this hot air balloon shit is really making this trip more difficult than it need be. so now the plans have gone from "oh we need to be there by 7:00 AM and should be done by like 9:00 AM" to "oh we have to call him like the night before to find out when and where we'll take off from, and it's going to take a minimum of four hours. also we'll probably be landing on the other side of denver."
so now i'm stuck for at least four hours by myself in a city i don't know. and i somehow have to figure out how to drive to a landing site that nobody knows where it will be until they land.
this trip was so much easier when it was just "hey let's go see a concert!" fuck this bucket list bullshit.
i'm 6'1" and the average height for a man in the united states is around 5'10". i'm not significantly taller than the average adult american male.
and mord, yes, you were talking fast. but considering that i called you while you were at work it's understandable.
so now it's time for pictures with words.
we left beatrice around 6:30 PM and hit up i-80 for a very long trip west across some of the most uninteresting land in america. the first thing we noticed about our rental car was this mystery button.
we had no cats with us so it was pretty useless.
our first stop was just after driving through some pretty intense rain that was being vented out of a line of thunderstorms about two miles away. mary couldn't resist playing on the little kid thing.
then we noticed that the garbage bins were very enthusiastic about people putting shit in it. i think ricky is trying too hard to compensate for its inability to form any kind of lasting relationships.
the next rest stop had some weird metal sculpture sitting on the edge of a little pond that smelled like algae and stagnant water. i have no fucking clue what it's supposed to be.
our next stop was at a shell gas station just outside of paxton, ne for some sodas where we were greeted by something i can't explain.
when we asked about a public restroom i was kind of worried that the elk (i guess?) head was part of some elaborate resident evil style puzzle to unlock the restrooms. once in the restroom though i kind of wished there had been some byzantine trap and random object puzzle to thwart our efforts because this is what we found in the bathroom.
yeah. sadly this was probably the best and cleanest gas station restroom we saw on the entire trip. there was one we stopped at where the men's room smelled like old cat piss and the stall door was falling off the hinges and the lock was missing. just a big hole in the door where the lock was supposed to be. the women's room had a trash can overflowing with old diapers and the toilets probably hadn't been cleaned yet this year.
we arrived in longmont, co around 3:00 AM and booked ourselves into a cheap shady motel that was conveniently located next to the waffle house where mom and mary were supposed to meet the crazy hippy hot air balloon guy.
the first thing we noticed was that the previous tenant had stuffed toilet paper in the peephole. we couldn't really think of a good reason to do it that didn't involve a lot of drugs and paranoia. we came to the conclusion that this room was rented by a ron paul supporter the night before and he didn't want the cia watching him slam down colloidal silver shooters while stuffing a solid gold dildo up his ass
the next thing we noticed was that the paper towels were a bit fancier than they probably had any right to be.
then mom was just about to sit down in this chair when we noticed something horribly wrong with the chair.
it appears that our ron paul lover left an interesting mark on the chair. there was also a shoe print on the ceiling but that picture didn't turn out well. after mom and mary did their hot air balloon thing (which got cut short due to wind and almost ended with them landing on the roof of a furniture store) we were getting ready to check out when we found one last present from the last patron.
the pill had no markings to indicate what it was, and when i dumped the contents of the pill into a cup it smelled like baby formula. it looked an awful lot like the extenze pills we saw for sale at one of the gas stations we stopped at, and fits nicely into our ron paul lover scenario so as far as i care it was an extenze pill lost in the throes of gold dong ecstasy.
i haven't seen the mountains in something like 17 years so it was pretty neat even though we never really got close to them.
after leaving our shitty motel we set off for casa bonita in denver because mary kept going on and on about how awesome it was even though the food sucked. we hadn't had anything of real nutritional value to eat in almost 24 hours so we really didn't care where we ate so long as there was food. this turned out to be a huge mistake.
this is casa bonita. they have maybe six items on their menu and two of them are kid's meals you can't order if you're over the age of 12. if you're like me and can't eat mexican food without getting crazy indigestion and acid reflux your only choice is their chicken fried steak which i have to admit was edible and the gravy wasn't like wallpaper paste. so i guess they did manage to do one thing right.
this fountain is just outside the entrance to the restaurant and is literally the most interesting thing you'll see or experience at casa bonita.
while you eat they put on these stupid little skits and stunts like a guy diving into a pool made to look like a waterfall and cave. the diving could have been interesting, but the guy doing all the diving was obviously not enjoying himself and didn't do anything to sell his performance to the crowd. honestly if i were him i'd rather have been hitting on all the waitresses as well. our waitress was super cute and i tried to get her digits just for shits and giggles but apparently she just isn't into balding fat guys from nebraska. her loss.
mary was having a good time though. she's kind of 'tarded.
as we were walking out of casa bonita we found a treasure cave with candy. the candy bowls had a sign above them that said the candy is only for children 12 or younger, but i'm a rebel without a cause and ate of the forbidden fruit. never tell a fat man he can't have candy. stolen tootsie rolls taste even better than when legitimately obtained. they taste like victory over the man.
after leaving casa bonita i hit up lf to let him know we were leaving for the museum and he was super excited to come up and chill with us for a while. about half an hour later the greatest minds of the asylum met and managed to solve all of the world's problems in under ten minutes.
well everything except for the health problems that require my mom to use a wheelchair if she has to walk any significant distance. you never realize just how awkward you look until you see a picture of yourself. i don't know if it's the clothing or what, but every time i look at this picture it looks like i'm part stretch armstrong and somebody pulled me all weird and i'm slowly shrinking back down to normal only not quite.
unfortunately lf had some people coming over and had to get back home. i was pretty bummed that he couldn't wander around the museum with us and crack stupid jokes about the penises in the body world exhibit. and there were a lot of dicks. photography was prohibited in there so no skinless people with their preserved dongs and sackless balls for you. the whole body world thing wasn't all that creepy up until you got to a female body. something about how they removed all the skin from their tits but left the nipples was disturbing. there was also this one female body where somebody positioned her pussy lips open to simulate how pussy lips would look if a living body were in that position. i guess. that was kind of creepy as well. pussy lips.
after going through the whole body world thing we did the rest of the museum. i really wanted to see their egyptian exhibit and was underwhelmed by how small it was. i did get to see two mummies though and that owned because i've always wanted to see a real mummy in person. the mummy we got a picture of was the mummy of some peasant who couldn't afford a good mummification so her organs weren't removed and they carelessly wrapped her up in low quality material. from what i understand about egyptian afterlife beliefs this meant that she wasn't going to get to go to the afterlife because her heart wasn't removed and i guess couldn't be judged. i'm assuming this means that she was just eaten by ammut because anubis doesn't have time for that shit. dude's busy judging the dead and running anubis markets, a division of osiris foods. food so good you can eat it.
after the mummy thing we went and hit up the dinosaur exhibit. it was pretty meh, but then i used the power of my baldness to become my alter ego dj global warming and laid down a tasty beat on this display.
i made shit real hot on the dance floor then went off to their native american section to indulge in some white man's guilt. i was feeling pretty bad about being a white guy right up until i saw some tribe's feast table thing and giant wooden spoon.
superior culture my ass. those prehistoric fucks ate from the wooden crotch-bowl, tits and knees of some proto-nigger statue. i say good riddance to their traditions. after mocking the ancient rites and ceremonies of the natives we wandered around the sprawling animals of the world section. it wasn't long before i found a friend in an extinct pig-like monster that once terrorized some part of the world i've since forgotten.
you and i aren't so different, mr. demon pig. so misunderstood. so tasty.
then there were some wolves that i think would beat three moon wolf as an ironic hipster t-shirt. i present six wolves looking at something just off to the left.
on our way out we saw this old guy working on some bones or something rocking out to some music on his headphones. rock on, old guy. rock on.
overall i was pretty disappointed with the denver museum of nature and science. it's such a huge building they could do more interesting stuff with it like larger exhibits and less pandering to the children. when i go to your gift shop and look for books on astronomy and geology i want to find something more advanced than books for second graders. and more hematite in your rock purchase bin.
and now we get to the whole reason we drove the 800 or whatever miles to denver in the first place: to see the giraffes at the bluebird theater. the bluebird was conveniently located a short drive away from the museum so we drove over there around 6:00 or so to try and find parking close to the theater. if there is any complaint i could possibly have about that part of denver it's that parking is fucking ridiculous. all the streets around there are for residents only and require a parking permit displayed on your vehicle or you will get ticketed and towed. we probably drove around for twenty minutes trying to find a spot before we found a spot in front of some bars that was a tight fit for our car and mary is a horrible parallel parker. with a shitload of time to kill before the show we decided to chill out at the bar directly across the street from the bluebird. the pizza there is fucking amazing and if you ever find yourself in that area i highly suggest you stop in for it. try the meat pizza and just fucking enjoy the ride. (gay joke goes here)
so we're just hanging out eating pizza and watching the bluebird staff go in and out of the building when we notice this guy come out and light up a smoke that looked really familiar. then it suddenly dawns on mary and i that this guy is the giraffes guitarist damien paris.
mary instantly kicks into fangirl overdrive and starts freaking out. oh god should i go across the street and talk to him no that would be rude oh god wat do. we're just like hey if you want to say hi to him go and do it. he's just some dude in a band we like and is probably chill as fuck offstage and is probably used to random fans coming up to him just calm the fuck down. she decides not to because she's kind of intimidated by him after seeing all his crazy antics on stage. after he's done with his smoke he goes back inside and mary calms down. a couple of minutes later their singer aaron lazar comes out talking on his phone and we're back at fangirl threat level 5. he disappears down the alley between the bluebird and the 24 hour porn shop next door and things settle at fangirl 3.
around 7:00 we pop into the bluebird to talk with somebody about making arrangements for mom since she can't stand for long periods of time and the venue is standing room only. the staff at the bluebird are awesome and say that they'll work something out and will let us know what they've got for us when we come in for the show. to kill more time we walk a few blocks up and down the street checking out all the shit we don't have in beatrice. stuff like a medical marijuana dispensary, half a dozen tattoo and piercing parlors, a crazy new age hippie store and other oddities to our more conservative sensibilities. i don't think i've ever felt more out of place and in an alien world than i did in denver. i felt like an anthropologist stumbling upon some lost tribe in the middle of some dense amazonian rain forest.
at about 7:45 we figure it's time to get in line for the show because it was sold out and we wanted to be first in line. what we didn't anticipate was being the only people in line. we're new to this whole small venue concert experience thing and didn't realize that people pretty much just showed up for the show whenever they felt like it. one of the bluebird staff was super awesome and brought out a chair for mom to sit on while we waited for the doors to officially open at 8:00. while we were chilling out in line looking like a bunch of unhip losers some awesome guy dressed up like some crazy zombie came wandering down the street and i wish we would have gotten a picture of the guy. his outfit was so outrageous that it's hard to explain. as he stomped by i said hi and told him that his outfit was great and he just growled at us and kept right on down the street.
while we were waiting i saw this poster for the show in the window and wish i would have stolen it on the way out after the show. but i wasn't sure what proper concert poster taking etiquette was and totally bitched out.
also while we were waiting we saw pretty much the entirety of black lamb and snake rattle rattle snake going in and out. if i would have known who they were i probably would have asked them a bit about their bands since i had never heard of either of them before.
so 8:00 rolls around and we get in for the show. the bluebird staff told us the best they could do for us was setting up a folding chair in front of the soundboard that would be about dead center of the standing room and would give us a pretty clear and largely unobstructed view of the stage. that was pretty cool of them and we thanked them about a hundred times for being willing to work something out for us. we were the only non-staff people in the venue right up until just before the concert started so we just kind of stood around doing nothing. i saw a guy i thought was a staff member walking by us and i said hello and we talked for a minute. turned out he was one of the guitarists for snake rattle rattle snake and he was kind of amazed that we drove all the way to denver to see a show with two bands we never heard of and he hoped we enjoyed their set. i was mostly shocked that he even stopped to talk to some random dude who had no clue who he was. he seemed like a pretty nice guy so bonus point for snake rattle rattle snake.
after talking to that guy we were talking and mom asked mary if she would talk to any of the giraffes if they came by and mary was like oh no she'd be too nervous and afraid of coming across like a rabid fangirl and she wouldn't know what to say. just as this conversation ends aaron comes out from the backstage entrance and mary just freezes up like a statue. he starts walking down the aisle next to where we were and i'm like fuck it. i'll wave and say hi if she's too afraid to. i say hello and expected a polite nod or hey back and he'd just go on about his business. instead he waves back, says hi, and comes over and chats with us for five minutes. mary introduced herself as mary from nebraska and you see this gear click in his head and he recognizes her from all the times she's talked with the band on facebook and myspace and through buying their stuff. we have a nice chat about their trip from brooklyn and about our trip from beatrice and how we were thrilled to finally be able to make it to one of their shows. he was chill as fuck and even asked us if we'd like a to take a picture with him since we came all the way out there so we'd have something special to go back home with.
he then offered to let us hang out with the band for a bit at this thing they were doing after the show, but we had to leave as soon as the concert was over so i could get back in time to get some sleep and go to work. fucking work ruins everything. he excuses himself to go do his vocal warmups before the show and thanks us for coming all the way out to denver and supporting the band. mary and i are pretty much on cloud nine and honestly the show could have been canceled and we would have left happy. one thing that surprised me was just how soft spoken the guy was. i've heard him singing hundreds of times before and it's such a stark contrast to his normal speaking.
after aaron left mary and i are practically pissing ourselves like little schoolgirls (i hate to admit it, but fuck even i get a little fanboy at times) and didn't think the night could get any better, but then their drummer andrew totolos comes walking by and mary's like hey drew. he comes over and mary introduces herself and he recognizes her and is like hey glad you could make it we know it's a long-ass trip to come from bumfuck, nebraska to denver and they really appreciate us coming out and he hopes they live up to our expectations. we talk for about ten minutes about his voiceover work and other stuff he does outside the band and how much shit gets thrown on stage during their shows and he encourages us to throw as much beer at them as we want to because it will annoy aaron and he thinks that's funny. then he whips out his cellphone and starts being a proud papa about his baby boy while showing us pictures of his kid. before he has to go and get ready for the show we get a picture with him as well.
we also saw damien again and their bassist jens, but we didn't get a chance to talk with them since it was almost time for the concert to start and they were really busy preparing. best night ever.