Ghost Radio Fun

The ole timey radio play we did last night was so much fun!

I kind of think it might have been my favourite so far, but I hesitate to commit to such a statement, as all of them have been ridiculous and had just as many laughs.

This one also had wine, though, so that might be part of it.

One thing about this one was that the script had far less racism and sexism and all the other -ism’s that make people uncomfortable these days. The scripts we use were all written and performed in the 30’s and 40’s, and while they are always a fun and fascinating glimpse into our past, they also highlight so much of what people now try to cover up – that we just aren’t very nice to one another. That we say less out loud now doesn’t mean we’re not still thinking things sometimes. And just because some laws have changed, practices are not as easy to alter. They are just less overt much of the time.

Unless you’re paying attention, anyway, which the majority of society seem not to be.

Anyway, there was less blatant racism and sexism, and more body shaming and ghost story telling in this one. And there was real life red wine to go with it. And an incredible cast of some of my favourite women on hand to perform it! Two of them had never done this with us before, and while not everyone knew one another going into it, they all played so well together! It was actually so amazing to watch that I kept missing my scant few lines in the script, and just enjoyed the show as performed by everyone else. I’m assuming it wasn’t really written to be a comedy, but they way these ladies played it was pure brilliance. Comedic gold, if I’m being honest. I’d love to get that same group together again sometime and see what else we can come up with, because they all worked off of one another so perfectly!

There were, of course, technical difficulties, and I am pretty sure we lost the whole night of footage from the tricaster. That means nothing from the microphone on the table was recorded. We did have a backup recording going, thank goodness, but only for the “official” read, so the practice read is, I believe, gone forever. It’ll just have to live on in the memories of those of us who were fortunate enough to be in the room.

As well, the audio from the backup recording was not likely able to pick up some of the quieter dialogue, but the majority of it should be okay, I think. And Tim did an audio-only recording with his phone on the table, too, so that will go up on iTunes, but again, only the official read, not the practice one.

Still, that final read was even better than the practice one, and so long as the audio turned out more or less okay, I think it’ll remain a favourite of mine for a long time to come. Those ladies all just killed it, and I am so thrilled with how it went!

I just wish the evidence of our evening had been better captured.

Also, Flynn is sick again with a urinary tract infection and I think the cold I had mostly fought off is roaring back with a vengeance this afternoon. In addition, I’m trying something I haven’t done in easily 2 decades. More later, maybe, after I see how it goes.

Mind Reels Activity

Holy crap guys! So much happening on the Mind Reels front this morning!

Did a little promoting of our Patreon page, as per usual (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels – please share – every little bit helps!) and then moved on to other more immediate things.

Am just a step away from confirming the date for our next radio play, which will be happening next week, barring any unforeseen circumstances. I heard back availability from one person, then three more in a row said they were also free on those evenings, so suddenly I have a cast, and now just need to confirm that the studio is available before I cement the details! So excited! We’ll have a couple of new people and some who have done one before, but I don’t think any of them will have really done any together before. Maybe two of the guys. Anyway, I’m super stoked – we’re doing an episode of Ellery Queen this month, and it’s ridiculous! I love these old radio plays. They are so bad they’re great! It’s got to be one of the most routinely fun things I’ve ever done, and I hope this project has the legs it needs to keep going for a long time!

And speaking of projects, we just put the wheels in motion to start yet another one! This one will hopefully expand our content, as well, but in another slightly different direction, which – if it works out – should be amazing! While the radio plays act as a branch of our podcast, this new project will hopefully become a long-term branch of our blog. I am so insanely excited about it, I can barely contain myself! I’d been distracted from it for the past couple of weeks, but as soon as I started working on it again, the initial excitement came rushing back, and I couldn’t wait to take the first steps! Now I’ve started taking them, and while it’s a matter of waiting to see if there is any response from the parties I’m reaching out to, it’s hard not to kind of hold my breath in anticipation. I’m aware that there could be no response at all, or negative responses – I’m aware this might not take off even a little bit, let alone the way I’m hoping – but at the end of the day, I’m a dreamer. I’ll keep dreaming this until it either becomes a reality or falls on its face. I’ll keep believing in the possibilities until I have no choice but to concede defeat.

As well, we have a tentative interview coming up next week, but the only time it can be done is after I have minor-but-painful dental surgery, so it’ll be interesting to see how THAT goes! I was kind of hoping to go home after, walk the dog and go to bed. Instead, I’ll likely be heading downtown to try and hold it together while chatting with one of my favourite people about one of my favourite shows!

How do I get myself into these things?

The first time I did an injection of Avonex (the first MS meds I was taking), I had no idea what the side effects would be for me. Or, I knew the likelihood, but not the severity. So naturally, the next morning was the only time we could do an interview with friends who were in town. I was a mess, so it’s good that we were just audio in those days, but holy hell is that ever NOT a way to discover how a medication will affect you!

This situation will be different because, unless my meds react poorly with one another, I’ll mostly just be dealing with pain. Which is not ideal, but it still should be fine, more or less.

I just…how do I get myself into these things? #becauseicantsayno

Spinning Plates, And The Like

Man, last night was fun!

The Mind Reels did our third Old Timey Retro Radio Play episode, and as always, it was a blast! We had five guests, four of whom were doing the read with us for the first time, and one who’s happily been with us every time so far! We had to fiddle with gender roles a bit, as we only had one female guest (and me) but more roles for women than for men (for a change). Luckily, everyone came to play, and the guys decided to keep the roles as female, but played them with a gusto that made the end result even better than I could have possibly imagined! Tim and I also worked out a back-up strategy so that we can get the content posted more quickly ourselves, rather than waiting for it to appear on the Smithee sites (which it will eventually, but we are growing impatient so have a lesser quality version to go up on our sites more quickly – best of both worlds, really), so everyone will get to enjoy the final audio/video read, and just miss the hysterical practice cold-read. So excited to share these with everyone! Thus far all of the guests have been turning in some hilarious performances, and I feel like it’s only getting better as we go along! We may be onto something here!

I giggled all the way home…and then again all the way to work this morning. So much fun, guys!

Also, when I got home last night (after taking care of the critters, of course), I sat down with a Rogers Live Chat agent to sort out my new billing issues now that I’ve upgraded my internet package. Thanks to Cindy in Moncton, NB, that went even better than I’d hoped, as well, and I’m already so pleased with the upgrade that I basically can’t wait to just go online all the time. For everything. It’ll be like second year university when the house we were renting had a BBQ so we literally barbecued everything we could think of for the first few weeks of school that autumn! It’s like a new toy, and I can’t wait to play.

But wait is exactly what I’ll do – for a tad longer. I have other plans tonight. 🙂

I still have a ridiculous amount of things to do, even as I slowly drop potential projects from the list. I have to be so freaking careful with my budget this month, too. Like, every month, but this one especially because of Fan Expo and new Rogers billing and the fact that I can’t quite seem to get any sort of routine down in my every day life. I’m having trouble anticipating upcoming expenditures – even simple things like what I figure I’ll need to spend on groceries for myself and the critters. For some reason, it’s suddenly become a big question mark, even if I don’t buy anything different from last month. I think it’s because there is just SO MUCH going on, and so many changes and decisions and sacrificing some things in favour of others. It’s a constant balancing act, and I haven’t been sleeping much so my mind has a difficult time retaining it all. It does, anyway, but more so in recent weeks. Every time I make a decision between two things, for example, a third thing will crop up and another choice will need to be made.

That’s how it feels to me, at least. Like trying to keep all of my plates spinning on their wee poles – but sometimes forgetting one of them even exists until I notice that it’s about to fall. It’s exciting, but a tad stressful, too. I worry I’ll forget something important one of these days; something I can’t catch in time and rebound back from.

In the meantime, though, I’ll just go get another chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s and try to remain calm and alert. Alert-ish. #sotired

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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About Last Night

So, last night’s radio play recording was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  I can’t remember when I last laughed that hard.  Heh – last laughed.  Say that five times fast!

Truly, though, it was exactly what I needed, and even made my headache go away for a bit.  Which is weird, but I’ll take it!  Getting to catch up with everyone a little bit was also amazing, and I think it’s safe to say that we are all eager to do it again soon!  Tim and I had a brief conversation about which script to do next, but I am trying to wait until I’ve started lining up guest cast and have at least calmed down a bit from an epic first episode of what is now my new favourite thing!

Initially, I had wanted to kind of rotate the genres of whatever we are doing each month, but at the same time, Flash Gordon will be super fun, too!

We’ll see.  I have a list of 9 more scripts for us to choose from – so far (there are many more coming) – and I want to at least go over them a little to get a sense of what each might entail.  Then I may very well select scripts based at least in part on the cast who is able to show up for that particular episode.

I also kind of want to do more than one a month, but that’s really getting ahead of myself, so I’ll try to just stick with the initial plan. Haha

Anyway, I am venturing outside of my comfort zone for the rest of the afternoon or so, and need to finish getting ready.

More soon!

PS The full video of last night’s ridiculousness can still be viewed at the LiveStream link (see previous post) for a limited time.

Some Exciting Updates

Wicked headache, still leftover from yesterday. It’s kind of distracting, actually.  Even my friend Extra Strength Advil isn’t quite taking the edge off anymore.

So, let’s see…some quick updates…

Young Jack Bear seems more himself now after his bout of puking yesterday morning. Last night he even helped me untie my shoes, just like he always does, so that’s good. His appetite has not waned at all, either. He’s huge. But still handsome. My baby boy.

My volunteer orientation session went pretty great yesterday. Got some questions answered and some concerns assuaged, and realized while I was still there that I was already a good 95% decided that I would give it a go, which is a far cry from the urge to just not go to the session and back out before it had even begun. Now that I’ve been there, I have a much better feel for everything, and the fact that nothing is set in stone makes me feel a lot better about it. I feel more confident that I’ll be able to contribute and enjoy the volunteering experience there. I have to work one shift before committing to any sort of schedule, but the flexibility factor is huge for me, especially given the fact that my body doesn’t always like to cooperate the way I want it to. And being able to do weekend shifts is huge – that way I won’t be gone from Brody for so much longer than a workday. The place is remote by transit, so timing of shifts is definitely a factor. It also sounds like tasks we’re asked to do on our shifts will be somewhat catered to each volunteer’s strengths and preferences, with a ton of room to learn new things and develop skills in other areas.

I’m still not going to discuss the “where” until after I have worked the first shift and am certain I’m staying on there, but suffice it to say that I am probably the most excited about it now than I ever have been, and am hopeful that the excitement level will only build the further involved I become. It even gave me a vague idea of how I might potentially take better care of my fur family (including Brody, although he has hair not fur), which only fuels my eagerness all the more. They told us not to decide right away – to mull it over – and since this weekend is insanely busy, I’m going to wait until Monday to contact them to let them know I’m in. I suppose I might change my mind in the meantime – I’ll definitely be thinking about it a lot – but if that ends up being the case, then better to actually make a decision than waffle back and forth on it after telling them one way or the other first. I don’t think I’ll change my mind, though. I haven’t really volunteered for anything like this before, except for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but there is a lot more here that just feels right for me. A ton that I am worried about, but after yesterday, I am even less concerned about that. I feel like it’ll be an amazing learning experience but with the fear of failure pushed more to the back-burner, because they want everyone to succeed, too. It’s much easier to ask a billion questions and have your work double-checked than it is to fix a mistake once you’ve made it, and I kind of like the idea of being a help but also being coached to do better. The opportunities that will be available as time goes by – assuming I thrive somewhat – are actually endless.

I’m excited!

Another thing I’m excited about today is that we’re finally recording our first radio play tonight! The details are falling into place (at least on my end – haha), and the link to watch it live online is being promoted (you can see it all unfold here:  http://livestream.com/accounts/10837752/events/5652277), and my mind has been mulling over not only this one, but future episodes, as well. Now that the moment of this first one is nearly upon us, I have far more confidence in my ability to successfully pull it off, and start planning the next one! Already I’ve got new ideas cropping up, and I’m eager to dive into it all with everyone this evening. It’s going to be so much fun!

Yet another thing I am excited about today – even though I heard the rumour yesterday, it was confirmed today – is that MARK HAMILL is coming to Fan Expo! What?! I have no idea how to afford it, but if there is one thing I get for my birthday this year (which happens to be that weekend, as well), it will be that man’s autograph on the same picture that Carrie Fisher signed the first time I met her. It was one of the ones from my fan club membership kit, and it’s in terrible shape from hanging on my wall, but I love it all the more for that. And once she had signed it, I knew that would be the one thing I would want if I ever met him.

I’m also pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Had anyone ever asked me which guest I would most like to meet at a convention, my answer would always have been Mark Hamill. He has been a part of my life – a huge part – from the time I was 5 years old. He’s it for me. More than Carrie Fisher (although I cried when I met her, Leia was more my passion as I got a bit older), more than even George Lucas himself. Luke Skywalker has always been my guy, and will always be my guy. My gateway to the Force; to that galaxy far far away; and the reason I love it so much.

It’s him. And he’s coming here at last.

I’ll freaking cry again. Gah. So ridiculous.

I mean, my ultimate interview guest for The Mind Reels would be Ricky Schroder. I have no idea if I’d be able to play it cool, or if I’d turn into a 12 year old again. But interviewing him would be a dream come true. I used to fantasize about doing that when I was reading all those teen magazines. I imagined what questions I’d ask and how awesome he’d think I was and how I would write my article about it. Well, screw THAT dream – now I want to interview him live online and…hopefully not revert to being too childish! At least not the whole time.

So yeah. Mark Hamill. I need to start saving money now in the hopes that I can scrape together enough for one signature on one decades-old picture which would pretty much complete my geek life as far as holy grails are concerned. Of course, I’d lose my mind for a photo op, too, but they are about 2 seconds long and while it’d be amazing, I feel like this time the autograph moments would mean more to me in the end. They did with Carrie Fisher, after all. Just the chance to shake a hand, make eye contact with the man who brought my biggest lifelong hero to life…

And say thank you.

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Mind Reels Updates

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Okay guys, there’s probably other stuff I should talk about, but I just can’t seem to focus on much else today, so I’ll babble a bit about what’s on my mind. Vaguely, anyway.

Tim and I had a sort of “production meeting” last night with our producer/man behind Smithee.TV, Ryan. The conversation was long overdue, and since I know how easy it is for us to get off track, I spent some time in advance making notes about some of the points we needed to hit, both in that and in future conversations.

Including the fact that there will need to be future conversations, if we want to stop this whole stagnating thing that we’ve been doing this year.

We actually managed to hit most of the really important points I’d wanted to get to last night, which is a very good thing, and I think everyone left the meeting feeling pretty confident in our abilities to start getting back on our feet as early as next week.

We came up with an initial list of potential guests to reach out to (some that were already on my budding list, and some new ones, as well), and made a basic plan of attack as far as how we intend to shoot episodes from now on. The format will change, at least as far as video is concerned, but we will shoot the whole thing live, and the full long version will still be posted on iTunes. We’re working on ways to get both video and audio content posted much faster, as well as a general posting schedule we’re hoping to follow. Naturally, the actual shoot times and dates will have to be formed around guest availability, but with any luck, new content will be posted regularly, and a few times a week, which would be amazing.

Promoting content, and the show, and the channel will hopefully get better and more regular/frequent, as well. I wish I had more time in the day to market things and pursue things but if I can manage to upgrade my home tech soon, too, then I’ll be able to do a lot more from there, which would be a huge help. I’m still working on getting the rest of the Guinness clips up, for Pete’s sake!

There are technical things we need to learn to do for ourselves – setting up the Livestream link and promoting it ahead of time for each episode, getting the segments cut properly and adding credits, getting both video and audio cuts ready to upload to the channel’s YouTube and iTunes accounts. Stuff that will go much faster when it doesn’t all rest on the shoulders of one person to do it all, especially when they’re doing every other show on the channel, as well.

We also had some initial conversations about different kinds of content that Tim and I want to add to our show, instead of just doing interviews. We love doing interviews, and are hoping to get back to doing one a week, if possible, but we’ve been thinking of adding in even more fun things on top of our usual fare! Ryan liked all three ideas that we pitched to him last night, and I’ve talked to Tim briefly this morning (because I couldn’t stop thinking about when I got home, so naturally I did a little digging around online and managed to find a few things to get us started), so now we’re both excited about the possibility of getting at least two of those things started as early as next week, too!

There’s also the upcoming Reelie Awards show that we’ll need to start prepping for in a few weeks, once all the rounds of voting are over. It won’t be enormous, by any stretch, as it’s our first awards show, but it should be fun, and with any luck, we’ll have a few familiar faces helping us announce the winners in each category! It’s definitely cool to see fans and nominees get involved in the voting process, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out for this first awards show episode.

I wonder if Tim will wear a tie. Or if I will. We should probably dress up for the occasion, right?

I think I’m definitely forgetting something, but I want to be careful not to say too much yet until closer to the time of reveal, and am already distracted by some of the details.

OH! I’ve also started sending out my own guest interview requests again. I was doing it all the time before, but lately haven’t felt confident in our ability to really devote time to building up the Mind Reels’ audience again, so I’ve just been leaving it alone so far this year, for the most part. However, I re-worked our pitch letter a bit over the past week, and made a list of people I wanted to approach sooner rather than later, so with the exception of the people we discussed contacting during our meeting last night, I started sending out requests for a few today on my own.

With luck, you’ll be seeing us back in the studio on a regular basis very soon!

Stay tuned!!!

Frustration, Money-Hating, and Coming Up

Feeling a tad over-stimulated today, on top of not having had enough sleep last night. Like, less sleep than usual. There’s, like, three different pieces of music playing nearby, and I can hear all three at once. The person whose sales I am supposed to be coordinating hasn’t come to work yet this week, so I am flying solo and trying to stay under the radar while just keeping afloat as much as possible. It’s frustrating because I don’t have access to all of the information I need to be effective, among other things, but I’m doing my best. Maybe next week will go better.

Found out Roseanne is coming to Toronto for Just For Laughs!!!

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am by this news, nor how much I would love to see her in person. I decided immediately to just buy a ticket and go by myself, just in case it’s not anyone else’s cup of tea. I totally get it, and I’m not even the hugest fan of her stand-up, nor of some of her politics/opinions, but I still adore her overall and her sitcom meant more to me than I know how to say. Man, I loved the Connor family! Damn.

Also found out there are lion cubs at Jungle Cat World right now, so naturally I want to go pet one, along with other critters available to interact with. But I’ve also had my eye on the Keeper For A Day program at the Toronto Zoo. I really want to do that…and in more than one area, so I want to do it more than once. More than twice, even. haha

And Jays games. I’ve only been to one so far this season…and it’s just occurred to me that I don’t think we ever sorted out the ticket price vs beer/food consumed after. Maybe I’ll just buy the next round of tickets and we’ll call it even again.

Anyway, I hate money. And having too much on my mind. And being tired.

There is a slight chance that we may get the Mind Reels going more consistently again. We’re talking with our producer today about meeting up for a strategy session next week to determine next steps and perhaps learn more about how we can get episodes posted ourselves more quickly and regularly. That would be a good thing. I really like doing the interview/chat thing. Since late last year, though, I’ve been feeling like everything has just ground to a halt, and getting it going again is a little like pulling teeth. I haven’t even been trying to line up interviews lately because I don’t feel I can guarantee it’ll happen without the rest of the team on board. Hopefully we’ll at least decide to do it or stop doing it, and then take it from there. But I think even just talking about it will get people excited again, and we’ll start moving forward once more.

The crazy thing is how we could probably be excelling at it, in some regard. Even during Hot Docs, some of the PR people who had never seen us interview folks before were so impressed with how we made the guests feel at ease right away, and how we could get everyone laughing and having a good time long before the “interview” was over. At the same time, we give them a space to talk about and promote their passion, and everyone gets to enjoy the end result. People usually end up enjoying their time as our guests, and viewers often end up liking to watch our guests, even the ones they know nothing about. Not every interview show has that kind of easy feel, I don’t think.

We’re easy. Haha

Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure we won’t decide to stop doing it at our meeting next week, but I do want us to stop talking at some point and actually start doing. That’s been a huge factor from the beginning…we talk about a lot of things, have a lot of ideas, and even start implementing some of them. But until we start committing to doing what needs to be done, we’re just going to keep resting on our laurels and nothing will ever change. It’s easy to get excited when talking about doing stuff, but actually settling into doing those things takes a whole different kind of excitement. It takes one that lasts, and the commitment to see tasks through.

Oh! I think I am going to become a volunteer at a local place that deals with animals soon! I have an orientation session at the end of the month, and that will help me decide if I want to do it regularly, or if I am even suited to it. It’s mostly just cleaning up poo and the like, but there’s animals!!! I received the Starter Handbook thingy last night and learned a few things about the place that I hadn’t known before, too, and that got me even more excited to give it all a try. I don’t know how much actual contact I’ll have with the animals themselves, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the zoo, it’s that just being around them is highly therapeutic. Also, NO PUBLIC. Being around animals, staff and other volunteers sounds pretty perfect to me, despite all the poo. We’ll see how the orientation session and my first shift goes, and take it from there. More details to follow later! 🙂

Interviews Yesterday

Sometimes I put off eating my lunch so I can think of something to write about. When I am at work, anyway, because I use my lunch break to write, usually.

I am hungry, though, and can’t think of anything specific I want to say except that I am hella tired, so I’ll talk about my evening yesterday and that’ll help explain why I’m even more tired today.

I was already pretty exhausted and rundown yesterday, but was able to leave work early and go chat in the studio for the first time in ages. Our guests were two lovely ladies from Dark Matter – one I sort of already knew, and one I’d only met briefly before during Comicon in March. I was ridiculously excited to see them and knew that their friendship alone would mean that there would be a ton of energy and laughter during our conversation.

Then I found out – basically right before they arrived – that we were also going live for the first time in…I don’t even know how long. That added an extra level of fun because some people were watching and interacting with us on Twitter as we were recording. Sometimes it not only added to the conversation, but also sort of directed its flow, too. It was very cool, and I always love when things happen more organically like that.

As well, we were of course silly and joked around a lot, as we do, but we also had some pretty amazing conversations about things that just sort of came up. Our “interviews” pretty much always turn into more of a conversation than anything else, but this one was even more so. The girls asked us questions, too, which led to opinions and thoughts being shared on some really interesting topics. Things like race and gender as portrayed on television and in film – and asked for specifically during the casting process, or character development, how series and films are marketed to the public, and how they are received by said public around the world. There were comparisons between Canada, the US and the UK, and the kind of content each produce, as well as my general dislike of the phrase “strong female character”. I can’t even remember everything right now, just that my mind was still working some things out last night, and apparently overnight, because I had some kind of weird and involved dreams.

It was all very engaging, and entertaining (at least for us), and had me feeling all energized and wired by the time we left to go do Hot Docs interviews. Which we almost had to rush for, because we’d also all completely lost track of time! Usually we try to go about a half hour to 40 minutes as the “long version”, which gets posted on iTunes as an audio file later. Then we follow with a 10-15 minute sort of recap, but slightly more focused, and that gets posted on YouTube as a video file. This time, though, we realized at just over an hour that we should probably wrap it up and get our butts in gear so we wouldn’t be late for the Hot Docs side of things!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, we ended up having two incredible (though much shorter) conversations with the people we spoke to about their respective films after! Up first was the one I’ve been looking forward to from the start, with the subject and one of the directors of the film, Wizard Mode. I was only about two minutes into the screener when I texted Tim to tell him I already loved the young subject, pinball champion Robert Gagno. Robert has the sweetest smile ever, is very introspective and eloquent with the thoughts he chooses to share, and obviously a badass pinball master. He’s also on the Autism spectrum, which makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. But the pinball aspect wasn’t what sold me on the film overall. It was Robert himself. It was his eyes, and his smile, and his curly hair – and most of all it was how much he had to say. Not to mention how much of it was relateable for me. It was how young he is, and how hard he tries to express himself, and how incredibly good he is at it. So many of the things he talked about in the film, I felt I could really relate to and understand – and I was kind of shocked at how much better he is at expressing some of that stuff than I am. He kid’s, like, what – 20-something? And so introspective and self-aware that it puts most of us to shame, really. I guess that comes from existing so much inside your own head, but still.

Getting to shake his hand and look him in the eye and talk to him was pretty awesome on its own, but even better was watching him light up every time he talked about pinball. I love watching people express their passion for something, even if I don’t share it. I mean, I could have challenged Robert to a game of pinball, but it would be like him playing against, say, a tree. No contest. But man, I’d love to watch him play in person. Even on film it’s amazing. I can’t even imagine being there to see it live.

I feel like, for me – and this comes from someone who knows next to nothing about living on the spectrum – the very coolest part of the whole block of time we got to spend with Robert was right near the end when he opted to tell us that he thought he might go out to eat after, because he was hungry. It’s just a little thing, but I felt like it was something personal he’d chosen to share with us. Every other time he spoke, he’d been prompted to, either by one of us or the director, Nathan Drillot. That statement, though, that was all Robert just deciding on his own that he wanted to tell us something, and since I get the feeling he doesn’t just randomly share with strangers all the time, it meant the most to me. It made me think he was at least a little more comfortable with us by that point than he was at the start, and I love that possibility.

Our last interview was about a film whose subject is so devastating to me we almost couldn’t talk about it without getting choked up. Homeless people and their dogs. I chose to leave Kate the Kitten behind in Colorado because I’d planned to couch surf and couldn’t take her along, and also because I thought it would just be for a few weeks. It took about five months to find a crappy apartment and get moved into it before I could have her flown back to Toronto, and it sucked pretty hardcore, I must say. Never want to have to do that again, any of it.

Now with three cats and a doggie counting on me to provide them with a home and food and love? I honestly don’t know what I would do. I am not sure I could live without them…give them up to someone else to look after. But I don’t know how I could live with myself if I made them remain homeless with me. Even now, I make sure I have enough food and stuff for them each month, and if I’m cutting things close financially, I’ll eat less, or more cheaply or go without anything I don’t really need. They come first, because they are my responsibility. But what if I really couldn’t provide food and shelter for any of us anymore? Would it be selfish to keep them with me? Or would it be selfish to leave them to be someone else’s responisbility and just focus on taking care of myself? Would they even thrive elsewhere? Flynn alone requires much more patience than most people would be willing to give, and she and Piper at least would have to stay together. The boys would probably be okay without me specifically, but not necessarily. I’m really the only person Jack’s ever known, because he’s been my baby boy since he was 9 weeks old. I don’t know what the better choice would be for them, and I’m the only one who could make it for them.

I can’t imagine what that choice would be like; what it would do to a person. I hope to never find out.