keep calm and love soca music

I like to start my workout like I’m now going out to get paint and mud all over my body on j’ouvert morning. Undoubtedly one the biggest songs for the year, that I still don’t know the words to.

When it’s time to increase the speed I like to remind myself of FANTASTIC FRIDAY. On actual fantastic Friday I was shoveling snow in Toronto wishing I was in the stadium. Boy am I glad those days are over.

Keeping the run in high gear. It hurts me to post this, but that “we not staying down, we getting off the ground” makes me pick up the pace every single time. I’m seeing this video for the first time… I may be in love. That little boy holding he head at 3:27! Ah love it!

A great cool down! pieces2peace reintroduced me this Kes song. I must say I wasn’t on the Kes train in the early days. Lines like, “tonight the red man feeling to party” will never get you in my good books but he does give a great live show and I’ve never heard him repeat those words. 

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This came out a little while ago but how cool was it? Re-imagining cartoon characters of past. It’s nice to know that all cartoon girls will be sucked in by mainstream gender norms. It’s even nicer to know there are fabulous people out there re-imagining and ageing them for us.

  • least surprising radical: Daria of Daria. She may have been my model for sarcasm.
  • most surprising radical: Jazmine Dubois of Boondocks. She may be less upsetting now, appeasing my vexation re: Aaron McGrudder’s lack of positive black women in his comic/cartoon.

boondocks- Jazmine

These 5 reasons for why honest sex is awesome is a little different. I’d add that a big part of honest sex with a partner is honesty with yourself and that takes openness, experimentation and humour. Most interesting tip- Be honest about porn:

“But you should talk about what types they like. Don’t go orgasm
into “why” – you’ll get nowhere like that. Here’s a suggestion: find porn that satisfies both of your attractions and then dirty talk about it while you foreplay…. And if you don’t like porn, be honest. You might have to surrender to letting your spouse have some alone-porn-time then, but that’s okay – remember, it’s not about you.”

I’m on the fence about porn myself. It definitely serves a purpose but I must say I’ve never had an all out discussion about in with a partner. Always something new to try/ discuss/ consider, even if it’s only a conversation. And as I must always, safer sex is sexier sex, don’t let your porn industry fool you.

Also please check out this SUPER honest piece about being celibate for a year. I think it’s a wonderful example about how not talking with our partners, or even wanting to be with who we’re having sex with can lead to boring, complacent, uncomfortable, frustrating sex. Sometimes it really is better to go it alone. Funniest thing ever: what her, “if i live-tweeted during sex my hootsuite would look something like this:”

The men of Dead Prez are pretty cool. I really think they make an effort to be genuinely helpful and community oriented. It didn’t hurt that I came across Stic Man being featured as a black yogi. You know I love my yoga. This corn souppiece though is about being healthy on a “hood budget”. A friend posted this on facebook and, “apparently I’m on a hood budget”, going through the list this is the way I grew up and no one would ever call my family or the budget we were working with “hood”. So hood budget are not, these are great tips for making the most out of what you buy in the grocery. What I most practice:
#2: Cook big and save later.

  • I may take it to the extreme. I’ve been known to have a pot last me a week. I don’t mind eating the same thing every day.

#3: Soup up your options

  • My aunt is the queen of soups and showed me their glory. Using Campbells as a base can lead to glory… some coconut milk, ground provisions and dumplings, you can never forget dumplings.
  • I would add freezing the water from steamed or boiled vegetables over the week or weeks, add that to your soup for nutritious flavour.

Also on eating… check out this article Sporty Afros shared on what families groceries for a week looked like around the world. I’m tempted to do a picture with my family after this weekend’s shopping. Granted our family will look very different seeing that I’m a grown ass woman living with her parents, but still. I must say I’m shocked by all the packages but chances are our pictures will look very similar.

For those not in the know, cuffing season, is the sudden urge to have a special someone during the unbearable winter months. A cuddle and other buddy for the snow storms and the weekends spent at home under the blankets. As the temperatures here in the north-east dip, the reason why people feel the need to find a partner for cuffing season becomes exceedingly clear.

For those of you in warmer, more humane, climates I am sure you can find great uses for these songs as well. Enjoy!

1 Mos Def – The Panties

2. Aaliyah – One in a Million

3. JIll Scott – The Way

Jill is letting you know that tonight she’s gonna beat her her high score 🙂

4. Madonna and Massive Attack – I want you

5. Lady Saw – It’s Raining

Fyah Friday links

malala

1. October 2013 marks one year since Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen – her “crime”, to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated in a blog that she was managing anonymously for a few years.  This is the first in depth interview she has given since the attack and she has some very interesting views on how she believes peace can be attained with the Taliban through discussions.

Two things stood out to me:

  • The treatment of women and girls by the Taliban was used as a reason for intervention and military action. I took some time to look for what has been done to attempt to learn about some of the plans to achieve this objective and was unsuccessful. I certainly found out a lot about military engagement though.
  • Malala believes that the US (hmmm) and ambiguous governments are the ones responsible for brokering peace with the Taliban. She hopes to take an active role in this in the future as she aspires to hold political office.  I hope that she can continue to bring a voice to girls in her region but her sources of that hope give me pause.

2. Since the tragic shooting in Newton CT. late last year, the public discussions around dealing with people living with mental illness has been really difficult to sit through. Laws that significantly compromise confidentiality in mental health care and stigmatize those in treatment or who may have been treated in the past have been rolled out in a frenzy to appease some unfounded urge to save ‘us’ from them ‘them’

This Atlantic article shows are ill-prepared police officers are to deal with mental illness in times of crisis, relating the the recent shooting death by the police of a woman at Capitol Hill

I was reminded about attempts to facilitate gender training sessions with police and immigration officers . I left those sessions knowing that most officers were only there because they had be and were less than concerned about the subject matter. Additionally, the  fact that these sessions were being as one-off sessions and not part of comprehensive mandatory training , made me even less hopeful that the change I was hoping for would be realized.

images3.  Sigh. Why does the Dominican Republic want to manufacture more hardship for people of Haitian descent? The Constitutional Court in Santo Domingo has ruled in favor of stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants. The decision applies to those born after 1929. Really? Really now?  Here, PJ Patterson, former Jamaican PM is asking that CARICOM take a stand to strongly condemn this ruling.  What does strongly condemn really mean? I don’t know. But hopefully enough negative attention on this matter will force the D.R to pull this foolishness back.

Music Wednesdays!

music

This week’s selection is from the new albums on my listening rotation.

1. John Legend – Who Do We Think We Are

One of my favourite songs on the album. Despite the perspective the video (and my subsequent re-listening to the lyrics) presents, I will continue to maintain that this song is about the pseudo-arrogance of falling/growing/staying in love in the face of everything that’s wrong with this world and the number of times other people (and even you) have gotten it wrong.

2. Drake – Too Much ft Sampha

Probably my absolute favourite on the album. Maybe the one song I’m not ashamed to like. I enjoy Sampha a lot on this track; also I really think Drake is at his best when he’s in his vulnerable, reflective, personal storyteller persona.

3. Janelle Monae – Primetime ft Miguel

A pretty mainstream-sounding track from the album but I still love it (she reminds me a bit of Yahzarah on this song). I’m kinda looking forward to the video which is being released tomorrow.

Happy Hump Day!

the pause before a period

bookidle- lucyIn Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid’s protagonist is in the early days of adolescence and experiencing a lot of angst. One of the many sources of which was having a period. Those who have or currently menstruate will be familiar with the discomfort, inconvenience, the pain. One woman I worked with said she welcomed and celebrated her period. It  was for her a reminder of her fertility. I’m not trying to have children, so for me that excitement isn’t there. In Lucy, the mother of the protagonist warns/ predicts…

“finding blood in [your] underpants might be something one day [you] would get down on [your] knees and pray for” (69)

… and let me tell you truer words were never written.

Chris Rock has a hilarious joke (@3:25). He says, “you’re young and you date what do you do? You go to the movies, you go get pizza, you have sex, what else? You wait for periods.” He’s very right. If you’re young, single, fertile, having straight sex, and not planning on having children any time soon I’m willing to bet pregnacny young wocyou’ve had a pregnancy scare.

Owing to my hypochondriac ways I’ve had a couple pregnancy scares myself. Oftentimes not justified: I’m a stickler about safer-sex.  I always use condoms and am often on the birth control pill. But let me tell you, nothing puts fright in me more than, the thought, “shouldn’t I have had my period by now…”

And then rings true the words of Jamaica Kincaid, everyday you wait for finding blood in your underpants… oh what a blessing. What activities do you engage in? This is my usual modus operandi

  • calendar checking
    • when was my last period? I’ve never been good about tracking my cycle. So I end up having to try to remember what was going on in my life- events and activities when I last had my period and work back from there. I actually once convinced myself I was pregnant because I’d gained some weight even though it had been 9+ months since I’d had sex. #hypochondriaisreal
  • decision making
    • should I buy a pregnancy test?
      • Surprisingly I never have. My period has always come before I get that scared. That said, I know many a friend who has a pregnancy test hidden somewhere in her house just in case.
    • when should I tell him?
      • When you’re one day late? When you’re 10 days late? When you get two lines on the pregnancy test? Now I’m definitely torn on this one. I’ve never discussed my anxiety with anyone I’ve had sex with with because nothing makes me worry more than other people worrying with me. But I remember watching a sitcom where a character had a pregnancy scare and she said she was telling him because there was no reason she should be the only one stressed about something they were both responsible for. To each his or her own.
    • what would I do?
      • Because I’m a dilly-dallier it would definitely be too late for the morning-after-pill which leaves abortion on the table. I’m as pro-choice as they come but in these parts of the world (English-speaking Caribbean) save a few territories it is actually illegal. So that leaves finding a doctor who will (there are many) and considering his or her reputation. Talk about stress. #awkwardconversation
  • and thankfully all my stories have ended with great relief.

Hopefully we’ll all have/do an appreciation for the irony when there’s a shift in our desire to have children and we then start cursing the blood lining our underpants.

cartoon-kids-musicIt’s been a really long time since I’ve listened to new music. The idea of committing myself to listening to an album that I’m likely only to instantly like one track on, and maybe grow to like/love four or five more on repeated listens (if I’m lucky) has been really unappealing. What can I say? My downtime has been limited, I like to guarantee I’ll enjoy it – hence me re-watching Pride & Prejudice and The Wire rather than delving into Breaking Bad and seeing what all the fuss is about. This last two weeks, however, I’ve put three new albums on rotation for various reasons. And because I like forming an opinion of an album on my own then hearing other opinions on it so I can understand the music a little bit better or differently, I read reviews. I will use this opportunity to share my favourites.

  1. John Legend – Love in the Future. As usual, I did not like the first single. But because I am a huge John Legend fan (his first few albums he seemed to be doing a pretty great job of chronicling my relationships), I gave it a try anyway. And I LOVE it. I’ve agreed with a lot of the reviews I’ve read – some of the songs aren’t as strong as he has been lyrically, some of the tracks are particularly strong (Who Do We Think We Are, The Beginning…), the album very much reflects that he’s at a different place relationship-wise (and perhaps maturity-wise) – but the review that speaks most to me is Vibe’s review. The review does a wonderful job of reflecting on his career’s trajectory, acknowledging this as a great moment in that path, and still being honest about the fact that it probably wasn’t the best.
  2. Drake – Nothing was the Same. I have a complex relationship with Drake. I think he’s part wack, part talented, part straight guilty entertaining. This album is perhaps my favorite of his since the Heartbreak Drake mixtape. I feel guilty about enjoying him as much as I do and none of the reviews quite sum up how I feel about him and myself for liking him. But I do appreciate the Rolling Stone review that points out that one of the most appealing things about him is his flaws are his whole point (to a certain extent) and the Guardian review whose author was obviously poking fun at/challenging me directly when he says, “there’s nothing overly complex or profound here, but try to resist the charm.”
  3. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady. So this review says everything I felt listening to this album. I probably wouldn’t have committed to listening to it all were it not for the fact that I have tickets to see her next month and want to be able to get excited about/sing along to more than just Q.U.E.E.N.. I enjoy her but have never felt the need to do an in depth exploration of her work. I’m really glad I did, at least for this album. It was all over the place in a way that if anyone had described it I would have assumed it would have been a hot mess. But it’s a wonderful album. AND it features my loves Solange, Erykah Badu AND Esperanza Spalding? Yes please.

Fyah stirrers. I think you already know the albums I’ll be picking from for my music post on Wednesday.

Happy weekend!

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