When I became a father, many thought I’d have to give up blogging, too busy and tired to bother with social media and my life associated with it. Through 2013, I worried over everything I was giving up with a kid in tow — the parties, the swag, the food — everything that was part of “the scene”. I thought I’d fade into obscurity, becoming an urban legend of Toronto’s social media scene — a precautionary tale to those trying to mix family and Twitter, to show it’s impossible.
But January seemed determined to prove me completely wrong.
1/12th of a Really Good Year
Life is what you make it. I could probably sleep more and simplify my life in numerous ways, but that’s not me. I’m a creator — I like making my ideas tangible, up at all hours of the night chipping away at these indistinguishable blobs of thought, carving them into something I’m proud of. Every project I work on, I’m trying to get the best from it that I can, seeing my site like a living portfolio of artwork and not simply a place to post “news” or “articles”. Life is a balancing act between the practical things I need to do for my family’s health and prosperity, and the creative things I do to keep myself motivated and encouraged to keep toeing the line between Casey the individual and Casey the family man. You’ll see this dichotomy reflected in The 2014 100.
All things considered though, I consider this my most productive year yet, and we’re only a month through! January saw some progress on some of the items in The 2014 100, and other things that popped up unexpectedly, but ultimately set the tone for a fantastic February!
The Random Stuff
On New Year’s Day, I bought a Nokia Lumia 1020 from the HoHoTO Hangover Auction and flipped it for 175% profit (giving money to charity’s good — but giving money to charity while increasing my disposable income’s even better) — with some of that profit, in a move I should’ve made years ago, I bought a second monitor to improve my workflow with content creation and management. (It also helps really well for watching TV and movies!) Combined with new methods I’m using for photo editing and labelling, I’ve got my fingers crossed that blogging will be a smoother exercise in 2014!
It’s said it takes a village to raise a child. One of the things keeping us sane in these early months is help from family and friends by watching DoomzToo, helping with chores, and bringing food. We’ve had pastas, quiches and biryani; Sarah stayed at her brother’s when I was away in Detroit — we’ve been very blessed.
After two months, things were finally stable enough with DoomzToo that we could leave him at home with a friend for a couple of hours while we hit The Wren, a local with great southwestern-style food! It’s important to make time for yourselves in a relationship — even more so when you have a baby — so it was good to just get out and relax for a bit.
In the world of television, I continue to absorb all the entertainment the (not-so-)small screen has to offer while working on all my nefarious plans to rock the world of content creation:
- Most importantly, I watched season 3 of Sherlock (even to the extent where I spent the first part of Monday night’s dinner at #FordNAIAS wrapping the season finale up) — it felt different, though. It didn’t have the same “wow” factor that the first two seasons had, despite many red herrings and subtle clues that kept you guessing. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on reddit’s /r/Sherlock debating theories with the other enthusiasts there. Oy.
- When we took DoomzToo to the hospital emergency ward on a false alarm, pinned facing the TV with a sleeping baby in my arms, I unwittingly watched 4 hours of an America’s Next Top Model cycle 20 marathon, and am now a proud member of Team Marvin.
- Marathoned through all of The Shield. Starts out strong, drags for seasons, but wraps up nicely in the end. Forest Whitaker’s acting, though? Love it.
- Pretty much watched the entire fourth season of Archer in a single sitting. Some funny, yes, but not as gut-bustingly hilarious as past seasons. Or perhaps it would’ve been better had I re-watched the preceding three seasons first. Eh — woulda, coulda, shoulda.
When the dome for my Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible fell into the snow after a friend’s birthday bash, I knew I had to replace it. But Gary Fong is a convincing devil, and in addition to the replacement WhiteDome, I got the AmberDome, ChromeDome and PowerGrid to expand my photographic range.
2014’s gonna be all about the dramatic photography, y’all!
Reunited to its full complement after four months of Val’s Chilean adventure, Team Trolling had a blast at its belated Christmas potluck gathering, leaving with full bellies, sore cheeks, and new goodies after our Kris Kringle gift exchange!
I think it’s impossible to have a bad time with these guys, and I’m happy that we make the effort to get together once a month!
Speaking of old friends, I reconnected with one I hadn’t seen in over 20 years — accomplished pianist and Juilliard graduate Irene! It was great catching up as we dined at La Mexicana over tacos and desserts!
Indeed, the month’s been a busy one, trying to take care of things as they come up, while simultaneously pursuing my dreams, passions and ideas. With all that in the mix, it’s hard seeing friends from Twitter, especially considering that most of Toronto’s tweetups happen in the summer, when people actually bother leaving their homes. But that didn’t stop me from a quick mission outside in mid-January to quickly check out an event in Riverdale….
With both Sarah and DoomzToo napping away, I stole out of the house into the night for a 62-minute jaunt at #ReGiftTO V (sans gift), where Jo kept dozens entertained at Boots ‘n’ Bourbon Saloon with gift exchanges, line dancing, prizes, and a whole lot of beer ‘n’ bourbon. Marie was nice enough to spirit me home in record time with a goat roti from Burlington’s D Hot Shoppe chez Justin to up on. Delish!
Of course, I keep things interesting with my annual list of 100 things I’d like to do in the year, and while I only had a 33% success rate last year, scrambling in the last week to tell the tales of my 2013, I feel like 2014’ll be a hell of a year, with interesting twists, turns and accomplishments along the way!
The 2014 100
One of the amazing things about sharing your goals is when you find friends willing to help you reach them. Here’re a couple of things that happened with a little help from my friends!
2. Attend NXNEi
One of my friends is looking at using their connections to help me get a pass to NXNEi. I loved it last year (leaving me totally inspired through Johnny Cupcakes’ brand and rise to excellence), and hope to see some more presentations this year!
63. Buy some killer jeans
With Marie’s timely intervention, I braved a storm to hit a post-Christmas super sale at Banana Republic, where I copped three pairs of jeans for $100 (they were 50% off of 50% off!) They’re dar, they’re durable — they’ll do. Thanks, Marie!
STATUS: Done like denim! …okay. That was reaching.
There were plenty of other successes in January, though!
14. Enter more blogging awards
The first question is: “Why bother with blogging awards?”
It isn’t 2005 — social media’s matured taking a real foothold on how we use the Internet. As more people go mobile, consuming more content on smaller screens, the appetite for the long-form blog post is waning. We argue time and again whether people even read blogs anymore — why, then, bother with an award for a medium that’s going the way of the dodo?
It’s not about the prestige or anything — it’s the exposure. If you believe in what you create, you want people to see it, but there’s a ton of white noise out there that prevent people from doing just that. That’s why there’s lists of Top 50 Dads, posts from authorities on the brands and bloggers they trust — you often need someone who’s made it to back you up if you want a decent chance at getting where you want to go.
Building your audience naturally is key, but developing a voice that reaches thousands is one thing — developing one that reaches millions takes effort, talent and a lot of luck.
Why not try your best to get the extra support wherever you can?
So here’s a list of awards I’m nominating others for — if you like what you see here, consider taking a few moments to submit my blog as well!
On the topic of awards, one of the big things I’m excited about i the 60 Days in Paradise contest! There’s obviously no guarantees that I’ll make it to the Top 10 finalists to win their coveted $50,000 Island Connoisseur position, but I’m devoting lots of time in the next two months to put a solid application together so I can stand a chance!
Wish me luck!
16. Finish the Casey Palmer Facebook page
That’s MR. Casey Palmer!
The CaseyPalmer.com Facebook page is up and running, with over 250 likes after an initial push to my Facebook friends! I’ve included a Like box on the right side of my blog as a better way to get connected, and as soon as I get my bio and cover photo sorted out, I think it’ll be ready for additional growth!
17. Get Justin to come over and teach me how to cook the basics so I can fend for myself in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse
Cooking quickly escalated from a friend coming over to teach me a thing or two to working chefs willing to help me out, suggesting rental kitchens across the city I could use to hold an introductory cooking class for a bunch of people! At the very least, Team Trolling will get together and we’ll cook up a storm.
But if all goes well, this could totally become a thing.
21. Include a portfolio section on CaseyPalmer.com & 88. Finish Brandgasm 101
The more serious you get about blogging, the less adequate a blog becomes at telling your story.
When I was doing Brandgasm last year, working on a site redesign to meet all my needs (constantly breaking my WordPress build in the process — hot tip: watch out for blank spaces in your PHP!), I started building pages that better told the story of everything I’d done over the years — a portfolio. An About Me/Media Kit page. Pages where you could learn about me at a glance and not sift through literally thousands of blog posts to learn my story.
While I didn’t finish the design (and have since returned to Brandgasm to complete my tutelage), I’m much farther along in making this real than I was a year ago. It’s sitting on my development site waiting for some more work, and I hope to share it with you soon!
23. Have less drafts on CaseyPalmer.com at the end of 2014 than I’d started with
You’ll never find me without a notepad.
I write blogs as I’m inspired, massaging ideas into post that tell the story of what’s running through my head. Now and again, I’ll start typing these ideas up, trying to figure out where they’ll fit.
But you’ll find tons of stragglers, and they end up as stand-alone drafts.
I started 2014 going through my blog drafts, battling my content hoarding with the need for keen storytelling, crafting some insight into my father blogger posts, relying on my past observations and future expectations to tell the tale of my quest to raise the best child possible. I’ll be lucky if these drafts last ’til mid-year!
25. Create one piece a month for The Hooray Collective & 26. Guest blog more often
Though the timing caught me off-guard, I wrote my first post for The Hooray Collective on the 20th — a throwback to my childhood dreams and why I’m not about to quit on them now. Peter DeWolf and his crew are amazingly diverse and supportive (to the point where I’m committed to writing a short story for an upcoming ebook anthology) — I hope you take some time to visit not only my contributions there on the 20th of every month, but the mélange of contributions from THC’s other members as well!
I was also fortunate enough to appear in Almie Rose’s list of Most Interesting People Under 38, and take part in a Naked Dadding Roundtable for the Yummy Mummy Club — if anyone else is looking for some guest blogs, let me know! I’m up for building some new partnerships this year!
28. Get my old content sorted out and make CaseyPalmer.com the decade-long story it’s supposed to be
My portfolio isn’t the only thing sitting on my WordPress development build — importing the thousands of posts I’d made on my LiveJournal and Blogger accounts from 2002 on, I’ve been taking what’s still relevant and updating it for a modern blog, adding tags, SEO descriptions and featured images to get it all ready
32. Figure out why my site’s been suffering so much downtime and lag lately
I’ve noticed that my site is hiccuping, and while I can’t say for sure ho much of it is my WordPress build acting up and how much is my website provider not keeping up, the cards are in play to move to a virtual private server (VPS) before the year’s through to kill the lag from all the rich media I use.
40. Get a glider for the nursery
Bought a glider off of friends from church and somehow got it through the narrow hallways of our East York bungalow into the nursery it’s super-comfortable and feeding is now a far happier experience.
47. Finish the family tree to the best of my ability
I strongly believe that family legacy is important — everyone should know where they come from. Being of a lineage interrupted by slave trade 4 or 5 generations back, I remember my horror as a child when asked to make a family tree for a school project and not having much information past my grandparents, which contrasted some kids in the class who could trace their families back to the 1600s!
While I now better understand why that is, I’m determined to keep solid family records for DoomzToo and any progeny that may follow.
I’ve spent a couple of years getting our tree to where it is now, but over 2000 entries, 23 generations and months of work later, and I think I’ve taken it as far as I can without actually going to Jamaica and the Netherlands to start looking at physical church records.
But I guess there’s always 2015….
STATUS: Familially finished.
59. Return Karen and Colin’s stack of Blu-rays
For the record, I’d literally taken these Blu-Rays from their hidey-hole since Karen and Colin were due to stop by for a visit, but our schedules got crossed and it wasn’t meant to be, so I’m still holding on to them for now.
I mean, we hope to see them in a week or two — what’s a couple of weeks when I’ve had them for 2½ years? I remember getting them from Colin shortly after getting our PS3 as a wedding gift — that was summer 2011.
Don’t worry Blu-rays — you’ll be home soon.
65. Read some books so I can clear up some shelf space
Unlike marathoning TV in the background while I blog or taking in a new album, I need dedicated time to read. Whether it’s on the subway, shielded from the entertainment and distractions the Internet gloriously provides; or maybe in one of those odd moments where I’m tired of all the other things I need to do under my roof (like when I’m lying in bed trying to tease a few more minutes of productivity from the day before I sleep) — I try to find a few minutes where I can for some cerebral stimulation.
Right now I’m partway through Seth Godin’s Linchpin and Marc Eckō’s Unlabel, the latter really challenging how I create content, spurring me to take the risks necessary to stand behind my content and not fit into some unspoken mould.
Get your learn on.
67. Blaze through my Netflix “to-watch” list
It’s no secret that Netflix has a crapton of content to offer — over 3000 titles on Canadian Netflix, 11,000+ on American Netflix, and tons scattered across the many Netflix versions the world has to offer. I haven’t checked which of these are on Netflix and which aren’t, but they’re all on a list that friends, magazines or the Internet thinks I should watch — so hey. Let’s get them in my optic nerve!
- Boardwalk Empire
- Red Dwarf
- Six Feed Under
- Faulty Towers
- Babylon 5
- Father Ted
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Life on Mars
- Band of Brothers
- Only Fools and Horses
- Veronica Mars
- The Killing
- Seinfeld (shout-out to Paige who reiterated what Justin and Marie have told me since time immemorial)
78. Connect with more family bloggers and establish daddy blogging as a reputable niche
With a helpful reminder from Mark, I’ve started a Facebook group to start reaching out to other father bloggers in my area, trying to start a network that can help its members increase their reach and share their stories of fatherhood.
This year, I’d love to get into some group blogs. I turned a number of opportunities down last year because there’s only so much a lone blogger can do — as you grow your audience, you need to scale your efforts to keep improving the content you’re giving them.
Eventually, you’ve either gotta get more people to join forces with you, or stagnate — and I’m just too ambitious to let that happen.
So hopefully, I’ll find a few good men this year, so we can start making some awesome content for all the other fathers out there!
95. Acquire a bitcoin
Even mention Bitcoin these days, and everyone goes crazy!
After announcing that I want to get my hands on some Bitcoin in 2014 to cash in on the craze, friends came to the rescue with news of radio stations giving Bitcoin, ways to give Bitcoin over Twitter — even boutique parody currencies like the Coinye (which lasted all of a week before Kanye West had it shut down)!
By the time you read this, hopefully I woke up early enough to enter Indie88’s contest for a Bitcoin, but even if I don’t, I’ll find that digital moolah somehow in 2014!
When it all comes down to it….
January wasn’t all amazing, though — there was the time I covertly snapped a photo of a stranger, earning a decent amount of backlash when I posted it online (but more on that later); this fool and some of his things soon parted when I was overtired in Detroit and did a piss-poor job of packing up on the last day (though the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport was really good about getting them back to me!); and the fallout from December’s Icepocalypse has kept my garage frozen shut, delayed weekend trips out to Mississauga for visits to DoomzToo’s grandparents, and generally made me more of a hermit than I’d like (hate you, winter!)
In short, January was busy as heck. With more on my plate than ever before, I’m working hard to create something amazing with the ideas I have. As 2014 keeps going, I hope to eventually diverge from the “typical blog”, creating something that truly stand out as a passion project, helping everyone to really get what I’m all about.
With that said, I’m off to put my hand in ice. Blogging ain’t easy!
See you next month!