How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank

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!

How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank — Starbucks for Life Challenges
The full list of #StarbucksForLife Challenges — likely an early prototype, as Afternoon Coffee Break seems renamed to BRB and This One’s On Me is absent from the current board.

#100HappyDays — Day 25 — Long Live @CaseP!!!

#100HappyDays — Day 25 — @CaseP Twitter Bio Screenshot
R.I.P. @doomzTO — LONG LIVE @CaseP!!!

This has been a long time coming.

When I started on Twitter back in June 2008, I was under a handle that made sense then — @doomsdayblaze. It was the screen name I’d used since my first email address in 1998; the name of the website where I ran Fish ‘n’ Chimps; the screen name for my LiveJournal — back then, it was what anyone who knew me online knew me as.

When I hit 2010’s HoHoTO — my first Twitter event of that size — Diana Pronosher was flabbergasted at the length of my Twitter handle, suggesting I change it. Since @doomz was taken in 2009 by a rapper I’m trying to track down, I tacked “TO” for Toronto on the end and @doomzTO was born (as referenced in the ever-infamous “HoHoTO Rap“)!

For the next 40 months, I had a shorter Twitter handle, but not one that really reflected who I was becoming.

After moving from doomsdayblaze.com to caseypalmer.com in 2011, “Doomz” was becoming more of a shadow behind me than a name I’d associate with. I was signing my blog posts with a shortened version of my name, “case p.”; I was sharing with my real name all over the Internet — with the days of anonymity coming to a close and Facebook tying everyone to a “real identity”, why not have a Twitter to match?

And after a friend helped me connect with @CaseP’s former owner on Google+, he was gracious and me the handle, since he’d only tweeted 4 times since 2010 and didn’t use it much.

So goodbye, @doomzTO. Goodbye to an era of partying, getting to know Toronto’s social media scene and building a name for myself. Here’s to a future where I get that much more professional, that much more grown up — ready to handle whatever lies ahead for Casey Palmer. The opportunities and challenges that Doomz never had.

#100HappyDays Day 25/100 — such a success.

–case p.

DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — The February Freeze

As I stood outside, chipping away at our icy walkway with a spade borrowed from our in-laws (because remember, our garage is still frozen shut from the ice storms), I suddenly recalled that February started with a surprise visit from my parents.

2012 Africa Trip — Coming Home — Unshaven Case
This… is pretty much what I looked like on February 1st.

Having missed out on seeing DoomzToo for the entire month of January, they came to Casa de Palmer to see a scruffy Casey Palmer in his house clothes, a relaxing weekend planned with his family and sister-in-law, who was visiting from Ottawa.

Lesson learned — always dress like you’re ready for anything.

Regardless, another month’s come and gone, much of it spent seeking refuge from the harsh Canadian winters we face each February. Many of my Canadian peers likely read this with disdain — after all, what does Toronto know about the cold? — but while we don’t share the massive snowfalls or the extensive swaths of black ice you endure while commuting to your destinations, we too know freezing winds that chill you to the bone. We too know the misery of days all too short, sun blotted out by snow, hail and all manner of projectile falling from above to ruin our days.

In short, fellow Canadians, we know your feel.

#100HappyDays — Day 13 — A Little #CANvsSWE Tweet!

#100HappyDays Day 13 was a screenshot of this tweet:

I made it this morning during the Canada vs. Sweden game for the Men’s Hockey gold medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, when the score was up 3-0 for the Canadians in the third period, making it rather clear that our boys were coming home with gold medals. Despite the nation being up earlier than they likely are on a Sunday and glued to the TV, the tweet performed better than I could’ve imagined, with 31 retweets and 12 favourites, one from none other than the head of Twitter Canada, Kirstine Stewart!

#100HappyDays — Day 13 — 2nd for Best Personal Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards

Couple that with a second-place finish among the 24 nominated in the Canadian Blog Awards’ “Best Personal Blog” category, and it’s been a pretty good day!

#100HappyDays Day 13/100 — succès!

–case p.

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.

THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: The Day the Social Died

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’

— Mark 8:36, The Holy Bible, New International Version

Remember when social media in Toronto was fun? I remember my first encounter with Twitter back in 2008 when I hit a marketing event with Sarah, who I’d only just started dating. There was a Twitter stream projected at the front of the room, and I posted tweets with my signature brand of crazy, getting lots of laughs from others attending. In fact, it’s where I first met Zaigham, who I’d get to know a little better over the years. (Also, Sarah was not impressed with my antics. Only a mere six months out from her Humber postgrad in PR, she believed that “reputation was everything”, and that if I didn’t seem professional, I was only shooting myself in the foot. Five years, 35,000 tweets and 2,300 followers later, I think she’s okay admitting she was wrong.)

The point is — it was fun. Twitter was full of random tweets about anything, and it seemed like no one cared about being rowdy in public. Back then, Twitter was a party 24/7 with everybody invited!

But then something changed. The better people got at tweeting, the more the world took note. Businesses wanted in on this virtually untapped market of clients and the influencers who spoke to them. Everything started getting Twitter handles associated with them — TV shows, ads, businesses cards — the magnetic pull of Twitter was inescapable.

Which makes it a bit funny that it’s been dead quiet in Toronto for a while now.

I know that our social medialites are up to stuff — there’s never a shortage of brand-sponsored events in Toronto — but by this time last year, we’d already had DefineTO and Social Media Week Toronto. We got together for drinks on patios and birthday and dinners and parties. There was a stronger sense of community in Toronto, and no matter whether you blogged or not, or if you had 100 or 1000 followers, there was a place for you.

So what happened? Where did everybody go? What made the world we know change so much that everything seemed to just up and vanish, leaving a social void in its wake?

Has the Toronto Twitter scene had its time in the limelight? Are we moving on to other tools that better serve the needs of the social medialite? Or, have the people who were big on Twitter a couple of years back simply grown tired of it and moved on, making way for a new generation of social media ne’er-do-wells?

Turns out that it may have just been a long time coming.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Maybe the social media we know never really was all that social. Or perhaps it was a means to an end, and we’ve seen the game through to its next phase. Maybe it’s time to look at social media in a new light.

There was a time where the Twitter experience was a lot less strategic. You had the people who were all business, all the time. You had those who were a little unhinged, causing trouble simply because they could. But more people fell somewhere in the middle, tweeting and hitting events to see who else was in their city, make new friends and step out from their comfort zones, trying to get a little more of what life had to offer.

The rules of the game have changed: no longer is a social medialite simply a person with a phone who’s painting the town red; social medialites are commoditiesResources who brands choose to court to put a human element to products and services — in the best cases, synergy happens between brands and social medialites, and they weave a story together.

But all of this takes time. It takes time to plan an event and make it memorable enough for being to want to talk about it when they get home. Tweetchats don’t happen by themselves — they need promotion and targeting to make sure the right stuff gets to the right people. And it’s not like there’s a magic swag fairy who just picks people at random, leaving goodies on their doorstep — you need to know your market and who’d be the most likely to use and promote your product.

And who better to know who to find than the social medialites interacting with them?

But when you’re spending all that time making those connections and creating the best content you possibly can, you show up to friends’ parties a little less often. Your tweets are a little less random, with more of them promoting your blog or events you’re hosting.

But there’s no manual to social media. There’s no guidebook showing us how to go viral and make millions from our content. But we still try, clinging to the hope that we’ll somehow break apart from the pack — while still making it up as we go. Many of us have mastered how we use social media and how we package our messages, but that’s not enough. In Toronto, everyone wants to be the best. We all want to be different from everyone else and excel beyond our peers. But is it our ambition that killed the social in social media?

What’s Real?

It takes two to tango, though. While the tool’s changed and its legitimacy makes it a lot different from it was when we first crossed paths, the people who use the tool have changed too. We’re all a little older, a little wiser and a little harder from the years we’ve spent on social media. Social media’s like everything you’d experience in a regular life amplified — but you can only keep the pace for so long; life reveals your path sooner or later. I chose to get married and have kids — I see Tiff and Val are hot on my heels (for the marriage part, anyway). People like Christine Estima, Anne and Jorge up and left the city.

Or there’re things that mark us and make us a little less social. Christine Pantazis recently lost her grandmother. Chris Vollick lost his mom. We’re reminded again and again that social media isn’t everything and that we need to strike a balance between all the facets of our lives and not just gravitate to one just because we like it better.

And in several cases, when a tool founds your relationship and you stop using the tool like you used to — something else steps in to fill that void, and it’s usually not the company you’ve kept online.

Did our real-life commitments kill the social in social media?

The New Media

So what happened to the social media scene in Toronto? Did it sell out? Was it abandoned by a user base that got too big too quickly, changing how they interacted with the very tools that got them where they are? Or did “life” simply get in the way with its relationships and jobs and babies, leaving little time to tweet ‘n’ greet?

It’s a little of Column A, a little of Column Z. There’re likely a million reasons why those who were the most visible in the scene up and vanished to what we hope are better places, but I think everyone just grew up a little.

Growing up means different things to different people. To some of us, it means taking blogging more seriously and working toward writing for a supplementary income. To others, it means more of a traditional approach with relationships, children, or other added responsibilities. In any case, many of us have shifted from using social media as a primary source of information and connection to a communication tool. We’ve learned how to structure interaction in one-hour blocks with tweetchats. We’ve learned how to communicate our thoughts in 140 characters or less to engage an audience. Now, we plan events, develop strategies for brands and take images and Vines that tell a story.

We’ve become so good and engrossed in our media that we’ve forgotten all about the social. We’ve passed the torch along to those entering the world of social media today. Twitter and Facebook are established, and in ways, they’re already the tools of the yesteryear, with their biggest demographics already in their late 20s to mid-30s.

Is it all worth it? Is severing the ties just to make names for ourselves really the only thing that matters? Are we all but mere stepping stones to one another in a quest to reach our true potential?

I sincerely hope not.

The New Toronto Media Scene

For now, it’s a little quieter in Toronto. The events are more exclusive and the crowds aren’t quite so loud. We have an army of Toronto social medialites sharpening their skills and honing their abilities with no end in sight. We’re becoming the best we can be individually… while forgetting that we could accomplish so much more collectively.

So I say rest in peace to Toronto’s social scene. We’ve chosen our allies, we’ve figured out who to trust. We’ve made our mistakes and celebrated our victories. The blogosphere spins ever on, but so many of us run lonelier than we ever did to begin with.

Welcome to the new Toronto media scene. Please enjoy your stay.

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: #AfterWorkDrinksTO 8 — The Dress for Success Edition

After Work Drinks Toronto 8 — #AWDTO —

As an event becomes more popular, you can’t keep it free forever. From its humble beginnings in February 2012 where every tweetup starts — a group of people from Twitter meeting up to go out and have a good time — After Work Drinks Toronto keeps raising the (wait for it) bar for events of its kind, building greater partnerships to make sure that anyone going can have an amazing time.

There’s only one way to start this post — I’ve never seen a tweetup get so full so quickly. By the time the event was an hour in, there were easily already 40-50 people in the bar area, ready to slake their thirsts with Mount Gay Silver Mojito cocktails (ridiculously addictive), Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn beers and a decent selection of red and white wines!

Much like before, I volunteered my time and camera to Amanda and Graham because I believe in what they’re doing with After Work Drinks Toronto (or AWDTO for short). [Disclaimer: In return, they were kind enough to give me a free ticket, but that’s not why I offered my services in the first place.] Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and through their hard work and diligence, AWDTO is really coming into its own. Each instalment continues to set the bar higher, and I hope we continue to see many more as we finally head into the summer!

 

The night went well — it was a mish-mash of food; drink, comments from our wonderful organizers (Amanda and Graham, as mentioned above) and sponsors (Mahit Lehang from First Choice Bartenders representing Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn; representatives from Mount Gay Rum; and of course, Robin James Wynne, mixologist at Fynn’s Temple Bar); prize giveaways (none of which I won, don’t worry); caricatures (by Valerie White); music (by Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band — at times accompanied by Joey deVilla); and just a lot of being social.

There was all sorts of activity going on, from discussion to dancing — if you looked out the corner of your eye, you could even see Christine helping run her weekly #RBchat Twitter chat at one of the tables! When you got in, you got an envelope containing tickets for beer sampling (of the Melville’s Fruit Beer — Innis & Gunn beer was on special for $5 a pint, though!), a Mount Gay Silver Mojito and  wine; a raffle ticket; and a playing card to play in the Best Poker Hand Draw, where you’d team up with four other people to come up with the best poker hand for a prize (a clever icebreaker)! They also drew for the person who was best-dressed as voted by the crowd, with the winner going to the County in the City festival with a friend!

While not conducive to heavy foot traffic, the Fynn’s of Temple Bar definitely has all the makings of an excellent pub…

Food Was Amazing

If I wasn’t trying to take photos and mingle, I would’ve stolen plates of bacon-wrapped scallops, pulled pork taquitos and duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread and sat in a corner all night stuffing my face. The apps were glorious, and my stomach wasn’t taking “no” for an answer! The full list of food was as follows:

  • Duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread
  • Pulled pork taquitos
  • Seared mahi mahi sliders
  • Potato & kale croquettes
  • Bacon-wrapped scallops with red pepper mayo
  • Spicy pork dumplings

Drinks A-Flowin’

I only had time to try a Melville’s raspberry Craft Lager and a Mount Gay Silver Mojito (which, again, was utterly delicious and ridiculously addictive), but there was a ton being offered up that night:

  • Mount Gay Silver Mojito (a strawberry basil peppered mojito)
  • Beer samples: Innis & Gunn’s Melville’s Fruit Beers in strawberry, raspberry and ginger beer flavours
  • Wines
    • Whites: Henry of Pelham Spring rivalry, Domain Faively Chablis, Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, and Uma Torrontes
    • Reds: Creekside Estates Shiraz, Torres Tempranillo, Pelham Catherine Cuvee Rose, Malivoire Ladybug Rose

Live Music

 

The night’s entertainment were Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band who were both talented and entertaining, doing a mix of crowd-pleasers (see Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline”, for example) and always making sure to interact with the crowd and keep the energy levels riding high! You can see some more details on the experience on Joey deVilla’s blog, who would accompany them for several songs later into the night!

Great Service

Robin and his Fynn’s staff were amazing — all smiles and service as they made sure that gusts were well-fed and having a great time (I will not confirm whether the alcohol samples paid any contribution to the great time being had)!

Killer Caricatures

I just missed the window to get one done, but Valerie White was super-talented, whipping up amazing profile drawings of various attendees in mere minutes for a pay-what-you-can donation to Dress for Success! Here’s some of the awesome that she whipped up:

What You Missed

In the end the event raised $383.45 for Dress for Success, and though I don’t know the specific turnout, from the photos and who I know was there, I’d guess a good 50 or so people in attendance, experiencing what AWDTO had to offer.

But that’s not what you missed.

 

What you really missed at After Work Drinks Toronto this time around was an opportunity to expand your social circles beyond what they are right now. The chance to meet people actually interested in exploring new things with you and not just out to give you excuses for why they can’t come (I heard of at least 2 groups of new friends going out for a bite after the event!) Events like AWDTO help remind us that we’re in control of our lives — in control of who we choose to hang around and what we choose to do with our time.

After Work Drinks Toronto reeks of possibility — so hopefully you make it out to the 9th instalment!

Change your life!

You can see more about the event at any of the links below.

The Epilogger run-down of After Works Drinks Toronto 8

My full gallery of 113 photos from the event on Google+

Fynn's of Temple Bar on Urbanspoon

–case p.

Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None) — A TeamTrolling Win in Nissan Canada’s NFL Giveaway

A TeamTrolling Christmas portrait.
Ain’t nobody better than my clique. Clique. Clique. Clique. Clique.

When it comes to the things that life has to offer us, I’m pretty sure that Snoop Doggy Dogg put it best:

“Ain’t no fun, if the homies can’t have none”

— Snoop Doggy Dogg, “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’ Have None)”, Doggystyle, 1993

Nissan Canada and #NissanNFL: The Set-Up

I was sitting around at work when I got this in a group chat on my WhatsApp:

A screenshot from WhatsApp of Justin asking us to retweet his picture for the Nissan Canada #NissanNFL contest

Looks like Nissan Canada was topping off a week of Super Bowl-related generosity with a massive giveaway of a $2000 gift card to the NFL.com website:

I’m no football fan, but I knew damn well that Justin was, so — and pardon the pun (or don’t; I’m still going to say it, though!) — I knew it was game time.

Friendship is the Right Fuel for Action

There’s a difference between a stranger asking me to retweet something on Twitter and a friend asking me to do it. I follow a lot of people, and more follow me. I’ll retweet or favourite a tweet if I come across something interesting or amusing, and think nothing of it afterwards — Twitter moves at a ridiculous speed, after all!

But as a good friend of mine was asking me to do it… …well, I guess I went at it  like a rabid dog with a bone!

So I hit up the tweet in question…

https://twitter.com/The_Jmoney/status/298488390314254336

…and not only did I retweet it once to my Twitter followers, I asked my Facebook friends,

The Facebook post I made to rally my friends to retweet Justin's tweet for the Nissan Canada NFL competition.
1500 friends on Facebook? Can’t go wrong…

messaged my friends on Google Talk who I know are very active Twitter users,

sent it to Twitter a second and third time

— all while constantly monitoring Justin‘s competition.

When it comes to your friends and the spoils of victory, ain’t no fun if the homies get none!

Why My Homies Mean the World to Me

What may have been more important to me than anything else in 2012 was transitioning some “Twitter friends” to actual friends through creating TeamTrolling — a group brought together over the simple premise of having a solid group to dine with.

You can’t have too many people, because finding good restaurants that accommodate large groups is next to impossible, and the dynamic changes completely if you have too few. So, Justin brought 8 of us together, and the rest is history. These guys make me laugh. They make me think. They make me happy to go outside of my regular stomping grounds to have a good time!

One thing that you’ll know about me if you really get to know me is that I’m the type of guy to give the shirt off of my back to a friend if they need it. The experiences I have and the relationships I keep are far more important to me than material wealth. Than a reputation. Really, more than just about anything else the world could throw at me.

So if a friend needs help, I’m there, and I’ll do everything in my power to see them succeed!

TeamTrolling for the Win!!!

In the end, our efforts did exactly what we wanted them to, with Justin almost doubling the number of retweets gotten by Graham, the first runner-up:

Justin, not one to take the efforts of his friends for granted, wrapped everything up nicely with this tweet:

https://twitter.com/The_Jmoney/status/298508414236102656

So while I might not yet know what’s in store for 2013, I do know this — while I might have won my share of things in 2012, 2013’s the Year of TeamTrolling.

I hope you’re ready.

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: PartyPeopleTO’s SauzaSin — Scarily AWESOME!

Casey poing in costume with a number of friends at PartyPeopleTO's SauzaSin
Scorpion and the ladies. Scorpion… WINS.

It was less than a day to the SauzaSin party and I was screwed.

There was a lesson to be learned here — never buy anything for a costume that’s inflatable!

Ghostbusted

I’d mentioned earlier that Halloween’s usually a bit of a fail for me with costumes — I seriously don’t know how anyone in this city manages to find the time to work on awesome costumes — I commend those of you who do!

I’d stopped in at some It’s My Party discount store to pick up a costume, winding up with a Ghostbusters outfit with an inflatable proton pack, thinking it would be a safe and recognizable costume choice.

Recognizable as a hot mess, maybe!

It wasn’t until the night before the party where I decided to check the costume out (dumb move, right?), only to discover that the proton pack had a huge hole in it!

Problem. After getting work out of the way for the day, I was left with less than 2 hours until the party, and was without a costume — I try to never half-ass anything, so I needed to find something that would make a good impression on the crowd.

And at It’s My Party, I saw it. The costume that would sent the tone for the rest of my night….

Y’all Gon’ Make Me Go All Out — Up in Here, Up in Here!!!

Note: No pockets meant no camera, though, so I’m relying on other people’s photos (you down with O.P.P.?!) to tell this story right.

There is no easier way to put this — you don’t know what you missed that night if you weren’t there.

Might sound obvious, but it’s true — PartyPeopleTO knows how to throw down with their parties and there’s no way that Thursday was an exception. These guys just outdo themselves with each new party they throw!

Held at the Stirling Room in Toronto’s Distillery District, SauzaSin was a fine combination of scintillating sounds, savoury Sauza and sumptuous sin! Greeted at the door by Meg herself (the head of this whole PartyPeopleTO deal) in a stunning She-Ra costume, she and the door crew would make sure that we got our drink tickets, welcome shot and that we were good and ready for the night!

I think Shannon was on point when she said

Seriously, it was crazy in there with the amount of effort people put into their costumes! Dressed as Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion, I spent the night meeting new people and making sure to show my martial arts prowess (read: flailing) with lots of battle stances and high kicks!

Me dressed up for SauzaSin in my Scorpion costume
It’s all about staying in character, man!

But let me tell you this — getting your groove on in a full bodysuit and mask? Crazy fun! Not my brightest moment logistically, but I was definitely enjoying myself!

Our drink tickets were good for trying two different drinks — the Witch’s Cauldron and the Diablo’s Curse. People will tell you different, but I thought the odd green-coloured Witch’s Cauldron was the better bet!

But this was all a prelude to who rocked the best costume….

FINISH HIM!!!

Scorpion, a priest and a construction worker battle for the Best Men's Costume with Meg Button on the stage to officiate
“Scorpion, a priest and a construction worker walk into a bar…” — Nate Kogan

definitely have to thank everyone at the party for voting me for Best Male Costume! Though my original choice didn’t work out, I wanted to make sure that I still brought the heat with whatever I chose, and it looks like the crowd agreed with me!

The prize was stellar, too:

  • 1 bottle Sauza Gold tequila
  • Some cinnamon sugar to make Sauza Sin shots (yes — more Sauza Sin shots!)
  • Some Schick Quattro razors (meant to help get a brotha ready for Movember, I’m sure)
  • A $100 MasterCard gift card
  • A $100 Cadillac Fairview gift card

Don’t know what that’s going toward, but I’m very happy to have won it!

But not as much as the next thing…

FLAWLESS VICTORY.

“You are all unwelcome to Sin City
Yet the population still increases its density
And that increases its intensity
Which increases the propensity”

–Malik Yusuf, “Sin City”, Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer

Winning the Men’s Best Costume was good, but it would still leave me completely unprepared for what was to come next!

What may have been one of the most unexpected parts of SauzaSin was the top prize of the night — an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas for 2!!!!

So you could imagine that this tweet would completely floor me the next afternoon:

My mind was blown.

A picture taken right after I'd won the prize for Best Men's Costume :)
VICTORY. SCORPION — WINS!!!

Sarah couldn’t believe her ears when I told her that we’d managed to win the trip — we’d been hoping to go to Vegas sometime soon anyway (to coincide with a hopeful trip to Bloggers in Sin City in May), but this was totally some very delicious Sauza icing on the cake!

I have to thank PartyPeopleTO and PRAXIS PR for the awesome party they put together and the amazing opportunity for Sarah and I to explore Las Vegas together! I really look forward to seeing what comes next!

As any good party of Tweeples, though, PartyPeopleTO made sure that no one would be leaving empty-handed and that the Sauza Sin shots would keep flowing well after the end of the party:

The thank you gift given to all #SauzaSin attendees — a carry-home bottle of Sauza gold tequila and cinnamon sugar!
And one for the road….

You can catch more of PartyPeopleTO’s photos from the party in their Facebook album.

Great people, great venue, amazing times. If you managed to score an invite — what’s your excuse for missing out???

Until next time…

Me in my Scorpion costume, mask up
Tryin’ to outdo me and my costume??? #CmonSon

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED: Struttin’ and Stuntin’ at CanyonOnFront

CanyonOnFront-1-of-1
Justin always keeps it boss. Always.

“Last night was mad real.”

–Kanye West, “No Church in the Wild”, Watch the Throne, 2011

Anyone who wants to tell me that Toronto’s a boring city obviously isn’t looking hard enough.

There was once a time where I’d spend a lot of time home at a loss for things to do (read: when I lived in Mississauga), but Twitter broke those floodgates wide open, bringing a ridiculous number of opportunities to — as OutKast would put it — “Git up, git out and git somethin'” out of Toronto.

And Wednesday, October 17 was a perfect example of this.

Meats, Greets and Shufflin’ Feet: CanyonOnFront

To paraphrase Justin Baisden, CanyonOnFront was what a tweetup is supposed to be like.

I felt the love as soon as I got there, with Tiff (one of my favourite Tweeps) holding it down at the front entrance, making sure we were covered for free beers and appetizers, and Kate (one of my favourite Tweeps I’ve met lately) ushering us to the back of the room, I was expecting the event to be dope, and it did not disappoint.

The back of the room was totally where it was at. With a gathering of a good number of my favourite people I’ve ever met on Twitter, some of the sickest beats ever laid by Kayson Stone (seriously — the man could not play a lame song once, it was ridiculous!!!) and the delicious steak that Canyon Creek always has to offer, what more could you ask for?

Turns out we didn’t have to ask; they had a lot more to give! Take a look at this list of things we got for the glorious price of free:

  • Two Steamwhistle beers
  • Seeing tons of awesome Tweeps all in the same place
  • Kayson Stone keeping the dance floor vibin’ with just about every song on my Top 500 Most Played iTunes playlist
  • CFL and NHL celebs mingling with us common folk and having a great time
  • Being thanked for our patronage with a hand-written card, $20 Canyon Creek gift card and voucher for a free Steamwhistle Brewery tour

A Top-Class Tweetup

What made this Tweetup stand out from so many others that I’ve been to these past few years was the attention to every little detail that defined the guests’ experience. Giving them discount and freebies they could actually use — and immediately. Creating an amazing atmosphere where you could meet new people and have tons of fun with some you already knew. Making guests feel appreciated with hand-written “thank you” cards on the way out. All this and not having to pay a dime unless you wanted to just blows my mind!

Justin said that CanyonOnFront easily ranks in his Top 5 tweetups of all time, and I’d find it really hard to disagree with him on this one.

Big ups to Tiff and Kate who obviously know a thing or two about throwing one bad-ass party!

Two very different events. One very awesome night. The next time you want to say that your city is boring, you might want to take a look around — there’s a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things.

And who wouldn’t want to be part of the action???

Canyon Creek Chophouse on Urbanspoon

–case p.