Thursday, June 28, 2007

Coffee and Korean

A superficial observation on day 1 of new job:

Awh man I’m tired. I need some coffee. I see a coffee pot, but no coffee. Don’t tell me they don’t have coffee in this office? Is this coffee pot some sort of relic from times past when previous generations that worked here drank coffee? Don’t tell me I’m going to have to spend money on my own coffee.

Boss walks in.

Boss: Where’s the coffee?

2 minutes later. Co-worker comes running in, with packages of Starbucks coffee.

Ah, all is right with the world. Maybe this new job won’t turn out too bad.

A more thoughtful observation after 3 days of new job:

I learn by osmosis, meaning I learn by unconsciously soaking up what’s happening around me. I watch and listen to what the co-workers and bosses do, learn the company culture, and eventually learn the job.

This is kind of hard to do when most of your co-workers are Korean and when they’re not talking with me or the other white guy in the office, speak Korean almost exclusively. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve changed careers. How am I supposed to absorb this job if I can’t understand what’s being said?

The solution-I must learn Korean.* Not only to absorb the job, but also so that I can know when they are talking smack about me. **

*I stole this idea from a friend who is learning Japanese for her job.

**I also want to be able to talk smack about my friends in a different language.*

*Wooh, a footnote in a footnote. Did I just blow your mind?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are you a nerd?

“So are you one of Dan’s normal friends, or one of his nerd friends?”

The question caught me off guard. What was her definition of normal? What had Dan told her? The look of confusion and mild panic must have crossed my face, as her next comment was more reassuring.

“Ohhh, don’t worry. I work for AOL.”

Oh, thank god. The calmness returned. She was…one of us.

I’ve heard it said a dozen times by DC bloggers. “We’re not all nerds,” or “When I met him in real life, I was surprised to find out that he was a normal guy.” To this I say: normal, what fun is that?

The best thing about being a nerd is learning where you fit in amongst the hierarchy. I’m what you might consider a “Mid-level” nerd. My social skills are lacking at times, I’m good with computers, can quote Monty Python on command, and could probably write a thesis on Star Wars.

That being said, I do have some critical, some might say deal breaking nerd deficiencies. I’m absolutely horrible with math and science. A nerd who sucks at math and science? What sort or nerd are you? Doesn’t that disqualify you from being a nerd? Yes, yes my little padawan, I realize that, notice how I said in a previous sentence, “deal breaking.”

My lack of mad math and science skills has been a source of serious torment in the past. (Ok, scratch that, maybe more “mild aggravation.”) You can’t really do computers as a career if you don’t understand the 0’s and the 1’s.

My lack of science skills has also caused me to fail the litmus test that one of my friends has for being a nerd. He has a plan…no more of a dream, to one day build a gun/machine that can fire a crow through the air. A crow launcher if you will. When he starts to discuss this, it usually involves words such as “C02” and “air speed velocity.” I lose him when he gets to air speed velocity. So what is this litmus test, and the point to this damned footnote you ask? Simply, that if you give him an odd look while he is discussing this, you are not a nerd, and probably not worthy of his time. However, if you join in on the discussion, you have passed the nerd litmus test and may be able to co-patent the crow launcher with him, sometime in the distant future.

What is my ultimate point? Being a nerd shouldn’t be some sort of social disqualifier. No, the question should not be, “Are you a nerd?” It should be “Are you nerd enough?”

Friday, June 8, 2007

I will miss DC

I just put in my two weeks notice a few hours ago. I'm taking a job in VA, that will essentially be a career change for me.

This has been going on for a little while now, but not something that I wanted to air in a public forum such as a blog, until now. It's been part of what's kept me from writing as much as I would like, and it certainly hasn't taken away from my stress.

I'm uncertain how to feel right now, more drained and sad than anything. I should be able to stay where I am, just across the river from DC, but I'll find out in 2 weeks whether the demands of the commute neccesitate that I move closer to my job.

I'm going to miss taking the metro everyday. I'm going to miss being able to take a walk by the White House on my lunch break. I'm going to miss the people I work with, and I'm going to miss all the little nuances of DC. Oh sure, I'll be in the city on a regular basis to see friends, hit up bars & restaurants, and see the sights, but it won't be the same.

I'm excited about the opportunities that await with this position, but at the same time, change is never easy for me. Sometimes though, it's necessary.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Moral teachings from an Axe Murderer, Part 1

So I was reading a recent post by Lemon Gloria where she mentions that her father was joking with her about rooming with an axe murderer. And for just one minute, I thought of replying with something to the effect, of “Wow, that’s interesting, I once had an axe murderer contact me.” But then I figured that I’d have to either explain that comment, which would be a blog post in itself, or just let the comment stand, which would make me sound weirder than I already am. Thus, this blog post:

“You’re all going to hell if you continue down this path,” said the letter. Ahh, hate mail, good stuff. Being the general manager for a college radio station did have some benefits. Except this wasn’t ordinary hate mail. This was axe murderer hate mail.

I went to college in a small town. News travels fast in a small town, and tends to have a larger impact than it would in a big city. Jimbo’s tractor exploding? Ehhh, maybe a 3 on the “It’s news scale.” Double homicide with an axe? Freaking 11.

The axing took place a month before my freshman year. It was the talk of the town and the school for a few months.

Roughly three years later, I wasn’t thinking of axe murderers. I was thinking of how I narrowly pulled off being elected general manager of my school’s little student run FM radio station. I was basking in this success, I was finishing up the last of my exams, and I was preparing for the summer. First though, I needed to stop by the radio station.

I arrived at the station and went to speak with the station’s faculty advisor.

“There was some mail addressed to the radio station today. You’re the general manager now…I think you should have it,” said the faculty advisor.

“Oh yeah?” My curiosity was peaked. Normally mail wasn’t something that was important enough to point out, much less hand deliver to the GM.

I was handed an envelope that had obviously already been opened, but the contents were still intact. Before I pulled out the papers stuffed inside, I glanced at the front of the envelope. The return address: ______ County Correctional Facility. The sender: Ezekiel, formerly _____ _____. Cell #________

I was confused. “Ezekiel?”

My faculty advisor fixed me a serious glance. “Do you remember the axe murderer?”

Friday, June 1, 2007

For your consideration

So life’s been crazy lately. And I can’t really talk about it right now. I like to make my post either reflective or humorous, and I just can’t pull that out at the moment.

In the meantime, I’ll resort to the next best thing-pimping other people’s blogs. See those links on the right? Those are the blogs I read. You should click on them. Below are the cream of the crop; the one’s I try to read even on the craziest of days.

Arjewtino-Well known in all blogger circles, this man needs no pimping. Except for those of you who aren’t bloggers who read this. You must click on that link. Humorous observations from DC’s favorite Argentinean Jew await you.

El Guapo in DC-Arjewtino’s Guatemalan arch-nemesis. His claims of having the best mustache in DC cannot be independently verified, but the stories he tells, especially the one’s that involve his friend Miguel will bring tears to your eyes (usually from laughter). Here is an example, though the written content may be considered NSFW.

Home Improvement Ninja-Do not let his constant sayings of “I’m going to be blogging less” steer you away from checking this on a regular basis. That is just his ninja ways. He will strike when you least expect it.

Journey to Self Improvement-I like her style, she has no qualms about tackling any subject. Whether it be lighter fare, such as a post on pooping or some of her more serious observations on alcoholism, Journey to Self Improvement will always give her honest opinion to her readers.

Last Stop Suburbia-Comes up with the best blog titles for her blog entries and also posts some great photos. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked myself “Now what the hell would the boss think if he came by while I was reading this?”

View from Dupont-I’m not entirely convinced that her blog is DOA. The link will stay up and I will occasionally check it. You should too. The most well rounded blogger I’ve read-she can talk about politics, movies, work-anything, and make it sound interesting.

Writing in DC-Unlike myself and most other bloggers, she is a Real Writer®. While we piddle away on our keyboards and congratulate ourselves when we manage to write four paragraphs, Writing in DC is likely sitting outside a cafĂ© writing her novel, or a poem-all with a coffee beverage of some sort in one hand, and a cool summer breeze behind her.