Here are some of my impressions of Denver so far, in no particular order (you may recall I’m here for the Democratic National Convention).
The teenagers here suck. Talk about midwest suburban angst. I’ve seen so many piercings, bad haircuts, and outright horrible emo-style outfits. Columbine actually makes some sense to me now. The teenagers that weren’t busy pissing me off with their stupid appearances were busy pissing me off by begging for money. I’ve never seen so many young beggars before (some of whom appeared homeless and baked out of their mind). Seriously, get a goddamn job. Maybe dropping out of high school wasn’t the smartest decision you ever made. One group of hoodlums begged my parents for money, saying “I’ll be honest, I just want a beer” (that might work when begging from college students, but not from Baby Boomers). And then as we passed them for a second time in the night they got all hostile, hurling insults at us. I don’t think they quite get the idea of begging.
The Hyatt Convention Center Hotel is nice. The Colorado Convention Center itself is huge, and it’s just being used as a staging ground for the actual Convention, which will take place at a basketball stadium and then a football stadium. There’s a good pizza place a block away from the hotel.
I ran into James Carville in our hotel two nights ago (this was either my second or third time meeting him, I can’t remember). He’s still as freaky looking as ever.
The Media Party last night at Elitch Gardens (which is actually a Six Flags) was fun. Imagine going to a normal amusement park, except the lines are a lot shorter and everything — food, games, alcohol — is free. The games of chance become frankly unbalanced when one has unlimited free tries at winning them. I saw so many people struggling around with huge stuffed animals. I hope they’re not trying to bring them back on planes anywhere. Also, Flobots performed at Elitch Gardens, which was fun to see, because their single Handlebars has been getting a lot of play time on the local radio stations in Washington D.C. Their bassist was good, but to me the star of the show was their female vocalist/electric violinist who was hot as all hell and good at both of her roles. It’s too bad she doesn’t feature in their breakout single at all.
There are so many police officers in and around the convention center. They’re really taking things seriously. They meander around in groups of four to over a dozen, and travel on foot, in patrol cars, in armored convoys, on bicycles, and I even saw a squad of them hanging on to the outside of a police pick-up truck, garbage-man style. Most of the police officers I’ve seen are equipped with heavy riot load-outs, including fully-shielded helmets, bargain-sized canisters of mace, taser guns, three-foot-batons, and bunches of plastic riot handcuffs. There are parts of the convention center that have more police officers in them than staffers actually going about their convention duties.
So, that’s about it for the first two days. The convention officially kicks off tomorrow, so things will be getting really busy. I’ll bring my camera with me and hopefully I’ll find some interesting people to take pictures of.