Posted by: bkropf | October 18, 2007

Denver

Sweet Denver, nothing like my expectations.  A couple of friends from college were from the Denver area and talked about it tirelessly, essentially paradise here at the edge of the Rockies.  I had imagined it as this yuppie mecca, huge, with people bundled up dancing through the snowy streets on the way to work.  It ended up being smaller than I thought, much more dated in appearance and it has been warm and sunny.  I have only seen one person dancing in the streets and I think they were a street performer or crazy. 

When I arrived I jumped on a bus traveling for downtown.  To my surprise Steve Nash sat down next to me.  I couldn’t believe it, I thought about asking him for his picture..  He was carrying a backpack, had some stink going on, and possessed a sign that said ‘Homeless, anything helps.’  Maybe it wasn’t Steve Nash, maybe it was a homeless guy.

 

Upon getting to the city I was supposed to meet Sarah.  She was walking toward me from her apartment and I was supposed to walk toward her. I took off the wrong direction so if you know anything about geometry, or just have a dollop of common sense, you might have figured out we didn’t meet for a while.  We went to dinner at Wahoo’s, a fish taco joint.  It was amazing and such a cool local place.

 

ASIDE: Ok, so I don’t think it was a local place but a chain, but it felt local.  It is always such a disappointment to discover you favorite ‘local’ places are not local.  This happened to me with Bucca De Beppos, or however it is spelled.  I always told visitors, look at this cool little place.  Imagine my surprise when I was in LA for business and see them all over. Shame!

 

After Wahoo’s we walked all over taking pictures and exploring the Capital, Denver Mint, and the various museums.  We went to this cool restaurant called Earls, so if you ever see it, Stop.

 

The next day Sarah had to work so I covered the city on foot taking tours.  I took a tour of the Capital with about 30 children on a field-trip.  The teachers I think were a little wary when I sauntered up halfway through the tour.  Did you know Colorado was the first state to authorize women to vote?  It also has some steps on the Capital building that marks exactly one mile above sea level (Mile High City).

 

The Mint was probably the most secure place in the world.  On the list of prohibited items: cameras, cell phones, hair care products, aerosol cans, knives, guns, sharp objects, martial arts weapons, etc.  I am not lying at all, it had a bunch of other things that were funny but the list was confiscated from me upon entering.  The Mint was pretty much boring but I did learn that a dollar coin takes 22 cents to make and so the mint makes 78 cents of profit on every one sold to banks.  They also make a huge profit on quarters and dimes.  They actually lose money on pennies and nickels.  Last year the Denver  Mint had a profit of $800+ million.  They remit this to the Federal government to pay down debt.

 

I have been trying to find an Oregon Ducks football hat given my hair has been getting ridiculously long.   No luck yet.

 

I wandered over to 24th and Blake around 4pm and met Sarah after work for a tour of the Flying Dog Brewery.  Compared with the brewery in Bend it wasn’t nearly as nice.  Here everyone was drinking on the job, swearing and the brewery was pretty dirty.  Don’t be surprised to find a hair in your beer.  It was just funny to compare the two workplace cultures.  I really had fun touring the facilities.

 

We made some pizza for dinner which was really tasty.  Props to Sarah.  Then we watched some Deal or No Deal.  We then met up with a number of Sarah’s friends at this pub for trivia night.  Our team crushed and won a $50 voucher and if they win the ten week contest they get a trip to Vegas.  The friends were nice enough, yet some seemed  immature.  Two of the girls were about 30 and talked non-stop about every guy in the room and about how drunk they always were.  They thought I was 29 which was funny.  I hope they don’t read this but if they happen to, I will cover myself by saying they were very cute.

 

Glendon asked me if I was worried I wasn’t going to get married.  I really didn’t know how to take the question, was he implying I should be?.  I have been thinking about it though and, No, I am not worried about it.  I am only 25, and 30 is the new 20.  Secondly, I love my life right now and am completely content (though I miss working).  I think being content is one of the reasons I haven’t been in any relationships for a while.  Why settle for someone just because they are available and/or willing?  If I am happy and satisfied with my life then there is no need to date unless the lady improves life in such a wonderful way, there is no reason not to date.  So, this may be a heartless, formulaic, way of looking at relationships but this is the way I look at life.  Until the cost/benefit ratio tips in my favor, or the opportunity cost exceeds the current state, there is no reason to change my current course.  

I am visiting many of the cities in the wonderful country so I have decided I am going to rank them in order of livability (please note I am ranking only areas I have been to or can remember).  What does livability mean, to me it means which city I would prefer to live in based on various nebulous variables decided by me.  Currently the list of larger metropolitan is as following in order of most liable, to least:

 

1) Seattle

2) Portland

3) Salt Lake City

4) Pretty much anywhere in Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane)

5) New York City

6) San Diego

7) Boise

Eight) St. Paul / Minneapolis

9) Denver

10) Los Angeles

11) Dallas

12) Bristol, Virginia

13) Wichita

 

I have been listening to Depeche Mode, The Editors, the Decemberists, Donavon Frankenreiter and the White Stripes.  Some nice druggy guy I really liked on the brewery tour had a Ween cd and said it was awesome music to listen to.  He compared them to the Flaming Lips (one of my all time favorite bands) so I will be checking them out as soon as I can.  This bearded hippie and I  really connected on our love for the Flaming Lips.  It is always uncomfortable though when people make analogies I fail to grasp.  My new friend had a beer and after tasting it exclaimed to me, “Wow, that was like doing a line.”  So I have never done a line, or any other drug for that matter, so I never know how to respond.  Luckily potheads are some of the most mellow people I meet so they really don’t care how I respond.

 

I have almost made it through the 90 page monologue at the end of Atlas Shrugged.  Honestly though, I am skimming some because the guy is basically restating the various points made in the first 900 pages of the book.  Additionally, I pretty much disagree with the thrust of most of the points.  Ayn’s view on love, transcendence, original sin, sacrifice, and relationships are pretty skewed and totally humanistic in my opinion.  It is like she wanted to live her life a certain way and created a world-view to support it.   I do think her grasp of capitalism, economics, money and business is phenomenal and some of the best writing out there.  This book  is one of those monumental works of art that is so heavy you need to read it with someone in order to discuss what you are reading.  I may be nerdy,  but I flagged some pages to discuss with Nathan or Tanner later.

 

On my flight to Denver I was thinking about how blessed and privileged I, and the majority of my friends are (please take this as gratefulness not bragging).  I talked with my roommate about this in college.  Most of my friends entered university and were able to choose any career path they desired.  When finishing college, they/I were able to get really great jobs, work at a meaningful vocation, and change to something better if it was needed.  Unlike generations in the past (I am thinking of Little House in the Prairie) at no point were we faced with death due to the elements, lack of opportunities or being forced into wars.  In fact, I am able to take some time off to travel and enjoy the country and world.  How amazing is that, and what a blessing.

 

The plan from here is to head to Chicago.  It is a 19 hour train ride so I will have much time for reading and reflection.  I don’t know where I’m staying yet but it is narrowed down to: Stranger from Couchsurfing.com, an old friend from college, or a hostel.   

So I just checked and it is looking like I will be homeless in Chicago at the moment.  All the hostels are full and I have been unable to contact anyone from CS or my old friend.  If worst arises, I will probably just keep heading east.  Other bad news is I failed to read the fine print but the Amtrak 30 passes are for non-US residents only!!! What is up with that, boo!  

I have also uploaded more photos to my Flicker account.  Please link there to see them.

Also, some have asked, “Willl you change the name/picture of your blog?” The answer, no name change, I will see what I can do about the picture.

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Responses

  1. Sounds like as soon as you get here, we should start making dollar coins and selling them to banks. I can’t believe we didn’t think of this earlier.

    And I’m not sure how much I appreciate the low ranking you gave Dallas on the livability scale. My whole goal now is to prepare for your visit, and show you the time of your life in Dallas. It’ll climb the list before this trip is over, mark my words.

    I’m about 100 pages into The Fountainhead. I think I will be able to enjoy it as separate and unique from Atlas Shrugged. I’m looking forward to being able to discuss it with you.

    Steve Nash. . . what a funny prankster. I love that guy.

  2. Dallas is so low because it is so HOT!!! If you removed the heat it would be around NYC or SD. Get your coin press ready, I’m game for making some coin. Your comment cracked me up!!! Sucks though, I’m heading for Chicago in a few hours and have no place currently to stay. I’m excited to see what happens. I heard they have lots of bridges there, maybe I can crawl under one and make some friends.

  3. You mis-spelled Bend as “portland” on your list of great places.

    Are you going to stick around and win the trip to Vegas?

  4. Humerous as usual…loved the junk yard description…. Aleah is sick with a fever….. and if you have time and a stamp, do you want to send her a postcard??? she loves mail….. hint, hint…. Hope you’re keeping well! Love ya! Janna


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