Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bring Me Your Higher Jump

Today was my son's last swimming lesson for the summer. The last few weeks he's climbed onto the board in the deep end, stood there, then sat there. Last week he got tossed in from a sitting position. This week they took it to the next step.

He does like being tossed around in the pool, and being in twelve and a half feet of water does not faze him either. He is a very good swimmer and can tread water very well. They're cleaning the pool and fixing it up for a few weeks. Next time in is September 10th.

After his lesson he and I went to a event. A few weeks ago we received an invitation from one of his classmates to his birthday party. This was the first time he has been invited to a birthday party. I was a bit nervous myself, meeting new people is not activity I seek out, but I sucked it up and we went.

As it turned out, he was the only one of his classmates who attended. We were around people who understand special needs children and while my son sat next to me most of the time, we had a good time batting balloons around the living room with everyone. They own a couple of nice, smallish dogs that he was a bit vary of, but they did not really bother him, or anyone else. One child though, is afraid of dogs and was very uncomfortable with the dogs barking in a shut room so they had to leave early.

When the cake was cut I had some yogurt and pudding ready for him, and a splendid time was had by everyone. Very glad I crossed my own comfort zone to do this for him.

He's been in OT for his eating issues for a month and a half now. He's getting on with his therapist but she's not able to break through. He does great, follows along with her, until it's time to eat. You put a couple crumbs of graham cracker, or any thickener into his food he notices and completely shuts down. It's going to be tough.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh what the hell

What the Guide Dog Smelled

If it were possible to unsleep with you,
I’d give it careful consideration
To take back every forced smile, every coerced commiseration when your overwrought voice
told me another nut job cut you off in traffic
I want to put back thirteen years of every drink too many and turn them into cigar smoke, into poetry good or bad
Expensive alcohol was a waste, getting trashed a formality
Every hangover an unnecessary battle scar, a weapon of mass consumption too easily found
Once the humiliation was uncorked it became an unspoken disease
Untreated, and cured only by loss
All the cashiers who you said were stupid are filling up an arena, rising up from the past and calling you for what you were to them
For all the arguments you picked I’d turn into a mile of highway I should have traveled with you at my back
I wanted to run more but I was not capable of walking, let alone driving
The distance I put between us you put out there years too late
And when your own worst enemy is one person, alone in a bed
Regret is an energy best spent somewhere else
As much as I try though, memory will always remain
It’s impossible to kill something that ink never should have been put upon

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Get this before it gets you

In 2008 Donald Ray Pollock, a former plant worker from Chillicothe, Ohio, released a book of short stories titled Knockemstiff. A book that was grim, heartless, cruel, but painfully true to its characters of small town Ohio.

This month Pollock has followed it up with The Devil All the Time a novel set in the same area of southern Ohio and West Virginia with characters who are drawn up with unflinching brutality and honesty. It's a book of killin', stealin' and whorin' and Pollock masterfully stays on the side of telling us about the gore without graphically showing it. The book is not without many moments of shocking and gruesome behaviors though.

These stories have been told before by lesser writers - orphaned children, drifters, shady preachers but Pollock knows these characters and reveals them to us with uncliched prose. He spins a tale that is fantastic in not what he tells, but in how he captures and concludes the story. In other, less hectic times I would have read this book on one sitting. It took two. Best book of fiction I've read this year.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We put some Fairy Dust on it

It was a somewhat productive day yesterday. I took advantage of my auction win and went into the studio with Sean FM.

I got slightly lost and confused trying to find his house, but as I doubled back he was waiting at his front door for me. He probably saw me about to pass out from heatstroke or something. It had been about two years since I had been in any type of studio. The last time was for a narration I did for a work project. This was the first time I was going in with my own stuff in many years.

Love the basement studio. The recording room is a room within a storeroom. I call it, The Quilted Womb.

In about two and a half hours, I banged out a baker’s dozen of my poems.

What can I say about Sean’s skills as a producer? At one point he said, “Let’s take a break.” He then played up some of the poem I was recording and pointed out a few difficulties in my delivery. Sean was telling me I was reading it wrong, in the nicest, most supportive way anyone has ever been.

More important, he was right.

He offered tips, advice, and cheered me on when I hit the mark. He is great to work with and I recommend him highly to any poet or artist looking for a producer.

He can be my George Martin or T-Bone Burnett anytime. He has to do some editing to turn me into a Wall of Sound and I'm looking forward to the finished work.

So? Once the editing is done and I have an audio project, how do I market this? Hell I do not even have a title for it!

In other news I noticed that another artist died this weekend. This man touched the lives of many of my friends. Rest in peace, David Blair.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

If the world shifted on its axis a few months ago, it might be due to Woody Allen releasing an anti-nostalgia film.

Midnight in Paris asks the question, "Is it better to live in your own time, than one you fantasize about?"

Owen Wilson is an admitted hack of a screenwriter who travels to Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams) and her wealthy parents. Wilson is trying to break with his image by writing a novel and is obsessed with 1920's Paris - the city of American ex-pats and foreign artists.

After an evening out with friends of McAdams, Wilson gets lost in the streets and is invited into a 1920 Peugeot Landaulet

Where he arrives is where the fun starts, and it reminded me of some of Allen's fiction, mainly The Kugelmass Episode.

Wilson runs into some well known characters, and offers up some wonderful throwaway lines regarding the value of Matisse paintings. He also falls in love with a muse, beautifully played by Marion Cotillard.

It's revealed that Cotillard's character wishes to live in another time as well, and people in other eras have similar wishes. In the end, some dreams are realized, others are not but there's a bit of hope for all of us.

It's the most enjoyable Allen film I've seen in years but it's not without its flaws. While lovely to look at, McAdams is way out of her comedic depth and her parents are extremely superficial. I can't see the two main characters as a couple. Wilson is perfect in the role Allen would have done himself thirty years ago.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another one gone at 27

The woman could really sing, perform, she had it. Now the why begins. Who was around her? Where was her support? Or, like my boss, who died of a crack overdose at 33, was she on her own road?

It's a very little blip in the great scheme of the world (outside of her family and friends - where were they?), looking at what happened in Norway yesterday, a relatively insignificant loss.

She could really sing though. What a waste.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Taken at Rust Belt

I want to thank Will Evans for posting this. I know he did not take the picture because he's in the background of the picture with One Truth. So whoever took the picture, thank you.

I like how my shirt matches the color of the logo. Never liked how I photograph, but this one is acceptable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dysfunctional Furnishings

Over the course of living in my house for almost nine years, the neighbor to our west has been constant, the other house residents, to the east, has been transient, at best.

When we moved in, the house was owned by a guy who would travel to Kentucky, I think, rather frequently. He was rarely there, and the condition of his house showed that.

Then, his little shed in the backyard, trailer, or whatever he called it was robbed and he got all ticked off and sold the house. Of course people are going to steal from you if you’re not there, or leave your stuff unguarded for weeks at a time.

It sold very cheap, from what I saw on the county auditor’s site, and was empty for a few months. The new owner started on the process of fixing up the house. One of the people he hired showed me around the inside before it was done. The layout is more or less the same as our house.

The owner rented out the house to a series of people, most of them would only be there for a few months at a time. Many had dogs. I know that one of the renters chained their dogs in the basement and they left a horrible mess. Some would have some rather spirited conversation at odd hours. Others liked firing off weapons after midnight.

One group were probably involved in some commercial enterprise out of their home, resulting in their ‘friends’ borrowing some of their electronic furnishings while they were out after some of the merchandise was not delivered as planned.

Then there were the people who put an above ground pool in the yard, cut down a couple of small trees for no reason and left the cuttings by the trash bin in the alley. Never cleaned it up, refilled the pool about three or four times in a summer. I wonder who was paying the water bill?

The latest clan I swear they must have had about six couches in the house.

We have one couch and it barely fits in the living room. They left one couch sitting by the trash bin, it’s still there. They moved at least three out of the house, there’s one still in the backyard and there are pieces of a sectional by another neighbor’s bin.

What the hell did they need so many couches for and how many couches will the new tenants have?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Release of the Dead

This is from the last Spliz Enz album, which was never officially released in the U.S. It did get recorded on the first Crowded House album. I've probably posted it here before, but it's in my head now and needs a release into the blogosphere.

Had a very disturbing dream over the weekend. I was working at the cash register at Long's, a college bookstore and Ohio State merchandise emporium I came to despise working at in the late 90's. A group came to the register and had a number of expensive items to purchase. They all spread out at at some signal they all rushed me, got the register open and robbed the place. Next in the dream was another person trying to rob me, again. This time I had a heavy piece of glass Block-O thing in my hands and bashed the guy in the head, repeatedly. I work up with a start. Very upsetting dream.

In the midst of writing a short, nasty thing. You hear about people reclaiming their virginity, to mixed results. My question is can you unsleep with someone? If you can 'wash that man right out of your hair' can you kick someone out of your bed?

Probably not, but you wonder what you were thinking, too much I suppose. So I kick myself, again and again. This isn't about erasing the past, an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind thing. Simply trying to write through a flood.

My brain needs a dehumidifier.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The New Next Thing

After a few tries I received an invite to Spotify, the new internet music streaming site that all the kids are into. Spotify has been very popular in Europe for the past couple of years and finally launched in the United States a couple of days ago.

My first impression is that it's very similar to your iTunes, but it's like looking at everyone's iTunes. At once. There is a huge amount of songs available, but not everything is. No Beatles or Led Zeppelin to name a couple. But you probably own or have access to those already, right?

Been putting together a playlist. Goofing around, and have been waiting a couple of minutes for an ad to end so the next song can play. Obviously there are limits for the free user, but if you pay you eliminate the advertising and have access to a few more features, like offline access. It is very easy to use. I do not mind the ads, but when they do not play, and there is silence that does not end (which is happening as I write this), it makes me go away from the cloud. Hopefully this glitch will go away.

Is it going to blow everyone's mind? Is it a cult like TurntableFM? Or is it another application that will get lost as so many new ways to listen to music are invented every hour it seems. This one I think has a shot to rise above the noise.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two Nights in a Row at the Ohio Theater

It had been a long time since I've seen Airplane, and last night The Summer Movie Series at the Ohio Theater was showing it, one night only.

It still holds up very funny. A silly film that the large crowd really enjoyed. So much love was given Leslie Nielsen when he first showed up on screen, and when he delivered the seminal line, the masses nearly gave him a standing ovation.

Worth missing Writers' Block for it.

Tonight we hung out downtown as well. Columbus Commons has a Thursday night music series.

Nick Tolford was playing. That man can sing! We hung out there for awhile and enjoyed a decent, reasonably priced beer. This scene can only grow in such a large space, it's good to see steps taken to get people downtown.

A few eating establishments were still open as well. Great to see spots not shutting down at five. We went to one of our favorite places.

After dinner it was time to head to the Ohio for tonight's feature.

Each year, when the series presents it's silent, members of the local Ford Motor Club bring out some of their vehicles. This year they brought more than usual.

We got our tickets early enough to snag some front row balcony seats, which are great to get the whole screen in while watching the organist play to the film.

Clark Wilson is always exceptional.

We got one of his shorts, Neighbors, before the feature. Despite a seriously racist scene (thank you 1920) it's a witty short with some fun stunt work.

Steamboat Bill Jr. is not one of my favorite of his films, I've always thought the pace was slow and the plot rather dull. But the hurricane sequence, in which objects break apart, dissolve and reform into other shapes and angles is rather amazing.

The determination in which he fights the wind, fights nature, makes my jaw drop, every time. Everyone mentions the danger of the house falling scene, but the wind, his fight against God, that makes it for me.

My Scottish Wife tried a new candy (to her) also. She gave the counter a once over and got some Necco Wafers. I tried to talk her out of them, "Dear, they taste like chalk." But she would have none of it.

She said one tasted like Fairy Liquid, which is dish soap. Another root beer, which she hates.

Not sure if she finished them or not but I do not think she'll be getting them again.

Downtown Columbus is not dead, if you think it is you're going to the wrong places.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Off to Bed Before Breaking out The Spongetones Videos

In a reminiscing mood. Played some old U2 earlier. They've been together since 1976, with no personnel changes. Amazing. Had some late eighties Lou Reed drifting in and out. Not sure what any of this means. Maybe it goes back to Sunday night. Maybe not.

Now this one is in my head.

Do not know too much about the history of this Australian band, in reading their wikipedia entry they were big in the mid 1970's when they were called The Sherbert. Then their popularity waned and they broke up and reformed as The Sherbs.

I leave you with this gem.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is it really a +

There is this blog you are reading, too much activity on Facebook, have all but abandoned Live Journal, used to have Friendster, Orkut, Google Buzz and deleted myspace. What do I need Google+ for?

I am on it. In three days all the people in my circles are on Facebook, except for one.

It's said that Facebook has become too noisy, and those who say that are correct. But the noise you create is your own. If you have a lot of active friends, you are going to have to scroll through a lot of posts.

I agree the filtering feature on Google+ is useful and easier to use that whatever configuration facebook allows this week. But if you transfer all those people that were on Facebook to Google+, aren't you going to have to wade though the same amount of posts?

Sure, again, you can filter, but if you have hundreds of people in your circles it's going to take the same amount of time to wade though the youtube posts, talk of meals just eaten and other minutia just to get through what you want to read. I can see Google+ being used by people to get it right after adding too many people on Facebook.

And when Google+ adds their version of Farmville, Mafia Wars and Groups, what is the real difference going to be? Will it be enough to abandon Facebook, or take up even more of your time online?

I'm not going to sit this one out, but hang out in the balcony, waiting for what is going to come along after Google+

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This One Time, I Saw 24 Hour Party People

Had a good time at a friends gathering last night. There were a number of Brits there and they were reminiscing about the Manchester music scene of the late 80's early 90's.

I did not listen to this band. I have been lent a copy of their first album, the legendary one.

Then there's The Inspiral Carpets, I'm sure I've heard them once or twice.

They were talking about a lot of bands I'd never heard of, nor was very impressed with when I did hear them. Then again, I do not think the nineties were a great decade for music, but what the hell do I know about anything? I did not follow any 'scenes' from Manchester, Seattle or even Columbus.

In the late eighties and early nineties, I was not stable. I was drinking too much, doing a few other things I should not have been doing. Not healthy. Certainly not paying too much attention to the music. Not paying much attention to anything, other than opening up a red or white. And what music did catch my ear, well, I remember a certain person in my life calling this band The Noisies.

In hindsight, she don't know shit.

There were more than a few lost years in there, 88-89, 95-97, I have no idea what I was listening to. Crowded House, Counting Crows. My ears did not open back up again with any attention until I heard Summerteeth.

Spent the next few years listening to some good and bad Americana. After that came Arcade Fire, and the the rest of the crazy decade.

When we head back to my wife's house in the olde country, we'll be going though her cd collection and bring a bunch of it back - what will fit in the suitcase next to the IRN-Bru, anyway. I'm sure some of it will be pretty good music, she has good taste, after all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Four Years in the Making

Tonight was the grand opening of the Scioto Mile, a riverfront park in downtown Columbus. I barely remember how it was down there before. There was a lame fountain, now there is a very impressive work of art that is peaceful to watch. Kids of all ages were digging it. There's also a restaurant with a cool outside bar and impressive views. Free wi-fi too!

There is also a refurbished stage for performances, and the speakers go up the river so you can hear the show from a distance. There is going to be some great synergy between this park and Columbus Commons. The green spaces really compliment each other.

Once the Main Street bridge is finished next year it's going to make a cool area even cooler.

Columbus got this one right. Do not hate on this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plumber's Butt Head

It was Monday night when my Scottish Wife came downstairs after doing a wonderful job of cleaning the bathroom.

"The toilet handle is broken."

Tuesday, after dinner, I went to the hardware store to buy a replacement handle. While I was there I got a wax seal for the bottom of the toilet, because I was pretty sure it was the cause for a leak that has been there for some time. The wax ring was cheap, and for some unknown reason I was DIY inspired!

The problem being whenever the toilet was flushed, a small amount of water dripped so we could hear it downstairs. Because of this, we have a missing ceiling tile in the kitchen that makes the room look bad. The water had already ruined one tile, no need to put in another that would only get water damage.

The replacement handle was an easy fix.

Trying to get the bolts off the toilet was a pain in the ass because the previous occupant of the house decided to caulk/seal/glue the toilet directly to the linoleum. Some of the tile tore up while lifting the toilet. I was covered in sweat because of the heat, became a bit frustrated and grumpy. No one got hurt though. Cussing was kept to a minimum

After I got the seal on, the toilet leaked even worse than before. Bad enough that a professional had to be called in. No real damage was done, no blood was spilled, and no water was shooting up from a pipe with no hope of shutting the flow. I called Roto-Rooter, they do not charge extra for showing up in the evening.

The plumber came, we cursed the previous occupants for doing a number of things wrong to the piping, some of it not up to code. He did all he could, including replacing a pipe and valve, which had corroded and worn out. He got the leak down to a very minimal amount, especially in comparison to before I got to it. The tooth was already damaged, I exposed the infected nerve during cleaning. Josh from Roto-Rooter did his job well with what he was given.

The toilet is leaking very little now, which is good, so it may be possible to replace the tile in the kitchen and find someone who is willing to seal up some plastic to iron piping. It is in the best interest of everyone that I no longer lift up a toilet to fix what is underneath,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

No Mean City

Got an early start today. The lawn was mowed before 10AM and I got my son's sandbox out of the shed and cleaned it off. After I set it up I realized it would be too hot out during the day for him.

The three of us went to Jeni's before grocery shopping. While we were eating she and I talked about how we must seem. We're eating our ice cream while he sits there. I offered, put some peach buttermilk on his lips. His reaction was if I threw battery acid on them. Poor guy is a tough nut to crack. It's hard. We want him to eat, express interest in some sort of food. Right now, it's not happening.

Later in the day he went out and played with the sandbox. He's towering over it now. I think he's grown about six inches in the past year. He ran his hands through the sand and watched it fly off his fingers when he shook it off. He filled the cup with sand and put it in the water, then put his hands in the mud, messing about with textures. He got himself pretty eight year old boy dirty in the process so he got a second shower today.

Later in the evening, the emergency broadcast came on about a flood warning in Perry County. He was in the back room at the time and heard it. He is terrified of the sound it makes. When I went to check on him he was quiet and still, unlike moments before. We sat in the chair until the alert was over. When he walked into the kitchen he peered around the corner, looking toward the television, to see for himself that all was clear.

Been watching Taggart, a detective show set in Glasgow. It ran for almost thirty years before being cancelled earlier this year. I'm enjoying the early episodes with Mark McManus as the star.

He was a surly man, grouchy and troubled off and on set, but it gave the show a lot of grit. A lot of location footage of Glasgow resulted in more than a few "Hey I was there!" moments. It's a bit gruesome, the last episode we watched had six murders, a shooting and a suicide. Sadly, McManus died in the mid-nineties and the show continued, writing his death within the show. I've seen at least one of the later episodes and was not impressed. Like many long running shows, there is a catch phrase.

Also been enjoying the first reboot of Doctor Who, the Christopher Eccelston season. I plan on getting the first season of David Tennant also. I think I came along in the midst of his fourth year, so I still have a bit of catching up to do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

From Stockholm to You

A couple of years back a Swedish band named Love Lindblom hit my radar with the song Till Min Syster. Now he's back with another one.

The video's editing is not my cup of tea, but the song is a nice bit of pop.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sign Up!

Busy with poetry slams, finding new pizza places, watching Eccelston Doctor Who and generally trying to find time to rest. It’s write up your evaluation at work time, too.

Today is July 1st, also known as Canada Day, or Dominion Day. I’m not sure what the correct term is any more. I’ll just call it Rock on Canada Day and go from there. Free agency starts in hockey at noon. The Blue Jackets are offering up small fortunes to anyone who will come and play here. It’s hard to find takers. The Buffalo Sabres are doing the same, and if they sign Brad Richards, there will be a lot of talk about them potentially winning the Stanley Cup.

I’m going to be getting updates via Twitter, which is pretty useful for this kind of day.

This could be a great season for hockey if the NFL and NBA seasons are delayed by the owners and players unable to reach an agreement on how to share hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also via John Buccigross’ Twitter; Jose Reyes in June-45 hits, 29 runs scored, seven triples and 11 SB's in 26 games. Only Ty Cobb has bettered that in 100 years. The guy is on fire this season. I guess being healthy while in your contract year can bring out the best in a player.

We’re less than two months from our trip to Scotland. Time to start developing some sort of itinerary. We do plan on going to Edinburgh for a night. But which one? Unless other gigs are booked, and they will be, a P.J. Harvey concert in Glasgow is looking like a possible entertainment option.

Been researching my Great Uncle’s WW2 record. Contacting the National Archives and have received some promising leads. Information will come to me, I just have to wait until they’re retrieved and sent. My Aunt has been trying also. The reunion for his division is happening in September. Problem is that it’s in Oklahoma City and she has no solid information that anyone left alive who will be attending knew him. If it were closer one of us would be doing this.

We’re not traveling this holiday weekend. Going to get out of the sprinkler and set up the sandbox. If you are on the move, have a safe one.