Third times a charm.

Unfortunately I was unable to pass on my second attempt at the CCIE written. It was tougher than the previous version I attempted three years ago. I used the Boson Exam Simulator and I personally found it useless. I was able to get a refund on the software but it didn’t really cover the $580 for the CCIE written. 

All is not lost, the study I have done has prepared me for the CCNP route exam which I will attempt shortly to recertify. 

When I was in TAFE many years ago all I wanted was to wear a Cisco polo. It might sound stupid but every time I wear one it reminds me of the goal I set out to achieve. This new goal is still there, I will master it one day but for now I need to get back into the books and labs. I won’t attempt it again until I mastered every subject. The CCIE I do not take for granted, some people have said it’s the PHD of Networking and if I am to get the that level it will take every once of who I am.

So it’s back to the books for now.

~Brad.

Cisco Certified Father

I write this to let off some steam, I write this to take a break and motivate myself.

Recently, as in 7 days ago I became a Father for the first time. It has brightened my life and my direction more than I could ever imagine. In the last 3 months of the pregnancy I have been studying to sit the CCIE Routing & Switching Written Exam. I need to re-certify my current Cisco certs and wanted to attempt this exam after failing it a few years back.

I enjoy sitting new exams so I can learn new topics and new skills. My ultimate goal is to sit the CCIE Lab to become CCIE certified. I will attempt this maybe in the next year or so I think.

I have until July to pass this exam, so I have time up my sleeve, although I am on four weeks leave and trying to study while looking after the new born. It is proving to be difficult, so I wanted to explain my past and now present study tactics I use.

During the last 3 months, I watched a CBT nuggets every morning on the train to work. On the way home I would read a CCIE Exam Cert guide. I used to watch videos for one week, books for one week and then labs for on week but this isn’t working this time.

I am pretty tired and was planning 2 hours a day during the week for study, currently I’m getting about 1 at the moment. Its not going to cut it and the exam is at the end of the month.

My new plan, I am doing the Boson Ex Sim CCIE written practice exams. These exams are really tough and I can’t seem to break through the 70% mark yet. If i do fail, Boson will pay for the resit, as they guarantee a pass. At this stage its looking likely they will fund a resit. I find myself wondering, do I know enough and these exams are too hard or I am way off?

I decided to go back to my old T-SHOOT simulator through Boson, to check my knowledge. I did the first four simulators and got them right. I have never had an issue troubleshooting complex networks.

So here I am, 3 weeks away from the exam and I am going to have to change things up.

To motivate myself, I will put my new plan and some advice I have heard once before here. It may help other people when sitting exams and also re-motivate me.

  1. Always read every possible answer before just diving into what you know is right
  2. Remove the answer you know for sure are incorrect, leaving better odds on a guess
  3. When clicking start on the computer at the exam, write down everything you can from memory. Especially subnet masks and wildcard masks. Also binary and hex tables so you don’t waste time on them.
  4. Take your time and don’t panic. Try and use real world examples when you were troubleshooting a protocol in the work place to help your logic.
  5. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

My current study plan is now –

  1. Small study till the end of this weekend (practice questions, chapters here and there)
  2. Starting Monday, One Video, One Lab and One full practice exam. After the practice exam, right down the troubling topics and use them the next day.
  3. For Monday I will be studying NBAR, IPv6 NAT and SDN.
  4. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

Hopefully Freddie (my son) can get some sleep and so can I to prepare for next weeks study. I am really one week behind and it was crazy to think I can study while looking after a newborn! But I am dedicated and I really want my CCIE. I want to really push myself to become one of the top engineers so I can one day either work for Cisco or become a Cisco teacher.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to School.

I face quite the challenge, in about 9 to 10 weeks I am going to be a first time Dad. I am going to take everything I have ever learnt and try and pass it on to another human being.

I hope I have learnt enough, I hope I know enough. I always hear people say I want the best for my kids, and of course I do too.

But I want something more.

I want to learn some new things as well.

I spoke with a colleague recently and he mentioned to me, when he teaches his new son something, he re-learns it himself. He takes away the illusion of that item, the familiarity and breaks it down to it’s simplest form. He almost, discovers it again for the first time. I look forward to those moments. I look forward to discovering again and in Master Yoda’s words “You must re-learn, what you have learned” seems an appropriate quote as any.

People say it changes you, possibly the very first moment of holding the newborn is when it happens. I have thought about this moment for sometime, and I am not sure how I am going to react. I know that my own worries and fears will amplify, when I hold the new born for the first time. I know that when I look at him or her, I will see Kerrie for the rest of my life. I know that what little drive I have left as I enter my late 30’s will amplify and become a roaring fire. It will fuel half of our our family for many decades, while we raise a new human.

Deep down, I have this want, this need for the new born to teach me about who I am. I like to believe I am very in tune with my surroundings and my body and mind. But, this new life could change all that, it might ask me to question what I know and what I don’t.

It might be too much to ask this new born to teach me, but I don’t believe I ever knew I was teaching my Dad something about himself. Actually, I probably still am teaching him things everyday without even knowing it.

So, what will I learn as I teach my child the ways of the world as I know it, and will I pass if a test appears. Will I rise above and excel, or will I crash and burn and wonder where it all went wrong?

Time will tell, but as I have said before, I can only guide them, I can’t control them as that would be to deny them the very feeling of being human.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fatherhood

I wonder what it is like to look at something that is half me and half my best friend? I wonder what it is like to look into your own eyes and watch someone just like you think and work their way through life?

It’s not like a mirror, more like a magnifying glass?

I worry about its first breath, I worry about its first day at school. I worry about its first love and its first hate. 

It’s still forming, it’s still being finalised and the finishing touches are getting closer. 

I sing to it, I talk to it. It’s even kicked me in the head already. 

When you come out, don’t worry because I’ll be here. Don’t worry because everything that can hurt you, I will protect you. But from time to time though, you must face this hurt alone. It’s what defines us, what’s makes us grow. You are a blank canvas with some traits etched into your genes. Ultimately you will be like no other, and no other will be like you. 

I’ll guide you and carry you some way, I’ll take you to the highest mountains and we will see the brightest stars. I will pick you up when you are down, and bring you down when you get to high. 

I’ll give you nothing but the truth, I’ll give you some of the skills you need for life, well the skills I have discovered in my time.

See I am still on my journey, I still learn everyday because life never stops growing and changing. I don’t have all the answers, maybe you will though. Maybe you will help me on my journey, maybe you will guide me and protect like I do you.

Maybe you will make me, a father. 

~Brad.

Trust

Do you cross on the red or wait for the green?

Trust is an important thing, it can make or break friendships, partnerships or relationships. 

Trust needs freedom. Freedom is what opens our minds to possibilities. 

You must trust yourself and your thoughts. But what if these thoughts are disturbed? What if these thoughts are not real. 

It begs the question, are our thoughts ourselves or seperate to our conscience? Is it our animal instincts, or another internal dialogue?

~Brad.

Butterflies

Things are about to change, I can feel it. First my hands tremble and a lump in my throat appears. I feel threatened. I feel exposed.

Why do we feel this way during change?

Once, many many sunrises ago, our ancestors needed the tremble. They needed the fear to survive. Without it, I wouldn’t be here writing this, you wouldn’t be here reading this. The dinosaurs have left us, but the energy, the threat has not. They come in suits, they come in flashing lights, they come as a doctor reading some bad news, or they come as a fire in the night.

When the butterflies appear, they only last a while. Its not just greener on the other side, its bliss. The rush you get from heading straight through your fear, that’s what gets you coming back.

Push forward, don’t ignore, don’t delay and don’t avoid. It’s what feeds the dinosaur. If you feed it too much, it gets too big.

Butterflies, they only live a day.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Day

There is a lot of things I don’t want to live through again. Starting high school, my driving test and the first day of my first job. These moments created a lot of anxiety for me as I have always been a nervous person. But yesterday is a day I could live over and over again.

I married my number one, my friend and lover.

Surrounded by friends and family, I never felt more comfortable in my life. The support from all that were there gave me so much strength and I finally believe I have become the person I was born to be.

I have looked for happiness in my life for a long time, I looked in my work and I looked in my location. But, only now do I realise that the person who stood next to me yesterday is the person that has made me happy this entire time.

I don’t need to look into the distance anymore, I just look to the person standing next to me, my wife. 

I want to be the best husband I can be, and like my father before me, a great dad one day.

~Brad

Coincidence

Ever wonder if you’re on the right path? Do you believe that you have a choice, or do you believe in fate?

For me, I think things happen for a reason. People meet for a reason. The universe is very powerful and you may or may not be aware of its power.

I find that when you make a big decision or do something out of the ordinary and you start to see coincidences, you are on the right path. Things are all tied together, things are intertwined.

We are all made of the same matter, so any energy from one piece of matter has to be the same as other matter. This is how we can feel things. This is how some people can see things.

Personally, I can’t see things. I can’t see people that have left us behind. But I can feel things, I can sense things.

Now, is this intuition, is this life experience, is this life so structured and designed I can see what is coming? Can I predict the likely thing that will happen next?

Coincidences to me, are markers. They are ways the universe show you that you are on your correct path. Why else would they appear? Why are they connected to us in this way. Why do they reveal themselves to us? Do we subconsciously search for them?

Next time you see a coincidence, work backwards from that moment. Ask yourself how did you get to that coincidence. Why did you notice it, when others may pass you by?

Ask yourself, have people experienced the same coincidence at the exact same time?

Now, you may think to yourself what a load of shit. But, this is my life and my brain and my interpretation of the world around us. I believe in science, so I have made enough observations and analysed the data in my own brain. Maybe there is something more, something above our level of understanding to explain such feelings and emotions.

Chemicals in my brain, create these thoughts. They create these thoughts of gods and love, anger and passion. Its very hard to control something you don’t fully understand, the human brain is one of those mysteries.

If someone created us then they actually created the very fabric of what we call the universe. They can’t be part of this fabric to create it, so I guess its the same question over and over, what came first the creator or the creation?

 

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction

Charles was a lover of the great outdoors. He had organized to go up to the lake this summer, hang with his buddies. Fishing, beers and playing some guitar. Dream while looking at the stars, dream while the endorphins are high.

It was about a 2 hour trip to the lake. Ben, his old buddy from high school was driving his pick up. Charles had brought his hand held radios to talk some shit over, to pass the time. Ben had to detour and pick-up John from Hedgetown Station, conveniently on the way.

John had travelled from the big city. He working some white collar job there, left our town a few years back. He was in need of a trip to the lake. They all were.

Charles continued on to set-up camp. Ben was now out of range on the radio, so it was a lonely drive up the windy road to the lake.

Nice four man tent, for one man. Plenty of room for that fresh mountain air. Plenty of room if by some chance, a very very rare chance some ladies were to walk past a camp site at the lake. You never know.

Lake Solett was a hit with the young people lately. Some reports of Northern Lights a few months back due to some increase in Solar activity. Was a lovely place, but this time of year there was a blazing sun ahead and clear black skies at night.

Charles had set-up camp by the time John & Ben arrived. Beers were on ice and he was setting up fishing lines. I think it was about 6:30pm when they heard a splash.

“You hear that?” asked Charles. Ben and John quickly turned to find some ripples in the lake and some steam. Bubbles appeared on the surface, the smell of burning rubber filled the air.

“Probably a flying fish” Ben joked, smiling while grabbing a cold beer.

The smell quickly faded and the ripples faded. It was nothing. It was nothing to them.

The guys spent the first half of the evening drinking cold beers and cooking some BBQ. They laughed, they almost cried from the chuckles that filed the air. They hadn’t laughed like this for a while. The lake was quiet tonight, except for a few friends that wanted to kick back and relax.

Charles felt something on his neck. It wasn’t a bug. It was a hair. It stood straight up, and then a god awful sound appeared.

The sound of 100 trains, full steam. The brightness of 100 stars appearing behind them from the lake. It’s brilliance reflected in the water, the power made bubbles and ripples bigger than before. The sound and light was so powerful they couldn’t help but look. what was it. What was this light? this sound?

Charles, blinked.

The lake was gone.

Ben & John were gone.

The headlights where the last thing he saw that night on the way to the lake. The headlights, were the bright light we speak about for him, as he fell asleep at the wheel that night.

~Brad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantum Leap

Oh Boy!

In 2009, the leap back arrived. This was the 20th Anniversary of the hit TV show Quantum Leap and the Leap Back 2009 was a convention held in Los Angeles in March. I am a huge fan of the show so my I decided to make an 11 week holiday out of it with my girlfriend of the time.

This story, isn’t about the 11 week holiday. Its about the convention itself and the people we met and the fun times we had.

The convention was in Hollywood at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, just near Universal Studios.

Before the trip, I was on the message board, speaking with people that were also going to the convention. People were coming from all over the world, it kind of felt like I was going on another Contiki Tour! I can’t remember exactly how the next part of this story started, but I was in contact with the Master Of Ceremonies of the convention, Mr Marc B. Lee. He had decided to run a bowling event/tour the day before the convention.

The plan was to go out for the day, drive around to a few tourist spots and see the sites and then head to Lucky strikes Lanes near the Kodak Theater for some bowling.

We had two cars I remember, and we went to Santa Monica beach as a first stop. Walked the pier and enjoyed the sites. We also went through some mountainous areas seeing some great views of LA and other surrounding areas. We also headed up to the Griffith Observatory, made famous by James Dean and admired a brilliant view of Los Angeles and its surrounding ‘cities’.

I recall seeing a few famous movie star houses and I swear I saw Vin Diesel driving a car, but no one believed me.

After a drive throughout LA it was time to hit the bowling. Marc had organised some games and a good friend of his was meeting us. This good friend was Lee Arenberg, he is an actor famous for being in Seinfeld and as my mum constantly reminded me, the pirate ‘Pintel’ in Pirates of the Caribbean. We hung out playing ten pin bowling, had a couple of beers and just soaked up the atmosphere. He had also organized another guest Ed Wasser, from Babylon 5.

Marc had organized this as a unofficial event, and what a nice gesture for the Master of Ceremonies to take us around and show us a good time. I will never forget the hospitality he showed us that day. We had a great time and when it was time for Lee Arenberg to leave, I released I had promised my mum I would get his autograph. I don’t love asking people for there autograph, considering he had just come to do some bowling and hang out.

I asked anyway, and he was happy to oblige. So, mother got her autograph she asked for 🙂

Marc still has a website live, showing the event which you can see here –

https://themarcbleebowlingadventure.shutterfly.com/

The Leap Back Convention site still exists as well –

http://www.leapback2009.com/

The convention was great, we met a lot of different actors from various TV shows and movies. We met Scott Bakula and the creator Donald P Bellisario and had a great time. I haven’t watched Quantum Leap for sometime actually, so it might be time to dust off the old DVD’s!

 

~Brad.