the corner (formerly known as speaker’s)

“we’re the highest rated comedy club on yelp”

i got free passes to this place outside of the sony centre during jfl 42. i suggested going last weekend to a coworker, and i was glad that she decided to postpone so i could go home and spend thanksgiving eating beef stew out of my slow cooker and napping hard. out of the blue, she asked if wanted to go tonight, and i decided to take her up on it, even though we had to pay because it’s the weekend, and the passes aren’t valid.

i got excited for a moment because the comics were hustling on the corner and i thought we were in, but avril lavigne sold us short, as he didn’t tell us that there was cover, and it was a bit surprising to be in a spot that is smaller than my apartment. but it’s the former speaker’s corner.

the real comedy was seeing a dood that i’ve been ducking since that uncomfortable dinner/punishment, on a date. i thought i was safe because there was a large gentleman who seemed to have walked in from the war, just mumbling and talking about opium and sparked his lighter. it was great because he was built like a refrigerator and was actually funnier than some of the comics, but he disappeared midway through and buddy made me.

it was super awkward, as he said “here here” very loudly to the comic who claimed that living in toronto was all about drinking craft beer and questioning his sexuality. and when that same comic asked him and his date if they were dating or fucking and he said loudly, “we don’t know!” though his eyebrows raised when she raised her hand when another comic asked if anyone had had a brazilian-i bet that’s going to be a fun night.

especially when i tried to duck away (bigups to my boy brian for hooking up the oversized deadstock australian vintage camo parka) though he grabbed me, and when he actually ran after me yelling my government name after that only to make weird small talk and threatening promises to call me-i’m really starting to think that he’s autistic or super clueless to how that looks to the poor young lady you’re on a date with.

most of the comics were ok, except the one who clearly didn’t write any jokes so he decided to punch down and repeat 900,000 times that he wished he could grab women by the pussy. shoutout to the one guy in the audience who decided to tell him he was wrong, and to me for getting more laughs than him by saying, “this is really funny and totally landing. i think you should fucking say it again”.

all in all-i don’t think i will ever go there again. or at least i won’t be in a rush.

but it was a crucial part of my day of odd coincidences, a lapis lazuli, indigo, pears, and aligning flows.

the whore of akron-scott raab

“When I see footage of LeBron with the little boys and girls, I am both sickened and enraged. Idi Amin: I’m watching LeBron James, the last king of Cleveland, using children as props, as ornaments, as moral deodorant.
You want to stay, whore, stay. You want to go, whore, go. But spare us an hour of ESPN eunuchs lapping your scrotum while you void your bowels and bladder on the only fans who’ll ever love you like a member of the tribe.” (116)

and i thought i disliked lebron. shit. i almost felt bad for him after this irresistible vitriol packaged in black and shiny gold with its blasphemously sexy title from the shelf of my home home branch (parkdale). but not quite.

just like i felt bad for him in game 2 of the finals when they were whooped by golden state. but not quite, as i remembered how there wasn’t a single foul called on them in game five of our series.

if anything, i was embarrassed by the privilege of the author, and slightly hope-full that i could also write a bitter crazy book about basketball, but since i’m not an overweight wealthy dood, i may not have the same access. a woman can dream. but a woman will probably be heavily edited and put into a respectable pantsuit. (sigh).

“There were neither boundaries nor consequences, perfect training for a writer.” (14)

i mean, i was kind of the opposite-writing my way out of an environment (and city) of control and confinement. reading was my escape and empowerment, the most fruit-full coping mechanism…

regardless, i read this at the spa outside montreal on my bday weekend with my girls, so it was the perfect companion to naps in hammocks and saunas and steamrooms and waterfalls and the fire pit. it was definitely better to be high for it. shoutout to pax.

it feels like a good time to bring it back, because i keep trying to like lebron-but i’m so conflicted. for example-he did the right thing to complicate the “locker room talk” comment by asserting that there are men who do not talk about assaulting women, even though he had to qualify it by relating to his mother in law, daughter and wife (no mention of his moms, but maybe because she’s always allegedly trying to sleep with his teammates? at least that’s what the book says). but at least he said something. and i know he does a lot of good work, but just hearing him mic’d during games, or seeing him lounging around eating popcorn tonight, or in post-game interviews quoting jay-z lyrics, or crying about being kicked in the balls when he knew that that was his own fault…it’s just so difficult.

and not everyone can say it as razor sharply as this ideal man:

(swoon). impulse buying a second headliner ticket to see him was one of the best decisions i’ve made all year. i may need to start staying up late.

in conclusion:

“Hating is a full time job.” (189)

but so is loving y’all, so is loving.

on being grabbed by the pussy….

“you know what you should do?”

now, even if whatever follows is true or insight-full, this is the absolute wrong way to introduce your idea. it’s as much of a guarantee that the person you’re addressing will benjamin button listen to you (stop before s/he even dang starts) as “calm down” is an effective way to talk someone down from a tantrum.

when will be the right time to get somewhere in the discussion of the everyday violence that is perpetrated on women’s bodies? when will we acknowledge how fucked up it is that these wars are waged on the territory that we simultaneously occupy and cede control over?

i can’t understand/condone/accept/wrap my head around the fact that there is a presidential candidate that is advising people to grab women by the pussy. anthony and the hamiltones are great (“whose billy goat is this?” is my personal favourite), but those hand gestures are as cringe-worthy as the harmonies are gorgeous.

i myself was grabbed by the pussy seven years ago. on the terrace at future’s bakery while i was dressed as santa claus. it was my first year in toronto and i was doing odd jobs-this one was one of the oddest. i was directing people to the craft fair at the tranzac.

i am 5’2. the man that grabbed me was 6’3. i mention this because unlike the gentle squid-like grabs of the harmonizers, this was a hard cupping, as if his hand was in a baseball mitt, it was a violent thrust, and it was straight up. i was taken aback because of our height difference how it even happened.

after i registered what happened, i had to decide what i would do next, and what i decided to do was nothing. i mean, i wasn’t young and molested by a relative (this time)-i wouldn’t be so scarred that i wouldn’t be able to come out of my house. but i’m asian, a woman, and dressed like fucking santa claus. the police would be a long time coming, and dood was immediately gone. i would’ve been the one on trial, the one who was making a scene, the one who would’ve been further inconvenienced, and i wasn’t looking for that.

i also felt sorry for him, because he seemed to be so adept at it-how many other women had he touched in that way? or perhaps he had no idea because i was the first woman he had ever touched, and that was the way he did it. whose fault is that? porn? how damaged must you be if this is how you feel it’s ok to interact with a stranger in this way?

but i knew it would be a good story someday, and now look-today’s the day.

so, you know what you should do if you don’t have a pussy?

shut the fuck up about how/what/when/with whom/how often those of us who do should.

thank you and goodnight.

dig if you will a picture…

of a 29 bus route running effectively.



maybe one day.

but today was not that day. i had an appointment at bloor and spadina at 11:30. i foolishly figured that leaving my house at 10:45 would be plenty of time. instead, the dufferin loop was full of buses and drivers casually smoking and hanging out and just sitting while the buses and streetcars piled up. FS is listed on the schedule and it’s supposed to mean “frequent service, within 10 minutes”. experience shows that this is more like BS. after 20 minutes of this standoff, a bus finally leaves, but alas and alack, it’s not in service.

more waiting.

more vehicle pileups.

finally, one gets going, well-they all go at the same time (of course), and we go two stops when the driver announces that dufferin is closed between queen and dundas so we’re going on a detour. it makes one unscheduled stop, so i’m optimistic, as perhaps i can still make it on time from dundas and ossington. silly of me once again, as no stop was made until dundas and dufferin (big fucking detour, guys). i had to call and postpone my appointment, which was nonsense, but it was a beauty-full day, and i would get off at the now back to regular stop of dufferin and college and take the streetcar. as the daylight of the year wanes, i’m aiming to stay above ground as much as possible.

but, no. the doors do not open at college for some reason, despite many people asking and pushing-really those back doors are like nail polish-the jerk cosmetic that chips immediately upon application, but refuses to come off when you want it to-the back doors will be quick to snap you up in its jaws, but are immovable when you want to get out-venus flytrap-like fuckers.

magically, the “malfunctioning” doors open at the next stop, and i have to get into it with an unemployed (i’m projecting) masturbator about why it’s not the bus driver’s fault and grumble back to college just to see that streetcar zoom past because the stop is on the wrong dang side of the street.

right salty, i decided to turn the day around by giving up on the ttc altogether and walking my ass to bloor and spadina because that way, i KNOW i will get there, and i had two more hours anyway because i had to reschedule the appointment.

my first item of gratitude was the seeming resolution of the road construction along college. my second item was the lightening of my load when i dropped off my library book at college/shaw. third was my iced mate at empire espresso, a coffee shop that i first encountered the day after mimi died and i got a honey lavendar latte at the location outside kensington market thanks to my indie coffee passport. the energy, crystals, and aromas in there were lovely, and there was a nice plaque on the wall that read something along the lines of “be kind-everyone you encounter is having a rough go at life”.

next up, i decided to meander into red pegasus and support some of our regular customers. i found a lovely book of future letters and plan to teef that idea for many more people than the intended.

further along, i ran into my favourite rapper and added to my legacy of accidentally staining rappers’ shoulders with my lipstick. we traded stories of bureaucracy and hugs and continued along our ways.

i dipped into jelly and got myself a pumpkin tiramisu donut because i am now spending money like water. also-pumpkin tiramisu donut.

i make it to spadina and take the streetcar to bloor. i was still early, so i quickly perused the cd offerings at the spadina road branch of the library and bought some crystals (pyrite and amethyst) at the cedar basket gift shop at the native canadian centre of toronto.

afterwards, i continued my walk because by then i had missed my movie. i went through the village because it’s been awhile, and found out that the crosswalks are rainbow, just like they were in philly last summer.

12 for $12 truffles from purdy‘s and a long overdue reunion with young niko where we put my crystals on the table and wrote and shared our lists of characteristics of our ideal partners (sometimes, it’s good to have a witness) and i browsed through too many boring conversations about thanksgiving on his jack’d account.

we headed to the reference library for the 2016 toronto book awards even though i admit this year, i was totally slipping. i did not read any of them before the ceremony (i kind of fell off with the evergreen books as well-but i’ve been reading down my holds’ list!). the only one i’m really excited about is ann y.k. choi‘s book, along with which she plugged the debut of kim’s convenience tonight.

but of course, a white legacy writer won.

i cut the sleeves off my trusty airplane plaid shirt (because of the mysteriously symmetrical rips that appeared a few weeks ago) and burned a mix of desenvoutement/gratitude/storax to purify the new crystals and bring an end to my weekend.

ever great-full,

thanks for giving

“love is not just a verb, it’s you looking in the mirror….love is not just a verb it’s you looking for a maybe”

i really wanted to post the video of the talented wayne tennant‘s “damn u” at the kvc prince tribute, but the youtube link isn’t ready yet, so i decided to post this one that’s been in my ears for the last few weeks.

kendrick is king.

just like donald glover. whoo! i didn’t think it would get better than that tamia cover, but then my haitian babymama came through to put atlanta into my computer, and since this is the first time i’ve had to sleep and chill and watch tv, it became another thing for me to be thank-full for.

the first was the way that fall looks in my front room-i’m always floored by the beauty of my favourite season in this apartment. (mother nature, thank you-but could you take it a bit easy on my babymama’s homeland?).

also-i made a beef stew, and will be eating it for days-mmm hmm. i’m happy for my indie coffee passport because i had zero dollars and one of the cafes i have left offered a mocha and was open-woot!

while i was there, i got a text about my home opener ticket and securing the rest of my games for the season-aw yea.

i’m great-full for the clarity that came from my recent situation, and i’m truly glad we met. i’m glad for the heart flutters and the reminder of my (possibly eternal) status as a flight risk. who knew that i had to come to toronto to become a drake fan and heighten my own trust issues.

on a related note, i’m glad that my pops and i have been talking, and our recent conversation where he tried to explain vests to me like it was a new concept and his incorrect usage of the expression “if you can’t beat them, join ’em” in relation to how he picked up my mother in a japanese language school-because i’m still not sure what language they were speaking.

i also for the first time, was thank-full that shopper’s tracks all our purchases because i was able to prove with my optimum card that i purchased a broken umbrella and they gave me my money back, so i had $17 back of my own cash money.

i felt pretty self-righteous because i walked past all those folks in line for uniqlo and kept it moving.

that was short-lived, as i decided instead to go to mcdonald’s and try the thai chicken burger and make my own thanksgiving treat of pies and a petroleum ice cream cone. that meant that i actually stood in line (amongst iphone statues) at the fast food restaurant/asylum on my block and took my money down to $9.

whomp whomp.

easy come, easy go-i guess.

but overall, i’m still up and ever great-full.

every damn day.

dear mr. you-mary louise parker

“Letting someone you don’t really like surprise you is evolved, and that would have been impossible if you didn’t have the humility I wasn’t giving you credit for.” (36, Dear Movement Teacher)

“Remind her that she is beautiful in every new language you can invent. Careful with metaphor, as by then her mother’s over use of it may have exhausted her and made her immune to poetry.
Remind her about poetry.” (202, Dear Future Man Who Loves My Daughter)

i have already seen change in the life of my daughters. i see them with fathers who are present in their lives, committed to their moms, and encourage them to be all the beauty-full and talented folks that they are and will stay being.

this is no small thing, but i want more (of course).

i want a world for my daughters where talking about your period is normalized, and we can have an honest discussion about the reality of what working in a place with many women at different points of their cycle (monthly and in life) does without risking giving menfolk another thing to run away with and misunderstand.

i want a world where we can talk about hemorrhoids, moon moods, and just wanting to hide in your house and play candy crush all day and eat chocolate.

imagine when we can all be educated about fibroids or endometriosis, miscarriages and abortions, rape and shame, and the shitty way that young women are shamed into believing they are to blame for potentially having cervical cancer-via the horrible exam that gets them there.

let’s be real-the patriarchy will not be dismantled, but our sisterhood is strengthened exponentially because we are the adaptable humans. the matriarchy is real, if we want it. and now we have allies that are on the other side, straddling the in-between space.

i am also listening to jon stewart on 2 dope queens, and it’s a pretty fitting pairing with this sentiment.

family trouble (still)-edited by joy castro

“He possessed us with his unfulfilled dreams.” (138, A Spell Against Sorrow, Judith Ortiz Cofer)

this book has obviously resonated with me, as i am s l o w l y writing an autobiographical performance piece, one that i’m not exactly sure what to do about since a large part of the family element revolves around a person with whom i am cultivating a relationship with for the first time.

life is full and we are blessed. i have learned a lot the last two nights that i’ve gone out back to back-at night, after full days of work. i’ve learned a lot about how people are in the streets and on public transit.

two nights ago, i had dinner at doomie‘s with some co-workers, and didn’t realize how close to my house this was. i’ve only actually seen the obnoxious neon sign that reads “what vegans eat” when i pass by, but hadn’t registered that this was the new hipster hotspot.

i haven’t had an actual big mac in forever and eight years, but i have to say that their vegan one tastes pretty identical. the portions are large, the atmosphere is fried, and the propaganda is thick for the proselytizing. a sign at the bar reads, “mix drinks, not morals”. i mean, there’s gotta be something about a super judge-y movement that promotes vegetable fibres when nary a fresh vegetable graces the plates-i’m just saying-at least give me the option of a salad if you’re going to force your agenda down my throat. but i know, it’s a vegan junk food place. but it just reminds me of my college roommate who was all rah-rah vegetarianism but subsisted on a diet of coke, ramen noodles and oreos and drove around town in a vw bus, burning fossil fuels like a mug.

that location is interesting, as i have seen it be (and die) many restaurants, including a vegan sushi takeout place, complete with fake schrimps and fish, but i don’t recall it ever having a liquor license, so maybe that’s the difference. there’s a “new” guu across the street too, but looking at the menu, it feels like an imposter. things don’t usually trickle down from the west coast, but i think in this case…they did.

i also learned a thing or two about the 47 bus, as i walked my coworker to the queen and landsdowne stop that was on neither queen nor landsdowne. shoutout to the woman who helped us out, though i need to extend that to all the public transit angels that i’ve encountered lately-from the lady cyclist who told us as she passed that the king car was stopped on saturday morning and prompted a ragtag cab with my downstairs neighbor to meth boo last night, but more about her later.

one of the things my dad always said was that he would “enjoy his life later”, as he was nothing but miserable, resent-full and tired of his job while he was working. it inspired me not to defer happiness and pursuing/supporting dreams, and also wish that he would get there, because there are no guarantees. i’m happy to report that he seems to be enjoying life after retirement.

on a related note, i started my jfl 42 with maria bamford last night. the evening started strong with a bonus jackie kashian, and lots of fascinating topics were discussed, but my favourite quotes of the set were:

“are people still doing that? THE WAR IS OVER! there’s plenty of pantyhose for everyone!”

“she’s like an old baby”

i was feeling tired around 1pm, but inspired by a coworker’s desk construction in the hallway and my friend brian‘s house of dead animals to stroke (latre) so i motored on to orisha lemanja‘s equinox art exhibit.

i got a bit lost on the way, as i discovered the difference between weston road and old weston road-shit! i knew i should’ve listened more closely to the drake song!

anyways, after some walking and wandering, i was saved by a woman with four teeth and braces.

visualize that for a second-four teeth, and braces. (yup, i’ll wait). she was so sweet and pulled out her phone to help me solve the mystery, and it’s a good thing that i still have my text messages from two christmases ago, because that’s when i figured it out, and she re-routed me and i gave up to go home, so boarded the 168 going to dundas west station with her.

but as i started to recognize my surroundings, and heard more of meth boo’s story, i realized that i had come too far to quit, so i walked across st.clair to keele and boarded the 89.

i heard a lot of interesting conversations on the assorted buses and streetcars i was riding including:

“he texted me that when i came home next i should give him head”

“ally-i thought you broke that off?”

“well, i was planning on ghosting him, but now he’s texting me this and i don’t know how to respond”

“i don’t think there is a response”

“well, i didn’t, then he texted me jk and monkey face and….”

huh. so that’s the proper usage of the monkey face emoji?! who knew.

on the pitch black and humid first day of fall, i left the bus victorious as church ladies were singing the high praises and mans was boarding with an arm-full of pomeranians. it was worth the trek to see the artist, her stunner of a mother, her gorgeous son, and her pieces lining the deck and yard. i picked out the one i wanted, not knowing that it wasn’t a piece that was available, so cast my net in for prints of that one, and bought an available piece instead.

i got a smile from baby boy, which was priceless.

my ride home was smooth sailing (since i knew where i was going), i just wasn’t expecting so many folks to be tore up on a thursday night on the bus. but hey-it’s a rollicking place, this town.

there’s a new popeye‘s at st.clair and dufferin, which means the library is flanked by popeye’s and church’s, which is a metaphor for my life on the east/west coast if i ever saw one.

my bed is going to feel so good after a long day of being someone who says what she does and does what she says, and dammit, am i ever great-full. for all of it.