Tuesday, April 18, 2006

quick post

I'll be leaving in a couple of minutes for my new State and I'm not sure about internet access when I get there. So if you don't see posts for a while, or in the unlikely event that someone comments and it doesn't go through, take a deep breath and relax. Shenanigans is only on a minor hiatus until things calm down. See you all soon.

Movin

It's always weird to leave a place when you don't really want to leave.

When I graduated High School, I think I was the only person in my class who wasn't ready to move on. Of course, after the first few months I started to enjoy my new surroundings in the middle of nowhere, Ohio. Again, when I graduated college, I wasn't entirely ready to move on. Right after college I moved down to South Carolina and lived with my friend Chris (you can find his comments where he's named 'Mongo' but I know him as Jake, short story that I won't fill you in on). It was a short 3 months down in South Carolina but at the end I really didn't want to leave. I had a great group of friends and I had started to adapt to my surroundings, I knew how to get around etc. etc.

I had stopped in Washington D.C. on the way down to South Carolina, on the train, and as I waited for my next train, I decided to walk around Capitol Hill. It was early in the morning in early summer. The trees all had their leaves, the flowers were out. It had rained the night before. It was extremely hot and humid with a haze hanging in the air. I had police cars and joggers to keep me company, but they weren't really doing their job. The bottom line, as I passed the Rayburn House Office building on my left, the Capitol on my right, was that I said out loud to myself; "I'll be back here soon."

And I was. Soon after returning from South Carolina, I moved down to D.C. Everything that had enticed me that morning, the haze and trees, towering Capitol Building, they didn't do it for me anymore. I moved down here and I hated it. I missed South Carolina and the comfort factor. I was staying with friends in Maryland, during the day I would work on a campaign in Virginia or hand out resumes. In my free time, I would sit on a park bench in Dupont Circle and read the Post while drinking some coffee. I was easily confused about where I was at any given point. If you live in D.C. and own a car, you make about 5 u-turns every day, while I didn't own a car I found myself walking three blocks and then backtracking 2 every day.

There was very little I found appealing about this City. In a matter of months I had rented a room in Alexandria and was spending most of my time watching a too-big TV from my bed in a tiny room. I had gotten an internship on the Hill and would spend a lot of time running around the office buildings but it didn't feel like I belonged yet. I still didn't know anyone socially in the area. The amount of money you blow through in a day in D.C. is ridiculous and I was constantly counting pennies. 5-6 days of Campbell’s soup was not an odd thing. Tomato soup for breakfast/lunch was not as gross then as it seems now.

Then it happened, I had a job on the hill. I can remember most of what happened that day. It was a wonderful warm February day when I got the call. When I got that job, things started to change. I started to enjoy my surroundings. When before I had all the time in the world to get out and see things, I now had much less time but found myself catching all the sights. D.C. had been transformed into this wonderful place.

Then my job went away, and while I fell back into old patterns of missing the sights, I still was in love with D.C. and Alexandria. I had found that comfort factor again. Part of the reason I didn't like D.C. at first was that it was supposed to be the end of the line. In the course of 4 months, I had moved 6 times. It was really the lack of stability and roots that I had come to accept and actually cherish.

It's been a little under 3 years and my view of things has changed completely and predictably. I no longer cherish change but rather stability. I no longer hate D.C. but love it. I no longer want to move on, but stay. And while I say all these things, there is a wonderful and temporary opportunity for me in another state that I have taken. I leave tomorrow morning. And, again, while I write that I'm thinking of a completely different post that will never be written about music and time. How there are songs for seasons, songs for different moods, different events etc. Right now, all I can hear playing in my head and frankly on the stereo right now is Wyclef Jean -- Gone Till November.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Deadline

It's about 10:30 on Monday morning and it's finally starting to set in that I have a little under 24 hours before my car has to be packed and I'm on the road to a new state. So I should be running all over the place getting stuff done right? Well, no... not exactly.

For the past few nights, I've been sitting up in bed thinking of the hundreds of things I need to get done. Just before I pass out, I say to myself; "It's 4 in the morning Jeff, the bank's not even open." So then why am I sitting on the couch watching a show I don't even like (the 'Real' 'World'), typing out my first post in a week? Because it's a little bit easier to think about everything I need to get done than actually getting it done.

I'm sure that in about 20 minutes you would see a flurry of action. Of course, by flurry I mean a slow, meandering walking back and forth that won't accomplish much.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Google-ing

Going back to something I've talked about before, I'd like to talk about google-ing for a moment. I am constantly amazed that some people ever find anything by way of google. Seriously people, you're not supposed to type in the question you want answered. Let me give you an example.

Recently I was looking for an owners manual for a 2005 Ford Taurus SE. Did I type in; "How or where, could I find a 2005 Ford Taurus SE owners manual aaaaand if I find it will I have to pay for it?" Or did I type in the keywords I wanted the search engine to find in any document I wanted it to return? See, that's the first trick. You type in the answer to the question (sort of) that you're hoping google will answer. You're looking for keywords, so all you have to do is search for those keywords. Lets say you're looking for a website about hotdogs. Would you type in; "I need to know everything google has on HOTDOGS, now!" or would you just type in "hotdogs"?

I bring this up because about once a week I notice one of these questions on my sitetracker. Today it was; "when there going to be a march for imigration [sic] in seattle..." and at the end, I kid you not; "?". That's right, they literally asked google a question.

If I'm really looking for something I will, as Joel says; "you gotta restructure your queries" that is to say, you have to rearrange the words you're using in your search. So if you're really looking for the best type of mustard to put on hotdogs, why not type in "mustard hotdogs" instead of "hotdogs mustard".

That's the end of my google rant. Happy google-ing.

Don't believe everything you read...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I forgot,

How much I hate moving. I hate the packing up of stuff, I hate the organizing and I hate searching for a new place. It really doesn't work until you get to your destination because you could find a great and cheap apartment, but it's in another state.

One of the things I do like about moving is the chance I get to look through my stuff that I've kept for years but never looked at. Honestly, who needs a 2003 Ikea catalogue? I've gone through 3 garbage bags of junk, papers and just stuff I don't need or use anymore.

Over the years I've done this every time I've moved and I'm constantly surprised at just how much stuff I have. I've never had a large living space, but whenever I go through this culling of things I notice that I could be living somewhere twice the size and I'd still have a lot of stuff. I must, just know how to pack things up and tuck them away really well.

At any rate I've made a lot of headway today and I'm hoping to have the whole packing thing done in a few more short days.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Dreams really do come true...

This morning I was awoken at 7:00am in the usual way; our neighbors upstairs were pounding back and forth and there was some crashing and whatnot. I've talked about this before. When this happens I scream in my head "JUST LEAVE ALREADY!" Of course by that I mean, get out of your apartment and go wherever it is you were on your way to.

When I went outside at 8am, hoping to move the car into the parking lot I was a little annoyed by a moving van in the back parking lot. It took me a couple of seconds to put things together in my head, but when I did I almost broke into song and dance. Our upstairs neighbors are moving out.

If there ever was a reason to continue wishing upon a star, dreaming the big dream, this is it. There is evidence now that your dreams can come true too and they don't require the intervention of Ed McMahon.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Link-o-rama: Indiana Jones and the Last Links

That's right, this is the last link-o-rama. I'm doing some bookmark cleaning and getting rid of all the links I've accumulated.

The Museum of Modern Betas, a site dedicated to web 2.o newcomers. MOMB

Megnut wants you to read the numbers on your fruit and apparently it's a good idea if you're like me and enjoy eating organic foods. Megnut

The topic header says it all, "who needs to pirate software with a list like this?" opensource software

I can never keep up with all the new cast members on SNL. A.V. Club

When I was a waiter, the staff would often day dream about what would happen if we all just walked out at the height of the lunch rush. Now we can all see what happens when you have a stupid boss and a job you can easily replace. Mutiny at the Cafe

A great idea for when all you have in the kitchen is ketchup, mustard, pepper, noodles, half an onion and some olive oil. Recipe Ingredient Search

I'm in love with google earth and have been for a while. It is the ultimate in online time wasters. However, I do not waste as much time on it as some people apparently. This is an old story about people finding hovering cars in Australia on google earth. I haven't heard an end to this story yet. Hovering Car

The search for happiness, what's the secret? Finding Happiness in a Harvard Classroom (NPR)

An entire blogger blog about statistics, pretty cool. It is a numeric life

(Slightly long description for this link, be warned). While at work one day, my friend Pam was helping me pass the time. She sent me a link to editorial cartoons on Slate.com. I knew of Slate, I just never visited the site before. The interesting thing about these cartoons, is that a lot of cartoonists have the same idea (or at least similar) at certain times. In order to prove this point, I'll ask you to go to slate.com when a big news story breaks (i.e. VP Cheney shooting his friend in Texas). This site is similar in it's idea, although it takes current news stories and pairs them up with current pictures used for those news stories. 10x10 / 100 words and pictures that define the time

Those are the last of the links, don't spend them all in one place. If you do though, not to worry cause I've got you covered. These three blogs do a much better job than I ever could in bringing links to the masses. Enjoy.
Jason Kottke
Clicked
Wired: Table of Malcontents

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Happy Blog-day

Monday, April 03, 2006

Stay Tuned

It's coming up on my 1 year blog-day, but I'll talk about that on the actual blog-day. In the mean time I will try to keep this post from discussing that topic too much, but it will be difficult.

One year ago I started Shenanigans with the intent of writing about my job search. At that point I had been out of work for about 4 months. The year followed my immense boredom at times and some of the non-specifics of my odd jobs. Mostly though, it followed my daily doings and thoughts.

On friday I had a phone interview, one that I thought didn't go so well. I have said before that I'm not the greatest interviewee and it held true. The entire interview lasted about 15 minutes. It was the second interview I had had in as many days. I can't talk about the second interview, but the first one went really, really well and it would have meant me leaving for Montana for a couple months.

I got a call today around 2:00 asking me if I would like a job. A JOB. Let me say that again, I got a call today around 2:00 asking me if I would like a JOB. Without going into too much detail, I was given aboud 3 hours to make my decision. Why would I need this absurd amount of time to make a decision? Because it would mean that I would have to move to another state. After about 14 different phone conversations, about 30 pacing sessions, 5 banging my head against the proverbial wall sessions, I made my decision.

The day started out with me looking forward to the Red Sox/ Rangers game at 2:00pm. I had been looking forward to this for about 2 days. This one call made sure that I was not allowed to watch Curt Schilling for the rest of the day, I should have Tivo-d it.

So after a lot of support from my friends and parents, especially my parents who have been great for so many reasons, I made my decision. I took the job. I have a job! After countless interviews that I got my hopes up for, after hundreds of my resume floating around, I finally did it. I've burned a bridge on the way out of town, I won't mention who because of the first rule of blogging. Let me just say they take a moment to realize what happened and they don't hold it against me that I have a JOB! A JOB!

So what does this mean for Shenanigans? I'm not sure. It won't be going away, but I doubt I'll be posting 1-3 times a day anymore. So stay tuned for the future of Shenanigans.

Thanks to everyone who sent words of encouragement and especially to my parents. Before I drift into an over the top Oscar speach I'll end it there. Thanks again

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What Day is it Today? part deux

Wow, that's all I have to say to this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_1,_2006

That has to be the most comprehensive list of online april fools day jokes I've ever seen... granted I only looked for one today for the first time.

Learning Disabilities and Standardized Tests

When I was in middle school I was diagnosed with a form of ADD, now also known as ADHD. Being diagnosed with a learning disability allows you to recieve several "advantages" that students who haven't been diagnosed miss out on. I put advantages in quotes because looking back on the entirety of my education I am able to say that our current education system is set up for those who don't have learning disabilities. Everyone has a specific learning style be it listening, participating or watching. If you add ontop of these specific learning styles a learning disability you would have difficulties in learning no matter how many styles a teacher employs.

So these "advantages" included a special resource room which was like a study hall with a teacher who could help you out on any subject and keep you on task. Also there was some help with exams, this included the use of a laptop for essays and extra time if I needed it.

I went to resource room every day until my senior year when I would use that time period occaisionaly to sneak down to the library for research or to work on my internship I had at the time. I also took full advantage of the laptop. What could be better for writing an essay than making sure that someone else could understand it instead of righting evreething without a spel chekker?

The one thing I didn't ever use, however, was the extra time. I was already the one kid in a crowded room pounding away at a laptop I didn't want to be the one kid sitting there an hour later in an empty room pounding away at a laptop.

Today, while flipping channels I saw a report on ABC News that students w/out learning disabilities were getting doctors to say they did, all so that they could have extra time on the SATs and get a better score. As someone who has an actual learning disability, who has learned to overcome it and never really wanted a lot of extra help, I find this beyond disgusting. It's not as bad as having a cheat sheet hidden under the test, but it is an abuse of a system that is in place to help those who need it, not those who are capable of getting into a good college and want to get into an Ivy League school.

ABC News: Does Loophole Give Rich Kids More Time On SAT?

What Day is it Today?

I guess you could technically say that this post is part of my continuing series of link-o-rama's, but I'm not going to call it link-o-rama. (just a disclaimer, I doubt these sites will all look the same after today or at least this weekend, so take a look and make it fast!)

(via Kottke.org) "TeeVeePedia. I administer the machine that TeeVee runs on, and my one job this year was to roll over to the April Fool's site at midnight. The rest of the staff wrote over 300 articles and my one job was to just throw a switch at a particular time. And so, of course, I fell asleep at about 10pm. I suck. -- GK"

Think Geek has a list of some awesome new products for the geek in your life. Think Geek

Overheard in NYC has done some re-formatting. Overheard in NYC

Lifehacker has an excellent array of death posts: DEATH Hacker

Government Accountability Accountability Office

There are several offices within the Congress that are supposed to be non-partisan and impartial. These offices are meant to provide information on a wide range of topics and to provide certain services. The Barber shop for instance shouldn't give stupid haircuts to the minority party.

Some of the other offices include CRS (Congressional Research Service, I've mentioned this before) which is a branch of the Library of Congress, itself a nonpartisan office. The GAO (Government Accountability Office formerly known as the General Accounting Office) is also meant to be a nonpartisan impartial provider of information. The GAO is basically the investigative wing of the Congress.

There are those cynical few of you who would say we should have seen this coming since it has the word "government" in the title but it turns out the GAO is not very good at holding itself accountable on such topics as missile defense.

(NYT): Accountability Office Finds Itself Accused