Diary of a Network Geek

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


Aerial View

Filed under: Art,Fun,GUI Center,MicroSoft,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

One more aerial view thing next week and I’ll have an actual theme for the month.

Once upon a time, I used to watch a lot of the food and restaurant related reality television that seemed to run on the more obscure cable channels. One of my favorites was Bar Rescue. And, one of the coolest things I saw them do was setup a kind of “virtual window” system in this one bar that had really uninspiring night views. Basically, they were huge monitors that looked like windows and would loop these gorgeous displays of apparently live views from around the world. I loved that! And, ever since, I’ve kind of been looking for a way to recreate it.

Well, I still haven’t found a way, really, but I think I do have a very nice substitute. A developer by the name of John Coates whipped up a cool screen saver for Apple TV called, Aerial, which he offered up for free on the open source source code sharing site GitHub. And, that would be spectacular, if I had an Apple TV, which I don’t. Luckily, thanks to Mr. Coates releasing this code under an open source license, another developer, Dmitry Sadakov, reworked the code into the Aerial for Windows screensaver. It’s awesome! Installation is a little hands-on and manual, but the link, which is also to GitHub, has both the download and installation instructions.

So, go, grab it and enjoy your weekend!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.


Uncle Walt’s Health Tips for Men

Filed under: Fun,Personal Care,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Seriously, health tips from Walt Whitman himself.

I think about health a lot, because I’m overweight.  My cardiologist would like me to lose at least 20 pounds, preferably more.  He just doesn’t quite buy that my wife, being a good Southern woman, expresses her love for me through food.  And, she really loves me.  Seriously.
I also tend to be a traditionalist, though, so when I saw that old Walt Whitman had written a 13-installment series of articles giving men of his day health advice, well, you can imagine how I became quite interested.  Maybe, finally, I’d have someone who was on my side for why I didn’t have time to lose the weight!  And why bacon can be served at every meal!

Sadly, it was not so.  Mr. Leaves of Grass himself said just what my cardiologist did; get up and walk.  Yeah.  And, he suggests walking outside, in the fresh air, and everything.
I feel betrayed.
You can read all his advice, which, I might add, is perfectly good for women for the most part, too, if you just follow this link over to the University of Iowa archives.  It’s actually a pretty good series of articles and, while he doesn’t say much about bacon, he does suggest that there’s nothing wrong with eating beef.  So I have that much.

Anyway, it’s Friday and you might as well read what else he has to say.
Enjoy your weekend!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.


Upgrade Your Instant Noodles

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I love ramen noodles, much to my blushing bride’s chagrin.

I never understood what the stigma around eating instant ramen was all about.  I love instant ramen!  I’ve tried lots of different varieties, but mostly for flavor ideas.  Maybe it’s the cheapskate in me, but I love the cheapest instant ramen we can get at our local grocery store; Maruchan Instant Lunch.  They’re a mere 29 cents each most of the time and often go on sale at 10 for a…
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Prison Diet

Filed under: Fun,Garden of Unearthly Delights,Photography,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Here’s another reason not to break the law; prison food.

Seriously, this stuff is amazing.  And, not in a good way.

On the other hand, as brutal as it may seem, it does seem like it would make a pretty effective diet.  Recently, The Marshall Plan posted an article titled What’s In A Prison Meal? and I really found it eye-opening!  I know the prisoners are being punished for sometime terrible crimes, but some of these more restrictive prison menus seem like…
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Hurricane Preparedness

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Dog and Pony Shows,News and Current Events,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Hurricane season started on Monday, June First. Are you ready?

Here in Texas, hurricane season is kind of a big deal.  Or, at least, it is to this kid from the Heartland.  Of course, most of the time, we have plenty of time to prepare because you see these things coming from a long, long way off.  Still, it’s better to be prepared early rather than competing with everyone for bottled water, bread and canned food.

So far, since I’ve been in…
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More DIY Japanese food

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Fun,Red Herrings,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Although, I suppose it doesn’t have to be Japanese…

I’m talking about bento, in this case.  Since I seem to be switching between photography links and talking about Japanese food, I thought I’d just go ahead and keep that up.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually had bento, but I have read about bento boxes and their cultural significance.  And, also, they’re a feature of virtually every really good anime.  I have several cook books that are dedicated to bento, actually, though…
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Vitamins from Food

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Fun Work,Life Goals — 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

A healthy mind is a creative mind!

And, let’s face it, a healthy mind is supported by a healthy body.  Exercise is one aspect of that, but at a more fundamental level, properly fueling our bodies and minds is, I think, the most important first step.  Last week, I linked to a site to help you put your diet on autopilot.  This week, I’m suggesting that you maximize your vitamin intake.  Not through taking supplements, though that’s not a bad idea…
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LEGO Christmas

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything — 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 Waxing Crescent

I love Christmas, and I love LEGOs.

I love them for two not so very different reasons.
LEGOs remind me of a simpler time.  They remind me of childhood dreams and imagination.  They still spark all sorts of wonderful memories, as old as I am.  In fact, I’ve been meaning to get myself some LEGOs to play with again.  Maybe for Christmas.

Christmas I love, not for the toys or the gift giving or even the food.  No, Christmas I love because it celebrates the rebirth of light and joy into the world.  Very much like LEGOs do for me.
Now, you can combine those two celebrations of joy with a LEGO Christmas tree.



Ryumaou Reviews Ramen?

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life Goals,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:51 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, there’s a new poll up to gauge how you all feel about a regular, weekly review of ramen noodles.

Look, I’m embracing the fact that I’m probably going to be poor for a very long time, so I’m cutting back. I’ve eaten out a lot and I think that’s probably one place I can cut back easily. But, I got to thinking about it and, well, I probably spend a lot on fast, convenient food during the week, too. I started to think about all the things I did in college when I didn’t have any money and, naturally, I thought of ramen noodles. Who hasn’t slurped down their fair share of ramen noodles? Seriously!
As a college student, in particular, I ate my fair share of ramen. Hey, I’m sure we all did back in the days when we were starting out. I mean, they were fast and easy and didn’t require more than a spoon stolen from food service and a cup of hot water. What’s more, though, is that I found them not just filling but tasty, too! So, instead of reviewing the super-high-end food that so many upwardly mobile people get all goofy about, I thought I might review the cuisine of the financially challenged everywhere: ramen!!

Okay, so I know it’s not really the most original idea. At least one guy in Japan has done it already at a site called i-ramen.net. But, that’s all in Japanese, so it doesn’t do much good to those of us in the English-speaking world. (I read about him in an article from Boing Boing, incidentally.)  I don’t know that I’ll get to review as many as 4000 different versions of ramen, like he did, either, but, well, it does seem like the craziest low-budget adventure I can contemplate this week!
So, who’s with me?  If you think this crazy idea might be fun, vote in the poll on my sidebar and leave comments.
(Oh, yeah, if you don’t get the reference to “Ryumaou”, look at the address of the site you’re on.  I’ve used that romanization of a Japanese nickname since I first got on-line in the 90’s.  And, I liked the alliteration.)


So, This Was Thanksgiving…

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,By Bread Alone,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is late at night or 11:36 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, another Thanksgiving has come and almost gone.

Another holiday.  Another celebration, though not what I’d planned, not what I’d expected.  Good, though.  Better.
Today, instead of the big Thanksgiving dinner I’d been imagining all year long, I had a much quieter, more intimate dinner.  It was better, really.  Tomorrow, I’ll have my big celebration.  Not with the family I was born into, but the family I’ve chosen, the family that I’ve gathered and that has chosen to gather around me.  Today, though, was a different celebration all together.  Rather than distract myself from a bitter anniversary with lots to do and a big crowd, filled with noise, I spent the afternoon and evening with three very dear people.  A friend who saw me through the confirmation of my diagnosis with cancer three years ago.  Who stayed with me when I was checked into the hospital unexpectedly, making sure I was settled, forever earning her a soft spot in my mother’s heart.  And her son, a young man I don’t know too well, but who’s quite something in his own right.  And another friend, who is hard to pin down.  One of the things I enjoy about her, actually, is that just when you think you have her figured out, she reveals some new facet, some new twist that shows you really haven’t figured her out at all.  She’s the riddle to which there is no answer.  And, surely, my readers know by now just how much I love those virtually impossible to solve puzzles, especially when they come in human form.

As always seems to happen during events like this, someone shares a secret with me.  Something intimate and private and not known to the greater mass of people.  I don’t know if it was the tryptophan or sugar-high of the Goode Company pecan pie or some weird vibe I give off, but, well, there it is.  And, outside of mentioning how amazed I am that such a diverse variety of people find me worthy of being trusted with such very intimate details of their lives, I do my best to keep those personal secrets.  In truth, I am honored to be trusted so, since I know so very well how I was not always so trustworthy.  It’s hard for me to remember that these people never knew me in that life, that they have only known me as I am today, not how I was when I was so deeply and painfully enmeshed with my ex-wife and that life we led together.

I’m proud of the fact that I made it through the entire day with out telling the story.  The story of how she left the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  How we’d had a discussion, a somewhat one-sided discussion, about how I knew she’d been cheating on me for months.  I stated it as a fact I knew, though, in truth, I only had circumstantial evidence and a feeling.  Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that I was right.
So, while I was in the shower, without any additional warning, she gathered up her daughter and a couple of suitcases, jumped into the only working car we had and left.  There was no note, no voice-mail.  I had to call her.  Since she didn’t answer her cell-phone, I had to call her parent’s house to find out where she was and find out what was really happening.  I knew, of course, but it was as if my mind refused to understand it, refused to take it all in.  I imagine it was a kind of shock, like what amputees feel when they wake up and find a limb has gone missing.
A week later, she was in Phoenix, Arizona with her lover, who’s become her fourth husband.  And, I’d gotten into her e-mail, where I read everything they’d been e-mailing back and forth for six months or more.  I read every last detail of what she’d told him about me.  Every lie and half-truth, spun to serve her particular purpose.  Worse still was seeing every intimate detail I’d ever shared with her, every embarrassing secret, every fear, every vulnerability vomited out and mocked to paint me as a particular sort of person, to color me through a very much not-rose-tinted lens as something small, dark and twisted.  Something I very much feared I really was and, in my worst moments, believe I still am or can become.

But, today, I was reminded that I am not that man.  Neither the man I was nor the man she tried to make me.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure who or what I am today, this year, this moment, but I most certainly know what I am not.  I am not the man who was an empty, hollow shell when she left.  Nor am I the fool who was suicidal at the thought that of being left and getting a divorce.  Perhaps most importantly, I am not the man who was ready to stay married to a woman who obviously had grown to hate him nor am I the man who hated himself so much that he felt drawn to someone who never loved him and only wanted, well, wanted something from him.
No, today, people who didn’t even know me five years ago embraced me as part of the family that they chose to be with on this holiday.  They reminded me that I do have integrity and that I am worthy of trust.  That I’m safe.  Safe enough to be truly intimate with in the most important way possible.

So, this was Thanksgiving.  And, this year, though the anniversary that I can’t seem to escape hit me harder this year than it has in several years, I was reminded just how much I have to be thankful for today.
I am thankful for my family, both the one I was born into and the one that has chosen each other.  I am thankful to be employed and reasonably solvent.  I’m thankful that I have a far deeper spirituality today than I did even five years ago.  I’m thankful that I have both the inspiration and means to be artistic, in my way, and have a hobby that I can pursue with as much relish and intensity as I care to put into it.  Most of all, and this has not always been true, I am thankful this year to simply be alive.

Tomorrow, I will have an unknown number of people over throughout the afternoon and evening, for a bit of fellowship and food.  Even though my house is not quite in the shape I’d like it before having people over, I still look forward to seeing everyone who makes it by, for however long they can be here.  I look forward to the celebration of who we are and our friendships.  Though I often feel very alone this time of year, being separated from my biological family and not in a relationship, tomorrow I will celebrate the amazing number and variety of friends who share my life today.  My life looks very different today than I expected it to, and, more importantly, than it did five years ago, but it’s good life, filled with good people, each of whom I treasure for who they are.

So, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving this year.  I know I did, and I know why I’m thankful.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Happiness is a direction, not a place."
   --Sydney J. Harris

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