Friday, February 26, 2010

some days are better than others...

The snow is coming down and it's not stopping. I wish the roads were clear and I didn't have so much that needs to get done. I'd rather be chilling out with the usual suspects, drinking some coffee or whatever.

Instead, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to move to the new apartment since I haven't heard back from anyone as far as helping out, realizing that I might be spending the first two weeks there by myself which kind of freaks me out, wondering about certain twists and turns in some of my relationships, trying to maintain grace and calm even when people are being ridiculous and mean.

It's days like this when I honestly feel like only God is holding me together.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

best of the blotter 16

Seven Hills police evidently have absolutely nothing else to do. And actually, this is kind of depressing when you think about it.


DISORDERLY CONDUCT, EAST RIDGEWOOD DRIVE: Police charged a 46-year-old man of Independence for throwing a snowball at a passing car out of frustration with having no job.

The man threw the snowball at 3:46 p.m. Feb. 19 while walking in the 500 block. He told police he was drinking at a tavern at East Ridgewood and Broadview and became upset over his joblessness.

The snowball struck a bumper.

Monday, February 22, 2010


So this weekend there was much photography, and it was good.

I came home Friday night all restless because the light was so beautiful and I wanted to capture the glow that I saw that made the snow golden and the city gleaming.

Who's going to want to go out with me to take pictures on a Friday night? As I agonized over this, the wonderful roomie offered to come along and we drove down by Whiskey Island (which is closed right now) and I ended up shooting photos through all the barbed wire fences down there and just off the shoreway.

Then we went down to the Flats and I got a few more shots before being satisfied enough to come home and finally chill.

It's kind of crazy to think about how much of the lakefront and how much in general is fenced off. Or maybe that's where I end up. No one else seems to see it this way.

Saturday I drove down with my dad and some family to an 80th birthday party for my third cousin down in Maynard, Ohio, which is outside of St. Clairsville down on the Ohio/West Virginia border. I spent the afternoon hanging out at the local Polish National Alliance hall eating pierogi, drinking fruit punch, and catching up with my extended family, some of whom I don't remember meeting before or it's been a very long time.

My dad spent many summers down there with his brothers and cousins doing "back in the day" kind of things that people don't do now, like shooting at bottles floating down the river, blowing off M-80s and cherry bombs, going down into old mine shafts, my uncles taking them trashpicking and down to dive bars near Wheeling and all that kind of thing.

He told me stories when I was a kid about what it was like down there, and would take us down there once a year or so to visit the relatives. Some of the great-uncles would mess with us because we were clueless city people but they were so much fun, and as I've gotten older I've realized how much I take after that side of the family, with the bikers and the rusty Cadillacs in the front yard and the piano in the barn that's falling to pieces. We all have the same facial features and the weird sense of humor and a dash of eccentricity even though most of us look pretty normal.

I'm sitting there listening my dad and his cousins tell these stories about how the radio waves of WWVA was so powerful down there that you could hear Big Country News coming out of your toaster and laughing because even if they've been embellished, they're still great stories and I could hear them again and again. I got this sense of my roots that I'd never had before, like this is where I come from, and this explains so much about who I am and what I like to do.

I wanted to go out and take pictures again Sunday but no one was free. Cleaned out the kitchen and realized how much food was left over from the previous roommates, made a huge pot of lentils that will last me until we finish moving, cleaned and listened to Soundgarden and chilled with a friend of mine who stopped over to chill after work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

but wait, there's more!

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, BELLINGHAM ROAD: While outside getting her paper at 6 a.m. Friday, a woman was startled when she saw a man dressed in black doing push-ups in her driveway. The woman contacted police and also said that a neighbor had recently reported the same problem.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

best of the blotter 14

MISCELLANEOUS INCIDENT, SOM CENTER ROAD: Two boys, 15 and 16, were questioned by police after a Jan. 2 incident involving a woman who walked out of Walgreen’s and overheard one of them say to the other, “Well, you can just bring a gun to Solon High School . . .” to which the other told him to, “Shut up — why would you say that?“ Police said the woman did the right thing by calmly taking down their license plate number and reporting it. The boys told police they have no firearms, they were not serious and were merely discussing “how to get out of school“ the following Monday — which turned out to be a snow day anyway. Police also spoke with both boys’ parents.

FRAUD, WESTBOURNE ROAD: A woman said Jan. 14 she lost about $1,000 in an online Nigerian money scam. She ordered a kitten and sent money to various locations but never received the kitten.

GUITAR SMASH, CONTINENTAL: A Medina resident told police that a group of children were smashing a guitar in the roadway near Continental Drive and Lipke Court around 1:33 p.m. Jan. 24. The caller was concerned that the debris would be left in the road. Upon his arrival, the responding officer determined that mess had been cleaned.

ROADKILL, MOORE ROAD: Four different species of animal were hit by cars on Avon Lake roads this week including a dog, a cat, a deer and a fox.

SUSPICIOUS, CHELMSFORD ROAD: A woman received a letter Feb. 3 from a man stating that he was an admirer, but shy. In the letter, he made reference to spending time together with the woman.

BOOK, W. WASHINGTON: A W. Washington St. resident called police around 3 a.m., Feb. 1, informing officers that it was “highly unusual” for her neighbor to have his lights on inside the residence. The neighbor was reading a book.

BIRTHDAY PARTY, N. SPRING GROVE: Police responded to a N. Spring Grove residence around 1:36 a.m., Feb. 4 on a report that there might be a fight at the home. The responding officer determined that the family was merely having a birthday party.

THREATS, NORTH MAIN STREET: A South Russell man who was asked by a Huntington National Bank teller to save some of the free candy for other customers had to be escorted from the bank Feb. 11. He called and made threats the next day, prompting bank officials to close his account.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

imagined the future, woke up with a scream...

"life's an ocean / too much commotion/ all this emotion/ dragging me down..."

yeah, this is pretty much where I'm at right now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2/16 in the 216

So we've gone through a bunch of holiday-ish days here.

Valentine's Day was unobserved and spent taking a much-needed map and painting a whole lot.

President's Day was a Cleveland Adventure Day, which involved a Free Monday at the zoo, where the Rainforest was full of Radio Disney tunes blaring through the palm trees and little girls in princess costumes. We got lunch at the West Side Market and sat on the balcony plotting future Rust Belt Novel greatness, and then walked on the ice at Edgewater and almost wandered out a bit too far... This crack is the line where the solid ice ends and the lake begins.

After that, we went to the Rockefeller Greenhouse to get warm and then on a drive back to the west side through the Flats getting inspired by the old buildings, gray skies, bridges, and pigeons.

And this is for Randal. Evidently the Beast lives in the West Side Market.

And now today it's Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Paczki Day depending on where you're at or what you feel like celebrating. I know a few of you are going to see Parliament-Funkadelic tonight, but my current plans are Oberlin for Bela Fleck and the Africa Project, and some preliminary hanging out with my lovely Lorain County people.

I always have grand plans to play festive Carnival-esque music on my show these mornings but usually I'm full of winter melancholy and no amount of colorful costumes and steel drums change the fact that it's snowing outside.

I got a caller this morning who kept requesting all these songs I've never heard of in part because I was born halfway through the Reagan administration and was sheltered from much of 1980's pop culture.

I'm usually pretty flexible about playing people's requests but there are certain lines I draw as far as "this might get me kicked off the air" or "you can hear this on the corporate radio station" or "I just plain don't like it," hence the reason why you won't hear Pink Floyd, NWA, or Rammstein on my show.

So this morning, some guy called me, gave me two different names each time he called and wanted to hear all these 12" single club mixes of 80's R&B songs that I'd never heard of because he "was trying to build a karaoke machine." And it's not like I don't veer into R&B territory occasionally, as I'll throw on some vintage soul or the less mainstream stuff coming out now.

But I have little nostalgia for the 80's in the Madonna and legwarmers sense and the production values in vogue at that time that seemed to afflict every genre. It didn't have to sound that bad but yet it did... so much synthesizer and that terrible drum sound and general overproduction.

And I honestly don't want to use up my airtime playing 9 minute versions of some of this stuff preferring to save that time for Fela. That isn't on a karaoke machine anyway, that's in some DJ's crate. Since we don't really have a lot of circa 1985 house music at the station, I told him I couldn't find any and eventually stopped picking up the phone because each phone call got progressively more weird.

Here, however, is what I did play.

jeff buckley - dream brother
the duke spirit - dog roses
amadou & mariam - fete au village
habib koite - wassiye
daby toure - seta
souad massi - biadi
abdel gadir salim - ati
toubab krewe - bamana niya
angelique kidjo - lakusthu llenga
astrud gilberto - canto de ossanha
antonio carlos jobim - aguas de marco
twilight singers - live with me
metric - collect call
scrawl - wait one more day
afghan whigs - crazy
jawbox - u-trau
tiger trap - for sure
throwing muses - ruthie's knocking / shimmer
the dirtbombs - sun is shining
dengue fever - sni bong
fela kuti - lady
alpay - yekte
bela fleck - ajula mbamba
oumou sangare - djigui

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

gone on too long.

I couldn't find matching gloves this morning. I was shivering at the bus stop with two scarves wrapped around me but still thankful that I didn't have to drive through all the mess.

They say we're the worst city for winter weather, but I don't think that's true. This isn't Siberia, where it's -26 and your breath freezes when you exhale.

It does feel good to come home on days like this, and my routine hasn't changed much from my college days, come home and change out of work clothes into grungy comfortableness and drink infinite cups of tea while digging for lazy leftovers in the kitchen.

My roommate and I were going to pack more last night but we were both feeling so slackerish so we were nostalgia tripping on Youtube instead and wondering whatever happened to Lauryn Hill and remembering the awesomeness of Sesame Street back in the day.

This one is priceless.

When going through all my stuff with the move, I thought I was pretty good about getting things back to people and I found all these CDs that people loaned me waaaay back in the day. A burned copy of Aceyalone/Freestyle Fellowship? I had all good intentions but I never saw her again after that first week at Kent State. That Can album? I don't even know where that guy lives anymore. I haven't seen him in three years.

And some of these books! I'll probably never get around to reading Kierkegaard's 'Fear and Trembling' or 'Gravity's Rainbow,' but most of these are coming with me. I have the Quran and the Satanic Verses side by side in a cardboard box. I'll miss having built-in bookshelves to stack CDs and paperbacks on and forgot how much poetry I own. I was a fiend for library booksales and would come home with bags of books about anything that looked interesting or that I didn't know about. I'm kind of nerdy that way.

I loan books out without expecting them to return home. It's my inner librarian that just wants to see knowledge go everywhere and does so without any kind of profit-making agenda.

I go through cycles where I read tons of poetry and then other years when poets totally irritate me. But recently the power of words has been resonating more, and I find myself re-reading old favorites, marveling at T.S. Eliot, swooning over Pablo Neruda, loving that new Gil Scott-Heron record and hoping that I can stumble across a print volume of his works too, since OhioLINK wanted that back.

I used to hate Valentine's Day when I was in college because everyone acted so darn smug and the one year I was supposed to go see Henry Rollins but my ride fell through and so I was all angsty in my dorm blasting 70s punk and trying to pretend I didn't care.

I can't be bothered now. I haven't done anything in years and it's become almost just another day, especially since. All that candy is nasty anyway. Last Valentine's weekend I was the only white girl dancing at Caribbean Flavor and I used my Monday off to go on a photo adventure where I got some great shots, almost got my car stolen, and chilled at the West Side Market.

A lot has changed since then... the guy I went dancing with I don't see much of anymore and the photography day turned out to be the first in a whole series of Cleveland-related adventures that took us to the Metroparks, various abandoned buildings, and so on. I'm not going to ramble about my issues with the whole love thing and how I don't understand it, but I'm sure a lot will change in the coming year too the way things are going already.

Also, all you Cleveland people need to get outside and hang out on the lake... it's awesome.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

west to east and east to west.

Took some vacation time today. Me and roommate had grand road trip plans for Columbus or Kent and ended up exploring more of our city with much success, making the jump from the old familiar parts of Parma to the heart of the east side.

We stopped at Timeless Guitars and while I'd still love an upright bass, I played a beautiful vintage short-scale bass with great sound and style that would make more sense right now and she found some banjos down in the basement that she liked. Hung out in Parma for a little bit to visit my sister and get some groceries and then drove out to Euclid to pick up free moving boxes we saw on Craigslist.

By this time we were hungry and craving something spicy so we called Muk to see where he likes getting Jamaican so he sent us to DK & A down on 120th & St Clair. It's easy to miss but the food is amazing and there's a lot of it. And despite the catcalls from the passing drivers, I'd go back there again if I'm out that way. The spices were comforting and made me think of warmer sunny days.

We met up with him at the food co-op parking lot and ate curry chicken and drank fruity organic stuff in the car as the windows fogged up, and then went out to some party in Mayfield. While I'm so intimidated by groups of new people, I ended up having a nice time and I'm thankful that the frustrations of past experiences don't always need to repeat in the present.

And even though it's started snowing, we're back home and it's warm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

transitioning / positioning

I talk about my love for Cleveland a lot here, heck, that's the URL you use to get here, but I've never actually lived within the city limits before. I was born in Bedford, lived in Seven Hills, my parents moved to Parma when I was seven, and then I went away to school, came back, and moved to Lakewood two years ago.

I've always been hovering on the border, less than a mile, close enough to dip my toes in but ultimately scurrying back to sleep in the suburbs.

In about four weeks, this will change.

The roommate and I are moving to Ohio City. We know the landlord, the rent is cheaper, it's closer to our jobs and we're pretty much down that way all the time as it is, between church, the West Side Market, and a sizable number of friends. I'll miss the balcony but we'll have a deck that's big enough for future back porch jam sessions, a big kitchen, basement, wood floors, and good neighbors.

We were joking that Lakewood is where the 20-somethings live and now we're going to be heading towards the 30s (not there yet but it seems closer and closer) in the city. It feels cliche in a way to be moving there, but it's more because we feel like this is where God is taking us rather than being near all the nightlife. Of course, we're getting the "oh but it's not as safe" comments, but besides using basic common sense, I don't tend to worry about that kind of thing.

I wondered what the next big shift was going to be, and evidently this is it.