Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

12/30/2005

I Resolve…

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,PERL,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

It’s almost New Year’s Eve, so I thought a link to a New Year’s Resolution Generator would be appropriate.
Originally, I did it to try and cheer up two special ladies who were having a rough holiday season. Honestly, I don’t know that it helped, but at least it kept my PERL CGI skills sharp and, I think, it’s a little bit of fun. And, yeah, the probabilities are weighted toward tequila drinking and kissing strangers. Hey, I’m single, it’s almost New Year’s Eve and if I can’t slant things in my favor, what’s the point of knowing a programming language at all?
Anyway, don’t take it too seriously and have a happy and safe New Year’s celebration!

12/29/2005

Brazilian Bride

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

A guy tried to sell me his wife’s cousin today.
At least, that’s how it felt. He was thanking me for working on his laptop, which is personal, but used for company business. I have to admit, it was a real bear considering all the spyware and junk on it. So, he said that the next time he’s in Brazil, where his young wife is from, he’d get me something and bring it back. Then, we got talking about a project I’m working on and he starts showing me pictures. Of course, all his pictures are mixed in together, so we see a bunch of family shots and he comes across a bunch of pictures from the beach. He laughs and says he could bring me back one of “those nice, little Brazilian girls, but my wife and yours would probably be unhappy.” I laugh and tell him that I’m divorced, so it’s all good. That’s when it happened. He pulls up this pic of a girl in a bikini and tells me she’s his wife’s cousin, or something, and she’d love to meet an American man.
“She’s even nineteen already, so it’d be no problem.” Right. Sure. I’m thirty-seven and he’s going to convince a ninteen-year-old who, at best, speaks English as a second language, to move North and marry me. Yeah, that’d be great for everyone involved. I mean, look, she was pretty and I’m all for people emigrating to this country and getting citizenship and all, but, uh, not that way and not with me that way.
That happened before 9:00am, and the day just got stranger from there…

Holiday Disasters

Filed under: Geek Work,MicroSoft,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Better late than never!
Okay, well, hopefully, you didn’t have any major IT problems with your company this holiday season, but you might next year. Think about it. The holidays are a great time to attack an IT department. For one thing, so many people take extra time off around the holidays that everyone’s working a skeleton crew. For another, even those of us at work are slacking pretty badly. Add in office parties to that and, well, you get some good opportunities to make a run at an unsuspecting victim.
Thankfully, the good folks at Techrepublic have prepared a little article about dealing with holiday disasters. It’s a good read and, hopefully, will alert you to some issues that might come up during the holiday season. Share it with your Helpdesk/Network Engineers/Whoever, if you can get them to focus long enough.

12/28/2005

Sci-Fi Headlines

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

A day for different stuff.
I have not indulged my obsession with science-fiction and fantasy here. Well, not much. Lately. Regardless, there were two headlines that caught my attention this morning from the SciFi Channel website.
First, J. K. Rowling will be starting the final installment of her Harry Potter series in January. There’s no completion date or publication date mentioned, but they’d better hurry or the three actors who play the leads in the movies will be too old! Daniel Radcliffe’s voice has already started to change, for pity’s sake! And, don’t even get me started on Emma Watson. (Did you know there are wackos out there who have a countdown until she turns eighteen? Oh, I’m so glad I’m not her father.)
The second headline that caught me was about a show that hasn’t aired yet, called The Book of Daniel. It’s about an Episcopal priest that has a drug problem, who’s married to an alchoholic, and has conversations with Christ wherein he apparently sees Jesus and hears His response. Okay, I get why this is a headline and all, but, uh, on the SciFi Channel website? Anyway, after reading the article, I may have to look out for the show when it hits TV next month. Sounds like my kind of show.
So, there you have it. These are the things I think about first thing in the morning and queue to post late in the afternoon.

So, I’m Spiderman…

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:04 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Yeah, so I took this goofy quiz and it said that…
Well, here:
Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Spider-Man
95%
Iron Man
65%
Catwoman
65%
The Flash
60%
Green Lantern
60%
Superman
60%
Hulk
50%
Robin
45%
Supergirl
45%
Batman
40%
Wonder Woman
20%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the “Which Superhero are you?” quiz…

Nice to know that boozy Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) came in number two since he’s a millionaire. Cool. (Though the fact that he tied with Catwoman does detract from the warm fuzzy feeling.) Though, if Doctor Strange were an option, I’m sure I’d have tested out as him. And, yes, this is a much better topic than what was running through my head this evening when I got home from getting groceries. I wonder if Doctor Strange has to worry about groceries….

12/27/2005

Somewhere In Time

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

“Say, kids, what time is it?”
Well, the server at my webhost isn’t too sure what time it is, actually. I was going through my stats this morning, to check up on you sneaky holiday visitors, and saw that someone had visited in the future. Allowing that, unless I had either overslept by twelve hours and we were having a solar eclipse or the laws of time and space had changed when I wasn’t looking, such an event shouldn’t happen, I checked my server time. Sure enough, it was twelve hours fast. Last week it was more than twelve hours slow, which caused a post to roll back, with all the comments on said post. But, that got fixed. So, this morning, I sent in a ticket. I’m sure it will get fixed eventually, but, until then, I’ll be living a little bit into the future. Now, if that only helped me get the groceries home faster or my bills paid on time….
(Oh, and the title of this post is also one of my favorite, super-sensitive-modern-guy, romantic-like movies, Somewhere in Time. Gotta’ love that Jane Seymour!)

I can’t believe…

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I ate the whole thing…
Well, not the whole thing, but, close enough.
See, I couldn’t afford to be home with family this year for Christmas, so I made Christmas dinner for Doc and I Sunday afternoon. It was good, but, as per usual when I really get into my cooking, I over-indulged a little bit.
Hilda, of course, made out like a bandit. Not only did she get several giant bones from Santa, but stole a large piece of turkey from the counter. She was so cute, though, that I could hardly stay mad at her. Besides, I probably would have given her a piece later, anyway.
Obviously, I survived reading Scripture. You have to picture this, though, the first time I’m reading or speaking in front of a significant crowd in close to 20 years and Mercy Street was packed to overflowing. It was literally standing room only. I think I read too fast, but, according to people in the audience, I did just fine. They should eventually have a podcast of the service available, so, you know I’ll have to go check it out and see how bad I rushed it.
I received a warning phone-call from a friend, followed by a call from his new, er, dating, ah, girl… Oh, whatever she is, she called to invite me to a New Year’s Eve party. Apparently, he was worried that they were going to be a little testosterone impaired, so I got called in for reinforcements. I’ll be bringing my near infamous beer bread, too, so that I’m there for more than my gender. (Hey, a guy’s gotta’ do what a guy’s gotta’ do.)
I abandoned the book I was trying to force myself to finish this weekend, Writing Personal Essays. It just wasn’t giving me any really new information and I was reading it out of some compulsive “need” to finish everything I start or not let even a second-hand book go to waste or something. Anyway, I felt much better setting it down and re-reading my copy of a book I gave Doc for Christmas called Zen in the Martial Arts. Back in the days when I studied a bit of several martial arts, I read this and got a lot out of it. In fact, I used to read this book every couple of years, but I haven’t recently, until this weekend. It was a little frightening how relevant the message was to my life right now.
Today, I’ll start a book I grabbed while waiting in line at Border’s, getting last minute gifts, called The Torturer’s Apprentice. The title grabbed me and the table of contents, with the titles of the short-stories contained therein, really hooked me, so I bought it. It’s literary fiction, which I don’t usually read, so, I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. Again. Seems like a good season to do that.
Though, I’m not stepping too far out. My mother was asking about my blog last night. I told her that there’s nothing here she needs to read. I’m fairly certain that my brother reads the blog, now and again, but he won’t say anything and no one in the family will ask. My mother was just messing with my head. See how my family is? Explains a lot about my warped sense of humor, doesn’t it?

12/24/2005

The Most Wonderful Time

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:15 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Merry Christmas.
It is truly the most wonderful time of year. As I’ve mentioned before, I love this time of year. For me, it is a time of rebirth and renewal. A time of hope. Celebrating the birth of Christ reminds me that I, too, can be reborn. I can start again. Every year, I have another chance to be better than I was last year. More kind, more cheerful, more spiritual, more happy.
My nephew called me this morning to wish me a merry Christmas. My redneck nephew, as I like to think of him. He told me about watching the Texas Chainsaw Masacre last night, to try and shock me, I think. But, I shocked him by telling him all about the history of that film and what inspired it, all without missing a beat. I love my nephew and I’m deeply touched that he knows he can talk to me about anything without rattling me. And, I think it helps that I don’t judge him, either. I doubt he would have felt comfortable talking to anyone else in the family about his father’s drinking problem, so I count myself lucky to have earned that kind of trust from him. When he complained about having to go to church tonight, I did try to explain to him that he might come to enjoy Christmas Eve services again, one day. And, why that might be. Of course, he’s sixteen, so that wasn’t what he wanted to hear. When I thought about how I felt at sixteen, I smiled and moved on to other topics of conversation. At sixteen, he’s not interested in being reborn or renewed. Neither was I.
The older I get, though, the more important this time of year becomes. More important than family or tradition, I need that sense of hope. Hope that the world can be a better place. That I can contribute to making it such. Hope that the new year holds untold opportunity to grow and change. To improve my life and the lives of those around me. And, so, I do things differently than I have in years past. Tonight, I will be in a church on Christmas Eve for the first time in more than ten years. In fact, as I’ve mentioned, I’ll be reading scripture with four other people. My section is from Luke, Chapter Two, verses eight through fourteen:

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, wordwide: A savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: “Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

Afterward, I’ll come home and have a helping of suet pudding, which my mother sent me this week. Traditionally, my paternal grandmother would make this every year, until she died. Something learned from a Scottish housekeeper they had when my father was a baby. In the morning, I’ll have what’s left of my mother’s infamous orange rolls. Another family tradition. And, I’ll call and talk to family up North. Of course, there will be presents to open, too, though, that’s really secondary to my holiday celebration. My roommate, Doc, is pretty alone this year, except for me, and I hope he’ll be pleasantly surprised by the few, small things I wrapped for him. It’s not much, but, I hope a gesture that will make him welcomed and loved and less alone.
And, then, I’ll pray that the feeling of renewal will stay with me all year long, making every day a chance to start fresh. A chance to reinvent myself in a better way. An opportunity to let more Light into my life and shut out more of the Darkness.
It’s been a good season and a good year, really, all things considered. I’m hopeful that the coming months will be as good. Thank you all for warm thoughts and wishes these past months. I hope you, too, feel renewed tonight. That hope is reborn for your life.
I’ve set this to post about the time I estimate I’ll be reading in church. I probably won’t check on the blog or e-mail until tomorrow, so, I’ll sign off saying:
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

(If you want to hear me read this, you can, here. And, yes, I sang that bit in German. I’m not a singer, so don’t judge me too harshly, eh?)

12/23/2005

Seven Drunken Nights

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is late at night or 11:59 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Ah, the traditonal Irish “folk” song…

As I went home on Monday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a horse outside the door
Where my old horse should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her:
Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that horse outside the door
Where my old horse should be?

Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool
Still you can not see
That’s a lovely sow
That me mother sent to me
Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled
A hundred miles or more
But a saddle on a sow
Sure I never saw before

And as I went home on Tuesday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a coat behind the door
Where my old coat should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her:
Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that coat behind the door
Where my old coat should be

Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool
Still you can not see
That’s a woollen blanket
That me mother sent to me
Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled
A hundred miles or more
But buttons in a blanket
Sure I never saw before

And as I went home on Wednesday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a pipe up on the chair
Where my old pipe should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her:
Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that pipe up on the chair
Where my old pipe should be

Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool
Still you can not see
That’s a lovely tin whistle
That me mother sent to me
Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled
A hundred miles or more
But tobacco in a tin whistle
Sure I never saw before

And as I went home on Thursday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw two boots beneath the bed
Where my old boots should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her:
Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns them boots beneath the bed
Where my old boots should be

Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool
Still you can not see
They’re two lovely Geranium pots
Me mother sent to me
Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled
A hundred miles or more
But laces in Geranium pots
I never saw before

And as I went home on Friday night
As drunk as drunk could be
I saw a head upon the bed
Where my old head should be
Well, I called me wife and I said to her:
Will you kindly tell to me
Who owns that head upon the bed
Where my old head should be

Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool
Still you can not see
That’s a baby boy
That me mother sent to me
Well, it’s many a day I’ve travelled
A hundred miles or more
But a baby boy with his whiskers on
Sure I never saw before

Notice that there are only five verses? That’s because the last two are somewhat, er, “adult” in nature, metaphorically speaking, and generally aren’t sung in polite company. It’s funny, but, after having gone through a divorce and done some serious drinking, in days gone by, I understand this song all too well. Makes me wonder how many “flower pots” have been under my bed that I didn’t know about… Ah, probably none that I didn’t know about, but it’s also best not to dwell on it. Hmm, suddenly, that drink sounds like a good idea!
Anyway, remember these tunes seven days from now, when it’s New Year’s Eve and y’all are drinking like fish.

(You can read the rest of the lyrics for yourself here.)

Christmas Eve Timewasters

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Hey, are you going into the office today?
Well, you can’t possibly plan to do anything that even comes close to looking like work, so why not check out Christmas Combat and the Christmas Elf Game. And, another game from the Elf Movie last year. Does it matter if they’re any good? NO! It’s just a way to waste time before you cut out early for Christmas.
Oh, and while you’re at it, check out the Hacked Animatronic Santa. It’s a riot!
Have fun and be safe!
Merry Christmas everyone!

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