Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why I Love Boulder

Here is a shameless plug for what I have come to love about what I think of as my hometown (for 16 years now.)

And that list is:

#10: The Zip Code Guy. I run into David at the vegan cafe sometimes.
He is representative of the freaky talent you find on the Pearl
Street Pedestrian mall. You tell him your zip code, he'll tell you
all about the town. It's freaky. He auditioned for Letterman and
was too freaky even for them. Ozzie used to do face-painting next
to his spot on the mall, so I got to know him.

#9: KBCO and 99.5 The Mountain. Two radio stations worth having.
One was bought by Clear Channel (watch out for Charles!!), the other
is independent. While I disagree with KBCO's playlist at times, and
the jocks on The Mountain sometimes make me want to slap them,
overall I love them for what they are. Both are Who-loving, and
both have enough local flavor and NORMAL jocks who don't shout at
you making bad attempts at humor.

#8: The Flatirons:

#7: Open Space Program. An intentional program by Boulder county
to preserve land from being developed (and yeah, driving real estate
prices sky-high. They don't call us the People's Republic of
Boulder for nothing). However, the payoff is pretty impressive.
Boulder is surrounded by pockets of "open space" that are public
parks and trails for use by all. The hiking here is phenomenal.
I've never been anywhere that is Rock climbing,
hiking, bike riding, mountain bike riding, marathon training. It's
something. When I first decided to move here, I dreamed that they
wouldn't let me in because my thighs were too flabbly. Seriously.
I dreamed that. I still worry.

#6: The Boulder Food Co-op. The co-op's cafe, Cafe Prasad, is one
of a handful of places in the country that runs a true vegan cafe,
and supports the "raw food" community with gourmet style. I'm
serious. You have to see it to believe it. It just ended up in the
top 10 list of vegetarian restaurants in the US according to the
Alternative Medicine journal. I think you'd have to go to San
Francisco to beat the quality. I am a frequent visitor - probably
three times a week. I tend to think of myself as a "lipstick
vegan". I like the diet without the dreadlocks...

#5: The LC. The Lesbian cafe, or actually, The Walnut Cafe. I say
this with the utmost respect, not as a snark. The cafe is run by a
prominent local woman who is active in the community and makes some
great pies!!! Seriously, you just have to try them. She also
happens to be lesbian, and there tend to be a number of lesbian
waitresses. I find that the female quotient adds to the nurturing
style of the cafe and I can't think of any place I'd rather hang out
for lunch. Caters to all types of diet (a big issue in Boulder) and
is safe for vegetarians, a little iffy for vegans. I like to think
of myself as a "lipstick lesbian wannabe"!!

#4: The Bolder Boulder. The 2nd largest running race in the US,
and raises money for loads of local charities. Where 50,000+
runners take to the streets of Boulder, ending up at Folsom Field (U
of Colorado Football Stadium) where 100,000 spectators greet them.

Each year for the past 10 or so, my family has participated. While
everyone else in Boulder is wondering "will I beat my time from last
year??", the Pottersmiths are wondering.. "Can we get to the stadium
before 11:00 am this year????" Last year we beat our previous
times by 10 minutes - a world's record!!! This year, Dagny wants
to run...oh no, what is that going to do to our slacker tradition???

#3 The Trivial Bowl (Recently moved to the fall, but who's
counting). Originally modeled after TV's GE College Bowl, the CU
Trivia Bowl became the largest non-athletic event in CU's history.
It was featured nationally in the press in its heyday. It was a
multi-media event, with audio and video questions.

These days, the student body doesn't have the enthusiasm anymore,
but the trivia teams still show up and play each other with great
joy. A number of contestants have gone on to win the big bucks
on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and "Jeopardy". It has
spawned "The Basement Bowl", to which my teammate Paul and I were
invited to this winter. After which we felt incredibly...honored??
Pumped up?? Intelligent?? Witty??? No, actually we felt
incredibly stupid. These guys are 1000 times better at it than we
are. Ok, so we were a bit honored. Here's an article on the
Basement Bowl. It certainly gives you the flavor of the stifling
geekiness of the whole thing. And ya'll know how I love stifling
geekiness. And you all know I say that with love. I like to think
of myself as a "lipstick geek".

#2 Kinetics!!!

There's no way I can explain this one. Suffice to say, it's an
opportunity for crazy people to act legitimately crazy for a week.
It's one of those things that I just marvel at. I marvel that
first, anyone would think of such a thing in the first place. And
B), that everyone shows up to participate!!! It's just too much
fun. Plus, music. This year, Los Lobos, John Butler Trio, and Mike
Doughty and Yonder Mt. String Band at the Ball. Next year, my
family are going to be volunteers.,1713,BDC_2422_2835

#1 The Conference on World Affairs

This week-long conference hosts participants who are experts in
their field - at their own expense!! They come to Boulder, shack up
with a local who's volunteered their spare bedroom, pay for their
own meals and sit around and hold sessions on the world's problems
for 5 days in a row. It's an intellectuals dream. This is the
event where Roger Ebert has come for the past 30 years to do
his "cinema interruptus" with a different film each year. I
wouldn't miss it for

and also coming in at #1 - hey folks, we have a tie,

The Weather!!! Did you know that Boulder has something like 325
sunny days a year?? Seriously. It's amazing. Those rumors you've
heard about the tough winters?? HA!! It's just a ruse to get all
those Texans not to move here (hi Alan!!!). Yeah, there are
*maybe* 10 bad snow days a year. But the next day, it's sunny

Every spring, I realize again how genuinely happy I am to be here.
The only other place that truly has given me pause for thought in
comparison is the Big Island of Hawaii. Pretty hard to pull off,
though (hi Seth!!).

Can you tell for the last few weeks at work I've been arranging site
visits for my colleagues from other universities to come here to
meet with us about a huge upcoming project I'm working on?? And
that I have tons of energy today that I don't know what to do with??
I should be out mountain biking. Shame on me.


ps. For the record, I do not ski. I tried for a few years then
finally told Ozzie "sorry man, I'm not a skier. I'll be at the

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