Tampa

Funemployment Diary, Entry #7: Gulfport

by Joey deVilla on June 7, 2012

The Great Summer Vacation continues!

Yesterday, Anitra and I headed to Gulfport for some walking around. Before that, thought, we went to nearby South Pasadena, where our dinner destination was Ted Peters, an open-air place that specializes in smoked fish.

They smoke their own fish on the premises, of which there are four different varieties: mullet, mackerel, mahi mahi and salmon.

I had the mahi mahi dinner, pictured above. In addition to a very generous serving of fish, the dinners come with German-style potato salad (complete with chunks of bacon), coleslaw, slices of tomato and sweet onion, a pickle spear, a wedge of lemon and two kinds of horseradish sauce: plain and with pickapepper.

With dinner done, we made our way to Gulfport’s Beach Boulevard:

Beach Boulevard is a Floridian counterpart to Toronto’s Kensington Market: home to a lot of artists, with many houses painted in offbeat colours and housing businesses. Unlike Kensington, it’s close to the water and populated with a lot of retirees.

We decided to get a closer look at the Art Village Courtyard:

Massage, tea and an art studio — none of these would be out of place in Kensington Market:

Although it’s not evident in these photos, Florida gets a lot of sunshine, so a lot of houses here are brightly-coloured. However, in Gulfport, they take it to a whole new level:

Here’s one of the local art shops:

Here’s a clothing store:

And here’s a realtor’s office:

I love these “There’s Something About Mary” apartments that are pretty common round these parts:

Here’s my favourite sign on one of the local eateries:

We went out for a quick look on the pier before the storm came in:

Tanned, fit and rested, that’s me:

On the way back to shore, a couple of great blue herons decided to take a perch on the railing. They’re probably used to getting scraps from people fishing off the pier, because they showed no skittishness around humans. I was able to get some great up-close-and-personal shots of these birds as a result:

We could see the clouds coming in, so we made a dash back to the car, ending our visit to Gulfport. I’d like to see what this place looks like when it’s sunny!

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Among other things, Anitra and I took a tour of the WWII merchant marine ship SS American Victory

…went for a walk around Lake Ellen…

…cooked out by the pool…

…ate some good food…

…went out on the town…

…and caught Neil Diamond in concert:

So far, a very nice visit.

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Our final stop for our Friday evening outing in Ybor City — first dinner at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company with friends, then upstairs to watch Snow White and the Huntsman — was karaoke night at the Doppel Decker. A Jagermeister flag hangs near the bar, and someone’s added some sage advice to it.

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Joey deVilla’s 2012 Resume

by Joey deVilla on June 1, 2012

Click image above to download my resume (107KB PDF).

My summer vacation continues nicely, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an eye out for my next opportunity. I’ve spent a little time fielding calls from recruiters and other interested parties while still enjoying my time off, marvelling at junk food, hitting flea markets and going to the beach.

I’ve been getting requests for my resume, and when that happens, I say “my LinkedIn profile is my resume”. As a living document within LinkedIn’s web application, it’s always up-to-date, easily found either via Google or LinkedIn’s own search feature and accessible anywhere and on any device that can view web pages. LinkedIn profiles have a reputation of being more honest than a paper resume; as public documents, it’s much harder to lie, exaggerate or otherwise “fudge” since it’s all too easy for people to call you out.

There are those who still would prefer a regular-format resume from me, so I’ve created one, and you can download it here (107KB PDF). It’s in PDF format, so it should look good no matter whether you’re viewing it on a computer, tablet or mobile phone or printing it out. It has the same content as my LinkedIn profile; I simply copied the text from my LinkedIn profile and pasted it into a resume document and then formatted it a little.

If you’re either wondering if I’m the right guy for your company or if you’re just plain curious, feel free to take a look at my resume.

The article also appears in Global Nerdy.

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Funemployment Diary, Entry #4: Clearwater Beach

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2012

Today’s funemployment excursion took me and Anitra to Clearwater, Florida, the home of a number of interesting things. For starters, there’s…

…the Church of Scientology, whose “worldwide spiritual headquarters”, Flag Land Base a.k.a. the Fort Harrison Hotel, are in downtown Clearwater. They are rumoured to own or at least have their tentacles in half the businesses in the downtown area.

In addition to Scientology, there’s another belief system from Clearwater with an equally fanatical following. It’s also one that I can get down with…

Hooters! Their very first location is on the road leading to the bridge to our destination, Clearwater Beach.

We decided to go on Tuesday, which Anitra took off from work. The beach was likely to be less crowded, and threatening-looking clouds probably kept even more people away. We decided to chance it, given that the weather here can turn on a dime, and motorbootied our way from Tampa to Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Beach is on a set of barrier islands facing the Gulf of Mexico, and accessible via a bridge. I took the photo above while we were coming in on that bridge and just as the skies were beginning to let a little blue peek through.

The combination of a post-Memorial Day Tuesday and possible rain meant that it was easy to find a parking spot and that the beach was relatively empty. The sky let a little more blue through, making for yet another lucky break.

We hopped out of the car and made our way to the water. Anitra elected to stay on the beach, but I decided to venture in. It’s been years since I’ve had a chance to swim in non-pool salt water and even though I’ll get plenty more in the Philippines (I’m headed to Bohol in June), I wasn’t going to pass up a my first shot at ocean swimming in ages.

Anitra took the next few pictures.

Hmmm…that’s a pretty good wind out there. Ah well, the waves don’t look too bad…

Salt water! Whoo! Let’s go for a swim!

This is great! These waves don’t look so bad…

Okay, those waves look a little bigger.

The trick is to swim into the wave…

…spin around at the last second and ride that sucker. This wave carried me all the way back to shore like a rocket.

Victory!

Anitra was amused by my ocean antics.

Afterwards, I lay back on the beach for a while, enjoying the sand, the surf…

…as well as the company of my lovely companion.

iPhone self-portrait with me and Anitra! I will never tire of these.

It was a pretty nice day for a swim — as long as you didn’t mind a little heavier wave action — and there was plenty of space for everybody.

We took one last walk around the beach…

…and made our way to our lunch destination: Frenchy’s Cafe. “Frenchy” is a guy from Montreal who moved down to Florida and opened his first restaurant in 1981. Now he has a chain of them.

Hence you can get poutine at Frenchy’s. We didn’t order it, so I have no idea if it’s authentic or any good. We were here for something a little more local.

Here’s the second page of Frenchy’s menu. It lists what we were after: the grouper sandwiches. Anitra ordered the regular-size grilled grouper sandwich, while I ordered the Super Grouper, also grilled.

We weren’t going to completely bypass the fried fish: we started with a skewer of deep-fried grouper cheeks and a couple of half-pints of Shock Top.

Here’s my Super Grouper sandwich, with pickle and coleslaw on the side.

“I don’t always order a second beer…oh wait a minute, I always do!”. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Frenchy’s has a gift shop next door. I love getting pictures of local variations of the “unattended children will have something done to them” sign.

The rain clouds were finally coming in, and we had another appointment, so it was an opportune moment to leave. I had just enough time to snap one more amusing picture: the unfortunately-named Cooters Restaurant and Bar.

“Now that’s exactly how a trip to the beach should be,” I told Anitra as she rolled her eyes. “Starts with Hooters, ends with Cooters.”

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Funemployment Diary, Entry #3: At the Flea Market

by Joey deVilla on May 29, 2012

Click the photo to see it at full size.

I love flea markets, which is why I spent time at one outside Tampa on Saturday. The part of me that’s still from “the old country” that likes walking through stalls run by local people running small businesses selling things that you aren’t going to find at your local Wal-Get or Tar-Mart. The opportunity to see what people are dunking in batter and deep-frying is a bonus.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

They sell everything at this flea market. Friends of Anitra sell jewellery, and there are stalls for everything from pets to computers to leather jackets to customized hospital scrubs to cheese to cars…and even legal services, like the one pictured above.

My favourite place in the flea market is the store that carries nothing but Aloha shirts. I love these things, and being a Pacific Islander myself, I think I look pretty damned good in them. I asked Anitra to take a picture of me in my latest purchase beside “Good Luck Riki”, the tiki that stands guard over the change room. This one was a steal at fifteen bucks. I’m pretty sure I’ll buy another shirt here during me next visit.

Another satisfied customer!

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Funemployment Diary, Entry #2: Chocolate and Cheese

by Joey deVilla on May 28, 2012

Greetings from the land of awesome junk food! I’m touring about with Anitra for the Memorial Day weekend, so this entry will be a quick one.

Pictured above is a taste treat I saw that isn’t available in Canada: Philadelphia brand milk chocolate cream cheese. No wonder Mayor Ford thinks Florida is the promised land!

The combination of chocolate and cheese reminds me of the Ween album with that title, so I’ll close with this classic, Voodoo Lady:

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