I’ve spent this last week aimlessly writing, figuring out what I should do next.
There’s plenty on my mind:
My career of eleven years that I pretty much fell into and what I do with it some seventeen jobs later
All the content that still needs producing and how to make each one special in an age where we value immediacy over innovation
And, of course, whether I’m living up to my role as a husband, father, brother, friend and son as I try to find time for everyone while sorting all of this out.
Logically, I know it’s all a process. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the things I’d eventually like to accomplish, and none of it’s happening overnight. I’ve long since decided to stop investing my time in content that takes five minutes to make—there’s more than enough on the internet already. What I want to do is create things worth remembering—content whose impact we’ll feel months and years down the road. It’s a slow process, but I’ve made it this far—what’s a little bit more, right?
But that’s enough introspection for one post. Let’s get right to it with The Week That Was… March 18th-24th, 2018, and everything that went down in those seven days. Spoiler alert—lots of it had to do with food.
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Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.
After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.
But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what just don’t feel part of my world anymore.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the #Chronicle150, where we strive to find 150 Canadian stories to commemorate this nation’s 150th birthday!
The series took a break for a while—you wouldn’t believe how much is going on here behind the scenes—but it’s high time this project got back on track, and I’m doing that with a piece from Nikki Yeh.
Nikki’s a journalist who was a year above me in high school—I remember seeing her name in print early on in publications like The Mississauga News. Nikki’s #Chronicle150 entry touches on a few themes I’ve returned to time and time again while crafting this series: struggling to develop an identity beyond your race. The multigenerational grind to develop a better future for those who follow. And—of course—some of the reasons why we stay in Canada, like the value we place on family life.
Nikki’s answers hold things many of us can relate to—perhaps they’ll give you pause to reflect on your life and what needed to happen to make you who you are today.
Enjoy the read and until the next,
Who are you and what are you all about?
I tell it like it is – many would say I’m honest, humble, a good listener and a huge pop culture fan (Riverdale, anyone?). I wear many hats as a writer, editor, dance and gymnastics instructor, proud wife and Mom. My time’s currently divided between freelance projects, managing my Facebook group Adventures in Baby Savings, playing trucks with my two-year-old son and helping my 6-year-old daughter count nickels and dimes.
What makes you so Canadian?
Here’s something many don’t know about me: I seldom cared about being Canadian until a few years ago. I used to roll my eyes at the thought of Canadian history, deeming July 1st as “Barbeque and Booze Day.” But after digging into the history of both my maternal and paternal families, it’s hard to deny my Canadian roots.
Hailing from rural China, my paternal great-grandfather – my grandmother’s father, Gee Sing – was a Chinese labour worker in the 1880s for the Canadian Pacific Railway, surviving in poor conditions to improve the future of his family. My dad’s father, Tin Yeh, was one of the first group of students from China to study at the University of Toronto after World War II. Then there’s my Mom’s family – the Yuens, consisting of my Mom’s parents, two sisters and herself – as the first Chinese family to reside in Brampton, Ontario, in the ’60s. (They were even interviewed for their local newspaper!)
Sure, I’m physically Chinese. But for me, being born in Canada isn’t what makes me Canadian. It’s how my family made sacrifices and overcame hardships so that their future generations could thrive in this country.
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 a number of prizes if they complete the contest challenges!
My buddy Zach and I spoke recently about #StarbucksForLife, wondering those 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!
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 never placed a game on my phone ever, and then I played Candy Crush.”
There’s a whole list of things that make Candy Crush Saga as addictive as it is:
You get 5 lives to progress, and lose a life every time you fail a level. While they do come back, it takes 30 minutes for each individual life to return, so there’s incentive for you to do as well as possible
The map showing all the levels is not only massive, but it shows the current positions of every Facebook friend you have that plays. So it gives you a strong incentive to prove that you can do better than everyone else you know.
But that’s not all — King didn’t only want you competing on the macro scale, trying to make it the furthest out of all your friends; they went right to the micro level, showing where you rank for top scores on each and every level! Talk about a shot straight to the ego!
And to anyone out there who thinks that Candy Crush Saga is just a jazzed-up Bejeweled clone, I’ve got news for you — where Bejeweled is usually just a fixed grid with different modes of gameplay, King angled to blow PopCap Games out of the water, with 5 modes of gameplay in its levels combined with boards of different sizes and a bevy of obstacles that only grow harder to navigate and infinitely more frustrating as you advance through the levels. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
But I assume you’ve come here today because you’re already a Candy Crush convert, so you already know this. You don’t want an overview that you could go get anywhere on the Internet — you want some concrete tips on how to beat your addiction by beating the game. So let me tell you about my journey.
Beating the Unbeatable
I’d been warned about Level 391 well in advance by my longtime friend Justin, who told me that he might stop playing Candy Crush Saga because it was too impossible. Within 40 moves, they wanted you to get 77 yellow candies, 66 blue candies and 55 red candies, which were all relatively easy. The hard part? Getting 240,000 points in the process.
To put that in context, getting to level 391 is a pretty amazing feat by Candy Crush standards. Of my 1600+ Facebook friends, there’re only 4 of us who’ve made it that far, or only about 0.25% of the sample. I attacked 391 with the same powerful methods I’d used to get to that point — combinations of sprinkled candies (or “colour bombs”) with striped and wrapped candies for more points; combining striped and wrapped candies with each other when I needed to do so that I could last longer — but no matter what I tried, I consistently landed in the 120-150K point range.
As ashamed as I am to admit it, it looked like the end of my candy crushing!
Like I said though, I eventually figured it out. There is a way to make it even further, but it’s not the method you were expecting! First, though, let’s build up with some basic tips.
Some Basic Tips
Let me put this bluntly — if you’re stuck on level 23, you’re either not trying hard enough or not playing well enough. In the early stages of Candy Crush Saga, there’s some quick things you need to know so that you too can crush all the candies:
Combining special candies is your new best friend. There’re 5 different types of special candies in Candy Crush, but the more common combinations are:
Striped Candy + Wrapped Candy = larger candy that clears the 3 rows and columns surrounding the spot where you activated it
Striped Candy + Sprinkled Candy = turning every candy of the striped candy’s colour into a striped candy, having them all activate simultaneously for some major damage
Wrapped Candy + Sprinkled Candy = destroy every candy of the wrapped candy’s colour, plus all those of another random colour right after
Sprinkled Candy + Sprinkled Candy = destroy every candy on the screen (as long as it’s not behind a barrier)
I also recommend combining striped, wrapped and sprinkled candies with the other special candies (i.e. the jelly fish and coconut wheels) to see what happens when you combine them (or you know, just visit here: http://candy-crush-saga.wikia.com/wiki/Candies)
Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure from the start. If you enter a level and the conditions don’t look well-suited to victory, if you haven’t made any moves yet, you can exit the level without losing a life. Gotta be economical with those lives — you only get so many!
But this is basic stuff — simply knowing how to mix special candies and reset levels will only take you so far. You’re gonna need a little more — so let’s take a look at…
There are three tips I suggest to have the best chance for success in Candy Crush Saga.
Tip #1: Don’t Be Ashamed to Let Your Facebook Friends Know You’ve Caved
Candy Crush Saga is becoming more of a household name every time the sun rises — a recent analysis estimated that it’s played 600 times a day, and doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down!
But I’ve come across a ridiculous number of people who try to hide that they’re playing Candy Crush!
People. It’s a social game. You’re SUPPOSED to tell people that you’re playing it.
Plus, King makes your life a whole lot easier when you connect Candy Crush Saga with Facebook:
later in the game, where you need to meet certain conditions to keep advancing, you only need to get 3 Facebook friends to send you a ticket to move forward (relatively easy since so many people are playing right now). If you choose to play without Facebook connected, not only do you need to either play Mystery Quests or pay to keep going, you can only play one Mystery Quest per 24 hours, meaning it either takes you 3 days to get new levels or $1 to advance in a game that’s supposed to be free. BITE THE FACEBOOK BULLET ALREADY!
Also, while extra moves from friends in Candy Crush never quite work as they should, extra lives do. You can stay disconnected from Facebook like a sucker if you want, but I can tell you that there’s no way I’d have made it through levels 370+ as quickly as I did without a stockpile of 50+ lives to help me through.
Why make things harder for yourself?
The Facebook connection makes life far easier, particularly because you can take advantage of Tip #2….
Tip #2: Never Play on One Device Alone
One of the great things about Candy Crush Saga is that it’s available everywhere. You can play it on an iOS or Android device, or straight through the app on the Facebook site. But as I played on my iPad and Galaxy SIII, I noticed something funny — while my progress synced between every device, my lives and charms didn’t. So when I’d play through 5 lives on my phone, all I needed to do was pick up my iPad and carry on from where I left off — part of the reason I could burn through 10+ levels a day without having to fork over any cash for it. But it was because of this tip that I came across the craziest tip of all — Tip #3 would change the way I played Candy Crush Saga forever.
Tip #3: Crushing Candies on Your Phone Does Not Crushing Candies on Your Computer Make
In the end, it all comes back to Level 391. I’d tried on my phone, I’d tried on my iPad, but that goal of 240,000 points wasn’t getting anywhere in reach.
But on the computer, I got 300,000… in 3 moves.
That’s right, you heard me — the mobile and browser version of the game don’t score the same way!!!
If you Google about Candy Crush scoring, there’s no definitive guide to it — everyone knows that it’s complex and no one’s explicitly detailed how scoring works, but one thing I know is that it’s inconsistent.
So in short, if you want to play to progress, play mobile. If you want to play for points, you better get on that Facebook tip!
Although we’ve come… to the EEEEEEND of the RO-OADDDD….
395 levels down, many more to come!
Admittedly, one of the best parts of being barred from playing Candy Crush while on the go is getting to stockpile all the lives I used up while I was stuck in the 370s. But it is pretty sad to open the game to send lives, help others make it to new levels… and do nothing else. A friend pointed out that I could go back and get the top scores on every level before me, but now that I know about the scoring discrepancy, I’m more likely to do it on the computer at home than on my phone, so nuts to that.
With that said, the computer version has 440 levels compared to the mobile’s 395, so I’m still plowing through in preparation for whatever’s to come!
Anyway — I hope this helps you crush more candies, and I’m going to go do some of that myself!
HYFR and YOLO,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
If you attended the events at Social Media Week Toronto 2012 (SMWTO for short) you may have seen me around. I was one of the guys with the fancy-looking cameras taking pictures of everything. And I mean everything. I was one of the SMWTO volunteer photographers! We sought out shots that captured the essence of what happens at SMWTO, whether it was a presentation in a boardroom or a pick-up game on the home court of the Toronto Raptors in the Air Canada Centre. (Yeah, you read that right!)
This was the second annual SMWTO, and while I didn’t participate last year, Reggy Sy‘s call for volunteer photographers reached my ears at just the right time! It was a fun week — I tested my gear in various settings, which was great practice for next month’s Big Trip!
It was also a long and challenging week, juggling the 9-5 and arriving on time, but you can judge the results for yourself! (These collections earned about 4,500 collected views the day I posted them.)
Social Media Week Toronto — Because You NEVER Know EVERYTHING.
For me, social media-related events are always interesting. As someone who isn’t from a PR/advertising/marketing background, I’m always learning something new I can take into my personal life and the things that I do as hobbies.
So while I’m happy my hectic week is over, I’m looking forward to the rest of 2012 and the opportunities that pop up when I’m not trying to earn a living!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: