Wednesday, August 31, 2011

They Fall Asleep Early in Lenzie

After being awake for about 36 hours straight and dealing with crying toddlers, a barking dog and a diabetic seizure towards the back of the plane we finally arrived in Scotland.

When we got off the train and set foot in George Square we found out it turned into Philadephia.

Today was the last day of location and extras filming World War Z, which will be released sometime next year. Brad Pitt is starring but he left before we arrived. A lot of street signs of Philly were added to the streets around the square and some American cars, taxis and a bus was shipped in. Interesting stuff and this makes the film a must see.

The film in based on a book by Max Brooks, Mel's and Anne Bancroft's kid. Zombie wars. We also hit a book store, where I found Denise Mina's latest.

While walking on Buchannan Street my wife saw Colin McCredie of Taggart fame.

Another type of public/private partnership?

Had a fine day in Glasgow, wandering around in the wrong choice of footwear. Took in the street life, did some shopping and had a proper Glaswegian experience in Queen Street Station.

Weather's been cloudy, but decent. We're headed up to Glencoe today to see the site of a massacre. I'm suspecting the next time her Dad comes to Ohio we'll take him to Kent State to reciprocate.

All's well. Exploring tomorrow, a gig in the evening, Edinburgh on Sunday.

I see Vernell Bristow repeated as the Writers' Block the IWPS Championship. Congratulations!

He probably will not see his, but my son turns nine today. It would not be my night with him, but he is missed and thought of with love.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First of the Month Project (September)

The hurricane caused some minor damage to my parents property and I think the wind gave them a bit to think about as well. But it looks like most of my friends and family are alright.

Leaving tomorrow for Scotland, which means this blog is most likely not going to be updated for a couple of weeks. I should have some limited access to email and internet, but I'll be elsewhere.

Before I go, let's continue with the First of the Month Project, aka What I've Been Listening To.

I do not like the lip synching, but I've always been charmed by this cover.

The Motels had a couple of hits in the eighties. Recently, what should have been their third album, Apocolypto, was released. It contained different mixes and track listing from what became their breakout record, All for One. I always like this song from the record. Never became a single. A shame. Good to hear Martha Davis is still rocking.

I liked Beirut's last record and their new one, The Rip Tide, is just as haunting and catchy.

Going to see him in October. Stoked!

I'm not a fan of The Fiery Furnaces, but I like this record by the female half of the duo.

This is the song my son's been listening to on the iPod.

Back in a couple. You call play nice.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

But I will never lose my head tonight

The hurricane is headed up the East Coast. Like many, I have plenty of family and friends in Irene's path, including my parents. I spoke to my Mom yesterday, they're fine. She mentioned the long lines at the gas stations, that they had plenty of food. They're going to be fine, as long as no trees blow through their windows, but I worry. This is one of the frequent times I feel guilty being so far away.

My wife is going to see her Father for the first time in over two years this week. He and her Sister are even further away. It's hard to imagine what she has done for love, crazy! This week she filled out the paperwork to have her permanent resident status updated. Today I mailed that out. We're likely to hear back from Homeland Security soon, with a note that her status has been extended another year while they review the paperwork. Sometime after that, she'll find out she can stay another ten years.

We've been watching my son for about ten days straight. When he gets on the bus Monday morning, I will not see him until the next Thursday. While I'm away, he will turn nine. He's a great kid. Even greater once toilet trained. He's been listening to a song on my iPod all weekend, walking all around the first floor of the house, holding the iPod, taking the beginning of the song in, then restarting. I'll post the song tomorrow, as part of the 'What I've been Listening to" project.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Really, there are no Mummies in my Basement

The assessment on my house arrived in the mail from the county yesterday. The auditor lowered the value of my house by $22,000. I'm a bit stunned, but not completely surprised. We're not in a desirable neighborhood, but we're not in the middle of urban blight here either. This part of town has no real amenities, no coffee shops, no movie theaters and it's not walkable.

Last night at Writers' Block was the final qualifying slam for IWPS. I was prepared as it would be my final slam of the season since I will not be in the country for finals. Drew the third slot out of six poets and brought out a debut. If you were not there you missed out on "Crispus Attucks Speaks through my Oujia Board" which does little to extinguish the flames of the Race War that Scott Woods is trying to start. Must be experienced to be believed.

Went into round two in first place. Asked Gina if we could end it there, she was not able to. Read "My Thunder" and I brought it like a weak cold front as three other poets passed me and I finished fourth. Congratulations to Rose Smith for winning it all. Vernell finished in second, Megan in third.

It was a good slam season. I respected the "No Repeat" rule and adhered to it, even counted the two poems I read at Rust Belt even though I did not have to.

A couple of months off from slam and it all starts again in January. Got to improve the writing, always.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Livin' is Easy, Fish are Jumpin' and the Cotton is High

Summertime for my son is about to end. Tomorrow is the first day of third grade. I've got a few forms filled out, his backpack filled with supplies that a Staples franchise could use, and have sent a note and email to his new teacher.

Now, to see how late the bus will be in the morning.

We had some more errands to run after we got up, and they included a visit to Schiller Park.

He went up the hill a couple of times, hit the swings, went up and down the slide, took a lap or two around the tennis courts and did not complain when we had to leave!

We were hanging out in the early afternoon. He was on he laptop, I was sitting in the green chair checking Facebook when the floor began to twitch, it felt like someone was hitting the back of the chair - as if there was a loud truck or car with an enormous sub-woofer passing by. But there was no vehicle in the road. This went on for about 10-15 seconds. My son looked over at me with a 'what is this Daddy?' look.

I immediately posted to Facebook that I thought I felt an earthquake and the site lit up with confirmations from many of my friends on the east coast in Southern Virginia all the way up to Poughkeepsie, New York.

That was the first time I had been aware of an earthquake, and I did not like it. I cannot imagine going through one that is more powerful, and of longer duration. That unsettling feeling I had this afternoon was plenty enough, and I'm glad to hear that no one was seriously hurt.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Nearly Fatal Baguette

My son is on a break between day camp and school, which starts on Wednesday, so I took the day off work. We had some errands to run and I took him to a park.

He likes the swings and specifically asked to go on them. He had to wait his turn at one point so he went up the slide, from the bottom to the top.

When we got home I went to make a sandwich using a baguette. I was not aware of a battle between me and the bread knife, but whatever was going on in its mind ended up with the knife going into my finger, very deep.

Patched it up, hoping for the best, and waited to change the dressing until the Manchester United/Tottenham match ended. After Man. U. kicked their butts I discovered the wound was still bleeding.

Made the decision to get to urgent care when my wife got home as I had the kid with me and was not going to risk bringing him to the doctor. No need to give him any stress, or to stress me out any further.

The Doctor removed the bandage, and the bleeding stopped. The wound closed up to a point where it would have been an effort for her to reopen it. There was not much she could do besides putting a couple of strips on it and giving me a tetanus shot.

That's the White Finger of Truth pointing at you all!

Going to be very hard not using it as a prop on Wednesday night.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Bunker’s better than Gaddafi’s

We watched Blue Valentine the other night. A realistic, but completely depressing film about a couple who meet, get married and split up. I thought the leads, played by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling were terrific. A lot of it hit very close to home in the ‘hey this shit really happens to people’ theme. My problem with the film is that the script ignored the middle period of the brief marriage, in which the rot set in and the death spiral began. Their marriage itself seemed to be built on a lie and a sense of duty by one of the couple. We’re never shown scenes in which they are truly happy.

The film seemed to trigger me. Maybe it was a combination of that and the "You were at SUNY Fredonia in the 80's" Facebook group which added to my baggage of moroseness.

Anyway, it put me in an unsettled but safe mood and has made me think too much.
My first wife is in that group, and it's weird seeing people naming her in threads and me not being able to see it. She's blocked me. She requested four years ago that I no longer contact her. I have not crossed those boundaries. It's petty and bizarre all at once and I know there are people reading this who still have contact with her, which is expected.

I bear her no ill will, never have.

Closure's a myth and social media is a really fucked up place sometimes.

Busy week ahead as we prepare for the trip to the old country. Sending out the itinerary to some, a spare key and phone numbers go to others. Have some immigration forms to fill out and send. Bills need to be paid. What to pack? The temperature will be about twenty five degrees cooler. Do we go to the concert on Friday or Tuesday?

Also have to start promoting and get ready for a feature I will have in late September. It will be in Mount Vernon at Sips Coffeehouse. Mark, the man who runs the show up there has been asking me a few times and it’s time to finally take him up on that offer. I’ll be joined by Joe Suarez. Not sure if the CD will be done by them as it has some production issues and the inevitable delays of life. Mark September 27th on your calendars to take a little road trip up north.

In the midst of everything else, I’ve been researching the action of my Great Uncle’s WW2 unit, to varying degrees of success. It is a lot of work that takes up plenty of time with a lot of dead ends and dead veterans. I’ve found a book though interlibrary loan that has a history of the unit’s activities. There are some pictures and the names of his fellow soldiers are listed. Now comes the task of trying to find out if any members survive.

We both took the day off on Friday. My wife waited at the house for the gas company to install a new meter while I got the oil changed in the car. She wanted to play mini golf, in a continuation of the International Mini Golf Series, and blew me out by four strokes. I think she has a three to two lead now.

I have a couple of days off early in the week coming up. My son finished day camp on Friday and his first day of school is on Wednesday so I’m watching him until then. Third grade, how did that happen!?!

The final qualifying slam for IWPS is this Wednesday at Kafe Kerouac. I will be out of the country for the finals (which I have most likely qualified for) so this is my game seven sudden death there’s no tomorrow last slam of the season. I will not only be swinging for the fences, but at them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mourihno is a bad man

When a place you frequent is having a bad night, you can tell. When you look behind the bar toward the kitchen there's a tension you can see. I'm not sure if the place was short staffed, or simply not prepared. It was busy, I've been there when it was busy and I'm still not sure what was different.

It took a long time for our order to be placed. We ordered guacomole dip to go with our chips and salsa. It never showed up, and we asked about it. There was nothing wrong with the food but it took its time in arriving. In the meantime, the Barcelona/Real Madrid match was on, and it was entertaining to see there was one Madrid fan watching. He cheered when they tied it up, then got sad when Messi scored the game winner. Then the game got all thuggish, a bunch of men waving their purses at each other and it was all over.

We waited at least fifteen minutes for the bill to arrive, and the guacomole dip, which we never did receive, was on it.

I rarely do not tip, and last night was one of those times. The establishment had an off night, as can happen, so we're not going to dismiss it.

A fine return to Writers' Block last night. Chet Peters strafed the stage with F-Bombs during his feature. Rose Smith wowed us with a poem celebrating her daughters. Marshall cam back from exile and gave us some Meta-Five! The Race War continued. Some time soon I may even post some pictures. Hell, I still have not talked about Theresa Davis' first draft feature!

Next week is the last qualifying slam for IWPS. Since I will not be in the country for finals (assuming I get in, and it looks like I would be) I'm treating this like the last official slam of the year. Take that as you will.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It Started with Jacques Dutronc

While listening to Radio 10, with a song by Dutronc

I'd never heard of the guy before, quick wikipedia shows he's married to Francois Hardy, which gives him instant cred. The man's a legend in France, and that's about it. He's still performing strong at age sixty eight.

While looking through his videos on youtube, I came across this chanson in the sidebar.

This gal was bad! I know nothing about her other than she's French Canadian. She does have a oddly translated website which shows she's still kicking some butt.

I absolutely love discovering new old music from around the world.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shit Gaze as Poetry

My son has been using the iPod Touch. When I take it out all of a sudden I'm his best friend. He finds movie trailers and keeps playing the one for Rango, which is alright and Jackass 3, which make me wonder. He also gets into the music and finds his favorites by KT Tunstall. This weekend he's been listening to Here Comes the Sun and has found a song by the Acid House Kings that he likes as well as Airport, by The Motors. He does not like My Morning Jacket.

We were also in the yard in the afternoon, where he took a soccer ball and threw it against the fence, then the garage, then the fence on the other side of the yard. No, I never did anything like that ;)

Had an opportunity to meet up with a fellow blogger yesterday. He came down from Fredonia and we went to the Columbus Crew match. Good to talk about Fredonia then (as he was not there when I was) and now and some other conversation. The Crew were victorious!

The National Poetry Slam finals were held last night. Congratulations to team Nuba form Denver as they won the title. Writing Wrongs, from Columbus came in fourth. The Nuyorican team from NYC finished second and Team Providence third. From all reports is was a great bout with inspiring poems all around. Congratulations to Simone Beaubien and her staff for putting together a great event whose sole 'problem' was the bouts being sold out, with overflow crowds. What happened that was out of the organizers control was a fire in a venue, and when the venue was moved a poet had a seizure on stage. No one was injured, all is well today.

Have a few poems that are more than half finished that should be completed by the time we leave for Scotland. Some meaner stuff than usual. Some of it necessary, some of it deliberately spiteful. I'm a bad man.

Friday, August 12, 2011

News from Cambridge

Been following updates on Twitter (thank you James Meranda) regarding one of tonight's semifinal bouts in the National Poetry Slam. Columbus' Writing Wrongs was competing with four other teams for a spot in the finals. Scores were tight and going into the final round WW was in second trailing by three tenths of a point.

WW was set to go last in the bout and needed a 26.2 to tie for first, which would have put them into the finals and Jason Braswell who nailed a 26.6 to win the bout. Man that room must have been electric. Congrats to Will, Rachel, Ethan and Jason for being the first team from Columbus to make the finals of the National Poetry Slam!

Finals are tomorrow night, and I'll be missing them because I'm going to the Crew game. As soon as I get home though the laptop gets fired up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just getting started

I'm not there, it's too far to travel and harder to get away this time of year but the National Poetry Slam is going on the Boston/Cambridge area this week.

From what I'm seeing online it looks like the events are jam packed with people. A great job by Simone Beaubien and her staff to get the word out about NPS!

Last night was the first night of preliminary bouts. All I know is the scores, Writers' Block placed third in their bout of four opponents in a very tight matchup. The other team from Columbus, Writing Wrongs, was on fire and won their bout. Anything can happen. Will a Columbus team get into the semi-finals? Finals stage?

We're watching from Columbus and all over the world, following poets' twitter and Facebook updates, and waiting for more.

Good luck to all the poets participating and a thank you to all those attending.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It Jumps the Channel

Wondering where all the good social unrest songs are today, instead of repeating the same ones from over thirty years ago.

Are the people in the country too complacent? Is what happened at the Wisconsin State Fair an isolated incident? Or is something in the air?

There is much to worry about, and feel powerless, voiceless over. I can only take care of what's in front of me right now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Not getting it

As I was dropping off my son at his mother's on Friday she tells me, "I have something for you."

And I'm thinking, "Hey maybe it's my little league baseball uniform!"

Turns out, it was some food that he will not eat for her, or at day camp. Not my baseball uniform that she took and did not return to me despite my asking for it back when she moved out four years ago.

Long time to keep something that does not belong to you, and a long sentence to explain it.

My mother gave me that uniform in the hopes of seeing her grandson wearing it. He's not getting any smaller, she's not getting any older. About once or twice a year I've asked for it. The answer remains the same.

Friday, August 5, 2011

We'll score when we're old.

Margatania FC is a team of seven year olds from a town outside of Barcelona. They have not won a game, or scored. This is a beautiful way to spend ten minutes of your life.

l'equip petit from el cangrejo on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sirius Nears

It's been too hot to play vinyl in the back room, let alone pick up an instrument. Been very busy with work, the daily back and forth to day camp and everything else.

The big trip is nearing and I'm wondering how many shoes to put in the suitcase. I know where my passport is. Better get a power converter with a USB input. Do I bring the laptop? When do I call the banks? When do we confirm the B&B or start wondering if we overscheduled or underscheduled this journey? I do want to see Kid Canaveral and look for an open mic in Glasgow, somewhere.

Writing comes slowly in the heat. The reliance of air conditioning makes me lazy. The pole beans are wilting in these temperatures. The EPL starts next week and I'm seeing my first Crew game in years. I try to keep cool with old Taggart and Doctor Who and am astonished that my son turns nine next month.

There are moments I think that there is time to fit it all in, mostly, there is no where near enough.

Monday, August 1, 2011

First of the Month Project

The political divide continues to grow in this country. It seems no opposing sides can look at a landscape and agree that it even is a landscape. How can you determine the forest, trees when you cannot even define what is being observed?

We have this thing, and it's really bad. Does it matter who caused it, and when anymore? Or is it time to look at right now and the future - maybe even do something about it instead of posturing and worrying about your ideology winning or maintaining political power during the next election cycle.

There's more than a bit of vitriol passed about on the Facebook and message boards. I'm trying to stay out of it this time, having some popcorn, snacks and a beverage.

May start doing something new here on the first day of every month. A little feature called 'What I've been Listening to." Not necessarily what is new, but what I've been listening to in the car, on the iTunes, on TuneInRadio. Some of these songs may make the year end list, some may not. I'll try and pick about 3-6 songs each month and see how it goes.

I am mixed about her last two records, but this song, off an EP she put out for her recent tour, is a real winner. I like the effort she made to go out of her comfort zone here, alot.

Post Clarence death here. This song's been on in the car quite a bit. It even inspired a poem. This is a great performance.

Found this one through a Scottish Music Blog The Vinyl Villain. Had no idea there was a version released before the hit. Liking this one.

First heard of her singing with Jeff Beck on the Grammys a couple of years ago. She just released Mayhem, and it's boss!

One of the joys of listening to radio 10 out of Amsterdam. This gem of a Dutch hit from 1973.

Still missing Paul Hester.

Alright, let's see if I can remember this for next month. Whoops I'll be out of the country. Will figure something out.

Finally, have to give a shout out to my archenemy Scott Woods, he's going to be talking about poetry slam, along with Simone Beaubien on the NPR show On Point this Wednesday at 11AM EDT.