DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — Marchin’ to the Beat of My Own Drum / April Showers

Jeez — has it already been two months since I did a “monthly” wrap-up post? Makes sense: time’s something that means a lot less once you become a parent — everything’s just one big blur.

Palmer Family Photo

I’ve struggled with this post for a while now. I’ll look at my life, wondering why anyone would want to read about the things I do — people think I live some glamorous “blogger life”, but I spend most of it at home or work, throwing in time for food, sleep, hygiene and commuting. After blogging for so long, sure I’ve started working with brands to introduce themselves to new audiences, but don’t get it twisted — there’s no one rolling out the red carpet when I sit down at home to get my blog on.

Sarah recently pointed out that I hadn’t taken a break since the two weeks I took off right after our son was born, and six months later — while I deny being burnt out — I definitely feel it. I can feel my annoyance with people I’d usually just ignore. I feel my mind scrambling to finish everything now, nowNOW as I do well with the beginnings and endings of journeys, but I loathe being stuck in the middle. I feel like everything’s in transition, and I can’t wait to make it to the other side with a better idea of the work I’m called to do.

Though it’s a smidge late for my monthly wrap-up, I’ve kept busy both on- and offline, making the most of my life despite an unappreciative work culture and the challenges of parenthood. I entered Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation’s 60 Days in Paradise contest, hoping for some time in the sun and a change of  pace from Toronto’s constant grind. I taught photography fundamentals to up-and-coming women in the fashion and beauty industries, taking a first step toward teaching and public speaking, two things I’ve wanted to grow in for a long time now. I’ve made sandwiches, reclaimed some of my ancient past from my parents’ place and dedicated my son in his first step of being part of our church and the community that comes with it.

Casey's Life as a Dad — March and April 2014 — Om Nom Nom
Because Easter cards are delicious.

All things considered, I’ve started Spring off in a good place, huddled indoors avoiding The Winter that Would Not End, and if you’re anything like my fellow Torontonians and I, you know that winter sorely overstayed its welcome! But here on the other end of Gore-Tex boots and thermal underwear, my teeth stopped chattering and fingers thawed long enough to tell you what mischief I did get into those 61 days….

Hanging with Team Trolling

Oftentimes, I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years since I started hanging out with these guys. If there’s a constant in my life outside of my home, taxes and a workload that just won’t quit, it’s the Trolls. Chatting daily on numerous platforms, we’re always up to something.

In March and April, the shenanigans happened at three places….

Cel’s Birthday at Pauper’s Pub

Unlike #SavvyMoney or #DoomzDay, we never came up with a good hashtag for Marcel’s birthday. That should be his gift next year!

Marcel's 28th Birthday — Pauper's Pub — Marcel
The birthday boy, stylin’ and profilin’ as per usual!

Notable Events:

  • Marcel’s girlfriend and her roommate convinced me to give Sons of Anarchy another chance after its first 5 seasons left me feeling lukewarm. Glad I did, because Season 6 is ah-may-zing!!!
  • Obtained yet another illicit roti delivery courtesy of Justin and Marie — part of Team Trolling’s Western Division — and all I had to do in exchange was pick some cables up from Infinite Cables. I’d make that trade any day.
  • Val didn’t wind up with credit card fraud on this visit to Pauper’s, which is always a bonus!

The Trolls Hit Pizzeria Libretto, aka Casey’s Favourite Pizza Joint in All of Toronto

If you came here for a food review, might I direct you to Justin’s blog on the matter — I was there to take photos and enjoy the company. But no word of a lie — I haven’t found a pizza in this city yet that can trump Libretto’s Nduja Sausage pizza, and trust me — I eat a lot of pizza!

We managed to use our social media swagger to secure their semi-private room in the basement (sorry, table we bumped — feel free to holla at us if you want to tell us how you really feel), and with our special guest JennJenn of AwesomeJennJenn notoriety fame, it made for an excellent night.

Team Trolling Does Pizzeria Libretto — Team Trolling Group Shot

Notable Events:

  • By far the oddest server ever, who not only served us with style, but may have eaten the last piece of Marie’s delicious lemon meringue pie (thus coining what will only be called the “Catchphrase of the Year”), and convinced me to have another beer in the most unexpected way possible when I thought I was already covered!
  • Somehow getting JennJenn’s leftover proscuitto pizza switched with Lily’s… questionable white anchovy pizza. Sadly, neither pizza was eaten, with Lily throwing JennJenn’s out and Sarah throwing Lily’s out after it sat for days. It was probably for the best.

All Star Wings and Ribs

Finally, we made our way to the northern Mississaugan reaches to catch Game 5 of the Raptors’ ill-fated first round playoff series. It’s hard to take photos of the food when your fingers are slathered in wing sauce, but I can tell you that the food, friends, “F Brooklyn” tee that Jo had thoughtfully provided, and a heart-stopping basketball game made for a very fulfilling night.

If only the traffic out of Toronto hadn’t been so horrible.

Team Trolling at All Star Wings and Ribs — Featuring Craig Silva

Notable Events:

  • Most notable, other than keeping our server very amused with our antics, was the game and going H.A.M. as the Raptors blew our minds… and then disappointed… and then got lucky. JEEZ, Raps.
  • Oh, and schooners. Way too much beer in my life, people.

#FordMustang50

Ford Motor Company of Canada — #FordMustang50 — 2015 Ford Mustang — Yellow

Held in King West Village’s 99 Sudbury, Ford threw a bash to celebrate 50 years of the Ford Mustang, a muscle car journeying through cinematic time from 1964’s Goldfinger from the James Bond film series all the way to 2014’s Need for Speed (starring the likes of Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi).

For me, #FordMustang50 was an excellent case study in what happens when you make yourself scarce, suddenly reappearing after a bit of a hiatus.

Okay, not exactly true — I popped in at ReGiftTO, I managed to hit the Canadian International Auto Show, but it’s all different now. Any time I go out, it’s like I’m trying to make up for all this social time I missed in one big bang. I still need to learn a lesson about taking things in stride, but I’m not there yet.

Since 2013’s Blue Party, Ford’s helped me grow my appreciation for vehicles — but for me, the night wound up being less about the cars and more about reconnecting with the friends I’d seldom seen since my son made his début, and meeting new people who had all sorts of stories to share! I talked frugality and storytelling with an elementary school teacher; discussed the relatively new trend of urbanites who see no value in having a driver’s license; and even did okay in the trivia they held to award prizes (despite knowing almost none of the answers!) For a better look at the night’s events, I recommend hitting Christine’s blog on the matter 🙂


The 2014 100: Updates

Life isn’t simply some template for you to slot your experiences into — life evolves along with your relationships, environment and personality. With that in mind, maybe it’s foolish to compile a 100-item list of things to accomplish when a year’s barely begun — it’s good to have goals, but over a year, our interests and opinions can change. Much like I said last year, while the list won’t change by the year’s end, the person behind it definitely will.

All things considered, I did knock a few more items off of the list in the last bit….

6 – Open an RESP for DoomzToo


The maximum annual RESP contribution that the federal government will top-up is $2,500, which may seem like a lot, but between gifts, tax refunds and Universal Child Care Benefits, you can make it work. I won’t go over the rules and regulations behind them, but when you get a kid, it’s smart to get on this as soon as possible to take advantage of the magic of compound interest.

So with Sarah’s help, we got an RESP open, and in another couple of decades, hopefully we’ll see a return from the investment 😉

STATUS: Finito!

26 – Guest blog more often

Sometimes my ambition extends beyond my ability, and that conundrum presented itself repeatedly throughout March and April!

In 2014 alone, I’ve picked up gigs writing for:

As a general rule, if you’re already struggling with content for your site, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing for others.

But despite that two-month slump, I’m coming back swinging for the rest of the year, ready to tell the world exactly what’s on my mind.

Get ready.

47 – Finish the family tree to the best of my ability

Thousands of entries and hours of research later, the family tree’s as far as it’ll get without going to Jamaica for more information. I remember struggling with making one when I was young, as much of my family history wasn’t documented or too muddled by generations of assumption and oral history. Perhaps it’s that feeling of frustration that drives me, never wanting my son to experience the same and giving him everything he needs to know about where he came from.

I’d love to eventually take this a step further and dig up some church records from all over the Caribbean, but until free time and a whole heap of money intersect paths in my life, I think I’ll consider this one done.

STATUS: Finito!

74 – See a doctor about the mysterious pain in my side

The mysterious pain in my side’s been solved — turns out when you’re unaccustomed to bending over to grab your kid from his crib, your body can react in unexpected ways.

When I pick things up, I bend with my knees — I’m better off with a bum knee than a bad back, after all! That, though, is not an option when grabbing a baby from a crib, as I’d often do with our son in the earlier days before sleep training.

The more I got him, the less it bothered me, until the pain had gone. Also, carrying a 20-pound baby around makes you stronger, like it or not. Yeah, I think my physical can wait ’til 2015.

STATUS: Finito!


So I did it — I finally did it. I wrote this post without putting too many people to sleep! It’s over a week into May, and things aren’t getting any quieter. The summer’s the busiest season for all the social activities in Toronto, and even with a baby, I have a feeling that this one’s will be a year to remember!

Catch you on the flip side,

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 24 — Obligatory Baby Shot

#100HappyDays — Day 24 — Obligatory Photo of DoomzToo

Jeez — sometimes finding the happiness in a day is hard. When there’s no end in sight to the tower of documents vying for your attention; when you think a night will be routine, but your kid’s freaking out because he’s overtired and you’re not your wife, making you spend hours calming him down so he’ll sleep; when no matter what you do, it feels like you just can’t win and despite all the good in your life, you still can’t catch a break in other ways — what do you do?

But when I was in my 3 PM teleconference, the one thing that brought a smile to my face in all the madness was this photo. This. Not crying, not pooping — just hanging with Sarah at the Early Years Centre, content as heck.

Cute kid melting my heart? I’ll take it.

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 14 — Cuteness Overload

#100HappyDays — Day 14 — DoomzToo Cuteness OverloadI didn’t want to steal my wife’s #100HappyDays for Day 14, but in a day with enough on my plate at work for an army of Casey Palmers and facing the stark reality of just how much Montessori schooling costs — this was the only thing that brought a smile to my face. Thanks, buddy, for being insanely photogenic and helping Daddy out.

Also, even though I only placed second in my category for the Canadian Blog Awards, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t help my fellow honourees out by putting together some quick avatars for the other 2nd- and 3rd-place winners in Photoshop! You’ll see one on the sidebar of my blog shortly.

2013 Canadian Blog Awards — Silver Medal 2013 Canadian Blog Awards — Bronze Medal

That’s all folks — #100HappyDays Day 14/100, done!

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 2 — DoomzToo

#100HappyDays — Day 2 — DoomzToo

Today was an easy choice. After a long day where I stubbed my toe — twice — on some exposed metal grating in our house to the point where I have a hematoma on my little toe; meetings that never seem to end, much to the chagrin of my team, since we all know that our workload isn’t going to go away by itself; and tons on my plate outside of work, all due to my ambition… sometimes it’s nice to just come home and get a smile from the heir to my self-proclaimed empire.

#100HappyDays  Day 2/200

–case p.

DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — The January Thaw

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.

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: Brave New World

“Men are just little boys who got big.

Women are just little girls who got big.”

— Jack Winter

DoomzToo — Good Luck, Daddy!

I’ve sat on this post for a bit, trying to figure out what I could tell the world about fatherhood. Other than doubling in size while I was looking, in ways it feels like much hasn’t changed — he feeds every few hours; he has plenty of outfits to model; I don’t see my family as much as I’d want to with their bedtimes only an hour or two after I get home from work… these are the early years where you’re adopting a routine, simply awaiting the next cue to take action. Where you sneak into the nursery 3 times overnight to make sure they’re still breathing. These are the years where you have to get used to a holding pattern in your days, life stubbornly reminding you that things aren’t like they were before.

What’s there to tell about that?

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 41-50: Nostalgia, Nintendo and the Need to Clean

Somewhere along the road, I lost a week. Whether it was from an Icepocalypse in Toronto that displaced us from our home, leaving it without power for 30 hours; a nasty illness making it much harder stay jolly (and/or conscious) through the 4-day celebration that is our family’s Christmas; or simply underestimating the wealth of family and friends we have that wants to meet DoomzToo, I suddenly found myself at the tail end of December with entirely too much content left to write!

A sane man would quit, patting himself on the back for the best effort he could’ve possibly put out in a year, and rest on his laurels promising to do a better job the next year.

Unfortunately for me, no one’s ever mistook me for a sane man.

In an effort to make up for lost time, I’ve written. Not the easiest when you have a son who refuses to sleep without being held after all the attention he got at Christmas, but in those 5-minute spurts where he isn’t fighting the urge to shut his eyes and catch some Zs, that’s what I’m doing.

So feast your eyes on the next installment of my year-end wrap-up, and if I don’t manage to knock all these 100 stories out before we’re singing Auld Lang Syne on the 1st, just remember this — I left 2013 with a roar, not a whimper.

On with the show!

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 21-30: Social Media, Stocks and a SHEvolution Gone Wrong

It’s the third of 10 posts for my end-of-year wrap-up for The 2013 100, where I tell you all about the past 365 (or so) days, what I managed to pull off, which plans were a flop, and what I’ll try to do again in 2014.

In retrospect, 2013 was insanely busy. It isn’t until you sit down to do a series of posts like this that you really start to understand just how much you try to cram into your days.

There’s probably a lesson in here somewhere about overachieving, but I’m too busy to learn it!

And without further ado, on to the list!

Previous Posts:

The 2013 100, Items 21-30: Social Media, Stocks and a SHEvolution Gone Wrong

  1. Merge my past 10 years of blogging into one site
  2. Start a tweetchat
  3. Start a podcast
  4. Dabble in video
  5. Get a local doctor
  6. Get a local dentist
  7. Make some money in the stock market
  8. Get ahead of schedule with the Man Lessons
  9. Create a schedule for regular website maintenance
  10. Start the SHEvolution

21: Merge my past 10 years of blogging into one site

Few people know I’ve blogged since August 2002, jumping sites until I landed here at CaseyPalmer.com in late 2011.

Though my writing’s grown since the days on LiveJournal, Blogger and Posterous, there’s still some gems in my past decade of blogging that deserve re-visiting.

Over 2003, I went through more than 2000 posts and 8000 comments, leaving only stuff that was still relevant and/or entertaining. It’s sitting on the development site now, as I add tag,s featured images and other SEO-friendly elements.

Expect to see some of my blasts from the past next year!

STATUS: On to the next year!

22: Start a tweetchat

While I’m not done with Twitter, I don’t use it like I used to. Over 3 years, I’ve seen people move on, move away, move to smaller social circles to evade unwanted attention — the allure of Twitter was good as long as I wanted to party, but as the party grew increasingly virtual, having my life revolve around being at the computer at a specific time each week eerily reminded me of those whose lives revolve around their TV shows.

Life’s too short.

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

23: Start a podcast

One thing that’ll set you apart from others when you share content on the Internet is the quality of your work. With blogging, it’s how well you write and the image quality behind the photos you use. With videography, getting a high-definition camera will do wonders for your video’s appearance. With podcasts, though, a solid microphone is what stands between amateur hour and repeat listeners.

Source: http://www.stevenbarnes.ca/blue-yeti-usb-microphone-review/

I hit Canada Computers’ Black Friday sale and got Blue Microphones’ Yeti USB mic, complete with three condenser capsules and four directional modes to help you get the most of any recording situation you’re in!

I’d love to push the envelope with content in the coming year — I actually considered starting a podcast later into 2013 à la Zach Bussey Show (but, you know — with less swearing and more interviews), but between finding a venue, shifting priorities and an insane workload at the 9-to-5, I decided to ease off.

Oprah didn’t land her own show ’til she was 32, though, so I’m not giving up yet!

STATUS: On to the next year!

24: Dabble in Video

Nothing can tell a story like a video can.

Though I only got halfway through the month, I participated in August’s VEDA — or Vlog Every Day in August, by recording with my Canon 60D and sharing on YouTube!

Definitely enjoyed it — We Blog, We Vlog is a fun group, and I’d love to do it again in 2014. It’s also made me think about how to do video better than just sitting in front of the camera and talking to my audience.

Video’s an interesting realm — Justin will be the first to tell you that more vloggers get rich from YouTube than any blogger ever did from their blog. So since the blog’s not doing so well as a medium these days, I look forward to experimenting with other ways to get my ideas across.

STATUS: SO done. / On to the next year!

25: Get a local doctor

STATUS: SO done.

26: Get a local dentist

STATUS: SO done.

27: Make some money in the stock market

Gotta spend money to make money, but I haven’t gotten to sitting down and really sorting my options out for playing in the stock market. Sarah and I invest in a number of mutual funds, but dabbling in pure stocks is a plunge I haven’t seriously considered yet.

I’d like to do it with my “play money” — anything I earn in the 9-to-5 is “kid money”, the money to give him everything he needs; any extras from birthdays, contests, etc. is “play money”, i.e. the money I can use to do whatever I want.

My Mom has an interesting idea, though. She’d mentioned wanting to choose some penny stocks for DoomzToo — something that could potentially pay off for him in the future.

I’d never even thought of it.

So in 2014, I get organized and see about starting to invest in the great stock market game.

STATUS: On to the next year!

28: Get ahead of schedule with the Man Lessons

With Mansformation’s hiatus came a hiatus for my daily Man Lessons. After several months, I found I just couldn’t write unique content anymore — in what may come as a surprise to my female readers, men only have so many problems.

In a similar fashion, I started posting a Question of the Day on my Facebook for a while later into 2013, but it only lasted so long before I felt compelled to do something else.

What did I learn? That with a constant , steady stream of content you can build a great audience — if the content doesn’t suck. In the event that your content does suck, please stop creating it immediately. No one’s going to look at it, and the Internet’s full of enough crap already.

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

29: Create a schedule for regular website maintenance

While having your own Internet real estate gives you the freedom to do almost whatever you want with the space, it’s a huge pain in the butt when things aren’t working right! Even now, I’m sorting some load balancing issues out, as CaseyPalmer.com grows in size and complexity.

Part of making your site run smoothly is doing regular site maintenance. Websites can get bogged down with junk data all too easily, and making sure to clear out unnecessary files and that everything’s running right will save you from later headaches.

Facing major site issues in December, I got rid of some unnecessary test sites, cumbersome WordPress plugins and automated processes that had my web host ripping their hair out. While I didn’t adopt a maintenance schedule in 2013, here’s hoping I can get on top of it in 2014!

STATUS: On to the next year!

30: Start the SHEvolution

One of the main arguments I got while developing Mansformation is that men weren’t the sole reason for all the issues out there in the relationship world — there are plenty of problems stemming from how our female counterparts can interpret situations.

So I started working on a program to help women better themselves called SHEvolution.

The plan was to get other prominent female writers in Toronto’s social media community to help pen “Daily Lady Lessons”, and eventually be regular contributors at a sister site to Mansformation.

But ultimately, I wasn’t passionate about Mansformation and its associated properties, and will leave this project for someone who wants to do it. Like Cosmopolitan or something.

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

30 down, 70 to go! Join us next time when we talk Toronto, why I haven’t got off of my butt to run a 5K race, and curbing the hoarding tendencies which seem to run in my bloodline.

Adios amigos,

–case p.

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: Fatherhood 101 — Learning Curves

One month down, 939 or so to go (well, a little less for me, of course).

Fatherhood isn’t for every man, but it’s not as frightening as we think it is.

I'm Not Dead, I'm Just a Dad — Learning Curves —
DoomzToo a week in. I can confirm that he does not yet play football — though he definitely has the arm for it!

I wish I spoke newborn.

With Week Five of the Life and Times of DoomzToo wrapped up, I’m happy to say that fatherhood’s nothing to fear. Sure, there’ll be moments that make you want to pull your hair out (but balding is a very serious problem and this action is not recommended),and sure, your life changes — a lot — but soon enough, you find your groove and things starting falling into place. You learn how to change diapers. You figure out what you need to do to put your kid to sleep. Feeding them from a bottle gets less awkward — nothing in parenting is insurmountable.

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD — And Baby Makes Three

The DoomzToo Story (2 of 4)If you’d asked me a decade ago whether getting married and having a kid were anywhere on my life’s horizon, I’d have laughed in your face and called you crazy. Even over the 10 years that followed, parenthood was a topic that barely registered in my mind — I was too busy wining, dining and having a good time to even consider settling down, fully responsible for someone else’s well-being. There were blogs to write, people to see and things to do.

This was future Casey’s problem!

But the future never stays that way forever. For expecting fathers, until they hold their baby for the first time, a child is little more than a concept. Logically they know that the mother’s carrying a child for the better part of a year, but logic has nothing to do with this. All you know is that the clock’s ticking, and your freedom’s melting away with every passing day, inching closer to this vague territory called “the rest of your life”. You live each day as if it were your last, because you might never get another chance.