If there’s one thing podcasting teaches you, it’s flexibility.
My conversation with Errol dates a few weeks back when I had to reschedule my recording with Richard Badra and went to Facebook in search of volunteers. And so, dozens of friends later, I remembered a conversation I had with Errol one Sunday and soon found myself driving the four minutes to his place to record a podcast about escape rooms, anime, and the utter joy that’s nerd culture in general.
As you’ll discover in the episode, I meant to put it out in mid-November, but I had to push it back. Richard had his #RebelGiving Twitter Party on the 20th. Rob Tinkler’s8 Tiny Reindeer was out December 1st, so a release on the 3rd would be too late. It quickly became clear to me that I needed to be more flexible with my recordings and not say things to tie myself down to a specific time in the process.
So, to Errol, I do apologise, but what’s important is that we’re here, and Episode 14’s finally out to the world so everyone else can enjoy a conversation I found hilarious.
Chatting with Casey 14 Featuring Errol Elumir — Because Nerds Must Stand United!
Though it wasn’t all that cool when I was growing up, nerd culture’s come into its own this past decade, glamorising things we enjoyed in smaller social circles away from society’s judgmental eyes. Board games. Comics. Japanese anime and American cartoons. So much of it defined who I am today, but I dabbled in it less over time, becoming the adult society wanted me to be—or at least, that’s what I thought I needed to do.
But men like Errol give me hope that the world’s finally changing. That men can be into nerdy things and still respected as the cool Dads they are. I laughed harder in this podcast than I had in a long time, and I think you will too when you hear some of his stories!
So settle in, relax, and make sure you’ve already visited the loo—this one will hit you right in the funny bone, and you’ve got to get yourself ready.
What’s struck me so far as I write these year-end wrap-ups is that I’m dealing with the list of a maniac. At 100 items, that’s 3.65 days to get each item done, or 8,760 hours.
But if I sleep 6 hours a night, that’s suddenly 6,570 hours.
And with a 40-hour work week (not including my 3 weeks of vacation), that brings us down to 4,610.
Put in a couple of hours per day to eat, shower and other essentials and you’re suddenly down to 3,880 hours, or a mere 161 days worth of time (or perhaps, a mere 8 hours per weekday, with the hope that the weekends don’t find themselves suddenly overloaded) to do 100 things. And that’s, of course, on top of going out with friends, being a good family man, and perhaps finding time to do things that were never on the list in the first place.
Unless you’ve somehow bought yourself the luxury of unlimited time, a list of 100 goals is best achieved when attainable. You can’t be everywhere at once or do everything at once — sometimes we need humility and a reminder that there’s simply only one of us!
It’s what we do with that one that makes all the difference.
So let’s chalk this up to a learning experience. Let’s figure out what really matters, what’d be nice to do, and what’d be inane to expect with a wife and kid at home, needing me to play my role as a father.
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Every year. Every year we go through this.
We near the end of the year, wondering where all the time went and lamenting all the things we failed to do over the months. We plan to close out the year with a bang and swear to make a better effort to hit our goals in the next year. Year after year we try, but invariably repeat ourselves time and time again. So while the year’s already seen a lot of awesome in my life, I’d told myself back in January that this would be the year I rocked Movember and NaNoWriMo, earning fame, riches and glory in the process!
It’d all started so well.
I’d thought, “Grow a moustache and raise money for charity — that’s not so hard; I grow facial hair all the time anyway. And write a 50,000-word novel? I write, like, every day. I can do this.”
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I had the drive, determination and direction to make it happen — I was convinced that if anyone could do it, someone who was so used to juggling multiple things all the time was the perfect person to do it!
It’s funny, the things we can convince ourselves of and yet be so utterly wrong.
Movember, or “Why Did I Grow This, Again?”
In the end, I was able to do some good, raising $175 toward preventing prostate cancer and supporting men’s mental health, and another $430 through the team I’d created for the initiative — the Central Agency Clustachios (a play on the name of the place where I work).
While a pleasant outcome, I can’t help but feel that I could’ve done more. Being honest, 70% of the money I raised came in the last two days of November, after I’d received enough pestering at work to rally some troops for one last go at getting donations. Between events, trips and a hefty workload, I lost sight of the goals I’d originally set and — as can often be the case in our lives — tried to make up for lost time.
If I learned anything from Movember, it’s two things:
It’s impossible for me to be everywhere. Life is full of opportunities and responsibilities, but I also need the energy to take them all on. Prioritization and being realistic are skills that will be necessary to being successful in my life; and
No man is meant to grow facial hair for 30 days straight. You just get to a point where it’s itchy as hell and you wonder why you started doing it in the first place.
Better luck next year, right? Hopefully I’ll be able to go the way of friends like Amanda Blake and help organize events for the cause!
Putting the “No” in NaNoWriMo
Even though I wrote a ton of words in November, none of it really looks like a novel.
NaNoWriMo is an ambitious little initiative, and these sorts of things need dedicated time to make them happen — even more so when creativity needs to come into the mix!
With being away half of the month and at events almost every other day, I thought I could still pull it off. But I forgot to account for work and the huge things they needed me to do this past month. I forgot to account for the fact that one can only work so hard before fatigue catches up with them. I forgot to account for the fact that life goes on with or without the blog posts I put out!
So, my dear NaNoWriMo, unfortunately you’re gone ’til next November, ’cause this one wasn’t your time to shine! In fact, NaNoWriMo, let’s play you out:
So what did I learn? I learned that November is not to be underestimated!
It may not be the flashiest month. Not nearly enough people look forward to celebrating the sacrifices that war veterans made to keep us free and keep us safe, so most people treat the month like a write-off and just buffer time before they get to Christmas. It’s not usually even wintery enough for the ski and snowboard types out there.
But, you’ve gotta learn to treat November with respect. It has more than enough to keep you busy if you’ll let it, and when you finally reach December and everything doesn’t look the way you expected, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.
Because honestly, is there really anything else that one can learn from November?
Next Verse: We’ve all gotta get rest sometimes, but even the best plans to get our sleep on can go awry!
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!