Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eating and reading amidst all the chaos

Today was one of those days when you just want to come home and get under a blanket with a bottle of whiskey. A traumatic first day of school for a soon to be thirteen year old turned into a double murder live on air. It was hard to focus on anything while having a discussion of local politics with a local party high up which turned into laughter when it was revealed a local community that thrives on authenticity is getting a mall pizza shop in their neighborhood. For once I was happy that the west side was neglected. Quite the social media day considering I culled about fifty people my list earlier this week.

Then one of the baby pandas at the National Zoo died.

At least my wife loves me even when I think my kid does not.

At least I am thankful to have Saga and Martin try to solve murders in Sweden and Denmark for a few more hours.

And the Mets keep winning.

Did manage to find a decent low priced Chinese take out in the area recently. There is a great Thai place in the back of an Asian market that we frequent, but sometimes you just want the sweet and sour chicken or pork strips without all the heat. There is one place that recently changed ownership and is now called Asian Wok, but I'm not feeling the need to be a pioneer. So I did some Yelp research and gave Peking Wok on West Broad a chance.

The Wife and I like it. She says the lo mein is quite good. I can vouch for the sweet and sour chicken and roast pork and snow peas. The only minor miss was the fried dumplings. For plenty of food we paid about fifteen bucks. It's in the Franklinton Center and it's a hole in the wall but they're busy making very tasty things in their kitchen.

Been trying to read more and am almost succeeding. Recently finished a very good crime book from the UK. Here's my Amazon review

From the author of the Eoin Miller trilogy comes Ways To Die In Glasgow, a new crime thriller from Jay Stringer. Sam Ireland is a Glasgow private investigator who gets involved in a case that becomes much more complex, and deadlier than she expected. Stringer also gives us the story from the perspectives of Mackie, a violent young man with a missing gangster Uncle and Lambert, a detective who tries to stretch the system as much as possible to his benefit. It's a fast paced dark and witty romp with a high body count. Men are missing, lawyers and policemen are corrupt and steadfast - just like life. Stringer writes about his now home city with great detail and gritty affection. We're shown the dark, violent pubs and the spotless purity of legal firms, with plenty of one liners and wit that rises above the many blood stains. A good read by an author with a promising future, and that cover of Coney is brilliant.

I've also just cracked the spine of Neurotribes a look at autism from a historical and scientific perspectives. Steve Silberman has done some impressive research with this heavily buzzed about book. Hope to finish it sooner than later.

And to finish, here's a cool new song by the great Darlene Love.

Monday, August 24, 2015

My shut up Frank DeFord post

There’s a growing tedium about social media for me these days. It’s become Social Issues Media with so many posting links about ideas they supposedly feel really passionate about with quotes from long dead icons of politics or religion or or or.

It’s either that or the constant asking for something. A gofundmekickstarter for something or someone that is important. And everything is so important these days, or worth my time, or urgent or or or.

And yes, I am damn guilty of this too. I can’t help it, the Mets are leading the division by five games.

No one seems to be doing, or at least sharing, any real writing online anymore. Storifying tweets does not count! It’s rare that I see (or do one myself) a post that is more than two or three lines. So much is dependent on a link. Live Journal is dead, Facebook has turned into clickbait and likes with little depth other than posters who really feel strongly about something right now and so should you!.

There is so much hyperbole. If everything is a masterpiece or great or amazing or or or we’ve really lowered the bar on what a masterpiece is. The fun is fading, it’s not thought provoking for me, just provoking. Hate reading is exhausting, not healthy and cuts have to be made.

Of course the people online have all the answers to everything, starting with grammar. Do not say anything wrong or you may be the subject of a passive/aggressive post because direct communication is so not right now. I am doing my best to call people on their stuff, but it’s becoming easier to unfollow or remove. My blood pressure is high enough as is. Then again, I’m not charismatic enough to have the Internet Mob pay any attention to me. Hey, reading this post helps me understand that!

I do not march in lockstep nor am I a deliberate contrarian. Hell, I do not play well with others. I’m just so fucking tired. You’re not going to get a list of twenty reasons why.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The parallel universe of sleep

There was some sort of self-help writers convention in town. I was in Stauf's, which did not resemble the actual coffee shop, but some other Stauf's. I saw Dr. Phil alone at a table writing on one of those longer notepads, when I passed him I glanced at what he was writing. There was one long ass list being started. It was all numbers down the page and the rest was blank. I guess Phil had some work to do.

There was also an author named Jerry Spears. A name I do not know as a writer but as the owner of a local funeral home. The coffee shop was in some sort of indoor mall and authors whose faces I recognized but names I was not sure of were walking in trios into bars, one in front of another.

I kept trying to get on my iPad to post to Facebook that Dr. Phil was writing a list but the keyboard kept messing up.

Another author came over to me and I called him the wrong name, which made him very pissy. Oh well, that's life in the publishing world.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Inspired by Nancy Kangas

Last week I attended a poetry reading in which Nancy Kangas, one of my favorite poets, read. She also did her slide interpretations.

There was also a poem about an on ramp. She suggested other poets write about their most memorable on or off ramps in the city so it can be a series.

After one incident last week, I was moved to write this:

The On Ramp From I-70 East to 315 North

This quarter cloverleaf tips over more trucks in a weekend
than any Hot Wheels cars I flipped on plastic track
Crime tape wrapped stalled cars on shoulder at sunrise
tells the lack of mercy this on ramp possesses
Cut off by an SUV that could not decide on
going east, or wherever
My Volvo rear ended by a Susan Komen painted Mustang
as a result of cell phone indecision
The merge north would be easier if allocated by lottery
than a correct turn signal
Jacked up Fury Road ‘58 Chevy spews blue smoke
Ain’t gonna drag that road rage Mitsubishi
Post accident parts spread out like a yard sale
All colors are welcomed to the ditch
Four cylinder non-turbo acceleration ignored by a lane hog
who will not pull over or slow down to let you in
True hypocrisy revealed by the ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker
on the back of the Honda hybrid as it flees the scene
Its every driver for themselves
as another commute is endured, survived
never experienced.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A visit to a brutalist structure

After an early morning of soccer action and an Everton win I met my Wife and took her on a surprise field trip to the Ohio History Center. I had not been there for years but have read about budget cuts and other issues that make the place seem like a labor of love to work at and maintain.

The center was holding up well. We particularly enjoyed an exhibit of an actual Lustron house. I thought they were more solid and ceramic, but it was galvanized steel and it seemed flimsy. The structure seems to hold up with no rust though. There were people inside in 1950's outfits who answered questions about the house and stayed in Ozzie and Harriet style character while doing it.

Of course the two headed calf is there. Excuse the flash.

We also ventured outside on a warm day into Ohio Village, a recreation of a pre Civil War Ohio town. There were costumed actors who demonstrated homemaking skills of the time as well as an undertaker. It was a bit more fun than I thought it would be, but a lot of the buildings were empty. It's hard to find volunteers these days.

There were also a few apple trees on the grounds.

Overall it's worth the visit. Ten dollars to get in and I saved a buck with my AAA membership. Very friendly staff, I hope they can get a budget that is worthy of their task to steward and educate Ohio's history.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The plural tells me all I need to know

Dear Sir / Ma

My names are Eric Kolawole General Manager Banking Inspectorate of First Bank.

In brief and in our short divisional inspectorate verification and audit exercise conducted last quarter ending of December 2014, we discover abandoned or unclaimed funds for years and even as parties next of kin could not be trace, but in further verification your name was included as a proxy next of kin either through transaction you had with the late beneficiary and therefore, we have decided to contact you to find out if you will be interested to file a claim as advise here with, and we are also ready to assist you process the payment on your name or company name on an instance remittance to any account you may assign without any legal encumbrances and we share the proceed on 60% for you and we take 40% for facilitating the release as the assigned funds has been floating in our escrow account for more than 10 years now.

Anticipating your urgent response for advise.

Dr Eric Kolawole

Monday, August 10, 2015

Twenty five years in the making

I first came to know Cait Brennan about twelve years ago, through our Live Journal accounts. Her writing was intelligent, creative and incredibly funny. I added her to my feed, she added me back and we commented on each others posts. She kept me awake and entertained over the late night hours when my infant son stayed awake, which was many nights. As I have still never met Cait Brennan, I am guessing she remains as witty as ever.

Over the years, we do not have the long threads we used to, but we make occasional comments or click “like” on our Facebook posts. There have been many changes in our lives over the past decade, some of them quite profound.

Cait has been working very hard on her music the past few years. Even harder because she has reasons to. You can almost call it a race against time. As she says, "She was Cait before being Cait was cool." She’s trying to maintain her health while writing and playing at such places as the International Pop Overthrow Festival. A couple of years ago she released a neat little ditty called Madame Pompadour.

It became one of my favorite songs of the year and remains on my iPod.

Recently, she recorded a whole record of songs in five days. She still needs a bit of help getting the record finished and that’s where we come in. Her Kickstarter was completely funded in a couple of days. The goodwill she has developed from friends and strangers is awesome. Here’s the link for you to click on and read.

Full disclosure: I’m in for the vinyl.

With the project fully funded, any additional money will help promote the record to a wider audience, get her to possibly go on tour to do a few shows and more. I admit to being the biggest cynic about crowdfunding but this one means so much to me. The background of why this record is being made is an important part of this story. As many people as possible need to hear this record. Keeping the momentum going would be incredible.

As longtime record industry maven Marc Nathan says, “because every 40-something person with a catalog of great songs and limited resources to record them the way they were intended needs a gentle shove into the loving arms of the unsuspecting general public…”

I believe in Cait Brennan.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Burial side trip.

Last weekend we took a hit and run trip to visit family in New Jersey. The drive across Pennsylvania a test of endurance, but we made it to our B&B in Summit and liked the small town.

While on the way to Jersey City, we took a side trip to Hillside Cemetery where two different legends are buried.

William Carlos Williams lived in nearby Patterson and was the head of obstetrics of a local hospital. He was also one of the finest poets of the 20th century.

In the Jewish section of this cemetery lies Jeff Hyman aka Joey Ramone.

The person working the office was very kind in answering our questions, I'm sure he's heard them before. He also gave us excellent directions to where the graves were.

Probably would not have went if just one of them was buried there, but this was a pairing that had to be honored.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I'm the driver and the car review

On a road trip this weekend and did not want to drive the Hyundai so I got a rental.

Thought I would be getting a Jetta, which was what I wanted because it would be a great test drive for a potential future purchase but it was not meant to be.

Instead I was given a Chrysler 200.

The car has a good look to it, might be a bit too big for my needs but on the highway it was a sweet ride for a journey. Not the fastest car but the acceleration was sufficient with a nine speed (!) automatic that got me where I wanted to be. It held at highway speeds, and a bit more quite well and felt like it wanted to go faster. A very smooth ride even over the crappiest of Pennsylvania highways. In other words, all of them.

The interior felt larger but I felt a bit cramped, but not uncomfortable in the seat. The deal breaker for me was the high seat that I could not get any lower. I hit my head a couple of time getting into the car, and I'm not tall. There are also more blind spots, which does not make me comfortable. It does have a cool camera when you put the car in reverse. Oh, and there's no gear shifter, but a dial. First time I've ever seen that, but I did get used to it.

The gadgetry is fantastic, and the SiriusXM really helped out on a dull ride on route 76.

What impressed me most was the gas mileage. I got over 40mpg on the highway, which I think is fantastic for a car of this size.

The Chrysler 200 is a decent car to have for a weekend's journey, but I would not put it in my driveway for longer.