Pioneer Day Escape

If you live in the city, the Pioneer Day holiday can create some chaos. Best to escape to the mountains. I did so, and found great friends, lots of tequila, and rugby gospel songs (what???). Yep, the music was great, as George the Hack and his very able companion Rosemarie introduced us to some obscure gospel tunes and other rugby favorites. The beers went down easy, the shooters bolstered the beers, a good time was had by all...

Thanks to Bill and Julie (Happy Birthday!) for the opportunity to escape the city, and to the road crew who repaired all the flood damage.


A Night Out in Denver

Sometimes it's good to know a successful lawyer... at least socially! ...especially when his firm has box seat tickets to Rockies games.

Scott was kind enough, and extremely generous, to host myself and two of his motorcycle buddies to dinner and a game while I was in Denver.

We started out with a delicious Pinot (and cigars) in the Churchill Room of the Brown Palace hotel (above). The Brown Palace is one of those classic, beautiful old hotels that anchor the historic past of a city. A couple shots from the inside:

Here's the guys after a cigar... a motorcycle gang in the exclusive Churchill Room! Lawyers these days...

and the mural found in the Churchill Room which fascinated me...

Then it was over to the Ship Tavern (in the hotel) for a wonderful dinner... the best prime rib and the best trout in Denver. Finishing dinner coincided with a dwindling thunderstorm (boy, was Denver clobbered by lightning and rain while I was there), so it was off to the ball game.

Entrance into a MLB ballpark is a spiritual moment for me... and Coors Field is beautiful park.

Great seats! Right closeup... and a shot of Prince Fielder of the Brewers.

Then there was the sunset from the ballpark... yep, Denver and the west are the best.

A great night... the Rockies won and I got my home run (although by the Brewers). Thanks again to Scott for his generosity.


I'm from FEMA...

... and I'm here to save your ass.

Yep, I'm in Denver at the Federal Center out on West 6th Ave., and now an employee of FEMA. My position is "occasional" as a Disaster Assistance Employee, responsible for emergency communications systems. Be afraid, be very afraid!

The pic above is the FEMA bunker in Denver, it's part of an old bomb shelter from the post war days (WWII for you young'ins out there). There's a long tunnel to the more modern building with additional office space.

And it's even historical!

Here's a shot of some of the MERS (mobile emergency radio systems, or something like that) vehicles (carrying communications and support materials), along with one of the HF antennas, and a little Denver.

I'm here for a week of training and an introduction to the whole disaster response system. Getting paid, too!

Finally, a closer shot of downtown Denver through another HF antenna.


Kilby Court Battle of the Big Bands

What a night! Plenty of (musical) fireworks leftover from the 4th as SLAJO and JPO battled it out... (Salt Lake Alternative Jazz Orchestra and Joshua Payne Orchestra). How they managed to set up two big bands in the limited (large garage) space of Kilby Court still amazes me... and I was there! At least the audience didn't mind hanging around outside in the courtyard since it was quite warm inside. So there we were, photographers, recorders, videographers, stumbling over each other in the small space between the blasting bands. Each took a turn, and then combined...

First up was the visiting team, JPO,

followed in the bottom of the inning by the home team, SLAJO.

Best of all was the bottom of the ninth, with both groups participating in a beautiful version of Herschel Bullen's "Wreckrium". Tie game... Absolutely great jazz, and a very fun musical configuration. Tunes from the show can be heard or downloaded from the SLAJO web site.

Curious, this weekend is the Salt Lake International Jazz Festival... and neither of these great bands is involved. What's going on??? How can such jazz excellence, innovation, and overall excitement be ignored by a local jazz festival?


Vacation Jazz

So during my time in France, I didn't get much chance to see any jazz. Usually I was wiped out on the Rose' and a full dinner by 10:00pm and just fell into bed.

But I stopped over in Orange County on the way back and was able to catch Willis playing with Buck's Vibe at Steamer's in Fullerton (looks like they have a regular monthly gig for the forseeable future). This is a hot quartet! A new CD is coming soon, and I hope to get a DVD of the Steamer's performance in the near future.