The Wastelands

  07/02/16 20:30, by , Categories: General, Events

The Wastelands Poster

Last night, I went to an event in Cleveland called The Wastelands. It was billed as a folk opera reimagining of Dante's Purgatorio. It was put on by a theatre and film ensemble called Children of the Wild. They were based in Massachusetts, but are migrating to Minnesota and are putting on free performances in multiple cities along the way.

The Wastelands photo by Maria Baranova-Suzuki

The venue for the event was St. John's Episcopal Church in Ohio City. The program began outside, but we were led to different areas of the grounds for different scenes. The weather was perfect for the event. It was a little chilly at one point, but that actually fit in rather well since the scene was about a character fighting off cold.

It was a very interesting performance piece. I wasn't familiar with Dante's Purgatorio, so I could only go on what I was experiencing at the time. There were a lot of intense moments where I was really invested in what the characters were going through. The music was beautiful and really set the tone wonderfully. There was some slapstick physical comedy as well. I laughed at some of it, but it sort of felt out of place and went on too long at times.

I really liked the local aspect of the work. The church's sun-soaked stained glass window was a haunting background for a scene, the empty lot next door made a great set for a fire battle, and the church's organ was incorporated into the music at one point. Near the end of the performance, they had a local author read a passage he wrote about how hard it is to sympathize with others. It was very moving.

Overall, I thought it was a great production. I found myself thinking about it a lot today.

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Caster

  03/21/16 09:04, by , Categories: General

The wheel on my home office chair broke a couple of weeks ago. I tried using super glue to fix it, but that only held for about two weeks. Since then, I've been using a kitchen stool and looking for a replacement chair. I have trouble finding a good office chair, since I'm 6'2". Most chairs aren't made for tall people. A lot of stores have chairs in a Big & Tall category, but they are pretty much made for fat people.

After getting frustrated in my search, I decided to Google how to replace chair caster wheels. One of the top results was a 56 second video featuring a little kid. Out of curiosity, I watched it. This 10 year old says something like "I'm going to show you how to replace caster wheels on a chair. First, you pull the old one out. Then, you push the new one in." And that was it.

Facepalm

Yup, it was that easy. I have a new caster on the way from Amazon.

Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving

  01/10/15 23:23, by , Categories: Quote

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty. In fact, they even believe that it is proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anybody except the "loved" person. This is the same fallacy which I have already mentioned above. Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is the right object - and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of the man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning the art, claims that he just has to wait for the right object - and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it. If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, "I love you," I must be able to say, "I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself."

Zombie Slayer

  10/27/14 23:23, by , Categories: General

Dead Mailbox

Our mailbox was hit by a car a few weeks ago. The lady who did it was nice enough to stop and pay for the damages, but it hasn't been fun replacing it. Until last week, we had to make due with some bungee cords and rope holding the splintered post together. I finally got all of the pieces I needed to put up a new one, but it wasn't as easy as the guy at the hardware store made it out to be. To make a long story short, I hammered a post spike into the ground crooked and couldn't get it back out. So, now we have a new mailbox and post that don't exactly sit right. At least it isn't falling apart and our mail will stay dry.

New Post

Now I just have to get rid of the remainder of the old post that is still sticking out of the ground. Apparently, a hack saw is not the best tool for the job.

Molly went to Lincoln, Nebraska for work last Wednesday. While she was there, she took some time to visit the capitol building. She saw a nice gated house across the street with a plaque on the gate. As she was reading the plaque, a little dog came up to her on the other side of gate. Soon, the dog's owner came up too and they had a pleasant conversation. After she left, on a hunch, she looked up the governor of Nebraska. Sure enough, she had been talking to Governor Dave Heineman!

I didn't meet any high-ranking officials while Molly was gone, but I did score some cheap tickets to see Bastille at The University of Akron on Wednesday night. The venue, E.J. Thomas Hall, was really cool looking. The opening band was Grizfolk and they were pretty solid. Bastille's performance was really good and the crowd was really it. Lots of screaming girls. My only gripe would be that the vocals were too quiet and the bass was too loud in the mix. I think Dan Smith's singing is one of the most important features of the band and there were times when I could barely hear him. Otherwise, it was a really good concert.

Bastille

Friday night, I met up with Kurk, Amy, Michael, Lisa, and baby Gracie for dinner at Bubba's Q. Molly was really jealous, but that serves her right for going to Nebraska! (just kidding!) After dinner, Kurk, Michael, and I went to Operation Zombie Strike at Swings and Things. They drive buses with mounted paintball guns through a zombie infested area where you can shoot zombies to your heart's content. The zombies were college students in layers with masks on their heads. I expected them to walk toward the bus with arms outstretched, but it was more like they were bunched up and cringing from all of the paintballs being shot at them in rapid fire. At first, I was pitying them, but then I got into it and really had a good time. A little sadistic? I don't know...

Zombies

They give you an ID card after you are all done, so you can show that you were a member of the Zombie Civilian Response Unit. Even though they had a sheet with my name written on it and I told them clearly what it was, they typed my name wrong into the computer. So, the ID card they gave me says that I'm Private Pustin Sullivan.

Nashville Trip 2014

  09/07/14 00:52, by , Categories: General

We have a vacation planned for November, but that seemed like such a long time to wait that when Southwest had a great deal on plane tickets to Nashville we snatched them up. Last week was our mini-vacation and it was rather nice.

Once we settled into our hotel on Wednesday, we walked over to Centennial Park and checked out the Parthenon. It's a full-scale replica of the Athenian original. It was closed, but the outside was impressive on its own.

Parthenon

We walked along the edge of the Vanderbilt campus and had dinner at Jackson's, which didn't impress us much. I turned in pretty early. I think I fell asleep before 9. I blame the dramamine.

Thursday morning, we had breakfast at Fido, which is right next to Jackson's. We were also underwhelmed by this restaurant. Molly said the coffee was horrible and our food was slightly less than okay.

We drove to Dickson, TN where Molly's sister, Mandy, is staying for a couple of months. She and her friends made us lunch and we had a nice visit. After that, we went back to Nashville to tour the Hatch Show Print Shop, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America.

Dustin at Hatch Show Print Shop

Molly at Hatch Show Print Shop

This was my favorite part of our Nashville vacation. It was really interesting seeing how everything is done and printing our own commemorative posters to take home with us.

PlatePrint

After the tour, I tried to find some live music for us to enjoy before meeting up with a friend for dinner. We had one unsuccessful attempt and decided to just head across town to hang out around the restaurant. It was a good thing we did, because it took us forever to get there. We were trying to go through the middle of the city where roads were backed up or blocked off because of a Tennessee Titans game, a free concert (Capital Cities! Can't believe I missed that), a Vanderbilt game were all taking place that night. Rather than being early by an hour or more, we got to the restaurant about 20 minutes before our meeting time.

We had a great visit with Molly's college roommate and her husband at the Rosepepper Cantina. The food options were the standards you would expect at a Mexican restaurant, but they were executed exceptionally well. The company was exceptional as well. We had a lot of laughs and an all around good time. After dinner, I dragged Molly to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams across the street for dessert. I had buttercream biscuit and peach ice cream which was a noteworthy experience. I don't know how biscuits work as part of an ice cream flavor, but they do.

Friday, we got up and went for a hike at Percy Warner state park. We had done a 3 mile hike a couple of weeks ago with no problem, so I didn't think this 4.5 mile trail would give us much trouble. Boy, was I wrong. At one point, we came upon a sign that looked like the one we saw at the beginning of the trail and we thought we were done. I rememeber saying to myself "That was a nice hike!" Soon, Molly pointed out that the was not the way we had come in. It turns out that we were only about halfway done. We backtracked, and before we figured out we were still on the right trail, I thought "At some point this stopped being fun and started being about survival." After a bit, we found a landmark that matched up with my map, so all was well. Although things were a bit dicey there for a while, we enjoyed the hike. Even if we were sore for a couple days afterward.

Dustin and Molly on the trail

For lunch, Molly was craving chinese and I was craving BBQ, so we just got our own lunches for seperate places near the hotel. I went to Hog Heaven BBQ, which is a rinky dink place I noticed on the way to the Parthenon on Wednesday. The size of the place belies the popularity and quality of the restaurant. I got a pulled pork sandwich with white bbq sauce on it which tasted great and hit the spot.

Mandy came out to the hotel around lunch and we all spent some time relaxing at the pool. Then we went to Third Man Records. This is Jack White's recording studio and I had read a bunch of reviews about it being a really cool place to visit. I must admit, that I was underwhelmed. It was small and quirky. I walked in and looked around for less than 5 minutes before I was pretty much ready to leave. Still, it's cool to say I've been there.

Third Man Records

Next, we hit up the Grand Ole Opry. We didn't do the tour, but we walked around it and checked out the gift shop. Shovels & Rope had played there Tuesday night, which was another great missed opportunity for seeing a good concert in Nashville.

Grand Ole Opry

We walked over to the Opryland Resort. This was a huge hotel with shops inside of it. It felt like a mix of being in a mall and on a cruise (without the ocean). We had some fun exploring the resort.

Opryland Resort

Horsing Around

Mandy and friend

For dinner, we went to Peg Leg Porker. It was pretty funny when the woman in front of us kept asking everyone else in line if they were from Nashville and no one was. Molly and I shared some dry rub ribs and they were fantistic. Hands down, the best meal we had in Nashville. After dinner, we walked to a club and finally saw some live music. The band was playing some mediocre indie rock with horrible sound tech problems and Molly got a headache pretty quick. We left after the third song.

Saturday, we had breakfast at the Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse. I had a fried egg sandwich with avocado and sprouts that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, Molly's omelette was suffering from a lack of omeletteness. A couple whole slices of bacon and a whole slice of cheese in a folded over egg do not an omelette make.

Unimpressed

After breakfast, we toured the Belle Meade plantation. It was pretty neat and the hard rain held off until we were ready to leave.

Belle Meade Plantation

Belle Meade tour guide

We grabbed lunch at Porta Via Italian Kitchen. We had some good pizza and I enjoyed a bit of housemade gelato for dessert.

The bad weather caused our flight to initially be delayed by almost an hour, but we actually ended up getting home on time.

Molly and I talked about our trip and we both agreed that Nashville reminded us of Cleveland a bit and we liked it. Not a ton of sights to see if you don't like country music, but it's a good place to relax and enjoy some warmer weather.

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