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Last updated on March 2nd, 2014 at 07:46 pm

I’m not cool. I can admit it.

I’m not trendy, I like looking good, but won’t blow a pay cheque on fashion – I’m just a guy who’s trying t o enjoy life as best he can. I’ve long since stopped trying to be “cool” – even in high school, I floated across social groups, wanting to befriend everyone and not shun anyone.

It’s possible I was never cool in the strictest sense of the word. I was always a popular kid, but not because I was an alpha male, or dating the head cheerleader or anything like that (especially since Canada doesn’t put nearly as much funding into its sports programs as America does)—but because I wanted to know people, regardless of where they come from.

But not being cool means things like not being up-to-date with what’s playing on the radio because you only listen to the same songs over and over on your iTunes. It means marathoning through Breaking Bad while doing the work you brought home so the Internet won’t spoil it for you. You’re too old to set trends, but still quicker at the Internets than many of your peers, so you do what you can.

But even though you might not be “cool”, it doesn’t mean you can’t look cool.

Blogging Ain’t Everything!

Last updated on November 25th, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Like a Jay-Z retirement, I wasn’t stepping away from the social media game, but my relationship with it was definitely changing. When I met someone at Friday’s TacoTweetup who asked how many tweetups I’d been to, his eyes bugged out when I answered “I dunno—100? 150?”

For a while there, Twitter was my life.

When I get into something, I really go deep. I have a live recording from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon of Drake performing “Too Much” from his upcoming Nothing Was the Same album which is currently playing for the 57th time—and it premiered Saturday night. So when I found out about a place back in 2010 where I could be as crazy as I wanted and people were happy for it, there was no way I was looking back.

But it was always a juggling act.

The eldest of three boys, I’ve always been the “model son”. Never got in trouble; always did well in school; got a stable job, and married with kid on the way. In many ways, I’m a traditionalist, building a strong foundation so I can make the best of the life I lead.

But the other side of me wants to hit every event, blog on all the things, and live like life has no limit. He shows up to events, cash in one hand and camera in the other—because there’s no moment other than the one you’re in right now, so why not live it to the fullest?

But the longer you spend immersed in social media, the more you learn a simple truth — social media isn’t reality.

Man Up

What really killed the “social” in social media was just growing the hell up.

Recently, I took a step back from social media to start working on my life away from the computer. It wasn’t a grand exodus, but enough of a change that I could do things like tackle a new job and convert my home office into a nursery. We’ve all got things to do in our lives and choices to make—it was time for me to man up a little and start acting like an adult.

You can only live in Dreamland for so long. Wining and dining in exchange for a few words on social media is a pretty sweet deal, but free meals won’t keep a roof over your head. Many tell themselves that they’re paying their dues—all this face time is merely the path to something better; but it only reminds me of a phrase I was fond of a decade ago:

You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself!

The Cost of Blogging

Everything has a price. Looking at my friend Zach, he’s spent 2013 living A Sponsored Life in a large-scale social experiment but has to deal with the negative press from those who consider him a freeloader and don’t really get what he’s trying to accomplish.  Or how about the numerous times someone takes a pot shot at someone else’s social media snafu, only to have it bite them in the rear end later on?

There, too, is a cost to blogging.

With my blog, after years of trying to build something meaningful, I finally started feeling like I’d carved something I could call my own—but there’s a constant battle I’m fighting; the one where if I take one step too far in the wrong direction, I’m in danger of selling out everything I believe in. I’ve been blessed to receive so much over the years, and to have access to so many opportunities—but if you forget who you are, all of it can change you.

And not for the better.

But the pitches pile up, the handshakes happen, and for every post you write to chat on something that landed at your doorstep, that’s two you’re writing to show that there’s still a heart beating in your chest. You become your own worst enemy, trying to keep up with an editorial calendar out of control—with you smack in the middle.

Not the most sustainable lifestyle.

So I took a step back to take stock of my life. I took a look at the job I’m fighting the odds to excel at, because I don’t see failure as an option. I look at my wife and the new life that she’s mere months from bringing into this world and the new adventure we’ll be travelling. I look at friendships in need of care and repair, left neglected while I started too hard in the wrong direction.

Blogging ain’t everything and I’d do well to remember that.

Will the Real Casey Palmer Please Stand Up?

So in the meantime, you’ll need to bear with me. I still want to hit all the places and do all the things—but Daddy Casey comes first. White Collar Casey comes first. Husband Casey comes first. There’s so much I need to be other than a blogger—and without these, blogging wouldn’t be everything at all—it’d be nothing without a story to tell.

And no one wants that.

Until the next time,

–case p.

Stankin’ Tuesday

Last updated on April 5th, 2021 at 12:37 am

What up, what up, y’all? It’s your boy Case P. here on a Stankin’ Tuesday, where I was so distracted this morning that I forgot to put deodorant on, but them’s the breaks.

Today I started a new job—in fact, the 9th job in the last 6 years. Now anywhere outside of government, this would show I sucked at holding a job down, always getting into trouble—or maybe I want very loyal, jumping ship at the first sign of trouble. But in the public sector, it’s all about growing through your opportunities. I was approached for this job due to the work and long hours I’d put in on some multi-million IT projects I’d done in the past, and when you can turn something that everyone had all but given up on into a success, it’s not soon forgotten. So I’ve been asked to come in to another situation, bat swinging as I try to make sense of a bunch of data and turn it into something we can actually use. Good thing I’m trying to get this out of the way before DoomzToo makes his grand début, yeah?

The Art of Small Business Toronto 2013

Last updated on March 31st, 2021 at 10:51 am

Yesterday, I mentioned dreams in my blog—we live in a world where we see them come true for people every day, so why not for us?

But they won’t often come true if we don’t prepare ourselves accordingly.

To take control of our lives, we often need to change the game. We could do as most do, find a stable path and stick to it, or we could carve something out for ourselves, choosing a path less travelled, but ultimately far more rewarding.

Welcome to The Art of Small Business.

I Am Not a Blogger

Last updated on March 30th, 2021 at 02:40 am

Have you ever done something for ages, suddenly realizing that you’ve been branded with a term that either sells you short or diminishes what you really are? Michael Jordan would eventually try different hats a coach, actor, baseball player and ultimately a very successful businessman, but most people will automatically think of his time dominating on the Chicago Bulls, helping lead the team to 6 championships. No one laughs at his star power now, but to anyone with a few decades under their belt, they still remember Justin Timberlake’s time as the front-runner of NSYNC, the ultra-poppy boy band that serves as direct competition for the Backstreet Boys.

I can’t help but think that one day I’ll look at the path behind me and think of blogging in the very same way.

Blogging in Toronto is a Full-Time Gig

Don’t doubt it for a moment—blogging in Toronto is a business unto itself. In a city that’s all too used to being taken less seriously than their neighbours just across the lake, Torontonians work themselves to the bone in response, all to get noticed. Even before we entered the questionable economy that we’re stuck in now, all it took was a look at a Super Bowl Sunday or New York skyline to understand that Toronto wasn’t nearly as flush with marketing dollars as similar industries in American cities. Toronto bloggers may be vocal, but are fish in a much smaller pond, spreading their message to fewer eyes and ears. It’s a challenging struggle getting through all the white noise of the Internet!

You’ll seldom find anyone who’s just a blogger — Christine’s a digital media specialist; Val runs a PR company; and even though his approach can be somewhat unorthodox at times before Zach decided to spend a year without a decent bed, he spent his time working as an ambassador for a multitude of brands and freelancing. I see so many bloggers out there writing blog as a side hustle to something else that’s really putting food on the table—most often involving social media, marketing or public speaking from what I’ve seen.

Blogging ain’t easy. The market’s a lot more saturated now that it was back when I casually started in summer 2002, but the bar for creating a solid blog is set so high that writing one for anything other than purely personal reasons means facing very diminished returns for quite some time. But for many bloggers, it’s not about exposure—it’s about carving out the opportunity to experience parts of the world that you might not have seen otherwise, and building your own vehicle to live your dreams, whatever they might be.

It’s news to no one that yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the Great March on Washington, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech that’s forever etched in the collective history of our species. Much has happened in the half-century since one notable thing being the technological developments that got us to a point where everybody’s more convinced than ever that they can achieve their dreams. In many ways, a blog is a stepping stone to that—a dream you’re trying to reach.

However, the problems come when you don’t know what that dream is.

Casey in Bloggerland

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

–unknown

It’s not like we all sold out.

Not intentionally, at least.

The world of social media is a dangerously addictive one, luring you in with a taste of free food, alcohol and swag. They’re not asking much—you just need to spread the word. But you see others doing it and the rewards they’re getting, so you work a little harder. And then a little more. And a little more.

When you ford blindly through the darkness, simply writing for the sake of writing without taking the time to figure out what makes you tick first, blindly going so far down the blogging rabbit hole that you can no longer see what direction you’re travelling for lack of a torch—it gets a little difficult to figure out who the heck you are. That’s where I’m writing this from—somewhere deep in the burrow, trying to figure out what’s next.

Some would argue that you could simply drop the blog and move on. That if it causes so much stress and anxiety over making it good, perhaps I should go find something else that makes me happy. That I have nothing to prove, and that I’ve accomplished enough in my life that I should stand proud of everything I’ve pulled off so far, and I should ease back in preparation for the next phase of my life.

And hearing this tell me that these are the people who don’t really get it.

I look at the content some of my peers put out from time to time and wonder how they do it. How do you post daily when you’re posting about nothing? How do you continually post about the same things as everyone else and not get bored? How are you satisfied with just being a blogger, when there’s so much more out there?

My blog is a labour of love—the ultimate representation of everything that is me. I’ve learned over time that while content is king and you can captivate audiences with social media, but memories are short. You may have written thousands of posts, but unless you find a good way to keep old stuff relevant, everyone’s always looking to see what your next trick is. Soon enough, you’re not just a blogger anymore. Maybe you venture into photography. Or being a brand ambassador. Or videography, podcasting or consulting. Maybe you start building your portfolio and your life in social media starts to develop its own unique flavour. Is that when you step away? When you’ve poured so much into something that it may as well be part of you? When my son grows up and wants to follow his dreams, what sort of father would I be if I didn’t pursue mine?

I’m Not a Blogger, I Just Talk a Lot.

This post took me weeks to write. I tried to write it looking at what’s going on in my head as we enter Sarah’s third trimester of pregnancy and the major life change that’s just around the bend. I tried looking hard at the lists upon lists of things to do in the next few months. I felt drained and that I’d written all I could write, but I was wrong.

Originally, I put “I’m not a blogger, I just talk a lot” as a joke, riffing off Big Pun’s classic line from 1998’s “I’m Not a Player”. (And if “I’m not a player, I just crush a lot” doesn’t ring a bell to you, you have some catching up to do!) But the longer I kept it up, the more questions it raised—what is a blogger? Had I finally become one? And—was being a blogger holding me back from so much else in my life?

Perhaps I’m just a guy with a blog. Blogging’s not a full-time gig for me like it is for so many of my peers. In a recent chat with Zach, he touched on something that I hadn’t put words to—that I tend to over-think things. Everything I write has to have purpose. Everything I do needs to be perfect. Rather than swing 10 times and hit once, I try for a perfect batting average every time I’m up to bat.

Because I can afford to.

I’m not a blogger—I’m someone who blogs in their free time, passionate about telling the best stories I possibly can. I’m not just a web designer—I’m someone with a vision, using the tools around me to show the world the ideas rattling in my head. I’m not just a photographer, social medialite or a coder—these are all skills and abilities I’ve picked up on the side to supplement this interesting second life I’ve established for myself.

The point is this — I’m not just a blogger. None of us are “just” anything—I’m innumerable things — a Torontonian, a white-collar worker, a bureaucrat, a writer, a father-to-be, an athlete, a foodie-in-training, a husband, a son, a brother, a technophile, an advisor, a hip-hop head — but ultimately, they’re all just different parts of who I am. I need to combine these things to tell my story. I need to continue developing every facet of my life to define my truth that’s important to me, and make sure that everything I do aligns with that core essence of who I am.

I’m one person, doing all he can to tell his story.

Shouldn’t that be what we all strive for?

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad