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September 15, 2006

Denver at Sunrise

denver0915a.jpg

Hey! Stupid buildings! You're blocking my sunrise!

Denver seems nice, although I don't think I'm going to end up seeing a whole lot of it other than the hotel I'm at, at which I'm signing books for booksellers and otherwise doing the whole marketing oneself and one's books thing. The hotel, part of the Denver Tech Center, seems designed for the purpose of not actually making it useful or interesting to leave; the only other things around here seem to be other office building and hotels; I think I saw a sign for a chain restaurant somewhere in the distance, but I'm not going to hike the better part of a mile just to see a Chili's up close and personal. I do know it was a $50 cab ride to get here. I may actually be in Utah.

One kvetch, if you don't mind. My personal feeling is that when you stay at a hotel that advertises itself as being part of a "tech center," it damn well ought to have free Internet. I think that makes sense. Because clearly you intend to cater to a geek crowd, and they do like their data teats. But this particular hotel does not -- it's the usual $10/24 hours gig you get any hotel that doesn't have the words "suites," "budget" or "express" appended to it.

I suppose I could just go ahead and pay for the connection -- it's not like I'm paying for the room, after all, my publisher is -- but the fact of the matter is I find this mildly offensive. If you're going to advertise yourself as a tech center, then be a tech center, damn it. My cell phone has a decently fast modem in it: I'm using that instead. Three cheers for technology that lets you get around stupid charges (you may say, yeah, but you're paying for the cell phone. Well, I'm not, actually. Yay! free stuff!).

Anyway. Hello, Denver! The part of you I can see out of my hotel window looks nice. I look forward to coming around sometime and seeing more of you.

Posted by john at September 15, 2006 09:39 AM

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Comments

Chris Gerrib | September 15, 2006 09:59 AM

Re $50 cab ride - no, you're in Denver. Their new airport is in Kansas (or close to it). Rather then upset anybody, they put it in the middle of nowhere.

Jude | September 15, 2006 10:07 AM

That almost makes Denver look pretty. Well, okay,some parts of Denver are pretty. Not very many parts. The best thing about Denver, for me, is leaving it (I live on the western slope of Colorado).

Kero aka Kevin | September 15, 2006 11:09 AM

The unfortunate thing is you aren't actually in downtown Denver, but a distantly related suburb miles away. If you look to the North in the distance you may be able to see tall buildings, that is downtown Denver. If only there were people willing to take you to dinner in Denver you may have actually seen it... :)

Mark DF | September 15, 2006 11:22 AM

Ha. So that's this sunrise thing people talk about? Based on descriptions I've heard from others, I suspected it looked a lot like sunset in reverse. Must have been creepy, like when you're stopped at a traffic light and the car next to you starts rolling foward and for a second you think you're rolling backward even though you're not driving a stick and you freak out and press the brake down harder and then you hope that your passenger didn't notice. Was it like that? Only, I don't know, bigger? I bet I would have felt dizzy.

Steve Nagy | September 15, 2006 11:22 AM

Only time I ever visited Denver was during a one-night layover in a hotel on the west side before driving into the mountains to Evergreen.

That was pretty country. Made it over to a restaurant nearby on the continental divide and dined on a sausage linquine where the chef used rabbit-rattlesnake meat.

Also visited a restaurant where they offered salmon lasagna. No noodles, just layers of salmon, mozza, and tomato sauce.

Janiece | September 15, 2006 11:24 AM

John,

Have to agree with Kero on that one - the DTC has to be the blandest, most boring subarb in our city. Bleh. I'm sorry your first impression had to be THAT.

On the upside, we do have fabulous sunrises and sunsets!

Jas | September 15, 2006 11:25 AM

As others have commented, yes, you're really only just barely in the Denver Metro Area when you go to the Denver Tech Center. I live in a northeastern suburb, and can tell you that Denver International is no longer in the middle of nowhere, but smack dab in the middle of one of the fastest growing regions in the state. I know because the school district I work for surrounds it on all sides, and we're adding kids at a prodigious rate.

If you can find the time, John, catch a ride up into town. There's a good deal of interest there, but don't expect much in the way of Mom and Pop restaurants -- this ain't the Midwest, or even the westernmost portions of the East. We're significantly younger a city, and don't have (nor are we likely to acquire) the traditional, small scale charm you might hope to find elsewhere.

Most of all, I suspect you'd find yourself pleased with a trip to Boulder, and the Pearl Street Mall there. There you'd find one of the last bastions of specialty bookstores that would, I suspect, be right up your alley.

Patrick Shepherd | September 15, 2006 12:17 PM

The last time I was in Denver (1978) was to go to Disaster Preparedness training, actually conducted out at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (now closed). At that time I was very unimpressed. I thought the smog level in the San Francisco Bay Area was bad - but at least back then, what Denver had was worse. I ended up with a sore throat almost my entire six week stay there.

Erbo | September 15, 2006 12:52 PM

Dang...wish I were able to come by and visit. I was just down in that area last night, at Micro Center (the best computer store in the metro area, IMHO) to pick up some photo paper for Pamela.

You might enjoy seeing the 16th Street Mall downtown, and the LoDo location of The Tattered Cover, one of the best independent bookstores in the country. And, if you're a beer person, I'm told the brewery tour at Coors in Golden is very good...

CJ-in-Weld | September 15, 2006 12:53 PM

Oh, dear, you are in fact in the blandest part of Denver. (I did temp work for TCI when they were headquartered down there - I actually went into the wrong building one time because it looked just like the other one. Whoops.)

Next time insist they put you in the Brown Palace Hotel, and you can do the book signing at the downtown Tattered Cover or someplace with a little local charm....

CJ-in-Weld | September 15, 2006 12:54 PM

Although, come to think of it, it is a whole heck of a lot easier to drive to the Tech Center than to downtown.

Anne C. | September 15, 2006 01:20 PM

I saw that sunrise and thought of you, John! Nice to know you caught it.

I agree with the blandness of the Tech Center. I pride myself on near psychic navigational abilities, but I almost always get lost down there.
It won't surprise you then to hear I don't think it's easier to drive to the Tech Center than downtown. I work in Capitol Hill and live in NW Denver (not Arvada or Westminster, but about as far NW as you can get and still be in the boundaries of Denver) and it typically takes me 20 minutes to get to work (less on weekends). Parking's a b**** in downtown, but even for that I have my tricks.

When you're staying in the Brown Palace, signing books at the LoDo Tattered Cover, we'll take you out to the Buenos Aires Pizzaria and prove to you that there is a world beyond chain restaurants and the DTC.

Hilary | September 15, 2006 01:29 PM

John the internet thing pisses me off as well. We just got back from Seattle land of Bill Gates and the internet. We stayed in the down town Sheraton, right next to the convention center, yep $10 a day for internet. Roll it into the price of the room, maybe just maybe 10% of your guests don’t use laptops. The nickel and diming is nuts and a tad annoying.

Steve Brady | September 15, 2006 01:32 PM

Denver looks like the result of some settlers heading West, getting a good look at the Rockies and saying "Fuck that," and just plunking down where they were.

Mark | September 15, 2006 01:41 PM

Many of us (including John) will likely see much more of Denver in August 2008 when Worldcon is held there. Denvention Three will be headquartered at the Adam's Mark, not in the Tech Center "neigborhood".

Aaron Hughes | September 15, 2006 01:51 PM

Anne, Buenos Aires is very good, but the mountain pies at BeauJo's are more distinctive for visitors.

Anne C. | September 15, 2006 01:56 PM

Thank you, Mark, for making my day. I'm putting it on my calendar right now (as it is not likely that I will make it to Tokyo). Happy Dance!

Aaron, I have never been to BeauJo's. Sounds like a good place. Thanks for the recommendation. We obviously need to do some research for 2008.

Connie B. | September 15, 2006 02:02 PM

Ways to escape the Tech Center

1) Go the hotel desk
2) Arrange a rental car or ask for a map for "The Link", a DTC-only bus system
that runs every 5-10 minutes all day long.. Schedules can also be found near the bottom of the page at
http://www.southeastconnections.com/how_link_info.cfm.
3) Take pictures of dinner and post for our enjoyment

baconator | September 15, 2006 04:08 PM

go get a meal at dal frisco's and make someone else pay for it. top-fucking-drawer mang!

Steve | September 15, 2006 04:21 PM

Many of us (including John) will likely see much more of Denver in August 2008 when Worldcon is held there. Denvention Three will be headquartered at the Adam's Mark, not in the Tech Center "neigborhood".

I used to live in Philly and used to go to Philcon now and then. At that time the con was held at the Adam's Mark in Bala Cynwyd (well, OK, it's not actually in Bala Cynwyd, but it's close enough). I assumed that the red thing on the side of the hotel was the famed Mark of Adam but it always looked, to my friends and I, like what would be left on the sidewalk after a despondent Gumby leapt from the hotel's roof. So, of course, we began referring to the hotel as the Gumby Squish.

Dan | September 15, 2006 06:55 PM

Now I want to see a picture of bacon taped to Denver.

Janiece | September 15, 2006 07:32 PM

The Adam's Mark in Denver (aka Gumby Squish West) is quite nice, and definitely beats the DTC for character and charm. I am SO marking my calendar for Denvention Three! Yippee!

On the Denver-Bacon thing, my husband suggested Bacon Diadems for the Hugo losers next year...thoughts?

Malcolm | September 15, 2006 08:09 PM

Everybody's being very sympathetic to John's problems here, so I'm going to take a contrary stance (I was going to anyway, but now I have a platform to leap from)...

Those buildings are not blocking your sunrise, they are framing your sunrise. It adds a sense of scale and majesty to the picture. Also called art. It's a nice photo.

Ted Lemon | September 16, 2006 02:50 AM

The more you pay for the hotel, the more you pay for the services that come with the hotel. It's really pretty pathetic. I'm in a Holiday Inn Express in Santa Fe tonight. Free Internet. When I stay at the Sheraton? Internet is $14/day. Why? Simple. When I stay at the Holiday Inn Express, it's because I'm paying for it. When I stay at the Sheraton, it's because my company is paying for it. They figure that I'm more willing to spend my company's money than mine - that is, they are banking on their customers being corrupt, for some value of corrupt.

When I stay in hotels on the company dime and I need internet, I get it, because my company will pay for it. Turns out that in the relatively few cases where I've stayed in hotels like this on my own dime, I've gotten it too, because it's crack, and you've got to have your next hit. But I admire your rejection of this scam. Next step: don't eat at the hotel restaurants.

Remember back when going to a fancy hotel meant you'd get *good* service? No, probably not - I don't either. It does happen sometimes...

Wickedpinto | September 19, 2006 03:52 AM

OMW makes you a semi-militaristic author. If you don't mind being around a lot of young conservative men, I think you would have a great reception at 29 palms, and you would see some of the most beautiful skies that god ever created.

I think it's a bit of a gag on gods part, I'm an atheist, but if there is a god, and I know that If I were god, I would SO! focus beauty in places that people don't wanna be. Thats what it was like in my 2 years at two nine.

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