Fandoms – the religion of tomorrow

Before I start this post, I’d just like to put a DISCLAIMER:

I, in no way, am hoping to offend anyone’s religion, religious beliefs or even fandoms, for that matter. I am not trying to say that what is in religious texts didn’t happen (who am I to say that! I wasn’t there); I am just hoping to draw some comparisons between what I’ve learned in studying religions and myths, and what I know of pop culture phenomenons and fandoms of today.

I actually really love religions and have studied many (in school and on my own). Religion is actually one of my favourite topics, especially when looking at them through the lens of History (which is, specifically, what I studied in school). I’ve come to respect aspects of all of the ones I’ve learned about and am in awe of people’s devotion to their chosen beliefs.

That being said, I, personally, have never considered myself to be of a specific religion. Recently, I have truly taken to the “spiritual, but not religious” phrase since it seems to very much apply to my state of mind where higher powers/beings and so forth are concerned.

Now, with that aside… What the heck is on my brain that got me back here?

I just (about, I have literally one page left) finished Mythology: An Illustrated Journey Into Our Imagined Minds by Christopher Dell. The bright blue cover really caught my attention and I liked the idea of a visual guide to mythologies of all types. I was not disappointed!

At the very beginning, Christopher Dell actually brings up the point that has formulated in my mind (and has been in my mind for a good fifteen years or so) that what we, today, think of as pop culture, will, in time, become the myths of the future.

Here’s a quote from him to explain and get you in the right mindset:

“What of myths of the present day? Is there a place for new myths, or do we live in a society too dominated by science? Archaeologists two thousand years from now may conclude that one of the most significant myths of the late 20th century and early 21st centuries was Star Wars; its characters were immortalized in small figurines, and countless nooks detailed their exploits. Moreover, they will find evidence of these stories worldwide. Archaeologists may even come to the conclusion that the narrative falls into canonical and non-canonical parts.*” (Dell, p.13)

*Note from me: *cough*TheForceAwakens*cough*TheLastJedi*cough*Solo*cough*

Oh excuse me, must be something making my allergies go a little nutty… 😛

His choice of Star Wars is a fantastic example of exactly where my brain went – and as he clearly states, two thousand years from now, people may look back and take SW to be the myths and legends that we, people of the 20th and 21st century, idolized and looked to for guidance in our lives.

Now, I’m going to take what he said one step further.

I believe, not only will pop culture (TV, movies, books) be regarded as the “myths” of our time, but also, that the fandoms – that is, collections of fans – created around them, may eventually be seen as religions of our time.

And, hell, isn’t that already a little true? For anyone who knows me personally, they know how often I have uttered phrases such as:

I was:

  • “raised on Star Wars
  • “born into the Star Wars-life”

or have flat out said that Star Wars is like religion in my family.

It has, very significantly, impacted my life and belief system. I have, literally, likened my spiritual beliefs to The Force when explaining what I do believe to a friend – so, yes, already, Star Wars is that important to people’s lives.

There are, in fact, people who’ve marked Jedi on their country’s census as their religion. Sure, some people may have put it as a joke, but I’m sure at least one person in the thousands of people worldwide who marked it down did so because it actually meant something to them.

Right now, there is actually a huge rift in the Star Wars fandom that was caused by what many of us feel was blatant disrespect on the part of the Disney-Lucasfilm filmmakers (specifically because of The Last Jedi and the interactions of filmmakers with fans thereafter).

Though that would require an entire post all its own to explain and delve into, the important part here is that I (in a YouTube video review, and in real life to friends) have likened this to a schism in religion. Something has happened that has unequivocally and  irreparably caused a split in a fandom, unheard of until this point. (Yes, not even with the prequels – people may not have liked them, but no one was really denying that they were canon – see, the canon vs non-canon debate has already begun and we’re not even at the year 4018 yet!)

People have said (tweeted) the line: “Get over it, it’s just a movie” to many of us while trying to defend the filmmakers and to those people I say: (1) if it’s just a movie, you need not defend (the rude, impolite) filmmakers (who’ve already made millions off of you); (2) it is not just a movie to so many of us.

The tensions over this are running so high and this further helped me to realize that Star Wars truly isn’t just a movie. At no moment moreso than when I saw my dad and mom watch TLJ – our dad was visibly angered by the movie and about three-quarters of the way through, he just couldn’t pay attention to it anymore because he went off on how they had destroyed not only a film legacy, but the emotional attachments we all hold dear in not respecting the characters and stories so tied to our family memories. And this, I might add, was coming from my dad, not my brother (three years old when the original came out), or my sister (born the year after), or myself (raised on the VHS and Special Editions).

That tells you something. That tells you that this cultural phenomenon means something, something BIG to lots of people.

But let’s back up from Star Wars for a second, because clearly I am biased where that’s concerned – let’s talk about other fandoms.

The thought that movies and books of today would eventually become the religions and myths of the future first came to me when I was in high school. I was reading The Bible (for fun, yes! I’m a nerd, did you not know this?) and the same time was (trying to) read Lord of the Rings (I only made it through FOTR…)

Something hit me one night at around midnight, when I was sitting there on my bed, surrounded by books.

The copy of The Bible I had (thanks to the library – support your local libraries!) and my copies of the LOTR books… were laid out EXACTLY THE SAME.

That is, they both had the stories (including prose, dialogue and even songs/poems) and at the back had appendices containing: timelines, maps, family trees…

And in the moment, my seventeen-year-old brain exploded with the immense thought that, what if, one day, maybe a thousand or two thousand years from now, all record of JRR Tolkien as an author was lost, and, suddenly, people thought LOTR… actually happened?

(Again, I’m not saying things in The Bible didn’t happen. Ninety-percent of my studies of The Bible in school was actually piecing together the historicity in conjunction with history of the ancient Near East, so… I am most definitely not saying that. What I am saying is…)

People two thousand years from now might not have access to all the things we have today. In one of my classes (possibly Digital History, the course for which this blog was first created, lo those many years ago – in 2010), our professor actually brought up the excellent point that the things we are creating today (HELL, THIS BLOG!) are ephemeral things. If we lost electricity, access to technology, the ability to connect to the Internet, we’d never see any of the things being created now. Even if we had hard copies, so many of our items these days are made from recyclable materials and won’t last very long either.

But hey, what if some olde tyme version of LOTR from when it was first written was stashed in a Time Capsule and people (or supreme, much evolved human beings) in 4020 found it? What would they think of it? (I totally believe Christoper Lee must’ve stashed a secret copy somewhere to be found thousands of years from now. He loved LOTR enough to do so – there are tons of Tolkien scholars and fans who love it enough to do so. And if you haven’t yet, DO IT Tolkein scholars!)

(This brings up a whole other issue that I am not going to touch with a ten-foot-pole of an author who’s stories were suddenly believed as religion in this day and age already… But, see what I’m saying? It happens!)

On the one hand, we have texts that can be (mis)interpreted as religious/spiritual tracts, and on the other, we have the fandoms – the large and very visible followings of these “myths”

So, the year is 4018 and historians have managed to track down that in 2018 people were worshiping in various categories. Some of which included:

Jedi (Je’daii)

Trekkies

Tolkienites

Whovians

Potterheads

True Believers (a subsect of which would be, the MCUists)

And… whatever you Game of Thrones fans want to be called because I don’t know your fandom enough (or at all) enough to come up with a name for you. Winter…people…? (Winter seems to be a big deal in there, no?)

And so forth…

The funny thing is, the reason this came to my mind so strongly while reading this book (aside from my saying “YES, Christopher Dell, that’s what I’ve been saying for the last fifteen years too!” after that paragraph on p13) is because I have a hard time understanding Hinduism – and, ironically, though I said I am personally not affiliated with a religion, that is the religion that my family primarily is… (Some more than others – clearly, not me. 😛 )

Hinduism seems very complex and when I read (Dell, p343): “Effectively there are three principal gods […]: Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer) and Shiva (the Destroyer). Each can have many avatars and alternate forms, allowing them to appear in different scenarios…” my brain said, to help me understand, “Oh, okay cool, so… kind of like The Doctor? (in Doctor Who).

And that’s when I sprinted from reading the book to write this treatise (of nonsensicalness) before I forgot.

Truthfully, is it not true that we are already worshiping in our fandoms in a lot of ways?

Yes, like I mentioned about SW – that’s a definite example. But also, while I was reading there was a picture of a 10th century amulet fashioned to look like Thor’s hammer Mjolnir (p316) and I was, coincidentally, at that same time wearing a ring in the shape of (MCU/Tom Hiddleston) Loki’s horns (ca. 2018, Hot Topic. Thank you Hot Topic).

I wear that ring as a symbol of pride to show that I am a Loki fan (and, also ***spoiler alert for Infinity War, but really it’s been over a month so if you haven’t made time to see it by this point it’s really your own fault if you see a spoiler*** To mourn my beloved Loki).

I wrote an essay in my final year of university (my magnum opus, if you will) about the pilgrimages people would take to Canterbury Cathedral to visit where, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket was killed . They would clamber (or clamour? Or both?) to buy anything being sold related to him our of reverence (and in hopes for a miracle).

Fast forward nine hundred years after Thomas Becket was born, and here we fangirls are, doing the same for a fictional character (who is, ironically, based on a mythological character).

Did I buy the Loki ring in the hopes of a miracle? No, not really (but, truthfully, maybe a little… I am hoping for a bit of a miracle in the 4th Avengers movie…).

Did everyone who bought something at Canterbury Cathedral in the 12th/13th century necessarily want a miracle, or were they taken by the whole excitement of having a souvenir connected to the Archbishop?

And so, with all that out of my mind, I now take my leave.

You can agree with me or disagree with me; you can believe it’ll happen or think I’m totally crazy, but the fact of the matter is, we won’t actually know what’ll survive to the year 4018 (if anything) and what the historians of their time will think of us.

If my Loki ring does make it that far, they might just think: “Hey look, thirtysomething Canadian women of South Asian descent partook of Norse mythology…” and, I guess, in some weird way, kind of do…

 

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Confessions of a Celeb-Spotting Fangirl – Alexander Siddig

Alright, after my long absence, I have some time today, so I made my way randomly up and down my list and landed on…

Alexander Siddig!

Alexander Siddig might not be a household name, but if you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll know him.

Alexander aka Siddig El Fadil aka Sid played the brilliant and adorable Dr Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for all seven seasons.

If I’ve never had the opportunity to mention this before, DS9 is one of my favourite shows of ALL-TIME. I have been known to say I love it so much that I wish I could HUG IT – yes, the entire show. The characters, the cast, the show itself – ALL of it.

I know many Star Trek fans were not really keen on DS9 when it first aired. It was a huge divergence from The Original Series and The Next Generation, focusing on a space station versus a ship and adding stories of massive war/conflict for the Federation, along with religion and spirituality, in a way that we hadn’t ever seen before.

Personally, it was all of these things that made me love it. I could probably – and may one day – write an entire post on DS9 alone, and why I love it and think it’s actually started to gain much more appreciation now, 25 years out from when it first premiered, but this post is about Dr Bashir, Alexander Siddig.

When DS9 first aired, I was still a child (started when I was six, ended when I was almost thirteen), but my sister was in her teens to early twenties – prime time to have a massive crush… And that, my friends, she did.

My sister has loved Dr Bashir and Alexander Siddig since those days, and so, when it was announced that he’d be attending the premiere of his movie here, she was so eager to go see him – we’d had so much luck in the past meeting/seeing so many of my crushes/celeb-loves, maybe we’d get lucky for her too!

On the day of, I wasn’t really feeling it, though. My stomach was hurting, or something along those lines, and I was wavering on whether or not I’d actually go join her at the premiere to see him. Eventually, I rallied myself because I didn’t want to miss out on this experience – for myself, but even more for my sister.

I think this is as good a time as any to mention my favourite part of this story – for pretty much my entire life up until I started to actually meet some of my fav celebs, my sister used to tease me, saying that I’d NEVER be able to handle being in front of one of them. She hypothesized that I’d get too giggly, shy and completely clam up – leaving her to do all the talking for me.

To be fair, she had a basis for this, in that our dad used to promote Bollywood stage shows when I was (very) young and I did used to get really shy and awkward around these stars. Again, these experiences could fill other (multiple) posts, but suffice it to say, she’d seen this of me in the past – and she was, as the older, experienced, professional one, actually working with these celebs – much more on it than I ever was.

But on this fateful September day in 2012, who ended up being the starstruck one that couldn’t string two words together?

THAT’S RIGHT – MY SISTER!

We were extremely lucky, in that this was a premiere for a lesser known movie called Inescapable, in a bigger venue, which meant that there was hardly anyone there. The only other “big”-ish stars in the movie were Joshua Jackson – who, by the way, wasn’t very kind to his fans – but more on that another day and Marisa Tomei (and there is also a funny story about this too, but, again, another post for another day!).

With all this serendipitously working in our favour, the second Alexander Siddig got out of his car, we yelled out loudest to get him over to us. Luckily, the people around us were very kind and mostly hoping to see Jackson (and his girlfriend/partner, at the time, Diane Kruger), so they were more than happy to help us get the attention of my sister’s preferred star, for the fun of it.

And wouldn’t you know it, despite being slightly down the line, he came RIGHT TOWARD US. This was very reminiscent of my experience with Alan Rickman a few years later and, ironically, was the exact same venue, at almost the exact same spot.

As he headed our way, I noticed my sister’s nerves starting to get the better of her and when he did come to us – she just lost all ability to talk. Anyone who knows my sister and I know that… talking isn’t something either of us usually has a problem with, at all. 😛

Knowing this is what she was here for, I took the reins and explained to Mr Siddig (El Fadil) that my sister had been a huge fan of his since she was a teenager and asking if he would please take a photo with her. I’m pretty sure I must’ve mentioned something about how much we both love DS9, at least, I certainly hope I did, but what I remember most was trying really hard to make sure my sister got a picture with him.

We got the photo and it was a lovely moment and I was happy, and she was happy and then two seconds after that I realized WAIT-A-MINUTE, I can ask him for a picture too!!

I was so focused on helping my sister, I totally forgot that… I could ask him as well. I remember saying, “OH WAIT, can I get a picture too??”

He was very kind and happy to oblige and I ended up with this wonderful photo…

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Sometimes it just hits me at random that I have a picture with Dr Bashir, and it makes me really happy. 😛

There is more to this story, but I don’t want to embarrass my sister further – I’ll just say that the second he walked two steps away, she managed to finally say something to all of us around and it just happened to be something pretty silly… And one of the security guards came over to tease her about what she said… so if he heard it, it’s pretty obvious Alexander Siddig heard it too. 😛

On the whole, this ranks up there as one of my favourite celeb encounters because:

(1) I was able to help my sister meet an idol, and I always love helping others and/or hearing stories about when they meet people they adore.

(2) I almost wasn’t even going to go and it turned out to be a really good thing that I did!!

(3) I got to meet an actor from DS9, one of fav shows ever, and this wouldn’t happen again for a few years!

Since this encounter, I rewatched the entirety of DS9 all the way through back in 2016 – funny enough, I ended up on the episode where Dr Bashir turns 30 the day before I turned 30, which I found really hilarious. Rewatching it all as an adult, I realized that it’s just as amazing as I always thought it was and so worthy of being one of my favourites, but also… Dr Bashir is damn cute.

Now that’s not something I’m really, necessarily, “allowed” to say – much in the way that my sister not allowed to EVER have crush on Obi-Wan Kenobi (which she once tried to allude to after watching Star Wars: Clone Wars – but I summarily shut that down because, as I said, “he is your brother-in-law” 😛 — also, yes, we are both aware that he is a cartoon on Clone Wars, but Obi-Wan on the whole, as a character, is AMAZING, okay? 😛 ).

BUT, what can I say, Dr Bashir IS cute! He started out quite annoying in the first season, but he matured and grew throughout the series, eventually becoming much more complex (he’s like the Pippin of Deep Space Nine, and I love Pippin too!).

So, sorry, I know the “hands-off” policy is in effect and I totally respect it, but after 25 years, I also get it too… 😛

And so, friends, that is where I’ll leave you today. Hopefully I’ll be back again with a post of some sort, some time soon.

If not… have a good first few months of 2018? 😛

 

Happy 2018! (Aka hiatus and where did the months go??)

Hello friends,

Last I wrote on here was…oh, wow, over three months ago! Happy New Year to you all!

I had really intended to keep up with my celeb encounter story experiences, but a few things happened along the way.

(1) I realized that these stories are probably best told via video rather than in writing, so, mayb, one day I’ll make videos about them instead.

(2) I got a new job!

A few days after that last post, I interviewed for a new job and about a month after that I was informed that I got it. It’s an amazing job and I am really loving it. I’ve been waiting for a big change for a long time, something that could give me a little more stability alongside my other job and this one sure seems to be a good fit so far.

As of right now, I’ve been employed for just about two months – but the first month was all about setting up. I won’t say where/what I am working as, for anonymity’s sake, but as people in my everyday life are aware, the place where I work is a brand new location, so there was a TON that needed to be done. I’ve only just recently started my regular schedule, so it’s taking a bit of adjusting to get used to what’ll be new life from now on.

So far, it’s been great and I really look forward to what’s ahead!

All that being said, obviously, some things fell by the wayside – and writing consistently on my blog was one of them.

Given that I am starting to get accustomed to my schedule now, and I do have some free moments, I am hoping I can get back into this again – possibly, yes, with some of them celeb stories, but maybe with another “book study” – as I did with Book of Awesome, perhaps? I just have to find the right book that’ll lend itself to that! (I know Neil Pasricha wrote a sequel to the Book of Awesome, so that might be a place to start…)

Since I do have time today, maybe I’ll give one of my celeb stories a shot.

Stay tuned!

Confessions of a Celeb-Spotting Fangirl – George Clooney

Hello all,

After a brief hiatus this week to nurse my horrible allergies, I’m back with my first celeb encounters post. In case you didn’t see my first post on this, I’ll be writing about the different celebrities I’ve had the good fortune of seeing or meeting over the years.

If there’s any particular person you want to hear about, go check out that first post and my compiled list of celebs to see who I’ve actually had an encounter with and let me know in the comments of that post (or this one, that’s fine too).

When I don’t get comments, I’ve decided to just pick someone at random, so for today, that randomized selection is…

*drum roll please*

George Clooney

- george clooney

I saw George Clooney at the Toronto International Film Festival aka TIFF in September 2009 (you better get used to hearing all about TIFF because that’s where I’ve seen 90% of the people I’ve seen!)

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love Ewan McGregor.  No, don’t worry, I know this is a post about George Clooney, but there’s a reason I mention this:

I love Ewan so much that I have attempted to see him almost every time he’s come to TIFF in the last 10 years – which is pretty greedy of me because I actually did meet him and get his autograph at the Cassandra’s Dream premiere in 2007.

What can I say? That was in the days before smartphones that took great selfies – or at least the days before I had a smartphone that could take selfies – so I am still in a life-long mission to get a photo with him.

This takes us to TIFF 2009 – The Men Who Stare at Goats premiere.

I went to downtown Toronto with the express purpose of trying to see Ewan, forgetting who else was in the movie. Needless to say… it was a pretty big star!

For some reason or another, I didn’t actually make it in time to get a good spot for the premiere. I remember sitting at Swiss Chalet with my sister where she’d popped in for food after work, and then sauntering over to the venue (across the street), only to realize we’d missed seeing Ewan… BUT then this guy turned up!

In addition to him, there was a driver who looked just like Kenny Rogers, so we went around yelling “KENNY! KENNY ROGERS!” at him – he found it amusing and waved at us. We were also happy to find that by a few hours later there was a rumour going around the TIFF area that Kenny Rogers was in town. And this was even in the days before Social Media was as used and rampant as it is now, so that literally just got around through word of mouth!

Having missed seeing Ewan at the red carpet, we decided to try for when they leave the premieres instead, assuming that wouldn’t really work out for us either because the back of the venue wasn’t (at the time) as well-equipped for fans and photo ops (i.e. no barriers up).

We did see Ewan, but only very briefly, he gave a wave before getting into his car, and also pretty sure this is the premiere when we saw Woody Harrleson too (but that’s a story saved for the time I pick him off the list…)

Then suddenly, Mr Clooney came out and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

I kid you not.

People went rushing for him, and somehow in that mix, my sister and I got separated and I got pushed toward his back (I distinctly remember this too), while she got pushed toward his face.

That’s right, my sister got pushed RIGHT into George Clooney’s face.

And ridiculous (i.e. amazing) guy that he is, rather than cower, hide behind bodyguards or go running into his car when he saw how nuts people were being – this whole debacle actually started because he decided to come towards the fans, sans barriers, and sign autographs. All of this, too, while he had a broken hand!

Most celebs I’ve met and seen are accommodating and quite nice, but I’ve never seen another celeb who – upon seeing HOARDS (and it was truly a large group) of people waiting, with no barrier in site – walk towards the group rather than away from them,

I thought George Clooney was pretty cool at that point (I grew up watching Sisters and ER – actually, I just remembered that for most of my childhood, I called him “Falconer” thanks to Sisters 😛 ). After this experience, I thought “DANG, this guy is really cool!” Only someone truly easy-going and patient could have done what he did that night.

And great though it was to see one of the biggest names there is – not just in Hollywood, but in the world! – I have a feeling this is why Ewan ducked out a little quicker and quieter, because that’s usually how it goes when there’s a bigger name in the movie… So DANG YOU George Clooney, you were the first in the line of many reasons why I didn’t get a photo with Ewan!

As for did we get a photo of/with George Clooney (aside from that blurry, far away one above from the Red Carpet)?

Sadly…no.

Both my camera and my sister’s camera decided to stop working right when we got shoved toward him. I feel like she may have got a really blurry one right up in his face from what I remember, but I haven’t been able to locate that just yet. I do think she was also just very shocked to be right in his face too, so may have been hard to get a picture of him at that exact moment.

She did manage to get one of him just as he walked away though…

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I know, if I didn’t tell you it was him, you might not even know…

Also, important point of note – most celebs, when I’ve seen or met them (and you’ll hear more of this when I get to others) actually look WAY BETTER than you would even think they would. Most of the actresses are excessively radiant and beautiful beyond words; most of the actors are extra devastatingly handsome.

George Clooney… kind of looked… just like you’d expect him to…

Don’t get me wrong, he was nice-looking and plenty handsome, I suppose (to be fair, I, personally, have never found him “devastatingly handsome” to begin with), but…he wasn’t extra special and sparkly like other celebs have been.

Still, his commitment to taking time with all fans and being kind enough to jump right into the crowd, that was especially impressive to me! And from what I’ve heard, that’s how he always is! People told me he was taking tons of times with all fans again this year at the premiere of Suburbicon, which he directed.

So that’s my George Clooney story.

Let me know which of my other celeb encounters you’d most like to hear about.

Until next time!

Confessions of a Celeb-Spotting Fangirl

Well hello there and welcome back kind readers!

With my Summer of Awesome project at an end, I started thinking about what to write next.  Recently I noticed just how many friends and acquaintances have told me they enjoy my posts on Instagram and Facebook about my celebrity encounters.

Some people have even told me they so look forward to this time of year because they know I’ll post about Celeb Spotting and they’ll get the chance to live vicariously through me and witness my luck (believe me, it’s not luck, just good planning… Okay,  and sometimes luck too!)

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One day maybe I’ll actually make it to the other side of the red carpet… 😛

And so my next BIG idea was born:

A post on all the celebrities I have come across in my thirty years.

Then I realized… why make one post, when I can do a whole series?

So here’s what I’m thinking:

In this post I will attempt to list every single celebrity I have ever seen or met. 

I am going to post just the whole, huge list, without any dates, context or anything.

If there are any celebrities or circumstances of my meeting/seeing said celebs that you are interested in hearing more about, comment as such and I will go ahead and tell you more in subsequent posts.

If I get no comments (more than likely) I will go through at random – with the very sophisticated method of scrolling up and down and pointing at names – and make posts based on those.

I will warn you right now, not all celebrity encounters are equal.

There are some people I had the privilege of talking to and got a really great story out of it.. there are some that I just saw their head bobbing by from afar.

Often, though, even if I only just saw them from afar, there’s usually a funny story surrounding it, so hopefully there won’t be any posts that are too boring.

And so, without fruther ado…

THE LIST – CELEBS I’VE MET OR SEEN!*

*Brief asides:
(1) I have met MANY Bollywood actors, but have only included ones I saw at TIFF on this list. I will explain why in a future post – most likely when/if I ever happen pick one of those Bollywood actors;
(2) These names are in – as well as I could recall – chronological order rather than alphabetical order
(3) I didn’t include celebrities I have seen at concerts (i.e. I included Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys, but not BSB in general, because even though I have gone to two of their concerts, I saw him independent of those, up close, elsewhere)

David Copperfield

David Prowse

Jeremy Bulloch

John Colicos

Britney Spears

Peter Mayhew (x2)

Kenny Baker

Warwick Davis

J.G. Hertzler

Lou Ferrigno

Chase Masterson

Jeri Ryan

Nicole de Boer

Mick Foley (aka Mankind)

Chris Jericho

Kevin Richardson (of the Backstreet Boys)**

Adam Copeland (aka Edge)

Curt Henning (aka Mr Perfect)

Ray Traylor (aka Big Boss Man)

Orlando Bloom (x2)

Kevin Bacon

Bill Paxton

Zoe Saldana

Anthony Daniels

Kirsten Dunst

Cameron Crowe

Liza Minelli

Judy Greer

Shah Rukh Khan*

Amitabh Bachchan*

Ali Landry

Alejandro Monteverde

Eduardo Verastegui

James Carville

Mark Ruffalo

Dustin Hoffman

Thandie Newton

Isla Fisher

Sigourney Weaver

Samuel L. Jackson (x2)

Ewan McGregor (x4)

Colin Farrell

Woody Allen

Shawn Ashmore

Emily Mortimer

Rose Byrne

Donald Sutherland

Ben Mulroney

Larry King

Geoffrey Rush

George Clooney Posted on 10/01/17

Woody Harrleson

Queen Elizabeth II

Prince Philip

Stan Lee

Adam West (x2)

Burt Ward (x2)

Dean Stockwell

Michael Dorn

William Forsythe

Amber Tamblyn

David Cross

Clemence Poesy

Danny Boyle

James Franco

Clint Eastwood

Bryce Dallas Howard

Matt Damon

Christopher Plummer

Hugh Jackman

Ernest Borgnine

Viggo Mortensen

Keira Knightley (x2)

Drake

Rob Lowe

Russell Peters

Jassi Sidhu*

Anupam Kher

Akshay Kumar*

Alexander Sidding

Joshua Jackson

Diane Kruger

Marisa Tomei

Johnny Depp

Naomi Watts

Novak Djokovic

Karl Urban

Nichelle Nichols

George Takei

Ian McDiarmid

Carrie Fisher

Hulk Hogan

Luke Perry

Jason Priestley

Nathan Fillion

Zachary Quinto

Ron Perlman

Linda Hamilton

David Hasslehoff

Doug Gilmour

James Hong

Dean Cain

Alice Cooper

Tom Hiddleston (x2)

Anton Yelchin

Emma Thompson

Pierce Brosnan

Zac Efron

Tom Welling

Patrick Stewart

Arthur Darvill

Elijah Wood

Salma Hayek

Ben Stiller

Al Pacino

Patricia Clarkson

Ben Kingsley

Benedict Cumberbatch

Matthew Goode

Tobey Maguire

Liev Schreiber

Akon

Kardinal Offishall

Hayden Christensen

Kate Winslet

Alan Rickman

Elizabeth Olsen

Tom Felton

Karen Gillan

James Phelps

Oliver Phelps

Robert Picardo

Ethan Phillips

Mads Mikkelsen

Phil Lamarr

Rick Mercer

Malcolm McDowell

Billy Dee Williams

Jeffrey Combs

Mark Hamill

Alex Kingston

John Barrowman (x2)

Christopher Lloyd

Leonardo DiCaprio

Cameron Mathison

Jennifer Connelly

Dakota Fanning

Peter Riegert

David Yates

David Heyman

Dan Folger

Alison Sudol

Katherine Waterston

Eddie Redmayne

Barry Bostwick

Matt Smith

Zachary Levi

Paul Feig

Idris Elba

Jessica Chastain

James McAvoy

Andrew Garfield

Claire Foy

Andy Serkis

Liam Neeson

There is a good chance I’ve missed a few people somewhere along the way, so I may add people as I remember them, but for now – there’s the list!

If there’s a story you really want to hear, give me a comment! If not… Stay Tuned for some random choices.

 

The Summer of Awesome – Day 34

And here we are!

Exactly 2 months later and The Summer of Awesome featuring The Book of Awesome is coming to an end!

I can honestly say, I thought I would have given up at some point. 😛 I didn’t think I’d have the discipline to actually go through reading – and writing – about each of the 201 topics, but I did and I’m pretty proud of that. It was much harder to force myself to write about something that I didn’t have to submit to a professor or that had deadlines and it was even more hard to force myself to turn my computer on in this day and age of Smartphones.

If I continue to write (which I am definitely hoping to), I think I’ll have to make a proper space to do so, though, because trying to write on a laptop without a desk… isn’t exactly helpful for my old lady back.

Kudos to any of you who actually took the time to read my rambles, and more than that, THANK YOU for doing so! I appreciate the support, even if it was just a click here or a skim there. And I hope that somewhere along the way I managed to entertain you with my anecdotes and silliness.

So, here we go, the final four…

(197) Driving through your old neighbourhood and stopping to see the house you grew up in (pg 371)

I have lived in three houses in my life (and one apartment when I went away for school for eight months).

One house I don’t really remember all that well because we moved when I was still in kindergarten. I have vague, dream-like memories of this one… Things that I am never actually sure are real, until I ask my parents or siblings if I was remembering things correctly.

One house was literally my childhood home. We lived there for ten years from when I was in kindergarten, all the way up until Grade 8. We moved to my current house when I started high school.  I have fantastic memories of this second house – playing outside in the sprinklers, running around playing hide and seek with my friends and cousins, finding my first budgie – Joey – outside on the fence one day, and many, many other wonderful things.

We’ve lived at our current house for twice as long, but maybe because I was already a teenager by the time we moved here, I am not as emotionally attached to this one. (Probably doesn’t help that circulation is awful and it’s always too hot in the summer – I am boiling right now and freezing cold in the winter.) I do have good memories though, mostly tied to my niece, nephew and Indy.

Funny enough, my “childhood” home, the one I lived in for ten years, actually isn’t far from my current house at all… I see it pretty regularly, but… it’s not the same.

I don’t mean that in the sentimental, “Times have changed, and I’ve grown” variety – I mean, literally, the entire house looks COMPLETELY different.

One of the families who moved in over the last (almost) 20 years, changed the entire facade; it’s made of brand new bricks and isn’t even the same colour. Trees that I remember from when I was a kid have been torn down and, instead, a huge fountain was put up. (My dad once promised me a fountain… he never put it in, then years later I saw that someone had. How strange is that?)

I have relatives and childhood friends who’ve told me that they’ve gone down my old street, kept an eye out for my house and weren’t able to spot it anywhere. That doesn’t surprise me at all given how much it’s changed! I’ve even taken my cousin with me, pointed it out to her and she didn’t believe that that was the house where she used to sleep over and we’d always play.

In some ways, it’s sad, seeing your childhood home get so revamped and changed, but on the other, it retains your memories, because you realize no one will ever have the exact same experiences there that you did.

Part of me does wonder if my name is still written anywhere in the house, though… Goodness knows, my ten year old self tried to leave my mark in various places. 😛

(198) The last day of school (pg 374)

I’ll let you in on a little secret, kids may love the last day of school, but…

Teachers love it more.

Don’t get me wrong, as a student, there’s nothing like the last week of school leading up to that inevitable freedom, but when you’re a kid, your only responsibilities are your own; that is – you’re in charge of your schoolwork, your projects, your homework, your own well-being…

As a teacher, you’re in charge of marking everyone’s schoolwork, everyone’s projects, everyone’s homework and, most strenuous of all, caring for everyone’s well-being!

That can get tiring and stressful and believe me when I say, teachers deserve – and really look forward to – that two months off (which, in truth, really only works out to about six weeks, if not less, between planning, workshops and having to go back to set up and prep the classroom).

And what’s on the opposite side of the love-spectrum from the last day? You got it – the first! Luckily, here, that was about two weeks back, so I can assure you, the countdown to June 2018 has already begun… 😛

(199) When you’re right near the end of the book (pg 376)

Whether I’ve loved a book or hated it, when I reach the last few pages I get really antsy.

The type of antsy will depend on how I felt about the book:

If I didn’t like it – I’m just eager to be done and am skimming through as quickly as I can to say I finished it (e.g. The Hobbit, I threw it in the air when I got to the last page).

If I loved it – I’m eager to hold on to the characters and don’t want to get through quickly, but at the same time, I want to see how the story ends (e.g. The Help, I loved it so much that I watched the movie almost immediately after I finished and am glad to say I enjoyed that just as much).

Since I also like to keep lists of books I’ve read, that’s another reason I get antsy, just knowing I am a few seconds away from adding yet another book to my list!

For anyone curious, The Book of Awesome is my 6th book read for September – as I go by “Finished” date, instead of start date; my 49th book for the year; and my 321st listed on my GoodReads “Read” list, which, generally is made up of books, comics, plays, short stories, etc. that I have read from age 13 onward. Slowly, but steadily, making my way to that 500 book goal!

(200) Smiling and thinking of good friends who are gone (pg 378)

This story about Neil Pasricha’s friend was so bittersweet because you could tell where it was headed from the title. Such a sad story, but he was lucky to have such a wonderful friend in his life for the short time that he did.

Given my (relatively) young age, I’ve actually known a few too many people who’ve passed away, including some childhood classmates and friends. Two particularly come to mind for me, because now I sometimes work at my old elementary school and am reminded of them often.

One of these friends passed away from cancer, just after high school, and it was quite a significant blow because I had just seen her when we were doing our grad photos about two months earlier and she seemed to be doing quite well, much better than she had been… I remember when my sister told me my childhood friend had passed away, it was really hard to take in and believe.

She was so sweet, always happy to chat. We were close friends when we were very little, I think she may have actually been one of my first friends in kindergarten or grade 1; I remember her from way back. She was such a sweet girl, so incredibly beautiful, inside and out.

Another friend passed away a few years ago from, I’ve heard, complications from pneumonia. He and I hadn’t really seen each other in person or spoken for years.  This wasn’t for any reason, just circumstances of not seeing each other as you grow up and grow apart as you do, but as children, he was one of my closest friends and I has such amazing memories of him.

He, my best friend and I were a little trio for a long time. She used to go to daycare with him and a lot of my family used to work and volunteer at the daycare, so we all got to know each other very well. I always have this one very distinct memory of the time my best friend got this ludicrously bright pink puffy coat one winter and he and I made her run to the complete opposite side of our school yard, just to see if we could still spot her… and we did. We laughed so much (much to my best friend’s dismay). I also remember that he was very afraid of my brother and would hide from him…

While writing these stories, and thinking back on these friends, I did tear up a little, but smiled too. You really do remember how lucky you were to have such wonderful people in your life and hope that that little bit of time you were in their life, that you added something special for them too – a kind word, a hug, a memory…

It’s hard to lose friends, especially at such a young age, and so unexpectedly. Life’s truly not fair and doesn’t often make sense, so I’ve learned we need to cherish what we have when we have it.

(201) Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now (pg 382) 

Just like I said – cherish what you have when you have it!

I’ve read and learned a lot about the importance of gratitude in the last few years. It can get way to easy to complain about all that’s wrong and take for granted all that’s right in your life. I, like most everyone, have easily fallen into this trap.

And I’m not going to pretend it’s easy either, especially when you’re feeling down. A lot of books on self-help, spirituality, philosophy and the like suggest listing out things you’re grateful for, to foster more gratitude, but I’ll be the first person to tell you that when you feel crummy, those things may not be on the forefront of your mind and sometimes they might feel really forced.

What I tend to do is, start small – think of one thing that (usually) makes you smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling. Then think of another, and another, and so on, until, eventually, you might start to feel a little bitter, even if just one out of the bunch gets you remembering something good. It’s not a quick fix for depression or anxiety – I, unfortunately, don’t know that there is even such a thing anywhere – but at least it helps you to swap your thinking a bit more.

And so, at the end of all this, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to read this book and take on this project. It may have just been for my own sake, really, just to get me writing and remembering some awesome things in life, but it’s been fun to do.

Even though I had to push myself to actually write at times, I really do feel like doing this reminded me how much I like writing. Sure, I still need to practice at it to get past the bad habits that texting and social media have now ingrained in me, but at least I got started in some way!

So…

Thank you, followers and readers, for coming along!

Thank you, friends and family, who may not have even known I was doing this – and probably most still don’t – and contributing a lifetimes’ worth of memories and anecdotes that I’ve been able to include along the way.

And thank you, most of all, to Neil Pasricha, for writing The Book of Awesome and inspiring me to write on my own blog again.

And now…

On to the next project?

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*One last note: If there were any big mistakes or typos anywhere along my way, sorry for that! I tended to just write and write and write, without any actual editing or re-reading. Maybe that’s something I’ll have to think about in my next go-round with the whole blog thing… 😛

 

The Summer of Awesome – Day 33

This is the last FULL post on The Book of Awesome people! My very last post will have less entries because that’s just how it worked out.

I can’t believe I’ve just about made it through finding things to respond to and talk about on all 200+ topics…

(192) Watching your odometer click over a major milestone (pg 359)

This reminded me of a particular scene in my favourite show King of the Hill, but unfortunately I can’t seem to find the it online anywhere.  In it, Hank is so excited that his car is about to turn over to 100,000 miles, but he gets just unlucky enough to miss it and sees it at 100,001.

When the same happened in real life in my sister’s old car, she and I made sure to drive around until we could actually see it happen. It was a ridiculous thing to do and, sure, a waste of gas, but made for a pretty hilarious memory. I, sadly, never got to see the same of the first car I ever drove because I got into an accident and it had to be scrapped. 😦 I am hoping I will get that exciting moment with my current car, but it will be quite a while yet because I rarely ever drive very far!

The other thing that’s very similar to this is when it’s New Year’s Eve and you just wait to see your clock switch over to the next year at midnight. Yet, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve either:

  1.  Not really paid attention – one year in my late teens, I actually was on the computer at midnight and looked at 11:59 then forgot to look back until 12:02, so missed it
  2. Dozed off or been very ready to!

In these days, when midnight hits on New Year’s Eve, it’s more likely I’m celebrating staying awake than I am the passing of a year!

(193) Mastering the art of the all-you-can-eat buffet (pg 361)

Our buffet of choice around here is Mandarin and not so much because it’s great, but because there aren’t very many options. When I was a kid, we used to frequent a buffet called Town & Country that I really loved and have great memories of – most specifically because it was the first place I ever tried cottage cheese!

As a kid, I actually have no idea what cottage cheese was and because it was always located next to baby corn, I thought it was just some special side dish you were only allowed to have WITH baby corn. I also had no idea it was something you could buy in regular stores and thought it was only available at this one restaurant. It blew my MIND when one day, my mom came home from the grocery store with a tub of the MAGIC FOOD that I’d only ever seen at that restaurant.

But that’s what makes buffets so special, isn’t it? They can introduce you to foods you would never try anywhere else and if you don’t like it, that’s totally fine – you can just take a little for a taste and not get penalized by having to pay for an entire meal of just that food.

At Mandarin, we’ve all got our personal favourites at this point too – like my niece who’s all about sushi and chocolate covered marshmallows and my nephew who is a fan of torpedo shrimp. For me, personally, I am enamored with their chocolate chip cookies, coconut cream pie, waffles and GIANT BOWL of whipped cream that I could, easily, eat all by myself…

So… Desserts.

Pretty much that’s all I’m there for. 😛

In terms of new things I tried that I wouldn’t usually, I realized how much I like fish by eating at this buffet. I never really ate fish before that, but they have a great battered fish and even a pretty tasty salmon… Having had both of those there, now I am more likely to try fish at home and elsewhere too.

(194) Finding money in your old coat pocket (pg 365)

Right away, I thought of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry finds he’s “even Steven” on everything and when Elaine throws away $20 to see if he manages to get it back, he finds a surprise $20 in his pocket.

I can’t think of a time this has happened to me, but goodness knows I’d totally welcome it! The closest to was when I thought I only had a $5 left in my wallet and there was a secret $20 stuck to it! (We have some really weird bills in Canada now that aren’t actually made of paper, but are some strange plastic that is difficult to fold and easily stuck together… You’d think being plastic they also wouldn’t break that easily either, but recently my dad got one that was totally ripped in half from the bank, so it’s not really all that great that way.)

(195) The Laugh Echo (pg 367)

In this entry, Neil Pasricha mentions that Wikipedia says “laughing is great for us” and that reminded me of those classes that have popped up where you’re supposed to laugh for the good of your health – apparently it’s referred to as Laughter Yoga.” 

That’s not something I think I could get on board with…

Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and think it’s a wonderful thing, but remember when I said if you’re smiling when you don’t want to be you start to look a little crazy…?

giphy (2)

Yeah.

So I feel like I would be a little too creeped out the entire “Laughter Yoga” session, wondering if The Joker is somewhere, secretly forcing us all to do this for some odd reason.

Also, I have times where even when I’m sitting alone in a room and laugh-out-loud (literally) at a show I find it very strange to just hear myself laugh… to nobody. I find this has happened to me often in the last few years while watching The Big Bang Theory in particular, which actually ties back to the whole “laugh echo” concept because I’ll suddenly remember a really ridiculous scene and start laughing at it out of nowhere.

In case you are someone who doesn’t really care for The Big Bang Theory or doesn’t think it’s as funny as people say… Watch this scene and try not to laugh. Still not convinced? Here are two other favourites that I sometimes just think about at random and start laughing.

(196) Crying (pg 369)

I get what he’s saying, a “good cry” is definitely something it’s helpful to have from time to time, but there was a point in my life (about six years ago) when I cried way to much, to the point that I don’t know that I can ever think of crying as something “awesome.”

Just a piece of advice: if you’re crying every single day – that’s not normal.

I was going through some really rough times at the point in my life and told myself if I powered through, it was just my circumstances, and that things would eventually get better in time…

Truthfully, they did get better, but only once the person that was causing me to cry that much left my life.

Being on the other side of that tough time, I started to look back and realize just how unnatural it was for me to be crying that much… especially since I definitely don’t cry that much now.

If you’re finding yourself in a situation where this happens to you, take a good look at what’s causing you to feel that way, and get help however you need it. Talk to your friends, talk to a counselor or therapist, cut out that factor in your life that is making you so depressed.

But also remember, once you’ve figured out what’s depressing you, that it is okay to cry when you need to.

Like I said, being happier now and on the other side of all that, I can be more discerning about what was going on. It did take me a while to realize that it’s okay to cry when you need to – I used to fight crying at all because I went through too much of it.

Now, I feel good enough to do so when something gets to me (sometimes that’s a sad situation, like our dear Indy passing away, sometimes it can just be a movie that really gets to me, like War of the Planet of the Apes).

Hell, Neil Pasricha even mentions that crying “releases a bunch of wacky hormones” and “balances your stress level” – so it’s good for your body to do from time to time. I suffer from migraines and sinus issues and have cried from the pain being too much and have actually found, sometimes… crying can actually alleviate my sinus pressure. I don’t know that there’s a scientific reason for it, but it has happened in the past. Maybe it’s just that I give in and let the floodgates open to release some of the tension my pain has cause me, but whatever the reason, I’ve learned, it’s okay to cry – now and then.

Well, that’s (almost) it! Five days of summer left and one post to go!