Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Vegetable I like

Gardening is completely new to me, and I believe, to my Scottish Wife. She's grown things from seeds before, not me. I kill colonies of Sea Monkeys. Pole beans though, are a childhood memory, one of the few good ones. Our neighbor grew them along the fence between our houses and what came though to our side we'd eat off the vine. Delicious!

I cleared out most of the space in the yard, she put the seeds down and the tepee trellises. I added the larger poles and the wood trellis. If all goes wrong, it's an experiment.

So we're watching the vine grow. I swear it grew about six inches yesterday. It's stretching from pole to pole. One vine was growing out behind the fence, on the ground. They're doing what they should, but it's hard to tame them!

Did some weeding around it, tried to put the vines where they're going up instead of across - we'll see what happens.

When do the beans start showing up?

Tried to upload a couple of pictures but the ones I took off the iPod, Blogger would not upload. First world problem.

I was able to upload the picture about seven hours after posting.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Finding Stuff has become a Dime a Dozen

Be it a Gillian Welch leak or that Scott Walker album you liked on Youtube, it’s become rather easy to find anything you want to hear or download through the power of the internet. I’ve discussed this before, and brought up my holy grail, a concert that Warren Zevon did in Columbus in 1990 that started with this song.

As far as I know, it’s the only time he performed it, and it was written that afternoon. The rest of the show was Warren and his band completely rocking the house, and he acknowledged the crowd at the end of the night for being part of a special evening, when everything seems to click.

I’ve been searching for the show online for a while now, and that video link led me to the link’s provider, which led to me to a site, and me making a facebook inquiry for some assistance, and that assistance provided. So I should finally have that concert in my possession rather soon.

So what happens when you find your holy grail?

Do you think of another?

Of course.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I see those fighter planes

Beautiful day for a mini road trip. We headed to Dayton to see the Air Force Museum. I had not been there for about twenty years and was wondering what types of changes had been made. There seemed to be a lot of improvements. A stunning amount of information on the walls and exhibits. What impressed her, and surprised me, was how little flag waving and blatant America F-yeah there was, especially since I have not been there since the end of the Gulf war.

She'd never seen a Wright Flyer up close before. Yes, that thing flew. Both of us were appreciative of the exhibits about the early days of military aviation. Here she is with a Sopwith Camel.

There are a lot of stories about the men and women who flew and did not make it that will rip your heart out. It's an overload of information that is very difficult to absorb in just a few hours. We got through a lot of the exhibits until world war two, and then it became too much.

Approaching the later exhibits up to today I started realizing we really have not learned anything from the lives lost. We're still blowing people up, but with prettier, more technologically advanced machinery. Here's what it's like looking into a bomb drop of a B-52.

There was a very moving exhibit about people from Dayton who had family in the holocaust. They donated a lot of photographs and other personal items, including a death camp uniform that somehow survived the war.

The enemies this country had and defeated were, for the most part, treated with respect. There was a kamikaze plane on display, along with a Japanese fighter and a MIG. The Berlin Airlift was given a good amount of space, with models depicting a Candy Bomber, who dropped parachutes filled with candy and chocolate to the children of Berlin.

You never know when you may come across a Russian checkpoint.

Above all though, the men and women who fought in these wars were all damn brave. You have to respect that. And the astronauts who flew in a Lunar Module the size of a well equipped hot tub get their due as well.

That's Apollo 15.

It's a great place to learn about military aviation, admission is free. Just remember, do not touch anything.

And remember to leave when you have reached your information limit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not well today

Feeling like garbage today. Calling off work. Cancelling dinner plans with a friend. It's raining again and Supertramp got nothing to do with it. The lawn gets neglected for another wet day.

The four I got in a poetry slam last night has nothing to do with any of this, nor does the hilarity of being mistaken in a photo for someone who looks nothing like me.

If I could get some sleep, I'd feel better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tires are important

With the central air in the house shot, has been for years, we've been making do in the heat with an air conditioner in the bedroom and a unit in the downstairs that has been on its last legs for too long. Bought a new a/c last week and it's lovely. A smart one so it does not work all the time. It has a remote that beeps loudly when you use it. Most important; it cools quite well.

Yesterday morning I dropped the car at the repair shop for what I hope to be the last major repair for awhile. New tires and a fixed wheel bearing make the car a lot quieter and safer, almost a joy to drive.

I noticed the lowered noise level right away, a bad bearing makes a lot of noise, and the lack of wobbling on the cloverleafs of the interstate entrances. It feels better. The only trouble in the foreseeable future are replacing a couple of rotors due to their age.

Speaking of cars and safety - if I ever drive the Subaru at a ridiculous rate of speed and burn myself to a crisp hitting a tree or an underpass, I give you, Roger Ebert and anyone else permission to call me a jackass. I do not want any internet drama after my demise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just getting started

I've been seeing clips of a BBC show that aired last year on youtube. It's called The Trip and it stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. They essentially play themselves while on a food reviewing trip through Northern England. The improvisational riffing is incredible. Both stars get to shine and you don't know what's real and what's part of the act. There's some genuine pathos going on amid all the sniping and lack of affection.

There were only six episodes aired and it's been edited together for a feature film which will be released later this year. I watched the first two episodes tonight and my wife and I were in hysterics. Great stuff. If you like impersonations, this show is for you.

That is the clip that made me want to see more. I bought the DVD from for just over ten bucks. While I was buying I figured something had to be added to make the overseas postage worthwhile.

I've never seen any of the Eccelston episodes and I'm excited. We watched the first one tonight and he's a fun doctor with some hints of sinister. Looking forward to the next twelve over the summer.

What I paid for this at is less that half what I would have paid if I went the domestic route, and it took less than a week to get here. I can be patient.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nothing but a Prime Number

I've survived another year of travel around the sun. It's Father's Day too, which happens every few years. I read about kids getting up early and making their dads soggy cereal for breakfast. Not here.

I wonder what he remembers and I suspect it's a lot, more than I think. I try to be patient and sometimes I am not. A lot of parents are like this, right? We're all human, or supposed to be. So much is expected of parents, and rightly so. But when the curtain falls on the hallowed image of being a decent parent to a special needs child, it damages the scenery. What has scarred him and how much have I screwed him up already? He's not even nine, when he asks for what he wants you can barely hear him speak but when he's incessantly bouncing on the yoga ball the unintelligible speech is loud. It's hard to get through the days when that is all he wants to do, or when he's nearly impossible to reach. All you can do is love him as best as you can I guess, and hope for the best.

So many times I do not know what to do. I'm asked what they're going to do to him in the Feeding Clinic and I do not know. No one knows. It's how he reacts to what is presented to him that may determine the path of therapy. This is going to take a lot of work.

Often times I am terrified of what he will say about me if he does start speaking. No amount of typical back talk could prepare me for that. I do not regret what happened though, I was going without much of a net. Sometimes I still am.

Called my sister tonight, which is something I rarely do. Not just her, but everyone. Telephones and I are not friends. I tried though, and will try again soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tear Drops on the City

The moment I walked into Kafe Kerouac I was asked to emcee a Haiku Death Match. There were four poets, three judges, and me. A few more people did show up.

Later I did the feature. My time on stage benefited the Writers' Block Poetry Slam team for their trip to the National Poetry slam in Boston this August.

For posterity's sake, here's my set list.

To the Women in my Spam Folder
Pantoum for a Child with Insomnia
To the Poets Young Enough to be my Children
Isotopes of Despair
Jim Morrison's Twitter Page
What Should be Done in my Absence
Started While Flying Over Cincinnati
Days of the Week is I was Emperor
Naismith Laughs
If Tracy Can Emulate Joel, I can do this. That's the Title
Spam Folder of Love

A mix between the old, new and recent. Dusted off the last poem, only read that once in the last two and a half years.

In the news tonight is the death of Clarence Clemons. With his recent stroke and other medical problems it's not unexpected, but still quite a loss.

He was an integral part of the E-Street Band. The Master of Disaster. The King of the World. Saw them in Buffalo during the Born in the U.S.A. tour. Jungleland was a standout memory. During his sax solo Bruce controlled the crowd during the wave. This was when the wave was still new, and not cliche. A powerful rock and roll moment of my life.

This clip is from Buffalo in November of 2009, the last show the E-Street Band as we knew it will play.

Rest in Peace, Big Man.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Going to make a hit

After last night's auction for The Writers' Block Poetry Slam team ended, we came home with a pair of tickets to a Bowling Green football game and three hours of studio time with Sean FM.

Going to be recording some poems sometime in July. Do I go with older material, newer, the best I have? How long should the finished product be? It's not going to be an hour, that's for sure, probably closer to half an hour. Is that too little these days?

Just for giggles I looked at vinyl pressing. It would be cool to have it on a record, right?

The prices made me think otherwise. It was good to have that dream for two minutes though.

Looking forward to the studio time, and seeing what we come out of there with. Do I market it with a CD, a thumb drive, or digital download? Decisions.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting to know you

The therapy session went well. I was not sure where in the building the clinic was, we walked all the way around the building and by happenstance found the right elevator. I checked in and we waited. We were right by one of the surgical elevators and got to hear one poor kid in a gurney cry out for his Dad.

His therapist came out and introduced herself to us, took us to a room and started asking questions about him. She brought out some food to see how he ate, tried sneaking in some rice oatmeal. He saw her do it, he notices these things, and would not eat anymore.

They went into one of the therapy playrooms, where they bonded with her swinging him in a rubber tire and a yoga ball. The two of them got on well, which is good for trust. We go back next week.

Tonight at Writers' Block it's the auction to benefit the slam team's trip to the National Poetry Slam in Boston later this summer. Some really cool things are up for bids. It starts at eight at Kafe Kerouac.

Also at Kafe Kerouac this Friday night is First Draft with Gina Blaurock as the feature. I'm sure she'll have all her new work memorized!

After her feature and open mic WB is holding another fundraiser, this is an All-Nighter to benefit the slam team. Anyone can buy stage time at the price of a dollar a minute. You can do whatever you want with that time. It runs from 10PM until 5PM on Saturday,

I'm doing a half hour feature at 4PM on Saturday. This is going to be run straight, with some pot shots at Scott Woods. No gimmicks, no stunts, no musical accompaniment, just poetry. Been going over my set, there will be new work, recent work, and some things dusted off. I'll be reading nothing from the Arts Fest set, which is cool in that I have at least fifty minutes of material to use. Heck I got an hour if I need it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting up a bit earlier

Understandably, my son is a bit out of sorts with all the schedule changes in his life since school ended. Now that summer camp started yesterday, and the feeding clinic starts today, more changes are to come.

It will be an adjustment, for all of us. Instead of dropping him off at summer camp, I’m picking him up this year. So I get to work a bit earlier, leave earlier, and deal with mid-day traffic in Upper Arlington and Hilliard.

We’re growing pole beans this year and they have begun to shoot up!

They’re climbing the pole so fast we’re going to have to upgrade to six foot poles. No beans yet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rust Belt, the Sequel and Ending

I did not expect the energy level of poetry to be so high on day two of Rust Belt. A lot of hot and tired poets dug deep and did some impressive work during round two yesterday. The Collective was a bit sick, a bit tired and slightly hungover but we delivered. Same as Friday I could not be more impressed by my team of hastily gathered poets. Paula started us off and fought off a migraine. Ellie brought the room to her attention. Atticus showed some amazing energy and delivered a flawless soliloquy from Luigi, the Mario Brother.

By the time the fourth round came, I was hot, sweaty, and still a bit worn from the night before. But dammit, these poets had energy, even the ones that were not overly shouting were bringing it. If they can have all this electricity, I'd better get my act together. I looked over what I was going to do, After Birth, added one small line for a bit of punch and hit the mike.

Even though I really can't see very far in my reading glasses I could tell I had the audience's attention. I heard the reaction to my lines and went with it. When I was done I was spent, in a bit of a daze as I saw more than a few people get to their feet to applaud.

I always write down my scores after, shook as I wrote them. 9.4, 9.8, 9.9, 10, 10.

Shit, that's a 29.7.

People and poets came to me, thanking me, shaking my shaking hand, giving me hugs, I was dazed and went outside for cooler air.

It was the highest score in the round, possibly the bout and one of the higher scores all weekend. That was something.

Still not sure of the final results, team or individual, but I know our team did well and individually we held our heads high among some of the best poets out there. I can't thank Atticus, Ellie and Paula enough, we did great.

Had to head home and miss the second bout, I was burnt out and in need of another shower before the finals.

Thank God for Nestor Hall being air conditioned. G. Gnarls Barkley was there! Really enjoyed the individual finals, which was won by a very good poet out Minneapolis named Mary Taibs. We stayed for some of the team finals, we were wiped. Later we found that Team Turgid, consisting of Jamal Vs. May, J.W. Basillo, Tom Budday and my favorite poet of the weekend, Roger Bonair-Agard, were crowned 2011 Rustbelt Slam Team Champions! From what I understand it was a very close finish.

It was a great weekend of poetry, you can't control the weather, which made Travonna a bit stifling. Overall though, fantastic job by the people at Travonna who were so welcoming to a herd of poets who took over their coffee shop for a weekend.

Finally, I really want to thank Will Evans and his team for making this event happen in Columbus. A great way to showcase our city as one that loves poetry.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rustbelt at the Half

Having a poetry slam in a sauna was an inspired choice of venue. It was hot in Travonna, whether or not it was the weather or an overtaxed a/c unit is not for me to say. Sometimes you can't control the conditions and we dealt with them.

That said it was a great night of poetry. I'm proud of my team. Atticus did what may have been his best performance yet. Ellie showed that she belonged by more than holding her own reading between Barbara Fant and Rachel McKibbens. Paula did what she wanted, read off paper.

In the blur of heat, noise and action - two poems stood out. Roger Bonair-Agard's Black Penguin poem, which I had never heard, and what I think is a newer work by Ethan Rivera.

Then, I was the first poet to be name checked in a poem of the night. Scott Woods, still playing up the race war, wants his mulatto niece to kill all the while people she does not like. The poem did have an image of Scott and I, in the bunker at the end of the race war, eating chicken wings, dipping them into mostly empty jars of mayonnaise, both of us battered to the point where skin color does not matter. Thank you Scott, but a five point time penalty, really?

Had the pleasure of following up Laura Yes Yes, felt like I was following Amy Everhart at IWPS. I read my calling out poets poem, Slam Poet Junction. Did not know how well I was being received but after awhile I focused on Tom Budday's laughter and played it smooth. Got a respectable score, even with a 6.2. Uh, ok. I was fourth in my round, I think.

Our team far from first but we're not in last place. Round two is at one o'clock, and I could not be a happier poet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Want to Make Them Wish They'd Never Seen Me

Al had a software problem during a recent show and did a rather straight cover of this song.

The world is a better place with people like Weird Al Yankovic.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Wagon in the Heat

Five days off work and I got little accomplished, sure I did laundry and killed an ant colony - aside from that, not much.

It was hot, and neither I nor my son wanted to go outside. The visit to Columbus Commons on Friday left my son unhappy because I would not let him run into High Street.

On Sunday we went shopping. I let him push the cart a little. Helps me keep an eye on him since he's too big to fit in the seat. We stopped by the bread, waiting for Emma to get something in the frozen food section. He looked up at me and said, "I want car." Which meant he wanted to leave.

He is using language a bit more, but it's hard to hear him because he whispers the important words while all the loud speech is reserved for 3:30 in the morning.

Time to get him out of bed and get him ready to see his mother. Day camp starts on Monday, feeding clinic on Tuesday.

Summer is here. Temperatures in the mid nineties today. Work and the car are air conditioned.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Got a Poem out of it too

A bunch of ants have recently taken up residence in the house. I would not mind much, but they do not contribute to any upkeep and they did not listen when I asked them to leave.

Purchased a pack of these and set them out yesterday afternoon.

A couple of scouts came by and checked them out, then went back to the colony to tell their friends.

And they told two friends.

And they told two friends.

By early evening there was a cha-cha line of ants, all proceeding in the same line from the ceiling to the floor. Headed to the party under the living room table where there was only one thing being served - a mixture of sugar and boric acid.

Ants share food through the process of trophallaxis, they were head butting themselves on the walls, sharing the deadly bounty and taking it back to the nest. The boric acid slowly destroying their digestive systems.

This happened for hours. Traffic was so heavy my son noticed what was going on. He normally would not know if a bomb went off in the house. He followed the ants down the wall and to the other side of the ledge.

I also put a trap close to the opening, closer to the nest so the tired ants would not have to travel far to get their last meal. This trap ended up being filled with black ants and as of this morning was sucked completely dry.

As for the ants, this morning I just saw one.

One, out of the hundreds or thousands.

Not sure if I'm going to need any more bait, but I might pick some more up.

There's this anthill in my yard, you see.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Found the Wine

After work I headed up to Worthington to take part in the Language of Art opening reception. The High Road Gallery is in an old house and the exhibit was spread out over many small rooms. Finally found the artwork and was a bit surprised how big it was, about 30x36, I think. A large mosaic. Met the artist and she told me what some of the colors and sections meant. I asked how she completed the work. A lot of effort went into some long pieces of hand blown glass. Very impressive, and I think she got the poem too.

Later a large crowd of people, artists, poets and art lovers sat outside on a very steamy afternoon to watch the poets read their work. A very impressive reading of poets it was an honor to be a part of. This is my second year in this show, it was better than last year.

Thanks to Scott Woods, Ryan Orewiler, The German Village Art League, The High Road Gallery and anyone I'm forgetting for putting together a top notch exhibit and event.

And I finally got the board last year's poem was mounted on!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Doing My Thing

Today was my fourth reading at the Columbus Arts Festival. It went very well. A good crowd. The temperature very warm, with a slight breeze. The storms did not hit until later. I understand some of the artists had some work damaged or destroyed. Horrible. Hope they did not take too much of a loss.

I saw Sean FM taping a few poets, and Joe was kind enough to get a few snaps during my set. Thanks to my lovely wife for keeping an eye on the boy. Would have been too hot for all three of us to handle the conditions.

Some of it may show up on Youtube in the coming weeks. Who knows?

Here's the set:

The Amnesiac Soothsayer
David's Rock
A Writer's Dream
The Boy Who is Not Still
The Revolution was not in the Program Guide (Apologies to Gil Scott-Heron)
Outside of Ulrich's in the Glow of the Pilsner Urquell Sign
If You Can't Say it in Three Minutes, You're Doing it Wrong

Hung out a little bit afterwards to hear a couple of others sets; Dave Noble and Rachel Wiley in particular then had to get out of the heat.

Following work tomorrow I head up to Worthington for The Language of Art opening. That starts at 2:30, with the reading at 3:30.

A busy poetry month continues next weekend. Rustbelt is here. I'm on a team with Ellie White, Atticus Inch and Paula Lambert.

Friday, June 3, 2011

This Month has Become April

June has turned into my own personal National Poetry Month. Appearances have lined themselves up the way the planets are before sunrise.

Tonight I will be making an internet radio appearance on the program Speaking of Poetry. The show starts at 6PM EDT and you can tune in here. I should be making my voice appear in your speakers about 6:25.

Tomorrow is the Columbus Arts Festival. I will be reading at 2:20PM at the Word is Art stage. The complete entertainment schedule for the 50th anniversary of the festival can be found here.

On Sunday I will be taking part in a poetry reading for The Language of Art exhibit at the High Road Gallery in Worthington. The opening starts at 2:30, the reading at 3:30. You can read more about that here.

Next weekend I will be part of Team Columbus Collective along with Ellie White, Atticus Inch and one poet to be named later as we take on some incredible teams of poets in the Rust Belt Poetry slam. This event will start at 7PM on Friday night at Travonna Coffee Cafe, at North High and Fifth Avenue here in Columbus. My team will be slamming at 9PM on Friday and 1PM Saturday. The finals will be 7PM on Saturday night at The Nestor Hall Auditorium on the Columbus State Community College campus.

Best part. It's all free!

On June 18th I will be taking part in a fundraiser for the Writers' Block Poetry Slam Team, helping them get money together for their trip to Boston in August.

Here's the information on the fundraiser:

From end of show Friday (June 17th, 10:00 pm) to Saturday evening (5:00 pm) YOU can purchase time by the minute to perform!

Want to do a 15 (or more) minute feature? BUY IT!
Want to posse up with some of your poetry homies and do a whole showcase and invite all of your friends to see you? BUY IT!
Always wanted to run your own slam? BUY AN HOUR AND GO FOR IT!
Want to showcase your own poetry show from somewhere else? BUY IT!
Want to experiment with poetry and a live band? BUY IT!


So long as you are consistently committing an act of poetry - and you can stay within your agreed upon time slot - we'll put you on! We will even sell your merch while you're there. Our crew will set the room up and provide sound just like we do for our regular shows.

CAUTION: Don't come trying to do some crafting or to get your band on...POETRY, people! If you can craft AND perform poetry at the same time, it's yours! If you want to Gil Scott-Heron it up with your band, it's yours! But don't try to pimp a pimp, son!

Cost is $1 per minute. $15/minute minimum!
Buy your block of feature/performance time now!
CONTACT: Scott Woods for booking and payment at
DEADLINE: June 12 so we can advertise you properly!

Proceeds go to the WB Nationals team to send them to the National Poetry Slam in Boston/Cambridge.

So I've signed up for a half hour on Saturday from 4-4:30PM. This is going to be a straight set, no gimmicks, no stunts, no guitars, a few mentions of the race war. There will be some new poems read, some old ones, a few bonus tracks - what you'd get from the 20 minute set at the Arts Festival, with more cursing.

Again, admission is free but donations to the WB team will not be turned down.

Hope you can make it to some of these events. The first half of the month is a busy one!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Today is Wednesday

In olden times it meant it was Prince Spaghetti Day.

These days, it means it's Writers' Block night.

Back to spaghetti though.

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

Got to increase blog traffic. Getting a bit of international attention. Thanks for stopping by Serbia!

Yesterday Will Evans asked me if I wanted to compete in the Rust Belt Poetry Slam that is being held here next weekend. I said yes. It was nice to be asked. I know I'm on a team with one other poet, just do not know who else yet. Looking forward to it. The preliminary bouts are at Travonna Coffee House at High and Fifth. On June 10th the bouts are at 7 and 9PM. On June 11th at 1 and 3, with the finals at 7PM on Saturday at Columbus State Community College; Nestor Hall Auditorium.

Have I mentioned that admission to all events is free?