Friday, April 29, 2011

The Endorsement: Open-Ended Travel

I had the amazing opportunity to take two weeks and travel abroad recently, and I'm sure I will be posting multiple thoughts and photos from the trip in the coming weeks. Put simply, here is a recommendation for anyone looking for a way to truly enjoy a slice of life if you are able: book an open-ended, multi-destination trip somewhere abroad. Make sure your train reservations are transferrable and your hotels have a 24-hour cancellation policy, and just go.

The most memorable moments of my trip involved busses when I thought I had tickets for trains, figuring out a Slovakian public transportation system at 9:30 p.m. without a translation book, ordering off a menu written entirely in Italian from a waiter who didn't speak a lick of English, the option of spending an extra night anywhere I ended up, walking 30 blocks with luggage from a train station to a poorly marked hotel and spending an extra 30 minutes at a cafe to enjoy another glass of wine and just watch people because I didn't have any place to be at any particular time.

These are the types of experiences that will make you feel a little less significant and empowered at the same time. The world is a big place, and if you don't take the time to let go, be okay with whatever comes your way and just enjoy the moment every once in a while, you'll miss most of what the world has to offer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What's Good: The 1-Up Bar (LoDo)

I'm a fan of Rockies baseball, non-cliche sports bars, craft beers, a place that knows how to make a good bourbon cocktail and any place that serves fine meats and cheeses. But sometimes (albeit, rarely) my inner-video game geek rears his Mountain Dew-drinking, parents'-basement-crashing head. For those special occasions, I now have a place to call "home."

The 1-Up Bar is a teenage-voice-cracking dream on Blake Street that consists of pretty much any and every retro video came console you could shake a joystick at. Joust, Centipede, PacMan, his life-partner, Ms.
PacMan, 1942, Donkey Kong, Asteroids...I'm sure there are some they don't have, but you would be hard pressed to not find at least one game that brings back memories of Atari joystick cramps or Nintendo Thumb.

As if "pixelated happiness" wasn't enough, you can wash down your low score sorrows with a PBR tallboy or similar. To be honest, I was so enthralled with the games, I can't remember what they had on tap - I only know that they had food, the beer was cold and the quarters were numerous. To cap it all of, The 1-Up bar blew my mind with a "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" brilliant idea to give patrons a rest and cure any video-induced bug eye: Giant Jenga. Its not a complicated idea, and its actually more fun than it sounds. Four tables of three-foot-tall Jenga games made from 2x4s. Watch your toes, eat the ghosts, shoot down WWII aircraft, invade space, and jump barrels while jousting on a flying ostrich with a cold beer in your hand. Your inner-13-year-old will be pleased with the 1-Up Bar.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1000 Words: Outdoor Concert Season

I was reminded today that many tickets for many concerts are on sale soon. Music is amazing.
Get out there and listen to some this summer.

(Photos: Vampire Weekend, Miike Snow, Cage the Elephant, ACL 2010)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Endorsement: Brad Stevens and Butler

Yes, they shot terribly in the NCAA Championship game. And yes, at times they looked completely overmatched against UConn. But I still love the way Butler goes about its business. Here are some of the arguments/comments I heard against/about Butler throughout the tournament this year:

  • Who is going to be this year's "Butler?"
  • Looks like the underdog did it again.
  • Brad Stevens is amazing at making a second-tiered team look better than they really are.
  • Matt Howard just always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
  • I can't believe Butler keeps taking down these powerhouses.

Frustrating. I'm no basketball expert but here is what I've seen: Butler is a team comprised of top-level talent that were passed up by the Indiana's and the Michigan's of the world. Brad Stevens is an intelligent guy who appears to focus on fundamentals and hustle. Matt Howard was in the right place at the right time because he's a smarter player than most, and he works harder than pretty much everyone on the court. And Butler kept taking down the "powerhouses" because they played better basketball on that given day. They didn't play better than UConn on Monday night, so they got beat. That's how the game works.

If we quit trying to "assess" teams like Butler and start paying attention to how they play the game, we could all learn a lot - about basketball and otherwise. Learn about your game (whatever it is), play smarter than your opponent, work hard and hustle. Butler was this year's "Butler," and they will be again next year, regardless of their record.