Sunday, June 30, 2013

in the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you...

The weekend starts out with cheap Salvadoran food on the west side and I realize that I don't really like the concept of critical mass but such dissension would cause flame wars in a more public part of the internet. This person explains my difficulties with the movement better than I could.  

 I get the feeling sometimes that I'm an equal opportunity offender, aghast at the more extreme on all sides, and wondering if everyone really wants morality legislated, just as long as it's their morality and that's an icky thing to do especially when it's done by incredibly morally bankrupt bunch of people who will use sanctimony as an excuse for disenfranchisementBut that's a whole other thing, and I feel like I already step on the toes of everyone I know as it is, because I get riled at the wrong issues, the untrendy ones, the ones involving valuing the lives unborn babies and the kids I work with who get bumped up two grades who can't read and people who worship Allah and immigrants who have the nerve to come across the border and do all the things we don't want to do for way less than we'd ever stand for. This leads to vigorous and logical objections from both sides of the aisle, but I digress. That's why I don't tell most people I have an interblog, and you probably already regret linking me.

Anyways, I meet up with a guy I once went out with to see a couple bands play, one of which is College Radio Homie's. He told me he played guitar but I didn't know he sang, and I liked their sound, somewhere between Queens of the Stone Age riffery and shoegazey distortion-drenched sweetness. The next band was more math-rock-instrumentalness, which I dig live even if I don't listen to it all the time, then I was tired so sleep called and I answered. I'm glad there's no expectations when we hang out, with him leaving for three years and all, and me doing what I usually do. 

A game of softball the next afternoon, drinks and pizza at my favorite watering hole, a party in the parking lot of a welding shop, a bonfire in a barrel, a punk band playing, people milling around, I have nothing to drink in my hand since I've already can taste the leftover residue of porter and lambic on my breath, know nobody for the first hour and end up finding the other people who know no one, and we trade tales of exploring abandoned buildings.  I feel square in my basic black t-shirt grabbed out of the laundry basket on my friend's kitchen table, no jewelry because of the game, and jeans that aren't completely worn through, there's a lot of tattoos, tall bikes and back patches and such, which makes for great people-watching. Sometimes I get the feeling people want to talk but some of us don't have enough liquid courage.

It's kind of nice to be somewhere where you don't know everybody, it makes this small town feel a little less small. It reminded me of that line from the Jawbreaker song about "makeout sessions, bicycle messengers, punks and art school dropouts" but in this case I'm not enough of a scenester to know any drama so I just exist there, catching up with former classmates and mutual friends before heading back to oversleep and miss half of church.

Such is life, and despite everything, it's still beautiful here in this strange lost city. I was so tired today, but a "hangover smoothie" full of ginseng and spirulina got me back on kilter, I got my hands dirty in the garden, and gave my sister some furniture that she couldn't afford to buy. I guess there will always be the strange aspects, and that's not entirely a bad thing.

Friday, June 28, 2013

you will jog for the master race

I haven't painted in months, haven't written anything, haven't messed around on the guitar too much, when it's warm like this and I'm bouncing from couch to couch keeping the lights on for out of town friends, it's the time of the summer when I'm walking dogs and slacking on porches and in dining rooms drinking tea and libations, because these days fly by so quickly.

I took the dog on a walk last night from the house where I'm staying to where I live, and wonder why I don't walk more, because we traveled six miles round trip together, me and the Jungle Puppy, but in part it was having no timetable and the relative invincibility of having a canine companion that somehow immunizes yours truly from getting hollered at or propositioned on those parts of Detroit Avenue where that's a regular line of work. I used to walk everywhere in Kent, but part of that was knowing that there were lots of people out and it was relatively safe as opposed to living in the tenth-most-dangerous locale in the country where stuff does happen.

There are security cameras on the street to the south of me, which doesn't seem to do much to deter the 4am crack dealers or the punkass kids tagging on the punk rock bar or the people getting randomly shot on the corner. My part of the street is mostly chill people so I sleep sound at night, but the all-seeing eye and then the more pedestrian lowlifery is daunting enough that I either run up and down the street or drive to see bands play there. 

And tonight, we have girl talk on the balcony, about love lives and politics, the human condition and tuneage over pots of yerba mate and homemade last-minute dinner. It starts raining but there's enough of an overhang that we can push the chairs beneath and keep the candles lit. The neighbor across the street is playing showtunes on the piano, we gaze down at the people walking dogs and riding bikes as the grey clouds swirl past. We don't agree on some things but we do agree on wanting to respect the basic humanity of others.

The conversation inevitably turns to the events of the day and a tiff on my facebook page originating from the news that Dear Leader Mike, along with banning big gulps and wanting to regulate smoking and salt content, also wants sparklers and other little Things That Go Bang banned because: Terrorists and Thinking of the Children. I juxtaposed this with the general treatment of non-white people, what with stop-and-frisk, surveillance of Muslim communities, and that whole pesky business of consistent police brutality both against minorities and dissenters.

Evidently this is less of a problem to some people because of bike lanes and because he cares about public health. But I really think that the treatment of society's vulnerable says a lot about someone's overall character. That, and the way he talks about women. Tell me again, how am I supposed to admire this person? A billionaire asshole who shares his police force with big banks and brags about his private army? Suddenly our kind of clueless Republican governor doesn't seem so bad.

And so I've been thinking, pretty much We The People on most sides are totally cool with giving up freedoms and acceding to the power of the state and the ones with the big purses if we get the right carrots dangled in front of us. Gay rights, unless you're Bradley Manning or Glenn Greenwald, abortion either way (I swing more pro-life but I absolutely hate being told by men that I'm supposed to be more angry about the state of my uterus than I am about the state of our world at large and both sides are manipulative as hell), jobs and a false sense of security, because of course the state will only go after bad foreign people and you've got nothing to hide. The urban planning vision you desire, which of course is more important than the day to day hell that people in a lot of urban areas deal with.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

give and take

State-worship and searching for reasons to believe in heroes tarnished by the reality of business as usual. We eat the carrots tossed out to us and don't mind the presence of sticks as long as they're beating someone else. I'm fine with junk laws being struck down, but this feels like a pretty bald-faced bait and switch when there's shenanigans of carnage and snitch culture and guilty until proven guilty. I'm sorry, I just can't celebrate as the pot continues to boil and as the noose continues to tighten. Equality for marriage, fine, but what about equality for the rest of those marginalized, where is the justice there? Where is their equality? Is it not as convenient or resonant? Why does progress for one always come in tandem with the disenfranchisement of another?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

divide and conquer

 Next week is 4th of July and this is the dumbassery that is the municipality next door. I like the whole element of things exploding, inherited no doubt from my hill people relatives, for whom the holiday involves ample amounts of booze and things that go bang. I guess that and driving around listening to rock and roll are the most americanski things about me. Seeing that The Kids are going to have even less fun than we did makes me sad inside.

In conversations with most folks, I hear the general theme, well as long as I'm safe that's cool, or who cares about this stuff did you hear about Paula Deen/Kardashian Baby/yadayada and I guess I forget sometimes that I am in my own little bubble of other contrarians sometimes, that not everyone questions the answers that we're given or even cares because there's flashier and less thought-inducing things to consider. Easier to poke fun at The Other, blame the Other, than see them as fellow humans who might just be as screwed up as we are. Derogatories are all too easy and so is thinking that there is some magical kumbayah future ahead. I don't understand this. I just don't. Hence, snark and riffs and conversations with the few I feel like I can actual talk to.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

best of the blotter: bleeding markers, batman fanboys, and buddhist monks.

YELLING, NORTH COURT: Police were called to a restaurant at about 6:20 p.m. June 15 upon a report that a group of juveniles was making a disturbance. When officers arrived, they found a large group of juveniles, wearing fake mustaches, and yelling at vehicles driving past the restaurant. Officers warned the boys about using inappropriate language. No citations were issued.

SUSPICION, BUNTS ROAD: A pizza delivery driver told police a customer had paid for her food with cash stolen in a bank robbery June 15, but the incident turned out to be a much less nefarious circumstance. According to reports, then Pizza Hut driver noticed that the bills he received from his Bunts Road delivery were covered in orange marker, from what he suspected was an exploded dye pack, similar to those used by bank employees during robberies. Officers investigated and found the dye in question was really just an orange marker that had leaked in the customer’s purse and gotten on the bills. The woman even showed police the leaky marker and matched it to the stains on the money.

DISTURBANCE, LAKEWOOD AVENUE: Neighbors called police June 16 when they heard a woman screaming from inside her home. Officers investigated and found that a friend of the homeowner had made a surprise visit from out of town and startled the woman, causing her to scream.

DISTURBANCE, BEACH ROAD: Neighbors called police June 15 when they heard a man in a minivan screaming just after 1:15 a.m. According to reports, the man told police he was “complimenting the Coast Guard on their boat.” Officers noted the man was not driving while impaired at the time of the incident.

 A man dressed in a full black cape caught the attention of police at SouthPark Mall about 10 p.m. June 16. A report said the man was pacing, sweating and acting weird. He allowed an officer to search him and checked out okay, the report said. He was at the mall to watch the midnight showing of a Batman movie.

Monk Business
A witness reported three men in orange jumpsuits walking down Pearl Road shortly after midnight June 10.
Police said the men were monks from a local temple.

straw men with thin skins

My nose is stuffed up, the plants on the porch are probably wilting, the dog kept me up last night, and it's near the end of the day, and it's beautiful out, but I'm in need of sleep and won't get it tonight.

And I think I offended someone's religious beliefs, which is ironic given that I actually have religious beliefs, and said person doesn't. Most of the people in my world are agnostic or uninterested or unaffiliated or non-theistic, no doubt due in part to the milquetoast catholic schooling we received.

Given that most of my tastes run to the stranger side of the subcultural realm, I'm used to being the only person in any given social gathering who's eating vegan food or nodding along to some doom metal band and then sitting in a pew come Sunday morning and while it can sometimes be awkward, it's something I don't mind. It's a little bemusing to hear the comments about fundies and freakos who believe in skygods who obviously hate everyone and then they realize that you're one of those people and a little weird too, and get the occasion, I hate those people but you're ok, which if directed at some other group would come across as way not okay but whatever.

So I like a good smart discussion because I find others' views interesting and whatnot and generally there's enough history and mutual affection that we'll still be friends by the end of it. Most of the time, we can find some common ground on other things or mutual understanding or what-have-you even if we think the other person is more than a little misguided. I'm used to a certain level of discourse, I guess, and I get spoiled and forget that other people don't take opposing views nearly so well.

But what I don't have patience for is blanket statements that ignore realities and rely on a very narrow view of history. So yes, we can talk about violence in the middle east that's religiously motivated, but heaven forbid that I suggest that in all societies where there's an overarching ideology or credo, that dissenters are stifled either socially or destroyed bodily. And to be offended by a simple disagreement or by raising another point that destroys the framework of convenience, no matter who you are, if you take it that personally, then maybe there's a problem with that belief system.

Whether that's "heretics" in the middle ages or "dhimmi" in Al-Andalus or Shia/Sunni or Hindu/Muslim in Kashmir or Hindu/Buddhist in Bhutan, or the usual scumbags like Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot. You can't bring up the stake-burners without also acknowledging the genocidaires of atheism, kids. And just because you and I never killed anyone doesn't mean that people haven't died or gotten royally screwed by the actions of those who shared our respective views.

Even if we lived in a Crass Crust Punk Utopia of no gods, no masters, no flags, we'd still find ways to kill each other and construct divisions and Others to be enemies and scapegoats. Our early ancestors sure did. And I'm sure people take crap for being atheists, but as far as I can tell, everyone takes crap where they're a minority, see Muslims in NYC por ejemplo. The rest of us really can't complain about non-state persecution or social ostracism, especially among friends and comrades.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

what is this thing called sleep

because I haven't gotten much, between dog-watching and summer-socializing. It's been overcast and stormy when it's not blissful which means it's easy to go to work and then the nights are cool and beautiful.  I got a text on my phone alerting me to extreme weather but all we got was some rain and a really swank lightning show. I think a lot of us were filming it and throwing it on Youtube, or at least this guy did.
Otherwise, there's a big pile of summer reading, the nephews are fun as anything, the powers that be are still absurd, and I feel like this whole season is slipping away all too quickly. And I've had this song on repeat for the whole week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


If I believed in jinxes, I'd say I'd jinxed the Peonage, because the usual peeps are being wack as usual, between the politicking of bored women and the usual straunge ffolke and the general ennui of the weather changes.

We’re not interested in idle talk
(Wily Kataso!)
Sitting around too long ain’t good for people
Too much malicious gossip
Too many uncalled-for words
Talking too much clap-trap
I tell you
I said we’ve been sitting around too long

Talk talk talk a lot
And that’s all you’ve got
Thinking you know best
Give my ears a rest

Take your tired tone
And yourself back home
Now you’ve had your say
Move yourself away

Oh my goodness, the clownery is overwhelming. All those layers of power and general nastiness and fiefdoms and factions. I'm already running on four hours of sleep and all this isn't helping.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

the good earth

I went on a walk with a friend around the corner, with her dog and the greenery of the trees in June, the welcome shade, the river, were welcome sights and a blessed escape and I mostly avoided anything political and volatile despite the thoughts inherent with unsurprising revelations and my amazement that others really don't seem nearly so bothered. I guess there have always been cassandras who warned about trojan horses and conquistadors and whatnot.

And it just felt so good to be outside, to deal with plants and neighbors and get my fingers dirty in the earth, lovingly insert plants into soil to grow, anticipating the rain, washing off the crustypunky patina from my skin and hair. I guess this is how we continue to survive, hovering between frustration and inevitable bliss.

Friday, June 7, 2013

best of the blotter: rednecks, crackers, and polka convention arsonists

DINE AND DASH, PEARL ROAD: A patron didn’t leave any cash to cover his $90 bill before leaving a restaurant at 11:55 p.m. May 21, but he did leave his phone number with a waitress. Officers planned to return to follow up on the situation.

DISTURBING THE PEACE, ROYALTON ROAD: A man was asked to leave Giant Eagle at about 3:30 p.m. May 20 after he was seen singing to the potted plants.
The man agreed to leave the store.

THEFT, DOULA DRIVE: A woman reported on May 20 that her mother’s lower dentures were stolen some time in early May.
The woman admitted that the dentures could have been lost or misplaced.

ROAD RAGE, PEARL ROAD: Apparently angry that another driver had blown her horn at them, two men in a Chevrolet truck with deer horns and “redneck” stickers on the back window threw garbage at her car through their window at 6:05 p.m. May 20. The woman then followed them into the Walmart parking lot, claiming that they had cut her off twice on the road. Both parties had different stories when officers arrived at the parking lot. The woman chose not to press charges against the men, but asked that officers advise them of their actions. Officers did, and both went on their ways.

RACIST DISTURBANCE, ROYALTON ROAD: The corner of Royalton and Prospect roads became the site of an impromptu white pride demonstration at 11:55 p.m. May 19. An employee at Sheetz called police and said at least five people had gathered in the corner of the parking lot, set up lawn chairs and were yelling “white power,” and customers were complaining.
When officers arrived, four or five pickup trucks were leaving.

Weekend at Bernie's' Situation

A motorist on I-71 reported May 26 that a passenger in a truck she was following on I-71 looked dead.

The truck exited on Royalton Road, and police stopped the vehicle in front of David's Bridal about 1:30 p.m.

"Everyone in the vehicle is alive and well," a report said.

Dispatchers called the woman back to let her know the passenger was fine.

Car Fire May Be Arson

A Vermilion man staying at the Holiday Inn for the recent polka convention came out to find his car on fire early May 27.
Janowski said a man pumping gas at the Shell station about 3:20 a.m. saw the car in the lot next door in flames.The fire appeared to start near the gas tank, indicating a possible arson, Janowski said.

The victim told police he had no idea who would target his car.

NEIGHBOR TROUBLE, SUNSET ROAD: A man said May 31 his neighbor yelled at him because she said he left a cup in the street. He said the cup was left by landscapers. He was told to call back if the neighbor gave him any more problems.

HARASSMENT, WALLINGS ROAD: At least one neighbor of St. Albert the Great has had enough of the church’s bells.
A woman confronted church officials numerous times this year to complain about the volume of the church bells and also contacted police about the issue.
At one point, the woman accused a church official of committing murder, because, she said, the church bells were killing her.
On May 31, the church received a postcard from an anonymous source complaining about the bells and pointing out that “I wouldn’t walk across the street to hear you perverts!”
While the church decreased the volume of the bells earlier this year, police have found no cause to alter them.

 Berea police escort woman from bingo hall

Berea police arrived at St. Adalbert parish Sunday about a bingo player who refused to leave the hall when asked.
The woman, according to the report, created problems for two weeks at the bingo games and was asked to leave. She said she would leave only if police told her to do so.
When police asked her to leave the facility, she said she did not have to and gave the officers her attorney’s name but not his phone number.
The woman finally agreed to leave the property if the officers made a report about the matter. Police then escorted her out of the bingo hall. She was told not to return to the facility.
The report also said another bingo player thanked police for their actions.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

of riffs and rants

In the slow boil of dystopian creep, there are no secrets, there have been none for most of my adult life, everything is out there, or easy to find, especially when one has all the power and the analytics at one's disposal. It's creepy and disconcerting and my heart breaks for the wrongfully ensnared and my mind rages against the willful obliviousness because as long as we have the right bones thrown to us, it doesn't matter that we're being robbed as long as someone else we don't like is getting hurt more than we are. I could write so much more, but I've said it so often already, and others say it better, and willful ignorance or justification of the unjustifiable will never be palatable to me. .

And as I continue to say, that is our fundamental problem, our universal common denominator of suck, a lack of compassion, a lack of love for God and fellow human and created beings and the ground we walk on and the air we breathe.

Yet I distract myself, because I can't believe in survivalism either, because I want to love my neighbors and because every era of life has had its dehumanizing factors that need to be overcome, and there is so much beauty here still even in the midst of so much wrong and the best thing to do is not live in fear but continue to live.

I'm having friends over for dinner tonight, I'm figuring out how to fix my side-view mirror and realize I'm bereft of useful tools. While I was taking apart the contraption, I saw there was a goldfinch trapped in the netting of the cherry tree who seemed to have given up on life so I got a pair of scissors and cut him free and felt so uplifted watching it fly away.

 A homie from the station gave me some super amazing hot pepper plants and I provided him with cabbage and kale in return. There are flowers on my front porch now and vegetables on the back and I'm trying to figure out how to make my landlady's yard look less ugly in the front without really spending too much money.

I end up at a show last night, because this is my escapism, and there's not too many people there, a couple radio people that I don't know as well, so I get lost in the big riffs alone, amazed that I used to do these kinds of things without earplugs, or maybe it's just gotten louder. Like Randal, I dig the big riffs and the stoner rockery of Columbus dudes Lo-Pan. For those of us who grew up on classic rock and grunge in inner ring suburbs, it's satisfying and solid riffage with big excellent vocals that'd probably be on some modern rock rotation if the band was more photogenic and The Kids weren't all listening to dubstep. That being said, I'm glad they're getting love in the underground, and I enjoyed it enough to pick up a CD with a t-shirt thrown in.

Hipsters might disapprove of the accessibility but I'd go see these guys again and I infinitely preferred them to the next band that reminded me of the hardcore shows I used to go to as a teenager where it was trying to be intense and just ended up being uninteresting. The guys were young, so I guess I could cut them some slack, since it's not my thing at all.  If it wasn't so cold and I had some homies with me, I would have loitered outside for most of their set because despite their technical abilities, it didn't do much for me.

Torche on the other hand, loud and sludgy and strangely poppy and exuberant, was a different story, as they were the last time I saw them, unpretentious and unrelenting and constantly having to retune, but damn there's something so satisfying about loud crunchy guitars and dudes who can sing in this world of twee milquetoast indie and metallers trying to out-brootal each other. One dude who decided this would be a great time to start a moshpit, shoved me out of the way and proceeded to pummel everyone within five feet of him before realizing that no one else wanted to mosh at all and just wants to watch the band rock out and I didn't see him for the rest of the night and was backed up by a pair of heshers who stood behind me to get a better view of the band and insulate me from any hooliganery. Thanks guys for being chivalrous, I guess.

They started off with the first four songs off the last full length and a smattering of cuts from the previous records and ended with 'Harmonslaught' which might be one of my favorites.
Drove home listening to a fellow DJ play Black Flag bootlegs, it rained this morning and watered my plants, I need more coffee, and life continues in its strange way.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

blood and roots

A late afternoon dentist appointment led to the discovery of a nice little fistula beneath one of yours truly's molars, which meant that yesterday morning was spent in the dentist chair rather than the office chair and there's a dull little throb there now. I guess it could be worse if it continued.

It hovered between rain and sun this weekend, and I hung out with the neighbors, slacked by the lake with my parents, and ended up at a baseball game where I watched the Indians lose of course. On the way back from the islands to Fair Clevelandia, the sky was that amazing combination of dark clouds and intense sunlight and at one point I was driving beneath this rainbow that started at the highway median and arched over into the farmland on the other side. It was so beautiful and I wish I could have stopped and snapped a shot to even try to express it but it's hard to do that kind of thing when there's no place to pull over.

As the swelling and the numbness went down, I ended up in the garden most of the day, rearranging and putting in everything that I hadn't gotten to before, with an in-law of one of my neighbors, who expounded on theories involving religion, homeopathic medicine, and the current state of affairs as a giant C-O-Nspiracy ala Dave Mustaine and Alex Jones, and while I can agree to some extent that things are really messed up in this world, I found myself inevitably punching holes in said narratives about conflict between people (because I believe that the Irish would still be mad at the English and that Shia & Sunni would still be going at it whether or not the CIA existed),  because while our meddling doesn't help, people seem to do a good job finding reasons to go to war with each other on their own.

I don't think the CIA or whoever is behind everything, or that they're poisoning the water/vaccinating us to self-destruct early/whatever. I'm sure that the building I work in and the computer I sit in front of and the cell phone I own aren't doing wonders for my health, but I don't know what the point is in living forever as it is.  It's not that what's going on isn't important, it's just that there's battles I don't see the need to fight and I figure that if the state wants you gone, it's pretty evident that the constitution these folks value so highly isn't going to be one's salvation or protection.

In theory we have similar religious leanings, but I wonder where the trust in God is when it's all about ME AGAINST THE MAN or how one heals oneself or flipping out so much about the guvvermint. I remember my dad saying something similar when some of his friends were going into survivalist mode for the inevitable Clintonian Martial Law Y2K Takeover and would argue about paying taxes and such, that last time he checked, first-century Rome was some lousy overlords and that the religious folk were generally law-abiding citizens paying taxes to an imperialist state that wasn't averse to setting them on fire or throwing them to beasts, and that they didn't run off to the woods with a bunch of weapons waiting for the end to come and for everyone to get theirs. So I listen, and occasionally interject, and the theories grow increasingly more bizarre, but it is what it is, and she is generous with her plants and who am I to judge.

So we get the garden plots done, I've got kale and tomatoes, eggplants and peppers and herbs, hills of squash and rows of beans waiting to germinate, a bucket full of Jerusalem artichokes by my back porch and flowers that will go somewhere, plants that I'm sharing with other enthusiasts for digging in the earth and growing things. 

And I wish I was out there instead of here, because there's something so life affirming about it, nurturing is so addictive. I have so many other things on my mind that social interactions get awkward because I'm less concerned about saving an old building on the other side of town, or the politics of fiefdomery, isn't life more than, food, isn't the body more than clothes? Especially when there's drones laying waste to other lands and people getting shot by cops and kids can't read. I don't know, I don't know what I'm trying to say here.