Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Somewhere to the North and East

My Scottish Wife asked me about a place we went to, long ago. "You know, the place with the tap handles that were all high. I had a veggie reuben."

Well, no. I did not remember. Until just after I woke up this morning. Wracked my brain for nothing most of yesterday afternoon.

The boy was on the toilet last night. We're all waiting for poop. He's sitting, reading 'Go Dog Go!' My Scottish Wife is reading it to him. He's letting her, which is rare. I go up to sit with him and he's making his stim noises and other sounds. I join him with some weird shrieking of my own. He looks right at me and says, "You're silly!"

Needless to say, he did not poop, in the toilet that is.

While goofing off on Youtube last night I discovered a series of George Harrison demos I've never heard before. Really cool tapes of him on an acoustic in 1970, playing for Phil Spector. George has a bit of a cold but they're sweet performances. Here's my favorite song of his.

From a bootleg I do not have called Beware of ABKCO. There is so much undiscovered material out there.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Old. It's Grey, and Confusing

The car is falling apart. The rear window windshield wiper arm broke off in my hand one frozen morning. The driver's side bezel for the headlights vibrated off on I-70 one night.

Brakes wear down, it's natural. Ended up taking the day off since the shop had to special order brake pads. What? You don't have parts for an '88 Volvo 760 (with a 740 4 cylinder engine!) behind the counter?

While I waited for them to figure out what they were ordering I got a substantial part of Ian Rankin's 'Strip Jack' read. What a pleasure the Rebus story is. A brilliantly put together character with plenty of flaws and humanity. Only thirteen more in the series. I'm reading them in order, and not really rushing the process. Rankin's awesome.

So in the meantime I've been minimally productive. I got a haircut and then went to Nancy's for some food. First time back since the reopening. Home fries undercooked, toast passed under a 100 watt bulb for five seconds. Yes, they're back!

I'm listening to Lily Allen do a cover of Straight to Hell, yes the Clash song. Know what? It does not suck.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It Was Dying Anyway

Napping from seven to nine tonight, not a good idea. The boy went to bed just after nine, so he might be waking up early. Maybe we'll head up to Kafe Kerouac to see sunrise at Scott Woods' 24 hour reading.

Or maybe I'll just post links to things I read that I hate, and do nothing about. Archiving outrage in a blog, shaking my fist at the overlords did not really get me anywhere. Probably set me back more than anything as I look back at the old live journal experience. 2006 was bad. 2007 was freaking nuts. After that, comments slacked off drastically. It's been almost a year that I stopped posting.

The reports from here come in every morning. Some days only nine hits, some twelve, others it spikes to over twenty. Comments are very low though. Hey. Here's an idea. Write compelling things and people will comment. Wow. Why didn't I think of that before!

Maybe I'll be like my friend S. and only post x-rays of things that accidentally fly into people's heads. Blogs are supposed to be specialized, right? Too bad that idea has been taken. Guess I'll have to keep doing what I do, whatever that is.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday, and There was Snow in March

Slam is being a cruel bitch, and I feel fine. Have not made it into the second round in the last two slams. I blame better poets, damn them.

All that's left in my bouncy ball brackets are my employer's team and Duke, who I picked to go to the final game.

Watched The Reader last night. Could have used some editing as it dragged in spots. Good performances by the leads. Kate Winslet is naked, a lot.

Everton has been on a roll. Beat Man. City soundly on Wednesday. Arteta's back. Jagielka has been a beast on defense and David Moyes would have kicked Mancini's arse in. Is it too late to get into the top six? Who knows?

Celtic sacked Tony Mowbray. Good riddance to a horrible manager.

This is quite possibly the only blog post in the history of the universe to have pictures of Phil Jagielka and Kate Winslet, separately.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Things that are Happening, and what Already Has

This weekend, starting on Saturday night, Scott Woods is once again doing a 24 hour poetry reading.

There's even a schedule here.

A couple of nights ago I went to the Poetry Forum at the Rumba Cafe and went to Joanna Schroeder's feature.

She is one of the most supportive humans on the planet and a very hard working poet. It was my pleasure to go out on a night I was feeling cranky and have my grouchiness reduced by a night of wonderful poetry.

All the blow back from health care reform passing has turned up my ire this week. Man, so much anger out there. This country really needs to sit back and exhale for a minute.

I was a bit disappointed in the new book by Marilyn Johnson. You know I love librarians and libraries but this book had a lot of east coast bias, probably due to limited time and finances to research, but it was more descriptive in librarian fashion than in any real discussion of libraries in the modern world. What exactly is going on was blurred more by the longest chapter in the book, on Second Life, that brought the book to a screeching halt for me. There is some good value in chapters on how the New York Public Library is adapting but too much of the text is about cupcakes and twee while ignoring any real substance. Read The Dead Beat instead.

Slam tonight at Kafe Kerouac. It's time to be in a poetry slam instead of reading about race and poetry slam. We do it better than talk it to death, at least this week, I think. This white, middle aged man is ready to bring it.

First, to wake the kid up for school.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hey, We Are Still Here, Intact

Took the boy to the park yesterday. Such a lovely morning. He did great. Did not wander the perimeter too much, used the slide.

He did keep trying to go up the slide from the bottom. What kid does not do that? Not a good idea when others are coming down though.

What was cool was seeing that he was waiting for his turn to go down the slide. Patiently.

He loves the swings. That's the first place he went. Sat right on them and waited for me to start pushing him. He went back to them a couple of times and was watching for me, looking back toward me as he was going toward them. Waiting for a push.

When it was time to go there was very little fuss. Nice hour spent.

The Arts Festival audition went well enough on Saturday. Got there early and did not have to wait to read. Think I did as well as last year, but it's up to the judges now.

I see the house passed the health care reform bill. I'm not that impressed in that it does not go far enough. Waiting for Nancy Pelosi to knock on the door, offering up free abortions. Maybe she'll arrive in a Chinese tank.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Knee Deep in the Hoopla

The NCAA basketball tournament started yesterday. In filling out my bracket, I realized how little I know.

So picking Marquette to go to the final four was not a good idea, but I did pick Murray State.

My employers team plays today. Ya gotta have wa!

Internet drama is so 2006. Escaping the crazy is a good thing. It was turning into posts being deleted after I'd seen them. Oh yes, that trick again.

Watched District 9 last night and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. Aliens land over Johannesburg. They're put into refugee camps. When an attempt is made to move them to a concentration camp, bad things start happening. Great action and acting. The special effects are amazing. A very low budget film that was overlooked in the same way In the Loop was.

Busy trying to write and prepare for tomorrow's Arts Fest audition and Wednesday's slam. Annoyed that a poem I spent a lot of time on came in at 3:25. Glad to know I have another four minute piece. Pleased to know I fixed it to 2:54 a few minutes ago.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If he died in Memphis, then that'd be cool, babe.

Alex Chilton died today of a heart attack. He was 59. I saw him play twice, first at Staches, a small club in Columbus. It was a very loose night. Alex was in a good mood, bumming cigarettes from audience members. He even took requests. I yelled out "Volare" and a couple of songs later it was played.

The second time he opened for the Counting Crows at the Newport. This was not his crowd. It was too big and inattentive. He did show up a similar white outfit, and channeled Adriano Celentano with this song. He was awesome.

The rockers, from the session players like Larry Knectel and backup singers like Lesley Duncan are leaving us quickly now, and way too soon.

Shane MacGowan has Teeth Now

I do not know much about North Korea, few do as it's a country and culture that keeps hidden in the dark. Their regime, in an appropriate use of the term, should die in a fire.

Learned a bit how sad and horrifying life is there after reading Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. The book is an oral history of six people, their lives, loves and belief in a system that brainwashed the population and eventually betrayed them. There is a lot of bleakness and at times the book is hard to read. Depictions of starvation and food deprivation will do that to you. A few more pictures of the people interviewed would have helped in putting faces to the story but I understand how difficult it would have been as some of the defectors still have family struggling in the north.

In other news, the Ohio State Hockey Team did not renew coach John Markell's contract. After fifteen years of inconsistency, he's been let go. I called it in a post I made about this very subject last year around this time. Now speculation about who the next coach begins. Going to be an interesting off season, for the wrong reasons. Again: I have no grudge or animosity toward Markell, but it was time for him to move on. I wish him well and am glad he was coaching the team during a very rough transition. He ran a clean program, recruited and successfully taught many young men. He should be proud of that accomplishment.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

They Call it, an Atwood

Watch and learn from the master.


Ron Lundy died yesterday at the age of 75. Lundy was one of the five voices of my life between the ages of five to thirteen. He was a disc jockey on WABC radio.

With Bruce Morrow, Harry Harrison, Chuck Leonard and Dan Ingram, these guys on the radio every day had their fingers on the pulse of New York City and beyond. WABC's signal, 50,000 watts of clear channel power, went up and down the east coast.

Lundy was class, they all were. This station was one of the main reasons I went on to seek a career in radio. They are why I know so much about music. It was important and I am sad to hear that Lundy is no more.

Rest in peace. You made New York the greatest city in the world!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

WoW Day Two and Finals

Congratulations to Eboni Hogan. Women of the World Poetry 2010 Champion. That was one impressive bout last night. I took pictures, but they suck, and they're not worthy of the poets. So they will not be posted here. I did put a few on Facebook, they're not for the whole world to see.

What I am going to talk about is the good, some bad, and little to no ugly thoughts on the weekend, based on what I saw and felt. There were some individual poets who stood out for me, and I have to share my feelings about them.

Chauncey Beaty - Third place, congratulations. After one sentence of your first poem on the finals stage I saw some amazing growth. You're not the same poet you were in Columbus.

Lauren Zuniga - Someone who I had heard of but never saw until La Fogata. Very accessible work, really enjoyed it.

Megan Rickman - Gave me her CD outside of Barley's this morning. Sidewalk love. You rocked it six.

Gypsee Yo - The best pregnant Albanian poetry slammer ever! Seriously. One of the most passionate poems of the weekend. A heart gripping poem about being a refugee.

Nicole Homer - I saw her talking to a wall outside in Berkeley, getting ready for her bout. She was awesome this week.

Sierra DeMulder - Totally floored me at Zanzibar. She and Amy Everhart delived a one two punch of poetry on that stage that will be hard for anyone to beat, ever.

Amy Everhart - Finally introduced myself to her at Zanzibar before the bout. Thanked her for beating me. She is a paragon of humility.

Dee Matthews. If there is one poet who I would have to pick as my favorite of the weekend, it is definitely her. I had never seen her before, heard some great things about her, and ended up judging her bout. She wiped me out. Why bother doing poetry after seeing that? I'm not a big fan of persona poetry, but she does that. Holy shit she does that. I could go on and on about how amazing she is.

Tristan Silverman - I told the people at La Fogata she'd be moving on, and I was right. She was on the finals stage.

Rachel McKibbens - Your poem for Gabrielle had the audience in tears. A massive thank you.

Laura Yes Yes - You brought it. Boy did you ever.

Andi Kauth - Your first poem, a love poem, at La Fogata was one of my favorites of the weekend. Thank you.

Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz - I introduced myself, said I loved her book on slam and promptly forgot the name of it. Doh! She is loved by everyone it seems and in watching her play with her friends and seeing her rip it onstage I can understand why.

Syd Malicious - Best arms of the weekend. Lovely poem about working in Tanzania got her in the competition when she won the last chance slam.

Lucky 7 - Made me laugh. Hard. At La Fogata. Word play and doobies, awesome!

Megan Thoma - Please, do not punch me.

Barbara Fant - You broke my heart out there. Next time. You know this.

Sara Brickman - For the 'dick don't go into crazy' line. You and Megan Thoma are the speccy poets.

Dusty Rose - Best Maggie Gyllenhaal look alike.

Inky - You fought back with you one minute poem at La Fogata. That's a comeback!

Finally to Vernell Bristow and Gina Blaurock. You angels, you represented Writers Block and yourselves. I could not be prouder of you both!

More good: The Lincoln Theater. I had not set foot inside before. What an amazing facility. First class all around. The sound blew away the nasty sound at Wheeler Hall in Berkeley. Could not ask for a better venue. Everyone who worked there last night (from the ushers, to the people doing the set and lighting) deserves a round of applause. Professional does not begin to describe how perfect it all was.

The bad: Zanzibar. Your sound sucked. The size of the venue did not bother me, especially after performing in a venue the size of a boxing ring in Berkeley.

Surprisingly good. La Fogata. Very large and cool space upstairs. Great place for an event.

The ugly: Haters. For those who ripped on the judges. Too damn bad. That's slam. And to one who ripped on the poster for the event (too white and pretty) and the 'beauty vs. brawn slam' as sexism and an easier way (of dealing with patriarchy) to get through the day. Why not show up at the event instead of hiding behind your computer screen? Guess it's easier that way.

You were awesome but I forgot your name - The woman who hosted the bout I judged.

Who I missed not seeing most - Rose Smith. She had to have been incredible Friday night to climb the ladder.

You guys rock award - Beverly Wilkinson, Louise Robertson, Joanna Schroeder.

Best Star Trek computer voice of the weekend - Karrie Warrala.

A disappointment. No Columbus poets on stage during finals. Chauncey lives in Atlanta now and does not count. Next year!

The other cool place I'd never been in Columbus until last week. Barley's basement. What a great space. Kept looking for Stuart Sutcliffe's ghost.

To my wife. Thank you for putting up with my bloviating.

To everyone and everything I forgot. That was a large glass of Laphroiag I was drinking last night.

Edit**Someone I completely forgot, and should not have - Liz Woods. Who worked her tail off organizing venues and did everything asked of her with such quiet brilliance and competence that I did not see her footprint. That's how good she is.**

One more thing. Next year WoW is in Columbus again.

The mic is waiting.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughts on WoW: Night One

Women of the world preliminary bouts went on last night at three Columbus venues. We camped out at La Fogata. The first bout was stunning as most of the poets were unfamiliar to me. I was impressed by the work of Lauren Zuniga, Sara Brinkman, Theresa Davis and Lucky 7.

In bout two Gina and Vernell were battling it out with some amazing poets, including defending champion Rachel McKibbons. Vernell came out flying in the first round and ranked first. Gina was in sixth. Really liked the work of Andi Kauth, who did one of the few love poems of the evening. The big theme of the night was domestic violence being bad.

The emcee was Phoenix from Cleveland, and she was riding the judges when she thought the scores were low. Guess that's how they do it up there. You know I prefer a low scoring slam to high, but that's the difference of slam.

Vernell was up first in round two, the one minute poem. She's asking me for advice on whether or not to do a serious or funny poem. I could not read the judges. They seemed to be wanting the serious work, but not too serious. Not sure if they had a sense of humor. So she does the serious poem and by the time it's over Vernell's off the stage and the judges do not know what to do.

Looking at my scribbles it looks like Andi Kauth won the second round. Respect to a poet named Inky, who started her round one poem and lost it in the middle. Despite several times to attempt to get it back, she was unable to complete it. I could relate. In round two, she nailed it. Went up to her and said that's how you get back on.

The second night of the prelims is tonight. This will decide who gets on the stage of the Lincoln Theater on Saturday. The battles continue.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even the Sac Drew a Time Penalty

Night one of WoW is completed. Despite a last minute venue changed, everything ran smoothly. Much respect to Beverly Wilkinson for doing some calm work under pressure to get it done. Thanks to Barley's for providing a wonderful space.

I put my A/V skills to the test helping set the PA up. Hey, that cord was not plugged in! That and a little crimp in a loose wire and it was all functioning.

Read in the open mic, was one of the few dudes to do so. Felt like sharing.

The Last Chance Slam was tight. Two poets with perfect scores led after round one and when the dust settled after the second round Sid Malicious won and Blaire from Cleveland took second. Both poets earn a slot in the prelims. Well done.

I was very impressed with a row of poets who, I think, came from Minnesota. Very sincere work performed.

I was not impressed with a number of people in the back, who insisted on talking rather loudly while poets were reading. Take it upstairs or shut up cretins!

The preliminaries to Women of the World start tonight. Want to wish the local women who are participating all the luck. Yes, I'm openly rooting for my hometown ladies.

Vernell Bristow representing Writers Block
Kim Brazwell representing Writing Wrongs
Gina Blaurock
Barbara Fant
Rose Smith

It's on!

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It Starts Tonight

The Women of the World Poetry Slam takes place in Columbus this year. Seventy two female poets from around the world will be competing in a poetry slam.

You can see the full schedule of events here.

It starts tonight at Callahan's with Writers Block open mic and the Last Chance Slam. Preliminary rounds will be at Kickstart, Urban Spirit Coffee House, Zanzibar, La Fogata and Callahan's Thursday and Friday night.

The finals will be on Saturday at the Lincoln Theater.

This is going to be a major event for the city. Show up and prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


My son has a lot of texture issues with food and does not eat solids. Earlier he put a small piece of chocolate in his mouth, and came back for more.

At school he has put a potato chip in his mouth, but immediately spit it out. He used to watch me eat chips and salsa and giggle incessantly. He will put food in another person's mouth.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just Don't Call it Bubblegum

First generation immigrants from India fall in love with Catholics and Americans in Sujatha Hampton's debut novel As it was Written. It's a book of a curse about dying for love, and trying to survive it. Hampton possesses a gift of touching your core with the line, "He leapt up and stood in front of her and when he pointed the camera she was looking at him with so much love he had to lower it to check if it was real, but when he raised it back to his eye, it was still there." It was a bit tough for me to follow the lengthy Indian names, but I managed to muddle through the cultural divisions and have my heart broken, a little, at its end.

While I'm not a huge fan of Tommy James' music, you cannot dispute his popularity. He's written a book about his rise in the music business and his connections with organized crime. The character Hesh Rabkin on the Sopranos is based on Morris Levy, who signed James on to his record label, Roulette Records. Me, the Mob, and the Music, is a fast paced and entertaining look at the music industry by someone who started out as a wide eyed eighteen year old from Michigan who became a rock star, and saw things that few have seen.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring Swaps Snow for Leaves

Mumford and Sons is a London quartet who released their first record, Sigh No More in the UK last year. It received its US release last month. It's really good stuff.

They're coming to the Wexner Center on May 22nd. I'm stoked. These guys are going to be huge.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Lot of Face

Went to an art opening last night at the Kiaca Gallery. The show is called: Through the Lens - a Portrait of 12 Artists. Great large format photographs of local artists from a diverse community. Writers' Block's own Scott Woods is one of them. Check it out at 937 North High. You can see Scott staring at you, like Chairman Mao, from the street!

Here's where there should be a picture, but life is busy.

Very happy to reveal that my Scottish Wife starts work on Monday at a local institute of higher education that is not where I work.

Had dinner at Z Pizza last night before the opening, it's about three doors from the gallery. We were the only ones in the place and there was a new employee taking our order very slowly as he was unfamiliar with the register. When our order arrived my wife's was fine but they sent me a large pizza instead of a small. It seemed we also paid for a large pizza, no one (including us) seemed to be paying attention. Management offered to refund us the difference or give us a coupon for a free pizza. We took the refund. That's how you take care of a customer. Well done Z Pizza.

Things are looking up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Those Open Mics, They'll Change You

Four years ago, my life took a new turn. Maybe that was the first step towards, something. Maybe I was presented different options? New ways of looking at life? For better or worse, when I walked out of the Columbus Music Hall that night I was not the same person who went in there.

You probably know some of the twists and turns that have happened since that March night. If you do not, it's been a roller coaster - at times an unpleasant one. Who knows what would have happened if Id gone a week earlier? A week later? I do know this: If I had not entered, no one would be reading this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Three Losses in a Day

Yesterday consisted of loss. Sports loss. Nothing I have not written about here before. It was a frustrating morning finding links to the Old Firm game. Once I had, it was time to find another link to the Everton/Tottenham match. All happening with a shouty child and a pounding headache.

Everton went down 2-0 in the first half. It was time to find the Celtic/Rangers match. Maybe something was happening there. Nothing happened until Maurice Edu scored with seconds left in added time for Rangers, and one loss was in the column.

By now Yakubu had managed to score for Everton, but the tying goal was not to be.

Two teams defeated and it was not even 10AM yet.

After the match my wife announced that there was no water. So I went to the basement with great trepidation, expecting a massive leak and saw no signs of damage.

I went outside and saw a sign blocking out road and some construction being done a block away, looked like there was a problem with the water main. Went over to the neighbors to see if they had water, like us, they did not.

Problem solved, and I did not have to get a wrench out.

The water came back on in about half an hour.

Later, the whiny boy and his whiny father took a nap before the hockey game.

I woke up about halfway through the first period.

The game was fantastic. End to end action, skill and suspense. Too bad my son slept through it. I was not yelling at the television, but let out a good squee when Parise tied it late.

It was disappointing to see the U.S. team lose in overtime, but few expected them to get into a medal round, let alone the gold medal round. Goalie Ryan Miller got the MVP, I’m sure he’d exchange that for a gold medal. He’s going home with hardware though, which is something few people can say.

It was not a sad day, just unproductive – which is what happens when you attach yourself to a computer or screen, watching instead of creating.

What I saw of the Olympic closing cermonies was amusing. Neil Young doing his thing, weird opera singers, SHATNER!, Catherine O'Hara sadly bombing, a well loved Michael J. Fox, mountie statues that looked like they came from Easter Island, Michael Buble lip synching very badly, mountie go-go dancers, inflatable moose and beaver. Go Canada!

Today is frustration, waiting for phone calls. Dealing with the medical/insurance complex, I crawl on.