Monday, October 31, 2011

as the wind blows a dead leaf

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.

There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.

So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.

In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
but all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

Friday, October 28, 2011

sometimes you just want to be away

I've been in constant movement, attempting to keep my word and keep commitments, not saying I can do what I can't, juggle small obligations, and there is only so much I can say I can do, I've learned to not try to do too much, be all things, and so that's why the sudden cases of introversion come over me, where I look for a chance to get away, to clear my brain, to take a walk outside or retreat to somewhere safe and quiet. It's nothing against anyone, it's just needed to survive.

beauty and then some

Academic peonage has its benefits as we are able to order piles of gorgeously colorful tomes and indulge every urge of our intellectual and creative ids.

I've loved stained glass as long as I could remember, but Harry Clarke took things to a whole other level. I really don't know how he languishes in such obscurity.

and the book illustrations! I wish I could draw with that kind of gorgeous detail.

In my late 20s, I've found that I've rediscovered things I loved in childhood that I didn't have access to after reading all the books in the library that looked interesting and not having access to things like OhioLink and the Internet.

My sister and I loved fairy tales as a kid, Perrault, Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and Andrew Lang, and my grandparents had faded volumes with fraying cloth bindings and I loved the illustrations which had so much drama and detail and the more obscure tales, leading to reading lots of fantasy. I still have volumes of this stuff at home that I picked up at sundry booksales and such. I never realized that Russia had such amazing illustrators in the 19th century.

I wish there was an paint-by-number set, but I'm getting plates of these ones etched, even if the content seems a bit strange for hanging on the living room wall. That Art Nouveau sensibility while evoking illuminated manuscripts and folk art, it's just a beautiful thing.

Vasilisa the Beautiful is not just pretty, but she's smart too, and given that Halloween is three days from now, this feels somewhat appropriate.

I stumbled across Virginia Sterrett's work and it reminded me of that sense of wonder I had when I first started reading such things.

and of course, Dulac's take on Poe...

I also wanted to be a ballerina when I was seven, and jumped around my parents' living room to Tchaikovsky and roller-skated with my sister in the basement to those greatest hits classical records (Beethoven's Biggest Hits) slowly destroyed by a Fisher-Price turntable that my dad refused to let us put his records on. He's a smart man.

Vrubel's Swan Princess reminds me of the Trina Schart Hyman book of the folktale I got from the library when I was little, but more impressionistic...

And, as an arty kid with a religious bent, Victor Vasnetsov is a balm for my soul, an antidote for the Thomas Kinkades of the world.

Evelyn Paul's
illustrations are lovely, understated and that medieval-evoking thing going on as well,

And Kay Nielsen, who died in poverty, leaving behind some incredible beauty as well.

And this, this is beautiful too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

best of the blotter: Tiki Torches, Trashed Teletubbies, and Vicious Chihuahuas

ARSON, SHELDON ROAD: Someone at 2:30 a.m. Oct. 22 set off a tiki torch fuel can inside a traffic cone and put it on top of a trunk lid of a Chevrolet parked in the lot by Arcadian Lake Apartments at 2:30 a.m.

There are no suspects.

OVI, COLUMBIA ROAD: Police stopped a car on Columbia Road near Lake Road Oct. 23 at 1:52 a.m. after the driver nearly caused an accident, according to police. An officer suspected the 27-year-old man — who was dressed like Tinky Winky, a character on the children’s TV show “Teletubbies” — had been drinking. The driver said he was coming from a Halloween costume party in North Olmsted and admitted to drinking beer, police said. After an officer administered field sobriety tests, the driver was arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired. He will face charges in Rocky River Municipal Court.

WELFARE CHECK, PROSPECT ROAD: Police received word of an elderly man slumped over in his vehicle at 10 p.m. Oct. 23.

Accordion music was playing inside the vehicle and when a passerby called out to him, the man did not react.

When an officer arrived, it was learned that the man had simply fallen asleep after an exhausting day. The officer followed him home, ensuring his safety.


A 40-year-old Bluffside Street man called police at 3 a.m. Friday to say he'd been assaulted in a bar, but then thought the officer who arrived was a taxi to take him to get some food.

The man told police an officer had already given him a ride home.

Police determined the man had been drinking at the Islander in Middleburg Heights and that police in that city had driven him home.


Week-long Chihuahua chase ends in groundhog trap

Sunday, Oct. 9, 10:20 a.m. — A puppy got stuck in a cage that was set to catch a groundhog in Baywood Estates. The police report noted that it was a mean Chihuahua they have been trying to catch for a week. The animal warden responded and took the animal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Everything's white, now so are the smiles

When I was underemployed and depressed, I used to spend my days off riding the bus down to the library, reading graphic novels and scrawling terrible writing in the Arcade over a cup of tea and a falafel wrap.

I love this city because it's home and familiar but my illusions have been dissed, as Randal so eloquently put today, and I know exist in a disillusion that is comfortable in the reality of the situation, but not entirely unhappy, as I've carved out a decent little life in this strange part of the world.

I've never been a boosterific type, and will probably change the title of the blog soon, because what I write has less to do with the city and more with the inner world and the outer world at large. I know there's a part of me that is provincial and intimidated by the ambitious, that is completely okay with not achieving great social status, and figures it's better to expect nothing than think the world is at my fingertips.

But I can't help but roll my eyes as I watch this, because I walk these streets on a regular basis and it never looks like this, even on a summer afternoon at the peak of lunch hour. I've seen maybe one food truck ever downtown and it was for Wilson's Tamales, which goes everywhere. I've seen one person walking their dog in the last four years. There hasn't been a crowd at an Indians game that big since 1997. The president of CSU (which has a nice campus believe it or not) said he was going to live downtown but opted for a swanky mansion in Shaker. So who are we kidding here?

I know this is to make us look cosmopolitan, but the part of the city that is world class is a few miles east where the gardens, museums, and the universities converge, not at the overpriced gimmicky bowling alley (my Inner Parmastani says that new ones that aren't smoke smelling and looking like 1959 are phony by default) or restaurants I can't afford or aren't interested in. $5 for a serving of ramen noodles? That's a week worth of vending machine ramen lunch or a month of Top Ramen from Aldi's. I'm probably outing myself as not the target demographic, because even though I'm relatively young and artsy and educated (ding ding ding!), I'm also poor and prefer a kibbie from Aladdin's if I'm downtown or a gyro from Frank's Falafel around the corner.

And seriously, this is almost all rich and young, and mostly very very white people. Over half of this city is African-American, and there's other sizable non-cracker ethnic communities as well. Also, most of the Bright Young Things are gone. They live in Chicago. I blame this factor in part for my perpetual spinsterhood. My friends are all 6-10 years older than me and usually married, and therefore aren't as likely to leave. If they're trying to leave they're usually stuck. I don't expect them to show people who are homeless or maybe work in a profession that isn't White Collar Technocrat, but that's a lot of our downtowners, the Peonage in varied states of dress.

We're downtown too. And while we deal well in snark and purty photos of things falling apart and the center unable to hold, at least we tell the truth, or something. It's so overblown.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The house feels haunted, with the scrapings and creakings, the little running feet, the rustles in the attic, the presence unseen but apparent. I keep thinking of the mice in the Nutcracker, that there's a huge one taller than me lurking in some hidden part of the house that will come out and take revenge for deaths of the one whose neck was broken in a trap and the other one stuck on the glue that I put out of its misery with a plastic bag and a trash can. And a slipper hurled at its head won't do the trick.

I wish we could coexist, but with the one-two punch of disease and eating my food, that can't happen. It's one thing to swat at wasps and another to premeditate with poisons and traps. I sleep on the living room couch because it's far away from where they hide, but I know it doesn't matter. It shouldn't freak me out a little bit but it does, and I want the damn things gone.

I also want a cat, but I feel like my motivations for pet ownership aren't completely pure, and it just makes me feel more spinsterly than I already am.

One of my coworkers tells me that it's better that I feel bad than take pleasure in the death of lesser creatures, and she's probably right, but there's something that makes me so queasy nonetheless.

Monday, October 24, 2011

angry up the blood

I've been warming up to the class a lot more, though I wish we were in a room with ten of the people who don't talk as much but when they do generally have more to say, and that we could go more in depth than we do sometimes.

I used to wonder how we got so stupid in this country and I understand more and more that there are people out there who consider themselves decent and open-minded human beings who due to a sense of exceptionalism and superiority, seem to have no problem with blowing places halfway around the world to smithereens with 7-year-old-level answers like THEY STARTED IT, or THEY DID IT TOO WHY CAN'T WE.


You can still be on the theoretical good side of history and be very, very wrong. There's two people in the class who are German, one whose father had to walk home 5,000 miles from a POW camp in Stalin's Russia and whose mother survived the bombing of Dresden, and another who was 15 when the war ended and fills in the names and dates with striking details pulled from his memories.

And we can talk about genocides and gulags as something other people do, but maybe we don't have death camps, but we have black sites, we haven't nuked anyone, but someone can push a button and predator drone someone halfway around the world. Are we as a country morally superior to our enemies? Everyone thinks they are, be they AMERICA OF GOD AND FREEDOM or those who want to take out the Great Satan. Everyone thinks they're the heroes and they're willing to send out schlubs to get themselves killed while they sit back and watch.

I'm sick of hearing about Occupy Wall Street because it's so fucking self-absorbed. Yeah, life is hard here, trust me, I know this, but your lifestyle makes liFe pretty damn hard for everyone else who ends up with a lot of suck because your car needs gas and you need the new iPhone whose metals come from Congo. We are the 1% of the rest of the world, people, especially white people with college degrees and parents with some means.

We'd do a whole lot better we stopped occupying all these other places all over the world, but that won't happen because the government (does it really seem to matter anymore if it's Bush or Obama if you really step back and look at what's actually going on) and their tandem corporations have a lot to gain from our adventuring.

It's getting better all the time someone tells me, and maybe it is for him personally, but how can you really look at the downward spiral and see that, is your myopia so strong you can't see past your immediate experience? I just don't know.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl. They knew each other for a very long time, because when they were seven, the girl splashed him during a game of Marco Polo at a pool party and he dunked her most unchivalrously, which made her cry. But she kind of deserved it. He doesn't remember this at all.

Ten years later they meet again, part of a group of pretty good kids who did pretty good kid stuff like parent induced social activities for their betterment as good Christian kids although the girl smuggled in a tube of hair mascara and Alice in Chains cassettes and dyed everyone's hair green, and his best friend had a stash of Slayer CDs in his closet, despite his parents views on Lavey affiliated hard rockers the Eagles. Later their group of friends would do good kid things like laser tagging or ice cream at Friendly's and getting kicked out of the Southland strip mall by security for drinking half gallons of ghetto tea in the Giant Eagle parking lot or hang out in someone's basement or bedroom drinking pop and complaining about their parents.

They liked some of the same bands and didn't like some of the same bands and he was partially responsible for her transition from fledgling metalhead to the punkier side of things by loaning her lots of CDs. He also dated her best friend, broke up with her, and they lost touch.

Five years later, they meet once more, and find out they have a lot in common, and like to do similar things, but don't have anyone else to do them with. So they start hanging out, because he has a car and she doesn't, and they go see shows together on an almost weekly basis. His dad thinks they're dating, but they're not, because besides liking most of the same bands, they really have nothing else to talk about and he likes girls who are more girly. She's cynical but he's even moreso, neither for reasons that are terribly concrete besides being mad at "The System" and when not working he maintains a constant state of entertainment immersion that kind of freaks her out because while she finds Mystery Science Theater funny too, she doesn't want to watch it all the time and needs some time to be quiet and existential.

He moves away to another state, and she realizes she doesn't miss him all that much. There was nothing besides a love of good music, which only goes so far, despite what any hipster love song about mixtapes would say. She can talk about bands and guitars as good as any record store clerk, but finds herself less and less motivated to as she has less to prove. She gets a slot on college radio, still goes and sees her favorite bands and sings along to all the songs she knows, but it doesn't mean as much as it once did.

She doesn't want a compadre for the mosh pit anymore, because she's too old to mosh. She doesn't want someone who likes some obscure scene in some random town, she wants to talk about God and books and history without always coming up with concrete answers. The love of tuneage becomes a springboard to other things deeper rather than the end of the pool that seems deep compared to the baby pool, but is only maybe three feet or so.

And she still doesn't know what this all means.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The need for caffeine and the urge to write have me sitting in the corner, attempting to conjure up verse and rust belt writing because I'm feeling existential and the paper from hell is finally done, so I'm people watching all the lonely souls of Clevelandia too young to drink too old to stay at home, who are too busy with their own drama to really pay attention.

It's one of those nights where the cold and the unspooling of continual thought makes for things maybe worth scrawling about. The conversations about life and love and trying to think in a sad city where sometimes we get so tired that it's hard to. But tonight I am too awake and too verbose to try and paint, too alert to kick back and be entertained by a screen so I take the long way down Lorain past the dollar stores and dive bars, the boarded up buildings, the halal markets and Irish pubs, to sit in the corner at Common Grounds, to write poetry alone like a teenager.

I was invited to a birthday party tonight, but I'd rather be among strangers where it's not expected to socialize, where there's caffeine instead of alcohol, and nobody thinks they're cool. When I'm at parties like that the last thing I want to do is be around people, I get this freaked out urge to disappear into the backyard or sit on the porch, wishing I had the excuse of cigarette breaks to be introverted, wanting to take a walk with the other person there who feels antisocial, amble around the block in the cool October air and talk about everything and nothing.

Thinking about wars and rumors of wars, of American exceptionals and the provincialism of small cities with big orchestras and bigger problems, so many things I wish I could say before the battery on my laptop dies, but I'm tired, and I've written, so it's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

do I dare disturb the universe?

The small graces of late night conversation, of the catharsis of admittance in a safe place, and the resultant laughter when resolution has been reached and we can laugh about things various and sundry. Venting and laughter are needed for survival, it seems. I drive home through the rain feeling like a weight has fallen from me, at least for the short run. My apartment smells like mint in my attempt to eradicate the rodentia, and there's a voicemail on the phone that could mean anything but probably won't mean much given my track record of brief attempts and longtime platonics. We shall see...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


A skitter across the floor as I left for work, a small mammalian body disappearing into the woodwork. Oh dammit. So after art class I'm at Home Depot looking at a vast array of traps and rat poisons, trying to figure out what I can stomach. I don't want the buggers in my house, but it's hard for me to consider killing things with beating hearts, if that makes sense, but there's those cheapo little wooden traps and I read that mint and bay leaves are smells they don't like so I place sprigs and roots ripped from the garden on the shelves in the kitchen, in the pantry, behind the fridge, feeling vaguely hippie and superstitious and stay up way later than planned vacuuming up the scat and tossing out tainted food.

It really could be worse, but it's so gross, and I fall asleep hoping I don't hear anything die.

Monday, October 17, 2011

holding sand

Did you get any good pictures?
I got one.
Yeah, none of mine came out because of those drunk guys...

Not even the absurdity and general jerkitude of aging bros (how these dudes got married is beyond me) getting wasted to alternative-ish rock played by veterans of the NY straight-edge scene while yelling out requests for Quicksand and the Gorilla Biscuits that were understandably ignored could get in the way of reliving my years of gauged ears and still-existent teen angst straddling the world of radio rock and the first dives into the underground.

Everyone else seemed to be about my age, the longhaired Quicksand fans excepted. The drunks were annoying and we were relieved when they went back to the bar because we could watch the band without them in front of us, but I was in good company with my long-time female companion in rockingness Kristy and the guy standing next to me with whom I exchanged grins and eye-rolls and later numbers when a mutual affinity for exploring rocky parts of the Cuyahoga Valley and the dulcet sounds of Kyuss was discovered.

I like my weird tuneage, but my standby has always been loud guitars and the perfect alchemy of anthemic melody, cathartic angst and dissonance. There's a new record, one that's not bad, but I think most of us were there for the old stuff, cheering as the opening chords to 'Travel by Telephone' rang out, nodding along to the extended jams of 'Everything Has Its Point,' singing every word of 'Undercovers On.' I wonder how many other people hear have had this album soundtrack their teenage drama and growing-up angst the way it has for me, the way we hang on every word and chord change, waiting for the crescendo of guitar and drums.

They end with the cover of 'How Soon is Now?' and while I've never been a huge Smiths fan, I've loved this song and this cover especially and I'm damn near euphoric as we belt out "I'm human and I need to be loved" and Walter tells us to go home (and presumably cry and want to die perhaps). It ended the night perfectly and we drive home listening to Faith No More, spaced-out and laughing as the world feels full of possibilities once again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

it won't begin until you make it end...

As rusty as the city as I call home, as rainy as the water on my windshield, blackclad and bluemooded, thankful for the empathy and the hugs of those in my world who understand who've been there too, yet hoping that the spell of sadness passes soon. So familiar, but it's getting old.

Friday, October 14, 2011


A cup of peppermint tea, and the apathetic revision of the Purgatorial Paper, glad that I cut class today to be outside in the October sun, that there was art making and art-walking. Looked at paintings so well-executed and generic. The conspicuous consumption innocuous status symbol, like cracker jazz but executed in oils and framed expensively instead of bloodless guitar and Kenny G saxophone. Still lifes of wineglasses and saxophones in luxurious settings, landscapes or seaside villages stripped of mystery and patina.

I find myself smirking at the artist descriptions, like oh you're so unique because you paint half naked women with a palette knife. Deep, man. I did that in my art major days. Everyone else is wearing suits except for me and my sister and her friend. They ignore us. He's snarking about "rich people" and itching to tag every street sign and lamppost before he moves away, she doesn't say much, because upstairs is the apartment of her friend who got murdered this summer. I try to pet the little foofoo dog and it shies away from me, afraid of my janitor keyring and leather jacket. We part ways.

And so I'm here in the corner, too brain-drained to write creatively, nothing to really say, because I've come home every night this week and gone to sleep. A birthday party for the bro-in-law tomorrow, Rival Schools on Sunday night. I haven't gone to a show every weekend since I was a grad student. I still don't know how to plan, but life seems to go on just fine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

color and sound

A day off spent in Oberlin, walking paths through the woods with my friend and her daughters and as-yet-unborn son, as we catch up and the kids are picking purple flowers and scarlet leaves. Our progress is slow due to the little feet walking alongside us but we crunch the leaves, inhale that certain autumn smell, stop to listen to the symphonic drones of cicadas, frogs, and birdcalls.

I wander around the square a bit before heading over to the art center to pick up my plates and jewelry pieces, which will then be immersed in nail polish remover to get the toner off. I forgot to reverse the image of this Harry Clarke illustration, but the detail on this came out so beautiful that it almost doesn't matter.

Picked up Christine in Shaker and we went up to Coventry to hang out and wait for the Wild Flag show to start. The last three shows I've been to have been metal bands therefore mostly dudes, but this crowd was low-key and energetic in the right way. The encore seemed a bit rushed and when Carrie said that Cleveland's a big city compared to, say, Omaha, we realized that Omaha actually has more people than we do.

It seriously warms my heart watching other women rock out. I'm not sure why. It just does.

low-res from someone else in the audience last night.

higher res from another show:

Drove home with my ears ringing and wondering how I'd function today but caffeine works its wonders and I've got tonight to crash.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm small, like a superball...

As I need the caffeine and want to check email, the coffeeshop up the street is a nice morning refuge, where I can sit in the corner and watch the world go by, thankful that despite the serious drama of the weekend, there are some things to look forward to, art-making and live music (hopefully with pictures to follow), beautiful fall weather outside. Sometimes the only thing one can do is keep on going.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

you didn't look so good and you didn't feel so well...

I didn't drink all the way through my college years, except for the occasional post-work glass of wine over dinner and the Big Lebowski with Tegan, due to watching countless freshmen girls in my dorm go out for their first weekend away from their parents' house and then stumbling home at 3am half dressed and wasted. There were certain weekends where I would walk through downtown late at night past the bars and house parties, subcultural androgynous in a hoodie pulled up, bandanna over my hair and leather jacket that gave my skinny frame some bulk, and see from a distance the combination of girls dressing to impress, male piggery and alcohol and know that this could only end badly for those involved.

I remember being out with some people who lived down the street from me shortly after I moved onto that street in Kent and got locked out of my apartment. He was in my English class the previous semester and we got along well but there was pressure on me that raised the mental red flag, and when we were all sitting around and they started trying to get ahold of their dealer, after he kept pouring me glass after glass of cheap red wine that I kept leaving behind the endtable when he wasn't looking, I slipped out, hoping my landlord left the key under the mat (he did) and figuring that if he didn't I'd find another place to crash because I knew that where I was wasn't safe.

Knowing that date rape or something like it happened to someone you love is even worse, and every time this has happened, it's hit even closer to home. I know that this isn't preventable, that the strong have often taken advantage of the weak, that people make bad decisions every day that lead to things they never thought would happen to them. I wish I could shake the girls I know and scream "what the hell are you doing?" and inflict some serious injury on the male species that somehow feel entitled to take what someone's not willing to give when in sound mind. I know that isn't the answer. I wish I had one.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the phone's off the hook but you're not

I can't untangle all this, and this isn't the place to do it. I'm pretty pissed for good reason I think.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it

So I've kind of been following the 'Occupy Wall Street' thing and then the 'Occupy Cleveland' thing, and of course the whole 'Arab Spring' along with my preferred mix of geopolitical ephemerals and the local machinations.

Given that we haven't darkthroned through the city in a little while and the weather was favorable, we decided to amble down to the Free Stamp (which is an ugly piece of public art by the way) and observe the protestations against the Man in the park with the Free Stamp across from the federal building.

I saw protests every other week when I lived in Kent during the Bush years and this was more or less the same thing. Abstract slogans directed against big abstract entities, acoustic guitars, bongos, signs, people just kind of hanging around, people that I know but not really well. Slogans about coming together and changing things and people cheering and instead of feeling thrilled about the possibility of a better world, I realize once again that I just can't believe in it, much in the way I'm sure that my friends are bemused by my embrace of so-called "organized religion."

Having been immersed in reading history among other things recently, I really don't feel like anyone has solutions. Every revolution begins idealistically with flowers and hugs and celebrations, but there are the inevitable power struggles that follow, the old guard and structures of corruption find ways to assimilate within a new framework, and things get ugly and violent because ultimately the same structures that cause suffering will continue to exist. We say we won't get fooled again, but meet the new boss same as the old boss.

I feel old too, and I feel like I look like an undercover cop or something because I'm in my work clothes and so is Randal, even if we're not corporatistas. I wonder if I'm defanged because of my working-stiff-ness but I was just as cynical about this stuff as an equally naive college kid even then, before I really had to deal with unions and overlords and feel like a pawn in the class wars of the boomers.

It's hard for me to take people with an anticapitalist/anticorporate stance seriously when they're texting on their iPhones made with metals from war-torn countries by a big corporation and posting updates to Facebook. Adbusters had some degree of subcultural cool when I was 16 before I realized that they're just marketing a whole other meaningless brand, not to mention that they make their non-brand shoes in China too. I don't want Kalle Lasn running my country any more than I want Barack Obama or Random Republican or whoever. There's a lust for power and control over minds I see there that I find disturbing as well, the kind of thing that draws in disaffected youth and makes them feel enlightened and part of something.

Last time I checked, the drug war was still going on, a whole lot of countries are getting predator droned and we're still in Afghanistan and shady CIA business is still going on. But money talks and those without the scratch are ultimately voiceless until the lives of those in power are threatened. I fear the angry mob just as much as the powers that be. People who think too much are screwed either way.

And I'm looking at the Key Tower, at the Cleveland School District Headquarters, the Municipal Courthouse to the north, and thinking about how if we were really going to raise hell about something, it shouldn't be this abstract raging against the corporate machine, but against the bureaucracy and the unofficial power structure that have screwed over this city with blatant chutzpah for the last forty years. Start local and work your way out. There's plenty of bad to go around in this city within the party machine alone.

Raise some hell about the RTA or the corporate welfare to sports team owners or the Cleveland Clinic not treating the people who live across the street or the slum landlords or the corrupt bureaucracy that keeps anything from getting done or the schools that disenfranchise generations of kids or the gouging by the Water Department.

But wait, that would involve actually having to do something instead of caring a lot.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

boys go to jupiter and get more stupider

Doing an early morning radio slot means that few listen, and fewer call. Occasionally I've gotten some weird ones, or the ones who want to one-up my musical acumen, or the "hey who is this band/song/singer?" or the ones who want to hear Rammstein or 80's house 12-inch singles or Tenacious D. Sometimes I get creeps too, but I don't give my name out, and I don't take calls over the air so I don't have to deal with too much most of the time.

As it's early in the morning, I don't tend to play anything heavy until I wake up, so it's mostly African grooves, Britpop, and trip-hop, though recently it's been a lot more moody alt-rock more and more. A lot of this includes female vocals just because I like the way they sound, not because I'm Kathleen Hanna 2.0 but more because bands like Echobelly and Throwing Muses and they don't get much play elswhere.

This morning, I gave away tickets to see Wild Flag, who I'm going to next week, and got a call from someone who used my playing of mostly female musicians to rant about the superiority of Manly Men of Manliness and Manly Music over the perceived weakness of the fairer half of the human race, and that our day was coming and someday we would be "put in our place" or something because things were going to change in 2012. I thought he was joking but then I realized that he really was this ridiculous and so I was laughing at him and being half-asleep snarky about how proud I am of him to be asserting what's always been his until he hung up.

I was planning to amp it up a little bit, but figured that it'd be a good time to dedicate some good loud and girlish tuneage to the dude, so hopefully no one's lurking in the parking lot waiting to ambush me next week.

Seriously Youtube? No actual version of 'Golden Ocean?' Ah well, I played this 50 Foot Wave cut too.

And the Bellrays, because if this is the new incarnation of Racist Caller, I might as well mess with him even more.

He didn't call back, but someone else did wanting to know more about one of my favorite Kristin projects so score one for the ladies, right? That's what I thought.

Monday, October 3, 2011

valhalla here I come

I haven't roadtripped to another city to see a band play since I was a lowly undergrad, but tagged along with my other metalhead homie and one of his friends for a trek down to Columbus. It's starting to make sense to me why there's a lot of acts skipping Cleveland, because almost any Columbus venue that books heavier bands seems to be infinitely nicer than Peabody's.

I-71 is a terribly dull stretch of highway, but it was enlivened by the small car driving next to us covered with decals of horses and puppies and an action figure glued to the dent on the rear bumper. I did want to take a picture, but Sam was driving fast and the guy driving looked creepy as heck anyway. After an incident a few years ago with a decidedly more clean-cut posse in which some driver thought we were the Devil's spawn and waved a plastic cross at us all the way down 480 to about Twinsburg, I didn't want to incur the wrath of any crazed soul in the boonies once more.

I am so accustomed to Cleveland venues, which are usually grungy and sometimes in parts of the neighborhood where you hope your car won't get broken into, so it was weird to get off the highway and drive through some industrial by-ways only to find the venue off of a main street next to a Kroger and across from some very upscale-looking apartments.

The interior of the place reminded me of the kind of place that has glammy drag shows but I guess it's a goth club, though it was nice to see that there were couches and places to sit down and chill to get away from the noise, and the room where the bands were playing was nice and big. Soundgarden was being played over the PA between sets which was strange given the acts on the bill but not entirely unwelcome either.

Really enjoyed Junius, because I'm a sucker for angst and shimmery shoegaze guitars with an extra bit of crunch. It's nice to have openers that are actually enjoyable as opposed in fifteen minutes this will be over because it's gone on way too long.

I didn't know the first two songs Alcest played (I think they came from the EP) but I felt damn near euphoric when I heard the opening chords of Ecailles de Lune and Solar Song. Two of the dudes next to me where screaming out "FUCK YEAAHHHH!" at the most transcendentally beautiful moments, which was just weird to me, because this is the sound that washes over oceanically though I possibly don't understand the inner workings of the metal bro psyche so maybe I'm missing something. Their other friend with them who was wearing a Burzum shirt looked both surly at the lack of troo kvltness (as this kind of thing is more Faerie than Satan) and the antics of his friends, though his time to get his inner berzerker on was coming.

As came up in the conversation in the car, I'm not really much of a metalhead. I dip my toes in, but I will probably never swim out into the deep end of the Fjord of Viking Testosteronia anytime soon. Props to Enslaved though, for having actual songs and not taking themselves too seriously, and such, even if I did duck out and chill outside and people-watch.

We went looking for food, found none, drove home, and I slept in the backseat, waking up to see an incredible night sky, white clouds, Orion on his side, so beautiful.

And now it's back to the daily, but I feel alive again.