Govfest 2018 β€” Helping the World Through the Power of MUSIC.

Last Updated: October 15, 2020

I think it’s possible to have fun with just about anything we do.

Govfest β€” Because We Do More Than Just Sit Behind Our Desks.

There to Care β€” A Spotlight on Father Figures by Dove Men+Care β€” Paul Burns

Back in 2009, after jumping from the Ontario Public Service’s internship program to a contract opportunity that didn’t end so well, I started working for someone who wound up profoundly changing my life.

A Night Thirteen Years in the Making

If you’ve never met Paul Burns, I promise that you’re missing out.

As a guy I’ve worked for three times now, I can tell you some stories about this guy. Like how the question right after my introduction at our first team meeting was what instrument I played. Or that even as a white guy from the depth of Winnipeg, Manitoba, he’d routinely have some of the most diverse teams known to the organisation. He’s a special kind of guy, and it’s that kind of guy who you need to run something like Govfestβ€”the annual battle of the bands in support of the United Way and Ryan’s Well, running more than a dozen years now!

The Abridged Story of the Band Called the Calamities…

There was once a band called The Calamities, with whom I sang a bunch of songs. We actually took Govfest’s People’s Choice Award home a few years running, because with twelve or thirteen bandmates with friends who wanted to see them, how could you not?

But after life came along and changed things up for the lot of us, we all went our separate ways, and I thought that’d be that.

Yeah… Govfest had other plans.

As the show got bigger and bigger each year, they wanted a flashier finale that’d keep the audience living in the moment.

And that, friends, is how I became the annual MC for the Govfest finale.

Scotiabank True Patriot Love Symposium

War isn’t something I’m familiar with. I have a veteran cousin and friends who’ve served, but all I know about service comes from the media. From whatever I hear on the radio. I can’t even begin to appreciate combat and the issues that come with it!

But sadly… far too many can.

We Stand on Guard for Thee β€” Scotiabank and the True Patriot Love Symposium β€” Husseini K. Manji, MD
Photo courtesy of the True Patriot Love Foundation

We have over 100,000 military personnel in Canada, 2.4 million in the States, and countless family, friends and others supporting them. That’s countless people working through the repercussions of horrific experiences, surrounded by a world that doesn’t know or appreciate the difficulties Veterans face. It can be isolatingβ€”military life values pride, strength and being tougher than anyone else around you, so when invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse wreak havoc on military families, how do you learn to feel okay going in the opposite direction?

It’s questions like this where symposiums like True Patriot Love find their strength. In an environment where a stiff upper lip’s the norm, it made talking about the struggles often hidden behind closed doors acceptable with the hopes that one day we’ll reach the point where these issues become part of everyday military conversation.

Let me tell you a bit about it!

The 2016 100 Wrap-Up, Part 2: 46 Things I DIDN’T Do But Still Very Much WANT To.

So somewhere in myΒ 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 soΒ curt with my posts, of course. A few days of working on it quickly killedΒ that idea, and here were are with the second part of my wrap-up, covering the things IΒ didn’t get around to in 2016, but still plan to manage this year, as well as my reasonsΒ why.

(Note: YouΒ will see these in some form in The 2017 100, so you knowβ€”don’t beΒ too surprised.)


What I Didn’t Do, But Still Want to Do Next Year

7) Stop biting my nails β€” Ugh. What I probably need to doΒ first is reduce the amount ofΒ stress in my life to get a better chance of dropping thisΒ 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 β€” I don’t think those past thank you’s are getting sent. It’s just… not something I’m doing.Β Instead, I think I’d love to start sending Christmas letters with some personalisation. I’m not aΒ complete jackass, guys, but there needs to be a point where we agree toΒ move on.
13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP β€” Any outstanding finances inΒ 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!

The 2016 100 Wrap-Up, Part 2 - 46 Things I DIDN'T Do But Very Much Still WANT To. β€” A Cluttered Casey Palmer Workspace

14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad β€” I mean, you don’tΒ see the magic happening, but my desk and dining room table areΒ plastered withΒ pages of notes as I draft out my posts.Β Will it happen? Maybe. Do IΒ want it to? OhΒ heck yes ?

The 2016 100 β€” or β€” How to Build a Better Casey

I can’t even lie, guys β€” coming up with a list of 100 goals for the fourth year in a row wasΒ hard β€”Β 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 mostΒ definitely don’t have in 2016!

As I work at surviving the upcoming year β€” especially with our second child’sΒ imminentΒ arrival β€” I needed to make the list a lot moreΒ 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 willΒ really make waves in this life o’ mine should I see it finished!

But hey β€” that’s what I sayΒ 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 β€” 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)Β 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 ofΒ 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 β€” 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 β€” 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.

The Week That Was… October 11th-17th, 2015

Last Updated: October 14, 2020.

I struggled aΒ lot with this week’s The Week That Was, trying to get in the right headspace to write on everything that happened. TheseΒ seven days weren’t extraordinarily good nor bad β€” with how hectic my lifeΒ usually is, you could even call themΒ tame. I burned through page after page trying to get it right, but I couldn’t get it flowing as I wanted β€” a story worth reading for an audience that expects as much of me as I do of myself wasn’t within grasp, no matter how much I hustled.

But just because something’sΒ hard doesn’t mean youΒ don’t do it β€” sometimes you need to find another approach to getting your story across!

The Week That Was... October 11-17, 2015 β€” TTC Subway Delay β€” Toronto β€” Bloor-Yonge Station
I mean, seriously β€” when some of your mornings start like this, would you want to write about it???