bird day weekend ought nine

This year, instead of going to Chicago like I have the past few years, I decided to go down and see A and D in Santa Fe. A little over a year ago, D decided that he wanted to try a vegan lifestyle. Despite all of the constant ribbing from his friends, he's stuck with it and claims that he feels better and actually likes the food choices. All of this to say, I was nervous about what Thanksgiving would mean with a vegan in the mix. And, I have to say, it wasn't that bad, and, in fact, I hate to say it, but the food was pretty good. It did help that A grilled up some turkey legs for us so we wouldn't be completely without some dead flesh to munch on.

On Friday we got some climbing in near The Gallows (the place we went the last time I went down) which is on the banks of The Rio Grande. Which is pretty fricking cool.

To top off the long weekend, a bunch of us went to see The Swell Season last night. What a great show. They played for almost three hours, so it definitely made the high ticket price more than worth it. Lots of energy and good chemistry between the two lead singers, despite their personal turmoil, and Glen Hansard clearly enjoys what he does for a living. He's one of those performers that likes to talk a lot between songs and give little anecdotes about where the songs come from. In my experience, this is kind of a crap shoot—some artists are great story tellers and some can't talk their way out of a parking ticket given to them by their grandma. Luckily, Mr Hansard is one of the good ones. Most possibly, the greatest part of the night was the audience. Which was made up mostly of older people and since it was a school night...the crowd thinned out before the show was even two-thirds done. Plus, there weren't as many d-bags as there normally are at most live shows, so no beer was dumped on me, I didn't have to suffer through anyone making out through the whole thing and nobody flailed their limbs around obnoxiously to every single song despite the tempo. Which all adds up to a whole lot of awesome.

I highly recommend both of their albums if you don't have them.

the best $12 i'll ever spend

I had a great 'city day' today. I had to run to Boulder for a client meeting and then on the way back home, I stopped downtown to get a bunch of errands crossed off my ever-growing to-do list. I had some trouble finding a parking spot, which is almost always a concern when driving downtown, but after driving around a couple of blocks, I pulled into an open metered space and as I as getting out, a woman walked up to me and said, 'If you want to back up, I'm getting ready to leave and I have about 20 minutes left on my meter.' I smiled and thanked her and thought, 'See? Not every person in the big city is cold and ensconced in their urban bubble.'

About an hour later, I was on my last errand of the day—getting my two watches fixed [finally, dang] and I stopped at this little kiosk in the middle of the 16th Street Mall that M had told me about. I walk up to the window and tell the guy behind the glass that I need a new battery in one watch and some links taken out of the band on the other, so he invites me to come around back and sit inside while he works. His name is Papa (not entirely sure of the spelling) and he's been in Denver for about 8 years. He grew up in Senegal and went to school in Lille, France because Senegal was originally a French colony, so most people from there go to France for University. He speaks three (!) languages fluently—French, English and Spanish and he came to Denver because he had friends here. He loves the winters here because he never saw snow as a kid.

Now, if you know me even a little bit, you know that I am the least likely person to have long, in-depth conversations with complete strangers, but holy crap, in this instance, I'm so glad I did. The cash I gave him to fix my watches seemed a small price to pay for what he gave me in return.* This is what it means to take care of your customers. I will recommend him to everyone I know and will go back every time I need a watch fixed, no matter how far away I am.

* Sorry for the hippy, dippy, feel-good, claptrap, but I just can't help it, it was a really great experience.


mr mandela

Here's another in the 'People I've Never Met' series. This one is also for a little art swap that a friend started on Facebook. Some woman I've never met named, Mim, will soon get this in the post.


it's been a while

I haven't been drawing much lately, I blame it on a creative malaise, but the other day I was reading about a current contest titled 'People I Have Never Met and Conversations I Have Never Had' which got me to thinking about the endless list of people I have never met and it inspired a portrait of ol' Einstein. What do you think?


bergen peak

Yesterday was quite possibly the last nice day we will see here in Colorado for awhile, so M and I decided to take advantage and go for a hike.

We got a late start so we chose something not very strenuous and somewhat close by - Bergen Peak in the Jefferson County Open Space right outside of Evergreen. Which is about a 30 minute drive from Denver.

It was a nice walk in the woods. We ran into quite a bit of snow and mud, but other than that it was really enjoyable. Mostly shady without too many steep climbs, even though the guide book said we'd gain 1500'. It didn't feel too bad. We passed four different people running up the damn thing too, so that probably says a lot about how difficult of a hike it is. Just goes to show that no matter how 'active' you think you are, there's always someone out there to put you in your place.

I didn't have my camera with, and my iPhone wasn't really up to the task, but hopefully you can kind of get an idea of the really nice views from this pretty terrible photo.


in my inbox - social studies

Social Studies is a fairly-newly-formed pop outfit from San Francisco who are getting ready to tour on their newest album, Wind-up Wooden Heart.

From their site:
Social Studies tempers the Fiery Furnaces with a love of unadulterated pop songwriting and arms the Decemberists with Casiotones instead of accordions, dropping pop gems that aren’t afraid to be raw and gentle all at the same time.
Honestly, the Fiery Furnaces reference almost made me turn away without even listening as they're quite possibly the most overrated indie pop band of The Oughts, but since I love The Decemberists, I decided to go ahead and give Social Studies a chance. I'm pretty happy I did, they had me tapping my thumb on my steering wheel the entire drive back from Boulder yesterday. Mostly, I would agree with their synopsis of their sound, but throw Rilo Kiley in there also for themes and style of singing.

They're offering up 'The Hourglass', a 'double' off of their new album, as a free download.
“The Hourglass” shows Social Studies maturing, turning more personal and insightful. It is an anthem for the modern world, encouraging you to grab hold of your neighbor’s hand, jump up and down, and let life wash over you.
You can download 'The Hourglass' from their site here.

Or just wait for the album to come out. Whichever.