Diary of a Network Geek

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

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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2/29/2012

On-Line Dating Security

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:39 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I’m pretty sure I was propositioned by a prostitute on Match.com this morning.

I could be wrong, of course, but when a 27-year-old woman who’s profile says she’s “almost divorced” and looking for people in the age range between 35 and 37 sends an email to a 43-year-old man (ie. me) asking if he’s interested in a “one-nighter”, it seems suspicious to me.  Maybe I’m just cynical.
She started off sending me a short note that was a little vague, but at least sounded like she might have possibly read my profile.  Well, except for the part where I was 43.  But, most people I bump into out in the world aren’t very detail oriented, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and  suggested that I might be a little old for her.  I went on to explain that I wasn’t comfortable dating someone who hadn’t started school yet when I would have graduated from college.  What I didn’t say was that it would make me feel like a pervert to dating someone potentially young enough to be my daughter, but, that’s what I was trying to get at, in a polite way.  Then I wished her good luck in her search and went on my merry way.
This morning, I got a note back asking if I was interested in a “one-nighter”.  And, then she gave me an e-mail address at Hotmail.com.  That raised two, giant red flags for me.  First of all, while I am a wizard in the sack, there’s nothing about my Match.com profile that would indicate that to the casual observer.  And, frankly, while many women find me absolutely adorable, I think that’s more based on my personality and sense of humor than my rugged good looks.  It’s been years since I was pretty.
So, sure, maybe she’s just a messed up kid trying to work out her “daddy issues” and not a hooker, but I suspect that she’s looking for an entirely different kind of “daddy”.  Either way, I don’t need that particular flavor of drama at this point in my life.  Seriously.

But, oddly enough, earlier in the week, I was reading a security blog at TechRepublic by Michael Kassner.  The entry was titled “Online Dating Services Risking More Than a Broken Heart” and was all about the potential security issues related to on-line dating.  Now, I work in the industry and I maintain pretty decent security, even at home, but I know not everyone is quite as paranoid as I am.  And, that’s just within the IT industry!  I cannot imagine the wild and wooly dangers faced by people foolish enough, or desperate enough, to contact someone who seems to good to be true through their own, personal e-mail address!  Not to mention how much data you put up on a profile that may be active indefinitely on a dating site.
So, go read his article and think about what you put out there, where you put it and who might be reading it.

Oh, and one last bit of dating advice from your Uncle Jim, if she seems too good to be true, she probably is!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."
   --Oscar Wilde

2/10/2012

The Best 404 Pages

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Not all 404 pages are created equal.

Most of us will never see a 404 page.  In fact, if things are going well on your website, 404 pages shouldn’t normally come up.  (For those of you not familiar a 404 page is the error page you get on a website when the page you’re looking for is missing or can’t be found.)  In the old days, 404 pages were pretty much blank, outside of the error message itself.  They were meant for developers to troubleshoot and debug their websites, really.  They were a kind of place-holder page and, at best, an irritant to the average internet browser.
But, as the web grew up and became more sophisticated, so have 404 pages.  On many sites, they’ve become a kind of “Easter egg“, offering a look at the wit and sense of humor of the site designers and programmers.  What was an annoyance has become a fun bit of art!

Clearly, not even all “fun” 404 pages are created equal, so here are the best 404 Pages according to Gizmodo, one of the premiere gadget and technology blogs.  My favorite is the one they feature first, which strikes me as especially funny, considering my frustrations with Match.com lately.  There are some really good ones there, some more fun and some more useful than others, but all worth another look.  And, even though I know these are Gizmodo’s favorites, there are plenty of good ones that haven’t been listed here.  If you have any, please, leave a link in the comments!

And, hey, why not go check out that gallery today?  It is, after all, Friday, and surely you’ve earned some slack time by now!

10/11/2011

Dating Roulette

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, yeah, I signed up for six months of Match.com again.

Wow, this feels like confession.  Or would if I were Catholic.
Anyway, yeah, a week or two ago, I got an e-mail deal on six months of Match.com, including their BS “Six month guarantee!”  I finally got an updated profile and new photos up.  And, took down some shots of me taken shortly after I finished chemo after my hair started to grow back.  Not sure what I was thinking with that, frankly.  Regardless, the new photos are better, partially because of my skill improving, partly because of better equipment, and partly because I’ve been working out a bit.  (No, not because of Photoshop, you bitter cynics!)

But, the reason I’m writing this isn’t to advertise my availability to the three or four readers I have left!  No, rather it’s to share a little story about a kind of Russian Roulette.
One of the things you can do on Match.com is send what they call “winks”.  They’re just little messages that let someone know you’re interested in them.  Like a ping command, in networking terms.  Incidentally, men should never use “winks” on Match.com.  It’s far better for us to write women a short e-mail that makes more personal contact.
In any case, I got a wink from someone who seemed interesting.  Her profile was kind of generic, but, then aren’t they all after a while?  Besides, she was pretty good looking.  At least, from the one, grainy photo that looked like it was taken on a cellphone, she looked pretty.  But, I had to question what a 28-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed teacher would find interesting about a 42-year-old, graying, professional geek.  Yes, alarm bells went off in my head and they all sounded like “Russian Mail-Order Bride Scam”!

See, more than once, I’ve gotten e-mails from someone who is clearly not from the U.S. and, after a bit of probing, usually turns out to be from somewhere overseas, often Russia or one of the former Soviet-block countries, who’s looking for someone to marry here in the States.  Look, to be clear, I don’t have anything against Russians, or any other foreigner who wants to come to marry an American and come to this country.  I don’t even have anything against the whole mail-order bride thing, though, as an industry, it does seem a little sleazy to me.  But, really, if I wanted a mail-order bride from anywhere, I’d be on one of those sites, not Match.com!
Sadly, I was bored enough today that I was willing to roll the dice and see what happened.  Frankly, I figured that at the worst, I’d have a funny story to tell on the blog.  But, when I went back to play my Russian Dating Roulette, the profile had been deactivated.  So, while it is a problem that crops up on these sites, at least Match.com was on top of it and deleted the profile.

So, now, I’ll be sifting through all the profiles and searches and whatever looking for someone who’s easy on the eyes, can possibly put up with me, is willing to take the chance, and not running a scam.  Won’t that be fun?!?
Well, at least it will give me something more to write about!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why this has been filed under the Bavarian Death Cake of Love category, that comes from a few years ago, before cancer, but after divorce, when I was writing more and trying to date.  (You can read that old entry here.)

9/12/2011

Another Year’s Reprieve

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I’m not going to die.

Well, at least, I’m not going to die of cancer.  Not this year, anyway.
Today, the oncologist told me my lymphoma is in full remission still.  In fact, the scar tissue has shrunk even more, from 14cm to 11cm, which I think is kind of amazing, but didn’t seem to illicit any special notice from the doctor.  Some people are just impossible to please, I guess!
He was a little worried because my blood pressure was high, but, then again, I’d just driven though rush-hour traffic to wait around for more than an hour for results on whether or not I was going to have to let them poison me for another six months.  All things considered, I think it’s pretty normal that I might have a slightly elevated BP!  But, I will keep an eye on it and make sure it normalizes again.
He did say, also, that I’ve made it to the point where less than 10% of the people have a likely recurrence of lymphoma.  And, according to his Physician’s Assistant, the five-year mark is where I can be officially considered “cured”, which is the first time anyone has actually told me that.  Everyone else keeps telling me that I’ll never really be “cured”, per se, but always in remission with a smaller, and smaller, and smaller chance of reoccurence every year.  So, today, I got a little more hope than I had before, which is actually pretty nice.

All in all, a pretty good result.  I’ll go back in another 10 months for another scan, which is not quite as long as I’d like, but, better than going again sooner because they found something to be concerned about.  At that time, they will start me on a course of annual visits for this scan, which I’m not incredibly happy about, but will do until a better option comes along.  And, based on what his PA told me, I think it will be something negotiable.  The doctor may not realize that, but, well, I suspect he’s not quite used to dealing with a patient like me.  My last doctor and I joked about the fact that I wouldn’t pay my bills until I knew she was going to do her job and save my life.  We agreed that it seemed only fair!  Of course, she did, in fact, save my life, so I did pay those bills.  That is, however, one concern I have for the long-term; paying those bills.  This gets to be a pretty expensive process and if I don’t really need to keep doing it every year, I may chose to opt for a slightly modified plan.
The doctor may not be excited by that, but I have ten months to sharpen my bargaining skills, while he’s completely in the dark about my plans.  It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out!

Until then, though, I continue to work on my general health and wellness.  I was pleasantly surprised to weigh in at a mere 216, fully clothed and laden down with my ridiculous “daily carry” of keys and flash drives and over-stuffed wallet and all the other pocket litter, as the spies call it, that I usually have on me.  As I mentioned, my blood pressure was a bit high, but I’ll work on that.  A little Zen meditation, and maybe some yoga, ought to bring that under control again.
Oh, don’t be so shocked by the yoga!  No, I haven’t started doing it yet, but several people have suggested it and I decided to start looking into it.  I’m getting older and starting to tighten up some.  My knees in particular seem to get stiffer faster than they did.  Besides, I hear yoga class is a great place to meet women who are physically fit!

I do still struggle a bit with depression.  Nothing too bad, but, well, it is something that cycles around on a semi-regular basis.  I figure the yoga and meditation would help with that, too.  Speaking about my psychological well-being…
My oncologist tells me I should get married.  I thought it might be better to start with dating, but I’m pretty sure I can work the “doctor’s orders” into a decent and semi-original opening line.  I think a bit of laughing in the face of death might help some, too.  I hear chicks dig that.  Of course, I also hear that magnets can cure joint pain and people pay huge money for the kind of rough treatment my poor colon got last week for “health reasons”.  Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a regular course of high colonics could possible be good for me, so I’ll take the things Men’s Health tells me about women with a grain of salt.  (Though, I have started to edit my Match.com profile again in preparation for stepping out in the wild world of dating again.  Seriously.  Lock up your daughters!  Seriously!)

So, yeah, after all my angst last week about the physical side-effects of chemotherapy, I’ve been spared that.  I even got better than expected news, frankly!  So, I admit, I do feel a bit foolish for getting so worked up about it.  I mean, I should have more faith than that, shouldn’t I?  Well, that’s something else I’m still working on.
Thankfully, it seems I have the time.

 


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There is no failure except no longer trying."
   --Elbert Hubbard


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