august 2018 books

this month, i read in three different countries. here are the books:

1) Save the Cat-Blake Snyder i originally read an updated version late last year when i was working on the script that i was commissioned to write, and it caused quite the to-do then. this time, i skimmed it because it was the only book i had that i couldn’t renew because someone had a hold on it.

2) Everything They Had-David Halberstam i like reading books about other sports, just to see if i can identify with anyone’s reason to follow any other sport. i liked the articles about fishing and hunting most, probably because they were completely new. i still cannot find any room in my heart for baseball or football.

3) Oranges are Not the Only Fruit-Jeanette Winterson “I don’t know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it.” (165) amen. i took this one from one little library and deposited in in another (east end to west end). i didn’t like it as much as the one with her on the cover as a kid in a bathing suit, though i suppose it’s another way to tell the story within the framework of the bible/church.

4) Drive-How Vince Carter Conquered the NBA-Chris Young meh. i don’t know that i actually learned that much, though it’s probably a bit dated in light of everything we know now. a couple things: an interesting crossover to the Jordan story and David Falk and i wonder what oakley has to say now that dood has been in the nba forever and eight days.

5) Playing for Keeps-Michael Jordan and the World He Made-David Halberstam so, from air canada to air jordan-i guess the thing i didn’t realize that i got from the above book is that i didn’t know that vc was also a tarheel, nor did i know the jordan comparisons (or that they could’ve gotten shareef, and he could’ve ended up in vancouver-i was still there for that, but let’s play “what if” for a minute, nuts), i thought the name was because of the arena. this is v.well-written, just circular and a bit too detailed for me to fly through. i am leaving it at page 218, to be picked up at another time. (i actually did not return it on time, because i left in the middle of the morning in a quincinera outfit, and all of our flights were still oversold, but it was worth the $1.40 in fines, and my first overdue book in i don’t know how long).

6) That Time I Loved You-Carrianne Leung what an amazing book, to travel with or otherwise. just like The Wondrous Woo, a dazzling story that is so deliciously well-written. i’m glad she was just appointed writer in residence, she really deserves it. this is also a win because i am cutting into my home book shelf, though i also keep adding books that i find in the street as well. there is just so much to read! (what a life).

7) God Save the Queen Diva!-Big Freedia with Nicole Balin this was my first book after i returned from costa rica, and the one where i learned that mystikal was a great cheerleader. i love that this got some response on instagram, and am looking forward to seeing her here in october, as i missed the nxne show because nobody updated the schedule, and i left because i didn’t find tinashe particularly compelling.

i have also resumed my library tour and am hoping to finish it before jury duty, so there have also been some graphic novels that i have read and returned along the way (and forgot to write down)-oops.

total: 7
summary: v.slow burn

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major laser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my bank do thangs that your bank wish it could

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

metrotextual-may 2015

i feel like there’s a point in all of my attempted records where things get a bit murky, and i have hit that point here. my may 2015 file is full of books dated with different months, so i think this means that i didn’t record the exact date that i read them, but i recorded the dates that i blogged them, when i was still doing that. my apologies to kathryn kiutenbrouwer for the interview i never wrote up from our talk about all of the broken things, i don’t think i was actually ready to confront my feelings about talking to you about the book you wrote about vietnamese-canadian identity.

the books:

1) All of the Broken Things-Kathryn Kiutenbrouwer
2) Exposing Myself-Geraldo Rivera
3) From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant-Alex Gilvarry
4) Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy-Darryl Pinckney
5) After Artest-The NBA and the Assault on Blackness-David J. Leonard

these were all very big books, literally and literally. one of them prompted me to contact a former canadian talk show host to ask if he’s ever interviewed geraldo (he had not). one of these i got from the philly free library podcast, my longtime fave.

here are some quotes:

“The effort to exclude under-20 ballers from the NBA, while also motivated by owners not wanting to pay first-round dollars to players who might take years to develop and college programs wanting to profit from the unpaid labor of America’s top ballers, reflects a desire to push America’s best players into attending college so they can join the league having been already ‘seasoned’ and ‘domesticated’.” (102)

“Barbara used to tell me that people like us would always carry the double-edged sword of celebrity: greater access to sources, but resentment from rivals and colleagues. Don’t let it affect your work, she counselled. On some stories, especially in remote places, we will often cause a bigger fuss than the story itself. Don’t worry about it. Just concentrate on doing better than anyone else.” (307)

“There were more rats running around the emergency room than hospital staff. The place would have been a scandal in Addis Ababa, or Bombay, but it was quietly tolerated in the urban wasteland of the South Bronx.” (72)

“What is it that they say? Home is where you hang yourself.” (5)

“Obama’s reelection stimulated concern in some quarters about the price black Americans were paying for a black president.” (39)

“We rented a boat, and I rowed us to a remote corner of the reservoir. The sun baked down hot. I took off my shirt, and we embraced. Right there, the estranged first lady of Canada leant new meaning to the term head of state.” (333)

“It was the shame Teacher conveyed, by trying to fix things. He wanted to shout that these things were just broken. He wanted her to understand about the pride of broken things.” (161)

“And you won’t hear any of us called prisoners either. That’s forbidden too. We are detainees. It is all very clever on their part. Because we are not called prisoners, they don’t have to charge us with a crime.” (206)

five words: politricks, notoriety, truth, advice, reality

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.

this metrotextual month (closing tabs)-mays

“you lack discipline. it’s the paralysis of capacity.”

there’s a stunning honestly that comes from someone who loves you, and is mad that you can’t love them back in the way that they want you to. (sigh). i suppose we are complicated beings, ever waddling between seeking attention/affection and control over how that shows up.

so, i accept this and am attempting to do something(s).

here are the books that i read this month:

1) Her Body and Other Parties-Carmen Maria Machado May 2nd
2) The Hate You Give-Angie Thomas-May 6th
3) Sex Object-Jessica Valenti-May 7th
4) The Clasp-Sloane Crosley-May 15th
5) Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You-Lisa Leslie-May 17th
6) New People-Danzy Senna-May 20th
7) Halfrocentric-Jewels Smith-May 21
8) Beautiful You-Chuck Palahniuk-May 23
9) We Gon’ Be Alright-Jeff Chang-May 30

here are some pull quotes from the above:

“If a coach is not strong, consistent, and in control, the team will eventually fall apart.” (100)

“The best sex she ever had was with a white guy she despised and fantasized about bludgeoning to death with an African statuette.” (185)

“Victimhood doesn’t need to be an identity, but it is a product of facts.” (12)

“Hers is a war cry. She must have learned it at that Beijing orphanage. The survivors cry the loudest.” (223)

“You are entitled to us but we’re not even allowed to call you what you are.” (135)

“I am always surprised at the poetry with which boys can describe boning.” (129)

“She has decided all university campuses are alike-the sense of possibility and stasis. She thinks this too: all graduate students, if you look closely enough, exude the same aura of privilege and poverty.” (5)

thank you to these authors for their brilliance. five adjectives to describe where my mind was at this month? go:

un/natural cycling

i just tried to lie down because it was four-thirty-something and i have been crying for hours, and it turns out that there is a top limit of clips that i can watch of lebron becoming the GOAT (again).

what season is this? spring? summer? are the birds confused or ecstatic? what is the reason that they are yelling at the top of their lungs at this time? are they organizing? are they catching up? do they know that we don’t have that much time left? are they really free, or are they just in the sky? i mean, they’re definitely not in the sky right now, they are all in these trees, loud as fuck.

have you ever noticed that when you cry lying down, your tears pool in your ears? since equilibrium happens in there, is it actually possible to drown yourself in sorrow?

either way, i’m up and trying this again because i am not tired, even though i am exhausted. or maybe i am not exhausted, even though i am tired. i’ve never been sure where one stops and the other begins.

i put the itunes on shuffle and three songs in, have just been reminded that i haven’t removed kanye from my ipod yet. we haven’t had the chance to debate whether or not we are removing kanye from our ipods yet. because it’s “lost in the world”, i’m not skipping the track. nope-because it’s “lost in the world”, i’m skipping it. hold on.

(“consideration”-rihanna feat. sza)

when i first met you as a fresh-faced music enthusiast, your locks were swinging proudly as you bragged that you became a woman at a lauryn hill concert. i have always wished that was my story.

(“speechless”-beyonce)

i had to tell my single dad that i got my period when i was eleven and he gave me the free samples that came in the mail, immediately called my uncle, and gave me five dollars to ask my sixth grade teacher to buy me “what the girls were using these days”. he did the best he thought he could.

(“needed me”-rihanna)

it’s been twenty years since miseducation and it’s hard to get excited for a reunion when you no longer recognize anyone. i’m there in a heartbeat if there’s even a little chance of original arrangements, so eager that i’m satisfied with the four bars of ex-factor that skratch bastid played on saturday, and i like “nice for what” as much as anyone, but that song is not meant to be a jock jam.

(“kick your game”-TLC)

i heard the hurt in your voice when you rejected the comfort that people offered you at the funeral when they told you that it was their time. “no. it. wasn’t.” i’ve never said that about anyone from that point on.

(“caint use my phone”-badu)

yesterday, my sistar said that about you, and i said, “well….”

she knows the tattoo artist that was supposed to do your chest piece. of course she does, our communities are strong, connected, beauty-full and resistant as fuck.

i heard the news from your ex, who had heard from your other ex-the one that i had a crush on first, for the record, and i introduced you to. nobody ever remembers that part, but i’m not really mad about it, and now is not the time to be petty.

(“what they do”-the roots)

or maybe neither of you took me seriously because you’d seen me cry over that professor, though you never questioned me when i professed my love for him, or his for me-ok, maybe one of you did. you just laughed when i compared him to that big, drooling cat that came with your sublet in mile end, the one we wrote your dissertation in, the one you introduced me to sweet tea in, the one we lay around montrealing and discussing so much music in. i don’t think we ever talked about how he went on to offer a whole course in kanye when it was i who loved him, i never got to tell you that i felt a way about that.

(“skit #4”-kanye west i have to leave it because it’s the “there’s an imposter among us” skit)

i was on the subway when i got the text, on a slow crawl from warden to kennedy.

(“gold digger”-kanye and jamie foxx-fuck fuck fuckity fuck. skipping.)

(“the old prince still lives at home”-shad)

aside: for someone who came from the midwestern united states, born almost in the ’90s, i was very impressed with your knowledge and gusto for canadian hip hop so this is actually getting kind of eerie.

basically, i had too much time to imagine every possible scenario-in this present climate in your country, in your body, it could’ve been any number of things.

(“blood on the leaves”-kanye west fuckity fuck fuck i cannot skip this one.)

but the truth was absolutely not anywhere in the realm of any possibility that i could have imagined. and that’s how you always were-out of this world. honestly, homie, where did you come from? how were you so full of joy, life, experience, curiosity, wisdom, wonder, and how did you have a renewable source for so much more?

even when you were low, and i know you were. you always lived in such an exemplary way. and so you the ending matches the middle that we didn’t know was the middle. your social media accounts are already fading, but i have your letters and know your hand. i love your pictures and that you printed and mailed them to me. i just looked up at your holiday card now and my eyes are misty again.

(“southside”-common and kanye ok, so you trying to have this discussion, huh?)

the thing is, i didn’t realize that i put up so many of your pictures. i was also on my way to resume the library tour with the book you gifted me with as my guidebook when i learned. i was wearing my sue bird jersey. i was reading the first chuck palahniuk book i had read in years. everything was you and pndubs.

i was numb for 48, but this morning on the train uptown, the tears came forth. of course. you always supported metrotextual, you always saw me and my little acts of processing. remember that time my letter got lost because it went to jamaica jamaica and not jamaica plain, boston? and when you wrote back with a giant box filled with all of my favourite snacks from trader joe’s? there was no return address but i knew immediately that it was you. how the fuck did you remember my favourite snacks from trader joe’s? we never went to no trader joe’s.

(“compton”-kendrick feat. dre)

do you remember our babies that last year we were both in montreal? how you couldn’t just let keyanna cry so you ran to pick her up thirteen seconds after she started? i had her under less than ideal circumstances, and you helped me keep her safe. the twins are ten now, and look so much like their parents, i got a picture last year and meant to send it to you, did i send it to you? i never saw a picture of your new twins, but we did talk about all of the twins that seemed to find us.

(“everything i am”-kanye-sigh, i give up)

2016. it had been a minute. washrooms were a hot topic at that time. you were so relieved to be away from it while you were here. i picked you up and we ate so many seafoods with our hands, and you were there when i kicked my newly finished verse to my favourite poet. you floored me by remembering how i prefer to go through revolving doors-everyone in the same door, bobbing like muppets. i cannot remember a single revolving door in montrill so i don’t know how you even knew that, let alone how you remembered it 9 years later….

(“fireworks”-drake feat. alicia keys)

we went to the conference finals that year. you were here for game 7 vs. indiana, when i cried because we made it out of the first round for the first time since forever. you were still here when kyle hit that halfcourt shot to tie the game and i almost puked in hurricane’s, where they’d already switched some of the screens to the jays’ game because toronto sports fans are like that- hashtag,trust issues.

(“hola’ hovito”-jay-z)

you were there when i went “home” to vancouver before i moved here, back when i was still grasping at that idea of “closure”, when i cut off all my hair and was performing a lot. i was processing and you were in love, travelling to the yukon and shit because, that’s what you did, naturally.

(“the healer”-badu)

i didn’t know that i walked fast until you told me when i last saw you. i don’t think i ever noticed that before. did i walk slower in montreal? probably. i don’t recall you having a problem keeping up.

well, you’re ahead of me now, dear friend. i feel that in a lot of ways, you always have been. lightyears ahead, flying past on your bike. i hope the wind on your face brought you freedom and peace.

i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you i love you.

thank you for loving me and making sure that i felt it.

(“desperado”-rihanna)