Diary of a Network Geek

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

5/8/2009

Making Mermaids

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I find this story both beautiful and a little uncomfortable.

Imagine being a double amputee and stuck in a wheelchair since childhood. Imagine all the questions that you’d learned to deflect, perhaps with a little sarcasm, or, perhaps, with gentle humor. Well, one such person who told a kid who asked why she didn’t have all her legs that she was a former mermaid has gotten to realize a dream. The special effects wizards behind the Lord of the Rings movies have made her a mermaid suit, that works.

On the one hand, it’s cool that these guys are helping her out and that she’s not letting her disability keep her down.  On the other hand, I wonder how long it will be until they have a product and are marketing it to people who want to turn themselves into mer-people.

5/6/2009

Review: You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, last week I finished You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop by John Scalzi.

I’ve been a frustrated writer since I can remember.
I’ve read more books on writing than most people even realize have been published! But, this book was different. Most writing books focus on the techniques of writing, dispensing all sorts of marginally useful advice, but Scalzi has some different advice for hopeful writers. He talks mainly about the nitty gritty that the other books leave out. For one thing, he talks about giving up the idea that one should only write “art” pieces. He talks about approaching writing like any other job. It makes sense, really, when you think about it. I mean, if you want to make a living at writing, then you have to write regularly, just like you’d work at any other job. You work regularly to get paid regularly.

Mostly, the advice is hard-nosed and drawn from his own years as a full-time, professional writer. Also, the sections are drawn from his blog, the Whatever and many are answers to questions from readers of that blog. Granted, he’s edited many of the original blog entries for the book, but I honestly don’t care that it’s mostly duplicated material I could get from the web. I find reading it from a book, an actual, bound book, far easier than trying to chase it all down on his blog. It was well worth the price.

I can’t recommend this book to most of my readers, but if you’re an aspiring writer and are tired of reading the same well-worn advice about how to write, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop may be just the book you’ve been looking for. It won’t tell you much about how to write, but it will give you invaluable advice about the writing life and how to make a living at it.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"'One of these days' is none of these days."
   --English Proverb

5/4/2009

Nine Years Old

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I made my first, primitive blog entry here nine years ago today.

Back then, I coded every page by hand, often in a text editor and uploaded the pages. That was back before blogging was cool and everyone was doing it, too, so there just wasn’t any blogging software to speak of. Everyone who had a blog, which is short for “web log”, wrote their posts and pages by hand. Of course, I was mostly out of work back then, too, so I had lots of time to code it all up and link everything by hand. Thank God that all changed! First MovableType and then WordPress. Who knows what else will be coming next?

Of course, a lot has changed in my non-digital life, too. Married then divorced again. Changed jobs four times. Moved once, after buying a house. Survived cancer.
Sometimes, looking back on it all, it sure does seem like a lot happening in a short amount of time. It’s crazy, crazy stuff.

Anyway, I noticed that the date was coming not too long ago and I thought I’d point it out.

Review: X-Men: Origins: Wolverine

Filed under: Fun,Movies,News and Current Events,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


XMenOrigins-Wolverine

Originally uploaded by Network Geek

Right, so I saw Wolverine Friday night.

It was good, and I’m totally willing to see it again, which is good because I suspect that I will be, but, honestly, it wasn’t great. I mean, it was no Dark Knight or Iron Man, but it was still good.
Here’s the thing, to a fan, there’s nothing new here. Really, what they did was sort of take all the various alternate histories of Wolverine that we’ve seen in the comic books over the years and sort of munge them all into one. Well, except for leaving out all the time he spent in Japan. But, all the origin history, how he came to be alive, how he discovered his mutant powers, his association with the military and how he lost his memory are all in there. Like I said, though, no real mystery to any real fan of the comic books, though.

So, the movie starts with him as a sickly kid in a wealthy family, with a father who, it turns out, isn’t quite his father and a half-brother, who is the mutant Sabretooth. Then, we drift through a montage of history following the two brothers through various wars starting with about the American Civil War and ending up in Viet Nam, which is where the meat of the movie really starts.
Wolverine and his brother hook up with a bunch of U.S. government run mutant “special forces” who are little more than the assassin mercenaries of General William Stryker, who later is a baddie in the X-Men movies. This is just earlier in the timeline. Naturally, Wolverine gets fed up and bails out, retiring to the Canadian wilderness as a lumberjack with a girlfriend. After Sabretooth starts hunting down the old team, he kills the girlfriend to get Wolverine back in the game, so to speak. Also, this is what motivates him to volunteer to get the adamantium skeleton that he’s famous for having.
So, yeah, no point in telling the whole story. Either you’re a fan and know it already or I’d be spoiling the movie, so, might as well just let it go. Suffice it to say that the plot is a typical action movie filled with betrayal and comic book surprises.

The one real downside to the movie is the ending, which was pretty weak. It seemed like it was mainly a setup for a sequel or a spin-off or both. Personally, I’m betting on both based on the weekend’s box office returns for this one. These folks made some money. And, rightly so, since Wolverine is one of the most popular Marvel comic characters in a very popular franchise. I mean, really, this has been one of the most anticipated films of the past couple years. Right up there with Star Trek opening Friday.

So, all in all, a pretty good film. Not great, but good enough to pay full price. And, when a friend of mine wants to finally go see this after fulfilling some family obligations, I’ll be pleased to see it again and look for details I missed the first time.
Worth seeing, for sure, but not twice for most people. And watch for the next one or the spin-off!

5/1/2009

Site Watcher

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Do you have more than one website or blog you need to watch?

I have several websites and blogs and, honestly, sometimes, I don’t visit them all in a given week. And, while my webhosting provider is amazingly good and stable, especially at the reasonable rates they charge, sometimes, one or more of my sites go down without warning. So, what’s a bottom-feeding web entrepreneur like me to do? Enter Are My Sites Up! This website will let you monitor your sites and get an e-mail or SMS message to your phone if any go down. And, as usual when I recommend something, it’s free. They may charge eventually, but right now, it’s free.

Enjoy!

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