Diary of a Network Geek

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


Avoiding A FIght

Filed under: About The Author,Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

To be clear, I haven’t been in a fight since high school.

And, I haven’t even been close, really, since college.
That being said, I have been threatened more than once in the past thirty years since leaving the safe, quiet suburbs of Chicago. Though, that has happened with increasingly less frequency, thankfully. You see, I think of myself as a peaceful person, in spite of once threatening to stick a fork in someone’s eye. Hey, he started the threatening and posturing! I just turned out to be better at it than he was. And, the fork never left my side of the table. The believable threat was enough to stop him.
The thing is, when adults fight, I can tell you from unfortunate experience, everyone involved gets hurt. Yes, even the “winner” of that physical confrontation ends up hurting. Trust me. Knuckles in the teeth hurt the knuckles as much as the teeth. So, I go a long way to avoid getting into that sort of conflict. I apologize when it’s not strictly necessary. I stay away from bars, just on general principle. These days, I’m a pretty soft-looking middle-aged guy that probably reminds most people of their uncle who gets quietly drunk and weepy on Thanksgiving or Christmas. (I’m not, by the way. I don’t really drink anymore and rarely get weepy.) So, I never seem a threat. Not at all the sort that people seek out to start trouble with at all. And, that’s just the way I like it. Trust me, no one wants to hang out with the guy willing to literally stick a fork in someone to prove a point. Not even the guy with the fork.

I bring all this up because, well, we’ve been away from regular human contact for a bit and while we were, I feel like tempers have gotten shorter. I know mine did for awhile this past year. And, too, our world has gotten scarier and more uncertain thanks to a pandemic and politicians that leave much to be desired. I’m not even thrilled with the people I voted for, much less the ones I didn’t. I imagine that others feel the same way. All that lack of practice on our social skills and the heightened tension may make for some challenging times ahead as we get used to being with people again. I hope we won’t need this, but why not start your year off on the right foot and look at Lifehacker’s suggestions for how to talk your way out of a bar fight. Trust me on this one, fellahs. The pretty girls would rather go home with the guy who avoids the trouble than the guy who starts OR ends it. Just ask my wife!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If I'd known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself!"
   --George Burns


Someone Else’s Skin

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,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 6:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Just trying to love the skin I’m in.

I hate being transparent. I especially hate it when my little character flaws show through so easily.
I was talking with someone about dropping weight the other day and he made a comment about how I seemed to have a self-esteem problem. If I recall, he phrased it as a question, which made the observation a bit more palatable. But, the truth is, I’ve never been all that comfortable in my own skin. I’ve always rather wanted to be someone else or to be doing something else. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been drawn to writing and reading fiction, as it gives me the opportunity to be someone else, even for a short time.

Oh, I know, intellectually, that I’m not such a bad guy. A bit over-weight at the moment, but working on restoring a healthy lifestyle. Somewhat above average intelligence, but not so smart that I’m overly annoying. Far from movie-star handsome, but I don’t make small children cry in horror. Mostly, I’m an average guy, who’s pretty much a self-made man. Really, most of the things about myself that I’m truly proud of are things that I did or earned through plain, old hard work. Yeah, sure, I have a college degree, which actually makes me above average in many respects, but I taught myself most of what I know in my chosen career. Even my writing, when I was really good, was a mostly self-taught skill, honed through hard work and practice. So, I suppose that it’s not surprising that I’m proud of my ability to lose weight and re-sculpt my body into something less soft and weak. Really, this will be at least the third time I’ve done that.

But, it’s true that my efforts in the area of diet and exercise are driven by an essential distaste for my own physical self. I want someone else’s skin. At the very least, I want to carve my own skin into something, someone, else.
It may be that single fact is what holds me back from a deeper spiritual life. I think when I do truly learn to love the skin I’m in, only then, will I find peace and through that inner peace, God. And my struggle, is to not struggle with that, but to let the process unfold as it will, as it needs to unfold. To let go, and let God.
By the way, I lost another two and a fraction pounds as of my weekly weigh-in on Sunday.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There is no try. Do or do not."



Filed under: Life, the Universe, and Everything,One Year Manual,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Welcome to the long, dark night of my soul.

Okay, maybe that’s an exageration, but I can honestly say that I’m less than pleased with my life. And, invariably, when that happens it’s due to a lack of spirituality in my life. Honestly, I try to give myself credit for “improvement” whatever that means, but I’m just so results oriented that I have a hard time convinceing myself that anything less than perfection is “okay”. Sometimes, it feels like all the years of pronouncing tech Band-Aids “good enough” builds up, like a massive, obessive-compulsive static charge until I just implode. I know the solution is to “let go and let God”, or, as my Grandmother used to say, “Thy will be done, Lord. Not my will, but Thy will be done”. But, it’s so hard for me to do that.

Well, as someone said once, progress, not perfection…
I’ve been working at the spiritual program outlined in The One Year Manual, but it hasn’t been going well. Most days, I manage to pray three of the four times Regardie suggests, but I almost never get enough peace and quiet to work on the relaxation and “body awareness” exercises. Or, if I do get the quiet, I fall asleep! I haven’t even read this month’s exercise yet. I’m almost afraid to, since I’m sure it builds on the exercises that I haven’t been doing. I don’t know, maybe I tried to do too much too quickly. Maybe I should just be happy with the fact that I pray more often in a day than I used to pray in a week. Maybe.
I just can’t help thinking that God is trying to tell me something. And, not something I want to hear. But, then, when I think about that, I shock myself at my own arrogance. The hubris to think that God has a special message for me! On the other hand, so many people seem to think that he has a special message for everyone… Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m not happy, but I don’t know how to let go of that. I don’t even have anything in particular to be unhappy about!

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually, so, just to keep things happy, here’s a prayer a friend of mine suggested to me…

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

“O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

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