Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt

Cincinnati in twenty-six letters

Arrived on Wednesday afternoon to find cold, clear weather with nearly invisible, randomly-falling snow. Based on the current decrepit condition of Terminal 2, it looks like all of the money at Cincinnati airport is currently in Terminal 3, but the local said that things ain't been the same since the Delta merger. Covington, where I stayed two nights at the generically acceptable Marriott, is actually a charming town with a lot of interesting old buildings; it's exactly the kind of place we don't have here in San Diego. Dining options were thin on the ground near the hotel, so we crossed the river to the Montgomery Inn (I had to Google "RIBS CINCINNATI" to find it - its reputation is that good). Enjoyed all you can eat ribs with my coworker Tom; the place was absolutely jam packed with all kinds of people enjoying the view of the river outside. Froze my balls off waiting for the valet (yes really, no idea why) to go fetch the Ford Tom was driving (a Flex, which was frankly pretty awesome), but had a nice chat with some locals who schooled me local riparian tomonymy. Got to know all about the Ohio River and some other local tributary - he said it was the only river that flows north in the world. Hate to say it, but he probably wasn't even remotely correct on that - but whatever, I have no qualms with local pride. I mean, seriously, why not make your home out to be geographically more special than it actually is? Just as I got back to the hotel, I got a text from a handsome local gentleman who said he'd just parked his Rabbit out front, so I scooted down the elevator and back outside into the cold to find him. kybearfuzz was one of the first locals to say hello upon our arrival at a bar a few blocks over in Covington; it seemed slightly surreal to be surrounded by handsome furry fellers in a town steeped in general decrepit redneck 1900s atmosphere, but this was WOOF, the new weekly bear night. Like it or not, smoking's still legal in Kentucky, so my clothes quickly descended into an inferno of extremely not so fresh feeling, but whatever: my generous host provided me with a pack of Dunhills; I gamely extracted one from the pack and gave it a try, but alas: it's been too long, my throat was too parched, and I only managed a hesitant puff or two before giving up and returning to my Newcastle. Mostly because I had to get up at 4 AM to make the flight to Cincinnati, I had to leave before too long, but that turned out to be just fine as some portly karaoke was about to begin - and I wasn't in the mood to sing along to Mandy just then.

Over the next few days, I experienced a good mix of successful work and extremely pleasurable non-work stuff; it isn't often that I get a chance to stay on after a work trip somewhere where I have both friends and the time to enjoy them for a few days. Proving the viability of our next generation of hard- and software in a brutal wireless environment in an actual hospital was the raison d'être of our trip, and we were able to do just that; luckily, our contacts were quite willing to give us a hand in our efforts. Quietly pushing a plastic cart loaded with $100,000 of networking equipment, alpha-quality hardware, and assorted medical devices around a hospital (after presenting hospital staff with our full vaccination records, of course) isn't something I ever imagined doing in my life, but there you go: you often wind up places you never imagined you'd see. Reaching the end of the work week came quickly enough: a quick stop by FedEx to return everything to the office in San Diego took less time than expected, so I was lucky to find myself at Take the Cake with friends, enjoying a grilled cheese sammich loaded with bacon; after a nap, it was back across the river to a Korean barbecue joint. Surprisingly, it seemed that every time we pulled up anywhere in town, we'd run into friends or colleagues, which gave the entire weekend a comforting patina of small town goodness; there was something extra awesome about being known all over town in one way or another. Two hours later, we were back at Chris's awesome apartment, listening to the wind howl outside, the chihuahuas below, and the stiletto heels above (OK, sound insulation was obviously not a priority of the builders, but the space is beautiful as all hell); before too much longer, we'd settled in for the evening armed with an iPhone and an Apple TV. Uhhh... oh yeah, the high point was probably listening to Brian Posehn do his SLAYER! routine, but all in all that was exactly what I needed. Very relaxing indeed... and as I'm running out of space, I'll limit myself to a couple more runon sentences and then be done with this exercise. Why Cincinnati has such awesome shopping I have no idea; I found some good shirts at a Bass Pro Shop (interesting clientele, too) as well as all kinds of gastronomic weirdness at Jungle Jim's, where we even sat down in a tiny theater to watch a five minute video history of the store - truly odd - but the best thing was finding some cool wines and random tasty things like biltong and digestive biscuits. We later found ourselves relaxing in Peter Sichel's comfortable study, where we enjoyed a fabulous 2005 Cayuse Cailloux syrah as well as a 2003 Clonakilla shiraz viognier that left me utterly unable to describe it: if there was ever a wine so beautiful that time stops (if only for a moment), then it must certainly be that one. Xavier: Renegade Angel is mostly here because of the X, but we did watch a clip of that briefly before settling down to enjoy THE LIMEY for the rest of the evening; it's a movie more beautiful every time I view it - its tackling of loss, revenge, acceptance, and compassion is unparalleled to me. Yawning the next morning came easily - the stilettos and chihuahuas had their revenge - but I was eventually dragged from the apartment for a whirlwind tour of Cincinnati that included an omelette with goetta, onions, and mushrooms at Price Hill Chili (seriously good stuff, it reminded me strongly of haggis), a quick look at the Shepard Fairey exhibit (not a fan, but it was at least well presented), and then a very quick dash through a huge old art museum with a head from Angkor. Z wasn't the code on my boarding pass when I left after once last beer in Covington, but F: I hadn't received a free upgrade to First in nine years, but this one was entirely welcome, even if the chardonnay sucked: I needed a big seat to crash out in on the long flight home, got it, slept, landed, taxied to the gate and then to my home, and fell sound asleep shortly thereafter.

  • It's July 2013.

    Remember when I wrote a lot on LiveJournal? Yeah, me neither.

  • Steve

    I'm not surprised by Jobs' death, and of course my inner cynic wants to blame homeopathy or whatever the hell it was he was into; an anecdote that…

  • Wein Keller

    It took ten days to clear Canadian customs and make it to San Diego, but Dan just installed the replacement thermostat for our crappy wine cabinet…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded