Diary of a Network Geek

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


Small Demons

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Today is Friday the 13th.

In the past, I’ve posted some of the possible history of the negative superstitions around Friday the 13th, but I’m not going to mention that today.  I think it’s unseemly, especially since I’ve already talked about the history and traditions surrounding Friday the 13th earlier in the year.
No, I thought I’d share something else.

Have you ever wanted to visit the restaurant in your favorite novel?  How about collect all the magazines they mention?  Or, possibly, even get some special item of clothing or unusual houseware item worn or used by your favorite character?  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a website that had all that little bit of data sliced, diced and indexed for your browsing pleasure?  Well, as it turns out, there is.  It’s a genius little site called Small Demons.  You need to sign in, but, so far, it’s free.  It’s a fun site with all the “stuff” in popular novels, including my favorites from William Gibson, with links to where you can find everything.  I mean, really, they have everything from restaurants to shops to particular brands to, well, everything.  Everything that’s branded or mentioned by specific location is pretty much there.  It’s brilliant.

And, what the hell, it’s Friday, right?  You weren’t doing anything anyway, so why not go check it out?


Literary Tattoos

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:03 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This is custom made for my readers!

So, you like tattoos? And you like books? Why not get a literary tattoo! Need ideas? Check out the literary tattoo gallery at Contrariwise.

Cool stuff.


Scans and more scans

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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

Yeah, more scans.

Well, by the time most of you read this, I’ll be getting scanned at M. D. Anderson. Another CT scan, with barium contrast. And x-rays. I’m getting one every four months now, and then it’ll be every six and then once a year. Theoretically, it’ll be once a year forever, but I’m not sure if I can afford to do that forever, but I’m trying to take things one scan at a time. I try not to worry, but it does seem like I’m paying an endless series of medical bills and it does get to be a drain on my income.

Naturally, I worry about what the results will be. I won’t know until Tuesday next week, so I’ll just have to hold on and hope for the best.
The picture I’ve posted here includes that first x-ray from just under two years ago when I thought I had pneumonia. When my General Practitioner saw the film, well, I don’t think he’d ever told anyone they were going to die before. Oh, that’s not what he said, but that’s what his face said. The words he used were “unidentified mass”, but what I heard was cancer and death. As I recall, I started to cry in the exam room.

But, obviously, that’s not what happened.
I didn’t die. I went through chemo and came out a different person six months later. I’m not quite the same guy I was when I came down with a slight case of cancer. I’m not entirely sure how I am different, really, but I know I am. I can feel the difference.
This weekend, I was talking with someone about a book. It was a book that had been recommended. It had been offered as a guide to finding God, or at least an aid. My response was that I didn’t know much about spirituality, really, but I spent a lot of time reading books about it and I never once found God in a book. Books are about knowing things in my head, understanding, an intellectual knowledge. But, God and spirituality is something I need to feel. Those are things that knowing in my head hasn’t been of any real benefit to me. They’re things that I have to experience, to feel.

A friend of mine tells me that I’ve gained some spiritual knowledge from my ordeal. Some new, deeper truth about life, my life, that I have yet to integrate into my world. He seems to think that’s why I get uneasy and restless more often than used to. He’s more spiritual than I am, so maybe he’s right. I don’t know.
I do know that while I spend a lot of time talking at God, I don’t spend a lot of time listening. For all I know, God’s been answering me quite directly for some time now, but my mind is too filled with chatter and mental junk that I can’t hear Him. So, what to do. Well, I don’t know, really, but old habits die hard, so I’m reading a book on meditation. Specifically, A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Paramananda. My thought is that it will help me still my mind and clear the way for something better to come into me. When I used to meditate, back in college, it used to really relax me and calm me down. But, it’s been so long, I thought I could use a refresher course in how to do it. Besides, it was on sale. I can’t hardly resist a book sale.

Who knows? Maybe next time, I won’t get so worked up about getting the radioactive enema from a stranger.
Wouldn’t count on it, though.


Another Book Picker

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,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 5:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Because I know you all can’t decide which book to read until I write one.

No, seriously, I know my faithful readers would be all over any book I actually slid past an editor to get published, because you’re great people. But, since I spend most of my time toiling away in a hellish server room, that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, until it does, here’s another website to help you pick what book to read.

This one is called Whichbook. And, unlike last week’s book picker, it doesn’t rely on you entering a book which you’ve already read. No, with this site, you can choose moods and content and all that sort of thing on a series of sliders. When you’re done, you’ll have a suggestion of which book to read. Hopefully, it’ll be something new.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Every experience that involves one of us, involves others who also need what the experience may teach. We are not alone, ever."


Future Project Research

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 5:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I don’t particularly feel like writing today, but, well, it’s time for an update.

Okay, that’s not quite true. I just don’t feel like writing anything that I feel comfortable sharing on the blog. Not that I have anything in particular going on, really, but there’s just no way for me to talk it through, so to speak, in writing and have it come through in a way I’m willing to put on the web for all to see. That may surprise some of my readers, considering what I’ve thrown out in the past, but there it is.

The picture here is one of several stacks of books in my house that make up my “to be read” queue, or, as I think of it, pile.
If you get in close, you’ll see a strange combination of subjects. At the bottom of the stack, there are books on chemistry, space flight, the Yakuza and gun running. All basically purchased for research for a semi-mythical story that will probably never get written. Still, these are all things that interest me anyway, so I figure it’s money well spent.
The next layer up is computer books. Specifically, books related to WordPress and web design or web page creation. These are all meant to help me build a better theme for this blog, and my other blogs. Not to mention potentially making a theme that other people might like to use and possibly even donate a bit of money to use. At least, that’s the idea.
The rest of the books are a mish mash of assorted subjects that have interested me to a greater or lesser degree over the past several months.

So, there’s an update of sorts to keep the Google-gods and blog-spirits happy. Ciao!


Book Addict

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,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 5:49 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I am a book addict.

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” –Desiderius Erasmus

Sometimes, I use that quote as my e-mail signature file.  When I first read that quote, it resonated with me at a deep, deep level.  I think I have books in every room of my house.  I love books.  Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter really.  I have to admit, I haven’t read at least a third of them.  And, probably, of those, I’ll only get around to 80% eventually.  But, that honestly doesn’t bother me.  Some of those books are for reference.  Some, I have for a single page of information or a single photograph or image.

I have a sixty-page wishlist at Amazon.com.  And, that’s after culling out the deadwood and a recent book buying binge.  Mostly, these are books that I’d love to have, one day.  Possibly for one of the many “projects” that float around in my head for years, sometimes never even coming to fruition.  But, sometimes, they’re just there because they’re interesting.  Right now, I have even more in my Amazon shopping cart.  A reward to myself teasing me along in both my writing and my work on my home office.  The carrot that offsets my own inner proverbial stick.

I love the smell of new books.  That pulpy, inky fresh smell of a book that hasn’t been read yet.  I like the weight of them in my hand.  The cool feel of a slick paperback or the firm authority of a weighty hardback.
And, always, their words whisper to me, like a seductive woman taunting me with secrets which only I can discover.  Technical information, style advice, fiction, humor…  They’re all the same to me.  I let my mood dictate my next subject and commit to it for the duration.  Once I reach that point of no return, I follow it through to the end.  Just like a seductive woman.

Hey, it beats jonesing for a cigarette!

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