Partying Up Rain or Shine (or Snowmageddon) — The Ford Blue Party

Even though Maverick PR’s #OpenEnvelope-inspiring tweet likely got some would-be attendees to stay in and out of the cold of Snowmageddon, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Ford Canada, it’s this — they definitely know how to throw an event!

How far will you go to party?

Though many weren’t willing to brave Snowmageddon to attend “another social media event”, I’ll be one to tell them that they missed out! It was a testament to tenacity on Friday, February 8th, as a number of us made it out to Ford Canada’s Blue Party! Held at the Sound Academy on the south end of Toronto, the Blue Party was all about bringing a number of Toronto bloggers together to see the unveiling of the 2014 Ford Fiesta, a fuel-efficient hatchback with a slick look to it!

A screenshot of a mysterious Facebook message I received.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know what it was for, but since I knew the guy, I figured it wouldn’t be for spam!

Not one to waste time questioning messages from people I know, I sent it along, not knowing what would come next.

What did come next was this —

I was fortunate enough to get a ride there with my friend Christine, but even if you weren’t driving in, Ford even hooked it up with a shuttle service to the venue:

What Makes a Party a Party?

With one of the most painless check-in processes I’d ever seen, we got our badges, checked out coats, posed for pictures — and got greeted by members of the Ford Canada team and glasses of the Blue Grand Margarita (the event’s dangerously addictive drink of choice) as soon as we got in the door!

No matter where you looked, there was something you could do:

Catch up With Friends

It was good hanging with Christine again, and catching up with the likes of Alexa and Zach with many other friends in the house 🙂

Gaming and Leisure

One corner held games and grooming, with a foosball table, two games offering head-to-head racing competition, and stations for manicures, makeover and massages (oh my!)

Boys and their Toys

Ford displayed choice cars all over the floor, with detailed specs for each so you could understand what you could come to expect by being a Ford owner:

Gotta Eat and Run

The food — oh my goodness, I don’t know who they got to cater this, but the food was delicious. I had Justin jealous with the livetweeting of everything I was cramming down my throat, and he’s lucky that there was so much sensory overload going on all night, or there would’ve been plenty more:

An excuse to rock an outfit

View this post on Instagram

@wedding_crasher and @doomzto at the #FordBlueTO

A post shared by Ford Canada (@fordcanada) on

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Battle of the Bands, so the sequined vest sat in the closet, waiting to come out and play. The Ford Blue Party was the perfect opportunity to do so, and I think it worked out quite well!

Music and Entertainment

The dance moves of the Mayhem Dance Group and Kiss 92.5’s DJ Clymaxxx on the 1s and 2s made sure that this party was happening.

When I win, TeamTrolling wins

One of the unexpected twists of the night was winning a pair of wicked tickets to a Toronto Raptors game — all for dancing; something I would’ve done anyway. It’s like I say: there’s no reward for the timid. Life isn’t going to hook you up for standing on the wall and trying to look “cool” — get in there and show the world what you’ve got! With that said, thank you Ford Canada for the tickets — Justin and I had a great time — but more on that later!!!

In case you need context for just how awesome these seats were, check this out to see Section 108, Row 14:

Air Canada Centre Seating Chart for a Toronto Raptors Game

(SO GOOD.)

And of course, the 2014 Ford Fiesta

With Ford doing such a great job at engaging existing car lovers as well as trying to find new demographics, it’s great that the car looks as good as it does! With Sarah and I looking to buy a car in 2013, Ford’s made itself a contender, and I’ll be happy to spread the message of all they’re doing to adapt to an ever-changing world of social engagement. It’s good that there was a message behind all the lights and glamour, though…

The Overall Messages

The Ford Canada team made sure that we wouldn’t be drinking and driving, offering shuttle rides home to anyone in need, and making sure that everyone knew their limit. On top of that, we weren’t beholden to write anything, but from what I’ve seen, people are sharing the message because they had a great time. Of course, when a party is invite-only, it has its share of haters, as seen in the screen cap below:

A screenshot from the Ford Canada Facebook page of people hating on the Ford Blue Party
With haters, you’ve gotta take the venom in stride…

To the haters, here’s a message — you receive from social media what you put in to it. I mean this on two fronts — put negativity and snide remarks in, you’re going to get the same back. People generally extend a hand to those who they can respect and build relationships with. Why would you want to keep someone around who’s just bringing negative attitude and poisonous words to the table? Also, if you think you should be entitled to attend an event because you’ve already invested in the group holding it, prove your worth. Write blogs about your experiences. Make videos of other friends giving products a try. Shouting at the top of the mountain that you’ve been overlooked or wronged only makes you look like a complainer, which  brings us right back to the negative energy point. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

All in all, I’m happy that Ford Canada invited me to 2013’s Blue Party, and I hope it sets the tone for the rest of the year’s events!

How did YOU guys spend Snowmageddon?

Thanks for reading, guys!

–case p.

A November to Remember, Verse 4: Of Motive and Movember

Jim Sullivan, special guest speaker, sharing his story of surviving prostate cancer
Jim Sullivan, special guest speaker, sharing his story of surviving prostate cancer.

What’s the difference between a good person and the ones to be wary of? Or a good and an evil action? What helps us to draw the line between right and wrong in anything we do?

Reasoning. Intent. Motive.

Motive. Motive makes all the difference. It defines the things we do for personal gain versus those we do for people simply because we care about them. It’s why we look down on the common thief yet admire Robin Hood. Motive defines how we are perceived, always working in the background behind every decision we make.

So Is It WRONG To Be Selfish???

From L-R, @AmandaBlake9, myself with the GOTSTYLE prize pack, @michaelkim, @fastdrvr
We can all be a little selfish sometimes — as seen from my notoriety for winning stuff….

Yesterday we took a look at selfishness. When I brought forth the idea that selflessness is completely possible, I got some interesting counter-points, like:

“There’s no such thing as true selflessness. The act of giving or pursuit to assist others is in and of itself a means of self indulgence.”

Justin Baisden

“Being selfish is an important part of our own survival. If we don’t always consider ourselves first, the probability of our own survival declines immensely. I don’t even know that it’s a bad thing. Our social conditioning throughout the ages is that the strong survive. ”

Zach Bussey

“Yes, people derive satisfaction from doing things that benefit others. But I think in many (if not most cases) we would do something “selfless” because we genuinely want to see someone else benefit/prosper/succeed.”

Erik Kingissepp

Summarizing:

  • everyone’s a bit selfish — so what?
  • we need selfishness to survive
  • selfishness  isn’t the root of the problem; the real problem is when our self-interests don’t align with the interests of the greater population

I’d agree with Erik, though, and would argue that motive is the key difference between selfishness and self-interest.

My reasons for being at The Big Give definitely started out as selfish — my notorious luck in full swing, friends had already told me that I’d be going home with a ridiculous amount of swag on top of whatever else I happened to win. To me, attending wasn’t even an option. But there’s a blurry line between our selfishness simply adding to our lives… and that selfishness negatively affecting the lives of others. It’s fine to do something for your sake alone now and then, but too much of it will make you unpleasant company to just about anybody.

With that said, the very next day, it was time to change the tune. Amanda Blake, a friend of mine, was throwing one of her After Work Drinks Toronto (#AWDTO) events,  where she’d asked me to attend as the official photographer. And because I like Amanda and the great person that she is, I said yes. But why else?

#AWDTO Movember Edition: Selflessness Is Possible

Family. Friendship. These are the kids of bonds where the entire idea of selflessness comes from. We’re taught from a young age that if we behave; if we do what we’re told — our actions will equal to rewards. But as we grow older, we discover the inequities in life. We find out that sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’ll see no improvements to our lives — sometimes there’re simply no rewards for the blood, sweat and tears that we put in!

The simple fact: it is so easy to get screwed over in life!

So why do we help if it’s unrealistic to expect anything for what we do?

Because we can be selfless. We can do things for others simply because we like them. And because this is completely possible, events like #AWDTO: Movember Edition can exist. Above, Zach pointed out that selfishness is important to our survival. But he also commented on the nature of selflessness and where we’re going next:

“[W]hen you’re able to consider others and give back… everyone goes “Hey that’s awesome good for you!” and we give praise… because we recognize that value in doing it. Our new world of having plenty (in Canada at least), is teaching us to do more… social good, giving back, charity, caring for others etc. 

Overnight will we all become charitable/giving/caring/selfless etc… no. Takes time to reprogram ourselves… but it is definitely taking hold in the collective consciousness.”

— Zach Bussey

 Giving a Little Mo’

In the course of 24 hours, I’d gone from seeing people clearly out for their own interests, willing to nearly trample one another to go home with a bit extra — to a different kind of crowd altogether. Some where there to support friends. Some to network. Some people eyed the prize table as soon as they came in. But the glitz was gone. The glamour was absent. In the end, there was just a room full of people just looking to have a good time.

And we would. We would meet new people We’d learn about the experiences of a prostate cancer survivor and why it was important to support the cause. Some of us would win prizes, all of us would leave a little changed — and I don’t think that anyone was worse off for it.

Organizer and DJ Andrew Lo playing the music for the party
Not only did he help organize, but DJ Andrew Lo was on the 1s and 2s for the night’s party!

So if anyone tells you that we’re all inherently selfish, or say that everyone is ultimately out for themselves — I want you to remember this: a selfish world cannot work. If we all cared for ourselves alone and never for the people that we care about, society couldn’t grow. We wouldn’t collaborate. Ideas that need more than one person’s abilities wouldn’t happen as often. Humanity would stagnate.

We all need each other to keep growing in this world. So let’s all be a little less selfish and make it happen!

–case p.

Next in the series: That time when Casey and Sarah took a little break to cruise in the Caribbean and what it taught them about themselves and WHY they appreciate Toronto.

A November to Remember, Verse 3: The Song of the Selfish

As we get closer to the Christmas season and I continue to reflect on what I learned in November, I find myself asking a question:

Are all people ultimately only acting in their own interests? Is it human nature to be selfish?

This was the topic of a heated discussion the other day where fellow Torontonian CamMi Pham declared:

https://twitter.com/cammipham/status/276771716884230146

I’m not about to drag you back through the grisly affair, but while I definitely agree that there’s a ton of evidence that people can be selfish, my stance is that there are plenty of people yet who are selfless and just want to make the world around them a little better than it was when they first entered it.

The Big Give – aka – The Naughty List

I’m not much of a “party guy” — hard to believe, I know — I’m more into one-on-one interactions and small group settings where we can all enjoy each other’s company. Even at large events, I’m way more at ease when I have a solid group of friends around me.

When the music’s blaring, bodies are gyrating and the crowd looking glam, I’ll keep up with the best of ’em, but it’s not my scene.

So enter: The Big Give.

The Big Give, a charity benefit for Look Good, Feel Better (or LGFB — described by their site as “an organization that holds 1200 seminars for women and teenage girls who have just been diagnosed with cancer. The seminars teach these women how to maintain their self-confidence and elevate their self-image through their battle with cancer. The Look Good Feel Better workshop brings women with cancer together in a safe and supportive environment where they can share stories, insights, laughter, and feel ‘normal'”), was a very happening party, but I don’t ever remember feeling as lost at a party as I did in the first moments of that night. I made small talk with some of the volunteers and took advantage of the candy bar and not-so-candy (read: open) bar, but perhaps not knowing anyone there  reminded me of my transition from high school to university: going from somewhere where I knew everyone and everyone knew me, to somewhere where I was a biggish fish in a massive ocean, trying to find my way.

The candy bar at The Big Give
Some of my favourite selections from this table were sour strawberries and peaches! Was talking too often to enjoy as many as I would’ve liked to, though 🙁

Once some familiar faces started showing up, my aimless wandering came to a halt, but I still felt like I wasn’t on the pulse of the event. People dressed to kill. Anyone who came in the door quickly found their pack and a corner of the room where they could congregate. The openness and warmth I’m used to from the world of tweetups were absent in the blue hues filling the Berkley Church and washing over all the party people. It helped me realize one thing…

I’m not meant to be one of the “beautiful people”.

No, I’m the type who’s your best friend’s best friend. The funny guy in the room who makes sure that everyone’s enjoying themselves. I’m not there to look the best. I’m not trying to walk a red carpet and act like I’m better than anyone else. I just want everyone to have a great time.

All things considered, though, all was not amiss at The Big Give. Regardless of however I felt, the event still had much to offer, such as:

  • dancers to get people on the dance floor (no one ended up going on the dance floor)
  • free booze (of which people partook plenty)
  • free photos

But let’s get back to our original question — is selfishness simply in human nature?

Dancing With Wolves

In my heart of hearts, I would love to believe that people were there to support LGFB and simply have a good time — but behaviour would prove otherwise.

We all struggle with the siren song of swag.

Two of the big things that people were there for were the grab bags of legendary size that they distributed at the night’s end (which weighed 20 pounds apiece), and the ridiculously awesome raffle prizes that they had up for grabs!

But as the night wore on, our host Mike Chalut’s voice wore out and the crazier the contests got! From a raffle to a dance-off to a frenzied free-for-all, the night would end with women clawing, screaming and scraping past each other to get Mike’s attention — and for what? Jewellery? Gift cards? Gym memberships?

JessGo doing a live art presentation
This painting by JessGo would end up going for $5,000!

Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps many people in the world are selfish and act primarily out of self-interest. But it’s not everybody. That doesn’t account for the woman who bought a painting at the event for $5,000. It doesn’t really account for the people who believe in LGFB enough to give their time, products and services to make sure that the event was a success. And if you’ll bear with me for one more day to convince you, I think there’s a lot more in the world that such a narrow outlook doesn’t account for.

What about you, readers? Do you think I’m too off-base? Do I need to take a look in the mirror before I cast the first stone? Or is everyone in this world completely self-centred, and I’m simply living a life in denial?

Love to hear from you! Until tomorrow,

–case p.

Tomorrow: Karma, good deeds and how the month of Movember continued!

COMIN’ RIGHT UP: NANOWRIMOvember

“Suddenly, a wild November appeared!”

–no one in the Pokémon game series ever

 

Before I start talking about November, let’s talk Halloween.

When Did Your Inner Children Die?

When did people forget how to have fun? When did anyone worry about whether dressing up was “cool” or not? Seriously — when did you people let your inner children die?

I wore my aforementioned Ghostbusters outfit (sans proton pack, which I haven’t fixed yet) to work, only to discover that I was the only one dressed up.

Totally uncool. The fact that everyone was so worried about keeping up appearances (or on the other end of the spectrum, didn’t care enough to bother dressing up) that they couldn’t cut loose for a day and have a little fun (or, again on the flip side, are too beaten down by life to bother) really bothers me. Policies? Guidelines? Permission???

Are you kidding me? It’s HALLOWEEN!!!

Anyway. Gives me a lot to think about — the environments I’m in, the people I hang with — but that’s not the point of this post.

NANOWRIMOvember — Where I Grow Facial Hair and Grow Tired of Writing!

What I look like on the first day of Movember

Movember Day 1 with a clean-shaven face and head to match!

So we’ve finally reached the final stretch of 2012, where we wonder where the year went, worry about what to get people for Christmas and get fat off of all the holiday parties that tend to go down!

Well, we’re not quite there yet. We still have to make it through November.

November is an anomaly of a month. Not only is it one of the few months without a statutory holiday in Ontario, unlike its cousin named June, there’s very little that we tend to like about it. No hot weather, no looking forward to the summer — just reminders that we’re getting back to layering up and grey — oh so grey — skies above.

But not all is lost in November…

I Got 50K Problems, Being Done Ain’t One

A badge from the NaNoWriMo site
Can I write a 50,000-word novel in a MONTH? Time will tell…

As if I’m not busy enough (because we Torontonians love to be busy), somehow I decided that being part of the National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO for short) would be a good idea this year.

The basic premise: write a 50,000-word novel through the month of November. To put that in perspective:

  • a good length for a blog post is around 400-500 words
  • when you’re writing an essay for school, a double-spaced page is about 500 words

So about 100 blogs and/or 20 or so essays over the course of a month on top of regular blog posts and Mansformation.

Not exactly my brightest idea, but no one can ever say I’m unambitious! But fortunately, I’m brimming full of ideas, so stay tuned, amigos!

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/doomz

Gimme Some Mo!!!

One of the many images that Movember supplies to its Mo Bros and Sistas
When all else fails, trust the Mo.

With Movember comes events, awareness and a solid excuse for guys to grow some wicked awesome beards! I’ll admit that I never got around to participating until this year, but I look forward to seeing what I can come up with after a month! (If my post-Africa pics are any indication, apparently not much.)

I’ve drawn a quick mock-up in good ol’ Photoshop to let you see what my facial hair would look like at the end of Movember in an ideal world…

A mock-up of the ideal moustache I'd want after Movember
I call it… the “Evil Overlord”!!!

…but I fear that a beard of awesome won’t be a dream soon realized.

I don’t fight alone against prostate cancer, though — friends like Amanda Blake are throwing events in support of Movember! You can find me at her After Work Drinks Toronto event (or #AWDTO for the hashtag-inclined) on November 8th snapping photos and hanging out with some great company. With a $10 price tag (going right to Movember) to have free beer samples, more fun than you usually ever do and the chance to win some great prizes, I definitely encourage you to show up!

But no Movember blog post would be complete without a little self-promotion! I believe in supporting causes to help humanity improve — I support friends who climb towersride bikes and do all sorts of activities through the year in the name of various causes, but I rarely enter the fray myself. So now that I have, I hope that friends can give generously and help contribute to the fight for a better (and prostate cancer-free) future!

You can find my donation page at http://mobro.co/CaseP

Play Me Off, Keyboard Cat

So while the news might tell you that it’s time to get yourself in Christmas mode (only 53 shopping days left, people!), November is no month to be glossed over!

So while I’m rockin’ the Mo’ and writing fo sho — what the heck will YOU be doing all month?

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: PartyPeopleTO’s SauzaSin — Scarily AWESOME!

Casey poing in costume with a number of friends at PartyPeopleTO's SauzaSin
Scorpion and the ladies. Scorpion… WINS.

It was less than a day to the SauzaSin party and I was screwed.

There was a lesson to be learned here — never buy anything for a costume that’s inflatable!

Ghostbusted

I’d mentioned earlier that Halloween’s usually a bit of a fail for me with costumes — I seriously don’t know how anyone in this city manages to find the time to work on awesome costumes — I commend those of you who do!

I’d stopped in at some It’s My Party discount store to pick up a costume, winding up with a Ghostbusters outfit with an inflatable proton pack, thinking it would be a safe and recognizable costume choice.

Recognizable as a hot mess, maybe!

It wasn’t until the night before the party where I decided to check the costume out (dumb move, right?), only to discover that the proton pack had a huge hole in it!

Problem. After getting work out of the way for the day, I was left with less than 2 hours until the party, and was without a costume — I try to never half-ass anything, so I needed to find something that would make a good impression on the crowd.

And at It’s My Party, I saw it. The costume that would sent the tone for the rest of my night….

Y’all Gon’ Make Me Go All Out — Up in Here, Up in Here!!!

Note: No pockets meant no camera, though, so I’m relying on other people’s photos (you down with O.P.P.?!) to tell this story right.

There is no easier way to put this — you don’t know what you missed that night if you weren’t there.

Might sound obvious, but it’s true — PartyPeopleTO knows how to throw down with their parties and there’s no way that Thursday was an exception. These guys just outdo themselves with each new party they throw!

Held at the Stirling Room in Toronto’s Distillery District, SauzaSin was a fine combination of scintillating sounds, savoury Sauza and sumptuous sin! Greeted at the door by Meg herself (the head of this whole PartyPeopleTO deal) in a stunning She-Ra costume, she and the door crew would make sure that we got our drink tickets, welcome shot and that we were good and ready for the night!

I think Shannon was on point when she said

Seriously, it was crazy in there with the amount of effort people put into their costumes! Dressed as Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion, I spent the night meeting new people and making sure to show my martial arts prowess (read: flailing) with lots of battle stances and high kicks!

Me dressed up for SauzaSin in my Scorpion costume
It’s all about staying in character, man!

But let me tell you this — getting your groove on in a full bodysuit and mask? Crazy fun! Not my brightest moment logistically, but I was definitely enjoying myself!

Our drink tickets were good for trying two different drinks — the Witch’s Cauldron and the Diablo’s Curse. People will tell you different, but I thought the odd green-coloured Witch’s Cauldron was the better bet!

But this was all a prelude to who rocked the best costume….

FINISH HIM!!!

Scorpion, a priest and a construction worker battle for the Best Men's Costume with Meg Button on the stage to officiate
“Scorpion, a priest and a construction worker walk into a bar…” — Nate Kogan

definitely have to thank everyone at the party for voting me for Best Male Costume! Though my original choice didn’t work out, I wanted to make sure that I still brought the heat with whatever I chose, and it looks like the crowd agreed with me!

The prize was stellar, too:

  • 1 bottle Sauza Gold tequila
  • Some cinnamon sugar to make Sauza Sin shots (yes — more Sauza Sin shots!)
  • Some Schick Quattro razors (meant to help get a brotha ready for Movember, I’m sure)
  • A $100 MasterCard gift card
  • A $100 Cadillac Fairview gift card

Don’t know what that’s going toward, but I’m very happy to have won it!

But not as much as the next thing…

FLAWLESS VICTORY.

“You are all unwelcome to Sin City
Yet the population still increases its density
And that increases its intensity
Which increases the propensity”

–Malik Yusuf, “Sin City”, Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer

Winning the Men’s Best Costume was good, but it would still leave me completely unprepared for what was to come next!

What may have been one of the most unexpected parts of SauzaSin was the top prize of the night — an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas for 2!!!!

So you could imagine that this tweet would completely floor me the next afternoon:

My mind was blown.

A picture taken right after I'd won the prize for Best Men's Costume :)
VICTORY. SCORPION — WINS!!!

Sarah couldn’t believe her ears when I told her that we’d managed to win the trip — we’d been hoping to go to Vegas sometime soon anyway (to coincide with a hopeful trip to Bloggers in Sin City in May), but this was totally some very delicious Sauza icing on the cake!

I have to thank PartyPeopleTO and PRAXIS PR for the awesome party they put together and the amazing opportunity for Sarah and I to explore Las Vegas together! I really look forward to seeing what comes next!

As any good party of Tweeples, though, PartyPeopleTO made sure that no one would be leaving empty-handed and that the Sauza Sin shots would keep flowing well after the end of the party:

The thank you gift given to all #SauzaSin attendees — a carry-home bottle of Sauza gold tequila and cinnamon sugar!
And one for the road….

You can catch more of PartyPeopleTO’s photos from the party in their Facebook album.

Great people, great venue, amazing times. If you managed to score an invite — what’s your excuse for missing out???

Until next time…

Me in my Scorpion costume, mask up
Tryin’ to outdo me and my costume??? #CmonSon

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: Struttin’ and Stuntin’ at CanyonOnFront

CanyonOnFront-1-of-1
Justin always keeps it boss. Always.

“Last night was mad real.”

–Kanye West, “No Church in the Wild”, Watch the Throne, 2011

Anyone who wants to tell me that Toronto’s a boring city obviously isn’t looking hard enough.

There was once a time where I’d spend a lot of time home at a loss for things to do (read: when I lived in Mississauga), but Twitter broke those floodgates wide open, bringing a ridiculous number of opportunities to — as OutKast would put it — “Git up, git out and git somethin'” out of Toronto.

And Wednesday, October 17 was a perfect example of this.

Meats, Greets and Shufflin’ Feet: CanyonOnFront

To paraphrase Justin Baisden, CanyonOnFront was what a tweetup is supposed to be like.

I felt the love as soon as I got there, with Tiff (one of my favourite Tweeps) holding it down at the front entrance, making sure we were covered for free beers and appetizers, and Kate (one of my favourite Tweeps I’ve met lately) ushering us to the back of the room, I was expecting the event to be dope, and it did not disappoint.

The back of the room was totally where it was at. With a gathering of a good number of my favourite people I’ve ever met on Twitter, some of the sickest beats ever laid by Kayson Stone (seriously — the man could not play a lame song once, it was ridiculous!!!) and the delicious steak that Canyon Creek always has to offer, what more could you ask for?

Turns out we didn’t have to ask; they had a lot more to give! Take a look at this list of things we got for the glorious price of free:

  • Two Steamwhistle beers
  • Seeing tons of awesome Tweeps all in the same place
  • Kayson Stone keeping the dance floor vibin’ with just about every song on my Top 500 Most Played iTunes playlist
  • CFL and NHL celebs mingling with us common folk and having a great time
  • Being thanked for our patronage with a hand-written card, $20 Canyon Creek gift card and voucher for a free Steamwhistle Brewery tour

A Top-Class Tweetup

What made this Tweetup stand out from so many others that I’ve been to these past few years was the attention to every little detail that defined the guests’ experience. Giving them discount and freebies they could actually use — and immediately. Creating an amazing atmosphere where you could meet new people and have tons of fun with some you already knew. Making guests feel appreciated with hand-written “thank you” cards on the way out. All this and not having to pay a dime unless you wanted to just blows my mind!

Justin said that CanyonOnFront easily ranks in his Top 5 tweetups of all time, and I’d find it really hard to disagree with him on this one.

Big ups to Tiff and Kate who obviously know a thing or two about throwing one bad-ass party!

Two very different events. One very awesome night. The next time you want to say that your city is boring, you might want to take a look around — there’s a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things.

And who wouldn’t want to be part of the action???

Canyon Creek Chophouse on Urbanspoon

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: Ballin’ Out of Control for Charity — 3SHAHS and Black Sebath, October 17, 2012

Pretty much everyone who was at the 3SHAHS Wine & Cheese Event
The ladies (and the other 15% of the gentlemen) in attendance!

If you were to ask me a list of places where you’d be likely to find me, an event centred around jewellery would be unlikely to be on the list — yet there I was. A wine and cheese event isn’t usually my thing, yet there I was. I never had any need to step foot in a tanning salon — yet there I was.

But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

Bracelets and Burgers and Sales, Oh My!:

The flyer for the 3Shahs Presents Gifts that Give Wine and Cheese Soirée
It would make me late for #CanyonOnFront, but it was worth it.

3SHAHS Presents Gifts That Give — Wine & Cheese Soirée

No way I would’ve known about this event without Ria being in my ear to make sure I’d make an appearance!

The Players:

Black Sebath for the Religiously Fabulous

Black Sebath is a  dub poet who is on a quest to spread the gospel of fabulosity, charity, and civic engagement using various artistic platforms such as fashion, music, dance and of course poetry.

3SHAHS 

3SHAHS is a Canadian jewellery line created and designed by Shah Emily Noaman. Since its launch in 2000, 3SHAHS has been featured in magazines and fashion shows across the country and collected by fans worldwide. The “3” represents the trinity of Shah, her mother, and her sister, and in the Persian language, the word, ‘Shah’ translates to ‘King’. “Who said women can’t be kings? I believe in equality among everyone,” says Shah for those wondering about the name of her line.

So I had a good time starting my night here, and not only because I was part of the 20% male population in attendance! [/rimshot]

Seriously, though, it was fun. While plied by free wine, various chocolate-and-cannoli-cream treats courtesy of The Cookie Chicks and double-decker cheeseburger sliders from Holy Chuck Burgers (which I suppose put the “cheese” in “wine & cheese” — but as a burger-loving dude, you will hot hear me complain on technicalities!), 3SHAHS and Black Sebath made sure that our hunger was covered so we could look into sating other desires — namely, jewellery.

The event was brought to raise funds in support  of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and with this in mind, Shah put a steep discount (20-80% steep!) on her handcrafted jewellery to entice people to buy! (Which I hope appeases my financially sensible wife, who happens to read my blog!)

There’s another 3SHAHS event going down on November 10th, and while I wont be able to make it (valid excuse: I’ll be on a boat!), you definitely want to get to know these lovely ladies and their associates! The details are at giftsthatgive.eventbrite.com for the curious! For some pics from the event, feel free to click on my Flickr gallery below!

After picking some pieces up for Sarah, despite chatting with the charming Nickesha and getting to know some other good people, I was getting anxious. Time was ticking and my Black ass was expected elsewhere.

A picture of me after I'd bought some jewellery for Sarah
Support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation AND being a good husband! BLAM!!!

But that’s another party for another story!

–case p.

COMIN’ RIGHT UP: Ghouls, Fools and Booze — SauzaSin!!!

I kind of suck at Halloween.

It’s the time of the year where the crazy outfits come out, dentists make a killing Sure, I could always go to a store and buy a Batman costume or something, but this is only an indicator of a pattern that haunts me every year:

  1. I have an amazing idea for a Halloween costume. Past examples include Link from the Legend of Zelda series, King Bowser Koopa from the Super Mario Bros. series or a dark Medieval knight clad in some bad-ass armour. I’d win every costume competition and have every head in the room to see how awesome I looked!
  2. I realize that somehow it’s already late September or early October and there’s no way I’ll be able to put an awesome Halloween costume together in time.
  3. Get through Halloween with some mediocre store-bought costume, vowing that I’ll have something way more awesome next year.
  4. Spend the year doing everything but sort out a wicked costume idea.
  5. Repeat from Step 1.

So while this year saw no deviation from my annual ritual (as Justin would say, “Stay free to lofty ambitions”), there’s fortunately no shortage of Halloween parties that’ll have me anyway.

SauzaSin Will Do Us In

The best of the lot is an invite-only party hosted by everyone’s favourite party planners at PartyPeopleTO! That’s right — the deets are on the down-low and you’ve gotta get your invite to come party hearty and dress to impress in your Halloween finest!

While I might not have the finest costume to wear to the ball, PartyPeopleTO was cool enough to send me a SauzaSin gift pack to prepare for the madness that’s going to go down — everything I’d need to make my SauzaSin shots (cinnamon sugar and oranges instead of salt and lemons)!

But I’m all about sharing the wealth — so they also gave me another pack to give away, so you too can get your SauzaSin on in the comfort of your own home! (That is, unless your home is uncomfortable, which might make you need even more SauzaSin to be honest!)

How to Win

I love me some Internet — it makes things so much easier! All you need to do is fill out the simple entry form below to get your chance to win — and yes, I put some extra points in for commenting, promoting and liking some of the cool stuff I’ve been working on lately, so go forth and maximize your chances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So hopefully you’ll get down with the reason for the season and join us for some bone-chilling fun as we party with some of the coolest kids that Toronto has to offer!

Or… are you too chicken?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKosmXx1gkc]

–case p.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE TIME… I worked at Screemers?

There are some of us in the world who don’t really have a “bucket list” or anything like that. I haven’t really made a list of things I’d like to do before I die; I don’t have anything I’m seriously willing to give a kidney for — I just live life and enjoy whatever it happens to throw my way.

And sometimes, life throws me experiences that make me do a double-take. Like the time I became a cast member (or a “haunter”) at Screemers Haunted Theme Park!

To Scare or Not to Scare?

I almost didn’t go to Screemers’ Night Out at first — it was the same night that I was supposed to head up to Collingwood for an annual chalet retreat, and haunted houses have never been my thing. I just don’t scare easily! But I read through the email that Jamie had sent me as way of an invite (to Toronto’s “spookiest bloggers”, though I’m still at a loss for what that means exactly…), and I realized that this would be a little different from your typical event — I wasn’t there to give the haunters their best shot at scaring the pants off of me…

…I would be DOING the scaring!

 Life is the sum of our experiences, this is true — but it’s the unique experiences that really stand out! And while working at a haunted house is never something that’d ever been on my radar (I mean, let’s be serious — I’ve spent the last decade in office jobs; you can’t get any more “normal”), there was no way I was about to pass up permission to scare the hell out of people!

And Scare I Did!!!

It was pretty cool — after some quick makeup and airbrushing in the rear “haunters’ dressing room” and changing into an orange jumpsuit (with blood spatters added for extra effect), I was ready to scare some unsuspecting humans!!!

So I guess I was expected to go scare people for a few minutes to get a feel for what it’s like to be a haunter at Screemers, but I got a little carried away…

The bar at Screemers' Night Out
This… would be the start of many bad things.

Yeah… the free Molson Canadian and Jägermeister really only helped to get me more amped up to mess with people’s heads — and while I started in the front of the Asylum, popping up from behind a window to scare people, I quickly learned some lessons from my more seasoned coworkers:

1. No one’s scared of zombies

Sure, you can announce yourself with a loud growl and slowly move toward them, but that won’t really instil fear in people — just initial surprise that quickly peters off.

2. Location, location, location!

My scare potential totally skyrocketed when I changed locations to the second half of the Asylum — a maze of mirrors and prison bars washed in pulsing strobe lights! But location was a lead-in to the third lesson…

3. Fear is PSYCHOLOGICAL

A creepy grin and utter silence will do more than a single growl and low moan ever will — and it’s better for your throat in the long run!

What I’d learn most is that the unknown is what will drive people crazy. Banging noises from unseen sources and threats laid out in the open but not knowing what they’ll do next — these freak people out. Getting through something like Screemers is a testament to your sanity more so than anything else as they slowly try to chip away at it!

In short, it was awesome.

In closing…

In the end, I was broken out of my trance when Val, Zach, Tiff and her fiancé Ryan crossed my path and recognized me — just as well, because I was being summoned to make my way up to the chalet!

L-R: Tiff, ZOMBIE DOOMZ, Jamie, Val
L-R: Tiff, ZOMBIE DOOMZ, Jamie, Val

Thanks go out to Jamie and Screemers for a fun-filled night of moistening pants!

But you didn’t think I was going to let my wife and our friends get away with cutting my fun short, did you???

Haunting Knows No Bounds

The makeup goes on easily enough, but with the dress room only having a dinky little washroom, there’s no way it was coming off very easily!

So, with my friend Trevor in tow, I made my way home by TTC with the makeup still on.

This in itself closed the night with three last stories:

  • A hospital worker thought I had been grievously injured at the Canada vs Cuba game that Trevor had gone to and offered to give me emergency first aid for my cuts and scrapes. She felt pretty dumb after I explained that it was only makeup….
  • When we got back home, as planned, Trevor went in first to Sarah in the front room to let her know I was running a little late. I let a couple of minutes pass, crept up to the window and BANGED on it, making a gruesome face. I’ve never heard Sarah scream so loud in my life!!!
  • Finally, we got up to the chalet and I darted over to the entrance. Rapping hard on the door a few times, I waited there with a hood over my head, when who should answer — Trevor’s wife Sakshi! Yanking the hood back and giving a triumphant growl, well — let’s just say that Sakshi screamed even louder than Sarah did!

Best. Night. Ever.

Don’t believe me? Check out stories from Tammy BurnsPam MacNaughtanCamilla Cicconetti or the official Storify Overview of the Night.

So that was my Friday night. Who can top it?

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: Cool Connections Toronto

Tash Jefferies in action at Cool Connections Toronto!
Tash would hold it down, helping people work through problems in their life in some speed-mentoring!

Tuesday night found me at an event due to the prompting of my friend, Tash Jefferies, and it was one of the most productive decisions I’d made so far this week!

Setting Up the Cool

To give some quick context, I’d originally met Tash at my DoomzDay birthday bash back in July, crossing paths with her again at her You… Unleashed! event back in August (but we’ll get to that next week). This time, she was at it again — this time with the strength of a team in Cool Connections Toronto — an event based around (and I say this verbatim) people “doing cool s**t” in Toronto and bringing them together to organically make connections that can help make them rather than break them while they try to realize their dreams.

But How Cool Was It?

I can usually tell how good a time I’ve had at an event by how hoarse my voice is afterward — and let me tell you, I was almost speechless at the end of the night (pun most definitely intended). I’ve been to my fair share of networking event, but this one was different. Run by a team of 12 passionate people from varying disciplines (and put together in the span of a mere three weeks), Cool Connections was more about making yourself vulnerable and leaving yourself open to the possibilities that come from truly connecting with people than it was about simply getting your name out or “being seen”, as is the case with numerous events that I’ve hit up these past couple of years.

One of my best conversations of the night happened to be with someone looking to make the foray into social media and do it right — she was considering her brand, her underlying message, where social media was going in the future and not just where it is today — it was refreshing to see others thinking about it the way I have for a good while now.

You can see a glimpse of what went down that night below or by visiting the gallery at my Flickr page.

 

But what comes next? Only time can tell — my hope is that the people who connected on October 2nd will continue to do so on October 3rd, 4th, 31st, December, 2013 and on. The connections that remain most important to you in a lifetime are not cultivated over a single night, and that’s the message that Cool Connections strove to put forward. The night was productive, but getting to meet someone is only the tip of the iceberg. To keep with the analogy — if you aren’t willing to dive deep to make the coolest connections possible, is it even worth staying stuck in the shallows?

— case p.