Archive for shawshank

Shawshank and Urban Bunnies

Posted in Ohio, Travel with tags , , , , on July 14, 2010 by melvisx

Today we made the trek to the Mansfield Reformatory where the Shawshank Redemption was filmed.  It was an awesome building with a mediocre tour.  Our guide was enthusiastic enough but the place is an echo chamber, his voice was deep and he liked to mumble and tell long stories.  On this trip I learned, among other things, that a) I need a better camera, and/or b) I need to take a photography class.  Many of the photos I was able to take did not turn out because it was too dark, or I moved slightly while the shutter was trying to do it’s job.  I also learned that part of the movie “Air Force One” with Harrison Ford was filmed there, which explains Lenin and Stalin below, and also that Li’l Wayne filmed a video there; there is a cell painted red on the outside with gold trim and a gold toilet to prove in one of the cell blocks.  I enjoyed the tour a lot despite the droning tour guide (I was spoiled by the Christmas Story House where we were allowed to roam free), and the guy with the cane that was complaining about the stairs.  Dude, they told you there were going to be lots of stairs. It was cool to see the former living quarters of the wardens and their families, and the areas where Shawshank was filmed including the warden’s office and the boarding house room where Brooks and Red stayed (yes that’s in the prison).  The cell blocks and tiers had a lot of paint peeling off and the air was a bit musty but still super cool.  Our guide also pointed out the cell marked with an ‘x’ by the Ghost Hunters for those of you who watch the show, you’ll know what that means, for those that don’t, you’ll have to ask me later. ( One of the workers did tell us that he had had some experiences in there that were kind of creepy.  Once he and a co-worker heard some children laughing when he knew they were the only two people in the building.)  At one point in the tour we were able to walk up into one of the guard towers and one of the workers said we could wave at the inmates in the prison behind Mansfield Reformatory and they might wave back.  I thought that would be fun, if not a little cruel.  Unfortunately it rained so I did not get a chance to wave.  We did notice that there was a toilet in the guard tower that was not enclosed behind a wall.  The wall surrounding the observation room was about 3 and a half feet tall, and on top of that was about another 4 or 5 feet of class 360 degrees around.  So even when you were sitting down doing your ‘business’ you could still do your job and keep an eye on things.   I was hoping to have time to stop by the Bible Walk, Ohio’s largest wax museum, on the way back from the reformatory, but gosh darn it, we ran out of time.

No Whining, crying, outright blubbering or the likes thereof….WHATSOEVER! This is a respectable jail

Li'l Wayne Cell

Upon return from the Mansfield Reformatory we went to dinner with Ten’s folks.  We had some awesome Italian food.  I have never, and I mean never, had such good eggplant parmesan, the rest of the meal was just as good.  I’m not sure why but the restaurant had a regular radio station tuned in and they were doing some sort of theme relating to successful long term relationships.  Anyway this acoustic song came on and Ten queried, “Who sings this?”

“Um, I don’t remember, I know it was twins though,” I replied.

“Oh yeah they both had long hai–NELSON!”  This tangent will become important shortly.

After dinner we went urban adventuring again to a large factory that, according to Ten, blew up, or out to be more specific.  Apparently there was an explosion on the inside which blew all of the windows out.  It was cool wandering around, but again I was limited by my camera and picture taking abilities.  I did manage to snap a couple of good shots though.  From the factory we ventured up the street to a couple of abandoned houses.  The first one we went in was sad, well, in truth they’re all sad, but this one still had a family photo on the wall.  Furniture was strewn about, a couple of couches, a TV, some clothes, some 8-track tapes.  I was poking my head into the kitchen when I heard Ten say, “NO WAY!” Followed by hearty laughter and a query, “Guess what I found,” she asked holding a cassette tape.  I walked over, looked at the tape, it was……NELSON!  HA! Unfreaking-believable!

We tooled around some more in the Tauras but it was getting a little too dark.  As we were driving along, something caught the corner of my eye darting across a lawn (if you could call it a lawn, it was more of an overgrown weed field where there used to be a house).  I thought it was a cat or a squirrel, but it was a rabbit!  After that I saw about hopping around in different hoods.  The bunnies are takin back the hoods!

Spooky infirmary in the middle of the factory


Hey, ho, Ohi-o

Posted in Ohio, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by melvisx

After lunch in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland we saw:

Crazy Mullets

Driving through Warren, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown we saw:

And wondered, “How do you get in?”

Just a little further down the road we saw:

And thought, “What a great place for this, right in front of the Super K-Mart.”

Hey, ho, Ohi-o

Posted in Ohio, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by melvisx

Saturday started with a trip to Kravitz Deli a place that has been in operation since 1943, and the owner Rose Kravitz still works there, she’s in her 80’s. On the way there we heard polka on the radio, and the silly Germans in the previous post. From there we headed to Mill Creek Park one of the largest urban parks in the country; bigger even than Central Park. The park was gorgeous and was definitely an oasis. Within Mill Creek park is, well, a mill built into the hillside on the river. The mill itself has been there since the mid-1800’s and was grinding flour when we visited. It was amazing to see the engineering involved in the workings of the mill. We meandered back to Youngstown to meet up with Ten’s folks at the Art and Jazz festival and on the way back saw a closed down gas station that apparently also sold kerosene; hadn’t seen one of them before. Wandered around the art show for a bit, grabbed a gyro, then hopped in the car in search of a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign painted on the side of a building.

We saw the sign in a slightly mediocre documentary about Youngstown produced by Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini. We were obsessed with finding the sign until we got distracted by the silly gas station. I say silly gas station because there was a LOT going on. First we were trying to turn into the station but some lady had tried to turn down a one way street next to the station and was confused as to how to get herself out of the predicament; she was blocking the entrance to the station. Fortunately a good samaritan guided her into the station. The confused woman entered the mini mart at the station shortly after us asking for a pencil because she wanted to play the lottery. She was having trouble communicating this to the Middle Eastern cashier behind the plexiglass in her thick Asian accent. Fortunately the tall black woman with gold hair stepped in to help, “Why you givin’ this lady such a hard time?! All she want is a pencil; GIVE HER A PENCIL.” Meantime several people on their way to work at the hospital came in and got stuff and the confused asian driver seemed to know several of them, chit chatting with them. While Ten was pumping gas the tall black woman was trying to get some kids to pump up the bass on their tunes and Ten pointed out a crackhead prostitute by the door to the mini mart (this was explained in more detail in a previous post). We left the prostitute, doctors, and confused driver in search of the Pabst sign.

While driving around Ten decided to pull over in what I thought was a fairly random spot. She parked in front of an abandoned office/warehouse that we found an open door too and let ourselves in. Among the dirt and piles of stuff on the floor were several pay checks that were apparently never mailed, some furniture and I tire or two. We walked up the street from there and gained entrance into another warehouse that filled our lungs with nastiness, so we exited fairly quickly. Down the street from there was a school built in 1929 that we explored for a bit. In each place I found it odd that there was so much paper, and books, and other such stuff left strewn about. In the school there were whole bookcases with books left, as if people just walked away. It was all pretty fun and surreal at the same time, and neither of us fell down a hole or had anything fall on our heads.

Abandoned office

Side of abandoned office

School down the street from the abandoned office.

Thought the sold sign was ironic

Almost forgot. After the art show we walked over to the Arms Museum of Local History which was located inside an awesome Arts and Crafts style home. In the basement of the museum was a hands on room where kids could play with different period things, and games. There was one activity called, “Place the immigrants in steerage”. Priceless.

Gorgeous Craftsman door on Army Museum of Local History

Place the immigrants in steerage. This made us laugh out loud!

For dinner we went to Avalon Gardens Pizza located in a neighborhood that is, well, not so nice as evidenced by the warning in their parking lot and the bullet holes in the door right next door. The pizza was awesome, best I’ve ever had, and we escaped without incident. We headed back downtown, went to a martini bar, walked into the jazz festival to hear some Spyro Gyra, decided rather quickly that was a bad idea, seeing as how Spyro Gyra sucks, and left. We wound up hanging out with Ten’s friend Robert who showed us the patio he was making out of granite scraps from his job installing countertops. As we stepped into the back yard we were serenaded by Roberts neighbors who were having a fire in their back yard and singing Guns ‘n’ Roses songs; they weren’t bad…until they went for the high notes.

Mill at Mill Creek Park

Bridge at Mill Creek Park with mill in background

Me at Mill Creek Park


Sign in parking lot of pizza place.

Door next to pizza place.

Ethnic Diversity

Posted in Ohio, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by melvisx

I grew up with the misguided notion that California was ethnically diverse, or maybe I just confused ethnic diversity with being accepting of people who were different from me. The eastern part of the country is far more diverse than California. At the museum of Labor and Industry there were all kinds of people represented, mostly Italian, but also Polish, Czech’s, Slovaks, Hungarians (Hunky’s), Greeks, and numerous others. I was particularly struck by this diversity as Ten was surfing the radio dial and tuned in some polka music and the German tunes which you can hear by clicking here: \”Silly Germans\”

Hey, ho, Ohi-o

Posted in Ohio, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by melvisx

It’s a little damp and threatening thunder and lightening today so we hit a couple of museums. The first was the Butler Museum of American Art which normally has an Edward Hopper piece hanging, but it is currently on loan to a museum in Rome; doggone it. The Butler was the first museum exclusively dedicated to American art. Saw some great landscape paintings, the Lincoln “Rail Splitter”, some Wyeth’s, and some fun hologram art. One installation allowed me to take a picture of 121 images of myself; who wouldn’t want to see that? After that we headed downtown for some pizza and I snapped a photo of the plaque dedicated to the Warner Brothers, yes, the people responsible for Bugs Bunny are from Youngstown. While munching on pizza some dude came in to use the facilities then had an angry conversation with someone on his cell phone involving lots of expletives and stuff like, “I’m not gonna do that shit man!” We exited the pizza place into an apparent crack deal. It seemed like one dude was giving a crackhead some money for food, and the crackhead wanted to give him some crack in return, but the first dude said, “I don’t get high”

“You don’t drink, smoke, or nuttin’? Dat’s gud.”

“Ain’t no thing, man.”

From there we went to the Museum of Industry and Labor which is dedicated mostly to the steel industry. It was a well done museum and I got to dress up like a steel worker and pose with some as well. The museum also had some very informative and helpful signs for the workers which you can see in the photos. We arrived home to a mildly panicked 12 year old german shepard/lab mix named Cadence. She was sensing the impending thunderstorm we think. She’s calmed down….for now.

Bierstadt-forgot to get the title

121 images of me.

Wonder if the buffalo are fooled

Yosemite Valley

Youngstown, home of the Warner Brothers

I see these all over.

Only half the gear and I was super hot

Samuel P. Gompers quote for my history peeps.

Multilingualism is ingrained in our history.

Guess it