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:
"Sometimes a winner is just a dreamer who never gave up."

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:
"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."

12/15/2008

Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


DayTheEarthStood

Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Day The Earth Stood Still Friday night, for my birthday.

Okay, now, it’s probably important to know that the original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still is one of my all-time favorite science-fiction films. It’s regarded by most film scholars as a classic, and not just of science-fiction. So, I did my best to set aside any preconceived notions of how this film should run or the ways that it could go wrong and just enjoy it for what it is.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. I’m not a big fan of Keanu Reeves, even though he starred in the Matrix, but I do adore Jennifer Connelly. In any case, Reeves stars as the alien who’s deciding whether or not to eradicate all life on Earth, to let it restart, basically. To remove all of humanity’s damage so that the Earth can restore herself to her natural, pristine state. Jennifer Connelly plays a scientist who is called in to study Klaatu, played by Reeves. She and Klaatu form an uneasy alliance as he explores the world he’s come to destroy and the people he’s come to erase.
Naturally, the plot runs about the way you think it would. Klaatu starts off remorseless and determined to fulfill his mission. Connelly’s character uses every means at her disposal to convince him to do otherwise. She uses her son, who’s really the son of the man she was married to before he died. That’s one of many departures from the original film. Connelly’s character is really several characters from the original film all in one. She also takes Klaatu to see a genius friend of hers to try to convince him that humanity can change and the Earth isn’t lost. The genius is played by John Cleese, who is a real genius and actually plays a serious role here.

Now, normally, I try not to spoil films and books by not giving too much away. But, I’m going to deviate from that a bit here and just warn you that I’m totally going to fill the rest of this paragraph with spoilers. If you don’t want to “ruin” the movie for yourself, skip to the next section. Ready? Still with me? Okay, so the movie was okay, but it seemed like it was building towards something then, suddenly, with the Earth saved, the movie just ends. So, there’s all this huge build up and then… Poof! Nothing. Fade to black and roll the credits. That’s it. A mediocre film with great effects that just never quite pays off in the end.

So, yeah, it was okay, I suppose. Most of the film was decent enough, except for the part I described in the “spoiler paragraph” above. It’s a shame, really, since Reeve and Connelly do a good job otherwise and have decent roles going right to the end. The movie just never seems to get to its point, we never get the pay-off that we’re expecting. Worse yet, I don’t ever remember Keanu uttering the famous words from the 1951 original: “Klaatu barada nikto! ”

I recommend that you see this on the big screen, but at a matinee. This remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still isn’t as good as the original, but the effects make it worth seeing on the big screen, just not at full price.

12/7/2005

Writing Personal Essays

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Well, that is what blogging is all about, no?
I’ve actually had this book, Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page, sitting on my shelf for more than a year and am just finally getting around to reading it. I’ve been reading so many insightful, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching, velvety, and just really well written blogs, not to mention the ones that sound and feel so familiar, that I’ve been inspired to improve my own writing, especially on this blog. Well, perhaps “shamed” is a better description.
A friend of mine recently asked, essentially, “Dude, what’s up with the Mr. Sensitive posts?” Frankly, I have no idea. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the holidays. Blame it on my birthday which is circling like a giant, black vulture. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I held back so much for so long because of who I was with or life circumstances or whatever that it got all backed up and now it’s pouring out because there’s no where else for it to go. Maybe it’s the repressed exhibitionist in me sneaking out. Hell, it might even be that my friend who’s a month or two out of a year long engagement has a date but I can only seem to meet interesting girls on the Internet, but I’m always “nice guy” material, not “wow, he’s hot” material, and never will be. Ick, that sounds so bad when I put it in black and white.

This all comes back to that old question, “Why do you blog?
Honestly? What’s behind the thoughtful posts lately? You really want to know? What else? Girls. Why else have I done anything in my life, worthwhile or not. It’s always in relation to those marvelous, mysterious, fascinating and infuriating members of the fairer sex. Which is a misnomer, really, since I’ve never known a one of them to play fair. Always batting their eyes and making my hands all sweaty or my heart skip a beat. Sadly, the thing I miss in this particular medium is hearing their voices and seeing the expressions on their face. I can watch a woman’s lips move and not even hear what she’s saying after a bit. All that matters is seeing the magic of those delicate lips and teeth and tounge move in harmony. And, while some guys might be “leg men” or whatever, for me, it was always the eyes. And, the ears, freakishly. Something about a delicate, pink, shell-like ear that always makes me want to tell stories. And, there’s the change. I have a more feminine audience and, suddenly, I find myself wanting to explain, to justify, to persuade. All those things and more.
But, of course, the classic melancholy of a writer kicks in and I’m sure that none of them are really reading this or would really listen to me in person. Who would want to listen to my foolishness? I tell myself. With all the truth and honesty in those blogs I linked to up above, who would want to spend their time sifting through my verbosity to find the tiniest grain of truth that even I forgot was there?
In the end, that’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. Someone to listen to me. Someone to hear.
I saw a movie with Jennifer Connelly in it this weekend. She was laying on some lucky actor’s chest, playing with his sweater and looking all wistful while he was saying something. Her pale green eyes were all but translucent as she said her line. Of course, I was so busy watching her mouth move that I have no idea what she was saying. It hurt so bad that I had to get up and leave the room. How could I have misjudged my ex-wife and my life so badly that I actually married someone who didn’t understand that was all I wanted? Even after I told her? And, now, there are days that I feel like that will never happen. I think, sometimes, that’s the way it should be. That I’m just meant to be alone. Worse, I’m getting used to the idea.
And, now that this little essay has gotten a little too personal, so I’m going to go have a drink. A strong drink


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent."
   --Jean Kerr


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