Thursday, April 29, 2010

best of the blotter 20

MISCELLANEOUS INCIDENT, SUNNYWOOD DRIVE: Charges may be filed against an Aurora woman, 54, who dialed 911 April 23 to report she was with a 4-year-old who was choking and otherwise having trouble breathing. In addition to dispatching a fire truck, a rescue squad and an ambulance, an emergency helicopter was put on standby at a Cleveland hospital when she reported the 4-year-old was turning blue and they were now performing CPR.

Upon arrival, emergency crews learned the 4-year-old in question was actually a domesticated pig, and a veterinarian was already on-scene, having made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to save the pig’s life.

HARASSMENT, OAKMOUNT: A woman showed police hate mail she received April 13 from an address on Rainbow Road.

The postcard shows a picture of a tree with a statement that reads: “Why did you kill me?”

She said she has been receiving harassing mail ever since February when she cut down a tree in her front yard. She does not feel threatened, but wanted the incidents recorded on file.

Police noted that the return address is fictitious.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, PEARL ROAD: A Strongsville man was advised April 14 for loitering in the area of Altenheim Nursing Home.

The man told police he is “a street devil” who walks around at night looking for cigarettes in parking lots.

SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE, PEARL ROAD: A Strongsville man and his girlfriend were advised April 14 for behaving suspiciously behind the Towne Center Shopping Plaza.

The man told police he and his girlfriend were ghost hunters who were looking for “supernatural beings.

COMPLAINT, EDGEWATER DRIVE: Police received a complaint about a man standing on the corner with a Christmas tree topper on his head at 1:22 a.m. April 12. The man left the corner for the night.

PRANCING: A female, who was very drunk, told police that a Hispanic man was allegedly “prancing” in the parking lot of a North State Street apartment complex at approximately 2:28 a.m. on Saturday. She had questions regarding the incident.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, PEARL ROAD: Patrons at Chipotle called police on Sunday after they saw a man on a motorcycle with a handgun tucked into his waistband.

The patrons were concerned that the man, who had a face mask, was up to no good. The man actually had a concealed carry permit and was just planning to eat at the restaurant.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I was walking home the other day and coming the other way were two teenage boys engaged in an intense conversation about "those people." One of them saw me coming towards them and was trying to get the other guy to shut up, since it'd be evident that they were talking about people like me.

"Oh shit," he says looking a little embarrassed, and I say "hey how's it goin'" like I didn't hear a thing and as they're walking away, he yells "I still hate you!"

And I am conscious of the fact that there's less melanin in my skin than his and that I contribute to the continued gentrification of the lower west side just by existing here. And the way people move around down here, bouncing from street to street, apartment to apartment, he probably hasn't been here all that long either.

And I know that urban planners cater to people my age, and it's frustrating when I see all the plans for developing this area and making it pretty and palatable for the bright young things who want a grownup playground full of places to see and be seen, while huge chunks of the east side are crumbling and the schools are failing. I guess it's nice if you don't have kids and have a job, but a lot of people have kids and a hard time finding work... what about them?

I look at the yuppie types who live here and think "I'm not like them. I don't live in a condo or a Better Homes and Gardens Victorian/urban cottage with a brand new Scion parked in front and jog down the street with my purebred dog and iPod not talking to anyone."

"I make ends meet because I split my already cheap rent with a roommate, live on beans and rice, and don't need much to keep me entertained. I live in the city because it's cheap, I have a good landlord, and this is where my life has been for the past 2 years, and I was more or less coming home to Lakewood to sleep."

But no one else knows that.

And sad as it is, for every group of people there will always be "those people" that are "messing up the neighborhood" for whatever reason. And there will always be people who perceive you as being a certain way even if you're not.

And for those of us looking for the life of the world to come, we will always be strangers and strange ones who will hopefully never quite fit in and buy into the ideologies that are constantly thrown at us, yet not be far removed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

small mercies

So I'm driving to the station this morning listening to Dricore's Guru tribute when all the lights on the dashboard go on and the engine dies. So thankful that this didn't happen on the Shoreway or down St. Clair somewhere or whatever. I pushed the car into the lot, played some Fela so I could go and take a look at it, and took it down the street once I got out.

I was really distracted and kind of stressed out so my plans of doing all South African music in honor of Freedom Day didn't happen and I played a lot of 70's west African dance music and vintage sounds from Angola instead and this is the first show I didn't write down a playlist for.

Otherwise, I picked this up on one of my walks to the library and it's rocking my world. Reminds me of Cream or something...

Friday, April 23, 2010


I've spent this past week housesitting for some friends and walking their dog every day after work. While I enjoy my roommate's cat, it's not the same thing as being able to wander the streets and explore with a loyal companion.

I find that I get hit on less (I've never walked fu-fu dogs, they've always been shepherd mixes and in one case, a pit bull), and that I talk to the neighbors more. Love for creatures seems to cut across all the social lines we draw, and on these walks over the past couple years of doing this, I've met a lot of people who are now my neighbors.

And I don't think one gets a sense of the neighborhood by reading about it or driving through, or reducing it to "that's where those yuppies live" or "isn't that the Puerto Rican part of town?" or "Do you ever feel unsafe?"

And yes, these do describe where I live, but so many other things are there too. The guy who painted all those Victorian homes on Franklin Avenue, pickup games of soccer at the rec center, the ice cream stand that sells soft serve and hot dogs, the greasy spoon diners on Lorain, punks on bicycles, Somali girls with gold jewelry and veils, hearing 6 different languages at any given time. People from Liberia, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Lebanon Vietnam, Burundi, Congo, Russia, the suburbs, the other side of town.

I like having a sense of rootedness and connectedness, knowing the names or at least the faces. Living in Kent was like that for me, walking everywhere and taking in all the small details of my surroundings, and I'm hoping it will be that way here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

where did the love go?

I went to a wedding shower yesterday, something that in a previous time would have freaked me out because I have a hard time with high levels of estrogen, large groups of women, and having to dress up. But, it was for someone who's pretty much family, and I do think the guy she's marrying is good and worthy of being an almost in-law.

Wedding season has officially begun, as April-September are full of lavish invitations and awkward social situations. I avoid the spiked punch and drink coffee, thankful that I feel invisible in this sea of mostly strangers. And I'm really happy for them, but then I think about most of the other weddings I've been to in the past couple years where it just seems like things went south so fast. Not that this will be one of them, but one of those realities of adulthood is starting to set in.

I used to wonder how half of all marriages end, and now I'm starting to see it more and more. It seems like all over, everyone's separating, splitting, breaking up, and it gets hard when you see people that you love not love each other anymore or at least not enough to try.

There's the ones whose wedding you were waiting for who aren't talking to each other now, and then the ones who are settling because "they're not getting any younger." And then there's the ones who stick together just because it's too much of a hassle to split. Or the people I aspired to be when I was younger, who were just so awesome and seemingly so perfect for each other and doing all these great things, and then you find out and so-and-so was cheating or so-and-so was drinking and drugging and faking this thing that wasn't, and it's hard not to get cynical after awhile.

And I'm skittish about relationships because I know my imperfections and when I get to know this guy or that, I realize that I don't like them very much, someone will say something ignorant or they either are controlling or want a babysitter. Usually I don't even get to the point of dating because when I find that when I get to know someone as "just friends," dating is out of the question because I see things that I just know I couldn't live with.

I don't want to deal with the types who are always talking about how hot someone else is, or who wonder why I can't be more feminine, or the two extremes of caring way too much to the point they can't laugh, or not caring at all or having any sense of compassion because having fun is what's important.

That being said, I'm not sure I really care about "finding that special person," so to speak. Not because I feel unworthy or don't think that good people exist. It's just that it seems like there's so much heartache that's much easier to avoid, and it's not what's been given to me right now.

I was talking about that this week with a friend of mine, and realized that I don't care so much about a spouse, house, or kids, but knowing that I can't live with roommates forever, and what bothers me more is the thought of eating dinner by myself every night, of being left out of the social circle when everyone else is married, or not having another companion for my adventures. I guess that's what it really comes down to for me. Maybe I'm in denial, or maybe that will change, and I'm probably not trusting God with this as much as I should be but right now, that's where it's at.

you got me...

I got my hair cut and caught up with a friend of mine Friday night and then just chilled. There's always that initial "my hair is gone" shock I go through but it's so nice to have it shorter again but long enough that I can tie it back if needed.

And thanks to Cleveland Scene, me and a friend got to see the Roots for free on Saturday night down at the lovely Allen Theater. The setlist was almost the same as the last time they came through but it was still a great show.

Our seats were up in the balcony, and at first we were wondering if it'd be not as good since last time we were up so close, but I had a good view of the stage and managed to get some blurry photos without my flash, while trying not to get kicked out by the ushers in red jackets who'd been giving us the side-eye since we got there. It's harder to work at crowd at a venue like that with everyone in seats and such, but the energy was there.

I didn't end up going to the afterparty at the b-side because I'm more of a live music girl than a go to the club person. I've tried the famous dj thing before and it's not me, all those people doing see-and-be-seen. I get a rush off live music, and live for those shivers when it just sounds so good.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I don't ask for much these days...

Getting my hair cut tonight, which makes me nervous, because I've always had a benign neglect policy toward it.

And I scored free tickets for the Roots tomorrow night at the Allen Theater. I saw them last year and loved it, and am looking forward to see what they do this time around...

Other than that, art making, housesitting, bike riding, and all things unexpected...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

when i get older, i will be stronger...

Thankful that tax time comes only once a year because it's no fun and I still don't know who actually contributes money along with what you already owe to entities like "The Political Party Fund." As if they're not already getting enough from us as it is.

The last few months have been ones of struggle, but thankfully I was able to get out and have a really good time last night. I had a free ticket for a show last night at the House of Blues and almost considered not going because I've just been kind of stressed out and wanting small gatherings rather than large crowds, but I was so glad I went.

Loved John Forte's low-key set that reminded me of his affiliates the Fugees, realized I've heard a lot about Wale but not much of his own material, which I also enjoyed, and then K'naan, who I was really looking forward to seeing. He had a full band with him and like the Roots, it felt more like a rock show than I was expecting initially, especially hearing his live record.

They didn't play some of my favorites but his band was tight and he was fantastic. One of the girls we were with wanted to get his autograph and we waited with her and hung out with his band, who were mostly from Columbus and just good people to hang with.

It's a little weird to watch a crowd of suburban white kids (everyone else cleared out after Wale) making out during and singing along to songs about hardship in Mogadishu but hey, if the kids seeing him open up for Jason Mraz gets him a bigger fanbase, more power to him.

I'm glad my companion for shows like these appreciates the music but doesn't do all the crowd participation stuff and we can just be chill. And I'm functioning on maybe 8 hours of sleep for the past two days, but there's something that's been restored in a way that I can't totally explain.

playlist 4/13/10

fugazi - break
scrawl - wait one more day
gutter twins - bete noire
morphine - let's take a trip together
gil scott-heron - new york is killing me / running
morcheeba - never an easy way
martina topley-bird - sandpaper kisses
me'shell ndegeocello - thankful
jeff buckley - mojo pin / eternal life (live at sin-e)
tinariwen -
daby balde -
mogwai - 2 rights make one wrong
love - maybe the people...
brian jonestown massacre - anemone
mark lanegan - don't forget me
the breeders - fortunately gone
nouvelle vague - ever fallen in love?
k'naan - fire in freetown
muthoni - happy breakup
nneka - walking
chiwunoso -
angelique kidjo - arouna
amadou & mariam / k'naan - africa
mos def / k'naan - prayer song
cut chemist - the garden
dj shadow - midnight in a perfect world

Monday, April 12, 2010

the words of the prophets

So I spent the last week hovering between total depression and moments of bliss, not for any real good reason except that I'm human and there's constant equal doses of amazing moments and conversely the continual shortcomings.

Some have told me that feelings of melancholy are indicative of spiritual problems, that I need to claim in the name of Jesus that yes I can be happy all the time. Others have let me make excuses for my emotions, disregarding the way that they've maybe not been so fun for the others around me. Some say I'm too busy and others that I need to be doing more. I get to the point where I feel like they're all wrong more or less. there were a lot of chronically depressed people who God spoke to, and if the book of Ecclesiastes and Dylan taught us anything, there is a time and purpose for everything, including sorrow.

I was able to force myself out of the blue funk, and I've always found that venturing to the east side does wonders, with its change of scenery and the chillness of some good people that always make me laugh. I made three sojourns out there in the past 5 days, one for Apples to Apples at a friend of a friend's apartment, Friday night cups of tea and scrabble at Algebra

where we were immensely amused by the sketchbooks in the back:


followed by pizza and gelato and then late night donut shop coffee-drinking, and then yesterday at Jerusha's apartment that was spontaneous and good times, discussions on theology, the history of India, eastern religion made palatable for the west...

Because as bad as things get in this city, there's enough to keep me here and keep me hopeful.

lord have mercy.

Someone dumped a girl's body down the street from me where the highway ramp is last week. I drove home the other night after dropping off a friend and saw the flowers, teddy bears, and photos and wondered how anyone could not see that the body dumped there was a person and not a deer. Maybe our minds mess with us and we don't want to see what's there because that's just too painful. I wasn't there to know why the police just drove by.

Three women died last week, shot or strangled, kids are shot in the middle of the afternoon, and there's that lingering dread that one of those names in the paper will be someone I know, because that's happened more.

I've been depressed like heck all week, and my roommate tells me "No wonder." How could you not be?

I love this city, but there's not a whole lot of love going around.

Monday, April 5, 2010

looks like somebody forgot about us...

The recent service cuts to the RTA don't affect me nearly as badly as someone living on Madison or Wade Park because I drive to the Rapid station, for me it's more of an inconvenience than anything else. The way things are going, I'll wait around longer and get home later. Instead of running down Euclid and through Tower City to catch the 5:18, I'll be waiting around with everybody else for the 5:32.

Good times.

So I did some thinking and some Google Mapping, and I live just under three miles from my place of employment. Since it's mostly flat, I'm seriously contemplating getting my bike tuned up and reverting back to the mode of transportation I used all the way through my teens and early twenties, either walking or biking it for this spring and summer. I've gotten soft having a car, and I'm too cheap to pay $100 a month to park downtown if I don't have to.

We'll see how this goes, but in the situation of most of us who've tried to not contribute to congestion or have no other options, the Violent Femmes feel your pain.

We got the mother and the kids
We got the guy and his date
We all get mad, we all get late.
Looks like somebody forgot about us,
Standin' on the corner, waitin' for the bus.

Say, Hey Mr. Driver Man don't be slow
'Cause I got somewhere I gotta go.
Say, Hey Mr. Driver Man drive that thing fast.
My precious time keeps slippin' past.

Lets call the mayor, lets complain
Looks like the city's done to us again
Tied up in traffic, what do ya know
The damn city bus moves so slow.

Say, Hey Mr. Driver Man don't be slow
'Cause I got somewhere I gotta go.
Say, Hey Mr. Driver Man drive that thing fast.
My precious time keeps slippin' past.

action packed

So I got out of work early, walked down to the West Side Market to meet up with friends for good hanging out, driving to Edgewater, reviving the age-old East Side/West Side debate. One of the guys just moved here from New Jersey and this was the first time he'd been "across the bridge." He's done what many people living here hardly ever do.

Saturday morning, me and a few people from church ended up doing an Easter service at a halfway house on the east side, stopped at home to take a breath, and then hung out with Lindsay for the afternoon. We drove out to one of those historical village things all the way down Mayfield Road, which was completely deserted, and then hung out on Larchmere since it looked like it was going to rain and outside would have to wait.

One of my former regulars runs an African store down there and I haven't seen him in two years, but he served us ginger tea and this other drink that had hibiscus flowers and sugar that looked and tasted like really good Kool-aid if the color wasn't made of chemicals. I ended up learning about his life story, how he got here from Senegal, lived at the Salvation Army, temped and washed dishes and went back to school. He said he wants to share his story with other people coming here and show how they can succeed.

There was an article in the paper this past Sunday about immigration, and I look at places like Toronto or Columbus and how there's so much more going on because they're places that welcome new people with new ideas. It's a shame that our leadership doesn't at least try this.

Easter was beautiful, playing music that morning with some of my favorite people, the Greek guys who live across the street brought us over lots of leftover curried chickpeas and gyro meat, spent the afternoon chilling with the roomie at Edgewater and then stopping by Ethiopian church for dinner before going to my parents' house where I got to hang out with my cousins and family and hear stories about how my high school aged cousin convinced his classmates he was from England and claimed that in England, they speak "The British Language."

America, you need to get out more.

Friday, April 2, 2010

come outside, everyone's outside...

I've been taking an hour or two these last 2 days of vacation time, for various adventures and reconnecting.

Went down to Kent yesterday to walk around my old hangouts, reconnect with old friends, get some sweet potato/black bean burrito goodness at Taco Tonto's and see Henry Rollins for the second time with good people.

Drove back rocking to Jawbox and loving that the night is warm.

I'm going out today to shoot more graffiti and Cleveland-related photos, drive around to good music, bask in the sun.

best of the blotter 19: march madness and Easter Bunnies

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, HAMPTON CHASE: Residents reported Saturday that a suspicious vehicle was circling their neighborhood. The black SUV was driving around with someone dressed up as the Easter Bunny. The bunny was allegedly passing out candy to children. The SUV and the bunny were gone when police arrived.

SHAQ’S PARTY: An officer witnessed two individuals yelling back and forth to one another from across a parking lot on N. Spring Grove around 10:55 p.m., March 27. The officer checked the scene and determined that the subjects were thrilled about “going to Shaq’s party.”

COMPLAINT, WYANDOTTE AVENUE: A woman reported money missing from a bag she kept in her birdcage at 12:34 p.m. Saturday. It turned out that the woman’s husband had taken the money to buy groceries.

AIR SOFT: The mother of a 10-year-old boy contacted police after his friend sent him a photo of an air soft gun on March 22. The boy’s mother was worried that the gun was real. Police checked the gun and determined that it was, indeed, an air soft gun.