Bad Moon Rising: A Fan-made Banshee Promo

It’s no secret I love the Cinemax show, Banshee. It’s full of action, sex, and that good ol’ down home violence we all enjoy. Well, at least I do. Plus, it has a great cast. I was excited to see them at Comic-Con, and gladly stood in line for an hour and a half just to get in. As an aside, who knew Orphan Black, the TV show panel prior to it, was so popular?

While neither Jonathan Tropper nor Greg Yaitanes have responded to my tweets about a couple episode ideas I have, “Comes a Horseman” and “Revelation 6:8″ (hint, hint,) after the panel I decided to throw together a fan-made promo for the show using Mourning Ritual’s cover of Bad Moon Rising. Here’s my first-cut. I’ve already got Proctor, Nola, and Burton added to the final version, but it’s not ready just yet :)

Update! Season 3 Promo

While waiting for tonight’s Season 3 premiere of Banshee, I threw together another promo, Take Me to Church.

Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites: Arranging Skrillex for Orchestra

About a month ago, my daughter and I were going to the grocery store, listening to my “wub wub wub” mostly-dubstep playlist on Spotify, and blasting Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Yeah, we’re cool like that :) Anyway, during our drive, she said, “it would be cool if we could play this for strings.” My daughter, a middle-school strings student, is currently encountering what all musical students have encountered: playing, in large part, only Classical music. Though I love Classical music, I remember what it was like in school: wishing we could play something cool and modern. So I agreed with her and told her she should ask her instructor, which she subsequently did. Her instructor’s only concern was the sheet music. So, we began our quest for music. While we found sheets for several piano arrangements and an awesome piano quartet cover by Summer Swee-Singh, we were unable to find an arrangement for string orchestra. As such, we had to write one.

While I hadn’t done any composition for years, I’ve certainly missed it. For the task, I chose Sibelius, which is one of my favorite programs for basic music composition and notation. After analyzing a few different piano arrangements, I spent a few hours arranging an intermediate-level version for our middle-school string orchestra, including solo parts for violin and cello. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post the sheet music here.

php[tek] 2014

Oddly, though several of us from MeetMe submitted talks to the php[tek] 2014 conference in Chicago, none were accepted. As I’ve been a regular speaker at various tech conferences since 2005, I figured I’d take a look and see what was accepted. While some sessions look good, I’m perplexed by their dismissal of our talks. While doubtful, perhaps our submissions simply sucked. Though, I’m wondering if it falls into the pattern I’ve found *all* conferences to fall into, which is as follows:

  • Year One: Invite speakers you know, are local, or who are well-known in the industry. Focus on content.
  • Year Two: Mostly the same as Year One, but issue a CFP and pick a few new people. Focus on content.
  • Year Three: Issue a CFP and accept a larger number of new people. Focus on content.
  • Year Four: Deal with all the angry complaints of those who weren’t accepted for Year Three by performing “blind” reviews of sessions. That is, abstract-only, regardless of speaker quality or experience. Focus on fairness.
  • Year Five: Deal with the fallout of having crappy presenters by going back to Year Two. You have to prove your next conference won’t have crappy presenters by getting the really well-known ones. Focus on recovery using content.
  • Every year thereafter: Same as Year Three.

In short, having good content is key. You have to have material people are willing to pay to see. But you also have to have presenters who can not only present the content well, but who also understand it and can discuss it with conference members during and after the session.

I’m disappointed, because I think attendees would’ve got a lot out of our talks and our experience. It’s not often PHP developers get to meet up and talk to those with the experiences associated with using PHP for a top ten social network in the US, which is also one of the top twenty most trafficked sites in the US, supporting ninety million members. Regardless, congrats to those who were accepted and, for those wishing to attend, I hope you get something out of it.

Asking Questions in an Interview

As a hiring manager, I recently interviewed a candidate and, having modeled my practices of thought after those of the great consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, I quickly noticed an emerging pattern: the candidate said almost nothing relevant, yet spent almost the entire duration of the interview asking questions and, thereafter, sharing related experiences. The questions asked weren’t really superficial questions, but deeper questions about me, the company, etc. As the candidate continued, I immediately recalled a tactic from a book I had read, years prior, on proactive interview techniques.

The tactic was designed such that the candidate positioned his or her self in such a way as to *trick* the interviewer into treating him or her as though he or she were already a colleague. In doing so, said candidate would hold more weight in the interviewer’s mind.

After studying psychology for many years now, I realize this tactic is based on the premise of mutual self-disclosure, the process of communication through which a relationship is formed as individuals reveal themselves to each other on a non-superficial level. Although I’m not sure whether it was the candidate’s intent to employ this tactic, I was very turned off by it. The experience with the last few candidates led me to sharing a few suggestions I have on interviewing:

  • Be honest: If you don’t know the answer to a question or don’t have the experience the hiring manager is asking about, be honest about it. If you lie, we’ll most likely catch it and, when we do, you’re done.
  • Be passionate: Unless you’re going for a job in solitary confinement, show your hiring manager how passionate you are about the job, the field, etc. It’s easy to find people who don’t give a fuck. It’s much harder to find someone passionate.
  • Don’t be arrogant: While you may think you’re a beautiful snowflake, statistically, it’s highly probable you’re not that special. So, unless you’re really the bees knees, don’t push it. You never know what your hiring manager’s experience is and whether you’ll just end up looking like an arrogant asshole.
  • Don’t try to pull a fast one on the hiring manager: We interview many, many candidates. We’ve seen every trick in the book.
  • Don’t answer a question with a question: If you’ve been asked a question, you’re expected to answer it. If you would like something clarified before answering it, that’s fine. But, if you want to go off on a tangent and hope we forget you didn’t answer it, you’re done.