Slice of Life

Slice of Life: A Small Gallery of Hand Sanitizers

While walking about the TechDays Montreal conference, I couldn’t help noticing that there were hand sanitizers dispensers everywhere, a sign of these H1N1 flu-obsessed times. Since I thought it would be amusing to do so, and since the Internet is a perfect place for the obsessive cataloguing of oddball minutae, I thought I would take photos of the dispensers scattered throughout the conference venue (the Centre Mont-Royal) and post them here. Enjoy!

01 hand sanitizer

02 hand sanitizer

03 hand sanitizer

04 hand sanitizer

05 hand sanitizer

06 hand sanitizer

07 hand sanitizer

08 hand sanitizer

09 hand sanitizer

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Playing Accordion on a Calgary Street Corner

Rodney Buike took this photo of me on Tuesday evening. I look as if I should be backing up Tom Waits or playing in a cojunto band:

playing accordion in calgary

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Going After the Dungeons and Dragons Market

While going out for brunch with our friends Liz and Keith and their kids on Roncesvalles, I saw these signs promoting Kennel Cafe’s services. If you never played Dungeons and Dragons, the jokes are totally meaningless, but if you have, they’re pretty amusing:

Kennel Cafe sign: "Cats add a +5 modifier to all persuasion and intimidation skill checks. Adopt a cat!"

Kennel Cafe sign: "Cats provide 15% base mana cost reduction for all spells -- even Lay on Hands!!!"

Geek It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Me and Steve B.

I bought a fuzzy “Cat in the Hat”-style raver hat with a Canadian flag pattern on a whim earlier this year, thinking that I’d probably find a pretty good use for it some day. That day, it turns out, was yesterday, where I turned it into what I believe was yesterday’s only Steve Ballmer photo-op with a non-management Microsoft Canada employee:

Joey deVilla and Steve Ballmer, wearing Joey's Canadian flag raver hatPhoto by Barnaby Jeans.

Yesterday was a busy day at the Harbour Castle Convention Centre, where we had an all-day Steve Ballmer-rama. In the morning, Steve keynoted an event showcasing Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 for the media, key customers and partners. This was followed by an employees-only “town hall” where Steve did a short presentation followed by a Q&A session. On a whim similar to the one that led me to buy it, I took the hat (along with the accordion) along with me.

Following a suggestion from my co-worker Damir, I arrived very early for the town hall, grabbed a seat by the stage and donned the hat. When Steve made his appearance, he did so in classic Ballmer style, running and whooping, high-fiving people as he made his way to the stage. As soon as he saw me, he yelled “Hey!”, put the hat on and posed with me for the photo above.

I’d made a decent splash at Microsoft in my first year, and I’d been wondering if I could match it in my second, which began on Monday. This isn’t a bad start.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Slice of Life Work

Slice of Life: Official Photos from Techdays

For the TechDays conference’s stops in Vancouver and Toronto, Microsoft hired Vancouver-based photog extraordinaire Kris Krug to take photos of the Developer and Platform Evangelism team, which includes Yours Truly. The photos were taken during the conference, which meant that most of us were wearing the official TechDays shirts, which were colour-coded to match the conference track in which we were leading or participating. The track that I lead is Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform, and its colour is orange. Luckily the folks who made the shirts had a pretty snappy shade of orange (the label refers to the colour as “Spark”) that I can rock.

Most of our photo shoot was on the promenade outside the Vancouver Convention Centre, looking out over the water. He just had me play tunes on the accordion while he shot photos, so they’re all pretty candid shots. Here’s one of the photos that Kris took of me.


There are more of me and the rest of the DPE team in Kris’ Flickr photoset.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Teppanyaki Onion Volcano

The scene: one of the tables at the teppanyaki restaurant Kobe in downtown Vancouver. We’d just wrapped up running the TechDays Vancouver conference and were having a celebratory dinner.

Here’s a classic bit of teppanyaki stagecraft, the onion volcano, getting put together:


Here’s chef Eric filling it with cooking oil as my co-worker Rick Claus looks on:


We have ignition…


…and banzai! I love Rick’s expression in the background. That’s an IT pro’s reaction to illumination from natural sources: “The light! It burns!”


It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: I See That Steamworks Carries My Favourite Magazine


Steamworks’ Gastown pub, located right by Vancouver’s waterfront, is falling distance from the Fairmont Waterfront hotel, which is where I usually stay when I’m flying in for business. They brew some tasty beer and serve great pub fare and in my experience the service goes above and beyond what you’d normally expect.

A couple of nights ago, I got rather, er, beerlarious at Steamworks and in the process managed to leave my camera there, along with its case. Luckily for me:

  • I keep a business card in my camera case
  • I set the “startup screen” on my camera to be a photo of a piece of paper on which I wrote my name, phone number and email address.

Steamworks left a message on my phone informing me that they found the camera and that I could pick it up when they opened the next day. The camera was assigned to me by Microsoft, and they saved me some hassle and the embarrassment of losing company property, so I must thank the fine people at Steamworks for finding it and letting me know! You’re definitely getting return business from me.