Monday, July 30, 2012

petrus christus

stumbled across him on tumblr, had to dig deeper...

our lady of the dry tree...

the day the city died

Book discussing veered more tangential this time around, the rain pouring down night and morning, punctuating coffeekvetching with the ladies of the family and the sport of slackers and post-loss food and hanging out, a Sunday afternoon under shady trees with friends and frolicking canines and children, everyone ignoring the sign saying water quality is 'poor' because when hasn't it been, attempting to deflect the attentions of the neighbor who's working on the porch for my landlady and complains about it to me all the time and wants to hang out because it's obvious that I'm not seeing anyone and all.

Not so sure to put it mildly that I really want to have "a couple beers" and such with a dude who has a kid and baby mama drama that's involved him screaming at the lady on the next street over and calling her a hillbilly whore, and whose body is covered with bad tattoos and bar fight scars, who gets all offended when I say I'm on my way out to meet up with some friends and can't hang. I wish I could be more assertive but he's already been drinking and is a whiny shade too close to belligerent and him taking five minutes a few weeks ago to pump up my flat bike tire evidently means wanting something in return so I stay diplomatic, make the quick exit and try not to feel super creeped out.

But it's a beautiful night and I drive out to the east side to meet up with some folks and fellow DJs for a night of heavy tuneage... the Kyuss/Sabbath worship of the 3 SG'ed Electric Lucifer, the doomy riffage of Gates of Slumber (Aesop's summary here is apt), who my friends were there to see and didn't disappoint.

I was there mostly for headliners Hammers of Misfortune, which I stumbled across on the Internets and fell in love with because despite not being super big into the more progtastic strains of metal, I dig their sound and songwriting, which kind of reminds me of some unexplainable convergence of X and something 70's and British, must be the male/female vocals and the keyboards, I'm not sure. Would have loved to hear this song but it was still a solid set, even if the frontman's non-singing stage presence reminded me of hardcore shows from my teenage years.

(photo courtesy of this guy on twitter)
The sound for all seemed bigger than the venue, which is what I like about Grog shows as a rule, that I can see bands that play big festivals a few feet away on a small stage and get too shy to say hello (what does one say to Carrie Brownstein when she's standing right behind you anyway?)...
There were maybe 15-20 people there including members of the openers, which made me feel kind of bad for the bands involved, and descriptions heard from the stage and from the crowd involved metaphors like cancer ward, sleeping, dead, empty, due to the moments of absolute silence between sets when the jukebox wasn't getting fed with the Stooges and Minor Threat.

Some of us like yours truly are introverted souls who prefer to do the standing-still than get all crazy. No wonder less folks come through here anymore, since it seems there's a better draw for Hot Topic-core than heshery for grownups. Due to my lack of "cred" I've gotten some flack in the past for not "supporting the scene" (as in, not getting drunk while watching your lousylocal band), but none of those people were in attendance even with an unbelievably low  $7 cover. At the end of the night me and a couple black metallers were kind of standing there in disbelief over at the merch table wondering how we just watched three solid bands and no one was there, so we attempted to compensate by picking up some CDs and t-shirts and all but apologizing for the lack of Clevelandian rocking. It must suck to play the hell out of your songs every night to a handful of people in places that aren't Brooklyn.

Drove home with the newest record spinning in the car, got the crap scared out of me by some dude walking the dog in the middle of the street at 1 in the morning who yelled at me and I was unmotivated to argue, slept in an extra half hour and have been alternating mugs of coffee and chocolate to stay awake today...

Friday, July 27, 2012

let me be, just let me be

I'm sure the mood will improve tonight, upon reading of James Joyce and quaffing of grownup beverages and maybe a preliminary old lady nap. In the meantime, it'll be nice to get out of this slab and darkthrone for an hour. 

tiptoeing through landmines

Redacted aggravation with the usual suspects of smugger-than-thous and sanctimonious twits of both sacred and secular persuasion, to obsess about admittedly absurd gaffes and the personal views of fast-food CEOs when the country is full of drought, the air is full of drones, and everyone would rather just get on their personal high horse about the people across the aisle rather than be decent humans all the way around, but maybe that kind of grandstanding's way easier and theoretically less ambiguous than the day-to-day grind of simply getting along with other people that you may or may not like,where the fine line between lazy and stupid is vexing because both involve a degree of tact which sometimes eludes me in my not-so-charitable moments. Loving one's neighbor is a hard business, loving one's enemy even moreso, especially when you want everyone to shut the hell up and stop making life hard for everyone else.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the fruit is rusting on the vine...

Coming home to sleep on the couch with the cat on my stomach and doominess in the CD player, walking down to the garden, which yielded three pods of okra, some beans, and a handful of radishes. I'm hoping next year will be better for the squash and that the mold that has beset the vines won't take my pumpkins and melons too.It all goes so fast each time.
It seems that all around me everyone's being sucked dry, and five years into banker's hours I have yet to feel it, maybe there's enough right now to keep me sane, enough laughter and coffee with a handful of kindred souls as an antidote to the slow toxicity. I don't have all the answers, but maybe that's just fine.

When it's all worn out, I'd rather go without...

I don't know if it was something I did or something I said except for maybe blurting out in a conversation among many of us that I wasn't sure I felt at this point like I was wanting to be tied down to anyone currently in my world, that I'm still trying to sort through all the feelings of prior losses, but since then the communication has lapsed completely, and in one way maybe it's a relief, and in another I wonder how many other things I inevitably implode with verbiage, but then I wasn't sure what to feel if anything, there were so many unsureties all the way around, attempting to figure out how to conform to norms and relationals that make me skittish by default. Not so much a breakup or a bang but a whimper and I still say this is better.

I wanna be your Thurston Moore

BDR points out that today is Thurston's birthday, someone who's been one of my guitar heroes for a good while now even if I can't call myself the world's biggest fan as much as some.

I got some Sonic Youth albums from the library in the formative years but it was the lesser works in their career, the Silver Sessions of straight feedback and Experimental Jet Set which didn't stick at the time. One of my classmates junior year wore his sister's Sonic Youth shirt and his Rollins Band hoodie almost daily, and told me that Teen Age Riot changed his life. Most of my crew's inside jokes involved obscure references to Nirvana and Black Flag, geeky teens that we were. The first time I heard that song on the radio, at 2am on a hot summer night, it was revelatory for me too, though the band was one that we more talked about than actually listened to, because there is a difference. I wanted to play guitar that weird, and had a brief all female band that tried to be like Sonic Youth but we weren't so good and like most things, it fell apart.

My freshman year as an art major with oil paint in my chopped-up hair at a small conservative school in the heartland was made bearable by the art majors several years my senior who liked weird Brazilian movies and similar tuneage. One of our professors was a Fluxus alumnus who traded art in the mail with Yoko Ono and it was the most wonderful artistic community I've ever been around, and I would have maybe stayed if all the people I really liked weren't 26 to my 19 and on their way to graduating or getting the hell out. There was probably a reason why the campus tours never came to the art building, where we oddball Jesusheads with our grungy clothes and piercings congregated to talk theology and books and listen to Ani Difranco and Bjork and Sonic Youth. The year Murray Street came out, we gathered in a classroom late at night after painting and blissed out to Rain on Tin.
There was someone I had a small and of course unrequited crush on during those days and we drove up with one of his other friends to Cleveland one night listening to Washing Machine. I still remember him singing along to the guitars at the end. I was too shy to say much to him then, and I probably still would be now.

I transferred to Kent the following year due to economics, profound loneliness, and coming near to a nervous breakdown from the prior year. I made friends with a girl who loved loud tuneage as much as me and we lived together two years, went to shows, and watched old VHS tapes of MuchMusic and Daria and wish that we were as cool as Kim Gordon. I had MySpace for a couple weeks with a picture of her up instead of me, and got lots of "friend requests" from dudes who didn't know better and realized this whole social networking thing with strangers is kind of stupid.
She had copies of Goo and Dirty. I have to admit that I prefer their more accessible material to the more arty-farty stuff. It's not that I don't like things that are a little more complex, but sometimes I felt like it was just too arty, and I wanted a verse-chorus-verse and some fabulously squalling guitars and jams. I still don't don't own any of their albums, and compiled my favorite tracks onto a cassette tape that I listened to when I shelved library books at work.

Some friends of mine who lived out of town came in for a festival our old alt-rock station had. We met up and I had the closest thing to a romantic moment I've ever had with anyone sitting drenched on a lawn and listening to Schizophrenia.  Incidentally, the guy ended up having a breakdown a year or so later and this song kind of haunts me now.

I realized then I'm not a super-fan when I didn't hear the songs that I wanted to hear, which were these.

. I never could do Kim's voice, finding her songs generally uninteresting, but I loved Thurston's guitar work, in part because I couldn't figure out how he did it, and how he managed to sound so epic without being technical. Celebrity followers have their own couples, but for a lot of us, there was Thurston and Kim, making music and having a kid and being arty and old and still cool. My dad refers to the band as "Sonic Old" which may not be entirely inaccurate. It was kind of surprising that they split, because I dropped out of the loop on those things for awhile, but I'm past the point of assuming that things last forever most of the time as it is.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

sunrise songs

I did an all CD show this morning, no backup music thrown on the laptop like the way I did when I first started, due in part to being awake and digging through albums I haven't listened to in awhile, wondering if anyone would take issue with alt-rock heavies mixed in with the obscurities. The deep cuts get short-shrift all too often, but here's what was played

(new Baroness album isn't on the youtubes yet)

(not the right Chasing Furies song, but it's not on the Youtubes. I forgot how good this record is even though my youth group days are far behind me)

Monday, July 23, 2012

I walk through the ghost town, this would be my city...

Two huge cups of coffee in front of me, woke up to the dog whimpering last night, I don't know from loneliness or kidney stones, her family comes back today and I've become adept at administering medication through canine teeth but end up opting to sprinkle the contents of the capsules atop the kibbles and bits like sugar on corn flakes. If austerity ever really hits, maybe I can work at a kennel or something. It'll be nice to come home and sleep at my own place.

I think the cat actually misses me, because I hear her crying when I come up the stairs to check on her water and food while I've been gone the last two weeks. I'm sure we'll have a movie night soon because I'm still sleepwalking and while the weekend felt like a vacation, I don't know how I got through grad school taking a full load, working 30 hours a week and still finding time to go see bands every couple days back when such acts came through Clevelandia, Kent, and Akron on a frequent basis.

With the game cancelled, I took the other dog I watched down to the valley where the lush canopy of green filtered the sun like stained glass, the river sparkled, and we ambled through side trails down the side and if I was home more, maybe I'd get a dog, because I kind of like this companionship thing. Having another breathing mammal along for protection and accompaniment, with its drooling adoration for you are the one who pours the water and the food, and takes it on car rides with the windows down, it's something I could get used to.

There's a garden walk even in Clevelandia so me and one of my community garden people end up driving around parts of the west side I've never explored getting inspired by these green spaces created in other almost-hoods, these serene enclaves with spiraling wisteria vines and repurposed scraps as trellises. Her son isn't interested so we drop him off and drive out to the east side with a map that isn't terribly accurate, driving through the parts of the city where my relatives once lived before white flight.

She's not from around her so she has no loaded assumptions or fears of environs like St. Clair, Hough, Superior, and it's been awhile since I've come through these parts now that my friend who used to live down there now lives further down in the hood and would rather come to the west side to see me than have me drive over to his parts where drive-by shootings have escalated more to the occasional mortar round being tossed on someone's lawn.

We drive by a couple of gardens in vacant lots, and I think about all of the data that I pore through at work about the problems of the urban core, one of which was once overcrowding and now there are vacant lots everywhere, and where there are no vacant lots there are so many houses empty, curtains blowing in deglassed windows, crumbling front porches, because not only did white flight decimate these neighborhoods, the people that moved in get out if they can.

But yet, there is a greenhouse on the land of a deconsecrated church in the heart of a forgotten neighborhood, across the street from the Hell's Angels clubhouse, where the vast space has some people from the neighborhood singing soulful acapella renditions of Steely Dan songs and people playing piano in the former sanctuary and chalkboards scrawled with ideals, and the girl who shows us around shows us heating built with adobe for the greenhouses in winter and the former nunnery getting restored to be livable again and it reminds me of some hippie commune or crusty squat but the people were pretty friendly. I think about how I would have been all about this when I was 22 and idealistic and prospects for life were bleak, and I'm glad The Kids still have this energy even if I've more or less sold out to The Man.

I took her through the streets of the old Polish neighborhood, where St. Casimir's just reopened, and where my grandpa's side first settled, where he played tennis and went to dances, where his brother got mugged on East 79th, the house that my dad was born in, the house where one of my best guy friends lived where I'd sleep on his couch beneath the African mud cloth on the wall listening to the Fugees while he got ready.

And then we ended up in Hough, where there were race riots back in the day, and shiny new homes where the streets once burned, and an older lady there shows us and the cops who came through her massive gorgeous garden on a side lot, full of flowers from Alabama and vegetables and I wonder how she does it. We're all talking about what we're growing and I'm finding it kind of surreal that we're all here together with common ground that we otherwise wouldn't have if we weren't connected to the earth that we walk on. I'm also kicking myself for not having a camera with me even though that might have ruined some of these moments.

But I love driving these streets, getting lost in forgotten corners of shuttered factories and crumbling towers, to the amusement of the old men sitting on front porches at these crazy white girls driving through with the windows down and the Screaming Trees on the CD player in the beatup car with the front end taped together. She's of a similar mind, someone who appreciates the grit without romanticism, curious, friendly, and pondering. I feel so thankful that I get to see these places with her and that we're equally willing to explore.

It feels like a coda to to the end of the day when I pick up a former bandmate to go see Agalloch at the Beachland again. I wasn't feeling the opener all that much, but we got two hours of meandering alternately beautiful and heavy tuneage, and while the vocals will never be my thing, the songs hit me in that place I can't explain, those guitars and the bass lines and Aesop's drums. She wasn't as into it, but one of my fellow DJs was there so we enjoyed it together. I guess I'm not the only one who goes alone, there were a lot of solitary folk there. Once again, I wish I had a camera, but at least Randal was there to document a little closer.

Drove back to the house of my friends for one last night to get five hours of sleep, feeling like there were few wasted moments in the past days, and so much strange and surprising beauty.

Friday, July 20, 2012

what immortal hand or eye...

These nature illustrations are far more gorgeous than anything my brain could ever dream to conjure and the intricacy and practicality and the sheer exhuastive amount of species and interconnectedness that we humans somehow haven't completely destroyed only cements my childhood residual notions of Creator design genius that the majority of folk in my world would scoff at and tell me to move to Texas or something, but hey I'd prefer the company of William Blake to Dawkins & Co. any day.

Someday when I'm not hovering above the poverty line I'd love to have these kinds of things on the coffee table along with Harry Clarke and Fursy. In the meantime, there's the Internet, and it's for sharing such wonders and frequent fearful symmetry.

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

best of the blotter: Mountain Dew, Makeup, and Thinking of The Children

Singing Kids
A Park Lane Drive resident complained about kids running through the neighborhood -- some of them singing -- about 12:30 a.m. July 14.
Police located about a dozen kids in one yard and learned they were having a slumber party. They agreed to go inside.

BURGLARY, WHITNEY ROAD: A “very reasonable and credible woman” told police around 10:20 a.m. July 14 that someone had entered her apartment and used her makeup. The woman said she had lived in the apartment for five years and had someone come into her apartment once, but didn’t report it. She was advised on proactive measures to prevent unwanted visitors.

Let's Read Together
A Forestwood Drive resident said two men have shown up at his door three times, asking if they could read books to his children.
On July 11, they arrived at 9:30 p.m.; on another occasion, they knocked at 8:30 a.m.
They said they were with a service that helps gets kids ready for school and seemed to have a list of children in the area.
When he asked them to leave, they got in a smaller black vehicle and drove off.

SUSPICION, MARINER DRIVE: Police were called at about 7 a.m. July 11 when a man noticed something odd in his mailbox.
Instead of letters or a package, the man found a 2-liter plastic bottle that was filled with a liquid substance.
After police took a look at the bottle, it was determined that the bottle contained Mountain Dew. The resident threw away the bottle.

Since these aren't the best, here's some others from elsewhere, thanks Criggo!

asgard stories

Some good friends of mine from church have moved to Georgia, meaning a roadtrip should be in line, and I miss my coffeeshop nights with her and playing music and talking literature with him, and watching their incredibly brilliant and cool kids. He might be the only non-metal dude I know who wears a Hammer of Thor, being more into punk rock and old country music, but he was the one who found this book at his college library and had been reading it to his girls, and in spite or perhaps because of our shared beliefs on Life the Universe and Everything, we were still amused by the explanation at the beginning that this is what people used to believe before they were enlightened by Christianity . I love the texture of these illustrations and wish I could draw like this without it looking like cheeseball fantasy art that The Kids proliferate their DeviantArt accounts with.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

glass ceilings

sometimes they're beautiful.



The thick summer air was cut and cooled by breezes, and a few phone calls later, three of us have cups of ice cream in hand and are walking down to the park as the sun sets. The skatepark is quiet, the water in the closed pool glistens but we're too old to think about sneaking in, so we stretch out on the benches of the new gazebo that feels like it's made of plastic and gaze out towards the small glitter of the skyline and the deep blue of the sky above us, listening to the crickets and the undulating water, sighing in bliss as the wind ripples through the leaves.

There's a few years of comfortable familiarity here, where we don't have to say much, and when we do, our incoherent thoughts are understood, all of us are tired and so completely relaxed that we probably sound stoned out of our minds as we ponder and ramble, voices in slow motion, disparate threads of conversation coming together about people who live in trees and people who throw mortars instead of shooting guns and he's got trip-hop playing on his phone and everything just fits together so perfectly that it's hard for us to get up and stretch to walk down to where the water is before the park closes and we walk back through the dark streets past shirtless men drinking in front of apartment buildings. I need more summer nights like these.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Awaking exhausted, late to the station, too slackerly to scrawl a playlist, got mad at a fellow peon over stupid politics stuff, usually not a good idea to suggest to yours truly that she's betrayed her gender by refusing to vote for the incumbent, because let's set up the straw men and the absurd doomsaying that detracts from the actual issues at hand. I don't know why I bother engaging in conversation, it gets harder to do each day, to not feed the trolls, to stumble through meaningless small talk with the world around me, the dynamics of dealing with backstabbers and brownnosers and the theater of the absurd which is perpetual.

But there are silver linings, maybe, and there was an interlude of sitting in the shadow of the cathedral with the breeze cutting the heat, and the jazz music played in the chapel, the time here almost done for the day, so many times it's better to endure through than punk out too soon. And there's good tuneage to be had in a matter of days, and I can't help but wonder if I solo it to enough shows that it becomes regular, maybe it won't feel so bad going it alone.

Monday, July 16, 2012

knowledge of motion but not of stillness...

sometimes the structure and the daily grind is welcome, with the familiar caffeine in the mug of shame, the way the hours slip away, there are changes afoot, closed doors and whispers, and who knows what that would be, try not to think about it too much, try not to aspire, because conversations with certain people are awkward due to the imbalance and the mutual lack of camaraderie.

And I find it harder to make small talk, I get bored with hearing people talk about what's on TV or what they ate for dinner yesterday. I don't even know what to say because whatever will come out of my mouth will come out more dismissive than I mean it to. There's nothing wrong with those things, it's just not something that gets my brain moving.

Technocracy's soullessness evidences itself in the little things too hard to articulate. The blissful ignorance, the mistaking the means for the ends, the continual talking past each other, the veiled condescension and disdain that evaporates off my lips without meaning for it to.

So easy to change the channel, change the directional flow of the conversation when it gets too pithy and goes beyond song lyric bumper sticker Facebook meme sloganeering. I find irony when those who think I'm a little wacky for believing in some God up there somewhere seem to put an awful lot of faith in certain things like the American political process in relation to certain political parties, certain leaders as infallible as the popes they might deride who somehow can do no wrong despite the blood crying out from the ground. We've all got our little religions, involving deities our venerations of saints, our arcane rituals, our stimulants and opiates. It's just as matter of which kind, which ones give life and which ones slowly destroy.

o world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

a time for everything...

The street was loud last night, with so many vibrating car stereos and the drunken disputes on the sidewalks, the sirens and barking dogs, I used to tune all this out when I lived down here, but now the floor below is empty, and the dog I watch is old, and the sense of vulnerability is strong, the nightmares are incoherent manifestations of the week's anxieties and I can't tell if I've slept deep or not at all, but waking up drained, drinking coffee in the pew trying to make sense of everything, unable to sing because these words on my lips would not be true, trying to remember that I've come through more crazy things just fine, and I'll be ok here too, that the emotions are not necessarily the truth.

The ennui hits every summer, with the heat sapping the strength, the lack of sleep, watching another set of friends pair off in wedlock every couple weeks, housesitting while everyone else gets out of town and goes on vacation somewhere else, and having way much time to get existential about the realities of living in a dying city, where everyone leaves, gets hitched, get stupid, or is just too poor to get adventurous. There are the occasional interludes of bliss, but they come few and far between, and seem to be fewer by the year...

Friday, July 13, 2012

mucha : glass and murals


A summer night in Clevelandia, everyone outside on their balconies listening to music and being friendly, three of us in the hot kitchen, barely enough room, all the pots and pans and knives in use, the CD player rotating between sundry heavy tuneage, flour on our hands and dusting our clothes (black attire compensates for a multitude of stains and spills but not baking ingredients).

He's making noodles, she's slicing carrots and keeping the cat diverted, I'm plucking fresh mint from the yard and basil from the porch, trying to remember what temperature to cook sweet potato falafel at and finding where everything is. Everything works out except the mussels, but since one of us was vegetarian anyway, it's moot, and we feast, laugh, talk about cats and metal and art and bands we used to like, and reminisce and ponder, skating close to politics and pulling back to other territory.

The last time I remember the three of us being together was a night at the end of the semester when we converged on campus, about six or seven of us ended up converging at a picnic table for dinner,went to watch the Black Keys play (they were starting to get big then, but nowhere near what they are now), and then hung out at the playground on the swings as night fell. 

Nine years later, I'm not in touch with half those people anymore, or we don't see much of each other or have much to say when we do. I'm not who I was then in some ways, neither is anyone else, and I'm wary of any kind of attempt to capture the magic of the hazily remembered good old days, but it seems we've gotten older and wiser, and we've got new things happening, new interests besides graduating and finding bands to listen to, and I'm thankful that our worlds still overlap and that there's still something there besides nostalgia, that we can still share meals and thoughts and continue to age gracefully and see how far we've come.

Also, sweet potato falafel is the good stuff...

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

Makes about 18 falafel, more or less

2 medium sweet potatoes (yams), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup (120g) chickpea flour
a few tablespoons sesame seeds, for sprinkling
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place whole sweet potatoes directly on oven rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until just tender. Once removed from the oven, let them cool until manageable. Peel and discard skins–they should come off easily.

Mash together the cooled and peeled sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, coriander, cilantro (if using), lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season for salt and pepper. Once well mashed with no large chunks remaining, stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. At this point, your mix should be sticky-smooth rather than wet. If necessary, add a tablespoon or more of chickpea flour (this varies depending on the water content of the sweet potatoes).

While chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and oil a baking sheet (I used parchment paper but would go without it next time in order to develop a golden crust on the bottom). Using a couple of large spoons, scoop up a mound of the falafel mixture and shape it back and forth between the concave sides of the spoons to form a football-like shape. Press sesame seeds along the outside of the falafel and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for around 17 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

arte sella

Stumbled across this while looking for Goldsworthy... holy crap I'm jealous of you people in Italy...!

learn more here... 

best of the blotter: chicken wings, peaceniks, and water balloons

DISORDERLY CONDUCT, LORAIN ROAD: Officers arrested a man suspected of throwing chicken wings at a passing truck July 6 near Stearns Road. Police found the man walking along the road after the driver reported the incident. According to reports, the man approached officers with his arms extended and stated that “the area was safe and the nation was safe.” He then walked past the officers, ignoring their directions to stop. The suspect later told police he thew chicken wings at the truck, and he was upset that he could not walk down the street and eat. Officers reported that the man appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicating beverage. He was taken to his home and turned over to his parents. There was no damage reported on the truck.

CRIMINAL DAMAGING, UNION STREET: A Lagrange man reported that his 2008 Jeep was intentionally scratched just after 9:15 p.m. June 30. The car owner suspects a man who drove a blue car with a “peace” sticker. Police said the incident took place in a garage and may be related to a parking dispute.

ASSAULT, ROCKSIDE ROAD: Music being played on a laptop computer by customers at Denny’s, 6100 Rockside, resulted in a Parma man being punched in the face.
The assailant was one of two men who were playing rap music on a laptop at about 3:35 a.m. July 2.
The victim tried to prove a point by playing heavy metal music. One of the rap-playing men asked the heavy-metal man what his problem might be.
In reply, the latter made a lewd comment. For that, the rap-playing man punched the Parma man and left.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT (UTTERANCES), BRADLEY STREET: A woman, 30, involved in an ongoing neighbor dispute stated in the presence of police on the evening of July 6 that she planned to do whatever she could to make her property appear more “hillbilly” in order to lower the surrounding property values, especially for the immediate neighbors who are trying to sell their house. She said this would include putting up “Beware of Dog” signs, dogs being a central part of the dispute, since the neighbors contend she is already lowering their property value by not cleaning up after her dog. She also told police she had already done some legal research and spoken with their chief, who told her it was OK to stand in her driveway yelling curse words which was the basis for the latest call. The chief denied giving her such assurances, and she was cited. 

DEPARTMENTAL INFORMATION, CLEVELAND STREET: A woman, 94, reported on the evening of July 5 that she had been receiving annoying phone calls, the latest being a greeting that sounded like the Three Stooges intro as she answered the phone. She said she did not want to pursue the matter further; she just wanted the calls to cease. Police suggested contacting the annoyance bureau with her phone company, to possibly trace any calls.

ASSAULT-AGGRAVATED TRESPASSING, KLUSNER AVENUE: A Middleburg Heights man, 18, was arrested June 24 after he allegedly threatened people at a street party.
The incident started at about 9:50 p.m. during a water-balloon fight. A friend of the Middleburg Heights man became angry toward a woman and threatened to choke her.
The friend apparently called the Middleburg Heights man, who arrived at the party. He yelled at the woman about his friend being harassed.
The woman tried to calm the man but he pushed her. Witnesses thought they saw a handgun in the man’s waistband and someone called police.
Police found a hairbrush, not a weapon, in the man’s waistband.

a new kind of sameness

So I've been trying to figure out why I get a little bothered at the whole gentrification new urbanista movement people, because yeah, cities that actually work with viable transportation options and relatively safe streets and whatnot are good things, but the general attitude sometimes gets a little grating, kind of the secular reverse of the people I grew up with who somehow thought they were more virtuous because they lived in the country because that's where real life and the good people were.

I shouldn't be so hard on them, because I had my time when youthful idealism was tempered by the realities of the occasional driveby shooting, the hookers on the corner, getting hollered at from every other front porch and having invasive comments made about the color of my lady parts, having to pick routes to places based on which corners were sketchy.

Even if the neighborhood is walkable and there's lots of places where people go out to eat, the population has never been dense enough that I felt safe walking alone after sunset. There were vast swaths of dead zones between one area of development and another, and enough robberies and rapes within a few blocks of me, and a drive-by shooting two doors down that it only cemented a fortress mentality on my part that I'm only beginning to shake myself free of. It's what happens when you live alone and you get accosted for bunga-bunga when you're in your driveway and it's painfully obvious that there's no one looking out for you.

In conversation the other night with some friends who still live over there, we were wrestling with the implications raised by a block club meeting one of them attended where the local folks and the development corporation locked horns over what to do with a stretch of streetscape. I've always kind of liked the way it looked, with the handpainted signage and the little enterprises that go in and out, the dilapidated 19th century facades and such... antique stores and all-night diners, ethnic grocery stores and auto parts shops and so on, though others see it differently and would rather supplant the barbershops and used car lots with art studios and other such enterprises.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but come on now, young white people.There are a lot of vacant storefronts, but that area is one of the few stretches that does have small locally owned businesses that serve the surrounding area. And here's the thing, barbershops and hair braiding salons  may not cater to you, but it's a regular thing for other people. As is the Vietnamese market, and the Puerto Rican bakeries, the Lebanese social clubs and the auto parts shops. Most people can't afford Priuses so they stop at the used car lot. Some people have kids and can't ride their bikes everywhere.

If you're going on about "food deserts" because there's no Trader Joe's or food co-op down there, you obviously haven't been inside any of the ethnic markets down there that sell rice and beans and fresh vegetables very cheaply and sell the kind of things that you'd pay dearly for at World Market or Whole Foods but it's within walking distance. I know most of you haven't been there because the people who work there ask why I, as a white person, shop there, because either few or none do.

But this is the thing that gets me. All these people talk about how they want to live in the city because there's life there and it's not bland and generic and cookie-cutter like the cracker suburbias they grew up in. But what I see a lot of these people doing is just trying to impose a different kind of sameness in their new neighborhoods, it has to be the right kind of people into the right kind of things. Instead of big box stores, it's little boutiques or whatever, instead of Dairy Queen, it's yuppie ice cream. But every "art district" or "restaurant district" pretty much looks exactly the same. Maybe the period of the architecture is different, but it's the same aesthetic repeated over and over again everywhere.

For all of its "funkiness" and "uniqueness" and "localness" every single gentrified urban area looks like this, at least from what I've seen in DC, Buffalo, Boston, Columbus.Any semblance of local culture is ultimately co-opted and wiped out, maintaining only a patina of grit to make it seem authentic, when it's just as much a manufactured culture as what its acolytes rail against. Not only that, but it's damn expensive for even us arty white folks who don't have swank jobs. If your dream is to sell organic cupcakes to the masses, that's cool and go you, but remember that there's a whole rest of the world out there that can't afford such things or may not care that they exist.