streetknit-august 2017

me: “that’s magic”
T: “it’s not magic, it’s textiles”
me: “textiles are magic”
T: “textiles are science

and she blew my whole head up with that.

i love streetknit because the women don’t coddle anyone, though they totally coddle me. they ooh and ah over my not-quite-right projects (a square hat and a hat with an accidental ridge) but always make sure that i’m challenging myself to improve-“can you cast on yet?” “oh, another scarf?”

i love that it’s a space where skill-sharing and bragging meet-“you made those in a month?” “i made these in a week“, and a place where another virgo will still refuse to crochet me a bathing suit, even though it’s my birthday coming up and they’re taking more of my cervix.

it was particularly poppin’ last tuesday, very well attended by people of all ages, and i started another hat on the round. i missed a couple regulars, but made some new friends. there was a lady who was taking attendance. i’m so glad for this group and that i found it so early into my tenure in toronto.

new goal: crochet myself my own dang bathing suit
first steps: learn to crochet

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happy (belated) birthday

“i can feel it in my bones”

anyone who knows me knows that i count my blessings often.

the first person i saw on my 37th year on this earth was miz nadia bashalani, who serenaded me with her own arrangement of that birthday song, and the third was the dashing wayne tennant, who treated me to a lovely brunch (including juice with a twinge of racism) on a charming montrill terrace on a gorgeous morning.

during this brunch, i obtained the pre-requisite modern tidbit on kenneth ‘babyface’ edmonds (he’s on dancing with the stars), lots of laughs, and the knowledge that this video was to be released at 5pm.

i intended to watch it on the bus, but the wifi was nonsense, and i was stuck on there for an hour and a half longer than i anticipated, but was saved by the folks at chipotle at yonge and dundas who decided that i shouldn’t have to buy my own birthday burrito, especially whilst hangry and hefting too many winter clothes (shoutout to my girls for hooking me up with sweater and leather in addition to the spa).

it was lovely to come home to, however, in addition to all my innernet messages and calls with well-wishing and news of my childrens starting school. i truly am very, very blessed. so let me now just share the blessing that is this innovative video of eye and ear candy. if ever you get a chance to see these two live-take it. or regret forever that you just don’t love yourself.

here are some more musical highlights from the day:

– because i am wearing my whispers‘ shirt, nadia‘s husband plays “rock steady” and segues into stanley clarke songs and this is good first music to hear when you wake up
-“when doves cry” playing at the resto (and i’m cursing that i’m missing wayne‘s set at the kvc prince tribute)
– i passed a downtown hotel whose workers were outside picketing to “cotton eye joe” (sigh)-only in montrill
– the first song that played on my ipod when i boarded the bus was “over my head” by the alabama shakes and i got my life at their concert earlier this summer with these two
– unlike my trip into town, the shuffle chose no drake, opting instead for a spectrum of kanye and all the instrumental tracks from undun
– i heard the “i want you back” sample for the first time in “h to the izzo”
kanye and company took to screaming “ric flair” on the good music album and nadia‘s husband is a huge fan of wrestling
– i always seem to connect with d’angelo’s brown sugar album on a bus-i truly got it one year coming back on the midnight bus from new york to montreal when a new friend leant me her copy of the cd so that i could play on my discman (my discman!!!! i believe the only disc i had was the one i made bird make for me of “honey” as many times as it would fit)
– this time i listened to the 1996 live at the london jazz cafe album and wondered if he was ever better than that (i’ll stay wondering because i’ve yet to hear/see him live) also-angie stone is fi-yaaaaah on the back vocals
– i heard the whitney sample for the first time on “tuscan leather” because i opted to listen to nothing was the same (i can’t help it-seven years in toronto makes a drake fan out of anyone)
– the detour allowed me to fall in love once again with good kid m.a.a.d. city

i told my invisible husband of 9 years last night that i believe that i have always been and done the things that i always have, and that i will probably keep on keeping on. reading, writing, laughing, participating in the arts and feeling too many feelings for music and musicians will always be my number one priority, and i’m so great-full for all the beauty-full souls that have synchronized with mine.

may we all keep finding our tribe(s).

and be (re)born with each passing day.

every moment is a choice.

i choose LOVE.

today’s bookends

it’s official-all of my long-term relationships have been with albums and the nba.

it’s 2016 and maxwell thanked us tonight for 20 years of making his dreams come true.

damn.

1996 was a good year.

when i first moved here in 2009, i took myself to the maxwell show at the accchrisette michelle and common opened, and it was an incredible show. that night, and tonight-i was full of gratitude and inspiration for the staying power of an incredible artist with amazing songs. i may be as confused with his recent trilogy as i have been with margaret atwood‘s, but that doesn’t change the fact that urban hang suite was a pivotal album in my life. and that it was exactly on time tonight. though come on-who can deny that ’til the cops come knocking was a glaring omission…..?

the other bookend was an ego-blow sandwiched in ice creams, and i even happened to be wearing the same dress. no accidents. and all gratitude for inching closer to something real. or at least inching further away from all that old bullshit. no ragrets, nope.

i took myself to see the nice guys, where i cried in the dark for a few hours and once again mixed up those white boy ryans (reynolds and gosling), and then had a stunningly first-world problem moment of crying into noodles on yonge street because i wasn’t completely adored by someone for whom i felt 50/50 odds that the worst thing that could happen to us is if we were either not together, or we were.

i decided to bubble up by going to sephora and asking them to do my eyes so that i couldn’t cry because i would blind myself, and shit-i had to be on point in case i ran into my crooning idol, you know.

shoutout to those lovelies who did a bang-up job, not only with my makeup but with my spirit. life is all about knowing what to ask for, and whom to ask.

unlike beyonce‘s warmup dj-this one threw up bangerz (no miley) and i got my life in the singalong, especially with dru hill.

since they asked, “it ain’t good enough for me, baby”.

kindergarten’s over.

keanu-dir.peter atencio

“maybe, we weren’t trying to be seent”

hot docs is all fine and good, but there’s nothing like seeing these two on the big screen. i mean, i assumed, because i had never seen them on the big screen before (together), though theatres everywhere could make a million screening their show-(hint hint).

there isn’t much to say, other than i’m automatically in for anything they do, it’s perfectly silly and entertaining, and method man is still so freaking fine.

i will say that it was interesting to hear the cbc movie reviewer bring up “code switching” as the reason why the movie works, which is a win, but then negate that win by naming the two categories they move between as “normal people” and “straight-up gangstas”.

yup. it was as cringe-worthy as it sounds.

but this movie and its non-sensical revolution around this kitten is a great tuesday afternoon escape.

the boss-dir. ben falcone

“a do-ri-to”

so what if melissa mccarthy plays the same character over and over? that character is amazing. i mean, nobody complains that jennifer aniston does it. or that her boring plain jane face is still gracing “most beautiful people” lists. but hey-white beauty standards. who has the energy to complain about that? i’ll just re-direct my gaze.

and turn a blind ear to the ignorant bitches who say, “um-i feel like i’ve heard more prince since he died than i heard david bowie, and i don’t know if that’s fair…” first of all-you know who’s always complaining about “fairness”? people who have everything. the rest of us have to work six times as hard and actually EARN our lives. second of all, if david bowie was alive-tell me he wouldn’t be the first one to do a prince tribute. and for the hat trick-you notice it because it’s not your everyday experience that a person of colour has such influence on your influences that you never even knew, and it makes you uncomfortable because your racism is showing. like my raptors and the first fourth quarter they decided to win all season just now-get the fuck out of here.

the most important recurring theme of melissa mccarthy‘s movies is how an outsider overcomes childhood rejection to be a hilarious asshole who manages to build a family, against all odds. the insecurities, the abandonment issues, and the triumph is what keeps us coming back, and the co-sign is strong.

duolingo lately: 467 day streak, 5471 lingots
cafes lately: tokyo smoke, tuscana coffee, cygnet coffee, outpost coffee
stamps left to get on my icp: 16
libraries lately: parkdale, annette street, bloor/gladstone
first instrument to be checked out of the library: xylophone
cancon lately: celine dion, saukrates, yamantaka/sonic titan, emmanuel jal

diaspora dialogues lunch and learn-omar musa

“i feel a bit full of trepidation”

“in malay culture, poetry is woven into the daily fabric”

“you shouldn’t be a writer-you should be in real estate”

“when i was young i was hairy and i was dark so i made a lot of money in europe”

what a lovely opportunity to be in the presence of artists and writers in the afternoon. though the board room was a bit sterile, and the pizza was a bit uninspiring, these quotes, along with some as yet untransferable doodles all came out of the fruit-full meeting.

i was inspired by this poet that i had read about not too long ago in the aaww newsletter, and he obliged my request for the above piece-though i wonder if it’s like “monster mash”, as described by john waters-if he gets tired of performing it, if he feels like it defines him- i didn’t think to ask when i was in front of him, i selfishly wanted to hear it live.

it was better than any of the video recordings.

trust.

and i did engage in some mild stalkeration/admiration of his book tour through some of the same neighborhoods that i’ve also been through in the past year, though i stopped short of tweetering him about our all-star point guard since he captioned being impressed by derozan‘s game when he saw my team play in golden state (jelly, all kinds of jelly).

as a fellow half-malaysian NBA-appreciating word worker, i was reminded of the pilgrimage that i must take, and perhaps we’ll work our way to that after mexico city, though like the unspoken confirmations of the unspeakable that i got whilst travelling through viet nam after graduation, i got shivers when he spoke of poetry in malay culture, and when he recounted having enough language to make a book of poetry. hashtag, squad goals.

i hope our paths cross again, though i maintain that there are no accidents and we may have been at school together in a past life.

“i like it. i love it….feels like i sampled true love” ¬†forever ever.

coffee shops lately: crema yorkville, patisserie 27, the abbott, jimmy’s ossington (my fave)
theatre lately: caught at theatre passe-muraille
exhibit lately: strangers at the AGO (thanks, nehal)
danier demise commemorative purchase: leather shorts (formation outfit coming together)
listening to: jill scott, vivian green, liane lahavas (library) universal r&b 1986-2004 (lindsay)

vintage shops lately: breathless vintage, odd finds general store

the prison book club-ann walmsley at north york public library

“If you expect the best of people, they will rise to the occasion.”

“The smell of prison is the absence of smell itself.”

“They wanted me to use their real names-they were so proud of their engagement with books.”

but she didn’t know that they would always feel that way, as some of them hadn’t yet told their families that they were in jail. the process of coming up with pseudonyms was also interesting. i look forward to how she does it, when i’m through my holds’ list.

as she talked about introducing journals for continuity, to aid in the process of getting to know prisoners and their thoughts on books through transfers and limited sessions, i got to thinking about writers and journals, and why people who report the news (supposedly with some mythical lack of “bias”) are called journalists….journal lists….so what does that make writers who keep lists of journals?

and inside/outside is one of the dichotomies that rules my fascinations and ruminations-on life and art. without any prompting, she described her book as being different from OITNB because she had tape recordings, and piper was only working from memory. she failed to acknowledge (perhaps because it was obvious), that there was that whole difference in subject position, as well as the freedom of mobility between the prison gates.

she was not allowed in the cafeteria, however, though she had heard stories of how the self-segregation of the prisoners was the most tense in there, and the book club worked to break those barriers, it fostered empathy between polarized groups.

the idea of outside book clubs reading in tandem with inside book clubs, in the hopes that when folks come out, they don’t have to hang with their old associates, they can find friendship with their book club friends, is really touching and truly integrative/preventative (from re-offense).

so is the idea of transferred inmates taking the lead to start a book club in their new prison-facilitating discussion and recruiting-transforming skills that they had acquired in crime to commit to the cause of healing through literacy. beaver creek is a low-security prison, that that meant a concentration both of university-educated inmates and lifers who had earned their place due to good behaviour-and those are good qualities for a book club.

but the best is the anecdote of an inmate who evaded capture for his crime for years by hiding at the toronto reference library, in the music and construction sections, and it served him well because he worked in construction when he was released.

this is truly a story of facing your fears and ends full circle with the reflection on what books do to bring you back to your own humanity. i’m glad i made the trek uptown tonight. i did leave at the q&a so that i could raid the cd stacks, and i was not disappointed there either. even though i had to make my scarf into a hobo sack to transport them all home, i’m appreciative today of my computer’s busted disc drive-because i haven’t been watching as many movies, i’ve replaced my super-consumption with music, and i’m giving thanks for liner notes and album art.

cafes lately: squirrel, jalgua, hula girl
libraries used: annette street, parkdale, north york central
watching: black/ish season one
listening to: big k.r.i.t.-live from the underground
lingots: 5294
raptors: 52-25 (#2 spot clinched with the palindrome record!)
holds: 41
home books: 16
years until my triple-quinceanera: 9
collaborators needed for the next phase of my superproject: 5