Monthly Archives: March 2009

Celebrating Edward Abbey

Edward Abbey died 20 years ago tomorrow. I’d never even heard his name until at least 10 years after he died. But since the first page I read in The Monkey Wrench Gang I’ve been captivated by his writing. I’ve read nearly all of his books since. I agree with him on a lot of things, and disagree on a lot of other things, but I always find his writing thought provoking and entertaining.

Monday at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango there’ll be some people gathering and reading to celebrate old Cactus Ed. I’m excited to go and meet some like minded people, hear Ken Wright and Kate Niles (among others) read and just have a good time.

There’s more info at The San Juan Almanac and Maria’s Bookshop.

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Feeling More Durango

I did two very Durango things this past weekend.

Saturday I bought a mountain bike. Mountain biking seems to be huge here, and I can understand why, there’s a lot of open space and beautiful country around here. I’ve been road biking for a few years now and I felt I should start mountain biking out here. I picked up a used Yeti F.R.O. hardtail. I’ve been itching to get out and ride it, but it was snowing Saturday. Expect some pics and more about this bike on BeerNbikes.com.

Yesterday the weather was nice, probably perfect for mountain biking on some of the trails that dry earlier in the year than others, but instead Kinsee and I went up to Durango Mountain Resort for some winter sports action. It was my first time on a snowboard (I want to ski, I’ve never been skiing either, but Kinz insisted I try snowboarding first). She said I did good for my first day, I’m not sure if she’s being nice or what, but it seemed like I spent almost as much time on my butt as I did on my feet. I stayed on the bunny slope, but stood up quite a bit. The snow was hard packed so when I fell it hurt. After one good run of standing up the entire way I fell hard on my ass and decided it was time to hit the bar. Kinsee went up to the real slopes and got in some good runs while I read the paper and spent some time in the sun.

I’m sore today but look forward to giving skiing a try next year.

Small Town Living Part Two: The Grocery Store

“The Grocery Store” is the official name of the grocery store in town. There’s only one so I guess it makes things easy.

Yesterday I was shopping for ingredients to make some calzones (made them totally from scratch, dough, sauce and everything) and I thought it’d be nice to have some artichoke hearts. I couldn’t find them but knew they carried them because I bought some a few weeks before. I couldn’t find them so I thought I’d ask where they were.

I saw two Grocery Store employees nearby, an older woman and a younger boy. I asked where the artichoke hearts were and the kid looked at the woman. She laughed and said “I knew you’d look at me” and then he responded “I don’t even know what thems is” in the thickest backwoods country accent I’ve ever heard. She found them and he found out what they were. And I made some damn fine calzones.

Small Town Living: The Durango Herald

Being completely new to the Durango area after moving here, and living outside the city, I’ve been trying extra hard to make some friends, meet people, and get involved in the community. Of course a lot of this invovled the internet, even before I moved I was reading local blogs, following people on twitter, and even meeting people through other social networking experiments. I’m actually pretty impressed with how much I’ve been able to learn about the area and that I’ve been here two weeks and already made some friends thanks to the internet.

But I’ve been told that people here aren’t as up to date with technology as I’d expect coming from urban California. I was told to expect people and businesses here to be a year or two behind what I’m used to. At first I thought that was just people making fun of the local country folk. But things are a little different here as I learned yesterday.

I’ve been reading The Durango Herald (the local daily paper) online since before we moved. After moving here I decided I should support them a bit, and I really enjoy reading the paper version of the paper over a cup of coffee when I can, so I went to their website and subscribed to get the Sunday paper delivered. That was on a Monday and later that week, on Wednesday and Thursday the Herald was on our doorstep. I thought they must have got things confused but Friday and Saturday there was no paper so I figured they’d got it fixed. Then Sunday came along and I didn’t get a paper. I called the circulation desk (within their business hours) and left a message but got no call back.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt I decided I’d wait until the next Sunday to see if I got a paper before calling again. Well Wednesday came around and there was a paper on the porch again. Thursday too. So I called again and left another voicemail. Then I saw The Durango Herald on twitter. I sent a message and within minutes was talking to someone on the phone. He was really helpful and took my info down and said he’d have someone call me from the circulation department. So there’s some proof that some people do get it when it comes to technology. I don’t think anyone would have called me back if he hadn’t have gotten involved, I’d probably still be having problems and be trying to cancel my subscription Sunday after not getting the newspaper again. Well, a few hours later I got a phone call.

The woman on the other end told me that A 26 week Sunday only subscription is the same price as a 13 week Monday through Friday subscription. And when a subscription is placed via their website it doesn’t tell them which was selected and they in the circulation department have to guess which the customer wanted. Well in my case they guessed wrong. I was dumbfounded. I wasn’t quite sure if I believed her, I work in IT and hear the lies and excuses people come up with when it comes to technology, and it seems like such an absurd system, but she said she’d correct it for me.

Their website does have different product ID’s for the two different subscriptions, so I can’t imagine those product ID’s don’t come through to the person filling the subscription, but who knows. This is the paper/web company I’ve had to e-mail twice regarding their broken RSS feeds (which they fixed very quickly, but the second time was especially embarassing in my opinion as they were linking to entirely the wrong website, a result of copy code between two publications I’m sure).

I keep hearing about how newspapers are having trouble in the digital age, this seems like a perfect example of that.

Well, I just got done drinking my coffee and reading the paper I found on my porch this morning, so we’ll see if I get one delivered on Sunday like I should.

Update: I emailed Sam Rose the Online Services Manager for The Durango Herald about the problem with their website and he said they’re upgrading their online system and in the future this problem should be resolved. So apparently I was too quick to judge the woman in the circulation department. Their website really does make those on the recieving end guess as to what subscription option the customer has selected.

Durango Independent Film Festival: Sex, Death and God Shorts Program

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Kinsee and I went down to the Abbey Theater last night to check out the first night of the 2009 Durango Independent Film Festival. Last night was the free preview night of the festival and we opted for the shorts program Sex, Death and God, nine comedy shorts on those themes.

I had never been to The Abbey before, and it was much smaller than I had expected. The recliners and tables up on the balcony were a nice touch. I can’t wait to see some live theater or a concert there.

The first short, Winston: An Informal Guide to Etiquette, wasn’t my cup of tea. It looked good, the acting wasn’t bad, but the story just wasn’t my thing. I was a little worried that I was in for eight more unfunny short films. Luckily that wasn’t the case. Below are a few of my favorites from the night — I won’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away.

Marooned? by Ryan Nagata was my favorite of the night. It had me laughing throughout. Ex-nerds with a sense of humor will laugh with it, everyone else will laugh at it.

Death In Charge by Devi Snively was a close runner up for my favorite. Death (The Grim Reaper) inadvertently becomes a gothic babysitter for a night.

I liked Denim and Jewsus also. Not amazing films, but not bad either. Both pretty funny.

The Party was funny at times, but I found it kind of uneventful, not bad just not a lot happening with it. It looked good, the quality of the filming and acting was good, I just didn’t like the story. It was also the only short I knew anything about going into thanks to seeing Leslie McManus, one of the actresses in the film twitter about it.

If you missed it last night the Sex, Death and God Shorts Program is playing again Saturday March 7 at the Abbey Theater at 9am. There’s also plenty of other promising films playing through Sunday. Check the schedule here.