Category Archives: toronto

Photoblogging: Dundas Square, Toronto

Dundas Square in Toronto on my last full day of vacation. I miss weather like this all the more now that the fall rain has arrived here at home.

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Photoblogging: Toronto Sky

I took this while waiting in line for one of my TIFF movies. The weather was perfect like this the whole week I was in Toronto.

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Song Lyric of the Day:

Little Red Riding Hood was followed / Little Red Riding Hood’s / Grandmother was swallowed / Sleeping Beauty got sick / From her stepmom’s wicked trick / It’s not nice / She ate the apple slice / The dwarfs put her on ice

Sunny & Share Love You / “You Gotta Suffer a Lot to Be Happy“*

I somehow managed to blog pretty frequently throughout my vacation, but the second I got home? Coma time! I got home Thursday morning, showered, and fell into bed around 10:45AM. I didn’t wake up until 5PM. Back in bed for the night at 11PM, which is earlier than I go to bed on worknights, and I didn’t crawl out again until 1PM Friday afternoon. Made it upstairs to the couch, where I passed out again around 4:30PM. I obviously missed out on the party animal gene. That, and going non-stop for a full week running around Toronto wore me the hell out. Totally worth it, though.

I came home before the end of TIFF to celebrate my birthday with the spouse, and he not only treated me to a lovely dinner (in spite of an absentee waiter) at Naples Italian Restaurant, followed by dessert at Cafe 4 (because of said absentee waiter, we skipped dessert at Naples) but got me some kick-ass gifts, too. After weeks of me going on and on about wanting the new Kings of Leon album, Only By the Night, Rich gave me that CD as well as two others by the KoL. He also gave me my first digital picture frame, which I’m very excited about. No idea what photos I’m going to load on it, though, since I take pictures of everything. And the big gift: my very own bike. It’s been years since I had a bike, so I’m looking forward to biking around with Rich. We’ll be picking up my training wheels next weekend. (Thanks also to the family for my awesome DVD box sets and Best Buy gift cards.)

Saturday Rich and I met up with my family at Market Square for the Hola Festival. Much fun and empanadas was had by all. OK, I’m the one who had the empanadas. Those things are like crack. Tasty, tasty, deep-fried and meat-filled crack. Once we got home, you guessed it — I took a nap. I’ve been feeling much livelier since yesterday, although my first day back at work was lonnnnnng.

Later on this week, I’ll be writing mini-reviews on all the movies I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival. I just need to gather all my ticket stubs to refresh my memory. So … many … movies. In the meantime, I’ll post a Tuesday 10 list tomorrow morning relating to my experiences at TIFF. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a seriously pissed-off puppy whose forgiveness I’m trying to earn. Seems leaving my furbaby for a week did not sit well with El Troubacabra.

*Fantastic song featured during the closing credits of the Hung episode, “The Rita Flower or The Indelible Stench.”

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TIFF, Day 5

Song Lyric of the Day:

Stand tall / Doll you make them feel so small / And they love it / The boys wanna be her / The girls wanna be her / I wanna be her / Yes I do

Peaches / “Boys Wanna Be Her“*

Another day, more movies under my belt. It’s funny — I just spoke with Rich a little while ago, and he said that I’m not updating enough because people keep asking him what’s going on with me. Which I find very flattering, of course — I’m happy people are enjoying reading about my trip. So since tonight is my biggest between-movie gap so far (my next movie is at midnight), let me explain why I haven’t been able to update ye olde blog here that often.

Today was my fifth day here in Toronto. I’ve watched 14 movies so far, including having skipped about three in order to rest my blistered, bleeding feet or nap. That’s right: On my fourth day in, I hit the proverbial wall. So I grabbed a nap and woke up an hour or so later disoriented and unsure what day it was. I made it to Capitalism: A Love Story, but was too tired to hit The Loved Ones at Midnight Madness. I haven’t been to New York City in three years, but this trip has more than fit that particular bill. I have walked miles — yes, miles since arriving here on Thursday. Movie theaters are several city blocks apart, so I have to factor in the walking time along with the anticipated wait time with regard to when my movies are scheduled to start. For example, tonight I’ll be seeing Bitch Slap at The Ryerson. That’s exactly a five-minute walk from my hotel. So I’ll leave my hotel at about 11:15PM or so to get in line. I’ll sit on the side of the sidewalk, chatting and making new friends like I’ve been doing throughout the festival so far (the native Torontonians and Canadians I’ve met have all been so nice), watching something on my iPod, Twittering, or reading (if there’s enough light). Sometimes I do all those since I’m in line so long. About 10 minutes before the movie is due to start, we’re let into the theater. Seating is on a first-come basis, but as long as you’ve got a ticket you are guaranteed a seat.

If I’m seeing a movie at the AMC, that’s about a 10-minute walk. If I’m seeing a movie at the Winter Garden/Elgin, that’s a 15-minute walk. If I’m seeing something at the Varsity, that’s at least a 20-minute walk. And since my handy-dandy camera goes everywhere with me, as does my large travel bag, toting my Macbook around is out of the question. So I blog/upload photos whenever I’m back in my room. And not unconscious.

I’ve walked so much while here and spent so much time in movie theaters, in fact, that eating has become secondary. My hotel room doesn’t have a fridge or a microwave, so I grab food on my way to or, more often, back from a movie. This whole trip, I’ve had two pop tarts, three small subs, two large slices of pizza (which cumulatively amounted to half a medium pizza), a chicken Caesar wrap, two Twix bars, a few sodas, half a bag of popcorn, chocolate milk, and lots and lots of bottled water. Keep in mind that that’s everything I’ve eaten over the last five days. I honestly think the adrenaline and excitement have stymied my appetite. Shame that feeling won’t last once I get home.

That said, as exhausting as it’s been walking all over this very cool city on my bloody stumps (read: feet), I’m having a BLAST up here. Ten years ago, this kind of trip would’ve been unimaginable for me: I was a happy little hermit with very few friends, who kept to myself; I was incredibly introverted. Like cripplingly introverted — seriously. Now I’m making friends in whatever line I wait or whichever auditorium/theater I watch a movie. I’ve not only reconnected with my high school/college friend, Sanjay (check out his Midnight Madness blogs — the man has had maybe six hours of sleep total so far); our mutual high school friend, Eric; Suzanne from Pennsylvania and John from New York, friends of Sanjay and Eric’s who are now friends of mine, too; and others, including Bill and Leslie; Big Al; Gisele; Huck and Barb; and those whose names I either didn’t get or just can’t remember at this time.

When I go to the Midnight Madness movie, like I will tonight, I get back to my hotel between 2:30AM and 3AM. Depending on how wired I am, I may not fall asleep until about 4AM. Then it’s up at about 10AM if my first movie is at 11AM, and so on. Tomorrow my first movie is at noon, so I’ll probably get up at 11AM and be out the door and on my way to the theater at about 20 to noon since it’s playing at The Ryerson.

I hope all that helps explain why blogging has been uber-lite this trip (unlike my Twitter account, which automatically updates my Facebook page).

I have managed to take tons of photos (shocking, I know), many of which are already on my Flickr page. I’ve also shot lots of video which I will begin posting once I’ve had a chance to watch some of them.

I managed to find out where the celebrities in town for the festival pass their time (i.e., not mingling with us hoi polloi); I’m going to try to venture in that direction over the next couple of days, when I go souvenir shopping. The only times I’ve seen celebrities so far have been when they’re walking the red carpet on the way into a premiere, during Q&A discussions after movies, and on their way out into a waiting car after the movie. That said, I was in the front row for the David Duchovny/Demi Moore movie The Joneses yesterday and managed to get to the stage immediately after the Q&A, where I got Mr. Duchovny’s attention and told him how I enjoyed the movie and what a big fan of his I am. He shook my hand and thanked me. I TOUCHED AGENT MULDER. I honestly thought I might piddle afterwards, I was so giddy having met him. And, yes — he looks absolutely gorgeous up close. I also got within two feet of George Clooney the other day and got photos of Colin Farrell as I passed him on the way into Triage. I also met and got photos with the lovely and gracious Alex Van Sprang and Stefano DiMatteo from George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead. DiMatteo even teased me and Suzanne with a line from the movie, holding up both his hands and saying, “Five minutes and I change change your lives forever.” And after Daybreakers the other night, Sanjay not only introduced me to and photographed me with the Australian identical-twin directors, Michael and Peter Spierig brothers, but got them to autograph a mini-poster of the movie for me, too. (Thanks again, Sanjay!)

Since I’m not sure when I’ll get to post in this much detail again this trip (I still have eight movies to go), I’ll leave you with a few photos. I’ll do my best to upload the latest batch to Flickr soon.


Colin Farrell (taken as I was being pushed past him.)

Stefano DiMatteo and yours truly.

Alex Van Sprang and yours truly.

The Clooney (look, Ma, my first paparazzi shot!)

*From the Whip It soundtrack.

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TIFF, Day 4

Song Lyric of the Day:

I will find you, I will heal the ruins left inside you / Cause I’m still here, breathing now / I’m still here, breathing now / I’m still here, breathing now

Low Shoulder / “Through the Trees


While I’m enjoying the Toronto International Film Festival immensely, it is exhausting going to this many movies. I would bet money that Rich just laughed his ass of at that. The blisters on my feet are re-aggravated after today, to the point that I just faux-drunkenly limped home from George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead. I may have to skip a movie at this point just to update ye olde blog here about the movies I’ve seen the last two days. For now, I’ll just say that I was thisclose to George Clooney (pix to be posted later) and almost thisclose to Colin Farrell (pix to be posted later). And I enjoyed meeting a couple of the actors from the movie tonight, with whom I had my photo taken (yes, pix to be posted later).

Going to try and grab some sleep now, since tomorrow starts with my earliest movie yet, The Men Who Stare at Goats, at 11:30AM. And then I have four more movies after that.

Have I mentioned that doing nothing but watching movies is exhausting? It’s sooooo much fun.

Wow. Barely six hours of sleep is not enough here. Which of my five movies to sacrifice today? OK, four — I’m definitely going to The Men Who Stare at Goats. I’m thinking it’ll be buh-bye to The Joneses, much as I’d enjoy seeing David Duchovny in person (if he’s here). Decisions, decisions.

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TIFF, Day 3

Song Lyric of the Day:

I take one more step / I’m lacing up my gloves / Well I’m better off now / Don’t, don’t talk down to me / Your head is moving side to side / Our temperatures rise / I hear the Devil outside

The Stills / “Don’t Talk Down to Me

I got back earlier tonight from watching Daybreakers than I did from last night’s Midnight Madness screening. I’m still really, really wired, but I’ll work on a recap later, after I’ve gotten some sleep. Thank God my first movie today isn’t until 3PM.

I’m only blogging at this hour since I didn’t want to forget which song I heard tonight that I wanted to use as my Song Lyric of the Day.

Now to try to fall asleep …

Four movies on tap for today: The Hole, The Secret in Their Eyes, Triage, and George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead. Unfortunately, after looking at the schedule, I think I’m going to have to skip The Secret in Their Eyes since it will still be playing when Triage starts. Time to look into the ticket exchange policy …

*My favorite song from The Trotsky. You can listen to it and see the video here.

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Toronto-Bound: TIFF, Day 1

Song Lyric of the Day:

Cowboy heroes / Cops and robbers / Glamour and strife / Bigger than life! / Sitting in the darkness / What a world to see! / Let’s go to the movies

Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney & Ann Reinking / “Let’s Go to the Movies

Up bright and early today. Off to the airport!

I’m going to do my best to blog/Twitter throughout since it’s what I do. I document everything. I should’ve been a documentary filmmaker. Anyhoo.

You can check back here for updates, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Flickr albums (although give me about a day before any new pics are uploaded).

Ah, I already love Toronto. It’s a gorgeous day here as I’m writing this from THE BUS to my hotel. The nice, clean bus with free Wi-Fi. Woohoo! I’m taking advantage, obviously. To that end, be sure to check my Flickr album in a little while for the first batch of photos.

I’ll try to update here and there throughout the day, so check back later. Maybe I’ll have my first celebrity-sighting in the meantime.

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The ABCs of My OCD

Song Lyric of the Day:

High Anxiety / It’s always the same / High Anxiety / It’s you that I blame / It’s very clear to me / I’ve to give in / High Anxiety / You win

Mel Brooks / “High Anxiety

In case you’re new to my blog or haven’t popped by in a while or are just really good at tuning me out when I get all repetitive-like (I’m looking at you, dear), I’m heading off to Toronto tomorrow for the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s pretty much all I’ve talked about lately. And to say I have ants-in-the-pantsitis is a complete understatement. I’m basically bouncing off the walls since the last vacation I enjoyed was our amazing trip to Uruguay last March. After that trip, Rich and I stayed much closer to home, and this year we’ve only gone away together for a grand total of two nights, once to Chattanooga for Valentine’s Day and then to the amazing Creekwalk Inn for our 9th wedding anniversary in April. So am I ready for a vacation? You bet your ass I am.

As I wrote the other day, it’s something of a tradition for me to freak out a bit before going out of town, whether it’s for an overnighter or for a longer trip. I blame it on my selective OCD. I say selective because, while I don’t need to tap the lightswitch 18 times before leaving a room or, say, blink three times and spin in a circle every hour on the hour, I do have my quirks. One of those quirks is making list after list of things to prepare for vacation, things to take on vacation, things that need to be taken care of around the house, bills that need to be paid, etc. And I have a thing about taking extra underwear on a trip. I’m not talking the recommended extra pair or two, but almost a whole week’s worth of extra undies. Rich likes to tease me about that hypothetical underwear dilemma/nightmare, the one that’s hovered in the back of my mind for every trip over the last dozen years or so, that will lead me to need all those extra undies. I shudder to think what that might be, should that particular catastrophe ever strike.

Pre-trip freakout rituals aside, my day-to-day OCD quirks are limited to two things: my alarm clock and the front and back door locks (okay, three things). I have to check my alarm clock several times before I can rest assured that I set if for (1) the correct time and (2) the correct time of day. As in AM instead of PM. That little mistake has made for a few bad days over the years. I won’t get started on how I used to obsess over the volume of my alarm, but ask Rich how many mornings he’s had a heart attack as a wake-up call and you’ll get the answer to that. As for the locks, Rich knows how much of a trigger this is for me. All he has to do as I’m, say, drifting off to sleep, is casually whisper, “Goodnight, and are you sure the front door/back door is locked?” knowing full well I’ll hop out of bed to go check right that very moment. I think he — and the dogs — think it’s funny.

My packing is about 85% complete, so all I have to do tonight (besides freak out and inadvertently annoy the spouse) is double- then triple- then quadruple-check everything*, amass all my electronics (laptop, DSLR, digital camera for shooting video, and iPod), finish rewatching Being Human (ahem), and make sure my earplugs and sleep mask are at the ready for when I’m settled in on my flights. Because for me, flying is a time for sleeping. I’m not there to socialize with my seatmate(s). So I swaddle myself in a blanket — covering my neck, of course — pop in my earplugs and put my mask on. Sure, if the plane — God forbid — starts to go down, I’ll hold my seatmate’s hand and be their best friend to the bitter end, but until then? I’m napping.

*Underwear counting included.

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Countdown to Vacation

Song Lyric of the Day:

To be gone away awhile, tell me all the things that I / I’ll be missing here in this old life

Safetysuit / “Gone Away

Even though it’s two months and a day away, I’m excited beyond belief counting down to my solo vacation in September. Where am I going? To Toronto! Specifically, to the Toronto International Film Festival.
Why a film festival, you may ask? Well, I’m a big movie buff; I wouldn’t call myself a film buff because I’m not that discriminating. I love movies, but I’m not snobby about it or elitist about which ones I’ll watch. (Remember, Clue is one of my all-time favorites, after all). I’ve met film buffs who were actually film snobs in that they turned their noses up at most of what modern movie studios have to offer. They were actually very judgmental about yokels who like stupid movies like, oh, let’s say Clue (ahem). They were genuinely off-putting with their attitudes. Needless to say, we never did get together to watch that experimental black-and-white, 8mm-processed film about the inner workings of an oversized clock in a German industrialist factory and the one-handed idiot savant who ends up uncovering a terrible government plot that threatened mankind’s very existence (cough). I watch movies for the same reason most of us do: to escape. What’s the point in being a snotty shit about what I watch? That’s what TV is for. (I’m looking at you, America’s Next Top Real Housewife Idol Dancing With Made-Over Chefs).

Going to a film festival is something I’ve thought and talked about doing for years. This year, the timing worked out in that no immediate family members are due to give birth, I have more than enough vacation days, and I can actually afford to go. And while I’m excited about getting to watch all these fresh, new, hopefully original movies, what I’m really looking forward to is meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen since college; this will be his and his best friend’s eighth year going, so his input has been invaluable in helping me plan. And, admittedly, the mere thought that I just might get lucky enough to see and, ideally, meet an actor or actress I admire is also something to look forward to. Who would I love to meet? George Clooney? Pass. Brad Pitt? Nah. Julia Roberts? Yawn. Now, Simon Pegg? Hell yes! My God, I’ve watched his movies (and most episodes of Spaced) often enough that I could act out pretty much any part in any scene. I love his writing (and acting) that much. The man is a comic genius. Genius!

And to address the elephant in the room, Rich is not going with me — this is a solo vacation. Why? Because as anyone who knows my boy is already keenly aware, Rich is not the watch-up-to-six-movies-a-day kind of guy on the best of days, and certainly not on a vacation. This is a man who won’t watch a movie a second time if his first viewing was less than a year ago. Now, take him on an all-the-art-museum-visits-you-can-cram-in-a-day vacation, and he’d be a happy boy. Besides, I need to know my puppy is happy with his daddy around the house. Because he’ll be on suicide watch without me around for eight straight days (Troubadour’s just a *wee* bit attached to his mommy. Just a tad.).

Now if only I knew a Toronto-based blogger with whom I could meet up for a drink. In between movies, of course.

Image courtesy of Viole Music via a Google search.

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