Saturday, June 23, 2007

Gladiator Leonardo

What a truly harrowing experience. I could barely sleep when I woke up on the 20th in realization that I did not receive my Gladiator title and Armored Netherdrake. Aliane seiously helped me get my first 8 hours of sleep by finding the blue thread suggesting that errors might have occurred while distributing the rewards :D

I might want to take a break from WoW or something considering that my work has been neglected to a large extent.

Leon the Darkener?!

In our dreams we soar up high...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Jaime Maussan UFO Conference 2005

Due to popular demand, I decided to revive Jaime Mausan's UFO Conference. I found the video on video Google a year ago and it's still there! The entire video is very long, 1 hour 33 minutes. I believe it was broken down into 10 segments on YouTube, just search Jaime Mausan and you'd most likely find them.

This is Part 1 (YouTube version):

Full video Google version:

Some captures in the video are dubious but some are mind blowing. Jaime Mausan is a slow speaker so it gets rather draggy, but enjoy.

Friday, June 15, 2007


This week, they busted the myth that you can catch a bullet by clenching your teeth. Using a synchronized firer and timer that is precise to the thousandth of a second, and after several attempts, they manage to come close. But they figured out that with that kind of impact, the bullet literally disintegrates even if they use a reinforced bullet. They finally tested using human jaws and half the jaw pretty much flew to the roof rofl. They also busted the helium football myth. In fact, a helium football has a chance of landing shorter than farther.

Almost every episode is interesting. Adam proved that walking over water is not possible, but you could walk over (quickly) non-newtonian fluids like cornstarch mixed with water.

They also proved that you could break glass with the right pitch of the voice. Jaime Vendera went on Mythbusters to record this feat on a high-speed camera.

Salsa Chicken Breast

I was literally starving to death the past week. I was getting so sick of fast food I decided to get myself into the kitchen. I found a chicken breast in the freezer so I took it out and defroze it. God knows it was fresh. I dumped a handsome amount of virgin olive oil and some salted butter into the minipressure cooker. To make the base gravy I chopped a quarter of an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. All of that went into the cooker. I found some asparagus, which I absolutely love, and dumped 3 stalks into the cooker as well. Salt and a little bit of crushed black pepper to taste. The aroma was pretty intense. I found a lovely tomato and mashed it with a fork (how primitive). It turned out into really nice bits with all the seeds and flesh preserved. That went into the cooker. I flopped some tomato sauce (Heinz) and a little bit of thousand islands mayo into the cooker as well. The sauce was reallllllllly crazy.

The chicken was alright. I pulled all the skin out (I hate skin) and put it into the cooker. I let it cook under mid-pressure for 10-12 minutes then came back after a bath. Then I realized the fire wasn't fucking turned on ROFLOLAOSLDOLOL. So I turned the fire up and went to watch TV. I switched to Discovery Travel & Living which I've been watching a lot lately. 1000 Places to See Before you Die was on. They were featuring India which is a place I will want to visit later in my life.

The chicken turned out well. It was well-cooked and the tomato sauce marinated into the outer skin of the flesh. I should have added a little bit more water and salt but it was good nonetheless. The salsa wasn't nearly existent because 1 tomato clearly was useless, so I may try 3-4 in future. 6.5/10 :p

Also I found this from some brazilian rentboy's photoblog ^_~. Hot.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I played Caesar 3 for the first time in 1998. I was only 10 then, so my cities turned out terrible and I got stuck halfway into the campaign. My concept of layout was poor and I didn't understand or was unaware of some key mechanics. But a classmate, Mike, managed to torrent download it last week, and it really didn't take longer than a few hours for the game to get me completely hooked on. I'm currently working on the "Consul" stage; each campaign level is titled by a rank in ancient Rome.

Citizen, Clerk, Engineer, Architect, Quaestor, Procurator, Aedile, Praetor, Consul, Proconsul, Caesar

It's not surprising that Caesar 3 is an award-winning RTS by Impressions/Sierra Studios. Very rarely do you find single-player RTS challenging, fun, addictive and most importantly, balanced. I have not fully 'cracked the code' of its greatness, although I do have some glimpses.

Unlike SimCity, Caesar 3 (and the other Caesar versions) has a historic beauty embedded into its narrative. You get to build cities like Damascus and Valentia. Yesterday, I watched "Hannibal", a documentary on Discovery that depicts the life of Carthaginian general Hannibal Barker. I could identify most of the terms, locations and events presented in the documentary. Caesar 3 uses Hannibal as one of the antagonists as well, so this entire saga is starting to sink into my head. I like how most of the graphics in Caesar 3 are 2D, but are made to look realistic and three-dimensional due to a static camera angle. You could rotate the camera 90degrees NSEW but the buildings will also turn with the camera. The developers save a shitload of rendering time and diskspace with that. The citizens however are 3d animated models.

Each campaign level has a 'Promotional' (to get the next level) requirement that involves your city's Ratings. These Ratings include Culture, Prosperity, Peace and Favor. Population size is also a mandatory requirement for each stage. Of course, the higher the level you are, the more demanding the requirements become, and this makes life very difficulty for the governor indeed.

I got stuck at the Procurator stage for up to 16 hours because I could not get the Prosperity rate required. It was ridiculous. I nearly wanted to use a cheat to bypass the stage but that doesn't teach me anything. Indeed, I finally found the problem. I previously refused to import wine from a neighbouring city which would have upgraded my Large Insulaes into Villas. I also trimmed off the edges of my city which had problems receiving Food stocks. The stage was meant to test a governor's ability to transfer food supplies from the native area to far parts of the city. And I figured out how to by forming a series of granaries and then specifically getting each one to Get goods from the other. I was also playing on 100% speed, which is like double the speed from 90% (default). After a while I saw my ratings starting to climb. What happened is that when houses turn into Villas, their occupants become "Patricians", which is the elite class. They do not work and I suffered heavy employment issues thereafter. Due to that, my 'Culture' rating fell because I did not have enough workers operating schools, libraries, theatres etc. So I had to literally maximize space within my boundaries and pump up on Plebians (working class). This taught me a lot.

I completed the Praetor and Aedile stages with a breeze. Each took 5 hours on average which was great. I also managed to build a Hippodrome that was in working condition.

A Hippodrome

Governor's Palace and Large Villas

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Jin Yong (Louis Cha)

I recently got into Jin Yong again. He's probably the greatest novelist of all time. In a very true sense, he's the Eastern version of Tolkien. Jin Yong (or Loius Cha) has written extensively, but his most famous works are the '14 Heavenly Novels'. Amongst these 14 novels are Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龙八部), The Return of the Condor Heroes (神鵰俠侣) and The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre (倚天屠龙记). The really extraordinary thing about these novels is that they are all connected. In fact, they all follow a timeline - from the 12th century onwards (天龙八部). Some characters, places and events are actually reminiscent of dynastic China. So it's not surprising that my favorite of the 14 is DGSD, because it's the earliest sequel (Jin Yong doesn't dub them as sequels, as he characterizes each book by its virtues, thematic approaches and characterizations) and the characters in the story have more potent abilities.

My favorite sect in the Jin Yong universe is Xiao Yao Pai (逍遥派) which means 'The Wanderers'. They are depicted very mysteriously but play a significant part in DGSD. My favorite characters are all in 逍遥派, ie. Wu Ya Zi (无崖子) Tian Shan Tong Lao (天山童姥) and Li Qiu Shui (李秋水). The latter 2 characters are females and fellow disciples who fall in a love triangle with their disciple brother (无崖子). In a thread I found on the net, fanatics came to a conclusion that they are undoubtedly the 2 post powerful female characters in the novels. Perhaps the reason why I absolutely love them is their abilities. They have some of the most ancient, 'forgotten' and unique skills in the JY universe. These include:

Xiao Wu Xiang Gong (小无相功)
Bei Ming Shen Gong (北冥神功)
Ba Huang Liu He Wei Wo Du Zun Gong (八荒六合唯我独尊神功)
Tian Shan Liu Yang Zhang (天山六阳掌)
Tian Shan Zhe Mei Shou (天山折梅手)
Ling Bo Wei Bu (凌波微步)

无崖子 was actually crippled by his own disciple but his 2 fellow disciples were still caught in an endless struggle to suade his affection. Ironically, at the end of this particular saga, 无崖子 exposes that the person he truly loved was 李秋水's sister, which was a sudden twist in the novel because the stone statue 无崖子 made that everyone thought was 李秋水 was actually her sister lol.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Great Contemporary Female Vocalists

For whatever reason I grew up appreciating and intoxicating myself in female voices. I never liked male voices, they seem too dull and erm, 'familiar' :s. My younger adolescent childhood was plagued with really bad bands. Backstreet boys, NSYNC, Westlife l0l? I actually liked them for a bit, but what can I say, everyone has had dodgy patches in their life. I also listened to a shitload of Madonna, and I still have her GHV2 album sitting somewhere. I don't really know how I fell in love with the queen but she's really one hell of an artiste.

It's really quite daunting to put the greatest female vocalists in one list. Each has their own style that makes them unique. You have Dido who has probably made you go wtf when you hear her on radio, or Norah Jones who make you go, wow Jazz is amazing, and then you have Mary J who actually makes you feel like you really have a soul. Either way I'm giving it a shot. I also tried to link a live performance to each artiste.

15. Sinéad O'Connor : Mandinka

14. Kelly Clarkson : Beautiful Disaster

13. Patti LaBelle : Somewhere Over the Rainbow

12. Norah Jones : Don't Know Why

11. Mary J. Blige : No More Drama

10. Christina Aguilera : Beautiful

9. Sarah Mclachlan : Fallen

8. Barbra Streisand : What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life

7. Celine Dion : This Prayer

6. Leona Lewis : A Moment Like This

5. Aretha Franklin : Bridge Over Troubled Waters

4. Cai Qin : Love Without End

3. Dido : Stoned

2. Mariah Carey : We Belong Together/Fly Like a Bird

1. Whitney Houston : I Believe In You and Me/I Will Always Love You

Alanis Morisette, Chaka Khan, Nadia Ali, Cher, Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani all deserve great mention too :>