Despite my accurate impression of a two-toed sloth yesterday ("Hey, look 'Overboard' is on!) the weekend was productive, humanistically-speaking. I can't tell if it is my new and improved mindset paired with a clean social slate or the fact that Denver is just damn friendly, but I'm finding some high quality folks lately.
Friday evening,I met up with local writer, Nick Hartshorn, at My Brother's Bar downtown (jalapeno/cream cheese burgers, yum!) He published a book called "Catch." To research, Nick traveled along seven major highways throughout the U.S. with a stack of recording tapes, three baseball gloves (including a lefty) and one goal: To talk to anyone willing to play a game of catch with him. A review called it a "profound and an affectionate glimpse into the uniquely American summer twilight passion, a slow, sweet game of catch." Since then, Nick has covered nightlife for Denver's glossy lifestyle mag, 5280, and is getting ready to launch his own endeavor – more on that later.
Nick is everything one could want in a writing buddy – he knows the book publishing ropes, happily shares coupons for free cocktails and wears steel-toed boots, figuratively-speaking. He gave me a swift kick or two regarding my pie-in-the-sky writing project that I've been toying with but have done nothing about. I've dreams of writing a book about the changing American landscape, using North Dakota as a setting, and my take on it all. Think Bill Bryson style but with more caustic, political overtones.
Anyway, Nick gave me deadlines and refused my lame bullshit excuses. God bless him - his timing is impeccable. What's odd is that I often perform this service for other people – it's great how it gives the impression of stern self-discipline. (I'm such a fucking sham.) Color me thrilled to finally have my own Drill Instructor.
I then attended a reception for my favorite local artist, Adam Ambro. He uses Sharpies and colored pencils to draw old cars and trucks against newspaper classifieds. So simple – guess that's why I like it, combines many of my favorite white trashian elements. I'm gonna get me one – just can't decide yet … the caddy, the tractor or the old truck? Advice welcome.
Later, I dropped by the 3 Kings to attend the CD release party for The Nancy Drews. They celebrated the release of their first CD, "Fridge Full of Food" by happily rocking the house. Though I was to meet up with friends later, I initially arrived solo, fully planning to hide in the corner until Sarah or Karen arrived. (Karen, I must point out, looked extra hot that evening in her black halter dress with pink skull-and-crossbone accents. God, I need to get me some style ... )
Barely two steps into the joint, I was approached by a beautiful young woman named Carly who, apparently, knew me. "Come hang out with us!" and just like that, I was adopted by a lively bunch – Carly, Bliss, Heidi Sue, Neil and Ray. All of 'em except Ray hail from Mississippi which, of course, won me over immediately. We had meaty discussions of music, Halloween parties and spirituality. The appropriately-named Bliss is videographer/editor and has documented some very powerful sources in the spiritual world. Heidi Sue is an accomplished artist – the intense, colorful pieces (sort of wall reliefs) I saw at her apartment were unbelievable. Neil was simply a force of nature unto himself - he reminded me of a young Jim Carrey on cocaine. Together, we had a great time hurting ourselves long into the night.
Saturday night, I spent time with a yummy ex-Marine named Dan. As we sat on my front porch smoking various substances and drinking Maker's Mark, I tried not to stare at his beefy arms and instead focus on his Forrest Gump-esque tales of world events.
Dan was a Marine stationed in Beirut, Lebanon when the 1983 terrorist bombing occurred in the Marine barracks. "I just happened to be out on maneuvers that day," he said, shaking his head. In all, 241 American servicemen died, many of them friends of Dan. With the current Lebanon-Israel clusterfuck, Dan's emotions are being rubbed raw once again.
Flash forward six years and Dan is living in the Bay Area with wife and kids. Driving a delivery truck, he passes through the Bay Bridge toll booth and heads to San Francisco. He feels some bumping and jerking and wonders if his shocks need replacing. In his rear view mirror, he see cars pulling over, people getting out. Up ahead, he sees a car stopped and a man out, waving his arms wildly. "It's gone!" he was yelling, "The bridge is gone!"
Sure enough, Dan stopped, got out and a huge section of the span had fallen to the lower deck. Dan missed being part of that chunk by mere seconds. Later, Dan discovered that the bridge chunk had landed on a Volvo below, carrying twin babies, who survived, and their parents, who perished immediately.
Don't be lame.
People are fascinating.
Life is short.
And also, a timely quote from yesterday's slob-fest:
"A writer writes." --repeated line from "Throw Momma From the Train."