Denver happenings

January 1, 2014

This morning was brutal. The short version goes like this: sleep deprivation + hangover + PMS = a boiling cauldron of chaos and terror.

The long version involves a sleepover New Year’s Eve party. This sort of thing is always a good idea in theory, but my problem is apparently I can’t sleep anywhere other than our house, so I was awake almost all night thinking about how I couldn’t sleep, wondering if it was worth it to get up to drink more water, listening to my dog (it’s not a party without Sadie!) pitter patter throughout the house and wait for her to come back while wondering what she was getting into in a new place, reading about planets, tossing, turning, sighing heavily, and finally dozing off only to wake up a short time later. The same thing happens to me while camping. I probably need to take advantage of sleepy weed before trying to engage in slumber anywhere that isn’t my own bed. Why I don’t do this is a mystery for the ages.

My plan had been to get up around 7. Soren would either be sleeping (no) or running around the house with his friend screaming (yes). He’d stay there and Ben and I would bring Sadie home, feed the animals, make some coffee, get dressed, and head to Denver Kush Club by the time they opened at 8. What happened instead culminated in me standing in the kitchen in sweatpants, crying, losing my will to live, trying to get Ben to understand that I couldn’t go to the marijuana store looking like this but I was incapable of engaging in the activities that would allow me to look better.

I hate when I get all dramatic like this but sometimes it happens. I’m awful when I don’t sleep.

A glimmer of inspiration came when I got a DM from someone who was about to travel all the way from Boulder to buy weed in Denver on the first day of legalization. That’s when it hit me — holy crap, I’m a huge lame ass. I’ve been talking this up for weeks and acting like it’s the most important thing to ever happen, and what a stupid flake hypocrite I’d be to not participate in the day especially when there are several dispensaries within 5 minutes of our house. So I sucked it up, did my 3-minute makeup application, changed out of my sweats and back into the clothes I wore last night (sexy) but for Converse All Stars (don’t wear these if you’re going to stand outside and it’s at all cold), drank some goddamn coffee and said okay fine let’s go. Ben was relieved I finally got my shit together, no surprise.

We drove by Denver Kush Club at around 9:00. It was cloudy, cold, and snowing, and the line wasn’t horrible but it was a longer line than we really wanted to stand in right then. So we went to The Health Center and it was kind of mysterious. The lights weren’t on and nobody was outside, but we knew they were supposed to be open. It turned out they opened at 10. So we drove by DKC again and the line was even longer.

That’s when we figured we should get bagels and wait it out at THC. Bagels are delicious. We got a spot in the parking lot and hung out in the car. There were a few other people there with the same idea. It was pretty great. We sat there watching people drive up, park in a spot right by the door, and be told by the security guard that they couldn’t park there. We saw people walk up and be told that they didn’t open until 10. I was surprised when it was after 9:30 and people chose to leave instead of waiting. This would turn out to be a terrible mistake, because from everything I’ve heard, every other dispensary had a longer wait. We watched dispensary employees come and go with office supplies and whatever else they needed to get this exciting new branch of their business up and running.

At around 9:50, a few people wandered up and got in line so we did, too. There were just 4 dudes (lots of dudes in line!) in front of us. As you may know, I hate standing in lines for any reason, but this was the most pleasant line-waiting experience I’ve ever had. Pretty much every person waiting in line to make a purchase on the first day of legal recreational marijuana is fucking awesome. Everybody is friendly and feeling grateful to be there, excited that this is finally possible.

A few minutes after 10, the door opened and we got to go into a small room where you get searched by a security guard (Don’t bring any guns, bombs, knives, or grenades to the dispensary.) and show your ID to a woman behind a window. Then the first few people got to go into the next room. We waited and chatted with the security guard. When the guy who made the first retail purchase at THC exited, everybody clapped and cheered. It was awesome.

When it was our turn, we got to go to the display area, where we were helped by a super nice, enthusiastic dude wearing a hat. He asked what we liked in terms of indica/sativa/hybrid and described some strains to us. We smelled some and settled on Super Silver Diesel, which is a hybrid and smell-wise reminded me of hops even more than other strains of weed remind me of hops. The guy at the counter gives you a sticky note with your order on it, you wait for a few minutes, you go to get your order filled and elaborately packaged, and then you check out. (Bring cash.) We were out by 10:30 and the line outside was much longer.

I was pretty excited.

me & a bag of weed

And here’s what a bag of legal marijuana looks like.

super silver diesel

It was a freaking awesome experience and I’m so excited to have been a part of it. It’s cool as hell to get to go to a dispensary and choose the weed you want to buy. And, we made history today here in Colorado! And I’m really proud of how cool everybody was. I’ve been following coverage online and on the news, and by all accounts, people were mellow and not acting a fool or smoking in public. I hope the rest of the country and the rest of the world sees how Colorado is handling legal marijuana and it becomes legal everywhere because man, it should be.


Free Kid- and Beer-Friendly Denver Events

This summer, I noticed that one of my favorite things to do is attend free kid-friendly outdoor events where you can drink beer. In case you share this interest, here is a list of free festivals/events in Denver that are kid- and beer-friendly, ranked in order of awesomeness.

1. Tour De Fat
2. Cultivate
3. City Park Jazz (BYOB)
4. The Biennial of the Americas (odd years only)
5. Oktoberfest
6. Five Points Jazz Festival (BYOB)
7. Denver Pridefest Parade (BYOB (or mimosas because this is in the morning); the best place to hang out with kids is where the parade begins at Cheeseman Park)
8. Cinco de Mayo
9. A Taste of Colorado
10. The Capitol Hill People’s Fair

Also, it’s not quite free and I’m pretty sure a lot of it isn’t child-friendly, but Final Friday looks awesome.

Of course, these aren’t the only such events in Denver — I just can’t rank things I haven’t attended. (Check here and here for more events.)


The 2011 GABF Experience

on the way

on the goddamn light rail

“Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could. I was by myself on a light rail train stopped at 30th and Downing. The other people in the car probably thought I was nuts but there wasn’t time to worry about them. I jumped from my seat and hit the “stop requested” button approximately 900 times. I tried to pry the doors open. I hit the “stop requested” button again. Then I watched the train depart the station, leaving Ben behind.

We’d meant to be on the 11:13 a.m. train but as usual were running late. We left home with what we thought was adequate time to walk to the station and get the 11:28 train.

The 30th/Downing station is the first/last stop on the RTD light rail D line, so usually the train you want to take is sitting there waiting for you. I hurried us along as we got close to the train because we only had a few minutes and I didn’t want to miss that train and have to wait 15 more minutes. When we were just a few feet from the train, the damn thing started moving. What? It wasn’t even time! But then it stopped and the doors opened and we jumped on. I guess the driver was just fucking with us. It wouldn’t be the last time.

Ben has an RTD pass from school, so he didn’t need a ticket. I did need a ticket, although, truth be told, it’s almost tempting to go without because in my years of experience taking the light rail exactly once a year to go to beer fest, we’ve never seen anybody checking tickets. We got on the train without getting a ticket because we thought the train was going to leave right away. When we realized we had a few minutes, Ben got off the train to buy me a ticket (he had $1s and is better than I am at doing most things). I checked in on Foursquare and did whatever stupid shit I do. Ben wasn’t back yet. Minutes elapsed. The doors closed. “Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could.

It was like some cheesy romantic movie shit right there. My true love was left behind while I was trapped on a train, hurtling toward the city against my will. In a few minutes, I’ll tell some guy who doesn’t know who I am that I quit my job, we’ll pass another train, and then both trains will blow up.

Fortunately, Ben is smart and if you miss one light rail train in this part of town, you might be able to get to the next stop before the train does. As the train left the station, I saw Ben, flip flops in hand, running like hell toward the next station. Realizing that I am woman and I do in fact possess the ability to roar, I planned to, if Ben hadn’t yet made it to the next station, block the doors from closing through the sheer power of my will and, well, by standing there so the doors couldn’t close, until he got there.

Fortunately, the next station is only two blocks away and Ben has been running a lot. He got there in plenty of time. “He saw me! That asshole!” He caught his breath. He contemplated going up to the front of the train to yell at the driver but instead we just talked about what an asshole he was for the next few minutes, which was slightly satisfying although not as satisfying as, like, giving him the finger probably would’ve been. I mean come on, man, we have beer to drink. And insult, injury, the damn machine didn’t even give Ben his change.

Although we arrived at the convention center far later than we intended, we totally cut in line with our friends who had the best place in line I’ve ever known anyone to have. We’re ridiculous, self-serving assholes but come on man, we have beer to drink. And it’s always nice to see friends!

beer fest

beer can necklace c/o Oskar Blues

By now, you’re probably realizing that this stupid-ass post about beer fest is probably going to be more about Ben running barefoot through glass and who knows what else on Welton Street while I tried valiantly to escape from a train than about beer fest. And you’re right. But let’s talk about the 2011 Great American Beer Festival for at least a few minutes. Also, please forgive the lack of good and/or useful photos of GABF. I always go into these things with the best intentions, but honestly, when I’m doing something fun like puttering around beer fest drinking beer, I don’t want to take pictures the whole time. Sometimes I ask Ben to take a picture of me so for once there will be a picture of me I didn’t take in a bathroom and this happens. I was all, “Take a picture so the internet can see what I wore to beer fest (because I’m sure the internet gives a fuck and it’s so different from my normal uniform, which consists of a denim skirt, denim shorts, or jeans and a black tank top and you can’t even see the bad-ass Kork Ease platforms that, as comfy as they are, did kind of make me hate life by the time I was hobbling home)!” And Ben was all, um, hold my glass and there are porta potties and some random dude in what might be a Hawaiian shirt behind you. And I was all, awesome! As you’ll notice, I broke my “wear a skirt because it’s easier to pee” rule and wore jeans, which turned out to be awesome because it was cold as hell in there.

Anyway, aside from experiencing light rail issues and engaging in fashion-blog-worthy photo shoots in front of a vast array of porta potties and at least one innocent bystander, we wandered around the convention center for a few hours and drank some beer. The good news is that I actually kept track of some of the beers I really liked on the iPhone app. Here are the beers I considered worthy of starring, in the order in which they appear in the app, in this format: Beer (Brewery)

  • Cream Stout (Redwood)
  • Zombie Dust (Three Floyds)
  • Quinannan Falls (Bell’s)
  • Dugana IPA (Avery)
  • Spruce Pilsner (Shorts)
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter, 2008 (Alaskan)
  • West Coast IPA (Green Flash) (They didn’t have Imperial! WTF, guys?)
  • Nelson Imperial IPA (Widmer Brothers)
  • Jai Alai IPA (Cigar City)
  • Dysfunctionale (Piece)
  • Carrot Cake (Shorts) (OMFG.)
  • Arctic Panzer Wolf (Three Floyds)
  • Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA (Big Rock)
  • Rail Hopper IPA (Flossmoor Station)
  • Hop Zombie (Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que – Lake Travis)
  • Myrcenary (Odell)
  • Grapefruit Jungle (Sun King)
  • Key Lime Pie (Shorts)

Aside from West Coast IPA, this list is all stuff we don’t normally drink — I didn’t include our usual brews of choice (you can see what some of those are here, although that list is very out of date, as evidenced by the fact that I still refer to it as Gordon when it’s now called G’Knight and holy crap Gubna isn’t even on there, and needs to be updated someday when I’m not sitting around getting all distracted and telling you stupid light rail stories).

Also, you know how I told you to pick up the list of winners shortly after 1 p.m.? Dudes. This time, the awards presentations went on forever. We never even found a list while we were there. You can get a pdf of the list here. I wish we’d gotten this earlier because seriously, as much as I talk about how we’re like super-awesome IPA experts and everything and sometimes I have this existential crisis wherein we go to beer fests and sadly realize that we’ve already had all the really good, hoppy beers that exist? We’ve never even had any of the Category 51 or 52 winners. Deviant Dale’s? What’s up with that, Oskar Blues?

Anyway, here are a few more dumb pictures. Apparently pictures of Ben and me taken by me holding the camera with my left hand are the new bathroom self-portraits. Thank goodness I put this on the internet.

at beer festat beer festYay beer!NorthboundPro AmHere we are waiting for the train.

The Rapture

I figured that if the world was going to end today, the best thing to do was spend the day going to the dog party and Five Points Jazz Fest. So that’s what we did. We missed most of the jazz fest due to someone’s lunch-eating and nap-taking festivities, but we caught the end of Jeff “Maestro” Hughes, hip hop violinist and not unattractive young man, which was what I really wanted to see (he was awesome). We totally used the stroller cup holders to hold beer and I wore heels to walk from here to Welton Street, which was kind of dumb because the sidewalks are atrocious (the walk home was like a stupid video game where you have to determine which side of the street has better sidewalks) but it ended up being no big deal. When I can do things like drink an awesome beer while walking for a few minutes in gorgeous weather with Ben and my kid to see a hip hop violinist, I really love Denver.

Old Farts at the Show

Last night, Ben and I went to see Toro y Moi at Larimer Lounge. We got a sitter and everything, all official style. We went to the new Blake Street Tavern for a couple pre-show beers and sat at the bar by a dude wearing a Red Bull shirt and drinking Red Bull and vodka who didn’t understand why his friend (I couldn’t figure out if they were friend friends or some type of business associates; they each had 2 phones, which doesn’t answer the question but was kind of noteworthy) thought it was fun to shoot guns. (Try as I might, I couldn’t find out what kind of beer they have at Larimer Lounge and I don’t trust people on the internet who say there’s a “good beer selection” but don’t give specifics; it turns out, they have O’Dell IPA so it was all good.)

We rolled up to the show around 10:30 and were met with “sold out” signs. We figured this might happen and had purchased tickets ahead of time; we were, like, on the list and shit. My plan was to have fun and be all awesome-blogger-like and take pictures and write a post about the show.

Here’s what actually happened.

Fail.The problem is that I’m not good at standing still enough to take good photos in dim lighting — I’m many things, but I’m no tripod. So my pictures looked like that.

There’s also the fact that I’m easily annoyed by annoying people after I’ve been drinking. There was this remarkably tall couple standing right in front of me through the whole show, annoying me. The woman had mushroom hair and the dude looked like an old Ray Davies from the Kinks but with unsettling Pat Benatar 80s quasi-mullet hair (I was referring to him as “Romantics guy,” which was just wrong). Even mild-mannered Ben was annoyed by the guy who kept hitting Ben with his man purse. Why you gotta be bringing your man purse to the show, dude?

The show was actually very good (tight!) but for two things. He played the two best songs (New Beat and Still Sound) pretty early. That’s always kind of a bummer because you really want to build up to the best songs. Worse than this was the fact that he played for only about an hour. Is that how kids these days are doing things?

Speaking of kids these days, Ben and I totally stood around and talked about how, and I shit you not, “Kids these days don’t know how to conduct themselves at shows.” Seriously. We have become the old farts get-off-my-lawning at the show. We are those people. Even the fact that no hipster in Denver (and quite possibly the entire world) has bigger eyeglasses than I do won’t save me from falling into grumpy old irrelevance. It’s kind of scary.

We had planned on being at the show until 2 a.m., but things were winding down just after midnight. Amped up for a late night, we continued the rollicking retirement-community-worthy party at another location — Uptown Brothers Brewing Company. They’re not actually brewing yet, but they have an awesome beer selection, including Oak Aged Gordon (this will kind of kick your ass) and an Oskar Blues exclusive, limited-edition imperial IPA called One Hit Wonder (go there now and have this before they run out — it’s awesome). I liked this place a lot and hope they get more business (it was pretty dead last night).

It’s weird going to bed at 3 a.m. any more, let me tell you. We all woke up around 6, Ben and I with raging hangovers. Fortunately, after a new diaper and a little milk for Soren and Ibuprofen and water for Ben and me, we went back to sleep until almost 10 (I went to check on Soren at like 9:45 — he hasn’t slept that late in a long time and I thought maybe he left or something).

Ben and I took today off and had thought about taking Soren to school, but we ended up keeping him. A night out without him made us both want to hang out with him today. I think we’re at the point in our lives where if we were a tv show, you’d say we jumped the shark. I actually really like it, though, this being lame as hell business. It’s kind of fun, in an old-folks kind of way.

Toro y MoiBen at Toro y Moi show
When you realizeHi!