Book Review: The Cowboys of Cthulhu

27 November 2011 | Hisham | | Books

A Deadlands adventure right there... 

David Bain's The Cowboys of Cthulhu was the first novelette I bought and read on the Calibre ebook reader.

It's a great mashup of weird western and the Cthulhu mythos.

Weird West is a genre of western, where its tales of cowboys and injuns and heading out west is infused with heavy doses of horro and the occult. Other examples of Weird Westerns is the Deadlands RPG and DC Comics' Jonah Hex.

The Cowboys of Cthulhu tells the tale of Gentleman John Brodie the Demon Duelist, Doctor Darius Darke and a host of multi-cultural and strange characters in the guise of a travelling carnival gets embroiled in a hunt for three creatures that kill and eat human brains. However, they discover that they might have bitten off more than they could chew in a box canyon where geometry seems to be non-Eucleidian and darker, more evil creatures may be waiting for them.

The tale is short but solid, and left me wanting more adventures with our heroes. I can see Mr. Bain writing more stories with the characters in a prequel or a sequel story, taking into account the ending of this novelette, and I hope that he does!


Calibre Ebook Reader

26 November 2011 | Hisham | | Books, Linux

I have discovered and installed the free ebook reader and management application named Calibre to read books and stuff!

Apart from reading ebooks, Calibre can also manage your digital book library, search for ebooks in various locations from the Amazon Kindle store to and synchonize with a mobile reader such as my smartphone. Seeing that I'm pretty OCD about book cataloguing, I've used Calibre to ensure all the books' metadata, cover image and such are meticulously entered.

Thanks to Feedbooks and Project Gutenberg, I now have quite a lot of books in the queue to be read. Calibre also has a list of DRM-free ebooks on its website here

Below is the ebook management interface screencap. Click on the thumbnails to view larger images.

Here is the interface used to edit the ebooks' metadata, displaying E.E. Doc Smith's Triplanetary. Calibre could search the metadata and cover image online or you could edit the metadata and upload the cover image yourself.

The reader window here is displaying a page from Rudy Rucker's Postsingular, a delightful transhuman romp - to put it mildly. Calibre is able to read a number of ebook formats, including EPUB, MOBI, LIT, RTF, TXT and PDF. I prefer to download EPUB files.

Thanks to its syncing feature, all the books on the desktop version is also duplicated in my smartphone for quick and easy reading if I'm caught needing to stay put away from bookshelves. I love living in the future.


Aidiladha 2011: Back To Sitiawan

24 November 2011 | Hisham | | Family Pics

This Aidil Adha we drove back to Sitiawan. As per standard operating procedures, we took a family photo Aidiadha morning, before heading out to visit others.

All who were present at Aidil Adha 2011

I love this photo of Irfan on the wooden pier by the river. I should have waited 30 seconds later, because by the time I stowed the camera, a little boat went by with a happy-looking bunch of children. Here follows a selection of photos of our time in Sitiawan.

Behind Opah Long's house at Kampung Permatang

40 Months

22 November 2011 | sila | | Family Pics

So the girl is now 40 months old! Three and 1/3 years old. This month has totally flown by and it's definitely been a crazy one! For one thing, we had our first October snowstorm during our last work trip out to New Jersey until after the new baby arrives. It was a fun time, and everyone was so kind to us out there, friends, co-workers, the hotel staff that has become like family to us. We will miss everyone until we get to go back on the road, the traveling troupe + Adik by then :-). But that won't be for quite a few months, and we're definitely looking forward to being home for the next few months straight. It will be different, and certainly new for all of us. Yaya has been part of the traveling troupe now since she was 13 months old, and I hope she won't get cabin fever from not being hauled around for a while.

Excited about staying home for a while?

This Desktop Has An Owl

21 November 2011 | Hisham | | Linux

There's an owl on the desktop.

He's a hoot and a holler

A Squad of Clones Plus Change

17 November 2011 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

These are illustrations for pregen characters for a Star Wars Saga game to be run by Gary Astleford at Totalcon 2012.

The one in Massachussets, not the one on Commenor. Register quick if you want to get in on the clone action.

I wonder if his first name is "Gear"

Lieutenant Krieg

Demolitions and computer specialist

Sergeant Aren

Circumcisions at 50% price


Just a regular infantryman


He shoulders the burdens of heavy weapons

Senth Herf

Obviously this guy's a Jedi

Voris Xilef


Some Encounters ~ Some Plots ~ Some Places

16 November 2011 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games

Ben Gerber's latest RPG Kickstarter project is Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places, where you'll be given a whole slew of role-playing game NPCs, creatures, weapons, gear and locations you can easily adapt to your own campiagn! Lots of awesome stuff about, such as the ones I was commissioned to draw below:

Floating Cavern

Iron Mace of Law

Faris the Awakened Wolf

Sword of Vegetation


D6 Magazine: Hellhound

11 November 2011 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games

The Halloween issue of D6 Magazine will be a bit late, but here's a late commission from the publishers! I'm not in the loop as to which article this illustration is slated to be in, but I guess said article has a Hellhound in it!

And it seems to be somewhat agitated.

I want a Peanuts strip reboot with this guy as Snoopy, pretty please?

Void Vulture Scrawlings

10 November 2011 | Hisham | | Artwork, Role Playing Games

Three more Void Vultures RPG artwork was commissioned over the week and a half and here's what I've come up with. Click on the thumbnails to view bigger images, but I can tell you that the world of the spaceborne Void Vultures are filled with psionics in peril, homicidal brainbots, giant mecha, feral mutant killers and a guy who has to call his mom NOW!

This almost sounds like an episode of Red Dwarf
Brave Raydeen in brave? stop messaging him!!!

To read more about Void Vultures, check out their Kickstarter page here!


Boy or girl? 32 weeks in 3D

09 November 2011 | sila | | Family Pics

Today we went to see Yaya's Adik in 3D. He is 32 weeks old and was a bit shy so had to be coaxed to show his face. Unlike Yaya, he seems much more modest around the camera while Yaya was quite the show off, sucking her thumb and everything! I do think there's quite a resemblance to Yaya, no? Sadly my OB no longer has movie recording capacity so no little movie of Adik. We tried though.

Here are the pictures:

Adik's face

Adik looking like Papa here

Wait, does this mean that like Yaya, Adik will look 100% like Papa for his entire first year of life, leaving me to look like the nanny? :-p