Sunday, April 25, 2010

Targets: Quick Update

Let's start with the first subject: cars.

My friend once said car is a mean of transportation to move from point A to point B. I agree. But in Dubai, point A to point B can be through construction sites, high way where some people really put the maximum speed limit in their cars to test, diverted road because of the constructions, desert and sand dune, gravel road due to constructions going on (man, there are just too many constructions here!), and not to forget due to the lack of parking space the cars must pass, and park, on the sand. So that's the reason why I believe SUV and 4WD cars are the most suitable vehicle for this city.

The thing is, I must had watched the last few James Bond movies too many times so when I moved back to Dubai at the end of 2008 I made a wrong decision by buying a Range Rover. This British SUV is a very good car indeed, but not the best 4WD to be used. It comes with big wheels and fancy low-profile tires, which means I can't deflate the tires to get more traction to drive on the sand. The awesome Terrain Response System becomes useless because I was too afraid to damage the expensive wheels or tires during offroading so finally I decided to sell it and get Toyota Land Cruiser, with 8-seat as family car, and FJ Cruiser for me to drifting around in the desert. I sold my Range Rover to get two Toyota cars, and still got small change from the deal :)

The FJ really gave me a chance to learn about the desert driving skills as you can see on my last few posts. This is inline with my first target in life. And since my current project in Dubai makes me go to the customer office that is only 10 minutes away from the desert, I was able to practice the skill almost every week. I call my activity as "Dune Every Week", I can do the desert offroading either during the weekend or right after the meeting at customer office.

My next target is snowboarding. Since I got the Gout Attack! on my left foot it has become difficult for me to wear the tight snowboarding shoes so I haven't had any chance to practice this skill (this is not the case with desert offroading, remember to drive my FJ I don't need to use my left foot since it has the automatic transmission). So now my kid is more skillful than me since she practices in the indoor snow park at least twice a month. She's much faster and can do the turn really quick, so I must try to catch up once I can wear the snowboarding shoes again.

For photography, I sold my Canon EOS 5D along with all the lens. I found that DLSR is not suitable with the style that I like. I like a camera that I can have full control and can use the manual mode just like the SLR indeed. But it has to be small so I can carry it anywhere. It must have "full frame" just like the 35 mm film. And I'm not into sport photography so I rarely used telephoto lens. Once I find my ideal camera I will post it here.

My kid has started taking the guitar lesson. So I guess one day she can be the lead guitarist for my band. Meanwhile I was thinking to get the "Guitar Hero" or "Rock Band" on Wii so at least I can simulate the jam session together with her because practicing the drum alone is not that fun I can tell you.

It's been a while since I travel due to my current project in Dubai. It's a blessing in disguise because it makes me able to learn the other skills like the desert driving above. And I'm already planning to travel this summer so let's see.

Now let's talk about the boring part: work related.

I've been busy with my current project to converge the core network of one mobile provider here in Dubai. The project makes me spend many nights working onsite at customer site. In fact, I'm writing this post in the middle of my night activity! I don't want to complain, but working at night means I have to sleep during the day and won't be able to do my targets. As I mentioned yes it's true the project meeting in the day at customer site allow me to go to the desert right after. But I still hope the project will end soon and my vampire life will end too. I'm planning to write down my experience btw, even I may or may not be able to share it here.

Regarding the certification, yes I failed my CCDE attempt on December. Again it took about 3 months to get the result, and the result report doesn't help at all to prepare for the next attempt. And again I have already known why I fail: during the exam I still think too detail. The CCDE is a very high level design exam so thinking in detail just as what I do for my daily work won't make me pass the exam. The good news is, I've got approval to attend a CCDE bootcamp by ProNet Expert here in Dubai. This bootcamp is claimed as the only CCDE bootcamp available today, due to the very less number of CCDEs to become the instructor, and will happen on 2nd week of May. At least the instructor who has passed the CCDE exam can tell me the way of thinking to answer the questions. So I may take another CCDE attempt on July in London (and this is a good reason to support my traveling target too!)

That's all for now.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Yet Another Dune Bashing

"Gentlemen, please gather around."

"Welcome to Area 53. This is a short briefing before we start."

"Always maintain the momentum to keep the car moving."

"Follow the track from the car in front of you."

"When climbing the dune, slower is better."

"We can always try again if we don't reach the top."

"Keep the safe distance between cars."

"In the side slope power is the only friend."

"Use low-range gear to descent the dune if needed."

"Be responsible for the car behind you."

"Steep dune. Bowl. Slip face. Let's do some dune bashing!"

(Pictures courtesy of Indra Wirawan)