General Thoughts From A Foggy Mind

Got an email last night for members from the Toronto Zoo. As predicted, Inukshuk, handsome papa polar bear to Hudson, Humphrey, Juno and two others, is heading up north to Cochrane sometime next week. I figured he’d be going up to the Polar Bear Habitat, because he usually does spend his winters there.

What I didn’t realize until I got the email was that he’s going indefinitely this time, and I won’t have a chance to say goodbye.

That hurts my heart, because I’ve come to love that sweet beautiful giant so much, and I always miss seeing him when he’s not here. The idea of never seeing him again is not okay with me, so I’m thinking a trip north next year sometime might be in order.

Regardless, I’m gonna miss that guy.

At least the Polar Bear Habitat will post lots of pictures and updates, though. They are GREAT for that! I’ve never even met Ganuk (Inukshuk’s son whose paw print painting is on my bedroom wall) or Henry (the new guy from Australia), but I kind of feel like I know them, just from the amazing updates I see online!

So it won’t be all bad, at least. I feel bad for Hollie because she has an extra soft spot for that particular bear, but I guess changes are afoot, and something exciting and new might come out of all this one day, too.

I’m out of it today and feeling like I can’t really figure out what I want to say. I’ll miss the bear, I’m excited for the WLU alumni homecoming event tomorrow, my weekend is super busy but hopefully I will get things done, my PVR is filling up with new fall shows and new seasons of returning series. Well…not really filling up, but definitely getting used more! And all to be watched on my shiny new TV.

It’s funny – I’m not used to it yet, but at the same time, I’ve settled into it so comfortably that I feel like it’s been here for longer than it actually has been. Still giddy, yet comfy. I like it.

So much to do; so much to doooo.

I think Brody and I will have popcorn for dinner tonight. I won’t be able to have any for a bit after my dental surgery thingy next week, because my gums will need time to heal before I introduce crunchier foods again. So stove-popped corn – probably with cheese – tonight, and hopefully some delicious movie theatre corn with one of my best friends on Sunday! That should realistically tide me over for a week or two while my mouth heals, but we’ll see.

I can always just focus on chewing on one side, right?

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There Is No Try

Once again, I’m too tired and distracted to really know what I feel like talking about. I can think of tons of things I don’t feel like talking about, but that doesn’t really help! Haha

I think part of the reason my weekend didn’t go well was a distinct lack of planning. I told the birds that it was possible that the only reason I made it out there at all yesterday was because it was the one plan I did have going into the weekend. Thus, it was the only thing I accomplished.

Anyway, my plan for this week is to pick a focus and stick to it. Fan Expo isn’t for another week and a half, so I can leave that a little longer. The only thing left to do ahead of time, I think, is to purchase the other photo op I want, anyway. So that can all wait, at least until I get a few other things out of the way first.

Wednesday evening, the Mind Reels will be recording our fourth radio play – a thus far all-girl (plus Tim) episode of Flash Gordon from 1935, I believe. I’ve got the scripts together, and have to email details to the awesome cast we have coming in. I also have to respond to a few of their questions before the day, too. Maybe later today, if I can find time.

We’ll also be announcing the fan-chosen winners of our very first awards show, the Reelies. That’s another project that got away from me, so I’ll be happy to have it done, at least for this year. It’s not ending up at all like I had planned, but little does. It should still be fun, however, and I’ll whip up a post to go along with the video link. Unfortunately, we won’t be going live for any of it, but there are a couple of things I can possibly do to keep people involved a bit on Wednesday night, and definitely after the video is posted, highlight our new Instagram account, and possibly even plug Patreon a little.

Speaking of Patreon, we are getting close to my target for launching the page, so I need to turn some attention toward getting that set up this week, as well. I am still hoping to launch on my birthday (because it’s the beginning of the month), but that hope fades with each passing day, so I’ll see what I can do between now and then. I keep battling the voice inside that says to just quit before I start, because the venture will likely be an abysmal failure, anyway, and why bother putting all this time and energy into something that is probably going to fall so flat? So I keep reminding myself – so what if it does? As with my Guinness World Record attempt and event, I have already learned a lot and stand to learn so much more by pushing through with it. As such, there will be more skills to add to my resume for later or just-in-case. And besides, if I don’t do it, I’m always going to wonder if I would have gotten anywhere with it, so it’s better to just try and see how it goes. I can always pull the plug later on, if need be.

It definitely won’t go anywhere if I don’t even try, right?

Or…just do it. There is no try.

So Reelies/radio play, Patreon finishing touches, and Fan Expo. That’s mostly all just Mind Reels stuff. I don’t know if there is anything pressing in my real life – I have to keep careful track of my budget for the next little while, as the slightest mistake could spell more trouble than I can fix. I’m seeing my dentist tonight so she can have a look at my split tooth and possibly patch the pain away ahead of my actual appointment set for a couple of weeks from now. I’ll have to check into my volunteer schedule because I won’t be able to do it over the long weekend, as I’ll be at Fan Expo for most of it. But that can wait. This week – just regular stuff – budget, groceries, dishes and other little cleaning tasks at home, perhaps re-planting some of my wildflowers into bigger pots (though that also likely won’t be this week, so never mind), hopefully getting more sleep because I am really struggling right now. Nothing too special. I guess the Mind Reels takes up most of my extra time, at the moment. Which is fine, as it’s usually more interesting than my real life, anyway.

I have a lot of questions in my head; things I need to sort out about myself sometime soon. But not today. It’s Monday, and there are other things I also need to do. Sometimes it’s just difficult to tell which is more pressing. Which is closer to living life as opposed to just awaiting its inevitable end?

Maybe someday the gaps between the personal and “professional” – between private and public – won’t seem so far apart.

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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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.

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On Making Friends

Guys, I don’t feel good!

My skin hurts, I can’t breathe, my sinuses itch (along with my ears and throat) and my body aches. Pretty sure I’m rocking a fever, though very low-grade, so it’s okay. So tired, and have another late night tonight.

BUT it’s Gala 2 of the Canadian Screen Awards, and I gotta say – I’m pretty excited for it! It’s always more fun than night 1, but also more low-key than the big broadcast gala, because that bad boy is televised, and so everyone gets away with much less than the non-televised event. I am definitely looking forward to tonight and Sunday, regardless of how sick I may or may not feel by then.

Also, today a friend I haven’t seen in years stopped in to pick up a mic for her new camera! She messaged me on Facebook to see if I even still worked here – that’s how long it’s been! I gave her my number and told me to text when she got here and I’d run up to say hi. She did, and I did, and I stayed to watch the transaction take place because I have very little idea of how to use the new system to create a new customer and process a credit card transaction, etc. So I actually learned something, AND got to catch up a bit with an old friend!

Turns out she’s getting into something similar to what Tim and I do, so I think I want to try and bring her into the studio sometimes when we need an op to monitor the sound and switch between cameras. We need more operators available than just our one poor go-to guy!

It’s kind of weird how, like – before the internet, I wrote letters – and sometimes even used the phone, though I don’t like the phone at all – to keep in touch with people. If we lived near one another, we’d even hang out in person on occasion (or daily, in University). Then came the internet and I found I was all about email. I loved being able to sit in the same room with someone and have secret conversations via email instead of out loud. I liked, too, being able to tell when they’d read it, based on their reactions!

I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2003, and that was largely because I was angry at my ex. It was a little thing, but bulky, and didn’t have camera functions or anything fancy. I used it to talk on sometimes, but that’s when I realized how much I prefer texting, and I have to say – I haven’t looked back! Pretty much all I do now is text or email or what-have-you. I mean, I have a smartphone now, so I can do way more than I could on that first little phone. But compared to what my current phone is actually capable of, and what I usually use it for…vast difference.

Lara, the friend who dropped in today, has been in my life for almost as long as I’ve been in Toronto, give or take a year or so. I had email when we met, but no cell phone. I even carried around a little mini phone/address book thingy to keep track of contact info so I wouldn’t lose anybody.

I carry around a lot of stuff, actually. In case I need it sometime.

Anyway, so Lara and I live in the same city, but we’ve both left for long-ish periods of time, so that’s likely contributed to why we lost touch. Also we don’t hang around in the same circles anymore. I don’t think it’s a case of “you make time for the people you want to see” things, because it’s not really an issue of being too busy. I think it’s because we both know we don’t have to. Our friendship is so easy and low-maintenance that we can go several years without even really talking to one another, and yet she can drop by my work and suddenly it’s like no time has passed. We’ve caught up in five minutes and are already making each other laugh!

I mean, we keep semi-track of one another on Facebook, of course, but not on a regular basis. We just will see something turn up in our feeds and like or comment and move along with our daily lives.

Not because we have to, not because we want to, but because we can. Because we both know that the other is there, no matter what.

Though, after Alysia died, I stopped seeing people as anything other than temporary. Not like in a mortality way, because I’m aware that we’re all going to go sometime. But more in a time is precious kind of way. I tell people I love them way more often now, for example.

I wonder sometimes if friendships formed largely online will last as long or be as stable as the ones we forged in more organic and personal ways. It’s much easier to maintain more friendships via online interactions and social media, but only time will tell if the setting and method of friendshipping will end up having made a difference.

Will we find we are more connected to one another? Or less?

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!