Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

Edinburgh At Night

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Old bricks breathe and in Edinburgh they seem to sigh in defiance of the gaudy shops hocking scarves and scotch. That it held any character at all was all due to the rock and stones that have been here for hundreds of years. I was happy to walk those streets and crawl through the underground. Ghosts walk there among the barely living.

 

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The English Countryside Is Also Charming

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Because my friends Sue and Mark are wonderful humans, I got a chance at a home-cooked meal and a hike in the English countryside. It was a much needed antidote to a week in a cubicle.

Forests all look like forests, except they don’t. The trees were all just a bit too gnarly and the underbrush had too many ferns and grasses and not enough shrubs and brambles. It was home, but also obviously not a hike in the Pacific Northwest nor the Midwest or Appalachian Mountains.

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Newcastle Upon Tyne Is Charming

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I spent a couple of weeks in Newcastle in November. I spent most of my time in a cubicle learning how my co-workers move billions of dollars around, but when I had some free time, I got to see the city a little.

I won’t get into the details, but am having technical difficulty using Lightroom which means that I am unable to edit this stuff. It’s a little maddening, because I think these would have more punch with a little judicious cropping and color adjustments. But hey, I have procrastinated putting these up for long enough.

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100 Books While 40: GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL

Book: Guns, Germs, and Steel
Author: Jared Diamond
Published: 1997

White people came to dominate the globe not due to inherent superior intellect but due to geographical advantages. Also, people are horrible. That’s my summary of this book.

This book is fascinating, but also very difficult to get through. History’s story arc is mostly thus, bully takes advantage of the powerless to pointlessly expand his power and yet still dies anyway. The end. And the retelling of this same story arc is exhausting. The science parts of the book are fascinating, but cannot over come the emotional drain.

The only way I was able to make it through this book was by listening to the audio book. Which essentially means I could zone out for some parts when I couldn’t listen to was felt like the 115th story about people killing off species of animals or other humans just because.

This dark reality was particularly hard to take given politics today. That story… Bully kills and consumes with impunity until he dies. The end. Here we are again.


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100 Books While 40: ALICE MUNRO: SELECTED STORIES

Book: Alice Munro: Selected Stories
Author: Alice Munro
Published: 1996

I lost control of the URL for my blog. It took several months for me to reclaim it. That would be a good reason to have several months without a post. But it has been more than that. I haven’t been to shows or reading, and since those were typically my topics I haven’t written.

I’ve been missing the blogging, not so much because I’ve had much to say, but because it motivated me to read. I’m not sure why I can articulate why I withhold reading from myself. So. Here’s a halting start to the blogging so as to start the reading.

I finished Alice Munro’s short stories months ago, and now I am only left with a vague feeling of wistfulness for her stories with their domesticated desperation. Regardless of the objective level of drama in our lives subjectively we still have the highest highs and lowest lows. I put down her stories with the gentle ache that we each face our own unique circumstances to the same universal heartbreak and joy.

In this way we are all the same.

Now then. I am swirling in a nest non-fiction books that are very long and very detailed. I think it will be weeks before I manage to finish one of them. I am looking at you ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN and TEAM OF RIVALS. *sigh* I will be back. I just don’t know when.


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MPMF17 Sunday In Pictures

Lightening thoughts. Flint Eastwood dresses and talks like the little girl in True Grit, except for all the cursing. She commands the stage like the most epic arena rock god. That show was a whole bowl of stuff that makes no sense together. That’s what made it something I will never forget. Go. Go see her crazy ass.

Charly Bliss was super stinking fun. Also, go, go see them. Urban Renewal Project has an army of horn players, and a rapper who will improvise a rap about whatever flotsam and jetsam you have in your pockets or purse. Familiar refrain. Go. Go see them.

It was fun to shoot, although I am terribly out of practice. I forgot how to format my memory cards, that’s how long its been since I’ve done any shooting.

It was great to see so many different acts. This location is no MPMF of old, but it’s a massive improvement over the parking lot. The line-up was great. My only suggested improvement for next year is to get more food trucks. They had some, but considering how limited the options for quick evening eats are around The Taft, I think a wider variety of trucks would help.

See you next year!