It Happened to Me Play

Slice of Life: It’s Beer O’Clock

A couple of photos from the bar after last night’s FailCamp:



It Happened to Me Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

How to Get to FailCamp Toronto 3 from Union Station

Most of you will be heading to FailCamp via public transit, and many have asked how to get to FailCamp’s venue, the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, from Union Station – here’s how!

First, go up to the main level of Union Station, which looks like this:

skywalk 1

On the west end of the station – the side with the Harvey’s – you should see a sign marked “Skywalk”. Go down that hall!

skywalk 2

Keep going…

skywalk 3

There’ll be a slight twist to the left, but keep following the hallway! You’ll get to a tunnel like this:

skywalk 4

Keep going! At the top of the steps at the end of the tunnel, it’ll turn left and you’ll see this:

skywalk 5

That’s the entrance to the actual Skywalk, which looks like this. Follow the signs to the door on the left that says “Convention Centre”…

skywalk 6

…then follow the signs that say “South Building”…

skywalk 7

…and follow the arrows that lead you to the TechDays conference. FailCamp is in room 716, which is on the 700 level of the South Building. Note that the 700 level is below the 600 level, not above it.

skywalk 8

See you at FailCamp!

It Happened to Me

Slice of Life: Oooh! Kosher Hot Dog Vending Machine!

Take a gander at this – it’s a Maven’s Kosher Foods vending machine. It will cook and serve a kosher hot dog – the food of my in-laws! – on the spot for you, in exchange for five dollars:

hot dog vending machine

There are a couple of these at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where I’m spending the next couple of days as a track lead at Microsoft’s TechDays conference.

Being the curious kinesthetic sort, I have decided that in spite of the fact that TechDays serves a free lunch, I must try a vending machine hot dog. I’m always up for a new experience, and it’s also a good excuse to use the HD videocamera that the Ginger Ninja gave me for our wedding anniversary. Some brave souls and I will order and eat a hot dog from this machine while recording it for posterity and to contribute to the sum of human knowledge. Watch this space!

Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

The Manifesto of Fail and FailCamp Toronto 3


In honour of tomorrow’s event, FailCamp Toronto 3, I present The Manifesto of Fail, which was published for the FailCamp held in Philadelphia last summer.

The Manifesto of Fail


Failure is the default

From biological species to companies to government policies, there appears to be an Iron Law of Failure, which is extremely difficult to break.

Paul Ormerod, Why Most Things Fail


Failure can be intrinsically valuable

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

J.K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement Speech


We can bond through our failures

But there is an even stronger reason why we can learn from the failures of others, beyond the simple pleasure of knowing that an expert can fail too. It has to do with our ability as human beings to relate better to people in their failures than in their successes, and to learn more in the process.

Richard Farson, Management of the Absurd


And bonding over failure is a good thing

Over and over again, when people ask how they can achieve the Silicon Valley-type of opportunities in their areas, I tell them, "Celebrate failure."

Tara Hunt, Losercamp


Also, beer is a good thing

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Ben Franklin (allegedly)

FailCamp Toronto 3


FailCamp Toronto 3 takes place tomorrow night – Tuesday, September 29th – at the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, room 716 at 7:00 p.m.!


It’s a FREE event in which you’re invited to share your tale of epic fail with your peers, whether the failure was personal, business or technical. By celebrating failure, we hope to overcome the fear of failure, which in turn leads to fear of trying. We want people to unlearn the moral that Homer Simpson taught his children: “You tried, and you failed. So the moral of the story is: never try.”


We’ll start FailCamp with an opening monologue talking about failure in general, some well-known and obscure failures throughout history and why we fear failure. Then we’ll turn the microphone on you, the audience, and challenge you to tell your most spectacular and epic story of FAIL. Our “Judging Panel of FAIL” featuring Justin Kozuch of Refresh Events and Meghann Millard of Unspace will preside and decide which stories are most worthy of winning valuable FAIL prizes.


After FailCamp, we’ll make our way to the pub. FAIL demands beer!

For more information about FailCamp Toronto 3 and to register (remember, it’s free!), visit FailCamp’s event page.

Geek Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

FailCamp Toronto 3 Happens Next Tuesday!

When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. And when your company produces a cringe-inducing video on how to host a Stepford party, you repurpose it:


Don’t forget that FailCamp Toronto 3 takes place this Tuesday, September 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Room 716. If you’re coming in from the Front Street entrance of the Centre, remember that you’ve got to go up one floor then use the bridge to get to the South Building.

Here’s a map of level 7 of the South Building showing room 716, where the FailCamp magic takes place:


Tell Me Again: What is FailCamp?

FailCamp is a celebration of failure. It’s about sharing your tales of epic fail and the lessons you learned from them. It’s about learning not to view failure as defeat, but as a learning opportunity and stepping stone to success. It’s about taking away the fear of failure and learning to take a chance, think big and achieve what you thought you couldn’t.

We’ll start with some stories of historical failure: some you’ve read in the history books, and some culled from our own personal histories — the wisdom of fail through the ages. Then we’ll turn the microphone on you, inviting you to share your greatest stories of failure, challenging you to entertain the audience and even win prizes if our "Panel of Fail" deems your failure or the lessons derived from it to be the best of the bunch. The more embarassing, hilarious and educational your story, the better! Where else can you win big by losing big?

Joey deVilla (Microsoft, DemoCamp, accordion trouble-making) and John Bristowe (Microsoft) will host the event, encouraging you to confess your failures while sharing their own. FailCamp alumni Meghann Millard (Unspace, RubyFringe, FutureRuby) and Justin Kozuch (Refresh Events) and others will be the Panel of Fail whom you must impress in order to win prizes.

How Do I Get Tickets?

It’s very easy, because the event is free! Just sign up on our event page and show up on Tuesday, September 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Room 716!


Geek Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

One Web Day

One Web Day logo

Today, September 22nd, is One Web Day, the day on which we celebrate the awesomeness of the web and try to make it even better! As the One Web Day folks put it, think of it as “Earth Day for the Internet”.

Here in Accordion City, we’re having One Web Day Toronto, where there’ll be many independent events as well as a big one tonight at Cafe Taste (1330 Queen St West, at Brock) from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.. It will feature:

  • Talks by Us Now, Little Geeks, the Mozilla Foundation and my old company, the good guys of domains, Tucows!
  • Free wine, snacks, buttons and t-shirts
  • The “I Love the Web” poster wall to which you can add your own art
  • A used computer drop-off organized by Tucows and Little Geeks
  • General celebration of the World Wide Web, which we know and love (and without which I wouldn’t be me)

If you can make it, drop by Cafe Taste and celebrate the web, and if not, make sure you celebrate it wherever you are.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.

Geek Play

Actually, This Explains a Lot

Suddenly, Star Wars makes a lot more sense…


[Thanks to CaptainMarvel for the pic!]