Diary of a Network Geek

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


Embracing My Inner Geek

Filed under: About The Author,music,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Because, that’s who I really am.

So, this week I was going to write about the error message I’ve seen filling up my logs which is due to some issue in the AuthorWrite theme I use here. But, thanks to some prodigious sleep procrastination, I was able to find the error and the fix it last night, with the help of Professor Google. Apparently, there are some security and encryption salts that are technically optional, but really should be added into the config on WordPress that I hadn’t done. Frankly, I blame that on being so far out of date on WordPress development that it’s ridiculous. The joy of it is that I don’t need to be up to date. Back in the old days, when I was running MoveableType, I had to know how it all worked because there was no one who was going to help me figure it out. But, now, with how popular WordPress has gotten and how many great programmers are working on it, I hardly have any issues. And, when I do have an issue, it’s almost always related to a theme or plugin that needs to be updated. In a couple of cases, plugins have been abandoned, and don’t work because the underlying architecture has changed and there’s no one updating the plugin code. That’s sad because there are some great plugins that I’ve had to stop using due to them not being supported and causing issues on my sites. Yes, I can almost always find a replacement for them, but, sometimes, the old plugins have nice features or an easy-to-use interface that I miss. Oh, well, life is change. Either way, the issue is resolved.

But, all that nerdy goodness got me thinking a bit. Being a computer geek is absolutely built into who I am now. It’s funny because back in high school, I was a little obnoxiously well known for hating computers because I already saw so many of my peers relying on them instead of thinking for themselves. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider that I graduated high school in 1986. Of course, some of those people I went to school with are now big shots in the technology industry, but, hey, I still prefer to think for myself. Not that I mind making a living off malfunctioning computers. It provides me and my family a pretty damn good living. But, I do find myself gravitating toward the, well, shall we say, darker side of computers and networks? When I attended DEF CON 20 in 2012, it was pretty life-changing. It truly opened my eyes to a whole new world of computer security. But, it also showed me that I already knew more than I was giving myself credit for! Beyond the security aspects of things, the idea that computer geeks might also be gun geeks or music nerds was sort of a new idea. My buddy, famous artist Mark Flood, knew about the hacker rappers that performed at DEF CON, but it was news to me. And, apparently, there’s a whole slew of nerdcore music and musicians that I’ve not heard of before. It’s an event he and I still talk about on a regular basis. Things we saw there are still trickling out into the mainstream, like smart car hacking. It makes me a little sad that DEF CON is Cancelled this year, at least in person. I still hope to get back one day to experience it all live and in person, but, if you have the time, this year’s virtual event August 7-9 is a great opportunity for you to safely check it out. Just make sure you’ve got all your antivirus and security patches up to date! (Just kidding! I’m sure it will be 100% safe! Trust me!) And, I’ve already ordered two DEF CON is Cancelled t-shirts, which will get here in a couple weeks. They’ll pair well with my Guy Fawkes COVID-19 mask that I should have by the end of the day!

And, if you just want to relax a little, not think about big issues like computer security and nerdcore music and COVID-19, then try unlocking some browser games with help from Lifehacker. Yes, all three major browsers have them, though some are easier to get to than others, not to mention more fun.

Try to enjoy your weekend and week and do something you love.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.


Appreciating Art

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Steve Martin teaching us about art.

I love art. I don’t know much about art, really, in spite of all the things my good friend, and famous art star, Mark Flood has tried to teach me. I have always enjoyed art, though, even when I was a kid. I used to spend what was for me, at the time, a ridiculous amount of money on metal sculptures as a kid. Mostly small things, but visually interesting to me. Like a cricket made from iron nails and a spark plug. Another time, I talked a wood carver into selling me one of his unfinished works of a raccoon head, which sits on my dresser to this day. I’ve had that for probably more than 40 years at this point, and I no longer remember the artist’s name or what it cost. When I was working my first job in downtown Chicago, I had the incredible good fortune to run into Curt Frankenstein at an art market after my shift on a Sunday afternoon. I spoke with him for some time before I realized he was the artist I was viewing, but I’m pleased to say that my rudimentary understanding of etchings and print-making favorably impressed him. At the time, I was only able to afford two of his wonderful surrealist prints, which hand in my home still.
I don’t think I started to appreciate abstract work until I started hanging around with Mark Flood. And, of course, it’s his abstracts that I love the most. I’m lucky enough to have been gifted one, though he calls it payment for some computer work I did for him, and I love it. Everyone remarks on it.
But, before I digress even more, let me share the link I meant to give you this week: Steve Martin makes abstract art theory interesting, via Boing Boing. It’s a short video in the MoMA series The Way I See It for the BBC. There are several other people talking about their favorite work, or at least their feelings about and connection to art. It’s quite good and I definitely recommend seeing them all, but it’s hard to top Steve Martin saying “I believe pictures reveal themselves over time…” I mean, that’s really the best thing to say about art. Go, watch the video, then go to a museum and look at art.

In any case, enjoy!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words, my more personal blog.


Paint Simulation

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I love free, weird, art-related stuff on the internet.

As you might have guessed since I share it here incessantly. Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that I was always encouraged to be practical as a kid. Or maybe it’s that I somehow ended up befriended by the world-renown artist, Mark Flood, who constantly encourages my crazier and more creative impulses. Either way, I’m always on the lookout for an art-related time-waster for a Friday afternoon when I should be working.
So, this week, before I share my artistic distraction, let me remind you that I was never a painter and am an absolute clumsy oaf. But, I never let that stand in the way of having fun with art, and neither should you. So, thanks to Boing Boing and David Li, I share with you “paint”. It’s a pretty incredible paint simulator that really gets a good, wet, well, painterly look to it. I felt like the brushes were hard to control and the overlapping paint was a bit of a mess, but that makes it the perfect thing to kill time without getting too serious about an end product. And, to me, an absolutely fun way to spend a few minutes on a Friday afternoon.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words, where I share the most original content I write.


Finding New Things To Photograph

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I write a lot about photography here, which is a little like dancing about architecture.

I’ve kind of lost my way with photography subjects.
I’m too busy to do some of the things I used to do, like wander the streets aimlessly during festivals and just go hang out in Galveston on a cloudy day.  I still go to the Houston Zoo, but not as often as I used to.  Besides, let’s face it, after three years of going every month, even…
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On Survival and Change

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is late at night or 11:44 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’ve always been a survivor.

I usually try to save these soul-searching posts for a weekend, and, as often as not, I’ve been simply deleting them or not even writing them these days.  But, yesterday, I went to see my oncologist to get the results of the CT scan I had last week that I didn’t mention here, either.  I guess it was part of my rationalization and hiding from something that still scares me, to not write about it.  As if somehow not acknowleging it here would make it not matter to me or less frightening.  Of course, that rationalization and avoidance cocktail did nothing to help me sleep for the past week.  Nor, did it make me any less certain that I’ll die alone.

“That moment changes the way you see the world for the rest of your life.”
-Sheryl Crowe, on being diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer changed my life.
Cancer taught me both not to worry quite so much, but, at the same time, to be afraid.  I’m terrified of missing something.  Of not getting to participate in some vital experience that I absolutely need to feel or see or do.  I don’t worry quite so much about my own life and my own needs, but, sadly, that’s often to my detriment.  This entire week while waiting for both the scan and the results I’ve felt as if I’ve been missing something.  As if there were something that I desperately needed to get done, but I was forgetting to do.  I still don’t know what that might be.

One way that things have changed, in part, thanks to my cancer, is how much attention I pay to art and my creative side.  Now, I’ve always loved art, but it always seemed like something that other people did.
When I was in treatment, an acquaintance of mine, Mark Flood, started coming to visit me in the hospital.  We started talking and discovered that we had a lot in common, much to our mutual surprise.  That led to spending more time hanging out, and more time getting to know Mark and his art.  That led to weekly lunches and a rediscovery of my childhood desire to make art.
But, you see, I was told that you couldn’t make a living as an artist.  Or a writer.  I was encouraged to find more lucrative pursuits.  That’s how I ended up with a degree in Marketing and getting into computers professionally.  Both seemed like better career moves at the time.  But, as I spent more and more time becoming a real network geek, I spent less and less time doing anything creative.  And, I made money.  Good money, actually.  But, I wasn’t happy.  Not really, not for long.  These days, I’m mostly happy when I’m chasing one of the photographs I “see” in my head and trying to make it real.  It’s just not enough, anymore, to simply survive.

“[Man] cannot remake himself without suffering.  For he is both the marble and the sculptor.”
– Dr. Alexis Carret

But, thanks to Mark and some other things, I know you can do more than survive as a creative.  I worry that I may be a little late coming to the realization that I’ve been lied to all these years by my family.  For the best of reasons, to be sure, but a lie is still a lie and it tore a small hole in who I was when I didn’t pursue those creative urges back then.  In fact, I can think of several people who we knew when I was growing up who made their living as a creative and did just fine.
But, the process of unmaking who I had become before treatment and creating a life that will let me become the person I want to become is difficult.  Of course, it beats the alternative, which is not changing, staying the same forever, essentially, death.  But it’s not easy unlearning everything your family taught you about life to reinvent yourself and become something new, especially if you want to keep a relationship with that family.  And, all this change, in my perspective, in my priorities, in my very direction and mode of travel, was all brought about by that simple diagnosis of first, an unidentified mass, which later became cancer.

“It isn’t important to come out on top, what matters is to be the one who comes out alive.”
– Bertolt Brecht, Jungle of Cities

After spending almost eight months constantly wreslting with the possiblity of my own death, or, as I like to put it, French-kissing the Grim Reaper, has left me almost entirely unafraid of my own death.  Oh, sure, the pain leading up to it might suck hard, but, when the lights finally go out for me, well, it’s beyond my control.  And, don’t take that to mean that I wouldn’t fight for my life, because I would.  In fact, I think I’d fight harder for it now than I would have ever before, because there are things that I want to do, things I need to acomplish before I finally leave and “shuffle off this mortal coil”.
In fact, you’d think I’d be fearless about everything, but that’s just not been the case.
Mostly, I’m afraid of the things I was afraid of as a kid.  Social situations are especially terrifying.  I get all caught up in appearing right to other people.  Sometimes my ideas are, well, a little different.  Different thinking frightens most folks and, by extension, people who think differently are sometimes frightening.  I sometimes feel the burden of that social pressure to fit in and not make waves.  My working at odd angles to the world makes people occasionally uncomfortable and I don’t like that, so I get hesitant about being open and honest and, sometimes, just being with people.  It’s like regressing back to the Seventh Grade and all the social humiliation that goes along with that.  It’s not a pretty picture in my head.

“Fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.”
– Daniel Dafoe, Robinson Crusoe

So, with almost entirely good news from my scan results yesterday, I’m trying to overcome my smaller fears that have begun to rule me.  I’m sure it will be a slow, ponderous process, and likely filled with fear and setbacks and imperfection, but that’s okay.  Hell, that’s just life.  But, in the end, I think I have to change.  I don’t plan on dying any time soon, so change will happen eventually, but it’s time to do more than survive.  I think it’s time I started steering my life more and improving and changing and truly living, not just surviving.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
   --Abraham Lincoln


Lunch with Mark Flood, Famous Artist

Filed under: Art,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,NaNoWriMo,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:00 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I had lunch with my very-soon-to-be-very-famous artist friend Mark Flood today.

This month was National Novel Writing Month, but you notice that this is the first I’ve mentioned it. Notice, too, that I haven’t mentioned even a thought of participating this year. There’s a reason. Actually, there are a number of reasons, but most of them don’t matter much. Two, really, pushed me toward not bothering to try, though. First, November is the worst possible month to try and write a large volume of text on any subject, really. I mean, even if I hadn’t hosting Thanksgiving, I’d still have a lot of social obligations, not to mention the fact that I usually get snowed under with work in November, too. But, also, really, it’s been so long since I’ve written fiction regularly that going from zero to fifty in a month, well, let’s just say that fifty thousand words takes some working up to.

But, there are other things, too.
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I have no talent drawing or painting, so, you know, art, at that point, becomes a bit of a challenge. That was probably about when I got interested in photography. I guess it seemed like an easier way to make something beautiful. Well, and there were more likely to be gorgeous women involved, too. Naturally, that’s always been right up there in importance with art. Women and art, almost the same to me, really. But, women are almost as much of a mystery as darkroom technique, so photography fell by the wayside, too. Not so much women, though, I probably should have chosen to do things in the other order based on how things worked out later. Hindsight is 20-20, right?
In any case, along the way, there was always writing. I always had writing. Until, one fine day, I grew up. I embraced the fact that I was a professional network plumber. I owned the idea that what I was really good at was making networks and servers run, talk to each other and do tricks. In short, as the title says, I am a network geek. And, that particularly lucrative pursuit slowly replaced my writing time.

Now, I’m not crying, okay? I mean, it paid the bills and it paid a lot of bills toward a pretty comfortable lifestyle, so I’m not knocking it. But, I do miss that dream of being an artist, or writer, or at least a photographer. Well, the more time I spend with Mark, soaking up the bits and pieces of his artist’s life, the more I hunger for that old dream, that time before I was a network geek when I was just a guy trying to pay the bills while I wrote. In a way, I’ve come full circle. Back to art and women. Well, full circle in that I desire both, but have neither. And, yeah, it seems like there’s a story in there somewhere.
Part of my problem with writing is that I’ve got it in my head that I should be writing science-fiction or fantasy, but when it comes out it comes out something entirely different. I’ve never set a story in the far future, or even the near future. Only once or twice, a couple truly horrible attempts, did I set something in the past, or a fantasy past where the rules were significantly different from now. I’m not sure what that all means, except, of course, my choices of subject matter seem to limit my output. I suppose the obvious answer is to write a different kind of story, but, then, obvious answers have never been my forte. I suppose that explains a lot of my problems with women, too.

I was thinking about all this after lunch with Mark today, because of a tribute article I read about Bob Carlos Clarke. He was a photographer and he took a lot of provocative photos, but he also had a number of famous friends, most that he met through his photography, many of whom he used as subjects for his work. Of course, he also took a lot of pictures of very attractive women, which has been, naturally, a dream of mine since, well, since about the beginning of puberty. So, yeah, portraits and black-and-white pictures and lights and lenses and art and famous friends and women and all that has been swirling in my head. Somehow, the photography is easier for me than the writing right now, so I pursue that.
I have no illusions about “making it big” or ever even selling my work, to be honest, but when I watch Mark, I see the obsession with getting the message right, with having to produce his work and I recognize that with my own obsessiveness around photos. I can only imagine what I must seem like to an observer while I’m setting a shot. And, of course, when I show someone a shot, there are almost always at least a dozen more that are slightly different that I discard.

Look, I don’t know what it all means. In the words of some poor slob in some movie that I can’t remember, we’re all just delivering pizzas. Or in my case, I’m just unclogging network plumbing. I love art, but I’m just doing a job like everyone else.
And, some days, that’s just not good enough anymore.


HOUSTON — Clark and Mark Flood — Sept 27

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fiction,Fun,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:21 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

HOUSTON — Clark and Mark Flood — Sept 27

Originally uploaded by Domy Books

Well, the title says it all, more or less.

My friend Mark Flood and his twin Clark have an opening Saturday night at Domy Books in Houston. If you’re in Houston, and like art and literature, it’d be worth checking out.
I have church that night, so I’m not sure if I’ll make it in time. It all kind of depends. I may make a special effort, though, just to get pictures. Besides, I’ve been meaning to get to Domy for some time now.

I’ve lost track of which is which, but Mark has a book coming out and I believe they’ll both have art there. Though, I’m fairly certain that Mark won’t be showing any of his lace paintings like the one I have.

You can get details about the opening at the Domy website.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like I’ll be there taking pictures.  I was actually somewhat undecided as to whether or not I would attend after church or go out to dinner with the gang, but after a talk with the artist, I’ll be headed over to take pictures with my trusty Canon XTi.


Vent by Mark Flood

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I own real art.

Well, okay, my grandfather made real art, too, but nothing that would be sold at a professional level. I’ve had some limited edition prints by Kurt Frankenstein, who was a student of Max Ernst, but they’re not the same as a painting done by someone who’s well known in the contemporary art world. That’d be what I have now, as of Sunday, actually.

See, I know this guy, Mark Flood, who happens to be a brilliant artist. That’s not how I know him, though. I knew him as a cool guy to talk to about, well, about anything, since he’s so jaded and worldly that nothing even I’ve done in my deep, dark, secret past shocks him. Frankly, I think we really enjoy that about each other. Neither of us are shocked or horrified by anything the other has done. Frankly, it’s a great basis for a friendship.
Anyway, Mark was involved with a band called Culturcide. It was a pretty famous punk band from right here in Houston. They’ve been described as a “noise band”, but, well, I’m not up on my punk terms, so I’m not sure I can agree or not. I can tell you that they’re still a little avant garde even though their music has been around more than twenty years. So, Mark came to me and asked me to do the layout work for two CDs and CD covers for a small revival, of sorts. Two completely remastered, high-quality releases, which include some previously unreleased tracks. It’s pretty interesting stuff. Perhaps more so because I know Mark and understand some of the tunes better than otherwise.

So, I did the work and, in payment, Mark traded me this painting, that I loved so well. Well, and a whole lot of work to be named later. Okay, honestly, I’ll be working for Mark like a third-world piece-worker at a computer for the rest of my natural life to pay this off.
But, it’s totally worth it. I really do love this piece and with Mark’s reputation as a painter taking off, my “investment” will do nothing but appreciate, so it was a great deal for me!
Now, I just have to find a good place to hang it.

(Oh, and don’t forget that I’ll be guest posting Wednesday at the Canard Collective!)


Personal Branding

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Personal branding has always been interesting to me.

Maybe it’s my degree in Marketing that drives this strange interest in market segmentation and branding, or maybe it was the obsession, and being raised by a professional salesman and marketer, that led me to get a degree in Marketing. Either way, brands and how they’re created have always interested me. Toward furthering my knowledge and understanding of how brands work, I got a book sometime back that I’m just reading now, called Wordcraft. The book is all about the process of naming “stuff” in the business world. Naturally, this touches on brands.
One realtaively new idea in branding has been the “personal brand”. The idea that an individual can brand themselves. Naturally, the most common example is usually a Hollywood star who literally is their brand. But, consider also Oprah, Martha Stewart and Michael Jordan. Well, what got me thinking about this lately is the long conversations I’ve been having with an artist friend of mine, Mark Flood(link may not be safe for work, small children or my ex-wife), while I was in the hospital getting my chemo. In a way, he has branded himself, at least in the art world. His thinking, his creativity and his work is his brand, so to speak. I think this is true for every artist, even literary artists.
Right now, I censor myself quite heavily, though you might not always know it, because this blog and website are so closely associated with my corporate professional life. In a certain sense, I have branded this site and blog. Not in a truly conscious way, but in a somewhat organic way a personal brand has emerged. So, I started thinking about branding at this level in a more directed, concerted way. Naturally, that led me to start Googling the topic. I found a number of links, but the series of posts on Blog Branding that Chris Garrett has written looked like the best to me. I haven’t read them all yet, but I plan to before I launch my next project.

Which brings me to my next related thought in this post…
This site is what I think of as my “serious, computer professional site”, which regular readers will know is really not all that serious, professional or even always computer related. Still, it’s far from the wildly creative zany, wacky, perhaps even literary website I have in mind. And, that, dear readers, is my next super-secret project. In fact, this creative project is so secret it doesn’t even have a name yet. Well, okay, it doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t finished Wordcraft yet and started the brainstorming process to create a new “brand name” for the site.  I tried doing this initially with Fantasist.net, but well, found the whole thing a bit too limiting.  I mean, not everything I write or create is fantasy, sometimes it’s science-fiction or even, gasp, modern or literary fiction.  So, I want something more, well, generically creative than that.  And, I’ve been considering consolidating or abandoning old, disused websites I’ve had and domain names I’ve controlled.  (Does anyone want to buy HavePalmWillTravel.com?)  So, moving content to the new site would bring some instant presence, without the baggage.  At least, in theory.

There are, of course, a lot of issues to work out still.
Not the least of which is a logo.  I used to rely on my ex-wife, the graphic designer, to generate most of my graphics.  Not that I ever actually got what I asked for, in spite of spending a fortune on graphics software for her.  There are several logo companies on the web that make logos cheap and, well, frankly, their work looks pretty good.  Better than what I eventually got from the ex-wife, in any case.  And, the bottom line is they produce in a timely fashion for a reasonable price.  In case you’re interested, I’m looking at using the firms listed in this old article on Wired Magazine about logo and brand creation.  The prices they list are out of date, since the article is several years old, but the information on the companies has been a great help.  I’m still thinking about it, but, I’ll probably end up doing it.  Logos are important to brands and, well, you get what you pay for.  At least, when you’re not paying in barter and to “family”.  I’ll keep you all updated on this process, either way.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about since I got out of the hospital last, at least, in regards to branding and blogs and such.
Oh, to protect my creative brand, I probably won’t actually link to it from here or mention it by name, though I will talk about the process as I work on it.  For those who are truly interested, e-mail me when it’s done and I’ll send you the info.  Don’t worry, I’ll announce it again when I finally get it up and running.


Being All Arty

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:41 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I wish I was.
All arty, that is. Alas, I am inhibited by my close association with “The Man” via my degree in Marketing. Still, working to overcome such crippling handicaps is my stock and trade, so I went to an art opening last night. A friend of mine, Mark Flood, and a group of other artists that he did some collage work with, had an opening in the Heights area. Sadly, I cannot remember the name of the gallery where the work was shown. And, I was late. In fact, I was so late the other people I know who were going came and went, so I ended up spending some time with Mark, then was alone for a bit, looking at art and a mulitmedia presentation of the art being created, then poor Mark felt guilty for leaving me alone for so long and hung out with me the last 20-30 minutes I was there. It was, in a word, “interesting”.
I’ve never been to an art opening before. It was a little strange, to me, because it seemed like it was such a social event and had so little to do with the actual art. Also, I have to admit, it was art that I’m not really all that “in to”, either. Modern found-object collage art, for the most part. Still, it was interesting to look at. I much prefer Mark’s other work with lace. *That* absolutely fascinates me. But, I did have a good time people-watching. Seeing human drama unfold still enthralls me. There was some poor girl who was obviously quite upset at something her paramour, who I never connected to her, was doing or not doing. I’ve lost some of my ability to read lips in poor lighting, but I did catch “… but it still sucks. I just sucks!…” and the poor thing looked like she was on the edge of tears at one point. She did seem to recover enough to flirt with someone later, though, so I guess it all worked out. I have to admit, I was sorely tempted to quietly tell her “Darlin’ whoever it is, they just ‘aint worth it. No one should put you in that mood and make that pretty face so troubled and frowny. It’s time for a new horse, darlin’. You rode this one on out and you can’t ride ’em any further, so it’s just time to jump on a new horse.” You’ll be pleased to know that I successfully resisted that temptation.
Still, it did get me thinking about being creative and that longing to be part of a creative subculture reared its ugly head. Again. One day, I’d love for Mark to be introducing me to his friends as “my friend Jim, the writer” instead of just “my friend Jim”. So, I need to work on my writing. And, I need to work on it in an envrionment other than home. That led me to dig out my pile of laptops and sort through everything until I could make a reasonably decent one that ran. Then, of course, I installed Linux on it. Why? Well, why not. I have a copy of RedHat 9.0, the last free version of that particular distro that they released before going to Fedora. It installed like a charm. Easy as pie. Actually, easier, since pie can be a bit challenging sometimes. And, now, since the only drive I had that worked well was a five gigabyte IBM, I ordered a new 40 gig and a 512 meg memory upgrade from Tiger Direct. So, with old parts that I got free and the new hardware that will be coming soon, I’ll end up with a new, to me, laptop for under $200. Not bad. All of which means, ultimately, that I’ll be able to go to coffee houses and write. And emulate some of my heros, like Ernest Hemingway, in the process. Now, all I need is a good laptop bag that’s just as cheap. I was thinking about going with something Army surplus, but I’m not sure.
This is all part of the changes I’m trying to make in my life as I work toward being a person I like more. A person I like being more. Little by little, it’s happening. After God only knows how many years, I’m finally becoming the man I wanted to be when I was a kid.
Life is good.

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