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Another interview has come and gone. This one stands out in many positive ways. If anything the takeaway from it was, “determination.”

My interview was scheduled from 2pm to 5:30 at the company’s main location. We’ll call it George Way. I’m staying about 30 minutes outside Toronto at Ann’s place. I decided to take the metro rail which around the TMA (Toronto Metroplitan Area) is outstanding. The web site even has a trip planner that tells you which and when the trains are that you will take.

The morning was COLD. It was just below freezing out; but the winds where about 10-20 mph with 25 mph gusts. Throughout the day, my fedora blew off about 3 times. So I started by running to the local superstore for a pair of gloves. Sadly, I couldn’t find a scarf. (I realllllly could have used a scarf). From there it was off to the station.

The local station wasn’t a far drive; but you really got a feel for how much traffic was generated. I parked in lot 4 (which was numbered by distance from the station). It was a good half kilometer walk to the station proper. I think there was room in covered lot 1 which was connected to the station; but I didn’t discover that lot until I was walking to the station.

I purchased the metro card which would make instant “On and off” far easier and wandered up to the track. My timing karma was doing well and I got a train within about 4 minutes. The GO rail is a beautiful train. It is a double decker train car with nigh-comfortable seats that is first and foremost CLEAN. The upper level is noted as a “Quiet Zone” which means that conversations and audio from devices is not permitted.

The view was heavenly. On one side of the train I could watch the towns and the highway heading into the city. On the other I has a view of Lake Ontario. I truly look forward to this ride in the spring when the trees and flowers have come back to life. There was only one other person in my car as there were at least 8 cars on this train and as it was after rush hour… the load was in general very light.

After about 20 minutes my day’s challenges began to present themselves. The train came to a stop in the station 2 before the first destination, Union Station. And we sat there. As it turned out, the next train up the line had had a fire and there was smoke coming out of it. So we were stuck wating for something up the line. After 20 minutes I sent the recruiter an email explaining my odd situation and explaining that I could always contact LYFT if things got too close on time.

I wandered to the next car and discovered the two train monitors working the ride. I was in a tie for the interview and they asked me if I had any further information. I smiled and said, I don’t work for the transit system; I’m not even from the country. I listened as they chatted about other stoppages they’d experienced. After about 5 minutes they got the go ahead to proceed to at least the next (my penultimate) stop.

The train was held again, so now it was time for me to take a Lyft. I rode one station to Toronto’s Union station. Looking on the GoTransit site there were 3 locations for the street that I could get rides to. One was in Toronto, one was in Hamilton, and one was … much further. I chose the one in Toronto and it led me to another train that was leaving in 40 minutes. I wandered around the food court and had a late Tim Horton’s breakfast.

By the time I got off the train 2 stops out from Union, the snow had started and I was freezing. I was told it was less than a km to my destination which would be about 20 minutes. My interview was now in 45 minutes. I checked Apple Maps and it told me it was a 30 mintues drive to my destination!!?!??! Go Transit managed to send me to the Toronto Street that wasn’t the one I needed to be at. Lyft #2. With 10 minutes to spare… I’d finally reached my destination. Perserverence and determination.

The interview itself was rigourous but good and complete. For the first time in my career I was asked about why I listed my hobbies on my resume and how they fit into my job. (I’ve been hoping someone would ask that.) One interview included a question to architect a series of UIViewControllers. And one asked some more algorithmic questions. One consistant question which we’ve discussed on the podcast… what are solutions for preventing UIViewControllers from becoming MCP-esque monotlihic monsters.

Everyone was encouraging and most felt badly for my experience on the metro pointing out that it was rare and not likely to happen often. My last stage was to talk with the recruiter. Making an educated guess at salaries for Canada’s larget city, in Canadian money, etc… not the easiest thing. I estimated a salary of X and suggested that I’d seen a range of 60-115% of X.

It was a long day and an even longer walk back to Union Station from the office (which is happily next to a Tim Hortons… as common in Toronto as Starbucks is in Seattle.) The ride back during rush hour was crowded but not so much that the train was SRO. At my stop back where I was staying I’d parked in probably one of the furthest spots from the station. By now the temperature had dropped well below freezing and the winds were around 25-30 mph.

The worst part of the interview… Feeling good about it.. but now having to wait. If this one pans out… it’ll be a very new life for the family.

questionImageErin and I have been discussing the episode and you can expect our write ups before the holiday. But before we put them up I need to put up what seems like a gratuitous tweet.

Nick Lachey: ‏(@NickLachey) {(post)}

I want to thank all 10 groups for making this season of #singoff the most fun yet!! You ALL were great! See you again for season 5.

Did Nick just accidentaly pre-announce a pick-up for another season? One can only hope, but we WILL keep watch on this.

The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 5- Movie NightIt’s an hour until showtime so I better type quickly.

I’m really looking forwards to tonight’s episode. I love theme songs. Yes, I am that level of Geek and I embrace it. We’re back to having all the groups together tonight. I feel badly for the short schedule because it feels very rushed. I also (in agreement with many others) find myself greatly missing the swan song. It’s just a really strong way to send off a group after they have competed.

The Ultimate Sing Off still annoys me. It’s bothersome because it creates false looking rivalries in one of the few reality shows that tries to be “Feel Good.” Following any of the groups that compete you learn that there is camaraderie, respect, and outright love between the groups. I wish they’d show more of that. I specifically remember a moment in Season 3 where they showed members of some of the groups spontaneously doing a bass and rhythm to one of the visiting professional artists. It was a really strong moment showing the real fun of A Cappella.

Tonight’s episode is “Movie Themes” – And it’s time for my pre-review evaluation. This is where I look at the singles on the iTunes album and guess (without listening) if this seems like a good or bad idea for the group performing it. Tonight’s two-hour episode will be interesting because it’s going to have a double elimination (which brings us down to the final 4) and then is supposed to have a full 6-group Ultimate Sing Off. (Which I guess just goes to show that you can never have too much of a thing that much of your audience hates.)

On to the songs:

The group intro will be “(I’ve Had the) Time of My Life.” From the film ‘Dirty Dancing.’ This is a great ‘poppy’ hit that has fantastic room for different style male, female, and choral vocals. This should be a nice blast to start the show.

Then onto the groups

Home Free – “Oh, Pretty Woman” – Roy Orbison. I sense in this one a potential for Home Free to fall back into the rut of “All Austin” with a quick show of the Bass to be impressive. Home Free has been good about being tight and keeping the fun up and is not for a lack of surprise. So as long as this isn’t “More of the Same” this should be a group solidly in the Top 4.

Vocal Rush – “Against All Odds” – This is smart. Vocal Rush has an incredible sound when they have the intensity up but their Achilles heel comes from when they ‘blast off’ into fun. We haven’t seen them do a full straight ballad. We’ve seen songs with slow and fast. If they can keep this one under control; this could be a top seed for them.

Acoustikats – “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Counter to Vocal Rush… This is dumb. Yes… Big movie hit. However, I’ve chatted about the fact that Acoustikats (the Gemini Group) wears the two faces of Frat Boys and Serious A Cappella Colllege group. Their problem is that when they go for the fun, they lose their edge and originality. This song is about as “Party” as you can get. The main vocals aren’t even sung. So, putting an actual vocal to it will distract from the original or not doing so will distract from being a competitive group. This seems like a lose-lose for the Kats.

Filharmonic – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – In case you don’t remember this is, ‘That Aerosmith Armageddon Song.’ The Filharmonic is coming out with a Ballad. And one that I think would lend well to the Boy Band sound they have. This is the coin flip. This could either work stunningly well or be an exploding failure that would be called Glorious by a cadre of Kingons. (Did I mention that my Geek runs deep and I do embrace it.

VoicePlay – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – I really like VoicePlay. I’ve made it clear. They have a Pentatonix vibe but different. Several people have actually gotten on the other side of the fence for this group because of this. This is a song that I think they will knock out of the park. It falls in their (to use a growingly annoying term) wheelhouse. But I think the pleasant surprise here is that we’ll see more of the other vocalists step up in this one and Honey may move to harmonies. This is a song like “Video Killed the Radio” that has such pure fandom and love behind it, that doing it right could seal them into the top two. Not doing it right could end the competition for them. I lean towards success.

Ten – “Skyfall” – This is basically a Torch song from Adele. I think Ten is going to suffer the most from the short season. With the longer run of Season 3, the groups definitely had time to grow and mature. The shorter season doesn’t allow for much growth of experimentation. I think this is something strong for Ten’s voices. But the cohesion that we want to see may not get a chance to shine with this one.


  • Home Free – Oh, Pretty Woman  2:1
  • Vocal Rush – Against All Odds 5:1
  • VoicePlay – Don’t You (Forget About Me) 10:1
  • The Filharmonic – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing 12:1
  • Ten – Skyfall 15:1
  • Acoustikats – Old Time Rock and Roll 25:1

I have no idea how the Ultimate Sing Off plays into this tonight. Whether they just critique everyone and then put them all in the grinder (which personally I’d hate) or if it’s just for fun. I did see in the coming attraction someone singing (what I think was) “Fame” from the movie of the same name. For those under 25, the original with Irene Cara. I find this ironic because it was playing in the restaurant I had dinner at tonight. So, twice in one night would be a… um… treat? Potentially, this is the unannounced song for the Ultimate Sing-Off.

See you all back in the next post and on twitter. How did my guesses match with yours?

Twitter Log Beyond the cut…

Twitter Log Beyond the cut…