Last BHM Hump Day Video

I know I’ve been absent from here lately … apologies for that. It’s just been busy, between work and starting to prep for my trip in two and a half weeks. But I’m still alive and kicking.

I’m also working away on one book I promised myself I’d read for Black History Month. I’m still a little way away from the end, so I suspect I’m going to end up being a library book refugee until early March.

In the meantime – and to round out the month – here’s a video from rapper/musician K’naan, whose new album, Troubadour, was just released yesterday. And – might I add – he’s damn good.

This song isn’t on his album, but I thought it fitting, given the times we’re in.

Hump Day Video, Hell Yes! Edition

It’s Wednesday. Again. Already!

(Really, where does the time go?)

Here’s my Hump Day video for this week … from a singer who’s never not in rotation on my iPod.

Note: this is not an old band – it’s just the treatment they gave the video. And if you actually think she’s good in this, you should see her in concert. Take my word for it. She puts me to absolute shame (and I can barely touch my toes some days).

For those of you who think this is this is lazy blogging – I really don’t care. You will watch and you WILL like  🙂 . 

THAT’s a First …

I’ve had my share of “characters” who decide to try and “chat me up” (and I use the phrase loosely) while waiting for a bus …

But I’ve never had someone do it to me while waiting for a train. 

Picture it: Scarborough, just this afternoon.

I’m on the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT) platform. It’s cold. My iPod is blasting in my ears.

This dude passes me on my left and stops just next to me. He’s facing me – which means he wants to talk.

Inwardly groaning at which one of two things he’s going to say to me, I reluctantly pull out my left earbud … and the conversion went something like this:

Guy: Hi.

Me: Hi. (I’m looking at him, tight-lipped.)

Guy (extending his hand): My name is Glen.

Me (weakly shaking it): I’m Denise.

Glen: How are you today?

Me: Fine, thanks.

(Awkward Pause # 1 as I lean a bit sideways to see if the train is coming yet. Sadly, no. He turns and does the same.)

Glen: So … are you coming from work?

Me: No. I’m coming from … home.

Glen: You go to school?

Me: No, I work … downtown.

Glen: What kind of work do you do?

Me: I work at a bank – I’m a teller. (Complete lie # 2.)

(Awkward Pause # 2. Still no train.)

Glen: So … do you have a cell phone?

Me: No. I disconnected it last week.

(Where’s the damn train?)

Glen: Do you have an e-mail address?

Me: Yes.

Glen: Can I have your e-mail address?

Me: No.

At this point, I hear a weird noise behind me, so I turn away from what I hope is the end of the conversation with “Glen” to watch some semi-crazy guy pick through the litter receptacle and extract a cup from a fast-food place that used to carry someone’s pop.

I watch him for about 20 seconds. And then I turn around to see that Glen is still standing there.

Following Awkward Pause # 3, in which he turns to see whether the train is FINALLY coming, he turns back to me and says, “Good to meet you. Have a nice day,” and walks away.

Seriously? Seriously. Does any of that stuff actually WORK? I’d be interested to find out how successful he’s been. 

Not that the weirdo factor would be completely eliminated … but I now firmly believe that I really, really, REALLY need to move out of Scarborough.

Letters and Cards

As I may or may not have mentioned previously, I’m a bit messy when it comes to my personal things. I have a rather large, unwieldy amount of clutter.

But since I wrote this post back in October – and spurred by my brother who moved out this fall (in a fashion similar to a squatter who’s been evicted) – I’ve been fighting a slow, protracted, passive-agreessive War on Clutter.

Amid the days where I alternate between lazily staring at my junk and impulsively chucking stuff before the urge passes, I’ve set up a couple organizational projects for myself.

One has been putting photos I developed years ago (by which, I mean as far back as 1996), into albums. A lot of them now have homes, but it’s still a work in progress. 

The other has been sifting through old letters and post cards. I’ve been procrastinating about dealing with this because:

(1) the number of letters I’ve kept over the years  is HUGE – good grief! I truly had NO IDEA until I started pulling them out from drawers and out from underneath piles of other junk I have to deal with. (No, seriously – today I found a birthday card I got from my dad when I was FOURTEEN.)

(2) I’ve been having an inner struggle over the type of karma I’ll create for myself if I throw out the letters and cards people have taken the time to write me. (And part of that is also emotional attachment.)

I recently informally canvassed some of my friends on Facebook for advice and suggestions. 

Some said, get rid of it all. Others – who’ve kept every single letter and card given to them, and have only recently purged a bit of their own collections – said to find containers to keep them in, if I didn’t really want to get rid of them.

Other friends – who are quite resourceful and crafty – suggested reusing/recycling them in different ways, such as making little gift boxes.

So as a compromise to what I’ve been advised, I’ve started re-reading cards and letters I’ve gotten over the years and casting final judgement after.

I’ve tried to keep my current methodology very simple:

Postcards and letters from abroad: For now, I keep. No question. What I do with them could be a future project.

Cards: Hand-made ones, I definitely keep. Ones that don’t have anything more than a generic “To/from/merry Christmas/happy birthday” greeting, get chucked. 

Letters: if it doesn’t elicit a reaction or evoke a memory, OR if I no longer keep in contact with the letter’s author, I re-read it, and out it goes.

So far, it’s been helping me to deal with old letters and cards with minimal guilt.  

When I started a few nights ago, I came across a bunch of letters my mom wrote me when I first went away to school. I found one and started reading part of it to her. She actually said, “I WROTE that?” The next thing I know, I went through letter after letter, reading them aloud. It was great.

It also took me by surprise when my mom admitted to me that, after getting me settled in my new residence room and leaving the building to make the five-hour return trip home, my mom sat on the front steps of the residence and actually bawled

All these years, I’ve never thought of my mom as a crier. I can  probably count on one hand – maybe three fingers – the number of times I can recall seeing her cry.

But it gave me a new appreciation for what she went through as a mom letting go (sort of) of her first-born, and re-reading the letters again – with the proper context – gave me a fresh perspective.  

I still have a LOT of letters to go through. I’m putting off  dealing with the piles of letters from friends who constantly wrote me letters and notes.

But at least in this way I can – if only briefly – re-live the memories in those letters before deciding to keep them … or finally let them go.

The Planning Begins … Again.

I was debating whether to say anything about thglinfis, or leave an air of mystery about it until I started blogging about it in about five weeks.

But fuck it.

I’m taking another trip – I booked it last week. I go in just over a month.


Some of you who have been reading my posts regularly, may already have a clue as to where I’m going. For those of you that don’t, I’m keeping mum until I post my first entry from the mystery location. That is, unless I’ve already spilled the beans to you myself. 

(And to those of you that DO know: don’t spoil it just yet for those that don’t …)

All I’ll say is, it’s not Europe. (Heh heh.)

Right now, I’m in that initial stage which comes after the trip package and flight (which has me trekking across the European continent!) have been booked and put on my credit card. 

I’ve been trying to take it down a few notches so I don’t lose all enthusiasm by the time the flight date comes around.

But inside I’m constantly saying to myself, I still can’t believe I’m actually going to make this happen! (Fingers still crossed!)

Now I have to educate myself  about my destination. I’ve already asked a  friend I know for advice and information, as well as people on an online travel forum, of which I’m a member. And it’s all been very valuable.

After waiting excitedly for four days, the first of two books I ordered online arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve been doing everything in my power not to stay up all night to voraciously pour over every page and stare at every glossy photo. And daydream.

I figure, as long as I absorb as much as I can of the essentials – and make sure to use this time to buy what I’ll need – I should be okay. Right?

Toronto The Good

Tuesday afternoon, my friend sent me an e-mail, asking if I wanted to see a play that evening.

I was on the fence. I’d been at work late the night before and was feeling kind of tired. 

I’m glad she asked me to reconsider. I ended up seeing a really good theatre production called Toronto The Good, by playwright Andrew Moodie (best known for his 1995 play Riot).

Moodie’s newest work begins at the centre of a racial profiling case. But the production extends beyond that, through the characters’ interpersonal relationships, and the characters’ personal stories. 

Emotions run high. The dialogue is great. And the themes explored can certainly hold one’s attention and give them pause – it certainly did for me.

Toronto the Good is playing now through March 1st at Factory Theatre here in Toronto. You can visit the play’s Web page , and check out  my friend’s thoughts at Play Anon. If that doesn’t help make up your mind, click on the link for the review mentioned in that post.

You can also visit the Toronto The Good blog, on which Andrew Moodie talks about the play, and invites people to discuss the issues facing our city.

Happy Black History Month!

Although it officially started on Sunday, I’m taking this opportunity to acknowledge Black History Month.

While I won’t be dedicating every single post to the occasion, I will be trying to do my part to alert you to any interesting links I come across or are brought to my attention, as well as using my Hump Day videos this month to highlight several of my favourite musicians.

I will also try to engage myself in a little self-education by aiming to read at least one or two books I’ve never gotten the chance to, and then hopefully post them later this month as Loquacious Reads recommendations.

I don’t think Black History Month should be relegated to one month a year. But perhaps it’s the kick in the pants someone like me needs to expand my brain, if no one else’s.

To get it started:  

Yesterday, a friend of mine forwarded a link to the blog Burning All Illusions. Blogger Ewuare X. Osayande kicked off his Black History Month by levelling an “open letter” at actor Will Smith in reaction to his thoughts regarding the recent presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. The guy certainly doesn’t mince words.

Today, another friend sent me a forward containing part of Bill Cosby’s 2004 address to the NAACP in Washington. The speech was given on the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education  Supreme Court case in the United States. 

Like Osayande, Cosby didn’t pull any punches when it came to telling people what he thought. In this case, his message was about the state of the country’s black children and – to a further extent – the parents raising them. 

Dubbed the “Pound Cake” speech, Cosby’s comments sparked outrage in some circles and debate in others. And the message has certainly resurfaced time and again in the years since. 

While my friend’s forward ended with, “It’s not about colour … it’s about behaviour!” I thought it particularly timely (and well-timed on the part of the friend who sent it). I found a link to an MP3 which plays excerpts from the speech – plus a transcript below that – which you can find by clicking here.

So if you’ve got a chance, take a little time and check out either link – or both – and marinate on it a little bit.

Happy Tuesday.