bag check

the bag: the lovely red quilted vintage that i recently acquired in mtl

the contents:

-2 cans of arizona black and white iced tea with ginseng and honey (my current obsession and the object of my wild goose chases as of late)
-book (reading)-shonda rhimes’ year of yes
-phone, keys, pen
-dog purse that has the money in it
-dog purse that has the lipsticks in it
-the following cds that i found on the road near the swansea library:

702 album, truth hurts album, aaliyah are you that somebody single, glitter album, urban underground disc 10, marc anthony i need to know single, swedish house mafia untilone

-book (filling in): start where you are
-book (library tour log): all the libraries toronto

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the book of joe-jonathan tropper

“To err, as they say, is human. To forgive is divine. To err by withholding your forgiveness until it’s too late is to become divinely fucked up. Only after burying my father do I realize that I always intended to forgive him. But somewhere I blinked, and seventeen years flew by, and now my forgiveness, ungiven, has become septic, an infection festering inside me.” (212)

“I suspect I’m an asshole means I probably am not, because a real asshole doesn’t think he’s an asshole, does he? Therefore, by realizing that I’m an asshole, I am in fact negating that very realization, am I not? Descartes’s Asshole Axiom: I think I am; therefore, I’m not one.” (44)

this one was a result of my completistism, and before that a customer pick. it’s funny because i was just wondering how tropper felt about the movie adaptation of his book and here i am reading a book in which the character in the book has written a book that has become a movie, and the people hate it.

there is much contemplation of death and dying, age and aging, and of course the medium of it all-time:

“Time doesn’t heal as much as it buries things in the undergrowth of your brain, where they lie in wait to ambush you when you least expect it.” (28)

“Most people decompose after they die, but for athletes and rock stars, the process begins years earlier.” (48)

“Memory is never beholden to chronology.” (68)

“The music from my youth has aged poorly and is now like a joke out of context. You had to be there.” (22)

“You have to question the originality of your life when it can be captured perfectly in the lyrics of a rock song.” (82)

“All of their faces are cluttered with the shrapnel of rebellion, as if a grenade of alienation has exploded in their midst, piercing every possible soft point of flesh-from earlobes and nostrils to eyebrows, lips, and tongues-with metal studs and rings.” (173)

there is also a lot of sloppy love with good intentions:

“We sit quietly as the conversation limps off to wherever it is that conversations go to die.” (52)

“The gods of sex and irony are playing hockey, and I am their unwitting puck.” (223)

“One of the liabilities of such pristine beauty is the ease with which the slightest gracelessness shows, like muddy footprints on white carpeting.” (262-3)

“There is something tragic in the way Cindy has angrily and obsessively dedicated herself to the immaculate perfection of this room while her life and her marriage spin helplessly out of her grasp.” (270)

i also appreciate the idea of simultaneously longing for home and never leaving somewhere, but not quite being satisfied to make a home where you are, but not able to go to the next place. there are many people in my orbit (and i probably fit into this too) who are seeking a literal and/or figurative home, but there is something to be said about loving where you are. the ashes being shot out of a blown up car are reminiscent of hunter s. thompson‘s ashes being shot out a literal cannon, as his work has been shot out of the literal cannon.

the big oyster-mark kurlansky

history on a half shell

“the world is my oyster, and i’m going to eat it.”

“The pigs in the street are the most respectable part of the population.” (198)
-Henry David Thoreau in a letter from New York to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1843

people will always show you how they are, it’s just up to you if you want to listen. today brought no more surprises, just reminders of the plan and a budget that doesn’t allow for any more sandwiches.

“The only thing New Yorkers ignore more than nature is history. They have a habit of not spending a great deal of time pondering the history of their city.” (xvi)

“Oysters, though, could also be shipped live. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not fragile and in fact are far more durable than most other food. Their shell amounts to a thick, lime-rock encasement and they can live out of the way for a number of days. Sprinkled with oatmeal for nourishment, they can live even longer.” (74)

“Oysters are a food that loses charm when it becomes a staple.” (126)

and now back to my festivus(tivities) of pig crafting and hobo with a shotgun. yea back to back recent canadian cinematic treasures and last night’s selection, citizen gangster.

one more river to cross-keith boykin

“Bisexuals are thought to portray the wrong image because their existence suggests that homosexuality might be a choice rather than an orientation. Transgendered people, including transvestites and transsexuals, project the image that lesbians and gays are actually just confused about their gender. The mainstream lesbian and gay community fears both of these groups because they confirm the larger society’s stereotypes about homosexuality. As with the black community, the gay community seeks to present not an accurate image of who its members are but, instead, a questionably ‘positive’ one that ignores the group’s diversity.” (64)

post-pride, let’s just acknowledge how complicated and sucky it can be to identify with the B or T of the LGBT. as the impossibly coincidental nature of this reading project (aka “life”) continues, the lines of this book crossed my eyes just as frank ocean was sharing the fact that he had loved a man. today, i opened a press release that stated that folks should stop trying to define his sexuality for him (and queen latifah, for that matter). i do agree with that, but i question the tone of “back off, LGBTs, stop trying to “claim” one for your “team”-he hasn’t actually said he’s one of you. on a related note, a customer that i believe to be a bigtime closet case came in recently to announce that he attended his first ever pride (now, i believe he’s at least 40 years old, so how this is even possible, i don’t know) and his reaction was “those people are crazy”. he’s black and lives in the junction, so i kinda looked at him and repeated “those people?”. those people are amongst you, mister-and especially in the store that you’re frequenting, where i believe we’re numbering in the 50% range. reality check like finding out that feel like makin’ love was a roberta flack song and not a d’angelo original, thus rendering me in the same camp as the 80s babies that heard red light special for the first time in a bow wow sample or friendly skies as a drake cover. bigups to the soultown station on sirius for that one, btw. i guess the more things change, the more they really stay the same.

“A black man who dates only men raises the specter of the extinction of the family name, potentially causing embarrasment to the family, and often suggests an irresponsible disregard for the need to create strong black families. Dating a white woman raises similar concerns, compromising the racial purity of the family and the couple’s offspring. Black homosexuals dating each other raises concerns too, but at least suggests some appreciation of the beauty within the race;
it does not seem as much an abandonment of blackness as does interracial dating. The shared racial identity develops a much stronger family bond than any presumed identity based on sexual orientation. I never polled my family members, but ultimately I decided that some would be more disturbed by my dating a white woman, while others would be more upset by my dating a black man. This confusion helped me realize that I had to live my life for myself, not for my family.” (22-3)

my pops changed his phone number and i found out from a cousin that also experienced a long silence from her own father. i don’t think i’ll have it memorized in this lifetime of one-button push to call. now, tali‘s number is the only one i really know for sure (more than my own, sometimes). i just watched extremely loud and incredibly close and not only do i crown it the top spot (of two) of movies that i liked better than the book (i couldn’t actually read the book, and i’m pretty sure it didn’t make it past the 30-page count)-i found it extremely relevant and incredibly cathartic on the topic of searching for history, honouring allegiances, and the impact of that journey in shaping identity. i also used the knowledge of squishing the dog to alleviate his anxiety attacks, and look forward to living with him in my summer home next month.

eating the dinosaur-chuck klosterman

“This has been a tremendous way to earn a living. Who wouldn’t enjoy getting paid for being curious? Journalism allows almost anyone to direct questions they would never ask of their own friends at random people; since the ensuing dialogue exists for commercial purposes, both parties accept an acceleration of intimacy. People give emotional responses, but those emotions are projections. The result (when things go well) is a dynamic, adversarial, semi-real conversation. I am at ease with this. If given a choice between interviewing someone and talking to them ‘for real,’ I prefer the former; I don’t like having the social limitations of tact imposed upon my day-to-day interactions and I don’t enjoy talking to most people more than once or twice in my lifetime.” (1-2)

even for those of us who don’t make a tremendous amount of money doing it, it’s a thrill nonetheless. i’ll go back to the point i made during my time at the toronto talk for the anthology of rap (yale)-there’s a difference in the thing(s) that we do for a living, and the things that we do for life. this one also made the list for completist purposes, but unlike the hendrix book, the person who wrote (in pen) in the margins to the care to scribble out what s/he noted. somehow, this seems fitting for a klosterman text. he makes me wanna teleport to new york to see him tonight (thanks, tweeter) and curious about his fiction. fargo rock city is next though, so i’ll have to wait a leetle bit longer….