Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bride of Chucky - Re-watching the film, I was struck by seeing a patch on John Ritter's sheriff's uniform reading 'Lockport, NY Police'. Damn, how did I not notice that before?

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Robert J. Walsh (1947-2018)

Composer Robert J. Walsh recently passed away. He's not a familiar name to most people, at least until the following titles trip off the tongue: "G.I. Joe". "The Transformers". "Jem". "Dungeons and Dragons". "Muppet Babies". Together with Johnny Douglas, Walsh scored them all.

Much to my shame and regret, even among these credits that I had to IMDb, I know very little about his work. I caught Revenge of the Ninja some time ago and I wasn't intrigued by his score. Still, it's impressive when an orchestra is used for cartoon scoring and sad when a composer dies.

This cue I found on YouTube some years ago in an abridged version. It was later on that I found the full version. Very lovely stuff.


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Friday, October 12, 2018

Frankenweenie, 2012: The sequence where Victor's classmates create their own revived animals. Not having seen it in six years (six years today, in fact), I had forgotten how bat-poop crazy that whole part was. How much you wanna bet that the makers of this and the makers of Brave just got blitzed one night and decided to play 'Crazy-ass Plot Twist Chicken'? (Both films were released by Disney, after all.) See, this is what happens when neither party blinks.

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Don't Go to Sleep (Dominic Frontiere)


Recovering from an unfortunate incident, a family moves into a new home, little realizing that the ghosts of the past don't stay buried. Made-for-TV horror movies of the 70s and 80s are a funny thing. For every Dark Night of the Scarecrow that retains the power to enthrall its audience, you get four or five movies like This House Possessed (or the title in question) that flail about like a headless chicken. If you must bother with a 1982 movie about a family trying to survive a ghost attack, Poltergeist is right damn there! (And it also has Oliver Robins as one of the children.)

However, Dominic Frontiere provided a nicely creepy score, hinting at what the film should've been.

Don't Go to Sleep
composed & conducted
by
Dominic Frontiere

1. Main Title 1.40
2. Fake Spider 0.14
3. The Moving Van 0.43
4. View from the Window 0.29
5. Pictures/Fiery Flashback 1.46
6. Restless Night 1.33
7. Bed on Fire 0.54
8. Calming Mary 1.02
9. Late Call 1.09
10. Kevin Explores 0.49
11. "There's my girl." 0.32
12. "Go away!" 1.18
13. The Visitor 1.27
14. Dainty Garland 0.48
15. The Promise 2.09
16. Turning Mary 1.08
17. One for the Road 2.11
18. Scaly Visitor 2.13
19. Mourning Bernice 1.14
20. Jennifer Plots 0.52
21. "She's dead, Dr. Cole." 0.11
22. Another Peaceful Day 0.20
23. Taking the Fall 2.34
24. The Funeral 0.55
25. What Does Ed Eat? 0.45
26. Having it Out 2.41
27. Moving Plans 0.42
28. Mind Screw 1.56
29. Goodnight Kisses 0.52
30. Handling Things Better 0.25
31. Daddy, then Mommy 5.02
32. Hospital Stay 0.12
33. Released? 1.31
34. "Remember that night."/Finale 8.58
35. End Title 0.40

Here's a sample:


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Friday, September 28, 2018

Sweet TTCs and Airbnbs!

Even though, last year, I vowed to take a Megabus for any future trips to Toronto, this year, I decided to drive. Not because I was too late to book any flights or an aforementioned Megabus, but because I just plain felt like it. Besides, having your own transportation to get around could - at one point or another -prove useful.

At least, until you end up with a ticket for parking next to a hydrant hidden amongst bushes.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Months ago, I purchased tickets to Fan Expo Canada for Friday and Saturday. My money situation - despite the grueling amount of work hours - is still such that I can't just check into the Hyatt Regency Toronto whenever I want, but I remembered that I had joined Airbnb for this express purpose.

I narrowed it down to a number of inexpensive rooms close to where I wanted to be that weekend...but when they were sold out, I found myself having to widen the scope a little.

I found a great little place not too far from my target areas and with that and the Fan Expo tickets secured, soon came the task of making sure I had enough spending money. I made sure to have at least $200 in cash and available credit. Securing the former at the closest bank location to my home with the most incompetent bank tellers I've ever encountered is an experience that would benefit no one to repeat.

Thursday

As I prepared to leave, I made sure to have everything packed, the majority in a rolling suitcase and the vitals (directions and the like) in a backpack. Still, there was a last-minute decision I had to make, so I headed for the library to print some things out. Then, I grabbed some brownie-filled cookies to snack on before I made my way to Toronto. As ever, I had some soundtracks and a two-liter bottle of iced tea riding shotgun.

First on the playlist: Quartet's expansion of Nino Rota's Amarcord. I waited in line for the cars to pay my $3.00 toll and answer the typical questions about why I was going to Canada. After that, the trip could truly begin.

The Queen Elizabeth Way is a long stretch of road, one I've already traversed six times. However, for the very first time in one of my trips to Toronto, I actually deigned to account for a rest stop. A chance to stretch my ever-cramping legs, an opportunity for a nap and a way to replenish my snacks. Win-win all around!

I got off at exit 64 (my ultimate destination was in the 130s, to give you some perspective) and drive around for a place with a big parking lot, so as not to be too conspicuous with my nap. It wasn't long before I ended up at a Sobey's in somewhere called Beamsville. It was even nicer than I imagined it to be when I put it in my "Total Drama" fanfic. I was able to break one of my Canadian 50s and pick up a bag of Nacho Cheese Bugles. I cannot believe they aren't more widely available in the States.

After a good nap, I was back on the road, the second disc of Amarcord (with the original LP program and a ton of alternates) blaring away. Thankfully, it wasn't long before I ended up in Toronto. I'd originally planned to go to Sonic Boom before heading to my Airbnb, but it was close to the check-in time established by my host (3:00pm). As I navigated the streets toward my destination, I saw that there was a Shoppers Drug Mart just up the street from my host. What a convenience.

As 3:00pm drew near, I busied myself with old puzzle pages from the newspaper. Anything to pass the time, right? Figuring I'd need to rely on public transportation, I headed for Shoppers Drug Mart for a TTC Day Pass...only to find that they were sold at the supermarket - Metro - next door.

I headed up to the house. The postman must've been around, as there was an envelope sticking out of the mailbox. Ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door yielded no answer. A gentleman answered about ten after. I asked about the Airbnb and my host - a much older woman of I assumed Eastern European descent, though she may have been from Central America - guided me to my room, the key and a message written on the mystery envelope.

Beyond a latched gate lay the back door of the house, which led to my room. Kind of small, but still very nice; a drawer, a television, a bed, a night table with a lamp and a mirror. My host also showed me the washroom and the kitchen with a mini-fridge in case I wanted to keep something cold.

I had a lot to do, but I still decided to get settled by watching television. Not too much on, but hey, I can't resist. But (more) television would have to wait for later. The CNE awaits.

Luckily, I printed out directions from Google Maps, figuring for public transportation. Damn, was this bus cramped, but the ride got smoother once I was able to grab a seat. Unfortunately, I got off the bus too early and I had to (literally) map my way around. Attempts to catch other buses ended in failure. 

I soon ended up where the directions told me to go. I was told to go down the stairs, but all I saw were train tracks. I ask someone who looked like a transportation official if the train went to CNE. "You're at CNE.", came the response. The stairs of the directions were for a tunnel which, when followed, led to the pot of gold. It's a good thing I relied on public transportation; I did not want to have $35 drained from me a second time.

Once again, CNE was insanely crowded, though (thankfully) reports of striking workers were greatly exaggerated. I had planned to stop at the Food Building to gorge myself...and, unlike last year, I was able to get there straight away, as it was right by my entrance!

As with last year, I had to take a good walk around to get a lay of the land and decide where I wanted to dine. Ultimately, I planted my flag in the first spot I frequented last year: Hot Bunzz. (Hey, the name wasn't my idea.)

This year, however, I opted for the Bacon Butter Chicken dish. Pretty darn good. Remarkably, I don't wander around the Food Building looking for more eats. I get it in my head to work up an appetite first.

I take the trolley around the CNE and catch the scenery. After a while, I hop off and roam around the Arts and Crafts building, focusing on the usual haunts (the rare DVD vendor, the holiday movie merchandise stand).

Ultimately, I figure, 'maybe, I should get on at least one ride'. For some reason, the giant slide just isn't turning me on and none of the other rides seem that interesting, so I buy some tickets and get in line for the Sky Ride.

Oh. My. God. If glancing at the construction site during the walk here didn't instill in me a fear of heights, spending five minutes on this ride did. I saw people in the carriages ahead of me taking pictures with their phones. I didn't trust my reflexes enough to pull out my phone, but I eventually took a couple of pictures: one of myself and one of the fair. Of course, I put my phone away afterwards.

Once I get off, I resist the temptation to kiss the ground and hurry off in search of carnival games to play. Sadly, my skill at these games has never been the greatest, whether it's balancing a bottle on a block, breaking plates with balls or playing Skeeball. (Yes, this place had Skeeball. I was sure that it dropped off the face of the earth along with VHS tapes.)

Figuring I've worked up enough of an appetite, I go back to the Food Building. Avoiding some of the more exotic and expensive items, I go to Philty Philly's for a cheesesteak and a soda. Not too bad. Seeing that it's getting a little late, I feel it's time for dessert. A big damn brownie from The Big Scoop. Too many damn sprinkles, but that aside, I quite liked it.

I made my way through the exit, realizing that I'd have to grope my way back to my temporary home. I was surprised to find that streetcars were available to take me back. The surprise increased dramatically when I found that they were on the premises of CNE. This damn festival has everything!

Had to get back in, which meant standing in line. When I explained my situation to the people at the gate, they were all too happy to help. I got on the 510 which headed down Spadina. Packed house, but worth it to have a way home. It stalled for a couple of minutes. No fun. Thankfully, it was mobile once again.

I got off at College and, despite my day pass, I was unable to catch a bus, half-missing the bus, half-wanting to check out my surroundings. Among the many attractions that College Street held was a revival movie theater. A revival movie theater just a stone's throw away from my Airbnb! I friggin' love Toronto!

Back on Crawford Street, I saw that there was a yellow ticket on my car. 'Wait', I think to myself. 'I was sure that I was within the reasonable parking hours'. Not the issue. I was illegally parked within 3 meters of a fire hydrant. (In media res, bitches!) There, buried within the bushes of the house I parked in front of was a yellow hydrant. Naturally, I'm concerned about future tickets as I get back to the Airbnb.

I try to relax, but I end up asking my host about parking. She tells me that I'd have to get a permit from City Hall. I came up here to unwind and have fun (not necessarily in that order). I don't feel like fighting City Hall. She senses my distress and so, she offers to allow me to park my car in her garage.

Getting there is half the fun, or so they say, but getting to her garage... In the infinite wisdom of whoever designed this block, the houses are essentially smooshed together and the only way to access the garage is to drive up Crawford, hang a right and zoom down the alley to park your car. Fun on a bun!

My car (and spending money; I decide to drop the Parking Operations Bureau an online payment a week later) was safe, for the moment. My host tells me that her niece's boyfriend needs the garage for the weekend, so keeping the car there is a non-option. Whatever. We'll deal with this in the morning. For now, I have a big-ass brownie to finish and reruns of "The Goldbergs" to enjoy. Some things are just more important.

Friday

Ah, the morning comes. Gotta watch some television. I find myself watching "The Loud House". Kinda sad I've slept on this show. I attribute it to my revulsion at the initially cutesy title. You know those titles where the main character's first or last name is used as a pun? Don't like that trope very much.

But, hey, I was driving, then walking around. I needs a shower. I really must not have been paying attention because there's no soap! Harumph. I steal away to the Metro Mart, hoping to buy a bar of soap. Well, too bad, 'cause they only sell them in three-packs or greater. Fine. I'll get some Ivory Soap.

99 and 44/100 percent pureness in hand, I get back to the house and shower to my heart's content. It's always weird taking a shower in a place that's not your house, but this was next-level. Tile floor, shower curtain... (I've had porcelain and sliding doors my whole life, so don't go thinking I'm poor.)

Even in a different part of the world, I'll always surf the net while watching TV. Of course, I need to set up a place to stash my car for the rest of the trip. There's a parking garage on Spadina in Chinatown. Cheapest of the bunch at $25, so of course, it's top priority. However, I'm gonna need to print the reservation out; no mobile nonsense.

First things first: I need to get dressed. While that's going on, reruns of "Student Bodies" are on ABC Spark. Granted, they're from later in the show's run with the "Friends"-like theme and constant hook-ups, but hey, better than nothing.

Afterwards, I need to get going. First and foremost, set up the parking appointment. Parking Panda, we salute you. I head for the garage to get my car out.

The comedy of errors that ensues deserves a paragraph all its own. Now, it should be simple to take care of this. Back the car out and close the door, right? Slow down there, Starsky. Fate has other plans for me. I backed the car out, but there was a problem: the garage door was motion sensor activated. I couldn't slip out of the garage door because it would stay open. What to do? Sadly, I was forced to try the only other option: close the garage door, run like hell up Crawford, take a right and rush down the alley before someone wrecks my only transportation.

There's a public library further up College. My best bet for printing out the reservation. I park in the Metro/Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot (and buy 30 minutes of parking; I don't feel like taking any more risks) and head for the library.

Nice place, but I'm here for the computer. I don't even need a library card. Awesome. I log in to my Parking Panda account and print out the reservation for a mere 15 cents. Hey, just like in the States! Along with the new directions I wrote out last night, I drive to the parking garage. One problem solved.

All this rushing around has worked up an appetite. I'm going to What a Bagel for breakfast. The woman at the front asks me if I want to sit down or eat out. Sit down, for sure. There is so much to take in on the breakfast menu. Even when I was planning the trip in the weeks ahead, I wasn't sure what I wanted to order; only that I was eating here.

I order the Breakfast BELT with a side of home fries and a smoothie. That's Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato on a bagel (everything, in this case). Not sure if I pissed someone off or if someone was asleep in the kitchen, but I only got half my meal. No lettuce or tomato. I wasn't sure whether to complain or not, so I just decided to grin and bear it. I wasn't happy, but I was hungry.

I head down Spadina, backpack on my back and sunshine beating down on me. By this time, it's close to 12 o'clock, but I'm not as worried as I would've been a couple weeks ago. In the initial Fan Expo Canada schedule, two of my panels were back to back and started at 11. Seriously, if I missed these, I would've freaked the hell out.

After nearly getting turned around, I make it to the Metro Toronto Convention Center. As ever, people are packing in like sardines. I can't help but get excited. What will happen when I get inside? As it happens, I was still sweating from the walk, but I waited in line to redeem my coupon for a wristband (and you got to love the rocket scientist waiting in this same line to buy a ticket).

I get inside and, as with any convention, the sights and sounds are truly overwhelming. Where to go first? Where to look first? Also, as with any convention, one has to have a camera ready for the incredible cosplay. Among the day's snaps: a female Kuzco; Mal and Evie (Descendants; yes, I watched those movies); Quailman; Hercules and Megara; Vanellope von Schweetz; Dr. Ellie Sattler and Claire Dearing; a female Joker; Zatanna and the Red Hood; Shaun and Ed (only Shaun was a woman and clad in a Deadpool mask, for some reason...wait. Shaun of the Deadpool! Oh, my God! I just got that!); a female Baby Driver; a more cooperative Wednesday Addams and Carmen Sandiego. There was also a cosplayer of late-in-Infinity War Spider-Man (yes, from that scene). Missing a pic of him was one of my biggest regrets.

I also get some pics of the vendors: some old NES cartridges here, a tower of shirts there. Some posters work their way in, too (Preacher from the Black Lagoon is a standout), as well as recreations of superhero weapons. Surprisingly, there's time for buying comics here. One vendor left notes on the trade paperbacks of his product, some amusing ('No Tom Cruise' on a "Green Lantern" trade...and maybe, that's for the best. Could you imagine?) and some...less so ('Star-Lord Doesn't Screw Up Here' on a "Guardians of the Galaxy" trade. Let it go, princess.).

My first panel of the day was the Celebrity Q&A with Chris Sarandon. It was fascinating hearing about his early days as a starving stage actor working his way up, and how Tom Holland's passion for Fright Night had an effect on him. I also enjoyed the story he told about his young daughters meeting Andre the Giant while shooting The Princess Bride. Two more interesting moments: when one person asked him about what he remembered about The Sentinel, mainly its infamous final scene and another person (clearly another one of those Infinity War viewers) asking how Det. Mike Norris might've felt about creating Chucky.

Even though my next panel is in the same room, the organizers feel the need to clear out between panels. Whatever. The Q&A with Voice Star Grey DeLisle is totally worth it. The weirdest tidbit was finding out that among fans of Disney's underrated "The Weekenders" are myself...and Justin Bieber (and, God willing, that marks the only time I mention that name at this blog).

A trip to the Pavilion (at least, this convention's equivalent) takes me to Pizza Pizza for lunch. Still pretty good; not great, but who am I to begrudge Canadian cuisine?

The next stop: Q&A with Superstar Voice Actor Jim Cummings, which was next door to the Grey DeLisle panel but didn't start right away, for two reasons: 1) her panel was 3:00p to 4:00p and his started at 4:30p and 2) it took a while for the conveyance to get him through the secret tunnels (and holy merde, how awesome would that be to be bussed to a panel like that? One day...). Some good bits, like how, unlike a number of people, Cummings had a fondness for "Bonkers".

The next panel of the day is in the other building, so back over the bridge I go. My main destination is the comic vendor across from the tower of shirts. I am truly gobsmacked at the selection on display. I managed to limit myself to a few titles (for today): "Survival Geeks", "Curse of the Were-Woman", "Jacked" and "Indestructible". I think about acquiring more, but I'd like to have some cash by the end of the trip, so I retreat.

I find myself in perhaps the longest line of the Expo: for An Evening with Back to the Future. It's gonna be a while before the panel begins, so I try to get some Wi-Fi for my phone. Sooner or later, I need to get a phone with an international plan. This cute brunette in glasses is working on a book of Sudoku puzzles to pass the time. What a coincidence that I packed a few puzzles from the Buffalo News. I whip them out, but she doesn't notice. Neither does anyone. Cripes, am I really that invisible?

The panel is a good deal of fun as each of the stars detail the trouble they had with the (not as roomy as you'd think) DeLorean. Tom Wilson, it must be said, was the standout, from his many amusing comments to the mind-blowing revelation that - despite having played one of cinema's most famous bullies - was himself bullied in school.

The Expo is over for the day and I've got one thing and only one thing on my mind: dinner. Now, the plan was to go to a particular place in Chinatown, but I waffled on that and, heading up Spadina, I wanted desperately to get a sandwich. Why? Hey, cravings. Who can predict them, even when you're not pregnant?

I passed a number of grocers and restaurants closing or closed up for the night. I was more concerned with my hunt than with the likely incredible stories that led so many people to this city. Again, I am awestruck by the color in this neighborhood.

I make a stop at Sonic Boom. I find myself disappointed on this trip. The visit I made in 2014 was insanely memorable: the used soundtracks, the atmosphere, the kitsch. Now...just blandness. Two floors of meh. Still, Toronto is doing much better than Buffalo in terms of record stores.

Ultimately, I end up back on College...and just up the street is a Mr. Sub. It's no Quiznos, but whatever. A tuna sub combo is my companion as I walk down the street. I pass by the Royal Theater and snap some pictures. Man, how I wish I had known about this ahead of time. Of course, there's nothing I would've been interested in seeing even if there was room in the schedule for a movie. Not every trip can lend itself to the perfect storm of Batman Returns playing on Friday night of 2014's trip.

I'm back at my Airbnb with my dinner, careful not to make a) a mess and b) too much noise with my eating. There really is nothing like having a meal in your room after a long day in a different city.

Saturday

I'm awake much earlier. There's no room for shenanigans today. Shower. Dressed. Packed. Well, there's time for an episode of "Happy Endings". On the way out, I meet a number of people who I assume are related to my host. Nice folks.

After picking up a TTC Day Pass, I wait for the 506 to take me to Spadina. It arrives and I ride it down. Instead of immediately taking the 511 streetcar, I do some more walking. Why? Yesterday, I passed a McDonald's and I saw something advertised that I had to have. 'Wait', you're by now thinking. 'Isn't the point of traveling to another city trying foods you can't get at home?'. Very true, but do the McDonaldses back home carry chocolate chip banana muffins?! (Okay, maybe the Tim Hortonses do, but don't step on my point.)

The place is packed. The crowd seems drawn to the breakfast combos. I notice that the muffin is available with a small coffee. I'm thinking exclusively. I'm anticipating a Five Easy Pieces scenario when I get to the cashier. Thankfully, he tells me that I can get the muffin on its own.

I sit down at the nearest stop and sit on the ground (if there was a bench...) and savor the muffin, washing it down with chocolate milk. Enjoy the little things. The 511 arrives. Unfortunately, I'm still enjoying this little thing. Such is the efficiency of the TTC that another streetcar will be along in a few minutes. These things must be a blessing in the winter.

Things move quicker (mainly because I'm not quite as sweaty as I was yesterday) and I get into the Center. Some of the cosplay I capture today: Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers (a nice bit of providence that both days at Fan Expo started with pics of people cosplaying two of my favorite movies); Ariel and Eric; Arkham Asylum Harley Quinn; Wolverine; Shrek and Capt. Jack Sparrow; Loki and Peggy Carter; Cruella De Vil; a female Beetlejuice; Kim Possible; Roxy and Stormer (I later saw them meeting with Pizzazz, but I was too tired to do anything about it); John Hammond; Dipper Pines with a female Bill Cipher and Bob and Linda Belcher. There were also two cosplayers who went as Geoffrey the giraffe and a Toys R Us employee. I got a pic with Geoffrey. As far as who I missed, there was a cosplayer of video game character Cortana, memorable for a number of reasons. Tee-hee.

There isn't much time because I get the feeling that the line for the Celebrity Q&A with Lea Thompson will be crazy. Sadly, I'm right, but I get in. Some neat tidbits here, like how she BS'd her way into an acting career, how her Midwestern twang helped land her a McDonald's commercial and her desire to revisit alternate 1985 Lorraine Baines. Speaking of Lorraine, one of the people who got to ask a question was dressed like her from the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. Unfortunately, her actual question was about "Caroline in the City" (and meanwhile, my question about SpaceCamp* went sadly unanswered).

The panel ends and I hurry for the escalator down. No way am I gonna miss the Back to the Future Script Reading with Twisted Toonz. These are always good for a laugh, though I must express disappointment with one aspect: no John DiMaggio. Dude was there for another panel (read on). Tell me it wouldn't have been hilarious hearing Dr. Drakken expound on the necessary 1.21 gigawatts to send the DeLorean back. Still, the panel was fantastic. Richard Horvitz busting out Zim and explaining to Grey Delisle's Vicky about how the DeLorean works; a late-arriving Jeremy Shada using Christian Bale's Batman voice to intone "He's such a dreamboat!"; Jim Cummings' Richard Pryor impression as the narrator. Just look it up on YouTube.

Lunch time, and as with last year, I just had to get the Gotham Poutine from Gotham Grill. Still delicious. As with yesterday, I have to change my shirt, because walking around builds up a lot of sweat.

The shirt I change into is the one I won in the Topless Robot contest many years ago, a fact I get to share with a vendor who recognizes it. I've taken the shirt to nearly every convention I've been too since I won it, hoping that it sparks an ember of recognition. Mission accomplished.

As there's nothing going on panel-wise for a while, I fall off the wagon and buy more comics: "Josie and the Pussycats - volume 2", "Littlest Pet Shop: Spring Cleaning", "Paper Girls - volume one", "Jem and the Holograms - volume one" (this I had to give away as a birthday present two years ago when my funds were low) and perhaps the find of the convention: a collection of the six-issue run of "Crosswind". All told, I think I've spent more money on comics at this year's Fan Expo Canada than at any other convention. It was a battle hard-fought, but worth it in the end.

Then, I get to the 600 level and...I sit down and watch people go by because I'm just so damned exhausted. Seriously, I've been walking around so much that I need some time to myself. I don't even read the comics I've bought. I just need to relax. After a while, I pull myself to standing position, as there's a panel in the other building and the line is gonna be crazy bananas. Again, don't you hate it when you're right?

Ultimately, I was able to Meet the Stars of Adventure Time with Jeremy Shada and John DiMaggio. Granted, I tapped out on the series long ago, but come on. Getting to hear from John DiMaggio? Of bloody course! However, it seemed like my age was catching up with me. Usually, I take a nap on Saturday afternoons (mainly to allow me to stay up for all of Svengoolie), but there's no time for sleeping at a convention, so I paid for it in installments of nodding the hell off during this panel. However, I did manage to catch some fascinating tidbits, like DiMaggio having a bit of fun with "Batman: Brave and the Bold" castmate Diedrich Bader, as well as a more poignant story of how his career got started.

Before I leave MTCC for the last time, I check out the retro arcade nearby. A whole lot of video games as old as I am, maybe more. Even one of those hockey tables with the knobs. Remembering my unfamiliarity with video games, I bid a hasty retreat.

Of course, I had to get a souvenir for my mother, so I go for the gift shop next to the convention center. Years ago, whenever I or my sisters would go out of town, we'd get a snow globe or a bell with the city's name emblazoned on it. I already got a snow globe, so I buy her a bell.

From there, I head for the Mac and Cheese Festival. Now, I cannot begin to tell you how gobsmacked I was to find that the festival would be taking place the same weekend as Fan Expo Canada. Given how upset I was about missing last year, there was no damned way I was missing this.

From the 511, I take the 501 down Queen Street West to Queen Street East. Another sardine tin, though the space eases up as the ride goes along. My ultimate destination is Woodbine Park. In all honesty, I was expecting an indoor venue, something that crossed my mind as I got to where Google Maps said the festival was held.

Much to my surprise, the festival proved to be a small part of Buskerfest, which was showing support for people with epilepsy. The donation was suggested, but they were requesting five dollars. I figure that $4.86 is good enough.

Sadly, I only had so much money to throw around on these dishes...which is just as well as there were far fewer vendors than I anticipated. The first of my two dishes was something called 'longganiza', described as "Filipino sweet and savoury (sic) smoked sausage grilled on cheesy macaroni". I liked it a good deal. The second dish was a more traditional meal of mac and cheese tricked out with bacon. Still very good.

I take the 501 back to the more-familiar Queen Street West. From there, I head up on the 511 on Spadina, then transfer to the 506 on College. (I paid $12.50 for this day pass. I'm gonna damn well use it!)

I get back to my Airbnb, where one of the drawbacks of international travel presents itself: no MeTV, therefore no Svengoolie. As with last year, YouTube to the rescue. Unfortunately, I'm so wiped out, I can't even get through one suite of mid-movie material. Am I getting too old for this? I wake up some time later, my laptop and the television still on. I turn them off and hit the hay like a two-ton weight.

Sunday

Morning rolls around. I wake up. I fool around on the internet because debilitating addiction. I grab a shower and get dressed whilst making sure that everything of mine is packed (no matter what, I always tend to forget something whenever I leave somewhere, but I lucked out this time; nothing was left behind). I also watch some television...where, much to my shock, I find that the TV had on demand capabilities. This could've easily expanded my TV watching options, so of course, I discover this with under an hour before I leave. Maybe, I could've watched some stuff, but I had a schedule to keep.

I gathered my things and said goodbye to my host, thanking her for hospitality. I had a long journey to make and I wanted to get going. Walking down College Street for the last time on this trip, I couldn't help but notice how colorful the neighborhood was, from the restaurants to the local businesses to the people walking around. I found myself - if only for a moment - torn between leaving and wanting to stay. Still, I kept on, sweat pooling under my shirt and elsewhere.

I made my turn onto Spadina, still sweating like a pig. Ultimately, I made it back to my car and tossed my stuff in. I'm driving the rest of the way. However, the trip wasn't over yet. I was damn hungry.

Given Friday's experience, you'd probably think me crazy to go back to What a Bagel, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Wanting a real, sit-down breakfast, I decided to go with the Huevos Rancheros, with a regular apple juice. What a meal. Needed some salt, but still...that is a perfect Sunday breakfast. Almost like the chefs subconsciously wanted to make up for the lameness of Friday's meal.

Thankfully, I'm not too logy to make my way to the last stop on the trip: Craig's Cookies. This little shop bakes cookies with all kinds of things from brownies to candy bars baked in. I was planning on getting a dozen, but I was fortunate that half-dozens are also available. For the record, they were: a Snickers cookie, a Kit Kat cookie, three brownies and a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

I feel that I need to hit up a store for a beverage. I am making a two-hour drive, after all. I passed a Shoppers Drug Mart on my way here. Surely, they could help me out...or so I thought. True to the tradition of different chain stores not having the same merchandise, this location did not have the 99c Lipton Brisk Iced Teas I was so used to from the College Street location (and I actually considered going here once more, but I rejected the idea; the teas would be pretty damn warm by the time I hit Gardiner).

Stalking up Queen Street West, I hit up three more stores. Nothing...at least, nothing I could get for a two-dollar piece. I was wary about how much I had on my card - I was spending like a maniac this weekend - and as for cash, there was just 20$ in paper money and the two-dollar coin. Why needlessly create more change that will be useless where I'm going? Luckily, the last store on the way back to my car came through with two Arizona tall boys. Good enough. I toss the snacks in my front seat and so, the long journey home begins.

Christopher L. Stone's The Stupids fills the air as my car speeds away from Toronto. Ultimately, fatigue sets in as I make my way down the QEW. I can't exactly stop at the same exit as I did Thursday, so I get off at exit 87. Unfortunately, finding an empty parking lot is much more difficult this time around. It takes quite a bit of driving before I make it to the parking lot of a church. I'm still hungry, though, so I head for a nearby Tim Horton's and get a chocolate donut.

I'm back at my car where I take a nap. After a breakfast like that, you'd think I'd be super tired, but amazingly, I'm back up after 15 minutes. Not sure if I even can get back to sleep, I pull back onto the road. Jerry Goldsmith's (rejected!) score for Timeline into the player, now.

I've already snacked on one of the brownie cookies by the time I make it back to America, some two hours later. You'd think I'd hurry back home, but I head down the I-190 to a 7-Eleven for some chocolate milk; what's milk without cookies?

Finally, I make it home and while I'd say that this (barely) nudges out 2014 as my favorite Toronto trip, I'm still afraid that I'm getting too old to do this for much longer. Even so, the experience is one I will never forget.

* - Did you shoot in a zero gravity chamber for the outer space scenes or were you all on wires? Of course, you were dying to know.

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Layover is said to be a romantic comedy, even though most people don't find anything romantic or funny about it. All I know is that any movie where Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario throw themselves at a guy and he doesn't immediately propose a three-way can only be classified as science fiction.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

This ain't a Fall Movie Preview post xXx.

Because I'm bored and because that Toronto post is taking a little longer than I expected, I'm just gonna go and list all the movies I plan on seeing this fall.

Aquaman - DC tries so hard and yet (with rare exceptions) fails so big. I'm really hoping that this is one of the exceptions.

Bad Times at the El Royale - Another movie this year written and directed by a guy named Drew where various shady types converge in a hotel set in a far off time period. If this is even half as good as the other one, I'm in for a fun time.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Who doesn't love Queen? As much as them, I want to see this film because of the involvement of composer-editor John Ottman, who I hope to God has been keeping his nose clean.

Bumblebee - The first Transformers movie that could be genuinely, unironically good. When you plan on 14 of these movies, the law of averages dictates that this was bound to happen.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Based on a true story of a woman (Melissa McCarthy) who becomes a sensation after forging letters from famous authors.

The Favourite - I guess this looks like a comedy, but I'm not sure. Still, there's a very charming cast behind it.

The Girl in the Spider's Web - Okay, maybe I've seen the trailer too many times, but the style (from the director of Don't Breathe) is too good to ignore.

The Grinch - Careful. This tea is hot: the CGI-animated Dr. Seuss movies are - in my view - worse than the reviled, live-action adaptations. So why is this on the list? I don't know. I really don't.

Halloween - Even if the latest trailer seemed to give away too many victims, I'm intrigued to see Laurie Strode in survivalist mode. Plus, a brand-new Carpenter score.

The House with a Clock in its Walls - An Amblin-produced kiddie horror movie and the first Eli Roth feature I'll be seeing in a theater (though, if he ever got a full-length version of his "Thanksgiving" trailer off the ground, it would be the second).

Johnny English Strikes Again - No, I haven't seen the first two movies. I'm just curious. I really hope that Howard Goodall's music gets some kind of release.

Night School - David Newman scoring a major studio comedy = cause for celebration. Also, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish look like they have good comic chemistry.

The Old Man and the Gun - Said to be Robert Redford's last film, this looks like a nice, laid-back dramedy. Sundance Kid comparisons are inevitable.

Overlord - A long time ago at Scriptshadow, there was an amateur script about a group of soldiers investigating a German bunker where a scientist has created a body switching machine. Sadly, this is not that movie, though this film looks almost as interesting.

The Predator - Despite less-than-stellar reviews (and a really stupid casting decision; seriously, he should've known better), I'm excited for this movie. A Shane Black directed and (co-)written Predator movie. Just try and keep me away.

Ralph Breaks the Internet - Yeah, it probably should be 'Ralph Wrecks the Internet'. Still, there must be a huge twist that the film's covering up as the advertising focuses on the Princess scenes.

The Sisters Brothers - A Western with Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as bandits with Jake Gyllenhaal hot on their trail. Yeah.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse - Sony seems to have figured out how to make good Spider-Man movies again, with last year's Homecoming and this one.

Venom - ...really hoping I don't speak too soon with this movie, but it does look interesting. Also, how many of these movies center on a villain?

White Boy Rick - Another true story, where a 15-year-old boy becomes a drug kingpin, then an informant. Yet another instance where I look at my life and compare it to someone else's and the comparison isn't favorable to me.

Widows - The widows of a group of criminals find themselves having to settle their husbands' debts. What a cast.

Let me tell you: having to list these movies and why I'm seeing them. I did not miss it.

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