After having been released for exactly a week, I finally saw Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith today. Well, not me alone, I was accompanied by my cohort, Irfan! Yes, true believers. There was a 2 years 8 month old child today in the theater watching a movie that was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, but "U" by some sleepy guy in a drab office in charge of rating English movies in Malaysia. Bite me, you oversensitive, politically correct whiners!
So, I guess it's time of me to review this movie. Before you let out another collective "not- another- internet- review- of- ROTS" sigh, I am very much aware that almost every guy with a blog and their one-legged puppy has reviewed ROTS this past week when I was in Sitiawan, so I'm not going to review ROTS.
Instead, I will review the experience of watching Irfan watching ROTS on the big screen!
Taking a break from Sila's wedding, let us now read on the subject of comics. Specifically, DC's Batman's comics. It's nothing to do with the Warner Animation's excellent animated series, nor will we be talking about Christian Bale in the upcoming Batman Begins...
Instead, let's take a look back at the time when Batman and most probably the entire Gotham City laughed at Joker's boner.
Yes, you heard me. The Joker's boner! (By way of the Accordion Guy.)
Herein lies a selection of pictures of Sila & Vin's wedding.
So on Tuesday Vin had to be at PERKIM for a crash course at 10 am. At the same time, Sila's Marriage Course cert has to be retrieved. With Ain at work, we sent Irfan to day care at his Opah Cik Timah's. The remaining members of the squad split up. I drove Vin & Sila to PERKIM while Emma went to get the certificate. At PERKIM, we met Arab-born, Indian educated Brother Sayid, whom Sila & I thought would have made a better Islamic studies teacher than most of the ustaz we had in secondary school, and especially boarding school.
The last seven days have been a great experience.
Sila and Vin were in Kuala Lumpur maneuvering through some red tape and purchasing wedding items. Both were of course ably aided by Irfan, his Aunt Emma, Ain and I. We were like a squad of soldiers moving through military maneuvers timing each other, splitting up at some points to cover more ground.
Thus we were kept busy and on our toes at all times.
Wil Wheaton is a fantastic writer and storyteller, a fellow geek, a funny guy to boot, and as far as I can tell, a wonderful father and husband. Plus he's also Aqualad on the Teen Titans. Here's the first paragraph of his latest post:
When I was a kid, and I or my brother or sister would get sick, our mom always dropped everything and took care of us. We'd usually spend a day or two on the couch, where mom would bring us all sorts of herbal teas, feed us massive amounts of vitamins, and let us watch whatever we wanted on television. Before VCRs, when I was sick, I'd watch game shows until ten, then whatever was on PBS (usually Electric Company or Zoom) until noon, then Twilight Zone until one. After that, TV pretty much sucked for the next two hours, so I'd read a book or take a nap, depending on how lousy I felt. After we got our first family VCR — a top-loading monster with digital numbers and woodgrain accents that weighed about 70 pounds — I would spend the day watching Star Wars (taped from ONTV) over and over again.
Click here to read more and go on to the rest of his blog.
It's a given that my name is Hisham and I do some (if not an unholy amount of) art in the last few years. Why not "Hisham Graphics"? Or "HishArt"? Or as was labeled on my old extinct e-mail marketing flyer, "Khairul Hisham Illustrations"? (Or my perennial favourite Exploding Toilets Sdn Bhd... don't ask.)
I chose "Hish" specifically because I've grown fond of what the guys over at the Holonet and SWAG usually call me, over instant messaging. (I have no idea how it will sound if someone verbally calls me that; no one has ever done so.) Graphics, because... because.... honestly I have no clue why I chose "graphics".
I've used "Hishgraphics" on two occasions in the past: the GeoCities site where my general artwork is on display, and this free hosting site at orgfree where you're reading this article, and I've grown used to it that I think future projects on the web will also be under the Hishgraphics name.
What projects, you ask? Gimme a couple of months to plan and implement it, then if all goes well you'll find out what here at this blog.
In the meantime, here are some ideas for a Hishgraphics logo I'm throwing around. If you have opinions, I'd be pleased to hear of it.
Upon some free time, I've cooked up some more avatars. This time they're all the X-Wing pilots during the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars Episode IV- A New Hope
. Nothing spectacular; you've all seen them before here and there in the last three decades. Right-click and save them for your own use, if you want.
Red Leader - Garven Dreis
Red Two - Wedge Antilles
Red Three - Biggs Darklighter
Red Five - Luke Skywalker
Red Six - Jek Porkins
Red Ten - Theron Nett
Kris Vanderwater, a great web programmer and 3D modeller, introduced me to Platinum Grit
, a awesome Australian webcomic by Trudy Cooper and Danny Murphy. There's
some elements of fantasy,
a weird alien abduction issue which just defies description, no breaking-the-fourth-wall humour, and no references to video games at all
... just stories about normal (but quirky) relationship between three main characters, Kate, Nils and Jeremy and
a fair bit of neuroses (especially masochism on Jeremy's part).
The issue which chronicles Nils and Jeremy's first meeting features a good deal of turtles exploding, laying waste to a zoo, and breaking the sanity of a zoo-keeper which will return to haunt Jeremy in a later issue. Supporting characters include Jeremy's wrinkly Aunt Lottie (a far bit of perseverance needed to decipher her thick Scottish brogue), a Jamaican-accented cupboard, Arthur the pig and Zeigfried.
I'm still reading through the issues, and I can't wait to resume reading them
. I'm done reading them all, and there is no possible way I can describe to you the experience of reading this webcomic. All I can say is that it's linear, it's funny, it's shocking, it's got weird characters, and I like it very much. Macromedia Shockwave is a requirement to read them.
11.15 pm was Sila and Vin's arrival time at KLIA from Cincinnati, by way of LA and Incheon. We went with two cars, because Sila's message was quite explicit: "Need empty car boots, we got lots of bags"... or something to that effect. Here are the pictures of the KLIA excursion, which was a fun excursion.
Heading back home, all the cars experienced various technical problems... at about 1.00 am. My car tyre's sidewall bulged threatening us with a flat in the middle of nowhere, Abah's car's radiator redlined and driver's door window got stuck in the down position.... Those weren't fun.
Irfan has a planet officially named after him in the Star Wars universe. Specifically, a gas giant in the Vaxal system. Third planet of the system, with seven moons orbiting it. How did it come about, you ask? Thanks to a friend of mine in California named Gary Astleford
, a freelance game writer. He landed a gig writing a Star Wars RPG article for Paizo Publishing's Dungeon / Polyhedron Magazine (Issue 106, cover date January 2004) and he asked me if he could use Irfan's name in the article.
So, now Irfan is an official planet in the Star Wars universe, since Paizo Publishing at that time is a Lucasfilm licensee for Star Wars RPG along with Wizards of the Coast
for the d20 incarnation of the game. Yay. Here's the scan from the magazine with his name on it.
Thanks Uncle Gary.
Via Boing Boing
, I came across an amazing webcomic known as Robot the Robot
. Each issue is a flash file and it opens like a regular book, that is to say it has two facing page each screen. Click on the left page to leaf back the book, click on the right ot leaf forward. The stories have a facade of innocence with a hint of underlying darkness. The characters are some of the weirdest and quirkiest I've seen in a webcomic.
I heartily recommend it to everyone.
In August 2003, a thousand families flocked to Universiti Malaya to see a family member graduate. Ours were there to see Ain graduate (with a 11-month old Irfan in tow), finally getting her bachelor's degree in Economics.
What I didn't know was graduation events can have some pretty exciting moments too. Like the time the university guards blocked the road to let the graduates travel from their staging ground at the Bangunan Peperiksaan to the where they were supposed to receive their scroll at Dewan Tunku Canselor. Out of the dozens of vehicles blocked, a single biker tried to run the blockade, right before the thousands of people there. So the guards grabbed hold of the perpetrator and pulled him right off his bike as he passed them. Other guards dragged his bike. They forcibly returned him to where he was with the rest of the waiting bikes and cars. It was awesome. I should have taken pictures but I wasn't ready. There might have been cheers among the onlookers but I couldn't be sure. I'd like to think so. Anyway...
This day will always be an inspiration for me to obtain my own degree someday. After she received her scroll, we all went on a picture taking frenzy, and here are some of the results.
The new Battlestar Galactica
series created by Ronald D. Moore
has been one of the most exciting TV shows last season. It has solid writing, a great script, some unpredictable surprises and the best season finale in recent TV history. For those of you who's still to watch it, give it a try when they rerun it or release the first season on DVD. For those of you who watch the program weekly without fail during its original run (you know who you are) here is a great resource for you to browse through (or chew on, whichever floats your boat):
The Battlestar Galactica Wikipedia
! (or just Battlestar Wiki, for short.) It's still developing and with the upcoming second season of Galactica, entries for this site is bound to increase exponentially.
Last few month I was locked in mortal combat with a termite
infestation. Last month, the pest control people came and finally they
were vanquished. But the damage done was irreparable. Lots of my books
and notes had to be thrown out, including a folder filled with my water
color paintings from when I was in Form One.
Click on the link to see three samples of the artwork that was destroyed.
At two and a half years old, Irfan has absolutely no fear of water.
Unbidden, he will kick off his shoes, run to the edge of the pool, do a little sing and dance routine (seriously) and jump right into the deep end with a big splash. Recently he started using a child's life preserver, a full body jacket now, not the small arm band things you see him wearing here, which sprung a leak last month.
Every weekend he goes nuts whenever he learns that we're going to air lompat
, which is his term for the swimming pool. I guess I'm quite grateful for his lack of fear for water. It would be quite easy for him to learn to swim later on. Here are more pictures of Irfan the paddler from way back in January 2005
The creator of Lord Morpheus aka Dream aka Oneiros aka Orpheus' Father aka the Thirdborn of the Endless was at the Nebula Awards in Chicago, Illinois last week and he gave a pretty awesome speech which like all of his written works (novel, novella or comic book) is an enjoyable read. If you like books and reading in general, I urge you to read Neil Gaiman's journal, where he writes of the happenings around him (including the time his daughter hijacked his journal) and answers letters from his fans in a witty and fun manner.
If you're wondering here are the results for the Nebula Awards, which also includes Fran Walsh, Philipa Boyens and Peter Jackson for the Best Script Awards for Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King.
Here is an excerpt from his speech:
Gene Wolfe pointed out to me, five years ago, when I proudly told him, at the end of the first draft of American Gods, that I thought I'd figured out how to write a novel, that you never learn how to write a novel. You merely learn how to write the novel you're on. He's right, of course. The paradox is that by the time you've figured out how to do it, you've done it. And the next one, if it's going to satisfy the urge to create something new, is probably going to be so different that you may as well be starting from scratch, with the alphabet.
At least in my case, it feels as I begin the next novel knowing less than I did the last time.
Back in 1986, when I was a First Former, and a Scout, the yearly school session were divided into three terms. During the two term holidays of that year, 1st Troop Manjung organized camp outs in the school grounds. We usually camped out in front of the new canteen, where a new tennis court stands now I'm told. The first campout we I got the Keris Gangsa badge. The second campout I got the Keris Perak badge. I never got the Keris Emas badge. Well, those were the days. You want pictures?
You've seen it in the movies and television. Camera swooping down on artificially-made terrain. The terrain resides in the mind of the computer, and so does the camera. If you ask, can I do this on my home computer? Can I generate an artificial landscape and have it look near-photorealistic? Can I make green fields and snowcapped mountains and beaches and islands and desolate rocky coastline? The answer to that is yes, with Terragen.
And it's freeware
! Just download, install and you can start to build landscapes like this nifty sunset snowscape I made:
More images in the rest of the article.
Here are a bunch of Luke Skywalker avatars from Empire Strikes Back
And now for a group of avatars which might be known as "Women in the Prequel Trilogy", or something to that effect.
Kampung Acheh used to be an isolated spot for my buddies and I to spend weekends. Thick mangrove swamp, mudskippers and crabs scuttling on the mud and sometimes, a hint of sea snakes making their way on the water. One corner of Kampung Acheh was what we used to call "Blackfoot County" on account of the occasional body of waters that dotted our fourney from the red dirt are to the water. If you stepped on these large puddles (or small lakes) your foot will sink deep into the mud and when you pulled it out it would be all blackened by whatever that lurked under the mud. Sadly, the entire area is off limits to us now.
Simon Taylor is a friend of mine from Machester, UK. We share (and mix together) the common interests of art, role-playing games and Star Wars. He skills as an artist is head over heels better than mine. Here are three samples of his colored works.
Travel Corridor is a website that was created and managed by an old schoolmate of mine, Jimmy Wong. If you need (or wish to contribute) articles or travel resources about worldwide traveling, this is the website to browse. There's even a section on Personal Travelogues where you can read about other experiences of other travelers.
Remember the time when you were a little child and whenever you need to cross the road, an adult would have to lead you? Did you think you were safe? I have here undeniable proof that it can well be dangerous to be led across the road by an adult.
Kuala Lumpur, and most of Malaysia in fact, were wracked by this local regular event known as the haze. Caused by rampant jungle blazes from local and / or neighborly sources, these sudden drop in visibility and sudden rise in respiratory problems can be somewhat infuriating.
It was small. It was grey, with a side of tan. It might have had lice. And it squeaked.
It was also the most vicious creature Sam had the displeasure of encountering. Within the space of three days of hunting the tiny rodent, Sam had been bitten twice, fell off a ladder once, hit his head on something hard and painful at least six times, and (although he wasn't sure of this) peed on by the mouse once.
Here are more spoilerific 80 by 80 avatars for anyone to loot and plunder. Some Obi-Wan, Yoda and Palaptine pictures here. No Jar-Jar, sorry.
As teenagers, my schoolbuds and I liked very much going on camping trips to the beaches and sometimes the islands near our hometown of Sitiawan. The most famous tourist spot is the Island of Pangkor, which according to lore translates as Island in Siamese. So what I was saying in effect was the Island of "Island" but let's not go into that.
This group of pictures documents the last time ever a bunch of us had the time to actually take an impromtu trip from the port of Lumut to Pangkor, and spent a great day there at Coral Beach.
One fine 2003 day, we attended Sathya's wedding. Sigh.
Let's see what pictures we have.
Last September, Irfan celebrated his second birthday by eviscerating a cake as seen in the attached image. This year perhaps we'll celebrate his third by watching Firefly.
About 2 years ago, I wrote an e-book on a whim along with lots of help from Ryan Lee and Gabriel Johnson. It was called the Net.Guide to Spleens and it can be used with both versions of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Download it here
and have fun using it, or just reading the stuff I came up with.
One of my designs, sketched using Prismacolor markers a year or two ago, was made into a Lego model by my friend Christopher Deck
of Germany. Click on this link
to view it in its entirety.
Here are a bunch of 80 px by 80 px avatars I made from Revenge of the Sith
images from all over the net. A couple of them might be considered SPOILERS, so preceed with caution.
It was a dark and stormy night. But of course it was quite late in the afternoon. Additionally the sun was shining favorably upon the land. Therefore the first sentence of this paragraph was wrong.
If you can read this, Pivot is working.. Yay!
Addendum July 6 2008. This seems to be lifetimes ago.