Monday, April 29, 2013

black and white and light

I never did take a photography class in high school. I should have gotten a camera sooner than I did, and my early twenties are poorly documented, there are friends I've known for years that I have no pictures of, strange how my generation obsessively photographs everything from what they ate to important life events. The last wedding I was at was being Instagrammed in real time and being without an iPhone I know I'm still behind.

But one of my former teammates started a print room around the corner from my place of employment and had a pinhole camera workshop yesterday that I went to, where we took boxes and cans coated on the inside with black paint and festooned them with electrical tape to make makeshift shutters and to keep out the light, and it's kind of a crapshoot as to what you get, but these two came out all right, especially the top one. It's such a process, and strangely magical.

Friday, April 26, 2013

best of the blotter: creepy dudes and turkeys

SUSPICION, EDGEFIELD ROAD: A woman asked for special attention to her home April 20 after finding muddy handprints on the back door. She canceled the request after finding out the prints came from her neighbor’s 3-year-old grandson.

PETTY THEFT, BIDDULPH ROAD: A Cleveland man was charged with petty theft after he tried to steal four lobster tails at Giant Eagle April 15.
An alert clerk noticed the man leave the store. When he asked the man about the lobster tails, the man said that he put them back. Then he admitted he had them inside his jacket. Total value is $65.

Medina Police are looking for a Fugitive Turkey
An Old Farm Trail resident told Medina Police that damage had been done to his garage door by at 8:18 p.m. April 18.
Who was the vandal? Neighborhood kids? An agitated enemy? No, it was a bird. A turkey allegedly caused damage to the door, and the resident wanted to make a report.


Two women reported a suspicious man about noon on April 8.
A woman on Regency Drive was pulling out of her driveway when she was approached by a man in his mid-20s, who said he was fundraising.
When she rolled up her car window, he took off running.
Another woman who was jogging in the area told police the man started running with her, asking her to go on a date.
He didn't make any threats, but she was "creeped out" because he was too persistent.
She went to a relative's house and pounded on the door, a report said.
The man was spotted running on Shenandoah Ridge, where he told police he was trying to solicit money for a business he wanted to start.
He wasn't sure what type of business.
He said he then saw the woman jogging and wanted to get a date, so he began running with her.
Police advised him on soliciting laws and on how to get a date without creeping out the women.

Suspicious Man Has Car Full of Stuffed Animals
A dad was suspicious of a man who offered his son a stuffed animal April 17.
A report said the incident took place about 12:45 p.m. at the Marathon station on Royalton Road when a man in his 60s asked a man if his son wanted a stuffed animal.
The man saw that the back seat of the driver's car was filled with stuffed animals.
Officers couldn't find the man in the area, but gave a description of the car and driver to SouthPark Mall security officers.

You Don't Say
A passerby on Big Creek Parkway April 15 felt it was suspicious that two people were sitting on a bench, smoking a pipe, a report said.

What's Shaking?
A caller reported about 20 high school students in the parking lot outside SouthPark Mall just after midnight April 21, saying it looked like they were taping a Harlem Shuffle video.
A report said police checked the lot "and no one is shaking anything."

LAWN BATTLE, BRIAR BUSH LANE: An officer advised a pair of rival lawn care company employees who got into an argument at about 11:35 a.m. April 10.
One of the employees said he was just trying to kid around but that it went too far and then snowballed from there. Neither wanted to press charges in the matter.

STRANGE OCCURRENCES, WILSON MILLS ROAD: A woman told police on April 7 she hears outside her home’s window the sounds of a man whistling. The whistling, she said, takes place usually on weekends. Further, she noted, the whistler usually whistles the same song. 

Another Scam, But No Victim
A Fawn Meadow Trail woman told police she got a threatening call April 9 from someone claiming to be an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The man said he had a warrant for her arrest.
The DEA late last year warned about a scam in which people claiming to be DEA agents tell people they have illegally purchased drugs online.
They try to get the victims to pay a fine and if they don't, threaten to arrest them or search their property.

Turkey burglars
Westlake Police are looking for the thief (or thieves) who broke into a home on Hollywood Drive on Feb. 16 and stole jewelry and two frozen turkeys.
Neighbors told police that they saw an unfamiliar red Ford F-150 pickup truck in the driveway that afternoon.
Residents said the man and a woman who were in that truck went up to two homes in the neighborhood. At different times, they claimed to be looking for old Army buddies or a sister, police said.

Meat craving thieves crawled through the first floor window: On Feb. 28 at around 7:27 a.m., it was reported that a robbery had occurred at Smitty's Market, on Ira Avenue, between 4 p.m. – 9:08 a.m. They reported that this low-down scoundrel forced open a first floor window of the closed business and that he had crawled in and stole a bunch of meat, pecans and other stuff. The cops are on the lookout for this hungry rascal and if you know something say something and call Crime Stoppers to get this greedy dog off the streets.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

winding down

I don't do public speaking well, nearly failed a class at it at Kent, being an art student covered in plaster dust wearing my dad's old green national guard pants and any number of strange thrift-store t-shirts back when such thing weren't on etsy, I only passed the class due to the midterm and the final which were written. I rule at tests, but suck at talking in front of intimidating people, and most of these students showed up in suits with powerpoints on their laptops, while yours truly owned neither of those things.

But this wasn't so bad, in part because there were eight people and not many were paying attention, and since no one in there's going to be a future corporate bot, it wasn't too intimidating, especially since I could stay seated and not sway back and forth in freakedoutness.

The whole national mood weirds the hell out of me and my social media feed is full of memes that I keep clicking "hide" on as some celebrate all america-f*ck-yeah and others call c-o-n-spiracy, and meanwhile while everyone's distracted, craptacular legislation is going to get passed. The same people who still drink the koolaid and thought their dear leader against wingnuttery was going to veto NDAA and Monsanto funtimes seem to think that CISPA's going to get treated differently and are probably going to come up with more convoluted explanations involving OMGscaryrighties.  Meanwhile, people are still justifying the use of torture, repeating these claims of WMDs in the hands of former allies in the usual corners of the world.

And the weather veers between tropical balmy and snowflakes, and I'm starting to figure out what to take on the great continental sojourn, three nights in Prague, six nights in Nuremberg, maybe a trip to Munich, but definitely a footie game according to one of my hosts. I promised Randal pictures, I'll promise them to you too. Trying to figure out what to see, how not to go broke, sadly no good bands coming through during that window of time, firstworldproblems of course. I've been so tired these past couple weeks, a change of scene is feeling more and more welcome.

oh and I dig this song, the rest of the album doesn't quite hold up, and I feel like there could be a little more instrumentally fleshed out, but that voice is amazing. Usually it's the other way around as far as me and doom go. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


There are asbestos in my sick building that due to a burst pipe have made themselves manifest, which means an unplanned four-day weekend of supreme chill time, drinking coffee with my mom and helping babysit the nephews, teaching the one how to draw with chalk and building a fort with beach towels and a patio table, wrapping the other in a sweater when the wind got cool, and then picking up the little sis for smoothies and sitting on the porch and trying to avoid the elephant in the room.

And then I'm up at the beach with an old friend and get a call from my metalhead concert homie who's looking for something to do, and awesome hanging out ensues with him and a friend of his, who's strangely got the same love of stuff that I do, of Central Asian politics and big riffs and Italo Calvino and general historical geekery, so we have a lovely night of playing frisbee in the dark and walking on the beach and when it starts raining, we decamp to my place for sitting around the kitchen table talking until it gets late. We were talking about Uzbekistan and Syrian-Lebanese relations and Chechnya and lo and behold the next morning I'm reading about some Chechen kids and a big-ass manhunt. This whole police-statey thing weirds out my quasi-libertarian side of my brain, and it reminds me of those scenes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of my friends points out the plot similarities to a Die Hard movie and I'm thinking of Sacco and Vanzetti and what more perfect enemies than both Russkis (never mind that it's a different ethnicity) and Muslims combined into the same group. I don't know, my brain is trying to process all of this. I don't claim to make sense here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the hills of Pittsburgh

There's a sizable number of Clevelandians who really hate Pittsburgh, but as far as I can tell, Pittsburgh doesn't seem to notice we exist, except when it's clear that I don't know my way around on this two-lane one way street, but that's different. As far as football goes, they hate the Ravens. In Cleveland, a Pitt game is a big event full of drunken rage, for Pittsburgh, it doesn't seem like a big deal. For true rivalries there has to be some kind of competition and there is none.

At any rate, me, the Queen of the Bondo, and her consort, decided to road trip there this past weekend because I wanted to see some chapel full of more relics than anywhere besides the Vatican and because it's nice to get out of Clevelandia every once in awhile especially when there's willing partners in crime.

Anyways, we got to some old part of Pittsburgh that was pretty deserted and wandered around until the place opened, and it was us and a bunch of elderly folks, and it reminded me of some place in Europe a long time ago, the way everything was so old-school, to the point that they're still talking about saints who have gotten de-sainted by the Vatican in the late sixties, and the gift shop reminded me of all the stuff I got when I made my first communion but it was a worthy trip, and I took photos though I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to until we made our exit.
oh and by the way, you can have weddings here, which is kind of morbid, but interesting.

So after that, I was extremely thankful for my copilot's navigating capabilities which took us to the Strip for tacos and wandering around, and then through the beautiful University of Pittsburgh campus where I really wished I had taken classes and worked in a Cathedral of Learning instead of several wastelands of brutalist architecture.

from there we drove around explored and would jump out and take random pictures of old churches and graffiti
 and of course stopped by the cemetery because why not.

Dinner of middling Indian food and then a drive home minus northern lights sadly. It's good to get out and realize the world's got more going on than the usual places.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

negative creep

So I spent the last hour of work in the Batcave listening to Napalm Death, and I'm just kind of cranky and even more skeptical than usual. My cousin's posting all sorts of C-O-NSpiracy business, people I don't know super-well are telling me I'm a misanthrope for thinking that Patton Oswalt's platitudes about the awesomeness of humanity are nice words that ring false. Yes, there's one race, the human race, but I'm always amazed we haven't destroyed the world more than we already have, I don't think we're inherently good, and a continued reading of history only bears that out for me.We might refer other people as tribal, but we all are. We'll come together in some sapitude for a day or two and go back to pointing fingers and finding scapegoats in a little bit.

Someone said today "look how far we've come" since 9/11 and if anything I feel like it's more an issue of look how far we've fallen. I don't ever remember the definition of rape being debated ten years ago, or torture justified, or the treatment of Arab Americans as second class citizens being something that was totally okay. I wonder what planet these people live on because it's not mine.

I don't know how good it is to pat ourselves on the back about how great we are because we didn't bomb a large event when we're perfectly cool with voting for politicians who are perfectly fine with reigning terror on a daily basis elsewhere. One of the things that got me in the class I took last year on 20th century Europe was how people lived side by side in relative harmony and then when things unraveled, the butchery started and suddenly everyone starts drawing lines of religion and ethnicity and then people end up dead. By all accounts the perpetrators loved their family and were fine upstanding citizens. Basically good people. If there was such a majority of good people, where were they when things got real and their neighbors were getting hauled off? 

Civilized "good people" colonize other parts of the world, advocate terrible ideologies, construct arguments that deny rights and basic humanity to others, enact policies that hurt people, stab each other in the back over trivialities when it's convenient, gossip about their neighbors, justify things like torture.  That potential for hatred and cruelty is in all of us, it just doesn't always come out in ways that are so obviously ugly in part because we're lazy and not very powerful for the most part and our sphere of influence doesn't involve control over towns or nations. So much of our evil is banal, so much of it is sins of omission and ignorance either accidental or willful and that's before anything drastic happened, doing good is inconvenient or unthought of.

Some would say that evil is too strong a word, but I'm not so sure it is.  And I wonder why anyone hangs out with me sometimes, because I feel like the queen of downers when I'm not laughing. My brain is always working overtime, I find myself deconstructing everything and questioning everything that others hold true, there is transparency and a lack of pretense that I think makes others uncomfortable. I don't even know what I'm saying anymore, I just feel like I did ten years ago, when I see things coming and no one else sees them or thinks it's a problem.

I'm on a mission to never agree

someone on the Internet let me know that it's Ian Mackaye's birthday today so I decided to unleash my inner Dischord Records fangirl and play his bands' music for an hour an a half on my show this morning. I've done previous birthday tributes for Kristin Hersh and Bono, but I got some frustrated callers who begged me to play something besides U2, so I did. This time, I let the good people of Clevelandia and the Internet know, and that they could request non-Ian stuff but one caller assured me that he'd be more than happy to hear a whole bunch of Minor Threat and Fugazi so I felt validated enough to carry through.

Back in my straightedge days, I had mad respect for Ian and dreamed of doing some kind of regional label as awesome as Dischord. That came to nothing, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer now and then, but the music's held up wonderfully. I got a copy of Minor Threat's complete discography in the mail from a friend who gave up his earthly possessions and it immediately conjured up memories of riding shotgun in my high school homie's beat-up Honda cruising aimlessly around Parmastan. I put Fugazi on every punk rock mixtape I ever made but no one shared my enthusiasm nearly so much, and I guess the vocals can be an acquired taste.

I find I still listen to 13 Songs, The Argument, and Repeater the most, but some of my most favorites on Red Medicine and End Hits. Red Medicine used to be on the jukebox in the bar below the student center at Kent and I'd inflict that noise-punk that gave me such pleasure on the ears of bros and watch them clear the room to that and Surfer Rosa. Times have changed, but the songs almost seem more powerful than ever now.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

post-adolescent chill

Sometimes you're reminded of that time in your life that you'd rather forget, of bullying and gossip and mean girls, because even misfit girls can be heartless, of too-big glasses and even less fashion sense than I have now, before I discovered God and rock and roll and life began to slowly improve and I found my niche, blossomed late, sequestered in the subcultural morass for most of later adolescence.

He was my first teenage irrational object of devotion, a carpooling classmate whose dad was friends with my dad and taught there, whose little brother I tutored, and I guess he wasn't cool either, but I knew I definitely wasn't and I'd read Pride and Prejudice for the first time and imagined me as the smart chica and him as the strong silent type who'd someday let me know I was way cooler than the other girls. That never happened. I transferred schools a few more times, dealt with other sundry drama involving being a possible lesbian and a potential school shooter. Thank God these days are fifteen years behind me.

I started playing guitar in part because he played guitar and because my dad had some nice ones laying around. I don't think he ever learned that, and when the inevitable rush of teenage crush died, I forgot about him but I kept playing guitar, I started wearing more black, I made friends for whom my religion wasn't weird because they were into weird religious ideas too mostly inspired by Max Cavalera primitivism and Aleister Crowley and we could all be weird together and argue and listen to punk rock. I realized when I got older that even most people who seem normal are weird in their own way, and adulthood's been infinitely more awesome with that revelation.

And then I see him at a party for a family friend, the last place I'd ever thought I'd run into him. He looks pretty much the same but with a little bit of silver in his hair. He asks me what I've been up to and I say something superficial like work, college radio, softball and it's so clinical, this small talk and I'm not used to interacting like this so I stop there because I know there's not much potential for a conversation that will mean anything.

I know he's gotten divorced. I don't know if he knows I've gotten arrested. Neither of us brings these things up. He says some things that make me realize that we have nothing in common because no guy friend of mine would ever mention 'working out' on things that have really been awesome in their life recently or talk about how amazed they are that some person a few decades our senior could be "cool" or "interesting."

We cross paths a few more times and it's the same kind of thing. I don't feel any of the insecurity and inadequacy I once did, I have no spark of what-could-have-been, just a sense of strange relief that somehow despite the stupidity, I can at least say I've come far from where I've been and that where I am now is probably better and that I'm incredibly thankful that all my teenage daydreams came to nothing.


Friday, April 12, 2013

the skyline vanishes

It's surreal driving on the shoreway and seeing only the road ahead of you, as if all the buildings have evaporated into the ether and vanished and I always wish I had a camera, but there's nowhere to stop and snap the photos off the bridge of these things, or the incredible smogridden sunsets that come over the bridges and industrial valleys.

Twenty more minutes and I'm back out into the grey, plotting out adventures in Pittsburgh and beyond, chortling at the strangeness of the powers that be, pictures to follow if all goes well, hopefully the car doesn't die.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

there's no way out of here...

Never been much of a Pink Floyd fan, not that I hate the band, it just never hit me the way other things did, though that's probably because I get sick of hearing "Money" on the radio and even the lauded Syd Barrett stuff never hit my sweet spot. I probably need to spend some time with the back catalog before pronouncing judgment though. David Gilmour's solo stuff does even less for me, despite all the efforts of a guy I dated once, probably because it's got so much keyboards, but hearing a cover of this song (and yes I know it was originally done by someone else) made me realize once again how much I dig teenage alienation and minor chords.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

of riffs and sun and dead fish.

I had a depressive week, and promptly forgot about homework until right now, and I'm still procrastinating. Me and College Radio Homie went out to the east side to see Floor and Thrones, and while he dug all four bands, I only liked the last two, but I've realized I'm just getting set in my ways and dramatic no-waveness just isn't my thing. Still, the low sludgy end of things was fabulous, the crowd was refreshingly clown-free, and there were others of us up there to hang out with. I still like Torche better but it was a great show.

I realized how out of shape and profoundly unathletic I am at the softball field, having a profound inability to calculate where popups will drop, feeling my bones ache every time my bat made contact with a ball. Is it supposed to hurt like that? I say and our captain just looks at me. But it feels so good to be outside in just a hoodie and comfortable and I take a walk afterwards on the beach, which would have been perfect if there weren't hundreds of dead fish washed up in various stages of decomposition and from there I head to the radio station to provide the masses of Clevelandia with the evening's riffs of stoner/doom/grungy swankness

Friday, April 5, 2013

april is the cruelest month

Among the usuals last night, I couldn't explain, couldn't pinpoint the source of what's been hovering at the edges of my overfiring brain. I am thankful that they've had those dark nights of the soul too, and can listen without offering platitudes or enabling the angst.

What brings this on me and makes me want to melt away so much?
Those heady existential questions, maybe the obligations, or the lack of sleep, or the girlhormones or who knows what. A vacation couldn't come soon enough, sometimes I wonder if I'm just getting on everybody's nerves or gotten everything wrong, sometimes the lack of obligations makes me feel more obligated than anything else.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

complications and creations

One of my friends had an extra ticket for Fela! last night so after I got off work I met up with her and some of her friends, and our seats were pretty good, up really close. I wondered how many people would care about  The live band backing the songs was fantastic, the visuals stunning though the second half had some kind of weird digressions that made me wonder if there was concern about how to actually plot the thing, and given that we were among the handful of white folk there (which surprised me a little but then again college radio can be its own ivory tower), the general interplay between audience and actors was interactive in a way that worked well given the nature of the musical, which came across as less play and more concert.

I've loved his music since one of my college roommates got me listening to something other than cracker tuneage and I wish she could have been there with us. It's powerful stuff, these long jams that fill an entire album side at a time, and Tony Allen's in his eighties still being amazing. So it's a little disorienting when they're truncated into relatively bite-sized pieces, but that's to be expected, especially in a mass-market production that bears the prominent names of the likes of Jay-Z and Will Smith and features a former member of Destiny's Child. I wonder what the level of cognitive dissonance is here when the first couple are big fans.

And these songs criticizing the corruption, the heavy-handed military power, the way that multinationals are prone to plunder, a state that treats life cheaply, still resonate with a universality that makes it potent. These songs started riots and led to his being arrested 200 times, the death of his mother, and serious implications for his band.

And this is where I know too much, to completely suspend disbelief, and it's hard to sever the power of the music with the complications of the person who is its architect. He was charismatic, but I wonder how he would have run things. I wonder how many people applauding when he asks his backup dancers to marry him and calls them "queens" realize that he didn't treat them all that well. I'm surprised that there's no mention that he died of AIDS in 1997. But anyways, free ticket, good conversation, and a night out in a swank theater, which is always welcome.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

out of the depths

Is it the sun coupled with the bitter cold, or the bronchia feeling raw, a cup of tea or three to salve. Fatigue makes cowards of us truly,late night conversations restore my soul but I know the crash is coming. A friend of mine has free tickets for the Fela musical tonight so we'll be catching up after work. This is overtime time so I should be working on the paper, but I don't feel capable of putting together much in the way of thought right now.

I played these songs and others yesterday though.