybe Spain? I hope they tweaked the match engine enough, I had the greatest trouble with FM2006 tactics.

In other news, I still need to fix my car this weekend. I haven't heard anything from my mechanic friends about a door yet. I hope they find it soon. If not, I have to go order the door from Proton and God knows how much that would cost.

Tomorrow, I have no work so I'll probably be playing FM2007 until 10.00am at least.

There's something else I feel like writing about, but not right now since that would lengthen this post by way too much. Something about lists. I'll do that next week, probably.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Speedposting 2


Soon I will be free on Saturdays again! For three months. Until middle of January next year! More importantly, this means that I'll be free when other people are free.



I was reading the news, blogs, comments on blogs and Malaysiakini just now and I was thinking if aliens landed here tonight and read those same things, they would think that this place is really screwed up what with its politics, racism, marginalisation and other sundry stupidity.

Actually, it's not, but we all know that. And by WE, I mean The Others. The sane people in this country. The ones who aren't racist or narrow minded or crazed religious fanatics (these includes some atheists also by the way) or bigoted in some other way. Usually, The Others don't have blogs or regularly express their opinions in public.

Even if they do have blogs or other public outlets of expression, most of the time The Others write about daily stuff. Or work. Or their hobbies. Or other things that pundit wanna-be trendwhores would consider "irrelevant".

I don't write about politics or news or current issues much. But that doesn't mean that I don't care or don't think about what's happening around us. I'm sure I speak for most regular people when I say this.

While we don't say much, we are all watching. We are all vigilant. Crazy people talk and try to screw things up, but one reason why this country hasn't torn itself apart yet is that most of Us are sane, regular people who just want to enjoy our lives in peace.

So, we must continue to watch and be careful. There a lots of people out there whom if given the chance, would turn this country into their own private dystopian nightmare based on their own beliefs and ambitions.

Good thing for us this country is a democracy. We must do out utmost to stop unfit people from being elected into office. We must never be bedazzled by them and give them power.

If they do then we, the sane people of this country, are screwed.


Regular followers of this blog would notice that recently I have been dividing posts into sections by marking them with "------" It's a new thing I'm trying.

You see, sometimes when I write, many things pop up in my head. Usually, I say,"Hmm, I'll write about that in the next post" but usually, I forget about it. And so to avoid wasting all these thoughts I've decided to try writing all of it down in the same post, but in their own sections.


Finally some assorted minor news.

On Sunday morning as I was about to leave work, some guy reversed into my car's rear door. It's badly dented. The guy has promised to pay for repairs. So now, I'm looking for a rear driver side door for my car. Apparently, beating the door back into shape takes too long and costs the same as a new door.

So until I buy a door, I have to drive with a huge dent on the car's right side. Bummer.

Last night, I went out to pay my bills and every ATM in town was out of money. According to one guy I met at the Eon Finance ATM vestibule, it's something to do with government servants getting their Raya bonuses. I can believe that. I went to Hopoh at 8.30pm and the place was packed with whole families shopping for clothes.

I couldn't even park nearby. Which is remarkable since it's Wisma Hopoh and not too many people go there.

I'm getting my car tinted on Saturday evening. It's going to look really nice. Except for that dent in the rear door....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gaming News

I received a very interesting notification email just now.

Need for Speed: Carbon is available for pre-order. Release date is end of the month. Wow. Just look at the car list. This is going to be the biggest Need for Speed ever.

I'm especially looking forward to Autosculpt, a modding tool that will actually allow you to design your own physical modifications, like body kits. I can picture myself spending hours doing this.

Also, in this installment of NFS, you get to hire your own crew. Teammates, mechanics etc. Plus more tuning options, both cosmetic and performance.

The end of the year is always a great time to be a gamer. Let's take a look at some of my favourite offerings coming out very, very soon.

The Football Manager 2007 demo is out. The game itself should follow soon after.

Like I mentioned before, Medieval 2: Total War is due out on 14th of November.

Sims 2: Pets is due out on the 20th of October. I really hope it works with the Sims 2 Megapack, which is what I have.

Battlefield 2142 is due out on 17th of October. It's also available for preorder.

Also being released on the 31st is Neverwinter Nights 2. Again, also available for preorder.

And finally around Christmas time, Burning Crusade will come out. I hope.

The mind boggles at such a wide array of new stuff. Did I mention that it's a good time to be a gamer?

It's going to be awesome, especially when I change my PC at the end of the year.

Posting at The Speed of Thought

Sometimes when I go hang out with my friends, we reminisce about any number of things.

Things like what TV shows we watched and how they don't make em like they used to, the things we did before the invention of the internet and the good old days when we had to go outside and make our own fun.

And not to mention how tricky it was to schedule a gathering during the days with no cell phones. At least, it seemed like it was tricky. The memory is a little hazy.

There were a lot of good things and great memories of great times that I've had.

And yet at this hour of this morning, my brain persistently asks,"When did it all go wrong?"

A strange question indeed.

I have many things that I can be grateful for, and yet some days I catch myself thinking,"If only I had done [insert correct action here] instead of [what actually happened]..." I find it quite annoying that for all the effort I put in, that side of my head that likes to regret and think up negative things still has a very loud voice and still comes up with things like this. Especially when I'm not looking.

The glass is half full they say. This is a truth that we should embrace. There is much to gain from negative experience. And yet, somehow I find the fact that a half full glass is also half empty more.... comforting, for lack of a better word.

The big question is, why?

Before I go on, I should probably mention that all this is triggered by a few events. Like today, it frustrates me when I try to makes sense of some things. There are things that happen that still baffles me.

I wonder, how is it that some people can act like a bull in a china shop, crashing about in their bellicose, inconsiderate, selfish way, and still get a positive reaction from people. While other people, do it carefully and quietly and get absolutely nothing.

Since when did being rude become the proper way of getting what you want and being nice and polite not be the proper way.

Up = down, left = right, bad = good and lying and being an asshole = dates with women. Despite all those things that people say, this is what I keep noticing, sometimes right here at work. Sometimes, I think the world has turned completely inside out. Or that I got sucked into some parallel bizarro world where all the rules are different.

There's more of this upside down examples I can remember, but I'm going to stop thinking about it. It just makes me mad.


World of Warcraft is getting interesting again, after a cooling off period the last month or so. My warrior is level 49 now. That's almost 50! That also means I'm strong enough to solo some low level dungeons. These dungeons usually require a group of 5 people when done at the correct level. Yesterday, I soloed my favourite dungeon, Shadowfang Keep. And this morning, I soloed Black Fathom Deeps, a fabulous instance that is the underwater ruins of an ancient elven temple. I have to hand it to Blizzard, some of the architecture of these instances are awesome.

I get no experience points for doing this, but I did get a ton of auction house fodder, bucketloads of raw material and quite a good amount of coin from the dungeon elites.

I put my haul up for sale and so far half of it is gone and I'm getting cash at a nice rate!


I have a wedding to attend to at the end of the month. For once, I can actually go. The last two weddings I wanted to attend, I couldn't because of work.

Ah weddings. I can say it's no big deal but really, those things are. It's almost like a reminder that I'm not doing something right. That something is.... missing. That I'm somehow lacking a basic but important ability.

Ok, I'm going to stop writing about this now before this post goes out of hand. We don't want a woe is me story now. It wouldn't do any good.

I'm just going to go to the wedding, be happy for my friends and have a good time.


I was looking at my schedule and I won't have to work on Sunday until the middle of next month! That is nice.

Soon it'll be December. I wonder how the year is going to end. Certainly, the more recent years have been relatively kind.

I'm really grateful for that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Zeta and Wing Zero

Pictures are up.

Zeta and Wing Zero. Both very good looking mobile suits!

Also, both very difficult to pose and manipulate... I haven't managed to transform the Zeta to Waverider form yet but as soon as I'm able to, I'll take pictures.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

WoW and Gundam

*Warning: Lenghty post about things that aren't very important.

It's a Sunday. It rained yesterday and what a relief that was. Unfortunately, it didn't do much for the haze other than lower ambient temperatures, which is fine actually.

I have some World of Warcraft related news.

On Thursday, I managed to download Southpark Ep. 10-08, Make Love, Not Warcraft. It was great! I'm very pleased that Matt and Trey managed to get Blizzard to work with them and produce a top notch mechanima of Southpark using the WoW engine. The episode was pretty funny too, although it was by no means a classic. MMORPG players in general and WoW players in particular would find it funnier than lay people I think.

Also in WoW, I finally managed to buy a horse. I finally managed to get 100 gold at Lvl 47 and I spent 90g buying the riding skill and the horse. Now I can move 60% faster than before. No more walking! Of course that means I am kind of broke and will not have enough cash to upgrade skills when I reach level 48, which is very soon.

I don't WoW much these days, not like the first 2 months when I got the game. Now it's maybe 1 hour per sitting, maybe 2, sometimes 3 hours if I'm not working. But I'm more efficient now though. I can finish 4 - 5 quests in one trip and hand them all in during that limited playing time.


Talking about questing, a funny thing happened the other day while I was questing at the pirate base on the coast of Tanaris. I was fighting a pirate when I saw a lower level Night Elf hunter getting overwhelmed by 4 pirates. Usually, Horde players (which is what I am) don't generally assist Alliance players (which is what Night Elves are) because they are the "enemy"

Somehow on this occasion, I was moved to rush to his aid, enemy status notwithstanding. So I did and managed to pull 2 of the pirates off him. After defeating the pirates, I bowed and waved and left the Night Elf to heal and revive his pet, which had gotten killed. By the way, Horde and Alliance players cannot chat with each other. The only way to communicate is through emotes like waving and bowing and pointing and jumping up and down and general gesticulating.

A little later, it was my turn to do a bad pull. A bad pull is when you try to attract one enemy to you but end up attracting more than one instead. So there I was try to fight off half a dozen pirates in a more dangerous part of the base when out of nowhere, a black panther comes out of stealth and ambushes one of the pirates. It was a Night Elf druid in cat form. Behind him, was a Night Elf hunter, the same guy I had helped just minutes ago. And next to him was another Night Elf hunter.

Apparently, the guy was part of a group and he had called the rest of them to help.

So they saved my bacon. More gesturing and bowing and waving. We decided to stick close together and cover each other as we did our pirate quest, which we all managed to complete without much difficulty since there was now four of us (six, counting the hunter pets). They would attack something and I would help and then I would attack the next target while they covered me.

It was great. I had fun. Situations like these is what makes MMORPGs so much fun, when enemies can put aside their differences and assist each other.


In other WoW related news, MMORPGs got into a national paper today. Of course as usual, it's where old farts accuse something they don't understand as bad while players defend their passtime. Not much to comment on that, except to say that it's hardly a surprising reaction. Soon, people who don't play MMOs will start writing in to papers urging the government to ban MMORPGs or something similar.

Well, that's Malaysia for you, moral vanity is sort of like a sport here. So many moral guardians who are so afraid of things they don't understand. It's so annoying.


I nearly finished building my Zeta Gundam! I have head, upper torso, waist, legs and arms. Last night I started building the wings. I have the right wing and tail done so far. Only need to do left wings and guns. Next, decals. This time around, I've decided to do all the detailing work (decals, panel lines) on all the separated parts first. When that's done, only then will I put the thing together.

All in all, Zeta Gundam is a big challenge to put together. So much fun.

While we're on Gundam, I just finished watching Gundam Seed Destiny last night. Despite the negatives like how overwrought with emotion the series was and how annoyingly bad the pilots' discipline was in battle, I thoroughly enjoyed Seed Destiny. I was well made and had great production. The music wasn't too shabby either. I'll do a proper review when I finish watching Gundam Seed. That way, I can compare.

Right now I'm trying to decide which Gundam series to download next. Do I get Zeta Gundam? Or do I get Victory Gundam? Which one eh? Or do I get the others first? F91? Double Zeta? Stardust Memory? Gundam Wing? Stargazer? MS Igloo?

So many!

And so little hard disk space...

Seriously though, I need to get another big hard disk. I can't wait for December when I will get double pay and will finally be able to afford to get a new PC.


Ok then I've been very talkative this post. It's time to go for lunch.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Night at Scoops

My Zeta Mk.2 finally arrived on Tuesday. It was a long wait. I was very nervous. It's an expensive model kit.

It's also very complex just as I thought it would be, with more parts than your average master grade kit. I've been spending about 4 hours a day for the last 2 days building it and I'm not even halfway through it yet. Not complaining though, I like the fact that the kit is complex. A real challenge.

The weather is very, very hot these days what with the haze coming back. Last night, I had planned to stay home and continue building the Zeta, but it got way too warm to stay inside my room. So I went out. Luckily, at this time Rin called me to tell me that Gette wanted to meet up at Scoops.

So we went.

This is the first time I went to Scoops. It's an ice-cream place. It was very, very good. I'll be back there again soon.

Gette arrived later with Andrea followed by Jerome and then Zack and his friend whose name now I have forgotten. I must be getting old, lately more and more things seem to be falling out the back of my head.

Talking about getting old, I was building the Zeta in the living room I switched on MTV for the first time in months. During the four hours it was on, the only people I recognized were Shakira, Marion Raven and Ryan Cabrera. I'm so out of touch with new music these days.

Not that I'm missing out on much. Current mainstream pop music doesn't do a thing for me. Plus, there's simply too much rap, hip-hop and RnB on. What happened to guitar music, man?

A lot of the stuff I like is now being played on radio stations like Lite n Easy and on retro segments on radio and TV. A sure sign of times moving by.

Music was one of the things we talked about at Scoops. It's always an interesting topic.

All in all, a nice night out before I go back to work. Which is where I am now...

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I wrote a post just now but it disappeared when Firefox crashed on me.

Anyway, I was remarking about how pleased I am to have discovered this awesome website. A must read for history buffs and fantasy role-players.

I'm still testing Windows Vista. It's looking very, very good. I managed to tweak the PC to enable it to use Windows Aero. It's very pretty with its cool menu effects and transparent, glassy borders and taskbar (only with Windows Aero desktop, available only if you have a display card with AT LEAST 128Mb memory).

Oh yeah, the taskbar. I've always thought that black taskbars are cool and wondered why Windows XP didn't have them. With Vista, it comes standard.

I think the most striking things about Vista so far are its great, soft appearance and its apparent high speed. Yes, it's very fast. Faster than XP. Definitely faster than other earlier versions of Windows. I installed it on an ancient 5400rpm 10Gb hard disk and it's still fast.

The overall look is great. Due to the way the desktop and icons are rendered, everything looks warm and fuzzy. This is probably due to Cleartype fonts. It's gorgeous. And OS X users might notice some similarities here. Ok, a lot similarities. The icons especially.

Not only that, the overall appearance of everything on my test machine looks smooth, warm and fuzzy. I like.

Also, there's another interesting feature called ReadyBoost. You take a USB2.0 flashdrive, stick it in your machine and Vista will ask you, amongst other things, whether you want to use the flash drive as somekind of virtual RAM. Yes, you can use your USB thumbdrive to boost your PC performance. It's great.

While I test Vista, of course I am also testing IE7 and Windows Media Player 11. So far so good. Haven't really noticed anything too different. IE7, as I mentioned earlier, is a lot smoother than IE6. It has tabbed browsing, RSS, popup blocker, search engine plugins. No surprises there. The only thing I don't like about IE7 is the menu system, but this is probably because I'm not very familiar with it.

In fact the menu system is currently the most annoying thing about Vista. I'm not familiar with it.

And the cost. It will range from 299 to 399. USD. That's 1000+RM. Well, if that is so, looks like I'll be waiting for pirates again. Which is fine since I'll still be using WinXP until I'm 100% sure about Vista. It might be pretty, but I don't enough about it to start using it, at least for the first year. As usual with Microsoft stuff, it's best to wait for Service Pack 1...

Also, MS is going to put out Service Pack 3 for Windows XP which includes some Vista features for XP. Cool.

Today is my last day of work for this rotation and I will be off work three days followed by another 4 days of work. I have some minor things to do tomorrow and a lot of videos to watch!

That's it for now. See you later.