Hey there, this site is pretty old now. I've decided to leave it up as I put a lot of work into it and would hate to see it disappear.


I'm Homeless!!!

Mar 08

Evil House

I'M FINALLY 100% HOME FREE! Today, the couple interested in my house finally signed all the paperwork and "closed" on the house. I've wanted to write more about the process and how things were going but for some superstitious reason, I waited until it was all finally over. Gone are the days of throwing away $1,381.44 a month and the $16,577.28 I wasted over the last year in a futile effort to keep my credit score at a decent level. Foreclosure and credit scores really aren't as bad as society makes them out to be, it's all scare tactics fabricated by the banks.

Putting It Into Perspective

From November 1st of 2008 to November of 2009, I had 26 house showing, 15+ open houses and dropped the price $10,000. Pretty much nothing was happening and it appeared that I was going to be sitting on it over another winter wasting my money and time. Then in late October, a couple looked at it several times and made an offer of $148,000 which was $11,990 less than I had it listed at. At this price 'we' would have lost roughly $19,000 split in half. At this point I was plenty happy with the offer and was glad just to get the heck out of the place

As usual, nothing could go easy. I went to court and a probama judge basically did nothing. At this point I was 100% ready to give up, I was worn down to the point that if all I had to lose was a hundred points on my credit rating, oh well. The first thing I did was go out and get a credit card in an effort to help my score while I stopped making payments. As November wore on I waffled back and forth on whether I would make December's payment.

Thanks Upper Management

Then out of nowhere our entire Marketing department got outsourced to a totally awesome marketing agency with super cool audio effects on their home page and we (as in the majority of us) got laid off. "Well that makes my decision easier" I thought. December's house payment was skipped. Ironically if I had made December's payment this entire process would have been pushed back another month and probably cancelled.

In the meantime, for whatever ridiculous reason the people that made an offer on my house still wanted the place, I hated with ever fiber in my body. It was difficult for me to fathom that somebody could desire something I despised so much but I digress. Ultimately all "parties" agreed on a short sale. My credit score would likely be hurt just as much as a foreclosure but at least I wouldn't have to live in hell for another year.

I ended up finally finding a job (at a company I will keep to myself and at a time I will keep to myself and moved to a location which I will keep to myself). As the months (i.e. 3 of them) wore on I started to panic more and more. Would I come home some night and find the place on fire? What about if I woke up one morning and the basement was filled with water? Then there's the furnace, how much longer will that thing last? It looks like it's as old as the house? I was just waiting for Finagle's law to come into effect...but it never did. For those months nothing ever went wrong. I was shocked. "How could this be?" When everything that could go wrong did for the past year nothing did during the short sale process. The place still stands, the basement is dry, and the furnace works like the day it was installed.

Then I expected some crazy amount of money to be due at closing which I knew would be a huge issue, but it never came. $0 was due and it was all over. So here I sit, in disbelief that I'm finally homeless.


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NealGrosskopf.com 2009 Year In Review

Jan 12

NealGrosskopf.com 2009 Year In Review

Well here is my stereotypical year in review blog post. You can also view last year's post. Overall, my site had a great year. Traffic was up almost 200% compared to last year. Almost all of this is due to the articles that I wrote. I also found Twitter to be a great help in increasing traffic. Here were a couple tweets by some high profile twitter users regarding my site this year:

  1. Smashing Magazine - 106,556 Followers
  2. Nicholas Patten (NY Designer) - 37,470 Followers
  3. Elijah Manor (Co-host of The Official jQuery Podcast) - 31,569 Followers
  4. Alex Puig (Twittexperts.com) - 30,378 Followers
  5. jQuery (Official Twitter Account) - 16,436 Followers
  6. Chris Coyier (CSS-Tricks.com) - 14,346 Followers

I was also featured on cssglobe.com and 456bereastreet.com.

2009 Statistics for NealGrosskopf.com

  • Total Visits: 95,830 (32,580) +194.14%
  • Total Pageviews: 165,086 (61,301) +169.30%
  • Most Popular Page: CSS Browser Hacks For Firefox, Opera, Safari & Internet Explorer 24,834 (Same, 16,690 pageviews)
  • Most Visits in a Single Day: May 12th with 1,831 (October 10th with 1,371 visits)

Top Search Phrases:

Compared to last year, most of my top searches on my site were related to articles I wrote. This is due to my SEOing of the articles.

  1. firefox css hack: 661
  2. opera css hack: 556
  3. jquery content slider: 387
  4. css hack for firefox: 313

Visits By Region

My site improved the most internationally while in Wisconsin I had sort of a poor year. I consider most Wisconsin visitors to be people that know me personally.

3,633 (3,890) -6.42%

32,866 (13,733) +139.32%

62,964 (18,847) +234.08%

Target Sites

This includes sites such as Digg, Delicious, Twitter etc. These are sites that I market my articles to. As you can see, I improved my targets sites immensely in the last year:

15,856 (2,734) +479.96%

Wrapping It Up

Due to my work situation for the last couple months of 2009, I ran out of ideas to write articles on. Because of this I sort of ran out of momentum towards the end of the year. My goal throughout the year was to break 100,000 visits and I came up 5,000 short. For 2010, I'll set that same goal and hopefully break it this time around.

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Protips: Job Hunting 2.0

Jan 03

Doom's ridiculous protip Well, I've spent approximately one month searching for a job and about 3 weeks without one. I doubt I'm anywhere near a 'pro' yet but there are a few things I've learned along the way that I think might be useful to others without jobs. As an aside, a protip is sort of an internet meme which apparently goes back to a Doom video game guide which gave an overly obvious 'protip' (see picture to the right for the humor).

Protip: Networking

The first place I looked was within my inner circle of friends within the web community. Having worked at a couple different companies in the past few years I first checked there. I also have a couple friends in the area, on Twitter, that I checked with. Here's a great example of a tweet I followed up on. Also, if you let people know that you're looking for a job, often times they'll keep an extra set of eyes open for you, doubling your search effort. I found out about one job due to a co-worker hearing it on the radio and scribbling it on a piece of paper for me.

Protip: RSS Feeds!

The typical RSS feed icon I found many, many jobs via RSS feeds. If you're not familiar with RSS feeds yet, they're sort of like being sent an email every time something on a website gets updated. Check out this video which explains them in more detail. Sometimes it requires a little digging, but most big name sites have RSS feeds now. Careerbuilder, Monster, Craigslist, Dice & Jobster all have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to. I've even created a Career Builder RSS Feed Generator on my site if you want to get started. By subscribing to RSS feeds I'm alerted of roughly 80 jobs per day from around Wisconsin.

Protip: Optimize Your Resume

I would estimate that Careerbuilder probably has the highest amount of job postings. Because of this, the better you are at using it, the more exposed you can become for future employers. An old co-worker of mine discovered that you can apply search engine optimization techniques to your Careerbuilder resume by sprinkling in a few keywords here and there. This works great for programming languages that you may know or have worked with, but may also apply to other sought after skills in your specific industry.

For me it was essentially tossing in every programming languages I have ever used i.e.: HTML, CSS, ASP, ASP.NET, SQL, PHP, XML, XSL, VBScript, VB.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, Java, C++.

By doing this, HR workers looking for candidates will often search on one of these keywords and my resume will likely show up in the results.

Protip: Bumping Your Resume To The Top

Another trick I learned was Careerbuilder sorts resumes by the last modified date. This means you may have a perfectly relevant resume but if you haven't updated it in a month, other resumes might be showing up before yours. To solve this, try to make a slight modification to your resume each day to keep it fresh. It could be something as simple as moving a sentence around.

I discovered this on accident. Basically I hadn't updated my resume in a long time and I noticed very few people were looking at it. Then when I was told that I lost my job, I made a few changes to it. The next day my 'view counter' had gone up dramatically (see below).

Careerbuilder Stats

Protip: Develop A Schedule For Each Day

This is something I had good intentions with when I was finally unemployed, but I had a hard time sticking with it. Originally I made a schedule that I could adhere to each day to 'keep me busy'. My original schedule looked something like this:

  • 7:30 - wake up
  • 8:30 - work out
  • 9:30 - look for job
  • 11:00 - free time
  • 12:00 - lunch
  • 1:00 - learn new web technology
  • 2:00 - free time
  • 3:00 - look for job
  • ...

What I found was I was starting to stay up maybe, a half an hour later each night and was starting to wake up later each day. This can turn into a bad habit (especially when you have people calling you at 9:00 in the morning to schedule an interview). To counter-act this, I recommend setting your alarm clock each day and trying to stick to a schedule if you can do it.

Protip: Document Everything & Stay Organized

You might find that you're applying for dozens of jobs. After awhile it gets hard to keep track of everything you've applied to. If you apply for a job, and do not hear back from somebody within a week, I'd recommend emailing them to check on the status of your application. If you keep an excel spreadsheet of all the jobs you've applied for and the date, as well as the contact information, this will help you stay on schedule. I'd also would save a copy of the job posting of each job I applied for. The reason being, is many times jobs will expire and you will no longer be able to view the posting. If that company called you for an interview it'd be pretty hard to prepare for it without the posting.

In Closing...

Well hopefully this blog post was helpful. Losing a job sucks and if there's anytime you need to give it 110% it's now. Thanks for reading!

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On The 'Hunt'

Nov 23

Well it's that time of the year again...deer hunting season! Although this year brings a different kind of hunting for me than in years past. First I'll start with deer hunting.

This is my second year hunting up at our cabin in Bowler, WI. There typically aren't many deer up in Bowler, but since our cabin has a lot of sentimental value to it, I enjoy hunting there more than anywhere else.

It's sort of interesting to think that I'm the third generation (possibly fourth) to be hunting on our 80 acres in Bowler. Sometimes I have to laugh at our techniques though. For instance rather than walking to our tree stands, all four of us hopped on a 4-wheeler and road out. I'm sure my grandpa would shake his head at us if he were still alive today. Also, rather than dragging a deer a half a mile out of the woods, we drove a truck in there and picked it up.

I was talking to my Dad and apparently when my grandpa hunted up in Bowler they weren't allowed to use tree stands, but were only allowed to hunt standing next to a tree, hence the name 'tree stand'. I can imagine this would be a lot harder as you can't see as far from the ground.

Overall it was a good time and after this last week, it was some much needed R&R time for me.

The Other 'Hunt'

As I mentioned in the opening of this post, I'm also hunting for a different kind of thing now...a job. I found out Friday that our entire department was being out-sourced to a marketing firm in Milwaukee. I was quite shocked when I first heard the news, but in a strange way I'm sort of excited to be out on the market again. I've enjoyed my time at my job and I've developed myself as a web worker 100x since I started there two years ago.

I've also made a great deal of friends while working there and I will miss them immensely. On the flip side of the coin, I've a pretty personable guy and I'm sure I'll make just as many friends at my next job.

I'm quite confident in myself and my ability as a web worker. My website nealgrosskopf.com is a living testament to my abilities. I'm sure it won't be long until I can help another company's website succeed. Until then I'd like to thank everybody I've worked with at my current job, past jobs and of course my family for helping me throughout this last year. You guys rock!

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Mossy's Transformation

Nov 17

Well, it's been far too long since my last blog post, in fact I've been neglecting my website too much lately. It's partially due to getting an offer on the house in late October and I was pretty busy trying to get things straight for that.

So as of late I've been diversifying my interests. One of them has been playing guitar almost non-stop lately. Another is watching "The Office" on TBS which seems to constantly be on (I've never got into that show until recently). Finally my other new interest is hunting and of course guns. And it only took me 153 words to get to the point of this blog.

For well over a year now, I've been wanting to "mod" my Mossberg 500 ASG shotgun. To do it, it wouldn't cost me a great deal of money, but over the past year it was enough that I decided I would hold off from doing it until the house got sold. I looked at it sort of like a present for finally getting it sold. After realizing that I exhibited great patience over that time period and rather then waiting 2-3 years for the house to sell, I decided to jump the gun so to speak.


Mossberg 500 ASG Before Modifications

Here's my gun before: a regular old hunting shotgun. My Dad and I (mostly my Dad) took this apart and turned it into a sweet home defense gun. We added what is called a top-folding stock to it. This essentially makes the gun smaller so that it can be shot from the hip. The stock is the part of the gun that is typically made of wood and is pressed against the shooter's shoulder. It also comes with a pistol grip which makes it easier to hold.

The next thing we added was a barrel shroud which wraps around the barrel of the gun. It has small holes in it that allows the barrel to breath while preventing the shooter from touching the hot barrel.

After that we swapped out the wooden forend to a black composite one. The forend is the part of the pump shotgun that you move back and forth to load a new shell. This was pretty much just a cosmetic change as it would look sort of silly with a wooden grip while the rest of the gun is black.

Finally the last change we made was to add a shell shot holder to the folding stock. This adds another 5 shells to the gun bringing it's capacity to 11 when fully loaded.


Mossberg 500 ASG After Modifications

Here it is after all the modifications. This photo doesn't really do it justice so I took some really sweet artistic photos with my digital camera. I added these to my Wallpapers section and also on Flickr. Pretty sweet photos, eh? Also, I added some photos to my Photo Gallery showing it being taken apart and also after I shot at some pumpkins leftover at my parents place from Halloween.


Well first of all it looks totally cool and is much more fun to shoot. Second of all I was tired of waiting. I made myself wait a year and it's true that the longer you wait for something, the more you'll enjoy it. Overally I'm very happy with the gun and look forward to shooting it some more.

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