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


Tomorrow I Go Off To Langkawi

30 November 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

I go tomorrow not for vacation, but for work. I can't wait for it to be over.

Ain and Irfan aren't here with me now. They're at Taiping attending Cik Eda's wedding. I miss them. (No doubt Sila will be posting an entries with pictures of the event.)

Ain and Irfan will be back on the 2nd, which means I wont be seeing them before I leave for Langkawi.

I will be back on the 9th. I wont be seeing Vin and Sila again before they leave for home.

It's going to be a long week.


Why It's Been Quiet Around Here Lately

26 October 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

It's been a busy month, even since before Aidilfitri. The reason of it all will now be shown as a series of photographs for the event that took place at Shangri-La Hotel on the 24th and 25th of October.

Sorry, no photos of me cause I didn't get anyone to snap one at any time.

Here's the forementioned series of photographs with no comment written except for its mouseover titles:

Out in front

Our Seventh Year

15 October 2007 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
Seven Years Already?

It's been seven years since Ain and I were married, more than eleven years since we met. Through all that time, there's been a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And I'm glad I went through it all with Ain giving me strength at my side and I'm looking forward to more years like that.


Festivities And Then Some

11 October 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

Tomorrow is the last day of the month of Ramadhan.

Tomorrow we head back to Sitiawan for Aidilfitri. We will try to beat the crazy traffic (an evil, sentient gestalt entity which appears every holiday season) by leaving Kuala Lumpur at 0200 hours.

Also, this year is the first time Irfan happily chants, "Yay! Yay! Balik Raya!" which after a full Ramadhan of solid exhausting work, brings a smile to my face and takes my enthusiasm for the festive season up a notch or so.

I still have a bunch of stuff to do before the end of the year which is weighing down on me like cinder blocks on my shoulders.

Which just translates to... I'll be back Tuesday night. I'll also try to take and upload some Aidilfitri photos in the meantime.


Yes, and even to Cindy O. Bear in the back there.

Addendum: The car seems to have learnt leetspeak which is kind of cool and creepy at the same time. So I guess we're all good to go.



Laptop Problem, and then a Solution

28 September 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

I still haven't replaced my home workstation since it crashed and burned back in April. I've been using this work laptop 100% for my computing and browsing needs since.

It used to work great until a couple of months ago when everything (in the Windows partition, mind you... Ubuntu still works fine) suddenly seemed to be work slow. The problem was very apparent when video and audio were running. Not all the time, but enough times to really annoy the shart out of me.

Also, another annoying symptom is that it takes 10 minutes for the laptop to finish its startup cycle.

But now... no longer.


Hari Merdeka ke-50

31 August 2007 | sila | | Recent News

Kami yang merantau jauh mengingatimu di hari kemerdekaan yang ke lima puluh. Lima puluh tahun kami rakyat Malaysia tidak perlu tunduk kepada penjajah. Lima puluh tahun, Merdeka! Walau jauh di mata, namun tidak di hati.

Selamat Hari Merdeka, Malaysia!

Flag image obtained from google image

*chewah - boleh tahan tak? berkurun tak pakai Bahasa Malaysia standard ;-)

Dan, sebagai penutup, lagu Tanah Pusaka. Satu-satunya lagu patriotik kesukaan saya:

Sungguh gemilang negeriku
Yang kupuja oh tanah Malaysia
Di merata dunia
Harum semerbak namamu oh Malaysia

Aman makmur kaya-raya
Selama-lama hidup maju jaya
Oh tanah pusaka
Negaraku yang berdaulat dan merdeka

Tanah pusaka bertuah
Berbagai bangsa didalamnya
Hidup aman dan berjaga
Bertekun kerja dan berjasa

Musuh melanggarku gempur
Sungguh rela kugugur kerana
Kau tanah pusaka
Biar putih tulang jangan putih mata


Can Anyone Guess This Tune?

13 August 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News, Trawling The Net

I hope I remember the music theorySo my keyboard, an old Yamaha PSR-300, has been out of commission for a while since the power adapter died a glorious death. Then, there was a movie score tune that has been playing incessantly in my mind, so I decided to write it down somewhere. But since the keyboard is non-functional, there was no way I could play the tune on it.

So yesterday I thought why not search the net for a virtual keyboard. Bingo.

Then playing the tune, I thought... why not write it down. So I wrote it down.

Click on the thumbnail to see if:

  1. I still remember my music theory and notes and symbols and whatnots.
  2. You can identify the tune.

P.S. I don't think I have a category for this type of crap on the blog. Oh well.

P.P.S. Playing a virtual keyboard using a graphics tablet with stylus is quite a unique experience. Heh!


Another Opera!

02 August 2007 | sila | | Recent News

Quick update! So after the disastrous Nixon in China opera, we went to the final opera of the Cincinnati Opera 2007 season, Aida by Giuseppe Verdi.

Aida Graphic, borrowed from the Cincinnati Opera website

It was really, really good! The singers were amazing, the sets were huge and fantastic, and Vin and I were very happy with the entire experience. I must get us some opera glasses before next year's season! See you next year, Cincinnati Opera! :-)

* I have to say I LOVE all of the graphics they used for the operas, especially the Aida one. Gorgeous, no?


Finally Playing with PHP

08 May 2007 | Hisham | |, Recent News

Referring to some help sites and pulling back the curtain to look at source codes, I finally got the nerve to save some text files which I wrote on a text editor as php files, which I usually always do in html! Not really ground breaking stuff; all I did was to include the navigation and the footer parts into the main files from separate php files. Later I'll see about learning to link the php files to a (gasp) MySQL database!

I should have started to learn this stuff earlier. It would have gone a long way in teaching me stuff that would help me in my project paper for college. But in the meantime, both the Hishgraphics Gallery and the workplace website are now fully php-ized!

Yeah, they look the same from 2 days ago, but the Legos I used to build up those two sites are all different pieces now. Trust me.


Irfan Wants To Be A Doctor...

16 April 2007 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, Recent News, TV

Who's being displayed onscreen here?
... but it's not that kind of doctor. Now, when he's got shampoo in his hair, he fancies himself as the Gallifreyan Time Lord, known as the Doctor from BBC's Doctor Who series. Specifically he wants to be the Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant.

He keeps going on and on about travelling about in a TARDIS, having his own K9 and enjoys the fact that every week the Doctor (along with anyone in his vicinity) has to run from something chasing them - be it disease-ravaged human constructs, werewolves, Judoon policemen, or Cybermen, or Daleks. If the Doctor has to flee for his life, Irfan digs it a lot.

Not too bad, really, cause I haven't seen Doctor Who since the Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor and I still thought BBC's production of the series is constrained by a lack of budget. When I first saw the new Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, series back in 2005 I thought that it had a great production design and fantastic special effects, even if the fleeing from the Auton attack was quite stereotypical... but the story is still quite off the mark, thanks to the attack of killer shop window mannequins.


Ow! My Butt!

12 April 2007 | Hisham | | Recent News

Last night my body temperature hit the roof.

This morning, I thought it'd be prudent to visit a doctor because it's been too short a time since the last time I went feverish. Which was when we were in Pasir Mas about two weeks ago.

So, the doctor took one look down my throat and called Ain to check out the white spots on my tonsils. "Septic tonsilitis" is what I got and my temperature was 38 degrees Centigrade, though I was pretty sure I felt much better at the time compared to say three hours earlier.

The doctor rattled out the treatment he was about to dish out, but what caused me to go "Wha-?" was the word "jab". Great, I was about to get a cold, hard metal needle inserted under my skin. It's something I haven't done for years, in fact probably since I was a teenager. Now my lucky streak was about to end.


Way Past Its Prime

03 April 2007 | Hisham | | Linux, Recent News

Old Reliable

Fracking great.

I get back from vacation, boot up the computer and connect to the internet.... and after 10 minutes the computer crashes.

I can't reboot the computer. Ubuntu hands during the startup sequence. I try booting up an Ubuntu Live CD and it crashes. I try both Kubuntu and Knoppix and they crash.

The nice people at advise me to try formatting the hard disk drive using a Windows installer CD. I get my hands on one, and it crashes short of the formatting menu, then I was unable to boot up from the CD.

Methinks it's not a hard disk problem. It might be a RAM problem or even the motherboard's had it. It's been a good desktop computer since 2002 and it hasn't given me any big headaches since. It had operated with Win ME, Win XP and Ubuntu (both Gnome and KDE). It's been connected to the internet with dial-up and eventually broadband. It's been my communication with the outside world much more than any phone. It's been a fantastic media player, wordprocessor and a learning tool. I couldn't have done my online courses with Unitar without it.

But I think the computer - originally a Pentium 3, 933 MHz, 128MB RAM affair - has reached the end of its days. It might be time for a new one.

Hisham, signing off... from work laptop.