january 2019 books, rants, and beyond

the year opened on a high note, at the AGO with mickalene thomas‘ amazing exhibit, femmes noires, and career-high kawhi hanging 45 on the utah jazz in an electrifying game where we were upgraded to row 9 and pascal also almost got 30, and ricky rubio and jae crowder were having fantastic games as well (and rudy gobert is fine)-whoo!

also-spurs fans tho-wow. what a delusional group of people, chanting “overrated” at a dood who was the youngest to win finals mvp since tim duncan, with tim duncan, bringing them home a championship. he’s a legit top-five superstar and is balling out of control right now. i feel for demar, and wonder what they will say about him, lest anything ever happen. nevertheless, i’m glad he had a big game, i think he really needed that.

i don’t know why i haven’t thought of this before, but listening to music podcasts while i am walking (or skating) is the best thing ever. my current faves-song exploder and not 97. i tried to unsubscribe, but the key really is to find a different medium for the message. (and then my podcast ipod broke-whomp whomp). and so i adjusted by listening it on my laptop while i write-yessss!

fuck the police. fuck them for barging through my door without telling me why and fuck them for telling me on the phone that they had a right to do that so they wouldn’t register my complaint.

i’m getting more vitamin d this month than i have in quite some time, and i gotta say, it’s pretty medicinal. along with the romance of movies (beale street what up!) and skating after midnight. let’s not forget the power move of waving at me across the club all night-can’t say i’m mad about that one.

great visit with my nanaybaby blessing my space, shoutout to the amazing reiki “witchcrap” session that we shared last night-so much power-full bruha energy in this space right now, i’m lovin’ it.

1) fierce femmes and notorious liars-kai cheng thom oops, i forgot my pullquote before i returned this, but i loved it. it read like candy. hard, hard candy. it was one of my first entries into the toronto public library 2019 reading challenge in the category of “a book by an LGBTQ+ author” (6/25)

2) this is where i leave you-dir. shawn levy we are officially in a moment where the book is not always better (anymore). the book and the movie/tv show are now great complements. in this case-the star-studded cast makes it all-it allows different perspectives into the story, and that is what is missing from the book. to be fair, i did read it during a jonathan tropper binge, and that could’ve been what did me in for being over him. what an amazing movie to watch as i get my 2018 gratitude jar together.

3) the florida project-dir. sean baker wow. what a movie. i’m sorry i missed this one in the theatre, but i’m glad that i’m able to see it now that i can watch movies at home again, thanks to the library and gazelle automations. i am legit crying because of these childrens, and i am realizing that i will never be able to watch anything the same way now that i have had a soupcon of the filming process. i love this ensemble cast of untrained actors, anchored by willem dafoe, it shows me just how much better the raptors could be with vince carter playing his last nba career games back home where we can hang up his jersey after what is shaping up to be the best playoffs of our history. bria vinaite (and halley) reminds me of star (and maybe jude) and i’m not sure where she was in the nice for what video, but i’m here for it (karena evans is the queen of the video world). but this was the best use of kids in a movie since you, me and everyone we know.

4) detroit-kathryn bigelow whose story is it? that’s the question that comes up on the innernets about this film. i don’t know if it’s the one that i would’ve asked, but i do find it interesting that there wasn’t more of a to-do when its release was timed with the political hotbed of police brutality, but then hey-we still live in the world, (sigh).

5) the cider house rules-dir.lasse hallstrom i watched this when i was knocked down by migraines the first week of this month, which also happened to correspond with me bleeding out. it really sucked. (my condition, not the film). the film was pretty soothing, and i can’t remember if i’d seen it before, but i know that i had wanted to for a long time because i knew that erykah badu is in it. i didn’t know that heavy d was, but he had a tendency to pop up in movies that made me go, “huh”. maybe i just read the john irving book it was based on, i did go through a phase. but incest, abortion doctors, orphans, purpose, family-all great wholesome cinematic themes. also-it was before charlize theron had decided to be an ugly troll in every movie she is in.

6) the muppet show-season two for some reason, i didn’t like this season as much as i liked one and three, but it is still muppet mastery. (maybe it’s because i had a migraine and hated life).

7) barber shop-the next cut-dir. malcolm d. lee ok, i love ice cube. i love him especially in the barber shop movies. if “are we there yet?” is what he gets clowned for making as a former gangsta rapper, this chapter in this series is of particular note because it co-stars common, and i couldn’t really take either of them seriously because of “the bitch in yoo” and “i used to love h.e.r.”. add another layer of rap beef between eve and nicki minaj, fighting over common. as usual, regina hall is gorgeous, and this could’ve been the one where her and common found each other dating-oh, the specks of gossip.

8) playing house-season one so, keegan michael key is fine. it took him acting like a regular person in this series for me to see this. i loved this show-and am still trying to figure out if these two have really been longtime friends, or if somebody did a really good job with their childhood pictures. their chemistry is amazing, the wit is quick, the ladies are doing it for themselves, and it always sucks when they choose the wrong woman, but even more so when you’ve done the right thing. here’s to crying in a mini raccoon house because if he doesn’t choose you, he’s not right for you anyway.

9) key and peele-season three i think at the time, i was a bit oversaturated, so i couldn’t fully enjoy this last season of these two. but i appreciate the staying power of their sketches. i watched the outtakes over and over, and am so inspired and entertained by these extremely talented mens. in fact, jordan peele is the only one who i will trust to terrify me, and i look forward to that with his upcoming movie.

10) full court press-elena della donne representation matters. i love that she is writing this YA that seems quite closely inspired by her own life. i love it. get it for your young girls.

11) calypso-david sedaris i am kind of chuffed that this the first time i am hearing a david sedaris audiobook-his voice is so priceless. i don’t know why i laughed and laughed at his sister sleep-eating the leaves of her poinsetta plant, but i did. i’m glad she survived-i always thought they were poisonous. also-the details and aftermath of siblings dealing with the suicide of one of their own-damn. i knew that if you committed suicide in japan your family would be fine, supposedly for the dishonour, but had not previously considered that if your family was the reason you were killing yourself, it would be added incentive. i am also pretty intrigued to shop here:

https://www.kapital-webshop.jp/

(swoon).

what a gorgeous (and tragic) metaphor it is to describe one’s relationship with his father as being like “two bad trapeze artists-both grasping for each other’s hands, and missing”. i also love that lots of people in prison write to him, i adore this.

“i refuse to support the poltergeist industry…..none of which is called the scarriot…” i am really going to miss audiobook david when he’s gone.

holy hell the guilt must be real if the last time you saw your sister you were telling security to shut the door in her face at your book launch. damn.

12) claws-season one “i wore this to reagan’s inauguration, it still fits!” there’s nothing i love more than big hair, big nails, and big drama, and this delivers on all counts. karrreuche! i mean, we know niecy nash has been amazing, but lil’ mama is really showing her acting chops-and the jokes! “moccachina”! i love it. and seeing harold perrineau as someone’s brother (desna‘s) and someone’s daddy (noah brooks‘!) in the blink of an eye makes me great-full to him for his cinematic presence since time.

13) battle of the sexes- dir. valerie faris & jonathan dayton so, the thing with american film is that it’s a longterm project of the retelling of history. this is all fine and good, but it diverts the reality of sexism in tennis from a relatively unknown queer white lady vs. a male chauvinist to the career-long nonsense of racism and sexism against serena williams, one of the most dominant players in tennis, full stop. but this is a necessary story tho, it is. it’s just not enough.

14) the glass castle-dir. destin daniel cretton i bought this audiobook for the mother of one of the biggest stars of the toronto queer community. i got it for her because she mentioned that she was having problems reading, and also because the relationships between mothers and daughters is tricky-duh, look where we were. so that is what i remember from the book-that the mom was more of a monster, but in the film, it’s woody that takes over as rex being the more destructive force so perhaps it’s a way of bringing both parents into equal role of destructive inspiration in jeanette walls‘ life. i really like how she was consulted in this film, and as is my life now, i really love watching the behind the scenes of the art department and wardrobing extras.

15) bon cop bad cop 2-dir.alain desrochers this film was a bit saccharine, but cute-like justin trudeau‘s election commercials where he talks in english and french at the same time, just a whole movie worth. it’s a different take on the english and french joining forces against the west and the south, and that’s a thing. it’s a risky film to make in quebec, because they are really polarized when it comes to language, but i like the exercise in form. bon bagay!

16) girls write now-two decades of true stories from young female voices i have a problem with calling grown women “girl” because i think it’s infantilizing, but of course, i have a different standard when we are talking about actual girls. in this case, i got this out of the library because i read it reviewed in bust magazine, and also because i love all of the curators. the thing is-i love them as writers, and while these are good first forays into the literary world, i look forward to seeing how these writers mature as women more, so-call me in a few years for the reunion. that being said, here’s a pull quote asking a question more succinctly than i ever have:

“Am I a reflection of my mother, or are my writings a reflection of my need for her to be there for me?” (151, Caesia King, Still Looking, 2010)

17) american like me-ed.america ferrera this is the difference in compilations-i prefer the ones written by adults. but i did pull it out of the same issue of bust‘s book reviews so that’s a further win. what a treasure america ferrera is, for all of the reasons, and this anthology is proof of it. i liked reading about how jeremy lin was mistaken for the knicks trainer and how he guzzled strawberry lemonade when out with his highschool team since his parents wouldn’t pay for drinks when they went to restaurants. i love everyone chosen, and i love how they tackled their task. the kid pictures alone are worth the price of admission. i love the synchronicity that occurred whilst i was reading this book-i came to a big shift of energy in therapy, and was completely affirmed by it through this beauty-full collection of inter-generational tales, and specifically, how similar peoples’ experiences with their grandmothers is. here are the pullquotes:

“We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors’ dreams wearing the weight of their sacrifice on our backs.” (304, America Ferrera, conclusion)

“My grandmother is an alchemist trapped in a death camp.” (143, Frank Waln-the pager code for “i love you”, no coincidence)

“Ironically, when you are the only one of your kind, it is difficult to be authentic. You are unique. You don’t blend in. This should make it easier to be the real you. Because there’s no one like you. But, instead, this is isolating. You are so unique that they don’t make a key chain for you.” (3, Reshma Saujani)

“And even today, I am still constantly recalibrating my tenderness for my mother, seeing her as a person and not just the strong, brave, and unchangeable force who raised me.” (278, Uzo Aduba)

18) black coffee-dir.mark harris i found this because of barbershop. five minutes in, i’m not sure of the acting. it’s really bad acting. but a good movie to put on whilst messaging the weedman and trying to convince your babymama to let you hump method man (by promising her your baby).

19) ride along 2-dir.tim story i am in love with ice cube. this explains this one. and ken jeong tho? bonus. this was largely silly and unnecessary, but was probably fun to blow off steam to in the theatre.

20) the dilemma-dir.ron howard is vince vaughn a giant, or does he just look like one because he’s so much taller than these other actors? also, he seems to shoot a lot of movies in chicago-maybe he has worked out a sponsorship deal with the sports teams? if so, that is genius. so, my new succinct rule/advice to everyone is not to sleep with anyone who makes you feel like you have to lie or cry to anyone-before, during or after. i’m not sure where i stand on meddling in other peoples’ relationships, but this on brings forth lots of dilemmas, that’s for sure. and awkward toasts at people’s parents’ 40th wedding anniversaries. i feel like this is another example of the cultural cannon of “good men” just being stunted and unable to communicate so when they lie to us, it’s for a good reason and they just need to be men who fix things. it’s compelling, but i don’t buy it. nope. be better, do better. don’t lie. also-having white men scream “yes you did!” for an extended shot in chicago (over hockey) is something-but i’m sure it’s just a coincidence….

21) all you can ever know-nicole chung the wife of the best friend of one of the major loves of my life was a korean adopted by a white american family. in the little time we spent together, i observed her extremely limited knowledge of her own asian identity/the internalized racism that must come with her circumstance. i have often considered my “birth mother” not as someone who has been adopted, but as someone who has been abandoned. just like i’m not quite hapa because of my lateral miscegenation, and the fact that i have a bunch of ex-step siblings, my situation has always felt a bit exclusive, and i have lived with as much mystery as someone who has been adopted. all of this to say that there are no accidents, and i’ve come to this amazing book at this time for a reason (or twelve). again, i love the subject position on this topic, and i’m excited to one day learn more of the writers in my own family tree (i got a soupcon of insight years ago when i learned that my cha poh had a printing press):

“My own lifelong obsession with writing was a shared family trait, the inheritance of what I was told were generations of scholars and writers.” (189)

22) american gods-season one i am watching the visual adaptation before i read the book-the first time i’m doing this (on purpose). so far, so good…i really had no idea what was happening for at least five episodes, but they are so pretty that i kept watching. i seem to recall my baby mama showing me the bilquis character sucking up her lovers, but maybe it was something else that was right up that alley. watching the behind the scenes brought a lot of clarity to the vision, and i like that gaiman went to iceland (nothing) to make sense of america (everything). i thought that laura was just saying “papi” in a terrible white mispronouncing accent, but she’s really saying “puppy”. i love that orlando jones is still out here working-talk about staying power-and a diverse portfolio-his standup chops are still sharp as well. and now, we have arrived at the moment that the comic book heroes as morality plays are coming to an end-and boy is it ever exciting. also-gillian anderson is a total babe (also with staying power and a diverse portfolio).

23) straight outta compton-dir. f.gary gray i am late to this game, i know, but i am certain that i’m here now because of baby ice cube (glad that i am uncontested in the claiming of him and his daddy, unlike method man, though i am pretty sure that i sold my babymama on that one by promising her our baby). i don’t know if the “bye, felicia” scene was real or imagined as an hommage to friday, but either way-i’m here for it. i never really liked eazy e‘s voice, and am tickled to see that they didn’t really like it at first, either. there are so many moments that have become prophesies, but that’s probably because we don’t have that many moves as humans-first the showdown between the police and jerry, and the bulldozer rolling over the records like people burning nikes-“at least they bought them”, not to mention the current loop of police officers getting away with shit that is on camera. speaking of fine ass ice cube though, isn’t he just laughing his way to the bank as his sun plays him winning the battle against NWA cinematically as the most commercially viable surviving member-get your money, papi. it is kind of surreal to see all the different depictions of suge, pac, and snoop as of late-i wonder what it’s like for people who are learning this story for the first time through the movies-can one of you tell me? i suppose all of these cautionary tales of the music industry can now happen not that there is no music industry as it was then, and that in itself is of historical relevance-the relatively short timeframe of its downfall, but that matches the young and flexible history of rap music-i just saw something on insta today about souljah boy and how he is already a historical figure in this halflife generations that we are currently counting and cannot help but remember how he won that “beef” with ice-t. nice touch including kendrick in the closing credits, as he is currently the present west coast king, and what a story that is-reversing the coasts, or merging them, if you will-combining the historically east coast storytelling and lyrical complexity with the beats of mister dr. dre himself.

24) amateur-thomas mcbee i’m in love with this man’s writing. i had no idea about this fight, but it’s a fascinating story. i did hear him talk about evaluating his own sexism at work on the call your girlfriend podcast, and i wish that every dood would do the same.

“Family, like gender, is contextual. Boxing didn’t make me more of a man. But, sitting across from Danny, I knew I was a better man for having met him.” (160)

i am still thinking about the idea that being able to fight is about being willing to pay attention, and that’s the kind of metaphor that stretches across all of the fightings, and all of the fights.

25) i know that voice-dir.lawrence shapiro “will you stop looking at him, and start listening to him?” i heard about this documentary while we were filming last month, and i’m glad that i’m watching it now. it’s really illuminating. voice actors are actors-it makes sense that some have a musical background, and it’s lovely that there is a true camaraderie in this field where people refer each other and really love each other-i think the piece of not having your face/ego at the forefront is something of note. i love the piece of mostly having autonomy and being paid for having fun and for the most part not being recognized.

26) i know a woman like that-written and dir. elaine madsen “when you get to our age, we start losing people. do you replace people?” wow. what a question. over the last few days, i’ve been re-arranging my space, and looking up and down for a photo of myself with my grandma, which i never found, but i have discovered many beauty-full things in the process, including how important words and letters have always been to me. i was moved to tear all over again, and in some cases, maybe for the first time, and appreciate everyone who has ever loved me enough to write-whether we are in touch or not. i’m not sure who or what i was searching when i found this doc in the toronto public library offerings, but it’s no accident that i am watching it now that i’m considering my history of being a woman like that. eartha kitt is a goddess. gloria steinem pointing out that the best indication of who we will be at 60 is what we were like at 8-before we became “female” impersonators. damn, that’s helladeep.

27) atlanta-season one i could watch these episodes forever because they are sooo beauty-full. the slow shots are different from ava‘s or barry‘s, that are gorgeous because they allow you to take in the beauty of the actors’ faces, they are gorgeous because they allow you to see the beauty in the struggle of the actors’ faces and their circumstances. and all of these fools are breathtaking. i love the crossover work with the soundtrack, the voice acting, and the recurring creepy psychic pushing nutella sandwiches (is that the updated beanpie?!) the show is so master-full, the talent is out of control, the writing and thinking is so meta and high level, and hiro murai is my new hero (again). the opening titles alone-swoooon.

28) courage is contagious-and other reasons to be grateful for michelle obama-ed. nick haramis i love this. all of the reasons. all of those curated and their words. all of this woman’s legacy. yessss.

“Lots of people think Michelle Obama is unflappable, but that’s not what my Michelle saw. Someone who is unflappable might decide to turn away or give up to avoid getting upset. But Michelle Obama engages and says, ‘Okay, how can we fix this?’-that’s true caring.” (60, Patton Oswalt)

“Michelle Obama will have her own legacy, separate from her husband’s. And it will be that she was the first first lady to show women that they don’t have to choose. That it’s okay to be everything.” (70, Rashida Jones)

29) meet the patels-dir.geeta v. patel and ravi v. patel this is another direct line from america ferrera, this time, from ravi‘s story about this process in her anthology. what a tense and touching documentary-i have so many questions about the secrets that are revealed during this process. does audrey know that her phone calls are broadcast in this film? i appreciate the experience of both siblings and their different treatments in this process, and their equality when it comes to their parents guilt and shame. ravi talked about how his dad gathered all of the patels he could for the screening in toronto, and i wonder if the siblings disagreed on whether or not they were going to tell their parents about audrey. wow-the reveal of the lying being worse than the white girl (i don’t think this is entirely true) was a big deal. and then the “happy ending” being that he was able to bring her around. but google tells me that he did not marry her, so perhaps the parents “won” after all.

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gratitude jar 2018-the rest

in no particular order:

michelle and teya‘s card from my going away party
saul‘s going away card
michael and kids‘ going away card (handmade)
-team goodbye card (that made me cry again this morning)
lisa‘s family portrait
bryan‘s going away letter
-quincinera whistle (blue)
aaliyah mac eyeshadow palette box
-green rayon string (no idea what it’s from)
gardiner museum “g” tag (don’t tell my daughter i didn’t recycle this)
-my university of victoria mbna mastercard (the last one that has the library fountain on it-i suppose i did graduate fifteen years ago, lol)
north york public library branded bic pen (from my library tour)
-“dramatic/dramatique” snickers wrapper
kevyn aucoin julia package (oh my, imagine if i would’ve kept ALL my lipstick packaging!)
-glamour shot of kobe the beagle
-stained glass window star made by kit i found in the street with rat teeth
laylow business card/magnum wrapper/failed preganancy test (me and d are cool now)
uoft queer alumni event lanyard that i almost didn’t make it into (and stole a centrepiece from)
-strange donkey drawing from chef at the beet who thought my going away party was my bday party
-my first expired ontario photo id card
-a beaver patch that somehow escaped having an rosecrown/asscrown on my distressed jean jacket
-problematic negrita chocolate bar wrapper (from international day)
-angelica ❤ floorganics anonymous note
jen + graeme + reggie‘s going away card
-4-pack of crayons from pizza hut in costa rica
-katakana bookmark that i calligraphied during my library tour
reggie‘s studio christmas card
-2 x betsey johnson bag tags (after years of never finding the right one)
animal crossword lottery ticket with “corgi” on it (not a winner, somehow)
trent‘s handdrawn (and not very flattering) going away card
-the display materials for my pig broach display at the button store
rusty‘s regime/my note to mr. roy about boarding rusty/payment (that i had to negotiate) for watching monster
wild north flowers card (going away present)
-proof of award and delivery of free new balance for “being the exception” on my bday
-note that i found this road speaker that i am still loving right now
pictionary pictures drawn with my current leading to reading student
-the thank you notes that used to be up in my office
-the inner safe code from the old store (one number being my employee number, another being the year of my birth)
-an angry customer letter about nkotb
-instructions from a librarian not to get to the library i was going to, but to her house (oops)
-remnants of my old business cards (two versions, two stores) i used to write appreciations on the old ones, and wrote myself one
-my seafood city loyalty card (back during sunnier days with fzv)
writing in the city prompts
-the puppy valentine from cj that prompted me to quit my job ten minutes after coming back from staycation
-the business card of the guy who runs the boardwalk-he overheard our ideas about dog chaps made out of kombucha skins
pawpular science subway ad featuring dr. tiger mercer that i had folks sign like my yearbook (uprooted memento)
buy good feel good ticket (free from the subway or the store, largely not worth the time)
-UP ticket from taking chauncey to the airport
one of a kind spring ticket
capro set sale trinkets
one of a kind fall ticket
-airplane bauble from alejandra’s quince
-my skyzone id for catherine’s bday
-my first (and only) GO ticket to whitby-i was filling in, and then they couldn’t get rid of me
-turrialba parking pass
-boarding pass for dallas fort worth to san jose
-cleared criminal record check (needed to volunteer at the library again)
-boarding pass for toronto to dallas fort worth
-boarding pass for toronto to vancouver (never went on this one)
-boarding pass for san jose to dallas fort worth
-boarding pass for dallas fort worth to toronto
-list of hotels in the dallas fort worth area printed on dot matrix printer (that i used to draw the kids’ comic book instructions)
-swatch of “you are super” tissue paper from TKVO
-alejandra’s faux boarding pass (team italia was our table)
a cup of love gift tag (lemongrass/licorice/peppermint/chamomile/rose petals/love)
-baby picture of damon
-baby picture of bronwyn
-french metro ticket (and l’autobus cocktail lounge in paris business card) from valentina‘s jacket
mois de l’histoire des noirs postcard from the amazing exhibit that we went to on my overnight in montreal over all-star weekend
miikshi “newsbot” mini script and call sheet
-the mibukiville playbill that i wrote for our screening
miikshi‘s diploma that i signed as president of the university
sportsball ballot (with our nick’s order on it)-the sportsball memento
-one of chickelyna‘s unused packages (episode changed)
-episode 4’s notes on the newsprint that i figured out how to cut on a ruler
totoro wax seal from erin’s bday card
-bus ticket from toronto to montreal
-my jury duty summons/assignation/raccoon eyes‘ permission to miss court for a medical appointment
-my sunlife card (by for now, benefits life)
-texas stamp packet from the hotel giftshop that i sent a few mementos home with
ticomex mexicali business card (in case i need to order their services again)

and, that’s it for last year!

2018 gratitude jar-the experience flossy project

here are the cultural events of note that are not basketball games or movies:

-8 music bingo cards-including my bday fortune teller and a lot of notes about my game partners-many of whom i brought for their first times
the read live with FZV
-my postcard from the luis vuitton time capsule, with all of my red lipsticks (at the time) swatched on the front in honour of the red that i painted onto an accent piece of a bag while i was there (also a note that said that i want kevyn aucoin julia, and i have since come into possession of that shade)
-admission into the aga khan museum-thanks to the toronto public library
-the program/passport to tobie’s amazing race 40th bday party
-admission to yayoi kusama‘s infinity mirrors (i guess the AGO isn’t trash after all)
-program to she the people-the amazing and inspiring second city show (after nine years in toronto, i have never uttered those words-until now, when i cannot mean it more)
-my wristbands for afrochic, including erykah badu‘s dj set and her fangirl-led in conversation
resistance and lipstick burlesque
saintarctica + xxxx‘s assemblages art exhibit
dave meherje + friends (seeing him was a real turning point in my decisions to s l o w l y inch towards comedy (again) and i’m glad for this chance to see him again before the year ended
-“1 rap free hour” coupon that i got from the shade festival, which also made a major impact on the above decision-also-the comedian who gave it to me was an important lesson in boundaries and trusting assholes (this was a recurring theme this year) too bad the shade set during jfl was one of the ones i enjoyed least, for many reasons (but i didn’t really like jfl as much this year)
-except it did still bring me into the same rooms as ken jeong, margaret cho, and reggie watts (ticket just has BAE across the front) among others
cbc canada reads ticket-lindsay and i went on the day that jully black took down jeanne bekker (also with a note that questions whether the mothership paid for all that braid weave) (also, this was my canvas for mixing paints for something-prolly one of the awkward paint by numbers that i continued doing this year)
-program for invisible footprints 0.2: deep cuts-i sculpted a durian vagina, which was lost or broken, but still got to go inside khanh‘s giant durian so, hashtag, heaven.
-receipt from carrianne leung‘s book launch, where i bought lindsay the wondrous woo for her bday
-a picture that kenza and i collaborated on (she claims i “ruined” it after forcing me to participate-control issues, anyone, lol? but she is our child) during our first solo date at the gardiner museum where we sculpted exhausted unicorns and went on a maddeningly hard scavenger hunt where looked at creepy zodiac sculptures awkwardly dispersed amongst fine ceramics
-a program for the high park music recital (sans the page with our kids, of course) to commemorate when i became the tita who cries over 75 shitty piano renditions of “twinkle twinkle little star”
tee‘s card from her exhibit at TKVO-what a great night

raptors

-the 20 (17-3) games i attended through the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season, including the epic win against the warriors this year (shoutout to lisa wong, who was my biggest supporter/benefactor/ticket pusher and brought that same energy from the summertime), two games with amanda (tradition), two games alone (companion ticket paid), the weird loss to okc when the refs had to be escorted out because demar, coach, and serge were all ejected, and kyle was fouled out, the raptor‘s 1000th game, fan‘s first game, and four games with maya season bae including the last game of last season and the first game of this season
-our season ticketholder membership agreement-our last
-5 non-winning 50/50 tickets and that’s a $125 crew neck that i never got
-my “script” from when i got to play announcer and chose OG (“wearing number 3 and hitting clutch 3s, rookie of our year…OG ANUNOBY”) to win klipsh earbuds in jurassic park since we didn’t get playoff tickets because we decided to renew instead, a stint that also got me on cp24 calling for the firing of casey (it happened) and another opportunity to not take in stray puppies, no matter how cute they are
-the label of my starter jacket-the first one i’ve had since the bulls one i had in high school, and the only merch i’ve allowed myself to get this year (and did i ever get a bonus lesson in gaslighting and faux feminism out of this one)

movies (34)

the happytime murders (august 28 and september 1)
crazy rich asians (september 6 and august 31)
sorry to bother you (july 18 and july 23)
downsizing (jan 14)
a star is born (october 23)
proud mary (jan 16)
jumanji (jan 9)
can you ever forgive me (november 1)
bad times at the el royal (october 16)
uncle drew (july 3)
isle of dogs (april 8)
meditation park (april 2)
won’t you be my neighbor (july 17)
game night (march 20)
blockers (april 10)
whitney (july 25)
the hate you give (oct 20)
white boy rick (oct 2)
life of the party (may 15)
deadpool 2 (may 29)
ocean’s 8 (june 12)
blindspotting (august 9)
anthropocene (october 5)
black panther (feb 19)
the spy who dumped me (august 7)
lady bird (feb 13)
i tonya (feb 6)
den of thieves (jan 23)
queen of the damned (feb 24)
space jam (sail-in cinema, summertime) the same day as tobie‘s bday and the night market at ontario place
widows (no ticket, but it was the last movie i saw in the theatre of the year)

another year of being great-full for the cinemas formerly known as rainbow (including my free one on my bday) and the varsity a couple times (with lindsay) and a few others around town and in mtl. also-shoutout to my friends who are reliable movie dates.

2018 gratitude jar-it was written

i’m late on getting this together because i had to return all those books before they were overdue, and also we rang in the new year with our amazing basketball team, led by our expensive rental last night.

so, here it is:

the quote cards i coloured:

-it is okay to hold people accountable and expect others to do the same. it is a gift when i do this with grace and understanding. (jan 1, 2018, also the handwritten adendum “i expect more, i accept more”)
-you deserve to be surrounded by people who never ask you to apologize for being who you are (jan 12-anniversary of the earthquake in haiti/trump calls it a “shithole country”, media finds that easier to say than “racist”)
-i am allowed to say no to carrying the weight of other people’s problems (jan 12-loi leminh‘s birthday)
-you are not ‘too much’. you are exactly enough (jan 12-sick day-lots of things to consider) (no kidding)
-i can be proud of my healing process even if it starts and stops (mar 8-IWD-i am feeling this as i go back to yoga and the pool and get shit done-feeling it a lot lately)
-my body is not wrong or bad for being triggered and having a hard time letting it go (may 6-as i approach the anniversary of the last time i had non-consensual sex with a man, i embrace my willingness to improve this body and let things go-and eat a donut)
-i deserve people in my life who can see my pain, who are willing to witness my stories, and be patient with my growth (june 18-swanky hotel with fredy, healing session with sienna, finding anchor cup and A plate, sally came to affirm the space and hood)

90 days, i wrote summations of how great life was. here are the 10 standouts:

fri the 13th-free axe-throwing, new friends and badaxes (my wristband)
april 3-today i din’t have a lot of plans but i accomplished them all
july 18sylvia ferrari (heart eye faces) demar is traded (sad faces)
july 14-i beat rubia gm‘s all-time point total on duolingo (i have since gone on to do this by almost 200,000 points)
thanksgiving-(part 2/2) lindsay gives me coats and a fat smirking chiwow. so great-full for being welcome into a house of love, food, and good manners
august 15FZV is in my home for the first time and upon seeing my gratitude jar exclaims, “what a fire hazard”-yup. a winner.
nov 21-i bled through my thinx and stood in my vibrant power. wow.
july 27-using my benefits to the last dollar, strong man massage, sushi burger, secret zaki (again), big 3 basketball
nov 30-i got to stamp the cups at the abbott and hang with katherine and remember the first time it was the self-care that made me start thinking it was time to leave tsp

and my guest gratitude-written by the incomparable michelle cho: “hooky + brunch + lots of laughing + one dirty tic tac + crafted-i had the bestest day of self-care with you that was good for my soul. xo cho”

letters:

i started writing the letters to my dad time capsule that i bought last year, and in montreal, i started writing them to myself as well, so i will keep these in the jar to complete this year, and open later, when it feels right.

-a letter with no return name, no handwriting, from alberta with photos of southern alberta that arrived on march 2nd, 2018 with my handwritten addendum of “i have no idea who this is”) finding it again, i feel like i should write back, just to start a correspondence.
papa cush‘s address, so it must be from the thank you note that i sent him and sarah for the red petticoat they gifted me, which ended up being sold to the little mermaid
erin‘s return address because she ended up mailing me back my yellow tutu after borrowing it for almost two months (lots of business with tutus and mail)
-a beauty-full card that came from my gift box from the parkdale community health centre, and that has truly been one of my biggest blessings of the year

december books (plus)

i opened this month debt-free! and i apologize to the denver nuggets-i didn’t know that they were the top of the western conference (who could’ve predicted that?!) i am now more disappointed that within a week (and a bit), we have beat the warriors and lost to the nets-that’s garbage. but at the same time, if we beat the good teams and lose to the bad ones, at the end of the day, we won’t match up with the shit ones in the long run and/or the playoffs so i suppose that’s a thing.

i loved hearing leslie odom jr. ask a young girl at the philly free library what her dream was, and her answer was “to be a dermatologist”. i also love that a real life librarian at bloor/gladstone was asked how to get out of the door, and she thought it was adorable-i myself wondered how the fuck he got in.

i attended a teeny interactive art show, assemblages, and made duck fat kraft dinner.

we did back to back shoots on our last episodes of 2018. i signed miikshi‘s diploma as president of root veg university.

i chose dave and friends at the last minute (when my windfall came in) and got to ask a friend the question coming from the shad show (i had to go to the show that sold out last), “does my presto card emasculate you?”

babygirl turned 6. i clearly remember her 3rd birthday (3stack balloons). if she’s mad at me/distant, it’s probably because i’ve missed half her life again. i am my father. (sigh).

i have a new (hot) therapist-i look forward to talking to her about all of this. (she also has “compton” written on the back of her gleamingly white adidas)-i am so curious.

looking through my bookshelf, i started reading my kitchen year, the book and talk that prompted my decision years ago to move to mexico city next year (since recinded) and the book that hunt got me from malaysia years ago, teaching me haka from mandarin-i will do my own duolingo, trying to learn an oral language from one that i don’t know at all.

i am also got tickets to happy place for me and my love zee, who is coming to our screening!

i am also happy to report that my last game at the ACC (nope, i won’t call it by its new name) was a winning one, right at the end, tho. but i can’t remember the last time i got hoarse and light-headed. our superstar may be an expensive rental, but he’s an awful lot of fun to watch. also-i finally got to see greg monroe play!

also-jorg kraus can eat my dust for december-i am creaming his duolingo champion ass.

on the same night-i got to bigup michie mee, see peter holung in action, and returned to standup!

we are screened! i was photographed with a stranger in a cookie! our JNO resto has been turned over, and for the first time, there was a child, and no star wars movie to fight over.

1) hey ladies-the complete series and the movie if stephen merchant ever felt a way about being the idiot abroad, it’s his assholic time to shine here. it’s hard to believe that anyone could be so clueless and awful, but it’s a bit too real. if only we could keep these fuckers fictional and not in the real-life dating pool. i like that stylistically, the character was not redeemed in the series, but is by the end of the movie, which is a continuation of the series-even though we still get a hollywood ending, it feels real, so it’s more hope-full than cliche. this was a lot of fun.

2) friday black-nana kwame adjei-brenjay back to back glowing reviews from roxanne gay, and i’m not mad about it-she is not wrong! talk about opening your short story collection with the most haunting one-damn. i’m still thinking about it. i also love the dedication and the kendrick quote off the top-it’s nice to know when someone is not playing, from jump.

“The tone of her voice, spiced with the Bronx, said I was one of many inconveniences in her life.” (68, The Hospital Where)

holy shit. as i make my way these stories, i continue to marvel at this meditation on race that is more realism than magic, but we are at the point in contemporary society where this kind of visceral exaggeration is almost possible, but i think we are still at the point where we don’t actually want it-may we heed these present-day cautionary tales…

3) mind of a chef-gabrielle hamilton i was re-watching the layover a few days ago, because of anthony bourdain, ok, because of the food, but one of the best things he ever did was put this woman on. this is no exception-short of the introduction to each episode where he doesn’t even introduce himself, he just gets the fuck out of the way. i remember seeing her talk about her book at the reference library years ago with nadia and walking away so inspired. that was at the beginning of her motherhood and her restaurant, and she was stressed. this is lovely because twelve years later, she is here, successful and jubilant-she’s having so much fun here and it’s great to see that when you do want you believe and what you love, it will love you back. the garbage episode in particular is amazing-“you make money in the restaurant business by saving food, not producing it”. wow. also-it gets to the heart of what i believe in-waste is about convenience and your character-if you’re not willing to spend the time and energy thinking about the things you throw away, it shows that you’re not willing to consider your impact in the world, and that makes you a dick. it is important to experience life across the spectrum of experience, though, as i remember talking to with khingz, years ago when i interviewed him-from being able to find something great in all food to all music, i agree. yesterday, i took great pleasure in salvaging the chickens slated to be frozen in salty purgatory and not only transforming it into something palatable (with lime juice, mayo, sesame oil and a soupcon of relish), but also turning it into crew lunch for everyone with only $2 additional of crew money, only to come home to smoke a blunt and eat burger king (hey, on a coupon!) and catch up on star-i’m loving it all.

watercress grows in water! of course it does-but this is the first time that i’ve ever seen anyone scavenge for it:

“i’m not gonna pull it by the root, because i want it to grow back”

i learned that lobsters don’t bleed red-they bleed clear. huh. i had never thought of this before-i have never considered the blood (or lack thereof) of crustaceans and now i have. i’m great-full. i also learned what larceny means and that she was convicted of it. it’s kind of amazing that the dvd extras features zucchini tops, but i love it and can’t wait to try it, along with make pasta….i need a rolling pin-or i’ll just use a coke bottle like we used to when i was a kid.

4) everything’s trash but it’s ok-phoebe robinson damn. i can’t imagine coming out to my parents about being tens of thousands of dollars in debt via this book (that also talks of meeting oprah and bono)-it’s quite a reveal for people will only be impressed by meeting viola davis. but kudos for bringing up class issues and the things we go through to save face with our folks/defend our artistic choices. i like what she brings about work in general-i feel like this is what’s different between this one and the first one.

5) becoming-michelle obama (audiobook) she reads it. that’s all you need to know. i’ve been listening to it in the mornings before i go to the shoot, and what a wonder-full way to set things off every day. everything-from making toast alone, to her forays into piano, having a crafty mother (whose life and goals she has started to consider now that she has also found herself in these roles), hanging out with jesse jackson‘s daughter, boyfriends before barack, and the unequal life conditions that contributed to her becoming (the powerhouse that she is now) is interesting and amazing to hear in her own words, literally and literally:

“Failure is a feeling long before it became a result”

everything is foreshadowing-from being on the campaign trail with the second black presidential candidate, adapting to living with someone who is not organized (and still doing it), running a princeton daycare of healthy snacks and exercise and homework, not understanding why someone would take the path less taken (graduating princeton to try out to be a mascot), and finishing law school to mentor a lanky dood with a distinct name that she didn’t initially think of dating because he was a smoker and white people always do freak out when they see a black guy in a suit (shade!), but eventually she came around because “he was a deadly combination of smooth and reasonable”. i also have been thinking about the reverse-simpsons situation of her and her brother fucking up their parents’ cigarettes by breaking them (by the case!) and dipping them in hot sauce-how pissed must they have been?! as the campaign unfolded, michelle talks of how torn she is to have to give up her work dedicate her time to the campaign trail (and even see her husband at all), and simultaneously be demonized for emasculating him and have her success attributed to her association to him-she’s really a saint-she’s really a model of grace, that’s for sure.

the thing about audiobooks is that they take so much longer to get through than anything i can read in my own mind. but the thing about audiobooks is also that when they are read by the author, they can be a downright delight-to hear someone’s words, literally and literally. i am hella wired tonight, after the big win (and probably the late-ish tea), but i made it to the end of a disc and the points of note from #11 are: the nicknames (nice choices, sasha and malia!), the fact that obama refused the $100,000 moving allowance (first of all-that’s a bit excessive, and second-guess who probably did not even blink on spending that, although he still doesn’t even want to move in), and the fact that there is no job description for first lady (and presumeably not for president either…) so it’s really up to whomever is in office to shape that (under great scrutiny, of course) for herself. she talks of laura bush giving her a tour of the white house, and i know that she advocated a lot for teachers and librarians, michelle was all about healthy habits for children, but this one? i have no idea what she’s about, other than tasteless jackets and staying out of the way. what will first lady kim kardashian be about? i mean, she’s already done more in terms of that one prison pardon…i’m sayin’.

i had no idea of the money racked up by the first family-they have to pay for their food and other expenses, huh. her bootcamp vacations sound absolutely amazing, and she had me going for a minute with the petting zoo nightmare. she wonders if mandela really knew who she was when she met him, stays committed to instilling healthy habits in children, and is the questlove of her relationship (the face of the group). the way she talks about her anxiety over re-election feels like the same process of winning back to back NBA championships, and even though i know what happened, i was on the edge of my seat. i mean-we live in a time of unbelievable history, so it’s not that far off…

she speaks about how hard it was for her and barack to go through sandy hook, and i must have just glossed over the details because i don’t remember them at the time. for all that is made of obama not being a “racial” president, the truth is that his stance (and michelle’s) on gun violence could not not be a racial issue, just like there’s no way that it cannot be now.

she’s such a queen that she only did commencement speeches for non-ivy league schools and the queen queen wanted her to sit next to her in the car-secret service be damned. “becoming is forward motion” is the takeaway from this audiobook that i have come to see as coming home. i had to finish it and return it because there are holds (obvi) but now that it’s gone, i miss it.

6) the muppet show-season 3 wow. what an amazing job they did on this show-and how it’s stood the test of time. i’m watching it digitally remastered, but it’s amazing. especially now that i have minimal puppeteering experience and know how hard it is, holy shit. also-it is amazing to see a demographic that no longer exists-“family” when it’s just about singing and dancing and jokes and magic-maybe this is where miikshi can fit in. it’s also interesting to see how some humans/actors/performers fare better with muppets than others. i’ve put season one and two on hold as well, and will binge-watch as much as i can before i get back on set, for research and development purposes. the themes are complicated-from being aged out of the industry as a piggy, er, woman to signing your soul away in a contract to become a star-the show is actually quite deep, using the medium to massage the message. i’m not sure how much of a fan i am of the trope that miss piggy is manipulative about her relationship with kermit (and prone to violence) and threatened by her female costars and guests but i suppose that’s a sign of the times.

highlights: alice cooper, gilda radner, liberace! the ghost puppet-how are they doing this? is it a projection? and the pigs in space in line drawing?! this is still moving now, imagine all those decades ago…the slow dance conversations, harry belafonte‘s fine ass drumming with animal, the angry baby band (bbbb), and the behind the scenes commentary and old commercials-i am so glad that i came to the wonder of puppets at this time of my life, and that i always get to keep finding new things to love and understand in the context of living in the world.

7) man alive-thomas page mcbee another book reviewed and vetted by roxanne gay and i like knowing that i’ve basically had the same reading list, but i’ve come to it on my own, and i like this synergy. this one is also beauty-fully written and of a category that i’m reading to bulk up on knowledge and experience in solidarity with my near and dear. here are some pull quotes:

“There are the facts of what happened, but the story is in parts.” (13)

that’s interesting-i pulled it initially because i thought it said “there are facts of what happened, but the story is the hardest part”. huh. really makes you think. (wow).

“The words sat like something dead between us. I kept my mouth shut. I’m not the kind of man that destroys something smaller than me.” (143). dang. what a sentence/concept.

“Everyone is entitled to his own truth, his quiet dignity; even those who try to steal yours.” (149)

“Everybody has a different threshold, but we all know to run eventually; most people don’t realize that.
We never forget how to escape.” (51)

“What makes a man? A man makes himself.” (157) exactly. so let me just step out of the way and trust them to do just that (that means no coddling, pandering or resentment). does it mean that i don’t notice how consciously trans/queer/non-conforming men (of colour) do this? absolutely not.

i also learned that thomas means “twin”, which is interesting because hobbs of calvin and hobb‘s real name is thomas, which also brings levels to that.

8) all eyez on me-dir. benny boon so, jada didn’t like this. afeni died being against it being made. i have many questions. mainly around misogyny and truth-but we can never forget that as women who also love rap/rappers, right? this guy sometimes really looks like ‘pac, other times, looks like a puffy stand-in. i’m also pretty sure that the attribution to the slang “fam” is too modern to put it on angie martinez et al in 1995. it’s hard to believe just how young he and big were-but speaking of big, they couldn’t get anyone who could’ve done it better? dre too? and suggesting that tupac died bumpin’ “blackberry molasses”? i mean-it was the knock, but who could corroborate that, suge? and there are no questions as to why he escaped that shootout unscathed when they were sandwiched? did those women in the car on the other side get hurt? what about ayanna jackson? i want to know about her-it was quite the portrayal of her intentions and the choice to play r.kelly during her screen time (!), and she seems to have been handled with the same gloves as dee barnes, but at least she got an apology. the articles that i’ve read have reported such nonsense information such as pac serving 9 years in prison for her assault, and i have yet to watch her “in my own words” video, though i have been inspired to read the book that i’ve had on my shelf in his own words, which, at first glance, seems to be a primary source for the director. also-kidada has nothing to say? if even to dispute/refute her ex-fiance’s mother claiming about her “she got a white mama”? it’s never an easy job, to do a biopic on such a well-loved and controversial figure, but the most provocative choice is why to do it in the first place. huh. really makes you think.

9) no ashes in the fire-darnell l. moore ok, this one has a review by kiese laymon (amongst other heavy-hitters) on the jacket, so the reality of all of the authors that i’m reading reading each other continues. i got here because of his appearance on luvvie ajayi‘s podcast, and i actually saved it from being put back into the mix because i was late to pick it up (man alive i actually missed and had to call back, btw) and i’m so in love-with his voice, his story, his approach to life. i remember one of the things that stood out most in that podcast being his reaction to people asking him what he does-something along the lines of “instead of answering the question ‘what do you do?’ i ask instead if they want to know what i love…” what a time to hear this and be completely in line with its sentiment and reality.

someone will always get hurt when writing about family, but the ratio between how much of an impact someone has on you and how close they are to death/illness is an especially tricky place to navigate, with compassion existing somewhere along the spectrum in between.

“Lack didn’t impede their ability to care for one another; it made care possible.” (56)

“We didn’t do much, but our too little was enough.” (107)

like michael arceneaux, moore‘s struggle with the church and sexuality brings me back to a point that cameron esposito made on the call your girlfriend podcast that she guested on-the reason that the adjustment to celibacy was made for priests was property-related-all of the church property was going to the kids of the clergy, so the way to fix that, of course, was to limit them from making their own kids, thus driving them to touch and shame everyone else’s.

10) luther 4-this was probably too scary for me to start at the time that i did-i forgot that i don’t usually like things in this genre, but i don’t remember it to be svu-like when i first started watching it years ago and discovered that i reacted to idris in a way that made my partner insecure, oops. i mean, this was someone who was addicted to porn and had no problem talking about what he would do to rihanna and the game of thrones women, but i “ooh” once (so low that i didn’t even hear it) to him taking his shirt off in the corner and it’s a thing-hello, double-standard…but hopefully things are different now that he’s a father, though the last time we talked he expressed not wanting to put “his son” in pink, so, probably not, but maybe (we gotta keep hope alive). i love that in the UK a “series” is so loosely defined-they were at least four 2-hour episodes, and now this one is two 1-hour episodes, so i don’t know why they didn’t just release it as a movie. and it’s clear that luther has a type-crazy redheads-and that’s cool and whatever, but it doesn’t make him that good of a detective, but that’s always been the limit of the show-he’s always got to be just enough on the side of justice because he is crooked.

11) zane presents z-rated chocolate flava 3-i know, i know, i said i would stop, and i did return all of the random ones that i grabbed on library tour, but zane has been doing it forever-i trust her to vet these writers. so far, they’re pretty good-short and self-contained at the very least, so i don’t have to sufferlove through an entire book at a time. i heard that zane has an erotic podcast and i just looked it up, it’s called purple panties and the tagline is “in a world of purple, we bring you the pink”. and, i’m out. but i’m reading this one in between episodes so i don’t have to be riding public transit with this (or explain it to my crewmates). i didn’t end up doing that, rather spending nights reading it, but here are the pull-quotes (get ready):

“Her knees nearly gave out at the scent of him-man and hair products.” (92, Tight Jeans, Giselle Renarde)

“He was simply a nigga in possession of a powerful position, making plenty of money, with a hearty appetite for eating punany and a rock-hard dick for committing larceny.” (132, Klepto-Collecto, Thomas Slater)

ok. so i have this thing about porn-i sometimes watch it to see something interesting, something different, like the time i saw grown men playing baseball with their long hard dicks as bats (the light bill had to be paid) and the above story was that in this collection-what the actual fuck? but a+ for effort, i’m here for the idea.

i had a discussion in the summer with someone about how we don’t really see the second person narration (outside of the choose your own adventure series)-little did i know that i would encounter it in a story called “Possessed Penis” by Tiffany L. Smith, so thanks for that…

“My towel was the only thing between us. She grabbed my obviously hard apparatus, towel included, and guided me to the bed. I was in big dick trouble now.” (The Rules of Sheets, Scott G.)

“I flick my tongue up and down his shaft; take his cleanly shaven sperm holders into my mouth, let my moans vibrate against him like his did me moments ago.” (298, Heated Waters, Jewells)

“I grabbed his dick with both hands, spread my mouth open as far as I could and stuffed it with some delicious, protein-infused trouser snake.” (321, Mea Culpa, Zane)

and, yikes. these sentences are so bad i got stuck in a trance reading them. listen-i know it must be hard to come up with new ways to say the same shit, because we only have so many moves as humans, but come on! also-i didn’t expect that the worst of them would come from zane herself, she was the reason i kept going through with this in the first place-and right at the end, too. it reminds me of the time i read needful things-852 pages that were gripping for 800 and then utter bullshit for the last two. except this was pretty awful for most of the book, and then really awful right at the end. also, the first story was by zane‘s son zander, and that’s a helluva a family business/writing collabo.

the thing that i did appreciate was the fact that sex is a complicated thing, and when combined with power and communication, we really have a lot of opportunities to fuck up. at this time (and all the times, really, but i feel like we might be almost ready) we need any opportunity we can get to have a whole host of discussions, and if this a way in, let’s take it.

12) weapons of self destruction-robin williams i couldn’t resist putting this one on hold, and can’t help but wonder what he would say now about the american political climate, but seeing him act out bush and tony blair as the “UN-sanctioned version of rain man” was well worth the price of admission. i am also learning that schwarzennegar proposed building the wall in 2006, i must have missed that because at that point, people hadn’t lost their fucking minds yet as to consider it as a plausible action plan. i am so into the local highlights.

13) kill the messenger-chris rock i think i realized early in that i’ve already seen it, but it’s chris rock, so something can always be learned. in this case, it was that he shed light on the fact that men are always wondering when to whip their dick out with someone new. the difference is that he said “you can’t just bring out an ashy dick”. well, i wish that everyone exercised that, as well as the skill of knowing when to bring it out, but sadly, some folks insist on not only bringing the dick out at an inappropriate time, but also at inappropriate hygiene. white women-i’m looking at you to raise your standards so that we can all do better. (this is another great topic of this special). it’s interesting that this was recorded before obama so he was able to say that bush was the worst president ever-oh, how quickly history renders itself irrelevant.

14) portlandia-season four oh, joint finances. i am beginning to think that there is never a reason to do this-ever. i’ve already seen this season (i remember wanting to get the matching cloud pajamas and now i have matching cloud robes), but it’s pretty great. i extra love kumail nanjani now, and really wish there was a service that fact-checked things that people say on dates. seeing the women’s bookstore carwash reminds me that they free the trailblazer cheerleaders, so i’m here for that. also-the entire banter in the blazers’ locker room is amazing. also, the paul allen (rip) kickstarter for new uniforms was probably not far from the truth-i once sold him some shoes when i worked at roots. i somehow missed the jay-z concert skit, but i had quite the chuckle. also, “celery” is genius through and through-but i have a soft spot for produce and customer service. my fave guest stars are steve buscemi, maya rudolph, and jeff goldblum. it’s amazing how many ways these two can always come up with new relationships to put characters in, as well as their own relationship as themselves.

15) first year out-sabrina symington this one has been making the rounds on the “to read” lists so i gave it a chance. i don’t feel like the art matched the story-i thought it was about a much older protagonist, but it turns out, she was in her early 20s. i also found this to be quite a first year-do people usually get approved for a gender reassignment surgery in their first year? i would’ve liked to see the counselling piece in there, unless that’s not a requirement anymore. also-how lucky for her that her mom just had an epiphany over how terrible she was being and made a full 180, and she was able to find someone to love her so completely and without any of his own issues or hangups.

16) portlandia-season seven-i didn’t think it would b a problem to watch out of order, and having a marketing team suggest death faking as a way of promoting the run the jewels launch is amazing proof of this being the right decision. claire danes using the same faces as i first saw her as angela in my so-called life to be an identity thief cum acting coach?! i love the men’s rights activists, as well as the nerds vs. hunks-oh how fragile the male ego is (anatomically correct gingerbread men!), and how hilarious it is…and wow-the long-distance relationship planning and logistics hit a little close to home, considering who i was watching this show with last-yikes. airport sushi! “the sushi that everyone can eat, but nobody wants to”-genius. steve buscemi has really found his niche-too bad the show is over, his guest spots are amazing.

17) mike tyson-undisputed truth-wow. i think i heard about this, but never checked it out at the time-i’m glad i did now. wow. i mean, if mike tyson can find love and do a show on broadway directed by spike lee, there’s hope for all of us. he was charming, self-deprecating, funny as hell, and he performed his ass off. ever an enigma, it was lovely to see this chapter of his story at this time, through these loving eyes. everyone should see this, for every reason.

18) electric arches-eve l. ewing-this one is reviewed by kiese laymon, and i’m actually sure that i read it because he was talking about it on twitter. it’s gorgeous, i love the (hand)writing, the best of us are poets first, and my favourite piece is what I mean when I saw I’m sharpening my oyster knife.

19) gold-dir. stephen gaghan i discovered the trailer of this movie in the dvd previews in moonlight. i’m beginning to think that matthew mcconaughey is one of our best contemporary actors, and not just because he does his best to try to make himself look ugly in real life. what a story-adapted from real life and utterly insane. it does do that unfortunate thing of glorifying the rogue businessman/non-traditional leader, and i don’t think that

20) jane the virgin-season three i started this the morning after wrapping our last episode of 2018. i skipped season two because the library doesn’t have it, and i am saving my eyes from all the television that i’ve been binging on thanks to the gazelle automations gift of a usb gift drive. a few minutes into the first episode, i discovered that jane, like polkaroo and lindsay, , reads the ending before the book, and this may be a coincidence, or it may not…it’s good to be back in this world. i love that this show has been about work and purpose (religious or otherwise), basically what your life is about and how it lines up with your heart/calling. i had no idea that the big death was coming, and that is the first thing that has become unlike a telenovela-i thought that nobody ever really dies…i also fully teared up during the rogelixo engagement, but that may or may not be exacerbated by my sight-reading music for lovers at the same time (this works better than trying to read graphic novels whilst listening to michelle obama‘s audiobook, but i only have limited time and brain space, ok? i also love how politically relevant this show is-from the ICE conversation to the hashtags about venezuela, the abortion (which is a bigger deal in the states, it seems) and the bringing in the real-life plot point of white women telling spanish workers to learn english-the show is set in miami, after all. the friend fight really hit home, and the makeup was everything i’ve ever wanted.

21) broad city-season three more of the same nonsense, and i love it. leo’s back at the patate, and i got to tell him that i now know which of these broads reminds him of me. i love the ny comedy cameos-michelle buteau whut whut! (i remember seeing her do a set in 2014/15 when i was there a lot) rachel dratch, and of course, hannibal. “look at joss stone-she’s a genius and she’s never even worn shoes”. i can’t. also-beating those little (chauvinist) boys at basketball and then threatening to fuck their mothers, so much. funnily enough-abbi has to be ilana for her shift at the organic coop-and it is amazing. also-tony danza and hillary clinton? blake griffin?! in a quirky sex scene, eating pizza and talking about how he steals moves from the wnba? TRACEE ELLIS ROSS?! that is, i’m done. (i didn’t miss seth green, he’s just in the same episode as tracee ellis ross.

22) jeremy lin-the reason for the linsanity-timothy dalrymple i’m not sure why this book had to be written in three weeks, but considering that it covers about that time frame (literally), with the historical figurative, of course, it makes sense. it’s super interesting that it’s written by a former athlete who broke his neck and turned to a life of religious studies that happen to marry a taiwanese woman, and even more interesting is the fact that someone else who has borrowed the book from the library has circled a distracting code of letter combinations throughout the read. people-so fascinating, and not always in a good way. imagine what would’ve happened if lin stayed in golden state? and just now, he’s slated to be on another team after being benched (due to injury) back in new york. unfortunate hairstyles aside, i’m rooting for the kid. (maybe not to the point to agree with his assertion that he was ordained by god to play basketball, but i just saw a picture of harden without his beard, so.)

23) big little lies-dir.jean-marc vallee go’head, montreal. i have loved jean-marc vallee’s work since c.r.a.z.y. but i guess he’s getting his michel gongry on now, in the way of taking on unexpected projects. even more impressive is reese witherspoon and nicole kidman (the consummate screen victim) being executive producers, and of course there is an article circulating about their “egos” holding up season two, not this complicated ensemble cast, not hbo having the director work on an “inspired” project, not any of the myriad of reasons-they had to reduce it to a catfight. (definitely not trying to take down the women who are doing it for themselves in front of and behind the scenes because it upsets the patriarchy-definitely not). i like this the way that i like dark archie, as an escape, but i worry that it does too much to sympathize how fucked up white people are, so that it justifies the things that they do to the rest of us. but lenny kravitz and lisa bonet gave their daughter a lot-she finally got a role as denise-the boho yoga teacher who is the golden second wife in a white man’s midlife crisis, and ultimately she is the murderer. it’s because of her that i heard about this show-pheobe robinson mentioned it during the her episode of the so many white guys podcast. and of course, it’s the philly free library podcast that changes my mind about white folks making art-they are just doing what they know-at least they didn’t fill up space with tone-deaf and behind-the-times stereotypes of token colours of characters, and not focusing on race allows the focus on class and that is important because marx was wrong-the workers of the world have not united, they have gone inward and nationalistic and falling for populist candidates who are so absurd that that’s the only way they make sense.

24) double cup love-eddie huang i started this one after i was so wired from the pacers game that i couldn’t sleep-even after making it to the end of disk 11 of michelle obama’s audiobook, contemplating masturbating while it was happening, not masturbating until i heard the disc end, having the vibrator die, then getting up to blog about what i had heard, writing the program for our puppet show screening on sunday, and lapping jorg kraus on duolingo (learning english from italian). i am pleased to read that he at least dated a few asian girls, after he said he wasn’t attracted to us because our nipples reminded him of his mom’s (so fucked up i can never forget it from his first audiobook, but also quite insight-full and illuminating so i’m great-full), but finally gave up and tried to go to sleep (around 4am) as he was talking about meeting a fun (white) girl. bigups on opening the book dying from edibles, because i have totally been there. and then, just like that, he mentions breaking up with the woman that he invited to china to propose to, and then doesn’t explain it. whatevs-here’s the quote that inspires me most-there’s someone else who can write about life and food through the lens of extreme rap and basketball nerdery:

“Our Hunan red-cooked pork was one note with a countermove, it worked. Like Shaq’s drop-step spin to a baby hook, Old Jesse’s pork had only one countermove: vinegar. Our Hunan red-cooked pork was like the Nigerian Nightmare, Hakeem Olajuwon. It lured you in with pork fat, faked you out with sugar, bounced you with garlic, elbowed you with peppercorns, and, just when you thought it was safe, laid it over your head with a touch of anise. But like the old Taco Bell commercials with Shaq and Hakeem arguing about crunchy or soft tacos, the answer is the double decker taco.” (123)

25) portlandia-season six so, zoe kravitz has been putting in work-although it seems that she is still typecast as the young woman charmed by a middle-aged underachieving white guy (sigh). but what fun it is to see these two in all of their amazing skits-“family emergency” serves as an unintentional time capsule of pre-controversy louis c.k. or at least pre-knowledge of the truth. of course, my favourites-steve buscemi and the most feminist bookstore in the most feminist city, arguing over capitalism. i love carrie and fred.

26) riverdale-season two and, we’re back! murder! gangs! lies! corporate greed! family secrets! i’m here for it. though i’m not sure how much of the terrible latinx accents that the lodges are supposed to be doing because they are spanish? also-it’s kind of hard to avoid the south side/north side thing considering the history of this delineation of many american cities, but once again, it’s white people exploring class again, since there is no clear racial divide-they did this well on friday night lights, but that show happened at a time when it wasn’t so crucial to try to justify uneducated white folk.

i can’t shake the portrait of robin givens and mike tyson, and how he said that she’s been trying to reinvigorate her career ever since-so seeing her as the mayor of riverdale, advising the sheriff that if her daughter says the man was hurting her, he was hurting her, is a very striking image.

also-archie has a huge head, is this dawson‘s next cranium?

interesting, they are weaving white-washing of history into the plot of the town’s history. the idea of celebrating a “founding father” of a man who rolled over possibly indigenous history? ooh, land claims, taking down statues, and family secrets? ooh, the plot thickens…also-bringing home your secret brother to find out that he’s a gay internet porn star?! undocumented workers from canada! papa poutine! the audacity! homoerotic hair brushing trains! and are they saving jellybean jones for season 6 when she’s old enough to come and wreak havoc? conflating student council elections and mayoral elections, is this a way of inspiring hope that regular people are able to affect change in “democracy”? allegiances all across the board are being tested and questioned-so it’s a morality play now, more than ever. but-girls kissing on the backdrop of a gay conversion video? i love it. representation matters. the musical episode tho? i’m not sure i can handle this if it lasts more than one episode-i’m all for concepts, but not this one. i almost lost it when the top of the next episode started with a song, but luckily it was just a funeral song.

riverdale is literally burning-how are they coming back from this? turf wars, the sins of the father, a daughter counselling her mother out of an emotionally manipulative relationship, queer bow and arrows, even more murder? student council president framed for a murder he did not commit?! oh my!

27) inside amy schumer-season one and two i am watching this intermittently with dark archie because i have no renewals remaining on it. i’m glad that the library is lenient with holds over the holidaze, probably because they are closed so much. i should basically be caught up and ready to go for the new year. so far, it’s great. the skits are ridiculous and very well-produced.

“cute apartment-do you teach art to cats?”

these are some different rape jokes-i admire what she did here, because it is true-there is a grey area when it comes to rape, and “not totes consensh” is actually pretty bang-on. wow-aids vs. gluten-sensitivity-that is a choice. i’m feeling this mix of streeters, interviews, and stand-up as well-i’m into the neo-variety show format-for sure. men’s group therapy is amazing-all the men telling terrible lies and then coming clean by killing their wives-this is real life, people. also-the focus group about the show is amazing. i love that she sees god as paul giamatti, and bigups on that popchips sponsorship. and wow, the video game skit, damn…and ali wong! and a sex columnist who doesn’t like being eaten out?! wtf?! the behind the scenes is amazing, it’s good to see jessi klein live, after reading her book this fall. also-“write what you want to see” is great advice-they wanted puppies and made them happen. rachel dratch! janeane garafalo! marina franklin! reggie watts!

28) the comeback-starring lisa kudrow i thought this was a comedy, and it just seems uncomfortable. i feel like michael patrick king is just mean to women. i don’t know if the blatant racism is supposed to be ironic, or the extreme insecurity of aging as a woman in hollywood, or if this is just that american thing that they do with acknowledging one injustice at the expense of another. but 21 episodes is a lot-i was already cringing at 3, but you know me-completist. i hate-watched this, and it was almost worth it for the brief lena waithe cameo. maybe the moral is how people in hollywood are horrible, but did we need 21 episodes for that?! all that to get to the point of running out on the emmys if it’s the last time you may see your dying hairdresser-dammit. what’s it all for?

29) the bridge-season two-i decided not to continue watching this after two episodes. yup. i did that.

30) the muppet show-season one (digitally remastered) i really cannot get over how amazing of a job they did with this show-and before the 1980s and everything. it’s a pleasure to watch this in retrospect, and dangit if rita moreno is not the babe to end all babes (the aga khan was right to wife her). the muppet facts are so interesting, but their pop up video style makes it hard to watch them and do anything else, and that may not be such a bad thing, we could all stand to do more single-tasking. “at the dance” continues to be my favourite recurring skit.

pig: “my cousin was seen by ten million people last night”
date: “oh, is he a television star?”
pig: “no, he’s a football”

i actually almost spit out my smoothie. there’s also something to say about staying power (see below) when i see a young ben vereen as a guest on season one of the muppet show, and then as queen latifah and brandy‘s abusive father on star in the season finale. i had no idea that twiggy was british-i thought she was american, and only a model-i didn’t know that she also sang. the big intro hasn’t happened yet, and it was neat to see the original pitch that made it all possible. wow-really makes you think.

31) the mother of black hollywood-jenifer lewis wow if she means this literally, and literally. i suppose it escaped me that jenifer lewis has played everyone’s mother-from tina turner to tupac, and grandmother-from raven to the blackish kids. what a career she has had! this autobiography reads like butter, and i went to watch the clip of her at carnegie hall (pictured on the back cover) at her bequest, and who can forget “in these streets”? i hope that i will see her live one day.

32) creative quest-questlove so, i scrambled to read this before its due date, and wish the library had it in audiobook (as well as heavy, but alas, not yet, or not in real form). i hope it wins the award its up for though, and i definitely enjoyed it-i think i was thrown a bit by the food book (the 808 and heartbreak of his book cannon) because i really liked the other book, too. i am comforted that at least in some part, ?uesto is as happy as i am engaging with the works of others (although he has also created much, much more in his own write). i love how he talks about his wrong first impression of j dilla, and how he reacts to great music in paralysis. i could do without some of his “jokes”, especially those that he has to explain, but i feel like he would really be like this in person, so that makes sense.

imagine if the roots had stayed being called radio activity, or black to the future.

“A few weeks after that, we were on the road opening for the Pharcyde.” (59)
staaaap. let me just imagine that for a second. and hope for that again-remember, that would’ve been with leonard hubbard still. (sigh)

“Backward asks all questions, and answers them too.” (79) i will adopt this at once-turn things around, i don’t know about playing music backwards, but i could try it with a piece of music, maybe?

“That blew my mind. It kicked over my Jenga. How could that be? Why would he introduce such an iconic song if he didn’t know it it inside and out? It occurred to me that with Prince, maybe he feared being too derivative. As I discussed earlier, I don’t really have that fear. I think my creative identity is unquestionably made up of parts of other people’s creativity. I have lived my life being referential and reverential. But I have also seen cases where artists at an elevated altitude do not want to work that way. They hold the idea of covers at arm’s length. I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m not saying they’re right. I’m saying that making things is about making choices.”( 136)

“I love Drake. I love Future. I love Migos. I like Earl Sweatshirt, Logic, Kendrick, Cardi, Chance.” (190 and i added corrected punctuation). tho the original is brazy tho-these are fighting words. wow.

he blew my whole mind with “chubby checker” as a weird variation on “fats domino“….whoa…

33) the to do list-dir.maggie carey “come on, sisters before misters” i love the commitment to “beaches” here, along with the opening credits, the inside jokes, and basically, everything. i remember wanting to see this years ago and what a perfect way to ring in the new year, amidst rain and fireworks in my neighbourhood and a phone call from my friends doing edibles in montreal. i’m sorry that bill hader and maggie carey broke up recently, but i guess sometimes relationships get ill. i love that she takes control of her virginity, and in the ned, chooses her friends over everything. the outtakes are amazing-this looks like it was a great set to be on.

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.

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.