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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january 2019 books, rants, and beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(swoon).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

metrotextual-may 2016

the books:

1) The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears-Dinaw Mengetsu-may 6
2) The Punch-John Feinstein-may 11
3) One Last Thing Before I Go-Jonathan Tropper-may 13
4) Eleven Rings-Phil Jackson with Hugh Delehanty -may 17th
5) Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Ex*-Heather Belle, Michelle Fiordaliso-may 19
6) Super Sad True Love Story-Gary Shteyngart-may 30

huh. deep in the playoffs for the first time, it doesn’t surprise me that it was mostly fiction and basketball, with a touch of trust issues.

the quotes:

“It wasn’t a kiss so much as it was a gentle press, or an extended graze of lips, full of a sudden, almost crushing tenderness.” (59)

“Players and coaches were far more accessible to the media. To begin with, there were far fewer media outlets. ESPN was still two years from its launch, and USA Today was six years away from publishing for the first time. None of the twenty-four-hour news services that now glut the airwaves existed. Writers often traveled on the same flights as the players. Their lifestyles weren’t all that different. The difference in salaries between most players and most writers wasn’t that great. Often they ate and drank together.” (36)

“He loves her as much as any man can love a woman he’s never spoken to, which is significantly more than you’d think.” (12)

“One thing I’ve learned as a coach is that you can’t force your will on people. If you want them to act differently, you need to inspire them to change themselves.” (13)

“And beneath the chaos of the moment, Denise becomes aware of a painful truth about herself: she is never as deeply in love with a man as she is in the moment he leaves her.” (211)

“To earn that kind of trust and affection from a child is to find out that you may have just been a better person than you believed all along.” (108)

“What impressed me most about Scottie, however, was his development over time as a leader-not by mimicking Michael but by teaching his teammates how to play within the system and always offering a compassionate ear when they ran into trouble. This was critical because Michael wasn’t very accessible and many of the players were intimidated by his presence. Scottie was someone they could talk to, someone who would keep an eye out for them on court. As Steve Kerr says, ‘Scottie was the nurturer, Michael was the enforcer.’” (74)

“While the desire to please caregivers is natural, it can become confusing if too much was expected from you as a child…..If responsibilities were foisted upon you too early, you may have come to believe that your greatest worth comes from denying yourself and offering up acts of service instead.” (102)

“I was only sixteen at the time. I didn’t believe in consequences yet.” (126)

“I felt both jealous of their youth and scared for their future. In short, I felt paternal and aroused, which is not a good combination.” (206)

in five words: experience, relationships, revelations, imaginary, intimidation.

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:

annex writes-too

and so, we were down to two on wednesday, but it was lovely to talk, continue getting to know each other, be served tea and a “yuppy snack”, as well as be sent home with lunch for the next day along with plenty of accomplishment and inspiration.

here were the poems that we made, first the collaborative word faux sestinas:

toothless smiles
holding tight
a reign of nurturing
the dependence gradient
proceed with tenderness
in this bookend of care

gradients of burden
technicolour cares
shades of reign
grasping at shadows
toothless yet full
tenderness for miles

and the haikus:

going round and round
circular motion always
one day we will stop

if a woman lives
without making another
does anyone know?

dogs come home with fleas
kids with lice and chicken pox
i don’t live with bugs

we all get older
though we don’t always get smart
men get passes though

volume and volume
tomes and issues and chapters
same book or a/new?

we were speaking on themes, perhaps that’s evident?

if you’re reading this we meet next on valentine’s day. it would be lovely to see you again, parkdale writers.