Spring Give Me a Break!

Posted By on April 23, 2007

It’s been weeks since I’ve blogged and there’s much to catch up on, like our Florida vacation, a downer event right next door, and why Nine Inch Nails doesn’t matter as much to me anymore. First things first: the vacation.

We spent a week in Fort Lauderdale, staying at a modernized Doubletree with some finish problems. The elevators clanked, the engineer never did figure out how to keep the HDTV from switching on at 6:30 every morning, and the front desk seemed a tad shaky. Rousting me to pay my bill before I left didn’t improve my mood, but apparently someone had gotten our schedule wrong. The accusatory tone was not welcome. As for Fort Lauderdale itself, it’s not the best family vacation area in Florida. Next time, we’ll go to Naples, where the rest of my family really wanted to go. The sun and warmth were great, but the vacation was more stressful than it should have been. My losing $600 in American Express Rewards certificates for an Avis car rental didn’t help, either (my dumb). And when AmEx twice told me it would mail duplicates of the certificates to the hotel, then didn’t, and then a third AmEx “customer service” representative told me I was out of luck and would have to eat the expense, I was miffed. I’ve always liked AmEx, but this incident did nothing to increase my affection.

Very close to home indeed: My next-door neighbor lost his job. Three weeks vacation pay, no severance, after eight years. His wife lost her job in March. These facts affirmed my belief that the Cleveland area is not only losing its line workers, it’s losing its brains. I suspect that if my neighbors can land work in Texas (where a company has expressed interest in hiring the man), they’ll leave. They’re both attorneys so they shouldn’t have trouble getting work, though in Cleveland, that might not be easy. A sad development, even though being laid off frees the man from a hateful work situation where his bosses have chronically nicked-and-dimed him and forced a non-compete that has hindered him from looking into alternatives. Now the field’s relatively open to him. I hope the family lands on its feet. That’s likely to be someplace other than Cleveland.

On the new Nine Inch Nails Year Zero CD: I’ve been a fan of Trent Reznor’s efforts since 1988, when I saw the embryonic Nine Inch Nails at the Phantasy in Lakewood. His best stuff is stunning, NIN’s live shows largely riveting. The new album is too long, too doomy, lyrically repetitious even though sonically, it’s as well-crafted as anything else in the dark NIN canon. I just found myself less willing than before to slog through the murky graphics and muffled vocals to get at the core of the new album, a paranoid picture of a bleak near future. I suspect I’ll turn to Year Zero every so often for sonic stimulation, but I care less than I used to. Seems NIN and I are growing older at different rates.


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I'm a veteran critic and business writer who reads and listens and writes about music, books, hotels and travel. I've been in the business for many years and still enjoy it. My pride and joy is my book, Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CarloWolff