Saturday, August 30, 2008

Farewell Summer, Welcome Fall

Sekejap je rasanya Summer. Cuaca betul2 panas cuma dlm sebulan je. Its normal for the Northeastern part of the States, especially kawasan New England ni. End of Summer ni maksudnya dah nak mula la Fall. Fall is finally here already. Daun2 kat pokok pun start nak tukar kaler, even some pokok dah start luruh dedaunnya.

Mula Fall ni, mula la new session for mr ayah and littleman. Mr ayah masuk new trimester, and littleman akan masuk sekolah baru - Forest Elementary School for Kindergarten. 3 days before littelman starts school, the school called saying that littleman's medical checkup is not complete. Dulu diaorg jugak yg check medical checkup form tu and said dah ok. Kali nie cakap psl takde blood pressure and urine test plak! Budak baru nak kindergarten nih! Anyways, we managed to settle the issue except for the eye test. Eye test tak dpt buat psl littleman takmo duk diam.

Kejap je masa berlalu... Tinggal lagi 2 semesters je lagi, Mr ayah akan tamat pengajian. Littleman nanti tak sempat pun nak abiskan his Kindergarten dah kena balik M'sia. Tak kisah la, yg penting dpt bagi dia exposure before dia masuk sekolah rendah nanti. By the time balik M'sia nanti sempat few months je kot nak masuk tadika.

Bye2 summer... welcome fall... welcome Ramadhan...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jenjalan US 2008 - Apple Picking and Boston, MA

Middlefield, CT & Boston, MA (20th August 2008)

It was a great day today. Ada sunshine tapi tak panas. Kami keluar rumah around 10.30am sekali dgn atuk & nenek (landlord kami). Diorang nak bawak kami tgk pokok apple. Littleman all the way dlm kereta, sibuk kata "I want apple tree".

We were brought to Lyman Orchards @ Middlefield, CT, around 45 minutes from our place. Lyman Orchards is "owned and operated by the Lyman Family since 1741, Lyman Orchards is recognized as the ninth oldest family-owned business in America". We went for apples picking here. Ada Sunflower Maze, tapi malas nak try :D Lain dari tu, ada gak la pokok peach, oranges and pears. Tapi yg still berbuah only the apples.

After spending some times picking apples there, kami pun terus gerak ke Boston. Boston is just around 2 hours driving from our place, but this will be our maiden trip there. Sampai kat Boston, we parked our car nearby Faneuil Hall Market Place in a public parking area. Rasanya mcm strategic location tempat parking ni, since most of the attractions are within walking distance.

We spent the whole evening around Faneuil Hall ni - North Market, South Market and Quincy Market. We kinda like the environment here. Nampak very happening tapi tak busy mcm NYC. Next time dtg boleh la lepak2 sini lagi. (Aina, you'll love this place nanti).

Kami pusing2 area sini sambil cari2 barang orang kirim, sambil tu sempat gak la sambar sandal Crocs one each. Pas tu masuk kat HRC Boston, which happened to be same building dgn tempat parking. Before gerak balik, kami sempat la singgah Cambridge dulu melawat MIT and Harvard Uni. Tak sempat la nak pegi Northeastern Uni sebab out of the route. Sorry Damien & Kevin.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Jenjalan US 2008 - New York City (Again...)

Manhattan, NYC (19th August, 2008)

Kali ni kami ke NYC for a day trip. Drive ke NYC, cari daily rate parking. Managed to reserve a parking thru the internet at Upper East 60'S and took the subway from there. The three of us didn't do any sightseeing, we just roaming around Times Square while our uncle and family went for Circle Line Cruise to give a visit to madam Statue of Liberty.

The last time when we were at the Times Square, it was already night. This time around it was nearly afternoon and the ever busy Times Square always full of people, tak kira day or night. We had the chance to have our lunch at Bubba Gump. Littleman ate his 1st shrimp there. "Mama, nak nasi and shrimp", said littleman. Selama2 nie tak pernah nak try pun other food than chicken! Agaknyer dier tgk the Shrimp New Orleans tu nampak sedap kot! Or dah lapar sgt after beberapa kali tawaf the nearby Toys r' Us.

Next, we walked towards 5th ave and made a short detour to Madison ave. Adalah few stores and buildings yg memang kitaorg dah target, sambil mencari brg2 yg org kirim. Our last stop was at the Apple store. Our cousin la sibuk nak beli iPhone 3G, padahal we clearly stated and explained that it can't be bought due to the 2yrs contract with the AT&T. Even the old iPhone pun tak dpt beli coz they have stop the production.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2009 Buick Enclave CXL

Since there are lots of inquiries from our friends regarding our ride for the week, we decided to write a short review based on our experience for the whole week. Please take note that the review is based on personal experience of a non-professional auto critics expert.

Make: Buick
Model: Enclave CXL
Year: 2009
Engine: 3.6L Variable Valve Timing V6
Power: 275 hp @ 6600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed AT

At a glance the Buick Enclave CXL is a head turner. A classy and elegant touch of a crossover SUV makes it stunning. The Buick comes together with a standard 17" front wheel and 18" rear wheel. The twin chrome exhaust tips makes the rear appearance more attractive.

The interior is really classy. Heated leather seats and wooden finished panel really makes it a class of its own. Sporty and elegant, I would say. The cabin size is spacious, enough to cater 7 to 8 passengers maximum; 6 to 7 passengers comfortably. The 3rd row can be converted to more cargo area. Without the 3rd row, I can say it can fits in 4 full size golf bags. Fuel consumption is quite reasonable. Full tank will cost you around $80 and will be able to last around 350 miles (based on our experience).

We managed to clocked 1,500 miles of mileage; mostly on highways. We traveled around CT, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Boston. The ride was smooth since the engine is so quiet. Acceleration picks up as expected on a 275hp engine. We hardly noticed that we have reach 90 mph within seconds. The brakes come with ABS, and it works really well. However, based on my personal experience, the deceleration took a bit longer than I expected. You really have to familiarized with the car to know the right timing when to hit the break. Suspension was excellent, on a bumpy road, we hardly feel it.

The car comes with a lot of high tech features such as CD player with MP3 and XM radio, memory pre-set for 2-driver customizable seating adjustment, sensor for automatic lights, HID Xenon lights, OnStar (Direction and Connection) and Driver Information Center (info on temperatures, tires pressures etc.)

Overall, the Buick Enclave CXL is a great car. It combines the sporty and elegant style. For a crossover of its class such as the Volvo XC90 and BMW X5, it is as good as its rivals.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jenjalan US 2008 - Washington DC - Hersheys Park, PA

West Haven, CT - Washington DC - Pennsylvania (15th - 17th August 2008)

First day of our journey was spent in West Haven, CT. Bawak gi jln2 kat mall, cari2 brg org kirim... lagipun it was Friday, senang sket nak pi solat jumaat.

Esoknyer, pagi sabtu bertolak ke Washington DC. Again??? Hehehe... yea la... dah kali ke-3 pi DC nie. Dah jadi mcm wajib pergi pulak dah everytime visitors dtg visit. Ikutkan je la... :D Tapi bagus jugak! Dapat la kami pi visit baby Afdal Aimran, baby bertuah yg lahir pd 08 08 2008. Mr ayah lagi la langkah kanan... siap sempat pi kenduri Nisfu Syaaban lagi... littleman dpt la merasa bihun sup. Tapi yg paling seronok, littleman dpt jumpa dgn the Afdals... sakan la diaorg! Our uncle, auntie and cuz tak ikut kami pi umah En Afdal tu... psl diaorg nak berjalan. Kami nie dah baper kali pusing National Mall tu... Tak kuasa lak nak tgk White House tu 2-3 kali. So we just dropped them at the White House, and picked them up later.

Hari ahad, lepas breakfast kat Union station (our hotel kat area2 situ) we checked out from the hotel and went to the Capitol Hill (just walking distance from the hotel). This time manage to snap pics from different angle of the Capitol Hill. Littleman sempat golek2 kat park tepi Capitol Hill tu... layankan aje...

Then we went to Biryani Corner, ingat nak tapau biryani buat bekal for our next destination. Tapi hampa jek... tutup la pulak kedai tu :( We then straight away hit the highway going further up.

- littleman terpegun tgk coklat faveret, KitKat

Our next destination was Hershey's Park, Pennsylvania. We didn't go inside the park, just hang around inside the Chocolate World. Sempat gak la ride Hershey's Great American Chocolate Tour. 2 hours later, we left Hershey Park heading towards Philadephia.

As Joey said, Philadephia takde mende... terasa rugi minyak la pulak pi detour ke situ. Tapi takpe la, kalau tak pi, tak tau camner Philadephia tu :D

-the AIH

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Merasa Jadi Orang Kaya

We received visitors from mrs. mama family. Jadi bila ada visitors ni, akan bermula la episod baru Jenjalan US 2008 yg seterusnya. Tapi before that, kena la prepare all the necessary logistics apa yg patut. (and we also got food stocks from m'sia... serunding, specially cooked by littleman's opah and telur masin for bulan puasa... best best!!!)

Kami booked a minivan for this trip, since legally tak boleh nak sumbat semua orang dlm sebijik sedan. Kat sini nama je minivan, tapi tak mini pun. Size pun ala2 Naza Ria je pun. Enough to cater 7 passengers maximum. As usual, tempat yg kami biasa buat rent-a-car ni call la for confirmation bla bla bla... Sekali tu, boleh pulak diorang bagitau kata the minivan yg kitorang nak tu, orang yg menyewa tu nak extend lagi. Aduh! Mana la nak carik kereta/van pulak ni. Tapi diorang kata, dtg je kat opis diorang and they'll work something out. Nasib baik la dah kira regular customer.

Kat opis diorang, diorang offer a substitute car; a BRAND NEW Buick Enclave CXL 2009. YES! A brand new ride yg baru clock 780 miles. Its actually a crossover; a luxury crossover. And it'll be our 1st ride on such type, since kami dah sewa mcm2 jenis kereta dari situ. Dari compact car sampai la pick-up truck, semua dah pernah merasa. They also agreed to give the same rate as the minivan. So, its a good deal la. :D

This Buick Enclave 2009 is a real beauty. Lengkap dgn all the high tech accessories. Big size and can cater up till 8 passengers (3 rows seating). Yang 3rd row tu kalau baringkan, mmg besar tak ingat tempat cargo area. Silap2 boleh sumbat 4 full size beg golf.

Cuma yg kami risau is the fuel consumption later. Diorang claim, for a 3.2L V6 @ 275 hp, fuel consumption is around 25 MPG on highway. Tengok la mcm mana nanti...

We'll update later..

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome to the Club

Few weeks ago (tak ingat bila sebenarnya) I've received a letter from HRCA. HRCA is Honda Rider's Club of America, a club for Honda motorcycle owners. What comes with the letter was a welcoming letter from HRCA, HRCA membership card and a copy of Honda Red Rider mags. Satu yg tak best, boleh la pulak diorang salah eja nama, tapi tak kisah la. Bukannya legal document pun, and the details dah dibetulkan kat HRCA website.

Membership ni sebenarnya kena bayar, tapi as a new member, kira 1st year free. The membership fees is for $19.90 annually. Fair enough anyway, since kami kat sini pun tak sampai lagi setahun pun. Among benefits as HRCA members ni are access to HRCA resource center (termasuk to common service manuals), updates on events (safety guides, future rides etc) and discounts on selected merchants listed. Apart from that, HRCA members will be able to track their scheduled maintenance for their bike.

Personally, I've yet to explore the HRCA Clubhouse. I know there are a lot more being offered by the website to the members. Will explore more later....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Report on 10th Annual International Colloquium on Intelligence 2008

Sheraton Hartford, East Hartford CT
August 4 - August 7, 2008

Alhamdulillah the colloquium went well after 4 days berkampung kat Hartford. There are 6 NSP Grad students assisted including, yours truly.

Overall it was a successful event. It gathers professionals and academias to discussed the role and future of intelligence studies. Diverse group of people came from former intelligence officers, academias from related field of studies, graduate and undergraduate students came from all across the United States and few from Europe.

The NSP Grad Students with Dr T

The highlight was Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert from Europe. He is internationally known as the leading expert on Hezbullah, Hamas, al-Qaeda and other militant Islamic movement. In his opening keynote, he emphasized on the importance of research in mapping terrorism. Other speakers are from diverse line up of expertise in the field of national security, intelligence and terrorism. The closing keynote address was delivered by a prominent figure in the National Security Branch of FBI, Mr John P Mudd.

Dr Magnus Ranstorp

The only setback was the trip to the Naval Base to visit the submarines. We were informed that all the subs were deployed and none were left. Over and above that, it was raining heavily on the planned day.

However, the dinner hosted by the US Coast Guard Academy was still on. It was a great event, great crowd and great place. Being at the USCG Academy, really brings back the good old days memories in the RMC.

With Rear Admiral Burho (Superintendent of USCGA)

The Colloquium was a success from our view. Personally I did benefit from it; the presentations, discussions and the most important is the networking. Its really great to have the opportunity to meet new friends especially that speaks common issues. I really feel glad to be given that opportunity (even though the "sponsor" tak nak bayar... *sigh!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pertarungan 2 sahabat

2 of our dearest frens are going nuts! Marjan and Abah (both are mrs mama ex-colleagues), they challenge each other on who will becoming more fit than the other. Aiyohhh!!! camtu pun boleh ke?? Anyways, good thing about this is at least both of them are practicing healthy lifestyle to make sure one of them will be the winner. Tapi Sept nanti puasa weiii!!! ;) (kevin, they might need ur help on this, how to exercise during fasting month ;))

These 2 frens are BFF... and they are funny people. This challenge kinda interesting. Seeing Abah tergolek2 exercise, trained by Leng Chye (another ex-colleague) really make us laugh tergolek2 jugak! ekekekeke... Their target due date is on the Oct 10th, 2008. Seems like Abah got higher votes for the time being. But who knows Marjan's silent voters are putting their vote on him ;) Mrs mama is putting her vote on Marjan coz she believes Marjan has very high determination in doing something. Not saying that Abah not serious in this, tgk video dah tau betapa serious nyer Abah. Nie sajer je nak bakar Abah... hahaha!!!

So, we shall wait for Oct 10th, 2008. We will get to see the hottest half-naked IR pics of them, and who will be more fit?

Good luck our dear frens...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

High School Reunion

Weekend lepas, August 2nd-3rd 2008 adalah hari yg bersejarah buat Bainun Alumni, di mana Reunion/AGM 2008 telah berjaya dilangsungkan di Sekolah Menengah Raja Permaisuri Bainun (SMRPB), Ipoh. The alumni was approved by Registrar of Society Malaysia somewhere last year. Since then beberapa perjumpaan diadakan bg membincangkan cadangan untuk mengadakan Reunion dan seterusnyer AGM serta melantik ahli2 yg berdaftar untuk menerajui alumni ini.

Sekolah Menengah Raja Permaisuri Bainun pada mulanya dikenali sebagai Sekolah Menengah Manjoi dan dibuka pd tahun 1984. Pada tahun 1987, sekolah ini telah dimasyhurkan kepada Sekolah Menengah Raja Permaisuri Bainun dan disempurnakan oleh Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Permaisuri Perak, Tuanku Bainun Binti Mohd Ali.

So umur sekolah nie boleh dikatakan masih muda, maka tak hairanlah Bainun Alumni baru berjaya ditubuhkan. Mrs mama mmg dah tau psl perancangan reunion nie, she has been yming with her super-duper senior, abg epi since last year about this. Tapi takde rezeki nak join tahun nie, insyaAllah akan cuba hadir untuk tahun2 akan dtg :)

Sebagai Alumni yg baru setahun jagung, tentu byk cabaran terutama untuk mendptkan keahlian. Ini terbukti bila mana kehadiran ahli pd weekend lepas tidak mencapai target. Mrs mama's batch90-94 pun hanya 3 org sahaja yg hadir. Walau bagaimanapun, tahniah kepada AJK2 yg telah bertungkus-lumus dalam menjayakan event ini. Diharap tidak berputus asa... To Mrs mama's ex-schoolmates out there, bg lah sokongan kpd our alumni.

More reports/coverage and pics on the event can be viewed at these listed links:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

10th Annual International Colloquium on Intelligence 2008

The NSP of UNH is honored to host the Colloquium this year. It is one of the most prestigious event for the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE). I feel fortunate to be part of this since I am a Graduate student in the NSP. Please find the info related to this event extracted from the NSP news section on UNH website.

- IAFIE logo extracted from

Host: National Security Graduate Program, University of New Haven
Theme: "The Role of Research in Intelligence Studies"
When: August 4 - 7, 2008
Where: Sheraton Hartford Hotel, East Hartford, Connecticut

What: As an outgrowth of the 6th consecutive meeting of Intelligence Community professionals and scholars in 2004, the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) was founded. From various intelligence disciplines including national security, law enforcement and competitive intelligence, the founding members of IAFIE recognized the need for a professional association to serve as a forum that would span their diverse disciplines and provide a catalyst and resources for their development of what generically is referred to as Intelligence Studies.

The goals of IAFIE are to:
  • Expand research, knowledge, and professional development in intelligence education;
  • Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for those interested in and concerned with intelligence education;
  • Advance the intelligence profession by setting standards, building resources, and sharing knowledge in intelligence studies;
  • Foster relationships and cultivate cooperation among intelligence professionals in academia, business, and government;
  • Develop, disseminate, and promote theory, curricula, methodologies, techniques, and best practices for pure and applied intelligence;
  • Serve as a liaison between other professional organizations and centers of excellence
Why should I attend?
  • Reasonably-priced fixed cost lodging & meals package
  • Meet & interact with Professor Magnus Ranstorp, one of Europe's leading authorities on International Terrorism
  • Get a copy of Mapping Terrorism Research (2007) by Magnus Ranstorp
  • Interact with some of America's most prominent Intelligence Professionals
  • Learn about the latest issues on Intelligence from practitioners & scholars
  • Receptions enabling informal discussions with speakers
  • Tour a U. S. Nuclear Submarine
  • Get an Intel briefing from a Naval Intelligence Officer at the Groton, CT Sub Base
  • Have dinner at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The day we went out...

We went out to the mall. Reason, coz mrs mama dah boring sgt duk kat rumah. Off we went to the Westfield Connecticut Post Mall by bus. Plan asal nak sewa kereta for the weekend, tapi skrg nie takde weekend rate... terus tak jadi. Walau bagaimanapun, pergi tetap pergi... naik bas pun, naik bas la... hehehe...

another talent agent approached littleman...

something Gap, but not ours... ;)

Coins books, collecting 50 State Quarters... 1999 - 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Honda Shadow Aero (VT750C8)

Make: Honda
Model: Shadow Aero VT750C8
Body type: Cruiser / Easy rider
Color: Candy Dark Red / Dunhill Red
Engine: 750cc, Liquid cool V-twin SOHC
Transmission: Wide-ratio, 5 speed
Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons (inclusive 0.9 gallons reserved tank)

It has been almost 2 months now since Shadow is around. As of July 31, she clocked only at 75 miles. Most of the time Shadow was used for leisure ride and groceries shopping. So far, it is a great bike. Physical wise, she's a beauty. The long, low and wide fender with retro styling design really makes her stunning. Some might see her as the little sister of Harley Davidson's Fat Boy, which physically there's some resemblance (at least, from my point of view). The Dark Candy Red color with chromes really blends well together.

In terms of performance, I'm really happy with it for now. The muscular 750cc V-twin SOHC engines gives you the performance as expected. The mid-sized engine enough to drag the 550 lb bike to swoosh like a high performance cruisers on the street. I rode this bike on average speed between 40 to 55 mph. I know it can go faster than that, but I choose not to. She's a cruiser, not a superbike. You're supposedly to enjoy cruising on this bike, not race on it.

Handling the bike for a first timer is not that bad. You can adapt to its handling style after sometimes riding it. For those who are used to handling cruisers, handling Shadow is not a problem. The weight, handlebars and mid-sized engine are all in appropriate ratio.

Being a Japanese bike, the fuel consumption is really economical. In average, it can go up to 55 MPG on a normal street and up to 60 MPG for highways. That means, with a full tank, Shadow can clock an average of 200 MPG. What more can you asked? With the global increase of the price of petroleum, Shadow can really helps to streamlined your budget.

Shadow produces a reasonably loud sound from its tailpipe. It's not as loud as a Harley, but the sound that comes from the engine is really sweet for motorcycle enthusiasts. You can always upgrade to a Cobra exhaust system with K&N air filter to "sweeten" the sound. But, I choose to keep the stock exhaust system, for now.

Overall, the VT750C8 is really a great bike for rookies or experience riders. As Honda quoted, "The Honda Shadow Aero - Full-sized looks and 750cc performance without the full-sized price tag." However, I wished some other features that are lacking such as tachometer, fuel indicator and top speed / gear indicator should come together with it. Nothing major, but if these features are made available, it would be a plus point. Again, it is really a great bike!

Born to ride...
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