Thursday, January 17, 2013
Toronto Tripping the Third
This is my third trip to Toronto in about 4 months so you'd think I would know what I'm doing by now. Yet instead I left about an hour after I wanted to, as per my usual custom of waiting until the last moment to get things done. And I discovered later that I packed way too much as well as packed incorrectly. Well, inefficiently.
Before I left I tried to enter the address of the hotel into the GPS but for some reason it refused to acknowledge that Yonge Street existed. I got frustrated because it wouldn’t bring up the directions but that the keypad is so unpredictable that I would have to hit a button several times before it would acknowledge what I wanted to enter. And then it would enter it too many times. So I’d try to erase the extra entries and it would erase them all. In short, I hate my damn GPS. So I tried having it find just Toronto and that it had no problem doing. So I figured I’d just wait till I got across the border and re-try the street address again. But by the time I got to Canada I really couldn’t find a convenient place to pull over and being so close I didn’t want to stop so I rode it out. (Pun pretty much intended.) Plus, I had printed out directions and figured I’d be fine. Following the GPS, which did get me smack dab in the middle of Downtown; it brought me to about 4 blocks away. But I wasn’t sure in which direction. I found Yonge Street (which, BTW, is really long) and had to execute a U-turn when I realized I was heading away from the hotel. That’s totally legal, right?
At the hotel I met up with Jo and we found Suzy and her husband Mike and decided to get some food at Fred's. It's a diner that has the best hot chocolate I’ve had in a very long time. While there Suzy presented Jo and I with necklaces that she made for us, which were beautiful. We stayed and monopolized the booth for quite a while then walked back to the hotel to crash for the night.
Next morning we had breakfast back at Fran's along with Marge, who was staying at the same hotel. While at the diner we met up with Mary. She was supposed to be staying with two other women in an apartment but they decided that they didn't like it and they ditched her to go get a hotel outside of the city. Although Mary seemed fine with it I thought was a pretty crappy thing to do. They drove with her to Fran's but when she got out they said they were going to park the car but then we never saw them. They said later via twitter it was because they couldn't find a space to park but when I told that to Mary she said there were two places right out front and they had told her they were getting coffee. (BTW, diners have coffee.)
While enjoying a typically over-large diner breakfast, we made plans for the day. Jo, Mary, Marge and I were going to take a walk to the Conservatory while Suzy and her husband stayed at the hotel watching movies. I lent her my laptop so she could watch DVDs because the hotel TVs don't come with DVD players and you can't get one from the front desk either. (That should be an option, BTW.) After the Conservatory, Jo wanted to get some more pictures of St. James church as well as expressed a desire to get more photos of the lake but Marge and Mary decided to head back. Mary had website things she wanted to do and I'm not sure what Marge wanted to do. She probably just wanted to hang out with Suzy some.
On the way back we used Union station and I got Purdy's chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt caramels and the guy at the counter noticed how I looked longingly at the Sweet Georgia Browns so he threw in a pack of two for free. Then he gave Jo and me a sample of a caramel that was featured on an episode of Undercover Boss: pineapple caramel. It was better than I thought it would be. We thanked him and later I tried to get him a raise via twitter. (No go. Sorry Purdy's guy!)
One subway ride later we were at the hotel to get ready for the movie. I changed into something else, even though honestly it really didn’t matter what I wore. Someday I’m going to understand that. Anyhow, after much primping we met in the lobby. Our group grew by one Anne and her friend (who's name I totally just forgot and I am so sorry about that because he was hilarious). It was decided that we would all take cabs to the place we were eating at, some deli/diner place two doors down from the theater. There we were met with a few locals that were also going to the movie. I got the world's worst shrimp skewer ever, although I wasn't really that hungry anyhow... but OMG my breath might have smelled like shrimp! I just thought of that! EW. *sigh* Oh well. I also had a beer. I don’t usually drink when eating… it’s just a thing with me, but I figured it might be necessary. We ate, talked, and finally time came and we created chaos as our large group gathered ourselves to head over to the movie.
We walked in and were greeted by Jen, the producer, and Jeremy, the director. Jen remembered my name. I was impressed by that. We sat down in a row that I didn't realize at the time was filled with at least 4 of the cast. Lioness went to get popcorn and came back with a picture of Kris Holden-Ried (aka KHR) in the lobby talking with some fans. Suddenly I regretted being seated already but there was no way I was getting up to go to the lobby at that point. And I started to think, “Well, that was it. That would have been the moment that I could meet him and it’s done now. Now the movie will play and the cast will leave and I’ll never have said hi to him.” Boy was I wrong.
We watched the movie. It's hilarious and a bit raunchy, but so damn funny. I'm still working on an actual review. Right after the movie, they did a brief Q&A and then we were ushered out by a harried theater employee. I spent much of the time in the lobby avoiding the guy with the camera asking people to say things about the movie. I pointed him towards Suzy because I thought she’d like to say a few words, plus I didn’t want him near me anymore with the bright light from the camera bouncing off my moon pie pale face.
Along with the audience the cast came out of the theater too and some pictures were taken in front of the movie theater. I tried to stay out of them but was convinced to get into a group photo. I think I'm in just two. At least I hope so.
Being ushered by the same harried theater employee that got us out of the screening room, she then shoved us out of the lobby. Discussions of going somewhere to get drinks were bandied about until it was revealed that the cast were going to be heading out for drinks at a bar not far and they told us where. So we all walked to the bar, Monarch Tavern, which was about two blocks away. I suspect that the film reserved the bar. I don't know if they intended for much of the audience to also go to the bar but Suzy asked KHR if he wanted to go for drinks and he was the one that told her that they were all going out but that he needed to get the name of the place from Jeremy and Suzy asked him and he freely told anyone within earshot where they were going.
The bar wasn't too packed by the time everyone got in. But OMFG was it loud. WTF is it with bars thinking that they have to blast music? Especially when it's a single group of people taking over the place to hang out with each other? Just put on some that's loud enough to be back ground music, but people shouldn't have to shout over it to be heard. [/end rant.]
I walked with Lioness and Jo to the bar and we all got beers. I saw KHR with the others and he bought them a round of drinks. Not sure of what. The cast sort of mingled and let people get pictures with them and the film's sound guy was walking around taking sort of official photos.
Eventually I went with Lioness to the front where Suzy, Mike, Jo, Marge and the rest were and started chatting with the film's producer, Jen. (Who BTW had one Hell of a job and now I know why it is that producers are the ones that get to accept the Oscars when a movie wins Best Picture.) One, she recognized both me and Lioness from the cast party and she remembered my name. I know I mentioned it before, but I’m seriously impressed. People have a tendency to forget me pretty easily. It's just a thing. She asked if I met any of the cast yet and I said, "No. But that's OK." And Lioness said something about Kris so Jen kindly dragged me over to meet him. In truth I really was going to say hi, but he was sitting and talking to some woman that wouldn't pause for breath, so I didn't really have a chance. (Especially since I am not brazen by one iota.) Jen walked over and he immediately got up. (I think all the actors were kind of on that 'I've got a job to do being nice and promoting the movie' thing going and knew that if Jen was heading there way it was for a request.) She introduces me as one of the contributors so he gives me a hug. (He smells amazing, BTW.) Then Jen suddenly noticed that she spilled her drink and wanted to leave to clean herself up. I suspect that was baloney. So there was some small talk that I can't really recall. Then he asked where I was from and I said. And there was another hug. Not sure what I did to deserve that one. Jen somehow appeared again and said something about getting a picture and I said, "no no no, that's OK." and he asked why and I explained how I hate having my picture taken and he said, (I think. Maybe it's wishful thinking. Probably. I was drinking...) "Nah. You're gorgeous." And I made my WTF face. So the 'official' photographer gets ready and Kris puts his arm around me and I mutter, "Oh my god" because I'm dreading this photo, and he laughs and kind of squeezes my arm and says, "Oh this is happening" and the picture is taken. I make a joke about how it's going to come out horrible, so they make me take another one.
Then he asks if I'm on twitter. So I say, "I'm NYPinTA" and he actually remembered me and gave me another hug and told me how much he appreciated my help and like an idiot I said, "with what?" and he said with twitter and then I started babbling about twitter, because it does fascinate me and I'm addicted to it and I’m an idiot. Then he remembered that I'm watching all his movies and laughed about that and I said... (and I'm not kidding, I did this)... that yeah, some of them were painful. WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. WRONG. WITH. ME? He laughed... but come on! I meant the stories in the movies, not him. I swear to god I shouldn’t be allowed in public sometimes. He asked if I wanted a drink but I had to decline because I had to drive my car from the hotel to Lioness's that night and I already had two beers. I think we talked some more, but I can't really remember. And I had a hard time looking at him directly. I mean, you've seen pictures, right?
Jen came back again and someone was talking about Yonge Street, one of the major streets in Toronto and how it was once the longest street in the world and I interjected that although that might be the case my GPS refused to recognize it and he asked if I spelled it right. That street name seems to be a source of great amusement to Canadians. It's like a litmus test of Toronto knowledge. Oh, and when he asked if I wanted a drink he held my hand. He has great hands. Like... whoa. (I'm such a goober.) I then asked him about the bracelet that Suzy made for him and he said it was awesome but that he has a hard time accepting gifts from people. I wasn't sure how to respond to that, but I know what he means. And then I mentioned that I had no idea that she was making a smaller one for his son as well. (It's adorable.) And that was pretty much it because then he either got called away to meet someone else or he went to go get a drink at the bar.
At some point he walked towards the back of the bar where there were a few people dancing to the overly loud music and he joined them for a bit. Lioness told me later that she walked by to use the ladies room and saw one woman try to unbutton his shirt and he told her to stop it. After that he stopped dancing and was talking to another person while the they continued to dance and the one that tried to unbutton his shirt then started to take her jacket off like it was a strip tease, which he ignored. Then later that same woman was talking to him at the bar and was hanging onto him so closely that Jen had to pull her off of him and told both of them to leave.
At around that time Lioness and I decided that it was time for us to go. It was getting to that point where the employees of the bar are passively aggressively telling you to get the Hell out and with people making drunken inappropriate passes at the actors... well, I didn't want to stick around for that either. Jo decided to stay. So, we walked back so I could completely sober up to drive to Lioness's.
Suzy did tell me later though that Kris told her he was so glad he got to meet me because I had helped him so much with twitter in the beginning. Which I have to admit made me happy because a) I wasn't even sure he'd remember my name when I first introduced myself but b) I was sure he put me out of mind as soon as he walked away. So I guess he actually was grateful for my help and not just being nice. And then I told her that he really liked the bracelet.
Jen has the pictures. I don't know what they are doing with them. I'm hoping to bribe her into not ever posting them because something just happens to my face on film. I don't know what it is. Somehow around 1996 I pissed off all the cameras in the world and they've been getting even ever since. It's just... a thing.
The next morning I got up, we slowly got ourselves ready to head out for the day and after we got breakfast and met up with the others at the hotel. We all decided what we were doing & went on our way.
I walked my poor legs off with Lioness and Jo at Casa Loma, where tons of movies were filmed, including X-Men and Scott Pilgrim. Remember the stairs in Scott Pilgrim? Yeah. We walked up those. I bought myself a keychain and we headed back to meet everyone for dinner at Firkin' on the King. (The loudest restaurant I have ever been in), and served as the location for the Lost Girl season finale party Faenonymous hosted a few months earlier. We stayed there way too long and I lost count of how many times the waitress came over and asked if we needed anything else and someone at the table would say, “more water” instead of what she was hoping to hear us say, “the check.” Finally it dawned on me that we asked for separate checks so none of us were obligated to stay till everyone was ready to leave. So Lioness, Jo and I asked for our checks and we moseyed on back to the hotel and then home completely exhausted.
There was a theme of the weekend though. Not sure what words to use to describe it. Accidental crime? Delayed logic? But I mistakenly lied to the customs guy at the border because he asked me if I had any alcohol and I said no. I did. I bought a bottle of wine for Lioness. Because my GPS sucks and only got me with blocks on the hotel instead of right two it I ended up having to make a U-turn on Yonge Street, which I'm thinking isn't kosher there as much as it in anywhere else. Then I accidently stole a subway ride because I went to the booth to pay the 3 dollars to ride and the woman took my five and gave me change. Well, I think she just gave me back two dollars in change, but she didn't. She broke down my five with five dollars in change and I scooped it all up and put it in my purse as I walked through the turnstile. When I was packing my stuff up on Thursday night to head to Lioness's, I stole Jo's candy because I packed hers as well. I forgot to tip the porter when he brought me the luggage cart. Then when I went to check out the guy at the counter forgot to charge me for my half of the room. It cost 78 dollars to park my freaking car though for two nights. And then as I packed up my car for the long drive home (after once again fighting with my GPS that insisted I was on Jarvis Street when I was no where near) I accidently stole Lioness’s orange grocery bag. I paid for my crimes though the last hour or my trip by having to drive through thick fog just as the sun went down. Fun!
I'm sure I did something else, I just can't recall right now.
So in all it was an exhausting, hilarious, frustrating, mortifying, but fantastic few days.
ETA: I'm adding the first photo taken. Just so you know I did darken it a bit because I am that pale that it is always necessary for me to do so.
Also keep in mind this photo was taken under duress and after two beers.