Friday, May 31, 2013

Beer, beer is still good

Back in my crazy kid days of retail I had a small dream to open my own business. It was small, but it was mine, even if it did not have a decent name. The concept was a shop of Ohio related books and beverages. Fiction, non-fiction, beer, wine and other local products. It was a niche idea, but one I would have been comfortable with during a time when I was more comfortable dealing with the public. Not anymore.

Just last week a local business opened up called The Ohio Taproom. What it sells is beer, locally brewed beer to go. You can sample for fifty cents a shot, and get a quart or half gallon to go. Selling beer in a growler is a growing trend. There are parts of the city where Growler Walks occur, the craft beer stores are that close together.

After work today I stopped at the Ohio Taproom (1291 West Third Avenue) to pick up a growler and check the place out. It's a cozy place on the busy corner near Grandview that once housed a barber shop. Parking may be an issue, but I was there early enough to park close. It's also a residential area, with a good amount of foot traffic. The owners were talking about all the foot traffic they've already had. I bought the 64oz. jug for $4.50, which is obviously reusable as long as you keep it clean and took a look at the selection, but not without buying a shot first.

It's a small, but well curated selection of 16 beers from all over the state. The list is meant to be updated frequently and seasonally. I chose a Wiesel Junge Koelsch from the Weasel Boy Brewery of Zanesville. A very tasty and snappy German style lager you do not see often commercially. We'll enjoy this beer over the next day or two, clean out the growler then head back for a refill.

I'm still uncertain about the novelty and saturation of craft beer businesses in Columbus, but people do like beer. Who wants a place that makes and/or sells good beer to fail? Not me! Last time I checked, I'm a person who likes beer, too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

You can learn a lot from an Albanian

Last night I was invited to take part in a performance workshop led by poet and performer Gypsee Yo. I was really looking forward to this because while I had only seen her perform three poems at The Women of the World Slam here a few years back, what I saw really impressed me.

The discussion was great, her abilities as a performer and teacher really came through during the workshop. Definitely learned a few things to enhance my performance on stage with or without being in a slam.

Later, she did a feature at Writers' Block and the audience was blown away. She has a story to tell, an amazing human one. It's a great gift she possesses, and one that she is more than willing to share. If you ever get a chance to see her perform, do not miss. I've seen some great features at Writers' Block over the past seven years, if I were to rank this is one of the top two - the other being Jack McCarthy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Slots and flowers

We were invited to the casino on Saturday night to see the Stylistics. All I remember about them is that they had a lot of hits on WABC when I was a kid. Had to look up and see who was left from the original group. Turns out, the only guy who left was the guy who sang the high notes, yes, the important ones. We went anyway, with some trepidation, but optimism.

They came out with some smooth moves, which got a bit slower as the night went on. They sounded great, with the newer guy, who was in a version of the Delfonics, taking the high notes with ease. Loved the matching suits, and they did all of the hits to a very appreciative crowd.

Have to say the casino does have some great entertainment value, and if they continue to host the occasional interesting act we're going to go. I should not gamble though, dropped ten bucks about as fast as I sat at the shot machine. My wife though, she fared better by winning a few bucks.

Earlier in the day on Saturday we went to the OSU campus greenhouse to see the Corpse Flower.

The university had one that bloomed last year but me did not go. I was determined to get a whiff this year, when another one bloomed. We did not get there when it peaked and you could smell it 100 feet away, but from about four feet, it reeked. Bad.

Planned on mowing the lawn this morning, but rain thwarted that plan. Kid is on the couch watching Sponge Bob, wife's making pancakes.

Let me also add a thank you to everyone who has been following this little blog. May has been a record for the number of page views, and it's not even over yet!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's no Krogering

For several months, the grocery store I use the most has been slipping. I've complained to cashiers, employees and have sent email to the corporate headquarters.

The store has stopped stocking items we need and has been frequently out of stock on items that I consider essentials. Not to mention a dirty store, hard to find carts and aisles blocked due to employees restocking during all hours. I sent an email on Sunday, and was promised a response in 24 hours. I just got this response, over ninety six hours later.

"Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey and providing your feedback on your experience.

I apologize you had multiple issues with product selections, many products being out of stock. I have shared your feedback with a member of the store management for review in correcting these issues and making sure that products are in stock, as long as available from the manufacture.

I hope that you find this information helpful. If I can be of further assistance, please simply respond to this email or call 1-800-XXX-XXX.

Thank you for shopping with us.



Consumer Affairs"

I'm not sure if it's worth the time to respond, but easier to start shopping elsewhere. So is it me, or is the Brewery District Kroger slipping in quality?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chain gangs, gangsters and gun molls

Courtsey of the Wexner Center we got to see a couple more pre-code movies last night.

The first was Laughter in Hell, a dark little film starring Pat O'Brien who gets married, becomes a railroad engineer who gets married. He finds out his wife is having an affair with one of his childhood enemies then kills them both. He's sentenced to a life of hard labor and his warden is the brother of the man he killed. Yes, great fun. I was pleased to see Merna Kennedy in this film. She played the Girl in Charlie Chaplin's "The Circus." She was only 36 when she died of a heart attack.

Could not find a still from Laughter in Hell with her in it. The movie also included a mass hanging of black prisoners and had a very I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang feel, even if the main character was a honest-to-god double murderer.

The other film we saw was Little Giant, with the amazing Edward G. Robinson as a Chicago gangster who goes straight when prohibition ends. He moves to California to set himself up in what he thinks is high class society. Hijinks ensue when he meets a family whose motives are not entirely genuine. In what was Robinson's first comedy, he chews up and devours the screen with great delight. Mary Astor is quite charming as a real estate agent with a back story

I mean really charming. She had a tough life. A child star who was forced into acting then ripped off by her parents. She had scandals, breakdowns and losing bouts with alcohol. Some say she was too old to play Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon. I call bullshit on that.

A fine actress who really did not want to be there, thanks to her parents.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

40 years early, he gets one done

My son underwent an endoscopy of his GI tract today to determine if there was anything physically wrong that may be preventing him from wanting to eat. He and I went to the hospital about seven this morning. Got him set up in his hospital gown. Signed the consent form and got the details from his doctor and the anesthesiologist. He hid under the blanket to keep warm while we cuddled on the gurney. Then he was taken to the procedure room, and I was asked to be in there when they put him under.

Comforting your son while he's squirming and crying as he breathes in knockout gas is not recommended. His mother saw it when he had dental surgery a few years ago and was traumatized by the fear in his eyes and now I understand that completely. Not something I ever wish to witness again.

I left the room and was told to wait in the reception area. I was given a pager, like in a restaurant, that would beep and vibrate when my son was, um, done. After about 25 minutes of waiting, it went off and I was taken to a consulting room.

One chair on one side of a small, curtained room. Three chairs on the other. I did not want to think about the other two chairs and thankfully it was just his doctor who came in to tell me he was fine and that the scope showed nothing wrong but the biopsy results would take a few days. He seemed confident there was nothing physically amiss. We talked of his toileting issues and what could be done about them. So much work ahead.

I emailed his mother and she quickly replied back that she was in the hospital, waiting to be brought in to see him. I went to the nurse's station and asked where she was. Had to get one of the nurses to bring her in.

We were taken to recovery where he was groggy and whiny, nothing unexpected. After a few minutes I gave him his iPad and he went under the covers and blasted Dora the Explorer. A few minutes later I took the iPad from him so we could get him dressed and out of there which caused him to have a bit of a meltdown, which also showed us that he was good to go.

I was not sure if his mother would show up or not so I was prepared to take the day off work. I was surprised and grateful to know she planned on watching him the rest of the day. She let me know a couple of hours later that he was back to normal and I have heard nothing to tell me otherwise.

Ok, I only worked half a day, and to destress I went to Pistachia Vera for breakfast.

Monday, May 20, 2013

There is a new lock on the door

I wrote about what happened to my wife a couple of weeks ago, when my son wandered off. Our story had a happier ending. Over the past month, two families have not had the relief we felt when the police brought my son home.

Seven year old Owen Black and Nine year old Mikaela Lynch both wandered off, both were autistic and non-verbal, both were found dead a few days after they wandered off.

I cannot imagine the grief these families are feeling. I join in supporting the Lynch and Black families during this horrible time, and remembering their children.

There is a group called The AWAARE Collaboration that is working to prevent wandering incidents and death in the autism community.

To learn more about the life of Mikaela Lynch, her family has set up a webpage called Mikaela's Village.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eleven Poems and Done

My feature to help raise funds for the Writers' Block Poetry Slam Team went well yesterday. I'm out of shape on stage as well as off. Tired quickly, did one poem less than I could have.

For record keeping purposes, here's the set list.

If You Can't Say it in Three Minutes, You're Doing it Wrong
What the Guide Dog Smelled
Local Character, Fredonia, New York
Refrigerator, Refrigerator
Children in Cells
David's Rock
They're Looking in the Wrong Place
Jesus at the Wheel (just written in the morning, at my son's swimming lesson)
318 Feet From Home Plate
For My Son on His Tenth Birthday
The Real In-flight Announcement

Busy week ahead as Arts Fest approaches. My son has a medical procedure being done on Wednesday morning so I'll try not to shove a cream pie in anyone's face that day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whirlwind of overwhelming

All of the busy, and the sleep deprivation caught up with me at a workshop this morning when a cluster headache decided to throw a party behind my right eye. Ouch. Left work early and slept a couple of hours. I do feel better.

Friday evening I will be a guest of Vernell Bristow on the internet radio show Speaking of Poetry. I'll be talking about all the great things that will be happening on the Word is Art Stage at the Columbus Arts Festival on June 7-9. You can listen live here.

Saturday afternoon I will be doing a half hour feature to raise money for the Writers' Block Poetry Slam team to head to Nationals in Boston this August. It's going to be at Kafe Kerouac form 1:30-2. There will be readings starting on Friday night at 8PM and going all night. You can see the schedule and other information here.

All this and it's not even June yet. More to come.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The real in-flight announcement

We know you have other choices when you fly
but we don’t care
We know we suck
All airlines suck
Twenty five bucks to check in a bag and you fools fork it over
How else you going to get to your destination?
We know how soul sucking Pennsylvania highways are
You do not have trains.
We own the skies and your sorry asses when you have
to go on a vacation, on a business trip, to a funeral
So cram your butts in 28 inches of legroom,
enjoy the smells of the person next to you
Take pleasure in the crying baby because that kid
is doing what we know you want to be doing
for the entire flight
Only you do not have room to get in the fetal position
Want a bag of four honey roasted peanuts?
there used to be six,
but our CEO had to have a new wing added to his mansion
Get ready, start flapping your arms
because we’ve cut back on jet fuel
And you, one armed guy in 16c
Get out and pull
This plane has to get out of the gate,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nothing is planned by the sea and sand

I'm writing this from a hotel room in Bohemia, New York. My parents felt bad that I was sleeping on the couch for two nights so they used some points and got me a room with a bed for the evening. Very nice of them, and my back and ankle told me not to refuse.

My mother has not been well, and has had a few setbacks, but it was good to see her. What she's going through is tough, and it's hard to see her unable to enjoy doing the things she likes to do. She is not one to sit in the house all day.

I got to borrow the car and head off to see some big water for a few hours. I went to East Islip beach first, and this trio greeted me.

Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of damage, and not all of it is repaired, not even close.

Living in Ohio, I miss the big water, and I'm only six minutes from the house to the Robert Moses Bridge. The park is still closed, you can't even cross the bridge to Fire Island without permission. Drove down Ocean Parkway to Jones Beach and saw some dunes being repaired, it's like they're putting down mulch but hopefully it will help when the next storm will come. Field Six at Jones Beach is open.

I was never much of a beach person, the sun and I do not get along but it is a tonic to feel the ocean breeze on your face while smelling the sea.

This morning we went to Heckscher State Park, where some of the beaches are still closed.

Ready to go home in the morning. Worried about my family's health problems. Have my own stuff in Columbus to worry about. Miss my wife and son. But realized you can finally buy wine and liquor on Sunday in this state.

Can't forget the Brown Bonnet!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eastbound and down

Taking a necessary trip tomorrow. Not quite an escapade but what can you do.

This summer's going to turn nuts in mid-July.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More stuff at once

Took my son to the doctor for another follow up to his G.I. issues. He's over fifty pounds for the first time. They want to do an endoscopy on him, which makes sense. There could be something physical causing some of his eating issues.

When I got home the Varmint Guard truck was waiting, with a quote. There's a family of starlings living under the house where they should not be. We talked about the work that needed to be done, the work that would be done and I signed off on it.

When I got in the house my wife had some more news for me. The refrigerator was not keeping food cold and the motor was clicking. The start relay the likely cause. No way I was capable of finding it, let alone finding the part on a Monday night so I called the number of a repairman one of my wife's coworkers recommended highly. He was there within the hour.

He pulled out the relay and it sounded like a baby's rattle. Replaced the part and the appliance came back to life. He said if we'd waited any longer the compressor would have fried out, and that would have meant we needed a new appliance. So we saved some money while spending money. He's one of those repair guys that is cash only. So I had to make a quick ATM run while my wife found out the guy's life story.

Another doctor's appointment for my son on Thursday morning. Could be news about the in-patient feeding clinic. I hope she does not try to sell us more Duo-cal.

I'm flying east on Friday morning. Coming home on Monday afternoon and headed directly to an Arts Festival right from the airport.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One word: Lucky

Having a special needs child guarantees a lot of worry. There is much daily monitoring and sleepless nights in addition to the usual things that terrify you in wonderment about the condition.

The last couple of nights he's been putting our shoes on, and walking around the house. Not a big deal, he has done this on occasion. He added a twist though, with shoes on he got the hairbrush and started brushing his hair.

Did he have someplace to go?


Today I worked, then went and did the grocery shopping.

When I got home my son was eating yogurt at the dining room table, my wife looked at me with tears in her eyes and was very upset.

I thought someone had died.

Then she told me he got out.

Wandering is a trait that some autistic kids have. They just take off. They get lost in the woods. They're attracted to things, such as water. Sometimes they do not make it.

My son was downstairs watching television, my wife was upstairs putting away laundry. This is something that has happened hundreds of times. She was not up there for long, again, this was something that she, no, we did all the time.

When she came downstairs he was gone. She looked to see if he was hiding someplace. He was not. She called 911.

The police were on it very, very quickly. I'd say less than five minutes before they found him a couple of blocks away. So thank you to the dispatcher and the Columbus Police Department for the safe return of my son.

He was headed to his mother's house. She lives very close, and he and I have walked there many times. He knows the way.

To get to his mother's you have to cross two side streets and one busy road. He crossed at least one side street on his own. Yes, you can imagine what could have happened to him, we certainly have.

My son had the knowledge to put his shoes on, the wrong feet, but they were on, get his backpack, open the back door (which he already knew how to do) then climb over a four foot fence in the back yard - he did this, getting a scrape on his belly as a reward. Then he walked through the alley behind our house, crossed at least one side street and got on the main road to his mother's.

To say my wife was terrified is an understatement. This was not her fault. As a wonderful stepmother, she goes though so much as is, she did not deserve this to happen to her.

I did call his mother to tell her what happened. She freaked, as is expected, but commiserated with me and placed no blame. This shit is hard, and it's not getting easier. Time for better locks.

Puberty and hormones are just around the corner.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This city has secrets

My use of my turntable comes and goes with the warm weather and my motivation. The Back Room of the house is where I keep the stereo now days. In cleaning out the basement, my wife brought up all my records. We've cleaned out the space so it's becoming a pleasant little man cave for me. All the records on one one side of the room now, and alphabetized.

There are several fine records shops in this city. I rarely have the time to go to them but I enjoy going to Spoonful Records on Long Street. Brett's a fine owner who is very helpful in getting you what you're looking for, if it's not already there. When I'm in the campus area I like to hit Used Kids, which has a large selection of new and old in a larger, unorganized space.

There are a couple of others north of campus that I've been to, but have no real experience with as a buyer, so I can't really judge either way.

Today, thanks to a short sentence on the Columbus Underground message board, my interest was piqued. There was a sentence noting there was a record store on West Broad that was one of the best in the city.

I've lived in Columbus for 22 years and on the west side for a decade and no knowledge. So I did a little googling and vowed to stop in after completing a few errands this afternoon.

When I walked in, I saw this.

And on the other side of this wall of records was this.

There is more to this place. Much, much more. It's run by Al, a older, friendly, guy who knows his stock. It's said there are about 200,000 records here. And they're organized, but if you can't find it ask Al, he probably knows where it is.

While browsing, I muttered under my breath, "Where do you start?"

A woman crate digging said, "Pick a letter."

As good advice as any.

Now the catches.

It's only open on Saturday, from about 11-6.

There are no prices on the records, so I think it's based on the owner's whim and his reliance on a record pricing book. I bought Warren Zevon and Procol Harum records, I have to say the condition of the discs are excellent. He charged me ten bucks. He prefers cash. I'm not sure if haggling over prices will get you anywhere. I was not in there long enough to find out.

So. Where is it? Memory Lane Records is at 2338 West Broad Street, at Oakley. Happy hunting!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

One seat removed

After my son was born premature we moved into this house while he was still in the hospital. I do not recommend anyone else ever do this. The stress is amazing. A week or two after we moved in we were given two glider rockers, neither of which were wanted (at least by me), or necessary. I had to move them in the car from my mother-in-law's house and was not pleased as I shoved them in the back of the car.

I'd have rather my gas bill paid as money would be an issue for the next half decade. I was rightfully yelled at for being a selfish asshole because I did not want two chairs.

They did not last long, both broke after about 2-3 years. For some reason we still have them, well one of them now. Called the city bulk trash pickup and they told me they'd pick one up this morning. So I moved the worst of the two out of my son's room and took it to the curb. The other, which is more functional, is now in his room. No one's ghost tripped me as I moved these chairs.

For some reason, I expected the chair not to be there this morning. Thought someone would be scavenging in the alley overnight, this did not happen.