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?!)

11/18/2011

Geek’s Guide to New York

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,On The Road,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I seem to be fixated on New York this month!

There are a lot of geeky landmarks in New York City.  From movies like Ghostbusters to comic books like the Fantastic Four to movies about comic books, there are a lot of references made to the Big Apple.  If you’re a geek and plan on being a tourist in New York, wouldn’t you like to hit these hot spots and revisit your favorite geek moments?  Or just take a photo of yourself where your favorite geek event, movie, etc. actually happened or was filmed?
Now, with the aid of the Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York City, you can.  (Though, personally, I prefer the term “geek” to “nerd” for a number of reasons, at least one of which should be obvious!)  Brought to you via Slashfilm, the Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York City has a map, showing you just where all those cool or famous or geeky things are to be found, including, yes, the building used for the Ghostbuster’s HQ as well as the building used for the Fantastic Four’s HQ, and many others.

I’ve never really done any “geek tourism”, but, after seeing this, I may start!
Anyway, it’s Friday and you’re not doing any work anyway, so you might as well check it out and plan your next vacation!
Have a great weekend!

11/4/2011

Secret Dining

Filed under: Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, this isn’t a post about eating disorders!

Rather, it’s a post about secret places to eat in New York City!
I have to admit, I’ve always been fascinated by people lining up to get into places so secret that they have no name or no sign over the door.   Maybe it’s having grown up in Chicago with a grandmother who was actually around when speakeasies were up and running that’s made this so interesting to me.  Maybe it was just being a geeky kid who was always on the outside.  Maybe, it was the idea that my great-grandfather was friends with Bath-house John Kenzie and Hinky Dink Kenna, two of Chicago’s most notorious aldermen and crooks, who ran a “pool hall” with a secret room.  In any case, places like that fascinate me and the idea that they might exist in New York RIGHT NOW is almost irresistible to me!

So, tell me, New York readers, have you ever tried one of these “Secret Eateries” in New York City?
Inquiring minds want to know!

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

6/22/2009

Review: The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3

Filed under: Fun,Movies,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 a New Moon


TakingOfPelham1(23)

Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 on Friday.

I’ll be honest, I was hoping to talk some folks into going to see The Hangover again, but also, I wanted to get out with some folks I don’t normally get to hang out with. But, those folks were more interested in Pelham 1-2-3, so that was what we saw.

The premise of the movie is simple, a criminal, played by John Travolta, takes over a New York City subway train and holds it for ransom. Ten million dollars worth of ransom, in fact. He leads a team of three other guys, two gunmen and a former MTA motorman to drive the kidnapped train.
The MTA controller at the main headquarters who deals with the kidnappers or terrorists is played by Denzell Washington. He’s got a little secret in his recent past. Travolta’s character takes a perverse liking to him and insists that he be the one who brings the money down into the subway system when the time finally comes. Honestly, sitting here trying to describe the movie, it sounds a little boring, but it was surprisingly good. Travolta plays an apparently unstable and randomly dangerous violent criminal who seems to be out for a little revenge against the city that he feels “done him wrong”. Naturally, there is more to him than meets the eye.

So, in spite of the Scientology connection, with Travolta, it was a pretty good movie. Except for one thing where my suspension of disbelief got totally blown. So, they hook up some kind of wifi relay in the subway tunnel, right? No mention of what or how they tapped into some other line or other outside access, it just magically worked. Then, a computer on the train finds and attaches itself to the network without any intervention. You know, that would be nice and all, but, uh, that’s kind of what I do all day. Connect networks and computers and stuff. And, uh, they pay me pretty good money because, you know, it just doesn’t work that way.

Also, there was a kind of weak sub-plot that was all about manipulating the markets with a terrorist scare. And, of course, Travolta was guilty of a little over acting, but, then, that’s normal for him. Other than that, though, it was a pretty good movie.

Honestly, I still would have rather seen The Hangover a second time, but The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 was a pretty good movie and definitely worth seeing if you like simple action films.

1/2/2009

Rooftop Gardens

Filed under: Art,Fun,Garden of Unearthly Delights,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, specifically, rooftop gardens in New York City.

Actually, the set of photos on Flickr is called Rich People Rooftops NYC, but it’s mostly gardens.
I’ve always loved the idea of private gardens hidden away on the roofs of buildings in big cities like this. Don’t know a thing about the set or the photographer, but the pictures look almost like an impossible fantasy to me. Very fun, well worth a look, and, hopefully, something to help you feel a little warmer this cold, cold month.

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:
"There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it."
   --Monta Crane

9/12/2008

Review: Fables

Filed under: Art,Fun,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, that title is kind of a lie.

I want you to review Fables.
Yeah, seriously. I’ll give you a capsule synopsis, but that’s it.
Okay, so it’s a comic book, first in a series, that were later collected into graphic novels, written by comics genius Bill Willingham. The idea is simple, really. What if the classic fairy tales got lost or kicked out of fairy-tale-land and ended up here, in our world, someplace like New York City? What would that look like? What would they do? What kind of problems would they have? How would their stories change?

That’s it. That’s Fables. As with all good pushers, D.C. under their Vertigo line, is offering the first one free. Hit the link and find the free one at the bottom of the page.
Enjoy. Review.

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