Diary of a Network Geek

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


Hurricane Preparedness

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Dog and Pony Shows,News and Current Events,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Hurricane season started on Monday, June First. Are you ready?

Here in Texas, hurricane season is kind of a big deal.  Or, at least, it is to this kid from the Heartland.  Of course, most of the time, we have plenty of time to prepare because you see these things coming from a long, long way off.  Still, it’s better to be prepared early rather than competing with everyone for bottled water, bread and canned food.

So far, since I’ve been in…
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Freshness Dates

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Personal,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’ve been cleaning up my house.

No, that’s not a metaphor for a damn thing. I’ve literally been cleaning up my house one room, one closet, at a time. A couple of weeks ago, I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned my bathroom floor right to the baseboards, getting every stray hair, human or dog. My fingers were pruney with bleach-based cleaner and my tile floor was white again.
I also cleaned my kitchen, but not quite with the same intensity as the bathroom. I still need to do the floor, but I did tackle the counters and refridgerator and pantry. It’s amazing to me that I’m still finding food left over from when I was married. Yes, that’s not a joke or an exageration. I lost count of the mystery items that I’ve thrown out of the freezer. And, the other day, I pitched some Slimfast and UltraSlimfast shake mixes. I know these weren’t mine, because, well, because they’re just not the sort of thing that I would think to buy for myself without a little “help”. They were chocolate and chocolate malt flavors and I was tempted to try them to see if they’d help me lose weight.
They smelled okay and were mostly still powdery, but the humidity had obviously not been good for them. I let them sit on the counter for a good three days before I made myself check the date on them. They stopped being “good” in 2003. I still let them sit on the counter for another couple of days before I threw them out. The whole time I was debating what to do with them, I could hear my mother and grandmother admonishing me not to waste food. I mean, they still smelled okay, right? And, Slimfast has got to be mostly chemicals anyway, so would they really go “bad”?

It was a game that finally got me to see the insanity of what I was doing and throw the cans out. As I opened one again to smell check it, and confirm the expired freshness date, my inner-eye flashed to a role-playing game I used to love called Gamma World. It’s a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy game filled with rogue robots and marauding mutants. There are countless dangers waiting to kill off unsuspecting and careless player-characters, not least of which was canned food. Yeah, old food from the time of Ancients, before the great wars that destroyed the Earth and made plants into deadly perils to be approached warily. Cans with no labels or unreadable freshness dates that could be a village’s salvation, or deadly poison that would kill everyone who ate it. Only a lucky roll of the dice would tell us for sure. But, intelligent characters stopped taking the risk.

I still have the original rules for that game upstairs on a shelf, but I threw out the Slimfast. Just in case.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Live truth instead of professing it."
   --Elbert Hubbard


That “Special” Time

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,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 Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, I’m not talking about “that time of the month”.

It’s hurricane season again. Yeah, already. I mention this because a fairly heavy tropical storm has already started up and is smacking Florida around. So, if you haven’t started thinking about how you’re going to survive this year’s hurricane season, you better start.

First of all, let’s talk business, okay? Do you have a plan yet? Better get one quick. Really quick, at this point. What are you going to do if your business gets hit? Where are you going to set up shop while you get your damaged location fixed? Who’s going to staff that temporary location? What about your data? Who’s in charge of protecting it and getting it to a secure location in the event of a disaster?
Don’t know the answer to these questions? Better figure them out in a hurry. Oh, don’t think it’ll happen to you? Check this story on Computer Business Review Online. A lot of those folks didn’t think it would happen to them, either.
Need help with the questions? Oh, yeah, those few, little questions I fired off are just the start. This article on Continuity Central has all those and a whole bunch more that will keep you awake at night until you answer them. It won’t write the plan for you, but it sure will let you know where the holes are in your disaster recovery plan.
Still need help? I recommend checking out SunGuard. I’ve used them, professionally, before and they’re very good at this sort of thing. Very good.
Now, what about you and your family? Considered that yet?
I remember last year when Katrina hit, followed by Rita. It was a disaster with a capital D. People were panicking and running. Gas stations ran out of gas. Grocery stores ran out of canned food and bottled water and batteries. You couldn’t buy a generator at any price. It was a real nightmare. And that was just a close call. Imagine what it would have been like if Rita had actually hit us here in Houston. Right.
So, now is the time to lay in that canned food and the water purification tablets and the batteries and candles and … Well, there’s a lot of stuff, isn’t there? Luckily, there are a lot of different lists and guides to preparing for a hurricane. All you have to do is start now, while it’s still easy. I’ve found links to do-it-yourself hurricane survival kits at Southcom, Hurricaneville, and the Tampa Bay Government website. Also, if you have pets, check out the Pet Survival Kit at the Tampa website. I like the Hurricaneville one because it’s a downloadable PDF file that includes pretty good advice about hurricanes in general and not just what stuff to get to make it through one. It offers practical advice and has good general information about tropical storms and hurricanes.

Personally, I prefer to use solar and dynamo power over batteries when I can and I have that stuff I got last year. I still need to get more canned food and, maybe, some MREs. Never did get that shotgun, either. Not to mention the gas cans or the first-aid kit. I did get a book on First Aid for Dogs though, just in case. And, maybe it’s time to get a couple decorative oil lamps, too…
Excuse me while I exorcise the latent survivalist in me. I know it seems crazy now, but when I’m sitting pretty after the next hurricane, all you Houston readers will be stopping by for coffee, since I’ll be the only one with any!
Seriously, though, folks, it’s never too early to start planning.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"I love deadlines. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
   --Douglas Adams


Forecast: Very Bad

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Geek Work,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 6:01 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I don’t like hurricanes.
Or tropical storms. Honestly, if I didn’t know that every generation since the crucifixion has thought so, I’d say the end times were nigh! Look at it from a Yankee’s perspective. You already have giant, flying bugs. Up North, we made a pact with God that such things were not to happen. We’d stop the human sacrifice, if He’d stop making bugs over six inches that fly. Then, there’s the weather… Sure, up North we have to deal with the odd blizzard, but that’s a walk in the park compared to this hurricane/tropical storm business.
I mean, my life was hard enough when Katrina hit one state over, so I can’t hardly imagine what it’s going to be like when this Rita bitch makes landfall. Have you ever noticed that they always name these things after women? As a recently divorced man, I felt the obligation to point that out.
Anyway, here I am, still exhausted from the last two weeks of horrendous work as a result of “adapting” to Katrina fallout and now, I have to worry about Rita. Oh, and someone told me today that our building tends to flood. I have five comuters on the floor of my cube alone. Oh, I think this is going to be messy. And, yesterday, when I went to the store, there was hardly any water left. People are already starting to panic. Not good. Very not good. Suddenly, sunny Houston seems dark, dismal and dangerous. Very, very not good.

And, what if I have to make a run for it? Where will I go? How will I cope with that and my precious, little dog, too? I know I should be doing “stuff” to prepare, but, honestly, in the face of something this big, what can I do? Hoard water, canned food and batteries. Pray. But, really, that’s about it.
Wow, winter in Chicago sure seems nice right about now.

On a lighter note, I was invited to an opening today. Friday, a friend of mine, Mark Flood (Warning! This site may contain adult images!), is showing his art at the Glassell School on Montrose. This is, I believe, his first exhibit as a full-time artist, though he’s been selling art for more than a decade. Gosh, I’ll have to wear black and go buy some clove cigarettes!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.
   --from "The Shawshank Redemption

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