Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why I love NYC #6: The People

Last week I was in New York for a business trip, and while I missed my kids and Joker and Colorado, I was continually reminded of how awesome NYC really is.  So to return to my series from last spring, let me riff for a minute on the people who live there.

New Yorkers get a really bad rap.  People think they're all obnoxious cabbies and pretentious hipsters in black.  And yeah, there are lots of both of those.  But generally speaking, New Yorkers are great.  They give you directions when you're lost.  They'll recommend a restaurant or a bar or a museum based on your criteria.

The people in my hotel were great, both staff and guests.  I stayed in a new place called the Yotel, a concept of tiny but well-conceived (and extremely white) rooms.  The clientele was primarily 20-something European tourists, which was a hoot - when I'm in another country, I love figuring out the day's agenda over coffee and breakfast, and watching other people do it was like the next best thing. 

My work meetings were great.  Our team is smart and capable.  Everyone was energetic and enthused, and had great propensity for both brainstorms and fun.  My external meetings helped me to think through and verbalize our value proposition and our sales pitch.  And everyone seemed so happy to see me back in town.

And of course, my friends are the greatest.  I saw a ton of people for drinks, dinner and/or lunch.  We ate great food (I gravitated to the ocean-dwelling variety given my new landlocked living), and drank great drinks (I gravitated to broad and generous consumption of all varieties given I didn't have to drive anywhere).  We laughed, we caught up, we did lots of cheers-ing.  It was awesome.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A damn fine mountain

Vail is a place that I almost hate to love. Unlike the other Colorado ski towns, Vail has no historic mining past freckled with colorful characters. In fact, it didn't even exist until almost 50 years ago. But I've got to hand it to the prescient people who decided to turn the top of Vail Pass into a ski resort. It is an awesome mountain. There are more runs than I could possibly do, and more terrain than any other place around. The mountain is massive. Joker and I had the good fortune to stay with my sister in Vail for the weekend. Without the girls. We ate, drank, slept and (of course) skied. I can't deny that a four-year hiatus hasn't exactly helped my snowboarding skills, but was it ever fun to be out there!! The ridiculous side of Vail was in bold display as well. Women dripping with uncountable karats of diamonds; women in fur hats or muffs or cuffs or full ensembles. A $270 entree at the burger place at Lionshead. But there is no denying that Vail is one hell of a great place to ski. Thanks again to Jessie and her friends for hosting us, and to Mima and Boppie for sponsoring a farm weekend for the girls!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small town

Like Johnny Cougar, I was born in a small town.  And I was raised in rather near a small town.  Then I moved, and I moved far.  I moved to a big city.  Then I moved to the biggest city.  And I loved it.  I really, really loved it.  New York has more of everything, bigger of everything, the best of everything.  Food, drinks, nightlife, art, culture, industry, finance, media, friends, shopping, parks - grand scale, intimate setting, action, relaxation - New York has it all.

And then, just like that, after 15 years living and/or working in the biggest city, I have moved.  To ANOTHER small town.

And boy, is Evergreen ever small!  I've lived here for a few months and already can't go to the grocery store without running into someone I know.  On Friday night I found myself bidding for some "kid art" against the local real estate/oil magnate (I lost); Sunday I was using his ski house bathroom for a pit stop after the drive to Winter Park.

The thing that surprises me is that I love it.  I really do.  I couldn't wait to get the hell out of dodge when I graduated from high school, and I swore I'd never look back.  But now, with kids of my own, I couldn't be happier to be here.  In a small town. 

It may be that there's something I can relate to in the people who live in this small town.  They're not a bunch of rednecks or high school dropouts or small-minded hicks.  This small town is filled with people like me - people who chose to move to a small town after having other experiences and doing other things.  I think that might be why I love it so much.  My new small town.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Walking Dead

Before becoming a super-creepy hit show on AMC, The Walking Dead was a comic book.  I read the "Compendium One" - a huge collection of the comics that weighs roughly 1400 pounds - on Joker's recommendation, who read it at the recommendation of our friend Matt, and I can't wait to keep plugging on in the story.

First of all, the television series to date barely scratches the surface of the comics, and there are a few major character and plot differences.  I love the show, but the comics are better.

If you're unfamiliar, the story takes place not long after a zombie apocalypse has hit the country - cities are abandoned, the government has collapsed, most people are now living dead, and things are a real mess.  Rick Grimes awakens from a coma in a small town hospital that has been abandoned.  He's got no clue what has happened until he stumbles into a room full of zombies.  Completely freaked out, he hurries home to see if his wife and son are OK.  He finds they've left the house, learns that most people had headed for Atlanta and the "protection" of the city, and sets out in pursuit.  With a bit of good luck, he escapes from zombie-overridden Atlanta and finds his family, who've joined up with a haggard band of survivors.  From there, the group manages to beat the odds - for a while, at least - together.

I am actually amazed at how great the series is.  The art is black and white, and it's OK but not spectacular.  The zombies are scary and there is quite a bit of gore (both actual and implied).  The characters seem to be what makes it so compelling.  Rick and his family aren't even the most interesting characters.  Dale and Andrea (who is super irritating in the show), Glenn and Maggie, Hershel, Susan, Axel, Tyreese and Michonne (the last three aren't even in the show, at least not yet)... they are incredibly well developed, and their methods of dealing with their hell-on-earth reality are all fascinating.  The major bad guy - The Governor - is a terrifying, mentally ill psychopath, and the protagonists encounter a number of other also-terrifying (and human) bad guys along the way. 

Frankly, it's a great read.  I'm not done with the series - in fact, I believe new issues are still coming out - and I can barely put it down.