Category Archives: do-gooder

It’s A Girl!

I was never a fan of cats. I’ve always been a canine girl. I grew up with a Cocker Spaniel named Buffy, who I literally carried around wherever we went, and, later, a black Miniature Schnauzer named Heidi who was smart and seriously precious. Once I grew up, I wanted to get my own dog, but I never got around to it, mostly because I’m lazy I travel a lot and didn’t think it would be fair to my dog to be alone.

When I moved to dog-crazed Toronto, I started getting the dog itch again, mostly because of the hot guys at the dog parks I didn’t have any family here and was craving some unconditional love. I know myself well enough, though, to know that in the midst of six months of subzero temperatures, I’m not going to get up out of my warm, cozy bed to, not only walk a dog in the snow, but pick up its poop in the snow. As if.

I knew several people with cats and started thinking about getting a cat as an “unconditional love” alternative. But since I didn’t know a thing about them, I decided to go with the “try before you buy” mantra and foster a cat rather than adopt one right away.

I contacted Toronto Cat Rescue and, after a couple of false starts, finally found a foster baby that didn’t need medical attention*; in March, an adorable, six year-old female Tabby came to live with me! Her name was Agatha, but the only Agatha’s I know are old, warty, and witchy, so I decided to call her Abby**. To say the first night was rough would be an understatement. She moved in with me on a Wednesday night and because I’m sure she was completely anxious and nervous, she meowed literally all night long. I may have slept two hours (note to self: don’t start fostering a cat on a school night). There were some litter box and some sofa-marking issues the first week, but with the help of my new best friend aluminum foil, she eventually settled in. In fact, I’ve had her for exactly one month and she now sleeps on my extra pillow every night, which I think means she likes me. ūüôā

I’m technically only fostering Abby, but I’d pretty much fallen in love with her after day three. When she cuddles up to me and purrs, my heart literally melts. It totally calms me and even when she gets annoyed that I practically lay on top of her, she still lets me get my purring fix. I bought Abby a $24 bed that she wouldn’t go near, but when I brought home a free box top from work, I couldn’t get her out of it. She loves playing with her crinkle ball and mouse, string on a stick, and pink catnip mouse, and when I can’t find her, she’s usually chillin’ in my soaker tub.^ The final sign that I’ve officially become a crazy cat lady, though? I started a Twitter feed for my cat. What can I say? She’s a true bird lover, after all. ūüėČ Check out Abby’s fierce tweeting skills at

Clearly my poor foster cat is having to make up for the fact that I currently have no sugar daddy. Ahem. ūüėČ

* Every cat they called me for required shot or medicine-giving. Being a first time cat parent, I was just not prepared to give some cat shots in his gums.
** Okay, I didn’t totally take away her identity, so don’t freak out. Her original family called her Tabby, so I figured Abby wasn’t too far off. What?


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Filed under Canada, do-gooder, Pets

Thank You For The Mammaries (Day 24)

Admit it — you¬†love breasts. We all love breasts, really. It’s possible that breasts¬†could¬†be called an American obsession and, in fact, I would venture to say that men everywhere take great lengths to recognize the hypnotic allure of a shapely breast. Big ones, small ones, fake ones, real ones, round ones, square er, semi-round ones — it’s all good stuff. For some women, breasts could easily qualify¬†as their¬†most enthusiastic component, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.¬†¬†

So what’s *not* to love about breasts? I’ll tell you what — that bitch known as breast cancer. Sure, we all love prostates and ovaries and skin and throats and brains and lungs and all those other body parts that contract cancer, too, but being a woman who doesn’t have, say, a prostate, I worry more about breast cancer than I do about any of the other varieties. Which means you get to hear about this subject today. You’re welcome! Not to mention, breast¬†cancer statistics1 are nothing short of grim. Consider these applicable to¬†the U.S. in 2008 alone:

–¬†250,230 new cases
Рa 1 in 8 incidence
Р40,480 women died from the disease. In one year. And people are pissed about the 4,3652 troops who have died in six and a half years in Afghanistan??
Рthe highest rate of cancer only after lung cancer

Thanksbeto the Twitter, I found out about¬†a little project going on¬†in Toronto called ProjectPink!. The idea, started by Darryl Koster of BusterRhinos Southern BBQ3 in Whitby, Ontario, was this: talk about how every woman should have a dash of pink in their hair at some¬†point in their life which then manifested into his agreement that he’d dye his hair pink if Torontonians purchased¬†1,500 BBQ sandwiches4¬†between now and December 18. Most importantly, though, 50 cents of every sandwich purchased would be donated to the Breast Cancert Society. Sweet! Some of the way cool Toronto bloggers and tweeters I follow — and cakeordeath.ca5 — decided that if the number was met, they too would put pink in their hair, and so on and so forth, and, let’s just say that a little viral revolution was born. Of course, never one to be left out when it has to do with a mini-revolution, and because I have always, always, always wanted pink in my hair, I jumped on the bandwagon.

You may remember those research studies “they” do on kids where they put deliciously yummy candies on a table and tell the poor, drooling four year-old that if they can wait five minutes without eating the candy, they get them all, but if they can’t wait the allotted time, then they’re basically headed for a life of unhappiness and destruction? ūüėČ Well, I fall into the latter category. I have gotten much better as I’ve gotten older (ahem), but my OCD6 tends to kick in when I’m excited about something and I just simply cannot. wait.¬†Yes, I¬†have¬†zero patience and yes, I have negative 500 willpower. Your point?

What I’m getting at is this: my very favourite colour is pink.¬†You could say that I am somewhat of a pink fanatic;¬†my Twitter page is pink, my NaBloPoMo page is pink, my iPhone case is pink, I only use pink file folders at work and now, thanks to ProjectPink! my hair is now pink. No,¬†I am not channeling my inner Avril Lavigne¬†rocker girrl, despite the fact¬†that I live¬†in Ontario from whence she came. I like to think that I’m just taking this opportunity to promote¬†ProjectPink! in my own little way before December 18, as well as¬†fulfilling yet another item on¬†my lengthy Canadian bucket list. Of course, the pink hair¬†also¬†most certainly qualifies under¬†“Things that would never¬†have happened in Houston, Texas”. ūüėȬ†

I’ve gotten mixed reactions. I see people glancing at it like “does she have pink in her hair?” or, alternatively, probably thinking “talk about age-inappropriate!”. The cool, hip people I know¬†are like “omg, I lurve it so much!”. The uncool, non-hip people I know7 are like “hmmm, okay”. When I tell them it’s for breast cancer, they get it, but really, they don’t. It washes out in six to eight weeks anyway, but I honestly don’t care one iota — I love it and¬†every time someone asks me about it, I tell them it’s for ProjectPink!¬† If I can do a teeny, tiny part *and* have pink hair, then I’m one happy girl!

Now that this long post has come to an end, I can say in conclusion, fuck cancer and support ProjectPink!

P.S. You may have heard that the¬†United States Preventive Services Task Force recently suggested that women begin to wait until they’re 50 to receive a¬†mammogram. Well, my message to USPSTF is this:¬†you should get out of my¬†way because if you persist with these guidelines, you can assume that¬†I’ll¬†promptly¬†be putting on my killer 4-inch heels and coming after you —¬†so¬†watch out! Also,¬†you should know that I think about you when I touch myself.¬†ūüėČ

1 Source:
2 As of 11/22/09 at 1:25pm EST. Source:
3 OMG. Southern BBQ in Canada?! Cornbread, sweet tea and baked beans? Yes, please!
4 By which I do not mean Canadian BBQ or “hamburgers”. I mean real BBQ sandwiches. You know, like brisket.
5 Does anyone else see the pattern here?
6 I don’t really have OCD, but I like to blame my impatientness on OCD¬†rather than the fact that I just simply have a lack of willpower. ūüė¶
7 You know who you are.

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Filed under do-gooder, Events, NaBloPoMo


hohoto 009What do you get when you cross do-gooding geeks of Toronto with the ubiquitous power of Twitter? Why, you get @hohoto, natch!

Hohoto was an idea conceived last December when a group of brain trusts from the technology, marketing and visual thinking communities in Toronto got together and decided to throw a party and, oh, raise some money for the needy¬†while they were at it.¬†¬†Hohoto was organized and promoted almost exclusively on¬†Twitter for the¬†Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto’s organization de rigeur whose aim is to feed hungry people across the GTA.¬†¬†The hohoto organizers¬†sold more than¬†600 tickets,¬†rallied over¬†60 sponsors, and actually planned the event within 13 days.¬†¬†All told, they raised $25,000 for the food bank — all utilizing¬†Twitter and all in less than two weeks.¬† Not too shabby…not too shabby¬†at all.

Over the summer, the group¬†decided¬†they’d¬†have a second hohoto event, but this time as a¬†“Christmas in July”¬†event, which¬†turned out to be in August.¬† I started seeing tweets with the #hohoto hashtag a couple of weeks before the event and wanted to be part of the magic.¬† I reached out to the “camp leader” to ask if I could help and was welcomed with open arms.¬†Planning was in full force and once again, the Toronto geek community jumped at the chance to share knowledge and help the needy.¬†hohoto 16

On August 18, more than 500 people from across the GTA gathered at Wetbar in the Entertainment District for some Hohoto goodness. ¬†Some of the creative things that were done incldued being able to¬†“tweet” song requests to the resident DJs; a raffle with everything from sports paraphernalia to gourmet cakes¬†from Cake or Death; a¬†“photobooth” by Rannie Turnigan of fame (see photo of me on this post — clearly taken by a professional photographer as I *never* normally look that good. See? Hohoto even makes you glow.); $15 chair massages; a cotton candy (candy floss in Canada) stand run by RogersHelps; and best of all, the¬†opportunity to hang out with a bunch of Toronto geeks. We ended up raising over $12,000 at the summer event, and in addition to the $25K raised in December, contributed more than $35,000 in less than a year to help end hunger in Toronto. All on Twitter. And all done in just a few weeks.¬† Pretty amazing what people can do when they set out to do some good.

Apr√©s Hohoto, we had a few items left from the raffle, so the geniuses that run this shindig came up with the idea of having an eBay-style auction on Twitter. So two days later, in the midst of a wicked bad thunderstorm, we held what I believe is one of the few Twitter auctions to date!¬† I was an “auctioneer” and let me just say that I have a new found respect for *real* auctioneers — that was hard and fast work!¬†Anyone who wanted to bid would send¬†a tweet with #hohoto, the lot number and their bid. I¬†was responsible for managing all the bids, posting them back on¬†Twitter so people would know where the bids were, and responding to DMs since we allowed people to¬†bid privately!¬† it was the most I’ve ever tweeted at once (um, obviously!) and the most exhausted I’ve been¬†in the span of a single hour.¬†¬†We ended up raising another $650 for the food bank!

hohto spezifyThere was¬†a tremendous amount of goodwill and support for Hohoto and I felt privileged to not only¬†be part of the madness, but to get to work so closely with such dynamic, smart, incredible people.¬†¬†We received quite a bit of press, and a group in¬†Vancouver wants to have Hohoto-style event they’ve called Ghoulash Bash for¬†their food bank. ¬†They’ve contacted our team for help and are already going around saying they’re¬†going to surpass our $25K, but as per usual, Toronto will reign supreme. I know it will hurt,¬†but they can handle it. ūüėČ

Check out the Hohoto Flickr group for some Hohoto eye candy, too. And, read an awesome recap from the Village Gamer here.

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Filed under do-gooder

Caution: May Inspire Kindness


Photo courtesy of

A few weeks ago, I started seeing tweets of monolithic proportions¬†with the hash tag #pibTO.¬† (For my friends who aren’t familiar with¬†either Twitter or hash tag¬† <gasp> — you know who you are —¬†look it up!).¬† Pay It Backward Toronto, or #pibTO in Twitter speak, was an event being put on by Daily Challenge, a local social network for do-gooders.¬† The idea was to show up at Second Cup on Queen and John Streets¬†and buy a drink for the person ‚Äď wait for it ‚Äď in line behind you!¬† The best part?¬† 100% of the proceeds would benefit Sick Kids Hospital.¬† All kinds of goodness!


Photo courtesy of

What is Pay It Backward day, you ask?¬† On an early Wednesday morning in December 2007,¬†a woman (natch) at a Starbucks‚Äô drive-thru¬†in Seattle offered to buy the drink for the customer in line behind her, leaving with it¬†just a simple wish of¬†“happy holidays‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†From this first random act of kindness at 8:00am on Wednesday began a chain of 489 more until 8:00am the next morning.¬† Stranger after stranger did their part to spread the kindness in¬†the drive-thru and the¬†lobby. Together, they set the unofficial¬†“Pay It Backward‚ÄĚ world record of 490 acts of kindness done within a 24 hour period.¬†

Fast forward to April 4, 2009.  The Daily Challenge team, with help from Toronto’s social media world, decided that our fair city could easily break that record. 

Toronto¬†had torrential downpours the night before the event ‚Äď as a matter of fact, we¬†broke a 60 year-old rain record — and after the downpour came 70 km/h winds.¬† I thought no way are people going to go.¬† But at around¬†2pm when I finally made it to Second Cup, 244 other people had already shown.¬† Sweet! The buzz in the air was palpable.¬†¬†I signed up for my number, got in line, chatted with the people around me, got a medium Earl Grey tea from the very kind person¬†in front of me, bought the very kind person¬†behind me a medium coffee, chatted with my fellow Twits, gave props to the organizers¬†and headed off.¬†

pay-it-backward-toronto-0062When I happened by¬†about two hours later, the #pibTO line was even longer and everyone was anticipating that the¬†record was about to be broken.¬† I was at home about¬†20 minutes later and saw “the” tweet —¬†Toronto had¬†done it!¬† We had¬†officially crossed the 600 person mark and had broken the world-record for coffee acts of kindness.¬† Awesome!

I‚Äôm so damn proud to have been part of something as cool as Pay It Backward day!¬† Not only did I get to buy something for a complete stranger ‚Äď which I realized I’d¬†never actually done¬†before ‚Äď but got to do something that would¬†greatly benefit an amazing organization like Sick Kids Hospital.¬†¬†¬†

Everyone knows how much I‚Äôm in love with Toronto.¬† The spirit in this city is absolutely unyielding.¬† Its oft-mocked moniker of “Toronto the Good” may make some people cringe, but in my opinion, it‚Äôs never been more apt than this weekend.¬†¬†Swoon!¬†

See the rest of my photos from Pay It Backward Toronto here.


Filed under Canada, Coffee Break, do-gooder