Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cross-County Wanderings

I was all over the place yesterday, man. Maybe cross-county isn't exactly accurate, but my motoring did extend from Lakewood to Cleveland Heights. After my last post, I freshened up and did some very quick grocery shopping: cleaning supplies at the Dollar Store, some creamed corn at Dave's, and then over to the West Side Market for some trout. I plan to encrust the fish with some herb butter and pepitas this evening, so I picked up the butter and pumpkin seeds there, too.

I left the market, jumped in my motor vehicle, and made it over to the Borders in Cleveland Heights just in time to hear Michael Ruhlman give a brief talk about his experiences as a writer, a celebrity, and cooking. He is an interesting guy and an excellent writer. I keep waiting to be put off by his attitude (like Jay McInerney) or find him a douche trying to strangle me with his coolness (like Bourdain), but he never does. Instead, he's a calm midwesterner that loves what he's doing (writing pretty successful, almost first-person non-fiction on things he's passionately interested in) and also realizes he's doing well as he does it. I picked up a copy of his new book for myself and my friend Alex. Alex doesn't need it, but it was a chance to get Ruhlman to put something in the inscription. (Alex, if you are reading this, I'll put it in the mail on Monday.)

Then I stopped off at Mac's Backs, the store that has been widely reputed to be the indie bookstore headquarters of Cuyahoga County. The store is cool and the owner Suzanne is delightful and kind. Visible Voice strikes me as much better organized and has a superior selection of books, but there is an energy at Mac's that isn't duplicated by Visible Voice. Suzanne is also an enthusiastic supporter of the literary scene in Cleveland, and has organized and hosted events large and small that keep the community as robust as it is. I picked up a few slim volumes by area poets and a copy of The Bush Dyslexicon (for $5!), which I hope will help as I prepare to write a paper on Dubya's rhetorical legacy with a friend and colleague.

After that, it was a quick stop off at Dave's Cosmic Subs. Dave's is a Cleveland institution, sort of what Freebirds is to College Station, but with the focus on subs instead of burritos. I thought it was cool, the food was certainly good, the prices right, and the hippie theme pleasing. Sadly, the lady behind the counter was a jackass, apparently put off because I ordered a sandwich. I thought to reminder her, but then decided against it, that she was working in a restaurant and her job is to take orders for sandwiches. I'm pretty sure she already knows this, so I just thought mean thoughts about her as I walked back to my car. The thoughts didn't last long, as I quickly discovered I had lost my car. After about 15 minutes, I remembered where I parked it, got in, and drove back to the west side.

I stopped by the bubble to say what's up, hung for a bit, then went home to feed Ellie and confront my sub. About 10 minutes after completion, Mike calls and says to come out to some vegetarian Thai place in Lakewood with he and his cousin. I oblige, we end up meeting another friend of his at the Thai Hut up on Madison and Chesterland (or thereabouts). We had a lovely time and I enjoyed a nice cup of chicken coconut soup.

The guy running the place was super funny and nice. He kept joking about how the hostess girl was his girlfriend (she clearly was not) and then gave Mike's cousin, Stephanie, a can of the coconut milk they use because she'd asked so many questions about it. I'll definitely go back, just because the folks were so cool.

After the Thai experience, it was off to Christina's studio opening. It was fun, though not a lot of booze was available. The mini cupcakes nearly made up for it. By the time we left and I got back home I was bushed from all my observing of other people's creative efforts. Imagine how tired I'd have been if I'd actually done shit!

Anyway, laid back day today -- Browns at 1, Bears at 4, trout sometime shortly after that. There is an interesting documentary about Albert Ayler, the Cleveland free jazz phenom and junkie of the 60s, playing at the Cinematheque tonight that I might check out. Or Mike wants to go bowling an accidentally on purpose bump into some lady he's been talking to lately. Sounds a little dangerous to me. What will I choose? I guess you'll have to tune back in tomorrow (or some time next week) to see ........

Some incentive, huh?

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