Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blasting a cold the old fashioned way

There are multiple colds running around the office right now, a few had taken people down for a few days. I thought I had escaped the scourge with my regular cleaning regimen.

1. Purell - after riding the subway and a few times during the day upon returning to my office

2. Clorox Wipes - wipe down my desk, office phone, iPhone, blackberry, mouse, and laptop at least once a week

3. Lysol Spray - spray down my keyboard on Friday just before I leave for the day

Now I'm enjoying a sore throat along with some nasal congestion and irritation.

I'm treating myself with a Neti Pot, multiple packets of Emergen-C mixed in water, 10 pills of PB8 PRO-BIOTIC ACIDOPHLUS, and my secret weapon Comvita Propolis Lemon & Honey Lozenges.

Bees use propolis to protect the hive and they gather it from various local plants. This mixture of resins, waxes, and other materials apparently has a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Formic Acid Steam For My Varroa Mites

My first beehive has a serious infestation of Varroa mites, when I pull the screened bottom board tray I see hundreds of them. The mites are transmitting the deformed wing virus as I see the bees bouncing bees with deformed wings out of the hive.

From a scale perspective, if Varroa mites attacked humans it would be like having something the size of a dinner plate attached to your back.

Yesterday I applied formic acid pads for the first time to see if I can get the Varroa count down before the winter. It's relatively easy, just need to be careful since you are handling acid which is breathable and can damage your skin. I'll be back in 21 days to see how well it worked.

What's interesting is that formic acid is naturally occurring in honey, just not at the sauna levels.

beehive with formic acid pad spacers in placeMite Away II formic acid pad placed in a beehive

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Johns Hopkins SDS Interview Techniques and Etiquette Panel

This marks the second year the Johns Hopkins Second Decade Society has held their Interview Techniques and Etiquette Panel at the Homewood Campus.

Below are some reference materials so the attendees can follow up:

Being a big fan of Manager Tools pod casts here are few that a student about to enter the job market should listen to:

I would also recommend their new podcast series, CareerTools.

Breaking through the clutter:

Make your resume and cover letter stand out: I remember back in the late nineties waiting for my interview to begin at an investment bank in the WTC complex. Sitting in the HR department, I looked over and saw an inbox stacked with resumes, they were all folded and creased. They didn't lay flat and I'm sure were hard to photo copy as well as handle and read. I started from that point forward sending all my resumes and cover letters via USPS Priority envelopes. I took one more step and placed them inside a manila envelope with a label and the persons name on that as well. Thus when the priority envelope is thrown away you still have a great presentation of your resume.

High quality resume paper is heavy, you put that in a normal envelope and it will come out with permanent creases.

Most likely the HR department are your gate keepers, make life as easy as possible for them.

What are the pros and cons?

1. This candidate is so interested they went these extra steps to deliver

2. It could skip some of the normal work flows that resumes get processed through.

3. It guarantees that your resume and cover letter are delivered in a pristine format. No vagaries of whether your word doc formatted correctly.

4. Most people like opening up packages, you're information is now a professional looking package

5. It's expensive $4.95 per envelope, I think when I was using them it was ~$2

6. Maybe the employer gets upset because it didn't come through the proper delivery format. On their website, via bits and bytes. Sure that's a concern, but you cover yourself by submitting the requested information the standard way. I've done hiring via electronic job boards at jobs past and the incremental cost for a candidate to submit a resume is low thus you get a lot of resumes many of them not qualified.

People tend to take the pray and spray approach.

If I had a resume show up on my desk in a priority envelope and they let me know they also submitted via the normal channels and the resume was a fit. That would stand out. Maybe others would disagree, but from my perspective it stands out.

Research your interviewers:

1. Use Linkedin - Linkedin can provide an amazing amount of information about your interviewers to understand their backgrounds. What school, activities, etc... These are all useful data points to help seed your interview conversation. It can help make your interview more memorable and connected

Books to prepare for your interview:

Hiring the Best: Manager's Guide to Effective Interviewing and Recruiting: I found this book back when the first edition was out and it's been useful in my hiring ever since. It's covers great behavioral questions and it's from the hiring manager's perspective. If you want to be fully prepared for tough questions that will strain you preparation, read this book and prepare answers for all of the relevant questions.

Learn about what makes you tick:

1. Take a Myers-Briggs test online

2. Disc profile if you want to pay for it

Key point I'm making here is the better you know yourself the better you can represent yourself.

One last point:

Your about to be a Hopkins graduate, you've probably worked really hard. I know how driven most of the students were when I attended. You need to put the same level of effort into your job search.

You can read a thousand different books on finding a job - the difference between the people who succeed and those who don't are the ones that actually take action. There will always be the next book on X, many people just keep buying, reading, and shelving versus actioning.

Do a great job, be successful, join SDS, and present here in 10 years yourself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pictures from Sunday - Post Honey Harvest

This was the honey harvest weekend and it was a bad season. I harvested less honey than I did last year and that was the first year for that particular hive. I can only hope for a big year in 2010, with six strong hives; took some pictures below of the bees cleaning out the leftover honey in the extractor.

We also stopped by the annual fireman BBQ in Cedar Point Park. What an amazing spot, a public camp ground open to anyone. Definitely rediscovered the beauty here and will have to take some bike rides with Diana to explore.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A funny Vibram Five Fingers Article in the NY Times

My mother saved this article from the NY Times for my wife, Diana. Apparently other couples have similar Vibram Five Fingers challenges.

Remembering September 11th

I wrote this post back on September 11th, 2006.

It's still relevant as it's what I remember from that day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Impact Man Screening

Diana and I had the privlege of an invitiaton from Businessweek to see the screening of No Impact Man this past Tuesday. Great movie and I look forward to reading Colin Beavan's book as well.

While I was checking out Colin's blog I came across the trailer to the movie Tapped. It's worth a gander.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Queen Castle Update

I mentioned in a previous post that I had setup a queen castle with four frames, each containing a few queen cells. This weekend I re-examined the four compartments and sure enough there were queens and a three had eggs.

QC #1: Queen was moving and there were fresh eggs in the comb. I marked her green.

QC #2: Queen was moving and there were fresh eggs as well. Marked her green.

QC #3: Queen was moving, but no eggs. Tried to mark her, but no luck catching her. The lack of eggs has me worried.

QC #4: Queen was moving and there were fresh eggs. Marked her green.

Since it looks like Queen #3 might not be a winner, I removed the divider board between 3 & 4 and I'll let the bees sort out which queen lives. Since I have one marked green and the other not, I will soon find out.