Diary of a Network Geek

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


Writers, Talking

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,NaNoWriMo — 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 Waxing Gibbous

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, you should be roughly a third of the way through and might need a bit of a break.

If you aren’t participating in National Novel Writing Month, that’s okay.  It’s still Friday and maybe you just need a break.  Either way, I think I’ve got you covered this week.  At least, I’ve got you covered if you like science-fiction, famous authors, and cranky discussions about literature and marketing.  It also helps if you like Studs Terkel or Gene Wolfe or Issac Asimov or Harlan Ellison.  Why?  Because the link I have for you has all those things in it, all those writers talking about literature, science-fiction, and the state of the world.  In 1982.  More than 30 years ago, but it’s all still quite relevant.
So, for whatever your reason, take a break and head over to the Observation Deck at Kinja and watch/listen to these brilliant men talk about some of the most interesting things in the universe.

Then get back to writing and I’ll see you next week!



The Dangers of Professional Photography

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 5:26 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

It’s no secret that I’m a contrarian in many ways.

I’m an amateur photographer.  And, I’m good at it.  Not great, but good.  I know a lot of photographers who are at all levels of skill and accomplishment.  Many of them are in a totally different place with their photography than me.  I do it because I love it and I find it relaxing.  It’s totally different from what I do to make money, even though skills from my professional life compliment my hobby.  But, I have met a lot of amateur photographers who would really like to be professionals.
Personally, I think it’s better to stay amateur.  People don’t think that shift from hobby to profession through very well most of the time.  There are all kinds of things that change when you start doing things professionally.  For one thing, you have to collect money.  It sounds fun until you have to actually do it, especially when someone doesn’t, or suddenly can’t, pay.  Trust me.  And, when it’s something like photography, well, sometimes, you just have got to get the shot, no matter how dangerous it is!
Think I’m kidding?  Then just feast your eyes on this little “Reality Check” from The Photo Society.  Click that link and see actual dangers, faced and mostly survived, by National Geographic Photographers!  Burns and acid-dripping caves?  Broken bones and tear gas?  No, thanks!  And, those aren’t even the worst!  Flesh eating parasites?!?  And, worst of all, I think, is the dreaded “penis fish”!  Yikes!  I think I’ll keep my amateur status, thanks!

Also, on the same site, for those of you who are good enough, or already semi-professional, they offer some advice about how to respond to requests for free photography work you might get.  In fact, they suggest that you just go ahead and link right to that article.  So do I.  It’s not quite as good as what Harlan Ellison had to say about people asking for free work from him, but, it’s pretty close.  (Note that he does get a little loud and may use some slightly colorful language, so watch your volume at work.)

So, there you are, dear readers.  Some fun things to think about over the weekend while, hopefully, you pursue your hobby and not your profession!


One of “Those” Days

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Yeah, it’s been one of those days.

Oh, not that anything has really been going on or that anything has been particularly bad… Well, except my writing. Everytime I try to sit and write something it all comes out bad. I remember a story told in an interview once about that problem. J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, was talking to Harlan Ellison, science-fiction god. Straczynski was complaining to Ellison that everything he wrote was crap and, according to Straczynski, Ellison told him simply, “Well, then just stop writing crap!”
If only it were that easy for me.

I seem to have a communication problem sometimes.
I seem so witty and bright until my fingers hit the keys and out comes purile pap, half-digested cardboard that leaves nothing more than a bad after-taste. And, it’s not just on this blog! Oh, no, dear readers, you’ll be pleased to know that I write just as poorly in e-mail. Earlier today I was slacking at work taking a mental-health break, and reading a few blogs. I read one particular blog by a successful, attractive young lady, well, younger than me, at any rate. She was having a rough morning, but it wasn’t her coffee spill that interested me. Rather, it was her internal dialog. She was so sure that she was being judged, and being judged harsly, by the coffee shop patrons.
It startled me, her certainty of judgement from without. I see her and see everything that I cannot be, beautiful, popular, solvent, but still, she had the same self-doubt that rattles about in my slightly over-weight, more-than-slightly in debt, almost middle-aged self. Iconcievable. Is it possible that everyone has a critic living inside them that is as loud and constant as mine? I’m begining to wonder if maybe they do.

My therapist keeps telling me that I’m more normal than I think I am. Oh, to be sure, I had some aberrant behavior, but that’s been under control for years now, before I started to see him, in fact. It’s just that I listen so carefully to that internal critic that I hear him in everyone else’s voice these days. I’ve been told that I’m defensive and I know it’s true. Of course, I’m more defensive with some people than others. My mother tells me that there’s fine line between defending myself and being defensive and, maybe, some of those people don’t know the difference. Maybe, but I think they’re closer to the truth than my dear, sweet mother who only thinks the best of me, her baby boy. (As a side note, dear readers, you’d like my mother. She’d make your favorite dish for you when you visit, or bake you something sweet. She’s like June Cleaver, if June knew how to shoot a .38 and used sarcasm like a precision instrument.) In any case, that damn critic is why I haven’t writen for publication in so long, why I have such trouble asking a pretty girl out on a date, and why I’m so sure that no one really likes me, but keeps me around for my utility. I mean, c’mon, a guy with my technical skills is pretty damn useful sometimes. And, whatever else I may believe about myself, I know that I’m damn good at what I do. I routinely pull off the impossible, at least, technically speaking. (I tell myself that over and over both to remind myself and at the request of my therapist. I think it’s working.) In fact, I worked so hard to develop skills that few have because I knew that was the only way anyone would have anything to do with me.
Crazy, isn’t it? What’s sad is that I have absolutely no explanation for why my internal critic should be so strong, so loud. That’s why I pay a nice man who’s name starts “Doctor” every other week. To help me figure that out and, more importantly, over come that little bastard.

I took a move from one of my favorite bloggers this week and “burned” one of my “ships”. No, I didn’t quit my job, but, deeply in debt, I still bought a very good laptop computer that was on sale and loaded with extras and rebates. I found that I do seem to get more writing done on a laptop, away from my main system with all its distractions. Like e-mail and this blog. So, the way I see it, the only way for me to pay off my debt is to start writing for publication. I think I’ll start with some contests and see how it goes.

Oh, if you didn’t catch it from the comments, I did e-mail that girl from college. No word back yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
As Bartles and Jaymes used to say, “Thank you for your support.”

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