January 2010

Comic featuring various Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland) and their preserved fish dishes

Click the comic to see the full story. It gets weirder — much, much weirder!

Update: And now I know where the original comic — which got emailed to me, unattributed — is from! It’s from Humon comics, and you can see the whole thing here>

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Behind the Scenes at “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

by Joey deVilla on January 26, 2010

Denise Crosby ("Tasha Yar") leans up against the Enterprise-D's tactical station between shots

For those of you who are fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there are some lovely “behind the scenes” shots of the cast and crew on the TrekCore site. I’ve posted a couple of my favourites here.

A very young-looking Johnathan Frakes ("Will Riker") poses beside an upside-down model of the Enterprise-D

LeVar Burton ("Geordi LaForge"), Michael Dorn ("Worf"), Wil Wheaton ("Wesley Crusher") and Marina Sirtis ("Deanna Troi") in the dressing room

Michale Dorn ("Worf") reads "Yachts for Sale" magazine

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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Montreal Bound

by Joey deVilla on January 20, 2010

porter plane Photo by Tom Purves.

I’m boarding a Porter flight bound for Montreal, where I’ll be attending CUSEC (Canadian University Software Engineering Conference). I’ll be there from today through Saturday afternoon, watching technical presentation, flying the Microsoft banner, hosting DemoCamp and having a beer (or twelve) with my fellow conference-goers. I’ll be posting notes and photos from the presentations and other goings-on, so watch this space!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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cusec 2009 logoMicrosoft was a sponsor of CUSEC last year – that’s Canadian University Software Engineering Conference, the premier conference on building software aimed specifically at students. One of the perks of sponsorship was a “corporate speaker” slot, and it was decided that the presentation should be given it to the then-new guy…namely, me.

At the time I got slotted in as the speaker, I’d barely been a Microsoft employee for two months and was still feeling my way around both the company and its technology. By the time I would stand on the podium, I would have just passed my three-month probationary period. If I was going give a talk for forty-five minutes, it would have to be something other than “what it’s like to work at The Empire”.

Luckily, I did have something to talk about: a not-quite-normal career in tech, and the lessons I picked up along the way. The end result was a presentation titled Squeezeboxes, Start-Ups and Selling Out: A Tech Evangelist’s Story (yes, it’s a bombastic title, but it’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a guy whose personal blog’s name is The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.)

The presentation was scheduled for the end of Day 2 (it’s a three-day conference), which is a challenge. The audience would be tired and being students, they were likely to be more focused on the big drinkfest that would take place that evening. I decided to go for “offbeat” and built my presentation around the abstract I gave to them, which was:

You’ll spend anywhere from a third to half (or more) of your waking life at work, so why not enjoy it? That’s the philosophy of Microsoft Developer Evangelist Joey deVilla, who’s had fun while paying the rent. He’ll talk about his career path, which includes coding in cafes, getting hired through your blog, learning Python at Burning Man, messy office romances, go-go dancing, leading an office coup against his manager, interviewing at a porn company and using his accordion to make a Microsoft Vice President run away in fear. There will be stories, career advice and yes, a rock and roll accordion number or two.

They recorded my session and unleashed it on the world yesterday. I share it with you below:

If you watched the video, you’ll note that I skipped a couple of stories, namely “learning Python at Burning Man”, “messy office romances”, “go-go dancing” and making a Microsoft Vice President run away in fear. I’ll save those for another presentation. (By the bye, the guy I made run away is a President now.)

I had a blast doing this presentation, and the general consensus of the attendees was that it was one of the highlights of the conference. I’m honoured that I was invited back to host DemoCamp, and look forward to chatting with everyone. See you in Montreal!

[This article also appears in Global Nerdy.]

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“I Have a Dream”

by Joey deVilla on January 18, 2010

It’s MLK Day today in the United States, and what better day than today to post the video of his “I Have a Dream” address?

Let’s never forget this line:

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

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Marvellous Edibles’ Last Night

by Joey deVilla on January 18, 2010

The front room at Marvellous Edibles

Marvellous Edibles, one of my favourite restaurants in Accordion City, is open tonight for one last time. Owners Jens (who’s also the chef) and Ayse have decided not to renew their lease, and with that decision, we lose one of the city’s best-kept gastronomic secrets.

Located on Laird just south of Eglinton, across the street from a number of big-box stores, Marvellous Edibles has been quietly but expertly serving delicious and surprisingly cheap meals for years. The dinner menu typically features at least a dozen mains provided in ample quantity along with perfect sides, from basics like a great steak-frites and roast chicken to slightly more exotic meats like chevon and elk. Many of the ingredients used in the dishes came from local farms, sometimes even theirs. The prices were always surprisingly cheap, considering what you got, with prices ranging from CAD$14 to $28. I’ve eaten at places that have charged double that haven’t made food half as well as Marvellous Edibles.

No visit to Marvellous Edibles was complete without dessert. There were always at least a dozen desserts to choose from in the display case near the back of the restaurant’s front room, and they were always good. I’m a fan of the coconut-banana cream pie with shortbread-like crust, which they often drizzled with chocolate sauce. The Ginger Ninja loves the lemon-caramel-meringue cake and their macaroons.

We went for our last visit last week, where we enjoyed a poutine with veal and mushrooms for starters and I had a lamb chop with lamb rollbraten (rolled-up stomach, which was delicious); I forget what The Missus had, but she enjoyed her dinner as well.

Despite the fact that getting there for us involved driving about two-thirds of the way across town, we went reasonably often and were always glad to do so. Going there was a bit of a treat for us, and we’ve never been disappointed. I wish Jens and Ayse the best in all their plans for the future, look forward to seeing them at farmers markets, where they plan to continue selling produce from their farm, and would like to thank them for all the delicious meals I’ve had there. I salute them with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

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The “Mythbusters” Poster

by Joey deVilla on January 18, 2010

I love this “Drew”-style poster featuring the cast of Mythbusters:

mythbusters poster

If you’ve been to the movies sometime within the past 30 years, you’ve probably seen a poster by Drew. You can see a catalogue of his posters that were released here; there’s also a page of his “posters that never were”.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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