Friday, November 30, 2012

folked up

So I've been talking to the former bandmate of some friends who wants to do a side project, and given my familiarity with both heavier tuneage and the folk music instilled at a young age by my parents and because he's a good guy, I said I'd be up for jamming but upon talking about what that kind of mashup would entail, it seems we've got some very different visions of how that would play out.

In theory, I should be all about folk-punk or folk-metal but in general it really does nothing for me since it seems to combine the worst offending elements of both genres in question to make something even worse. Or maybe I just don't drink enough for it to sound good, because both seem to be the soundtrack for people who want to get drunk and in touch with their inner primitive European or something. No offense to my fellow crackers meant, of course, but why does everything have to sound all chug-chug-oompah or as cornball as Celtic Woman meets Manowar?

 And the thing is, there's modern stuff that does take older elements and does it well, or at least in a more meditative minor-key way that hits me in the gut way more. I guess I can't say that people aren't taking old songs and old texts and adding to them, the prevailing trends just don't do it for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


If I could have gotten away with keeping the drums I would have, and judging from the chaos of my landlady's basement, maybe I could have, but my first memory of visceral musical pleasure as a kid came from my dad's John McCutcheon hammer dulcimer records. Something about those cascades of sound hit me in a good way (my other early childhood musical memories involve being creeped out by "Riders on the Storm," hating the song "Kokomo" after hearing it on the muzak at Marc's, and liking Creedence), and while I didn't quite get into music until much later in life, there was something I always liked about that instrument.

My dad's cousin played one and let me try it, and now that the student loans are paid off, I started trolling Craigslist for one that wasn't in some Ohiostan middle-of-nowhere locale and didn't cost a ton of money and ended up carrying home a very large one from the suburb next door. The guy I bought it from put me in touch with a friend of his who teaches, and last night I returned to the beloved homeland of Parmastan in search of him at a Ukrainian cultural center I didn't even know existed, nestled behind a small cathedral with a Holodomor memorial in front in the "Ukrainian Village" along State.

I walk in feeling all mutty with my mixed-Catholic heritage of Irish and Polish now somewhat lapsed, there are kids folkdancing in the hall, a bulletin board advertises church goings-on, as well as lessons in the mother tongue and the bandura, and a nice lady directs me up the stairs past paintings of saints and photos of bearded patriarchs. where it's not so much generalized "certain ethnic" as a very specific thing and I wonder if I'll be outed as a curious poser when I sit down in a just-vacated classroom upstairs.

He plays in a local ethnic music ensemble (clip below) and says he can give me lessons, that he knows the Eastern European tradition the best (I had no clue there are several ways to tune my new instrument, no clue about anything really) and what do I want to learn and I don't know how to explain "I just want to sound good and I find things like Dead Can Dance way inspiring" and I feel like I've just tumbled down some beautiful sonic rabbit hole when I watch him play the cimbalom that makes what I have look like a child's toy.

Every year I try to learn something new, and this is what it looks like it will be, and the slide into eccentricity continues.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Filled in on a homie's metal show, despite aspersions cast upon yours trvely's hesher credentials, I got a lot of phone calls wanting to know more about said jams, some of which have graced the airwaves prior due to their general rockitude and since no one else plays this stuff and I love giving my fellow lady-doomsters airtime. Played requested Testament and St. Vitus, doomed it up for the most part. It's archived til Wednesday here. 
Spent Thanksgiving morning with some friends I haven't seen since matrimony, drinking coffee and walking beneath trees still yellow in this late November. A good amount of cousins and relatives came in, and feasting was done, everything else too delicious to bother with turkey. 

Black Friday consumerism involved acquiring a new (but used and very cheap) turntable at the Best Record Store Ever and then hanging out at the station for open house dispensing college radio swag and hanging out with good folk and indulgence in reminisces of the Parmastani kind, lunch with my aunt, and then downtown to meet up with the Queen of the Bondo for Nostalgia Today (whatever that means) holiday festivities courtesy of the City of Clevelandia. 

It was more crowded down there than I ever remember it being, and while one could say that downtown for at least one weekend night feels "alive" again, it felt more Potterville than It's a Wonderful Life to me. Everything felt so made-in-China and consumer rat race. The LED lights had no warmth, the music was free of any meaning besides Santa and presents and sugar-plum fairies and not even The Nutcracker,  just that business of synthesizers and panpipes. It reminded me of why every year I spiritual detox and go to midnight mass if only to sit somewhere dark and quiet so that I can ponder the spiritual significance lost in the maelstrom. 

Still, it was not without entertainment if only for the trashy absurdity that is 21st century America in a dying city. 
 Some of my older friends don't believe that Bronies exist. This, and the accompanying fitted baseball caps and plush blankets also sold at the record store (who the hell shops here anymore?) seem to prove otherwise. I also realized how out of touch I am with pop culture, videogame, and boyband references, such arcana is not so much in my interest I guess, and I'm around less teenagers and little kids than I once was. Also, the phrase "Cray Cray" to describe craaaazy needs to die right now. Other dregs from the pop culture morass below:
Seriously, the photo from the store above is simply called GLITTER and is full of general dollar bling tackiness.Came home, did some tea and reading, went to the art museum for my birthday, looked at cool ancient stuff, went out for dinner with the folks and returned here for the daily grind. There was some exhibit of Peruvian coastal ancient art that included these super heavy-looking plugs for one's lobes. 

Somehow all that well-restedness turns into the usual need for caffeine and lighthearted crankiness that we've grown so used to. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

someone also has a birthday.

One of my Favorite Singers Ever and I share a birthdate. A love of the 90's Big Four from Seattle inevitably led to explorations of the secondary sounds of the time and place and the Screaming trees have held up better than some.. There are other good bands from that era but something about that voice that's only gained in gravitas and gravel over the years. Others prefer Nick Cave or Tom Waits for those melancholic moods associated with hard drinking and general curmudgeonliness but this is where I find it.

The Screaming Trees were my entry band, dinged-up library copies of Sweet Oblivion and Dust. I'm assuming they never got as big due to not being as poster-boy-ready as the heavier hitters, but ten years past my late teens, I'm still listening to these, the comforting chord progressions, the misanthropic psychedelia, and lapsed Catholicism striking a deep chord that only continues to reverberate.

Last year's odds and sods comp was welcome for its additional tuneage and I have yet to figure out if anyone else besides me and Randal cares that it's floating around. Thankfully the Best Record Store Ever had a hard copy so I didn't have to resort to the evil that is itunes.
In the meantime, there were the collaborations, with Queens of the Stone Age, with Brits doing electronica.

The Soulsavers rekindled the love of that voice once again and on their jaunt through the States, I caught them at the Grog Shop, standing there a few feet away as we collectively swooned to the depth of that voice, and the corroding guitar courtesy of Spiritualized alumni.
Revival made it onto every mix CD for a few years. It still melts me. Kingdom of Rain led me back to the solo albums I ignored for so long as they weren't grungy enough for my teenage ears.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

best of the blotter: calculators, pizza, and pregnant men

Employees at Ann Taylor at SouthPark Mall called security Oct. 16 when a man came into the store claiming to be pregnant with triplets.
A report said the man was wearing earrings and carrying a pink backpack and black purse.
Employees called security, who asked the man to leave, then escorted him out.

Not So Suspicious
A Greenbrier Drive resident reported receiving a package in the mail containing a threatening note and a piece of jewelry.
Police found no threatening note and a pretty good explanation for the package -- the resident's daughter had ordered a bracelet.

Time to start a fire
On Oct. 16, a pair of teenage girls decided it was time to round up several election yard signs and set them on fire in the 2000 block of 3rd Street. They probably would’ve gotten away with the junior caper, but one of the girls decided her front yard was the best place to incinerate the signs. Both were cited for criminal mischief and released.

PETTY THEFT, BIDDULPH ROAD: A Cleveland man, 44, was arrested for petty theft at Giant Eagle Oct. 18. He tried to hide three cans of beer, two corned beef briskets, one pumpkin roll and four containers of pickling spices in a bag and in his jacket. The total value of the merchandise is $77.
He told the arresting officers he was trying to steal some dinner and “beer goes with corned beef.”

NOISE DISTURBANCE, ROYALTON ROAD: The excessive sounds of sawing or a dog wheezing in and adjacent apartment prompted a resident to call police at approximately 8 p.m. Oct. 27. The man also said his neighbor’s TV was too loud.
Officers went to the apartment and found the noise was actually the neighbor snoring. The caller was advised there’s nothing he could do.

MISCHIEF, PEARL ROAD: A man has had 53 political signs stolen from his yard and raw meat thrown into his yard during the last few weeks, and he told police at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 2 that someone had stuffed rocks into the exhaust pipe on his car.
The man said he would be installing video cameras.

SUSPICIOUS CONDITION, DETROIT ROAD: A woman said someone had placed a box on her car and she was concerned about what was in it. Baby shoes were found in the box on Nov. 3.

COMPLAINT, LAKE AVENUE: A man called police to say that it was suspicious that a passing driver said “trick-or-treat” at him Nov. 4.

Welfare Check
Passersby asked police to check on a man with long curly hair and a backpack walking on Webster Road about 10 a.m. Nov. 9 after he fell to a sitting position.
An officer took the man to Albion Road, where he planned to walk home. He just likes to walk around, a report said.

A man told Shaker Heights police in the early morning hours of Nov. 10 that while babysitting a young child on Sydenham Road, he was the victim of a home invasion in which he was robbed of $280 in cash, his cell phone and vehicle. Two cordless phones were also taken from the home.
He later recanted, telling police he had in fact arranged for multiple female “escorts” to visit the home. The women physically assaulted him before robbing him and fleeing in his vehicle, he said. Police have yet to confirm his story.
The child was not reported injured during the incident.

FELONY SHOPLIFTING, SOUTHPARK CENTER: Office Max called police after someone stole $1,000 worth of Texas Instruments calculators at approximately12:30 p.m. Nov. 13. The store has the suspect on video, and the case is still under investigation. 

WELFARE CHECK, BOSTON ROAD: Strongsville police dispatchers received a glowing 9-1-1 call at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 from a 4-year-old girl, who called just to say she "loved policemen and wanted to give one a hug."
When asked where her parents were, the child said her mother was at work and then hung up. Officers called back twice and got a voicemail message. Officers checked the home and the girl was with her father.
No word on if the caller got to give the officer a hug.

Pizza frustrations — Mentor Police learned Friday that a trashed hotel room was the result of a frustrated man who could not get any pizza.
Daniel DiFranco of Willoughby is accused of causing more than $5,000 worth of damage to a room at America's Best Value Hotel. Mentor Police Lt. Ken Zbiegien said two or three inches of standing water was in the room, along with a disassembled bed and holes in the wall.

sleep can wait

Overdosing on good hangingoutness... returning to the art studio on Friday night to attempt to throw pots less suckily, plans to watch falling stars scuttled by fatigue, reunion with Kentinistas involving much food and revelry and sitting next to the fire pit. Family functions, dinner with good people, travels provided for thanks to generous folk with frequent flyer miles to burn, travels pondered and my passport application on its way to some bureaucrat's desk, showing up late for movie night to chortle and pick out a new turntable.

  Filling in on la estacion tonight for a homie's metal show, which inevitably leads to she plays what? Shocking that one can indeed be eclectic in one's sonic palate without saying "I listen to everything" in the sense that music is background noise rather than something that moves you. It's funny when one digs into a genre and there are so many permutations and threads that technically fall under the same umbrella and sound completely different from each other.

And tomorrow... sleeping in, cooking, hanging out with cousins and the relatives whose company I enjoy, avoiding Black Friday like the plague, hopefully doing some adventuring of some kind.

Friday, November 16, 2012

artus scheiner

Some of these owe Dulac big-time but that doesn't mean these renderings of fairy tales, Shakespeare, and sundry ancient mythology and Czech epic aren't beautiful or imbued with a style all their own... Thanks 50watts!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

stanislaw wyspanski

Author, playwright, artist, designer, wish I could do at least one of those well enough to be somewhat memorable.

mikhail nesterov

I know there's a lot of church/state issues involving the Russian Orthodox Church (it's not like European Catholicism was any kinder or gentler in another time either), but damn if the art isn't beautiful.

Mikhail Nesterov, muralist, painter of portraits, landscapes, and icons.


The car is 3/4s done, these Clevelandia roads take a toll on frames and inner parts, I got it back from the mechanic, walked the Jungle Puppy, fed the cats, scrounged together some leftovers, called a friend to talk about possibly starting to go to Al-Anon to figure out how to deal with the drunks in my life, and drove out to the east side to get my drone on.

Got a cup of coffee near closing time, drank it outside, ended up talking to Dylan (generally I don't seek out the band, but he was out there, a few others were, and it coalesced naturally) with a couple of college radio people from the community college in the next county over, and found out there were mutual friends, because this world up here is so very small. We made the requisite black metal jokes, discussed the might of the Melvins, and talked radio business about the FCC.

The first opener was half the headliner playing chilled out bass and mellotron jazzness, Eagle Twin was heavy and more compelling live than on online clips, oodles guitar hero riffage, propulsive drumming, and lyrics referencing a whole lot of literature that made for a satisfying set.

Earth is a slow-burning thing, watching the interplay of keyboard/trombone, basslines and ringing chords, and the deliberate drumming (sadly no cello this time, probably would have dissolved into emotional sappitude if it was there). Reflective Powers have led to earplug wearing which was good because everything was loud, and clear even through the foam. By the end of the night I was sleepy and lost in the sounds, resting my tired legs on a chair in the corner since most people in this town work early and were starting to disperse.

Maybe it's the socialness that nicotine engenders, the small turnout, or something in the crisp November air, but despite the introverted music, it was a friendly crowd, or maybe I was more social because I was there alone and so were others who drove from other rusty environs to congregate in the meditative sounds, but people were mingling and talking in ways that I don't always see at shows. I don't have the idealistic view of music bringing people together, but there was something nice about watching some good tunes with some nice folks that felt really good in the middle of a long week...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Too much caffeine, too little nutrition, and the melancholic weighs heavy, I'm told I should smile and be more engaging today, and usually I am, but patience for horny undergrads and creepy old dudes is already thin and wearing thinner, I don't want to talk anymore than I have to, graciousness so often gets misconstrued as flirtation, see what you want to see, don't we all. This everpresent effervescent smile is nothing special, it's just kind of there at this point. I zoned out through class, did some mindless copy-pastework, the fatigue and the winter in my bones sets in.

Eleven days til twenty-nine. My aunt calls me to tell me that she's having a birthday party for my cousin and asks what I'm doing for my "big day" and I say nothing, because that's generally what it is. My cousin's turning 13 this week and still seems so young. She's awkward the way I was at her age and I wonder if her middle school years will be as hellish as mine, especially since there's some uprooting and sadness already there, the prototypical American crashdown dreams of foreclosures and lost soulness in the fabric of her daily life. Last night I reassured a friend of mine that she's not the only one dealing with the confusion of social interactions and relationships and I  step away and feel like I'm still muddling through just as directionless as ever being ten years her senior. I still don't know how to speak love and truth into the worlds of my loved ones.

Hopefully I'm not broke tonight when I pick up the car, and I'm going to go and get cathartic to Dylan Carlson's drone, it's the kind of music that one can be alone to, that hits me in the gut and brings the catharsis. I crave that right now, to keen to the cello and the ringing out of guitar tones, the slow unfurling. There is always time to sleep, these halfhearted dreams can be deferred another year.

automotive incinerate

 Despite a stolen gas cap and general frustrations of the vehicular kind, it could be much worse, given that much of my life is situated within busline and walking distance as it is. One of my wonderful neighbors gave me a ride to the radio station at 4:30 in the morning so I could beg people for money and lo and behold someone was kind enough to bequeath. A couple hours of answering phones, listening to lurid tales of Illuminati Hanna-Barbera-Sugary-Cereal conspiracy theories from callers to the show after mine, and then waiting forever to catch a non-rush-hour wheelie bus back to the best side to meet up with the sister and nephew for sundry hanging out.

The place I dropped my car off to get it checked out wanted a bit too much, so I picked it up and took it to my usual spot where the Lebanese mechanic and I are on a first-name basis at this point because the car has been giving me more and more trouble as it ages. I bring the Jungle Puppy I'm petsitting up with me for a car ride and we walk back through the darkening west side streets under papery flakes of snow.

Having a dog beside me, even a small Anubis-looking one, evidently makes one immune on the city streets from the hollers and the propositions out of car windows and shadowy figures on the street after sunset, which was one of the reasons why I moved out of the Almost-Hood. Not having the time to be a good canine owner, and enjoying the pleasure of after-work flaneur as the streetlights come on and the sky darkens is a dubious gamble for a solitary slim female on streets with not nearly enough streetlights and general pedestrians.

There was one time in conversation with a friend where I likened having a car in the city as having a tank in a warzone not because it's oh-so-dangerous in Clevelandia, but it's a conveyance used over short distances in less savory times of day to get from Point A to Point B with a minimum of anxiety. This, and the general fortress mentality of former residence in the Almost-Hood drove me a little bit crazy, because I hated feeling that I couldn't walk around the corner to visit friends and had to drive there because the unlit streets populated by a few too many outpatients from the mental facilities one block over and people high or otherwise strung out on one substance or another looking for a fight or an easy victim, or the violating feeling of getting propositioned by a lech in a big car every time you leave the house alone, even if you're walking out of church or carrying bags of groceries.

My feet were cold when I got to the house I'm staying at, the dog curled up on the couch waiting for me. I made tea, and read this excellent book before getting picked up by one of my station homies for cinematic excursions and such. It's a bit frustrating to get around, but still, these nights when the pace slows down, sometimes it doesn't seem all bad.

Monday, November 12, 2012

out of the blue into the black

Hopefully the place doesn't fall apart when the capable hands are gallivanting. Quality sister-time, automotive analytics, maybe some cinematic greatness in the even-time.

 Oh yeah, it's Neil Young's birthday. Neil Young reminds me of roadtrips and driving around with my dad and foisting "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere" and "Rust Never Sleeps" on my friends in high school.I love that he just doesn't care what you think and does whatever the hell he wants.

you can't understand a user's mind...

So this whole addiction thing, this crippling thing, this exasperating thing. I'm told you just don't understand  and I don't, and maybe that's judgmental of me, because I don't have these problems. I get depressed and stuff too, but I've tried to hurt as few people as humanly possible and found better ways to deal than shopping and drinking? Not everyone pulls their life together, there's some degree of luck of the draw and some degree of using what resources you do have and I just don't have an answer besides "I just can't talk about this anymore" because I'm sick of enabling and excuses.

And I'm wearing thin on empathy, dear God I don't have the love and patience that I wish I did. It's not that I don't care, I don't know how to love, when to let things slide, when to call them out. I can't imagine being the parent of this, when it's hard enough to be an older sister and seeing people who could be so much more lose this battle either dry drunk or reclusive, seeing her go down that road and slipping away further. Maybe part of the anger is the helplessness and then the visceral reaction to the profound self-absorption and the sociopathy. I struggle sometimes with my love of music made by addicts, because I get the feeling that the others in their world who didn't perpetuate hurt like this too.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

the best-laid plans

Getting new winter tires turned into a debacle of sorts as I got my car back all rattling and roaring in ways that it wasn't before. Some might sneer at my love of my vehicle, but this money pit has been the source of some degree of social life for yours truly that would have been made much more complicated by can you pick me up? I can help friends move, and go see bands, and venture out to places unknown, and get from one end of Clevelandia to another when it's not shaking away.

One of my homies celebrates his 30th tonight, and I wish I could be there to laugh at him and congratulate him for living longer than Cobain and Morrison, and hang out in the outer boonie eastern burbs, but I fear driving alone out there with such a dubious ride and don't want to be calling for help off some godforsaken exurb road. .

All was not lost as a previous roommate and his friends called me up and we met at the lovely West Side Market, now a foodie mecca and a mess of traffic, but despite my grousing, I'm glad to see people there rather than not. Took the train down and we bought sundry goodnesses of produce and the men cooked in the kitchen and me and the girlfriends sat in the living room talking politics and history, generating much mutual snark of the sexes.

I cook mostly vegan for myself for economic and ew-raw-meat reasons, but cannot refuse such goodness as homemade stew of fresh vegetables and meat, succulent in beer and homemade stock, roasted corn and pumpkin gnocchi, blackberries and cream, we toast to friendship and his dead bassett hound,  wine gave way to mead, a bottle of dizzying fire-honey which was emptied between the seven of us and stories are told, and laughter is great, and we're all suddenly sleepy, the internet at the bibliotheque provides no great insights into automotive matters, too many creeps up here anyway. It'll be an early night, but it was such a beautiful day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thinking of The Children

I didn't like most kids' shows even when I was a kid because I thought most of them were stupid, especially the more didactic ones. Looking back with the eye of a cultural X-er, I realize my dislike wasn't completely unfounded and these things were indeed stupid and somewhat creepy.

Black and white aesthetic, confused depressives in a cold universe? No wonder a generation of young Norwegians raised on Pompel Og Pilt grew up to kill themselves, murder their bandmates and burn down churches (I'm kidding Randal). WFMU's excellent blog has more clips including a creepy baby and other delights.

Still, this is nothing compared to Jihad Bunny, complete with plastic key to paradise, because why grow up and do something good for the world or break the cycle of hate if you can die for Allah? Seriously, this is so creepy and evil I almost didn't post it, and it's hard to laugh at such blatant death-mongering to vulnerable kids. Spoiler: Jihad Bunny ends up getting bombed and replaced by Jihad Teddy Bear, 

Far more benevolent is Odisea Burbujas, which as far as I can tell is some Mexican lovechild of HR Puffnstuf and Captain Planet, described here as "a do-gooder scientist and his motley crew of animal friends who fly around in a solar-powered spaceship (made out of an LP, a teacup, and a straw), fighting the evil polluter, Ecoloco..."

 Along similar lines, but not embeddable is the Japanese straungeness of Kure Kure Takora, about an octopus and peanut in love with a walrus. Surrealness abounds.

And then this discovery of the morning, thanks to the Turkmen Golden Age site, full of tidbits about amazing horses, festivals of healing melons, and UNICEF/State-sponsored puppet shows like the one below. Not only does it look like it was filmed in a Parmastan kitchen in 1975, there are also creepy Gonzo-looking germ monsters, and multiple song-and-dance routines to kiddified folk music. Nice to know that the spare change The Kids collect on Halloween to give third world villages fresh water and food goes to such a worthy cause.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

keep your eyes open

I've felt like voting was a meaningless process, but the Kafkaesque absurdity of "no you're not in here" even though I voted here six months ago and updated my information then didn't mean anything, and I don't like the people at my polling station at all because they're not all that bright and kind of mean and I wouldn't have put it past them to pull some shenanigans since last time they wouldn't let me take a non-partisan ballot (faced with lesser of two evils, I opted for the gooper one back when people I still liked a little were in the running) so it wouldn't have shocked me if my provisional ended up in electoral purgatory.

It was kind of hectic in there, hard to find an extra booth, texting the Queen of the Bondo in frustration as I get sent from one line to another, and a lady behind me, seeing my plight, tells me it's better to get pissed off than pissed on and finds me some lawyer guy who I guess monitors or something and while he was really nice there wasn't much he could do either. Still don't understand why I needed both an ID and a piece of mail, and why they hire a lot of lousy people, though maybe I should cut slack because that has to be a long day of dealing with goofballs too.

So my provisional ballot didn't count, I voted for the guy who wasn't Mandel (because he didn't seem all that great) nor Brown (I don't care how progressive you claim to be, urging the prez to attack Iran and voting yes on NDAA is kind of jerkfaced), neither of the two main presidential candidates. My vote for the third party probably didn't count, and there were things that BDR links to that make me feel less bad about that. 

I guess I care way more about what someone does than what they say, and lipservice means little to me no matter who or what. I've been shooting emails back and forth with a friend coming to similar conclusions along the political/religion continua in Bachmannland, where we've been exasperated with the passes given to Certain People by progressives, and also to Republicans by their base just because they say they love Jesus.

But anyway, people today have been jerks, but that doesn't mean I need to spread the jerkitude around anymore than it already is. I hang out with the people in my world who still have hearts, souls, brains, and guts, and while I don't always agree with them, they've made my world brighter, vaster, and more beautiful, and I'm glad they put up with me too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

some stupid tomorrow.

Political this and that everywhere, there are things I want to say that won't do much good. I'll let the music do the talking tomorrow morning, something along these lines, reprising some old ones, compiling a playlist for tomorrow morning. Suggestions between now and then welcomed via email, friends.