Mo Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

I mostly recently finished the first musical biography I have read in a long time, Mo Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. It was a very joyful read.

It didn’t flow like normal biographies usually did and throughout e-mails and interviews regarding the topic Questlove didn’t want it to be any normal biography. There are e-mails the editors wrote to themselves, there are interviews with the manager and most importantly Questlove tells his life through the love of affair of other people’s music.

He’s loves music just as any other music critic. He relates world and life events to the records heard during that period. And a lot of records if heard will remind him of certain events, even ones as trivial as accidentally injuries.

I love the way he remembers such intimate details, allowing you to visualize every story. Along the way you’ll fall in love with the Roots.

 

The Opposite of Loneliness

I recently finished The Opposite of Loneliness, a collection of essays and stories from a budding writer who died of a tragic car crash after graduation.

There are profound essays from Keegan herself as a student of Yale, critical and hopeful that all her fellow students pursue things that ring true to themselves instead of taking the easier paths. There are also many short stories through the eyes of different people, an exterminator, a strange old lady who takes off her clothes, teens in love or indifferent of love.

There’s one common theme in all these stories is that the characters themselves experience loneliness in their own way. An emptiness that never quite seems to fulfill. In this way the book is kind of depressing, but I enjoyed Keegan’s easy to digest style of writing that never comes off as pretentious or older than she seems. She writes in the voices and visions of each of her characters in a way that puts the reader in their shoes.

It’s a shame that we will never truly know what the things Keegan could have wrote as she grew older. It will be a literary world we’ll never know.

The Internet & Public Shaming

I’ve been reading Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which tells the stories of people who’s lives have been ruined over various levels of mistakes.

You can read a few of these examples in an article published by Ronson for the New York Times last year.  One of these tales is of Justin Sacco who made an inappropriate AIDS joke on Twitter right before a plane ride. Her life was subsequently ruined: lost job, was shunned by her family and received numerous death threats. Her personal brand (or more commonly known as Google Search results) now is forever associated with that stupid tweet.

What this book made me realize is that I’m also quick to judge people on social media and the mob mentality can be very addicting and controlling. People on the internet seem to live on the mistakes people have made, not knowing the lives they may affect through shaming.

I know I personally make mistakes on a daily basis but this “Big Brother” thing where people are always watching is scary. For now on, I’m going to be more considerate before jumping on the internet hate wagon.

In Ronson’s book the shamers often quote themselves saying they “did the right thing” but should the right thing be ruining someone’s life or wishing them dead? I think no, and we need to learn to empathize and educate people instead of taking them down.

Got a Replacement Kobo!

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After a lot of pointless back and forth with Kobo, I finally received a replacement device for my broken one. It’s not something they usually do but they were nice enough to consider it after how upset I was that mine couldn’t be fixed (even for money!).

Took a sick day today so this came with perfect timing so that I can continue staying in bed.

Indie Rock Coloring Book

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This adorable colouring book is by the Yellow Bird Project, a group of musicians and artists that make cool stuff to benefit various charities. The colouring book has various activities and artistic interpretations on band references.

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Here’s my cheery interpretation of a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! page. It reminds me of Chad Vangaalen’s music videos.

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Colouring books are a lot of fun, but I found that I’m way too OCD and a perfectionist to find this a relaxing activity. I’m hoping nobody gets me anymore for Christmas because I’d never finish them.

I Went To My First Book Signing And Met The Bloggess

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Today I went to my first ever book signing. Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) was making her only Canadian stop for her new release Furiously Happywhich shares her stories on depression and mental illness in the most authentic (and somehow hilarious) way possible. Lawson as a writer has made me appreciate the bizarre, weird and sometimes hard-to-get-through moments in life. As someone who has depressive moments, this book (and her other/blog) has helped me see those times in a different way and acknowledge that I’m not alone in this fight.

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I arrived 2 hours early to the 7pm book signing and was too awkward to ask anyone how things worked so I left for 15 minutes to get food. Little did I know, when I came back (at 5:15pm), people were already seated and I was put in group 3 here in the back. I underestimated that her fans would probably be just as OCD as I was.

Jenny read us the first two chapters of the book and answered questions from the crowd. I found her very humble and down to earth. Also just as hilarious as the book. She basically talks like she writes.

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After answering some questions from the crowd, she signed all our books and took photos with us! She took the time have a short chat with each person as they came up. She’s such a kindhearted person and I could tell she loved hearing how we connected with the book. Here’s my super awkward photo with her.

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My book signed.

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Also I couldn’t help taking a photo with Rory.

 

Twitterature

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While having a mini adventure at BMV, I stumbled on this little book I had to have on my work desk (since I do social media as my day job). It is a collection of “Twitterature”: reworkings of recognizable books told in 20 tweets or fewer by the protagonist of the story.

Here’s an example:

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That’s totally how Bilbo Baggins would tweet right?

It’s a funny book to have on your desk for quick entertainment.

What If?

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My current reading the book version of XKCD’s What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. The website and the book is a gold mine for those who’ve always had curious questions they were too embarrassed to ask out loud. Face it, we all have had those.

Take this one:

If you suddenly began rising steadily at one foot per second, how exactly would you die? Would you freeze or suffocate first? Or something else?

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While you can find the answer here, I really enjoyed that Randall Munroe used giraffes to illustrate some points.

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What type of hypothetical question would you ask a scientist? I think mine would probably be: How much bacon could I eat and still live?.

Let Yourself Do Nothing

I’m a workaholic. I’m guilty of glorifying busy. I rarely let myself truly do nothing. I read on my commutes to and from work. I take my lunch breaks at my desk (so I can blog or get my work done) and when I get home I manage all my blog e-mails, edit photographs or write some more.

If I take the time to watch TV (without actively doing something else), or play video games, I feel a bit guilty inside. I feel like there’s always something more important I could be doing (including the newly added responsibility of household chores) or going (shows, friends etc). By the time I get to bed, I’m exhausted. Sleep is the only time I’m truly doing nothing.

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This is a habit, I want to break. Recently, I read Jeremy Dean’s book Making Habits, Breaking Habits and in doing so I became more aware of the pattern of actions I take every day. I also learned that there’s only so many habits you can force yourself to do at once without a break, or it lowers productivity. Therefore, taking appropriate breaks are important and may lead to better output.

For now on, I’ll let myself have those mental breaks, watch an episode of something on Netflix, go for walks or literally sit in a chair and do nothing. Sometimes my best work happens during those types of events. In fact, I pretty much wrote this post in my head while showering.

Quoteskine Volume 1 by Lee Crutchley

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I forgot how exactly I stumbled across Lee Crutchley’s Quoteskine project but I loved the idea and bought the book.

IMG_3122Crutchley started the Quoteskine project on Tumblr as a creative way to visualize thoughts and quotes. Some were completely random and others were from songs, TV shows and movies.

IMG_3123The book is collection of his best works (at the time of publishing). The Tumblr is still going so maybe there will be a Volume 2.

Caught an Arcade Fire reference!
Caught an Arcade Fire reference!

The drawings in the book retain their original hand-drawn quality. You can see marker and pencil crayon lines and I adore that he left them unpolished like that. It has convinced me to start my own quote drawing. I have already written down a few ideas. Maybe I’ll share them with you in a later post!