Friday, March 20, 2009

Earth Hour. What is all the fuss about?

Vote earth, your light switch is your vote!

Call me a cynic but if thats the case Earth Hour marks everything that is wrong with elections.

Now don't get me wrong. A billion people turning off everything for an hour, particularly if they are the billion people in the world who are the worlds greatest energy consumers, WILL no doubt lead to a significant reduction in power consumption and all the greenhouse effects that that process entails...for one hour. But WHAT are we voting for?

Some would argue that success of the campaign isn't based on how much energy it saves, which is significant..for one hour, but on the ability to foster a greater sense of awareness amongst people and perhaps more importantly to impart a sense that we can make a difference as individuals. An absolutely noble and justifiable intention by my reckoning. But the irony is that the success of the campaign essentially also reiterates what the fundamental core of the global warming problem is, our apathy.

A billion people turn off their lights together and thats apathy?What am I on?!

Earth Hour is a cultural phenomenon..its cool...and everybody's going to be doing it. (So was the Free Love movement of the late 60's and early 70's... up until people found out about STD's...) with the reduction of green house emissions (that one hour) being a default result, rather than an intended one.

We individuals believe that we are making a difference because hey, even oil conglomerates like Petronas are getting onboard by turning off the twin towers for an hour! Thats cool and saving the planet right??!.... now if the Americans would just sign up for the Kyoto protocol too we could all hold hands and sing kumbaya...

The fact of the matter is, Earth Hour fails to save the planet (overambitious KPI so what did they expect! =P) because by becoming a focal point for people to express their undying support to the cause, for an hour, does it really instill a sense of concern for the planet and an appreciation for what we can do on a day to day basis? Or is it JUST a massive "Turn off your lights when you leave the house" campaign? (Which you do one hour in year and pat yourself on the back about for the remaining 8759 hours)

On top of that, how many people would have Googled Earth Hour to learn more about what it is? (I just did =P) Did you know that every time you make a google search you are essentially using up as much energy as it takes to boil two kettles of water? (This came out in a research study that was posted up by the BBC...will add the link if I can find it) Heh, how many Twitters out there do you reckon will be saying something like "I'm turning my lights off for an hour".. are they thinking about how much energy is going into making that critically important message?(Especially if your using your handphone..thats you and 60,000 other people if your Ewan Williams) Does anyone fully appreciate what their carbon footprint really is?

Are we really voting for anything with Earth Hour? Will the governments of the world look at how dark the planet becomes for one hour (it wont actually as the lights out will be staggered due to time differences) and go "omfg aaargh we must reduce our carbon emissions!"

Or are we just letting out one massive collective, "Gargh!" Meaningless but feels pretty darn good...

So what will I be doing at 8.30pm on the 28th of March 2009? Yea I'll be turning everything off for an hour and looking for a good spot to take a picture of blacked out KL. (YES I KNOW IM USING PETROL BY DRIVING INTO THE CITY) Because Earth Hour might not help in the long run, but it would'nt hurt either... besides lost causes are what we Marxist live for =P

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is doing the right thing the right thing to do, or is it plain reckless?

Well, hit a bit of a bump on the road towards getting a new job.

Was told by the company that I really wanted to join up with that things were being pushed back a bit due to some internal matters, and so I'd only be able to go for my second interview some time in early April (and that I was not to hold my breath with early April at that)

This of course placed me in quite a spot because A) My offer with this Government Linked Company pretty much expired today(or yesterday rather) and B) There isn't any guarantee that I will be getting the job that I want because B.1) I'm still going to be up in the running against someone else for the job and B.2) There's no guarantee that they wont just decide not to hire :S
I'll admit that B.2 worries me a hell of a lot more than B.1 but yea...

However, I think what has gotten me so worked up and insomnia-tic for the past 48 hours was that this little setback made it very clear to myself, just how precarious my situation actually is...and that it can spiral out of control for reasons I have no control over. Facts are that it is a recession and that as good as I think/know I am my accomplishments in the past nine months are hardly worth screaming about when you put them next to what the heavy hitters in PR are doing...and I am a firm believer that its not who you are or what you are or what you think that matters, its what you do.

So why go through with it? Why suffer such insecurities for something with an uncertain outcome when security and safety is at hand with the GLC offer? It pays more, it IS a promotion to the next level and on paper, it should be the logical progression!

Well I truly believe that this job at Text, is a shot at redemption... because there I will be tested to the fullest and will have to raise my own bar to match the standard. I will opposed to the GLC where I will most likely be one of the few individuals who pull their own weight...
and yea...I miss being amongst professional PR practitioners who aren't in the industry as a semi-retirement option from journalism (This topic is deserving of an entire blog entry in its own right..shall touch on it soon)

Well in the meantime, I have sent out a few applications to other agencies... But yea... ever gotten the feeling when you knew something/someone was absolutely right for you..but whether you got it or not was .just. beyond. your. control....Am having a serious case of that right now :S

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Space Marine Army list - LineBreakers

My preferred design philosophy when making an army is simple. Get close to the enemy, pause for a second to shoot em up, and then charge in to mop up whats left. I also prefer to design general take on all comers  list as I personally find it to be a lot more satisfying =P Space Marine's of course, are perfect for this type of play.

Now so that everyone can have an out frame understanding of what I will be talking about, I'll just share what my current list is, and then go into a little bit more detail later.

Captain Laertes (Vulkan He'stan)

1st Tactical Squad -1 Sergeant 9 Marines
Sergeant with Powerfist and Combi-Melta, Flamer, Lascannon
With Rhino as dedicated transport

2nd Tactical Squad - 1 Sergeant 9 Marines
Sergeant with Powerfist, Flamer, Lascannon
With Rhino as dedicated transport

Terminator Assault Squad - 5 Terminators
3x Thunder Hammer with Storm Shield
2X Paired Lightning Claws
With Imperial (Because CSM's dont have it!haha! =P) Land Raider Redeemer (with Multi-Melta) as a dedicated transport

Sternguard Veteran Squad - 5 Veterans
1 Veteran with Combi-Melta, Sergeant with melta bombs
With Razorback armed with Twin linked Lascannons as dedicated transport

Landspeeder Alpha with 2 Multi-Melta's
Landspeeder Beta with 2 Multi-Melta's

Scoring units 2-4(occasionally 5 if I swap a Landspeeder for Scouts)
Kill points 11-13
1500 pts

Captain Laertes (Vulkan He'stan)

The capabilities of Laertes (or Vulkan as he would be known to the Codex world) are fundamental to my tactics and are simply beautiful for they will last beyond whatever untimely demises might befall him. The fact that he allows you to treat all flamer,heavy flamer,melta and multi melta weapons (including his own heavy flamer) as twin linked exponentially improves both your close range anti-vehicle and anti-horde capabilities. 

On top of that he's a pretty mean force to be reckoned with in close combat and is the ideal partner to thunder hammer/storm shield equipped terminators as his WS6, I5, S6 attacks (with a mastercraft re-roll to boot) stands a good chance of inflicting wounds on monstrous creatures (which the Termie's can then polish off) or whittle down the number of models in an enemy unit, ork boyz come to mind, which also reduces the number of retaliatory attacks that will be delivered onto your terminators. (and then the Termie's can polish them off too =P)

The Venerable...10 Marine Tactical a Rhino.

Unarguably the most flexible unit in the hobby. A full Tactical Space Marine squad is survivable, can dish out a respectable amount of damage, is particularly effective at crowd
control when facing a horde list, and can be split into combat squads depending on  how you wish to take on a mission.

As great as they are though, if unsupported by the rest of your army you will often find yourself in a situation where your Tactical squad(s) are either A) Outnumbered Troop for Troop.. especially by horde list such as Orks,IG and Tyranids or B) Outclassed by the somewhat more specialized Troop choices of the other armies...CSM's (Eat plasma fire!!), Genestealers (omfg aaargh!),Grey Knights (holy omfg aaargh) and even Tau Fire Warrior's (Plasma fire buffet!!) are but a few that come to mind.            

Ultimately you may be facing 40 guardsmen with inferior capabilities to your 10 Marines...but it has to be remembered that each and every one of those guardsmen DOES have the potential to kill a Marine...So dont be in a rush to go charging out in the open with your 3+ save power armor or you'll end up with as many dead marines as in a Soul Drinker novel!

Careful deployment and maneuver of your Tactical squads is crucial, hence the amount of tender love that Marine players often give to the ubiquitous Rhino. Essentially the Rhino gives the Marine player the ability to get his rapid fire shots or bolt pistol/flamer and charge combo in before the opponent does. In that sense Rhino=Initiative.

I personally also feel that the Power Fist is an essential bit of kit in the 10 marine squad, particularly when playing Leagues and tournaments, as the last thing you want to see is a 10 Marine squad being locked in close combat by a dreadnaught or Monstrous Creature for the duration of a game. (Ideally of course, one should not allow one's precious Tactical squad to BE charged by such a menace in the first place. Unless you have something to finish off what your power fisted Sergeant started whaling on)

Redemption is at hand!

Aaaah...the Land Raider Redeemer. Now, this is a tank that all players should at the very least respect... if not fear.

Simply said the pro's of the Redeemer are , 
- the S6 AP3 Flamestorm cannons that will create vast holes in anything but the most elite units of any army. 
- the durability to be expected of any Land Raider
- the assault ramp that gives you an 18" threat radius for some seriously heavy hitters

Some have even begun to argue that the Redeemer is the best Land Raider chassis around, and vis a vis the Crusader...I shall agree =P

The Redeemer does face problems against mobile armies however (Beware the Eldar and Tau), and a poor deployment of it against such foes will often result in the inability to use the Flamestorm cannons to its intended devastating effect. While yes, it does come with an assault cannon and a multi-melta, the inability to bring those flamers to bear, for this list, could mean the inability to take down sufficient numbers of the enemy to assure a victory.

Thunder Hammer Time

Now, many veteran marine players will look at the 3 Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield and 2 Paired Lightning Claws setup and go "What the deuce?Why not just take em all as TH/SS'ers?!" 

Again, this is a personal preference based on League necessity. Like Captain Laertes, the paired lightning claw termies are there to reduce the number of retaliatory hits that will inevitably be brought to bear on my TH/SS terminators by the massed number of Gaunts or Ork boyz that are out there. It also assures me a chance of causing wounds against other I4 units particularly in the off chance that the opponent is packing something like a Chaplain, Librarian or something similar(yes, unfortunately the killing of Brother Space Marines is quite a common occurrence in the 40k universe) and perhaps more importantly gives me the option of NOT attaching Laertes to the Terminators without having to worry about them being bullied by models with quicker motor skills, just in case there is more than one really badass enemy HQ or units that I need to be engaging in close combat with.
More on this in a moment.

Veterans of the First

If it were only because of the Hellfire Rounds, I would always recommend the Sternguard...and they have three other types of kickass ammunition to boot! Almost as flexible as the Tactical squad (and I say almost only because they cant claim objectives unless under the command of Pedro Kantor, but thats another list altogether) Sternguard veterans are useful for everything from crowd control to taking down Monstrous Creatures such as Carnifexes,Wraithlords and Necron Stargods... which they might even accomplish in a single rapid fire volley if your lucky.

Like the Rhino's of their less experienced Tactical brothers, the Razorback is there to give them the initiative, and is a respectable anti-vehicle unit in its own right. When faced with armies that have multiple MC's that need to be taken down quickly I sometimes will attach Captain Laertes to the Sternguard rather than the terminators. I would then deploy Laertes from the Razorback to move into position for a charge while the Sternguard deploy separately to provide a rapid fire volley. This is a somewhat tricky maneuver to pull of as it often relies on your opponent doing what you want him to do in one of his turns (whilst simultaneously not taking out your Razorback) but has proven effective for me in the past as it allowed me to take out two very nasty units in a single turn at an early stage of the game. (One with the terminators and redeemer, and the other with a massed hellfire volley from the sternguard followed by a coup d'grace by Laertes)

Melta Delivery Service

Landspeeders. Two of em. With two twin linked multi melta's each. As a fast vehicle you have an effective 2D6 melta range of 18" with an effective S8 AP1 threat range of 30"!... And you can even deep strike them.

Furthermore at 80 points a pop, I don't mind all that much about deep striking one next to enemy land raider for that one hit wonder opportunity.(One twin linked Multi-Melta will still make most opponents cringe when its in the magic melta range) However I generally avoid using them in such all or nothing methods(unless my opponents deployment gave me no other choice) as I find that the Double Twin Linked Land Speeder is equally as good at catching an unwary opponent totally off guard with its 30" threat area (Potentially murder 2 terminators a turn each) as it is at cooking tanks...80 points...marvelous.

My only regret is that half the time I have been forced to swap out a speeder for a sniper scout squad as my second landspeeder was lost in the warp while in transit from the UK, and its presence in a game depends on whether I can borrow one off someone else! (A permanent replacement will soon be appropriated hopefully)

LineBreakers - an overview

This list has served me very well over the past 2 or 3  months that I have been running it, with only one significant loss to a thrice accursed Eldar army. (Fast tanks, Farseer's and Phoenix Lords verdamnt!!)

It has to be aggressively played though, as with a maximum of 4 scoring units (five if I'm playing the scout squad) this is not the army list that will forgive you if you don't get your heavy hitter's out and dealing damage early in the game. Armies with numerous elite close combat units (Blood Angels, Black Templar) can also prove very challenging, and represent one of those situations where the effective maneuvering of the Tactical squads and use of the Redeemer will prove decisive. 

Annihilation missions can also prove to be pretty tough, as Rhino's, Razorbacks and Landspeeders aren't the most survivable vehicles around. Still if one can use them effectively early in the game (killing enemy tanks and getting closer/into good positions) the surviving units often do stand a reasonable chance of making sure things stay in your favor.

All in all, I find this to be a fun list that really makes you work for the win. Fall for the myth of Marine invincibility and you will suffer dearly, but strike swiftly and hard (control the flow of the game by forcing the opponent to react to your plans rather than vice versa) as a true Astartes should and you will appreciate just how high on crack the Marines can be. Hard work for the win, but victory becomes all the more satisfying because of it.

Monday, March 16, 2009


      (Wee Vern, Yam Meng and Myself)

Wow...on Saturday, 14th of March 2009, I met up with Wee Vern and Yam Meng. Two friends of mine from my primary school days in Penang...and who I have not met or heard from since standard 3...yup...standard 3...16 years ago.

It all started a few months or so ago when Yam Meng got in touch with me through (yup, you guessed it) Facebook! After quite some time of procrastination due to the obligations of working life, we finally set a date for the get together and yea...old friendships have now been rekindled!

It's amazing because though 16 years have separated us, it was easy to get along well (and even recall Mr Tan who left a massive hole in the black board after getting soo pissed off by the noise level we were making in class that he let it out with an almighty punch =P)

And, older we may be...the only massive difference I found was in the way we sounded (come on la, standard 3, voices still had'nt cracked yet =P) ... Especially with regards to Wee Vern...Yam Meng's a bit heftier and I've lost a hell of a lot of hair... but Wee Vern's unchanged man! 

Anyways, to old friends!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Space Marine's!

Okay... I am a geek. Note geek. Not nerd. Two totally differing things with totally different connotations (and merriam websters definitions be damned!!) For example, this is the generation of the geek. How else do you explain tv shows like Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Lost, and fricking Smallville becoming mainstream hits? (Battlestar Galactica is just too awesome btw =P) 

So anyway yeah.. one of my myriad hobbies is Warhammer 40,000. Its been a part of my life since I was 10 and I reckon its a great great way to express some of those creative the name of death and destruction!!!! =P so yea...anyways...just gonna post a few pictures of my Space Marine army... Because I'm so proud of each and every one of em!! 

(For those of you who dont have a clue what Warhammer 40k is, just take note that these models come unassembled and what you see here is the result of hours upon hours of loving labour!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting started

It's amazing what inspires a person to get cracking on the keyboard and churn out a few words. I've actually been wanting to start this blog of mine for quite some time now, in fact its been a time frame that has encompassed the tendering of my resignation with my current agency, the pre-launch hype and excitement of Empire Total War, the corrupt and downright EVIL crossings of the three PR assemblypersons Osman, Radzi and Hee (why are they still alive?!) to BN, the ridiculous decision of the sultan of Perak (obviously no one in Perak knows what a guillotine is....hrmm...) blablabla with regards to constitutionalism (Let me just say that the constitution is the pillar from which all other laws in this country are derived if you piss on the constitution tell me why,oh WHY should'nt I just go out and murder you since there technically really isn't any law that remains valid!!!??), oh and the disappointment which engulfed my SOUL once I actually got Empire Total War and rather than the glorious re-enactment of a gentlemanly conduct of war, complete with intermittent cup's of Earl Grey tea as one EXPECTS from the 18th century....I find myself in possession of a bug ridden charlatan to the Total War series!!!!

But yea...rants aside what has actually gotten me psyched up to blog a bit, was an interview that I just had today with Text 100....

Well started out with a little "What do you know about PR punk?" exercise sheet. Basic stuff really, key messaging, pr strategy, story angles etc etc. At this point I was quite comfortable actually because I was doing things that I knew how to do and yea...I've always prided myself on coming up with strategy, and I reckoned at that point that I would be able to dish it out in a pretty kick ass manner when it came down to presenting it (The intro sheet promised that it would be a "fun" exercise!!)

Anyway, finished up the exercise feeling all smug and on top of things as I step into the interview room proper at which point Mei Ling (my interviewer.. promptly goes through work, ticks a few lines, throws a "hmm,hum" here and there...and tosses it aside.Where was the fun exercise they promised?!! :( 

Long story short the interview turned into a "Who are you, what are you about" session, as is usual... cept that in this interview, my flaws somehow became very apparent to myself. When I left FH, I felt on top of the world. I knew I was kickass at my job and had the credentials to prove it! And then I fell into one of the worst working experiences of my life...and I stayed there for 9 months :( 

Text.. I see it as more than just a job right now. It really is a chance at redemption. Chance to see if I still have what it takes to do some good under hard core PROFESSIONAL circumstances...and frankly, while I was proud of the fact that I managed to get things done and happening by and large on my own over the past nine months, I am really looking forward to getting some mentorship going :S Its funny. A year ago I would have said I could take on my own accounts no problem. And I could. In the MALAYSIAN context. Which honestly is plain  shameful.

Well in anycase overall the interview went well...i reckon. Mei Ling even went out and said that she liked me and that was a pretty positive note. I gotta say that I was quite impressed by Mei Ling herself as well. I guess I'm lucky that she's had her own experiences with GLC's because she seemed to totally appreciate where I was coming from on that front...and also, unlike my previous bosses, she seemed able to appreciate what I was saying rather than just hear what I was saying... then again you know, could just be my mind playing tricks on me...after all she is a professional communicator and as Sashi once wisely told me "Everyone of em is a snake" (A tad harsh I felt at the time...but sadly, more and more I tend to find it to also be the truth on many occasions.... :S )

But at the same time, my fear is actually that my own self doubts will be what ultimately screws up my chances. I realized that for all that I thought I had accomplished in the past nine months, it really did'nt count for anything because the bar that was set was just too low. Unfortunately it also became very apparent to me that realizing that, and making the decision to leave it behind...was the easiest part of the whole saga....the real challenge will be to prove that I can still hack it in the big league...if I can that is :S

But by the lords of kobol I bloody do hope I bloody get that chance!

(Post interview dinner... first time in years where I just did'nt have the appetite to finish me food tres freaky :S )