I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD — And Baby Makes Three

The DoomzToo Story (2 of 4)If you’d asked me a decade ago whether getting married and having a kid were anywhere on my life’s horizon, I’d have laughed in your face and called you crazy. Even over the 10 years that followed, parenthood was a topic that barely registered in my mind — I was too busy wining, dining and having a good time to even consider settling down, fully responsible for someone else’s well-being. There were blogs to write, people to see and things to do.

This was future Casey’s problem!

But the future never stays that way forever. For expecting fathers, until they hold their baby for the first time, a child is little more than a concept. Logically they know that the mother’s carrying a child for the better part of a year, but logic has nothing to do with this. All you know is that the clock’s ticking, and your freedom’s melting away with every passing day, inching closer to this vague territory called “the rest of your life”. You live each day as if it were your last, because you might never get another chance.

#BUYogurtys — Buytopia.ca and Yogurty’s Fight to Keep Summer Alive!

Buytopia.ca and Yogurty’s are in denial. Someone didn’t tell them that the days have grown shorter, the nights colder, and our city kinda miserable until the weather takes a turn for the better about six months from now.

But maybe that’s why we need people in denial — to remind us of better times before we had to bundle up in layers to battle the cold, only to overheat and sweat profusely while on the subway. Before the office mysteriously cleared out at 4 PM with people frantically trying to reach the safety of their homes before night falls.

The Down Low on Froyo

For any of you who’ve yet to experience the magic of froyo, this is how it works:

  • You enter the froyo establishment and select a cup size
  • There is no one here doling the froyo out for you such as what would happen at an ice cream parlour — no, friends; you march right up to the froyo dispensers and get as much of that delicious dessert as your little heart desires! (Or as much as your cup can hold — whichever comes first.)
  • But the froyo is only part of the experience — next comes the toppings! With 86 possible flavours and 61 toppings, you’re looking at 86(61!), or 43,651,898,393,441,332,696,873,685,847,189,769,541,436,389,492,971,096,266,548,910,795,364,761,600,000,000,000,000 combinations, not including combos where you get even crazier and combine two froyo flavours in the same bowl! (They have dispensers where you can serve two flavours at once — it’s totally a thing!)
  •  Now that you’re ready to get your froyo and eat it too, it’s time to take it to the cashier and pay the piper! Too bad they charge by weight, huh? (Your mother did always warn you that your eyes were bigger than your stomach!) Good thing you have those Buytopia.ca vouchers with you, or this could get a lot more expensive!

Why You Should Get Your Froyo Fix at Yogurty’s

Yogurty’s is a Canadian froyo joint 20 years in the making, striving to supply frozen yogurt with an amazing variety of flavours and toppings. The froyo flavours have farm-fresh Canadian milk; you can choose between low-fat or no-fat, or gluten-free or kosher (all with added probiotics); and are calorie-friendly and rich in nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin B2, and potassium! Other things that make it a winning choice include:

  • Low-fat froyo® flavours like Chocolate Truffle Explosion, Oreo®  Explosion, Dulce de Leche, Salted Caramel, Triple Butter Pecan, Pear Sorbet and Coconut Madness;
  • Toppings like fresh-cut strawberries, peanut butter cups, cheesecake bites or cookie dough bites or brownie bites, add fresh whipped cream, then drizzle with gourmet chocolate  or caramel sauce;
  • A selection of dairy-free sorbets; and
  • Holiday flavours like Peppermint Snowflake, Gingerbread Cookie, and Roasted Marshmallow!

If you’ve never tried froyo, Yogurty’s is a great place to start!

How to Get Loco for Froyo

So why not be in denial like us and treat yourself to a tasty treat that’s more nutritious than several of its chilled counterparts (before all the toppings, of course)? With 46 locations across the country, you’re never far from the cool taste of froyo!

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THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: The Dawn of the Daddy Blogger

I recently had lunch with a friend who pointed out that I’ve been a bit of a recluse lately, vanishing from the Toronto Twitter social scene. As we enter the final month of Sarah’s pregnancy (I know, right?!), I’m tying up loose ends on all fronts. Assembling furniture and installing car seats. Completing projects and checking ideas off of the to-do lists. I put my blogging life on hold as I prepared for a far greater role.

Blogging’s been fun, but it’s time to get real.

The City of Legends

Buytopia — Buytopia $100 Million Celebration — Crowd Shot
The party never stops! …Until it does.

It’s already started — my journey down the path of becoming an urban legend in Toronto Twitter’s lore is well underway with my time spent less on parties and product, and more on pre-natal living and planning.

The Casey you knew is dead and gone, grown up forevermore.

Once upon a time, we used to party relentlessly in this city. A week wouldn’t go by without a bevvy of events flooding the calendar, having social medialites explore the city in search of some fun. It wasn’t business or about exposure — many of us entered the social media scene looking for new friends and experiences, getting a feel for this uncharted world before us.

You’d think that things could only get better forever, the way it was going. The parties grew, the exposure broadened — brands poured resources into the community with bloggers standing tall as the mouthpiece to audiences they couldn’t previously approach nearly as intimately.

That was then, and this is 2013. It’s not news — I’ve discussed it before — everything changed. Fewer parties, more structure, and a whole bunch of urban legends where the pillars of Toronto Twitter used to stand — everyone was all grown up with everywhere to go, except the places we’d already been.

Why We Can’t Blog As We Used To

Baby Shower — Casey Palmer showing off the iPoo'd shirt
Mark made the sad point that DoomzToo will see photos of this shirt and not even get it, because who uses click-wheel iPods anymore?

Everyone’s been asking how I’m doing. Becoming a father is no easy task — I’m about to undergo what’s possibly the ultimate transformation in life; the one that sees you change from your parents’ child to a parent seemingly overnight. It can be devastating. Overwhelming. Everything you were once sure of can come into question, and there’s no instruction manual for what comes next! But amidst the chaos and lessons that’re sure to come, surprisingly there’s one thing I’m feeling right now above all else:

Hopeful.

When you’re expecting a child, everyone wants to know whether you’re ready. Some will offer their stories to reassure you and show that they’ve been in your shoes, letting you know you’ll be fine. Some ask out of curiosity — not having kids themselves — wanting to know how you know you’ll be ready to have kids. All too many parents want to make you company for their misery, using scare tactics for what? To make them feel better? The awesome ones will offer a helping hand for anything you might need while making the change.

But what comes next? Where’s everything when your attention’s demanded elsewhere, but you still feel drawn to all you’ve created, fully aware that you won’t do it justice the way it is right now.

Here’re a few beliefs I have that’ll shape that decision:

1. Blogging’s Gone the Way of the Dinosaur

Not going — gone. I have a blog post half-written on the why (and I have a great many friends who’d happily disagree with me on the point), but in Toronto at least, the last hurrah of blogging was somewhere around 2011. Since then, messaging got shorter with Twitter, prettier with Tumblr and relatable with YouTube. With more people using high-speed Internet at home and high-cap data plans on their phones (which, by the way, make for horrible reading devices over extended periods of time), the demand for high-quality content in bite-sized pieces is higher than ever. Though in many ways, YouTube’s already saturated and matured so much that getting rich from it is far harder than before; video is the name of the game right now, whether bloggers want to admit it or not.

2. Swag Don’t Pay the Bills

Here are two things that’re at a premium in Toronto — space and disposable income. With about 1,200 square feet to play with, you only have room for so much stuff. In fact, for the most part, I’m only working with about 6 square feet (15 cubic)! I recently converted my home office into a nursery, so stuff only goes so far unless I can put it in a desk drawer or dispose of it after a while.

What people need to remember is that time is money — or at the very least, an investment. Ultimately, the time you spend in life should always go toward improving your life and those of the people you care about. (So you know, you accomplish part of this through improving the world around you, but I’ll cover this another time.) I dialled down on the events I’m willing to attend and products I’m willing to promote some time back. There’s only so much time available to me, and got to a point where the value of what I got needed to match the time invested, whether valued through time with family and friends, goods and services, or the stuff that will put food on the table.

3. Bored City is Bored

Toronto — or “Fauxronto” as I’ve been wont to call it lately — is only growing colder and more apathetic. We keep to ourselves and prefer to drag each other down like crabs in a bucket rather than rally together so we all might win. We mistakenly believe that there isn’t enough wealth to go around and act accordingly, thinking we need to defend what little we have to the death and not share it around to see it grow.

And as the world demands more of our time and efforts than ever before, we’ll quickly discover that this isn’t sustainable.

I don’t know about the world (it probably has bigger problems, anyway), but Toronto needs a wake-up call. It needs something amazing to get its people caring again (and no, it’s not Drake). I know bloggers are trying to stand out and get their message across to as many people as possible, but to be effective at it, they need to stop striving for mediocrity.

At any given time, there are 7 billion people on the planet trying to do what you do. This isn’t your parents’ world, where you strove to be top of your class or being a local celebrity gave you a free pass for life. You’re now being compared to everyone in the world, and it’s time for us all to step our game up or fade into obscurity.

There’s more to life than events and free food. There is more… than this.

To Parenthood… and Beyond!

Nothing will make you feel as helpless as being an expecting father with a wife suddenly on bed rest, not knowing what you can do to help, trying anything and everything possible to make things better.

When half of your tag team is out of commission, you get an entirely new appreciation for everything they do, whether it’s running errands across town, household chores, or simply being able to get up and walk down the block to put something in the mail. It’s like she’s a captive in her own home, so in her place, I add her role to my balancing act of work, family and digital pursuits. Perusing the aisles at the grocery store means less time editing photos. Getting supplies at Babies “R” Us means less time sorting out thoughts for the blog. Bit by bit, the social media shuffle feels less the priority and more something I’m leaving behind to become what I must be next.

Bye Bye, Man About Town — Hello, Daddy Blogger!

I’ve spent three years letting social media know who I am. I’m the guy who’s unafraid to engage a crowd in real discussion, even if someone’s clearly an idiot. Who’s willing to forgo sleep and personal gain to help my friends succeed, believing that we only truly help ourselves when we help the whole improve. And I’m the guy who’s been straight with everyone since Day 1 — the married guy who wants everyone to get along, wishing that we could all just work together to change things for the better.

But egos get in the way. My ego tells me that I’ve worked hard at writing, relationship management and photography to create the blog you see today. I always expect to perform at a certain standard and want to make sure that anyone working with me shares my vision. The egos of other bloggers scream that there’s not enough product, opportunities or exposure out there for everybody, and so we all fight our hardest to be better than the next blogger to prove that we deserve everything we get. I’ve suggested things like group blogging or a blogger consortium before, but it’s been shot down by questions of who gets what and how to make sure everyone contributes their fair share.

Though my current blog’s only been around a couple of years, everything that’s gone into it took years to develop. I’ve built websites since I was 15. I picked up my first camera at 13. My Mom jokes that I started drawing as soon as I came out of the womb!

But if I spend all my time on social media, I won’t have much time left teaching my child about the world that social media’s in. And that’s the real point of parenting, isn’t it?

What Next? What NOW.

Planning the Perfect Baby Shower with Pampers! — Our First Baby Shower — Gifts
We have our family and friends to thank for giving us a leg up in getting ready for DoomzToo. We’ve unpacked the bags, clipped the tags, washed the clothes, and set it all up for his grand début!

So what’s next? I’ve written up a storm. I recently managed to carry out one of my goals in The 2013 100 and end up on the first page of Google results for “Casey” (at least when you’re browsing in Canada). I’m so much further along than I was when I’d started this trek, but I’m not like everyone else. There aren’t many Twitter friends I have who’re married, even fewer with kids, and in the tiny slice of the group that remains, the ones who blog I could count on one hand — two at most.

I’m sailing into largely uncharted territory, trying to play like the other kids do with a completely different set of rules.

But a game I’m still willing to play.

I’m still writing. I’m still striving to make better content every time I put something out, challenging how things currently are and battling for a better breed of human being. A baby isn’t an obstacle — it’s an opportunity. I want to wake up seeing the possibilities for the world around me — not fixate on its problems and simply accept them for what they are.

The journey doesn’t just suddenly stop.

The Dawn of the Daddy Blogger

So, in the end, you can fool yourself all you want, but real life wins. Bills need paying, mouths need feeding, and no one’s gonna hold your hand and do it for you. It’s a real world out there with real issues, and while social media’s good respite from it all, it’s not sustainable living. You need to come out and face the world eventually.

And that’s been my 2013 — maturing from “look at all these things I’ll miss” to “look at all these things waiting for me in my new life!” Social media tools come and go — we went from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Google+ to New MySpace (obviously, not all of these did as well as they’d hoped) — but the big, bad world ain’t going nowhere.

So goodbye to 2011 Casey. Goodbye to doing ten tweetchats a week; saying “yes” to every invite that comes my way; to toiling over reviews for products that I could easily just buy myself; or to getting along with people who poison my environment in the name of keeping the peace in the community.

Ain’t nobody got time for all that—it’s time to get my grown man on!

Nobody knows what’s coming next, but I’ll be there, toiling away in the shadows, getting ready for a day where social media and reality are two sides of the same coin.

Until next we meet,

–case p.

Get Your Learn On at The Art of Leadership Toronto 2013!

Sadly, I had to miss The Art of Small Business due to some scheduling conflicts with work, but I’m tempting the fates (and Sarah’s due date) by hoping to make it to The Art of Leadership!

They say that some people are born natural leaders. While true, it shouldn’t discourage others from striving to lead if they feel so inclined. We’re all innately good at something (whether we know it or not), but many of the things we do in life need to be learned. In fact, it’s a common belief that power best suits those who didn’t seek it in the first place. Just look at George Washington, who didn’t even want the position in the first place, refusing to be made king of the new country; LOST‘s Jack Shepard who becomes the de facto leader after the other characters begin seeking his advice on all matters and treating him as such; or even Prince Albert, Duke of York, as popularized by The King’s Speech, who would have liked nothing more than to live quietly with his nice family, but came into power after his brother Edward VIII turned out to be a complete screwup. (For more examples, feel free to visit http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReluctantRuler.)

Sure, not everyone is meant to lead, but much like the lessons we take from other areas of discipline (which The Art Of presents with events such as The Art of Marketing and last year’s The Art of Leadership), it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other leaders.

A fact that The Art Of thoroughly supports with their next instalment of The Art of Leadership!

I AM NOT A FOODIE: A Chance to WIN with Dempster’s #DIYSandwich!

For the past 6 years, I’ve had a unique job that sees a site change every 6 months or so. Most recently, I was banished exiled transferred to Yonge & Finch, where I quickly found the lunch options rather… limited*.

So to save money and keep me healthy, Sarah helped me fall in love with the sandwich all over again.

*From 2009 through 2011, with a work team that was 2/3 Asian, lunches mostly consisted of dim sum, sushi or Korean BBQ. Let’s just say we overdid it and I’ve yet to recover.

The Poor, Poor Tale of the Sandwich

Las Vegas 2013 — Earl of Sandwich — Chipotle Chicken Avocado Hot Sandwich
If you’re ever in Las Vegas, do yourself a favour and eat this.

The sandwich gets a poor rep among the foodies of the world, preferring to nosh on more delicate fare, like foie gras, canapés and salads with balsamic reductions.

But I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy, returning to the same comfort food time and again, when I want something to eat.

More than once, Sarah’s worried that I’d get tired of spicy Italian sausage, old cheddar cheese, Miracle Whip and mustard on an Italian bun, but two months in and I still gnaw away on them merrily while working on spreadsheets!

As tasty as that is, though, it’s not nearly enough to make it Canada’s Most Epic Sandwich.