november 2018 books (and beyond)

i tapped! it was easy and great! i can now go into any exit at any subway! hooray! we also filmed another episode of miikshi! every day, someone mistook me for lindsay-even someone who has allegedly loved me for 12 years-way to make your case, buddy-you don’t even know what i look like! (took the time to copy and paste a picture back to me, not of me, and then say “i only see joy”, which, is an uber-fucked up thing to hear from a poc, kind of along the lines of “i don’t see colour”). but, that happened. also, justin gave me a dvd drive and i am catching up on all the television series that i have not seen in the past years because i have no bandwidth on netflix.

i also have to express gratitude for she the people and trixx, the back to back shows that reminded me that i have some stage time to put in….but bigups all the same.

also-19-4 and the podcasts don’t care-if we were any other team….but it’s all cool. it was quite a bookend to see the OT win against durant‘s 51 and the (champion) warriors when the last time i saw him hang 51 on us, he was playing with OKC and we lost in triple overtime on some salmons‘ bricked free throws. super teams over superstars, just sayin’.

1) adulterio-paulo coelho-this one was a bit of a slow go, since i am reading it in spanish. i got it out when i first got back from costa rica, and since the alchemist is the first book i ever read in spanish (and spanish only), i took a chance. i also got a coehlho book (frida) at polkaroo‘s book swap, and the jacket says it’s a story of a woman who is either going to be in a relationship or be a witch, so-no accidents. this is the first book that i have renewed to the end of its three terms in a long time, and i also just got it out in english as well, so as to make sure that i didn’t miss anything. maybe i should leave it though, i think i got the gist. i got lost on my way to a fermentation workshop and outside of the old mill hotel, a man really wanted to tell me what a great book it was. the cover also got me a lot of looks on the subway, and we had a great ride into the studio about books in translation/being multilingual. woot woot, duolingo.

2) insecure-season one not technically a book, but i am so amped about being able to catch up with the television series that i have not seen in the last few years. i took this out at the city hall library before my glam day at nordstrom (that resulted in me playing a piano concert for myself) in anticipation of having a dvd drive of my own! although i knew what happened thanks to the recap by crissle and fran, it was lovely to see it. what a gorgeous show, inside and out.

3) kimmy schmidt-season one i feel like fucking kimmy schmidt with this show-so behind on this excellence, but it’s perfect timing! wow, what a smart, timely, feminist show! i love it when white women get it right. can’t wait to watch season two.

4) walk on the wild side-dennis rodman i started this on a shooting day and regaled the car with stories from it, mainly about pearl jam, his relationship with eddie vedder and their shared love of mookie blaylock (who wore #10), and rodman’s own jersey number(s) as 91 is nine plus one, this pull quote:

“I’d love to take NBA commissioner David Stern as my prisoner, strip off all his clothes, rub lipstick and makeup all over him, dress up like Frank and sing to him….’I did it my way.’ It would probably be my last act as an NBA player, but it would be worth it.” (26)

yea, so that’s the thing-he wasn’t yet retired at the time of this book’s publishing. he also apologizes to madonna for some faxes that were intercepted and sold to hard copy which is very perplexing, because why the hell were these people sending faxes?! he brags about his dick size, claims that he doesn’t like to eat pussy, but one of his “commandments” is “thou shalt not douche before being eaten”. he claims that he wants to change his name to “orgasm”, and as far as i know, that has not happened. but then again, he did cry to oprah that he would apologize to scottie pippen for breaking his nose on national tv in front of everyone when they won a championship together, and i’ve given up waiting for that, too.

in conclusion-dennis rodman has as many tangents as fonts, and like all good narcissists, it’s impossible to know what he really things. hashtag, gaslight.

5) ali smith-public library (and other stories) i had to get this one while out on the library tour. here is why:

“For me, the public library is the ideal model of society, the best possible shared space, a community of consent-an anarcho-syndicalist collective where each person is pursuing their own aim (education, entertainment, affect, rest) with respect to others, through the best possible medium of the transmission of ideas, feelings and knowledge: the book.” (76)

yesssssss.

6) falling for my side dude-racquel williams it is official-i have a problem. i’m addicted to these terribly written unrealistic tall tales, and i just have to go through it. i don’t think i’m going to continue this after i go through the ones that i took out in person, but who knows. i tried a different author, but there are definitely tropes. maybe i’m just jealous because i could at least write this badly. the fantastical world of negotiating class privilege, the sketchy morality issues of infidelity, the latent homophobia and saving face, and the advocacy of douching (nooooooo! don’t do this in 2018)-the only thing that’s clear is that there is no room for compassion and feelings-it’s all hostility from jump. but i got through this in a few hours, and had to chuckle at the turnaround from the jacket cover description:

“…No one is untouchable, and loyalty is nowhere to be found. Will Malaya walk away from her family and risk it all in the name of sexual gratification?”

and the first line of the acknowledgements:

“First and foremost, I give all praises to Allah. Without him, none of this would be possible. I am forever grateful and definitely blessed.”

it was nehal‘s birthday yesterday, and don’t think i didn’t consider for a moment that if i have to suffer through this, i’m dragging her down with me.

7) the unbreakable kimmy schmidt-season two so, i think i am kimmy and titus all rolled into one. i am still loving this show, and am now caught up so i can continue watching it with lindsay and assheat tomorrow. having this dvd player has even caused me to be late for the past two weeks on the new episode of star (clutches pearls). i love how everyone is living while learning to get through their abandonment issues.

8) she begat this-20 years of the miseducation of lauryn hill-joan morgan dream hampton didn’t like miseducation. she also made black august (the film). and she did like unplugged. huh. well. milfin’ (still) ain’t easy, but it’s (still) gotta be done. i was totally geeked that miz morgan liked and reposted my #booklook, though i got less reaction to that than when chingy followed me, so-come on, people. i love that lauryn has always been her own stylist, and her own artist, though people are way less willing to give her the “genius” label than some other rappers (mumble mumble). i never had a moment when i was mad at lauryn, but i never loved her completely either-i recognized her impact and her talent, and ex-factor will forever be my jam, especially the live version in japan, though i hope one day it will not hit so close. but the thing is-it’s the equal and opposite reaction of why people are so disappointed/surprised/crushed when she is late/doing jock jam arrangements/dressed like an insane person now because people were jumping up and down and shitting candy when she was 22 and “saving” hip hop/representing for all women. oh-and the patriarchy is the reason that people do not react in a similar way to r.kelly. (sigh). oh, the lack of equality in accountability expectations is because of a lack of equality, etc. etc. etc. basically:

“She was the one who broke through and she got a bit broken in the journey.” (58)

lauryn taught us that sometimes, we gotta be our own heroes. and we wear whatever the fuck we want.

and joan morgan proved why i disagree with walter mosely‘s most recent talk at the philly free library, when he claims that writers don’t have to be readers-writers should definitely read. it was the difference of taking over a week to read these silly clit lit dramas vs. devouring this book in one afternoon-though purposely putting it down so i could savour it, but then picking it up again. i got a legit chill from the introduction that lasted all the way through. thank you, womens.

9) power-season three first of all-why is ghost‘s spanish so awful? he’s a drug overlord and he’s in lifetime love with a puerto rican. but he’s loosely telling the jay-z story, right? and omari hardwick has always been method-adjacent. i think it’s also interesting that i can watch this show again, it used to be too hard because he makes the same puppy eye tortured soul faces as the dood i spent four years learning hard lessons with, so every time he would say “angie…” in that tragic way, i used to crumble. i did cry when they broke up this time, but i also fully support that “it’s the right decision”. finally, even though i had heard rumblings, i was completely surprised that i saw 50’s dick for so long, but it was kind of hot-it’s the first time i’ve seen full frontal that wasn’t just garbage-duchovny‘s limp and dead dick from asphyixiation in soderburgh‘s film, jude law‘s limp dick in the bath in ai, or kofi siriboe‘s in three grapefruits-ok, that was kind of the best one-heeeey, lil’50. i liked the “behind the scenes” that accompany each episode of this season, and am so happy that season 4 is already on its way to me, thank you, toronto public library. (also, on a related note-i’m excited for all of the sheet music that is coming my way as well, what a wealth of materials that are available to us, and i’m great-full every day to be able to search them).

10) startalks season two-hosted by neil degrasse tyson i found out the other day when i hosted lindsay that i live in miikshi‘s apartment-i had to flip the room from dining to entertainment when i could only play the music after i was no longer using the toaster oven to make ciabatta squares. i must miss her, because i am binge-watching this on an off-shooting week, or i legit have always been science-friendly. i have the utmost respect for this guy, and although it’s kind of awkward at times (like his rap battle with kyrie irving), it is totally worth the watch and the think-here are a few notes that i made: “the secret of magic is that we are willing to work harder than you think the trick is worth” (penn, or teller), “if we can reproduce it, it’s not art”-so, does that make it science? is the line so cut and dried?, “society is only as good as it treats its creative people”, and “there was a time without skepticism-it was the dark ages”. i’m heeeeeere for all of this.

11) survivor’s remorse-season two where does reggie end and rich begin? i love that i get to resume my two favourite starz series at the same time, and this season of survivor’s remorse was exactly what i needed after a completely frustrating day with the outside world. i literally felt the tension dissolve through laughing and feeling my way through these episodes, as i coloured some tiles in the glorious colouring book that is jade gedeon’s island escape. i love everything-the acting, the shots, the writing, the complicated relationship with public and private accountability. oh, and everyone is fackin’ fine.

12) emergency contact-mary h.k. choi once again, a book that i know of because of desus and mero. i didn’t know this was YA until i got it, but then again, i don’t really see the delineation of YA-books are books, who cares who the audience is for? i kind of feel like YA is the backup singer of the book genre, really-it’s gotta be really good in order to blend in enough to be good enough to be read by all people-it’s gotta be better than regular fiction, and i’m here for it. i started reading this on the epic journey to brampton for the baby shower that i went to last week, and finished it up yesterday after i got home from seeing trixx at absolute comedy. WHAT A HILARIOUS HUMAN BEING. anyway, here is my pull quote:

“Fiction was fine, but real life was the true freak show.” (121)

which is the perfect segue that i didn’t even know i was making-there’s a point in the story when one of the protagonists speaks of stealing a piece of art because she a) loves it so much and b) understands motivation to create something that inspires people in the way that it inspires her. i can identify with that because i used to rip pages out of library magazines as a youth, but only if the picture did not affect other people’s ability to read the articles (i know, sketchy morals, but that’s what youth is for). it also explains why i’ve never been into sci-fi or fantasy, because there is so much in this world that i haven’t needed to delve into make-believe that much yet. i also love the discussion of what constitutes a true apology-spoiler alert: it’s not one that goes “i’m sorry you feel that way”. (sigh). it’s settled. every “adult” should definitely have to read at least one YA a year. start with this one, fools.

13) queen sugar-season one i was crushed from the first note of me’shell‘s “faithful”, and then again when “pennies” came through-i was done. we all know ava duvernay is a genius, but can we just talk about how
much she slays, every damn day, in everything she does? i realized that it’s her angles and focus that sets her apart for me-she focuses in on the simplicity of emotion, and whether it’s the movement of an eyelash or the flicker of feeling in an eye-that’s a real one. i love that she shows how complicated relationships are, without injecting her judgement or morality-she does what a true director does best-she presents all sides of a story, and really brings forth a character’s motivations. but she also captures them in moments where their perspectives change, and that’s what so relatable and inspiring. also-she seems to find the most gorgeous actors and really hone in on their talent. i was about three episodes in until i figured out that i will never forget rutina wesley because of how she move, and it’s great to see how she has grown as an actor as well. (and also that she is fine as hell).

14) naughty-book three-brenda hampton (sigh). it took me forever and eight days to finish this, but i think i now understand hate-reading. i was captivated because i truly wanted the characters (and the writing) to somehow get better. it did not. nope. it also occurred to me that it was so uncomfortable because it reminded me of the values of my last situationship-none. or at least none that i understand. i am just so puzzled by the words and actions of all of the characters, and like when i can’t find any redeeming characteristics of a tv show-i even want to kick the children in the teeth. here’s a snippet of this bullshit:

“‘Trust me, I ain’t talking no shit. If I ever catch anyone tampering with my pussy, I’m killing his ass and your ass too.”
We laughed and decided never to go clubbing together again. For some reason, he couldn’t believe all the attention I got, and I never imagined it would be so crazy going out with him.” (205)

TAMPERING WITH MY PUSSY?! what the actual fuck?! all through this book-lying, cheating, will-full miscommunication, violence, threats-all of this is seemingly promoted. the one redeeming thing that i found was the dood used and switched condoms in a threesome. aaaaaahhhhh. i hope this association makes it clear that it’s the last time with that situationship, too.

15) so close to being the shit-retta i am late to the game on this one. i will say that i have been trying to watch parks and recreation for some time, but for all the materials that the library has, somehow this is not among them. but i enjoyed this little ditty very much-it’s snappy and well-written, which should come as no surprise because she’s a twitter susperstar.

16) riverdale-season one wow. this is how you do a remake. first of all-pick a different medium. second-make it hella angsty and simultaneously update the details so that they are contemporary and shoot it so it’s still frozen in time. also-robin givens is the mayor! dylan is archie’s dad and molly ringwald is his mom! (what a world). so emo, so flowers in the attic, creepily bad wigs, teacher fucking in the first episode, and an inside joke every time someone says “alice cooper”. i love it. i’ve been meaning to watch darchie (dark archie) for a minute now, thanks to the library once again coming through.

17) power-season four it’s hard out here to be melo. his best basketball happens during the offseason when he’s overheating in a hoody, no team wants him, and things must really be over with lala if she is getting fucked all over the place like this by tommy. the lustre is wearing off on this series (maybe i caught up too fast), or maybe all of the good actors have been killed off. i don’t know that i believe this “next generation” bizness, mainly because the kid is just such a spoiled dick, and that’s at least in part because he’s not as experienced as an actor. rip, lobos.

18) jane the virgin-season one it’s a telenovela within a telenovela and i’m here for it. it’s the perfect accompaniment to compete against my duolingo nemesis and to watch while i am working on my freelance gig. i don’t know why the library doesn’t have season two, but they have season three, and i can do worse than internet catch up on a season of a show. representation matters.

19) t-dot griots-eds. karen richardson & steven green the image of griots being buried in the trunk of trees, away from society, is an extremely striking one. i am so great-full for this anthology, but to be honest, that’s what has sent me googling and wondering-do they hollow out their own trees? when i found out that baobab trees are used, i am further confirmed in my blessings to have lived in the same home as yinka’s baobab magazine-and i know i will be thinking on this for years to come. of course, i am glad that this collection of toronto lyrical legacy exists, and i have similar feelings about alicia keys‘ first album (heeeey, karen richardson-your poems are my favourite by a new-to-me artist, though i sense that we must have crossed paths in some capacity in montreal). finally, of course kamau is my favourite, he’s been my favourite:

Imagine that you had nothing to gain from change
And even less to gain if the world stayed the same…

(Diaspora, 149)

20) the year of finding memory-judy fong bates i am so great-full for the women’s connection offered through the parkdale community health centre. there are so many reasons that this feels right, from the very beginning, and at every step of this beginning thus far. i was intrigued to learn that unlike other programs, our counsellors are not obligated to call the police if we express suicidal thoughts-it is acknowledged that that is a common feeling (and that is proof of the problem that we have of a lack of mental health resources and denial about mental health being an issue) and are committed to work through it. so hearing that, on the day that i am supposed to return this book that is now overdue, does not feel like an accident to me. how do we keep our parents’ secrets? how do we embody our inheritance? how do we find the answers to questions that they may or may not have made sure not to ask?

“My mother rarely talked about her younger sister. I was not aware that she had sent money at regular intervals and had no idea that these remittances actually allowed this woman and her family to eat and live. But then again, memory can be incomplete, and it is possible that whatever news my mother shared with me about her sister and her family never made an impression. Another side of my mother was beginning to reveal itself, one that perhaps my youthful self had chosen to ignore. Or one that she had long since put away.” (136)

21) moonlight-dir. barry jenkins-wow. sometimes, the oscars get it right-even if they “jokingly” try to give the award to white people first (i’ma let you finish). i’m so floored by this. i waited a long time, because from what i heard about the mother, i understood the character to be like monique‘s in precious. i should give my imagination more credit at this point. this was a stunning film, and i didn’t even cry. (i was certain that i would). everything is perfect-the casting, the faces, the pacing, the lighting, the story, the lacunas. wow. just, wow.

22) broad city season one and two i started watching this last year with zahra but she didn’t like it because she thought they didn’t “win” enough. but i don’t know, they’re great friends, they grow together, hannibal burress is amazing and so is his character, and i am so delighted by any chance that i get to witness amy sedaris and/or janine garaofolo gets to work. (second season was hard to watch because the copy i got was quite damaged, but i mostly feel the same way).

23) heavy-kiese laymon i devoured this while listening to starting from scratch’s think b.i.g. (the final tribute) on the last day of the month, the same day that i watched moonlight and remembered the first time that i ever stamped the cups at the coffee shop and started to realize that i really needed to quit my job. i don’t remember now how i heard about kiese, but i do know that he has been so consistently great at writing and i’m glad he’s around to do the work.

“I didn’t understand hell, partially because I didn’t believe any place could be hotter than Mississippi in August.” (55)

America seems filled with violent people who like causing people pain but hate when those people tell them that pain hurts.” (88)

i read his mother’s response letter a few days ago. i didn’t realize that it was such a direct response to this memoir that is written directly to her. (sigh). this is so brave. i think of the parallels of the memoir that i could write to the single parent who raised me (along with the differences too, of course), but i don’t know if i would be brave enough to do it while he was living, and know for sure that he could not be so eloquent in his response (if he even responded at all). i can also say that i had destructive teenage sex in his bed, and wonder how many of us out there did this because we couldn’t talk to our parents, rendering ourselves the cliche self-fulfilling prophecies of their nightmares.

“Consent meant little to nothing if it was not fully informed.” (208)

thank you. this is all i want men to understand. this is the work that we all have to choose to keep doing every day, the work that is not equally chosen, but yet equally expected-i resent that women are held to higher standards of compassion, adaptation, and emotional labour, and i refuse to do this work for men, or let them coast any further without any acknowledgement or knowledge of it. this means that i am choosing not to coddle them, and also not to be kind. but kiese is proof of the doods that i want to know, and so my choice is justified-i will just find the ones who have done the work, and not hang around the ones who have not/will not. to quote the dumpster fire that is common:

“if i don’t like it, i don’t like it-it doesn’t mean that i’m hatin'”

damn. i felt the change(s) throughout my body as i realized each layer of how literally heavy this story is-as i realized what i was reading, and how it informed how figuratively heavy this story is-daaaaaammmmn. also-i am now realizing the context from which the response that i read first is. wow. just, wow.

yesterday, i put a photo of this book, and judy fong bates‘ book on my lap with the caption, “on my couch with this #motherlode.” i had no fucking idea.

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october 2018 books

i missed the turning of the months again, this time because i do not refuse trips to ikea. i found out after i was laden down with frozen meatballs and wooden hangers that i had the wrong bus pass, and the charitable driver of the #47 detour bus took me to queen and sufferin (when, oh when, will you be constructed, once and for all?!)- bless his heart. i also missed a hold for the first time in a very long time, but i managed to get it while it was still on the premises, even though i will pay the $1 fine because the library needs to make money somehow.

here are the books:

1) Lust & Wonder-Augusten Burroughs i didn’t know about this one, but discovered it on library tour. while i do not obsessively buy jewels, i can identify with spending money on pretty things when you don’t really have it-i think it’s a bit of a coping mechanism, but also a bit of a “fuck you” to the world for daring to insinuate that we cannot do anything that we do not want to. i also think it’s an important one, timing wise, because it deals with getting out of a long relationship that is no longer working.
*update, upon consulting an ancient reading list, i found out that i did know about this one, as i wrote a note to myself to read it-well, done.

2) Happily Ali After-Ali Wentworth more of the same-palatable bites of funny-kind of like this blog (when i’m not angry or frustrated with the patriarchy/white supremacy). but the kind of book that i could write…

3) Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry-Brittani Williams walking with a dear friend the other day, she commented that it was hard to find a female hotep, to which i replied, “erykah badu”. sometimes you just want to read some fifty shades of heeeyyyyy. i found this on the library tour, and read it on the way uptown to my first thanksgiving of the season. it’s mostly terrible, but compelling enough. i was wondering if this was really a man writing as a woman, because i’m not sure if the multiple orgasms of the female characters are aspirational or delusional. i would like to meet the women who come like this-but i guess that’s the point of “mr. orgasm”, this mythical creature who fucks the shit out of you, but also holds you and is presented as the hero that rescues the 22-year old “good girl” after drake‘s own heart, who doesn’t have any problems with the fact that he is a legit ho that has also fucked her mama. also-how do we ignore the huge plot hole that the evil mother character was also responding to her husband fucking the dancers? i’m not gonna lie-i did go put everything else this author has written in our public library system, i can’t hate, i appreciate.

4) Ali in Wonderland-Ali Wentworth sometimes, when i decide to read someone’s entire catalogue all at once, i set myself up for disappointment. in this case, that was not true at all. although i have read them all in a short time frame, this one made me clutch my pearls, repeatedly, and chronologically, i think it was the first one that she wrote and the last one that i read. i am reminded that i could get this kind of book deal, and it wouldn’t suck.

5) Food-A Love Story-Jim Gaffigan although he credits his wife many times in the book as co-writer, she doesn’t actually get billing here. maybe that’s the publisher, maybe that’s the patriarchy. either way, this is charming in a kind of alarming way-i mean, i feel like it’s a bit irresponsible to eat like this and also have five children-is he trying to die young? and if so, he has no knowledge of how to cook to pass on to them so they can fend for themselves. and forgive me, but i don’t think dood is that well-known or doing this well that he can be out here, all casual, slowly killing himself with food. but the part about individual ketchup packets was comedy gold.

6) I’m Down-Mishna Wolff i completely judged this book by its cover. (google the cover, i’ll wait). i got it on my last day of the library tour, when i walked into an otherwise quiet jane/sheppard library to a woman behind the desk (i don’t know if she was a librarian or not, so i don’t want to give her more credit than she deserves) yelling at a young boy about how he could not get a library card because he didn’t have a proof of address. he was probably 15. and black. now, imagine the optics (and PR nightmare) of a representative of the library acting like this young man was making trouble because he wanted (heaven forbid) a library card. she was full out aggressively yelling at him, and he was not reacting at all. correct me if i’m wrong, but you can get a library card if you live in a hostel, so i’m not sure what the problem was. and kudos to him for coming back and trying again, because i certainly would not have. but i know who i am and i have a library card. eventually, she came around and allowed him to have a temporary card, with the caveat that he could borrow one thing at a time. maybe she was just having a bad day, or maybe she was an ignorant cunt who is absolutely in the wrong job. who knows.

7) Happy If You Know It-With/out Pretend this was a loaner that came out of our crystals x spirits x basketball ceremony and i’m so glad that i experienced it. what does it mean to trust our intuition?

8) The Door-Margaret Atwood i usually don’t gravitate towards her poems, but it’s a slim volume that was filed with some other autobiographical items so i grabbed it. nothing much stood out, but i did not read any aloud, as i finished it while i was (once again) ghosted by a child at the library one tuesday night.

9) The Paris Review 225 hilton als and kiese laymon, swoon.* i love the northern district library for being
the only branch that i know of that has this lovely collection. i dipped in to kill some time and switch out reading materials on the way uptown for delicious foods, after falling off a mechanical bull, and also cozied up in a corner to oogle my new mini lipsticks (which i have opted for instead of therapy for the time being).

10) Negotiating With the Dead-Margaret Atwood i love reading writers’ writing about writing. (when i love their writing) although, steven king‘s book in this vein was great even though i don’t love all of his writing all of the time-i do love that he is a reader, i love that very much. this somehow brings me to the final performance last night of the puppets that rose from concrete cabaret about not being original, and not having to be. to be popular is to be relatable, and that’s not a terrible thing. there’s enough rights for everyone, thank you-alice bag* (let this be a reminder that i want to read her book, but tpl doesn’t currently carry it, i may request that we get it). really, thank you, couch wisdom podcast for introducing me to alice bag on sunday when i went for a long walk along the water in which i saw snowflakes and got a local sugar baby watermelon at the farmers’ market (WHAT SEASON ARE WE IN? HOW CAN PEOPLE STILL DENY CLIMATE CHANGE?) here’s a pull-quote for the ages:

“Nobody hates writers more than writers do. The most vicious and contemptuous portraits of writers, both as individuals and as types, appear in books written by writers themselves. Nobody loves them more, either. Megalomania and paranoia share the writer’s mirror.” (87)

11) You’ll Grow Out of It-Jessi Klein i will start with the pull quote on this one:

“I was a woman sobbing in a hotel corridor, which is kind of incredible, because when I was little I thought I was going to be a senator.” (148)

because of the wealth of library resources available at my fingertips, i have forgotten how this one came upon my radar. i do know that i did not put it on hold, but grabbed it when i came face to face with it on library tour, most probably at the problematic jane/shep branch. i am further inspired to write a book in this vein, and very much enjoyed the audible guffaws that this book brought me.

12) The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore-Kim Fu this one was a great find on the library tour (thank you, amesbury park). it also brought up some interesting conversation at wine wars with a close stander of a dood who was trying to hit on his date’s friends/make a case for his belief in rigid gender “rules”, but it was an interesting take on what a “female lord of the flies” would be. later that evening, i had an almost 6-hour commute home and had to tell yet another man, “this is how we die”. penis people-stop asking women “where do you live?” like the stakes are the same for us. ok? please and thank you.

13) Carl Weber’s Kingpins Philadelphia-Brittani Williams oh boy. what a rabbit hole i have gone down now. this entire category of cliterature that i wouldn’t even have been aware of if i had not gone on library tour, i am now low-key hooked. the writing is terrible, the scenarios are cookie-cutter, but i love it like i love lee daniels’ star. this one got a bit weird and preachy, using the HIV revenge scenario as a justifiable plot-line, but i am now equipped with the works of other authors, not just the “veteran” brittani williams. yesterday, i found two copies of toni morrison’s the bluest eye filed amongst the “urban lit”, and i’m still trying to figure out whether it was clever marketing, or the most hilarious mistake ever.

14) A Man Without A Country-Kurt Vonnegut can you believe this is the first one? i was inspired last month by an avid vonnegut reader that i met at the content canada conference, and was delighted that this was so palatable and snappy. it’s fitting that i read it on a leg of the library tour (stamp edition) as the pull quote i have is: “The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” (103) though published in 2005, this book is every bit as relevant (if not more) today.

special shoutout to adbusters magazine-i was able to catch up with you a bit thanks to the subscription at the gerrard/ashdale libray.

it’s the end of an era, my last metropass in this city was this month. allegedly, there is a pending canada post strike, but i feel like it’s just a way to get people onto team presto. good thing i got a free card on the day of the home opener.

the japanese gap

i once believed i would marry a uniqlo model. well, the matrimonial thoughts preceeded the uniqlo modelling, but that was my introduction to the store-the new york advertising.

when i finally got the chance to shop there for myself, a few years back, i noticed that the store was neither unique, nor were the prices low. interesting. but out of the two items that i bought that day, i still wear one of them, so my 50/50 odds have now tied that of divorce. not too shabby.

last year, in a low moment, i decided that i was only going to wear tights, and purchased three pairs from the store. i have since come out of that expression of depression, but have noticed that the tights have worn very well.

this year at TIFF, i received a free heattech long-sleeve t-shirt. i noticed that they were offering the same promotion to open their vaughn mills store this past weekend. i contemplated going for a hot second, and as a result, i now know that there is a shuttle bus that leaves from union station to vaughn mills, at some points of the year.

i did go into the store last week, and dropped some money on the three skirts that will be the backbone of my fall wardrobe, a dress that i wasn’t really sure about, and a trench coat that i have since seen on many other people, but hey-it’s not as noticeable as the zara distressed jean jacket that was the bane of my existence.

so, did the advertising work? absolutely.

but here’s the thing-when i went to return the aforementioned dress earlier, i actually went with the intention on exchanging it for another aforementioned heattech long sleeve tee. while i did do this, i also noticed that the trench was on sale an additional $20, so i grabbed another heattech tee (hey, i’m west coast, i layer), because to me, that makes sense-give me a price adjustment, and you get that money right back.

when i got to the register, i was told that they don’t do price adjustments, but if i could bring back the jacket with the tags and the receipt (which i had), i could return it and re-buy the item. the person who was checking me out was dismissed on break, and when she asked if she should finish the transaction, i said “probably” and her manager (i’m guessing) overrided that and told her “no” and proceeded to ask me everything all over again, in front of a new crop of talent that just learned the wrong lesson-listen to your customer and do not give the impression that lunch/break schedule is more important than the experience.

so, i did not get another tee shirt. also, because i am petty and my student cancelled on me, i went home to get my trench coat and get my $20, which i kept and did not give back to the store.

don’t get me wrong, i will probably go back and spend more money, but for this one day-i beat the japanese gap.

ps. if the lines to vote do not rival the lines outside this place when it opened, i will be v.disappointed with us all.

on the pole

i just have to give a giant shoutout to the transit poles with the numbers to text for times-i had no idea!

actually, i think i tried it early on in my tenure in this city, and it didn’t work so i forgot all about it.

but it really came in handy when i was wandering around finch and lawrence and leslie and warden and all those places that have great libraries but had me far from home. not only did it help with times, but also with the directions of the buses, as i often get turned the fuck around.

during jfl, i thought to apply it close to home, using it to confirm that the college streetcar/bus was coming-woot!

i have a lot of problems with the ttc, but the pole ain’t one!

september 2018 books

i got a warning from the transit police because i didn’t realize that i was rolling with my august pass still because the month switched over as i was walking all over the city five times over, falling in love a little bit, as i am wont to do.

here are the books:

1) What We Lose-Zinzi Clemons wow. what a book. somehow, i thought that i had read another book by her, but perhaps it’s because of the buzz around her name in relation to a certain author that we wanted to root for, but in our hearts knew that he was a pigdog. this one is one that i can relate to, in terms of the relationship between a daughter and father when the mother between them is lost, and how we cope, or don’t. it also introduces a complicated and provoking element of motherhood and nationalism that i will be thinking about for some time.

2) How to Keep Your Marriage from Sucking-Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola these two, behind multiple relationship books now, i recognize them from one of the earlier ones, and him from He’s Just Not That Into You, and couldn’t resist the slim volume that beckoned to me from my resumed library tour. it’s exactly what you would expect it to be.

3) Secret Path-Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire

4) Literally Me-Julie Houts this one jumped out at me from the shelf because of the drawings and humour. i was horrified for about three minutes because i thought the story was real. i am usually not fooled in such a way-great work.

5) I’m Judging You-Luvvie Ajayi i heard about this book in luvvie‘s episode on amanda seales‘ podcast, and from there, i subscribed to her podcast, so imagine my delight when i found it on the library tour! it’s well-written, smart (most crimes against white people are committed by white people too-mind blown), and i agree with a lot of the chapters and am glad someone with a bigger platform is telling it like it is. the lollipop made me chuckle the whole way through too. i finished it on a canoe downtown, taking a break from the cocktail and ping pong party that was the most fun i have ever had at an industry party.

6) The Icarus Girl-Helen Oyeyemi back to back nigerian authors, one non-fiction, one fiction, one nigerian american, the other nigerian brit. it’s like my current duolingo quest to learn french from spanish, and using my french-english and spanish-english dictionaries as intermediaries. i did learn that “biro” is a pen because it comes up in both.

7) Choose Your Own Autobiography-Neil Patrick Harris i got this one on audiobook from the library tour, and was a bit curious about how it would work out. it is modified, which is the tradeoff for him reading it to us. i tried to do one of the magic tricks that he “taught” and it didn’t work-maybe i heard it wrong. funnily enough, he mentioned that rupert everett was inordinately rude to movie crews, and the other audiobook that i had checked out was rupert everett‘s, and i didn’t even finish it because it wasn’t very compelling, even as read by the usually compelling actor.

8) The Blueprint-LeBron James, Cleveland’s Deliverance, and the Making of the Modern Era-Jason Lloyd this library tour has had the tendancy to get heavy some days, and i made a note to check out scott raab‘s latest book, the one where he makes up with lebron, and here comes this guy claiming to be the “only one” who has covered the whole ordeal-hmm. white men, always gotta be vying to be the first. i also learned that JV could’ve been a cav (and by definition kyrie could’ve been a raptor-but prolly not, because we didn’t have a high enough pick). also, i guess kevin love has some selective view of justice when it comes to dirty hits-don’t get me wrong-dood has had some terrible injuries happened to him, but he also flagrant fouled my man during our last playoffs and wasn’t called for it, so.

9) when they call you a terrorist-a black lives matter memoir-patrisse khan-cullors and asha bandale wow. so much packed into a slim volume. i heard the authors talking about this on on the philly free library podcast, and was so glad to hear that asha bandele was writing again-it makes me what to chase down that issue of essence that turned the tide. the accounts of prison torture were heartbreaking, and the ultimate irony of american terrorism/miscarriage of justice is just so outstanding. do better, neighbours. but it’s just like how the person who is v. jealous and projecting is also the person doing dirt-americans wave their flag and rub their “freedom” and “democracy” louder (and more obnoxiously) than anyone else, and they are the worst to their own people. “their history’s historical” along with their conditioning. i also appreciate the articulation of the problem that i have with 12-step programs. some people can buy-in fully because they can navigate their addiction problem without context in the way that others cannot-a side effect of being able to navigate the world without context-yes, i am talking about white privilege. it is also a wider discussion of what community means, and what it means to be part of a community. i made a note to see which products from whole foods were made with prison labour, and i am v. surprised to learn that it’s goat cheese and farmed tilapia, along with the v. specialized sewing required to do victoria secret’s catalogue, or maybe it’s not that skilled after all? i wonder if these folks can put this on their resume afterwards, at least? this one was on my holds’ list and checking it out in person changed all of that and i am so great-full. final note-the paper is outstanding (that seems to be something that i cannot resist as of the last 24 hours). patrisse-i wish peace and purpose to you, your child and partner, and to monte. asha-i hope your relationship has worked out, i could never work out by your books if it ever did.

10) I Can’t Date Jesus-Michael Arceneaux this is another one that i heard of through desus and mero (shoutout to the thirst trap that was desus reading to childrens) and it was an amazing companion on the library tour, a lot of people were very fascinated-from the bank manager who was a bit too personal (just gimme my money, dammit) to the guy on the subway who asked about it, only to deduce “ok, so he likes bad boys then”, which was surprisingly insight-full, and offered a take that i had not considered at all up until that point. to continue the thought about communities and borders, he articulates the problem with religious groups and barber shops, and the way that the individual can be conflicted when considering all of his (in this case) parts. i was a bit paranoid as i started reading it in the juror’s lounge, and swear i was bit by something that jumped on me in court from friday. i cringed at the part about dating a dood with fleas. i can also identify here’s the basic pull quote that i can identify with most:

“Living like an SWV song was not the way to be. No, I needed to find something that was mine.” (205)

amen, friend, amen. may we all go where we are wanted.

11) Nookietown-V.C. Chickering-i can fully admit that i judged this book by its cover that screamed at me from a perch at the richview library. i took it as a “fun summer read” but was actually quite pleased to find that it was well-written and brought up the topic of poly and/or open relationships with a fresh premise, and a hot take on sisterhood, control, marriage, kids and divorce. i’m not sure how i feel about the end being that women succumbed to their insecurities and turned on each other in what could’ve been a utopia (“your man is her man is my man is your man too”), or that the main character gets pregnant (and ostracized like hester pryne) by pouring the contents of a discarded condom into herself (i mean-given her age and the statistical odds that semen that has been outside two bodies for any amount of time as being effective), it was worth the read.

12) Rich People Problems-Kevin Kwan-it feels like it’s been much longer than five years since the first book came out, but huh- sometimes time flies like that. considering the scale (and reach) of the movie production, it must have been optioned upon publication. maybe it feels longer because i couldn’t remember the exact plot of the middle book, but the little wink between astrid and charlie (i assume), there’s a second movie on the way, and i cannot be more pleased. this series is great fun and there’s always a moment of extreme wealth that always floors me-in the middle book, the closet and in this one, the plastic surgery for the fish.

13) Shoplifter-Michael Cho-a graphic novel about saving your soul from a slow death via corporate job? sign me up.

14) Go Ask Ali-Ali Wentworth the toronto public library has been the route to me reuniting with ali wentworth, whom i have not even thought of her in the fifteen years since i saw her on the last season(s?) of in living color. funnily enough, i started watching her show headcase on hoopla digital, one of the library’s streaming services, but when i went to continue, it is all of a sudden, gone. and there’s no mention of it in these books that i have no idea that she published-it was a surprise during the library tour that i kept finding them so i kept taking them out. there’s also little on the internet about it, but it was great, what few episodes that i saw. i was hoping her books would be a bit like that, but it was a character, and her voice is clear. the tone is light, it’s snappy, and she reminds me a lot of caitlyn moran. giddy up.

and there you have it. i don’t know if it’s the fact that i finished the library tour (and thus spent long stretches of time on public transit), the three weeks that i spent not getting chosen for jury duty, or some combination of both-the 14 books is probably a record of what i’ve read in a month, and i also have to shout out glamour magazine for their rebrand-you’ve got my attention now. thank you.

pickleball

“the fastest growing sport in north america”

“i heard someone else say it, so i know it’s true”

i personally require more than one source, but glen was so compelling to talk to that i am now going to see him at church on sunday “for the music”, and i am going back there on thursday to try pickleball.

we met yesterday because i took a new route to the subway, and i saw his gardening tools littered on a lifted sidewalk. i had never seen the hook, let alone used it, so i started talking to him to seize my opportunity.

he hooked me with the pickleball, a hybrid racquet sport played with a whiffle ball and a racket larger than that of the ping pong. it’s for people who cannot do the running required of tennis or badminton, but kids are playing it too. i am intrigued.

why is it called pickleball?

because it was invented by a family who was adapting their tennis court to their kids, and when the ball went out of play, the dog had to retrieve it, and the dog’s name was pickle.

come on. if this wasn’t invented for me, i have no idea what was.

the smell of the pine that we were cutting back was invigorating, and the conversation was very sparkling. we talked of vancouver-his kids are there, staying active, and how the church can only stay alive by adapting to the needs of the neighborhood, like pet blessings.

one boy brought his lizard last week.

my mind is absolutely blown with the thought of cats and dogs and fish sitting in pews with children, waiting to be blessed.

glen is not particularly religious, he just started coming fifteen years ago because his father in law was sick and decided that he needed a new church. he was just the driver and came for the music, but it turns out, people are very nice and now he’s doing volunteer gardening, coordinating pickleball, soliciting glasses for the vision drive, and i’m sure much, much more. he used “we” almost exclusively, though he pointed out that he wasn’t there yet when they were built on top of a dump. now the garden is on a garden tour, and teachers eat their lunch there.

this is community. this is participation. this is pride. this is witness. this is why we are alive.

i’m great-full that i met this human and i look forward to seeing him in his element, with his people.

august 2018 books

this month, i read in three different countries. here are the books:

1) Save the Cat-Blake Snyder i originally read an updated version late last year when i was working on the script that i was commissioned to write, and it caused quite the to-do then. this time, i skimmed it because it was the only book i had that i couldn’t renew because someone had a hold on it.

2) Everything They Had-David Halberstam i like reading books about other sports, just to see if i can identify with anyone’s reason to follow any other sport. i liked the articles about fishing and hunting most, probably because they were completely new. i still cannot find any room in my heart for baseball or football.

3) Oranges are Not the Only Fruit-Jeanette Winterson “I don’t know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it.” (165) amen. i took this one from one little library and deposited in in another (east end to west end). i didn’t like it as much as the one with her on the cover as a kid in a bathing suit, though i suppose it’s another way to tell the story within the framework of the bible/church.

4) Drive-How Vince Carter Conquered the NBA-Chris Young meh. i don’t know that i actually learned that much, though it’s probably a bit dated in light of everything we know now. a couple things: an interesting crossover to the Jordan story and David Falk and i wonder what oakley has to say now that dood has been in the nba forever and eight days.

5) Playing for Keeps-Michael Jordan and the World He Made-David Halberstam so, from air canada to air jordan-i guess the thing i didn’t realize that i got from the above book is that i didn’t know that vc was also a tarheel, nor did i know the jordan comparisons (or that they could’ve gotten shareef, and he could’ve ended up in vancouver-i was still there for that, but let’s play “what if” for a minute, nuts), i thought the name was because of the arena. this is v.well-written, just circular and a bit too detailed for me to fly through. i am leaving it at page 218, to be picked up at another time. (i actually did not return it on time, because i left in the middle of the morning in a quincinera outfit, and all of our flights were still oversold, but it was worth the $1.40 in fines, and my first overdue book in i don’t know how long).

6) That Time I Loved You-Carrianne Leung what an amazing book, to travel with or otherwise. just like The Wondrous Woo, a dazzling story that is so deliciously well-written. i’m glad she was just appointed writer in residence, she really deserves it. this is also a win because i am cutting into my home book shelf, though i also keep adding books that i find in the street as well. there is just so much to read! (what a life).

7) God Save the Queen Diva!-Big Freedia with Nicole Balin this was my first book after i returned from costa rica, and the one where i learned that mystikal was a great cheerleader. i love that this got some response on instagram, and am looking forward to seeing her here in october, as i missed the nxne show because nobody updated the schedule, and i left because i didn’t find tinashe particularly compelling.

i have also resumed my library tour and am hoping to finish it before jury duty, so there have also been some graphic novels that i have read and returned along the way (and forgot to write down)-oops.

total: 7
summary: v.slow burn