March 31, 2022

Setting Standards, Community Lifelines, and the Beauty of Open Source with Jen Weber


As developers, advancing in our careers can feel like the wild west. No guardrails, no handbook, and no standard path to success, everyone has a unique story when it comes to their coding career. 

Far from a developer since childhood, Jen’s no stranger to the unconventional path. Her Ember education grew within an accelerator while the bulk of her skillset expanded working in open source. While not an ideal path for everyone, the small startup environment and ability to learn from others in the Ember community was integral to Jen’s growth.

But what if there was a way to standardize? And what should come first, a standardization of skillset or ethics? At a time when tech is advancing faster than ever and Artificial Intelligence has entered the chat, Jen Weber would argue that a need for some ethical benchmarks is the more urgent ticket. 

In this episode, Chuck and Robbie talk with Jen about the imperfect path to developer success, how to standardize an ever-evolving industry, the struggle to measure developer expertise, and why the Ember community is largely responsible for her growth, career, and overall outlook on tech. 

 

Key Takeaways

  • [00:26] - An introduction to Jen. 
  • [01:18] - A whiskey review and freezing the perfect ice. 
  • [09:32] - How Jen was introduced to Ember.
  • [14:57] - What working at a startup taught Jen about developing. 
  • [19:20] - Why creating a standardized roadmap for developers is a helpful step. 
  • [23:24] - What Jen thinks about ethical standardization. 
  • [37:06] - The challenges of measuring developer expertise. 
  • [42:57] - What hobbies Jen has outside of tech and a food-themed whatnot. 
  • [53:25] - A midwest chat. 

 

Quotes

[09:47] - “Good coding often follows certain patterns. And there’s lots of different terminology and there’s tons of blog articles written about what all those different patterns are, and some of them are just kind of baked into Ember.” ~ @jwwweber

[10:20] - “The [Ember] community became kind of my lifeline for figuring out how to do tricky things that were outside of what I had already learned so far, that were outside of the intro guides and tutorials. So I spent a lot of time building my knowledge through the help of other people.” ~ @jwwweber

[13:07] - “I hesitate sometimes to say, ‘work in open source’ because it’s unpaid, on your own time. That was how I did it, and it benefited me hugely, but also I’m interested in finding out other people’s pathways to being successful, to growing their skills, to reaching more senior engineering levels than just this one meandering way.” ~ @jwwweber

 

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Transcript

Chuck Carpenter: [00:09] Welcome to another episode of Whiskey Web and Whatnot. I'm your host, Charles William Carpenter III. And joining me, as always, is Robert William Wagner III also? No, just the first.
 
Robbie Wagner: [00:23] No, first.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [00:24] Okay, we'll call him Robbie. And our guest today is Jen Webber. Hi, Jen. Thanks for joining.
 
Jen Weber: [00:29] Hi, thanks for having me.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [00:31] Yeah.
 
Robbie Wagner: [00:32] For those who don't know of Jen, there's probably a lot of people that do because most of the people we've interviewed or have listeners of are Ember fans. But Jen, if you want to give a quick little intro, like who you are and what you do.
 
Jen Weber: [00:47] Yeah, sure. My name is Jen Weber. My pronouns are she and they, and I love writing code for the web. I've spent a significant part of my career working within the Ember ecosystem, and I help out with a lot of the learning resources that are associated with that. So, like, you know, public website, docs, communicating between different groups of people to make sure that the docs are what they should be, things like that.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:16] Nice.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:17] Well, before we get into stuff, I always try to go to things, but we need to start the whiskey first.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:22] Yeah, we got to start with Whiskey. Today, and I believe you selected this one, Jen. I don't know. I have so many lately I forget.
 
Jen Weber: [01:31] I suggested some tasting notes that I enjoy, and this was selected by Robbie. I'm very excited.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:40] This is Belfour Bourbon, and this particular one is finished with Texas pecan wood. What I read about it is they just put some staves in the barrel and then let it age for a little bit longer. Sounds a lot like Maker's 46. It is 46% or 92 proof. The mash bill is 60% corn, 30% wheat, and 10% malted barley. So it's like an interesting one. Feels like it could end up being kind of sweet.
 
Robbie Wagner: [02:11] Smells interesting.
 
Jen Weber: [02:12] Smells awesome.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [02:14] Is it pecan or pecan? Pecan pie.
 
Robbie Wagner: [02:18] Pecan is what you used to go to the bathroom at night.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [02:23] Nice. Well, I was thinking in Harry Met Sally, and they're talking about pecan pie. Pecan pie. Okay, sorry. Guess I'm the only one that saw that. It's a wonderful love story. Before I taste it, I should smell it. I'm going to say little maple syrup smell. Maybe pancake syrup.
 
Jen Weber: [02:50] That's kind of what I was hoping for. The things that I suggest that I really like, there's a maple whiskey that I especially enjoy that I don't think they sell in Massachusetts. So sometimes, if I headed up the interstate through New Hampshire or Vermont, I'll try to pick some up, and so this is like a nod in that direction I really like.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [03:12] Yeah, I think so. I'm getting a little vanilla-y syrup-y in the beginning. I can't say apricots because Robbie has banned me from that descriptor. But like banana? Yeah, like the smell of banana leaves, but more like a banana-y taste banafi. I don't know. Making it up.
 
Jen Weber: [03:34] No, I could see that. There's some fruity some fruity tones there.
 
Robbie Wagner: [03:40] Yeah, a little bit. I would say Bananas Foster-y, kind of.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [03:44] Yeah, like, there we go.
 
Robbie Wagner: [03:46] Caramelized banana.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [03:47] Yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [03:49] It's dessert-y for sure.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [03:51] It's a little hug, even though the proof is a little lower than some that we have.
 
Robbie Wagner: [03:55] Little burn.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [03:55] But it's got some burn, you feel it. It isn't like drinking water, which is, I think, pleasant about I want to know you're there. Little knock on the chest.
 
Jen Weber: [04:07] So what are y'all's opinions on adding things to the whiskey? Forbidden? Fine? This was a little bit of unfiltered apple cider. That'd be pretty nice.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [04:20] I mean, for myself personally, I don't tend to add things, not even really ice, but sometimes I'll do like a few drops of water just to see how that changes it. But I'm also like an advocate of it's not up to me to tell you how you like it. So if that's the way you like it, then you should roll with it. This isn't some kind of trophy. It's alcohol.
 
Robbie Wagner: [04:46] I used to always do a huge either like a really big ice cube or like crushed ice. And Chuck would give me a lot of shit for doing that. But I like what I like, and I wouldn't mind some cider in it, either. That sounds pretty tasty.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [05:03] Yeah, I could see it.
 
Jen Weber: [05:04] Did you have one of those spherical ice molds? Because I've always been slightly tempted by those at the Home Goods stores.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [05:12] I have, like, the little cheap rubber ones.
 
Robbie Wagner: [05:15] I have those, but they make really cloudy ice. So my new thing is, like, I bought this thing from Amazon, and I still haven't tried that. It's supposed to, like, I don't know, it's like this styrofoam block that you put the thing of the ice cube tray in, and it makes clear ice or something. So I'm going to have to try it and see how that works.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [05:38] Yeah. I was told that if you use distilled water or if you use boiling water. I tried all the things, and it still isn't clear ice. So I don't know what the trick is, but apparently, if you just pay more money to make them, then they get clearer. So let me know if that's effective. But that's what I hear.
 
Robbie Wagner: [05:58] Yeah, it's something about the freezing process. It like mimics nature. So it's like a pond freezing or something. And I don't know, freezes better and clearer.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [06:07] Okay. Maybe there's something to that.
 
Robbie Wagner: [06:10] We'll see.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [06:10] Can't disagree with the science, right?
 
Robbie Wagner: [06:13] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [06:14] All right. I think we should rate. Yeah, go ahead. Okay. So Jen, yes we. I'm not sure if you're familiar with our system. It is one to eight tentacles, one being the worst, eight being the greatest. It's all very subjective. Doesn't matter if this is your first or 100th whiskey. It's just like, do you like it? How does it compare to other things that you do? Like or don't like, and then give her a swing.
 
Jen Weber: [06:43] Alright, sounds good. I think for me, this is a seven because if it wasn't in my cabinet, I wouldn't be super sad. I love to try new things all the time. I've got a few mainstays, but if I open it up there one Friday afternoon then said, what will I have a drink of and I see this here, I'll be very happy.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [07:06] It seems like a fairly glowing review. Yes.
 
Robbie Wagner: [07:09] Yeah. I feel like I tend to give a lot of things like a six, but I think it's about a six. It has to be something that I don't like about it to kind of go below that, really. Like, if I would drink it again if it's pretty good, but it's not like the best thing I've ever had. It's usually around six.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [07:31] Yeah. If you're not like, wow, all my friends should get this kind of thing. Then it's hard to ever say there would be an eight. Like, what is the perfect one? You know? I mean, like Jen said, you didn't even have anything negative to say about the whiskey. You just said you're, like, happy to have it, but if it wasn't there, you'd be okay because you tried something else. So, like, what's it take to get an eight? When would you be sad that it's not in your cabinet? It's hard to say. So, yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat as you. Like a six. I think that this is unique. It's tasty. It's something I could have a couple of. It doesn't necessarily rank where, like, I must have this one versus something else, though some other ones that we do like our mainstays. I do believe it was like a little pricey too, which is probably one of the other things that would be like, oh, I enjoyed having it. Not sure I'd spend. I think it was like $80 or something again. I could be wrong. I don't remember the price exactly, but I feel like it was a little higher too, and that always kind of factors in for me. This probably would have wowed me at $50, and I would say, yeah, I would definitely come back to this more at $80. It's like, yeah, it was good, but now at that price point, maybe I want to try something else. Six it is.
 
Jen Weber: [08:49] Yeah. I think for me, like, an eight would be there'd be an emotional connection, a memory, and repeat, like a few different good memories there. Sitting around a campfire, having some friends over, that sort of, like, story starts to bring things higher.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [09:12] Yeah, indeed.
 
Jen Weber: [09:12] For me. Potential to grow with time.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [09:14] You could take this to, like, a campfire setup and pass it around, and I think most people would be pretty happy with it. So that's another bonus there. All right, so since I've taken over the role of Robbie today, I'll get started with more about you. And how did you get into Ember? What was your start into Ember?
 
Jen Weber: [09:35] Yeah, sure. So I was a coding boot camp grad, and they taught us Ember in the coding boot camp as a way to build our understanding that, like good codings, often follow certain patterns. And there's lots of different terminology. There's tons of blog articles written about what all those different patterns are, and some of them are just kind of like baked into Ember. They really wanted us to have a good understanding of what it means that something has a data model, for example. And then I got my first job at a company that was using Ember, first job in coding anyway at a company that was using Ember. And I was mostly working on the front end by myself quite a bit. And the community became kind of my lifeline for figuring out how to do tricky things. They were outside of what I had already learned so far. They were outside of the intro guides and tutorials. So I spent a lot of time building my knowledge with the help of other people and building those relationships that really helped me grow my own skills in such a big way. And it introduced me as well to other people who are part of the project leadership. So I participated open source now for like over six years, maybe kind of started as a way to survive and to, you know, get-go done. And over time, it turned into the way that I've continued to grow my career. Like I pair with other people who have more experience than me in different areas. I get to work on challenges at my own pace and occasionally get to listen to those bigger conversations. How do you architect something for an entire framework? How do you make decisions about what direction an API should go when it affects so many different people? And that was really a big accelerator for my career.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [11:35] That's great. That's interesting, though. It's the second time we've heard recently that someone learned Ember in an accelerator, which is great because you don't really hear about that very often. And these days, it feels like 99% of them definitely are all teaching React, skipping a lot of JavaScript fundamentals, and then kind of tossing people directly into a very specific career path and job. But then growth is hard, and we know that community is a little bit disjointed depending and then, so you just have to be lucky to get in with a good team at the job that you get or not. And so you having that experience in being able to learn that holistic framework versus library and then also falling into the community at a great time, I'm sure was wonderful for getting started and being able to lean outside of your company too to get things done and learn stuff.
 
Jen Weber: [12:35] Yeah, I think it's reasonable for a lot of boot camps to do things like teach React. I mean, if you look at the job postings. That's what it says there is. And if someone's listening who learned React in their boot camp, like, don't sweat it, it's fine. You're on like a learning journey. Right? But it also means, like, I think about my path. It's not that common to get involved in the open-source side of things. And people ask me how can I advance my career. And I'm like, well, I mean, I hesitate sometimes or to say write open source because it's like unpaid on your own time, you know, like, that was how I did it. It benefited me hugely. But also, like, I'm interested in finding out other people's pathways to be successful, to growing their skills, to reaching more senior engineering levels than like, just this one meandering way.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [13:28] I think there's a lot of different ways to choose your own adventure through that. Maybe like attitude, interest, and passion have a lot to play into that and success there, at least, and growth, and then you sort of find a way along with that.
 
Jen Weber: [13:45] Yeah, for sure.
 
Robbie Wagner: [13:46] For me, being an open source for so long, I feel like that's been super helpful for learning to level up my skills and stuff. But yeah, I know a lot of people that I've worked with in the past were strictly like nine to five. They didn't want to think about code after work. They didn't want to do any open source. And I respect and totally get that because I have much less of a life than myself or my wife would like, but some people just aren't called to do that. And I think there's definitely a lot of ways to get to that end result of leveling up and learning things.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [14:28] Yeah, definitely. I just think that you need opportunity to explore how things are made, to try and contribute to making things more and a wide birth of those things, and then to be potentially mentored to some degree. And maybe some people are lucky enough to just get that in their regular job, and that's great, but it's just not always the case.
 
Jen Weber: [14:55] Yeah, that's true. When I think about what are some other accelerators. For me, I would say I worked at a startup as my first job out of a boot camp. I worked on all the different things. When you're on a really small team that's building the product from beginning to end, there's a lot of opportunities. You work in things like, oh, what's the server configuration look like? How do we manage those instances all the way to how do I choose a UI library that's going to help me build things out quickly enough, but it isn't going to immediately look like it all came out of the box because clients want to see something new and special? Right? And so you grapple with these very big problems. You grapple with this wide spectrum of work, and that, too, can kind of help inform this more mature overview of how do we build software. Contrast that with someone who gets their boot camp right out of their boot camp or degree or whatever self-taught their first entry-level role. Is that like an established stable company where somebody writes up nice tickets for them? Like, how cool. That's amazing. But also, how do you still find those points of acceleration if that's something that somebody wants?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [16:19] Yeah, it's interesting. I think it's worth having both experiences just to contrast, like, your own best working environment too. And not everybody wants to understand the end-to-end process too. And people can be happy in a lane, I guess, right?
 
Jen Weber: [16:38] Yeah, absolutely.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [16:38] But then when you have more organization on the other side, you might find engineers who find themselves interested in other roles, supporting projects like, oh, Project Manager. I want to do scrum mastering. I want to do more, like, structured roles like that too. So it really is like a grab bag of opportunities and ways to get there.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [16:58] Yeah. I think for me, the common themes for leveling up, I guess or being allowed to fail. So if you have room for experimentation and you could try a different framework or they basically give you you have this feature and we don't care how you do it, what you use, we trust you do whatever you think is best. That definitely levels you up. And then also being able to mentor other people. So even if you're not doing open source stuff, if you have some more junior people on your teams at work or whatever, you can take a more active role in helping them, make them feel comfortable coming to you to ask questions and things. And that will help both of you get a lot better.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [17:44] Yeah, it's interesting. So we were touching on this briefly, Jen, before we started recording, and this whole leveling up and defining where you are in your career path and where you want to go and how arbitrary sometimes it can be in our field, like, who's a junior, who's a mid, who's a mid? Who's a senior? What's a senior to a staff, or a staff plus, or a senior staff or a principal or an architect? And the way those definitions tend to get defined by, like, HR departments or somebody making it up on the fly. And is it time-related? What are the specific challenges should you have actually mastered and gone through before you come into that role? It feels like the Wild West right now. And I think it's top of mind for me at least because in the last few months, we've had to try and define our own small career ladder. We're a small agency, but people work for us, and they want to know how they're progressing, and they want feedback in a meaningful way and a path and all of that. So, like, okay, how do you say someone is mid-level? How do you say someone is senior? And what is that? Can't say, like, well, it has to be ten years. Definitely not in our industry right now. People are getting it in five years or less. But does that mean that they've actually just because they have a title and a salary, does it match what someone else who's had maybe diversity and experience over a different amount of time?
 
Jen Weber: [19:19] Yeah, that's something I've been trying to explore a little bit. Is it possible to make a checklist of things that don't get you no guarantees doing these things, these activities, reading these articles, they don't get you necessary to specific endpoints, but they get you like, steps along that road, maybe steps to the left, steps to the right sometimes. And if we were to try to say what some of those things are like, what would they be? So, like, one that comes to mind for me is, like, API design, right? Like, I think about as someone progresses in their career, depending on what kind of area focus they have chosen, like, you know, I like to be able to say, like, hey, I'm thinking of writing this endpoint this way. These are the parameters, here's why I chose them and getting a critique from that that is based a little bit in experience and based and a little bit in reading and reaching outside of one's own sphere of experience. What would you read, what would you look at, what would you do as an exercise? And not everybody has the opportunity to do API design. Depending on the size of their company or the type of products they're working on, the other ones that come to mind is like mentoring, teaching. If you're on a small team where everyone's kind of a similar experience level as you, or they're more experienced than you, what would it look like to sharpen some of those mentorship and teaching skills within that role, within that day job, without having to step out and start taking up some of your free time? So I've been trying to actually write that list down. I've got like 50 things so far, but I've come up with at. First it was going to be a list of, like, ten things, like, oh, here's ten things you can study. And the more I kept going through my daily routines, the more I kept noticing other stuff. Then, is this just kind of like a bucket of miscellaneous things? Are those actually important steps of growth?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [21:26] Right? Not sure I know because those could be. I'm sure there's a certain number of those on that list that are, like, unique to you, and your experience makes you a unique expert in your area. And that's great because that makes you more valuable in that way. But in general, is that what someone needs to achieve particular success or recognition just in general as, like, to be a senior engineer? These things are covered. I can count on that. It's interesting. I've actually thought about the idea of like trade groups and trade unions and all that kind of stuff. Like would it be interesting if it was like an organization of certification or something? Like if someone's an architect, right, there's an architect's license or whatever that you get in the state, and there's certain things that everyone agrees that you need to know and understand, but then you get to design buildings on top of that. Like there was some kind of like unified agreed-upon standard of certification.
 
Robbie Wagner: [22:24] Well,  it's not super applicable to necessarily web development or front-end development, but software engineering in general. Like engineering has PEs, like professional engineering, I think is what that is or whatever. And if you're a civil engineer or something, most states, you can do that and get certified. I think there's only like two that will do it for computer science right now. So that's not super applicable if you like went through a boot camp necessarily or like don't want to learn the computer science fundamentals, but like, something like that does exist. So how can we extend that to other corners of the programming sphere, right?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [23:10] Like you're not writing languages at the metal or a bank or something, doing something different. So the standards are different. Doesn't make it less important or difficult.
 
Jen Weber: [23:23] There are some chatter. I don't know. This was like a couple of years ago, probably mostly on Twitter was where I saw it, about the need for some sort of ethical standards and certification group as well. And for there to be like some sort of code that has to be followed when doing things like especially working with machine learning, AI, cloud-based stuff, protecting the privacy user data, things like that. And if there was a group like that, then that would give that groups a little bit of power to be able to say, oh, I don't know about this thing that's on the product roadmap, and actually be able to point to something else that isn't their own opinions in order to back up like making changes, making iterations and creating more people. Centric software that benefits people. I don't know if that's gone anywhere, but that's always a little bit in the back of my mind, more so than even a technical certification. That's certainly helpful as well.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [24:31] Yeah, I think that would be an equally valuable set of learnings and being able to prove that I've gone through this. It's better than being scrum certified, for sure. I know how to create ethical software.
 
Jen Weber: [24:47] Yeah, and handle data with care, you know.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [24:49] Now that seems like that would be highly valuable skill. Selling that to businesses may be different, but from our side, from the creator side, I definitely see that. Can we put that on the blockchain somehow?
 
Jen Weber: [25:03] I mean, you can save any data you want to the blockchain.
 
Robbie Wagner: [25:06] When you get certified, we'll put it on the blockchain. But I think you could sell this to businesses because, like, perfect. Us for example, we have hefty insurance policies for like doing things ethically and not losing data and all that. So if there was a certification or something where it allows you to get price breaks on your insurance or something, I think something like that could be a path that would make companies interested.
 
Jen Weber: [25:36] That's really interesting. That reminds me of like I had to do this online course once I got a discount on my car insurance by watching this two-hour recorded PowerPoint. And if that works, I mean, insurance companies must have studied the math that this was actually helpful, or I don't think they would have been doing it. If that works, maybe something else along those lines has a chance.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [26:03] I don't know. It's interesting. Not something I've ever really considered, but it makes a lot of sense, actually.
 
Jen Weber: [26:09] Like, just to kind of bring you back around, you know, how does someone learn to handle data with care? How does somebody learn to be that person who's watching out for problems along the line? What are the types of things that they would read? It's a challenge to a certain extent. A lot of the things I know are a conglomeration of I've paired with other people who are already knowledgeable, very knowledgeable in these areas. And that's hugely important. And then I've been to a Zillion conference talks, I watched so many YouTube videos, and it's just sort of like an amorphous body of knowledge in my head. I can't even point anymore to, like, which talk was it where I learned this or that aspect of things? And again, that's like a huge time investment. Is there something more targeted than go telling somebody, oh, go watch 100 YouTube videos?
 
Jen Weber: [27:06] You need to have the place where that's collected. So there you go. Maybe putting that collection together, that would be an interesting project. I wanted to add one thing because I will forget because I do that. I think the third thing that you would need, aside from having good mentor opportunities, obviously multiple exposure to it through articles and whatnot, to start to learn that it's the right thing. And then third, I think having opportunities to make the mistakes, to fuck up and not handle data with care and then know, okay, this is the repercussions of that. And now I know, right? So sandboxes to experiment with or whatever it is.
 
Robbie Wagner: [27:49] Nothing like dropping a production database to make you learn.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [27:51] Make some mistakes.
 
Robbie Wagner: [27:52] Not to do that again, you know. Those experiences are super valuable. You might lose your job, but you'll learn.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [28:01] Right.
 
Robbie Wagner: [28:02] Well, yeah, I mean, there's fingers to point on all sides, but.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [28:05] In place that FTP is their site. In place, you know, it's not going to go well.
 
Robbie Wagner: [28:11] For projects in school, we use Dropbox with no git.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [28:14] Really, wow.
 
Robbie Wagner: [28:14] People pushing files to it, and you would have conflicts, and it would be bad.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [28:21] Well, all I can say is that when I had to go to school with no shoes on, uphill in the snow, we would just either Dreamweaver FTP stuff up, or there's, like, Cyberduck or other like FTP programs where you would just, like, push your files up. Changes of the times.
 
Jen Weber: [28:41] That kind of plays in a little bit. So what I'm wondering, though, is if you, let's say, theoretically dropped a database and thought, wow, what a horrible experience to have to go through. Can someone be guided through this process without having this gut-wrenching terror of having done something super seriously wrong? And so, like, what I'm kind of thinking about is, can somebody not make those huge mistakes and instead be taught upfront? Like, how do you evaluate what is risky? How do you know when to pull somebody else in to look over your shoulder? Can we get the lesson without actually making the terrible mistake? Can someone get a great breadth of knowledge without being personally responsible for everything from start to finish? Like, that's kind of what I'm getting at with wondering, how do you get people to level up? All of these things play an important role, but I'd be sad to say, like, oh, yeah, you just gotta, like, make massive mistakes and suffer through them. Then you can be like these other special group of engineers, right?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [30:04] Well, not suffer through it. I think that's the key. I think that you touch on something there. I think, as an industry, culturally, we've made massive strides into making people feel more comfortable in asking questions and reaching out. And even if a mistake is made, saying this mistake was made, how do I fix it? Can people help me? Or onboarding is better, things like that. Because I can just remember when times were like it was, oh, you didn't want to be the idiot in the room. And if you ask a stupid question, someone would say, Read RTFM. Read the manual. Did you check that? It's a simple thing there. Then was, like, that kind of snarky back play. But that's not really the experience that I find anymore. And it's, like, frowned upon if you behave in that way, and that you're not a good team player, and it's more about, like, doesn't hurt you to help someone else kind of thing. So then I, conversely, I think that's another way to level up. Is that a good way to do that? I've always said is, like, once you feel like or find that you may be the smartest person in the room, then change rooms, switch that up, and then now you're in a place where you're challenged, and you're forced and like, oh, great, I've got access to all of this. All these great people, I can ask questions from and figure out how to do what they're doing and then continue to grow in that way.
 
Jen Weber: [31:26] I really like that. That's great framing.
 
Robbie Wagner: [31:29] I feel. Like, it's very hard to really put your finger on exactly when you're a senior engineer because I know for at least, like the first five years of my career, I would go to work and just be like, wow, I have no idea what I'm doing, like, all day long. And then something just happens at some point, and you just know stuff, and you don't have to ask people as many questions, and you're more comfortable debugging. And it wasn't like I looked at any specific resource or had any specific experience that got me there. I just kind of realized one day, like, oh, wow, I think I'm maybe a senior engineer. I understand these things. So yeah, writing down criteria, I think, is the first step.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [32:16] Yeah. I think when you go from asking more questions to being asked more questions, possibly is a little bit of a time.
 
Jen Weber: [32:24] Yeah. I'd say, like, comfort with ambiguity, like having an undefined problem, having a short list of open questions where, you know, ten more open questions are lurking that you just haven't been written down yet. And being able to choose the next step forward, I think, is another piece here. To a certain extent, there's, like, a very common line of questioning that you can follow, but we can say things like, okay, what's the goal? What are the things that we know today? What are the things that we still need to research? Who do we bring into the room? You can kind of walk through this whole formula, but then when it actually comes to finding what those open questions are, you kind of, like, need some little edge of expertise to kind of shine a light into the unknown, unknowns of a project.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [33:23] Yeah. I think in general, how I would frame that is well, for myself, at least. There's a ton of things I don't know, but I feel very confident that I can find the answers.
 
Jen Weber: [33:35] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [33:35] And figure it out. I think maybe that's a difference.
 
Robbie Wagner: [33:37] Yeah. It's more about confidence than actual skill level.
 
Jen Weber: [33:42] Well, I don't know if I agree about that.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [33:45] Yeah, yeah, not necessarily so.
 
Jen Weber: [33:47] I could play confidence anytime. And if I did so, that would lead everyone astray. There's also some people I've met who are never going to feel confident, ever. They're amazing engineers. They know a lot. It's just, like, not in their bones. It's just not in their personality, either. But I do think it manifests for some people. It's like that day when you say to yourself, like, oh, yeah, that's a weird problem. Well, we can figure this out.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [34:19] Yeah, I got this. I've been down this road a couple of times, so I'm good. Yeah. And it's interesting because senior can be a blanket senior level, we'll just say in general. And it's just highly subjective to the person who's looking to hire that position, really, because you can be senior over here and maybe you're like staff plus over here, but because based on applicable personality traits or things that you've solved and you're able to speak to. And over there, you're like, wow, you're amazing. You've done a bunch of these things, you're super high on our chart, but then somewhere else altogether, you may be much lower than you expected. And maybe it requires like you said, there's people that don't have the confidence and extroverted personality potential or something. And there are some roles where that kind of engagement with your customer is required. Maybe in a smaller startup, you're going to actually be engaging with your users a bit more directly. And that is something that some people would be like, oh no, can't do that. And that could inhibit your career in that particular definition of what that is. So that's just, I guess that's like the biggest problem I have with this, in general, is that it just feels like to a particular point, it starts to become highly subjective, and it's hard to say, are you I mean, I don't know, like Jen you said, are you experienced? That's all we know.
 
Jen Weber: [35:48] Yeah, that's kind of why I've been trying to think more about what are some steps that are a motion in the general right direction. So if somebody says, oh, how do I level up? Maybe some selection of this giant lineup. Like, that's why there are 50 items on the list. It's not because you have to do like 50 of these things. This is my personal list, of course, but like, somebody doesn't do all of those things isn't like a requirement at all. It's just like these might help. They might not. They might resonate with you, they might not. And then the big question of specialization comes up, right? Like if someone is an expert in the front end, are they going to be seen as experience? Are they going to be seen as a senior level without having more of the back-end experience or database experience? And again, that also varies so hugely from company to company, from product to product, that we can't really predict it, but hopefully, someone can kind of start to pick through and see for themselves. At least these things seem interesting to me, and like chase those.
 
Robbie Wagner: [37:06] Yeah, I think that's a big problem in our industry too, is like, say you need an expert in, let's pick something pretty like Astro is pretty new, right? So like I need a senior Astro developer. Okay. It came out like a year or two ago, right? I don't even know how old it is. So what does that mean? Do you want someone with like five years of JavaScript experience? Should they be a senior general developer or senior in that technology? And depending on your hiring needs and your project, it could go either way. And I think the thing I would like to see a lot more of is people trusting that people with a few years of experience can learn anything, just hire them. Like, that's the problem we have with Ember is like. Companies don't want to use it because they can't hire for it. And I'm like, well, you can. You can hire a good engineer that's experienced in anything else and teach them Ember. But they don't want to. So, like, that's applicable to all technologies. I don't know where I got into the starting with this, but yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [38:14] Yeah, I think that's true. If we think of ourselves, I often say, like, oh, I'm an Ember developer, whatever, as a convenient shorthand. But ultimately, the foundational skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, how to put together a maintainable app, it's like highly transferable. And so would somebody else coming in from a different framework. Highly transferable. We're kind of solving a lot of the same problems over and over again unless you're really working on some of the cutting-edge stuff. But the majority of things on the web are like, it's a form, and it's a page that shows you things that were from that form. Right?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [38:56] Right, exactly.
 
Jen Weber: [38:58] Most of the time.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [38:59] Input, output, delete.
 
Jen Weber: [39:01] Yeah. Comes in different shapes, sizes, flavors, user flows. But it's like a circle. It's a cycle.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [39:10] The problem I was having, though, is I was looking all through the Ember documentation, and I could not find the stuff on hooks. Like, how do I use hooks in Ember?
 
Jen Weber: [39:22] Yeah, well, you'd have to go to the Ember for React Developers blog post for that.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [39:28] Oh, yeah. I actually remember reading that. That was really good. It was cool, actually. Nullvox. Yeah, it was cool. That was interesting and very applicable, I think, given the context there. It was like a similar article. Oh, yeah. It was like 24 days to Rust using Node development. Like from Node to Rust in 24 days, or something like that. Which was really interesting too. I like that. Like, take the context and then show it's the same thing. It's the same idea. This is how it's expressed. And this is how it's expressed.
 
Jen Weber: [40:05] Taking this to the far extreme edge. I have always wanted to try and create something that is like web development for Excel people. You write formulas, you input data. It's represented as like a table that you can see in front of you instead of like a hash or something or an array. It's like the concepts are concepts are there. It could be interesting. I don't know how many people care to make that leap, but I know that I learned Excel and spreadsheets and things as a kid. I think, like teenager, maybe. I was really really really into academics and making sure I knew what my grade was. And calculating it is kind of difficult. So I was like, I don't know how I'm doing in this class, dad. I'm so worried. And he's like. We'll put it into a spreadsheet. And I was like, what? And he showed me. And then, in college, I used it to calculate my GPA that time, it actually did matter because you drop below a certain GPA, bad thing starts happening to you. And so some of the same stuff is there. I had little tiny connections. There are functions.
 
Robbie Wagner: [41:29] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [41:30] Interesting. Could be, yeah. Our childhood was very different.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [41:36] Yeah. You were using stone tablets to write everything down, Chuck?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [41:42] Yeah. Still, actually, I don't even know how we're recording this. You guys should get out of this box.
 
Robbie Wagner: [41:51] But yeah, I think since Microsoft owns all of JavaScript and Excel, they could probably spin the resources to make a class like that.
 
Jen Weber: [42:04] I mean, there's probably already something out there, too, but I haven't looked seriously into it. But I kind of bring it up as an example of, like, we have the same patterns, the same problems we keep solving. And some of that stuff is transferable. I don't sweat it with switching between technologies. Like, I can figure it out.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [42:27] Indeed.
 
Jen Weber: [42:28] And there's certain mistakes as well. I mean, again, you know, nice. We can get by without making mistakes. There are certain mistakes. It doesn't matter which framework you make it in. If you misunderstand what the HTML hierarchy of a page is supposed to be, you can make that mistake in any front-end framework that you want. And once you've learned from it, you can bring it into something else.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [42:53] Yeah. So I'm wondering, you're very passionate about technology, obviously, and about empowering those around you and everything else. I'm going to dip into some whatnot now. I'm curious what other hobbies you may have. Aside from spreadsheets.
 
Jen Weber: [43:14] Aside from spreadsheets. I mean, I'm not going to consider spreadsheets one of my hobbies these days. So I enjoy making things. So, like, for example, I made, like, a hand part handle for something the other day. I like painting. I paint miniatures. I play a lot of video games. And I must admit, during the past two years, being spending a lot of time at home, I've made a lot of things in Minecraft.
 
Robbie Wagner: [43:41] Nice.
 
Jen Weber: [43:43] Some to a certain extent, like, I get to have a little bit of that joy of making something within the code side. I think that's kind of what really make it be something that I can imagine doing five days a week and, like, little stuff, fixing things. I love it. That's kind of how I end up spending a lot of my free time.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [44:06] Yeah. Fixing stuff is, like, very gratifying. Fixing stuff or some kind of more manual labor, I find very gratifying because it's like a slight mental disconnect or just like a different focus. I'm here doing this thing. Must fix whatever this is. It's great when my kids break toys. It's like, daddy, fix this. Perfect. I'm going to the garage. I'll see you guys in 30 minutes. I'm going to go have meditation out here.
 
Jen Weber: [44:34] My most fabulous repair. What I'm most proud of was that we had a Nintendo Wii that just showed a blank screen when you plugged it in, and I was determined to revive it because I wanted to play Mario Kart with my friends. We had rented this lodge-type thing, and this was before the Switch came out. And I, through a series of googling rabbit holes, narrowed it down to, like, the problem was almost certainly hardware and there were two different parts, and replacing one or both of them might fix it. And so I took a gamble, and I ordered one of two of those things. And there are so many screws inside the Nintendo Wii. I think I had like eight left over, and that is not normal. I was very careful to lay everything out in a little grid. I had, like, a drawing, and I still didn't get there. And the moment when I plugged it in, I was like, let's see if it works. It was one of the times the greatest suspense I've ever had in my entire life. It worked. I was so happy. And we only played Mario Kart for like an hour, and then I don't think it really got turned on again since that weekend, but, like, very fun. Definitely would do it again.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [46:06] But it's not a break, so that's great.
 
Jen Weber: [46:09] Yeah, yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [46:10] Yeah, I've only changed a couple of hard drives on some PlayStation, and that was enough for me. Getting deep in there. I don't know. Did you end up getting a Switch? Is that why your Wii died?
 
Jen Weber: [46:21] Oh, well, yeah, definitely have moved on to other things. I did take apart. I've taken apart a great number of controllers in my life as well. Some with greater success than others.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [46:34] Yeah, I failed on some Switch controllers. I, like, wore mine out early on, and they hadn't started the replacement program yet or something, so I was like, oh, there's some DIY kit. And it didn't work out. Then I bought some used ones, and then they died, and then yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [46:50] A cycle.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [46:50] It does. I've moved on to buy. I'm getting too much, but I have, like, shown a lot more interest in it and bought some games that I haven't spent enough time on. So Stadia has been very fulfilling for me, like, oh, it's cool. I can play it on any device. And so it kind of moves with you and get some, I don't know, the connectivity issue hasn't been a big deal. And then we've done some Oculus stuff that's kind of fun. Yeah, I thought it was pretty interesting fighting Darth Vader. I mean, that was very satisfying. I just avoid the horror games. It's a little much for me to have zombies jump out of you. I'm like, no, thank you. I saw there's like a Blair Witch game, and I'm like, no, that's not happening.
 
Jen Weber: [47:35] I played Skyrim and VR for a bit, and for anyone who hasn't played Skyrim, as you go on your adventures, you can make some friends, basically, and like and let them come with you on adventures. And I didn't really do that when I played it all through for the first time way back in the day. Just sound like regular PC but in VR I absolutely brought them with me on my adventures because if there was a monster within range, the buddy would like take their, sword out and so it meant that no zombies or spiders could secretly jump up behind you playing VR. I would at least hear the warning noise.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [48:18] Yeah, that's a pro tip. That's pretty good. I love that game. I actually played it for the first time on Switch and then played it forever and became whatever, I don't know, the assassin and the werewolf and all this other stuff. And that was really fun.
 
Robbie Wagner: [48:34] It came out on my 21st birthday, I think, so I got it that day. Like I stayed up till midnight, went and got it, and played it a bunch, and I never played the main story. I always do like the thieves guild and all the side stuff, and then it's like I don't care about beating the game then I stopped.
 
Robbie Wagner: [48:55] Fighting dragons and riding dragons, though, is pretty awesome.
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:01] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [49:01] So your 21st birthday is like two, three years ago?
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:04] No.
 
Jen Weber: [49:04] He's been around a little bit longer than that.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [49:08] Wow, the other palindrome. That's interesting. People are really like jazzed about that. Very exciting.
 
Jen Weber: [49:15] Do you all celebrate Tuesday?
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:18] No.
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:18] Just with tacos. Like most Tuesdays. We do taco Tuesday, pizza Friday, real basic like that.
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:26] We started doing that too.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [49:28] I'm not upset over it, though.
 
Robbie Wagner: [49:29] Because it just makes it easier not to think about what's for dinner because it's the same thing that you've already planned.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [49:34] Exactly. And just get different tacos or get pizza from a different place. Sometimes it's Domino's. Sometimes it's like a nicer wood-fired place or whatever. Sometimes we just make our own. It's always pizza. We just get different pizza.
 
Jen Weber: [49:46] Have you ever done grilled pizza?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [49:49]I have, yes. I got really into trying to make my own pizza dough for a little while, and then I was buying some good, though, I don't know. But I did do it on the grill, and was it pretty awesome.
 
Jen Weber: [50:02] Robbie, grilled pizza?
 
Robbie Wagner: [50:03] I have not. I don't have a great grill right now, so I don't know how that would go.
 
Jen Weber: [50:09] You got to get yourself invited to a summer barbecue. Start thinking now, go about which friends have grills, and then just randomly show up with pizza dough instead of like.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [50:25] Burgers or hot dogs or whatever.
 
Jen Weber: [50:26] Yeah, be like, what's up? We're grilling pizza. They'll be like, oh yeah, you've done this before? And you say no, but I'm a senior web developer, and I have confidence that I can navigate ambiguous situations.
 
Robbie Wagner: [50:37] I looked it up on Stack Overflow, and they said, you can grill it.
 
Jen Weber: [50:42] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [50:43] So I'm doing it. I have a grill, and you can even come in the winter if you want.
 
Robbie Wagner: [50:48] True. I mean, I have a grill, but it's like, oh, we had a built-in grill at the last house. I was like, why don't we have a grill now? So we sold the grill before because we had a built-in one, and now we have a tiny camp grill. So it would work probably, but not as well.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [51:07] Be a little harder. You got to get it really hot. So that's the key because you want to be kind of like a pizza oven. Those are like 500-plus degrees.
 
Robbie Wagner: [51:18] Yeah, I don't think this little camp grill is going to do that.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [51:23] Before you get there.
 
Jen Weber: [51:25] They can melt. I think you take them too hot.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [51:30] Coleman's aren't meant to grill pizzas. Yeah, they do have portableish, like, smaller pizza ovens, though. I've seen them a bunch online recently and had somebody I'm working with on the current client got one and posted pictures of the results and it was respectable, I would suggest. I think they're like $400. If it's something you want to do regularly, it's probably worth it because it looks good looking. Really good.
 
Jen Weber: [52:01] How many pizzas I could just have brought to me?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [52:04] For $400.
 
Jen Weber: [52:06] For $400.
 
Robbie Wagner: [52:06] That's true.
 
Jen Weber: [52:09] It's in the joy of the making things like quite a bit of baking and cooking, and it's fun.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [52:16] Were you one of those that were successful in bread and dough and sourdough and all that stuff? During prime pandemic times?
 
Jen Weber: [52:23] I had the best setup, which is that my significant other made incredible sourdough, and I just got to eat it so amazing. Amazing.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [52:37] I had to fail a lot over many weeks. It was very frustrating.
 
Jen Weber: [52:42] It took a while to get going. I think there had been one or two total failed attempts long before we were all stuck inside our houses that were preparatory for succeeding this most recent time. Yeah, like sourdough. That's the source of the grilled pizza is the homemade sourdough English muffins.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [53:05] Yes. I made those a couple of times, too.
 
Jen Weber: [53:08] They're a lot of work, though.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [53:09] Yeah, they are a lot of work. You can just do crumpets, which is like easier versions of it, but yeah, the whole thing was a lot of work, and I think that's why I just scrapped that career. I'm not a senior baker. That's what I found out. So are you from Boston or like that area?
 
Jen Weber: [53:27] No, I'm from the Midwest. I'm from Ohio, and I came out to Boston. I worked an internship here, and it was the first big city. I mean, Boston is still kind of a smaller city. It really depends on who you talk to, whether they say Boston is a big city. I think it's a big city. It's the first thing I've been doing by kind of, like, off on my own. And I just loved it here and was always kind of looking for an opportunity to come out this way. And at the moment, I have slight regrets because I don't know if you could hear in the background, but there was a lot of snow-blowing happening outside, and like, winter is kind of kicking my butt at the moment. So every year I'm like, why do I live? The wind hurts my face.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [54:15] Yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [54:15] And then summertime comes and I'm like, this is the best place in the whole United States to be. Let's stay here forever.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [54:22] Right.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [54:23] Yeah, it is really pretty. Definitely. I used to work for a company based there called Acquia, so we go out there a couple of times a year, and I also have some friends who live in Hull. So you take that ferry over, basically. Yeah, so I've been there a bunch. I used to live in DC. Too, which is a nice blend because it's, like, not as cold, although I guess you wonder in the summer because somewhere you're like, why am I sweating? I just walked outside 3 seconds ago.
 
Robbie Wagner: [54:52] Because they built everything on a swamp.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [54:55] Yes, correct. High humidity. We have low humidity here in the desert, so I can live with that a little more. So I'm actually from Midwest as well. Like the northern Kentucky, right across basically Cincinnati.
 
Jen Weber: [55:09] Yeah, I went to school in Cincinnati.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:10] Oh, yeah? Like college or high school?
 
Jen Weber: [55:14] College.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:15] You went to UC?
 
Jen Weber: [55:16] I sure did.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:17] So did I.
 
Jen Weber: [55:18] Oh, wow.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:19] That's so funny. Fellow bearcat.
 
Jen Weber: [55:23] Yup.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:23] Yeah, I started in 1995.
 
Jen Weber: [55:27] We did not overlap in our studies. Unless you went back for another degree.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:32] Turns out. No. Small world, though. That's cool.
 
Jen Weber: [55:35] Yeah, I liked it there. When I graduated, all my friends, I was thinking, oh, God, I like it here, and all my friends were like, we're going other places. Like, well, I guess I'll go other places, too, if all my friends are leaving. And then most of them stayed for at least five years after, like, what gives?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:54] You lied.
 
Jen Weber: [55:55] Yeah.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:56] You tricked me.
 
Jen Weber: [55:57] It's cute, though. I love Cincinnati.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [55:59] I like the chili.
 
Jen Weber: [56:00] You like the chili?
 
Chuck Carpenter: [56:02] Oh, I do, yes. I mean, I grew up on that stuff, but maybe.
 
Jen Weber: [56:07] I just tell people it's not chili. If anyone, any of our listeners, are unfamiliar with Cincinnati chili, you take spaghetti, and then you make some things. It's kind of like slobby Joe ground beef and a sauce, but then the sauce has chocolate and cinnamon.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [56:25] Cinnamon.
 
Jen Weber: [56:25] And then you put it over the spaghetti. And then, to hide your crimes, you pile it with cheese. As much cheese.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [56:35] So much cheese. The biggest thing of cheese.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [56:39] To obscure that, you have this like strange pasta dish. And then you don't swirl with a fork. You cut it with the side of your fork from the edge. And so I will say that I do enjoy Cincinnati chili. The last time I was in the Midwest, I did go find some Cincinnati chili, and I did enjoy it, but whenever I talk to people about it, I'm like, listen, I know it says the word chili on it, and I just need you to forget that word. Set aside those preconceived notions. This is a strange pasta dish.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [57:16] It is weird. But also it was also normal for us to so, like, at the big boys in the Midwest, or at least we had, there were the Frish's big boys, and they would serve normal bean chili, like Texas bean chili on top of spaghetti also, and just call it chili spaghetti. Or you have, like, chili mac, which was just like macaroni noodles with chili in it.
 
Jen Weber: [57:39] All right. That I did have that a lot.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [57:41] Yeah. So chili noodles isn't that crazy? So there's, like, Cincinnati chili apparently has, like, a Mediterranean Middle Eastern influence of spices, and that's kind of what it was invented from. So it is more like a chili sauce. So if you're like a chili dog, it's kind of like that. But then the chili is, like, sweet, spicy.
 
Jen Weber: [58:01] Yeah, it is delicious.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [58:03] Yeah. And it is a cocoon of cheese on either the hot dog or the spaghetti. And that's just part of the nuance. It's almost like okay. So I always say, especially in the Midwest, that the staple food is casseroles. So it's almost like a spaghetti casserole.
 
Jen Weber: [58:21] I could get by that definition.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [58:23] Yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [58:24] Yeah. I don't think there's that many casseroles out here. I can say I've never gone to somebody else's house, and they were like, what's up? I made casserole. Unless we really expand casseroles to include lasagna, I have gone to people's houses where they have lasagna.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [58:41] But technically, Italian casserole, right?
 
Jen Weber: [58:45] Yeah, just this idea of, like, we're going to take, like, cream of something soup mix and then mix it together and then spread something on top. It just doesn't happen out here, or people do it. They don't talk about it.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [58:59] Hide your shame.
 
Jen Weber: [59:00] Yeah, I've made some. Every once in a while, I get really hungry for some of that food. My coworkers wants some mid oreo pie, which is a very, very exciting thing. Crushed Oreos make, like, a graham cracker crust. You mix, like, cool whipped cream cheese and more Oreos, spread it all in, put it in the fridge for at least a day, and it's amazing. And everyone was like, what is this? And they took, like, tiny little slices, and they didn't eat more. And I was just like, this is a cultural mismatch that I have experienced.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [59:40] Yeah, I mean, I definitely moved away. One of the reasons was I was like, all of the food here that we like to eat is not going to result in any kind of long life for me. I just went to White Castles too much in Cincinnati in Northern Kentucky is an interesting blend because you have a lot of Southern food. I grew up with a lot of Southern food. But then you have this hardy Midwest stuff, too, and then the German influences, and it's just like, I think in the west, they eat a lot of salads. I'm going to go there for a little while. I have to mix this up, but I do love all of that stuff. If someone made an indulgent pie, I would be like, yes, I'm going to have that. I'm not going to make it myself, but I'm definitely going to have someone that's there. I'm going to have some tuna casserole with potato chips on top.
 
Jen Weber: [01:00:34] That one was not one of my favorites.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:00:37] It's amazing. It's good. It's one of my favorite currently. Still, it's just a special occasion thing, though. Yes. You mix tuna, egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup. If you want to get healthy, throw some peas in there and cheese. And then you bake that in the end, you crunch up, lays at the end, and then like toast them on top.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:01:01] I have a recipe from my grandma that's beef noodle casserole. And it's like the same thing but without the chips. And it has beef instead of tuna, but very similar.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:01:12] The chips are necessary, highly necessary. Well, sort of like green beans or green bean casserole.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:01:17] Right.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:01:17] Like cream of mushroom. And also green beans. Those like crunchy onions. It is, yeah.
 
Jen Weber: [01:01:23] The theme, I think, here is cheese.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:01:26] There's definitely always cheese in some way involved. My grandparents had tubs of lard when they were making things, so it was highly necessary.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:01:35] The recipe my grandma had started with, get out your jar of bacon grease and start with that. And I'm like, you just have a jar of bacon grease.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:01:47] I have a container of bacon grease. I save it. And I also use it in cooking, so you can't shake that for me sometimes.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:01:57] All of this food talk, I probably should go get myself and my very pregnant wife some dinner. So I guess we'll wrap up here. Thanks, everybody for listening. And if you like it, please subscribe, and we'll catch you next time.
 
Chuck Carpenter: [01:02:17] Thanks for listening to Whiskey Web and Whatnot. This podcast is brought to you Ship Shape, and produced by Podcast Royale. If you like this episode, consider sharing it with a friend or two and leave us a rating, maybe a review, as long as it's good.
 
Robbie Wagner: [01:02:33] You can subscribe to future episodes on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. For more info about Ship Shape and this show, check out our website at shipshape.io.