Diary of a Network Geek

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


Review: Local Music Talent

Filed under: Adventures with iPods,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Review,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Speaking of music…
Some time ago, I mentioned buying a bunch of CDs at my favorite bookstore. Several of them were “local” talent, though, I think that covers a pretty broad geographic area. Anyway, I’ve finally listened to them enough to get a good feel for their sound and I’m totally ready to give you all a review. Or, at least, as ready as I’ll ever be.
The four CDs are To the Afterglow by SiennaBlu , Dance Cry Swing by Eileen Faxas, and The Storms Inside and A Little Gun Shy, both by Brian Douglas.

SiennaBlu reminds me of an unholy cross between Bon Jovi, REM and a high-school garage band. Though, they’re not bad at all, they do sound very raw and unpolished. There’s a lot of heart in their music, but, well, not much else. Don’t pay full price.

Dance Cry Swing by Eileen Faxas, though, is pretty good. This looks to be her first CD, but, if she keeps at it, she could be the Texas version of Gloria Estefan. No, really, her work has the same kind of sound and rythym. It’s not all that remarkable at this stage, but, you can see the potential here.

Of all these four, though, the two by Brian Douglas are my favorites. I have to admit, when I first got them, I didn’t realize they were the same guy. I purchased the second one, A Little Gun Shy, days after the first and just didn’t make the connection, until I heard the music. Douglas has a really personal sound, reminds me of Aqualung, a little bit, but with a lot heavier American influence. Mainly a balladeer, at least on these two CDs, his voice grabs hold of you and drags you down the paths of his memories, painful and joyful alike.


Lady Nicotine

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I want to smoke.
Not just a smoke, but to smoke. I want to chain smoke clove cigarettes until the hazy cloud surrounds me like an airy, armored halo. I want to light my next smoke on the red-hot cherry of the last one and burn through the pack as fast as I can breathe. I want to sit very still in the damp fog that insulates Houston tonight from the ennui of this post Valentine’s Day euphoria that everyone feels but me and smoke until I can feel the nicotine seep through my pores like the sweat on a cold Scotch. I want to feel the burn as I suck the hot fire of my favorite Indonesian cancer sticks into my lungs. I want to see the cloud thicken as I blow the sweet, dark smoke out my flared nostrils. I want to smoke like a death row inmate wants his conjugal visit. I want to feel the tingle that starts at my hairline and cascades down my scalp as the tiny capillaries push that sweet lady nicotine through my skull into my brain and make me feel alive even as it slowly kills me. I want it as bad as I imagine a junky wants his fix after three days clean listening to his cell mate chatter. I want to start smoking and just keep on until my entire body is ash. I want to skip work, skip therapy, skip eating. I just want to smoke. I want to smoke my fear and my pain and my worry away in a sugary, spicy, clove cloud. I want my entire life to be consumed through a filtered krtek so I won’t have to be bothered with people, places or things again. I don’t want to move or even think. I just want to smoke.
Yeah, I could go for a smoke.

This post brought to you by the song “Lady Nicotine” on A Little Gun Shy, by Brian Douglas and French Kiss staring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.


Bookend Blondes

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,Personal,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I roll over and find myself looking into eager, soft, brown eyes surrounded by red-blonde hair. Oh, God, what a night…

But, that’s getting ahead of myself. It was a long, frustrating week of server wrestling that ended in a stalemate. The endless cycle of tweak, test, repeat broken by the pulsing tone of a text message arriving on my phone. No, more than that. “A picture share!”, my Inbox winked at me. “I’m so tired!” said the message. And then I scrolled down. As I recall, my reaction was “Daaaaammmmmnnnnn!” Followed by, “I wonder what her lips taste like?” And, more, of course, but not anything I’d share in a PG-13 blog. What I did respond with was how cute and adorable I thought she was. Apparently, she was looking for more. More I could have given her, but, well, I do try not be too aggressive with the married ones, even if they are unhappy and headed toward divorce. And, since she’ll be reading this, I loved her little, lopsided smile and her wild blonde hair pulled back into a simple pony tail. Adorable. The kind of adorable you want to wake up with for the next sixty years or so.
Somewhere between the camera phone surprise and throwing in the towel on my server config, a guy invites me to his “Thank God Almighty, I am free at last” party. Normally, I’m not really thrilled with a guy carrying on a conversation with me at the urinal, but, hey, free food and drink is worth a little dance outside my men’s room comfort zone. So, last one out the door into the rain, I zip over to meet his Filipina girlfriend, eat her wonderful shrimp wrapped in bacon, and knock back two quick beers. While I’m there, my hot, little picture-taker calls, then excuses herself when she hears where I’m at. On my way home, I call her.
“Yeah, I’m headed home already. Look, I work with those [deleted plural expletive] five days a week. They always want something from me and can never wait. I don’t really want to hang out with them any longer than I have to after I get my free food.”
“So, you still going to the bookstore?”
“Yeah, might as well. Hey, I know it’s not going to go well, but abject failure makes a funnier blog post than outrageous success anyway.”
“HaHa! Well, good luck on your cooter hunt!” Have I mentioned I really dig that country twang in her voice? Shame she’s married. That’s me, always the friend of the hot, married girl.

I slid into Borders with a plan, or, at least, a theme: music. Music magazines and CDs. Hey, it’s buy three, get the fourth free! So, I decided that it would be four that I don’t normally listen to now. As I roll through the door, I can see that pickings will be slim. Couples everywhere. Well, I figure I’m already there, I have my laptop and I can use the coffee. So, I grab a couple music rags that have free CDs: Mojo and Classic Rock. Then, it was a quick lap around the store, feigning interest in books I knew I wouldn’t buy. Worse than a snipe hunt. So, upstairs to skulk around the writing books, trying to look literate. Rumor has it, chicks did literate guys, or so I’ve been told. As I pass by the VD display, though, a book catches my eye: Cooking to Hook Up : The Bachelor’s Date-Night Cookbook. My music theme has met its first upset, but, I think, eventually, it’ll be worth it. If chicks dig literate guys, literate guys who can cook have got to be even better. Right?
So, since the pickings aren’t any better in the knitting section, I ease over to the music section. Right to the Pop/Rock racks, with a slight detour past the “Local Scene” display. From there, I snag A Little Gun Shy by Brian Douglas. It’s a risk, but, hey, he’s local talent. Then it was off to a new favorite, discovered through obsessive-compulsive searching through the blogosphere, Bowling for Soup, this time I grab Drunk Enough to Dance, because, that’s about what it takes for this whiter than white-guy to get out and shake it. Then, two new ones from old favorites: The Delivery Man by Elvis Costello and the Imposters, along with Wildflower by Sheryl Crow. Like I said, whiter than white. It’s who I am, learn to embrace my lack of diversity.
My music theme complete, I hobble into the coffee shop, still hoping that single women will have nothing better to do on a Friday night besides buy books and chat me up. Hey, hope springs eternal, you know? No Bavarian death cake, but a surrogate from Belgium and an espresso shooter in a paper cup. It’s either that or a long, chest needle like Pulp Fiction. I eat my Bavarian death cake substitute like a guy in a prison movie, always looking at the other tables and with one foot in the aisle in case I need to move in a hurry. The caffeine shooter chases the cake, but it’s not enough, so I go back and get regular medium cup of steaming, hot, Italian Fascism to keep me going through the tragedy that has become my wasted evening. In a sad attempt to salvage my trip, I crank up my ancient laptop, which runs RedHat, and do a little writing exercise to keep me limber. I describe the people I see:
People seen at Borders
The guy with the faux three day growth beard… The tall girl with him wearing yoga pants…
The two couples on a date. The fair-skinned girl with dark eyes who was more interested in the other men than her date. The sad smile she gave me as she walked just out of his reach said “help me, for God’s sake find a way to help me out her, buddy” Her date was the recycled frat boy with the baby face and the crewcut that had grown out sideways and in uneven patches…
…All lonely, all hungry, all hunting the same thing. All failing miserably. All except the two gay guys who found each other. Happy as clams, they make cow eyes at each other and giggle like school-girls.
A little girl, half Asian, with a thoughtful gleam in her eye and a tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth in concentration as she crept to the leather couch and stealthily slipped into the seat next to the couple on a date, never taking her eyes off them. The man with his back turned, his steel gray eyes behind open-rimmed glasses intent on his date, a girl with a ruddy complexion and streaked red hair who was years older than he and unhappy. He had to work to make her smile, harder than he should have.

My best prospect was one of the gay guys and I’m not that lonely. Not yet, anyway. So, I scooped up my magazines and CDs and shoved my antique laptop into my bag. God noticed and sent out the signal to the troops. As soon as I was in line to checkout, two single girls walked in together, moving with purpose toward the far end of the store. Just my luck.
The guy from last week, who recognized me, checks me out and asks about the coupon. Coupon? I tell him I think he used it last week, cheating for me so I can save a buck. He does it again and makes a point of handing me the second coupon. For next time. Damn pusher. At least I got a discount. Being a regular has its perks, I guess.
On the way out, I hold the door for a group of five young women. Yep, that God sure has a sick sense of humor and my timing is still dead on.
Damn, I could really use a cigarette.

And, this morning? This morning I wake to a flirty strawberry blonde batting her big, brown eyes at me. My dog reminding me that it’s laundry day. But, that opening sure had you hooked, didn’t it?
Good dog.

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