Uncovered -Queen & Bowie


So tired I feel like I’m practically blind today, but it was definitely worth it!

Last night I had the good fortune of attending the closing night performance of Acting Up Stage’s annual Uncovered show. This year, an impressive assembly of Canadian talent performed selections from the musical libraries of David Bowie and Queen, and included a pair of actors who basically channelled the ghosts of Bowie and Freddie Mercury as they tackled a variety of quotes from over the course of each legend’s career. The whole evening turned into a somewhat intimate affair, as our Bowie and Mercury held a dialogue on stage in between the amazing musical numbers throughout.

My more-or-less-friend-now, the lovely and obscenely talented Melissa O’Neil, had given me a heads up some time ago that she would be a part of this show, and I marked it on my calendar right away, as I fully intend to just support her and her career whenever possible. I looked up the show online and thought it looked pretty cool, but still really had no idea what to expect. Even figuring out that another insanely talented friend, Gabe Grey, would be playing Freddie, didn’t change how much of a happy surprise the evening ended up being!

It made me sad that I’ve missed the other 9 years of this Uncovered show, but determined that this won’t have been my last. So much fun, guys!

I stopped watching Gabe pretty early on, because he was so good that, in my mind, he pretty much morphed into Freddie Mercury. For those few hours, my friend wasn’t on stage at all. He had transcended himself. And the woman playing Bowie? Holy Hannah! Applause greeted her first words, but from that moment on, she was David Bowie. She had every mannerism and movement down to the point where it just seemed natural. She was he.

Watching Melissa O’Neil sing – especially when she is obviously really enjoying herself – is an absolute joy. I woke up with her version of Let’s Dance in my head this morning, and every time I think about seeing her last night, a giant stupid grin appears on my face. I think that’s how I looked the whole time she was on stage, actually, so it’s a good thing it was dark in there. I realized after that it was also the first time I’d gotten to see her perform live. I’ll need to make sure it’s not the last time for that, either, ’cause damn. I adore that woman to no end, and this show just cemented that feeling all the more.

I loved every single performer last night, and there were several I hadn’t known of prior to taking my seat and pouring over the programme. I can’t count the number of times I was given goosebumps throughout the night, or driven into bouts of gleeful cheers and applause. I was crushing on all the ladies of the stage, including the wicked talented woman rocking the violin. But it was one incredibly talented performer who pulled tears from my eyes not once but twice, just due to how stunningly beautiful her renditions were. Divine Brown rocked my world and broke my heart and put it back together again. She’s seriously, like, not of this earth, guys. Just whoa.

She turned me into Wes Bentley watching a plastic bag floating on the breeze in American Beauty. So, so beautiful.

My whole evening would not have been possible were it not for my friend, Sarah, who snagged our tickets AND managed to pick up some flowers for Mel when I had not the time nor the cash flow after my work day ended, AND still beat me to the subway on our way back downtown. So eternal thanks to that woman! I suspect it won’t be her last night out to support these crazy talented folks, now, either!

Go check out Acting Up Stage Company’s website here. They do amazing work in the world of musical theatre, and have an impressive line-up of content coming all year long!


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.

Officially Amazing

According to my Facebook memory feed, it was one year ago today that I first learned I was officially a Guinness World Record holder. I started to cry pretty much immediately. Tears of happiness, relief, vindication – a myriad of emotions went through me in the moments following that message. I had to read it twice to be sure that it was real; that I had actually done it.

I actually had.

I needed to confirm a couple of things for them, and even then it would be a few days before the website reflected The Mind Reels’ official amazing-ness, so I decided to only tell a couple of people right then, and make it all more public later. Tim and I created an announcement video to thank those who had donated to our crowd-funding campaign prior to the event, but the majority of the celebration would have to wait until after visible proof was available.

I got home from work that evening and cracked open the bottle of craft beer that one of our lovely guests had gifted to us at the event. I’d told her that I would only open it once I’d heard back from GWR, and drink it either in celebration or to drown my sorrows.

Naturally, I drank it from my Guinness glass.

I’ve had mixed emotions about the whole thing all along, really. It was almost exactly a year between the time I came up with the idea to attempt breaking the record, and receiving the notification that I’d been successful. It was a bittersweet success, however, because I’d also learned a lot of hard truths along the way, and the toll it took on me – on every level – is still affecting me even now.

All the stress and anger and frustration and just staying awake for 55+ hours wrecked my body, of course, but it also did some damage to my state of mind, my heart, and my spirit. I learned that I am a terrible leader, in that I do not inspire confidence nor action in anyone else. I learned that things would likely go better if I just set out to do them myself from the start, because depending on anyone else to step up and help will only end in stress and failure. Most heart-breaking, though, was learning that I’m unable to get others to see my vision and work towards helping me to make it a reality.

That whole thing was intended to be an event to pull the entire channel together, raise our visibility in the public eye, and propel us all forward as a team. Instead, it ground everything to a halt, and even a year and a half later, we are still struggling to get started back up again. Those of us who are struggling at all, I mean. Most just seem to have stopped all together.

I couldn’t even get local media interested, even though I was trying to shine a light on Canadian talent, among other things.

Learning that we are no longer the official record-holders made me want to take another run at it – to make it bigger, stronger, better – rather than feel defeated by it. I have SO MANY ideas for making the attempt epic – even more so than the first one was envisioned to be – but it would require a lot of teamwork, and I do not have the ability to inspire that in others. I can’t even get my own little show going again, let alone something on that grand a scale.

And this isn’t me being down on myself, really. Maybe a little, but I feel like it’s mostly me being down on everyone else, and just trying to be nicer and more polite about it than I actually feel much of the time. Since the GWR attempt elevated my awareness of how things are, I’ve been constantly torn between asking for help to make other visions a reality, and just doing things myself/not doing them at all. Even small things require effort, and while I am no stranger to putting in said effort, I recognize that I can’t do everything myself. Not well, at least. So I’m not sure whether to focus and do one thing as well as I am able (despite my admittedly mediocre talent or ability), or do a few things half-assed, or accept offers of assistance, even though I no longer believe in anyone’s ability to follow through.

That’s pretty much the crux of it, I think. I don’t know what it is about me that makes those closest to me not believe in me, as I’ve proven time and time again that I am stubborn enough, at the very least, to do what I say I’m going to do. From where I sit, it’s everyone else who is falling short of the example I set. From a relatively young age, I’ve tried to lead by example, in fact. Yet for some reason, however, no one follows. It often makes me frustrated and angry, yet it’s an impotent anger – the kind that lets me cry and yell and stamp my feet and even slam the door…but still go to my room.

Maybe it’s time for me to focus on finding the source of that disconnect; the reason that I don’t inspire the confidence in others that I feel in myself – that I start off feeling in all of us, until I am let down yet again. I think I need to figure out what it is about me that holds people back from believing in me, and also determine why I keep giving out second chances, hoping for different outcomes, and whether or not I should continue to do so.

I broke a Guinness World Record, guys. Just imagine what else I can do – and how much more we could do together.

Because I imagine it all the time, you know. And it’s amazing.

Sometimes I even feel sorry for some of you, because you can’t see it, too.



On the way to work this morning, it occurred to me that someone should open a dance studio of sorts for – or offer instruction for – same sex couples. Traditional dances could be altered slightly so that neither partner has to “be the guy” or “be the girl”. It could be balanced out a bit; equalized. The classes wouldn’t even have to just be for gay couples. There’s lots of occasion where friends dance together and it would be fun to have an alternative that wouldn’t necessarily be misconstrued as mocking, or garner otherwise negative attention.

Another thought I had on the way in was that I should figure out how to turn something I love doing but am not great at doing, into something more lucrative; perhaps some kind of service to those who are good at doing it. Or some way of bringing together people who are good at it, and giving them a space to network and share ideas and the like. I’m not exactly sure what I could or would do – nor of how to make it somewhat lucrative – but the seeds of an idea are there. And there is possibly something to it, so we’ll see. In some ways, I am getting better at following through on ideas. Just not at budgeting my time in order to make it realistically feasible most of the time!

Speaking of budgeting time, I’ve re-applied to volunteer at Toronto Wildlife Centre again. I’d sent in an application a few months ago because I wanted to work in the Nursery feeding baby squirrels and the like. However, since I can only do weekend shifts (everything else conflicts with my real job hours), and those fill up the fastest, I was not accepted as a volunteer this spring. I was managing to be okay with that – I’m tired a lot of the time, and I’ve never made the trek all the way out there even once, let alone weekly. But then I saw on Facebook that they are still looking for some people to take evening shifts in the Wildlife Care department, and while I can still only do weekends, maybe no one else is up for Saturday nights all summer, or something. It’s also a longer time commitment than I am necessarily comfortable with, but I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it. I’ve sent in an application, so we’ll see. If they turn it down again then any other concerns I may have are moot anyway.

I’ve been kind of a rock star at work lately – again. Not in my regular duties (heh…dooties), though that’s fine, too. But it’s the extra stuff I’ve been doing – fixing problems, investigating things that don’t quite add up and sorting out what went wrong – I’m really, really good at that. It’s the kind of thing that can’t be taught, really. Or it can, but only over time. I’ve spent nearly 16 years learning the way things work here, and while I can’t use any of those talents in the real world, all that time spent has given me a wealth of knowledge to draw from, and a certain understanding of the little ins and outs involved in several different positions apart from my own. That’s something that someone who has been here longer but always performing the same tasks wouldn’t have. I am a great investigator. A great “deducer”. A great problem-fixer. It means I get more frustrated more often, but it also affords me the opportunity to not only challenge myself, but to also achieve some sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I figure something out.

I just completed a task I started yesterday afternoon – it took nearly a full day, but I did it. It’s done. And while I am certain there are many more questions coming my way about it in the future, I am ready. I know what was done, what was wrong, how it needed to be corrected, and how it was fixed. Because I did that part myself, and found the answers to my own questions going into it all by myself, too. I have everything – all my notes and paperwork – bound together and filed in my “Problems” folder for easy access. I am confident that I will be able to answer any and all of the questions that come my way.

I’m not confident that I didn’t make a little mistake which will likely add to other people’s confusion, but I am certain that I will be able to explain it to them when the time comes.

‘Cause BAM! #rockstar

I kind of wish I could do stuff like that full time, and have someone else hired and train to administrate orders. I feel like it would make things way more organized around here, and thus make all of our jobs easier. But at the same time, it would likely just be a source of never-ending frustration for me. So I guess I’ll just keep taking those moments of pride in my work on the occasions in which they appear, and try to be satisfied with that.

In other news, if Canadian politicians can’t abide by the time-honoured rules of Red Rover, they should not be allowed to play it in class. Like, what the hell, people? Don’t you have jobs to do? Oh yeah – I believe you were supposed to be voting on the Compassion Bill to give people the right to die with dignity. Too bad some of the people most affected by that bill don’t have the luxury of time to fool around so much.

I’m sure in their final agony-filled days, though, they’ll find the childish antics of their elected officials pretty hilarious.

For Michelle Nolden

Michelle Nolden is one of those actresses who turns up in things all the time (because she’s so talented), but that you keep thinking of her as “that girl” until a role comes along wherein her performance is so strong that her name is finally retained in your brain, and she ceases to be “that girl”.

For me, with her, that role is of Dr. Dawn Bell on CTV’s Saving Hope.

It’s funny, too, because in the beginning, I hated Dawn. She was Charlie’s (Michael Shanks) ex-wife, she pulled the plug on him when he was in a coma (but he lived, luckily for all), and she was a thorn in the show’s main love story’s side for quite awhile. Always cropping up to cause trouble for Charlie and Alex (the impossibly gorgeous Erica Durance). To boot, she became everyone’s boss as Chief of Surgery, and she ran a tight ship. It was annoying.

Over time, however, something changed, and Dawn slowly became one of my favourite recurring characters on the show. When I saw Michelle Nolden’s name in the opening credits (because by then I totally knew her name), I was certain viewers were in for a treat.

Like, more than usual, because I freaking love this show.

Anyway, once I got to that point, I reached out to her agent to see if it would be possible for her to join The Mind Reels at any point over our Guinness World Record-breaking weekend. It turned out that she had to work a long, emotional day on set, but that she would try to stop by if she could. I was ecstatic, and said we’d definitely make time for her if she was able to be there at all.

Much to my joy – and, if I’m being honest, surprise – she DID make it, after all! I saw her come into the hotel lobby that first night and completely forgot I was interviewing someone. I said, “Michelle is here! Yay!” and flagged my team down to make sure they knew to sneak her in between guests. I wasn’t feeling well already that night, so I barely remember what we talked about, but I know there was some discussion of the evolution and growth of Dawn’s character arc, and I gave her condolences for what happened to Dawn’s little sweater-wearing guinea pig that she didn’t even want but then fell in love with.

Since then, we’ve been wanting to bring Michelle into the studio for a better/longer chat, but there hasn’t been time or opportunity – yet. I’ll keep checking in with her agent until we make it happen, though!

However, turns out Ms Michelle Nolden won a Canadian Screen Award last night, and Tim and I made sure we were there to congratulate her on the red carpet in the press area after she left the stage!

You see, this season in particular has been insane for Dawn, and while there wasn’t time for chit chat, I do have a few things I wanted to tell Michelle about how her performance has affected me, and how much I feel it comes from a place of truth.

So I’ll do that here, instead.

There’s an episode – and anyone who’s seen it will know exactly what I’m talking about – wherein Dawn is raped – violently – by her colleague/boyfriend (Shaun Benson)…in her office. It was so powerfully filmed and performed by both actors that I can’t even remember anything else that happened in the episode. Just that, and the immediate aftermath. The rape scene was violent and disturbing without being graphic – a tight shot on Michelle’s horrified eyes with Shaun’s voice whispering in her ear. Gah!

To be clear, I know and adore Shaun Benson. I think he’s a fantastic talent. But part of me wished he wasn’t THAT fantastic as I watched that scene, because it was like watching a nightmare, and it’s stayed with me ever since. Damn you, Shaun!

There were red flags, of course; little warning signs that viewers and Dawn could pick up on, and then promptly ignore because he’s just so damn charming, and in a position of power, to boot. I still don’t think I expected what eventually happened to be as powerful and real as it was, though. In her office?! With windows everywhere, the space that she’s made her own. Her refuge from the trials and stress from running a hospital. And all the power she had job-wise didn’t make a lick of difference in the face of her attacker. Not only was it someone she trusted, but it was also done in such a way that everything Dawn had believed about her world was torn apart and demolished. Everything. She had nothing left to hold on to.

Well, almost nothing.

The next time we see Dawn it’s at the end of the episode, and she is alone again in her office. She is bruised, and in tears, her sensible work skirt ripped almost completely off. Her sanctuary looks much the same as always, but it no longer feels safe. Not to Dawn, and not to any viewer who’d just witnessed what transpired there.

In my mind, I wanted to hug her and get the police and all the big guys she works with and go beat the shit out of Shaun…’s character (haha He really is that good). I wanted to scream from the rooftops about the crime that had been committed, and go get the bad guy once and for all. I wanted him to lose everything, just as he’d taken everything from her.

Instead, I watched the scene play out as it was written, and was thunderstruck by how absolutely right it was. Dawn frantically searched in her desk drawers for something, and when she finally located it, she sat on the top of her desk, composed her features, and began to sew her skirt back together.

I lost it.

It hit me like a truck…how appearances inform our interiors sometimes…the attempt at retrieving a semblance of normalcy and some sense of control over something. Over anything, even if it’s something as simple as mending a ripped skirt. It wasn’t about pride nor humiliation. Not even fear, or anger at what had just happened to her. Dawn’s facial expression changed and her concentration was total. In that moment, that skirt was all she had.

When I was in University…I want to say third year? I decided to walk the few short blocks to McDonald’s (as you do) and grab myself some dinner. It was around this time of year, so even though it was only 7pm-ish, it was already dark. It was also unseasonably warm, though, so I was feeling pretty giddy with the touch of spring in the evening air.

I passed a young guy about my age, standing under a streetlight by one of the houses lining that portion of the street. Once I got by him, however, I could hear his footsteps on the sidewalk behind me. Warning bells went off in my mind, but I shoved them aside, because paranoia can be a dangerous thing, and usually when we think something is cause for concern, it ends up being nothing, and then we feel dumb.

Like, can’t a guy walk down the same street as me? Who the heck do I think I am?

I got near McDonald’s, and turned to go up a little grassy hill that led to the drive-thru and parking lot. As soon as I’d stepped off the sidewalk, though, I was banged into from behind, and felt two powerful-ish arms pin my arms to my sides. Well, my hands were in my pockets, so they got pinned there.

It all happened so fast, I was still thinking that it was someone I knew, just being a jerk. The force of him slamming into me actually pushed me further up the little hill, and he didn’t have his balance enough to lock his hands, so I ended up a step or two in front of him for a second. I turned to look at him, expecting a friend, and saw a stranger instead. He wasn’t looking at me, but rather past me, to where the cars were lined up in the drive-thru. I think at that point he realized we could both be seen, so he turned and jogged away. Or walked away. I don’t really remember. Just that it all seemed so normal, and wouldn’t draw attention to him either way.

And what did I do, you ask? Now that I was momentarily safe and had just basically been assaulted (see I can’t even call it anything specific because it still sits as a possibly jerky but innocent boys will be boys act), but it could have been way worse but now I was in full view of lots of people in a public place?

I went inside and ordered a Big Mac combo.

Yep. I didn’t make a sound. I didn’t try to confront him, or call for help. I simply composed myself enough to order the dinner I’d been looking forward to, and then sat down at a table by myself.

I tried to eat, but got nauseous, so I threw most of it away. Kept the fountain Coke, though.

I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. Had I been targeted? Or was being a female alone on a busy street enough to warrant what he’d tried to do. What had he tried to do? Rob me? Beat me up? Kill me? Rape me? Where had he gone? Was he still out there, watching me through the windows of the restaurant and waiting for me to come out? How would I get home? Could I stay in McDonald’s until morning?

So many questions.

I couldn’t figure out how I felt, nor how I should feel. I wasn’t sure of his intentions, and wasn’t sure I had a right to be angry or afraid or upset. I had no idea what to do.

I sat and thought and waited and finally decided to take a chance on crossing the parking lot to the phone booth on the corner. It still didn’t occur to me to ask for help, because I felt like…not that I’d deserved what happened, but more that nothing much had happened. I didn’t feel I had a right to expect anyone to come to my aid. My brain kept coming up with excuses for the guy, even. Maybe he’d just stumbled and lost his balance. Maybe he’d thought I was someone else and left when he realized his mistake. All kinds of crap went through my mind.

And because I’m old now, there were no cell phones. I had to get to the phone booth on the corner. At least it was lit up, and there were lots of cars nearby. Cars he could also be hiding behind, but maybe he wouldn’t know I would try for the phone. I didn’t know.

So I finally got my courage up (or stupidity…tough to tell sometimes) and speed-walked to the phone booth. I’d gotten a quarter out and had it in my hand to save time. I called the home of friends who lived down the street. I’d actually passed their place on the way.

Thankfully, they rocked.

They came to get me, en masse, and while I’m pretty sure Izzy in particular would have rather tracked the guy down and beat the tar out of him with her bare hands, they all convinced me to call the police. That the guy had done wrong, and that a crime had been committed, and that it was worth reporting.

They walked me back home, and stayed with me while I made the call, and together we waited for a police officer to arrive. Even though I was going through a myriad of emotions by then (including wishing I’d beat the tar out of him myself and humiliated him and perhaps ruined any chance he’d had of procreating), one thing that kept nagging at me was that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I’d misread what had happened and misunderstood the whole thing.

Maybe I was wrong.

I worried that the cop wouldn’t believe me, or brush it off as the non-incident I feared it was, or that he would believe me but the guy would never be found and how would any of it ever be proven, anyway? I thought at most it would end up on the back-burner and eventually forgotten.

The policeman arrived, and even though he was kind of cute and had a kind face, I wondered briefly about the decision to send a male officer over to talk to a female who’d just encountered a less-kind male. He was, however, pretty great. Took us all for a ride in his police car (I got to ride in the front, though), so I could show him where everything happened.

The problem, of course, is that a lot of it was murky in my mind. I could not remember exactly which house he’d been standing by. I couldn’t remember the colour of his clothes, or his hair, or even if he’d been wearing a hat. I could see him in my mind, but I couldn’t see him at the same time. There were no details. Unfortunately, even when there are warning bells and red flags, I don’t go into super spy mode and memorize every detail possible. Stuff happens, and I apparently can’t quite recall the main points to any helpful degree. The chance of catching him was getting slimmer. It was a University town, after all. Maybe he was just visiting, and didn’t go to school there at all. Who knew?

Definitely not me.

My lack of recall, coupled with my inability to completely agree that the guy had done anything really all that wrong was crippling, and as a result, my case got more flimsy by the moment.

The police officer, however, was on top of it. Less than two weeks later, he called me and wanted to come over with a photo line-up for me to look at. Apparently some other poor girl had been sexually assaulted in the same area, with the same basic desciption of her attacker.

(Insert guilt forever that I wasn’t able to stop him from going after other girls)

I looked through a book of mug shots and more candid photos, all of guys who were roughly the same age and description as my guy. The officer told me to take my time, and even pick out a few photos, if any of them had certain qualities that reminded me of the guy. He said I didn’t have to be certain; that I could kind of pick parts of some of them to give a better idea of what little I recalled about the dude. He said the guy may or may not even be in the line-up. It was just to get a better idea.

I chose 3 different photos, two of them were on the same page. One was mostly based on angle, because when I’d turned to look at him, he was no longer facing me directly. It was more of a profile view. I can’t really remember what drew me to the second photo. But the third, there was just something about the third. I couldn’t shake it. I kept going through more photos and always came back to that one. Finally I just pointed it out and said that it maybe wasn’t exactly as I remembered (vaguely remembered), but that it was the closest one. I wasn’t confident enough to proclaim, “THAT’S THE GUY!”, but it was the only one which felt close enough to be accurate in the light of day.

The officer wrote everything down, and then collected his things. He told me he wasn’t allowed to confirm or deny if the one I’d pointed out was the same guy they’d arrested in the other attack. I said I understood.

And then he winked at me.

We had our “man”.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone over that night – and a few other incidents which have occurred over the years – and re-written it all in my mind. I change how I reacted, I…sometimes become kind of violent, and I always, always stand up for me and mine.

My reality, for whatever reason, has always been very different. I freeze, I shrink, I keep walking, I put my head down, I stay quiet and still, I ignore the signs, I make excuses for the perpetrator, I wonder if there was something I’d done to cause it in the first place. After the fact, I am all indignant righteous rage. But during? I just have never figured out how to go against my very instincts and react differently.

The following year I was walking home from an evening class, and heard footsteps behind me, running up the sidewalk. I flashed back to that other time I’d felt the warning bells, and in a moment of pure terror, I spun around at the last second to at least greet my inevitable end head on.

But the jogger went right on by.

I see something like this portrayed so realistically – and intimately – on screen, and I’m all, “I would have done THIS!” But at the same time, I know from repeated experience that I would not. I only wish I would have.

That is what struck me the most about that episode of Saving Hope. Sometimes there are no heroes rushing in to save you. Sometimes you don’t suddenly know street fighting. Sometimes you don’t keep weapons on hand and aren’t afraid to use them.

Sometimes you don’t do what you “should” do, or even what you think you’d do.

Sometimes, all you can do in the moment is order a Big Mac, or mend your torn skirt.

Coming Up

Well, I’ve completely forgotten what I wanted to talk about today, and now I am in project gear yet again, so I guess I’ll talk a bit about that, instead.

For starters, The Mind Reels will be covering Canadian Screen Week for the third (?) year in a row! So excited! I think this is actually my favourite event ever, and it seems Tim and I do a little bit more each year that we’re there, so I am really looking forward to doing even more with it this year! My goal is to share even more of our experience with the fans – more from the press room, the galas, behind the scenes on the big broadcast night, and – for the first time ever – we will be covering all the action as the stars arrive from our vantage point on the red carpet!!!

We’ve always posted lots of photos, and covered everything we could via blog posts, but this year we hope to do even more. More video, for starters! Hopefully a couple of quick hello-type chats, and definitely some little behind-the-scenes segments detailing what we’re up to before, during and after winner announcements each night, and possibly even some short bits live on Periscope! On top of that, we will of course continue our tradition of posting lots of photos on social media (including as many goofy selfies as we can manage), and will post full write-ups of all the goings-on on the Mind Reels blog after each event.

Basically, we’re aiming to have more of everything than we’ve ever had before!

There will be many more details on all of that over the next few days as we get things put together, but first we will focus on the big Bowling For Kids Sake event we’re participating in tomorrow night, fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto! We’ll be joining a couple of teams featuring various Canadian film and television stars, as well as a ton of teams featuring superheroes all in their own rights in a fun time, all to benefit the kiddos!

Just in case, there is still time to donate and share the link to my team, and help us reach our goal!


There is also some discussion happening now of the direction we would like to take The Mind Reels in going forward, what we want to focus on, and how to make it all happen. Tim and I both have ideas, we just haven’t had time to talk about any of them in depth, so we’ll take some time next week to delve into it all a bit more. I’m looking forward to taking our next steps!

Beyond that, I have (as always) several other projects on the go. New crafts I am desperate to try if I can make the time. I have a list of several different Guinness World Records I want to try and break or set. Most of them are quite different from one another, with a few pairs that are similar thrown in for good measure. Some involve writing, some involve photography, some involve craft-like activities. All are things I like. I think I have open applications for two of them right now. No…three, technically, but one was an application I applied and was approved for last year. I just haven’t made the attempt.

Not yet, anyway. 😉

All of the ones I am interested in can possibly be done on my own, but there are several of them that I would love to have a small team, or at least one other person, making the attempt with me. It’s more fun that way, especially when it goes well. I’m just a bit gun-shy now about thinking people will help and then having to scramble at the last minute to pull it together on my own. None of them will be the big event that the Longest Uninterrupted Live Webcast was, but I am mostly okay with that. Part of me worries that anything else will feel kind of like a letdown, but most of me feels like it’ll all be good practice for the next big event I plan, be it getting that record back again with a week-long extravaganza, or something else entirely. In the meantime, though, I liked being a Guinness World Record-holder. And I want to test myself, to see what else I can do. So we’ll see.

There’s the Reelies Award show The Mind Reels is hosting. I think there are still about 6 more rounds of voting to get through, and then it’ll all be capped off by a special awards episode of The Mind Reels, wherein we announce all the winners. Hopefully with some special guests in attendance, too.

And, of course, the year is now kicking into high gear, and it won’t really let up until, like, next winter or so. Conventions, film festivals, Canadian Screen Week and much more – there’s something for everyone, and we’re hoping to cover as much of it as possible.

So stay tuned!

Note: Apparently I’m actually in Mind Reels mode right now, with some GWR ideas thrown in for good measure!

What I’m Up To Today

I’m feeling a bit light-headed today, for some reason. It’s annoying today especially because there’s quite a lot going on. Also, I somehow forgot to mention Fizz candy in my post yesterday! How could I forget delicious Fizz?!

Working on getting teams together to #BowlForKidsSake in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto. Super fun, but the date is fast approaching and we were just trying to come up with team names last night, so technically we aren’t even registered yet, let alone starting fundraising. Hopefully it all works out, though! I’ll be hitting everyone up in our fundraising efforts soon, I’m sure!

A few new things – this morning I sent in an application to be a volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre! As a Nursery Assistant! How amazing would that be?! I hope I get to do it. I’d sent an application late in the season last year and never heard anything back, so hopefully this year it’s early enough that I can get through the training and such before baby squirrel season is in full swing. Because I really want to feed and care for and clean up after baby squirrels. Baby animals, really. Or any animals. I really want to be around animals more. So fingers crossed that I can get that opportunity to happen!

Additionally, I did a little research, and ended up submitting an application to make an attempt at setting a new Guinness World Record! Not breaking an existing one. Setting one of my own. I won’t likely hear back from them for awhile, and so won’t go into details unless I am approved to make the attempt, but I will say for now that it involves hearts. ‘Cause how appropriate for me would THAT be?

I love the Guinness World Record thing, apparently. It’s all so…I don’t know. I get all excited about it, and was so obsessed with having a successful first attempt at breaking a record, that now I want to do it more. I’m addicted! I love how it feels – every step from first thinking of an idea, and pouring over the website, the application process, planning the attempt, doing the attempt, and then collecting and submitting the evidence. I love looking for materials to use, especially from the GWR official store. For the first attempt (and only one I’ve made so far, but there are more in the works), I even got some fancy birght yellow vests with the GWR logo on them, and balloons! So much stuff!

This one will be much smaller in scope overall, but the feelings are much the same. I’m excited and constantly thinking about how I hope to set it all up and what I hope to achieve. I’m considering adding a charity, but my brain came up with, like, 5 different ones I’d like to include, so either I choose just one or figure out how to start a fund from which each of them would get an equal portion. Or something. Or not add a charity. It all really depends on whether or not I am given the go-ahead by Guinness, and because it’s a new record, rather than one that’s been set before, it can take up to 12 weeks to hear back.

Though it is very similar to other existing records, so maybe that’ll make it faster. And they might alter the title from what I suggested to something in the same vein but more suited to their ideals and guidelines. I don’t think the record attempt will be declined outright, but there is always a chance, so I’m trying not to go too far into planning and excitement mode until I hear back from them officially. I’ve only made one other suggestion for a record before (so far) and it was declined because it wasn’t globally recognizeable enough. Hearts are known around the world, though, so maybe I have a shot at this one! Then I could be GWR’s Queen of Hearts, at least temporarily!

What was I just saying about trying not to get too excited? I’m failing.

So, change of subject. I’m trying to get more clips from my first big GWR attempt cut and posted as often as possible. Still a long way to go until all of them are up, and admittedly I am less enthused about the ones I’m doing now because the audio quality is so bad. But I’m still managing to work on it pretty much every day. I won’t be cutting any new segments tonight because I will be getting home later than usual, but for the most part, I’m back to making slow but steady progress. I’m happy to be back at it, too. As much as part of me wants to move on to new endeavours, that weekend-long record-breaking event was pretty spectacular, and I never quite get enough of revisiting it – even almost a year and a half later. I mean, check out the complete photo collection here! Some of those alone are bound to bring back sweet memories and/or a smile or two! Sometimes I still just stand and stare at the signed poster and – to a lesser extent – the official record-holder’s certificate hanging on my living room wall. It’s all kind of surreal (especially now that the record is no longer mine…currently), but easily one of the greatest weekends of my life, and I love to revisit it all in my mind once in awhile. As much of it as I can remember, anyway!

So going back over all the footage and cutting segments together is actually really fun, but also really time-consuming on my ancient home computer. I’m so thankful it’s still churning stuff out, though, because I really can’t afford a new one right now!

I’m also about to get the next round of voting going for the Reelie Awards! That’s the Mind Reels award show wherein fans and viewers get to vote for their favourite Canadian films and television shows. It’s the People’s Choice of Canadian content. But mostly it’s just a fun little way to draw attention to and celebrate the talent and creativity we have going on in this here country.

I feel like there is so much more ongoing projects and things on my plate right now – getting a short story ready for a contest, updating my resume, crafting and writing and coming up with yet more ideas of things I want to do. There’s not enough time in the day, I tell you. Not while working full time! Haha

I know it’s about finding a good work-life balance, and I’ve mentioned before that I really am trying. I’m just also so tired all the time.

I need a good work-life-sleep balance, I guess!