Recruiting at the NBMBAA Conference

This week I am representing my business unit at the National Black MBA Association conference as a hiring manager at the career fair. The event is in Orlando. I arrived late last night and will return to Seattle on Saturday afternoon.

I am here to interview MBA candidates/recipients for exactly one position across my Vice President’s entire organization and to help staff the company booth in the exhibition hall. I have recruited and attended events for many years so the mechanics are familiar. This is my first time attending an MBA event, however, and MBA’s are some odd birds, indeed.

A few observations (warning: blatant generalizations follow):

  1. Every recent MBA wants a base salary more than they are able to prove they deserve.
  2. There are an awful lot of MBAs competing for very few well-paying jobs (see #1).
  3. MBAs dress very well. There was a higher concentration of (knock-off?) designer handbags and tailored suits in the Orange County Convention Center than I saw my entire time in France or Italy, combined.

I realize the observations above only apply to a subset of the MBA population. Several of my co-workers and friends have MBAs. They are all smart, driven people who earn every dollar they are paid. Lawyers, on the other hand… 😉

My First Impression of Stockholm, Sweden

I arrived in Stockholm around 7:30 AM today. My flight from Chicago to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport was on SAS. It was my first time on SAS and that had to be one of the least comfortable business class flights I have ever been on. The seats reclined into a more-or-less flat bed but the bed was hard and short considering I am just over 6 feet tall. The service was so-so with attentive flight attendants and decent food. Lufthansa and Singapore Air still top my list of favorite airlines. Lufthansa’s First Class had pajamas, y’all. It’s going to be hard to top that.

Stockholm2007_0001Clearing customs was pretty easy. Not Barcelona customs easy, but quick and painless nonetheless. There were no forms to complete, I had nothing to declare and I carried on my bags. Being the 5th person off the plane, I waited in line less than 10 minutes for my turn with the customs agent. It would have been even shorter if another flight had not landed just before ours. I had already exchanged some greenbacks for Swedish kronor (SKR) while in O’Hare so I headed straight for the taxi line. The current exchange rate is about 6:1 SKR to USD. Sweden is a member of the European Union but, like Denmark and the United Kingdom, it has not replaced its currency with the euro.

By 8AM I was in a taxi heading south toward Stockholm. By 8:25 we had hit rush hour traffic. I expected the expressway to be chock full of Saabs and Volvos. I guess there isn’t too much national loyalty to the domestic brands as there were probably equivalent numbers of Peugeots, Benzes and BMWs. I even saw several Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers. We eventually made it to the hotel and the 540kr ($90) taxi fare put me in a panic as I only had 600kr. I asked the taxi driver if he accepted Amex and, somewhat offended, he replied, “But, of course!” Cool. Out came the plastico fantastico and a moment later I was entering the wiggity wackest European hotel I have ever seen.

Continue reading “My First Impression of Stockholm, Sweden”

Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai“Afro Samurai” is a new animated series that comes on Spike TV, Thursdays at 11PM. There have been two episodes so far.

It stars none other than the hardest working man in Hollywood, Mr. “Snakes on a Plane” himself: Samuel L. Jackson. Gator (term of endearment) does the vocals for both the protagonist, Afro Samurai, and his sidekick, Ninja Ninja. Ron Perlman is the voice of Afro’s nemesis, Justice. Justice is called #1 and Afro Samurai is called #2 for the headbands they each wear. I will discuss the headbands shortly.

What do I think after the first two episodes? The series has been entertaining for its storyline, quality animation and absurd anachronism.

Continue reading “Afro Samurai”

Snow + Seattle Drivers = Accidents & Crazy Traffic

Blame El Niño, La Niña or global warming but, as it turns out, it really does snow in Seattle despite my observation to the contrary almost a year ago to the day.

This time it’s worse…much worse.

The snow started coming down yesterday, coated the roofs then melted in most areas after 1-3 inches. Today there was sleet followed by a big dose of heavy snow and plummeting temperatures. This confluence of meteorological events combined with the innate inability of Greater Seattle area drivers to command their vehicles during bouts of severe weather — that really isn’t that severe by Midwest and Northeast standards — has created the most incredible traffic log jam I have ever experienced.

I called myself leaving work at 5:42 to arrive home before the roads iced over. I pulled out of the parking garage into a long line of fellow commuters that snaked itself deep into campus roadways. About 30 minutes later I made it about 50 feet to the next parking garage entrance and decided I would save myself the agony of a 0.02 mile-per-hour commute over the 5 miles home. I re-entered the parking garage and returned to my office.

Thankfully, I have my Zune and plenty of work to do. Also, I can follow the play-by-play of tonight’s Seahawks vs. Green Bay game courtesy of Fox Sports online.

Dangit, Green Bay just scored another touchdown :angry: How ’bout them Cowboys!

Nerd Alert: The Obligatory Gas Mileage Chart

TB makes fun of me for religiously tracking the gas mileage of my 1997 Mazda 626. I have been doing it fairly consistently, using Microsoft Excel, since mid-2004. She thinks only nerds track such meaningless information so, in her honor, I post my car’s mileage calculations.

Keith's gas mileage
Mileage Definitions
  • The row highlighted yellow indicates a roadtrip with extended driving over a relatively short period of time which skews the price per day average of that entry.
  • The rows highlighted green were periods when we were on vacation which also skews the price per day averages, just in the opposite direction.
  • The double-lines indicate points when I changed from 89 to 87 octane fuel (and back). I explain this later.
  • The heavy, dotted-line signifies the move from our previous home which reduced my one-way commute from 17 to 5 miles.
  • I subtracted the days I was out of the country from Aug-Sep from the 7/26/2006 entry.
  • The 9/13/2006 entry is missing values because I am unable to supply the “Miles” and “Days” data until my next fill-up.

I have excluded the “yellow” and “green” anomalies from the analysis which follows.

Continue reading “Nerd Alert: The Obligatory Gas Mileage Chart”