Irfan's Birthday Present from ABC TV

28 July 2005 | Hisham | | TV
 
Apparently ABC has a birthday surprise for Irfan's 3rd birthday this year. They'll be airing the Lost second season opener on September 21st. Hooray! More answers to our questions already, like the fates of our intrepid (or suicidal) mariners Sawyer, Jin, Michael and (especially) Walt.

 

Tales of the Prototype and the Table

28 July 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork, Recent News
 
Look at the pretty colours!Last week, we printed out some of the prototype pages for the first ever Hishgraphics e-book. To be honest, prior to this I do have a fair amount of doubts about the project. In my mind, I estimated that perhaps this would have a 20-30% success when it's eventually released into the wild.

 

Baen Free Library

25 July 2005 | Hisham | | Books, Misc Sci-Fi
 
There are many reasons why I love the intarweb. One of them is free cool stuff you can get from various sites, and legal too. Baen Books is a publisher of science fiction books, and it has now jumped onto the freebie net goodies bandwagon by unleashing upon its readers the Baen Free Library.

Check out the free science fiction stories written by professional authors. You can read in several formats which is kind of cool. Cause if say, HTML format gives you an allergic reaction, you can always switch to RTF. I'm just gonna pick out which story to read. I'll go get my dice now.

 

Ringu As An Animated GIF

25 July 2005 | Hisham | | Humour
 
I can see this happening at a mamak stall or a university cafeteria, in full view of all the patrons going WTF?!?

Horror From TV (And I don't mean Screech from Saved By The Bell)


Thanks to Vincent "Dino" Gong, Evil Administrator of the Unofficial ACS Sitiawan Alumni Forum.
 

OMG! The Site's Been Sashed?!?

22 July 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Wha-? How? Sashed? What do you mean? How did it happen?! Should we tell someone?!?!

See the little diagonal banner with the link at the top, right hand corner of the page? That's a sash. I came across it while trawling the net and thought I'd try it on for size. Don't get used to it, it's just there for experimental purposes and won't be there indefinitely.

To savour the tale of how I discovered the code, how to reproduce it, how many Bothans died to bring us this code, and to see a screencap of the front page (in case the little diagonal banner with the link of top is banished from the land by the time you read this) check out my entry at Chris Curtis Dot Org.

 

The Cliff In My Mind's Eye

19 July 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 
So after drawing a dozen or so robots and a couple of cyborgs for a freelance client, I thought I'd take a break and draw a quick pencil sketch of this seaside landscape which real estate value would no doubt be way over my head should the location exist. I figure this would be a fantastic place to cook fried noodles. Anyway, enjoy.

The art, I mean, not the fried noodles.

The Crescent Cliffs
 

Today's Breakfast

19 July 2005 | Hisham | | Food
 
Fried Noodles With Omelette

Using whatever ingredients left in the fridge, I came up with this earlier today, took a picture of it, gobbled it all down, and now in my belly it will find a new definition of pain & suffering as it is slowly digested over a thousand years. Click on the above thumbnail for a larger image.
 

Baseball Anyone?

18 July 2005 | sila | | Family Pics
 

What could be more American than baseball and apple pie? Why would a Malaysian girl even give a hoot? Because baseball is Vin's obsession. (He likes apple pie too, and blasphemously, I don't, but that's a different story altogether). During the spring and summer months Vin eats, drinks, lives, and breathes baseball. During the off-season, he keeps track of the trades and developments in the Major Leagues. We started dating in August of 2000, and by the fall of 2001 (the first full baseball season, spring-summer of 2001), I could read a box score. And Vin and I had a long-distance relationship.

Many baseball widows would probably reprimand me for encouraging this obsession but (un)fortunately for me, baseball means more than just something Vin is unnaturally fixated on. We met at a baseball game. What? What was I, the least-interested-worst-possible-athletic person in the world doing at a baseball game?

 

Galactica's Fear Factor?

16 July 2005 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV
 
Separated at birth?

In conjunction with the much anticipated second season of Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica last night, I will put to you the somewhat retarded question:

Isn't Tahmoh Penikett (Helo of BSG) a spitting image of Fear Factor (and dont forget Newsradio)'s Joe Rogan? I can't get the image of Helo creating a stun gun out of a garage door remote out of my mind... with Dave Foley and Andy Dick running past him in the background.
 

JLU -The Cadmus Arc

12 July 2005 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV
 

That's a whole bunch of heroes, that is.

I've been a comic book reader ever since I can remember. One of the best spin offs from the DC Universe would be the DC Animated Universe, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series. The current series set in the same universe is the Justice League Unlimited, based on the Justice League of America comic book, where dozens of heroes pull together to keep Earth safe from evil from both within and without from their space station, the Watchtower. Sounds cheesy? Not if you watch it and catch the excellently written dialogue and tightly storyboarded animation that comes with it. JLU has become one of my favourite animated show ever. Here is a review of 3 of 4 of the Cadmus arc episodes, "Question Authority", "Flashpoint" and "Panic In The Sky.".

 

Star Wars Episode III - Backstroke of the West

06 July 2005 | Hisham | | Star Wars
 

I present to you screencaptures from Star Wars Episode III - Backstroke of the West by way of winterson.com blog. There's not much I can add to this, except for a whole bunch of loud belly-achin' laughs.

"The front is a lemon avenue flying straightly"? Comedy gold. We need the original actors to redub the movie reading off this subtitle.

 

Excursion to KLCC

26 June 2005 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Today we went to KLCC for a picnic. Irfan, as usual, went straight for the extensive playground they have there, running up and sliding down the play structures. Later, I got to do what I haven't done in a long time: spend an hour at Kinokuniya browsing and reading the first few chapters of several books, including Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Even read through the Marvel Spider-Man Encyclopedia. As usual I took a some photos, and here are some views of Irfan playing outside, and some view inside Suria KLCC.

 

Hishgraphics Update

26 June 2005 | Hisham | | Hishgraphics.com
 

HishgraphicsdotcomFor a sneak peek of the project currently undergoing take a look at the pop-up image to the left, which is a hint to what our primary activity will be on the main website. Once I lock down the layout of the website design itself, it will be time to work on the content. Including the conceptualizing, writing, drawing and pdfing of a whole bunch of e-books. In the meantime, more resarch on the industry (both online and offline) will also be needed on my part. More hard work ahead.

 

Success - A Poem By Bessie Anderson Stanley

25 June 2005 | Hisham | | ACS Memories
 

Success

He has achieved success
who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;

who has enjoyed the trust of
pure women,

the respect of intelligent men and
the love of little children;

who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;

who has left the world better than he found it
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem or a rescued soul;

who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty
or failed to express it;

who has always looked for the best in others and
given them the best he had;

whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.

--1904 Bessie Anderson Stanley

Something I picked up from here, which I like the sound of. Thanks, Bohpian, for the thread. For more information on the poem, please head on down to this site.

 

ArtRage, A Terrific Painting Program

20 June 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork
 

I was randomly browsing when I suddenly found this fantastic piece of digital art on the net. It led me to a digital painting program from Ambient Design Ltd. called ArtRage. It can simulate realistic brushstokes on canvas or paper, as if you were really working with oil or acrylics. And it even gives you tiny congealed globs of paint if you move the brush in a certain angle. The colours will mix realistically when different paints overlap.

Today, I tried my hand at it, using my trusty mouse in lieu of a graphics tablet, and here are the first two attempts at freehand painting, with no visual references. I'm really having fun with this and will have to practise more to refine my technique which currently sucks... the best I can with a mouse.

Scott's NajuridenDesolate Scene
 

Duckie Approves of RPGs!

19 June 2005 | Hisham | | Friends
 

Duckie, the feline roommate of my good friend Shane Welin of Nova Scotia, likes RPG books very much. Eberron, a stack of D&D 3.5 books, Forgotten Realms, d20 Modern, and even some WOTC and WEG Star Wars books.

Hisham: What does Duckie think of your RPG books?

Shane: She likes em I guess, she sleeps on em all the time.

Hisham: She ever join you gaming?

Shane: We usually game elsewhere, but the few times we did game here she was all about watching and chasing after dice.

Duckie, on RPG Books.

Well, maybe she doesn't read them, but she sure loves to sit on them. And everyone knows cats only sit on books that has high writing and production qualities. So, here's to you Duckie! May all your d20 dice chases end up as Critical Hits.

 

Billy West Interview

17 June 2005 | Hisham | | TV
 

Billy West? Who, you ask?

Just a voice in one of the best animated TV series ever, Futurama. He wasn't just Philip J. Fry. He was also the voices of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, and even Richard Nixon. Now based on the diverse characters he brought to life with his voice in the list there, I would opine that Billy West is one of the best voice actors in the business. Earlier this week he was interviewed by The Onion, which cast some light on how Fox Network saw Futurama (which ultimately killed the show) and how movie producers treat voice actors, which is shameful. Especially the part about the Space Jam premiere party at Grauman's Chinese Theater at the end of the article.

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Where No Fan Has Gone Before

The Onion: At what point did you realize Futurama wasn't going to make it?

Billy West: When they'd say, "Seven o'clock, Futurama. At 8 o'clock, The Simpsons. At 8:30, Malcolm In The Middle. Remember, it all begins at 8 on Fox!" [Laughs.] That's about the size of it. Matt [Groening] had total autonomy, pretty much. They let him do what he wanted to do, and the show was becoming a success. People were finding it, and Fox kept trying to hide it because they couldn't have control over it. How are you going to explain to the media world, "It's a success, obviously, because we had nothing to do with it. We didn't put our seal of death on it."

O: Couldn't they have said they were simply repeating the Simpsons formula—letting Groening doing his thing?

BW: No, not really, because people are pains in the ass. You know, if you created a show, and it became a huge, huge cultural phenomenon, you could have an idea for another show, and everybody would be lining up to lick your ass. Then, when you tell them what you want to do, "Okay, here's my idea: I want to do a show about people in space, you know, like in the year 3000. But they're not space, they're on Earth, and it's a delivery boy who winds up cryogenically frozen in the future." And people just look at you with that face of no breaks and a smile, going "But we want another Simpsons." You can't have another Simpsons; there already is a Simpsons!

And for the record, Fox Network was also responsible for the cancellation of the excellent genre series Firefly and Space: Above and Beyond. Hit the link above to read the entire article.

 

Honeymoon in Redang

16 June 2005 | sila | | Family Pics
 

As Hisham has faithfully chronicled in here, Vin & I got married in Malaysia recently. A few days after the big kenduri (feast) in Sitiawan, Hisham's and my hometown, Vin & I flew to Kuala Terengganu, on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia where we were picked up by a bus and driven to the Marang Jetty. There, we got on a speedboat and left for Pulau Redang (Redang Island) for a 3-day snorkeling adventure.

 

Batman Begins - A Review

15 June 2005 | Hisham | | Movie Review
 

It took more than 10 years, but I have a new best feature length Batman movie to replace my old one.

Among the new generation of Batman movies (by new I mean, post-Adam West) I caught the first one on video, saw the second twice in the movie theater, raised my eyebrow at the third once on the big screen, and saw the spectacular train wreck that was the fourth on TV, and even then I wasn't too eager to watch it through to the end.

So I was very cautious approaching Batman Begins earlier today. And I left the theater more than 2 hours later very, very satisfied with Christopher Nolan's final product.

Spoilers shall thrive beyond this point.

 

Old Blue Harvest Fanzine Art

14 June 2005 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars
 

When I was studying overseas back in the early 90s... very early 90s... I became acquainted by snail-mail to one Mary Jo Fox who was, with her friend James Addams, the publishers of the Star Wars fanzine Blue Harvest which ran for 21 "episodes", another fine way of saying "issues". They had a plethora of articles that you can read from, such as an interview with Michael Stackpole and A New Hope Special Edition review from way back when the EU was cooling down from its initial Big Bang.

Although it ran for years, I only provided art for the fanzine in its early days, mostly for its back cover right below the "Next Episode On Blue Harvest" blurb they usually have there. Here are two of the black and white artwork that were featured in the magazines: