Category Archives: About Michael


Always Chase Dreams
Once upon a time, in a ‘verse far far away (how’s that for a mixed-bag of references!), this blog had many readers. Now – and this is just a rough guess – anything I post pop-ups (and rather unexpectedly I imagine!) in the RSS feeds of about 12 people… most of whom will have no memory of adding me in the first place.

Fair enough. This is the sort of thing that happens when you take a blogging hiatus… vacation… well, really I just quit this blog altogether. Back in 2010, between 4 kids and a very busy corporate job, I found myself spread too thinly and eventually forgot why I was blogging here in the first place.

Over the years I thought about coming back and taking up the blogging mantle once again – I would think of grand ideas to explore, articles I wanted to write… but thinking about adding another time commitment always managed to cool the jets.

But life changes. I walked away from corporate (don’t worry – I kept the four kids!) and spent the past year doing pretty much nothing (a very broad generalization), and now find myself with more time than commitments for the first time since… well, in a very long time.

So, “Myself…” I says, “It may be time to start thinking about getting back to writing.

Everybody has a couple of things hidden away in that secret little thought garden inside their souls – you know, the thing, or things you ‘always wanted to do/see/visit’ right? I think most people hold these dreams to close and spend most, if not all of their lives never pursuing them actively. Some people get lucky and fall into some job that vaguely resembles their dream, but very few people truly have the courage to step up and chase their dreams.

I had two (if you don’t count Astronaut and Fireman – both of which still sound like fun!):

  • My first and oldest dream has always been storytelling. An avid reader since before most kids even knew how to say their alphabets, I wanted to be a writer since before I knew I needed to grow up and get a job in the first place.
  • My second dream has always been to be an entrepreneur. Now, even being an avid reader, I had no idea what entrepreneurship meant when I was young, but I did know this: My father, a corporate executive, was often miserable and rarely home, while a couple of very wealthy friend of his, who each owned 1 or more businesses, were jolly, owned huge houses and many cars and toys. This left a pretty clear impression on my 7 year old self.

Unfortunately, I grew up shy. An introvert with grand dreams and a complete lack of self-confidence – You know that little voice in the back of everyones head that likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear like: “You are not good enough for this…”? Yeah, well, that force was strong with this one, and looking back I know I’ve missed some great opportunities because of it.

But every day is a new chance, a new opportunity to do right, do more, to chase your dreams.

That is largely what I have been doing over the past year. Catching up with family time, and delving deeply into the dream well – trying to reset, or re-establish who I am, what I want, and why I’m here.

I’ve been truly lucky to have had the time, this opportunity.

So here’s the New Me, which is basically the old me, or rather the original me since I’m older now… But with more focus, more passion, and more energy (it’s amazing what you find when chasing dreams) – or for short: More FPE… which doesn’t actually sound all that great so never mind.

But to chase dreams effectively, you need a plan, otherwise it becomes too easy to fall victim to that little voice in the back of your head telling you to give up, go home, and watch some TV.

So, without any further ado, (but a fair amount of preamble) here it is, my goals for myself, and this blog in 2014:
Personal Goals

  • Start a business that can support myself and my family (underway – but more on that later)
  • Write. Write often, write well, but: write, write, write.
  • Try to convince more people to trust their passions & chase their dreams

Blogging Goals

  • Explore the nature of dreams… actually, really just the act of chasing them!
  • Explore tools and mindsets (just another tool right?) that help
  • Explore methods for getting it all done
  • Talk about starting & running a business
  • Talk about writing

I may also talk about photography – another passion – and life in general – hey! with 4 kids, ‘life in general’ is often at the forefront of my thoughts! - from time to time, but I’ll try to keep it relevant to the above goals.

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!

Off to the BigSeminar in Georgia

Tomorrow’s going to be a long day of travelling.

I’m heading to Atlanta to attend Armand Morin’s BigSeminar.  Many of the shows attendees are merchants of ours, so it is always an interesting show to attend.

Unfortunately I’ve gone and let my passport expire.  I haven’t been out of the country much in the past couple of years (3 babies in 3 years will do that to you!) and hadn’t realized that I needed to renew my passport.  And of course, as the US is in a ‘heightened state of security’ I can’t fly in without a passport anymore; which means we need to DRIVE into Buffalo and catch a flight to Atlanta from there… ridiculous!

I hate that it’s more difficult to get across the border now-a-days, and before any of my American friends and readers get their knickers in a bunch, I DO understand it, but I still hate it for a number of reasons.

While we may have our little cultural differences, Canadians and Americans really are just two sides of the same coin and I for one am fiercely proud of the fact that our nations have the world’s longest undefended border.  And it’s been that way for a long, long time.  Anything that impedes on that is ultimately unfortunate.

Anyway, I’m tired and getting off topic here a little.

This started as a post about the BigSeminar :) 

So I leave the house tomorrow around 7:30 am, and should get to the hotel in Atlanta somewhere around 5:30  pm.  Long day of travelling!

But, good times will be had by all.  I’m looking forward to talking to our merchants, and some of the presenters.

If you happen to be going, make sure you look for the 1ShoppingCart team!


the Number 23

I just finished watching the Jim Carey movie 23.

As the movie ended and I hit the power button on the remote, I glanced up at the digital clock above the TV…

It read 1:13, which my influenced mind read as 23. eerie.

hmm… now that I think a little bit more about it… = 23 characters!

Todays date is 2/10/07 (10-7=3!)

I’m 32 this year! (23 backwards)

I live at the 53 house on my street (5 upside down is 2!)

I’m leaving in 2 days for a 3 day seminar in Atlanta!

I have 2 kids, but will have 3 by the end of the year!

I’ve been trying to write this now for almost 23 minutes!!

And this message will self-destruct in exactly 23 seconds!!!!

Argh… I need help! I broke the mainline!

I’m in a bit of trouble :(

Something I’ve done to this template has screwed up my page navigation… This is Michael being frustrated (with myself of course!)

Problem: if you scroll down to the bottom of my homepage you will see navigation options to navigate through older pages of posts.  Unfortunately if you click through any of them you are taken to a copy of my homepage.

In other words, it looks like all of my paginated index pages are drawing from my most recent posts.

And I can’t figure out how to fix it.

Solution: ? This is a call for help / suggestions / sympathy (just kidding!) … if you have any idea what I may have done, or how I may fix it, please email me at:

mvaliant at  gmail .com or leave a comment…

Thank you!

(and yes, I’m using a plugin to modify how my pagination appears, but this issue predates that plugin!)

Notice something funny here?

Something Funny in here!

I’m currently in the process of moving out of my previous home at (TMR) in favour of

This is a fairly labour intensive job and will likely take me a couple of days to complete.

I’m copying all the posts from TMR and reposting them here at Then 301′ing to the new posts to help my search engine love.

I’m also doing most of this by hand… one post at a time.

My only saving grace is the fact that I have only been using the current incarnation of TMR for about 40 days and there are only about 130 posts, half of which I will leave for fallow (I’m only bringing the good stuff… at least the ‘better’ stuff).

Besides feeling a little pretentious about hiding behind my own name now, I think I will be happier in my new digs. I bought TMR years ago for one purpose or another and have been sitting on it ever since. When the Thirty Day Challenge cropped up this year I dusted off TMR for the sake of expediency. Now that I have signed on to moderate the Thirty Day Challenge forum on a more permanent basis, I thought I should make a more permanent home.

So I am going to listen to Chris Brogan’s advice and ‘Be the Brand’ (I don’t know if Chris has actually worded it quite like that…) and I now find myself squarely on… well, myself at Ironically (in a completely sideways direction of the conversation), Chris is having some duplicate domain issues of his own right now.

Well, I’ve got to get back to moving some posts over, creating 301 redirects, moving more posts over… creating more 301 redirects.

I just wanted to touch base with everyone and try to explain the short term madness!


(image source: ejdmoo)