2016

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This is it, guys!  My final post!

Thank goodness!  haha

In recent previous years, I’ve made a list of things I’d accomplished over the year, the number of which would match whatever year it was. This year, though, the general populace seems intent on bringing me down, so I’ve altered the plan a tiny bit.

Oh, I know it’s not intentional, necessarily, but regardless – y’all are ruining my zen thing, man.

So this year, I’ve instead made a list of the 16 best things to happen for me in 2016.  The original list was quite a lot larger, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to the following, in no particular order:

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  1. Mark Hamill

Luke Skywalker is my earliest and longest-running heroes, from about the age of 5 years, or so.  I mean, it all kicked into high gear when I was about 12, but my love for Luke and Star Wars had already been brewing for several years before that.  So it was a near-lifelong dream come true to finally be able to meet the man who brought the character to life.  I’d rehearsed everything in my head leading up to those few precious moments I’d get to spend interacting with him – and ended up doing none of it when the time came.  But everything that did happen was so much better than I could have hoped, and even the group photo op I had done with my awesome niece and nephews was perfect and priceless.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

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2. Hudson

It’s impossible to explain to another person my absolute love for this polar bear.  When he was a little guy, I found myself getting up in the morning after an injection night (they were terrible – not much could get me out of bed the next day) and trekking out to the zoo just so I could spend some time with him; watching him, and getting to know him.  There’s just something that happens to my heart every time I see him.  When he was moved to Winnipeg, I was devastated, and knew that, even if I ever saw him again, it wouldn’t be the same.  I wouldn’t be able to see him all the time anymore.  Until now.  2016 saw the return of Hudson and his brother Humphrey to the Toronto Zoo, and I have been out there almost every week since their quarantine ended.  I spent some quality time at the window with him one day, and since then, he’s back to greeting me upon arrival, just like he used to!  He’s now the biggest bear I’ve ever seen, but that thing still happens in my heart when I see him.  When we make eye contact, I pretty much explode.  The giant fool is truly my spirit animal, and even though our time together is temporary, I am making the most of it.  No regrets this time.

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3. Dark Matter Set Visit

Mind Reels on a spaceship, guys!  Every bit as amazing as you’d think…and more!  Of course, that’s really all I can say right now.  Keep an eye out for the S3 premiere, when we should finally be able to talk about our day on set!

4. Bowling For Kids Sake

An all-star team put together by actor Ennis Esmer challenged fans to help raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto by donating and/or building teams to compete against one another in the Superhero-themed bowling night event!  Two “civilian” teams took on two all-star teams and basically had such a ridiculously good time that we have been thinking ever since of trying more things like that in the future!  So much fun, and all for a great cause!

5. Good Credit

When I learned that my bankruptcy would be cleared from my record with one of Canada’s two largest credit agencies after just 6 years instead of 7, I went online one day to find out how I was doing.  I’d gotten myself a secured Visa so that I would have SOME credit, instead of no credit, once the 7 years after my discharge had passed.  I got my credit report done, and was surprised and excited to find out that I was already squarely in the GOOD section of the scale!  Before I knew it, I was pre-approved for far more credit than I wanted, so I talked the guy down to a $500 Scotiabank Scene Visa, and have been happily earning more Scene points AND improving my credit rating ever since!  That’s so huge, guys!

6. Hands On Exotics

I had tried to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, because I really wanted to feed baby squirrels in the nursery, but the schedule didn’t work out for when I was available, so I went a different direction, and began volunteering at an exotic animal shelter, instead.  I was taking it week to week for a long time, as I wasn’t sure how I’d do over the winter and such.  Plus, it’s a lot of cleaning poo.  Then there was a boatload of upheaval, and I wasn’t sure what was going on or how things would work moving forward.  The past couple of months, things have settled down a bit, and I am doing better with the routine.  I’m getting to know some of the animals, and they are getting to know me, and to be honest, it’s starting to feel a bit like therapy now.  My usual team and I work well together, and we get things done quickly so there’s a bit of extra time at the end to visit with our favourites a little longer (an in the example photo below, with young miss Cricket, the baby kangaroo).  And oh, the stories I can tell!  I’m hoping to continue to make new ones as we move into 2017!

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7. Grandma

This is a story I don’t wish to go into, so I’ll just say that I’ve started writing letters to my grandmother.  By hand.  At least once a week, but usually more.  That’s all I have to say about that.

8. Reconnecting with old friends

2016 was a good year for me in terms of reaching out and reconnecting with people who used to be in my life with much more regularity.  I started going to some WLU Toronto Alumni events, which – I graduated in 1995, and have been in Toronto since late 1997 – why have I not been going to these?!  So much fun!  Especially with my gal, Izzy, and her guy, Phil (who went to Western – boooo!  haha), and my hope for further reunions with my fellow Laurier alum may actually come to pass!  As well, I got reacquainted in a big way with one of my Rogers boys from back in the day.  We fell into our same old rhythm with each other – and then changed things up a bit, as well.  Right from our first conversation, it was obvious to me how much I’d missed him, though, so now I’m doing my best to make sure he and I don’t drift apart like that again.

As well, I started seeing my therapist on a regular basis again.  We also fell into our same old rhythm, but this time it seems like everything is more heightened.  We are connecting on a much deeper level than ever before, and as difficult as it is, I couldn’t have asked for more.  It’s exactly what I need.

What’s more is that I’ve spent more quality time in 2016 with more recent friends, and made at least one amazing new one, to boot!  Maybe my obsession with stronger connections is starting to pay off.  Also GO HAWKS GO!

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9. CSA’s Red Carpet

The Mind Reels has covered the Canadian Screen Awards (aka The Candys) to some degree each year since they began.  We’ve been extremely fortunate to have been invited to do so, and to have as much access as we’ve been given each year.  This year, however, was our first time on the broadcast gala’s red carpet, chatting with the talent as they arrived for the big night.  We were squished into a spot at the very end, and while many of the big names walked right by after having done their required time with the big media outlets, just as many amazing peeps actually stopped to talk to us – and many of them weren’t people we already knew!  This was our most incredible year at the CSA’s by far, and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to apply for accreditation again for 2017, because it’s quickly become one of my favourite events in the city all year!  Besides, we were told by one wonderful woman that we’re a relief to see at the end of the red carpet – that people feel like they can just relax and enjoy themselves while they’re with us, and that’s got to be one of the biggest, most humbling compliments I think I’ve ever received.  More chances to make that happen, please!

10. Crown

This may seem like a weird thing to include on a Best Of list, but I was finally able to have my first dental crown put in, and I couldn’t be happier.  After a root canal, gum surgery and getting my mold taken just under the lab’s holiday deadline, I am now – for the first time in years – pain free.  Well, as far as my mouth is concerned, at least.  And for me, that’s a huge good thing!

11. Creativity

Figured I’d lump a couple of things into one spot, just to help whittle down my list!  From my Etsy store (where I sold my first felted item), to my meeting with the Toronto Library’s Writer in Residence (who made me excited about my book again), to my first attempt at shooting footage solo throughout my day for the Canada In A Day film that gets broadcast next year.  I was pretty disappointed with how mine turned out, but I still got a few emails saying that some clips may or may not make it into the final film, so I signed all the required releases and sent them off into the ether.  We’ll see what happens, but either way, I learned a lot just in that one day, so with any luck I can carry that forward to bigger and better things soon, too!

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12. The final 10-15 lbs

The majority of the weight I gained following The Betrayal was lost slowly over the course of the following decade.  I’d resigned myself to just staying at one particular point because I couldn’t seem to get the scale to budge any lower – until late January 2016.  Suddenly, the weight started coming off and the final 10-15 lbs – also the most dramatic pounds – dropped away by the end of March, or so.  Not only am I now back to my pre-gain weight, but so far I’ve kept it that way without too much trouble.  Okay, fine, maybe not the past couple of weeks, but it’s the holidays.  If all goes well after this weekend, things will get back to normal soon.  It’s nice to have a glimpse of my former swagger back, too!

13. Melissa O’Neil on stage

The weird thing about this is that I watched Mel on Canadian Idol back in the day, and may have had a little crush on her even back then.  Seeing her in Dark Matter has been an absolute joy, and getting to chat with her via The Mind Reels was a bit of a dream come true, as well.  The fact that I get to know her a little in real life is just…above and beyond.  So you’d THINK I would have taken the opportunity to see her perform on stage – to sing live – at any given point before now!  However, better late than never.  And so completely worth it that she gets her own spot on my personal Best Of list for the year.  Also, the wee crush lives.

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14. Ole Timey Radio Plays

These are pretty much the best thing ever!  For Mind Reels, Tim and I started bringing in random handfuls of actor friends and reading old radio play scripts from the 30’s and 40’s!  So much ridiculous and hilarious fun – to the point where we all but stopped doing regular interviews, even!  Don’t worry, though, I intend to get interviews going again, AND radio plays, AND maybe a few other ideas I have all put into play in the new year.  those radio plays, though.  We knew they’d be fun, but everyone continues to go above and beyond, every time, and that I am always in need of facial traction due to the amount of hard laughter each time is indication of exactly how special these things have become.  I can’t get enough!

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15.  Kate Tattoo

I’d seen an ad on Facebook for a new local tattoo parlour with a deal for small black and white tattoos available for $50 for a limited time.  A friend suggested we get one for “our girls”, meaning our doppelganger cats, both of whom have passed on and who are deeply missed.  I thought that was a great idea, and then, thanks to my very best friend in life, the whole experience ended up being more than I could have hoped for!  I love, love, love my homage to wee Kate the Kitten, and am naturally itching to get more ink done as soon as I have some kind of extra cash again!

16.  Lil Bub

Last but certainly not least, 2016 was the year I finally met Lil Bub in person.  I barely managed to hold back the tears, but I got to pet her wee head and we took terrible selfies on my phone and I love her so much I have a need to see her again someday!  What a remarkable little beast she is, that Lillian Bubbles.  She has no idea how much, really, which just makes her even more incredible.  I’m so grateful I got to spend those few wonderful moments in her presence!

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So there you have it!  My best moments of 2016!  Honourable mention goes to the ongoing shininess of my Firefly LootCrate subscription.  And the daily joy of living with my three wonderful cats – and this guy:

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I’m not going to say I’ll never post here again, but it definitely won’t be as often.  I’m sure I’ll get the urge to write once in awhile, though.  It’s who I am.

To that end, I am starting a new blog project, which I hope will work better for me moving forward.  It’s called My WildLife Awakened, and you’ll be able to follow along with it here.

I’ve been thinking, and will leave you with this one tidbit – almost advice-ish, really, though I hope I can take it, myself, as well.

As we cross into 2017, there may or may not be much to look forward to, so I’m going to try instead to make great memories to look back on this time next year.

Let’s see what happens!

Oh – and happy new year!

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Nothin’

I feel, as we drawer closer to the end of the year and, thus, the end of this blog, that I should be saying something more…profound. Or meaningful. Or enlightening. Or something.

But I’ve got nothin’. Sorry!

I sent a particular tweet to Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary, last night, and was both pleased and heart-broken when whoever is running the account “liked” it. It did make me snuggle Brody all the more after, though.

As if I could snuggle that guy more than I already do. Haha

I love that puppy dog so much.

I did a tiny bit of work on my resume yesterday, which was fun. Well…not FUN, exactly, because I sort of hate it. But as I’m not planning to go out and find another job any time soon, re-vamping my “brand” feels kind of fun. Coming up with new ways of expressing my innate awesomeness. Kind of fun. Part of me wants to craft an amazing resume, then send it to my HR department, just to add to my file. You know, since they don’t really know the extent of my awesomeness yet. Neither do I, of course, but still. I wonder if they’d think of me any differently?

I made a cursory list of great things that happened in 2016, and will whittle it down to the top 16 in time for New Years. Like, great things that happened in my life, I mean. I don’t care about what the world thinks was great. Certainly not about making anything great again. #justsayin

Anyway, unlike a lot of people, I am not excited for the year to be over. I’m not “done with it” or blaming the calendar for all of my woes. Remember when everyone was freaking out about the end of the Mayan calendar, because the idea of it starting all over again at the beginning was unreasonable, but vague impending apocalyptic doom was probably on the horizon? Flash forward four years to 2016 and people are freaking out about celebrities getting older and dying (apparently Gen X is just realizing now that we’re not immortal), and praying for the year to come to an end already. Because…I guess…no one will die in 2017?

I’m doubtful. But what I do know is that a) my rent is going up again, b) the cost of a metropass is going up again, and c) my income is not going up. Still.

So screw everybody who’s clamoring to race into the new year. For the moment, at least, I am over YOU. 🙂

Fan Expo Canada 2016 Preview

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Thanks once again to Touchwood PR, The Mind Reels will be covering Fan Expo Canada as press! I am particularly grateful this year, as it’s the first time since 2005 that I haven’t been able to purchase a pass for the weekend, and was not sure if I would be able to attend at all. Much to my surprise and delight, I won a day pass for the Saturday, so I at least knew I would be there for part of it. But then Mark Hamill was announced as a guest and I knew I needed to be there while he was around for as much as I possibly could. Thankfully, Touchwood came through for us yet again, and now Tim and I are gearing up to cover the largest event of its kind in Canada!

The guest list is insanely impressive across the board this year, with big names known in the realms of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Gaming and Anime all descending upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for four days beginning on Thursday September 1st and running through the majority of Labour Day weekend. It also happens to be my birthday weekend…er, well, the event kicks off on my birthday. The rest is just bonus, really. Thank goodness for that holiday Monday!

I have my wishlist all ready to go as far as photo ops and autographs, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the schedule to be released, along with preparing for whatever Touchwood may have in store for us again this year!

My personal goal is to basically stalk poor Mark Hamill as much as possible – definitely need to meet him, get my photo signed, get a pic taken with him and my awesome nephew…and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be heart-broken not to get into his Q&A, if he has one. I’m hoping to be able to park my butt in that line-up for however long I need to in order to secure myself a seat inside.

I mean, it’s Mark Hamill. Top of my dream guest list. I want to experience this as much as possible, especially since he’s essentially been an enormous part of my life since I was 5 years old. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. A long time. (See what I did there, Star Wars fans?) I am so excited to see him that I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only August 5th! Gotta wait a little while longer yet!

In the meantime, however, the Photo Op schedule is up, and tickets will go on sale starting Tuesday here. But before you can snag those, however, you need to buy event tickets here!

As well, you can check out all the most up-to-date information on the event’s official website here. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter account to help you keep on top of things. The incredible guest list aside, there are also about a billion other things to do which would keep anyone busy all weekend long, not the least of which is the show’s retail sales floor, and gaming areas. Here’s a basic breakdown of what’s happening, but that will be fleshed out far more as the magic date draws ever closer.

So start getting ready now, Toronto and visitors! Fan Expo Canada is coming – and it’s going to be pretty epic, if I have anything to say about it!

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Taking Control

My Facebook memory feed today is filled with basically two things – the announcement that Tim and I were official Guinness World Record holders, and video clips of the Conjoined Twins of Terror. Both of those things do my heart some good, to the point where I can’t even really remember what else was in my feed. It’s funny to me that I was already promoting and planning the GWR attempt 2 years ago, and was verified one year ago. Everything came full circle, and I’m still so proud and excited about everything I achieved within that space of time.

It does frustrate me some when I think about how little I have accomplished since then, but also motivates me to get my butt in gear now.

Well, hopefully motivates me. It’s one thing to plan things out while I am distracted by my day job, but a whole other thing to actually get stuff done when I am at home.

I think the key is to stay angry. Haha

Mark Hamill’s autograph and photo op prices are up on the Fan Expo site, and even though they are crazy high, I was actually expecting higher, so now I am hopeful that I can get one of both, AND my usual photo op with Morena Baccarin. She and I met almost exactly 10 years ago – Labour Day weekend 2006 – which was also the first time I met Carrie Fisher. Seems perfect that she would come back now – Labour Day weekend 2016 – when I will hopefully be meeting Mark Hamill for the first time. I’m pretty freaking excited. If I end up being able to afford a photo with John Cusack, as well, all the better!

Found out a friend’s film is having its world premiere at TIFF this year, so naturally I need to be there for it. Gotta support my ladies, after all! And speaking of my ladies, Tatiana Maslany also has at least one film coming to TIFF (of course she does – I’m pretty sure she’s actually a clone, or never sleeps, or both), so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to snag a ticket to that one somehow, as well. Freaking September, man. Always so expensive! I’m trying to remain focused on the things I most want, though, and just letting everything else go. If I can make the few things that will most make me smile happen, then I can do without the rest. I just have to stay focused. On myself. Haha

Computer stuff at home is coming along quite well. I think I might start back into uploading clips from our GWR attempt very soon – perhaps over the weekend. It was becoming such a struggle with my old computer, but this one should have a far easier time of it, so I’ll hopefully finish getting all those things posted in the near future! The sound is a mess, because it’s all backup footage from one of the cameras, rather than the mics, but it’s better than nothing. It’ll be fun to revisit that stuff again!

I’m also trying to take Mind Reels stuff more into my own hands, because I am tired of waiting around for anyone else to do a damn thing. I just need more control in order to get things done myself. Freaking boys, man. I honestly do not understand sometimes. Geez.

In the end, I’m in the mood right now to take a more active approach in getting the things I want. There’s a lot on my list, but I feel like – if I focus and whittle it down into more manageable chunks – there’s nothing I can’t do.

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Safety Lights Are For Dudes

I must admit, I’m thus far enjoying the act of setting up my new computer.

Well, my computer that’s new to me.  My nephew’s old computer…seems he upgraded huge, which then turned into a huge upgrade for me, as well.  Now I am in the process of getting everything set up, and every time another thing goes well, I giddy grin to myself.  With any luck, I’ll be more on top of my game – of all my games – than ever…and very, very soon.  My brain is filling up with possibilities.

Well, not FILLING,but you know – excited.

In other news, I had a great time watching Ghostbusters.  Like, really great.  It gave me many different feels, all good. I’m thinking the haters are perhaps just anti-fun.  Or anti-amazing-women, because DAMN…every single one of those wonderful ladies kicked ass, as far as I’m concerned.  I laughed out loud more times than I can count, forgot more amazing lines than I can remember, and my eyes misted up several times.  Laugh, cry, cheer…recipe for success, says I.

I even think it works better as a reboot than it would have as a continuation, particularly for the fact that I prefer the “ghost girls” struggling to be taken seriously while taking care of one another than something that would have started off in a world where people believe in ghosts because they’d already seen it all before.  Back when men did it.  It felt more genuine to have the women fighting to just not be brushed aside and treated as fraudulent, rather than fighting each other.  It seemed more real to me, and like a sweet starting point.

Plus, women battling to be taken seriously in a man’s world?  I know some people who can definitely relate to such a simple theme, which only serves to make the rest of it all the more successful, to my mind.

Besides, this is the first time in my life – as far as I can recall – that a movie ever made me desperately want to cosplay one of its characters.

I’d do up Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert like a BOSS.

Toronto Comicon 2016

So hard to write right now because a certain Mr. Brodykins wants to play.

However.

Today I went to Toronto Comicon.  Naturally, I stayed out far too late last night (but it was worth it), and then lots of little things went wrong this morning, so I was very nearly late for the 9am media photo call, but I managed to squeak in just in time.  Thank goodness!

Tim and I had an amazing time, chatting with guests, other media, and of course the most excellent folks at Touchwood PR, who set us up with so many incredible press opportunities.  This morning was no exception.  Watch the Mind Reels page for the video footage, and check out our goofy selfies with everyone!  So much fun – everyone was in a great mood and came to play.  It was the perfect start to the day!

Once the con officially opened, we headed to the show floor and wandered around to check things out.  I saw so many things I wanted to buy!  I had to keep reminding myself that I don’t actually have any money.

A couple of t-shirts caught my eye, as did several Star Wars toys – original trilogy and Force Awakens.  Probably the greatest things, though, were these Star Wars 3D holograms.  I’ve never seen anything like them!  You can walk around them and see pretty much the whole thing, as it appears to poke out of the picture.  The one being released in a few weeks features R2-D2 projecting a hologram of Princess Leia.  A hologram within a hologram!  Does it GET any better?!

The hits and highlights kept coming as we took in the Killjoys panel, then got the opportunity to speak with the cast ourselves after.  We’d been able to interview Aaron last year, but getting to talk with him, Hannah and Luke together was a real treat.  They all have such genuine and kind personalities, and a great sense of humour.  They play off one another really well, making them an incredibly fun trio to chat with!

Or with whom to chat.

Up next was the Dark Matter panel.  Given that we’d shared a bowling lane with half the crew a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to see them all together again!  It’s ridiculous how pretty that cast is, and the comrade tie between them is obvious, and a ton of fun to watch.  I’d gotten there early enough to snag an autograph ticket, so I jumped at the opportunity to say hello to the cast members I know, and to introduce myself to the ones I hadn’t met yet.

Plus, I’m just not sure I could possibly adore those people more.  They make me happy.

I headed home after that, because I was determined to walk Brody in daylight.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been home while the sun is still up.  I stopped at McDonald’s, though, because I was hungry and it’s been a long time since Brody and I shared the most delicious fries in the world.  Sometimes I just need to hang out with the fur kids and bond for awhile.  It soothes my soul.

As does the McD’s maple blueberry pie that’s available right now.  Good grief!  So good!

Now I’m watching some stuff off my PVR (Survivor and Elementary, so far) and planning to go to bed early.  Tomorrow at the con is a later start, but I am exhausted as heck these days.

Time to put my feet up and relax.  More tomorrow!w

Beginnings

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Actually, this isn’t really a beginning at all.  More a gathering, and a continuation.  So already I’m off to a terrible start.  Or non-start.

Anyway.

I’m Sue, and this is an Inventory Of Everything me-ish.  I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like so many different facets of me are spread across the internet that I can’t keep any of them current for long.  So I decided to create this one huge catch-all blog for all of my stuff-ses, so that even when I post in one specific place, anyone will still be able to come here and find it all compiled together.

We are more than the sum of our parts, I think.

And as this is a whole new year, I’ve decided to try something new and write something, create something, say something – every single day.  For a year.  And after that we’ll see.  But it’s important to do things – to get out of my head – and just because all of the things I do aren’t easily classified into one of the categories I’ve created over the years, I find I’ve been neglecting them.

So now this can be one big category into which I can add anything and everything.  So long as I continue to add.  It’ll be random, and chaotic, and boring, and fun, and informative, and whiny, and triumphant and a host of other things.  It’ll be anything it is.  Anything I am.

An Inventory Of Everything.