Archive for September, 2010

What you may not know about your dirty kitchen

As you get older, it seems that your cleaning habits get better. At least that’s how it has happened for me. Now that I have my own house, I understand why my parents always made me and my brothers clean ALL the time. It’s a lot of work to keep a clean home.

And according to this story out of Los Angeles, CA, it’s even harder to keep a clean kitchen.

The survey the L.A. County Health Dept. conducted said that 14 percent of respondents’ kitchens wouldn’t pass the same inspection restaurant kitchens have to go through. Now, some things are obvious – no one has commercial-grade, restaurant-approved appliances and countertops – but some things are completely controllable.

Simply storing raw meat or eggs in the lowest part of the refrigerator, not just on the bottom shelf, can reduce your risk of contamination. That means a lot of times storing your meat in the produce drawer. It seems most refrigerators are actually designed to promote poor food storage practices, leaving millions of us at risk of contaminated foods!

Be careful, and THINK!


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The Unanswerables

These days, many people immediately jump to Google or Bing for their Web searching needs. These sites are fantastic, I’ll be the first to admit. But I came across this list of “unanswerable questions” compiled by Ask, or Ask Jeeves.

According to this BBC article, the site compiled the list based on over 1.1 billion questions asked over the past decade. Most are predictable, but some are not – I love the “Did Tony Soprano die?”Ask Jeeves gave a minimal attempt to answer each one but left the floor open to comments. It’s worth a look.

So in the same spirit, I’d like to offer a few of my ‘Athens Unanswerables:’

1. What is the University saying about its students’ level of fitness if they installed escalators in place of just three flights of stairs in Baker Center?

2. If Thursday is the new Friday, and Monday is the new Sunday, do we need to have classes anymore?

3. If a paw paw tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

4. How many hours will I have to spend on my thesis?

If you have answers to these, or your own Athens Unanswerables, please share.

Maybe we will unearth some universal truth.

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Location, location, location

The first week of classes ended a few days ago, and I only got myself lost twice. I find it amazing and slightly amusing how easy it is to get lost on a university campus.

After studying the OU campus map, which really is quite helpful – it even includes pictures of the front of each building to help wandering newbies recognize where they need to be – I set off to the RTEC building to fill out employment paperwork¬† for the university, so much paperwork, in fact, that the graduate college set up special paper-working sessions so staff could walk each of student through the forms. What I guess they don’t realize is that no one can get through a four-year undergraduate program and then apply and begin a graduate program without becoming sufficiently skilled at filling out paperwork on their own.

So somewhere between where I parked my car on Congress and the RTEC building (which is only a fifth of a mile walk) I got lost. I went into what I thought was the RTEC building and up to the room where I expected to see several sets of helpful eyes just waiting for me to arrive so we could tackle some paperwork. Instead, at the end of a dark hallway, I found a small locked office and no sign I was in the right place. Turns out it was the wrong building.

I found the RIGHT building and the right room, but I was too late (seven minutes, actually), and the door was locked and the great paperwork machine shut down for the day.

Angry and a little sweaty (it was hot), I schlepped up to Court St. Cafe – they have tasty frozen concoctions and free wi-fi, essential for someone like me who lives out in the broadband wasteland south of Athens. I hear Donkey is good too. I’ll have to try that next.

The moral of the story is that even graduate students, being the such educated folk we are, can easily get lost in a new environment. I was lucky enough to move to Athens a month before classes started, which gave me lots of time to explore and get my bearings. My advice is to go out and get yourself lost. It’s the best way to learn your way around a new area. I know I’ll never forget where that dang RTEC building is, that much is for sure.

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I believe introductions are in order…

I am a brand-spankin’ new graduate student at Ohio University studying journalism at the E.W. Scripps College of Communication. As such, I have discovered how little I know about the city of Athens, Ohio, the university, the college and my program – and how much less time and energy the university spends orienting us graduate students to all of these new environments. I hope to share any questions, answers and nuggets of wisdom I come across in my settling process and the very intense coming year.

Pete Shooner

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