Diary of a Network Geek

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


Why I Eschew Subtlety

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 Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Since everyone else is quoting from movies this month…
Here’s a little something from one of my all-time favorites, Roxanne:

[Roxanne Kowalski is walking behind a hedge because she is nude]
Roxanne Kowalski: Nobody had a coat?
C.D. Bales: I thought you said you didn’t want a coat…
Roxanne Kowalski: Why would I not want a coat?
C.D. Bales: You said you didn’t want a coat!
Roxanne Kowalski: I was being ironic.
C.D. Bales: Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony’s not really a, a high priority. We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.

And, that, in a nutshell, is why I’m not subtle. There’s just not enough of a market for it, really. No one else seems to be buying. Oh, I used to try, but I often just ended up being obtuse or obscure. And, what did it get me? Not much, I’ll tell you that. Not much.
Let’s be honest here, okay? Subtlety is over-rated as a form of communication. Subtlety is confusing and frustrating. Subtlety rarely gets the point accross. And, subtlety almost never gets the job done. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no “hard-charger” who goes full-speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, but I do tend to take things straight on. Frankly, that gets frustrating, too, since so many people seem to expect subtlety. The other problem I have, of course, is that I do okay going head-on with most things, but when it comes to people, I’m rather like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes, I get what I’m after, but, oh, the cost!
And, honestly, while everyone claims they want to communicate in straight-forward, direct ways, hardly anyone seems to actually do that. I’ll give two examples of a similar event that will compare and contrast this silly dichotomy quite well.
A couple of months ago, I “met” someone online who seemed quite interesting and was devastatingly beautiful. By all appearances, she was unencumbered, so I asked her out. She thanked me and politely declined, siteing several reasons, not the least of which was the whole stigma of meeting someone online. Fair enough. Question asked and honestly answered. No hard feelings, no fuss, no muss.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Same situation, but different devestating beauty. I ask the question and get put off. And put off. E-mails go unanswered for weeks, or forever. Finally, after much silliness, I get the hint and leave it alone. I think I stopped just short of being the idiot that Angel With An Attitude described in her post about a similar situation. Just barely, but still… And, besides, I was too old for her. Definately not her type at all. You know, all calm and fairly stable and quiet and, well, sort of boring. Not the sort of guy the girls I’m interested in like at all. Like a moth to the flame, I am.

In any case, I find it much, much easier to simply be honest and direct. It cuts down on wasted time. Sure, I don’t always manage it, but, still, it’s better. (Uh, that’s “better” not “bitter”. I might have been frustrated by the response the second gal gave me, but I understand it, so I’m not bitter.) And, that’s what I try to do. Not everyone likes the questions being asked, but as a guy I used to know in college said, “Hey, if you want to know the answer, you’ve got to ask the question.”

Incidentally, this quote is also from that movie and scene:

I, uh, notice you don’t have any tattoos. I think that’s a wise choice. I don’t think Jackie Onassis would’ve gone as far if she’d have had an anchor on her arm.

Too true. I dig a cool tattoo on a lady, but an anchor on the arm does not cut it!
So, finally, a little Advice from your Uncle Jim? Just ask the question. If they’re uncomfortable with that, well, there’s your answer, eh?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
Knowing that something is the right thing doesn't always make it easy to do, but that's not an excuse.

Loompanics Going Out of Business

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:56 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

This probably won’t mean much to most of my readers.
Loompanics was THE underground book publisher and the best source for The Anarchist Cookbook, before Amazon.com, of course. They had everything from alternative energy to conspiracy theory to guerrilla warfare to, well, you name the counter-culture and they had resources for it. This is where I first got a copy of How to Start Your Own Country, among other unconventional books. These folks were, well, “interesting” doesn’t cover it. I mean, a book catalog that has a section called “Heresy/Weird Ideas”? It doesn’t get much more interesting than that! And, now, they’re going out of business. At least there is some good news: almost everything they have in inventory is 50% off. So, here’s your chance to get that freaky, counter-culture “how-to” book you’ve always wanted, save some money, and participate in a little history.
Go ahead, the government isn’t watching you so closely that you can’t at least browse their on-line catalog, so hit the link: Loompanics.
(As a side note, while looking through their books, I was shocked to learn that I already owned all their good lock-smithing/picking books, and I have yet to even try to pick a lock! Ah, the wages of a misspent youth…)

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