I Think We’ve Had It, Boys

Eight years ago today I started writing things about Denver.  And I wrote.  And wrote.  So much.  Then in 2009 I stopped.  Metroblogs wasn’t doing as well.  There were announcements and things about fundraising a few years back.  Somehow the lights were kept on – and amazingly are still online as of this post’s writing.  But as much as I think trying to rebirth, reinvent or refresh this place will help it, I have to finally personally admit – it’s over.  I think the stubbornness was bore out of the joy I found writing about the different parts of the Denver Metro area and their unique eccentricities.  I loved telling people how much I loved my city and why it was the greatest place on the planet.  Every so often I’d drift over to the login page here and wonder if any of the heartfelt keystrokes would even find an audience here in this abandoned dinosaur.

I was twenty five years old when I put hands to keys here and as a grown up thirty three year old it’s oddly comforting looking back on the old posts.  I’ve learned a few things, made a few mistakes and had to realize a couple more realities in my life to get here – but I’m content with that.  It’s this place that allowed me to express how great the city of Denver is and why so many (and today – maybe too many!) people love it here.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

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Two Years Ago

It’s been two years today that the Waldo Canyon fire exploded in Colorado Springs. As it unfolded people began to understand the serious nature of the beast that was closing highways and threatening the Air Force Academy. I can remember watching twitter with up to date posts and images with a feeling of sadness and dread as the lines and barriers were blown through by blazing flames. The news crews became emotional as the night wore on with the reality of what they were reporting on became clear – it was a literal armageddon for some communities as homes burned and people fled as fast as they could.

It is a stark reminder now as we enjoy rain and cooler temperatures that the power of nature and the destructive flames are not so far removed from us – some years we get lucky and others we suffer. Let us hope this year remains as fire free as possible.

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Absinthe House now open in Foundry’s old location

Abisnthe House sign in front of the old Foundry location…that’s pretty much the news. Last year in November, the Foundry, a Boulder landmark nightspot, closed its doors for good. Today, you can wine and dine in that very location again, under the sign of Absinthe House.

Well, not literally under the sign. The Foundry’s iconic marquee remains empty of letters. For now, a sandwich-board chalk sign will have to do.

It had its grand opening just last week, but it’s been operating since mid-August or thereabouts. According to the Daily Camera, its focus is on “audiophiles, …foodies, [and] the vino culture.” With a dance floor, live DJs, and 24 different absinthes, the array of sensory stimuli offered is promising. Westword describes the restaurant’s offerings in more detail.

Absinthe House is already on the Downtown Boulder website, so if you’ve got a Downtown Boulder gift card you can probably use it there.

And that’s the news, coming straight to you from the sidewalk of downtown Boulder. If you’ve already been, tell us what you think about the new Absinthe House in the comments below.

Absinthe House: OPEN: Lunch ~ Dinner ~ Rooftop ~ Happy Hour

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Prop Gay presents H2OMO benefit party at Boulder Reservoir

This Saturday, August 21 at noon, the Boulder Reservoir is the location of H2OMO, Prop Gay’s benefit party for the Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP) and Boulder Pride.

There’ll be live music, DJs, drag performances, and lots of other entertainment. The beer garden opens at 1:00 PM for those 21 and up ($20 donation and show ID for open bar access). Outside the drinking area, the party is for all ages.

Prop Gay emphasizes that this is a community event. You don’t have to identify as LGBTQ to come–“Allies are encouraged to join in the fun!”

Contact Mathew Sommers by email (visit the H2OMO event announcement or the Prop Gay website for email address) if you’d like to volunteer, or if you or your business are interested in being sponsors.

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Join the DuckDuckDeal Treasure Hunt tomorrow at 4

You’ve heard of DuckDuckDeal, right? You’re following them on Twitter, aren’t you? Liked them on Facebook? (Link goes harmlessly to DuckDuckDeal’s Info page. Link is not a Like link. External Like links can DIAF.) Have you got their iPhone App?

OK, more context. I follow them on Twitter via mobile device, so at intervals throughout the day I get text messages on my phone telling me that, for instance, ModMarket was offering a bottle of wine and a pizza for $10 until 6 PM to customers brave enough to utter the password “duckduck” at the register. That’s a dang good deal, one I regret not having followed up on either time I saw it go active.

Another one I regret forgoing was yesterday’s Treasure Hunt Kick-Off. I saw them tweet its imminent approach while I was busy distressing my thighs with an unaccustomed number of squats in the cause of helping with the eggplant transplanting initiative over at Abbo. (They’re in the ground. They’re already flowering. Stay tuned for the CSA eggplant cornucopia and Niki’s Favorite “I Don’t Like Eggplant” eggplant parmesan recipe.) By the time the clue hit the intarwebs and the treasure-hunters hit the street, I was sacked out in bed being not much good to the world. (Sorry, world.)

So. Congrats to Monday’s Clue #1 winner, who snagged a $50 gift certificate to Japango (dang!) and released a piece of treasure map unto Boulder.

The next clue goes public tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21st at 4:00 PM. It will be revealed exclusively on Facebook. (Don’t worry; the DuckDuckDeals Wall is public. I don’t think you need a Facebook account to play.)

I’m in – are you?

Jay Leno will headline Children’s Hospital Gala 2010

Here’s a wayyyy early heads-up for your chance to hear Jay Leno live and support an important cause:

Late night funny man Jay Leno will headline the 2010 Children’s Hospital Gala on Saturday, September 11, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.

The theme of this year¹s Gala, “What Matters Most,” captures the true spirit of the importance of The Children’s Hospital to its community and its families. At The Children’s Hospital, kids matter most!

As you might expect, such a high profile event does come with a highish price tag. Individual tickets to the event cost $350 (includes admittance to the “Patron Party,” whose date is yet to be announced). But you can make a less pocketbook-devouring contribution by making a donation to th Children’s Hospital Foundation in whatever amount you like, or making an in-kind donation to the event auction.

And the Children’s Hospital Gala 2010 is thoroughly Web 2.0. You can connect with the event organizers on Facebook. (At present the page is showing an April 24 event, so it’s possible they need to update things.

For more information, all kinds of contact information is available on The Foundation’s “Contact Us” page.

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Pints for the People, Wednesdays at Upslope Brewery

Upslope Brewing Company logoSpeaking of new(ish) establishments in Uptown Boulder, there’s Upslope Brewing Company. Located way up there at 1501 Lee Hill Road, “Boulder’s Newest Brewery” joins Oskar Blues in offering microbrew in the can, not just because they can, but because today’s on-the-go biking-jogging-mountainsporting afficionado/a of hand-crafted ale demands no less! As their website puts it,

The teaming of fine ales in cans allows Upslope’s products to be mobile and easily part of an active lifestyle. Shared with friends after a long mountain bike ride, enjoyed at the end of skinning up and skiing down a snowy trail, or ordered in a local pub, Upslope is a natural fit for the active beer consumer living in the Front Range and Western Slope of Colorado.

(Put together Upslope with Amante, and it seems North Boulder is developing into the main intersection between sports and fine alcoholic products.)

But the reason I’m bothering telling you so is not just because I only just discovered Upslope (though that is exciting!), but because of the circumstances under which I discovered it. I got a Facebook invite to their ongoing Pints for the People event. Every Wednesday, Upslope will donate a dollar for every pint sold to a local non-profit organization. This month (July, 2010), that organization will be There With Care.

Our mission is to provide a range of practical services for children and families facing critical illness in order to ease the burden of life’s day-to-day obligations during a medical crisis. We do this by building strong relationships with local hospitals, business owners, professionals, and community volunteers, who share in the care of the entire family during emotionally, financially, and physically challenging times.

A good brew makes benefits easy. Raise your pint in the knowledge that you’re helping a good cause. If I may be forgiven the pun, that’s truly “putting your money where your stout is.”

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Absolute Vinyl, Bart’s new Shack keep the music playing in Boulder

It seemed like Boulder was bereft of record stores. Second Spin was long gone from the Hill, and just a few months ago Bart’s closed shop on the 11thish block of Pearl.

But the music plays on. Bart has reopened in a new location (and it’s really Bart at the helm again), and a new store had actually opened in January but so quietly you’d be excused if you didn’t know it. Both shops are a bit off the beaten path from a downtown Boulder perspective, but both are definitely worth the hike.

Absolute VinylHead north on Broadway toward the area now known as “Uptown” and you’ll find Absolute Vinyl at 4474 N. Broadway. You can think of it as Broadway and Violet, but you have to go almost all the way to the north end of the long sunken parking lot on the northeast corner of that crossing.. Absolute Vinyl has a good collection of records, from the mundane to the highly collectible, as well as a small offering of used phonographs. At the same address is Little Horse Books, a truly eclectic collection of music-related books and magazine back-issues, local-interest books, classics, and undoubtedly more which this chronicler’s eyes missed upon the first visit.

Also, you’re not crazy. There really is no upstairs.

Phone: (303) 995-1519
Hours: 7 days a week, 11 AM to 6:30 PM

Bart's Music Shack, Porch View

Bart Stinchcomb has returned to the music-store scene, opening Bart’s Music Shack at 236 Pearl Street. Do the math and you’ll realize this is no longer within reach of a brief lunch-break walk from downtown; so what? Take your bike instead. Or hop aboard the 206. When you see the small interior you will be amazed at how many records are on the shelves, in the boxes, on and under the tables, along with a rack of CDs and a shelf of DVDs just to round things out. And Bart tells us there will be more, lots more, in the months to come.

According to the Colorado Daily (linked at the beginning of this article), you should be on the lookout for a grand opening with live music at some unspecified date to come. Watch Bart’s Facebook page (linked in the previous paragraph) for announcements.

Phone: (303) 444-1760
Hours: 11-6 Tuesday through Sunday

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Walking or biking to work tomorrow in Boulder? Bingo!

I believe last week or so I mistakenly said that Bike to Work Day was June 22. It’s not. It’s June 23, tomorrow. It’s always a Wednesday.

That errata cleared up, it’s time to play Walk and Bike Bingo!

Bike to Work Bingo square: Tee & CakesHow do you play? Well, first off, you download a Bingo card. Print it out. Tomorrow morning, put on your walking shoes or get on your bike to visit participating destinations. How do you know they’re participating destinations? They’ll have a poster that looks much like this one that Tee & Cakes are displaying in their window. (They’re also listed on the linked info page.) Walk on in and ask for a stamp on your Bingo card–and just your Bingo card, right? You can’t bring a handful of friends’ cards and get them all stamped. The whole point is to get more people walking and biking, right?–on any square of the card you like. Repeat until you’ve got five in a row.

Then, sometime before Friday, find yourself a Drawing Box and insert your card. (Don’t forget to complete the contact info stuff on the back/page 2.) Drawing Boxes may be found at all Recreation Centers and Library Branches in Boulder, and also at Pedal to Properties round about 20th and Pearl Street. After July 16th, check the GO Boulder website to see if you’ve won a prize.

Don’t forget to thank the merchants you visit for being bike-and-pedestrian friendly!

And don’t forget the other annual features of Bike to Work Day. Register as a participant (you could win a cruiser!), visit any one of the 45 breakfast stations throughout town serving free morning meals between 7 and 9 AM to those on bike or foot, and hang out after work at the 4th Annual Bike Shorts Film Fest and Ice Cream Social ($6 admission benefits Community Cycles Youth Earn-A-Bike program). Visit the Community Cycles page for more details about these events and other things you can do to celebrate and support Bike to Work Day.

Big Freakin’ Deals for Father’s Day

If you’re thinking of taking Dad out tomorrow, here’s several special events and special deals to ensure you have plenty options for this special day.

The Counter
8439 South Park Meadows Center Drive
Lone Tree, CO 80124
(303) 790-9630

The Counter’s “Burger For Dad” deal means that fathers get a free build-your-own burger for Father’s Day. The only catch is, you have to ask for it by name.

Bring in your family and say “I want the BFD!” and the burger is all yours. Offer is limited to one standard burger with included toppings per customer accompanied by a paying guest. Additional and premium toppings such as extra cheese, avocado, fried egg and honey cured bacon are extra.

BFD also stands for “Big Freakin’ Deal,” which is, of course, what Dad is.

McCormick’s & Schmick’s
Denver LoDo location:
1659 Wazee St
Denver, CO 80202

Greenwood Village location:
8100 E. Union Ave
Denver, CO 80237

McCormick’s & Schmick’s invites you to bring Dad in for a 3-course prime rib dinner for $29.95. And keeping with the theme of those typical, classic, 50s-era Dadtastic delights, you can enter him to win a professionally caddied game of golf.

4580 Broadway # D-1
Boulder, CO 80304

5480 hosts its 3rd annual Father’s Day BBQ and Duct Tape Giveaway. $10 to $20 dollars fills a plate with one grilled entry (buffalo, ribs, or kielbasa and stuffed lobster tail) and 3 sides. Plus Dad gets a free roll of duct tape. (Click the link for list of ways to use duct tape. Favorite item with bonus unintentional double entendre: “Taping annoying people to walls, floor, ceiling, or bed.” Bed, hmm? Kids, why don’t you head off to the movies? It sounds like Dad wants some alone time with his special someone… *ahem*)

So far, a list Ozzie and Harriet would approve of. Because all Dads like beef best of all, play golf, and are the exclusive duct-tape using handymen around the house. (See? It’s right in the name: Handyman!) You won’t catch Dad playing video games, eating a cobb salad, or for heaven’s sake knitting. Father’s Day is for safe, predictable gender-role-conforming men! (But we’re all edgy and iconoclastic because we’re telling you not to get Dad yet another neck-tie!)

…OK, I sort of have to wash off my keyboard after typing that, even sarcastically, because, ew. Seriously: Restaurants of the Denver/Boulder area? Yes, there are lots of Dads who love steak, burgers, beers and scotch and wine, cigars, all-day golf outings. There’s often a reason stereotypes get started. It’s good these things are available. But why are they practically all that’s available? Oh, sure, it’s easy to find a vegetarian restaurant if Dad doesn’t do meat, or otherwise cater to Dad’s specific tastes… just as easy as it is on any other day of the year. And that’s the problem. Slap the words “Father’s Day” on it, “Dad’s Big Day,” “Make Dad Feel Special,” and suddenly it’s all about beef, BBQ, tobacco, and golf. Take a look at last year’s Denver Daily round-up of Father’s Day specials; it’s a good sample set of the kind of thing I’m talking about. At least this year’s Open Table list features the odd pasta/Italian dinner/brunch… but most of them are just their regular menu. Like any other day of the year.

All I can say is, Father’s Day must be an annual nightmare, or at least an irritation, for the Dad who doesn’t fit the “Man’s man” stereotype. Everywhere you look, specials and offers and events that seem specifically designed to reinforce the message that your lack of appreciation for a steak and a 9-iron means you’re defective.

Can we fix this?

Examples of the sort of thing it would be nice to see more of:

Boulder Organics‘s Father’s Day Collection:

Featuring a beautifully illustrated, reusable, keepsake gift box (including Father’s Day wrap) that is filled with delicious spicy roasted almonds, apple-pie jam, French Roast coffee, decadent dark chocolate bar, tasty milk chocolate Sun Cups, chipotle lime rub for grilling, some great trail treats like a granola bar, an oat bar, nut-butter squeeze packs, and bees-wax lip balm. Active dads are sure to enjoy this all organic, eco-friendly sampler.

Gigi’s Cupcakes: Dads get a 15% discount on all purchases between 10 AM and 4 PM on Father’s Day, “while enjoying live musical entertainment. Bring the kids and they can frost their own cupcake and, of course, eat their creation for just $3.” Gigi’s is at 550 Grant St. in Denver, phone number 303-777-0698.

See? Special offers and offerings for Father’s Day that think outside the 50s-era sitcom box! It’s not that hard. More like that, please!

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FLEX bus makes Larimer County accessible to Denver/Boulder/Longmont commuters

As of this month, you can get from Longmont’s 8th & Main RTD station all the way to the downtown Fort Collins transit center on a single bus, passing through Berthoud and Loveland along the way. The bus that will take you there is the FLEX,the newest, most flexible route in northern Colorado.”

Effectively linking the entire RTD system to Larimer county, the FLEX is sure to make commuting less of a headache. On festival days, parking will officially become someone else’s problem. And, more importantly, those without their own motorized vehicles in Denver need no longer regard the Berthoud, Loveland and Fort Collins area as another country.

Celebrate another victory for accessibility and take a ride on the FLEX this summer. Tomorrow would be a great day to do that, actually–the Loveland Reporter-Herald tells us that…

A special kickoff celebration will take place on June 16 at the Orchards Shopping Center transit station [in Loveland], with dignitaries from Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont and Boulder County attending.

More details: A ride on the FLEX costs $1.25. This covers transfers onto the COLT and Transfort systems, but passengers transferring onto RTD buses will need to pay that fare separately. The complete map and schedule are available as PDFs in English and Spanish. Big thanks to the Big Green Boulder blog for breaking this story back on the 7th when the FLEX started service.

Parking spaces become human spaces in downtown Boulder

The construction equipment trucks were making the rounds this morning, heading slowly down Pearl Street and turning the corner on 14th. At certain businesses, here and there, they stopped to unload chevron-style barricades and orange traffic cones. They erected barriers around those parking spaces labeled “Special Event 10AM – 2PM”. Business owners and staff waved their thanks–and began making magic happen inside the barricades.

In front of 14th Street businesses Tee & Cakes, Cefiori, and Kristen Lewis Architects, tall pennant-style flags went up on telescoping poles. Real grass turf unrolled to turn four angled parking spaces into a barefoot-inviting lawn. Deck chairs and picnic tables under a portable shade tent presented coffee, cupcakes, and information about the solar power that was chilling the spring water in the wagon parked to the side.

It was all part of Park(ing) Spaces Day in Boulder, when businesses reclaimed parking spaces and showed how they could accommodate humans rather than cars for a few hours. The resulting atmosphere was something like a sidewalk sale, what with the free samples and discounts and informational brochures, but also something like Earth Day, what with the theme of ecologically responsible practices. And of course the whole celebration was part of the annual Walk & Bike Month festivities, which will be going on all during June. Bike to Work Day, specifically, will be June 22. (More about that as we get closer to the date.)

Park(ing) Spaces exhibits will be up until 2:00 PM today. The Cycling in Boulder blog has made a map available showing where all the exhibits are; there’s also a list up at both the Tee & Cakes blog entry and the event announcement previously linked. Get out there and enjoy it before everyone packs up and goes back to parking as usual!

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Stay safe, stay clear of Boulder Creek

Hopefully no one panicked when they heard the sirens howling yesterday. That was just the regularly scheduled test of the countywide emergency system.

If you hear them today, though, you should take them seriously. Thanks to recent hot weather causing massive amounts of snow to thaw, Boulder Creek is running at three times its normal volume. The high water washed out parts of the bridge near the Red Lion Restaurant today, thanks mainly to a bunch of debris that collected thereabouts, and if the bridge goes completely we could be talking about a major flood surge.

Thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon are not improving the situation.

Remember those blue dots on the trees and buildings in and around the park downtown? Those marked the water level reached by the 500 year flood.

Hopefully things won’t get that bad. Crews have begun clearing away the debris to prevent the bridge collapsing all the way. But in the meantime, stay safe. Even if you weren’t among the residents or businesses receiving reverse-911 calls, you should heed the warning those calls delivered: Stay away from the creek. Stay off the bike path along the creek.

And, much as it pains me to say it, don’t go to the library. (The north side of the library and the bridge are closed in light of the flood warning, by the way.)

Follow the link above to the Daily Camera story for more details and updates as they are made known. Here’s that link again:


Stay safe, y’all.

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Denver homeowners! In media renovation? Get help and get on TV!

Rescue Renovation, a brand-new DIY Network show, is specifically looking for Denver homeowners who want help getting their renovations finished up. This press release from High Noon Entertainment gives all the details:

Stuck in the middle of your home renovation project?
Don’t know what comes next?
In over your head?

Share your struggle and get some help!

Producers at High Noon Entertainment are searching for Denver-area homeowners with stalled-out home renovation projects for the next hit DIY Network show. Homeowners chosen to appear on the show will share their incomplete, flawed and never-ending renovation with DIY Network’s contractor in order to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong and formulate a plan to turn the project around. DIY Network’s Stud Finder 2009 winner Kayleen McCabe and her expert team will spring into action and get to work, using tried and true renovation methods as well as some new modern twists to help the homeowners finally complete the project in 48 hours.

If your grasp of remodeling exceeded your reach, we’d love to hear from you!

Of course, there are some basic requirements you have to meet in order to qualify.

  • You must live in the Greater Denver area (Fort Collins to Colorado Springs OK), and…
  • have started, but have not finished, a remodel of one area of the home (demo stage preferred).
  • You must also have a compelling story about why you started the renovation and why you can’t proceed (this is the bit that makes for great TV!).
  • You must have an appropriate budget already set aside for the renovation (Rescue Renovations will help with labor and know-how).
  • And, very importantly, you need to be enthusiastic about being on TV and are ready to enhance your skills and finish the project once and for all!

If this sounds like you, this might be a great way to get your head back above water and yourself and your family back into a finished, beautifully renovated home. Email “Rescue” at “highnoonTV.com” for an application and for more information. And don’t forget to visit High Noon’s website, linked above, for more info about the people producing this new show.

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Gatorade and 3M say, stay hydrated during Monday’s race!

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, our thoughts turn to Monday’s BolderBOULDER 5K and that critical aspect of self-care that can make or break a race participant: hydration. Two corporate sponsors of the annual event would like to help you stay hydrated, and to that end they’re bringing their products to the race course.

First off, 3M Clean Water Solutions has partnered with BolderBOULDER to provide filtered water to race participants at the start and finish lines as well as at all four aid stations. Because the race day water demand can reach about 6,000 gallons, bottled water simply isn’t an option. So 3M is making their water filtration units available so that every hydration point along the route is stocked with clean, great-tasting water.

Secondly, Gatorade’s Sports Science Institute reminds you that hydration isn’t just about water:

Electrolytes Are Crucial.

If you are a heavy sweater or if you finish workouts with your skin and clothes caked with white residue, you may be losing sodium at an increased level. Your diet should contain enough sodium to replace those losses. You can salt your food to taste; during training season and on race day, favor salted carbohydrate snacks and sports drinks over water to help replace the sodium lost in sweat.

Also, replacing lost fluid isn’t just about drinking until you’re not thirsty anymore. The key is preventing a loss of more than 1 to 2 percent of your body weight in fluids. If you get in the habit of weighing yourself before and after training, you’ll learn how much fluid weight you’re losing and how much you need to replace.

Gatorade’s new G series, the G Natural and G2 Natural Thirst Quenchers, will be available to sample at the Gatorade tent at the 1400 block of Pearl Street during the SportsExhibit, May 29th and 30th. On the day of the race, visit their tent at Folsom Field.

And beginning in June, G Natural and G2 Natural will be available for purchase at select Whole Foods stores.

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