Categories
Uncategorized

Florida of the Day: Carole Baskin’s “Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!” masks

You can now buy masks from Big Cat Rescue (yes, it’s here in Tampa, and yes, I’ve been there) featuring Carole Baskin’s catch phrase, “Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!” online. Sardine oil not included.

Alas, there are still no sexy Tiger King-themed halloween costumes.

Categories
Uncategorized

This joke about Tom Brady’s overpriced immune system vitamins is just begging to be told

Tom Brady has been in Tampa only a few weeks, but he hasn’t wasted any time transforming into a Florida Man. First he gets kicked out of a park that was clearly marked closed as a pandemic measure, then he walks into the wrong house with his duffel bags, ready for a training session, and now he’s hawking non FDA-approved vitamins at $45 for a bottle of 60 pills whose ingredients are pretty much the same as Emergen-C.

Categories
Uncategorized

Pre-pandemic photos #3: Thirsty Thursday at the new New World Brewery

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

Seminole Heights’ seal, which depicts a two-headed alligator“The Thirsty Thursday Throng” is Seminole Heights’ regular weekly gathering at a local bar to conversation, camaraderie, and craft beer. We were regulars at this event, at least until staying at home became the smart play.

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

Our usual venue is Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, but we occasionally shake things up by getting together at some other place in the neighborhood. That was the case the last time we got together in person (Thursday, March 12th), when we decided to gather at New World Brewery’s  new location. They used to be in Ybor City, but had to relocate when the spot they were on got turned into condos. Ybor’s loss is Seminole Heights’ gain, and in the process, they got a nice large space, and it’s a quick Lyft or bike ride away from our place.

Tap the photo to see it at full size.

We’re looking forward to getting back together with all the local (ir)regulars, and if you’re in the area once things get closer to what passes for normal, we’d love to see you there!

Categories
Uncategorized

Produce Wagon: A new gem in Seminole Heights

Wide-angle photo of the Produce Wagon from its left side, with Fabiola in a lawn chair behind the wagon, a large oak tree and house in the background, and Joey’s light blue bicycle on the right.

Produce Wagon. Photo by Joey deVilla.
Tap the photo to see it at full size.

Seminole Heights’ seal, which depicts a two-headed alligator

“Is that new?” I wondered when I first biked past Produce Wagon at the corner of E. Crawford and N. 13th Avenue a couple of weeks ago. The red wooden wagon with the cheerful sign is only a few blocks from our house, and I’d been biking right by it for a few days. Yesterday, I went there when they were open (at that location, they’re open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.).

Wide-angle photo of the Produce Wagon from its right side, with Joey’s light blue bicycle in the foreground, and their whiteboard price list to the right.

Produce Wagon. Photo by Joey deVilla.
Tap the photo to see it at full size.

I was greeted warmly by Patti Mars and Fabiola Garcia, the proprietors. I asked them if they’d just started because I hadn’t seem them before (we’ve been in our new house for a year now), and since their wagon and sign looked pretty new. Patti told me that they’d only been running Produce Wagon for a couple of weeks, but that Fabiola comes from a family with three generations’ experience in selling produce.

Closer-up photo of the Produce Wagon, showing its basket of apples, strawberries, eggs, mangoes, oranges, mushrooms, and bananas.

Produce Wagon. Photo by Joey deVilla.
Tap the photo to see it at full size.

According to this Patch.com article, Patti and Fabiola had been thinking about opening a produce stand for months, but couldn’t find the right location at the right price. They shelved the idea until they heard an NPR report about how people aren’t eating as much fresh produce because they’ve been going to the grocery less often due to the pandemic. That’s when they decided to resurrect the produce stand idea and provide a way for people in the neighborhood to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Their produce comes from the wholesale markets east of here, which they pick up twice a week, very early in the morning.

I picked up some dinner fixings from them: zucchini, mushrooms, a vidalia onion, and a can of coconut milk. They also have cans of red, green, and Massaman curry paste, which I’ll keep in mind, as the nearest Asian grocery store is a couple of miles away. They’re understandably a little pricier than my usual produce market, Bearss Groves, but they can’t be beat for convenience and the opportunity to get to know another neighbor. I think I’m going to be a regular!

Produce Wagon’s whiteboard price list.

Produce Wagon’s price list. Photo by Joey deVilla.
Tap the photo to see it at full size.

Produce Wagon is currently open at these locations and times:

To find out where they’ll be and what they’re selling, check out their Facebook page.

Categories
Uncategorized

Watch Gatorland amusement park’s “School of Croc” on Mondays through Saturdays during the pandemic!

If you’ve got kids who need a little something different for their morning curriculum or if you just want to see what one of Florida’s best low-rent amusement parks is up to in these quarantined times, check out Gatorland’s “School of Croc” every Monday through Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.!

Gatorland is located in Orlando, and it’s the perfect down-home antidote to the better-known, larger, more corporate offering of Universal Studios and Disney. As its name implies, it’s a park with lots of reptiles: over 2,000 alligators and crocodiles (there’s a difference), along with other animals suited to Central Florida’s subtropical climate. I’ve been there, and it’s fun, as has Kevin Smith:

Tap the photo to see Kevin Smith at full “Silent Bob” size.

Gatorland may be deserted while tourists are staying at home and sitting out the pandemic, but they’re still paying their full- and part-time employees to take care of the animals and maintain the place. Better still, they’re providing a virtual experience through their Facebook page in the form of a regular show called School of Croc. Today marks their 40th episode. Not only can you watch it, but you can ask their reptile experts questions, too!

See School of Croc on Gatorland’s Facebook page.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Hello from Florida! (Part 1)

Hello from florida

I’m in Tampa, Florida as I write this (and as you read this, I’m back). I’m here on business: to visit Shopify customers and partners, as well as to represent Shopify at BarCamp Tampa Bay, where we’re one of the sponsors that makes the BarCamp Tour.

Landing

This trip makes my fifteenth round-trip flight this year. All but one have been business trips, with 4 on behalf of Microsoft and 10 on behalf of Shopify. Here’s a quick run-down of where I went and why:

Destination For whom Notes
Seattle
Early/mid February
Microsoft

The Trip of Much Weirdness. Gave one of my best presentations at a Microsoft employees-only conference, got perp-walked into a “bad doggie” meeting with a CTO, went on a “non-date” that didn’t end well but will make a high-larious blog entry some day.

This one was rather lengthy: 11 days in total!

This was the trip that got me thinking “You know, as nice as the pay at Microsoft is, I’ve got enough juice to write my own ticket. What are my other options?”

 

Seattle
A week after the previous trip to Seattle

Microsoft

A mere week after a 10-day trip to Seattle, I return for a 5-day trip, this time for the MVP Summit, where I hang out with Microsoft Most Valued Professionals from Canada and around the world, jam with a band at Safeco Field and partake in hijinks that while fun, are best left unblogged.

 

Ottawa
Early March (flew in and out same day)

Me

Now it can be told: a one-day, fly-there-in-the-morning, fly-back-same-evening secret trip to do an interview with Shopify.

 

Austin
Mid-March
Microsoft

Another 11-day trip, this time to attend South by Southwest Interactive, where Microsoft was launching IE9. I helped out Carter Rabasa and the IE9 team at the launch party, helped at the Microsoft booth (Dare Obasanjo tweeted I was as much as attraction as the Kinect) and generally did IE9 and Windows Phone-promoting stuff.

I also signed my contract with Shopify while there, and filed my resignation from the cowboy bar at Austin’s airport.

 

Boston
Early April
Personal

In Friday and out Sunday to attend BarCamp Boston as an unofficial representative of Shopify (still a Microsoft employee at that point), along with Shopify developer James MacAulay.

The event is at a Microsoft building, which means my blue badge lets me open doors the other attendees can’t; I can walk around as if I owned the place. Sometimes, it’s nice to have the bathroom all to yourself, especially if you’re “dropping a noisy one”.

 

Las Vegas
Early April (flew to Vegas on the same day I arrived from Boston)
Microsoft

My last trip as a Microsoft employee. I flew to Vegas for the MIX conference to perform my final Windows Phone Champ duties, take a tour of Zappos (where I’d entertain their employees on accordion and participate in a corporate culture consultation) and drink Australian quantities of free booze. This trip was about six days.

 

Minneapolis
Early May
Shopify

My first official trip as a “Shopifolk”. I was there for three days to represent Shopify at MinneBar as part of the BarCamp Tour. Also a good chance to hang out with my friends Luke and Jenny.

 

Toronto
Mid-May
Microsoft

A weekend flight from Ottawa (where I lived for the summer) to Toronto where I spent Friday hosting an internal workshop for Microsoft employees. It was strange coming back as a non-employee; I’m certain a number of managers were feeling a strange disturbance in The Force.

 

Portland / Seattle
Late May
Shopify

Five days! I first flew to Portland for BarCamp, then took a train up to Seattle to spend May 2-4 weekend in a mountain cabin. Flew home from Seattle.

 

Seattle
Mid-June

Shopify

A four-day trip to attend BarCamp Seattle, hang out with my longtime friends (since Crazy Go Nuts University) George and Leesh, tour a distillery, go to the zoo and partake in some other hijinks.

 

New Orleans
Mid-late July
Shopify

A four-day trip and my first business trip with friend and coworker Edward Ocampo-Gooding to BarCamp New Orleans. This one featured an airboat tour of the swamp, much silliness in the French Quarter, becoming the accidental leader of a Bastille Day Parade for a glorious ten minutes and being taken about town by some of the nicest and prettiest ladies in the south.

 

Vancouver
Late August
Shopify

A five-day trip, this time with friend and coworker David Underwood to help out at HackVan, a Vancouver hackfest. We also gatecrashed the GROW conference and hung out with my old workmates from Microsoft, David Crow and Mark Relph. I also got to catch up with my friends Adam, Nancy and Chris.

 

Toronto
Late August
Me

A weekend trip, flown on my own dime (or more accurately, some Porter credits I had left over). Caught up with family, got to hang out with Jim Munroe, go to Fake Prom 2011, attend my friend Keith’s 40th birthday and get some Brenda time before she leaves for Lake Louise for a whole year.

 

Omaha
Early September
Shopify

Another BarCamp weekend trip, this time to BarCamp in Buffett Country (Warren, not Jimmy)! I also used this trip to talk to some Shopify customers.

 

Tampa
Mid-September
Shopify

Just got back from this one! A nice long weekend trip to BarCamp Tampa Bay, where I got to walk about Ybor, get some shopping in, interview customers and get shown about town by Anitra, who is a most excellent tour guide.

 

Milwaukee
This coming weekend
Shopify

BarCamp in the land of “boo-yah”, beer and cheese. There’s also the Harley-Davidson Museum!

 

 

It’s a crying shame that I don’t have my NEXUS pass interview until October 13th. It probably would’ve saved me a grand total of ten or so hours of waiting in line. Mind you, if I had a NEXUS pass, I ‘d have missed my opportunity to make some news at the crazy customs line back in March.

Categories
Uncategorized

They See Me Rollin’ (Pin), They Hatin’

Here’s a scan of a newspaper clipping that’s currently making the rounds on the ‘net:

Newspaper clipping: "I know when I saw the rolling pin that something bad was going down."

Here’s the text:

PORT RICHEY – Lewis Davis was ready to drive home from a party on November Drive at 2 a.m. Thursday when he saw a green Cherokee Chief pull up.

Six men, their faces covered with red bandanas, got out of the Cherokee carrying a knife, baseball bat, billy club and rolling pin, said Davis, 20.

“I knew when I saw the rolling pin that something bad was going to go down,” Davis said.


If you don’t get the title for this article, it’s a reference to Chamillionaire’s number, Ridin’. Here’s the video.