march madness

so, the month started with an unexpected treat by MLSE of a detroit roadtrip to watch our team lose to coach casey’s new team. it was a bittersweet bookend to this tenure as a season ticket holder.

also-lots of love from my peoples with whom it doesn’t have to be so difficult all the fucking time. we all deserve this, people-we deserve to be with the ones who want to love us, feed us, hold us, and see us.

the work front has gotten very exciting all of a sudden-dangit, it just goes to show-when i say i want to work, i want to work. lots of potential life changes on the horizon, but i suppose they have always been there. it’s been quite an ordeal trying to jump up in the air and stay there.

my last games as a season ticket holder are coming up-it’s kind of surreal that the first time i see us actually beat lebron, kyle‘s not playing, and it comes as the man who’s made it to the finals the last eight years in a row will not even make the playoffs. further-it was outshadowed by the bloody fight that happened in the stands next to us, and urkel being in the building.

all my ipods are dead now. boo. i am sad and wish i had these podcasts on a thing i can walk with. “there’s a thing called demo-itis” and “they just reminded me of kittens-and i love kittens” are examples of gems from jhene aiko‘s episode of song exploder that i’m sure would have given me life in a walking way.

i am going through it with my hair right now-i can’t handle the growout, i can’t reach certain places to shave, i’m trying to comb it over, the greys are in full force, and dangit, i get all the flyaways when i put it up. (sigh).

1) handbook for an unpredictable life-rosie perez i went looking for this because of the in living color book, and i recognize the parts that that author took, basically in her exact words. another virgo with struggles with family-gotta love it. but damn, i’m sorry that she had to struggle with the group home and the convent and all of that, at least she always knew that someone (her tia, her dad) loved her and was fighting for her, despite her narcissistic and controlling mother. i am also in outrage over the grandparents being fired for being group home parents for having weed, but the man going free for raping one of the girls. i love her for speaking out about the attempted sexual abuse from her half brother, and i can identify with being afraid when five percenters wanted to talk to you. also with moving somewhere and hustling to make money because folks were robbing and betraying her. ooh the story about how she got on soul train! and how she got to teach bobby brown how to dance because of it. it just goes to show-people will always want to hold you back, but better ones will notice you. and meeting spike lee?! and negotiating by machete where that ice cube could go! puffy was heavy d‘s driver and a club dancer! ll cool j‘s dad was a creepy dick! slick rick pulled a gun on her! i never knew she became an AIDS activist because of her actual gay husband. her survivor’s remorse is real, and i hope that she is truly good with jennifer. being recognized by rodney dangerfield at the emmys! tom cruise holding her papi’s hand at the oscars while she got him orange juice for his diabetic crash and her swearing her way back into the ceremony! i’ve always loved this woman, and listening to her audiobook has made me love and appreciate her even more. what a treasure.

2) isn’t it romantic-dir. todd strauss-schulson this is the perfect example of the sports movies where they learn the lesson, and still win anyway-it takes away from the lesson as the win. i kind of feel like the real moral of the story is that fat girls can find love too, despite what their jaded mothers who drink wine floats say. but at least it’s self-reflexive. i’ve been a fan of rebel wilson, even though she’s got that corpse-complexion that i’ve been recently made aware of. but, i prefer the other movie that she was in on this topic, where she was an actually happy single person.

3) a brief history of seven killings-marlon james so, i cannot remember the last time i read a 700-page book, but it’s probably been a minute. i regularly read 300-pagers, so it’s not that big of a deal, but just like how five lines of four people will always look shorter than one line of 20, i suppose optics are a thing. i also happen to be reading this book at the same time as a couple people on the outskirts of my circle, so i suppose the world is small and all of that.

4) best food writing of 2018-ed. ruth reichl i love ruth reichl. i also love food. i mean, obviously-but i love all facets of food-the growing and harvesting, shopping for a spectrum of food-from junk to organic produce, and i love the politics of waste and power. this collection has it all, and i want to track down all of the articles in the “honourable mentions” in the back-dangit! i was also blown away by how much i had no idea about, and am great-full to this woman for her continued knowledge and gifts in this curation.

“Suffice to say that we love to consume stories about consumption in all its forms.” (xii, foreward, Silvia Killingsworth)

“Apparently the rules have changed. Women may not have value as chefs, but as victims we’re finally interesting!” (34, Amanda Cohen, I’ve Worked in Food for Twenty Years. Now You Finally Care about Female Chefs?)

“Soon the entire Nixon administration was sold on the idea that we could make our enemies-and even our friends-dependent on us to feed themselves.” (75, Ted Genoways, Bringing in the Beans)

i knew it….this is why i am so passionate about the distribution of resources…

“It’s hard to have pride when you’re poor. Finding joy in food that comes from a bag or a box feels like a sin in a society that demonizes it. Now it’s hard for me to honor that happiness when grieving. Food brings me home, but it also makes me face my shame.” (123, Marissa Higgins, The Struggle of ‘Eating Well’ When You’re Poor)

“Craft is only as white as the lies it tells itself.” (146, Lauren Michele Jackson, The White Lies of Craft Culture)

“It’s always hard to leave the place you call home. Sometimes it’s harder to come back.” (164, Francis Lam, In Good Hands)

“Maybe I would have learned this reading anything, but I learned it reading cookbooks: words can be used to make an idea more precise or more vague, to make something clear or to blur its edges. Some writers are good at imagining people who don’t live a life exactly like their own, and others seem incapable.” (230, Tejal Rao, The Joy of Reading About Cooking)

also-these nba fools with the pbj! I had no idea!

5) don’t call us dead-danez smith daaaang. i just read the first poem aloud, and got a chill. i haven’t felt this way about poetry in awhile (you know what that means!) just look at this brilliance:

“history is what it is. it knows what it did.” (summer, somewhere)

“take your God back. though his songs are beautiful, his miracles are inconsistent……abra-cadaver. white bread voodoo. sorcery you claim not to practice, hand my cousin a pistol to do your work. i tried, white people. i tried to love you, but you spent my brother’s funeral making plans for brunch, talking too loud next to his bones.” (dear white america)

aaaah. i love him sooo much. just go read this because every single poem is so good. and so necessary. and so worth it. go treat yourself to the feeling of experience it for yourself. you deserve it. ( i mean that in all of the ways).

6) my kitchen year-ruth reichl i’ve decided to read this because of the 2019 toronto public library reading challenge item “a book you’ve always meant to read”. it’s also on my personal list of books that i own that i haven’t read. also-i just can’t get enough of ruth reichl, this dynamo who has an amazing career in cooking and writing. when i bought it, i had just paid off my debt and was inspired by her talk of mexico city ingredients, and decided that it was my next destination. it was at george brown and after the cookbook store had folded (rip). it’s also no accident that i’m picking it up now, as i navigate a similar place of being in a no man’s land of decadent unemployment, thinking and cooking my way out. also-full circle, i had an interview at sanagan’s yesterday, and met peter, the owner, who i saw do a demo in that very same cookbook store after it had been renovated with a full kitchen.

“A disaster is a fine excuse for a pajama party, and we stayed up half the night talking.” (25)

frankie gave me a bunch of pantry/produce castoffs, and i made the lemon panna cotta the day i overdosed on all the dairy. it was perfect.

7) i might regret this-abbi jacobson again, i have opted for the audiobook, because i love to hear a woman’s story in her own voice. i had no idea what this was about, but again-no accident that it’s her account of her choosing to drive across the country alone, after her show wrapped and her relationship ended. the first disc sets it up as a self-reflexive running away. i like it, and i can identify. i hope it ends with her being sure that she is not, in fact, incapable of love. (fingers crossed). i feel like the second disc was an hour of stream of consciousness, which both inspired me and also made me say, “come on”-probably around the point where it went to “when do ankles become cankles?”. it’s interesting to know that she also worked at the onion and i’m enjoying the process part. just like key and peele-they have decided to end broad city on a high note, and i can’t help but wonder what influence michael jordan has on that cross-platform. both 23 jordan and 45 jordan. ohemgee, the poignancy of knowing you’ll be heartbroken when something ends, but also needing it to end-dang-this perfectly describes my recent end of employment, perfectly. also-the wisdom of saying nos that make room for more yesses. there were a couple more discs of free associations and “what ifs” that made me question whether or not this would’ve been better in her journal, but hey-plenty of doods do this, so, take up your space, boo. and i suppose that’s why it was called i might regret this. the moral of the story-she may not.

8) love enough-dionne brand i got this one half because i want to read more of our prolific poet laureate‘s work, half because i’m checking the “a book set in toronto” box on the 2019 toronto public library’s reading challenge. i don’t know if her work has gotten easier to read, or if i’ve become a better reader, but it’s probably six of one and half a dozen of the other, like the process i’ve gone through with toni morrison. it’s also as glamourous to recognize toronto in a book as it is to recognize it in a movie-i never knew this before this book.

“It occurs to her that you can go to sleep at night as one person and wake up the next morning as another. It occurs to her that you can go down into the subway at Main as one person and emerge at Landsdowne another.” (19)

see?

“Mercede’s love was exhausting because it needed love back constantly. Lia and Germain were children and didn’t always know how to love back. They simply knew how to love, and at times they simply wanted to run or play and have love waiting for them when they returned.” (50)

“Sex didn’t need English, of course, but love did.” (57)

“But the woman said it had to be true first, for it to have become a fiction.” (87)

facts.

9) glamour magazine-i ducked into sanderson quickly to see if they have bust. they don’t, but i caught up on the glamour mags that i have missed since issa was on the cover. reading the masthead, i’m seeing that they’ve incorporated self and mademoiselle, and that’s perhaps the reason that they’ve got the resources to be so consistently dope now, both in the clean graphic design, and the phenomenal content. or maybe it’s that rusty, er, anna wintour is the artistic director. i mean-i don’t think i’ve ever seen a ninety-something year old park ranger on the cover of any fashion magazine, and the articles are great. i’m actually considering a subscription….but maybe when i move.

10) the lonely city-olivia laing i did not finish this book. i read until page 125. it’s the first book that i’ve fired in a long time. but i had different expectations-i don’t know why i thought it would be a celebration of navigating a city alone, but i was confused by the title-i should’ve know because it’s called lonely city, but the subtitle of “adventures in the art of being alone” made me think that it would be subversive, and celebratory of the lifestyle choice of not conforming to this relationship and kids and blah blah blah, but alas and alack-it turns out that it’s a bunch of portraits of artists who made art out of their extreme loneliness and social awkwardness. because it was a collection of artists, i kept with it because i thought eventually it would stop being like breaking bad, where i hated everyone because they were terrible people, but it never did, so i bounced. it came at the same time that i decided to walk away with someone with whom i’ve been having a circular and depressing situationship with. no accidents.

“If you are not being touched at all, then speech is the closest contact it is possible to have with another human being.” (47)

11) the woo-woo-lindsay wong holy shit. “crazy” is thrown around so very casually (thank you, eirene, for gently calling me out on this earlier in the year-it took awhile, but i got it), so i’ve been hyper-conscious of not doing it, but this story is legit crazy. i don’t think i’ve ever seen this before-i’ve read sedaris and borroughs, but not a parallel story from a woman, a racialized (canadian) one at that. the devils are really in the details-damn.

“But loss of familial trust is like a screwdriver in the eye or a sledgehammer in the forehead-it’s more the shock that causes the internal damage, and you don’t even think about the pain or the bleeding or the spreading infection of hate until later.” (87)

“At thirteen I was competing with myself, my siblings, my cousins, my parents, my uncles, my aunties, and all the other Chinese people in the world.” (99)

“Luckily, it is a universal truth that rich girls do not hit excessively hard. It’s the petty middle-class ones that you have to watch out for.” (138)

“I felt betrayed that she had gone completely insane without consulting me.” (208)

“It was probably more frightening to be ambushed in the bathroom by my mother than to encounter a real ghost. At home, things were usually uncomfortable and chaotic, and I could not spend four months of summer trying to avoid the damned supernatural.” (227)

12) dirt candy-amanda cohen & ryan dunlavey with grady hendrix i love this comic storycookbook. i also love that vegetables are the stars in her resto. i also love her tip-included tasting menus. thank you, best american food writing for this, i’m putting it on my list of places to eat.

13) CHICHO-please see this show. don’t ask any more questions, just treat yo’self.

14) shoplifters-dir. hirokazu kore-eda i thought it was about a real family. who’s to say that they’re not? it’s quite a different view of japan than i remember ever being onscreen, and it’s the second that i’ve seen this year that is about the end of the world, which maybe is more of a thing because of the aftermath of fukushima (as suggested by my brilliant friend paul) the casting, acting, and shots were beauty-full. holy twists, batman.

15) bye felipe-alexandra weten i put this on hold because it looked like a contemporary selection in the relationship self-help books in the collection of the toronto public library. it was a quick read, with nice layout, but one awful font that i did not like at all. i went to check out the instagram, but it was just too depressing.

16) polyamorous-jenny yuen i think this one was saved by not being a completely personal story. i liked the snapshots into people’s poly lives across canada, and was even amused at the one person who felt that the poly community was “too queer”. oh, my. i’m also thinking about the passing of the law of three people being allowed on a baby’s birth certificate, and wonder how that has/can/will impact folks that i know who are in the situation to be doing this.

17) overcoming passive-aggression-tim murphy, phD and loriann oberlin, MS, LCPC i’ve been going through a rough patch/hypersensitive processing moment and one day put all these self-help books on hold. it must have been one of those nights that i stayed up way too late because i forgot to put them on inactive and got them all at once. i mostly skimmed this one, despite the accolades that they make sure they claim, but this pull-quote was the one:

“We gravitate toward the old order or conditions similar to those of our upbringing so that we have a second chance to make things right.” (109) it’s actually quite beauty-full (or a bit unnecessary) but i gotta love the earnest in this goal-just as long as it’s not a twelfth or thirteeth chance to make things right.

18) on the come up-angie thomas so i was having a discussion with someone about “the formula” that seems present sometimes with certain authors in certain genres, and i definitely feel the presence in this second novel by angie thomas. it’s interesting that she thanks common here, because this is definitely like be/finding forever, in terms of the turnaround time and the similarities. obviously, they have the movie in common, and i’m hoping that there is a mixtape forthcoming.

“That’s when I learned that when people die, they sometimes take the living with them.” (45)

19) relationship sabateurs-randi gunther, ph.d man, there is a lot of self-help this month. is it also a coincidence that i feel like i have fallen apart the most this month? physically and mentally? i don’t know. but here are the pull quotes from this one:

“This need to dominate may hide an underlying fear of being controlled. Controlling people may have been raised by similarly overbearing parents who forced them into obedient subservience. As a result, they may be determined never to be in that role again.” (11-12)

“Insecurity is the emotional experience of anticipated loss.” (39)

20) go ahead in the rain: notes to a tribe called quest-hanif abdurraquib

“A Tribe Called Quest wanted to go out on a concept album about love, but the only problem was that they didn’t love each other, and it didn’t seem as if they loved the world they were occupying anymore.” (119)

“There is a way to read a poem, and then there is a way to allow a poem to exit the body and be read by everyone in the room.” (155)

i read this one on my daytrip to ottawa. full disclosure-tribe has never been my favourite. i know, i know. but as suspected, i have loved them more through those who really love them. like hanif. i am still thinking about his calling q-tip ewing and phife john starks. i’m not sure i agree, but then again, i’m not sure that i don’t. i also love that these are letters to the group, as well as love letters to the work, and to phife‘s mom. it does feel a bit surreal that he is gone, and like it was just yesterday that i saw him perform halftime at the raptors game. to me, this feels really different from the michael rappaport documentary, which felt completely exploitative, but interestingly enough, hanif doesn’t feel that way about that.

sorry this is a late publish-i’ve been knocked out by food poisoning. ugh.

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february books et. al

for the first time that i can remember, the lunar new year falls in february. i am more motivated than i ever have been-could it be the few extra weeks? perhaps. or maybe, because i actually met another vietnamese person who just accepted my status in the nation, i made canh chua and held space with friends and other rappers all day.

also, it’s the first year that i can remember that the all-star game is not on valentine’s day-what the hell-why the beaver damming of my longest and most reliable relationship?!

i also watched (most of) the grammys for the first time, maybe, ever. at the gladstone with drag queens, of course. all i have to say is that diana ross, tracee ellis ross, janelle monae, cardi b, her (and her baggy sheer jumpsuit), gaga and dolly are everything. there’s also the alicia keys showboating, but the medley was cute. she’s totally wearing makeup tho-we’re not still buying that she’s not, right? i wonder if it was a deliberate move to make it so female-centric, in the light of everything that has happened, or maybe it’s another way to “prove” that nobody “wants” to honour women in music. my favourite quote of the night was, “IS THIS A LOVE LETTER TO TEQUILA?!”

and speaking of love lessons, here are the biggest reminders that have emerged in this year of the pig: “it’s ok to let the people who want to hold you, hold you” and “no response is a response” (listen). (sigh). i’m going to work really hard to make this the year that that sticks.

i am still tantalized by makeup, so i have decided that i’m going to get the nyx advent calendar now that it is 50% off, and literally only open a door every time i do an open mic, in order to do my 40 stages by 40 challenge, and also am doing a daily 40 x 40 exercise challenge (squats, pushups, situps, jumping jacks) while i duolingo.

i am also moved to finally do the repairs and mending that i have been meaning to do to my clothes, and revamped my faux fur scarf into the fur donut of my dreams! i am also noticing the beauty of when a knit two purl two turns into something-i feel like i was looking for it to happen, and was looking too hard, until i actually saw it happen.

it’s interesting to hear them discussing the sad state of basketball nicknames being discussed on the hoop collective podcast, when it’s been at least two years since i first heard it brought up on open run (though i’m sure someone did it before).

another inspiring asian brunch and new friends! i love that my circle is becoming more refined and that people are responding well to the boundaries that are becoming increasingly easier to establish.

i’m great-full for sticker puzzles, friends who let me help, meals cooked by childrens, and delicious food. also, canada’s a drag is amazing-it’s the degrassi to drag race’s saved by the bell-it’s stories behind the magic, and it’s real. let’s do our part and our civic duty-stream that ish!

palentine’s day at tinuno-it was destined. also, i rolled up the rim AND won! well, for the second time, really. the first time, i left the cup at the location that i won it in, but this time, my brokeass is gonna keep it and redeem it. i found a bonus one unrolled on the streetcar on the way home from games night, and won another one!

daamn, just got a notification of this being my ten year anniversary with wordpress, and that makes sense-i had decided new year’s day 2009 to move here, and thus the blog was founded to re/distribute my reading materials on mtl public transit. well, i didn’t think i could keep a blog going, and it’s been ten years, so here’s to the relationships that i maintain without even trying. imagine when i do.

1)years of living dangerously-the complete series-created by joel bach & david gelber a library search for america ferrera led me here, thus further confirming how amazing she is. i have never heard of this series, even though it was produced by many heavy hitters and won an emmy. it’s kind of amazing how deep the belief that climate change in texas is “biblical”, and i’m having a flashback to the time that i really understood the impact of high school football, also in texas. but for every amazingly ridiculous american, i feel that there is an equal and opposite amazingly amazing american, and a christian environmentalist is the star of the first episode. plot twist to have don cheadle bring them together-aw shit! i also love the connection between america and beyond, if in the diplomatic way of saying-“we are deforesting for palm oil because it is in all of processed food” and not “reconsider your relationship with convenience foods, asshole”. i like it-way to not alienate the people that you need most to change their ways. i’m surprised to see arnold here, expressing his concern for environmental factors, when it was his “build the wall” idea that has inspired the current and only person who has ever held the job post of “leader of the free world” who is a blatant climate change denier.

it’s a pretty big win for the pastor to let his daughter address his congregation about climate change, and the christian responsibility.

chris christie‘s almost angry stance against climate change is an example of the populist politics that have overtaken the forefront of our current reality, but at least he didn’t toss paper towels at people from a pulpit. it’s interesting that this is where mark bittman chooses to comes in. and this brings up makes the next point of the documentary and the tension of the political debate-labour vs. environment is real, and makes it shows it truly as a class issue and is a present example of how the workers of the world have not united, they have lost hope and have hyperfocused-it’s truly a privilege to be or think complicated.

one of my core values has always been about the distribution of resources, and the will-full ignorance re: the investment into climate change denial-think about how much better we would all be if we used that money towards not continuing to fuck up our environment?

2) i can barely take care of myself-jen kirkman i first saw jen kirkman two jfl42s ago, when i was in attendance for the live recording of her podcast and her guesting on another podcast. i liked what she said about preserving her voice, having to get an emergency topshop jacket, and her extensive knowledge of russian robots due in part with her experience with them as an online jewelery retailer. i was surprised to see her books at the pape/danforth library, but now that i’ve read one, i’m not surprised at all. i obviously identify with being single and childless, and am inspired by her real-life realness, in her career and her lifestyle choices.

“A total stranger tried to small-talk me about abortion. I have never had an abortion. I never want to have an abortion. I also don’t want to have a baby. I fear how both procedures would impact my life and leave me full of regret.” (90)

“That’s what I love about my mom ever since she’s entered her seventies. She’s still lucid but has the honesty of someone who’s lost her mind.” (121)

3) my squirrel days-elie kemper (audiobook) where does kimmy end and ellie begin? it’s hard to say-and this is not a bad thing. this book feels like getting tea with someone, or a private show, in the way that many books written by actors/comedians do. i am impressed that she used to write for the onion, and love hearing of her journey through 30 rock. i am also loving the overthinking of putting david letterman‘s face on a piece of toast. she must be kidding about how she approached her role in bridesmaids, right? and, confirmed as she likened it to apocalypse now. also, now i see where the soulcycle story arc in kimmy came from. and, heart of hearts, i am sad (and kind of relieved) at the announcement that season 4 will be the last of kimmy schmidt. only two behind now!

4) i may be wrong but i doubt it-charles barkley i discovered more books written by basketball players while on library tour, and opted to put them on hold rather than check them out (my bags were always so heavy). i opted to keep them inactive, an amazing function of the website that allows you to keep your place in line but not have to read at an unsustainable pace, but once i read shirley wang‘s story about barkley and her dad, i knew i had to hear this man’s thoughts in his own words (over and above the espn story, which is so worth the listen and bawl if you have immigrant parents). mike wilbon hooks with the intro, and we are off to the races.

“And we bootlegged. We sold alcohol. That’s the way we made ends meet: selling alcohol.” (34)

this is the first moment that i realized that i was in for something different-and it’s also got me thinking about the history of women bootlegging-from this to the stories of nuns doing it, it’s kind of amazing, really.

“Getting to the top isn’t the end of the process, it’s the beginning. Make sure the elevator brings up somebody else.” (59)

“My first agent cheated me out of a lot of money. Luckily, Julius Erving and Moses Malone taught me so much about a lot of things, including money.” (74)

“The funny thing about this is that Michael is so damn cheap. Michael ain’t the most popular guy in Las Vegas. He’ll win $1 million in the casino and not tip the people.” (80) and then an awkward story of how MJ chastised him for giving a homeless person money because if he had enough breath to ask for change, he could get a job at mcdonald‘s…yikes.

“I guess if R. Kelly had become a priest he’d be fine because then he’d be protected from the laws that any other pedophile is subject to.” (85)

this was 2002 and i think that he’s trying to do the hotep thing of “why persecute the black man when all these white men have been doing this?” so i’d like to ask him now, 15 years later, if he thinks that the pied piper has been fairly persecuted for his continued crimes…

“Tiger wins, so they get an easy way out of dealing with some real ugly stuff, some of their own bigoted feelings they’ve been carrying around but don’t want to deal with.” (103)

again, this is 2002 so it’s before obama, and this situation with tiger is foreshadowing the same effect with the guilt of white people and how they can feel proud of themselves for “letting” others win.

“Me, Scottie, Michael and Magic played cards every night, all night. We’d start playing cards around eight o’clock, go until five in the morning, get three hours’ sleep and then go to practice. Every day. Every single day.” (189)

and, that’s a movie in itself. damn. to be a fly on the wall…also, an anecdote about them seeing a comic rip into magic for not having $2 for condoms to prevent his HIV and getting permission from him to laugh about that, in his presence.

“I believe in prayer and treating people the way you would want to be treated. But the idea that God might help me beat another team never crossed my mind.
How come it’s often the most religious people who seem to forget the verse in the Bible which says that only God can judge me?” (212)

and, thus he tells the story of how he refused to be part of kevin johnson‘s prayer when they were in the finals. who knew that i would pull so many quotes from this book? turns out, i actually agree with barkley on many, many fronts.

5) kiki-a film by sarah jordeno and twiggy pucci garcon “but more than anything, i love.” this is the first time i’ve heard the phrase “of trans experience” and i’m feeling it. i love all of the interviews with the supportive parents and families, it’s really heart-warming. i also appreciate the dancers talking about their own growth and freedom, through and around the balls. also-if this is not the quintessential example of making something (fashion, identity, art) out of meagre economic and socially accepted circumstances, i don’t know what is. this is the second documentary in a row that i have seen obama in now, and it’s striking how quickly he has become history-it feels like so long ago that the office of potus even meant anything, let alone be occupied by someone thought-full and intelligent, who cared about things like climate change and marriage equality. (le sigh).

6) gifted-dir.marc webb because this movie is about an established british mathematician who tries to exploit a young girl with a love of science set to kind of creepy music, i cannot help but think of dr. tiger mercer stealing miikshi‘s experiment, and obviously there are the familiar tear-jerking themes of abandonment and mothers and not doing the right thing by a child for me, but i’ve been thinking about what this is responding to in society-perhaps it’s what to do with children who are exceptional? or does it have more to do with kids who are not?

7) race-dir. stephen hopkins ok, i admit i’m here because fonny is fine. (and from toronto). oh shit, he’s 25? never mind. that is particularly interesting because he seems to only play people in the past. i’m racking my brain to remember his performance or character in home again, but i cannot. no matter. i once treated leni reifenstahl too leniently in my documentary film class, and in retrospect, i probably was choosing to see her more as a trailblazing woman in film, rather than the propagandist that she ultimately was. i’m glad for the knowledge of her and goebbels that i got from that class and it’s something to see them represented in film. what a travesty that jesse owens was never acknowledged by the us or the german government-let this be a lesson in giving people their flowers while they are living.

8) pimps, hos, playa hatas, and the rest of my hollywood friends-john leguizamo i have always loved this man-i even loved the pest. his first one-man show came out while i was in my last year in university (or second last year) and it changed everything. i never really saw house of buggin’, but i saw how it was the predecessor to both mad tv and in living color, and i never forgot that. most importantly, dood is still working and relevant and making his own way to tell his story, and after all his career ups and downs, this is the most inspirational thing.

“The crew snickered. Another example of how the crew don’t play. They don’t make enough to put up with spoiled people.” (125)

second-acting! i never thought of showing up to the theatre to mingle with the intermission folks, and then grabbing a program and take a seat for the second act. john learned this from his uncle, and then taught it to everyone who came to see his show.

“I love Spike Lee. Spike’s the kind of guy who says nice things about you behind your back.” (203)

9) dysfunctional friends-dir. corey grant what a premise. someone bringing together their “friends” and forcing them to be with each other for five days in order to get a piece of his fortune. i suppose we can all have fantasies. it was pretty well executed though, what with the ensemble cast that included a young michael jackson, a former girlfriend, one that starred in clueless and turned clueless, a veritable princess, and tatiana ali. bigups on the spoof booty video, and the prophetic rachel dolezal character of the white girl who attended an hcbu and only dates pro athletes.

10) bessie-dir. dee rees well damn, look at dee rees out here, telling queer stories, doing a period piece, casting queen latifah as a queer icon and omar and mike epps as her mens. and let’s not forget mo’nique as ma rainey. the costumes are to die for, and it was interesting that bessie was shown the most naked, not with any of her lovers, but alone in the mirror. i love that they kept the shot where the water hit the camera, but i suppose the emotion made it a keeper. the behind the scenes is precious-seeing queen la‘s 1996 audition for this and how perfect she was for it then, and the 22-year journey from then to now. just, wow. “the blues is not about people knowing you, it’s about you knowing people”

11) orange is the new black-season three i remember binge-watching the first two seasons at julz‘ house, and now, we’re back (and way behind). wow-the production value, and the wardrobe restrictions of outfitting a prison, but i’m loving how the womens’ styles have come through, in their underwears/paper suits/garbage bag dresses. i missed these fools and their acting. something always happens in the intro, where i think it’s different women, so if someone could verify this for me, that would be great. if not, i suppose i will keep watching it like an optical illusion every time. the book funeral!!!! THE ULTIMATE BOOK RETURN! ohemgee “a ‘made you a mixtape’ kind of love”!!!! i don’t know if i’m just noticing, but there seems to be an overt focus on books and quotes and literacy as a tool of empowerment, but i suppose that’s an opportunity to take this show as it goes on-and of course, i’m all the way here for it. “they multiply like grandmas” is a quote. and damn, “my system is making the ladies think there is a system” is a thing, as is further perpetuating the divide and conquer. also-mike birbiglia! and outwardly naming prison sweatshops! for victoria’s secret, er, whispers, no less! perhaps the possibility for activism is alive after all…i love that they’re at least hinting at the martha stewart reality as well. i wish that the “behind the scenes” of sophia didn’t reveal the plot twist on a disc that the episode aired on, but in some ways, at least now i know that it’s coming. damn, taryn manning-that’s a real actress-shit. and oooh piper is a snake! i’ve always known it! i’m glad they’re organizing against her! and go ‘head, alex. i wonder if real-life butchy alex is feeling any redemption in the fact that her character is starting to see past piper‘s garbage. FELONIOUS SPUNK! i just cannot. it’s really important to see how people get lost in the cracks, how drugs are prioritized over talk therapy, and how insecure men who feel small in their actual lives have over the inmates and their coworkers who are trying to do a good job. emancipation day at the lake tho?! i full out cried when soso and poussey were floating around holding hands like some damn otters.

12) homey don’t play that-david peisner there are a lot of revelations in this book and it is very well-written. i found it in the library collections because i was trying to watch seasons of in living color after three since i own up to then due to the great mentos scam of 2014. it’s no accident that i am reading about comedians and family ensemble shows, and carving out a niche because this is what is happening in my life right now. i’m getting tips, like “don’t saw yours and ours, say i and me-the more specific you are, the funnier you’re gonna be”. also, the more things change, the more they stay the same. i remember being in new york in 2015 talking with folks being sore at kanye west for “giving white people the permission to say ni$$a” and reading now that eddie murphy did this bit at the tonight show. (for the record, as great as these two men have been, neither of them gets to give anyone permission to say that word, let alone the folks who invented the word in the first place, but i digress. also, hearing chris rock say that he learned the most about standup from damon wayans, and then shawn and marlon saying that they learned the most from rock is really beauty-full (and kind of tragic because of the snail’s pace that we have progressed at). also, the freshness with which key and peele were able to revive the same issues/skit of trained theatre actors competing for roles as thugs makes reading about hollywood shuffle so much more impact-full. keenan wanted adam sandler as his white guy. i will be thinking about this one for awhile. also, keenan prioritized being funny over being important, and this is an interesting hill to die on, especially later on, when the show crumbled without him at the helm. also-paul mooney as homey, not his creator. i had no idea that the fly girls as their own franchise was a thing, or that they lost their chance at a record deal by talking smack about paula abdul in the washroom while she overheard (and it probably did not help when they did the “promise of a thin me” skit). i know ali wentworth from in living color, not mad tv. daaaamn. also, kelly coffield and steve park got married! aiya! keenan’s influence on network television on 309 also got me messed up, as well as his influence on fox as fox being the literal embodiment of “when he gets on, he’ll leave you for a white girl”.

“Keenan wanted to invert this relationship. He saw the writing staff as being there primarily to service the cast, not the other way around. His show would be built around its cast. Which is to say, it would be built around his family, starting with Damon.” (110-111)

“As one story goes, at one point the NAACP tried to pressure Keenan by asking how many black writers and producers he’d hired. He challenged them to send over a list of all the black writers and producers they knew. They didn’t have any such list and that was the end of that.” (135)

“Perhaps the most far-reaching effect of ILC’s Super Bowl half-time show was on the Super Bowl halftime itself. Never again would the NFL hire an Elvis impersonator, figure skaters, or the members of Up with People. The following year, they hired Michael Jackson, then the biggest entertainer on the planet.” (252)

and yea, that shit happened. wow. context means so much more, in context.

13) step-dir.amanda lipitz i love documentaries. i believe (in) documentaries. perhaps this is why i wanted to give leni reifenstahl the benefit of the doubt. and why i’ve always found more pleasure/escape in real life stories, rather than sci-fi or fantasy, and i’ve never read mysteries because i see them integrated into real life. but i know that there is always a bend when it comes to the form-it’s not neutral, like scientific studies, everyone’s trying to “prove” something, for some reason. i am impressed by how many hair/makeup looks that blessin goes through, and i feel that there are reasons that so many blanks are left un-filled. i looked her up, and she got through her first year in her program, and it’s quite amazing that 100% of those students got into universities, absolutely amazing. kudos to these young women, i’m surprised i didn’t hear about them in the read’s black excellence.

14) are you here-dir. matthew weiner “friendship is so much more rare-because there’s nothing in it for anyone.” “you don’t know me, and you don’t owe me.” this is another side of maryland, fictional as it is. this is america (shoutout to childish gambino for winning that grammy) and it’s quite something to see fake white people not knowing how to navigate getting all of the free money (and land) and real black people not having a clue what to do because they have no money or food. but they all made it in the end, and that’s the american dream, right?

15) orange is the new black-season four “why does she get a garden tour like a shiba inu?!” “i’ve had a beard since i was ten years old-two-the one on my face and the one i took to junior prom. yea, i like men-i will never find you adorable.” so, more inmates and spanish “gangs”, both nuanced (puerto ricans vs. dominicans) and blatant-the white woman using her white privilege is still running things, taking the crown from red. i guess piper is walter whiting her way through the prison, and it just reminds me that i hate them both, even though i’m supposed to, i don’t feel like it’s a testament to their great acting, i think it’s just because the shit is too real. taystee out there googling is hilarious tho. aw shit, now this dumdum done fucked around and started a white lives matter club-oh great. i can’t wait to see who she tries to blame for this mess. ooh, white lady cracksmoke confessions in the cornfield! and the merging of the paula dean and martha stewart stories? genius. i gasped out of true horror when the garden was dug up, not for the murder consequences, but for the kale and tomatoes. everybody’s eyeliner is out of control. holy fuck. and then there was no orange. just black. she couldn’t breathe. say her name. and then….things fall apart. wow.

16) the book of negroes-dir. clement virgo as much as i want to support the canadian director and author whose book this was based on, at this point in my life, i decree that the book was better, for me. maybe it’s just that i don’t need to see these slave narratives and the violence represented visually, or perhaps all i needed was to hear them say “plantin” once and that was it, but probably it’s just that i’m not desensitized to the violence-rather the opposite, i must preserve my watchings for something that will teach me something or show me a new perspective. in general, i believe that the mediums are largely complementary now, but please-read the book, read the book, read the book.

17) things that make white people uncomfortable-michael bennett i have tried to like football, more than once, but i cannot. i even played football in high school for crying out loud, but i have no idea how it works, and how the continual violence around the players’ circumstances gets swept under the rug. but hooray for dave zirin and haymarket books for another tale of an athlete who is not just brawn, but plenty of brains, first.

“I was half god, half property. But whichever half they were dealing with, I was never fully human.” (32)

and, this is the quote that made me pull back and say, daaaamn.

i had no idea that houston took in more refugees than any other state, but it makes sense-we are so quick to write off texas, and we are wrong. i also had no idea that the key and peele skit about the sack dance was based in reality.

“The NFL is just another corporation, and they’ll do what thye have to do. Asking them to lead on social issues sometimes seems like asking a dog to meow.” (15)

“I’m sure that some fans care, but I know that the NCAA does not. We all know it. Ask most NFL and NBA players and they’ll tell you with the cameras off that the NCAA is a gangster operation, a shakedown, and a system that works for everyone except for the so-called student-athletes. The main revenue-producing college sports are football and basketball. The main sports in this country built around Black Americans are football and basketball. The only sports in which you are not paid for the revenue you bring in are college football and basketball. This is not a wild coincidence. We tend to come from communities that are the least empowered, the most desperate for opportunity, so we get the shittiest end of the stick. It’s a bullshit system that persists because we’re too desperate for the chance at the brass ring-the pros-to organize and say no.” (23)

and holy shit, i had no idea about his run-in with the cops in vegas, i’m so sorry it happened, and that they tried to gaslight everyone after that. all the more reason to redefine the american hero.

“If food is self-determination, then right now, that self-determination does not exist.” (101)

holy shit. the activism that this man has is amazing. and finally, an athlete voicing my own concerns over the hypocrisy of fast food conglomerates funding sporting events. and calling out other athletes to come onboard, whoo!

for anyone who is still wavy on the state of the NCAA-i challenge you to counter this argument. but wait-you probably don’t think that climate change is a thing either.

“It was impossible to avoid the contrast: poverty and malnutrition in Haiti mean starvation, while poverty and malnutrition here mean early-onset diabetes and obesity.” (111)

and, boom! way to call out 45 for calling haiti a shithole nation.

18) muppets take manhattan-dir.frank oz oh snap, the plot of this one is a bit too real. joan rivers giving miss piggy a makeover is kind of everything tho. but that same played out trope of piggy tricking kermit into marrying her? come on. this is where the male ideal of “feminism” runs dry-she should’ve left him a long time ago if he couldn’t commit to her, or see her for all that she is. just sayin’.

19) muppets most wanted-dir. james bobin my first thought is “who the hell are these muppets? it’s very jarring to listen to these voices. but i suppose things must change. in this case-production value is the least they can do for this turn from the original vision-but hey, masters die, and not everyone has access to that magic, and nostalgia will only get us so far. i can’t lie, “i’m an amphibian-american” and “it’s not easy being mean” are pretty good lines. it’s also pretty dark to deliver kermit to the gulag in a hannibal lector mask. and the cameos are pretty amazing. i guess they got around the voice thing by making the puppets sing in funny accents. the muppet face firework finale was a nice touch, but overall-meh.

20) how to be single-dir.christian ditter “sex is the perfect way to know what you want” is an interesting take on being single. so is “i’m tired of you meeting a guy and falling into his dicksand”. and damn, new york city looks great in movies. shoutout to leslie mann for being typecast as the older woman who doesn’t know she’s adorable and desirable to young men. i can’t help but get the sneaking suspicion that the lesson is that women need to count their blessings and not pass up on doods that “good guys” without acknowledging that the standards are much different, because of the patriarchy.i can definitely identify with multiple vantage points in this movie, for sure. okay, okay-this turned out differently than i thought, well played, people. well played.

21) dear white people-season one (created by justin simeon) “you’re tracee ellis ross biracial, not rashida jones biracial”-i’m dead. i didn’t watch this when it came out because i wasn’t sure how it would play out, i’m still working out how i feel about the movie. but again, such gorgeous shots. and heeeeey intersectionality! wow-will there ever be a non-ironic use of “redbone” again? ohemgeeee i love this series so much more than the movie! awwwww! young, complicated love! holla…perspectives! of COURSE barry jenkins directed chapter v. i am so glad that i decided to look through the collection at runnymede yesterday when i stopped in to pee. going to a different library is always fun because the collection is curated by something other than your usual. what a treat that we have 100 different curated branches to choose from. the wardrobe and wardrober are sooo inspiring! so much that i sent my dad an angry email about a side piece that he had who had horrible taste in food but amazing taste in clothes-it was almost worth being a casualty in that affair for the clothes. (almost, ok?!) wow-the times when the fourth wall is broken-damn. also-gus fring as narrator?! did this fool just have a 9 and a 1/2 weeks fantasy montage about these two?! and now a do the right thing one?! gaddamn. has a show ever made you want to burn palo santo between episodes?! holy cautionary tale of not getting into revenge-based rebound relationships, batman. yo-this fool sniffing manties wearing a “bad choices make good stories” shirt is too much! i strangely just had a thought wondering what FZV thinks about this show, just not enough to actually reach out to her. (but thanks for the sardines on toast, buddy-i’ve been running with that for a minute). aaah! director commentary! gaaaah!

22) fruit of the drunken tree-ingrid rojas contreras my numbers have been going down since i lost the watching machine (temporarily), but that’s probably good that i’m watching less tv and listening to more podcast and reading through my book selection. this one came from preparing for the upcoming lecture series at the library. i think i remember hearing the tapes of people recording messages to the kidnapped in colombia in a this american life episode, back before i completely overdosed on those, and it’s something quite striking to read a fictionalized account based on a real-life one.

“Both versions of the story I told were lies, probably because the truth was more difficult to tell. What was the truth? Something horrible had happened. A man had been killed.
Maybe it wasn’t so difficult after all.” (88)

“The ways we failed Petrona was a bitter pie and I had divided it in three and maybe now it would be easier to bear.” (228)

“Sometimes the less you know the more you live.” (300)

and what a way to end the book on a mountain of beginnings.

23) lies that chelsea handler told me-by chelseas’s family and friends (audiobook) this is an interesting way of handling this project. i’m not gonna lie, i mostly put it on and went to sleep, so i missed a lot of it, save the night i couldn’t go to sleep at all, but basically, she would let her friends and fam talk about her and her pranks and failures, and then would come on and refute and rebut. there’s a weird chapter that she reads as her dog, so i don’t know who exactly she is dragging, but i appreciated the show notes and suggestions that she shares (and ignores).

24) be everything at once-dami lee i heard her on luvvie ajayi‘s podcast, and loved their conversation. my new little sister commented on the #booklook that i posted about it, and it was good for a couple kekes. it’s cute and worth supporting.

25) can you ever forgive me-lee israel i cannot believe that a screenplay was developed from this little book, or that production originally began with julianne mooremelissa mccarthy is perfect. i was expecting more in the book than some of the letters, and the details that were all covered in the movie.

“Walt Disney, for instance, would have been out of the question: his signature looks like something underneath the Articles of Confederation.” (96)

“Imitation is not flattering in the least; it is the refuge of the third-rate.” (104)

i don’t think this is as cut and dried-i think imitation only, for the sake of imitation, is that, but sometimes, influence due to reverence is clear before it turns into something personal….

“I began attorney shopping now. I stupidly surmised that I was owed talented pro bono representation, having written extensively for Ms. magazine and been associated in the past with civil rights causes.” (112)

this made me laugh out loud, as does a text exchange with a new friend over mall eggplant.

26) fighting with my family-dir. stephen merchant so-is stephen merchant my favourite now? i think he is. also-the rock is in every movie, now and forever, and i’m here for it. i loved this movie, the perfect one to see after an intense therapy reunion, and before new noodles and playreading group. it also gave the premise to a new joke as i remember that i do know paige, because of an old roommate who was obsessed with wwe-monday night smackdown, thursday night raw. (sigh).

december books (plus)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

november 2018 books (and beyond)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yesssssss.

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

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

and the first line of the acknowledgements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Diaspora, 149)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

october 2018 books

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

here are the books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.