Diary of a Network Geek

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

7/18/2006

Craving

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Oh, crap I have been craving a cigarette for days now.

I want to smoke the way a lemming wants to jump off a cliff in a Disney nature film.

Gah! I know they’re bad for me, that they’re slowly killing me. I know that they make me look stupid. I know that they turn off women who might otherwise see me as a potential mate. I know! But, damn, a nice kretek would taste so nice right now. I know just where to get my favorites, too, Djarum “red”.

Wow, that reminds me of something I saw carved into a desk when I was in college:
“God, save me from what I want!”

7/17/2006

And So It Goes…

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,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 5:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, after more several weeks of increasing tension and decreasing communication, LK (aka Ms. NewGal aka the Pie Lady) and I aren’t dating. Naturally, I blame myself. I know how I am and I am the first to admit that I am no picnic, no walk in the park. Maybe I just wasn’t quite ready. Maybe I just need some “alone time”. Hell, maybe I’m just meant to be alone the rest of my life. Just me and my Hilda. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but probably the best in the short run. Long enough to throw out more of my ex-wife’s junk at least. I’m sure that must have grated on poor LK even more than she let on. Hey, it grates on me that I have to deal with all the junk left behind by a couple of worse packrats than me. And, even that wouldn’t be bad if not for the fact that virtually everything was a reminder of how I failed there, too.Oh, I know it wasn’t all my fault. It takes two to tango and all those platitudes, but I always blame myself. After all, I’m the one thing that’s consistent between all my relationships. Sure, some of it was bad timing and a couple of rough weeks, but some of it was just the way we interacted. And, yes, maybe I am more angry than I realize. It’s not hard to point to sources of that anger, either. They’re all over my house. I know I’m sort of harping on it now, but it’s really hard for people who haven’t seen it to fathom the volume of junk I have to wade through. 95% of it, of course, is someone else’s junk, too. The detrius of an old life left behind like a snake shedding its skin. All for me to deal with. Alone.

And, there it is. That word. “Alone”. Again. And again and again. Or, perhaps, still. And, that, I know, is my fault. Never really letting anyone in because if I do, I know they won’t like what they see. As is partially born out by this particular personal tragedy. A sadly self-fullfilling prophecy. I guess the question for my therapist now is “why?” Why should I have internalized the belief that I’m not good enough when bottom-feeding scum who cheat on their spouses and have jobs only because their parents have connections feel so good about themselves? Certainly, until I answer that question, I’m not really ready to be out dating, am I?

Well, at least answering that question, in part or in whole, will give me time to clean my house the rest of the way and lose some weight and just generally improve myself.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why."
   --Bernard Baruch

7/11/2006

“Baby, you’re a wreck.”

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,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 Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Truer words were never spoken.
At the time, I found it amusing. Not that I’m a wreck, but that someone would notice and say it out loud. But, I have to admit, it was less and less amusing with every repitition.

It was a Tuesday night and Ms.NewGirl was over for the first time. It was an evening of apple pie and pizza and roommates and dogs. A test, of sorts, to see if she was up to me. My house is a disaster. I don’t say this lightly. It really is. Imagine, if you will, a house that was once mostly orderly and only slightly cluttered. Now, picture what happens when the sole occupant slides into a deep depression with little motivation to eat, much less clean. Add to that a steady stream of papers, legal and otherwise, junk mail, and magazine subscriptions. Getting a good picture? Great, now, factor in one guy trying to scrape the last remnants of a life he’d just as soon forget into one room so the movers can haul it all away, only to find out that those movers aren’t ever coming. But, wait, there’s more! Add to that a roommate and a dog. What do you have? Yeah, a wreck.

I know it was just her way of telling me to get that junk out of the house so she wasn’t faced with that part of my past everywhere she looked, but I can’t blame her for that. Hey, I’d rather not be faced with it, either! But, it’s there. Both the Augean-Stable-like clutter and the past. She may not have to face it, but I do. Every day. But, you know, who I am today is a result of who I was then. It’s not good or bad, really, but it is a fact. The man I strive to be is built on the wreckage of the mistakes I made, the poor choices and the bad behavior. Who I am today is not who I was because, today, I choose not to be that guy. And that choice is pretty important. I choose to be who I am. I make choices that have consequences and take me places. Hopefully, different places than I’ve been or would have gone in the past. So, there’s no point running or hiding from any of it. I just have to get started on the wreckage that sticks out where folks might trip over it.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple weeks. I’ve been working on it. I mean I’ve been really working on getting my house in order.

7/4/2006

Cleaning Up

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:32 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My house has become the Augean-Stable of suburban Texas.

LK has been very busy with her business lately and, as a consequence, has little time for me, but I haven’t been letting the time go to waste. Now that my roommate is gone, and I have no one else to blame for my mess, I’ve been cleaning. This is a much larger task than it would seem at first glance. In the past week, I’ve only managed to get three rooms mostly cleaned up: the kitchen, the bathroom and the living room. The kitchen, of course, got a little extra help from LK, who was in catering for 15+ years and couldn’t stand the horrible state I’d let things devolve into. I finished that and have maintained it quite nicely, though the floor could use a good scrubbing. I haven’t scrubbed the floor in the kitchen, though, because I spent that energy scrubbing the bathroom floor instead.

The living room has proven to be both quite a challenge and quite rewarding to clean as well. Clutter was my main enemy there. There is a price to pay for worshiping the written word: it tends to build up like sedimentary rock. I’ve spent the past four or five days going through more than five years worth of Wired, Writer’s Digest and assorted other magazines. Most got simply thrown out, of course, but I culled some good articles from others. I still have a short stack to finish going through. Some of what’s left have an article or two that I want to read, but don’t want to save. Others I still have to make a decision about keeping or discarding. If I’m in doubt, I’ve been opting for discard just to make room for something new. I seem to recall that someone told me the reason they call them “periodicals” is because, periodically, they should be thrown away. That’s some good advice!

Speaking of advice, I’m down to a single, regular magazine subscription : Wired. I let my Writer’s Digest run out and, after reviewing several year’s worth, I know I made a good decision. All the writing advice in those magazines repeats about every eighteen months. In that space of time, you can count on any topic being brought up again at least once. Besides, I have all that advice in books already. And, I’ve read most of it at least twice, if not more than twice. But, I like to have stimulating new ideas cycle through my house and brain, so I’m thinking about starting another subscription. I’ve started a poll on the sidebar so you all can offer your suggestions and vote on my thoughts. Please, help me!

Oh, now I’m off to an Independence Day picnic with the Prayer Mafia, er, “Team”, so you all enjoy your fireworks and be safe!

5/2/2006

Accidental Waterfall

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,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 Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Oh, the joys of home-ownership!
So, Saturday night Ms. NewGal and I get home after being out to church, dinner and my favorite bookstore to find water running from somewhere under Doc’s car. Now, I don’t mean a little trickle, but rather a fairly steady stream of water, as if the hose had been left on. And, in fact, that’s what I figured had happened. I walk over to turn off the hose, figuring that Doc had watered up front and just not quite turned the handle quite all the way closed. That’s when I saw the water shooting out of the wall. Yes, gushing right out of the brick around the pipe where it goes into the house. Keep in mind this is about 11:00PM, I’m tired and have no idea how much of this water is gushing into the space between the exterior brick and the interior wall. In short, I was not very happy.

Luckily, my girl was able to talk sense to me and remind me that there’s a reason I escrow home-owner’s insurance. So, we filled some buckets of water to use for flushing over night, just in case, and turned the water off at a handy valve that was in the line just before the leak. The next morning, I searched the Internet and she searched the Yellow Pages to find a plumber with “cheap” emergency rates who would come out on a weekend. She found Mr. Rooter, who I would have assumed was a tree-root specialist. Luckily, not only are they a full-service plumber, but they have multiple locations in Houston and don’t charge special rates for the weekend! I was absolutely shocked! I can’t remember the last time I heard about a plumber, electrician or anyone else like that who didn’t charge extra for weekend work.
The dispatcher got me on the list for that same day between 11:00am and 2:00pm, which was another miracle to me. Just before 2:00pm, Melvin, the plumbing “technician” showed up at my house to give me my estimate. Tall, thin and polite, Melvin was neatly dressed in a Mr. Rooter uniform and was quick with his slightly gap-toothed smile. He took a quick look and warned me that they didn’t replace brick, which he’d have to remove to get the work done. He did promise, however, to remove only as much brick as absolutely necessary to do the repair. His initial estimate was just under $500. I was so relieved, I almost cried. That’s less than my deductible on my home-owner’s insurance and about a third of what I was afraid it would cost to have someone out on a Sunday to get this fixed.

An hour later, Melvin was giving me an update on the status of my problem. He’d removed a single brick to get a better look at where the break had occurred. Again, luckily, it didn’t look like there was any water damage inside the house. The leak had happened inside the mortar and been forced out from that point. In fact, when I put my hand inside the small hole, it was bone dry. Someone “upstairs” was watching out for me again! (No, I don’t mean Doc, but the Big Guy.) So, at this point, Melvin had to go get some additional parts to make the connection like it was, only not leaking, which means a trip to Home Depot since the plumbing supply houses are all closed. It also meant an additional $240, which bumped my total to $700. Ouch! Still, it had to be done, so I sent him off to get what he needs. While I waited, though, Melvin bypassed the shut-off by the house to give me water so I could run the dishwasher, take a shower or just enjoy how civilized flush toilets really make me feel.

When he got back, I asked him what he thought caused the leak. He showed me the short piece of galvanized pipe he’d had to cut out and pointed out the crack in the threads. It was his opinion that something had to hit that pipe pretty hard to have made the crack. So, I’m not sure when it happened, but, most likely, someone tagged that valve earlier in the week and it just got worse over time until it finally popped out through the mortar. Sadly, at this point, there’s not really any way to know for sure who did it, so, I just have to eat the cost of all this.
Now, here’s where Melvin got to try out his salesmanship on me. He offered me a deal. I could take the $240 hit for the extra parts, or I could get the Mr. Rooter “Membership”, which gives me 15% off all work they do and annual sewer drain inspections and annual hot water heater drainage for the next five years. In exchange, he would apply the extra fees for the plumbing fixtures to the price of the membership, which was a wash. So, in essence, I got a five year 15% discount on plumbing work, which was already reasonable, and annual service and inspection for nothing. Not a bad deal, was it?
Melvin was done by about 5:00pm and getting my Amex number. He wore little booties into the house, so as not to track imaginary brick dust on my filthy, dog-hair-covered carpet. But, what amazed me was that his uniform hardly had a spot on it. Not even much dust on his navy work pants. The guy was good. Pretty damn fast, too, all things considered.

So, in short, I’ve never been happier to pay $700 I didn’t have to do a plumbing repair. After all, I could have had an entire wall come down or part of the ceiling or any of a number of terrible things. A guy I talked to later said that he had a plumbing problem in his attic once that had he and his wife out of the house for three months while they gutted it. So, yeah, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Oh, and I patched the brick myself. That was about another $20, or so, to get the trowel and the mortar patch from Home Depot. Not the most professional job, but quite sturdy this morning when I left for work. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, or read this blog, but I’ve actually done some of that kind of work before at my parent’s house. Oddly, this was something I learned from my father who repaired a front porch step. But, at the time, he’d never done it before. We figured it out together, he and I. And, I never thought it’d be a favorite childhood memory, but, well, as I was working that trowel last night, I thought of him and that day and smiled. I actually finished the job on the phone with him and my mother.
I’m pretty sure that was pride I heard in his voice when I reminded him of that day and told him that I’d learned enough to do this repair myself. And, that I’d had this potentially giant problem and had handled it without calling for help, or advice, or money.
I guess I’m growing up.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness."
   --Dalai Lama

4/24/2006

Triumphant Return

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Career Archive,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,On The Road,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Well, I survived my trip to the sweaty, stinky armpit of the South.

The flight over was fairly uneventful, though it did start out with an ill omen. At the airport there was a helicopter that had a collapsed landing strut that had caused some fairly severe damage to the whirlybird, including bending the blades on the main rotor. Very bad and very expensive. Little turbulence on the flight over in spite of warnings about bad weather. Though, I have to admit, I’d have been more comfortable if my pilot hadn’t been taking short naps along the way. I know we were on autopilot and all, but the idea of crashing over those swamps in East Texas and Louisiana just are not my idea of a good time.

The thing that hit me when we got to New Orleans was the damage still from Katrina. We drove for almost three miles from the little airport where we landed before we started to get to intersections that had working stop lights. Most of the houses that I saw were either empty, or had blue tarps over the roof as an attempt at some temporary repair. I did see some FEMA trailers, but most of them were in a big parking lot where they were totally useless. Apparently, that’s the latest outward sign of a bureaucracy gone terribly wrong. The thing that really got me though was the messages spray painted on the abandoned homes and buildings. Most of it was in some sort of rescue-worker code, but on one house the message was clear: 1 pony DOA, 1 dog DOA.

I spent the entire day Thursday watching data copy. Yep, about as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow, but people keep interrupting any reading or writing you might be doing to ask what’s going on with the server. (“Uh, the same thing that’s going on when you asked the last fifteen times, you slack-jawed Luddite.”) Then, right when everyone starts to scatter near the end of the day, the data finishes and I can actually start doing real work. A whole hour’s worth of real work before, you guessed it, I copy data back to the new server from the backup drive. Woo. Yea. Oh, the exciting life of a sysadmin on the road.
But, I kept reminding people that I had no rental car and needed a ride to the hotel and/or restaurant, hoping that they wouldn’t abandon me. It went about like this:
“Um, you know, I still don’t have a rental car or anything so, I’ll need a ride to the hotel, right?”
“Yeah.”
“So, you’re not leaving yet, right?”
“Yeah, hold on a minute.”
“Ah, so, since I don’t have a rental car are you going to be driving me?”
“Wait, I’ve got something better than a rental car for you!”
“Better?”
“I’ve got the shop truck for you!”
“Ummm…”
“Of course, you’ll have to put gas in it. It’s on ‘E’.”
“Right. Great. Thanks?”

So, yes, I drove the shop pickup truck that they use to make deliveries and, yes, I filled it up. Thankfully, I grew up in the greater Chicagoland area and only had to stare down one guy who looked like he was going to beg for money at the ratty, little gas station I stopped at in the trashed-out neighborhood where the Holiday Inn I was booked in was sadly located. Now, keep in mind, I used to work in the hotel industry. I never worked in Housekeeping, as is evidenced by the current state my house is in, but I did learn what a hotel room is supposed to look like in great detail. This particular Holiday Inn did not meet Hyatt Hotel’s standards. In fact, it didn’t even have the faintest idea what that standard might possibly resemble. Sadly, it was still not the worst place I’d ever spent the night while on the road. After all, the sheets were clean, there was an extra roll of toilet paper, and no used band-aids on the floor. Yes, it can, in fact, get that bad. I did, however, have to plug in every electrical appliance and light. I only had to kill a single cockroach, though, so it all works out. Besides, it was the only room available anywhere close to that part of town.

The next morning, I got down to the nitty-gritty of actually moving the PCs and users to the new server. It went like clockwork. Well, after I got the first few problems worked out and everyone finally had the right security rights. But, freakishly, considering all the things that have gone wrong in the past on these little junkets, I was done by lunchtime. So, I just had to hang around until my plane left at 8:30PM. At least, I managed to slip out for my favorite Southernism, the oyster po’ boy. After that it was just killing time cleaning up little detail things like verifying the backup scheme and updating the anti-virus files, until it was time for the crawfish boil. Now, you might not think that a damn, Yankee carpet-bagger like myself knows what to do with a mess o’ mud bugs, but, surprise, I do. Though, I didn’t eat as many as locals, I did know to suck the head. By then it was getting on toward 6:00pm and I was itching to get to the airport and make sure I had a seat on the plane home. I rode back with the most back-country, redneck sounding guy you ever want to try and listen to, but he was really very bright and, in his own Southern-fried way, quite articulate. In fact, it was everything I could do to keep from imitating his swamp drawl after a bit.

So, I got to the airport, and home, early. My girl got me from the airport and we drove to the far ends of the Earth to get my car from the West Houston Airport where it was not only safe and sound, but looked like it had been washed! Apparently, those stories I’d heard about torrential downpours in Houston while I was away were not exaggerated. By the time we made it back to my house, it was about 11:30PM and Doc had gone to bed, but my Hilda was quite glad to see me. Either that, or she’s learned that Ms. NewGal always brings yummy dog treats with her when she comes.
Oh, while I was away, I also managed to get some reading in, so I finally finished A Better Way to Live and started a trashy novel called Seppuku. I suppose I’ll try to review those when I finally get caught up!
(Oh, and by the way, the boss said I could put down Ms. NewGal’s milage on my expense report, so she’ll get a little something more than the pleasure of my company, which is all she claimed she wanted when she volunteered. Gotta’ love it!)

4/5/2006

Pie

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,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 Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

She made me pie.
I mentioned off the top of my head the other day that I liked apple pie. I explained how my sister used to make me apple pie for my birthday every year when I was in college because she was the only family near me at my birthday and I loved apple pie. So tonight, when she came over just to hang out before going out of town, she made me an apple pie. Crust from scratch with stars on it and covered in course sugar and as sweet as anything can make it.
And, then, there was pie
We just sat with the television on, though we didn’t watch it really. Mainly, we looked at each other. Somehow in two days I’d forgotten how beautiful she is. How captivating her eyes are as they shift from blue to green like precious gems from a lost kingdom swallowed by the encroaching jungle. Her deep, throaty laugh makes me want to be wittier and more charming than I have a right to expect to be. I’m learning to smile and say thank you when she tells me how handsome I am. I don’t see it myself, but, then, I’ve never seen my good qualities as clearly as those around me, so I’m learning to internalize it.
Hilda, of course, was jealous. Oh, she was put off for a bit by the treats that came with the pie, but we both knew it wouldn’t last forever. Doc was around early on, but made himself scarce when it was so obvious that we were going to end up ignoring him anyway, poor guy. But, honestly, who could compete with an almost six-foot, blue-eyed blonde that makes me apple pie from scratch?

Oh, one small note, though, she found the blog. She admitted it to me this evening with a guilty red-faced look. Apparently, she’d been Googleing my name and, well, up it popped. She read some, but felt guilty and stopped. But, she fessed up right away, so I told her to go ahead and read. After all, it’s nothing but sunshine and light right now anyway. Besides, she said she liked my writing…

2/20/2006

Network Geek v1.9B

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,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 Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

“We can rebuild him…”
Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I totally ruined several of my favorite shirts with an accidental, but shockingly liberal, splash of bleach. Now, I have several trippy, neo-tiedie shirts that are no longer okay to wear to work. So, I’m going to have to get more. And, that got me thinking…
At least one of my sisters has always implied that I don’t know how to dress and, frankly, I often feel tragically unhip or out of step with good fashion sense. I mean, I am a professional geek, after all. But, I want to dress nicer. More attractively. And, since I have such a large female readership these days, I thought I’d give you all the opportunity to remake me. Dress me the way you think I should be dressed. Make me look the way you think I would look best. Clothe me from the skin out. Start me fresh.

But, first, a few caveats:
1. I will not wear silk underwear. Or thongs. Or “tighty whities”. Or… Okay, look, I’m a basic, cotton boxers sort of guy. Let’s just start there, okay? So, maybe not from the skin out, but at least, from the skivvies out. Okay?
2. I am “poor folk”. If you suggest designers, please suggest low-cost alternatives. Or, understand that I won’t be able to go all out on that particular suggestion. In short, let’s try not to bankrupt the Network Geek, okay?
3. I’m a pretty casual guy, even for work.
4. Yes, you can rebuild my work wardrobe, too, but, remember casual is the key. Though, dressing a little better there, too, wouldn’t hurt.
5. All my footwear is black. ALL of it. UPDATE: Okay, not quite all, but all my work/date footwear is black.
6. Extra weight will be given to the opinions of single women. Especially single women who know and/or might date me. No offense guys, but, hey, I have goals and priorities, too.
7. Let’s start with the non-work wardrobe and give that the most emphasis. My goal here is to be more dateable and less alone. If I find a steady girl, she’ll be dressing me from then on out, but until then, I admit it, I need all the help I can get.
8. I will not make fun of or overly critisize any choices made, but I may attempt to steer things away from things I know I will not ever wear.
9. I’m serious about this, so, please, be serious, too. Really. I know you ladies can make me look better than I do now and I sincerely want to look better.

I’m working out to try and lose some weight and build more muscle, so, make me your living, breathing Ken doll and have fun. Keep it clean. Also, if you’d like to keep your suggestions private for whatever reason, feel free to e-mail me.
Here’s what you have to work with:

Geek in profile
Windy Portrait Geek
(And, special thanks to Doc, my roommate, for taking these pictures this weekend for me.)

Updated Pic
Full Length Profile

Other pictures can be found here, too.

1/22/2006

Strangeness…

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.)

1/17/2006

I Love You

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,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 5:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Have I mentioned that I love you?
Not everyone “gets it” when I say that. Especially men. I think we’re conditioned from an early age to add all sort of weight to that statement that confuses things. But, I love people. I genuinely love them. Men and women. I love their stories, love knowing them. I love helping them, which is why I opened my home to the folks who are stopping by for a bit. Thankfully, the last several people I’ve told that to, that I love them, either in person or writing, have understood what I meant.

“Love as much as you can from wherever you are.”
   –Thaddeus Golas

Yeah, okay, so not every day is a love-fest with me. I do the best I can. I can find something to love about almost everyone. My friends are easy, of course, because they obviously love me. That’s pretty well why they’re my friends. I mean, if someone can wade through all the various horse hockey that surrounds the best part of me and still find reason to love me, well, I’m holding on to them! Still, I recognize that some people are going to be more challengeing to love than others, so I try not to beat myself up too much when there’s someone that’s extra work. Twenty years ago, I was a frightening homophobe, but today, some of my best friends are gay men. Things change, thank God. And I can learn to love more.

“Love is the only dimension that needs to be changed”
   –Thaddeus Golas

Amen, Brother! If I can learn to love more every day without expecting more, I’ll have really accomplished something in this life. By nature, I’m a mistrustful person and I tend to not rely on anyone else, but I fight against that every day. Love and trust are closely related for me. I have to learn to trust people more to be who they are and be okay. If I can only learn to love a little more than I do today, I’ll have learned to trust people, and the God who made them, a little more, too. And, yes, maybe it’s naive of me, but I think the world would be a better place if we all acted more out of love than anything else.

“Go beyond reason to love: it is safe. It is the only safety.”
   –Thaddeus Golas

And, there it is. There’s the crux of the thing. Trust and safety. If I trust in love, I have to let go and believe that God will keep me safe. Sure, there’s the possibility that I’ll get hurt. That’s also the point of the whole deal. It would be far, far easier to throw that love out there if we were sure everyone would love us back. But, getting love back isn’t the point, is it? I mean, we all hope to be loved, but that’s not why I was put on this Earth. My purpose is to love others. To reach out, in whatever way I can, to show others that they are loved. That is what living is all about.

“Enlightenment doesn’t care how you get there.”
   –Thaddeus Golas

And, yes, I can turn myself around over night, and no, I am not manic-depressive. Just optimistic through sheer force of will.

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