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.