Allie's 9 Month Birthday

30 April 2009 | sila | | Family Pics

I feel like a broken record, but it's true, time has passed so very quickly. Unbeknownst to us (seemingly), 40 weeks have passed. Allie has now been ex utero as long as she was in utero. She was 9 months old last Wednesday, April 22nd! So it makes her now, 9 months and 1 week old today. 40 weeks altogether. Woo! Her personality shines through strongly, and she most definitely is her own person with definite thoughts in her head about what she likes/dislikes, what she wants and when she wants it. It really is a balancing act to love her and give her everything, without becoming over-indulgent. Plus when she bats those eyelids of hers and smiles, how can we resist? ;-)

9-month-old Allie cons the 'rents

Before Allie was born, I thought that she would be the most important thing to us, and that we would love her more than we ever could imagine. While all of that is true, what I didn't realize is that there's so much more to being Allie's parents. She's so much fun, and I know it's weird that I should be surprised about this, but I like her, as well as love her. Anyway, this is the best adventure ever. Just come over (or Skype) and you'll see how much fun she is. She is sitting, reaching, rolling around, and clapping her hands. We play peekaboo and tag. She has even been initiating "Simon Says" games, making us clap our hands, thump our chests or pound the table along with her, and she does her best to try to fake us out when we play. She can throw a ball (or any small projectile) forward using her left hand, but when using her right hand a lot of the time the missile goes backwards. She giggles to the Bingo song (B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o!) and is learning a lot of animal names and sounds through Old Macdonald (and his farm). The animals include the real, the mythical, the fictional, as well as non-animals and nonsensical metaphors (e.g., enigma, eyesore, tractor, etc.). We have also been singing this song trilingually (English, Malay, Spanish) and she doesn't seem to mind as long as we keep singing. She seems to have developed a habit of making new people pick her up and carry her around when she first meets them (waitstaff at restaurants).


Death On The Outpost Moon

23 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 5

Commander Cody and friendsThis week, the GM decided to try out a one-shot scenario. He assigned no-name clone troopers for the players. A sergeant and a bunch of rookies who were tasked with housekeeping of a listening outpost on a Rishi moon. He made it clear that they were the first to know if a Separatist invasion force was on its way to sneak up and bomb the crap out of the clone trooper production world of Kamino. The outpost was descibed nicely by the GM: it was a small drab gray installation with a landing platform and large communication dishes, perched at the edge of a rocky cliff filled with holes.

Initially the players did great in giving each trooper a distinct personality despite their common appearance. They picked out quirky names for their PCs like "Sergeant O'Niner", "Cutup", "Echo", "Hevy" and "Fives".

Then, a meteor storm occurred. Someone rolled a shields skill to raise shields around the listening outpost. Easy enough; the meteors slammed harmlessly against the invisible barriers.


Yellow Avian Mascot at Work

21 April 2009 | Hisham | | Recent News

When we first found the new office after some scouting last December, there was a bird hanging about, chirping its song at the rear window of the place. It was mostly yellow with black markings. Its eyes were red with black pupils. More often than not, it's been there each morning or afternoon whenever I'm at work.

Any idea what species this critter is?

Perhaps it's admiring its own reflection?
Perhaps it's looking for insects on the glass?
perhaps it wants a job?

Which Shoe Is The 7-year-old's?

20 April 2009 | Hisham | | Family Pics

So, which one of these belongs to Irfan?

Maybe it's quite easy to spot thanks to the design, but there doesn't seem to be any 7-year-olds in the house with us according to this photo.


Riders of the Malevolence

12 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 4

Padmé finds herself smack dab in the middle of things blowing up... againThe GM announced that this week was going to be a standard dungeon crawl, to which everyone shrugged and went, "Meh." However, after recapping last week's session, he started out with a bang by shifting the scene to two new PCs. Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo and her protocol droid See Threepio were both on their way to a secret meeting with the Intergalactic Banking Clan, an enemy faction, when suddenly they reverted back in normal space right in the middle of last week's closing skirmish.

The PCs asked the GM why "Intergalactic" when they were only in a single galaxy? The GM reminded them of the map in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which displayed a main spiral galaxy and at least one dwarf satellite galaxy. So, "Intergalactic" was technically correct. Anakin's player thought they'd better update all the official sources with this tidbit of information.

Failed space transport piloting rolls allowed the Malevolence's tractor beam to grab onto the Nubian H-type yacht and pull them into a hangar bay. Quick communication rolls allowed Padmé to contact the Resolute, alerting the rest of the PCs, Anakin and Obi-Wan to her plight.


Strikeforce: Shadow Squadron

11 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 3

Y-wing hotdogger acesAfter the last adventure, in which the party gathered intel on the Malevolence, the GM now changed the flavour of the campaign from a rescue to a starfighter combat scenario. It was a straightforward mission. A squadron of fighters will take off from the Resolute, take a shortcut through a nebula, then attack the Malevolence targeting its command tower at the other end of the nebula before it can destroy the Kaliida Shoals Medical Station, with its load of hospitalised clone troopers and cadre of doctors and medics.

There were supposed to be only four players this session. The PCs snapped up by the players this week were Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and two of the clone pilots named Broadside and Matchstick. The GM thought it would be awesome to give everyone a fighter from the original movies, like the Koensayr Y-wing. But since this was twenty years prior to the movie Episode IV: A New Hope, the GM tweaked the Y-wing stats a bit and renamed them the old-timey BTL-B variant Y-wings. The group was named "Shadow Squadron".

However Plo Koon's player from last week had a cancelled dentist appointment, so he was back this week as Plo Koon. He insisted on tagging along in his Delta-7B starfighter.


Thirty-Nine Hours Is How Long...

09 April 2009 | Hisham | | Rants

... I've been awake with only half an hour of sleep at only one instance, spending 24 of those hours straight in the office with quite a heavy workload on a two-day deadline while having to travel all over the city to help get the work done. I feel like there is a nest of bugs in my chest. My reaction time is slowed.

Just over an hour ago, I looked up in the night sky which had a thin cloud cover. This gave the full moon a diffused but bright yellow glow which bathed the countryside on my way back to the city from KLIA. Then, an aircraft which was a mere silhouette crossed the moon's disc. From the back seat, Irfan saw it too.

It was a unique and beautiful sight.

I'm exhausted. Good night everyone.


Hold the applause, please

08 April 2009 | sila | | Family Pics

So, she put her hands together and clapped her hands. She makes a little clapping noise and everything. She started it on her own on Saturday (April 4th), and has been happily clapping her hands since then.

Clap again!

Vin and I really didn't try to actively teach Allie to clap her hands. We only spottily sang "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands". Somehow, she figured it out. Allie had been banging two objects together (one in each hand) for weeks now, and had also been holding my hands and making them clap together. Maybe it was research? Whatever the case, let's sing together and Allie will clap:

Tepuk amai-amai
Belalang kupu-kupu
Tepuk Alya pandai
Mama upah susu

OK. Now you may applaud. :-)


The Orbital Debris Field Manhunt

03 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 2

Clone troops in vacuumObviously last week had merely been the gaming group's test run using a stand alone scenario in a single session. This week, the GM brought out the big guns. Literally.

The Republic fleet has been under attack by a colossal capital ship, known as the Malevolence. Which is why this scenario was titled "Rising Malevolence". Incidentally the Malevolence is a 7.9 km-long Subjugator-class heavy cruiser, which means the first ship of the line, the Subjugator, was still floating about somewhere in the galaxy. Great job by the GM, cause this gives the rest of us another ship to play with in our own campaigns.

There were seven players around the table. And the GM split them up into two groups. The first group's PCs consisted of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, his Togruta padawan Ahsoka Tano and the trusty astromech droid Artoo-Detoo. The second group played the Kel Dor Jedi Master named Plo Koon, an unarmoured clone commander named Wolffe, and a pair of suited-up clone troopers named Boost and Sinker.


Battle At The Coral Moon

02 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 1

Lieutenant Thire, later Commander Thire in Revenge of the Sith, and palsThe scenario titled "Ambush" was designed so that the Player Characters (PCs), on the side of the Galactic Republic, set down on the moon known as Rugosa in a diplomatic mission. Rugosa's terrain was a thick forest of a multitude of hard, gigantic coral structures. If there was a sea once, it probably had dried out a long time ago. Tiny airborne subspecies of the neebray, like little sparrows, flit between the coral branches. Quite an exotic setting described by the Game Master (GM).

The PCs task was simple: Land on Rugosa and make the planned rendezvous with the Toydarian King Katuunko, then persuade the good king to actively support the Republic in the war against the Separatists.The lead PC was Yoda, a Jedi Master with a fair amount of dice in his Force skills. He was aided by a trio of clone troopers, Thire, Jek and Rys.

However, the GM made sure that the main enemy NPC, the treacherous Sith Adept known as Asajj Ventress under orders from the Sith Lord Count Dooku has arrived ahead of them, turning the mission into bigger challenge.