Another of Irfan's Uncles A-visiting

02 March 2006 | Hisham | | ACS Memories, Recent News
 

Tonight was the first time Irfan met his Uncle Kok Soon, my former schoolmate from way back when Knight Rider was on TV, and perhaps even before. Irfan immediately took a liking to him, trying to impress him with his dinosaur book, his toy cars and his familiarity to the lyrics of the Firefly theme. We had light meal at mamak shop before that, then headed back to our house for a chat. It was great having Kok Soon as a guest for the night, talking about trials and tribulation of life, perseverence, spirituality, xenomorph facehuggers and such. Before midnight, he had to go home back to Bukit Antarabangsa.

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.

Dinosaur Book Readers
 

Asian Aerospace 2006

26 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

While I was at work at the Asian Aerospace 2006 exhibition way down in Singapore, I took photos of some of the exhibits. Walking around the corridors, I realised that I needed a better camera. Preferably one with at least 4 megapixel doohickey. Oh, and also one without a broken battery cover panel.

 

Stuttgart Pics

25 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

As promised here are some images from my weekend walkabout in Stuttgart. I thought I didn't take a lot of good photos there because of my need to walk quickly to cover a lot of ground, and searching for internet cafes so I could communicate with Malaysia 7 time zones away.

 

South of the Border

22 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

And I don't mean down Mexico way, amigo.

I'm now in Singapore attending the Asian Aerospace 2006. It's tiring. I've been sweating by the bucketloads all day. My legs are just about to pop out of their sockets. Especially after taking the MRT to various parts of the city sending off my colleagues, having dinner and trying to purchase bus tickets back to Kuala Lumpur for Friday morning.

But the best part was seeing the brand new Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 strutting its stuff for the onlookers in an all-encompassing deafening roar above us. Although I did not get pictures of it in flight, witness the monster's image from its Wikipedia page:

Superjumbo
 

Outbreak

21 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

It was all over the news when I was in Germany. The H5N1 had been detected in dead wild swans at the northern coast of the country. The H5N1 virus, as all but those hiding incommunicado in underground bunkers since 1962 would know, is the strain of bird flu virus that can and has infected humans if they consume avians.

Now, less than 24 hours back in Malaysia, what do I hear? Gombak chickens within, of all places, the capital city of Malaysia have been detected with the deadly strain of virus, and more have been culled in the immediate vicinity.

And I would like to stress about the infection of the Malaysian chickens:

It's not my fault.

;-)

 

Hotel Ochsen Post

20 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

I got back from the airport today from a training in Germany. While there I stayed at Ochsen Post Hotel in the village of Tiefenbronn not too far from Hausen, where I had my training. The hotel is right in the middle of town, where dozens of dummies are placed on trees, walls, lamposts and roofs, which heralds the oncoming Carnival. One thing the hotel has an abundance of is atmosphere. You have to be there to experience it.

 

It's Been Awhile Since I Saw...

14 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
...SNOW! Thirteen years. Here we are again. Damn it's cold. And the Autobahn is jammed up. And Hausen seems to be a really nice, quaint litle hamlet.

Pictures will be up when I have the chance.

 

Like a Leaf On The Wind

11 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
I've been waiting to see Serenity since last September. When I checked the schedule at the time, they said it would be shown February 2006.

Yesterday, there I was on the ground floor across the brightly-lit hallway from the video store at One Utama mall, ignoring the school of people wending their way past me. There, with the rest of the new releases on the front shelf, was the Serenity DVD.

Which sadly means, I wont be watching it in the theaters any time soon.

Or ever.

/me shakes fist at local movie theaters.

 

Returning to Form, but Slowly

08 February 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
I still can't believe it.

I'm getting my passport renewed. I'm buying cold weather gear and one of those new-fangled bags with wheels and a retractable handle (which is pretty neat). I'm brushing up on things like "planetary gear", "autorotation", "rotor profile drag" and "combining gear box". I'm planning how best to absorb the teaching techniques of the course so I can teach others how to operate the avionics hardware effectively. I'm trying my best to figure out how to get the test model installed in time for the Defense Services Asia exhibition in April.

And I'm reading the online version of Rotor and Wing magazine.

If I can pull this off, I believe I can start buying trade paperbacks again every month.

 

Hey, It's Still February 1st here!

02 February 2006 | sila | | Recent News
 

Just a quick little entry to wish my yope (a.k.a. Hisham) a happy happpy haaaaapppy birthday!

I realize it's already going on 5 AM February 2nd in Malaysia, but it is now almost 4 PM February 1st here! So technically, I'm not late! Well... maybe a little...

Happy birthday to the best brother ever, from both Ayah Cik and Wan Cik Dik. Love y'alls..

 

Today is the 29th, Which Means...

29 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
... it's Sila's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADIK) and it's Mak and Abah's anniversary (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, IRFAN'S OPAH AND ATOK).

Yeah, the rumours are true. Sila was their third anniversary present.

Which was infinitely better than a card or a gift certificate, so it seemed.

 

The Day The Tyre Died, Again

28 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Thursday night we went to pick up F from MIAT.

We arrived at 2200. But we left at almost midnight. What was I doing two hours in MIAT? Changing the tires of the car, that's what.

 

Full Circle

27 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 

Once upon a lifetime ago, I used to repair helicopters. The job wasn't at all glamorous. All you had to do was to follow the manual, observe regulations and ensure the paperwork was correct. Everyday you had to perform scheduled maintenance.

Then one day I quit and left it all.

For five years, I worked in various other fields gathering knowledge other than helicopter maintenance. Because the aviation industry here was close-knitted, there was no way I would be returing to reparing airplanes...

... or so I thought.

Last two weeks have been weird and almost surreal. After a call from one of my former colleagues in the helicopter offshore company, I've since met the most number of former colleagues in the last 10 working days than I've ever met in the last five years.

The short story is that a bunch of them has started a new company and the need someone with an IT background to help them start it from scratch and run it. I accepted. Why, after all these years? Because it looked to me that in my absence my former peers have put themselves in a position to change the landscape of the industry here in the country. Out with the old and in with the new, gradually.

And I like the way how things are going with them in charge. So here I am back to what I started fifteen years ago, in a full circle.

 

Happy Birthday Ain

22 January 2006 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Happy birthday and many happy returns to my beautiful wife Nurul Ain.

Some cards were sent. A blueberry cheese cake was eaten. Irfan sang the Happy Birthday song. Ain also made a pot of fried noodles. And because Kak Nor also had the same birthdate as Ain, both sisters celebrated here on our little round dinner table at our house.

However, I forgot to charge the camera batteries. Tee hee. (blush)

 

Opah Irfan's Wayward Purse

09 January 2006 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 

We only noticed it when Ain got off the car to buy some drinks in Kuala Kangsar. It was on Ain's seat, hidden beneath her when she sat. It was a small coin purse labeled Adamas Goldsmith. Wondering when Ain bought the purse, I took it. Irfan saw it and said, “Opah punya.” And within it was Opah Irfan's driver's licence and identification card!

 

A Writing Gig?

19 December 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News, Role Playing Games
 
I wouldn't have thought it possible a year ago. Heck, I would have scoffed at the idea 3 months ago, but upon browsing the RPG.Net Freelancing Forum recently, I decided to answer a call for freelance writers, instead of illustrators.

I submitted the text for the Net.Guide to Spleens to the person in charge and hoped for the best. After a flurry of e-mails, I was tasked to write 2 articles for a book which will be released next spring. The tone of the short write-ups would be akin to that of the Twilight Zone or Twin Peaks, or like Grant Morrison's The Invisibles (A great comic. Go out and read it if you haven't.) The job isn't a earth-shattering one, nor does it pay much but it would be my first professional writing gig, and as they say my foot at the door.

The company I'm writing for is Abstract Nova, publisher of the Heaven and Earth RPG. Here's hoping I get more writing gigs.

 

Spectral Visitors And Other Matters

19 November 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Irfan's Cik Su F is here until tomorrow, and she's sleeping in the room next to ours.

Some time last night, I was told she woke Emma up, trembling with absolute fear. It seemed that she saw an apparition gliding by where she slept and disappeared out through the iron grilled window. The ghostly figure wore white and its head and face was a mass of long black hair.

It might have been night terrors (though I doubt it), it might have been a dream, it might have been a fear-induced hallucination, or it might have been the real deal. But that was the story told to me this morning by Ain.

Meanwhile in other news:

  • Battlestar Galactica was renewed for a third season, and there was much rejoicing. (Just get on with "Resurrection Ship" already)
  • It was Alan Moore's birthday yesterday. He wrote a bunch of excellent stories.
  • Painting a dragon can be very difficult without a proper reference, and here is the result of many revisions of it.
  • According to the subtitles of the Willow Special Edition DVD, the magic word "helgafel" in the movie is spelt exactly the way thought it would be 17 years ago. Struck out for the other words though.

That is all. Thank you very much. You've been a great audience.

 

Home Sweet Home, After A Fashion

08 November 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
We're back on the tenth floor of this apartment building. The tiles on the bathroom floor are coming apart. The extra room still reeks of termite poison. We have the smallest TV screen among all the people we know. We are instantly reminded of the bills we have to pay. And it looks like Irfan is feeling lonely after almost two weeks surrounded by lots of family.

But it's home sweet home.

The computer is set up just the way I like it so that when it was activated the setup felt so welcoming. Irfan is quite literally swimming in his books (which he rummaged from his book table, much to Ain's chagrin), and, to anyone who understands what this means, Ain had a fantastic hour sweeping the floor of the house.

It was a great holiday, now it's back to work for all of us.

There might have been a lot of worthwhile lessons that we've learnt over the last week and a half or so... but the only one that sticks to my mind right now is that when I started strumming the guitar at Abah's house, Irfan interjected happily:

"Serenity!!!"

 

Ramadhan Activity Updates

27 October 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
Time flew by quickly this Ramadhan.

It's already almost the last week of the month and it's the longest time ever before I actually checked how many days were left before Aidilfitri. There're only two more days before I'm out of town until after festival season. Tomorrow is the last exam of the mid-term season, and on Saturday it's balik kampung time.

The itinerary is such: Saturday (Oct 28th) we'll be driving back to Pasir Mas, Kelantan. There we will stay until Deepavali on the following Tuesday (Nov 1st), when we head on down to Sitiawan to spend the last days of Ramadhan. It's been a while since we did long distance travel (more so this year, since money is tight) and I'm very excited about it.

Irfan's Birthday Present

Irfan really can't wait to get to Sitiawan to play with a train set and a bus that his grandparents bought and showed off to him in an e-mail. He's been asking to go balik kampung all week. :-)

So will there be any posts while I'm away? Of course there'll be. Both Ain's and my parents homes have the internet.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up the final round of illustrations for Future Players' Companion 3: Tomorrow's Evolution for The Game Mechanics during this period, which means I have to bring back the graphic tablet along. And finally, I've learnt that Tomorrow's Evolution's cover has been illustrated by Weta Workshop's Ben Wootten, who was a designer in the Lord of the Rings movie.
Tomorrow's Evolution cover
Click here to view a larger version of the image.
 

Passing of the PM's Wife

20 October 2005 | Hisham | | Recent News
 
The happy couple

Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, the wife of our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, passed away at 7.55am this morning, after succumbing to her battle with breast cancer since being diagnosed with it in 2002. Condolences to the PM, and make he take comfort in the fact that her passing occured in Ramadhan, the holiest of months.

Our prayers will be with her.