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.

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pickleball

“the fastest growing sport in north america”

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

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

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

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

why is it called pickleball?

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

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

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

one boy brought his lizard last week.

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

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

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

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

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.

america, fuck yea.

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

it’s been a week since the height of our time in america on the slightly ridiculous roadtrip that we embarked on from toronto to detroit to chicago to toronto to montrill.

at this time one week ago, we were getting our lives in the gorgeous chicago opera house with emily king and the alabama shakes. dear music, there is only one brittany that matters. hands down. what a force to be reckoned with. all shade to the philistines who left during “over my head”, which became my new “adore”-the show wasn’t over for me until they played it, and indeed, even though i knew it would be the end of the encore (like “the seed” at the cody chestnutt/roots show or “touch the sky” at the glow in the dark tour), it was still amazing.

on our way there, i paid a dollar for a sweet tea at mcdonald’s-which was just as good as popeye’s, and i have to give it up for the fast food and junk food options south of the border-i really do.

i am completely puzzled as to why americans have not wised up to the toxins of styrofoam, though. i felt like the only one who was even concerned, and i feel like that’s a west coast thing. but then again, i am also very offensed by the screens everywhere and the continual broadcast of donald trump, including out of speakers at the gas pump-though that’s fitting, it’s a reminder at the very place of the very resource that people are dying for every day. i sang back “bitch don’t kill my vibe” into that speaker, and i hope that prayer will be answered.

although i went to the motown museum with an emcee last time, this was a totally different experience because i am actually so moved and great-full for the music of the two singer/songwriters that i went with this time. we all cried at different times, and me most at how current marvin gaye‘s “what’s going on” is. it just reminded me that there is a precedent for black and blue lives, though i’m not sure if either matter enough to learn from history at all-but i’ll say it again, we don’t have that many moves as humans. as we descended the stairs into studio a, we all felt the spirits, living and dead, who have breathed the air before us.

i entertained the car by reading aloud from usa today, and while i harboured no disillusion that that is a reputable paper (complimentary from the holiday inn), i had no idea it was that bad. i mean-multiple stories about pokemon, a terribly written expose on crack cocaine use in brazil (“crackolandia”) on the front page of the sports section, and kimye vs. taylor-it’s beginning to look a lot like the national enquirer….

i was glad for a few days in montrill just to kick it-cooking, smoking, shopping, sweetgrass sweeping and laying low to kick it with my sistars. shoutout to bota bota for being my new jumpoff every time i’m in the trill.

my final analysis on america is that their music has always been and will always be the answer to their continued assault on love. i have every hope in my heart for our mesmerizing and ridiculous southern cousins. may you get it together sooner rather than never.

i will continue loving you from afar-this realization made clear my fascination over the years. thank you? and you’re welcome.

thank-full

“diamonds (in the back) and pearls….”

a grown and sexy night of well-dressed adults witnessing commonwealth r&b royalty in a stunning venue uptown?

done.

every show henceforth will be a tribute to prince, as i don’t know/love any artists who are not directly inspired by Him. but that one was church 2 the dawn and we all needed to leave some things on the dancefloor.

shoutout to my co-parents who weren’t there because of the celebration that allowed me to wish “happy birthday, prince” in the morning before the show-it went verrry late and i wouldn’t have been able to babysit.

shoutout to all the lovelies (surprise and otherwise) who i was blessed to hold communion with, it was lovely to see you, and i am comforted to know that those who need to find their way somewhere, will.

to my new friend that i bonded with over cathy dennis-heeeey.

to my oldest and my coldest-i sat at the merch table for a sec, so i know you’re the only one who bought the ivana santilli double-vinyl.

to glenn lewis‘ backup singers-i love you. thank you for bringing the most joy to the stage from the pocket that i’ve seen since stephanie mills‘ back vocalists. i always have a special place in my heart for yous.

the walk up to the venue reminded me of broadway in vancity, and the vibe/venue reminded me of the king’s theatre in brooklyn, so i’m glad for the fact that i get to have all the aspects i love in a city that i really love for all of its own treasures.

i’m glad for the car ride home, not only because it was hellalate (i’ll gripe about the time breakdown of sets some other time), but mostly because of the singalongs and afterglow that is best witnessed together.

to amalia-thank you for telling me about secondhand sunday. i woke up a bit late and was moving a bit slow, and told the barista, “to go please, but i have my own coaster” but i made it to ward 21 and got a few classic albums on cd and the shelving set that will become my queen piece. you have an undeniably unique way of sharing.

i almost didn’t make it on this writing sunday, i’ve been feeling hermity and ate a bunch of random food today (including spicy salmon sushi, swiss cheese crackers, a cream soda and slurpee!, the aforementioned coffee, and a giant slab of lemon custard cake) but i’m just sliding in.

yessssss.

oh-i’m pretty sure lemonade is just foreshadowing another family tour, and my immediate reaction was to kiss my teeth when it was over. but, i was entranced the whole way through. (sigh).

doubles

me: “i failed all my tests!”

baby mama: “YAY! here’s to failing many more”

me: “or at least not buying any more papers from the internet!”

i suppose the universe sent me the distractions of having to put out all the fires at work to tide me over until i got the good news, and to set me up for the epic journey to sunnybrook hospital via ttc to support my girl as she held space for her mama, and let me deliver the joint present/and figure this out over a dinner that didn’t taste a thing like tea:

linds: “i don’t know why i’m so concerned about what to wear to coordinate the visits tomorrow..”

me: “well, it is your birthday…”

linds: “true..”

me: “but it’s not your quincinera. wait. IT’S YOUR DOUBLE QUINCINERA. we better go upstairs and see if you have any tulle.”

happy birthday to my dear, strong friend, and shoutout to the doorman with the mostest who not only waited for us after his shift was over, but leaft a note for the occasion on her car that he drew in blue highlighter.

it’s a dope world, if we make it.

bassets in glasses painting at the sunnybrook gift store-i’m coming for you. or at least am going to attempt watercolours to bootleg you. right after i start my official rebrand of the 30th bday as a double quincinera. i’m also counting down the 9 years that it is until my triple quincinera.

massages and congee

carrie brownstein says in her brilliant book (post forthcoming) something about wanting to shake things up and put herself in an unfamiliar situation to find comfort in adapting to that new situation, and finding home (i paraphrase to identify).

today’s post is a shoutout to two of my favourite little things that have become constants in my toronto life. the first is the sutherland-chan school of massage. i don’t even remember who told me about them, but i’ve been like the guys from high fidelity for at least three years-i just kept coming back. their $40 expert student massage is unbeatable, and now that i am so blessed to have such comprehensive benefits at work, i can at least go every month, and at any given time, i’m holding a free massage. the punch card is the truth-your fifth one is $5, your tenth one is free, and every time you refer someone, you get a stupid discount. jane is amazing, and it’s lovely to spread the love. the students learn so much that you can be confident that if you see them more than once, they’ve learned a multitude of things, and will adapt to your needs very quickly. every two weeks, i walk out of there grinning like a loon and massage-high. (also, if you’ve gone a really, really long time without getting laid, massage is a great way to experience non-sexual sensual touch).

the second is the preserved pork and thousand-year egg congee at gold stone. i don’t think i’ve gone two consecutive months in the past six years without eating this-it’s the ultimate comfort food. as noted tonight on my second date with horace grant, there are so many other things to eat at this cornerstone, but i always have to think twice, and 85% of the time, i end up getting this. the waitress with the leopard-print short hair is my favourite.

i am full and content, collected $13.25 and a perfectly-folded origami shirt out of my dream fund today, baby tate clearly said “i love you!”, and we won our exhibition game in the uk today.

overall a win over the mild disappointment that i think the spurs fan is a robot/catfish/14-year-old girl who never wants to meet up because they’re a sham-whomp whomp.