Monday, August 29, 2011

I break for cupcakes


I flew to Denver over the weekend to see the finish of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Denver. It’s my second big cycling race. I saw several stages of the Tour de France a few years ago. I’m slowly becoming a fan. My wife beat me there.

On Saturday we visited Boulder. I had always wanted to visit because that’s where Mindy of Mork & Mindy fame resided (I’m showing my age, right?). We arrived at the downtown mall and went for a walk among the newly arrived university students. I can tell you this much, Boulder is full of young white kids. I don’t normally notice race when I’m out and about, except when there is only one race. Living in LA makes one appreciate the differences because every other person you meet is different. You learn early that different is normal. I did not see different in Boulder. I saw staggering sameness. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, I saw no more than 15 non-white people in my two hours on the mall. It was like visiting Brigham City, Utah in the 80s. Of course, I’m not counting the dozen or so dirty kids I saw who were begging for money to buy more weed. They just needed a bath.

Boulder is clean and beautiful. It’s also full of good food. Like cupcakes. I break for cupcakes (and pretty girls holding signs). Boulder is also full of churches. I lost count of how many I saw. They were everyplace.

The trend toward whiteness continued in Denver. The difference being that there were huge numbers of people attending the race and the vast majority of these where white. When I say vast majority, I mean like 95%. I sat in a Starbucks and counted 170 people walk by before I saw someone different. She was pretty. I saw a few minorities enjoying a day of leisure with the rest of the city. Most were working the service sector. It gave the city an odd vibe.

I enjoyed downtown Denver, but damn it was hot. My friend Richard and I share a story from a visit to Paris on a hot August day. After a day walking the streets, we stank so badly that nobody would stand near us on the subway. At the hotel, we both said we would burn our clothing rather than try to have them cleaned. Well… I had one of those days in Denver. It was in the high 90s and muggy. I ruined my clothing while exploring the city (read pub crawl) and then got on a plane and flew home. I felt so sorry for the poor people setting near me. I was rank.

I took a few photos, but mostly I just tried to stay cool. The highlight of the trip was an unexpected free concert by the Flobots. I had one of those surreal moments when I realized something cool was happening while nobody else around me noticed. But then I realized people were not as into the Flobots as I am. Oh well, it’s their loss. The Flobots rock.

I shot a few good photos. I ate some good food. I spent way too much money on beer at the Yard House. I kicked around with my wife and explored an interesting new place. I watched a sport that I know nothing about and met a bunch of interesting people. I even met a couple I knew from China. I felt safe and welcomed by a friendly city. Heck, I even had a homeless guy offer my his water. I think I looked like I was about to have heatstroke. I liked Denver, but I’m not going back in August.

A word on the Yard House

I’m claiming hipster rights. I’ve been eating and drinking at the Yard House since it first opened in Long Beach. I’ve tried every beer on tap and spend thousands on good dinners with friends. In fact, the highlight of my year comes in December when I host a party on the Yard House patio. We watch the sun go down and drink a lot of beer together. I had my first dinner there in 1996. I love the place. If you’ll be in LA this December, drop me a note. I’ll send along an invite.