The Scintilla Project Day Fourteen — Run Away Fast As You Can

The Scintilla Project

1. Talk about a time when you were younger and you embarrassed your parents in public, the one that still shames you.

2. We exert control over ourselves and others in many ways. Talk about a time when you lost that control. This can go beyond the obvious emotional control into things like willpower, tidiness, self-discipline, physical prowess – any time that you felt your autonomy slipping away.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 14 prompts

I wasn’t really that embarrassing as a kid — I asked my Mom about stories where I embarrassed her and she only came up with a story about visiting an Indian store when I was 4 and complaining about the stink, so not much to tell there.

The real story is the other one, though…

Not exactly done in public, I once tried to run away from home. It was 1987 and I was mad at my mother. Don’t expect me to remember why, though — I was only 4 then. But somewhere inside that child’s mind of mine, I’d had it. I refused to suffer my mother’s tyrannical ways — I was running away.

So, clad in my jammies, I packed my favourite toys and my little brother — I shouldn’t leave him to deal with this injustice, after all — I waited for the perfect opportunity, and around 9 or 10 PM we stole away into the night!

The Master Plan

I had it all figured out. My buddy lived two doors down (I think his name was Jesse), and this was my logic:

  • his parents were nice
  • he had a Sega Master System, which was absent from my life
  • I was sure we’d all get along just fine

So after making the long trek to our next-door neighbour’s next-door neighbour, I knocked on the door and Jesse’s mom opened it with one of the most confused looks I can ever remember seeing in my life. I promptly explained to her that we were running away and asked whether we could stay there, instead.

In the next few minutes, she called my house, my Mom came over in a whirlwind equal parts apologetic worry and embarrassed fury, and my Mom took me home to what was historically one of the worst spankings of my life.

So, lesson learned — there’d be no more running away in the Palmer household. It’s not like I had any money to make it very far, and it didn’t look like anyone else wanted to take care of me, so it just wasn’t the smart play.

I would’ve definitely been the cutest runaway ever, though!

–case p.

The Scintilla Project Day Thirteen — Wasabi?!?!

The Scintilla Project

1. Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story—it may just be flashes of event and emotion—but tap into the child you were as much as you can.

2. The saying goes What you don’t know won’t hurt you, but sometimes the opposite is true. Talk about a time when you were hurt by something you didn’t know.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 13 prompts

I wasn’t always as adventurous as I am today. I grew up a pretty sheltered child, nose in the books, a close-knit group of friends around me, and never doing much that would upset my parents. My diet regularly consisted of chicken, Kraft dinner, and other such items that you could find in a generic North American diet.

That is — until I started going to school in downtown Toronto.

A whole new world filled with new experiences, new friends — it was an entirely new chapter of my life where my parents were trusting me to navigate through it and come out intact.

One of my earliest memories from those days was the first time I ever tried wasabi.

A couple of hand rolls at Maki Maki in Mississauga, ON
All about trying something new!

I remember being out at a sushi restaurant for the first time, and my Asian friends were explaining how it all worked and what many of the ingredients were.

When the food came out, I pointed to the green blob and asked what it was. One friend told me “it’s a candy they give you to cleanse your palate for the sushi — you should try it out!”

And so, popping the entire wad of wasabi into my mouth, I started to suck and chew on it for all of a moment — until I realized that my friends were a bunch of dirty little liars.

It was like flavour exploding in my mouth — in the worst way possible. My eyes started to water, my nose started to burn, I was gasping for relief and all of my new friends were splitting their sides with laughter. This was not a good start to my studies downtown!

I know what wasabi is now, but I’m still not a heavy user — soy sauce on its own is usually plenty for me!

What you don’t know won’t hurt you and ignorance is bliss. We’d like to think it’s true, but it’s faulty thinking. Knowledge is power, and the more informed you are, the more opportunities you have available to you.

Getting to know wasabi in a shocking way might not have been ideal, but knowing the options available to you at any time is always better than going into a situation cold and wondering what’s on the menu.

Think about it.

–case p.

The Scintilla Project Day Eleven — A Chicago Story

The Scintilla Project

1. Write about an experience you had that was so strange or incredible, it sounds like it could have been made up.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 11 prompt

Those who’ve known me awhile often think I have a lucky horseshoe lodged firmly somewhere within my rectum.

While I have no burning desire to prove nor disprove this theory (as invasive surgery doesn’t seem like the most attractive idea), my Green Bay/Chicago adventure in 2010 helps me see why people might think this way!

A Chicago Story

In May 2010, I went with some old high school buddies to visit our friend living out in Green Bay, Wisconsin. From there, we’d go by car to Chicago, eventually flying from there back to Toronto.

 All fine and dandy, right? A good four-day vacation with cool people doing cool things.

Yeah, you’d think so. This trip was further proof of one simple fact:

You can’t take Casey anywhere.

The Scintilla Project Day Nine — I Once Was Lost, But Now…

The Scintilla Project

1. Talk about where you were going the day you got lost. Were you alone? Did you ever get to where you meant to go?

2. What is the longest thing you know by heart (for example, a prayer, speech, commercial jingle, etc.)? Why did you learn it?

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 9 prompts

I’ve been blessed to have a pretty solid sense of direction — I’ll go somewhere and orient myself with the sun’s placement in the sky, landmarks, where the moss is growing on trees (yeah right — I’m a city boy; no way I know that) — generally, I tend to know where I’m going.

But my internal GPS isn’t perfect. There have been times that I’ve gotten ridiculously lost, either due to my ignorance or just rotten luck. Some of the more notable examples include:

  • Getting lost at Centreville when I was 7 or 8 with my baby brother and getting paged over the PA to find my way back to my Mom, blubbering all the while. I think I got spanked for stressing my Mom out by getting lost and for crying about it that day….
  • Once I wound up stranded at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON because I’d gone to school sick, fell asleep on the bus back and didn’t wake again ’til well after my stop! The worst parts: I was on my way to work; I forgot my wallet on the seat; and when I got off of the bus, I asked the driver where the bus was going next and not where I actually was. I eventually wandered around and saw the McMaster Marauders logo on a signboard, and found a friend who’d spot me $20 to get home and a place to sleep for the night — but did I learn my lesson?
  • obviously not, because I’d fall asleep on the bus going home from school yet again and awake to it being empty and driving in unfamiliar territory. When I got up and asked the driver where we were (which received a quick “Oh shit!” as I’d scared him half to death), he told me to downtown Toronto to drop off the bus — the opposite direction I needed to go for my shift at work. Damn it. In what can only be described as the best luck ever, the driver put me on the bus heading back in the right direction, and I bumped into my buddy Alfred who’d give me a ride to work, actually making me early for my shift! Boss move.
  • Once in my 2006 L.A. visit, my buddy Jon and I wanted to find a bar where we could celebrate his 21st birthday on a hot May day, and told to walk a few minutes down the road and take a turn or two, so off we went. For four hours. Eventually we’d end up at Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles with a couple of brews and more fried everything that we knew what to do with. Getting lost can sometimes end very, very well.

That's... a lot of food.

So what can we learn from this? That sometimes you’re gonna get lost. That sometimes things aren’t going to work out like you expect them to. But if you can keep a positive outlook and learn to improvise a little, just about any situation can go from bad to rad!

–case p.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCVI: The Wallet Part II — The Evil That Men Do

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So following from yesterday’s post, this past weekend, I lost my wallet. I didn’t know where it was. I panicked, I looked all over, and in the end, someone had found it and called me at my work number listed on my business cards in the wallet. So all’s well that ends well! Except…

The 2K11 24/7 CCCV: The Wallet Part I — Do the Right Thing

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I’m pretty sure that I’d benefit from a society that didn’t need wallets. For me, it’s an unnatural extension of my body that carries so many of the things I need to function “normally” in this society — so unnatural to me that I misplace it far too often.

Yesterday morning I was primed to leave for work on time — I’d packed everything I’d need for the day, made sure that all my household tasks had been completed — but then I went looking for that little leather folio that partly defines who I am…
…and it was nowhere to be found.

The 2K11 24/7 CCLIV: Don’t Argue With Fools

“A wise man told me don’t argue with fools
Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who”
–Jay-Z, “Takeover”

Reading this blog, you might be led to believe that I’m an idealist. I write of a world that I can only dream of where we all get along and know how to behave. Where the problems of the world are solved collaboratively because we all realize that we have a united stake in bettering our world.

But you’d be wrong — I’m a realist. I’m completely aware that some people are NOT worth our time. You CAN’T win every battle. You WILL have crappy days. The world as it stands right now has its wonders and great moments, but largely, it’s REALLY messed up! Sometimes, it’s just not even worth it.

Like the time I almost got in a fight earlier this year.

The 2K11 24/7 CXCVII: The Eagle That Wasn’t Meant to Fly

Sometimes things don’t work out quite as expected. Today I’m hosting a party, but beforehand, it involved weeding, buying booze and other household tasks that preoccupied me from getting a blog post done. So here I am, scrambling after the start of the party (well, officially speaking), cranking one out. Et voila — the story of what went down when Sarah and I were trapped in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris! Enjoy, and tomorrow we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming 🙂

The Goodwill of Yon Storeclerk and Loving Thy Neighbour

So as we all know from the last couple days' of posts, the 2010 20K didn't end up as well as I'd originally anticipated. The drive wasn't there to reach the original goal, and my life became highly involved in a number of other pursuits. I'm sorry if I let anyone down with this – but in retrospect, it wasn't the right fit. If you did end up contributing and want me to make a donation in-kind to a charity of your choice, or have some other crazy idea that you'd like me to follow up, I'm all ears 🙂 I believe that some of the principles that help govern a healthy lifestyle include collaboration, communication and flexibility, so let me express some of those, and hopefully we can figure out what next steps to take 🙂
I was doing some thinking lately about the past year, and how on one hand, while I was striving to find ways to make some extra cash, I was equally fortunate that I didn't need to shell out some ridiculous sums at times! Chalk it up to divine intervention, maybe to just – as some of my coworkers like to so subtly put it – me having "a horseshoe up my ass", I've been fortunate.
One such story happened in mid-late November.
It was the night of a band practice for the OPS Battle of the Bands (we're The Calamities, by the way – pictures and video coming soon). We were off to a rocky start musically, and we wanted to record ourselves to get a better idea of what things were sounding like. So I whipped out my ever-handy iPod Touch (4th gen) so we could get something clean to work with, placing it square in the middle of a nearby amp. This was not a good idea. With the combination of the bassy reverbations of the amp and a wayward foot hitting its side, I found myself looking over, moments later, to an iPod facedown on the ground.

The drop couldn't have been more than a foot, but it was enough to send a crack glaring diagonally across the face of my (rather pricy) source of fun. It was very, very hard to get through the rest of practice without losing my ****, but I eventually made it and ventured home, damaged goods in tow. Sarah was about as unimpressed as I was.

When I got in, I started reviewing the warranty documentation, only to find that inflicted damage isn't covered. This was definitely not cool, since I'd bought AppleCare to extend my warranty for another two years just in case . So there went my money down the drain in SO many ways, and me Googling for a solution when there was none to be found 🙁

So I decided to go into the Apple Store to see what my options were. I found out that I could reserve an appointment online – which I did, leaving a lengthy explanation of how the damage happened; how I didn't want to pay half the cost of the iPod Touch for a repair fee since it was only a couple of months old and since Apple doesn't currently supply any cases for their newest iPod Touch, and that I was generally upset.

Booked. And then re-booked. And then re-booked once again. (What can I say – it was a really busy day!)

I went to the Genius Bar to see what we could do. I was pretty nervous, because knowing that AppleCare didn't cover this, we were looking at a repair charge of $219 + tax on top of what I'd already paid for the device and the extended warranty. The guy who helped me – the first thing he noticed was the case I had for my iPod Touch (I believe it was a Miss Belle case I'd gotten from Fan Expo 2010 – thanks to this site for helping me figure it out!) and how cute it was. Little did I know that this would open the door for further awesomeness – we started talking about what had happened, how high the drop had been, how I was trying to record my band so we could figure out where we were going wrong – and yeah. When I was done, he gave me a look and let me know that this isn't usually done, but he was going to give me a one-time replacement, free of charge.

WHAT.
Maaaaan, it was like Christmas had come early. (I think I overused this line in 2010, for the record.) First thing I did after leaving the store (after profusely thanking the guy and promising to spread the word that the Apple Store Toronto Eaton Centre is freaking awesome with amazing customer service) was hit up The Source and get myself a sturdy leather case to make sure that this crap never happened again.
So I guess the moral here is that saving money is equal parts earning the money, but also not spending your money idiotically. And spending that money would have been STUPID. I'm really glad I didn't have to.
So keep your devices close and your common sense closer, and while I use my Springpad to sort out all these notes I have strewn across various areas, I hope that you guys aren't going crazy with the holiday season! (I haven't even started shopping yet, but I can already see the year being pretty low-key. Though I know some friends are being totally slacktastic with their wish lists. You know who you are. Yes, I can call you out in my blog!)
Peace out, homefries,
–case p.

Making money from board games

Facebook and Twitter have always been a source of information and interaction for me, and I'm glad to see that yesterday was no exception.

Yesterday's post got a number of comments from various friends, some of the notable ones being:

"Nice to see you chose life over cash :)"
Amongst other suggestions for making $20,000 of bank heists, casinos and counterfeiting, but I'm not exactly sure how serious those friends were :S
This weekend I think I'll have to look back through my calendars, notes and whatever to figure out what the heck I did in 2010 toward the 2010 20K. One thing that comes to mind is working with Compulsive Pictures to put together a commercial for Hasbro for a new version of Cranium 🙂 This was actually the second year in a row where I'd done some work for them. It actually started during The Great Unemployment Stint of 2009 (which lasted all of seven weeks), when I'd received a random FlickrMail on my Flickr account due to some pictures I'd posted of the then-new Cranium pieces from Cranium WOW! So last July, almost as if it were a late birthday present, I was contacted about the potential to be in a Cranium TV commercial. Since I loved playing Cranium, seemed like a good idea, right? Sent in some test footage of myself and a group of friends playing, and that was that – I soon found myself in possession of a Flip Ultra HD video camera, a new Cranium board game, some money in my pocket, AND they paid for the food and drink for hosting the game. I'll admit, it was pretty awesome.
But what was even MORE awesome was when they revealed that they were doing a Canadian casting call in 2010, same prizes and another cash prize up for grabs 🙂 I don't think they ever revealed the footage from this go-around, but alas. S'all good. What mattered is that I did walk away from it with $150 for hosting, organizing and participating in the party. And I now have an extra Flip Ultra HD lying around up for grabs if someone wants to buy it and add to the 2010 20K total (or has some sort of awesome idea of how I could give it away – yadda ya).
So worry not – this year wasn't idle – I just haven't told you about all of it yet 🙂
This next year's going to be a challenge. I can already see 43 drafts in my gmail leering at me; hundreds upon hundreds of bookmarks between my Google Chrome, Firefox and Delicous systems (if anyone has a slick way to import and combine these all into one place, I'm all ears!); and taking a look around me in my room … yeah, there's a lot to do.
But we're not on that topic yet 🙂
Anyway, hope y'all are having a good night. The night is still young and I'm stuck on Final Fantasy. (I'm stubborn and I'm refusing to look at walkthroughs to get me by, so alas. Unintended levelling up, ahoy!)
Until tomorrow, ladies and gents!
–case p.