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

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!

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

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 ?

THE MONTHS OF BER: Once More, With FEELING.

And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.

The Team Trolling July 2014 Hangout — Casey's Birthday
With the summer gone, it’s time to cherish the memories, but prepare for an entirely new season ahead with entirely new challenges. Photo Credit: Justin Baisden

With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.

It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.

#100HappyDays — Five Days in the Life of Casey Palmer, Father Blogger

When Sarah got me doing the #100HappyDays, I thought it’d be a good exercise to teach me how to write shorter posts, giving my readers a break from the lengthy novellas I usually write.  A daily picture with a short description — not that hard, right? Except that all too soon, I’d lapse back to my old habits, and contextualized them with lengthy stories instead of posting pictures that simply spoke for themselves (a thousand words and all)!

It worked well enough until I just didn’t have the energy to keep it up.

With enough real-time stuff to keep me busy (visiting my parents in Mississauga, celebrating a friend’s birthday and having company over); side projects to work on (archiving old drawings at 1200 dpi so I can resurrect my Fish ‘n’ Chimps webcomic, marathoning through Seinfeld and playing this stupid game); and of course, the stuff that pays the bills and keeps my family flourishing (spending time with Sarah and our son, writing for The Hooray Collective, PTPA and other clients, and — of course — the 9-5), the weekend got away from me, the blog posts I planned to write fleeting with it.

But stumbling blocks only last forever if you let them win, and my blog posts won’t write themselves!

Welcome back, Mr. Palmer — it’s time to get your blog on!

#100HappyDays — Day 28 — Content Generation Like it’s 2003!

#100HappyDays — Day 28 — Fish 'n' Chimps — Comic #46 — Getting Ready to Come Out of the Closet
If you thought my humour was juvenile now, you should’ve seen me back in 2003!

It was my son’s 4-month “birthday” today, but I barely got to see him.

In a day preceded by three hours of sleep, fraught with everything from a site crash to slow progress with work things due to the March Break coworker exodus to the site files that refused to migrate, I came home to a kid ready to sleep from a day filled with visitors and stimuli.

My day wasn’t as exciting as his, though. It was all about:

  • Finding a hidden cache of old posts that were properly formatted, which could replace some old ones on my site that needed some touching up
  • Trying to delete the old posts, only to find that my site couldn’t handle all the load of deleting 100 posts at a time, crashing the site for a few minutes and making me finally decide to make the leap to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to handle the stress I put on my site
  • Realizing that I’d tried all this before, and the ones that were there before were the result of the very same course of actions I was trying
  • Delete these “new magical files” I came across so I never make this stupid mistake again

But though I nearly obliterated all the stuff I’d worked so hard on (again…), I was happy that my plan to reintroduce Fish ‘n’ Chimps to the world was coming together.

So what if iI made them in an age where 1024 x 768 was the standard resolution, giving me comics that are way too small for the modern monitor?

So what if they show the humour of a Casey Palmer in his late teens and early twenties, utterly juvenile and devoid of a solid storyline?

So what if in 2003, I was acting like this:

It’s progress. I’ll take it.

#100HappyDays Day 28/100, parfait!

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 26 — Dinner at the In-Laws’

#100HappyDays — Day 26 — Dinner at my In-Laws'
Roast Beef + Cottage Roll + Carrots + Mashed Potatoes + String Beans = #OmNomNom!!!

For #100HappyDays Day 26, the word was “productivity”. After clearing out some outdated tech for electronic disposal, getting my old Fish ‘n’ Chimps comics prepped for their return to the Internets, and whatever household chores were on the list, it was time to hit my in-laws’ to celebrate my Dad’s 64th birthday.

#100HappyDays — Day 26 — Old Tech for Electronic Disposal
Can you imagine that my smartphone’s more powerful than everything in this photo combined? Yeesh.

While far more exhausted than I thought I’d be (I guess an 8-hour night of sleep won’t fix a week of rotten sleep habits…), I always enjoy time with family and my mother-in-law’s home cooking! (I can tell you that cottage roll’s gonna be a regular commodity from home from now on, I kid you not!)

The weekend’s won’t likely be relaxing, but great times are still ahead!

#100HappyDays Day 26/100 — I’m off to bed early, since tonight is the worst night of all for nocturnal types like me, where Daylight Savings Time steals an hour away for whatever ridiculous reason.

“Spring forward, fall back” my butt 🙁

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 15 — The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics

#100HappyDays — Day 15 — The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics

 

Some days, nothing all that amazing happens — some days you’re just maintaining. #100HappyDays Day 15 was like that: just working on keeping things going with lots of emails, Facebooking and tweets to make sure that the relationships stay alive. Went in to the 9-to-5 early, came home early, and spent a bit of extra time playing with DoomzToo since I was home well before his bedtime for once.

But it’s not like I took photos of any of that 🙂

Instead, here’s what I’m reading right now to show my resolve for getting back in the webcomics game!

I spent some time working on the Fish ‘n’ Chimps website, taking all these pieces of the past decade and putting them together again, trying to build a site that’ll show the journey from then ’til now.

Today was a good day.

#100HappyDays Day 15/100 — finito.

–case p.

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 1-10: Driving, Drawing and Dining

Somehow it always comes down to this — it’s suddenly December and we look at our to-do lists realizing that we hadn’t accomplished nearly as much in the year as we’d planned to. So we get in a tizzy, try to do months of work in a matter of weeks and end in the year in a BANG on New Year’s Eve!

And we wonder why it’s always so hard to start our resolutions off on the right foot in January!

Ever the overachiever, I set out a list of 100 goals for myself in January, hoping to knock some things off of the list that’d been there entirely too long, and set foundations for others that’d lead to a promising future in the years to come.

Too bad I didn’t put the secret 101st item into the equation: having a kid.

I’ll admit — much of 2013 is a blur. One baby, two Vegas trips and three job changes later, my priorities have definitely changed, with me at home more often than not, trying to enjoy what quiet moments I can before DoomzToo’s more vocal — and more mobile.

But kid or not, 2013 was still a year for the books, and while I didn’t always get it out in the blog, I never truly lacked things to do.

So I wrap the year up with this — a look at what I pulled off in 2013; what flopped; and what will rear their ugly heads once more in 2014 to see whether I’ll manage to finally get them done. It’s all too long for one entry, so I hope you like reading about my hijinks and exploits, because it’s going to take 10 to get through it all!

Buckle up, my lovely readers. Uncle Casey’s gonna tell you some stories!

The 2013 100, Items 1-10: Driving, Drawing and Dining

  1. Negotiate a way better phone contract
  2. Give Sarah the present I always alluded to but never got around to giving her
  3. Start a business or two
  4. Learn to drive, learn to drive, for the love of God learn how to drive!
  5. Sell all the stuff I’ve meant to sell
  6. Start drawing comics on some sort of regular schedule
  7. Get my clothes tailored
  8. Get up-to-date on my emails
  9. Cook at least one meal
  10. Make an app

1:  Negotiate a way better phone contract

I’ll be the first to admit that I pay way too much for my cell phone. It’s good to have a monster of a device with plenty of features, considering how much time I invest in social media and geo-location games, but I rarely use it like a telephone anymore. So maybe it’s time to revisit what features I actually need and make it a priority to get a new plan in 2014!

There’s something I need to remember about having a traditional 9-to-5 at a large organization — there’re more benefits when telecom companies sell deals in bulk and not haggling individually level. It’s time to get a corporate plan.

2014 Casey Palmer — saving more money to feed his kid!

STATUS: On to the next year!

2: Give Sarah the present I always alluded to but never got around to giving her

Jeez — I think I alluded to this gift from our first Christmas together in 2008! Welp. Sorry, babe — this one’s going to 2014, ’cause you’re not getting it this year! (I even saw it on her Amazon wish list — hold your horses, Sarah! You already got the ring on your finger, yo! Way I see it, we have all our lives for me to work on this one! [Insert maniacal laugh here.])

STATUS: On to the next year!

3: Start a business or two

Somewhere in my mind is this idealized fantasy of owning a business, where I call the shots, wake up when I damn well please, do work in my house clothes and essentially do what I want, when I want.

Then I quickly come back to reality, realizing that it takes a heckuva lot of work before you make money while you sleep like the Dragons on Dragons’ Den.

Owning a business means taking on a lot of risk, a whole lot of discipline, and some prayers — especially if you’re trying to raise a family on that money! If I’d developed the online presence that I have now 10 years ago, going out on my own would be a highly attractive notion. But in 10 years, I got married, had a kid, and built knowledge and clout in my organization. I’m compensated for the skill set I’ve developed, and the benefits package that comes with the job mean that DoomzToo will never be stuck with crooked teeth or poor vision.

While choosing a 9-to-5 and owning a business aren’t mutually exclusive, I’m content enough to take the long path on this one and not search endlessly for a quick payday.

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

4: Learn to drive, learn to drive, for the love of God learn how to drive!

For a decade, driving was the biggest cloud hanging over my head.

My hometown in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, In the ‘burbs, driving is essential to living, as the public transit isn’t world-class and places of interest are seldom walking distance from the residential blocks. I originally tried to get my driver’s license at 20, which was already years later than everyone around me. Spending my Saturday mornings in drivers’ ed with kids who’d celebrated their Sweet Sixteens just the week before is an experience I’m not eager to repeat.

Failing that test at 20 led to a decade of avoidance, keeping a schedule filled with just about everything else in the world, not helped by my parents living in a subdivision a mere 10-minute walk from a train into the city.

Why drive? Toronto already had too much traffic as it was — I could read, draw and sleep on public transit, making far better use of my time than I would if I spent it stuck in gridlocked traffic every day.

But DoomzToo coming along was a wake-up call. I’ve seen the parents trying to navigate the subway system with a stroller, struggling to get up and down stairs as just under half of the TTC’s stations are elevators for accessibility. I didn’t wanna be one of those parents. How dare they take up valuable space on the rush hour subways? Why don’t they find another way to get their baby from A to B?

2011 Ford Edge Select with All-Wheel Drive

So I celebrated my 30th birthday at a Ministry of Transportation DriveTest centre, nervously waiting to take my G1 exit test and see whether I could drive the 2011 Ford Edge Select (with All-Wheel Drive) that we’d bought just that weekend. It was nerve-wracking. It was tense. It was in Port Union. But I passed after waiting ten whole years to try again, and I’ve driven since, ferrying us to distant places like Bouchette, Quebec, while Sarah makes sure I get plenty of practice for my G2 exit test!

STATUS: SO done.

5: Sell all the stuff I’ve meant to sell

I suck at selling. Not because I’m unconvincing, but because I’m unwilling to rip someone off nor am I enough of a penny-pincher to spend time listing thing on Craigslist, courting buyers, making time to meet with them, etc.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So instead, while cleaning up the house for the baby, we packed a number of boxes with books, clothes and electronics and drove ’em to the local Value Village so someone in need could get them.

Everybody wins. Go give something, people!

STATUS: Please see above.

6: Start drawing comics on some sort of regular schedule

The 2013 100 11-20 — Fish 'n' Chimps — Doomsdayblaze Sketch

I finally started drawing again in December, taking a real crack at costume designs for my characters that’d stick — not just clothes that looked like they came right out of a clothing ad. Comics are a difficult medium to create for — where literature relies on description and pacing to paint the world for a reader and keep their attention, a comic must do it blatantly and appeal visually on top of all the things literature needs to do!

Fish ‘n’ Chimps will be no easy undertaking, but it’s a labour of love. It’s a story that’s been in my head for damn near a decade, and the time for everyone else to see what’s been going on in my cranium is long overdue.

STATUS: On to the next year!

7: Get my clothes tailored

Somehow I imagined myself living the male equivalent of Sex and the City (EntourageCalifornication?) and having my “go-to-guy” for making sure my clothes fit “just so”.

All I’ve managed to do is get my dry cleaner to mend my clothes when accidents happen and let pants out since my body shape’s already change from those carefree newlywed days.

Shout-out to Kathy for making sure I still look decent, and I doubt I’ll have the time (or the money) to get a tailor anytime soon.

Besides — what good is shopping at Harry Rosen when your ridiculously expensive wardrobe has baby spit-up all over it?

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

8: Get up-to-date on my emails

Simple truth — there is no catching up on email. The sooner one accepts this fact, the sooner they can accept the deluge of data that is their daily life.

It’s especially futile now that I’ve become a Redditor, there’s no time for stuff like lifehacking. Links to click, things to see!

STATUS: Ain’t nobody got time for that!

9: Cook at least one meal

When I included this item on the list, Sarah was thinking  of an extravagant meal that’d leave Susur Lee salivating in envy.

While not quite as elaborate as she may have hoped, I did manage to cook a couple of times this year:

1: A while back, I’d received review copies of Julie Anne Hession’s 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes: Sweet to Savory and Tammy Algood’s In a Snap! Tasty Southern Recipes You Can Make in 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes. While I didn’t get a chance to use my buddy’s key limes to make a pie (sorry, Jon), I did try my hand at some bacon grilled cheese on raisin bread — one of Tommy’s 5-minute recipes.

Turned out okay — I’ll admit that microwaving bacon was as crispy as I usually like it when done in the frying pan, but the sandwich was decent overall.

2: On the morning of DoomzToo’s birth, Sarah gave me a verbal crash course on making scrambled eggs, and while they didn’t turn out perfectly, I’ll learn more egg recipes for the future — never know when you’ll want a better breakfast than Just Right or Oatmeal Crisp with Raisins!

STATUS: SO done.

10: Make an app

Still interested in making an app, no time to do it right.

I’m largely an ideas guy. I like coming up with new ideas and schemes, so I learn a little about everything so I can translate my ideas to various kinds of people.

What apps need are experts. People who eat, sleep and breathe design and code and get paid handsomely for it. If I want to make an app, I need to align myself with the skilled people to build them — and the wealthy business people to pay them — in 2014.

Even if I get something like a 10% cut for the idea on an app, if that app profits $1,000,000 — well. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be too sore about the $900,000 I didn’t get.

STATUS: On to the next year!

That’s all for today, y’all! Make sure to come back tomorrow, when we discuss birthdays, BiSC, and what really happened to Mansformation. See you then!

–case p.


P.S. Gratuitous link to get my blog registered on Bloglovin’!

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The Problems With Making Webcomics, Volume 1

For anyone who’s only known me for a little while, I’ve had a dream for the longest time — to put a comic story together from beginning to end.

For the past decade, I’ve chipped away at an idea I’ve had for a comic named Fish ‘n’ Chimps — I even went as far as working on the webcomic from 2003-2006 and making print comics to sell at comic conventions for a number of years.

But that was like diving into the deep end without checking to make sure that the pool was filled.

Since then, I’ve been chipping away at this idea of mine, changing it from an idea for a gag comic from someone just exiting their teenage years to a storyline of a far grander scale, reflecting everything that I’ve learned in the last decade. Character sketches have given way to storylines; ideas scrawled on napkins and scrap paper found their way into what’s starting to resemble a script.

But as they say — the devil’s in the details. The longer I’ve worked at this idea, the more complex it’s become and the higher my standards have risen. What started as an unfocused idea has grown with startling clarity — the only problem now will be finding the time to make it a reality.

A cover idea with my main Fish 'n' Chimps character, Doomz
Hey! What's that over your shoulder?!

With a subway delay giving me an extended commute on my way home from my cosmic twin’s housewarming party, I sketched this out from ideas I have for later into the storyline — I guess all that I need to do now is start actually drawing the comic so I can get there.

–case p.

The 2K11 24/7 CLXXXIV: Inspiration, Ahoy!

Sometimes you need to travel a long ways to find the inspiration you need to continue on — sometimes you’ll find it as close as your own backyard.

When travelling through some of Italy’s countryside, I paid close attention to my surroundings. Partially for pickpockets, making sure I wouldn’t have to slug anyone with a strong right. But MOSTLY because it was a source of inspiration for me to take another look at some of the designs I’ve made.

For instance, looking at the structures that were put together to harvest lemons in Sorrento gave me the gusto I needed to design “Tree Town” for my comic. 

Tree_town_sketch
Fig 184-1: Sketch of Tree Town
On the train from Sorrento back to Naples,  I noticed a kid who dressed almost exactly like my Ruddiger character, and decided to observe his style and mannerisms to flesh him out a little more.

Ruddiger
Fig 184-2: Ruddiger

Inspiration is everywhere. Every time I get back to Toronto after being gone a while, I see things a little differently. Things affect me in different ways, and I get inspired in ways that may not have previously occurred to me.

Keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you, for inspiration is everywhere!

–Casey E. Palmer

184/365

Sketchdump 03-08-2010

Sketchdump-03-08-2010

So this is what you're getting for today – a sketchdump 🙂 Lots of logo, site and graphing work going on over here – I'll make sure to share whenever anything gets DONE. I was going to do a quick one related to the Tim Hortons Roll Up the Rim to Win contest, but after reading David McCandless' blog Information is Beautiful, I've been rethinking my approach to infographics. You'll still see something, but it'll probably be far more imaginative than what I'd originally envisioned 🙂

Anyway, hope you enjoy another little glimpse into my world. The PHP. It calls my name!

–case p.