Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm going to print this letter out and sleep with it

Hello! My name is Maria. I suppose my email is a surprise for you. And I
really hope it's a pleasant surprise.
I tried to use services search of relations agency. And they asked me what
kind of men I like, and they offered to communicate with you via email. This
agency explained that they found your mail address on the dating site.
So, a bit about me. I'm a lonely woman and live in Russia in Syzran city.
I'm 31. I don't have any children, but would like to have them very much.
I'm seriously looking for a serious man to start a new life with.. I'm also
very straight, kind, God fearing, hard working, honesty.. I send you my
picture that you could see me. I hope I didn't make you sleeping with my
And could you tell me more about yourself and send some of your photos?
What city do you live in? I'll be looking forward to your answer.
My e-mail is :

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Road Trip to the Rockmill Brewery and Covered Bridge

Truly a gorgeous autumn Saturday in Central Ohio. Unseasonably warm, with bright sunshine and low humidity. Wanted to do something to get away from the city and get us off the laptops, so I suggested a trip to a brewery to my Scottish Wife. Of course she agreed.

Not just any brewery, but The Rockmill Brewery outside of Lancaster, Ohio. They just celebrated their third year of operation. I've had a few of their Belgian style beers, and they are excellent. Now it was finally time to go to the source.

I checked a map, and thought it would be an easy turnoff of route 33. Did not bring a map with me, which was the wrong move. Ended up going past Lancaster, turning around, taking the wrong Lithopolis Road but seemed to slowly spiral toward the brewery, as if by magic. There was no yelling, no cursing, no gnashing of teeth. We got there safe and sound. We did not even drive past it despite the signage.

It's a very rustic facility. Ended up going into the main house, which is a residence, and not the tasting room. This guy was no help for directions.

Eventually we made our way to the place where the beer is.

For $12 you get a flight of every beer that is available. This was plenty for two as the beers are quite strong and my wife did not want to fall asleep and I had to drive home. For one person, it's a lot of strong beer. The owner/brewer is doing a world class job making authentic Belgian beer in Ohio. He fell in love with Saison Dupont and wanted to recreate it for himself. By coincidence the family homestead has water that is similar to that in the places the good Belgian beer is made. It's a lovely place to reflect on what you're drinking. And they serve the flights in Glencairn glasses. If you order a pint, you get it in a Riedel Crystal tulip. Serious stuff that I really appreciate.

I really want to take some out of town, and in town, beer aficionados here. I think they'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product. It's not cheap, but well worth the price. I really like the Wit, and the Tripel. All the beer is quality. The Dubbel aged in whiskey casks was a bit over the top for me. Very sherry like, but there are people out there who would love it.

Just down the road from the brewery, not even a quarter mile, is The Rockmill Covered Bridge. I checked my pictures when we returned home to see if I had been here before. Back in the nineties, we drove all over Ohio to find covered bridges, as a fun day trip. This bridge was negotiable by vehicle then, not so now.

The bridge was built in 1901 and still looks grand. Right next to it is a mill that was built in 1824 that is being restored to its glory. It overlooks a rather scenic 90 foot gorge.

For perspective the mill wheel is 26 feet in diameter and was restored in 2012. This is a great day trip.

I also saw a couple of these Autism Speaks puzzle pieces painted on the ground for some reason.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good Ol' Freda!

Just when you think all the angles of the Beatles story have been covered comes a documentary from the perspective of their fan club secretary. Good Ol' Freda, tells the story of Freda Kelly who, as a seventeen year old in 1962, became an insider to the incredible rise of the band and was there at the fall.

Kelly has an incredible amount of integrity and has protected her privacy to such an extent that many of her close family and friends had no real idea of what she did during the sixties.

The film is far from a tell-all or a money grab. Kelly has specific reasons to document her story and while telling some lovely anecdotes refuses to sling any mud. Kelly is far from destitute but has had some underlying tragedy in her life. She told some incredibly sweet stories about how she befriended the parents of the Beatles, especially Ringo's. Another impressive things about the Kickstarted production is that there are original Beatles songs in the soundtrack, the rights of which were waived by the surviving members of the group. That's the respect they have for Kelly and the film makers.

My one peeve was during a montage of the inner circle who have died, there was no mention of Mal Evans, which was disappointing. Otherwise it's a remarkable documentary about a girl who was a fan of the band who became a key member of the team. For Beatlemaniacs it's a must see part of the canon. Not an exploitative work, but fair and honest insight from an until now unheard of insider.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not proficient

Mike Mills, former bassist of REM asked me to play bass in a band he was putting together. There was going to be a show at 9AM at some bar in Columbus. Mike told me the gig would be loose, essentially a rehearsal.

The bar was in the north campus area, around Dodridge and High, which seemed to be just across the street from my house.

While all this was going on, there was a zip line installed in my backyard which involved putting an odd, large, breed of cat on the line in a basket. There were a couple of other animals involved.

I walked to the bar early and breakfast was being served. I thought I saw Paul Westerberg or Jim Jarmusch eating, EVR was there (big surprise) as well as a guy I went to college with who was in this band. None of them knew I would be playing bass.

I almost got pickpocketed by some kid who asked me questions about Sheryl Crow as I was headed back to my house to pick up my bass. I saw the truck with all the gear pull up and start loading into the bar. When I was at my house, I realized I did not have a bass, but may have had an amp. I also had not showered, and had to go to work when the show was over.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cranky in Columbus

The last few weeks, months even, have been a struggle. You can tell my the decreased number of posts here. Schedules have changed, then changed again and it's been frustrating to redevelop any sense of flow. So I'm tired and may be a bit burnt out.

I'm still trying to process one of the neighbor's adult children who noticed the door to my shed open and told me he was going to have to shoot that person before he realized it was me in there. A late afternoon stand someone else's ground west side shooting would have been a blast to cover.

At least I have finally made the calls to get some bids on pruning the tree in the yard that has branches going over their roof, and mine.

After falling asleep about 10:30 last night my son decided to get up at 3AM and stay awake until about six. I was not pleased by his random babblings, humming and various uses of Dora the Explorer dialogue. Ended up having to call into work, again, because of his sleep habits. It's very frustrating, has been for years. I've learned to not go into work sleep deprived because I'm a real pain in the ass to deal with. Might be easier in my current job, but not when I worked the circulation desk in the morning.

Did manage to get him on the bus then fell asleep for a couple of hours. Headed downtown to get some lunch, still in a mean mood but this beer at The Jury Room helped me out a bit.

Downtown looked good on an early autumn day. Columbus made me sit in the Commons and forced some Jeni's down my throat too, I hate when that happens.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Essence

Every week, he is the best poet on the mic. He is the best poet you heard yesterday, heard today, and will hear next week.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

The kids are alright

I was reading an interview with Elton John last night and he was raving about this band. So I looked this group of Irish kids up on Youtube and was very impressed with what I saw and heard.

I mean, what the Hell was I doing when I was 16? Compared to the ramshackle band I was involved with, these kids were on a stage at Glastonbury. They're also quite talented, with polish provided by the production skills of Chris Thomas and the management backing of Elton John's empire behind them.

There's a lot that can go wrong here, or simply fade out to remember whens or what ifs. Right now I'm going to focus on the promise and enjoy hearing about their ascent.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I've lived in this city for over twenty years and there are still places to discover

Franklin Park is on the east side of the city, between olde town east and Bexley. It underwent massive renovations for the Ameriflora exhibit in 1992 and a lot of the design and garden structure from that time has remained and stayed in good condition.

I was very impressed with the small ponds that lined the northern part of the park. I've been to the conservatory several times, on the east end, but never roamed west. It's beautiful.

Very pleased to have finally found what I'm sure many have already known about. I've driven by it all thousands of times!

And it gives me ideas, for I do have some ambition left.

In other news I am once again the Chair of the Word is Art Stage Committee of the Columbus Arts Festival. Call me crazy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Paging Columbus

Last month I read at the Ohio State Urban Arts Space for the Paging Columbus series.

Some of the set was recorded. The sound is a bit echoey due to the space, but you can hear me. Many thanks again to Hannah Stevenson for inviting me to read, and for posting the footage.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Can you simply snap?

I do not know any of the people involved in this tragedy, nor the autism father blogger I'm about to link to. It's a sad story that turned into an attempted murder/suicide. I'm not sure if something like this could or could not happen to me. One thing I do know is that without my wife I have no idea where I'd be today. One thing I do not know is exactly how my son's mother struggles with his condition.

Here's the link to the reaction of the story, which is in the blog post.

Living with an autistic child is hard, but so can living. Period. Most situations, including my own, can be so much worse.

My son has transitioned from stage two baby food to certain types of canned fruits, vegetables and boxed dinners that we put in a blender. This is huge progress.

Two weeks ago my son was in the toilet and smeared his feces all over himself, the bathroom and his bedroom floor.

Tonight he did the same thing. This is a child who freaks out over yogurt or peas on his hands but does not flinch when he's rubbing his shit into his hair.

As usual, he's not talking about it.

It's hard to laugh this off, when the future is so uncertain. What happens when puberty and hormones kick in? What happens if he becomes violent? What happens after his parents are gone? Right now we can't let him play in the backyard by himself because he might climb over the fence. Last night he was up at 3:30, shouting into the dark, just because, we think. Right now we have to prompt him to eat nearly every bite of food he takes because his mind wanders at the table and he does not have 45 minutes to an hour to eat every meal. We're taking about an additional 45 minutes each day just to get his food blended up and measured properly and I can't imagine how his mother is doing it by herself. I'm maintaining most days, and again without Emma I can only speculate something outside of a safe place.

It's exhausting, sleep deprivation is not healthy for anyone and I, too, will leave you with the words of a mother who lost it all.

There is so much more to say. I’m just too tired to write more.
All my love,

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Warren Zevon, ten years later

This was the first song I heard Warren Zevon sing live. I had just moved to Columbus about two months earlier and was excited to see him. It was also my first time at the Newport Music Hall, once of the city's better and longest running venues.

It was quite the show, the rest of the band came on after this and went into a raucous Even a Dog Can Shake Hands and it was total rock and roll the rest of the night. Ian Wallace was on drums and it was a great performance than Warren made note of mentioning at the end of the gig.

His death was no surprise, even Zevon was amazed that after all he had been through it was not the drugs that killed him. I got to see him three times, but none equaled the first. Easily one of the top ten live shows I've ever seen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A rare double post

Posting this while it's still fresher in my head so there are two blog posts from me today. Do not worry, this is not a fall back to the olde days of Live Journal.

Last night at Writers' Block there was a Grab Bag Slam, in which poets were assigned a topic and had a week to write a poem with it and perform it in a slam.

Thirteen poets accepted the challenge and read them last night. It was a very impressive display of writing. The topics read about were Dance, Moisturizer, Yogurt, Doo-rag and many others. Colin was the last poet in the slam and ended up winning the night with a brilliant poem. His subject was Kool-Aid. I'm glad he won because there were three poets tied for second and there would have been a Tri-ku to determine the champion.

My topic was Ice and I was happy with how it went. Because it was an assignment I'm going to post it here.

Staff Refrigerator: A Lesson in Fear

Pouring down onto containers of uncertain age
are colors not found in nature

Pooling on glass shelves are liquids of unknown origin -
a waterfall of chemical composition that may or may not be toxic

There was an email sent to the entire staff of the building

Desiccated solids that could have been lunch fluid in their intent
Sump ponds with stagnant moist stuff in tupperware that
may have been a meal containing mammal bones

There is a memo on the window of the staff break room

Behind the freezer door lay chunks of permafrost ice cube trays,
or are they italian ices from ancient Rome, buried deep

There is a piece of paper on the side of the refrigerator

Puddles of who knows what cryogenically ice floe alien in origin frisbees
or U.F.O., unidentified frozen objects that may have been taken
from the locker in hangar 13 of a top secret military installation.

There is a memo taped to the front of the refrigerator door

if this object was not placed in this building in 2009 -
We’d carbon date the contents, but they did set off a geiger counter
and no one in the Technical Services department has a Haz-Mat suit

If I were to brave the stench and look inside of the refrigerator
I’d bet five dollars there is a copy of the clean up your damn mess memo
hanging from one of the shelves.
But neither I, nor the bomb squad, are looking.

So there was that poem. But I also wrote another, a bit more serious.

Terra Nova Pantoum

I am just going outside and may be some time
the last words of an Antarctic explorer
He walked to his death in 1912
Their tent now buried by an ice shelf

The last words of an Antarctic explorer
We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us
Their tent now buried by an ice shelf
A tomb hidden by a century of climate

We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us
and therefore we have no cause for complaint
A tomb hidden by a century of climate
Becomes a heroic trophy for placing the South Pole discovery to Amundsen

and therefore we have no cause for complaint
Robert Scott’s final diary entry
Becomes a heroic trophy for placing the South Pole discovery to Amundsen
They found the pole, saw a Norwegian flag, died on the journey back

Robert Scott’s final diary entry
He walked to his death in 1912
They found the pole, saw a Norwegian flag, died on the journey back
I am just going outside and may be some time

Ever since I was a kid I had an odd interest in the doomed Scott expedition. The explorers of the Arctic had to endured some incredibly hostile conditions and some did not make it back. Brave men.

Hard to slam with a pantoum though, and I was not that confident!

So that was two poems written in a week, something that does not happen to me much these days.

I have ambitions, research is being done. Comfort zones are being tested.

Always a good walk

My son was generous enough to give me whatever sickness had been inside of him last weekend and that left me waking up this morning and deciding going to work was not in anyone's best interests.

After sleeping a bit longer than usual I figured it would be better for me to not sit on the coach and get outside to take advantage of the beautiful September weather. Even while sick, I could appreciate it.

So the decision was made to take a walk in Greenlawn Cemetery.

It had been awhile since I've been here. It's hard to maintain a large space effectively. A portion of the fence on the west side of the property has busted down and now anyone can get in easily, at anytime. They need funds to repair the property and I do not have them.

Still, it was a pleasant day for a walk and I picked some areas I do not usually wander in.

Would love to know the back story to Mr. Gene. How did he get that name?

I know Columbus has a vital Greek population but did not realize there was a section of the cemetery that had a lot of Greek people buried there. This made me chuckle, shoot me.

Away where now? She did not go out for a pack of cigarettes, or did she?

The grave of a woman in her early twenties who died in 2012. This type of decoration fascinates me, and it's all over the cemetery here, and I imagine elsewhere.

I know I've posted this before, but it makes me giggle, ok?

And this one is further down the row. I'm sorry, but this makes me laugh.

As far as I know, this is the only grave in the world of an Olympic gold medal winner who was executed for committing murder. Here's the story.

None of my visits here are complete without some reflection here.

I was very happy to see that a lot of the overgrowth that obstructed the view of the pond from this spot had been cut back.

And just a few steps from this spot is this humble gravestone.

Greenlawn has been one of my go to spots for some quiet reflection and inspiration. Sometimes some cool birdlife is spotted, or a sprinting ground hog as you drive out of the property.