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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Expanding On My Happy List

As always, I have a lot on my mind, and today I’m not entirely sure what I feel like talking about here, so I was thinking I’d expound upon some of my happy list from yesterday.

  • getting people to talk about their passions
      • The Mind Reels was initially started because we realized that no one was really talking about the things we loved (as far as TV and movies and the like), so we decided to talk about them ourselves. That quickly turned to podcasting, because talking is faster than writing, sometimes. And within weeks we were conducting our first actual interview with a film director! I think that was the start of things changing for us, because that director (Jeremy Lalonde) hooked us up with interviews for some of his cast, and one of them (the wonderful Mary Krohnert) put us in touch with Lost Girl cast member, Rick Howland. From there, we spent much of our time pursuing interviews with people we wanted to talk to, who were creating the content we love.
      • I’m not sure when it happened, exactly, but at some point, interviews started coming to us. This was different in that it was often for projects and/or people that we might never had been made aware of otherwise. That new aspect added an additional level of excitement to each interview, because not only did it expand on our awareness of content we might enjoy, but it also gave us the opportunity to create a casual, comfortable and fun atmosphere for our guests, which allowed them to open up more about their passions in general. Instead of just asking the same rote questions that go hand-in-hand with every industry interview, we started getting people to talk about themselves, as well as their projects, and that’s made all the difference, I find.
      • I love the way a person will light up when they talk about the things they love, things that interest them, and things that challenge them to be more. It brings out a side of a person that is among the best of human qualities (and we really don’t have very many, so I treasure the ones I find), and that I play a part in bringing that part of them to light makes me feel kinda special, too.
  • being around non-human animals
      • I mean, there is just something so pure about non-humans. Not always “good”, I guess, but it’s like they are on a whole different level from us. They aren’t calculating which foot to put forward, which face to wear, nor do they edit what they communicate in the hopes of not offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities. If my cat, Kate, didn’t like you, she had no qualms about peeing on your shoe. There’s no fake-ness with animals – if you are paying attention and taking the time to know and understand them, you know exactly where you stand. You also learn not to put what you think they are thinking ahead of what they are actually thinking; you learn to admit that you don’t know. At least I do. I admit I don’t know much at all, but I feel like that leaves me more open to learning, as compared to some people who think they know more than they actually do.
      • Anyway, for me, one of the things I love about being around animals – aside from all the love itself that they sometimes give out – is that I don’t have to pretend, either. I just have to show up and be present, and they expect very little from me beyond that. Actually, some don’t even expect that much. Some just want to be fed, and some just want to be left alone. To be able to inhabit a space with another individual who asks you for nothing is really quite liberating. I get to be in their presence, I get to be myself, and things can just be quiet for a while. That they usually don’t care whether I am there or not is also quite humbling. It’s a good reminder that we are not always the shit. We go through our lives looking for validation and attention and for others to just see us and recognize that we are there – we want to be seen. Other animals, for the most part, really don’t give a crap about such seemingly superficial needs. They just are, and the idea that there are times when I can just be, as well, is incredibly appealing to me.

That’s it for now, as I have to get back to work. Maybe I’ll cover some of the other stuff tomorrow.

Oh, and just because it’s still cool to me (and falls nicely into my own personal quest for attention and validation), it was one year ago today that my status as a Guinness World Record holder was posted on the GWR website, and we went public with the announcement of our success!

Safety Lights Are For Dudes

I must admit, I’m thus far enjoying the act of setting up my new computer.

Well, my computer that’s new to me.  My nephew’s old computer…seems he upgraded huge, which then turned into a huge upgrade for me, as well.  Now I am in the process of getting everything set up, and every time another thing goes well, I giddy grin to myself.  With any luck, I’ll be more on top of my game – of all my games – than ever…and very, very soon.  My brain is filling up with possibilities.

Well, not FILLING,but you know – excited.

In other news, I had a great time watching Ghostbusters.  Like, really great.  It gave me many different feels, all good. I’m thinking the haters are perhaps just anti-fun.  Or anti-amazing-women, because DAMN…every single one of those wonderful ladies kicked ass, as far as I’m concerned.  I laughed out loud more times than I can count, forgot more amazing lines than I can remember, and my eyes misted up several times.  Laugh, cry, cheer…recipe for success, says I.

I even think it works better as a reboot than it would have as a continuation, particularly for the fact that I prefer the “ghost girls” struggling to be taken seriously while taking care of one another than something that would have started off in a world where people believe in ghosts because they’d already seen it all before.  Back when men did it.  It felt more genuine to have the women fighting to just not be brushed aside and treated as fraudulent, rather than fighting each other.  It seemed more real to me, and like a sweet starting point.

Plus, women battling to be taken seriously in a man’s world?  I know some people who can definitely relate to such a simple theme, which only serves to make the rest of it all the more successful, to my mind.

Besides, this is the first time in my life – as far as I can recall – that a movie ever made me desperately want to cosplay one of its characters.

I’d do up Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert like a BOSS.

Stupid Stress

So stressed today, guys!

Too much going on, so I’m feeling kind of frazzled, or something.

More input than output, so to speak.

My little guy, Jack Bear, was throwing up this morning – I think for the first time in his young life – which was comical at first, but became less so when I realized he couldn’t stop. He kept bringing up bile until there was nothing left inside him, then he went to lie down under the bed for a few minutes. When he came back out, he meowed a greeting to me, and went over to rub against Brody. The puppy makes him feel better. He purred when I pet him, and slow-blinked with me, and didn’t seem to have a fever or anything when I checked his ears, so hopefully whatever it was is now finished. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back to his usual self when I get home tonight, though also a tad afraid of what sort of vomit-fuelled destruction I might return home to! Poor baby boy.

Leaving work early today to go to my volunteer orientation. All manner of nervous about that, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll decide after if it’s really something I want to commit to. No idea what time I’ll get home, and I have a billion dishes to wash, as well as the need to make something I can bring for lunch tomorrow. Though also possibly a movie date with the bestie…with popcorn for dinner being a powerful added incentive for that, to boot!

It’s ridiculous the amount of guilt I feel about leaving work early and doing something for myself. Yet my computer issues from yesterday continue, making it harder to do my job effectively, and the frustration building inside me is absurd. I was considering just not going to the orientation. And just not volunteering. I’m already nervous about it, and now I feel guilty about leaving early when so many things are going wrong. It’s silly. All so silly. I’m trying to maintain the mindset that tomorrow is another day, and to just go to the orientation and lose the guilt over it. Easier said than done, but I’m getting there.

Regardless, it’s just one more day of work before the long weekend is upon us, so at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Somehow the long weekend has filled up with things to do, too, though. That ought to make next week extra long, work-wise!

Tomorrow, the Mind Reels will be recording our first retro radio play! I’ve been stressed about that, too, because it was starting to look like we’d have to change the date again, but we’ve managed to get enough people together to pull it off, and now I am just plain stoked for it! You can watch the whole thing unfold on live video here: http://livestream.com/accounts/10837752/events/5652277

The plan is to stream it online from start to finish – divvying up the roles, doing a read-through or two of the script and figuring out how to do the various sound effects that will be required, then making the official recording, which will be posted up on the Smithee.TV iTunes page soon after. We’re hoping to do one play a month, with a variety of different cast members each time. I’m already thrilled with the three people we have joining us for this first one, and I can’t even imagine how much hilarious fun it’s going to be! I’ve already been casting each of the main roles in my head, and am eager to see what everyone else thinks when we get there tomorrow!

I’m going to end there so I can focus on getting a few more things done before I leave work for the day. I want to make things as easy as possible for myself tomorrow, because pretty much everyone I rely on for help will be off!

More soon!

Learn To React Out Loud

I’ve realized that most of what I know of my friends and their lives – including the ones I talk to almost every day – is gleaned from posts they make online, as opposed to anything said to me directly. That realization hurt at first, until I made the realization on top of it that I do pretty much the same thing.

Except that I don’t really post much online, either.

It’s possible that’s where some of my communication frustration is coming from. Haha

I lean more toward not posting things online in public forums because a) when it’s in writing it’s harder to revise and re-state, b) the general public has no business in most of my bizness, and c) I’m of the notion that those I do choose to share with are closer to me in some way; I trust them with more of me.

So be it in person or via text/email, I much prefer small groups and individual conversations to mass online postings. In a way I choose those trusted few very carefully, but in another way I really just run on instinct. I’m crazy naïve, and of course just want to be liked (emotionally I’m, like, 8 years old on a good day, but most of the time I’m pretty much still an unborn fetus), so my instincts are often steered wrong just by those factors alone. I usually consider what I want to say before I say it (so writing is easier; I’m just not a fan of the public), but I also try to consider who I’ve decided to say it to.

Writing a personal blog each day is ridiculous for someone like me, but one can’t grow and improve unless one ventures out of their comfort zone once in awhile, and thus far I’ve remained mostly inside my comfort zone as far as this little project is concerned. I want to say I’ll work on changing that, but even as I think about typing it, I am also tempted to just let it be. So we’ll see, I guess. I want to keep those closer to me, the chosen few, still closer than this, and to venture further outside my comfort zone with them, too. With them more, actually.

But I guess sometimes I can talk about something other than what I did today, or whatever.

Like fear.

What are you afraid of” and “what scares you” are questions that come up all the time, to celebrities, to potential relationship partners, to friends sitting around a campfire splitting a bottle/several bottles of wine.

I’m not saying alcohol is necessary for conversation, but it definitely helps!

I once did a presentation in high school about fear. I actually can’t remember what it was for, or what I even talked about, specifically. I just remember I started off my presentation with the first 20 minutes of the original When A Stranger Calls. The whole, “have you checked the children” babysitter/phone call bit.

The calls are coming from inside the house!!!”

Guys! Some of the scariest 20 minutes put on film, if you’re me. And apparently if you are some of my classmates that day.

I, myself, am afraid of lots of things. Most things, really, but to varying degrees. I learned very early on in life to not react to some things, because my reactions would make everything worse. If someone thinks it’s funny to scare you and they don’t get the reaction they wanted, they stop trying. I bottle a lot of that shit up, even to this day. Sometimes it’s even practical – if you encounter a wild animal, don’t run. It makes you look like prey. So freezing up on the outside and screaming on the inside can actually be helpful in some situations.

Not in most, though, so training your instincts to do that is not the greatest idea, and it’s incredibly difficult to re-train yourself to scream on the outside once you’re older. I’m still trying to learn how to react out loud; to actively defend myself instead of freezing up.

I’m afraid of any kind of violation, be it of my person or of my home/safe space. Both at once would be unimaginably horrible. Yet I do imagine it, all the time.

I am afraid of the elements, mostly wind and fire. And water, though I guess the chance of a tidal wave coming off Lake Ontario is pretty slim. I think I am less afraid of dying in some sort of natural disaster as I am of losing someone to it. The animals; friends; family. I spend so much time being afraid and trying to prepare and/or avoid catastrophe that I feel like I would survive, but lose someone important to me, and spend the rest of my life re-playing it over and over in my head, trying to make the outcome different. Even losing Alysia – I wasn’t there, but there are still nights even now when I imagine all I would have tried to do to get those kids and Frankie the Kitten out of there safe. I mean, all I think or wish I would have been able to do. Just…anything to make the reality different. I would possibly just freeze in that situation, too, but not necessarily.

I remember once when I was living with Lizz in our cute little house, I was home alone, in the living room, when I heard a cat jump down from her bedroom window and in trotted Kate. Moments later, another thump of paws hitting the floor and Dodger appeared to grace me with his handsome presence.

Then there was a third sound in the back bedroom, and we only had two cats.

They both heard it, too, and together the three of us stared at the dark hallway until a massive raccoon sidled into the light, looked at us, then went into the kitchen to eat all the cat food.

Frozen in my chair, I placed a panicked call to Lizz, who was on her way home from work, and kept an eye on the cats and our unwanted visitor. Everything was fine – more or less – until the raccoon made its way back into the hallway and disappeared. About 2 seconds later, Dodger and Kate took off running after it. I’d heard about how vicious raccoons could be, and how quickly they could kill a cat, and panic washed over me again, but this time it kicked me into action instead. I raced after the cats, yelling the whole time, and they were so startled that they came back immediately. I kept them with me until Lizz came home, but by then the huge critter had made its way back outside through the window from whence it came.

Or from wherece it came.

Anyway, the point is, I was terrified and I froze, but once I was more terrified for the cats, I sprang into action hero mode, if only for a few seconds.

I’m afraid of spiders, though more because of their unpredictability and the whole jumping thing. I don’t like the jumping. Nor the crawling in my mouth while I sleep. Bugs in general…let’s just stay as separate from one another as possible.

So yeah – basically I am afraid of weather, animals/insects, and other people. This is what makes it difficult to leave the house.

However, I am also afraid of embarrassing myself. It’s a different kind of fear, but it ends up having the same result. Often, my ability to freeze and not react has helped me not embarrass myself, though. Or, at least, embarrass myself less.

Like, my first MRI, I did all this research so I’d know what to expect, but still, as I slid into the tube and felt the machine pin my arms to my sides, and looked up to see the cage over my head and the top of the tube inches away from that, I sucked my breath in – and froze. The tech asked if I was okay, and I said “yeah”, which forced me to expel a little bit of air, just to make sound come out. I felt like kicking and screaming and oh-HELL-no-ing my way right back out of there, but that would have been humiliating. One of the techs was hot and I didn’t want to make a bad impression, so I reminded myself to breathe, and let even more of that air out. Then in, then out. And repeat.

Since then, I’ve been admittedly kind of an expert on the whole MRI thing, and even give a little coaching to anyone I meet in the waiting room who’s nervous about it themselves.

I don’t like causing a scene. It gets me into more trouble than it’s worth sometimes, but once in awhile it helps. I just never really found the balance, because I’m still so focused on the freeze and stay silent than I am on what a more appropriate and beneficial reaction would be in some circumstances.

I haven’t found other ways to defend myself, even though my go-to doesn’t really work out very well most of the time.

A Little More Flynn

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A bit of an addendum to yesterday’s post about Miss Flynnie, just because I fully forgot to mention this kind of cool part of the story!

So, even though I’d had my eye and heart on Chimneysweep, the night before I went to the shelter for the first time, I had a dream. It was actually kind of horrible, in that the shelter in the dream wasn’t a shelter at all – it was more like a shed in some guy’s backyard that had crates of cats inside. Some of them no longer alive, and all trapped in their own feces and the like. My mind was reeling, wondering how I could afford to save them all but not tip the guy off to the fact that I was totally calling the police as soon as I got away from his house. On a top shelf of crates, there were these three weird-looking creatures. They were more like birds than cats, but then again, that’s dream life for you. The one thing I remembered most about them was the shape of their heads in profile; the way their foreheads sloped and their faces curved toward their chins. They looked kind of like beaks, almost (hence the bird thing), but that’s just how their faces were built.

I felt weird when I woke up, and disturbed, and secretly prayed that the actual shelter was nothing like that (it wasn’t).

Later, once I was home with Flynn and trying to get to know her while also keeping a bit of a distance (because my heart still hurt over losing Kate) and wondering what I’d just done as maybe it really was too soon to have another cat, I noticed something. Flynn’s head is kind of shaped like the bird-cats in my dream the night before. It has the same kind of slope that’s different from most cats. I guess more of a black cat head, but she’s also so fluffy that the effect on her profile is very similar.

She’s actually a lot like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, both in appearance and in personality.

Anyway.

I don’t think there’s much else to report at the moment. Or there is, but I either can’t or am not about to talk about it here. I’m moving extra slow today, as is my mind, because I’m still not caught up from overdoing things on Monday, and I didn’t sleep very well last night. I woke up a lot, but I also went right back to sleep after. It just wasn’t anywhere near enough. And while I was asleep I was dreaming – usually about having to get somewhere, or having to gather things together, or looking for something, or just – all very busy things. Busy yet mundane. None of it felt very restful, that’s for sure!

I wrote a short story for an online course once years ago, and the protagonist had very vivid, busy dreams, so she was tired all the time, too. Almost to the point of not quite being able to tell when she was dreaming, because there was always so much to do. When something extra weird would happen, she could recognize it as a dream, but mostly there wasn’t time to stop and think. I’m not quite at THAT point yet…though if I’m dreaming right now then I’ll miss my post for today…and probably lose my job…never mind, I think I’m fine. Anyway, it was a busy and restless night.

I remember when I quit smoking (and I’ll tell that whole tale in another post), among many other things, I started having really vivid dreams. Colourful. But every once in awhile, I would dream that I’d had a cigarette, and my mind would be disappointed because it meant I had to start counting the days since I last had a smoke all over again. That was part of what got me through, I think. I am stubborn, anyway, but I also really didn’t want to start over again at zero. I’d always be so relieved when I woke up and realized that I hadn’t actually had that cigarette – that it had just been a dream , after all. Less satisfying in the moment, but still a relief overall!

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Missing The Movie Theatre Experience

It’s super busy at work today so I’m taking a shorter lunch and leaping back into the fray when I am done eating, so instead of writing about what I’d been planning to this afternoon, I’ll write about something less involved, instead.

I miss going to movies. I can’t remember when the last time I was at a theatre was, but it feels like a long time ago, for me, anyway.

I remember a former roomate and I challenged ourselves to see one movie a week in the theatre for a year, not including film festival time, and the like. I can’t remember how we actually did, but it was definitely fun! These days, I have two theatres down the street from my apartment, so every time I get a hankering, I usually just head to one of those and see whatever I’m in the mood for.

I’m not sure if I have seen anything yet this year…which would be ridiculous, but…I of course saw Star Wars a few times. And Mockingjay. But yeah…I can’t think of anything since, and those were both out in December. Maybe I saw either or both after New Years, but still. Sad!

Growing up, movies were a treat, especially the ones in movie theatres or – even more so – the drive-in. The closest theatre was a half hour drive away. The Gayety in Collingwood. They eventually opened the comparatively huge Cinema 4, and there were a few theatres available in Barrie, as well, but it was a further drive. When we leaped into the 80’s and got a VCR, going to the theatre became less of an option, reserved for when there was more time and/or money to go around, since we could rent a video (or several) for a fraction of the price.

My decision to move to Toronto was, in a small way, determined by movie theatres, and having access to movies the first day they were released. No longer would I have to wait a week or more for something to be released in a theatre near me. Here, it felt like all the theatres were near me! I even started off in a neighbourhood with a theatre, a Future Shop, a Silver Snail and a Toys R Us. And my doctor, at the time. Basically everything I need to live. Even my first job was in the area.

Things changed – I moved around the city, held different jobs, and while I now live back in that same area, much has changed. I now have two huge theatres to choose from, Future Shop is now a Best Buy, my doctor no longer practices – but I have a dentist in the same building now. Toys R US is still there, but the Silver Snail moved out long ago. Still, though, a lot of Sue necessities. Plus, the area has felt like home pretty much from the get-go, even when I didn’t live near it.

Since I moved back, I’ve been known to go to the movies just so I can have popcorn for breakfast. There’s just something about movie theatre popcorn that can’t be replicated (though John in Colorado does a damn fine job when he makes it at home, I gotta say!), and the same goes for fountain soda. So ridiculous, but sometimes I just have a hankering for that delicious syrup and water in an overly-large, ice-filled cup.

I’m a weirdo.

But going to a movie theatre is kind of my jam. I prefer it to watching something at home sometimes. There are things I prefer to watch at home, of course (ie anything that makes me cry; not porn if that’s what you’re thinking), but often I get an urge to sit in the dark with strangers (either a bunch or a few, I don’t care, because I forget about them, anyway), eat popcorn in a way which suggests I’d starve to death otherwise, drink my fountain pop, and just let someone else’s mind take me away for awhile. There are very few distractions, and I can just be somewhere else for a couple of hours.

And previews! I love previews! I’m actually glad for the initial commercials because I am of course often late for movie screening times, too! So the commercials give me a buffer, without worrying about missing my beloved previews.

They often help my plan my next trip to the theatre, after all!

Okay…that’s about all the time I have. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention how much I now miss my current movie dates with Kristi – layered butter on the popcorn, whatever tasty treat we get with our combo, and taking turns between tickets and treats for two! I don’t even care what we see, lady – we have to go soon! 😉 ❤