Diary of a Network Geek

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

3/30/2008

I dreamt of Nerf machine guns

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I dreamt of Nerf machine guns last night.

I had some truly strange and disturbing dreams this weekend. Last night, I was dreaming of the Nerf machine gun that I wrote about here. I think that was in part due to all the time I’ve spent recently looking at the DragonCon Flickr Pool. It’s filled with pictures of really cool costumes.  You may have to dig in a little deep to find them, but there are tones of pictures of storm troopers and HALO soldiers.  Very, very cool.  But, it’s really gotten my imagination going about costumes and creating them and making Nerf guns into something for costumes.  So, see, it’s actually kind of logical.

What’s harder to explain is the dream I had about my ex-wife.
I dreamt that my ex-wife had screwed up her fourth, and current, marriage and was moving back to Houston and, for some extremely strange reason, had called me on the phone.  I don’t know why, or what we had been talking about, but I was making sympathetic noises, giving her a full share of pity for how she’d screwed up her life more and worse.  I don’t recall offering to help, or even wanting her anywhere near me, but, somehow, I still felt sympathetic to her for being in a place of personal pain.  It didn’t matter why, really, or who she’d been to me, but I felt a certain amount of sympathy for her position of having nothing and no one.  Just as one human being to another.
I found the whole thing profoundly disturbing.  I mean, I really can’t think of anything worse than having her back in Houston, much less calling me on the phone.

After telling a friend about it, he offered that maybe it was just a sign that I’d moved to an emotional place where I could forgive her, in some way, for what happened and how she handled it.  I’d like to think so, but I suspect that it’s something even simpler than that.  I’m just lonely for that “special someone” in my life and, in some sick, strange way, she represents marriage or married life to me.
Of course, that might also explain why I’m not even actively looking for anyone.  I mean, with a marriage like that, who needs cancer?

Eh, who knows.  Maybe it doesn’t mean anything.  Maybe they were both just random firing of neurons.  Just dreams.

3/28/2008

Free Resources

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I love free.

One of the things people don’t talk about when you’re going through an extended medical illness is how to pay for what’s not covered afterward. I’m working through that, and doing my best to work toward being debt free. And, in thinking about that, it brought to mind all the free things I can get on the web. The software I run this blog, and others, with is free, for instance. A little searching around can turn up all kinds of free things.

While doing a little search, I found three lists of free resources over at Lorelle on WordPress.
Designing a Rainbow – free resources for color and design.
Blogging Tips – Hundreds of free resources for finding content for your blog.
and HTML, CSS, PHP, and More free cheatsheets

All three are lists of great resources for your website or blog. If you can’t find something useful in at least one of them, you’re not trying!

3/25/2008

Creative Advice

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Career Archive,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 5:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Not sure if this is “good” advice or not, but I’ve certainly found it to be true.

The other night I was flipping through channels and, as I buzzed past either Sundance or IFC, I saw one of the two oldest Marsalis brothers doling out some advice that was given to him by an older Jazz musician. I came in after the interview had started, so I don’t know if it was Wynton or Branford, nor do I know who gave him the advice, but it was significant enough to make me think.

He said, basically, don’t have anything to fall back on.
When someone starts on a path of professional creativity, whether it be musical or otherwise, we’re told that we need to do something else, too, so that we “have something to fall back on”. But, here’s the thing. If you have something to fall back on, then you do, and never truly give everything to that creative endeavor. I know that’s been true for me. I used to write all the time, but, then I got involved in my career and started spending more and more time on that. It’s not a bad thing, as I do fairly well, but the IT stuff is what I do, not the writing. I never really succeeded at writing because, well, I never had to succeed at writing. I had something to fall back on.

So, whatever it is that you want to do, do that. It’s the only way.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized."
   --Leo Buscaglia

3/21/2008

Linux Home Server HowTo

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,Linux,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:41 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, you want to build your own Linux server for home?

Okay, you’ve seen me write about it and many of you think it’s too geeky to do on your own, but I swear to you, it’s not. In fact, here is a list of easy howto sites:

Who needs Windows Home Server with Linux around?
Linux Home Server HowTo at LinuxQuestions.org
Build It: Linux Home Server
The Australian Linux HowTo

And maybe, just maybe, when I finally get around to doing this on my home network, I’ll write up some documentation on how to do it. Or, at least, how I did it.

3/18/2008

Arthur C. Clarke, Dead at 90

Filed under: Art,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:38 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Wow, that’s two in the space of a week.

They say that famous people die in threes.  Last week it was Gary Gygax.  Today, it was Arthur C. Clarke.   He was a great man who predicted the communications satellite, among other things, though he’s probably best known for writing 2001:A Space Odyssey.  He wrote more books and stories than I can think of and continued to influence the science-fiction world right up until the end.

Locus Magazine has a more detailed biography.

Maybe now I can sleep…

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, so I had the appointment with my oncologist yesterday to get the results of my CT scan, instead of Thursday, like I originally thought I would.

The news is good.  I am still cancer free.  What’s more surprising is that the scar tissue left behind in my lung after chemotherapy has shrunk even more!  In just a little over three months, it went from being a 2.8 x 4.0 cm mass, to being 1.8 x 3.7 cm. My blood work showed me as being mostly normal, a fact which may surprise many of you, though I’m still a little on the anemic side. And, the scan showed a small kidney stone, too, so the doctor reminded me to drink lots of water.

Other than that, though, everything is going well, medically at least. And I’ll have another scan in about three months.
I’ll keep you all posted!

3/15/2008

Review: A Taste of Thai, Peanut Noodles

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A Taste of Thai Peanut NoodlesYummy noodles!

So, Thursday, after skipping lunch due to the indigestion that I always get from the barium, I thought I’d treat myself with something fast, easy, and that I didn’t have to really think about. But, frankly, ramen noodles just weren’t going to cut it, so, instead, I made Peanut Noodles from A Taste of Thai. These guys have been around for quite some time, but their “quick meals” are something new and they’re damn good.

At least, the Peanut Noodles I had Thursday were fabulous. Under other circumstances, I’d probably add meat of some kind, and I suppose that vegans could add nice, firm tofu, but I was in a hurry, and my stomach wasn’t quite up to anything too fancy. Besides, I’m not a giant fan of tofu.
The package is also the microwave-safe container to cook the noodles in, so there’s no need to dirty a dish. And, in four minutes, plus a little time to stir and add a light dusting of peanuts, you can have what is, in my personal estimation, the peak of Southeast Asian cuisine, noodles with Thai peanut sauce.

Now, I found mine in the ethnic food aisle at my regular Kroger, but you can hit their website to find the store closest to you, if you want to try this almost instant culinary delight for yourself.

Oh, and my appointment to get the results got moved from Thursday to Monday, so I’ll find out what all the radioactive isotopes and gastrointestinal distress have told the doctors about my lymphoma.  Or, hopefully, my lack of lymphoma.

3/14/2008

Downloadable Theme Generator

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,MicroSoft,Ooo, shiny...,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I’m sure most of the hardcore WordPress people have seen this already.
But, for the few of you who haven’t, check out the downloadable WordPress Theme Generator. Please note, though, that it will only install on Windows XP or above.

3/12/2008

Anti-Human Discrimination

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fiction,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — 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 Waxing Crescent

Why am I not participating in Galaxiki after my initial enthusiasm?

I have to admit, when I first read about it and started getting involved, Galaxiki, the “fictional galaxy that anyone can edit”, seemed like a great idea. Two things ruined it for me, though.

First, the guy who started Galaxiki is using his own, custom, home-grown wiki software to run the site. That would be fine, if everything on the wiki software worked and was documented. Sadly, when I was trying to get involved with this project, the software was very much under development and very poorly documented. At least, when compared to something like MediaWiki, which runs the Wikipedia. So, as much as I tried to help on the back end of things, I was frustrated at every turn and quickly gave up.

Secondly, there was one Rule for the project that kept me from wanting to participate.
Specifically, Rule Number Three:

3. No sun, no Earth, no humans
Remember that Galaxiki is not the milky way (in fact NGC1300 is a galaxy far, far away…), our Earth is not located in this galaxy and it’s too far away for us humans to reach it. But you may describe Earth-like planets and human-like species looking and behaving exactly like humans, but don’t call them “humans” and remember that their home planet is not “Earth”.

In all my personal, science-fiction scenarios, humans came from Earth. All my story ideas started with colonists leaving Earth. If I were to follow the Rules of Galaxiki, none of my pet projects would ever be used. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but it did undercut my initial enthusiasm and, combined with the first problem, helped me to lose virtually all interest in the project.

So, you may be asking yourself, why I’m mentioning it.
Well, my own personal issues aside, it’s still a pretty cool idea and an interesting project. Also, I get a weekly newsletter from Galaxiki and, I have to admit, I find myself thinking about adopting a star system and creating a world, race, civilization and so on, just for the fun of it. I mean, it’s not like I’m writing a lot of fiction and getting paid, so I might as well write something fictional, even if it’s not a coherent story. At least it would be creative and fun and good practice, right?

Well, anyway, if you haven’t looked at Galaxiki lately, there have been improvements and it’s worth another look. So, why not check it out?

3/11/2008

Radioactive Enema

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:52 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I hate getting CAT scans.

Thursday, I go into M. D. Anderson for the first of four scans this year to see if my lymphoma has come back. Next year, I’ll get three scans and two the year after that. And, from then on, unless the protocol changes, I’ll get a CT scan, with contrast, or a PET scan every year for the rest of my life.

I hope one day it becomes so “old-hat” that I don’t think anything of it, because, right now, I’m about to step sideways out of my skin. I honestly don’t think the last time was as bad as this. Last time, I’d finished treatment just a couple of weeks before the scan, so I was confident that everything was clear. This time, though, I’m nowhere near as sure. I feel good, mostly, except for a lingering runny nose and cough which is probably just a cold and allergies. Probably. I mean, I’m sure when that guy at work asked me why I was so pale that he was just exaggerating for effect. And, when the veins on my arms look funny, it’s just the light and my imagination. And, the fact that I can’t seem to sleep at night, but I’m tired all day is just stress and will go away after I get the results of the scan.

Unfortunately, I won’t get the results of that scan until next week Thursday, so, a week after getting the magic, barium enema that is everyone’s favorite part of a CT scan with contrast, I’ll know the results of that indignity.  The worst part of it all, though, is all that radioactive material that I’ll have dumped into me.  Something about those chemicals just really mess me up inside.  And, no, I don’t mean emotionally.  I’ll probably have indigestion for days afterward.  Not to mention what it’ll do to my lower G.I.
But, eventually, I’ll know.  And, knowing is better than not knowing.

Of course, no matter what the results are, in the end, I’ll deal with it.  I survived the chemotherapy once, so, if I have to do it again, I can survive it again.
But, I do have to admit, the idea of going through another year like last year terrifies me and exhausts me, so I really hope I don’t have to do it.
If you’re the praying kind, I wouldn’t turn any down, no matter what flavor you favor.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Swing hard, in case they throw the ball where you're swinging."
   --Duke Snider

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