Diary of a Network Geek

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


Post #1194

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:04 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, I’m tired of everything tasting like metal.

I know the antibiotics are helping me, curing me of a terrible, wasting disease and all that, but I hate the nasty metallic aftertaste they leave in my mouth. It’s like licking the cheap, stainless steel, diner spoon after stirring sugar into your ice tea.
Oh, and what they’re doing to my insides! The other day I belched so loud my dog jumped and ran for cover.
Saturday night I hardly slept at all. I just couldn’t get comfortable and find a position that didn’t leave me feeling like I was going to drown in my own bodily fluids. I fell asleep on the couch Sunday morning after putting on a pot of coffee. A pot of coffee that went to waste, naturally, since I slept beyond the auto shutoff timer.

However, on the good news front, my former roommate finally got all his stuff out of my garage! Yea! So, now, I can move my nasty, brown kitchen table out into the garage and use the nicer butcher-block table my ex left behind. I almost feel guilty using it, not because it was hers, but because she stole it from her second husband. I offered it back to him at one point, but he declined, so I guess I shouldn’t feel strange about using it. It is a nice table. I’ve made quite a bit of space in the one room that used to hold virtually everything the Queen of the Damned left behind. Later this week, I’ll be donating another eight bags of clothes and shoes to the Salvation Army. And, yes, I’ve finally been convinced that it’s okay to donate the stripper shoes that she left behind to the Salvation Army. I’ve been told the working girls shop there, so they’ll go fast. And, no, it’s probably best not to disclose how I found the right people to ask those kinds of questions.
So, soon, I’ll start working on my office and getting that room straightened up. But, I think that can wait a couple of weeks while I heal up some more.

I’ll need to paint, eventually, too, but that’s going to require a bit of thought and planning. Also, I think it will require a second opinion as I’ve been told my taste in colors may not be the best. Well, perhaps, by then, I’ll have a feminine touch around the house somewhere that might lend a hand. Anything’s possible! The people at church keep telling me how God works miracles, so, I figure if He can part the Red Sea for Moses and the gang, certainly, He should be able to find me someone to love all the rest of my days. We’ll see how that works out, but I’m praying for it.

Well, I’ve sort of rambled all over here tonight, so, instead of giving this post a clever title, I’m just going to let WordPress number it. #1194. Almost seven years of blogging and I’ve got 1,194 posts. Not bad. Not bad at all.


Crazy Picture Links

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This week’s theme is crazy pictures on the Internet.

Now, before you start to worry, there’s nothing pornographic here, okay? Well, unless you have a fetish for fezes (fezis? fezi?) or girls drinking tea. Hey, stranger things have happened! Trust your Uncle Jim on that one, okay?
So, without further ado, here is a link to the Fez Pool on Flickr. Yes, that’s right. Pictures of people wearing a fez. Note how many are acually from the Shriners? Shriners are all brother Freemasons, just like me. Though, I haven’t actually gone on to join the Shrine myself as it can get costly.
Next, you guessed it, girls drinking tea! Or, as the site calls itself, Tea Birds. For those of you unfamiliar, “bird” is UK slang for “woman”. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it? Oh, and watch out for the links on that site. The one that takes you to Babes with Books might not be safe for work. Though, oddly, the one labelled Women with Wine IS work safe! Who would have thunk it?
In a completely different vein, also from Flickr, Mickey Mouse Croation Liver Paste? Really? Why? And how is it that people don’t think they’re eating rat?
Speaking of eating rat, how about a picture of the most polydactyl cat ever? This cutie has six toes on each of his back paws and an amazing seven on each of his front paws! According to the article, it helps him climb very well!

Okay, so it wasn’t the most inspired Friday Fun Links, but, cut me some slack, I’ve got pneumonia! Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the poll, if you haven’t already.


Health News, Update

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 Pig which is in the late evening or 10:34 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Guess who has pneumonia?

I think the doctor was a little surprised to see me walking around, to be honest. He never actually used the word “pneumonia”, but just talked symptoms. I described how things had progressed over the last three months, or so, and how two weeks ago, things had seemed to be getting better. I admited I should have come to see him sooner, but, well, I was a bit thick-headed and from sturdy stock, so I figured I could out last it, whatever it was. I believe his only comment at hearing that I’d fought this for three months was to agree that I was, indeed, a little stubborn. Then, he gave me the inhaler and the first of an eleven-day course of antibiotics, just to help finish “it” off. But, after listening to my lungs, he decided I needed a chest x-ray. Apparently, my right lung wasn’t filling with air very well and he wanted a picture of that. So, he had his staff get me into the imaging center right away. Oh, and he thought I looked a little pale and my blood pressure was a little high. So, they’re doing some blood work on me and, after all the over-the-counter drugs are out of my system, we’ll be checking on that blood pressure.
At the handy, local medical imaging center, they had me fill out a form that included a description of what brought me to their facility. Naturally, I put down “a cough”, because, as far as I was concerned, that’s all it was. The nice lady entering me into their system laughed and said,”Oh, no, honey, your doctor said it was pneumonia, not just a cough.” Naturally, I laughed that off as nothing much to worry about for hardy, Midwestern stock like me. Then she asked me how many days of work I’d missed.
“Well, except for one day travelling for family business, none.”
I mean, c’mon, it takes more than a little pneumonia to keep me from getting the job done. That’s why I get the “big bucks”, right? Yeah, that’s the ticket.
So, in any case, I’ve started my antibiotics and I have my Official Network Geek Inhaler and I’ll hear back about the results of the blood work and x-ray later this week.

Now, on the mental health front…
I had an interesting conversation with C. from work yesterday morning.  Apparently, as a  condition of her full-time employment, she was told she couldn’t date anyone from the company.  According to the grapevine, she put the question to the guy she was seeing, who’s actually “Pappy” from the whole Wild West incident.  Unfortunately, his answer was that his job was more imortant than she was.  Well, there were some other, um, “words” used to, ah, “express” the sentiment that were, to be honest, less articulate and a bit more crude, but that was the gist of it.  In any case, she calls and starts talking about work, but then asks me if anyone is around me.  When I told her no, she starts explaining how important her job is and that “it’s not going to happen”.  I can only assume she meant her going out with me.  Which, frankly, after all the crazy signals and her getting all involved with this other guy, who is a real clown and, well, not much of anything as far as I can see…  Well, let’s just say it left me scratching my head.  Honestly, I think I’d be better off dating the reluctant groom’s former fiance.  And, no, that ‘aint gonna’ happen.

So, now, it’s time to set up the coffee for tomorrow and get some well deserved sleep.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"In God we trust. All others we polygraph."


Health News

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:49 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

For those of you who have expressed concern for my health, I thought I’d let everyone know that I have an appointment to see a doctor Tuesday afternoon.

I haven’t been to a doctor since 1998, unless you count the emergency room visit for kidney stones and the follow-up with a urologist afterward. And, as much as I hate to admit it, it does take something like passing a 9mm stone through my urethra to get me in to see a doctor. It’s not that I don’t like doctors, because that’s never been a problem. Rather, it’s that I hate taking the time away from work, especially when I’m the entire IT department, as I am now. But, this cough and trouble breathing has been going on for almost three months now and is truly worrying my friends and family, so I’m knuckling under and going to a doctor.

I think the final straw was when I was moving furnature yesterday.
A friend of mine was getting rid of a giant, oversized, comfy chair and matching ottoman, along with a couple of bookcases. Naturally, when he offered, I was more than happy to take them, get rid of an old, torn up couch and continue changing my house around to suit me. In the past two weeks, I’ve thrown out seven bags of junk and done up at least eight bags for the Salvation Army. I’ll probably have a couple more by the end of the week and I’ll call them next week to pick it all up. Then, all I’ll have left are all my ex-wife’s books and her papers to go through. I suspect most of them, both books and papers, are things that can go out. The papers I don’t need I’ll simply throw out. The books I don’t want, however, I’ll most likely drag to Half-Price books. I’m sure I could get a better price somewhere else, but I’m at the point where I’d rather just see them gone and out of my way. But, since I can’t bring myself to throw out books, I’ll dump them at Half-Price.
In any case, while moving the bookcases and chair, I got so winded, so quickly that my friends thought I was going to pass out.  Frankly, so did I!  So, that finally convinced me to get to a doctor and get this taken care of ASAP.  Then, maybe, I’ll be able to get back to working out a little.  And sleeping well again.  Oh, that would be nice…

I’ll update you all tomorrow with the news from the doctor.
And, thank you for your concern.


More Homestyle Links

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,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 5:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I’m feeling very domestic this month.

I’m not sure if it was the four more bags of junk I threw out last night, or the six more bags I have to donate to the Salvation Army, or just moving furnature around, but I’m really enjoying home related links this month. Maybe I’m just nesting. In any case, following with the theme from last week, here are some more very strange domestic links that struck my fancy.

To start with, I’ve got two very different fireplaces. The first, called the Drop, wouldn’t work in my house at all. For one thing, it’s very modern, for another, it simply wouldn’t retrofit well with my current chimney. The other, from Hearthfalls, wouldn’t work either, because… Well, just look at them and I think you’ll see why. Frankly, it’s one of those things that looks perfect, for someone else’s house.
And, while we’re talking about water, here’s a funky lamp called, plainly enough, the Wet Lamp. It’s a lamp, in a bowl of water. Yes, electricity inside water in your house. And, it looks cool, too.
Speaking of “looking cool”, let’s contemplate the outdoors for a minute. Or, at least the garage. A European designer of unknown national origin has designed a variably transparent garage. Apparently, it’s done with LCDs, but it lets you show off your new, impossibly expensive sports car when your ridiculously wealthy friends are over, then hide it again from thieves. Sadly, I’m more likely to have a driveway edged with glow in the dark pebbles than I am the garage with disappearing walls.
Now, I am looking at new/different furnature, so I’ve got several links to that sort of thing, too.
I have a lot of friends that often find themselves in trouble with their wives and need a place to crash. Or, are going through some sort of meltdown and need a place to sit and rock while sucking their thumb and going to the “happy, quiet place”. So, this couch that opens into bunk beds struck me as useful.
And, naturally, I want to make a good impression and hide the fact that I’m as obsessed with TV as I am with books, so a reversable media center that’s combined with a bookcase seemed perfect for my living room.
Now, I’m sure none of my friends do this, but I’m told that sometimes people snoop through bathrooms when they’re in another person’s house. What better way to deal with that than a mirror that you can send SMS text messages to! So, now, when you think that nosey relative is about to snoop in your medicine cabinet, you can have the mirror tell them to mind their own business!

Now, finally, to wind things up on a more whimsical note, I have a link to a paper airplane coffee table that I just love! Yes, it’s a little strange, but you have to admit, it does look cool. And, what could go with that better than kid-sized Tetris pillows!? I can totally see those in my living room!

Well, I can tell it’s been a long week, because these Friday Fun Links just got sillier and sillier. Still I hope you enjoy them and have a great Friday!
And, of course, don’t forget to add your two cents to the poll on the sidebar!!


Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,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 5:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

As a fourth-generation Chicagoan, I celebrate this day a little differently.
You see, not only is this a day that greeting card companies crafted into a reason to waste money on cards, flowers and candy for someone who should love you without all that junk, but it was also a very important day in Chicago history. Today is the day when, in 1929, Al “Scarface” Capone gathered together seven of his closest friends and gunned them down. Yep, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Old Al was clever, too. Not only did he get seven of his arch rival’s men together, but he dressed his hired guns up as police officers so that if they were spotted any witnesses would assume everything was under control because the police were already there! Yes, sir, that Al sure was an innovator.
So, as you shell out your hard-earned cash for disposable junk that will most likely go to waste, remember how they used to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on the South Side. Feels about the same, doesn’t it?
Something else to keep in mind this year, the saint for whom this day is named was a martyr. What does that mean to you and me? That means that Saint Valentine was beaten almost to death and then beheaded on this day. Later he went on to perform miracles and all that to become a saint, but, today is the day we celebrate the fact that a hired mob worked him over pretty well with clubs and then chopped his head right off. Sort of sounds like how love feels for some of us about this time of year, doesn’t it?

Hey, all joking and dark humor aside, I hope everyone has a nice day today, whether they have someone to share it with or not.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes."
   --Abigail Van Buren


Beautiful Ugly

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:23 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Both at once.

A friend I’ve never met has started a very interesting blog project. She describes it as “a mix of Post Secret and The Beauty Myth (by Naomi Wolf)” but, it’s about self-image and self-discovery. About how something we start out disliking about ourselves becomes something that sets us apart from everyone else. Often, it’s a physical characteristic, but not always.
It was envisioned as a project for the female persuasion, but, well, Amanda was kind enough to let me contribute, even though I’m a ‘boy”.

Incidentally, my post on that blog was inspired, at least in part, by my talk with Matt over the weekend. After meeting with him, I sat down in a hallway in church and cranked that out on my laptop.

So, anyway, if you haven’t looked at it yet, go check out the Beautiful Ugly blog. But, feel free to skip my entry. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably already gotten your monthly dose of my angst already.
Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the poll on the sidebar, if you haven’t already!


Lunch with a Holy Man

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:56 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Trouble in mind, I’m blue
But I won’t be blue always,
‘Cause the sun’s gonna shine
In my backdoor some day.

Trouble in Mind written by Richard Jones and sung by Nina Simone

So, Saturday, I had lunch with my minister.
Now, when he reads this, I have no doubt that he’ll balk at the title of this post, but, for me, it’s no less true. In fact, that was half the reason I wanted to get together with him.

He’d been helping rehearse a wedding, apparently without the benefit of food, because at two o’clock when I came to get him, he asked if we could get lunch instead of coffee. Naturally, that was fine with me, even though I’d eaten. So, we jumped into the Black Beast, as I often refer to my retired police car, and headed out. I think Matt was a little surprised to find Nina Simone in the CD player instead of Ramstein, but, hey, I like to keep my spiritual advisor/fashion consultant on his toes, you know? Anyway, we made a bit of small talk about health and weather and getting older as we zipped past Six Flags over Jesus (aka Second Baptist) to Escalante’s. Matt’s been working on his PhD. in Lubbock and, apparently, they don’t have any good Mexican food there, so he was craving. I just had ice tea, but they were slow and we had enough to justify taking up the table.

By the time we’d walked through the door, Matt knew I wanted to talk about the two most confusing, vexing, baffling subjects known to man: God and women.
God, it turns out, is the less vexing of the two. As I explained to Matt, I still have a hard time with certain things about religion. Belief in a Supreme Being isn’t so hard. Belief that He cares about so insignificant a life as mine, well, that’s a bit of a stretch sometimes. So, too, that whole salvation concept is a little beyond me sometimes, too.
But, he explained it in a way that, somehow, I’d never considered before.
“What if a friend came to you with a problem? A bad habit he’d tried to break, but had given into. What would you tell him?”
“Well, I guess I’d ask him what he learned. I wouldn’t be focused so much on the bad habit, but the behavior and thoughts that led up to the backsliding. I mean, the point isn’t to be perfect, but to learn from the mistake and move on.”
“Well, don’t you think that an all-powerful, all-knowing supreme being is at least as compassionate as you are?”
“Oh…” Yeah, somehow, I lost sight of that whole idea. That God, as powerful and huge as He is, still cares about me at least as much as I care about people who come to me with problems. See? Like I said, Matt may not be comfortable with the label, but Holy Man fits.

Now, as for the women end of things…
Well, I’ve tried every other approach to women that I can think of, so asking a minister seemed like a novel idea. Besides, Matt’s happily married with two kids and a third on the way. I told him about the subject of my posts last week. I gave him all the detail I leave out of this blog. How I made myself vulnerable to her. How I told her what I felt and thought. How I shared my writing with her. The kind of writing I rarely share with anyone, because I never think it’s good enough. I told him how she rarely returns phone calls or e-mails. I told him how I’d made the decision to pull back, for my own safety, but still called to let her know why I was doing that, because I’d always hated seeing someone turn cold to me with no explanation and wondered why. I told him how all my efforts seem to be met with a confusing mix of appreciation and disdain.
Matt summed it up when he made two simple gestures. With one hand, waving me closer. With the other, holding it up to say “stop”. “Come closer, no, wait, go away.”
And, after listening to the whole thing. Hearing my frustration and my embarrassment and my self-directed anger, he said something to me that shocked me down to my bones.
“She’s not worthy of you.”
I hate to admit it, but that’s a fairly alien concept to me. Me not being worthy of someone else, that I get. But, the idea that perhaps there was someone not worthy of my honesty and openness… Well, it certainly made me think. So did the last thing he said to me about all that.
“Guard your heart.”
And, that I got. The trick, as I told Matt, is figuring out the right balance between guarding myself from harm and being transparent enough to be real. I’ve struggled for a long time to rediscover my authentic self and, mostly, I like who I’ve found. And, damn it, Matt’s right, that should be more than enough for anyone who’s paying attention. How many people would take the risk to be honest enough to share their feelings, even after being fairly certain that things weren’t going well at all, just because it’s the right thing to do.

The other thing that surprised me a bit was when Matt asked me if I’d prayed about it. I grew up with the idea that one never asked God for anything for one’s self. That was the height of selfishness and practically heresy. But, he reminded me of Scripture, which I can’t remember now, where Christ told someone to express their wants to God. He told me it was not only okay to tell God I was lonely for that special relationship, but that God wanted me to bring that to Him. God wanted to hear my heart’s deepest longing. Yes, he already knows it, but God wants to hear it from my own heart.
And, I’ll be honest, I am lonely. It’s not that I lack for friends or family or love at all, but it’s different. Yes, if I want to get out to a movie or dinner or just not be alone, I can find someone to be with easily enough. Male or female. But, I’m lonely in a different way. There’s something different about that tender, intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex that goes beyond simple friendship. I feel like I know so little of that sort of relationship that I can hardly hold a picture of it in my mind, much less describe it. But, this much I do know, it’s a kind of intimacy that goes deeper than anything else. It is, I think, what drives us all, in one way or another. The search for it gets me up in the morning and exhausts me during the day. If I were to remember my dreams at night, I’m sure it would be all I dream.
So, I started praying about that longing to God. I don’t pretend to know what the results will be, but when my holy man instructs me, this student listens.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate."
   --Thomas Jones


Some Homey Links

Filed under: Art,By Bread Alone,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, today, my Friday Fun Links have a theme.

I’m not sure if it was the cleaning this week or what, but I’ve been feeling very, well, um, “domestic”.  So, my fun links this week pretty much all have to do with things around the house, or housing itself.
Okay, so let’s start from the outside and work our way in.  First, I have a link to some interesting plans for an 11 foot by 7 foot flat in London.  Apparently inspired by a janitor’s closet with a bathroom that sold for £170,000 in London’s upmarket Chelsea, the plan is really quite ingeneous.
Now, let’s talk furnishings…  If you’ve just spent $335,000 on a large broom closet, you probably don’t have much left over for furnature, so it’ll be IKEA for you.  No worries, though, thanks to the IKEA Hacker blog.  Yes, the stuff on that blog all started life as humble IKEA flatpack that got modified into something wonderful.  I especially like the breakfast nook for two.
But, you’ll need light for this tiny hovel, right?  Well, thanks to Gizmodo, you can light your flat with the coolest, freakiest science-fiction lamps ever.  Also, you can use the coolest, hippest, most radically arty light switches ever to turn the lights on.  I thought the pool ball switch was cool for the mini-flat, since it was described as being about the size of a billards table.
But, wait!  There’s more!  Since this flat would be so totally strapped for space, there’d be no room for a rack of cookbooks in the kitchen, er, make that, by the tiny hotplate and microwave.  So, instead, use the coo.boo Digital Cookbook that’s the size and shape of a spatula!
And, finally, in a barely related story, if you can squeeze into the fridge, get out some Ben and Jerry’s Steven Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream.  No, I’m not making that up, but, also no, it’s not quite available yet.  Yet.

So, there you have it, a geek getting domestic and working on too little sleep.  Enjoy your links and your Friday!
Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the poll!!


But Not Today

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:58 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I didn’t do anything bad today.

But, I wanted to.
I’ve been craving cigarettes all week, but I haven’t gone and bought any or bummed any.  Nor do I plan to.  Even though I want to chain smoke really badly.
I haven’t had a drink this week.
Oh, I’ve thought about drinking a little 80 proof medicine to “help me sleep”, but I haven’t done it.  I almost bought into the illusion that the drink would help me forget my self-directed anger and my continual embarrassment.  But, the reality is that, even if it did for a few minutes when I was drunk, it’d all come back when I sobered up.  And I’d be embarrassed by having been drunk.
I’ve wanted to pound my fists against something hard in anger and frustration because I just never seem to learn.  But, I didn’t do that, either.

Instead, I cleaned three great, big, black garbage bags of junk my ex-wife left behind out of my house.  They’re by the curb now, waiting to get hauled away.  There’ll be more next week.
And, I made arrangements to join a standing pot-luck dinner at one of my minister’s houses Friday night.  I still don’t know what I’ll bring, but I won’t cook.  I want them to have a good impression that first night, after all.
And, I made a promise to write something for another blogger’s special project.  A project that she’d aimed towards women, until she found out that sometimes men have the same problems women do, even if we don’t talk about them as much.
And, I made an appointment to meet my other minister for coffee on Saturday before church.  Though I have no real idea why, he always seems eager to sit and talk with me.  I must have more interesting spiritual problems than I realized.  Who knew?

So, I did good things today.   I can always do those other things, those things that will slowly eat me up.
But, not today.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."
   --Elbert Hubbard

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