Hello from 5280 feet

Hello from Denver, my former home and now a great vacation spot for me to get my baseball fix once a year.  We got into town Thursday night, saw the Rockies beat the Brewers last night, and will go tonight and sit right behind home plate for game two of the series.  We also took the stadium tour and I got some great pictures from the field.  We will be flying back tomorrow, which thankfully means we get to miss the last game.  Sunday is “faith day”, sponsored by the jesus freaks at Chick-Fil-A.  “Faith day” is code for conservative christian day, when all of the lovely folks from Colorado Springs take a break from their megachurch and come up to see a baseball game with the heathens and sinners. I’m very tempted to go rent a press-on-beard and turban and see if “faith day” really means all faiths.  I’m sure nobody would get the joke.

There are a lot of things I love and miss about Denver, but that’s sure not one of them.  Like yesterday, I was sitting down in the club level to eat my pizza, and overheard some windbags losing their shit about the TERROR MOSQUE, repeating ad nauseam whatever Fox and Friends told them to believe about the mosque going in “at” ground zero in New York.  I honestly don’t give a shit either way, and I really don’t like to burn cycles on politics, but as a person who was in lower Manhattan in the fall nine years ago, I really don’t like it when tea party types circle-jerk in the name of all things 9/11.

Anyway, Denver is weird in that way.  I mean, it can be a very left-leaning place – there are a lot of hipster types with way too many tattoos that smoke way too much pot and spend a lot of time eating lean and mountain biking and a bunch of other stuff that’s pretty much incompatible with the belief system proclaimed by all of the christian conservative types that stomp around here.  It’s weird that a city with as many damn pot dispensaries can also have so many megachurches.  (In our old neighborhood – LoDo – pretty much every former Pilates or Yoga studio in the area has converted into a legal pot store, with a cheeky name like “Rocky Mountain High”.  I think some law must have changed right after we left, or people just wised up that selling medical weed is way more profitable than running a doggie day care.)

It’s weird to be back in general.  It’s not as oddly nostalgic as it was the last few times I returned, but it is still weird to vacation in a place I used to live.  I mean, we parked last night in the lot that I used to look at all day when I was in my office writing.  And it looks like that apartment’s vacant, so if I really wanted to come back in exactly the same fashion, there you go.  But it’s funny – we were talking the other day about “wasn’t that apartment really great”?  And then we started thinking – “yeah, but when the sun rose in the morning, the bedroom turned into a sauna”, and “there were no screens on the windows, and these giant Jurassic Park bugs would fly in”, and “every time the garage door opened, two floors below, you heard this ‘beep beep beep’ sound”.  I still did like the layout of the place though.  One of our main criteria when we shopped for our new place was “some place like Denver, but to own instead of rent”.  And the neighborhood is hurting, tenant-wise.  It looks like the place is only at a third occupancy, and they’ve built several super-huge modern apartment buildings, which all sit vacant.

Not much else.  My nephew turns 13 today, which is weird.  I vividly remember my 13th, if only because my parents were getting divorced then.  I can’t even imagine my parents married now, so it’s weird to think of their split.  I just remember being overly concerned about getting a home computer, because I spent my hours writing BASIC code on sheets of paper, trying to invent a new Zork-type game to streamline my D&D playing experience.  So you know where my priorities were those days.

Okay, I should get off of this shared computer in the business center and go find a quiet place to write on my netbook for a bit before we start the day.  Full report when I get back to sea level and have my real mac and the ability to upload a few thousand photos.

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One mile high

Hello from Denver. It’s a cool 66 degrees at a one-mile altitude, but it’s expected to jump to 90 by lunch. But right now, I’m at the pool on the roof of the Warwick hotel, looking out at the skyscrapers of downtown, and suffering from a very severe case of Deja Vu, and a minor case of altitude reacclimation.

Our trip went fine, with the only minor hitches being that Sarah’s ATM card got locked yet again by an overzealous Bank of America anti-fraud robot, and a 45-minute delay in the air due to some stupendous thunderstorms around Denver. The weather cleared by the time we touched down, and my suitcase was already on the conveyor by the time we took the little train to the baggage area. We also got stuck with a little Kia with power nothing, but it also has XM radio, which is a new itch that’s developing in the consumer area of my brain. (There is an endless array of metal programming, and maybe that would be a good way to eat up my two hours a day in the car.)

It is weird to be here. WEIRD. We went to the Rocky Mountain Diner last night for dinner, and it felt exactly like it was the summer of 2007 again. The place hadn’t changed at all, aside from the fact that our favorite waiter (the guy that looks like a young Ed Harris) was not there. We drove around last night, looking at our old neighborhood and our favorite haunts, and everything was the same. The two big changes we noticed: one, our old Safeway (The “unsafeway” on Clarkson) got completely facelifted, and looks like every modern Safeway now, not the early 90s ghetto look it once had. And the vacant lot caddycorner to our old place on 22nd and Market is now a super-huge townhome/loft place, much like the place we lived in. It’s freaky to see that vacant lot transformed into a giant community.

Probably the biggest weird thing is that after we finished our dinner, we had tons of time to do anything, and we realized that in our year here, we went to a lot of baseball games and movies, and ate a lot of food, and that’s it. We don’t really have any friends here that we wanted to visit, and we had no real hangouts, aside from the Target store at the Stepleton mall. We have an afternoon to kill today, and don’t know exactly what we want to do. I feel sad about this, but it also makes me realize that when we get back home, I need to get off my ass and make sure we don’t do the same thing in Oakland. I don’t know what we need to do, but we need to explore more.

It is nice to be here, though. I think we need to take more of these mini-vacations. And I am really looking forward to tonight’s game. Wearing my Brad Hawpe t-shirt today, and one person already came up and asked if I was going to the game tonight. I am hoping to hook up with a couple of people from high school that will be at the game too, and I plan to do some serious damage at the clubhouse store.

It’s getting hot here, and I didn’t fly out here to sit on the computer, so I better get to it.

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