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.
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.
But though winter would have us quit and hide indoors until the first blades of grass emerge from below the permafrost layer blanketing the city, we don’t quit. Canadians know we only get so many days of good weather a year, so we prepare. We spend these cold months checking things off lists and dealing with the boring stuff so we can laze about on the beach in July, or enjoy a beer at the cottage on Labour Day weekend.
With that in mind, that was what this month was all about. February was about driving in Toronto rush hour for the first time to take the care in for maintenance. February was about Montessori visits, finding a place for DoomzToo to build the skills he needs to make him as awesome as his Dad. (Pause.)
A Chance Encounter With Zanta
This month I met David Zancai, aka “Zanta” on the way to work — he’s trying to make a comeback into the Toronto spotlight after a 7-year hiatus, making appearances on Kenny & Spenny and even putting YouTube videos out to herald his return.
I wish him luck in everything he’s doing!
What’s All The Rage With Sage, or, Social Media Moves in Mysterious Ways!
Despite deciding to shelve starting a business in 2013, largely due to all the things on my plate already, after meeting Brian Webb at #FordNAIAS 2014 (who happens to be Sage’s Marketing Manager), I joined Sage’s Blogger Outreach Program, trying to find a way to use their accounting software in my life.
Blogging finally hit a point where pay-for-posts could be a reality, and a common mistake that bloggers make when getting paid for their work is failing to keep solid records for when the taxman cometh.
But after getting a copy of Sage 50 Pro Accounting 2014 and access to Sage One — their online offering that’s ridiculously secure, convenient and efficiently keeps your files in working order for your accountant — I feel like I could take some baby steps to getting my business mind right.
If that doesn’t sound helpful, guess what — they’re also running the Sage One Be One contest with 2 top prizes of $5,000 in Google AdWords credits! If you’re living that #BloggerLife, trust me — that’s a lot of potential eyeballs. You can enter here: http://bit.ly/1lBrGsh — but do it quick! The contest ends Friday, March 7th!
Watching Cars and Losing Family at the Canadian International Auto Show
Hot on the heels of the North American International Auto Show, Chevy Canada and Klout sent me tickets to the Canadian International Auto Show for some wheels, swag and shenanigans. Taking my best friend and brothers, we made an afternoon of it with some notable events:
- Despite getting a portable phone charger as a gift from Chevy Canada, the volume of people at the show overloaded the cellular grid, draining both my phone and my patience as I tried to reconnect with the family who I’d… “misplaced”… early into the show
- Getting a line bypass to try the Chevy Camaro Challenge is a great Klout perk and all, but when you suck at racing games and you’re driving in front of a 45-minute line to try it out — let’s just say that driving badly (i.e. not even finishing the course) in front of a crowd staring daggers into your back is less than appealing! In any case, you can see a highlight reel of my various grimaces here:
The show was alright, but I’m going to wait for the day where bloggers can get press credentials — competing with massive crowds and smartphones for great shots makes for rotten blogging, and with a little one at home, I don’t have time to waste!
Other notable February events include:
- Finally seeing all the flicks in The Fast and the Furious series, intrigued but definitely not a fanboy
- Of course, Valentine’s Day and the lovely cards I got from my wife and son
- Not to mention the second season of House of Cards released that night and its expansion park for Cards Against Humanity won a couple of weeks later
- Appearing in Inspired Q&A, an eBook meant to inspire young workers in the Web technologies industry with insights and observations from others who’ve had the problems they have.
But we’re a sixth through the year, so I should have just over 16 things done to track for success in The 2014 100. Let’s see how that’s going:
The 2014 100 Update!
9) Find a way to change my Twitter handle from @doomzTO to @CaseP
Following some sound advice from a friend, I sought out Case Pratt — owner of my coveted @CaseP Twitter handle — and found him on Facebook! I left a message explaining my situation, that I noted he’d only used the account five times since 2010, and that I was really interested in changing my handle.
Sadly, it looks like he’s yet to see the message, but I really hope to work something out, because it’s time for my Twitter to grow up some!
14) Enter more blogging awards
With an unexpected silver finish in the Canadian Blog Awards’ “Personal Blog” category, I’m hoping for more blogging competitions to cross my radar — ever since placing in the CBAs, I’ve seen a little more traffic from the site. It’s not mind-blowing — maybe an extra click or two each day — but every extra set of eyeballs counts! So I’ll keep my eyes peeled and hopefully come across interesting challenges throughout the year!
26) Guest blog more often
When I wrote this up, I was only writing for my site and a monthly piece for The Hooray Collective. Since then, I’ve taken up writing for Parent Tested Parent Approved, and looking at expanding my work to a few more sites — you’ll see links on the right side of my content as I build my profile.
So I’d say I’m happily making progress!
32) Figure out why my site’s been suffering so much downtime and lag lately
If they create for long enough, every blogger invariably reaches a point where they want their individuality radiating from their blog, looking to customize in ways often exceeding the capabilities of free solutions.
The danger with being the master of your own domain is that you can go overboard all too easily. You get plugins for things you could do with a simple line of code. You click options without really understanding what they do. Websites are very delicate, and Content Management Systems like WordPress can make effective website management deceptively simple.
After crashing my website at the end of January with a wayward option in Better WP Security, February was all about sorting out the back-end of my site to prepare for several changes I’m working on for 2014.
Weeks later, the site’s running great, and while I’ve still got a laundry list of maintenance ahead of me, the site’s ready for almost anything! (Almost.)
35) Transfer the files from Sarah’s old IDE hard drive to a SATA hard drive
I wish my family wasn’t so prone to tinkering with tech, or I’d still have a bunch of old hard drives at my parents’ full of files and memories. But they’ve been long-since formatted in my baby brother’s experiments, all that history gone with them.
But not so with Sarah’s 12-year old laptop! Back when I’d slum it in the school computer lab to avoid sharing the family one at home, Sara rocked an 8.5-pound Dell Inspiron 2650 with such stunning specs as:
- Intel Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz Processor
- 128.0 MB RAM
- 80 GB Hard Drive
- 1024 x 768 XGA Resolution
- 1.0 x CD-ROM
She had photos going back to 2003, old documents and other things she’d long forgotten. Though the drive’s now thoroughly formatted and bagged up for electronic disposal, it was good to save some of her past — even if she never looks at the files again!
STATUS: Digitally DONE.
59) Return Karen and Colin’s stack of Blu-rays
After a botched attempt in January, we finally had our friends Karen and Colin over, and I handed over the Blu-rays I had for far too long.
While I didn’t get to watch them (pretty sad for 2 1/2 years, right?) — I’m not too worried.
And all its wonderful films.
STATUS: Done — a little less Blu!
70) Come up with the best story ever for the “About Me” section I usually leave blank on all those websites
Coming up with an “About Me” that turns heads ain’t easy. I’ve led a busy life – trying to summarize it in a paragraph or two leaves me flabbergasted, preferring talks about life over lattes or giving a talk to a crowd. 500 characters simply isn’t enough space.
Regardless, I tried my hand at one, trying to capture what I’m all about. I think it could use refining (or a total re-write), but let me know what you think:
Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff.
When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him.
Because a boring life’s not a life worth living!
72) Come up with the perfect stink face to give people every time they ask whether Sarah and I have thought about Kid #2 yet. Because I can’t hit them.
What is up with people asking whether we’re ready to have a second kid only 3 or 4 months into life with the first one? And it’s always the ones without kids asking, in some snide jokey tone like they’re laughing at how complicated life’s gotten as a parent, pointing fingers at the new situation with a vile sense of Schadenfreude.
While I can’t smack these people like they rightly deserve — DoomzToo shouldn’t have a jail-bird for a Dad, after all — I still need to find a way to appropriately communicate how stupid and tasteless that question is at this stage in the game.
Give me some time — I’ll come up with something.
91) Eat St-Hubert at least once, unless I make it to Montreal and my cousins can take us out for even better chicken
Even if I don’t make it to St. Hubert this year, technically, I did manage to eat some when No Frills had a number of pies on sale and Sarah brought some home!
I’m still hoping to hit Ottawa sometime this year, though!
95) Acquire a Bitcoin
I actually tried to win a Bitcoin from Indie 88.1 FM, telling them I’d invest it for my son’s education — but lost to a guy who said he’d buy a goat for an impoverished community through World Vision and name it Indie 88.1 FM.
Well played, Goat Man – well played.
Total completed = 5/100
Total needed to track for The 2014 100 success = 16/100
STATUS = Woefully behind.
I killed another Mophie Juice Pack; ate twice at The Wren for date nights; hung out with my friends at the Two Bite Saloon for delicious sliders and cheap drinks; and drove my maiden voyage in rush hour traffic to take the car in to the shop. DoomzToo’s possibly started teething; we befriended our pregnant neighbours; and I got more involved in my parent blogger communities.
In conclusion, February came and it went. I’ve entered March realizing that at some point, any post earlier than late 2013 had all its images mysteriously vanish, meaning hours of restoration work to get my blog as clean as possible. I’ve a few months yet of #100HappyDays ahead, and many tales and ideas to share in 2014!
Thanks for the visit! I’ll see you in March!