4th of July Status

Things I didn't do this holiday weekend:

  1. Ride my motorcycle
  2. Start building bookcases
  3. Hang out with friends
  4. Go to the Monday CrossFit workout

Things I did do this holiday weekend:

  1. Finished installing the new baseboard
  2. Made lavender simple syrup
  3. Took the wife out for a lovely lunch at Salt
  4. Cleaned up the garage just a tiny bit
  5. Cooked a bunch so we'll have lots of easy leftovers
  6. Went to the Saturday CrossFit workout and still can't walk straight

I call that a win overall.


I'm up way too late tonight (considering I woke up at 4:45am today) because I'm totally psyched for the mountain.rb Ruby conference that gets started tomorrow evening in Boulder. It's really exciting to have a conference of this caliber right here on my home turf. I'm sure I'll post more about it later, but if it's your thing, you might want to follow the #mountainrb hashtag on Twitter as well as this Twitter list of attendees, speakers and sponsors I've tried to build.

My various social network feeds are bound to be pretty single-focus for the next few days, so fair warning. ;)

Hush now

Yesterday evening we had the pleasure of attending out first Hush dinner. What a great event! Dinner in an Urban Winery I had known about Hush for a couple months probably, but my first attempt to get on the mailing list didn't work for whatever reason. Then just recently a newsletter from The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery (of which I have been a big fan for about a year) mentioned that they were hosting the next Hush, so I hopped on their site and signed up hoping I'd be in time to get invited to the winery dinner. As luck would have it, I was and I couldn't be happier with the result.

The evening started off at about 6pm in the winery's new courtyard sampling a surprisingly good rosé. We did some milling about, mostly keeping to ourselves, though a few brave souls did approach us. By the time we were told to move in to the winery's Quonset hut for dinner, though, we had buddied up with another couple with whom we would turn out to have a lot of strange similarities. We had a real blast dining with them and hope to see them again soon.

Dinner itself was A-plus. The food was prepared by Kate Horton, chef at Black Pearl in Denver, and her team with each course paired with a different offering from the winery. Needless to say, I was totally geeking out the whole night.

Then to take the geek factor to warp 11, I met a guy in the line for the restroom who owns a Tesla. We went outside so I could pose next to it and instead he told me to hop in! We took a screaming lap around the block and went back to our tables. The Wife said something along the lines of "What happened to you? You were gone a long time." to which I grinned with nerdy pride "Oh, I just went for a ride in a Tesla."

Gratuitious pose

More great food, awesome wine, and fantastic company followed.

So, two lessons: 1) If you're in Denver, make the effort and go to a Hush event it's worth the price and and all the underground cloak and dagger effort. If you aren't in Denver, you might want to look around and see if there's anything similar in your area. 2) I seem to "learn" this one over and over, but don't be afraid to talk to strangers. You might find people that love the strange things you love and have great stories to tell you about them.

Congrats to Phil at Hush, Ben at IMT, and Chef Kate. I'm a big fan of all three now.

Upcoming Entertainment

Check this out: Upcoming concert schedule

So yeah... This week is going to finish well for li'l ol' pseudo-hipster me.

Fact of the matter is I'm so excited for Andrew Bird that I've barely given a thought to Modest Mouse aside from the fact that the show is on CU campus, which is bound to make my skin crawl. When I do make myself think about it, though, I'm pretty darned excited to see them, too.

I've seen Andrew Bird before... long, long ago when he played with and along side of the Squirrel Nut Zippers -- just as he was launching his Bowl of Fire. Since then he has matured and ventured in some really interesting directions musically. NPR's All Songs Considered posted a live show of his (including the opener, Loney, Dear on a separate recording) and that positively blew me a way. Based on this and and on giving his latest music heavy rotation on my ipod I'm as giddy as a little girl.

Modest Mouse hasn't released anything since their 2007 title "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank", which I enjoyed quite a bit, though maybe a tiny smidge less than their previous two records. Nevertheless, their show at the University of Colorado's football stadium fieldhouse is likely to be packed and rocking. I'm hopeful they might preview some new material while they're at it.

Next on the list is a band from Portland, OR that is really high on my list right now. Blitzen Trapper's indie-folk story song "Furr" from the album of the same name kills me. It's truly one of my favorite songs of 2008. They are playing a small club in Denver, so I'm excited to see them in close quarters.

Beyond that are people you've all heard about, so I won't go into them before I see them.

As for stuff not on the list... Laura Gibson is coming to town on a Sunday in April, so there's a slight chance we might venture out for that. Her latest is really good. Also, I'm cautiously hopeful that I might get a chance to see Leonard Cohen. I will totally brave Red Rocks for him.

Oh, and yes, I'd like to post more often, but I'm a little busy these days... ;)

Fifty *BLEEP*ing People

That's the round estimate of how many folks showed up for the latest Sutton Family Dinner on Saturday evening. The house got wicked hot, but everyone got fed and seemed to have a damned good time. I only got to spend a fraction of the time I should have/wanted to with any one person, but that's to be expected when your living room looks and sounds like a downtown bus terminal.

The food turned out quite good. I'm very pleased.

The people make the event, though, so thanks all! It was a fantastic evening thanks to you.

Next time we may need to sell tickets or something...

Food Awesomeness

When it first came out, Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals was definitely on my radar but was something I chose to actively avoid. I already had a certain level of frustration and paranoia when it came to food industry -- especially the industrial corn engine: high fructose corn syrup has been on my "avoid if possible" list for a while now -- and I figured I'd rather stick to my semi-ignorant partial bliss. Eventually, though, my curiosity won out and I listened to the audio volume of OD on my commute. It's seriously one of the most frustrating/educational/shattering/enlightening things I've done to myself in a long while. I highly recommend it, though it always comes with a warning. It's either going to piss you off, make want to throw your hands up, or make you figure "Fuck it! that's too much to care about!" Or all three. Or more.

Then I immediately moved on to Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which is basically his answer to all of the people who read OD and wrote him to ask "Well, WTF can I eat and where the hell can I find it?!?" to which he replies with his zen koan of a "manifesto":

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

It's a bit trickier than it sounds, believe me. In particular, when he says "food" he means real food, not engineered and manufactured "food products". He does go on to lay down some more specific - but still simple - definitions and rules that all make perfect sense, but have almost nothing to do with the average Western (more specifically, American) diet these days. I'm happy, though, to hear our new president is at least aware of Pollan's open letter about the state of food in the Union.

These two books have made quite an impact on me, obviously. Thanks to Michael Pollan, I am now researching things like local farmers markets, CSAs, polyculture farming, "slow" food, grass-finished beef, pastured poultry and eggs, and on and on and on. And this stuff doesn't come cheap. Pollan notes that himself, but he also points out that the percentage of income spent on food in the US is almost ridiculously low compared to other countries with healthier-seeming diets/lifestyles, so maybe it's worth it.

It also tends to balance out a bit if you actually cook for yourself, which this shift to whole and real foods has definitely inspired me to do.

That said, I certainly haven't stopped dining out. I have, however, become a bit more discerning in where I take my lovely wife for a meal. Now I look for establishments that do their best to use local and natural ingredients. Luckily, many of these places also make some kick-ass food. I talk about three examples in particular after the jump:

Park Kitchen, Portland, OR

This place was the absolute highlight of our trip to Portlandd. This is saying something fairly significant, because we totally fell in love with that place.

The first time we ate there, we stopped in on our way to see Gogol Bordello in concert at the Roseland Theater. Since we had plans, we went with cocktails and a trio of Park Kitchen's "small plates". The Wife had a martini variation called the Beekeeper, which is knock-your-socks-off delicious and I had a "Summer Sazerac", which was made with herbsaint rather than the traditional absinthe and was quite tasty (though not my favorite Sazerac, see below). The pseudo-tapas consisted of all cold plates: flank steak with bleu cheese and parsley, gin soused tomatoes and cucumbers, and marinated mussels with corn and lobster mushrooms. We finished the night with a corn cannoli desert that featured the most amazing spiced caramel that had such a fantastic sweet and salty combination we couldn't get over it.

We loved the place so much, that we had our wonderful and crush-worthy server, Jenny, make us reservations for the next night, mentioning that it was out wedding anniversary and requesting a corner booth for proper cuddling action.

The next night we came in to the feeling that folks were expecting us and word of our celebration had spread. Jenny came out to welcome us with small glasses of cava and to let us know she was working a private party but would be checking in on us through the night. Our waither for the night, Jack, gave us the best advice of the night when he responded to my "So, what's the story with teh tasting menu?" with a solid "All I can tell you is, do it." And so we did. More cocktails and more beyond excellent food, including rabbit and fried green beans and bacon (by which I mean there were thick strips of bacon that were battered and fired!). Absolutely wonderful. Made even more so by the company of Shane (who, it turns out, concocted the aforementioned Beekeeper, and his father at the table next to us.

We cannot recommend Park Kitchen enough.

SoBo American Bistro, Boulder, CO

My bosses (and good friends, happily) love this place, and so do I. SoBo is the home of the best Sazerac and the best Old Fashioned I've ever had -- all of which are apparently inspired by a book called The Art of the Bar. They also crank out some mighty fine food. I had a parpadelle with chicken meatballs that seriously tasted like pork sausage. It was so incredible that I sent our care-taker, Eileen back to the kitchen to find out how they did it. The answer: pork fat! ;) After that, Eileen sent us home with some cherry-vanilla bitters that she had made herself. Can't beat that with a stick.

I've been to SoBo several times, and I've encounter an item here or there that hasn't knocked me out, but I've never had a real failure there. I think this just comes from exploring more of the menu -- You're bound to find something that isn't up your alley eventually.

SoBo is great people and fantastic food. I also love that it's the best thing going in South Boulder.

The Kitchen Cafe, Boulder, CO

We just experienced The Kitchen for the first time last Saturday before we saw Henry Rollins in Boulder. I've known about it for quite some time now, but have never gone because until recently I've had an aversion for both Pearl Street and restaurants that require reservations be made days in advance. In the case of The Kitchen, it's well worth working through those aversions.

This time out, I started with a Talisker, an Islay single malt, neat while The Wife had a fruity grapefruit/lychee gin drink that was really delicious. For the first course we shared the roasted bone marrow. This was the first time trying bone marrow for both of us, and wow! Our server called it "like the best butter ever", but I'll stand by The Wife's "Colorado lobster" analogy. Our main courses were an incredible hanger steak with root vegetables for her and a pair of small but succulent lamb rump chops for me. To compliment the meat we took advantage of the wine prix fixe deal, having a full glass of a Loring pinot noir from Oregon first and and then switching to a half glass of Catena, an Argentinian malbec, to finish with a bolder note.

This place approaches the (probably unreasonable and unattainable) standard set by Park Kitchen in our minds. Well worth planning ahead for the experience.


A bit to my surprise, one of my favorite "space rock" (aka "heroin is awesome") outfits is coming to town. I've been a big Spiritualized fan since around 1994-ish when I first heard Lazer Guided Melodies in my friend Jared's apartment, and for some reason just figured I'd never see them live. Now, though, they are playing the Ogden tomorrow night, and The Wife and I have tickets. There's a slight chance bigger things could interfere with our plans, but for right now, I think I need to queue up the latest release, Songs In A&E, to get to know it a bit more...

Awesome Things

Things that are awesome (some of which may have been previously mentioned here) in no particular order:

  • Sushi + beer + sake + friends = AWESOME
  • Live burlesque. Also, The Wife potentially taking burlesque classes. :D
  • Absinthe. I'm digging on Kübler, which is locally available now. Admittedly, I talk more people into not trying absinthe than I talk into trying it. It's not for everyone.
  • Rock Band. I'm pretty useless on anything except the singing, but it's more fun than Karaoke Revolution because the other people are playing along with you. Drumming is unpossible for me.
  • Tiki bars. Especially the Tiki Torch in Edgewater. I know one of the owners, so I'm psyched to give it a shot. I'll be toting The Wife and her mother down this Saturday, I believe. Daddy needs a Mai Tai with a quickness!
  • Anita O'Day. Holy crap! How have I never heard of her until now? Best thing to ever happen to me thanks to Plurk. (If you're not already a Twitter user, you might try Plurk instead.) Also loving Sarah Vaughn these days.
  • The Silent Years. The Globe comes out soon.
  • Going to the doctor to get my first physical in who knows how many years. It seems I'm doing well. (I still have to do blood work, though.)
  • Michael Phelps. Yeah... WOW.
  • The iPhone 3G. Lots of people gripe about various things, but in general I say it's damned amazing.
  • Dark Knight. Saw it on IMAX. It was pretty good.
  • Rumbi fish tacos. I'm stunned, but these are currently my favorite fish tacos.
  • Knowing one of the guys on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
  • Fuelly. All the cool kids are doing it.
  • Bumping into an acquaintance and having their first comment be "You look good."

And other stuff, too. That's a pretty good list for now, though.

Much Nothing About... Ado?

Took last week off to get a little break after our big launch at work. It turned into a fairly busy period in between all the loafing on the couch. Highlights:

  • Had a meeting with Ma and her giant dog rescue crew and got them introduced to my boss in case we can do some pro-bono work for them. We have a meeting scheduled for this Tuesday, so we'll see if anything comes of it.
  • Took Mingus in for shoulder x-rays to see if anything joint-related was making him gimpy. Turns out the joints look pretty darned good. Hooray no surgery for the dog.
  • I had a medical visit myself, but that warrants its own post... Coming soon... ;)
  • Painted the kitchen a pretty little shade of blue with the help of The Wife.
  • Spent the 4th at Brozo's, which is fast becoming tradition. Drank some beers, threw a couple bottle rockets, managed not to start any fires. Y'know, standard stuff.
  • The next day we made it out to see the Burlesque As It Was troupe put on a righteous USO-style show. That Charlie Champale is something else, I tell ya. The girls were pretty fun, too. We liked it so much, in fact, we're going to see them again on the 26th at the Bluebird theater in Denver.
  • Today's highlight was Rafa "Gun Show" Nadal finally finishing off Roger Federer in a marathon Wimbledon final. That and being able to buy a bunch of beer on a Sunday. Nice!

Other than that, I got to watch some Red Sox baseball, but really that hardly matters to me -- I don't really pay attention until September. ;)

So, the iPhone 3G comes out this Friday, eh? Hmmmmm...


So, holy crap. The area about an hour North of my house got pounded by some significant tornadoes yesterday. One funnel was reported to be about a mile wide. Probably the same one (not sure, though) could end up rated as an EF 3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale -- one about 2% of the tornadoes in the world are that strong, with winds in the 136–165 mph range.

It seems Weld County is just far enough to be a bit of a tornado factory, though usually they are just small ones that do next to no damage out int he farmlands. This was a definite exception to the norm.

The storms are obviously saturating the local news coverage. Send some good vibes up that way. Folks up there could use it.

Plans (and assorted junk)

This afternoon, I'll be trekking down to Shelf Road for a weekend of camping and rock climbing with my bossmen and a few others. This is rather exciting, as I've done neither of those activities in yonks. It's also a bit depressing as I realize just how many yonks it's been. Based on the evidence, I haven't touched a real rock while wearing a climbing harness in this century. In fact I've only climbed on the indoor fake stuff the once since I've moved to Colorado. Climbing was part of the "why" of moving to Colorado at the time of that decision. Funny how things work out, eh? A large part of it is having people with whom to actually do things. I suppose I didn't realize how lucky I was to have developed the network of like-minded and tolerable people I had back in Massachusetts. Thanks, gang!

Then there the camping. I unpacked my tent to make sure it hadn't dissolved completely over the years and found bits of bark and moss from a camping trip I took in New England with Miracle Ed and Hanh something like ten years ago. Good goddamn!

It's all a bit conflicting, to be honest, because I can't say I've missed it all as much as I would have expected. I've found other things to do at times. Mostly I'm just kind of lazy, I think. Or at least I tend to have a lot of inertia when I'm comfortable. That's a nice way of saying "lazy"...

Also, snakes. ;)


Unrelated: Holy crap! I totally watched The Master back in the day!

Meta: I wanted to add my shared items from Google Reader to the new secondary sidebar, but it didn't work properly. I might keep trying.

Both Kinds

That John Croghan kid sure puts on a good show. Like, for real. As The Wife put it, "He plays country music I don't mind!" ;)

Worth noting are the "Face Melting" covers* featured last night: "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Six Days on the Road" (which I know as a Taj Mahal jam).

* Not featured last night was my own request for "More Than Words". The Excuse: "The band didn't have time to learn it." The Wife's reaction: "There's no band in that song!!"


The Aggrolites rocked it last night. I definitely recommend you catch them if they come to your neck of the woods. (Boston kids, that's April 15 for you.) The opening acts were The Haggardies, a local Goldfinger clone with songs about skateboarding and stuff (meh), and Synthetic Elements who are like a poor man's Streetlight Manifesto and plenty of fun to watch on stage.

As is typical with these very small shows, the headliners were miles above the opening acts. The highlight was the encore, during which Jesse and the boys did a reggae / ska / two-tone / dancehall / soul medley that had us all singing along at the tops of our lungs.

Good times.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

Supposedly, that's Irish Gaelic (which I'm allowed to rock thanks to my 13th century Kilpatrick heritage, yo)... So, yeah, it's St. Patrick's Day and it's snowing like a bitch this morning. Luckily the roads stayed mostly clear, and we didn't get anything near the high end of the 4-8 inch predictions.

Nevertheless, I am pleased that I was able to get my celebrating out of the way this past Saturday with Brozovich at the "Lazy J Ranch" of one John Croghan. John pulls together a nice little crowd of good people, so it was an excellent laid-back time. Plus he had a keg of Guinness. Hard to go wrong there. (Hell, I didn't even bother to check if it was carbonated or nitrogenated. No need to be rude in the man's house.)

By the way, John is doing his country crooning thing in Olde Town Arvada on April 4 at the 12 Volt Tavern. He's guessing he'll go on around 10pm or so. I'm definitely going to be there. If I'm lucky, John might even sing my request. ;)

In other music performance news, The Aggrolites are playing in Denver this Wednesday. I love those boys. We saw them open for Madness in Los Angeles a couple years ago and have since collected all of their stuff. Well worth the $13 ticket, I'm thinking. (Here are some YouTube samples for you. Oh, and The Wife's favorite track.)

Oh, there's also roller derby on April 5. The Wife was asking about derby last night, so we'll probably try to hit that, I think. Derby's always worth the $13 ticket.

That's all I've got, but that's way more than usual, so I'm fine with it.