Friday, August 31, 2012

best of the blotter: graffiti kills

Spray Painting Times 2
Two residents reported finding graffiti Saturday afternoon.
On Lake Forest Drive, someone spray-painted a word on the side of a resident's new truck sometime during the night.
And on Overland Park, a resident found a picture painted on an electric box.
The woman feared it was a gang symbol, but police said that was undetermined.

MISCHIEF, TRADEWINDS DRIVE: A man called police just after 11 p.m. Aug. 20, after he said somebody rang his doorbell and threw a sweet potato at his garage. According to the report, North Royalton police were searching their city because of similar incidents.

SOLICITING, MAYPINE FARM: A man knocked on a woman’s door Aug. 13 at 4:01 p.m. and handed her a tri-fold pamphlet. He told her a bad joke and she told him to leave. The man was advised to leave the area and get a permit.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT, DETROIT AVENUE: A drunken man got his head stuck in a flower pot Aug. 26. He was cited and released to a sober adult.

ASSISTANCE, NEWMAN AVENUE: A concerned man wanted officers to check out a friend’s Facebook page to determine if her posts were indeed sounding as depressing and suicidal as he thought. He was especially worried about a recent cryptic message that sounded like she was saying “good-bye.”
Officers looked into the matter and found out that she was simply closing her Facebook account.
COMPLAINT, HOPKINS AVENUE: A man reported getting a strange voicemail on his cell phone last week. Officers looked into it and spoke with the mother of the girl who has left the message. She said her 6-year-old was just making prank phone calls.

HARASSING COMMUNICATION, EDGERTON ROAD: What one man thought was a conversation with a college friend turned into a confusing encounter with a stranger.
On Aug. 15, the man reported receiving a text message from someone he believed was a friend from Miami University, where he attends college. But as the conversation went on, the man wasn’t so sure who he was talking to.
When the man asked who he was texting with, he received a reply that read, "I am Gotham’s reckoning. It doesn’t matter who I am, what matters is my plan, Mr. Wayne."
He also received a text that read, "When Miami is in flames, then you have my permission to go, Mr. Wayne."
The man ended the texts by saying a police officer wanted the stranger’s information. The man was concerned because he had shared where he went to school, his class schedule and other personal information.
Police tried to call the number used to text the man, but it was a texting service number that did not allow voice calls.

TRESPASSING, ROYALTON ROAD: A man without a shirt or shoes on caused a scene at Giant Eagle at approximately 8 p.m. Aug. 20.
When asked to leave because he wasn’t wearing a shirt or shoes, the man refused. Not only that, he began to undress in the lobby.
The man was eventually arrested for trespassing, disorderly conduct and theft of half a cantaloupe.

one hundred, two hundred...

The cooler nights are welcome, the porch is being worked on once more, I don't mind the hammering, it's about time there's something more than framework, I'm fed up with all sides on politics unsurprisingly as usual. Teachings about planks and specks are relevant here, moreso than Gandhisms masking as deep platitudes, one's eyes don't need to be out vile jellied to not see the truth, on both sides, we need to deal with our own dreck before we start pointing out the failings of others although I'm sure those things are exhilarating for some.

But I'll be playing one last game beneath the warplanes, a few years ago I thought the Catholic Workers were crazy for protesting and getting arrested at the air show every year and now I really can't argue with how they see things as the war machine keeps turning. Two days out of Clevelandia, inshallah, to be next to water and under stars as the price of gas ratchets up and I'm glad I haven't driven anywhere in a week except for out to the east side for a farewell gathering last night, because the car is making rattles that my best guy friend says is the sway bar going bad, #rustworld problems strike again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

dan eldon

A detour with the family way back when at a bookstore in Shaker Heights where I found a biography of photojournalist, collager extraordinaire Dan Eldon whose life was cut short too soon at 22 while covering the conflict in Somalia in 1992.

The fabulous resources of Ohiostan's public libraries netted me a copy of The Journey is the Destination my first year of college and I subsequently would order it and keep it out as long as I could before I finally snagged a copy of my own.

While I was never nearly so adventurous both in life and in collaging my ephemera so lushly, I've found it inspiring and worthy of a place at the coffeetable for browsing through and discovering new details. You can browse the complete journals here, but here's some images in the meantime.


Ironic enough that it was finally my colleague, a Noted Pagan of Distinction who finally got me into her, much thanks homie, because I have some strange affinity with proto-renaissance chicks who commune with the divine. 

Praise to you
Spirit of fire!
to you who sound the timbrel
and the lyre.

Your music sets our minds
ablaze! The strength of our souls
awaits your coming
in the tent of meeting.

There the mounting will
gives the soul its savor
and desire is its lantern.

Insight invokes you in a cry
full of sweetness, while reason
builds you temples as she labors
at her golden crafts.

But sword
in hand you stand poised
to prune shoots of the poisoned
apple --
scions of the darkest
murder --

when mist overshadows the will.
Adrift in desires the soul is spinning
everywhere. But the mind
is a bond
to bind will and desire.

When the heart yearns to look
the Evil One in the eye,
to stare down the jaws of
iniquity, swiftly
you burn it in consuming
fire. Such is your wish.

And when reason doing ill
falls from her place, you
restrain and constrain her as you will
in the flow of experience until
she obeys you.

And when the Evil One brandishes
his sword against you,
you break it in his own
heart. For so you did
to the first lost angel,
tumbling the tower of his
arrogance to hell.

And there you built a second
tower -- traitors and sinners
its stones. In repentance
they confessed all their crafts.

So all beings that live by you
praise your outpouring
like a priceless salve upon festering
sores, upon fractured
limbs. You convert them
into priceless gems!

Now gather us all to yourself
and in your mercy guide us
into the paths of justice.

To the Trinity be praise! God is music, God is life that nurtures every creature in its kind. Our God is the song of the angel throng and the splendor of secret ways hid from all humankind, But God our life is the life of all.

Fiery Spirit,
fount of courage,
life within life
of all that has being!

Holy are you, transmuting the perfect
     into the real.
Holy are you, healing
     the mortally stricken.
Holy are you, cleansing
     the stench of wounds.

O sacred breath O blazing
love O savor in the breast and balm
flooding the heart with
the fragrance of good,

O limpid mirror of God
who leads wanderers
home and hunts out the lost,

Armor of the heart and hope
of the integral body,
sword-belt of honor:
save those who know bliss!

Guard those the fiend holds
free those in fetters
whom divine force wishes to save.

O current of power permeating all
in the heights upon the earth and
in all deeps:
you bind and gather
all people together.

Out of you clouds
come streaming, winds
take wing from you, dashing
rain against stone;
and ever-fresh springs
well from you, washing
the evergreen globe.

O teacher of those who know,
a joy to the wise
is the breath of Sophia.

Praise then be yours!
you are the song of praise,
the delight of life,
a hope and a potent honor
granting garlands of light.

sorceress apprentice

I'm not the world's greatest teacher but I got to instruct one of my teammates and record store homies in the art of the radio waves the last two weeks. Like me, she's taking the early morning shift, though I'm not sure of which days yet. She's way cooler than yours truly was at her age, a genuinely nice person, and also a fellow bibliothequer so it was a great pleasure for yours truly.

my half:

Monday, August 27, 2012


Friday night spent napping, cleaning, cooking up the tomatoes and such piled in bowls in the kitchen straight from the garden, cleaning out the fridge, cutting out the bad spots, enough food to last a week and freeze some, and then an invited guest and an unexpected one, the first night I've spent in good conversation on the back porch in total darkness. Tales of service industry and old neighborhoods and wannabe suburban gangstas and old mutual friends, 2am comes quickly and we're devouring stir-fry in the kitchen as I get more incoherent with fatigue and thankful that I can sleep in.

A wedding the next day, two friends finally tying the knot, a church and then a hall full of people I know, and with two cups of coffee in my veins, I'm bouncing from table to table catching up with people I don't see nearly enough, meeting new souls, hearing tales of Bulgaria behind the iron curtain and becoming embroiled in a debate about organ transplants over dessert because this is how me and my sister's friends roll and our friends converged at this celebration.

One girl remembers me from the days when I had friends in the next county over because she was the little kid who lived next door watching us older teenage girls with our baggy jeans and ball chains and thrift store t-shirts as we'd make up stupid punk rock songs that we recorded on an old boombox with a bongo drum and a cheap electric guitar that we occasionally serenaded the neighborhood with and had inside jokes that made no sense, usually involving Kid Rock because this was when nu-metal ruled the universe. We would walk around the boonies to hang out at the playground with juice bought at the Sparkle Market, do snow angels in random people's yards, draw anarchy symbols on the paper placemats at the diner. I'm sure we were totally obnoxious in the way that only punkass teenage girls can be. I made so many mixtapes for the one sister who discovered punk rock at the same time as me but she preferred Good Charlotte to Fugazi despite all such propagandizing on my part.

I have no memory of this girl whatsoever, which is strange because I remember everything, and I wonder what parts of this she remembers. I'm past being embarrassed because this was from such another lifetime ago.

I once hated going to weddings, but when they're packed with those I love and those I've yet to meet, when people are friendly and it's not because they're drunk, when no one's shoving me towards the dance floor full of sucky music or tossing a damn bouquet and reminding me of my perpetual spinsterhood, these are nice things, and I socialize for awhile, until the introversion returns and I walk back to the in-laws to get the car and return home to tea and books, and a quiet Sunday of good conversations beneath shady trees and solo darkthroning through the neighborhood.

Today's already crazy, I wonder how this bodes for a semester of old-school geekery of the Roman empire kind and what new issues we Social Workers for the Damned shall face. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

rust belt chicanery

There was a discussion in a class I took last semester where the prof took issue with the writer of our book saying that a certain group is constantly looking back to and trying to recapture a golden age that existed in one form or another. I said that everyone does this, it's a universal human trait like creating or fighting or whatever, and of course I was wrong, because that's not what he believed. 

So we look back on our golden years, when there were jobs and whatnot, and there's talk of some renaissance in the form of taking ownership of our culture, but it doesn't ring true to me which is strange because all the stuff that's celebrated is stuff I kind of like, but I don't like the way it's being done, in part because I'm a bit cynical of bandwagons as a rule. 

So, rust belt chic.

It's a construct of underdogness,  a love of regional Midwest industrial culture by the young folks, a buzzword for this "creative class" that evidently has lots of money and no children and probably has some technocratic advertising gig, so uncool it's cool, which we've been recycling since Douglas Coupland codified the Gen-X irony and concepts like McJobs and Nutritional Slumming, but instead of being a wry look at the absurdity of modern life, it's become this kind of twee thing where it's way more shiny and perky and accentuate the positive than I'm comfortable with, and I think it's the preciousness of the approach that rankles me more than anything else. The quote about jaded anorexic vampires from cool cities like New York also somewhat rings false to me, because if anything we're not much of a blip on the radar anywhere else anyway, and we've got plenty of those types here that eat their own and relish being a big fish in a small pond.

But I think this is more some kind of escapism for people my age and demographic with some degree of disposable income looking for a new and in this case, a very affordable and available trend, capitalizing on the zeitgeist of kitsch, a low-budget conspicuous consumption that's not quite as weird as being a Bronie.  

Is it a proverbial going back to the womb? An escapist reaction to the current ennui?
  I told Randal I blame Wes Anderson in part, and maybe the whole Instagram aesthetic that infuses everything with this goldenrod tinge of retro, conjuring a comforting fuzzy memory that's some amalgam of childhood experiences that may or may not even be terribly Rust Belt per se but that were common collective memories of middle-class and blue-collar existence in the inner ring suburbs. 

Things like the houses our grandmas lived in, the afghans of cataract-fueled colors we were wrapped in as babies, tchotchkes made of seashells and matchbooks piled up in Dutch butter cookie tins celebrating Chuck and Di and exhorting you to Vote For This Guy back when cigarettes were more socially acceptable. Things that reminded us of a more innocent time when we were too young to be aware of the social problems around us like segregation and race riots and the Cold War, just the pop culture detritus of classic rock and Saturday morning cartoons and Star Wars, the graphics we remember as children, a selective approach to throwback clothing... vintage-style t-shirts yes, polyester muumuus and leisure suits not so much.

And then there's the comfort food we ate in the houses of our grandparents, in this area mostly of the Eastern European extraction, fuzzy VHS camcorder memories of going to weddings where there's polka bands, Catholic schools when they still had nuns, and hanging out at bowling alleys and corner watering holes where the decor hasn't changed in 30 years, the same . Ethnic identity was more of what your last name was than any long-held grudge from the Old World or any real sense of history except for maybe the street names in the hoods your grandparents once lived in before they hightailed it for post-war bungalows in the suburbs and on the outskirts.

Also, certain selective aspects of clothing from that era that mostly involve 50/50 poly cotton t-shirts with names of old bar league softball teams and trucking companies that no longer exist and quite possibly hair metal bands that may or may not be loved ironically. It's a very specific cultural memory for people who grew up on the West Side and then may or may not have majored in English lit at a state school, that conveniently forgets about the segregation, pollution, and other inconvenient truths of that time.

Is this maybe the northern equivalent to the southern nostalgia for the antebellum days? I wouldn't be the one to know, but it's a convenient revisionism that sentimentalizes and softens the edges, and maybe it's not so much wrong as something I just hope goes away sometime soon. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

somebody put me together

With great power comes great responsibility, and while being a responsible lass, I don't desire large doses of either, let me sleep so my teeth won't grind, right, I suck at dealing with data and spreadsheets and abstract financial figures, people, despite their occasional absurdity are way easier to deal with. I don't mind boring so long as it's not stressful and bureaucratic and I can go home and not panic about the next day or year or whatever. It'll all simmer down, but yeesh this is the stuff I can't stand. Give me boxes of papers and things to scan and I'll be happy, thanks.

So yeah, I'm tired from thinking too hard and staying up too late too often, and I'm ready already for a weekend, though it'll be anything but restful, involving a wedding of two people I love dearly and have long and tangled history with, and the weather is beautiful and I find myself testing the waters with new friendships and wishing everything wasn't so damn complicated, wondering if the signals are already crossed, and with life in general I wish that I had some clue what was going on instead of fumbling around and clinging for dear life to something I can't even see and trusting that the pieces will fall into place because despite the doubts they always do, it's just the getting there that's hard. 

best of the blotter

Kids in the Woods -- Parts 1 and 2
A Prospect Road resident told police Aug. 16 about kids who are going into the woods near her house, building "coffins" in the ground and setting up zip lines.

Drugs? Maybe Not
Police were called to an apartment on Cherry Tree Drive to look into a strong smell of marijuana coming from one of the units Aug. 17.
Officers smelled it, but both said it was either incense or cooking aromas.

Bucket full of “weird items”
A bucket full of “weird items” was reported on the boardwalk at Lakewood Park at around 8:45 a.m. Aug. 19. Police tossed the bucket — filled with broken children’s toys — into the garbage.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT, GLENMONT DRIVE: A North Royalton couple were surprised by a woman who walked into their bedroom at approximately 3:30 a.m. Aug. 16.
The woman, who was clearly intoxicated, had entered their apartment through an unlocked door and made her way to the bedroom before realizing she was in the wrong place.
The couple tried to question the woman, who explained that she was looking for a friend. They asked her if she always went into other people’s homes without knocking.

“Yes,” the woman replied. “Because I’m awesome.”

After leaving the apartment, the woman tried to enter other apartments in the complex.
The couple called police, who caught up with the intruder near the apartment complex. After initially refusing to identify herself, admitting to entering the couple’s apartment or being able to explain why she was in the area, the woman was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing

 SUSPICIOUS PERSON, VAN AKEN BOULEVARD: A concerned citizen alerted police to a man walking down the street carrying a tree in the early morning hours of Aug. 15. Police made contact with the man, and determined the Shaker Heights resident, 33, had an active arrest warrant out of East Cleveland. He was arrested.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON, PEARL ROAD: Police responded to a complaint of a male in his 30s throwing things at people in the Prudential Realty parking lot and harassing people going by at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 16.
Officers spoke to two employees who said they were goofing around in the lot, throwing small pebbles at each other.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, SCARLET OAK TRAIL: A caller told police that the person’s nephew was on the computer all day, and a foreign man called at about 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 asking why the child was on the computer. 

COMPLAINT, COHASSETT AVENUE: Officers met with a man who reported that another man had just stolen his cigarettes.
He also told officers that this other man was a “demon chaser.”
The man was given a ride home and told to stop following the alleged cigarette thief.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

long gone day

Melancholia cured by tea and time, of sitting on the porch in the old almost-hood and wandering the streets of the city, routine can cure so many ills, as do the joys of conversation with those whose company I like, the purring of the cat next to me on the pillow, good books and some incomprehensible divine grace.

There are straunge folk afoot with the changing of seasons and such, scowling at the creep doing the eye-rape because there's no other way to combat lecherous gaze and pass-making without getting written up especially since the race card will inevitably get played, wondering how the hell all these people who are supposed to be helping the down and out seem to be in need of mental help themselves, if not for being crazy, then for having no heart whatsoever. Such eternal questions of existence may remain unanswered until the end of time like the ones that I constantly scream to God on the days when nothing makes sense and only the logic of some updated queen-free great chain of being seems to hold my view of the universe together.

And Layne Staley would have been 45 today, so of course an Alice posting is mandatory. All of you except Randal are probably rolling your collective eyes but dayum those harmonies were swank, and they've yet to be co-opted into any voice-of-a-generation hipster thing. Mad Season's one-off and Dirt are desert island discs, Jar of Flies too. I love it all.

One of my britpop loving friends referred to them as 'Camaro Rock' and she's not entirely wrong. But yeah, no apologies, no guilty pleasures here, sheer enjoyment maybe.
 I was too young to remember when grunge was cool, never did the flowered dresses or the floppy hats, being too young and hand-me-down dweeby as it was, and the unfortunately gigantic baggy jeans and t-shirts gave way to skinnier jeans and longer skirts still mostly black, but more bibliotheque gothique than displaced Portlandia.

 I get leery at burgeoning cultural zeitgeist nostalgia for things I love without apology, like grunge and rusty smokestacks and overgrown teenage angst and slackitude that befits this region I call home. I can't wait til everyone moves on from rust belt chic, because I love this stuff out of familiarity and comfort with my low station in life and its attendant trappings rather than a kitschy aesthetic of ironic quaintness.

I can't get condescending about the taste of other folks anymore, because of what I like, and because I know that most of my fellow rust belt denizens are wearing Affliction instead of vintage bowling shirts, and that they like Bon Jovi unironically and watch a lot of sports and drink non-artisan beer and while none of these are my thing, there's nothing really wrong with that. It's stupid to be a snob when you're the butt of everyone else's jokes and you just look more insecure. What we're all respectively into might not do it for others, but that was never the point as it was.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

see and don't see

To say it doesn't sting a little would be lying, to say goodbye, to try to store away that confusion of feeling, because it's not quite unrequited affection, not enough history to truly miss much, all this is impossible to make sense of, in the aftermath there's so much left un-understood. It's not really this, it's just the firstworldproblems angst rearing its head again. It's make more sense if it felt like there were actual reasons, as such there are none, just the converging of ephemeral dreams constantly deferred.

Monday, August 20, 2012

george yepes

My coworker showed me this artwork today and it was instant love.

George Yepes was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. He moved to East Los Angeles at the age of four. He earned a degree from California State University, Los Angeles, in business administration, and joined the Public Art Center, leaving behind his hard street life and gang membership. He also took painting classes at East Los Angeles City College and worked both as an accountant and a muralist. 

One of the more prolific painters in the Chicano Mural Movement of the late 70's, Yepes gained his early reputation as a ferocious painter when he painted with notables from Carlos Almaraz and Frank Romero to Gilbert "Magu" Lujan. He then became an instrumental partner in the mural group "East Los Streetscapers" from 1979 to 1985 until he decided that group painting wasn't suited to his temperament or pace. With grand scale and furious momentum Yepes has painted over 800,000 square feet of eloquent social, historical, and sacred images onto the facades of everything from churches, hospitals and freeway overpasses to album covers. His 28 murals are landmarks in Los Angeles, as are the 21 murals his Academia de Arte Yepes students have painted. Yepes established the Academia de Arte Yepes, the first free mural academy for young students in Los Angeles. Yepes has taught nearly 1500 low-income students over the last decade through the Academia. His mural painting concepts and designs continue to be studied by graduate students and scholars across the United States.

But mural painting is only one facet of this intense painters' focus.
Yepes' oevre incorporates religious iconography via his "re-imagination of the sacred", ethereally beautiful women, modern street violence, Chicano and Mexican Folklore/Elitelore, world history, and literature in powerful - sexually charged - atmospheres. 

sulamith wulfing

Illustrator, child of theosophist parents, kind of reminds me of a more softened Dulac or Rackham. The pastel fuzziness could be more cheesy in the wrong hands (not terribly shocking that Stevie Nicks is a fan), but the intricate detailing really makes it for me, especially in the black and white decorations here.

a connection is made

Being a somewhat shy lass averse to heavy drinking, I wasn't sure what to expect heading out to a bar in the suburbs south of heaven Parmastan, where some mixed fruity red drink named "zombie blood' or somesuch was sipped out of test tube-shaped glass and espresso cupcakes made by the birthday girl were consumed, in an establishment ensconced in a strip mall with black-painted walls and b-movie posters, Halloween on the tv over the bar next to the sports, King Diamond and Katatonia and chug-a-lug music on the jukebox that people in my old haunts evidently still dig, if the Chimaira shirt in the corner was any indication.

My logic with birthday gatherings among mostly strangers is that one doesn't expect to hang with the birthday person in question, especially when everyone's drinking more than you are, but her friends were friendly thoughtful folk, I found some somewhat kindred souls to laugh and swap stories with who didn't mind my total soberness. That shared inner-ring suburban culture goes a long way toward breaking the ice. Somehow among the goodbyes, a conversation thread involving sundry doomy rock and or roll started and the time slipped away until there were two of us left leaning against my car as it got dewy and we realized that it was almost 4am and were starting to feel kind of cold.

The espresso in the cupcakes must have been sufficient to keep me awake though I thought I was getting tailed by a cop on the highway by how close he was following me but it turned out to be an impatient third shift rentacop. Came home, felt sick, couldn't sleep, slept in til noon, which never happens, too achy for softball, had dinner with the extended family and got wistful over my aunt's pictures of Paris, excused myself from political arguments in the living room to talk about gardening in the kitchen and be goofy with the little guy, coming home tired again and sleeping late. I can't do these late nights like I once did but the lag still feels worth it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

runaway return

It was hard to wake up this morning, after sleeping in on a lumpy bed, waking up groggy to greet the sunrise behind castle-like clouds looming over the island on the horizon, but rituals of St. Drogo, the familiar routine of coffee and power chords, or in this case blastbeats, watching The Kids file in and out, it's not a bad place to come back to.

Driving through the western half of Ohiostan is its own adventure, and there was something strange in the incongruity from place to place, of the stately palatial homes along the lake, the slightly tackier dwellings of the nouveau riche or those with bad taste, heading further out past crumbling and faded facades in towns built on the steel no longer made here, a post office building housing a "buy gold" enterprise, empty factories like some Springsteen cliche.

The turn onto the island reveals a somewhat-new welcome center and a brand-spanking new Border Patrol station just across the street. The juxtaposing of 'welcome tourists' and the razor wire on the other side is disconcerting to me. As soon as I pull in it starts to rain, but I have a trunk full of books and a few layers so I make myself a cup of tea, begin with the pile and listen to the sound of the waves, talk to the next-door neighbor and heir to this chunk of peninsula who in the name of history lets my grandparents rent this place cheaper than a hood apartment in Clevelandia, as he tells me about retirement, traveling around to see jam bands, and the surveillance drones that fly over the water.

where's the pictures? you might ask. Some of us don't utilize technological devices while driving... most of the time.

This has been the childhood idyll of so long, and the emotional retreat in my adulthood that there's a part of me that has a sense of innocence lost. Crass tourism is one thing, the encroachment is another. I suppose it makes people feel safe but it's just weird to me.  The sky once felt so open that we played under, there are now snakes in the water where we swam, nonpoisonous but still awkward, I read the first volume of the Gormenghast trilogy, chunks of the annotated Hobbit, Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz,travel writing about awesome places that I'll probably never get to see because they've been similarly obliterated by both commercialistic and state shenanigans.

Still, there was beauty to be found, a sense of pristineness, I guess. It rained so much that the green was easy on the eyes and abundant. We drove to a state park known for being a primo birding spot, due to its closeness to the lake and the marshy wetlands full of light pink mallow and lotuses, the tower of the nuke plant notwithstanding.
 As kids we once played on the beach and collected the pale pink shells of freshwater clams, the beach has been left to revert, no sand Zambonis or lifeguards, and underneath the menacing clouds, the tension in the green water, it had an air of wildness that I loved.
 There was a boardwalk through the swampy woods that reminded me of some rainforest with its lushness and only being able to hear the drone of insects, the sound of wind on wet leaves like rain, the solitude.

The rest of the three days was spent reading more, drinking more tea, making fires, gazing up at the stars, having a subsequent dark night of the soul, good conversations with the parents, and waking up the last morning for a sunrise perhaps not quite so epically paintlike but still beautiful.
In all honestly, I like those dark moments before the sun hits best. Sad that one can't see the sliver of crescent moon there.
That gold there is hardly done justice, but it was lovely.

Friday, August 10, 2012


A much-needed vacation in the works, spinning many plates means that getting out of the slabbe gets tres complicated, provided it doesn't rain, as it did the last two days. I'm a creature of habit, comfortably numb locked into routine, five years running now, which has led to a dogged stability that belies the weird artistic impulses and occasional roiling emotions. Or, as the archival collection on immigrants to Clevelandia described my forbears, having "plodding and persevering determination" as befitting a true Slav. A day or two feels kosher, four days in a row with a fill-in for my show something excessive and I wonder how much I've bought into this system out of habit not addiction, like the caffeine that gets my heart beating every morning enough to function.

But there's something wonderful about the swirling green waters, sitting on the breakwall, not having obligations for a small window of time, of the ritual of watching the sun rise and set and the moon burn red over the islands, of making fires, watching stars, playing guitar and reading reading reading.
I need a cleansing and refreshing, a time to get alone and ponder for more than a few minutes at a time, a time to not have to worry about what to say and how to say, to be a speck in the created order and hopefully see some shooting stars this time around.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

jan toorop

JAN TOOROP (British/Dutch/Javanese, 1858-1928)
Jan Toorop was born in Purworedjo, Java to a British mother and Dutch/Javanese father. At the age of five he moved to Banka, a small island southeast of Sumatra, and then to the Leiden in 1869. He studied as a teenager at the State Academy in Amsterdam, and then between 1882 and 1886 he lived in Brussels. 

There, he became connected with an avant-garde group of artists connected to James Ensor. After experimenting with a number of modernist styles, he eventually developed a unique, personal symbolist style which often included Javanese elements...In 1905 Toorop converted to Catholicism, and took an interest in the mysteries of Rosicrucianism, an esoteric order. 
In the later part of his career he created works inspired by the Pointillist style of Georges Seurat and also Art Nouveau. From 1920 onward Toorop was confined to a wheelchair, due to the paralysis of his left leg, devoting himself to drawings and graphics with Catholic themes. He died on March 3, 1928 in The Hague, Netherlands. 

Love this guy's art, the fascist politics (he was a fan of Mussolini) not so much. But Kahlo was a fan of Stalin, and it'd be unfair to write off this work based on that. 

where o Death is your victory?
the three brides
the vagabonds
Le retour sur soi-même
  the prayer

beside the water

Attempts to get the heck out of Clevelandia for a couple days scuttled by epic rainstorms, I woke up late and ran out the door into the rain for more of the daily grind and the Elixir of St. Drogo that makes such things bearable. Not much to do when it's pouring. I had no creative impulses to indulge and this song was on the tape deck which always makes me smile.

Dinner with the parents last night, my homie of the east side along for the ride, knowing more of what the frenchish terms were on the menu than us, much laughter ensued over various and sundry, the little guy was moody, but good times were had by all, I think.

We all parted ways and the two of us headed down to the park where we sat on the glider facing the dark water of the lake and watched spiders spin webs above our heads on the frame. He wants to move someday, he always has, and I don't blame him, either down south or northwest where there's relatives and places to go hiking in the woods and less people who do crazy things.

Fireworks are being shot off downtown so we watch them for awhile, with the reverberations coming lately to the shore below, and then we walk back through the trees, hang out on the playground and swing, it's been forever since I've swung on the playground, but it's a perfect cool and clear night, the kind I live for in the summer and I'm glad I get to spend it out here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

best of the blotter updated: first world problems, thinking of The Children, and groundhogs

 CRIMINAL DAMAGING, TALLY HO: A man reported his son was breaking items inside their home. He threw a crock pot through a wall and damaged a stool. The son was mad because one of his silk shirts was not properly laundered.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, PEARL ROAD: A Dunkin’ Donuts employee called police around 9:30 p.m. Aug. 3 when they noticed four teenagers were hiding by the dumpster behind the restaurant.
Turns out a young, romantic, Brunswick man had put flowers on his girlfriend’s car. He was hiding to surprise her.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, NIAGARA DRIVE: A woman called police after she and her friends had gotten a cab ride home at 1:30 a.m. Aug. 4, and the cab driver refused to leave and was banging on their door. While police were responding, the woman called back to say the driver had left. She said they paid their fare, and the man was acting strange.
Police contacted the man, who admitted to driving the girls, but refused to give his name and referred to himself as “Cleveland Johnny.”

LOITERING, PEARL ROAD: More fast food drama, as employees at Wendy’s were nervous about the “20-25 teens hanging around the parking lot” around 11 p.m. Aug. 1.
An officer spoke to one of the teens, who said the other adults and some juveniles were just eating Frosties.
While speaking to officers, an employee came out and yelled at the man for leaning on her car.

SUSPICIOUS, HILL DRIVE: A sword-carrying man walking down the road with his mother 10:42 p.m. Aug. 2 was spotted by an officer on patrol.
The man, 24, who lives on the street, was carrying the 3-foot sword upright, with it resting on his shoulder.
When the police car pulled along side of the man he threw the weapon in a resident’s lawn.
The man, 24, said he had the sword in case coyotes attacked them.
He was told he was carrying it in an unsafe manner and he was advised to take it home before continuing his walk.
GROUNDHOGS, WEST SMITH: A resident spoke with police July 16 about a neighbor that was feeding groundhogs in the area. An officer told the accuser that it was not illegal to feed groundhogs.

THEFT, YORK ROAD FIELDS: Two vehicles parked at York Road Fields the evening of July 16 were targets of thieves.The owner of a Ford Escape found a back window smashed. Missing was a bag containing a hat, wipes, an umbrella and tissues.The owner of a Lincoln Navigator found the passenger side window smashed. Missing was a pink first aid kit that resembled a purse.

SUSPICION, CEDAR ROAD: The assistant manager at The Children’s Place found a box of bullets in a shipment of clothing July 20. The ammunition was turned over to police.

DISTURBANCE, COOK AVENUE: Police were told of a possible fight at Zellers Elementary School around 2 p.m. July 24, involving three kids. Turns out the kids were friends, and were doing their best chiropractor imitation by trying to crack one’s back.

NOISE DISTURBANCE, PEARL ROAD: Police responded to a complaint of loud music and fireworks near the Strongsville VFW Hall around 9:30 p.m. July 28. When officers arrived, they found an "extremely loud" 70th birthday party in full swing. The homeowner was advised if the police had to return he would be ticketed.

So '70s
Police were called to McDonald's about 7:50 p.m. Aug. 1 about a group of boys throwing a guitar around in the parking lot and in the bank next door.
Officers questioned one teen, who said he just wanted to smash an old guitar.
Police made him clean up all the mess.

I want a potato! — Stow Police arrested a 28-year-old man on July 24 because he was furious about being denied a baked potato. He was at Wendy's around 9 p.m. and became irate when an employee told him the restaurant was out of potatoes. He began shouting profanities, prompting the staff to call police.
He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.