Monday, February 28, 2011

Passed on to me

When my son gets sick, it's doubly hard. First, you feel bad that he's sick. Second, he cannot tell you what is wrong, and is not very good at self care.

He seems to have some sort of eye infection, but that's been cleared up with drops. Giving him the drops is a lesson in patience, he does not like it when you put anything on him. So it's been a struggle pinning him down to get the drops in, but it has not been as horrible as I imagined.

It's sad seeing him listless, with no energy and so unlike himself. He slept in the afternoons for a couple of hours this weekend and still went to bed around his usual time. When he deliberately sleeps during the day, you know he's not well.

So we're home today, and maybe he'll shake off the illness. Well, he's already given me a sore throat.

Been following the situation in Madison. Protesters were allowed to stay in the capitol for another night, but for how much longer. Another protest in planned in downtown Columbus tomorrow to rally against senate bill five. The Oscars were dull dull dull, Everton won, Celtic lost some poetry drama got smoothed out a little and the Blue Jackets lost a heart breaker at Nashville.

There's still hope though.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Got that Michael Caine Look Going

It took three weeks after the exam, but my reading glasses finally arrived yesterday afternoon. They look just like this, but they're solid black.

It's a pleasant feeling not having to strain my neck looking cockeyed at the screen or putting the glasses on the tip of my nose to be able to read, anything. It's a huge relief at work because I'm dealing with smaller fonts and the numbers I need from books are small also.

I'm very happy that I'm capable of reading books at a decent pace again.

This one's been sitting on my shelf for a few weeks. I got it for my Scottish Wife, but she has not read it yet, so I took it upon myself.

It's not a literary opus, no great work of fiction or memoir, but a series of blog and journal entries Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian made in the mid 2000's. He's a funny, touching and spiritual writer. Even knowing about the Mike Piazza song I did not realize he was a baseball fan.

The strengths of the book are his descriptions of Glasgow. He's embedded in the city. It's more than love. It's his soul, weakness and inspiration. He lives in the area I stayed in during my visit and the number of landmarks he names and spends his time in was an impressive match to many of the places I'd been, and want to go back to so badly.

The is a good amount of music in the book. You get a good, fair impression of the band during the making of albums and touring. He gives fair statements about how tiring and repetitive the business can be.

It's not a memoir, but a chatty look at the life of a working musician during a set time in his life. It's worth seeking out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going Past Eleven

It was a long night of poetry at WB. A very long night. There was open mic, a feature, a 12 poet slam and a special appearance by the Slam Papi himself, Marc Smith. It was an open mic with anarchy. A poet read two poems, and said one of them would be short, when it was not. Shame! Shun! There's a new rule coming into play for anyone whose cell phone goes off - they have to go behind the curtain, with no peeking! Heck, we might even put a poet back there with the offender, for a private reading.

LaShaun Phoenix was the feature. She did a fine job whipping the crowd into shape for the slam.

Then Marc Smith, introduced the slam, Chicago Style!

He also performed the final poem of the evening. A very good one about lifting each other up. I'm not sure why he was in town. Heard whispers that he was simply checking out other scenes. Either way, very cool that he gave us a visit.

I was the sacrificial poet for the slam and debuted a poem that is going back into the shop. There is a there in there, but I do not know where it quite is yet. Again, having fun, taking batting practice. It was a long night and I was keeping the time so the poems during the slam were a bit of a blue. Have to say I will greatly appreciate the no repeat rule this slam season.

At the end J.G. pulled away and won the night, with Ethan second and Vernell third. I'm liking what J.G.'s doing. He's a hard working poet who is quite versatile with the rap, rhyming and prose. I love when he gets nostalgic about stuff, even when I have no idea what he's talking about he makes it convincing. Truth.

Finally. If everything is so great and awesome, it's time to raise the bar. We're not all pooping out diamonds. Time to challenge ourselves, take risks and do better work.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Peasants Dance

Got out of the political doldrums and went to the Wexner Center to see Murnau's 'Sunrise.'

It's only the second film of his I've seen, the other being The Last Laugh. I know, have not seen Nosferatu or Faust. I have gaps.

The plot is straightforward drama: Infidelity, attempted murder, forgiveness, a nasty thunderstorm, and this nifty scene at an amusement park.

It stars the lovely Mary Gaynor as the wife and a few other people whose faces I recognize, including that guy at the :20 part of the clip.

The special effects and cinematography are outstanding, and not just for a film of 1927. They still work and work well. It's a very good film that is not as dated as I thought it would be. To me though, it did not possess the power that The Last Laugh has.

Emil Jennings has been fired from his job at a hotel for being too old and is forced to become a bathroom attendant. Come on now! This film is devastating. Plus, it only has one title card. That takes a good script and some amazing acting. I know The Last Laugh is a German film and Sunrise was Murnau's for an American studio, and there are differences in studio styles as well. We're lucky to have them both survive.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ohio Does the Madison

Today, at the Ohio Statehouse - thousands, if not more, will protest the anti-union, anti-public employee senate bill five. Hard working Americans in public service are being made scapegoats for the current economic problems this country is experiencing. It's a disgrace that millionaires and the wealthy who get tax breaks are ridiculing those who make between $20-30,000 a year for making too much money. While I believe there is a problem with today's union culture, and certain concessions should be made through negotiation, the elimination of collective bargaining is not an article that should be considered.

If you're going, be safe. Be effective.

My friend Tyrone has been in New Zealand for the past several months. He's been all over the country and was in Christchurch as recently as last week. So I was a bit concerned when reading about yesterday's earthquake. He's safe in Wellington, on the other island and did not feel it. Good luck to everyone down there. Another friend of mine does have family in Christchurch she has not heard from yet.

EDIT: Tyrone is safe in Wellington.

The kid is fine. He took a poop yesterday equivalent to his birth weight and clogged the toilet.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sporadic Beverage Review

On our trip to Jungle Jim's over the weekend, we found a bottle of soda we'd never seem before.

Almdudler,it is said, is the national soft drink of Austria. It comes in a striking bottle with an attractive etching.

The drink itself s very light, with moderate herbal flavors and some ginger. It is easily described as a ginger ale, but there is a very light ginger element than what most Americans are used to. It's certainly pleasant, refreshing and light in flavor. I imagine it's a decent mixer as well. Over here, it's over three bucks a bottle, and that's for a pint.

Far from the worst imported soft drink I've had, but pricey.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Long Post About Several Things

Been a good run these past few days. A lot of poetry, friends, and driving.

Wednesday night Kafe Kerouac was packed as the Win and You're In slam went down. Teams from Cleveland, Detroit and two from Columbus went head to head. I'm not sure about the scoring, I was busy keeping time, but Cleveland won with some solid poems.

Again, I've seen the place crowded before, with people on stage sitting, but this was a serious standing room only crowd, and it was amazing!

Friday night's First Draft had Columbus' own Rose Smith doing a feature of all new work.

A couple of powerful poems about a father trying to keep his children fed and about how Obama needs to tighten up really moved me. Great work.

I did a new piece after a one word prompt Scott Woods gave me back in November. It's called Gaythiest and I thought it went over very well.

Later the was a white guy (stay with me, there's a reason I'm calling his skin color) who none of us had never seen hanging around. He paid his admission, got on the list. When he took the stage he simply started taking, no paper, about hospitals, emergency rooms then he dropped the N-bomb. N-please to be a bit more specific. It was some weird unfunny Seinfeldian routine that ended with him saying if you say you are suicidal in a hospital emergency room you will be admitted. And he was done.

The applause was uncomfortable as he left the room. Questions were raised. He did come back, which was good considering the topic of his poem. Suicidal thoughts are not to be laughed off.

I was talking to Scott about this afterward. In my five years of going to WB I've only heard the N word a handful of times, never used by a white guy. And we talked about how WB definitely uses racial humor as part of the act, we do not do racial slurs. Big difference. You never know what the night will bring.

Also during this time we saw the film A Town Called Panic a silly animated film from Belgium. Simply put, a cowboy, Indian, and horse have an adventure. Here's a short of theirs which may, or may not explain what this is about.

It's not a long film at 75 minutes, but I giggled a lot, and that's hard for me to do these days.

Saturday was a long day. Started with me headed to the junkyard to try and harvest a couple of small parts for my car. Went into the yard with a phillips head screwdriver and hope. Took me some time to find the Subarus. Walked by the sad Volvos and a long line of damaged Beetles, which was where they were behind. Found a trashed, older Outback, there were no Legacys that I could fine, and opened the hatchback. I was looking for a clip for the curtain, which was tough to get out and a lock for the rear seat to move it up and down.

Turns out, only one of the items, the seat lock, fit.

The tragedy was that my sunglasses were missing. They clip on to my frames with magnets. I had the screwdriver and sunglasses in my inside coat pocket. Somehow, when I took the screwdriver out, the sunglasses were attached and went flying.

Went back in the Subaru area, and thanks to St. Anthony the sunglasses were right on the ground, easily seen.

After this stress it was off for coffee at Cup O' Joe in Bexley where I sat with the iPod Touch, updating and updating as Everton took Chelsea to penalties in their FA Cup match, and won! Happy morning!

After watching my son swim it was time to get the car ready for the trip to Cincinnati. This was a test for the Subaru as it was the first long drive I have taken with it.

We were joined by our friend B-Dazzle, who did a craft project with my wife during the drive down.

It was an Army of Amys and one of them stared at me the whole drive down. I think there's one left in the back of the wagon.

Out first stop was Jungle Jim's in Fairfield. We've been here before, but not B-Dazzle. Out main objective was the IRN-Bru, which was, to our delight, available in 12 packs. We bought one of those while my Scottish Wife tossed candy and crisps into the cart. I almost picked up a can of haggis.

Picked up a few beverages including, the national drink of Austria.

After Jungle Jim's it was time to head to Cincinnati proper. Thanks to B-Dazzle's GPS we arrived with little trouble.

By this time we were a bit hungry. Sure, we had plenty of IRN-Bru, but we needed hot food. The place across the street from where we parked was closed, but my wife spotted a beer light about a block away. Turns out it was a bar and grill called Arnold's.

Immediately upon entering I knew we found the right spot. Reminded me of Ulrich's and McSorley's. This was an old school place (since 1859) in a building that has been standing since 1948 and it did not disappoint. Good food, good beer and friendly service. If we're in downtown Cincinnati again, this is the place to go.

We walked the two blocks to the Blue Wisp for the other reason for the road trip, the Whirlwind Company, Brisn S. David, Mike McGee, Mindy Nettifee and Jon Sands, a group of touring poets.

We immediately met three other Columbus poets who made the trip down and Jon Sands. Jon took a table from the back of the room and moved it to the front, which was where we sat the rest of the night. Great people, great poetry family.

I had never heard of Mindy before this tour and was completely gobsmacked by a poem she wrote about her father called Tremelo. I do not buy as much merchandise as I should, but I bought the book the poem is in.

It was good to meet Brian and Mindy and reconnect with Mike (who I had not seen since Berkeley) and Jon. On the drive home under an extremely bright moon I thought how lucky I am to have such great, talented friends, and to be a small part of the poetry community locally and nationally.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top Ten Places the Wisconsin Democrats May Be

10) Going to Cairo to walk like Egyptians
9) Looking for Jimmy Hoffa
8) Touring with Phish
7) Finding the real killers for O.J.
6) Searching for the jobs the GOP promised
5) Going on a road trip to gather enough Kleenex for John Boehner
4) Taking advantage of clearance sales at Borders
3) Coming to Ohio after pooling enough cash to pay for John Kasich's traffic ticket
2) With Curveball finding the weapons of mass destruction
1) Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A great song with a surreal video that works on so many levels.

This is why the eighties were awesome.

Let no one convince you otherwise.

I saw her live at Shea's in Buffalo sometime during that decade. Knew little about her but she put on a heck of a show.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Do Have to Work Harder

Yesterday was one of those days that went from resigned sullenness to feeling pretty decent within a minute. I blame my ego, and Facebook.

Late in the afternoon, people began posting status updates saying they got an email from the Columbus Arts Council. An email that said they were to audition for the Arts Festival.

I never received an email. Woe is me.

So I posted a status update that I did not get an email and that I'll have to work harder. Then I sulked around the workplace for about ten minutes. My wife responded that I had a phone message from them. The email address I gave them bounced, and could I please give them a call? Must have been my stellar handwriting.

Looks like I got the audition after all, why else would they call? Quickly redacted the mopey Facebook status update.

Last night I made a rare journey to Rumba Cafe to catch the Poetry Forum's feature. Joel Yeager's been at WB for a few years now and he's become a poetry force, turning the absurd or simple parts of his life into amazing work. He did a great feature and I thank my lovely wife for looking after my son for the night so I could go.

Was not sure if I was going to read, but Steve Abbott asked, and, like Joanna Schroeder, how can you say no to him? Read "The Boy Who is not Still", part of the continuing autism series and my biblical persona poem, "David's Rock."

The latter poem got such a strong reaction from one local poet he came up to me after the reading and asked if I could mail him a copy of the poem and sign it. He also asked for permission to read it publicly. He runs poetry nights north of Columbus, of course I agreed, maybe I'll get a feature out of it. In any case, very flattering to get such a positive response.

Also had a firm, but civil conversation with school transportation about my son's bus being chronically late and got the ball rolling again to get him evaluated by Childrens Hospital's feeding clinic. Maybe this time insurance will not reject his treatment as being medically unnecessary. Plus, while the trip to Scotland in April is being delayed, we are going to Louisville in May and back to the olde country in late August.

Getting stuff done.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Clever and Fun Video

Kid Canaveral's song "Good Morning" was on my best of 2010 list. This song is also off the Shouting at Wildlife album and has a snazzy video.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

From the Old Job

Here's a Live Journal entry from five years ago.


In this corner...

...there was a nine year old boy. In the other corner was a much larger ten year old girl.

She started it by pushing him. Hard. Repeatedly.

They started hitting each other in the lobby. It ended up in the ladies room.

When I got there and opened the door they were both staring each other down, both with looks of pure hatred and anger on their faces.

Then there was the young lady who ran up a large fine by returning videos late.

'That's retarded,' she repeated several times before paying up.

Her name was Q-Tay.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Patti is Right

There might be an ad. Sorry, but this is the only version of the original video I can find.

Patti Smith - People have the power
Uploaded by leebil. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Wow. What would be like to be under thirty in Egypt? The only ruler you've known is Mubarak and now he's out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Threesomes and Coffins, Oh My!

Another night of entertainment and poetry at Writers' Block. There were gnomes.

A gnome spitting hot fire!

So many poems and incidents that seared into my memory forever.

Did a new piece that is dedicated to Frieda Hughes. Needs some work. Clearly shows that I have issues with academia and those who claim ownership of something that was never theirs.

Working it out onstage.

Really liking the new record by Over the Rhine. They're a band that has been mostly out of my radar, but when I put their music on I wonder why they hell they're not on continual repeat. The new release is called The Long Surrender and it's produced lovingly by Joe Henry. He gets some beautiful performances out of the band and reveals the colors of Karin Bergquist's voice.

Nicole Atkins has come back to the scene with a new record also. Mondo Amore has been four years in the making. During this period Atkins left her record label and broke up with her boyfriend and band. It's a darker record that Neptune City and if you're looking for the Brill Building influence it's hard to find. This is a much darker and swampier sound, and it's a decent change of pace for her.

I wonder what kind of record would have come out of Daniel Lanois had produced it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Photographs and Memories

My adviser from college was in picture posting mode on Facebook yesterday. Among them was a group photo of people who went to a college radio convention in Washington D.C in the spring of 1983. The aftermath of a night filled with an incredible amount of drinking. There is another picture from the night before of myself and a friend passed out flat on our backs in a hotel room bed. Thankfully, that picture is not on the internet.

In the picture, I am holding a bag and seem to be eating something out of it. I was told it was KFC and was given great detail about how people needed or did not need that food after the activities of the night before. It's amazing what people can remember after drinking so much. I do remember somehow getting out of bed the next morning and going to breakfast at McDonald's with my adviser. We moved seats after realizing we were sitting under the Muzak speaker. It was a chilly and brisk morning. We walked over to the Washington Monument and he taped the flapping of the flags in the wind. I do not remember any of the drive from Washington to Fredonia, and the pit stop picture is a total blank after twenty eight years.

Aside from not taking that work study job at the library freshman year, and not taking any library science courses, and a poor relationship decision, one of my (seemingly many!) college regrets is not getting enough pictures of the experience. I have some, most of it lies in a box in the basement. Maybe I'll pull some more out and scan one Sunday afternoon. But it's not about not having pictures of the parties, but to not have any pictures of the music, the bands, the things we did at WCVF, the early shows of 10,000 Maniacs on film - that is something I would go back and correct.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Short Round Up

As a Bills fan you understand that turning the ball over three times in a Super Bowl is not going to help your team win the game. Well played Packers.

Many other bloggers, pundits and internet tough guys have their commentary about last night's game. I'll let the Deep 13 bunch speak for me.

At least it was not a blow out.

One bottle of Drano later, and the bathroom sink is unclogged.

I've figured out an unbelievably easy to convert certain types of files into other types of files on my Mac. This makes me dangerous.

Friday, February 4, 2011

At Least We Did Not Pay to See That

Full day as I went in for an eye exam in the early afternoon. My vision has been messed up and I have not adjusted well to progressive lenses. My peepers were poked, prodded and given a thorough once over for about two hours. Vision is worsening. I have to be wary of retinal tears and other disturbances.

Had a couple of new to me procedures done, a 3-D eye scan, which produced a cool picture that looked not unlike an ultra sound of the uterus. No baby in my eye, or nothing else really, a good thing.

Also had an ultrasound done on my optic nerve. A dab of goop was put on the end of a probe and placed on my eyelid. Very interesting look at the nerve too. Again, no problems were noted.

Ended up buying a set of reading glasses, which will be ready in three weeks.

Had to get home after the exam, which was a bit tricky walking around in the sunshine with dilated pupils. Put on the shades and walked a couple of blocks to pick up the #7 bus. No way I could drive in that condition.

Later, the eyes did improve and we headed to the Ohio State Hockey game.

When we got to the ticket office, we were approached by a kid of about 13-14, and he offered us free tickets. I'm a skeptic, so I tried dismissing him, but he was persistent. I looked at the tickets, which were legit, and thanked him profusely for them.

I was so gobsmacked I forgot to pick up our complimentary Thundersticks.

The team had been playing well, and I thought it would pick up attendance. I was mistaken, there were not many people - and they were fairly quiet, except for the student section. They had thundersticks and used them very appropriately

Sitting in front of us, in sparsely attended section, a Packer legend's jersey was at the game.

The student section and band support is growing. This is good to see.

Before the game, Michigan State Head Coach, Rick Comley, who is retiring at the end of the season, was given a plaque and a nice send off by OSU coach Osiecki. Class move by the team. Comley's one of the good guys of college hockey.

The game itself was rather close. Michigan State played well and their defense did not give OSU many chances to score. MSU picked up a goal right off a faceoff in the second period and the score stayed 1-0.

Late in the third, OSU thought they managed a goal, but it was waived off after the referee said the puck had been kicked in. I was on the other side of the rink and had no idea how the puck went it. There was no replay shown to the crowd but all reporters, bloggers and message board pundits think that was the right call. I was amused that after the red light went on and the team celebrated (prematurely) that two teddy bears were thrown onto the ice in anticipation of tonight's Teddy Bear Toss.

The Buckeyes have now lost four straight, and have only scored three goals in their last four games. The offense has to step up if they want any reasonable chance to move on in the playoffs or post season.

Various Administrative Things

I do check the stats for this blog to see how many hits it gets, what people are reading, how they're getting here and where they're from.

I joined Networked Blogs via Facebook and that has had some good results. So if you're coming from Facebook, hello.

A few others have joined from unknown and known reasons, hello to you also.

The U.S., Canada and the U.K. are the top three countries that read this.

Ohio, New York, Illinois, California and Minnesota are the top five states, in that order.

The search keywords people use and somehow wind up here can be amusing.

"Weiner Mobile" is something that gets people here. The post about it remains one of the most popular pages.

"The Blog of Mystery" is another search.

"Make Me Dance I Want to Surrender" another.

Two of the oddest ones are "John DeBella 1981 WLIR" a blast from the past! And "Esther Craw, Ohio State"

Bless her.

As always, thank you for stopping by and feel free to comment.

Last night was a first for my Scottish Wife and something I had not done for a long time.

She mentioned to me she had never had Jiffy Pop. I guess it was a part of America she wanted to experience. Do the Scots have it over there?

So I bought one and cooked it up last night. First off: Electric stove and Jiffy Pop does not mesh well. We ended up with a lot of burnt popcorn despite the constant shaking and motion. The house still smells like it was on fire and it was not because we watched The Expendables.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kids Getting Their Influence On

If this band was any janglier, these Brooklyn hipsters would be able to afford Rickenbacker guitars.

Despite the snark, I do not mind this. One of their songs almost got into my top 20 last year. Dream Diary's new record ships next month.

What I am really liking is this Norwegian quintet.

Their first album, Hunting for Treasures, has just been released.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Square One

Lots of ice here today. Schools are closed. I'm taking the day off to look after the kid.

He's been frustrating recently. Really in his own world and it's hard to get him out. Even his teacher is having trouble reaching him.

His sleep pattern has regressed. He goes to bed about ten, has a monologue for about half an hour then falls asleep. At about 3AM he's up again, giggling, speaking nonsense words, nonstop, for about two hours. You ask him to stop, he looks right past you. You're not even in the room.

I'm very uncertain about how to deal with this.