Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Super-spaced-out this morning. Songs totally reflected my mood. I didn't think I knew what I was doing, but looking at it now, it kind of still makes sense even though if I was to do it over, I wouldn't've played a few of these.

playlist 9/30/08

mexican institute of sound - a girl like you
funkadelic - i wanna know if it's good to you
pavement - cream of gold
digable planets - art of easing
jane's addiction - summertime rolls
nick cave - mercy seat (request)
interpol - untitled
the roots - what they do
U2 - dirty day
brightblack morning light - oppressions each
t-bone burnett - every time i feel the shift
twilight singers - love/annie mae
soulsavers - kingdom of rain
dead meadow - green sky green lake
curve - already dead
love spit love - god's children
femi kuti - sorry sorry
brightblack morninglight - another reclamation
gotan project - chunga's revenge
calexico - dub latina/guero canelo
joe strummer and the mescaleros - midnight jam
mark lanegan - blues for d

Monday, September 29, 2008

wade in the water

My weekend was pretty low-key, sleeping and hanging out with the extended family. My cousins are all getting older and going off to college so there's fewer of us, but those of us who are there have a good time together. Working on an Ethiopian song with our friend Exodus for Sunday morning, learning lyrics in Amharic, trying not to butcher the pronounciation. Beautiful stuff, realizing how locked into Western music my playing is as I find myself discovering new chord voicings and rhythms.

But this weekend finished out beautifully with two of my favorite people at Edgewater Park. I never knew about the trail down to the beach from the top part until yesterday. Even though it's September, it still felt like summer, and we hung out there until almost sunset, leaving our shoes on the shore, rolling up our jeans, and walking along where the waves meet the sand, digging our feet in, letting the water wash over, writing words in the sand.

It was one of those moments that just felt like perfection, with the light golden over the skyline and the sun setting behind us.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Finally got around to getting some art-making done last night. Using recycled display boards, collaging with spray adhesive. When I'm done getting the first layer down, I'll doodle all over it with sharpie markers, shade it with colored pencils, and add a layer of acrylic gel to the results for further alteration with more layers of paint and paper, glitter, oil pastel. I wish I could paint as good as the old masters, but I don't have the training or ability so modern art is a cop-out and an outlet for me. I'm an amateur and okay with it.

I'm glad I never stayed an art major. I always knew I wasn't as good as the other people in my classes, that it was more of a recreational thing than a vocational thing. I was intimidated by arrogant professors and brutal critiques and equally frustrated when those who were encouraging mistook hardworking mediocrity for "raw talent" because I know that there's no Vincent Van Gogh waiting to burst out of me somewhere.

A friend of mine once told me that most art students rarely do anything creative once they get out of school, and I wonder if the reason I still have enthusiasm for it was because I changed majors and never burned myself out.

U2's "Achtung Baby" has always been a soundtrack for me since my lonely freshman year of college when I thought I'd be an artist, where I'd spend my weekends painting all night down in the art building until they kicked me out, but that second Digable Planets album is getting up there too as far as ultimate, don't have to hit skip art-making music.

I never feel like most of my projects are ever done. They could always be better than they are and when I give a piece away, I'll see it on someone's wall and almost want to take it back and add something, improve upon it.

I have never sold any of my artwork, and at this point I have no desire to. Part of this is that I know that I am not the greatest artist ever but also because I feel like it cheapens it and I just can't bring myself to part with the pieces to just anybody. Usually they end up being Christmas gifts, birthday presents, or stashed in a portfolio in my attic. A couple of my pieces are hanging up at my old church down in Kent, but otherwise most people haven't seen what I do.

I have nothing planned tonight except this: a stack of CDs, some crates of vinyl, and all of my creative junk at my disposal. I've been stressed about things lately that are beyond my control and are more or less unfounded and I know that this will be good for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

need to chill

I really shouldn't try to ponder the future of anything after 11:00 at night.

That is all.

You wake up the next morning and wonder what on earth you were freaking out about.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ramble on

Kindareallywanna see the Smashing Pumpkins when they come through.

Going out to the far west of the county tonight with the roommate to pick up a cello (!) and while she's teaching music, I'll probably be browsing the bookshelves at the Cracker Park Barnes & Noble wondering how people can afford such expensive toys when the economy is crashing.

I am excited about the cello though. I love the deep sound of those things.

another open letter...

Dear Chris Cornell,

I still love my Soundgarden albums, but seriously, what happened to you?

You went from this:

to this?

I never thought I'd say that Audioslave sounded better than anything, but come on!

Where is Kim Thayil when you need him, anyway?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

playing catchup

Starting to play music with people on a regular basis again.

Got back in touch with a friend from way back that I haven't seen in about six years.

Hanging out with the Burundi kids is a regular thing now. I picked up some books at the library sale for them, and they were so excited. After the class, we went outside and played soccer and gave the kids piggyback rides until their parents were done.

Ended up getting to hear them sing together at the Swahili service at my friend's church. It was beautiful.

Meanwhile the world is completely crazy. Guess that's nothing new.

playlist 9/23/08

the pharcyde - hey you
madlib - movie theme
m.i.s. (mexican institute of sound) - microfono
novalima - zamba lanco
morphine - buena
joe lally - billiards
mad season - long gone day
afghan whigs - going to town
dirtbombs - brand new game
type o negative - everyone i know is dead (request)
gutter twins - bete noire
queens of the stone age - auto pilot
funkadelic - super stupid
tricky - joseph
dj food - fungle junk
pharaoh's daughter - ka ribon
love battery - foot
kasabian - processed beats
gnawa diffusion - sabrina
salif keita - imagige
love - a house is not a motel
tribe called quest - i left my wallet in el segundo
sinead o'connor - marcus garvey (burning spear cover)
funkadesi - makhana
tough and lovely - tough and lovely
blur - parklife
dirtbombs - sun is shining

Friday, September 19, 2008

the finer things in life

Books and music! And art, I guess, but I can't afford to buy that so I make it myself.

I went to the Lakewood Library book sale last night after work and despite certain individuals still thinking I listen to avant-garde jazz and am vegetarian, it was somewhat successful. I did not find any of these books, but these are 5
that I still have not gotten around to reading, or finishing.

The Satanic Verses (I actually own this but haven't finished it)
Lord of the Flies
At Swim Two-Birds (need to brush up on my Irish mythology before I tackle this one)
Anna Karenina (never finished this one)
Ulysses/Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (I've read "Dubliners" but nothing else by him).

Honestly, it was hard to come up with five, because between being an English major, and reading voraciously all my life, I've pretty much knocked out most of the Dead White Male canon and then some as I've been working my way through all the stuff I missed as far as African-American writers and world literature goes. Though I still haven't read any Faulkner. I'm kind of intimidated by it, I guess.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

playlist 9/16/08

Not too bad for 3 hours of sleep and still being sick.

I don't think I've done a show that hasn't had at least one Greg Dulli-related track on it.

afghan whigs - come see about me
soulsavers - arizona bay
curtis mayfield - we people who are darker than blue (dj premier remix)
unkle - eye for an eye
blonde redhead - spring and by summer fall
common - geto heaven part 2
ollabelle - john the revelator
paradise lost - one second (request)
ride - driving blind
morphine - buena
d'angelo - spanish joint
les nubians - bebela
twilight singers - last temptation
burial - archangel
liengo - tembe na tembe
funkadesi - makhana
ramsey lewis - do what you wanna (mr. scruff's soul party remix)
prototypes - track 1 (something in french)
yeah yeah yeahs - gold lions
santogold - lights out
modern lovers - i'm straight
reachout - simulation of chaos
sharon jones and the dap-kings - how long?
the mighty walker brothers - God has been good to me
tuatara- smuggler's cove
beastie boys - namaste
morcheeba - trigger hippie

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008


One of my old roommates used to call me a random force of chaos, due to my tendency to get into interesting situations where the unexpected always ends up taking place.

While I believe there is something divine at work in this, it's not far from the truth.

In a sense, I'm embarrassingly provincial. I've never traveled abroad (Niagara Falls doesn't count), visited very few large cities, and while I would love to see other parts of the world that I've only read about or seen pictures of in National Geographic, I content myself in the meantime to seeking adventure here.

This is home, after all. And I'm realizing more and more how deep and rich the life of this city is, and that you need to go deeper into it to find it. And sometimes it just kind of happens to you.

My roommate and I have somehow ended up in the world of the African diaspora that live in this city. I ended up at a church last Friday with primarily Nigerian immigrants, only to hang out with the Burundi kids on Saturday, sitting in at Ethiopian church on Sunday, a mutual friend of ours from Kenya cooking dinner for us this past week.

I love being able to see the world from another's perspective, learn about other places. Not just complain all the time but actively seek to see things happen.

And they always do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the days are numbered

I've never been one to do anything really crazy, but I have always been a sucker for abandoned and forgotten places. One of the best ones within driving distance is Chippewa Lake Park, which has been abandoned since the late 1970s.

When I was in college (grad school actually), my roommate and I drove over there with her camera to check the place out. We tried to get a couple guy friends to go with us but no one was free, and this whole venture took on a cliche horror movie feel (two college girls enter an abandoned amusement park and encounter a psychotic killer, etc, etc...).

The area itself feels like one of those photos you see of Appalachian regions in southern Ohio, with lots of trailers and rickety houses and stray animals everywhere. The park itself turned out to be more or less an open secret. Getting in was no trouble because there were people-sized holes conveniently cut into the fence all around. You could see the turnstiles through the bushes, and the frame of the old rollercoaster towering over the trees.

Further in, you could follow the pavement through the park, past the ballroom that had burned down, to the ferris wheel, the doodlebug ride, and the midway, full of collapsing stands.

What was so creepy about this place, though, was how abruptly it seemed to have been abandoned. Maintenance vehicles rusting away, all the rides still intact as nature took them over. I was completely jumpy the whole time, wondering if anyone was in these abandoned buildings, how fresh those other footprints were, but we had no such encounters.

I just found out today that someone has bought this property and plans to turn it into a resort with shopping, spas, resort hotels. I wonder who's going to drive this far and if they'll be able to handle the incredible amount of mosquitoes.

So if you're looking to explore this place, it's probably better to do it sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

there's a storm in my house...

I woke up before my alarm this morning to the sound of rain and wind and doors slamming and windows rattling.

I do like driving in the early morning hours before everyone's up. Just the lights and the road and the radio.

playlist 9/9/08

sneaker pimps - 6 underground (remix)
santogold & diplo - guns of brooklyn
afghan whigs - beware (al green cover)
the roots - break you off (live)
robert plant & alison krauss - fortuneteller
leadbelly - where did you sleep last night
erykah badu - that hump
morphine - i had my chance
martina topley-bird - valentine
sing-sing - tegan
heatmiser - low flying jets
cold war kids - hang me up to dry
john gorka - i'm from new jersey
tsunami - genius of crack
throwing muses - shimmer
the breeders - cannonball
kasabian - lsf
arrested development - united front
res - i've known the garden
trevor dandy - is there any love
the clash - ghetto defendant
tuatara - streets of new delhi
dengue fever - flowers
delta 72 - 7+7
john coltrane - my favorite things

Friday, September 5, 2008


my wonderful roommate Jocelyn just clued me in on this:

6th Annual JAZZ at the Rockefeller Greenhouse

Tour the Grounds! Dig the Sounds!

Saturday, September 6, 2008
1:00-4:30 p.m.
750 E. 88th Street

Looking for a fun way to spend Saturday afternoon? Come to the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse for its popular annual jazz concert, featuring two well-known, locally-based jazz groups-- Annette Keys & Road Trip, and the
Jazz Heritage Orchestra Quintet.

Enjoy free Lolly the Trolley rides through the Cultural Gardens, planting activities and face painting, and sign up to vote. Light refreshments will be available for purchase.

In the event of inclement weather, a rain date is scheduled for Sunday,
September 7.

For more information, call 216-664-3103 or visit http://www.rockefellergreenhouse.org.

I've always loved driving through there, but never actually explored the area for myself. My dad was born off of Ansel Road and spent his early years there before everyone ran for the suburbs and he took me down there on one of the days we used to have when I'd cut class and he showed me the house that he grew up in where all the streets have Polish names.

My grandparents lived over there back in the day, my great uncles played tennis on the courts and ice-skated at the lagoons. I've always wanted to walk down there and now I actually have a chance to.


We never get hurricanes in Ohio, just grey skies and washes of rain. Maybe it will restore the tomato plant that's fainting on my back balcony. In the meantime it makes me drowsy and restless.

In the meantime, the Lakewood police blotter never fails me. And while most of the incidents involve public intoxication and bicycle theft, there are others that are somewhat entertaining... For having the feel of living in the city, there's something kind of charming about some of these.


COMPLAINT, OLIVE AVENUE:A resident reported that someone attempted to her garage overnight on Aug. 26 but were unable to get inside due to all of her junk.

COMPLAINT, FRANKLIN BOULEVARD:A man selling bootleg Alice Cooper T-shirts was sent on his way at 8:13 p.m. Aug. 26.

COMPLAINT, DETROIT AVENUE:A man stole an Indians hat from a business and left on a push scooter at 5:08 p.m

COMPLAINT, DETROIT AVENUE:A man in a gorilla costume was throwing trash can lids into the street at 11:11 p.m. Saturday.

COMPLAINT, LAKE AVENUE:A resident called police believing that the government was hacking into her computer at 5:38 p.m. Saturday. The resident did not have Internet access.

COMPLAINT, NEWMAN AVENUE:Police were called on a man shooting squirrels in his back yard at 12:23 p.m. Saturday. The man stated that he was shooting the animals because they were eating his pears.

SUSPICION, DETROIT AVENUE:A caller heard a woman's scream coming from a parking lot at 12:21 a.m. Aug. 12. The woman was screaming because her soda had exploded in her face.

two of those things you're not supposed to discuss in polite company.

Here we go again with the politics and religion.

I have not watched any news or television coverage of either convention. Past experience has made me this way after a round of cussing out the tv and throwing things at it. The level of condescension to the Obama family galls me just as much as the people who find it disgusting that Sarah Palin has five kids. Who really cares? Do we need to talk about baby mamas and white trash right now? What does that solve, or does it just make everyone feel good about themselves?

It's been a lot more interesting this election cycle, but just as frustrating too. I don't see much changing for the better in this country. I get wary of people who think that way, who think that they are or that someone else is the answer.

I get so tired of both sides invoking God as if he's that cosmic buddy who happens to agree with their side rather than have his own absolute perspective that transcends the bounds of conservative and liberal.

I don't think God told anyone to invade Iraq, or that he loves us people in the United States more than the rest of the world. I don't picture him as an old white guy sitting up in the clouds zapping evildoers with lightning bolts like Zeus. To be honest, I see more real faith and belief in God in the people that I've met who didn't grow up here, where what you believe in actually has consequences and can cost you your social standing, employment, or life.

I also don't think that in the words of Donald Miller, that Jesus "... gave his own life against the forces of injustice." Sure, He was executed in an unjust manner under the auspices of a corrupt government and religious establishment, but that's oversimplifying everything.

If I remember right, and this is what I heard every week going to Mass as a kid and preached Sunday morning currently, it was our collective sins right? Injustice is one of those, and it's a horrible thing, but it's surely not the only one that humanity is guilty of...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I used to go out to parties and stand around...

So yeah...

I had a nice Labor Day weekend...

Played basketball and music with good people.

Went to a really nice wedding and reception. Homemade soul food courtesy of ladies from the church. Beautiful to see two families come together. Good to know they'll pretty much be neighbors. Met some really awesome people that I'll hopefully run into again at some point.

Drove up to the islands to hang out with the family. Spent a lot of time with my sister, which was good.

Came back to chill with the roommate and the Ethiopians for Chinese food and hanging out on the front porch. My Ethiopian nickname is Beyti now, evidently.

Went to a party also. People were nice but I just end up feeling all weird and antisocial among large groups of people. Sometimes it's no big deal and I have a great time, but other times, everyone might be nice but they're just so into their own thing that I just don't even know how to relate, and I'm always the sober one because I like having a clear head and because I have to wake up early the next day and, well, work.

Sure, I could be just as interesting, but I don't like always trying to explain how I'm a college radio DJ, or that I paint, or that I play guitar, or whatever. I'd rather talk shop than try to impress anyone, is what it comes down to.

Anyhow, I was able to make a graceful exit due to my early morning gig.

And here's the playlist:

morcheeba - the sea
abdoulaye diabate - bara
spanish harlem orchestra - intro
marvin gaye - got to give it up
alvin youngblood hart - two wings
jeff buckley - dream brother
mustafa sendal - kalmadi
susheela rahman - chordiya
dead can dance - cantara
the greenhornes & holly golightly - there is an end
bahta gabre heywet - tessassatege geko
andy palacio & garifuna - watina
mavis staples - on my way / this little light of mine
mission of burma - trem two
soundgarden - overfloater
ollabelle - soul of a man
immigrant suns - surf albania
afro novalima - malato
les nubians - embrasse moi
alemayehu eshete - teredtchewaledhu
funkadelic - i'll stay
sonantes - toque de coito
oumou sangare - djorolen