Veggies Artworks!

Cabbage goldfish
Picture taken from bearsandbuds

Visit HERE to see more of these amazing veggies made to look like animals. Beautiful!

I especially like the fish one above and the one with the cauliflower lambs.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Buy and donate a laptop this X’mas at one go!

One Laptop per child

This coming Christmas… buy a laptop for a worthy cause:

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops-one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home. If you’re interested in Give 1 Get 1, we’ll be happy to send you a reminder email. Just sign up in the box to the left and you’ll receive your reminder prior to the November 12 launch date.

Why wait?

Order now! It’s really a good reason to buy a laptop!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

White Ninja web comic

White Ninja Forensic Investigator
White Ninja is a the Forensic Investigator

Read more White Ninja comic strips HERE.

I discovered this badly drawn web comic a few years back.

According to the website:

White Ninja Comics are not for the weak of mind. They are a brilliant satirical commentary on controversial worldly issues.

They can be enjoyed on many levels. Scholars, Philosophers, and the like, who possess the intellect to analyze and break down the comics to their hidden, and often devious, roots, will enjoy White Ninja to its fullest degree. Others, like you and I, however, can still enjoy the comics for their light-hearted surface humour and funny drawings.

Which of course is all bullshit.

It is a badly drawn web comic where the stories make no sense and are 99% of the time, retarded. Full stop.

Yet strangely, people are drawn to it. For me, it is because I used to draw such retarded white and black ninja stuff when I was in kindergarten and primary school. Reading these comic strips retard my mental stage back to at least two decades back.

If I were to nail down it’s appeal – I believe it is because White Ninja relate to the child who refuse to grow up in all adults. We all want to be young again lah.

It’s updated daily. Do have a read when you feel like becoming a kid again.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pink and White Katydids

Pink and white katydids

Following my previous post on Golden Frogs, now we have Pink and White Katydids found in Japan. Ain’t they beautiful? They look more like ornaments than real insects.

As reported on Pink Tentacles:

When Osaka resident Kana Yamaguchi’s neighbors cut the grass in a nearby field, a number of fleeing insects sought refuge in her flower bed. Among them was an odd pair of grasshopper-like bugs – one pink, one white. Osaka Museum of Natural History entomologist Itaru Kanazawa identifies them as the larvae of Euconocephalus thunbergi (“kubikirigisu” in Japanese), a close relative of the katydid. While he says it is normal for these insects to change between green and brown to match their surroundings, pink and white are considered abnormal. Speculation is that the pink is an extreme variation of the brown coloration, and the white specimen is believed to be an albino, though nobody will know for sure until it becomes an adult. Regardless, says Kanazawa, “It is quite rare to find three different colors at the same time.”

The original article can be found on Asahi in Japanese.

Such is the beauty of the natural world.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gantz (ガンツ, Gantsu)

Gantz

Gantz (ガンツ, Gantsu) is a manga and anime series written by Hiroya Oku. It tells the story of a teenager named Kei Kurono who dies in a train accident and becomes part of a semi-posthumous “game” in which he and several other recently deceased people are forced to become bounty hunters to hunt down and kill aliens. The missions in which they embark upon are often dangerous and many died again each mission.

Upon the completion of each alien killing mission, points will be awarded to each of these hunters, according to their performances. Hunters who died during each mission will be replenished by new recruits of recently deceased people in the next mission.

Basically, the story set-up is like an elaborate video game. Here’s an abstract from Wikipedia on the rules of the “game” in Gantz:

Gantz forces them to participate in what at first appears to be a reality game show, in which they hunt aliens who are secretly living in Japan. Gantz provides them with strength enhancing-skinsuits, guns, and radar. Each participant has a miniature explosive implanted in their brains that prevents them from wandering outside the designated playing field, much like the explosive collars in the series Battle Royale. The designated area is roughly one square kilometer; if the participants cross this boundary or tell anyone of the secrets of Gantz and the apartment, the explosive will detonate.

If the players manage to survive the mission, they return to the room in perfect health (even if they were nearly dead or missing limbs). Those who are killed during the mission do not return to the room. Gantz then tallies individual scores based on kills and sets them free, only to have them return to play another time. Points are awarded both according to the number of kills achieved by the player and by the equipment used by the player.

Those who manage to accumulate 100 points are given one of three choices:

1. Be set free with their memories of Gantz and the games wiped.
2. Receive an “ultimate weapon”
3. Be able to bring back to life someone from GANTZ’s memory bank.

In the event that the one-hour mission duration is reached without all targets being eliminated, all of a player’s points are revoked, and his or her score goes back to zero.

None of the rules are actually explicitly given to the players, with the exception of the 100 point menu, which is either given automatically when a player reaches or exceeds 100 points. In every other case the players have learned of their rewards and penalties only after they have been earned.

Instead of being given any training or a list of rules, the participants are simply told to kill their target, and are only shown one or two enemy profiles which are often not representative of the full complement or ability of their opponents. They are not given any useful information on their enemies’ capabilities or weaknesses, or the number of enemies to expect. Unfortunately for the players, the rules of the game (as well as the capabilities of the suits, the use of the weapons, and the scoring system) are learned by one of two ways: either by institutional memory (i.e. a veteran explaining to a newcomer how the game works), or by trial and error, the latter usually resulting in the death of one or more players.

The end result is that the newcomers are entirely dependent on the goodwill of the veterans for crucial information that may be their only hope of survival; in the hypothetical event that the entire compliment of veterans is wiped out, any future group of newcomers would be utterly at the mercy of their circumstances; their only hope of survival would be their own guile, cunning, and the ability to quickly figure out and utilize the tools provided. Gantz sometimes gives hints to the hunters about what they should do, but it rarely happens.

When I read the first volume, I was immediately hooked. I was captivated by how an ordinary, selfish teenager like Kei can end up as a hero in another world. The characters in the story all have flawed personalities, yet some were able to go perform extraordinary deeds to protect perfect strangers from violence, and possibly death. This adds a strong realism flavour to the manga, increasing the believability factor, in spite of the far-fetched sci-fi computer game rules.

The manga series is still ongoing and I recommend it for those who like realistic violence stories which trigger you to think about humanity. If you enjoyed the cult classic movie, Battle Royale, you will definitely enjoy Gantz. However, do note that the manga has a M18 rating for violence and nudity.

Oh, and here’s the trailer of the anime if you want a preview of Gantz:

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My first reservist ICT

Changi Naval Base
Changi Naval Base (picture taken from Erik’s flickr album)

I finally got home last Saturday at around 5pm after a 6 days ICT.

My reservist unit is Changi Defense Squadron and our job is to guard Changi Naval Base. Basically, duties involve vehicle checks, scanning for bomb threats, sentry posts, prowling, etc – very much like professional security guards.

Glad that quite a few other old NSF buddies from Tuas Naval Base were posted to the same unit as me. I made some new friends too. This is the enjoyable part of reservist, catching up with old friends and making new friends.

The bad part is the regimentation.

I find it especially irritating that some of the SAF regulars still have not ‘wake up their idea’ that when guys like me go back for reservist – we see it as doing the nation a favour and we serve because we love our nation, Singapore – not SAF and not because we want a career as a soldier. We do not appreciate getting scolded with vulgar words, and being treated like low-lives by these idiots who signed up because they cannot-make-it-in-the-outside-world and who thinks that RANK is EVERYTHING.

Please lah… once out of uniform, you and I are all fellow Singaporeans trying to make a living. It’s only because I respect the Singapore flag that I call you ‘Sir’ and salute you. Respect from your men has to be earned, and I think most army regulars do not deserve respect because they only know how to pull ranks instead of leading by example.

Having said that, I do appreciate my unit CSM and other good, regular soldiers who appreciate the sacrifices NSmen have to make to accommodate for their career as well as work-life balance and pay us the due respect. To these people, I give them my utmost respect in return and will gladly follow through the orders pass down from them.

I hope more SAF regulars can learn to think this way too.

Anyway, more about my ICT…

The exercise itself is not siong as we only have to do prowling. However, the living condition was atrocious as we have no proper shower facilities and sanitation. The toilets were broken and cannot flush – imagine the stink after four days with 30 men using them! We also don’t get to shower everyday as there is no shower point near our base camp.

The food from Singapore Food Industries (SFI) was as usual – horribly bad. They served us with fried food covered with extremely generous serving of chilli sauce for practically every single lunch and dinner. Weather was scorching hot lor… eat these already such lao sai one. How come they never think about it?

One lesson I learn after this ICT – not to keep deferring.

Eventually, I will still need to complete whatever I deferred. Better to clear them now while I am still young.

One down, 9 more high-key to go.

Bless me.

Oh, and it’s back to work today.

Quite jittery to open up my mailbox and see the explosion of incoming emails… afterall, I am a civilian, not a full-time soldier.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,