Posted in Canada, Community, family, Food, Life, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Returning This Summer: PC Insiders Report (YAY!)


I opened my email this morning and saw a teaser from Loblaws CEO Galen Weston, that an old favourite was returning.

My mind immediately began to race to PC products which I loved, that have gone by the wayside, and couldn’t wait to see what was coming back – hoping that it was something that we could actually use.

The email read like this:
“I hope you’re keeping well as we hold the course with our physical distancing measures. Most of my updates over these past months have been focused on logistics – the work we’ve done to help keep our colleagues and communities safe. But as the urgency has eased somewhat and I take a wider view of the situation, I have some thoughts I’d like to share.

Billions of people have been asked to stop, to stay inside. And as our worlds have gotten smaller, interesting things are happening out there. You may have seen pictures of mountain goats and monkeys roaming empty streets. Or images of cleaner waterways and side-by-side comparisons of skies over Los Angeles, New Delhi and Barcelona – grey and smoggy pre-pandemic, crisp blue today. Experts say this quieting of human activity has resulted in less seismic noise – that is, the planet is not vibrating as much as usual. Some have joked the birds must be singing much louder. But it may just be that we can hear them better now.

This large-scale slowdown can give us new perspective. We can imagine what we might do differently or better once this all passes. Many of us have become more focused on what we’re eating – what’s essential, what we could do without, or do with a little less of. In my case, I’m a bit of a carnivore, and I’m trying to eat less meat and more vegetables. I know many of you are too.

This movement toward flexitarianism – eating mainly vegetables, fruit, beans and grains, meat only occasionally – is growing. People are curious about the benefits, they want more information and options.

And it’s gotten me thinking: how can our team at President’s Choice do what it does best, keep Canadians up-to-date on the latest product innovations and inspirational meal ideas, while also going deeper on big food issues, like flexitarianism and sustainability? The team reminded me that the PC Insiders Report publication used to do all that.

So, this summer, we’re bringing it back.

For those of you who remember it, in the ‘80s, the Insider’s Report booklet was the kickoff to the big seasons, the highlight of summer and holiday grocery shopping. For those who don’t remember: it really was. This new, fully digital version will give you a taste of the latest trends, fresh recipes for BBQ season, and dozens of new and amazing PC products. And it will have more: I’m going to work with our team on thoughtful stories about larger food issues that Canadians are curious about.

Our team has worked hard to help you get the most out of summer. Every product and every story has been crafted with care, passion and ultimately the love of food in mind. The idea is that we can have both: joy in the food we want, and the information we need to help us eat better and live better. For me these days, that means more big salads. And several PC® Ice Cream Shop Banana Split Mini Ice Cream Bars.”

Let’s have a good summer.

Galen Weston

 
Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, PC Optimum™

Can I tell you, if you do not remember the Insider Report, just how amazing it was… It provide a snapshot of new PC products that were coming down the pipeline, soon to be in stores. It was always a big hit in my family, and I have such fond memories of looking at all the different food options and choices, which we wanted to purchase.

The Blue Menu was one of the game changers that I remember seeing because there were many foods which we wanted to try but were traditionally too high in fat or salt, but the blue menu took a lot of those, cleaned them up, and made them available and affordable.

Around the holidays, I remember the fancy ice creams and desserts which we used to drool over, but never buy.

Rather than walk into a grocery store and search aisle by aisle, this report highlights the newest products and cuts down the wander time in stores, which make a ton of sense in this day and age.

Thank you, Galen!

Can’t wait!!!

Posted in Canada, Community, disaster, events, family, health, Life, music, The Urban Daddy

The Urban Daddy’s COVID-19 Pandemic / Self-Isolation Playlist


As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, my self-quarantine playlist grows. Here are some of the songs which resonate with me during these unusual times.

Which songs have spoken the most to you while in quarantine or while performing your duties as an essential worker?

Tik Tok songs aside (I’m bored in a house, and in a house bored).

La List

Don’t Stand So Close (To Me) – The Police

Keep Em Separated – The Offspring

End of the World – REM

Situation Critical – Platinum Blonde

All By Myself – Celine Dion

Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Longview – Green Day (reference the lyrics: “I’m in a house with unlocked doors, and I’m fucking lazy!”)

Keep Your Hands to Yourself – Georgia Satellites

Living in a Ghost Town – The Rolling Stones

Alone – Heart

Too Much Time on My Hands – Styx

I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany

I know there are many more songs which relate to being alone or social distancing, but the above songs are songs I like, and which – in my opinion – relate to self-isolation.

Please, add to the list in the comments! If the songs fit, I’ll add them to the post and provide proper credit – your name, blog, online presence, etc.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, Daddy, Food, health, hockey, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Rules for Tim Hortons, the Sport!


I wrote this in 2007 and never posted it.  I know why.  It’s stupid.  But looking back on it 13 years later and aside from wondering what the heck I was thinking, I’m a nostalgia-guy, so I thought I’d clean it up and post it.

There are the rules that apply to Tim Horton’s Coffee – written as if Tim Horton’s was a sport, I would guess.

 

These rules always apply, no exceptions:

#1. When you enter a Tim Horton’s and see a line to one side of the restaurant that DOES NOT mean that you can start another line on the other side.

PENALTY: TOO MANY LINES. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee for everyone in the original line.

#2. If you cannot see the donut you want available in the display you CANNOT ask for it since the server will then go into the back and eventually return to tell you that – guess what – they don’t have it!

PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME. People guilty of this infraction must return to the end of the line.

#3. The Drive-Thru is for ordering coffee and donuts ONLY. If you need to order a sandwich or soup get out of your car and go inside you lazy bum! It takes too long and they’ll probably get your order wrong anyway, so save some greenhouse emissions (unless you’re driving an electric car, then you probably parked and walked) and remember – NO ORDERING FOOD IN THE DRIVE-THRU!

PENALTY: OVER-ORDERING. People guilty of this infraction will have their tires deflated on the spot, or will have to drive over very rough road on the way out, and will spill all over themselves.

#4. Cleaning the Hot Chocolate and Flavored Coffee machines is FORBIDDEN during times of the days where there are actually customers in the store. What kind of business takes a product off-line in the middle of the day!?

PENALTY: UNNECESSARY CLEANLINESS. Staff guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat hot, spicy food, then placed in restraints just out of reach of a nice cool glass of water for an hour.

#5. Placing the lids on the “to-go” cups so that the drink opening lines up with the crease in the cup is a crime against humanity since it has the same effect as gag dribble cups. Plus, exactly how hard is it to miss that crease when placing the lid on anyway? Yet it seems to happen more than 50% of the time.

PENALTY: ILLEGAL LID ON THE CREASE. Staff guilty of this must properly stir each coffee they serve for the next hour to ensure not one customer get sugar in the bottom of their cup.

#6. Franchise owners who open up a store with a Drive-Thru that can’t handle at least 10 cars in line are a traffic menace. Caffeine addiction is a scary thing that will cause people to stop dead on busy streets just to keep a position in line at the Drive-Thru.

PENALTY: INTERFERENCE. Owners guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat only Tim Horton’s food for the next year.

#7. Going on a coffee run to Tim’s for five or more people is a no-no. First, you’ll never remember what everyone ordered correctly. Second, you don’t have a hope in hell of carrying that stuff back. Also, it will take way too long!!! That nice person behind you in line was under the impression that you were just going to order coffee and go. BUT NO, you have to take 5-10 minutes of our lives while you botch the order and then juggle the cups back to your vehicle. Get some backbone – force others to come with you. No more than three or four orders per person thank you!

PENALTY: OVER TWO MINUTE WARNING. People guilty of this infraction will be forced to drink ALL the coffee they have ordered and eat ALL the food.

Side note: Doing this same infraction through the Drive-Thru may result in public flogging.

#8. During Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win time all cups left unattended and unrolled for more than one minute are fair game.  There is nothing wrong with unrolling a cup found lying on the ground other than the germs.  It could be a car, or a free coffee.  Drinking from that cup is disgusting, but opening it could be found money.

PENALTY: IF IT’S A WINNER: Finders keepers.  IF IT’S A LOSER – TECHNICAL FOUL.  You must drop $2.00 on the street, or give it to the homeless person outside your favourite location.

#9. Staff who fail to recognize that you are a creature of habit and order the same thing everyday for a year at the same Tim Horton’s and still meet you with blank stares and an indifferent “What can I get you?”  Where is the recognition and “Would you like the usual?”

PENALTY: INCOMPLETE RECOGNITION. Staff guilty of this infraction will be subjected to bathroom duty, and have to eat all the left-over donuts at the end of every day for a week, or until they explode.

#10. Showing up at your son/daughter’s hockey game with a coffee from somewhere which is not Tim Horton’s is strictly FORBIDDEN!  We all know how much money this company pours (pun intended) into Tim Bits hockey.  What are you?  Anti-Canadian?

Don’t you know the way we do things around here?

PENALTY: ILLEGAL COFFEE. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee and Tim Bits for the team and coaching staff for the entire season.

 

Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Food, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, travel

Mother’s Day, Travel and Food


This Mother’s Day represents the first Mother’s Day without my mother, who passed away last July after a brief, but fierce battle with liver cancer.

I don’t need one day to remember her – Her memory is with me every day, especially when I see the numerous things that my kids do, that I wish her, and my father, were here to see.

Love you, Mom.

That aside, I’m fortunate to have another amazing mother in my life, and that is the mother of my children. She’s been the best mother on the planet for my kids – besides the fact that they (thankfully) get their good looks from her – and possibly their smarts from here, but I digress. She’s been a rock for them and I’ll be forever thankful to her.

One thing that she’s instilled in our family is a love of travel.

As a family, we’ve travelled to the following locations;

  • Eastern Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI)
  • US (mainly NY, but also Florida and Georgia)
  • Ecuador (and Galapagos. Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil)
  • France (mainly Paris with the kids, but most of the country over 4 or 5 visits)
  • Holland (Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans, Edam)
  • Belgium (Bruges, Brussels, Ghent)
  • Japan (Tokyo & Kyoto)
  • Viet Nam (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Da Nang)
  • Thailand (Bangkok, Chaing Mai)
  • Cambodia (Siem Riep, Phnom Pehn)
  • Iceland
  • Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Girona)
  • Ireland (Dublin)
  • England (London)
  • Italy (Cinque Terra, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Pisa, Lake Como, San Gimignano)
  • Taiwan (Tai Pai)
  • Indonesia (Bali, Ubud, Jimbaran)
  • Central America (Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican, Bahamas, Puerto Rico)

For Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to do something special for her, so I asked my kids to talk about their favourite places they’ve travelled to, and their favourite foods from those locations.

Taking that information, I then created a menu, of sorts, and attempted to create (or buy) foods which could be a reminder of the joy we experienced travelling as a family – knowing also that there will likely be no travel for quite a while, as things presently stand.

I bought some Japanese, Italian, and Thai treats, and I bought plain croissants, chocolate croissants, Camembert, dragon fruit, a sourdough baguette, and a soy milk drink.

I then attempted to make savory mushroom crepes, frites with a garlic aioli, and French macarons with a vanilla buttercream filling.

Well, the macarons caused me a whole heck of a lot of problems, so I ran out of time and steam, and at 3am, gave up on the frites.

The crepes were not that much of a big deal – I’ve made them many times before, beginning in high school when I took a baking class instead of Industrial Arts for a 3rd time. I earned the 2nd highest mark in the class – and I used the skills that I learned in class to bake quite a bit growing up.

I never really cooked that much, even though I enjoyed it. I think along the way I just got complacent and lazy, having a spouse who cooks creatively and very well, I lost my ability to cook. I want to get that back, so this was the start of hopefully many more attempts at cooking delicious food.

Here is how my macaron turned out. I coloured the shell and the filling different shades of purple.

Not bad for a first attempt, eh?

Happy Mother’s Day to the mother of my children, and to all mothers, everywhere.

Posted in Canada, Community, Life, Parenting

Acceptable Social Media Acronyms


Working from home now?

Life and work have become one?

Here is a repost of a 2015 post which outlines which social media acronyms are acceptable to use in text, on Facebook, on Tik Tok, and which should not be used when sending an email to your boss, or your staff.

To begin with, it might be helpful to review some of the common acronyms which relate to specific social media networks. They’re generally intuitive in nature, but after being in quarantine for such a long time, they should be locked in your brain by now.

FB: Facebook.

IG: Instagram.

LI: LinkedIn.

YT: YouTube.

TT: Tik Tok

SC: Snap Chat

There are also a few regularly used acronyms that describe features on those networks. If you’re on Twitter in particular, these are a must-know for improving your communications among team members and with your online audience.

DM: A “Direct Message” is a one-on-one message sent on Twitter that is only visible to the two individuals exchanging them.

MT: Sometimes when you’re resharing a Tweet, you’ll alter the text. That makes it a “Modified Tweet.” That may mean shortening it to fit within the character limit or removing the poster’s handle if they have a private account.

PM: “Private message” is the more general term for any one-on-one communication that’s not visible to the public. It includes DMs.

RT: A “Retweet” is when you publish somebody else’s Tweet, in its entirety, to your own feed.

Business Terms

Business experts have always had a unique set of terminology. Many of the general terms that would come up in marketing meetings are equally useful in a social media context.

B2B: Means “business to business” and refers to companies that sell to other companies.

B2C: Also known as “business to consumer” means companies who sell to individuals.

CMGR: This is the abbreviation for “community manager.”

CMS: A “content management system” is the tool you use for editing, scheduling and publishing any written material for the web.

CPC: The “cost per click” is the dollar amount an advertiser pays for every person who clicks on an ad.

CPM: “Cost per thousand” measures an ad’s impressions rather than its clicks (as in CPC).

CR: The “conversion rate” is a simple equation: the number of people who take an action divided by the number who could have.

CTA: A “call to action” is a statement that asks the reader to do something. This is usually a specific action related to building the company’s social presence or to getting involved in a marketing push, such as, “Act now!” or “Buy this today!”

CTR: The “clickthrough rate” is a particular type of conversion rate where the action in question is clicking on a link.

KPI: A “key performance indicator” is a metric used to measure success in achieving goals. For social media, this could be a measurement of engagement, conversions, shares or clicks, depending on your purpose in being on those networks.

PPC: “Pay per click” is a metric for advertising costs that’s the same as CPC.

PV: This stands for “page views.”

ROI: “Return on investment” measures the money you make in relation to the money you spent to make it. It’s a way of assessing the success of certain promotional or advertising efforts.

UGC: The term “user generated content” encompasses any written or visual material that the individuals using a platform create, from comments or blog posts, to photos or video clips.

The Technical Terms

These may not come up frequently in your regular water-cooler chats, but it’s useful for anybody working in social media to understand some of the most relevant technical abbreviations. These cover a range of acronyms related to online business that could come up in a chat with the IT team or when dealing with a customer support ticket.

API: An “application programming interface” is a set of rules for how pieces of software interact. Your social media management tools use the APIs of Facebook, Twitter and the other networks to post and schedule.
ESP: Your “email service provider” is the software used for sending emails. This can be an outside service used for email blasts to your audience or for powering your internal team communications.
HTML: You see these letters all the time, and they stand for “hyper text markup language.” It’s the coding language used to build all webpages.
ISP: Just as the ESP is the business supplying your email needs, your “Internet service provider” is the company powering your Internet service.
RSS: A “really simple syndication” is a feed of all posted content from a source, usually a blog.
SaaS: This is an abbreviation for “software as a service,” which is a subset of companies that are in the business of providing software programs to people or companies for their use.
SEM: “Search engine marketing” is how businesses leverage search engines for marketing purposes.
SEO: “Search engine optimization” is a form of SEM. It refers to the choices you make in your written content that are designed to make sure that your creations appear high in the rankings of the correct search terms.
TOS: “Terms of service.” Just about any online service, including social networks, have Terms of Service which you must agree to in order to use it. Marketers will want to keep an eye out for any limitations on business activity and details about ownership, both of your content and your data.
UI: The “user interface” is the display that a person uses to control a tool.
UX: The “user experience” is a person’s response and reaction to taking actions within a tool.

Just For Fun

Many of these acronyms crossed over into social media from texting or from online shorthand used in forums. Some of them have been bandied around the Internet for years, but others are more modern inventions. You’ll most likely find these in the public posts made and shared by your followers, or in their comments on your social content. Some of them also get turned into popular hashtags that individuals and brands alike can take advantage of.

AFAIK: Stands for “as far as I know.”
AMA: Stands for “ask me anything.” Often used to signal an open Q&A opportunity on a social channel.
BAE: This abbreviation means “before anyone else,” and is one of the more recent creations. Typically it refers to a person’s significant other, but could be a very close friend as well.
BFF: A throwback to childhood in the 80’s and 90’s, this still stands for “best friends forever.”
BRB: “Be right back.” This comes up most often in the context of real-time messaging or chat services and means be back soon, not in hours, weeks, days or months..
BTW: Stands for “by the way.”
FBO: Stands for “Facebook official.” Refers to making a public announcement of a life development, such as a new job or new relationship, on Facebook to your entire social audience.
FOMO: Stands for “fear of missing out.”
FTW: “For the win” began in the gaming world, but has become a cry of victory or success for all.
FYI: “For your information.” Another classic that’s still in frequent rotation.
GTG: “Got to go” can end a conversation.
ICYMI: “In case you missed it” most frequently is used when sharing content that is not current. That could be a news item from a few days prior or an evergreen blog post that you want to return to circulation.
IDC: Stands for “I don’t care.”
IDK: Stands for “I don’t know.”
ILY: Stands for “I love you.”
IMHO: This acronym means “in my humble opinion or in my honest opinion”
IMO: This means simply “in my opinion.”
IRL: This acronym means “in real life,” and is meant to distinguish between people’s online and offline lives.
JK: This phrase is “just kidding,” and can be helpful in conveying a light-hearted tone when there’s a possibility for a statement to be misconstrued.
LMAO: Stands for “laughing my ass off.” Not always the right phrase for a business context, but makes it just as necessary to know this acronym when you see it.
LMK: Stands for “let me know.”
LOL: A well-used phrase from the beginning of online chat culture, this means “laughing out loud.” This acronym has been confused by some older Internet users to mean “Lots of Love”. They’re wrong.
NBD: Stands for “no big deal.”
NM: Stands for “not much.”
NVM: Stands for “never mind.”
NSFW: The label “not safe for work” usually designates material that is violent, sexual or otherwise inappropriate for a professional setting.
OH: Stands for “overheard.” Generally used as context for quotes.
OMG: Stands for “oh my god” or “oh my gosh.”
OMW: Stands for “on my way.”
PPL: This is shorthand for “people.”
QOTD: Another frequent hashtag, this one means “quote of the day.”
ROFL: A close relative of LOL and LMAO, this acronym is “rolling on the floor laughing”. There is also ROTFLMAO, which means Rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off.”

SMH: This stands for “shaking my head” and is most frequently used to express shock or dismay.
TBH: Stands for “to be honest.”
TBT: If you’re sharing an old photo, you’ll most likely want to use the hashtag for “Turn back time.” TIL: Stands for “today I learned.”
TL;DR: This unusual acronym means “too long; didn’t read.”
WTF: Another salty shorthand, this stands for “what the f***.”
YOLO: The phrase originated in a song by Canadian rapper Drake, “you only live once”.

 

Which acronyms do you use? What are your favourite, and which drive you crazy?