Monday, December 30, 2013


so there was dogsitting and holidays, and the infinite social dynamics of interactions various and sundry. We've pretty much stopped doing gifts for each other which is fine and much easier. I've been catching up with old friends and new, drinking too much coffee and pots of tea because my apartment's really cold and I'm layering grungy even more than usual, cleaning out the drawers and listening to music extra loud because the landlady's gone again.

I played music with some fellow Clevelandians at their place on the east side, felt so out of practice but it sounded decent, funny how suddenly these things are opening up right and left and being an unknown factor is a good rather than a bad, played two hours of Lemmy-related material on the airwaves on Christmas Eve, and caught up with friends I don't see enough, and got some much-needed solitude and reordering of the living space.

This time of sleeping in and not having to be somewhere every morning is making me spoiled and I don't know why I feel so tired nonetheless. Maybe that's what relaxed feels like and I haven't been there in awhile.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

now it's over and I'm coming home

so I've been back almost a week from Californistan. It's amazing how fifteen years go by and yet there's some people that you reconnect with instantly. I haven't seen the girls since they were preschoolers and by the end of the five days I felt like I had younger cousins or somesuch because we got along so well.

They picked me up at the airport where the warmth felt almost unreal on my Decembered skin, and we got Mexican food and then drove to Los Angeles (how weird is it to have the girls you used to babysit driving you through one of the biggest cities in the country while rocking out to Bikini Kill?) where we had a heck of a time finding parking in Hollywood and watched their cousin's one-woman show that was really, really good and then stayed at her house in Santa Monica where I promptly fell asleep given my body being accustomed to a different time zone.

Her cousin cooked us amazing breakfast and then we walked down through Santa Monica, which I fell in love with, with its beautiful pastel buildings, palm trees, and flowers everywhere even though I know I couldn't afford to live there, and I finally got to dip my feet in the cold Pacific ocean and we walked around eating fresh mandarin oranges and pomegranates which were a whole new kind of delicious before driving back inland, making a stop at the Cabazon dinosaurs for giggling tourist trap purposes.

We went to Joshua Tree the next day, and while I would have loved to get up there earlier than we did, it was incredible to see, those iconic trees, the rocks everywhere that are a completely different landscape, the cactus garden beneath the sunset sky, with the moon rising over the mountains on the other side. We were only here about four hours but I could spend four days here. We drove back through the dark mountains with the luminous moon as jackrabbits darted across the road and I felt damn near euphoric surrounded by all this stark beauty. This was the soundtrack theme for pretty much the entire trip.

The next morning we took awhile to wake up but me and the oldest went out to Whitewater to hike around because I am a Kyuss fangirl and wanted to see the landscape documented in one of my favorite songs. Of course it was desolate and beautiful, with the mountains rising up on either side, the stream running through, the scrubby terrain and the dead century plants. Of course I could have spent longer here too. I don't know why this landscape has such a hold on me even though I could only live near lots of water.
The last day we spent in downtown Palm Springs before heading to the airport and I understand Coupland's generational rage so much more after seeing a town full of rich retirees spending their childrens' inheritance on $20 salads, golf courses in the desert, crystal healings, and cubic zirconia pins spelling out titles like "Queen Bitch" "Pageant Mom," and "Cosmetics Lady." Most of the women had obviously gone through Botox injections and various plastic surgeries and it's surreal to see this other part of America that's so different from your hometown where people eat lots of stick-to-yer-ribs food and it shows.

The plane ride back was full of golf guys coming from some convention, I was still happy to be home even though it was cold and icy, because the hearts in my city are still warm. My body still hasn't adjusted to the time change, my holidays went by in a blur, but now there's a week off and possible new musical opportunities on the horizon with some friends who dig Bad Brains and Faith No More, and the snow makes all things quiet and beautiful. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

a slacker's guide to the year's tunes

Very few full-length albums thanks to my lack of Internet connection and trips to Ye Olde Publick Bibliotheque for new tunes and the glut of milquetoast indie "rock" at the radio station. I listened to a lot of previous-year stuff this year, like I always do, but here's some new things I dug.

Subrosa: More Constant Than the Gods

dude. How do I even start with this, or, as I attempt to explain the other night at a party after two drinks, "Uh, well it's like uh PJ Harvey doing doom metal like uh something really heavy but like estrogen heavy not testosterone heavy and uh violins like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and uh they're from Salt Lake City and yeah uh some of the band members are Mormon or something and uh, it really is the best album I've heard this year."  Political, emotional, those damn beautiful violins and harmonies and deep sorrow and long songs and pretty much when people call my show going "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT IT SOUNDED AMAZING" it's usually this band. Even if you don't like metal, give this a listen.

Throwing Muses : Purgatory/Paradise
I still need to actually pick this up, and given its two-album, bits-and-pieces structure it's not quite that solid halfblast of awesome sugary grungy fury like the 2003 reunion, but Kristin can't seem to put out a bad album, and there's a lot of awesome on here, as her voice gets lower and the catharsis hits in different places. 

Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - Black Pudding
I didn't bother with Lanegan's album of standards because standards are boring, but this is a good chill bluesy late night record, good and sparse with that voice and that acoustic guitar.

Palms - (self-titled)
So the Deftones came out with White Pony when I was in high school and the lyrics were creepy and they were one of the few of that batch of late-90's nu-metal bands that had a little more going on with their washes of shoegazey crunch and Moreno's high sweet croon, and I've always loved the sonics of Isis even if the vocals weren't so much my thing. I wish this record had a little more crunch but it's a beautiful listen.
Ummm... and this is where I have to admit I haven't been listening to a ton of new shtuff.

  I really like this song on this album, never got huge into Russian Circles or Chelsea Wolfe more from neglect than anything else but this is gorgeous. I'll have to listen to the whole thing, just haven't yet.
Also, we got the new Superchunk, which on initial listen, is pretty punky and solid for a bunch of older indie folks. I remember when some friends went to see the Getup Kids when I was in high school and they were talking about this band of "some bald dude and some girl" and it was Superchunk. I used to listen to way more of them in the college days, but this little blast of fast is close to my heart.

Also, Tomahawk, because all of the guys in this band are in bands I really like, and there's a couple cuts off here that are awesome in that curmudgeonly my-alt-rock-can-beat-up-your-alt-rock way.
Also, I haven't given the new Monster Magnet the deserved listen it requires, but it's highly recommended, a slightly more mellow but pleasantly psychy return to form.
Vista Chino, or, Kyuss sans Josh, also put out a record this year. What I've heard I liked but I should be spending more time with it too rather than constantly revisiting Welcome to Sky Valley.Also, we drove by the street they named themselves after this weekend and that was cool.

Friday, December 13, 2013

from rust to sun

I''m going to California with a banjo on my knee/with an aching in my heart/ for a few days to see some old friends and bought my dad a ticket because I suck at getting him Christmas gifts and this year I could get him something really cool. He needs it too, he's been unusually depressed which may or may not have to do with Teamster fuckery, my sister being in rehab and not wanting to talk to them, and just being older and tired and all that comes with it. I don't blame him, that rehab place is dismal, and while I've seen people strung out on heroin before, it's still devastating to watch and to see my sister there completely miserable (because it's like a culty AA nursing home and she's the only one there for booze, a soft suburban girl who's not nearly as hard-bitten as her floormates).

I haven't seen these friends of my folks for at least fifteen years. They were the most liberal of my parents' circle (he dropped out of seminary, she went to Oberlin, and I inherited a bunch of their books and Persian rugs and Ravi Shankar records when they moved), and while political arguments would come up, it was never enough to torpedo a wonderful friendship. Through the wonders of facebook I got back in touch with their dad and took them up on the annual Christmas card offer to come out and visit. 

I used to babysit their kids who are now old enough to vote. The two girls both have serious 90's nostalgia and love bands that I thought The Kids didn't care about, like Pearl Jam. I didn't know My So-Called Life was still a thing, but I guess it is. The girls are taking me to Los Angeles to see their aunt's play, and then after my dad gets in, there's plans of going hiking in Joshua Tree. It's going to be strange to be in the land of stoner rock, the first Douglas Coupland novel, and a lot of rich hippies, but it's good to see good people and get some adventure.  I could use the change of scenery because the obnoxious yuppie gentrifers are getting on my nerves and me and a friend's observation that we're hitting "the rust ceiling' here is feeling all the more acute.

So this week has been packing and sleeping and PMSing, recovering from finals week, trying to stay warm, being glad that the snow and the flu is cancelling all my plans, pretending like I don't have holiday consumeristing to do, and trying to figure out how to pack for a climate completely different from here. I plan to take loads of pictures and soak it all in for a few days.

Monday, December 9, 2013

not dead yet

so this class and the paper-writing needing to be done and all the reading I hadn't done because I was having too much fun caught up with me, hence the absence of internets commentary on various and sundry.

But the birthday was spent with my lovely folks in demure fashion, and then the next night, we got pupusas at a place on 105th and resumed cinema at the record store and I find I can't even watch campy samurai gore, preferring the more arty stylistics of Kurosawa instead, but it was good resuming the weekly ritual over dates and fruity Lebanese non-alkies. Thanksgiving was beautiful with the extended family, the babies and the cousins, and then me and band-homie drove around for awhile afterwards and ended up eating diner food and I got a lecture from the waitress about how to properly wear high heels and she seemed to be hitting on him, but it was so late and absurd I just laughed, because we're not together anyway.

I was petsitting all week for friends out of town, which afforded the chance to take long wanders around the neighborhood with the Jungle Puppy through the neighborhoods where I once lived, and the parts that I'd never walk through alone.There is so much more to see on foot and I relished the crisp mornings and the slight crunch of snow, and waking up early to go grocery shopping at the west side market before the onslaught, and sitting on the balcony eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and watching the world go by.

My neighbor and partner in crime calls me to see if I want to go down to the 'Winterfest' festivities downtown, which I know are going to be corny but it's not super-cold so we ride our bikes to the square and wander around the mall that's part flea-market-made-in-China feeling and part unaffordable corporate upscale. There is a giant cow advertising Udder Cream in the square and we watch the fireworks underneath it being shot off to Motorhead's "Run Rudolph Run," before wandering around to snark.

The whole effect was vaguely dystopian, like Brazil meets Potterville or something, an appeal to nostalgia and consumerism, tacky holiday displays, and Clevelandia's finest big shiny new toys like the bomb squad truck and the guard tower outfitted with security cameras. No, not creepy at all right? But we beat the traffic and ride back through empty streets to drink hot chocolate at the coffeeshop and listen to punk rock in his apartment.

It's strange how there can be so much beauty and revelry and then so much heartbreak at the same time, though I guess that's life, and sometimes the intensity of both only serves to highlight this. The semester's finished, the apartment is finally cleaned after really looking awful, most of the windows are plasticked over, and my class is done for good so now I can read for fun again. Never a dull moment.

Monday, November 25, 2013

49 years old today.

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.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

on the edge of 30

I've been helping my mom clean out my great-uncle's house, as he's in a nursing home and so is his daughter for reasons that are more sad, and the house needs to be sold, and I've ended up with a lot of stuff from there, including a pile of old photographs, some of which are really beautiful and from the times when life was hard because you were in the Great Depression and then sent off to fight in the Pacific and then came back to some degree of relative prosperity but domestically things didn't work out so well, when the wife wasn't all there and the daughter had disabilities that were maybe not dealt with the best.

There are photos of him doing island-hopping,  looking a little shellshocked, and then his daughter's friends from the deaf school's senior pictures where they're all wishing each other things that everyone writes in high school and I wonder if their lives turned out any better than hers and somehow this really gets to me because it's so sad.

And then one of my Kentinistas picks me up and we drive down for the annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner we all have together, or all of us who can make it, because some of our number are now saving orphans in Liberia and teaching in Japan and re-enacting the Civil war with the girlfriend and working at national parks in Alaska and Colorado, and I mingle with some friends of friends who've been similarly adopted into this circle. We've been getting together for dinners and revelry for years now, Thanksgiving feasts in college once punctuated by the "record parties" on Sunday night where the guys would experiment with tandoori chicken and grilled peaches and we'd listen to Queen and Deep Purple and the The Clash.

I realize about halfway through the night that I'm buzzed enough on one Christmas Ale and everyone else is has had way more food and drink than me and eventually it reaches the point where there's much less to say. Me and J drive home through snow that's blowing like crazy until we hit the county line, listening to old school hip-hop on satellite radio and pondering the use of the metric system as a measurement only used for drugs and guns, and maybe this is my favorite part of the night, because I'm learning all sorts of interesting stuff about banks and terrorism and we have a year's worth of stories to catch up on.

In between, I hover between feeling awesome and badass on the edge of 30 and also depressed as heck. The other night I was trying to counsel a friend through his dark nights of the soul and then I get my own the next two days and find the only thing I can do is lay down in a dark room and sleep for half an hour or so until it all goes away and get some homework done and realize that I totally melted the people I'm housesitting for's teakettle because the whistle never went off. So it goes. And goes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

on girls in bands.

so if you're into some kind of indie rock, you either play pretty good for a girl or it doesn't matter how well you play as long as you look like Zooey Deschanel or that girl from the Smashing Pumpkins and there's the possibility of romance inherent, and also you really should be going along with what the man says because he's all visionary and stuff, because his heartbreaks are the greatest and deepest and most profoundly sorrowful in the world and so are his songs and it'd really help the band if you're nice to look at and appeal to the young male demographic because even though he would describe himself as a feminist, it's completely different when he objectifies a woman as opposed to when a fratbro does it.

The ideal bandmate is not one that can play well and with whom you have musical chemistry, oh no, you want a submissive yet manic pixie dream girl with really cute hair, a well-placed facial piercing or some kind of artsy tattoo, and an urban outfitters wardrobe who is adorable and twee and won't argue with you. If you are into the heavier end of things, you want a skanky metal chick with long hair, preferably in a bustier playing keyboard or some other nonessential instrument so you don't get shown up, who has to look good even if you look like you haven't left the house in ten years and have subsisted on a diet of Doritos and videogames.

Or, you're the spouse or significant other of someone in the band. You can't just be friends. And as I think about this, there usually seems to be some kind of romantic connection between the female in the band and one of the dudes, even in totally awesome bands that I like. And if you're a single girl, if you take charge, if you don't play up your sexuality, you're probably either a total bitch or a crazy chick or you're not into dudes.

This has been my constant complaint as long as I've been a musician, that the same attitudes keep popping up no matter the genre, no matter the personalities, no matter whatever.  Maybe it's just the way it is, but I don't like the way it is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

liquid tension

Strange how a sense of detachment evolves into the existential panic. There's no way for me to be numb for too long, and I wish I could dial down the intensity at will, sometimes I am jealous of these people who can shut down their emotions and humanity and pretend that the world isn't so messed up. I explain it to someone as throwing a big giant teenage temper tantrum at God because there's things that are just so unfair, things that I just don't understand, and so on and so forth.

In the meantime, there were beautiful things... museum and pizza and chasing wild turkeys through the cemetery with a partner in crime, wandering down to the lake last night with the neighbor when there was a tornado watch, which we didn't know at the time, but we were euphoric on the beach as the wind spun leaves in spirals around us and the wind howled like it was the end of the world and the lightning was panoramic and glowing over the dark water and the transformers were exploding like fireworks on the other side of the tracks.

I wish I had my camera even though it was so dark, and the flash does it no justice.  I wish I had a kite, I get such a rush from stormy weather. Somehow we didn't get rained on until we were almost back and I dried out in his apartment, sitting on the couch in my sopping jeans, stripping off my sweater and hoodie and jacket and we talked about things various and sundry, and since we swing different ways, there's not that romantic tension, there's an ease there that I've been missing because I'm used to girl drama but boy drama is another thing entirely and we can both relate on this. there are other things afoot, but that would be oversharing and I don't know who all reads this in my big little town.

And I played a bunch of punk rock this morning

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

it doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you

Our station's doing its radiothon this week, and it's Neil Young's birthday, and had I planned better and grabbed my copy of "Live Rust" from home and not sold my copy of "The Bridge" for grocery money in college, I may have had a slightly smoother show. Still, people called in and were happy and pledged money, so yay.

Monday, November 11, 2013

inner city interlude

I drove out to the usual study spot for my cardamom-laced coffee and fix of art-schoolers and Saudis mingling in the old Italian neighborhood. I'm working on a paper and chilling out massively, booking tickets for a trip in December but then start getting text messages Saturday night from the neighbors asking if I'm okay because someone got shot in front of my house.

well. I'm okay.

The phone calls and messages keep coming, that the street is blocked off, that someone ran up my driveway, that someone got taken away in a stretcher, that the police are all over my yard. Meanwhile, studying is not going to happen, the coffeeshop's closing in ten minutes, I'm giving a friend old lady relationship advice, and I'm glad at least I'm prepared for the chaos that's going to be there when I get home.

The street is still blocked off, there is crime scene tape in my front yard, so many cop cars, one tells me that the guy who got shot is dead, that the shooter ran off, that I can't go in my back yard because there's evidence back there so I go through the front and can't do anything but pace around because this is all just too weird, and then a friend getting off work who has no idea calls me and I tell her what's going on and say I'll drive out to see her, because I've had too much coffee and I'm not going to sleep with all this going on. The irony of driving through the sketchiest parts of the east side to see her because I don't want to be around where the crack deal went bad happened in my own yard is not lost on me. 

So evidently this is how I cope with homicides in front of my house, I eat pancakes and get morbid and then talk about other things because it takes me a few days to process things. When I come home, everyone's gone, it's like nothing ever happened. I'm still a little shellshocked and numb but strangely peaceful for reasons I can't explain other than invoking spiritual things. The songs I sing on Sunday morning beating the heck out of my guitar feel more meaningful, it's grace that's brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home, this my glad commemoration that til now I've safely come... melt the clouds of sin and sadness drive the dark of doubt away... 

I go to the beach afterwards with my camera, to gather my thoughts and take pictures of blowing sand and autumn leaves and the debris that washes up on shore, driftwood and bones and shells. There's no one out but me and the windsurfers and I'm sure I look a little strange wandering around by myself taking pictures of dead things with homie's keffiyeh scarf wrapped around my face to keep out the blowing sand and the sunglasses I only use while driving. But I feel like being anonymous especially when I come home and am standing on my porch talking to the neighbor across the street and there are news crews on my tree lawn.

Since neither of us were home, we have nothing to say to them which is a relief and I go over to my parents' house for a family function where I refrain from spouting off political opinions and strangely enough, my folks aren't nearly as freaked out by this as I thought they would be. It wasn't like things didn't happen in our neighborhood either, but this is a whole other thing.

And no, I have no plans to move, no plans to buy a gun or a security system or a dog or whatever. I don't lose sleep over this. I grieve the loss of life and wish it didn't feel so necessary to have a guy friend walk me home from the bar at the end of the night. But I have neighbors who care about me, friends who offer me places to crash and listen to me process all this out. I may be vulnerable but I feel strong, because I've realized even more now that I'm not alone. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013


I know I overthink it, I overthink it all, I tell someone last night on the phone outside the coffeeshop down the street where I'm writing a paper and drinking green tea to stave off a cold. I didn't go to work yesterday, woke up too exhausted and feeling terribly for no real discernible reason, just bleh, and thinking too much about how wrong I probably am.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

of revelry and rest

A dinner out with one of the smart ladies, showing up a little lightheaded at the next party, not dressed up, late and noshing on vegan sushi and egg rolls and having absurd conversations, leaving at 2:30 in the morning, waking up at the usual time, time with the parents, time at home cleaning and attempting Halloween costume greatness, I haven't dressed up much since childhood, still feeling somehow that this holiday is for the kids and not me. An attempt at dyeing hair black to go with the rest of the ensemble left a lot of keratin in the bathroom sink and black smudges everywhere leading to it being washed out. 

What are you anyway, someone asks, and I don't know, decided to glam and goth it up I guess, ample eye makeup, black lace and black velvet, leather jacket and black angel wings. I didn't listen to the Cure all afternoon for nothing, after all. 

The Halloween party was extra-chaotic this year, given that one of my companions had a dizzy spell and needed a ride home so I had to bail out and come back, and then there were more people than there was room, and then the power went out right before the headliner played, leaving a lot of angry punkers in its wake, thankfully it didn't get too dramatic. The Dead Milkmen bravely soldiered on, leading a singalong with vocals and drums, and while it was kind of a bummer that it happened the way it did, I found it strangely magical to be watching people crowdsurf during an unplugged drunken singalong of "Punk Rock Girl."

People I knew were heading up to the bar up the street so I walked up from my house and met up with Neighbor and Homie and sundry other folks, but I was hungry, cold, and didn't want to drink so me and Neighbor walked back to my place, made pasta and taquitos and hung out til the early hours. It was the most chill I've felt all day as we laughed about our teenage anarchic flirtations and this and that and the other.

My sisters had birthdays to celebrate and I had time to kill so I wandered the woods by my parents' house a little freaked out at the friendliness of the squirrels, ducks, and deer, but the colors were beautiful and epic.

Friday, November 1, 2013

if I could throw this lifeless lifeline to the wind...

It was easy to be spouting this philosophy when you're not old enough to drink and the libations available are Natty Light and cheap wine, and then you get older, and you realize there are things you like the taste of (why hello hard cider and Irish coffee!), and you laugh when you offer to front the beer money and come out to your car to find Gorilla Biscuits and Minor Threat CDs in your console, because you have this love/hate relationship with the opiate of the masses that isn't religion.

But you saw too many girls stumble home drunk and half-dressed from fraternity row and wonder if it makes you a bad feminist for agreeing with Prudie that the ladies should be careful. Yes, men shouldn't rape, no shit, but they do, some of them, and for the last few thousand years of recorded history they have done so.

That's no excuse, but I know I saved myself a world of pain by maintaining possession of my mental faculties and sticking with the "one and done" approach unless with those I really trust. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that.

And I've lost family members to booze, seen marriages break apart, see the girls in my world messed with, seen friends struggle. I always tell people I'll bail them out if they can't make it home, designated-drive, do whatever so they can get home safely but most people don't take me up on this because they feel guilty or whatever. I beg my sister to do this because I know she drives drunk a lot but she never wants to. And last night I get my first call where someone does.  On the one hand, I'm kind of cranky, but on the other, I am glad that I can be there but hope this does not become a regular thing.

You probably hate seeing me like this... the mumble between the incoherent conversational threads alternately existential and ridiculous and I say, yeah, yeah I do, but you've seen me in bad spots so it's okay. I'm here. You're lucky I had too much coffee tonight and I was awake enough to pick up the phone and pull on some pants that weren't pajamas to drive out in the rain and hope you are where you say you are.

And I'm past the point of sugarcoating problems. I'm sick of all this. I'm sick of excuses and being complicit by being silent, I say all the things I wish I could say to any of my drunk friends, I probably say too much but know most of it won't get remembered anyway. That I feel like someone's mother, that I care and that it pisses me off and what were you doing, you know what this does to you. And by this point I don't need to yell, even though I want to scream, because we're tired, and our souls are weary, it's just I have a place to rest my own, and we hug, and I wish I could pulse healing energy into you and know it doesn't work that way, that there is only so much I can do, you can call me your savior but I can't save you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It was a weekend of photo shooting and hanging out and pretending that there was no homework to do and coming home to be introverted with a bunch of candles and incense and Arvo Part and spiritual tomes. 

The sky was so gorgeous when I got home from work that I came home and grabbed my camera, threw on some grungy clothes, and drove down to the wastelands to snap photos of graffiti and weeds and rusting bridges, coming back to help amigo move in some boxes upstairs, before one of the girls calls and wants some girl-time to ponder breakups, bogus feminism, and other matters of the heart.

That the kind of men who call themselves feminist often use their sensitivity to take advantage of women who want to believe the best, that the other girls who talk about independence and the patriarchal suckitude will still defend the indefensible behavior of their male friends because it's still "our fault," and why couldn't we save them from themselves and save ourselves too.

And Friday night I make coffee mugs, ride my bike around the west side because it's beautiful out and I'm feeling extra-invincible, and then come home to get introverted, to read books and listen to chants, drink tea, and burn incense like a damn monk-hippie.

My sister and other family members converge at my parents' house since my dad is on vacation and we talk about music, and he's bemused by my youngest sister wearing a Nirvana shirt even though she doesn't like Nirvana (I first heard "In Bloom") in the car with him, he's a fan. Why would you wear a shirt of a band you don't even like? he says, and I think of when my punk rock shirts would go missing and end up in her closet when I still lived at home.

A friend has a baby shower that I need to show up at, I'm incredibly happy for her, and even though it's a lot of estrogen in one place, these things are more fun than they used to be. My former roomie and partner in photo adventures is getting out of a wedding shower at the same time and we rejourney to our old post-industrial haunts to climb around on riverbanks and shoot photos of graffiti in ambiguous legal territory. When we get down to the tracks we realize that we're not alone, that there are two men randomly setting things on fire so we get out of there and get a meal of Salvadoran comfort food before heading home. Introversion ensues and is much-needed.

Sunday it is so beautiful outside and me and one of my neighbors drive out to "goth it up" at the cemetery, where we wander around through the Garfield monument through the graveyard, laughing about the toenails of the weeping angel being painted and gleeful at the gang of kids on dirtbikes and ATVs roaring through the Cultural Gardens and getting absurd over hot apple cider at the coffeeshop below his apartment. Homie calls me and offers dinner, and we play a little bit but we're both tired so we're spaced out on the couch talking about everything else.

the next night we end up watching some guys play Neil Young covers at a corner bar and they're quite good, I'm a sucker for Neil Young, it's hard to do it badly. We decide to go on a night hike, darkthroning that I could never do by myself but having a partner along is wonderful. I haven't done this in years, and we're listening to the owls hoot and the howls of dogs as we push our way through the dark pine forests to a gorgeous cliff overlooking the river valley. On the way down, we get lost but it's beautiful out so we're not too worried and then we end up down the hill at an intersection that we know but we're so disoriented and turned around that we start wandering one way and then the next trying to figure out how to get back to my car.

 By this time my feet are soaking and I'm debating whether or not to call anyone for directions, but he ended up thumbing us a ride, and some guy with a baby seat in his minivan and a bunch of bread in the front seat takes pity on us and gives us a ride back to the car, going into Dad-Mode about being careful about getting lost in the woods and we're so relieved to be back safe and I guess this is my first time hitchhiking,  and we're laughing over late night dinner and old country music and punk rock, pondering the wonder of occasionally compassionate human beings and the strange ways in which this world happens. I feared that adulthood would equal boredom, and it's been anything but.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

something that I said

I took some vacay time this week to get out in the sun, and we ended up out in Oberlin but got all weirded out by the Stepford-hippie vibes and feeling vaguely old among all the the neurotic rich college kids so we took a long drive through the countryside and ended up back in more familiar territory, maybe it was a waste of an afternoon because it was beautiful out and we never did get to the woods, but it felt good to get out of the Slab early for once, especially given that I'm at odds with a particular coworker who's decided that I'm at the top of her shitlist to the point where we don't work service points together anymore after this week. She says I'm crazy, but we all know she's lazy, so there's far worse dragging through the mud I've experienced than this time.

Three of us got together to play music the other night, and it sounded good and so far the new bandmate is making good to let me steer things in another direction, which is probably a good bit heavier than what he's used to and I find myself asking for less jangle and more chorus and the results are satisfying. I find I like the lower registers more, not as much of the treble, and that's a personal thing. I can see potential problems ahead despite how well it went, but I also see potential. Only time will tell, I guess. In the meantime, it's the most satisfying noise I've made in years, especially as the colder months come. And then last night I'm given a pile of Hungarian dances and Ukrainian folk music to learn and I only hope I can play it as well as he does someday.

I'm bundling up in layers of hoodies, diving underneath a pile of covers every night, crawling out to answer the phone which was ringing late thanks to my night owl people and second-shifters. One of my near and dears is moving in upstairs from me, which given our past history, (that time he put out that fire, that time he drove me home when I crashed my car, that time he confronted a guy who tried to steal my car, the time he let me bail out of an abandoned building ahead of him when we realized we weren't the only people in there, the time he came along with me to evict a crazy roommate and then helped out some deaf girl whose car broke down in the hood) makes me thankful as he's been around in the good times and the very bad.

I am too tired last night though, to have him come over, the running sleep deficit and the encroaching coldness made me surrender to turning on the thermostat, and not vacate the couch, where I've fallen asleep covered in blankets with the CD changer full of Dead Can Dance as the thunder shakes the house and I wake up hours later to the first autumn snow.

These times of the year make my soul more introverted and seeking, I read more poetry, drink more tea, journal more. I make more art, I write more, the solitude is easier to embrace on darker days.

Monday, October 21, 2013

october all over

I've realized I'm no longer that person who likes gallery walks, despite loving art and being interested in others' creativity, sometimes it seems that the same art just sits on the walls or it's either so art-school-obtuse or banal that it makes me never want to portray the Clevelandia landscape ever again or do anything remotely inspired by graffiti aesthetic. But a friend from liberry school days has a shop there where she sells vintage things and does tailoring and alterations so I hung out at her housewarming party and talked to random people, met a few acquaintances in the real world for the first time, saw friends and former roommates that I hadn't seen in awhile, and then returned home to clean the apartment and sleep for lack of creativity.

I took a Clevelandia newbie friend down to my favorite library booksale, where volumes of art books and medieval mysticism and sundry tunes were acquired. This Massive Attack b-side will probably be on a few mix compilations in the near future.

It was cold in my apartment because I'm fighting the urge to turn on the heat so I ended up heading back out in the warm car to pick up homie from work because the bus takes forever and the rain is super-cold. He bought me a coffee, made me laugh with his Vedder impersonations, and slipped me some gas money which I ended up spending on the mother lode of thrift-store records down the street from him, African roots reggae comps, old traditional Irish reels, a hefty stash of old-school country  (Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Loretta Lynn), psych (Nektar) and 80's weirdness (Talking Heads, Roxy Music, the Cure) and that first Nugent solo album which is damn good despite dude's more recent clownery. You have 27 albums here, says the checkout clerk. I don't believe it either. 

The fill-in at the radio station was good, happy listeners requesting Mars Red Sky and Meat Puppets and Karp.
And sunday morning comes, we play music, college radio compadre's been a drummer extraordinaire and it's a pleasure to lock into his drums when I'm playing bass.We get coffee and study afterwards while I try to sort through legal options for a friend in a tight spot, hang out with the little sis for a bit, and then meet up with homie for pumpkin carving with his incredibly nice neighbors and late night dinner with the roommate. It's so late I joke I don't need breakfast and it's true. I should be more tired, but I'm escaping for the afternoon for lack of work to get some darkthroning in. This October has been so beautiful.