Mid 2020

Ever since the lock down, I realised all the more I have been inconsitent with everything, from my next certification, learning new things, even personal relationships as if it just haulted and the only one that kept going was work.

I was worried that work will be unstable during these times but it was the opposite, it has been full on. There was a number of weekends that I had to lose just to get something across. It was almost like last year where we were rushing towards the end of financial year.

Traffic to my website is still driven by how-to’s which makes sense and I still need to put up my next one. I guess that is really my niche.

On the certification side, I am preparing for the Azure-900 certification after getting a voucher for attending an online training. I have started creating flash cards for it. Definitely this will not be another CCNA CyberOps experience where I had the training but did not take on the exam which was a missed opportunity a few years back.

As for my youtube channel which revolves around my CCIE journey, playing with the idea of changing the format but we’ll see after I go through all the other things I need to update for now we’ll start with this website.

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Breaking Promises

It is true promises are meant to be broken and I think I have been breaking them (almost) everday. I promised myself to eat healthy, exercise almost everyday, learn something new each day, get my CCIE RS (now renamed Enterprise Infrastructure), water my plants regularly.

But here I am still striving every single day to get to those promises I made myself. As Scott Adam puts it, systems are better than goals to achieve success. I think of it as like playing basketball, the measurement of success is winning the game, advancing to the finals and bringing home the trophy. You do it by shooting each “goal”, pun intended. It’s the system that the team put in place, system of practice, offence, defence and everything else to make a formidable team.

That is what I try to apply now, gone are the days of aiming for goals but putting system in place. Having the least amount of friction to get me into a habit. This may look like having my vitamins and supplements by the diner table to remind me to take them after each meal, it’s having my rubber shoes right next to the eliptical so I can easily put them on, it is having my diary right next to my PC to trigger a reminder to write. It is putting in photos of the things I want to achieve as my screensaver instead of putting up a physical dream board.

As for getting back to my CCIE study, I will be honest, it is inconsistent and still need to have a system for it. Lately I have been asking the question why do I want it. The reason has been inconsistent which reflects my response to putting a system to it.

Cow Turd

Finally I was able to borrow a copy of “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adam. If you’re not familiar with the author, he the guy who created comic strip Dilbert to put it simply. I’ve once heard him on a podcast and this book but completely forgot about it until I’ve gone searching in my local library.

It is a funny but insightful book, I am not yet half way of the book but I am completely hooked! Scott quotes the famous Nietzche “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. If we have been in this journey of self-development and striving to be on top of our game this is a typical philosophical go to quote. It encourages us to be courageous and never be afraid of failure.

Scott think this is a lame idea comparing it to stepping into cow turd. If you find cow turd in front of your yard you don’t just let it stay there isn’t it? You go pick it up and either put it aside or throw it out. In fact you can even use it as fertiliser. In other words, failure or hardship is not just there to weather to actually learn and take advantage of it.

I’ve seen this so many times in my life most specially now at work. I can to draw up documents I have not created before in terms of details. It got rejected multiple times but instead of being in the tub in a fetal position balling my eyes out of self pity, I go through the feedback research some more and hit the saddle again.

In the past whenever I failed an exam and or certification. Lol, yes the CCIE lab exam left a bad taste but it did not scare me for life. It was considered a battle scare that eventually would have to face again in the future.

“Failure is a Resource that can be Managed”

Scot Adam, Author “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”

The New Normal

I am getting a hang of this new normal. If you are new to my blog then welcome. If you have been regularly following this website, the format has changed a bit for the last couple of months. From IT how-to’s I have temporarily shifted my writing more into insights particularly since the start of the year when things have changed drastically for most of us.

The new normal for me is waking up early mostly before 5am, get up, drink a glass of water, prepare my drink of C4 pre-workout. The moment I get that C4 into my system, I have 30mins to do my 5-minute journal, go through my to-do list for the day via Todoist (my favorite app to date), get on my sneakers and its either go hike up Mt Gravatt or just hop on my eliptical to hit atleast 8Kms.

Take a shower, breakfast, fix myself some coffee and head to my home office. If you have seen some of my youtube videos, you’ll have a good idea what it looks like. It pretty much looks the same except that most of the monitors are being powered by the office laptop.

Check the email, going through my MS Planner usually before 8am. By eight, I type in “good morning” to greet my team at work via MS Teams and its like the unspoken action meaning I’ve clocked in. My outlook calendar would typically be filled with back to back meetings including invites steam rolling through my pre-set focus time.

Yes this is my new normal, depending on how busy the day is the deadlines to meet, the end of the day may extend all the way til the sleeping hours. I am not complaining, everyday in all honesty I am in full gratitude thinking atleast I am not one of those guys that got stood down or let go because business is not doing well. In fact, it has been busy and I’m not seeing any slow down happening so far.

The best part about it, is despite the busy schedule I am learning a lot more in warp speed being at home. I get to focus to the point I had to intensionally create a timer to alarm every 45minutes to tell me to pause. I could get into a state of flow for hours and this can not be good for me.

I am expecting that everyone might be called back to work within the next month or two. If you ask me now, I don’t see the value to going back to the office if it means I will get constantly distracted. But who knows. All I can do at the moment is enjoy, work and hangon at this ride.

Missed the plot…

It is almost the end of the 2nd week of our work from home scheme as we wait for this pandemic to bend the curb eventually flattening it as soon as possible. I look at the stats regarding the web traffic visit on my site and noticed most are still going about the usual topics on networking.

In the meantime, I keep my blog updated with my thoughts. I just couldn’t get myself to write anything useful in a technical sense. I am in no way compelled to write anything technical. Just a little overwhelmed by the thought of whats going around.

I looked at the screensaver on another screen here in my home office. It goes through photos of different places around the world that I’ve either visited and wanted to see in the future. With the current situation, it would be most likely it will be a while before I even get myself on a plane flying anywhere outside the country.

Most of the work at the moment are preparing for communications design for the hospital as the state is preparing for the worst to happen. The country is sort of on a lock down with mostly everything closed off from cinemas, indoor and outdoor sports areas, sporting events are either cancelled or postponed. The government are doing everything it can to discourage people not to congregate while not making it look like we are in a complete lockdown.

People if they want to can technically drove into parks, beaches or any open area without getting arrested. Most likely the most you can experience is be frowned upon or worst someone taking a video of you and post it on social media. Boom! overnight stardom if it goes viral and gets the government’s attention.

In the US, Trump seems to be living in lala land like some Filipinos when they were calling the government to do mass testing for everyone despite knowing they don’t even have the capability to care for covid patience let alone get millions do pro-active testing. Anyway, as I was saying, Trump just said he would want the country to be open by Easter which is roughly three weeks away. He imagined businesses opening up and people going to churches celebrating easter. Assuming a miracle does happen, I will probably starting thinking he’s either the messaiah or the anti-Christ.

I don’t feel comfortable having people around the house for now. My daughter and her boyfriend will be going to the house and have lunch. In my mind, they, including my wife probably missed the plot of encouraging everyone to stay at home. Knowing that people can go around not feeling a thing and could still be a carrier without them knowing brings chills in my spine. I am not saying I don’t trust them but I would rather be paranoid in this instance than either finding my wife or myself either with a ventilator or isolated from each other for weeks.

I just could not afford that. I would rather bunker myself at home doing work. Helping my company provide solution to Queensland health. I may not be working in as frontline like the health workers but I am part of something important. Getting me sidelined, be in critical conditioned or worst die is not the ideal scenario. I want to see this thing  through.

Enjoying freedom to roam or what’s left of it…

It is 10:26pm Sunday Queensland, world tally in a nutshell:

315K+ total Coronavirus cases

13.5K+ Deaths

95K+ Recovered

Looking at the stats around the world, its like a grim version of the gold medal stats during the Olympics. Instead of medal counts per country, its comparing the total number of cases. Yesterday, USA had gone up to rank 3 from the most number of cases for the day however today it has moved down and Spain took over again because of the additional 3K+ new cases and 344 new recorded deaths.

Meantime here at home, meaning Australia. Starting noon tomorrow Monday all licensed pubs, clubs, cinemas, place of worship with be closed for atleast 6-months. Domestic travel is now being discouraged, New South Whales and Victoria will go on lockdown within 48hrs while South and Western Australia will close off its borders and will require a 14-day quarantine to all domestic visitors crossing the border. Unless something changes, we should expect this to be in place atleast within 6-months.

I was at Kangaroo Point this late afternoon with my lovely wife, it is this amazing strip in Brisbane overlooking the Brisbane River and CBD. There you can still see a lot of friends and families going about their usual weekend stroll and mostly not following the recommended social distancing measures.

I was just thinking, it may either come to a point where force would be use to convince people to follow or have a personal experience with the virus either themselves or a loved one. At the same time, I reflect on the possibility that even a simple stroll in the park will be taken away from all of us just to taper the spread of this virus.


Grateful to whatever is left…for now

First weekend in Brisbane in this new normal as the rest of the world wrestles to deal with this pandemic. At the time of writing it has been reported there’s more than 276.460+ covid-19 cases around the world with 11,417+ deaths.

Back in the Philippines (PH), there’s more enhanced lockdowns as more cases are being reported. Here in Australia, its borders just closed indefinitely for all non-citizen and non-resident. This means assuming that the PH lifts  this lockdown in Luzon, my folks won’t likely to get here sooner until our border here allows tourist travels once again.

Meanwhile in the US, staggering number of confirmed covid-19 cases are pouring in. If everyone there don’t act quickly, it may look like another Italy.

Social distancing has increased here in Australia allowing for atleast 4 square meter distancing. This prompted the church I attend to, to have all its services online instead. On the bright side, my wife and I went to get groceries and there weren’t much people out and about. There’s now a good supply of toilet paper and meat unlike the last few weeks. There’s also now a set limit to the number of item a person could pick up on some of the items.

We have Phil (our gardener) at the back tending to our lawn, once he’s done we would be able to move around freely at the backyard. Heavy rains from a few weeks ago, grew weeds in our backyard making it too hard to roam around.

For now, I am grateful that I still live in a country where you can still get out of your house to freely roam around for essential things like grocery, go for a run, hike, stroll around as long as you practice the required social distance. I am grateful I live in a house that has enough land area that in the event (hopefully it won’t get to that) we won’t have the freedom to go out the street for anything, we have enough room to move around.

A recession is almost certain to happen, my wife just lost her job, I am uncertain how our company will do once all these is over. It will eventually be over and its all a matter of time but as well as everyone’s tolerance surviving throughout this health crisis.

I choose to be grateful. With things changing every minute, the reality is, whatever we currently enjoy or have can be taken away from us.


Turn of events

It is 4:30am end of the weekday Friday. I’ve written a few days ago I am expecting my folks to arrive this morning. However, due to the ever growing concern and spread of this new corona virus things can easily change everywhere.

A day after a booked a one-way ticket for my folks, the Philippine government changed their minds to lift the 72-hour banned on international flights outside the main island. All except locals with tourist visas can be allowed to get out of the country, tourist visa would be my folks. Amidst all our efforts to keep them safe, the country (Philippines) made it impossible for them to get out.

The dillema now, for my folks atleast, is them living with my brother and his family indefinitely until all these chaos subsides. Parents being my parents don’t feel at ease with the arrangement as they don’t want to be a burden to my brother. I get it but it outweights the risks and emotional worry they will put everyone through by going outside the main city.

In the meantime, as of 9:00pm tonight Australia will close off its borders to all non-citizens and residents for an unknown period. With all these changes or restrictions being made, they are hinting it would be a minimum of 6-months of implementation.

With no signs of this health calamity ending anytime soon, all we can do is stay calm, hope, pray that all will be well.

Uncertain times…

It is almost midnight and I’ve just spent a few hours watching and reading the news regarding Novel Covid-19. We are definitely in unknown territories in terms of fighting something that no one sees.

Three weeks ago, the family and I were supposed to have our overseas trip to South Korea for 10-days. Amidst a pending crisis of Covid-19 cases reaching 800+ at the time, we have decided to went ahead and take the trip. The evening before the trip, we received an email notifying us that all flights to S. Korea has been cancelled. We were given the option to either get a full refund or rebook our trip, I chose the latter and get it moved later this year. It was like dodging a bullet there as the cases of infected rise all the way to 8K+ at the time of writing.

My folks were scheduled to fly over here in Australia for a 2 month visit, with the number of cases still rising around the world. We then again made a decision to move forward their flight 2 weeks earlier. At the time we re-booked their tickets, the Philippine government imposed a community quarantine within the Capital Region a week and a half before my parent’s flight. As they were living outside the Capital this means they might find it difficult to get into the city on the day. I have convinced them to immediately moved to my brother’s house and stay with them until the day of their flight.

Over the weekend, the Australian government has issued that it will mandate all incoming people including citizen from any country to go through self-quarantine for 14-days upon arrival. This includes everyone that will be staying with them within the household. Obviously this means, once my folks arrive and stay with us. We have no choice but to self-quarantine  ourselves with them.

This means stocking up on food supplies good for 2-weeks. Giving a heads-up at work that we have to work from home.

Went to the groceries this afternoon and there were empty aisles. At this point, we would just have to check daily hoping they’ll restock so we have enough in preparation for that 2-weeks.

In all honesty it can be stressful. I told my wife and colleagues the other day, I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t predict anything the following day. I couldn’t even imagine what it’ll look like when this virus dies down. All I can do is just hope and pray…


Embrace the suck

Last month of summer here in Brisbane, Australia. After a series of bushfires and heavy rainfall reaping havoc in the state, it has finally calmed down. Aside from that, everyone’s back to work for a month from the Christmas break and everything is running full steam ahead again.

This year I have RE-started a passion, I’ve been playing table tenning again. Last time I played an actual scored game was back in the Philippines. It got re-ignited when work has a table tennis table and a gym on premise. How convenient is that?

Anyway obviously being the relatively “new” guy playing among the engineers who’ve been there for years playing table tennis. I suck! Like really suck. I couldn’t return a serve properly, could not get the ball across when I serve. Since most of the games were played in doubles, no one really wants to be partnered up (me) with a newbie where chances of us winning is slim close to zero.

Determined to be up to speed and be useful to whoever gets partnered up with me, I started investing in learning the game. Over Christmas, I invested on my own table tennis, bought bats, even got myself a robot, convinced my wife to occasionally played with me even to join me for a beginners class at a local table tennis club once a week.

I have improved though it still suck in comparison to the guys at work but the longer I play, practice and stick with it eventually I will get there.

I am always reminded when I started out my career here in Australia moving from the United States. I knew it will suck. I anticipated it will take time, resources, perseverance and patience with myself but eventually I will get there.

When I decided to pursue IT Networking from System Admin, I bought my first Cisco kit from ebay. I stacked them on milk crates and spent hours learning every command and annoying my CCIE friend even late at night for some answers to some silly questions (thinking about it now). My wife who endured everything in the process, I will be forever grateful for.

Worked my butt off until I get to managed a team of Network Engineers for a MSP/ISP, moved up from one company to another. Now I don’t do OPS and more into Pre-sales and Solutions creation. Every new job or situation I am subjected to the “suck” feeling. It keeps me grounded, It keeps me forever being a student.