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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2018 gratitude jar-it was written

i’m late on getting this together because i had to return all those books before they were overdue, and also we rang in the new year with our amazing basketball team, led by our expensive rental last night.

so, here it is:

the quote cards i coloured:

-it is okay to hold people accountable and expect others to do the same. it is a gift when i do this with grace and understanding. (jan 1, 2018, also the handwritten adendum “i expect more, i accept more”)
-you deserve to be surrounded by people who never ask you to apologize for being who you are (jan 12-anniversary of the earthquake in haiti/trump calls it a “shithole country”, media finds that easier to say than “racist”)
-i am allowed to say no to carrying the weight of other people’s problems (jan 12-loi leminh‘s birthday)
-you are not ‘too much’. you are exactly enough (jan 12-sick day-lots of things to consider) (no kidding)
-i can be proud of my healing process even if it starts and stops (mar 8-IWD-i am feeling this as i go back to yoga and the pool and get shit done-feeling it a lot lately)
-my body is not wrong or bad for being triggered and having a hard time letting it go (may 6-as i approach the anniversary of the last time i had non-consensual sex with a man, i embrace my willingness to improve this body and let things go-and eat a donut)
-i deserve people in my life who can see my pain, who are willing to witness my stories, and be patient with my growth (june 18-swanky hotel with fredy, healing session with sienna, finding anchor cup and A plate, sally came to affirm the space and hood)

90 days, i wrote summations of how great life was. here are the 10 standouts:

fri the 13th-free axe-throwing, new friends and badaxes (my wristband)
april 3-today i din’t have a lot of plans but i accomplished them all
july 18sylvia ferrari (heart eye faces) demar is traded (sad faces)
july 14-i beat rubia gm‘s all-time point total on duolingo (i have since gone on to do this by almost 200,000 points)
thanksgiving-(part 2/2) lindsay gives me coats and a fat smirking chiwow. so great-full for being welcome into a house of love, food, and good manners
august 15FZV is in my home for the first time and upon seeing my gratitude jar exclaims, “what a fire hazard”-yup. a winner.
nov 21-i bled through my thinx and stood in my vibrant power. wow.
july 27-using my benefits to the last dollar, strong man massage, sushi burger, secret zaki (again), big 3 basketball
nov 30-i got to stamp the cups at the abbott and hang with katherine and remember the first time it was the self-care that made me start thinking it was time to leave tsp

and my guest gratitude-written by the incomparable michelle cho: “hooky + brunch + lots of laughing + one dirty tic tac + crafted-i had the bestest day of self-care with you that was good for my soul. xo cho”

letters:

i started writing the letters to my dad time capsule that i bought last year, and in montreal, i started writing them to myself as well, so i will keep these in the jar to complete this year, and open later, when it feels right.

-a letter with no return name, no handwriting, from alberta with photos of southern alberta that arrived on march 2nd, 2018 with my handwritten addendum of “i have no idea who this is”) finding it again, i feel like i should write back, just to start a correspondence.
papa cush‘s address, so it must be from the thank you note that i sent him and sarah for the red petticoat they gifted me, which ended up being sold to the little mermaid
erin‘s return address because she ended up mailing me back my yellow tutu after borrowing it for almost two months (lots of business with tutus and mail)
-a beauty-full card that came from my gift box from the parkdale community health centre, and that has truly been one of my biggest blessings of the year

september 2018 books

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

here are the books:

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

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

3) Secret Path-Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

major laser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

july 2018 books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hashtag, goals.

here’s an excerpt from an email that i sent to a person i was in a relationship with some time ago, about my intentions for my new life in toronto:

what do I want?

1) to build the confidence necessary to gain my financial freedom (taxes, student loan, all the things I’ve been saying for a million years)
2) to buy a proper bed
3) to stay in Toronto for the full calendar year and then decide whether I will move to NYC then or within 5 years
4) STAY somewhere
5) or get a world ticket and travel the world
6) write and perform more
7) to be cool(er) with my family
8) to read books, all day every day
9) to publish an anthology about only children raised by single parents
10) to go on a book tour
11) to put out a four-issue magazine
12) to publish a book of poetry
13) to source my old journals for material

and, well.

1) DONE.
2) DONE.
3) DONE. 3b) BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
4) DONE. same crib, same job for almost 8/9 years in the same city.
5) not done. forgot about this for a minute.
6) half done. could be more done.
7) ibid.
8) DONE. (though never done)
9) not done. also forgot about this but hey….
10) not done. (prolly need to do 9 first, or 12)
11) not done. (did i have a theme? or just an end date, haha how like me to have an end date and no theme)
12) not done.
13) DONE.

7/13, 54 non-weighted percent is not really that bad at all. i’ve got a few more to add to the list, but this is a good jumpoff. thanks, old emails.

metrotextual-may 2017

here are the books i read this month a year ago:

1) milk and honey-rupi kaur-may 3
2) I Have the Right to Destroy Myself-Young-Ha Kim-may 5
3) Listening to Grasshoppers-Arundhati Roy-may 10
4) Things that Can and Cannot Be Said-Arundhati Roy and John Cusack-may 11
5) Long Shot-Craig Hodges with Rory Fanning-may 14th
6) The Art of a Beautiful Game-Chris Ballard-may 16
7) Hungry Heart-Jennifer Weiner-may 22
8) Do I Have to Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?-Jordan and Margaret Paul, Ph.D.-may 25
9) The Name Therapist-Duana Taha-may 27

some pull quotes:

“We all want freedom and we all want intimacy-at the same time.” (19)

“Failure to understand a player’s psyche is a flaw Ravin sees in the disciplinarian style of some coaches. Rather than empowering a player, they strip him of his authority.” (158)

“…being a good writer and a good reporter are far from the same thing. A writer can be invisible, but a reporter has to be both present and persistent, showing up with a notebook or asking questions over the phone.” (130)

“In a lot of ways, I relied on my education to maintain my edge with Jordan. I knew he didn’t know shit about Black history. No matter how much people praised Jordan, no matter how many awards he won, no matter how much money he had, he didn’t have the thing I held most dear: an education in the struggle of our people. This gave me confidence on the court and in the locker room with him.” (99)

“The trend of skipping grades stopped once educators realized that they were creating a generation of social cripples.” (25)

“R.Kelly went on to do great and horrible things. Carlita and I were both proud to say we played a part in his musical success. The fact that he cheated with my wife , in my house, after all I did for him, still haunts me from time to time.” (83-4)

“Can you really bomb feminism into a country?” (22)

“Most people take their first date to a movie, but not me; I take my first dates to hear the minister Louis Farrakhan speak.” (63)

“History is really a study of the future, not the past.” (23)

“It’s easy to have sex when you can’t really communicate.” (66)

“People who don’t know how to summarize have no dignity.” (6)

wow. so i guess we don’t really ever change who we are. (as we shouldn’t). thanks to these writers/ballers for their work.