Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

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A Pressing Engagement

September 22, 2014 (12:08 pm) | Beer, Travelogue


“Yeah,” Josh laughs. “That’s some serious bite, huh?”

I take another sip of his hard cider. To be honest, it isn’t so much cider anymore as it was an apple wine. The potency is through the roof, the flavor divine, and I can only think about how awesome it would be to try to make my own.

“So how’d you make this?”

“A community cider pressing. Want me to let you know next time we do it?”

“Umm, yes!”

It takes a village to make an incredible cider.
A panoramic view of the entire pressing operation.

See all my photos from the pressing here.

My eyes dart back and forth, looking for the yellow barn.

“It should be around here somewhere,” Brad says as we tool down the little highway through the north of Longmont.

“You mean that one?” I ask, spotting the small army toiling away. “With all the people, loads of apples, and strange-looking machines?”

“Oh, it’s right there,” he replies, stepping on his brakes to make the turn.

We pull in with an SUV loaded with empty barrels, gaskets and airlocks for the fermentation process, knowing that Brad, Erin, Josh, Laura and friends had picked a mass of apples the previous weekend with cider in mind. None of the 900 pounds of apples laid out in row upon row of bushels are theirs, meaning this is a larger operation than I had anticipated.

I snap a photo or two with my phone, a less than stellar, but ample alternative to bringing a mass of equipment, and weave my way through the heart of the operation to find Josh.

“Hey!” Josh calls as I approach. “Want to tag in and take over at the press so I can find my lovely wife?”

“Umm, sure,” I say, unsure of what I’m getting myself into. “Just show me what to do.”

And just like that, I join the fray.

My Six Degrees of Cider Separation starts with my good friend Josh. Josh, who grew up split between Colorado and Vermont, is a virtual homesteading renaissance man. His family owns a quarry in Lyons, and he’s slowly rebuilding his flood damaged log cabin home by hand with the help of friends and family.

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One hat in the ring.

Smart Phone, Stupid User

September 11, 2014 (8:51 am) | Technology


A little over a month ago, I got a smart phone. Suddenly, the world opened up to me in new and interesting ways, and despite having adopted Smart Phone Luddism for years fearing the repercussions on my life, it’s enabled so many positives that I’m easily eating crow for my anti-smart phone campaigning.

One downside to waiting so long to adopt a smart phone is that my techie, power-user status has fallen behind the times. In the last week, I’ve had the following conversation with my phone and the Internet:

Me: “Wow! This is cool, but I want to do more with my phone and remove some of this bloatware. How do I do that?”

Internet: “Root your phone! It’s easy! Here’s seven ways you can do that.”

Me: “Cool! Wait, is there any risk to this?”

Internet: “Oh sure. You could brick your phone, void your warranty or prevent yourself from getting important security updates.”

Phone: “Please don’t kill me!”

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2 hats in the ring.

I Wish I Had That Disorder…

August 7, 2014 (8:34 am) | Growing Up

“I’m a total neat freak,” she tells me. “I have ocd. I clean thoroughly every weekend and like to keep the place spotless.”

“Ok,” I say. “I try to stay clean and will do my best. Just let me know if I leave a mess and I’ll take care of it toot sweet.” I smile at my bastardized French.

“Cool,” she replies. “But seriously, I’ll be cleaning all the time.”

I’m beginning to doubt that she even knows what OCD means.

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One hat in the ring.

Open & Honest – Epilogue

July 18, 2014 (7:30 am) | Women


Concluded from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III – Part IV
Part V – Part VI – Part VII – Part VIII – Part IX – Part X

It’s so easy to work in vignettes, moments captured as close to perfectly as possible. Then one moment begins bleeding into another, her presence the one consistent factor. Time loses all meaning, the days pooling into a blissful smear. And when the stark blankness of my life without her reappears underneath, I begin to wonder how we had run out ink.

“So,” I open, “why are we here?”

“What do you mean?” she asks.

“I mean, why are we having breakfast, now? What’s the purpose of doing this?”

I watch her. I can see her struggling. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t have the words. She can’t really say.

“Well, I guess… Where do you want to go from here?”

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July 16, 2014 (8:19 am) | Social Commentary, Work


“Knock, Knock,” I say, a sly smile on my face. Wide eyes and excited grins greet me from below.

“Who’s there?” they chorus.

“Eat mop!”

“Eat mop who?”

“EWW! YOU SAID EAT MY POO!” I yell. They collapse in fits of giggles.

The joke is one I learned from a coworker at Eldora. It’s sly, disgusting, and exactly what little kids enjoy. Read more »

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Four Drafts

July 15, 2014 (8:05 am) | Women




Breakfast the other day was pleasant, and I appreciate that you wanted to meet, but I feel like it was a wasted opportunity to actually talk. When you said you still wanted to get together, I assumed you had things you wanted to say. I had hoped you wanted to explain how you’ve been feeling and why things happened how they did from your side. Instead, when I asked you why we were there, you put the effort back on me, asking me to talk, asking what I wanted. I understand you were tired and had difficulty figuring out what to say—you admitted as much—but I left on Sunday with an even worse sense of closure.

And therein lies the rub.  Read more »

3 hats in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part X

July 4, 2014 (6:15 pm) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III – Part IV
Part V – Part VI – Part VII – Part VIII – Part IX

“I think I’m done,” I say. It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud. It feels good to say it.

I just wish I could say it to her.

It almost catches me off guard. I have to pause to think about it.

“That’s too bad,” my friend tells me in the lull.

“No,” I reply, “it’s not.” Yes, it is, I think.

There’s this moment, when day three rolls around and I still haven’t heard from her. I’ve been left to my own thoughts again. It’s never a good thing.

There’s a reason I prefer to stay busy all the time, why I throw myself into my work, why I focus so intently on whatever project is in front of me. It’s to quiet the little voices in my head, the ones that niggle and prod, that play with reality.

But I’m not wrong here.

I had asked her to be better about communicating. She responded with an apology. And now she’s responded with more silence. Read more »

One hat in the ring.

Open & Honest – Part IX

June 25, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III
Part IV – Part V – Part VI – Part VII – Part VIII

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you angry,” she had told me.

If she were here now, she would. I’m glad she isn’t here. I’m glad she can’t see this. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I’ll have formulated my words, dealt with the anger, worked it out. And then I’ll be back in this strange limbo.

For the first time in weeks, I’m going to see her.

“Good morning!” I text. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at German Two’s birthday. I hope it’s cause you’re joining us, not working. Any idea of your schedule this week?”

“Haaaa yeah I’m working a double that day…” she replies. “And closing. But I’m insisting y’all be in my section so we can hang out.”

It’s not the response I was hoping for. No info on her schedule. Not even a direct pronoun for me. I stifle the disappointment, the sense that I don’t matter, that she’s trying to push me into the group and out of the singular. I’m probably just overreacting, overthinking.  Read more »

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The Bicycle Thief

June 23, 2014 (6:45 am) | Philosophy, Social Commentary, Sports

It’s only two miles, I tell myself as I deposit my dilapidated sandals in the trashcan in front of the post office.

The streets are eerily empty as I begin my barefoot march home. Really, it shouldn’t be a surprise. There aren’t many people who want to be out and about after the last bus has left deep into the wee hours of a Monday night. The white glow of the moon, the stark yellows of the streetlights, and the resonant heat from the day mean it’s hardly unpleasant save for my personal issues.

My feet ache. The cold mottled cement of the sidewalk wears into my heels. The granules of asphalt scrape the bottoms of the my toes as I cross the street. Needles, twigs and organic debris press into the balls of my feet as I plod through the night. The weight of my baggage lilts me left or right as I trade hands trying to keep my shoulders fresh. I focus on each step, tired, annoyed, determined to make it home, knowing I need to be up in mere hours for a long day of work.

I’m halfway home, in a darkened corridor of trees on the sidewalk, when I notice the bike lying in the small stretch of grass between my cement carpet and the street. Without thinking, I lift the bike on to two wheels, sling my suitcase onto the handlebars, and continue walking, my load lightened.

As I cross to the next block, the light from the streetlights casts my shadow on the road in front of me. I blink slowly as I realize that I’m holding the bike, walking slowly home. I look down at my right hand, cradling the handlebars, my bag hanging to one side.

I stole a bike, I think with surprise. I’m stealing a bike, I correct. I glance over my shoulder at the block I just left, wondering what the fuck I’m doing.

And then I start walking once more.

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Open & Honest – Part VIII

June 17, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV – Part V – Part VI – Part VII

Five days.

I keep telling myself it’ll only be five days. Five days of fun with friends, of visiting with family, of bachelor party and Boston.

Despite all the wonderful people and times, every spare moment is spent thinking of her.

I send a postcard, carefully picking out a vintage print. I plot surprises for my return, think about things we could do together, events to which she’d like to go. I work on being even more the person she makes me want to be.

On the day of my return, she offers to pick me up from the airport. It’s unexpected. The distance between her and the airport isn’t small. This isn’t a favor I’d ask of a friend. I could bus it and then get a ride. That would be reasonable, but all the way is outside the bounds of good taste. Yet here she is offering. And I don’t want to say no.

My flights are delayed. Over and over, the timing gets worse. I’m racked with guilt, as the airline fails to tell me the changes until the last moment, and I can only hope to relay them.

She’s tired and sore when she picks me up. We cancel the concert we were going to catch in Denver on the way back. We crawl into bed, sleeping immediately. There’s no making up for lost time. There will be time enough for that later.

The next day, her world crumbles.

Plans she was making seem untenable after she finds out her debts are greater than she wanted. She closes herself. She cries. I try to cheer her up.

It’s an odd sensation, realizing that when I’m with her none of our combined problems seem insurmountable. I know I can’t solve her problems. I know her and I know she’s capable. I can make it more bearable, more pleasant; I can be supportive and make things easier if only she’ll let me. My problems I can handle. They don’t even worry me when she’s at my side. Hers worry me more than I want to show, if only for their effect on her.

“I want you to be happy. I like when you’re happy,” I want to tell her. “What can I do to make you happy?” I want to ask.

But I don’t.

I reach out gently, probing, hoping I can breach the sudden wall. She schedules herself hellishly for a week. She makes good money. I watch as she disconnects from the world. All that exists is work, commute, sleep, eat.

My life is no simpler. I’m starting a new job. I’m moving, without a car. I’m in my own little hell, ripped from the peaceful fun of post-ski season haze. I take loads via bus. It’s painful and difficult. I tap friends to help in little ways or bigger ways. Several come through. I make a concerted effort not to ask her for help, not to heap my problems on her own.

I don’t worry about it. I don’t stress it. I’m too busy to bother. I’m too worried about her to worry about myself.

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One hat in the ring.

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