Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mixed Bag







A strange conglomeration of activities this holiday weekend, how I ever got interested in such a bizarre range of hobbies is beyond me. We hosted Thanksgiving this year for a group of friends so we spent the day cooking & cleaning with a very small break for a quick run/walk. I'm a disaster in the kitchen but there are a few things I can make, one of them being roasted rosemary potatoes which I make almost every year. I can also sort of, kind of bake if I have a detailed enough recipe and thanks to cpg from the Taper Madness boards I had a nice easy recipe for Chocolate Truffle Tart with Vanilla Marscapone Topping. Sounds fancy but it was so simple a monkey could make it. Still I had a few hiccups in that I didn't read the directions closely enough beforehand and missed the fact that it needed and hour to cool and 4-6 hours to set in the fridge, not the sort of thing you want to discover at 1:30 pm when you have guests coming at 4:00. All worked out fine in the end, it was set enough by the time people were ready for dessert and it was so popular I had only a 1/2 slice left by the end of the night despite having 3 desserts. It looked kind of messy but tasted so good there were words like 'crack' and 'heroin' being bandied about. All in all a fun night with good friends and we didn't send anyone to the ER.

Friday saw another little walk/run. I'm up to run 3 minutes/walk 2 minutes for a 2 mile loop with 15 minutes total of running. No pain so far other than the general nagging in my knee that occurs anyway. I'm staying cautiously optimistic.

I also spent about 20 minutes working with Strummer on his jumping and weave poles. I'm still working with just one jump and he's doing so well, jumping with a nice round arc from all angles with me standing in different places. Still working with the 2x2 weave pole method and today I added a second set of 2 poles. He was doing o.k. but I think I need to work on the different entries a little more before progressing. 20 minutes was probably a little long to work him straight through, I got a little carried away.

I finally managed to build the Buja board I bought the wood for last spring. Actually Jonny built most of it, I just held wood in place while he sawed & drilled. Neither of us are very handy and we don't have to proper tools so it came out a little messy but it'll work just fine. Now I just need to paint it.

Saturday was a trip to the Rez in the morning with the dogs so they could run their monkeys out then a nice bike ride for me in the afternoon. I cut around 12 minutes off my time from a couple of weeks ago for a 16 1/2 mile ride without even trying so the legs must be getting a leetle bit stronger. Nice to be out in the sun on the trails. Boulder clears out during most holidays so the trails were wonderfully quiet.

Saturday night was the long awaited Bouncing Souls concert down in Denver at the Gothic Theatre. Last time I was at the Gothic was around 12-14 years ago, the place was a pit and a bunch of skinheads from the Ku Klux Klan (including the main ringleader) showed up with the express purpose of beating the crap out of the lefties at a Fugazi show. People were supposed to bring cans of food for admissions and those bastards peeled the labels off their cans of food. The cops caught them drinking in an alley before the show and let them off with a nod and a wink (not all that uncommon for cops to be sympathetic with or member of the Klan). I stood up in the balcony and watched while those meatheads beat the crap out of everyone they could get their hands on while the bouncers stood idly by doing nothing. One of the bouncers had the nerve to come up to me and tell me to get down from the old broken down theater seat I was standing on 'for my own safety'. I pointed down below and asked him why he wasn't down there worrying about some other people's safety who seemed much more in jeopardy than my own and he went into a long speech about the ringleader skinhead that was a mixture of fear, awe and a weird sort of reverance. In the end I got off the seat and he remained in the balcony making sure noone else risked dire injury from falling off a seat while the carnage raged on below. I swore I'd never go back to either Englewood or the Gothic after that and for 14 years I didn't. However the Gothic got bought over and renovated and as for the Englewood cops, well, there are racist cops everywhere, probably even in Boulder and I wasn't going to deny myself a chance to see the Bouncing Souls.

First time I saw the Bouncing Souls was 12 years ago when they opened up for Rancid. It was a great show all the way around and the Bouncing Souls blew me away. Great musicians, tons of energy, fast catchy songs, what wasn't to love? I liked them as well as if not more than Rancid. However many years and albums later I'd lost interest in them. We saw them again 5 or 6 years later and they seemed kind of boring and cocky, the music fairly generic and not in a good way. I forgot about them until the release of their latest album 'Gold'. Wow, what a great release and seeming to come out of nowhere. How many bands release their best work some 12 years after forming? I was pretty excited to find out they were coming to town on a Saturday night, perfect conditions for me to haul my old lazy ass to a club.

Our old dog walker who shares a love of punk rock came along with us to the show. It's a rarity to find anyone in Boulder anywhere near our age group who has an interest in going to punk shows so I was thrilled he wanted to go. Sharing good music with friends is one thing I do miss about living in Chicago.

I was off to a good start with security as the ID checker, a guy half my age, takes one look at us and says, 'Are you sure you're at the right show?' Then follows it up with a laugh and, 'Oh I don't need to see your I.D., I'll spare you the humiliation'. Cheeky bastard. Then the woman checking for WMD's tells me I can't bring in my video camera. How unpunk is that. So back to the car, put the camera away, back through the line and she pats me down. Go to give them my ticket at the door and duh, I've left it in the car when I dropped off the camera. Back through the ID line a third embarassing time, patted down again and finally I'm through the door. What a carry on for a stupid punk rock show. I miss the days of $3 cover at the door and nobody cared what you smuggled in.

We were too late to get good seats in the balcony but there was tiered flooring with railings at all the levels on the main floor so I could get closeish to the stage without getting sucked into the pit. First band was Left Alone and we missed about half their set but they were good. Kinda generic, melodic punk but in a good way. Second band was Whole Wheat Bread, again pretty generic Epitaph punk but really good, powerful musicians. Only trouble was I really wanted to pull the guitarist's pants up. Dude, I don't care about your huge biceps and 6 pack, I do NOT want to see your undies. He clearly had a wee tad of an ego problem but a great musician nonetheless. Third band (yes, third band-3 warm up bands is too many, my knees hurt already and I'm getting sleepy) was Street Dogs which included the singer and somebody else from the Dropkick Murpheys which isn't one of my favorite bands in the first place. Musically they were awesome but everything else sucked big time. The singer said 'Denver, Colorado' about 30 times, 'Put Your Arms in the Air' about 20 times and 'Put your arms in the air Denver, Colorado' about a dozen times. What is this, a cheezy stadium arena rock concert? Worst part was was that the crowd ate it up, cheering and throwing their fists in the air raising their arms and clapping. It was downright creepy and I was a bit icked out. I couldn't get past the whole schtick enough to enjoy the music which wasn't my bag anyway without all the hokey theatrics.

FINALLY, Bouncing Souls took to the stage aaaaaand-meh, they were o.k. First thought to come leaping into my head was 'Holy crap the singer looks old. And I'm older than him.' Kind of depressing, I don't know why. Had the same reaction watching the movie 'American Hardcore' a few weeks ago. Duh, we're all getting older but it's still shocking when you see someone you haven't seen for a long time. I suppose I'll get over it the more it happens. His age wasn't the issue though, it was that he was up there just going through the motions like so many bands that have been together for eons. The bassist & guitarist still had a lot of energy but the singer seemed like his days of bouncing all over the stage were long gone. I could almost forgive him if it wasn't for Alkaline Trio, somehow those guys still make it seem exciting. The other problem was that I was too close to the crowd/pit on the main floor. I don't know when this business of throwing your arms in the air to clap or gesticulate became so popular but it was incredibly annoying. What an uncreative way to express emotion and the fists/arms kept blocking my pictures (they let me keep my regular camera). It got too crowded where I was standing and I started to get a bit claustrophobic. I went up in the balcony toward the end and it was so nice up there, even without having a place to sit. Even a few tiers back on the main floor would have been fine. Duh. Overall I'm glad I went but not the great time I was hoping for, mostly my own fault for not moving sooner. I'll bet I would have had a blast in the balcony without all the fists waving in my face.

Today, a nice relaxing day. Maybe a run, maybe a ride, a little dog training and hopefully I'll get that agility stuff painted. Do I really have to go back to work tomorrow? I could so get used to this life of leisure.

Oh, and special thanks to Phil for coming all the way down from Fort Collins on Wedsnesday afternoon and arranging a little lunch with Dan, Nattu and me. It's fun to get together with the Tapir crew but always seems so hard to coordinate everyone's busy schedule.

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