I spent a few days last week in Boulder, Colorado visiting my brother. It wasn't a particularly memorable visit, but I had a good time. I had some fun Thursday night at a bar with a trivia contest; we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday but where forced to do the whole windshield-tourist thing due to the weather (yawn); and played three rounds of frisbee golf on Saturday. It a fine trip and my nose has finally re-equilibrated to a normal humidity level and is no longer dried out from the aridity of the greater Denver area.
I did learn a few things about visiting with him that I should share so as to properly warn other family members who may be contemplating a similar visit. I write these not to poke fun or to be mean, but because nobody has ever visited him in the 2.5 years he's lived in Colorado. Consider these comments a report from the great unknown.
1) He will never put on his seatbelt until the car chirps at him. And even then, he'll wait for it to start chiming a second time before he finally gives in. There's no sense in commenting on this, as I believe that is the whole reason he does this -- he wants acknowledgement of his quote-unquote rebellious ways. Don't give in. Just ignore it. But you should definitely wear a seatbelt as his car has no working speedometer. He just sort of drives as fast as he thinks he can get away with.
2) His Ford Focus is essentially without a locking ingnition. There is no place to put a key and no tumblers with which to wrestle with. No, that was all in the way. He drilled them out. He starts his car with a pair of needlenose pliers and has been doing so, I believe, for nearly a year now. Because of this he doesn't carry any keys with him nor believes in locking the doors to his car (I can't blame him for that, nobody is going anywhere with it). But you are advised against leaving valuables in the car.
3) He doesn't believe in showering regularly. He says "It's not what people in Boulder do." Don't worry, you're not the only one rolling your eyes. So, anyway, if you are in close proximity to him for any exteneded period of time you should be prepared for a stink. The odor is dependent on whether or not he chose to go for the au naturale fragrance of body odor or the equally-offensive rank stench of Axe Bodyspray. This stink is given an added complexity by pervasive undertones of marijuana and cigarette smoke of varying subtlety.
4) He's not always listening to you when you talk to him. Have fun with this by throwing in random comments about dogs walking on two legs and the sky being green. Not only is this fun, but it prevents anger and frustration from settling in.
5) Here's another game to play when with him. Walk slowly. Despite his claims of "mellowing out" and being more "hippie-ish" his walk belies these claims. He walks swiftly, angrily, always with his chest arched forward, as if he's ten strides from kicking someone's ass. Even when strolling the outdoor mall, this is how he walks. So walk slowly. Chances are, you won't have to adjust your normal stride to fall behind. Make it a contest for yourself to see how far ahead of you he'll get before stopping to wait for you. I let him get roughly 25 feet ahead on several occasions before he stopped to wait.
6) Don't expect to meet his roommates. He lives with three women, all in their late 20's, but you will not likely see them. I saw one for 3 seconds, a second for maybe 5 seconds, and the third was never there. The two dogs and the house they rent is all very nice though. And there's a great 1.5 mile trail around a lake near the house that is a nice place to walk the dogs. It's a nice place to live.
7) Let him show you his kite. He has a 2.7 meter wide kite that is, admittedly, pretty cool. Watch him wrestle with it on a particularly windy day and you may get to see him hoisted into the air and dropped on his head. It's okay to laugh, he's a tough kid. But, seriously, the kite is pretty cool and he's got a big field to fly it in a block from his house.
8) There are multiple frisbee golf courses in the Boulder area and you should definitely go and play. It's a really fun game (I haven't played in 7 years and miss doing so a great deal) and it's a great way to spend a couple hours and take in the scenery. Especially if you win. Playing billiards is another great way to pass the time while you're visiting.
I think that about sums it up. Boulder seems like a pretty nice place, not a whole lot different than the suburbs outside of Seattle, though. There's a lot of trails and outdoorsy stuff to do there and the population is definitely much fitter than most other places which is nice. I'm not sure what I was expecting in terms of the scenery and all, but I didn't think it was that much different than home, except for the lack of trees. It's definitely a college town and there's certainly no shortage of bars to patronize if you go out, but I'm not sure he like to do anything else so you may be forced to barhop all night.