Away For The Weekend Again

30 March 2007 | Hisham | | Humour, Recent News, Trawling The Net

We'll be heading out to Ain's parents this weekend to attend a wedding. Tok & Opah Irfan will also we joining us tomorrow there, then they'll be heading back with us to Kuala Lumpur via the Gua Musang road, which they've never been before. Hope to show them some sights there on our way back.

We'll be back Monday, according to schedule. So here's the last post from me in the month of March, a great blog entry I found on FraudWasteAbuse, "Why Men Are Never Published On Dear Abby":

Dear Abby,

I’ve never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision. I’ve suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me.

The usual signs… Phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up.

My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, “Just some friends from work, you don’t know them.”

I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive. Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she has gotten out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn’t in a taxi?

I once picked her cell phone up just to see what time it was and she went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and why was I checking up on her.

Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn’t want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson motorcycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?

I've Transformed My Wallpaper

28 March 2007 | Hisham | | Linux, Transformers, Trawling The Net

Freedom is the right of all yadda yadda...So today I made a brand new desktop wallpaper, which I think looks great. Click on the thumbnail over there to the left to view it in its entirety. I'm wondering about that glyph etched into the metal above his eye.

This is where I got the original image, which is substantially larger than what is seen on my desktop.


Straight From The Bear's Mouth

26 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

Bear McCreary has become my favourite composer for soundtracks. I love what he did throughout Battlestar Galactica. The music isn't a traditional symphonic orchestral score, although it is in some places. I can't quite categorize listening to the score as a whole. It has string quartet, Japanese tako drums, Armenian duduk, bagpipes, gamelan, erhu.... a hodge-podge of traditional instruments being used to make the music of the Battlestar Galactica universe. Lyrics are sung in languages like Latin, Sinhalese, Sanskrit and Italian. Modern earth music even make their way into the episodes as source music, such as Philip Glass' "Metamorphosis Five" (played by Starbuck at her Caprica apartment) and the super spoiler full-blown music which rocks the closing scenes of the recent third season finale, which broke my mind in half.

Anyway, Bear McCreary's website has a blog and the blog has entries pertaining to his work on Galactica, which also includes very simple notes of the themes he composed for various characters and situations in the series. Here's the "Wander My Friends" theme (the Adamas' theme):

Siúlaigí a chairde, siúlaidh liom


Not Very Uplifting

24 March 2007 | Hisham | | Rants

Here's another rant I stored somewhere which I rediscovered.

Say you're waiting on the ground floor of a building. You need to get up to the tenth floor. When you arrive at the elevator doors, the cab is currently at the tenth floor. You hit the button and it starts to descend. Another guy waits with you by the lift. It stops at the 8th floor to pick up a passenger on the way down. Then it stops again at the 7th floor, where it remains there for more than 30 seconds. Then it descends and stops at the 5th, 4th and finally the 2nd floors.

The doors open and a bunch of folks come spilling out. One guy is carrying a large item of furniture, which probably held the lift at the 7th. Once the lift is clear, you and the other guy waiting board the lift cab. You hit the 10th floor. And the other guy squints, moves his finger with uncertainty deciding which button to press and finally hits the 1st floor button.

The 1st floor.

Where you can reach at least 90 - 240 seconds earlier by just climbing up one floor using the stairwell adjacent to the elevator lobby.

Many thanks to the more-than-just-a-couple-of-people who've wasted my time in such instances, and kudos for managing your time in such an efficient manner. Bravo! Author! Golf clap!


"I Make Lots of Graphs"

22 March 2007 | Hisham | | Rants, TV

Homer finds this out the hard way...Lisa Simpson once claimed pessimistically in the episode HOMR, "As intelligence increases, happiness decreases", and made a graph about it.

Without going into the intelligence territory for super geniuses like Albert Einstein, Richard Feynmann and Querl Dox, it's apparent that every human possesses a certain amount of intelligence. As a human grows and develops, he or she learns more about the surrounding world, including things that is picked up in school and at work and media such as books and television. A human would learn, among other things, of science, history, geography, arts and literature, and of family, friendship and love.


Tron - A Look Back at a Reindeer Flotilla

20 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review

It's been a while since I saw Tron. I never saw it on the big screen. I believe I last saw it when it using one of the most sophisticated, technological wonder of a multimedia player (well, sight and sound) at the time known as the video cassette recorder.

So here I am more than twenty years later, and did it stand up the test of time? And more importantly... is there a Mickey Mouse out in the cyberscape field in the background under the solar sailer in one scene? Let's answer the second question first:

It's Ricky Rat!


Meanwhile Out On An Aircraft Carrier...

18 March 2007 | Hisham | | Humour, Trawling The Net

Awesomeness, is all.

I want one. A VF-1S, if possible

Found on the RPG.Net forums.


This Weblog Is China-Friendly

16 March 2007 | Hisham | |, Trawling The Net

We are China-friendly, see?It's been in the news since last year that China has been censoring internet into the country. So, thanks to a website called, I am able to test whether the subject matters of Hishgraphics blog entries are forbidden to be view from within China.

Apparently, we're not blocked! Yay! (Or, who knows, perhaps because of this post we will be before long, heh.)

Greetings to everyone reading from China! Peace, y'all!


Retro Review: Vejur Returns To Look for Dad

15 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review

These three Klingon ships share six apostrophes between themMy first foray into the world of Star Trek consisted of a single page ad on a comic (might have been a Gold Key comic) for Star Trek The Motion Picture, back in 1980. It had a picture of the new refitted Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D) with a photo line-up of the characters along the bottom. My first thought was (probably) how great it was to be part of this team, exploring the unknown in the 23rd century (it said 23rd century right there on the movie ad) in such a sleek starship. I don't remember when I learned that the movie was based on the TV show, or if I learnt it before or after I saw the movie ad.

Anyway some months later, I bought the novelisation of the movie, which I believe might be my first ever movie novelisation bought. Tok & Opah Irfan bought it for me at a bookstore in Taiping (named Mubarak's, IIRC - might be mistaken) along with the comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in digest format.

Anyway I found the novel (written by Alan Dean Foster) to be quite gripping to my 10 year old mind. It was fantastic visualising myself on the bridge of the Enterprise with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, Chapel and Rand. The threat of "Vejur" (as it was spelt in the novel, no doubt to ensure it doesn't hint to what Vejur actually is - which the more widely used spelling "V'ger" does)...

The Enterprise got quite a bit of the limelightBut I've never actually seen the movie until well into my mid-teens when TV3 aired it. I remember being very, very underwhelmed by it after visualising the narrative from the novel. Recently I saw STTMP again, the old theatrical version and Pan and Scan to boot, not the more recent Director's Cut DVD.


Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

13 March 2007 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net

Who watched and caught a glimpse of the easter egg in the trailer for Zak Snyder's new film 300? It's been all over the internet now so if you're online most of the time you'd probably have seen a screen capture of it in the last couple of days.

Twenty years ago, plus change, Alan Moore wrote a 12 issue mini-series for DC Comics called Watchmen. It was one of the books (along with books such as Art Spiegelman's Maus and Neil Gaiman's Sandman) that elevated the generally considered lightweight storytelling medium of comic books into serious literature.

Twenty years ago, plus change, Alan Moore wrote and Dave Gibbons drew these panels:


Last week, it was discovered that this image was slipped into the 300 trailer at 1:52 on the time stamp:

The Comedian's badge

Zak Snyder who directed 300 is now slated to direct Watchmen for release in 2008. The image was from a test shot of the Rorschach mask, which looks great from where I'm sitting. This film could ultimately be the best comic book-adapted film ever made, or because of the complexity of Watchmen and fans' high expectation, it could fail spectacularly. I'm hoping for the former to occur, but... there I go putting my expectations high again.

In the meantime I'm going to try to catch 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's 5-issue miniseries from Dark Horse Comics, which apparently did well opening here last week.


I Thought I Could Build An X-Wing, At Ten

10 March 2007 | Hisham | | Rants

I seriously did think back in the earlier years of the Eighties I could build a fully functional Incom T-65 X-Wing space superiority fighter given the proper parts and tool. I thought that it would be cool to pilot the ship to school. I even picked out a landing spot, right by the Standard Three classes behind the principal's office.

Needless to say, I never actually did build the fighter with my 10 year old hands.

However, within the last decade or so, everything I achieved personally has had the "if I put my will into it" stamp on it. I had believed that if I put work into it, I could create passable digital art - and it worked. I had believed if I put work into it with a little help from friends I could create websites using HTML and CSS - and again it worked. The same with happened with my wanting to set up a blog, and write, illustrate & put up children's book pdfs for sale (not that anyone's buying), and draw professionally for RPG books, and running a Linux OS at home, and going further back I remember picking up BASIC (totally useless skill now) on my own just by reading a book.

So it's time to set the bar again for me to achieve something I can't do right now. I believe at this point in time I can with the right knowledge, try to create something useful of note with a computer, for instance a programming code complex enough for, say, a computer operating system if I put my will into it.

Well maybe not an operating system - but if you see me posting that I've created something like a moon lander simulator, or a Tron light cycle game, you'll know I've gone over the bar... or gone bonkers.


Did It or Did It Not Exist?

09 March 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

Apollo and StarbuckThe stormy clouds of the gas giant were where the rag tag fugitive fleet was undergoing refueling operations last week in Battlestar Galactica.

But Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace patrolling the skies of the planet in her Viper caught a glimpse of a Cylon Heavy Raider and chased after it. Without invoking spoilers, the question would be whether she was hallucinating or not. If she wasn't then a whole set of new variables can be introduced to the outcome of the episode, entitled "Maelstrom".

As the viewer, we saw Starbuck's point of view of the bloodied child in the cockpit.

We also saw the silhouette of the man in the room outside her cockpit as she was flying deeper into the storm.

Let's not get into the dream sequence. (I hope the paint was non-toxic.)

The shots of the Heavy Raider were for the most part in her point of view... until we see this shot where the point of view was behind Apollo's Viper. This is definitely not Starbuck's point of view - heck, it's too far out to be her POV. In fact it's more of Apollo's:

Three powerplant exhaust signatures?

In the current age of visual FX previsualisation where everything is preplanned in a single shot, the questions will now be (1) what was it doing there, (2) is even a Cylon ship, and (3) why didn't we hear Apollo say he saw it?


Another Suitor For Lily

08 March 2007 | Hisham | | Humour, Recent News

Young Tiger Lily Belle, who just meowed her way into Sila & Vin's household, already has suitors apparently. You can get the details from Sila later, about the poet and the two-timer.

I would like to suggest another candidate for Lily.

A powerful sandcat.

From Arrakis.

The Shai-Hulud:


From the Tenth Floor At Night

04 March 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

Atok Irfan took some fantastic night photos from the balcony of the tenth floor here, something I couldn't have done without a tripod.

You can see the Menara Maxisegar and the Menara MPAJ in the first picture.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Check out the Flash running down the streetNo zombies shambling about though

Thanks to Irfan's grandfather for the beautiful photos.


Ubuntu Adventures: Survivors of the KDE Desktop

02 March 2007 | Hisham | | Linux

Last time I wrote about the Linuxification of the home PC, I mentioned that I turned my Ubuntu into Kubuntu by installing the KDE desktop. It turns out I prefer the old GNOME desktop and the Nautilus file browser more, so with the command line in Terminal, sudo aptitude remove kde-desktop and POOF! A KDE holocaust.

Lots of K thingamajigs were culled and removed from the operating system. We're back to the regular Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake.

Here is how my desktop looks like now: