Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The End.

OK.

Everyone's seen this coming.

This blog jumped the shark some time ago, sadly. I think it happened sometime when I left the newspaper and the energy it gave me. And when I became a real citizen of a real city, instead of a frustrated young woman in a small town. So, while I love Vestal Vespa, I love what this blog has brought me, I love the people I've met through it and the conversations I've had as a result of it, it's time to hang it up.

Going out like Mary Tyler Moore and Jeff Mangum. On top of the game.

I've been doing this since I was 22 years old. And sure, back then, I thought I had something important to say that the whole world had to hear. There are times I still feel that, but there are many more times that I just know that my voice is only a small one in a swelling sea of voices . . . and that there are far better shouters, far better arguers, far, far better bloggers than I. It's time to leave it to them, the ones who don't yet have to sit and muster up the passion to write every day. For them, it's just there. It's gonna change the world.

As for me, I'm turning 25 next week. My world is changing. My life is becoming that of a real adult, with problems to solve, hearts to mend, adventures to be had. I'm just no longer as aware as I once was about the tragedies of human existence on this planet. As selfish as it sounds, my life right now is my main focus. But then, perhaps it was always a little delusional to think that anything said here was any more powerful than pissing on a wildfire. I still stand by everything I've said here. I'm still, in my own little way, proud of this and what it's meant to me and to my little audience. But it's time to let it go . . . time to move on.

Love you all . . .

Bye.


(and if you care to know about my continuing personal, not political adventures, feel free to click here.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Employment, at last

Looks like I start Monday at a job arranged ala temp agency. It's no dream job, but it will certainly do for now, and has a 9 to 4 shift, which allows for freelance time in the evenings.

But I'm a little sad, actually, about the end of my summer vacation. Late nights at the bar will have to be less late, no more waking up at 9 a.m. and throwing on clothes off of the floor before heading off to the Internet cafe. But this is good. This is important. Having my own money is vastly more important to me than the lazy existence that is unemployment(and frankly, the ennui was getting to me).

The Onion story is almost done- just some polishing and more cutting (yeah, it's meant lots and lots of cutting. I hope it still makes some modicum of sense and still conveys the awesome spirit of the whole interview). It will come out Aug. 10, like I said, the Thursday before my 25th.

I've been slowly easing myself back into the news/politics world, after a much-needed break. Saw a kid on the CBS evening news today parroting her mother: God Bless America. God Bless Lebanon. It made me feel uneasy. It felt like it conveyed the way much of America likes to be: a child to a parent, just offstage, telling them how to feel and what to say. I hope the kid grows up to be properly critical of the whole ordeal she faced so long ago. I hope she grows to see the different facets of the conflict. I hope she grows.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rundown

Strange: Bearded man at the DMV with a gray parrot on his shoulder, yelling "I bet you like women too, you big slut!" as he stormed out.

Grueling: Distilling an 83-minute discussion with a rock band into an 800-word feature for The Onion.

Spontaneous: Taking a four-day road trip to California.

Surprising: Lunch with the Ex went better than expected.

Risky: Attending an outdoor wedding in Albuquerque during monsoon season.

Promising: Receiving a letter from the University of Oklahoma Library Science program.

Disappointing: Denver's job market

Humbling: Applying at a coffee shop/asking Dad for money

Infuriating: Finding out that you entitled to unemployment insurance only proportionately to the amount of time you worked at your last employer (The government is paying me a whopping $339 until I get my next job. And I've been paying into unemployment since the age of 15.)

Vindicating: Passing the written motorcycle test. Got my permit!

Disquieting: Senor Idiot's veto of the stem cell bill. Lovely.

Comforting: My sister's letters from Lesotho. She's doing well. And growing up. This is good.

Monday, July 10, 2006

off the radar

Apologies, again for not being terribly present these past several weeks. I've been aggressively job hunting as well as pursuing my hobbies (freelancing, drinking, summertime romance, photography).

So bear with me. I'm thinking that a new, improved VV will be up and running as soon as I find that coveted day job.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Free to Lizz-ance

Got my first assignment for the Onion AV Club yesterday.

Denver/Boulder readers can catch it in the Aug. 10 issue. My birthday present to me will be my first legitimate attempt at Rock Journalism.

Happy 25th to me, indeed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bajaj the night away

Last night I got some Bajaj practice in- and it was so different than the motorcycles we'd been on for the class. If I'd had Uma (yeah, that's the name I'm going with. Uma.) at the class test, I'd have aced it. No problem. She's lighter, less touchy, and she's mine. There's a lot to be said for that.

I made a few figure eights around the handicapped parking signs at the local Elementary school, did a few hard stops, and even got up the guts to cruise around the old neighborhood. I did fine. I was confident, comfortable, and I looked good.

Can't wait to get her licensed. I'm gonna fly around Capitol Hill like a real European.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bruises to the ego . . .

Totally failed my motorcycle test today. Shame. I aced the written portion and actually did really well yesterday and during practice today, but ate it right when it counted.

Bummer.

I'm OK, not hurt at all, just embarassed. Looks like I'll have to do some more practice on the Bajaj before I'm street legal.

In other news, went to the Everything Absent or Distorted show last night. Beautiful, beautiful. The CD is out July 7, the party is Aug. 12 at the Hi-Dive. That is one day after my 25th B-day, so be there. For the music, for what will undoubtedly be a beautiful August evening, and for me, the birthday girl.

Maybe by then I'll have a licensed, insured scooter that I can actually ride without being a danger to myself and others.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Dad



This is my dad.

My dad taught me that being a liberal meant having humanity. He taught me that real rock stars never sell their songs to commercials. He taught me that love is the most important thing you'll ever feel.

My dad reads my blog. He reads the New York Times and watches BBC news. He wears cool bowling shirts and likes to spend his weekends grilling something, building something or fixing something.

My dad and I get along pretty much all of the time. He doesn't like that I will take a "day job" rather than a dream job but that's only because he wants what is best for me. He has made it very difficult for me to find men whose qualities stack up when compared to Dad. He did this on purpose.

My dad spoils me. He and I like to have dinners at Pete's on University and talk about life. I can talk to him about just about anything. So thanks, Dad. And a happy belated Father's day from the difficult older one.

possibly . . .

I had a very promising interview this morning. We'll see.

Otherwise, life is really pretty good all around. I'm spending my severance check on cover charges, beer tabs and American Spirits and I'm spending my mornings at the coffeehouse applying for jobs. I spend my afternoons however I please and when evening rolls around, well, there's a new someone who seems to be willing to take me out if I want to go out.

So yeah. Things are OK. And I might have a job by the end of the week.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mandatory Vacation

You know, it's almost weird how *not* freaked out I am right now.

So far, unemployment has been kind of relaxing. I really went nuts yesterday and went out to the department of labor unemployment center (depressing) and to the temp agency (they make you take really silly tests). And other than that, I've been going out to Gabor's and sleeping in till like, 8 a.m. each morning. I've gotten so much done, actually.

I've got some bills due at the end of the month, but hey. The severance check is there for that. I haven't had to drive to LoDo in days, I haven't had to suffer downtown parking, I haven't had to deal with the chick at work who liked to *sing* parts of sentances.

I already have a very promising prospect out in Golden through the temp agency, so that's good. I'm really not all that worried. And if all else fails, I'm working on applications for grad school, so I can just run away and do that if I just can't find anything here.

But thanks to all of you who have sent along good wishes and are keeping their eyes out for work for me. It is much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Interesting television programming tonight . . .

My mom called me to alert me that The Deadly Mantis and George Carlin were going to be squaring off on Leno tonight. This should be interesting.

I hope she cries. I've seen her pout before, but tonight I wanna see the bitch cry. Homegirl deserves whatever's coming to her.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose

Lost my job today. Laid off. Just like that.

But you know what? I don't feel all that badly about it.

An opportunity for growth, I guess.

Doors closing, windows opening and all that.

So.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday, Monday . . .

Back to the grind.

For me, for you . . . and apparently, for Al Qaeda, too.

But I can't be bothered by terrorists today.

Why? Because while we continue to lose the war on terror, things in my life are getting better. And I just got the photos from the EAOD photo shoot. Which was probably the best time I've ever had in a cemetery.

And I have two shows to go to this weekend. And a promising new freelance opportunity. And I've started to look seriously at library programs and at the whole Academic Librarian "thing." And I have scooter lessons coming up.

And it's gorgeous outside.

So there.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

And just like that, she was gone.

I had managed to put the pain off for so long that when it came, when I hugged her good bye for the last time at that gate, it came in waves, each one a little harder than the next.

She'll be in Philadelphia for the next few days for training, then she'll take a grueling 2-day air and land excursion into Lesotho.

As I held my family, all four of us, complete, for the last time in two years (and a little more), it was almost like I had never known how much a goodbye could hurt until just then. And then when she looked back at us one last time as she handed the attendant her boarding pass, it hurt again.

I'm sure innocent bystanders at the airport were wondering just how awful her business in Philadelphia must be that we were all crying so much . . .

I'm at Pablo's now, and Neko just sang "better times are coming still." While I know this to be true, it still hurts now. I know that I'll hear from her, hear of her adventures, her encounters, the ugly parts and the good parts. I know that I'll have my own adventures here, albeit much smaller and more domesticated. I know that I have wonderful friends here for me, and more friends come into my life as I go on. But there's going to be this time for a while where it just hurts and there's an absence. It's a hole I need to fill up with new things, new friends, new craziness, new stories to tell. This is the work I need to do . . . but right now it's like the earth has shifted beneath me. I need a moment to regain my bearings.

But I also know this time will go fast . . . and that I need to get as much out of it as I can. I need to really understand who I am without her . . .

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's getting hot in here.

Dex and I were supposed to go see "An Inconvenient Truth" last night at the Mayan. But it was full.

A screening of Al Gore giving a PowerPoint presentation was . . . full. In a cowtown in a Red State.

Tell me again how global warming is a wacky left-wing conspiracy theory.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Funny, I don't *feel* any safer.

Richard Clarke, smart guy that he is, noted that we are truly no safer now than before Zarqawi was killed. He's right, of course. We are no safer now, we were no safer when Uday and Qusay got greased, we were no safer when we got Sadaam. But what's so interesting is that over at the Free Republic, they greeted Clarke's statement with comments like this:

"We heard this same rap when Saddam Hussein was captured....."


So . . . yeah, we did hear the same rap. Because it's true. But why do the Freepers bring this up as evidence of something?

Obviously, they feel something we don't.

Death and pink

Some photos from the EAOD photo shoot are up at my flickr page . . . In case you wanted to know what it looks like when about 40 hipsters dress in pink and hang out in a cemetery.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What's next?

Not sure quite how to take this news.

On one hand, I'm glad it seems that some headway is being made. And it looks like the Bush admin's people involved have finally made some progress and has engaged in what both sides are calling "constructive" dialogue. But what pisses me off is Bush's pouty "breakup" type language here:

"We will see if the Iranians take our offer seriously," Bush continued. "The choice is theirs to make."


It's their "on" to "bring." Yeah. So there.

It seems that the only person who thinks that Iran is gonna be easy is Bush himself. Good thing most people around him know better.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's a small town, after all

In the past month, I've been hard at work trying to meet as many people in Denver's music/writing/activism scene as possible, and with a little help from MySpace, I've been doing pretty well. But what I've found is that the above-mentioned 'scene' is very very small, very intimate and very incestuous. I keep meeting people over and over again. Like the guy from the sandwich shop by my friend's coffeeshop, who also happens to be a poet and a friend of a friend from college (in Iowa. Weird.). Or the coffeeshop guy from down the street who I ran into at the Hi-Dive and at the Walkmen show last night. And the woman from the EAOD photo shoot who I saw was on the friend list of a person I met at Gabor's who works at Videotique. Currently, my social Venn diagram looks like a Spirograph.

Tiny scene. Small town. But it's comfortable and I like it.

Oh, and check the new profile pic.

It is mine. Oh yes, it is mine . . .

Monday, June 05, 2006

Long before he was "The Dude"

In my neverending quest to see every good movie ever made, I caught "The Last Picture Show" last night. It was jarring and beautiful- such a low-budget-looking flick with such impressive star power. But what I loved so much about it was that it really spoke to the dilemmas of small-town life that were relevant in the fifties, in the seventies, and remain relevant today. The film captures perfectly how small towns trap young people with a set of limited decisions and no preparation for real life. Even smart kids are more than likely to stay in their hometowns, join the Army, or just get married for the financial security. It happens in small towns today. It happens in my small hometown every day.

We are the rare ones- the ones who make it out and manage to use what few tools our hometowns gave us to hack it in the bigger cities.

My favorite character was the older woman, Cloris Leachman, who takes Sonny as her lover. She is the perfect small-town woman. She tells him that she can't do much of anything without crying about it . . . everything feels disappointing. And there are shots where she (Cloris Leachman!) is sublimely pretty in this eerily tragic kind of way.

The real heartbreak, though, is when Duane leaves for the Army and tells Sonny he'll see him in a year or so, if he doesn't get shot. He delivers this line with such stoicism that you just know he's thought of the options- returning home or getting killed- and both sound equally appealing.

And fifty years later, we're still giving kids that choice, and they are still (though in ever-dwindling numbers) choosing the possibility of becoming a casualty.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I forgot my own anniversary

Does this make me like a deadbeat dad or something?

Yeah. Vestal Vespa (in blogger/blogspot form) began three years ago as a little venting tool during my senior year at Coe College. Technically it is now closer to three years, one month old, but it turned 3 on May 7.

Looking back at the archives is interesting- most of my misguided opinions from back then are pretty classically adolescent in nature, but they evolve and change and get more mature. And I noticed that I, too, have changed a lot in these past three years. People have always told me that your early 20s are the time when you change the most. I now have to agree. It's been nuts. The highs have been so high, the lows have been devastating. And it seems there is no end in sight.

But the blog has been a great catharsis. For me, it has meant meeting new people, gaining a modest amount of notoriety in the online community as well as in fleshspace, a place for me to air grievances, to broadcast successes and to recuperate from failures.

I was discussing with someone the other day how it was once so secret, these diary thoughts. Time was, you'd write your deepest secrets and fears in a book and lock them away with a little gold key. But I've found it tremendously liberating to put these thoughts here, for all the world to see and scrutinize. This blog is me. Vestal Vespa is Cassandra Schoon. It is my secrets, my hopes, my fears, my opinions, and for the past three years it has been my story of growing up in a world that alternately tortures and delights. All of the people I have met through this have been people who knew me before they knew me.

All in all, it has been an amazing ride. I have said before that I believe the blogging revolution (if you can call it such) is the apogee of the Internet's humanity. It is a way for people to share themselves with the world. And so I have shared myself with you all. Thank you for continuing to let me do that.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wisdom from Spam

Today, from my bulk email box:

"Subject: No matter how badly idiots outnumber you... they are still the idiots!"

Somehow this doesn't comfort me much.

Uppity chicks

I have to think that if the Dixie Chicks were really the Oak Ridge Boys and were equally outspoken about their disapproval of the Preznit, the uproar would be less, well, uproarious.

I really think that at least half of the indignance being expressed by right wing idiots towards the Dixie Chicks (and towards Jane Fonda and to a greater degree Hillary Clinton) is due more to their gender than anything else. Women are supposed to submit, if you buy into the whole conservative M.O., so women who are active and vocal about their dissent are seen as doubly freaky. Add to this the fact that the Chicks are young, attractive women and the old dominionist hackles REALLY go up.

I guess I should be somewhat grateful that we're past the point of burning such ladies at the stake, but I think the rationale behind the right's rancor is about the same. Women with a good head on their shoulders who refuse to eat what they're fed are not just bad Americans, but bad people. Dangerous. Evil, even. Posessed by demons! Unnatural! Burn her! Burn the witches!

Now, Faith Hill, there's a woman.

Ugh.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A double standard?

So here it is, week three of being single, and it's still a rollercoaster. But here's another problem- my little base of friends is also going to be less 2 girls for the next two years, leaving me with a condundrum. While I am still doing the work to widen my social circle here in Denver, in the meantime I face a lot of solo time. And I'm a girl. So this begs the question- when, if ever, is it OK for a girl to go to a bar alone?

I would have no trouble going to a show by myself- that is a different story. Rock shows are places where I'm bound to find at least one person I know, so it's more like I'm going to *meet* someone I know rather than going it completely alone . . . plus, with a band, it's like there's this other *objective* to the evening rather than just going to pass the time and pick up random guys.

I mean, upwardly mobile young women move to new cities all the time. There has to be that transitional period before we make new friends in which we are faced with spending time alone at home (boring) or going out (better). But going to a bar alone has this nasty stigma, not to mention a certain air of danger about it.

What to do . . .

Friday, May 26, 2006

Duckblogging

I went for a walk in the rain yesterday and saw, in the middle of my city, a duck momma and her baby ducklings. They were right by the parking lot for my apartment.

So cute.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

weird . . .



Caught this this morning on my way to work.
That lumpy looking thing on the sundeck of the car is a head.

Look closely.
A head. Like for hairdressers.

This is why they invented camera phones.

Young whippersnapper

Oh, for chrissakes.
(via atrios)

You know, I'm almost out of the 18 to 24 year old demographic, but I think I'm still within it enough to tell Bill O'Reilly he can bite me.

Bite me, Bill.

I think I can speak for most of us in this little handily market-tested age bracket when I say that ignorance has no age. My grandparents are 80 years old and still forward me e-mails foretelling how Bill Gates is gonna start charging for e-mail, or that the post office is catering to terrorists because they are issuing a stamp to celebrate Eid or that some missing eight-year-old kid is going to need our prayers. My grandparents are not really ignorant people, but they sometimes fail to inform themselves on things, and sometimes fail to do enough research and sometimes take these kinds of things at face value. Ignorance is a choice, in some ways. You choose to become informed and make that a priority, or you choose not to. It's a choice independent of age and experience.

And if kids are watching Jon Stewart, they are making the choice to be informed as well as entertained. Kids who watch nothing but Entourage or American Idol are choosing not to be informed. If older folks are watching Frontline or Sixty Minutes, they are choosing to inform themselves. If they spend hours watching Matlock or Touched by an Angel, they're making another choice. It's a human choice, not a choice determined by how many times you've been around the sun.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hey Mr. Fantasy . . .

Well, I guess it's good that *someone* is calling this plan out as bullshit.

The thing is, anyone with half a mind and the rudimentary cognitive skills needed to, well, pretty much just look around, knows that mass deportation *would* be pure fantasy, as Bloomberg says. And yet . . . and yet there are those who stand behind it as a plan.

The mass deportation canard is beyond silly, beyond the land of make-believe. It is something fabricated purely for the placation of the few, the proud, the ignorant who are so consumed with fear of having to learn to order Mickey D's en Espanol that it wakes them in the night.

Think for a moment of the sheer logistics of moving 12 million people. Did you think about it? At all? Well, you've already put more thought into it than the folks in the administration who are saying it's something they are considering. They haven't thought seriously about it at all, ever, except to test its market viability among the paltry 30 percent or so of popular support they still have.

I think it's sad, though, that among the many, varied and egregious ways in which this administration has screwed the U.S. over, this will be the one that trips them up the most. It's an issue that truly brings out the worst in people.

Monday, May 22, 2006

For old times sake: a Mike Reagan takedown

For the first time in a while, I have the time and the energy to do what I do best- make fun of people behind their backs! And this Mike Reagan column is just too, too ripe. So here goes:

No!


Means NO, Eegah.

Last week I wrote that the White House was both stupid and arrogant. This week President Bush spoke to the nation on the immigration problem and promptly proved that I was right.

Stupid and arrogant and NOBODY likes them. And here's why!

There can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Americans - Republican or Democrat - are vehemently opposed to giving illegal immigrants a pass and allowing them to become citizens as a reward for breaking the law by violating our borders. Ignoring what a majority of Americans demand is just plain arrogant.

Yeah . . . just plain arrogant. But since when has the Bush administration had any use at all for the majority of Americans?

They also oppose the kind of guest-worker program the president backs because they know it would be simple for a Mexican worker to enter the country as a temporary worker under the guest worker program and then get a Green Card that could keep him or her here for the rest of his or her life. That’s just plain stupid.

Mike Reagan, king of the run-on sentence!

It’s stupid to ignore the facts in the new Heritage Foundation report showing that the Senate immigration bill the president backs would allow 100 million new legal immigrants to come to the United States over the next 20 years. That’s fully a third of the total number of Americans now here.

Ah, the Heritage foundation- bastion of unbiased research. You might as well quote numbers that you can see if you squint at the dots on the ceiling tiles in your recording studio, Mike.

Says the Heritage report: “If enacted, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years, allowing an estimated 103 million persons to legally immigrate to the U.S. over the next 20 years—fully one-third of the current population of the United States.

Yay! More squinty numbers!

“In contrast to the 103 million immigrants permitted under CIRA, current law allows 19 million legal immigrants over the next twenty years. Relative to current law, then, CIRA would add an extra 84 million legal immigrants to the nation’s population.”

And more yet . . .

• The report shows that the bill would grant amnesty to 85 percent of the current illegal immigrant population, or some 10 million individuals.
• CIRA creates an entirely new “temporary guest worker” (H-2C) program. There is nothing temporary about this program; nearly all “guest workers” would have the right to become permanent residents and then citizens.
• If all illegal immigrants were granted amnesty, federal tax payments would increase by some $3,000 per household, but federal benefits and social services would increase by $8,000 per household. Total federal welfare benefits would reach around $9,500 per household, or $35 billion per year total. The study estimates that the net cost to the federal government of granting amnesty to some 3.8 million illegal alien households would be around $5,000 per household, for a total federal fiscal cost of $19 billion per year.


You *do* know that most of your readers and listeners aren't really "counting" people, right?

Until just two hours before he spoke Monday night, the president had failed to alert the governors of the Mexican border states that he plans to use the National Guard for border security. That’s just plain arrogant.

He totally texted them that information, like, an HOUR before, but cingular is just kinda hinky with texting between carriers.

Finally, it’s just plain stupid to ignore the fact that the immigration issue is the hottest political issue around. To ignore the demands of the majority of the American people risks losing control of both houses of Congress and the consequences that would follow: endless investigations that would occupy much of the president’s time in the middle of a war, and dooming the nation to a flood of expensive Marxist programs that would cause a gigantic increase in federal taxes. And that’s just for starters.

The hottest political issue "around?" What are you, the Mr. Blackwell of political issues? Oh, yes, Joan, immigration is the school prayer of 2006. It goes from day to evening in a pinch and can be worn with all kinds of accessories like xenophobia and laissez-faire economies. And I love how he brings up the classic Marxist bogeyman, just for good measure. It's the guitar solo of right-wing political commentary. Expected, predictable, but you can just do so much with it.

There’s only one possible answer to the president’s request that his immigration program be enacted: NO!!!

Wow, three exclaimation points. I think he's serious.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Honky Tonkin' Good Times

Yesterday we had a lovely girl's night out at the Skylark Lounge, down on Broadway and Maple, to see Holdon Wafford and the Hi-Beams.

It was such a classically Denver night- guys in snap shirts and cowboy hats bellied up to the bar with their girls- usually with Bettie Page bangs and lots of ink- while slide guitar and country yodels emanated from the stage. A great way to send my little sister off to Africa in true Colorado style.

This place is one of those great throwbacks- earnestly retro rather than cheesy, trying-too-hard-retro. They serve Hamm's in cans and Bud on tap. Real barflies still go to the Skylark, and sip cheap beer next to Chuck Taylor-wearing hipster kids. The bouncer still tells off-color jokes and cuts girls deals on the cover charge. I love places like the Skylark. I love a town that still has places like that.

Tara and I were discussing a recent Westword "What's So Funny" column by local comic/writer Adam Cayton-Holland wherein he describes New York with a Country Buffet analogy- sure, it's an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of culture and food and art. But after a while, you see the ugliness of it and the way that it's been presented in a kind of artificial manner, and you get a craving for authenticity. I added that New York is only a Country Buffet if the Country Buffet charged $800 per plate.

What I love about Denver is that it has such an amazing blend of high and low culture- pretty much anything you could ever want from a big city like NYC- but with this down-to-earth authenticity and low-key attitude that makes its appeal so much broader. NYC is not for everyone. Denver can be. And in Denver, you can still partake in world-class music, theater, art and cuisine and still have laundry money at the end of the week. And you don't have to drive 60 miles to find a Target store, either.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Just thinking . . .

One thing, one memory I can't seem to get out of my head today (probably due to how hot it suddenly is out there) is of summer when I was about 13 in Longmont.

It's not like I remember actual events or stories, just moments. Like walking late at night around my neighborhood with my sister while cicadas droned and gnats flew around yellow street lamps. Or staying up late on my birthday (Aug 11) to watch the Perseid Meteor shower in our backyard and waiting until it was absolutely the darkest it would get. I remember spending days at the swimming pool in town, waiting in line for the waterslide though I really thought I was probably too old for it. And early summer monsoon season where we'd have sun all day and then the sky would darken to produce thunderstorms.

I'm not sure why I keep thinking of these things. I guess it is probably because I've been really down lately and these memories are of times when I was happy, and it helps when you're sad to think about times when you were happy. Maybe its the weather. Maybe it's that I'm nearing 25 and realizing that these memories are now 12 years old. Maybe because I wonder what that 13 year old would say if she saw me now, proofreading ad copy for a living.

Sorry for such a downer post to begin the weekend. But I had to get this down. I have my good days and my bad days. Today is what you'd call a bad day.

Audrey H. In tha hizzy



Catblogging!

And yet more rock show fun last night at the Starlight Mints . . . proof again that Oklahoma is cooler than people think.

Too fried to post much more than that . . .

Until next time . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vestal Vespa pledge drive

OK, folks. I am very close to getting this sparkly new(ish) Bajaj scooter, gleaming in mod glory. But. But I was hoping to have a little more time to save up for it and so in yet another case of poor timing, I am a wee bit short of living the scooter dream.

And while I promised I'd never, ever whore the blog out like this, I saw Gavin do it and we all know that if Gavin M. jumped off a cliff, I'd happily follow.

Here it is:












Your opportunity to contribute to the dream I hold so dear- 110 mpg living.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here is VV performing an act . . . of desperation.

As the guy with the cardboard sign says, anything helps.

Love and kisses,
VV

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ouchie

OK, so . . . last night in another attempt to prove that beer is not only the cause of, but solution to, all of our problems, I met my girls at Bender's for Indie/New Wave Karaoke.

In my PBR-soaked state, I sang:

1. Son of a Preacher Man
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Free Bird
4. I Love Rock and Roll (with screeching)

I can't really tell you if I was any good or not, but the crowd seemed responsive. But that could just be because it's always funny to watch the drunkest girl in the room belt it out like Kim Deal on a very, very off day.

Needless to say, I awoke feeling a bit wiggly today.

Speaking of Ms. Deal, right now it's all I can do to listen to Surfer Rosa with my headphones on, and to try to focus on this screen. I've learned that indie rock first thing in the morning is like the hair of the dog that bit you after a night like that.

But all in all, I needed that night. Two of the aforementioned girls are leaving me this summer for Peace Corps and grad school. And while I wouldn't trade the past seven months or the relationship I was in for the world, I needed to get back to the work I was doing before to build a base of friends in the city. That's what I came here for- to spend my 20s going out on Tuesday nights, drinking cheap beer and living that much-ballyhooed Rock and Roll Lifestyle. That's not to say I won't get distracted occasionally by really nice guys or need a little time alone or quiet weekends back home in Longmont. That's not to say that there won't be times where I'll be surrounded by people and still feel rather lonely. That's not to say that I won't suffer a the occasional burnout and existential crisis. But the goal right now is to make the kind of memories that will one day make my grandchildren wonder why Nanna is smiling to herself.

If I've learned nothing else in the past half year, I've learned that I'm still really young. But I've also learned that it's not gonna last forever . . .

Monday, May 15, 2006

Momma Vespa



My mom.

My mom is foxy. She just turned 47 and I think she still looks pretty rockin. But she's also taken- she and my dad have been married for 27 years this June. They met when they were 16 and were married at 20. My mom was a mother of two by the time she was my age. Somehow it works.

She's a real live coal-miner's daughter. She is an obsessive recycler and is thinking of volunteering for Planned Parenthood now that little Vespa and I are out of the nest.

So I have my mom to thank for all my smartassery, all my snarkiness, and a lot of my politics. If I were really to rebel as a teenager I would have had to join the megachurch and start dating a youth leader for Right to Life. She's my shoulder to cry on, she's my sounding board, my inspiration, my strength. Which is not to say we don't have our moments of mom/daughter tension, but for the most part they're pretty short lived and we're back to making fun of bad movies or philosophizing on life and love before too long.

So thanks, Mom. For all you do . . .

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Random 10

1. The Guitar Man, Cake
2. The Hardest Button to Button, White Stripes
3. Numb, Portishead
4. Dear Diary, Travis
5. In This Home on Ice, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
6. High Speed, Coldplay
7. Get What You Need, Jet
8. I'm Not Worried at All, Moby
9. What Sarah Said, Deathcab for Cutie
10. God's a Wheeler Dealer, Flaming Lips

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Legalize it?

So last night, in search of some liquid comfort, I headed down to Drinking Liberally Denver. The usual crowd was there, and a good time was had. I managed to show up right in the middle of Mason Tvert's schpeil on legalizing marijuana. You can read more about the night here.

I think it's interesting that so many people who smoke pot do not make a priority issue of legalizing the stuff. I mean, for most of us, it's the most significantly illegal thing we've ever done. Smoking pot carries with it real jail time in some areas, and sale and possession usually carries with it real consequences. So why do so many people consider legalizing pot such a backburner issue?

Because they know they'll never go to jail for it. Deep down, even the most left-leaning hippie knows that only brown and black people ever get into any real trouble for pot, so they can't be bothered to actually do anything to work toward full legalization. Sure, they'll vote if it's on the ballot, but they'll consistently support candidates that either say nothing about the issue or are actively anti-drug in their stance.

Think about it, kids- if you support an anti-drug candidate, you are implicitly supporting someone who says you belong in jail if you have ever smoked the green stuff.

And if you keep supporting them, it's kinda like you think you belong in jail, too.

Just something to consider. I'd never really thought about it myself until last night.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Smile because it happened

I want to thank him for helping me grow in ways I never thought imaginable.
I want to thank him for the opportunity to learn that I could, despite my cynicism, be loved.
I want to thank him for the moments of sheer, uninhibited happiness that he brought me, right when I was most hopeless.
I want to thank him for the million times we made each other laugh.
I want to thank him for introducing me to parts of myself, and life, and the world, in the best and most beautiful way.
I want to thank him for the countless lessons I learned from all of this.
Thank you for teaching me that I can make someone happy. And if I let my guard down, I can let someone make me happy, too.
I loved you in the best way that I could, and I'll probably never stop being sorry that it wasn't quite enough.

Thank you.

Friday, May 05, 2006

News that isn't really news

Didja hear?

Jeff Gannon is gay.

Now the next step: find anyone who actually cares.

Having a lousy week. It's raining and I'm depressed. In need of some liquid therapy tonight. Nothing cheers you up like a depressant.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The junkiest

I was as amused as anyone to hear that Rush Limbaugh had again been arrested on drug charges. And as unsurprised to hear that he'd been basically slapped on the wrist and that he'll probably never darken the door of a jail cell in his life.

But there is something amazing about Rush and his kind- the Coulters, Malkins, Hannitys and O'Reillys of the world. I mean, really. They have managed to tap the great wellspring of ignorance and anger that characterizes the American Right. I have always said that once you can find a product and market it to the stupid, you'll never have to work again. These people have found the product- hate. Anger. Shit-stirring. And they sell it to the masses every day. Our country- and arguably, our species- suffers for it, but they have an amazing business going. There are few products more profitable than anger and a sense of entitlement.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Summer plans, make me feel fine

This is going to be a really intense summer. I can feel it already. It's only April and the temps out there are nearing 80 degrees. The plans to get a scooter are still somewhat on track, so that will be a fun little distraction and a cheap, easy and peak-oil friendly little hobby. But the heat is the least of my issues. The big one is that I've got to say good bye to my best friend, loyal confidant and oracle of boy advice, my sister, Lizzie.

I remember when she was born. I was 18 months old. It was one of my very first memories and it is as vivid as anything I can muster up in the archives of my brain.

We've been friends ever since- despite rocky roads, separations, differences, tragedy and everything else that comes with being sisters. She's leaving June 11. They restationed her and changed her departure date so I've been lucky enough to have had five extra months with her that I wouldn't have otherwise had. For that, I have the bureaucratic inefficiency of the Peace Corps to thank.

So I'll have a Lizzie-less Summer and it will be hard. My therapist has told me to spend some time trying to figure out how I'll keep myself busy without her. Sadly, over these last few months it's been a trial for both of us to clear out parts of our busy schedules to make time for each other. But now that it's coming down to the wire, I find myself getting a little anxious. I literally have to figure out what I am going to do without her. And it's really hard to imagine right now. I think it's actually too painful for me to think about in the more accessible regions of my brain, and to protect me, my mind is tucking this whole thing safely into my subconscious, where it can't really hurt me right now.

This Memorial Day, we're expected in Wyoming again (you remember last time?), for another gathering with the Grandparents. They both turned 80 last year. They're hanging in there with admirable tenacity. Nothing quite like visiting Wyoming to hang out with your grandparents.

In the positive column, though, I have a Neko Case show in June, the Flaming Lips in July, and The Starlight Mints on May 18 to look forward to. And the big 2-5 looming on the horizon in August.

Yikes.

But I have Audrey, my boy, my friends- bloggy and otherwise- and plenty of sunny Colorado summer days to help me through all this. That's got to count for something.

Tuesday list: Stolen/Lazy edition:

Unfortunate
Ballpark Promotions.


BY CHRIS STECK

- - - -

Estranged Spouse Night

"The Scientology of Baseball"

Gillette Straight Razor Giveaway, as part of "Turn Back the Clock" Night

Kissin' Kousins Night

Scotts Turf Builder Dandelion Seed Night

"Race Toward the Cure!" Night (featuring a performance by the Cure)

Laser Pointer Night

Goth Day

Queer Eye makeovers

Open Bar Night

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Mission Accomplished"

Food for thought via Thinkprogress.

What interests me in particular is how the "Decider" managed to turn a 73 percent approval rating into a 38 percent approval rating in two short years.

Who's out of touch with the mainstream now?

Desperately clinging to street cred

As part of my ongoing task of writing enough to feel comfortable referring to myself as a "writer," I shot a short story off to one of Denver's preeminent zinesters/barflies/literati a few weeks ago. And to my bemused surprise, he decided to publish it in his literary magazine, "Needles for Teeth." So all you local hipsters can pick up a copy featuring my piece, "Chrysalis," this weekend or thereabouts at Capitol Hill Books, Gabor's, Fahrenheit Books or Watercourse Foods. That's where they usually drop them, so I imagine they'll be there this next time.

By the by, local hipsters might also like to know that the Starlight Mints, Dios Malos and The Octopus Project are going to appear at the Larimer Lounge on May 18.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Pretty in Pink




Audrey just loves to hang in the bathroom.

The 10

1. I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten, Dusty Springfield
2. Solid Gold, Von Iva
3. First Cool Hive, Moby
4. Untitled 4, Sigur Ros
5. The Air Near My Fingers, The White Stripes
6. Lucifer Rising, The Flaming Lips
7. All Lifestyles, The Beastie Boys
8. Red Dust, Calexico/Iron and Wine
9. Underground, Tom Waits
10. Please Freeze Me, Guided by Voices

Thursday, April 27, 2006

. . . and so we beat back, ceaselessly against the current of Ketel Red Bulls . . .

Boys and girls, welcome to Celebrity Worship Theater.

It's been a while since I've used this space to vent about a cultural issue, but this article grabbed me for its Fitzgerald allusion to Gatsby and his obsessions with those who had more money and status than he. A Gatsby, therefore, is akin to today's party hosts and VIP planners. He is not a celebrity, but enjoys being close to those who are.

But there is a difference between Gatsby and these modern-day scenemakers. Gatsby may have had a made-up persona, but at least it was a persona. These people are about as dimensional as a parking ticket. The only reason they can even conduct these Xenii parties is because they have money and a perceived exclusivity.

The quotes in the story are unbelievable. "There are no hot guys here." "I'm not going to meet the woman I'm going to marry here, but I'm OK with that" "Not to be an elitist, but let's be honest, I want to be with the same demographic [as Jessica Alba]."

The entire structure of these parties is not so much like a real party, but a reality TV show about people who think they're special for hanging out with celebrities. The venues are outfitted like a soundstage. Celebrities are invited as if it were a casting call. And the wealthy pay a stout monthly fee (let's just say it's about eight times what I pay for rent) just to be around them.

I have to say, there are times when I'm happy I'm just a plebian. If I had to pay for friends, I'd be downing the $15 cocktails, too.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snowed

There's just something terribly icky about the Snow appointment, but it's icky in the way that most of Bush's appointments have been icky since day one. It's icky because it reeks of cronyism and a disturbing liplock between Rupert Murdoch and the entire Bush Administration's collective ass. But it's so unsurprisingly icky at the same time. I am completely tapped as far as outrage goes at this point. Sure. Go ahead. Hire a perfectly-coiffed talking head for a position that once held real gravitas and credibility. Whatever.

At this point, I'd probably barely be bothered to blog about it if Bush started manufacturing toilet paper printed with the first amendment.

The more troubling thing here as someone on Eschaton pointed out, is that Scotty was a bad liar, and Snowblower is a good one. We're in for some serious smarm here. Scotty was like a guy trying to explain a rash of office supply thefts to his manager. Snow is going to be like the accused in a date rape case. It's gonna be icky in a whole new way.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thanks, Corndog!

Tuesday List: Fun in San Francisco!

12 THINGS I LEARNED IN SAN FRANCISCO

1. According to a gay man, I was the cutest lesbian at this party. Too bad I'm straight.

2. You can get great bargains on accessories at Piedmont's, if you are willing to wade through marabou feather pasties and holographic panties.

3. Laurel Heights billionaire wives consign some really cute clothes for really cheap.

4. Watermelon Wheat beer is really, really good.

5. Beware of Chinese women who want to shove too-small jade bracelets onto your wrist. I still have bruises.

6. The Alcatraz self-guided tour is well worth the price of admission.

7. Bear Bars are recommended for their quality hot wings.

8. Sex shops in the Castro are notable for their truly stunning porn collections, in full display for windowshoppers.

9. The Muir Woods feel like a scene in Lord of the Rings.

10. Taking your indie-rock-lovin' boyfriend to Amoeba Records is like taking an ADD 7-year old to Chuckie Cheese.

11. If the stars are aligned just right, you might find yourself sipping a mojito in a bar in the Castro whilst listening to "It's Raining Men." I did.

12. Someone stole a guy's van in the Haight. Then, someone stole the guy's "stolen van" sign and gave it to me as a souvenir. But I'm not going to name names.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm famous on the Internets.

Last night was the very crowded, very lively Drinking Liberally with our very special guest, Markos Mouslitas of DailyKos:



Had to get a pic. He's so tiny!

It was gratifying that he recognized my blog name and that I was able to meet so many Colorado bloggers that I'd known by name only. A great time, and it made me glad to be a part of something so much bigger than me. This is what the Internet is, at its best, I think. A way to create real community through virtual connections.

My flight leaves in three hours, folks, so I'm out till Tuesday. So talk amongst yourselves, rabblerousers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bye, Scottie. And Karl- don't get too comfy there.

This is what my dad calls "when the wheels fall off."

There's kind of a hubris thing here that satisfies the English major in me. The hero's arrogance is what eventually brings him down. Karl wasn't really a genius, he was just well-connected and willing to break the rules. McClellan wasn't any kind of press expert, he was just one of those dolls that has six different phrases for each time you pull the string. And they got away with it for a good long time, but there is something about true, deep, bad failure that spreads from the top down in any situation. Especially when the one doing most of the failing also fails at putting competent people in important positions.

I said this on Atrios the other day . . . everyone is good at something. Bush is good at failing. He's done it all his life, and you almost have to admire how good he's become at it. He's a virtuoso of failure.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday Lists: Jaded Edition

THINGS THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO THINK ARE GOOD, BUT ARE REALLY NOT, SO FAR AS I CAN TELL.

1. The Olive Garden
2. Exploring nuclear energy technologies
3. John Mayer
4. "CSI: Miami"
5. Kim Cattrall as "Samantha"
6. Organized religion
7. "The DaVinci Code"
8. Kohl's
9. The Cadillac Escalade
10. Crocs.

TASKS THAT ARE APPARENTLY SO DIFFICULT THAT PEOPLE CAN ONLY PERFORM THEM IN A HORRORSCAPE OF BLACK AND WHITE UNTIL AN AS-SEEN-ON-TV PRODUCT SAVES THEM FROM THEIR OWN NIGHTMARE OF INCOMPETENCE AND BRINGS THEM INTO A WORLD OF COLOR AND CONVENIENCE:

1. Draining pasta
2. Chopping vegetables
3. Storing leftovers
4. Doing a sit-up
5. Shaving one's legs
6. Cooking an egg
7. Sleeping

Monday, April 17, 2006

I see dead people

So this weekend, la familia vespa took my mom to Gunter Von Hagens' Bodyworlds Two exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I took along the boyfriend (we all get along famously) and went to behold the wonders of the human body, preserved in silicone. It was mama vespa's B-day and she wanted to see the dead people.

It was really fascinating, though really difficult to reconcile the idea that the people on display were once among the living. The thing that kind of crystallized it for me was a tattoo on one guy's wrist. Spooky.

Other than that, an Easter weekend spent in true Agnostic style, sleeping in, no church, running errands, enjoying the sunshine. Went up to chez Dex to partake in some HBO (Big Love, my new favorite Mormon soap opera) and stayed for the new Doctor Who. I'm intrigued.

In other news, it's gonna be a short blogging week, as I'll probably refrain from posting whilst in San Francisco. By this time on Thursday I will have downed my first in-flight cocktail and be high above the Colorado Rockies on my way West.

So for now, this is about alls I got . . . plus a new Soapblox post on how Wayne "My Face Is Made Of Pretzel Dough And Ignorance" Allard was recently voted among America's five worst senators. Go Colorado!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday dogbloggin

OK, she's not a cat. She's not a random ten. But she's my favorite pitbull-mastiff mix in the universe. I give you my childhood pet, noble defender, and just all-around awesome dog:


OLIVE!!


This is Olive's happy face. She does this whenever she is happy to see someone. Here, my mom managed to capture Olive's happy face on film.

Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

But his name sounds all French and stuff.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste bravely asks: War? What is it good for?

And what's even better is when he takes aim at the complacency of the pro-war Right:

And certainly, too many of these families truly understand the meaning of sacrifice. Most Americans only confront this issue by deciding what color of magnet on the back end of their SUV.


It's getting uglier, folks. More and more people who know what they are saying are saying things like this . . .

This guy is calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. It's the old standoff between the Rummy "let's create a nimble (read:understaffed) military!" and the stalwart Military establishment. But it's got a lot more resonance now that support for the war is waning.

I think this gives me hope that DeLay's takedown was, really, only the beginning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

duck! and cover!

Can someone tell me in small words just why I should not be terrified right now?

I've been spending the better part of this week (although this has, on the whole, not been a great week so the better part is still not very good) trying NOT to think about this. But it just seems to me that this can go many ways, none of them positive.

While some say that they don't see any reason for Israel to be the only nuclear-capable nation in the Middle East, I don't really see any reason why there should be any nuclear-capable nations, period. I don't know who Iran will posture toward and I can't see it ending well in any scenario, no matter who they pick to intimidate.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I think they're gonna haul out and drop Big One on the midwest or anything. But it's kinda like how it makes me nervous that so many Americans carry guns. I mean, defense and protection are valid concerns, but when it comes right down to it, the whole notion of protection and the whole idea of a threat is contingent upon actually using the weapon to kill people.

And whether it's a pistol or a thermonuclear device, there are consequences that will occur upon the use of either.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The triumphant return of Tuesday Lists!

I'm sorry. I've been like, crazy, OCD-style-busy these past months, and I've been neglecting Tuesday List duties. So here's a two-fer. That ought to last ya.

WAYS IN WHICH I AM A POSEUR

1. I have purchased faux chuck taylors at Payless Shoe Source
2. I gave up on my Goth phase when it got to be too much work
3. I have an insatiable thirst for Vitamin Water bottled beverages
4. I drive a car that I'd trust to take me safely across a state line
5. About 80 percent of my belongings were purchased at Target
6. I have a 401k
7. I'm secretly kinda pleased that there will be a smoking ban in bars in Denver by July
8. I have no tattoos
9. My bike is not vintage but is built to look like it is
10. I get pedicures

NINE INTERESTING THINGS I'VE SEEN LATELY:

1. A furry dog suit crucified on a post at the intersection of Broadway and Highway 66 on the far North side of Boulder
2. A man in a zoot suit, black and white wingtips and a four-foot watch chain walking down Blake Street in the sunshine
3. A bald man in a dress on a Rascal scooter trying to cross Colfax
4. An aged homeless man with a big white beard singing God Bless America on a bench on the 16th Street Mall
5. A female bodybuilder who looked like Iggy Pop, at my gym in Glendale
6. A couple dressed as Neo and Trinity from the Matrix pushing a stroller down Clarkson near 10th Ave.
7. The filming of a Christian educational film on abstinence at Governor's Park
8. Four elderly gay men in Hawaiian-print shirts at Diedrich's near Cheesman Park (OK, so maybe that's not so unusual, but I remember wanting to spend the rest of my morning with them instead of going to work)
9. A hipster girl pool shark in pearls and a miniskirt beating the pants off of her male opponent at Three Kings Tavern on Saturday

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hardcore, baby

So this weekend I went to a different rock show each night. This wasn't really planned; I got press passes to Pink Martini for Friday, tickets to an e-town taping for Sunday and the boyfriend suggested an evening with our buddies Everything Absent or Distorted at the Three Kings Tavern on Saturday. So we had what I've been terming "our Very Own SXSW" weekend.

Pink Martini was a lot of fun- a very eclectic orchestra that played everything from 1930s Carmen Miranda songs to 1970s Japanese Carole-King style music. Plus, it was at the very deco-swank Gothic Theater out in Englewood, adding to the cool expatriate Cabaret feel.

Saturday's show was an interesting night, at the Three Kings, formerly the Cherry Pit (Pit was a very apt term for that place, and when it burned down last year it was nearly an aesthetic improvement). The night was not just music- they had comedian Adam Clayton Holland, some really good DJs and a premiere of a video from West Indian Girl on the projection screen. Plus a band called Pee Pee and the grand finale with Everything Absent or Distorted didn't even start until 12:35 or so. It was a late night but I was feeling pretty good and wound up dancing the night away.

The e-town taping was well worth the drive to Boulder. Dar Williams' voice is like buttah and Spoon put on a good, if subdued, show. Plus a talk with Harvey Wasserman on alternative energy.

I don't think I could do this every weekend. In fact, I know I couldn't. But this was a good break- it's nice to end a really tedious week with a weekend like that. It's nice to remember that I am 24 and can rock out all weekend long if I need to. And I needed to.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hooray for random!

The ten:

1. Way Out West, Verbena
2. Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand (Star Wars fanboys/girls click here for some Franz Ferdinand/Obi Wan fun)
3. Black Tambourine, Beck
4. Palm of My Hand, Cake
5. Bombs Over Bagdad, Outkast (Gotta love Southern rap with a sizzling, Prince-style guitar solo)
6. Tonight, Iggy Pop
7. The Brouhaha, Beastie Boys
8. First Day of my Life, Bright Eyes
9. Confusion, The Zutons (I forgot all about these guys.)
10. The Look of Love, Dusty Springfield.

Wow, an eclectic mix this week.

Well, work calls, etc etc, but I have a bonus pic for you all:



Opening day at Coors Field . . .

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Moral Majority

Wow. Just . . . wow.

And there's more.

So the Department of Homeland Security is like the Registered Sex Offender's list of the Bush Administration.

Do you feel safer now?

I mean, I realize these men are sick. They have a mental illness. And yes, it is wrong that we criminalize mental illness to the degree that we do in this country. They should be treated. They should have access to medical professionals and proper care. They should be kept far away from potential victims.

I agree with all of that.

But I also think that they probably should *not* have high-ranking positions within the federal government. I want to know what their superiors knew about their histories before they got these DHS jobs. Everyone who gets some cush job in the Bush Administration only gets it because they are owed favors by people in power. I want to know what these guys did for their bosses before getting these jobs. Nobody's back goes unscratched with this crew.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Onion Hearts Bloggers!

Today's "What do YOU Think?" features opinions from Amanda Marcotte, "Mouslitas Ziniga" and John Amato.

Somehow I failed to make the cut.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Now I'll never be a teen model!

Sometimes I just can't resist a good blogthing:

You Are Marcia Brady

Confident yet kind. Popular yet down to earth. You're a total dream girl.
You've got the total package - no wonder everyone's a little jealous of you.

Friday Random Ten, plus less-fortunate kittyblogging

OK, first: the music . . .

1. No Phone, Cake.
2. Do You Realize, The Flaming Lips.
3. Brothers on a Hotel Bed, Deathcab for Cutie.
4. Brick Is Red, Pixies.
5. Cold Brains, Beck.
6. Every Planet We Reach is Dead, Gorillaz.
7. Oh Word, Beastie Boys.
8. Naomi, Neutral Milk Hotel.
9. All Falls Down, Kanye West feat. Syleena Johnson.
10. Too Little, Too Late, Metric.

And now, kitties.
Background: last weekend the boy and I went shopping around to find him a trusty animal companion. A faithful friend. A partner in crime. So, we went on down to a sketchy little stretch of Santa Fe Blvd. down near Englewood to a shelter called the Animal Rescue and Adoption Society, a cat shelter teeming with big cats, small cats, old cats, young cats, sweet old toms and big bitchy kitties. Here are some highlights:


This was literally the biggest cat I've ever seen in my life. He looks like he has swallowed a medicine ball. He was simply stunning.


Looked over just in time to see the boyfriend getting some serious kitty loving . . .


This guy's name was Sexy Rex. He's an 18-year-old stray with cauliflower ears and tufty old-cat fur. The sweetest cat ever. The old, street-beaten toms always are.

For more info, check out the shelter site. They need all the help they can get. And not to get all Bob Barker here, but please, fix your kitties.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A change will do you good

OK, so obviously I've changed a few things around, like the header image to reflect the loveliness of my new city in the summertime. And I have a new work-mandated disclaimer to the right there . . . they monitor our Internet use here, so I'm sure they know all about what goes on here at VV. So behave yourselves! And I'll try to keep my droppage of the F-bomb to a minimum.

But what is nice is that I'm no longer scared about posting political polemics and real opinions here, because I'm not bound by the lame-ass "nonbias" contract that the paper made me sign. So ha! Now that I work for a company run by a buncha crazy, creative liberal folk, I can be free to berate this pathetic excuse for an administration all I like.

And I can gloat about this all I like. Although the bastard got the minimum, it's better than nothing.

Gloat, gloat gloat.

And I find this really interesting, because I've always been intrigued by child development stuff like this. I want to get down to the bottom of the mystery of why I was reading National Geographics at six while other kids had, you know, friends and fun and girl scout meetings and stuff.

That's all I really got today . . . I would, though, like to point all my Colorado peeps to a recent quick post I did for Soapblox . . . good on the hometown for organizing something like this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just call me Grace . . .

Picture this . . . Vestal Vespa, carrying laundry up the short stairwell in the back of her 1950's tenement-style apartment building. As the door begins to shut behind her, a thought crosses her mind . . . what if she left her keys in there, behind the rapidly-closing, self-locking door? Crisis! In panic, she turns to grab the knob just as the door latches, trips down the bottom two steps, and rolls her ankle over with a sickly snapping sound.

Yep. Sprained my ankle doing laundry. Just think, if this acts up again, I'll have to say, "oh, dear, that's just my old laundry injury."

At least I didn't lock myself out.

To add to this, I have a nasty cold and it's just now getting nice out. So I'm laid up, laid out, and quarantined. Teh Suxor.

I took yesterday off and today it's back to work. But payday is coming, as well as the vacay (check the countdown) so, as my friend Megan says, there is a light at the end of the ass crack.

Until next time . . .

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Friday Random Ten

Busy busy busy today, so here goes:

1. You've Got Her In Your Pocket: White Stripes
2. Wandering Star: Portishead (whoa, old-school!)
3. Summer Skin: Deathcab for Cutie
4. Oh So Quiet: Bjork
5. Masterfade: Andrew Bird
6. Milk: Kings of Leon
7. Lay Down and Die: Rock N Roll Soldiers
8. The View: Modest Mouse
9. Le Monde: Theievery Corporation
10. Details of the War: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Random pop-culture and personal musings . . .

. . . are all I can really manage in between proofing the legal copy for wireless phone plans. Lemme tell ya, the new job has really taught me the value of actually reading fine print. You would not believe what they can legally put in there to screw you over.

Anyway.

Some neural firings I've had lately:

1. "Project Runway" is the new "Surreal Life." I've seen the finest minds of my generation destroyed by madness . . . and Heidi Klum.

2. I know the iPod Nano is not an emergency. But I feel compelled to charge one to my visa card anyway . . .

Maybe next paycheck.

3. I love the new Kinko's commercial with the "copy cat." The cat, see, he's gonna save them money on copies, because he can paint pie charts. My cat doesn't paint pie charts. All I ask her to do is to do the dishes every once in a while and she won't even do that. And I'm sick of opening her mail.

4. Even though it was snowing this morning, I could tell it was springtime. Something heady and alive in the air. Something fresh and green. It was a great thing . . . sometimes I forget that the seasons will, in fact, change, and I get taken slightly by surprise when they come around again.

5. The new Neko Case has made my spring, just as Beck's "Guero" made last spring. Lovely, lovely.

6. The boy sent me flowers for my desk a couple of days ago and they are still beautiful. Blooming and becoming more beautiful, actually. This bodes well.

7. I've joined a gym, as exercise is supposed to alleviate anxiety. The 24-hour gym thing intrigues me. I think I'll go at like, 3 a.m. sometime after a Gabor's night and play in the sauna. And it amuses me that I see other hipster kids in there with tattoos and Chuck Taylors sweating as hard as I am . . . body insecurity knows no genre.

8. Another gym note: the window in front of my favorite stairmasters directly faces the warmly glowing menu board at the neighboring KFC. I often feel like I'm climbing K2 to get some of the Colonel's tasty buttered biscuits.

9. So the countdown begins for my sister's departure to the wilds of Lesotho. She's leaving on June 11 and I am worried that I won't be able to get enough Lizzie time in before that . . . I'm thinking we need to make a Casa Bonita run before she goes, just for old time's sake. I am also thinking I'm not going to feel the full impact of her absence until I wave goodbye to her at the airport . . . not going to be easy at all.

10. Work calls again. One hour left . . .

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Just making some pudding for the apocalypse . . .

Today on NPR they covered a trip that Cheney had made to a bar in Ohio. After quoting a few of his half-assed jokes (watching Cheney tell a joke must be like watching Stalin do a puppet show) and interviewing a few of the local freaktards (I support the TROOPS! I support the PREZNIT!) they asked an older woman what she thought of Cheney's appearance.

I'm not sure what she said exactly, but it came down to this: "It was really great to see the Vice President. It made me feel like a real American."

Now, I've talked at length about what makes a "real American." But what really bothers me is this sort of fucked up Divine Right of Kings philosophy that so many Americans adopt with respect to their elected officials. I mean, just yesterday, the self-same NPR station had an in-depth segment on the shifting rationales for the war, which included flat-out, bald-faced audiotaped LIES from the likes of Cheney and Condi and Bush himself. Lies. Not regrettable missteps, nothing that could be thought to be out-of-context, just lies that these people were telling the American people. And yet, here is someone who finds the mere presence of a lying evil elected official to be inspiring and somehow fulfilling.

I guess it is really no coincidence that these people are usually also very Christian. When it comes down to it, their faith is unwavering because the idea of a leader who doesn't care for them is as frightening as the idea of an atheistic world. If Bush doesn't care about them, what if God doesn't care about them? What if they are truly uncared-for by any cosmic or governmental powers?

It's a scary thought. And we all know how much Americans like being comforted.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Just when do you start calling optimism "pathological?"

Christ on Club cracker.

At this point, even his friends have conceded that there is nothing short of civil war going on in Iraq, and this knucklehead is still talking "victory."

Just what does your victory look like, Mr. Bush? Just as the rationales for the war have changed more often than my hair color in college, the preferred outcomes have changed as well.

I really believe that "victory" for Bush's plan has already happened. He had always wanted a destabilized failed state there, that would continually be at the mercy of the US. And he's had his "victory." Now on to Iran.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's hard work.

This past week's events included me having a nervous breakdown, broke up with my boyfriend, had a two-day mourning period and then spoke with him and decided to try again.

Yeah. Life is hard. But there are just somethings that you need to fight for, work out, work through and make better.

What they say is true about not knowing what you have until it is gone, and it is also true that you've found someone truly special when you find someone who can forgive you for your mistakes, even when you hurt them really, really badly.

So that's what's up. One day at a time and all that.

And in a world that is fucked up enough to unleash THIS upon a tender and unsuspecting public (that will no doubt adore it, despite the fact that it is the like intellectual self-poisoning), it is good (maybe even necessary) to have a partner to keep you happy and sane.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Can I get it on Netflix?

Holland has made it mandatory for immigrants to view a 105-minute video featuring gay romance, nudity and other such behaviors in order to pass an entrance examination.

So you can't actually move to Holland unless you are comfortable with such imagery.

Some religous groups are calling it discrimination. The Dutch minister of immigration says that all those who would like to become Dutch citizens must be comfortable with modernity.

I have to say I think it's a fine idea. I think we should do the same in Colorado. If nothing else, maybe all those idiots who drive SUVs with those god damned "Calvin Praying" stickers would stay in Texas or South Carolina or wherever the hell it is that they keep coming from.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuesday List: Modern Messiah Edition

ACTUAL QUOTES FROM POSTINGS AT THE DR. PHIL MESSAGE BOARDS:

1. "i wanted to try and get him to go to counseling because i think it was related to self-esteem issues. we never did but eventually ass of a sudden he changed one moring and now we have sex about 2 times a week...which is good for me."

(ed. note: I know "ass of a sudden" must be a typo, but it has such great cadence that I had to put it at the top of the list)

2. "Are you living your authentic self? I finally do!"

(but apparently he is not living with a seventh-grader's understanding of subject-verb agreement)

3. "I started read Self Matters a few days ago and it was amazing - it was like the book was written about me."

(You mean, written about your . . . *SELF*?)

4. "As we breathe we continue to be in the process of being."

(oy.)

5. "Well, it is true that you can't change what you don't acknowlede but when you look at the question, what am I not satisfied with in my life and your answer is nothing is ever good enough well haaaaaaa how in the world do I change that!!! I mean sure I know it's possible but well yeah I don't know what I am talking about. LOL"

(Honey, go to a *real* doctor . . . now . . .)

6. "Your hopes and dreams are far more valid than your doubts and fears. -Dr Phil"

(Aw . . . you can almost see this in gold, written on a fuzzy kitten poster . . .)

7. "Just curious what the jist of Self Matters is - is that the goal of the book, to help you find your authentic self?? Glad you posted this, I may just have to go out and buy it!!"

(Wow . . . I bet the working title was "How I, Dr. Phil, Will Make Millions of Dollars on the Weak Self-Esteems of Others.")

8. "Our lifes r a constant state of learning.When we learn all we need to learn here, we move onto death which is just the beginning."

(Right . . . because Death is kind of a cosmic Grad program.)

9. "I have had "therapists" tell me that I was nuts and that I had all kinds of disorders I knew I did not have."

(And now you have a "doctor" telling you you are just not your "authentic self" yet. Good choice!)

10. "SINCE MY TRACTOR ACCIDENT I CAME TO HATE MY BODY, ASHAMED OF IT,"

(* . . . blink . . .*)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Freakshow



The above is from Postsecret. But it seemed particularly amusing after heading over to Mr. Dex's place last night to catch the season premiere of "Big Love" on HBO.

Altogether I liked it because the family is surprisingly normal for being what they are . . . that is, being a man with three wives, three houses and countless children. The writers took obvious care to draw a big fat line between mainstream mormons and the bizarre cultish behaviors of the fundamentalists who live on self-contained compounds in the Utah wilds. But at the same time, they do show the compound life for what it is- a terminally patriarchal society that slowly degrades and destroys those who chose it in search of God's guidance and favors.

Harry Dean Stanton did a supremely creepy job of the Prophet, the head of the fundamentalist sect who also happens to be in his sixties and married to a 14-year old girl named Rhonda. He is also one of Bill Paxton's fathers-in-law, through his marriage to Chloe Sevigny. He is one of many unseverable ties the family still holds to their old life on the compound.

But one thing I really loved about the show is how well the set designers and costumers captured that "Mormon" look of Utah, the Hendrickson homes and even the people themselves. Women with long, scrunchie-bound French braids. Quilts hung on walls as art. Huge, heavy and ornate furniture. It reminded me very much of home, and of trying my best to understand the faith that made up such a large part of our community.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday twofer: Cat and Music

Kitty, via the new Samsung A900 Cameraphone:


And the random, via iTunes:

1. Do You Want To, Franz Ferdinand
2. The Christians and the Pagans, Dar Williams
3. Deep Red Bells, Neko Case (the new Neko is on its way from Amazon! Hooray!)
4. Some Weird Sin, Iggy Pop
5. Wake Up, The Arcade Fire
6. Can't Hardly Stand It, Charlie Feathers (from the Kill Bill Vol. 2 Soundtrack)
7. Bario Alto, Theivery Corporation
8. Razz, Kings of Leon
9. At the Bottom of Everything, Bright Eyes
10. Extraordinary, Liz Phair

Have a lovely weekend, all; filled with sunshine and pink hummers . . . whatever you take that to mean . . .

Love,
VV

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why cameraphones were invented

Spotted on Park Ave., Denver, yesterday:



Note the "Pink Vixen" license plate.

Ah, America.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

RIP, Kirby



When we lived in Minnesota, I was still pretty little but I managed to somehow, on some level, understand what baseball meant to people in the Twin Cities. When we'd go to the Metrodome in the late 80s (an overwhelming structure for a 7-year old, anyway) and the insanely loud roar of the fans would equalize into a kind of white noise in my head, it was clear that this was something that was really, really important to a lot of Minnesotans.

And down there, in the diamond, was a short guy, shaped a bit like a prairie chicken, who could knock the ball out of the park if not for the pillowy canopy that covered it.

RIP, Kirby . . . we'll miss you.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oh, me so holy

This is breathtaking . . .

The Rock Show Skank, and other observations

So the first order of business this weekend was the Hi Dive show with Everything Absent or Distorted, who were kind enough to invite me to another of their impressive shows. With no fewer than seven members living in Cheyenne and throughout Colorado, it's amazing that these guys can even get together for rehearsals, much less can manage the kind of synergy and inventiveness they display every time I see them. Good job, guys.

And as I'm now officially a freelance entertainment correspondent for the newspaper, I will get to see much more in the way of local shows and national acts. Hooray for press passes!

But among the many in attendance at this show was a phenomenon I've come to recognize immediately: the Rock Show Skank. There are sometimes many rock show skanks, but usually there is a queen skank that manages to direct the most attention her way. The Rock Show Skank is usually a woman a little past her prime, who probably would come to the show regardless of who was playing, just to drag along her beefy boyfriend and dress in a ridiculously short skirt with fishnet stockings. She never dances quite appropriately to the music that's playing- more often it's kind of a drunken combination between the lambada and a loss of internal equilibrium. The rock show skank is a friendly creature, and will make conversation with anyone nearby. But since she usually rambles incoherently about past rock shows or some bizarre personal incident (I had an aura reading today! I have an amber aura.) those she speaks with rarely return her enthusiasm for the exchange.

But let's not have this be a takedown of the rock show skank. Bless her heart, she is just there for the music, and at least she's getting out once in a while.

This weekend also included another baby shower, which, as some of you know, is kind of my own personal hell. I am not quite female enough, I guess, to enjoy sitting in a room filled with screeching women while a pregnant lady opens countless onesies, toys, baby books and layette items. And while I always go as a sign of support for the mom-to-be, the baby shower is among the many social exchanges that I do not feel entirely comfortable in. Others include bachelorette parties and any party involving a pyramid scheme (Partylite, Avon, etc). Baby showers are worse than a bachelorette party or a pyramid scheme party, however, due to the eggregious lack of booze. If I must endure talk of lactation, bowel movements, contractions, cervical elasticity and varicose veins, I feel it only appropriate that I am allowed to do so through a thick, vodka-infused fog. It seems only right. I wound up chatting with a (fellow childless) friend I hadn't seen in forever about designer thrift-shop finds and the new Anthropologie catalog.

In other news, I have a brand-new, fancypants cell phone. It's a Samsung blade phone in chick black, a little smaller than my wallet when closed and now tricked-out with a Pulp Fiction background and a Ren and Stimpy ringtone. New toys are fun . . .

Friday, March 03, 2006

A random ten, and a rant

Holy crap.

Even if you are one of the 30 percent who think that the US is going in the "right direction" with Bush's policies, even if you are one of those beady-eyed, snake-handling inbred freakshows who voted for him not once but *twice* because you thought he'd make ours a more moral world, even if you are an eleventy-billionaire enjoying lower taxes than ever before, how could you look at this and this and this and really think that your hero is doing a *good* job? I really want to know. I want to know what kind of cognitive dissonance makes you look at these things and feel at all safer, at all more secure, at all more hopeful for the future? I'm just wondering. As someone who now works in advertising, I want to know what I can do for my clients that makes such an absolutely dangerous, deadly product sound so very yummy to you.

Bleh.

OK, on to the music. Music will be my serenity, for now.

1. A Century of Elvis, Belle and Sebastian
2. Outsiders, Franz Ferdinand
3. Wandering Star, Portishead
4. Ocean Breaths Salty, Modest Mouse
5. Whip the Blankets, Neko Case
6. School Spirit Skit 2, Kanye West
7. In This Home On Ice, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
8. Next Exit, Interpol
9. Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia), The Flaming Lips
10. Dirty Little Girl, Elton John

Wow. Scottish pop, trip hop, alt country, classic brit rock and cerebral rap. Is that eclectic or just plain crazy?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What can I say about that suit that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan?

Ah, Afghanistan.

The pre-Iraq. The minor errand we had to check off the list before getting to what Bush had been planning all along. The "hitting the dry cleaners on the way" of regime change.

What I love about this story is that Bush said virtually nothing *about* Afghanistan whilst *in* Afghanistan. True to form, he used the moment to talk about how Iran's nuclear ambitions are the worst thing to happen to the global community since "new" met "Coke." Oh, and how it's OK for India to use the same nuclear technology that Iran is trying to use, because of some trumped-up language about civilian energy needs (something has to power those call centers, right?).

All in all, another pointless, taxpayer-funded jaunt to a bombed-out country that the President used to continue his ceaseless self-aggrandizement and rationalize his failures. Though I'm not sure anyone ever expected it to be anything more.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday list: Little Vespa's Greatest Hits

Actual, unedited quotes from my little sister:

1. (Picture dejected, pathetic facial expression)"I ordered a brownie and it never came."

2. "I *am* a relationship vulcan."

3. "Never underestimate the power of thread count."

4. "I enjoy speeding so much that I'm prepared to pay for a ticket."

5. (In response to a guy at a bar who told her she's "too beautiful" to smoke): "Yeah, that's probably true."

6. "You smell like butt."

7. "The living room smells like a Dave Matthews concert."

8. "I'm just going to get pie."

9. "You know, Rick Allen" (proceeds to mime a one-armed drummer)

10. "If I ever find a boy like my sister, I'll have found my soul mate"

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Random Ten: Very Very Busy Edition

1. Modest Mouse: Blame it on the Tetons.
2. Andrew Bird: The Happy Birthday Song.
3. Belle and Sebastian: The Boy Done Wrong Again.
4. The Decemberists: We Both Go Down Together.
5. Gary Jules:Umbilical Town.
6. Elvis Costello: Radio Radio.
7. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 2.
8. Fischerspooner: Emerge.
9. The Gorillaz: Demon Days.
10. Sigur Ros: Untitled 2 (from ()).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ricky goes down.

As if pathetic "approval" ratings and flagging party support weren't enough, now Little Ricky Santorum got himself some legal problems.

I'm thinking that most of these cult-o-personality types (Musgrave, Santorum, et al) are going to find that their anti-gay platform is going to run out of steam well before November. And no amount of posturing will help them regain the votes lost when it turns out that, outside of anti-gay posturing, they really never had anything to offer their constituents.

Bye bye, Ricky. It's been fun. And just think of the glorious legacy your name has created for generations to come . . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Almost famous . . .

Back in the day, I was in a high school production of "The Tempest." Two of my costars went on to bigger and much better things- Shawna Fildes made a film called "State of Beeing" and my friend Kirsten, who I idolized, went on to work the comedy scene in LA and NY and even had bit parts in "Kate and Leopold" and on an episode of "Law and Order, SVU."

Where am I going with this? Well, in some mid-afternoon idle googling of high school friends and acquaintances, I found that Kirsten is going to host an evening of up-and-coming comedians at the Aspen Comedy Festival.

If any of you all are planning a trip to the mountains in March, I suggest making a trip to this festival and to Kirsten's show. I guarantee a good time . . .

The only good Arab is a rich Arab. I guess.

Well, *this* isn't going to play well in the Red States.

Now, I know that Arab Emirates Arabs are most certainly different than Saudi Arabia Arabs and that, while Al Qaeda does operate in the Arabian Peninsula, the Emirates are for the most part too blinged-out with oil money to foster too much of the kinds of rage that fuel Islamic terrorism. There is some truth to the idea that poverty is the root cause of fundamentalism, which leads to animosity, which leads to terrorism. I know this.

But for many Americans, Arabs is Arabs and constructing a business deal to contract Arabs to secure our seaports is a little difficult to understand. After all, folks like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin have offered up the idea that all Arabs are suspect, and that they should all be rounded up and interned for the good of American society. And it's these bigoted ideas that get the real bandwidth throughout Middle America.

On one hand, I'm pleased this story is getting some play in the news, because I know it shows Bush to be the big bad Arab-bashing cowboy who happens to also offer lucrative contracts to companies in the Emirates. But this, also, is kind of sick, because while I'd like to see his approval ratings continue their downward spiral, the negativity Bush is getting over this particular deal is rooted in the blind, ignorant racism of the American public. If they can't tell the difference between a Kuwaiti and a Saudi (and let's face it, how many Americans can, or care to?), this deal is going to make them think the president is doling out our vulnerable seaports to terrorists. Which, of course, isn't true at all. This deal with Dubai Ports is the kind of thing Tony Blair has been doing for years now. Bush is dealing with businessmen here, not terrorists. While I have to smirk at any negative press Bush gets, it is troubling to me that so many people are seeing this deal with Arab businessmen as a deal with Al Qaeda.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Denver Concert Roundup

OK- I've got some time between projects and seeing as how it is no longer my job to compile concert listings, I'm a bit behind on the local scene. I decided to do some research, and here are a few recommendations:

Matson Jones with Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, Friday at the Bluebird. This promises to be a great show, but beware the trendy factor. A very hipster-heavy night is guaranteed for all. But you can't miss with bands that incorporate strings into punk and alt-country. $8.

Low, Feb. 25 at the Larimer Lounge, with Damien Jurado, $12. This would be a great late-February show, a mellow sound and a little romance to finish off the month before heading into spring. Good makeout music. And if you are in the mood for a very long day of music, show up at around 2 p.m. and catch Longmont's own The Susceptibles (I went to high school with these guys) at the Lounge's PBR-BQ show.

Born in the Flood with Swearing at Motorists, Feb. 27, the HiDive. Born in the Flood are, in my opinion, among Denver's most innovative musicians right now. I've blogged about them before, but they really are worth checking out if you like Radiohead, Travis or just really decent, dreamy but edgy indie rock. And hey, any band named Swearing at Motorists is worth a listen . . . the show starts at 7 with a band called The Appleseed Cast, which I know nothing about. $10.

The Hot IQs, VoxTrot and Everything Absent or Distorted, March 3, the HiDive. This show is going to be an awesome Friday Night (added bonus: Sputnik, the neighboring bar, does $3 Stella Artois happy hours every First Friday to coincide with the Art Walk down at the Golden Triangle district. ARTois, ART walk? Get it?). EAOD is worth a watch- they put on a helluva show and incorporate banjos, horns and even calisthenics in their performances. $8.

Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah, March 28 at the Bluebird. $14. I was thinking of going to the Edith Frost show the day before this, and then going to see these guys, but the more I listen to poor Edith the more depressing I find her. So I think I'll be making just one trip to the 'Bird. These guys have found themselves on heavy rotation at the CU radio station, and I like what I hear. I like their Talking Heads meets The Shins kinda sound.

Jason Collet of Broken Social Scene, April 5, the HiDive. This guy basically built Canada's indie rock scene. A mere $10 for what promises to be a killer Tuesday evening.

Eisley, April 15, the Bluebird. I caught these kids for the first time when they opened for Coldplay back in 2003, and I remember thinking that they were going to go far. They're really young but play together with a maturity that even much older bands lack. They're the kind of band that I always hoped would come from a generation of kids raised on Bjork and Radiohead. A steal at $10.