r. (remixed)

i’m an ideas guy, not always a finisher guy. this is frustrating to some people, and i suspect to the person who is behind this poem.

i had a convoluted collaborative poetry idea that never materialized, and to be honest, i’m not really sure of my original method of categorizing the poems- oops. hence, i don’t know what belongs to whom, so if you recognize these words (and you’re here)-please be in touch, and i will give you credit.

i pulled poem r. from the can today, and transcribed it backwards, and made something out of that. here it is:

mind my dealing double and deception of speaks
asphalt between green
explosion spring
light stripped affluence, concrete.

the cardboard muddled
more magentas indigos cadmiums
pale gold renaissance
the between colours, undertones creep.

forward propels, time dreams
saving my accident
i found silence
battle territorial, aggressive respite
prescribed moment
(complete)

and, a remixed poem before i even get dressed.

(still got it).

october’s very bold 2019

duolingo stats: 395 day streak, 13031 lingots (i bought the owl the tracksuit), 623,801 xp to date, still learning latin

the first day of the month was gorgeous in the morning, and a humid monsoon in the night, so-full scorpio mode for nature, let’s go.

the second day brought uninspiring weather, and i almost did not leave at all, but i made it just in time for the last round of music bingo, it was disco, and i won the grand prize for the first time ever!

i missed nuit blanche (scarborough) once again because i was celebrating my dearest zahrabai‘s birthday (first time ever we could do both our bdays in the same city) and there was hallumi involved, so-i’ll get you next year, white night!

i worked food retail through thanksgiving again, and it was great! very well-organized and staffed so we didn’t feel stressed, just tired-long days with lovely rewards. and it was a bit late in the season for our third annual apple pick, and lambcoma. yummmm.

and, we are back on set! bigger, baaader, and baaaack together again!
i am inspired for long days and a long commute, but i don’t want to do my dishes!

on a related note, i can access my library account online again, my instagram is busted, and i am still holding out on my duolingo for desktop. (sigh). the innernets, amirite?!

i have been to a corn maze in a small town in ontario! i have also visited the peanut family empire, tasted celery bread, and have knowledge of the growing of local tabaco, ginseng, peanuts, and daikon. i am ever great-full for the impromptu road trip with one of my favourite couples.

plot twist-we hit a wall in the lease of our barrowcar, and a lot hangs in the balance of the next 24 hours. decisions must be made…and…see you next april!

1) us-dir. jordan peele i guess we kept on the twin-theme as this month rolled over. i was scared to watch this, but i should’ve known better. jordan is a visionary, and is not doing horror for horror’s sake. i liked the dvd bonus on how they actually pulled this off. i had to take a break and see the terrible brad pitt space movie (with great special effects) in between because i was still afraid to watch it in the dark. (it’s super petty of the library to charge me an overdue for this-it was returned by this morning/eodue date).

2) orange is the new black-season six the season opener took things to a fantastical space, and the subsequent episodes smacked us back to reality. new guards, same shit of blurring their lines between terrible and troubled and a product of their surroundings, blah blah, but i guess that’s been the direction that the show has been going in. unlike spoiled piper who is once again too focused on alex, i wanna know where maritza is. baddington (and her accent, as well as the “nigerian”‘s?) is interesting. they gotta stop putting behind the scenes materials on discs that happen before the plot points, because-spoilers. it’s also interesting that the writing room just went ham on fantasy inmate and other related white supremacist narratives, because it’s all fine and good to say that they are “starting the conversation” about racism and a broken system, but it’s also safe to say they totally dodged the reality of a very homogenous writing room. but, i suppose the easiest way to avoid addressing that is to just end the show, which they have. and shit-it’s probably a good thing, because this is depressing as shit-having the black woman falsely accused of murder, the latina that qualified for early release unexpectedly be passed onto ICE, and the white woman once again jumping the queue to go free-but at least she organized kickball before she left. WOW. aaaaaaah. and those two sister-murdering bitches killed each other over a story they both stole from a black woman?! after years of organizing prison fights between countless women who had no dog in their race?! i feel like i am at the same point i was at with breaking bad-i hate all these people and watching them makes me depressed.

3) blindspotting-dir. carlos lopez estrada this one was just as good the second time around. it was the perfect accompaniment to my belated birthday present of a “canine alphabet” puzzle. now that i know the spoken word history of these two talented mens, it’s even better.

4) the origins of others-toni morisson it’s unbelievable to me that folks still don’t know that we have a black bookstore in this city. but itah‘s been at the heart of a lot of cultural events, from the freedom ride, to quickly organizing a re/membering of toni morrison not even three weeks later. i haven’t caught up completely to her catalogue, though i did have an argument about where her work fits within the white-privileged metric of academia, and was surprised to find that this was also a slim volume, but it makes sense as it is essentially a transcript of her norton lectures. “Unlike starving China, Africa was both ours and theirs, intimately connected to us and profoundly foreign. A huge needy homeland to which we were said to belong but which none of us had seen or cared to see, inhabited by people with whom we maintained a delicate relationship of mutual ignorance and disdain, and with whom we shared a mythology of passive, traumatized Otherness cultivated by textbooks, film, cartoons, and the hostile name-calling children learn to love.” (101, The Foreigner’s Home) thank you, ms morrison, for naming this work that we all need to do, and for leaving such a prolific blueprint.

5) i’m afraid of men-vivek shraya “What might be cruising can also be contempt.” (24) this book is smaller than i thought it would be-i guess it just photographs bigger? it is much smaller than it could be, and that’s a thing. a few months ago, vivek‘s face was plastered across bus shelters and buses, and that’s amazing. she is beauty-full.

6) person to person-dir. dustin guy defa the options for ny ensemble film are quite limited now-either you stifle your disdain for directors who marry their children, or you suffer through something like this. the first shot was of a building that looks exactly one that i stayed at in queens in 2006. the second scene was one that made me question for a second why michelle williams was acting so annoying, but then i realized that it wasn’t her. as much as i like abbi jacobson and michael cera (and as fine as bryan tyree henry and his “over it” face is), this was largely hot garbage. but it was the perfect movie to not get too invested in, as i wound down after work with a pomelo and a ham sandwich.

7) finders keepers-directed by bryan carberry and clay tweel once again, i love the documentary section of a new library. this real-life story of these white mens fighting each other over the ownership of an amputated foot-“with the cholesterol dripping out of it” is perhaps the inspiration for the tv shows that they make about addiction, institutions, and mental health. what a bizarro world of family obligations, capitalism, and a take on one’s “fifteen minutes of fame”. and judge mathis is the hero! “i would like to thank shannon for being the douche that he is, because he was the catalyst” “sometimes, you gotta hang on to certain merchandise, and other times, you gotta liquidate”. i’m dead. actually dead. THIS DOOD RAN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016?!

8) approved for adoption-dir. jung et laurent boileau well that was a different take on korean foreign adoption. i got it at fort york with twinsters, but with the animation, the difference in gender, age, and experience of internalized racism and familial abuse-we go further an deeper. it’s also much more lonely, as it’s a meditation on being an outsider in a completely different way. this one is a real exercise in form, and i believe it to be an oversight to remove “skin colour: honey” from the translation. it is to be noted that i’ve started reading pachinko (again) and i’m seeing this right now.

9) nurse jackie-season seven i’m not sure how i feel about this series finale, but i echo akalitis’ sentiment to jackie after the hearing: “so thank you, and fuck you.” i do appreciate how edie asked not to get scripts ahead of time-that’s an interesting acting note. unlike oitnb, this one felt like closure, and relief that it’s over.

10) pachinko-min jin lee this book is beauty-fully written, and i’m glad i’m back to it-i didn’t get to it before it was due last fall, and had to send it back. i do wish i got a paperback version, but, such is life. i had dreams about serving pate de campagne and making sure that korean immigrants were not persecuted in japan, so there was an imprint. i feel like the years and issues (internalized racism, war and migration, the inheritance of trauma, religion, and feminism) span all of the horrors that can occur, and some of the healing. it’s still quite heavy, literally and literally. i can see why this won so many awards.

11) the people’s future of the united states-eds. victor lavalle and john joseph adams “speculative fiction is too wishy-washy” i said to lindsay yesterday in a lamb coma. and that, in a nutshell, is my struggle. i don’t think that “imagining” trump is particularly future-looking, it’s just describing the present, but i do like the idea that we are the books/stories, and the battle for the end of the world would go down in a bookstore. there were some good stories, but this one took me two months to get through, and does not inspire me to go further into the genre. (but i did immediately put girl woman other on hold, bigups for splitting the booker with madge this year)

12) sharp objects-season one jean-marc vallee and his sentimental direction always gets me. i also love how he incorporates music, this time in the form of a different song in every opening credit and as a form of escape from the evil that lurks in one’s home/head. gillian flynn-i’m not sure of. and i suppose i should qualify that as film/tv adaptations of gillian flynn books, i’m not sure about. on the apple orchard, i floated the idea that perhaps her feminism is to show that women can be serial killers too-i just don’t know how useful that is. but i do know that i never trusted that little one, and that patricia clarkson is one of my favourite actors, ever.

13) the gospel according to andre-directed and produced by kate novack i watched this twenty minutes at a time, over the thanksgiving rush, and if given the option, everyone should watch a young karl lagerfield through a tantrum with silk scarves. also, i’m kind of mad that i may have been in white plains at the same time as andre leon-talley, but then again, i may not have. i appreciate the exhilaration and the loneliness of blazing a trail and taking up space.

14) the sixth man-andre iguodala with carvell wallace that other AI…(who played with the first one) without whom (along with shaun livingston) the golden state warriors would have zero championships. you can say that he won “steph’s” mvp but sixth man of the year is no small deal-just ask lou will. i listened to his spot on the only a game podcast to see if there was any insight into this-it just reiterated the same things in this book, but it was nice to hear his voice saying “my name is andre iguodala and i am a human being”. the book doesn’t have a conclusion, and i’m wondering if he knew he might be retiring when it came out/now. i really want to know how he feels about his current limbo/his current feelings about steve kerr. he describes being traded from the sixers in the exact way that demar was traded, as well as losing coach jackson (who he confirmed as having built that team as well as being an amazing coach) in the same way. i love that he also loved scottie more than michael, and the advice that he got from iverson. he also brings up the crucial point that when a team wants to change direction (and players), it’s just business, but when a player wants to do the same, it’s somehow an insult. that is important because it confirms how entrenched in the patriarchy and systemic exploitation that is the structure of the league.

15) the kiss quotient-helen hoang i am completely here because i read the bride test last month. gotta love a half-vietnamese person who is either autistic or dating an autistic person who only occupies one of their races. i liked the plot twists in this one, it was actually less predictable than the newer release (that i read first). a great, easy read nonetheless.

“Besides, large groups of horny women were terrifying. You couldn’t defend yourself against them, and their nails were sharp.” (11)

“Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings.” (249)

16) french exit-patrick dewitt i forgot how much i love this guy’s writing. to be fair-this is my very favourite of his showings. insider info from a former anansi employee is that he’s kind of hard to deal with, he has a way with a sentence, and i enjoyed his author talk at the reference library during the junket for undermajordomo minor.

“Frances had come to think of gift-giving as a polite form of witchcraft.” (10)

“He was a pile of American garbage and she feared she would love him forever.” (20)

swooooooooooon. i also love the idea of a person being so rich that suicide is a privilege being reincarnated as a cat that cannot die through all the lives.

17) 26 knots-bindu suresh so this is a bonus, as gerard put it on hold and never read it, and i committed to it because i trust that he put this (cbc featured) book on hold for a reason (that he no longer remembered), and its slim volume, along with its mention of lionel-groulx (i can see the tiles now!) and oyster shucking within the first pages hooked me, and here i am-writing about it before i return it a few hours into its due date, on my way to a corn maze. reading the author’s motivation, she claims that she would count success as a reader walking away thinking about their own relationships and decision-making process in any way, so i suppose this book is a success. it takes ghosting to the absolute next level. everyone always has at least a brief moment when someone disappears that something could have happened to them, but it all comes down to your abandonment issues vs theirs, and there’s this weird power play attached to who “leaves” first, and i guess i’ve never seen death as an abandonment, because life has always been so much more present. the introduction of the next generation, and the inheritance of abandonment in the form of reality is also a thing. yesterday as i was leaving, the trope of clones was being discussed on the radio-the concept of do-overs and giving up your present life for a second chance at the sacrifice of it, but it’s also a way of starting over. even when you are so obsessed with someone (who is so obsessed with someone else) that you miss the fact that you are hurting everyone who loves you.

18) an american marriage-tayari jones this one has been orbiting for some time, but i only put it on hold when i found out that tali would be moderating a talk with her for IFOA at the end of the month. silly me. right away, i knew that i would love it, and i’m kind of glad i avoided press for it, because what a treat it was to fall into its pages. the story, the plot twist, the format of letters, the history that is unveiled-whoo! and a quick google search to see what other books of hers i must put on hold has yielded that i am already familiar with the work of her brother, bomani, on the other formats of twitter and podcast, on the topic of sports. i’m kind of loving that my life right now is about shooting the show and catching up on my library materials. and letters of my own.

“There are too many loose ends in the world in need of knots. You can’t attend to all of them, but you have to try.” (187)

“It’s like the difference between a raw egg and a scrambled egg. It’s the same thing, but it’s not the same at all.” (41)

“If you have a woman, you recognize when you have said the wrong thing. Somehow she rearranges the ions in the air and you can’t breathe as well.” (16)

19) office christmas party-dir. will speck and josh gordon i’m not gonna lie-this one was a complete impulse pick one day when returning my library materials-way to use my home branch, though the system continues to disappoint this year, with the refusal to back down on the grounds of hate speech-but supports my theory that the folks who profit most are the ones who don’t really care about the library-i mean-it’s a pretty clear stance to not support local authors’ and performers’ boycott, not to mention a petition that got 8000+ signatures faster than the settlers could hand out syphillis-infected, alcohol soaked blankets to the indigenous. shame, tpl, shame. i guess jennifer aniston and jason bateman have a real office comedy niche going on for them, and i will see anything that kate mckinnon is in. this is the first thing i recall seeing tj miller in since crashing, and he’s got a russell brand thing going on. this was silly, predictable, and perfect for zoning out between shooting days.

20) 13 reasons why-season 2 i am still figuring out my feelings about season 1 of this show, and it’s interesting to find out that they have since removed the suicide scene, though i feel like they pushed it even further this season with that surprise rape scene and all of the somewhat irresponsible flirting with gunplay and the reasons and methods that kids have access to in expressing their feelings with guns and bombs. it’s still a completely casual attitude towards sexual violence and underage drinking that is wildly problematic, and i’m not sure that the disclaimers are doing any good. i am also not sure that slut shaming is adequately addressed in a way that does not glamourize it, and unlike other shows that just claim to be “telling the truth” instead of presenting even a different outcome in a fantasy world-i’m a bit intrigued that bryce gets his “just desserts” in season 3, though my money’s on his mom. i do know that black tar heroin is a realistic addition, thanks to dreamland. as an aside-it’s horrible that the screen adaptation of that book focuses on fentanyl between the us and canada and not the other relationship between the us and mexico that is way more nuanced and implicating.

21) haiti noir-ed. edwidge danticat the second of the akashic noir series that i’ve read now has reminded me that mystery isn’t my favourite genre, so i should prolly take a break, though i am intrigued by the travel aspect of things. i was legit shocked by some of the plot twists and the win of the “dark element”-i can see why this works as escapist for people. i was surprised to see that mark kurlansky was a part of this, and that he’s been reporting in the caribbean, but then again-i’ve read his books about salt and ports (oysters), so i’m not that surprised, just delighted to “know” someone else in this ensemble cast. i appreciated the kreyol, and the fact that i can kind of understand it, and giggled to remember the misguided secret intentions of that man to start literacy projects with me in haiti (that he never told me about) whilst also refusing to teach me kreyol. my only pull-quote comes from the editor’s piece:

“San manman, motherless, was the way you described someone who was lost, brutal and cruel. Fantom, ghost, was another. People without mothers, it was believed, were capable of anything.” (125, Claire of the Sea Light).

et, alors.

22) while we were young-dir. noah baumbach for some reason, i have a strong memory of this director being that of the squid and the whale. i barely remember the movie, though. funny how the mind works. i guess hip hop is not the only way in which halflife generations are observed, it was just the one that became first visible to me. that being said-watching these people do “hip hop class” at home and in the studio to “hit ’em up” is one of the most uncomfortable things i have ever seen. part catfish, part mid-life crisis, this movie is watchable enough, but kind of depressingly inspiring in the way that girls and reality bites are.

bag check (not packing light tonight)

this is a particularly good one:

in a regulation-sized cbc arts tote bag tonight, i am carrying:

-captain’s hat
patrick dewitt’s french exit
-one butcher coat
-three sharpies (black, blue, green)
-one work t-shirt
-one silk scarf (to keep hair back at work)
-one white with red rosebud tank top
-dog wallet that holds money
-dog wallet that holds lipsticks et al
-agenda
-one cherry cheesecake
-1L turkey gravy
-one rabbit heart
-one rabbit liver
-two rabbit kidneys
-one sliver duck liver pate
-half sliver pork liver pate (with mushrooms)
-keys
-phone

bonus hand carry-autographed han han poster

#stayganda

september 2019-en pleine vierge

duolingo line: 373 day streak, 12,785 lingots, 620,016 points to date
language learned: latin

100%. a few years ago, CTRL was my album, but now-truth hurts is my morning, noon and night. this is why:

the full moon in virgo that led into this month brought me the courage to set honest limits with people, and pull out many of my white hairs whilst listening to oprah’s audiobook. i’m gearing up to go to montreal for a heartbeat, and i’m going to pay full price at the ex for the first time ever. but i should be in a cottage by week’s end, and i will have enough stamps on my passport to enter for a trip to china at the mandarin. also-i may have parlayed my way into a sephora giftcard for being employee of the month at my meat job.

also, i got to take a lovely jaunt to montreal to celebrate other virgos and be celebrated. i blinked and was back on a very delayed bus ride home, picked up a pair of colombian grandparents, and came home to a rejection letter from the library (i guess they really didn’t think i could lift those books after all) and a birthday greeting from my dad-gratitude all around.

i would say i won sephora wonderland, and have enjoyed many great meals and laughs with good peoples, so there’s that. i also got to go to letter writing for the first time since march, because my cottage plans fell through.

i was catching up on my last remaining episodes of inflection point, and am going down the rabbit hole that is inside trader joe’s. possibly in 2020, i will lift my travel ban to that country south of us and will immediately try their EDIBLE SPOONS. i also added dunk town and uncover to my roster. there’s something about having more days off than you asked for, and less days than is ideal to return library materials that inspires one to fill the brain through multi-media. zahra also got me a bathroom speaker, so i can say that i have been listening to pods while i get ready-the aluminum box that is my bathroom is finally advantageous!

the parkdale library is back up and running! i have moved all my holds over to a branch that is geographically closest to my home, that does not have a caste-system of picking up your holds. i thought about it too late so there will be a few that will still go there, but i’m still volunteering there (for now). session one ended up in my student standing me up, just like last year. AND THEN I QUIT. and i’m hella re-considering my allegiance to date to this place that was so janky with the job application process and their borderline illegal questioning. i lift hundreds of pounds of meat, bitches-you missed out.

the full moon in pisces brought hella feeelings (i wept over kawhi’s game seven shot and an amazing saxophone performance in detroit, lol) and then we had a coven meeting on the dancefloor that brought so many endorphins that i woke up extra early to get to the farmer’s market that wasn’t even open yet. yeaaaaa funk music and fine people!

the screening party for tallboyz at the drake was amazing! shoutout to my bread plug for that chance to shake bruce mcculloch’s hand and call him a national treasure. also-look at these doods going from the sketch circuit to the mothership.

i had my medieval times bday party after all, just at the yorkdale bazille instead (a much better adjustment after the cheesecake factory hostess was massively rude and we would’ve waited two hours for subpar overpriced food anyway). instead, my home away from home nordstrom resto got us, and i had lobster mac and cheese and polkaroo made a bday cake that i shared with the table.

i had a doggie for two days! and a balcony that had no view of the tower. it was glorious to resume my pet diaries for the second time in two months. i also got to a fluffy little corgi puppy called pancake. swooon.

the bball podcasts are hella disrespect-full, with rating the pacers and the nets ahead of THE NBA CHAMPIONS and not even mentioning our name at all. i also love “i think kemba will be great until they need him to be great”, which brings my worlds together as brian windhorst is now paraphrasing lizzo.

1) the bride test-helen hoang i love that the range of north american-asian writers has extended to the genre of romance, and even more specifically, asian-american protagonists that are on the spectrum. this was the perfect book to finish on the bus and in the sunroom of my gorgeous friend’s home on the backdrop of the circular staircases that took my heart so many years ago.

“If he thought she was having sex with him again after last night, he had a few things to learn. These fruits were coming with her to her room, and she hoped he got ants all over his house. She’d secretly feed them and lure him to his bedroom, so they bit him in his sleep.” (181)

so petty, so amazing. i’m putting her previous book on hold immediately. thank you, chicago public library, for the recommendation.

2) man-kim thuy so, i decided to pack a vietnamese only book collection for the trip, and bigups to me for finishing them both. i took a “durian is bae” picture after enjoying noodles and the yoko ono exhibit, and learned today on a bench outside of la belle province’s cbc/radio canada from this book that sau rieng literally translates to “personal sorrows”.

“One forgets perhaps that those sorrows, like their flesh, are sealed hermetically into compartments under a carapace bristling with thorns.”

i’m so glad i read this one where it was written. what a powerhouse.

3) once upon a time in hollywood-quentin tarantino everyone seems to be surprised that i went to see this one. i’m just upset that i only found out how to recline the seat until the credits of this three-hour opus. also-the cinemas formerly known as rainbow no longer do a free movie on your birthday, but the guy at the ticket counter gave me the child’s rate, claiming that i had to be six-years old, but because he was a child, he didn’t understand how that made it my “champagne”. (sigh). i liked this one, for the most part, it was very pretty to watch, and i thought that i had avoided the gratuitous tarantino-i mean, he very clearly went through an almodovar phase, but then-right at the end, there was the uber-violent anti-woman imagery that dood is famous for. folx are mad about the bruce lee stuff, but i thought that was the point-everything is made up-unless sharon tate made it out alive in real life, or people’s wives really had the pull to restrict men who murdered their wives and got away with it to work on their movies. i mean.

4) green book-dir. peter farrelly i mainly watched this to see what the fuss was all about. also, mahershala. “the world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move” is the takeaway from this one, i’m not sure of the real-life backstory backlash of it all.

5) the upside-dir. neil burger no coincidence that this was the other material that was due back to the library at the same time, so i watched it back to back with the previous one. i remember watching the french version, les intouchables, in the theatre, so i was very intrigued by the casting of kevin hart and bryan cranston in the american version. i don’t seem to remember the female lead that is nicole kidman in the original, but it makes the remake interesting, and well-adapted to american co-protagonists.

6) almost everything-anne lamott so, i have loved anne lamott since bird for bird (obvi), though i admit that her religious leanings got to be a bit much when i was reading her work with a completist lens. i was glad to see her name on a list of authors with the same initials as me, as i am filing that blank of the tpl reading challenge with this one. it was quick, witty, and exactly what i needed to keep me company during day one of sephora wonderland.

“Play is learning how to wait, how to applaud someone’s else’s success, how to let others go first. It’s reciprocity and laughter. It’s very simple and it brings us deeply into the Now, and just for a while, maybe for the rest of the day, you don’t have to judge yourself or kill anyone.” (136)

“John Lennon said, ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end,’ and as this has always been true before, we hope it will be again.” (189)

7) mercury-margot livesey i found this on the toronto public library website, to fill the selection of “a book related to the periodic table” for the tpl 2019 reading challenge, and again-it wasn’t of the genre that i would usually choose-horse/mystery/obsession, but i learned a lot about eyes, which was unexpected and amazing.

“That’s the trouble with silence. It can mean so many things.” (108)

“Being a mother was already overwhelming; I didn’t want to be a wife as well.” (135)

8) 3 kings-zack o’malley greenburg this one was on the great reads for youth list, and i thought-why not check a few boxes? the early anecdote of jay-z being inspired by his sixth grade teacher’s ice-making refrigerator is mind-blowing in context, and also-WHO TAKES THEIR SIXTH GRADE CLASS TO THEIR HOUSE ON A FIELD TRIP?! that white lady musta been hellaconfident that she wasn’t giving those kids a blueprint to rob her. also, i’m not sure i buy the narrative of biggie smashing anthony mason‘s girl and then coming back to rob him. but since they both prematurely died, i guess we’ll never know, no matter what puff and fat joe say on the breakfast club. and, regrettably, that led to a search for bow wow‘s dick pix because of all the women he’s been romantically linked to, including erica mena, who is now married to saffaree-and that’s a big one. dr dre had a failed loungewear line? (i guess not everyone’s mama is tina knowles) jay-z wrote “still d.r.e.”?! 50 cent was named as the fourth king? and i guess i get that, but drake has a jet, is the global ambassador to a championship-winning basketball team, an equally shitty clothing line, and a bank partnership but no mention? also-$100 climate-controlled underwear was another scavenger hunt that i’m not sure i needed to go on, but hey-i like the learning that comes after the learning. i guess kids could learn something from this book written from a former child-actor turned hip-hop money writer. sure. get your hustle on.

9) foe-iain reid another one that i have the ontario librarian’s association to thank for. i don’t think i would have chosen this dystopia/sci-fi/thriller for myself, but its rural setting threw me off a bit. i noticed the choice to put the protagonist’s thoughts/words not in quotations when everyone around him is quoted. the pacing is interesting, and the writing is strong. woot!

10) hysteria-elisabeth de mariaffi i did more than my requisite 50 pages-77 to be exact, before i fired this one. cruel husband, ghost girl, hysteria, mother too attached to her son-there’s definitely a target audience here, and i ain’t it. (the OLA can’t be perfect all the time, just most of the time).

11) the know-it-all-a.j. jacobs this is the same guy who wrote the year of living biblically, which is the other one that i remember from the “year of” books-living with a lesser global footprint, etc. i like the idea of trying to get really smart by reading the encyclopedia, but really it’s to match my selection of the 2019 tpl reading challenge of “two books with the same/very similar titles” to john waters’ know-it-all.
i feel like i’ve been dragging my heels on this one because the author is, and i’m calling it in. i read until K and i’m liking it, but it’s hella overdue so it’s going back and i’m claiming the square anyway-i’m seriously over-reading at least one of the other categories, so whut?! and then, i couldn’t seem to shake it-i forgot to pack any other books, and i was an hour early for work, so i read a bit more of it before i sent it back.

12) the lonely island-the wack album what an experience this is-audio and visual. i couldn’t listen to it more than a few times, and could only watch it once, though i will say that justin timberlake should only do music with andy sandberg. though lady gaga is perfect (as ever).

13) life of crime-dir. daniel schecter this is the perfectly paced movie for an afternoon spent doing crosswords and one’s nails. the look of the film is also quite pleasing. the star-studded cast was the draw, and it did not disappoint.

14) burnt-dir. john wells oh, a movie about a horrible person of a chef named adam-this one seemed unnecessary in its glorification of the “bad boy chef” stereotype, but the food is pretty and although many folks in my life seem to hate bradley cooper, i’m all about him truly immersing himself as an actor. i really enjoyed the behind the scenes material on this one for the process notes. i also enjoyed seeing omar sy, who starred in the french version of the untouchables.

15) tie me up! tie me down!-dir. pedro almodovar dangit, antonio banderas was such a babe in this one. almodovar is truly a gift to us all in his film legacy. i love the criterion collection of having him speak about these films in context, and this one had a retrospective of mutual appreciation between him and antonio. it’s funny that this one set the precedent for the N-17 rating in the states, and that the mpaa considered it “pornographic” because a woman was being pleased by an unorthodox vibrator and they had a long, natural sex scene that didn’t even show anything below the clavicle, but banderas makes the perfect parallel between the story and that of beauty and the beast being the same, but one is taboo and the other is an acceptable kid’s movie-and it involves bestiality. americans-OG hypocrites.

16) a medea family funeral-dir. tyler perry this was the last one. i’m not sure why i’ve been so weak when it comes to madea lately, but i guess it’s not a problem that i will have for much longer, unless i develop a penchant for bingeing through the back catalogue. the editing and continuity wasn’t as bad as kid fury led me to believe it was, and it was a good background flick.

17) hustlers-dir. lorene scafaria so, it’s been a countdown to this one for some time, and a lot of these women were here for TIFF. i can’t say that i’m not disappointed that cardi and lizzo were only in it for two seconds, but i’m glad that the flute was played, and that the dood that cardi cusses out looks like a-rod. i was a bit weirded out by how much homegirl looks like brittany murphy, and oh shit-she’s betty cooper! that’s why she looks so familiar. i mean, i’m here for this, and i will definitely have to see this again since i missed the first jlo routine.

18) black nativity-adapted and directed by kasi lemmons this is what came up when i searched “raphael saadiq” on the public library website. i’m not sure why none of his music comes up, or any of his writing credits, but the reason i did was because i was listening to him on a recent episode of death, sex and money. i couldn’t really resist all of these singers, and i’m always down for a baldwin adaptation, and this one was no disappointment. i mean, some pretty heavy hitters here, just sayin’.

19) a place called no homeland-kai cheng thom so i read “diasopora babies” aloud and bawled out. i wrote this poem (i feel like i am continually writing this poem) but at all in such a concise, heartbreaking way. just, wow. the whole collection gave me chills and is part of the dope poetry anthologies that i have been blessed to come across as of late.

…i want you to see, to listen between the lines
to notice not only the four letters that set love and violence apart
but also the four they have in common…

(from what the moon saw)

…i remember how sad and alone i felt
when i realized that your revolution was different from mine
you fought for the right to love freely
and i fought to be loved at all…

(from between friends)

20) oakland noir-eds. jerry thompson & eddie muller this booklook got a lot of attention, the most important being from one of the editors. it’s also the book that’s hooked me into crime writing-thanks, nayomi munaweera, i’m sure it’s you that brought me here. i put a few other akashic noir city collections on hold, and i’m sure they can also serve as the selection(s) of my “a book set in a country you’d like to visit” entry to the 2019 tpl reading challenge. lots of murder-sexy, extra murder.

22) slanted comedy volume one-this is the first time i’ve seen ali wong do standup not pregnant. it’s refreshing to see what made it through to her special. and ron josol is a canadian treasure of another ilk. this is a solid collection, and as far as i can see on facebook, the series still exists on some level. but it just might be hard to find, like the asian improv group here, which-come to think about it-ron josol was/is part of that one too.

23) tehran taboo-ali soozandeh the animation of this is stunning…and ultimately this is what hooked me. now that i’ve seen it-i feel like it must be required viewing-for life. everything is so well done-the story, the personal connections, the leitmotifs, and the highlighting of the double standards and still present realities of the patriarchal world. the juxtaposition with the public hanging and the crowd of looky-loos with cellphones is quite chilling. and the behind the scenes was everything-i wasn’t expecting everyone to be speaking german, and watching them film this on greenscreen and the animating process was very illuminating.

24) frying plantain-zalika reid-benta i have know zalika in her administrative job for a minute, but she has been much too modest about her own writing accomplishments-sheesh! what a dream this set of stories has been, and she’s now at work on the caribbean harry potter (my synopsis). i love that she has contributed this to the canadian canon of multi-generational coming-of-age stories, though i wish she would’ve called it “frying plantin”, which is how i read it in my mind.

“I couldn’t describe my own skin tone; people called me yellow. People who were nicer called me caramel. I had no idea what that translated to in powders.” (125)

“There’s a script she’s following, but she hasn’t thought to tell me what my lines are.” (81)

25) the lobster-dir.yorgos lanthimos i heard about this movie, but never saw it. bryan suggested it when we went to the yorkville library after hustlers last week, and it’s perfect-deadpan, cruel, clean-very nordic. i suppose this can be classified as dystopian? i love the comment on forced coupledom and conforming to systemically en/forced relations. the “wilderness” of the loners is another interesting foil of a setting. i’m surprised it didn’t get more attention, but it’s hellaweird, so i guess i’m not. hashtag, very original. “everybody chooses dogs, that’s why there are so many dogs”. what a twisted way of showing the lengths people will go to to become the same in relationships instead of celebrating their differences, and what this means in terms of “devotion” and “love”. “it’s very high-concept, low-tech, which is heaven for an actor”-i love dvd extras and behind the scenes material!

26) man up-jack urwin what a pleasure to read a book in the author’s home, spooning with his dog. there was a lot of illuminating personal and political information in this well-written new style (vice style) voice. i learned a lot about military practices, and the links between mass shootings and male suicide and porn addiction and insecurity/lack of control over real women were sides of reality that i had not previously considered.

27) whatever gets you through-eds. stacey may fowles & jen sookfong lee i first saw this at glad day last fall/winter when i had a friendship breakthrough with danita. it was not available to hold from the library at this that time, but i’m happy to say that it caught up. i recently decided not to read the details of the room full of women’s sexual assault narratives as part of yoko ono‘s retrospective at the phi gallery in montrill, not because i don’t believe that women’s stories are important-obvi-i believe all women, but i was just so overwhelmed in that moment by the fact that the entire four floors could’ve been full of the stories, and would’ve nowhere nearly scratched the surface. the stories in this collection were difficult to read in a similar way, but i got through them. i don’t know that i was looking for coping strategies, and that is too much to ascribe to another survivor, but i suppose the truth is that we’re all still searching.

“NARRATOR:As a survivor of abuse, I suppose I am de facto an unreliable narrator. In fiction everything is real. Non-fiction is a strange place of make-believe. You don’t have to prove anything in fiction. I invented you in order to be believed.” (36, The Goose, Heather O’Neill)

“A BODY CANNOT be violated if it does not exist. This is the predicament that trans women survivors find ourselves in, perceived as we are by most of the world as men in women’s clothing, mentally ill, predatory wolves hidden among the pure fleece of cisgender femininity.” (83, The Salvation in My Sickness, Kai Cheng Thom)

and, ain’t that the truth. wow-this reality of being the most murdered and the most suspected is exactly what i wish i had last year when trying to explain a white, middle-aged cis woman’s transphobia to herself. (sigh). i hope she has since committed herself to understanding it. also-kai cheng thom is most of the reason that i’m here, and at her poetry collection before, and in speculative fiction right after, and i’m here for it all. we’ve never met, but i’m sure we have folx in common, and i wish her all of the very best in productive healing, whatever that means to her.

“Here is transwomanhood in motion, risking our lives to feel romance for a moment.” (111, Silence, Gwen Benaway)

“Writing has not brought me any miracles. Someone told me I would be a famous poet someday. I wanted to reply how much more I wanted to be loved, but you don’t say that to people. People assume being a writer is being powerful. Writing is the opposite. It is making yourself vulnerable to an audience who will read your work, comment on how much it means to them, and then leave you.” (121, ibid.)

“The notion that rape is about power and not sex is misleading. It is true that people who rape often do so to exert power over their victims, but for rape survivors, whose bodies have been used sexually without their consent, the transgression can live on in their sex lives.” (135, The Quiet Ice, Karyn L. Freedman)

“All of the teenage boys I bang openly admit that my tears make them uncomfortable. I am not bewildered by their openness; rather, it is their capacity to maintain rock-hard erections despite their discomfort that confuses me.” (145,This (Traumatized, Kinky, Queer) Body Holds a Story, Amber Dawn)

28) the sixth extinction-elizabeth colbert this is the chicago public library‘s one book selection of the year, and i’m really impressed that it’s about climate change/the anthropocene/how we are destroying our environment. it’s comforting to know that not all americans are in denial. i chose to listen to this one, and i admit that i haven’t given it my rapt attention, but i am charmed by how darwin and newton started their relationship over a diseased toad’s foot and am humbled by how powerless and power-full we are in the choices that we make in our global footprint. there is a lot of bat information here, as well as the explanation of “the new pangaea” and the remixing of invasive/endangered species and the impact of the new and old compounds on our planet’s equilibrium. i learned that people are snorting rhino horn, and that’s another reason that they are endangered. we are at least 4% neanderthal is a provocative statement, but is probably true. i love that this ends with “giant rats who may or may not inherit the earth” and i recognized joanna solitaroff as the producer from so many of the wnyc podcasts that i love-bigup.

29) jennifer lopez-dance again-dir. ted kenney i got the news that fishing would be cancelled tomorrow as i was leaving shoppers’ where i won the shiseido gift with purchase game because i spent my employee of the month gift card and got optimum points. (i am officially on a travel ban from makeup and skincare for a minute because i’m good). so, with a full face, i settled in to do some laundry, eat a pizza, and weep at jlo. this concert video did not disappoint. i had no idea that she had not been on tour before 2014, that it culminated in puerto rico with marc anthony who she was divorcing (with her new boyfriend/creative director on deck), or why khasan left the tour, but it was riveting. she is gorgeous, she is still a sick dancer, and the vegas residency must have helped with her vocals, because she definitely is a better singer. the weinstein logo just sticks out so much, argh-i hate that he’s still getting rich out of all of this.

30) the people’s future of the united states-eds. victor lavalle and john joseph adams the first thing i did was put the “original” on hold, and it confirmed that i was right to choose it as my “book you saw in a movie” selection (ladybird) for barbara’s reading challenge years ago. i’m also fully here once again because of kai cheng thom and am excited that my reading her work is corresponding with the release of her new book, and will get the kids book for the prostars. (to be continued next month-this one got shuffled for due date purposes)

31) the grand budapest hotel-dir. wes anderson i think i saw this before, and forgot, just remembering as i was putting the dvd in-but that process is so completely wes anderson-esque. it doesn’t matter, because there’s always something new to see, and the animation is stunning as per usual. the ensemble cast is also great, and now that i’m seeing it in retrospect, it’s nice to see ladybird. he once again toes the line of controversial and loosely rewrites history, with the rise of the third reich and keeps everything absurd. the trope of the indian servant returns, and i guess this is his thing? maybe he should advise justin trudeau. also-why are we conflating blackface with this man dressing up as aladdin? please and thank you? (and why did he do his legs?)

32) the same difference-dir.nneka onuorah so women make movies is a much more refreshing opening credit to be greeted by than that dynasty raper. this was so simple yet so deep, and a really head-on look at the hypocrites in the community, with multiple straight-up confrontations. but, because it’s women, it’s done with compassion and understanding. chrissle and snoop were surprises, and i was much more excited to see them than whatsherbutt “i’m not a fag” from orange is the new black. i appreciated the spectrum of mindsets from women trying to date women, and the resistance of the stud on studs and king kells rocking the weave.

33) robin williams weapons of self-destruction- dir.marty callner i had the sneaking suspicion that i had seen this before, a few months ago, but since my library website isn’t working and i can’t take advantage of the new “borrowing history” function, i wasn’t able to verify. but, even though i am sure that i have seen it-it stands up because robin williams was a master and it’s comforting to watch him work. i don’t know if i wasn’t paying attention the first time, but some of the jokes definitely feel new, and still works despite the advice of some comedians not to date-stamp jokes. or maybe that no longer stands if you are immortalized in death.

34) dirty grandpa-dir.dan mazar i’m not sure why this doesn’t show up in the aubrey plaza cross-reference in the library records, but it confirms that going into the physical buildings is always worth it. i found this on the way into work one day when i wanted to get some exercise, so i walked to fort york to return some things, and get tons more. despite the rampant homophobia, the deadpan humour is amazing, and the “tell me you’ve fallen and you can’t get up/tell me it’s 4pm and you want to eat dinner” sex scene was everything. also-great use of jidenna‘s “classic man”.

35) nurse jackie-season six it’s been a minute since i last watched this show, but it’s amazing writing and acting. the retrospective of the grace character was a thing-it’s always something when child actors grow up on a show. i suppose the insights that this show highlights best are: people are all of the things-and can compartmentalize/justify behaviours really well. it’s also not the first time that children of amazing pillars of the community are depicted as troubled brats, and there might be something towards feeling resentment for your parent for focusing all their energy outward instead of on you. it’s interesting to see morris chestnutt in this role, and the zoe character is the heart of the show, and her heart is truly broken this season. can’t wait to watch the last one.

36) twinsters-dir. samantha futerman and ryan miyamoto ok so browsing the documentary section of a new library has yet to disappoint-and this one is no exception. i bawled from top to bottom at this documentary about korean-born twins separated at birth and transnationally adopted finding each other through youtube. i love their story, their love, their families (family) and that a cursory instagram search shows that samantha has a corgi. (on a related note-i saw a corgi wearing a baseball cap and a backpack yesterday, and it’s been scientifically proven that they are my power dog, and good things happen when i cross paths with them). thank you to everyone who supported this kickstarter-y’all are heroes.

37) island of a thousand mirrors-nayomi munaweera wow. this woman is a powerhouse of a writer, and this novel does not veer from the consistently hard-hitting, at times hard to read because of its conviction to depict the cold-harded brutality of those who have been abandoned and their effects.

“Decades later, in America, when my father sees Christmas lights for the first time, he will astound us with the observation that they look just like dying octopuses.” (8)

octopi come up a lot in this book.

“To be polite, we taste Rosie’s offering and, repulsed, must wait until she turns her back to spit it out, the difference between what our tongues expect and what we are tasting is impossible to reconcile.” (106)

various hate/expectations on avocado keep coming up in my life. i love it sweet and savoury.

prompt: “add a rainstorm” (with mild edits)

in my constant inventory, i’ve devoted myself to filling all of the notebooks that i’ve started over the years. i found this gem from one of my writer’s bootcamp classes:

Montreal Jazz Fest, 2007.

She had moved into a summer sublet with cantaloupe-coloured walls and knew that her relationship was coming to an end. It was too humid for long-distance. She had just gotten back from visiting him in New York, and he was already slated to visit her for their first jazz festival. That would bring their total time spent together in recent history up to a month. Straight. In two years. What a development. She was learning that she didn’t like this amount of time together, she liked having her own life, and that he didn’t have much of his own. He wasn’t interesting, so she wasn’t interested. Not long-term. The 36 hours of real time and three months of anticipation was previously working in his favour but he was now slated to invade this tiny space. She checked the time and pre-suffocated. Later that night, the musician from Somalia would keep playing despite the monsoon and everyone stayed, filling the streets to soak up the rain like experience-starved sponges. She felt him pulling at her, but she wanted to dance and drown. Her eyes were burning, and she wasn’t sure if that was due to her eye makeup or if it was acid rain because, well, when it acid rains, it pours. She agreed to duck into a doorway with him, not at all panicked when it appeared that her phone was water-logged because if it was damaged then he wouldn’t be able to call her-four days, six hours, and seventeen minutes from now when he went home. Back in the sweltering melon, she sat on the floor, clothes fully stuck to her, and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was very heavy so she plugged in the clippers and started to relieve herself of the weight. “Don’t you want to wait-for a professional?” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a rabbit, drawn in pen by the lease holder and replied, “Nope.”

august 2019 (hot tita summer)

duolingo stat line: 336 day streak, 12596 lingots, 614,595 points, language learned: portuguese/french/spanish/italian (new stories and golding up that skill tree)

i have kid fury and chrissle to thank for this, which has become the vibe that i’m putting out there for this month. i mean, really-i have been out of control since watching that grace jones documentary, but hey-hot tita summer.

august came in like a wrecking ball-i made a new friend at music bingo, who was going north anyways, so we made it to my first freedom train, my first emancipation day, and it was perfect timing, and i have to speak all of my love and appreciation to itah for running one of the most important bookstores in the city, and for forever mobilizing the people and taking up space.

i experienced my first company picnic at murray’s farm where we oogled pretty chickens, puppies, pigs and piglets, turkeys, kittens, cows, and chicks. i also got derailed from recovering a chicken with a hand full of cake, and won the bocce ball tournament at the last moment. i almost filled out the garbage book, walked among corn fields as tall as me, and had a grand old time.

mezcal happened to me. it was a weird night, but i made it home, and did not puke. i fell asleep and woke up very early to finish it’s always sunny-season 6. the last hours of my 30s are going out sleeping on my body’s clock.

we moved into our new studio! (on one of the hottest days of the year). but it’s real, and we’ll be in production again real soon…

i celebrated my ten-year anniversary in this city at a crayon bar, spending too much money on lotions and sunscreen at shopper’s but a) optimum points! and b) shiseido has been the truth, and i’m turning 40 soon and we ain’t getting any better at environment, so i gave myself the gift of skincare. finally, adobo with bonus friends using white peoples’ things was the perfect cap to the evening. happy anniversary, toronto!

i lived in the east end for a few days-what a lovely refresh. i also have an art cart now, which is everything. the girl really likes it. we spent an art cart day together, and it was so lovely.

1) the last black man in san francisco-dir.joe talbot this may have been the best film i’ve ever seen in my life. the story, the cinematography, the casting, the acting, the wonder-everything. there have been a lot of great films about gentrification, all set in oakland, and this completes the holy trinity along with sorry to bother you and blindspotting. i heard a podcast about the making of, and saw the poster at TIFF when i went to see paris is burning a few months back. wow. what a gorgeous piece of work.

2) the poetry of pop-adam bradley this one should’ve made it to july, but didn’t. i also couldn’t do the appendix this time, but i will, at some point. i definitely suggested the janelle monae “pussy cataracts” lyric for the false rhymes chapter-second edition!

“The most danceable songs find a balance between the reassuring and the surprising.” (76)

“Lyrics can flood the line or leave it wanting.” (87)

“No one, not even Rihanna, speaks like Rihanna sings.” (102)

“Songs are made for ears, not eyes.” (118, Pat Pattison)

“The English language rarely gets lazier than it does when it’s dealing with love.” (149)

“Just because singing announces itself as meaning doesn’t make that meaning clear.” (186)

i was also led here because-rod stewart x miguel x asap rocky? ok.

3) 40 & single-written and created by leila djansi i’m not sure how i got here, but it’s quite something to see the glamour and wealth of ghana immortalized on film. i kind of wish that vanessa williams would have become a better actor than when she was on melrose place, but it was nice to see that she’s still working, and that she’s still fine. the fact that abortion, queer relationships, hiv and stis, rape, murder and fashion are depicted are groundbreaking, though i kind of wish that the protagonist could have been with a fine white lady, or at least one that looks like she could be the same age-but i guess that’s a way to interpret her “daddy issues”. also-the legacy of being called “ransome”-yikes. i thought i was mishearing it, but it was a full plot point.

4) schitt$ creek-season one catherine o’hara and eugene levy are comic geniuses. also-i want to hang out with daniel levy. this show is amazing, i’m so glad for it. for anyone who doubts the original programming of the mothership-watch this one. (and kim‘s). it’s unfortunate, but clever-they can avoid any diversity characters because they set it in a small town, but i’m here for white people’s shows-it’s kind of better when they stay in their lane.

5) definitely hispanic-lejuan james i got this completely on its cover, never having seen any of dood’s viral videos, so it makes sense that i don’t have a single pull-quote, which is not to say that i didn’t like it-it was just exactly what i expected it to be. i checked out his IG and i am glad for his success.

6) it’s always sunny-season six this one made me laugh immediately from episode one. maybe, like the simpsons, they’ve really hit their groove. the bonus materials-the podcasts and lethal weapon 5, are killer.

7) hold still-lynn steger strong “She believed in what she was giving: books, communication, it was the world that saved her once.” (82)

“She’d used one to help the other. She was pretty sure that neither would turn out better as a result.” (144)

i got here through the “i’m leaving new york/i’m never leaving new york” pairing, as well as the mother of mother issues anthology. the is a full-blown alternative mother story, and i’m here for it allll.

7) crashing-season one wow. what a great reflection of what standup comedy is truly like. you gotta find your motivation, and finding your wife in bed with a hippie art teacher is motivation. i can’t tell if i think pete is pathetic or heroic, but i’m sure it’s somewhere in between. i love the appearance of the comics, whether featured or not, and i wonder if this is an extension of judd apatow‘s claim to have done everything in his career thus far so as to be able to do standup now, but i’m here for it.

8) true detective-season two tim riggins yelling “no” is exactly how i felt when i came home from moving our studio to an unauthorized $600 charge on my credit card from MLSE and then having to text m to see if it’s also something that she experienced-what a mistake. a reminder to people-it’s called “self” worth because it’s the worth of your SELF. (katt williams). why get so worked up about what someone else thinks of you if it’s not at least a bit true? just work on it. also-i didn’t say you were a bad person, that’s just what you’re choosing to hear. you are trifling and a space case and cannot handle money to save your life, but those are all (correctable) behaviours, not personality traits. you’re hella annoying, but i’ve solved that by just not engaging with you further. but i wish you no ill-will, i hope you find accountability, really, i do. you might just need to work for it. but back to this show-it was beautifully done. i enjoyed it much more than the first season, which, surprise surprise, is contrary to the ratings (i mean, i was recently reminded that i liked gigli, and i’m proud of that fact). the extended cast, the story that doesn’t exist in the bowels of the mind’s bayou, and the less terrifying pacing made it more accessible for me than the first. and the third has mahershala?! sign me up!

9) what lies between us-nayomi munaweera this one also came from the mother-taboo anthology, and damn-it truly delivered on the perfectly-woven story. here are some pull quotes:

“Then too, motherhood is broken because in this place, to be a good mother is to give yourself completely. It is to erase yourself. This is what I refused to do. So they shudder when they hear my name, but inwardly they smile because they have not failed in the way I have.” (6)

“Everything done can be denied.” (23)

“I have misled him. But this is what he expects to hear; this is the narrative people expect from me. Is it so bad to give it to them?” (167)

10) madea’s big happy family-tyler perry i’m not sure if i’ve seen this before, but there was enough “new” plot twists that it was still entertaining. it was teyana taylor‘s first film, and she perfectly exemplified perry‘s “ghetto baby mama” stereotype. it wasn’t clear to me if bow wow was wearing contacts, or if his eyes have just gotten lighter over time. i’ve never understood the madea getup, but i did absolutely love “prescriptures”.

11) women on the verge of a nervous breakdown-pedro almodovar i’m not sure of the exact inception point of artist influence, but i’m sure that there is a “before almodovar” and “after almodovar” in my life, just as there must be in tarantino‘s life. the shots, the absurdism, and the dvd bonus knowledge that he’s worked with his brother (producer) and the same editor for all of the films makes all the sense in the world. the percolator earrings made me want to get an ice cube and a needle, and i’m kind of charmed by the fact that this movie is about how the world is perfect, but men still lie. hashtag, universal truth.

12) vi-kim thuy i falsely assumed that kim thuy‘s books needed to be translated from vietnamese to english, but really, they needed to be translated from french to english. that being said-either she employs an amazing translator, or she just writes so beautifully across all languages that this collection of vignettes categorized by places in places comes alive-the ones that i’ve been are strong enough to float the ones that i haven’t visited, and her work is everything. seeing her recently at the reference library with the live demo of the cookbook confirms that she is also everything.

“She had the delicacy never again to talk to me about my father. Perhaps she understood that I needed silence in order to hear his voice again, and to find a path back to him.” (128)

13) schitts creek-season two i mean, this show is amazing. but the cast is amazing, and i learned that the show is the baby of lindsay‘s old boss on corner gas. makes sense. the smalltown cbc comedy that has gotten a makeover and makes fun of rich people-a winning combination. also-i haven’t seen chris elliot since get a life, probably because he played a similar archetype, and he twisted himself into a pretzel in the opening credits of that.

14) black girl magic-eds, mahogany l. browne, idrissa simmonds, and jamila woods i found this because i heard the song exploder podcast of jamila woods’ song “baldwin”. the public library doesn’t have her album, but it did yield this amazing collection of poetry that does not suck at all. i love that it’s organized in the way that it is-spreading out peoples’ work, because i enjoyed looking through the contributor’s notes after each piece, and i love that all of their author shots are so varied-from the sideeye to the joy to the choice to be smoking a giant blunt-i’m here for this addition to the canon. i love naomi extra‘s ode to her grandmother’s girdle, am struck by this line in toluwanimi obiwole‘s “Amerikkkana”:

…What does terrorism even mean to a man who knows his colonizer’s anthem better than his father’s eulogy?” (147)

and this gem from thabilise griffin‘s “destiny, chile”:

i like my cereal soggy and my liquor irate

and my favourite from the whole collection is morgan parker‘s “Magical Negro #80: Brooklyn” which is in part a cover of the lord’s prayer. i also learned that “one thing about music when it hits you feel no pain” was a bob marley lyric before it was a dead prez one (and well before it was a drake one). though britteney black rose kapri‘s “micro” is a close second fave.

15) the return of kid cooper-brad smith i literally gasped, “a western!” when i got this one. the last western that the ontario librarian’s association recommended i read was the sisters brothers, and, well-i can’t be mad at that. i love that it was my cat-sitting staycation book, and i was literally terrified by cats entering my room during a particularly tense plot point. it was saucy, it was well-written, it incorporated a real and racist practice of stolen land into the “cowboys and indians” narrative, and i couldn’t recommend it more. it was a real desperado tale.

16) the simpsons-an uncensored, unauthorized history-john ortved i don’t feel like there is any new information in this, other than liz taylor telling matt groening to “fuck off” because she kept making maggie‘s first word too sexy. the most interesting part for me is that it seems to be read by the same person behind “effective personal leadership”, which is an odd juxtaposition, or is it?

17) it’s always sunny-season seven danny devito is perfect. i am really glad that he has found such a perfect ongoing role. all of these idiots are perfect, really-i feel like i’m in the place where i can really see the humour of this show now. i’m glad i stuck it out for seven seasons.

18) hobbs and shaw-dir. david leitch i knew i wanted to see this from when we kept seeing the trailer for it during our nba championship winning playoff season. the rock can already do no wrong, but idris elba as an evil sexy robot?! throw in some badass women and cameos by the dumbdumbs that are kevin hart and ryan reynolds? this type of ridiculously expensive and explosive action flick ticks all the boxes of escaping to a summer blockbuster. i love that i could recognize some of the hawaiian-influences in the language thanks to the course i’ve been doing on duolingo.

19) crashing-season two i like how this season dealt with the realities of dating someone who is also in comedy, or, more generally, someone who works in the same field as you. competition, ethics, and luck are all parts of negotiating a relationship as such, and throw in the self-absorbed, insecure profession of standup?! yikes. it’s kind of creepy how much ally looks like jess tho-and i’m starting to wonder if apatow has tyler perry leanings when it comes to writing female characters as irrational and emotionally mean. *one to watch. i like that he keeps winning and losing, and i don’t think it’s an accident that i’m writing about this at the same time that i’m listening to the last episode of the imposter, which is aliya’s live standup set (amongst other things).

20) the most beautiful-mayte garcia i finished this one at propeller, where i cashed in my free mocha (on their confusing old-system card) maybe at a table with aliya‘s at least one-time brooding partner? it was another side of the story of prince, the legend-as it was proof that he essentially groomed himself a child bride. mayte is very gracious, only mentioning that “in retrospect i think he liked the power dynamic” of marrying someone so much younger than him, but he really was on a lifelong revolving door of staging the next one while moving the last one out of paisley park. i could tell how much her heart broke, and how she still very much relates to her own body as a little girl, but if your only boyfriend became your husband, and that guy was prince-what do you expect? she gives a few glimpses of her exclusive insight to his history of drug use, and how she could see the parallels of her being the next girl with carmen on her way out, and her being the one on the way out with manuela coming in. i had forgotten that she dated tommy lee, and google just told me that manuela is now married to eric benet-yeesh! i’m glad i found this one at gerrard/coxwell last week, and i wish mayte all the peace and healing in the world. i did have a flash of inspiration by her v-shaped bangs, but we’ll see how that might shake out with this shaved side. (sigh).

21) the breakbeat poets-eds. kevin corval, quresh ali lansana, and nate marshall it’s interesting to note the differences between poetry anthologies as compiled by women (about black feminism) and men (about being hip hop adjacent), both in form, content, and ensemble cast. i like that this one is organized not only by a poet’s contributions, but also by their age. the differences in people’s bio photos between the two is also something of note. i’m also noticing that there is no listed 1979 contributor-dangit, i missed that opportunity. i’m charmed by the poems dedicated specifically to rappers (24 haikus for biggie for each of the years he was alive), the ode to a fig, and the change of tone from the folks born before me to the folks born after me. ocean! danez! jamila! morgan and mahogany! i love that i caught up on my inflection point pods that included the episode where mahogany was performed black girl magic-the poem that i presume begat the anthology.

I’ll be the air that you breathe
I’ll be your number one fan.
I’ll scream the ‘heys’
I’ll tolerate your hoes
I’m a Hip Hop cheerleader
.” (74, mic check 1,2-jessica Care moore)

22) secrets from my vietnamese kitchen-kim thuy i love that kim thuy is doing all of the things-she’s truly an inspiration.

23) the hustle-dir. chris addison i guess i’m feeling remakes of ’80s films because i’m here for this one (originally directed by frank oz!). bigup to rebel wilson for producing this as well as starring in it, and i guess anne hathaway is now the queenpin in a posse film. it’s interesting that she speaks dutch tho-thank you, dvd bonus material. i also love her outfits and styling this movie, and the fact that everyone calls her “annie”.

24) the path made clear-audiobook read by oprah winfrey it’s short! and there are a few good tidbits to listen to whilst laying on your couch with a sheet mask! it’s interesting that the whole point seems to be that you are bigger than your money, but at the same time-a large part of this woman’s empire has been about gross capitalism and the acquisition of things, but one needs the other, i suppose.

25) it’s always sunny-season-season 8 from the beginning-i’m here for “pop pop-the final solution”. in fact, before that-i was mesmerized by the opening video game sequence. the dinner for schmucks plotline with the sexist twist? nobody saw that coming. DR JINX! what a perfect cameo! LADY HOUSE!

july talk 2019

duolingo stat line: 306 day streak, 12,247 lingots 602,221 points
language studied: arabic (brand new!)

i suppose july 1st has always been a big day for me, and if it has anything to do with canada day, it’s more in line with quebec‘s understanding of it being “moving day”. i left montreal on july 1st, 2009, and last year it was my shift-aversary to a renewal of my commitment to live my best life. i wanted to go to the beach and go to the mandarin, and while i did neither of those things-well, i went to the mandarin, but arrived too late to participate in the buffet, (so my bday it is!) i did find myself in the endogphins of staying warm in the ac under avery while his gentle snout moved my fallen ripple chips around. and i got my version of a subscription box of frankie‘s medicine cabinet rejects (“i’ve never heard anyone get that excited over neo-citron“) and took a nap before heading uptown. i had a conciliatory cinnabon and actually had a lovely time at a well-organized and delicious bbq with more dogs (swoon).

i couldn’t wait until my birthday to go to the mandarin, and i loved it in the moment, and had a giant tummyache after. go ahead, tell me you told me so. (sigh).

WTF IS THIS FREE AGENCY?! i maintain my calm and stance around kawhi, but everyone else is off the rails! thank you, homie, for at least keeping us in the top ten news items FOR WINNING AN IMPOSSIBLE CHIP for the duration of you revealing your next move. aaaand, mans is in LA. give our best to lou will-thank you (and you’re welcome) to everyone. listen to these pods be so disrespect-full as to imply that the mufuckin’ KNICKS (a team of which i haven’t been able to name three players on for the last four years, at least) are better than us now that kawhi is gone, LOL.

i am sad to report that the meat lover’s pizza at pizzaville is not what it was/what i remember it to be a few years ago. (sigh). but at least it was cheap and i can move on now.

i have renewed my commitment to my tpl reading challenge, currently at 10/25 completed, but i have filled in my selections for the rest, and have signed on for the ola evergreen reading list and the toronto book award long list. it’s a cute addendum to include kids and teen books on the tpl reading challenge, and i like that the chicago public library is doing an adult summer reading club. libraries are amazing and all of our lives are enriched by them. i also love that the philly free library podcast of john waters‘ latest junket (that i listened to after the audiobook, but was the reason i knew that he had a new book out) has him saying “the library was where i saw my first glory hole!”

i have been so heavily recruited as of late-and it finally happened-i was offered a corgi (really one every year) as a signing bonus. on the real-i am on the verge of shaping one of the biggest offers of my life-and glad to reap the rewards of trusting myself. i have so much gratitude in my heart for the people doing good things, who also see me.

also west coast-you’ve taken enough of my loved ones this month, ease up, ya heard?

1) creed II-dir. steven caple jr. i never saw the first one, but somehow i didn’t think it mattered. it didn’t. i am definitely pre-menstrual because i bawled throughout this movie, even though i felt a bit tricked by the fact that i was watching a complicated american hero movie vs. russia because the hero is black. also-damn, michael b. jordan has done a lot of physical work-this is the one he did immediately after black panther. i’m not sure why people hate tessa thompson but i’m here for her. i even tried to mimic one of her manicures in this film, albeit with a much closer colour combination lest it went sideways. finally-how does sly stallone get away with the amount of work he’s had done on his face? and those eyebrows?! whyyyyyyy?????

2) it’s always sunny in philadelphia-season four what a perfect follow-up to a day that i spent quiet after my first volunteer shift at feed it forward, the pwyc grocery store. there is a lot of meditative energy in culling a bunch of produce and building beauty-full displays. the challenge was that i was going in tired and the ac was down, so it sapped out all of my energy. so napping/being on my couch watching this show was the way to go. at least they gave me a musical this time to go along with their usual “ironic” racism (representation matters) and explosions and took it to the final frontier of cannibalism. it felt like there were less episodes, and i suppose that’s a good thing.

3) the sisters brothers-dir.jacques audiard i was surprised to find this in the stacks at runnymede. the book reads like a total movie, so i’m surprised that i didn’t know that it was made, let alone with joaquin pheonix and john c. reilly as the brothers. oh, because it’s a french production. fitting, as i’m set to read patrick dewitt’s french exit as per the annual ontario librarians’ association evergreen list, which i was reminded of at sanderson the other day, where there was a sign and seemingly none of the books, but i got one, and put the others on my holds list. i really like the score of this film, it’s interesting-kind of modern and experimental, unexpected on many fronts. the toothbrushing scene is just as magnificent on film as it is in word. ok, i’m not really into this. i’m not really watching it-it might be too “period piecy” for me, and while i applaud the efforts, i’m thinking more about cleaning the bathroom. yikes.

4) last interview-david foster wallace i’ll admit, i put a lot of these on hold at the same time, and think i mixed him up with david rakoff (i know, i know). i was a bit disappointed when i’d discovered my blunder, and admit that i couldn’t even get through three pages of infinite jest, and probably hold dave eggers’ work to unfair confirmation bias for what teeny sliver i was able to stomach (and of course he does one of the interviews). because it’s mentioned in the intro and body of the collection, i have to question david streitfeld‘s claim that “no one in the issue went on to greater fame except Wallace” of his profile for details magazine (yes, it’s dead but…) that also included stories on adam sandler, john woo, and coolio. what the fuck am i missing here?! all of those people are waaaay more famous than dood. i really like his statement of tv having the inverse function of books.

“The language is always smarter than we are.” (16)

“Most of the modern writing I like the best is both sophisticated and colloquial-that is, high-level and complicated but at the same time intimate, sort of like a smart person is sitting right there talking to you-and I think I do little more than try to achieve this same high-low blend.” (121)

5) fifty shades of black-dir. michael tiddes i knew something good would come out of seeing fifty shades of gray, and now-here it is. this was an impulse grab from bloor/gladstone because i was killing the hour before music bingo (my streak of bringing folks that win while i get sooo close continues). marlon wayans got fine. or least his body did. this was a perfectly executed parody.

6) friday foster-produced and directed by arthur marks “friday foster, pam grier structure, look at your body…” is exactly what i thought of when i saw this on the shelf at runnymede. i love black thought, and always will, not only for his ridiculous breath control, but for the fact that i’ve learned things from his raps, like thomas’ toasts and now this. this movie looks like it was shot in 1975, in a good way. apparently, this was a comic strip first? i don’t know that i am convinced to look at that, but i love a young, fine pam grier (as opposed to today’s fine pam grier) choosing to work as a photographer rather than be pimped out. ALSO, EARTHA KITT! there are a lot of people who can walk with knives or gunshot wounds in the back. there is also rampant sexism though she toes a delicate line. the soundtrack is pretty amazing. i also don’t know how down i am with the idea that her kid brother pulling a fast one on her, like the opposite of penny and the dog in inspector gadget-instead of helping, he’s making a profit on her expensive gifts. she got that luis vuitton tho. and she’s sexually free without being painted as a ho, which is inspiring to see.

7) the last interview-david bowie “The media is either our salvation or our death.” (50, 1974 Rolling Stone interview with William Borroughs and Craig Copetas)

“Certain countries don’t need rock & roll because they were so drawn together as a family unit.” (51, ibid.)

i had no idea that bowie‘s actual true artistic love was acting. this is kind of like iverson actually being better at football than he was at basketball-mind blowing! these insights (as well as the bizness about the holograms) is quite forward-thinking, i gasped aloud when i read the interview by iman for bust magazine, and love the banter between him and alexander mcqueen. i was also quite interested to learn that bowie was born four days after my father, what a year 1947 was-and it explains why my dad “knows davids bowie”, which was his comment on how he didn’t know george michaels.

“Wide shoulders are the flared trousers of the Eighties.” (107)

and, i am now seeing bowie as a fashion historian.

8) god’s pocket-dir. john slattery interesting. this film doesn’t show up on slattery‘s imdb page, and a full title google search yields that it is “an uneven debut”. i usually don’t do this before i start the film, but i was waiting for the torey lanez album (that i’m not sure i’ve heard) to play out. i picked this one up at st. lawrence when i went to the post office before work, and honestly was instantly sold by turturro and philip seymour hoffman-it was surely one of his last projects. on the day that i find out that an entire pig head costs a mere $10, i come home to watch a movie about stealing meat to pay gambling debts (in part).

9) the duff-dir. ari sandel i’m a sucker for a teen movie, mostly because of how bad they can be, but this one has ken jeong and romany malco and allison janney, so it was amazing. i guess we’re at the point where there are no more ideas, because this is also based on a book (go, YA), and while i’m not rushing to read it, i’m glad that writers are involved in the film adaptation process. another gem from st.lawrence.

10) lay the favourite-dir. stephen frears i watched this one on the evening before i found out that kawhi chose the clippers, who somehow also managed to get paul george. i’m not a betting person, but this was a nice look into the world of bookies. another star-studded cast, this one definitely one for the soft “feminism” of the day, but an absolutely entertaining after-work wind-down. also-alex voss as a platinum blonde stripper? here for it.

11) hateship loveship-dir. liza johnson this is somehow billed as kristen wiig‘s first dramatic role, but i’m sure there have been others before it. she really is great. my favourite is her pretending to be liza minelli pretending to be a lampshade. it’s a bit unsettling at this point to see harvey weinstein as partly responsible for this film, especially with the young female shining stars, along with wiig and jennifer jason leigh. loneliness is a mug. and it’s easy to make up a romance with someone, especially over letters, and so much more heartbreaking when they’re fake. this move in and forced wedding hits a bit close, and i wonder about women whose determination leads them to this end by any means, only to regret it in the near future after their “coup”.

12) the early works of cheryl dunye if i taught a film studies class, this would be the one. there is just so much in her catalogue, and i could design so many syllabi/talking points/direct lines to present her/story with her themes and accomplishments with experimental dunyementary. it’s been amazing to see her get better at completing a narrative arc (as i have binge-watched so many of her works recently). “i went through the process of learning the technology first, and then learning to speak” daaaaang. this is the perfect summation in her own words.

13) never can say goodbye-sari botton isn’t it the most ny shit ever to publish a love letter to the city immediately after a breakup letter?! i mean…again, i’m glad that i came to this through the things we don’t say about our mothers anthology. it is dedicated to maggie estep, who must have died between the printings of the set. this one doesn’t have as many “star” writers, i say as i’m about to read a piece by whoopi goldberg. followed by the one by alexander chee.

“Did you know that the Jefferson Library on Sixth Avenue used to be a women’s prison, and the word catcall came from the women who leaned out the window to call down to the street?” (10, New York, in the Mirror, Rosanne Cash)

this is the exactly the kind of badass fact that i needed to learn while i am sending a young dear into new york with my favourite spots, and exploring the streets of this fair city with the same energy as one would on vacation. on the day that i finished this at propeller, i nursed a delicious espresso tonic, saw a fleshlight “in person” left on a toronto sun box after writing about them in my sex column after a hot tip from the ny museum of sex, and met a shiba inu puppy. the world is a wondrous place. it’s also no accident that folks have mentioned dog day afternoon in this collection, and i know exactly what they’re talking about, having just watched that one too.

“I witnessed New Yorkers sobbing alfresco all the time-or at least I noticed it and then quickly averted my eyes, hoping others would do the same for me once it was my turn to fall apart.” (147, Quit Everything, Kathleen Hale)

i can also identify with the feeling of having an amazingly accurate meeting with a psychic, and then having a completely trash meeting with a psychic in the city.

“New Yorkers are fascinated by movies, because movies are fascinated by New York.” (154, City of Mundane Fantasy, Elliot, Kalan)

“Like so many of us who don’t know what to do with ourselves, I chased a relationship.” (162, SF -> NYC, Isaac Fitzgerald)

oooh-weeeee! this one hit a bit too close.

“The thing about missing eight winters, though, is that you forget that you also missed eight springs.” (165, ibid)

forest for the trees and all of that.

“I almost move to Los Angeles every year, but I never wrote love letters to it.” (179, ESB, Rachel Syme)

14) billy crystal 700 sundays-dir. des mcanuff netflix might be the place that makes comics, but hbo (and that signature sound effect) is for comics who are already made. it’s the place for a concept show-and this is a one-man show. the laughing and claps feels a bit canned, and i’m not sure how much of it i can handle. (17:03 is the answer to that question).

15) puzzle-dir.marc turtletaub so, the last feature film i watched ended with vacuuming in a frame and this one started with vacuuming in a frame. i can definitely relate to the joy of doing a puzzle, and the resistance to having a cellphone. what an amazing concept for a movie-ah, it’s based on a argentinian film. kids are fucking entitled jerks. i’m glad this ended the way that it did, but shoutout to everyone who has been a “filler” relationship-it sucks, but we usually know what we’re in for before we make that mistake. this was kind of a shit alternate ending, save that she’s by herself.

16) overboard-dir.bob greenberg just how common is amnesia? i love that it’s set up as a telenovela, as soap operas are where the most amnesia seems to happen. i may have stopped listening to anna faris‘ podcast, but that doesn’t mean that i don’t find her irresistible. i really think she is comically matched with eugenio derbez here. i’m also loving the concept of making sure the rich men get theirs. and giving single moms a break to study for nursing school without working. “sometimes, dad’s leave”. i’m a puddle. and the genderqueer middle daughter wearing a suit to the wedding and flying the seahawks‘ flag?! i’m done. i love this impulse pickup at bloor/gladstone. OH SHIT! THIS IS A REMAKE OF THAT ’80S MOVIE! WHAT A CLEVER TWIST!!

17) the last interview-gabriel garcia marquez the GGM book i ever read was his autobiography, so that’s a thing. i read it when i moved to toronto from montreal and took a detour through vancouver. the read came off tasha‘s shelf, during a surprisingly rest-full weekend in victoria, when we were still friends. i will forever be great-full for that, despite how things eventually fell apart there. i have gone on to read a few of the fictions, but am kind of holding out to when my spanish is good enough to read them as he wrote them.

“Before we leave, we learn that he studied law for four years and then was on the faculty for six months, but that he doesn’t remember anything from those studies because he spent all his class time writing stories…” (12)

“Every writer must write the book they’re able to write.” (19)

“Death isn’t a necessary condition of revolution; revolution doesn’t have to continue to be an inventory of disaster.” (28)

“When it comes down to it, the writer’s duty-his revolutionary duty, if you like-is to write well.” (59)

18) the dog-produced and directed by allison berg and frank keraudren wow. imagine watching the godfather to inspire your friends to rob a bank with you, only to have al pacino play you in the movie they made about your bank robbery. this was a new story to me, but i was intrigued by the summary on the cover. i’ve seen a number of “documentaries” about heists, and was kind of waiting for this to be revealed as fake news, but it was not. stranger than fiction, and definitely worth the watch.

19) how to lose your virginity-dir. therese shechter i had no idea that the creator of the barely legal porn series was a woman, re/writing her own non-consensual sexual initiation, but this was one of the things i learned from this doc. i also had no idea that purity balls in part fund emergency pregnancy clinics, and just how backwards things are in the states in terms of reproductive rights and health. this short doc crams in a lot of crucial information, and showcases a lot of different women doing the work. i also appreciated jessica valenti‘s face, which have never seen before, despite reading her books.

20) becoming bulletproof-dir. michael barnett i fell in love with documentaries, i’m sure i’ve mentioned, in victoria because i spent much of my undergrad at the cinecenta, the on-campus theatre that did such a good job curating documentaries for me. i’m so great-full to the public library for continuing to provide this service for me. this one is amazing in all of the ways, and i can’t help but fall in love with everyone involved in the zeno mountain farm project. and, of course, i am bawling. and i have a new entry for the bucket list that is my life-i gotta participate in this at least one year. i gotta meet AJ.

21) the last interview-oliver sacks so, awakenings was about tourette’s? and based on his book? i knew he was a neurologist, and had even remember one of his last books when he was on the junket for it through the philly free library podcast, but had no idea he had worked so extensively with the subjects of awakenings, robin williams, and temple grandin. all i can remember is the cover of the fisher king, so i immediately put awakenings on hold (just as i did dog day afternoon) so that i could check it out. it just kind of seems like we are learning the same lessons over and over again when it comes to our identifying differences, and that’s either hope-full (we do keep learning), or exhausting (we have to keep learning the same things), or just the truth that we don’t have that many moves as humans, so we might as well make them. of course he was a regular contributor on radiolab (and i forgot that because i overdosed all those years ago), and his last interview was with them at BAM, one of my favourite places of mixed-medium learning in the world. also, of course his work with the brain and music is referenced in the poetry of pop, and the first selection i read from the OLA evergreen list is about brain matter. no accidents, just soft focus.

“What was happening was that he was unconsciously copying the shape of the letters with his tongue. And that would show people who lose their reading are still able to write, which is a strange thing. So in a way, he was converting what his eyes saw and writing it with his tongue. And I would absolutely not have thought such a thing was possible.” (66)

me neither, but this is one of my biggest fears, so, phew.

22) women of resistance “i saw a latinx bookstore in california that reminded me of you-there was a huge mural of selena and it was full of books like this” is pretty much the highest compliment someone could pay to me when i pull out this one to match my company to my booklook before tita jokes, the star of this year’s toronto fringe festival. i am pretty sure it was recommended by another story or a different booklist, one of the city’s remaining bookstores. it’s a small, punchy volume, and i love that it, along with tita jokes, acknowledges that women are neither a monolith, nor the sum of our “parts”.

“My god understands how for generations bodies like mine
were the choice for someone like you to make.
Do you know how many years, women like me
lived equally afraid of both hangings and hangers?
Yet we’re still here, everyday carrying ourselves.” (44, An Open Letter to the Protesters Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job, Elizabeth Acevedo)

“O, to be permitted the luxury
of only worrying about one thing at a time.” (135, Shiv, Rachel McKibbens)

23) george-alex gino this book is my selection for the “banned book” category of tpl’s 2019 reading challenge. it’s kind of hard to believe that it was banned for having a trans protagonist, but then again-plus ca change….and all of that. the narration is interesting-third person first, it feels like, and that would very much be in line with the subject material.

“Dad made a better part-time father than a full-time one.” (26)

24) the saturday night ghost club-craig davidson well, this is actually the second of the OLA evergreen list, as i read camp forevermore in the fall. and i heard about the author because his book was shortlisted for canada reads the year that jully black took it to jeanne becker, so that’s a reminder to go back and read that. this was a fascinating read, really well-written and took me in from the beginning, with the passage of tense, which, now, i’m seeing, is exactly like memory, and mimics how the brain actually processes things, and the ghosts of memory past can be real or imagined ghosts. wow. i will be thinking about this one for some time to come, but yea, librarians-thank you for being amazing.

“It was just like my uncle to lead you halfway down a lonely road, stop, and ask if you wanted to be there at all. By then you had no choice, did you? He’d brought you there, and he was the only one who knew the way back.” (95)

“Hungry ghosts are born when a person dies wanting something, be it love or hope or sanity. That’s why they have slender necks and gigantic bellies. Pretas have enormous appetites but lack the ability to satisfy them.” (131)

“Memory becomes what we need it to be.” (237)

25) skyscraper-dir. rawson marshall thurber ok, so i’m still all about the rock being in everything, but this die hard tribute is taking it very close to the edge, especially because it seems like a bizarre commercial for duct tape. it is an interesting meditation on the u$’ insecurities about china once again, i mean this is literally about building the tallest building in the world, and having your wings burnt off like icarus. it’s a good thing that i’ve got season four of ballers to balance this all out.

26) arrested development-season four maybe i just needed some distance, or i’m remember this completely differently-i don’t know anymore. i was late to the series, and had watched the “old” episodes just as the new ones were coming on netflix, and remember not being into the first few episodes, but this scratched copy of it, all these years later, was perfect for a day of sweating and sleeping out my first (and maybe last) mandarin buffet. i do miss these characters, and in retrospect, all these amazing guest stars that were using this as their jumpoff.

27) the seas-samantha hunt this one is a re-issue, with more stunning cover art. it reads like the nourishment that is her other fiction. i never thought to call it magic realism, because that is usually a genre i affiliate with south asian authors who write in (beautiful) circles. i love the focus on words and water in this one-thoughts for food and food for thought, if you will.

“My mother is regularly torn between herself and being my mother.” (19)

“There are two rooms used as libraries, for which my mother and grandfather keep two separate and opposing systems of organization in their heads-hers by subject, his by the way he feels about the author: Animosity, Betrayed, Curious, Delighted, etc.” (37)

how facking petty do you have to be to do this

“I told her voler oddly enough means both to fly and to steal in French.” (87)

“The word prison shares a root with the word surprise, from the French prendre, pris-to take.” (182)

“If one word can mean so many things at the same time then I don’t see why I can’t.” (216)

28) dog day afternoon-dir. sidney lumet i’m totally here because of “the dog”-i had to see what the prisoners of gen pop viewed along with john wojtowicz. i wonder if the “attica” chanting was added for their benefit. a lot of this wasn’t in the documentary, it’s hard to say what has been embellished, even with all of the years that have passed, and both versions. i have a good idea now what has been embellished. but hey, 1972 al pacino, i see you. i wonder what john waters thought about this story and what he would’ve done with it. the “making of” documentary bonus material is enlightening (as per usual). it’s kind of amazing that it’s a lot of these actors’ first film, though probably great that they had done stage acting together. it’s interesting that the writer celebrated his oscar on set of a star is born, and there’s an ad for that film on the marquee during one of the shots. it’s also interesting to know that it was nominated for all those oscars the same year as one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

29) awakenings-dir. penny marshall even if i saw this movie before this point, i don’t think i would’ve been able to appreciate it or understand it in the way that i do now. i was especially moved by the friendship that oliver sacks had with robin williams, and how he was weirded out by just how close he got his mannerisms in this portrayal. i love how it is shot with a focus on mirrors and eyeglasses-metaphors for “reality” and dreams, living and existing, reflexes and momentum. robert deniro is truly a great actor, he really captured the ticks of someone that has tourette’s, and did so with compassion and care-full study. i don’t really like the hollywood ending of hinting that he asked the nurse out for coffee romantically, but maybe sacks wasn’t out at that point.

30) just like being there-dir. scout shannon “if you’re a misfit, or an artist, and you don’t want to make money, it’s the perfect place for you” “good thing i went to flatstock, because if not, i’d be in law school!” this is in the stack of documentary gems that i snagged from st.lawrence last month. “the history books will tell you what happened, the art will tell you how we felt about it”. i was hooked from the first statement that at its heart, poster art is copyright infringement. i must have touched a poster that has been screenprinted at some point, but i just don’t remember. i’m a lover of the niche, so this is the perfect doc for me. i can also see the extreme pleasure of carving the levels of the screenprint-i’ll put it on my list of things to do again-i did a brief workshop at the st. emilie skillshare back in the day, making a print of my own face. years later, a new roommate saw it when she went home to visit and confirmed that it was me.

31) holy rollers-dir. bryan storkel i’m ready to say that this hand-full of docs that i got from st. lawrence is the strongest that i’ve procured in awhile. the idea that these christian pastors et. al have come to be the biggest team of card counters started just to make some money on the side is very intriguing to me, and reveals big church to be the pyramid scheme that it is. the pastor that has branched out into selling mom jeans and “nutritional product” justifying that god is ok with him also playing blackjack is a trip. over the course of the doc, he couldn’t reconcile it with his god. i really just wish he would shave his goatee-it’s so public-like. i wonder if the christianity of the players makes it easier for them to buy in to the pot and make an hourly wage despite how much they win-i don’t know why some don’t just splinter off as independents. “i think the casino is wrong because they mislead people”…interesting projection. the disguises tho. they acknowledge that it looks weird that he was let go from the team as the only non-christian. “god has provided this all for me-it’s my calling.” “some people go to business school, i ran a blackjack team”. with a pretty, pretty great rate of return, if i do say so myself. it’s an awful lot of biting the hand that feeds you when they’re all saying how much they hate casinos. interesting, but flawed logic like the interpretation of christianity itself.

32) the farewell-dir.lulu wang WOW. the only thing i saw about this was a brief glance of the cover (so brief that i didn’t even notice i was looking at awkwafina, but she wasn’t wearing a wig or glasses or anything at all but her face) and that mish had texted me asking if i wanted to cry my eyes out with her, and friends-that kind of therapy is good to have. it was so brilliantly cast, acted, written, shot, and scored. and to find out that lady is half of a power couple with barry jenkins?! whooo! i didn’t actually get to respond to simu‘s invitational (and only now realizing that he was next to jeremy lin on the raptors’ caravan), but i’m so glad so many folks turned out, and that i must have passed danita on the way out. i definitely need to see this again (and again).

33) ballers-season four so, ricky‘s lying to the woman in his life again, guys are blowing too much money, and now, russell brand is in the mix? at least he is more entertaining than he was in his audiobook that i could only stand for three minutes. it was priceless to see him yell “allah akbar” just before the young surfer put up his black power fist on the podium in a tribute to john carlos, tommie smith, and the panthers. it is interesting to see spencer dating a black woman, hey joy bryant-nice to see you haven’t aged a minute, but their chemistry is not at all believable. maybe because she’s a nice lady and more hotep than ho-tip, but still. the t-shirts are still on point, the wit sharp, and “tinder for dogs? man people keep stealing my good ideas!” and the sunken place bbq is hilarious tho. but it took a dark turn very fast. why doesn’t this guy ever take off his sunglasses when people could really use seeing his eyes? (oh, because he was saving it for the second last episode) and why is everyone so unduly mad at him when they are all implicated in the same shit? i have to take my hat off to the show writers and runners to keep this football soap opera going so strong for four seasons, and i love how it’s such a present example of justice and doing the right thing. whooooo. except ricky-he’s always doing the wrong thing. maybe for the right reasons? but maybe not.

34) time is illmatic-dir. one9 & erik parker it’s been 15 years since illmatic, and i’m glad dood is still touring-i have seen him a few times over the year, and he’s coming with mjb in a few months. the album has staying power, and this doc really focuses on the history and making of-knight makes an appearance, as does destiny, but there is no mention of their mamas or how the relationships happened. the testimony of his brother and father is something, and the scenes where they are reminiscing about where the folks in the liner credits are is kind of heartbreaking, as his his brother saying, “i’m not calling anyone out, but why wouldn’t you move if your son got shot? i had to pass by this courtyard where i got shot every day, and that’s kind of traumatizing.” oh, man.

35) grace jones-bloodlight and bami-dir. sophie fiennes “my expectations way exceed theirs” “i need more rouge” wow. grace jones is a clinic for life. her hats, her face, her stage presence, the fact that she seems to be shucking oysters constantly-aaaahhhh. what an icon, what an inspiration, what a hero not afraid of taking up space. no matter where. i think i was supposed to see this in the theatre, but i’m glad that i saw it after overnight inventory, when i was just laying on the couch eating popcorn and dried mango, bleeding into the power of my moon. it really set off my wine/weed/tarot/manicures hang with alex in the park.

36) it’s always sunny in philadelphia-season 5 i feel like this was one of the most succinct seasons, and any feeling that i wasn’t here for the rest of it have at least now been assuaged. the jokes are snappy and the timing is perfect, and rhea perlman is flawless once again. they took on the sexism, and i think this is the lane for them, it doesn’t make me as uncomfortable as the race stuff, because well, representation matters. season 6 is already on hold.

37) the book of salt-monique truong this one was recommended by anita, when we attended kim thuy‘s talk at the reference library for her cookbook. the bare minimum of a search to find out if this is a true story yields no answers. it’s certainly an interesting perspective and a snapshot of a time of many conflicting interests-french, american, vietnamese, gay, creative, and culinary.

“It denies her. It forces her to be short if not precise. In French, GertrudeStein finds herself wholly dependent on simple sentences. She compensates with the tone of her voice and the warmth of her eyes.” (34)

“Anh Minh believed that if he could save three minutes here, five minutes there, then one day he could tally them all up and have enough time to start life all over again.” (43)

“…but he was broke, and having no money at sea, he had learned, is better than having no money on land.” (108)

“A cook who has no desire to eat is a lost soul. Worse, he is a questionable cook.” (138)

“Yes, I know that they could have concluded that just from hearing you speak, but my Mesdames are in this way like me. They never assume that words can tell them the whole story.” (186)

“Words, Sweet Sunday Man, do not have twins in every language. Sometimes they have only distant cousins, and sometimes they pretend that they are not even related.” (223)

somehow, the days leading up to this book’s due date had slipped past me, and it’s a good thing i decided to honour the desire to go home and read this to return it on time, rather than not use my time wisely at the volunteer job that was not good at honouring my time this morning. it meant that i was around to answer the call to interview at the libary-a call i’ve been waiting for for close to ten years now. eeeeeeee!