The 2017 100 Wrap-Up — 31 Successes.

Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.

After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.

But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what doesn’t feel part of my world anymore.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 Wrap-Up

I’ll admit it—with Tales from the 2.9‘s successful completion, I almost felt like resting on my laurels and taking the day off. I mean, this year was easily far bigger than I’d expected, running the media circuit, coordinating with contributors, writing heaps of social shares for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn… it’d be so easy to just pat myself on the back and take a break until the next great initiative. Let’s face it—I am but one man.

But sitting on my haunches didn’t get me here—it was nights spent grinding away on a project that sincerely mattered to me, and happily found it matters to others as well.

That’s not the end game, though—not by a long shot.

Tales from the 2.9 — This is Only the Beginning.

With Tales,  I was able to explore part of my identity through the lens of my kinfolk’s experiences, examining its many facets through the stories told.

And the project did wellTales saw:

  • 5000 unique page views over the month
  • 3.5% engagement on Twitter, where the average is 0.5-1%
  • 44.2% engagement on Instagram, where the average is 3-6%, and
  • 60.8% engagement on Facebook, where the average is 0.5-1%

And that’s just content I shared. Combine it with the shares from contributors and media outlets, and you start seeing numbers like:

  • 1025 Facebook likes
  • 245 Facebook shares
  • 455 retweets, and
  • 640 Twitter likes!

So yeah, this year’s Tales showed there’s a definite appetite for Black Canadian content in this nation, but why limit ourselves to February alone?

See—that right there’s the problem. The point. The crux of why we must keep pressing forward even when Black History Month’s wrapped up. Sure, the celebration’s over, and yes, we had our time to shine. But you know what?

February’s over, but we’re still Black.

Black Fridays — Because One Month Alone Cannot Tell Our Story.

We still need to speak up. We still need to keep our momentum and show the world what we’ve got. When the Honourable Jean Augustine bolstered awareness of Black history by introducing an official Black History Month over 20 years ago, it was only a first step. It’s up to us to keep that mission going and work with one another to clearly outline why we’re important to Canada’ s history and that 28 days alone won’t tell the full tale.

But that means taking action. It means doing more than just crying foul when we celebrate our achievements in the coldest and shortest month of the year. It means putting something out in the world that begins to move us in the right direction, and for me, that’s a new series I’m calling Black Fridays.

Though I wrote an introduction for each post in Tales, there’s much of my stories and viewpoint I never got around to telling. Like the three times someone confused me for staff on our honeymoon cruise. Or the double takes that sometimes happen when I first walk in an interview. There’s plenty yet to explore with sometimes as vast as Black Canadian culture, and I think a longer look at its various aspects will help us dive deeper into plenty of places we might not explore otherwise! We’ll start this Friday with a Tales submission from artist Stephanie Konu that I never got to share, as well as other tales and tidbits that I’d do a disservice not to mention.

Next Stop — #Chronicle150!

But there we go! Tales from the 2.9 217 is at a close, and we’re on to the next step — #Chronicle150: 150 Truly Canadian Stories for its 150th Birthday! If you have a story you think is perfect for the series, I’d love to hear from you—details are all in the link below:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS- #Chronicle150 Call for Submissions- #Chronicle150 — 150 Truly Canadian Stories for its 150th Birthday (Featured Image)

So thanks to all the contributors, the media contacts and others who really believed in the project, and thanks to all of you who checked it out! Those who wrote, shared, and suggested others who’d make great contributors—it’d be impossible without you!

Thanks again, everyone, and we’ll see you for #Chronicle150!

Until the next,

–case p.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was… 2016.

It’s December 31st, 2016, and while I feel like the same Casey I was 365 days agoeverything’s changed.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The Year That Was... 2016 — Casey and Toddler PalmerThere’re now two kids who need me in their lives instead of the toddler flying solo just a year ago. And though I seem to change 9-5s more than some change their underwear (ew), leopards never really change their spots, and the struggle remains real to find the balance I’m desperately seeking, but never seem any closer to finding. It’s not the kind of year where I can pinpoint what I learned—I spent most of it hustling ’til I dropped, and while I saw gains in some places, I’m not convinced the Casey you see today is any different despite all this.

If anything, I guess you could say I’m better prepared. Year after year I’ve looked back, surprised that the year I’d had was somehow busier than the one that came before, but this time it’s different. In 2016, much of that hecticness was by my own hand, and I’m pretty sure that just who I am now. The guy who’d rather turn something in late than create something that conforms.

But that also makes me the guy who’s constantly learning hard lessons from that pressure for perfection. The guy who’s had to part ways with ongoing gigs because they just weren’t doing it for me anymore. I spent more than enough of 2016 feeling like I was doing something wrong, so when things turned around at the year’s end with a post that finally gave me a taste of what success felt like, I tell you—it may have changed my #BloggerLife forever.

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. And 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!

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