TTC Signal Problems, but Clear Signs in 2011.

Last night I watched Law Abiding Citizen, and for the first half, holy crap. Seriously. The first half of this movie will totally mess with your mind – I don't care how smart you think you are, if you can figure out the plot of this movie and its specific after 25 minutes through this film, I applaud you. I agree with Deezy that it deserves more than 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, but to be honest, I'm not quite certain what score.

However, as we know, this isn't a movie review blog, so I think y'all should check it out and let me know what you think!

But to get back on topic…

A Set of Unrelated Loosely Interesting Thoughts

Hey guys! 
Much of yesterday was spent running errands and attending #WooTO, so coming up with a blog post wasn't on the forefront of my mind. Instead, today we get a few random thoughts:
ONE: If I were to chart out the progress made for the 2010 20K, it would be a sum total of three bar charts – money earned, money saved, money lost due to refunds. Now let us note that the refunds aren't due to bad service or inferior product… but simply friends who are impulse shoppers. Friends that read this blog. Yes, I'm calling you out 🙂 Still love ya, though, so worry not.

TWO: We need more Peter Silvermans. One would think that with the amount of information that's available on the Internet these days that we would no longer need a source like Silverman Helps, but I think it's much the opposite. With informed consumers, I think it helps everyone, because theoretically, only the businesses with good practices would stay afloat. (One would hope.)

THREE: Torontoist's I Want Your Job is pretty awesome (thanks to R.T. for alerting me to it on my Google Reader!); it's always interesting to see what jobs people are really passionate about and how they got there – for one day, I'll likely try to take it from them 🙂 (Or something.)
Hopefully some updates from the more creative side of life for the rest of the week – let me know if there's anything in particular you want to see!
Peace,
–case p.

Casey 1, TTC 0. A Toronto fairytale.

Once upon a time, not really all that long ago (July), there was a young man who'd had the foresight to sign up to the TTC's Metropass Discount Plan. He was eagerly (okay, maybe not THAT eagerly) awaiting the arrival of his pass for the following month. Usually it would arrive somewhere between the 15th and 20th of the month before, but for some reason, it seems that it would not be so this time. Oh he would wait. And wait. And wait. But the beginning of the month would come around, and there would be no pass in site! So, to his horror, he had no choice but to purchase a SECOND Metropass, knowing fully well that the first one would still be charged to his bank account, regardless of whether or not it actually came in.

Well this wouldn't do. This would not do at all. So he decided to contact the office that administers such matters related to the Metropass Discount Plan. It took him a couple of weeks to do it (for this is the way it goes in his line of work, as there is always much to do and little time to contact these administration offices), but he did eventually contact them through the magic of e-mail. After some back ans forth, an agreement was made for our young hero to bring in both passes so that a refund could be made. 
But he only had the pass that he shouldn't have had to have gotten in the first place! What would he do?
Deus ex machina! Through a stroke of luck, the August monthly pass was delivered with the September pass! Huzzah!
On the 23rd of August! Not so huzzah!
But anyway, with both passes in hand, he forged a path to the MDP office in the TTC main office in the distant land of Davisville Station. There he waited in line. Fortunately, said line was short, for he was on his lunch break. When he made his way up to the window, he was surprised at two things:
1 – How FRIENDLY the guy on the other side of the glass (which he wondered whether it was bullet-proof) was
2 – The fact that they had WORKED together SEVERAL years ago
It is a small world after all! So all was well that ended well. Forms were filled, conversations had, and our hero went home $121 richer (to be paid 4-6 weeks later, for this is apparently how long it takes to write a cheque)!
The moral of the story? Never screw anyone over, for you never know when they might be the one giving you your money!
–case p.

The Goodwill of Yon Storeclerk and Loving Thy Neighbour

So as we all know from the last couple days' of posts, the 2010 20K didn't end up as well as I'd originally anticipated. The drive wasn't there to reach the original goal, and my life became highly involved in a number of other pursuits. I'm sorry if I let anyone down with this – but in retrospect, it wasn't the right fit. If you did end up contributing and want me to make a donation in-kind to a charity of your choice, or have some other crazy idea that you'd like me to follow up, I'm all ears 🙂 I believe that some of the principles that help govern a healthy lifestyle include collaboration, communication and flexibility, so let me express some of those, and hopefully we can figure out what next steps to take 🙂
I was doing some thinking lately about the past year, and how on one hand, while I was striving to find ways to make some extra cash, I was equally fortunate that I didn't need to shell out some ridiculous sums at times! Chalk it up to divine intervention, maybe to just – as some of my coworkers like to so subtly put it – me having "a horseshoe up my ass", I've been fortunate.
One such story happened in mid-late November.
It was the night of a band practice for the OPS Battle of the Bands (we're The Calamities, by the way – pictures and video coming soon). We were off to a rocky start musically, and we wanted to record ourselves to get a better idea of what things were sounding like. So I whipped out my ever-handy iPod Touch (4th gen) so we could get something clean to work with, placing it square in the middle of a nearby amp. This was not a good idea. With the combination of the bassy reverbations of the amp and a wayward foot hitting its side, I found myself looking over, moments later, to an iPod facedown on the ground.

The drop couldn't have been more than a foot, but it was enough to send a crack glaring diagonally across the face of my (rather pricy) source of fun. It was very, very hard to get through the rest of practice without losing my ****, but I eventually made it and ventured home, damaged goods in tow. Sarah was about as unimpressed as I was.

When I got in, I started reviewing the warranty documentation, only to find that inflicted damage isn't covered. This was definitely not cool, since I'd bought AppleCare to extend my warranty for another two years just in case . So there went my money down the drain in SO many ways, and me Googling for a solution when there was none to be found 🙁

So I decided to go into the Apple Store to see what my options were. I found out that I could reserve an appointment online – which I did, leaving a lengthy explanation of how the damage happened; how I didn't want to pay half the cost of the iPod Touch for a repair fee since it was only a couple of months old and since Apple doesn't currently supply any cases for their newest iPod Touch, and that I was generally upset.

Booked. And then re-booked. And then re-booked once again. (What can I say – it was a really busy day!)

I went to the Genius Bar to see what we could do. I was pretty nervous, because knowing that AppleCare didn't cover this, we were looking at a repair charge of $219 + tax on top of what I'd already paid for the device and the extended warranty. The guy who helped me – the first thing he noticed was the case I had for my iPod Touch (I believe it was a Miss Belle case I'd gotten from Fan Expo 2010 – thanks to this site for helping me figure it out!) and how cute it was. Little did I know that this would open the door for further awesomeness – we started talking about what had happened, how high the drop had been, how I was trying to record my band so we could figure out where we were going wrong – and yeah. When I was done, he gave me a look and let me know that this isn't usually done, but he was going to give me a one-time replacement, free of charge.

WHAT.
Maaaaan, it was like Christmas had come early. (I think I overused this line in 2010, for the record.) First thing I did after leaving the store (after profusely thanking the guy and promising to spread the word that the Apple Store Toronto Eaton Centre is freaking awesome with amazing customer service) was hit up The Source and get myself a sturdy leather case to make sure that this crap never happened again.
So I guess the moral here is that saving money is equal parts earning the money, but also not spending your money idiotically. And spending that money would have been STUPID. I'm really glad I didn't have to.
So keep your devices close and your common sense closer, and while I use my Springpad to sort out all these notes I have strewn across various areas, I hope that you guys aren't going crazy with the holiday season! (I haven't even started shopping yet, but I can already see the year being pretty low-key. Though I know some friends are being totally slacktastic with their wish lists. You know who you are. Yes, I can call you out in my blog!)
Peace out, homefries,
–case p.

Making money from board games

Facebook and Twitter have always been a source of information and interaction for me, and I'm glad to see that yesterday was no exception.

Yesterday's post got a number of comments from various friends, some of the notable ones being:

"Nice to see you chose life over cash :)"
Amongst other suggestions for making $20,000 of bank heists, casinos and counterfeiting, but I'm not exactly sure how serious those friends were :S
This weekend I think I'll have to look back through my calendars, notes and whatever to figure out what the heck I did in 2010 toward the 2010 20K. One thing that comes to mind is working with Compulsive Pictures to put together a commercial for Hasbro for a new version of Cranium 🙂 This was actually the second year in a row where I'd done some work for them. It actually started during The Great Unemployment Stint of 2009 (which lasted all of seven weeks), when I'd received a random FlickrMail on my Flickr account due to some pictures I'd posted of the then-new Cranium pieces from Cranium WOW! So last July, almost as if it were a late birthday present, I was contacted about the potential to be in a Cranium TV commercial. Since I loved playing Cranium, seemed like a good idea, right? Sent in some test footage of myself and a group of friends playing, and that was that – I soon found myself in possession of a Flip Ultra HD video camera, a new Cranium board game, some money in my pocket, AND they paid for the food and drink for hosting the game. I'll admit, it was pretty awesome.
But what was even MORE awesome was when they revealed that they were doing a Canadian casting call in 2010, same prizes and another cash prize up for grabs 🙂 I don't think they ever revealed the footage from this go-around, but alas. S'all good. What mattered is that I did walk away from it with $150 for hosting, organizing and participating in the party. And I now have an extra Flip Ultra HD lying around up for grabs if someone wants to buy it and add to the 2010 20K total (or has some sort of awesome idea of how I could give it away – yadda ya).
So worry not – this year wasn't idle – I just haven't told you about all of it yet 🙂
This next year's going to be a challenge. I can already see 43 drafts in my gmail leering at me; hundreds upon hundreds of bookmarks between my Google Chrome, Firefox and Delicous systems (if anyone has a slick way to import and combine these all into one place, I'm all ears!); and taking a look around me in my room … yeah, there's a lot to do.
But we're not on that topic yet 🙂
Anyway, hope y'all are having a good night. The night is still young and I'm stuck on Final Fantasy. (I'm stubborn and I'm refusing to look at walkthroughs to get me by, so alas. Unintended levelling up, ahoy!)
Until tomorrow, ladies and gents!
–case p.