July 12, 2009 in Writing
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July 12, 2009 · Writing

Sailing to FailCamp

Yacht club eh? How cool would it be to actually arrive on private vessel?

FutureRuby is possibly the best weekend of the year for Ruby nerds like myself. The night before was FAILcamp.

FAILcamp is an open event for folks to share their stories and lessons taken away from failure. It’s also a valid excuse to hit the docks and overrun the swanky QCYC yacht club with hedonic nerdery.

Yacht club eh? How cool would it be to actually arrive on private vessel?


In the yellow is my friend Tim’s sailboat, “No Frills” — the name is a nod to both the colour of the boat and inclination of the skipper. He kindly invited us on board.


Because I seem to particularly prone to to damaging my electronics, I did a full hard drive backup the night before. Fortunately, we arrived without incident.

And I even got to help raise the sails.

Tales of Failure

Safely back on solid ground, we were greeted with badges that asked for our names and what we fail at. I filled in “I fail at saying no.” This proved to be a liability when Trina noticed and asked me to buy her a drink.

Here’s Trina putting Phill through the same routine.


Joey warmed up the crowd with some quick icons of FAIL: keyboard cats, a survey of president of Mexico, and his favourite movie, Deliverance — “a canoe trip that failed.”


He turned over the floor to people to tell their tales of failure.

First up, an awkward — but certainly passionate — case for living an “unencumbered lifestyle” with “zero baggage.” Joey cut in and asked if she had any stories about failure and she yielded the stage.

Next up, a story of three fails and a win. A developer from Toronto described his courtship fails: driving on the wrong side of the road on a first date, taking the dog-loving girl to a movie that involved animal cruelty, and remaining in his boxers at the girl’s parents house. The win: a 10 month son and 8 years of being together.


After a few more first-date stories, Pete Forde came up.

Joey’s intro’d him with the following analogy: “If DHH is the father of Rails, then Pete is it’s Bad Touch Uncle.”

Pete had his own anecdote about romantic attempts.

“I once took a date to Downfall. I challenge anyone to make out after seeing that movie.”

But he sidestepped that theme by shifting gears into the second theme of the night: border crossing tales — FailCamp went into “anal sovereignty territory,” as Joey put it.

I won’t ruin Pete’s story by trying to retell it but the punchline sounded something like this:

“If dude wants to stare in your ass, it’s likely shittier for them.”

(Pete, I think you’d agree that the story was more about the journey than the punchline)

The prize for shortest and sweetest went to Sarah Lindsay. “Pete sent me an invitation for FailCamp last year but I declined it because I thought it was some sort of camping trip.” Communication fail.

Sailing home

But alas, the seas called again. (Y’arrr.) In short, sailing is the most relaxing thing I’ve done in years.

Also, nothing’s more beautiful than seeing Toronto at night from the lake.


And the slideshow


This entry was written by Andrew Louis on July 12, 2009 and posted in Writing. It's tagged with , , , .