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.


2005: A Bread Retrospective

12 February 2006 | sila | | Food

You got it! Another bread entry. In my one and only entry on this topic, I was waxing poetic about My New Hobby, and showed the breads I had been able to produce. That was about early August, last year. For the last one-third of the year, I have been hard at work baking bread and learning more and more about it. Vin no longer buys any bread, and I have experimented with a variety of breads in my bread book.

This entry shows a selection of the different breads that I baked August through December of 2005.


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.


The Legion on JLU

04 February 2006 | Hisham | | TV
No, not the French Foreign Legion. The DC Universe's 30th century team the Legion of Super-Heroes finally get to shine in an episode of Justice League Unlimited titled "Far From Home". Sure, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Chameleon Boy travelled back in time in Superman the Animated Series before, but this episode features a busload of Legionnaires, all in the 30th century. Additionally, their arch-villain teams, the Fatal Five, also appear (with the Emerald Empress voice by Joanne Whalley). Both Legion HQs were also shown!

Unfortunately, only Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy and Phantom Girl have speaking roles. There is a good reason, however, why the others don't speak for most of the episode.

Click on the thumbnails below for a who's who picture.

The Animated Legion

Apart from John Stewart and Kara in the foreground, we also see between them from top to bottom: Shadow Lass, Colossal Boy and Ultra Boy. On the other side of Kara, clockwise from top left: Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, Blok, Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy and Lightning Lad.

Shrinking Violet and Invisible Kid could well be in that picture and we wouldn't have any idea. ;-)

The Animated Fatal Five

The Fatal Five, clockwise from left: Tharok, the Emerald Empress (with the Eye of Ekron), Validus, Persuader (with his Atomic Axe) and Mano.

Great script throughout:
Kara: "What power do you have? Super strength? Speed?"
Brainiac 5: "I have a 12th level intelligence."
Kara: "Great. You can hit him with your diploma."

With JLU ending this season, I hope we get a Legion of Super-Heroes series. Anything by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini would be a series not to be underestimated.

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..


Midnight Jaunt to Lumut

01 February 2006 | Hisham | | ACS Memories

At midnight we went for drinks at the Lumut Waterfront cafe, on the newly reclaimed land on Dindings River opposite of Kampung Acheh. At nearly midnight the well-lit playground of the place was filled with kids and even babies in prams (pushed by parents, and not moving on their own accord, duh). Irfan was of course fast asleep with his grandparents. After drinks and telling of old campfire tales, we all went round the place, scoping it out. With the blatant "under the sea" motif and theme running on all the structures of the place, I've now come to rename it Bikini Bottom.

Here are some photos from the night.


CNY at Teik Sing's House

31 January 2006 | Hisham | | ACS Memories

This afternoon, Ain, Irfan and I went to Teik Sing's house to celebrate New Year. The last time the former ACS students of SPM 1990 gathered together was during Independence Day 2005 in 1 Utama. I almost missed the gate into Teik Sing's house, which Warren and I remembered to be bigger. 15 years of memory can play tricks on a person.

Later tonight, after Teik Sing and Michelle are finished with Fearless with Jet Li at Arasu theatre, we might meet up for a drink at the Lumut seafront stalls. Irfan is asleep, so he'll be staying home. More pictures then.

Here are the photos from today's gathering:



30 January 2006 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food

The best fried calamari (sotong celup tepung) on this planet, as well as several other planets and moons (including the seafood industry on Europa), is located at the Medan Ikan Bakar FELCRA at Simpang Dua, Sitiawan. The taste and the texture is just right. And saying that the price is very affordable there is an understatement. In Sitiawan, this is where we'd like to engorge ourselves on seafood on special occasions.

Last night we went there to celebrate Irfan's grandparents 34th anniversary. Here are three of the photos from the dinner.


Northern California: Part V

30 January 2006 | sila | | Family Pics

Here it is, the final installment of our northern california vacation, Part V: The Petrified Forest and more! To recap, we had just gone Seal Hunting and found the (almost) mythical After-Christmas Seals. After running around on the beach with the seals (well, we did the running, the seals just laid there relaxing), we headed back up the little road out of the beach.

Along the way, there were small parking areas overlooking some cool rock formations in the ocean.


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)


Northern California: Part IV

19 January 2006 | sila | | Family Pics

The saga continues with Part IV: The Christmas Seals? Christmas day dawned rainy and foggy in Santa Rosa. When we went to bed the night before, the weatherman had predicted another sunny day. Phaugh! Never trust the weather man!

Nevertheless, Vin and I decided we would go on the hunt for Seals (we were told by my former-colleague Don Floyd that the mouth of the Russian River was a good place to find elephant seals). We looked for seals in Eureka and Trinidad with no luck! No ewoks turned up in the redwood forests either. So, after a great breakfast buffet, Vin and I went off to look for the mouth of the Russian River and hopefully some seals!


Northern California: Part III

17 January 2006 | sila | | Family Pics

I do feel a little guilty for piling on the pictures but we really did have a good time in northern california. Part I should be subtitled "Rainy San Fran", Part II is "Eureka! Redwoods!", and this Part III is really "Avenue of the Giants, a.k.a. You thought the other redwoods were big? Get a load of this!"

In our journey so far, we have covered the first three days of our trip. It's now Christmas Eve and we hang out with Jeff and his family that morning before we take off southwards.


"I Didn't Want To Make It Back Alive"

15 January 2006 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

Spoiler Alert. This is an essay concerning the actions of Lee “Apollo” Adama of Battlestar Galactica in the episode Resurrection Ship, Part 2. If you’re adverse to spoilers it's strongly suggested that you read no further. And if you're local and want to catch it on TV, they're starting to show the first season on 8TV at 10pm Sundays, the same time as Smallville on TV3.


Comrade Is Not Fallen: An Update

13 January 2006 | Hisham | | ACS Memories

A former school classmate Sockalingam, upon reading my past entry on Vernon Netto, did some investigation on his own and returned with some good news. In an email dated January 11, he wrote:

After reading Hisham's mail below, I contacted Vernon's family back in Sitiawan and he is fine and they passed him my contact number. He called me yesterday and when I told him bout the link he was very surprised. He was working in Acheh running his medical clinic and two days before the Tsunami he was called to Medan for work and when he got back everything was washed out. Lucky for him his wife was ok and he is now back in KL.

It appears that what we've hope for, that the CNN web page I linked earlier was either untrue or badly in need of updating. Fantastic news. Thanks, Socka.