Monday, January 13, 2014

New year, same direction

"Like a raft or ruderless boat" was the title of my first post(and as of now not my only post) for the year. I had intended to talk about my general lack of interest in reaching any goals(or setting any for that matter) for 2013 and my plans for 2014 but my rustyness of blogging got that thrown offtrack rather quickly.

Let me start off by stating that I have always had my bar set very low(by my observed societal standards). This does not bother me, in fact I am quite happy that I have achieved everything(from my younger years) that I had set out to and that those goals never did change, I am quite set in my ways. I had reached the top of Maslow's pyramid so what next? The modus operandi was just child rearing and that I did.

Throughout the year other than my usual reading on the natural sciences(and technical manuals according to my father) my thirst for information broadened to religion, philosophy and culture. My view on life has been changed but things remain the same. This is not a bad thing.

So what do I have planned for this year? The only thing that comes to mind is to enjoy my surroundings more. This was always on the list so I guess no change.

Look, its 2014 me :-). I really can't tell when last I've published a photo of me on facebook.. much less this blog but this weekend on the theme of enjoying my surroundings more I drove a surprising short distance and did a short hike to find some of the most refreshing waters I have been in a long time.

The water registered 22.7C not really cold but by my Jamaican standards, it was like it came fresh from the refrigerator! I sat in the water and little fish came to nibble on me, it was a bit disturbing at first but they did no harm that I could detect so I let them be. I chatted to a few of locals that passed by and they were very friendly, I will definitely be making time this year to find time to relax here and to find more spots like this.

Like my watch? I recently got it from a friend as a token of appreciation for helping out in a potentially deadly situation that happened about a year ago. It is an interesting back story that I should write about but that would have to be another post.

Does anyone follow me on tumblr? I have a nicer unobstructed view of a different waterfall along the same hike route. I will probably post a video there too :)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Like a raft or rudderless boat

I haven't been a very good blogger over the past few years and it is unlikely that I will improve over the years to come. In fact I have had internal turmoil throughout 2013 as to whether or not to post a final entry informing those who may stumble upon this lonely site or to delete the whole site all together. I may have stated this before but it is simply because I am in a different state of mind from when I started blogging in 2006 or I could even go as far as to say I am a whole different person :-p. Sorry for the nerd joke, I hope someone got it but anyway lets come off this topic.

A while back I blogged about getting a clone of the original Arduino board and it was just as quickly banished to collecting dust on my desk as I grew board of some of the limitations(both hardware and software) I found with it. So I moved from the AVR camp and moved to PIC. If you are unfamiliar in the MCU world this is the equivalent to the following analogies:

  • Moving from Intel to AMD
  • Moving from Nvidia to ATI
  • Moving from IOS to Android
  • Moving from a Toyota Supra to Nissan Skyline
  • Moving from a Mitzubishi Evolution to Subaru Impreza
  • Moving from a frozen yogurt preference to icecream
or vice-versa depending on which camp you sit in. The PIC 12f683, 8pin dip MCUs pictured below, forced me to learn assembly. This is a very time intensive hobby so I didn't get a chance to fully utilize all of its peripherals in my projects before I grew tired of tediously moving registers around, loading w, working only with 8bit registers, not having hardware multiply/divide operations and the manual memory management so I bought some more advanced PIC MCUs that could handle the C programming language.
Apparently I bought low voltage chips that required a special programmer, I tried using a pikit3 and didn't have much success. I didn't really try that hard but I moved on, I realized that Arduinos were dirt cheap if you bought them in the mini flavors as pictured above. The programmer in the photo is some generic serial type one and it doesn't work with the usb to rs232 cables so I need a real serial port to use it. Since we are on the topic of this photo lets take some time to admire my work of making a 4 braid ttl uart cable for communicating with these breadboard platforms lol

Hopefully the MCU aspect of my electronics hobby doesn't fall to its usual fate of collecting dust on my desk or draw somewhere for 2014, I am waiting for the delivery of a few other items that should make for some useful projects: 2.4GHz wireless transceivers, RTCs, temperature sensors, microphones, accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Sorry to start off the year with such a geeky post, hopefully my next post is this year and soon(I only did one post last year) will be about new years resolutions or lack of any for me. So what are your resolutions for this year?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kicking the bucket.. list

On July 14, 2009 I published a post titled Homeowner: check with the following excerpt of my goals list as at that date.

- Go back to Disney world.
- Get post graduate degree.
- Become propertied by 26.
- ... etc.

Well this is one life goal I am glad to cross off the list and I have now replaced it with the goal of shaving 17 years off my mortgage term to finish paying back my loan in 8 years. This of course is under the assumption that all things remain equal, yes I aim high.
As you can see the goals back then was to finsih grad school and to pay off my mortgage in 8 years. For those of you that followed this blog you should have already gotten wind that I have finished my post graduate degree with much tribulation but what is new is that I have payed off my mortgage. By my calculations I have saved quite a few pennies in interest payments by liquidating a 25 year loan in less than 4 years.

As I sit here typing this update I have been trying to figure out what next? I need to give this more thought but this is the updated list
  • Go back to DisneyWorld
  • Get post graduate degree
  • Buy house by 26
  • Pay off mortgage by 2017 (did it by 2012!)
  • Go skydiving
  • Buy a boat
  • Buy a house 
  • Do a 2+ minute freedive
Given that all things remain equal the new additions to my list shouldn't be unacheivable. I must say I am not a fan of having assets that depreciate and add considerate amount of operational expenses so I am not sure if I am going to keep the boat on the list but I absolutely love the sea. I have been looking at the secondary market for 20' outboard motor boats and drooling. It would be a lot simpler if I had friends that were hooked up, I could just bum a ride with them and fill that void but I have yet to find such friends.

Friday, May 11, 2012

To Cayman and back

To continue on recapping all that has happened in the past it was exactly one year ago to this date I was in Cayman.



There is much I can write about the two weeks I spent on the island of Grand Cayman but I will try to keep it light. I stayed in a hotel close to their famous "7 Mile Beach" just North of the capital Georgetown. Being a Jamaican and all I was never impressed when I heard Caymanians speak of this place seeing as how we have our own 7 mile beach in Negril at home but I must humbly say that we do not compare come close to the quality of their fluffy white sands or the views of spectacular beach front property along the 7 mile stretch.

Now with all of my free time after work, I took it upon myself to make several treks up and down this beach. I learned a few lessons which I shall share with you today.
  1. Take into consideration the walk back if you spend hours casually walking on the beach in one direction away from your hotel. One night after sunset I ended up and the south end of the beach and looked back, the hotel was nowhere in sight. I made my way off the beach back to the main road(which may not be as scenic but much easier to walk on than sand) and had to endure the long and tedious walk back.
  2. Everyday is a beach day. It didn't matter if it was a work day or Sunday. The beach was littered with people both local and tourists, there was families with a picnic, beach volley baller and water sports. There was always a lot of activity.
  3. On the matter of locals and tourists it was very hard to tell them apart. The motto for Jamaica is "Out of many one people" but I need to submit to the relevant authorities to have that motto transferred to Cayman. Cayman is one big mixing pot of people from all over the world, some permanent some transient. My guess is being a tax haven for big business adds a constant slew of expats to the population.
There is much more to say about my stay there but somehow I am not seeing the pictures on my laptop so I will have to continue when I can find them.

Friday, March 30, 2012

R and R

It is late and I do not particularly feel like thinking so I shall not be recapping any of the bulleted points of what I did over the last two years but I will leave you with the photo of the oh so lovely Kingston harbor below(you can thank me later for cropping out the floating debris with my mad gimp skills).


I don't know about y'all but I'm going to the beach this weekend. It is the same old story, I work standby a lot of the times but this weekend I am off so lots of sunshine and white sand for me. I was supposed to go with a friend but it seems as if she has bailed on me, or is dead in a ditch somewhere. Whatever the case may be she has not answered my txt messages nor calls today so yeah it will be just me soaking up the sun. I used to think it was a bit odd to go to the beach by yourself but, eff that, I need some down time so I'll be burnt a crispy brown on my back as I spend the hours snorkeling our local reefs.

What will you be doing this weekend?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Loosing teeth

As I mentioned before, I lost some of my wisdom in my fist surgery ever. My dentist had been trying to get me to remove all four of my wisdom teeth and I have been putting it off as I was not into throwing my money at some monster who wants to inflict pain on me. That being the case I stuck his referral to the dental surgeon on my fridge and it sat their for years getting tattered.

I had a condition, two of them were impacted, the bottom pair were growing sideways and pushing against their sole neighbours. Based on the diagram above they were in the state of the teeth in the top left quad, 'angular'. Whatever the case or state was I went through a painful episode where the flap of gum over the teeth became inflamed and the top wisdom teeth that erupted fine were actually biting down on the gum. This was not a nice feeling so when it occurred a second time a couple of months after it was time for them to go.

Now I am not sure how much of a coincidence this is but my last regular blog post was on August 27, 2010 at 3am and because I keep such good records at 11am that same day I did the surgery. Apparently I did it at the end of my vacation, silly me I should have filed for some sick days to do this. Anyway I'm sure I could go into a lot of detail of the procedure like the surgeon sticking my jaw bone with anesthetic(the needle was actually stuck in the bone) or one of my teeth shattering as he pried it out with his mid evil pliers from under the gum but I wont. I will leave you with my attempts of recording the end result of what was left after the extraction.

Thanks to my lack of photography skills a picture is not worth a thousand words. What you are not seeing on the leftmost photo is the blood and tissue that remained after the tooth was ripped from my jaw bone. After all of the cutting, sawing and ripping I had to get stitches on both sides of my mouth. The nurse failed to tell me how traumatic(to my flesh) it would have been when she asked if I was only doing one side or both, If I only knew then just maybe I wouldn't have given her a sarcastic response of both.

The procedure was the easy part, it was the recovery period that was torture. Now due to this doctors careless stitching I was unable to bite down and close my jaws completely so there goes any hope of eating solid foods. My face was swollen, I couldn't talk and I was in serious pain. That week my meals consisted of things I could swallow with ease: ice cream, mashed potato, soup and bullybeef. It wasn't until a full seven days later when they removed the thread from the stitches that I could properly bite down and actually eat again.


I snatched this xray exposure from my dentist the following year, it shows where the wisdom tooth should have been, the bottom right corner, and it also shows that the top wisdom tooth(also marked for removal) growing without restriction into that gap. Luckily for me since the top teeth have erupted and are going straight my regular dentist can remove them without any need for blood and gore. Also note all of my fillings :( yes I guess I had poor dental hygiene when I was little, where were my parents, I got all of those fillings when I was in prep school.

Anyway later for now, cya probably next week if I keep this up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So what have you been up to?

Well I must apologize for being noticeably absent from this page but I had good reason, I'll get into that in a later post. This is just an update of a few of things I consider note worthy that occurred in the past 19 or so months of this blackout. It may be out of order but I'll try my best.

  • Zoe, my daughter for those of you who don't know, turned one!
  • I lost a bit of wisdom with my first surgery ever.
  • I get hammered with school work as my group members all fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. This was probably one of the main reasons for my absence.
  • I opted for another surgery and lost a different piece of me.
  • I worked out of Cayman for two weeks. Great experience!
  • I had my first accident with the Jimny. :( Thankfully it wasn't my fault though.
  • I finished school, yay! I can now add MSc. to my credentials. I now have free time to burn.
  • I created two tumblr pages, never really figured out how to use it though. Is it like twitter? coz I dont really get twitter either.
  • Zoe turned two! No major incidents, I must be doing something right.
  • I upgraded my computer to a quad core beast(lol not really a beast but much faster than my old single core pc) in preparation to do video editing and vlogging. Who was I fooling, I can't vlog, I can't even get regular blogging right.
Well that is it for my update summary, I plan on expanding on most of these in the upcoming weeks as it seems as if I have breathing space at work once more.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

It only takes a minute

Happy birthday Santa!

A couple years ago I was 'Traveling' via google earth and I came across a Sinterklaas celebration that occurs on this day.

How odd. It looked like Santa, the concepts were the same as Santa but the dates where wrong. The long and short of it was that the Santa that I grew up to is based off this Dutch version of St. Nicholas. Every year since then I have always had it in the back of my head that Santa's birthday is on the 5th or 6th of December.

It really takes a lifetime to forget.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Made it back in one piece

Two posts in one month! holiday has been good to me. I spent the last few days in Portland giving my daughter her a proper introduction to my true love, the beach. She saw so many beaches in such a few days it was crazy, Frenchman's Cove, San San bay, Boston Bay, Long Bay and finally she stamped her name in the Visitors book of the Morant Point Lighthouse at the east most point of our little island.

I have always wanted to go to this remote lighthouse but I had neither the knowledge nor equipment(capable car,maps) to get there. This trip was quickly placed back on the table once I got the Jimny and my GPS unit sorted out. It takes about half an hour of driving through farm tracks that are surrounded by cane fields as fars as the eye can see. When you think things are bad you then leave the cane fields and drive for approximately another half an hour on a dirt track through the bush, with no cell reception and mud holes to potentially get stuck in. My car is pretty slim and it still barely fit on the path, there were bushes on both sides of the track that ensured the doors couldn't open. As a budding cartographer I have documented this journey here for others to follow as getting the coordinates to chart my way through this unmapped land was my other major hurdle.

This beach makes the trip through the bush totally worth it, the only people around were a one or two fisher folk doing some spear fishing. The water was clear and the sand powdery, the only thing you would need is a rake to clean up the sea weed and the random drift garbage. Blogspot does not do my photo any justice so if you want to see a much higher resolution version check out my panoramio page.

The photo on the left shows part of the smoother nicer path through low bush leading up to the light house. Don't be fooled though this is a like a freshly paved highway compared to other places you will have to drive through. My recommendations for those who would also like to make this trip?
1. A vehicle with 4x4 low gears.. I suspect the newer suv's with "full time 4wd" may have skipped out on these gears in their transfer box.
2. A GPS programmed with the coordinates I have provided through openstreetmap above or a friend who knows the way.

The second point is probably the most important one, you wouldn't want to get lost in a cane field, all the paths look the same. If you choose to ignore and want to rough it you could follow the single sign at the end of the cane field and hope for the best.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When the stars align


This is not my garden, I am somewhere in middle Jamaica approximately 2100 feet above sea level in a cool and windy Manchester. For some reason I have no courses scheduled(and more importantly no projects outstanding) for the next couple of weeks so I made the best of this odd occasion and took two weeks off work.

I plan to make the most of these few days off and plan to tour this little isle a bit and if weather permits take the jimny for a dip in Atlantic ocean at the east most point of the island :p

Photos to follow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

slacking off..

It has been two months without a post and yep I said it, finding time to write a post is me slacking off.

There is so much to do

  • house work
  • school work
  • baby work
  • work work
  • standby work
  • overtime work
  • sidejob work
Even my books are no longer balanced don't be fooled though, they are still mostly correct. On the plus side, my postgrad studies has reaped benifits already, I can now easily model my opex and capital requirements and make better decisions. I am now well on my way to paying off my mortgage in maybe 10 years all things remaining equal.

For those of you who may be interested this is what has been terrorizing everyone and everything in my apartment, don't watch the face, she just tasted something bad :p. She has just turned 10 months now and looks like she will soon be ready to start standing on her own for more than 5 seconds at a time.

So what else is new? let me review a few firsts and lasts since my last post two months ago.

FIRSTS:
  • I slept at school one night in the post graduate lounge before a morning exam. I was a bit too lazy to drive back home and risk not waking up in time so I just camped out on a couch and slept like a hobo. It's surprising how much activity goes on in the library late at night even when school is off its regular semester.
  • Swimming in the pool at school. I now swim there every chance I get, trying to build up my stamina so that one day I can swim the length with ease. I met a fellow blogger there one Saturday too. Hi Gela! come back to the blogshpere.
  • I bought a new GPS device. This new gadget+ the jimny and myself will conquer all corners of this land. First stop will be Morant Point.
  • Being disengaged at work. Change is the only thing constant at my company and I am now tired of it and their attempts to save every penny at their employees expense. Don't get it twisted, I still love my job and am very grateful for being gainfully employed.
  • Thanks to my coworker who didn't mind me swiping his test LG phone for a bit I am now an Android user. It's a nice phone and OS full of features but something doesn't seem right about it. I probably miss at least 10 calls a day due to this phone disconnecting them when I try to answer it. I don't recall having this issue with the bb or palm.
  • I was driving through Grants pen at around 11pm one night and the police caught me in their spot check drag net. All of my papers checked out ok but this fool still tried to get me to give him something, a monetary contribution I assume. I just took my papers, drove off and gave him a view of my tail lights.
Some lasts:
  • I canceled my last credit card with NCB. It was fun whilst it lasted we have traveled a small section of the world but it was time to part ways. The last thing I bought with it was probably some blank circuit boards from Japan in February.
  • The beach.. I cant tell when last I've been there. I miss you mr crab
  • ?
I guess the lasts list isnt as large. Anyway cya next month.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Objective function changed

My civic had served me well for the past 6 years but it was time for a change, when I bought this car I wanted something high performance and sporty. I have always wondered what my next car would be, I didn't really fancy any of the new cars on the market that I could afford. The civic still runs fine but I am very weary of such an old car that has been through so much. Seeing as I had a young one around now I wanted to shift away from a fast car to one of more utility.. I was also tired of driving such a low car and had to be mindful of how close I park up to the curb, I recently ripped off the front lip after it got hooked on the curb.. *sigh* I wasn't  really a fan of much SUVs apart from the Land Rover 60 since they guzzled gas and most of them were really just SUV body shells on a car chassis *cough* CRV.

Enter: Jimny


I had eyes for this car since I saw how rugged the Suzuki Samurais(Jimny predecessor) were. Picking this car was a very controversial move as everyone hates it(with a capital H). I didn't care much though it just means that it will less likely to be stolen. It also ment that finding one would prove to be very difficult, I searched the usual Sunday classified ads in the Gleaner week after week and nobody had any listed for sale. Some quick research revealed that these rugged cars often had owners that will not part ways with their vehicles, one is either a Jimny lover or a Jimny hater, there was no one in between. After 6 weeks of searching I only saw maybe 3 old Jimnys  that did not meet my criteria listed for sale in the classifieds and I figured this would be a waiting game as the used car dealers did not carry them and the local owners were not letting go of any.

I eventually found a dealer that had 2 that met my standards and my mechanic gave them the green light so I dropped a stack and got a '06 manual transmission Jimny. Surprisingly I could draw from my knowledge of 11 years ago when I was learning to drive and the transition back to manual transmission was relatively smooth. Can I say I love this tiny car? I have gotten a bit adventurous and even dusted off my gps reciever and power inverter and captured some data.

This is data from my trip as I left work one afternoon around 4:30pm and traveled from my downtown office to home. The top graph shows the speed(traffic was horrible! look at all of the dead spots) and the bottom graph shows the height above sea level. For those of you who haven't gone metric yet it starts at around 50 feet and goes up to 450. I have done a little bit of off roading so far and it has been great, I'll post more on that later. This last image is a plot on a map of the captured gps coordinates, I cropped off the last bit that detailed the final turns to my apartment.. the gps is surprisingly accurate, don't want any unwanted visitors.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

rubber cowy

Who knew the importance of a rubber ducky? the little monster now splashes and kicks up a storm if she doesn't have her bath toys to distract her.

FYI that is not a rubber duck it is a rubber chicken.. really now? she also has a sheep and a few other oddball animals.

The cow is my favorite. mooo!