Lord Morpheus Will Want To Have Words - An Inception Review

30 July 2010 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review

Freefall in a hotel

Inception is by far one of the most enjoyable science fiction movies in recent memory.

I went in cold, save for information gleaned from the trailers. I knew it was a heist movie where characters try to steal information from their marks via shared dreams. What I got was a story that was surprisingly not convoluted, where exposition - all the "if / then explanation" - was delivered in advance and easily understood.

What was explained was still pretty fantastic, and when the fantastic occurs onscreen it takes your breath away.

Spoilers to follow! SPOILERS! 


Amarok 2.0 Woes... Then a Solution!

29 July 2010 | Hisham | | Linux

A few nights ago, I decided to upgrade the Ubuntu operating system from 8.10 Intrepid Ibex to 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. (Yeah, yeah. I should be at 10.04 Lucid Lynx right now. I'll get around to it.) Everything went along swimmingly with the applications I've had installed... until I ran Amarok.

Amarok version 1.something had been automatically upgraded by the OS level-up to version 2.0. The user interface looks somewhat different. But more important than that, there was no sound!

Upon executing the application the systray warned me, "Phonon: KDE's Multimedia Library. The audio playback device HDA Intel (AD198x Analog) does not work. Failing back to default." Playing any songs, a warning would pop up, "Too many errors encountered in playlist. Stopped playback." When I played the same songs using Totem, they worked perfectly.

So I did a some Googling and discovered this solution which worked.


The Fastball Express Gang

27 July 2010 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, Role Playing Games

The Eclipse Phase RPG campaign I've been gaming in, gamemastered by Ivan, has been real fun. The posthuman campaign involves the players as "pre-emptive retrieval specialists" who have been plying their trade between Luna, Mars and the asteroid belt. And although I've drawn Hokusai before, as well as Billy Cable Jr. and Bishop-6 in vac suits, here is the first ever visual representation of the entire crew of the cargo ship Fastball Special.

The crew of the Fastball Special
Please click on this link to view a larger, uncropped image with character names on DeviantArt.

Gamera vs. Godzilla

25 July 2010 | Hisham | | Artwork

800th blog post!

Tortoise vs. Iguana?

Irfan's been on a daikaiju kick lately. Checking out all the monster throwdowns on Youtube, he's decided that giant, flying, bipedal sabre-toothed tortoise Gamera is his favourite monster. We quickly illustrated this picture earlier this morning. Click on the thumbnail for the full image.


Latest Movie With Totoro Reviewed - Toy Story 3

19 July 2010 | Hisham | | Movie Review

One might be tempted to review Toy Story 3 as such: “The toys from Andy’s room return in the third installment of Toy Story for another wondrous adventure for the children, reuniting the voice talents of Tom Hanks as Sheriff Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, the Grand Nagus Vizzini as Rex the Tyrannosaur, Major Derlin as Hamm and the ghost of Jim Varney as Slinky Dog”.

But movie is far more than that. It’s a perfect bookend for the trilogy, dramatically and visually. It’s been 10 years since the first movie and Andy’s all grown up and is ready to move out to college. All his belongings are going to be either stored in the attic or thrown away. Andy has decided to store his remaining toys in the attic, much to everyone’s relief.

It wouldn’t be the great and fun life they had before, but at least they would have each other until the end.

I want a Totoro plushie too!

Drawing from After the Fall

18 July 2010 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, Role Playing Games

Eclipse Phase was on today. I played Hokusai Tarnungshaut the uplifted octopus once again. As we played, I sketched the final scenario as we played it. Here we were, Bishop Six, Billy Cable Jr. and I had to rescue Maria, the advisor to the von Trapp family in spaaaace (a bunch of neotenics, really) from the Nine Lives crime syndicate.

Three employees of Fastball Express Inc.

We all wore vac suits because we infiltrated the bad guys' base from outside the space habitat, where I lost my Groucho Marx glasses. I wielded a pair of heavy railgun pistols, the neurachem-stimulated Bishop Six had a sniper rifle slung on his back and Billy wore a pickelhaube helmet for some reason and tried to bluff some guards with a dazzler in his hand.

Ultimately, we figured out how one does solve a problem like Maria.


Avian Visitor at Night

12 July 2010 | Hisham | | Family Pics

And so it came to pass that as I was relaxing in the living room as the last glow of the setting sun disappeared, a bird flew into the house. At first it just rested on the carpet looking forlornly at me, perhaps wondering into what parallel universe it had travelled to. I called Irfan to approach slowly, but as I edged for a closer look, it flew.


Visit to Putrajaya

06 July 2010 | Hisham | | Family Pics

A few weeks ago before the school break ended, Irfan followed his tuition centre group on a visit to Putrajaya where they visited the botanical gardens, among other places. This was the first time he went on a trip with the group. Although he came back tired, he said he had fun.

Irfan recently obtained the photos they took during the excursion.

Before the Putrajaya Mosque