Monday, April 27, 2009

Triangle Man hates Person Man: Film at 11

Calvin (the RTA bus driver) is one of those people that makes living in Cleveland all the more awesome. Riding the bus can be a pretty banal event, but this man makes it a little more enjoyable. As I walked to the 9th and Euclid station tonight, I hoped that I would get to be on Calvin's bus.

A fun side fact about the creator of Calvin and Hobbes - Bill Watterson lived in Chagrin Falls. I bet you already knew that, though. Just like everyone sees the arrow in the FedEx logo. It's like hearing a five year old internet meme from your own mother, I'd wager.

I can has popcorn?

In the above picture, Calvin is attacking Chagrin Falls. (secret-ninja-jeff-edit)

Anyway, Calvin (the busdriver) likes to ask trivia questions over the loudspeaker. He encourages people to shout out the answers to his questions and it actually makes riding the bus FUN. You can see people who were previously scowling start to smile when they realize they know the answer to the question. For the duration of a few city blocks, you can feel like a genius in front of several strangers.

Jeff and I had lunch at a sushi place that (dare I say) rivals Pacific East. It's called Aoeshi Cafe and it is right next to the Cedar Lee theatre. Don't be put off by the plain decor or the styrofoam cups your water comes in, this sushi is amazing. We had the Mexican Roll (spicy tuna with crunchies) and our ever favorite, the Spider Roll (softshell crab, avocado and either daikon radish or lettuce). It's cheap, too. I was brave and tried a raw quail egg on top of citrus tobiko (usually flying fish roe). I wouldn't eat it again, but it was interesting.

Please check out Aoeshi Cafe. I didn't get the feeling that it was traveled much during the afternoon hours - not so sure about the evening. It's really good and if you're lucky you can sit on the futon (woo!).

Random photo of the day regarding something I probably talked about weeks ago:

Jeff and I at the wedding we attended in Columbus (like, a while ago)

The garden in the back of my house has been completed. I'd still like to do more to the patio, and there's quite a bit of cleanup left to do... But this is basically what it looks like at the moment. We filled (read: Jeff) about 10 yard waste bags full of mulch and debris that had been back there. I don't think there had been a garden in years.

I didn't plant as many herbs as I'd like, we'll see how the Dill and Thai Basil do first. I'm hoping to host a little shindig there this summer! (The patio is basically awesome, but cluttered now)

This used to be a crappy pile of mulch and dead pokeweed!

Kudos to my partner in foliage for thinking of the path formation.

Concord grapes grow on our patio walls!

Seriously, the patio will start to smell like a vineyard before too long. Some of the local gents here actually make very good wine, I'm hoping to get my hands on a Cabernet before long.

Oh god now you kind of know where I live...

I really like my street. There are a lot of nice people that live here, and the Alta House is amazing. If I could raise 200 bucks to get a bocce team together, I totally would for this summer. Yep, my little corner is about to get very busy, and not in a hooker-y way.

Come up and see us sometime. That reminds me, anyone up for a bike ride some weekend in the near future? We can ride the EUCLID CORRIDOR!!! (and wave to Calvin)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marsey-doats and Doesey-dotes

What's up, blogpies? (See Alexa, it's like groupies but for the BLOG!! Get it? Huh? Huh?)

*listens to the crickets chirp*

I understand that some of you might not get that joke, and that's okay. It's like a secret club that speaks in some sort of crazy moon code like those sillies in the Dr. Scholls commercials.

Are you gellin'?

Instead, it's blogging.

Are you bloggin'? I'm bloggin' while I'm joggin'.
(cuts to an S&M fanatic)
I'm bloggin' and I'm floggin'... *whip cracks*
(cue lumberjacks)
We're bloggin' when we're loggin'!

Had enough? I thought so. You get the idea. No, I did not use a rhyming dictionary. You can't prove that I did. Stop looking up rhyming dictionaries.

There's a question that I really do not like to answer, though I realize that technically you can never be wrong. There is no such thing as stupid questions, people...Just stupid music.

I always cringe when I'm asked "Hey, what do you think this song sounds like?". It gives me the ickies and I don't really know why. I mean, I can pretty much say whatever I want. But it reminds me of some psychological test where you have to point to a picture of a cat, dog or bird when you're asked what fire makes you think of. *

*not a real test

If fire makes you think of cats, you're clearly insane and oh by the way - you should probably run because here come the burly men in white coats to commit your crazy kittycrisp lovin' self.

A slightly worse subquestion is "Who does $BAND sound like?". I stink at that sort of thing, honestly. I will tell you that starting around 4:28 in You Are The Blood covered by Sufjan Stevens sounds like what Enya would sound like if she candy-flipped and DJed at a rave. Starting at 7:40 it kind of sounds like the background music of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Around 8:01, it starts to sound like Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. (OPUS 16, Y'ALL). 9:17 and on reminds me of something that would be in a Batman movie.

I told you I stink at it, or that I have a VERY odd perception of what things sound like. The next time someone asks me this question, I'm just going to say something random.

Better yet!! I'll use a Chuck Norris fact generator and instead of Chuck Norris, I'll say the name of the artist.

"I don't know, but I heard Colin Meloy once partook in a pissing contest outside of a bar. His opponent drowned."

Yeah. Just like that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eating Little Italy

I'll be the first to admit that I am a VERY BAD resident of Little Italy. I've hardly eaten anywhere here. I've been to La Dolce Vita a half dozen times (way more than that for drinking) and I went to Trattoria Roman Gardens once about two years ago. I've had drinks at Maxi's, La Dolce, Valerio's and Guarino's as well.

Well, at some point I hope to change that (gradually). Tonight, I ordered takeout from Guarino's (because it's right across the street and I am admittedly feeling VERY lazy tonight). I got the cheese ravioli and some cheese toast. This was a nice little treat. I wouldn't do it on a regular basis because it is a little expensive ($15 for the ravioli, $3 for the toast) for a solo evening meal and it beats the hell out of Qdoba or Chopstick (a horrendous little Chinese place on Euclid and Mayfield).

I'll have another post about Chopstick someday, just don't go there. Please trust me, the staff is rude and the food might be good if I was 12 years younger and a pothead. In my opinion however, there is no libation that could make this stuff taste even remotely Chinese.

Growing up with San Georgio pasta and a jar of Prego makes me really like the restaurants that very obviously make their own pasta and sauce. The sauce with the ravioli wasn't acidic at all, I felt like I could eat the sauce on little bits of garlic toast for a good while (I kind of did that with the garlic toast).

The inside of Guarino's is really charming, it's essentially a house. The bar has a piano across from it, covered in family photos. The dining rooms look like something out of a really touching Norman Rockwell picture. I would definitely suggest it for a dinner with the folks, or for one of those really sappy romantic dinners. You know the one I mean, where you gaze lovingly into each other's eyes and say;

Girl: I love you.
Guy: I love you more!
Girl: No, I love you more.
Guy: Aw! You're cute.
Girl: No, you're cute.
Guy: No...You!

Not that I uh, know anything about that sort of ordeal. Nope, nothing at all. *whistles*

It was a nice dinner. If I hadn't been in gym clothes I might have actually sat down and had a drink or two.

On another subject...

I don't know how many of you (or if any of you for that matter) ride the HealthLine (aka the #6 bus), but it has gotten crazy lately, what with the fare evaders and all. You have the option to purchase a single pass at any of the stops along the Euclid corridor. You also have the option to buy the pass on the bus, but rumor has it that this is going to disappear soon. If you have a weekly pass, you only need to activate it once. It prints your start date and the expiration date for you.

Keep your pass on you, however. Every single morning and evening the Transit Police appear on the buses at random and ask you to present your farecard. If you can't, you are escorted off the bus and given a ticket for $76.00. You have two weeks to pay it, or you'll get a warrant. When you are ticketed, they check for previous warrants and you can be arrested if you have them.

Every single day, I see at least one person sitting at a stop next to two or three Transit Policemen. Lately, I've seen people in cuffs (this means they tried to run). I talked to one of the officers who told me that people have started to physically fight the officers and will subsequently be arrested. This morning, I saw a lady surrounded by officers (she was cuffed) bawling her eyes out, pleading for them to tear up the ticket.

You'll most often hear people cry "bullshit" about the penalties, but I find it very hard to feel sympathy. The people getting ticketed/arrested are not homeless people trying to get down the way, they're people like you and I - except that they're not paying their fares.

It's two freaking dollars for a one way ticket, people. Pay your fare.

I suppose the sense of entitlement isn't a new fad but it really annoys me. Maybe I'll panhandle one afternoon, raise two dollars and get a one way pass. Then, I'll panhandle at Public Square and get another one way pass and go home - just to prove a point. I guess the point would appear that anyone can (and should) panhandle so they can afford the bus...That's not the point I want to make, so nevermind.

I've even felt so annoyed by this little dance that I witness every day that I'm motivated enough at this point to write a (dun dun dun...) LETTER TO THE EDITOR (god i'm old now). Who knows.

On a musical note (haw), give a listen to this Jeff Buckley song, Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin. (I like it more than I like Hallelujah)

Do you like free stuff? Go here and check out Trumpets in the Snow. (Made of some former members of To Be a High Powered Executive) You can even download their album for free.

Monday, April 20, 2009

When I Grow Up

Sometimes I can't decide between posting daily and having little to say, versus posting less frequently with more to say. I think the latter grants me certain liberties in talking your ear off apoetically - also it means I can make up words like "apoetical".

The weeks and weekends have been far too busy to recall in fantastic detail but I'll do my best. We've started a lot of things at work that keep me busy and push me to the brink of madness. I am realizing that what I currently do is not something I care to do for any great length of time. A couple of years ago, I told Jeff that what I really want to do is "make something with my hands" but I don't really know exactly what that is. It's harder to make a living this way, it's something I've thought about for a long time.

I've had recent thoughts about becoming a personal trainer, though I'd like to be in a little better shape to do this. I'd also like to be a writer, I've thought about writing a children's book for some time now. The most amusing part about writing is that after I work all day, the last thing I often want to do is sit in front of a computer. I think I'd like to sit quietly soon, and read something.

Jeff and I saw Sunshine Cleaning this evening at the Cedar Lee Theatre, it was a great movie - and you really can't beat $5 tickets and free popcorn. I have to say that being able to go on a date on a weekday is really cool, though it may seem pedestrian to most people. We dated for nearly two years while living miles apart and as time went on it became harder (emotionally) to do. Imagine consolidating all heartfelt, face to face conversation and interaction into one or two days on a consistent basis for 22 months!

Jeff ran in a track meet at Baldwin-Wallace on Saturday and placed fifth out of twenty or so runners. He ended with a time of 15:55. The weather was nice, but a little too warm for his liking, I think - for running anyway. We went to Panini's in Coventry and watched the Bluejackets game (boo) and ate hamburgers. Sunday, we made a Turkish stew with lamb, apricot preserves and other yummies. We got the recipe out of this month's Gourmet magazine (I got a free subscription when I registered for the Pedal to the Point). It's a pretty neat magazine and it seems to have some good recipes. I will post the stew recipe and other recipes we find interesting at another time.

I picked up a bottle of the Rose wine suggested by the magnificent partners in crime over at Sensory Overload from Whole Foods - It's really tasty! Someone has to come and help me finish it, though. Any takers?

Oh! We stopped by Music Saves and the new record store on Waterloo and picked up a mystery bag of CDs. Jeff and I have amazing luck buying CDs and falling hard for the newly found artists. Jeff wrote a journal on about it, actually - and I take great pleasure in his confession that I "1 upped" him by discovering Woodpigeon at a discount/used record store in Hamilton, Ontario. Woodpigeon is one of his favorite bands now.

Songbook is the CD I found at Cheapies for a few bucks - what a find!!

Regrettably I am not Blogger savvy enough to post mp3s here, but your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to listen to Woodpigeon sometime this week. Bonus points if you buy an album or individual mp3!

Dear readers, I would really like to hear your stories of interesting (and enjoyable) music finds. What did you find, and how did you find it/them? Have you ever bought a CD just because the cover art looked interesting? Dish, dish, dish!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Last night was the science fiction movie with you and me...

I dread the return of colder weather. Just as we have an "Indian Summer" in the later weeks of Autumn, I submit to you - dear readers, that we also have a Spring equivalent. What do we call our dreaded cold snap in the early weeks of Spring?

"Cleveland Winter" is the term I'd expect from most anyone I'd ask.

Just as the frost kills the early blooms and causes the forsythias to recoil in horror, it seems to do the same to you and I. When it's warm and sunny, we peek our heads out from our turtle-necked sweaters and peacoats to smell the air and gaze at the clear blue skies. The cold transforms us once again, like the idealistic forsythia - except that we retreat to the comforts of our coats and scarves, only looking up enough to make eye contact with the crosswalks and entryways we shuffle so expeditiously into to escape the snow and wind.

I cannot wait until we bloom once again.

Jeff participated in the Fools 25k Trail Run at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Sunday. He handily won the race with a respectable time of
1:45:22. Running may not be too fascinating a sport for most people, but I really do love going to races that he's in. I'll stop fawning over him here before I turn into a puddle of treacle - but it is pretty darn awesome to see him run.

To celebrate, Jeff and I went to Mekong River off of Lee - a place we've been to a few times before. Jeff seems to be a great fan of Thai/Cambodian food, since we do cook those sorts of things quite frequently. I won't lie, I sometimes think he's cheating on me with Sriracha. (a burning love - literally)

I ordered Paradise Shrimp (a dish in a yellow curry with pineapple, shrimp and too many green things I didn't care for) and Jeff got the Cambodian Curry (a beef stew-like dish with potato and yam). After having a few bites of Jeff's dish I was instantly jealous. We decided immediately that we had to try and duplicate this at some point.

Later in the evening, Jeff brought Eponine over to meet Onyx since we're moving in together at the end of May. (Did I forget to mention that?) I really wish my batteries would have been charged, because some of their encounters were so funny. They didn't fight, but they did hiss at each other a few times. Onyx hissed loudly and Eponine mostly sounded like she was deflating. It was cute. They were mostly scared of each other and should be fine once we're all settled in here together. Onyx still has to meet Francesca. Fran is a fairly laid back kitty, so we'll see what happens.

And now, it's time to expand your minds and musical tastes. I present to you... Elvis Perkins.

His debut album, Ash Wednesday has a somber and soulful timbre - Perkins himself admitted that a large part of the album was shaped by the passing of his mother - a passenger on the ill-fated American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on September 11, 2001. Elvis Perkins' father passed away in 1992 due to complications of AIDS. (via Wikipedia)

Don't listen to him because doing so gives you a particularly sad story to tell your friends when asked - listen because the music is rich and meaningful.

Perkins et al recently released a new album (titled Elvis Perkins in Dearland) that seems to have a sunnier disposition, not that there was anything wrong with the previous album. Amazon has samples of all of the tracks, so check them out!

Jeff bought the album, but I haven't listened to much of it yet. We discovered Elvis Perkins when seeing Okkervil River perform in Columbus about 2 1/2 years ago. He was one of the openers and I instantly decided that I liked him a lot. Perkins grew on Jeff a little slower, I think.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On the Wings of a Bird

Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight I had an evangelical experience. I didn't put a Billy Graham sermon on my iPod, no...

I went to see Andrew Bird in concert tonight.

People were dancing in the aisles, shouting and crying - it was almost as if one was in attendance of a glorious, profane tent revival underneath the gilded ceilings of the Allen Theatre.

Andrew Bird's sock monkey was in attendance, sitting behind him at center stage. I remember seeing him two years ago in Columbus. A fan at his show the previous night (Detroit) had given him the sock monkey, smartly dressed as Bird himself would be onstage, complete with a tiny violin and case with a camouflage strap. He hadn't named the monkey yet, though some in the audience suggested that he name him Dr. Strings - to Mr. Bird's amusement.

The show took place two years ago at the Great Southern Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. It was my introduction to Andrew Bird's music and has since been one of my favorite concert experiences.

When I learned that he would be performing in Cleveland, my attendance was compulsory. I anticipated the show from the moment I bought the tickets, and sat at work today in child-like glee as I waited for work to be over. I watched the clock when I was at the gym, giving myself enough time to change and meet Jeff outside.

Andrew Bird's music is sultry and lustful at times, and can give you a giddy and cavalier feeling like the glass of wine that preludes a sumptuous meal that you've fasted for in anticipation of its arrival. It can be fun and endearing, and has the tendency to remind one that (at least) for the duration of the concert, you know you're exactly where you want to be.

It's not evangelical because Andrew Bird is keen on Jesus (because I'm pretty sure he's not) but the songs you hear are likely to evoke reactions and emotions you might not always express in polite company. Even I shouted the name of a song I wished that he'd play, and I never do that.

(Yes, he played it in his encore.) see "Why" on YouTube

I laughed, I cried... I bought the t-shirt.

...And I saw Andrew Bird.

* Bonus video action ahoy! (this one is pretty awesome too)