Coffeehouse observation No. 271

Good God! Panic in the coffeehouse! The WiFi went down for a whole five minutes! Emergency services very nearly had to be called! But things are back to normal, whatever “normal” is now.

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Crossing fingers after phone interview marred by no bars, technical problem

I had a fairly good telephone job interview this morning, despite equipment problems on both ends.

And despite me stumbling over some of the questions.

Some of the problems started this morning when I tumbled out of bed and checked my cellular phone to make sure that it had charged overnight. I was immediately troubled to see no bars, not one.

“OK, don’t panic,” I said to myself, of course, leaving out here the expletives. “I’ll just whip up some congee, grab a shower, and check the bars again. Perhaps a T-Mobile tower is down or something and it will take a bit of time to get it up again. If all else fails, I’ll make a run to Starbucks, troll for a cell signal, and pirate some Wifi. And just sit in my CRV for the interview.”

Yes, I do sometimes have extended conversations with myself.

Congee, check.

Shower and shave, check.

Car keys, check.

Laptop and cell phone, check and check.

Cell phone bars, not so check. Still no bars.

So, off I went for the Starbucks. As I drove closer, I checked the bars and the signal seem to be coming in strong. Great!

I circled the Starbucks in the Miracle Mile in Stockton and head back to my apartment to go over notes before I planned to return to the Starbucks in time for my interview call.

Funny thing, though, as I drove back to the apartment – I started getting more bars. Eureka! A strong signal. Perhaps, just, perhaps, T-Mobile fixed the glitch and I’ll be able to receive the interview in a non-stressful environment sitting at my writing desk in the living room of my apartment.

There I sat for more than an hour going over “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview” – of which, the interviewers would later ask only one of the “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview” – and tried to relax just a bit before my 9:45 a.m. call.

Everything was going well enough when I took another look at my cell phone at 9:30 a.m. and – PANIC! No bars, again! Ugh!

I scooped up my laptop, a notepad, a couple of pens, and my cell phone and headed downstairs to the garage. There I jumped into my CRV, cranked up the engine, and headed – at only slightly excessive speed – to the nearest Starbucks where earlier I had found a strong signal and where I could pirate WiFi. (I say “pirate,” but Starbucks provides free WiFi. Using “pirate” is an attempt at making me more edgy. Did it work?)

I parked in the same spot I had earlier, but the cell signal was at only two bars. I didn’t want an every-other-word experience during the interview. I drove around the block trolling for a stronger signal and found one – very nearly in the same spot I had been before going around the block. Time: 9:44 a.m.

OK, quick drink of water. Pull out the computer for the notes on the “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview.” Pull out the pad of paper to write down the names of the people on the search committee conducting the interview. Go online for a quick check of email.

It was then that the phone rang. I let it ring again, popped open the cell phone, paused – “Hello. … Hello. … Hello!”

Nothing. Great! Well what else can go wrong?

I tried dialing back a couple of times, but all I got was the ear-piercing tone of a fax machine. Great!

OK, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic … DON’T PANIC!

Oh, wait, the phone’s ringing again.

“Hello. … Hello. … Hello!”

Oh, crap, not again.

One more attempt to call them. More piercing sounds. OK, OK, OK, I’ll shoot an email to the person who arranged the interview. Under the circumstances, maybe – just maybe – we can reschedule the telephone interview.

The email was very nearly set to send when the phone rang one more time. By this time it was five or 10 minutes after the scheduled appointment

OK, don’t panic. Let it ring again.

“Hello”

“Hello, Keith. Sorry for that bit of technical problem …,” said the woman on the other end.

Sheesh, that was close. I’ve been out of work for 20 months now and I cannot afford to miss an interview for any reason.

The half-hour interview went well enough, I think, especially since it took place over the phone as I sat in my CRV with a laptop balanced on my knees.

I stumbled on a few questions. It’s a marketing job and my experience is in straight-up journalism, but several of the interviewers have newspaper experience, so they may have cut me some slack. They gave me verbal feedback and laughed where they should have, so it wasn’t all bad at all.

The job would be with a leader in its field and I think skills I honed as a columnist, opinion page editor, editorialist, and essayist could come in handy. The problem would be in having time to write about all the positive aspects. That’s a bit of a change considering all my work experience is in newspaper where much of the news is not good.

Well, I’m crossing my fingers. It appears it will be about 30 days before I find out if I was selected, so I’ll be patient and continue my search in the meantime.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 162

Free WiFi at the coffeehouse does you little good if you have a short in your power cord. Thanks HP.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 118

Ugh! Someone is running some hardware that is interfering with my Bluetooth! I hate that when that happens! … OK, I think the person responsible is leaving!

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Coffeehouse observation No. 115: Hey, it’s Joey Casanova – what an oaf

There’s this fella I see at empresso every so often and also at the library branch I frequent. Let’s call him Joey Casanova. The reasons will become clear in a bit.

By the way, if you’ve forgotten, empresso is the coffeehouse I patronize most frequently. It’s located in the Empire Theater on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. Students from the University of the Pacific, CSU-Stanislaus satellite campus, San Joaquin Delta College, and the nearby adult school keep the place pretty busy, which is great for the owners what with this economy the way it is.

Anyway, in the two or so years that I’ve been going to empresso, Joey Casanova has had at least three or four different girlfriends. He swaggers in with the woman on his arm, they grab a beverage, and then they usually sit in the patio area at the front of the theater. He sometimes lights up a really cheap cigar or pulls a book from a cheap canvas book bag and begins to thumb through the book.

Whether he’s with a woman or not, he carries himself with a swagger and air of self-assuredness that is somehow, well, revolting. He carries himself as if he believes he is God’s gift to women.

But the thing is he’s not that much to look at. He’s about 6-2 or so, 275 to 300 pounds – soft pounds, too, not much muscle bulk – dark hair that’s always nicely trimmed, but nothing special to look at. He usually wears a T-shirt and black jeans or black shorts, which contrasts with his somewhat pasty white skin. He often wears sandals and sometimes he wears a fedora.

I’ve heard the guy speak; nothing special there either. He doesn’t come across nearly as intelligent as he seems to believe he is and I’ve even heard him make a couple of borderline inappropriate comments.

I think it is the swagger that grates at me most. And the way he seems to view women. If a woman is sitting alone in the coffeehouse, Joey Casanova frequently goes up to them and strikes up a conversation as if it is expected that they respond to him positively. And they often do just that. The thing is, the very next day he might show up with the girlfriend du jour. And his swagger.

Yeah, I suppose it could be just coffeehouse confidence, but I don’t think so. I mean, sometimes he simply ogles women. I suppose it might be a touch of jealousy since I haven’t had much luck dating lately. Besides, I’d rather think of Joey Casanova as an oaf, lout and a boor.

Here’s another thing that contributes to my distaste of Joey Casanova. As people are gathering at the front door of the library branch, he’ll swagger up, move directly to the front of the pack, and very typically attempt to strike up a conversation with the most attractive woman there. It doesn’t matter if she’s in her teens or her 70s, he’ll attempt to win them over with a cliché or two and what I suspect he believes is a charming grin that comes across as smarmy.

Once the doors open, however, Joey Casanova bolts for the computers provided by the library for internet access. He pecks in his library card number and does whatever it is Joey Casanova does online, which is a scary thought.

Here is a typical Joey Casanova move: The other day I was sitting in the library where there are tables set aside for WiFi users and a pretty black woman sat down across from me. Her top revealed a bit of cleavage.

As soon as Joey Casanova’s hour was up on the computer – you get an hour each day on the library computers – he swaggered by and I’m pretty sure he did so simply to look down the woman’s shirt. See, an oaf, lout, and boor.

And women don’t seem to see that. How do the Joey Casanova’s of the world do it? Ah, well, at least he’s not in the coffeehouse today.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 108

First-timers to the coffeehouse will wander around for a while looking for an electrical outlet to plug in the power cord to their computers to use the WiFi. Some of them will even trip over the extension cord while doing it.

Coffeehouse observation No. 95

A guy just jeopardized a good power cord connection for my laptop by trying to stretch the extension cord at the coffeehouse nearly across the room to plug in his cellphone charger. I’m not sure if it is that alone or the fact that he’s wearing a hideous floral shirt and a driving cap that made me not mention to him that his charger had come unplugged. … Oh, great! The coffeehouse had to listen to this guy for 45 minutes talking to someone about what has to be a real estate scheme and now he’s arguing politics with the person he tried to lure into a partnership. Um, is that really good business practices?

Coffeehouse observation No. 36

The WiFi at coffeehouses often are not the best option for surfing the Net or Web or whatever it’s called this week – slow or weak connections are typical. And some coffeehouses limit the connection to, say, two hours, which is not nearly enough time. But if you add coffee and pretty woman or two walk in the door, things are OK. Yep, coffee and pretty women make even a slow WiFi connection OK.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Coffeehouse observation No. 2

If you’re gonna use the coffeehouse’s WiFi, buy a cup of coffee or other drink. Don’t be a cheapskate, don’t be a moocher!

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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