15th Birthday Plus One Nia

21 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

In a blink of an eye, Irfan is now 15 years of age. He is more or less an adult, as I myself do not remember 15 being any different than 25 besides more experience by dint of being the latter.

They both are adorbs
 

Even when he was much younger, I tried listening and talking to him as though he was an older teen. These days we are able to converse with each other in a multitude of subjects maturely - even if Irfan, Ain and I are prone to sudden infantile jokes and giggling like babies.

Nia looks like my sister

It so happened that on the day of Irfan's birthday, Nia, Cikma and Ayah Cik Farid came a-visiting and it was a far better day with their presence.  Nia even wore a cap!

Imprisoned!

The last time Nia was here she saw a cat. She awaited for the appearance of Abang the Cat from next door at the front grille.

Caked in frosting

We ordered a small-ish chocolate birthday cake for Irfan.

Happy birthday Irfan

Also, Ain made bihun goreng for everyone! 

Thanks for coming Nia Nia

It was only the first day of Nia's visit. More adventures were yet to come.

Happy birthday Irfan!

 

Mini Six: A Day By The Sea

21 September 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games
 

For the third time I ran a tabletop RPG session for my class using the Mini Six system, and this time I have integrated it with the English curriculum we had. The week's lesson theme was Natural Disaster and I also had to teach them about Descriptive Essays.

The RPG became a teaching tool in this situation, because students were able to interact verbally with each other in the context of the narrative. I did some research on the seaside towns in Fukushima, Japan to prepare for the session. During the game they also had to roll dice to determine that the action they declared succeeded or failed. And then had to write their game experiences as in-universe stories for homework using a structured set of questions I sent them via Google Forms.

Mini Six: Doom Agents

01 A Day by the Sea

Should have been 'Doomed Agents' instead

Dramatis Personae

  • Sabrina as Berry, the scientist
  • Athirah as Tirr, the engineer
  • Malvinder as Michale, the reporter
  • Nasha as Musk, the spy
  • Haqqi as Captain Lucci, the soldier
  • Lutfi as Naruto, the bodyguard

Here is the actual play report as taken from the students' written homework (with some paragraphs written by the GM) and edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation and clarity. A number of students who did not play listened in and submitted their homework as one of the characters being played:

Sabrina as Berry: Agent Berry was a nerdy scientist who wore round glasses and a white lab coat. One of its pockets was constantly filled with junk food such as chocolates or cookies to energise herself during work. She was a timid person but actually she had hidden skills that not everyone knew of.

Athirah as Tirr: Agent Tirr was a metallurgy engineer from Dubai who likes to research about new metals or minerals. She was constantly invited by well-known companies to join them in their team to handle big projects. However, she became a secret agent for her second career.

Malvinder as Michale: So basically I’'m reporter and my job is to update everyone what had happened and how it had happened. I came all the way from America and I'm a professional reporter.

Nasha as Musk: The six agents were sent to find a missing agent named Ishikawa in Japan. He disappeared near Okuma at the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The last messange that was received from him was that someone is trying to create "an evil thing".

Going into Fukushima

Gamemaster (GM): It was a lovely morning when the team drove a black Range Rover into town. Arriving at Okuma, they stopped at a takoyaki eatery. Agent Naruto showed the owner a photo of Agent Ishikawa and asked if he had seen him. (A successful Diplomacy roll occurred.) "I have seen him before. He loves my takoyaki. He said he was staying at the Sakura Hotel."

On the way to the hotel up the street, a pompous police officer by the name of Saito stopped them, asking why there were so many gaijin in a car. "Will you be making trouble here in Okuma?" Hot-headed Agent Naruto who was Japanese wanted to punch the cop, but the others held him back. Agent Michale managed to sweet talk the officer into letting them pass.

Malvinder as Michale: As the bodyguard was from Japan and we told the policeman that all of us had come to visit him.

Mini Six charsheets

GM: Before long they pulled up in front of the Sakura Hotel.

 

Irfan's Jaunt into Robotics

10 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Some time last month I received an email notification of an Introduction to micro:bit Workshop for schoolchildren to be held at the Mechatronic school at the university, and so we enrolled Irfan.

Ain and Irfan

It was a full day's programme. Ain and I decided to save our transport fuel by hanging around at the expansive computer lab. Because of that I got to play around with micro:bit as well.

With his new desk partner

To my surprise all the desktop computers in the lab were installed with Linux Mint.

Drag and drop then enter the variables!

The micro:bit is a small but multi-functional system with a processor, sensors, output jacks, LEDs and USB port. It can be used in conjunction with other hardware to create amazing tools. It can be programmed using a Javascript Blocks Editor online. The online editor has a handy virtual micro:bit for you to test out your program live. You can experiment with the micro:bit code yourself here. And then your program can be saved into and run by the meatspace micro:bit.

 

A Sad Raya Haji in Sitiawan

04 September 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha from the whole lot of us in Sitiawan...

...or something.

Daphnis at the ring

It was Eid and it was Sitiawan's turn this year.

Cold Enceladus

The trip to Sitiawan was not stressful for traffic was more than manageable. After nearly three years, I am still getting used to raya traffic being bad in the opposite direction.

Swimming in the Titanian Methane lakes

Irfan and I performed solat Aidiladha at the temporary masjid in town as a new one was under construction at the site of the old.

When I grow up I want to be Iapetus

Before long it was time to head home.

A sad footnote:The day we before we travelled to Sitiawan I had heard that an old family friend - my parents' good friend and my former classmates' dad - had been hospitalised. We visited him the next day and were met by his entire family, people I have known since I could remember and rarely meet these days. Sadly the next day - the day beforEid, he passed away. Innalillahiwainnailahiraajiun, Uncle Kamaruddin.

 

The Star Wars Show Fan Art

31 August 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Recent News, Star Wars
 

The Star Wars Show crew asked for some fan art of the Star Wars Show from the Twittersphere, so being a Twitterspheroid (or a spheroid of some sort) I thought I would oblige them.

Click to Expand

Check out the full artwork on ArtStation here. Also, click on the image above to expand it.

So here we have Andi Gutierrez in an Imperial gunner costume, Anthony Carboni in some smuggler's outfit with CH-33Z in his arms and Pablo Hidalgo at the back with the Star Wars Sourcebook. I tweeted the image a couple of days ago (see Appendix A below) and then it was featured (for about 2 seconds) on the latest Star Wars Show on YouTube!

Here be the latest episode of the show:

Don't forget to check out the other fan art submissions (and the rest of the episode) in the episode above.

Click to Expand

The relevant screenshot of the video. Click on the image to expand it.

96-page Galaxy Guide?

Wonder what were Galaxy Guides 17-36.

Also in the original tweet was the illustration I drew laid out as the cover to one of West End Games' old Galaxy Guides. This fake cover sadly did not appear in the episode.

In closing, I surmise this was as close as I would possibly get to being on Star Wars in a semi-official capacity.

Appendix A: The Actual Tweet

 

SWD6: Out of the Red

20 August 2017 | Hisham | | RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, Time is the Hunter
 

Episode 6

Time is the Hunter

Episode 06: Out of the Red

Continuing the adventure I ran for Ain and Irfan last December...

Bounty hunter Jax Hunt and amnesiac lady who called herself Iris Helena were waiting in the Corellian Engineering Corporation VCX-100 light freighter assigned to them, the Screeching Arrow, by the rebel fleet when the Togorian rebel coordinator Meow Skywalker came to them with a job:

"The mission will require you to travel to the Chandrila system in the Core Worlds to extract Imperial bureaucrat Ton Kelauae, his wife Aklu and his daughter Wencie. Land at Nayli Spaceport. The Kelauaes are holed up in Apartment 7C, Blackback Building. The Empire is looking for them and it will be a matter of time before they are discovered. Get to them before the Empire does and bring them back here."

Then they went off on their mission...

The character sheets

Check out the character illustrations on the PC sheets.

And Now, a Standoff!

A dozen visible Imperial stormtroopers were waiting on the streets, blasters pointed at the entrance door Blackback Building. Some of the troops were behind cover of an Uulshos Manufacturing Chariot command speeder.

Jax and Iris pulled 10-year-old Wencie Kelauae close. Jax was preparing two grenades to throw when he considered talking his way out of the standoff. He whispered the idea to Iris, who while slouching as usual, called to the stormtrooper, "Mr. Stormtroopers. Why are you pointing your guns at us? We were just walking out of here. I cook well. Can I cook some lunch for you-" (Failed her Con roll.)

"Drop the weapons, rebel scum," the platoon commander barked at them. "Now! Or we will shoot. Do you want the child to get hurt?"

As Jax quickly mulled over the words, four stormtroopers were moving towards them. Jax was at his wit's end. Neither Iris or he knew what to do next.

Irfan loves the Westward dice

A photo of Irfan as Jax and Ain's arm as Iris.

That was when the Chariot speeder exploded in a ball of flames. Half a dozen armoured troops flew into the air among debris and flame like rag dolls. The Imperials were caught in a crossfire from different attack points across the streets. This allowed Jax, Iris and Wencie to turn and retreat back into the building foyer.

One of the stormtroopers who had fallen in at the lift lobby had regained consciousness and about to fire at them. Jax dropped him again with his Relby-k23 blaster pistol. Iris grabbed a discarded E-11 blaster rifle from the floor. An explosion rocked the building, a cloud of dust billowed into the lift lobby from the foyer.

Lift lobbies are perilous places

Fleeing back into the building!

"Into the storage room!" Jax herded them into the room where he had earlier pilfered new weapons from some crates. The loading bay door was closed and locked. To open it, he fired at the door controls, an action that served only to destroy the door controls and nothing more.

Another explosion rocked the building from within. They now heard blaster fire tearing concrete and plastic in the lift lobby just outside their closed door. Eerily, the sound of battle suddenly ceased.

Jax and Iris pointed their blaster at the inner door, pushing Wencie behind them.

The door slid open. A dark-haired man wearing a dark brown overcoat carrying an A280 blaster rifle stepped in from the lift lobby. He looked at Jax and said, "Why are you here, Jax? Once again people will die because of you, just like Mom and Dad."

Jax said, "Fell?"

It was Jax's brother Fell Hunt.

 

Patreon: Troops on the Ground

15 August 2017 | Hisham | | Patreon Paperminis, Role Playing Games
 

The latest Patreon paper miniatures were released hours before August arrived, but I forgot to feature them here on the blog. So here are the Troops on the Ground series of modern soldiers for any modern role-playing games that require soldiers as player or non-player characters. Easily used with games like Covert Ops, Delta Green or The Laundry.

The four variations

The image above showcases the four basic designs. Each design has three discreet variations.

Sweep forward!

There is space for you to write down character names.

The gang's all here

Click here to go to the Patreon entry to download the PDF file for printing and assembling!

Or be a patron. Or share. Or something.

Many thanks to our patrons on Patreon for the opportunity to create these paper miniatures over the years.

 

A Nasal Epilogue

14 August 2017 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

After last week's surgery, I had splint and padding up my nose to hold things together as the parts within healed. The doctors gave me little bottles of saline solution and a syringe to douche my nasal cavity to cleanse it of blood, snot and other assorted blood-covered snot.

The tissue paper is to stop blood from dripping out

On Saturday, after my regular nose douche and a shower I felt something shift uncomfortably up my nose. The string taped to my nose which connected to the splint was slack. Something sharp and stinging had moved down my right nostril. More blood than usual was dripping down my nose.

We went to a clinic to get it looked at, but the doctor there referred us to the ER at the hospital. There was a referral letter and all. The ER doctor who attended me called up the ENT physician on call. The ENT doctor (who correctly guessed who I was over the phone) said that if there was no excessive bleeding, I can go home, but have to return to the ENT clinic for a check Monday instead of Thursday.

Emergency Department

However, the stinging pain in my right nostril disappeared Sunday morning. Did the splint move back into its normal position as I slept? Was the pain some injury that healed itself overnight? The reason will forever be unknown to me.

First thing Monday morning (well, second thing after breakfast), we were back at the ENT clinic at the hospital. The chief ENT specialist decided to remove the stuff up my nose and further explore their handiwork with an endoscope. I thought it would hurt more as they did inform me before the surgery that it might sting momentarily, but there was a slight pull and my nose was clear with minimal pain.

All appeared to be well.

I need to keep douching my nose apply the nasal steroid spray daily, to ensure the nose heals proper and to suppress polyps regrowth respectively. I hope all goes well as I have a class to teach on Tuesday which I could not postpone any more.

Finally, the spot on my right hand where the teddy bear-encased cannula was removed five days earlier still hurts for some reason. I wonder why...

 

Porg Dameron

13 August 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars
 

What if Poe Dameron was a porg? What if he still had his helmet and Glie-44 blaster pistol?

What then? What then?

Porg Dameron

I drew the above a couple of days ago, posted on Twitter and Facebook. It was even featured on Star Wars Reporter!

 

Suddenly, The Emergency Room

12 August 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

... but upon my return home from my three-day hospital stay, I discovered that Opah Irfan had a high fever and could not sit up. She was extremely weak from illness. So, we took her to the Klinik Kesihatan downtown before it closed, leaving Irfan alone at home to do his homework.

When we arrived, Ain and Atok Irfan got a wheelchair for Opah.

No sign of Eriq La Salle

After a blood test, the medical personnel there discovered that Opah's blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature were sky high. The nurses there had to inject some insulin into her system.

Insulin time

Then, they called an ambulance to transport her to the Emergency Room of the hospital next door - escorted by Ain - while Atok & I returned home to get her medical records. What followed was a six-hour wait at the ER for the lab to return a new blood test to see if Opah needed hospitalisation. We took turns having dinner at nearby restaurants and staying by her side.

Fortunately, a hospital stay was unnecessary. Her blood was clean of any infection although her urine was.

We returned home just after three in the morning.

Back to the first pic

When Atok and Opah headed home to Sitiawan, Opah was feeling much better.

 

Finally, A Surgery

09 August 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

Atok and Opah Irfan came to visit last Saturday for a medical reason.

FIVE DAYS EARLIER

The photo of them above along with Irfan was taken the day they left for Sitiawan on the 12th. Several days earlier, on Monday the 7th, I was hospitalised and surgery was scheduled for the next day.

Not my stats

There I was, once more unto the breach. This was my fourth attempt at surgery. A FESS to remove what was left of a couple of polyps and a septoplasty to fix my right air hole which was apparently too small. The first attempt back in early 2016 was postponed because of high blood pressure. The second was postponed on account of getting sick while under observation in the hospital ward, and I missed a work excursion to Terengganu in vain because of it. I was unable to go for surgery the third time earlier this year because of a priority cancer patient who took my slot.

Still the two of us after 17 years

Ain sat with me at the ward while Atok and Opah ensured Irfan was okay at home with school and dinner and such. I prayed that this time there would be no problems.

Hey a faucet on my hand!

They stuck a cannula in my left hand at the ENT clinic before I went to the ward.

Soon, it was Tuesday morning and they wheeled me to surgery. I was first on their schedule that morning. Thankfully my blood pressure was within acceptable tolerances, so they carted me off to the freezing operating theatre, transferred me from the gurney to the table, put some thing that warmed my body up -- I was unable to see what they were as they were putting the mask over my nose and mouth.

I thought I heard them say something about unable to get medication through the cannula.

Then I remembered no more.

I'm still alive?

When I was under, the doctors did stuff to my nose. Four hours or so later, Ain took the photo above after I was wheeled out of recovery and back at my bed at the ward. There was blood on my teeth. I hoped it was not because of me biting any doctors when I was unconscious.

I brushed my teeth as soon as I could.

I think this is the kids' version

For some reason a new cannula was on my right hand. (The one on my left had disappeared.) Also, there were teddy bears. Teddy bears. It must have been some sort of bonus achievement.

Final selfie before leaving

I have some padding up my nose where they dug in. They also cut away some septum to enlarge the right nostril, which could explain why I get out of breath quickly back in school when I was running. (I never run these days. Not enough dogs up here to chase me.)

A string was taped to my nose. The doctors will pull on it to remove the padding next Thursday. I am not looking forward to that sensation.

Finally, I was released from hospital Wednesday afternoon.

To be continued...

Edit: A Nasal Epilogue

 

Porgcorn

05 August 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars
 

The Imperial Talker tweeted about a dream he had involving popcorn. I chimed in and... things escalated.

This is a horror scenario really

Who knows, maybe we will discover in December that this IS an actual scene with Chewbacca and the porgs in Star Wars The Last Jedi.

 

New Sandwich Place

03 August 2017 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

I have been wanting to visit this new sandwich place in town. We finally got extra cash for the week so we went for some sandwiches. However to save money, we only bought two - takeaway - and no drinks.

Ngopi is the name of the place

The restaurant was cozy and had a nice ambience, found on one corner of Capitol Square.

Irfan and bread rolls

The smell of freshly baked bread wafted from the door. Also, there was freshly-pressed coffee. We might be back for a proper dining experience here later.

The chalkboard menu

We ordered the cheesy beef salami and the garlic chicken sandwiches.

These are pretty nice sammiches

When we got home we divided them into three parts each, so Irfan, Ain and I were able to sample equal measure of each sandwich. I believe there were more cheese in the garlic chicken than the cheesy beef salami, and I have no complaints about that.

Maybe I will try the Thai mayo chicken next.

 

Symposium Gift Artwork

01 August 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork
 

At the language symposium last week, besides the two assignments I wrote about I also had a third task: Which was to sketch some artwork to be printed and presented as gifts to the special guests of the event. The common theme for each drawing was Perlis.

I drew them all in Krita separately. Photographic references, of course, were used.

Pandora gate

The university main campus gate.

The best part of the cave is the gelatinous cube

We have seen this cave before on this blog.

The masjid over the sea

We have seen this masjid before on this blog.

Best thing about living here are the mangoes

I assure you the photographic reference for this drawing was of Perlis Harumanis mangoes.

MPK is the Kangar Municipal Council

Padang Besar needs more bookshops, is all.

 

Irfan's New Dice

31 July 2017 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games
 

I tried ordering some cheap dice from Lazada several weeks ago for Irfan.

Polyhedrals black

The new set of black dice.

Two sets

The new set with his old purple set he bought in Subang Jaya.

Haven't tested them in salt water for perfect balance yet, although random rolls did not result in any numbers that turned up significantly more than others. At least not yet.

 

My First Language Symposium

29 July 2017 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Another new experience I underwent was the language symposium I attended this weekend. The language symposium was an annual collaboration between three universities, two of them in southern Thailand.

Bazli contemplates the set up

I was also part of the organising committee, although my duties were by far the most unimportant and required the least time and effort compared to everyone else who did a fine job. My job (aided by Bazli who knew the ropes better than I did here) was to figure out and set up the opening ceremony gimmick.

In the early weeks of planning (when we had thought of setting up the symposium in Pulau Pinang) I envisioned using a drone for the gimmick. However, it would be much more economical and easier for everyone to just book the use of a gong from the university's recreation unit:

The magic gong

At the end of the set up and rehearsal night the day before the symposium, the gong looked as per the photo above on stage. When we all arrived 6.45 AM the next morning the stage (and the gong) looked ten times more presentable:

The stage is all dolled up

That gong is all prettied up and looking smug in the middle of the stage.

No relation to Yuzy Pash

The event kicked off early in the morning with guests from a number of South East Asian countries with Yuzy taking point at the podium as the daytime emcee.

The honoured guests

The gong hitting ceremony went without a hitch. They hit the gong three times. The gong did not complain. Then the keynote speakers, heads (or acting heads) of three universities and our language centre director took a group photo at the end of the opening ceremony.

 

Rebel SpecPorg

26 July 2017 | Hisham | | Artwork, Star Wars
 

Sketch Wars on Twitter had a porg theme over the week, so I thought I'd chip in with a porg wearing Rebel SpecForce outfit for some reason or other.

Porg Greyhelm

Well, I thought it was hilarious.

Here are some of the other participants' pictures:

 

Enhancement Workshop in Langkawi

24 July 2017 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

If you had asked me 10 years ago or so, I would say my new experiences will be declining gradually the older I grew. There would be less chances for me to do new things. I am pleased to report that I was wrong.

In the last year or so I have been involved in a number of things I never thought I would be involved in with regards to my professional life.

At the ferry terminal with Bazli

Last weekend I accompanied the entire language department for an Enhancement Workshop.

The workshop was held at a hotel on Langkawi Island. It had been some time since I was at Langkawi and we have not been there since moving to Perlis.

The Kuah Ferry Terminal

The ferry ride took an hour and they played a Jackie Chan movie on the cabin screens. I think there was a lion in a sports car or something? I fell asleep en route as the movie was playing.

I pretended the islands were large asteroids

I had forgotten how breathtaking the islands were as we come in to dock. Photos do not do the view justice when the ferry moved between them.

Everyone's TOO happy

The hotel was located at Cenang Beach. A bus was chartered to transport us from the town of Kuah to Cenang Beach.

 

Patreon Commission: Enigma Corps Redux

19 July 2017 | Hisham | | Patreon Paperminis, Role Playing Games
 
The entire legion is here

Edward MacGregor has been commissioning more paper miniatures for his FATE setting Enigma Corps. Here are three new batches for characters set in a South East Asian uchronia, where Western colonialisation did not occur and local culture has evolved into a dieselpunk society.

They are all now live at my Hishgraphics Patreon page. Check out the photos below.

Some sort of flyers

Enigma Corps Batch 3 (above) consists of the aviator corps, with male & female combat pilots and male & female maintenance technicians.

Click here to download Enigma Corps 03 at my Patreon page

Belles of the ball?

Enigma Corps Batch 4 (above) showcases members of high society including socialites and grand dames of the setting.

Click here to download Enigma Corps 04 at my Patreon page

They's seamen!

Enigma Corps Batch 5 (above) features four naval personnel, with a male & female naval officer and male & female naval crewers in battle station gear (with a keris and a kapak kecil respectively).

Click here to download Enigma Corps 05 at my Patreon page

 

Desktop of a Street at Night

18 July 2017 | Hisham | | Linux
 

My latest desktop on this Linux Mint machine is "Tokyo Street Night" by an artist named arsenixc. I love the colours on this piece. It overlays a sense of peace over what could be a bustling street.

Click on the image below for the bigger picture pop-up.

Everything looks blue

Click here to see the image at its DeviantArt page.

Bonus: Here's the same street in the day and at sunset.