Archive for May, 2008

The Not-So-Enchanted Forest

Posted in Funny, Science on May 20, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

I couldn’t see properly, heck, I couldn’t even see the hand right in front of my face. The only saving grace I had was the small torchlight strapped around my right wrist. Thankfully, it was a powerful little bugger. Tired and drenched with sweat, I pushed through the dense forest, hoping that the next step I was taking was not into a deep hole covered only by leaves and mud.

2 steps later, I landed in such a hole 😦

I don’t know where you spent your Monday night.

But I spent mine in the thick of a swamp forest near Seria, Labi road to be precise.

That’s right, the adventures of Indiana Alhamid have begun!

*Cue the inspirational Indiana Jones tune!*

Dr. Ulmar texted me and asked if I would like to tag along for a research very similar to what I’d be doing in July. I figured it would be a good way to get to know the techniques involved.

That and I didn’t have any stellar plans for Monday night.

Went to UBD to meet up with Ulmar and a research student doing her Masters in NUS, a Singaporean girl by the name of Gwen. We immediately left in Dr. Ulmar’s jeep for the hour long drive to Labi road.

When we finally got there, I was acquainted my new best friend…this bag:

*A 70 litre hiking bag*

It looked EXACTLY like that one above…except for the colour.

And it was not light.

In fact, it held most of the sensitive equipment for the tests we’d be doing.

Right, so I’ve strapped on this HUGE bag…almost as big as myself, on my back and I was going through the thick forest and if anyone of you knows what a swamp forest is like…you know the ground isn’t exactly the flattest thing in the world.

Bad enough my balance is offset due to the massive load I was carrying but I’ve also got to watch out for the many roots protruding out of nowhere.

We ventured about 15m into the forest to set up our site.

There in the thick of the forest, it got really dark, really fast – it was only 6.30pm.

Gwen and Ulmar had a headlamp.

I only had a torch, which Ulmar kindly lent to me. 😦

We set up equipment and made jokes to pass the time.

Found out that Gwen is super-super-smart when it comes to bugs. I know ONE lecturer that wouldn’t mind getting to know Gwen! She really fascinated me with the different kinds of bugs she studied and is probably the ONLY GIRL I’ve EVER met that loves cockroaches!

And dung flies.

I had set my bag down on the ground as we were talking and not 15 minutes into our conversation I had noticed a mini tarantula had gotten comfortable on top of my bag.

And that was the one I COULD see…mind you, alot of these little critters DON’T LIKE to be seen.

My mind wondered about how many had crawled into my bag through the zip I left open.

I quickly closed the zip.

Using my torch, I shooed the mini tarantula off my bag.

It raised its forelegs as if to say, “Bugger off! This here is my bag!”

I argued.

We had a debate and a cup of tea.

Then it left.

What a nice chap 🙂

The roaches in the forest are DIFFERENT too!

*They look similar to the Brazilian cockroaches you see here*

Midway through our conversation they attacked.

The GOD-DAMN MOSQUITOES!

I knew I shouldn’t wear insect repellent because we were trapping INSECTS!

So all I could do was swat them like a madman.

I heard them cry, “The hairy one! He’s killing our men! Get him!”

Me, in my infinite genius, wore a black shirt to the trip 😦

I might as well have painted a “FREE DINNER” sign on myself for the mosquitoes to read!

Once we had set the insect traps we tried to catch a frog.

Gwen caught it very nicely.

Then we heard another one.

Now remember that it is PITCH BLACK in the forest, save for our flashlights.

So we were following the calling of this frog, moving through the dense forest.

When we finally arrived to where the frog was, we realized it was located too high up in the tree to catch.

So back we went.

When we had packed up our stuff, we wanted to go to another side of the forest, but first we had to exit this particular forest…which was kind of difficult.

Remember? Pitch black?

Where do we go?

Which direction?

With the huge bag on my back, we ended up making circles in the forest which sounds more fun than it actually was.

I was dead tired.

It was dark.

Mosquitoes were munching on me.

The forest was dizzying in the dark.

It was Patoi all over again.

But it was just the 3 of us.

Ulmar decided to head out alone to find an exit, leaving me and Gwen in the forest to rest.

Didn’t help that I watched a zombie film the night before.

But I wasn’t afraid of zombies as I was of running into the web of this kind of spider:

*Just try it buddy…*

As I said, it was dark – so it was hard to tell where I was heading.

Just then Ulmar called out and had said he had found a way out, Alhamdulillah.

As we walked towards him…the big bag I had on had caught on something – or something had caught on it.

I couldn’t move.

I tried to wrestle with the thing, but I couldn’t move.

The bag was taller than me, so it wasn’t like I could turn around and see what it was.

I had thought it was a vine…but vines this strong?

I pulled and pulled and I heard a ‘crack’…the vine had snapped…but still…I was stuck.

Ulmar was way out there.

Gwen was about 10m ahead of me.

I called out, “Gwen…I’m kinda stuck”

“Oh ok, I’ll be right there,” she said.

When she clambered back…I turned around to show her how my bag was stuck…when all of a sudden…I wasn’t stuck anymore…

Huh?

How strange…

We moved on out from the forest.

We almost spent 1 hour being lost and I was tired.

Alhamdulillah Ulmar said it was too late to conduct another test, so we headed on home.

So…spending 3 hours in the forest, getting lost, kissed by lovely spiny rattan stems and sucked on by mosquitoes…all we got was one frog 🙂

Oh yeah and the insect trappings yielded some good data as well.

At least 🙂

Got back home and had a nice shower…wow…I love showers after trips like that; makes you appreciate being clean 😀

Compared to Gwen, I wasn’t badly bitten actually…maybe it’s all the hair 😉 No landing space for the suckers.

That and I was swatting them like nuts.

Alhamdulillah, I had read many doa’s before and during my time in the forest and I am safe 🙂

The forest can be a dangerous place, not just physically (I almost dislocated my shoulder) but also metaphysically.

So yeah, behave yourself when you’re in there.

On the way back Ulmar and Gwen asked me if I wanted to join them again the next day…

“Haha, nah, it’s alright” I replied.

Hey,

I got chores to do!

😉

Stay safe my friends,

And if you’re ever on Labi road, look out for Ulmar’s copper brown Pajero! 😛

Aman

Save me.

Posted in Poems on May 17, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Intense pressure of an unknown cause,

My sanity has been put on pause.

A time bomb with a few ticks set,

Have I exploded, or not just yet?

Would you dare?

Come close to this bomb,

on the verge of exploding?

To save me from myself?

To save me from hurting?

Would you?

.

.

Would you?

Yaum-il-Umm

Posted in Booga, Islam on May 11, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Which means Mother’s Day in Arabic.

Helmi woke me up, “Aman wake up, hurry up! This is Mother’s Day you know!! Come on we’re going out soon! Get up! Get ready! Go! Go!”

“Yeah…I…yeah ok, ok.”, I replied.

He sat on the chair facing my bed.

“I’m gonna make sure you get up and get in the toilet”, he said.

Crud.

“Yeah…I’m…yeah…ok, ok”, I replied.

As you can no doubt tell, my vocab early in the morning is utter crap.

Went to the toilet to wash my mouth so I can give my mum a good morning (or good mid-day) kiss.

Gave her that kiss 🙂

Went to the shower.

Had a shower.

Got ready and went to the Rizqun for lunch buffet and MAN was it crowded! Alhamdulillah, I got a parking space.

The Mother’s Day buffet was really good but for some reason I couldn’t eat that much 😦

Lamb was good 🙂

Lamb…is always…good 🙂

After lunch, Helmi bought some of the cake they had in Rizqun for my mum.

My mum, the little adorable Booga all dressed in pink, had a fun time 🙂

*Booga!*

.

She thanked us for lunch when we got back to the car. I said ‘you’re welcome’ by covering her with kisses.

She deserved it! 😛

But yeah…

This Mother’s Day thing was more of Helmi’s planning and execution.

I probably would not have done anything.

Honest.

Not because I don’t love my mum.

Has got nothing to do with that.

It’s that…

For me at least,

Mother’s Day is everyday.

And I am not just SAYING it…I mean it.

Why should you treat your mum, she who has heaven at her feet (I know, I checked!), have only one day set aside where you show her 100% devotion?

It should be everyday.

And I follow that rule very strictly.

I am not going to say all the things I do for her on a daily basis because we shouldn’t toot our horns about the good deeds we do.

But I’ll just say this:

After lunch I asked my mum,

“Ma…I don’t like celebrating Mother’s Day”

And she said, “Why?”

I said, “Because I feel Mother’s Day is everyday. And I consciously act that out. I want to show you 100% love all the time.”

She smiled.

“Do I make you feel like it’s Mother’s Day everyday Ma…?” I asked…

She looked at me and stroked my cheek,

“Yes you do Aman…yes you do”

Yay 😀

* * *

They can be annoying.

They can nag.

But they are our mothers.

So treat them how you would like your child to treat you, for God is fair – He will give back to you what you give to the most important person in your life – your mother.

Girls especially, you all will Insha Allah become mothers too!

So get close to the only living example you have!

I am very blessed and fortunate to have an angelic mother.

I doubt any words could describe how much I love her – so I let my actions do all the talking.

And they have a lot to say 🙂

Thankfully she is tolerant of all the hugs, kisses and snuggles I shower her with 😛

I asked my mum if she would miss all this attention if I got married someday (Insha Allah).

She looked at me with a look of relief and said, “Of course not! I’ve had enough!”

Then she paused…

Looked at me and said,

“Well…maybe a little”

Awwwwwwwww, she’s so small!

* * *

It’s not hard to love you Booga,

It’s hard not to.

Seed of Barakah

Posted in Black, Booga, Funny, Umar on May 7, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams,

And we got 6 left to go…

Well, I have 6 exams left to go.

Alhamdulillah x 3, The paper was good. A pleasant paper that was, yes, indeed, rather.

I love pleasant papers like that. I can go to the loo and take a break from all that sitting down.

Let it be known; sitting down is hard work 😛

Nah, I went to the loo like 4 times during the paper!!

Drank lots of water the night before as well as earlier today, you see 😀

Yeah…I have this mouth ulcer…that really really really hurts 😦

AND it’s a big one…yeah, almost as big as the size of my pinkie nail!

Now that’s big!

You know what sucks?

Seeing/Reading about a full grown man complain about a wound smaller than a nostril.

Yeah.

So I’ll stop now 😛

BUT

I asked my mum what I could put on it to make it better (Mums always know these kind of things don’t they?) and she said habbat assaudah oil. Habbat assaudah (or also known as habbat albarakah – which literally means the seed of barakah or blessings) is the black seed that is widely sold in Saudi. Looks like this,

*Image from Wikipedia.com*

It’s also known as Black Cumen but if you want to be really fancy about it, it’s scientific name is Nigella sativa.

In Islamic medicine, this seed is held in very high regard (hence the name ‘seed of blessing’) and it has been used for hundreds of years.

And I conveniently forgot all about it.

So anyway my mum told me to use the black seed oil…and I asked, “Are you sure it’ll help?”

And she turned to me and said, “The Prophet P.B.U.H. once said that this seed can cure all diseases but death – I’m sure it can handle an ulcer”.

In the words of the Wacky Met…”~nyeah”.

I completely forgot about how we used to apply this oil to Umar’s lips when they crack (thanks to a cold night) and they healed by the end of the day!!

And look at his lips…

*You can’t touch this!*

There it is, Umar’s Infamous Pout.

Look at his good looks lah!

Umar! What are doing with such stunning good looks aye?! Huh? What are you doing with it huh?

Helmi got all the height and you got all the good looks and nice skin and everything!

I just got stuck with all the HAIR.

Hehehe, 😀

Yeah, but if your good looks were to be any indication of the beauty within you…I’d say it’s doing a pretty good job, little guy 🙂

Yup, you are our seed of barakah 🙂

I’ve already applied the oil.

Now I’m gonna try and see if my pout looks as good as his 😉

Good luck for the rest of your exams my friends!

Stay safe,

And [the seed] is BLACK!!! 😉

Aman

What The World Needs Now…

Posted in Music on May 6, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams,

🙂

This is helping me study – I hope it does some good for you too 🙂

I love this man’s piano playing, it’s pure elegance.

Anyway, download the MP3 of his playing here.

Then put it on repeat.

And you’ll know what my room sounds like 🙂

* * *

Stay safe yeah?

And good luck on everyone’s paper tomorrow!!

Aman

WOW & Spammish Wisdom

Posted in Family, Funny on May 4, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams!

I sincerely hope everyone is doing alright…and that revision has been on track 🙂

I wish I could say the same for myself…but yeah.

Don’t worry, I’m getting there 😛

* * *

We had a doa selamat for my driver & maid, who will be departing for their ‘Umrah on the 12th Insha Allah. It’s gonna be a rough 10 days for us without them, but we’ll pull through Insha Allah.

🙂

And…CHECK OUT THE CAKE one of our guests brought…

*WOW!*

Go ahead…say it.

“OH WOW!”

Yeah, pretty much everyone who saw it said it 😉

It’s a marbled butter cake (on the inside) with generous chocolate sauce dripped all over the top…

I had a big slice 🙂

It was good 🙂

At the end of the function, this was all that was left…

I ate one more after taking this pic 🙂

* * *

CHECK OUT the new David Blaine deck coming out!!!

*AND IT’S BLACK!!!*
They also have red backed ones too 🙂

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the ‘Spade’ symbol on the deck’s back design and card box are David Blaine’s initials back to back; ‘db’.

Pretty neat huh?

Gosh, I reckon that could be done with my initials…’aa’…right?

Right?

Kinda pricey at about $12 a deck (3x the price of my regular Bicycle cards!)…but I’m getting them Insha Allah 🙂

* * *

I’ve come to a realization.

Wisdom can be found anywhere.

For example, by studying the caterpillar’s transformation into a beautiful butterfly…we can see that change is possible and is part of nature.

Or, by studying how the ants work together…we can see that yes, indeed, we can accomplish anything when we work together.

Wisdom can be found anywhere.

Even…

in your Spam folder 😉

.

.

Ever since I got the odd Spam e-mail below:

I figured, my Spam box was trying to tell me something…

So every now and then I’d check it to see if there was any wisdom for me.

Sometimes there was…

But most of the time it just highlights my ‘apparent’ nakedness…

And judging from the number of mails I keep getting about that, I’m now starting to doubt my ability to properly put on clothes.

Wondering what this all meant…I was kept awake for many nights…constantly checking the presence of my shirt and pants (just in case!)…looking for a sign.

What did this all mean?

Was I special in some way?

Then…

One day…

The answer came…and it was so clear…

*I AM A MORON!!*

* * *

Alright, it’s back to studying fer me 🙂

Good luck everyone!

And please, let’s all pray for each other ok?

Awesome 😉

Stay safe,

And remember…I am a moron – it’s official 😉

Aman