The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, October 2017 — Are You There, Casey? It’s Me, Real Life.

And then suddenly, it all came to a stop.

Sometimes Life Gives You Exactly What You Want. And Sometimes… it Has OTHER Plans.

Are You There, Casey? It's Me, Real Life. — A Stoic Casey

2017’s been one heck of a year. Shattering my previous expectations for the #BloggerLife by taking me places—in every sense of the word—and opening doors I wouldn’t even consider approaching, this year raised the bar in ways I never dreamed possible. I thought I’d finally made it.

But with every action comes an equal yet opposite reaction, and September rolled in with some very different plans. New routines with my eldest starting Kindergarten. Kids refusing to sleep through the night. Budget season at the day job kicking my butt in every which direction. I felt like the rest of my life was conspiring to hold my #BloggerLife back, and no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t feel up to the task when asked to put pen to paper.

You know what, though? That changes now. Complaints won’t get me anywhere—I can whine all I want about whatever gets in my way, but it won’t make many of them go away. My to-do list isn’t getting any shorter, and though it’d be all too easy to sit back and sulk because things are too challenging, what exactly does that gain me?

So yeah—it’s time I pick up the pieces (of paper in this case), and make some magic happen. With the few months left in 2017, there’s no better time to tie up loose ends and get a clean slate ready for the year ahead. There’s no shortage of topics to tackle, and the hundreds of posts I’ve yet to write won’t do it themselves.

Thanks for your patience, y’all—let’s see how far we can take this!

Until the next,

–case p.

Starbucks for Life | How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank

So unless you’ve been under a sizeable rock for some time, you’ll know that Starbucks is back with their #StarbucksForLife contest, rewarding droves of java junkies with chances to win several prizes if they complete the contest challenges!

My buddy Zach and I spoke recently about #StarbucksForLife, thinking about the most efficient route to scoring the contest badges in a race to catch ’em all! (Because, you know, who would I be without an obligatory Pokémon reference?)

So, using the information we have so far, here’s a look at how I’d go about getting the maximum impact from the #StarbucksForLife campaign for my fellow Canadians!

How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank — Starbucks for Life Challenges
The full list of #StarbucksForLife Challenges — likely an early prototype, as Afternoon Coffee Break seems renamed to BRB and This One’s On Me is absent from the current board.

Push Past Your Limits!!!

Last Updated: November 12, 2020


I wish I could show people what it’s like in my head.

Though I don’t always produce by putting content out as often as my peers who have, let’s say, more time on their hands, the intent’s always there. The #BloggerLife’s constantly competing with the rest of my life, trying to find the time to thrive where, truthfully, not much exists. It’s news to no one that my time’s well-invested in parenting my son and supporting my wife — and that’s already outside of the full-time job that usually has me running around when I’d prefer to do otherwise. I’ve learned there’re things that people won’t let you say “no” to, wanting your skills and abilities for their purposes rather than see you strive for anything of your own. While my goals and objectives become clearer the more I grind, I feel like I haven’t done enough to push myself forward so I can meet them.

Something’s gotta change.

Why Blog if You Can’t Keep it Real?

If you can’t keep it real, why the heck are you blogging, anyway??? Last night was the first night I’d had off in a while to do something other than work. I don’t know how we get so wrapped up in our jobs — okay, that’s a lie, I totally do: it’s all a response to worry and fear. The worry that if we fail to do a good job that we’ll wind up on the street, unable to sustain our lives. The fear that comes with the possibility of failure and the horrors that could happen due to us not living up to expectations. Though I’m still convinced of a saying that I came up with last year:

“Jobs need people more than people need jobs.”

Call me a liar if you want, but I’m convinced of this. If we didn’t try so hard to keep up with multiple Joneses, live beyond our means and keep up appearances to the world around us (who mostly don’t really care too much about us as individuals, so in effect, we do a lot of this for no reason whatsoever…) — we could settle for jobs that pay less, provide less hours, but possibly afford more happiness. With Toronto having the high cost of living that it does and the very visible homelessness problem (in its downtown core especially) that it does, there’s no way I’d wish to be unemployed, but balance is a must. Which brings me to here — trying to get in the rhythm of blogging again. You may or may not have noticed I changed the tagline of my site to:

“I’m not a blogger, I just talk a lot.”

Completely true. Ask any “popular” blogger about how they approach their craft, and they’ll likely tell you about the time and effort that goes into keeping a blog fresh, from using editorial calendars, spending hours working on and scheduling posts, and generally approaching the entire art of blogging as if it were a second job. But I hate planning. Sarah’s always taking care of the planning in our marriage because I’m so horrible at it. I’m the spontaneous one. The doer. I don’t think — I prefer to just get something out of the way and move on to the next thing. Apparently personality tests completely agree that this is the way my brain is hard-wired. (I’m an ENTP in my Myers-Briggs assessment if that means anything to you.) This is why I’m way more inclined to use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to get my ideas out. It’s instantaneous. It’s quick. It matches the speed at which thoughts come to me a little more closely. But there has to be some reason to blog, right? I suppose when it all comes down to it — we all want somewhere where we can share the stories of our lives, and furthermore, somewhere where people will actually care about our existence. By and large, the Internet is a vast and boring place. We’re in a day and age where if we have an Internet connection, we’ve seen much of everything. You could discover more through YouTube, Wikipedia and social media in the last half a decade than you could through any encyclopedia in the years before. So when you see these niche blogs on things like tech, fashion or whatever other material goods — they’re great and all, but you rarely get any sense of feeling from them. No personality. No connection with the reader. There’s nothing that makes most blogs more real than any other blog — they end up just being words on the screen rather than a reflection of the writer providing them. And in my opinion, if you can’t keep it real, you don’t have a story to tell. But in a world where we share our thoughts in little bite-sized chunks and at a quicker pace than ever before… is there even a place for blogging anymore? This is the conundrum I came across — I was looking at my blog the other day and I thought — “I’m bored with this. I write a bunch of stuff, but I don’t care enough about it to finish what I started.” It’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened, either. My blogs in the past — and I’m pretty sure the same could be said for most people’s blogs — have died off because I didn’t feel connected to my content. I think I said it best when I told Jelani and Bess about my predicament:

“I’m writing like a news reporter looking in on my life, rather than writing like the guy living my life.”

Yeah, well that can’t happen anymore. Writing about only the events that pass in my life is lopsided. It’s like having a newspaper that only covers current events, without any of the columns and Op-Ed pieces that keep readers coming back. So even if I’m not really a blogger; even if I like the spontaneity and freedom of keeping my thoughts in bite-sized chunks of 140 or 63,206 characters (alright, Facebook’s not so bite-sized anymore) — it looks like I’m going to keep blogging for the simple reason that I like to write. Despite the fact that I lead an active social life, hitting up dinners with friends, tweet ups and learning conferences; despite the overly-busy work schedule that often just sees me coming home to pas out and do it all over again the next day; despite the fact that I’m using up most of my time for one thing or another, I still — like most people — feel like I want people to hear my story. So here I am, world. I hope your eyes are open, because I’ve got a lot to say!

–case p.

Pack It Up, Pack It In: The Tanzania Chronicles #4

All the gear that Casey and Sarah are taking on their Kilimanjaro trek
After 3 or 4 trips to Mountain Equipment Co-op and one of the biggest holes ever seen in their wallets, Casey and Sarah have everything they could likely ever need to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro…

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said that the amount of gear we’d gotten for this trip is utterly ridiculous.

But it’s like I was telling a friend while enjoying a walk in the sunshine on Tuesday — you can’t put a price on safety or survival. Being a mountain climbing novice, if an expert tells me that I need something, I am not about to argue!

But part of packing for a trip like this is finding balance. Having a few weeks off from one’s regular life is an opportunity to do things they’ve always wanted to do — relax; write stories; catch up on some reading… you’ll have more free time than you might be used to!

But you’ll also only have so much of your stuff! Especially on a trip like this, I need to make more room for essentials and keep the luxuries to a minimum. (However, please believe that Sakshi and Trevor are going to get their butt handed to them in board games if I have anything to say about it!) It’s good that they already supplied us with packing lists; otherwise I wouldn’t know what the heck I was doing and you’d hear stories of me on the top of Kilimanjaro suffering from hypothermia or something! Usually I pack like this:

…but this time there’s been no time for fun cartoons or lengthy lists. No… this time, it’s all about seeing how much I can fit in that bag (making sure that it ends up being under 15 kg) and learning to live with less (one could also learn a thing or two from the process that my friends Trevor and Sakshi used to pack for a six-month trip.

I’m sure there’s a life lesson in here somewhere….

–case p.