Tag Archives: Ohio

Photos from Ohio

I feel like I’ve made a reasonably comfortable transition to my new home, for the most part.

But the parts outside of that most part are the funny ones. And fortunately, just for you, I’ve documented many of them. So view these and experience the life that is me:

Tree jailAs part of local initiatives aimed at being “tough on crime,” several miscreant trees have been imprisoned in the past year. This is a community that refuses to allow tree-on-tree crime to take root.

Horrifying bunny cakesThey literally made this cake out of a bunny, which they first compressed into a plastic bunny-shaped mask that stares into your soul, plaintively asking “Why would you do such a thing?”

Drinking vinegar

This is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen here, and I’ve seen a 2-pound, 8-ounce jar of “pickled rope bologna” that had a sticky film and had developed suction sticking it to the shelf. No, seriously.Pickled rope bologna

Pac-Man Skill CraneI could cope if this were just a Pac-Man–themed skill crane machine, even though there’s absolutely nothing in Pac-Man that connects to the skill crane mechanic, or even any attempt at incorporating Pac-Man branding apart from the name panel. But the fact that the prizes are all pastel-colored sheep is really messing with my head. Was “shepherd” Pac-Man’s original career before he quit the rat race to subsist on dots and hunt psychedelic ghosts? Is Pac-Man Scottish? Those are the only possibilities I see.

Corner Cone sign

Yellow Springs is sort of the local hippie enclave outside the big local military base. It’s the kind of place where businesses simultaneously sell ice cream and rent bikes. (The ice cream is good, at least.)

By all accounts, my new bank is really good. But grammar isn’t its jam. (Also, they believe my first name is “First Name,” which is how I’d like to be addressed from here on out.)

Henry David Thorough's shack, or a facsimile.This shack is noteworthy for one of three reasons. It might be Henry David Thoreau’s shack, or it might be a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s shack, or I might have my story completely and utterly wrong.

Karen Knotts show poster

This is the kind of place where you can be famous for being the daughter of Don Knotts. She’s like an extremely rural version of Dannii Minogue.

PizzadillaNo. Just… no.

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The Feral Elliptical Machine

I feel like I’ve made a reasonably successful transition to Ohio, but I am still capable of being surprised by many of the things I see.

For example, this:

Feral elliptical machine in the park

What we have here is an elliptical machine in the wild. While wild ellipticals (apparatibus ellipticis ferox) do exist, they are extraordinarily rare outside of their range (primarily along the eastern seaboard from northern Georgia to southern Maine, but particularly common in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island). As a result, I formed the conclusion that it was, in fact, a domestic elliptical (apparatibus ellipticis mansueti) that had escaped or (cruelly) been released by its owner.

My hunch was confirmed when I approached the machine. Wild ellipticals are often hostile, but this specimen welcomed my approach and even nuzzled my face in a friendly manner.

Me approaching the feral elliptical.

Sadly, the elliptical had been wounded, though whether it was the result of an injury suffered in the wild or abuse from its owner, I cannot say for certain.

The elliptical's injury.

However, I like to believe that any injuries were relatively non-traumatic, as the machine exhibited no fear of me. In fact, after a sufficient introduction, the machine even consented to allow me to ride it.

Riding the Feral Elliptical

Sadly, I was not able to provide the forever home that this elliptical deserves, as my apartment has a strict no-pets policy and the local animal control agency refused any responsibility for elliptical machines of this nature.

So I bound its wounds as effectively as I could, gave it a handful of batteries and plugs, and sent it on its way with all the best thoughts I could muster.

The next time I passed that spot, it had left, but I believe it had everything it needed to have a delightful life, as it was in a pleasant park with ready access to forests, fields, water, and electrical outlets. The alternative is simply too horrifying to contemplate, because elliptical prostitutes never live happy lives.

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Biking in Ohio

When I was doing my final interview for my new job, one of the things the employer highlighted was the extensive bike paths. Apparently there are more cubic feet per capita than any place in the history of time or something. (That’s not a real statistic, because I don’t remember the exact details.)

I may not know the exact details of Ohio’s bike path network, but I’ve had the chance to ride it a lot (for having been here only five days) and I can say: It’s cool.

It started the day I moved. For some reason it was a hundred bucks cheaper to return the U-Haul to Dayton, rather than Xenia (which is where I now live). It’s only about 10 miles, so I figured it wouldn’t be too tough to bike back (even after doing the ‘hauling heavy shit’ part of the move that day). But, as it turned out, there was a bike path that went almost directly from the U-Haul store to my new place.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a 10-mile ride that quick.

The path is paved and smooth, a lovely ride through woods near a creek, and there were only a handful of roads that it crossed where bikers even had to slow down to check for cars—which there rarely were.

Even better: Xenia is the county seat and located geographically in roughly the center of the county. So there are several of these paths that head to the other cities in the county (and in some cases beyond; I think it’s possible to bike to both Columbus and Cincinnati on them, although don’t hold me to that), and they all intersect here. So, in addition to using the bike to get around for errands and getting the stuff I need post-move (which has also been really easy; the paths have taken me close to where I need to go, and on-street biking in other places has been perfectly fine), I took a bike trip out to Yellow Springs this weekend.

Yellow Springs is a little town with a bit of a hippy vibe and a nice downtown with bunches of cafes and little artistic shops. Also, here’s the view on the way:


OK, that’s not the only view, it’s only one of the views on the way, but still: pretty cool.

One drawback to biking in Ohio: While the bike path game is on point—I’d even say
“on fleek” if I were confident what that means and that it were still a term—the bike rack game is less so. In Chicago, racks are everywhere. In fact, they’re almost a nuisance: marauding packs of feral bike racks roam the streets, jumping out in front of traffic, pooping everywhere, and rebending their pipes to form rude gestures. In Ohio, the concept of attaching a bent steel pipe to the ground where bikes can be securely locked is completely foreign.

OK, I exaggerate for comic effect; there are some bike racks. But I have also been to largish commercial centers—like the strip mall with one of the big supermarkets—that don’t have any, so I’ve had to lock my bike to a fence or a shopping cart corral or a sleeping Weimaraner. And that doesn’t include the rack that I saw that existed (Yay!) but was built so that the rack supported the tire but kept the bike so far from any metal that my U-lock was useless (Boo!). Unless I locked my bike on the side of it rather than in one of the bike slots, which I did.

So the lack of bike racks hasn’t been a real impediment to biking, but it’s a bit of culture shock.

In general, biking feels very different here than in Chicago. Chicago has done right by bikers: There are plenty of bike lanes and other facilities to make biking possible, which is a minor miracle. But like other forms of transportation, biking in Chicago is stressful: There are almost always lots of other bikes, cars, and pedestrians, all of which could move randomly at any time, that you have to worry about. It was still my first choice of transportation, but it was transportation, rather than recreation. Here, it’s much easier to relax and enjoy the ride.

 

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Ohio Goals

The purpose of this post is sort of to process the impending change and the potential things that can come out of it. Normally my goals are hyper-specific, and I like that approach, but this is going to be much more general. More sort of guiding principles that I should be living by, now that some of the barriers or crutches that I’ve had will be gone.

Fundamentally, it’s about taking better control of things. Fitness-wise, in the past several years, I’ve used several unhealthy things as a crutch to overcome the job-hunting despair and be able to function. It’s kind of worked; I haven’t gotten worse, healthwise, and there’s even been some progress in a few areas, but those things have to be relegated to special occasions rather than things to get me through the day. Diet is the biggest area for improvement here. (Working out, honestly, was the best part of nearly every day for me, and the single biggest contributor to my mental health, to the point where it may have been a crutch. It’s not the worst problem to have.)

Probably more important is to have better control over my career. This has hurt me a lot. There was one position that I was over-devoted to; I thought that I would spend my entire career there. And when it went bad, I didn’t have a lot of options, which splurted me into the job-hunt despair and desperation. In this job… well, I’d love for it to be a lifelong fit, but I also want to have alternatives. That means better professional connections (which the job will be supporting as a matter of course, because they’re beneficial within the position), a stronger devotion to my personal writing, and taking responsibility for making sure that what I’m doing at the new job will be beneficial for both the job and for me.

I also want to have stronger connections to the community. I didn’t have those for the past several years, and with some logic—I knew that relocation was in the cards, so building those connections wasn’t a big priority. But it contributed to isolation, which contributed to unhappiness, which contributed to aforementioned crutch usage. This is an area that should be easier; my new employer even commented that being active in the community is, if not required, strongly encouraged as a practice.

Is there more? Maybe, but nothing I can think of now that needs to be shared here.

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