Diary of a Network Geek

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


Mission Statement

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, it’s not what you think.

I don’t normally post a lot about church, but…  But, in a moment of weakness, I promised this really earnest, kind-hearted kid who is so excited about going to do good work in strange places that I told him I’d link to his blog.  See, he’s trying to raise money, several thousand dollars worth, to finance his own mission trip.  Of course, he’s part of a larger mission group, but each person is responsible for their own finances and he’s the only one from Mercy Street, the service at Chapelwood United Methodist that I attend, who’s going.  So, he sort of needs a little help.  Now, I don’t have a lot of spare money to throw around, but I do have some small ability to drive traffic on the web.  So, that’s what I’m doing, talking him up a little so that he gets a little more traffic on his blog.  His blog, which he’s just started, will track his progress from training to go away all the way through his entire mission trip.  Or at least that’s the plan.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to keep it up and we’ll get to see how he helps folks where he’s going and what he learns along the way.  The group he ended up with, by the “luck of the draw”, is headed to Africa.  It’ll be a little dangerous, but God knows, there are a lot of quite literally dirt poor people there who will benefit from this mission trip.

So, anway, go check out his blog and support him: John Parish, Serving the Kingdom Through Missions.


Habitat for Humanity

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Saturday, I gave some time to Habitat for Humanity.

I go to church every Saturday night, with few exceptions. Well, this Saturday a group of us from Mercy Street, where I go to church, went over and donated some time to work on a house for a deserving family. I have to admit, I was surprised to find out some of the requirements to qualify and some of the details about how Habitat for Humanity is run.

For one thing, people aren’t just “given” houses. They’re sold these houses, but they’re sold to them for a price they can afford. In fact, Habitat doesn’t make any profit off the houses. What’s more, the loan they make to the new owners doesn’t include any interest. Why? Because of a Bible verse against usury. Yeah, I was surprised, too! Apparently, Habitat for Humanity is run based on Christian principles. Say what you will about organized religion, but this really seems like a good charity to me. Getting a family into a better home in a better neighborhood gives them a fighting chance to break the cycle of poverty.

Oh, the other thing I thought was really smart about the Habitat for Humanity system was that they require new homeowners to contribute 300 hours of service back to the charity. So, for the most part, they help work on someone else’s home, too. The system becomes self-perpetuating, which I love.

No, it’s not perfect, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction.
I don’t think this is going to end poverty as we know it, but I think it’ll make a dent. And, perhaps more importantly, it lets me put my faith into action. See, I don’t have a lot of money this year since I have more medical expenses than I expected, but I really wanted to give back in some way. Again, say what you will about organized religion, but part of what I was taught to believe was that we make the miracles happen. Helping each other, especially those who can’t do for themselves, is what we were meant to do. It’s what Jesus meant when he said “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It’s the Golden Rule in action.

It felt great to go and spend five or six hours helping give someone a leg up, so to speak. My parents gave me every advantage they could, but not everyone has the same opportunity. So, if I want my world to change for the better, I have to be the change. If I want to do away with poverty and raise the standard of living, I have to do my part to make it happen. So, I did. It wasn’t much, really, but at least it was something.
And more than I’d done in a very, very long time.
I have to admit, I was worried that I wouldn’t be useful enough at whatever they were doing, since I’m honestly not all that great at working with my hands, but they managed to find something for everyone to do. And, we had a family there working off some of their 300 service hours, too, which was a little extra cool.

So, if you’re looking for something to do that will make you feel good and help improve your community and world, there are worse things to do than give a little time to Habitat for Humanity.
I know I’ll be going back again to give more time.


Home Again

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:52 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Just wanted to let everyone know that one of my Mercy Street friends got me home from the hospital today, after the doctors finally released me in a “surprise” move at the last minute.

Seriously, I’m sorry I’ve been so out of touch, but this last round of chemo really hammered me hard.  Not so much with the side effects, but just my overall energy levels and general well-being.  There were a couple of days that I knew what a mental patient on heavy sedation must feel like, as I spent most of the day simply staring out the window rather blankly while replaying the same disturbingly short day-dream over and over in my head.  In between time, I somehow managed to carry on conversations with doctors and nurses and nursing aides.  Oh, and sleep a bit, too.  I think.
However, what kept me in the hospital past Saturday, was a low-grade fever that the doctors couldn’t quite explain.  Now, I would have thought the dark, raspberry-colored rash that covers most of my body, and itches, might have concerned them more.  Or the blood-clot in my right shoulder from the central line.  But, no, it was the “fever” that ran anywhere from .2 degrees to two full degrees that concerned them. Even though most of the time that fever was less than a degree.  As my father said, “I can raise that much of a fever just getting mad!”
Apparently, the doctors were quite concerned about sending me out into the world with a mystery infection that might come back to haunt us all.  So, really, it was probably best that I was in the hospital, but, I’m really, really glad to be back home.

Now, the unqualified highlight of my latest stay at MD Anderson was Max, the Russian male nurse.  I met Max as he came on shift.  I was just waking up and he came in to check on me, as all the nurses do when the start their shift.  (Apparently, it’s quite embarrassing to lose a patient at the start of a shift, so the check to make sure you’re there and breathing.)  He introduced himself and asked that most dangerous of all questions, “How are you feeling?”
“Well, pretty good, except that I’m a little depressed that I’m still in the hospital.  I’d rather be home by now, ” I told him.
Max paused for a moment, then, in a heavy Russian accent said, “Venn I was in Russia, in Moscow University, I had professor who say,’If you vake up in morning without zomething bothering you, then you are dead.’  So, is okay.  Is normal.”
As Max was about to go off shift, he came into my room with something he called a “nasal irrigation”, but he announced this procedure by telling me, “Now, I have for you a little bit torture.”  Let me say only that “a little bit torture” accurately describes the procedure and, at that exact moment, I knew that the KGB had given Max a scholarship to learn nursing.  (Seriously, Max was actually one of the better nurses I had.)

So, now I have to go give myself one of three shots I get to administer daily for the next several days, including the dreaded Neupagen shots that caused so much bone pain last time.  Luckily, I have an appointment Saturday morning at the clinic, so I’ll get one of the nurse practitioners to call in a prescription for Darvon early this time.


Praise You In This Storm

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:07 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’m not normally one for modern religious music, but…

But, well, I’m not sure if it’s the cancer or the way my church, Mercy Street, rallied around me so, but I popped a pirataed copy of Lifesong by Casting Crowns into the CD player on the way home from work. (Yes, work! I worked a full day today!) The second track on that CD always gets me these days. The song is Praise You In This Storm and the lyric that never fails to jerk a tear from me is “…I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.”

It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn these past five years, or so, that things pass on.  Both good and bad things, but, mainly, I’m thankful that I’ve finally learned God will take the pain away, if I just wait and let Him.  All the pain.  It’s not just my body He’s healing, but my spirit, too.  Surely, if I can learn to endure the pain of the proceedures I’ve been through and the fear of what might be coming next by leaning on His strength and trusting His plan for me, all the other pain that seems to hold on for so much longer will pass, too.  All the fear of not being enough to be worthwhile.  All the worry that I’m not spiritual enough, or good enough, or enough of a friend.  All those things that pull at me and weigh me down He can take away if I just let them go.  I just need to trust Him and believe that God will continue to do those things for me that he’s already done.  All those things I can’t seem to do without His help become possible, when I just let go and let Him be in charge.

Today, in the car, the thought that I never was able to pass that lesson along to my former step-daughter pulled more tears than usual from me.  As hard and tough as I like to think I am, the thought that I failed that little girl in any way still pulls at my heart.  It’s the hardest thing for me to let go of, but, today, I realize the most important.  I don’t know if she even knows that I was diagnosed with cancer, or how she would feel about that if she did, but I wonder.  I hope that she’s not afraid for me, if she knows.  I hope someone has made it clear to her that I won’t let this kill me, if she ever wants to know who I’ve become since she saw me last.  I suspect that she doesn’t even know, or think about it.  Perhaps she will one day, but I don’t think so today.
I just hope she learns from someone, somewhere, somehow, that any pain she feels now will eventually pass away and need not overwhelm her.  Somehow, I think that’s an important thing for her to know and it pains me that I never had the opportunity to teach that to her.

I suppose the blessing is that my pain over that shortcoming will pass, too.
So, as God sustains me and heals me through this process, He teaches me lessons, too.  How blessed am I?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"One of the things that worry business men is the number of unemployed on the payroll."


April Fool’s Date

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:39 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’m sure many of you are fully expecting me to say that my alleged date on Saturday was, in fact, a very elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. It was not. It was, in fact, not only quite real, but quite good.
Saturday afternoon, I got a haircut and the $100 detailing done on the car, which took longer than I’d thought it would, so I just barely had time to scoot home, wash up and change before going to church. I opted for a high level of casual in relaxed-fit Gap khakis with a white DKNY, long-sleeved shirt, lightly starched. After some debate and a check with Matt for spiritual guidance on my choice of shoes, I opted for black cowboy boots instead of the Cole Haans. My date is an inch, or so, taller than I am, so I figured the extra height couldn’t hurt. I cleansed my car of all heavy metal and replaced it with Sting, Bonnie Rait and some other mellow favorites. No Sade or Nina Simone, though, per the helpful suggestions or my gentle readers.
So, at church everyone was asking about my plans. In fact, I had a veritable legion of folks who seemed to know what I was up to that night. Matt checked me over to make sure I’d done okay, as did J.’s new girl L. The general consensus of opinion was a thumbs-up. I have no idea what went on during the service because, honestly, I was beside myself with nerves. First date in over ten years makes a guy a little nervous, you know?
So, with Sting’s Brand New Day in the CD player, I raced over to her place as soon as church was over. She lives over by Minute Maid Park, so there was a bit of traffic, due to the Astro’s exhibition game, but it wasn’t too bad. What was bad, however, were the directions that I got via Yahoo!Maps. They were fine right up to that one, illegal, left-turn onto Franklin. Thankfully, I’ve driven all over Chicago during construction season, so circling wide and around to get where I actually wanted to be was not a big stretch for me. Also, I called her to get pointed back in the right direction. I parked in a loading dock at her building, per her instructions, and met her out front as she was walking her dogs. The first thing that caught my attention was how blonde she was. I spotted that two blocks away. The other thing was how tall five-foot eleven was when you got up close. Yeah, she’s an inch taller than I am,when I stand up straight. Still, she was at least as good looking in person as she was in her pictures, so, all was well. (She said more or less the same about me, later, so, don’t think I was the only one worried about that!)
We took her dogs up to her apartment and I got the nickel tour. She runs her business out of her home, so she had an industrial oven, a bunch of baking racks, and assorted high-end cooking gear all over. Naturally, she had an enormous kitchen. She actually lives in a loft in a building that, except for the nice, wide halls, reminded me of places I’d been in Chicago. In fact, that was one of the reasons she like this building, because she used to live in Chicago and it sort of reminded her of there. So, yes, she lived in Chicago for nine years, working in catering, mainly, and she knew the edges of my old stomping grounds. In fact, she said that would be the only part of the country that she’d consider moving to again. Oh, did I mention that she took me by surprise with a kiss when I met her?
Anyway, after that it was off to La Vista, a little Italian place that she knew. It’s quaint and used to have a strictly BYOB policy, and they maintain that even though you can get wine there now. Apparently, it was run by a friend of hers from high school and was more wildly successful than he’d ever imagined it being. Who knew? But, here is where it got interesting. At this restaurant I noticed the difference between this one and everyone I’ve ever gone out with before. We ordered our dinners and I ordered a glass of iced tea. Well, our salads came, but my tea didn’t. I was willing to quietly ignore that, as long as it didn’t end up on the bill, but she caught our waiter and told him to get it for me. Honest to God, no one has ever been that attentive to me before, ever, much less on a first date. I thanked her, of course, then told her that I’d been willing to let it slide. And how thoughtful it was of her to catch that for me. Dinner was, of course, wonderful. Sadly, if we’d had dessert we’d be too late to catch a movie, so we skipped that and were off to the giant Edwards MarqE to catch a late show.
We got tickets to the 10:30PM showing of Ice Age: Meltdown, but we were cutting it close. The lines were too long at the candy stand, so, while she ran into the ladies room, I hit the quarter vending machines to feed her self-confessed sweet tooth. Generic Sweet Tarts and plain M&Ms for a buck’s not a bad deal at the theater, so I carefully filled my hand and waited for her by the door to the ladies room, feeling rather like a pervert. She came out and saw what I had in my hand and started giggling like a little girl. She grabbed my free hand and gobbled a couple of the candies while dragging me into the theater. She hesitantly lets me choose where to sit in the darkened movie house and I quickly point to two seats in the middle of the row in front of the main aisle. When she sighed with relief and called me a man after her own heart, I knew I’d done good. She hates climbing up to the higher reaches of seats as much as I do. Cool. I automatically lifted the middle arm between the two seats, because, well, just because. That, too, met with her instant approval. We dropped into our seats just as the last preview was ending and the main feature was starting. Perfect timing!
I won’t review the movie, but Ice Age Meltdown was hilarious. We laughed the whole way through. Great first date movie.
After that, it was back to her place for some mellow music, more talking and, well, stuff. It was at this point in the evening that I found out she was a published poet and a very accomplished photographer. Her black and white photos of Paris looked like they could have been hung in a gallery. I also got to know her geriatric basset hound and her two miniature Dachshunds. When I finally left, she sent me out into the world laden with her gourmet dog biscuits as a peace offering to my own dog. Also, she figured a bribe might get me back into the house.

She’s braving my house for pizza and a movie Tuesday night before heading out of town for a trade show. Next week, the Saturday before Easter, she’s going to come to Mercy Street with me. Apparently, she wants to meet the man who gave me spiritual advice about my shoes.
In short, I think I’ve got a winner. Now, if I can just get used to being fawned over for a change, and learn to take her compliments without a skeptical side-long glance, everything will work out just fine.



Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Garden of Unearthly Delights,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Okay, so I didn’t make it quite as early this morning.
I made it through yesterday on caffeine and gumption, but I did make it through to almost 1:00AM before dropping off. So, I figure that hitting the blog before hitting the road at about 7:00AM isn’t too bad for starting some new habits. Right? Hilda seemed more eager, at least. So, when I finish my Monster energy drink, I’ll grab a cup of fancy joe and get out walking again. Then, I have those palm trees to dig up and that ugly-ass hedge to rip out. I still haven’t decided on a fruit tree, but I don’t think mangoes will work. Thanks to a friend, though, I now have some choices. He sent me a link to the Garden of Delights, which is a totally cool site that sells unusual fruiting plants. I might get one of their non-ornamental banana trees. I definitely want to get some of their coffee plants. I might not ever actually brew my own, home-grown coffee, but just the idea cranks me up. Either way, though, the ugly stuff comes out today.
I also just sent an e-mail to a totally cool, interesting chick on Match.com. Not unusual in and of itself, but this lady started her own dog biscuit company. How cool is that? I’m hoping that we might be able to hook up so, at the very least, I can pump her for how she got her business going. Hoffman’s Holistic Canine Cookies might become a reality yet! Hell, I wouldn’t even mind being a subcompany of her’s. Or even just a brand that collects some royalties!!
Oh, and one last thing before I go. I hope to have a new reader soon. I sat and talked with one of my ministers yesterday afternoon and told him about this blog. Now, understand, I’m used to being hit up for something when a minister wants to get together for a cup of coffee. I’m not used to a guy who just is interested in me and wants to get to know me. Very strange feeling for me. And, before you think it, no he’s not gay. Happily married with two kids and totally straight. He’s also very cool. Didn’t even flinch when we drove over to the Fourbucks in my Black Beast listening to Sehnsucht by Rammstein or when I showed him my tattoos. Way cool minister and a heck of a preacher. (You can check that out for yourself at Mercy Street.) We’ll see if he’s brave enough to comment. 😉
Well, time for my walk. Later!


K-Dog in the Hizz-ouse!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, I’ve started a class on Kierkegaard at church.
Honestly, I had no idea that he was a Christian philosopher at all. I mean, I knew of him, but only as a complicated Danish philospher that is hard to understand and harder to read. Naturally, I was instantly interested in the free class at Mercy Street. I missed the first night, but my friend J. who got me to go to Mercy Street in the first place convinced me to hit the second class. Oh, boy, was it worth it!
We’re studying from a book called Provocations, which is actually available in PDF format for free from plough.com.
Oh, and make no mistake, this guy is hard to read. I’ve had to reread several sections because I’ve lost where we started by the time I get to the end of it. So complicated and convoluted and, well, wonderful. So much intellectual meat to tear into and digest. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed those kinds of discussions and that way of thinking. This may sound, well, a little arrogant, but I’d stopped talking about those kinds of things because so few people around me seemed interested. Certainly, my ex-wife wasn’t going to keep up with me on that stuff. Not that she’s dumb, far from it, but she just couldn’t be bothered to deal with any kind of real intellectual challenge. More’s the pity. Then, of course, there are the redneck engineers… Hmm, best not to go there, isn’t it?
So, to give you a taste of K-Dog, as several of us have taken to calling Kierkegaard, here are a few, small, easy to digest quotes:

“An ethic which ignores sin is an absolutely idle science.”

Tru dat, yo. So, he challenges us to look at our faith in terms of sin. No kinder, gentler Christianity for him. K-Dog is right in there talking about the tough stuff.

“Man is not conscious of guilt because he sins, but consciously sins because of his guilt.”

So, we know we sin and, therefore, feel guilty. Can you see why I dig this guy? No flinching, no holding back. He just lays it out there.

“To sin against God is to punish yourself.”

I feel that! Every time I’ve sinned in anyone’s eyes, no one has punished me worse than I’ve punished myself. This guy is good!

“It is true that a mirror has the quality of enabling a person to see his image in it, but for this he must stand still.”

Ah, so my old favorite, introspection is required for growth. I have to look at myself honestly to see where I’m lacking, or sinning, and, for that, I have to be still.

“A person rarely amounts to anything, either good or evil, who has never lived in solitude. In solitude there is the Absolute, but also the absolute danger.”

And solitude shall be my mirror. A little peace is required before I can quiet the mental and spiritual unrest enough to see myself honestly.

“There are many people who arrive at conclusions in life much the way schoolboys do; they cheat their teachers by copying the answer book without having worked the problem themselves.”

It only works if you work it yourself. No one can do my spiritual work for me, nor I can do the work for anyone else. Damn.

“Our age is without passion. Everyone knows a great deal, we all know which way we ought to go and all the different ways we can go, but nobody is really willing to move.”

And, there it is. All Whitey White faux rap-speak jokes aside, this Kierkegaard guy is tough, not because he’s hard to understand, but because he speaks so much truth in such direct ways. Remember, the book is titled Provocations and that is his intent, to provoke us to move from our complacent, safe ideas about what Christianity is and is about.
I’m looking forward to the next session tonight!


It’s the Mileage

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:25 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t written as much lately.
Well, okay, maybe you haven’t because I have a giant backlog of posts just waiting for when I feel a little off and un-writerly. Still, these are generic posts and contain virtually nothing personal or important. There’s a reason. Of course, that’s silly, isn’t it? There’s always a reason!

Saturday night, after Mercy Street, I went out to dinner with some friends. More specifically, some friends that aren’t the Prayer Team. A buddy of mine, J., his new girl/woman/whatever, L., a special lady, C., and, the reason I jumped at the chance to go with this crew, Jennifer. She’s one of the two girls I could have changed my life for at that New Year’s party that L. threw. The one from out of state, not out of the country. So, of course, I jumped at the chance. I mean, a cute, young red-head who spent time in the Peace Corps and is about to finish her MBA? Yeah, an evening spent in conversation with her would be just fine.
In any case, we get to the restaurant and everyone is talking about what they’re going to order. J. gets some queso for the entire table, because, well, because he apparently has a very special relationship with cheese. But, that leads to a discussion about weight and diet. And, I talk about how I’d like to loose a few more pounds.
“Yeah, you looked really different when I met you four years ago”, J. said.
“Oh?” asked L.
“Yeah, I was on my way to being ‘little Jim’ at the time.”
“Weren’t you already little when I met you?” asked J.
“No, but, I was by the end of that year.”
“Yeah, you lost a lot of weight that year”, added J.
“Really? How much?” asked L.
“Well, I started out at around 230 and before the year was out, I’d bounced off 175 for a week or two.”
“Whoa! That’s a huge change! How’d you do it?” asked L.
“Well, I was out of work for a year, my now ex hadn’t even made a move toward working and I was doing everything I could to take care of my little family. I had no good prospects for jobs, thanks to the Enron thing. I was quickly running out of money and the bills kept coming and I had no idea how I was going to pay them. I got so depressed that I stopped eating. So, you know, that severe depression really takes the weight off.”
Apparently, by the time I was done with that little tale of woe, poor L., who is a dear, sweet, sensitive soul, had heard a whole lot of pain, because when I was done and looked at her, I got this slightly shocked, pitiful look and a very, small, quiet, “Oh, Jim, I’m so sorry…” To which I shrugged, smiled and said, “Hey, it happens. Regardless, I made it through, didn’t I?”
But, then, I felt so old. My buddy, J., is the same age I am, but he had no idea what it was like trying to support a family and knowing that there was no way I could make it without help. Help that wasn’t coming from anyone I lived with at the time. I realized that I’d lived an entire life, then watched it crumble into bits and fly off on the wind. And, here I was, left still standing to build another life with hardly any idea where to start. And, damn, if that didn’t make me feel like the oldest person at the table. And, all I can think after I’d said that was that I’d just ruined my chances with Jennifer sitting next to me. Of course, it’s very, very, highly unlikely that she’s going to move back to Houston after she gets her MBA anyway, but, still, a guy can dream.
But, it gets “better”…
So, we’re all walking out to our cars and everyone points theirs out and so on, trying to figure where to separate and hug and whatnot. I laugh and point out my car, saying, “Well, I can always spot my car. How many retired police cars can there be in a lot?”
And, L., trying to be her usual nice self, says, “I like it. It’s got personality.”
Ugh. Personality. I told J. when I saw him Sunday night, that I’d trade all that personality for a double helping of normal. He told me that it’d be okay and I’d drive something nice and normal again one day.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I wasn’t talking about the car.

Yeah, it’s not years that get me, but, sometimes, it sure is the milage.



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:33 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Okay, so a couple of odd things…
First, as you regular readers know, I’m a bit of a frustrated writer. I have tried all sorts of tricks to get myself writing again, outside the blog, that is. I’ve dug up writing exercises from years past. I tried being more “arty” in this blog. I even tried starting a blog just for my writing, though that devolved into something else alltogether. In fact, I tried everything short of just disciplining myself to sit and write. In any case, one of my many experiments was a blog written from a fictional character’s point of view. That didn’t work, so I tried reusing that blog for some other experiments. I called it, after the re-start, Journal of a Madman. Sadly, some one saw this, I assume via a search engine, and thought it was real. Apparently, it was this one entry that disturbed him most: Demon Voices. I just thought was odd and interesting. UPDATE: Please understand that this is a work of fiction. It was an exploration of what I thought insanity might look like from the inside. If I have disturbed anyone with this, I apologize. I have not heard voices of any kind, ever, nor have I ever been treated for or diagnosed with any kind of psychotic disorder.
Second, there was this Nonsequitur comic that Doc sent me. My head-shrink will love it. I, however, will neither confirm nor deny the veracity of this comic and its message.
Thirdly, I went to see my minister at Mercy Street. I did this in preparation for joining the church. Or, actually, moving my membership from the church I attended when I was a kid down here. Apparently, they keep you on the books forever, so all this time, I’ve been a member of a church I haven’t visited in almost 20 years. Go figure. But, that wasn’t the strange thing. The strange thing was how much I was like this minister. And, apparently, as I was talking about my ex-wife with him, explaining, in part, why I’d stayed away from church for so long, I said, “We mistook intensity for intimacy.” I kept waiting for him to use that in his sermon, but it never quite came out. In any case, this is the first step in my completeing number eight on my list of resolutions.
And, there was some other stuff, too, but I’m still figuring that out, so I probably won’t post about it just yet. (I will say, though, that it resulted in neither scars nor tattoos nor criminal charges. In case you were wondering.)


I can’t believe…

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Things to Read — 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 Waning Crescent

I ate the whole thing…
Well, not the whole thing, but, close enough.
See, I couldn’t afford to be home with family this year for Christmas, so I made Christmas dinner for Doc and I Sunday afternoon. It was good, but, as per usual when I really get into my cooking, I over-indulged a little bit.
Hilda, of course, made out like a bandit. Not only did she get several giant bones from Santa, but stole a large piece of turkey from the counter. She was so cute, though, that I could hardly stay mad at her. Besides, I probably would have given her a piece later, anyway.
Obviously, I survived reading Scripture. You have to picture this, though, the first time I’m reading or speaking in front of a significant crowd in close to 20 years and Mercy Street was packed to overflowing. It was literally standing room only. I think I read too fast, but, according to people in the audience, I did just fine. They should eventually have a podcast of the service available, so, you know I’ll have to go check it out and see how bad I rushed it.
I received a warning phone-call from a friend, followed by a call from his new, er, dating, ah, girl… Oh, whatever she is, she called to invite me to a New Year’s Eve party. Apparently, he was worried that they were going to be a little testosterone impaired, so I got called in for reinforcements. I’ll be bringing my near infamous beer bread, too, so that I’m there for more than my gender. (Hey, a guy’s gotta’ do what a guy’s gotta’ do.)
I abandoned the book I was trying to force myself to finish this weekend, Writing Personal Essays. It just wasn’t giving me any really new information and I was reading it out of some compulsive “need” to finish everything I start or not let even a second-hand book go to waste or something. Anyway, I felt much better setting it down and re-reading my copy of a book I gave Doc for Christmas called Zen in the Martial Arts. Back in the days when I studied a bit of several martial arts, I read this and got a lot out of it. In fact, I used to read this book every couple of years, but I haven’t recently, until this weekend. It was a little frightening how relevant the message was to my life right now.
Today, I’ll start a book I grabbed while waiting in line at Border’s, getting last minute gifts, called The Torturer’s Apprentice. The title grabbed me and the table of contents, with the titles of the short-stories contained therein, really hooked me, so I bought it. It’s literary fiction, which I don’t usually read, so, I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. Again. Seems like a good season to do that.
Though, I’m not stepping too far out. My mother was asking about my blog last night. I told her that there’s nothing here she needs to read. I’m fairly certain that my brother reads the blog, now and again, but he won’t say anything and no one in the family will ask. My mother was just messing with my head. See how my family is? Explains a lot about my warped sense of humor, doesn’t it?

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