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Denver awaits the Blend

Greetings from Lakewood, Colorado.  “Radical” Russ here, camped out in advance a mile high in the Rockies.

First off, what a gracious bunch of tippers y’all are here in the coffeehouse!  Our humble thanks for the honor of covering this event; without your support, it wouldn’t have been possible.

I’ve been here since Thursday and road-tripped in from Portland (story below), so I’ve got wheels.  (I’m the Blend cabbie!)  I’m so excited for my first face-to-face meeting with Autumn (afternoon pickup at DIA) and Pam (evening pickup at DIA).  Terrance, sorry I didn’t get your flight schedule earlier, or I’d be on my way to the airport to get you, too!

I’ll be videotaping and audio recording for the crew and getting all the photos I can.  Our crew has all the letters of the LGBT community (so long as the “B” stands for “Belville”…)  My odyssey began last weekend with my six-hour road trip from Portland to Seattle for the Hempfest.  (Yes, I know, it’s only a three-hour drive, but you’ve not driven I-5 on a sweltering Friday with traffic backed up for a brushfire in the median about thirty miles into the trip.)  I spoke on three stages and moderated a media panel before thousands.  It’s always amazing to speak to crowds that big.  I even got to lug my bass onstage for the Sunday opening set on the main stage.

Then back from Seattle to Portland (three hours, as we drove at night) for a day’s worth of consulting work that fell into my lap at the most opportune time to provide the last infusion of cash that settled the “convention road trip” vs. “next month’s rent” argument.  It’s funny how things can work out sometimes.

Next day, back on the road, Boise to Denver (12 hours).  Coolest site: Bigelow Canyon Wind Farm.  There is a point where you’re climbing up the hillside and the tips of the blades of one of the windmills are slicing through the rising ribbon of freeway.  That’s the future, baby.

Here I have friends originally from the Twin Falls, Idaho area who live in Lakewood.  They are huge Green Bay Packers fans, much like me.  In ’97, they lived in Vegas and I visited to see the Pack lose a Super Bowl to Denver (I ended up on the local evening news).  In ’00, they lived in Phoenix and we caught a Cardinals/Packers pre-season game (GB 29, AZ 3).

So I arrived here Friday to tailgate with these friends and some real ‘Sconnies.  We drank a few Leinie’s, roasted beer brats on the grill, served ’em on hoagies with potatoes, and played lawn bolo.  We posed for pictures (I am one of “those” kind of fans) and trudged up to Mile-And-A-Half-High seats in the stadium to enjoy the Pack beat the home Broncos 27-24.  Go Pack Go!

Today has been chock full of activities with my Twin Falls friends.  I performed my XM satellite radio show remotely from my friend’s home office.  It is remarkable that we have technology for satellite radio broadcasting that fits in a large laptop case.  Not my best show – way too tired and not able to follow news while driving through Idaho-Utah-Wyoming-Colorado – and halfway through it I got a hateful email calling me a pussy.  Great way to top off an afternoon.

Queen B, the female Twin Falls friend (yes, my entire world is full of people with nicknames) took us to her warehouse; she sells recycled rack and forklifts and steel and stuff, going a mile a minute with a cigarette in one hand and a Bluetooth in her ear.  She’s not a Type A personality, she’s a Type A+.

Spud (B’s husband) took us up to Black Hawk for a gambling junket, which I refused to attend, because I’m poor and good at math.  He then reminded me that he’s rich and hasn’t seen me in eight years.  I did my duty and gleefully lost his money alongside him at the card tables until they closed the casino.  I’d never been to a casino that closed before.  Even the casinos we visited in podunk Jackpot, Nevada, with our Twin Falls friends stayed open all night, much to our wallet’s chagrin.

I take it back.  B & Spud aren’t rich.  They’re doing well, but they worked hard for it and moved all over the country to get it and probably pay more taxes than they could get away with not paying.  They are where so many more hard-working Americans should be.

I’m already three days worn out and the convention hasn’t even started yet!

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