Tuesday, December 26, 2006

10 Myths - And truths about atheism (1-5)

1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.

On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.

2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.

People of faith often claim that the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable product of unbelief. The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

3) Atheism is dogmatic.

Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity's needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn't have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) once said: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.

No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the "beginning" or "creation" of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself.

The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, "The God Delusion," this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don't know precisely how the Earth's early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase "natural selection" by analogy to the "artificial selection" performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species.

5) Atheism has no connection to science.

Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God — as some scientists seem to manage it — there is no question that an engagement with scientific thinking tends to erode, rather than support, religious faith. Taking the U.S. population as an example: Most polls show that about 90% of the general public believes in a personal God; yet 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not. This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is.

The above was taken from an article written by Sam Harris. He is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" and "Letter to a Christian Nation."

10 Myths - and truths about atheism (6-10)

6) Atheists are arrogant.

When scientists don't know something — like why the universe came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed — they admit it. Pretending to know things one doesn't know is a profound liability in science. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based religion. One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows. When considering questions about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it, atheists tend to draw their opinions from science. This isn't arrogance; it is intellectual honesty.

7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.

There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing love, ecstasy, rapture and awe; atheists can value these experiences and seek them regularly. What atheists don't tend to do is make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about the nature of reality on the basis of such experiences. There is no question that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this prove? It proves that certain disciplines of attention and codes of conduct can have a profound effect upon the human mind. Do the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity? Not even remotely — because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists regularly have similar experiences.

There is, in fact, not a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a beard, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are just not the sort of claims that spiritual experience can authenticate.

8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.

Atheists are free to admit the limits of human understanding in a way that religious people are not. It is obvious that we do not fully understand the universe; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best understanding of it. We do not know whether there is complex life elsewhere in the cosmos, but there might be. If there is, such beings could have developed an understanding of nature's laws that vastly exceeds our own. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They also can admit that if brilliant extraterrestrials exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.

From the atheist point of view, the world's religions utterly trivialize the real beauty and immensity of the universe. One doesn't have to accept anything on insufficient evidence to make such an observation.

9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.

Those who emphasize the good effects of religion never seem to realize that such effects fail to demonstrate the truth of any religious doctrine. This is why we have terms such as "wishful thinking" and "self-deception." There is a profound distinction between a consoling delusion and the truth.

In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?

10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.

If a person doesn't already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won't discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn't make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

The above was taken from an article written by Sam Harris. He is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" and "Letter to a Christian Nation."


Some friends and I went to the Night Safari on Saturday in celebration of Christmas. It was good fun, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I'm not sure if everyone experienced the same level of entertainment as I, but I sure hope they did.

I picked up a couple gifts for my girlfriend and my older sister. Specifically, I bought them DS Lites. Now I have opponents for Bomberman!

Some friend came over on Christmas Eve to play some games, which is an excellent way to spend Christmas. We played one boardgame (Arkham Horror) and then played Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the Xbox360 til about 6am. An absolute blast.

Audrea came over to my aunt's house to have Christmas dinner with my family. This was her first time engaging my extended family, and I guess we both were a little nervous. But my family are awesome people, and I think it all went well. My cousins and her got along well, and we even had a couple rounds of multiplayer Mario Kart on the DS Lite between them (one of my cousins also had a DS Lite).

It was a pretty decent Christmas, I must say. Time with friends and family, and presents, are always important.

Did I mentioned how much stuff I bought myself over the past week?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Secret Santa & My First Christmas Gift

You may have read over at Mark's blog about him joining the Secret Santa program running at Boardgamegeek.com. Well, I signed up to that too.

What happens is that we would each get assigned a 'target', to whom we would anonymously send a gift, which would preferrably be in the form of a boardgame. The end effect is that everyone would recieve a gift from a mysterious Secret Santa.

And I just recieved my very first christmas present of the season from my Secret Santa. My mom called me at the office yesterday to let me know that there was a package waiting for me, and I knew that my gift had come. I got home as soon as I could (let's not talk about the hour long jam I was caught in yesterday), and first thing I did was to crack open the package to see what I got.

And it was The Downfall of Pompeii! My Secret Santa obviously took a look at my wishlist on BGG and got me a game that I was really interested in. It was great!

I tried to call Mark to see if he got his game, but he didn't pick up. I guess he must still be running around in a forest yesterday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Personality Test

My Personality

Openness To Experience

Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report
Find your soulmate / pysch twin

Ugg Boots, MySpace Surveys and uggs by Pulseware Survey Software

Well, I did another personality test that I found at Mich's blog. I enjoy doing such tests, just to see how much I feel it accurately represents me. Take a look at the full report. The only one part I really find accurate is under the Agreeableness section. The rest is fairly accurate, if you take it with a pinch of salt.

Back in the office

There has been a relative lack of activity on this blog in the past couple weeks. Mostly cos I've been out of the office (I do most of my blogging at work), and also because there haven't been any real things I wanted to talk about.

The past week has been pretty busy, but it was fun as I got to run around Singapore and be away from my cubicle. My project last week essentially turned me into a tourguide for a group of Americans, but they were a good bunch of people and I did enjoy myself. I got to see many aspects of Singapore that people usually don't get access to, and I saw many things in a new light. I also realised how little I know about Singapore. And to be honest, I'm more than a little embarassed. My guests constantly asked me questions about certain landmarks, cultural practices, history, and current government policies. And these are things that any one ought to be able to answer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Here's 20 lame jokes.

1) What do you call a fly with no wings? A walk.
2) Why was the Tomato blushing? Because he saw the salad dressing.
3) A mom, dad and baby tomato are walking down the street and the baby starts to lag behind so the dad goes back and smashes the baby and says "ketchup".
4) How do you catch a squirrel? Climb into a tree and act like a nut.
5) Why are there so many Johnsons in the phone book? They all have phones.
6) What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck!
7)Why don't cannibals eat comedians? Because they taste funny.
8) What's brown and sticky? A stick.
9) Two sausages are in a pan. One looks at the other and says "god it's hot in here", and the other sausage says "OH MY GOD IT'S A TALKING SAUSAGE!"
10) Did you hear about the cannibal who came home late for dinner and his wife gave him a cold shoulder?
11) Did you hear about the new Barbie doll; it's called Divorce Barbie. She comes with all of Ken's stuff.
12) What's the worst part about eating vegetables? Those damn wheelchairs.
13) How do you top a car? Tep on the brake tupid.
14) What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in the water? Bob.
15) What do you get when you cross an alligator and a railroad track? Three pieces of alligator.
16) Have you ever seen an elephant hiding behind a flower? That means he hides well.
17) What do you do if you see a spaceman? Park your car in it man.
18) How do you catch a rabbitt? Hide behind a tree and make carrot noises.
19) How does it change many dyslexics to take a lightbulb?
20) What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the car? Robin, get in the car.

Always take a photo with Flash...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Child's Play

Christmas is coming round the corner, and amidst the commercialism, there is genuine goodwill in the air. It's the time to give.

The Child's Play Charity is a drive to provide gifts to children who have to spend their christmas in hospitals.

Child's Play is set up by a bunch of avid video gamers who run a webcomic called Penny Arcade. They have strong support from the gaming community, and this charity is aimed at giving gamers a chance to give back to the community. Child's Play have been running for 3 years now, but I believe that this is the first time that it has such wide international reach.

I will be donating to this charity, as I see that the Mater Children's Hospital, which is located in Brisbane, is on the list of recipients. And also, the Seattle Children's Hospital is also on this list. So friends, if you wish to give a game to children so that they can play, do go and check it out.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Geek Weekend...

Ah... possibly my 2nd most favourite kind of weekend there is, besides spending time with my girl, and possibly being on vacation. Which, I guess, makes geek weekends my third favourite.

I spend most of last night playing Xbox 360 with a couple friends. We tried out Gears of War, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. And I had a blast, because it's been a long while since I've played video games with friends. We'll probably get a chance to do it again, and I'm looking forward to it.

I spent most of today playing a whole bunch of games at the Mega Meetup, a day long gaming session organised by Andy. It was a much quieter event that I had anticipated, because I thought more people would have been there. It seemed like such a swell idea, to game for 9 hours with other like-minded people. But I guess many others had alternate plans because I didn't see some gaming regulars there.

But I still had a good time because I met a few new people, met some old friends and tried a couple new games. And anytime I can do those things, in that particular order, I think is a good day. I managed to table Pitchcar and everyone who played had a really good time. I also played Ave Caesar and Iliad, the latter being something that I wanted to try with more players. I also played Arkham Horror, a game that I've owned for the longest time, but never tried til today. I think I'm ready to bring that particular game to the table, now that I am familiar with how it's played.

All in all... a good weekend. But then again, when have I ever NOT had a good weekend?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Go on... Treat yourself...

I strongly, fervertly and rabidly belive that one should also treat oneself whenever possible. And I mean that in every sense of the word. Go on, treat yourself. Whether it's to a new toy, new clothes, new sensations or experiences.

Isn't that why we've got jobs in the first place? So that we can use the money we've earned to BUY STUFF!! We work to live... not the other way round. We don't get jobs just so that we can pay bills. It's so that we would be able to live better, or at the very least, maintain an acceptable living standard. And one works hard to increase that standard of living... by getting more stuff.

When's the last time I treated myself? I think it was about 2 days ago... I bought a new boardgame... and I'm going to do it later again by buying another game for my Xbox 360... and maybe another one next week.

Mmm... stuff...

I love consumerism...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back home...

It's good to be back home, especially to see my girl. I've missed her terribly in the 10 days I was gone, and despite me wanting not to leave Seattle, I desperately wanted to return.

I had a very good vacation in the US. My time in Dallas was an absolute blast, and I really enjoyed visiting with Shyam and Div in Seattle. It was good to see them again after almost 6 years, and I'm really happy that they have found a life together.

I visited a couple of game stores whilst I was in Seattle. I find that to be a good way to travel around a city, to look for some game stores and then just walk around the surrounding area. But I got rained on pretty badly that day, and it was cold, windy, wet and miserable.

But I had 2 gorgeous days of sun during my time there. And I took a short ferry trip to Bainbridge Island just to walk around and take in the sights. It was a really nice little place, and I enjoyed my time there very much. It has a small town feel, but everyone was quite cosmopolitan.

I wish I didn't have to leave Seattle. It's quite a beautiful city, and the people are very nice. It's not a touristy place, which I like. And I had some very good friends there. But I longed to come back home, cos there's always someone waiting for me here. And I couldn't bear to be away too long.

Monday, November 13, 2006

At BGG.Con... Day 4

This was the most relaxed day at the con for me... playing only a total of 2 games but I still had a great time browsing through the vendors, and also chatting with friends that I've made over the course of the last 3 days.

Twilight Games was having a bit of a clearout sale at their con store, and there were quite a number of tempting items there... Die Macher being one of them, and Viktory II being another. But in the end, I got a copy of the Age of Steam expansion designed by Ted Alspach. I also chatted briefly with Chad Ellis of Your Move Games.

Whilst in the general gaming area, I managed to locate Ted and I asked him to sign the AOS expansion for me because I wanted to make a gift of it. Mark! This one is for you...!

I also bought another 2 BGG t-shirts... one for myself, and one as a gift. Really tempted to also get some poker chips but I think I can survive without them.

I played a game of Bolide and that was quite interesting. I also played a game of Metro, which I liked very much.

I played 18 games over the whole con, but I made more friends than that. And this being my first time here in the States have more than exceeded my expectations. I've often heard unsavoury things about Americans. But having gamed with this bunch of people, I haven't met one bad one yet. Maybe it's just cos boardgamers are just generally really nice people. I could jump into any game, everyone was warm and welcoming. I guess that the way things are... boardgamers are just really cool people.

BGG.Con has been a really fun experience for me, and I don't regret coming at all. I had a blast and I wish it didn't have to end. Some people thought I was crazy to travel to the States to play boardgames, and sometimes I did wonder if it was worth the time and the cost. And it most definitely was. It was a crazy journey just getting here, and now I don't want to leave.

At BGG.Con... Day 3

I got to the con pretty early yesterday as they had a flea market in the morning and I wanted to see what games I could pick up for cheap. And boy, there were ALOT of games there for sale. I didn't see much of what I wanted, but I did pick up a DVD from Scott Nicholson and a game, Goal a Minute Soccer, for US$3. So that was alright.

I went over to the gaming room and started with Canal Mania, which I think is a very nice game. I think it sits a nice inbetween Age of Steam and Railroad Tycooon, with bits of Ticket to Ride thrown in.

I played Mission Red Planet next at the Asmodee table, which was being demoed there. I have to say, I was expecting much more from that particular game. It wasn't quite my game, and the theme, I felt, was quite thin.

I went for lunch after that and came back in the afternoon to play a game of Antike, which I taught to a couple friends. I think they liked it, though again, they tended toward building armies and taking territory. I'm of the opinion that taking territory is not the most efficient way to get a victory, and it leads to the common end game problem experienced by many people.

I had a short dinner after that, and I didn't play any other game til much later because I wanted to be in the Game Show. And I'm glad that I did take part, cos it was an awesome event! I really enjoyed that particular event, and I think it was well worth taking 2 hours away from my gaming time. I didn't stop laughing for almost the entire duration of the game. The very last question on the quiz show was "Which person, past or present, would you like to speak to the most?". Several answers included "my grandparents", "my parents" and "Reiner Kniza". But several teams knew what the final answer was (including mine), and we were all chanting "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" at the very end.

The game show was a complete blast, and the rest of the evening was topped off with pizza AND a game of Shogun.

Yes... Shogun... the new re-themed, reworked Wallenstein... And it was great! It was an absolute blast to play, and the rest of the table were really awesome people. We only played one year in the game, but by the end, we had starved the peasants badly, multiple provinces were revolting and we had to individually subdue the rioting mobs.

I also managed to play 2 games of Diamant after that before calling it a night at 3am.

I plan to get there as soon as I can this morning to get more gaming in before the official end of the con.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

At BGG.Con... Day 2

Day 1 ended really late so I decided to sleep in yesterday and have a slow start. I didn't get to the con til about 2.30pm. As always, the place was packed and there were alot of people playing. First thing I did was to approach the registration table to see if anyone turned my free game in (the one I left behind yesterday). The nice people there weren't able to give me an answer, but was referred to the game library. And I was able to find my game!! That's totally awesome!!

I stopped by the vendor area early to check out what was available. Decision Games brought a whole bunch of Lighting games, which I might pick up. And I went over to the Asmodee table, which was being hosted by Ad Astra Games. I picked up Illiad and Ave Caesar there. I also managed to get a quick demo of Honor Harrington: Saganami Island Tactical Simulator, which I remember John was interested in. And there was quite a pile of that new Star Trek fleet game... Can't quite remember the name now.

I joined in a game of The Sceptre of Zavandor because someone was willing to work through the rules AND there was an english version of the game that I must have missed yesterday. And Derk was teaching the game so I guess that was some form of endorsement. But I'm none too keen on the game, and I feel it's a little long for what it is. I'd probably give it another shot (doubtful) but I probably wouldn't buy it myself.

The game lasted a lot longer than I thought it would and it was dinner time when I was finished. So I went to dinner to the Trinity Hall, an Irish pub 2 train stops away. The food was really quite decent, and I'm glad I took the time to get out of the convention centre for a little while.

I returned late in the evening, and started a game of Ave Caesar. And I really enjoyed it. It seemed like a really simple game (and it is!) but there's quite alot of interaction between players as each action impacts on others'. Plus we had a really fun group to play with, which was another plus.

I also tried another new game... To Court The King, and I must say that I like this game very much. It's quite a dice fest, but there are multiple mechanics that allow you to manage the luck factor. And for such a simple game, there's quite alot of thinking in it.

I also bought a set of Shocking Roulette.

And for the absolute highlight of the evening... Thoughthammer sponsored 2 midnight lucky draws on Thursday and Friday night. I was out of luck on Thursday, when the number 401 was called, and my number being 402. That was just the guy in front of me in the queue for registration!! And last night, 400 was called... and I was feeling lame. C'mon!!

And then... after multiple numbers were called... 402 was called out!! Yes!! I scored a free copy of Pitchcar + Expansion!! Woooot!! Awesome!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

At BGG.Con... Day 1

The con started early yesterday morning, with the rooms being opened at 9am. I didn't get there til about 10.30am because I was still suffering a little from jetlag, and wanted to lay down a little longer. And the con didn't officially start til noon, and we didn't get registered til then.

I first played Imperial, a new Essen release, with my room mate, and a couple others. Ted Alspach taught and played in the game in us. And we got a chance to use his "Starting Player" deck of cards to determine the first player. I'm gonna get me a copy of that.

I next managed to sit down to a game of Leonardo Da Vinci, and Scott Nicholson was there too. So that was a great way to start the day, playing games with 2 boardgame notables. An interesting game, Leonardo Da Vinci has a unique resource gathering mechanic which affects the flow of the game.

I walked around the room a little while after that, and was invited to play a game of Pizza Box Football with another person. Though I didn't know much about football (American, not soccer), I wanted to give it a shot, and it's a really fun game. If anyone is interested in football, you really should try it out.

This took up more than half the day, and by the time I was done, it was dinner time. I grabbed a quick bite at the food court downstairs which served servicable food.

I tried to start a game of The Sceptor of Zavandor, but the game was in German and no one I asked seemed to know it. I put it back into the library and met a couple other players keen on starting a multiplayer game. So we brought out Formula De and had a 6 player game which was really fun... I came in at 3rd place.

Last game of the night was Railroad Tycoon, which was a fun game but it was a little difficult to wrap my head around. Plus it was late, and I really couldn't think much anymore. It was around 2am when we stopped.

A couple highlights and one lowlight of the day... At registration, everyone got 2 free games and I picked up Alhambra and Pieces of Eight. Aldie was there to meet and greet everyone and I chatted with him briefly. And thus lies the lowlight... I forgot to take my free games with me back to my hotel room so right now, it's either sitting there at the con or someone has picked up another free game. Sigh...

The other highlight was chatting with Derk at the end of the night. He recognised my name, as I had asked questions about the con earlier in the year. After finding out that I had travelled to the States just to be at the con, he gave me a free BGG t-shirt! Totally awesome!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Arrived in Dallas

Well, to ease your minds, I'm safe in Dallas at the moment. It's 9 Nov, 0040hrs here, and we're about 14hrs behind Singapore time.

I'll be going to bed soon, but just wanted to leave a note here.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's (well, it's really just later today...) event. There should be alot of games to play, and that's just a good thing.

I'll have more for you tomorrow. I need to go back to my room to pee.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

At the airport...

Well, I'm about to set off on my great adventure. I'm currently at Changi Airport, waiting to board my plane in about 10mins. I'll be taking EVA Air to Taipei, then I'll transit there to Seattle later tonight. I've got a 5 hour wait in Taipei, but it'll be alright, I think.

I've fully stocked up on geek stuff so I think I'll be able to survive the flight to Seattle. I've got 2 comics, a DS Lite, a game rule book, a fantasy novel and my MP3 player. I'm set!

Geek ho!!

A Quiz from over at Mark's Blog... Where does he find stuff like this?

10 Hard Questions from the Sorting Hat (Harry Potter)

Congratulations Ravenclaw! Yours is the house of thoughtful contemplation and strong individualism. Oh, yes, and cleverness, but not necessarily as an end in itself. You believe the unexamined life isn't worth living, and you won't simply accept something someone else tells you without due consideration. You have a horror of being herded, and you prize your powers of discernment. People who act thoughtlessly annoy you But sometimes you go too far the other way and may prize being different just to be different. Far be it from you to like what everyone else does! You can also become amputated at the neck, resisting your feelings and gut-level responses -- distrusting them or not being sure what to do with them. You may think you don't need friends. Beware of becoming the (cool-headed) rebel without a cause! Historical analogy: Emmanuel Kant
Take this quiz!

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm out of shape...

Audrea and I went to East Coast Park yesterday afternoon to go blading, and now my legs are hurting. Both because I'm out of shape, and because those roller-blades are really painful to wear.

I've always had a bit of a flat-foot problem... Not severe enough to actually warrant getting special shoes, but it still causes me some discomfort. For example, I can't wear Nike shoes because of the way they are cut. And because of the way blades are made, it makes my feet, and shins hurt just by wearing them.

It doesn't help that I'm totally out of shape too, and that 30mins in, I'm totally beat and exhausted. Man, I'm weak.

But it was really fun though, just being at the beach with my girl. I really had a blast, and I'd like to do it again, and maybe the next time we can rope in more friends. Of course, the next time I'm gonna make it a point to rent a bicycle instead... which would mean my ass would hurt rather than my legs.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

SIF Award

I just finished my event yesterday, and it went very smoothly. 2 months of work, all condensed to a 2 hour event at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Thank goodness it's over. It's been a crazy time trying to organise it, and I'm just glad it went off without a hiccup. Of course, I had a lot of willing and helpful people there to lend me a hand, and I couldn't have pulled it off without them. Plus I had a good team who was with me all the way.

And the event got reported in the news today! It was in this morning's Straits Times, and it was on the Channel NewsAsia website. Here's the link: SIF Award on Channel News Asia

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Geek Sunday, Part Deux

This is the topic I had initially wanted to focus more on, rather than my lengthy post about Tempus.

X06 is a gaming event organised by Microsoft to show off their upcoming gaming products, primarily the Xbox 360 console. This year, there was quite a display of PC gaming too, not surprising considering that Microsoft is looking to promote their newest OS, the Vista, which is supposed to be very gamer friendly.

The event was located at the corner of Carlton Hotel and Odeon Towers. Microsoft built an interesting structure, which resembled a series of inter-linked domes. It looked a little odd from the outside, and actually, quite underwhelming. But inside was a plethora of gaming goodness, and it was quite a sight. The curved surfaces served as screens inside the dome, similar to the Omnimax Theatre. Now imagine 10-12 concurrently running game trailers on the curved ceiling, surrounded by loads of Xbox 360 consoles, PCs, HD TVs, music, people and games. It was quite a sight.

I tried out a number of games, and I'll list some of my impressions of them.

Games that I tried:

Star Trek: Legacy
In this game, I captain the Enterprise, which should have been sufficient reason enough for me to like this game. But it didn't really click with me. I had difficulty navigating the ship, and the controls weren't particularly intuitive. Some commands were located at the touch of a button, but others required multiple levels of screens. I wasn't able to quite wrap my head around the game, but I guess that's just me. Graphics weren't spectacular either, but I can be a little forgiving when it comes to space games... I mean, how much details could one really use to depict deep black space?

Gears of War
Wow. That's all I can say. It was quite an experience to get my hands on this game. I've seen the demo before, and I wasn't so impressed. But playing it changed my mind. It felt more like playing an action movie. The animation, the details on the screen, the sound effects and the action... Everything felt fluid and flexible, and nothing felt scripted. Enemies displayed a decent amount of intelligence, and team-mates were effective. And the best part of this game? Co-op! Available either in split-screen, or over Xbox Live!

Viva Pinata
Hmm... I'm undecided about this game. I can see the appeal, and I honestly wanted to like this game much more. At the moment, I'm undecided. Technically, it's very well done. The production values are definitely top-notch: Graphics are clean and inspired, music was catchy, and the pinatas were so cute. But it terms of emotional connect, it still hasn't hit me yet. I'd still like to get a copy of it, and I'd definitely want to play it. But I'm not sure if a game such as this could capture my attention.

Vampire Rain
Rubbish. That's my one word descriptor for this game. Rain is a stealth game which almost looks like a Splinter Cell clone. Until the zombies attack. Vicious, unyielding zombies that will kill you as soon as they get their hands on you. Usually, I'd applaud these traits in a zombie, but in the game, it'll lead to frustration. My character wasn't able to stand up to even one zombie, and death was quick and painful. I think I died about 7-8 times in the 20mins I played, and each time I had to start the level again. I have to admit to one particularly cool death though: I was spotted whilst on the rooftop (there were zombies there too), and I let myself down the edge of the building and tried to slide down a drain pipe. Ordinarily, this would be sufficient to avoid danger, as game AI aren't programmed to just climb over obstacles. The zombie in this game leapt off the side of the building, grabbed me, bit me, and pulled me down a 5 storey drop to my death.

Warhammer 40k: Dark Crusade
A good quality expansion to an already great game. I had to play this just so I could use the Tau.

Battlefield 2142
Not quite my cup of tea. There are quite alot of interesting mechanics to it, but none that appeal to me.

Company of Heroes
Brillant. An excellent strategy game, based on area control and effective use of combined arms. And most importantly, extremely thematic. I've always felt a RTS based in WWII is a little odd, but it works in this game. Your builder unit are Army Engineers, whose job is to set up encampments and tentages for troops. Each unit work in squads, and they can do most anything an infantry squad would do. And it's an absolute joy to send them in to attack, and see them dropping to the ground, crawling into position or running around in panic. It feels like you're commanding a real group of men. And that's the ultimate experience for a strategy game: to make you believe you are actually commanding those men.

While I was there, I took the oppurtunity to buy a copy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and an extra controller, because of the available discounts. I'm sorely tempted to just play the game, but I'm waiting on Shaun and Mark to come over to have a gaming marathon. I hope it's going to happen soon!

Geek Sunday

I had a pretty damn decent weekend, steeped in all manners of geekiness. That's the best kind of weekend, and I had a whale of a time.

On a not so happy note, a couple of friends were having some problems and I had to help them out. I really do hope they'll be able to work thing out and resolve their differences.

I met Andy, Adrian and Sng for a game of Tempus on Sunday at PI. It was a very good game, and I believe we all throughly enjoyed ourselves. It's was also the first oppurtunity I've had to play a game with Andy. I had played this game wrong the 1st time, and I've wanted to try it again with the correct rules. And I must say, I haven't been disappointed by this game at all.

Tempus is a Civ-type game, in which one is trying to cultivate one's civilisation, and trying to claim dominance against other players. As this game is lighter than say... Civilisation... there are multiple elements that have been abstracted. There aren't any real Civ-type game elements such as exploration or techonological advancements. In this game, each player essentially just tries to increase their population, which would then allow them to build cities. One could potentially win this game without getting into confrontation with another. It's all about placement of your pieces and your cities.

And in that fashion, one could see where the theme in this game lies. The success of one's civilisation isn't about the number of fights one is in, but rather based on where one establishes one's foothold. When you decide where to establish your city, you must consider whether that particular move would have any effect on future builds. You could rationalise this as your people finding suitable, and fertile lands for your cities. In the game, as each city cannot be built adjacent to each other, the placement of the city could potentially either lock yourself or your opponent out of an area.

In the game that we played, Adrian won with a total of 23 points without being in a fight even once. And though Andy lost a huge fight against me, he ended up in second place with 22 points. I was in last position with 16 points, and Sng had 19. I think that in the end, the game was pretty close, and had I planned my moves more carefully earlier, I might have stood a stronger chance and a better placing. Fighting Andy helped my position a little, and may have delayed him a little, but it was the bad placement of my cities and people that lost me the game.

Near the end of the game, Sng suggested that he was in a king-making position, whereby his actions could have adverse effect on the lead player, and that action would have given the win to another person. He also noted that this was a common problem noted in by other players. I still remain unconvinced that a king-making problem exists in this game. What he didn't realise at that point, was that he was still in a strong position to win, even though he thought he was out of the race. Had he chosen a slightly different course of action, and spread his people to capture points, rather than attacking Andy in the end, he really could have stolen the win. There is one important thing to note here: The point differences between each player is actually quite close, and spreading out your people could easily capture more points than destroying another city would. It's a toss-up between a confirmed number of points through finding fertile to settle in, or a risky attack which would could potentially have no impact on your score.

All in all, I think this is a good game and one worth putting on the table again. I definitely noted some problems in my gameplay early on, and by the time I realised it, it was too late to mitigate my own mistakes. What made it interesting was the tenacity of my opponents, and each mistake I made is an opportunity for them to seize upon.

Wow... I talked a lot longer about that game than expected. My next post will be about the morning I spent at X06, which is a Microsoft gaming event here in Singapore.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gaming day

I went over to Weng Keong's place for an afternoon of games. The session was supposed to start in the morning, but I didn't get there til about 3pm. It was an enjoyable experience, and I'd say it was a good day overall. Of course, anyday I get to play a few games is a good one for me.

I find that my playing time has reduced recently which is a shame. And kinda odd, since I set up SOG just so that I could play more. I really need to step it up a bit more.

I played a number of games today:
Time Pirates
The Great Dalmuti

Overall, I think my favourite game today was Ra. It really is quite an ingenious auction game. There aren't many rules, but there are many subtilties in the process, and it leads to many interesting situations. The theme really is quite thin (almost non-existant, I would say) but overall a very good game.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I've just gotten my employment confirmation from my supervisor, so I'm officially permanently employed and am no longer on probabtion. So... Yea! That's pretty cool, because I was supposed to be confirmed only in November, and my boss told me that she was going to do it a month early, since I'm definitely staying.

But work has been a little crazy lately. There's plenty to do, and not really enough time to do it all in. The toughest part is the liasing with so many different parties (vendors, guests, other VIPs). So there's alot of back and forth, and lots of phone calls/emails/meetings/discussions. Damn, it's not easy putting together an award ceremony. There's the techinical aspect (venue, audio/visual equipment, lighting, photography), creative aspect (room layout, stage backdrop, exhibition panels, video montage). There's also the script for speeches, confirmation of menus, citations, media writeups, invitations (we sent out about 900+++ letters, and 800+++ invitation cards), guestlists, and seating plans.

But I'll just roll with the punches, you know. I can handle it. But I wouldn't mind a smoke about now.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The 8th session of Singapore Open Gaming was held over the weekend, and it was another success. I've mentioned this gaming group on a number of occasions previously, and I've made my feelings about it quite clear. I think it's a great way for me to meet new people to play with, and it's been a great motivator in my personal life now.

I just wanted to mention that I had a really good game of Antike at SOG. We avoided a situation that is commonly percieved to be a problem with the game, and we had a exceedingly challenging 6 player game. This commonly percieved problem is one whereby the game stalls because of over-defensiveness in players. This would in turn lead to a situation where players, in an attempt to secure the last victory card, would only focus on destroying temples and little else. This is a problem that did not occur in our game of Antike, and the game really shined.

We avoided this by stressing before the game started, that the point of the game was to secure victory cards, through a variety of means other than conquest. And that the mindset of building a huge army to keep defending yourself til you are able to smash through other armies, would NOT lead one to victory. The winner, Michael, ended the game with the prerequisite 6 victory cards: 2 in research, 2 in building enough cities, 1 in navigation, and 1 in destroying a temple. It was a tightly fought game, with Michael blitzing for the win, securing the 2 required victory cards (he had 5 previously). The closest other player, Cedric, could have easily stolen the victory on his following turn, with the possiblity of securing 3 victory cards had he been given the chance. I was slightly slower behind, catching up from behind to end the game with 4 cards.

What made this game so compelling, was the fact that most players did not just build and hold, but moved very dynamically across the board. The board was open, and players were not bogged down with merely consolidating territories they already owned. Cyril and Kew soon were sort of caught in this situation, and fell behind in the race for victory.

I made the mistake of NOT going for more research, which I could easily have done. Truth be told, I took over someone else's game, and he sort of bogged down a little too, but I was able to turn it around to pull myself higher up in the victory race.

This is my 2nd time playing this game, and I'm still enjoying it very much. But it's important for players to remember the objective of the game... which isn't just to fight and take over territories. One must develop their own civilisation in all areas in order to secure the victory cards.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


In remembrance of North Korea's nuclear test a couple days ago, I downloaded and played Defcon, which was developed by Introversion Software.

Introversion has made a few very interesting games, and I definitely think that they are THE pc game developer to watch. They previously made Uplink, which lets gamers take on the role of a hacker, to steal money fron banks, and destroy precious information. It was done in a very innovative manner, and should be on anyone playlist. The innovative thing about the game is how the entire interface mimicks a desktop GUI, and players run hacking programs the way they would open MS Word.

Defcon is the latest game from this company, and it's one that I feel is another instant classic. In the game, each player (maximum of 6) take on the role of a superpower. They are each given a set number of radar sites, missile silos, airfields and fleets; There's no other way to gain more units. Played on a world map, players place their units on homeground, and use units to attempt to destroy each others' cities. The game counts down from Defcon 5 to 1, and the use of nuclear arms will be authorised once it reaches Defcon 1. Prior to that, players can also send bombers and submarines on missions to take out each others' facilities.

This game is really quite good, and really does make players realise the terrible cost of potential nuclear war. As each city is hit, the game shows how many millions of people were killed. And the winning player is the one that kills more people (ie bomb more major cities) than any other.

With the game presentation done is a cold blue tinge, with slightly eerie music, and distant screams of people with each bomb hit, it really hit me how cold and impersonal the launching of this devastating weapon can be. It's not about how many of my people they kill, it's about how much more I can kill. And it really makes me realise how much power one person can hold, through control of this horrible device... Deus Ex Machina, maybe?

North Korea having the ability to create nuclear weapons is a scary thought, only because it seems more than willing to use it as a bargaining chip. For it, this weapon is merely a tool, nothing more, and one that can be used with the same disdain as one would treat any other tool. And that does frighten me. We could be facing another Cold War, or even worse, a nuclear arms race here in Asia.

Our parents lived under the shadow of nuclear destruction. Don't think, for a moment, that it couldn't have happened. We could have very easily destroyed ourselves, and it could become a very real possibility. And it only takes a click of a button.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm just like Batman.

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight.

As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight

James Bond, Agent 007

Indiana Jones

The Terminator

The Amazing Spider-Man

Neo, the "One"

Captain Jack Sparrow

William Wallace

Lara Croft


El Zorro


I saw a link to "Which Action Hero Would You Be?" over at Mark's blog. Seeing as to how I'm an action hero/superhero nut, I gave it a shot. And I'm Batman!! Yes!!

This quiz is totally 100% accurate because I got the answer I wanted. It really understood the inner me, and I felt like I was able to express myself through this character. If you have any doubts about your personality, take this test and you'll learn a lot about the true inner you. Now I feel all cleansed and spiritual and all.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Today, I bought happiness

I got myself a Nintendo DS Lite, which is jet black in colour. Yes!! And I am happy. Because I bought myself new stuff. That's what happiness is all about, isn't it? Getting new stuff.

And I am particularly happy because the DS Lite is a very handsome machine, and I won't feel ashamed about bringing it out with me now. I used to be a little embarrased about bring it's older brother out with me, but with the Lite, I can't feel anything but pride!

Haha! And tomorrow I go buy myself another board game! Coolness. The month of crazy spending has just begun!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Shopping spree... DVDs for cheap at HMV

I went out to town on my own this afternoon. I saw a number of DVDs at HMV yesterday and I wanted to pick them up today, while I still had money on me. I just got paid, and I needed to spend my money before it ran out. Yes. That's what I said.

There are quite a good selection of DVDs on sale at HMV, and I picked up 6 movies just now. I think most of them are Code 3 regretfully, but at that price and selection, I just couldn't resist. There were 2 price categories: 2 for $38.95, or 2 for $28.95. I spent just slightly over $100 for those 6 movies I picked.

I got myself:
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Anchorman
The Pianist
Lost in Translation
High Fidelity
2001: A Space Odessy

Quite an electic mix, I must admit, but these are all good movies, regardless of your personal taste in film. Some classics, some critically acclaimed, and some silly movies just to take the edge off. I'm very pleased with my purchase, and I hope that I don't feel tempted to make another trip to HMV anytime soon. I think there were another 4 films that I would be keen on getting. I hope I can resist.

On a seperate but related note, I really should start going back to the movies. I used to really enjoy watching film, and I haven't seen many really good films since I've been back to Singapore. There are constantly good films being shown here but I just need to break out of my comfort zone and really go and do it. I think I should go catch a movie I've been keen on for a while: The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The V Tea Room

I went to The V Tea Room at the Esplanade earlier this afternoon with Audrea for afternoon tea. It's a really nice place, though it is a little pricey. It's definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a place to indulge yourself, and to treat yourself to some very nice tasties.

The decor is very Victorian-inspired and creates a warm, inviting atmosphere without being over opulent. Floors are most probably fake parquet, and the walls are painted a textured red to give depth to the room. The cafe is not a large area, but with the finishings, manages to look very cosy. Furnitures are mostly wood; The chairs are highbacked and well cushioned, the tabletops are marbled.

The service was really good, with multiple staff ready to serve you. They are also very friendly, and look for all ways to accommadate you. I didn't have to wait long for service, and the staff was also very well-informed about the various menu items. When we arrived, there wasn't a table available inside and we were only offered a slightly less nice table ouside. I requested for us to be seated inside once a table opens up, which was quickly seen to. Other notable things about service was their insistence on pouring the first cup of tea, and distributing serviettes with a pair of tongs.

The food is quite good. We ordered a pot of tea, a quiche, and a melt cake to share. The tea was quite good, though as you already know, leaving the bag in the pot will render the tea a little bitter at the end. The quiche was quite tasty, and was quite a healthy portion. The melt-cake was very delicious, with a very interesting texture to it. The staff told us that the melt-cake was their own concoction, being essentially a half-baked cake, with had equal parts of firm and gooey cake. It was quite a good combination, and though they said it was a half-baked cake, it didn't taste undercooked at all. The gooey parts taste more like a sweet yoghurt, and complimented the firm bits very well. It comes in various flavours (Chocolate/durian, hazelnut, strawberry, raspberry) but we had the blueberry one. It is served with bits of fruit, biscuits and a small glass of liquer. We also had a Gula Melaka flavoured ice cream to accompany the cake.

It's not cheap though. Tea for two costs $12, the quiche costs $8, and the melt-cake costs $22.50!! The ice cream costs $5.50. The total bill came up to about $60! Other items on the menu aren't quite as expensive as the melt-cake, with each individual item ranging between $8 to $15.

This is a really nice place for afternoon tea, and I would most definitely give it a try again. The cost may be off-putting, but I'd suggest that you give the melt-cake at least a try once. It's quite different. The rest of the items on the menu look very intriguing, and there is quite a high level of quality. Sometimes you have to pay for quality, and The V Tea Room has that in spades. With the decor, staff and food, you're getting your money's worth. And if you are a tightfisted miser, you can just sit there for hours and keep asking for hotwater to refill your tea. The staff will still treat you like a privilieged guest.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

International Talk like a Pirate Day

This coming tuesday, 19 Sept 2006, is the International Talk like a Pirate Day. It is my duty to inform you all, and request that all must talk like a pirate for the entire day. We must uphold this worthy tradition, as we each have a personal stake in ensuring that pirate-speak is passed down to our children, and our children's children.

I have never taken part in this tradition, even though I've known about it for a few years now. It's really quite a shameful thing on my part. I might make a statement or two in pirate-speak, but I have never actually talked like a pirate at all. I aim to change that this year. Avast!

I have included links here so that you too may be able to talk like a pirate. Understandably, you probably haven't had much practice in speaking in such a manner, so hopefully these following websites will be able to ease your transition into full pirate speak.


Friday, September 15, 2006

I want DDs

Ok. This is going to be a totally geeky post. So if you don't like geek stuff, carry on walking.

I went a little crazy on spending these last 2 days. I spent a bit in setting up my Xbox Live, and getting Chrome Hounds online. But now I'm up and running, and I'm taking my hound out for many a joyrides.

Hound? That's the game's euphamism for big honkin' robots with big honkin' guns. But a mech by another other name would still sound as sweet as I crush my opponent under the weight of my guns.

I've got a Defender, a slow moving thing bristling with guns. Not really bristling, cos I'm still lacking most of the upgrades that would become available once I've played the single-player game. But til then, this is the best I've got. I've loaded my hound with 2 light cannons, 2 machine guns, and 2 rocket pods. That'll have to do for the moment, as I slowly acquire more equipment to bolster my offensive capability.

The game is quite an experience, as it's played as a team, and one must be part of a squad before one can play. So I've joined up with a bunch of Singaporean gamers and they've been giving me tips and watching over me every step of the way. They're a good bunch of guys, but mostly that's cos everyone's just there to play a game with like-minded people.

On a seperate issue, I've confirmed my flight to Seattle.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'm flying to the States

I'll be going to the US in a couple of months, from 7 - 19 Nov. I'm really looking forward to the trip, as I'll be going to Dallas to attend BGG.Con, which would be a weekend of non-stop boardgaming goodness. I'm also going to stop by Seattle for a number of days to visit two very old friends of mine. I haven't seen them in years, and I am really looking forward to meeting them again soon.

I knew Shyamal when I was back in SJI, because he was in the same class as Adrian. I used to go over to visit Adrian all the time and after a while, got to know some of his classmates too. We hanged out regularly for 2-3 years, but we always just remained more as acquaintances rather than true friends. I think it was in year 2000 that we truly became friends.

Prior to this, we'd meet up for the occasional movie, or a swim at Adrian's place. Or we'd go get some cheap food cos we were broke all the time. I once saw Shyam and Nick trying to heat up a can of spagettii with a Zippo lighter, on a tripod made out of battries and an eraer, in the corridor of a shopping centre. This sort of behaviour was indicative of our activities. Sometimes we'd go drinking for a bit, looking for the cheapest beer in the most rundown and seedy of watering holes. And we'd go to Crazy Elephant, for some classic rock music by the Anson Brothers.

Shyam taught me how to play the drums and we'd go jamming with a couple of friends. We'd play all sorts of music, and most of which were improvisions.

And we would go to the Field. The Field was an open patch of grass where we used to spend many nights there, just looking up at the stars and having a smoke. Yes, Shyam was the one I picked up smoking from too. We'd just lay there in the grass, sometimes doing crazy things like setting a campfire, and sometimes just chilling out and hanging about. The view there was spectacular, with each star shining brightly, despite being in the middle of an urban area. Often times, we'd spend the night watching the stars and wait til the sun rises. I remember once we saw a storm cloud in the far distance with arching lighting jumping from one cloud to the next. Beautiful.

So I'll be visiting Shyam, and Divya too, this coming November. I'm really looking forward to it. Even more so than my little boardgames.

I haven't forgotten about you either, Div. I'm so happy that Shyam and you are together again. You two were made to be a pair, and all of us here wish you the greatest happiness. I'll be seeing you soon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I slept for 12 hours last night

I've been feeling a little under the weather lately. I've been having slight sniffles and feeling tired very easily. So I went home straight after work, and had a light-ish dinner, and went to bed soon after. It was around 8pm, and I woke up at 8am this morning. I'm feeling much better now, but I wish I didn't have to come to work today. If only I can only just stay at home, laze around and yet still continue getting paid.

I think tele-commuting is the key here.

On a seperate issue, I want to eat steak. I want meat, red and rare, chargrilled over a hot fire and served with potatoes and a side of salad. I'm salivating just thinking of it. I also want to have a nice red wine with it. And I want to have my favourite people around me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I want... No, I need the air-con fixed.

For the sake of my sanity, I need that thrice-damned aircon fixed, and I need it fixed now. I don't think I'll be able to survive very long without it, and everyday without it is torturous to me. I will suffer, on a daily basis, if the aircon is not up and running.

But it's not my aircon that is broken. Oh no. The one in my room is working fine. It's purring beautifully. It's the aircon in my parents' room that is broken, along with the ones in the dining room and living room. Those 3 units are linked to the same compressor, and I believe it has broken down, rendering all the linked units to cease functioning too.

My dad, unable to sleep in a warm room, cooled only by an electric fan, has decided to move into my room, to take advantage of my still functioning aircon, whilst his is broken. So he's sleeping in my room now. And he snores a little; about as softly as a chainsaw.

Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep last night at all. If he wasn't snoring, he was talking, and it has kept me up most of the night. I can't keep my ears covered under my pillow because the moment I actually fall asleep, something slips, and I can feel the full force of his snores and I'm jolted awake again.

I finally moved to the couch at about 4am, trying to catch some sleep in quiet. My mom woke up shortly after, and offered her bed to me. So I did manage to catch a few hours of peaceful rest.

But I may be in for more torture if that damn aircon isn't fixed and soon. I'm shattered here. I'm about to crash.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why geeks and nerds are worth it.

I just read over at a friend's blog lamenting why she can't get a normal guy. I also just heard about another friend's recent breakup.

This, coupled with the coincidence that I had heard about this list from a recent podcast, made me want to share this with everyone.

In the wide world of dating, there are many options. Do you go for the flashy guy with the smooth smile, or the dude in the corner typing away on his laptop? The following are reasons why I think my fellow females should pay more attention to the quiet geeks and nerds, and less attention to the flashy boys.

1. While geeks and nerds may be awkward, they’re well-meaning 9 out of 10 times. That smooth dude with the sly grin and the spider hands? Wonder what HIS intentions are... plus, I’ve never had a geek guy not call me when he said he would. Score major points THERE.

2. They’re useful. In this tech-savvy world, it’s great to have a b/f who can make your laptop, desktop, and just about anything else that plugs into a wall behave itself.

3. They’re more romantic than they’re given credit for. Ok true, their idea of romance might be to make up a spiffy web-page with all the reasons why they love you, with links to pics of you and sonnets and such... but hey. It lasts longer than flowers, plus you can show your friends.

4. Due to their neglected status, there are plenty to choose from. You like ‘em tall and slender? There are plenty of geeks/nerds who are. You like ‘em smaller with more meat on their bones? Got that too.

5. They’ve got brains. Come on now, how can intelligence be a bad thing?

6. Most are quite good at remembering dates. Like birthdates and such, especially if they know it’ll make you happy. Due again to their neglected status, they’re more attentive than guys who “have more options”. Plus, with all that down time without a steady girlfriend, they’ll likely have mental lists of all the things they’d love to do once they GOT a girlfriend.

7. Sex. Yep. Sex. I’m not really familiar with this myself, but I’ve friends who’ve been intimate with geek guys and it’s raves all around. They say a virgin wrote the Kama Sutra... all that time thinking about sex, imagining sex, dreaming about sex (they are male after all), coupled with a desire to make you happy? Use your imagination.

8. They’re relatively low-maintenance. Most can be fueled on pizza, Twinkies and Mt Dew. No complicated dinners needed here, so if you’re not the best cook, eh. Can you order a pizza?

9. Most frequent bars as often as slugs frequent salt mines. You won’t have to worry much about your geek guy getting his “groove” on with club hotties because, frankly, he’ll be too busy rooting around under his computer wondering where that spare cable went. You won’t have to worry about him flirting with other women because, 9 out of 10 times, he’ll zip right by them in a perfect b-line towards the nearest electronics store. I’ve seen this happen.
Me: “Eww. Victoria Secret’s Models... They’re so skinny. How is that feminine? You can see her ribs!”
Geek Guy: “ooooooo...”
Me: “Hey!” *notices he is staring lustfully towards the computer store*
Geek Guy: “What?”
Me: “Never mind...”

10. Although he may not want to go to every outing with you, you can arrange swaps, as in, you’ll go to his Gamer Con dressed as an elf princess if he’ll take you to the ballet. Plus, if he doesn’t want to go someplace with you, you won’t have to worry much about what he’s up to. You’ll probably come home to find him asleep on his keyboard in a sea of Mt. Dew cans with code blinking from the screen. It’s ok. He’s used to this. Just toss a blanket over him and turn out the light.

11. His friends aren’t jerks. I can’t stress this enough. You’ll more likely get “Omg! A GIRL!! Can I see?!” than “Hey hot stuff back that ass up here and let me get some grub on...” They’re awkward geeks too and will, 9 times out of 10, treat you with the utmost respect and, more than likely, a note of awe. A cute girl picked one of their clan to date? It could happen to them! Hope! Drag some of your single girlfriends over, open up a pack of Mt. Dew, crack open the DnD set and get working. Nothing impresses geek guys more than a girl who can hack-n-slash (well ok maybe if she can code... a geek can dream).

12. They’re rarely if ever possessive. They trust you, so you can be yourself around them. You like to walk around the house in a ratty t-shirt for comfort? He won’t care. He does too! They won’t get pissy if you don’t wear make-up or don’t want to bother primping your hair. If you gain a few pounds, they won’t try their best to make you feel like crap.

13. They’re usually very well educated. Physics majors and the like. See #5. You won’t have to listen to him blathering on about his car (ok maybe a little), he’ll have loads of other interesting things to talk about. Politics, world events, how much the chicken burgers down at the local place rock, so long as you douse them in hot sauce...

14. You’ll almost never have to hear, “Yaw dawg whazzap!!” plop out of their mouths. Unless it’s in jest. They spell properly, use correct punctuation, and are able to tell the difference between the toilet and the floor. They almost never get “wasted”, so you won’t have to worry about coming home to find him and his friends passed out on the floor amidst a pile of beer bottles. Mt. Dew cans, perhaps...

15. And the final reason why geeks and nerds make great boyfriends: They actually give a damn about you. Not how you look (though that’s a plus), not how skinny you are, not how much make-up you primp yourself up with, but they like you for you. That kind of thing lasts longer than “DaMN baby you got a fine ass!!!” Believe me.

Geek guys are worth it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Nintendo DS Lite

This title straight up tells you what I want. I want a DS Lite. I have the original DS and I think that it is a really great gaming machine. The only downside to it, and one reason why I don't bring it out as often as I should, is because that it looks like a big bloated whale. It's ugly. It's a big block of a gray brick, and I wish it looked prettier. The DS Lite solves that problem, and I want one. Now.

But besides wanting a DS Lite for myself, I want each of my friends to have one too. That's right, I want all of you to go out and buy yourselves a Nintendo DS Lite. If ever you were thinking of getting me a birthday present or something similar, that would be the BEST birthday present ever. Get yourselves a DS Lite. All of you. Every single one. It would be so awesome.

Remember when I borrowed an extra DS from Yancun, and we all played multi-player Meteos? We had everyone so excited about it, and we had match after match with each other. Most of you couldn't get your hands off it, and more than once, you all were the ones who asked to play it some more.

Now imagine we could do that on a regular basis. We could meet up and play all sorts of games together. We'd whip out our DS Lites, and we'd challenge each other to a game of Bomberman. Or race against each other on Mario Kart. Or we can continue to challenge each other on Meteos.

The DS Lite has moved video gaming from a solitaire experience into a social activity, and I would like to be able to do that with my friends; To do the things that I like with the people that I love.

I want to kick your ass, wipe the floor with your face, taunt you and humiliate you. I want to beat you down, do the chicken dance, and yell "Who's your daaaaddy!".

So please, do go out there and get yourselves a DS Lite. I'll go get one too soon. And let's play some games together.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I just completed a major project at my current company, and I'm feeling very glad that it's over. At the same time, I'm also feeling quite excited about it, because I was given very good feedback regarding the programme, both from my boss and my guest. But also at the same time, I'm feeling a little trepiditious about the next upcoming project. It's all a mess of conflicting emotions inside.

During the last 3 days, I had a guest whom I was escorting throughout his stay here. I looked after the logistics end of the visit, arranging the car and making sure he was on time for his appointments. I also picked him up and sent him off at the airport.

Prior to the actual event, there was a lot of planning to do, and alot of various events/appointments to confirm. That took alot of adminstrative details, and paying alot of attention to multiple things.

Overall, I think my programme was quite successful, and my guest was pleased with his visit to Singapore.

BUT... having performed so well, it might mean that I'll be given more responsibility and projects to handle. Maybe I shouldn't have been quite so outstanding, and flown a little under the radar. But it's very hard to hide my radiant brillance. It's a tough situation I'm in, I think.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thurn & Taxis

I managed to play Thurn & Taxis today, and I'm really glad that I did. I enjoy this game very much, and I think it'll have a place on my gaming table for a long time. I think this game balances very well between a family friendly game, and a more gamers' game. It can appeal to beginners, and still offer enough challenge to a seasoned player.

There have been comparisons to Ticket to Ride, and I can most definitely see where that would come from. However, I think Thurn & Taxis is more suited to those who have previously found Ticket to Ride a little too 'light' for their tastes.

In this game, you are trying to building routes for postal services across Germany, and this game is set in the late 1800s. You build routes by playing city cards from your hand, with the condition that the next city card that you play must be adjacent, on the game board, onto the table and next to the city that you had played in the previous turn. One key thing to remember is that you cannot insert a city card in between any of the cards that you had already previously placed on the table. You set the cards in a row, and each new card can only be placed on either side of that row. City cards are designated with a colour to represent the region they belong to. This is important for scoring points.

You draw cards each turn from an open set of 6, which are placed on the actual game board. You may choose to pick any one of these cards and add them to your hand. You must also lay one city card onto the route that you are currently building. If you are unable to do so, you must remove all the cards that you had played previously and discard them.

If you are able to complete a route (3 cards in a row or more), you will now place postal houses onto the game board. You may decide to claim the route at any length, as long as it is more than 3. You can decide to build up to 7 or more if you felt crazy enough. Placing the postal houses can get a little confusing. You can choose to either place 1) 1 house in all the cities of 1 colour, or 2) 1 house in 1 city of each colour. Placement of these houses are important because they affect the manner in which you claim bonus points. You can score certain regions once you have 1 house in every city of that colour. Others only allow you to score once you have houses in all the cities of 2 different colours.

Every time you complete a route, you may be able to pick up a carriage card. The carriage card is both a bonus and a liability. There are carriage cards for 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 card routes. When you claim a route of a particular length for the 1st time, you may pick up the corresponding carriage card, provided that you have already taken the preceding one in a previous turn. If you want to claim the 5 route carriage card, you must already have claimed the 4 route carriage card. Each carriage type has a certain score, but it must be pointed out that the scores are not cumalative.
Each new card is laid over the previous card, and your score will be similarly overlaid. Each bigger carriage card has a bigger score.

One of the most intriguing parts of the game is the special abilities that each player may employ once each turn. Each player has a choice of 4 abilities. 1) Pick up 2 cards and add to your hand, instead of the usual 1. 2) Place 2 city cards onto your current route instead of the normal 1. 3) Discard the open set of 6 cards and deal a new set of 6. 4) Pick up a carriage card up to 2 more than your current route (route must be at least 4 cards long).

I mentioned above that I felt that this game may appeal to the more seasoned player better, and I say this because I find that each turn for the player offers more choice and decision making oppurtunities. If you do not have a card to play onto the route you are currently building, you will have to scrap it. And because of this, each player to forced to plan ahead to ensure that the current route is not wasted. Each player is also given more choice in ensuring this through the use of the special abilities, which allow the potential to change the draw of the card to their benefit. And thus, I felt that each of my turns were more purposeful during my game, because even though there was a random element to the game, I was able to mitigate that through the use of the special abilities. It was often a case of taking a chance, in either changing the set of 6 open cards or drawing two cards, but the choice of taking that chance is one that I am able to make myself.

I really like this game on my first play, and I think it's a worthwhile addition to my game collection. My first impressions are usually spot-on, and if a game doesn't impress me the 1st time round, it usually is quite difficult to change that impression. I'm glad to say that Thurn & Taxis makes a very good first impression.

Oooh... What a rush....!

I am on a gamer high. I really am. I'm still totally psyched out about the turnout at today's SOG session. We had a total of 30 people turning up for games today! Wow. I mean... That is just simply fantastic.

It's been half a year since I started organising this gaming group, and I have to say that the past 6 months have really flown by. Each month I'm just looking forward to the next SOG because I have such a blast organising it. And within these past months, I have built up a pretty strong network of gamers (56 names in the mailing list) and I've made many new friends.

If you've been reading this blog, you must know how excited I've been about SOG, and how keen I've been on promoting it to others. But really, I couldn't have done it with a few really dependable friends. They too have been helping me promote SOG to the people they know, and I'm real glad to have their support. Thanks. You know who you all are.

I had a few gamers today come up to me and thank me for organising such a session for them, and one even asked if I could do this once a fortnight. That's the greatest endorsement that I can ask for, and in response to that, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself doing it, and if you all keep coming back, I'll keep doing it. It probably won't go into a bi-weekly session though. That'll just burn me out.

30 people! Frickin' crazy sick awesome!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mood: Cheerful/Hopeful

If I wake up, and the sun is shining, and I'm tucked underneath my blanket, and the skies are blue and the clouds are white, and I am able to sit up under my own power, then it is a good day. If I am still able-bodied, and I have clothes to keep me warm, and food to eat, and a roof over my head, then it is a good life. Everything else that comes my way is a blessing.

I have a job to keep my financially stable. I have money to spend on things that I want. I have friends and family at my side. I have a computer in which to type this on! I have more in my possession today than what some people would have in their entire lives.

Boy, it sure helps to know that there are many miserable people out there who live more wretched lives than I!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

All quiet on the western front

Nothing to report. Things have been plodding along and no particular highlights in the past couple weeks.

Work is starting to pile up because I am planning, and will be executing, a visit programme soon. I'm going to be busy the week starting 13 Aug. But I think I can manage. I just had my mid-year review yesterday. I've only been here for 3 months and I don't have much in terms of completed achievements. But HR requires a review of all staff, including new ones. So my superiors have deemed me as... cooperative, reliable, efficient and a team player. I'm not going to say that I'm not, cos I do try to do my work well. So I'm glad that they recognise this. I might get a little careless sometimes with the spelling and all, but I really do try. They also said that I have a very postive attitude. Hahaha... I guess I do have that.

The 1st ever Singapore Board Games Championship was just held over the weekend, and I was a judge at the event. I'm quite glad that I volunteered because I really do want to do what I can to support the boardgaming community. Boardgaming is my hobby, and I would like to see increased awareness about it. I enjoy playing with my regular gaming buddies, but I would like to see it grow, and I would like to be part of that growing process. It's not enough to just sit back and grumble about how bad things are, how they can improve, if one isn't already trying to contribute in the 1st place. Volunteering now will allow me to have a bigger input the next time this event is ever held again.

The next biggest thing to be coming along this week is Audrea's birthday. I'm real excited about it, and I'm glad that our friends can all make it to dinner. I think it'll be great. I just need to be ordering a cake now, and make reservations for dinner on Saturday.

Is there anything else exciting happening in my life? No... Not really. But that's alright.