Ford Canada | North American International Auto Show 2014

Last updated on April 20th, 2021 at 11:06 am

I haven’t been out to the Detroit-Windsor corridor since late 2008 when my brother-in-law got married there, and only 9 months into dating, Sarah led me into an ambush, seating me at a table with many of her paternal uncles and cousins who I’d meet for the very first time. (Quite the feat to make a good impression while hungover, but that, my friends, is a story for another time!)

Ford Social—Badges—Ford Edge
Proud to drive an Edge!

But Ford Canada’s been really good to me these past couple of years. From inviting me to their second annual Blue Party to sending a care package when I bought my 2011 Ford Edge last summer, they’ve been a solid team to work with.

This year, they kicked it up a notch by invited me as one of a dozen Canadian bloggers as their guest at Putting You In The Driver’s Seat: the NAIAS Blogger Experience, which revolved around the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

BiSC | Bloggers in Sin City and Vegas, Day by Day

Last updated on March 23rd, 2021 at 10:20 pm

BiSClaimer: You’re about to experience my six-day Vegas adventure in the span of one post. If you’re not ready to take in all the awesome through text, video and images galore, turn back now. Once I start, I will not stop until it’s out of my system. You have been warned.


“What was BiSC? …It was Casey.”

— Amanda Kruse

It’s been almost a solid month since Bloggers in Sin City, and it’s taken about this long to get off the buzz from my BiSC-uit high. In the time since I’ve been back, I’ve volunteered at a national conference, listened to amazing speakers, eaten delicious food and got up to much of the madness I would’ve done before I went to BiSC.

But it just wasn’t the same.

When I got back, many friends and family members expected that I’d spent all my time partying, getting drunk and gambling, because that’s what you do in Vegas, right? At least that’s what TV and movies tell us.

But there’s so much more to the Vegas experience than you can imagine. You need the right people and the right opportunities to make it happen, though!

And BiSC? BiSC was a perfect combination of both!

TeamTrolling Does America

Last updated on April 23rd, 2021 at 08:18 pm

Several beers on display at a TOPS in Buffalo, NY.
You know how in Canada, to get beer you go to a Beer Store and most of it is in a back room and brought out to you by paid beer handlers? Oh no, not in America! It’s IN YOUR FACE. GLORIOUSLY.

So I was in Vegas for four days.

In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve changed jobs, Toronto was hit by a blizzard and Burger King’s Twitter account got hacked in a gloriously hilarious fashion.

That’s the best you could do in four days, Toronto? Shoot.

I’ll tell you all about my trip soon enough; until then, there are other stories to tell and photos to share 😊 I hope you enjoy the madness I was up to leading to the trip, and the many stories I’ll have to share from the trip itself!

But let’s start with another trip—one that found me and some close friends in Buffalo, NY…


TeamTrolling Does America

When you have a good thing going, you’ve gotta let it grow and not see it burn out. We can form strong friendships with others, but developing those relationships involves a dedicated effort as you get to know each other, share experiences and better understand one another through spending more time together.

6:30 am of Saturday, February 9th (i.e. the day right after Snowmageddon and the Ford Blue Party) marked the beginning of TeamTrolling Does America, the trip Marcel, Justin, Lily, Sarah and I would take across the border in pursuit of “shopping and cheesecake” (word for word, that’s what we told border security)! After Snowmageddon 2013, the road conditions weren’t the best (especially in Mississauga, you cheapskates), but—despite some horrid route choices—we were able to get all of our passengers together and into Buffalo, NY to get our shop on!

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls are by far the better shopping centre. While there’s nothing particularly glamorous about Buffalo, NY, don’t let the run-down exterior throw you off—there be deals in this little shopping complex!

Compared to the later trip to the Walden Galleria, we all found more stuff we were happy with at this stop!

Our first stop would see the start of a theme for the day — Casey running around looking for juice. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is wicked fast, but the use of an LTE network to make it that quick drains a battery like a vampire at a blood bank. By the time we’d made our way to Hamilton to grab Justin, the battery was already half gone. So it was pretty lucky that there were posts in the Fashion Outlets’ food court with outlets!

That were only there for show.

Thus, with no steady stream of power to work from, I was all over the place, trying to find my next fix so I could take advantage of the Rogers Day Pass for data over the border. I’ve since bought a Mophie Juice Pack for my phone, but having to constantly look for extra power at the time was painful.

Hot Tips:

Power in Numbers

Team up with friends to get the best deal possible through volume purchasing.

e.g. Sarah and I both hit Cole Haan up separately and spent $230 combined. Already getting awesome deals on our purchases, it would’ve been even BETTER if we’d shopped together, because they were giving $50 off on purchases of $250 or more. So coordinate where you can!

Learn how to park, damnit!

The parking lot of the Fashion Outlets was atrocious. Fools trying to park diagonally, man. DIAGONALLY.

TOPS

Everything’s bigger in the States. Everything.

We got to TOPS expecting to find cool flavours and snacks that never see the light of day in Canada, but the labyrinthine  building that held it all totally caught us off-guard!

We definitely saw the power of population density at play with lower prices, massive variety and no pesky 5¢ charge for plastic bags!

BURGERS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD

I may be exaggerating — slightly—but the side trip to Grover’s for food was worth it—Justin heard of it from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I wasn’t a huge fan of the cheeseburger soup (yes, you read that right), but the Cattleman burgers that the boys each ordered hit the spot.

Hot Tips:

  • Never ask what the difference between a “cheese burger” and a “cheddar burger” is in America lest you immediately be branded as an outsider and treated like a second-class citizen
  • Always, always, always be as hungry as possible when entering an American dining establishment. We take it for granted that portion sizes are ridiculously massive south of the border. If you don’t have the tummy room for it, don’t do it.
  • If you have a child screaming/crying like it’s a banshee freshly escaped from hell, there is something wrong. Please go to the car with said child and see if you can sort it out. (Note: regular crying? Totally cool. We totally should’ve recorded these banshee screams so you’d know how bad it was!)

The Walden Galleria

If you haven’t been to Walden in a while, I wish you luck if you step foot in there.

Dimly lit, map-free (far as I could see) and utterly massive, the Walden Galleria was a shopping nightmare compared to the awesome that was the Fashion Outlets of Niagara. It looms like a shopping dungeon on the horizon, with twisting and turning roads and a confusing parking layout to top it all off.

I’d eventually buy a thing or two from the Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) and Banana Republic, but it was little return for the hours spent wandering, re-tracing steps and being generally envious of how cheap American prices are compared to those north of the border.

The Cheesecake Factory

Though tired and beaten, we did eventually make it to The Cheesecake Factory to try some of the cheesecake we’d been hearing so much about. Remember what I said earlier about things being bigger in the States? You should’ve seen Lily’s Cobb Salad:

Lily and the ENORMOUS Cobb Salad they serve at The Cheesecake Factory
Lily and her “Cobb salad”. That’s no salad.

That’s no salad. You can’t call it a salad when it’s as big as your head!!!

But we still had jokes to tell, a waiter to inadvertently insult about both his age and his height, and the need to rest our feet after the long day we’d had!

THE END OF DAY WRAP-UP

We closed the day off with the long trek home and a hassle- and duty-free border crossing (Hot Tip: be honest and cross your fingers for a nice and lenient border guard); but more importantly, we proved—for the first time—that Trolls can get along for long stretches of time and not lunge at each other’s throats!

If a close group of friends can do a day in the States without a problem—what will tomorrow hold?

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

The Most Important Question of All.

Dear American Friends,

Hello, all. I am Canadian, as you probably know. Now, being a Canadian citizen, I have a very important question to pose to you guys. What exactly is the typical American view of Canadians?

Why the question comes to mind is because I applied to, and some people were like “Normally being from Canada you’d get a ‘no’…”—so I was like “Guh?!”

So if anyone could explain this to me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Peace my brothers and sisters of the United States.

Oh yeah, and you other people too. =D

–case p.

Doomzie. Where have you been? (The Original Entry)

Last updated on March 17th, 2021 at 08:55 am

After reading this entry, I hope you’ll see what I’m seeing. My family don’t get it. My old friends are surprised. People who’re just getting to know me are impressed. Doomz is growing up.

After finishing my exams on Monday and my battle against tastydm300 in (which I won … and I still don’t know how), I haven’t been in the hugest rush to get online. Granted, this also means that my comic is several days behind… but there’s only a handful of people who actually miss it. (And to y’all, I apologize. This LJ entry should be up about the same time as the new strips.)

So I guess the big question is where the hell has this kid been? Why hasn’t he been online? Why does he seem… aiight? Yeah, I ain’t even feelin’ mad right now—I’m just being me. Chillin’ like a villain (and I don’t mean Mr. Freeze styles).

Well lately, Doomz has been getting his knowledge on. Been reading a lot, even when I was supposed to be studying for that Business and Society exam I had (which I didn’t do as well on as I would have hoped—aiming for a 75?). Been trying to cram more information in this oval-shaped cranium of mine. So let’s see what I’ve been checking out.

A Hip-Hop Story by Heru Ptah

This is a novel acclaimed by both M-One of dead prez and The Source magazine, so one would expect it to be good, yes? I ain’t gonna hate—it’s a pretty good novel altogether. I was gonna say it could use a bit more flavour, but then I thought about it. There have been books I’ve picked up, and couldn’t be bothered to read because they were so dry. But looking back on A Hip-Hop Story, I realize that I never really DID want to put the book down. Maybe it was because of the alternative (500 pages of Business and Society readings from the course kit), but I’d like to think I was genuinely interested in its story. The story being the tale of rappers Hannibal and Flawless and how they develop in their worlds and rivalry with one another over the years. It’s really interesting, as you can see various parallels with the way in which today’s rap world is represented, which I think was the intent of Ptah in the first place. I think I’ll read it again sometime, but I have a lot of other things to get off my plate first.

Just because she’s named “Cookie” isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t take the woman seriously (hell, Heru was a pseudonym in the first place)—by reading this book it was obvious that she knows her stuff. With just about 100 pages of information concerning rap music, ranging from its origins in griot storytelling back in Africa to the year 1999, where Lauryn Hill walked away from the Grammys with five awards, I think Lommel managed to create a good primer on rap music (there’s no possible way you could cram a concise history of rap into 100 pages, unless you’re at font size 2 or something). Upon reading this, I realized two things: (1) there’s a lot of things that I didn’t know about rap, and (2) this book is going to be a wealth of information for me in upcoming years. I figure, if I can’t name an older rapper just by looking at them, I’ve got a problem. Y’all just wait until I get my publishing deal… So yes, if any of y’all have any interest in learning how rap got to where it is today, I strongly suggest peeping this.

Vibe, January 2004 issue.

Yeah, so it might be the thinnest issue of Vibe anyone’s ever seen. And sure, it might be yet another article about Jay-Z retiring from the game (for now). So why, you ask, the hell did I buy it? Because it’s the only article about Jay-Z’s retirement… written by Jay-Z himself. Sure, you know, I might diss the Jiggaman for biting Biggie all of the damn time, but I gotta admit—he’s got skills. He may do radio freestyles that are really just lyrics from upcoming tracks, but the lyrics the man writes can be captivating and on point. And yeah, he may have done some ghostwriting for Bugs Bunny’s “Buggin'” (cat’s still got to get paid, right?), but dude can recite words off the top of his dome, so I ain’t complainin’. All in all, I liked the article. I think Jay-Z did a really good job writing about himself (just like how Eminem was acclaimed for acting like himself in 8 Mile… another topic for another time…). So yeah, if y’all got the $4 US to shell out for it, I suggest it.

a RIGHT to be HOSTILE: The Boondocks Treasury by Aaron Scott McGruder

Hell, I don’t care if I’ve mentioned this before—it needs a second mention. The Boondocks has always been a comic strip that has been on point with its criticisms of modern culture and politics and really helps to show a creatively made point about the wrongs and hypocrisies that occur day to day. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of McGruder’s work, and I’ll keep bigging the man up, even when I make my mark.

Other Books

There’re some other books on the reading list, such as:

  • Esquire (December 2003 issue, the Genius Issue—I might want a subscription to this thing);
  • some issues of GQ and Essence magazine; Fader (issue 20, Kanye West on the cover, discussing the ten artists who will “Top All Pop Charts in ’04” … I bought it for Kanye and RZA…);
  • Rap Whoz Who by Steven Stancell (copyright 1996, so one would expect it to be somewhat outdated);
  • Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (I’d borrowed this once from the library last year for a project on Rap and its effects on children);
  • and I Make My Own Rules by LL Cool J with Karen Hunter (autobiographies of rappers I respect are always the bomb to read).

So, with that and everything else I want to accomplish over the break, it should be pretty damn busy.

Doesn’t look like getting Internet on my computer is going to become a reality, so I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got. That’s all good—maybe I’ll get a real life or something in 2004. On another note, I’m changing shit up in my life—I’m going to sell a lot of my old CD’s at the used CD store down the road—I’ve outgrown a lot of it, and can rip tracks off of them if I really need to. I mean, what am I really gonna do with a copy of Ma$e’s Harlem World? Hopefully I’ll get some half-decent cash for the lot of it.

The next month, I hope to get working on some of my plans—but my brain needs to recuperate for a little bit, first. Exams took their toll upon it, ya know? goldenhoney will know what I’m saying when I say I been doing crosswords like mad to help strengthen the mind. Granted, I don’t always finish, but I at least put in the effort to make sure I can do better the next time.

It takes an argument to really figure out how differently people think from one another. After work today, a bunch of us stuck around to help put up Christmas decorations. Before we did that, while eating pizza, many of them were saying how they felt that having to say “Happy Holidays” was going a little too far on the entire politically correct thing. They felt that being second or third-generation Canadian, that they had more of a right to what should be done in the nation than those more recently immigrated. Now, I can understand how they feel, but of course, y’all know Doomz. Doomz stepped in and makes people see the other side of the argument. First I argued that it could be culturally insensitive. So they argued that if you come to a country, you should be willing to adopt to its customs. Including adopting a bit of their culture, which in our case, they believe to be Christmas. Then I argued that, unlike America, Canada does not have a strong sense of identity and thrives upon multiculturalism in its urban centres. So, they argued that they were still here first, and they didn’t see how saying “Merry Christmas” could be seen as insulting to anyone, even if they had come from a different upbringing. So, then I went for the hard punches. I broke down Christmas, its history, and the emphasis on Christ. How someone who is Buddhist could be offended by the commercialist materialism that it has come to represent, or someone who is Hindu could be appalled by our singular God and how several Christians go to church, but are yet horrible people (y’all know you know people like that—don’t front). Then they tried to argue that Christianity is the most prevalent religion, and English is the most prevalent language, so we should all conform to it. It wasn’t easy getting through to these middle-aged women. So Doomz thought. And Doomz thought some more. Then Doomz came up with this: “So tell me this. If y’all are so concerned with having been here first, and that people should conform to the customs of those who were originally here… then why don’t we all follow the customs of Native Canadians instead of Christmas?” They rose to speak… but had nothing. Doomz wins again. Biatch!

Y’all really don’t have to read all of this if you don’t find it interesting. It’s just a lot of rambling. Or is it? I was thinking (because you know how much of that I do) about what it would be like to write an autobiography. Then it came to me—by writing an LJ, I’m basically making a resource which I can go back upon in my later years. The things that I jot down in here are the thought I’ve had—the comments that others post reflect the image I projected to others. I think when I finally get around to writing books, I’ll enjoy it, and be able to enjoy talking about my life—as tedious as it may seem right now. I was talking to an old friend from my last job (at dad’s restaurant—he has his Christmas party Monday night), and we came to how she used to be such a party animal and shit, doing drinks and drugs and whatever. Now she’s got a steady boyfriend, she’s working and going to school—it’s funny how people can change over the years. Y’all can go from a stupid youth to having a genius adulthood, or just spiral downward. The kid who was expected to be a great scientist or doctor could turn out to be the world’s greatest journalist (Doomz, anyone?). The world is a funny place, and you just gotta go through it smiling.

So, like I’ve probably mentioned a gazillion times before, it’s kind of hard to get online at my house, with four people sharing the computer and all, and my lust for physical conflict having declined over the years (hell, I even find myself avoiding conversation often enough nowadays). I was planning to go online for a few to see what’s up, but two things are deterring me: (1) I’m hella tired, and (2) someone else is on the computer. I could see from the glow of the monitor on the walls as I looked down. Not that much of a biggie, I guess. But I got things to do, like change my e-mail address (Hotmail is ass and won’t let me send mail), update that damn comic (which would be kind of hard with nothing to update with), etc. etc.

I’m still thinking about what I want to do when I’m done with school and all that jazz. People are like, “Are you crazy? You don’t want to pursue banking? But it’s like a sure job in the future! You’re set, man!” Yeah, so I’m in a job where it’ll probably never die out, since people always need money. Sure, hey, I could make megabucks whoring myself out with fake smiles and holey promises to the customer with the highest offer while never really benefitting the society around me. But like Hannibal said in A Hip-Hop Story, one thing that people often fail to do is see the bigger picture. And that’s the picture that I eventually want to be a part of. I’m not about to let myself become another footnote in the Book of Life. People will remember me when I die. I will do well. And those who stand in my way shall feel the burn of the Blaze.

This a long entry or what? I find that I’m being a lot more computer-productive nowadays since I’m not online nearly as much. But I do owe my typing speed to chatting over the years.

Everyone’s got their own reason for doing things. For the longest while, I kept my journal open (I’ll be closing off entries here and there soon enough). Now, I’m going more towards the route of making entries Friends Only. But I often think about why I’m doing it exactly. I’m not exactly the type of person who’s in search of privacy from others—I’m a strong believer in making honesty one of my primary policies, and although the odd lie does slip out here and there, I make a conscientious effort to try and avoid it. But if someone really wants to hurt me, it’s become hard to do so. I’ve been betrayed, emotionally hurt, physically hurt—not only by others, but by myself at times as well. My spirit’s been through the ringer, and although I haven’t led as bad a life as half the people I know, I’ve been through my own trials and walked down my own paths of darkness. I was thinking about what I’d want for Christmas this year, and more than anything material, I think I’d want one thing more than anything else. Internal peace.

My head and spirit are overlapping messes of conflicting entities. It doesn’t make me indecisive or anything like that—but I never truly feel peaceful. It always feels like I should be making an alternate decision, or that I’m missing out on something in life. I’m always torn between options A, B, and C, and I don’t enjoy it much, to say the least. I should be sleeping right now, but my spirit keeps urging me to get out of bed and write this entry. (At this point, let me apologize for not keeping up with everyone else’s lives—I’ll understand if this entry is too long for anyone to want to bother with.) I don’t exactly know why I’ve become like this—there’s no one really to blame but myself and the way I’ve reacted to situations over the years. But… it’s almost as if there’s nowhere I really feel comfortable anymore… no one that I really feel comfortable with. I’ve grown too different to really sit down with the family; my closest friend, Irene, is younger and has problems of her own in life, so I don’t want to burden her with my constant speculations upon my life … it’s almost as if I’ve got to rely on myself—but I’m not even sure about what I am or what I represent. In a life full of unknowns, I find myself to be the biggest one of all. I often sit on the bus in my own world—just riding the vibe, not really caring about what might happen to me in the next few minutes. It’s sad. I can debate a point well but I can’t hold up a decent conversation without getting antsy. I really don’t get it.

Anyway, it’s time to stop this foolishness and get some work done. This was the Doomz Broadcasting System. Doomsdayblaze out.

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad