Diary of a Network Geek

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

12/12/2013

Another Year Older…

Filed under: Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:53 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

..And deeper in debt!

So, it’s my birthday again. It seems like they just keep coming, like an on-rushing train in that proverbial tunnel where the light isn’t quite what we think it will be when it arrives. Honestly, it seems kind of impossible to me that I’m still chugging along, but, according to the actuarial tables, I should expect about another 30-odd years of life. Which is a good thing because, in spite of being statistically middle-aged, I come from…
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12/12/2012

Another Birthday

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

So, today marks another lap around the Sun for me.

Honestly, I don’t hang a lot on birthdays, especially my own.  I mean, for the most part, they’re just another day.  Another marker of many in my life and, frankly, a rather arbitrary one at that.  I’m more impressed with the fact that I’ve paid a third of my mortgage than that I’m turning 44 today.  Of course, the fact that I’ve made it this far is actually sort of an…
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12/12/2011

Another Lap

Filed under: 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 6:18 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, today marks another lap around the Sun for me.

Honestly, it was more or less just another day today, except that it happened to be the anniversary of the day of my birth.
I had nothing special planned and, as far as I know, angels did not weep audibly with joy to know that I had navigated another year.  Of course, the fact that I’ve made it this far is actually sort of an accomplishment, I think.  There are many who haven’t, and, God knows, I’ve had my share of near misses.  But, it’s not altogether unusual, either.  In fact, according to the actuarial tables, I should expect about another 35 years. *sigh*  Which means I’m officially “middle aged”.  (If any of my younger, female readers are interested in a cheap, empty, meaningless fling, by the way, I’m pretty sure I’m entitled to my mid-life crisis now.  In case you were wondering.)

For the most part, this has been a pretty unremarkable year, which is, actually, good.
No major emotional upheavals, no catastrophic medical drama.  Financially, I could have done better, but, then, I could have done far, far worse, too.  Several sections of my car are new, though the rest is pretty old, but feel that’s balanced by my new camera.  Actually, come to think of it, I may have more invested in camera gear than I do in my car!
Still not dating and still a little heavier than I’d like, but I don’t feel particularly lonely or unhealthy, as the case may be.
So, nothing particularly interesting to cheer about or complain about this year, which suits me just fine.
Of course, I do have a few bits of mischief planned or in the works for the coming year.  So, who knows?  Maybe next year will be more exciting than I can imagine to make up for how relatively smoothly this year has been!

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Jennifer Connelly, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, who is the author of Madame Bovary, the painter Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.
Also, I think it’s interesting to note that on this day in 1896 Marconi first demoed radio and, again on this day, in 1901 made his first Trans-Atlantic transmission.  (Though, of course, all right-thinking people know that Tesla was really responsible for those first advances in radio.)

So, I don’t know for sure what the coming year will bring, but I hope I’ll be in a different place than I am today.
Which is, of course, more or less what I said last year! But, this year, truly, I have no idea where I’ll end up going or doing.  I have few attachments or real responsibilities to hold me back or down, outside of those in my own head, so the field is pretty much wide open.  I’ve all but given up setting goals out load, on paper or via this blog, but I do have a few things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year, though I’ll be keeping those to myself, for now.  I really don’t know where the coming year will take me, but I’m sure it will be to places, inside and out, that I never would have suspected possible a year ago.
And, for that, I’m very thankful!
(And, yes, I am aware that the world is supposed to end next year, quite possibly on my birthday.  And, wouldn’t it be interesting if it did?!)

12/12/2010

A Tattoo Old Enough To Drink

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 6:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

My first tattoo is officially old enough to drink today.

I got my first tattoo on my twenty-first birthday, twenty-one years ago, today.  It was Finals Week and I had a final exam the next morning, so I couldn’t do the traditional round of drinking myself unconscious.  Besides, that really wasn’t my style even then.  So, instead, I marked the day my own way.  I’d wanted a tattoo for a long time, longer, in fact, than I could remember.  And, somehow, I’d gotten it in my head that having a tattoo would make me tough, or at least, make me seem tougher.  I’m not sure that it did, especially considering that I hid it from my family for another six months.  Not very manly behavior, is it, being too scared to show off my big, tough, tattoo?

But, that’s who I was, twenty-one years ago.
I was a kid who was getting close to graduation, but didn’t know who he was.  That feeling of not being enough, not knowing enough, not having enough direction, would send me rushing headlong through life at break-neck speed, never slowing down enough to appreciate what I was seeing, or hearing or doing.  It led me to do many things that, in retrospect, I’m not particularly proud of having done.  Choices I would sometimes rahter I had not made.  I don’t regret the tattoo, though, only the original motivation that led me to get it.
I’m not really that man today.

Twenty-one years is a lifetime.
Time enough to change.  Since getting that tattoo, I’ve cheated death, more than once, and I don’t just mean the cancer three years ago.  I’ve faced a number of reversals of fortune, both in my favor and not.  But, I think, more importantly, is that I’ve learned I’m not my circumstances.  Who I am and how I am are both defined by the choices I make.
Today, though, I make much better choices than I did twenty-one years ago.  Not always, but, mostly.

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Jennifer Connelly, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.

So, I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but I know I’ll be in a different place than I am today.
Which is, of course, what I said last year!  But, this year, right now, it feels like things are changing and about to change far more than I thought possible last year.  I don’t know where the coming year will take me, but I’m sure it will be to places, inside and out, that I never would have suspected possible a year ago.
And, for that, I’m very thankful!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car."
   --Kenneth Tynan

12/12/2009

Today I am Forty-One

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is late at night or 11:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

God, I don’t feel that old.

Wow, this year has gone fast! It seems like just yesterday I was starting the 365 Days Project on Flickr and now here I’ve finished it. That was an interesting experience. Not quite what I thought it would be and I’m not entirely sure it accomplished everything I was hoping it would, but it did force me to grow in my photography and get more comfortable with myself and my camera.  I have to admit, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with all the “extra” creative time that I won’t be spending obsessing over what to do for my next self-portrait.  Honestly, it feels a little weird, since for the past year, a significant focus of my creative energy has been spent on this project and I feel almost at a loss to know what creative direction to head next.  I know I want to take a break and sort of get my feet under me, but then, I know I’ll want to do more with my photography than I have so far and I intend it to take me much farther from my comfort zone than it already has.  But, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m willing to committ to next, so I’m trying to be open to whatever feels right.

Aside from that, it’s been an unexceptional year for me in most ways.
Many things have not changed at all and I’m certainly not where I thought or even hoped I’d be in many aspects of my life.  For instance, I still work at the same company, doing the same things.  I still have fairly massive debt, especially medical debt.  I’m still quite very single.  I still dabble in art and what I do still lacks a certain amount of passion.  Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that my creative work suffers from an abundance of restraint, repression and control.
I have started to lose weight and get into better shape, which I definitely feel is a prerequisite for dating, for me.  I’m down about thirty pounds since last year, which means I’m just under two-hundred.  Far more importantly, I’m in better shape now than I have been in close to eleven years.  I’m leaner, stronger and if not more resilient, at least not significantly less.  I still need more work, but I’m finally getting to a point that I’m comfortable with my physical self.  I may never be truly satisfied, but, I am at least headed in a much more healthy and satisfying direction.

I’m still not sure about relationships and dating and all that chaos right now.  I keep telling myself that I’ll do that soon, but, honestly, I’m not sure  how soon that will be.  I know I don’t want to be alone forever, but, right now, doing the things that I need to do to change that seem life more work than it’s worth.  Obviously, at some point, I’ll take those emotional risks and make myself vulnerable in that way to someone, but, well, not during the holidays.
I’m sure there are many who would find it somewhat amusing to think of me this way, but I am very delicate in some ways.  I have scars on my heart and memory from the ways the phrase “I love you” has been used as a tool against me.  And, from the results of my saying those words without fully meaning them.  Rising above some of the wreckage of my past seems too difficult a task some days, though I know that there are many who have far greater obstacles to their happiness and their futures.

So, I try to take it all one day at a time.
I try not to worry too much about what will come and just live in the now.  I suspect that a lot of cancer survivors do the same.

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Jennifer Connelly, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.

So, I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but I know I’ll be in a different place than I am today.  My dream is that in the next year I’ll have gotten paid for some piece of photographic work, that I’ll have written more in general and more fiction, that I’ll have taken more emotional and spiritual risks by opening myself to others.  My hope is that the attempt to do these things will be driven not from a sense of fear of what will happen to me if I don’t chase those dreams, but, rather, a sense of hope and courage and adventure and the possiblity of growth and positive, directed change.
There are no guarantees, of course, but those hopes and dreams provide me a road map for where to head next and a guide to my choices for the next year.
I hope you’ll all be here with me, to see just where I end up and how I get there.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
   --William James

12/12/2008

Today, I am forty.

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I almost didn’t make it to celebrate this year.

In the past, my birthday hasn’t been a very big deal. I mean, as an adult, celebrating birthdays just never seemed like the thing to do in our family. In fact, I recall hearing about how one of my sisters threatened to walk out of a restaurant when her co-workers were going to bring out a cake and sing Happy Birthday to her. And, I, myself, once threatened a Joe’s Crab Shack waiter with a broken arm if he tried to get me to stand up and sing on my birthday. It’s just how I roll.

But, I’m forty.
Four decades of life. Forty laps around the Sun.
And, this year, I’m going to do things differently. I’ve take the day off, for instance. If, as an adult, I ever managed to not be working on my actual birthday, it was pure chance. But, today, I’ve deliberately taken the day off. Last night two friends, who happen to be married to each other, took me out to dinner. They took me a day early because, as with most people, they have other obligations tonight. In fact, I think that may be one of the reasons I just found it easier to not celebrate my birthday. Often, coming as it does in the middle of the holiday season, there are just too many things going on to be bothered to remember. Hell, last year, I forgot that it was my birthday at all!

But, this year is different.
This year that I never thought I’d live to see. This year, I’m choosing to celebrate life, because that almost wasn’t an option. I have a lot of ideas about who I’m supposed to be and how I supposed to live. And, I have a lot of ideas what people think about that. The thing is, I tend to live in such a way as to be unobtrusive. I guess I was in the way a lot as a kid or something. And, I have some issues about my own worth, my intrinsic value, as a person and a friend. When I really get going on myself, I’m sure that no one would really miss me for very long if I were to just disappear.
But, I know that’s not really true.

After last year, it’d be hard for me to deny that my life has had an effect on a lot of people. People who would miss me if the cancer had taken me. And, not just because of what I can do for them, which is the other lie I tend to tell myself. That I only have value for what I can do for other people. But, really, I’m not quite that useful that the people who surround me and care about me are only in it for the free computer advice and network support. Granted, that’s a nice perk for them, I’m sure, but, honestly, there are other people who do that just as well or better than I.
So, today, I’ll do something different. Today, I’m meeting some friends for lunch. Later, after running a few errands, I’ll be meeting some other friends for dinner and a movie. No idea what movie and I’m not sure where we’ll end up eating, but that’s not the point. And, really, these folks may not even all know that it’s my birthday and that I’m quietly celebrating in my own way. None of that is why I want to go do these things. No, the point is just to not be alone, closed up, closed off, and hidden on my birthday. For a change, I’m going to do something different on my birthday and celebrate.

I’ll also be starting Flickr365 later today. For those of you not familiar with it, the idea behind Flickr365 is to take a creative self-portrait every day for a year and post it to Flickr, the photo sharing website. My intention is to use that to both get myself taking pictures regularly and to get past hating to have my picture taken. Also, it might be interesting to look back and see what a year of changes look like, a year of different shades of me.
In any case, toward that end, I’ll be buying a wireless remote for my camera today, sometime, too. To make it easier to take those self portraits.

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.

So, here we go. I’ve survived one more lap around the sun, one more year, and I’ve beaten some long odds to do so. But, that year is done, now it’s time to start the next one and make it better than the last.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

11/24/2008

New Music for the Network Geek

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,music,Personal,Red Herrings,Review — 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 Waning Crescent

Hey, remember how I was looking for new music some weeks ago?

Well, I found some.
So, I’m pretty much always looking for new music these days. And, I’ve fully embraced the fact that I’m tragically unhip. So, where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me totally open to other people’s suggestions. So, that’s what I sought and that’s what I found. (In fact, while you’re reading this, you can use my SeeqPod searches to preview some of the music I ended up buying.) Well, obviously, I put up a post and a poll about your suggestions, gentle readers. Then, earlier this month, I sent out the call to the same special group of ladies who helped me pick out my most successful pair of shoes which got the best reaction from my favorite member of my target market. When the answer came back from them, I shuffled that in with the wisdom of the crowd here at Diary of a Network Geek and came up with a list. Here it is:

French Kicks – One Time Bells
Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
The Ting Tings- We Started Nothing
The Flaming Lips – Maxi-Single – She Don’t Use Jelly
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Tokyo Police Club- Elephant Shell
Spoon – Double CD – Soft Effects and Telephono

So, that’s what I got today, in a hurry, at the last minute, to blend in with some of my older stuff, like Elvis Costello and Frank Sinatra and Warren Zevon and Miles Davis and the like, to make a nice mix. Why? Well, because I’m going to have those people over for Thanksgiving and several of them will be people I want to, um, make a good impression on, if you take my meaning. Yeah, this poor, unhip network geek is trying to impress a girl a little bit. And, barring that, I wouldn’t mind impressing a couple of the guys. Different reasons, naturally, but, still, one’s as good as the other, right?

Okay, not really. But, in any case, I just wanted to have some nice, young, hip background music for this little party. Possibly, even music for more parties in the future, too, I might add. Sure, it’s been a lot of work getting ready, and a bit more work before I’m done, but I love entertaining. I love having people over for virtually any reason. And, yes, it’s been the perfect antidote to the poisonous memories from four years ago at this time of year. Instead of feeling depressed and down, I’m feeling up, positive and excited about the upcoming holiday. New memories, happy memories, ready to be made and, I think, this music will help make it better, more memorable and new and fresh, for me.
I’m not quite sure how many people will be coming, but a number of people will be coming after going to their family Thanksgiving celebration, just to hang out and maybe have a slice of pie. Fresh music, new friends, and pie. Sounds like a pretty damn good start to me!

3/31/2006

Counting Down

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:32 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’m starting to get a little nervous here.
Tomorrow night I will go on the first date I’ve been on in over ten years. I know, it’s like riding a bicycle, right? Funny thing about that, when I was learning to ride a bike, I wiped out once and took a handlebar to the gut. I don’t know how long I rolled around on the sidewalk gasping for air before someone helped me out. I hope that’s not how tomorrow night goes.
Per instructions, I have purged the car of all metal music of any kind. I will add the dulcet tones of Sting, in abundance, but also have Bowling for Soup, Spoon, Elvis Costello, Warren Zevon, and Frank Sinatra, among others. And, before you critisize me about Blue Eyes, she said she likes Frankie. I won’t put it in myself, but it will be available for her if she so chooses. Tomorrow, I’ll go get my hair cut and the car cleaned inside and out. I’ve already got directions to her place ready.
So, that just leaves what I’m going to wear… We agreed to keep it casual, but she texted me telling me that she was getting a manicure. *gulp* So, I was thinking black jeans, a white button-down shirt and my black cowboy boots, freshly polished, since she’s taller than I am and they give me a good two inches of height. Not that I care personally, but I know some women get uncomfortable with that stuff. On the other hand, maybe just a nice golf shirt and regular jeans. But the black jeans fit so well…
Oh, and do you buy flowers for a first date? Or bring something other than yourself?
Right, obsessive-complusive disorder in action. So, suggestions?

11/20/2005

Who Am I?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:58 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

That’s an interesting question these days.
The honest answer is that I don’t know. At least, I don’t know completely. That’s not to say that I’m particularly complicated or mysterious, because I don’t think I am any more complicated than anyone else. As a modern member of the human race, though, I’ve come to accept that I am often a walking contradiction.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m the man my father hoped I would be when I was born. Have I lived up to his expectations for me? Exceeded them, perhaps? I worry that I am a dissapointment to him. Too arty, too flowery, too sensitive and not hard enough, not tough enough, not, well, not man enough for him. I think that’s why I got my tattoos. To prove to my father, who once told me that nothing I could do would shock or surprise him, that I was a tough enough man to wear a dragon. I got the second to balance the first. And, I suppose, to prove to myself that I was brave enough to go back, knowing how much it would hurt. Oddly enough, after the second, my father at 60-something, went and got his first tattoo. I think so that he could prove to me that he was as tough as I was!
Somewhere along the way, I’ve become even more unflappable than my old man. Friday night, Steve the Zookeeper was telling me something that was meant to shock me. I could tell by the way he looked at my face afterward, searching for a reaction. I smiled at him and said, “oh, hmm, that’s not something most folks know, I guess”, or something like that. He started laughing and said,”oh, yeah, I forgot who I was talking to! You’ve pretty well seen it all, haven’t you?” And, I had to agree, I have. And, if I haven’t seen it, I know someone who has, or I’ve read a book about it. I just don’t shock easy any more. After the cast of characters that has populated my life, to one degree or another, little bothers me about people. So, I’ve become truly what my father told me he was, unshockable. Hell, even my therapist asks me questions about sub-cultures that I’ve participated in. Areas of expertise that help him gauge a couple of his other clients. I think he’s even impressed at how easily I talk about it, without shame, guilt or remorse. Just something I did once, but don’t do anymore.
Still, I search out the edges of who I am. Right now, I’m reading two books, which is a bit unusual for me. I usually stick to one until I’m all the way through. But, when I started Jesus in Blue Jeans, the little sections were so dense with eye-opening information and thoughts that I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. So, in between, I started reading Numbered Account, about mystery and intrigue in the exciting, fast-paced world of Swiss banking. It’s actually better than it sounds, though very much outside my normal genres of reading. I try to do that more these days. Push outside my normal, comfortable life. To find out who I am. New music, too. Or, sometimes, back to old. Everything from Lord of Acid to Frank Sinatra to Morrissey to Dar Williams to Foghat to Gorillaz. I just grab whatever seems appealing at the time. I guess, I’m trying to rediscover who I am alone, without a partner. So much of who I was got tied up into that relationship that part of me got lost.
So, like an explorer without a map or even a native guide, I stumble blindly into the unknown. Seeking for that person I was supposed to be. For the man my father wanted me to become. For the man I’d hoped to be. For the man I really am.
What is this all about? I don’t know. Maybe it’s that time of year, or maybe it’s just something in the water. I’m lost and confused and I want to know what this all means. I want answers! But, there are none. Ambiquity is just how the world works, whether I like it or not. I wonder if anyone reading this cares besides me. I just want to understand myself and find someone who wants to understand me, too. In that special way that only one other can. I wonder if I’ll ever find her… Or, if she’ll find me.


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