Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/28/2006

Trust the Process

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:55 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Yeah, right.
So, I have no faith whatsoever in my approach to finding a date, meeting people, or whatever, right? In the past, when I have no faith in a proven method of success, I’ve been told to simply “trust the process”. On those rare occasions when I can do just that, it has, in fact, worked out quite well. And, yet, freakishly, I still have problems trusting the damn process. Right, well, I pay a nice man on a regular basis to help with those kinds of issues, so, as I mentioned last night, it’s back to the bookstore tonight.
I’ll be in the River Oaks Borders sometime after 7:00pm, but before 9:00pm. Most likely, I’ll be wandering around like I’ve got shell-shock, but, on the off chance you see a guy in a goatee wearing a dark, blue golf shirt with a light, blue infinity symbol on it, say hello. If you’re feeling a little lonely and brave, that is. I promise I will reward you by making you feel very intelligent, smooth and witty for doing so. If you wink at me, I might even buy you a piece of Bavarian Death Cake. (If you don’t get this reference, read the earliest post in the Bavarian Death Cake of Love category archive: Modern Love, a Survival Guide.) And, yes, I promise, if you clearly identify yourself as a blogger, I will not use my charm, wit or grace in a clumsy attempt to seduce you. You, however, are welcome to see how far you get with me.
Right, and on that note…

2/27/2006

Update and Review: The Spirituality of Imperfection

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:08 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Okay, so here’s a two-parter, since everyone is so worried.
First, a review. I finished The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning Saturday and started on Year Zero Sunday night.
The Spirituality of Imperfection was a good book, but got a little redundant to me. As you might imagine from the title, this is a book about being, well, less than perfect. In a nutshell, the premise of the book is that only God is perfect and, since we aren’t God, we’re imperfect. What’s more, this is how things are supposed to be and, when one takes this logically, it’s really somewhat silly to expect that we could ever be perfect. The book goes on to explore the different ways that we, as imperfect human beings, deal with this lack, this flaw, and how our search for the meaning of this short-coming leads us closer to God and a deeper spiritual life. Naturally, this search is why I chose this book to read. Though it was given to me by Doc as a late Christmas gift, I set aside the book on Buddhist meditation I was about to start in favor of this because of the many recommendations I got about this one. And, it was, in fact, a good book.
Now, it got a little redundant for me not because of the message, but simply because I know that already. I never had a problem understanding that I wasn’t perfect, but, rather, why I always felt so much pressure to be perfect. My parents always challenged me to simply do the best I could and leave it at that. Of course, I was always asking myself if that was really the best I could do. I was always pushing myself to do more and better, even when I felt that I had nothing left. No matter how depleted I felt, I still pushed to dig deeper still and find that hidden reserve to draw on to do more than anyone else around me. That was in grade school. Yeah, the year, or so, of therapy has helped a lot. So has the support group that I’ve attended for the past four years and my return to church and God.
The last chapter, though, redeemed all the redundant messages. That chapter, titled “Being At Home”, capped this one off very well. The only way to end a book like this is to wrap things up with a chapter about being at ease with one’s imperfection. I’m still working on that, but, well, it’s progress.
(Year Zero, incidentally, is a pot-boiler about a plague from the First Century that gets released into today’s world. It’s interesting so far!)

Now, for the update…
Tomorrow, the Salvation Army will be picking up twenty bags of clothes and shoes from my house. No, not the stripper shoes. Those will go to eBay, most likely. No, these were regular, women’s shoes. An entire 20 gallon, black, plastic garbage bag full of them. And, nineteen more filled with clothes. Yes, that’s twenty (20) bags of children’s and adult’s clothes going out in one, fell swoop. I’m sure as I get rolling on this stuff upstairs, there will be more. And, then, there’ll be the books and furniture and jewelry and… And, I’m just getting started.
Speaking of just getting started… Someone asked about Match.com. Well, we started out strong, then, things tapered off. I’ve sent several women e-mail, but gotten no response yet. Might never get a response. I got one Wink this afternoon from Galveston, but, well, she wasn’t quite my type. (And, no, I don’t mean that she wasn’t my type because she was interested in me!) I don’t know, maybe I’m too picky. I mean, whatever her faults, my ex-wife was quite the looker. Of course, beauty fades fast, but, still, I do have standards after all. And, not to be catty or anything, but there is a very significant difference between “curvy” and “a few extra pounds”. C’mon, let’s be honest. I rated myself as “About average”, but I have to admit, I lean more toward “A few extra pounds” myself. In part, that’s what’s behind the push to get my one room cleaned out. After I get rid of all my ex-wife’s junk, that will become a workout room. She left a Soloflex and I have a free-standing heavy bag. Between the two, I should get a pretty good workout going. I really used to love the heavy bag. When I was in shape, I used to do 20+ minutes on that three times a week. That will definitely trim the fat right off my lazy butt!
Oh, and I haven’t quite given up on the Bookstore Method, either. Unless things go terribly wrong, I plan on hitting the River Oaks Borders tomorrow night. (That’s Tuesday, in case you don’t see this until the morning after I post it.) After that, though, unless things go very well, I’m going to change to the Barnes and Noble by the Galleria. I think the Fourbucks in there should attract the kind of victim, er, potential date, I’m looking for. We’ll see!

Anyway, it’s late and I’ve been drinking Scotch, so I’m off to brush my teeth, set up the coffee for the morning, read a bit and slip off to dreamland.

2/24/2006

Instant Gratification

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:49 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

WOW!
Okay, so, a lot of people have been telling me “Go use Match.com”, but my therapist has been telling me “Go meet people in person”. Well, I finally broke his spirit last night and he admited that meeting people via Match.com was better than not meeting people at all. Which meant that he gave me the greenlight to go forth and cast my bread upon the waters, so to speak. Always showing patience and restraint, I waited a full hour after getting home from therapy last night before setting up a profile and uploading pictures.
This morning, before I could even do any details, really, on my profile, I’d already gotten an e-mail from someone. Wow, talk about instant gratification!
Now, look, most of you regular readers know I have a few issues. One of them is that I have no sense whatsoever of how physically attractive I am, or am not, to the opposite sex. Sadly, I know just how attractive I am to the same sex, which has done little to boost my confidence, frankly. (That was funny. You may laugh. Thank you.) So, getting a “hit” on little more than my picture almost as soon as I put up a picture had me on cloud nine this morning. Though, I do try to keep that in perspective, since she’s in Austin which is sort of a long drive for coffee. And, there was another post on another blog this morning that made me think, too. I’m not quite willing to surrender, but, I’m doing my best not to fight or play games, either. We’ll just see how it goes, though I do think the advice I got from a friend to keep the blog on the down-low until they get to know me really well is a great idea.
And, I haven’t quite given up on the Bookstore Method, either. Though, I think I need to change stores and days, and, possibly, times, too. We’ll see. Right now, I’m just playing it by ear. But, I promise, ladies, I won’t hit on any more of you who come to the blog. Honest. Really, you can trust me on this. I wouldn’t lie about something so important as that. Of course, if one of you hit on me…

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Friday Fun Pack

Filed under: Fun,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Look, kids, it’s been a brutal week for your Uncle Jim, so we need us some fun.
I won’t go into the gorey details, but it seems like anything that didn’t go wrong in my life this week either went wrong in someone else’s life I know or is about to go wrong, so it’s just been a long, damn week. But, today is Friday. The weekend is almost here and you can start your fun early with some of these links.
I dipped into my collection of weird links, and boy have got some doosies, to bring you a little Friday Fun.
First, there’s an old favorite, Spamusement. This guy draws very funny cartoons based on spam that we’ve all gotten one time or another. It’s silly, goofy and always makes me chuckle.
Then, there’s this wild casemod by, well, by someone in Japan, I guess since the entire page is in Japanese. It’s a PC sphere and looks cool. I think there’s instructions for making it, or buying it, somewhere on this page. Good luck figuring out which and where!
Next, we have something to make the sinners repent: The Bible Prophecy Page! Yes, now you, too, can bring the rantings of Bible Prophecy fringe groups to the conveniece of your own home via the Internet. What will they think of next!?!
And, for those of you who are homeless wanderers, or just on vactaion and away from you computers, here’s the Cyber Cafe Search Engine. It’ll help you find your next Internet fix away from home. Of course, if you’re looking for a place to check e-mail because you don’t have a computer then you’ll have to find that first spot on your own…

Well, whatever, these were just four semi-random links I grabbed out of my mess o’ weird sites. What the heck, kids, it’s Friday and Uncle Jim says “Click the links!”

2/23/2006

Angel

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

It’s not what you think.
A friend of mine is a daddy, again. This makes the fourth one. I’ve offered to explain to him how this process works, but, well, he seems happy with the results, so, I guess there’s no need. And, honestly? Seeing a picture of his newest angel? I can see why he’d be happy with that.

So, after last night’s post about my massive jones, and hearing about one friend’s troubles today that she thinks she’ll never get through, and my own very personal woes, I’m not going to write or post the things I’d been thinking about. Well, not this week, anyway. Maybe I’ll write them and rewrite them over the weekend and then post them. But, today, I will be happy. I will dance in the joy of knowing that a fresh miracle has been set loose upon the world. A fresh life has drawn new breath and will see the world for the first time, filled with wonder. I will think on his tiny hands and his face with eyes still shut and I will smile, because, with his birth, I am reminded that I, too, can be reborn. Every day a new begining. Every breath a new opportunity. Every moment a chance to begin again.
God bless you, little Joshua, and keep you safe until you see Him again.

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2/22/2006

Nothing To Worry About

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Okay, just to clarify last night’s post, I’m okay.
Sure, I could be better, but, really, there is no cause for alarm. I do appreciate all the concern, truly, I do, but I assure you that all is as it should be. Mind, I wouldn’t turn away anyone wanting to take care of me, as that might be nice for a change, but there’s nothing going on beyond my normal, high-stress bottoming out. Happens on a regular basis, induces cravings for bad habits, and then it passes. This time, the “keystone”, as it were, was watching French Kiss last night. A fun film, actually. A romantic comedy set in France staring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Every other shot of Kline has him smoking or about to smoke. Nothing sets off my craving more than watching someone smoke in the movies. And, no, I have no idea why.
Anyway, nothing to worry about. I didn’t light up and feel better this morning. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog browsing.

2/21/2006

Lady Nicotine

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I want to smoke.
Not just a smoke, but to smoke. I want to chain smoke clove cigarettes until the hazy cloud surrounds me like an airy, armored halo. I want to light my next smoke on the red-hot cherry of the last one and burn through the pack as fast as I can breathe. I want to sit very still in the damp fog that insulates Houston tonight from the ennui of this post Valentine’s Day euphoria that everyone feels but me and smoke until I can feel the nicotine seep through my pores like the sweat on a cold Scotch. I want to feel the burn as I suck the hot fire of my favorite Indonesian cancer sticks into my lungs. I want to see the cloud thicken as I blow the sweet, dark smoke out my flared nostrils. I want to smoke like a death row inmate wants his conjugal visit. I want to feel the tingle that starts at my hairline and cascades down my scalp as the tiny capillaries push that sweet lady nicotine through my skull into my brain and make me feel alive even as it slowly kills me. I want it as bad as I imagine a junky wants his fix after three days clean listening to his cell mate chatter. I want to start smoking and just keep on until my entire body is ash. I want to skip work, skip therapy, skip eating. I just want to smoke. I want to smoke my fear and my pain and my worry away in a sugary, spicy, clove cloud. I want my entire life to be consumed through a filtered krtek so I won’t have to be bothered with people, places or things again. I don’t want to move or even think. I just want to smoke.
Yeah, I could go for a smoke.

This post brought to you by the song “Lady Nicotine” on A Little Gun Shy, by Brian Douglas and French Kiss staring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.

A Few Thoughts On Magic

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:06 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Yeah, “magic”.
A guy by the name of Terry Brooks wrote a book on writing fantasy once, called Sometimes the Magic Works. Now, to be honest, I’ve not read the book. In fact, I’m not a really big Terry Brooks fan, but the title of this book has been so evocative for me that it has always struck a chord when I think of it.
So, here’s the thing. Magic is pretty rare in this muddy, mundane world of ours. We don’t get many chances at it, so when it comes, you’ve got to grab it with both hands and hold on for all you’re worth to see how far it takes you. Sometimes, it doesn’t go very far at all. Other times, it takes you farther than you can imagine. And, still other times, it just runs around in a circle. But, see, it’s not where you get that matters, because no matter the destination, it’s the ride that’s magic.

You know, most days, I feel like I’m a potter, working with low-grade clay trying to make a beautiful vase, but that I’m surrounded by amazing artists blowing glass into fantastic shapes. Still, I’m in the workshop, elbow deep in muddy clay, spinning that lump around, trying to draw out what magic I can. After all, the effort is the thing, not my end result, right?
And, who’s to say which is more magical? Those fragile, glass baubles or my sturdy, earthenware vase?

2/20/2006

Network Geek v1.9B

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

“We can rebuild him…”
Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I totally ruined several of my favorite shirts with an accidental, but shockingly liberal, splash of bleach. Now, I have several trippy, neo-tiedie shirts that are no longer okay to wear to work. So, I’m going to have to get more. And, that got me thinking…
At least one of my sisters has always implied that I don’t know how to dress and, frankly, I often feel tragically unhip or out of step with good fashion sense. I mean, I am a professional geek, after all. But, I want to dress nicer. More attractively. And, since I have such a large female readership these days, I thought I’d give you all the opportunity to remake me. Dress me the way you think I should be dressed. Make me look the way you think I would look best. Clothe me from the skin out. Start me fresh.

But, first, a few caveats:
1. I will not wear silk underwear. Or thongs. Or “tighty whities”. Or… Okay, look, I’m a basic, cotton boxers sort of guy. Let’s just start there, okay? So, maybe not from the skin out, but at least, from the skivvies out. Okay?
2. I am “poor folk”. If you suggest designers, please suggest low-cost alternatives. Or, understand that I won’t be able to go all out on that particular suggestion. In short, let’s try not to bankrupt the Network Geek, okay?
3. I’m a pretty casual guy, even for work.
4. Yes, you can rebuild my work wardrobe, too, but, remember casual is the key. Though, dressing a little better there, too, wouldn’t hurt.
5. All my footwear is black. ALL of it. UPDATE: Okay, not quite all, but all my work/date footwear is black.
6. Extra weight will be given to the opinions of single women. Especially single women who know and/or might date me. No offense guys, but, hey, I have goals and priorities, too.
7. Let’s start with the non-work wardrobe and give that the most emphasis. My goal here is to be more dateable and less alone. If I find a steady girl, she’ll be dressing me from then on out, but until then, I admit it, I need all the help I can get.
8. I will not make fun of or overly critisize any choices made, but I may attempt to steer things away from things I know I will not ever wear.
9. I’m serious about this, so, please, be serious, too. Really. I know you ladies can make me look better than I do now and I sincerely want to look better.

I’m working out to try and lose some weight and build more muscle, so, make me your living, breathing Ken doll and have fun. Keep it clean. Also, if you’d like to keep your suggestions private for whatever reason, feel free to e-mail me.
Here’s what you have to work with:

Geek in profile
Windy Portrait Geek
(And, special thanks to Doc, my roommate, for taking these pictures this weekend for me.)

Updated Pic
Full Length Profile

Other pictures can be found here, too.

2/19/2006

Are You For Real?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:39 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

“Do you really read this stuff or just put it out on the coffee table?”

“Who are you? Are you for real? Really for real?”

One way or another, people are always asking me that about the “me” they see on my blog. Not everyone is quite as lighthearted as the two people I’ve quoted here, but, sooner or later, everyone who’s never met me in person asks.
I started to write a long piece about all the things I am, with links to old posts so readers could track back and find all the other very self-involved things I’ve said in past posts, but, well, that seemed a little pointless after I got rolling on it. The best way to find out about me is to use that “search” function on the right-hand side of the page. Want to hear my voice? Search for “voice” or “my voice” and you’ll find samples. Want to see pictures? Search for “pictures” and you’ll see me, my dog, my home, and even my parents. Or, you can click on the category links. They all work and will show an archive of all the things in that category. Want to see my pathetic attempts to get out of my shell and meet datable women? Click on the Bavarian Death Cake of Love archive. Want to see the books I’ve read recently? Try the Review archive or the Things To Read archive. (That’s what the first person was asking about. The crazy things I read.) To see more about my attempts at art, digital or literary, you have to hit my other, almost dead, blog, Fantasist’s Scroll. (That’s what the second person was asking about. Considering how much of a hard-core geek I am in the corporate world, I guess they had a hard time getting their head around the concept that I might do any kind of art.)

I’ve had friends who told me that I’m so honest on this blog that it occasionally makes them wince. And, I have tried to be as honest as I possibly can be here, keeping in mind that potential employers and dates will no doubt read it.

The thing is, though, that all you see when you read this blog is one, very limited, point of view: mine. And, if nothing else has been proven out by my personal history it’s the fact that I do not see myself either clearly or the way others see me. I am, for instance, my own worst critic. But, this is such a flat medium. As I’ve mentioned before, you can’t hear my voice or see the expression on my face or “feel” my timing on a joke. This blog is just one small window into who I am. A door that’s open just a crack. In person, you can walk around me and rattle other windows, or try the latch, or jiggle the handle on the doors to see if they’re unlocked. Whatever you think I am based on this blog, you’re wrong. You’re only getting one, small picture of what my life is like. The picture you get of me in person is very different. At least, I hope it is.

So, yes, I’m real. I’m as real as I know how to be, in person or via print. But, there’s more to me than you see here. If you know where to look.

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