Ka, The Night's Gambit

Ka, The Nightís Gambit

The most compulsively listenable hip-hop album of the year. It is, in critic parlance, a ďgrower,Ē though. Which is understandable when the most-often used descriptors of The Nightís Gambit are: hazy, hypnotic, monotone, psychedelic, headphone rap, patient. With few hooks or hard drum thwacks, this isnít an album many will take to; itís definitely not one to bump in your car. But it is one, if given time, youíll want to keep on repeat while you go about your day. Or night. Or, simply, always. Never hitting stop, because you canít, you wonít.

Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival

Marietta, Ohio

I love my hometown. Had job prospects been brighter, I might never have left. This festival, held Aug. 8-11, is a pretty great, low-key showcase for why. Named one of National Geographicís 100 best adventure towns, Marietta has dozens of miles of road and dirt trails, two mighty rivers, a brewery and a pretty great beer bar/music hall. If youíre an adventurous sort and are looking for a brief escape from Columbus, I highly recommend the trip. Iíll be leading up the 3-mile trail run.

Lynda Barry

I canít draw for s---. But Lynda Barry ó and I mean this will all due respect ó makes me not really care. See, she canít really draw either, but that hasnít stopped her from becoming a well-respected writer and artist. The hardest part about reading her books, which are sort-of how-tos for drawing and journaling, is sticking with them when wells of inspiration spring up and you want to pick up a journal, a napkin, an envelope ó any blank piece of paper, really ó and just doodle.

Iced coffee

I like my coffee black, but for some reason it had never occurred to me that Iíd like my black coffee over ice. That all changed when I tried One Lineís cold-drip coffee during a brief break from ComFest. Now, Iím hooked. Iíve since made cold-brewed coffee at home and bought it at several area coffee shops. Theyíre all pretty delicious, but itís the smoothness at Short Northís One Line that snagged me. Now I canít not order one if Iím anywhere near the Short North.

Aimless early morning bike rides

Iíve been waking up earlier and earlier on the weekends for several years now. The product of growing old, I suppose. My wife isnít there yet, so when Iím restless I hope on my bike and take whichever road seems appealing at the time. Itís a great way to learn the lay of the city, but I love the unexpected discoveries I stumble upon best. This weekend, for instance, I saw an albino squirrel in Harrison West and sat on a bench in Goodale Park dedicated to Norma J. McPeak, the martini queen of the Short North.