zuptd: (Default)
Mundana for the weekend:

Pride was cold and windy for most of the day, but at least it was not very wet. Had a good time, but the watchable manflesh was pretty low due to the weather I think. What can you do?

It was sunny and warmer today, so I got the bike out in the afternoon and did 10 good laps around the circular path at Edgewater Park. A few good runner sights to see, but mostly a lot of fat latino women waddling around. ;) After carrying the canopy tents for the Gay Chorus and the Gay Catholics into and out of the festival yesterday, and all the walking around, my legs were feeling well worked, so the biking was to great effect today. Yay for getting exercise!

Oh, and my garden is totally rocking this year. Last year's biggest disappointment was the death of most of my pepper plants. This year they look extremely healthy. I have been harvesting much leafy greens so far, but not much else yet. Lots of salads! The beans, cucumbers, and zucchini are all growing quickly. Tomatoes look healthy, and the basil is finally starting to gain some size. I put string up between the tall poles for my pole beans to climb this afternoon.

That is my mundane updating for the weekend.....oh, and I realized tonight that I have not had a meal at home except for breakfast cereal in close to a week. I need to slow down my eating out soon or I'll be fat and broke...
zuptd: (dreamy)
RIP Geocities

That was where I first started my blog....where my online self lived as I was first meeting many of my close friends online....many of whom migrated here to LJ before I finally made the plunge. I remember when it was a separate entity before yahoo bought it. I remember hating evil yahoo and vowing not to use their search engine. I remember hand coding my blog pages. I remember when I loved Netscape Navigator and swore off using IE. Thankfully I now have firefox and again swear off IE for the most part. I remember learning a lesson about the perils of the internet when nasty right wingers landed upon something I said in my blog and tried to use it to harm my Catholic ministry group. I remember all the good times I had coding pages and bonding with folks over this shared world we had created, back before social networking opened up the net to every EMO teen and simpleton on the planet....not that access is a bad thing, but it was nice for a while to feel just a bit elite and just a bit special on account of web skills. I guess I am a web fogey to some extent....recalling the days before the web really existed and BBS was a mysterious thing my older friends did but I could not do since we had no modem...LOL! But yeah, good times.

RIP Geocities
zuptd: (Default)
Hello July!

Ok, another few months have passed and I found enough time to feel guilty about neglecting LJ....LOL! I'm sure everyone is used to that by now. So no more lamenting....just time to catch everyone up on my life's goings on. It is summer, happily, but before I talk on that, let me tell you how we got to the present.

I finished off my graduate school days in May, coming out of Cleveland State with a Master of Urban Planning Design and Development (MUPDD) degree. The last semester was a very involved one, with two classes that demanded a lot of work, and only enough time to do about 1.5 of them adequately. Actually, our big capstone class was like two classes itself at times....it was a huge 30 person group project. I ended up taking a leadership role with that, which really sucked away my time....editing hundreds of pages of text. You can read our full report The Lakefront Revitalization Plan if you feel like slogging through a few hundred pages of text. Quite proud of the product, though a more compact report might have been nice. My other class, Urban Design, was fun, but got secondhand time because of the major overwhelmingness of the first. Lots of drawing and sketching that should have been fun, but was mostly rushed.

Some friends threw me a great graduation party, and even though I did not request gifts I got a lot of nice things. Now I am in need of finding a job that is in line with my degree. I'm still trying to get my resume up to par, but that is moving to the top of my priorities list very soon.

With my radically less stressed schedule I am doing a few things this summer. First, I planted a real garden for the first time here, rather than at my parents' house. There's a small area of green behind the apartments that my landlord cleared of overgrown bushes and flowers a couple months ago. In May I planted a selection of herbs and vegetables in an 8 x 6 foot area. I've got both cherry and regular tomatoes, an assortment of bell peppers and hot peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, a ton of carrots, oregano, chives, mint, basil, and thyme. Everything has been growing like crazy. At one point last weekend my tomato plants grew nearly 6 inches overnight....I might have been able to see them grow if I stood and stared for a few minutes!

As has become tradition, I also got my lawn ticket books for the Orchestra at Blossom Music Center this summer. We'll be starting that out July 5th with music by Copland and Gershwin (excerpts from Porgy and Bess), performed by the Orchestra, the Orchestra Chorus, and several vocal soloists. On my personal schedule for the summer is their Bravo Broadway! spectacular; more Gershwin (instrumental); either some Brahms or Mozart; a Sci-Fi Spectacular with music from Star Trek/Wars, Harry Potter, etc, narrated by George Takei; and a weekend of two shows featuring music from Frenchmen and Spaniards Berlioz, Faure, Ravel, Debussy, Ginastera, Lalo, Bizet and Falla. I am quite excited about getting out there and enjoying fine music, fine foods, and fine drinks.

More to come later, but that's a brief capsule of some of my recent and future life happenings. Glad to be back to LJ again for the moment.
zuptd: (Default)
Is there any way to preserve avocado once it has been sliced open? Or is this a case of just having to cook or eat it right away? There must be something, otherwise guacamole would turn brownish, I assume.
zuptd: (Default)
Well, Thanksgivingness is on the way, or rather, we are on the way to it. Patrick and I drove to Chicago last night on the way to visit his family in Omaha for the holiday. We're enjoying the housepitality of some friends from college who are back in Ohio for the holiday, but kindly lent us their house in exchange for watching the kitties overnight. There is one very loving kitty here, so that's nice....the other one just hides.

Also, I am on my new laptop right now. I'm really loving it to bits.....doing well with typing, though I think I'll prefer the wireless mouse to the touchpad most of the time....the keyboard might actually be better than my regular one in terms of typing. The impetus for getting a laptop right now was to have something that I could work on in the car during our long drive. I've got some serious schoolwork due in the coming weeks, and could not afford to lose this weekend completely, plus I have the concert program due to the printer on Tuesday for the Chorus. I've wanted a laptop for a long time, and am so glad that I got one now. Admitting...windows Vista is not totally impressing me so much. I might grow to like it, but so far, the things I like I think are mostly the speed of the computer and the portability.

Anyhow, I need to do a couple e-mails and then we are getting back on the road, as we have another 7 hours of driving to do, and want to get there on time for Thanksgiving dinner. We are going to one of Patrick's cousin's wedding on Saturday, probably a bit of Black Friday shopping, or at least browsing, and going to see my old friend Ryan who is stationed at the Air Forse base outside Omaha.

Hope everyone has a happy Turkey day today (even if you're not eating any turkey!)
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On another note in the midst of all the big items on the political stage:

I just came across the fact that the Democrats have a majority in the Ohio House of Representatives for the first time since probably I was very young. Who knows what the full effect will be, but I hope it means positive things in the upcoming budget cycle for certain economic development programs and for the atmosphere for LGBT folks here too.... The Ohio Senate is still Republican, but every little bit helps.
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I'm going to break with the jubilation of Obama and the sadness over Prop 8 in California to make a quick observation about Sarah Palin before we let her go back to governing Alaska for the time being.

All I really want to note is that a potentially lasting effect of the current election is that John McCain has ensured that Sarah Palin will potentially be a significant player in the Republican Party in the near future. His pick as vice-presidential running mate catapulted her from being known in limited circles to being recognizable across the entire nation (world even) by anyone not in a coma or a cave. The end result at the moment is that she has been through the grinder and national spotlight, she probably knows what she needs to improve upon if she wants to run nationally again. As the running mate the defeat doesn't taint her that much. And she survived without any particularly damaging scandal (trooper-gate is closed seemingly) beyond her own naivete and lack of polish.

Just a note on ramifications for the future.
zuptd: (happyzup)
Well, one thing I am pleased about, that is not dependent on who won, is that Ohio is not the poster child for electoral dysfunction this year. It was gettign very old these last 8 years to be looked at askance with regard to our voting problems. Little things like this give me great hope for my state even.

Another thought is that I feel like I am empowered, if there is something that President Obama does or supports that I think is just stupid, to speak up and have my voice heard and affect the outcome. I don't want to feel like my voice is likely to be ignored in the political process. This feels much better.

And I still have the greatest respect for John McCain....I think that he would have done a good job too. I was despairing of recent that I had to choose between two candidates both of whom I disagree with about many issues. But in actuality I got to choose between two candidates, both of whom seem to me to be upstanding capable leaders and both of whom I share a certain number of agreements with. I'm feeling very glass-half-full finally for some reason. :)
zuptd: (kitten)
I voted around 6:15 this evening. I hope that I made the right decision for President. I'm not going to share my choice with anyone for the moment and maybe ever.....I've been very torn about the amazing number of issues on which I'm concerned about each candidate. I suspect that I'd have had regrets about my vote with either candidate. I hope that whoever is elected exceeds many of my bad expectations and fulfills all of my good ones.

And I pray that the anti-gay stuff goes down to defeat...I hope we are getting further along as a nation...
zuptd: (contented)
So, I finally started my ballot reviewing last night. I always go through a few days before an election and fuss through the various and obscure items to make sure I'm at least moderately informed on everything.

We actually have 8 choices for President/VP on our ballot. This is the first year since before I could vote that I can recall there not being any big angsting out there regarding third party candidates... Ralph Nader is on there, but he's not the Green candidate this time. The Socialists, Libertarians, and Constitution party are all represented. I'm 99.9% sure of who I'm voting for....as usual I've been displeased about my choices, but I'll probably never find a President that I'm 100% happy with. I hope that whoever is elected surprises me with their performance as President (and even moreso I hope the VP surprises me, whichever that is....)

We have the usual 5 million judges to vote for. I'm doing my due diligence on them, as best I can anyhow.

It's also a County election year. I think I'm voting for Peter Lawson Jones for Commissioner. He's my favorite of the 3 current ones, so it's too bad that Debbie Sutherland is running against him, as she'd quite possibly get my vote if she ran against Hagan and certainly against Dimora. One thing I appreciate about Lawson-Jones is that he seems to genuinely listen and take into account the feedback people give. He came to a town hall panel thing about the Ameritrust Tower (an ugly but significant piece of architecture here in Cleveland...the only existing skyscraper designed by noted brutalist architect Marcel Breuer.) He really seemed to be interested in the opinions of people about whether or not to demolish it. The fact that he was interested in hearing from people especially the planning community and that he was willign to consider that feedback in his decisions is very important to me.

Jim Rokakis, the County Treasurer is running unopposed, but I just wanted to say that I also have a high opinion of him due to his study and advocacy for issues surrounding the foreclosure crisis locally. My impression is that he's a very thoughtful and good elected official.

We have 6 state constitutional amendments on the ballot. I urge people to vote yes on Issue 2. That renews the Clean Ohio Fund, which has been one of the great statewide success stories. It issues bonds that are used to fund brownfield remediation and open-space and farmland preservation. It has had very measurable economic impacts and has good effect in both urban and rural areas.

I'd also encourage a yes vote on Issue 5, which caps interest rates for "Payday Lending" institutions at 28%. Currently these places are able to charge something like 300% interest, and have had a very harmful debt effect on people who are desperate and economically vulnerable.

I'll be voting no on Issue 6, the casino thing....I'm sorry, but I just have no desire to see casinos here in Ohio.

Then finally we have a bunch of amendments to the Cleveland City Charter....mostly basic stuff, although one would reduce the number of City Council members (it would apportion one seat per 25,000 people to be revised after each census.) This would reduce the council from 21 to 17 in the short term, as population has been falling for some time in the city. This is probably a good thing, so I'll be voting in favor.

Oh, and people in California especially, and Florida and Arizona also, I think. Please do not amend your constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Make sure to vote and make sure you vote the correct way on those measures. I am hopeful that more states will grant marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples in the coming years, and constitutional amendments would be a huge setback to that.

That's my election thoughts...I hope that everyone gets out there to vote this Tuesday!
zuptd: (iPhone)
I'm sure that many will beg to differ, but frankly I thought it was more or less a draw. Folks that disagree with one candidate or the other will think their man (or woman) won, but frankly, as I have problems with both of the tickets, I don't see either one as a winner or a loser.

Palin showed that the Katie Couric interviews were not the only spoken exchange to judge her by. Biden showed that he can encapsulate his answers and not get drawn into some stupid outburst or comment.

I was was annoyed by Palin's mis-pronunciations of Nuc-you-lar, and I-ran, and her Maliki and Talabani were questionable, but her Ahmadinejad was pretty impressive. I do think she suffers from an unfortunate informality of speech, especially her use of "ya" instead of "you", that makes her sound even more inexperienced than she is. It's a lack of polish, but also speaks to her having lived more or less a rural life....I'm not going to condemn her for that even though there's reason to want a polished vice-president.

As far as content, Palin dodged more than was good for her, and jumped back to energy too much. Biden had a tendency to need to respond to things a bit too much. My thoughts on policy are very mixed, but usually they are after any debate, as half the goal is to dredge up past actions and votes that usually had good reasons but look bad on the surface. There's a real need to visit the candidate websites and really look at the details of their stated policies and maybe compare to independent facts and sources. For at least some of the fact checking, check this Yahoo! news article.

Actually, I might give Biden a slight edge upon further thought, but the real challenge for Palin was just to demonstrate that the Katie Couric interviews were nto the final word, and I think she did that. So, Biden might have been more impressive, but Palin had a lot more ground to make up based on her previous week or two.
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Quick update in bullets:
  • Autumn is here....I'm liking the weather.
  • Since last Friday, the water main on my street broke three times. This is one of the problems of living in an old city....the infrastructure is often 50 or 100 years old in places, and things like this just happen sometimes. My understanding is that when it breaks in one place, they fix that but it weakens a nearby area. This is a serious problem for many cities, that the sewer and water infrastructure needs replacing, but the cost would be in the trillions nationwide. But it's been fine for several days, so I'm hoping that's the last of miniature rivers I'll see flowing down my street edge this year.
  • I need to go out apple picking. I hope that somehow next weekend I have time to do that with my family. I've read that the apple crop is the best in years, and was only slightly beaten up by the post-Ike storms that rolled through.
  • Patrick and I went with a friend to the Orchestra last night. It was their return weekend from their summer residency in Salzburg and tour of Europe. They did the US Premier of a new commission by George Benjamin, and performed Bruckner's 7th Symphony. I think that's one of the favorite symphonies that I've seen/heard. The Benjamin piece was very different and quite modern, but totally captivating for me.
  • I had some major stress this week with school. It was mostly me feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about things. I am trying to get through some things this weekend to allow me to keep up and not be so stressed in the coming week.

I'm sure other things happened, but those are some highlights.
zuptd: (happyzup)
Just to inform everyone, it looks like all the lanes of Euclid Avenue through University Circle will be finished and open tomorrow morning. They have been putting the final thin layer of blacktop on the road overnight for the past couple days, and when I got home from class tonight they were finishing the last few side street intersections to smooth it all together.

For those not familiar they have been working on the multimillion dollar Euclid Corridor project for the past several years, completely rebuilding the entire length of the road from East Cleveland to Public Square downtown over the past two years or so. They have installed significant new utility pipes and wires the whole way underground and are running double long buses with center median stops the entire length. It has been utter hell for me considering I pretty much need to travel down or at least cross Euclid Avenue briefly to get anywhere downtown or to the west side of the city. But thankfully it is looking wonderful and nearly completed at this point.

Yarr!!! (That's pirate speak for yay!)
zuptd: (pibb + red vines)
I forgot to mention that I won Settlers of Catan last week at Taco Night. I am also ashamed to admit that I did not have sufficient faith that I would get the cards I needed, so I bought crack (aka a development card) and won with a victory point card. *hangs head in shame* I would not feel so bad except that I got the resource cards I would have needed to win during my final roll to begin my turn....LOL!
zuptd: (kitten)
This article I read from CNN/Wall Street Journal does a reasonable job of explaining some of what's been going on in terms of markets, government reactions, and other factors. They do compare it to the 1930s, but say that at least we have some mitigating institutions this time around....
zuptd: (Default)
Friday night Patrick and I went to the "Industry and Labor" art show down in Tremont at Asterisk Gallery. It was based around art representing industry and industrial history here in Cleveland. There was a blacksmith there making wrought iron items. They had perogis (good ones!) and sausages there for appetizers that were really yummy. They had a bunch of photos from the local firefighting museum that is being built here in Cleveland, and a set of photos from the LTV Steel archives, plus several displays of photography by various artists of the indistrial flats, various neighborhoods, and such. There were items from a local artist named Derek Hess. They also had art that was created from the logos from the various the ships and shipping companies that worked on Lake Erie and the Great Lakes.

We went across the street to another gallery that was more upscale and commercialized. They had some rather expensive sculpture outside (read as things with three zeroes) and a mix of paintings, photography, and utilitarian items inside. They had a bunch of glass items that I think were made by the folks up at Josephat Arts Hall, which we visited a year or so ago. They were made from bottles heated and flattened; cheese boards made from wine bottles and lime cutting boards made from corona bottles. There were some very cool photo montages of Cleveland landmarks in interconnected frames.

There were also paintings of sports scenes (I assume from photographs) that were great for sportsy persons....there was one of Woody Hayes talking to players on the OSU sidelines that I'm very tempted to get for my dad. Not that he is interested in paintings, but I have this dream to redecorate my old bedroom at my parents' house as an OSU Buckeyes room for a present sometime. We'd paint it some combination of scarlet and grey, put up the painting, get him a sofa and chair in buckeyes colors, a bookshelf with all his OSU books, put in a mini-fridge, and run the cable back there so he can watch the football games....LOL, I just need to get my brother to pitch in on this and find an opportunity to do it. But I digress.

After the art galleries, Patrick and I had dinner at the Tremont restaurant Ty-Fun (pronounced Typhoon.) I’ve been meaning to go there for several years and the experience was a very great. Patrick ordered beef panang and I had a pad khi mao. My meal was a pretty spicy, so I was pleased, and the service was great. The prices were on the high end of moderate, and the portions were not huge but we left well fed. I need to learn more of the names for Thai dishes better.... The owners were both there and involved with the restaurant, and the experience was great....I think this will be another good option if [livejournal.com profile] bonoboboy and [livejournal.com profile] vorpal ever make it down to visit.
zuptd: (contented)
I just spent the last 45 minutes chasing what I believed to be the moon....I could not catch it however, which was quite frustrating. I wish I had the keys to a tall building so I could look for it easier because I swear it was hiding from me.

I know it sounds insane, but it's true....all I wanted was a good picture of the supposed moon because it was an unearthly orange glowing object in the sky whose beauty and hauntingness I cannot really express.

I saw it through the skyscrapers of downtown Cleveland while I was travelling over the Main Avenue bridge. When I got to a place I could stop, however, I could not sight it, so I wound my way through the streets of the east side looking for a view to no avail, it was like it evaporated. I started wonderign if I had had a vision or saw an illusion or a UFO. I tried to find it from the top of a CSU parking garage and then from the rapid platform down the streeet frommy apartment eventually. No luck. Then as I was going down my street to park my car I saw a faint glow in the sky to the east. I think what happened was that the cloud cover was shifting from medium to heavy and back and it was causing both the beauty of the object and also the dissappearance of the moon most of the time. I only wish I had been able to stop onthe bridge and snap a pic of what I was seeing right then.
zuptd: (kitten)
Well then. It's now close to 3 AM and I am awake because I just managed to shatter a mirror. Crap.

I have had an almost full length mirror that I inherited when my last roommate Curtis and I vacated the housein Cleveland Heights nearly 5 years ago. I forget if it was really his or was left by another former roommate, but it was about 5 feet tall with oval ends intended to be wall mounted. I just left it in the cardboard box/frame and leaned it against the wall all this time. Well, tonight I was adjusting my position in bed and flailed my arm just so, that I knocked it over and sent it tumbling to the floor where the top foot or so proceeded to shatter.

Thankfully, most of it did not break, so cleanup has been rather minimal, but anytime glass shatters (even on the short industrial carpet in my apartment) it makes a mess. So, I have picked up all the pieces of size and vacuumed the area thoroughly 3 or 4 times to get any chips and shards. Thank god I do not have deep carpeting.

My unhappiness is compounded by the fact that I made my lower back very unhappy during my workout earlier this evening and I'm feeling ever so slighly crippled as a result. I pray it is happier by morning, as not being able to walk/sit/stand/lift/bend correctly is never good, especially with my job that required most of that.

Anyhow, hopefully my sore back is retroactively my bad luck for mirror breakage. I can't really afford 7 years of the stuff.
zuptd: (contented)
Well folks, these are busy days as usual! The Chorus is in final preparation for our upcoming Pride concert. The show is called Tunes from Tales and is based upon the Tales of the City novels by Armistead Maupin. Mister Maupin is a well known gay author who also wrote The Night Whisperer which was made into a movie with Robin Williams and Toni Colette.

We will be joined for the shows by Armistead Maupin himself who will narrate specific parts of his novels between the music. The show was conceived by the Seattle Men's Chorus and tells the story of Michael Tolliver, a gay man who moves to San Francisco and lives there through the tumultuous 70s and 80s. The music is a mix of original pieces and arrangements of popular music.

Overall, the show is both hilarious and often very deeply touching. The Chorus already sounds great, an it is so exciting to perform with a literary legend and gay icon like Mr. Maupin. As always, I encourage that any of you in the area get some tickets and attend the show. Drop me a line if you have any questions about the show, and as always, you can order tickets at the North Coast Men's Chorus Website
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