I think it’s possible to have fun with just about anything we do.
Govfest — Because We Do More Than Just Sit Behind Our Desks.
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 Govfest—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.
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 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 isolating—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.
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 ?
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.
I struggled a lot with this week’s The Week That Was, trying to get in the right headspace to write on everything that happened. These seven days weren’t extraordinarily good nor bad — with how hectic my life usually is, you could even call them tame. I burned through page after page trying to get it right, but I couldn’t get it flowing like I wanted — 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’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t do it — sometimes you just need to find another approach to getting your story across!
What would you do if someone gave you the resources to make a difference? Some would try to cure diseases, some would focus on developing countries, or perhaps donate it to a favourite cause.
In the case of Trevor Morgan, Vice President of New Line Skateparks, it’s giving the youth of Calgary, Alberta an outlet and safe place that can give them the positive influences they need for their futures.
The Matthew Banister Memorial Skatepark is Trevor’s way to help youth avoid the fate that befell his friend.
I’m not about to drag you back through the grisly affair, but while I definitely agree that there’s a ton of evidence that people can be selfish, my stance is that there are plenty of people yet who are selfless and just want to make the world around them a little better than it was when they first entered it.
The Big Give – aka – The Naughty List
I’m not much of a “party guy” — hard to believe, I know — I’m more into one-on-one interactions and small group settings where we can all enjoy each other’s company. Even at large events, I’m way more at ease when I have a solid group of friends around me.
When the music’s blaring, bodies are gyrating and the crowd looking glam, I’ll keep up with the best of ’em, but it’s not my scene.
So enter: The Big Give.
Me and the LADIES!!! @MakeupDavida, @wedding_crasher and @jamieleighTO!
@wedding_crasher, @clickryan, @clickflickca et moi.
The Big Give, a charity benefit for Look Good, Feel Better (or LGFB — described by their site as “an organization that holds 1200 seminars for women and teenage girls who have just been diagnosed with cancer. The seminars teach these women how to maintain their self-confidence and elevate their self-image through their battle with cancer. The Look Good Feel Better workshop brings women with cancer together in a safe and supportive environment where they can share stories, insights, laughter, and feel ‘normal'”), was a very happening party, but I don’t ever remember feeling as lost at a party as I did in the first moments of that night. I made small talk with some of the volunteers and took advantage of the candy bar and not-so-candy (read: open) bar, but perhaps not knowing anyone there reminded me of my transition from high school to university: going from somewhere where I knew everyone and everyone knew me, to somewhere where I was a biggish fish in a massive ocean, trying to find my way.
Once some familiar faces started showing up, my aimless wandering came to a halt, but I still felt like I wasn’t on the pulse of the event. People dressed to kill. Anyone who came in the door quickly found their pack and a corner of the room where they could congregate. The openness and warmth I’m used to from the world of tweetups were absent in the blue hues filling the Berkley Church and washing over all the party people. It helped me realize one thing…
I’m not meant to be one of the “beautiful people”.
No, I’m the type who’s your best friend’s best friend. The funny guy in the room who makes sure that everyone’s enjoying themselves. I’m not there to look the best. I’m not trying to walk a red carpet and act like I’m better than anyone else. I just want everyone to have a great time.
All things considered, though, all was not amiss at The Big Give. Regardless of however I felt, the event still had much to offer, such as:
dancers to get people on the dance floor (no one ended up going on the dance floor)
free booze (of which people partook plenty)
But let’s get back to our original question — is selfishness simply in human nature?
Dancing With Wolves
In my heart of hearts, I would love to believe that people were there to support LGFB and simply have a good time — but behaviour would prove otherwise.
We all struggle with the siren song of swag.
Two of the big things that people were there for were the grab bags of legendary size that they distributed at the night’s end (which weighed 20 pounds apiece), and the ridiculously awesome raffle prizes that they had up for grabs!
Look Good, Feel Better, Swag GREAT!
In the middle of grabbing swag, it’s important to remember to grab something for Mom!
Gimme the loot, gimme the loot!!!
But as the night wore on, our host Mike Chalut’s voice wore out and the crazier the contests got! From a raffle to a dance-off to a frenzied free-for-all, the night would end with women clawing, screaming and scraping past each other to get Mike’s attention — and for what? Jewellery? Gift cards? Gym memberships?
Perhaps it’s true. Perhaps many people in the world are selfish and act primarily out of self-interest. But it’s not everybody. That doesn’t account for the woman who bought a painting at the event for $5,000. It doesn’t really account for the people who believe in LGFB enough to give their time, products and services to make sure that the event was a success. And if you’ll bear with me for one more day to convince you, I think there’s a lot more in the world that such a narrow outlook doesn’t account for.
What about you, readers? Do you think I’m too off-base? Do I need to take a look in the mirror before I cast the first stone? Or is everyone in this world completely self-centred, and I’m simply living a life in denial?
Love to hear from you! Until tomorrow,
Tomorrow: Karma, good deeds and how the month of Movember continued!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
Totally uncool. The fact that everyone was so worried about keeping up appearances (or on the other end of the spectrum, didn’t care enough to bother dressing up) that they couldn’t cut loose for a day and have a little fun (or, again on the flip side, are too beaten down by life to bother) really bothers me. Policies? Guidelines? Permission???
Are you kidding me? It’s HALLOWEEN!!!
Anyway. Gives me a lot to think about — the environments I’m in, the people I hang with — but that’s not the point of this post.
NANOWRIMOvember — Where I Grow Facial Hair and Grow Tired of Writing!
Movember Day 1 with a clean-shaven face and head to match!
So we’ve finally reached the final stretch of 2012, where we wonder where the year went, worry about what to get people for Christmas and get fat off of all the holiday parties that tend to go down!
Well, we’re not quite there yet. We still have to make it through November.
November is an anomaly of a month. Not only is it one of the few months without a statutory holiday in Ontario, unlike its cousin named June, there’s very little that we tend to like about it. No hot weather, no looking forward to the summer — just reminders that we’re getting back to layering up and grey — oh so grey — skies above.
But not all is lost in November…
I Got 50K Problems, Being Done Ain’t One
As if I’m not busy enough (because we Torontonians love to be busy), somehow I decided that being part of the National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO for short) would be a good idea this year.
The basic premise: write a 50,000-word novel through the month of November. To put that in perspective:
a good length for a blog post is around 400-500 words
when you’re writing an essay for school, a double-spaced page is about 500 words
So about 100 blogs and/or 20 or so essays over the course of a month on top of regular blog posts and Mansformation.
Not exactly my brightest idea, but no one can ever say I’m unambitious! But fortunately, I’m brimming full of ideas, so stay tuned, amigos!
With Movember comes events, awareness and a solid excuse for guys to grow some wicked awesome beards! I’ll admit that I never got around to participating until this year, but I look forward to seeing what I can come up with after a month! (If my post-Africa pics are any indication, apparently not much.)
I’ve drawn a quick mock-up in good ol’ Photoshop to let you see what my facial hair would look like at the end of Movember in an ideal world…
…but I fear that a beard of awesome won’t be a dream soon realized.
I don’t fight alone against prostate cancer, though — friends like Amanda Blake are throwing events in support of Movember! You can find me at her After Work Drinks Toronto event (or #AWDTO for the hashtag-inclined) on November 8th snapping photos and hanging out with some great company. With a $10 price tag (going right to Movember) to have free beer samples, more fun than you usually ever do and the chance to win some great prizes, I definitely encourage you to show up!
But no Movember blog post would be complete without a little self-promotion! I believe in supporting causes to help humanity improve — I support friends who climb towers, ride bikes and do all sorts of activities through the year in the name of various causes, but I rarely enter the fray myself. So now that I have, I hope that friends can give generously and help contribute to the fight for a better (and prostate cancer-free) future!
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So this came in the mail for me the other day:
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of Kilimanjaro for the last month and a half, you’re likely aware that a group called Invisible Children came out with a video speaking out against Joseph Kony that went utterly viral:
I’d meant to post about the #KONY2012 issue before and how good it was that someone was finally bringing Kony’s decades of action to light, inspiring people to finally do something about it — but things are never quite that black and white, are they?
But I still agree with the intent of #KONY2012 — that Kony’s LRA actions should not be tolerated and something should be done to prevent the events of the past few decades from occurring ever again. It’s possible that I’ve chosen one evil to combat another, but I’d still like to believe that the right efforts of enough people can make a difference somehow.
With that said, this Friday is #KONY2012’s Cover the Night, where they plan to blanket cities across the world with materials found in these very boxes, such as posters, bumper stickers, pins and such.
From an outreach and marketing standpoint, the approach is genius, reeling in compassionate people and translating that compassion into the people power necessary to pull off something of this scale.
But does that make it right?
Who’s going to clean all of the stuff up afterward?
Will people actually get the message? I showed the materials to Sarah, and she thought that the message got confused since people generally associate election campaigns with people trying to represent positive things — will spreading Kony’s name everywhere have that effect if it’s done the way that Invisible Children says it should be done?
Originally, my plan was to go out and take photos of the crowd as they get ready to paint the town red (almost literally in this case) — but if there’s a way to change the world, I don’t know if this may have been the best way to spend $30 to do so.
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: