Friday, April 29, 2011

in the eye of the beholder

Boomerific ramblings about revolutionaires and royals across the pond be damned, there is much more to life, though one might say that my life is nothing thrilling, as there are no fabulous wardrobes, love life drama, or exploding sports cars. My days of ridiculous adventuring seem to be behind me now, and will be saved for future Not-So-Great-American-Novel fodder and stories for the next generation of nieces and nephews.

But I don't need much to keep me entertained and inspired, just a cup of tea and some people-watching, some clay or paint or ink at my disposal, going down to the West Side Market or the lake, driving around with good music though I try to conserve that precious gasoline.

While I was mediocre with effort as an undergrad attempted art student, I feel like I've figured out my aesthetic sense since then, hovering between the starkness and grit of monochrome and the brilliant splashes of color that characterize the paintings piled up in my front room.

It can't be all melancholia, because the seasons have slowly shifted into budding and brilliant hues and we were lucky to escape the concrete and steel for the oasis under glass and the accompanying statuary and tulip bulbs. Some more crackerific types avoid this lovely place because it's in the hood. It's their loss because not only is this fine establishment free, they sometimes hook you up with hothouse fruits.

And in other news, while I don't really know much about jazz, I know what I do like and I love Regina Carter and her violin very much. Especially when she covers Amadou & Mariam and her current project includes a kora player. I don't know anyone else anymore who likes this kind of thing so I'll probably go by myself.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

wild is the wind

I ran to catch the early train, got over to the art center where I pounded the air bubbles out of a block of clay, rolled and twisted, the texture was just so perfect, or maybe I'm just getting better at thinking and executing in three dimensions, as we all hope that the city doesn't close this place down with all their service cuts.

It bothers me that for all the lip service given to supporting "the arts" that supposedly will save us all, we give out these $20,000 grants and fellowships to people, but an institution that actually serves the people of the city and its surroundings and gives them the chance to create is on the potential chopping block.

It's not as glamorous maybe, but it's a haven for a lot of us, especially inner city kids, single moms, retired seniors, people with disabilities with dreams of starting their own businesses, Nepali (via Bhutan) refugees rediscovering lost traditions, and of course those in the cracker young people demographic like yours truly that the city panders to because we don't have to worry about schools to send our children to right now and we have a little extra spending money sometimes.

None of us would probably ever cross paths in our daily lives but we all come here to work on sculptures and dishware and whatever we feel like doing, be as social or as introverted as we please in a place that is . Most of us can't afford to take classes at CIA or Tri-C or the suburban art studios, but this gives us a chance to create even without the social privileges of the upper echelons.

So I came home last night, read and drank tea, am falling in love with my balcony with the missing rails because I'm in the middle of the city and there are stars to be seen and the view is much prettier at night.

I don't know what time it was when I woke up to the howling over the lake, heard the clatter of vinyl siding being ripped off the house next door, the shaking of the foundations, continual trembling, wondering if it's better to be on the top of a house or the bottom if said dwelling collapses into a pile of matchstick.

I stumbled into the kitchen where the door had been blown open, boxes of tea and anything attached by magnet to the fridge were on the floor, the gutters are laying on the roof, and I doubt that balcony gardening is going to work when one lives too close to the lake because only the mint seems to survive the frequent onslaughts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

sometimes you get a case of the mondays on a wednesday

One of the truly great things about being an Esteemed Member of the Peonage is the ability to do one's work quietly and not deal with the Powers That Be. I prefer the invisibility of civil service to having to speak in front of others who are higher up than me and to feel put on the spot in not entirely a bad way but put on the spot nonetheless sucks fantastically.

So much of what I do depends on what the higher ups ask to be done and if they don't give me anything than that's just the way it is. People have way too much time on their hands to analyze minutiae and I sit there just wanting to melt away knowing that I am neither in trouble or at fault but I just want out of this room, I want to go home, I want to be far, far away.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i wanna be instamatic, i wanna be a frozen pea

I know it's just a matter of time before every band I like is dead because I latched on to the sound of previous generations, but Poly Styrene, a half-Somali teenager with braces and a lot of snark who scared Johnny Rotten (though in fairness that doesn't seem hard to do), died of cancer this morning and had I known earlier I would have played a whole lot of X-Ray Spex and totally alienated all three of my listeners.

The X-Ray Spex were one of the first punk bands I got into, thanks to college radio and my friend Megan whose mom was one of my mom's roommates. At their every-so-often-reunion-gatherings, all of us kids would be turned loose while the parents reminisced, but since we were all pretty geeky, the younger ones would play video games and we would read each other's fantasy novels and watch The Simpsons when we weren't hopelessly losing in basketball to her older brother.

Despite her fear of crazy born again fundies, we got along well, graduating in culturation from an endless repeat of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits while making friendship bracelets when we were ten to listening to Elastica, the X-Ray Spex and other assorted Brit-rock, trading high school stories while trying to figure out what college would be like. I don't think either of us had any idea about what would be coming.

Monday, April 25, 2011

art barbies, certain ethnics, and the enduring chill

It's Dyngus Day or something, which I didn't know about being a half-caste Polack, but I wonder how many people in the almost-hood are going to bust out their accordions in the rain tonight, though I'm sure lots of revelry might commence, though I'm going to skip all that to do art since it's been about two weeks since I've enameled anything.

Being that I was a weird child, I never really got into horses and Barbies. Nancy Drew novels and dress-up yes, but I wanted to be Boadicea because I read about her in a Highlights magazine and also a lot of Rosemary Sutcliffe novels that kind of glossed over the whole torturing prisoners/getting killed by the Romans bit.

My friend up the street was also a weird kid and we spent our summers taming the mass of flowering bushes, trellises and lilacs into our own play area/domain between having her dad take us to cemeteries and museums and Little Italy for gelato. When her other friend would come over, sometimes we'd play with her dolls but I never liked blonde and usually claimed her Princess Jasmine one instead, when we weren't having super-soaker fights with the boys around the corner.

I'm all for getting kids into art because art is awesome, and since these aren't as bimbotastic as other Barbies, I can't hate on it too badly except that it's just kind of corny and doesn't look that good.

Then again, it's also not as terrible as this. I've got my love of kitsch as much as anyone, but history's finest mementos that aren't Church In A Box don't really do anything for me.

that's right.

four strings

As a perpetual wallflower and shy person, it felt good on Sunday morning to not be in front of a microphone thrashing away with an electric guitar like Billy Bragg's born again niece, but to hang out in the back with a very gifted drummer with a love of similar tunes and with the mingling of good voices harmonizing together, I could hold down the low end, letting the calluses harden again on my right hand as my left worked its way up and down the fretboard. I could sing and not be heard

I once resented being relegated to "chick bass player" status playing in terrible teenage bands, but now that I'm not there anymore, it feels good to be there, because I love working root notes into runs, providing something between rhythm and melody. By the end of the second set of songs, his drumsticks were disintegrating, I had to transpose for an unexpected capo, but we finished sweaty and euphoric, because the sensual and the spiritual aren't always so far removed from each other, and there is an incredible feeling when instruments and voice come together in ways that are hard to understand.

To begin the day with that, and driving through the beautiful grey to feast with the Ethiopians resplendent in embroidered white, to hang out with the family before heading back through empty streets to the almost-hood, wondering what kind of drama went down a couple blocks south with all the cop cars, wondering when the seeds I planted will start to come up and what else I have room for, especially if the new tenant downstairs is the lady with three dogs that looked at the place this weekend...

Meanwhile, in more pointlessness, the Rock Hall is doing some lame exhibit highlighting the tired trope of "women in rock" which will naturally feature Lilith Fair acoustic chicks, and boomer approved canonites, and Rolling Stone cover girls.

As a musician with ovaries who digs power chords and loudness, I have to remember that this is the Rock Hall and therefore nothing better is to be expected, but damn I'm sick of hearing about Carole King and Yoko Ono and Kathleen Hanna and pop stars known more for their trainwreck lives, cover girl looks, and wacky outfits (Hello Britney, Gaga) than for producing quality music.

None of this was inspiring to me when I started playing music, as I was neither a burgeoning lesbian or much to look at and until I delved into the underground, my role models were all dudes because I liked their songs better because it wasn't until later that I found out that there were talented females who got by on talent rather than image, that there were even chick bassists that were an integral part of the sound rather than just eye candy. Kim Coletta, four string fiend and fellow worker in the field of knowledge, you rock my world.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

easter eve

The need to write is always there, even with not too much to say, but the sun in its brightness was welcome and I drove down to Edgewater to meet up with my art-making amiga to walk along the shore.

Everyone was out and I love seeing Segway Man and the chess-players, the big cars with their stereo systems and the man with the Lexus who plays his smooth jazz in the parking lot at a decibel level used more for Top 40 club music and metal shows, and kites everywhere, women in saris standing amid piles of driftwood and tangled fishing lines watching their children play in the waves, people tanning, unashamed of the pasty white.

"Don't touch that kids! Don't ever touch that!"
"But Dad, I thought it was a stick!"

Last time I checked, driftwood doesn't have orange plastic pressure action to contain the likes of smack and insulin. The beach has yet to be cleaned, and the sludge tunnel's trajectory is well-defined emptying into the lake, we sit on castoff picnic tables half-buried in the sand, and I'm barefoot with the jeans rolled up, infinite zebra mussel shells, black and mild stubs, and discarded syringes be damned.

I was baptized in this lake when I was sixteen, since I figured it made sense to make it my personal choice as opposed to the sprinkling given to me as a one-month-old who had no choice or concept of original sin.

I'm still catching up on the sleep, trying to slow down my pace from being in a city where there always seemed to be constant movement. I slept on the glider on the front porch until it got cold, drove around with the windows down listening to grunge bands, and got a cup of yerba mate so I could check my email and people-watch, because despite my enjoyment of people, I'm an introvert at heart as I make small talk with cigarette smokers.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Attempts at finding sanctuary thwarted by sundry fish fries and baptisms, I couldn't bring myself to mumble along with the faithful and made an exit halfway through the mass at some church I'd never seen the inside of before, ended up at the usual coffeeshop haunt with a journal and the laptop and tea now alone here.

My eyes tired and soul restless, scrawling letters to God in ink... adoration and questions and longing that barely makes sense when it hits the page, but to be known better than to know myself is a reassuring thing.

I could be out and among, but sometimes the solitude feels like the best place to exist, that place of safety. There's a part of me that fears closeness, because of all the bridges that seem to get burned in ways I can't explain, knowing that the last few times I was less wrong than I've been before, but knowing that there's still ash where connecting once was, that this is just part of life, and at least there is no bitterness on my end, learning to accept that as much as I long to make things right, to begin again, that there are endings, and I wonder how many more times things like this will happen.

I don't even want to begin sometimes because the ending seems so inevitable and when he calls up out of the blue saying we should hang out again, I hope that we don't because even though nothing's started, I just don't want it to go anywhere. It was hard enough watching things fall apart with people I lived with, I sure as hell don't want to get my heart torn up over nothing. I'm a bundle of raw nerves with a hemorrhaging heart and a soul that's equal parts wide-eyed wonder and cynicism. It's easier to watch from afar.

Is the lack of feeling a thicker skin or an emotional amputation? I wish I knew.

we call this Friday good...

The sky is overcast, the weather cold, and a decade of Catholicism still makes me want to be in settings of candlelight and arched ceilings getting meditative and such on days like these, because part of my rhythm is still in tune with a liturgical calendar, though like a Christmas & Easter celebrant, I gave up nothing for Lent and forgot that most Good Friday services are happening right now as opposed to when I get off of work.

"You look like you're in the spirit of the day" someone says, and I guess I do with the black dress-as-tunic, the probably-too-dangly-for-work cross earrings found at a yard sale, but I've been laughing too much to give off any air of gothicity, thanks to Kynge's Brew and the inside jokerye of the peonage. Even in my darkest nights of the soul, there is still a sense of light and hope that sustains me through the many times where things seem too bleak and sucky to keep on living.

O how great is the kindness of the
who sets all free
through His incarnation
which divinity breathed out,
unbound by sin.
And thus those garments
are cleansed
by the greatest grief.

Reposted as appropriate. Eliot once more...

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood -
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

rare vacationing

I left the beloved hometown on Sunday afternoon, driving to Akron-Canton to take the Airtran and be amused at the massive amount of Rush fans populating the terminal and the Ohioana for sale mostly having to do with tractors and Amish people, whose cookbook included recipes for "Jimmy Carter Pudding." There was also a piece of artwork on display in the lobby with this title:

I'm always jittery about flying, though fascinated by being on top of clouds, looking over the Atlantic Ocean and the waves breaking on a seashore a few miles below, knowing that people fly every day but wondering if my last moments of this life will consist of reading "Midnight's Children" and plunging into the salty brine of Davy Jones' Locker.

I have no TSA horror stories, being an unassuming fair-complexioned Caucasian female, and somehow avoided the naked scan though my traveling companion was subjected to it. It does creep me out to see men in blue shirts walking around with big guns in the airport like they're overcompensating a whole lot and hope there's somebody to shoot but anyone who knows me knows I've got a somewhat irrational dislike of men with guns.

Public transit was super easy and we got from the airport to the station easily though we were squished in among a sea of Celtics fans and one guy said I should be taking pictures of "The Gahden" instead of the graffiti on the building across the way.

We started walking in search of food and ended up in the Beacon Hill neighborhood with its gorgeous apartment buildings and narrow streets that are nothing like what I see around where I'm from.

We walked back to watch the sun set over the bridge and the lights of the city come on and caught the train to Acton where we went the wrong direction down Main Street in total darkness past lots of old homes and woods that should scare me since I'm in a small New England town of the kind where nearly all horror fiction seems to take place and bad things happen to clueless young women, but it was such a beautiful night and I was euphoric to be out of the airplane and figuring my way out through unfamiliar surroundings.

We never did meet the lady whose house we stayed in, but the keys were taped to the door and we woke up early to find coffee and bagels before heading out to meet my traveling companion's aunt at the marathon. The Green Line was packed with people and we ended up in some swanky suburb with huge houses where people had grills and space heaters going in the front yard and their kids jumped around in those inflatable play palaces. Every single dog we saw was purebred.

It was like 4th of July or something. People were friendly to us out of towners and invited us to hang out on porches and such, but we ended up walking from Mile 20 to Mile 17 past people in lawn chairs, Japanese girls waving banners, hippies banging drums, Ethiopians waving flags, bros getting drunk, vendors selling fried dough and hot dogs because nothing says spectator sport like watching people do athletic things while you get fat, as the first runners came down the street.

My friend wanted to go to the finish line and watch everyone come in but it was just too many people for me so we split up and I used my transit pass to explore, hitting up bookstores, wandering through old cemeteries, going to the People's Republic of Cambridge to dig through bins at record stores, take pictures of graffiti in alleys, wander around while eating takeout Indian food and people-watching.

From there, I went to Harvard Square to explore some more, take pictures of old buildings, cutting through the campus and its surroundings, down side streets and alleys, observing a world so different from my own. Thanks to some National Merit recognition and a very good ACT score, Harvard actually sent me an application when I was in high school but decided that I really wouldn't fit in there, opting for the less illustrious option of the state school known to most as a place that Neil Young wrote a song about.

I didn't mind looking completely out of place, scruffy in an old Rites of Spring t-shirt and black hoodie, because I'm a stranger here, a tourist in a world that feels like a living J. Crew catalog with the collegiate/preppy/old money atmosphere complete with shops for all your lacrosse/squash needs, walking past a seemingly endless procession of Bright Young Things and people in suits. There was also a man playing a hurdy-gurdy on the corner. That was awesome, but I forgot to take a picture of him.

I go into culture shock every time I'm surrounded by all white people, which is ironic since I grew up in Parma but I must not have been in other parts of the city or on the wrong train lines because everyone around me seemed to be affluent and Caucasian, the only exception being Chinatown and the surrounding area. While I venture into sundry sketchy neighborhoods on a regular basis in Thieveland, I figured I wouldn't test my luck alone in a big strange city.

By this time, the sun began to set, and I went back to North Station to wait for the next train, watched the Celtics and the Bruins on a small TV in the waiting area, and made my way back to the house.

We did the Freedom Trail the next morning with a suitably snarky tour guide who gave us a hard time about our losing sports team and traded historical re-enactment anecdotes with my fellow traveler who does Underground Railroad and Voyageurs experiences for inner-city schoolkids. I think I spent most of my sputnik turista time here hanging out in cemeteries and taking pictures of gravestones replete with skulls and creepy angels.

It was rainy and cold so we split up again, because days like this are perfect for museums and I wanted to see the MFA and the Gardner, which was the most amazing place I've ever been. I felt like I was somewhere in Europe when I walked inside the Venetian-style palazzo into a world of tiled walls, a lush courtyard, dark rooms full of candelabra and tapestries, and three floors of art from marble sarcophagi to parts of altarpieces, paintings of angels, works by Degas, Raphael, and Botticelli.

Photography being verboten, I took a few pictures sans flash when out of view of the security, but thankfully there are better views courtesy of the Internet. I wish this place was next door to me because I'd be there all the time.

From there, I went around the corner to the absolutely huge Museum of Fine Arts where I got to see the Chihuly exhibit,

feel small next to chunks of Egyptian temples

and get up close to mummies, Japanese prints, paintings by El Greco and Monet.

Our last day, we slept in, went hiking in the woods down the street,

ended up at the science museum with the dinosaur out front, and killed time downtown where I was amused by stoners making a statement about weed legalization in front of the Civil Rights Monument, took pictures of the gigantic Masonic lodge, was amused bypigeons in front of cherry blossom trees,
bought cheap and gorgeous art books (there were so many amazing bookstores),

and ended up in Chinatown before catching the train back to the airport where she bought various Sanrio products as I took pictures of buildings with pagoda facades and ate purple and green biscuits that were theoretically flavored with taro and green tea.

They offered to re-route me to Atlanta and give me round trip tickets, but I was tired and ready to go home so I declined, felt jittery as we went through turbulence after hearing all about "horizontal tornadoes" flipping airplanes on CNN, but I got home safely and buzzed on bad coffee as the man next to me talked about his wife and drank lots of Jack Daniels.

Drove home up I-77 listening to the entirety of "Welcome to Sky Valley," to my now-much-smaller-looking city, finding comfort in the familiarity of empty streets, all-night diners, and my couch. I felt so refreshed even in being exhausted, so glad to be gone from Ohio for a few days, yet so happy to be home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I had to print something off at the library and ended up in Lakewood surrounded by crazy regulars and sundry others that I really didn't want to deal with for reasons I prefer not to divulge here and snuck out without much recognition, feeling like a creep myself at a public Internet terminal, and not wanting to deal with general awkwardness of at least three different kinds. I can't remember the last time I was in the same room with at least four characters that I really have a strong aversion to. If anyone's dealt with me in the past twelve hours, I haven't totally been myself among those I know best.

One of my neighbors was as Marc's where I'd gone to find TSA-acceptable-sized mini bottles of shampoo because otherwise I might be trying to blow up a plane with nitroglycerine cleverly disguised in a bottle of seemingly innocuous Herbal Essences.
The terrorists have won, it seems because the regulations are crazy. I don't worry about planes blowing up but I'm not a fan of flying and usually sleep so I don't have to think about it.

We're both trying to do the garden thing and so we swapped extra seeds and now I'm up late feeling nervous from both caffeination and breaking from routine as the wind rattles the doors and the kitchen chairs. I'm so used to planning out my days with work and the show in mind, not digging out an old backpack and filling it with the necessities needed for four days in another city that I've never been to. There's the part of me that knows that it'll be fine and the other part that's always assuming the worst, which is never a good thing when what I really need is sweet sweet sleep.

Friday, April 15, 2011

hormones and sound

I was working on some projects at the art center when a song came on the radio that reminded me of someone because he once said it reminded him of me. I understand that being sappy is part of human nature for some of us, but I remember being kind of pissed as you can only be when you're 18 and skeptical about most things especially ooshy-gooshy things and it's a terrible vanilla song about some chick that the guy loves who goes off and has adventures and drinks soy lattes and he's still pining for her but she's kind of off doing her own thing. Or something. I don't know.

There were a lot of reasons why things didn't work out with us and this was the least of them, but it was kind of what happened, except that I drink my tea and coffee black and don't do tae-bo while listening to Mozart. For a pair of goofy young kids who both had subcultural leanings and closets full of black clothing, he should've known that something else would have tugged at my heartstrings way more than Train.

Yet I don't take the philosophy that finding one's soulmate is possible through common love of the same bands. It must be some weird hipster thing maybe or a way to break the ice, where taste is cultural currency and conspicuous consumption is paramount. But heck, what do I know anyway? I know that there were way too many relationships in my life where me and whoever connected with the same sounds but never connected with each other.

Those times we drove around all night listening to our favorite songs and talking til 3 in the morning about everything and nothing, listening to soul music in your old Crown Vic by the lake when I was so stressed out and sore from a car crash and you wanted me to feel better, that time we huddled under a track jacket watching Sonic Youth in the rain getting goosebumps from the gorgeous noise of Thurston Moore's guitar and being really wet and cold? A shared love of tuneage and an enjoyment of each other's company was all it was and nothing more and at least I see it for what it is instead of trying to read anything into it further. Life isn't Garden State, people.

I'm also not sure if I trust a site that suggests due to some terrible survey that Nirvana and Metallica fans are more likely to copulate on the first date than people who like Coldplay, in part because the sampling of genre was so limited. And by the way, oh White and Mostly British People, the Blur/Oasis rivalry is so 1990-what?

east coast here I come...

It's been forever I took a real vacation, usually it's a few hours here or a day or two there, and I haven't left the state of Ohio in three years, and that was to go to Detroit. Before that was a ride hitched to DC with politically earnest friends where I ended up at some protest that already fed my deep cynicism and where we must have looked so wholesomely Midwestern that everyone seemed to know we were from Ohio in spite of ourselves. I've never been to Boston and we have the most skeletal of plans involving Chinatown, seafood, Salem, and some kind of history.

I don't take vacay time often, as I don't have a house to work on or kids to take anywhere, and I keep saving my money in hopes I can get somewhere sweet someday, but it's hard for me to get the motivation to go somewhere alone and there are very few people I can spend a huge block of time with in the car or for a few days in a row. The whole prospect of tourist groups on busses sounds horrible too, whether they're Boomers or Bright Young Things, and the open invitations that I do have around the world are in places that are kind of no-gos for gringo infidels like me.

In the meantime, there's an uncompleted passport application in a desk drawer, piles of books on my shelves about exotic locales, and I live vicariously through the adventures of others, walk their dogs and feed their cats and drink lemonade in the hammock on a back porch of a nicer house than mine a few streets over pretending I'm somewhere else.

Someday, I'll get out more than I do. Cleveland's home, but sometimes it feels good to see something else.

so she built a skyscraper of procrastination...

And this is why I'm not seriously going back to school. I used to be a total overacheiver who started things months in advance and tweaked and actually worked hard on things and those were 15-20 page writings about Arthurian literature and haiku and the Northern Ireland peace process.

One freshman level class and I'm finishing my paper at midnight on tax day, wondering why my neighbor is revving up his engine at this hour, knowing I have to be up in a few to go back in, but thankfully there is caffeine but I feel like I'm going to fall asleep somewhat bitchy because I got kind of fed up with certain elements of humanity tonight and uncharacteristically let it show.

ah well.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

best of the blotter: Lizard Kings and other things.

I really hope this guy has a Jim Morrison blacklight poster on his wall.

ODOR, WHITNEY ROAD: Police were advised of a marijuana smell on the first floor of an apartment building at 10:04 a.m. April 1.

Officers contacted the resident in question, who stated that he has six pet lizards, and was burning incense to cover the smell up.

Witnesses reported an older woman walking on Pearl Road near Pizza Hut April 12, whipping around a belt and yelling at cars. Police found the woman was carrying a "Vote for Issue 31" sign as well as a belt.

She was advised the issue had already gone up for a vote, but she said she wanted to carry the sign anyway. A report said she was going to visit her parents, who live in Strongsville. Police told her not to yell at cars.

A Gate Post Drive man didn't take it lying down when a telemarketer got snarky with him. He reported to police April 8 that a woman called and asked if he had smoke detectors. When he asked why, she hurled an obscenity and hung up.

The resident asked police to track down the offender. Police said they would speak with her company.

LOUD MUSIC, MAYFIELD ROAD: At 8:55 p.m. April 5, an officer was investigating a report of a stolen purse from a parked car when he heard loud music coming from a car at the Speedway gas station. The car’s window was up and the officer tapped on the window. The driver, a man, 18, gave police his driver’s license and proceeded to fill his tank with gas, while shaking his head at the impending citation.

When he was finished pumping his gas, the man told the officer that he thought the music had to be considered loud from a distance of 500 feet away. He then asked for the officer’s badge number.

Finally, the man said he wanted to explain something to the officer. He said, “My parents are the highest paying taxpayers in this city,” and expressed his disbelief that he was being treated this way. The officer told the man that he, too, is a taxpayer and gave the man a ticket.

ANIMAL AT LARGE, AVON BELDEN ROAD: Police received a complaint on April 4 from a resident that a chicken was loose on the front yard. Upon arrival, a police officer escorted the chicken back to its own residence at the Hatchery Antique Mall. Due to this being an ongoing problem, an informational report was recorded.

BIRD WELFARE CHECK, GATES MILLS BOULEVARD: Police were called at 10:30 a.m. April 3 to check on the condition of two geese in the roadway. The caller stated that one of the geese was alive and the other appeared to be dead.

It was learned that the geese were, in fact, plastic replicas.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

bleeding brown and orange

I watch sports with my dad and actually enjoy it and understand it, but I've emotionally detached myself from it because otherwise I'd be even more depressed than I'm already prone to be.

Someday I want to do a photography project and take pictures of hardcore Browns fans and their vans like this one:

I don't see much airbrushing around anymore, but this sight in the parking lot of Marc's totally made my day.

delusions of artistic greatness.

There are some people I've met who say that if artists ran the world it would be a better and more beautiful place, but I beg to differ. We creative folk also have our delusions of grandeur but are mercifully too poor and unconnected to wreak havoc on the globe. What always amazes me is how so many world leaders were not only power-mad but also considered themselves creative aesthetes.

Art has always driven and been co-opted by ideology because of its potential for beauty and power. I think about people I used to play in bands with who wouldn't take any creative input because that would mess with their all supreme vision, and when people have a supreme vision and some degree of firepower, bad things tend to happen.

Hitler was a vegetarian painter who clearly understood the power of aesthetic and the use of visuals and pageantry to manipulate the masses when he wasn't painting bucolic pastoral landscapes.

Stalin also had a thing for the pastoral and wrote lots of nationalistic poetry about flowers.

The pinkish bud has opened,
Rushing to the pale-blue violet
And, stirred by a light breeze,
The lily of the valley has bent over the grass.

Gaddafi wrote short stories along with his Green Book which contains revelations about the difference between men and women being that women menstruate and men don't. He could use a serious editor with his writings, but those who tend to question despots don't tend to live well for long and who wants to mess with suicidal astronauts, ranting about the awfulness of the city, prose like this:

Is death male or female? God only knows...What good does it do to determine weather death is male or female? Death, after all, is death. However, it is our duty to specify its sex, and find out whether it is male or female...

Speaking of humble tractor drivers, Albania's Enver Hoxha, who built 750,000 bunkers in the event of invasion, wrote loads of memoirs, some of which detailed his serious man-crush on Stalin. Before Pooty and Berlusconi, there was Enver and Josef watching musicals on the couch together about tractor drivers. Bros before hoes indeed, unless those hoes are collectively farming in the workers' paradise.

So much for the Doomsday Device. Even Kubrick can't make up stuff like this.

days are only rumors we've wasted

"It was dead at work today. Everyone pretended they weren't sick."

I wasn't the only one in denial of my condition, as we sat on her second-story deck overlooking the parking lot and the row of houses behind as the neighbor's cat cheated death on the balcony rail in between begging us for scraps of hot dog and spicy yellow rice that she and her fiance cooked up and in the course of our conversation we've realized that we're starting to get old when we're comparing notes on our illnesses, talking about work, and wondering about the next generation.

I couldn't stop coughing and sneezing, but was outside the whole day, basking in the golden glow, transplanting mint and basil into clay pots on the balcony, breaking up the earth around the house with a shovel to plant when it's time, walking the neighbor's dog and feeling like I live in a real neighborhood because I kept seeing people I know around everywhere. We've all come out of hibernation now, catching up on the last few months that we've spent in relative isolation.

Everyone was outside or driving around with radios cranked to 11, the sounds of Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, and whatever reggaeton hit is rocking the club scene right now, and every time I see a car with rims and macho unprintable language making its trunk vibrate, it's always the most cracker of crackers. Keep it real, son.

This past winter made me starved for warmth and color and I'm looking forward to more nights like this of walking to the lake, sitting on porches and around fires pretending it's not as late as it really is.

I've forgotten about this album, which was the bridge from my prog-rock-guitar-goddess-wannabe days to the fabled land of pre-Garden State-indie, but it makes me think of days like these. The Pitchforkians may talk about emo, but latter-day SDRE was like Yes for the kids who wouldn't be caught dead in the land of 70's prog, with those build-ups, love-'em-or-hate-'em high vocals, and weird time signatures. I think I put this on every other mixtape I made anyone when I was 16.

Friday, April 8, 2011

quiet places

"it's not Halloween, it's cosplay," say the three tweens getting cookies with their dad at the coffeeshop. The oldest has a witch hat on and a purple wig, the youngest is wearing a Pokemon t-shirt and cat ears.

I feel weird writing when there's people in close quarters, even as I know the bike messenger vegans at the next table are paying no attention to me as I work on my neglected four page paper and let the ginger green tea soothe my sore throat.

There was no ceramics tonight for me, coming back to the house I'm staying at to let the dog out, crash on the couch for a couple hours, waking up to reheat leftovers from my dinner last night with a friend from back in the day, having stayed up late to catch up on life and music and laugh. It was worth every minute past midnight but uncounted cups of coffee barely sustained me through a day of slowness.

So many things and people I forgot about because it seems like forever since I was living with multiple roommates, constantly writing papers, slacking in the student center over cups of chai being adolescently snarky, arguing politics and religion, and getting my fix of live music seemingly every other week. I had a good time when I lived there even though it was crazy and I was termed a "random force of chaos" among my roommates because whenever I was around or we went anywhere, it was always a little more weird and inevitably turned into some strange adventure that almost always left us wondering what the hell just happened. This doesn't happen nearly as much in Grown Up World, but every so often flashes of it reoccur.

There was a little sunlight left when I took the dog on a walk through the almost-hood, enjoying the blank sky, the crocuses peeking up purple through the debris once buried under melted snow, piles of old church domes in the monastery garden, the silver lake through the trees, the rhythms of a city beginning to stir back to life after an unusually long hibernation, African kids on bikes shouting to each other in Lingala and Kirundi,and the teens returning to the corners and vacant lots to flirt and fight and both.

I put my seedlings on the balcony and I stop by to water them while I'm gone, growing mint and lavender in peat pots, hopefully putting in seeds and something beautiful in the back yard which is broken concrete and dirt, fenced off from a parking lot. When I lived in Lakewood I never bothered with this but ripping out the weeds the Sunday when I was grieving the messed-up lives of the kids I worked with, turning a parking lot bordered by weeds into a space full of herbs and vegetables last summer, making beauty out of empty space makes me want to do it once more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

five years later

I'm getting together with a friend of mine tomorrow night for dinner that I haven't seen since I moved out of Kent in '06 and am trying to figure out how to squeeze the greatest amount of rockingness onto one mix CD.

We were part of the same crew of various quirky types who hung out together, spent our work-study money on tickets to shows, slacked around in various dorm rooms and apartments watching movies, playing videogames, listening to way too much music. I wasted a lot of time with real losers just because we liked the same bands but he was one of the few people who was just a really nice and decent person which is why I'm even bothering to reconnect to ramble about loud guitars, and life in general.

I re-read some of my writing from when I was there and I thought I knew everything and had this total attitude and I really thought I had way more of the answers, and was way more angry about really pointless things like this band that totally sucks or that lame group of hipsters or how stupid that professor is.

I was so immersed in subculture that I couldn't always see beyond it and thankfully I left the college town, ended up in Cleveland around people that weren't like me and places that I never thought I'd be and it's humbled me a lot, and while I still have a big mouth, it's not quite as ridiculous as it used to be. I'm more willing to admit when I'm wrong and hopefully I listen more instead of just waiting to speak.

I'm sure I'll look back at what I've just written a few years from now and wonder what the hell I was thinking but hopefully not as much as then.

grease and grit

So I understand that we're an unhealthy city that drinks too much, eats too much, and in some cases, smokes too much. I get that this isn't good, and that it contributes to higher health care costs and whatnot.

But who would I be to tell someone what they can or cannot do especially when it's not a moral issue? Even then, my life is mine and yours is yours and so long as you're not hurting someone with what you do, we're cool even if we might disagree.

I don't expect others to make the same life choices as me. I love going to a coffeeshop or watching a band play and coming home not reeking of cigarette smoke, but I voted against the ban on my half-assed and totally inconsistent libertarian principles. Smokers outside don't bother me. They have their vice and I have mine, though coffee does smell better than cigarettes.

I don't eat a whole lot of greasy food as I prefer dirty hippie fare with generous amounts of spices, but I don't like the idea of being told what to eat. When carnival season hits, me and Tangerine love our elephant ears and scary-because-it-might-fall-apart-rides. Yes, it's not as healthy as going jogging and drinking smoothies, but it's fun and doesn't hurt anyone and we know full well what we're doing. It's a part of living here that we love.

It's hard enough to sustain a small business in this city as it is, and this just makes it harder for places like Sokolowski's and small bakeries. Cimperman may want to change the culture, but this place isn't California, where people are super thin and their teeth are perfectly white. We don't mind our schlubbiness. Even skinny chicks like me will end up looking like babushka women someday due to our genetics.

It's a winter town full of people who grew up on meat-and-potatoes peasant fare and soul food. We don't exercise much because the weather sucks and we can't always walk in our neighborhoods after dark, we like our comfort food like our grandparents made it, and we drink because life here gets depressing. Of course we're unhealthy. A love of grease is in our rusty blood.

While the Powers That Be seem obsessed with catering to the uber-rich who own sports teams and corporations, and turning this city into a playground for the bright young things, there are other people in this city who aren't into trendy neighborhoods, art openings, and vegan food. I would even venture to say that they might be a majority, a little more worried about employment, paying rent, and hoping cars don't get stolen because the police care more about graffiti than they do about people with no power who get beat up.

Something's wrong here. It really is.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

this is getting old and so are you...

Teenage angst has paid off well, though I'm not so bored and not that old yet. Life's gotten more interesting, even as it's settled into some kind of conventional routine.

I remember hearing on the radio about Kurt Cobain but I was eleven and didn't pay much attention but when Layne Staley died, it wasn't unexpected but still heartbreaking and me and my fellow slackers mourned together on a rainy Tuesday in the basement of Tri-C.

Every time someone talks about "The Voice of a Generation" I'm wary because not every person born after 1970 is an angsty suburban cracker and we tend to project our likes on the rest of the world just like our boomer overlords. My younger cousins don't know who Kurt Cobain is, and because people on the Internet don't know how to read, the first search on Youtube comes up as "Smells Like Team Spirit" which sounds like a hilarious trainwreck of a customer service program.

I know that the cryptic lyrics and perfect squalls of guitar spoke to my lonely soul who'd just discovered the guitar and music at the same time, tuning my dad's instrument down to D and a half step to play like Jerry Cantrell.

Who needed boy bands and love songs when there was cathartic angst to wallow in?

I learned how to play that song from a guy who went to rehab, and did the painting below my first year as an art student, and it hung in every dorm room and apartment I lived in until I moved home in '06 and it sat in a portfolio stuffed with old projects and band posters I forgot I owned. I see more hipster kids with flannel shirts than usual and know that the inevitable revival will eventually happen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

under the grey

Fitful dreams that seem so real yet make no sense, soundtracked to songs I can't turn off, wondering what it was all about when the alarm goes off on my phone in the other room. I wake up not feeling like I've slept because my brain just never stops working. I can't even zone out in my sleep.

The warmth was tangible and thick when I left this morning, coming here in awe of gathering storms and darkness where the sun should be, and now it looks the way it usually does, the untextured white of cloudcover, the rain that looks so cold, echoes of thunder in the distance.

Five more minutes and I will be alive again, able to release the tension, unwind in the absorption of perfecting a craft. I know it's an escape, but I have something to show for it. It defers those feelings of irrational melancholia that come over me on days like these, what I feel and what is true are often so different.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

people my age, they don't do the things I do...

I eschewed public transportation for a long walk over the bridge to Tower City, fortified by a cup of coffee and an enchilada, to meet up with Tangerine to watch the Indians play. I'm used to downtown being deserted, and it was until I entered Tower City and there was some kind of art fair thing full of swarovski crystal jewelry, general kitsch, generic skyline photos, and the kind of nonoffensive art that I tend to associate with dentists' offices or corporate lobbies, knowing that what I'm making is just as decent, just that I'm too much of a slacker and slightly afraid to out my creative output outside my small circle.

I forget that the rest of the world does different things on the weekends when I ended up at a birthday celebration at a bar where there was much in the way of bad Top 40, 80's cover bands, and general college bar-ness. My peers drink more in one night than I do in a whole year, and most people were with their significant others so I was able to pay my respects and make a quick exit after doing some general observation and people-watching.

I used to be freaked out by social situations involving all of the above, but one of the wonderful things about getting older is being comfortable in my skin, not feeling like I have to fit in or make conversation, or that there's something wrong with me because I can't wear high heels and don't know what's on TV. I drove home in the rain basking in the sounds of Faith No More, feeling strangely victorious that I'm no longer intimidated and that despite everything, I've come into my own my own way.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the couple next to you think you look strange...

When I worked at the zoo, people thought it was really funny to prank the receptionist with calls for "Miss Ellie Phant" and "Mr. Lion," and while no one pulled any Calvin and Hobbes style prank calls at my place of employment, I found myself trying to maintain sanity in dealing with a series of generally disagreeable people, and was so glad I cut class to go outside, wander up marble staircases to far more aesthetically pleasing biblioteca halls and marvel at the wonders of Norton Furniture as grown and sexy R&B played in the background. Surrealism of the rust belt at its finest.

As the art show was this weekend and the studio was closed, I came home and took a nap, planning to do some art later, but got a call from my creative partner in literal crime who said he was up for hanging out but not doing a whole lot and as I'm a slacker and it's the weekend, that sounded perfect. Besides, it had been awhile.

The last time we went out somewhere together, we ended up at a soul food restaurant in East Cleveland, where my general crackerness generated quite a few side-eyes of the what's she doing here stealing our men kind, and it turns out that he ran into the server at the club a few months ago and she remembered him because he came in with "that weird white girl "that one time (what gives Youtube? No Soul Coughing except in relation to cute puppies?). What can I say? I'm memorable and that's why I'm always "That Girl."

We got Lazizas at Holy Land Market and dinner at Latitude, which I've never been to before, and judging by some of the well-dressed clientele in fur coats and neo-Dynasty couture and hair, I was slightly underdressed for this scene with my black hoodie and Bad Brains t-shirt.

Everyone else seemed to be out on the town to see and be seen, looked and acted like extras out of tv shows I never watch, but we were so busy devouring perfectly herbed pizza with portobello mushrooms and basil pasta bake catching up on the last six months or so, talking art, music, life while observing our fellow diners from our perfect vantage point of a booth in the back with a view of the door.

The mating rituals of the upwardly mobile are fascinating. I'm not the most fashionable to be sure, but zebra print doesn't seem to look good on anyone. But the people watching highlight came courtesy of this one woman came in near the end of the night, making a dramatic appearance, throwing off her coat revealing an incredible electric blue cocktail dress with lots of feathers on it around the neck and bordering the hem, crazy high silver heels, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of my sister's Barbie dolls, but with a very loud and projecting voice like the cheerleader character in Daria. There were all these cameras set up around the table where she and her friends were eating and I couldn't tell if this was some kind of filming or if they were famous or what but it felt like being on the set of Friends or something. Priceless nonetheless.

We came back to my place and spaced out on the couch, drinking fruity Lebanese malts until we both felt tired, he went home, and I slept in super-late this morning, waking up only when I got a text about the Indians game downtown, wondering how I own no home team regalia but somehow have a Detroit Tigers shirt in my closet. I'm going to be a good public transportationista and walk to the Rapid station, get a cup of coffee and maybe some food at the market, see how the day takes me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

with the radio on...

I spent last night among stacks of records and racks of CDs, killing time before going on air, loving the unpredictability that comes from improvisation. When I say "I'm playing rock" that means anything with an electric guitar regardless of subgenre.

I love doing these kinds of shows because they remind me of when I used to get stacks of CDs out of the public library in my teens, when it was a hungry curiosity that sent me searching for new sounds, figuring out what I like and what I wasn't so much into, and how that shifts over time, finding definitions for those sounds later, gradually realizing that a lot of people around me were way more cliquish about their love of sound, that certain things weren't acceptable around certain subsets, "too weird," "too metal" "too corporate" "not in English" "too fast" "too slow" "don't like female singers/don't like male-dominated genre" "too straightforward" "not enough guitar" "too much guitar."

I sometimes feel like I don't belong among the obscurists and specialists, but I'm having so much fun and I've been there three years so I can't be totally doing it wrong.

thursday night fill-in playlist 2

If I could claim this time slot, I would.

faith no more - helpless
jawbox - tools and chrome
bad brains - house of suffering
throwing muses - tar kissers
jucifer - when she goes out
heatmiser - mockup
the breeders - new year
X - soul kitchen
the buzzcocks- ever fallen in love
the pixies - monkey gone to heaven
sleater kinney - all hands on the bad one
the duke spirit - send a little love token
jesus and mary chain - catchfire
black angels - black grease
the gutter twins - bete noire
iggy pop - the passenger (request)
machine go boom - punchline song (request)
afghan whigs - uptown again
swervedriver - sci-flyer
smart went crazy - dc will do that to you
dream syndicate - that's what you always say
my bloody valentine - only shallow
sonic youth - purr
queens of the stone age - autopilot
ameseours- video girl
mira - space
the verve - life's an ocean
the chills - pink frost
fugazi - strangelight
50 foot wave - power & light