meaty-essays by samantha irby

“I was always falling in precocious child love with the most inappropriate people, but always the people you’d least expect: the grown up (probably homeless) man who smoked cigarettes all day in the park near our apartment, the uncoordinated boy with the unfortunate skin who sat across from me in the band, the social studies teacher. It has always been my tendency to swoon over the safest available target, the one least likely to draw the affections of anyone else. My favorite New Kid on the Block was Jonathan, for fuck’s sake. I knew in my heart that I would never in life have a shot with the smooth, adorable front man who got all the solos, that a Jordan or Joey would never be within my reach, so I focused my attentions on the shy one who danced and sang in the background. I’m a fan of low-hanging ambiguously gay fruit.” (82-3)

“Being jealous because some bitch has a dude is like being jealous of a goddamned stomachache: I’ve had one before; and while what I did to get it might have been fun, once I’m actually stuck with it, it kind of TOTALLY FUCKING SUCKS. If I knew one single woman who was marrying UP I might change my tune, but everyone I know is sucking the dick of a regular, broke-ass dude.” (220)

“I’m thrilled to pieces that you have to sit down at the kitchen table once a week with a shoebox of receipts and explain to a grown fucking man why having money to pay the electric bill is more important than upgrading his game console, but please wake me up when we get to the part that makes me feel bad about myself. Maybe the noise from the bouncing check will be loud enough to do it.” (226)

so, i’m officially in love with this woman. nehal told me about her blog sometime last year, and because of the choices of font colour, i couldn’t really ever read it. but here comes this collection of essays and boom-regular black text in a bound book form of essays-all over it like russell on kimora when he was trying hard to prove his prowess. i’ll admit that i felt some feelings when i saw the wedding photo of an old imaginary flame, but what exactly am i jealous of? i don’t really believe in marriage. perhaps it was the reminder that i have a penchant for the impossible, and i’m trying to live in my mind without delusion (if you’re an interesting person who’s honest and down for 6 months on, 6 months off-holla) and there are those who keep hooking me back (though at least for shorter intervals-phew). i mean-i am obviously immune to the nice folk who are very dedicated to badgering me with daily messages over many mediums that sadly don’t have anything interesting to say or report because they don’t read any books and do not do anything but work.

“Considering the number of 30+ year old dudes I still know living at home or still sleeping on some bitch’s couch or still subsisting on ramen and potato chips, I’d say I’ve kept this ship afloat pretty well.” (94)

”I wasn’t even getting attached until you made me feel like it was okay to get attached. And now I’ve been punished for something I hadn’t even wanted to do in the first place.” (25)

“Has this motherfucker ever met a woman before?! Has no one told him the ladybody rules?” (30)

“1.My neck is crazy hyperpigmented; it’s basically every shade in the pantone African-American skin collection, from Smokey Robinson to Amistad” (35)

“That is the worst part of the walk of shame, the tasting of last night’s dinner and some dude’s dirty balls on my breath while standing awkwardly in line at Starbucks, tongue fiddling with the grime on my teeth.” (38)

“It is assumed, naturally, that since I haven’t seen you in two weeks, and you sent a sort of ambivalent mean-ass text yesterday, and I ordered and drank an entire bottle of French wine at dinner, that once we get back to my place I expect you to eat me out while pretending to like it while I pretend you are good at it.” (126)

“An avid masturbator, I had grown bored with my imagination’s ability to come up with new ways for Tom Cruise and Method Man to fuck me.” (127)

“Dreaming about someone whose allergies I need to remember when I’m at the grocery store: that’s where the real romance is. Because I’ve had sex before. What a fucking snooze, my dude. Sex is so dumb and boring and unless you’re in really incredible shape or you have a ridiculous imagination and are into some really freaky shit, what you do and what I do is limited to a handful of very similar things. Even your grandmother has been choked and spit on and handcuffed. Why don’t we instead dream up some motherfuckers who will set up the automatic renewal on our magazine subscriptions?” (158-9)

i’d like to say that i’m feeling optimistic about one day dating again, though i need to be realistic about the reality of the situation out there. for the moment, i’m good being single (and happily, willfully so)-it’s something that i should’ve allowed myself a long time ago, and i’m kind of disheartened over the way that people choose to speak to each other. it’s like porn and unrealistic immigrant bravado (to quote vincia, “why are uncles so thirsty?”) have blown everything out of proportion and it’s hard out here for a smart girl who’s also single, sexy and free. i’ve recently recounted experiences that will appear in my one-woman show because they are too ludicrous not to share, and i’ve heard my share of nonsense. but there has to be a flip side to all of that, right? right?!

basically, i love that this woman reads caitlin moran and bust magazine, loves soderbergh and YA, advocates for never cohabitating with anyone, and made me laugh out loud multiple times on a bench outside my work. her tumblr rocks my world, and i would nominate her to do any commencement speech for any institute of higher learning. the graduating class could be so lucky.

albums released on the 504 streetcar: the dreamgirls soundtrack, les nubians-princesses nubiennes
duolingo status: spanish skill tree completed, 220 day streak, 1961 lingots, italian level 7

absurdistan-gary shtenyngart

“are we at war?”

“Along the way, we took turns hitting the driver with birch twigs, ostensibly to improve his circulation, but in reality because it is impossible to end an evening in Russia without assaulting someone.” (75-6)

“But beneath this sophistication lay a simple, exposed fact: the West, when stripped bare, was essentially a series of cheap plastic components, pneumatic work chairs, and poorly framed motivational posters.” (285)

“Are we best off with abusive parents or no parents at all?” (300)

i just passed my five year anniversary in this city (and four years at the store) and this time of year does not get any easier. four out of those five years, i’ve lived right outside the exhibition gates, so this air show madness (and nightly pyrotechnics) just seems to get more and more absurd. i mean, don’t people escape war-torn countries to come here, only to relive the technology of war, in a “celebratory” way? i’m glad that my friends at oshaosha paddling are taking the day off today, because there’s nothing like paddling on the serenity of the water while warcraft fly ear-burstingly noisily above us.

as patrick pointed out, i haven’t had three days off since i went on staycation in march, and i must admit that i’ve been moving at a leisurely pace-my motivation matching the muggy and selectively overcast day outside. my desk is getting clearer and my dishes are done, but i’m tempted to stay a hermit today and run the rest of my errands tomorrow.

“we come into this world naked (said rhyming with “baked”) and we leave the world naked (ibid).”

“This is what happens when you don’t learn English, by the way. You’re always at a loss for words.” (6-7)

“His wrist was taut and narrow, like a leek.” (254)

“..and were staying mostly out of each other’s way, because neither of us could understand what the other was becoming.” (16)

“A cry dislodged itself from somewhere between my sternum and my groin, from someplace wet and lonely and orphaned.” (168)

“Children are like champagne corks,” I advised Mr. Nanabragov, patting him on the back. “They should be pointed away and released.” (259)

this was a custo pick-the lovely couple that used to own the serbian bookstore on dundas west who are now living in an overpriced condo in liberty village (how life changes). i was also quite charmed by the author talking about his latest book on the philly free library podcast, so i thought, why not? i did guffaw a few times, though i am not rushing to read the rest of his canon just yet. i did appreciate the marriage of the identity quest between self and nation-this is always a good one. on that note, you know what needs to die? the question “what’s your background”. in all forms, but ESPECIALLY if you think you’re trying to be cute in picking someone up. i’ma start answering “18 counts murder in the first degree, but out on good behaviour and superb use of a card catalogue”, just to fuck with people.

library used: bloor/gladstone (drop off only- it’s a holiday, people)
most interesting library material returned: wolf by tyler the creator
watching: orange is the new black-season two and high maintenance
duolingo status: 3 units away from finishing the spanish skill tree, 1952 lingots
listening to: djalxxx r&b & hip hop mix volume 4

voyage to the bluffs and the unexpected soul of a kazoo

granted, i probably chose the wrong time to see the 17-piece live band that i’ve been meaning to check out (the michael jackson tribute party would’ve been the right one), and my girl wasn’t in the lineup that monday night at the drake hotel, but after ten minutes, i found myself thinking: a) why are there so many people out drinking right now and not dancing? b) is that a cause or effect to the lack of feeling in this band right now? c) i should’ve just stayed home and finished bojack horseman. now i know that kalmunity/groundfood/nomads have spoiled me for live bands, and i know it’s a new time, with iggy azalea and all, but it really doesn’t matter if you can sing your ass off (and lady on stage had the pipes)-there’s only so much that can happen when you’re appropriating. i know imitation is the jump-off to all kinds of stuff, but you can memorize all the runs and trills you want, you can’t make people feel. or, you can’t make my high-expectation having ass feel.

so, since i was already out, i decided to check out what else was happening in the building. i found a lovely singer in the back (automatron?) and his two majestic backing vocalists and fiddler. we all know i have a thing for back vocalists, and these ones were in the fine company of those who can hold their own and take up all the space in their lane. i loved the original songs (and the cover they said they were doing) and the instrumentation. the little details, like the melody lines played in the kazoo were what kept me there-that’s the soul, the honesty, the authentic voice of a writer transmitted through musics. after their set, i felt like i had fulfilled my reason for leaving the house, and went home to finish bojack horseman.

this brings us to the back to back days spent at the scarborough bluffs. my favourite mama and babies drove me through earlier that day, and i woke up the next with no other motivation than to get back there. of course, i choose the hottest day of the year to head across town on public transit, but the good folks at the taylor memorial library helped me on my quest and provided the magazines that i would sit on a private rock reading. i’ve been paddling the last couple of weeks (shouts to jenifer at oshaosha paddling), and i’ve realized that being near water is important to me, and is something that i will make sure to do more of.

libraries used: taylor memorial, bloor gladstone, spadina road
music kept: parker’s mixtape c. 2012
library material most appreciated: heather o’neill’s the girl who was saturday night

half empty-david rakoff

“Funny thing about words. Regarded individually or encountered in newspapers or books (written by other people), they are as lovely and blameless as talcum-sweet babies. String them together in a sentence of your own, however, and these cooing infants become a savage gang straight out of Lord of the Flies, a sullen coven with neither conscience or allegiance.” (57-8)

fitting that i’m choosing this one on the night that i’m watching say my name, a documentary that i’ve already seen, but it cannot hurt to watch again. i thought i had tributized all the rakoffs all at once, but i don’t have it marked in my notes. notes are not always reliable, but tonight, i’m trusting.

“Nothing assails the writer’s credibility more than the pleasant childhood.” (29)

as lindsay and i were trading stories about dogs and dads yesterday after spending our hard-earned money at the “we don’t give a shit farmer’s market”, this point couldn’t have been clearer.

“Like all omniscient machines possessed of benevolent intent but lacking decision-making power, it is a she.” (120)

there’s a video of a female cypher that’s circulating right now and the flows are pretty great, but the lyrics aren’t that great-and maybe that doesn’t matter anymore, but i can’t help but feel feelings when folks that have been all about lyrics are co-signing. this movie is great because unlike the old man rap movies (ice-t, i see ya) that have been happening as of late, it’s not self-righteous and exclusionary, but cross-generational and real. the experience is really different as a woman, and this is reflected in the charm of roxanne shante reminiscing about recording “roxanne’s revenge” in between loads of laundry, and seeing her rock the mic as a youngun in a turtleneck and a sweatshirt. perhaps it’s the british pov, the non-american look at this musics that we love so much. even the diversity in the answer of “do women have it harder in hip hop?” is worth the look. it’s nice to see estelle rapping, in the context of her career as an r&b singer, and that brings us back to badu or angie stone, and the reason i borrowed the movie again (it came up under a search for badu)

“Del’s supper was a Tupperware container of unhulled grains and some dark, leafy greens. If a Joan Baez song could be food this was it; a sad and earnest cloacal scouring pad of a meal.” (187)

“I get it that representation is reality’s more photogenic flip side.” (50)

“But it’s like the Internet date who didn’t lie, exactly; he is an underwear model, but for a prosthetics catalog.” (156)

oh, the internets. it’s fun for a temporary dalliance, but let’s not get it twisted. it’s not reality-i maintain. and i was wary of my therapist’s recommendation of why men love bitches, but there is actually a lot of truth in it and it’s also really sad when the “nice girl” behaviour is seen across genders-yikes.

afternoon delight-dir. jill soloway

“i’m off hotdogs! i’m with kosher amanda-this is her resting face”

have i mentioned that the i love the library for having movies that i’ve never heard of? i’m rewarded every time I take a chance. everyone is perfectly cast and the comic timing is amazing. i’m definitely gonna check out more of jill soloway‘s work. the only thing that’s missing is peele.

the dead are more visible-steven heighton

“English resembled a sprawling bureaucracy. Hard to get a definite answer. Harder to find your way around.” (8)

“A place I could feel I belonged forever by virtue of not belonging. Never belonging. Islands always rebuff belonging.
But I was falling out of love with distance, absence.” (20, Those Who Would Be More)

“It’s a smile that enjoys itself a little too much.” (80, Outtrip)

oh, boy. i really chose this one because i promised myself i would non-movie trailer blog today, and i’m secretly giving all my attention to the re-watching of my so-called life, a show that apparently still makes me cry. i’m surprised at the ru-paul reference that just passed, and of how i’m also understanding the mother’s point of view this time around. this book was recommended by melanie, after she saw the author read sometime last year. i enjoyed the collection most of the way, i think the last few stories were dragging a bit for me. ok, that’s it. back to mscl.