The Oscars & The Cardboard Network Administrator

April, 2000

Greetings, American Beauties!

It's the Read and Delete Newsletter for April 2000!

Didja watch the Oscars? Neither did I. There is only so much Hollywood hype that one can stand, and I start to lose interest during the opening credits. Besides that, why should I care about who won the award for "best performance by a morally bankrupt overpaid socialist hypocrite under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs?" Maybe next year. (In my opinion, it is not without irony that the missing "Oscar" statues were found in a dumpster. In a word--it's typecasting.)

 
     But here in Naperworld, we have our own brand of hype. Naperville is building its own monument-- The Millennium Carillon. The Carillon is a 7 story concrete tower (resembling either a Saturn V rocket booster, or a giant "Airwick" room freshener) currently under construction next to the Naperville riverwalk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the riverwalk, it runs through the center of downtown Naperville, the center of the upscale universe. The riverwalk is bordered by boutiques and $200,000
condominiums. The Carillon contains 21 bells, some of which are pretty BIG. When the city plays this musical monstrosity, it could be a real window rattler, capable of cracking plaster and loosening teeth throughout the entire historic district. The noise might even keep the joggers from talking on their cell phones -- then again, maybe not. It will be pretty interesting to hear when they set it off. Maybe it will play the theme from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." I can hardly wait.
       Peter is doing a little "towering" himself. He just had his pre-kindergarten physical last month, and his height is "off the chart", according to the doctor. He has the size and weight of a second-grader, and
the strength of a middleweight boxer. He wanted a pinata for his 5th birthday party. When we put it up, he went after it with a baseball bat. He hit the thing like Sammy Sosa doing a grand slam. The pinata didn't know what hit it. Peter's passion at the moment is cardboard. He wants to build everything
out of it. Over the last two weeks I brought home enough corrugated boxes from the plant to make my co-workers think I was moving out. With a little imagination (and duct tape) Peter and I have made a Peter-sized civilization. So far we have built: an airplane, a sports car, a castle (with dungeon), a vending machine, a rowboat, a race car and a pirate's treasure chest. Now he wants a cardboard suit of armor. Peter's motto: "Daddy, did you bring home some boxes today?"
     James had a great month. He trained for the Sparks-O-Rama meet (a regional sporting event between from different churches in the AWANA program) and James' team won FIRST PLACE! I've never seen him so excited as he was when they won. He spent a lot of time practicing and he really persevered in the games. During practice the coaches told him, "Just keep going. Don't stop- even if it looks like you're going to lose. The winner isn't chosen until the game is over." James took it to heart, and he never
gave up. I watched the whole thing from the stands. I couldn't have been any more proud of him, win or lose. He stayed the course. He was faithful to the end.
     For Wendy and I, this has been a 'perseverance' month too. Wendy just got her class schedule for the next quarter, and she has forty students in just one of the ESL classes she teaches. If she asks me to help grade papers, I'll know she's in trouble. (I failed more English classes than most people have taken.)
I have been getting together for a Bible study with some of the men in my church. We are studying the book of Nehemiah. The book is a real study into perseverance and completing a task against terrific opposition. It is also a great book of the faith and management skills of Nehemiah himself.
These are things that I need in my life right now, as it has been a strange month for me.
        There has been a change on my job front. I got myself into trouble by breaking the Second Rule of Business. The First Rule of Business is, "Never argue with the man who signs your paycheck." The Second Rule (less well known) is, "Never make fun of the network administrator." I used to refer to
the administrator (affectionately) as the "Hands of Death ", and the network as "Klugenet". (Look up the word kluge (or kludge) in your dictionary sometime. This word will frost the countenance of network geeks for hours).
     The network admin got even with all of us. She quit. Actually, she left to pursue her dream job, to become a software consultant who works out of her own home. Guess who the new network administrator is? That's right! It's me--- Mr. Alligator Mouth! It is a promotion for me, and we definitely can use the money. The stress is another matter. In my case "CNA" stands for "Clueless Network Administrator." I am enrolled in some "fast" WindowsNT networking classes. (Notice that I didn't use the words "crash course." NEVER use the word "crash" around CNA's. If the network should crash, the CNA has a nervous breakdown. They weep uncontrollably and hyperventilate into cell phones while waiting for the file server to be restored to life. "Crash" is a bad word.) I would tell you horror stories .... but that's for next time. In the meantime, I have to keep repeating to myself, over and over, "I am not a
geek. I am NOT a geek."

Gotta go..... Recuse, Reboot, Recover!

Neil