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All posts for the month July, 2015

In an attempt to remember all of the places that I’ve visited, I asked my dad to dig up all of our old photo albums.  I originally just intended to scan in the travel-related photos, but the project just kept getting bigger and bigger.  I now have scanned in more than 2,000 photographs and am on what I had originally planned to be my final photo album, but my dad has found five boxes of albums, so I suspect I may just be getting started.  And it’s not just albums. About three weeks ago, I dug out an old photo box that my now-ex and I bought to put our photos in since we didn’t have the discipline to put them into albums.  I just got effectively all of them scanned in.  I say “effectively” because my son had a pretty good eye for photography from a very young age. When he was three, we started letting him have those disposable cameras.  A stack about two inches high of the photos in that box are likely to be his and I have yet to get them scanned in.<!–more–>

My current album is mostly photos of my mom and her family from the 1940s.  Back when my mom was alive a cousin said that he was doing digital photo restoration, but she “heard” (and I am pretty sure I know from whom she “heard” this) that converting to digital is a waste of time.  Then she gave me the spiel about how because of technology, we wouldn’t be able to access digital photos forever, but anyone with eyes can see printed photographs forever.  I offered to do the scanning so that she could just send the disk to the cousin.  And I actually got a start on the project.  I got two photograph albums in (those photos are on a different external drive than the one I have attached to my computer right now) when everything sort of fell apart.  My mom died and my marriage ended.  My now-ex also took the scanner, since it was technically his.  As a result, stopped scanning the photos.  The album that I am on now was my next one up and I really wish I had done this album first or second, because if my mom had seen the shape of some of these photos, she would have agreed wholeheartedly with scanning them in.  A number of these photos are faded almost beyond recognition, and some are actually falling apart.  In an ideal universe, perhaps leaving the prints alone would work.  But right now, when these photos are 70 years old, I am thrilled to be able to preserve them as they are.

And I know that technology will change, but one of the sources I found says that the life expectancy of an “unmanaged” collection of digital photos (by “unmanaged” they mean that no one is there to port them over to new technology) is 20 years.  I fully hope to be here longer than that.  If all goes as planned, I have at least 30 to go and am doing my best to make it another 50.  I have too much traveling to do to die in the next 20 years.  Just in case, however, I have asked my son to donate a hard drive with all of this work on it to a library or archive after my death.  If I am not here to manage my photos, then an organization that exists to preserve memories can do it for me.

On that cheerful note, on to explaining the reference to Cincinnati in my post title.  Sometime when I was a small child, someone referred to something that had gotten out of hand as it having “eaten Cincinnati.”  I am not sure who it was or what the context was, and Google is not helping me.  However, it stuck and now I use it the same way.  Only in this case, I can say that this project may really have eaten Cincinnati, since I have Cincinnati (circa 1987) right here:

Cincinnati, from Covington, Kentucky

Cincinnati, August 1987, taken from across the Ohio River, in Covington, Kentucky.

I know that I should probably be doing October of 2014, since I’m sort of working my way outward from January of 2015.  This issue has an article on Nero in it, though, and I went to Rome in July of 2014, so I’m skipping ahead a bit.  Also, October of 2014 is probably somewhere in my son’s bedroom.  I’ll get to it once I find it. (note: I found it later, in between two Nature Conservancy magazines.)

The Evolution of Diet, by Ann Gibbons, photographs by Matthieu Paley

The Evolution of Diet talks about the “Paleo diet,” which posits that people should be eating a meat-based diet that limits, or eliminates, beans, grains, and dairy products. The theory is that the human genome hasn’t evolved in the last ten thousand or so years.  It starts out speaking kind of positively about the Paleo diet, arguing that the hunter-gatherers’ inclusion of meat in the diet is part of what allowed us to develop advanced brains.  However, as the article progresses, we get farther from this argument.  Gibbons quotes Amanda Henry, who has found evidence that humans have been eating grains and tubers for at least the last hundred thousand years.  Gibbons also quotes Sarah Tishkoff, who makes the point that humans did not stop evolving ten thousand years ago.  We are still evolving and many populations have evolved to digest lactose and starches that others have not.  Oneof the quotes that is highlighted is “The real hallmark of being human isn’t our taste for meat but our ability to adapt to many habitats and to create many healthy diets.” Continue Reading

We went on the Statue Cruises cruise to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on our first full day in New York City.  I don’t like to leave things to the last minute, but I am also afraid of setting up a schedule that turns out to be unfeasible once I get on my trip. When planning my trips, these two sort of sit in tension with one another until eventually I decide that the time is right to make definite plans.  July is one of those months where tickets to the crown of the Statue of Liberty tend to sell out six months ahead of time. As a result, by the time I scheduled our Statue of Liberty day, there were no tickets to the crown available.  However, I was the one who really wanted to climb to the top.  My son wasn’t enthusiastic about climbing 377 steps.  So I got pedestal tickets, which turned out to be an excellent compromise.  From the indoor part at the top of the pedestal, you can see the inside of the statue (which was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who would go on to design the Eiffel Tower six years later), and which was what I wanted my son to see. Continue Reading

I signed up for the TripAdvisor app on Facebook years ago.  I just went there to see if I could find some kind of sign-up date or something, to no avail.

At any rate, since my stated travel goal is to go “everywhere,” I figure that this would be a pretty good way to track.  I count a place as somewhere I’ve been if I’ve stayed overnight there, or if I’ve visited someone who lived there, or if I visited some kind of local attraction there.  There may be other criteria, but those are the main ones. Continue Reading

I made my first trip to New York City as part of a family vacation in 1988.  There is a whole backstory to that, which I will tell as part of my travel memories at a later date.  While my parents and I were, I think, walking from our hotel to the United Nations Headquarters, we took the walkway along the Park Avenue Viaduct through the Helmsley Building.  When we came out the other side, I realized that we were close to Grand Central Terminal.  I asked my folks if we could walk the couple hundred feet to Grand Central so that I could see it, but they didn’t want to go out of our way, so I didn’t get to see the station on that trip.

My son has always been a fan of trains, and with a Midtown Manhattan hotel, I knew that we would be able to fit a trip to Grand Central Station into the week somewhere.  As it turns out, when we checked Google Maps for a subway trip to Battery Park for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruise, the best way from where we were was the 4 or 5 train from Grand Central.  We had about three hours to get to Battery Park, so that gave us plenty of time to explore the station. Continue Reading

This is going to be kind of a downer of an entry.  First, we have an article on how parasites change the behavior of their hosts.  Second, we return to Nepal in April 2014, for the single deadliest day on Mount Everest.  I should have expected this issue to be kind of a downer after the “still life” featuring a dead pelican on pages 28 and 29. Continue Reading

I have divided my travel into two eras:  Before 1977 and Starting with 1977.  The Before 1977 era is the era when my family and I traveled pretty much exclusively to South Florida and North Carolina, nearly always by car, rather than by plane.  Even though we started traveling other places starting with 1977, I still have traveled between my home and South Florida many times since then.  Four of these trips were by car, and the others were by plane.

I am currently trying (going from memory and with very little documentation) to stick to destinations that I first visited in the Before 1977 era. I may be mistaken about this next one, which is Rock City.  Rock City, is apparently technically “Rock City Gardens,” though I have never heard anyone use that term.  Rock City is both on and in Lookout Mountain, since Lookout Mountain is both a mountain and a town on the mountain.  The town is on the Georgia side of the border between Georgia and Tennessee, but it looks to me like the actual park is on the Tennessee side of the line. Continue Reading

My relationship with walking goes back to just after my first birthday party.  I was an only child and my only cousins near my age lived miles and miles away.  There also were not a lot of kids on my block, so I never saw any toddlers until that party.  To hear my mom tell it, I saw these people my own size (and my own age, literally.  The party was for my mom’s suitemates from the hospital where I was born) walking around seemed to give me a chance to really observe what they were doing and copy it.

My relationship with walking on trips doesn’t go back nearly as far.  During most of my trips to Florida and North Carolina, we spent a lot of time in cars.  We did occasionally walk, like when we would go to a state park or the time we climbed to the top of the mountain that my grandfather’s cabin was on once, but other than that there wasn’t much walking being done. Continue Reading

The Invisible War on the Brain, by Caroline Alexander photographs by Lynn Johnson

This was a kind of difficult article to get through for me.  Partly this was because I had a dear friend at one time who had had multiple head injuries as a child.  When I knew him, he was an adult, but he had impulse control problems, focus and memory issues, and a volatile temper.  Years after I lost touch with him, I read an article on traumatic brain injury and it was kind of eerie how much this sounded like my old friend. Continue Reading

My son and I had a fantastic (and exhausting!) time on our trip.  My travel tends to be jam-packed with activity.  With the exception of Saturday, when we went to visit some friends in Philadelphia, we did at least two things every day of our trip.  We also walked, on average, 11 miles every day.

It was amazing, and fun, and I got both a lot of exercise and quite a bit of sun (and yet my skin is still the same color it was when I left).  I hope my son learned a thing or two while we were out there in the big city, as well.

Over the next few weeks I will be talking some about our destinations, of course.  I will also be sharing some information on how we got from one place to another as well.

But for now, I am exhausted and I have to get back to work tomorrow, so I’ll be saying good-night for now.