Dateline J.K. Rowling Interview

If you have not read the book, stop now. There are plenty of spoilers and this post does not have the spoiler alert that the TV interview had.

Even though the interview broadcast in about an hour, the actual content was around 25 minutes. I am sure someone in youtube will condense it down and edit it. I will summarize what we learned here.

J.K. Rowling is a little controlling and does not like people that skip to the end of the book to find out what happens. I think she is a little entitled since she gave 17 years of her life to write the book. She even hinted as to wanting to release the last part of the book later just to make sure people read it the way she wrote it.

During her writing process she killed people she spared characters lives. It was hard for her to write about people deaths specially all of the father figures Harry had. She was going to kill Mr. Weasley, but since she considers him the best father figure in the series she let him live. We do see how he does not play much of a role in any book past 5.

Teddy Tonks is killing kissing Victoria who is Bill and Fleur’s daughter on the train in the last chapter. She wanted that to mirror some of Harry’s own orphan situation. She also answered what the three main characters jobs are when they grow up. Harry and Ron become Aurors Harry probably becoming the head of the Auror department. Hermoine becomes somewhat of a lawyer in a department for the miss use of magic, but this is all in a very different Ministry of Magic. She says that they create a whole new world.

Even though J.K. Rowling said she was done writing the Harry Potter series I am sure she will keep on writing if not about those characters about that world. I would almost bet on saying that we will see Harry again and not just in the two movies that are left. However I was wrong on my prediction of Harry becoming the new DADA teacher. If I missed anything just comment :)

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The Simpsons Movie (****)

buy at Amazon.com

Spider Pig, Spider Pig, made about 72 Mil. While I do not want to ruin this movie for anyone, I really want to… I want to talk about every single piece of hilarious comedy so that someone can tell me if I have missed anything.

The Simpsons are an institution now, they are even the subject of college courses. The same way some kids grew up with Harry Potter, I grew up with Bart. I do agree that the wizard is a lot cooler than the underachiever, but Bart is a lot funnier and his first full frontal is pure hilarity.

There was a lot of political statements and the humor was better than Family Guy but did not need to be over the top. It really captured the old feeling of watching The Simpsons when I was a lot younger. Bea reviewed the movie too, go see what she had to say. We went to the theater with some friends and then enjoyed some sushi and gellato :)

You need to go out and see this movie this week before people ruin it for you. Nobody dies on this one… or do they?

The Simpsons Movie.

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Chicken and Noodles, Friday Feast.

Appetizer
Describe a toy you remember from your childhood.
I have done this one before many times… lets see if I can think of a new one. I had a deck of cards that had all kinds of different tanks. You would battle against other tanks based on their specs and you would battle until you ended up with everyone else’s cards… anyone have played this one or know its name?

Soup
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how observant are you?
When it comes to programming a 9 in some cases… with other stuff an 8. I am good at seeing patterns.

Salad
Where would you rather be at this very moment?
In Colombia for sure visiting Palmira, ve, con Bea :) Hopefully soon

Main Course
When was the last time you learned something new?
I think today with Mike, he told me that noon is not considered either PM or AM.

Dessert

Fill in the blank: I have ____________ but I haven’t ____________.
I have jumped from a high rock into a river but I haven’t jumped from a plane.

How to go into an interview

During college I took what I called a “resume” building class. However, they also taught us how to act during an interview. The final exam for that class was to interview with actual companies that sent a representative on campus. Big names like Computer Associates, People Soft, Oracle and the like “mock” interviewed us. I even remember the teacher for the class, she was more of a Gym teacher than a career adviser but I now thank her for her harsh words during the process. They taught me how to go into an interview and ace it.

I also have to thank my first employer for teaching me a lot about the business world. He really made an impression on me about how to dress, how to talk and how to act in front of customers. It was a very hard job for someone just out of college but it really catapulted my career because of the difficult situations he put me through. Speaking in front of a room full of hospital CIOs is not easy, not only are they decisions makers about buying your product, they do not like to feel like their time is being wasted. The experience made me learn to react on the spot and use one of my strengths, humor, to make the time with the people something they would remember. Most important is to make sure that the people that you sell something to, even it if is just services that they remember the product and for the right reasons.

Lately we have been looking to fill some positions at work. I am not the one making the decision or interviewing this time, but it scares me that most of the people interviewed have no clue about writing a resume or even coming to an interview. So I figure I should share some of the knowledge I have gathered. It might be all common knowledge to must, but I have been surprised lately as to how many people make simple mistakes.

Mentality

The way you think will affect everything about the hiring process. If you think that you have no chance at getting the job, then why are you applying to it in the first place? Do not waste anyones time, specially your own.

Once you have found an opportunity that you think you have a chance on, start thinking for you actually working for the company. You are a product and you are selling yourself. Confidence is a very important tool that used wisely can land you a job.

Most decisions are made in less than 5 minutes. You have even less with a resume. Once you are on the other side of the hiring process you see that hardly anyone reads a whole resume. I bet you money that none of you has read my whole resume and even now putting a link will only make you glance at it. Think of your resume as your foot in the door, and most importantly never lie.

The hardest thing to get used to is to think inside of your head right before the interview as you are the one that is interviewing the company. Why would you want for them, besides getting a pay check? What makes this environment conducive to either your career or your happiness?

Presentation

As I already mentioned, the resume is very important and I don’t feel I am the best resume writer out there. However, I do have a rule for them. You have to customize your resume for every position you apply. The resume should contain what that company is seeking highlighted. Make your bullet points talk to the directly. Take their job description and see if you fit every single one of their needs or at least have experience that is good for them. Also use a guide on how to write a resume by using a good book, or information online.

If for example the company is looking for someone that has cash register experience, and you worked at a carnival taking money. You have the skill, you know how to count money and make change. Relevant does not mean you have had the same exact experience, but rather similar. Make sure you present yourself properly by letting the company know that you can do what they need you to do.

From the first moment you come in contact with the company either by e-mail or phone, make sure you sound very eager, but not desperate. You want to work for them, but not give your services away. Make sure that they think you want to work for them, just not work for free. Also that is the time to start gathering information from them… even though you should have already started.

What I mean by that is that before even submitting a resume or filling out an application find out who they are and what do they do. The more familiar you are with the company, the faster you are going to find things that in your past experience should be highlighted. If a company sells bird cages and you worked at a pet store for a summer you might already know dimensions, styles, sizes and what type of birds need what type of cages. You might have not even thought of putting that summer job there for a company called Acme Metal Works if you did not research it first.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but like with every product, the way you present it to your future buyers is the key. They have to want to buy the product, or in this case hire you. I am the most excited about a product when I go to the store, I located it very easily and it comes in a well marketed box. A clear good looking picture of the product, a good feature list and with tons of information about what is inside. You should look the same way to a potential employer, he should be excited about the product that he/she is about to purchase.

Interview

Plan for your interview day at least a day before, preferably a week in advance. What you are going to wear, how you are going to get to the place. If you are unsure about where the place is make a dry run to see how hard the place it is to find. It is really embarrassing (it happened to me once) to have to call someone to tell them you are lost. Arrive 15 minutes early. At the very least 5 minutes early. Take a notepad with you in a nice folder with some hard copies of your resume.

If possible have a friend quiz you before you go into the interview. Not just about the company or your experience but regular interview questions. You would be surprised how many places still ask about, 5 words to describe yourself or what does responsibility means to you?

How you dress makes a huge impression on your future employer. IBM used to be all about suits, white shirts and blue ties. Very agent from the matrix type. While you don’t have to go to those lengths you should investigate what the dress policy for the company is. During the pre-interview process, maybe phone interview, it is perfectly ok to ask what the dress code is.

Make sure you show up. If you miss your interview, even if you are calling before you miss it, it looks very bad. It shows that you either don’t know about time management at all, or that you have other irresponsibilities that preside your job. We all understand not having a babysitter, but you should already have a plan B for those situations. It does not sound as a permissible excuse and it makes the employer think about the possibility of you showing up for work. Same as having reliable transportation. If you planned with some time, you should not have to make any excuses.

You should always go one notch above from what the company’s dress code is. So if they are casual, go business casual. If they are business all the time, wear a suit. Never wear jeans to an interview, not even if you are going to work for a fast food restaurant. Just wearing a pair of khakis will give you the upper hand. Shoes are also very important, they should be polished and have no scuffs anywhere. Also don’t wear flashy colors, or put too much make up on. Clean shave, hair combed, pressed clothes and no overpowering perfumes are simple rules. A mint before the interview is good, but don’t go in there with a mint in your mouth or gum. Cell phone should always be off. Use the bathroom before you go into the interview, even if you don’t have to go in take this time to take a look and make sure you look your best.

No more Pop!

Or Soda, like some of you might call it. I have been trying to eat less junk and I am happy to report that I am down to maybe eating some McD`s breakfast once a month and a Sonic burger maybe about that often. The next step is to cut out drinking soft drinks all together. I am lucky enough that Bea does not like pop, so we don`t have to have it around the house. The funny thing is that we do have it, we have about 4 cases of different flavors for when people come over, but they have lasted weeks there.

My Dad used to work for Postobon back in Colombia, the distributor for Pepsi. They had some funny rules about your employees never being able to drink the competition’s, Coca Cola, products. However it was really easy for the employees to get free sodas. The $factory and offices had huge refrigerators full of all the flavors they offered. At home we would drink a lot of natural made juices, but we occasionally will get pop at lunch. When I was out with friends, pop was the drink of choice. I was around it a lot and drank it quite a bit.

When I moved to the US, I thought I was going to drink a lot less soda. I was very much mistaken… getting a actual fruit juice required going to the mall back in the 90s. Not many people thought of fruit juice here besides OJ. My family used the frozen kind, but it was not the same as all natural fruit juice and just simply full of sugar. Fruits are a lot more expensive here, a single mango is a lot more expensive than a can of soda. Pop became the default drink of choice.

I have seen how soda is made and trust me when I tell you that it is a chemical cocktail. I kept on lying to myself saying that if I drink diet soda, I would be all right. I think diet soda is just replacing high fructose corn syrup with more chemicals that keep on changing because the last one they used caused cancer. Essentially the “diet” sweeteners are a more complex molecule than sugar and your body does not absorb them as sugar (at least not for a while, there are studies saying that the body can eventually do it). That stuff is then left for your liver to deal with.

When I was addicted to junk food, a part of it was the soft drink that would was down the salty fries. It was just so refreshing… actually it was not, I would end up just as thirsty after drinking even a 44 oz. The caffeine shot that I got was just excellent and I thought, amazing little drink, cheap convenient and it tastes awesome. But did it really?

About 5 years ago I had to stop drinking Mountain Dew. It had become the drink of choice since college because it kept me “energized”. I also was working for a place that provided us with free sodas, specially the ones that were caffeine high. I started getting almost violent pain in my stomach after drinking one. I am not sure if it was all the sugar, the extra caffeine or just the combination, but that was it for MtDew. Instead of stopping to drink pop all together, even though by then I knew how bad it was for the body back then, I just switched to drinking something else.

I had also back then heard about hunger and how most of us confuse thirst with hunger. I also thought back to my youth when I also was thirsty all the time and would drink a lot of water. I can only remember wanting to drink water after actually doing something that made me sweat, but when I was a kid I would be thirsty during the day. I think it had a lot to do with having just soda so readily available everywhere and then being able to just grab some other junk food when I was just thirsty.

Giving up junk food also meant not having so much pop readily available. I also started getting water or iced tea with my meals instead of Pop. This week I heard about a report that links all soda, including diet, to your metabolism suffering. While the study was merely observational, data gathered also included soda but it was not the main thing the study was looking for, I could not ignore the rest of the knowledge I had any more. It is amazing how much we lie to ourselves to just stay in a behaviour that can be causing us harm, like smoking(which I have not done since… Bea has a counter).

So I have decided to cut my soda consumption to a minimum of every once in a great while. It is not a cold turkey kind of thing since I have been cutting it off little by little. I am however not going to buy any more soda for me at home. I also have upped my water intake, I drink quite a bit at work now which is cool. I am not saying you all should give up pop or any other behaviours that might be doing something bad to your body… but I challenge to at least think about what you are putting into your system.

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