Fan Expo Saturday

Today was full of surprises, and just things that went unexpectedly well.  Which is amazing, especially considering how angry and disappointed with myself I was in the beginning.

Interview first thing in the morning about Eric McCormack’s new show, Travellers, which I can’t wait to get into!

Saw a bit of John and Joan Cusack on stage together, with their panel being moderated by Mr Kristian Bruun, no less!  He did such a great job, too!  So proud of that guy, and honoured to call him my friend!

Lined up for my photo op with Morena Baccarin.  I think all I really did today was stand in lines.  Anyway, she used to recognize me on sight, but it’s been a good four years since we last saw on another, I think.  I wasn’t sure she would recognize me this time.  I look a little different from when she knew me, too.  But she greeted me with a quick “hi”, as with everyone else – and then her face lit up and she repeated “HIII!” and gave me a huge hug, so that was amazing!  She looks great and seems happy and told me to please come by her table, even though it’s busy, so I’ll swing by there to,or row sometime, just ’cause.  Easier to steal an extra few seconds of chat time there than in a photo op, anyway.

Note:  I’m running on about 3 and a half hours of sleep, and possibly hungry but for now tired wins, so will keep this shorter than planned.

Decided to get in Mark Hamill’s autograph line, and while it went faster than I’d thought it would, I rehearsed my short quick 2-3 line speech pretty much the whole time.  Then didn’t give it at all.

I did, however, learn that his mom had been named Sue, too.  Virginia Sue, in fact, but she went by Sue, so he was  much older child by the time he found out her real first name!  He told me this whole story and I didn’t say anything I’d meant to, nor did I shake his hand, so I headed our momentarily disappointed with myself.  Until I realized that what HAD transpired in those few moments actually meant more to me than anything I could have said or done, and suddenly all was well.Bought a sweet new t-shirt from Rotten Rags (it glows in the dark), met up with my awesome niece and nephews, and hung with them until it was time to go get our picture taken with Mark Hamill, as well!

While we waited, though, my phone rang, with one of my closest friend’s numbers showing on the display.  I answered, figuring she just didn’t realize I was at a con, and that it would be a short convo, anyway.  Turns out, though, she’s in Nova Scotia and was hanging with a couple of my other loves, and they’d called to wish me a belated Happy Birthday!  Whaaaat?!

It was hard to talk because the world on my end was very loud, and being so tired made it hard for me to focus, but still.  LOVED IT!  Made me wish I was in Nova Scotia…except I was about to meet Luke Skywalker for the second time today, so screw  it!

The photo op lime went fast once it got going, and my group sorted out which order we’d stand in, and such.  It was pretty much how I’d imagined it, actually, so we were all on the same page from the start, which was cool!

I could never have predicted how amazing the actual photo would be, however:

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I actually don’t think I could love it more!  Everyone looks how I hoped we’d look.  So so thrilled!

Then, shortly after I got home, another friend dropped off a present for Tim and I from the show Defiance, and THAT also rocks my world!

Now I’m so exhausted I’m having trouble keeping my eyes focused, so I’m going to bed.

After I give Brody one more quick loo break for the night, of course.

PS The Patreon page has launched!  Please support and share as much as possible!  http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels

 

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This Day, Though

Ugh this day, man.

I was able to go back to sleep after taking Brody out and feeding everyone this morning.  For, like, an hour.  Still so over-tired.

Managed to get some things done today, though, so there’s that.   Worked out my remaining budget and I think thus far I am on point.  Bought the photo op that’s been tradition for every con we’ve both been at.  It’s been probably four years or so, though.  I hope she still remembers me this time.

We’ll see.

If no further unexpected expenses come up this week (I’m looking at you, emergency dental bill), I should be okay to pick up the last remaining items I most hope to get at Fan Expo over the weekend, and still pay rent.  That list includes the Mark Hamill autograph I’ve been craving most of my life…or at least since I got Carrie Fisher’s auto on the pic of the two of them ten years ago.  I shall shortly turn my attention to being more press-like, and write up a post or two forThe Mind Reels about what to expect from Toronto’s biggest geek show.

Brody and I went around the block today, which we haven’t done in a while.  It was just supposed to be a quick loo break, but he seemed so happy, I decided we may as well just go for it.  He got a bit over-heated, but not too bad at all, and it didn’t take long to cool down again once we got back inside.  So that was nice.  I like hanging with that little guy.

The other big thing I accomplished today was to get the Mind Reels’ Patreon page more or less ready to launch on Thursday September 1st.  I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking now, too.  I had a couple of ideas yesterday to make it look more how I want it to, and was able to implement most of them today.  I am super excited to launch, but also nervous to see what level of fail I may achieve this time.

I’ll be running a contest for anyone who pledges at or above a certain level each month ($7 to be precise) to see if I can drum up a little incentive early on.  We’ll randomly draw from those Patrons to win a signed script from one of our first 5 radio plays!  Which is kinda cool, I think?  On top of all the regular rewards that come with each pledge tier level?

Anyway, I’m nervous but doing it, anyway.  Www.patreon.com/TheMindReels is where we will be once we launch.  I can’t find a way to set a date and time to activate it, though, so I’ll have to do it manually in the morning when I wake up that day.  It’ll also be my birthday, so I’ll probably remember to do it!  Haha

Tomorrow is a volunteer day, and then I have a few more things on the To Do list to take care of.  Hopefully not too many, though.  I tend to be really sore and exhausted after my shifts.

And I’m already pretty sore and exhausted as it is.

A Few Quick Thoughts

Man, the past few days have been difficult for my heart, and the past couple of weeks have just been a lot.

Most of which I haven’t put on here, I know, and while that’s been deliberate, I also realize that not sharing things that go on with me is a big part of my problem in relating to other people and forming any sort of strong bond with anyone.  I cut myself off, and it shows.

Maybe I’ll learn to change that, maybe not.  Either way, it won’t happen today!  haha

Found out earlier that Kenny Baker passed away, which is sad and another loss to not only my childhood but to my adult life, as well.  I met him at my first convention in 2005, and he was the first Star Wars actor I’d ever met.  I was so overwhelmed by the experience that I called my mom right after and cried about it to her on the phone.

Good grief.  🙂

So rest in peace, Mr. Baker, and thank you for bringing the first droid I ever loved to life.

Sending strength to my amazing friend, Dakota, for he is one of the fiercest warriors I’ve ever had the honour of knowing, and I know he has it in him to win this battle against the infection in his brain right now.  But sending a little extra strength his way, regardless, because every little bit helps.  Love you, my friend.

And finally, to Leo the Lion, the ‘L’ in the “BLT” – although not surprised at losing you, I am nevertheless still gutted, and all the more disappointed in myself for not finding a way to get to you this summer as I’d planned.  I’d had a feeling it would be my last chance, and though I don’t know what I could have done differently to get there sooner (or, as of yet, at all), a part of me still won’t forgive myself for not trying harder to make it happen.  I love you and will miss you madly, even still.

So for now, I’m just going to leave this here:  https://youtu.be/xicKoc8LjGE

Thank you for helping to teach us stupid humans how to love.

Even those of us who are habitually disappointing.

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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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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My Star Wars Life (Part 1 of Infinity)

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I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t love Star Wars. I was 5 when it was released in theatres (though I think I fell asleep during the matinee where I saw it for the first time; I remember droids in the desert, but nothing about a space battle at the end), and if I recall correctly, my first action figure was Bossk, who appeared in my Christmas stocking after Empire came out. Once my younger brother and I got started with the toys, what had started as a child’s playtime hobby would quickly grow into something far more. By the time Jedi was released, I was old enough to fall in love with Luke Skywalker, I’d begin to equate The Force as my first real understanding of religion and the nature of faith, and Star Wars took its place in my heart as a life-long obsession.

I joined the Official Fan Club right around then, and really never looked back. I wasn’t so much a collector as just a kid who wanted everything I could get my hands on, and I’m happy that most of it has more or less survived in my possession to this day. It’s all in terrible shape, but I wasn’t collecting it to one day sell it for an atrocious price – its value was far greater to me than to anyone else. To me it was priceless; as much so to me now as it was then. In some cases, even more. Star Wars – the whole scope of that galaxy long ago and far away – became more than just a fandom to me. It became a part of who I am.

I even got Carrie Fisher to sign one of the old photos I got in my original fan club membership kit – water-stained, pin holes and all. It hung on my bedroom wall for years and had seen its share of the ravages of time. The photo is of Luke and Leia on the Falcon after Ben dies in A New Hope (spoiler alert), and it’s always been one of my favourites, so having her sign it was a huge honour. Now I just need Mr. Hamill to make it to Toronto one of these days!

Bantha Tracks

Anyway, one of my biggest regrets, however, was in giving away my Luke Skywalker Bespin Fatigue Jacket – an exclusive of the official fan club, and something I’d begged my parents for what seemed like forever before they finally agreed to buy it for me. I can still remember going to the post office and buying a money order in US funds and dropping it carefully into the mailbox with my order form, clipped out of an issue of Bantha Tracks, the club’s newsletter. I think I’d rarely wanted anything so much in my entire life, before or since. Then, of course, I had to wait another forever for it to finally arrive in the mail, but when it did, it was perfection. All I could have hoped for and more.

Which was rare, really. Usually when I really want something, it ends up being not nearly as great as I thought it would be. That jacket, though, was even better than I’d dreamed, and I wore it everywhere, imagining myself to be Luke’s young Jedi sidekick or sorts.

Until I out-grew it.

Not emotionally. Physically, I grew too tall and it would no longer ever fit me again. I was kinda devastated, but reluctantly agreed to give it to our friend down the street, who was the same age as my brother, and therefore smaller than me. I cut the tag out of the collar to save as a memento, and gave away my greatest treasure. I mean, our friend was a huge fan, too, so I knew it was going to a good home, but still. It wasn’t my home.

Years – nay decades – went by, and I could never quite get that jacket out of my mind. Because my real obsession didn’t kick in until Jedi was released, I’d never gotten the action figure of Luke wearing it, so one day I bought a pretty sweet loose one in a comic book store, just on a whim. He was in better shape than many from that era, though missing his blaster and lightsaber. I didn’t care, though. Again, I wanted it for me, not to re-sell some future day. I even keep him separate from my other action figures, just because that one is a little bit extra special to me. Even still, though, the jacket – I couldn’t get the jacket completely out of my head. I wished I still had it so I could make a display for it – the smaller the jacket, the easier to display, even. It would have been perfect!

I’d occasionally peruse Ebay, looking for sellers who were getting rid of theirs, but on the rare occasion that I would find one (they only made so many in its very short original run), they were absurdly out of my price range. I knew I’d likely never find another one, and even went back to the mom of the guy I’d given it to, and asked if it was still by any chance in a box at her home or in storage somewhere. Zero luck.

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Until one day, during another supposed fruitless Ebay search, I found one. Not only had it been in storage since it had been purchased, but the seller even still had the original packaging in which it had been mailed! What’s more, I could afford it. What’s even more, there was a Buy It Now option that I could use, instead of bidding on it and risking losing it to someone richer than I. The only problem was that I no longer had any credit cards, because bankruptcy.

That’s where Tim stepped in and saved the day!

He bought it on his credit card, and I gave him cash a few days later once we’d gotten paid (and once we knew the conversion rate after shipping, etc, of course). To this day, I can not believe my luck! I tracked the shipment – multiple times a day, just in case it got any closer without me knowing – and waited with bated breath for my new old treasure to arrive.

When it finally did, I was almost in tears. Actually, even now, just thinking about it. It was perfect. As good as new, and so soft – I’d forgotten how soft it was. The tissue paper and brown sturdy paper envelope with the fan club’s original return address label on the outside, even the 80’s postmark…everything about it came rushing back in an overwhelming wave of emotion and memory for me. The seller hadn’t even known what size it was, but again, I didn’t care. I wanted to display it eventually, not wear it around. Now my Jedi sidekick-ish-ness is mostly done incognito, after all. 😉

Naturally, though, I tried that sucker on.

And it fit.

What the Force?! How did a kid in her late 30’s/early 40’s get so lucky as to find her one regret, her missing treasure, decades after having given it up because she’d grown too tall for it – and then find one that she could somehow afford and that actually FIT? I may not have eaten the healthiest for a few weeks there to make sure rent was still covered, but come on! That’s freaking amazing!!!

My next task was to sort out exactly how to display it. My initial plan had been to get one of those glass-doored display boxes for baseball jersey’s and bats and such, because I wanted to include my Luke Skywalker Empire Strikes Back Lightsaber hilt from Master Replicas – signed by Mark Hamill, the man himself! But I also really love the custom display case that it came with, and putting that in a second case seemed silly. So instead, I got a frame for just the jacket, and then rearranged some shelves on a bookcase in my living room to fit all of it – the framed jacket as the centrepiece, the lightsaber and loose action figure in case, along with a few of the other little Star Wars trinkets I’ve acquired more recently. I even added a couple of original Empire trading cards in the frame with the jacket – doubles, of course – featuring Luke wearing the very same one.

Luke Skywalker Jacket Display

It’s pretty spectacular, I have to say!

I have a ton of Star Wars stuff, from then, from the in-between years, from more recently, and even a bit from the newest film in the franchise. My collection is always growing, but it is still every bit of it for me. It’s a part of me; a part of my memories, and a part of my life. Even more a part of my very foundation as a person. They say the years before 5 last the rest of their lives, but I think sometimes, in the years which follow, things can also happen to change and shape you into the person you become. I think part of me will forever reside in that long ago and far away place.

In the meantime, though, my next ongoing project (among so many others) is to acquire loose versions of the original Kenner action figures:

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And yes, I have a checklist on the go.   😉

Toronto Comicon 2016

So hard to write right now because a certain Mr. Brodykins wants to play.

However.

Today I went to Toronto Comicon.  Naturally, I stayed out far too late last night (but it was worth it), and then lots of little things went wrong this morning, so I was very nearly late for the 9am media photo call, but I managed to squeak in just in time.  Thank goodness!

Tim and I had an amazing time, chatting with guests, other media, and of course the most excellent folks at Touchwood PR, who set us up with so many incredible press opportunities.  This morning was no exception.  Watch the Mind Reels page for the video footage, and check out our goofy selfies with everyone!  So much fun – everyone was in a great mood and came to play.  It was the perfect start to the day!

Once the con officially opened, we headed to the show floor and wandered around to check things out.  I saw so many things I wanted to buy!  I had to keep reminding myself that I don’t actually have any money.

A couple of t-shirts caught my eye, as did several Star Wars toys – original trilogy and Force Awakens.  Probably the greatest things, though, were these Star Wars 3D holograms.  I’ve never seen anything like them!  You can walk around them and see pretty much the whole thing, as it appears to poke out of the picture.  The one being released in a few weeks features R2-D2 projecting a hologram of Princess Leia.  A hologram within a hologram!  Does it GET any better?!

The hits and highlights kept coming as we took in the Killjoys panel, then got the opportunity to speak with the cast ourselves after.  We’d been able to interview Aaron last year, but getting to talk with him, Hannah and Luke together was a real treat.  They all have such genuine and kind personalities, and a great sense of humour.  They play off one another really well, making them an incredibly fun trio to chat with!

Or with whom to chat.

Up next was the Dark Matter panel.  Given that we’d shared a bowling lane with half the crew a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to see them all together again!  It’s ridiculous how pretty that cast is, and the comrade tie between them is obvious, and a ton of fun to watch.  I’d gotten there early enough to snag an autograph ticket, so I jumped at the opportunity to say hello to the cast members I know, and to introduce myself to the ones I hadn’t met yet.

Plus, I’m just not sure I could possibly adore those people more.  They make me happy.

I headed home after that, because I was determined to walk Brody in daylight.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been home while the sun is still up.  I stopped at McDonald’s, though, because I was hungry and it’s been a long time since Brody and I shared the most delicious fries in the world.  Sometimes I just need to hang out with the fur kids and bond for awhile.  It soothes my soul.

As does the McD’s maple blueberry pie that’s available right now.  Good grief!  So good!

Now I’m watching some stuff off my PVR (Survivor and Elementary, so far) and planning to go to bed early.  Tomorrow at the con is a later start, but I am exhausted as heck these days.

Time to put my feet up and relax.  More tomorrow!w