Diary of a Network Geek

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


What a Gas!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,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 Pig which is late at night or 11:09 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

My house almost blew up tonight.

No, really.
As I write this, I’m waiting for a serviceman from Centerpoint Energy to come out and turn my gas back on. Apparently, shortly after I left for church this evening a neighbor smelled gas by my house. They called emergency services in Jersey Village, where I live. When the emergency services got out, they could smell gas, so they turned off my power and got Centerpoint out. Centerpoint repaired the leak, or so it seems. Actually, the first thing the serviceman is going to check is to make sure the leak isn’t a leak any more. Then, assuming all is well, he’ll turn the gas on and I can light all my pilots and so on. That’s why the gas was turned off when I got home. Naturally, they couldn’t find me, since I’d gone to church, so they couldn’t turn anything on until they knew I could light all the pilots again. Otherwise, my house would have filled with gas, hit something electric and, well, let’s just say I was irritated with the whole thing until I got the lights back on and figured out what almost happened. Thank God!

I guess my little efforts and building up a little good karma in the short term paid off today.
See, I helped two people with computer things today. This morning, I started reformating and reinstalling my friend J.’s wife, L’s, laptop. She’d been having problems with it and I looked at it several times, but I couldn’t find anything obviously wrong. So, rather than spend any more time on it, I backed up her files and started reinstalling it. Of course, that got interrupted by my power being out, but, still, I’m sure I’ll get it done pretty quick now while I wait for Centerpoint to turn my gas back on.

The other person I did a little mitzvah for was Alison over at Inspired Work of Self-Indulgence.
She was having a little trouble with Comcast and their network. More specifically, it seemed to me she was having a problem with the assigned DNS servers. As any good network geek knows, an Internet connection with out DNS isn’t very useful. She had a connection, sure, but she couldn’t get anywhere. Comcast had been out multiple times trying to fix things. They’d even changed out her cable modem, which seemed to be connected fine when I looked at it. But, her wireless gateway was picking up the normal, default DNS servers from Comcast’s autoconfiguration. I reset the wireless router to the factory default and tweaked the settings a bit. The part that I think mattered the most was adding additional DNS servers from outside Comcast’s network. So now, if the main DNS server goes down or stops working, the backup servers should still find what she’s looking for.
Though, if the problem comes back, it occurred to me on the way home from church that it might be her laptop turning off her wireless connection in a power-save mode, so I might have to check that. (If she’s reading this, that’s a hint!) In any case, it was nice to at long last finally get to meet her. We’ve exchanged e-mail and comments and read each other’s blog posts for quite literally years now. She even sent me cookies when I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy that first time! But today was the first time actually meeting. Hopefully, now that she’s seen I’m completely harmless, it won’t be the last time.
Oh, and I got to meet Piedmont and his new pet human, er, owner. Both were sweet, too. And, of course, I got to meet Cheyenne, Alison’s chocolate lab. She’s as cute in person as in the pictures Alison takes of her and as spoiled, too! She has almost as much tummy as my own Hilda!

So, in spite of almost coming home to a smoking hole in the ground where my house used to be, it turned out to be quite a good day indeed! Stay warm, y’all, and make sure to check your gas!

Update: Apparently, my sins still out-weigh my good deeds, since the guy from Centerpoint Energy never showed up. I stayed up waiting for him until 4:00am, then went to bed, mumbling about liars in the night. I wish it were the first time.
I’m half tempted to turn it on myself and to hell with them. But, better safe than sorry, so I’ll just mumble quiet, Lovecraftian curses on them and try to be on about my day until the next lying serviceman arrives.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes."
   --Sally Field


Sleep Deprivation

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’m tired.
I’m tired in that special way that brings mild hallucinations and, eventually, psychosis. Normally, when I get tired like this, I see small, dark shapes that the edge of my vision and get all jumpy and twitchy. Oddly enough, though, I never saw the shadows at the edge of my vision until I got to Houston. I think it’s a latent fear of giant cockroaches, which, incidentally, exist against the laws of God and nature, that leaks out when I get very tired. At least, I have a good reason for it this time around. Not staying up late to watch Adult Swim on Cartoon Network or almost anything on the SciFi Channel.
Starting last week, I’ve been trying to not allow myself to drift off back into a light nap before working out in the morning. I’ve also been trying to get to bed before 11:00pm, but that’s been less successful. Of course, my schedule hasn’t helped much. Thursday, I was at therapy and didn’t get home until almost 8:00pm, so, by the time I ate, checked e-mail and played with the poor, neglected puppy, it was suddenly late. Friday, I went to a men’s support group and met with someone afterward for coffee. Again, it was after 10:30pm when I finally got home and later after checking e-mail and playing with the dog. Then, it was up early on Saturday to go to another support group in the morning and home again to, uh, try and clean my house. And, to try and find all the things that my ex-wife wants me to ship to her. (I’m still trying to find the christening gown and cap. I know I’ve seen it in the house sometime and somewhere, but I can’t seem to find the damn thing!) Then, at about 4:00pm, it was off to the prayer meeting before church. Home again about 7:30pm, fully charged spiritually, and, after watching appropriate levels of cartoons, off to bed by 11:30pm, or so. Sunday, it was “Work In The Yard Day”. I cleaned the pond filters and did a minor repair on the slightly damaged roof of the carport. I also washed the car for the first time in weeks and worked for several hours on someone’s computer for them. So many folks had problems after Rita came and went with no effect to us that I can only imagine what it would have been like had she hit. Anyway, I didn’t manage to completely fix their problem, but I got them into better shape than they were. Now, it’s up to RoadRunner to replace the cable modem that I think is bad. After that, it was home again for a quick bite, and play with the dog, then off to another men’s group. That got me back home around 9:30pm, or so, and, somehow I got into bed around 11:00pm. I must have read a lot. Oh, and there was some ironing in there somewhere.
Monday, was a full day at the office and phone call after phone call after I got home. Again, it was almost 10:30pm before my time became my own again. Last night, it was a prayer group meeting after work, and a quick stop at the store, which got me home at about 9:45pm. So, check e-mail and play with dog and suddenly it’s 11:30pm again! But, the meeting was good, so it was worth it.
I do believe now, that I am a member of the Super Secret Inner Circle of the Prayer Team. I know the secret handshake, the password and have been through the Grand Ceremony, which I can only tell you involved a delicious artichoke dip followed by a very tasty shrimp casserole. There are benefits of membership! The upshot, however, of all this activity is that I’m exhausted and a bit edgy. And, now, I’m thinking I should add a category for the prayer team or Mercy Street at least…
Also, I noticed a pattern with that e-mail habit and playing with the dog. Hmm, I wonder if I could get an au pair girl to help with the dog? Maybe a nice girl from Denmark or Switzerland….
Sorry, I digressed a bit. So, all this means that I’m tired, in a kind of spiritually satisfying way, and I’ve managed to do my entire workout of pushups, situps and hand weights every morning this week, so far. Unfortunately, it also means that those of you who were waiting for pictures of me and my rakish goatee will have to wait. I’m off to bed early tonight and tomorrow is therapy and … Well, and then the cycle repeats itself with some minor variations. Aw, what the heck, as Warren Zevon sang, there’ll be time enough to sleep when I’m dead.

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