Diary of a Network Geek

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

12/12/2018

Halfway

Filed under: About The Author,Deep Thoughts,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

So. Birthdays. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Based on entirely anecdotal evidence and a sample size that’s roughly the size of my family, I’m about halfway. Halfway through a life. It sounds so melodramatic. Well, at fifty, I guess I’m entitled to a little melodrama. Just a little, though. Because, after all, its only halfway. That means, if my family’s longevity and genome are any indication, I still have another fifty years or so of pretty active life ahead of me. That’s good though, because I still have a lot of stuff I want to do with life.

I don’t normally make a big deal about birthdays, but our culture seems to hang a lot more on the big five-oh. For whatever reason, fiftieth birthdays seem to be the point at which people freak out. At least for men. Personally, I think I’m doing okay. Sure, I’d like to make more money and have better benefits, so if there are any recruiters out there with a great IT Infrastructure Management job for me, I’d be open to that. But, honestly, I do okay. My blushing bride and I cleared the last of our consumer debt this past year, so our only outstanding loans are the mortgage and the loan for our solar panels. And, really, those solar panels are going to be an asset. After all, energy prices almost never go down, but that solar system will keep generating power at up to 80% of it’s current rate for the next 25 years. As with last year, I’ve read a lot of good books and seen a lot of good movies, though I’ve been mostly too busy to review them like I used to do.
Really, I’ve had a pretty good year. In some ways, maybe a bit too good. I was shocked to see how much weight I’d put on this year, mostly due to easy living and a wonderfully Southern wife who shows me how much she loves me with food. She really, really loves me, so I’ve eaten very well. So well, in fact, that my cardiologist fat-shamed me at my annual checkup with him. Now, I’m back on my program of rowing, weights and counting calories until I’m down to my ideal weight. (And, no, I am NOT sharing what that is!)
Of course, being married to Sharon does make my time here considerably more enjoyable. She works really hard to make sure I’m as well taken care of as she can manage. And, I work toward the same thing. I suppose that’s made a little easier for each of us because we remember how it was when we were with other people. It’s funny how getting a little older and having a bit more experience with the absolute worst and most wrong way to be in a relationship can make the current one so precious and enjoyable. Oh, sure, we still have our moments, just like every married couple does, but there’s no one I’d rather be married to at all and I count myself lucky to know it. Besides, she quite possibly is the only woman on the planet still willing to put up with my nonsense. And, this year, more than most, I’m a little extra grateful for her willingness to gently remind me about what’s important when I’ve gone a little off the rails. I’m lucky to still be married to her and my life gets better every year she’s still along for the ride.

In the past, I’ve listed the same group of celebrities who share my birthday. But, this year, I’ll only mention two, because they’re the only ones I currently care about. I’m shocked to realize that I’m a mere two years older than Jennifer Connelly, who was born on this day. She’s lovely and I’d watch her read the phone book. The other celebrity who shares my birthday is Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra. And, just like me, he did it his way.

Also, I think it’s interesting to note that on this day in 1896 Marconi first demoed radio and, again on this day, in 1901 made his first Trans-Atlantic transmission. (Though, of course, all right-thinking people know that Tesla was really responsible for those first advances in radio.)

So, that’s the state of me, as it were, this year. Some things I’m happier about than others, but, all in all, it’s been a pretty good year. I’ve just about given up trying to figure out what the coming year will bring, though I do try to make plans about writing more and doing more photography. In the end, though, what I choose to do or not do doesn’t matter, so long as Sharon and I do it together. I’m happy that she’s really become the only thing that matters in my life. God knows, I could have worse

All in all, life is going along okay and I’m sure it’ll be good coming year.

This post originally appeared on my other, more current, blog, Use Your Words.

12/12/2009

Today I am Forty-One

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 late at night or 11:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

God, I don’t feel that old.

Wow, this year has gone fast! It seems like just yesterday I was starting the 365 Days Project on Flickr and now here I’ve finished it. That was an interesting experience. Not quite what I thought it would be and I’m not entirely sure it accomplished everything I was hoping it would, but it did force me to grow in my photography and get more comfortable with myself and my camera.  I have to admit, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with all the “extra” creative time that I won’t be spending obsessing over what to do for my next self-portrait.  Honestly, it feels a little weird, since for the past year, a significant focus of my creative energy has been spent on this project and I feel almost at a loss to know what creative direction to head next.  I know I want to take a break and sort of get my feet under me, but then, I know I’ll want to do more with my photography than I have so far and I intend it to take me much farther from my comfort zone than it already has.  But, I’m still not entirely sure what I’m willing to committ to next, so I’m trying to be open to whatever feels right.

Aside from that, it’s been an unexceptional year for me in most ways.
Many things have not changed at all and I’m certainly not where I thought or even hoped I’d be in many aspects of my life.  For instance, I still work at the same company, doing the same things.  I still have fairly massive debt, especially medical debt.  I’m still quite very single.  I still dabble in art and what I do still lacks a certain amount of passion.  Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that my creative work suffers from an abundance of restraint, repression and control.
I have started to lose weight and get into better shape, which I definitely feel is a prerequisite for dating, for me.  I’m down about thirty pounds since last year, which means I’m just under two-hundred.  Far more importantly, I’m in better shape now than I have been in close to eleven years.  I’m leaner, stronger and if not more resilient, at least not significantly less.  I still need more work, but I’m finally getting to a point that I’m comfortable with my physical self.  I may never be truly satisfied, but, I am at least headed in a much more healthy and satisfying direction.

I’m still not sure about relationships and dating and all that chaos right now.  I keep telling myself that I’ll do that soon, but, honestly, I’m not sure  how soon that will be.  I know I don’t want to be alone forever, but, right now, doing the things that I need to do to change that seem life more work than it’s worth.  Obviously, at some point, I’ll take those emotional risks and make myself vulnerable in that way to someone, but, well, not during the holidays.
I’m sure there are many who would find it somewhat amusing to think of me this way, but I am very delicate in some ways.  I have scars on my heart and memory from the ways the phrase “I love you” has been used as a tool against me.  And, from the results of my saying those words without fully meaning them.  Rising above some of the wreckage of my past seems too difficult a task some days, though I know that there are many who have far greater obstacles to their happiness and their futures.

So, I try to take it all one day at a time.
I try not to worry too much about what will come and just live in the now.  I suspect that a lot of cancer survivors do the same.

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Jennifer Connelly, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.

So, I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but I know I’ll be in a different place than I am today.  My dream is that in the next year I’ll have gotten paid for some piece of photographic work, that I’ll have written more in general and more fiction, that I’ll have taken more emotional and spiritual risks by opening myself to others.  My hope is that the attempt to do these things will be driven not from a sense of fear of what will happen to me if I don’t chase those dreams, but, rather, a sense of hope and courage and adventure and the possiblity of growth and positive, directed change.
There are no guarantees, of course, but those hopes and dreams provide me a road map for where to head next and a guide to my choices for the next year.
I hope you’ll all be here with me, to see just where I end up and how I get there.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."
   --Oscar Wilde

12/12/2008

Today, I am forty.

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,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 7:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I almost didn’t make it to celebrate this year.

In the past, my birthday hasn’t been a very big deal. I mean, as an adult, celebrating birthdays just never seemed like the thing to do in our family. In fact, I recall hearing about how one of my sisters threatened to walk out of a restaurant when her co-workers were going to bring out a cake and sing Happy Birthday to her. And, I, myself, once threatened a Joe’s Crab Shack waiter with a broken arm if he tried to get me to stand up and sing on my birthday. It’s just how I roll.

But, I’m forty.
Four decades of life. Forty laps around the Sun.
And, this year, I’m going to do things differently. I’ve take the day off, for instance. If, as an adult, I ever managed to not be working on my actual birthday, it was pure chance. But, today, I’ve deliberately taken the day off. Last night two friends, who happen to be married to each other, took me out to dinner. They took me a day early because, as with most people, they have other obligations tonight. In fact, I think that may be one of the reasons I just found it easier to not celebrate my birthday. Often, coming as it does in the middle of the holiday season, there are just too many things going on to be bothered to remember. Hell, last year, I forgot that it was my birthday at all!

But, this year is different.
This year that I never thought I’d live to see. This year, I’m choosing to celebrate life, because that almost wasn’t an option. I have a lot of ideas about who I’m supposed to be and how I supposed to live. And, I have a lot of ideas what people think about that. The thing is, I tend to live in such a way as to be unobtrusive. I guess I was in the way a lot as a kid or something. And, I have some issues about my own worth, my intrinsic value, as a person and a friend. When I really get going on myself, I’m sure that no one would really miss me for very long if I were to just disappear.
But, I know that’s not really true.

After last year, it’d be hard for me to deny that my life has had an effect on a lot of people. People who would miss me if the cancer had taken me. And, not just because of what I can do for them, which is the other lie I tend to tell myself. That I only have value for what I can do for other people. But, really, I’m not quite that useful that the people who surround me and care about me are only in it for the free computer advice and network support. Granted, that’s a nice perk for them, I’m sure, but, honestly, there are other people who do that just as well or better than I.
So, today, I’ll do something different. Today, I’m meeting some friends for lunch. Later, after running a few errands, I’ll be meeting some other friends for dinner and a movie. No idea what movie and I’m not sure where we’ll end up eating, but that’s not the point. And, really, these folks may not even all know that it’s my birthday and that I’m quietly celebrating in my own way. None of that is why I want to go do these things. No, the point is just to not be alone, closed up, closed off, and hidden on my birthday. For a change, I’m going to do something different on my birthday and celebrate.

I’ll also be starting Flickr365 later today. For those of you not familiar with it, the idea behind Flickr365 is to take a creative self-portrait every day for a year and post it to Flickr, the photo sharing website. My intention is to use that to both get myself taking pictures regularly and to get past hating to have my picture taken. Also, it might be interesting to look back and see what a year of changes look like, a year of different shades of me.
In any case, toward that end, I’ll be buying a wireless remote for my camera today, sometime, too. To make it easier to take those self portraits.

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.

So, here we go. I’ve survived one more lap around the sun, one more year, and I’ve beaten some long odds to do so. But, that year is done, now it’s time to start the next one and make it better than the last.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Whatever the majority of people is doing, under any given circumstances, if you do the exact opposite, you will probably never make another mistake as long as you live."
   --Earl Nightingale

5/11/2004

Busy, busy

Filed under: News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Lots to do…

And, so little time to do it!
Well, no word on a second interview yet, but I know they’re interested in having me back. Frankly, the job looks great, as long as the travel isn’t too extreme and the pay is good enough.
This week I’m also running around trying to get everything done for my daughter’s birthday/sleepover this weekend. Though, I think I became my wife’s hero when I suggested pizza for dinner. Anyway, more to come, so stay tuned!


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