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ATM - Interviewing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.21.11

Mineshaft commenter writes:

I hate the job interview question, "what are your weaknesses?" because, as everyone knows you can't actually say what your weaknesses are without somehow turning them in to strengths. What's the best answer you have ever given or heard to the question in a job interview setting? What answers show genuine self-awareness in a way that's appropriate to the context? Or to be less ambitious, what worked and didn't make you want to barf?

---Currently employed jobseeker

My answer:

Academics, with their dorky obliviousness, asked me this question in pretty much every interview I had.

Here's what worked for me: first, I'd say with a smile "Well, that's an impossible question!" If I were getting along with the person, I might joke "I work too hard and I'm too honest!" with a Popeye-style swipe of the arm: 90° elbow bend, fisted hand.

Then I'd say "But here are the things that are hardest for me, in a job like this: I struggle with X, and so I always try to be X+. I struggle with Y, and so I always try to be Y+." And then X and Y are fairly ordinary problems I've had, with obvious solutions - "I struggle with trying to cover too much material in a class period, and so I always outline my topics ahead of time, and the draw a line 2/3 of the way through my lesson plan, and scale it back." "I struggle with students who don't seem to care, so at the beginning of the semester I make an effort to make a personal connection with every student." Etc.

(My X+ and Y+ are generally bullshit idealism that I'd do if I had twice as much time and inclination.)

If they're still looking at me expectantly, I'd say something like "There are probably others, but those are the first ones that spring to mind that have clear consequences if I'm not careful about it. Would you like me to come up with some other examples?"


 

horizontal rule

 

Wanna come upstairs and see my pejazzlings?

Posted by Apostropher
on 05.20.11

Seems to defeat the purpose of having external genitalia altogether, but beauty is its own reward.

Vajazzle.me, the good folks who made applying rhinestones to your vagina a worldwide sensation, are proud to announce something for the fellas. Pejazzling is logically Vajazzling for men. You can practically hear worldwide gay blog traffic quadrupling.

Now you can treat your penis like it's the diamond encrusted totem pole you've always known it to be, and don't even get me started on those disco balls of yours.

I suppose I should note that the marginally safe-for-work [edit: that's, uh, maybe technically work-safe, but still probably not anything you want on your work screen. sorry.] image at the UnicornBooty link up there, while amusing, is not an accurate representation of the wares on offer. Moreover, as the Daily Mail notes:

He advises users shave the hair before applying the crystals, or for the 'very hairy', a judicious waxing or laser session could be necessary. For those feeling understandably reticent, Mark insists it's not only the nether regions that can be decorated with crystals. He wears his own on the left-hand side of his abdomen, while others use the crystals to adorn arms, chest or back.

'Think of it just like a crystal tattoo - and it's less permanent than a real one,' he says.

The £6-£9 stickers come in barbed wire and geometric shapes, but an iron cross and red lips design have proved the most popular.

Torso pejazzling? Biceps? LAME. I started spelling out http://www.apostropher.com/blog/index.html down my schlong, but it turns out adhesive rhinestone crystals are kinda expensive and start to add up after a while. So I stopped after the .com and now the whole thing looks off-center. It's okay, though: that's enough to get you to the main page and I've hardly posted anything there in a couple of years anyhow. I really should have gone with the Faulkner passage instead. Well, I'm off to the park to make new friends!


 

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Federal Jury Duty Form

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.20.11

This is a quiz. How do you fill out the following, if you have graduated college?

13. _EDUCATION_
Show the extent of your education above grade school
High school/GED equivalent    Yes____ No____
Trade/Vocational School           Yes____ No____
Above high school                          Yes____ No____

Additional information: all other questions on this form were clear yes/no questions - nothing like a multi-tiered question here. So there was no precedent for leaving a yes/no pair blank, if that's what you think is best.

Jammies and I differed.


 

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Or maybe we can take over a planet somewhere.

Posted by Stanley
on 05.20.11

As the 2012 GOP presidential aspirants hobble around looking for an invitation to the party, I've had the thought a few times: the relentless focus on domestic issues—or, really, just The Economy, whatever that means today—gives the would-be candidates a free pass on foreign policy. And the cynic in me has only one real question is: what country do you plan to invade under false pretenses?

Iran seems like an easy answer, but the Axis of Evil thing is just so Bush 43.

And all the coolest kids like to talk tough on China, but does anyone really want to try another land war in Asia?

I'm guessing Vermont. To stop the creep of socialism. (Sorry, Vermont. You seemed really nice.)


 

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We're captive on the carousel of time

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.19.11

This is a drinking game: everyone gets in a circle, and each person has a shot in front of them. The first person takes their shot, and then slaps the next person. As in, open hand slap across the face as enthusiastically as you can. Then that person takes their shot, and slaps the next person. And so on.

This is played by Jammies' littlest brother and his buddies at college. I don't really like being hit, but I think I'd be okay watching other people get hit, in this case.


 

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Contamination and contiguity

Posted by Ben
on 05.19.11

When I was a lad, I believed that if one poured water from a glass or pitcher onto the dirty ground, and the stream of water was not interrupted as it flowed from glass (or pitcher) to (dirty) ground, it was, if not certain, at least possible, that not only the water that had actually reached the ground, but also the water that remained in the vessel, would become dirty. Perhaps not visibly dirty, but at least contaminated. Also, mountains looked like mountains, and rivers like rivers.

When I attained maturity, I realized, of course, that that was silly.

OR WAS IT?


 

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Am I Just Mistaken About How People Behave?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.19.11

Like Yglesias, I've been amazed by the amount of coverage of the DSK event that doesn't "seem to realize that "serial philandering" and (alleged!) sexual assault are different things." Obviously they're legally and morally different, but I would have thought that they were expressions of a different character and set of desires: that a promiscuous man who engaged in a lot of consensual sex with different partners, even if he were in some interpersonal sense behaving badly (adultery or in some other way failing to treat partners with the respect they expected) was probably a very different person than a serial non-consensual groper or perpetrator of any level of sexual assault. To put it another way, if I know a promiscuous guy who doesn't commit or approach committing sexual assault, I don't think of him as successfully controlling his intense desire to assault women, I assume that he's not any more likely to find the idea of sexual assault appealing than anyone else.

But boy, does a lot of the DSK coverage make the reverse assumption, and make it as if it's so obvious that it doesn't need to be spelled out: if you describe a powerful man as a philanderer it means that he's someone a woman should be afraid to be alone with, there aren't two separate categories of behavior there. I'd really like to see this assumption fade away, and mine become the norm, to the extent that it isn't already.


 

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You Want To Know Why Liberals Get Nervous About Pushing Charter Schools?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 05.19.11

This story from Albany is more blatant than anything I was expecting, but it does demonstrate the dynamic I worry about:

A group associated with Albany's charter schools sent out multiple fliers and likely paid for a push poll to kill the Albany school budget.

At least three separate fliers were sent to Albany residents in the last two weeks that encouraged voters to reject the school budget and intentionally exaggerated a tax rate increase to mislead voters. A telephone push poll also asked city residents leading questions including if they were fed up with tax increases and wasteful spending....
...Albany's charter schools are currently reimbursed about $12,000 per student by the Albany school district. A defeat of the budget would have no effect on the charter schools, which received $30 million in Albany taxpayer money this school year.

To sum it up: charter schools in Albany are paid a fixed amount per student that opts in, so they have a direct financial interest in people thinking that the public schools suck. And now it appears that they're campaigning to cut public school budgets, thereby causing the public schools to suck. This does not look like a recipe for anything good happening. (You probably all read this already at Crooked Timber, but I wanted to point it out here.)

Along the same lines, private prisons don't seem to save money either.


 

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Fluffy Balance

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.18.11

...to the post below.

I showered without soap or shampoo yesterday. I'm not terribly invested in this experiment though, because I started thinking:
1. Animals are kind of dirty and gross, if left to their own devices.
2. I have atypically swarthy skin. I don't bruise, it doesn't get dry or rashy, it doesn't do anything except look thick. So I'm not having any problems from soap, currently.
3. I have coarse hair which always looks the same. So I haven't had any problems from shampoo/conditioner, either.

When I showered yesterday, it felt odd to forgo my rituals. The only motivation I've found so far is that it would make packing slightly easier. So I'm not sure if that's enough.

Also of fluffy interest:
When did I get so scared of heights? I'm turning into a total mess. We sat in the balcony at the graduation on Saturday. Not only can I not handle being anywhere near the edge, I even get worked up watching other people near the ledge. I almost grabbed a two year old who was goofing around on the bars, because I was getting so panicky, but her mother came over and restrained her.


 

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Guest Post: Farmland Grab

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.18.11

From lw:

A current event that interests me is the leasing of huge tracts of African and South American farmland to foreigners, often Chinese firms or oil-exporting nations. The results apparently run the gamut from simple theft of the funds by local rulers with nothing much happening on the ground to new infrastructure (roads and ports) and effective management increasing yields. There's a catchall site for news about this; here's one article.

From Heebie:

Because I am provincial, I needed some conversion help. 100,000 hectares is about 386 mi². Ethiopia has total area of 1,127,127 km², or 435,186 mi². So when an article which begins:

Karuturi Global Ltd. may receive an additional 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of land from the Ethiopian government if its current 100,000-hectare concession is developed within two years, the Agriculture Ministry said.

they're describing possibly turning over 3% of the entire country.

Here's another article from the site, Bangladesh rents African land to boost food output, which is written like propaganda. Based on the article, Bangladesh used to be self-sufficient. Then factories and development ate up all of the farmland. Recently they've become giant importers of rice, with huge food shortages. Therefore farmland must be leased (but I thought the factories and development ate it all up?). Therefore the foreign ministry must start leasing land. (Why the foreign ministry? and it never specifies who is receiving all this land.)(To be clear, the whole website is based on drawing attention to the exploitation. This article is just imported from another paper.)

This sounds like just another example of corporations from one country pillaging another country for its natural resources. Which inevitably impoverishes the host country, and enriches the corporation. This time it looks like it will just cement food shortages permanently in these countries.

I'm going to think of some light and fluffy topic to post, to balance this out, because otherwise we're all going to crawl right back in bed.


 

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Stand

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.17.11

Here are some sanctimonious infographics about the dangers of sitting all day long.

Yesterday at work, I found an old podium, and took it to my office, and used it while finishing my grading, and it was very pleasant to mix up the sitting and standing. I think I'll keep using it.


 

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Pretty fabric

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.17.11

This will be one of those posts that doesn't generate many comments. But these textiles are just plain gorgeous. There is definitely an ikat vibe going everywhere these days, and I just love it.


 

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Go The F* To Sleep

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.17.11

A few different people sent me the link to Go The F To Sleep, which sounds like a funny book. Here is a post claiming to have solved the mystery of Go The F To Sleep, and I think it is dumb. Macy Halford claims that this book resonates because the current crop of parents - herself included - aren't really adults, and we take two hours to put our kids to sleep because of this.

You know what? You're an adult, and the rest of the thirty-somethings are adults, because you're not a kid anymore. Why is it that my generation is infatuated with the notion that they're still a kid on the inside? My best guess is: adulthood will happen and you'll momentously say goodbye to your inner kid self. This is a stupid notion. You're an adult. Congratulations.

Maybe there's another reason? I don't know, but I feel like an adult, even when I don't have my shit together.

Via Tedra


 

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Christ, what an asshole

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.11

Evolutionary blowhard writes article on why black women were doomed from the veldt to be less attractive to authors of Psychology Today. (This is a deeply stupid article and person. I really can't imagine this will actually spark any heated debates. On the other hand, the Momism thread went the way of bar soap and idiomatic expressions of femininity, so who am I to predict squat?) Anyway, Jamelle and The Werewolf are on it.

I can't actually get the first link to load. But I was easily able to assess Kanazawa as a shithead anyway.

Via Neil.


 

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Momisms

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.11
ONE of the most enduring myths about feminism is that 50 years ago women who stayed home full time with their children enjoyed higher social status and more satisfying lives than they do today. All this changed, the story goes, when Betty Friedan published her 1963 best seller, "The Feminine Mystique," which denigrated stay-at-home mothers. Ever since, their standing in society has steadily diminished.

If I think about it, I knew this was a myth, and that mothers were held accountable for all sorts of society's ills during the 1950s. Still, when not thinking about it, I tend to let this sort of belief go unchecked. This read was interesting.

(The part about how mothers were driven like workhorses in the 1950s never escapes me, however. I'd have been totally strung out on valium if I were stuck at home back then.)


 

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How To Be Cool, and Other Lessons

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.16.11

From Chris Y: a university of life. Last line of the article:

It seemed a harmless way for middle-class people to spend money but not really a step towards 'an ideal new sort of institution', except in the sense that 'a harmless way for middle-class people to spend money' is the future the government seems to have in mind for humanities departments across the country.

In theory I'd enjoy these topics for classes, but it would take me a seriously positive testimony from someone I really really trusted to get me to actually attend a class.


 

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Denomination Domination

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.15.11

Since last week's religion discussions, I've become fascinated with the possibility that the background hum of fundamentalism in this part of the country may far exceed its welcome. According to Wikipedia, Evangelical Protestants are 24.4% of the population. Next is Catholics, with 21%.

And yet, example #63: at the hotel this morning, during breakfast, they were showing some fundie televangelist railing away on TV. Most people, and even probably plenty of Evangelical Christians, probably don't really want the obnoxious drone on during breakfast. And yet, someone in the hotel is making that decision. What's up with this? Exactly how big is this minority of people who actively prefers this incessant hum?

Also we drove past the Overcoming Faith Christian Center. Which is kind of funny, right?


 

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An eye for an eye

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 05.15.11

Especially Messily sends in this article which is super depressing in a dozen different ways.


 

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