X muppets

A Muppet adaptation of the X-Men? I could get behind that. I can just imagine Miss Piggy as Emma Frost.

Kudos to Razzah for creating this (click the image to see the original).

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Does This Even Qualify as a Recipe?

I never thought there might be a minimum amount of effort involved for something to qualify as a “recipe”, but Paula Deen’s “recipe” for “English Peas” might be too simple to count:

Paula deen english peas recipe

The comments in the “Ratings and Reviews” section for this recipe are far more informative, enlightening and entertaining than the recipe itself.


That’s How We Roll in the Wintel World

Shopify, being startup made up mostly of younger people with a strong design bent, are a Mac-based shop. When you walk in the office, it’s Apple logos as far as the eye can see (I’m the lone holdout, with both a Mac and a Windows machine at my desk). Every culture lives in its own bubble, and Apple Hipster Culture is certainly no exception, so they can be forgiven for being unaware of goings-on in the Wild and Wooly Wintel World.

Somehow, one of our conversations took a turn from Harley poking loving fun at Edward’s new haircut (he kids because he cares) to  me bringing up the legendary promo video for MSI’s X Series of really slim laptops showing a guy in a singlet catching them with his butt-cheeks. They refused to believe that such a thing existed, so I had to destroy their innocence forever with a quick jaunt down to YouTube:

I watched the horror in the young whippersnappers’ eyes as they watched.

Lightweights, I thought to myself. If you think that’s bad, you don’t even want to know what sort of kink the Arduino people are into.

And that’s how we roll in the Wintel World.

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Mike Essoudry’s Mash Potato Mashers at Le Petit Chicago

On Saturday night, I caught a great performance by Mike Essoudry’s Mash Potato Mashers, an all brass-and-drums marching band who take klezmer, Brazilian, jazz and funk, mix it all up, and create some deliciously messy, beautiful, cacophonous musical biscuits. As an added bonus, it was a chance to catch up with some old friends from my Crazy Go Nuts University days, Brad and Peach, who along with me, were engineering students and contributors to Golden Words.

The Mash Potato Mashers played in that part of Gatineau which we used to know as Hull. It’s a good deal quieter than in my late high school/early university days: back then, with Quebec’s drinking age of 18, last call a good two hours later and the fact that their culture invented the concept of laissez-faire, it functioned as a sort of Tijuana for us Ontario kids. The venue was Le Petit Chicago, and as the cab sped me there, the cabbie felt obliged to inform me of the crowd.

“Are you sure that’s where you want to go?” he asked with only the slightest hint of a French accent. “It’s an older crowd there.”

“I am part of that older crowd,” I assured him. “I remember when we used to call the place just ‘Hull’.”

“Okay, then,” he said, “then you’ll remember some of the old places. See that club called Addiction? That used to be Ozone.”

“Oh my god!” I said “Ozone! I remember that place from high school and university. Ellen even took me there once.”

Of course, the cab driver had no idea who Ellen was. That was just me failing to keep my inner dialogue inner. For someone with whom I completely struck out, she ended up paying me an odd-but-appreciated compliment a while later, when complaining about boys: “There are three kinds of men in the world: scum, art fags, and Joey.”

“And that place over there,” said the cabbie, pointing to what looked like a bistro, “was Shalimar.”

“It cleaned up nicely,” I said.

He pointed out a couple of places that would’ve been packed solid on a Saturday night during the Wedding Singer era, but now looked about as placid as my own Sparks Street once the sun goes down, after which we arrived at Le Petit Chicago.

The Mash Potato Mashers put on a killer show, keeping the audience entertained as they bounced from melodies based on Jewish folk songs to samba to New Orleans jazz, often in the same song, and all without missing a beat. They got the crowd jumping and clapping along, and they all looked they were having a grand old time doing it. I’d gladly catch another one of their shows.

Here’s how they closed the evening:

After that performance, it was our turn to close the evening with our final number: a run to the Elgin Street Diner for club sandwiches and smoked meat poutine.

All in all, a nice night out.

I took a lot of photos at the show, and if you want to see them, they’re in the slideshow at the top of this article, as well as in this Flickr photoset.


New Business Card, New Email Address

Shopify business card back

It’s high time I got some business cards made. A good chunk of my job involves meeting new people and starting an ongoing relationship between them and Shopify. Even in the online age, business cards remain a vital part of the tech evangelist’s toolkit, along with meeting up in person (as they often say, “You had to be there”).

Shopify’s business card template features the company logo and wordmark on the back (pictured above). The front features contact info and a photo so you can very easily match the name to the face. The photos are taken by a fellow Shopifolk, Ben Courtice (he’s a great photog; every Shopifolk seems to have a special creative talent) who works in the Guru Room (the Gurus are people who help out customers get started with their Shopify stores).

We decided to go for an action shot with the accordion. I played and sang some numbers while Ben took pictures:

Ben Courtice taking photos of Joey deVilla as he plays accordion

And here’s the end result, complete with accordion, aloha shirt and smiling/singing mug:

Joey devilla business card front

I love it!

By the way, note the new, shortened-for-easy-entry email: If you want to reach me at Shopify, that’s the way to do it!

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Fabulous Parting Gifts from Microsoft

In recognition of some damn good evangelizing, and to make sure I don’t forget about all the .NET developers out there, Microsoft Canada sent a big package to me at the Shopify offices containing some fabulous parting gifts, including a Dell Latitude E6500 with 8 gigs of RAM and the large battery:

My Dell Latitude E6500 laptop

…along with the Samsung Focus that was assigned to me, and DVDs for Windows 7 Ultimate and Office Professional 2010

Windows Phone 7 (Samsung Focus) box, Windows 7 Ultimate DVD, Microsoft Office 2010 Professional DVD

…and last but certainly not least, an MSDN subscription, which gets me all kinds of developer goodies including Visual Studio (still the nicest IDE out there, in my opinion):

MSDN logo

I’d like to thank Microsoft Canada (and Damir Bersinic, who made the arrangements) for these fabulous parting gifts. They weren’t under any obligation to send anything other than my final paycheque and expense reimbursements, but they’re taking a page from Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy, and I greatly appreciate the goodies. I was wondering how I was going to continue with Windows Phone and XNA development, but thanks to my old employer and coworker, that question’s been answered. I salute you with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Scans of My “Hacks/Hackers” Notes

As promised in an earlier article, here are the scans of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa:

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 1

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 2

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 3

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 4

Scan of my handwritten notes from Hacks/Hackers Ottawa, page 5

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.