Monday, April 28, 2008

Advice needed

So, my blogger friends, I come to you in need of advice.

The last two years of my life have been extraordinarily eventful and stressful (though not all "bad" stress). Finally, this summer I have the time and means (relatively speaking) to take a nice vacation.

Even though I'm not a beach kind of guy, I really just want to go somewhere for like a week with beaches and bars. I'm kinda thinking about one of those all-inclusive deals, but where it is ok to go by yourself. I'm used to traveling solo to urban areas - and love it - so I'm figuring going to a resort to recharge by myself wouldn't be that weird. But still, I don't want to end up at some family friendly Club Med place or some ridiculous sexcapade in Jamaica or something either.

Any tips? Experiences to share? Companies you've used in the past to book the entire package through?


All Hail the Polish Boy

Since I moved to Clevo I've been asking friends and strangers what, if anything, was a local dish. Usually I receive blank stares. Sometimes foolish responses, like Cincinnati chili or Ukrainian food. A little less than half the time, the person realizes that something with a proper noun indicating an entirely different geographic location (whether a city in south-west Ohio or a nation in the former Soviet republics) probably isn't consistent with the whole "local" thrust of my question. The other 60% or so of the time, this simply fails to register.

Today, no thanks to the slow-witted, I found the answer.

The glorious polish boy.

Actually, I don't really like the sandwich all that much. At least in sandwich form. I like all the ingredients (i.e., coleslaw, bbq sauce, french fries, fried polish sausage) alone, for sure.

But whatever. It is a fun and messy beast to eat and I enjoyed my first today, thanks to the good folks at Burton's BBQ and to the guy that sends out the Cleveland Epicure email every Sunday. I'd have never known this little slice of heaven exists mere blocks from my apartment otherwise.

In the future (and yes, there will be a future for Burton's BBQ and I), I'll probably stick with the fish and sides, but for today I wanted to go with gusto, and the polish boy and a slice of sticky lemon cake sounded quite a lot like gusto to me.

Go check it out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Movie Recommendation

For those of you that haven't seen it, I highly endorse checking out the film Barcelona.

It isn't exactly a new release, rather it is circa 1994. It is a gem of a dialogue driven film, and I think it is Whit Stilman's finest. Far more polished and less explicitly class-oriented (though still class-oriented) than say Metropolitan.

This is the film that completely sold me on Chris Eigeman as an actor. I mean, Mr. Jealousy helped, but this one completed the deal.

I mean, this has everything: humor, beautiful women and architecture, interesting discussion about foreign affairs that isn't all focused on 9/11-ish issues, even eyepatches.

What I think I like best is that Stilman takes his audience seriously, he respects them and doesn't do all the work for the viewer.

Anyway, all this is pretty disjointed. Just check it out. The thing is on netflix. Make some fancy flavor of popcorn, turn on the movie, and enjoy a couple hours of smart but not overtly intellectual or artsy film.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thoughts on Obama

As anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows, I'm in the bag for Obama. Hell, if I was hot and female, I'd give Obama girl a run for her money.

OK, that's a bit of tragic hyperbole, but you get where I'm coming from, I'm sure.

As I write this, I'm no less pro-Obama (Probama?) than ever before, but I do have some problems. Not with him, necessarily, more likely his message handlers.

Here's the thing (and I'm about to get all wonky on you, kind of)... Obama is straight-up post-materialist. And that's cool. Plus, I'm pretty much post-materialist, too, so it's real cool.


Post-materialist is just a fancy-schmancy way of saying that he is concerned with all the kinds of things people are concerned with when times are good. You know, when food is on the table, everyone is employed, the nation is relatively at peace. (This country is hardly ever at peace, if you think about it, so we have to approach this thing relatively.) Anyway, point is, when times are good, we stop worrying about the basics and start opening our minds and wallets to other things less directly pressing. No pressing job issues? Let's fix the environment then. No crazy violent crime rate? Let's help the homeless then. No problems with inflation? Let's do campaign finance reform. And so on and so on. Reasonable, right? Right.

Problem is, shit is not comfy right now, and it is getting less comfy by the day. It is still pretty ok for the youth (who don't have to worry about mortgages yet) and the well-educated (because they are usually on pretty solid financial ground). Surprise, surprise - I just named 2/3 of Obama's base. The other 1/3, African-Americans, are as bad off as anyone else, but supporting Obama isn't about post-materialism, it is about history and identity and, yes, hope. And sometimes that stuff is as important as anything else.

Hillary is definitely not a post-materialist. I don't think she's capable of it, even if times were great (which they are decidedly not). She's had a bunker mentality since high school (if not birth) and such a worldview does not usually allow oneself to focus on the less immediate things. This is why I'd really like her in the Senate, as a leader, fostering change for a long time to come.

My guy Barack has plenty of policy details to offer, not just on his webpage but in every stump speech he delivers. Focusing on his policy details just doesn't fit with the media's stereotype of his candidacy, so it doesn't make the news, but that's another complaint for another time.

So where am I going with all this? Honestly, I don't know. Mostly just trying to say I wish my candidate would take a step back, realize that the political landscape has changed dramatically since he launched his bid last year, and recalibrate his pitch. He's got all the right positions, he just needs to change the way he lets people know.

He's the candidate of change, which is great and necessary. We want transformation and we desperately need it. But right now people really need to keep their houses and feed their kids and put gas in the tank and get their cousins and sons and fathers home alive from wars abroad.

It is possible to have both, but you have to speak to both. Obama's gone from rhetoric of transformation to rhetoric of electoral calculation (i.e., why HRC can't win). He's as right today as he's ever been, but it wasn't the rhetorical switch he needed to make. He needs to adopt a rhetoric of problem solving, and he can do so without being crass or pandering. All he needs to do is talk about his ideas.

I hope he and his advisors aren't too hooked on the hubris it seems they've been caught on of late to make this change. It'd be a damn shame if we ended up with a lesser leader cause he/they couldn't read the tea leaves.

Go Cavs

Despite last night's drubbing, this whole Cavs playoff thing is pretty exciting, eh? I think I've gone to more NBA games in the last few weeks than my entire life previous. And, should they ever arrive, I have tickets to the next home game. (I gotta tell you, a tiny bit of advance planning and a working web browser that can navigate to Stub Hub and you can do remarkable things for really cheap.)

The other night my friend and I were at Game 2, where we stomped the crap outta the Wizards. It was muy fun, especially with all the t-shirts we were inundated with. A few choice pics below.

Foiled Again

Somewhere in this filthy apartment of mine lurk a handful of pilfered duck sauce packets I ganked from the local crappy Chinese place when the owner dude wasn't watching.

Naturally, I'm unable to enjoy the spoils of such a daring exploit. Fucking fast food Chinese karma.

In the meantime, I'm forced to cover my hunan chicken with this tomato/olive/vinegar dressing from Souper Market, which isn't as gross as it sounds, but not quite as divine as mass-produced duck sauce that probably gives you cancer if consumed in, well, any quantity.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mustering the energy for Muster

Right now, I'm finishing up a portfolio for work, one I've been avoiding for 2 months yet really would only take about 40 minutes to do if I'd just focus. But like the girls in last night's band, I just won't.

Later, I'm plan-less. Maybe sit and watch a movie at home. Maybe take Smelly Ellie for a walk if it gets brighter out. Maybe go get some fried chicken from Hot Sauce Williams and get fatter. Maybe check out this Georgian (as in Tbilisi, not Atlanta) film at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Or maybe I'll be an adult and show up at the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Former Students of Texas A&M University and attend the Muster ceremony.

A&M, where I went to grad school, is a really interesting place. I mean that euphemistically and objectively. It started as a military school, a really good one, but eventually turned in to a full-fledged major research university. Now it is one of the largest in the country, as well as one of the most energetic in terms of ground-breaking scientific research. I was lucky to go there, even if it was a semi-formal requirement to say "Howdy" to everyone you passed on the sidewalk. (Swear to god this is true.)

Anyway, every year A&M holds a ceremony called "Muster." I'm guessing this is a holdover military tradition, and while its solemnity always made me decide not to attend when I lived there, it is a good thing for a school to due. Basically, they use it as a formal opportunity to acknowledge all of the current and former students that passed away in the past calendar year.

Given the sheer size of A&M's alumni group, its national distribution, its relative rabidity in terms of lingering school spirit, and the fact that many former students are shockingly successful, there are musters held the same day throughout the country (and in most major cities across the world). And this includes Cleveland.

When I was down in Aggieland, I was never a big booster. I mean, I cheered for the teams, but mostly from a bar stool. I railed against the bigotry one could find really easily on campus if you looked with half an eye open, but I never celebrated the good stuff. Moving up here, I miss the big campus environment, the energy you find in large student populations and dynamic research faculty. But mostly I miss knowing tons of people. Maybe meeting these folks would be a good thing. After all, within a half-hour or so of getting on their list-serv, I received personal emails from about 5 people welcoming me to Clevo and offering any help with anything I might need. Couldn't hurt to have more people like that in your life, right?

So here I sit, trying to decide if I want to jump in the shower, but on a jacket, and head over to network. Ugh.

Tune in tomorrow, I guess, to see which option I go with.

Last Night Was Cool.

Last night was cool. It was neat to see Exit Stencil's recording studio, and Music Saves had an energy going on that I'd not seen there before. Plus, I bought a few new cds, so I have something to listen to for a while.

For the record, I picked up Del the Funky Homosapien's new one (Eleventh Hour) and Film School's sophomore release (Hideout). I also picked up some kinda bizarre anonymous book and a copy of the new Bears cd (local pop sweethearts) on impulse at the register. Oh yeah, and a button for 50 cents.

Speaking of Film School, on May 4 Music Saves is sponsoring a weenie roast outside the Beachland, followed by a show by Film School, opened by my favorite local act, Unsparing Sea. Be there or, well, don't get any hot dogs.

Other than the music stuff, I was able to pick my Muny up from Shoparooni (little bastard didn't win me anything), check out a couple group shows at Vision and ArtsCollinwood galleries. I don't really like group shows, at least not if there is more than 2-3 artists. The excellent new curator lady at ArtsCollinwood told me about the next show, which sounds awesome. Also, I purchased one of the pieces (for $40, I think!), titled "Yellow Duck on Purple Pond." When I get to pick it up early next month, I'll try to remember to post a picture here.

We closed the night with the show at the Beachland. It was just ok, the opening band was from Columbus and the singer/guitarist clearly had a man-crush on Jeff Tweedy. Don't get me wrong, there are worse people to have man-crushes on, but still, it was sooo obvious. Haircut? Check. Blazer with jeans? Check. Plaintive quiet almost off-key on purpose wail? Check. I bet he went to the stall with migraines and then kicked out the drummer for being better at his instrument later.

The next band were populated almost entirely with douchebags, acting like fools before the show and desperately trying to impress the members of the next band, which was populated entirely with attractive hipster girls. I don't think their efforts were successful. I mean, dear god, they shouldn't be successful. But you never know.

The last band made me have visions of Hole, with a pretty killer background band over-shadowed by the skanky yet confident lead singer. It would be awesome if they found a better singer (both in terms of vocals and demeanor), but they won't.

The one band I really wanted to see bailed on the line-up, so it was one of those $5 for nondescript live music nights. You could do worse, I suppose.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

420 Hop Fest at the Beer Engine

Yesterday, my friend and I went to the Beer Engine.


or about two weeks I kept coming across cool information about this beer festival that they would be having this weekend. At first I planned to check it out after going to the Earth Day festivities at the Metro Park Zoo, but I gave that plan up after hearing repeatedly what a nightmare it is to get there and back on this particular day.

Today's pretty booked with work and Waterloo Road fun, plus I figured it would be a busy day at the restaurant itself, so I decided to head over for lunch. I was ambivalent about the food, though the multi-mushroom risotto sounded interesting.

But what I was really interested in was checking out Randall the Enamel Animal. According to the scientific beer geeks, Randall the Enamel Animal is an "organoleptic hop transducer module." For educated (but not freakishly so) people, the Beer Engine folks refer to Randall as a "
giant filter cartridge housing packed with fresh whole leaf hops." For everyone else, it is this thing that looks like a big, tall blender, packed with hops (and sometimes apricots), that keg beer is run through for the purpose of making the beer even hoppier. Remember, this is Hop Fest, after all.

Randall was supposed to be there from the beginning of the festival (which started Friday morning), but had not made an appearance when we were there for lunch. We had respective business to attend to in the afternoon, so we settled on different beers and ordered up some food. I ended up going with the beer battered chorizo bites instead of the risotto -- it seemed more fitting.

Anyway, later that evening, we meet back up, planning to check out the new opening at SPACES. If you end up checking this exhibit out, please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take in Patrick Robideau's brilliant installation. I'd love to see a whole show of his work. (Note, I did see my moronic, mean-spirited artist that likes to pretend she's not an artist when she receives compliments and chooses to deal with them by humiliating the person who gave it. I totally snubbed her. Take that.) We do so, but are in and out pretty quick. So we decide to see if Randall has shown up. Drive back over to Lakewood, and confirm he is indeed in the house. We order ourselves a pair of Dogfish beers (the Beer Engine has a special list of about 20 or so especially hoppy beers for the occasion, but only 2 different beers are being run through Randall), drink them, pay and head out. The beer did the trick, though, and next thing you know, my car is magically steering itself over to Bela Dubby, where we get a Left Hand Milk Stout and the Magic Hat IPA. Then we head over to Tremont, where I'm again tricked into going to Prosperity, this time to drink mojitos and get screwed in a bowling game obviously invented by a fifth-columnist feminist. (More on that another time...)

After I managed to navigate an escape from Hipster HQ (i.e., the Prosperity), we walked over to Tremont Tap House, a choice in no small part influenced by Alexa's recent post, as well as past write-ups by the Free Times and Cleveland Foodie that made my mouth water. We went with the calamari and the soprasetta pizza. Unfortunately, my tastebuds were long gone (the Doggie Style ale I ordered there didn't help much), and the culinary experience wasn't as subjectively amazing as it probably was objectively delicious. That failure was entirely on my part, so I'll definitely be back. Besides, the prices are waaaaay reasonable.

Great start

So I woke up today, about 10ish, rolled over and found myself staring into my panting, patiently waiting beagle's big brown eyes. She wanted to go outside, badly, and was counting the moments until I awoke.

About 1.3 seconds after we made eye contact, she pounced on me, smothering me with kisses and head-butting me with the top of her skull. I'm pretty sure this is what she does when she is afraid I'm going back to sleep.

So I rise, put on last night's shirt and Thursday's pants -- which together form a wonderful ensemble with this morning's bedhead -- grab her leash and off we go.

From the moment we left the door, we had a great 15 minute excursion that still has me smiling.

I pass one of my neighbors at the elevator as she's dragging out some super stinky trash. We trade greetings and a couple jokes, then down the stairs and over to the dogder's pooping place. As she squats I realize I forgot a plastic bag to pick it up with. Just then, some empty newspaper wrapper floats in front of me and gets caught on her leash. Serendipity, right?

She finishes, I take one for the community and pick it up with the newspaper bag, then on to her peeing place. About that time I start thinking about what I need to do today, and what I want to do today, and the likelihood that any of the former is going to get done (which should really, really happen) before I blow it off in search of the latter.

I decide, regardless of what goes down, I need breakfast, so I stroll over to Talkie's, passing a few folks from the neighborhood that I don't know (but the types you see semi-often enough to begin recognizing). We trade man-nods and casual smiles, and into the cafe I go. The outside entrance of the cafe, along with the little park adjacent is filled with folks and pups, a reflection of the awesome weather as much as the fact it is a market Saturday. Lots of anonymous chit-chat and compliments about the cuteness of everyone's dog. Insincere, to be sure, but not as obnoxious as what you have to endure when you go to the dog park and realize the person next to you has an identity fundamentally inseparable from his/her canine.

Into Talkies, through a throng of young ladies that coo at Smelly Ellie's cuteness, then to the counter, where the barrista knows what I want (small coffee to go with room for cream). I mix things up a bit, order an apple fritter, too, and talk about the weather, the blues, and dog names with the owner. As I'm putting in my cream, the counter girl is plying my dog with treats.

We walk back, see a cop actually doing something (lambasting some apparently drunk guy for being unsafe around children), bump into my landlord and have a conversation about watching the Cubs play at the Jake two years ago and the recent brouhaha about the Red Sox fan/construction worker that buried a Red Sox jersey in the foundation of the currently being built new Yankee Stadium. The conversation itself was nice, but even better was the fact that it wasn't about me being a bad tenant (or, more accurately, my anxiety-scarred dog being a bad tenant). That's always a good thing.

Back upstairs to the apartment and a living room bathed with natural light. Now I'm at the desk, drinking my coffee, getting ready to earn my paycheck.

For a few hours, anyway. I have dinner plans @ 5:30, before heading out to the awesomeness that will be Waterloo Road this evening.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Urban Food Myth

Yesterday was a looong day. Up and ready for a meeting at 8 AM, didn't leave my office till about 10 PM. I thought those days were behind me once I finished grad school, but apparently not.

Anyway, I'm walking down Euclid, navigating the orange barrels and safety tape. A quick stop in to the House of Blues to get a ticket for the upcoming B-52s show. I'm not quite sure what that says about me, but whatever -- try and listen to that music without smiling and doing a little desk chair dancing - I dare you.

Then, as I approached Tower City, to catch the rapid, I realized that the roar of my stomach was drowning out the sound of passing busses. I quickly took inventory of the available dining options in Ohio City, my destination, and realized that nothing I wanted would be open. As I stood on the corner, I realized that right behind me was Jake's. I've been to Jake's once or twice before and it was always the same, way too much meat, usually a little too dry for my taste, kind of bland, but filling (definitely filling).

Jake's was open, and I didn't think the growing crowd of panhandlers was gonna give me any better advice, so I popped in and ordered a hot pastrami, corned beef, and swiss sandwich. As the dude was making it, I asked that he put a little mayo and mustard on it. At first he looked at me as if I was crazy. I just figured it was silent commentary on my physique. Then he stopped making it, looking distressed, and said "Are you sure you want me to put mustard and mayonnaise on this sandwich? I said, not ashamed, "yes."

His reply - "And you want me to make it hot?"


He resumed work, then stopped again, and this time called me over for a more private conference. He said, "Man, I don't like putting mayonnaise in the microwave."

My first inclination was to remind him it didn't matter to me what he liked, in the most polite way possible, as I ordered the sandwich, I paid for the sandwich, I was the one planning to eat the sandwich, and I was getting tired of waiting.

But before I get a chance, he continues, saying his grandmother taught him that heating up mayonnaise in the microwave was deadly. Sort of like eating food out of a can with a metal spoon, he added.

I went blank. I literally could not think of anything to say to that. Half my brain started furtively attempting to see if there was any reason why microwaved mayo would be dangerous and how I never heard of it before, the other half searched for ways to tell him that his grandmother was insane.

I settled on, "I'll take the risk."

He takes a long, slow look at me, probably half his brain deducing if it would be appropriate to refuse my request on moral grounds, the other half probably thinking this is the last time he or any other person would ever see me, for once I consumed microwaved mayonnaise, I was done for.

Eventually I got the sandwich, caught the train, went home, and ate it.

Unless I'm writing this blog in heaven, I don't think it killed me.

Maybe it is a time delay thing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Travelin' man

There are many things I love about my career: the flexibility, the freedom, and most of all, the travel. Sometimes, though, the travel gets a little heady and I find myself going to cool places and not experiencing any of the things that make these places cool. Lately, I've been doing my best to avoid this, but as you can see in my follow-up Chicago post, I'm not always successful. So, I'm turning to you, my blogger friends. I have to go to a bunch of places over the next few months. Let me know if there are any places you find absolutely awesome and that I simply must check out. Many I've been to before and have favorite places of my own, but there is always room for a little experimentation, right? Right.

So here they are:

Boston (x2)
New Orleans
Austin (x2)

Whatcha got for me?


Ever have the weirdest things bother you? Stuff you know shouldn't matter, yet stick in your mind like a sharp but tiny stone in your shoe?

The other night, as the Art Walk festivities wound down, I made the mistake of allowing my fellow art walker to suggest we go to the Prosperity. I gotta tell you, I hate the Prosperity. Between the hipsters, the couple of frequently smug and jerky bartendresses, the bleh food for high bar prices, and the awkwardness of the men's room location and entrance, it is decidedly not a bar I like to visit. If I'm in Tremont, give me Edisons, Lincoln Park Pub, or even Hotz's any time.

But I digress. As I noted in a previous post, there was a show at Asterisk that I really wanted to see, both because of the unifying topic and also because one of the featured artists was a woman I had met and liked and bought something from. I caught a glimpse of her outside the Doubting Thomas when I had stepped out to get away from the industrial music and cliche transgressive penis art and non-stop bitching about working for non-profits, but it would have been too forced to catch her attention. Then, at Asterisk, I saw her again, but she was in a group having what seemed to be an enjoyable conversation -- no need to interrupt that.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to see her standing near a table by the entrance as I grudgingly made my way into the Prosperity. As my friend and I made our way past, I made eye contact, smiled, said something along the lines of, "Excuse me, but your name is _______, right?" She said it was, and I said that we had met once or twice before, including one time when I bought a painting from her just over there (as I gestured toward the door and, beyond it, the park) in Lincoln Park late last summer.

She gets this fake confused look, then tells me that she has never done paintings, that she's never been to Lincoln Park, and that I must have her confused with another artist. I knew that wasn't the case. After all, I knew her name. I thought for a quick second about convincing her she was indeed the person I was remembering, even started to describe the painting (which I really like) to her, but she started giving these overblown, rude, mocking looks to her friends like "who is this guy?".

So I just said maybe it was my mistake and wished her a good evening. And then walked over to the bar. My friend said it was too hot and packed, so we went over to Hotz's.

Now, here I am, two days later, and the whole exchange still kind of bothers me. I know I was correct. I looked her name up on google and found links to pictures of other paintings she has shown in other places and they are all done in precisely the same style as mine (sort of a blend of Matisse and southern outsider stuff). I also confirmed that the name on the painting I own is the same. Everything matches up. Everything, that is, except her art diva performance at Prosperity.

Maybe she was trying to be funny. Maybe she was out of it. Maybe she had me confused with some other awful person. Maybe she remembered exactly who I was and I had horribly offended her before and now was extracting revenge.

Or maybe she was just being a jerk.

Whatever, it was embarrassing and uncomfortable and disappointing.

And, petty as it may be, I don't really want her art hanging in my living room anymore.

Friday, April 11, 2008

TGIF, mild edition

I made it through another week. Yesss.

Not a whole lot in store for this weekend. Actually, I take that back - there are a bunch of things in store for the weekend, but none of them are particularly crazy.

I'm going to spend today working from home, but after I work up the nerve to shower I'll probably do a quick lap around my Ohio City hot-spots (i.e., grab a to-go coffee from Talkies, visit the West Side Market, stop for chat and a beer at the Glass Bubble, etc.). This evening is Art Walk in Tremont, and I'm gonna go with Tina. Her friend is curating or in some way responsible for the show at Doubting Thomas, and despite its fundamental emphasis on male genitals, I guess I'll be supportive and go. I'm more looking forward to the Blakxtraploitationism show at Asterisk Gallery. It is a multi-artist exhibit that promises to be very political and thoughtful, and also features some work by an artist whose work I have in my home. After that, we may hop over to Lakewood to see 1/2 of Unsparing Sea play at Bela Dubby.

Tomorrow morning, more work for me, then a couple hours of being interviewed by this company that I guess does stock interviews about timely topics and then sells them to cable networks. Tomorrow I have to perform credibly as an expert on immigration policy, the shrinking middle class, and some new identification chip that can be installed under the skin. I know, WTF? ID chips under the skin? If there is anything good that politically motivated evangelicals could possibly do, it is to stop that plan. You know, mark of the beast and shit.

After the interview, it'll be back home to change out of the suit, and then probably over to the museum district. I want to check out Blade Runner at the CIA Cinematheque, and in the time I have to wait maybe I'll visit one of the other cultural institutions nearby. More likely I'll end up ogling old pictures at the Barking Spider.

Sunday will be down-time day. Maybe take advantage of the Getting Started Workshop at the Apple store in Legacy Village to learn my way around this new MacBook Pro my employer finally allowed me to purchase with my start-up funds. The new machine came in a few weeks ago, but this is the first time I've been able to try seriously to start transferring my life over from one computer to another. What a pain, right? Anyway, I've always been a PC person, so the transfer is doubly inconvenient, though all the Mac freaks I know assure me it is worth it. Whatever. I just got it so more nerdy-sexy cafe chicks will think I'm hot. The bad beard and beer belly aren't working. Fortunately, when the IT folks signed off on my purchase, they mandated I sign up for Apple Care, which gives me a well-regarded warranty package but also access to the genius bar and all the other wonderful resources our local Apple store provides. Might as well take advantage -- all told, the thing cost me about $3500 bucks. Or, rather, it cost you, dear reader and taxpayer, $3500 bucks. So thank you. Sincerely. I promise to work hard.

After that, I'm hoping to catch Chicago 10 at the Cedar-Lee. Maybe treat myself to a piece of chocolate beet cake at Jimmy O'Neills afterward. I don't know, that might be a little too out of control.

So there you have it. An exciting weekend with Cleveland Bachelor. It involved walking around, snagging free drinks at gallery openings and hoping tasteful dives at the cheese plate(s) will keep me sober (though knowing it won't), catching $5 shows at venues populated with folks 10 years younger and 10 times cooler than me, participating in marathon policy expert interviews, watching classic sci-fi at art-house theaters, looking forward to animated movies about 60s-era social protest, and maybe, just maybe, bringing it all home with a piece of cake made out of beets. Also, let us not forget about the computer class.

If anyone ever wonders how I've made it this far with no serious threat of someone marrying me, I think a quick re-reading of the previous paragraph will lay that befuddlement to rest.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Looking for something fun to do?

If you haven't already realized it, I'm a big fan of the Collinwood neighborhood. My happiest weekends are those when I have an excuse/reason to wander over to Waterloo Road.

So you can guess how excited I am about the April 19th event(s) taking place in that stretch between Cafe Marika and Shoparooni.

The whole thing started when the folks at Music Saves decided to do something fun to celebrate Independent Record Store Day, complete with their very own coloring contest, live performances outside, an art opening inside, and a discount if you wear a record store shirt. Then came the announcement that Exit Stencil Records, the newest awesome transplant to the neighborhood, would be holding their opening reception the same night. And that ArtsCollinwood would be holding a gallery opening. And so would Vision Gallery. So Cafe Marika decided to throw in some drink specials and Shoparooni decided to host a scavenger hunt.

And now we have an awesome, neo-bohemian, totally organically derived community event.

That, most importantly, will be fun.

We should all go check it out.

Back in the saddle again

Dear reader(s),

I'm baaack.


Miss me? 'Cause I missed you.

Anyway, Chicago was great, as always.

I never did get around to doing anything I planned to do. In fact, I didn't do much that I would characterize as completely "fun" though I did have a good time. I guess I'm growing up a bit, as more time this year was spent in dinners and coffees and such with past, current, and future collaborators than ever before. But, that's all good, too.

Anyway, I'd sort of expected to write up a longish post about all the shenanigans that went down, but there isn't much to report. I managed to have dinner and stay a night with my parents and none of us 4 boys got smacked in the crotch. Other than an exceptionally nice rental car and some confusion at my hotel that led to one night being comped and free dinner, that's about it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Via Chicago

I'm off to Chi-city in the AM, yo.

That's right, a bit of a homecoming for Cleveland Bachelor.

I'm heading out tomorrow, right after a last minute haircut, to attend the most happening academic conference you could possibly imagine.

Yeah, a little bit of sarcasm there.

But not much. I dig my annual spring visit to The Chi, more than anything else because my friend Stephen and I always find such fun and interesting things to do.

We both are a little broke (no surprise there) these days, but there is still some excitement in store. We're both staying at the Hotel Sax, along with a couple different friends of ours from our grad school institution, which is awesome. I haven't been there since it changed over from being the House of Blues Hotel, but it was swanky then and by all accounts has been upgraded since, so it should be cool. Or "tight" as the kids say. Or rather said. About 7.5 years ago.

We don't have anything exciting booked, in terms of restaurants or concerts or what have you, which is sorta unusual, but we are planning on checking out the Obama for President HQ, and maybe even catching an early AM church service at Jeremiah Wright's old institution. I'm gonna drop down and visit the parentals on Wednesday night, but on Thursday we are supposedly going up to Wicker Park to check out this killer cocktail joint, the Violet Hour, and then grab dinner somewhere cool. Friday we were thinking about checking out the famous Funky Buddha, which means my creaky, talent-less ass is gonna have to game up for hip hop. Saturday we'll probably catch a show at the Metro or the Empty Bottle. And Sunday, after church (ouch ... it hurts to even type that, though I guess it is ok since I'm going for political tourist reasons) and a little actual work on my part, it'll probably be lunch at this interesting Korean/American Soul food joint then hopping on a plane back to the Land of Cleves.

It looks to be an enjoyable time away, if not a little busy. I'll miss you all desperately while I'm away, though I'm not scared to admit that I hope I get better weather than you. Not that I want you guys to suffer, just that I want to be more comfortable. Sorry. I'm just a hater, I suppose.


Hi everyone,

Just a brief note to let you know I'm retiring this blog. Although it has been tons of fun, it has become a distraction to my personal and professional life.


April Fools!

Boy, that was really lame.