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Post A Day 2011 Is Over…Now What?

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

postaday-crossed-out

So Post-A-Day 2011 is over as I have already mentioned and I successfully completed it. While that’s all fine and good and I am very proud of myself and extremely happy with all I have accomplished on this blog in the past year the end of the Challenge begs an important question:

Should I continue to post every day?

It isn’t like I don’t enjoy posting to this blog. I absolutely love getting my thoughts out into the ether but the fact of the matter is that there are a few reasons which immediately spring to mind as to why I shouldn’t continue posting on a daily basis. These include:

  1. Let’s be perfectly honest here, there were days when I wrote completely garbage posts. There were days when I straight up said I have nothing to write but posted anyway because I was doing a challenge which required posting daily. Shouldn’t I be trying to separate the wheat from the chaff now that I am not doing a regimented post per day kind of thing?
  2. It is one heck of a lot of work and sometimes I found it got in the way of other things because I ‘had to post’ each day.

Now on the other side of the coin why I think I should continue posting every day:

  1. I’ve gotten into a good habit of posting every day and why should I stop now? Look it’s 11:46pm and I am still typing away right now doing my post for today.
  2. Often topics and posts that I thought were incredibly inane and which I just wrote because it was 11:30pm and I needed something to write about really struck a chord with people. Case in point, my signature scent vs scent switching cologne/perfume post, I truly did not think that that post would resonate with anyone and it was just something to write about with time a-wasting before the midnight deadline. If I wasn’t tryign to write a post every day would I have written about the cologne? I’d love to say I would have eventually gotten around to it but I can’t say that and be perfectly honest.

What’s funny about the second thing is that I have heard it time and time again (or read about it) from people in creative fields that are markedly different from each other. Cracked.com put it best when describing the origins of the Guns N’ Roses Song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in their 6 Classic Songs That Were Supposed to Be Jokes article. They write under the entry for the famous G N’ R song (which topped the list):

“What you like, and what your audience likes, are probably going to be very different. It’s probably best to just go with it.”

Basically, what I think to be throwaway writing isn’t necessarily that.

So here’s what I’m thinking, I will continue to write a post a day so long as it isn’t a post about how I can’t think of anything to write that day. What do you folks, my readers, the most important people in this relationship think? Good decision? I am open to suggestions and really would like to hear your thoughts, pop em down below in the comments.

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This is the end, beautiful friends. @PostADay 2011’s 365th Post. Beginning A New Challenge For 2012…

January 3, 2012 7 comments

Writing pad of paper and pen

January 3rd 2012. This is, as Jim Morrison of The Doors sang, The End. Not the end of this blog, no, this is the end of the 2011 Post A Day Challenge which I started on January 4th 2011 with this post, exactly 365 days ago.

I was proud to have the badge that said I was part of the Challenge which you can see below and on the right hand side of the page but didn’t know when I put it up if I would be able to do it justice. I am happy – and somewhat relieved to say that I made it and I did do it justice. I remember when I started the Challenge being told by other bloggers – specifically Casie Stewart comes to mind right now – how amazing it is and how it is a great diary when you want to look back on your year. As I look back on my year it amazes me some of the things I wrote and how I wrote them and a lot of the stuff brings a smile to my face. If I wasn’t working with the post per day deadline I probably would have tried to be more of a perfectionist and not gotten nearly as much content out there. Indeed, when I look back at some of my posts I realize I really, really need someone to proofread for me (I think we all do!) but I guess that simple mistakes a proofreader would find comes with the territory of writing a personal blog and writing it daily. If ever you see a simple error – like I mess up and write “it’s” instead of “its” please feel free to call me out on it via email.

postaday-badge-big

What a wild ride it has been since I started this blog. My traffic grew at a pretty constant rate as you can see in the chart below…well constant except for the post I wrote in April about a certain French Canadian high school secretary who was moonlighting in pornographic movies and then got caught which drew A LOT of extra traffic (in retrospect this is not a big surprise). Finishing this challenge just gives me such a sense of accomplishment I cannot begin to describe it. It is just one of the most fantastic feelings in the world to be done something that was my idea (well, for me to take part in it), my commitment, and had no discernible benefit at its end in terms of reward.

LevyNewsNetwork Traffic chart

In that vein, I think my challenge for this year – aside from my silly New Year’s Resolution of living past December 21, 2012 – will be inspired by my friend Erin Bury‘s resolution for 2011 which was in turn inspired by another friend, Dave Fleet‘s, resolution for 2010: Read 26 books over the course of the year (this means a book every 2 weeks).

As I began writing this I thought I was already off to a great start in finishing John Varley’s “Rolling Thunder” and it is only January 3rd as I thought I had read the bulk of it New Year’s Day but looking back through my GetGlue history it seems I did the bulk of my reading of that book on December 31 so I cannot count it. Good thing I already started reading a new book – Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”. I’ve already made a 90 page dent in it too so I am happy. Looks like it is a good thing I started stocking up on books from the library and I will now get to embody – once again – what I wrote about a couple of days back. Writing this also reminds me I never have gotten to the Steve Jobs book just yet probably because of all the books I just got from the library.

The below is the method I am going to endeavor to employ through this task and is taken from Dave Fleet’s blog post about his own challenge in 2010.

26 books per year… how?

How do you go about reading a book every two weeks, all year?

It’s simple – 20 pages per day.

That equates to 140 pages per week, or 280 every two weeks – roughly the length of the average book. For me, I fit in 10 pages on my commute to work, and another 10 on the way home. You might prefer instead to read for 30 minutes in the evenings, or do all your reading over coffee in the morning. Either way, once you break it down like this, it’s not so bad.

I guess I sort of have a head start in that I have already read, as mentioned above, 90 pages of Gladwell’s book, but realistically I don’t have that much of one because we are already 3 days into 2012 which means I should be 60 pages into the book anyway – so I am only 30 pages ahead of schedule.

I am very excited for this new endeavor and look forward to how it develops. I think I may need a new tag for it too and am spitballing some ideas as I sit here. Right now I am thinking BookAFortnight or maybe 26Books or maybe just Books. I think I am going to follow in Dave’s lead and just stick with ‘Books’ because it is just simpler. (I hope you enjoyed that little stream of consciousness moment in my writing…that was all completely legitimate and I decided to leave it there as is.)

So it is time to go on to my next challenge. Are you trying out anything new this year? Setting any challenges for yourself? No matter how minute I would love to hear it! Let me know in the comments below.

Dan Tries A Vegan Restaurant, Leaves Unimpressed

January 2, 2012 2 comments

I went to have lunch with my cousin from New York today who I haven’t seen in a very long time and because she’s a vegetarian I chose a vegetarian restaurant with the help of my Twitter friends.

This was what I tweeted:

It was suggested that I go to Urban Herbivore in Toronto’s Kensington Market (the area my cousin is staying) and order the Moroccan Stew. The exact tweet I received was: “Urban Herbivore!! You’ll love the Moroccan stew, even if it is veggie and not “ppl food” as you call it”. Obviously I was joking about the “people food” vs vegetarian food remark.

The picture at the top is the way the Moroccan Stew looked right when I got it. I was joking when I made the distinction between food an average omnivorous human would eat and what you get at a vegetarian restaurant for +$8. Honestly, when I first saw it, it looked like the collection of foods that piles together in my compost aka organic waste bin. I tried it, of course, and it was pretty darn good I must say. HOWEVER, for me it would only really work as a side on a plate with something more substantial like a steak or a piece of chicken or something and certainly not for that amount of money. I will say though that my experience with what was a vegan restaurant is not indicative of what vegetarian restaurant is like and that I should try the restaurant “Fresh” sometime soon – which I will – but more on that later.

This glorious burger you see above, on the other hand, is what I had the other day at Holy Chuck a little spot at Yonge and St. Clair. Delicious, satiating, and awesome. When I ate at Urban Herbivore the line spoken by Timon & Pumbaa to Simba “slimy yet satisfying” kept running through my head. I was amazed about the people that have told me in the past that eating vegan was awesome and they didn’t miss meat. I mean they must be really committed to their beliefs in the supposed ethical wrong of eating meat. I just don’t get it but more power to all those people willing to make that sacrifice. I, for one, don’t quite get it and am happy to remain an omnivorous, meat eating Homo sapiens sapiens.

Update: At least I got this hilarious check-in message from Foursquare when I checked-in at Urban Herbivore.

Urban Herbivore Foursquare Checkin screen 2012-01-02 14.46.00

The End Is The Beginning…

January 1, 2012 1 comment

Exit Sign in Air Canada Centre PATH Toronto

Last night was – as we all know – New Years Eve. We ‘exited’ 2011 and entered the long hallway that is this fresh year of 2012. What are you going to do with your time walking down the hallway of 2012? Do you have any resolutions for the New Year? I am not the kind of person who usually makes a New Year’s Resolution so this year my – somewhat flip – resolution is that I resolve to be alive after the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. If I make it to December 22, 2012 then I will have managed to fulfill my New Year’s Resolution and I guess I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I get to the end of the hallway and open the door to 2013. (No, I don’t believe that the world is going to end when we tear the last proverbial page off of the Mayan calendar.)

Beyond the above resolution I just want to feel I have bettered myself and my life and reached more accomplishments when I come to the crossroads between 2012 and 2013. I have done so much this past year but I feel there is still so much to do on the PATH* of life.

Connection - PATH Air Canada Centre Maple Leaf Square Pedestrian Bridge

*The reason I wrote the word ‘path’ all caps above is sort of an in-joke in that the picture of the hallway is a pedestrian bridge which is part of the PATH pedestrian walkway system in downtown Toronto. Read more…

Good Bye 2011 & Happy New Year 2012! (& Screw You #RIDE Hashtaggers!)

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Canadian Money NYE 2012

So 2011 is at an end and with it the 2011 Post A Day Challenge officially ends too – although I will be keeping it up until January 3rd 2012 to make it a full 365 and I see now reason to stop there. Tonight, I am heading out to two house parties and we will see where else the night takes me. Unlike the someecards.com card pictured below, I am not going to put any significant pressure on myself to have a “fun New Year’s Eve” – well no more so than I do with myself on a  regular basis!

someecards.com - Let's put significant pressure on ourselves to have a fun New Year's Eve

There is a great article written by David Topping titled “When you tweet this New Year’s Eve, use the hashtag #RIDE. Here’s why.” Essentially, people are using the #RIDE hashtag on Twitter to report where police have set up R.I.D.E.* Checkpoints so drunks can avoid them and I agree with his message. As such, I encourage every single one of my readers to do exactly what David Topping suggests in his post and use the hashtag for anything and everything mundane or otherwise you post tonight on Twitter – especially after midnight – so we can clutter up the hashtag’s stream enough to render it useless.

* R.I.D.E. stands for “Reduced Impaired Driving Everywhere”

2008.12.31 @TheDanLevy on New Years

Me on New Year's Eve 2008 right after midnight (so it was technically 2009 already).

To all my readers, I hope you had a great 2011 and you have a fantastic 2012 ahead!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!

Canadian currency 2012 via @marcin_z & allmyheartcangive

Found In Toronto! AriZona Blueberry White Tea. Dan Is HAPPY!

December 30, 2011 9 comments

arizona blueberry white tea

I was running around Toronto today with a friend trying to look for a specific type of drink mix – we were unable to find it – but in our travels I was very happy to find something which I have never seen before in Canada: AriZona Blueberry White Tea! 

This specific flavor can be found on their American site here but if you look on the AriZona Canadian site it is nowhere to be found! In case you are wondering why I am so excited about this – and why I am kissing the bottle in the picture above – let me tell you the lengths I have gone through to get this stuff. Whenever I have a friend who comes in from the USA one of the things I ask him or her to do is pick me up some of this magic elixir. One of the weirdest conversations I have ever had with a Canada Customs was when I once was driving back to Toronto from New York and they asked me if I had anything to declare. My response was 15 bottles of iced tea. The customs officer looked at me like I was insane and I pointed to the bags in the floor area of the passenger side. I explained to the officer that you couldn’t get it in Canada and when I stopped for gas I had bought all bottles that the store had. I think they were so flummoxed that I was declaring bottles of iced tea that they had to inquire further. They didn’t, however, give me any more trouble than some surprised questioning.

arizona white iced tea via arizona website

AriZona is on Twitter at @DrinkAriZona and on Facebook here. I am totally planning on messaging them asking if it is to be found anywhere else in Toronto. However, I have a feeling that the store somehow has it here somewhat illegally because there’s no French anywhere on the label. Even though they charged me $2.50 for the bottle, I will still be happily going back to this store on a regular basis simply to buy this deliciously flavored white tea. Thankfully, the store is relatively close to where I live and isn’t in the middle of Scarborough or Mississauga…although I would probably still drive out there for it!

I wonder why it isn’t available in Canada. What products, if any, can you not get locally in your city and you look forward to going somewhere specific so you can grab it?

5 Tips For Selling Stuff On Online Classified Ad Sites (Like Kijiji, Craigslist, & Backpage)

December 29, 2011 10 comments

online classified sites

In the past little while I have realized I have a number of items which I simply have no use for or I have used them and now think that they can benefit someone else more than I can benefit from them so the time has come to sell them. When the time came to do this I turned to my local online classified advertisement sites which I am sure many of you know such as Kijiji and Craigslist but one other one which I believe is less well known called Backpage.

When I first put the ads up I assumed that it would be much like when I would buy and sell things on HowardForums (a huge, global forum and mobile/cellular community based out of Toronto) which has its own Buy/Sell/Trade sub-forum and which I used to buy and sell all of my cell phones from 2003 until 2009 as well as a large number of cellular accessories. On HowardForums (or HoFo as we geeks call it) someone would post an item, talk about it and the condition it is in, add some pictures, a price, and a preferred method of contact. If you wanted to buy the item you would follow their contact instructions and MAYBE try and see if you could get them to lower the price by a small amount.

howardforums buy-sell-trade top

I have found, in my recent experience with these sites, that there are a few things we should all be aware of when and if we decide to use them to sell items: Read more…

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