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.

  • 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!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

just passing time

  1. tiny ink stone
  2. tiny bowl
  3. tiny spoon
  4. tiny ink stick
  5. tiny brush (x2)
  6. tiny rice paper
  7. tiny introductory guide to Chinese calligraphy
I got this from the Logos Hope book ship earlier this year and like most other things else I own, it sits idly waiting for me to give it a try. For those of you who think I have given up on blogging, I haven't. I even want to start a photo blog on tumblr. Please correct me if I'm confused though because I probably have only spent exactly 6 minutes scrolling through tumblr and came to the conclusion that it is a blogging site.

So whats new? I still have my job and they attempt to drown me with work. I still manage to keep my head up, I got over 4.5 out of 5 for my annual appraisal, my highest score yet. It is kind of strange that I am getting review scores like these now that I am distracted with the little monster(see below) and school. I still also manage to pass my postgraduate courses as well, so far it seems like I am going with a B+ average.. no distinction there but for the little work that I have been putting in I am pleasantly surprised and more than satisfied. It is ridiculous how much material they expect you to learn in 6 weeks, do a project, presentation, homework then sit an exam and start the process all over again. I can't wait for the two years to be over.

Lastly my little monster.. sigh. Not a bad way to spend my time.

She insists on putting everything in her mouth.. I understand though, I somewhat remember the days when everything was new to me, the good old days. She is 6+ months now and has 6 teeth. She can't move to a sitting position on her own but if she has stuff to grab on she can climb up to a standing position all by herself, of course to create more mischief.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jamaica not living up to its name

Who knows what that is?

Give up? it's a swing check valve I bought last week to replace a spring check valve that is on the outlet of my water tank that is preventing me from getting the last few liters of water that potentially remain in my tank. To back track a bit let me bring everybody up to speed for those of you who do not live in Kingston, Jamaica. We are currently going through an extended drought and the NWC reserves(for the Liguanea plains) are running low. Now to prevent them from running dry they have instituted drastic blackout periods with areas, such as the one I live in, seeing as little as 4 hours of supply per day at low pressure.

The last time I checked Jamaica was supposed to be the land of wood and water, in fact it is inherent in the definition of Jamaica but some how I only "have" water for 20 hours of the week. I also need to mention that during those few hours I still do not actually get water as the pressure is so low it only serves the ground floor and I live one floor up. To further complicate things my water tank is on the roof, 4 floors up, so you know that has not seen the likes of water for many weeks now. Ahh the many joys of apartment life.

How do I cope? I have some 5 gallon buckets, some smaller buckets and a large array of 5 litre bottles that I fill up by the garden pipe on the common front lawn when water is available downstairs and haul up the precious commodity back home. Other people have opted to buy water from water trucks who are making a killing during this period. They charge retail $2000 to fill a 200 gallon tank and I think around $8000 for the whole truck of water. I also question the quality of the water these trucks are supplying as well as people see them drawing water from questionable(swamp) sources and delivering it untreated.

I also have my parents who live on the outskirts of town to rely on. I took a shower at their house and gathered water from them today since there was no water at all for the past two days and my in apartment reserves were running low. But when I came home it seemed like the whole community reached a low point as I saw a water truck delivering water and about 10 of my neighbors came out with their bottles to get some "free" water. A pretty sad sight to see them scampering for the little water that the truck man would allow them to take.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

UWI Carnival '10

As with my usual tradition I was at the UWI Mona ring road Carnival event today. Unlike the other years things have changed though. First of all I actually belonged there, I stepped out class around 4:30pm and things were just getting kicked off. I heard them advertise it a few times on the radio leading up to this so I came prepared with my EOS body, 50mm and 135mm M42 lenses, this is the other change. I would usually try to capture all the action shots but my intentions with these lenses was to capture wonderfully focused portraits drowned in poor man's bokeh. These manual focus lenses with such a shallow depth of focus is the amateur photographers arch-nemesis to action scenes such as what I was facing, young college coeds gyrating their waists like they were on fire.

I was pretty casual, only sitting down on the grass waiting for someone to stop long enough for me to snap them. I am sure the thousands of viewers that google pours in to this site yearly will be disappointed that there are no scantily clad 18 year olds here anymore. Don't worry though I got an eye full for all y'all as they worked themselves up into a frenzy.

I wish had more old M42 lenses, most of my favorite shots of my daughter was taken with 50mm lens, my money goes elsewhere now.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

At work..


It is almost 1am and I am at work yet again. I was in the middle of watching the hurt locker(great movie so far) and I got the call to come in. meh.

My work here is just to watch the building services people flip between JPS, UPS and all sorts of combinations of bypass while my servers go flip flop waiting for the power to settle.

All is well though, I haven't blogged in a bit for good reasons. look out for more in the near future.