Set Course For The City

20 November 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

And so it was that the workplace booked me on a two week course. The course was to be held back in Kuala Lumpur. You know the city: Irfan's kampung. We drove southbound and spent the night in Sitiawan before continuing on to Kuala Lumpur after a breakfast with Irfan's Atok and Opah.

We stopped at Sekinchan at a restaurant where lunch was to be had on what appeared to be a kotatsu. A novel thing, and it helped that the food was delicious.

We arrived in the city and headed for Cikma's place where we rendezvoused with every sibling of Ain (and their family) where Irfan was reunited with his cousin Aiman once more.

Then after, we headed for the building where the course was held way across town from Cikma's place. Ain had discovered that the place had accomodations for course attendees and they were affordable. Because of a communication mix up among the staff there, we had to wait for someone to let us in through the inner security door which leads to the lift lobby.

But all was resolved soon. 

The best part about the accomodations is that it came with a library! There were loads of books that were translated from Malay to English and vice versa. I was soon to discover that I had not one iota of time to read any of the books because of the course workload.

I really wanted to buy that Epic of Hang Tuah book, which was translated from Hikayat Hang Tuah, but in the end I had to spend on other books. So we will return some day for the Epic of Hang Tuah

The room we were assigned to was very comfortable as the boy is glad to demonstrate for us in the photo below. I found the air conditioning unbearably cold though.

 

Today Is The Day

21 October 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

...when Griff (and Jason Scott Lee too for some reason) gets arrested.

NO PHOTOSHOP! I SCREENCAPPED IT MYSELF!

That is all.

 

15th Anniversary Pizza

15 October 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food, Recent News
 

Fifteen years since we that day Ain and I got married. We've had a number of anniversaries over the fifteen years. Fifteen years of juking and barrel rolling and Tallon rolling and drop kick Koiogran turn just to stay out of reach of blaster bolts from the rear. Sometimes, we would get it and it would hurt because it would mean I failed to keep my family from hurt and harm. Most of the time, we would pull through by the skin of our teeth.

 

This was the first year we celebrate our anniversary without anyone attempting to acquire a target lock on us. It was amazing. I felt like it was the first time I managed to get the ship out of the asteroid field and away from the savage squad of pursuing fighters. We were able to spend some on pizza without worrying about the cost killing us like before.

We spent the evening at Shala Pizza.

I got a little Pizza Supreme pan, while Ain got a burger. I did not get enough pictures because the phone ran out of juice.

Irfan had the one slathered with the BBQ sauce.

Even with the last 15 years of running on spit and chicken wire, with oil dripping from the ceiling and everything one step from breaking down into scrap, we kept on fighting the good fight. And we don't plan on stopping to. I would never have come this far if it were not for Ain at my side.

Love you forever, Ain.

 

The Haze Reaches North

05 October 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

The haze has crept up and enveloped the entire northern region of the country. The last couple of days has been abysmal. Visibility range has been lowered to about 200 metres. Even the night rains failed to scrub the air. Even worse is this cough I am experiencing which started when we went to Kuala Lumpur last month and took a turn for the worse on our way home from Sitiawan after Hari Raya Haji.

I joked once that our family motto is Lepas Satu, Satu. In Kuala Lumpur, after we get out of one crisis, it is customary for an even larger crisis to swamp us. I sincerely hoped that this is not one of those instances, now that we are on the brink of being able to live with a small measure of comfort.

 

Murky Depths of the Haze

15 September 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

It's been some time since I mentioned the haze on this blog. The last time I did it was 10 years ago.

In any case, the haze has returned as it is wont to do year upon year upon year. This time it returned with even more of a vengeance than the last. It's been weeks and the haze does not seem to be going away soon. It cast a murky shade of gray upon everything in Kuala Lumpur during the graduation weekend. The environs of The Mall near the PWTC - now upgraded and renamed Sunway Putra Mall - is thick with the stuff, like heavy mist except for the strong omnipresent smell and taste of smoke.

Maybe I should have just gotten the university to send me my degree by mail.

The day we headed back to Sitiawan, the haze seemed to be even worse. The view below showed how the PLUS Highway looked like upon passing the Jalan Duta toll plaza, heading out of the city.

The view along the LATAR Highway is usually a pleasant shade of green and blue. 

It was apparent that the haze would not let up even as we passed Sungai Besar and approached Perak.

I can't wait to get back to Perlis, which is further north, where the chances of haze-smothering is lower than the rest of the country.

 

A Bit Higher Than College Age

14 September 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Needs even moar people that matter in this picture

It is nearly impossible for me to form the words to explain and describe the experience of graduating from college with a Bachelor Degree in English Studies at age 42, on top of the multitude of experiences positive and negative I underwent in the last 25 years or so. I know I prefer to harp on the negative, but on the whole it has been gratifying. After all is said and done, I guess here and now having the family, friends and tools that I possess is where I am actually supposed to be.

A big thanks to everyone that pushed me in this direction.

 

Hi New New Office

01 September 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

After a week or so of having no office while hardware transportation was being carried out, I have finally moved into the new new office out in the boonies.

yopwaH!

It is a bit warmer than the old new ofice, but I do get fresh air. But only if I open the window. And only if there is no life-choking haze from the evil Malaysian agricorps burning the Indonesian jungles across the strait.

 

Bye Old New Office

14 August 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

This was the office I was assigned to in the last 8 months or so.

Now it has been cleared out - no more books and RPGs on the shelves - as the entire department is moving from town to deep in the boonies.

 

Almost Time for Aidilfitri

14 July 2015 | Hisham | | Artwork, Recent News
 
First we break the shell, then we crack the nut inside

Hari Raya Aidilfitri looms at the end of the week. Ramadhan is almost over.

Last weekend, I was tasked with making a Aidilfitri card at work. As seen in the image above, I am in the card climbing a coconut tree. In fact, everyone in the department is in the card.

Click here to view what everyone else is doing and magnify it for full visibiliy on Google Drive.

 

Betty Was Missing

12 July 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Sad rainy day

A month ago, Betty went out for her daily roams and never came back. The neighbours reported not seeing her. She was gone all throughout Ramadhan. We live close to thick tropical-grade underbrush. One possibility is that she might have come afoul of local wildlife - and I don't mean squirrels. After three weeks, I had accepted that we would never see her or hear her little mewlings again.

For weeks only Comel, the neighbour's cat, hung around about the house. Here she is trying to persuade me to let her drive us to town. Well, not without a valid driver's licence, missy.

 

But on Sunday, while Irfan was playing with Comel's owners from next door, his classmate came a-visiting bringing with him Betty!

Thanks to Irfan's sustained crowdsourcing efforts and detailed descriptions, his friend from school recognized Betty's markings and her collar at a housing area half a mile away! At first she was somewhat reserved, but ultimately she went back to her old self, napping in her old shoebox.

 

She also still enjoys car rides!

We are overjoyed by her return! 

 

What? A Nasyid?

09 July 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Way, way out from the left field comes a blog post about nasyid. I was assigned to sing in the department's nasyid group for an interdepartmental nasyid competition despite not having to sing in public since 1987.

Here is a screen capture of a video of our singing, which is linked below.

Oh noes disturbing the peace

We took a team photo after our performance.

Ain took the video, some photos and lent her support. The team ended up at fifth place out of twenty, which meant that my unholy, discord screeches were not strong enough to pull the team down.

Check out the video of the team's performance here. After 15 years of ekeing out a meagre living in the city, I am now starting to live in stranger - more enjoyable times.

 

Legendary Guardians

05 July 2015 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Recent News
 

On our recent return to the city, the GOKL gang gifted upon us more fun stuff: the Guardians of the Galaxy expansion set for the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building game. Since then, we never had the opportunity to break it out of the box to play it... until today.

The Hero cards included were Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon - thrown into the limelight thanks to last year's film no doubt. Poor Phyla Vell, Adam Warlock, Bug, Mantis and Cosmo the Space Dog. Pip the Troll was absolutely inconsolable.

The Masterminds provided in the set are Thanos the Goonie and the Kree Supreme Intelligence, supported by two Villain sets: Kree and Infinity Gems - the latter able to act as either Villains or Artifacts.

Irfan and I played twice, both times against the Supreme Intelligence. The first game against the Intergalactic Kree Nega-Bomb Scheme was a massacre because all the Master Strike and Scheme Twist cards were shuffled on top of the Villain Deck. We could barely touch the Supreme Intelligence because it collected a truckload of Shards that increased its strength against players attacks before we all lost. (Irfan was glad he captured Korath the Pursuer though.)

Early in the game and how many KOed Master Strike cards?

Also, Scheme Twists activate the Nega-Bomb that wiped out all the Heroes arrayed in the HQ.

So we thought we'd switch Star-Lord for the Hulk in the second game, because he's a heavy hitter! Irfan wanted to capture Korath again. He even collected enough Hulk cards in the Forge the Infinity Gauntlet Scheme to punch the crap out of the Time Gem.

HULK SMASH

Hulk will punch the crap out of anything.

For this game, the Henchmen cards were Hand Ninjas. Why would Hand Ninjas be henchmen to the Supreme Intelligence and the Kree villains? BECAUSE COMICS! Irfan took out three Hand Ninjas in a single... um, hand.

The game's afoot... er, a-hand

I bet the Hand wishes all they had to fight was Daredevil.

Meanwhile several Scheme Twists returned captured Inifinity Gems back into the city, reinforcing their strength with more Shards. Finally, here is Irfan's hand of three Hulk and one Groot cards, the coup de grace that wiped out the last Supreme Intelligence Mastermind card, dealing a whopping 16 damage points!

Final Victory Point tally: I got a measly 9 points while Irfan acquired 32 - for capturing 3 out of 4 Mastermind Tactics cards and the final Mastermind card, as well a host of Kree and Hand bad guys.

Korath the Pursuer escaped Irfan though. Next time, Korath! Next time!

 

Happy 10th Anniversary To This Blog

01 May 2015 | Hisham | | Hishgraphics.com, Recent News
 

This blog is now 10 years old.

I don't belieeeve it!

That means it nearly time for Vin and Sila's 10-year anniversary.

 

Finally TIme for a Breather and a Kitty

23 March 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

I have not been posting much because life in the last month or so has been very hectic.

Betty loves Google+
 

First, I was commissioned to proofread a doctorate student's thesis from a neighbouring university. The work has - to put it simply - given me the desire to take a Master's Degree once I'm done with this Bachelor's Degree in English Studies, and perhaps if the opportunity opens up even a Doctor of Philosophy Degree eventually. What in? I have no idea just yet, but I am looking into Applied Linguistics.

Perhaps I could integrate tabletop gaming into it somehow.

 

New Gear From Atok and Opah

23 February 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Although having accepted a new job, there are many problems that we have yet to overcome.

One of the biggest perils to my final semester in my attempt to finally earn a Bachelor's degree (even though I'm married) was that the old laptop, who was my companion through adventure and hardship, is gone forever. (Or not; you can never tell with these techno-organic life forms.) Its hard disk drive gave up the ghost a month before we moved up here.

I have a whole semester of assignment writing to complete and no new-fangled electronic typewriter thing to do them with. Not to mention, no money to buy a new one.

Then one day, Atok and Opah Irfan sent me a package at my office (because being out in the sticks, we were not certain if the post office would deliver to the right house) and in the box was a new laptop!

Cloud City

Neodymium is the external hard disk drive. So are Promethium and old Ytterbium connected to the television.

I have installed Linux Mint 17 on it and are now customising it to my old freelancing specification with the installation of Krita, Inkscape and extra stuff added to GIMP. The reason Mint was installed instead of Ubuntu is that the Wacom Bamboo works perfectly with it without the need to install anything new.

Also, all my learning notes for this semester have been transferred to the new laptop and assignment writing activities have begun.

Thanks, Atok and Opah Irfan for the new gear.

 

A Legendary Card Game with Marvellous Heroes

16 January 2015 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Recent News
 

Before we left the city, the GOKL guys gifted to us Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game.

From Upper Deck!

A box of cards.

We tried to play it when they brought it over the last time they visited, but it was too late for a game, we only managed one round before they had to leave.

Now, after I've located which of the dozens of moving boxes the game was hiding in, Irfan and I finally started playing it.

 

Flood in Pasir Mas

07 January 2015 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

The country was struck by extraordinary flooding last month and many states were affected. There was even flooding a few kilometres from our new place here in Perlis. But nowhere is harder hit than in Kelantan.

Here's the house back in Lubuk Tapah in Kelantan, although thankfully Irfan's Tok Bah and Tok Ma were with us when this occured. Although we were thankful that they did not have to endure lack of electricity and clean water during the disaster, they still desired to return to check on the house, but were unable to because of flooded and severely damaged interstate roads.

Flooding for the first time since the house was built in 1993.

The waters have since receded and they have returned home, departing from Kuala Lumpur. Cleaning operation of the mud deposits is still underway. We are grateful that the flooding in Lubuk Tapah is not as severe as the ones further inland where dozens of houses were completely submerged by muddy waters and in some cases carried off by the strong currents leaving residents with nothing but the clothes on their backs. 

Here's hoping for a speedy clean up and restoration for life to return to normal.

 

First Entry From The North

08 December 2014 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Irfan gives the new home a thumbs up
Here we are at the northernmost part of the country, over a hundred klicks away from the nearest population centre which could be called a "city".

It awakens! Also, nerd problems.
We live in a kampung, although not in a kampung house.

View from our porch

Sunset from our porch
There is a mango orchard less than fifty metres away. Beyond the mango orchard is a rice field. Between that rice field and another one a hundred times bigger than it is a canal with plenty of fish.

A far cry from the city.

Path through the rice field
I love the sound of insects at night, the patter of rain on the roof and on leaves of nearby flora, the immediate friendliness of neighbours.

Shh!
Maybe we're not using the right bait
 

I don't miss city traffic one bit.

This cat will never know KL traffic
More to come.

 

Final Entry from the Tenth Floor

28 November 2014 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

The blog is not headed anywhere. But the subtitle "View from the Tenth Floor" will be changed starting today as we will no longer be living on the tenth floor.

Nasi arab in front of Sekolah Derma

A breakfast in Kangar in October.

The last two months has been a whirwind of activity.

I have accepted a job offer in Kangar and we'll be moving there - five hundred klicks away - shortly.

This has been a blessing, as we have been wanting to leave Kuala Lumpur for many, many years but there was nowhere to go, not without a job there to ground us and provide us security there. Now there is an opportunity for us to leave the city. A new job beckoned us.

The visit to the Cave of Dramatic Lighting was the only hint of the upcoming change, during our prospecting trip to visit the new employer and workplace.

We will be leaving behind the Tenth Floor with a lot of memories, the only home Irfan ever knew... until now.

 

The End of January...

29 January 2014 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

...specifically today, marks both the Anniversary of Atok and Opah, and the birthday of Sila, the best sister and bounty hunter ever!

Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday to everyone involved!

This is where I'd post old black and white photos of all Atok, Opah and Sila if I was able to get them and scan them.

But I wasn't. So I can't.