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I hate using e-mail acronyms–I never sign off on an e-mail with a TTYL or type LOL–but during the busiest days of the Toronto International Film Festival any time savers are appreciated, hence the new acronym R.O.M.F. (that’s “run off my feet”). It’s the best and fastest way I can think to describe my schedule for the ten days of the fest. Here are some of the highlights I had a chance to jot down during TIFF 09.

1. At the after party for The Men Who Stare at Goats someone had the inspired idea of having real honest-to-God goats wearing little t-shirts that read “Stop staring at me.”

2. Have you ever worn bamboo clothing? Me neither, but I may be a convert now after trying the bamboo t-shirts shirts from Guats (www.guats.com). They are at the Tastemakers Gift Lounge at the Hotel Intercontinental, and after some sweet talking the lovely Dana Fields gave me one. They’re not only ecologically friendly but very soft; like being wrapped in a cloud.

3. “That ring is bewitching!” Woody Harrelson blurted out midway through our interview regarding his latest TIFF entry Defendor. “It’s pretty cool man. I’ve never seen a ring like that.” The ring in question is my huge eye ring, the only piece of jewelry I own and the only thing I rarely ever take off. It was made for me because I watch things for a living, and it sure got a rise out of Woody.

4. Michael Sheen stopped by the Canada AM suite today and we chatted about his new film The Damned United. It’s a soccer movie detailing the 44 disastrous days that soccer legend Brian Clough was the coach of Leeds United. We talked about how popular soccer has become in Toronto and he mentioned that some of the Toronto FC team members would be at the screening of the film on Monday. I suggested he should wear a Toronto FC jersey to the premier. He agreed and after a quick couple of phone calls we had one on the way. Disclaimer: If a soccer riot breaks out at the screening I am not to blame!

5. TIFF (specifically Midnight Madness guru Colin Geddes) gave George A. Romero an award commemorating his newly found Canadian citizenship. I love Romero, love the award and I think the inscription is pretty great: “In recognition of the Canadian citizenship of George A. Romero, his status as a Torontonian and his efforts to bridge understanding between the living and the undead through cinematic arts.” Go Zombie Can Con!

6. The invite to the Trotsky party (great movie, go see it when it comes out!) reads “Indulge in real real smoked meat from Montreal not the BLEEP (my word not theirs) you see on signs in Toronto.”

7. Interviewing Michael Caine. Here’s here to promote a thriller named Harry Brown. I’ve interviewed him many times before but he’s a gracious interview and it’s always thrilling to sit across from him and just listen to his amazingly distinctive voice.

8. The first sighting of “the festival strut.” On opening day I noticed the first signs of a distinctive walk I only ever see at film festivals. It’s a little self importance trot you see in hotel lobbies and movie theatres. It says, “I’m important. I have places to go. Viggo is expecting me.” My favorite part is the way the festival press pass undulates in the wind caused by this verty determined stride.

9. Lars Von Trier may need therapy. I’m just sayin’.

10. Going to the Daybreakers dinner at JK at the Gardiner with Sam Neill and Willem DaFoe (and about 75 others!).

11. I read in the National Post that Atom Egoyan said: “Normally the only sound you hear during one of my movies is the sound of people scratching their heads.” Love that.

12. Watching Sarah Ferguson simultaneously work four color-coded cell phones before out interview.

13. Seeing Salman Rushdie at the Cairo Time party.

14. …and of course the movies: The Men Who Stare at Goats, Daybreakers, The Invention of Lying, The Informant, The Trotsky, Precious, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Young Victoria, Reel Injun, Defenbdor, The Unloved, Youth in Revolt, Te Damned United, The Boys Are Back and many, many more…

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