Welcome Alya Jean Renstrom

23 July 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

Last night Vin called to tell us that Sila has given birth to a beautiful baby daughter named Alya Jean Renstrom weighing 8.9 lbs at 10.39am Eastern Standard Time at the Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio.

Truckloads of congratulations to Vin and Sila. Sila is fine and I talked to her as well over the phone last night, but she's still in the hospital and Opah Alya's her company for the night until Vin and Atok Alya return the next morning.

I'd like to have waited for photos to announce the birth, but I'm late announcing it as it is.

Again, congratulations!


This Summer's Opera Report

05 July 2008 | sila | | Recent News
Madame Butterfly

Unlike last year, this summer we did not purchase season tickets to the Cincinnati Opera. Not because we didn't want to go to the opera or anything, but since opera season is during the summer, and since the baby might be presenting his/herself right smack during the opera season, we decided to play it by ear. As it was, I had to convince Vin that if we went to the opera in June, we would STILL make it to the hospital if I went into labor. ;-)



31 May 2008 | sila | | Food, Humour, Recent News

And I say it again...WTF?? This creature has been wandering the backyards of our neighborhood in the last few weeks. Where did it come from? Why is it here? Why hasn't it been caught and made into dinner????? It's pooping on our driveway, big old tahi ayam crap! Whose up for a good chase? Grrrrrr...

Chicken in the backyard
Close Up of said chicken

As a consequence, we had to stop putting out birdseed for the birds and squirrels since this chicken was taking advantage of it. Grrrrrr


A Strange Place To Lie Down and Rest

30 April 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

On the way back from the Sungai Merab area, where the PLUS highway intersects with the ELITE highway right by the exit to Universiti Putra Malaysia, the traffic slowed down considerably. This was strange because I've never experienced a traffic jam of this magnitude before at this particular location.

Which leads me to believe something's up front.

Highway blues

The road curves downward before climbing back up, and I lost sight of the road before me.


Then finally, TA-DAAHH!

On its side

But don't worry. The drivers were fine although they looked a bit dazed crouching on the far side of the wreck, waiting for assistance to arrive.


A New Baby For Hanim and Awie

28 April 2008 | Hisham | | ACS Memories, Recent News

Young Aisyah has a new brother! Abdul Qayyum bin Mohd Zawawi was born to Hanim and Awie at 0715 hours on the 22nd of April. We went a-visiting the newborn and his family and took a photo. Irfan tried to wink at the camera and he's almost got the wink down pat.



Writing From The Phone

21 March 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News
Out of the most futuristic, science fiction type devices to enjoy a boost in technological development and application is Alex Bell's baby: the telephone. This post is bought to you from my mobile phone.

A Night Out In The City...

10 March 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

... and the city is known as Tehran. Last week I spent a better part of a week (for work purposes) in Iran.

The first photo of the entry two days ago showed Azadi Tower of Tehran, close to Mehrabad Airport, which now only handles domestic flights.

Tehran was a bustling city, there were plenty of Peugeot cars as well as their national Khodro cars. It seemed to me that it's actually safer in Tehran than in Kuala Lumpur. I saw plenty of young women walking alone, presumably back from work with their briefcases, at night. I wouldn't walk alone at some places in KL's inner city. There were many malls in the city much like the ones in central KL, selling everything from Gucci to Versace. Families with infants and preschoolers walk the streets at night to have dinner at the many fast food outlets there.

Everyone was friendly, even when they couldn't speak English.

Prologue: The Homa Hotel

This is where I stayed in Tehran: the 16-story Homa Hotel, formerly the Sheraton. It's quite comfortable and the ratatouille they serve as part of their Western breakfast set is delicious.

The Streets of Tehran

The streets at night are rife with colour. Every band of the visible spectrum is represented by many neon lights.

Check out the script for the number four at the car registration plate, found at the twin double numbers at the right section of the plate. Interestingly enough, it seems the Persian "four" is "C" on a stick instead of the regular Arabic mirror image "3" that we usually use in Malaysia.


Where Have I Been?

08 March 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

The last week or so, I have been on a trip.

Any guesses as to where?

It's in the Middle East, populated by friendly folk, and the food is fantastic.

Here are four photos all laid out to be more clues to the location.

A prominent landmark
Signs at the expressway
The mountains to the north of the city
A library

Stay tuned for the answer as well as more photos.


Movie Standees Get More Creati- HOLY CRAP THE FEDORA!

11 February 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

So here we have a crate. There's a fedora and a whip hanging on its top corners. And it's apparently the property of one Dr. Jones. Suitcase looks like it's been to places like Cairo, Berlin and Venice. Will adventure have that name again this May 22nd?

I really, really hope so.

How much food does he have in there?

And now it's Yope's turn!

02 February 2008 | sila | | Recent News

February 1st, the day that Wilayah Persekutuan gets off, Hisham graced us with his presence thirty-five years ago. (Well, I wasn't there at the time)

Happy Birthday, bro! May you be happy and healthy always. You've been the best brother anyone could ever ask for, and thanks for being there for us. Love yas.

*p.s. - I know the entry says February 2nd, but it is STILL February 1st over here, k? :-)


Oh, For the Thirty-Third Time!

29 January 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

Happy Birthday Missus Renstrom. You've made it this far, now keep swimming another 33 years and more to get your prize at the end. Which according to Sree is a pair of Eastern European leather shoes on sale.

Also, Happy 36th Anniversary Atok and Opah Irfan! Ain, Irfan and I thank you for your love and support all these years.


The Last Time...

27 January 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

... I saw my phone was when I powered it down before getting on the flight at Gate 316, Stuttgart Airport. So long, faithful communication device. That ought to teach me to bring my mobile phone with me everywhere.


After 6 long days, we're going home...

The Mercedes-Benz Museum

24 January 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

After the second day of training, we were all brought on a bus through the cold but sunny afternoon weather from our training centre out near Hausen to the city of Stuttgart where we came upon this futuristic looking building: The Mercedes-Benz Museum.

From afar it looks like a big flattened face grinning at us ominously


Kehren Sie Nach Deutschland Zurück

21 January 2008 | Hisham | | Recent News

The Hirsch Hotel
It was a cold Sunday morning when we arrived in Germany. It wasn't as cold as it was two Februaries ago when snow surrounded Munich airport, but it was chilly enough for a bunch of Malaysians. But instead of staying over at Tiefenbronn (which was close by) I was given a room at Hotel-Gasthof Hirsch.

And no, I can't speak, read or write in German. The title came about after a quick visit to an free online translator website.


First a Book Review, Then a Painful Yelp

28 December 2007 | Hisham | | Books, Recent News

Here is a blog entry in two parts. The first is a review of a book. The second relates a tale that happens the day after the book had been finished.

But first, I will complain that my car's transmission, when engaged, will squeal like a dog but only for a second.

Now on with the blog entry.


The Smell of Blood, Finally Realised

25 December 2007 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News

Long have I read in books where the author describes of the scent of fresh blood, especially in crime novels where a gruesome murder had taken place, or a horror novel where some unfortunate soul gets his or her skin flayed for whatever reason. Long have I also thought (each time I read such thins) that I know not the scent of fresh blood. Perhaps it was because I rarely visit places where gruesome murders, or supernatural flayings, or accidents in blood banks occur.

Recently, during Aidiladha (Happy belated Aidiladha everyone) we went back to Pasir Mas where as it was normal during the celebration, many bulls and cows were slaughtered for food to be given to family, friends and the less fortunate.

So there I was at the yard of Ain's uncle's home in the neighbouring village of Lati. We were there a couple of hours late, so we missed the slaughtering of the cow. When we got there, Ain went up into the house to greet her relatives while I wandered onto the yard where many family members and volunteers were cleaving flesh from bone. Here was where all the internal organs were piled. Here was a person carrying the cow's stomach which had been cleaned thoroughly by water, ready to be made into tripe. It looked and had the texture of a small rug.


Two Jabs and Electrically Cauterized at the Crotch

14 December 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

Two days before I got back from Langkawi, I was feeling a slight pain at my upper inner thigh. There was a small growth chilling out there, minding its own business thus far until my excessive brisk walks during the exhibition caused it to be chafed. There was also a slight bleeding to it probably because the thighs sliding as I walk caused a bit of a tear where the not-so-little growth attached to the skin.

Several days after returning, on the advise of my colleague, I went to see the doctor to treat the pain. Perhaps the doctor would have some sort of salve or lotion to ease the pain. Or perhaps he would put an adhesive patch over it to avoid further physical trauma to the growth as it (maybe, I thought) heals itself.

No such luck. What happened next was... well, you can read the transcript of the chat between Sila and I as soon as I got back from the clinic:


Update on Travels

12 December 2007 | sila | | Recent News
Vin and I just got home from a month-long trip home to Malaysia, with a short side trip to Australia. And we're staying home now, for a while. So I figure I should first do a little update on the map of countries that I've visited. I've been to 11 now (up from 8 in 2006):

Time To Get To Work. Oh, and Photos!

05 December 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

Let's take advantage of the free wifi some more and post new pictures of work.

Just like other entries of business trip photos on this blog, there are lots of exhibition booths and models of aircrafts. There are real full-sized aircrafts in the premises but I didn't take any photos of them. Also, there is an aerobatic display outside which is quite loud and makes it hard for us to work inside the hall.

I must be working at exhibitions too long already. Everywhere I turn I meet people I know.

The booth below is ours. The 5-sided display stand with the spotlights in front was Shide's idea. The graphic design on each of the five sides were done by me in .ai format. In the space of about 7 hours, then emailed to the booth construction people to be turned into stickers.

Too bad the didn't put it on clear perspex surfaces lit up from within.


I Was Last At Langkawi 17 Years Ago

02 December 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

The best thing ever that could happen is the discovery that this hotel I've staying at has a free wi-fi connection. This discovery is nothing less than imbuing me with the ability to post a couple of photos which I took earlier today, from Kuala Kedah to Kuah.

We had to leave the car with a shipping company that conveyed our mode of conveyance to Langkawi by ship. Unlike the ferry to Penang, we had to travel separately upon a passenger ferry.

The ferry played Resident Evil Apocalypse en route. I fell asleep soon after the movie began. I woke up 20 minutes before it ended. When the end credits played. the ferry was about to begin docking operations at the Kuah Jetty.

Here was the muddy banks of Kuala Kedah at low tide. As the water began to rise, mudskippers and crabs plied their trade under the pier.

Fishing boats