And So It Begins
The vacation began when Ivan came a-visiting from Petaling Jaya via the ERL. I picked him up at the Arau station and he gave me an early birthday present: the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide, which will eventually be its own blog post.
Because of work, I had to spend the first day of vacation grading papers. But we did take Ivan out by the sea where we had some grilled lok chin and laksa.
With me on call for the grading work, we managed to take a trip to Gua Kelam. It was a work day so there were not many people at the park. Here are Ain and Irfan at the mouth into the dark tunnel of the shadowy realm.
Once we got to the park grounds on the far side of the cave, Ain identified the spot where Irfan, Ayah Cik, Cikma and Ciksu once had a cranial massage thanks to the fast-flowing stream.
Ain also sat and swung on the thick, ropy stalk of a beluru tree (also known as a sintok tree). Mouseover the photo above for its scientific name.
When Irfan signed up for school here in a new state, I had no idea how he would adapt. Would there be older, wiser example students there? Will there be anyone in school that would inspire him? Back in Pandan Indah, the answer would be a solid no.
Less than a week into the school year, Irfan had already found a close friend. Soon after we were all acquainted with his friend's family. They live closer to school, in a housing area that we thought we would move in.
His friend had an elder brother - a humble, smart, intelligent and witty teenager who received good grades at school with ample knowledge about computers and guitar-playing. He and Irfan's classmate came over to the house and helped me try installing Linux Mint onto the new laptop.
Needless to say, I was very impressed with this boy.
Here is a second set of paper minis created from Ryan "Asok Yeesrim" Rhodes's illustrations used with his permission. Check out larger versions of the artwork at his gallery linked from his name. The first batch of Ryan-drawn minis can be found here.
It was Sitiawan's turn for balik kampung Aidiladha this year. But I did not get paid for a work I invoiced so we could not gas up to go anywhere far. So Atok and Opah travelled from Sitiawan to Kuala Lumpur for the holiday. Also, Irfan's exam week was looming. Coincidentally, Aidiladha was also the 13th wedding anniversary of Ain and I.
So we decided to scrape up something for the day.
13 years through... a lot of things. Amazing things. Not so amazing things. Unbelievably inspirational events. Events that would destroy the spirit of anyone not prepared. Things I do not mention even in this blog. I owe a lot of people a lot of things. My parents. Sila and Vin. But without Ain to prop against and support my weight in the worst of times, it would have been a different world today.
After solat Aidiladha, we took photos. As usual Atok's camera and photography skills produced some great pictures.
Ivan and Kai of the GOKL gaming group dropped by to visit us for Aidilfitri.
The Aidilfitri visit is of course an excuse for some gaming shenanigans.
Once upon a time - about a month ago - I asked Kai if he knew where to get any Pacific Rim Heroclix figures. At the time, there was none in town. When his order from Noble Knight Games arrived, he offered to sell two figures so Irfan and I can play! The jaeger I picked was Gipsy Danger and the kaiju I picked was Knifehead. This game needs more jaegers and kaiju. A Tacit Ronin clix would be awesome.
But since a host of clix were arrayed on the dinner table, Kai taught Irfan to play.
Nowadays when I return to Sitiawan for Chinese New Year, I rarely get to meet old ACS classmates. It's because either they're away at the in-laws, or their family has moved elsewhere, or I don't communicate to anyone my balik kampung. This year I had two meet ups!
The first was with Teck Chee and Cheong Lee at the new mall, Aeon Sri Manjung. They were a year younger than me at school. We had a great time talking about old friends and where they are now.
Later that night I met my former classmate Sathya. I met him right at this white wall where I had some sort of coffee and Star Wars talk ensued, as they are wont to be when Sathya is around. Gnana was also present but also via Sathya's iPhone. And initial plans were made for a class reunion in the near future. Who wants in?
Then we said goodbye to the white wall.
As mentioned in the Star Trek exhibition post downriver, my brother from another mother and hemisphere Shane went and visited Star Wars Identities exhibition at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. Shane gave me permission to feature photos from his expedition into the world of Star Wars miniatures, maquettes, concept art and costumes.
Which gives me a reason to post more Star Wars photos on this blog for the lulz.
FOR THE LULZ!
So, just before Eid, Ivan came around and gave us another gaming gift. This time it's the deck-building card game Ascension: Chronicles of the Godslayer by Gary Games. We brought it back with us to Sitiawan for some gaming. Extradimensional demonic monsters are passing through interdimensional barriers into the world of Vigil. And it's up to players to build their decks and employ their cards to kick the monsters in the butt, and win by gaining the most Honor points!
Sometimes, my hand is usually full of the guys in the following photo. They only have Rune points which does me no good when confronted with the bad guy-fulled centre array which looks like the last photo in this blog entry. I keep getting dealt into these situations.
Strangely, when my hand is full of Power cards, the centre array is inexplicably filled with Heroes and Constructs.
Irfan and I love the game. There's short-term strategy involved. We get to banish the Avatar of the Fallen, Earth Tyrants, Tormented Souls back into the netherworld where they came from. Also, the stylized artwork by Eric Sabee for the fantasy heroes, gear and creatures are very beautiful to look at.
Many thanks, Ivan.
The inaugural Malaysian Games and Comic Convention 2012 (MGCCon 2012) took place on the 19th and 20th of May at Kolej Damansara Utara.
I visited the event on Sunday the 20th. Here's hoping someday I'll be able to take part as a participant, perhaps with a table at Artist's Alley sketching stuff and selling swag. Compared to the conventions I'm used to, this would certainly be a more relaxing and fun one.
The atmosphere was quite energetic. There were comic book stores selling their wares, cosplayers walking all over the place (including one very impressive, dark armoured Republic Commando), artists sketching at their tables and PeKOMIK, the Malaysian comic artist association, would be having their award ceremony later that day. In other rooms, different workshops about cosplay photography (by photographer Jay Tablante), movie VFX (by Rhythm & Hues Malaysia), videogame talks (by Ubisoft Singapore) were being conducted. I managed to get into the "Style and Market Demand for Comics" talk, where one of the guest speakers was Datuk Lat.
Here are some of the photos I took of the event:
Artists' Alley! In the middle of everything is Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar, creator of the No Pink Ponies
The young illustrators of Confused Monkey Studios
show off the artwork I commissioned from them at their table as their dad Sheldon Goh look on.
Anywhere there is a concentration of comic books, it is likely that you'd find other Sitiawananians there for some reason. I haven't seen Khoo Khay Sern since the late 80s, but here we are bumping accidentally into each other at a comic convention
Finally,the hardworking folks of Earth 638 can be found selling their wares and networking at the main hall, right beside the table where the special guests were sketching for the public. The special guests included Billy Tan, Leinil Francis Yu and Carlo Pagulayan!
An hour or so before closing time, the MPH booth announced that selected titles they had were being sold at a 50% discount. I picked up Marvel's Agents of Atlas trade paperback Turf Wars.It was only when I was en route home when I realized that the book had a cover by Leinil and some interiors by Carlo, but I didn't even think to ask them for autographs on the book. Oh well, maybe next time.
Created by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, Geek and Sundry's new biweekly TableTop web series features 30 minutes of tabletop gaming video that shows how much fun it is to pay tabletop games from boardgames like Ticket to Ride to card games like Munchkin to roleplaying games like Fiasco! Each episode, hosted by Wil, shows how each game is played by playing it onscreen. Every episode also has different guests.
Irfan and I saw the first episode together and he totally fell in love with the board game they played, Small World.
Small World allows a player to control a society of one fantasy race after another, allowing your race to expand or decline each round using the game rules. The game randomly mixes in special abilities and racial abilities, and by planning a combination of these abilities you are able to maximise the number of points you acquire each round. At the end of a set number of rounds (which depends on the number of players) the player with the most points win.
Irfan received a gift over the mail from Ryan Rhodes.
There is a great sketch of Irfan with the octopus plushie at Wan Chor's house in the inner cover! Here's hoping Irfan will never stop dreaming. (Although he has been dreaming of zombie attacks these days...)
It's a Calvin and Hobbes collection - which in my opinion is tied with Bloom County as the best newspaper comic ever.
Irfan says, "Thanks for the book, Uncle Ryan."
Last Saturday, Earth 638 the comic shop located at Kelana Mall - in colaboration with Banshee Creative held COMICS ARE COOL, the first unofficial mini comic convention. From 4pm to 9pm, visitors came to the store to buy comics and meet creators. Local indie publishers also sold their comics and signed their work. There was also a line where artists drew sketches for visitors.
Below, Sheldon Goh draws!
Tan Eng Huat sketches Thor on the big collaborative card thing!
Artists' Alley (or perhaps Artists' Nook would be more precise) is just bustling with all the participating comic professionals before visitors form a line for signing and sketches. Among the guests for the day were Sheldon Goh, Tan Eng Huat, Lefty Julian, Alan Quah, Yazid and Muhamad Azhar. Even Reggie Lee dropped by in the evening.
I've always bought sketchbooks they sell around here, but they're difficult to bring about and open for a quick sketch. Also, they don't have a lot of pages to draw. Last week, the awesome fellows over at GOKL got me an outstanding present for my birthday: this Moleskine sketchbook for impromtu sketching which Ivan passed to me when this event was transpiring.
It looked so nice and pristine that I put off drawing in it to avoid sullying it with my scratchings, but I finally drew Clark a few nights ago.
Thanks for the present, guys.
After years of not being together again, Zarin, Ida and I finally managed a meet up. Last time I saw Ida was at my wedding (that's over 5 years ago!). And look, Ida's about to have a baby! Apparently 3 different doctors independently of each other confirmed it will be a girl. The only person missing from this picture is Restu. The four of us Animalies have not been on the same continent together since, probably, 1998. Ah well! One day!
If you want to know what "animaly" means, well, you had to be there in 1993 *arf!*.
* Mouse over the pictures for more captions
On the fifth day of Aidilfitri (September 14th), my old friend Yati stopped by for a quick Hari Raya visit:
After reading Gary's Facebook status last week, I was inspired to draw this three page preview of a fake comic book.
And since I was so late with the last two 2-year birthday blogs, here we are, on August 29th. Allie is now 25 months and 1 week old! July and August have just flown by! Ramadhan Mubarak to everyone! Courtney had been in town for a conference and so spent the weekend with us (yayyyyyy!!!).
* Mouse over the pictures for captions
Finally, on August 1, we had what is becoming our annual backyard cookout and Allie birthday bash right here at home. We timed it so like last year, Vin's baseball team played at the local high school so they were able to come and eat and hang out for a while. Our wonderful neighbors and some friends also came to liven up the party. Unfortunately, Yaya's Auntie Jo had to go back home to Leeds. But we had a wonderful time with Auntie Jo and miss her terribly!
* Mouse over the pictures for captions
So before Jen and Mike set off for their awesome vacation (one of the legs included dinner with Hisham's family), we had a warm up makan session at the newly discovered Penang restaurant in Edison, NJ. We ordered so much food that they had to move us from a table suited to seat 3-4 people, to a table for 8. Jen got to try a bunch of Malaysian dishes including assam laksa, pasembur, mee kari, kangkung belacan, roti canai, and all kinds more. The person who took our order was trying to warn me that perhaps some of my choices were not something that would be enjoyed by Jen and Vin but oh, he didn't know them as well as I did. We all had an excellent meal. Sila makan, everyone.
Back in October 2009, I wrote about Asok the SWAGger who turned me into a Rodian Carbineer.
I thought Asok's artwork was clean and concise enough to be turned into paper minis. So I went down to his deviantArt gallery where many fantastic pieces reside to pick 12 artwork to be turned into paper minis. Most of the ones I collecter could be considered fringers.
There was a spacer, a pirate, some smugglers, pilots and gearheads. I gathered them up and put them into a printable paper mini PDF set. I sent a copy to Asok, and a few hours later - from the other side of the planet - this photo appeared: