Monday, April 28, 2014

Expectations vs. capabilities

Today I attended my son's last Shakespeare and Autism class. It's a fascinating idea to get autistic kids communicating through the work and exaggerated facial expressions and gestures of Shakespearian plays. This is a video about it that was released last year, my son is in this video.

The play the facilitators chose was The Tempest and the kids and actors were jumping around, calling themselves Caliban and having a good time. I met the person who has been my son's acting partner for the past two years, a very sincere and devoted actor and teacher. This is them on the program's webpage.

Today my son came into the gym with his partner, saw all the people and chairs set up (there were about 15 people watching, which does not happen) and said, "Why did you do this?" He does not like crowds. That he would say something about it speaks volumes.

About five minutes into the session, my son got up and walked away. His partner followed him, kept him in the room and they sat away from the group for the rest of the session.

And they stayed there, I'm sure the crowd did not help, my presence was probably a distraction as well. It's one of those times you want your son to participate, or even watch from the close sidelines instead of stress and reluctance. It's hard to watch, and harder to balance your own expectations with what your child wants to do, and his capabilities.

Catching up with the shows from abroad

Thanks to the sufficient processing power of the new MacBook Pro, I am now able to enjoy using Chromecast without the screen going into fits and starts.

Got caught up with A Trip to Italy on the BBC iPlayer. Once again, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are on the road under the guise of being food reviewers. We see the food, we get to guess the bill, but we never hear if they liked it. Instead, like the first series, we hear Michael Caine impressions and the pair singing along to Alanis Morrissette while driving in a rented Mini through the Italian countryside. It's a fine way to spend a half hour and chuckle throughout, although the premise is starting to wear thin. I understand that, thankfully, there will be no third series. That's what I like about British television, they know how and when to end a show.

Also invested time in the long running quiz show Mastermind. It make Jeopardy look like a kids show. Contestants are grilled for two minutes by the host in two rounds. The first round is a subject the contestant chooses, the second on general knowledge. The questions, be they about Scottish lighthouses or Italy's role in World War One are tough, and the contestants can be visibly terrified. The show is based on the creator's experience during World War Two, when he was interrogated, while sitting in a chair under a single spotlight, by the gestapo.

So there was a great tension in the air when Clive Dunning of Stockton chose the life and poetry of Philip Larkin and won the Mastermind title. Dunning looked like he was about to vomit at the end of the program.

And what does the winner get, nothing but a lovely glass bowl, bragging rights, and the people's ovation and fame forever. Well done!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Circling the wagons

The NHL is now in playoff season and for the second time in franchise, the Blue Jackets are in the dance. They're playing the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are on paper a much better team. This is why the game is played though, after four games of a seven game series the teams are tied at two wins a apiece, which means the Blue Jackets have won their first two playoff games in franchise history.

Last night's game was quite dramatic, the Blue Jackets were down 3-0, on home ice, with about ten minutes gone in the game. I was a bit distracted setting my my new laptop to get bummed, although I did suggest the team replace their goaltender to, perhaps, shake the team up. That did not happen.

What did happen was a slow, grinding comeback the Blue Jackets have become successful at. They picked up a goal late in the first period, another late in the second and tied in on a brutal mistake by the Penguins goaltender with about 20 seconds left in the game.

It was quite the moment. A moment that, for me, removed the curse of so many horrible things in franchise history; the last second defeats, the routs, the use of Boomer the Cannon as a mascot, Doug MacLean, the time the team let a person in the opposing teams jersey ride around on the zamboni between periods, all of the failed first round picks, the time the team played the opposing teams goal song after they scored, all of the failed trades and on and on.

The game went to overtime and the Blue Jackets won it three minutes in. I have not seen a team so resilient since, well, the Buffalo Bills of over twenty years ago.

Anything can happen in a best of three now. Both sides are bruised, hurting and willing to battle more. Because it's the Cup.

After almost seven years, my trusty Macbook that I have taken so many places was finally slowing down. I'm not sure if the hard drive (the second one) or the logic board were beginning to fail, but I was not going to put any more into it. So I picked up a MacBook Pro last night (thanks Mom!)

It's quite the device, with a lot of processing power so we can really use Chromecast to watch A Trip to Italy and Mastermind with no buffering problems. It has Pages so maybe I can get off my ass and put desktop publishing to use.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hey, she is interested!

Good day I am Polina. I live single. I do not know how to get acquainted on the Internet, but i'll try.

I am very lonely and wanted to find someone.

I'm looking for serious soulmate, friendship and love. Maybe it will be a
great friendship, maybe it will be the Love.

Hopefully my letter will find you healthy and happy
and if you think that we are compatible I would like to try to go ahead.

Anyway I know only one way to find it out, and that requires us to take a step. I am open and
willing to take that step. I will wait for your email and if you are really serious in your
search, maybe we will find interest in each other.

I'm attractive and I stand 5'6 and I am proportionate to my height and weight.
I'm 32 years old. I will send my fotos through email when you will answer me.

I look forward to your email


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Breaking out the old technology

Spring as arrived in Central Ohio. The family took an Easter walk in Blacklick Park and hit Graeter's for milkshakes after. I'm ignoring the lawn on this beautiful day so I can sit in the Back Room and play records.

Yesterday was Record Store Day. I did my main shopping at my local on Thursday by getting a new turntable. Easy to set up, it works perfectly. It's an automatic turntable which means I do not have to interrupt my daydreaming or important writing to get up and change records.

Crowds and I do not get along so I did not wait in line on Saturday morning, but waited until later in the day. I then headed back to my local shop. There was one record I really wanted and a couple of 45s I may be interested in. There was still a crowd when I got there so I went to the first milk crate of new records and started looking.

The second record was the exact record I was looking for! Figured I'd call it a day then and there, but I did ask about the 45s. They were sold out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ten poems, thirty minutes

The Third Annual Writers' Block All Nighter fundraiser is happening until 3PM this afternoon at Kafe Kerouac. I read last night and stayed out much later than usual. It's very rare that I get an opportunity to feature, so I was excited to have the work even if there is very little new poetry in me these days. Still trying to process my Mom's death and dealing with poetic bureaucracy has me not liking nor confident of my own place in the art these days. That will change soon enough though.

Found some older work to spice up the more recent poems, and there was one new one which went over well in the nerd category. For posterity here is the set list.

Divorced, with special needs
Lincoln Tower, the grassy knoll
318 feet from home plate
The Mother and the chapbook
Emaciated compassion
Kabuki condom
All time, none of the time
For British Chris
The wine list of the Overlook Hotel (brand new, uncorked for this reading)

Ended up staying until about 1:30 in the morning, had to stay for Death's set.

Death brought smoke and it was worth losing sleep over.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stuff is happening

We've been away. In New York for a family event. On Sunday there was a dedication of a bench in the park my Mom worked. The day was beautiful and a good number of family turned out. The bench had some special engravings of daffodils and shamrocks that were done by a former co-worker of Mom's.

We all had turns sitting on the bench during a solemn but pleasant day. The bench is located by the hatchery in the park. I was walking around and found that my Mom's picture is used as part of the guided tour.

My wife and I also had time to hit a hidden winery. Loughlin Vineyards is in Sayville and is run by a very friendly 88 year old man named Barney. I did not really talk wine with him, but we talked about World War 2 as there were several old signs and maps in the tasting room. He went on, "The Germans and the Americans all had one thing in common, when they were dying, they all cried for their mothers - Let's try the merlot!"

The wine is quite good, we liked the chardonnay. There was also time to hit the beach. It was quite the shock seeing the damage that remains after Hurricane Sandy.

Used to be a gentle slope that led you to the water, not an eight foot sudden drop. That's the power this storm had.

We got lucky with the weather when we went into Manhattan. It seems the people were all released after a harsh winter. I have been going to the city for years and have never seen the streets so crowded.

Had some very good pizza at Juliana's then took on the bridge. Which led us, after a lengthy walk to McSorley's. Experienced a subway delay before goofing off with a drink in Times Square.

It was a good and necessary visit. If you're going to Long Island I recommend the Hilton Garden Inn in Ronkonkoma, which was a good base to plan from. I was upgraded to a Prius by the effervescent Shannon of Enterprise at the Islip Airport, an interesting car to drive around town in, but not one I would be comfortable in for long trips despite it's exceptional fuel economy.

Lots of other plans and items are coming, thanks to my Mom. Looking into a new heating and cooling unit for the house, and we got the new roof already. I bought a new turntable today so the Back Room is turning into a bit of a man cave and next week I'll be upgrading my old Macbook. The flights were ok. Came home to a piece of siding hanging from the house, thank you wind, so that is being addressed as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Poem and pictures, with the boy

My son still swims, and enjoys the water. Took some pictures last Saturday. Thought I'd put an old poem with the pictures and cover a couple of topics this month; National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month. A couple of years ago, I did thirty poems about autism for National Poetry Month, to mixed results.

This was one of the better ones.

Swings Inside the White Fence

This little boy I see, at the playground where I take my Grandson
He seems shy
He waits his turn, patiently, to go down the slide
Sometimes he likes to climb it, from the bottom

A lot of kids do that, even my Grandson
I've never seen him speak to anyone, not even his Mother or Father
They watch him close
He walks along the fence that encircles the play area,
but does not leave
My Grandson asked me about him, he tried to talk to the boy -
he walked right past him

This boy, he makes a sound like a motor cycle, or a boat
I'm not sure why he does that
I told my Grandson that he is the captain of a ship
on an ocean that is more important
than the ground he is walking on

Friday, April 4, 2014

One week from vacation

You share things with your children, and they, in turn, share things with you. Took Wednesday off and kept my sick son out of school. He was quite listless, low energy and had a fast running nose. As they day went along, and after a rare late morning nap, he felt better and went to school on Thursday.

That day, I started to falter at work and woke up this morning feeling like a truck landed on my head. So it was my turn to call off work for the second time this week, take a late morning nap and try to recover as the day went on. Not sure it worked enough. The weekend is here though.

Received news today that a body part of mine is not a potential match for a possible transplant. Not sure how to feel about that. No stress or anxiety about the procedure, but totally unable to help, just have to watch from the sidelines and hope for the best now.

Aaaaaar Matey!

Good afternoon!

This is Marina. I want to be acquainted with you in the hope of a great
relationship and conversation. I search my love. I am 28 years old. I want
to have true relations. I am very matey and decent woman. It would be great
if you're going to write me a message. so good to have friends in another
country! I'll look forward to your message.

Take care,