Thought Potpourri

This post will just be a hodgepodge of things – a mix – a potpourri, if you will, because there are a few things on my mind that I should probably delve into deeper at some point, but which for now I’ll just gloss over so I remember for later.

Since I got a phone with a camera, and for every phone I’ve had with a camera over the years, I stopped taking an actual camera with me in day-to-day life. Special occasions, I might take one, and the zoo I always take one, but I find that the best photo opportunities come when least expected, which is problematic, because I never have a real camera with me. I always, however, have my phone. It’s just the photos aren’t that high quality beyond sharing on social media, which is usually fine, until I want to do something more than that with them.

Take Brody, for example. I am always taking pictures of him, especially when we go for a walk, because he’s so flippin’ cute I can barely stand it. Just this morning I took this sweet shot:

Brody 2

However, I’d love to have a photo that was so awesome it ended up getting picked to be in, say, the annual Pet Valu calendar. He’s easily handsome enough, but my phone isn’t skilled enough to get a high quality snap, nor do I have a real camera handy when I am indoors. I tried over the weekend to take pictures of him with one of my actual cameras, but this was the best I could do, so I entered it on their website here.

P1080868

Not a horrible shot, but far from the attention-grabbing amazingness that he deserves.

Some day, maybe.

There are times when I feel like I am put in the position of arguing one side of a debate, simply because I can see more than one side, but whoever I’m talking to can’t. I kind of hate that, because I feel like it takes away from my ability to move past that level of comprehension and onto the next. I mean, I suppose it’s my choice, really. I could instead choose to just agree with whatever the other person is saying, because I can see their point usually, and usually even agree with some of it. But I also hate not challenging things when I can clearly see other points to be made, as well. To me, it seems like blind acceptance to not challenge something when it’s obvious that the issue is not so black and white as someone else may think. I try to push them, but for the most part, I am pushing myself, as well. Which is good, except when I get so frustrated at arguing the other side – a side I also don’t fully agree with – that I end up just playing Devil’s Advocate and lose sight of my actual thoughts involving all sides. I end up feeling angry and silently blaming the other person/people for putting me in that position, but not-so-deep down I know it was my own choice. I like to be thorough, I guess.

It’s interesting, my buddy that I hung out with over the weekend, I’d forgotten what our conversations could be like, and how much I loved them. His brain works a lot like mine does, in that we have our own thoughts and opinions, and those don’t always mesh, but our desire to talk things through from multiple angles is…rather invigorating. It really is a wonder we ever got any work done, sometimes.

Last week, a current co-worker asked one day if I had any writing projects on the go, because we hadn’t talked about any of it recently, at all. This was my response, more or less (including stuff about this blog and the possible resurrection of The Mind Reels podcast):

Carving The Light – My intent is to re-write the whole thing as a feature length screenplay. I also want to add in more unpredictable drama to flesh it all out more. The end will be the same, but the journey there will be more emotionally harrowing.

Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads – I keep toying with the idea of re-writing it in some way, skewing it for either a younger or older audience, maybe. Or turning it into a cartoon-type of format. Or maybe just shopping it around to agents and/or publishing houses to see if I can find a home for it. Regardless, it’s far back-burner at the moment!

Untitled Young Reader book about Ellie Skye – This is only a very rough first draft right now, but I really want to go back and take another pass or two at it. Eventually it’d be targeted at readers aged 9-12-ish, I think. Especially girls who need more heroes and adventure stories involving girl protagonists.

Suffer The Fury – My first attempt at a young adult novel, and would make an excellent series. I have done a few drafts, but it still needs more work before I can really try to do anything with it. I entered it in ABNA back when it was still going on, but didn’t make it far enough to get in-depth reviews of the whole manuscript. I got pretty good reviews from readers of the first 10 pages or whatever it was, though!

To Whichever Comes First – I wrote my first screenplay for a short film! I wrote it for a contest because I wanted a deadline I was forced to meet, but I also kept it super simple, so that I might actually be able to shoot it for a very low cost, if I ever get around to it! It all takes place almost completely in one room, and there are two main characters with, like, two other side characters that they interact with briefly. It could totally be done, I think! In my mind, I’ve even been casting it with people I actually know!

Sometimes I See Hearts – My first attempt at writing a picture book for children, again with a little girl as the protagonist. It even rhymes!!! Not sure if I should keep it in its current writing style or go back and Dr. Seuss it up, instead, but I’m content with the first complete draft, so far!

So there you have it. A few of the myriad of things swirling around my brain right now, in addition to finally getting approved to make an official attempt at another Guinness World Record. Got that news this morning, so still have to find time later to really go through the guidelines and see what I can sort out as far as a plan of attack goes. We shall see! More on that in the coming days, I think!

Before my alarm went off this morning, I was dreaming that I was having trouble waking up. I woke up at work, for some reason, but then everything went backwards, in a way, and I was horrifically late for work at the same time. Regardless of where I was, though, I could not keep my eyes open; couldn’t focus on anything. I think there were Muppets at one point.

So exhausted on every level today in waking life, and yet no Muppets to at least make things interesting. Geez.

Life can be so unfair.

Learning To Make New Choices

I love the sound of a cold can of pop being opened. Or beer. Or pretty much anything cold. Popping that tab just sounds refreshing in my brain.

And coconut rice from the place down the street, which I am eating right now.

Not sure what to talk about today. Haha

I’ve been thinking more about how I can’t do everything. Like, obviously, because few people can, if any. I mean, we spend so much time doing things that we don’t necessarily want to do, that we don’t have enough time to do more of the things we want. Factor in finances and it seems pretty much impossible sometimes.

I think part of my problem is always trying to do too much. I spread myself too thin and then can’t fully enjoy some stuff. I try to do little bits of lots of things. I still make choices – let go of some things in favour of keeping others. More and more sacrifices have been made in the past couple of years, but they don’t really seem like sacrifices, which is good. It’s usually been a choice between something I’ve always done, like TIFF, for something I want to do more, like break a Guinness World Record or spend more time with friends or go to the zoo or a baseball game more often.

I think another part of the problem is in my ability to plan realistically. Like, I used to have everything mapped out for the year. I knew when the time would come to buy TIFF packages or Fan Expo passes, and I knew how those things fit into my budget on an annual basis. But lately there are so many different things coming up; things I didn’t do before. Things I didn’t know to plan for before. My priorities have shifted, and I find myself making different choices than I used to. Which is great, definitely. It’s just that I have a harder time planning far in advance now, I think. I’m okay saving for short term goals, but the longer term is more difficult, because so much changes in the meantime. I knew last year sometime that I wouldn’t be able to go to the BLT’s 15th birthday party this summer, for example. At some point, I realized that any money I had been saving had gone to other things. I wasn’t always thinking, “It’s this or the BLT but not both”, but I’m not sure it would have made a difference. It might have, but definitely not in every case.

I can’t even remember which specific moment caused me to actually choose between getting there this year or postponing it another year. It might have been renewing my zoo membership, or something Fan Expo-related. I think it was in the fall when I realized there wasn’t enough time left to start saving for a trip that would last longer than a day or two. There was whatever I was paying for at the time, and then the holidays stretching out before me, and birthdays and anniversaries and…it just got to be too late. I have very little to work with that it’s one of those things I have to commit to saving for WELL in advance; as far in advance as possible, really.

But I also think I need to change what I’m deciding between. Like, some of my monthly expenses can be altered or disposed of, and that would make a little difference each month, but a large difference overall. I think changes need to be made more in lifestyle than in individual expenditures. I need to actually figure out what’s most important to me, and focus more on those things.

Last year was the first time I didn’t go to any TIFF screenings because I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t take the time off work like I usually do, and there was just so much going on that I couldn’t even think of adding more to my plate. And yet, was it the end of the world? Not even remotely. I hadn’t even really looked into what was screening (except Midnight Madness because I wanted to go to one with my friend, Jen, but couldn’t even make that much happen), so I didn’t feel like I was missing much. I was focused more on other things; things which took priority over film screenings. Hard to imagine, even now, in a way, and yet there you go. There was too much on my To Do list so I whittled it down to something more manageable, and I didn’t feel like I’d really lost out, or gone against my instinct. I’d just changed some, and had other things calling to me more.

Things like that are all short term, too. By not spending money on a TIFF pass, I had more left over to do other smaller things, instead of that one big thing. And it was okay. I enjoyed myself.

It does, however, bother me that I won’t be at the boys’ birthday party next month. Something has to change just so that I don’t feel this way again next time.

Now I just have to figure out how to transfer that over so that it’s the other way around. Give up some little things and save up for the larger thing. It’s harder now because the little things are all kind of new, and I haven’t had a chance to really prioritize them into what I can and can’t do without. That in itself is a good exercise, whether there’s an end goal in mind, or not. I’ve been cruising along on my path of always-the-sameness for a long time; afraid to deviate lest I make a mistake and have to file for bankruptcy again, or something. However, I think I can make some changes and move things around without having things suddenly go that far, and some of the always-the-same things aren’t things I can’t do without, anymore. They served their purpose, and got me through when I needed them, but I’m not the same person, and I should spend less time trying to still be that, and more time trying to sort out what kind of person I am now.

I can be worth knowing. 🙂

Hesitant Vacations

I got a list this morning at work of vacation dates for people in my department so that I could keep track of when I need to be picking up the slack in other areas when key people are off. It made me realize I should probably book a couple myself, especially for something like Fan Expo. It’s on a holiday weekend and those are usually the ones that people like to extend with their vacation days. Since I won passes for Fan Expo this year, I decided to at least make sure I booked the time off before one of the people I need to cover for books it off instead!

So I worked out the dates and submitted the vacation request for the day before, all 4 days of Fan Expo, and then returning to work on the following Tuesday, because the Monday is a holiday. It uses up 3 vacation days, but actually gives me 6 days off in a row. Even though a hefty percentage of those will be spent crammed into a convention hall. Still. Not too shabby.

Then I decided to do something I’ve never really done before. I booked off three more mini-staycations…for no reason whatsoever! Just because I can! Whaaat?!

Each one is essentially just extra-long weekends, using 2 vacation days for Thursdays and Fridays and returning to work the following Mondays. One in each of May, June and July. Some of those months have 3-day long weekends, andyway, and these mini stay-cations are not related to those. They are extras. And I have no particular plans for any single one of them.

Usually when I book vacations, it’s always for something, even when it’s just a day or two. There’s always an event, or a trip, or a trip for an event, or some other specific place I have to be or thing I need to do. When I was taking weekly Avonex shots to treat my MS, I usually had to burn a vacation day just to recover, if I was already doing something over the weekend and couldn’t spend a day feeling like ass. As my level of fatigue grew even more once I switched to a daily medication with less severe side effects, I started booking an extra day before or after a busy weekend, just so I could have one day where additional rest was an option. Though it’s always hard not to use those as zoo days, too, depending on the weather and my energy level.

Anyway, before all this MS stuff, I really only ever took vacation so that I could do other things – film festivals, conventions…even most of my trips have been for one of those things. I went to Mexico once for two weeks, but we filled it with day trips around the country. Still, it ended up being more restful than any other vacation I’d had. Probably because we were gone for the extra week so we actually could fit everything in and yet still just laze around on the beach sometimes.

And now here I am, more than a decade later, booking off a few long weekends for which I have no set plans…and it’s kind of scary! Haha

I chose the dates, and had no reason for picking those specific ones except for the fact that no one else had yet. I feel so…carefully carefree!

Is that a thing? Can it be? ‘Cause that’s how I’m feeling.

The doubts set in pretty much as soon as I hit the “Submit” button on the final vacation request form. Why am I wasting days when I am trying to bank as many as I can for unforeseen issues that could arise at any time? What if something comes up later and I use more days after I’ve used some for no reason? What if something comes up during those three to four months that I want to do? Do I take even more das, or see if I can change them? Every time I take days off things seem to get messed up or fall behind, and it usually becomes harder on me to get caught up again after, so why am I doing this to myself? Maybe I should cancel one or two of the requests and just work them, anyway.

I even gave reasons why it was okay to not approve them all, or ask that some of them be shortened or changed in some way. Like, from two days, it can’t get much shorter, but anyway – my brain immediately started trying to reason a way out of taking reason-less vacations.

They were all approved…pretty much in record time, I think.

And I let them be. It’s been a couple of hours now and I still have four small vacations coming to me over the next 4-5 months. As well as the 3 other long weekends that aren’t Labor Day (which is the only one mixed into my extended vacation time for Fan Expo purposes).

Part of me will continue to worry about the possibility of backfire, especially after this last mini-vacation went.

But another part of me is pretty excited, and looking forward to (hopefully) not over-working myself when I’m supposed to just be relaxing and hanging with the critters I love!

Coming Up

Since I apparently shouldn’t talk about what I want to talk about, I’ll discuss something entirely different, instead.  I did, however, make a pretty big decision all by myself, and while it wasn’t what I’d thought it would be, I still say YAY ME!

Tim and I (aka The Mind Reels) are going into the studio tonight for the first time in 2016! The last time we were in there was with guest Robin Dunne, and while we shot the episode back in mid-December, it still has not been posted yet, because no one has the time to focus on the channel yet.

Which is unfortunate, and frustrating, because it feels like we can’t ever seem to get going. Even tonight, while we’ll get excited about it closer to the time, so far today it just feels like another thing we have to do before we can sleep! Haha

It’s as though the lack of team enthusiasm from everyone at the channel is making it seem more like work than fun. Actually, that’s not even it, I don’t think. I feel like every little step has been a struggle lately, and that we’re failing to capitalize on things that should have been driving us forward (Guinness World Record, panel moderations at conventions, etc). And maybe it’s just because it’s winter, or because there is so much else going on in everyone’s lives, but it also seems like, once we stop, it’s hella hard to get going again.

And yet, I’m still excited. I still have little thoughts and plans and ideas for things to do and try. Even aside from continuing to get the rest of the GWR event footage posted, there are ideas for a new and enormous attempt at re-breaking the thing again at some point in the not-too-distant future. If we could get a team on board, either via the channel or just a group of people we can work with. And it would of course depend on the guidelines as they stand now, because I’m not sure they are the same as they were when we first made our attempt.

I have an insanely huge list of people I want to have in as guests for The Mind Reels – a lot of people from our Guinness attempt whom we’d never spoken to before, and would love to have in again. Also several new and returning guests who have things on the go these days that we’d like to talk about.

In addition, we’re still applying for media accreditation for everything that we love – The Canadian Screen Awards, Toronto Comicon, The Screenwriting Conference, and a slew of other things coming up later in the year. There are even some new things I’d like to try covering, if we’re able. Branch out a little bit.

Basically, I still want to do more, not less, than we’ve done in the past. I want to keep growing our brand, and building a larger presence for ourselves.

On top of that, there are my own personal side projects that are also growing bit by bit. There’s just not enough time – or I haven’t been able to make enough time in recent months, is probably more like it.

I need a stay-cation. Maybe then I could get myself going on some of these things with more energy and enthusiasm that I am currently exhibiting.

Until then, though, I decided, like, yesterday, to treat everything else like this blog. Bit by bit, every day. I’ll try to do a little of something each day, and my suspicion is that it will snowball, and grow more and more as I go along.

I can not wait for that!