I Painted Over The Weekend

21 November 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
Over the weekend when I'm not in class, I tried painting some more artwork digitally and upload them to my deviantArt site. Here are three of the paintings I did. Two are original works while the third is a frame grab-referenced Gollum from Return of the King. Click on the image title under each picture to view a larger version hosted at deviantArt.

Red Dragon
Red Dragon


Cyborg Self Repair
Cyborg Self Repair


A Happy Sméagol
A Happy Sméagol
 

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.

 

Chronicles of the Wild Gundark Part II

18 November 2005 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Wild Gundark
 

Continuing the saga of the Wild Gundark crew:

Chronicles of the Wild Gundark


Nisa pulled on her control yoke and told her passenger (and her wary crew), "Let's get to work." Similiv turned to the comm board as the ship's nose turned the way Nisa directed it.

And she discovered that a colossal object blocked her entire forward viewport. Something gray. Something wedged shaped. Something over a kilometer and a half in length. Something ominous.

It seemed to them that the ship's cabin temperature dropped several dozen degrees.

"An Imperial Star Destroyer!"

And now the continuation of the story based on the Star Wars RPG campaign:

 

Here's a Moria Orc

16 November 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
... as designed by the cool kids at Weta Workshop, using a solid black Photoshop brush, thickness keyed to stylus pressure. So it's my first fully digital black and white piece posted in these here parts. The reference source is a screen capture of one of the Orcs surrounding the Fellowship just before the appearance of the Balrog in Moria.

 

Harloth Graf, Naboo Guard

14 November 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork, Friends, Star Wars
 
Here's a portrait of Harloth Graf the Naboo Guard in the Star Wars RPG Sabredart campaign I posted earlier, using Photoshop to pencil and paint the piece. I wish I had a better photo reference of player Stu Cunningham for it, though. Close enough, Stu? Or more work needed? ;-)

Harloth Graf of Naboo
 

Scrotal Safety Commission

13 November 2005 | Hisham | | Trawling The Net
 
All you human males, go to the Scrotal Safety Commission to have a read on some really useful information on your, uh.. scrotums. Especially the "Scrotal Safety Tips" such as:

  • Due to the aggressive nature of tiny, uncontrollable legs -- baby-sitting may not be a solid career choice for those of you with "fragile scrotums". Sadly, new fathers may not be able to avoid the willy-nilly, groin-magnets that a baby's feet often are. In a case such as this, heavy padding and a generous application of expanding foam (available at your local hardware supplier) will help protect your region.

and

  • Enlist one of your friends as a "Crotch-Buddy". Have him concern himself with the safety of your scrotum. Remind him publicly that he is your "Crotch-Buddy". Remind him in front of girls.

Go there, read it. You wont regret it.

 

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!!!"

 

Illustration Friday: Night

06 November 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
Illustration Friday time again, and this time the topic is Night.

Click on the thumbnail below to view a larger image.

Night
 

Eid Mubarak from Sitiawan

05 November 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 
Eid Mubarak, and Selamat Hari Raya from Irfan Shafiq, Khairul Hisham and Nurul Ain. Here are some family photos from the morning of the first day of Aidilfitri. Present are Irfan's grandparents and the family of his Opah Ngah. Unfortunately, Tok Irfan wasn't feeling to good earlier in the morning. He went for a check up at the clinic and discovered his blood pressure was low. So what did the doctor tell him to do?

Go back home, eat as many of the Aidilfitri food as he can. If only the rest of us were that lucky. ;-)

Click on the thumbnails below to view the full images.
First day group photo
Group photo of all present in the household on the morning of Aidilfitri.

The three of us
Irfan with his parents.

Irfan with Abah
Irfan on his bicycle, with his dad on Opah's bicycle.

Irfan with Ummi
Irfan with Ummi, but he chose that moment to frown.

Irfan, Abah and Ummi
The three of us, for now.
 

Maryland - Part II

03 November 2005 | sila | | Family Pics
 

As promised, here's Part II of our trip to Maryland. Aside from fishing, during the day and a half we spent there, we ate our fill in Maryland's pride and joy, the Maryland Blue Crab.

Dean and Dolores who live in Crisfield, MD, live in a house where the back yard opens out into canals which lead to the Chesapeake Bay. So they almost never have to actually purchase the blue crab. Each household is allowed 2 crab pots which they toss into the canal behind their house. Amazing what some chicken wire, a dead fish, and a few hours in the waters of the Chesapeake will get you! It's like magic - the crabs crawl into the pot and they can't come out!

Read on for more blue crab adventures, but if you are squeamish, the truth is we do eventually get to eat the crabs. So yes, there might be some non-G rated pictures during the preparation of the crabs.

 

Pre-Aidilfitri at Pasir Mas

02 November 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 
As was blogged earlier, three days before Deepavali were spent at Lubuk Tapah, Pasir Mas. Not only were there the pre-Aidilitri preparations going on, but they were also getting ready for the wedding of Ain's cousin some time after the festivities, which Ain & I will have to miss.

What is there to report at Tok Bah and Tok Ma's house? I really like the solok lada at dinners. Irfan hoarded all the pillows in the house and buried himself under them. Biscuits were baked (picture below). It rained quite a bit, which was pleasant. We didn't even leave the kampung in the day, knowing full well that the traffic in the town of Pasir Mas would be horribly jammed because of the balik kampung season. Irfan discovered the joys of Cartoon Network on Astro.

Here are some of the pics.

 

Maryland - Part I

01 November 2005 | sila | | Family Pics
 

Hisham's reminiscing has prompted me to finally take action - all this summer I have been procrastinating making some family related entries. Vin's family had several family-related occasions and I have been meaning to blog them. Rather than doing them in chronological order, I am going to organize it a little differently. In early August, Vin and I traveled to Maryland first to Bel Aire to visit with Aunt Joan and Uncle John, then to Crisfield to visit with Aunt Dolores and Uncle Dean. Our visit with Aunt Joan and Uncle John was short and amounted to a quick lunch with them, but stay tuned, there will be more on them in upcoming entries.

In Crisfield, Dean took Vin and I fishing. For the second year in a row, I went fishing with Dean and Vin, and guess what? For the second year in a row, the girl beat the guys hands down on fish fished! In the immortal words of Nelson (from the Simpsons), "eh-heeeeeh."

Anyway, if you are a bit squeamish, better not read on. The fish pictures may be a tad graphic...

 

Irfan Goes To Opah Cu's House

31 October 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Earlier this year, when we were in Sitiawan we went Irfan's Opah Cu's house in Ipoh, the capital of Perak. As usual, upon arriving at a brand new location for him, Irfan took a dump in his diapers. (That never fails, by the way.) Besides that, he had a lot of fun with his great aunt, his aunt and two uncles. Perhaps this Aidilfitri he'll find some time to return there.

Hopefully, since it's not his first time already, he wont crap in his diapers for the visit.

 

If These Two Critters Can Be Friends...

30 October 2005 | Hisham | | Rants
 
... why can't we all?

The Chicken and The Frog

When I lived in Terengganu, at my first rented house, there was for a time a strange thing that occured daily. Each sunset for a long time (I can't remember how long; it might have been half a year or so) a chicken would fly up and perch atop the fence by the driveway. Then a couple of minutes later, a little frog painstakingly would climb up the chain link and settle down beside the chicken.. as can be seen in the old photograph which I took of them.

I tried to catch the frog making its way up the fence, but as far as I can remember I saw it actually climbing up only once. It was a stealthy fellow. Throughout the night they just sat there side by side. And by dawn they were gone.

They seemed like very good friends, and the world might learn a thing or two from these two animals.
 

365 Tomorrows

29 October 2005 | Hisham | | Trawling The Net
 
365 Tomorrows is a website that provides one short speculative fiction story a day for a whole year. While obviously the stories cannot match the narrative quality of a novella or a full-length novel, it does have however the ability to feature a new science fiction concept after another daily.

The site began posting on August 1st 2005, so you have a lot of stories to read through in the archives and more coming each day until July 31st 2006.

 

Illustration Friday: Remote

27 October 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
Not just remote, but cold, lonely and desolate as well. Click on the thumbnail below to view the whole image.

Remote
 

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.
 

Chronicles of the Wild Gundark Part I

25 October 2005 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Wild Gundark
 
Chronicles of the Wild Gundark

A Star Wars fiction, based on the Chronicles of Wild Gundark RPG campaign.

It all began when the crew of the Wild Gundark was commissioned to deliver twenty tons of bantha milk to the backwater town of Prosperity on the cold tundra of the planet Dellalt. The job went without a hitch, apart from the little tussle with the crew of an Imperial customs corvette (the two-pronged, sleek affair that many tramp freighter captains love to hate) in the Vaxal system. Unfortunately, the result of the little encounter was the spillage of approximately half of the delicious blue milk because of gravity plate failure. Things could have turned out real bad for them, but instead their contact, a imposing and tattooed Herglic named Dapp only paid them fairly in half and left peacefully.

There was only one thing known to them as they left Dellalt: They had taken on a passenger, Tell Sabarin, a stately and noble-looking person, who paid them a huge sum of twenty thousand credits to convey himself and his cargo, a cryogenic bio-containment crate, all the way to his homeworld of Kuat in the Core Worlds.

***

But there were two things unbeknown to them.

One: While they were away from the ship bargaining with Sabarin for the transportation fee in town, a shadowy figure slipped quietly into their ship followed by a shuffling metallic figure. Five minutes later, the shadowy figure slipped out alone and disappeared.

Two: A few minutes later, two more shadowy figures sneaked onto their ship.

And never came back out.

***

 

University Exam Hijinks

23 October 2005 | Hisham | | Rants
 

Last Friday, I was all prepared and psyched up to head on down to Unitar for my first mid-term examination paper for this semester. It was LAN 0023 Islamic Studies. I double checked the Excel file they'd emailed on the 11th and confirmed that the time and place for the last time.

Left the house at 8.10 am to make the 9.00 am exam. Made it there with 15 minutes to spare because it was Nuzul al-Quran, Selangor had a public holiday and the streets weren't that filled with Kuala Lumpur's accursed traffic. Got a great place to park right in front of where the exam is to be held. Then I walked up to the exam timetable Excel printout they posted on the bulletin board.

I discovered to my horror there were no exams scheduled for last Friday. (Though it took about 5 minutes for the horror to set in, for some reason.)

 

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.