Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/11/2014

FlipFold

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:43 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Not exactly an IT tool.

I use a lot of tools and gadgets to make my life easier, not just computer related stuff.  And, I have to admit, while I intended to use my Tools for Tuesday “themed” posts for all kind of day-to-day things I use to upgrade my quality of life, a device to fold t-shirts was not quite what I pictured sharing.
Of course, like a lot of networking geeks, I tend to dress pretty casually, especially on the weekends.  And, when you factor in the fact that I live in a suburb of Hell during the Summer here in Houston, well, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I have quite a few t-shirts.  In the past, before I met my blushing bride, the Organizing Decorator, my closet was a kind of haphazard firetrap filled with, among other things, shelves of t-shirts.  It was hard for me to deal with and they took up a lot of room and it took forever to fold them when I took them out of the dryer.  It was my least favorite thing about both laundry and my closet, even though I love my t-shirts.  Naturally, my wonderful wife had a solution for me, but, well, the fact that it was a favorite tool of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory didn’t really help her case.
But, when I left her to go to DEFCON XX in Las Vegas for a long weekend back in 2012 before we were married, she helped me understand how such a small thing could improve my life immensely by folding all my t-shirts with her FlipFold and reorganizing them for me.  It was, quite honestly, amazing.  They were all folded to the same size rectangle and could be stacked neatly so they took up about two-thirds of the room they did before!  And, I could find just the right one when I wanted it!  No more searching for my favorite Tee Fury design or that Threadless reprint I found on sale or whatever hard core geek t-shirt I may be looking for, for hours on end.  The neat stacks make them all easier to find, and give me room for more!  Not to mention that they look better when I put them on, too!
And, yes, it does make folding them after laundry easier and faster, too.  (Though I have to admit, the spectacular spouse has been doing my laundry a whole lot more than I have!)

My FlipFold was a gift, so I don’t recall how much it was at the time, but it was worth it.  You can get your own, in a rainbow of color options, at FlipFold.com.

(And, yes, it is one of the many contributing factors that led me to marry her.  Not the only one, but certainly one of them!)

3/2/2012

Sometimes, the Geek Gets the Girl

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, I’m not talking about me.

I’m talking about pop culture.  Or, at least, Hollywood.  I go on, sometimes at length, about how the geek never seems to get the girl.  Mostly, because I happen to be that geek who never seems to get the girl!  But, more and more, the geeks are getting the girl, at least in the movies, if not in life.  So, my personal dating woes aside, I have hope that, someday, I might get the girl, too!

Okay, not really, but, still, if you’re a lonely, single geek, check out the movies in that linked list.  They may give you hope!
And, if nothing else, they may inspire you to write a script where the geek gets the girl, too!

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:
"Everyone deserves to be happy, but not if that happiness is dependent on imprisoning or enslaving another human being."
   --Unintentionally ironic comment left on a blog

2/14/2012

From The Heart

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:01 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Today, for reasons that are mostly attributable to the evil machinations of greeting card companies, we are expected to engage in a conspicuous display of romantic passion.  People mistakenly call it “love”, but, in my experience, love often has little to do with what we celebrate on this strange, little holiday.  We put so much pressure on each other, and ourselves, to be in the right kind of loving, romantic, passionate relationship that, frankly, it’s almost guaranteed that things will go horribly wrong.  And, yet we continue with it anyway.

For years, I was single on St. Valentine’s Day, and wished beyond all reason to be in a relationship with someone, anyone, with whom I might share the day.  Then, of course, I was and the event couldn’t possibly live up to any of the expectations I had set up for the holiday, my partner, nor myself.  It seemed to me that with every passing year, whatever I did was less and less appreciated.  More fault was found with how I tried to make the day special for her, until that last year, my ex-wife was actually complaining about the roses I’d saved my lunch money, literally skipped lunches out with the people at the office, to pay for to continue what I’d hoped was a tradition.  For ten years, I bought her at least a dozen red roses, usually, a dozen red and a dozen white, carefully requesting that they not include baby’s breath, because she was allergic to it, only to have her complain that the flowers I’d been so proud of getting in spite of financial difficulty, were aggravating her allergies and always had.  For ten years, she let me buy those flowers and complained about them, often behind my back, and let me think I was doing a good thing.  All for “love”.

Well, I can’t speak for my ex-wife, but I don’t think I knew what love really was when we were together.
In church, Sunday, of course, they read First Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-7, which are “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Now, I doubt that Paul was talking about romantic, passionate love in this letter, since he wasn’t particularly in favor of marriage, among other things, but, still, it’s often invoked as the kind of love we should have for a partner.
It’s certainly an ideal I strive for these days, on that rare occasion that I find myself involved with someone of the fairer sex.  But, it’s also how I simply try to treat everyone, regardless of how they feel about me.  Of course, some days I do that better than others, but it’s a goal for all days, not just this artificial, high-pressure holiday that was seemingly invented to make so many feel so inadequate.

And, I have to admit, my feelings about this holiday aren’t aided by my interest in history, especially Chicago history.  You see, I think of this day as the anniversary of when a fellow Chicagoan, Al Capone, rounded up seven of his closest buddies and gunned them down in the back alleys of the South Side of Chicago. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre! It was on this day, in 1929, that the rivalry between Bugs Moran and Al Capone reached its violent and bloody peak, leaving seven, bloody corpses in its wake, along with damaging both Moran’s North Side Gang and, ultimately, bringing so much attention to Capone from the FBI that it effectively ended his criminal career, as well.
Truly, a turning point in the criminal history of Chicago.

So, you all go out and have your romantic dinners and make cow-eyes at your object of desire, but, have yourself an extra bloody steak and remember how they used to celebrate this romantic holiday on the South Side in the old days.  And, remember, your relationship isn’t measured by how well or poorly things go today, but how you treat each other the other 364 days of the year.

 


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

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:
"Shallow men believe in luck.... Strong men believe in cause and effect."
   --Emerson

2/14/2011

Chicago-Style St. Valentine’s Day Celebration

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Normally, a day associate with love and romance and a complete imbalance of power in male-female relationships wherein the male of the species is required to present his pair-bonded mate, or potential mate, with a ridiculous display of conspicuous disposable income via dead foliage or high-calorie confectioneries.  And, no, I’m not bitter, thank you for asking.  I participated in this strange mating ritual for many years, spending untold amounts of my hard-earned money on the most gorgeous roses available in Houston, thanks to my ex-wife and the Rose Gallery.  (All kidding aside, they really are quite good and reasonably priced for the truly amazing roses that you’ll get from them on days like this.  For real.)

I, however, prefer to remember this day as the anniversary of when a fellow Chicagoan, Al Capone, rounded up seven of his closest buddies and gunned them down in the back alleys of the South Side of Chicago.  Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre!  It was on this day, in 1929, that the rivalry between Bugs Moran and Al Capone reached its violent and bloody peak, leaving seven, bloody corpses in its wake, along with damaging both Moran’s North Side Gang and, ultimately, bringing so much attention to Capone from the FBI that it effectively ended his criminal career, as well.
Truly, a turning point in the criminal history of Chicago.

So, you all go out and have your romantic dinners and make cow-eyes at your object of desire, but, have yourself an extra bloody steak and remember how they used to celebrate this romantic holiday on the South Side in the old days.

12/31/2010

Resolving A New Year

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — 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 Waning Crescent

Well, it’s that time again…

It’s that magic time of year when we all make resolutions that most of us will never keep.  I mean, seriously, how many of you have ever kept a resolution?  Ugh, don’t answer that.  My readers are probably just the kind of contrary people who actually do keep their resolutions!
For my part, I keep saying that I’m going to read Getting Things Done so that I can streamline my life and, well, get more done.  One day, I swear, I will become more efficient!  At least I actually own this book.  It’s sitting under a huge pile of other books, just waiting for me to finally get around to it.
On the upside, one year, I resolved to teach myself Perl and that I actually did!  Of course, I mostly used that to make little webapps that weren’t very useful, even if they were entertaining.

And, that, gentle readers, brings me to my Friday Fun Link; Diary of a Network Geek’s New Year’s Resolution Generator!
It’s fun!  It’s FREE!  And, I have to admit, it tends to lean toward resolutions that involve hard liquor and inappropriate behavior, especially with strangers.
Trust me, you’ll love it.  Be sure to share it with all your drunk friends tonight at your parties!
See you next year!

2/12/2010

Get Ript!

Filed under: Art,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Oh, yeah, now this is equality.

Look for years you ladies have complained about clothes and makeup and all the unfair things that you all feel pressured by society to do, right?  You blame women’s magazines for “body image” issues, among other things.  Oh, I know, I heard it all, especially when I was married.  Guess what?  Men have the same “body issues” from the magazines we read.  No, seriously.  It pains me to think that I’ll never look like one of the cover models on Men’s Health.  And, no, no amount of working out or dietary change will make me all buff and ripped like them.  At least, not if I have to hold down a full-time job and sleep.

Well, for years, you gals have had your “control top” hose and girdles and all manner of amazing engineering to help you with those “issues”.  Finally, men have the same thing.  Ript!  Essentially, a t-shirt/girdle for men, to create the illusion of us being, well, ripped under our dress shirts.  And, it’s just in time for St. Valentine’s Day!
Go look at the site.  I couldn’t stop laughing, either.

2/5/2010

Fancy Knot

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Does anyone even wear neckties any more?

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I wore one.  Probably for a funeral, or possibly a wedding.  I used to enjoy it, really.  I would very carefully match the tie and shirt and jacket so that it all complimented each other.  And, yes, I would choose the knot for the tie depending on the occasion.  For formal events, I would tie that trusty Full Windsor.  For events that were somewhat less than the very most important, I might use the Half-Windsor.  And, for everyday, like going to work, I’d usually just do a quick Four-In-Hand and be on my way.  So, yes, I enjoyed knowing things like how to tie more than one kind of knot for my tie.

Here’s a new one from Lifehacker, which also has “geek cred”.  It was the knot used by the Merovingian in the second Matrix movie.  How cool is that?  So, if you’re into that kind of thing, check it out.  The link will take you to a video teaching you how to tie the knot.
And, Gents, with VD Day just around the corner, I hope you all are planning on taking your woman out to a restaurant where wearing a tie would be appropriate, if not expected.  And, if you’re going to dress up, why not try a new knot?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"My obligation is to do the right thing. The rest is in God's hands."
   --Martin Luther King

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