Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crushed Proletarian Fantasy

As I had nothing scheduled and Ellie seemed to be recuperating nicely, I spent the day bumming around. After doing the doggie circuit and giving Ellie her pills, I went across the street to the bookstore to browse while I waited for my new friend Dan to drive over from the east side. I was on a mission to find the copy of David Sedaris' book of Christmas essays that I had hidden the last time I was in (I didn't have any cash on me, but didn't want anyone else to buy it, either ... so I hid it. Makes sense, right?). Dan made good time and drove up at almost the exact moment I realized that I had hidden it so well even I couldn't find it. Oh well.

I hopped in and we headed to Old Brooklyn, an edge neighborhood populated mostly by Cleveland cops and firefighters forced to balance residency requirements with the desire for their children to get an education without getting them shot. It is a nice area, almost completely residential and obviously blue collar. Too bad cops don't seem to be able to afford to live in my neighborhood -- the police presence in Old Brooklyn is about 10 times what it seems to be in Ohio City, where there is actually shit to steal and retail/restaurant/bar revenue to be made.

But I digress.

We headed to Steve's, a local diner place. I wasn't very hungry so I didn't do much damage to the pan-fried chicken I ordered. It was good and the place had character, but not enough for me to probably go back to on purpose. Besides, with Sokolowski's just down the road from me, I can have even more character with even better food all the time.

But again, more digressing.

Afterwards I headed over to the Bubble, chatted with folks, and eventually headed over to the Great Lakes Brewing Company for a pint of their magical mystical Christmas Ale with Terry, one of the glass-blowers there. After that (and a coffee from Talkies to pick me back up off the ground to which the beer had knocked me) I trudged to Dave's Supermarket to get a 12-pack and then it was off to Lakewood to help my friend Mike work on his friend Christina's new dance studio. Her new business, BE Studios, is a pretty interesting venture, part pilates, part dance, part erotic exercise. Seriously. Christina is going to be teaching both the exercise classes and seminars on pole dancing, lap dancing, and strip-teasing.

While there, I helped out by weaving stereo wire through an obstacle course of pipes and beams and shit. I really got into it -- the buzz helped -- and started visualizing myself as a new style worker-hero. I was coming up with genius strategies for getting the wire from the basement up through the floor and feeling pretty good about myself over all.

Until I stepped in dog shit outside while getting a table out of Mike's van.

Stepping in dog shit never fails to bring a man low.

After that, I just felt like Dog Shit Guy and secretly yearned to leave.

Eventually all the work that could be done was done, and we left Christina to some last minute organizing and swiffering. Her grand opening is tonight. I hope it goes great, not only because she seems super cool and she has a neat idea, but because it is an independent attempt to thwart the corporate behemoth's that dominate every industry, including the exercise market.

See, the worker-hero didn't completely fade. Just a little smudged. With canine feces. Yuck.

After leaving Lakewood, we headed back to Tremont and caught the last bit of the Hobo Monk performance at Visible Voice. I snagged a free beer out of some mini keg - something by Dogfish Head brewery, but I can't remember what. It was tasty. I drank it, purchased a volume on the poetry and art of d.a. levy, and we took off, searching for food. We stopped by Edison's Pub first, but the kitchen was closed, so it was off to Lolita, as it was just after 10 PM and their happy hour menu started.

Lolita, the #2 restuarant in the Michael Symon empire, was pretty packed, due in no small part to Symon's recent victory in the new Iron Chef contest. That's right, the newest Iron Chef is a Clevelander. Cool, huh?

We were both bushed but also hungry as hell, so we ordered liberally. $5 burgers for each, and plates of mac n cheese and crispy chicken livers to share. The chicken livers sucked ass, but the mac n cheese was pretty good -- if a little goaty. The burgers were good, even if the were a touch dry and Lolita is too bougie to stock ketchup. Seriously, guys, it is the most fucking popular condiment in the country. Add some basil to it or something, if you need to funkify regular Heinz, but gimme some ketchup. The burger isn't so awesome that we need to worry about ruining it. For Christ's sake, it is a burger after all.

OK, ketchup rant over.

We finished up, paid up, and headed back to Ohio City. I helped Mike and his new roommate move some shit around, then it was home and off to bed (after feeding/walking/medicating Ellie).

Today I'm thinking about checking out Cleveland Heights a bit. Mike Ruhlman has a signing of his new book at the Borders there, after which I might head over to Mac's Backs (allegedly the very best indie bookstore in town) to peruse and to Dave's Cosmic Subs to gnosh. We shall see.

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