turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task



holy crap, what have we gotten ourselves into?

this is the thought i imagine running through my wife's head this morning, after having received 6-8 inches of snow on thursday night, 11-14 inches on saturday night, and then sustained 40 mile per hour winds last night that created some seriously tall and crusty drifts.

on top of all that, we woke to 5 degree temperatures this morning.

and though i'm a little shocked at how quickly and violently winter reared its numbingly cold white head, i secretly love it. the world is transformed - softer, quieter, slower. and the snowboarding... oh sweet lord, the snowboarding. yesterday was almost thigh high as the mountain opened more and more previously closed sections.

thanksgiving was a blast, and the 5 days off were pretty sweet too. yummy smells pervaded, food was eaten, wine was drank (drunk? dranken? drinked?), songs were shared, and football was watched.

and, now, i will end this post with some of my favorite quotes from "a christmas story", the "it's a wonderful life" of my generation:

"eat like a piggy, randy!"
"i can't put my arms down!"
"ohhhhh, fudge!"
"fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra!"
"i triple dog dare you!"

and, of course, the most ubiquitous of them all...

"you'll shoot your eye out!"


don's mixed drinks, yummy thai food, and book learnin'

i have returned from the big mad city (that's roberto's phrase), and it was a gas gas gas.

it all started on friday night, when we began our evening at falling rock, the best damn beer bar anywhere. they have over 200 beers total, and over 70 on tap at any one time. that's right folks. 70 beers on tap.

the evening devolved from there, but in a good way. it seems to me that whenever you finish your night at the infamous don's mixed drinks, you're just asking for it. don's was a fantastic time - good friends to talk to, drinks so stiff they had rigar mortis, and the rocking good time group known as the denver guerrilla queers. if you're unfamiliar with this group, it exists in several big cities throughout the nation, and its mission is simple: a group of gay folks "invade" what has traditionally been known as a straight bar, and with a critical mass turn that straight bar into a gay bar for the night. we heteros were in the minority, and it was hilarious! the guerrilla queers were a lot of fun. they passed out pink flamingo diddly boppers for everyone to wear, and they brought along some crazy chick (she was definitely a woman, and not a drag queen) who did a high energy lip sync of "girls just want to have fun" for our table. the... whole... song.

that night ended with jenn clapping out a cheerleader style chant for pepperoni pizza, and snookum and i doing the running man in the middle of 6th avenue trying to hail a cab. and that's what i remeber.

the rest of the weekend was more or less a recovery from that night, with lots of record stores visited and an evening at our favorite thai place, basil thai - snow outside, teakwood tables, low lighting, warm sake and the best damn coconut curry anywhere. so good.

to end this post, i'd like to share the first book review i just finished for colorado libraries, the professional journal for the colorado association of libraries. it'll be in the winter issue.

Decker, Peter R. The Utes Must Go: American Expansion and the Removal of a People. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2004. 235 pages. ISBN 1-55591-465-9, paper, $17.95.

In discussing his new book about the removal of the Ute people from Colorado, Peter Decker states the Indians were given the following choice: “Go peacefully or be eradicated. No other options were considered.” This policy of extermination or removal, then so prevalent at every level of society and government, found its genesis in manifest destiny – that combination of divine white might and unabashed greed.

How does one begin to reconcile the true history of this state and this nation with what is taught in grade school textbooks? Peter Decker’s new book, The Ute Must Go: American Expansion and the Removal of a People, is an excellent place to start. In it, Decker examines the social, political and military machinations responsible for the events that led to the eventual forced removal of the Utes from their homelands. Of particular interest are the explosive and shockingly biased newspaper editorials of the day between manifest westerners, and their “eastern sentimentalist” opponents calling for a more moderate handling of Indian affairs. Also interesting are the frenzied telegraphs between panicked, power-hungry Colorado politicians and their more levelheaded counterparts back east. These communications cast a dark light on the historical Colorado leaders whose names adorn our counties, towns and streets – Teller, Sherman, Gilpin, and Pitkin to name a few. All of this back-story leads to a thorough examination of the Milk Creek Massacre: its major players, the events leading up to it, and its appalling aftermath for the Ute people.

The Utes Must Go is a book that provides context, which allows for a better understanding of the relationships between the Utes and the whites, Colorado and the East, and Democrats and Republicans of the era. It also illustrates how Manifest Destiny pervaded and poisoned all of these associations, allowing for blatantly racist behavior and abominable government Indian policy. Superbly researched, it is a book well worth reading, and one that any Colorado library should have on its shelves.

Peter Decker was a professor of history and public policy at Duke University before becoming a western rancher in Ridgway, Colorado. He serves as the chair of the board of trustees for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.


did i say tomorrow? i meant tomorrow.

so, jenn and i leave tomorrow for denver, not today. for those of you confused yesterday when i said tomorrow, i meant tomorrow and not today. see, because yesterday, tomorrow meant today, when really what i meant was tomorrow, instead of today. friday not thursday.

i will now attempt to do a little free associative songwriting based on the lyric "friday not thursday."

all the headlights float up the road
and everything i know
hangs in the air like car exhaust
i could go out and get sauced

but i'm looking too far ahead
and i wish you'd come back to bed
and let me hold you that special way
we'll save the rest for friday not thursday

autumn's gone take out the sweaters
i think you love me but i know you know better
and grass crunches from frost in the morning
when i hear you leave with no warning

but i'm looking too far ahead
and i wish you'd just come back to bed
and let me hold you that special way
we'll save the rest for friday not thursday

that's all i got folks. that was kind of fun. have a good weekend.


crap i've done in the last 8 days

*read p-diddy's blog about a professor we both had named michael berube; then read berube's blog and remembered why i idolized the man 9 years ago.

*continue to kick ass and take names in my first ever game of online Risk.

*fished the elk river last weekend with the dogs and didn't catch a damn thing. rains have been heavy, water was cloudy, and it's getting cold. my woolly bugger was ineffective.

*worked out for the first time since i had my upper respiratory infection. felt like crap. still feel like crap. muscles so sore it hurts to cough.

*ate mcdonald's for breakfast the other day, even after having watched supersize me. mcdonald's leaves you elated for half an hour, then feeling like crap for the rest of the day.

*went to grand junction yesterday for a training on e-reserves at mesa state college; a neat little campus but i like where i work, dangit.

*played open mic last saturday at starbizzle's and because there were only 4 of us i got to play 8 songs. an 8 song set! and a new friend joined me on mandolin for two songs. so much fun!

*still waiting to hear from p-diddy about thanksgiving.

it's been busy, thus my lack of postings. jenn and i head down to denver tomorrow for the AmeriCorps class X graduation. it's the last class that jenn helped recruit. she's gonna be glum because she loved that job so much, and was so good at it. i'm going so i can support her.

peace out. laughs and love to friends and family out there.


burrito spotted traveling northward

my wife went to a monthly work meeting down in glenwood springs today, which is about two and a half hours to the south (i think 'ahalf' should be one word, don't you?). because of its proximity to aspen and I-70, glenwood springs has many more amenities than we do - i.e. fast food restaurants and big box stores.

now, as much as i want to hate those kinds of places for the soul sapping, culture homogenizing temples of sameness that they are, goddam if i don't love me a burrito from the absurdly named qdoba grill every now and then. i say 'absurdly named' because qdoba is one of those ridiculous, remotely ethnic sounding, made up words - like altima or impreza, or co-pay.

and now, as i get ready to close up shop for the night and go home, jenn is on her way back from glenwood springs with a hot little chicken burrito riding shotgun in the passenger seat.



microphone check, 1...2... what is this?!

d willie comin' through with the roughneck business.

props to all of you who got my 'tribe called quest' reference there.

so tonight i'm helping jamie, my aspiring music promoter of a sister-in-law, set up a raggedy ass p.a. at starbucks for the second ever starbucks open mic. jamie helped get this event off the ground at her current place of employment, and it's very cool of her because until now there has only been one open mic venue in town, once a week. i'm very proud of her. but i'm not proud of the mediocre sound system i'll be supplying.

i'm borrowing one of the college microphones (with permission, dad) and plugging it into an old gorilla amp i have from my band geek days in junior high. the guitar will be plugged into a larger fender amp i have from when timmy and i thought we should learn how to play electric guitar. i soon realized that the electric guitar is an entirely different animal from the acoustic, with a completely different set of skills. i think timmy realized the same. so, i bought an acoustic guitar with a pickup, and now i can play it through the amp, while the electric sits in the corner gathering dust. it comes out a few times a year when i'm laying down tracks on my computer.

but i digress. anyway, this lo-fi, low-rent sound system i'm setting up ought to do the trick. but i'm dubious. thankfully, i get to go first and try it out. and i am looking forward to that. it's my first open mic at a coffee house, just like bob dylan and joan baez over 40 years ago.

of course, bob and joan didn't play at a starbucks.

"hey mister starbucks guy
please brew a drink for me
and don't forget the insulating sleeve
i promise that i'll use it!"

(the preceding was sung to the tune of "mr. tambourine man")


back among the living... barely

what's up all? i am back from the hinterlands of upper respiratory illness, combined with some minor sinusitis. that's right, folks, i've been sick as a damn dog.

the prior week feels like time lost. little bits flit in and out of memory: drinking tomato juice and orange juice and tea and water and tea and water and tea and chicken bouillon, shivering in front of the fireplace, sweating my ass off in front of the fireplace, coughing myself awake at night, hacking up yummy green gobs of gooey goodness (how's that for alliteration!), and television. so... much... fucking... television.

i am so hopped up on cough suppresants and pain relievers, every noise sounds like it's emanating from a long, dark tunnel, and my head feels like it's floating 2 feet above my body. fun.

and now, as my body heals, my mind is sick. sick with worry and hopelessness for the next four years. sick that this man, this barely literate, warmongering, compassionless, economy-tanking dipshit is still our president. as my good friend p-diddy stated in his blog, i guess this is sour grapes. but i like sour grapes. and i will continue to eat them until barak obama, the esteemed senator from my home state of illinois, becomes the first black president in the history of our nation in 2008. obama in '08!

(p.s. check out timmy's new and impressively poetic blog - it's really good, and he's one of my best friends in the whole wide world)