Don't Mess With Mickey's Cockatoo - An Iron Man 2 Review

29 April 2010 | Hisham | | Comics, Movie Review
Four versions of the suit - no Hulkbuster suit though

Tony Stark is back on the big screen again in Iron Man 2. And this time he's brought more friends as well as enemies.

General thoughts about it after watching it last Thursday: Another awesome movie which Robert Downey Jr. starred as Tony Stark, but also allowed every character to shine. No one was wasted.

The story is much more complex, which I guess made it more difficult for the filmmakers to make a tighter movie like the first one. But excellent performances around and a much more epic final battle (that made the first movie's a little two-round bout) made up for it. As per the first movie, unlike most modern superhero movies no one dresses in black and broods like a 16-year-old. Maybe, they find themselves in deep thought for a bit, but after the apparently-therapeutical "engineering montage" everyone's happy and eager to fly and blow crap up.

And now we move on to spoiler territory with a point-by-point review.



Iron Men and War Machines


Allie's 21 Month Birthday

26 April 2010 | sila | | Family Pics

Yet another month has passed. Allie turned 21 months old on Earth Day (April 22nd). She had an action-packed day, and we all enjoyed it.


Irfan Takes To The Alleys

25 April 2010 | Hisham | | Family Pics

The bowling alley, to be precise. Thanks to Irfan's Cik Emma, we all went for a round of bowling last Sunday. Irfan was at first hesitant to pick up a bowling ball, but soon found himself having fun throwing the ball at the pins. The pins, I hoped, had fun being knocked down by us.

Irfan the bowler

In My Garden, In The Shade

24 April 2010 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, Role Playing Games

My player character in Eclipse Phase is named Hokusai Tarnungshaut. He is an octopus.

Specifically, he is a North Pacific Giant Octopus with an uplifted human-like intelligence. He comes with the regular eight arm, a beak and a camouflage skin.

He was uplifted by a scientist in a hypercorp during the fall. The hypercorp was destroyed but Doctor Kyle Hoo the scientist took Hokusai away and taught him about the world. The scientist also used his resources to fit a whole bunch of cyberware - including a basic mesh insert, deadly cyberclaws and a cortical stack - in Hokusai. Because the body of the octopus lives only as long as two years, the scientist have been cloning his body and resleeving him in a fresh cloned body every couple of years.

Hokusai Tarnungshaut

This Is What A DL-18 Blaster Look Like

16 April 2010 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

So the other day I made three pages of rules and stats for a SWRPG GM screen. Those face inward, to the gamemaster who has to refer to rules and tables and some stats at a moment's notice during a game session. What about the other side? you may ask. What do the players see?

So people print out photos and artwork of scenes of whatever game they use. There are hundreds of official and fan artwork of Star Wars in the internet wilds. If you download the Pirates of the Spanish Main GM screen inserts for Savage Worlds, they also come with inserts for the player side with artwork and map.

Here's one insert I've made for SWRPG on the player side:

You can also pistol whip errant Ewoks with these.

A blaster visual reference guide. No longer do you need to tell other players, "I have that blaster pistol that Han uses to shoot at the sarlacc tongue." You can just refer to its name on the insert, or just point to any blaster and tell your player, "You find a blaster carbine in the cupboard and it looks like this."

Many thanks to the Rancorpit team for damage code for weapons that appeared in the prequels movies, which came out after West End Games lost the Star Wars license. I obtained the photos from all over the internet, especially the Star Wars Wiki.

Gear that shoot sfuff! Right-click-and-save the link to the zip file on the left. (405KB)


What Happened at the Coral Reef?

14 April 2010 | Hisham | |

Well, she does!I wrote, dedicated and presented this book to baby Eva - currently less than half a year old - at the gathering last week. I hope some day Mei & Andrew will be able to read to Eva, and she will wonder what a crazy nut Uncle Hisham is for writing this book.

Eva Goes to the Beach is now on sale on

It's a perfect book to vex 4-8 year old young 'uns with a simple storyline involving a trip to the beach, a swim around the coral reef, an undead shark and ice cream.

I asked earlier what happens to the little girl who was diving at the coral reef?

Check out the following image for a continuing image, and click here to purchase Eva Goes to the Beach at

Believe it or not, the book has a happy ending!


Star Wars RPG D6 GM Screen

13 April 2010 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Here's something I've been working on for the last year or so, created over long periods of nothingness punctuated by brief periods of activity. My very own design for a full-colour Star Wars RPG Gamemaster's Screen in D6 rules - using Inkscape.

There are three pages of inserts, each US Letter sized. They work great with the Savage Worlds Customizable GM Screen.

The first are tables for combat (injury, scaling, damage, healing, etc.), movements (manoeuvre modifiers, character & vehicle) and astrogation mishaps.

Combat & Movement

I Scream You Scream We All Scream

08 April 2010 | sila | | Food

for Graeter's Ice Cream!!!! Ever since we really explored a local chain of fabulous ice cream (they made Allie's birthday cakes last year - mmmmmm) we have totally been converted. Eat your heart out Ben & Jerry's! Take a hike, Cold Stone Creamery! Graeter's is the greatest!!!

This is my favorite flavor:

Chocolate chocolate chip rules

Makan-makan with Jen

08 April 2010 | sila | | Friends

So before Jen and Mike set off for their awesome vacation (one of the legs included dinner with Hisham's family), we had a warm up makan session at the newly discovered Penang restaurant in Edison, NJ. We ordered so much food that they had to move us from a table suited to seat 3-4 people, to a table for 8. Jen got to try a bunch of Malaysian dishes including assam laksa, pasembur, mee kari, kangkung belacan, roti canai, and all kinds more. The person who took our order was trying to warn me that perhaps some of my choices were not something that would be enjoyed by Jen and Vin but oh, he didn't know them as well as I did. :-) We all had an excellent meal. Sila makan, everyone.


Yet Another Gathering of Old Schoolmates

05 April 2010 | Hisham | | ACS Memories

And old school, we were.

The school being ACS Sitiawan. The location being the pool level of Mei Lin's apartment building.

Mouseover the pics for captions.

We converged at Mei's house, pot luck.
Kok Soon and Tern Lik speak with Sharon's husband Rupert
The next generation weren't exempted

Little Girl Dives In Coral Reef

04 April 2010 | Hisham | | Artwork
Colourful underwater-like scene

But then...

A predator appears...?

What happens next?