Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Things that are annoying me as the month comes to an end

The toilet that's been leaking for months, we've been waiting on someone to fix it because we'd rather give him the money than someone else.

The electric outlet below the toilet that recently went out, see above.

The starlings that are living under the eaves, I think there are squirrels in there now. Called a pest control service, they'll be here Monday.

My son's doctor called regarding the feeding clinic. She did not leave a return number. I called the number listed in the hospital and got the voice mail of another doctor. We already have an appointment with her next Thursday. Does she not know or remember this?

My son's in a messed up sleep pattern, again. He's a random noise generator which is rather uninspiring at 3AM. Also, getting him to listen to me and fall asleep is a futile effort.

The Mets suck. Their relief pitching is pathetic. Their ability to score runs is non-existant. I feel sorry for Matt Harvey, the next Jerry Koosman. I'd also feel bad for David Wright if the checks start bouncing.

The lawn mower was repaired nicely, but I put the wrong mixture of gas and oil in. Now it takes awhile to start and has little power when it does. The smoke is fun, too.

I have written very little this month, and what I have written is crap. The way to get out there is to do good work, it's not happening here.

Paging and notes for a special fiction collection.

My neighbor's tree is pushing against my fence, causing a disturbing gap. They also leave their puppy and other dogs out late. They bark. It is sad. I have no idea how many dogs they have, or if they, too, keep them chained up in the basement. Other tenants there have done this.

I do not feel like I exist. This is wrong, but it's a feeling I cannot shake as May begins.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm beginning to suspect something

She wants to meet me!

Hi, my dear friend.

My name is Anastasiya. I enjoy your profile very much.
I’m trying online dating for the first time, so I feel a bit edgy.
And now I’ll tell you a little about myself. I’m 30 years old. I was
born on the 15 July in 1983. I’m 5,4 ft tall and my weight is 119 lb. I am
red with blue eyes. You can see it on my photo. I live in Nizhny Novgorod, it’s
in the European part of Russia, east of Moscow.
Now, some information about the things I love. I like reading,
communicating with my friends, walking and ect..
I adore watching TV and cooking different tasty things. I love sports:
tennis, volleyball, cycling, skiing. I am an accountant in a
small corporation. It’s rather boring but I like my job. I’ve never
been married and don’t have any kids. But I want to get
married. And I’m searching for a man who wants to have
solid relationships. I don’t need any game and I suppose you don’t need it, too. If you
want to continue our conversation, write me on my e-mail.

Kiss. Anastasiya

Signs of hope

The Blue Jackets gave it their all but despite an incredible 19-5-5 run fell just short of making the playoffs. A bittersweet end to a season that began with a lockout and a horrible start then some real change and confidence.

I'm convinced this team, this franchise, is no longer the laughingstock of the league thanks to the efforts of John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen. I'm convinced this team has a head coach in Todd Richards who knows how to motivate talent and get wins out of them.

What do they need now? Consistency. One or two more goal scorers. More depth. A locked in goaltender.

I think the consistency is going to be there. This team has definitely learned not to lose and on that final six game road trip in which they went 5-1, they learned how to win. I'm not convinced Gaborik is going to be the team's long term solution for a lead scorer and I'm not sure if Atkinson or Anisimov are ready to take on that role so at least more more guy who can score is needed via free agency or trade.

Sergei Bobrovsky was the team's MVP, for certain. The Blue Jackets would not be where they are now without his efforts in net. He's a restricted free agent. Which means if he signs elsewhere the team would get compensation in extra draft picks from the league. I think he can write his own contract and the team will pay him. I just hope he's more than a one season wonder. I think he will be a very good goaltender for years. They're also going to have to address the backup situation.

The Blue Jackets do have three first round picks in the upcoming draft, this will definitely help franchise depth. They also have prospects Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner waiting to compete for a position in the lineup. And who knows if the next Darren Prout will come into play next season? Prout came out of a taxicab in Chicago, got dressed and made an immediate impact on the back line. Does the team have anyone else in the minors waiting to shock?

There are cases to be made that the team has finally established itself as a contender, now they need to prove it with wins on the ice and hockey in Columbus in May of 2014.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Getting out of our shells Saturday

We're blessed with a number of great metro parks in Columbus. First beautiful Saturday of the year and the crowds turned out. We were part of them.

You can see turtles on the log at Heron Pond. We did not see any herons, but my wife kept looking.

We did see people fishing on Heron Pond.

A short time later my wife spots not a heron, but another turtle.

Then I annoy her by taking too many pictures of her from behind.

Oh, we were at Three Creeks Metro Park.

We also went to Turtle Pond, which did not disappoint.

This dude seemed to be the head Turtle of Turtle Pond.

A group of turtles is called a Bale. Now you know.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More on Shakespeare and Autism

Channel 4 in Columbus devoted an hour to autism awareness last night. They included their segment on the Shakespeare and Autism Project, which you can view here. You can get a few glimpses of my son during the story.

It's fantastic that the word on this program is getting out, and important to note that this is the first time this project is being enacted, anywhere.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I am not an avian landlord

In a frenzy on Saturday, I organized my record albums for the first time in well over a decade. Mostly in alphabetical order, spread out among some wood, plastic and cardboard crates in the back room. I counted them yesterday. 473. There used to be more, but I got rid of some to goodwill, sold some others and lost quite a few in a basement flood about six years ago. I was looking for some yesterday. Where's my copy of U2's War? Where Procol Harum's Greatest Hits? What was Born to Laugh at Tornadoes by Was (Not Was)?

All gone. I do not think I had the opportunity to mourn the loss.

We all got together and met the young women who will be my son's caregiver this summer. She's a junior at OSU, a special education student who came recommended by my son's teacher. I think this is going to work out for everyone, she promised not to bite him. He was bitten, twice, last year at day camp.

Tonight I got the lawn mower back from the shop. It needed servicing, a blade sharpening and other fixes. After I wrote the check and handed it to the guy I mowed the back lawn and will finish the front tomorrow.

There may be birds living in the underside of the gutter on the back of the house. Not cool with this. They knock out the siding under the gutter and set up shop. I cleared out some nesting materials out of there earlier and sealed it up (though they keep opening it) and noticed some birds looking a bit stressed out. God, I hope there are no eggs in there.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Home and child ownership.

I'm having one of those days in which I feel I'm not fit to live. Of course nothing has really happened that is so dire or urgent. It's one of those days when a pile of small things add up to a big pain in the ass and a loss of confidence.

Maybe if my son had not been up since five in the morning I'd have had more sleep to handle the nonsense.

The day was going well enough, plodding along in the back room, listening to some of the vinyl I finally got organized yesterday when my wife announced an outlet in the kitchen was no longer working. This outlet is under our toilet which has been perpetually leaking and I'm pretty sure additional moisture has shorted the unit.

This would not be so bad if I had been waiting for a guy we know to fix this for some time, but he's been busy doing work that pays him more, so we're on his back burner, which I get but this happened. So we might have to find a handyman who is a bit more available with shorter notice.

Another problem is my lawn mower is being serviced and there's a expense involved with that, and the lawn is not getting any shorter. Should have the mower back in a couple of days and will get to plow through some shin high grass.

Maybe it was the mango that made me really sad. I do not know why I keep getting them, I waste most of it when I try to slice it. I know there are videos on youtube and all kinds of advice about how to properly cut a freaking mango. My blade skills are suspect though. Would you like me do to surgery on you after I watched a video? Don't think so, I've already been to urgent care after a baguette incident.

So I ruined another mango and got the youtube advice and that it's ok you write better verse than I do and all that - which is all pleasant and kind, but I wanted some God Damn mango!

Maybe I'll get one of these and quit whining!

My son only eats certain types of yogurt and he's highly suspicious of new brands. I've been giving him Yoplait in the four pack but that's been hard to find at my Kroger so I usually get him this one.

It's tough to get a spoon in and hard to get all the yogurt out. Usually I put the yogurt from this package in a dish and give it to him, he has not fussed. Tonight, I just gave him the container. He gave it a bit of side eye, but went all in and did a great job eating it all.

Sometimes it's my fear about what I think he can't do that stops me from trying anything with him. Maybe I'll give him a mango, and see what he can make from it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I can't commit

Been an odd week to get back into the flow of things. Things blew up naturally and unnaturally and we're doing what we can to remain intact here.

Am I a bad person for not listening to that Brad Paisley/L.L. Cool J. duet? Or am I the only one who has not clicked on a listen to the latest from Daft Punk?

My wife is a good person, she's shopping for others on Record Store Day. Heck, I even asked if she'd pick something up for me if she came across it. Am I too old to be waiting in line with dudes with beards? My son is here this weekend. Yes, that's my excuse. Did break out the vinyl on Thursday night for awhile, and cleaned up the Back Room a little bit so it's functional.

Switching from French Press to pour over coffee, maybe I'm more of a hipster than I want to be?

Meeting with the woman who is most likely going to be my son's caretaker this summer. Neither his mother or I thought he liked day camp last year, and neither she nor I did either. This girl's a student at the university and worked with his teacher as an aide, so she comes recommended and she knows my son.

Things I did not do in Scotland this time that I want to do something about next time: attend another open mic, see a concert, Kelvingrove, back to the Horseshoe, Cathkin Park, Partick Thistle, who may be in the top league next season!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Open up your heart and let the Partick Swayze in

While on our trip last week we took part in a genuine UK Pub Quiz. It was at a newer bar on the west end of Glasgow called The Sparkle Horse. A friend of my wife’s owns it.

It's also the home of the now famous Partick Swayze Cocktail.

They do their quiz on Monday nights, and we were there the day Thatcher died.

Our team was my wife and I and we were happily joined by her sister and partner as we set out to conquer.

The place was packed when we got in and we were lucky to snag the last three chairs at the bar.

The quiz was run well, and they did not take themselves too seriously. We were in trouble at the start as politics was one of the first categories. And we were expected to know so and so MP won their district by how many votes in the 2011 national election? One team got it right, exactly, which makes me think the politician was on that team.

Our Joker round, the round we got double points, was literature and we aced all six questions. Emma knew about 50 Shades of Grey, I pulled out Pollynesia as the name of Doctor Dolittle’s parrot and sister in law nailed Goldeneye as Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate. So yes, those were literature questions.

Our goal was not to suck, and we did not. There were about 20 teams playing (yes, it’s popular) and we finished in the top six or seven.

No shame. Three nations of pride!

Also in attendance and a full participant in the night’s proceedings was the lead member of a popular Scottish band that my wife admires. We were not going to approach him during the quiz as he was there with his friends and one of the other members of the band. At the end of the night though, he did come up to the bar and I introduced myself. We talked for about a minute, then my wife came over and I introduced them. I’m very happy she got to thank the guy whose music means so much to her. Sometimes you get to do that in life, and it’s important.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A country full of old things

I have no idea why, but castles have never really appealed to me. But when you're in Scotland, visiting one is right up there with having a whiskey in a pub or a can of Irn-Bru at a chip shop.

I've been to Edinburgh Castle, but not inside it as the lines were long and those who were waiting were not being sheltered from the rain. My Father-in-Law was willing to drive us a short distance and he recommended Stirling Castle.

It's a fine castle. Well preserved and a great introduction of life in the 16th century. The history of the place is a soap opera and you can read about some of it here.

Yes, there were cannons.

But there were also places for archers to fire out of.

The views were outstanding.

We did not but I think I'd recommended taking a guided tour so you get a bit more detail from the experience. There are also some docents disguised and historical reenactors on site that are fun.

Do not pay attention to that guy though, he don't know shit.

There are a lot of carvings in the museum and on the sides of the castle walls, as it was James IV's way to establish himself as sovereign.

You can spend a long time looking at those.

There's a lot of history in the town, and it's where my wife went to college. I really enjoyed going here and wish there was more time to explore.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What a Local

There are a lot of bars in Glasgow and it's not hard finding a good one. I'd been looking through travel guides and online sources to see if there were some interesting ones I missed.

A number of sites recommended The Pot Still so I figured it would get a shot. When I walked in a dog was staring at me. It was not causing any trouble, other than getting behind the bar, then gently sent off by the bartender.

This was what I saw.

I am not sure I have ever seen this type of whiskey collection in a bar before. I said it would take awhile before making my first choice. Eventually selected the malt of the month, a Glen Garioch. A tasty highland malt from one of the oldest distilleries in the country.

The bartender knows his malts. Very friendly and easily answers questions.

When it came time for my second, I asked about a trio of whiskeys on a shelf. He brought them down to show me.

Kilchoman is the first distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years. It was established in 2005, which means they do not even have a 12 year old whiskey to sell. The one I tried was 100% Islay made, from the malt grown, to the malting process. An estate grown whiskey. I had found my wheelhouse on the second try, and the drink was fantastic. All the peat, malt and smoke in fantastic balance. Pricey, but I was on vacation and not spending $70 for a bottle.

Said my goodbyes, but told them I'd be back.

I returned on Wednesday, did not order the 1953 from a distillery I do not remember that went for 55 pounds a shot, but a modest one.

Took a seat, read the papers. Ordered a Jura Prophecy and got into a conversation with a couple of locals.

"You are American?"


"Where are you from?"


"Ah, Jack Nicklaus country."

And we talked about America. They loved Myrtle Beach, would live there but hated our health care system.

No one brought up Thatcher.

The Pot Still kept me from another bar I love, The Horseshoe. That collection of malts is outstanding, and will bring me there again.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A new stage for Shakespeare

I mentioned this and linked to a video about it a couple of weeks back. The Dispatch did an article about the Shakespeare and Autism in today's issue. Click on the link.

A new stage for Shakespeare

Lowering clouds, rising temperatures

A dramatic day began on the train to Glasgow, where I ended up seasted with two guys on the way to the Celtic match. Each had an open beer, one polished off his pint of Buckfast. To their credit they did put the empties in a bag they brought with them.

There was a fan based protest going on in George Square. Some Celtic supporters think they're being persecuted for making sectarian chants, they probably deserve it. I saw a few hundred people chanting and waving flags. No arrests.

Walked from town to the stadium, picked up a greasy bag of chips from the oldest chippie in Glasgow and strolled through The Barras. This is an open air flea market that sells a bit of everything, most of which is legal, some bootleg and questionable. There were also tables of porn DVDs for sale, a good time but best to move on.

The air on the east side smells of vinegar and stale garbage, it has not rained here in about a week. Activity increased on the street as Celtic Park came into view. A place called Kick Ass Burgers was open, as was Pimp My Burger.

Had no problems picking up my ticket and walked over to an area where a crowd had gathered. The bus for Hibs, the opposition had showed up. No one booed. A few minutes later, the home team bus pulled up to applause. A few players waved, some looked more serious than others.

On your ticket, you are given a specific turnstile to enter. There are no ticket takers. You scan your ticket and the gate opens. This is the section where you will stay the entire match. You cannot move to another section or part of the stadium. I bought a Meat Pie and Coke. I did not see Irn-Bru for sale. There is also a Ladbrokes stand. Yes, you can bet on the match inside the stadium. I kept looking for Pete Rose, he would have loved this!

My seat was great. Took pictures. Asked the usher if I was in the right section. Did not see Rod Stewart.

The game itself was a bit of an afterthought, Celtic scored early, led at the half and won it 3-0. Commons had two goals and I was impressed with the play of defender Kelvin Wilson. Got to see Samaras come in off the bench and Paddy McCourt ran around for five minutes.

Watched a large fan made banner of Neil Lennon riding a white horse make its way around the stadium. It got to our section and we passed it along. Did the bounce for about fifteen seconds. This is a movie in which you lock arms with your neighbors, turn your back to the pitch and jump up and down. Good times!

The most exciting thing happened at the half when a woman sitting two rows behind me won fifty thousand pounds in a big drawing. She seemed to be a regular and no one believed her at first. Then her husband's eyes got really big Andy they went to the pitch. I could see her shout with joy as her ticket was confirmed, then she posed at mid field with the big,fake check. Good for her!

A sea of people headed west down London Road when the match ended. Very cool. Very peaceful, for it was a good result, too.

Got a bit lost trying to find a friend's flat and ended up giving up. Went to Caffe Nero to chill and edit poems, then to the 13th Note when I met my wife and her friend who came up from Bristol for the weekend.

Good day in the city, and it still has not rained. Chilling out in Lenzie today. Took a walk, now listening to Everton/Spurs as they do not have enough cable here.

Monday is a trip to the Museum of Transport and a genuine UK Pub Quiz.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pictures upon return

Waiting for the largest pigeons in the world to show up in Lenzie. Really, they waddle like ducks.

Dealing with jet lag has been tough this time around, at least my feel feel better.

There is a bar in Glasgow called The Pot Still that has an amazing selection of whiskey, not all the bars have one like that.

Going to a castle today, just to look, not to buy.

There may be an open mic tonight.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Traveling Light?

How much stuff does one really need to travel with? Clothing aside, how many electronic connectable to the world wide web devices do I want to bring?

I have a camera, laptop, iPod, iPad and they're not all coming.

The camera yes, because the camera on the iPod sucks.

The iPod because it's a nifty portable device that does every thing I want it to, except take a decent picture when I want it to.

The iPad is nice. Large enough to scroll through stuff easily. Easy to connect to the cloud. If I have to get something down in writing Google Drive is becoming a good friend of mine. Light enough to travel easily.

The laptop has my life on there but it takes up more space and weight. I'm not sure if I want to travel with it this time. I'm too reliant on it and I want to get away from it for a few days. But if someone wants to look at pictures...oh Hell no one wants to see those.

Yes, I'm answering my own question here.