Hey, It's Still February 1st here!

02 February 2006 | sila | | Recent News
 

Just a quick little entry to wish my yope (a.k.a. Hisham) a happy happpy haaaaapppy birthday!

I realize it's already going on 5 AM February 2nd in Malaysia, but it is now almost 4 PM February 1st here! So technically, I'm not late! Well... maybe a little...

Happy birthday to the best brother ever, from both Ayah Cik and Wan Cik Dik. Love y'alls..

 

Today is the 29th, Which Means...

29 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
... it's Sila's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADIK) and it's Mak and Abah's anniversary (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, IRFAN'S OPAH AND ATOK).

Yeah, the rumours are true. Sila was their third anniversary present.

Which was infinitely better than a card or a gift certificate, so it seemed.

 

The Day The Tyre Died, Again

28 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Thursday night we went to pick up F from MIAT.

We arrived at 2200. But we left at almost midnight. What was I doing two hours in MIAT? Changing the tires of the car, that's what.

 

Full Circle

27 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Once upon a lifetime ago, I used to repair helicopters. The job wasn't at all glamorous. All you had to do was to follow the manual, observe regulations and ensure the paperwork was correct. Everyday you had to perform scheduled maintenance.

Then one day I quit and left it all.

For five years, I worked in various other fields gathering knowledge other than helicopter maintenance. Because the aviation industry here was close-knitted, there was no way I would be returing to reparing airplanes...

... or so I thought.

Last two weeks have been weird and almost surreal. After a call from one of my former colleagues in the helicopter offshore company, I've since met the most number of former colleagues in the last 10 working days than I've ever met in the last five years.

The short story is that a bunch of them has started a new company and the need someone with an IT background to help them start it from scratch and run it. I accepted. Why, after all these years? Because it looked to me that in my absence my former peers have put themselves in a position to change the landscape of the industry here in the country. Out with the old and in with the new, gradually.

And I like the way how things are going with them in charge. So here I am back to what I started fifteen years ago, in a full circle.

 

Happy Birthday Ain

22 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Happy birthday and many happy returns to my beautiful wife Nurul Ain.

Some cards were sent. A blueberry cheese cake was eaten. Irfan sang the Happy Birthday song. Ain also made a pot of fried noodles. And because Kak Nor also had the same birthdate as Ain, both sisters celebrated here on our little round dinner table at our house.

However, I forgot to charge the camera batteries. Tee hee. (blush)

 

Opah Irfan's Wayward Purse

09 January 2006 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

We only noticed it when Ain got off the car to buy some drinks in Kuala Kangsar. It was on Ain's seat, hidden beneath her when she sat. It was a small coin purse labeled Adamas Goldsmith. Wondering when Ain bought the purse, I took it. Irfan saw it and said, “Opah punya.” And within it was Opah Irfan's driver's licence and identification card!

 

A Writing Gig?

19 December 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News, Role Playing Games
 
I wouldn't have thought it possible a year ago. Heck, I would have scoffed at the idea 3 months ago, but upon browsing the RPG.Net Freelancing Forum recently, I decided to answer a call for freelance writers, instead of illustrators.

I submitted the text for the Net.Guide to Spleens to the person in charge and hoped for the best. After a flurry of e-mails, I was tasked to write 2 articles for a book which will be released next spring. The tone of the short write-ups would be akin to that of the Twilight Zone or Twin Peaks, or like Grant Morrison's The Invisibles (A great comic. Go out and read it if you haven't.) The job isn't a earth-shattering one, nor does it pay much but it would be my first professional writing gig, and as they say my foot at the door.

The company I'm writing for is Abstract Nova, publisher of the Heaven and Earth RPG. Here's hoping I get more writing gigs.

 

Spectral Visitors And Other Matters

19 November 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Irfan's Cik Su F is here until tomorrow, and she's sleeping in the room next to ours.

Some time last night, I was told she woke Emma up, trembling with absolute fear. It seemed that she saw an apparition gliding by where she slept and disappeared out through the iron grilled window. The ghostly figure wore white and its head and face was a mass of long black hair.

It might have been night terrors (though I doubt it), it might have been a dream, it might have been a fear-induced hallucination, or it might have been the real deal. But that was the story told to me this morning by Ain.

Meanwhile in other news:

  • Battlestar Galactica was renewed for a third season, and there was much rejoicing. (Just get on with "Resurrection Ship" already)
  • It was Alan Moore's birthday yesterday. He wrote a bunch of excellent stories.
  • Painting a dragon can be very difficult without a proper reference, and here is the result of many revisions of it.
  • According to the subtitles of the Willow Special Edition DVD, the magic word "helgafel" in the movie is spelt exactly the way thought it would be 17 years ago. Struck out for the other words though.

That is all. Thank you very much. You've been a great audience.

 

Home Sweet Home, After A Fashion

08 November 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
We're back on the tenth floor of this apartment building. The tiles on the bathroom floor are coming apart. The extra room still reeks of termite poison. We have the smallest TV screen among all the people we know. We are instantly reminded of the bills we have to pay. And it looks like Irfan is feeling lonely after almost two weeks surrounded by lots of family.

But it's home sweet home.

The computer is set up just the way I like it so that when it was activated the setup felt so welcoming. Irfan is quite literally swimming in his books (which he rummaged from his book table, much to Ain's chagrin), and, to anyone who understands what this means, Ain had a fantastic hour sweeping the floor of the house.

It was a great holiday, now it's back to work for all of us.

There might have been a lot of worthwhile lessons that we've learnt over the last week and a half or so... but the only one that sticks to my mind right now is that when I started strumming the guitar at Abah's house, Irfan interjected happily:

"Serenity!!!"

 

Ramadhan Activity Updates

27 October 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Time flew by quickly this Ramadhan.

It's already almost the last week of the month and it's the longest time ever before I actually checked how many days were left before Aidilfitri. There're only two more days before I'm out of town until after festival season. Tomorrow is the last exam of the mid-term season, and on Saturday it's balik kampung time.

The itinerary is such: Saturday (Oct 28th) we'll be driving back to Pasir Mas, Kelantan. There we will stay until Deepavali on the following Tuesday (Nov 1st), when we head on down to Sitiawan to spend the last days of Ramadhan. It's been a while since we did long distance travel (more so this year, since money is tight) and I'm very excited about it.

Irfan's Birthday Present

Irfan really can't wait to get to Sitiawan to play with a train set and a bus that his grandparents bought and showed off to him in an e-mail. He's been asking to go balik kampung all week. :-)

So will there be any posts while I'm away? Of course there'll be. Both Ain's and my parents homes have the internet.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up the final round of illustrations for Future Players' Companion 3: Tomorrow's Evolution for The Game Mechanics during this period, which means I have to bring back the graphic tablet along. And finally, I've learnt that Tomorrow's Evolution's cover has been illustrated by Weta Workshop's Ben Wootten, who was a designer in the Lord of the Rings movie.
Tomorrow's Evolution cover
Click here to view a larger version of the image.
 

Passing of the PM's Wife

20 October 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
The happy couple

Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, the wife of our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, passed away at 7.55am this morning, after succumbing to her battle with breast cancer since being diagnosed with it in 2002. Condolences to the PM, and make he take comfort in the fact that her passing occured in Ramadhan, the holiest of months.

Our prayers will be with her.
 

5 Years Ago...

15 October 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
... Ain & I got married. Last night, after Irfan slept early and we left him in the care of his Cik Emma, Ain & I went to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith at GCS Midvalley (where they're replaying the summer blockbusters for half price), got something to eat in a doggie bag, went home to eat it, and then I gave her the wedding anniversary card I bought earlier.

It's been a great 5 years, with hopefully more to come.

Wait! Where's Irfan?
 

It's Ramadhan

05 October 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Starting today, I'm fasting for 30 days from dawn til dusk. A happy Ramadhan to all readers, and happy fasting to all Muslim readers. Sahur this morning, before dawn, we had rice with eggs and cabbages, while watching the Smallville season premiere, as Irfan slept.

I have an idea for another book, after looking at a random picture on deviantArt... it would be about kids spending the night camping, and the whole story would take place at night. The blues and the grays of the picture I saw was compelling. Now to come up with an actual story, suited for kids. Childhood camp-outs are awesome.

By the way, I updated some large artwork into my deviantArt page. Yeah, I have a deviantArt page. I left it untended for exactly a year and a month. I'll be uploading large-sized images there and link them from there, or elsewhere, to save on bandwidth, since I'm such a cheapskate.

 

Blog Glitch Fixed

02 October 2005 | Hisham | | Hishgraphics.com, Recent News
 
The entire week was crazy as far as this blog was concerned.

First I couldn't log onto the backend admin section with my correct password. (Even Sila couldn't do it with her user account.) And after 10 tries my own blog banned my IP. Brilliant, eh? I went to the Pivot Support Forums for help. Griswald there, told me to download the pv_cfg_settings.php file from the server, remove the 2 IP addresses in the php code and change the installed variable to "0". That done, I had to register myself as the Superadmin first, then try to sort out the rest later.

Later, it seemed that the database files of each blog entries weren't being detected by the index.php file. The center column was empty. The Recent Entries block was empty. The Last Comments block was empty. What was wrong?

Checking the admin section, I found out that the Categories had reverted back to 'default' and 'linkdump'... the others such as 'family pics', 'friends' and 'misc sci-fi' were gone. I tried recreating them, but they wouldn't appear, even after chmodding related files to 777.

I tried the solution prescribed in the Pivot forums earlier, with several variations, but it was all for naught. So I contacted the forums again for help, and again Griswald gave a simple solution to the problem. Just re-upload the backup pv_cfg_settings.php file.

I followed his suggestion, using the raw untouched file, which put me back to square one. I registered our user accounts, and then I found out I could finally recreate the blog categories. I did so, one by one, and allowed the 'Hishgraphics' blog to access all the categories.

*Click* Recreate all files

*Click* Recreate index file

*Click* Recreate frontpage

And everything was fine! It seemed like the glitches never happen. Many thanks to Griswald of the Pivot Support Forums. And if any of my 3 regular readers discover any errors in any of the pages which might have slipped under my radar, please e-mail me.

 

Future Player's Companion: Tomorrow's Hero

23 September 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork, Hishgraphics.com, Recent News, Role Playing Games
 

The Game Mechanics
Apart from Future Player's Companion: Tomorrow's Hero, the second of three books released by The Game Mechanics, being released and on sale at RPGnow.com, I've also took my old gallery at Geocities, modified it, gave it a proper banner, updated some details and relocated it here at Hishgraphics.com.

The Hishgraphics Gallery can be found at http://www.hishgraphics.com/gallery.

In the meantime, here are three four of the artwork from Future Players' Companion, Volume 2. Click on... to view them.

 

He Seems To Be Developing A Sense of Style

04 September 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Yesterday, Irfan and I took a drive to the Ulu Langat district, where it was serene, green and a winding stream shadowed the road for miles. It was just him and I in the car. He was in the back, free to roam. (If he was sitting up front, he'd be belted up and annoyed at the fact.) So there we were driving among the serene greenery, the kampung houses and colourful flowers on the bushes in their yards. I barely heard him grab something from the storage bin behind the parking brake in the centre column.

Then he was standing just behind the front seats between them with his elbows resting on either seat. I glanced at him and there he was... wearing a pair of sunglasses I've never seen before, looking all badass.

It was an awesome moment.

 

Best Wife Ever

29 August 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
I woke up this morning with a headache and a painful cough. There was a sharp pain in my throat at every cough, and there's no way for me to wilfully stop coughing if my throat itched itself into coughing spasms. So there was nothing for me to do early in the morning, after subuh prayers, except curl myself into a ball under the sheets as Ain got ready for work and took Irfan to daycare. Immediately after she kissed me goodbye, I fell asleep. I don't remember her leaving the house, but I did remember that she was going to prepare something for me. When I woke up again, maybe 10 - 15 minutes after she left (I couldn't be too sure) there was a warm pot of lemon tea on the dinner table.

It was the best pot of lemon tea I've tasted.

Now the tea's finished, my throat feels much better (no pain and coughing less) and it's time to go to work on the drafting table.

Thanks, sayang.

 

Pivot-Blacklist: Now Installed

25 August 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Once in a while I've had spammers cluttering up the comments in the blog. Usually they get deleted whenever I log on and check on the site. Now I've gone and installed Pivot-Blacklist, a fantastic spamkilling extension for the Pivot CMS. For now, all comments are enabled with an anti-bot question field. The question might look idiotically simple to you (and would be changed periodically), but all automatic blog comment spamming bots wont be able to answer it.

There are other features to Blacklist which I will experiment (and have fun with) with later.

Here's to a spam free blog in the future.

 

A Fantastic Tale of Old

23 August 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

I realise that since this blog went online, there hasn't been any entry that features some sort of fantastic anecdote that happens to me during the day. Like being at the zoo and a herd of rampaging rhinos escape their pen, or my needing to jump from one rooftop to an adjacent rooftop to save my life, or a meteorite that crashes and irradiates me, ultimately endowing me with super powers...

 

The Blog's New CSS Layout

22 August 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
So now our blog is mostly dark blue and greens with dark red links. I thought we needed some sort of a change, and I thought I'd have a go with the css and the Pivot templates. I also put one of the nifty non-IE codes that gives a small radius to the corners of the blocks on the right and left columns. So if you're on IE, you'll only see the normal sharp corners.

I've also tried my best to format the pages so that anyone with 800x600 screen resolution would have no problem with the frontpage. But although it works with Firefox, IE seems to make the right column overlap with the center column a bit.

Also, I've reduced the number of entries on the center column to 10 and provided 20 most recent entries on the block at the right column.

And finally, each entrypage is given an "Entry Author" bit on the top right hand corner of the main column so no one would ever mistake Sila's entries for mine and vice versa.

So say we all.