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Home: The Toast

All I care about is reading Rainbow Rowell’s newly-released Carry On (YES, it is the extended fanfic that Cath was writing in Fangirl, yes!), which I will certainly have finished by the time you read this. Mallory THAT BITCH got an early copy and has been taunting me with “you’re going to looooove it” and “I stayed up all niiiiiight” and “what a shame YOU don’t have a copy” and I hate her.

Stephenie Meyer, in an attempt to capitalize on Rainbow’s book day, has released a special gender-swap Bella and Edward story that ONLY COMES WITH THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF TWILIGHT. Excuse me? A OF ALL, most days when I’m in the shower I already pretend that I’m a powerful lady vampire and I take a human male companion and turn him after a few years of being more special than he is, and B OF ALL, I love those terrible books but I’m not gonna buy one twice. I shall wait for it to be made available as a standalone.

In the meantime, let’s buy this cool queer comics anthology instead.


Carolita on how to spot a recent upstate transplant.

My friend Carrie’s new puppy is not sure about this:


Incredible piece on hope and memory and language:

In November 2010, when I was 25 years old, I moved in with a man who was 98. This man, whom I’ll call Mr. Schecter, wasn’t a friend or relation or anyone I knew. He was a Holocaust survivor in the first stages of dementia, and I’d been hired to look after him. Although my background was in clinical psychology, I was by no means a professional caregiver. I was employed because Mr. Schecter’s son—I’ll call him Sam—had seriously underestimated his father’s condition. Sam’s mistake was understandable. The most obvious paradox of dementia is the victim’s frequent inability to recognize it, and Mr. Schecter went about his life as though burdened by the normal aches and pains of aging rather than by an irrevocable and debilitating illness. If he put the laundry detergent in the oven or forgot which floor he lived on, he’d shake his head and sigh, Mayn kop arbet nisht (“my head doesn’t work”). But it was a lament, not a diagnosis. And this denial, both clinical and profoundly human, led Sam to misjudge the illness as well.

Wesley Morris on identity (there are parts about Hamilton and Key and Peele):

What started this flux? For more than a decade, we’ve lived with personal technologies — video games and social-media platforms — that have helped us create alternate or auxiliary personae. We’ve also spent a dozen years in the daily grip of makeover shows, in which a team of experts transforms your personal style, your home, your body, your spouse. There are TV competitions for the best fashion design, body painting, drag queen. Some forms of cosmetic alteration have become perfectly normal, and there are shows for that, too. Our reinventions feel gleeful and liberating — and tied to an essentially American optimism. After centuries of women living alongside men, and of the races living adjacent to one another, even if only notionally, our rigidly enforced gender and racial lines are finally breaking down. There’s a sense of fluidity and permissiveness and a smashing of binaries. We’re all becoming one another. Well, we are. And we’re not.

okay, I’m going to include some of the part about “Negrotown”:

The show left us with a dream of Edenic self-containment as the key to black contentment — a stunning contradiction of all its previous sketches. It was a rebuke to both racial integration and ghettoization. It split me open. I cried with laughter at the joke of this obviously fake place as a kind of heaven. I cried with sadness, because if you’re in Negrotown, you’re also in a special ring of hell.

The bitterness of the sketch made me wonder if being black in America is the one identity that won’t ever mutate. I’m someone who believes himself to have complete individual autonomy, someone who feels free. But I also know some of that autonomy is limited, illusory, conditional. I live knowing that whatever my blackness means to me can be at odds with what it means to certain white observers, at any moment. So I live with two identities: mine and others’ perceptions of it. So much of blackness evolving has been limited to whiteness allowing it to evolve, without white people accepting that they are in the position of granting permission. Allowing. If that symbiotic dynamic is going to change, white people will need to become more conscious that they, too, can be perceived.

how we could avoid having people’s skin randomly tear off in sheets with a simple test:

The solution is a genetic test. Chung predicted this in his 2004 paper, concluding: “It should be possible to exploit this association in a highly reliable test to predict severe adverse reaction.” Indeed, it was. In Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and other Asian countries, doctors now carry out routine genetic tests for the HLA-B*15:02 variant before prescribing carbamazepine. It takes just 24 hours and if anyone tests positive, they get the newer, more expensive drugs.

Here is a very worthy cause: a GoFundMe for an South Side Chicago school’s English department to buy books:

We put our hearts and souls into this school and our kids every single day.  We can do without air conditioning on the third floor during 90 degree Chicago weather; we guzzle water.  We can do without paper to make copies; we buy our own and bring it up from our car three flights of stairs one ream at a time.  We can do without a functioning computer lab large enough to hold a full class; we teach our kids how to be resourceful by going to their public libraries and, in the worst case scenarios, typing full essays into Google Drive on their smart phones.

What we cannot do without–no, what we REFUSE to do without–are the materials we need to build the foundational critical skills that our students need and deserve.

Justice is providing students from the South Side of Chicago with access to the same quality of materials that the students in the North Shore of Chicago are guaranteed.  And, at least on our watch, we will not allow the injustices of a budget to impact our kids for the rest of their lives.

On being deported:

Unlike all my previous journeys, on this occasion I would be denied the thing after which all travellers yearn – their destination. Upon arrival at Heathrow, I was detained for more than nine hours and then deported, my residence stamp of nineteen years cancelled. At no point did British Border Force officials attempt to contact my wife. No previous journey had prepared me for that, or the subsequent limbo, which at the time of my writing has lasted seven weeks.

This experience has been so disorienting, that I have on several nights since woken from dreams of being in London, in our house, in our garden, with family and friends. My body was returned, but my heart continued the journey. 

Written by a Toastie who uses gaming to do group therapy with kids:

“No, it’s like…it’s got claws…” After fumbling through an unclear analogy and then failing to base a complex concept on these hazy descriptions, I finally thought, “screw it, I’m just going to talk aboutMario Kart.” I asked everyone who had played Mario Kart to raise their hands. The response was universal. Okay, already we had a better recognition rate. I asked about a time when they were doing great in the game, and if a friend had ever done something that left them feeling betrayed and angry. Their immediate answer: the blue shell. And there it was. A simple term we could use to parse the mire of childhood friendships.

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