D’Arcy Lussier on Luchador Hijinks and Dot-Netrosexuals

All work and no play makes Joey a dull developer, which is why even though we make sure that TechDays is chock-full of content that developers and IT pros can use in their day-to-day work and stay on top of their tech, we also like to have a little fun. For example, in the video above, I interview local developer and well-coiffed gentleman D’Arcy Lussier about the possibility that he might don the Mexican wrestling outfit (he’s our answer to Strong Bad) and whether you can still be stylin’ whilst wearing Microsoft logowear, contrary to what Vancouver’s most notorious cage-fighting-and-coding arbiter of style says.

By the way, I’d like to thank D’Arcy for taking over my track TechDays, Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform, track at the last minute while I took over the Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices track. D’Arcy, you are truly worthy commanding the Orange Shirts – I salute you with the finest hair-care products on a flaming sword!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


New Nerd Merit Badge: Homonyms


The folks behind the patches that clearly mark your nerdy prowess – Nerd Merit Badges – have released their latest merit badge, Homonyms (pictured on the right).

In case your grade school English classes are a distant memory, the most common use of the term homonym is for words that are pronounced the same way but are different in meaning and spelling. This is symbolized in the merit badge by the combination of three images: rain, the horse’s rein, and the crown, which symbolizes the reign of a monarch.

To earn this merit badge, you have to be able to correctly spell homonyms. As with the other merit badges, they’re relying on the honour system; that is, the fine Nerd Merit Badges people expect that you will order this badge if and only if you  know in your heart of hearts that you have truly earned it.

Some of you may complain that the badge should actually be called Homophones (from the Latin words for “same” and “sound”) because the term homonym (from the Latin words for “same” and “name”), when strictly used refers to words with the same pronunciation and spelling but different meaning. Examples include bear, which could refer to the animal or mean “to carry”, or stalk, which could refer to a plant part or refer to hunting. If you are one of these people, I will notify you when they make a Pedant Nerd Merit Badge.

This Nerd Merit Badge, like the previous two, is available at the Nerd Merit Badges site for USD$3.99; you can also buy a five-pack for USD$19.95.

I covered the previous two Nerd Merit Badges in earlier articles, which I’ve linked below:


New Nerd Merit Badge: Inbox Zero

"Inbox Zero" Nerd Merit Badge

The folks behind Nerd Merit Badges have come up with their second badge, Inbox Zero (pictured on the left). You qualify for this badge if you maintain an empty inbox at least 71.4% of the time.

If you’re not familiar with the “Inbox Zero” concept, it’s covered quite thoroughly in 43 Folders, the personal productivity blog started by Merlin Mann, where the term was popularized.


I covered the first Nerd Merit BadgeOpen Source Contributor, which features “Octocat”, the mascot for the Git distributed version control system, back in January.

Nerd Merit Badges are 1.5 inches in diameter and are velcro-backed so you can stick them to your clothes, a scouting sash or even any of your gear. They sell for US$3.99 (plus US$1 for shipping and handling within the US) and are sold on the honour system – you should order a Nerd Merit Badge only if you’ve earned it! Any karmic payback accrued from ordering an unearned Nerd Merit Badge is your problem.

If you’d like to keep up with what the Nerd Merit Badge folks are up to, be sure to follow their Twitter account.


Leah’s Tattoo

Leah Culver shows off the new tattoo on her arm

At CUSEC 2009, some of the attendees attempted to psychoanalyze the speakers out of concern for what seemed to be obsessions. The IRC backchannel during my presentation expressed concern for what they believed to be my fixation on butts, what with mentioning the movie Deliverance and showing the “Bottle Rocket in the Butt” video from my blog entry Assrockets and Opportunities.

Other speakers had their own obsessions. Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman’s twin obsessions were with the level of lighting in the room and his “Four Freedoms” ethics. Pownce lead developer/co-founder and now Six Apart developer Leah Culver (who was on the conference’s other end of the scruffy/slinky spectrum) was obsessed about getting a tattoo based on designs created by the enigmatic Rubyist known only as why the lucky stiff (or _why for short). Leah somehow managed to contact _why – who is notoriously J.D. Salinger-esque in his reclusiveness – to commission him to create some tattoo designs, which she showed me at the CUSEC speaker dinner last Thursday night.

A message on Twitter from _why has confirmed that she did indeed get the tattoo. Here’s a close-up:

A close-up of Leah Culver's tattoo

The blank word bubble above the cartoon character is there to let her fill it in with whatever she feels like having it say for the day.

Late binding for tattoos!” I said, regretting that uber-nerdy statement mere moments later.


Nerd Merit Badges

Sash with many nerd merit badges

Just as Boy Scouts earn merit badges for accomplishments in some area of study, now we geeky types can earn Nerd Merit Badges for nerdy accomplishments. The first in the series is now available: it’s “Open Source Contributor”, pictured below:

"Open Source Contributor" nerd merit badge

(In case you don’t recognize the image on the badge, it’s the “Octocat”, the mascot for the GitHub source code repository service.)

The badges sell for USD$3.99 and I assume that they’re working on the honour system – that is, the assumption that you’ll only order the badges you’ve earned. More badges are on the way; the best way to stay informed is to follow them on Twitter.