Wednesday, December 30, 2009

middle-aged punk rock crime solving dinosaurs

was what someone googled and somehow ended up on my strange small corner of the Internets.

I was intrigued, of course, and realized that they were probably looking for this:

Not sure what this New Year's Eve holds for me, I find that when I don't make plans, what happens tends to be more interesting anyway.

these are not resolutions.

take one class a semester that looks interesting
get back into printmaking
take a road trip somewhere outside the state of Ohio (Detroit? Chicago?)
get my passport (everything's ready to go, just need to pay the fee)
take bass lessons
find somewhere to volunteer that won't burn me out
make a film with my grandma's 1958 8mm camera
finish one of my many unfinished art projects
discover something new within the Cleveland metro area

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

super clash playlist 12/22/09

I've never done a total themed show until last week, but it was Paul Simonon's birthday and the seventh anniversary of Joe Strummer's death so it felt appropriate. Since someone stole the station's copy of "London Calling" and I forgot mine at home, I downloaded it but played everything else off vinyl & CD.

the Clash - pressure drop
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros - get down moses
the clash - armagideon time
justice tonight dub
the guns of brixton
I'm so bored with the U.S.A. (request)
police on my back
koka kola (request)
joe strummer & the mescaleros - cool'n'out
the 101ers - steamgauge 99
the Clash - spanish bombs (request)
the right profile (request)
police & thieves
Julie's been working for the drug squad
straight to hell
joe strummer & the mescaleros - techno d-day
the Clash - hateful
i'm not down
ghetto defendant
if music could talk (request)
somebody got murdered
one more time
joe strummer & the mescaleros - johnny appleseed
arms aloft
the 101ers - keys to your heart
the Clash - 1-2 crush on you

Sunday, December 27, 2009

things I want

So there are two things that I fell in love with this weekend.

a stray cat.

an upright bass.

The cat is more feasible economically but we fear that our current feline will not be able to deal with another one. It took her a year to get used to ME and I feed her sometimes. but this one is so sweet and needs a home, currently living in my mom's neighbor's sunroom.

I stopped at Timeless Guitars because my dad said he saw an upright bass there. The one in the front room was a vintage Ampeg electric solid body upright but as it turned out, Clyde had about six acoustic uprights in the back room because he's awesome like that. Most music stores don't even carry them because they're so damn big and expensive but he's got several to choose from.

I love that place. Best guitar shop ever.

So I play an Engelhardt that runs about $850. It's nice and I love the way it feels. Then I try an old German one that's old and oh man do I feel like the greatest musician on earth like I could be jamming with John Coltrane or something. It just resonated and sang. I've been playing electric bass for about 10 years so it came easier than I thought it would.

Potential issues

#1 Too Damn Big
Neither of these will fit in my Toyota Corolla

#2 Amazing Upright bass is $2500, about what I paid for my first car.

What to do?

2010 can't come fast enough

This January first will be wonderful because 2009 will be done. There's been a lot of awesome this year but also just too many things that I just want to leave behind that have left me feeling just a bit jaded and fed up even as I've still been able to maintain some sense of awe and wonder. There was just too much drama and disintegration this year, watching a lot of things unravel and turn ugly, realizing that so many things are not what they appear to be. I've made no New Year's plans except possibly a photography day with the usual suspects but everything has just been too overwhelming.

this Christmas I had almost no "holiday spirit" and have figured it's probably overrated anyway. I did get some sweet gifts for people this time around... a Richard Nixon election bumper sticker for my cousin, a Who poster from a show that my dad went to back in the day, miscellaneous jewelry and CDs and coffee from Gypsy Beans and Ten Thousand Villages.

Ryan and Rebecca came up to visit and despite the unfortunate Greyhound ticket fiasco, it was wonderful to see them and we went to the Rockefeller Greenhouse and the art museum, got coffee at Gypsy, caught up on life, and such. Thankful for these interludes especially in times like these.

I got lost driving out to my cousins' house in Amherst, turning around in endless cul-de-sacs festooned with Christmas lights cursing Google Maps and wondering why I don't mind driving through truly sketchy parts of town but the hinterlands of Lorain County disorient me like nothing else.

I went to midnight mass at St. Ignatius after the festivities on Christmas Eve. I wanted quiet for my weary soul and it was perfect. The church was dark, and the choir was practicing and I sat in the pew soaking in the details of the architecture and enjoying the solitude. The church was packed out by 11:30 and the way that the cold building was lit up by candles held by people from every walk of life singing "Silent Night" was amazing and the building flooded with light as we sing the 'Gloria.'

I haven't been a practicing Catholic since I was in grade school and my family defected for an unconventional evangelicalism but around this time of year, I yearn for Advent candles and reconnecting with that part of my family history even though back in the day no one bothered with midnight mass.

I was exhausted and ducked out during offertory, going back to the place I was housesitting to sleep. Christmas morning was too depressing to recount in gory detail, but things brightened when we got to my grandparents' house and my cousins were there to make me laugh and I could just be embraced and vulnerable.

And that Cavs game was awesome. Seriously. It was priceless watching Kobe have a hissy fit and my team just dominating and being classy. Had a great time and reprised it on Saturday when the rest of the tribe came in.

In between lots of drama and random bright spots and trying to figure out how to deal with people that are literally insane while realizing that yes, I too am susceptible to clinical depression and that I still struggle with trying to drive through snow.

Here's hoping and praying for some brightness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

people, places, things

In order to keep myself sane, with the chaos going on with me right now, I'm currently housesitting for some friends again, finding that having that kind of space to myself and a big dog to walk does wonders.

Lindsay and I had a Cleveland adventure on Saturday, made a detour on the way to the West Side Market to a metalworking shop on west 17th off Abbey where they build awesome stuff out of leftover scraps like these:

Got lunch at the West Side Market Cafe and then continued on to Suite Lorain where I found an original re-elect Richard Nixon "Now More Than Ever" bumper sticker for my cousin, earrings, and black and white photos for future art project purposes.

Went to the Cleveland Handmade Market at the Lake Erie Screw Building where we got all inspired to do artistic things and I found a reprint of a concert poster of the Who for a show my dad went to back in the day where the James Gang and James Taylor opened, and James Taylor was booed off the stage.

The weather was icy so we gave up on driving out to "the end of civilization" on Mayfield Road, and cruised around Parma and Old Brooklyn looking at Christmas lights before hitting up Parmatown Mall, which is a great place to do Christmas shopping because no one goes there anymore.

Yesterday I went out after church and took pictures inside St. Theodosius because I was feeling all Christmasy and old school. I love that every inch of that building is handpainted and every time I've gone in, it smells like incense. Most of my photos didn't come out because of the smoke but still, it's a beautiful place.

crash course

New Year's Day, 2009, was marked by my dad and I trekking down to Hoopple's to see Glenn Schwartz play guitar and preach his particular brand of fire and brimstone. I think that set the tone for the rest of the year.

2009 has been one of the strangest years ever... rife with urban exploration misadventures, run-ins with shady characters, the death of the Sexy Saturn, familial drama, death, taxes, car crashes, bailing friends out of trouble, getting screwed for trying to help people in trouble, too much to go into here. My heart broke for my city and its people this year more than ever, and yet I'm still finding strange redemption even in the most warped of situations.

I've learned that guys say all sorts of things to try to get you to go out with them and that most of them aren't really true, and that most people in the business of helping people see it as a business and not a social service, learning that sometimes you actually have to deal with conflict instead of running away from it all the time, and who my true friends really are. I had a whole lot of crisis this year and I am so thankful for those who've seen me on my worst days, seen me cry, seen me freak out, and still love me anyway through my occasional spells of massive depression. Really, that says something.

and then the good stuff... going back to school part time, being immersed in cultures different than my own, exploring the ruins of our industrial past, constant hanging out at Edgewater soaking in the sun, walking on the beach, watching the sunset, catching some great shows, the amazing Bridge Project, picnicking Cleveland style on the back of an old Crown Vic eating Jamaican food at the Hessler Street Fair, meeting Neil Gaiman, Columbus adventures, playing lots of music, beautiful late night drives and a lot of laughter even at the bleakest moments.

I don't know what 2010 is going to look like but I feel like this year I've really learned a lot about the general suckitude and occasional profound moments of goodness in human nature and the constant goodness of God which I'm convinced is why the world isn't in even worse shape than it is right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the farther I go the less I know

Everything is completely insane right now. I'm sorry for all the cancelled plans, the unanswered phone calls, the times where I might have just broken down and started crying in front of you. Sometimes belief isn't all that easy.

Sometimes you think you're doing the right thing and you're wrong. There's a reason why they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you that you tried to do to others as you want done to you.

"One foot in front of the other"

Friday, December 11, 2009

best of the blotter 10: stay classy, suburbs!

GUM SKIRMISH, HIGH SCHOOL: Around lunchtime on Nov. 23 at Medina High School, two students began wrestling over a piece of gum, but the match quickly escalated when one student got upset and allegedly assaulted the other with a chain. No injuries were reported by the victim.

THEFT FROM AUTO, INWOOD BOULEVARD: There were 15 incidents of theft from vehicles reported on Friday. Vehicles on Dellwood road, Moorewood Avenue and Fairfield Road were hit particularly bad, though thefts occurred Inwood Boulevard and Avon Belden as well. Though nothing was taken in many of the incidents, items stolen during the rash of break-ins included a Blackberry, a bag of court papers and photos of Dale Earnhardt.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

trouble sleep

I haven't been myself the past few weeks, hovering between interludes of everything being fine and something like depression, more just a moody thing that's usually remedied by massive quantities of hot tea, art supplies, Achtung Baby and Massive Attack and the noisy rock of my youth.

My lows are not what they were, and I'd hate to blame it on the weather or anything though I'm sure that hardly ever seeing sunlight and my year long sleep deficit can't possibly be healthy. And there's a whole lot in the way of changes and craziness that has come up too.

So I'm stepping back, reassessing, figuring out what I can do and what is too much.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

vladimir putin is gangsta

in a very real sense, I might add.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

all your music has too much guitar

My sister listens to indie rock. I honestly debate the rock tag and could maybe question the indie part of it too. Part of this is generational because I'm old and one can only listen to so many manorexics moaning over shimmery guitars.

Part of this is probably me playing the guitar and being far more excited by pyrotechnics and primal noise. If I had a college radio slot back when I was 19, I would have been playing the following instead of African pop and trip-hop. Sometimes I want to fill in on someone else's show so I can indulge my noisy urges, but that kind of thing just doesn't sound good at 5 in the morning.

I worshiped Fugazi all the way through college and would still love it if they'd get back together to record an album or maybe play a show somewhere within a hundred miles of Cleveland. I know they've got better things to do, but one can still dream. The jukebox in the basement of the Student Center at Kent had "Red Medicine" on the jukebox even though some of that feedback could clear the room.

Quicksand bridged the gap for me between what was on the radio and what the older kids at Tri-C were passing onto me. One of my art teachers hated this album and threatened to break it in half.

I still love Sonic Youth's guitars but couldn't get into it when I saw them at Kuyahoga Fest a few years ago. It was also raining really hard, the stage was far away, and Derek and I were huddled underneath his track jacket while everyone around us got really high. People on acid in the rain is lame, no matter what your parents say about Woodstock. That might have something to do with it.

I still find it hilarious when I hear parents talk about how their kid is "an emo." I also know that their kid probably has no clue who this band is.

I'm not as angsty as I was, but I still love some bitter pop-punk and this cut off the Clerks soundtrack is the best Fleetwood Mac cover ever.

The world would be a much better place if the radio played Jawbox instead of Candlebox. Just sayin'

When I went to DC a few years back, we ended up at some now-defunct gallery/venue where I bought the first Jawbox record on vinyl and ended up talking to the door guy who was so excited to meet someone from Cleveland because "so many awesome bands like Devo came from there."

And lastly, because this post needs more estrogen besides bassist named Kim, Kristin Hersh gets mad props too for acoustic loveliness and rocking well into middle age.

Monday, November 30, 2009

open letter #6, dear anonymous

From the comments of my previous Open Letter

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

I feel your pain. The solution is to find another city to love. You can give all your youth, energy and passion to Cleveland, and it will bleed you dry. Yes, Cleveland has some interesting aspects to it, I myself have always enjoyed Cinematheque, Westside Market, the Orchestra, etc.; however, it is the attitude of people and the overall economic climate that cannot overcome a couple of hotspots. Move on and move up.

Dear Anonymous,

That's easy for you to say. I wonder what constitutes "moving on" and "moving up." Is that the Sunbelt, the East Coast, the West Coast, Chicago? I wonder where you grew up, and what shaped you and where you are now.

Yes, there is a lot of unemployment and despair. But I don't think that we're unique in that regard. That's a good chunk of our country right there. And when I hear people talk who've moved out and moved on, they don't seem that much happier because happiness is not where you live or what you have.

I've never been all that ambitious. If I was, I would have left long ago. I've never cared about moving on or moving up. One of my friends lived in DC for a few years and she said it was horrible because even though there were all these amazing things going on everywhere, she had no one to hang out with and it just made the loneliness worse.

At this point, I'm surrounded by such a great crew of friends and family. We don't need much to be entertained. Give us some cans of Arizona and a five-dollar pizza and we'll hang out all night. We love cultural events and history and going out, but that's not why we exist. That gets pointless too.

This is the place where God has put me, and I'm content here. I could be happy somewhere else but there's a part of me that's inevitably drawn to places that people write off. My heart breaks for this city, but it'd break if I was in Chicago or DC or Seattle too. I'm sure that I could live almost anywhere if I could find a sense of community and people who are real, but right now, here is where it's at.

holding onto what's golden...

A little minor drama aside, the birthday was good and Thanksgiving weekend ended well.

Kristy and I went out on Thanksgiving morning before the festivities for another round of graffiti photography/driving around Cleveland listening to Soundgarden. This has been a tradition of ours since we were freshmen in college and homesick like crazy, taking advantage of gray skies and the cold to drive around with our cameras and a stack of CDs.

We went back to some former haunts, and found a new one, ended up climbing up the hill to an old warehouse in the Flats covered with paint. The colors of the building and the spraypaint were a beautiful combination.

Went over to the east side too, because I know there has to be good stuff I haven't seen.

Also stopped by to shoot a piece of family history. This was where my grandparents lived after they got married and where my dad was born.

For some reason, I had to shoot this too:

Came back to the west side and shot some murals

... I've always loved Scott Radke and this time I had a decent camera to document with...

Friday I thought I crashed my laptop and it took me awhile to get it back to working order again. It was cold outside and no one was around and I didn't want to go and shop anywhere so I moped around and was profoundly antisocial. Easier to hang around in a grungy old t-shirt and jeans than go out anywhere. Ended up not totally wasting my time because I began working on another art project and it was turning out beautifully.

Saturday, it was gorgeous outside and me and the roommate decided to randomly go out to the east side in search of adventure. We ended up at Whole Foods where we felt very west side as we tried out all sorts of sweet smelling organic hand lotion and wondered why everything was so expensive because we usually shop at Marc's or Save-a-Lot.

After a failed trip down Lee Road in search of hair product and such, we ended up hiking around Shaker Lakes, driving around Shaker listening to reggae, and detouring over to the Rockefeller Greenhouse off East 88th. I have a feeling this will be a favorite destination as the weather gets colder and I crave heat and the sweet smell of tropical fruit and flowers. And it's free.

Then we stopped at Edgewater for the first time in forever since now it's too dark when we get off work to go down there.

The leaves were golden and the water was as blue as it gets here.

The rest of the cousins and family came on Saturday night and we had a great time as we usually do. It's cool seeing everyone get older and get out of high school and get more awesome.

And I hear rumors of snow and I don't care, because this fall has been gorgeous and amazing. I'm so used to crappy weather around my birthday that I just appreciated it so much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

26 on the 25

So we're learning dates and times in Swahili right now and I've realized that what I'm learning in class isn't going to help me much as far as actually having a real conversation since the language has changed so much from the time our textbook was written.

I'm taking a class on Ethiopia next semester since what I know of the history is totally interesting and because I love being somewhere where I can satisfy my curiosity and stay a lifelong student without having lifelong student loans. Unlike many of my fellow Kent State cohorts, I graduated in three years, so I'm taking classes now that I didn't have time for then, with my 18 credit hour semesters spent in the English department with occasional forays into art and political science.

After that, I'm hoping to try Arabic this fall, because a lot of people on my side of town speak it and I'd like to at least be semi-literate and know words other than those related to Islam or food.

And I'm looking forward to this weekend, with birthday celebrations and hanging out with the extended family.

I feel good with where I'm at in life, I really do. I've made a life for myself in a city where that can be difficult to do. I have a job that I honestly enjoy that hasn't involved me selling my soul to mindless consumerism and dullness and has enabled me to do things I always wanted to do and never thought that would happen.

I've got some seriously awesome family, the best roommate one could ask for and some really incredible friends. Things have stayed interesting and mercifully free of much of the drama that encompassed high school and college.

I am so thankful and feeling so blessed because I never thought it could ever be this good.

oh yeah, and I share a birthday with these guys

Monday, November 23, 2009

so many things used to mean so much to me...

So me and the roommate took a mini road trip down to Columbus this weekend and had a great time. I used to think that Columbus was more or less a series of giant malls and suburbs and a really big school but now that I'm doing the driving, I'm glad I've learned this isn't true, even if the 45 mile an hour speed limits through the suburb still spook me.

Perfect weather for walking around and exploring and brought home a carload of stuff: African fabric, Madlib albums, Turkish jewelry for Christmas gifts, injera from an Ethiopian bakery by request, thrift store finds, and new music. Also had amazing Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile (waaay cheaper than Empress Taytu) and got to hang out with the awesome extended family.

Spent Saturday night in zealous apartment cleaning mode, something that probably should happen more, and Sunday with various combinations of family. The last two months of the year are always crazy because everyone's birthdays including mine fall at the same time and there's the holidays as well.

Also considering taking my music to the next level and learning how to play upright bass. I love the sound and would love to learn the technique, and since my student loans are pretty much paid off, I could actually afford to do this. Would love to delve into jazz and maybe classical, even though I get the feeling that the instrument may not fit in the back seat of my car...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

best of the blotter 9: those darn kids again

GENERAL COMPLAINT, SHOPPING PLAZA: Police checked the status of a handicapped placard after a Nov. 8 complaint that “they didn’t believe someone handicapped would be driving a sports car.“ The sticker “checked out,“ police said.

SHOPLIFTING, AURORA ROAD: A 38-year-old Toledo woman was charged with theft Nov. 13 after police were called to the Paper Palace on Aurora Road, where two women and two children had come in and purchased a small amount of merchandise. When employees noticed them giving stickers out to the children in the parking lot — stickers that had not been purchased — police found $229 worth of stolen merchandise on the suspect, including seven cutting tools used in scrapbooking.

CAMOUFLAGE, MIDDLE SCHOOL: Police responded to A.I. Root Middle School around 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 13 on report that an SUV carrying young teens dressed in camouflage, was parked at the corner of W. Sturbridge Dr. and Lawrence St. The caller said the teens were not doing anything unlawful, but the caller was concerned because of their attire. The vehicle was gone when officers arrived.

JUVENILE COMPLAINTS, LAKE OF THE FALLS: A group of juveniles who were “up to no good” caused a resident to call police Nov. 2. The resident said the kids were hanging around on benches and were not from the area. Officers could not locate the group.

JUVENILE COMPLAINTS, DRIFTWOOD DRIVE: Three teenagers knocking on doors and claiming to be German disturbed some residents Friday. The boys asked each resident where Fernwood was. Officers later located the teens as they were stealing a speed limit sign.

piecing it together.

I wasn't expecting so many cars when I got down to Ohio City for the memorial service last night. I was expecting the news crews circling like vultures when they smell death.

I could see the windows lit up at St. Patrick's and I got inside just before the service started, trying to pray and contemplate and collect my thoughts which is sometimes so hard to do when everyone around you is devastated. Besides Jody & Ernie, I really didn't know anyone else there, recognized some people from the drop-in center and the Catholic Worker house, wandering souls that I've seen walking down Lorain Avenue.

Seeing Ray's picture by the prayer cards make me choke up and I wonder what he would have thought of the first minister there invoking a "holy one called by many names yet nameless" when he most definitely was whispering "Emmanuel" as he died after helping the others escape.

There was a lot of talk about coming together as a community and being united and getting in touch with our "better selves," but the longer I exist on this earth, I am less and less convinced that it is true. Not that we don't do what we can, but honestly the only real change I see is what God does in us and how that affects the way in which we live and view others.

Sure, you can move back into the neighborhood and fix up an old house and bring up the property values and keep your money in the city by going out to the theater and the nice restaurants, but do you care about your neighbor? Do you think about the struggles that you see around you? Do you consider them a nuisance that you hope goes away when more people like you move in? Or do you get involved and engaged? Your idea of a quality of life is not the same as another's.

Loving this city is not just about the cultural amenities, the sports teams, the funky neighborhoods, and the happening arts scene. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is cool and I enjoy it too. Still, you can find that kind of thing almost anywhere. I could have moved somewhere else and found more lucrative employment, but I stayed here because of the people.

I love this city because even though it's profoundly corrupt and falling apart, the people here are amazing. If you don't care about your neighbors and look out for them, it doesn't matter how you live or what you do on the weekends, you don't care about your city.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

they remained, others fled

This is the inscription on the Carter family tombstone, a family with 9 kids who stayed when the plague hit and everyone else left town. I wonder if this will be my epitaph someday too.

On Tuesdays, since I have my car, me and Lindsay have been taking mini Cleveland adventures on common hour/lunch break. Today's involved fresh-baked naan bread from Aladdin's bakery and then hanging out at the Erie Street Cemetery.

I've always wanted to check it out but usually remembered this whenever I was at an Indians game and it was already dark. I've been a geek for old cemeteries since I was 9 or something and this one was old and I finally got to see the grave of Joc-o-sot, vaudeville performer, sports team haunter, and chief who got stuck dying in Cleveland instead of his native Wisconsin.

Evidently, some of these bodies were "reburied" here in 1939 which is kind of creepy. Maybe that's what early settler associations did back then.

Is it indicative of living in a dying city when your favorite destinations are forgotten streets, abandoned buildings, and graveyards? Does it just cement the fact that I'm still alive and enjoying it so much?

Also, today is Jeff Buckley's birthday. I played a half hour worth of him on the show today, but didn't feel like playing "Hallelujah" because everyone does.

Friday, November 13, 2009

best of the blotter 8

ROBBERY, MEADOWBROOK BOULEVARD: Two men with a gun reportedly robbed another man of a wallet, with $90 cash, and a bag of raisins Nov. 3.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, ASHWOOD ROAD: Someone drew a heart and put shoeprints in fresh concrete Friday.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, RIDGEBURY BOULEVARD: At 8 a.m. Saturday, a man phoned police to say a squirrel blew the transformer in his back yard. Police got a similar call of the same happening that morning on Barkston Drive. CEI was advised in both cases.

INTOXICATED PERSON, PEARL ROAD: A man, who was staying at King’s Inn, was advised last Thursday for being drunk and disorderly. The man was allegedly wandering up and down Pearl Road screaming at passing motorists and yelling at mailboxes.

PRAYING, TIMBER TRAIL: Police located a suspicious vehicle parked on Timber Trail around 9 a.m. on Nov. 3. Officers found two men in a blue van. The men, who were German, informed police that they had been praying at the location. Officers told them to find another spot.

DREAM? A Bradway St. resident called police reporting suspicious happenings around the house at about 4 a.m. Nov. 7. Officers walked around the home and determined that everything was fine. The man who reported the incident said that he may have been dreaming.

raindrops and sunshowers

Things are still crazy in this city, but this week, my soul has been restored.

Between playing music and sharing meals with good people, taking a night off to paint and collage, actually seeing the sun for a week straight, processing through the grief and realizing that there is still hope.

And I'm super excited about going to DC next weekend for pre-Thanksgiving feasting and revelry with some of the only people that are still worth hanging out with post-college.

Also, this is beautiful. I've been listening to it all week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

radiothon week playlist: greatest hits 11/10/09

It's Radiothon week at WCSB and I'm a horrible self-promoter. So if you want to support the best and most eclectic college radio station on the dial, there is still time.

Last year, I got no callers, but this time around, George called me and donated $50 because he's awesome. This is what happens when you're on when most people are sleeping.

But here's the playlist with songs that people have called about or personal faves. If you want a mix CD, hit me up, but also, please support independent media especially in this age of total radio suckitude.

beck - go it alone
afghan whigs - crazy
gutter twins - the body
mos def - no hay nada mas
blockhead - quiet storm
morcheeba - blindfold
tribe called quest - excursions
shalonda - fever
stiffed - hold tight
massive attack - black milk
k'naan & mos def - prayer song
sister fa - saraba
lamb - one
oumou sangare - djorolen
erykah badu - soldier
cut chemist - garden
kid koala - 3rd world lover
MIS - el microfono
sidestepper - deja
tricky - aftermath
funkadelic - i'll stay
amadou & mariam - masiteladi
daby toure - baye
dennis brown - man next door
joe strummer - tony adams


When I heard about that house fire down in Ohio City, I hoped he wasn't living there anymore. Like most people who are in a constant state of transition and had their struggles with substance abuse, it wasn't uncommon to lose touch with him for months.

He slept on our balcony the summer before last for a few weeks and did our dishes every night. I knew it was hard on him because he hated feeling like a freeloader. He moved around all over the west side, picked up welding and machine shop jobs. Sometimes he'd show up at church or I'd see him around the neighborhood.

I emailed my old roommate to see if she knew anything and he's gone. I know that his struggles are finished now, that he's with God and not dealing with all the struggles of this world anymore.

Veteran's Day was always one of those holidays that I never really think about but this year it has more of a face for me besides my grandparents' generation. I think of all the people like him that came home to a hostile country and a lack of a support network who ended up on the streets.

I'm realizing more and more how many people fall through the cracks.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

best of the blotter 7

VANDALISM, SNYDER ROAD: A woman called police shortly after midnight Oct. 29 to report someone painted her chicken coop white. Police investigated and found that the out building was wet from rain, possibly causing a discolored appearance. They found no evidence of foul play.

CAVES ROAD, TRESPASSING: Police responded to an Oct. 27 call from a man upset that his neighbor was shooting his .22 caliber rifle and driving his golf cart on the man’s lawn. The culprit admitted to driving on his neighbor’s lawn to scare geese. He said he was shooting at a target. The officer found his target and backstop to be inadequate and warned him. He was also told to stay on his own property.

DISTURBANCE, HILLIARD ROAD: A woman called police at 3:37 a.m. Saturday after her boyfriend came home drunk and fell into a fish tank. The man went with the squad.

THEFT, ELLSWORTH DRIVE: On Friday, a resident reported seeing two teenagers attempt to steal broken playground equipment from Woods Park. The teenagers attempted to steal a bouncing snail from the park. When she confronted the pair, they put the snail back.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, COLUMBIA ROAD: Officers responded to a report of a man with a rifle walking in the woods behind a church Oct. 28. Police later received a call informing them the man was part of a church scavenger hunt and the gun was a prop. Officers told the group to let them know next time they would be carrying fake weapons.

THEFT, DRIFTWOOD DRIVE: A man called police Friday to report that he believed someone stole his garbage can from his garage. The man said the garbage can was filled with shredded material, and he was afraid someone would steal his identity. He also wanted it noted that the garbage can cost $45.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, ROUTE 82: A resident reported last Thursday that someone who looked like “a Unabomber” was walking down Royalton Road. The man was described as wearing dark clothes and sunglasses. He was gone when police arrived.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

open letter #5: Dear Cleveland

Dear Cleveland,

It's really hard to love you sometimes. All your empty homes and broken dreams, annually reselling our souls and our firstborns to men in suits who suck us dry, and girls go missing but no one pays attention because they're from "that side" of town. You get drunk and complain about your losing sports teams. You listen to the same old songs on WMMS or KISS FM. Like a codependent girlfriend, I just can't quit you. I don't mind that you haven't shaved or that you smell funky.

One of my friends tells me that you're like Detroit's younger sister... where she is in 5 years is where you'll be. I think about all those homes going for about what I pay in rent a month, the casinos like alien spaceships landing on a deserted civilization sucking the life out of the city. More people on the street, more desperation. The suburbanites say "oh this will give us something to do!" but they don't like going anywhere anyway because it's "too ghetto" once you hit even the inner ring suburbs.

I think about what you'll look like in a few years, bloated with the salaries of lazy self-serving civil servants, starved in every other way, filled with self-loathing as your lifeblood hemorrhages out of you, leaving behind streets of empty homes and sordid tales. I hope there's something left of you, that you don't die on me.

I sometimes feel like I'm in a dysfunctional relationship with you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I can't be the only one who's noticed this

Back in the day, I thought I'd be a graphic designer printing concert posters and designing CD art. So much for that idea. But I'm still a nerd for graphic design.

Striking similarity, no?

playlist 11/3/09

baden powell - consolacao
dengue fever - sni bong
amadou & mariam - unissons nous
madlib - piano garden
joy jones - nomad
shalonda - fever/day n' nite God bless the child/love lockdown
burial - raver
q-tip - a million times
janelle monae - cybertronic purgatory
willie isz- I didn't mean to
U2 - some days are better than others
baby kites - reef
emmanuel jal - elengwen
thievery corporation - blasting through the city
horace andy - rock to sleep
dennis brown - to the foundation
sons of truth - give it up
mariam makeba - khawuleza
aziz brahim - dios mio
bole 2 harlem - aya bellew
dead leaf - save from the flames all that remains
john frusciante - ramparts
soliman gamil - sufi dialogue
abaji - gibran
bela fleck - throw down your heart
majid bekkas - daya mallah
kora jazz trio - chan chan
manu chao - clandestino

Monday, November 2, 2009

hall o' ween

I'm loving this whole extra hour of sleep thing, and that the weather's been kind of amazing for this time of year.

Me and the roommate and Muk met up with Jerusha and her roommate's friends who are residents at the Cleveland Clinic and they cooked curry for us. It was so spicy and we were sitting on the living room floor hanging out, devouring curry and ice cream, and drinking Indian instant coffee and eggnog, telling stories from work and driving test disasters.

yesterday we had a Halloween party for the refugee kids, which of course got kind of chaotic but they had a lot of fun and kept asking me for candy. We had them wrap each other up like mummies in toilet paper, make masks with paper bags, and of course had candy and cider. Massive amounts of glitter ended up everywhere, and then I ran over to church to help set up for their party.

I was so tired and ended up leaving early there to crash at the house, which I evidently needed desperately. My roommate borrowed my kimono, Kristy went vintage 1950s, I borrowed my dad's Neil Young style fringe vest, wore my hair down, and went hippie, and Muk was originally going to do jazz era but ended up going all Black Power, showed up at my place in a beret and fatigues.

Went to a show and then to a party, wasn't really feeling either, so I came home pretty early. Halloween is overrated even if it was fun to dress up for a change. I realize more and more that while I'm more social than some, I'm still more of a chill out somewhere person than a big blowout party person. To each their own I guess...

Friday, October 30, 2009

all souls

I'm not the world's biggest fan of Halloween, never got into the whole turning my yard into a place of reenacted ritual slaughter and whatnot, but little kids in costumes are so freakin' cute and I honestly think the day is what you make of it. Every day is a gift from God and I don't see why people make such a big deal about this day being so dark and evil.

I grew up Catholic-turned-evangelical, and the Catholics I know don't talk about how Satanic the day is. Heck, at St. Bridget's we could wear costumes instead of our school uniforms that day and that was awesome.

I wasn't allowed to tell the other kids I was friends with that we went trick-or-treating because even though we saw it as you get to express your creativity and make the elderly neighbors happy, this of course would lead to future teenage devil worship, what with that and my dad's Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath records. He explained to me once that not only did early Sabbath rock, it was more of a political thing than anything else.

I'd meet other kids whose parents told them the same thing. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure on our parents. I was told that as long as I wasn't anything "bad" I could do whatever I want, and then came up with costumes like Cleopatra and a flamenco dancer and a geisha, none of which I have the coloring to pull off but you'd have one of those nylon colorful jackets on anyway since it was the 90s and we live where it's cold.

Halloween was the biggest holiday ever when I was at Kent and I only went out for the big street celebration once. That was enough for me, honestly, since I didn't drink back then and found the sheer mass of drunk people overwhelming and ended up wondering how many girls were going to get date-raped later on that night. Not to mention the local cult with their megaphones and posters of Jesus with a machine gun yelling through megaphones and the Hare Krishnas chanting across the street.

My friend Josh and I used to carve pumpkins and throw in leftover supermarket pyrotechnics of various kinds and the kids with too much time on their hands and a video camera take this just a bit further...

So at church tomorrow night we're throwing the 5th annual "Holy Ghost Party" where the kids from the neighborhood get the chance to walk through, get good candy, and play games. After that I might hit up the Sachsenheim for music and merriment along the lines of local talent and people dancing with fire.

Evidently there's a market for "graveyard tourism" which makes a whole lot of sense because old cemeteries are awesome. I would totally take a road trip and go to old cemeteries but I wouldn't want to go in a group and I sure wouldn't want to go around Halloween.

Then again, I don't know what it says about me or my city when people ask what cool places there are to check out and you recommend the Funwall and Lake View Cemetery... abandoned factory complexes and graveyards, you know, good times.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

best of the blotter: beagles, rusty cars, and leaves of grass

SUSPICIOUS, HASKINS ROAD: A resident complained of several loud explosions that shook the house over a three-hour period Saturday night. Police solved the mystery after receiving a noise complaint call from another resident that pointed to several teens in a nearby park. They were attempting to determine how far away their car’s high-performance stereos could be heard.

SUSPICIOUS ANIMAL, FRENCH CREEK ROAD: A woman called police Oct. 17 to say that a “beagle” was playing in the lot of St. Clement’s church, preventing her from getting out of her car. Squads arriving on the scene discovered that the dog was in fact a pit bull and took it into custody, pending further investigation.

SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE, WALNUT CREEK DRIVE: An anonymous caller reported Friday that a red pick-up truck parked near her home was making the neighborhood look “crappy.”

MENACING, ACADEMY DRIVE: A resident reported Oct. 12 that the owner of landscaping company threatened him during a dispute. The owner allegedly threatened to kill all the grass at the resident’s house.

Monday, October 26, 2009

high culture, low class

Lindsay had to go see a play at the Cleveland Public Theater for her English class so we checked it out Friday night. Evidently the pay-what-you-can thing is hard to actually pull off in real life, and we felt a little scammed by $19 student tickets. I know one should be supporting the independent arts, but really now...

I know its intent was supposed to be some metaphysical Appalachian gothic tale of grief and loss, but it just came across as profoundly cliched and absurd. Maybe that was the point. I couldn't stand any of the characters (crazy wife lady, psycho next door neighbor who keeps yelling "I AM THE LAW!," husband who goes and cheats on her but actually makes more sense than anyone else).

And honestly, I found the whole Appalachian thing kind of insulting (especially since I've got loads of extended family down in St. Clairsville)> But it seemed like the writer watched "Deliverance" a few too many times and decided to try and make it all deep and literary. Shotguns, bad accents, Jack Daniels, ignorance about doctors and technology, cheatin' on yer wife down at the pool hall? PLEASE.

The two of us being English majors of course meant that we took a walk around the neighborhood and spent the rest of the evening at IHOP eating pancakes, drinking coffee, and gleefully deconstructing. So all was not lost. We were immensely entertained.

I'm convinced that as a writer you have to either be doing serious research or write what you know, because if you don't, it's almost always a disaster.

Friday, October 23, 2009

To throw away the pen and pad and simply be the poem

I wasn't planning on doing much last night.

I had a radio station meeting that I had to go to and unlike most times after sundown during the week when the city is deserted, there was both the circus and Jay-Z downtown. It actually felt like we lived in a thriving metropolis for a little bit there.

I had a ticket to the Saul Williams show last night and wasn't feeling terribly motivated but then me and a fellow DJ stopped at A.J. Rocco's and I got some caffeine in me and then we caught the show downtown.

I am so glad I went.

I missed Saul when he came to Kent State, and I've missed him at least three times since I moved back to Cleveland and he is easily one of the most charismatic performers I've ever seen, wish I could put words together and make them powerful, enunciate them like that. And he covered one of my favorite U2 songs:

I wasn't feeling the other acts so much so I used that time to run to the restroom where this random girl from Akron got talking to me. She was either very friendly or somewhat inebriated because she ended up going up to him as he was chilling in the hallway and we ended up hanging out with him while the other band was going on. I didn't really say too much because I could barely hear but he talked about his kids and Paris.

So yeah, glad I stayed out that night...

"...To manifest your dreams before you manifest your fears
To navigate beyond the treachery of self despair
To find the balance between all you sense and all you see
To find the patience and the strength it takes to let it be
To stand amongst the crowd and have the strength to hold your own
To throw away the pen and pad and simply be the poem
To rise above hatred to love through seeming contradiction
To seldom take a side and learn to compliment the friction.
To bring about the change within that we can't live without.
To shift and re-arrange ideals and learn to deal with doubt..."

Friday, October 16, 2009

best of the blotter: Dr Dre & the Drano Bombs

This one was passed onto me by a coworker.

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- Police responded to a call that several people were arguing outside an apartment complex at 5:20 a.m. about who sold the most albums: The Beatles or Dr. Dre.

Police told them it was The Beatles, which ended the argument, according to police documents about the Saturday incident in the 17100 block of Oak Lane.

The people agreed to go back inside their apartment and be quiet, Huntington Beach police spokesman Lt. Russell Reinhart said.

"The officers are always trying to resolve disputes when they go to calls like this," Reinhart said. "For this call, at 5:20 in the morning, this is what worked."

A quick Internet search shows that The Beatles sold about a billion albums and Dr. Dre sold about 80 million.

And a little bit closer to home...

THEFT, MIRAMAR BOULEVARD: Someone stole from a woman’s lawn several rented yard displays posted in honor of a child’s birthday. The display cost $100 to rent, and owners of the company that rents the display said it would cost $150 to replace the sign, and another $250 to remake the plywood alien heads and smiley faces stolen. The theft was reported the morning of Sept. 19.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION: A caller reported seeing three fingers sticking through the blind of a storage facility on Royalton Road Friday night.

The fingers are part of a fake hand that has been there about five years, a report said.

FIREWORKS COMPLAINT: Residents on Stoughton Drive complained July 21 about neighbors setting off fireworks, but police found the culprits were exploding "Drano bombs," not fireworks.

The suspects had left when police arrived. They questioned the neighbors, who said they had come out to investigate, but the explosives were set off by two boys who rode away on bikes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Open Letter #4

Dear Cleveland Municipal Court

You suck.

It must be nice to only show up to work 7 hours a week and take home $150,000 a year and then some for not doing anything and having a crappy website that doesn't work and hasn't been updated and for leaving you on hold for indefinite amounts of time when you finally DO get through, we get to deal with your minions who don't know anything except how to be rude and bureaucratic. Yay nepotism. Too bad I'm not Democrat so I can't get a slice of that pie.

I know we're poor and all and it seems like there's a lot of revenue generating action going on right now at $190 a pop since evidently the traffic cameras aren't doing the trick anymore. I got pulled over a few weeks ago, my brother-in-law got a ticket, my dad got pulled over, and you'd think that there'd be, you know, bigger problems in the area, like, you know, gangs and slumlords and crack and people getting murdered.

Hello? We're in Cleveland. We're poor. You might not realize this because you're taking so much of our paychecks. But most of us can't come up with that kind of money. Heck, most of us can't afford to take the RTA anymore.

So I call your office of to see if I can mail in my ticket and check and you say it takes 7-10 days to get there. I got my ticket on Saturday and my court date is this Friday.

Awesome. It REALLY takes that long for the mail to get there? What the HELL do you do all day? Because I have a desk job too and I KNOW it doesn't take mail that long to get there.

Thank GOD I didn't mail in that ticket the same day and hope it'd get there in time.

As for you, thanks for nothing.

playlist 10/13/09

twilight singers- teenage wristband
duke spirit - dog roses
martina topley-bird - too tough to die
morphine - let's take a trip together
dead weather - will there be enough water?
locos por juana - tantas veces
angelique kidjo - gimme shelter
extra golden - tusslin' & fightin'
the meters - people say
soul coughing - soft serve
nneka - africans
joe strummer & the mescaleros - tony adams
dennis brown - concentration
mariam makeba - ndodemnyama verwoerd
blessings nqo - isigungugungu
pharaoh's daughter - askinu
boubacar traore - baba drama
nahawa doumbia - sifolo
lobi traore - wolodemu
malatu astatke - asmarina
djeli - almany
ali farka toure - yer bounda fara
rasha - azara el hay
ataxia - the sides
cafe tacuba - encantamiento inutil

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

playlist 10/6/09

ben harper - whipping boy
oumou sangare - djorolen
massive attack - 5 man army
jurassic 5 - remember his name
the fugees - fu-gee-la
pete rock & c l smooth - on and on
p.o.s. - goodbye
martin luther - sleep walking
k'naan - struggling
morcheeba - blindfold
calla - televise
pigeonhed - marry me
gutter twins - who will lead us?
daby toure - baye
ngata - telele
tinariwen - chet boghassa
djezair - kadda cherif hadria
d.o. misiani - atila mi japonesa
abaji - gibran
les troubadours du roi baudoin - credo
green arrows - huringwe
wendo kolosoy - toko wela wela
nahawa doumbia - minia
amadou & mariam - lailahallah
jane's addiction - summertime rolls

Monday, October 5, 2009

alive in the superunknown

I haven't done much all week, coming home and crashing on the couch, not going anywhere except to the store to get Theraflu and gallons of orange juice for me and the roommate.

I was finally able to get out of my blueness this weekend, going back to Parma to hang out with my mom and then hit up my old familiar haunts from my adolescence, visiting the library I used to work at as a page, giving up on the clothes racks at the Goodwill but finding copies of "Dirt" and "Superunknown" to rock out to in the car on my way down to Cuyahoga Falls to catch up with some people, pick up the roommate, and take a long drive with some good tuneage. It's amazing therapy and now that the weather is getting colder, I'm totally ready to dig out the flannel I more or less permanently borrowed from my dad.

Sunday was fabulous, as Lindsay and I went to see Neil Gaiman speak at CPL. Of course he was wonderful and read to us from his new book and talked about how he loved C.S. Lewis and Lord of the Rings as a kid. The people-watching was fabulous and we ducked out during autograph time to grab a pizza at Georgio's because we were starving.

I got Neil's autograph for Randal and then we went forth to get lost in East Cleveland and she took pictures of overgrown lawns and random signage. I would've too if I'd been able to find my camera that morning. Everything seemed to be glowing and golden even if we were in an area that most would see as anything but.

And for some reason I feel like posting this for the heck of it because it's just good in that fuzzed-out early 90's should've been bigger Northwest kind of way.

Monday, September 28, 2009

hit the city

Went to the Bridge Project both nights this weekend. I've always wanted to see what it looked like under there and to have it lit up, with live music, art installations, and simply amazing architecture and space. My roommate and I also rode the 8-seat "conference bicycle" up and down the middle part.

It reminded me of things that seem like they'd happen in Europe, or the underground world of Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere." If you missed it this year, hopefully they'll do something like this again, because I wish I could take everyone there.

Otherwise this weekend, ended up going to see the Soulsavers by myself because everyone else cancelled and such. At least it's dark and introverted so that I could just stand there and get caught up in the sounds and the voice of one of my favorite singers of all time. Despite the albums themselves being much more electronic, it was definitely a rock show, and I liked hearing the songs completely reworked with no prerecorded loops or anything like that. Evidently the guitarist from Spiritualized is touring with them now and there was lots of tremolo and feedback which I love.

I got the shivers up my spine during "Kingdoms of Rain" and "Revival," and loved that they played "Hit the City," but I'm honestly not feeling the new record as much as the old one. Still, it was a great show, though on the way back I was driving through the rain back to the west side and "Maggot Brain" was on the radio and I was crying and finding it impossible to shake that profound sense of loneliness that came over me.

But thankfully I've got good people around me who get me through my times when it seems like everyone couples off or leaves for places that aren't Cleveland, and I spent Sunday afternoon with the Ethiopians celebrating their New Year eating good food and watching the kids run around.

I came home last night and de-stressed myself with an art night, and realized that I need to be doing this much more. It always chilled me out in college and it still seems to work for me...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

you either get this or you don't

the Young Ones rule my life. I was slacking around the apartment too brain-dead to do anything so what else is more awesome than early 80's british subcultural humor?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I spent most of this weekend asleep, either from illness or my lack of rest has finally caught up to me.

Went over to my grandma's house on Saturday night to go through stuff there before it gets thrown out or given away. It's weird going in there, not ghostly, but just the sense of loss and history is so strong. Photographs of family members, statues of the Virgin Mary and the Infant of Prague, mix tapes full of polkas, matchbooks from vacations and weddings, Life magazines with photos of the Kennedy family, the moon landing, and the Black Panthers, where all the ads are for hard liquor and cigarettes.

I brought home the movie camera that she took films of from the time my dad was a kid to me and my cousins. I don't know where you find film for these kinds of things because it runs on a reel-to-reel. My inner art student wants to mess around with this and see what happens.

I've fallen in love with Cleveland summers, but I'm enjoying the transition into fall, cool breezes and hoodies, my mood music shifts from sunny melodies and big beats to minor keys and atmospherics. Currently formulating plans for more buildings to explore, more informal photography projects, more wannabe Great American Novel futility, apple-picking, Halloween, live music, and an Ethiopian new year party on Sunday.

current songs:

Mark Lanegan & PJ Harvey - Hit the City

I'm finally getting to see him live this weekend at the Grog Shop and rumor has it, they've been doing this song.

the Dead Weather - Will There be Enough Water?

Massive Attack - Psyche

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

playlist 9/15/09

femi kuti - water get no enemy
finley quaye - it's great when we're together
a tribe called quest - jazz (we've got)
yppah - the tingling
tv on the radio - dlz
lamb - God bless
soulsavers - kingdom of rain
jamie woon - wayfaring stranger
pete rock - little soul
common - retrospect for life
makoma - unknown track
bongo maffin - twasa
thievery corporation - la femme parallel
emmanuel jal - bai
gokh-bi system - kaesal
miriam makeba - pole mze
d.o. misiani - tobias origi
amadou & mariam w/ k'naan - africa
toubab krewe - bamana niya
oumou sangare - senkele te sira
sierra leone refugee all-stars - seconds
sidestepper - la bara rain
ray c - uko wapi
bomb the bass - black river
stephen marley - you're gonna leave
ramata diakite - moko balou
salif keita - madan
sergio mendes - after sunrise

Friday, September 4, 2009


It's been a good week... I enjoy seeing the new crop of faces coming through, met girls today from Libya and Saudi Arabia, was immensely entertained and somewhat embarrassed for the suburban kid who thinks that a library is a great place to find out where to score some weed, checked out the farmer's market downtown and ended up lugging home a watermelon on the Rapid.

Picked up a new camera since I broke my old Samsung. It's still point-and-shoot because I have no illusions about my photographic ability and I don't have the money right now for something high end. I'll be going on photographic adventures tomorrow with the usual suspects. This week was great, who knows what the weekend will hold...

best of the blotter

MISCHIEF, WHITE MARSH LANE: A woman reported Aug. 24 that someone threw tomatoes at her car while she was driving.

SCOOTER TROUBLE: A Strongsville man was advised last week for holding his neighbor's scooter hostage.

A Whitney Road woman called police Sunday afternoon because a neighbor at her apartment complex took her son's scooter and wouldn't return it.

The man told police that the boy, 8, was throwing rocks at a cast-iron bell on his balcony. The man said he was "holding the scooter hostage" until the boy's mother came over and talked to him.

The boy told police he was skipping rocks and he hit the bell unintentionally.

The man returned the scooter after he was advised that he cannot confiscate property. The boy was advised to skip rocks in wooded areas only.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF, CEDAR ROAD: A woman reported Saturday someone wrote on her using black nail polish.

IDENTITY THEFT (UNFOUNDED): While police were investigating an Aug. 25 complaint involving a suspicious Webkins doll that had been sent to their address, the parents of a 9-year-old girl suspected that she may have ordered the stuffed animal herself, using her parents' credit cards.

PETTY THEFT, CHILLICOTHE ROAD: An unknown young man entered Discount Drug Mart Sunday evening, stole a Guinness beer and drank it in the bathroom before leaving.

The store employee said it was the same person who stole and drank about 5 beers in the bathroom the previous month.

FOUND PROPERTY, EAST WASHINGTON STREET: Someone stole a golf cart from Auburn Springs golf course. Police believe the culprit drove it to Timmons Elementary school on Kenston's first day of school Aug. 27.

An employee of the school found it at 9:30 a.m. on school property.

Police staked out the school at the end of classes to see if a student would attempt to drive it home. However, no one did.

MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CHANDLERS LANE: An elderly resident looking out her window Thursday became concerned when she saw a woman lying in the courtyard of her home. Officers located the woman and determined she was sunbathing.

NOT QUITE NAKED, E. SMITH: Police responded Aug. 22 to East Smith on a report of a man skipping westbound down the sidewalk wearing only crepe paper on his body. Officers determined that the man had shorts under the paper.

COMPLAINT, HATHAWAY AVENUE: Police received a complaint of a man knocking on doors stating that he is going to run for city council and harassing people at 8:16 p.m. Friday. The man was campaigning for the upcoming city council election and denied harassing people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

playlist 9/1/09

autolux - capital kind of strain
erykah badu - soldier (remix)
amadou & mariam - fete au village
mission of burma - trem two
santigold - lights out
a tribe called quest - excursions
the roots - how I got over
damian marley - holiday
dj logic - 9th ward blues
the dirtbombs - do you see my love for you growing
the very best w/ m.i.a. - raindance
arrested development - everyday people
fugazi - break
bad brains - jah calling
sebalon - uri piris
cal tjader - soulsauce (fila brazilia remix)
fela kuti - no agreement
alice russell - my world is empty without you
elsie mae - do you really wanna rescue me?
sing-sing - lover
jesus & mary chain - almost gold
lamb - strong enough
diverseconcepts - open porse
ernie - praha paradise
the cure - away
jawbox - bullet park
swervedriver - never lose that feeling

Monday, August 31, 2009

good things

I really didn't do much this weekend, stopped by to see my parents and the in-laws for dinner, ran errands on Saturday and did some late-night painting, managed to make good fun out of yesterday's clouds and go out to Lakeview Cemetery again, this time with Lindsay.

We were looking inside the family vaults, attempting to piece together personalities and family history and of course giggling at the myriad obelisks and amusing names like "Elvira Nightingale" (sounds like it'd make a fantastic goth name or a writer of steamy vampire novels), and "Grover C. Good." We met up with Mukhtar and climbed up to the Garfield monument to get a great view of the city and the dramatic clouds.

Went to a party on the west side, good food, great hanging out and stories and I was laughing so hard. What keeps me here is the people, any magic that the city brings is secondary to that.

There are some people I know where I just want to give them a tape recorder and have them tell me stories because they've got incredible ones and the best way of telling them. Stories where you are thinking about the state of the world and laughing at its absurdity, stories about living in your city seen through the eyes of someone else, stories that get lost in translation when you try to explain them.

I broke my camera a couple weeks ago and took back the other one because the pictures came out so badly and I really wish I had it last night. The sunset over the lake was stunning, all the grey clouds turning purple and the city glowing almost neon pink. That and this song on the stereo and the euphoria of living and all the good things made me feel so thankful for where I'm at right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Sister's wedding was beautiful, good food, good people, fun dancing. I was so tired but I just kept drinking coffee and hanging out with relatives and friends... only two people asked the inevitable questions about why yours truly isn't hitched yet, but I was able to not think about it too much and have a good time, overwhelmed by the love and so happy for her.

I always think of this scene when I hear the word marriage.

Had a good time with Mukhtar at De La Soul, good show even if it was shorter than I expected for them being around for 20 years. My roommate's gone for the rest of the week and I miss her, so I've been finding ways to keep myself occupied in the meantime; girlness and chili with Megan last night, going out to the east side to hang out with Jerusha tonight, more adventures to follow I'm sure.

Debating Labor Day weekend plans... road trip to Columbus? Mission of Burma at Studio-A-Rama? KRS-One and others in Akron with the usual suspects? None of the above? We shall see...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

playlist 8/25/09

I love ending my sets with Marvin Gaye.

Manu Chao - mentira
blockhead - road rage breakdown
cibelle - so sei vivier no samba
brightblack morning light - summer hoof
pharaoh's daughter - haran
jeff buckley - lilac wine
martina topley-bird - soul food
morphine - buena
nightmares on wax - the sweetest
erykah badu - soldier (co fee remix)
outkast - liberation
joy jones - over
morcheeba - posthumous / tape loop
thievery corporation - vampires (feat. femi kuti)
MIS - drume negrita
massive attack - exchange
soulsavers - 7th proof / praying ground / can't catch the train
television - marquee moon
marvin gaye - right on / wholly holy / inner city blues (whole LP side)

Friday, August 21, 2009

of travels and broken phones

So with the exception of dropping my cell phone down the storm drain in front of my house upon my arrival back in the fair city, it's been a jam-packed and wonderful week.

Went to Lakeview Cemetery and indulged my inner goth by taking pictures of various mausoleums and tombstones. Never noticed all the Egyptian motifs before... everyone wanted to be Pharoah evidently.

My road trip adventures took me to Mansfield on Wednesday night to visit Ryan and go for a walk in the rain around downtown Mansfield, ending with a climb up to the roof of an abandoned building downtown to watch the remainder of a thunderstorm in the distance. It was good to hear about his adventures traveling across the country via bicycle and catch on everything.

Drove to Columbus on Thursday morning and took my cousin on a random drive where we went all the way down Cleveland Avenue and I realized that all my previous trips to Columbus have involved the interstate, the suburbs, the malls, and the Short North and there's lots of awesome African grocery stores where you can get Nollywood movies and pop music from Ghana and gorgeous wax cloth. We got milkshakes at UDF and walked down High Street before going to see the Rifftrax live "Plan 9 From Outer Space."

I always used to say that Columbus didn't have as much of that kind of thing as Cleveland but I guess I'm wrong.

So tonight was the wedding rehearsal, tomorrow's the wedding. I dropped my phone down the storm drain in front of my apartment so I'm kind of going through withdrawal right now... I'll have to get a bunch of numbers again I guess.

And, I'm going to see De La Soul on Tuesday! The awesomeness never ceases.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

playlist 8/18/09

groove armada - hands of time
tv on the radio - love dog
incubus - aqueous transmission
dengue fever - sleepwalk through the mekong
nina simone - black is the color of my true love's hair (jaffa remix)
keith & tex - stop that train
otis redding - your precious love
the bellrays - have a little faith in me
monobojo - cabidela
goodie mob - free
erykah badu - penitentiary philosophy
funkadelic - you & your folks, me & my folks
the chambers brothers - all strung out
sharon jones & the dap-kings - how long must I wait for you?
manu chao - por lo suelo
dennis brown - what about the half?
calexico - alone again or
U2 - dancing barefoot
soulsavers - revival
twilight singers - live with me
lamb - this could be heaven
kimi diabate - kode
oumou sangare - seya
salif keita - moussolou
group inerage - kuni majagani
amadou & mariam - coulibaly

Sunday, August 16, 2009

dog days

There was everything going on this weekend as far as fun city stuff goes, but it was enough for me to hang out with an endless succession of people who rock my world. My sister's bachelorette party was a success, and us girls had a lovely night at Lakewood Park eating hummus and watching the sunset. My cousin came in from Columbus and I got to see him the next day. English class started again for the kids, and it's now a little more structured, so far so good.

Some friends from Ethiopian church had a cookout at Edgewater that we went to, spicy grilled lamb and such. Muk rode his bike over after work and we hung out, lay down on the rocks to bask in the sun, were massively entertained by the little kids daring each other to pop 3 Warheads candies at once and telling each other "These are so awesome! They're TOXIC!"

Drove down to Kent for the wedding reception of some friends who are moving to Salt Lake City so it'll be awhile before I see them again.

I haven't seen everyone in forever and it felt like a family reunion. All the little babies I remember are running around and they've got younger siblings I haven't met. We're all trying to catch each other up on the last three years since I moved out of Kent and back to Cleveland.

The last time I saw some of these people was when I still lived down there, and others saw me last when I was dealing with some serious post-college underemployment-related depression so I was glad at least to be bringing some good news. And it was good to see everyone having a good time and doing well.

I only work two days this week, and then I'll be driving south with a stop in Mansfield to see my good friend Ryan and catch an MST3k movie with my cousin, who will be riding back with me for the rehearsal dinner for my sister's wedding. Should be good times. Wedding season has turned out to be fun.

Friday, August 14, 2009

day by day...

So it's been a good week...

Hanging out at Edgewater Park drinking Lazizas, playing music, chilling with the girls last night. My sister's bachelorette party is tonight, nothing crazy, just chilling at the park by the lake, good food, chocolate.

Tomorrow I start back with the Saturdays with the kids, and hope it's a little less chaotic than it's been. It's been almost a year since I met them, and they have really changed my life.

When I first met them, I just assumed it'd be 2 hours of my life every Saturday, like most of the other mentoring/volunteering I'd done in the past. I'm thankful that it's become much more than that, added an element of random and chaos that I thrive on.

There's other adventures this weekend... Edgewater with the Ethiopians, and then possibly the county fair, which I haven't been to since I worked the Ohio Right to Life booth in high school and got to watch everyone else have fun. Then, maybe driving down to Kent for a wedding celebration... we shall see...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

playlist 8/11/09

radiohead - go to sleep
autolux - here comes everybody
burial - archangel
metric - collect call
morcheeba - the sea
ollabelle - soul of a man
mildred clark - it's gonna be all right
massive attack - safe from harm
finley quaye - sun a shining
les nubians - brothers and sisters
sublime - work that we do
bad brains - leaving babylon
n'gata - eferinge
esau mwamwaya - kamphopo
bongo maffin - level
sidestepper - san juan
bajofondo - pa pailar siempre quiero mas
gilberto gil & caetano veloso - desde que samba e samba
cut chemist - the garden
da cruz - perdida
cafe tacuba - tengo todo
his name is alive - home (can't live in this world anymore)
john frusciante - ramparts
the duke spirit - dog roses
red red meat - variations on nadia's theme
throwing muses - surf cowboy
metric - gimme sympathy

I've got tickets to give away for HR (Bad Brains) on 9/25 and the Soulsavers on 9/26... so far no takers yet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

the last few days...

Meeting some of my favorite Cleve blog people
Continued preparations for my sister's wedding
Late night ice cream runs
Hanging out with Jerusha
Wandering around Ohio City checking out yard sales and drinking ghetto tea
My friend's baptism at a church on the east side
Reconnecting with the Ethiopians
Giving one of 'my kids' a ride and realizing that their housing situation has severe slum landlord issues
Feeling overwhelmed by that and being subsequently no fun for the rest of the evening.
Going back to work with a lot on my mind
Massive afternoon thunderstorms.
Dogsitting for my parents.

Really, late night solitary angsting aside, life is never dull.

"...So much on my mind that I can't recline
Blastin holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Heard the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can't take it y'all, I can feel the city breathin
Chest heavin, against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving..."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

lock the door and kill the light...

I hate nights alone when I know that no one's coming home even though I have a fantastic roommate and this doesn't happen much.

I like having time to myself but I was never meant to live alone. I don't like cooking for just one, I don't like ordering takeout by myself, or watching movies alone. I don't like sharing my space with just a cat because that, and my occupation, seem to imply that spinsterhood is inevitable.

Solitude is good for curling up with books and making art, but when it gets late and everything is dark, I just lay there and think too much and wonder if this is what the future holds because this period doesn't last forever... eventually people get sick of each other or find a significant other or go onto other things and places. And I wonder if I will end up being alone once again.

I know I shouldn't think about it too much but I do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

playlist 8/4/09

I didn't preview a reggae track thoroughly that had a pretty hefty profanity in it so I hope that the FCC wasn't listening... I cut it but that's the first time it's ever happened to me and it makes me nervous.


U2 - dirty day
ani difranco - amazing grace
soulsavers - sunrise
amon tobin - mighty micro people
finley quaye - it's great when we're together
martina topley-bird - phoenix
dandy warhols - sleep
me'shell ndegeocello - andromeda & the milky way
foreign exchange - house of cards
common - tears and sorrow
amadou & mariam - politic amagni

sizzla - hard ground / damian marley & nas / malatu astatke (ghetto palms mini mix)

dennis brown - man next door
arrested development - raining revolution
les nubians - embrasse moi
sebulon gomachal - uri paris
the green arrows - chitima nditakure
ngatukonje nagarijone - glorified
salif keita - imagige
abdel gadir salim - bitzid min adhabi
habib koite - cigarette a bana
chiekh lo - shakara
gilberto gil & caetano veloso - cada macaco no seu galho
joe strummer - tony adams
novalima - mandinga
the green arrows - chimaminga chamumba

Monday, August 3, 2009

wind and water

Attempting to learn how to make right... there's something in me that desires restoration. I know that this is not always possible but it's definitely something to aspire to. I can't stand drama and I'm no good at handling conflict. I tend to avoid it because I know that it's just so easy to make everything worse.

It seemed like everything was going on this weekend, but the only thing I made it to was a friend's housewarming party and the Lakewood Art Festival where I talked to an Orthodox priest for awhile about icons and found a Bob Ross-style painting for $2 at a resale shop that will be covered over with an art project in the near future, and ten CDs for a dollar at the Exchange (surprisingly good ones). I love the jewelry and pottery and paintings they have at those things but I can't afford any of them so I just walk around and people-watch and get inspired.

Took one of the families grocery shopping and then me & Alex went to Edgewater and chilled for awhile, drinking pop, skipping stones, watched the sunset, drove around listening to old dancehall.

Like last year, this summer has taken me places I never thought I'd be, and I haven't left Ohio yet. I've always taken things as they've come, and it always amazes me where I end up.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

the sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it...

So last night I called up a few friends and we decided to catch the Incubus show downtown at the amphitheater. As we learned last year, when we checked out Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, there really is no point in paying insane ticket prices and service fees and dealing with large crowds of people when you can sit on the guardrail by the bridge just across the railroad tracks and the acoustics are perfect.

There were other likeminded people with the same idea, friendly assorted hippies and metalheads having a musical tailgate party with lawn chairs and beer who came around and told us we could see better over by their side. It was a perfect night, clear and warm, the skyline and the bridges lit up, and listening to great songs and nostalgia tripping to back in the day.

I was a huge Incubus fan in high school, back in the days when I was wearing really baggy pants and too much jewelry, when that was about the only good thing on Clear Channel and I had yet to immerse myself in college radio. Some of the earlier albums sound a little dated now, but their sound has evolved so much. I guess they're like the Soundgarden of my generation, huge albums with a lot of hits, and enough weirdness to keep it interesting. Hopefully Brandon Boyd doesn't go the way of Chris Cornell.

But they put on a great show, it sounded perfect, and we were also massively entertained watching high school kids attempting to sneak in by shimmying down the bridge onto the other side, climbing the fence, scaling trees, and jumping over the restroom while being chased by beefy security guards in yellow shirts.

A good time was had by all, and it was just what perfect summer nights in Cleveland are made of... cheap thrills, good people, sweet music.

Setlist (youtubes for some of the favorite cuts)

Pardon Me
Nice To Know You
Anna Molly
Love Hurts

Just a Phase

Drive (acoustic)
Make Yourself (acoustic)
Dig (Acoustic)

A Certain Shade of Green
The Warmth

A Kiss to Send Us Off
Wish You Were Here

Aqueous Transmission

Are You In?
A Crow Left of the Murder
Let's Go Crazy (Prince cover)