Diary of a Network Geek

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

12/18/2005

Amputation

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 Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

A how-to guide.
Remember how I wrote that there’s a trick to that yakuza ritual of cutting off a finger? Well, the trick’s not saki. No amount of alchohol fixes that. You need a couple of things for the yakuza ritual. A very sharp knife, white silk, a presentation box, and an iron soul.
In the old days, when warriors relied on their swords and loyalty to their clan, the severing of a finger was more than symbolic, more than a gesture of apology. It was about grip. Gripping a sword. Fewer fingers meant a weaker grip. A weaker grip meant that one’s ability with a sword was diminished and reliance on one’s clan for protection became more important. The oyabun, father-figure/leader, grew in importance because he protected the weakened warrior. The individual who had erred became more dependant on his group, and less likely to err again. That is what took courage. Not the cutting. Cutting yourself is easy, but reliance on others, now, that’s hard.
In modern times, the symbolism took greater significance. The determination to show proper respect and symbolic reliance on one’s clan, one’s group, one’s gang, was the real test. And, in some ways, that’s the trick. That has to matter more than the pain. More than the loss. More than the fear. Who among us has that in abundance? Not I. The rest of the trick is about blood-flow. You see, the silk serves two purposes. First, it is used to dress and present the severed finger joint. The goal is to cut the finger, prepare and present it to the boss, asking forgiveness in the politest way, all without passing out. The second, and in many ways more important, use of the silk is to cut off the flow of blood to the finger-joint about to be severed. Why? Well, it deadens the pain and the blood loss is one of the ways a person might pass out.
The rest of the trick, of course, is being willing. Being willing to cut a part of one’s self away to more closely bond to the group. Cutting for the sake of cutting has no point, but, cutting with a higher purpose… Well, I have tattoos, and would love to get the half-suit tattoo like the yakuza traditionally wear, but am I willing?
Mostly, no. Not anymore. I have been. I maybe again. But, not today. Today, all I’m willing to do is bind the wounds of others. As so many have done before. For me. I can heal you easier than I can heal myself. More’s the pity. Now, the trick, for me, is what was left for the apologetic yakuza soldier after the cutting ritual. Strengthening the bond. I’m ready.
Are you?

Uncle Jim’s Advice for the day? Only cut when you’re willing to bond stronger afterwards. Otherwise, there’s no point in the ritual.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When in doubt, don't."

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Can’t Sleep?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 12:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yeah, so what keeps you up at night?

I have a leak in that crazy water sculpture thing I did a couple of months ago. Apparently, in the cold, a seal popped and now there’s water everywhere. Of course, I didn’t find it until after church, so I can’t do anything about it until the morning.

I worry about my readers. I’ve got far too many good-looking, female readers for my comfort level. Do you ladies worry about that? The guys who read your blogs? See, I have a little social anxiety and that spills over to here. I’m afraid of scaring you all away with my crazy thoughts. Yet another reason to self-edit, eh? It really freaks me out to think you’re out there reading this. Geeks are safe, but, you adorable, magnificent, brilliant, beautiful ladies scare the bejeezus out of me. Really.

Who the heck is reading my blog via a Blackberry? Look, I know four people who might read this blog that also have Blackberries. One is a guy I see every day at work and he had no need to read this blog. He knows details about my life that this blog will never, ever see. One is a lady, and I mean a real lady, who could, in theory, read my blog wirelessly, but, again, has no real reason to do so. (In fact, Uncle Jim will let you pretty gals in on a secret. You want to know more about me than what’s showing up here? Ask me. You’ll be horrified at how free I am with personal information. If you ask the right questions, you’ll even get answers to things I should keep my big yap shut about, too.) The other two are my ex-wife and her meal ticket. But, since I know it burns them up to read this stuff, I don’t block their IP addresses. Let them come! So, they might be reading this on a Blackberry, but they sure don’t need to. Who are you mystery Blackberry user? Who are you!?

I also worry about why I can’t seem to overcome inertia enough to get my ex-wife’s junk thrown out. Granted, there’s a lot of it and some of it I should sell, but, still… Hey, anyone want to buy a platinum wedding ring with low mileage? Hardly worn, I swear! (No joke. She hardly wore her wedding ring. And, yes, I worry why I couldn’t see that sign of impending doom.)

I lay awake at night trying to figure out safe topics for small talk. Why is it that I can talk to girls under the age of twelve and women over the age of fifty, but women between twenty-one and forty leave me speechless? Last week a woman in that age group was watching me at church. Yea, church. I was doing origami, as I often do during the sermon, and she was watching me out of the corner of her eye. I should have been able to chat her up, shouldn’t I? What should I have said?

Why is it so hard to get a cup of coffee? I mean regular coffee, not a complicated Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato Half-Caf with a Ristretto, Upside Down. All I want is a cup of regular, black diner coffee. Where can you get that in Houston? I mean, without getting a whole meal. I just want a simple cup of coffee. Is that so much to ask? Sure, coffee houses are nice places to meet and talk and whatever, but, uh, if I wanted that kind of complication, I can dwell on my failed marriage. Thanks, but I’d rather have something easier that doesn’t give me gas or indigestion.

Why do pretty women roam in packs like wild marauders in a dystopian, post-nuclear-holocaust science-fiction movie?

Does my dog really smile at me? And is it because she really loves me or because I feed her?

Am I ugly? Too fat? Does my goatee look weird?

Do chicks really dig “sensitive guys” who pour their emotions out in a blog?

Am I cool because I have tattoos? Or does that freak people out, too?

Is it really cool to be a computer geek again?

Does desperation really have an actual smell? What about love?

Yeah, what about love? Can you ever really love someone? Even after you’ve been betrayed? Even after you look back and see all the times that your lover/spouse has most likely been unfaithful?

Is it fair to ask someone to change when you don’t want to change yourself?

Can I die from lack of sleep? Or will I just have a psychotic break? Will I know when that happens? Or, is it really subtle like those stupid Magic Eye books that never seem to work for me anyway?

Am I too effeminate because I want someone to hold me and stroke my hair and tell me that she loves me? Or that I just want someone who trusts me enough to tell me the truth and then fall asleep with her head on my chest? And, is it weird that I want that more than actual sex?

Is it really that late? Right. I’m going to go lay down and try to sleep now. I’ll probably delete this in the morning.


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