Diary of a Network Geek

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

11/9/2018

Book Cheaper Flights

Filed under: Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, for at least some weekends.

Last week, I shared a service that let you buy airline tickets on an installment basis before you fly. Hopefully, for anyone who might need it, that was helpful with enough time to pay off your flight. This week, I’m afraid, I don’t have anything that will likely be of help during the holidays, because, frankly, traveling during the holidays is never fun. If you haven’t done it, and can avoid it, I encourage you to do so. I’ve flown before Thanksgiving and Christmas both, and neither is an experience that I can really recommend. Also, airlines charge premium prices on those weekends because, well, they can. I mean, they really have you over a barrel. Every “good” son or daughter wants to get home for the holidays, so they can suffer through family dinners where someone is mad at someone else or is disappointed in how their lives turned out or whatever. At least, if holiday movies aren’t lying to us. (My family was always fantastic and warm and kind during the holidays, of course.)
But, if you can manage to travel on some other weekend, then WeekendFlights, is for you! You just go to the site, put in your point of origin and your destination and they whip up a calendar with all the weekend rates on it, highlighting the best, and worst, weekends to fly. (If you go, you’ll see that Thanksgiving weekend and the weekend after Christmas are flagged as some of the worst times to travel.) Yes, it is a short trip, but, if you’re looking for a quick, weekend getaway, this site can help you save on the airfare.
Check it out and see if you can save!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words!

11/24/2017

Short Film Entertainment

Filed under: Art,Fun,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and you should be at least three-quarters done with your NaNoWriMo novel.

But, instead of writing you’re here. That means one of two things; either you’re so far ahead that you can take a break, or you’re so far behind that you’ve decided to cut yourself some slack. Either way, just as I promised last week, I have more short films to entertain you. And, hey, no judgment if you’ve given up on NaNoWriMo this year. I didn’t even start and I’ve tried before and given up, too, so, I’ve been there. And regardless of why you’re here, I’m glad you stopped by my humble little site.

This time, I’ve got four films for you. I figured it’s a holiday for most of us, so you’d have the extra time.

The first short film comes to us by way of Gizmodo. It’s a mildly scary short about some nasty things that happen on a night shift in a hospital by Alexander Babaev titled Hospice. It’s ghoulish and definitely reminds me of the uncomfortable feelings I’ve had working at night. But, it’s well done and free, so enjoy!
The second one is the longest of the four and a bleak look at the apocalypse. It’s titled Lunatique and it’s by Brazilian filmmaker Gabriel Kalim Mucci. Yes, it’s a bit grim, but it’s also a very well-done film featuring a female protagonist in remnants of the world, which makes it notable for me. And, it’s quite enjoyable, even if it’s about the aftermath of the end of civilization.
The third film is another post-apocalyptic short. It’s a beautiful animated film that was part of the Sploid Short Film Festival in 2015. It’s called Strange Alloy by filmmaker Loïc Bramoullé. It’s beautiful, but also a warning that we, too, may pass into history.
The fourth is a bit more uplifting. Though it does take a turn at the end.
Again, this one comes to us via Gizmodo, but this time it’s I Am Here by Eoin Duffy. It’s a slightly surreal piece about the nature of being. It’s kind of cool, though, and I liked it, which is why I’m sharing it with you.

So, now you’ve had your break. If you’re still writing toward the NaNoWriMo deadline, get back to it! If not, enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope to see you next week!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

11/17/2017

Fractal Film Break

Filed under: Art,Fun,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I’ve got even more sci-fi short-film goodness for you this week.

As I did the first two Fridays of the month, I’m sharing some distractions from National Novel Writing Month, even though I’m not actually participating. Writing, especially at the pace required for NaNoWriMo can be mentally fatiguing, so I decided that sharing something visual and purely entertaining would help give NaNoWriMo-ers a much needed break. Toward that end, I’ve got two trippy, fractal animations to share with you this week.
First, there’s the very well named Fraktaal, coming to us via Sploid, which is a journey through a procedurally generated world created via 3D software by animator Julius Horsthuis. It’s quite brilliant and only about 3 minutes long, so watch it twice.
The second film is called Recurrence, and is also by Julius Horsthuis and ALSO brought to us by Sploid! Here, though, the fractal landscapes are an infinitely recursive phantasmagoric city. It’s about four minutes long, and worth every second.

And, yes, if you come back next week, I’ll have another film, or two, to amuse you and distract from your writing project for a few minutes.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

11/3/2017

Eye Candy Break

Filed under: Fun,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

So, if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, you might need a break.

That’s what I’m going to give you all month long, on Friday, during NaNoWriMo; something you can just enjoy for a few minutes without thinking about your novel. A break from word-counts and deadlines and how your characters aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do or your plot isn’t quite as clear as you thought last month. Something to soothe your brain.
This week, it’s a short science-fiction movie called Azarkant, brought to us by Sploid, a sub-section of Gizmodo.
It’s definitely eye-candy and gorgeous, if a little dark. But, it’s also free and definitely a distraction from trying to write at novel.
So, good luck with the writing and enjoy the break.
And come back next week for more!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

10/20/2017

NaNoWriMo Prep

Filed under: Fun,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. Are you ready?

I suppose a better first question is actually “Are you going to participate?” I, for example, am not. I tried it once, several years ago, but ever since then I’ve just been too busy, and too out of practice writing fiction, to try it again. But, I do think about it every year when it rolls around. This year, rather than post things like story starters during NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d post them before, giving the brave souls who are up for the attempt a running start. So, here we go!

First, of course, I’m going to suggest the Fantasist.net Writer’s Resources, because if I can’t promote my own site, what good is having one? On that page you’ll find links to my Story Starter, my World Building Resources and my sad, old Conlang page. Though for conlang resources, I’d suggest going to the Language Construction Kit at Zompist.com or VÜlgÅr, a language generator, which is everything I wanted mine to be and more. In fact, I actually paid the roughly $10 to get the bigger, better version and upgrades!
Those resources sure ought to be enough to get you started on most of the crunchy stuff you might need to get an idea and prepared for writing a novel, if you aren’t already.

Second, though, I’d like to suggest the Bookbaby NaNoWriMo Survival Guide, which has several links to helpful resources, mostly on their site, including some information about publishing your book if you’re a NaNoWriMo “winner” at the end of the month!
Also, while you’re getting ready, you can read through Medium’s coverage of NaNoWriMo, which I’m assuming they’ll do again.

Thirdly, if you haven’t read it, No Plot, No Problem!, which is the original guide to National Novel Writing Month by the founder, and a great way to get your thirty day novel writing experiment launched.

And, finally, there’s the NaNoWriMo website itself. It is quite literally the place to get all the information about the event. Also, it’s a great place to get support while you’re working on your novel!

Come back next week to see if I manage to find even more NaNoWriMo prep tools for you, or have something totally different!

This post originally appeared on the Fantasist’s Scroll, one of my other blogs.

11/25/2016

It’s Not Magic

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun and Games,NaNoWriMo — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

It’s an illusion!

At least, that’s what Doug Henning would say.
Hey, look, it’s been a rough month.  What with the elections, the holiday and NaNoWriMo, you’ve had a lot going on.  I mean, a lot.
No matter who you wanted to win the Presidential Elections this year, the campaign has been brutal.  And, frankly, I think the next four years are going to be chaotic, challenging and a little frightening for a lot of us.  Then, there’s the stress of the Thanksgiving holiday.  I mean, c’mon, dinner with the family is never easy, is it?  And, finally, if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, you’ve been churning out words as fast as you can, racing to that deadline.
And, by the way, if you are doing NaNoWriMo then you should be getting near the end of your novel.  I don’t mean to panic you, but there’s really only a couple of days left.  Less than a week, actually.

So, no matter what’s been going on, you deserve a little break.  A chance to just veg out a little and sit like a stupid lump and stare at something cool.  Good news!  I’ve got just the thing!  Ten optical illusions that will blow your mind over at the Huffington Post.  Seriously, these are pretty cool and a great way to let your brain slip into neutral for a little bit so you can recharge before getting back to that big project of yours, NaNoWriMo manuscript or whatever you might be working on.

Go ahead and take a break.  It’s a holiday and you deserve it!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

12/27/2013

Resolution Generator

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Christmas is over and the New Year looms near!

Traditionally, this time of year is when we review our lives and find fault with everything we didn’t accomplish in the preceding year, then make ridiculous promises to ourselves about how we’re going to do better in the coming year.  We call them “New Year’s Resolutions”, but most of them don’t last more than a month.  At least, mine almost never have, with few exceptions.  So, here’s an idea for you; this…
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12/24/2010

Gingerbread Houses, Extreme Edition

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, I did not make gingerbread houses for Christmas.

In fact, I hardly decorate at all for Christmas.  For me, the holiday is about the feeling.  It’s about the rebirth of light into the world, both figuratively and in reality.  I mean, really, based on historical events described in the Gospels, , or Jesus of Nazareth, as most folks know him, would have been born in the Spring.  The reason we celebrate Christmas in Winter was to bring in the Pagans who were already celebrating the rebirth of light in the world via the Winter Solstice.  The early church fathers figured that if we synced up our holidays, they’d get more converts.
And, hey, I’m not knocking the marketing strategy!  But, I also don’t feel so compelled to put up a Pagan-inspired “Christmas Tree” or wreath or, really, any other materialistic decorations.

But, for those of you who do decorate, go check out the amazing gingerbread houses at Mental Floss and then, for God’s sake, step up your game!

And, most of all, have a very Merry Christmas!  Cherish all the gifts you’ve received all year long and celebrate the rebirth of light and hope into the world tonight.

11/26/2008

Argh! More Time!

Filed under: Adventures with iPods,By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I’m so behind, I think I’m catching up to myself!

Thanksgiving fast approaches and my house is mostly clean. Now, by “mostly clean” I think it’s important to understand what I mean. I mean that I’ve vacuumed for the first time in two years. I mean, my bathroom is so clean that a woman might actually feel safe using it! Hey, what do you want from me? It’s been two years since I’ve been in a relationship and half that time I was in the hospital slow dancing with death, so, there really hasn’t been any point in having the place clean. Now, there is, so, well, it is. Well, mostly. My office still needs work and the bedroom can always use more cleaning and the upstairs… Well, the less said about the upstairs, the better right now.

The important thing, though, is that my kitchen is clean. And, just barely in time to start baking pies tonight. Yes, pies, as in plural. With so many people coming over after their main Thanksgiving plans, I figured a few extra pies can’t hurt. I might try to get to bed early, too. If the pies don’t take too long. See, I’ve been up until the wee hours for the past several nights in a row getting ready. So, I’m getting a little short on sleep. And, I still need to whip up a playlist for background music. After all, all the running around I did Sunday to get it and rip it won’t do me any good if I can’t get it playing!
Of course, I’ll probably end up staying up late again tonight then trying to catch a nap after I start the turkey in the morning. It just seems like I’ve totally under-estimated my time on just about everything this year. It’s just taken so much longer than I expected to get everything done. Witness the fact that this post is popping up here so late! I normally have Wednesday’s post queued up Tuesday evening before I go to bed, so this is amazingly late for me. It’s also why this post probably seems a little disjointed. Of course, that may be the lack of time and sleep, too.

Oh, and for those of you who love “food porn”, know that I’ll be taking pictures of people and food tomorrow. Naturally, I’ll post the pictures to my Flickr account, so keep an eye out if you’re interested. But, if you are going to be making your own “food porn” this holiday, here is a link to some Food Photography Tips and Techniques. Enjoy and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

4/22/2008

Squeezing Creative Time In

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life Goals,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

The biggest excuse that “wannabe” writers give for not writing is that they don’t have the time.

“Q) What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

A) I do most of my writing during my lunch breaks at work. Typically, a few minutes are spent actually eating, and then there are a few minutes of stalling and procrastinating before I dig in and start typing. 50 minutes or so isn’t a lot, but I’ve found I can do about 5000 words in a good week, which allows me to write a book every year in addition to some short fiction.”

– from Wyrdsmiths; Q&A with Jim Hines–Goblin War So, um,yeah, an hour a day really is all it takes, if you really want to write. Really. So, uh, guess what? Yeah, that means no more excuses…

Also, I recently purchased a book titled Time To Write, with the intention of finding ways to make regular writing part of my normal weekly routine.  Well, writing beyond this blog, that is!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."
   --John le Carre


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