Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A sure sign of Spring

Solar Ferris Wheel
Originally uploaded by Bob Rhubart
The object in this photo is a little solar-powered Ferris wheel, maybe a foot tall. It came into my possession a couple of years ago in one of those weird, overly complex office Christmas gift exchange rituals. There is an electrical cord, but I've never plugged it in.

Though I don't remember how it ended up this way, exactly, the Ferris wheel is positioned in my office window so that at pretty much the same point each Spring, the morning sun hits the little solar panel (the rectangular gizmo on the right side of the base) at just the right angle to produce enough juice to turn the wheel. The little solar panel faces east-southeast. The Ferris wheel started turning last Thursday, which, as it happens, was the first day of spring 2008.

If no clouds block the sun, the wheel will turn until about 10am every morning, until sometime late in the summer when the sun's trajectory changes. Then the wheel goes to sleep until the next spring.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life in the City with the Hole in the Middle

Some days are just weird.

This morning, driving up W.139th toward the Triskett Rapid Station, I saw a person back out of his/her driveway directly into a parked car. The person paused for a moment, then drove off.

At the station, the train, once again, was late. When it finally arrived there were few seats left. As I took up a position in the aisle, I watched as a women quietly but firmly said "excuse me" to a young guy, maybe seventeen or eighteen, who was slouched completely across one of the seats.

He looked at her blankly.

She asked him to make room to allow her to sit.

Still the stare from the kid, now with an obvious touch of who-the-hell-are-you defiance.

The woman repeated her request, a little more forcefully, and when the kid did absolutely nothing, she wedged herself into the seat, kind of hip-checking the kid so he had to make room.

Looking into his eyes, she remarked on the kid's lack of manners. He just pulled his hoodie over his face and went back to slouching, occasionally laughing and making snide remarks to no one.

The woman, bless her, never backed down. I wouldn't want her angry with me.

This afternoon, I went down to the newstand in the Penton Bldg to get a Diet Coke. The very nice lady who cashiers there was obviously upset about something, nearly in tears. When asked, she mentioned that someone had stolen the money out of a jar on the counter that she was using to collect donations for some sort of charity. All I could do was shake my head in disgust.

"It's an ugly world," I said.

"And it's gettin' worse," one of the other customers said.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Because we need something to look forward to

Cleveland Lakefront

Looking north from the 16th floor of the Penton Media Building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on a gorgeous July day. Note the sunlight and the green things and the absence of ice on Lake Erie

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Wind Ate My Hat -- and other tales of Winter Misery

This morning, after taking about 20 paces out of the unfortunately named Terminal Tower, one of those  75 mph gusts of wind that are all too familiar to those who work in downtown Cleveland (The City with the Hole in the Middle) blew my favorite baseball cap to its new home in a distant galaxy.

The week started off on a sour note anyway.

On Monday I drove, as usual, to Triskett Station to take the train into the city. That plan was shot to hell because North America's Best Public Transportation System didn't send any plows to clear the parking lot until 8am.  There was no place to park, so I drove to work.

On Tuesday, the Triskett Station parking lot had been plowed, but that left every section of the parking lot ringed by mini-Himalayas of plowed snow.  There was no direct route to get from my parking space to the station entrance that didn't require ropes, pitons, and Sherpas. Which reminds me -- I have to call the folks at Base Camp to let them know I'm ok.

The situation downtown isn't much different, and the Giant Hole in Public Square only adds to the aggravation, because I can no longer take the diagonal route across the Square, past Key Tower, and the across the Mall to get to the Penton Bldg.  It'll take months to fill the hole, and then an extra six weeks just to clear away the yellow tape that is wrapped around everything.

Have I mentioned that I'm tired of winter?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I got my sticker

I voted at 7:30 this morning at the Dwyer Senior Center in Bay Village.  No line, no waiting at all.  The low-tech, pen-and-paper approach was a bit of a surprise, but the learning curve was not an issue.

Afterward, a very cold, uncomfortable young man in the parking lot asked me to sign a petition to allow casino gambling in Ohio.  I like casinos.  I told him where he could find coffee.