February 2011

Quite Unexpected for “Family Feud”

by Joey deVilla on February 9, 2011

The question is “name something that gets passed around”; hilarity ensues.


Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

by Joey deVilla on February 9, 2011

Seattle skyline at night

I’m going to be in Seattle twice this month: I leave today and will be there for TechReady, the internal Microsoft-employees-only conference, where I’ll be doing a presentation, doing a lot of networking and learning, catching up with lots of people and, as is the Microsoft Canada tradition, winding up at Kells Irish Pub by the market, where I will doubtless end up playing Wild Rover on accordion.

Stage at Kells Irish Pub - guitar player and Joey deVilla on accordion

I’ll return to Accordion City on the 20th and will fly back to Seattle on the 27th to help out at Microsoft’s MVP Global Summit, the annual gathering of Most Valuable Professionals. MVPs are non-Microsoft employees who’ve been awarded for their community leadership and for providing expertise to users of Microsoft tools and technologies.

Fresh: fish-shaped neon sign at Pike Place Market, Seattle

I’m sure some interesting stuff will happen while I’m there, and you can be sure I’ll write about it here. Watch this space!

The title of this article is a reference to the theme song from the TV series Frasier, which took place in Seattle. If you’ve ever wondered what the seemingly nonsensical lyrics of that song mean, you might want to check out this page.

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Procrastination Flowcharts

by Joey deVilla on February 7, 2011

What better way to start the working week than by showing you ways to throw a wrench in your productivity? Here’s The Procrastination Flowchart (provenance unknown; a reader sent it my way), showing you how it’s done. Click it to see it at full size:

Complex procrastination flowchartClick the flowchart to see it at full size.

As you can see, you can put a lot of work into avoiding work. Being a practitioner of what I like to call “enlightened laziness”, I much prefer this much simpler version:

Greatly simplified procrastination flowchart: "Do something right now -> No"

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Yesterday’s “Iron Chef” Competition

by Joey deVilla on February 4, 2011

Rick Claus and Joey deVilla in chef's hats

Normally, my coworkers at Microsoft Canada’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team are scattered across the country – many of us are here in Accordion City, but we’re also in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal. Twice a year, we get together to have a two- or three-day long “offsite meeting” where we get a lot of work done, but we also get a lot of play done.

Yesterday, once we’d gotten through all our planning meetings, brainstorming sessions and other assorted business, we made our way to Cirillo’s Cooking Academy where we were split into two teams to compete in an cooking competition. I was the leader of one of the teams while Rick Claus led the other. The dishes were:

  • Three types of tapas: chorizo and onions, calamari with olives and tomatoes and a vegetable casserole
  • Chicken breasts stuffed with red peppers and rice
  • Molten chocolate cake

In the end, my team was the first to complete their assignments, but Rick’s team edged us out on flavour (they weren’t shy with the salt) and getting their cakes to rise a little higher. Perhaps I should’ve done my Gordon Ramsay impression and yelled a little more (NSFW, swearing).

My coworker Julie James took some photos; they’re in the slideshow below and well as in this Flickr photoset:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I also shot some photos — they’re of my team putting together their food. You can see them in the slideshow below or in this Flickr photoset:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I had a great time and great food with great coworkers, and yes, I broke out the accordion. Even Gladstone Grant – he’s the Developer and Platform Evangelism Lead – took the accordion out for a spin:

Gladstone Grant plays the accordion

Gladstone Grant plays the accordion


Foursquare for Sex? (NSFW)

by Joey deVilla on February 4, 2011

As this College Humor video shows, some things are best not shared on the internet.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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It’s Not “Snowmageddon”, Just a “Snownoyance”

by Joey deVilla on February 2, 2011

The snowstorm that hit us overnight has been given names like “Snowpocalypse”, “Snowmageddon” and my favourite, “Snowtorious B.I.G.”, but I think the better name is “Snownoyance”. I don’t think we got more than 10cm (4 inches), which is something that anyone in Canada who’s been through a winter or two should take in stride.

My trip this morning from home in High Park to Microsoft HQ in Mississauga wasn’t terribly challenging; in fact, it was quicker than usual thanks to the number of lightweights who were scared off the roads and didn’t bung up Highway 401. The reaction of a lot of people in Accordion City to the snow reminds me of the Snow in Toronto segment from Rick Mercer Report from a couple of years ago.


I Love You, Tiger Mom

by Joey deVilla on February 1, 2011

Tiger Mom: "You new Chinese name is FAI LING"

Both my parents are Asian doctors (as are my sister, brother-in-law, and a good selection of aunts, uncles and cousins), so I have more than passing familiarity with the whole “Tiger Mom” mindset. I chuckled when I read the controversial excerpt from Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which the Wall Street Journal gave the headline Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

As expected, the internet, which is teeming with Asians and Asian fetishists, was bound to respond with a LOLmeme, and it’s produced some real gems. You can catch them all at Tiger Mom Says, and if you think you’ can come up with a better one, the Tiger Mom Meme Generator awaits your creative genius.

Tiger Mom: "Ignorance is bliss? Not in this household."

The Tiger Mom meme has a less successful predecessor: High Expectations Asian Father.

High Expectations Asian Father: "I not come to this country so you can go community college"

It caught on for a while, but unlike Tiger Mom, it wasn’t buoyed by a controversial book.

As for Amy “Tiger Mom” Chua, you might want to watch this video, in which she responds to the uproar about her book: