Diary of a Network Geek

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


What is peritoneal mesothelioma?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I got thinking the other day, and that’s always a recipe for trouble.

In this case, I got thinking about those adwords that make so much money. Lawyers and mortgage companies I understand, but some of that other stuff was new to me. I found myself asking, “Hey, yeah, what is peritoneal mesothelioma? And, why would lawyers care about it?” Turns out mesothelioma is a kind of cancer. And peritoneal mesothelioma is, basically, cancer in the chest or chest cavity. Now, based on that, I’m figuring that the lawyers who sue the cigarette companies for giving people cancer are advertising pretty heavily. But, then, I started looking at it more closely and saw that this particular flavor of cancer seems to be caused by asbestos. So, really, it’s the lawyers that are sueing the asbestos companies that are advertisting so much. And, based on the rates they pay for advertising, they’re either stupid or make boatloads of money. Or, both, I suppose.


Hindi Comics

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:39 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Two weeks ago, I posted about mobile movies and this week, I have something to show.

I was actually inspired by the commentor last week who was in Bangladesh. I’ve been a fan of Bollywood for some time now. In fact, I paid for extra international channels on my cable system just to see more of Bollywood productions. But, this is a little different. In fact, it’s a “new twist on an old myth”, according to the website. The myth is the Sitayana, as animated by Nina Paley. The link will take you to a page that has all the parts, so far, of this animated myth that you can look at for free. Seems like the perfect thing to show on a wall in Bangladesh as part of a free, mobile drive-in to me!

Besides, it’s Friday and a long weekend, too, so why pretend you were doing any work? Turn the volume up and check out the amazing Friday Fun Link!


Professional Relationships

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:34 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, not relationships with professionals.

At least, not exactlly. I’ve been thinking about this lately for a couple of reasons.
First, I read too many blogs. A lot of those blogs are written by people of the female persuasion, and I’ve noticed a trend. In all the cases that the blogger bemoans their problems with relationships, the problem seems to be a simple lack of courtesy on the part of the paramour.
Second, I was thinking about a couple of relationships I had up North, before I moved down here to Houston. In two of those, I was involved with someone from work. The one that went horribly awry did so because of a simple lack of response by my coworker.
And, finally, Match.com. Is it so hard to send one of the pre-scripted, “No Thanks” e-mails? I mean, you don’t even have to write anything, just point and click, but, instead, people seem to think that it’s okay to just ignore the whole thing. To me, that seems unimaginably rude. Someone’s gone out of their way to make contact and all they in response is… Nothing? I just can’t do that.

All of these things lead me to a simple conclusion. I expect as much courtesy as you would give a coworker. Does that seem like so much to ask? All I want in a relationship is to be treated with the same respect and attention that one would accord a collegue. If I call, you should call back or at least respond in some way telling me why that was impossible. E-mails should be returned in a reasonable amount of time, even if just to say that a more detailed response is forthcoming. I mean, look, if I’ve bought you dinner the least you can do is show a little appreciation and respect. (And, no, McDonalds does NOT count as dinner. Think Cavatore or Back Door Sushi, at least.)

Is that asking too much? That a date or potential partner respond with a minimum of professional courtesy? I certainly don’t think that’s too much to ask. Or, too much to give, frankly. Apparently, though, that is more than some people are willing to give. Ms. NewGal is always apologizing to me for talking about her hopes and fears and, well, for being “needy”. Mind, I don’t think she’s any needier than anyone else in the world, but she seems to think that she is and, therefore, must somehow make up for it. And, I have to admit, I really don’t do anything very special for her, just listen. Oh, I tell her stuff that I hope will help, but I think she mainly knows that I’m talking through my hat. So, in the end, all I can do is listen and be respectful. And, really, isn’t that all any of us really want? Someone who listens and respects us?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
   --Abraham Lincoln



How Blogs Kill Writing

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:35 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now.

I recently read an interesting article at Slate via MSN.com about how keeping a blog kept one hopeful writer from actually writing for publication. Now, I wish I could say that I’ve been spending my time away from the blog these days being super productive and writing the Great American Novel, but, sadly, that’s just not so. Still, I have wondered what I might have produced when I was blogging so much, both here and at Fantasist.net, if I’d written fiction instead of all the “wonderful”, self-involved, navel-gazing posts. Oh, sure, I suppose that really is what blogging is about, mostly, but, still, I always seem more productive when I’m not focused on myself, but on someone, or something, else instead.

In that respect, at least, I have been a little productive, since I’ve been helping LK (aka Ms. NewGal) with her business, Pink Poodle Gourmet. Not much help, yet, but as I get free from working on my divorce lawyer‘s website, I’ll have more time for her business. I still need to get a better picture of him up, but, mostly, the front-end is done. Oh, I may have a couple hours here and there to do some refining work on it, but, mostly, it’s all backend stuff now. Of course, that’s part of what I’ll be doing for LK, but there’s more there, too, thanks to my Marketing degree. Still, it’s not writing, is it? So, even when I’m not wasting time at work blogging or staying up into the wee hours to get my all too personal point-of-view out to the public, I manage to avoid writing.

My therapist questioned my devotion to my blog over my writing early on in our sessions. He seemed to think that my writing was good enough that I should get paid for it. Of course, he might have been trying to pump me up and give me a reason to not off myself, but, well, it didn’t feel like that was what he was doing, either then or now. In fact, I’ve had at least one professional writer give me some encouragement, though, honestly, she’s so nice I’m not sure I can trust her to give me an honest opinion about my terrible writing style. Still, she is a pro and cute, so, I’ll take what I can get! And, I was good enough, once, to get accepted by a periodical that, sadly, went out of business before I could ever be published. Not quite the Great American Novel, but, still, it would have been a start.

I’ve tried to start blogs as writing projects, much like the author of the Slate article, and met with similar results. Though, that is how the blog at Fantasist.net got started, among other things. I’ve tried to start with maps of various kinds, too. I’ve even tried to start by creating fantasy languages, but all the attempts ended with the same result. I get bogged down in the details and requirements of these artificial starting points, these manufactured muses that simply serve as excuses for why I “can’t” write quite yet. So many reasons not to write, many that seem so plausible to the outside world, but, in the end, all just excuses for spiritual cowardice.

I’d love to boldly declare that now, right now as of this very moment, I was going to change and start writing with publication in mind, but I know myself too well. I know that I’ll hold on to those excuses for a little bit longer, until I feel safe again. Until I feel a little more comfortable and secure, then, when life settles down a bit more, I’ll sit down and write. You know, after I’m comfortable with the fact that I’ll never be published in my lifetime, but don’t care because the writing is all that matters. Because, you know what? The writing is the only thing that matters.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"As human beings, we all want to be happy and free from misery. We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger and attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility, are the sources of peace and happiness."
   --Dalai Lama


Shameless Advertising Tricks

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:33 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Ever wonder what various Google AdWords pay per click? Well the rumor over at bOingbOing has it that the breakdown goes like this:
$54.33 for “mesothelioma lawyers”
$47.79 for “what is mesothelioma”
$47.72 for “peritoneal mesothelioma”
$47.25 for “consolidate loans”
$47.16 for “refinancing mortgage”
$45.55 for “tax attorney”
$41.22 for “mesothelioma”
$38.86 for “car accident lawyer”
$38.68 for “ameriquest mortgage”

Those prices are per click, mind you. So, is it any wonder why people make entire blogs dedicated to subverting the Google Advertising system to boost ratings these key words? I’m not sure if they’re still doing it, but people used to created blogs just filled with certain keywords and redirects to their website to generate both traffic and a better click/dollar ratio. Pretty sneaky, isn’t it?

Now, of course, I would never do something so dirty and underhanded as all that, but, well, we all know how morally upright I am and all that. (Hey, that’s “upright”, not “uptight”!) I would also not ask anyone to click on the advertisments on my site, but only because it would violate the Google AdWords agreement and get me into trouble. Not that the advertising has helped much, to be honest. I had hoped to make enough money to pay for my monthly server fees at my webhost, but, sadly that’s not how it’s working out. Not that my webhost is expensive, because they’re not, but my click-through rate is terrible and the pay-out has been, well, hardly worth mentioning. I think we’ve become so numb to on-line advertising that we just ignore it, mostly. Even I fall into that trap, though, I do try to click on advertising on sites I like to show my support for them. I hope it makes enough of a difference that they don’t have to resort to a super-sneaky blog dedicated to that above-mentioned list of advertising words.
But, somehow, I doubt it.


Light Friday

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Fun,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:39 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not my workload, just the links.

So, after the past couple of weeks of hard-core geek links, I felt a little guilty and thought I’d share a few things that are, hopefully, more fun.
First, there’s a little light-hearted fun for your morning coffee. My personal favorite is “Drink Coffee: Do stupid things faster and with more energy!” And, to go with your morning coffee, from that same website, “Holy Toast“. Now, you can have your morning coffee while messing with the people who believe that the Virgin Mary would actually appear on toast. What a great way to start the day!

Second, there’s an article that might come in handy on payday… What to do in a Bank Robbery. You know, just in case you find yourself there. No, I did not make this up and, no, I don’t remember the last time I was actually inside a bank thanks to direct deposit.

Thirdly, and finally, there’s a brief article on MSN Health’s “Men’s Health” section about things to NOT think about to reduce stress. Most of these can be adjusted to fit women, too, so it is applicable. For instance: “Death. It’ll be either unremarkable or really cool. If it’s the latter, smile as fate cuts you down. Some guys sell their souls to be as cool in life as you’ll be in death.” Or, “Getting fired. Dismissal from a job is always a promotion in disguise. You can catch an afternoon game, rethink your career and bring possibility back into your life—all while the guy who just fired you is still at work.” See? Things you just don’t need to worry about. I feel my stress levels dropping off already!

But, what the heck, it’s Friday and by the time you clicked the links and read the stories, I’ve been taking some advice from that last one and ignoring my “…prowess behind the wet bar. You can make 31 kinds of martinis? So what? You’re a man, not Baskin-Robbins. All you need is a tumbler and two fingers of scotch. Some ice, if you’re taking it easy tonight.” Hey, it IS Friday, after all, so I’m entitled to take it easy!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Everyone deserves to be happy, but not if that happiness is dependent on imprisoning or enslaving another human being."
   --Unintentionally ironic comment left on a blog

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From Strange Places

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Sometimes, my inspiration for living comes from strange places.

This morning, I got, as usual, a note from the Writer’s Almanac. For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the dark underbelly of the writer’s life, there are a huge number of sites, books, and shows dedicated to the craft of writing. The Writer’s Almanac is a brief, daily segment on National Public Radio that provides regular notes about famous authors and work, not to mention a poem, as, I believe, inspiration to those who wrestle with words and ideas as a higher calling. It also happens to be a website that offers a regular e-mail newsletter, thankfully, that I have gotten for some time now, since I never seem to catch the radio show anymore.

According to that newsletter this morning, today is Frank Capra’s birthday. For those of you not familiar with that name, he directed It’s a Wonderful Life, and several other everyman hero sort of movies that have been quite correctly dubbed classics. Well, not only have I been a fan of the “regular Joe beats the big villain” movie, but I’ve also been a closet Capra fan for years. Mainly, I think, because I identify with his slightly downtrodden characters who make “good”. So, I guess, it shouldn’t be a big surprise when the following Capra quote inspired me:

“I wanted to glorify the average man, not the guy at the top, not the politician, not the banker, just the ordinary guy whose strength I admire, whose survivability I admire.”

Anyway, I thought I’d share that with you all because, well, I admire that, too. And, I hope, I’m more and more that guy as time goes on.


On Empty

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:24 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I cannot believe that I wrote nothing of any real value at all last week. I mean, I know I was busy and tired and all that, but, wow. I had no idea how little time I’d been spending on the blog.
Of course, I’m in the middle of two website redesign projects and I’m trying to help Ms. NewGal with her business and get one of my personal creative projects started before the end of the year, not to mention get some reading in, but, still… I just had no idea how full of busy, little details my life had gotten. And, too, I think my blog was getting stale, so maybe a little bit of slow time on the old thing is appropriate. After all, when I first started writing this blog, back before everyone had a blog and they were “cool” or “hot” or “scoop” or whatever the kids call it these days, I wrote about twice a MONTH, so I guess I shouldn’t be quite so hard on myself. I’ve dumped a lot of junk here in the past six years or so. A break now and then wouldn’t kill me. And, of course, I’ll still do my Friday Fun link, no matter what.
Don’t worry, angst and misery aren’t the only things I have to write about. It’s just that they give me the time to write. All that other stuff, the fun stuff, takes up so much time that, well, I haven’t any left over to write about all the fun I’m having!
Hey, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. 😉


Mobile Drive-Ins

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:29 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Yes, drive-in movies on the go.
Yeah, I know, it sounds impossible, but, no, it’s really real and true and Mobile Movies as brought to us by Cool Hunter. In this case, we’re talking about MobMov. Like flash mobs, these folks organize guerrilla mobile drive-in movies, thrown together on the fly in cities, hopefully, near you.
I love the idea of this, not that I have the money to get the required projection equipment. I mean, showing movies on walls from inside a car? Brilliant! I’ve always adored movies as a shared, group art-experience, but this whole, crazy, rolling movie community is just tremendous. At the second site I linked to, they have suggestions for where to show the movies as well as how to show them and even where to get the movies on a royalty-free basis! So, as wacky as it seems, you wouldn’t even really be breaking the law. How fabulous is that?!

Hey, it’s Friday, what do you want from me? C’mon, admit it, you’d love to see a free movie in an alley tonight, wouldn’t you? Why not click the link and see what it’s all about?



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,MicroSoft,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

In a world of easy to digest pop culture, even “hacking” is easier.
Now, according to this article on WashingtonPost.com, someone has setup “point-and-click hacking”. Now, even script kiddies and Windows 2003 server admins who call themselves “Director of IT” can “hack” systems!

Okay, okay, again, this might not be fun for everyone, but I am a professional geek! It’s fun for ME! Now, have you bought any yummy dog treats from Pink Poodle Gourmet yet? Your doggie deserves a good Friday Fun treat, too!

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