Friday, February 29, 2008


Be it resolved that, unless the dudes from FOX call and want me to do the election analysis thing after all, today - February 29, 2008 - is the day I began regrowing my 'stache.

(circa last spring - nice neck, huh? that's Texas eatin' for you)

Why, you might ask, would I want to do a thing like that. Here are my reasons:

First of all, I miss it.

Second of all, it takes a little while to get one growing, and the first couple-three weeks are pretty rough. My next important professional obligation isn't till early April, so I have a good month to start growing. Also, the first week or two, when I'm most self-conscious about the hair percolating out of my upper lip, I'll be either just giving exams or on spring break. By the time break ends, mid-March, I'll have a head start on keeping my cool.

Third, and most important, Steve from Shoparooni told me at the Beachland the other night about his store's planned Cinco de Moustache fest in May. I'm down. For sure. I may not win anything, indeed, I most certainly will not, but this is one competition where I will feel good about myself for just participating. Before this, I've always rejected the whole "all that matters is how you feel" notion of competing in things from art contests to 5ks to the job market. If you are in it, you should win it. Or at least want to. You know, go hard or go home and all that shit. Blah blah blah. Whatever. You get my point.

But that era is over. Now I'm nurturing ill-advised and almost certainly unattractive facial hair all for an internal warm-and-fuzzy, a "most improved player" valentine from me to myself/I.

Another moment of weakness

Just got home from one of those awkward "day dates" and returned to a frigid apartment.

So, in a second weather-related moment of weakness, the heat is back on my apartment.

Thought all of you might find this terribly interesting.

Thursday, February 28, 2008



I am tired.

It has been a week, a long week. And it is only Thursday.

Fortunately, I technically have the day off.

I say "technically" because I will not be making the trek of despair to my office, but instead sitting on my happy ass typing from home. Or maybe from Talkies.

In celebration of this loooooooong week being officially through, I was all set for the excitement of Bar Cento's Rock and Roll Wine Project night.

But... I didn't want to go by myself and my lately lame friend has once again successfully made the switch from obsessively cuddling with one ex-girlfriend to another, so he bailed on me at the last second. Literally, the last second, as I was walking down the block from the rapid station to Bar Cento.

I sighed, said "whatever" and trudged onward. As I strode up to the door, I looked inside, heard the great music and saw all the happy people, and just didn't have the heart to go solo. So I continued my trudging down to the Old Angle, where I slurped a weak and super black peppery Bloody Mary while waiting for a to-go order.

Now, I'm sitting around, already full from the pureed asparagus and goat cheese soup (some bar food, right?) and wondering why I ordered that and the house meatloaf dish. Oh, that's right, because it said it was covered in a mushroom and sausage gravy. Yum. Oh well, I guess I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow.

I'm off to bed. Though less fun, it is probably a smarter option than a night of wining and dining. Besides, I'm going out tomorrow and have to head down to the thriving metropolis of Alliance, Ohio, at the crack of dawn on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My 43 things

Since Christine, the boyfriend pursuer, and others have already done it, I figured I'd take a crack, too. I am nothing if not a bandwagon, um, jumper-oner.

Sorry for the fugly formatting -- this stuff happens when you are a nerd and compose your 43 things list in Microsoft Excel.

Watch a Browns game in the Dawg Pound
Become friends with LeBron
Join the Great Lakes Brewing Company Mug Club (and actually get my money's worth)
Spend a Monday at the zoo
Explore the abandoned subway tunnels
Go to the top of Tower City
Give a lecture at The City Club
Outfit my living room with furniture from Suite Lorain and Flower Child
Explore the Emerald Necklace
Take a class at Art House
Enjoy a flight at the Market Avenue Wine Bar
Be invited to dinner at Michael Ruhlman's home
Bump into Harvey Pekar in an otherwise empty bookstore
See a show at Blossom
Kick it in the VIP room at House of Blues
Do a downtown bar crawl
Dine at Lola
Get the recipe of the freaking awesome cookies at the Phoenix in Lakewood
Get my fortune told by the lady on West 25th
Become a lunch-time regular somewhere in Ohio City
Get involved with the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (and get my bike fixed!)
Walk down to those awesome pillars on the Carnegie bridge and take a picture
Visit the Rock Hall
Get a low-responsibility job as bar-back or something at somewhere cool
Organize a fundraiser featuring edgy and fun local artists and bands
Fully understand this whole Davenport Collective thing
Master the West Side Market
Buy a City Fresh share
Finally start up my Cleveland-centric venture
Get VIP seats for a Gladiators game
Watch an Indians game from the front row, over the first base dugout
Host a show on WCSB
Take a glass blowing lesson at The Glass Bubble Project
Watch a Burning River Roller Derby match
Spend a weekend in Little Italy
Find the Asian market
Read at least a few of the books in Les Roberts' Cleveland detective series
Read an article about how Mayor Jackson and other civic leaders finally get their priorities right
Visit the Greek festival in Tremont
Bargain hunt at half-price Monday nights at the vintage store on Lorain
Win a prize at one of Shoparooni's awesome semi-frequent events
Buy pierogies in Parma
Become a singer for the next great Cleveland pop/rock/soul band

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The storm descends...

Cue ominous music and cable-ready election/snowstorm graphics now.

As just about everyone in NEO and most politically sentient Americans know, Cleveland is ground zero for the presidential primary battle. Barack versus Hillary, do or die time for Senator Clinton as she gets one last high-profile chance to take a shot at the surging, inspirational Obama.

It is a really exciting time for Cleveland State, and for me, too. I've been listed as a faculty expert -- quite reasonably, if I don't say so myself -- and have spent much of the last few days and literally all day today fielding interviews. Today I started with a radio interview on an AM station in San Francisco, my highlight of the afternoon was a TV interview with Australian Public Television in a makeshift studio the cameraman built in the conference room across from my office, and I just finished a long and really fun chat with a writer from the Japanese equivalent of the Wall Street Journal.

There are a few more things on tap and, of course, the actual debate, and then yours truly is going home for a sweet night of sleep. In the meantime, though, how cool is this that CSU has been selected to host what looks to be the most intense hour-and-a-half of politics this primary season?

That was a rhetorical question, of course, but if you are the type that doesn't like to be left hanging, here's an answer:


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Film Festival Excitement

Anyone else excited about the film fest next month?

'Cause I sure am.

I've spent hours looking at the program, weighing options, maximizing schedule utility, etc. I am determined to be ready when the opportunity to purchase tickets presents itself tomorrow.

Right now, I'm most excited about Russian Triangle (Russia), Cargo 200 (Russia), My Brother is an Only Child (Italian), Eduart (Greek/German), and Exodus (UK). There are a few documentaries high on my list, including Cool School (about the 1950s LA art scene), What We Do Is Secret (about the rise and fall of 70s punk icons, The Germs), Orange Chronicles (about the Ukrainian 2004 presidential election aka Orange Revolution), Return of the Cuyahoga (a local eco-documentary about said river), Swing State (about Ohio elections), Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome, One Bad Cat (about local legend Reverend Albert Wagner), Battle in Seattle (about the WTO protests), Bomb It! (about graffiti art), and Super Noble Brothers (about an eccentric Milwaukee art family). There are even some fun-looking romantic comedies (my filmic guilty pleasure and weakness), such as Love Songs (France), In Search of a Midnight Kiss (USA), Metrosexual (USA), Entry Level (USA), and Gone With the Woman (Norway).

Others that look to be enjoyable (to me) include:
- two-part Icelandic art film "Children/Parents"
- an American mafia hit man film "Stiletto"
- a French drama/suspense film "Bluff"
- an Icelandic Procedural "Jar City"
- a take on academic life in "Lianna"
- a tale of Polish WWII atrocities "Katyn"
- an Indonesian horror/crime saga "Dead Time"
- "The Class," an Estonian entry about bullies
- an interesting Danish piece called "White Night"
- a Norweigian comedy about therapy titled "Art of Negative Thinking"
- a Danish sci-fi thriller "Substitute"
- a story of a Venezuelan revolutionary, "Postcards from Leningrad"
- "Big Man Japan," a comedy about Japanese super heroes
- "Unspeakable," a kidnap thriller produced here in the 216
- "Mongol," a multi-national sprawl about Genghis Khan

If you feel like catching a good movie or two, and any of the above strike your fancy -- especially the first few titles I mentioned -- let me know. I'm always game for company.

Crackron? That's just not fair.

I am pleased to report that, after more than 29 1/2 years of life, I have finally visited the great city of Crackron, I mean, Akron.

I say that with only part of my tongue planted in my cheek.

Although NEO residents find this hard to believe, Akron has a pretty decent reputation around the country, at least insofar as indie rock and art images are concerned. Now maybe that is disproportionately influenced by the fact that it is the hometown of The Black Keys and the whole music business universe they've created, but regardless, when you hear a city mentioned in the same breath as places like Athens (GA), Madison (WI), Portland (OR), and others, something is going right.

I'm not saying Akron rivals today's Montreal, or even Detroit of the very late 90s (i.e., the White Stripes and Electric 6 years), definitely not early-90s Seattle or early-80s Austin, but still.

Anyway, I enjoyed my trip down. I spent an hour perusing Square Records, but an awesome new hat and a funky vintage cord blazer next door at Revival, and reveled in the old school deliciousness of Swenson's. Even though I didn't spend time soaking in the scarier parts of town and despite the fact I did not collect data on the social consequences of the rubber industry demise, I still say I could live there. Despite the closing of the Lime Spider, Akron still has a good live music scene, with great bands like Trouble Books, Moustache Mountain, and Radar Secret Service (and, of course, the occasional Black Keys performance at the gorgeous Civic Theatre). There is a nice downtown, a mid-size college (with a fun sports team to cheer for), a minor league baseball team, and plenty of bars and cafes and killer pizza joints.

Yep, I could dig it if I needed to .... though I'm plenty happy here in Clevo.

Friday, February 22, 2008


That's it. I cannot take it any longer.

I give.

Today, I turned on my heat.

I haven't taken that specific action since some time in either 1999 or 2000.

I was on the phone with some scheduling or producer dude from Fox, shivering as I answered his questions.

Even though I was wearing a sweater and jeans. And a jacket.

So I gave in. I turned on the heat, set it at 72 (which is probably too warm, right?), and bundled off to my co-favorite place in Cleveand: the West Side Market.

After perusing the produce and picking up some blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, organic greens, spinach, vine tomatoes, and some beautiful sweet peppers, I went inside. Bumped into a gal I've met a couple of times through, chatted about poetry and underground literary publishing opportunities, and then did my indoor shopping. Picked up some asiago bread, a bunch of pierogis, a couple different kinds of funky chicken sausage (feta/spinach and blue cheese/hot pepper), though I forgot the apple-cured salami atop my list.

Now I'm home, basking in the gas heat, trying not to count the pennies that are warming my skin as I enjoy a cup of delicious lobster bisque from Souper Market. Yum.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm baaaaaaack.

And it is 22 degrees.

And snowing.

It takes a lot to make me miss Texas.

Yet here I am doing that very thing.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Howdy, Y'all

That’s how we talk down here. We also say shit like “Gig ‘em” and “Saw ‘em Off” and other ritualized nonsense.

ACTUALLY, that’s how they talk down there. I’m no longer a resident of Aggieland, though I guess I’ll always be an Aggie, at least according to my C.V.

Either way, it is good to be back for a visit. So far it has been a good time, even as all my carefully laid plans have been systematically undermined.

I’ve been able to have a couple excellent work-related meetings, and – more importantly – have been able to hook up with just about every one of my friends that still live around hear. I saw some terrible live music with Stephen, had lunch and went to a party with Rola, and met Dave and Brad for wings, beers, and Banger Burgers at Harvey Washbangers (my old corner bar/Laundromat). I also managed a quick jaunt to Austin, where I snagged a new CD at the excellently excellent Waterloo Records, a few books and an old-school Soviets vs Americans pack of army soldiers at Book People, and a Boodie Burger at Hut’s. I also went and saw a tremendous musical based on the life and work of Daniel Johnston, a musician whose work I’ve long admired and a guy I was fortunate to get to know a (very) little bit in my last year at A&M.

Now I’m sitting at Revolution CafĂ©, trying to recalibrate my plans yet again. The friend I was supposed to hang with is stuck in Dallas, the other friend I was supposed to crash with is having severe utilities issues, and I suddenly find myself with an open evening and no earthly idea what to do.

I’m making my triumphant return to Cleveland tomorrow, after another morning work session, lunch with my dissertation chair, and a quick visit to my friend Brad’s new office complex. Until then, though, I have to figure out where I’m going to sleep this evening.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

VD outbreak

And another one bites the dust.

Ahh. Valentine's Day. Singles Awareness Day. Stupid fucking asshole holiday. Whatever you want to call it, here we are.

And here I am, doing the awesomely pathetic: paperwork. Though when I'm done with that, I get to go pack a suitcase.

That's right, CB is about to take his inconsistent blogging act on the road, specifically for a long weekend of fun in the sun in




But I'll be back.

For a few days at least. And then it is off to



Aww yeah, my shit is exotic.

Not really. But it'll be nice to spend at least a few days in the warmth (relatively speaking, at least).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another reason to like Ohio City

Dear Ohio City,

There are things about you I love, like the sheer number of bars, cafes, and restaurants I can walk to on a daily basis.

There are also things about you I don't really like, like the seasonal neo-Hooverville, I mean bus stop/park at the corner of W. 25th and Lorain.

I love how walkable you are. I don't really like the fact that the various thugs that sometimes loiter around also find it pretty walkable.

All in all, I have mixed feelings, but today, while making my dinner, I realized something that makes me dig you a little more.

There aren't really any fast food joints around. Sure, there's a Wendy's a few blocks away from me, but I don't like Wendy's, so that doesn't really count. Come to think of it, there is a Subway a few more blocks, but as my name is not Jared, I'm not likely to make daily hikes there for my lunch and dinner.

When I was in graduate school, fast food pretty much provided my entire caloric intake. I mean, when you are in your office 18 hours a day, coming and going in the wee hours, your choices are pretty much down to the golden arches and whatever most likely rotten perishables you have at home. I'm somewhat sheepish to admit that Mickey D's won 99 times out of 100.

If you have saw photos of pre- and post-grad school, you wouldn't need to hear me admit this; you'd already know.

Anyway, back to Ohio City. No fast food. But one glorious market.

Today I chopped up some apple-cured salami, a couple small red and yellow peppers, some baby bella mushrooms, and added it all to some mixed greens. Throw in a handful of raspberries and a few teaspoons of Souper Market's tomato-olive vinagrette, and I had a cheap, relatively healthy salad to feed me and one of my friends.

Back in Texas, this would not have happened.




I'm turning 30 soon.

In June.

I'm turning thirty in June.

In June, I'll be thirty years old.

Typing this is more for me than for you - I'm guessing you understood the first time. For me, though, it seems a little weird.

I'm getting old, man.

I'm sure somebody reading this is thinking, "Quit whining, kid - I'd love to be thirty again." True, but there is probably some young mo-fo thinking, "Dang, Father Time - go get your Social Security check and quit bugging me."

I understand that 30 years isn't that big of a deal, but it is a pretty significant milestone for anyone. Just like 18, 21, 25 (for dudes, when their insurance rates go down), 40, 50, 60, 65, and probably more after that.

So, I've been thinking about milestones lately. Seems like a lot of other people are, too. Of course, you only tend to notice the stuff going around you when you can identify with it. It isn't like folks haven't been dwelling on this type of shit, well, since forever, but I'm only sensitive to it when I'm dwelling on it myself.

Milestones aren't just birthdays, but also important events like transitioning from college to a first real job, getting engaged and married, buying a first house, having a baby, opening your own business, making your last student loan or mortgage payment, watching your kids achieve their own milestones, and many more. Recently, Alexa at Cleveland's a Plum posted about this phenomenon in an intriguing way. I had my own experience recently, too.

I went over to the bank to deposit a check and the bankteller dude asks me how I'm doing. "I'm doing, man. How about you?" I responded, apparently possessed by Jeff Spicoli. He replies, "I'm surviving...considering I'm turning thirty in a month." He then goes on to spill how he's really freaked out by that and has been doing all sorts of reflecting as of late. I say, "I know how you feel, man. I'm turning 30 in June and it is really freaking me out, too." He hands me my balance, we exchange the types of sincere, keep-it-together nods that only two men that don't know each other can give, and I take off.

Another friend of mine sent me an email recently, wondering what to get her husband for his own 30th birthday. In that case, someone else's milestone prompted self-reflection and anxiety.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. Maybe I'm just trying to work through these things in my head. Maybe I'm priming my audience for early-summer gift-giving. Maybe I'm not-so-subtly seeking affirmations of my youthful spirit.

If you are thinking about how to respond, forget about the last option and just spend some money and buy me something cool in June.

You know how people say, "I don't want anything, it isn't that big of a deal." I say fuck that - it is a big deal. If you give me a gift, I promise to like it.

Or at least to pawn it.

Either way, it'll make me happy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

They really ought to start paying more attention

So apparently these financial whiz kids didn't watch the Super Bowl.

Don't they know the Giants WON? The economy is gonna be fine.

I hope.

Either way, I think I'm gonna start working a little harder -- not a great time to get "let go."