Friday, July 29, 2011


The summer of 2002, graduating from high school, hanging out in the garage with my fellow Parmastani power chord enthusiasts, playing ping pong or drinking pop on the old couch with the first and that time only record by Rival Schools that finally came in from the public library on perpetual rotation in the boombox. The older hardcore kids at the community college still swore by the Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand as superior Schreifels projects, but this has that extra something resembling sentimental value, a time when the future seemed much more open-ended.

I bought this at the Record Exchange with my library page paycheck, me and my sister used to crank this up when the parents weren't home, took it to college with me, put tracks on countless mix CDs and rediscovered it last year when going through all the drama.

So now there's a new album which I guess has been out for a couple months now but I just heard about it because I just assumed that those reunion shows were one-offs. It isn't quite what the first record was but maybe it'll grow on me.

Having never had a hipster card, I'll be the first to admit that my starting point for all things musical was 90's alternative rock, so I'm a sucker for hooky songs with loud guitars and when they come through Cleveland I am so there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shooting Fish in a Barrel

We Single Ladies are working the late shift and while I could be working on the next Great American Rust Belt Novel, we are instead snarking at the dudes on PlentyOfFish. Now, I'm not well-versed in the Arts of Love, but the men of My Fair City really need to step up their game unless they're looking for a fellow trainwreck or hookup.

Saying you're looking for a serious relationship while having your arms around two skanky chicks, not being able to spell, posing with a bottle of Jaeger or your theoretical motorcycle or showing off your bad tribal tattoos, sporting your best Affliction duds if you're wearing anything (because showing that much skin is not nearly as attractive to us as vice versa).

A visitor from another planet would assume that all of the male species in Clevelandia were either pale future mass murderers living in their parents' basement or fratboy bro types who listen to way too much Sublime. A little awkwardness is understandable, but Vulgar Displays of Douchebaggery were all too many. Take a look at these cybertastic pickup lines:

People call me Andrew, but you can call me tonight

Looking for a good-hearted women

Do you like pudding? I sure do!

Looking for someone to heal my heart

I'm all over the place, search engine that!

More than humpin'

Some of my well-intentioned relatives have asked me why I haven't tried the Internet in order to find my future soulmate but this along with the anecdotals of my friends, gives me every reason to believe that my gut feeling that such an idea is bad is definitely accurate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

best of the blotter: booze and bingo

A 66-year-old woman reached a new low July 20 after North Royalton police removed her from a bingo game at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Autocephalous Church on State Road.

After a two-year absence from the game, the woman paid $21 for a bingo package and took a seat in the church hall. According to police reports, she swore at another player, who then got up to complain to management. While speaking with bingo staff, the woman accused the player of cutting in line and pointed her finger into the player’s face.

Because of the woman’s colorful history of bingo outbursts, security personnel decided she is no longer welcome on the church property to play. Police issued the woman a misdemeanor citation for disorderly conduct.

BURGLARY, SPRAGUE ROAD: A caller reported at 5:21 p.m. July 17 the theft of $900 in quarters from their home sometime during the previous four hours. It was believed the culprit could be a “drunkard son or bad neighbor.”

MENACING, PROSPECT ROAD: A caller reported at 4:41 p.m. July 18 that their 18-year-old son was screaming at family members.

According to a police report, the man “was trying to see if his older sister’s boyfriend could protect her and was trying to fight him to see if he could fight.”

The boyfriend refused to engage in the rough-housing. The subject reportedly agreed to leave the property and the boyfriend declined any further action.

DISTURBANCE, WHITNEY ROAD: At 3:54 p.m. July 19, a customer at Molly McGhee’s reported that she had discovered a cigarette butt in her salad.

Police advised her it was a civil matter, but the woman and her family were reportedly engaged in an argument with the bartender.

Officers responded, and the complainant eventually was satisfied with how the owner agreed to handle the situation.

SOUTHPARK CENTER: A SouthPark Mall employee reported at 8:45 p.m. July 22 that a man was carrying an open container of alcohol while shopping.

When officers located the man, he claimed he had been given the alcohol while trying on clothing. He was advised it is illegal to carry an open container around.

The subject then told police that he had $32,000 in a bank bag, which was in his wife’s purse in a baby stroller. According to the subject, someone had stolen $5,000-$10,000 from the bag while he and his family were trying on clothes at the mall.

Police noted in a report that there was no proof the subject had that amount of money, or that any had been stolen. The subject stated he would investigate the alleged theft himself.

FRAUD, BRIARWOOD LANE: A complainant reported at 11:36 a.m. July 23 that a credit card had been used without permission, resulting in approximately $700 in charges for iTunes, and

COMPLAINT, CLIFTON BOULEVARD: Police were called to Optimal Health Chiropractic on July 22 because some 30-year-old stereo equipment was stolen from the basement. However, due to the age of the equipment, the owner could provide no further detail.

Police received a call that two people were hitting each other with a guitar in the 12000 block of Lake Avenue at around 9 p.m. July 18. A man and a woman were each charged with public intoxication.


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A sinkful of unwashed dishes, running into friends I haven't seen in awhile, and dinner with good conversation, lemonade, cool summer breeze coming through the windows.

I came outside this morning to all the purple morning glories on my fence in bloom, the way the sun cut through the translucence was too perfect not to shoot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

posts from last night

So last night I was sitting at a kitchen table at a friend's house letting the dog get some fresh air and compiling tuneage for the show this morning, thinking about the transpiring of the past few days, of revolutions borne out of hope and frustration only to see more of the same, of self-styled holy warriors who kill children and blow things up, of nations too busy bickering over partisan lines than actually dealing with actual problems, preferring to snipe about the mannerisms of one's spouse or what someone's wearing.

Sometimes the fuckedupness of it all gets a bit overwhelming and I find myself returning to Job and the Psalms to use the words of others to simultaneously express wonder at the Divine and the beauty of the world and to be furious at the grievous and incomprehensible wrongs that we inflict upon each other.

I don't believe that everyone who professes what I believe is going to end up where they think they're going, or that they're right or justified. Since Glenn Beck is an adherent of a religion that bears as much resemblance to my Christianity as Farrakhan's does to classical Islam, I don't take him seriously but to imply that it's somehow their fault they got shot makes me sick. So does Pat Buchanan who's always been afraid of the coming days when the world won't be so crackertastic. You know what, all these other people have souls too. God made them just as much as he made you.

Buchanan applauds the guy's grasp of history, but being a bit of a history geek, I also don't understand this conflation of Christianity and xenophobia evident here, and also stateside, especially considering that a substantial amount of early converts were not of Nordic, or even European stock and came from areas that we now lump into the general category of "the Arab World." Augustine, Perpetua, Simon of Cyrene hailed from Roman Africa, which is now modern-day Tunisia, Algeria, Libya... most of the churches in the book of Revelation are in modern-day Turkey. So, yeah, I know nobody cares about stuff like that except for me, but I somehow feel like it's relevant to point out that while the pre-Islamic world was converting to various forms of Christianity, my ancestors to the north (Celtic and Slav) were still doing that whole human sacrifice thing. Norway was still pagan for about a thousand years after. Just sayin'.

And yeah, European thought and religion have dominated the world through colonization, globalization, and mass media, so for a lot of people the West is equated with at least a cultural framework that has some basis in Judeo-Christian thought. And talk about bloody political conflicts. It wasn't all peace and love under Ferdinand and Isabella, or in the Balkans where everyone's been doing nasty things to each other for centuries, or the Crusades, or England and Ireland. It was brutal and barbaric too and like now I'd guess that the fanaticism was more of a bloodlust and lust for power wrapped up in a moralistic guise rather than any deep religious faith or understanding.

And I don't know if there's anyone who makes my blood boil than those who kill in the name of whatever religion or ideology they espouse because they have it out for whoever. I don't care what it is. It's sick and wrong. And just because someone else did something bad doesn't mean you have to do it worse. The Neo-Nazi types who think they're somehow superior because they're more likely to get sunburned are some of the hardest people for me to even try to understand or interact with, and the ones who'd say that the Hitleristas are reprehensible but more or less espouse the same garbage.

I've heard people talk about the perceived menace of Islam and can't help but think that it seems there seems to be this hard-wired human need to have an enemy, an abstract group of people to fight against. In my parents' years, it was the communists, and Hitler before that, and before that, whatever interethnic conflict which led to people immigrating here in the first place. For my lefty friends, it's those damn wingnuts, for the righties, it's the secular humanists or the perceived elite.

And sure there's wackjobs with violent tendencies in every camp who like to blow shit up and put their ideology over whatever human collateral stands in their way. And it seems more and more like we as a country focus on the talking heads and what their acolytes might do while our tax dollars are used to blow the heck out of othfer places halfway around the world and do all sorts of shady stuff and don't even pretend it's not happening anymore. I was born halfway through the Reagan years and can't remember when we weren't blowing something up halfway around the world... arming shady dictators in Latin America, going into the Balkans, Sudan, Granada, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan. But those last ones, it's not really war, just some sophisticated technology that kills people from far away, so you don't have to look in that person's eyes.

I don't buy this whole "oh they're ruthless and can't be dealt with like normal human beings" because it's not like Al-Qaeda was the first or only group to use suicide bombers or there weren't people brainwashed with ideology.

But maybe it's just my own weird perspective of God-so-loved-the-world and not God-loves-my-country-best-because-I'm-cracker. I just don't understand hating someone else's guts because they practice a different religion or don't look like you or do the same things. And there are things that other cultures do that I'm really glad I don't have to deal with, especially being female. I like being able to get an education, live on my own and hang out with whoever and not have to deal with the lady parts getting cut off because heaven forbid that I experience pleasure during intercourse. I don't hate other people because they do those things even if I think it's messed up. We do things in our country that are horrible too but it's always easy to point the finger at someone else.

I should note here that I almost didn't post this, in part because I found myself so angry and frustrated at my lack of powerlessness but upon hearing the tonedeafness of the punditry, I felt like I had to tip the balance the other way somehow.

I should also note here that the above song was playing during the penning of said rant, and said song is awesome in that totally apocalyptic way.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

dew points

Socializing is not nearly so stressful when strangers and loved ones mingle and I can both interact and observe the interactions of social spheres converging over ample alcohol. I don't drink in this kind of mixed company and drink cup after cup of strong coffee and start talking about absurdity of one kind or another. I'm already ridiculous under the influence of caffeine and fear the affects of anything stronger among a less forgiving populace.

Being out in the burbs, I felt justified in stopping on the way home to peruse at bookstores in hopes of finding out of print art books on obscure craftsmen but settling for dollar grunge CDs and the eternally inspiring art suppliers, because while most of my female peers prefer to shop for shoes, my kryptonite is luminescent acrylics the hues of stained glass, brilliant inks, virgin canvas and uncut squares of linoblock, and waxy prismacolor pencils, attempting to justify the luxury of high-end acrylic and ultimately frugality wins. Maybe someday when I'm really really good or get a pay raise, neither of which is likely.

The world is spiralling even more absurdly with crazed wackjobs with guns and bombs, the lack of change in the status quo regardless of revolution or elected official, and I grieve and yet am full of wonder at the beauty of summer nights of rain and light. I don't feel like I make any sense, that what I believe outside of the Nicene really has any grounding in practical application, and I ramble incoherently and hide behind words and the works of my hands, not knowing what I want out of the future, inconsistent always, hypocritical often, craving yet not knowing for what. Things I can't explain unless over a cup of coffee in person and even then...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

mention something, mention anything

A cup of coffee sans snark of family members or fellow peons, errands run, doing the Typical White Person in Gentrified Area Activity of drinking fragrant and rich caffeine in a classy local establishment after buying homemade bread and a cucumber at the farmer's market, wondering if sarcasm is an adequate counterweight to the inevitable caricature as I notice quite a few Priuses with stickers that read "I Heart Yoga." My old station wagon had a Fugazi sticker and such, but somebody stole the FU part of it off while it was resting in the Rapid station parking lot.

The garden is yielding more squash and herbs than one skinny girl can consume, next year I'll make room for more peppers and the like, the sun has returned, and these afternoons of basking have elicited yet more wrinkles in the mirror this morning. I don't fear gray streaks and crows feet like some women, but to watch the process engrave in my skin is strange.

The rain and sun are welcome, though the storm plus unshut windows put in jeopardy my admittedly hodgepodge stereo equipment yesterday (what's up first world problems!) and attempts to beat the storm were late on my part, standing under the Towering Slab watching the lightning strike across the street as streams of water flowed down the streets, shedding shoes to move drenched and barefoot down sidewalks and across streets thankfully not getting hit by errant drivers under the shelter of the fellow peon's umbrella and a plastic bag, driving through the streets of Clevelandia exultant in the cleansing power of water and lightning and rocking out to the dulcet sounds of Faith No More, enjoying the traffic jam because of the pyrotechnics of the sky, sculpting clay, sharing dinner with good people, reading until sleep comes, the sense of anticipation is beautiful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

best of the blotter: Elvis, milkshakes, and birds

Not everyone is a fan of the King. At 10:14 p.m. July 16, North Royalton police were dispatched to Deer Creek Drive for a report of a loud stereo. A highly intoxicated female resident was advised to turn her music down. Police left but returned at 10:57 p.m. because more loud stereo complaints had been received by dispatch. The resident told patrolmen she had switched the music to Elvis Presley and did not know why the neighbors were still complaining. Police advised her that it was not her choice of music, but rather the volume that disturbed her neighbors. She was cited for loud radio in a residence.

An anonymous caller reported four men singing in the parking lot near the pool at the Royalton Greens apartment complex around midnight July 17.

The neighbors were all yelling at the men to stop, but the men would not quit their singing.

Police spoke to one of the men, who admitted that he and three of his friends were belting out some tunes, but would take their music inside.

DISTURBANCE, ROSE BOULEVARD: On July 13, a resident reported a neighbor having people honking their horns in the driveway frequently. The resident was advised there was no ordinance against honking a vehicle horn during the day.

ANIMAL AT LARGE, GOLDEN GATE BOULEVARD: A resident requested help July 11 in catching her exotic bird that flew out of her house and into a tree. When the animal warden told her the bird was too high and there was nothing he could do, the resident yelled at him and a man with her used vulgarity to tell the animal warden to get off their property.

MENACING, LORAIN ROAD: Managers at Dairy Queen told police July 12 a man threatened workers there when his milkshake was not made to his liking. Workers tried to fix the mistaken shake, but the customer would have nothing to do with it, and according to reports he began cursing before finally leaving. Later, the man called the store and threatened another manager, police said.

did you hear something outside?

I had a crew of youth group kids from a small Minnesota town over last night, who brought me blueberries and pizza and we talked about Cleveland and their hometowns and other stuff too. They were nice kids, still wide-eyed and enthusiastic. I felt bad that I have no air conditioning, let the ceiling fans run, opened all the windows and provided a bowl of ice cubes, fruit punch, and popsicles to keep us cool.

I went to sleep early, lulled by the sound of the wind and dead to the world until 1am when I hear an engine roar and a voice screaming 'you're going down, bitch!' and a crackle through the night air that sounds like gunshots but I'm not sure if I'm hallucinating this coming out of the depths of rapid-eye-movement. I wonder if I'm just dreaming, and I try to calm myself, but what are these bright lights?

Police searchlights, going slowly up and down the street, so I'm not dreaming all this, and I sit on my couch and watch the shadows and the light move across my living room wall, whispering to God because who else wants to hear at a crazy hour of the morning and because I feel something resembling actual fear, more at the not knowing what's going on than anything else, and because it's late, I'm tired, and alone.

I'm wide awake. It's 1am and I can't fall asleep, because even the quiet in between the noise of cars feels menacing, and I find myself cringing every time I hear the roar of another souped-up engine, looking out my window to the couple in the car below me wondering what the hell they're doing in front of my house but it looks like it's either some romantic interlude or something else as the dogs downstairs bark and finally after scrawling some terrible verse to release the tension, my brain is tired and I fall back into rest before rising to immerse myself in the mundane, drink coffee, and try to reawaken and shake this off of me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

sappy and sapped

Too tired and uninspired to make anything of beauty, falling asleep on the couch, in the hot apartment, waking up sleepy, ignoring the ringing phone, because as much as I enjoy company on my sojourns through the city, I don't like the ambiguity of that particular companionship.

It wasn't easier when we were younger, as we were all more awkward and sometimes more obnoxious, but as we head towards our thirties, "just hanging out" gets more complicated, because we're all starting to wonder what the future holds and those interactions become more rare because everyone starts pairing off, and we're less likely to bother if we don't think it's going anywhere.

My platonic friendships have brought more joy and enrichment to my life than any time I've dated someone, which has never really gone well, and also why I don't like that scene, because it seems like a terrible way to get to know someone. These attempts usually dissolved quietly with a mutual understanding. We both knew by the end of a meal or the end of the first week that we weren't going to call each other, that there would ultimately be irreconcilable differences, we really didn't click and it was pointless to try and make something work that wasn't and found that as we got to know each other, we really didn't like each other very much.

Sometimes it seems easier to be just friends with those with for whatever reason you know that nothing will happen with because then nothing's going to happen and you worry less about looking stupid because you're laughing too hard or doing things together that you already enjoy doing by yourself.

And there are times I wish that things were more codified, because how was I supposed to know it was a date when I didn't bother to pretty up, got there by myself and paid for my own food and we just talked about music the whole time? Does us going to see a band together mean something more to him than it does to me? What did I say or do that made it look like I was interested when I wasn't? Do we just see what we want to see when it comes to our interactions with others? Are any chances of connection as remote and unrealistic as peace in the Middle East? It feels like it.

I feel the brain drain acutely as I put my roots down further, when I see the ones with promise migrating to bigger and brighter places full of doubtless beautiful Bright Young Things, when the social circles don't get any wider as many places as I go, and to be honest, there just aren't a whole lot of other likeminded souls, period, who crave the spiritual in a way that's neither halfhearted or dippy nor sanctimoniously dogmatic, care a lot but haven't forgotten how to laugh, and have a healthy curiosity about everything and an appreciation for beauty.

So many times in church culture it seemed like there was all these lectures about how to be a good woman, but there was always less about men being men, so I see either a weakness that's irritating and pushoverish or a Type A manly manliness that can't handle someone with a strong mind who has a hard time shutting up, and I can't respect either.

So many of the amazing girls I know settle for less and try to justify it, and that's just not the way I do things. I'm content most of the time, because I get to do a lot of stuff I enjoy doing, but to be honest, I'm not sure if I want it to be like this forever.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

let us go then you and I...

The days are not nearly so sublime as the nights, when the heat dies down and the stars glimmer. An afternoon spent in the shade of trees by the lake scooping up salsa and getting philosophical with those who share the same credo but different perspectives as kids and puppies tumbled in the grass.

I like having these conversations with people who aren't my age, who come at the issue from different angles, who've been around longer or seen different things, because otherwise it becomes an echo chamber of mutual affirmation. I thrive on these kinds of conversations

The neighborhood was quiet, but something's happened because the cops are out, lights flashing, flashlights shining on the house next door, sirens in the distance. I don't know what happened.

One of my friends from my Kent days who also moved back here, came over for general west-siding last night, and we bought pasta and fresh oranges and tomatoes from the West Side Market, spices from the Caribbean market around the corner, and I got a crash course in cooking really well. I picked herbs and zucchini from the garden, sliced vegetables as he concocted homemade meatballs seasoned with mint and coriander, simmered tomato sauce on the stove, concluding that Les Discrets is good tuneage to cook to before heading down to the beach for ice cream and the sunset, sitting on a broken picnic table half buried in the sand.

The park closed, and we wandered over to the Italian festival at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where Cardboard Benedict was hanging out, little kids were dancing to Michael Jackson, the gambling was in full effect, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely in the basement watching some old Italian men play accordion and mandolin as a trio of singers worked their way through old pop standards. To see them having so much fun and playing well, warmed our little musician souls to see them suddenly so young and lost in songs they loved.

I feel like I'm in a movie, he says as we walk through the old Italian neighborhood after scoping out the carnival scene in the humid glow of Christmas lights still strung on balconies, big band music emanating from open windows, someone's dance party on a top floor, disco ball and Top 40, stray cats looking for love, ending the night with some mix CD-making and laughing at terrible movies until it got late.

I love the ease of familiarity, because when we were all younger, we had lots of random adventures like this, flying kites in thunderstorms, wandering through downtown late with a crew of people we picked up on the way to hang out at the playground at midnight, driving up to Cleveland or Akron to see bands, and I was wishing that some of our mutual friends were there to share the magic of summer nights like this again, thankful that the sense of wonder isn't gone even when other things are lost.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I wasn't happy with the results of some of my last projects, but this last kiln batch had three gorgeous drinking vessels in it, one dramatic with its red and blacks, one swirling with blues like the ocean, and one with the perfect drips of white and orange over dark blue. Reinspired to pound out clay and shape into more graceful forms, incising and rolling, immersed in the act of shaping. These were meant to give away but they're so pretty that I have them sitting on the dining room table as inspiration while I plot future projects and refires of the duds.

It was so beautiful out that after dinner we walked down to the carnival where the life-sized cardboard cutout of Pope Benedict stood watch over the revelers singing Italian standards, eating greasy food, and screaming on gloriously creaky carnival rides. Bad tattoos and cutoffs, hipsters and guidos. There were even quarter games for the kids, gambling for the grade school set, colorful ducks floating in an inflatable kiddie pool.

I didn't have my camera or any cash, but one of my good friends from the suburbs to the east is coming over for a night of chillness that will probably consist of what most of my hanging out with anyone consists of... some combination of random discourse, loud music, food, and hanging out on the beach or wandering through the city. I'm easily entertained and like it when others are just as easily amused. It's the pleasure of the company after all, the destination is the afterthought.

I've set up a kitchen chair on the balcony, to pick up the neighbor's wireless signal, do some writing without being social and listen to Dead Can Dance while being the premature old lady watching the world go by. I've loved the sky these past couple nights, the way the moon ascends through a lace mantle of grey clouds tossed across the sky. I tried to take pictures off the balcony last night but they didn't come out so well, so I just try to remember, and think of samurai writing haiku about cherry blossoms in the twilight.

The inspiration has come from so many places, from stained glass and the myriad hues and shapes of leaves and flowers, wisps of sky and glimpses of sun, reading and listening and trying to soak in everything. There is only one true creator, and we made in that image have that impulse, but can only document the beauty of the light and what it reveals and rearrange the matter already in place, repurposing and recycling, taking ink and paint to paper, shaping the clay of the earth into things of use and beauty, painting with chemicals and flecks of glass and crystal, to catch a glimpse of vision and be able to hold its gaze for just a moment.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

teenage angst has paid off well...

So in walking past a major concert venue, I thought about the last ten years, and how each decade tends to have its defining genres and cultural benchmarks. Maybe it's too early to tell my wiser companion says, but upon consulting the Dictionary of Imaginary Places, as we are well-versed in the Bookly Arts, it's probably that whole emo thing when everyone my age and younger decided to stop listening to Limp Bizkit and move on to bands like one acquaintance of mine referred to as "As I Lay Dying in a Poisoned Well on Thursday's Darkest Hour."

After so many hardcore shows full of mediocre bands whose names and sounds blended together, the way that Myspace seemed to highlight just another clique of people obsessed with image and status with more exhibitionistic ways to express it, and I found it amusing to see it mutate into its own thing, hearing parents talk about how their kid is hanging out with the "emos" and such. What started out as something with some good originators (hello Rites of Spring and Sunny Day Real Estate!) ended up more or less being the love child of goth angst and hair metal excess of my generation. It was hard to tell the scene kids apart from Nikki Sixx after awhile.

I don't know if this is all as big as it once was, because my sister and her friends like all that kind of boring indie stuff and disdain the "scene kids" with their eyeliner and crazy hair. I see a lot of t-shirts of bands that I pre-judge as crappy and generic based on the neon dayglo designs (superficial I know, but Randal assures me that groups suck though he's more curmudgeonly than me).

Anyways, we found this in the dictionary of imaginary places, and the mentions of big hair and tattoos made me laugh. Click through, kids.

An island of Emo, where the savage natives have big hair that requires a lot of maintenance, tattoo each other until they're thirty, and worship a giant eel. Heck yeah. Teenage angst has paid off well, kids. Now I'm not-so-bored, but definitely getting old.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

desperate times call for desperate pleasures

I think I have a musical crush on Kristin Hersh. 25 minutes of amazing is what this is.

2 more minutes and then high culture and excellent adventures of something or other with one of the fellow workers and creative partners. I have to take the sun and beauty where I can get it.

the claw decides who will go and who will stay

Today, from Craigslist

Claw Machine Jun 18 Chinese buffet Andrews Rd - w4m - 50 (Mentor Ohio)
Date: 2011-07-13, 2:46PM EDT

I know I should have posted sooner but it seemed to me you wouldnt find this here.. I was at the claw machine with my grandsons, grand daughters and my kids and you approached and asked if Id put a quarter in if you climbed in the machine.. Its been a while since I have been flirted with or flirted and I didn't understand what you were really saying and I made the comment the machine was 50 cents.. you said something like OH then definetly not.. and you walked out.

My adult kids were like MOM he was flirting.. WOW.. I missed out. You were a great looking guy in your 50's I would guess. Is it possible you really were flirting? Or were you just making pleasant conversation? If this was you tell me about you and about that conversation and who was playing the actual machine so I know its you. I really cant get you off my mind since that day and missed opportunity.

I get the whole mixed signals thing, but pretty much this gives me an excuse to post my favorite cartoon characters ever that aren't on Daria.

Best of the Blotter: First World Problems and the Real Housewives of Solon

DISORDERLY CONDUCT (FIGHTING); BAINBRIDGE ROAD: Two neighbors with a shared back yard were cited on the Fourth of July after one woman, 47, reported at 6:16 p.m. that she had accidentally run over her neighbor’s son’s toy football while mowing the lawn, then accused the mother of attempting to choke her over it.

The mother, 41, countered that her family had been playing in the backyard when the neighbor got her lawn mower out and without any explanation started mowing, promptly ruining the football.

She said the two then got into a brief shoving match that was self-defense on her part, having merely “pushed back after she was pushed.” After further review, police issued misdemeanor citations to both women.


A bizarre assault call confirmed two things: Bananas do not like gorillas or the Verizon Wireless network. Just before 3 p.m. June 29, officers arrived at The Wireless Center at 14150 Pearl Road because the business’s advertising mascot, a gorilla, was attacked by a banana. Store management told police that an individual dressed as a banana tackled the businesses mascot. The banana-wearing perpetrator then fled on foot southbound on Pearl Road with four males. According to the store manager, the gorilla was not injured, just embarrassed. Police were unable to locate the banana.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE, WEST WASHINGTON STREET: A woman called the department July 7 to see about getting someone to remove a squirrel carcass from the side of her house. Assistance was rendered.

LARCENY, HURLINGHAM ROAD: On July 10, a woman reported the theft of jewelry, a dress shirt, a sweater, a handbag and a scarf from her home. She valued the items at $16,000.

SUSPICION, WILSON MILLS ROAD: On June 30, a manager of Qdoba Mexican Grill reported a group of women jumped out of a vehicle, ran around the parking lot, then got back into the vehicle and left the area toward Denny’s.

Police told the manager the women may have been part of a scavenger hunt in the area.

SPECIAL ATTENTION, FRANKLIN BOULEVARD: On June 29, a resident reported about half a dozen golf balls in his backyard. He was not sure who hit the balls, but was concerned about young children who may get injured by playing in the backyard.

SUSPICION, COLDSTREAM ROAD: A caller reported on June 30 that she heard two loud gunshots in the area. The person called back and said she heard two loud explosions south of her residence.

Police said it was probably fireworks.

MISCHIEF, HARTFORD TRAIL: Police noted at 11:40 p.m. July 8 that a large landscaping rock had been painted to look like “the old Bob Marley Jamaican flag.”

CIVIL MATTER, PEARL ROAD: At 4:56 p.m. July 9, a woman reported that she took her $1,500 insulated mink coat to a Strongsville dry cleaners a month ago, and was charged $35 even though it was not cleaned.

According to the complainant, she took the coat back to the business, and was told it would be cleaned again without charge. A police report indicated the coat had a dark spot on the sleeve that appeared to be a watermark, and there was dirt on the garment.

The complainant, said the coat was sent from Korea, wanted the incident noted.

Man pulls out a sword during fight

A man pulled out a sword during an argument in the Burger King parking lot on Detroit Avenue at around 2:30 p.m. June 26. Police were unable to find the suspect.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

under summer moon

walking home from church in the twilight, the vacant lot glittering with lightning bugs, scents of lavender and wisps of citronella, leftover firework crackle, everyone on their front porches, finding that I'm picking up Spanish by osmosis. All ennui from the day, the tiredness and seemingly unshakeable somnambulism where I don't feel like I'm much fun dissolving momentarily in a place of community, wishing that the night could last a little longer.

I sat on my porch for awhile, hovering between adoration of Creator and the constant stream of questions and ventings, still sometimes wishing that I shared my space again because as much as I love the quiet and the peace that at this time last year didn't exist, and I know part of this is the rhythms and cycles completing and beginning again, that I'm not myself in times like these.

But I miss staying up late, driving through empty streets plumbing the depths of the profound and ridiculous, night walks to the lake to lay on the rocks and listen to the waves, because it's hard to do those last couple things alone and so I move upstairs to my balcony in wonder and solitude, trying to soak in the summer nights, angst out to Mark Sandman's croon and try to appreciate the beauty and not angst so damn much as the moon ascends through gauzy clouds, radiating a golden halo, bicyclists whisper past, and everything around me is finally blooming.

Monday, July 11, 2011

magic lantern show

Since I'm not the most social of creatures, and don't want to bore my real-life friends, here's what we do instead of slideshows nowadays.

Half my photos are on the Battery-Eating-Baby-Camera, but thanks to the recommendations of one of my friends who drives semis along the eastern seaboard, I exited the gridlock of I-90 for an epic jaunt through Erie, PA, past such fine establishments as the Hard Rock Motel (no pictures, sadly, as I was trying to not crash into other people's cars) and a detour to a record store stuck in an alternate 1988 where punk and thrash never happened, and there were rows and rows of still-cellophaned cassettes of Motley Crue, 12-inches of forgotten and the "alternative" section was mostly 80's new wave that even I hadn't heard of.

There were also a surprising amount of fundie churches through here, or at least the ones that said "Fundamental" and advertised it. Have I finally stumbled across the Real America? I'm not sure, because when I think of Erie, I think of the hardcore youth crew kids that used to come and fight with the Cleveland kids in the mosh pits I used to frequent. The rust belt ennui is in full evidence in a way strangely familiar and comforting, that the pain of hard economic times seems to be geographically universal.

I crossed the border into Chautaqua County, New York, which is full of vineyards and blue mountains in the distance. It was cool and breezy and I had good music in the car. Despite seeing signs for I-90 beckoning me so gorgeous that I stayed on there because it was so peaceful and love with the breeze, the greenery, the signage of gun shops and the paint jobs of stately Victorians, and the stack of good tuneage... the Clash and Stiffed, Kristin Hersh and Jerry Cantrell.

My mom had friends from college who never take an interstate anywhere and I see why they don't... when you're not in a mad hurry and give yourself time to soak in the scenery, when it exists, it changes the whole mentality of traveling. My legs got cramped from being in the same position for hours, so I'd stop in small towns to stretch my legs in forgotten cemeteries, call my lovely hosts to tell them I was running late.

Dinner was improvised and delicious, especially with the addition of Birthday Bash ice cream, which sounds like the worst idea ever but was actually kind of awesome in a Zero Zest kind of way.

Walked on the river breakwall walkway as the sun set, underneath the Peace Bridge ringed with barbed wire, ignoring the green piles of goose doo because it's not every day I get up close and personal with great blue herons.

Night drive and wanderings...

Late night conversations, oversleeping the next morning, diner food, a morning walk through the neighborhoods, being turned loose to wander through the city while my hosts were at work.

Maybe it was the weather, the sun, the new frontier of places never seen, but everything felt so bright and vibrant, there was just so much color, with the flowers, and the houses painted so brightly, murals on seemingly every other building, the people out walking resplendent.

City Hall is pretty damn amazing, with its stained-glass windows, epic murals and general art-deco swankiness.

I walked up the street, got completely lost, but somehow found my way into an old cathedral on the way to the cemetery. My inner goth kid was totally in heaven there, even if the humidity made me sleepy as anything. But not enough to fall asleep on this:

Leftist coffee is pricy.

Murals are lovely

So are old churches like St. Ann's and the people that love these places. To think about the love and care that went into this, carving every intricate piece by hand, building it brick by brick, it just astounds me.

Rooftop gardens on top of the Broadway Market... Polish flags, Stone Temple Pilots reference, made me feel right at home.

And, of course, my wonderful tour guides

The art show in the terminal was wonderful and I came out all inspired to try new colors and techniques with my work, and I love spaces like that, places that are art in themselves.

drive by photo-ing

Niagara Falls

There were other things... seeing Sharon Jones live again, sounding even better than the last time, worshiping with fellow brothers and sisters, and loving being able to sing in Kiswahili again, even if I've lost a lot of what I once knew, driving home into the sun, thankful for a change of scene, the chance to be around wonderful souls, and have my world opened up even a little bit more...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

the great road trip of 2011

rust belt adventures so far:

traffic jams on I-90
excursions through Erie
driving down state routes through Chautaqua admiring vineyards and the blue of the mountains
a walk along the Niagara River as the sun set and birds swirled around us
driving through a new city at night
picking yellow and red daisies in the darkness and hanging out among the massive abandoned grain elevators and rusty bridges that made me feel so at home.
wandering through downtown through halls and cathedrals and cemeteries
a picnic of pasta salad, figs, cinnamoned almonds, grapes and peaches, sharing a bottle of wine in a brown paper bag while watching Shakespeare under stars.

This is the first city I feel like I could actually live in if I ever had to vacate Cleveland. Pictures and more lush details to come.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

gatecrashers anonymous

At the beginning of this weekend, I never expected to be in the backyard of a lakefront mansion, learning how to merengue from someone I'd never met whose name I never learned, as a DJ played Brazilian baile funk, salsa, and dancehall before segueing into more wedding-reception-style fare.

For being as introverted and averse to large groups of people as I am, I've crashed more parties than one would think, though this one seemed very open-ended. I went with a married couple, people that I enjoy, but one feels very very single when it comes time to socialize and everyone is older and with their significant others, partnerless on the dance floor even if I wanted to and unable to join into any conversation. I thrive on the spark of dialogue about ideas and places and stories and if I don't have it in a social gathering, I really don't know what to do, wondering if I've made myself look out of place wearing all black in a sea of Hawaiian shirts and red white and blue.

Usually I run into someone I know because like my dad, I've somehow ended up acquainted with all sorts of characters, but these people were all strangers and not so much unfriendly as uninterested and if they were interesting, they didn't let on. If I got a hi what's your name, it was brief and any small talk involved the weather or the lovely view or maybe someone's new car.

At this point, I probably would have bailed out, walked back to my car parked in front of my friends' house around the block, to return home and watch the pyrotechnics from my balcony while drinking tea, but in the interest of literary inspiration and anthropological observation decided to stick it out because as the sun set, I was able to sit back and be amused by the flirtations of the affluent putting each others' numbers in their iPhones, and normally reserved Asian grad students channeling their inner disco divas to "Get Down Tonight." The fireworks were beautiful and I could be anonymous, taking in the scenery and seeing a world that I simply don't exist in.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

if and only

The wedding was beautiful and the luscious bits of Song of Solomon quoted. I'm sure most of the climbing the palm tree and taking hold of fruit and making love in fields of flowers among the mandrake went over the heads of the younger ones, but any sense of stress dissolved as I'm less intimidated by the prospect of dressing up (thanks life of peonage!) and there were so many people I haven't seen and missed incredibly that were there from out of town and such, thankfully having no pressure to dance, and got to hear good stories and laugh before ducking out during the revelry to drive home through gorgeous lightning storms.

To have no expectations means that every thrill is precious and unexpected... the walk with a new neighbor down to the water as the sun set, encountering tricked out cars and mafiosi, telling stories of pasts full of unpredictability, ending up as wise older cousin attempting to give future life advice about academia and avoiding the military at all costs. "I love you and don't want you to get blown up somewhere, ok?"

I love summer for nights like these when the blue is so deep I could never replicate the color and the way the heat lightning strobes through the clouds and slices across the horizon over the trees. I drove from west to east and back with Throwing Muses on the radio and the smell of afterburn in my nostrils as the lightning bugs glinted in the grapevines and shadowy figures moved through the smoke, a ghostly spectre in glitter and white booty shorts ran towards my car at the corner of Broadway and 93rd, the fireworks were everywhere.

4th of July is less "whee patriotism" for most people in the almost-hood, though my downstairs neighbor hung up a giant American flag on the front porch, but seeing everyone out and the element of chaos that comes from warm weather and setting things on fire that sparkle and swirl and pop never gets old. I was regretting the lack of travel last year, and now things are unspooling faster than I can see, the movement is welcome.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I can't relax 'cause I can't do a thing and I can't do a thing because I can't relax...

The ennui that hits each summer, of sapped spirit and tired eyes simultaneously lonesome-feeling and antisocial. I should be looking forward to days off more than I am but I have a wedding to go to and even when it's for people I love, these kinds of social functions make me nervy, even though I do fine, but by going alone I can come and go depending on how it goes. I enjoy people, but I'm more of an introvert... small gatherings of trusted near and dears always preferable to large groups of acquaintances or strangers.

A detour to the lake instead of going home, running into friends with their grandkids and walking on the rocks, taking pictures of the sunset. Tendrils of grapevines growing over rocks and I pull some touch me not leaves off to show the kids how it turns silvery under the water. We part ways and I drive down the street to do some writing, take in the twilight. A small soul led beside still silver waters and restored.