Diary of a Network Geek

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

12/9/2005

Hoffman’s Home for Wayward Boys, Part Deux

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,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 Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:27 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, Uncle Jim takes on a boarder.
That’s so much classier than claiming to be a slumlord, don’t you think? Of course, with the state my house is in, it might be closer to the truth! Anyway, I just thought I’d update my gentle readers with the knowledge that “Doc” moved in today. It’s going to be a bit while we rearrange everything, but, I think it will be good once we’re settled. Hilda is getting used to the idea of having someone else in the house, which is good. My poor, brown girl has been so anti-socialized from her time in the clutches of the Harpy that she’s still a little skittish around strangers. (And, trust me, kids, few are stranger that “Doc”! Just kidding, Doc, just kidding.)
Also, Doc brought me clove cigarettes. Now, this might horrify some of you, but, yes, I’ve been smoking a bit. Just one cigarette per day and two on the weekends, but, still… I’ve been under a lot of stress this year and, well, it’s the holidays and… Okay, here’s the deal. I was jonesing for a smoke some time back and, when I told my head-shrink about it, his response was, “Well, it’s not as bad as some of the things you’ve done. Other than the health aspect, of course.” Sheesh! Well, with that kind of encouragement, I lit up again. And quit for a couple of days. And, lit up again. This time, I promise, it’s just through Christmas and, after my current batch runs out, I’ll stop. Again. (Oh, yeah, like anyone reading this blog really cares that much, right? I mean, it’s not like my mother reads this. Whatever.) Sometime I’ll have to explain more about why this time of year tends to inspire me to smoke. Until then, I’ll just remind you that I am Mr. Bad Example. But, what I thought was funny about the clove cigarette thing was that “my people” were taking care of me.
Never ceases to amaze me how folks come out of the woodwork to give me things I need or want or whatever. I’m like the Geek Godfather. My favorite phrase is “Yeah, I think I know a guy.” I’m told you used to hear that on the South Side a lot, back when my Dad was a kid. Regardless, my people always come through for me, no matter how bizarre the request. Sure, sometimes it’s a close call, but, still they always come through. Always. It’s almost enough to make me believe in guardian angels. Almost.

Well, enough update. While Doc settles in some, I’m off to see a The Chronicles of Narnia with another friend. And, with that, I’ll leave you with a quote. As a “prize” for guessing who said it, I’ll vote your way to whoever comes up with it first. (Except for you, Doc. You’re too damn smart for your own good!) Good luck!
“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”

10/30/2005

Mr. Bad Example

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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

“Do as I say, not as I do.”
Boy, I hope all the kids that have ever known me take that to heart. I’m sure not the best example of how to live one’s life. Oh, I do okay these days, but… Well, let’s just say I earned the scars, the tattoos, and that slightly amused look in my eyes when someone is surprised at the other two. And, I’m not even half-way done.
I don’t know what got me thinking of that the other day, but, well, there you are. Maybe it was those damn turkey vultures that knocked my sense of “normal” off the rails. Doesn’t matter I guess. These things just come up sometimes and have to be worked through so they don’t consume me. So, I’ve spent some time thinking and I think it’s time for a bit of honesty. That category “Advice from your Uncle Jim”? That’s all about the things I can’t say to my estranged step-daughter. She’s an amazing kid. Creative and smart and funny and sensitive and cute. (From what I understand, in her Middle School, she’s considered quite the looker.) My ex-wife, her mother, has told her “things” about me. What things and how much of it true, I have no idea. C’mon, I’m no angel, so the truth could be enough, but, still, knowing my ex-wife and the things she told me that later turned out to be “wrong”… Well, let’s just say I admire her ability to write fiction, okay? Anyway, I suspect that, from time to time, that smart, funny, adorable kid is going to check out this blog. I know she used to read it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she still does, from time to time. When, if, she does, I thought it’d be nice to have a way to sneak a little, tiny bit of my life experience into her head for later use. Never know when some of the crazy things I know might come in handy.
For instance, did you know what when it’s cold outside, if you back into a warm building, like a bar, your glasses won’t fog? Works every time, honest. How about this: saying I love you to your parents is often the scariest thing in the world. Scarier even than saying it to a date. Or, try this on for size: These really are the best times of your life, so keep a journal and, later, when things get tough, look back and remember how good it was today. (Honestly, can anything beat Junior High, as we used to call it up North? Not in my book. It was the most freedom and least pressure I’ve ever had!) And, don’t confuse a religon’s practitioners with the message. Most of the time, the original texts are pretty uplifting, no matter what the goons who claim to follow it actually do.
Anyway, Shorty, if you’re reading this, don’t use me for a role-model. Or your mother, either, for that matter. Neither of us are the best examples of how to live your life. Heck, don’t even use your Dad, though he’s about the best role-model you’ll ever have in your life. Don’t use anybody for a role-model. Don’t try to be or copy anyone else. Just be you. And, when you’re not sure what that is, go do something you love and find out.

Here endeth the lesson.
I wish I could blame all that on being drunk or hung-over, but I never did get to drinking heavy last night.
Anyway, since you’ve been good enough to read this whole post, here’s the Warren Zevon song lyrics that inspired the title, the post, and a fair amount of my misbehaving.

Mr. Bad Example Lyrics

I started as an altar boy, working at the church
Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
Which led me to a cash box, labeled “Children’s Fund”
I’d leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund

I got a part-time job at my father’s carpet store
Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score
I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane
And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan

I’m very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
I’m proud to be a glutton, and I don’t have time for sloth
I’m greedy, and I’m angry, and I don’t care who I cross

I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I’ll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

Then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer
I threw away the fortune I made transplanting hair
I put my last few francs down on a prostitute
Who took me up to her room to perform the flag salute

Whereupon I stole her passport and her wig
And headed for the airport and the midnight flight, you dig?
And fourteen hours later I was down in Adelaide
Looking through the want ads sipping Fosters in the shade

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman’s comp and pauperized the lot

I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I’ll live to be a hundred and go down in infamy

I bought a first class ticket on Malaysian Air
And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear
I’m thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals
I’ll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals

Written By Warren Zevon & Jorge Calderon
c. 1991, Zevon Music,
administered by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing corp./Googolplex Music BMI


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are."
   --Clive James

9/7/2004

Remembering Mr. Zevon

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:31 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Last year, on this day, Warren Zevon died.

Warren Zevon was one of the most influental musicians of our time. The sad thing is, there are so many people who don’t even know it. He wrote an amazing number of songs for other people to record. So many, that I don’t know where I’d start. Of course, it was his own work that I loved the best. Nothing beats WZ singing “Piano Fighter” or “Seminole Bingo”. I know for a time, I lived, or wanted to live, “Mr. Bad Example” for real. Unfortunately, he’s known best for “Werewolves of London”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song, but it’s just so little of what made WZ great. I mean, what can you say about a guy who’s personal physician was Hunter Thompson! And had guys like Dave Barry coming to see him while he was dealing with the pain of his cancer. He was just a miracle of a man.
We miss you, Mr. Zevon, but thanks for the great music and memories you left behind.

4/16/2004

Bad Design

Filed under: Art,Fun,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

A scrapbook of bad design.

Okay, so you think your company’s homegrown application is crippled by bad design? Well, check out Bad Human Factors Designs! Here’s a collection of the worst design ever misconcieved. You can’t believe what developers think looks like a good idea.
And, if you are one of those developers, think twice before you inflict that cruel and unusual interface on your users!

Hey, just because it’s Friday, doesn’t mean you can’t learn something!

10/13/2003

Bad Habits

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:18 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I have lots of them.

And, not just the annoying “always correcting everyone’s poor grammar” kind of habits, either. Frankly, my bad habits are quite disturbing. At least, they are to me. I try to keep public bad habits to a minimum.
But, here’s the thing, I’m trying to stop all my self-damaging, self-limiting, unhealthy bad habits. So, I asked God for help. I prayed to Him to take away all these defects of character that I can’t seem to shake on my own. All done, right? Not quite. So, what’s the problem? Well, some of these bad habits are rather ingrained and persistent. Pernicious, even. They’ve been my response to various difficulties in life for as long as I can remember. They’re habits for pity’s sake!
But, not too long ago, I was about to indulge in one and I asked myself, “So, what, do you want to prove God wrong or something?” It was like an internal test of my own belief in God’s redemption. If I gave into the habit, it would be like trying to prove God wrong. And, I’d rather prove God right, so I didn’t do it.

I wrote this, instead.


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