Canada at TIFF

Last night was pretty great, despite being so tired and sore.  I almost didn’t make it on time, actually.  It felt like everything was against me for a bit there.  It was a familiar sensation.  But I got there, just in time, and settled into our spot on the red carpet for TIFF’s Canada party.  Once talent started arriving, things got crazy busy and the time flew by.  We had some good interviews; many with people we knew, many more with people we didn’t.  All of it went rather smoothly, for the most part, but far and away my favourite responses came from literally every person of whom we asked the question, “What does Canada/being Canadian mean to you?”

I love the sense of humble pride that everyone expressed in this country, and that they all had similar yet different answers made me very happy.  Also maple syrup.

It was very cool, especially coming just days after people across the country were shooting footage for Canada In A Day.  It was excellent timing.

After a couple of hours of Periscoping interviews, it was time to head in and join the growing party.  So much Canadian awesomeness in one room is always a good thing, and while I haven’t really been to other TIFF parties, I am pretty sure this one would be a favourite.  Beer and cider and poutine and a freaking wine and chip tasting bar?  Come on!  The music was amazing and had everyone up on the dance floor.  Well, a lot of people, at least.  I’m more the observe from the sidelines type.

There was even a particular someone I was observing more than most, which was cool.

I haven’t done that in a long time.  Maybe being lonely but remembering when I wasn’t has its advantages.

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Monday TIFF-day

As expected, I am suffering somewhat today.

However, the show must go on. As must life! So with another busy day and late night ahead of me, and the beginnings of a cold that have been hanging around for over a week now, I’m having some spicy kimchi noodles from the convenience store on the corner. Hoping that’ll at least keep me warm until lunch time!

Also because tasty.

Even though I can’t afford to go to TIFF, and especially because it still feels strange to not be on vacation and heading to screenings, I think I should plan to book at least the front end off next year. The Mind Reels is not accredited press on an official level, but we’re still getting more than enough festival action coming our way, and I am broken and exhausted right now.

Luckily I still have paid sick days available. Self care time is upon me, I think.

Remember to sponsor and share our Patreon page (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels), as just $2 per month gets you on the Patron board, and gets us closer to our initial $100 goal than ever before!

I filmed as much as I could for Canada In A Day, so once I get feeling better and have a bit more energy, I’ll be able to start going through the footage and cutting it together. There’s unfortunately not very much of it – the day didn’t really go as planned – but there’s some. Hopefully I can at least create a mini-narrative of my day, such as it was, and then share it online once it’s been submitted. I think the cut-off is a month from today, so while I have time in theory, I don’t think I have much time i practice. My next few weeks are pretty busy, too. SOMETHING will get submitted, though! Some clip may even make it in! I filmed Brody a bit, and he’s irresistible!

Tonight is going to be a late night. Not sure how I’ll get through it, exactly, but at the same time, if it’s as much fun as last year, I think my billionth wind will kick in nicely! Just have to get there, is all! I haven’t really been to many TIFF parties – or any others, that I can recall – but I think the Canada one would be my favourite, anyway. It’s just got an unpretentious vibe to it. Plus, I know a lot of the people who will potentially be there, so once the initial red carpet formalities are out of the way, everyone just gets to hang together, which is nice. I even just like people-watching in an environment like that; when everyone is relaxed and having fun together. It’s just nice.

Plus, if there are chips and beer, I’m all good!

Anyway, it’ll be amazing, I’m sure. I wish I felt better so I could enjoy it more, but really, just being there will be worth it. Knowing me, I’ll forget how crappy I feel shortly after my arrival, anyway!

Mundane Inspiration

So freaking tired guys!

It’s been building for over a week now, really, and each night I seem to get less and less sleep, so struggle more and more the next day. I’m pretty sure I’m approaching the giggly delusion stage, though, so I ought to be fun to hang out with any time now!

If all goes according to plan, however, I should be able to go back to bed tomorrow morning, after I take care of the critters who live with me. That should help some, I think.

A co-worker mentioned something earlier that caught my attention a little bit. Something about respecting people who “tell it like it is” (and I was thinking, “only if they’re right”), and then he said he was a Sagittarius, and that they are generally quite blunt about expressing what they think. I was thinking I’m a Virgo, and am generally consumed with a myriad of unspoken thoughts. I wonder if other Virgos are, too, or if it’s just a shy person kind of thing.

I hate conflict, so am the first to back down when one arises – at least in terms of expressing my true opinion, thought, or emotion. Most often, though, I keep it all to myself, and have entire conversations which remain largely just in my head. I don’t know why, exactly. I probably appear ambivalent or un-invested, but there’s a full on storm raging inside, more often than not. I don’t feel like the expression of it would do any good, however, so that’s one reason why I keep it to myself. I also suck at expressing myself in idle conversation, let alone when stronger emotions are involved, and usually need to take time to think about what I want to say before I say it. Like…a couple of days or so.

That’s why Tim does most of the talking when we interview people. I can’t often think of anything to say and tend to just listen instead. Which isn’t a bad thing. It does keep me on the periphery a lot, though. And denies the world access to my bone-chilling brilliance, of course.

Can intelligence chill bones?

I actually had a cool conversation with some co-workers yesterday, near the end of the work day. I can’t even remember why, but I ended up talking about how much I like the sky, and how I don’t think I’m meant to live in cities with concrete where there should be trees, and how near the top of my bucket list is that I want to spend time in each province and territory in Canada before I die. Like, not live there, but not just drive through, either. I’ve only ever been in Ontario and parts of Quebec.  I haven’t even been to either coast in my own country.  I think a week or two for each province/territory would be ideal – travelling around, seeing sights, sometimes just sitting still and allowing myself to become immersed in the space around me. I want to take a billion pictures in each area – mostly landscape and nature and wildlife, of course. I want to try foods that are new to me, but local to the area. Experience things that locals do, rather than typical tourist draws, even though I want to see those, too.

Tourism is a funny thing, really. Like, it’s a way of presenting the area in which you live – what makes it unique, what will draw people to the area and maybe even make them want to come back. What will grab a stranger’s attention? What do we want someone to think of where we live, after they’ve gone? What can we highlight, which will give them the best of us and what we have to offer?

And yet, no one who actually lives there really does any of that stuff. It’s taken for granted, because it’s your life, your home, and when you live there, you can see and do all of those things all the time. It’s no longer special or unique, and often you find yourself annoyed at the very tourists you were highlighting things to bring in. You mock their eagerness to take pictures of things that you pass every day on the way to work. As a kid, I used to get so excited to go to the CNE each year for my birthday, because part of that trip meant riding the SUBWAY! And then a STREETCAR! All before we even got to the exhibition grounds!

These days, though, I want to murder people on public transit with my bear hands, and I think my silent homicidal thoughts in their general directions. The subway and streetcar no longer hold that giddy, child-like joy for me. Rather, I am sick of them both, most days.

To be fair, though, I do get excited the first time I get to ride on a NEW transit vehicle, so I guess there is still a glimmer of that original shine, on occasion, after all.

The point is, I want to see some of the things that make other parts of Canada unique; the things that a given area is proud to show off about itself, even as the locals are over them for their normalcy. But I also want to glimpse, where possible, a bit of what the locals DO get excited about. Like, if you get the chance to treat yourself to dinner out, where do you most like to go? What’s your favourite meal to order there? Which alcoholic beverage is your go-to when you are out with friends? Just kind of get an idea of how people live in other parts of this vast country, of which I’ve only ever seen a tiny percentage. That kind of thing fascinates me, even as I allow myself to get caught up in their mundane.

Because no matter how over something we are ourselves, there’s always someone for whom it is brand new and special.

I want more of that.

Wednesday Thoughts

Before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming something mundane – I think I was just getting ready to go to work, actually. I’d found a new pair of jeans, which I’d forgotten I even owned (because in real life I actually don’t). They still had those plastic sizing strips on them, but an abundance of them, which I had to peel off first, because it’s just embarrassing to find out you’ve been walking around with tags and the like still on your clothes.

Whoa – I just typed “clothes” as “close” and had to correct it. Sleepy much?

Anyway, it was taking me longer and longer to get ready to leave, and I kept checking the time and getting more and more stressed about how late it was getting. I was excited to wear my new surprise jeans, though. They were still going to be a bit big, but better than most, and not full of holes like my real jeans are. I remember trying to decide which belt I should wear, too. As in, which one is falling apart the least. It’s a real-life dilemma found in even the barest wisp of a dream.

Anyway, the thing is, when I actually woke up, I remained confused about what I had to do with my day in real waking life. That sense of disorientation continued on far too long for my liking. It was actually a struggle to remain focused on getting ready for work without thinking about the new pair of jeans I didn’t really have, if that makes sense. My brain kept going back to the dream life and I’d have to consciously force it back to real life. Weird.

In other news, there was an impromptu puppy party on my street last night! Brody and I were out after work, as usual, and it was not only a nice evening, but also the time of day pretty much everyone is out with their dogs. We ran into one of his treats ladies, and she was already talking to another lady with her dog, and then more people and dogs just kept coming by to join in! We had a good 6 or 7 dogs on the go at one point, all greeting each other and each other’s people and Brody could often be found in the middle, gazing longingly at the treats lady in case more treats came his way! He’s taken to pre-sitting in anticipation of possibly getting a treat now, instead of waiting to be asked to sit for one. Silly puppy. Silly clever puppy. ❤

Tonight is The Mind Reels’ almost-all-girl rendition of a Flash Gordon episode from 1935! And the Reelie award winners announcement! So excited! One girl had to back out, unfortunately, but since it’s because she booked a gig on a new show, it’s not really that unfortunate! We’ll just have to get her back when she’s able! There are still three lovely ladies joining us, however, and I think it’s still going to be pretty epic. Or hilarious. Or both. I’m really looking forward to it!

I’ve been thinking about something Gord said during the Hip concert on Saturday night; about how we’ve been trained our whole lives to ignore Canada’s northern Aboriginal people, and how we’ve learned not to listen to anything that’s happening up there. He said he thinks it’s maybe even worse now than it’s ever been. I got this idea suddenly to maybe do something with The Mind Reels blog page about it, specifically with high school kids, perhaps. It’s a vague notion, and I don’t know if it would really work or be beneficial to anyone in any way, but there’s a seed of a thought I want to talk to Tim about. If it doesn’t work out with Mind Reels, then maybe I could still reach out and make something happen with this blog, or set up something else entirely. I was reminded of a simple exercise I’d done in teacher’s college with the kids in the Grade 7-8 classes I was teaching during my practicum. I hadn’t really expected it to go as well as it did. Not that I thought it would go badly. I just hadn’t anticipated how willingly some of the kids would open up about themselves and their home lives once they knew someone was listening. Not even that, really – I think it’s more that someone asked them. I’m learning that we all generally do like to talk about ourselves and things we are passionate about and the dreams we have for ourselves. Not in an ego way, but rather in a someone-is-interested way. Even the quietest kid in our Grade 8 homeroom – the kid who opted out of pretty much every assignment because he wasn’t feeling the participation vibe ever. That kid filled out a sheet of questions about himself…told a whole story about something that happened when he was living on a reservation up north before coming to the city. Then he actually spoke at length about some of it – out loud – with the whole class listening. We had to listen hard because he was speaking so quietly from his desk at the back of the room, but still. He was talking, and we all were listening. It was probably the only time all year that you could hear a pin drop in that room, because every kid in there knew what a rare occasion it was, and for once no one felt the need to spoil it.

So we’ll see. Maybe there’s a way I can help give kids an outlet; a space in which to discover and share their own voices.

I’ll just, you know, add it to my To Do list.

Highlighting The Positive Side

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I don’t really feel like writing today. Over-tired, heavy heart at losing Leo the lion, and a myriad of other feelings. I have the feels, but what I don’t feel is like writing. Haha

Instead, I’m going to highlight a couple of things.

Our latest Mind Reels Ol’ Timey Radio Play reading from earlier this week – we’d recorded back-up audio and video for the “official” read, and the video is now available to be viewed here. So much ridiculous fun! I’m not sure I’ll ever forget Josh Vokey’s performance in particular, both as Mrs Umney AND the Ghost! I actually can’t wait to watch it back as a way of remembering all the awesome! I feel like they just keep getting better and better, and while I’ve already got the next script chosen (to hopefully do at some point during the week after next), I am already looking to choose what the September script will be, too! I’m so excited about how these are going that I keep forgetting to work on booking interviews, as well. Balance! I must remember to seek balance!

Hopefully links for all three radio plays, and most recent interview, will go up at Smithee.TV’s sites soon, too, since everything was recorded properly for those, and using back-up methods for ours.

I am also much closer to being ready to launch a Patreon page for The Mind Reels! The inital goal is to basically get enough support per month to help cover the site-related expenses we’ve been paying out of pocket all this time, and then hopefully to be able to grow and expand the podcast even more! I have a lot of ideas, and I am excited to launch this so that fans and friends and supporters all over the world can get even more involved and interactive with the Mind Reels experience as a whole.

I think a Patreon page will add another level to it all, really. In case you are wondering, Patreon is a model of crowd-funding which allows people to sign up as Patrons to support their favourite projects on a monthly basis, usually in exchange for various rewards given back to them each month. For the Mind Reels page, we will be accepting sponsors at a wide variety of tier levels, with the lowest being $1 per month, and the highest being $15 per month (though I have a possible idea for a cool $20 tier reward if I can get things running smoothly for a few months first). The rewards get better and more interactive with each increase in tier level, and while Patrons can cease their sponsorship at any time, I am hoping that many of the rewards will entice people to stay on and enjoy the ride with us! From simple thank you’s and Twitter follows to entries into monthly draws all the way up to being named as an official presenter of an episode each month and unlimited access to video footage of full episodes via private links (the public video links are generally only for the abridged versions of the full episodes), which can really be a lot of fun to watch, too!

So we’ll see. I really want to put some effort into making the whole endeavour a success, so am going into it assuming I’ll be doing it more or less on my own, and then if I get any extra help here and there, all the better!

I also just today discovered this Canada In A Day thing, and I totally want to participate! I’ve only glanced through it, but already my mind is coming up with some fun ideas to try, so I fully expect to have even more thoughts come to me once I’ve had a chance to go over all of the submission details and the like! Such a cool and fun project – even more so if I am a part of it! Haha

That’s pretty much it for now, I think. I am very heavy-hearted over losing Leo…like, to the point where I can’t talk about it out loud or even really think about it at all without crying, so at least there are plenty of distractions in my work day to keep me focused on other things. But not talking about it doesn’t mean that it’s not affecting me deeply, especially right now. I just can’t let that be my main emotion, so while I’m allowing myself to feel it when I can, I’m also making sure to let myself feel other things, too.

Balance, right?

Also, one more thought – Brody invited me to play with him last night, for the first time in quite a long while! I of course accepted. It only lasted a few minutes because #heatwave, but the happiness it injected into my heart when it lie broken was much needed and appreciated.

He’s such a good boy, that #BrodyGraham. ❤

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Just Keep Swimming

Sorry guys, my so-well-planned-out weekend completely got away from me, and I never managed to get back on course. Now it’s Monday. Ah well.

Today isn’t really going very well…I’m pretty much a mess. Like, not in a horrible way, but I am more tired and run-down than usual, and that’s led to me being clumsy and making mistakes and having trouble focusing on anything for long. I just generally am not feeling great.

However – I did purchase my ticket for the Mark Hamill Q&A at Fan Expo, and confirmed that my Press Pass for that day, in conjunction with that extra ticket, will suffice as admission to the special event. Tomorrow photo ops go on sale, so I’m hoping to snag one of those to split with my awesome nephew, too. My brain can’t quite believe it yet, but it’s possible that this is really happening!

As well, I think we might be recording our next radio play tomorrow evening! I have one guy who can ONLY make it tomorrow, so I’ve been trying to find a few more guests who can also make it that day, and while it’s not as many as I’d hoped, it’s possible that we now have a enough to move forward with booking it. I’m hoping to do a second radio play episode in a couple of weeks, too, once more people are available.

Now if I could just get them posted up on the Smithee.TV site. It’s killing me that all of this content for our show is sitting in the can for so long. Hoping to take control over some of it myself, at least to some degree. Just…maybe not in time for tomorrow. But soon, definitely. ‘Cause this is ridiculous.

At last count, there was one video file still to go up, and a whopping 10 which haven’t been posted yet! 10! What the actual hell?

Okay, now I’m not sure if we can make it happen for tomorrow. Might have to postpone to later in the week when there’s a better chance more people will be available. So stressful! Haha

But not really. I just love doing it, and am excited whenever I can bring people together and have a whack of laughs. We’ll see how things play out, I guess.

So much to do. From little things like picking up more chicken necks for Brody and sewing up a hole in a pocket of one of my pairs of jeans, to larger things like getting more Guinness clips cut and posted, casting a radio play, requesting interviews for the show, getting a Patreon page in order so I can launch it in the near future. And continual things like checking my budget situation or doing small chores around the apartment.

Days like today, I just don’t trust my mind to keep on top of things.

I can’t even remember if there was anything specific I wanted to write about here today.

One thing, though, is that I am trying to stay on top of my frustration with certain other people and push through all that crap to get what I want in the end. I still have moments where I just want to walk away and put my energy into other things, but for now, I am instead trying to remember why I wanted to do it in the first place. For now, I’m trying to believe that the part I play in all this struggle is not for naught; that even when none of it goes as planned, there’s still a chance that I myself can make some personal progress.

And for now, that’s enough to keep me going.

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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