It Happened to Me Work

My online job interview style is unstoppable!

Photo: Joey deVilla at his home office among a couple of laptop computers, a podcasting microphone, and many screens.
Tap to see at full size.

I’ve been doing interviews with a number of companies in the quest for my next gig, and since we’re still in a pandemic, they’ve all been online. I’ve done enough of them to get to the point where I’ve figured a system and setup that works well for me. The photo above shows me, just after this afternoon’s interview, complete with handy annotations.

Here’s a quick run-down of the setup:

  • Primary laptop: The “Star Trek” screen, a.k.a. the one that the video chat lives on. It’s hooked up to two other monitors, where:
    • One is open to a Google doc containing questions that I want to ask.
    • The other is open to a Google doc of the research notes I wrote about the company interviewing me, their tech, their developer site, and their API. I actually found some typos in the docs and a bug in their sample code, and let them know about it.
  • Secondary laptop: This one displays notes about my experience, and the particular story that I want to tell to this prospective employer. In case you’re wondering, my current answer to “Tell me about yourself” is something along the lines of “I’m equal parts Tony Stark, Alton Brown, and Weird Al.
  • Backup laptop: In case some technical issue with the videochat arises on the primary laptop, I switch to the backup laptop. I could switch to the secondary laptop for the video chat, but using that means that I lose a key screen of notes, and I don’t want to throw off my carefully orchestrated set of information that I can get at a glance.
  • Jupyter Notebook loaded on all laptops: If I have to demonstrate working code, Jupyter Notebooks let me do it easily, and with Markdown annotations, too!
  • Funky shirt and “Zoom mullet”: Gotta look good.
  • Podcasting microphone: And sound good, too. I have a “radio voice” — might as well let ’em hear it.
  • Not in the photo, but within arm’s reach:

    • A whiteboard (and dry-erase markers in many colors), because sometimes it helps to draw a picture, and
    • the accordion. I have a rep to maintain.

I’ll let you know what happened as soon as I find out.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods

Accordion of the day: Fratelli Alessandrini’s “Celt”

Photo: An Alessandrini Celt accordion, whose body is made entirely out of wood.
Tap to see at full size.

Every once in a while, someone asks me how expensive accordions can get, and what you get for shelling out a lot of money. Pictured above is an example: The Celt, an accordion with Irish Tuning (I have no idea what that means) made by Fratelli Alessandrini (“Alessandrini Brothers”).

Unlike less expensive accordions — the kind I own, perhaps save the one that my friend Sean Galbraith gave to me — the Alessandrini Celt doesn’t have any plastic parts. The mechanical bits are metal, of course, but that’s a straight-up wood body, wood keys, wood switches, and wood grille.

Not only is it a visually beautiful instrument, but it also sounds beautiful. Here’s a demo video by The Squeezebox Shop in Scotland:

If you’re on Facebook, you can also check out this video of Ross Little enjoying his newly-purchased Celt in the great outdoors.

Photo: Still from video -- Close-up of piano keys and bellows on Alessandrini Celt.

And now, the price. For an accordion made with these materials and this kind of craftsmanship in small production runs, you can buy at The Squeezebox Shop for… £4,495.00. At today’s rates, that’s about $5,750 US.

I might wait until my LLC’s making a little more money before picking up one of these.

Recommended reading

Photo: A row of Alessandrini Celt accordions in various wood finishes.
Ooooooh. I want them all. Tap to see at full size.

The Squeezebox Shop has a regularly updated Facebook page for all your accordion fetishizing needs.

Also, for those of you new to this blog: How I became the Accordion Guy.

The Current Situation

Trump: The idealized masculine fantasy versus the sad, craven reality

Photo: “The idealized fantasy” - A flag picturing Trump as Rambo. “The sad reality” - Trump looking very awkward catching a very easy fly ball.
Tap to see the contrast between idealized fantasy and sad reality at full size.

It seems that the saying “Adult life is like high school, except that there’s more money involved” turned out to be true. High school is where you learn that the self-aggrandizing are often the most insecure, that guys who treat girls terribly are terrible people, and that bullies at craven cowards at heart.

Another great high school truth: The people who spend the most time proclaiming about how strong a man they are turn out to be the weakest, most unmanly men. The only worse people are those who latch onto those fakers, in the hopes of illuminating their dreary lives, even if it’s with only a few rays of that false glory.

With that in mind — along with the really sad photo of Trump attempting to deal with an easy baseball toss that most hospitalized people would be able to catch — here are some articles about the Trump “manliness” fantasy versus the sad reality.

Sure, he can pose in a truck to look “manly”, but it’s all for show. A leaked recording showed that he didn’t know that trucks use diesel fuel. And let’s face it, this guy has probably never had to pump his own gas.

  • Ms.Donald Trump and the Tragedy of Failed “Masculine” Leadership
    “It is beyond tragic that the most powerful man in the world is such a small man, utterly incapable of rising to the occasion and providing the leadership this catastrophe so desperately requires.”
  • Washington PostThe weird masculinity of Donald Trump
    “Donald Trump bears very little in common with any actual woman I know. But, oddly, he has a lot in common with the basest, most unfair stereotypes of femininity. He is ruled by feelings rather than facts. He is fickle, gossipy and easily grossed out. He uses florid language, like “beautiful” and “perfect,” and says he and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “fell in love.” He deals with adversity like a Mean Girl with a burn book, via insults and freeze-outs. For any Neanderthal who has ever feared electing a female president because what if she’s too cranky when she’s on her period — congratulations. For approximately 1,300 days, you have had a menstruating man in the Oval Office.”
  • And finally, here’s one from an unlikely source: National Review — Trump and Masculinity:
    “I’ve been arguing for a long time now that one of the problems with Trumpism is the way people feel the need to redefine their definitions of good character so that Trump can clear the bar. It’s like cutting a yardstick down to two feet so you can call something a yard long.”
    “The masculinity that Donald Trump represents is not representative of what conservatives used to mean by good character. And to suggest otherwise trims another couple inches off the yardstick.”
The Current Situation

Everything you need to know about Donald Trump’s character, captured in a single photo

Photo: Donald and Melania Trump walking on the golf course on a misty day. Donald holds their single umbrella over himself only.

Such a gentleman.

America The Current Situation

America in a nutshell

Photo: Street scene in US city. Large highway sign reads “Be safe - Mask required”, but nobody is the picture is wearing a mask.
Tap to see at full size.

Baseball is no longer the national pastime; Oppositional defiance disorder is.

Florida Florida of the Day

Central Florida cities, as “Tiger King” characters

Photo collage: Toger

The Current Situation

Monday memes: Heavens to Betsy!

Photo: Betsy DeVos. Text: “Betsy DeVos. No education degree. No teaching experience. No experience working in a school environment. Never attended a public school or state university. Never put her own children in public school. Excuse me if I don’t give a f**k what her thoughts are on opening public schools.”

Photo: Scene from “The Hunger Games” where host Effie Trinket (labeled “Betsy DeVos” stands between new tributes Peta Mellark (labeled “Kids”) and Katniss Everdeen (labeled “Educators”). The caption reads “And may the odds be ever in your favor.”