September 2002

Go hard or go home

by Joey deVilla on September 29, 2002

I’ve just come back from 12 hours of moving tons (literally!) of silk.

Sunny Choi, the semi-formal and formal women’s clothing company a stone’s throw from Big Trouble in Little China (that’s the new name of my house) is moving, and they’ve hired a group of strapping young men — of whom I am one — to move their office, which includes a full dressmaker’s shop. We moved two truckloads of rolls of silk, which we had to load and unload by hand. We also moved an entire winter line of Little Black Dresses.

Now I’ve got to find a way to make an appearance at four separate parties — two at bars, one at an Evil Little Chickie’s warehouse loft, and one on Adam Grant’s roof, which overlooks Queen and Spadina.

And tomorrow morning, Sunny Choi will need my services again. Probably for another 12 hours. And again on Monday. The exercise is good, and since various deadbeats owe me something in the neighbourhood of CDN$15,000, I could also use the money.

Go hard or go home, I always say.


The return of Virtual Bubble Wrap

by Joey deVilla on September 27, 2002

A long time ago, I cobbled together the Shockwave version of Virtual Bubble Wrap, a game created at Mackerel Interactive Multimedia, the first company for whom I worked after graduation from university.

With the demise of Mackerel (which was going to be covered in Wired by Cory Doctorow until an editior killed the story), this fun little time-waster disappeared off the ‘Net, and other, lesser pretenders to the throne (and one interesting program with the same name that’s actually more of a cursor-art thing) have tried to step in and fill the void.

Dave Groff, one of Mackerel’s Creative Directors and the guy who conceived the game, has given me permission to use Virtual Bubble Wrap from my own evil ends. With that carte blanche, I’ve decided to resurrect it. You can find it in the Resume section of this site, or if you’re really impatient, you can simply click here to play Virtual Bubble Wrap.

This version of Virtual Bubble Wrap uses the original artwork from original version of the game, which appeared the old Mackerel Stack, which came out in 1993. When you’re playing this version, you’re playing the real deal.

The game requires Shockwave, which you can download from Macromedia.

(Yes, this is a shameless plug for my programming services. Dude’s gotta eat, you know.)


Happy birthday, Karin!

by Joey deVilla on September 26, 2002

Photo: Me and Karin at the Bovine Sex Club.

Me and the birthday girl.

For your birthday, I think you should read this comic. Somehow, it reminds me of you.

See you at tonight’s debauchery!


Student threatened with explusion for having a weblog

by Joey deVilla on September 26, 2002

From the Simpsons episode Lisa the Vegetarian:

Principal Skinner: Uh oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie! Remove all the coloured chalk from the classrooms.

Groundskeeper Willie: I warned ya! Didn’t I warn ya?! That coloured chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!

When I first started at Queen’s University fifteen years ago, it didn’t take long for me to discover that by and large, the most contemptibly stupid and narrow-minded students were the “education” majors. Paul Fussell, author of BAD, or The Dumbing of America, observed that the vast majority of degrees issues by faux “institutions of higher learning” like Oral Roberts University and Bob Jones University were to students who majored in education.

An old girlfriend of mine decided to take up teaching a couple of years ago. She, like many other people who make the best teachers, took the more honourable route of first getting a real degree — in her case, a B.Sc. in biology — and then getting a teaching certificate. She often told me about her experiences in teacher’s college and what a far cry getting a teaching certificate was from getting her B.Sc.. At teacher’s college, there were no wrong answers, and most of the classes seemed to be about creating a fuzzy-headed consensus among the other teachers-to-be rather than learning anything about pedagogy. From the sound of it, I probably could’ve gotten my accreditation if I’d simply gone there with my accordion and led a rousing chorus of Kumbayah.

Once armed with their diplomas — essentially pieces of vellum that certify that they can follow orders for four years — these education majors go to where they can do the most damage: grade school and high school, where they pass on their skills in rote memorization and following stultifying procedure. To make matters worse, the scum rises to the top. Just as those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, those who can’t teach, administrate.

It may sound like a pat statement, but I’m going to blame society for this state of affairs. We’ve reduced teaching to a low-pay, low-prestige “career of last resort”, putting it just ahead of waiting tables or greeting the hoi polloi at the Wal-Mart entrance. I’m certain we give more respect to a Gap “sales associate” than a teacher, largely because “Do these jeans make me look fat?” is a more pressing question than “What was Mark Twain trying to say in Huckleberry Finn?

It’s no wonder that that Simpsons episode is so funny, in a tragic kind of way.

Now that the preamble’s out of the way, let’s get to the story.

From an entry in BEACHtechie, the weblog of a 15-year old named Sam who’s attending high school in Virginia Beach City:

Just call me Dennis, I keep on getting in trouble at school!

I was in the office again today, balling [sic] my eyes out. Lets just say one of the options is to have me expelled from the school. I was gasping for air half the time I was in there. I had to write this affidavit telling them everything I knew about my blog, how long I had been posting from school, who else from my school had a blog and everything. I was crying the entire time. And don’t you dare joke me for crying. I mean, you’d cry too if you had a PERFECT perm. record and then have it screwed up in high school and mess up your chances of getting into the college of your choice.

I am going to hold back my anger and frustration for the wall in front of me.

Dad is picking me up in a minute, ttyl.

Apparently Sam violated the school’s Acceptable Use Policy by posting to his weblog from a school computer. I can understand that the school is concerned about liability and may have to exercise some pretty strict control over how their computers get used. However, the fact that Sam has a blog seems to be just as grave a concern as his posting to it from a school machine. Their making him tell them who else in the school has a weblog smacks of McCarthy.

Here’s an excerpt from an entry made later the same day:

The affidavit was just me saying what I knew about my blog, my signature didn’t go anywhere. But the school system has this “AUP” thingy, we do have to agree to it and sign it at the beginning of the year. So technically, I was in violation of it, BUT people in my school have done WAY WORSE than I ever have. All I ever do is post in my blog about MY FEELINGS, WHATS GOING ON IN MY LIFE, HOW TODAY WENT, got it? You all know that too.

Remember that entry the other day when I said “UPDATE: fjdsfjdslkfjklsdjf” (a bunch of letters)? Well, one of the people at the school thinks it’s “secret code”…what in the hell?

It’s time for your Good Deed of the Day.

Please visit Sam’s site and give him some words of support in the comments section. If you have a weblog, write a quick blurb and link to him — use this link button, if you like:

Link button: Keep Sam In School

If you’re so inclined, you can even write a letter (a firm but polite one, please) to his school and the school board.


The resume has been fixed

by Joey deVilla on September 26, 2002

Anyone trying to view my resume using Mozilla may have seen it in mangled form. I’ve fixed it now, so it’s safe to look.

Those of you who want a more technical explanation can see this entry in my other blog.

The resume section will expand over the next couple of weeks, with downloadable goodies from past projects, including the legendary Virtual Bubble Wrap.


Workin’ on the resume

by Joey deVilla on September 25, 2002

Sorry about the lack of updates, folks, but the hunt for new clients is on! I’ve been polishing the resume.

If you’re the insatiably curious type — and you must be, what with your reading other people’s journals — you might want to go check out the rather nifty resume section on this site. I like to think it’s smarter than the average CV.

That goes double if you’re looking for a programmer!


My current favourite song…

by Joey deVilla on September 24, 2002

…is Small by Lamb, off their album What Sound. A melancholy but beautiful synthpop gem with my all-time favourite chord progression, I – V – flat VII – IV. I may have to learn it on accordion.

And if any of you Big Content guys are reading this: would you like to know how I discovered the song, which led me to find out more about the band and purchase the album? Internet radio — namely one of my fave stations, Evil Dildo — which you idiots are trying to kill in your war on innovation.


by Lamb

from their album “What Sound”

Sometimes I climb high above the city

To see all the lights shining they’re so pretty

And think of the millions of lives going on

At this present moment

And those come and gone

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

Whenever I can I go down to the sea

And wonder at how many miles there must be

And all of the people on all of its shores

At this present moment

And those gone before

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

Sometimes I’m out in a bustling street

Dazzled by all of the faces I see

It strikes me we get lost so soon after birth

But one smile can turn over heaven and earth

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be

And it makes me float free

To feel how small my life must be