Diary of a Network Geek

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


Lucky Day

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, Why Everyone Else Fears Friday the Thirteenth!
I always thought it was because Judas was the Thirteenth Apostle or something like that. No, according to this article on GlobalPsychics.com, it has to do with the plot to suppress the Knights Templar. Hey, stop laughing! That’s what it says!! And, I quote:

The modern basis for the Friday the 13th superstition stems from Friday October the 13th, 1307. On this date, the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against “the Knights Templar”. The Templars were terminated as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. There Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. A Black Friday indeed!

So, there you have it, Friday the Thirteenth is a global conspiracy! Personally, I usually have better luck on Friday the Thirteenth, but, then, I always have been a little out of step with the world. Oh, and here’s a link to some alternate ideas why everyone else is afraid of Friday the Thirteenth.
Enjoy it.



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
–Ernest Hemingway

Or, as my mother used to tell me, “Interested people are interesting people.” I’ve been thinking about that lately, since I hope to be more social this year. And, since rumor has it that “social” activities involve actual people and could lead to actual dates where I’m only half of a conversation, instead of one sixteenth, this has been of great concern to me. I’ve never been good at small talk, but, as I hope some of my fellow bloggers are aware by now, I do ask fairly good questions. And, of course, I listen to the answers, well, too. That’s sort of hard to see on the Internet, of course, but, still, it is something that I work at improving constantly.
I genuinely like people, most people, in fact. I think even the most annoying person can have an interesting story to tell. How did they get that scar? What’s up with that crazy tattoo? Why do they hide from deep relationships? All these things can lead to a surprising story with open-ended possibilities. But, I have to ask the right questions. And listen.
The older I get the more I try to listen. More than that, though, I try to listen actively. Ask questions that keep the story flowing. Ask the questions that bring out new insights. If I’m lucky, sometimes, I can ask a question that brings out details and truths that no one else has heard before. I live for those moments. That kind of intimacy is what makes relationships, of all kinds.
Sometimes, though, I have to remember to listen with my heart, not my ears. Sometimes people need to feel that people care and “hear” them. I don’t know any deeper expression of care and love than to listen deeply to someone. To hear their heart in their words. Granted, I don’t do this as often as I would like, but, the times that I have done it, I have been keenly aware of the effects. Effects that run both ways. I’ve developed some of my best and deepest friendships this way. I only wish I’d understood this sooner.
Now, as most of my readers know, I rarely get this philosophical without a subtext. Today is no different. I’m going to be placing a phone call today to someone I don’t know. To someone I hope to know better. Someone interesting and beautiful and, frankly, terrifying. I don’t know where the conversation might lead or what I might either learn or reveal and that’s a little scary. Of course, that’s also why I’ll be doing it. When I get scared like that, it’s because I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. In this case, quite far outside my comfort zone. And, as always, that means growth. Frightening, painful, but, oh, so necessary growth. It’s been a long time since I put myself out there like this. Opening myself to that kind of personal intimacy, at least with a member of the opposite sex.
I hope I remember how. How to listen.


Then, There Were Three

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:07 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, Hoffman’s Home for Wayward Boys, The Revenge of the Wayward Boys.
So, now, for a short time only, I have a second roommate. A friend of Doc’s who’s been “asked to leave” his house by his wife. Yes, for those of you paying attention, there is a theme here at Hoffman’s Home for Wayward Boys. Trouble with the wife seems to be the first step to the path that leads everyone through my home this year. Hopefully, that will change one day soon. As much as I like helping guys out, I’d much rather that their lives were rolling along smoothly enough that they were coming to “visit” because I’m just so cool. Well, I’ll settle for available right now. The dog and her unconditional love may have something to do with it, too. She’s real popular these days and getting spoiled with all the attention. I’m just thankful that I have the room to let people crash at my place while they get things straightened out, though, it looks like I’ll have to get some more keys made if this keeps up.

It’s funny, but I tried to explain why I do things like this to Doc last night and I don’t thing he got it. See, I owe my ex-wife a debt I can never repay. About four years ago, she kicked me out of the house for a bit which sent me down a path that really helped me straighten out my life a lot. Sadly, along the way, one of the things that needed straightening was our relationship and the only way for that to work out was for her to either do some spiritual work herself or, well, the way things ended up. I know I’m far, far better off without her, but, still, I’m keenly aware that I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for her and that relationship. Of course, since she has a personality like a wounded rattlesnake, there’s not much point trying to pay her back for anything I percieve she did for me. And, really, anything she did for me was incidental to her getting what she wanted. But, still… Still, it’s a reminder, like I got via e-mail, that something good can come from even a situation as bad as that one one was. And, I find the need to pass that kind of growth opportunity along, so I find myself doing things like opening my home to guys who are where I was a couple of years ago. Honestly, it’s not much, but it’s all I can do. And, it’s a small price to pay for the life I have today.

Cisco Admin Basics

Filed under: Career Archive,Certification,Geek Work — 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 Waxing Gibbous

Have you ever had to learn on the fly?
Well, most of us geeks have, at one time or another. In my case, it was basic Cisco router administration while under fire. No, not literally under fire, just in a tight spot with tons of pressure to get things done quickly and right the first time. Back then, it was pretty easy to get an entry-level Cisco certification, but they made that harder right about the time I tried to get it. Which, honestly, is besides the point. I didn’t really need a Cisco cert to get stuff done. All I really needed was some basic commands. Well, now, we’re all in luck. Thanks to TechRepublic, you can get through some basic Cisco admin tasks with little or no help. Just hit Cisco Administration 101, and they’ll walk you through the basics of setting up a router. And, by basics, I mean setting the Admin password, too, not just configuring the interfaces. Basic configuration includes basic security!
Anyway, it’s a start and enough to get you through a tight spot.


Resolution Update

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Yes, already.
First, I weighed myself this morning and I have sixteen pounds to lose, not just ten.
Second, I’ve added two resolutions to my list.

Now, for the more interesting updates. I got to church last night and discovered that one of the ladies I met at the New Year’s Eve party had not, in fact, left the state yet. Sadly, it was a bit too late, I thought, to do anything about that. However, in pursuit of resolutions three and fourteen, I called the hostess of said party and told her how I’d wished I’d known that the lady in question had still been around. I also paid her an indirect compliment, via said hostess. I told her she had beautiful eyes. Eyes that made me want to say something witty and brilliant and charming so she’d look at me with her clear, blue, beautiful eyes. It was, apparently, well recieved. Wish I’d had the courage to pay the compliment in person, but, well, one step at a time. And, sadly, the blue-eyed lovely does still leave the state this month, for at least a year. Always a bridesmaid and never a groom… Or, something like that.
And, I opened my last pack of cigarettes this morning. When I smoke the last one, I’ll post that, too.
Now, I have to go iron and start working on the one room that has the majority of my ex-wife’s junk in it. (Which is resolution fifteen.)

Oh, yeah, don’t forget to vote on which watch, okay?


Gone With The Nerd

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

A funny thing happened in the drug store.
So, I made a run to Walgreens today, to get some stuff I forgot last night. Mousse and Carmex and, since I saw it, a digital scale with that body-fat calculator thing built in. If I’m going to make all my New Year’s resolutions happen, I’m going to need that. Anyway, one of the quirky things I do is walk through the magazine aisle and check to see what the average Gulf Coast Walgreens customer is reading these days. I especially like looking at the “Best Seller” rack to see what trashy paperbacks are popular with what I think of as the “least common denominator” of the reading community. Freakishly, what I found today was Gone With the Nerd. This is not a joke. This is an actual book that actually sells somewhere to someone. What’s more, it’s part of a series. Yeah, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, there is a series of books about nerd romance. In fact, go to the link above and read the reviews. Pay special attention to the one that’s titled “Nerd Served Hot & Spicy”.
So, what? Is the “nerd” the new, hot romantic hero? If so, how is it that I’ve missed this startling phenomena? As a Geek, do I qualify? Is there a form to fill out somewhere? A waiver to sign? In short, what’s a guy gotta’ do to capitalize on this exciting new trend?

Okay, all joking aside, this struck me as both funny and, well, okay, pretty much it was just funny to me. I was called a nerd most of my school life. At the time, it was kind of hard to take, but, after a while, I just stopped caring. Oh, sure, I still have those moments when I question who and what I am. Whether or not I’m “man” enough. What’s missing from my life, or what I should be doing to fulfill my “role” as a male in society. Well, here’s the thing, I’ve done it and continue to do it. Every day I go into the office and work a job I don’t get too excited about anymore because it pays the bills, I show that I’m man “enough”. Every time I hold a door for a woman I don’t know and will never know, I’m being a grown-up man. Every time I try to explain to my nephews to always treat girls nice, no matter how they treat you, I’m showing the world that I’m the kind of man I want to be.
I stopped going to strip clubs just before I met my ex-wife, not because I’d met someone I didn’t want to embarass, but because of that poor girl who was looking to me for validation after dancing for me. All she wanted wast to be loved, to feel appreciated, and all I did was tip her. Pretty low, isn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. So, this geek, this nerd, stopped going because I didn’t want to see a woman who wanted that kind of validation. What’s more, I didn’t want to be the kind of guy who had to go to those places to get validation for cash myself. Better to be alone and know that I was living my life the right way and be able to look myself in the mirror than that. I’m still working on looking myself in the mirror and believing that I’m good enough, but, at least I’m closer than I was.
Yeah, I’m a geek or a nerd or whatever you want to label me. But, I’m more than that, too. Maybe I could be doing better financially than I am. Maybe my job could be more interesting or exciting. Maybe I could be driving a bigger, better car or have a bigger, fancier house. Maybe my clothes aren’t lined with designer labels or aren’t imported from Italy or where ever is fashionable this season. Sure, there are others who are doing that stuff better than I do. But, I’m fairly literate. I’m loyal to a fault. I’m fairly healthy and working on being healthier. I’m rebuilding my spiritual life. I take good care of my dog and try to help my friends any way I can. And, I care. I care about people. People I know and people I don’t. I don’t know what I am, exactlly, but I’m working on making myself better everyday. And, whatever that is, it’s good enough for me.


Friday Geek Update

Filed under: Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,Novell,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:31 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Attention:If you are not a professional geek, the following announcements may bore you to tears!
Right, now that it’s just us boys, let’s get down to brass tacks. First, there’s that pesky Windows Meta File vulnerability. It’s been patched. At least, according to this article on AustralianIT, the overlords at Redmond have stepped outside their rigid, lockstep patch routine to address this vulnerability. All I can say is “About time!” Though, this has been a known problem since November, kids. The only difference now is that the media got ahold of this during a slow news week. The vulnerability wasn’t as big a deal as most news sources were making it.
Second, according to Groklaw, SCO has asked to amend their complaint against Novell. Why? Well, the evidence points quite clearly to the fact that Novell hasn’t violated a copyright, but SCO’s revenue model is such that they have to sue someone for something. So, toward that end, they want to change their suit to, essentially, a breach of contract against Novell. All I can say is, why has this been allowed to go on this long? Someone spank McBride and make him apologize for being an ass then let’s just drop this and move along with the rest of the industry. M’kay?

Finally, this is a little more personal. For years, I’ve been hearing about how the mythical “web services” concept is going to save us all tons of work and money. For just as long, I’ve been saying that it’s not going to work. It’s slow, resource intensive and damn hard to implement. Folks, trust me on this, I’ve been with companies that have tried this again and again. It’s a great idea on paper, but it just ‘aint gonna’ work. Now, it seems like people are finally starting to come around. At least, if I’ve read this ad for a TechRepublic webcast on this topic correctly. Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?

Well, I feel better now. Please, resume your Friday and enjoy your weekend.

Happy Bunny

Filed under: Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

No, I don’t remember how I found this.
These “Happy Bunny” deals are the funniest, scariest, coolest thing since Hello, Kitty!
(Oh, just take the quiz.)
Here’s mine:
it worries me how dumb you are.

Who’s Your Happy Bunny?
brought to you by Quizilla

Have a better Friday!



Which Watch?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:14 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I need a new watch.
Should I get the Casio Waveceptor? Or the Timex?
I can’t decide, but I know for sure my old, beat-up super cheapo Casio needs to be replaced. The light doesn’t work and silver-like finish is flaking off. It works still, in that it tells reasonable accurate time, but it just looks bad. When I was married, frankly, I stopped caring what I looked like. What I wore on my wrist, or feet, or whatever, didn’t matter to me as much as making sure my family had the things they needed. Note, I wrote needed, not wanted. My ex wanted all kinds of things, but I was more concerned with making sure her daughter had enough to eat and decent clothes for school. I did without a lot of things to make sure those two got what they needed, and, as much as I could, what they wanted, too. So, the end result is that I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be replaced, updated or simply purchased for the first time. A couple of months ago, it was shoes. Now, it’s the watch.
It may seem like a small thing, but it’s hard for me to spend even that little bit of money on myself. When I finally do, I’ll feel guilty for days. Silly, isn’t it? Well, keep in mind, this post is hitting while I’m in session with a head-shrink to help get over silly things like that.
One step at a time, I guess.
Anyway, you can vote on which watch in the poll to the right.


A New Low

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,PERL,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Oh, God, this is a new low.
So, the other day, I’m joking with a friend about obsessively checking my webstats for certain pieces of information. He sort of laughs at me in e-mail and questions why I haven’t done a PERL script to automate it. And, I did actually think about it. The problem would be, as I explained to him, that I’d have to run the PERL script as a daemon, or process. Or, as a CRON job that repeated every fifteen minutes or so. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get the kind of notification that would make writing a script worthwhile. The only problem is, even my super relaxed webhost, Amzia.net, would eventually have issues with that kind of utilization.
In any case, I scouted around for some PERL code anyway, even though I’d probably never be able to actually use them. Then, one morning this past week, it occurred to me that I had PHP code that I could modify to produce the same results. So, I copied my chunk of code, tested it and put it out there, live. Worked like a charm. I got live results and e-mailed them to my friend and we had a good laugh that I’d gone and written code, that worked quite well, for a very personal, inside joke, that no one but he and I would see, or get. But, no, that’s not the new low.
Later, on the same day I made it live, I was sitting outside enjoying one of my last remaining clove cigarettes and caught myself refining the code in my head. Yep, I’m sitting there, petting the dog, smoking and tightening code in my head. I even started to add functionality as I crunched the code, too!

Oh, God, I am such a geek. I don’t even think another tattoo would help at this point. Oh, well, at least it pays the bills.

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