november 2018 books (and beyond)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yesssssss.

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

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

and the first line of the acknowledgements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Diaspora, 149)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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september 2018 books

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

here are the books:

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

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

3) Secret Path-Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

august 2018 books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

total: 7
summary: v.slow burn

july 2018 books

it’s been a helluva month. i’ve been all over the place, but here are the books:

1) white oleander-janet fitch. i got this one from a book swap at a friend’s mom’s place. i was a bit worried that my book (i drink for a reason-david cross) would not go over well, but it ended up being fought over. i also learned that some people engage in the appalling practice of reading the last page of a book before they decide to read the rest of it. gaaah. this one was super intense, but so well-written that i couldn’t put it down.

2) high rise stories-compiled by audrey riley (and read on the 2nd floor of the reference library, not sure why this is not in general circulation, or who told me about it, but i am certain that it was on a podcast)

3) you play the girl-carina chocano (again, i think this was in liner notes or contributor’s notes or something of that nature)

4) how to american-jimmy o. yang. desus and mero brought me here. even though they covered a lot in the interview, this was like a grass jelly milk tea-refreshing and easy to drink. i like that he wrote it himself, unlike most basketball players and coaches, and i’m looking even more forward to crazy rich asians.

5) what is not yours is not yours-helen oyeyemi everything she writes is magic.

“Consent is a downward motion, I think-a leap or a fall-and whether they’ll admit it or not, even the most decisive people can find themselves unable to tell whether or not their consent was freely given. That inability to discover whether you jumped or were pushed brings about a deadened gaze and a downfall all its own”. (290)

6) nothing ever dies-viet thanh nguyen this one took me a while to finish, it was pretty dense, literally and literally. the idea that sticks out the most is the monetizing of nostalgia, from the cu chi tunnels to the zippos (i got one when i was there processing my identity fresh out of university that had an engraving of saddam hussein and missiles that lit up with the caption “anxiety peace we” this book broke that down)

gratitude-the jar (2017)

it’s that time once again! here’s the jar:

movies:

another great year of big screen love, laughs, and a bechdel-approved possible future. shoutout to ms. ava duvernay for her hundred million dollar budget, i’m blessed to have seen her $200,000 masterpiece. although i only have four stubs for girls trip, i saw it 7 times in total, which is another first. on a related note, i also saw set it off, which i thought i had seen, but turns out i only had the soundtrack-it was the golden era of soundtracks! i also experienced my first drunk feminist films with obsessed, a film that is just as terrible now as when it first came out. the rainbow cinemas were also bought by imagine, so my bingo card, full but not honoured (whomp whomp) is also in the jar. i miss the mural.

in no particular order:

girls trip, girls trip, girls trip, girls trip, girls trip* (found it), snatched, baby driver, get out, table 19, rough night, hidden figures, 3D lego batman, fist fight, migrant dreams, dying laughing, the big sick, a bad mom’s christmas, three billboards outside ebbing, missouri, love, sex and eating the bones, middle of nowhere, set it off, rude, annie (2014), neruda, 9th floor, the hitman’s bodyguard

shows:

i continue to be floored by local talent, and be inspired by my s/heros:

blocko (EVELYN CHAMPAGNE KING), foundations (ellen bryant, desiire, abscvnd), allie, lal presents the forest, selah genesis/lady parul/adria kain, kung fu kendrick lamar, bruno mars, nas and miz lauryn hill, kd lang (ingenue 25), sean paul/brandy/ginuwine, manifesTO (the internet, jidenna, isaiah rashad, majid jordan-all the local acts i came to see went on very very early), secret drake/dvsn/majid/that kid that’s not quite on beat, nomadic massive, vox sambu, ali wong, chris rock, sound of the beast, flowers while we’re living, the youth/elders project, rhubarb festival (38), shades of our sisters, walking with our sisters, colors presents r&b only (before-free lipstick with zahra and steak and lobster, after-P&L, nice leans and arms, 2 TERRIBLE HICKEYS “sigh. giving up on men. but their arms tho”), salomon and kurt (november), dark & stormy (impromptu decision to perform), jen kirkman, nasty fantasy: a janet jackson vs. mariah carey burlesque tribute, chance the rapper, fredy v. album release, fredy v. at the night owl, anh phung’s tullstars, kid fury’s furious thoughts, baduizm-a tribute, soaring in liquid skies, funk frequency, DATU

reading and writing:

-my wonder-full bday cards-38 was a trying one, and i’m glad that i commissioned my flossy posse to be by my side
-a real estate note from lindsay when i woke up after apple picking and a lamb coma-she was taking rusty for a walk and had taken laxatives
-two future letters to my father and two to myself (put back into the jar, i’m not ready to open them yet)
-a polaroid of sj‘s book club books from at least 2010 (young-ha kim’s black flower, marie n’diaye’s three strong women, and rahul bhattacharya’s the sly company of people who care) i read all of these this year
-latre chicken’s birth announcement card
the love lettering project’s parkdale writing workshop (8 weeks of magic at the parkdale public library)-i’m so great-full to have participated in this
-three love letters from the puppy (all the best to you on your journey)
-5/8 of brah brah’s reading challenge from last year: a book that may require a dictionary for some of the words-jonathan franzen’s purity (feb 20, 2017), a published work written by a person you know-kenji tokawa’s “why you don’t have to choose a white boy name to be a man in this world” from gender outlaws, the next generation (jan 14, 2017), a book that endeavours to teach you a new skill-designing your life by bill burnett & dave evans (october 16, 2017), a book that bears your name-sticks angelica…folk hero by michael deforge (may 16, 2017), bonus: mention in duana taha’s the name therapist, your host’s book when you are a guest from out of town-rupi kaur’s milk and honey from julay‘s shelf when fam went to costa rica and i took vacation to watch the babies
pam picked up my mary j. blige cd and slipped a sticker in it
pam hid my christmas card in my kareem abdul jabbar books
-i booked a massage as a pick me up, and when i got there, jane told me that she pre-ordered shine like a diamond for me, “for all the times you’ve come in here and lifted me up”-my note on the print out is: “i was moved to tears. the irregular cells are back, but we will get them.”
-diasporic intimacies launch (yea to the babes and other friends that are in this anthology)
-71 books read

the basketballs:

-the 2016-17 printed schedule with notes: saturday, december 3rd’s win against the hawks (savage), my beginning of the season’s plan to fly to chicago for the valentine’s day game, but then the election happened and my amendment of “nope. travel ban my loved ones and i travel ban you”, playoff summary: beat bucks in 6, swept by the cavs-whomp whomp
-notes on my UP express tickets (one waxing very verbose about magnetic calendar night) and all the 50/50s that i did not win (and hence do not yet have the $130 crew neck that i want)
-my first playoff game (that first loss to the bucks)-i decided to go last minute and sat in the sprite zone, i still celebrated post-game with an alleyway makeout session and priscilla’s 38th bday at the parkdale drink (tunes by sweet touch)
-contraband food, an official season ticket holder thrupple, and more upgrades from dave (section 112, where the playas dwell!)
-march 29 vs. the hornets with zahra, jan 10 vs. the celtics (with evan), jan 24 vs. the spurs, jan 29 vs the magic (biyombo’s return), feb 6 vs. the clippers, dec 17 vs. the kings (with maya), oct 21 vs. the 76ers (with maya), dec 29 vs. the hawks (with maya), mar 13 vs. the mavericks (with cj), nov 5 vs. the wizards (with mikey), pre-season vs. detroit (with mikey), april 7 vs. the heat (last game of the season with maya), dec 5 vs. the suns (with kevin) and oct 19 vs the bulls (home opener with maya), jan 13 vs. the nets (with bryan)

the artifacts:

-memorable scattergories: with maya on thanksgiving when we were under the influence of ganja milk, with cj and evan with pizza, christmas morning with lindsay and justin
-tags from my first outfit by lustre design
-unicorn building instructions
-the first baby bootie that i ever knit (one of my resolutions last year was to knit something other than a scarf, i did booties, hats, a cowl, and am working on a blanket now)
-turquoise mardi gras beads from a little girl i met on crazy mouse on that one great date i went on with mary so many glasses (who never called me again)
-a 33 pieces of cheese log completed (at chfa 2016) that made it in when i cleaned out my filing cabinet in the mold hole
-my keys to 2995 dundas (aka the mold hole) farewell to my junction home of the last 7 years
-bejewled ceramic red bottom charm that i found two years ago but kept hanging on the edge of the jar for this year as well-i am retiring it this year because of the closed circle with the red bootie
-the raptors lanyard given to me by michelle years ago, it broke this year
coy kuya‘s setlist (my dream dj spinning erykah, ivana santilli, evelyn champagne king, bilal, grove theory, quincy jones, new edition, bobby brown and janet-swoon)
-a $46.81 stamp receipt with the note “i work for postage” across the top. another year of writing and posting at toronto’s first post office, including the knowledge of postcrossing.com (to date 56 sent, 55 received) i also bested this amount with an $86.15 receipt for stamps last month that should last me some time
-a stunna shades patch “to kanye from HOV” found june 7th
-my JFL master level badge (what an amazing festival that keeps getting better and better)
-a pack of yo! mtv raps trading cards (from annick) featuring the illustrious digital underground, heavy d. and the boyz, young mc and krs-one
-wendy and peter’s wedding matches from may 28th, 1983
-my UofT badge for boundless-TO queer history film series (thanks, FZV!)
-my new business card
-a pink sparkly birthday candle
-last christmas’ candy canes from the lovebirds downstairs-they hung on the door for most of this year
-my brendan shanahan trading card from the night we saw KD win a championship at dock ellis
-the jacek chocolate couture catalogue that maya and mama maya got for me on their trip west-we ate them at the baked potato block party on the first day of autumn that brought the first summer weather (40 degrees!)-we ate them before they melted and headed to kensington for pedestrian sunday
revamped business card-i’m so glad i got to know katherine better this year, from the coffee shop to the parkdale flea
-a planetarium ticket that i found in julay’s jean shorts
-one of my stm tickets from this year’s time in the ‘trill
-the sloane heavenly cream tea packet from vegan supper club
-my torn coffee bingo card from the abbott-my local shop that has cinnamon and cloves on the bar-yum
-a “breathalyze me” napkin from wendi‘s collection
-my chequebook log-it took until june 11, 2017 (11 years) to use 200 cheques. i couldn’t write my september 2018 rent cheque, so maybe that’s when i will move? or switch to the bank account that includes e-transfers?
-love, mom ❤ the brown bag that was my rosehound surprise sack
-“i get to choose what family means to me” my first affirmation coloured from this year’s $5 gift exchange with cj after last night’s bruha ceremonies
-“let’s avocuddle” card to commemorate walking the OOAK show with lindsay this year
fredy v.‘s digital download code for #ItTakesAVillage
-one teeny postcard of godzilla and the empire state building (xmas 2016 gift from the el-hadi russells), the rest went into cj’s bday gift that i pre-read
-a sweet stocking stuffers gift tag for this year’s $5 gift exchange
-a tag from the dream catcher that i bought from latre
-THE LEGS (these aren’t not the legs you’re looking for)-evan makes jokes and signs, and jokes on signs
-the note card on my 7-year gift from the store (a money tree), this arrived on neron‘s 30th bday (his last in parkdale before he moved to brampton this year with the birth of his son)-it’s the end of an era of not seeing him or his mom any more on the street, he got picked up by an old asian lady at the shwarma shop, it was amazing. later-i saw kendrick lamar
rokcork business card-one of my favourite local businesses, this year i got a backpack and a baseball cap to go along with the two pairs of shoes that i got last year
-my xmas 2017 present from the gazelles, an ali wong “lie down” pillowcase
-a pack of juicy fruit gum (the official gum of the toronto raptors)
-a single broken clappy hand from michelle
-a puto canton business card from pride and retail therapy with wayne-they advertised kisses that they did not deliver on
-my cassette receipt from masimba’s estate sale-what a lovely day of virgo bonding and being claimed by little nia immediately
wendi sasso‘s celebration of life card (pride sunday)
-my ticket for the ex (tsp vs. was on hold this year), solo with lindsay this year
-the film stars “unconventional” launch flyer where i finally met erin kang
-my love letter project postcard commemorating my return to on-camera work and finally meeting lindsay zier-vogel
-spoon from eva’s original chimney cone-i thought it would be hot and this was the first time that my cash was refused at an establishment

(highlights from) the daily notes:

-ten year friendaversary with zahra (celebrated at nordstrom, obvi)
-i returned to the pool (thank you, kary)
-more growth at studio po, another year in my long-term non-committal relationship with iyengar yoga
-i finally got to taiko class
-lots of vietnamese lunches courtesy of brian and nina at latre
-I LOVE LISA
-meeting brigitte mystique (for lunch at norstrom)
-colouring books, pencil crayons, colour/paint by numbers
-i have an office amethyst because i got to choose it out of the trunk of someone whose groceries i carried out to the car
lee daniels’ star, the best show on television
-getting verklempt for fay and fluffy story time for santa in the junction
-i decided that my power hair will be “growing this side to my ankles and keeping this side at a 1”, men hate it, it’s working
-“blessings are as blessings do”
-almost a full month in MTL
-i hugged the raptor (though there is no photo evidence because michelle didn’t have her glasses on)
-lots of good healing from susanda (acupuncture) and sharon (yoga)
-chinese new year with jess and james
-robbie burns day vegan supper club with valentine date
-clove cigarettes banned by law (but smoked one on NYE and found out that they’re still sold on baldwin)
-“hokkaido squash + roxanne gay”
-“love yourself, and you will come”
-850 day streak to get 10,000 lingots on duolingo (25 languages)
-30 day jumping jack challenge
-30 day squat challenge
-evan took me to nations in mississauga
-i cured fanen’s vertigo
-i rang in $1440 in marshmallows
fredy dedicated “pretty brown eyes” to me at his toronto show
-“my mom says that when it’s sunny and then raining, rats are getting married”
-double taurus colpo support team
-double aquarian leep support team
-meeting and holding chicken at 5 days old
-lots of good times with cat at our work places
-“sonia has hot hair”
-“we (cj and i) laughed about boundaries and mr. roy made him carry a lawnmower”
-north york eating tours
-i fell in love a little bit with a panda (i’ll always have those kisses)
-i was in a pile of (yorkie) puppies! (it was a dream came true!)
-finally made it to stories of ours
liz trout‘s estate sale
master of none season two and cracking the bake code
rafe esquith replied to an email i sent him
the heart podcast
lux‘s coming out party solo exhibit-so proud with her!
-i met cat’s baby olivia
-more streetknit
-asian brunch!
-dad has my “biblical cord”
-“i found new settings on my vibrator-woot! also, i didn’t go to yoga and feel great about it”
-i got on stage at practice, (very badly) sang “pony” at live band karaoke, and got recognized for working at the store
-desus and mero slam dunk baby baptism video (i love these two and am so glad i got to see them live at JFL this year)
-in the studio audience for canada reads
-two clothing swaps at temple 23 (RIP)
-“I AM NOT ARRANGING BAGUETTES! SLEEPING IN UNTIL 9:30 AND SHIT!”
jj bean is in toronto now (but so corporate)
-i moved into an iphone and got instagram
-lindsay and i wanted to go to take back the night but got as far as taking back the eaton centre. we designed the best garage sale posters and got up at the asscrack of dawn to sell wendi’s things in markham-polkaroo gets no wine glasses
-i wrote and sold my first script
-ontario ginger gold apples
-sleeveless in september
-“wendi’s ipod taught me that it’s a semi-charmed kind of life and not a semitone kind of life (my way is still better)”
-swapped summer clothes out for raptors gear for the first time, it feels so clean!
sza’s ctrl

the notes not written by me:

may 20, 2017

“when we go to sleep, we hear raccoons. simple and plain.” -kenza

“how many kisses do you need?”-me
“all of them”-tiju

“don’t talk to me-i’m not happy”-kenza

“goodnight. (i love you – in whisper).” -tiju

monday, august 28th: grateful for: the fabulous jackalope (that mythical being), corgi shirts 4 mins to closing, eternal bubble tea decisions (I can’t remember what i just ordered), ALPACAE-there they are!-making a paw, the Superdogs’ theme song NOT GRATEFUL FOR: the nonexistent entrance to Ricoh Coliseum (sorry, Stojko) -lindsay

sweet potato soup and honey tincture for a perfect mixture of soul nourishment meant to mention the array of beauty within your soul so colour-full I am most grateful for your being + allowing me to bee love you thank you for your hospitality authentically creating your best life I am inspired + admire your desire to live true. Cheers this rooibos tea to infinity more life no Drake Maya the Bee

pictures on the gram.

seventy bucks (bag check)

so here’s the thing-i like to spend money. i’ve been debt-free for over two years now, always pay off my monthly balance, and earn an honest living. i also support artists, make donations to the library and worthy causes, and generally share liberally.

that being said, i’m sure that i could’ve spent some of my retail therapy on therapy therapy, but everyone self-medicates, right?

i worked a weird split shift today so that i wouldn’t have to go in on my day off tomorrow, and in between, i went up to nations. i wasn’t ready for the sensory overload, but how does one get ready for that?

i completely zoned out and rolled my cart through the aisles, grabbing ingredients to make every vietnamese dessert i know how to make.

here’s what $70 got me from nations:

-one sachet of dried guyabano
-one sachet of green tapioca pearls
-one sachet of dried phillippine mangoes
-one sleeve of glutinous rice pastry
-one pack of mung bean vermicelli
-one large chunk of pumpkin
-one generous bag of pea tips
-5 pack of sesame instant noodles
-one japanese matcha cake
-one bag of persimmons
-three purple sweet potatoes
-one sleeve of duck egg and lotus pastry
-one pack of frozen durian
-one pack of rice paper rolls
-one rum raisin and hazelnut ritter sport chocolate bar
-one bottle hoisin sauce
-one bottle of sesame oil
-one pack of bamboo shoots
-one can of bananas in syrup
-one can of grass jelly
-one can of nata de coco
-one can of palm seed

a few weeks ago, i blinked at sephora at sherway gardens and spent $70 on 8 mini lipsticks by kat von d.

i am living my best life, y’all.

a question and answer for kendrick

dear kung fu kenny,

a) why do you want biyombo to sit down? we could really use him on our team still

b) the answer to your question “how many ni**a$ get mistaken for clitoris in a day?” is none, nada, zip, zero, goose egg, just nope.

the clitoris exists merely for our pleasure.
nobody in their right mind would ever mistake a man for that.

thank you and you’re welcome,
flossy.