The main band is usually the best

Mimi Parker of the band Low

I’ve seen a lot of live music over the years.  My favorite shows are always in small venues. I love to see musicians up close. Their interaction with the crowd is often more personal. And it’s fun to think that we could shake hands during the show if we wanted to.

Small venues like to feature local musicians as the opening acts. It’s great for smaller bands to grab a little of the spotlight often reserved for national acts. Sometimes that propels them to fame.

But often the contrast is huge. Professionalism, musicianship, and overall quality of the performances are often massively better for the national acts.

Occasionally, opening bands are better. Sometimes I’ve seen shows where I went for the main band and ended up being introduced to an opening act that became a favorite band. That’s a refreshing surprise.

I always like to give each band a chance. I may not like their style or attitude, but I try to listen with an open mind and open ears.


The photo is Mimi Parker of the band Low. I saw her and the rest of the band on Friday night, March 8, 2019.

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Matches are Lucifers

Dutch matches package

If you are in Belgium or the Netherlands and need something to start your fire, you reach for … a lucifer.

Yes, “lucifer” is one of the Dutch (or Flemish) words for matches.

English is confusing enough – did you mean match, as in “tennis,” as in “they were made for each other,” or as in, “fire starter?”

Language is important. Even if we speak the same language, we need to strive to be understood. Tuning in to the person or people we’re speaking with, a tactic that some consider to be a basic survival skill, is far more than that – it’s a way to enjoy life by seeking understanding.

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Recycling fears

I’ve never visited a recycling plant. That would make a great school field trip, but at my age, I’d have to take time off of work to enjoy such an outing.

Anyhow, I fear that sometimes stuff I’ve put into the recycling bin ends up in landfills. That’s not just a fear on my part – it’s reality: here’s the link to a related story. In America, a lot of the difficulty comes from political gyrations on the part of our current government.

Another problem comes into play – how manufacturers create their products – many times, materials are mixed, so it’s impossible to properly recycle the package or product. If you look at the plastic bottle above that contained some cold brew coffee, you’ll see that the manufacturer of the coffee was kind enough to point that out.

But how many people would take the time to peel off the label? Maybe 2%, if we’re lucky!

I would love it if manufacturers would employ creative resources (and funds) to come up with easier-to-recycle packages and products. I know that some car manufacturers are moving in that direction (related story), but the rest of the product world has a long way to go.

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Sent from my iPhone

Did you know that you can change the signature at the bottom of emails that you send from your smartphone? It’s easy.

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Select mail.
  3. Scroll down to Signature.
  4. Type in whatever you like. My signature is, “Sent from my modern smartphone”. Be creative: “Sent by a tribe of small elves” or “Sent while multi-tasking”.

These instructions work for an iPhone, but steps for an Android phone are similar.

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Burned out on Christmas music

de-inflated christmas decorations on a front lawn

I’m burned out on Christmas music.

My brother and I used to both get a Christmas CD every year. The variety of interpretations of classic Christmas carols and songs was always interesting.

Until ten years or so ago.

Then stores and parking lots and hospitals and everywhere except your car or home began playing Christmas songs from the day after Thanksgiving onward.

It’s just too much. And there’s no choice.

Their bad = my bad.

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The Concorde – and Regrets

the Concorde jet

“Ninety minutes from New York to Paris.”

Donald Fagen sang that in his retro-futuristic album, The Nightfly.*

A transatlantic flight in the Concorde jet actually took 173 minutes. But that was still pretty darn fast. It was faster than any commercial jet that is currently flying.

When we lived in England, 21 years ago, it was the twilight of the Concorde era. Those amazing jets were being phased out because they made a lot of noise (breaking the sound barrier) and were very expensive to fly.

But British Airways had a special around Christmas time – you could fly the Concorde to Iceland for something like $150 round-trip. But that was more than we could afford at the time.

Sigh.

I will always regret not taking that flight.


Photo courtesy of Eduard Marmet and used via the Wikimedia Commons license.

* Great album, by the way – if you’re into jazz-pop of that era.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Saying goodbye

My company is moving out of the current office that they’re renting to a building that they’re buying.

It’s financially wise, from what our CFO says.

But I will miss Coverall. Their Colorado office is in our soon-to-be past building.

My dad wore Coveralls. They were one-piece work clothes, kinda like this. (Little did I know that Urban Outfitters sells them now.)

Turns out Coverall is a janitorial service – with a 1-star rating on Google.

I never went into their office, but I have a few days left. Maybe I will.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Cold Brew Coffee Review

cold brew coffee bottles

I love coffee. So when my brother sent me a Whole Foods gift card for my birthday, I lept at the opportunity to try out several cold brew coffees – a purchase I would normally consider to be extravagant.

Cold brew is a different process than normal hot-brew coffee. “Cold” refers to how the coffee grounds steep during a long period of time via pressure and cold water – not using the typical just-below-boiling hot water.

And to be consistent in applying coldness to the whole experience, I drank each of these coffees in a clear glass over ice.

I generally enjoy coffee black with no sugar, please. If I’m at Starbucks, I’ll add half-and-half to my cup, along with one packet of unbleached sugar. Taste is a personal thing, and it varies for everyone depending on your mood. For example, if my drink is dessert, I will choose a different coffee than what I want first thing in the morning (dark with no sugar).

For the sake of this comparison test, I drank each coffee without any additions except for ice. And the order below is in the sequence of my testing. I drank one per morning until they were all gone.

My ratings are based solely on how much I enjoyed the taste. So without further fanfare, here are my ratings…

Chameleon Mexican Coffee: This Austin, Texas-based brew is black with 11 grams of sugar added per serving. It’s sweet and all organic, like most of these coffees. It’s nice as-is with a strong hint of cinnamon adding character. I felt like I was on a beach in Mexico in the morning, enjoying the cool before the sun really kicked in. 3rd

Califia Mocha Noir: This one’s very sweet, even though the label said, “Now with 25% less sugar.” The added almond milk made for a very chemical-like flavor. It was shipped all the way from Los Angeles to Denver, which doesn’t do much for the planet. It’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and direct trade (different than fair trade, in that the focus is on quality and not as much on the farmers). The label doesn’t say anything about organic and also features a very strange marketing phrase: “You have to be good, but you don’t have to behave.” They’re reaching a little too far! Last

Corvus Hopped: Denver-based Corvus is the source of this one. Hops (one of the key ingredients in beer) are combined with cold-brewed coffee. The beans are “steeped for 16 hours.” There is no sugar added, no calories and a bitter pure coffee flavor. The Rwanda single-source beans supposedly are “balanced with notes of citrus.” I don’t really care where the beans come from, as long as they result in a good coffee (excepting that I appreciate fair-trade sourced beans). And I dunno about notes of citrus, but it did taste like pretty good coffee to me. I couldn’t really taste the hops either. I really love Denver-based Corvus, but this one left me cold. 4th

Lucky Jack Nitro Cold Brew Old School features no sugar, very light carbonation, and is super-smooth without any bitterness, fair trade and organic. I loved the really velvety taste. This one’s from Las Vegas and thus “lucky” – at least in this contest! 1st

KonaRed Cold Brew Espresso: Another brew with no sugar, and minimal ingredients: purified water, coffee and Hawaiian Coffee Fruit Extract. Another smooth brew with little bitterness. KonaRed is based in California… I’m hoping that only the beans were from Hawaii, since the carbon footprint of shipping mostly water and glass across the ocean (or through the air) is not very appealing. 2nd – tie

Groundwork Cold Brew: Yet another no sugar brew, with extremely simple ingredients: filtered water and organic coffee. It was very smooth and not bitter. The packaging had the most basic label with very little philosophy and no vegan-friendly icons. Groundwork is based in Los Angeles. 2nd – tieFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Grab creativity wherever you can

I’ve heard this: “She’s a super creative person.”

I also heard this: “Everyone’s creative!” (Source: Creative Mornings)

Both are true. Some are able to tap into creativity more than others. Some hold themselves back from expressing their creativity… and that may be a good thing – not all creativity is positive.


Here are a few random thoughts on creativity:

  1. It needs to be fun. If your creative expression is painful, what’s the point?
  2. You can express your creativity in your job or schoolwork – or in your spare time.
  3. Try focusing your creative energy in a way that’s easy for you to express. I’ve found it fulfilling to express my creativity in an area with few boundaries – this blog.
  4. You can be creative in areas where most people don’t expect you to be creative. A factory worker may add the same single component to the same device all day long. But if he thinks of a way to do that better, his creativity may save his company thousands of dollars.
  5. It may cost nothing to be creative. Think shoes… you can buy boring standard new shoes or go to a consignment store and spend the same amount to buy shoes that are more interesting but only slightly used.
  6. You can be creative in a huge way (moving to a different part of the world) or in a small way (brushing your teeth with toothpaste from a different part of the world).

You’ll find some more thoughts on creativity here.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Rapid gentrification

restaurant out-of-business sign

I was sad to say goodbye. I didn’t even know they were leaving.

The Baker neighborhood of Denver is rapidly changing. I knew that – but when I tried to find a cheap place to grab a quick lunch on a recent Saturday, I discovered that all the inexpensive non-chain restaurants were now out of business. Every one had shuttered their windows within the last six months.

A small New Mexican restaurant – gone. Famous Pizza – gone. Several other small independent eateries disappeared, all to be replaced by empty storefronts, while their owners await increased rents from more upscale establishments.

I daresay those landlords won’t be looking for tenants who will provide cheap eats.

My tummy is sad.FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail