go wild-john j. ratty, md and richard manning

free your body and mind from the afflictions of civilization

“Someone once argued that there is no choice about whether to train your dog. You either train your dog or your dog trains you. Something similar happens with our brains.” (167)

People who consider these matters often refer to the ‘omnivore’s dilemma,’ but it gets more and more difficult to claim to be omnivores, creatures that eat both plants and animals. The prima facie case is we have become carbovores as a result of our domestication by grain. This is the carbovore’s dilemma: we exist for the most part on a substance that our bloodstream treats as a toxin.” (76-77)

this one was a very special custo pick. this little woman is like looking into the future for me, not just because she’s a virgo born one day and 35 years before me-so she is twice me, but she also knows how to live. i love that she doesn’t stop learning, and that’s the ultimate message of this book.

“The fact is, everything effects a reshaping of the brain, especially our relationships with one another. The tangible, weighable, measurable, energy-sucking organ is being built from the ground up, beginning even before we are born, and the whole stream of information we call life is doing the building work. The degree to which those relationships are healthy, especially when we are children, is the degree to which our brains are healthy.” (167)

“We have long said that there is no reason to write a book unless the process of doing so changes the author’s life.” (15)

i like how this idea of meditation as the deliberate shaping of the brain, in relation to the shaping of the brain that’s happening just by the simple fact of us being alive. it empowers us as humans to take over our learning, even when we are living outside of the traditional understanding of “learning”. like when we’re eating or exercising, or making certain food choices and the choice not to exercise:

“Modern humans have forgotten what it is like to be meat, and being prey must have entailed terrors beyond imagination, particularly for the young and helpless and for the people who cared about them most.” (137)

“Evolution has made provisions for our happiness, but to take advantage of them you’ve got to move.” (119)

“The early campaigns to sell the public on shortening and margarine were the prototypes for today’s sea of hype and cynicism that is the processed foods system. These are the roots of fast food.” (85)

“Civilization is starch, and by extension, diseases of civilization are diseases of starch, either directly or indirectly….” (50)

“But the supreme irony in all of this is that the obvious toxin hides in plain sight. It’s difficult to accuse the very substance on which all of civilization depends.

and so, sugar is a toxin. and we need to get off our asses. the other interesting point that i’m going to read up further on is that evolution has been tracked based on things that men do-hunting and gathering, killing and such. there has been work done on evolution from the vantage point of women’s roles-nurturing and child rearing.

“This is why aggression is the flip side of the bonding powers of oxytocin; it is adaptive not only to cooperate and bond with our fellows but to protect and defend.” (214)

i think this is why the nicest folks make the biggest assholes.

libraries used: toronto public library (for a disappointing toronto book awards verdict), annette street
watching: the newsroom season one
sleep until the raptors open practice and the west end clothing swap: one!
sleep until watching dreamgirls with neil and tala: two!
sleep until the raps play the knicks at the bell centre: six!
raptors’ preseason record: 5-1
duolingo status change: italian level 14, translation level 3, 2191 lingots

one on one-john feinstein (3-peat)

“let’s have a toast for the douchebags, let’s have a toast for the assholes”

“I had stayed in my car, huddled over a radio, so I could barely hear the final minutes of a November hockey game. Not a playoff game, a November game. What was the message there? At the moment it was clear to me: anyone who cared about sports that much and had the chance to get paid to write about sports was crazy if he didn’t do it.” (78)

“The nickname stuck instantly. Back then I didn’t mind it that much because I was one of the youngest guys at the Post. I didn’t especially like it when I got older and guys at the paper younger than me who didn’t even know why I had the nickname used it. And I really can’t stand it when a complete stranger comes up and uses it. I try to be polite, but I’m not great at it.” (221)

we conclude our series on john feinstein‘s career wrapping book with a focus on the wackness, and i’m not talking about a movie starring method man and an olsen twin. i have been irked by royalhalo all week, and have wanted to tell him (i assume he’s a man, because of his extreme jerkery, but i could be wrong) to get off my dick, but taking it all in stride, because it’s a learning opportunity, right? well-he touched my lebron cramp translation, and i was livid. and i unfollowed the muthafucka-i can learn plenty on my own, thank you very much.

anyways, i can identify with feinstein’s quote on doing what you need to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses, and this blog will be all about the athletes that he didn’t appreciate working with, and why.

“By the summer of ’89, Agassi had emerged as a star and Chang had won the French Open. Chang apparently only spoke on February 29 and Agassi already had a posse that was pretty much impenetrable. Plus, I didn’t have much desire to penetrate the posse.” (254)

“Chang didn’t really care about his image. But he hated doing interviews, and on the rare occasions that he did one, almost all his answers came back to his relationship with Jesus Christ.” (253)

come to think of it, jeremy lin is all rah rah god too, and i think there may be something here to asian-american golden sports boys for christ, but someone else can write it, kristina wong, maybe? that would be a riot…

“There is no more a New Tiger than there was ever a New Nixon.” (462)

“After winning the Masters, Woods had been invited by President Clinton to participate with him and Rachel Robinson in a ceremony in New York commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s colour line.

He turned down the invitation saying he was going on vacation with friends.” (335-6)

“He was closing in on thirty, it was time to marry a beautiful blonde and start having beautiful little children (and a dog) he could put up on his website and hug after victories.” (462)

“Great competitors are always looking ahead to the next challenge. I get that. But I’m not sure Tiger ever paused for more than a few minutes to enjoy anything he achieved. That’s sad.” (464)

my final thought is to the point of idea stealing-i’m mostly accepting of the fact that we don’t have that many moves as humans, and there is no such thing as an original thought, but there is something to the truth of the assholery of a quick turnaround time. say, if someone promises to put you on air, but not only doesn’t at the last moment, but takes your idea and runs with it within the next fifteen minutes, that’s some bullshit. that happened to me at a taping of a live television show that i was on with chris hadfield where not only did i not get the airtime in favour of someone who had no idea how to be on tv, but they fed her my line “the most down-to-earth astronaught” as an intro. i know i’m hardly the first to come up with that, but in that moment, with that esl student, that shit was not a coincidence. he was so touched by it that he gave her his guitar pick-merry christmas. oh well, it was the middle of the end, anyway. but here’s my chance to immortalize my bitterness in my blog. drunk in power….

libraries used: dufferin/st.clair, st.clair/silverthorn

reading: the world in half-cristina henriquez

new ramen spot discovered today: sansotei 

superglamourous movie: bobby by emilio estevez

one on one-john feinstein (part too)

“Leadership is convincing people they can do things they shouldn’t be able to do.” (378) -Al Roberts

“His first name was Coach. This wasn’t uncommon in coaching, but it seemed especially true with Knight.” (90)

“That’s not Knight. Reminding people that they have not done as well as he had hoped is one way he maintains control of his relationships.” (100)

“Not a hand went up. ‘Exactly what I thought,’ Knight said. ‘This is what I’m talking about. As long as you are selfish people, you will never be good basketball players.’
He turned and walked out. As all the coaches followed him and I followed them, John Smith turned to me and said, ‘Now that was coaching.’
Coincidence or not, Indiana won its next seven games.” (103)

fred durst directed a movie starring ice cube and keke palmer (akeelah grew up!). this did send me down a rabbit hole of trying to see her leaked nude photos, to no avail. but the movie was great not only because it was a true story, but it also presented a story choice even in the movies to tell the tale of a girl succeeding in sports. that’s what irked me most about love is strange-even in the movies (that are not based on true stories), the gays must still suffer a celluloid death for being out and proud. and no, i won’t take “he died because he is old” as an excuse. bullshit. we can do better.

speaking of doing better, i am ever fascinated by a good coach. in fact, i believe that i have my eyes on calderon because phil has his eyes on calderon, and not only that, i’m pretty sure phil taught me to look for all the things in a basketball player that i do, twenty years ago, and now it’s coming full circle.

“It was also Larry to call almost everyone he had ever met or worked with a ‘special kid’. He called fifty-year-old men special kids. The only person I never heard him call a special kid was Dean Smith, whom he had played for in college. Like all Carolina people, Larry worshipped Coach Smith.” (359)

“Walsh was the perfect GM for Brown because he knew how to tune him out on those days when Brown wanted to trade his whole team, even the special kids among them.” (369)

pip coulda been a pacer. this was one of the most interesting things that i got out of this book that i first saw in the raptors‘ locker room, and on “hispanic heritage night” in nyc, calderon is the common raptor denominator on the court tonight. i’m rooting for our guys (obvi), but i’ve always been a knicks fan, since the bulls’ dynasty days-they were always the best opponents to watch, even when baby voiced billy cartwright would always get the calls over ewing. one day, “he was almost traded to miami” will be said about lowry, and it will seem just as impossible as scottie in blue and yellow.

“Kerr vividly remembers the aftermath of his first title in 1996. That was the year Jordan had returned to the Bulls following the murder of his father a couple of years earlier. After the Bulls won, Jordan took the championship trophy and collapsed on the floor of the locker room, hugging the trophy, tears running down his face. Only one person in the room could really understand how Jordan felt-Kerr, whose father had been murdered twelve years before.” (428)

what a father’s day to win the championship for those two. just like father’s day for tim duncan and kahwai leonard this last championship. i

libraries used: yorkville branch, toronto reference library
day of doyouyoga.com 30 day challenge-day 5 (thanks, angela)
unexpected nia vardalos sighting-for a good time, call
watching: undeclared, cowboy bebop
duolingo status: translation level 3 (italian), 2175 lingots
listening to: childish bambino-because the internet
thank-full for: jumping on a trampoline with a boxer, dogsgiving

one on one-john feinstein (part won)

“Most TV and radio types love to start interviews by saying, ‘So, tell us what your new book is about.’ Or they’ll say, ‘Your publisher sent me a copy, but I haven’t had time to look at it.’ Great. If you got a free book sent to your doorstep and didn’t read it, why should anyone else bother to go out and /buy/ it?
Someday, I am going to write a book about book tours. Then I’m going to refuse to go a book tour to promote it.” (138)

as i just put the finishing touches on adding fun facts to duolingo documents about basketball players (this time about kobe taking brandy to prom) and make the final payments on raptors tickets in two cities, my heart is beginning to flutter with anticipation of basketball once again in my life (to all the delusional lakers fans that i keep running into, this one’s for you). as a lifelong knicks supporter (especially now that their roster looks like the raptors‘ locker room circa last year, and phil jackson has returned to basketball and all), i realize that nets fans are to knicks fans what clippers’ fans are to lakers fans, except the part where the clippers are so just much better as a team (the new york ones are tied as of now).

“I had read somewhere that Ernest Hemingway always tried to stop writing mid-thought. He didn’t try to get to the end of a chapter or a story line. That way, when he began the next day, it was easier to get started.” (128)

this is why i stopped making my bed-because sleep is a work in progress, and i like picking up where i left off.

“I actually did have a copy out in the car, but I certainly wasn’t giving her one for her nephew. I’ve always found it remarkable the entitlement people feel to free books. In fact, I try to make it a point to go out and buy books written by friends because I know how much it bothers me to be asked for freebies.” (137)

i love this comment, and i’m deciding right now that this blog needs to be a multiple parter, because of all the different topics that i pulled quotes on (just like the hip hop reading rainbow that i did for poundmag.com)-i guess this is the process instalment. all i really have to say to the above is, amen. oh! also-to interviewers who don’t read peoples’ books before interviewing-you are shit. your work is shit. writers don’t like you. readers don’t respect you. stop.

“I think I find the good in people, but I recognize the bad. I also, like my mother, can’t stand phonies. That’s why I wasn’t kind to Agassi or Chang. It is also why I haven’t exactly been best friends with Tiger Wood through the years.” (264)

“That was one of the realities of doing a book on Army and Navy: some of the people you met were going to put their lives on the line not long after graduation.” (382)

“What’s that old saying? A friend is someone you know well and you like them anyway.” (479)

and, when you don’t know someone, but you don’t like them anyway-it’s time to cut the ties. my therapist has helped me a lot with this this summer (6 months on, 6 months off-this is the best for all relationships), ending the prolonged process. it’s just that simple. you are the weakest link-goodbye.

“The answer was, in many ways, simple: he had been finding happiness. And once he found it, he didn’t want anything, including golf, to take it away.” (357)

this resonated once again, the previous time being in the documentary about artists, and this time in the realm of sports. remember folks, sometimes if you’re not doing the thing that you picked up to escape, maybe it’s because you don’t have to escape anymore.

i’m headed to see love is strange, a movie that i believe i know about because of duolingo, and i have to admit that the only reason that i’m not returning undeclared season 1 to the library on my way is because apatow appears to be obsessed with the untitled (how does it feel), song and video. for whatever reason-yesss.

branches used: bloor/gladstone, annette street
restaurant discovered on date night: barrio correo
crucial companion dvd (thanks, lillian h. smith branch): a place at the table dir.kristi jacobson and lori silverbush
duolingo status: spanish translation tier 5, italian level 12, french translation tier 8
duolingo user who blows me out of the water every day: royalhalo-props, homie.
countdown to raptors’ reunion (every time we play the knocks-i will cheer for almost everyone-hashtag, noprimopasta): 17 days

dating your mom-ian frazier

“who do you like better, me or faulkner?”

“The hardest thing about being a member of the Bloomsbury Group is learning how to be a person at the same time you’re being a star. You’ve got to rise above your myth.” (8)

“there’s more violence in one episode of game of thrones than there is in my 500+ page novel”

joseph boyden is handsome. so handsome. i wasn’t prepared for the depth of his physical beauty, but perhaps this is the reason that for the first time in my five years of attending author events at the toronto public library, i faced the possibility of not being allowed in because i didn’t register. i had avoided reading the orenda because of the violence, but after hearing him speak on it, i realize that i’ve been a fool to listen to (mostly white) people’s focus on it. as much as it’s a part of our creation myth (canada’s, that is), i have read a lot of wagamese in the last couple of years, and at times, it is a bit much to take.

but mister is as interesting as he is handsome (and as great as a writer, obvi)-having worked as a digger of child graves, with chickens and goats in his north york backyard because his doctor father accepted them as payment from his immigrant clients, mixing it up with the jesuits, and riding his motorcycle to louisiana to learn more, at school and presumably, in life.

i paired it with the sole quote from dating your mom, a book that i ultimately deserted, perhaps it was a good thing that the library let that hold expire. but it was nice to handle a book that still had the envelope for the catalogue card-i should’ve looked at the last date stamp, oops. it’s a pretty fitting pairing, i think.

branches used: ny central, annette street
duolingo status: 248 day streak, italian level 12, 2070 lingots
watching: the office (season 9)
reading: kavalier & clay-just like chicago (they always have good one books)

this is where i leave you-jonathan trooper

“You never forget your first time, no matter how much you’d like to.” (61)

“Time hasn’t necessarily been unkind to us, but it hasn’t gone out of its way either.” (90)

“Things happen. People get lost and love breaks.” (312)

i feel like if we remembered this wisdom every time we went to stalk old lover/friends/family members, we’d be a lot better off. damn you, innernet. patton oswalt tweeted a few weeks ago his dismay at the potential revivals of 90s television shows, and i find myself wandering down the nostalgic rabbit hole of hankering-the one who gets away is ironically the one that stays forever.

“The smells of sex and burnt scrotum filled the air like a gas leak, and I swear, if someone had lit a match the room would have exploded.” (24)

“But I won’t because she’ll cry, and if she does, I probably will, and then she’ll have found a way in, and I will not let her pierce my walls in a Trojan horse of sympathy.” (11)

“There are no photos anywhere of her and Wade, which I’d like to read as a sign that she’s not that invested yet, but when you’ve been carrying on a yearlong illicit affair, there just aren’t a lot of photo ops.” (211)

“Beyond that, they don’t seem to exist, and I often wonder why they bothered immigrating. Surely there were plenty of pinched nerves and dust in China.” (11)

“His cologne fills the room like bad news.” (240)

“The girls are vacant and beautiful and wield their budding sexuality with a certain lack of control, like a toddler with a power tool.” (241)

“I look at her, wondering what it is about her that makes me want to simultaneously devote my life to her and get as far away from her as I can possibly get.” (256)

this book opened on a very strong note, and never really faltered. it was recommended repeatedly by jillian, who is doing her own completist study on his work-inspiring me to put all his titles on my own library holds’ list, but i have since forgotten the titles, so i don’t think i’ve made any of them active again. the cbc also announced it as one to read before TIFF, and sadly, the trailer of the film that is jam-packed with heavy hitters seems to only prove that the book is always better. we’ll see. it teases us about dysfunctional family dynamics (which are certainly present in the book), but shows us absolutely none of it. once again, i wonder what the author thinks of the film.

“He is the Paul McCartney of our family: better-looking than the rest of us, always facing a different direction in pictures, and occasionally rumored to be dead. As the baby, he was alternately coddled and ignored, which may have been a significant factor in his becoming such a terminally screwed-up adult.” (4)

“Phillip is a repository of random snatches of film dialogue and song lyrics. To make room for all of it in his brain, he apparently cleared out all the areas where things like reason and common sense are stores. When triggered, he will quote thoughtlessly, like some kind of savant.” (60)

“In my family, we don’t so much air out our grievances as wallow in them. Anger and resentment are cumulative.” (47)

branches used: annette street, parkdale, bloor/gladstone
cds kept: sekoya (self-titled), canibus can-i-bus
movie watched because of duolingo translation: jack (dir. francis ford coppola)
toronto musicals seen with outstanding co-stars: hedwig and the angry inch and life, death and the blues