my life as a 10-year-old boy-nancy cartwright

“To watch these actors do multiple voices, in conversation with themselves, is a show that you wouldn’t want to miss. It takes extreme concentration and the ability to change your whole personality in a millisecond. As actors, we have the ability to turn it on and turn it off. There just isn’t enough time to use method acting in voiceover work. You either got it or you ain’t.” (103)

“Parody requires research. The writers will drop some silly or poignant visual joke that the animators have to execute. The animator doesn’t make up the idea but will enhance the joke through his or her design choices. Some of the most difficult visual jokes are found in signage and marquees. Sharp fans always have their eyes open for the latest turn of phrase.” (205)

watching all of the simpsons (ok, maybe from season two onwards because i cannot deal with the horrible graphics of season one) is on my list of things to do, but like steve harvey says, if you have time to watch all your shows, you’re not doing enough if life. truthfully, i got this because i thought that cartwright would offer more insight into her life as a scientologist, but alas and alack, all i got was a reference to l. ron hubbard’s narconon (drug rehab program) in the last pages of the acknowledgements-whomp whomp. but i suppose it was worth it to learn who voices whom, that koreans hand paint the cells, and this article that i found when i looked up the korean following of the sitcom.

“It’s like the first day of school in a new town. These celebs are expected to perform-and I don’t just mean the character they are playing. It’s ‘show me’ time in Springfield and many of them feel the pressure.” (60)

i suppose it would be a different kind of cameo for actors who are used to just showing up and looking pretty. a then again, it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone.

libraries used: the reference library (for a date full of fifth floor shenanigans leading to a complimentary marmot portrait), annette street

farewell to: erin-good luck in vancouver, thanks for the candles, art supplies, and glassware

signed up for: stand-up comedy class and AGO membership

christmas plan: new flannel pyjamas + bacon cinnamon buns + hobo with a shotgun

dish-jeanette walls

“the only rapper compared to michael”

“A lot happened in the world that week. The Berlin wall was toppled and Germany was reunited. Drexel Burnham Lambert, the wildly powerful junk bond company that spearheaded the 1980s financial boom, collapsed. After twenty-seven years in prison, South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela was freed. But for eleven straight days, the front pages of the tabs were devoted to the Trump divorce.” (219)

“Although it was a tabloid story, no news outlet was above covering it. Diana’s death was a moment of the complete melding of elite news and tabloid news.” (321)

i read and was moved by jeannette walls‘ personal stories first. it’s interesting to read the oldest work last, with the context that this is what she was up to when she was dedicating herself to her work while she was privately dealing with her intense family situation. these days, it must be hard to understand that there was a time when there was a clear demarcation between the tabloids and the news. when the ticker wasn’t constantly going-it was only used in emergencies. i think this book is better in retrospect, because time has allowed for its staying power to be observed-and i’m glad that my completist tendencies brought me here.

because we just don’t have that many moves as humans, i wonder if we are on the verge of a new mccarthyism, and i appreciate the trivia tidbit that he used to drink so much that he would eat a stick of butter just to lubricate his stomach. i suppose we’re more vulnerable to the exposure of hypocrisy, but what would the present-day equivalent be to Ron Reagan Jr. growing his own pot at the height of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign?

“Celebrities, for the most part, hated junkets. Some called them ‘gang bangs’.” (249)

“‘Jackson would leak stories to us all the time,’ says the National Enquirer‘s Mike Walker, ‘Then he’d do this whole ‘the tabloids lie’ routine”…..Jackson was shocked that the mainstream press, including Time, Newsweek, the AP and UPI, picked up the oxygen chamber story. ‘It’s like I can tell the press anything about me and they’ll buy it,’ Jackson said. ‘We can actually control the press. I think this is an important breakthrough for us.'” (281)

like telling everyone your daughter’s name is north? i was convinced that they did that as a way to ensure her privacy, and that it was a genius move, but with every photo that surfaces of the kid in gaultier, my skepticism mounts.

eating dirt-charlotte gill

“We revere trees, adore their shade, their wood, and even the rustling, keeping sounds they make in the wind. But we also can’t bear to to leave them standing. Deforestation has been the price we’ve paid for warmth, light and shelter since Prometheus stole fire from the gods.” (101)

“One day we’ll get so efficient and expert we’ll be right on the heels of the loggers. Maybe we’ll even overtake them. And then finally we can sit down to rest. No wonder we lose sight of the big picture. We’re all trees and no forest.” (94)

i recommended this one to cj and it was enjoyed and appreciated even though we have the same banter every year over the environmental impact of the christmas tree industry. this year, a donation in my name was made to the library, so i dare say that we all win.

this book was my favourite selection last year (or two years ago?) for the evergreen reading list, and the most poignant moment was the scene set dangling on a mountain top planting seedlings and looking at the pile of cardboard boxes that they came in, wondering if she’s on top of the environmental impact, or if that’s even possible. it’s pretty poignant.

“Tree planters: little trees plus human beings, two nouns that don’t seem to want to come apart.” (11)

“Some days we’re like bugs crawling around in velcro. Grubbers in the soil, incapable of dreams.” (15)

“We gaze into their faces and see that their brute behaviour is just a cover. They’ve been tenderized by inconvenience…” (21)

“We’re incommunicado, which is as much an anxiety as it is a great relief.” (151)

“On regular days, not much of anything happens. But when the plot starts to move, it avalanches.” (178)

“Our girlfriends and boyfriends and spouses who say the whole world should recycle paper just so that we’ll run out of work, get laid off, and be forced to come home. And the children, who are sometimes so young they can’t yet say how they feel. And the parents, who also lack the words…and so on…we’ve just begun to get homesick, even if we’ve got no fixed address.” (143)

there’s a lot here-the searching that is solved (or not) by moving or staying still, being at home in our collective home (the planet) that is hostile to a lot, missing companionship yet not. there is also a discussion of clear cutting that is reminiscent to that of bycatch-perhaps we are doomed to be biological capitalists-our curiosity leads us to conquer until there is nothing left. hashtag, buffalo.

“paper/cardboard/tissue/pulp liquor-scented oils, lacquers, nail polish and remover, extract-shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics that lather, cellophane and rayon, alcohol, plastic, resin, latex and rubber, self-tanner, frozen pizza, preservatives, wood cellulose (instant mashed potatoes), bowling balls and helmets, explosives”

huh. i’m not sure how this staggering list of what trees are used for is presented in the book, but i’m transcribing it almost like i had it in my paper book (less the “+” signs, i guess it was from the computer less year) and either way, who knew?

tough shit-kevin smith

“Celebrities can be boring enough without the help of an even less imaginative profiler. They criticize you for making a movie that’s been done before, yet they write the same, lame three-act profiles over and over again.” (113)

“He turned out to be the unhappiest, most bitter and meanest emo-bitch I’ve ever met at any job I’ve held down. And mind you, I’ve worked at Domino’s Pizza. I signed up to work with John McClane but spent the whole flick directing Mikey, the talking baby, minus the Scientology serenity of Kirstie Alley and John Travolta.” (66)

for whatever reason, i’ve met a fair number of celebrities in my day. i can’t say that i’ve ever really been starstruck, except with kevin smith. he came into roots kids when i was working on robson street and he walked in. nobody was more surprised than me that i opened my mouth to greet him and i was tongue-tied. i’d met robin givens the week before and it was like she was my oldest friend, i’d exchanged pleasantries with scott speedman mere minutes before, and i had had a three-hour coffee date with bokeem woodbine within the month. but i was at a loss for words with silent bob. who knew. this book was recommended by a customer who claims that he sold strombo his first computer, and this interview was the only one that i happened to catch when he went to cnn for that summer.

“There are likely more pictures of me standing next to Jason Mewes in existence than there are pictures of me standing next to either my wife or child. That’s because Mewes has always been both to me: me and child. As Jay and Silent Bob, we’ve been professionally married for years; privately, he’s been the son I never had or wanted.” (159)

during that interview, he was talking about how his dad died in screaming pain. it was pretty vivid and horrible. but it just goes to show the family (chosen or otherwise) means the ongoing choice to sustain relationships, no matter how hard things get. but i suppose the power and the pleasure of a chosen family comes in the foundation that you’ve come together out of choice. i hate the idea of family as obligation (whether real or imagined) and that’s why i no longer subscribe to it. and i’ve been rewarded a million times over with those who i have chosen, and those who have chosen me, even when they’re on a bit of a conveyor belt.

“Remember: It costs nothing to encourage and artist, and the potential benefits are staggering.” (139)

“Always be a big included, kids; exclude folks and you’re excluding their possibly good ideas as well.” (73)

here here.

libraries used: annette street

crafty shoutout: to ladeebee supplies for hosting a great gnome-felting workshop

most consistent resto award: pho huong in the junction

wild-cheryl strayed

“I was twenty-two, the same age that she was when she’d been pregnant with me. She was going to leave my life at the same moment that I came into hers, I thought.” (11)

“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” (209)

i probably should have read this one first. but instead, i read dear sugar, and was confused as to why she injected so much of her personal experience. now, i get it. who knows how things would’ve turned out if i had read the novel first-imagine. but, that’s the one piece of advice that i truly appreciated from her in the first place-we can never know how things would’ve been, because they weren’t. i understood her journey, and how little she had actually shared of her personal experiences in the column, compared to the actual telling. i see her mother/evelation with my own-i had a miscarriage at the age my mother was when she had me. i made it to term, but she bounced, and my child changed my physical landscape from womb to tomb. one day, i will make that funny enough to perform in my one-woman show.

“Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before.” (120)

“Each word I spoke erased itself in the air.” (23)

“I could feel it unspooling behind me-the old thread I’d lost, the new one I was spinning-while I hiked that morning, the snowy peaks of the High Sierras coming into occasional view.” (95)

“When I wasn’t internally grumbling about my physical state, I found my mind playing and replaying scraps of songs and jingles in an eternal nonsensical loop, as if there were a mix-tape radio station in my head. Up against the silence, my brain answered back with fragmented lines from tunes I’d heard over the course of my life-bits from songs I loved and clear renditions of jingles from commercials that almost drove me mad.” (85)

i suppose it’s a battle of the human condition (felt more acutely by some, obviously) to want to and fear being alone. and i don’t know if i would embark on this kind of solo endeavour against nature (0r with, for that matter), but i admire it. richard wagamese has written extensively about spiritual walks, and i am more often than not regaled by such tales, but i believe that the same kind of journey and isolation can come within an urban context. we can be alone in the most populated cities, and lonely in our own minds. when stripped of something we take for granted, like language, we can experience some of the most profound frustration, but also the deepest growth. i remember my first couple weeks in viet nam a decade ago, when i didn’t have any words, and my family started calling me “shy”. oh, how charm and personality is tied up in the access of language and depth of vocabulary. i had no idea. i remember i would be up for hours, forced to be mute, but the shouting in my brain was almost too much to bear-i was remembering how to say things in every language i’d ever learned, including ones that i hadn’t spoken in years. years later, in montreal, i remember wondering what that trip would’ve been like had i done it after my time in la belle province, if i had the french then that i did then-if i could’ve talked to the great aunties who had come up during that wave of colonization and had been cast aside for the current one-nobody bothered to teach them english because they didn’t need it for anything. and what about now-would all my dormant duolingo reading skills have to come into speaking action? i actually thought of khanh the other day, my travelling buddy who helped me learn vietnamese and lighter skills in exchange for english instruction-all because we found common ground in the NBA and the roots. i suppose we don’t ever really change, do we? everything we are is everything we were, and there’s something comforting about that.

“I was a terrible believer of things, and I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things.” (134)

tv show tie-in: call me fitz-season three

con-currently reading (because it is a reasonable transport size): tropic of hockey-dave bidini

a place at the table-ed. peter pringle

“As a nation, we have increasingly privatized our response to hunger over the past thirty years. Through this transfer of responsibility from the public sector to the nonprofit-business partnerships, we have created a system that is effective in feeding hungry individuals but not in ending hunger. It is a system doomed to succeed in the short term-by lulling the public into the false belief that their charitable donations are fixing the problem-and doomed to fail in the long term as well.” (184)

“But we are treating hunger like a sporting contest, a numbers game. It’s not a game we can win by just pumping more food through the charitable food sector. Hunger is the result of both a failure of the political will to resolve an entrenched problem and a failure of the marketplace to meet the needs of the poor.” (176)

i got this one because i first watched the documentary that came because of it. i think i said this when i read orange is the new black, but i really think we have managed, on some level, to figure out the strengths of the different media available to us, and have integrated them to tell a more complete story. the doc was great because it was able to convey some of the humans most affected by the policies and politics, but the book is a great collection of the multi-level, cross-country initiatives and realities, and together, the issue of food deserts and malnutrition should be leaving us all stuffed and starved.

“Why do we have policies that keep liquor stores away from schools but allow junk food into them?” (10)

“Today this is the new American Promise: if you are born into poverty, your chances of getting out are slim.” (30)

“A grocery store doesn’t just bring food to a neighborhood, it can create an environment of possibility that spills over into the entire community.”

-Jeff Brown, CEO of Brown’s ShopRite supermarkets (57)

“The conditions that have produced inexplicable hunger in a land of plenty will not be changed overnight, but they will never change at all unless we begin to address the real issues standing in the way of eliminating hunger, not just alleviating it.” (158)

at a time when the stop doesn’t win the toronto book award, schools are choosing soda over exercise, and diabetes and add are accepted and medicated rather than prevented, and our mental health issues are spilling out of our seams, we are going to have to come to terms with how we’ve created our own food-related problems, both physically and environmentally.

“False modesty aside, we were monsters of love, purpose, sweat, and butter.” (224)

“Hunger is a human-made problem, and it can be a human-ended problem.” (203)


broken for you-stephanie kallos

“How would she use these words, these stories? She didn’t know, not yet. She could only keep prospecting.” (251)

“They looked for each other as if they were house keys.” (59)

it has happened once again. a book has crossed the threshold of my “to-read” list and i have no idea how. i don’t know if i should be worried about the feebleness of my short-term memory, or take it as proof that i have overloaded my brain with other people’s words, but i’m great-full for inspiration, however fleeting, and the library’s highly efficient hold system. although i have not been able to track down how this book got to me, i’m not entirely surprised, due to the focus on the themes of searching and loneliness and eventual empowerment, and delighted that they were encapsulated in some very good writing. when i was describing it, i told people that it was a book about “broken people and broken things”, and it is, but it’s a happy story because things and folks are put and putting themselves back together, apart and together.

“It was the girl’s shoe, a foolish high-heeled thing, the kind of shoe a woman wears when she has no faith in her own beauty.” (217)

“Insomniac by nature, he resists sleep because he fears the iconography of his dreams: When peopled, they feature characters from his past; when he is alone, he roams the rooms of a huge house in which, somewhere, a woman is crying. He can never find her.” (75)

i guess the moral of the story is that we need each other, or are better if we can manage to get it together, and who doesn’t need to hear that every now and again?

“Thankfully, though, she didn’t crave his artistic opinion. All she wanted was simultaneous sexual satisfaction, as frequently and in as many ways as possible.” (189)

the older i get, the more i believe in this, in theory and as a viable option. i used to think that i wouldn’t be able to divorce myself from a lover, but i realize now that it was just because i didn’t have much of a life yet.

“It is often said, in consolatory tones, that ‘time heals all wounds.’ But radiologists, who study and interpret physical proofs of the body’s ability to store memory, know that this is a crock of shit.” (222)

and, checkmate. but just because it’s true doesn’t mean it has to lead. a life not-so-meticulously-examined is just as worth living. some wounds never heal, but they all eventually stop oozing and getting infected. a thin layer of membrane is nothing to frown about, sometimes it’s all the protection we’ll get, so we either work with it, or die not trying. i’m with curtis on this one.

movie tie-in: delirious by tom dicillo for anyone who has questioned or negotiated the mentor/mentee relationship (or has been in any codependent relationship). also-is this a shootout to homeless troubled boy actors becoming tim riggins?