Day of Dredd

05 October 2014 | Hisham | | Artwork, Comics, Misc Sci-Fi, Movie Review, Trawling The Net

Earlier this week there was a drive via online social networks for a sequel of 2012's film Dredd starring Karl Urban as Judge Dredd. Known as Day of Dredd, there were many posts and tweets about it across the internet. Even Psi Judge Anderson actress Olivia Thirlby herself made a thank you video for fans who helped with this drive.

Dredd was an enjoyable, very tight, very focused story with just the right balance of grittiness and the absurdness of the future social dynamics of Mega City One. Its violence is very explicit, assaulting viewers with the atrocities of the film's villains. It sets the tone for the grimness of the situation of having Dredd and the rookie Anderson trapped in a vast but somehow claustrophobic Peach Tower residential block by Ma-Ma, the local drug lord played by Lena Headey.

Of course the dire circumstances only serves to  accentuate how cathartic the payback is to the criminals when Dredd regains the upper hand. It's no spoiler he would eventually get the upper hand. How he gets there is a roller coaster ride.

Would a Dredd 2 emerge from this effort? Let's hope so.

Here's my contribution to Day of Dredd on Twitter:

I should have also drawn the Lawgiver

Random Encounter Runoff

28 August 2014 | Hisham | | Artwork, Comics, Trawling The Net

Because of the Random Encounter in the last blog post...

Yes, I know she's not technically shooting at him. Cheated perspective a bit.

Random Encounter

26 August 2014 | Hisham | | Comics, Humour, Trawling The Net

It's not every day my tweet gets a reply from Joss Whedon.

But it doesn't feed the family. Sigh.

Addendum: Follow-up post created.


Small World

13 April 2012 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Friends, Role Playing Games, Trawling The Net

Created by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, Geek and Sundry's new biweekly TableTop web series features 30 minutes of tabletop gaming video that shows how much fun it is to pay tabletop games from boardgames like Ticket to Ride to card games like Munchkin to roleplaying games like Fiasco! Each episode, hosted by Wil, shows how each game is played by playing it onscreen. Every episode also has different guests.

Irfan and I saw the first episode together and he totally fell in love with the board game they played, Small World.

Societies of fantasy races rise and fall!

Small World allows a player to control a society of one fantasy race after another, allowing your race to expand or decline each round using the game rules. The game randomly mixes in special abilities and racial abilities, and by planning a combination of these abilities you are able to maximise the number of points you acquire each round. At the end of a set number of rounds (which depends on the number of players) the player with the most points win.


Sixty Symbols

21 October 2009 | Hisham | | Trawling The Net

From the Sixty Symbols Introduction page:

Ever been confused by all the letters and squiggles used by scientists?

Hopefully this site will unravel some of those mysteries.

Sixty Symbols is a collection of videos about physics and astronomy presented by experts from The University of Nottingham.

They aren't lessons or lectures - and this site has never tried to be an online reference book.

The films are just fun chats with men and women who love their subject and know a lot about it!

I don't know about you, but I am going to enjoy watching these videos. Click here to view the fascinating and easily-understood scientific talks they have there.

Sixty Symbols


The Interactive Dan Brown Plot Generator

17 September 2009 | Hisham | | Books, Humour, Trawling The Net

Do you wish to write and be as successful as bestselling authour of titles such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown?

Don't fret, because now you can thanks to's The Interactive Dan Brown Plot Generator. All you have to do is to select the city and then the arcane organisation whose devious plot drives the story, and voila! You have an automatically generated plot which can serve as a blurb for your back cover!

I chose "Dallas" for the city, and for the ancient and mysterious organisation I picked the Kiwanis Club:

An ancient puzzle at the heart of Dallas.
A ruthless cult determined to protect it.
A frantic race to uncover the Kiwanis Club's darkest secret.

The Forgotten Mark

When world-famous Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Carousel Club to analyze a mysterious rune—imprinted on a gold ring lying next to the mangled body of the head docent—he discovers evidence of the unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Quintinistas, a secret branch of the Kiwanis Club that has surfaced from the shadows to carry out its legendary vendetta against its mortal enemy, the Vatican.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed when a messenger from the Quintinistas appears at the Texas Theater to deliver a grim ultimatum: Turn over the archbishop, or one cherub will disappear from the Sistine Chapel every day. With only three days to foil their plot, Langdon joins forces with the statuesque and quick-witted daughter of the murdered docent in a desperate bid to crack the code that will reveal the cult's secret plan.

Embarking on a frantic hunt, Langdon and his companion follow a 800-year-old trail through Dallas's most venerable buildings and historic churches, pursued by a one-eyed assassin the cult has sent to thwart them. What they discover threatens to expose a conspiracy that goes all the way back to Joseph Prance and the very founding of the Kiwanis Club.

That's the plot. Now all I have to do is to write the prose and change Langdon's name. Watch me go to the top of the New York Times bestsellers' list! Woo!


365 Days of Stormtroopers

15 September 2009 | Hisham | | Humour, Star Wars, Trawling The Net

Thanks to the Official Star Wars Blog, I've come across the photo-adventures of a pair of hapless Imperial Stormtroopers on Flickr, TK-479 and TK-455, as they undergo a series of entertaining adventures.

The photos are taken by Stéfan Le Dû, who will release one photo a day for a year.

Some of the scenes are downright hilarious. Here is a selection, with mouseover text of their original titles:

Short-messaging Luke Skywalker

Above: This explains the anonymous messages Luke's been receiving. It got so bad that he had to hurl his phone on the far side of Nirauan.

Recruiting some pigeons for the Imperial Navy

Above: The Imperial fleet could use a few good carrier pigeons if the HoloNet craps out.

Summer Holiday Strikes Back

Above: You can't go on vacation without an astromech droid to navigate your camper.

Holiday by the sea - Day 1

Above:  Do you need hats if you're wearing friggin' helmets? You do if you want to get the chicks on the beach.


There's News, And Then There's News

25 March 2009 | Hisham | | Humour, Trawling The Net

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city...

KUALA LUMPUR — Amid an excited Malaysian public, Proton today launched the first of three variants of its latest model, the MPV Exora.Cheap car is cheap

The ‘C’ variant (for Cheap) comes without the frills traditionally included by car companies, like engine, transmission, seats, doors, windows and steering wheel. (The other two variants, “Premium” and “Standard”, will be launched next month)

Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abdin Tahir said that the MPV was designed for families which were conscious about doing things economically. “While the other two variants, with the usual package that includes items some see as ‘basic’ would be sold at around RM80,000, the ‘C’ variant is sold at below RM5,000.

For more news like that visit Nose4news, a clever Malaysian news parody website. "Abominable Snowman seeks name change"? "Loss of Life main cause of death among males, females"? "Crime industry announces 400,000 job vacancies"? It's the Onion website, but with a local flavour.


They Come From The 31st Century

22 December 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net, TV

Every year since season 4 of Smallville, I used to check out the first few episodes to see if it grabbed me. But the novelty was gone, and even the inclusion of Kara Zor-El in season 7 wasn't enough to sustain my attention.

Season 8 however is a whole new ball game. I've not missed a single episode.

Inclusion of new character Davis Bloom that eventually turns out to be Doomsday - which reads terribly as a concept on paper, but is pulled off adequately. A new job at the Daily Planet and a burgeoning romance with Lois - including humorous lively banter instead of the unbearable melodrama with Lana. More DC Comics characters as guest stars like Plastique and Maxima.

And after the mid-season break, for the first time ever: the live action appearance of none other than the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, flight rings and all:

Garth, Imra and Rokk!

... with apparently Persuader of the Fatal Five in tow, complete with his signature weapon the Atomic Axe.

Watch the promo here.


An Array of Questions Concerning Youth

17 December 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net

Is this young Remy LeBeau, the Ragin' Cajun?


Bridge Crew of the NCC-1701

16 October 2008 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Trawling The Net

...."No bloody -A, -B, -C or -D."

Paramount has been releasing a number of images from the new Star Trek movie, directed by J.J. Abrams the past 24 hours or so. The shooting of the movie has been kept top secret that production photos from it has been scant. This new batch of pictures have now circulated to half a dozen different sites on my RSS watchlist and forums. The first I read of it was here, at AICN.

Here are two photos from the deluge:

Pon Farr? Jamie Farr? It's the "Spock goes nuts and tries to kill Kirk" trope!

Above: "I have a hunger, Jim. I want what's inside your brain." Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

The whole gang is here except Sylar... and Chekov's mop top.

Above: "Jim, I'm a doctor... not a Rohirrim. And why do I smell weed coming from Sulu?"

I'm not much of a Trekkie since Deep Space Nice ended, but my interest is piqued because the movie will be directed by J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost and Fringe - the former currently one of my favourite TV series. At the very least, we'll get an awesome Michael Giacchino score.


Teaching Kids to Roleplay is Only Natural

25 September 2008 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, Trawling The Net

I have been GMing some very simple scenarios with Irfan. Mostly it's been dungeon crawls through caves with traps and obstacles, trying to find his way out. Today I read this article from Geekdad written by Daniel Donaho, which has some ideas in how to make things more interesting when playing with children.

Here's an excerpt:

The Early Years (4 – 7 years)

Is four-years-old too young to play an RPG? Not if you have a couple of older children (say 6 or 7) play with. Of course, if you want children to abide by all the rules exactly and have a detailed knowledge of movement and encumbrance rates and initiative then you are setting yourself and the kids up for failure and a pretty uninspiring time.

The focus at this age should be on the “role-playing”, rather than “roll-playing”. Gary's polyhedrons and then some

You need a game that will take anywhere from 20 – 60 min. It should have a clear and simple narrative. Young children really grasp the idea of a linear story and strong characters. So, rescuing someone or something, or climbing to the top of a mountain. These things make sense and are interesting goals for young children (as long as you throw a few encounters along the way). This age group also responds well to using miniatures. They find it easier to role-play characters they can see. Though, they can do it with paper and pencils around a table, but they prefer to have a representation of their character.

For this reason, sometimes it is good to get them to draw their character. Also, no matter what the game as them to choose three words to describe their character and explain they have to act like their character. Sometimes you get words like “red”, but to see a child role-play “red” can be a very comical experience.

Like I said, be flexible around the rules. That said, it is amazing how quickly children this age picked up on the idea that rolling the dice was crucial to an outcome. So they’d say, “I attack him, where are the dice?” without drawing breath. Only in the beginning will they need to be reminded to roll. They pick it up quickly. Now, surely developing an appreciation for the dice is a fine achievement and a valuable lesson for any future role-players.

Keys to RPGing with 4 – 7 year-olds

  • The story - Focus on a clear linear narrative
  • The characters – Great to have miniatures, or pictures of characters
  • The Rules – Keep them simple, don’t worry about them too much. But, introduce the concept of rolling the dice helps to produce an outcome (either positive or negative)

 With regards to the final line of the quote above, my rules with Irfan are pretty simple. Roll 2d6 to beat the target number. An easy task is 4, moderate 5 and difficult 6. He enjoys it enough to draw out the maps of the cave in advance, then call me in to GM him. I can't wait for him to start playing Star Wars or GURPS or investigating the latest shenanigans of Nyarlathotep.


I Want To Play In This Campaign

03 September 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Humour, Role Playing Games, Trawling The Net

PVP Online's latest comic regales us with a description of one of the greatest ideas for an RPG campaign.

Click on the thumbnail to the right to read the entire strip, and to see what I'm talking about.

I believe I'd very much like to play Jesse Mach of Street Hawk in that campaign.

Anyone else willing to be Stringfellow Hawke, B.J McKay, Sheriff Lobo and Colt Seavers travelling the country to thwart the evil plans of an evil Mr. Belvedere? We'd have the Street Hawk, Airwolf and Sheriff Lobo's police cruiser poisitioned inside B.J. McKay's 18-wheeler, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice, like The Highwayman series.

We'll be fighting wave after wave of Melmackian troops led by Gordon "ALF" Shumway, under the direct command of Mr. Belvedere's lieutenant Arnold of Diff'rent Strokes.

"Whatchoo talkin' about, ALF?"

You know you want to play this.


On The Topic Of Names

27 August 2008 | Hisham | | Humour, Trawling The Net

Because of Wil Wheaton's post at his blog who wished that his name could be turned into a cool analog like Cherie Priest, I decided to check out anagrams of our own names on

So as not to get too short a word in the anagram like "a" or "an" and have too many results returned, I set the maximum number of words to be 2 and the minimum number of letter in each word to be 3.

For my own name I entered "Khairul Hisham" because I get zero results from my full name and I entered Ain's full name without the " binti".


Two Mediums: A Visual Comparison

18 July 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net

Last year I wrote about the upcoming Watchmen movie to be directed by Zack Snyder. Today, I finally saw a trailer.

I've been had by trailers before, so there's still a chance that the actual movie might still suck.

But still I'm an optimist. When I first saw the trailer in High-definition Quicktime, I knew I had to make a comparison of the shots in the trailer and panels in the actual Watchmen comics. Then I thought, why not do it here in this weblog.

Enough gab. Enjoy the images, starting with Mister Blake here:

The Comedian's last laugh
John Winchester himself

Some Good Saucer Men News

20 May 2008 | Hisham | | Movie Review, Trawling The Net

Take that, commie reviewer bastards!This summer will see a whole lot of nerd rage with wave after wave of nerds complaining to the tune of George Lucas screwed the pooch with the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Why?

Because, yet to be released are The Incredible Hulk, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, X-Files: I Want To Believe, Punisher War Zone, The Dark Knight, Star Wars Clone Wars (Yes! There's a Star Wars movie coming out in theatres this summer and it's not being overly marketed by a juggernaut on steroid, thank you very much! A heartfelt hurrah!) and of course next week's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Yes, a lot of nerd rage has been directed towards Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because of... well, nerd reasons. (And Speed Racer will probably tank badly because of horrible marketing strategy and bad word of mouth from people who haven't seen it.) However, there's been somewhat of a good news from Cannes, of all places, for Professor Henry Jones, Junior.

According to Yahoo News:

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull has proved a huge hit at the Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday - receiving a standing ovation from critics at its world premiere.

The fourth installment of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' famous adventure franchise was one of the most eagerly awaited screenings at the French event, attracting a huge amount of hype and publicity.

But weeks of speculation threatened to tarnish the premiere after rumours suggested the film had been panned by movie bosses at an exclusive initial screening in Los Angeles last month.

However, the film - which sees 65-year-old Harrison Ford return to the role of Indiana Jones after a 19 year gap - was praised by the world's media, reportedly garnering a three and a half minute standing ovation by the select few who were invited to watch it, according to American industry publication Variety.

Before the screening, manic crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the movie's returning star Ford, who told awaiting reporters he didn't care if the movie received bad reviews, as long as moviegoers enjoyed the action.

He said, "I expect to have the whip turned on me. I'm not really worried about it. I work for the people who pay to get in. They are my customers and my focus is on providing the best experience I can for those people."

And although legendary moviemaker Lucas admitted last month he had hatched plans to revive the action hero for a fifth film, he kept tight-lipped about the plans at the Cannes premiere. He told reporters, "Harrison, Steven and I haven't talked about it. We can't do it unless I can come up with a good idea, which I haven't."

The original trilogy - the last being 1989's Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - was one of the highest-earning franchises in film history, grossing over GBP500 million at the global box office.

I'm just going to go watch it and enjoy it for what it is: an action pulp serial made into a big budget movie of the 21st century.


Of Romance, Sarcasm, Math and Language

13 May 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net

Once upon a time I mentioned about a comic strip in this entry. Since then I've found out (for quite some time now) that the webcomic in question is xkcd - a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.

Usually the strip has only from one to four panels per comic. But once in a while they do epic storylines like the following one.

Strip originally conceived in conversation with Jeph Jacques.  Soon to be a major motion picture.

To learn what happens in the end, click here for the full strip.

Here are a couple more favourites:

And the prophetic classic: Action Movies, which we finally got after a fashion in the form of this TV show which I wrote about earlier.


I'd Pay Good Money To See This TV Show

06 May 2008 | Hisham | | Humour, Misc Sci-Fi, Trawling The Net, TV

So anyway, to cut things short io9 pitched in jest the idea for Star Trek: Captain Wesley Crusher, Starfleet Investigative Services starring Wil Wheaton. Here's an excerpt: Yes, the much maligned ensign should be brought back as the captain of a Starfleet science vessel that warps around the Alpha Quadrant solving mysteries for the Federation. Think of it as CSI . . . in space!

Wil says, "Thanks, but I think I'll pass."

Which is the title of his blog post.

But then, I got to thinking.

CSI... in space!

Well, thinking led to another thing and, voila...

Do a google search on Wheaton + clown + sweater.

It wasn't easy coming up with the script. It took me almost 6 hours to come up with something I was moderately satisfied with.


Steampunk Star Wars

12 April 2008 | Hisham | | Star Wars, Trawling The Net

Via Boing Boing, I came across Sillof's Workshop that displays awesome custom made figures... of classic Star Wars characters in steampunk forms.

Unbelievably awesome and of fantastic quality. I wish they were selling this en masse in the stores. Also, I can see an awesome alternate-universe Star Wars RPG campaign running based on these figures with Rebels and Imperials and Jedi with steampunk tech at turn-of-the-20th-century Earth, with clockwork droids and balloon-powered speeders and such.

Check out the figures (as well as other coolness such as custom Dune and Gaslight Justice League figures) at the link above.

Addendum: More Steampunk Star Wars concept art can be found in this thread at CG Society Forums.

League of Extraordinary Rebels and Imperials

ƃolq ǝɥʇ ɹǝʌo pǝddılɟ ǝʌ,ı

08 April 2008 | Hisham | | Humour, Trawling The Net

˙ʞuıɥʇ noʎ ʇɐɥʍ ʍouʞ ǝɯ ʇǝl ¿ɹǝʇʇǝq uıɐɹq ɹnoʎ oʇ ʍolɟ poolq dlǝɥ oʇ ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ sǝlɔıʇɹɐ ǝɹoɯ ǝldnoɔ ɐ ǝʇıɹʍ ǝqʎɐɯ ¿ʇɐɥʍ ɹo pǝʇɹǝʌuı ƃolq ǝɥʇ ǝʌɐǝl ı plnoɥs ¿ʞuıɥʇ ǝldoǝd noʎ op ʇɐɥʍ os ˙uʍop ǝpısdn ǝuıɟ ǝq llıʍ ƃolqǝʍ ǝɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ ı ǝloɥʍ ǝɥʇ uo ʇnq ˙ʎɹʇuǝ sıɥʇ ƃuıpɐǝɹ ǝlıɥʍ puɐʇspuɐɥ ɐ op puɐ ǝsıɔɹǝxǝ plnoɔ noʎ ʇɐɥʇ sı ʇı ʇnoqɐ ǝpısdn ǝɥʇ ˙ɹǝʌo pǝddılɟ ǝq oʇ ʇı ɹoɟ ʇɥƃıɹ sı ǝɯıʇ ǝɥʇ ǝqʎɐɯ ˙ƃolq ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝƃuɐɥɔ ɐ ɹoɟ ǝɯıʇ s,ʇı ʞuıɥʇ ı ʇı ʇnoqɐ ƃuıʞuıɥʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɯos ɹǝʇɟɐ