So somewhere in my crazy mind, I’d convinced myself it’d be a good idea to write my wrap-up for The 2016 100 all as one post, because I’m always so curt with my posts, of course. A few days of working on it quickly killed that idea, and here were are with the second part of my wrap-up, covering the things I didn’t get around to in 2016, but still plan to manage this year, as well as my reasons why.
(Note: You will see these in some form in The 2017 100, so you know—don’t be too surprised.)
What I Didn’t Do, But Still Want to Do Next Year
7) Stop biting my nails — Ugh. What I probably need to do first is reduce the amount of stress in my life to get a better chance of dropping this disgusting habit. I had a good run early in the year, but hey. Maybe I’ll have better luck this time! 8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent — I don’t think those past thank you’s are getting sent. It’s just… not something I’m doing. Instead, I think I’d love to start sending Christmas letters with some personalisation. I’m not a complete jackass, guys, but there needs to be a point where we agree to move on. 13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP — Any outstanding finances in general, really: part of being an adult is knowing how much your insurance will pay out. What your benefits cover. What’s in your stock portfolio. 2017 Casey Palmer needs a better handle on all this kind of stuff!
14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad — I mean, you don’t see the magic happening, but my desk and dining room table are plastered with pages of notes as I draft out my posts. Will it happen? Maybe. Do I want it to? Oh heck yes ?
You’d think that living a life as a person of colour, I’d have done a series like this far earlier, but I suppose I got sidetracked from everything else with the blog and never gave it a second thought. But some recent experiences starkly reminded me that yes, I am a Black man, and that means the life I live unfolds differently that almost everyone around me.
With Black people making up only 2.9% of the Canadian population, I can’t expect everyone to see things the way I do. Like the fact the Black History Month is so important because we’re one of the few collectives lumped together by our skin colour rather than nationality or religion. Or what the feeling’s like to become a de facto representative for your race when you’re the only one in the room. For all the stories so integral to the Black Experience, it occurred to me that I’d never seen the Black content creators I know tell their tales in one place.
So one day in late January, I came up with Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing Their Stories in a Digital Age, a project to showcase my fellow Black content creators across the nation in a month that should encourage us to really examine what it means to be Black in Canada and everything we can learn from our experiences.
But I can’t very well ask my peers to share their thoughts without doing so myself, now can I?
So without further ado, welcome to Tales from the 2.9, where you’ll learn about some awesome Black people from across the country with some things to say, and a thing or two about the lives they’ve led as people of colour!
I hope you glean as much from this series as I did putting it together!
Enjoy this read and I’ll see you at the next installment,
Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff.
When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him.
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
Much of what I’ve been exposed to with Black History has been from the American history books, overwhelming with stories of slavery, racism and the Civil Rights Movement. The ones I remember outside of that are far more personal — of the experiences my grandmothers had in the ’70s, both good and bad; what I experienced on a trip to Tanzania and how much they saw me as an outsider; or just understanding what life’s been like for generations of my family in Jamaica — all the sacrifices they made so my brothers and I could thrive in Toronto today.
I’m learning more through the peers and study every day, and I’m hoping to learn more about our accomplishments and achievements through time, rather than the weighty words that we often use after so many forms of oppression.
2) The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?
“I used to get teased for being black
And now I’m here and I’m not black enough
Cause I’m not acting tough
Or making stories up ’bout where I’m actually from”
— Drake, “You & The 6”, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015)
I’ve always found it difficult to define the Black Experience in Canada, perhaps because I’ve felt so removed from it for so long. I’ve been one of three Black kids in schools of 600. I’ve had girls who wouldn’t date me because I wasn’t “Black enough”. I’ve even toyed with publishing a book on the matter — TOKEN: Being Black in a World Coloured Otherwise. But no matter how Black you feel you aren’t, there are still plenty of people who’ll remind you that you’re darker skinned than they are.
The odd looks at the beginning of interviews when a Black man walks in instead of a blonde white female. (Seriously — go look at Google Images of “Casey”.) Or when I go on a cruise and people mistake me for one of the staff — multiple times. We’re so quickly judged by our skin colour that it’s hard not to be bitter sometimes.
When it all comes down to it, I’ve led a good life so far, and its foundation lie with parents who taught me right from wrong, and to let my heritage be a motivator rather than a stone to weigh me down. It’s better to be the first Black person in a career than another marginalized statistic — and that’s a success I’ll never stop fighting for.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
As a Canadian content creator, I want to show that great work can come from just about anywhere — the Canadian market may not be as massive as others, but we’ve got plenty of potential up here, and I’m hoping to show the world what can happen when you really put your mind to something!
4) We all benefit from good mentors who guide us along the way to make sure we reach our potential in life. Who was your mentor to teach you from a cultural standpoint, and what’s the greatest lesson you learned from them?
Narrowing things down to a single mentor’s hard for me because I’ve learned so much from the many people I’ve had in my life. The managers who’d take me under their wings to make sure I could navigate the challenges all around me. The older Black kids who shared my experiences and took me in like a younger sibling to make sure I fit in and built my social circles so I’d always have peers to talk to. What I learned from everyone is to make the most of my life despite whatever social barriers life has in store, because ultimately I’m the only one who can determine how my life will end up!
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
It might not seem like it with the weight of the world on our shoulders, but the very fact that we feel like we’re on the bottom with the world looking down on us means there’s no better time to climb up and do some amazing things with our community! The possibilities are endless and there’s a wealth of markets we’ve yet to make our marks in — it’s time to explore new options and see what we’re really capable of!
Tales from the 2.9 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
I can’t even lie, guys — coming up with a list of 100 goals for the fourth year in a row was hard — ridiculously so. I’m a very different me than I was when The 2013 100 came out, back when free time was still an abundant commodity I didn’t even know I was taking for granted, trying to fill it with countless things that’d keep life interesting.
A problem I most definitely don’t have in 2016!
As I work at surviving the upcoming year — especially with our second child’s imminent arrival — I needed to make the list a lot more realistic; I’m all too skilled at chasing ambitions that exceed my lifestyle’s capacity, and I’ll need to keep wary of that in 2016 if I want to see myself make it out the other side!
So without further ado, The 2016 100. It took a couple of days to polish off after recovering from the gauntlet that was 2015, but I feel like it’s a list that will really make waves in this life o’ mine should I see it finished!
But hey — that’s what I say every year ????
Thanks for reading!
1) Write an amazing series for Black History Month 2) Win a vacation for my dry cleaner 3) Watch Creed; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; Ant-Man 4) Take Eric to a sporting event so he can stop complaining about getting left from sporting events 5) Phase my old 3.5″ hard drive out 6) Get rid of my old electronics 7) Stop biting my nails 8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent 9) Clean out the basement crawl space 10) Build shelves into the crawl space 11) Give my FWD Powershot 2 to my old manager the hockey coach 12) Do the CN Tower Edgewalk 13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP 14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad
Though a chiropractor I started seeing late into 2015 told me I’d developed some mild sciatica in my back, I didn’t need him to tell me I carry too much STUFF. In a digital age where we can pack mountains of information into a single device, there’s really NO NEED for me to carry all the draft posts and note that I do — save the fact that working from hard copy’s the way my brain’s WIRED.
In 2016, I need a little more focus to keep all my ideas stored in one place so I’m not constantly carrying EVERYTHING in my house made of paper, knowing that I probably scribbled SOMETHING on ALL of ’em.
15) Sort out the Internet situation at home so I can stop relying on tethering to LTE data 16) Learn enough Spanish to understand my sister-in-law’s Mexican wedding in May 17) Find time for date nights, which will involve finding someone who wants to babysit two kids… how about we just find more awesome things to do at home, just in case? 18) Try Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake 19) Get to 0 drafts on CaseyPalmer.com by converting everything into live posts 20) Install the growth chart for my kids that we got at my office baby shower 21) Update all the old content on CaseyPalmer.com 22) Upgrade the site infrastructure to better support contest traffic 23) Redesign the heck out of the blog (Twenty Sixteen, what up) 24) Find the time to pack more lunches for work 25) Clean up and optimize my Pinterest account (I still have that copy of Pinterest Savvy lying around somewhere) 26) Shave more regularly 27) Hand out my remaining business “cep” cards so I can put in a new order (wait — do we still do business cards?) 28) Clear out the bookshelves to prepare for Baby #2 29) Replace the lost key to our 2011 Ford Edge 30) Figure out what I ACTUALLY need to run my site and invest in THAT. 31) Replace our bathroom sink 32) Meet with the people who I never seemed to schedule in through 2015 (Aaron, Emma, Ria, Adrienne, Dianna) 33) Get a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet
The 1% of the Casa de Palmer workspace I use to do all the things isn’t the best — in fact, it’s falling apart. As I get older and start formalizing my #BloggerLife, Sarah and I agree that my workspace should evolve to show that. It’ll take some saving to make it happen, but it’d be a nice addition to the home.
“This is a funny subject, just because none of you even know me. Not yet, anyway. The name’s Casey Palmer, and I’m at one of those pivotal points in my life right now. It’s the last summer before first year of university. Amidst all the limited bursts of fun and trying to save up to cover tuition, my mind has been filled with more thoughts than I’m used to.
Anyway, thanks to anyone who may stumble across this journal, I’m sure it’ll prove to be more interesting in the future, filled with intergalactic thoughts and timespanning opinions, but until then, we’ll have to wait and see, no?”
— Casey Palmer’s first online journal entry, dated August 13, 2002, tagged with “intro” and done while listening to Amerie’s “Need You Tonight”
Several years deep in this journey as a blogger, I’m finally appreciating what things look like through the eyes of bloggers who started this scene almost a decade ago. At times, it feels like I’m rehashing ideas I’ve already put out, trying to keep original despite the wealth of content I’ve already produced. I remember back when I just started with the blog, trying to show I was bigger and badder than anyone else, looking to convince the world why my blog was worth their notice. After years of hustling, 2015 Casey’s got a whole different set of problems, constantly looking for better solutions to handle them.
And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.
With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.
It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.
When I became a father, many thought I’d have to give up blogging, too busy and tired to bother with social media and my life associated with it. Through 2013, I worried over everything I was giving up with a kid in tow — the parties, the swag, the food — everything that was part of “the scene”. I thought I’d fade into obscurity, becoming an urban legend of Toronto’s social media scene — a precautionary tale to those trying to mix family and Twitter, to show it’s impossible.
But January seemed determined to prove me completely wrong.
We made it. Despite a 3-hour outage from my hosting provider, I managed to get this done. Thank you for joining me on the ride, and I’ll just leave this up here so I can go get my party on in these last few hours of the year. Enjoy the post!
Create a collective of creatives with similar goals in mind
Get new glasses
Transform all the blog drafts I have lying around into real posts
11: Spruce up my about.me page
Spend enough time on the Internet and you start to learn a little something about Web presence. When it comes down to it, the only places where you should focus your efforts on standing out are:
Your own website
Frequent anywhere else all your like, but create amazing content across these sites and I promise that what you share will make its way wherever else you want it to get in due time.
So about.me, it’s been a slice, but I’ve got things to do.
STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!
12: Send personal emails to everyone who I came into contact with in 2012 about future potential opportunities to collaborate
This is one I didn’t pursue. As years pass, you learn more and more that it’s not the number of people you know, but the strength of the relationships you make. While tweetups and networking opportunities are great, you’re rarely going to find yourself entering a lucrative, sound business opportunity with someone you barely know. Instead, I weeded through the pile of business cards I’d collected, dropped quick notes to the few I’d connected with and moved on.
Life’s too short to spoil it with poor relationships.
STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!
13: Launch the Mansformation website
Let me tell you a little story about an idea called Mansformation. Somewhere in 2012, I jokingly replied to a tweet with a Man Lesson about how a man should act in a situation if he wants to get anywhere with the women. Somewhere soon after that, I was tweeting daily Man Lessons, which carried over to my Facebook page, and eventually to its own Facebook page as it got more hype. If I was going to run a business, this would be it!
But I wasn’t passionate about it. Much like many things in my life, I feel into it because the opportunity was there. So I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, but ultimately found it more effort than I wanted to invest in the project, and slowly started turning my sights elsewhere.
So in early 2013, Mansformation took a hiatus, much to the chagrin of some (including some who’d piggyback off of the success of my Man Lessons to try to make a name for themselves.) Though I’ve no immediate plans to revive the brand (not without a solid business plan, anyway), I can’t say it’ll stay gone — I’m getting a better handle on the blog and real-life stuff, so who knows? Maybe I’ll find someone else who wants to take it on and give them the kick-start they need to succeed!
I’ve always wanted CaseyPalmer.com to be more than just a blog. At no point in my life have I been just a blogger — I’ve drawn logos, designed layouts, been in plays… a blog is cool, but it really sucks at showcasing what you can really do.
So I’ve worked at building a portfolio into the website, focusing on all the things I’ve done over the years. I had to learn some WordPress-specific PHP to do it, but it’s on my development version of the site, and I hope to roll it out in 2014!
STATUS: On to the next year!
16: Attend Bloggers in Sin City
A resounding success! If you read my blog post — it was an amazing time and is helping to change the way I blog!
STATUS: SO done.
17: Do something awesome for my 30th birthday
DoomzDay 2 wasn’t quite as epic as DoomzDay in attendance (largely due to the threat of a second Stormageddon on the horizon, scaring people into staying home), but I’d argue that I had a closer group of friends around me in 2013.
Held at The Office Pub in Toronto’s Entertainment District (and now apparently one of Team Trolling‘s preferred birthday venues — shout-out to Marcel), I put a playlist together and brought a good 75 people together to celebrate the three decades I’ve lived so far.
The Dirtiest of Thirties
Watching @doomzTO get his dance on #DoomzDay2. It's so nice to see more people on the floor this year!
It was definitely a night with its ups and downs, from hugging friends I hadn’t seen in ages and partying the hardest I’d partied in months to finding out (again) that shot don’t agree with me and swearing up and down that someone’d stolen my wallet when I couldn’t find it the next day (only to have Sarah find it well-hidden under our bed five months later….)
I'm in a people observing kinda mood. Socially, I'm off my game tonight. But I gotta say #DoomzDay2 is wild.
In any event, we celebrated 30 in style, and while I don’t see going as hard in 2014 now that I’m a father, I’m happy that my friends and I got to go bananas for a night — even if it’s the last time for a while.
Would I still want to work with others? Sure — I still believe that the power of man far exceeds that of one person if they’re striving for a common goal. But when I look around — and especially now that I have a son in the picture — I don’t see other bloggers trying to do what I do. Maybe I’ll find more bloggers to collab with in 2014, maybe not. In the meantime, I’ll do what I’ve done so far, working hard at constantly improving my craft.
STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!
19: Get new glasses
Some people are really good at being on top of their employee benefits and getting health services when they should.
If I were that organized, I’d have gotten new glasses in May 2013.
With my optometrist hounding me for my bi-annual visit, 2014’s going to see a new pair of specs (with a pair of prescription shades to deal with harsh glares while behind the wheel!)
STATUS: On to the next year?
20: Transform all the blog drafts I have lying around into real posts
I’m not a linear thinker. I carry a notepad with me because I’ll have random ideas I think are great, but not developed enough to share publicly. With blogging, I’ll often get a sentence or a stream of consciousness about a topic that’s great on its own, but I’m not in the business of writing sound bites — as a blogger, my responsibility is to draft these ideas into stories.
So I have 200+ drafts on my site, 10-15 of which I’m actively working on to turn into live posts. I have no way of telling whether this number will rise or fall in 2014, but I can tell you this — my blog is important to me. I put a lot of time and effort into developing it, hoping to eventually build something truly reflecting who I am. To me, having real estate represents the freedom to create your own possibilities, free from traditional society telling you how your life is going to play out.
TL;DR — I’ll still be writing next year, no doubt about it.
STATUS: On to the next year!
Another day down, 8 more to go! Come back tomorrow when we talk social media, stock markets and some of the people who keep me alive!
Until then I stay…
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: