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The 4-1-1 on Larry Vollmer

In each installment of The 4-1-1, we interview a different member of the House Party Team, asking the big questions that are on everyone's minds. Many of you have gotten to know Larry from the adventurous and tasty recipes he's shared here on our blog. Cooking expertise, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Larry. As one of our senior web developers, he builds the technology that runs our website and apps. Larry is also an avid fan of mixed martial arts, a certified scuba diver, collector of movie rarities and proud dog owner. Cheyne, another one of our web developers, sat down with Larry to learn more.

When did you realize you wanted to be a web developer? What do you find most exciting about the profession?

When I was young, I used to play a lot of role-playing games on Bulletin Board Systems. When I heard about the internet, I was instantly intrigued. When I was in eighth grade, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I answered, "the internet."

The internet is what I got. They purchased a monthly plan from an ISP called The package contained a 2,000 page book, a modem and a CD -Rom to install the modem software and Netscape Navigator. I remember successfully connecting for the first time over a blazing fast 14.4 kbps line and thinking, ok, now what?

When I finally figured out what I was doing, I spent hours perusing all kinds of web pages. I just remember thinking, "I don't know what it takes to make one of these websites, but I want to make them." Years later when I was enrolling in college, I decided to major in Information Technology with a web programming specialty.

Your reputation as a foodie is well known, both from the recipes you've shared on the blog and from the tasty food you've cooked for your co-workers. Describe the greatest meal you've ever had.

The meal that sticks out in my head, time and time again, is a 12-course dinner I had with my brother at a restaurant named Moto in Chicago. It was a four hour experience. All of the food is prepared using molecular gastronomy. I'm not a clever enough wordsmith to describe this experience and still do it justice. The best summation I can provide would be to describe how we received our first course. The server provided us a small menu that outlined everything that we'd be eating that night. He then placed a plate in front of us that had these little rice crispy-like nuggets and a dehydrated, crystalized looking food substance. He then asked us to roll all of this up in the menu and eat it as our first course! It tasted exactly like a spicy tuna roll. The entire meal was full of trickery and culinary science. It was fantastic.

I know you're a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts. How did you first get into the sport? Are you still training?

I played college baseball, so when I graduated and was relegated to sitting in front of a desk all day, I realized I needed a competitive outlet. MMA was always something that intrigued me. My brother purchased an introductory MMA package for me as a Christmas present one year. I stuck with it, and competed in kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. I won, I lost and I had a lot of fun.

In our 4-1-1 of Mike, we learned he has also trained in MMA. Who wins in a fight?

Ask me after my yearly review.

I hear you have a collection of rare, vintage movie posters. How valuable are some of the rarer finds? Do you have a favorite?

The creme de la creme of my collection is a poster by Olly Moss for the movie "There will be Blood." It was a limited edition run of 375 and it sells for around $400-450 right now. It's very hard to find one for sale.

From what I remember, your last scuba adventure was in Honduras. Are plans in the works for another scuba trip? With an unlimited budget, what destination is at the top of your list?

This is not really scuba related, but one of my top vacation priorities is to see a UFC fight in Brazil. When you watch a UFC PPV that is broadcasted from Brazil, it's a different experience. The crowd is on another level and very knowledgeable about what's going on in the cage. You can feel their energy through the television. It seems like a surreal experience and I'd love to do it one day. I'd also like to tour the jungles and rainforests over there.

Got a question for Larry? Post it here.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']#[/author_image] [author_info]Cheyne is a lead developer for House Party and lives in sunny Philadelphia with his dog, Cal. When he isn't writing code, Cheyne loves to travel, bake bread, brew beer and play pickup soccer at the park. Cheyne's party tip: Invite your guests to contribute their know-how. Everyone likes to show off their talents - whether it's DJ'ing the music, grilling the steaks, or mixing the drinks - and this saves you the stress of tackling all the hosting duties yourself.[/author_info] [/author]

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