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Jon

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[27 Oct 2010|01:35am]
Interesting times.

The company overlords have set a quota; I'm supposed to produce 18 bylines in a week's time. My editor expects me to produce about two articles per issue, and we're a six-day paper, meaning I either need to produce a few extra articles or seek out photo opportunities to run with my articles, as the photo tagline counts toward my quota.

Well, in a single issue this week--the issue of Tuesday, October 26, 2010--I produced half of the bylines I'm expected to turn out in six days. Four articles, five photos. The company overlords went out of their way to directly praise my photography, incidentally, which was unusual for me.

In the paper for Wednesday, I've got two articles, and potentially one photo. An education feature about students participating in a leadership event, and coverage of an accident--car vs. train. (The train won. In the words of the sheriff, "The train always wins.")

Every Monday and Tuesday I can count on having at least three bylines; at least two articles and a photo. This is because the responsibility of writing a weekly business feature article and weekly outdoor feature article has been given to me, and they always want a photo with the business and outdoor feature articles. Actually, the responsibility of preparing the entire outdoor page (it's actually titled "Homestead," but whatever) has been given to me. So I write the feature, take a photo, and then I prepare any wire stories or press releases that will fill out the rest of the page. Which is actually not much because a decent story and photo, along with the usual amount of ads they run on that page, does not leave a whole lot more space.

It's hard to say what my favorite story has been so far; there have been a lot of interesting things. I've written an article for a trial, covered three vehicular accidents (the aforementioned car vs. train, car vs. SUV, and car vs. van) and even dealt with an assignment that basically had me covering a pissing match between a county contractor and his neighbors. I've had people thank me for the public support articles have generated for worthy causes, for congratulations from people who read articles about a local's accomplishments--and I've had one person declare that they're never answering questions from me again because an article inevitably generated a negative response.

I do not sit idle in this job. There's always something I need to be working on, pushing myself for. This is both a positive and a negative.

I'm going to have to figure out how to keep from burning out. As things stand, unless I specifically tell the boss I don't want to work a day, I'm going to end up working on a day. All around the week. Naturally, as the new kid in an unstable industry, I can't exactly risk saying I won't work very often.

Sometimes, I wonder if once my apartment's year lease is up, I should go back to school and try for a more lucrative career. Sometimes I feel like complete crap because I don't know anyone in the area in a non-professional capacity, and I can't get the time to make friends or visit my family.

Other times, I get invited out to lunch by a guy I know through work and end up chatting with community leaders who happen to be out that afternoon and getting praised for excellent coverage of something.

I won't lie. Moments like that feel really nice.
6 comments|post comment

[21 Sep 2010|01:27am]
Oh yeah, I should probably mention.

I work at a 6-day a week newspaper as a reporter now. I'm averaging $800-$1,000 every two weeks, plus benefits.

Finally, things are back on track. This is the way.
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The continuing degradation of journalistic standards by Fox News [01 Jul 2010|06:59pm]
[ mood | disappointed ]

Fox News is destroying what’s left of the journalistic ethic in the eyes of the world.

Here’s the story: recently, VP Joe Biden tried to do a simple, fluffy PR appearance at a custard business. Being an idiotic jackass, he went in clueless and ended up insulting a guy by calling him an ass.

So Fox News gets the guy who was insulted for an interview. Sure, okay. Biden is a jackass, which everyone already knew and therefore isn’t news, but I suppose his being Vice President makes the incident newsworthy enough to have a little time devoted to showing the people what a dick he is. Really, the only reason I can picture anyone devoting much time to it is either to keep people from accusing you of covering up Biden’s faults due to a liberal bias, or to use it as ammunition against the Democratic Party. Otherwise? It really should be “Biden called a custard business manager an ass for no good reason. Next story!”

Except Fox wasn’t reporting a story--they were trying to make one.

The incident: guy hands Biden custard, Biden asks how much he owes for the custard which has got to be some of that typical public appearance banter. Guy jokingly responds that Biden can lower his taxes and they can call it even. Biden calls guy an ass.

So Fox News brings guy on their show for an interview, and I’m willing to bet that guy just wanted to get the most out of his five minutes in the spotlight. And Fox News spends the time trying to turn this stupid botched PR into a grand political statement about how guy is just some little businessman trying to get across to the Evil Democratic Administration how They Are Hurting The People With Taxes.

No really, Fox’s people actually said that’s what guy was trying to do. Even after guy literally told them it was just a joke, not a political statement. Like guy actually said, everyone wants to pay less taxes; it’s not administration specific, for generations people have complained and wanted less taxes. But here’s these two Fox News guys spending three minutes going out of their way to use this as some kind of proof that oh my god the vice president hates the average Joes of America.

Fox News: when you try to push the person you’re interviewing into delivering the political statement you want to hear, what you’re actually doing is thumbing your nose at all journalistic ideals and driving another nail into the coffin that is the public’s trust in the news media. You are actively and blatantly helping degrade a once-great profession.

News is important, but it’s stupid stunts like this by television news establishments that is both killing news and helping exasperate the hyperpartisanship that is destroying the U.S. government, and by extension, the U.S. itself.

And I do say that as someone who absolutely loathes Biden.

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[13 Apr 2010|07:24pm]
Despite the lack of activity, I'm really not dead. Though I pretty much wish I was.

Life continues to slap me down.

Lease is almost up on my apartment. If I sign up to continue renting it, it will be officially too expensive--though with my current wage it's technically already too high to be fiscally responsible.

I finally got another job interview. The interviewer knew that if she hired me, I would essentially be doing the exact same amount of work writing about the same topics as I have already been doing. Have already been doing admirably, supposedly. In a sensible world, I was a shoe-in for the job. I've been passed over anyway.

Also was notified that the paper I've been working for is shutting down. The owning family was "generous" enough as to keep me on full-time for their other publication, the Antique Traveler Guide. I loathe the Antique Traveler Guide with all of my heart and do not believe that it will ever be a successful publication.

Considering that I had thought the end of the lease was coming up right alongside the closest I've come to moving to a better job, I had begun to think the situation was pretty providential. Instead I not only lost the opportunity for my life to improve, but my life is actually getting worse.

I have to wonder what I could have done to end up with karma like this.

On stupid Mac/PC arguments [10 Jan 2010|03:34pm]
Since Bioware owns my soul for games like Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age: Origins, I thought I'd check and see whether or not there would be a Mac release of their upcoming MMO, "The Old Republic." Which is basically picking up KOTOR's plotline three centuries after the last game.

The short answer is that they won't be, something I personally suspect is the fault of EA. The slightly longer answer is that I shouldn't have bothered since even if there was a Mac release, I wouldn't be able to play it because my Mac has a damn old design and therefor doesn't have an Intel processor.

The long answer is that in determining the short answer, I had to wade through the typical online thread of someone asking if the game would get a Mac release, sparking pages and pages of people saying they wish it would be available for Mac followed by an argument about why anyone who wants to play games would get a Mac in the first place.

Having grown up, I no longer feel that one is superior to the other. I happen to prefer a Mac, but I know how to use a Windows machine and I do for 35 to 40 hours a week at work. Yet there are such points of stupidity raised in this thread that still get me riled up:

-Besides when it comes to mac beeing so supperior, I'm working as an IT-technician at a company and of our customers aproximatly 3% are mac owners but about 35% of the daily error reports are mac related, and non of them have to do with our system, what does that tell you?

One moment while I commit the argumentative fallacy of pointing out the spelling errors. I know perfectly well that spelling errors does not make what this person writes any less true or false. My main problem is that if the company's product really doesn't have any errors that "have to do with our system," then it isn't actually a Mac-related error, as this implies that the product should run as perfectly on a Mac as it would on a Windows machine. It also tells me that--regardless of the accuracy of this person's claim that the error reports have nothing to do with the company's product--a clear majority of the error reports are still from customers using Windows machines.

In all truth I believ that the mac started this war with their commercials undermining the pc. What did we do to you that you can just stick a mid 50's man up to a cool guy like him.

In all truth, buddy, it goes back a lot further than that. And actually, I kind of like the guy they use to personify Windows.
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[31 Aug 2009|11:37pm]
The past month, I have been traveling to where the rest of my family lives each week. And since I hate driving, that's gotten more than tedious. But I've realized that the real reason I'm tired of ending up seeing my parents every week is...the facade.

I don't really have anyone in real life to give me a listening ear. I can't talk about how incredibly bad everything is and how nothing shows any signs of improvement in the near future. Because I have to pretend that Everything Is Okay.

You can't express doubts to the contrary to my parents. They grow angry, tell you that you "have to think positive" and that's the end of the discussion. No jobs, and it's been two months yet the state has yet to give me a penny of the unemployment money they said they'd give me each week. I recently found myself entertaining thoughts that, in retrospect, are uncomfortably self-destructive.

In short, things are bad, they continue to be bad, and there isn't a healthy discussion to be had about it.

Meanwhile: apparently, when I wasn't looking, comparing Obama to Hitler has jumped from being the kind of slander bandied about by anonymous people having political arguments on the internet to being the kind of thing that is seriously used by professional members of the media. I am currently using my spare time to work out the logical form that demonstrates why the argument that "Obama is Hitler so don't let them pass this health care plan" is a cherry-picking, ad hominem, appeal to spite.
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[25 Aug 2009|01:59am]
Applied for an "entry-level" editing job down in Findlay, Ohio.

I figured--hell, I meet the qualifications. Graduated from college with a bit of professional experience. Probably something I'd enjoy doing.

And Findlay is where one of my old roommates live.

I pretty much had to do it, then.

Also: discovered the joys of using Microsoft Word to print the addresses on envelopes. With any luck, this will make the applications I submit by snail mail look far more professional than envelops with my terrible handwriting on them. First impressions, etc.
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The Fall of the House of K_____ [17 Aug 2009|04:16pm]
It feels like we've reached the part of the play I will go ahead and call "the fall."

The grandparents are dead or in their last days. The parents are getting old enough themselves that one is suffering failing body parts and the other has back problems and is trying to make it through his final years of work in an economic climate where companies would rather terminate their employees than have to pay them full retirement benefits. One uncle has been laid off, another is dealing with health problems and reaching the limit of his ability to work but is neck-deep in debt because of his irresponsible wife and daughters.

Basically, everyone in my family is starting to have some major problems.

But the main players in your tragedy must be raised up before they can fall.

I got a position that was, essentially, my goal in life. Make just enough money to be on my own, enjoying the various little past-times that make me happy. I don't need much. But now I'm going to lose even that.

My sister went a different route. She started a family. Now she faces the same problem of being unable to get a job--but in addition the father of her children has persistent cancer. There are even lumps against his spine.

The more I let myself think, the more certain I am that we are nearing the final act. Next up: rocks fall, everybody dies.
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The continuing adventures of Unemployed Jon [22 Jul 2009|04:09pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

Last week, not two days after I sent the application in, I was pleased to hear from my contacts at the Enquirer that a Michigan newspaper was checking out my references. That particular application was one that I had a good feeling about, so I'm hoping that I'll hear from them eventually.

My contacts at the Enquirer also helped me out with a little networking; the executive editor referred me to a bank manager he knew was in desperate need of some tellers, and so over the weekend I applied for that. I had the first of two interviews for it this morning, and she complimented me on my ability to ask questions during the interview. It's something that I picked up from a lecture in college; a journalism professor has a guest speaker come in, and the man talked about how if he was interviewing someone for a job at his newspaper, he wouldn't hire any candidate that didn't ask questions. It is not actually something that should only be applied at a newspaper--I have asked questions at every job interview I've been in, and it has always helped. Hell, the HR director at the Enquirer still goes on about my ability to ask smart questions, and all I've ever done is ask her about practical stuff. The bank manager said that most interviews end up something like this:

"Do you have any questions about the job?"
"Um, nnnnno?"

She was also impressed that I showed up fifteen minutes early for the interview (an accident; I was shooting for ten, but the office wasn't five minutes from my apartment). This implies a certain lack of quality in other candidates--showing up early for the interview is one of the first job hunting tips anything I've read gives you.

It's not a job I want to do at all, which means that I performed excellently for the interview. It's hard to get worked up and nervous about a job you don't want. The manager said she can't do any hiring until I've talked to her HR person, who is out for the week. I should expect a call next week, then I interview with HR, and if it goes well, I then get two full weeks of paid training. The job is technically part time, but I'll work twenty hours a week with the option to take on a lot more hours. At the minimum possible starting salary, it'll cover rent at the very least. And I'll get health benefits. I could perhaps flesh things out with freelance writing on the side.

In the meantime, I continue to spam newspapers with job applications. There's one in Indiana that I would love to get a call back from. And one in Wisconsin. And the one in Michigan that I alluded to earlier. And...you get the picture.

One thing got me down, though: I was on the phone with my mother, telling her about this morning's interview, when my phone started to beep. "Call waiting," the display said, with a phone number I didn't recognize. I cut my conversation with my mother short, excited that perhaps one of the applications I had sent out was getting a call back.

It was the insurance company for the health plan I'd signed up for through my previous job. They want to know what I'm going to do since I'm no longer employed by them. If I want to continue coverage with that plan I have to pay twice as much money through COBRA.

Talk about a mood killer.

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[14 Jul 2009|10:08pm]
I'm attacking this with greater energy than previously. Last time I was on the job hunt, I complained and complained about how hard it was to get a job, but I realize now that I half-assed it and still got a job that I loved.

This time I'm averaging nearly ten job applications a day. I sent out maybe nine applications today, and I have another nine bookmarked to take care of first thing tomorrow morning. With any luck there'll be new jobs posted tomorrow to apply to as well. I have more than doubled my work experience as a journalist.

I will be employed.

Here's my epiphany: when I was working full time, I'd look forward to my days off because hell, I'd been busy all week long. I could lounge on the couch for a day and finally read, and the next day do laundry and cleaning that had built up over a week. Those two days were ultimately just a brief breath taken before diving back into the job for another week. It was a routine. It was easy. It's how I want to live.

Sitting in the apartment all day, every day with no end in sight, though? It is somewhat depressing.

So now my full-time job is looking for a job. Maybe I'm not the most employable person ever. But I've finally found my drive.
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[11 Jul 2009|04:46pm]
Some key factors for identifying when people are trying to use your job search to scam you:

1. You say are a company based in Europe and you want to hire me to move money through my bank account to them. Let me laugh in your face.
2. You send me an email without identifying yourself or your company, saying that I need to take an online consumer report to further my application process. Like hell I'm going to click those links.
3. You send me an email on a weekend about a job. Human Resources in America doesn't work Saturdays at 4 a.m.

Come on, scammers. I'm sharper than that.
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[28 Jun 2009|04:20am]
[ mood | dorky ]

Finally got my tomato and strawberry plants. I inevitably faced the conundrum of coming up with names for them. It's a long-standing tradition for me to name my plants, and I've generally used the muses as the theme. My umbrella tree plant, the first plant named under this theme, is Mnemosyne, the mother of the muses. My Mnemosyne has been with me over five years, now.

The second is my lucky bamboo, Erato. This one has also flourished for years, though recently started dying because of root rot. I've taken steps to help it recover, but we'll see.

The third is the mother-in-law's tongue plant that I got as I moved into the apartment, Calliope.

The planter of strawberry plants are, technically, more than one plant. But they get the collective name of Thalia anyway.

But then, a problem--the tomato plant will be dead before the year is out. It's going to be replaced with a different one each year. It hardly seemed appropriate to name it after a muse.

So I decided that each year, each tomato plant would be named "Biff the Understudy," after a recurring NPC throughout the Baldur's Gate series. In the first game, if you managed to kill a plot-important character before that character could deliver his or her dialogue, Biff would show up to read the character's lines.

I considered naming the tomato plants after a red shirt, but that would not have worked by the very nature of red shirts.

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[16 Jun 2009|10:36pm]
[ mood | content ]

People are depressed about the recession and stuff, but things are looking up for me--even though I just had to take a week of unpaid leave to save the company some money.

I hadn't planned on it, but I basically spent the entire time at my parent's house. Ran around with my nieces. Moved hay, took care of one of the horses and the cats for a couple of days. Got some free lettuce and asparagus from the garden (a two-gallon bag stuffed with asparagus, in fact). My dad decided to give my check paying him for the cost of replacing my car's taillight, and gave me a few twenties for giving up extra days of my leave to help out with moving hay--which is truly some backbreaking work. The majority of the edge of losing that week's pay has been taken off, and I got to enjoy being around my family at the same time.

I'll also be getting a free G4 tower and monitor from work, a fact that should not be mentioned to my father by anyone reading this because I intend to surprise him by following through on an old joke of his. The company has ten leftover G4 towers from when they went through and replaced all the computers with G5 towers. Human Resources sent an email around to everyone asking who would like to give one of the computers a new home, and I figured the price was right, even if a G4 tower is slightly obsolete-ish given the rate at which computers advance. I can certainly think of a few things that I can do with it.

I need to go grocery shopping, and when I do, I intend to pick up a tomato plant to grow on the balcony. Meijer also has excellent planters full of ever-bearing strawberry plants, such that assuming I don't get the plants killed, I'd have an indefinite source of strawberries. In theory, it would definitely pay for itself.

And to balance out all the good things going on in my life, my bamboo is starting to turn distressingly yellow after years of flourishing.

Some thoughts on religionCollapse )

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[02 Jun 2009|04:08am]
[ mood | sick ]

I chose a bad day to try taking a peek at the kind of stuff the people who are considered the face of conservatism turn out. I have to agree that people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly really are just spouting some pretty ugly, incendiary things.

So a doctor who has performed controversial abortions for years is murdered while he's at church. Which is bad enough to begin with.

Going through the reactions of conservative voices, however, makes me feel kind of sick. The wording is different each time, but each one amounts to "Yeah, I guess the law says murder is wrong, but this guy really deserved it."

Some political writers criticize O'Reilly because the guy's been saying incendiary things about how the doctor was a "mass murderer" that "needed to be stopped" and etc. O'Reilly talks about the number of abortions the doctor performed as if that makes everything better, and he has a couple people pop on screen for a couple moments to go "people are just saying that stuff to stifle criticism of abortion." All kinds of crazy things have been said.

A man was killed and all anyone can do is argue about arguing about abortion.

I'm looking forward to my furlough next week so that I can cut myself off from stupid, disgusting humanity for a week.

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[19 May 2009|04:58pm]
I managed to approach the new Star Trek film with a mostly open mind, and as a result I did manage to enjoy it. It'll never take the place of beloved films such as "Wrath of Khan," "The Voyage Home," or "The Undiscovered Country." But it kept me entertained.

After some reflection, I have boiled the bits I didn't like down to four complaints:
1. Frantic pacing. The Star Trek I'm most familiar with had much better pacing, if perhaps slowed by the details of things, such as how the planet Khan got marooned on was devastated, or the entire Genesis project. But that's what made it good science fiction. The movie tries to appeal to fans of something more fast-paced, at the cost of some of its development. One moment Captain Pike is handing out orders, the next moment bam Spock's on the bridge and the action is going. One moment Kirk is marooned, bam he's being chased by a monster. How is Nero destroying planets? Uh...some kind of "red matter" that is...matter that is colored red...QUICK CUE THE NEXT FIGHT BEFORE WE HAVE TO EXPLAIN SOMETHING.

2. Soundtrack. I loved that it opened with the classic bridge sound effects, but. Where were the horn fanfares that cut through the theater? Star Trek needs that fanfare, and putting it in the ending credits as an afterthought saddened me. Or maybe I just missed it in the frantic action.

3. "Homages" to everything that came before. That's cool. I liked Metal Gear Solid 4, which is like a series of homages to MGS' rich history. But as they did their best to say "this is a new, completely different Star Trek," these homages quickly turn into them refuting a lot of memorable moments. For instance, all through "The Voyage Home," Spock ponders the question "how do you feel," and his answer by the end was "I feel fine." The new Spock says that "fine is unacceptable." The writers kept Sulu's background faithful, as he mentions that his combat training was fencing--but then when it's time for him to fight, he pulls out a katana and doesn't fence so much as go through all the typical Hollywood swordfighting moves.

4. Product placement. Hi there, Nokia, Budweiser and...some kind of whiskey that slips my mind. What the hell are you doing in the 23rd century? Uhura ordering a Bud just doesn't do it for me, and Nokia's cell phone ring doesn't particularly fit into a future where all the rest of the communications devices chirp and beep. It was very jarring.

But in the end, when I see the noble lines of the Enterprise swinging around to make an approach on the enemy ship, and the evil captain sees which ship it is and shouts "WAAAAAAAAIT" I can forget all those complaints.

And they have the obligatory scene where the new ship has trouble going to warp. That's one grand tradition that I enjoyed seeing continue, even if they make it Sulu's fault this time.

And the red shirt died, which we all know is the most important tradition of all.
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[18 May 2009|06:16pm]
[ mood | grumpy ]

I'm still grumpy because someone rear-ended me while I was stopped at a red light a few days ago.

I was having a great day on Friday, so it figured that on my way back from work around midnight, it was raining. I was stopped at a particularly long red light for some time, when suddenly there's a bang and my car jolts. The car that hit me swerved at the last moment, and so they're in the right-hand turn lane, and still moving very quickly--and they promptly zip around the corner and disappear into the night.

Let me tell you, it just isn't possible to get a license plate number when it's dark, raining, and you have all of a second to try and read it.

My bumper just has some deep scratches, a fender has one small crack, and the tail light and turn signal on my passenger side had to be replaced. Without replacing the bumper or fender, since it amounts to minor cosmetic damage, the taillight replacement still cost around $130. That's more than I make in one day of work.

I wish the person that hit me would have taken responsibility for what they did. But he or she chose to flee, and that makes me feel rather...vindictive.

I hope whoever hit me had more expensive repairs to deal with. I doubt that they did, considering it looked like they had a sturdier, metal bumper as opposed to my dinky plastic-encased car--but I still hope. I dream that karma has something in store for them.

And I want to smack the people carrying out their stupid bickering on the paper's website. It's a side-effect.

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[13 May 2009|11:30pm]
Sarah Palin is going to publish a memoir, and it happens to be coming out in 2010, they year she's up for reelection in Alaska. When I read about this, I was at work and I tried terribly hard to keep from laughing because even though we're fairly casual at work it just didn't seem right.

Why is it so funny?

She said this: “There’s been so much written about and spoken about in the mainstream media and in the anonymous blogosphere world, that this will be a wonderful, refreshing chance for me to get to tell my story, that a lot of people have asked about, unfiltered.”

An unfiltered account of your life the year that you're running for reelection? Excuse me while I laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Putting aside my cynicism in regard to the motives of a politician's actions, I still have to pick this statement apart.

I believe that there is no such thing as an unfiltered story about yourself. The written word is so much easier to control than the spoken one--it's why I'm so much more comfortable with it, really. When someone talks about themselves their story is generally going to paint themselves as a pretty good person; after all, we generally see ourselves as good people. When someone writes about themselves, you get the same thing, but with the added bonus of being able to go and take your own words back.

You can edit.

And that is a filter in and of itself.
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[09 May 2009|10:22pm]
Apparently we practice censorship and push porn at teenagers.

I think I can see why so many of the older people I work with are jaded.

The really funny thing about this is that person thinks teenagers need help finding porn on the internet. Or that they even need us to encourage them to seek it out.

They also use ridiculously huge font and end with the random thought that we'll just remove that post because "The Enquirer is very liberal." Whether or not the Enquirer is liberal has so little to do with whether or not we'd remove that post. Actually, I think we manage to be a pretty moderate organization, but it's hard to shake the broad-stroke label of "the liberal media."

As long as I'm close to the subject of politics:

I'm really tired of seeing people compare Presidents Obama and Bush to Hitler. I might not have liked Bush much, but he was no Hitler--and neither is Obama.

I keep seeing people write "oh, Hitler was loved by the far left too, you know" and "oh, Bush practically brought the Gestapo to America." Hey people, you know what else they have in common with Hitler? They eat. Diabolical!

Obama, Bush, Hitler. Which one of these things is not like the other?
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Job Evaluation [07 May 2009|02:02am]
[ mood | pleased ]

My introductory period at work ends on the ninth, but my editor, Bill, decided to go ahead and do my evaluation today.

Let's go!Collapse )

Bill went on to tell me as we discussed the evaluation that he sees me as a very measured person, thinking out what I say very well. And...I am very pleased to hear him say that. I'm really hanging onto that as a compliment.

So it looks like, long story short, I'm good for a newbie! I just need to keep driving myself like I have been to improve. When I sat down to do the self-evaluation, I felt that it was kind of silly for me to do it; on the employees end, it seems to me that as they improve the expectations should move up with it. I think if I continue along this path I'll be just fine.

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[06 May 2009|11:30pm]
[ mood | amused ]

Meijer is going to start providing nutritional ratings on the food the sell. They aren't adding to the nutritional information on the packaging--it's something they're going to add to the shelves and so on. Basically, if you're looking for the rating, you should be able to find it, and if you don't care then you probably won't notice it anyway.

When we ran this information in an article, the reaction was basically "if Meijer really cares about our health, then they would stop selling unhealthy products. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt!!1"

Well sure, it's good for their image. Any time a business does something, it's generally with the hope that their consumers

A comment: "If Meijer is really concerned with the public health the company should back it up by discontinuing the sale of tobacco products or alcohol for that matter."

That's not really what they're doing. It isn't Meijer's job to decide what you consume. What they're providing is convenience; if you happen to be purchasing food with the goal of establishing a healthy diet, then you can look at these signs and say "okay, if I buy this product, it would be more nutritious than that product."

To be honest, consumption isn't as simple as "that isn't good for you, stop selling it." To be healthy, one has to moderate everything. If you stop buying alcohol, that doesn't mean you won't still kill your liver with something else. If you stop buying cigarettes you can still get cancer. If you eat too much of one thing you can still end up with too much of some mineral or another in your system.

Someone complains about a perceived inconsistency in ratings; their example is cored pineapple versus halved pineapple. They say the only difference is the portion you receive, and they express frustration that there is an eight-point difference in the nutritional rating.

Well, yes. Half of nutrition is what you eat. The other half is how much of it you eat. So in a hundred-point scale, the portion difference between that cored pineapple and that halved pineapple made one a measly eight points more nutritious. Because it is, shall we say, a healthier portion.

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