Photographic Memory

Throughout the course of human civilization memory has been transient, plastic. The girl who broke your heart can, in time, become simply the girl you lived with ten years ago. Given more time she becomes either the one who got away or the one you can’t believe you almost married. But now, in the reign of the photographic image, the past is no longer malleable. It can no longer shift meaning in order to facilitate the narrative of your present circumstances.

We are now, all of us, cinematographers for the movie of our own lives. Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer!”

There was more to that tirade – part of a speech given by a character who hated photography, in a book I read recently. It’s far too weighty a subject for me to cover in one post, and certainly on a day like today when I am so easily distracted. But while it would have been easy for me to dismiss the whole notion, there was part of me that could see where the character was coming from, and even agree with parts of his reasoning.

For me, photographs have always been more of a way of retaining memories; of capturing and chronicling moments in time to preserve for the future. Not even, like, future generations, per se. But in large part because I am afraid of forgetting my life, and in seeking to retain as much of it as possible, I’ve always taken as many pictures as I can. It was different back when you couldn’t see your shot until you’d had the film developed, and the little counter on your camera told you how many photos you had left to take before you needed a new roll. I was more economical then.

Now, my freaking phone has a camera in it, so I take pictures of pretty much everything! And then store them in a digital space, invisible to the naked eye. That’s a transition I’ve made more slowly than most, and I still have a crap-ton of photos printed out and kept in albums all over my apartment.

However, delivery and storage methods aside, the pictures I take are usually done with the same intent – to preserve my life. Also, to show off my cool, creative eye. But mostly for the sake of retaining memories in a visual way.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that taking a picture actually makes a moment less retain-able in the memory banks than observing it with your own eyes. As in, not through a lens, and not on a screen, but actually watching it and even interacting with it. That statement made me worry that I may have been doing things wrong, so just in case, I now try to do both – to watch and also to chronicle the important moments I want to keep.

This book’s character goes even further with it, however, and suggests that we’re not even a part of our own lives anymore; that we’re merely filming our lives instead of living them and forging them and creating them. That goes well beyond being able to remember things down the road, and instead states that we’re actually outsiders in our lives. Just watching life happen between the frames, so swept up in what’s passing that we’ve forgotten to exist in the now; to take hold of and manifest our own now’s.

Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer. Memory is all but carved in stone via a photograph, and we’re unable to grow and change and evolve past things that happened, because we’ve made them permanent fixtures. We’ve made the past – and all of the emotion caught up in it – a permanent, unchangeable part of the present. The stories of our lives are being told through the eyes of everyone else.

Maybe all we’re really doing is watching it pass by.

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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.

Noo Doobt Aboot It!

The title actually has nothing to do with the post – I just think it’s fun to say sometimes.

I also don’t know what to write about today. My mind is way over-tired and all over the place, to boot (not “to bout”). I was asleep and dreaming when my alarm went off this morning, and I’ve been confused ever since.

My horoscope told me to be myself in social situations, and another one told me to stop being so indefinite. So there’s that.

I can’t even sort out what that would mean, if I were taking it more seriously.

I did manage to nail down a date for The Mind Reels next radio play, though! We’re doing an episode of Flash Gordon from 1935, I believe it is, and at the moment, it’s an all-girl cast, which rocks. Well, all girls and Tim, but let’s face it. There are many times when I bring more testosterone to the table than he does! Haha

I think we are also going to use that opportunity to announce the winners in each category of the Reelie Awards, which should be fun, and long overdue! The Flash Gordon script is on the shorter side, so we should have a bit more time to do the Reelie announcements, then delve into the ridiculous script. I’m really hoping the LiveStream will be working for it, but if not, we will work around it, like always. I’ve learned enough to have a back-up plan for everything, now, anyway. It’ll just be far more fun if it’s live.

I’m excited to see my dentist on Monday. Haha Never thought I’d ever say THOSE words! But one tooth is causing a ton of pain now, and I want to talk to her about what we should do with it before I make any decisions. As well, I’m hoping she can do some kind of quick patch-up job to at least help keep the pain at bay long enough for me to enjoy Fan Expo and my birthday and crap, and get me through until my regular appointment comes up early in September.

My dentist is the best. I have faith in her!

So that’s that. Still keeping my eyes on the Skywalker prize that is Fan Expo/Labour Day/my birthday weekend, and hoping that the near-constant budgeting I’ve been doing will help me through to next pay day and beyond. It’s stressful, but I have hope. Things have a way of working out.

I’m missing some people. There isn’t much I can do about it, but maybe there’s a way to balance things out in my daily life so that I miss them all a little less.

Maybe.

Carrying Things

I’m one of those people who can usually be found carrying around a lot of things. Physically and, like, emotionally, too, I guess, but I was thinking more about the physical stuff I drag around with me every day. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, nor when I turned it into part of my conscious decision-making process, but I often will dream about packing quickly while trying to leave wherever I am, and having a hard time remembering to bring everything I might need.

I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Which has resulted in my having a lot that I don’t need.

I think I’ve pretty much always had a plan in my head; the “what would I do if” sort of running through possible scenarios over and over. A zombie escape plan, sure, but so much more than that, too. Knowing that I can’t prepare for any and every possibility doesn’t really stop me from trying, though. I’ve spent the majority of my life watching, trying to anticipate what might happen next.

That I’m generally wrong doesn’t stop me from trying, either.

I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

That I probably wouldn’t even survive half of the things I come up with doesn’t stop me from trying, either, actually.

In that vein, I also carry around some guilt and indecision as to how I imagine I would spend my last days, if I knew they were numbered. I mean, they are numbered for all of us, of course, but if I knew the number that was left, I like to think I would do things differently from how I do things now. I have ideas as to those I would want to spend that last bit of time with, and of the things I would like to spend that time doing. Those ideas don’t mesh with reality, and they certainly don’t mesh with what’s expected of me. I’m always torn between those things – what I want versus what others want for me, and/or expect from me. I go back and forth between what I think I would choose to do. If it was just my days which were numbered, I think I would probably do what was expected or needed by those I’d be leaving behind. They are the ones who would have to live with my choices after I’m gone.

If it was an apocalyptic thing and we were pretty much all doomed, then maybe I would finally decide to do as much of what I want, with those I want to do it with, as possible. Maybe I would finally take care of my own needs, knowing that it was unlikely that any of us would have to live with my choices for very long after I make them. The sad thing is, those on my wishlist don’t really have me on theirs – or wouldn’t, in the event of apocalypse times. So it’s quite likely that, even if I tried to do things for me, I wouldn’t really be able to pull them off the way I’d want to, if at all. There’d still be an imbalance, only I would be the one making hopeful requests of those who’d rather be elsewhere. And for me there’s no balance in that, either.

I think I’d rather be the one who sacrifices what they most want than be the one someone else has to turn down in order to be where they most want. Or worse, be the one someone else sacrifices what they really want in order to give in to my needs. Not sure even the imminent end of times could assuage that level of guilt! Haha

Here’s the thing, though. None of us will live forever. Every day is one day closer to our own personal end. Yet so many of us are not living our lives in ways which fulfil us.

Maybe it’s time I start finding the balance between what I want and what is requested of me from others, and make my life more my own.

Maybe if I can do that, I’ll find it easier to dream-pack someday.

Dammit I Don’t Have Time!

Guys! My brain! I just don’t even know. I had a couple of ideas for what I wanted to talk about, but then the day got going and everything went to hell. As it does.

So whatever. I’m not above just babbling, as you well know.

The final round of voting in the Favourite TV actor category of the Reelie awards got underway this morning. Only a couple more categories to go after this one and then it’ll be time to do the live show to announce the winners! Stay tuned for that!

Tim and I are shooting the first of one of the new Mind Reels segments tomorrow after work. This one will be done weekly, or as close to weekly as time permits, so while I fully expect growing pains while we iron out all the kinks, I still think it’ll be a fun little addition to our spate of regular episodes. Getting excited about it, and have even started trying to work out a sort of format outline for it. We’ll see how that goes!

I got approved to attempt another Guinness World Record, which is kind of exciting. Doing this one on my own, I guess, but we’ll see. I kind of want to make some sort of event out of it, and I wish so much that I could tie it into a book launch, or something, but I don’t see having anything ready in time to do it right, so I’ll probably just make the actual attempt part it’s own thing. I don’t know. I haven’t really planned out very much yet, because I just delved into the specific guidelines yesterday. I also found an attempt that was made in April, so I’m using that as the target to beat, instead of what GWR lists as the official record, just in case that other one gets verified in the meantime. It’s just easier that way, I think.

For a brief time this morning, I was seriously considering signing up for a Writing Workshop that takes place in August. I was trying to figure out which manuscript I would work on beforehand to take with me and get some feedback on, but I decided to look into which agents would be there so that I could query my best with someone who might actually be interested. I checked the cost and it’s far from horrible, even with the agent query added on, but the problem is that it’s right before Fan Expo, and there are a couple of once-in-a-lifetime things I am interested in getting done there, too, if I can. Though, to be fair, I don’t know the pricing of that stuff yet, and might not be able to afford any of it, anyway. Then there are all the other things I want/need in the meantime, from a new pair of jeans to more tattoos. I’ll still keep it in mind (knowing me, with all the other stuff already spinning around in there), but it’ll probably end up on the back-burner (with most of the other stuff already spinning around in there). At least this time.

I really want to go, though. There’s one agent in particular that I wouldn’t mind querying, but I’d also definitely want to get it right the first time, with her. What I should be doing is practicing. Actually, I should first be editing and revising and just freaking writing more regularly. Like, instead of just here. I have all those writing projects on the go and none of them are where I want them to be yet. Not even Carving The Light. Yet.

Then there’s crafts I still have to make, another GWR attempt that I may or may not follow through on, a few vague project ideas typed into my phone notes (where I keep pretty much everything) that I desperately want to look into further but as of yet have not been able to find any time. No time.

Speaking of time, I also really want to get the battery in my watch changed. I haven’t worn it in years but have been thinking about it a lot lately.

There’s just so little opportunity to be creative when you’re so busy adulting all the time. Which is particularly annoying when you’re not really very good at either, nor even at finding a balance between the two.

Adulting sucks.

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.

For The Love

So tired today, guys. So so tired.

Struggling through this work day, but it’s okay. Getting there.

Went out to see my beloved Arden and the Tourists perform for the first time in years. First time in years for me seeing them, I mean, not for them performing. They just rarely do any public gigs these days. It’s all been private events lately. My lovely friends indulged me by driving to the venue and hanging out with me for a couple of hours, and then driving home.

But there have been a couple of things making it hard for my brain to settle down, and unfortunately neither is really resolved yet.

It’s all driving me crazy and making my animal-loving heart hurt.

First, it was discovered earlier this week that there were some baby raccoons trapped in the no-longer-used chimney at my work. Not sure how they got down to the bottom of it, or if their mom was with them and/or able to get in and out, but they could apparently be heard scratching around in there just above the flue. Debris was falling from inside as they were possibly trying to find a way out. I didn’t go investigate because, frankly, I have trouble listening to animals in distress right now. It’s too upsetting for me just knowing about them without having to hear it, as well.

So for the past few days, all I can think about is these poor critters, trapped, likely without food and water, basically dying a slow painful death in there while we stand around and listen. I was running through every possible scenario in my mind last night, and wondering if I would come in today and risk my job trying to get them out, or at least taking matters into my own hands and calling wildlife services to come and do it properly.

Much to my relief, the building manager called wildlife services, and they came in today to see what could be done.

One thing they discovered is that there are actually two chimneys, and at the bottom of the other one is a nest of baby squirrels. They aren’t worried about them, though, because mom can get in and out and eventually they’ll be big enough to get out, themselves. So that’s good. And cute.

The other thing they discovered is that there are no baby raccoons in this chimney. There is a single pigeon. Unfortunately, the chimney doesn’t go straight down – there is a bend in it and the pigeon is at the bottom where they can’t get to it, so there’s no way to retrieve it from the roof. The flue is stuck shut and no one has been able to get it open from the bottom, so for now, the poor thing is fully trapped in there. For at least three days and counting.

I went and had a look and discovered that there is a piece of brick jammed at the edge of the flue door thingy, which is likely what’s preventing it from opening. Again I’ve been toying with the thought of taking matters into my own hands and risking my employment to try and get the flue open…but so far I’ve remained mostly impotent. No one really cares about saving the pigeon, but they do care about how much decomposition can smell, so I emailed a couple of people to let them know about the piece of brick, and offered some ideas as to how to remove it, as well as a spare coat that we could wrap the bird in and get it outside safely.

I’ve received no response, and am not really sure if more is being done or if they are just kind of tossing around ideas or dismissing it all together.

So while I am glad it’s not baby raccoons dying in there, it’s still somebody dying in there, and it still bothers me. Will have to see how it all plays out, I guess, though that also makes me feel cowardly and almost as bad as someone who just doesn’t care.

I don’t know. We’ll see.

The other issue bothering me right now just arose yesterday evening. Brody and I were out for a walk when we came across a woman looking for a missing dog. Apparently while in someone else’s care for the day, a restaurant delivery guy accidentally allowed the dog to scamper into the apartment building’s hallway during the transaction. No one noticed, but it’s a big building. Pepper (the dog) wouldn’t really get past the end of the hallway. However, the delivery guy also apparently had no issue with the dog riding down in the elevator with him…and then the douche let the dog outside!

So little Pepper went for a bit of a run. He was spotted on Yonge street, on Mount Pleasant…they think he was basically running his regular walk route. He’s escaped once before and made his way home once he got tired, so everyone was hoping he’d turn up somewhere safe before too long. I went out, walked Brody again when I got home, and went to bed.

This morning, there were missing dog posters all over my street and surrounding area.

I’m hoping someone caught him and kept him inside overnight. He wasn’t wearing a collar (because he wasn’t supposed to be going outside), so it’s possible someone has him and wouldn’t know what to do with him until they saw the signs this morning. There are a million other horrible scenarios that also could have happened, but until I learn otherwise, I’m going to keep praying for Pepper’s safe return.

And if I can find out which restaurant that delivery guy was from, I’ll make sure never to give them my patronage.

Seriously, who let’s someone else’s pet just run outside? People I hate, obviously.