duolingo stats: 455 day streak, 13,474 lingots, amethyst league, 627,917 xp, language learned: korean
this changes all the games. every single one. jeeeeez. my religion is now lena waithe. i’m a waithiest.
i almost hibernated my way out of the beginning of this month. i’ve been seeing the beauty in the dreamsnooze lately, and putt-putting, especially when i woke up in a hailstorm. but the upside is that skating is open now!
i have been getting massages, and that means that work is paying for me to take naps again, though i’m not falling asleep on the table, which means that i’m seeing first-year students, or i’m just more well-rested in general. but it’s nice to have some coverage and double-stamps before the s-c school of massage moves to the science centre.
this just in-i learned that lumpia wrappers and wonton wrappers are not the same. i made some dumplings and tried to cook them in mushroom broth, and the lumpia wrappers just dissolved. it still tasted good, just looked questionable because the brown soup took over, and now i know, and knowing is half the battle.
i have touched a lamb lung, and it feels amazing. like a cool marshmallow. don’t turn down the opportunity if ever presented with it. also, my coworker came up with “i’m not a sous-vide savant” on the spot. that’s the excellence i work with.
i have many less entries-i have been writing more…
i had the loveliest little no pressure christmas ever, and have the pleasure of having a doggy into the new year/decade. what a time to be alive.
1)maid-stephanie land (audiobook read by the author) i started to listen to this to lull myself to sleep and when i was making soup on the day that i was sick. i think i got the idea here, on the feminist texican read‘s blog. i usually listen to famous peoples’ audiobooks, and this is the first time i chose a “regular” person. although she’s a bit extraordinary-in a world where “domestic” work is done by undocumented women, she qualifies and benefits from more than five kinds of government support, and that sustains her to this point of a book deal. she has pretty terrible taste in men, but i guess i can’t fault her for that. the insight that she brings on how much people let the cleaners see of their houses is a new kind of intimacy, but one that is only there if they render themselves invisible. her admission of loneliness is real and brave, and a big deal. i’m glad for the kindness that has found her, and sorry for the ignorance that she has experienced-at the very least, it’s always more moving when a white person shows how terrible white people are. and, quality of life is a thing. i joked with a friend recently that i was living really well at the poverty line, but it turns out, i have been living really well $2000 over the poverty line, so there. i did listen to a lot of this audiobook from my bed and also do appreciate that i’ve always managed to make the little places that i’ve had home, and this is the biggest place i’ve ever had, so, there’s that. in the same discussion, i was asked if i would like more space, and while i don’t, i would appreciate a different layout. but this place has been good to me, even though it seems to get cluttered every other day. funny that she mentions dusting a bell biv devoe cassette, because surely, hootie mack (indeed an underrated album) was in that collection. single parenthood is a real struggle, and i count my blessings that i am not with an 11-year-old at this moment-i can only imagine the continued flashes of ptsd that would be.
2)jane the virgin-season four i watched this show so long ago that i don’t remember what i’ve seen, but so far-it all seems new, if familiar, and it’s nice to be back. matteo is a total brat, but is that supposed to be indicative of the crazy home lives that he is living? there’s a lot more exploration of the impact on the children that dating and co-parenting has, and we’ll see if i’m here for it. lots of big appearances this season-isabel allende, rosario dawson, and iyanla vanzaant, brooke shields, er, river fields and the whole cast of “the talk”. and dianne guerrero got me kardashian wondering-is that surgery or contouring?! lots of betrayals, flip-flopping, and big drama, just like a telenovela! i don’t think i remember xio being this deep into cancer, or the return of michael, so once again-i am on the brink of a show that will take the library a minute to catch up on the dvd release. at least there is “borrowing history” to help me with this now.
3) permanent record-mary.h.k.choi another one to thank desus and mero for…way back in the vice days. i liked emergency contact to pay attention to the release of this one. i know new york is really multi-culti, but it’s almost a toronto-level miscegenation of characters, and that’s literally a thing. (spoiler alert on a jerky note-it might be a character thing, but i feel like i’ve literally read “literally” sixty times in the first 138 pages). i do appreciate how she writes relationships, both a stunted one in her first book, and an easy in terms of personality, hard because of circumstances one in this latest. i appreciate the rock paper scissors strategy tip and the reality of NDAs. it never occurred to me that i would want to know the POV of someone in a celebrity relationship, but i’m glad for this. “Families are a trip,” says Lee, “you think you know them so well that you stay wrong about each other.” (145) ain’t that the truth.
4) it’s always sunny-season 12 we are catching up to the present, and it’s official-the gang will live forever. they can do no wrong. no plot too far-fetched, no production budget too big-this is the first season that i’ve clocked zero throwaway episodes. i’m absolutely here for these unapologetically white people. i’m glad they stay in their lane and don’t try to “help”.
5) dear girls-ali wong i don’t think ali wong trims her pubic hair. or maybe she’s one of those people who talks about the thing that she doesn’t do so much that she actually does-the opposite of drake and sex. it’s interesting that her ex-boyfriend, chris garcia, is also showing up on my radar with his new project about tracing his father’s roots, though i definitely have heard his standup making fun of his dad. i feel a bit of a lack as an immigrant person who does standup without an impression of my parents, but maybe this is another american trope to question. i love finding out more about her, especially about her time in viet nam and how she was also harangued as a viet kieu for being fat. unlike me, she drank the still-beating cobra heart liquor (with gusto), and then broke into her paramour’s room and read his diary. it gives some context to why her first special was called cobra baby. i love that her baby daddy also chimed in on the afterword in this letter to their girls. i got a bit verklempt because i never knew a father who ever acknowledged that being my dad was his most important job, but then again-i was never anyone’s princess either. i waited all my life to be able to say what i wanted to my dad-and now he won’t even fight with me, but that’s what taught me that i’m worth fighting for.
6) i hope we choose love-kai cheng thom just, wow. once again, a beauty-full offering of writing, and essays-swoon, a medium after my own heart. i’m so here for this straight talk on queer silence around abuse/rs, call out culture and how it’s not the answer, and how hard it is to choose love. it’s interesting that kai chooses to self-identify as transsexual, because i feel like the debate has been going on for soooo long now. i guess folks just stop at “trans”.
“It is not radical to “support” trans women dying when we are already being murdered regularly. It is not revolutionary to simply accept that society is so terrible that trans girls might as well kill themselves.” (45)
“The problem of intimate and sexual violence is not individual; it is cultural. That is to say, we are responsible for it. All of us. You are.
Me too.” (65)
aaaaaah. i got a chill here-that is what is missing from this movement that was co-opted by white women in the first place. a deeper discussion into broken systems and the ways in which we all benefit from and are complicit in upholding.
“I now recognize this as a skill born of trauma: the ability to ceaselessly and accurately scan the people in one’s environment for a sense of what will please them, and then to enact it, no matter the cost to one’s long-term health.” (85)
and, this one hit very close to home, and gave me the words to express what i was feeling in my heart about a relationship that i knew wasn’t quite right, and the freedom from the proximity of it with the person moving across countries and time zones that gave me the distance that i needed to not participate in it anymore. i’m sad, but i don’t regret choosing myself.
it always comes down to the poetry. poets are special people. poets are seers. and these poems are no exception. read this one, if for nothing else, then for the poems. but really-read it for everything, especially the poems.
7) late night-dir. nisha ganatra “be careful showing who you are, because you can never turn back from that” “you might as well call it catharthsiscism” i shouldn’t be surprised that this was directed by the same person who made chutney popcorn. i was supposed to see this in the summer, when there was all that hoopla here, but i missed it. i think it’s once again a case of good timing, because i think i needed some of what i’m getting out of seeing it now. it’s kind of hollywood in the end because a diversified writer’s room that ultimately helps uphold a white woman’s job seems like the best we can shoot for, even in the movies. it was interesting timing, to set this in the past (and that made me think of a certain web host for a now retired late-night host (who recently showed eight more of the chins on his real face with gabriel union) and its release date coincided so closely with lilly singh‘s late night debut that i thought there would be more made of it. btw-she’s bisexual?! (i guess i missed that in all the other focus on how she presents her identity).
8) queen & slim-dir. melina matsoukas i don’t know what i was thinking-there’s no way i could’ve seen this movie with the person i was envisioning seeing it with-sheesh! so much pressure, in all of the ways. i avoided the read for two weeks because i was avoiding spoilers, but i’m glad i actually listened to the motivations before seeing this. btw-i’ve never been the person who cares about spoilers. i was surprised that it was james frey who brought this idea to lena, and that she took “yea, you can’t write that” all the way, whilst “thanksgiving” was happening (“nipples and toes…amperstand?”)-i mean she always was, but now she forever will be writer goals. i love that her goals of “last say, a fat budget, shoot and release this year, and break a new actress-a brown-skinned one” was executed to the absolute fullest and i gotta give kudos to melina obviously as well-damn. and jodie. and daniel (who had to audition and convince melina that he was going to be slim). the new lauryn track, the re/mixed dilla and pharcyde one-ugh. this is everything-the big love story, the body politic, “i knew i wanted to make her malcolm x and him martin luther king and that they would end up switching places,…but it’s not a film about cops and not all cops are the same”. this is the kind of bittersweet legacy that you wish nobody has to have, and it’s so moving to honour the families of those whose names were never said while they were alive. just, wow.
9) opposite house-helen oyeyemi it’s been a minute since i decided to read through this woman’s catalogue. i feel in-between about this one-not as immediately blown away as her earlier catalogue, and not as “meh” as the latest one-there are definitely gems in here, like this:
“I was seven years old when we came here. I’ve come to think that there’s an age beyond which it is impossible to lift a child from the pervading marinade of an original country, pat them down with a paper napkin and then deep-fry them in another country, another language like hot oil scalding the first language away.” (12)
“This place is more of a home for books than it is for people…” (162)
9) grand union-zadie smith zadie smith is a beast. that being said, i feel like short stories are the hardest. i was really into the first few stories, notably “sentimental education” but admit that i zoned out (more an indictment of my attention span than the author’s talent, obvi). i love her essays, fiction, and even her film reviews, but short stories are hard. here are a few disjointed highlights, though:
“For a man without legs, he talks a lot about dancing.” (Words and Music, 39)
“…the less claim a person has to a thing, the harder they chase it…” (ibid, 40)
“The only people left in England were the ones who couldn’t leave.” (Meet the President, 160)
“I was wrong at twenty, he murmured, and I’m still wrong now. Being wrong is a lifelong occupation.” (For the King, 219)
10) tiffany haddish-black mitzvah/they ready i have to admit, i like the curated series more than the individual special, but you gotta give it up for a woman who actually makes good on the promise to come back and get folx. i love that her crew is diverse because they’re her crew, and not just because it was a benetton ad for the sake of putting one together. everyone held their own, and kept their sets tight.
11) the unbreakable kimmy schmidt-season three and four during a very long stretch of holiday work, this show was everything i needed to decompress and laugh. everyone needs titus in their lives. everyone. i gotta dog and netflix now, and am finishing shows left and right-look at me! i’m so glad that amy sedaris stays weird and working, and i feel like i’ve been making up ridiculous songs because of this access to television.
12) orange is the new black-the last season you’d think after kickball, i’d be over this. but i had to check in and just finish it. it’s not that awful so far, going really the realest i’ve seen it in terms of going into the women’s minds, and they opened the show with actual vietnamese people speaking in the first episode. no matter what, it’s a cornerstone of television history, at least in the last decade, and i gotta give it that. i wonder what the new black will be after this, and it’s interesting that the only “inmates” who are in orange now are the ones detained by ICE, which is also telling. it’s also a thing that they have a nigerian inmate explain/justify casual racism as well as deport nikki’s love interest, but not before she names herself as an egyptian with FGM. i feel like the guards are still too sympathetically portrayed, and piper/alex is too cliche. but all in all-it’s a good wrap to a groundbreaking (and problematic) show. (shoutout to the art cart in polly/larry‘s apartment-i see you, art cart!)
13) inside the dream house-carmen maria machado what does it mean to call something a memoir, and also write it in second person? the last time i considered second person, i couldn’t recall any books written in the form except choose your own adventure books, and that series was paid homage to here (not just for rap albums anymore-jean grae and classified-what up). is it distance from one’s own story, or is it an intimacy so forced that it cannot be denied? either way, this tale of love and abuse points brave fingers at the queer community, and recalls situations and humans that i’ve known in the past but not known what to do with/about. it reads easily, because machado is obviously a strong writer, but leaves a sting because of its truths. i wouldn’t exactly recommend it to anyone, but i understand why it has won awards and accolades.
14) a black lady sketch show-woooow. i was searching the crave for fresh off the boat and could not find it, but found the hbos instead. when i tell you that the timing for this couldn’t have been better-i had just come home with an entire cake to decompress a stress-full post xmas work week to kick off a few days off and binged the entire season. i had seen sketches when it came out on instagram, but the whole collection at once was everything. i’ve been in love with robin thede since “shit black guys say” (an early version of chris, if i do dare to mythologize) and this showing of skits and ensemble cast is everything. it was so hilarious and necessary, and the puppet intro (which i cannot find to save my life) where she smashes up that lemonade stand is so perfect. i also love love love love “eyore in dior” and kind of feel like that’s my whole vibe, except more sunniness, less designer, but hey. this show was worth the hype, and also stands up. i’m here for it.
15) insecure-season two and three-so, i’m catching up visually, as i’m late to the game. i heard about the episodes in real time, with fran and chrissle‘s podcast, but in a lot of ways, i’m glad that i’m seeing this after queen & slim so i can truly appreciate melina‘s work. it’s visually so irresistible and i wanted it to keep going, just to see what people are wearing (much like dear white people) even though their relationships are messy as fuck, and everyone’s kind of wrong. but i’m kind of here for daniel-even though we’re supposed* to cheer for not-prison bae? i watched the first couple episodes with FZV, and who knows, maybe we would’ve been better watching this than we would’ve been at unpacking our own shit-but i like that conversation between lawrence and his dad where he says he wants a woman without baggage, and his dad says that he and his mom both showed up with their own suitcases, and then did the work. i guess that’s what a relationship is all about, because who can be in the world without their own bullshit?
bye, 2019-it’s been a slice.