A Taste of Toronto

This past weekend I had a great time celebrating my best friends birthday (known him since junior kindergarten) in Toronto. Although I had been to Toronto previous times, it was my first in-depth look exploring the city by means of walking around, taking the subway and hitting the club. In fact to be honest, travelling is not really my thing.

The only trip of significance I had been on has a family road trip to Orlando and a trip overseas back to my country of ancestry, Nigeria. That’s it. Missing out on the high school trip to Cancun is a constant source of jeers from my friends. I guess for me, I spend too much time concerned with personal finance, Call of Duty Black Ops and being an awesome human being. But with all of that aside, there is a lot about Toronto I really enjoyed and can be summed up in three points.

First off, Toronto is fast paced. Way more than Ottawa. It seems that in Toronto everyone has a place to go, somewhere to be. I’m used to rushing around here in Ottawa but in Toronto the rush is just so much more.

Going downtown, taking the subway and hanging out at the Eaton centre, is a great example of where you could see the rush. All it was was a great a mess of people, scurrying about, which is something I hadnt really seen, except for say downtown Ottawa on Canada day. Really though, there isn’t much of a compairson. Toronto is  a big, corporate city, full of people who just move faster than in Ottawa, which is a  smaller, more relaxed government city.

Secondly, Toronto is fun. Whether it was settling into my friends pad in Etobicoke, with all the amenities that he would need as a young professional, such as a pool, gym, squash, and even ping pong tables (I grew up with ping pong and love how easy it is to get into), or going out on the Saturday night as we did, there is a lot to do. If you like fun options like these, then I could see how Toronto would be the city for you.

Thirdly, the culture. Toronto is truely a multicultural city. You can see every type of person there, mainly because it is just so big. For me, being multicultual has always been a huge part of who I am. Most of my close friends that I’ve known since kindergarten are of different ethnicities and as a group if you saw us you would recognize such a diverse mix.

So that was my taste of a weekend Toronto in a nutshell. We’ll leave the partying aspects out of it. Let’s not encourage any particular type of behaviour. It’ll be interesting to see how my friend likes it as he adjusts to work there. I already have another friend who says Toronto is his “final destination” to set up and start a career. Perhaps as time unfolds, maybe I’ll be able to say the same.

What I learned in January

At the end of every month, I’ll highlight things I learned or discovered that made the month memorable. So here I go with January 2011, the start of a new decade which is also the best time to shop, and a good time to start.

Best time to shop

For some it may sound trival, shopping as one of the best things I learned this month. For others who shop everyday or every week, shopping is a constant passion. For me, I am neither wealthy enough or like spending that much time in malls to favour your lifestyle choice. Rather I prefer shopping in bulk and January presents the best time to do this.

Without a doubt, January is the best time to buy practically everything. My new collection of wardrobe items is an example of this. I was able to get 11 new items of clothing for around 260 bucks (taxes in). This new wardrobe ranges from pants, t-shirts, dress shirts, and some nice v-neck (my favourite style of shirt) sweaters.

But January is not just a good time to buy clothes, but also a good time to make purchases categories such as technology, furniture, and mattresses, which I had to hold off as I had spent too much in the aforementioned categories. Definitely I am missing other things which make January a good time to buy but you can get the point. January is a good time to buy, but spend responsibly so you don’t end up with lots of bills for your credit card coming in February.

A good time to start

January also proves to be a good time to start. This blog is an one example of that. There are other things though that I have started in January though.

Volunteering

I started volunteering with school, providing colour commentary on women’s basketball games. This has been a great experience. I’ll have more in a separate blog as I have a huge passion for sports and being a sports commentator has been one of my dreams for a very long time.

Another exciting volunteer opportunity has come with working with Odyssey Showcase, a charity that promotes the history of Canada through music. Again it is too much to write in this space and I will have separate blog(s) on that as well.

Gym

January is a great time to start going to the gym. I haven’t started. I hope to get going in February.

January went by quick. It really felt like I was running around all month, juggling responsibilities. Looks like February will be much of the same. Let’s hope it will be a lot warmer weather though.

Book Review: Six Pixels of Separation

Let me start off by saying that reading and I have had a rocky relationship. I remember when I was younger getting hauled to the library with my three other siblings. They would be taking home piles of books while I would take home one or two which I wouldn’t end up finishing. Reading was exhausting for me back then. My already imaginative mind did not need books to come alive. I found it a tedious endeavour and didn’t see the point.

Fast forward to today and things have totally changed. I find reading useful for a variety of different reasons. It helps you become a better writer, allows you to pass gaps in downtime, and of course helps you learn about something new. I also think as a professional it is important to read books pertaining to your field, allowing you to gain new insight and perspective. One book which fits this description is Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation, the first book I read this year.

Six Pixels of Separation, with the title borrowed from but not to be confused with Six Degrees of Separation (I confused them a lot when describing this book my friends), is a book about the value of getting online and connecting yourself to the online community so that you can better position yourself as an individual or business. Joel shares that by leveraging the internet to your benefit, primarily through blogging and social networking, you can make new connections, find your niche, and ultimately build your own unique personal brand of who you are and share it with the world.

A quick read at only 270 odd pages due to the simple conversational language Joel uses, Six Pixels of Separation explains that making your presence online, for example by blogging,  is more than just writing entries (text). It is also about audio (podcasts) and video. Joel encourages you that when you are starting to develop your presence online, to not just limit yourself to text but to use these other ways of connect as well.

Since the relaunch of my blog, Six Pixels of Separation is exactly the book that I needed to read. It tells you how to get started, get connecting, and just plain get out there and get acquainted with the tools and people to help propel yourself forward as an individual or business. Six Pixels of Separation is about going beyond your geographical boundaries and exploring online where you can find resources to advance yourself as an individual or as a business.

This is perhaps the most compelling part of the book, using it as a resource. There are a variety of interesting case studies (I do enjoy case studies very much so) of men and women who were able to leverage the internet to create a niche for themselves. Using my memo pad, as I wrote about here, I was able to come jot down the names of these creative people in PR, marketing, and communications, to check out on Twitter (Mine is @FFasoyinu if you don’t have me already) as I went along in Six Pixels of Separation to do further research on later.

Overall, Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation, was an interesting read for me. It really got my mind going in the direction that I wanted to go deeper in in 2011 in regards to entrepreneurship, finding a niche, and developing my personal brand. Couldn’t have been a better match for me and my book to start the year. I think I’m going to enjoy this book review thing.