February 2005

Back from Boston

by Joey deVilla on February 28, 2005

My quite-delayed flight back from Boston landed only an hour ago and

I’m now at the office getting caught up on my email and all the other

things I have to do as the holder of the best damned job in town. Some

quick updates:

  • Country

    fried steak and beer on Friday night for dinner with Wendy. Country

    fried steak (a.k.a. chicken fried steak) is an underappreciated

    American classic.

  • Saturday afternoon wedding ring shopping. Like shopping for a

    china pattern, it was a yuppified pre-nuptial ritual I thought I’d hate

    but actually enjoyed.

    I’m going to check in with Wendy before reporting her choice of wedding

    band. For my own band, I’m leaning towards the two-tone style: a little

    more flash than typical, but not so flash as to be ridiculous.

    Something sort of like this, possibly with the colour scheme inverted:

    Photo: Two-tone men's wedding band.

  • Saturday evening dinner with Wendy and “my other Mom and Dad”.

    New Englanders, bless ‘em, will gladly eat ice cream even in the dead

    of February! That’s civilized.

    We talked wedding plans with them, and I have resigned myself to the

    fact that I am not getting shot out of a cannon at the ceremony in

    September. I’ll have to save it for some anniversary when we renew out

    vows. I plan to get shot out out of two cannons then!

  • Saturday night belated birthday party for Erin Judge! It was held

    at her friend Lisa’s place, a lovely old place with interesting nooks

    and crannies bristling with Apple and Sony technologies. “Our place

    will be a lot like this,” I told Wendy. I gave Erin the full accordion birthday treatment.

    By the way, allow me to offer my belated congratulations to Erin on her

    appearance as “Mrs. Lucy Ricardo” on the cover of last fortnight’s Improper Bostonian! The likeness is uncanny.

  • Sunday dim sum with the Berkman blogging group. It’s always fun

    to see Jessica and the gang, and I’ll never tire of the lobster hat she

    wears to those gatherings.

  • Sunday afternoon chez Wendy, watching J-Lo and Matthew Modine in The Wedding Planner.

    which was on TV. You’re not going to get smarter watching this movie,

    but it was fun, and I figure I might as well watch wedding movies,

    seeing as I have just over six months of bachelordom left.

  • Oscar night! I never watch award shows, except possibly as

    background sound while doing something else. Award shows I tend to

    treat like most TV or movies: why watch fictional characters do

    something interesting when you could do something interesting yourself?

    I’d rather spent my dotage recalling the fun I had, not the fun had by

    characters on TV shows and movies I watched.

    Wendy’s professor Mika came by her place to watch the ceremonies with

    us. We were all impressed by Hilary Swank’s very backless dress, and

    Chris Rock did a great job poking fun at everyone from Dubya to Michael

    Moore (I loved his joke that Michael Moore could’ve done Supersize Me himself, seeing as he’d already done all the research).

    I like Carlos Santana, but his riffing was overpowering and superfluous to the song from The Motorcycle Diaries.

    I suspect that they got Banderas and Santana to do the song out of fear

    that nobody would give a crap about a song in Spanish, but they

    should’ve had Jorge Drexler on solo guitar. I guess the Academy didn’t

    get that Elliott Smith’s solo performance of Good Will Hunting’s Miss Misery was a hundred times better than the overwrought Celine Dion performance of that execrable Titanic love theme.

    It looks as though ther Academy has some sense,after all: they didn’t give “Best Picture” to The Aviator just because it was “about time” Scorsese got an Oscar.

  • It’s never any fun saying goodbye to Wendy. I’m looking forward to the day when we go to airports for the purpose of travelling together rather than away from each other.

Gotta go get caught up on work. More later!


Happy Birthday, Si and Richard!

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

Happy 18th (you can buy beer in Quebec and Alberta now!) to Josiah “Si” Adam! Also, happy birthday to Richard “crysflame” Soderberg (who has forgotten more Perl than I will ever learn)!


Boston Bound

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

I’m going to be in Boston this weekend to hang out with Wendy, who will be my fiancee for only another 211 days (according to the countdown clock on our wedding blog).

I’ll be at the Berkman blogging group dim sum thingy on Sunday and will eat chicken feet on request.

The ol’ “Fried Dough” picture I post every time I go to Boston is getting a bit stale, so I thought I’d try something else. Pictured below is 250 Commonwealth, my first home in North America, where my family and I lived from 1968 through 1970. My parents were just out of med school and doing their interships in the US. Dad was getting started with his career as an Ob/Gyn, while Mom was getting started in cardiology.

Photo: Wendy looking at my first North American home, 250 Commonwelath Ave., Boston, MA.

I don’t know how Mom and Dad landed the place, because it’s in a fairly high-rent district of town (Accordion City folk: imagine renting an apartment in Yorkville just straight out of school).

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Conservative Blogger Gathering Tonight

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

David “Ranting and Roaring” Janes reminded me that there’s a gathering of Accordion City’s and elsewhere in Canada’s more right-leaning bloggers tonight at The Bishop and Belcher (361 Queen Street West, between Peter and John Streets). Things get started at about 8 p.m.

The “Belcher” is a mere couple of blocks from my house, but come that time, I’ll be settling down to dinner with Wendy in Boston, so I must send my regrets.

I believe these folks will be among those in attendance:

Next time, folks, but have a drink for me!


MP3 Player that Plays Like a Cassette

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

[via Jamie Zawinski]

You’ve probably seen those adapters which have a 1/8″ stereo audio jack

at one end leading to a cable leading to a cassette-shaped thingy at

the other end. They’re handy for situations in which you have a

portable MP3 player that you want to hook up to your non-MP3-playing

car stereo or the old-school ghetto blaster at the cottage.

Here’s an interesting twist on that theme: Mobiblu’s DAH-220…

The MP3 player is built into the cassette-shaped shell.

The best thing about this player is its interface: it’s shaped like a

cassette and goes into to your cassette player, but it also behaves

like a cassette, user-interface-wise. It has sensors in the spindles so

you can use your cassette player’s “fast forword” and “rewind controls”

to jump from song to song. Want to record? Click the “record” button on

your cassette player, and it records audio data coming into your

cassette recorder.



Accordion City Day, Part 4: The Subway That Could Be

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

[via stridingcloud and xophylia] This is what the subway map of Accordion City actually looks like (click to see a larger image):

A good chunk of the city — particularly the north end — is underserved by it. Here’s what it probably should look like (once again, click to see a larger image):

Graphic: Map of an ideal Toronto subway map.

Xophylia has also created a scalable PDF version of the dream subway map for you fantasy cartographers to study in detail.

The gold-coloured line’s east-west stretch would be nice, but it doesn’t serve a very population-dense area. If I had to pick one line from the dream map to add to the subway, I’d add the Sheppard-Etobicoke line (the purple line that spans the north end of the city). That entire line would serve a population-dense part of town bristling with high-rises that’s currently served by buses. It would also give us what a proper city has: an airport subway stop!

Accordion City locals: your comments, please!


Accordion City Day, Part 3: X-Men in Accordion City!

by Joey deVilla on February 25, 2005

While most things happen in New York City in the Marvel Universe (the milieu of most Marvel Comics), its superheroes often go to other cities. I’ve only recently read Wolverine/Doop (Wolverine’s the most popular X-Man, and Doop is a green mutant blob — kind of like Slimer from Ghostbusters — from the X-Men spinoff comic X-Statix), which takes place here in Accordion City — and features a lot of my local haunts in the backgrounds…

College Street West, Compressed. Note the locations: Cafe Diplomatico, The Orbit Room, the Royal Cinema, the Lava Lounge (which sadly, is closed as it’s being turned into a condo) and Dragon Lady Comics.

All are on College Street West, but not this close together — and the

street would have to run northwest/southeast for the financial district

building and the CN Tower to be visible. Still, it’s nifty seeing

places where I hang out depicted in an X-Men spinoff comic book.

Doop and Wolvie Racing Down the Annex. Featured in this Panel are Suspect Video and renowned comic book store The Beguiling.

That’s Ontario Place’s Cinesphere in the background.

I haven’t been to the Brunswick House since they remodelled and stopped being such a dive.

“Nooooooooooo-body!” You’d have to be from Toronto to get that joke. That’s former mayor (and a bit of a joke, at that) Mel Lastman. The proper honorific for the mayor here is “His Worship”, but we tended to refer to him as “His Washup”. And yes, CityTV is a local station (here’s its glowing write-up in Wired) a couple of blocks from my house.

Racing Down Spadina! The Silver Dollar Room is the home of a few of my misadventures and a couple of Meryle’s burlesque numbers. Remember Adventures in Babysitting — “Nobody leave dis place until dey sing dee blues?” That’s the Silver Dollar Room.