january 2019 books, rants, and beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(swoon).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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october 2018 books

i missed the turning of the months again, this time because i do not refuse trips to ikea. i found out after i was laden down with frozen meatballs and wooden hangers that i had the wrong bus pass, and the charitable driver of the #47 detour bus took me to queen and sufferin (when, oh when, will you be constructed, once and for all?!)- bless his heart. i also missed a hold for the first time in a very long time, but i managed to get it while it was still on the premises, even though i will pay the $1 fine because the library needs to make money somehow.

here are the books:

1) Lust & Wonder-Augusten Burroughs i didn’t know about this one, but discovered it on library tour. while i do not obsessively buy jewels, i can identify with spending money on pretty things when you don’t really have it-i think it’s a bit of a coping mechanism, but also a bit of a “fuck you” to the world for daring to insinuate that we cannot do anything that we do not want to. i also think it’s an important one, timing wise, because it deals with getting out of a long relationship that is no longer working.
*update, upon consulting an ancient reading list, i found out that i did know about this one, as i wrote a note to myself to read it-well, done.

2) Happily Ali After-Ali Wentworth more of the same-palatable bites of funny-kind of like this blog (when i’m not angry or frustrated with the patriarchy/white supremacy). but the kind of book that i could write…

3) Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry-Brittani Williams walking with a dear friend the other day, she commented that it was hard to find a female hotep, to which i replied, “erykah badu”. sometimes you just want to read some fifty shades of heeeyyyyy. i found this on the library tour, and read it on the way uptown to my first thanksgiving of the season. it’s mostly terrible, but compelling enough. i was wondering if this was really a man writing as a woman, because i’m not sure if the multiple orgasms of the female characters are aspirational or delusional. i would like to meet the women who come like this-but i guess that’s the point of “mr. orgasm”, this mythical creature who fucks the shit out of you, but also holds you and is presented as the hero that rescues the 22-year old “good girl” after drake‘s own heart, who doesn’t have any problems with the fact that he is a legit ho that has also fucked her mama. also-how do we ignore the huge plot hole that the evil mother character was also responding to her husband fucking the dancers? i’m not gonna lie-i did go put everything else this author has written in our public library system, i can’t hate, i appreciate.

4) Ali in Wonderland-Ali Wentworth sometimes, when i decide to read someone’s entire catalogue all at once, i set myself up for disappointment. in this case, that was not true at all. although i have read them all in a short time frame, this one made me clutch my pearls, repeatedly, and chronologically, i think it was the first one that she wrote and the last one that i read. i am reminded that i could get this kind of book deal, and it wouldn’t suck.

5) Food-A Love Story-Jim Gaffigan although he credits his wife many times in the book as co-writer, she doesn’t actually get billing here. maybe that’s the publisher, maybe that’s the patriarchy. either way, this is charming in a kind of alarming way-i mean, i feel like it’s a bit irresponsible to eat like this and also have five children-is he trying to die young? and if so, he has no knowledge of how to cook to pass on to them so they can fend for themselves. and forgive me, but i don’t think dood is that well-known or doing this well that he can be out here, all casual, slowly killing himself with food. but the part about individual ketchup packets was comedy gold.

6) I’m Down-Mishna Wolff i completely judged this book by its cover. (google the cover, i’ll wait). i got it on my last day of the library tour, when i walked into an otherwise quiet jane/sheppard library to a woman behind the desk (i don’t know if she was a librarian or not, so i don’t want to give her more credit than she deserves) yelling at a young boy about how he could not get a library card because he didn’t have a proof of address. he was probably 15. and black. now, imagine the optics (and PR nightmare) of a representative of the library acting like this young man was making trouble because he wanted (heaven forbid) a library card. she was full out aggressively yelling at him, and he was not reacting at all. correct me if i’m wrong, but you can get a library card if you live in a hostel, so i’m not sure what the problem was. and kudos to him for coming back and trying again, because i certainly would not have. but i know who i am and i have a library card. eventually, she came around and allowed him to have a temporary card, with the caveat that he could borrow one thing at a time. maybe she was just having a bad day, or maybe she was an ignorant cunt who is absolutely in the wrong job. who knows.

7) Happy If You Know It-With/out Pretend this was a loaner that came out of our crystals x spirits x basketball ceremony and i’m so glad that i experienced it. what does it mean to trust our intuition?

8) The Door-Margaret Atwood i usually don’t gravitate towards her poems, but it’s a slim volume that was filed with some other autobiographical items so i grabbed it. nothing much stood out, but i did not read any aloud, as i finished it while i was (once again) ghosted by a child at the library one tuesday night.

9) The Paris Review 225 hilton als and kiese laymon, swoon.* i love the northern district library for being
the only branch that i know of that has this lovely collection. i dipped in to kill some time and switch out reading materials on the way uptown for delicious foods, after falling off a mechanical bull, and also cozied up in a corner to oogle my new mini lipsticks (which i have opted for instead of therapy for the time being).

10) Negotiating With the Dead-Margaret Atwood i love reading writers’ writing about writing. (when i love their writing) although, steven king‘s book in this vein was great even though i don’t love all of his writing all of the time-i do love that he is a reader, i love that very much. this somehow brings me to the final performance last night of the puppets that rose from concrete cabaret about not being original, and not having to be. to be popular is to be relatable, and that’s not a terrible thing. there’s enough rights for everyone, thank you-alice bag* (let this be a reminder that i want to read her book, but tpl doesn’t currently carry it, i may request that we get it). really, thank you, couch wisdom podcast for introducing me to alice bag on sunday when i went for a long walk along the water in which i saw snowflakes and got a local sugar baby watermelon at the farmers’ market (WHAT SEASON ARE WE IN? HOW CAN PEOPLE STILL DENY CLIMATE CHANGE?) here’s a pull-quote for the ages:

“Nobody hates writers more than writers do. The most vicious and contemptuous portraits of writers, both as individuals and as types, appear in books written by writers themselves. Nobody loves them more, either. Megalomania and paranoia share the writer’s mirror.” (87)

11) You’ll Grow Out of It-Jessi Klein i will start with the pull quote on this one:

“I was a woman sobbing in a hotel corridor, which is kind of incredible, because when I was little I thought I was going to be a senator.” (148)

because of the wealth of library resources available at my fingertips, i have forgotten how this one came upon my radar. i do know that i did not put it on hold, but grabbed it when i came face to face with it on library tour, most probably at the problematic jane/shep branch. i am further inspired to write a book in this vein, and very much enjoyed the audible guffaws that this book brought me.

12) The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore-Kim Fu this one was a great find on the library tour (thank you, amesbury park). it also brought up some interesting conversation at wine wars with a close stander of a dood who was trying to hit on his date’s friends/make a case for his belief in rigid gender “rules”, but it was an interesting take on what a “female lord of the flies” would be. later that evening, i had an almost 6-hour commute home and had to tell yet another man, “this is how we die”. penis people-stop asking women “where do you live?” like the stakes are the same for us. ok? please and thank you.

13) Carl Weber’s Kingpins Philadelphia-Brittani Williams oh boy. what a rabbit hole i have gone down now. this entire category of cliterature that i wouldn’t even have been aware of if i had not gone on library tour, i am now low-key hooked. the writing is terrible, the scenarios are cookie-cutter, but i love it like i love lee daniels’ star. this one got a bit weird and preachy, using the HIV revenge scenario as a justifiable plot-line, but i am now equipped with the works of other authors, not just the “veteran” brittani williams. yesterday, i found two copies of toni morrison’s the bluest eye filed amongst the “urban lit”, and i’m still trying to figure out whether it was clever marketing, or the most hilarious mistake ever.

14) A Man Without A Country-Kurt Vonnegut can you believe this is the first one? i was inspired last month by an avid vonnegut reader that i met at the content canada conference, and was delighted that this was so palatable and snappy. it’s fitting that i read it on a leg of the library tour (stamp edition) as the pull quote i have is: “The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” (103) though published in 2005, this book is every bit as relevant (if not more) today.

special shoutout to adbusters magazine-i was able to catch up with you a bit thanks to the subscription at the gerrard/ashdale libray.

it’s the end of an era, my last metropass in this city was this month. allegedly, there is a pending canada post strike, but i feel like it’s just a way to get people onto team presto. good thing i got a free card on the day of the home opener.

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.

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.

major laser

i can’t speak enough about how amazing amanda seales is. i love her podcast small doses so much, and i’m glad she’s on hiatus from it while she’s on the road with her show, because it gives me a minute to catch up. the current resonance is the side effects of the curve (with bresha webb) episode. hashtag, getting my life.

i posted a few childhood photos on the gram the other night, 30% for my ego because i was called a “not very attractive child” and 70% because i look exactly the same, and i cannot believe that anyone would have such poor form as to insult someone’s baby picture at all (and this is different from calling someone’s baby ugly) and also how they cannot see how insulting your kid picture (that looks exactly like you) is insulting you. for the record, i don’t give a shit if you think i’m attractive or not, i’m not for everyone, but i do care if you do not have the good sense not to be disrespectful, unnecessary, and straight-up rude. i’m glad you feel so comfortable in your honesty but consider it an original nose/ass/titty/lip day in kardashian town before you are invited back, or for the first time, really, since you also just forced your way in to insult my space and my baby picture, into my home again. all offers for cooked food have been redacted.

one of my friends noted that my collar said “poop”, and that’s something that i’ve never seen before. amazing.

another one of my friends commented on my baby teeth, and that’s true-i have my adult teeth in now, so my smile is less jagged. i also don’t have the best haircut or outfit (i pick my own clothes now) but i was a fucking child. i also wear glasses now, so i suppose that changes my face.

there are two details that stand out for me in that picture that i have not considered for a long time-the first is the pineapple necklace that i’m wearing, which i just remembered in that moment was from my mother.

i don’t know where that necklace ended up, or if i knew to keep it because i would’ve had a memento of her (of which i otherwise do not), but i guess knowing that i’m wearing it around my neck in one of two pictures that i have of myself as a kid is important enough, so i’m great-full to this asshole for being so obnoxious that it led me to this appreciation.

the other is that at this point in time, i still had a mole under my left eye. i wonder how much more interesting my face would be now if i was allowed to grow into it. i don’t have it anymore because my father heard from a fortune teller that it was the reason that i cried all the time, and he had it lasered off my face when i was seven years old.

what the fuck with people who cannot handle their feelings?! maybe i cried all the time because my mother left me (and you). maybe i cried all the time because i didn’t know where i was half the time that you dropped me off in strange homes to live while you were on “business trips”. maybe i cried all the time because i woke up cold in the backseat to the streetlights because you drove around until i fell asleep to 103.5 easy listening radio while you went to fuck women because you were too cheap to pay for babysitting. maybe i cried all the time because i was a child and didn’t know how to process my feelings or know the responsibility that i would have to shoulder over the years that i had to raise you. maybe.

i was awake for that laser. it was 1987. i’m sure the technology has advanced in the subsequent years, but this may be why i’ve been scared of lasers ever since. why i’m generally distrustful of medical practitioners. maybe this is why i cannot keep my eyes open to put contacts in. i haven’t thought about this for a long time, maybe since it happened.

but the most fucked up thing is? it didn’t work. i have cried about everything ever since. i cried when this asshole left my house. the difference now is that i know that it is strong to cry. it is strong to acknowledge and feel my feelings. perhaps i have always known that. the difference is that nobody can ever take that away from me again. imagine being so terrible of a parent that you would rather subject your child to a traumatizing cosmetic surgery just so you could possibly avoid having to talk to her.

imagine hating yourself so much that you don’t see your own leaps in internalized racism that seeing my baby picture as looking like yours means that i am ugly. naaaaw, b. you can just miss me all the way with that bullshit. it took me a while, but i see how ugly you are now.

this also reminded me of a thing that i also forgot that my dad has done my whole life, and i finally blew up at him over it when i last saw him two years ago-my dad always says “the chinaman does this”, “the chinaman does that”, and it’s so packed with racist vitriol against the chinese that i never understood until i realized that he was still mad at my mother (who is chinese malaysian) for leaving her. this, along with “i don’t like crying babies”, was in the revolving soundtrack of my youth. the problem, of course, is that i am half my mother, so he was constantly disparaging his chinaman crying baby for her whole life. maybe that’s why i left home at seventeen and never looked back.

i may never see him again. but that may not be such a bad thing. i’ve had problems with boundaries, but the voice that says “hold up” is getting louder and louder, and i’m glad i’m crawling towards listening to folks who keep telling me who they are. i trust the process.

“don’t change who you are, just change who you are talking to”. –amanda seales

my bank do thangs that your bank wish it could

due to my current life of leisure and the fact that FZV is off ice (that lasted a whole three weeks), i was able to sleep on a luxurious deck last night, actually see insecure and not just listen to the podcast summation, and i got some steps in this morning walking my friend to work.

i meandered through side streets and when i made to king, the streetcars were all backed up, of course, so i headed to queen street to go home that way instead. there’s a cibc on queen and spadina, and i had to get cash out for therapy, and decided to do the adult thing and order my cheques at the same time.

why, pray tell, do i need cheques? because i finally used up the last of my original set (from university) and my landlord cannot figure out an e-transfer. i could get out cash every month, but then i’d have to make an appointment to see him because i’m not leaving my rent cash in the letter box with no proof that it reached. i decided last week that i would just do it, and try to get him to split the cost with me, because you have to order 50 at a time, and the cost ends up being $55 or something like that, which seems insane to me, but it is antiquated technology.

the tellers were very nice to me, even though i was in yesterday’s outfit and had no eyebrows, and the woman was telling me that it would be $20 and that seems more reasonable. i figured that that could be wrong, but she seemed confident, so i went with it. she ordered them, and then someone else swooped in and was appalled because the cost is indeed $55, and he pre-offered a full refund for them when i get charged for them, even though i wasn’t angry at all.

contrast this with scotiabank, with whom i have a TFSA because my former employer banks with them and they advertised savings accounts that would be good for us, and for the most part it hasn’t been a problem, but in the last month, when i adjusted the amount of my contribution due to my status, i have gotten spotty and shitty service, and i have to go in in person because the money is coming from my account at a different bank. i have been jerked around in person, on the phone, and over email, kept waiting for inordinate amounts of time, had to travel across time and told wrong information from a different person every time because they keep quitting, and nothing has been offered to me at all, not even some freakin’ movie tickets and you know they own that whole scenepoints racket. maybe they’re going through some growing pains because they are trying to prove that they are diverse and shit. they may have gained a stadium, but to me, they are acting the exact same way as the empire that has a monopoly on that stadium.

since i’ve been considering long-term relationships and choices to stay and leave in situations, i’m glad for this sign that yes, i’m good with my bank not just because it’s been the only one, but because it still works.

money isn’t everything, but it’s not nothing, and where you keep it matters.

jklol, i’m totally that tita that stuffs cash in socks and shit. maybe that’s why this b thinks i don’t have a credit card.

parkdale writes-the annex session one

one week ago, a trio of us met in an apartment crammed to the gills with kitschy props. we’re talking hundreds of lamps, clocks, salt and pepper shakers, ceramics, and not one but two framed photos of the same elderly pomeranian.

we had some lovely homemade quiche, mint tea, and snuggled into our own couches to free write and each threw in two words to make faux sestinas.

(lindsay, if you’re reading i did not contribute a single strange word this time!)

they’re not amazing, but here they are:

icy moors
floating bergs
ships poised
latent cracks
ferocious waves
steely submission

ferocious minds
poised to attack
latent misogyny
floating in thick air
icy tones
steely glares

all clouds don’t float
steely air freezes frames
latent moisture lurkes
poised to become
ferocious wind
forcing icy tears

steely dan
latent alcoholism
generations ferocious
icy mugs
floating dreams
unsteadily poised

steely submission
latent hate
poised resistance
floating future
icy intent
ferocious revenge

when i read that last one, our house raised both fists and yelled “WHOO HOO! WOMEN FIGHT BACK!” and it’s always great when people get your fumbling poetry.

our next date is set and i’m looking forward to all the group writings that 2018 will offer.