FITC Screens

FITC is hosting a free sneak peek of their upcoming mobile development conference, SCREENS on September 13, 2012 from 7:00-9:30pm. Don’t miss your chance to win one of a limited number of tickets to an intimate evening event which features four awesome speakers who will be talking about mobile development, beer, pizza and use of the giant slide at event sponsor Grip Limited’s office . SCREENS speakers presenting at this exclusive event include Faisal Abid, James Halpern, Adam Hunter and Sachin Monga.

To enter for your chance to win, it’s two simple steps:

1. Make sure you follow @FITC on Twitter

2. Tweet the following message:

Hey @FITC I want to go to the exclusive #SCREENS12 Sneak Peek! #FITCsneakpeek http://fitc.it/d1hOf

Entries will be accepted until midnight on August 31, 2012. You do NOT need to be registered for SCREENS to qualify, but you must follow @FITC on Twitter. The randomly selected winners will be notified via Twitter DM by September 5, 2012.

Good luck!

My Fun Saturday – The Teaser

It was definitely a busy day yesterday. On Friday I just chilled out knowing that it was certainly going to be a whirlwind on Saturday. And I was right! I got full use out of my metropass!

My day started out with a great event at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was intended to get feedback from the public about the Gallery. I’ll be posting more on it tomorrow, but you can certainly follow the discussion on Twitter by watching the hashtag #AGOChat. The photos from that event are posted here. I know that Rannie will certainly have wonderful photos posted from the event soon. As a thank you, we walked away with some pretty cool swag. Definitely setting the bar on that one!

My Andy on his first day out

After finishing at the AGO, I rushed over to the Liberty Noodle for the HTML5

Barbecue. This was done jointly with the Toronto Google Technology Users Group which I attended two weeks ago where I won my Andy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there until it was almost finished, so I won’t have much on that except to say that it was a packed room and a great bunch of people. Even after the presentations were done, there were some great discussions and of course cool swag. 😉 You can follow the Yorkville Media Centre for more details on this, the #TOGTUG group and of course, AndroidTO coming up in October.

I’ve posted the photos from the Stella Artois Block Party here. Please feel free to tag at your leisure. This was another great event where I got to see some old friends and meet some new people that I might have seen on Twitter, but hadn’t had the chance to meet in person. Many thanks to @StellaArtoisCAN for throwing this great event. Follow the hashtag #BlockParty from last night to see some craziness.

I’ll be writing on these topics more in the coming days so stay tuned!

When did you realize you were an adult?

When did you realize you were an adult?

I moved out of my father’s house when I was 20, a week after I finished high school. I moved in with my friends Emily and Stephanie to an apartment at Yonge and Eglinton. They had moved in two months earlier and I followed after I was done school.

I worked at Parks and Recretaion, started working at a cofee shop, cleaned an apartment and sold roses on Church Street. I’d stopped working at the comic store a few months earlier. I made just enough money to pay my rent, buy coffee now and again, and cover my groceries. I was finally on my own. But I wasn’t a grown up, despite having been a fairly mature child for my age.

About two months in, I realized that I needed a more regular job. I applied to work in a women’t clothing store in the Eaton’s Centre. I started during their end of summer sale so the dress was pretty casual. I cam in the next week wearing similar clothing to the previous week. Big mistake. They’d changed over to the fall collection and no one had told me. My manager took me to the back room and had a chat with me. She said that most of the girls still lived at home and didn’t have to worry about bills and rent like I did. She held a few items back from the sale that I could purchase to improve my wardrobe and gave me a great start.

I worked there for about six months when I moved into my own apartment…alone. Shortly thereafter, I began working for my father. I had my own bills, my own place, my job and no one else was going to do the dishes for me. I was finally a grown up.

What would your profession be if you didn’t need money?

What would your profession be if you didn’t need money?

I think I’d like to be a writer. I’ve certainly beeing enjoying writing these blog posts for Post A Day, but I don’t seem to have enough time to write them. I’m certainly trying to change that, but if I could learn to write and do that for a living…I’d be a happy camper. Put some photography into it around the world (so add in the travelling) and I’m sold! Where’s my winning lottery ticket…?

Happy 5th Anniversary To Me

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

This was a cover that I used for my second level Niei Chi

Saturday marked a real milestone in my life. It has been five years since I stopped smoking. It also marks 5 years since I graded for my first black belt.

I was never a very heavy smoker. A pack a day was a challenge. I averaged 7 or 8 a day and smoked ultra light menthols. I’d tried quitting before and it usually lasted about 6-8 weeks before I’d go back to it. I even had major surgery to remove my spleen and thought I could beat it. I tried acupuncture but because I could go for 6-8 weeks on my own, they said it wouldn’t do much good.

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

Taken one day after class on the East Beach in Toronto

In our organization, all black belts must sign their name stating that they are smoke free. I’d been promising myself each belt level that I was going to quit. But as I went through them, I kept smoking.

Grading for your black belt is a great honour and I regarded it as such, including the oath I took. The day I graded for my black belt is the day I smoked my last cigarette.  A month later when I was awarded my first black belt, I smoke half a cigar in celebration and haven’t smoked since.

Since then, I’ve been to Hong Kong for 5 months, where everyone smokes like chimneys. I could have cheated but something a friend of mine kept me in line. Whenever I thought “Maybe just one; no one will know.” His voice would answer: “But you will.”

I finished university, go the rest of my shodans, went onto my nidans and about to start my sandans in the fall.

Thank you Sensei. Ous.

What I Learned in Traffic Court

If you have to go to court, be prepared and be respectful!

If you have to go to court, be prepared and be respectful!

I had the misfortune of getting caught going through a red light back in October of last year. And before you ask, yes, it was in the car for the campaign, with the candidate in the car. I went in to request the trial within the two weeks and received my notice to appear in court a short time later.

I spoke to a friend who had been in this situation a couple of times before and his advice was amazing! This was the first time I was appearing in court as a defendant and I haven’t had an issue on my driving record in over 15 years.  He suggested that I go at least an hour in advance of the court time and speak to the prosecutor. They will set up a table outside the court at which time, I could try to negotiate for a quick trial and a potential settlement. I was forewarned that an offence of this type is usually viewed as being more severe than other offences, including speeding.

The Joe Pantalone Smart Car

The car I was driving when I was pulled over for failing to stop at a red light.

As suggested, I arrived an hour in advance, with my ticket, my notice to appear and a photo of the car, just in case. The gentleman said there was nothing he could do about the three points that would be taken off my licence, but that the fine might be reduced. I asked if there was anything that could be done to which he replied: “No.” He said that I would have to wait in court until my name was called and that I needed to understand that I would in fact be pleading guilty to the charge. I said that I did and waited until the judge came in.

I’ve watched enough court shows to know that there are formalities and procedures to be followed. I was also taught that if you are going to appear in court, you should dress appropriately. I saw people coming in wearing flip-flops, t-shirts and shorts. When some people addressed the judge, they had their hands in their pockets, even though they were instructed not to do so. At least two men did this.

In one case, a representative of the defendant was in front of the judge asked for a continuance because he had been retained the day before court. The offence was around the same time as my own, the judge granted it, but asked that it be noted on the file that this was highly improper and that the defendant should have been prepared long before one day prior to the trial date.

There was one man in the back row near me who was leaning over in his seat. The judge actually stopped court and told this young man to sit up. “This is a court of law and it should be respected,” said the judge, pointing at the shield behind him. As the young man sat up, the judge noted the coffee in his hand. “Young man, you are not allowed to have coffee in the court! Please, sir, remove it from the court,” the judge scolded, then turned to everyone else. “There is no coffee, food, water or any thing of that nature allowed in here.” After the man came back into the court, he sat back down and the judge asked the prosecutor for the next case. Guess who? Yep. Same guy. When he stood up, the judge said, “You? You’re the next case? No, have a seat, sir. We’ll deal with you later.”

One thing I observed was that when a case was called, the prosecutor may turn around, ask for a badge number and if the officer was not present, the prosecutor would ask that the case be withdrawn. This seemed to be planned or at least was known in advance of the prosecutor and the defence being in front of the judge.

Eventually, after all the lawyers had been dealt with, my case was called. Seeing them go first, I at least could see what might or might not be appropriate to say. I had a pretty good idea, but mostly from US television shows, so it couldn’t hurt to see the differences between there and here at home. I moved as quickly as possible without fumbling over everything and remained calm. I put my briefcase on the floor and put my hands behind my back, not in my pockets. I was asked to state my name for the court, which I did. The judge at least gave a small smile indicating that he was pleased with my actions and attention. The prosecutor then asked his honour if he could have the case withdrawn. Did I miss something? Did he even ask if the officer was present? Before I knew it, the judge stated that my case was withdrawn and that I was free to go. I thanked his honour and the prosecutor, wished them all a good weekend (since it was a Friday) and left. I couldn’t believe my luck and I wasn’t sticking around in case they changed their minds. I asked a young woman sitting outside if I should expect anything in the mail or whether that was it. She said that no, it’s entered into the record and that’s all there is. Looks like my karma ran over my traffic ticket!

The lesson here is simple: Show some respect, do what you are supposed to do, be prepared, speak only when asked to do so and say as little as is needed. As long as I did these things, I had no difficulty. It seemed to me that these things were common knowledge when you go to court, but after this event, I’m not so sure anymore. So take note if you ever have to appear before a judge, even if it’s just a traffic ticket.

Tweetup at St. Louis Wings – 528 Yonge Street, Toronto

I received an invitation from Jo about Wednesday of last week. I’ve had the pleasure of attending another of Jo’s events, #MexiTO and he’s raised the bar yet again.

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to be one of about 150 people to attend the Tweetup at the 528 Yonge Street location of St. Louis (#528YongeStLouis – smart huh?)

Coors Light almost gone with Jennie next to me.

Coors Light almost gone with Jennie next to me.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not just our wings or main course that was covered, it was everything! Under their permit, they were able to give us one alcoholic beverage, as many non-alcoholic drinks as we wanted, an appetizer, our main course AND dessert!

I ordered a Coors Light since I’m not a big beer drinker, but figured one must have beer with wings. Before the wings even arrived, I was almost done, but not because of lack of service! I wanted to pace myself and it was going down way too nicely!

I started the meal with the garlic bread and had to stop for fear of not being able to finish my dinner, but it is amazing! Shared it with some other peeps at the table, since that’s what an appetizer was for. I didn’t get a pic of it, but trust me, it’s worthwhile.

Sweet Asian Wings and Caesar Salad

Sweet Asian Wings and Caesar Salad

Then came the main course. Thanks to Jennie (@gwenstyles)for her ordering a caesar salad and giving me the idea. It was very refreshing along with my Sweet Asian Wings. I have to admit my shame in not being able to finish them all. For the record, I couldn’t wait for lunch to arrive the next day so I could have the leftovers. What? You thought I’d let them go to waste? Hell no!

The Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake x4

The Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake x4

There were a couple of us that had a similar dilemma. We wanted to make sure that we could have dessert. And boy did we! At the recommendation of one of the guys from the previous sitting, William (@william_penman) we all ordered the Lindt Chocolate Ice Cream Cake. I didn’t care how sick I was going to be, I was going to finish it!!! And boy was it worth it. I still think this photo should be the one to win for the best photo that day.

Since I couldn’t have everything, I know that some of the other comments that I heard were about the fried pickles, the fries and the sweet potato fries as well as the ribs. Not a complaint amongst them.

Besides all the great food, was the chance to meet up with old friends and meet some new ones. Some of my “tablemates” in addition to the above were: Bruce (@BBICON), JP (@JayPIsHere) and the infamous Jon (@JonGautier) . Afterwards, some of us even went out and hit a couple of other places. This was twitter at its best!

One of the comments I made during the dinner was “What’s better than great wings? Answer: Great FREE wings.”  At the end of the meal, we got a gift certificate for ANOTHER main course! So, what’s better than great free wings? Answer: MORE great free wings!

Better reserve a spot for me at every event Jo, because I’ll be there! We’ve even given him his next project: #SushiTO Stay tuned and make sure you follow both @StLouisWings and Jo (@ClickFlickCa). Congratulations on a great event and best wishes on your grand opening today! Ok, time to stop writing. I’m getting hungry again…;)

Swag 2.0 by @RightSleeve

My Right Sleeve Notebook from Swag 2.0I had the pleasure of attending this event about a week and a half ago. Boy do they know how to throw a party! First thing we get is a wonderful notebook so we can note down all the wonderful swag we would like to purchase. It is definitely one of my favourite styles. Highly recommended for any conference you are attending.

I never knew how cool this business was until I walked in to the event. Everything from notebooks, to rugby shirts to funny shaped usb keys. I know Carolyn Van was admiring a few.

That’s the other cool thing about this event. When Mark asked if I was coming, I told him I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t in a position to buy anything. He said come anyway since it was a great way to meet people and they would love to have me. That’s community! I ran into people that I hadn’t seen in a while and got a chance to hang out with them all at one venue. And the food was enough to keep us around, especially the cupcakes.

It just so happens that Erin Bury’s article on Mashable was released the same day and that Right Sleeve was mentioned therein. The bags shown there are the very same ones we were given at the end of the night as gift bags.

And let me tell you…if you haven’t already heard…is that I’ve used almost everything that they gave us that night. The biggest one being the umbrellas that we needed not only that night to sheild us from the rain, but for many a night thereafter. Here’s me at #TweetGasm sporting the brollie and the bag, thanks to Jonny Bunning (@emaninTdot on Twitter).

Ernie Whitt's AutographAnother little side story is how I met one of the greatest baseball players of all time; Ernie Whitt formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays. I recognized him and the ring on his finger. He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to snag his autograph. And how apprpriate? I happened to have one of my other Right Sleeve notebooks on hand with their letterhead for him to sign in. Karim Kanji is still jealous to this day. 😉

If you ever have a need of swag (or don’t and like to admire new toys) then you must check them out. They have great products and are wonderful people. You can find Mark Graham and his team here. If you have an idea, I’m quite sure they will have the solution. I know that they will be the first ones that I go to.

Thanks to Mark and his team for putting on such a wonderful event. Hope to see you all very soon.

Rightsleeve Prize Pack

I have some serious catching up to do!

A few weeks ago I attended FashionConnectTO (#FCTO) put on by the wonderful gang at XConnect (@XConnectTO). One of the swag pieces we received was a pair of sunglasses c/o RightSleeve. They also had a company there taking photos. Here’s mine!

Now the event was awesome, but it didn’t stop there! If you posted your photo with the shades to RightSleeve’s Facebook page, you could win a prize pack. Why not? Well, I won.

I didn’t expect to be graced with one of the most awesome prize packs ever! I’m using the notebook right now to draft this post. I broke it in last week while at Flash in the Can here in Toronto (#FITC). Wow is it great!

Gone are the days of giving out pens. You gotta have great stuff to give away, whether it’s at a conference or recruiting new graduates from University. Well, these guys have got it all. I’ve been invited to their Swag 2.0 party today. Can’t wait to see what they have in store. I’ll keep you posted!

Proof once again that Twitter gets you free stuff.

Twitter Gets You Free Stuff!

Thanks to @clickflickca’s retweet yesterday of @NOWcontests, I won tickets to their NOW Talk series with none other than Maestro Fresh Wes and Mark Holmes of Platinum Blonde. They were talking about music and the industry in the 80’s, about origins of music in Canada, influences, etc., and WOW! These guys should jam together sometime. I hear they are both playing at The Horseshoe on Saturday for the 40th Anniversary of the Junos, but not sure if they are going to be on at the same time.

I must say that I really enjoyed it (like there was any doubt!) and this is the second in a series of NOW Talks. The next on is in February about the 90’s.

My favourite part was when Wes was talking about being “starstruck” himself when he found out he was going to be on the stage with Mark Holmes. Apparently, he was on the phone and saying to his buddies “Yo, I’m in the same room as Mark Holmes! Y’Know, Platinum Blonde! Holy Shit!”

So, for my Follow Friday, I suggest following @clickflickca for leading me to @NOWContests, another good follow. Also, I’m going to recommend following @NOWToronto. A great read for Toronto. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Here’s the vid I shot that night –Mark Holmes at NOW Talk

Mark Holmes and I

Taken at the NOW Talk on January 6, 2011

Maestro Fresh Wes and I

Me and Wes after the NOW Talk