Saturday, September 21, 2002
After 2 nights spent at home, I am loath to return to camp to sleep tonight.
I'd thought of booking in tomorrow, but then I remembered that the Company Orderly Sergeant (COS) has to sign in a column to vet the booking in/out entries. Damn.
And though people from other departments might get their fellow department mates to "book in" for them tonight and then come tomorrow, I don't think any medics are in camp now, and anyway we're not the sort to flout regulations so egregiously, albeit not all that riskily.
Anyhow, after 2 nights at home, the marginal utility of one more night is probably less than the marginal cost of risking anything.
Then again, my feet still hurt. But I'll probably need an MC to cover me. Damn.
My father, in his free time (which is to say most of the time), has been cleaning up my room. He's asking me to look through old books before they're given away.
One pile consists of my old Chinese books. Though I didn't burn any, like my sister did one symbolically after her AO Exams, and I still don't like Chinese, looking at them brings back fond memories.
I miss chinese lessons somewhat. Then again, quoth I:
"As you may have guessed, I really miss Oxford, especially now that I'm in National Service... I think anyone would miss anywhere in National Service" --- Talk On Economics, S Economics and PPE at Oxford
I was struck with a whim, to index what each of the passages in the chapters of the textbooks are about, but I think that's too much trouble.
Surprisingly, besides the usual Chinese moralistic tales lauding dubitable logic and warped morals, Chinese legends and Chinese History, and a scattering of Singapore-related stories (on various events, festivals and places of interest), there are quite a few retellings of English/Western-related stories.
- The story of the Moonlight Sonata (probably fake)
- Demosthenes' practicing oratory by the sea, facing the waves
- Some boy called Edmondo de Amicis who "loved his country"
- Thomas Alva Edison and how he invented many things
- Mark Twain and how he outsmarted a stingy neighbour
- Levi Strauss and how he invented Jeans
- Amusing anecdotes regarding Albert Einstein
- The last lesson in a school in Alsace-Lorraine before the Prussians took over following the Franco-Prussian War
- Other stories featuring assorted Caucasians whose names I can't figure out after they've been translated into Chinese, necessitating a look at an index at the book's rear
I still have gripes about the logic of some of the "patriots". Take "Wen2 Tian1 Xiang2" for example. He lived during the Song dynasty and when the Mongols invaded, he refused to serve them and eventually was executed. What a TRUE patriot would have done, of course, would be to pretend to serve the Mongols, then doing as much damage as they could behind the scenes.
Looking at the illustrations, I remember my old Chinese Tuition-mate Alex Er, last seen at the MDC auditions, who used to draw on the illustrations, making them quite funny (ie mutilating the pictures and warping them beyond their original meanings).
There are also books I never knew I had. Like "My Progress in Kindergarten", from Damien Centre Kindergarten. 1, Commonwealth Drive. Singapore 0314.
The sole areas I was rated "very good" in both boxes was "Imaginative Play eg. Interest in: Play House, Dressing-up Box, Block Building". I got one good and one very good for most other areas.
I just got spam mail regarding a site called "Singapore Cupid". Bah.
You've missed out on a few console RPG greats, that generally don't really make it to the English-speaking market. That's really quite a sad thing, because missing out on great games because companies localising games think it's too niche, or too hard to localise just shouldn't happen :P (Profit margins? who cares about profit margins? *cackles*)
The Ys series
The Langrisser series
any "Shining" game (Shining: The Holy Ark, Shining Wisdom, etc etc etc)
Tenchi Shizou (TerraEnigma)
Sakura Taisen series
Also, if you consider the Shining Force series an RPG, then the many in the genre include: Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics (although I agree that it's not REALLY a final fantasy), and any great "tactical simulation" RPG.
Mmm... why is Zelda considered an RPG but Brave Fencer Musashi not so? Additionally, I don't quite understand what you mean by "derivatives" - surely, if you define Wild Arms, Alundra, Saga Frontier, Star Ocean, & Vandal Hearts as derivatives, all those PC RPGs that use similar systems to other great RPGs of that system (mmmm, that's the only thing I can see that's nearly common in those games) such as the D&D games are all derivatives of the first great D&D implementation on the PC?
I'm sure there are many more great console RPGs that I can list, but all those are the ones off the top of my head. ^_^
The Baldur's Gate series has to be one of the greatest RPGs ever created, though. I'm not really familiar with many PC RPGs. Septerra Core... errrr.
Funny gaffes caused by mistranslations.
From a Cocktail lounge, Norway:
LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR
At a Budapest zoo:
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD, GIVE IT TO THE GUARD ON DUTY
Doctors office, Rome:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES
THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL THE WATER SERVED HERE
Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner, Japan:
COOLS AND HEATES: IF YOU WANT JUST CONDITION OF WARM AIR IN YOUR ROOM, PLEASE CONTROL YOURSELF
Dry cleaner's, Bangkok:
DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS
In a Nairobi restaurant:
CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER
On the grounds of a private school:
NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT PERMISSION
On an Athi River highway:
TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE
On a poster at Kencom:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP
In a City restaurant:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS
One of the Mathare buildings:
MENTAL HEALTH PREVENTION CENTRE.
A sign seen on an automatic restroom hand dryer:
DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS
In a Pumwani maternity ward:
NO CHILDREN ALLOWED
In a cemetery:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES
Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED
Hotel notice, Tokyo:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO STEAL HOTEL TOWELS PLEASE IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON TO DO SUCH A THING IS PLEASE NOT TO READ NOTIS
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR
In a Tokyo bar:
SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS
In a Bangkok temple:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN EVEN A FOREIGNER IF DRESSED AS A MAN
Hotel room notice, Chiang-Mai, Thailand:
PLEASE DO NOT BRING SOLICITORS INTO YOUR ROOM
Hotel brochure, Italy:
THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, CROWDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY ITS SOLITUDE
Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET THAT YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE
Hotel elevator, Paris:
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR VALUES AT THE FRONT DESK
THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY
Hotel catering to skiers, Austria:
NOT TO PERAMBULATE THE CORRIDORS IN THE HOURS OF REPOSE IN THE BOOTS OF ASCENSION
Taken from a menu, Poland:
SALAD A FIRM'S OWN MAKE; LIMPID RED BEET SOUP WITH CHEESY DUMPLINGS IN THE FORM OF A FINGER; ROASTED DUCK LET LOOSE; BEEF RASHERS BEATEN IN THE COUNTRY PEOPLE'S FASHION
Supermarket, Hong Kong:
FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, WE RECOMMEND COURTEOUS, EFFICIENT SELF-SERVICE
(if you have been to HK, you will know why this is so.)
From the "Soviet Weekly":
THERE WILL BE A MOSCOW EXHIBITION OF ARTS BY 15,000 SOVIET REPUBLIC PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS. THESE WERE EXECUTED OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS
In an East African newspaper:
A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS
IN CASE OF FIRE, DO YOUR UTMOST TO ALARM THE HOTEL PORTER
A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE
An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
TEETH EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS
Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:
TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES
Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
In the window on a Swedish furrier:
FUR COATS MADE FOR LADIES FROM THEIR OWN SKIN
The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
GUARANTEED TO WORK THROUGHOUT ITS USEFUL LIFE
In a Swiss mountain inn:
SPECIAL TODAY - NO ICE-CREAM
Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS
On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE USSR, YOU ARE WELCOME TO IT
A laundry in Rome:
LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME
SKIRTING THE ISSUE: When new management took over at the Howmet Corp. jet engine part factory in Whitehall, Mich., they instituted a no-shorts dress code for the factory, which doesn't have air conditioning. The men pointed out female workers were allowed to wear skirts, but the company wouldn't budge -- so several men now wear skirts. "It's very hot and the skirts are cooler," says Ron Buckhalter, 55, a 33-year company veteran. The biggest problem seems to be that "We're getting a lot of flack from the girls for not being color coordinated," says Ron Bailey, 49. Well, that and "We try not to stop off anywhere after work," Buckhalter says. "We've gotten strange looks." (Muskegon Chronicle) ...20th Century: The boys share beer and tall tales after work. 21st Century: The boys giggle over the best way to shave their legs.
From: THIS is TRUE for 15 September 2002
Excerpted from The Book That Put Me Off David Eddings - The Rivan Codex, In Which He Sounds Immensely Smug and Self-Satisfied
1. A choice of Christianity vs Paganism
2. A Quest
3. An All Powerful Magic Item
4. A Hero
5. A Resident Wizard
6. A Heroine
7. A Villain
8. A Group of Companions
9. A Group of Ladies for the Companions
10. Other Cast
I take issue with many of these items.
Friday, September 20, 2002
As expected, I fell out of the 16km run, though I think I finished more than half of the run. I started the activity at a jog, then as I tired and started hurting it I alternated walking with spurts of running. Finally I walked till every step was agony, and got picked up by the Safety Rover. Maybe I can beat the Chief Clerk next time :)
There were moments of levity, though, most of them seeing school students at East Coast after school. Nowadays, the sight of students in uniform brings a warm glow to my heart, maybe because they remind me of what I was before I was debased. Perhaps the occurence that amused me the most today was seeing 2 Lower Secondary students, a Raffles Guy and an RI guy, both with Sportsy bags, walking together. Yes I'm deprived.
The Army Half Marathon's next Sunday, so I think there'll be no more runs at East Coast or Marina South. I'm ambivalent :) No more free stay outs. Oh well. The first time was the best - 3 km and we all went back at 9:30am since there weren't any games.
I am enjoying my time spent at home. With the half day of Off I cleared this morning, and the Battalion Long Weekend, I get to spend 2 nights at home :) Tonight I will try my sister's new bed, which I'm told is very comfortable.
I still haven't decided whether to book in on Sunday morning or Saturday night for RT. Our new CSM thinks Weekend RT is unnecessary, so there's hope that this ridiculous idea which should never have seen the light of day will be reburied!
Our dear David Thian:
"no fair why do girls wiin anguss ross all the time? More femininely "senstive"?"
The word of the day is: "soteriology."
Am missing out on the Malaysian Cyber Games being held at Sunway Pyramid (of all places!).
Not that there's a lot of great Malaysian gaming going on, and generally I'm ambivalent towards multiplayer gaming, but I do want to keep an eye out for cheap parts
More ranting on gabriel's words later.
Servant of the Empire: With the thick book and the small font, you really get your money's worth. I've raved about this series before, and I've little to complain about - this series is so good I bought it. I think it's the best of the Midkemia/Tsuranuanni series.
This book by Keith Roberts was published in the "Del Rey Impact" series, which was created to spotlight important/influential/well-written books that changed the landscape of the literary world, but somehow escaped notice. From my experience of this book, perhaps it's better that the book escaped notice, and remained buried in a rubbish heap. I'd bought this book at a book fair at Scotts after a tip off from He Who Must Not Be Named on gamebooks - and indeed, I got #5 of Virtual Reality - Heart of Ice, there. I was intrigued by the blurb on the back of this work of alternate history, where Elizabeth I'd been assassinated in 1588, and in the 20th Century, Mother Church reigned supreme, and technology was restrained by her. The title is perhaps a reference to "Pavane pour une infante defunte" (and I still don't know the difference and relationship between Faure and Ravel's Pavanes).
Let's read a review. And now let me savage it.
"This remains a remarkable novel, beautifully written and unexpected in its working out. The characters come fully to life. The hints of mysterious elements working in the background add a special resonance to the book. The book asks interesting questions about the working out of history -- and if it suggests answers that a reader might not agree with, it does not compel agreement, but rather it compels thinking. It has been rightly regarded as a classic of our field from its first publication, and these new editions provide a fine occasion either to discover it for the first time, or to reread it once again."
"The story often relies on image s like this to carry it, the events are not always clear... Many readers like this nebulous narrative style: PAVANE has been called "Moody, eloquent, elegaic", and an F & SF reviewer said "the novel has that lyrical meaning that is so easy to feel and so hard to explain"."
Each chapter of this book is but loosely connected, and the disparate threads do not link up very well, and do not sum up to give a coherent impact or conclusion. The book makes no sense, utterly, and even when I struggled to find out what was going on, I came out clueless and got a big headache. The book's self-indulgent rambling, indistinct plot and meta-physical leanings, with little consideration for the reader, makes it a torture to read. Perhaps the mysterious elements were too mysterious for the likes of me.
I suppose if I could bring myself to read it again, which I'd do after hitting myself with a big stick and sniffing freshly ground black pepper, I might understand it a bit more, but I just want to hide this book somewhere and never see it again. After reading a review or too, it makes more sense, but I'm still perturbed.
Alexander - Child of a Dream:
This work of historical fiction (as opposed to alternate history, ahem ahem) by Valerio Massimo Manfredi has been recommended by a few of a more erudite nature, and I finally got down to reading it a few months after my sister bought it for me from W H Smith Great World City. The author is a historian turned author, and it shows. The book is not overly flamboyant, but instead has clear (ahem), vivid and complete imagery. Few liberties are taken with history, unlike the Evil that was Gladiator (2nd Century Roman Cavalry having stirrups was the least of the historical blemishes in that movie. I will not even cry out to the heavens about that hogwash involving letting the Senate take back control of Rome). Perhaps the only gripe I have with this book is the translation - one wonders why, to convey the idea of making love, the translator, Iain Halliday, chose to use the word "fuck". Perhaps that is a word understandable to a modern readership, but I don't think it a suitable word to use in a historical novel detailing events taking place in the 4th Centruy BC (I refuse to use that Politically Correct "Before Common Era (BCE)" nonsense).
Aside: On fantasy books, I recently vented some gripes about David Eddings. Being lazy to transcribe them for the entry, I'll just post the full comments:
ALL HIS BOOKS ARE THE SAME
AND HE SOUNDS LIKE A SELF INDULGENT iDiOt (emphasis added) IN THE RIVAN CODEX
I PICKED UP THE REDEMPTION OF ALTHALUS AND IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AS HIS OTHER BOOKS
DIE DIE DIE
To think I bought many of his books
Raymond E Feist is nice. Except with Nakor he became too self-abosrbed and self-indulgent
the Empire series rules!
David Eddings is the soul of cliched novels. Hell, in his "formula for writing fantasy books", he even LISTS THE ELEMENTS ALL FANTASY BOOKS. AHEM. "Should" have.
Still on books: I think Fabio is out of a job. It hasn't been the fashion for him to pose with some long haired girl on trashy smut novel covers for some time already - now the trend is just to place innocent-looking objects on the cover, or alternatively just print the author's name in bold print - DANIELLE STEEL is much less ambiguous than seeing Fabio groping someone.
I still remember the time Life! had a feature on Romance Novels, where I first found out more about Fabio and stopped knowing him as "that guy on romance novel covers", and I took the 2 page pullout to school to terrify my female classmates with. My grand plot of taking a lurid romance novel with an explicitly illustrated cover to the RJ canteen, sitting down and then shrieking hysterically as I read it never came to pass, unfortunately. Maybe I shall get beaten up by Hokkien Pengs as I attempt to carry out this death defying stunt... in my cookhouse!
Returned I have, after a long hiatus, after a week at Sembawang Wharves.
Tales Of My Jaunt, aka What I Did (The Short Version):
Eat. Sleep. Read. (And I ran out of stuff to read near the end.)
I must've gained lots of weight :)
I didn't drink any plain water while I was there, actually. It was all either A&W Cream Soda, 50% discounted Sunny Delight 5% Juice Orange Drink (they expired today, ergo the discount) or SAF provided Made in Malaysia drinks (like 'Kordial Blackcurrent' and 'Kordial Laici' - further proof that Malays cant spell)
Long, garrulous version:
Someone really doesn't like me. From my earlier outfield romp, I'd lost an Entrenching Tool Stick and my Groundsheet had miraculously become a Poncho. This time, a short while before I left for Sembawang, since I had to bring my rifle along (a medic bringing a rifle along???), I had to take my rifle sling, whereupon I discovered that it had been wrest from me, and my roll of Comms Cord had likewise been filched. So at the last minute, to cut a long, inconsequential story short, to a short, inconsequential retelling, I took Cheong's sling my mistake and got cursed and cussed at excessively, as he has a tendency to overreact.
It was suggested to me that I go "stun" (steal - how some words are made up I will never fathom) replacements for the groundsheet and ET stick, but I feel that's immoral. So I'll see how much I'll have to shell out for all the items (I hear the groundsheet and ET stick cost $80 and $30 respectively. I've spent $20 on 2 rifle slings already, and now have an extra).
Sembawang Wharves was boring (see above) and I was bored stuff (Ooo, repeating a word in different forms in the same sentence! *Gasp*). Of course, it was less boring for the officers, who played Worms Armageddon, Warcraft 2 and Simcity 3000 :)
Most of the time, I didn't do my primary job, but instead manned the communications set - a most irritating job, because, especially for the first batch of men, the signaller was always either sleeping, away on business or watching VCDs outside.
One of the few things that broke the mind-numbing monotony of the whole experience was the 2 trips I made to the Naval Exchange (NEX).
NEX is, I presume, a chain of stores set up throughout the world at places where US Navy Ships dock, to provide (mostly) American goods at reasonable prices to the sailors. As such, it is free of the restraints normally placed upon Singaporean retail outlets. For example, they sell uncensored DVDs (and VCDs too probably).
Before anyone rushes to break into the Sembawang Wharves to get their daily dose of XXX, let it be known that "uncensored DVDs" refers to those of otherwise mundane productions that the prudish Singaporean authorities deem needing of the censors' scissors, just because a flash of breast is present during some scene or other, or it explores themes, or even *promotes* - horror - ideas, that could undermine the traditional Asian Society in which we live in, disrupting the social fabric that holds our multi-racial society together, starting riots that make the Hock Lee Bus Riots look like a walk in the garden, or worst of all, cause the PAP to fall from power! But I digress.
Yes - you can view Hollywood shows in their full glory, as you saw them in the cinema (and probably with some cut scenes restored), without the mark of the Beast (the sticker from the Censorship Board). And all for US$22 - cheap, as far as I know. But then I don't buy DVDs, the only DVD drive I have being the one on my computer, pre-installed when the previous one came in 1998, when it was not evident yet that DVD-on-computer would never take off, or at least not yet, and the only DVD in my house being Grolier's 1998 Encyclopedia.
I didn't buy DVDs, but my total bill in 2 days of shopping came up to S$48 - $24 spent the first time, and $14 the second. Perhaps this is due to my expensive tastes, but then someone told me he went to the place everyday the last time he was on this operation, and he spent $50 by the fourth day, after which he stopped counting.
Some of the goods there were startlingly expensive. For example the pack of 16 Rice Krispies Treats worked out to about 63 cents for one small packet - about twice the price they retailed for when they were available in Singapore in 1999. And NEX had the nerve to advertise "great savings".
Some things were oddly priced though. For example, a 1.89L tub of Breyer's Butter Pecan Ice Cream (with Natural & Artificial Flavours) cost S$2.30. And the variety with Natural Flavourings only was more than twice the price.
On my second visit, there were some A level students who were shopping at the same time - the so-called "tankees" (tank drivers and tank personnel). When I averred that Dr Pepper was terrible, one agreed, with the words, "It tastes like cyanide". My sentiments exactly. I was also asked, by the one who expressed his dislike of The Drink From Hell, if I knew Kah Keng and Kah Seng, his fellow A*Star scholars. Apparently they have jumped the boat from S01 to Life Sciences, lured by the blare from the propaganda machines. Bah.
I like Butterfinger. The saltiness of the peanut butter contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the rest of the bar.
To alleviate their boredom, the men brought along many VCDs. The first lot of people I was with was given to watching many cheap-looking, slapstick Hong Kong-made Mandarin movies, with the only English movie making much of an impact being "Bring It On". Everybody likes Cheerleaders. No wonder everyone wants to be in Associate Flesh Parade.
For some reason, we were not allowed to use the same toilets as those used by the personnel from other countries. Naturally, we got the lousiest of the lot - despite having a very powerful air blower installed to dry the floor, the toilet reeked of the familiar "dirty toilet stench" - the fetid stench of month old, rancid and festering human excrement, more of the liquid variety, thanks to people shooting everywhere with no regard as to their aim. After some though, I decided that another contributory factor was probably the nature of the urinal - it was one of the old school ones, where many people face a vertical metal sheet and let loose their load. As such, there is more room to miss, as the urinal is not curved so as to capture as much of your load as possible, and lots of urine can potentially spill outside of the intended area. So now we know why they don't make this sort of urinals anymore. The sole saving grace - hot water for the shower!
I'd been told that SFI provided better food for the Navy. This illusion was shattered, fortunately or otherwise, as we got our daily rations from the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) cookhouse. Most people probably survived on Cup Noodles and the daily Private Nightsnacks, bought at a hawker centre after the SAF nightsnack had been collected.
On Thursday, I was drafted to go down to NDU to collect rations. My impression that all Navy women have long hair is reaffirmed. And it seems not all women in the Navy are Specialist and above, as I'd thought. Maybe the CPLs and PTEs I saw have yet to be promoted.
At NDU, I also saw some tender souls being corrupted by the Navy. Seeing some boys in VJC T-Shirts, I sidled up to enquire what evil they had gotten themselves into. They were all swimmers, it seems (figures. They were all in typical swimmers' attire - [Poser] T-Shirt and Berms), on a field trip to the NDU. I say Good Luck to them. Mono intake for Naval Divers, here they come (or there they go, if you prefer). The training's even tougher than that for the Commandos :)
Too much sleep gives weird dreams. I dreamt I got Geraldine a $6 Tudung (price includes brooch). Well.
In my boredom, I composed 2 more ringtones - Patapan and Water Music (with trills!). When I find the motivation to put them up, they will magically materialise :)
Since I was so wretchedly bored, I started scribbling down book reviews, of sorts. To shorten this post for those with shorter attention spans, please see post above :)
"we seem to be synthesizing characteristics of each other's writing styles over the years."
Grace didn't know who Fabio was.
"Hentai is for boys, yaoi is for girls"
"I don't WANT to imagine you dressed as the pink ranger,okay? That presents a really horrible mental image. Begone!" (sms from Anon)
I think my mother, chastened by my outburst the previous time, will not be so finicky when I am imaginarily late the next time I am fetched to camp. Mmm.
As I'd thought, my brother in law had indeed kidnapped yet another of my teddy bears, the one I call Little Brown Bear. He'd been missing for a while, and I'd suspected his cruel, sad fate, but he was held somewhere in the morasses of their room, so there was no way for me to mount a rescue party. A few days ago, my sister confirmed his fate. They still insist on calling him "Nembear", for reasons unknown, and now insist he's a she. So they kidnap my bear, rename it and now give it a sex change. Well done.
Gilbert is now a PTI at a stayout camp. Bah. That's what you get for joining "Health and Fitness" aka the Bodybuilding club ;)
Finally, there is a pub with a men's night - Thursday's Men's Night at Planet Paradigm, located in the misnamed Singapore Shopping Centre, perhaps the most dismal and least popular shopping complex in Singapore. Men get 2 free glasses of Remy Silver Island. I'm almost tempted to go just to revel in the novelty of it all.
It will be a long, torturous battle.
D&D the movie was universally reviled.
I liked M&M 4 and 5 - Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen. After that they sucked. From what little I saw and played.
Darklands is fun and intriguing!
Krondor is very RPG-ish, in my opinion.
What differentiates RPGs from Adventure games, really? It's not just stats.
Get off your ass fetish, G-man.
Was having a very erudite conversation on the state of console gaming vs. PC gaming. While the nuances and intricacies of the dialogue are too long and involving to be posted here (it was a very collegial, but intense discussion), an interesting point cropped up. My colleague claimed that for every one "universally acclaimed" PC RPG, there were at least two "universally acclaimed console RPGs"
Now, my obvious rebuttal to this is that, particularly at present, RPGs make up a greater proportion of the console gaming industry than they do of the PC gaming industry; noit to meniton console gaming being larger a market than PC gaming in the whole (pseudo- RPGs like Diablo or the Sims notwithstanding). However, an RPG does not lend itself to easy definition - so it's hard to say what is truly an indicator of better quality. However, I decided to try to produce a personal list for "greatest console RPGs" vs "greatest PC RPGs"; taking liberties by using my own personal "gut feel" for what an RPG is. Again, these are purely my opinions, and many people will dispute what constitutes universal acclaim. For one, I certainly don't believe sales figures make for a good game, but for another, I also realise that every person's definition of a "good game" varies incredibly..
Final Fantasy series (notably IV, VI, VII, VIII, and X - IX was good, but I'd hardly call it "great")
Shining Force series
Illusion of Time / Illusion of Gaia
Secret of Mana
Dragon Quest series
Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen (personal favourite)
I have chosen what intuitively feels like an RPG to me and left out classics-but-not-quite-RPG like Devil May Cry, Front Mission, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Force, Brave Fencer Musashi, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Resident Evil/Parasite Eve/Silent Hill and good but derivative ones such as Secret of Evermore, Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Wild Arms, Alundra, Saga Frontier, Star Ocean, & Vandal Hearts. And no matter what anyone says, Metroid, Shenmue, Castlevania, Ominusha, Tenchu & other of their ilk are NOT RPGs in the classic sense of the word just because stats and inventories are involved. Despite all their glory, I also hesitate to put Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto into the above list. And finally, the Sonic, Megaman and Mario RPGs DO NOT COUNT in my book. Translating these great franchises into RPG is like making Dungeons & Dragons into a movie - oh wait, they did that! And how did it turn out...?
Bard's Tale series
Might & Magic series (not Heroes)
SSI Gold Box series (okay okay! but they were great in their time!:)
System Shock series
Baldur's Gate series
Elder Scroll series (Arena / Daggerfall / Morrowind)
Again, I've been forced to omit not-quite RPGs like Elite, Privateer, Starflight, Drakkhen, all the MMORPGs (different genre and class entirely; having other people alters the nature of interaction), console rip-offs like Anachronox and Septerra Core, console ports like the Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain sequels, hybrids like Diablo, Nox, Dungeon Siege, X-Com, even Deus Ex (I have great difficulty with this one, but in the end like Metal Gear Solid, no matter how great and innovative it is, I was looking at RPGs in what I intuitively felt was the "classical mold". And I think it's safe to say Deus Ex transcends the definition of "classical") and Thief. Hexen and Heretic also don't count. The Sims can be perceived also as the ultimate RPG in some way, as well, only in a wholly mundane environment. Gothic has incredible scope but I can't quite put it up as "classic".
Lands of Lore and the Krondor series are good RPGs in their own way; yet not quite "classic" to my mind.
Ultimately, the distinction between console and PC RPGs is slowly diminishing; it's no longer the classic "linear" vs "non-linear" argument, particularly as both sides start to incorporate elements from each other; PC RPGs with more emphasis on storyline and characterization; and console RPGs offering less linearity and more scope to explore "living interactive worlds". Which is better is ultimately a matter of personal taste, but I think it's safe to say that for the gaming fanatic, each have had their own great products, which can be tastefully enjoyed and savoured for very different reasons.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
The only test I'd ever post here:
My first memories and associations of Handel's Water Music are with Dunhill, it having used the piece for its ads on Malaysia Television.
Another blog entry lost to the ravages of entropy. I had a fairly involved diatribe on Grandia 2, in reponse, but once again, blogging from home has failed me. So I foresook lunch today and decided to hastily key in my observations, in precis, before the Lethean sweep of time (picked that phrase up last night from some book on the history of the Punic Wars I was leafing through out of boredom) effaces my memory.
Firstly, on Grandia 2's localisation; I have to admit that the translations were at least done in proper syntax and with proper scansion; although a lot of the dialogue's irritation value comes more from the nature of the source material. Like many Jap console RPGs, it articulated a pro-humanist, anti-theistic saga of heroes forging their own destiny. However, this expressed itself though the text in the form of multiple exhortations to call upon "the power of the heart" and "love." While I can understand how these themes can resonate through the medium of Japanese language, its translation into English, and its passing through modern, cynical Western sensibilities can make the narrative *very* grating. This is particularly evident towards the end of the game when virtually everything from the primary protagonist's mouths were platitudes on "believe in people" and "love will save us all."
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy Grandia 2 as a classic style jap-rpg in both narrative, gameplay and presentation, but there was definitely a "seen it before" feeling as I played through the game. Although well produced and well-polished, the storyline ultimately doesn't tread any new ground that older Final Fantasies or even games like Shining Force or Illusion of Time or even Phantasie Star didn't cover.
The voiceovers were professionally done, but they tended to ham it up a bit, particularly the female voices of Elena and Millenia.
And as for the "Strange Beast-Person", I actually quite enjoyed his sophisticated aphorisms, even if too many of them were of the "jungle wisdom" school of thought; with lines such as "We must be like the leopard and hunt our prey in silence" and other lines of that ilk. And yes, the battles weren't random in the "spontaneously teleporting to the isometric console RPG battle arena"-archetype - you could see the little bastards wandering around the game world and try to avoid them. But frankly, given that your party members were tagging along behind you like a wedding train, the confined spaces in which enemies often patrolled, and the fact that bumping into Tio as she ambles along behind you was enough to trigger a battle sequence, it did eventually degenerate into the "plough through enemies" phase that mars almost all Japanese console RPGs. However, the quasi-real-time battle system was definitely a good innovation, and the advancement of moves through "coins" was a cute but pointless tweak (it's definitely no Sphere Grid:)
I've decided to husband my resources towards upgrading my PC, as opposed to getting a PS2, for the main reason that most of my favourite games, developers, and genres still ultimately come on PC format. The best PS2 / X-Box games also tend to be (eventually) ported to PC, such as Grand Theft Auto 3, the imminent Halo, or Shadow of Destiny, and I won't be surprised to see MGS2 or Final Fantasy X come up over the next year or so. Given that, I find it hard to justify the thousand or so ringgit I'd need for a new console, when I could just as easily spend that much on a new processor and a GeForce 4.
Also, there are the constraints of *time*; I still have books, anime, and movies yet to be watched, and adding another alternative form of entertainment would simply be another expensive indulgence I don't fully utilise. Finally, I don't have a television in my room, (DAMN IT), and having to crawl into the living room and set up a console on our old two-A/V port Samsung each time I wanted to play is really troublersome. That, and the fact that my parents usually glue themselves to the TV in the evenings.
I've heard mixed reivews of Kingdom Heart, so I must defer comment. The only PC games that I'm really anticipating are Grand Theft Auto: VIce City, Mechwarrior: Mercenaries, and Freelancer (when! when! when!).
Have decided to cross the cultural divide and immerse myself back into the Western old-school CRPG but with bigger, badder scale - yes, I"m talking about MORROWIND! Now *this* is an RPG with *unbelievable* scope - a fantastically realised "continent" with diverse architectures, very good interacting factions, and the sheer freedom to develop and move and explore at your own leisurely pace. A lot of great fan and official plug-ins have also been created that add incredible richness and depth to the game (there's even a Twin Towers memorial island to be installed), and the editor is simply stunning. It is, bar none, the most comprehensive game world editing system on the market; and although it may lack Dungeon Siege's user-friendlines orr Neverwinter Night's real-time RPG-ing through DM intervention, it allows you to essentially create nw game events, conceptual overhauls, and ultimately reshape the gaming world of Vvardenfell in your own image from bottom-up. The visuals are the best in contemporary RPGs, for sure, and the sheer.. immensity and love that went into crafting every single dungeon, city and location in the single-player game is utterly evident. Already, the onlin fan community have created oodles of mods that can really add (or detract) from the gameplay substantially through the addition of new missions, scenarios, locations, items, characters.
Not much else to add on the real-life front (ah, hated reality), so I shall end here. Computer games, books, and my other mental hobbies, at times, to me, the "real world" - and all else just a waking, walking nightmare I encounter before I awake into that more sublime reality. This may be dangerously delusionary behaviour, but ultimately, it's the only view of the world that helps me make sense of the emotional chaos of it all.
And, a final word: "In Memoriam Microprose." This venerable company was shut down by Infogrames last Friday; it has fallen a long way since the classic days of Gunship 2000, and Civilization. Although it still managed to produce the very good Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix F1 recently, it just hasn't been the same since Sid Meier left to found Firaxis. This pattern of great gaming leaders departing their original development houses after their consumption by the major players is worrying; witness Warren Spector, Richard Garriott, and the Roberts brothers leaving Origin. Sir-Tech, the creators of Wizardry and Jagged Alliance similarly died a slow death - now those were people who loved gaming and gamers (what other company actually *fixed* corrupted savegames for you if you mailed it in???) - although I'm glad Sir-Tech managed to haul out Wizardry 8 to bring to a fitting conclusion to one of the original pillars of CRPGs since the days of yore.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
I thought Grandia 2 was a nice traditional japanese console RPG. It was properly cliched, it had the proper and expected cast of characters (namely the Hero, the Hero's Love Interest (the Heroine), the Additional, Mysterious Female Party Member Who Seems Interested In The Hero, The Cute Party Member, and The Strange Beast-Person Whom No One Really Likes But Is There Anyway.) It also has a properly Almost-Dark Storyline With Happy Ending. It was nice.
Seriously, though, while it was cliched, Grandia 2 deserves credit for it's decent localisation and innovative battle system. Also, it didn't have random battles, you could at least see the enemies coming, or avoid them altogether. It wasn't THAT long, either.
Recently bought a game as well - Kingdom Hearts, which, if you didn't already know, is a collaborative effort between Squaresoft and Disney. Haven't played too much of it yet, but it seems like a pretty fun game. The excellent visual aesthetics and polished production values are even MORE excellent and polished than usual, if only because of Disney's larger production budget, and this time, the voices and vocal tracks are SUPERB. Every single character is voiced beautifully. Yes, even Tidus and Wakka.
"The purpose of life is to stay alive. Watch any animal in nature - all it tries to do is stay alive. It doesn't care about beliefs or philosophy. Whenever any animal behaviour puts it out of touch with the realities of its existence, it becomes extinct. Similarly, some people don't see that times have changed, and that their beliefs don't work. And they're going to be extinct."
"Maybe there is a higher truth than merely staying alive."
I seem to have developed a morbid addiction to kacang putih (boiled chickpeas). This mendicant snack salesman named Vincent pops into the office at 5:30 everyday with a swag of goodies. Usually, by the time he reaches our floor the kacang putih packets are almost sold out. This results in a few of us manically passing around one or two packets - everyone seems to like them. Purchasing these rare commodities is accompanied by exhortations for Vincent to "book" a few more packets for our floor, as well as many bad financier gibes about kacang putih futures and forward contracts. It must be worth nothing that Vincent is somewhat akin to the Garbage Man in Dilbert comics; as he sells his keropok and curry puffs to us, he often makes pithy political commentary or erudite financial market analyses.
Today, he had a whopping seven packets for sale, all of which were gleefully purchased by my department (we have a standing order to underwrite any supply of kacang putih in his stock). I even bought an extra packet to stash away for future consumption. But as I devoured my first packet greedily, the need to consume more and more grew in me like a ravenous beast. In the end, I could not stand it and I ripped open my (intended) emergency stash and .. well. About three hours later (ie. now), I'm currently in the throes of dyspeptic indigestion, and was ony to eat a bare minimum for dinner. Somehow, I have a feeling that this isn't going to stop me from haranguing Vincent for another packet tomorrow, should he have any supply left. A disturbing indictment of my addictive personality.
And, final observation of the day - when driving home, in a traffic jam, Malaysian pedestrians often happily jaywalk in between the sluggishly moving cars along congested roads, particularly in downtown KL. This most often occurs when one has stopped at a red light behind another car, and the pedestrian takes the opportunity to sprightly finagle his weaselly way in between your bumper and the car in front. When they're *just* in between me and the car in front though, it's fun to squeeze lightly on the accelerator or lift my foot off the brake and roll *slightly* forward. It makes for very stress-relieving after-work entertainment to bask in the look of terror in their eyes as the possibility of being squished in between two slabs of metal (or hard polymers; which is what car bumpers are made of) flashes into their primitive limbic systems.
Ah, it's the little things in life that keep me (barely) sane.
Just heard from The Most Fucking Zen Person I Know (ARGH! ADOPTING GABRIEL-STYLE NOMENCLATURE! MUST.. RESIST... THE.. DARK SIDE!) - that he's been thrown out of his teaching job at McPherson Secondary. Now, this guy is the most serene, nirvanically-in-touch-with-the-world individual I know; think Tom Bombadil, without the attitude. Currently studying medicine in Imperial College, he once survived for six months on instant noodles. WITHOUT the flavouring ("It's bad for your health, and I don't really like the taste anyway.") OR condiments ("Carbohydrates are all I need. Just add some soya sauce and boil can already."). And it's not like he can't afford food - he lives on Caldecott Hill - but he can simply transcend the need for physical luxury or even sustenance at will.
Anyway, he got fired for - get this - child abuse. Not exactly abuse, but he hit a Sec. 2 student in class who was, (sic) "fucking annoying the hell out of me." At first we thought it was some base impulse of anger lashing out through his bare hands, but he described in sardonic detail how he premeditatedly hit the offending student with a book. (Social Studies workbook, rolled-up for extra pain induction). The kid burst out into tears, and a week later, he was told that "Your services are no longer needed."
Ah, how I miss the highly porous, pseudo-onionskin paper of a Social Studies workbook. These days they actually use proper pulp for all their educational texts, I hear.
Completed Grandia 2. Cliched ending; cliched story - now I know why I weaned off Jap console RPGs in the first place. They take up godawful amounts of time (bloody random encounters!), and their stories all have the same hackneyed melodrama amidst the excellent (if a somewhat acquired taste) visual aesthetic and polished production values. I must admit Grandia 2 is one of the better constructed RPGs; it hews to all the console conventions, but it does them well, and it adds enough elegant touches to make it playably time-consuming. In addition, it's not as obscenely long as a Final Fantasy.
Fortunately, in anticipation of the post-game emotional downer; last weekend I went out with a friend to purchase some new games - Celtic Kings: Rage of War, Medieval: Total War, and Icewind Dale 2. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a copy of Syberia, and I wanted to read a few more reviews before I bought Mafia!.
Medieval: Total War should be an engrossing, semi-strategy romp, even if it is going to highlight the geriatric qualities of my PC and graphics card. Icewind Dale 2: proof that the Infinity Engine can still deliver the goods, even after all these years:)
I had more to blog last night, but they were lost (as usual), in the Mists of Ravenloft upon clicking "post & publish". Thankfully, it has been saved through the prudent use of the hallowed copy-and-paste-to-text-file tactic, and while I forgot to mail it to myself at work, I shall try posting it this evening.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
In any case, there's something oddly therapeutic about watching sharp objects impale a corkboard target; or, more appropriately in my case, impale an area of one-metre radius surrounding the dartboard - (the whole dartboard, mind you, not the actual bullseye).
Looks like war has been averted by Saddam's tactical capitulation to permit weapons inspectors back in. Damn - and to think I was this close to taking an active interest in CNN again.
Today I realised my absolute lack of worth as a functioning human being. A departing colleague was handing out boxes of toffees to everyone in the office. Now, my colleague in the neighbouring cubicle happily ripped off the cellphane tape and begun scarfing them down; but it took me about an hour to slowly and painfully peel off the tape with my bare (nail-bitten) hands.
I almost felt like weeping with frustration after 45 minutes of ripping off little bits of tape but being unable to get a proper hold of the entire band. (hard to explain; but those of you who've tried tearing out shrink-wrap plastic with your bare hands should have some empathy for my plight).
Monday, September 16, 2002
"cantonese singer chen sleeping pill death" - morbid, but there's always a market for such shit
"panasonic allure composing ringtones " - RINGTONES! MORE RINGTONES!
"scary pictures" dinosaurs - someone looking for Jurassic Park screenshots?
"kite hentai screenshots" - pornography meets kite-flying(?)... damn. I don't even want to go there...
"download anime gatekeeper 21 episode 3" - hard luck, friend - as far as I can tell Episode 3 hasn't been fansubbed yet:)
"hari kebangsaan+every year's motto" - Usually something vapid along the lines of "we excel as one nation" bla bla bla.
"pirated gay dvd in Penang Malaysia" - Interesting, come to think of it, I don't see many porn DVDs around (soft-core made-for-videos like Basic Instinct and Showgirls notwithstanding). However, they are launching another piracy crackdown campaign; which, I hope, fizzles out like the last four or five times they tried. Seriously, if they really crack down on purchasing pirated goods, one of the major reasons for living in Malaysia evaporates.
"mosquito foggers, consumer ratings " - What the hell? But then again, I guess there aren't many pest-control-product review sites... But I read some guy in Thailand has developed a mosquito repellent software; it generates a kind of sonic vibration via your PC speaker that supposedly affects them skeeters' nervous systems...
"Hwa Chong Junior College dance pictures" - The ultimate degeneracy
"MINI Madness MCS Cold Air Intake" - I'm.. lost here. Any engineering folk?
"ngee ann polytechnic queen blog" - Ah, more lian blogs.
I'm Remy LeBeau
What X-Men Character are You?
The two below are a little weird.
OOH! Simpsons! Is goot! "Exxxceelllent."
I'm Mr Burns, who are you? by Lexi
I doubt anyone ever remembered or watched this show, but it's seriously good.
You're not the fool everyone takes you for. You put on a show to stay under the radar. Underneath your bumbling exterior, you are a shrewd and calculating person. You don't enjoy being in the spotlight, but you can take charge if absolutely neccessary. But trust no one, not even your best friend, because you never know who might betray you.
You were portrayed by Derek Jacobi.
WHAT THE HELL??
On a more pleasing note - though I'd have preferred "The Wolf"
Your name alone strikes fear into others; but maybe, just maybe, there's a little vulnerability and weakness beneath that stoic, fierce exterior of yours.
Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.
Cliched, but I'm still gratified:
Which Member of the Endless Are You?
No cut-and-paste-y thing for the one below, unfortunately, but it's an interesting one. For those who want to know, I scored 100% compatibility with Hume (alright! British empiricism rocks! That, and a sarky way of approaching religion while still being immersed in it:), 92% with Nietzsche (ambivalent; hope it's the good bits), 91% with the Stoics, and 84% with Sartre.
Your destructive powers vary widely as you constantly change trying to hide from everything.
In all my 6 years in Australia, Terry Pratchett came to Melbourne about 3 times; and EACH FRIGGING TIME I WAS EITHER UNAVAILABLE OR OUT OF THE COUNTRY. Argh. Am tempted to send over my copy of Good Omens to you to get it autographed; maybe I should(!).
Not that enthusiastic about Ray Feist; although I like his books, I think that he's overrated, much like David Eddings. Lightweight fantasy, but readable.
Incidentally, I just found out that the executive chairman of Eidos Interactive is none other than... Ian Livingstone!
*pauses as all the non-RPG/fantasy-gamebook/computer game serfs watch on blankly*
Am ambivalent - Livingstone hasn't done anything since Fighting Fantasy (*Steve Jackson* is the mastermind behind Games Workshop), and Eidos is a monster publishing house second only to Electronic Arts in the "We fuck over small developers" school of computer game marketing. They also represent a postentially disturbing trend in the movement of the industry towards games with slick production values and "sure-win" formulations as opposed to genuine innovation that mostly come from the smaller, independent houses. Granted, Eidos tends to take more gambles on "concept" games; as opposed to Electronic Arts whose focus is on their bread-basket sports simulators, slickly produced menus (EA games have the best main menu interfaces on the market, I'll give them that), intelligent franchising, and desecration of the various smaller houses it's consumed - witness the ongoing rape of Origin Systems.
I have mixed feelings towards Eidos - they waxed fat on the back of the Tomb Raider phenomenon. And they kept the abomination company that was Ion Storm long enough to create the horrific Daikatana. They were also in part responsible for the death of Looking Glass Studios due to incompetent marketing and misallocation of resources.
But on the other hand, sustaining Ion Storm meant that the *good* part - Ion Storm Dallas - was also kept around to produce Deus Ex (and so cement Warren Spector as among the greatest game designers of our era). They've also produced Project Eden, Legaia, the PC ports for Final Fantasy; they took gambles on small companies which produced conceptually brilliant sleeper hits like Commandos, Hitman: Codename 47, Startopia. They were also responsible for the Blood Omen/Legacy of Kain sequels; and despite the horror of the Tomb Raider franchise, it can be argued that the 3d-graphics-fest that characterises mainstrem computer gaming development (for better or worse) was in part birthed by the drive to have better texturing for Lara Croft's breasts.
Incidentally, for more gaming affocionados, Tom Hall and John Romero (of Doom, Anachronox and Daikatana infamy) have produced.. this. I have to admit; when they choose to depart from type, they go *all* the way.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
TERRY PRATCHETT WILL BE MAKING AN APPEARANCE AT SLOW GLASS BOOKS, SWANSTON ST. MELBOURNE ON 21 NOVEMBER FROM 5.00PM
(aside: raymond e. feist will be doing book signings on this friday at slow glass books, one block down from my church and Someone's former residence)
Chaotic Evil characters are the most 'evil' people out there. They are willing to do anything to get ahead, and will kill anyone who stands in their way. A chaotic evil person sees no value in order and governments, and believes to the utmost in the tenant that 'Might Makes Right'.
Humans are the 'average' race. They have the shortest life spans, and because of this, they tend to avoid the racial prejudices that other races are known for. They are also very curious and tend to live 'for the moment'.
Thieves are the most roguish of the classes. They are sneaky and nimble-fingered, and have skills with traps and locks. While not all use these skills for burglary, that is a common occupation of this class.
Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.
Mask is the Neutral Evil god of rogues, thieves. He is also known as the Lord of Shadows. He appears as a lithe man, shadowed, wearing dark clothing. His followers believe in stealth and wariness. They wear black and gray clothing, and carry weapons and armor similar to that of a thief. They frequently wear masks to conceal their identity. Mask's symbol is a dark, checkered mask.
Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)
They're... horribly addictive.
I draw my strength from those around me. In fact, I draw my looks and personality from them as well. I am a shapeshifter. I am mysterious. I am often misunderstood, as my true self is often overshadowed by a facade. I have a serious nature, and don't hesistate when it comes to revenge. Careful, I might just be that face you see in the mirror.