Goggle Search Tips

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Below are some links that will help you in your Google searches. All are available at http://www.google.com/insidesearch/ 

Thanks for coming to the class and Happy Searching!

Results Page Overview                          http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35891

 Google Search Class, Step by Step tutorial http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/course.html

 Google Basic Search Help                                  http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=134479

 Google Search Quick Reference http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/assets/PowerSearchingQuickReference.pdf

 Google Search Features                                               http://www.google.com/help/features.html

 Operators and More Search Help             http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861

Narrowing searches to sites, file type, etc.  http://agoogleaday.com/tips-and-tricks.html

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A Fine Line

Last weekend I was fortunate to witness a movie being made by Jordan Freese, assisted by Brendan Jamieson and starring my husband Matt.  It took all day Saturday and most of Sunday to film (or rather digitally record) a teleplay that will probably end up running less than 15 minutes.

I now have a greater appreciation for all the preparation and time that is required to create something of quality.  As with all movies, much of what was recorded will end up on the proverbial cutting room floor.  As Jordan explained, “Even if you think you shot it perfectly, you never know. There could be a tiny glitch in the picture or audio and then you’re screwed if you don’t have a backup.”  Dialogue and scenes must be recorded multiple times.

The film entitled “Non-fiction” is, from what I gather, an exploration of what is real and what is not real in film making and how the viewer viscerally responds to what is presented.  Jordan is treading on treacherous ground in the sense that he creates a character, Old Ornery Prick (played by Matt), who both challenges and insults the viewer.

I asked Jordan about the premise and purpose of the film and I am still struggling with why he wants to confront his viewers in this way.  Asking an artist why he or she does something is often folly since what the artist is trying to say can only be expressed through the work itself.

In another short film Jordan created in 2009 entitled “Casting,” he directs an audition.  He placed an ad on Craigslist calling for actors to audition for a movie.  The actors are not informed until later that the audition is the movie itself. No future movie is scheduled.  There are uncomfortable moments as the actors struggle to make sense of a non-sensible script.  The IMDb listing describes the film as: “A behind the scenes look at a casting call where the fine line between acting and reality blur.”

I asked Jordan if he is interested in confusion.  “Dead Man,” “American Psycho,” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop” are some of the films he recommended Matt and I watch and they seem to challenge the audience’s preconceptions about traditional story structure and the questionable reliability of the protagonists.  He explained later that it isn’t confusion that interests him so much as throwing the viewing experience off balance and making the viewer question his or her own expectations and emotional responses.

This hit home to me yesterday as I was driving and listening to Neal Boortz.  I enjoy listening to conservative talk radio from time to time because the viewpoints expressed are antithetical to my opinion on the issues. We all have a tendency to seek out information that supports what we already believe.  Maybe I enjoy being annoyed, but I try to keep an open mind. On this particular program Boortz stated emphatically that people who are undereducated and ill-informed tend to support Barak Obama. Over and over again he repeated in the most insulting way imaginable that Democrats are essentially stupid.  I found myself getting angry and feeling insulted.  Then I remembered that this is what Jordan is pointing out: Our illogical response to the media. It is absurd to allow someone who doesn’t know me to insult me.

In “Non-fiction,” Matt’s character, Old Ornery Prick, makes a point of looking straight into the camera and saying, “I’m insulting you specifically.”  Of course, this is absurd.  He can only insult the viewer if he or she allows it.  Who is in control?  If it is Old Ornery Prick, why does the viewer allow him that control?  Why do any of us allow our feelings to be manipulated?

Though I had some understanding from my conversations with Jordan what he was going for, I must admit, while watching the monologue being recorded, I felt uneasy and at times insulted.  Why is Old Ornery Prick calling the viewer repugnant, a moron, ugly, shitbag, etc.?

Brendan Jamieson, Jordan’s colleague and friend assisted in photographing “Non-fiction.”  He articulated some of my concerns.  He said in essence, there is a fine line between being provocative and simply annoying.  This is the risk Jordan is taking and the fine line he is drawing.

Matt took to the project with gusto projecting the sarcasm and contempt that Jordan was looking for. He ceded control to the director like a pro. Using a teleprompter, Matt was able to look directly into the camera. The teleprompter is an ingenious tool of illusion used by politicians and news casters, allowing them to personalize their message as only the appearance of eye contact can accomplish.  This is another example of what is unreal.  Old Ornery Prick even states, “I’m trying to make this a bit interactive.” But how can the viewer possibly interact with pixels on a screen?

Being a child of the digital age, Jordan is exploring media intimacy in ways that would not occur to me.  I come from a generation that grew up with movies and TV shows as a social activity.  At least to me they are more enjoyable when shared with others. We are, after all, social animals.  Perhaps we need others to reinforce how we are supposed to react. Laugh tracks indicate where the jokes are and when we are supposed to laugh.  Sad music accompanies the hero’s death, just in case we are not sure how to feel.

Visual media, however, is something that more and more people are consuming alone on a laptop.  Social media, in this case, is a contradiction.  It is both personal and yet solitary.  The internet is where “Non-fiction” will most likely air. How independent are our reactions? Ornery Old Prick asks, “Are you going to tell your friends about this later? Have them watch, just to see how they react and then know how you should have reacted instead?”  Good question.

“Non-fiction” has no obvious agenda and offers no solutions. That is what makes it so fascinating and exasperating.   I have no doubt that Jordan’s career as a film maker will be exciting to witness.

As a father and son collaboration, the filming of “Non-fiction” was a joy to watch.  Matt wanted Jordan to use his skills to record his father and Jordan cast his Matt in a role where he could be the director and at the same time have his father be the star. This will be a warm and hilarious memory for everyone involved.

Having these two delightful young men in our home for the weekend was the best part of the project.  They are both at a time in their lives when the future is full of promise.  They have the skills and means to pursue their art and do so with vigor.  They are healthy, handsome, and free of encumbering dependents and mortgages. After filming at Red Rock Canyon Sunday, I confess to feeling a slight twinge of envy as a watched Jordan and Brendan walk back to the car with their camera gear, side by side in the sunlight.

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Jolting Us Out of Societal Stagnation

The response to my comments and objections about Will Manley’s article on LinkedIn proved enlightening and encouraging.  The most interesting response came from Hans G. Anas, a Division Head at the SPACEPOL Corporation (a high tech research company).

Below is what Anas wrote about employers not wanting to hire outside their organization:

My take on the issue (involved with a corporation that actually studies globally what is happening to cause the economy to crash) is similar to Jane’s in the beginning of this thread. I would say “you’re right on the mark, Jane!” This is what is happening pretty much worldwide right now, but particularly (as far as the rate of change is concerned) in the West.

In our corporate analysis, we denote what you are referring to in this particular example as part of the cultural/national “stagnation” variable. From the SPACEPOL analytical point of view this “stagnation” process is in actuality a major part of what is pushing the economy down. Other factors are generational and decline-related. Most western countries have been increasing in their stagnation index since around 2006. HR representatives (just like most other members of society) are not immune to the effect of societal stagnation as they become more and more ensnared in their “comfort zones” just like most others. When enough individuals experience this, one has a societal “stagnation” epidemic with economic consequences.

The solution that is indicated by studies at our company is not any more attractive than the problem. Instead of self-help, positive thinking or a rebirth event, a society will need to be firmly “jolted” out of stagnation trends. This is usually not a happy event for most, including things like war, major collapse, economic catastrophes that breed new markets and alliances, etc. But who knows, maybe in contradiction with history to date we will instead get a pleasant surprise in the form of a positive jolt that wakes or civilization from stagnation?

 

Using the same strategies will not manifest the changes that are needed. We must see the situation clearly, have compassion for one another, and change. There is a reason that Occupy Wall Street is spreading throughout the world.  Some call it “class warfare.”  If things don’t change soon, we might experience violence in the streets.

World War II got us out of the Great Depression by creating new markets. I’m not looking forward to catastrophic events in any form, but holding on to capitalistic ideals as though it is a religious ideology is just stupid.  Communism failed, no question, but Karl Marx warned that capitalism is unsustainable.  Eventually we will run out of resources. Perhaps that is what we are witnessing today.

 

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Without Pity?

At the risk of angering librarians, I have to vent.

A recent editorial by Will Manley in the American Libraries magazine (Sept./Oct. 2011) published by the American Library Association (ALA), he maintains that hiring new employees (librarians) from outside the organization isn’t worth the trouble or risk.

If Manley’s opinion is common, and I suspect it is, newcomers with new ideas are out of luck.  Librarians are protective of their turf. Outsiders need not apply.

I wonder if this attitude carries over to other areas of Manley’s life. He’ll only read a book by an author he read before. He’ll only eat food he’s eaten before. He goes on vacation to the same resort year after year. He wants to be surprised, but only by the familiar.

The cartoon attached to the article implies that anyone (even custodians who have never expressed an interest is being librarians) can get a masters degree in library science.  As Manley writes, “[A]nyone can get an MLS from a laptop.”  Sure–no problem–what a cinch. No work or study involved.  How insulting. In other words, Manley would rather train a janitor to be a reference librarian than offer the job to someone educated and eager for the opportunity. With all the enthusiastic librarians graduating with MLS degrees and so few jobs available, his article is a slap in the face. Not that he cares.

Manley’s article is entitled: “Networking Without Pity” and yet he details how difficult the hiring process can be. Too bad.  Are we to feel compassion for the employers?  He uses examples from remodeling his home.  How nice that he can afford to make improvements. Oh, that’s right, he has a job.  With nearly double digit unemployment in the U.S. today, I think this is a highly insensitive editorial to publish at this time.  Shame on the ALA.  The association must be aware of the jobs crisis. They offer a reduced membership fee to unemployed librarians.  Students still enjoy the lowest costs.

 

My advice to anyone considering a library science masters degree; think again.  If you are currently working in a library, getting a masters degree could (maybe) get you a promotion or an increase in pay. Have new ideas and experience outside of the library field? Forget it.  If this article and cartoon are any indication, libraries don’t want new people.  If you have a varied background, go into business or the medical field.  A couple of years ago I didn’t believe that librarianship was becoming an obsolete profession?  Now, I’m beginning to think that it might be. Staying within one’s comfort zone promotes stagnation.

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Telling the Jobless Story

A recent article (9/22/11) by freelance writer Kim Palchikoff in the Las Vegas Sun describes her struggles to find work in Las Vegas.  Despite the fact they she is an educated, multilingual writer, she found herself thwarted time and time again.  So I guess I’m not crazy.  There is a real problem here.

The unemployed have a friend in Congress. Rep. George Miller—the most senior Democrat on the House committee dealing with health, education, jobs and pension issues—wants to stop the political games and pass legislation that gets America back to work. He wants people to tell their stories–personalizing the crisis in ways statistics cannot.

Stories have power in that they are personal, immediate, emotional, and specific.

You can add yours to the conversation and read excepts from other people at http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/eforum

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