Flashback: Denver

     I've been telling myself for months I'd get this trip written down and out for you guys because it was such a blast. With less than half a month left in the year, I figure now is as good a time as any to tell you about it. I hope you're comfy, this is gonna be a minute!

     So, one of my sister's favorite bands booked a show in Denver at the end of September, and when the tickets were released over the summer she talked about wanting to go. She'd already talked me into going to a concert back in May that was amazing, so I toyed with the idea of a bunch of us going as a group thing; after polling the usual suspects (Mike and Becky) with no luck, I decided Shirley and I should just go on a little getaway. I'm just going to assume you know how it is when your sister gets married, suddenly you don't do as many solo outings as you used to and it becomes a minor miracle to try and just get alone time; anyway, I used whatever money I had to buy tickets, rent a car, and book a hotel room.

     From where we live, the drive to Denver is roughly eight hours of country and not much else. I've been a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but man you haven't seen a wasteland until you've gone straight through western Kansas in a drought. It's super rough: no trees to break up the scenery, no towns really to speak of -- but there is a Starbucks in Colby! It's like the last real stop before you're well into Colorado and we almost cried when we saw it, since our first cup of coffee came from the town Shirley lives in about five hours earlier. It's situated at the end of a gas station "oasis" (a term that's not too far from the truth when you're in the middle of nowhere) and the service really isn't too bad, all things considered.

     I always wish somebody'd do a series on things you find at gas stations (especially places like that) because they're home to some of the weirdest, most wonderful things on the planet. I love them. Like those majestic Native American dream catchers and eagle sculptures -- who thinks to put stuff like that there?

     Anyway, we were closing in on Denver at around five in the evening and neither of us were prepared for downtown rush hour traffic, so we stopped at a cemetery a little bit outside of town and walked around for a good hour.

     We're strange people, we accept this, but there's just something about cemeteries, man. They're peaceful, nobody really goes there outside of burials and Memorial Day, and sometimes the dead have more interesting things to say than the living. Something I didn't get a picture of that I kind of wish I had was this tomb: it was beautifully built but obviously hadn't really been tended in a long time. When it comes to things like that, I always wonder about the family, whether they died or left the area. You don't spend the money to erect a memorial like that to someone and then just leave...unless, I guess, you do.

     Anyway, we were staying at the Days Inn Downtown because it was cheap and less than a block away from the venue. We finally got there around seven because man Friday night traffic was bad; Colfax Ave was amazing, though, we weren't exactly lacking things to see or do-- did I mention the weather was amazing?! The end of September in Kansas is blazing hot, so to encounter a state sitting comfortably in the forties/fifties was a blessing. We found a little speakeasy inspired bar called Prohibition with some pretty amazing food and drinks; by the time we got outta there it'd gotten a bit chillier and we were ready for bed.

      We spent the next day wandering around sightseeing, a phrase I use lightly because there's just so much to see in Denver and nowhere near enough time to even make a dent in it. I've had the privilege of seeing and living in some pretty amazing cities, each one of them has their own vibe, but the closest I've come to how funky and eccentric Denver is would have to be Camden, but that's all wrapped up in London's special brand of weird, Denver is its own beast.

     For breakfast we ended up walking all over because everything was just so busy (it was a Saturday morning, we didn't expect it to be otherwise)--but that was such a blessing because we strolled into this little place called Fork & Spoon. Hands down, it's the best place I've had breakfast in in a while, the food was rich and filling, and the coffee...well, in my opinion, there's nothing like diner coffee. Most of my favorite memories have been made over cups of diner coffee; anyway, we easily left several pounds heavier and much happier. It has the eclectic, mix-and-match furniture/coffee cup thing going on, it just feels like a place that's meant to feel like home. I love little places like that.

     We found this super amazing pet shop/metaphysical store combo run by two wonderful, super friendly ladies. It was a bit of a walk to get there, but I'd definitely recommend Quantum Alchemy if you're in the area. They sell some amazing puppy cookies that all of our little monsters loved. I wish I'd thought to take pictures of it, it's a really cute little shop, but it's little. Sneeze and you'll hit something kind of little, I guess it's something you'll just have to see in person. I picked up this wonderful crystal necklace that I wore the rest of fall, it's definitely a special piece to me.

     Let's get on to the reason we drove so long to get there: the concert.

     We ended up standing in line for hours in the rain, my sister in a hoodie and I in my favorite black wool sweater...yeah, I guess you could say we were unprepared for wet, but we're easy people, we go with the flow. There were a handful of guys and two super neat girls behind us, and we ended up striking up a conversation--guys, there's nothing I can recommend more than spending a few hours bonding with someone you'll never see again. Once we were finally in and situated (squished up near the front left of the building right under the speakers where you're really lucky to see 1/3 of what's going on in front of you), it was great.

     What can I say about the concert? I didn't like the guy who opened, I didn't like him in the t.v. show he was on and I really don't like his music, so I'm not gonna spend much time on that. Tupperware Remix Party was on after and, man, I genuinely enjoy them. My sister had introduced me to TWRP at their concert in Kansas City in May--physically, it was a very different beast from this one; then we were squeezed into a little patio area with maybe fifty or sixty other people (maybe), this concert had about three thousand people. But you know what? The show was the same damn thing, it was just as electrifying in a big crowd as it was in a small crowd...hell, I think I liked the smaller concert better because then I could actually see all of them without having to crane my neck to grow an extra few inches (being short is the pits). Their music is even better live than it is recorded--don't get me wrong, the studio stuff is great, but if you have a chance to see them live, do it. It'll for sure rock your world.

     As for Ninja Sex Party, the main event? Here's the thing, I'd only heard a few songs of their before the concert and it was pretty tame, catchy stuff, so I was very much going in blind to this comedy band and had been pretty adamant that it was #notmything, I'm more of a stand up kind of girl...but being in that crowd was incredible, they have a very devoted following, and everyone was just so happy to be there. I saw so much singing and laughing and even though I didn't know the music or the words, I never felt like I wasn't a part of it. I never felt awkward or out of place. My sister sang along and we danced and cheered along with everyone else--it definitely felt more like a party than a show. 

     The music is...interesting. Kind of rock, kind of synth pop, lots of laughs...I mean, I've definitely heard the vast majority of their music now at least once through (because my sister played it in the car the entire 9-10 hour drive home (it rained, we took it slow), and I've settled into the handful of songs I definitely like (that's just who I am as a person, it's rare for me to like an entire album of anything). After all of the fun we had at the show, I'd definitely pay to see them again. Do I wish they'd come closer than Denver? Sure, but I'd actually drive that far again to see them play, they were that good. I can tell they're definitely gaining popularity, and I'll miss the smaller shows because they feel the most personal...but what can you do? Everybody's gotta make a buck, I totally get it.

     Before we headed out, we stopped in at Voodoo Doughnut and I swear that place is my soulmate. It's weird, the doughnuts are fantastic, I want one in Wichita (even if we do have too many doughnut shops already). Head over to their website if you're curious about what they have, I promise you won't be disappointed.

    Since I'm finishing this up at 11:43 on New Year's Eve, technically it's out before the new year. Other posts will come out on/after the first, it's my intention to devote more of my time here. So yeah, anyway, here's the write up for those who were curious. We'll get a little bit more serious in the morning when I talk about my goals, but for now: Happy New Year, everybody.

Be good, I'll chat with you in the morning.



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