Archive for the Science Category

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.


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…


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.


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! 😛



Spider Spam!

Posted in Black, Funny, Science on April 17, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

Salaams everyone!

How you all doing?

Good, I sincerely hope!

Alhamdulillah 🙂

You know what I do, just for kicks?

I love reading the subject titles of my Junk mail, some of the stuff are just hilarious! I delete them after my chuckle and I always forget to save a screen-shot…until now…hehehe, I got a nice one!

*I got a hidden cam video!!!! XD*

Damn! That’s something even I wouldn’t want to watch! Hehehe XD

Oh, and according to the last mail, Viagra is on sale for only 0.93 cents apparently 😉

* * *

Was just surfing the net and I came across some really awesome pics of a red back spider that caught a snake! The snake was slithering around and it triggered the red back’s web, the red back came swooping in and gave the snake a kiss (of death!) for dropping by 🙂

Now I must warn those who are squeamish that you might not like the following pictures, but let me just tell you this: red back spiders don’t occur in tropical countries like Brunei, so don’t worry 🙂

I love poisonous spiders and snakes…not chewing on my toe or anything, but as subjects of study, I find them absolutely fascinating!

Imagine! The ability to paralyze and kill your victim – which, more often than not, is bigger than you…with just a bite!

Masha Allah…let it not be said that God is not fair – giving the little guys big guns!

So here it is, I think it’s a male red back spider.

If any of you are familiar with spiders, you would, like me, mistake this spider for a black widow:

But it isn’t, it’s an Australian Red Back spider and I think it’s amazing.

And it’s black 😉

So the spider catches and kills the snake and its venom helps to digest the internal tissue of the snake…allowing the spider to just slurp up the protein-filled juices.

Yummy 🙂

That, and with a prey that large, he can pack it neatly (as seen in the last pic) and have a store he can feed out of for quite a while.

Amazing no?

That’s God’s handiwork for you 😉

* * *

If any of you readers are in my course of Plant Physiology, I am now going to upload pics of the Infra Red Gas Analyzer for your perusal in the upcoming report this Saturday.

And don’t forget to state where you got these pics ah…please ah 😛

And the most important pic of all:

*Wacky Work*

You may thank me now 😉

Oh, if you want extra points, you can add this photo in as well

Or not 😉

Sleep well everyone!

And don’t let the red backs bite! 😉


Lost love

Posted in Funny, Science, The Boys on April 8, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic

She looked so beautiful…sitting there in the yellow light.

I licked my lips in anticipation…my God…what a sight.

Her body was perfect…only God could have made it so.

I could not take it any longer…I had to let go.

So, who did I see you ask…?







Oh wow…she was so delicious!!!

Went to the Sheraton Hotel for the buffet…and Oh. My. God…the lamb…

If you know me, you know that I cannot see lamb…that is my biggest weakness at the dinner table…I just…no…I’m sorry. If it’s lamb…it’s mine.

The lamb was SO good, Masha Allah, I found myself uttering things in my mind and heart as I ate it…it was quite obscene come to think of it.

As I put the lamb in my mouth and chewed on it…the juices all flowed and it was…wow…

I found myself (in my mind) saying stuff like, “You are so beautiful you lamb you…Oh God! I want to marry you! Then I can eat you all the time!!!!”

I went for about 3 plates of lamb…and when I go for lamb, I don’t just take like 1-2 slices yeah?

I’m Yemeni! Ello ello!

Hamza is one too, so he went to the chef and requested that the chef give us the neck of the lamb, which is like one of the most tender, juiciest parts of the lamb…and when it came, Hamza cut slices of it and distributed it around the table.

Guess who got most of it 😉

Oh my God, I love lamb!!!!

There’s only one small problem with lamb…it makes you hot, inside and yeah, that messes up the homeostasis you got going on.

I’m currently giving off lots of heat right now…I can feel it.

Even Hamza was telling me that his heart was beating faster when he was eating the lamb.

It is no surprise then to find that heart disease is common in Arabs 😦

The Prophet must have known this, that’s why he recommended that we eat lamb maximum one or twice a month. I try to keep to that.

But when I DO have lamb, don’t bother cooking other dishes…I won’t touch them 🙂

It’s just me, the table and the lamb.

That’s it.

* * *

Went to the gym with the Homo of Homos and its so nice to see that JPMC hasn’t changed ONE BIT (well, a little). I am seriously considering joining the membership again. I used to go there all the time back when I was in JIS, as I trained before I entered NS.

Amazingly, the guy who runs the gym actually remembers me!

As you probably no doubt have noticed…I can’t quite recall his name 😦

* * *

Wow, I’m SO HOT!!!

No I mean like…wow…I got the fan & air con running and I’m giving off heat like a radiator.

I think I might go for a shower after this.


* * *

Here are some pics from the bird watching expedition we went on on Sunday.

Muchas gracias to Hanie for putting them up on FB, I nicked some yeah Han?

*When egrets fly*

*In-bus magician 🙂 *

*Indiana Alhamid leads the expedition 😉 *

*Found a very rare species of nodding donkey…God we so look like tourists…*

*No Hanie, we’re not F4…I don’t even know what F4 is, but we’re not it!*

*Met!!! All of us wore something different this time! Yay! *

*And Hamza traumatized me… 😦 *

*But as I said…he likes Chinese guys bah… 😉 *

*Hehe…male bonding…awww, they holding hands 🙂 *


* * *

Ok you people, I have to go cool down 🙂

Stay safe yeah?

And Met…you so wacky.


Seeing Black

Posted in Black, Funny, Magic, Science on March 22, 2008 by smoothcriminalmagic


And how are you today?


I sincerely hope so.

As for yours truly…well, he got home, had dinner, felt sleepy, decided to nap at 7pm and wake up at 9pm. I just woke up an hour ago…and it’s 2am.


I dreamt of Indiana Jones!!!


Well…it wasn’t like the dream was ABOUT him…but he was walking around.

I love his movies (can’t wait for the next one!)

Anyway, I was like,

“Are you really Indiana Jones?!”

And he was like,


And I said,


Woke up shortly after that.

The of stupidity of the dream was getting to be too much for me.

Anyway, the dream must be because of my conversation with Dr. Ulmar eariler on.

Went to see Dr. Ulmar about my potential project work with him next year and it was so cool!

He actually gave me an option of things I could do and they all sounded terrific, very heavy-duty field work stuff. You know? Getting nitty-gritty with nature, out there covered in mud, feeling all manly, stomping around with a machete, hacking away at tree branches, catching frogs and feeling really good about yourself.

All in the name of science 🙂

Oklah, so maybe it’s not 100% Indy stuff, I know he doesn’t catch frogs…but still!

I got the hat!


Gotta find a whip though…

Haha, no lah, but seriously, his talk really inspired me and not only could I see myself performing the research he suggested, but it looked like an experience I wouldn’t mind taking on…leeches and all.

I don’t think I can talk much about it here because it’s all still uncertain at this point but I will most definitely let you all know when I’ve made a confirmed decision.

* * *

Today, our practical was supremely interesting, as the test subjects…were ourselves!


I completely humiliated myself with the Perimeter test…my goodness…

Basically the test indicates the distribution of the cones and rods (the colour-detecting cells) in the eye by determining at which angle you first observe colour. So it’s not a colour blindness test or anything, but you sure as heck feel colour blind!!

Alhamdulillah, I’m not colour blind.


Anyway, I started yelling out colours that didn’t exist and SWEARING they were there!

“It’s a black disc! I swear to God it’s a black disc!!! Eh…oh…it’s yellow…”


I’m sure Met will blog about it later… *sigh*

But, in preparation for that, I shall put up the pic of Met doing what he does best, right bro? 😉

*The price of being wacky~~*

I know I can be a mean friend sometimes…

And I have to admit…with my skills on Photoshop…there were a MILLION and one things I was tempted to do to this pic…

But I’m not that mean… 🙂

On a brighter note, the test indicated that Met’s lungs are grotesquely huge and he will survive underwater at least 10 seconds longer than all of us if we were drowning, lost out at sea on a dark, stormy night.


All I know is that if a yellow coloured rescue boat came to fetch me out of the water, I’d swear to God it was black.

* * *

SPEAKING of black!!!

Check out my newest addition to my close up table!!!


*Magic shouldn’t look this sexy…*

To the uninformed, a close up table is the table at which close up magicians (such as myself) practice and perform their magic.

And the new addition here is the half black, half clear glass candle holder!!!

Wicked yeah?

Got an awesome routine that goes with it too 😉

* * *

*Sup bro!*

Haha, yeah man, found it in the glove box of the Holden, will pass it back to you on Monday Insha Allah.

Alrighty then you lot, I would like to get any of the work I can get out of the way…out of the way, before next week comes a-knocking at my door.

And none of us are looking forward to next week right guys?

If you’re in my course you’d understand 🙂

G’nite…or G’morning as it were, you all.

Stay safe,

And it’s black…swear to God 😉