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|• The sex talk
• Debunking the myth of Freshman 15
• Peace is in
Your guide to Boulder-speak
by Boulder Weekly staff
Alternative — In Boulder, you’ll find alternative health care — acupuncture, Reiki, shamanic healing. You’ll be encouraged to use alternative transportation — buses, light rail, bicycles. You’ll hear talk about alternative energy — wind, solar, biodiesel. You’ll experiment with alternative lifestyles — same-sex partnerships, co-housing, living out of a Dumpster. In Boulder, much thought is given to seeking alternatives to just about every aspect of life with a goal of making the world a better place. And if “alternative” is so common in Boulder as to be mainstream — well, life is full of little ironies, isn’t it? But here’s another alternative, one we hope you’ll take to heart: alternative media. In Boulder County, that’s Boulder Weekly. A fiercely independent paper with no corporate ties, Boulder Weekly’s award-winning staff ask the tough questions other newspapers don’t ask, bringing you coverage you won’t get anyplace else. It’s good to have alternatives.
Adverse possession — If you trespass on your neighbor’s property, you might get arrested. But if you really put your heart into it, trespass for decades and use their property as if it were your own, you can go to a judge and ask the judge to give your neighbor’s land to you. It’s called “adverse possession,” and it’s the latest craze in Boulder. Does that mean you can borrow your neighbor’s laptop and his BMW and keep them for a really long time and ask the judge to tell your neighbor that they belong to you now? We’re not sure. Due to public outrage, the law is being changed. We suggest you check with an attorney before you start borrowing and using other people’s shit.
BIBA — Boulder Independent Business Alliance is a grassroots collaborative organization of locally owned, independent businesses in Boulder County. Together, BIBA members promote locally owned businesses in an effort to preserve Boulder’s unique character and ongoing economic viability. By choosing to support independent businesses, you keep your money within the city and help to prevent the Wal-Mart-ification of our town.
Bruce Benson — It’s strange to think that the University of Colorado’s new president doesn’t have an advanced college degree himself. Most college presidents have a doctorate, but not Benson. A millionaire who amassed his wealth as an oil and gas executive, he has a mere bachelor’s degree. Through some fluke — probably because it was planned this way — Benson was named the sole finalist to replace Hank Brown, a former Republican senator and CU’s previous president. Despite objections from faculty, student protests and public outcry, Benson was named CU’s 22nd president along a party-line vote with six Republicans saying, “Yes, an oil tycoon has what it takes to run the state’s flagship university,” and three Democrats saying, “WTF?” Those who supported his hire say he’ll make a great fund-raiser — thus proving that the university’s administration has been taken over by cynics who view CU as a corporation.
Coexist — Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. In Boulder, we wear them on our bumpers. This tendency is fueled by the unique Boulder belief that issues from global warming to the abortion debate to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can be resolved if only someone would come up with the exact right slogan. The perennially popular “Coexist” bumper sticker uses symbols that have prompted people to kill each other for centuries to ask the question, “Hey, can’t we all just get along?” Try slapping one on your bumper or your door and see if world peace suddenly breaks out in your dorm.
Contraception — Unless voters pass Amendment 48 in November, there are lots of places in Boulder to get reliable contraception and safe-sex counseling. There’s no reason to wreck your semester — or the rest of your life — with an unplanned pregnancy or an STI. If voters pass Amendment 48, however, “life” will be protected from the moment spermy meets egg, which means you can forget using any form of hormonal birth control, even the morning-after pill. Which gives us the perfect opportunity to say register and VOTE!
Crocs — Don’t get us started.
Dogs — Dogs are people, too — at least in Boulder. If you’re observant, you’ll see middle-aged women carrying fluffy high-priced pooches in baby carriers and taking them into restaurants, oblivious to the fact that feeding one’s toy poodle sushi off one’s own plate is really gross. You’ll also see people holding conversations with their dogs: “As soon as I finish my yoga, we’re going to go hiking together, but this time I don’t want to see you chasing deer. That’s really rude, and I would think that as a 5-year-old lab, you ought to know better. Labs are supposed to be so intelligent!” Boulder has groups that advocate for dogs’ rights. Locals have even been known to import stray dogs from other countries to save them. And this past year, Boulder made national dog news when animal welfare officials threatened to ticket a woman for dyeing her poodle pink — as if the poodle cared. And cats thought they had it good in Ancient Egypt…
Eateries — Boulder has more restaurants per capita than any city in the world. It’s true. Or at least it feels true. Ranging in price from extremely affordable to “if-you-have-to-ask-how-much-that-bottle-of-wine-costs-you-shouldn’t-be-here” expensive, there’s something for every palate in Boulder. The good news is that you have lots of options when it comes to escaping that gustatory nightmare known as “dorm food.” The bad news is that you will almost certainly wait for a table. Is there no one in this town who stays home to cook dinner? We didn’t think so.
420 — That’s “four-twenty.” It’s kind of an unofficial holiday here in Boulder. Although the origins of this celebration are a bit murky, including where it got its name, the enthusiasm locals feel for this event is palpable. On April 20 at 4:20, people from across the nation gather to protest the laws that keep marijuana illegal by smoking dope en masse. In Boulder, this typically takes place at CU’s Farrand Field. Police have tried to shut the event down by closing Farrand Field (everyone ignored them), ticketing participants with trespassing (no one cared), turning on sprinklers (people stepped on the sprinkler heads to block the spray) and posting participants’ photos on the Internet and asking CU students to narc on their friends (not cool). Has this had any impact on 420? Perhaps. It seems to have boosted the event’s popularity. In 2008, more than 10,000 peaceful potheads assembled on Norlin Quad to toke, and there are now two Facebook groups dedicated to celebrating 420 in Boulder.
Farmers’ Market — If you think vegetables come in cans, it’s time to visit Boulder’s Farmers’ Market. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April to November, local farmers bring their fresh fruits and vegetables — many of them organically grown — to the Boulder Farmers’ Market at Central Park. Stop by and stock up on scrumptious treats like Colorado-grown peaches, freshly baked organic breads, organic cheeses and honey. Not only is it more healthful for you to eat locally grown and prepared food, it’s better for the environment. It takes much less fuel to transport green beans from a family farm in Longmont than to fly them in from some giant agro-business in Argentina. Boulder’s Farmers’ Market has become an institution, in part because so many people want to support local farmers and are dedicated to the idea of reducing the amount of petroleum and pesticides it takes to put food on the table. So go stuff your face. You’ll be doing the Earth a favor.
Flatirons — Most of the time, people referring to “the Flatirons” are talking about the five enormous slabs of red rock numbered one through five moving right to left across Green Mountain. The Third Flatiron, known for the deadly rappel off the back, sports the remnants of decades-old graffiti, the result of a clever CU student who decided to paint a 100-foot-high “CU” on the rock. Over the years, the paint was refreshed, though it has been tampered with, turning into an “OU” one night before a big game against Oklahoma. Yes, the city has tried to remove it, and while it’s much harder to spot than it was in the ’60s and ’70s, when it was blatant, bright and white, the city’s efforts have resulted in a semi-permanent rock tattoo.
The Third is also known for the wacky ways in which people have climbed it — nude, on roller skates, feet only. No kidding.
GLBTQ — Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer and Questioning. Though sometimes strung together in a different order, this is how you’ll most often see the acronym in Boulder. Although the shameful passage of Amendment 2 by voters in 1992 earned Colorado the nickname “The Hate State,” Boulder has always been a bastion of freedom for those who don’t insert Tab A in to Slot B. The city was long ago only one of a handful of cities in Colorado that had an anti-discrimination law to protect GLBTQ people. It was also one of the first to have a domestic-partner registry for GLBTQ couples. But things have gotten better in this state of cow towns. Last year, Gov. Ritter signed a law that does the exact opposite of Amendment 2, prohibiting anyone from discriminating against gays or lesbians in the workplace.
Green — Kermit the Frog probably put it best when he said, “It isn’t easy being green.” From the bed you sleep on at night to the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the way you get around town, every aspect of your life has an impact on the planet. Paper or plastic? Take the bus or drive? Vegetarian or free-range chicken? And don’t even think about not recycling. Fortunately, CU students have a wealth of resources at their fingertips if they want to green up their act. On campus, there’s the CU Environmental Center, which spearheads environmental efforts at the university. Go to their website at ecenter.colorado.edu to learn about the CU Buffs Live Green campaign. Off campus, there’s Eco-Cycle, one of the largest nonprofit recyclers in the country. Go to www.ecocycle.org to learn about their special recycling facilities and the efforts Eco-Cycle is making to turn Boulder into a zero-waste community. Let’s face it. These days, if you’re not green, you suck.
Housing — We once heard of a property owner who was making students bid for the chance to rent an unheated garage — no joke! Yes, housing is outrageously expensive in Boulder. For the price, you’d expect to find your zip code to be 90210. Well, thank God it isn’t. But why is Boulder so pricey? It’s called supply and demand. Lots of people want to live here, and the city’s anti-growth policies, which help protect the area’s natural beauty and environmental integrity, have resulted in a lack of housing for those who earn less than six figures. To make things even more difficult, the city passed an ordinance forbidding more than three unrelated people from living together in a single home, an effort to prevent student “party houses.” Although the city would be able to improve the situation by creating more high-density housing, adding stories to existing buildings and packing more people into the city limits, most Boulder residents want to keep the city just the way it is. Which is why we pay Beverly Hills rates to live on University Hill.
IQ — Think you’re smarter than everyone else? If you live in Boulder, you might be. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Boulder has more advanced degrees than any other city in the United States. That makes us the smartest city in the country, maybe even the world. Want proof? Well, it’s been a long time since Boulder residents elected a Republican into any public office. We’re not talking blue; we’re talking azure. Got it? In addition, our city is home to, not only the University of Colorado, with its advanced science programs, but also to a host of federal labs, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). In Boulder, it isn’t hard to meet a Nobel Laureate or a real-life rocket scientist. Heck, the guy who served you lunch probably has a couple of doctorates. Then again, smart is as smart does, right? If we’re so frickin’ smart, why do so many of us wear Crocs?
Jaywalking — Why the hell does any pedestrian in the city of Boulder need to jaywalk with all of the bloody crosswalks we have in this town? Look at Broadway. Every 10 feet there’s a crosswalk. And still pedestrians dart into traffic, looking for that shorter shortcut. Well, you may have the right of way, but that SUV barreling down has got the laws of physics on its side. (See also “Militant Fricking Pedestrians.”)
Karma — Whether or not you want it, you have it. And in Boulder you have a variety of ways to improve it, cleanse it and research it. You might want to get your chakras realigned and have your aura scrubbed, just to make sure your energy flow is good. Then you’ll want to do some past-life karmic work to heal unresolved issues, like your lingering fear of snakes from your days as Cleopatra’s handmaiden or your love of whips left over from your incarnation as the awful medieval Inquisitor we all hated so much. After that, you can gain some extra-credit karmic points by meditating. What if the stuff you just read makes no sense? Then, obviously, you’re from Kansas and need to expand your consciousness. Fortunately for you, your karma has sent you to the right place. Boulder is a New Age mecca where you can explore a seemingly inexhaustible number of ways to heal your mind, body and spirit. (See “Alternative” above.)
Lycra — See that cyclist standing in line for his daily yerba mate? See his twig and manberries? Those unwanted anatomic details were brought to you by Lycra. Yes, we’re eight years into the new millennium, and Boulder athletes still wear that stuff. Sure, it might be comfortable when you’re working out, but it might not be so comfortable for those of us who didn’t want to know your circumcision status. If you’re gonna wear it, try putting on some underwear first. Just a suggestion.
Marijuana — We include this every year, because, well, Boulder and marijuana go together like Mexican food and margaritas. Boulder is No. 2 nationwide when it comes to marijuana use. While some are scandalized by this, we know it’s the byproduct of having a population that thinks for itself. While much of the rest of the nation buys into the propaganda behind the War on Some Drugs, we know that both alcohol and cigarettes do much more harm to human health and to our society than a bit of ganja. (Why do you think it’s called kind bud?) Boulder police, reflecting the values of their community, don’t make busting people for marijuana possession a big priority, though you can expect a ticket if you wave it in their faces (with some pretty awful consequences to follow at CU). Hey, in Boulder even City Council members have been known to toke. But be careful. Weed is still illegal, and some folks have no frigging sense of humor.
Mountain Parks — Back in 1898, Boulder residents were worried about protecting their mountain backdrop. They put together some money and bought the Batchelder Ranch, located where Chautauqua Park is located today. Then in 1907, the city received a federal land grant of 1,200 acres on Flagstaff Mountain. But what can you do with half a mountain? So Boulder residents agreed to purchase another 1,200 acres.
By 1959, it was clear that Boulder was going to continue to grow, so the city passed a Charter Amendment creating the “Blue Line,” a demarcation beyond which the city would not provide water. The plan was to prevent development on the mountains.
Then in 1964, a developer announced plans to build a luxury hotel on what we know today as Enchanted Mesa. The resulting uproar from citizens prompted the City Council to condemn the land and force its sale. The city bought the land and added it to Boulder Mountain Parks.
In 1967, the city of Boulder made U.S. history by becoming the first American city to tax itself specifically for open space. The tax went to preserve and protect the city’s mountain parks lands.
And that’s only one reason why Boulder is cooler than almost anyplace else you could hope to live.
For the 411 about City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain, go to www.ci.boulder.co.us/ and follow the links. (See also “Housing.”)
MTB — That’s “mountain biking,” you newb. In Boulder, mountain biking is to summer what skiing is to winter. It seems that a certain number of Boulder residents in order to be happy must always be hurtling downhill at high speeds. It could be adrenaline addiction. It could be a desire to test the laws of gravity. Or it could be that nothing beats fresh mountain air blowing past your face at 50 mph. To learn more about local trails and events, go to Boulder Mountainbike Alliance at bma-mtb.org/.
Niwot’s Curse — When white men first came to Boulder in 1858, they were looking for gold. What they found instead were Southern Arapaho warriors under Chief Niwot who wanted them to leave. When they refused, Chief Niwot supposedly uttered this curse: “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of its beauty.” It’s probably bull, but it does help to explain why so many people move here from elsewhere — and then stay. (See also “Housing.”)
Noodle dancing — A) Proof that white people can’t dance; B) A unique form of self-expression brought on by too much weed; C) A reason not to go to live concerts; or D) All of the above. Answer: D.
Organic — If there’s one thing Boulder residents agree on it’s that adding pesticides, herbicides, genetically altered molecules and hormones to your food is bad for you and for the environment. But in Boulder, the term “organic” goes far beyond describing healthful, natural foods. There are organic hair products, organic skin products, and organic towels, T-shirts and bed sheets. There are even organic tampons. Quit laughing. We’re not joking. Would you want to put toxins in there?
Ostrich meat — It’s the other, other, other white meat. (See also “Quinoa” and “Organic.”)
People’s Republic — A nickname given to Boulder by outsiders who want to make fun of the city’s left-leaning tendencies and its penchant for forming its own foreign policy. Not to rain on those folks’ redneck parade, but Boulder residents are proud of their city for those very reasons. We’re the People’s Republic of Boulder, and we’re happy about it.
Quinoa — If you’ve never heard of it before today, consider this your initiation. Quinoa — pronounced keen-WAH — is a high-protein grain from South America. Tiny and yellow, it tastes really good and looks cool when cooked. It’s all the rage in Boulder, where you can find it in soups, salads and even veggie burgers and where some people seem to evangelize concerning its nutritive value. It’s one of dozens of kinds of unusual and exotic foods that have gone mainstream in Boulder. Hey, if they grow it in marshes or in caves in some distant country, Boulderites want to eat it. (See also “Ostrich meat” and “Organic.”)
Radio 1190 — If you’re new to CU, you can celebrate the fact that your school offers the best independent music programming around. Back in 1998, Jacor donated a spot on the dial to the University of Colorado. That radio station became Radio 1190. Housed in the basement of the University Memorial Center, award-winning Radio 1190 is the antidote to corporate radio. Listen to “Testosterone De-Tox,” which features only female musicians, or check out “A-side/B-side,” which showcases theme-oriented music. The staff at Radio 1190 work hard, and Boulder is hella better for it.
Ramsey case — Quit reading frigging tabloids, OK? There’s a war going on.
Sustainable — No, this isn’t a lead up to a Viagra advertisement. It’s one of Boulder’s favorite buzzwords. To understand what it means, think of millions of people driving their cars, spewing C02 into the air, while the polar ice caps melt and the oil rigs draw ever nearer to that last drop of oil. Think of billions eating that hamburger that used to be a cow that grazed in a place that used to be Amazon rainforest but is now clear-cut pasture. Think of water laced with chemicals and air filled with poisons that mingle in our bodies with artificial dyes and fats and preservatives. If we keep living that way, we’re all doomed. That’s right — doomed like the freaking dinosaurs. Sustainability is the exact opposite of that — a lifestyle that can be lived by millions of people without harming the environment or our future as a species. So unless you like the idea of joining your good buddy T-Rex, you might want to think about how you live and make some big changes. (See also “Green.”)
Tibet — The Chinese invaded and took it over, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile and tormenting the Buddhist monasteries. Most Boulderites find this grotesquely unjust and want China to go home. Leave Tibet to the Tibetans, we say. Then the Dalai Lama can return home, and Richard Gere can spend all the time he wants in Lhasa. (See also “Zen.”)
Trustafarian — Trustfunder meets Rastafarian. These folks, most of them sporting blond dreadlocks, live lives free of materialism using the enormous sums of money their parents earned off the backs of sweatshop workers in India or Vietnam. Though pretending to be poor while living off Mommy and Daddy’s millions might seem like nothing more than teenage rebellion, it’s important to remember that living the simple life can be very expensive. After all, it’s been a long time since a nickel bag put you out only $5. And beads and Birkenstocks don’t come cheap.
Underage drinking — Uncle Sam won’t let you touch a beer if you’re under 21. But he’s got no problem putting an M16 in your hands and sending you to a foreign country to shoot people or get your head blown off. We think that’s pretty twisted. Colorado used to be one of the few states that gave the feds the finger when it came to drinking laws. Once you turned 18, you were free to swill 3.5 brew. Then Congress threatened to pull our highway dollars away, and, well, the state legislature buckled. It’s stupid. It’s unfair. And it’s time to change our state law. But until it’s changed, be careful. Boulder’s cops take underage drinking seriously, and getting busted could put your education at CU at risk. And, of course, if you drink, do it responsibly. That means no driving, no biking, no drunk dialing the ex.
Veganism — One solution to our decreasing gas supply.
Wildlife — If you look out your window, you’ll notice that Boulder sits right next to some really big things called “mountains.” The mountains are home to things like trees and bugs and even animals. Some of those animals are little and fuzzy, like the increasingly rare Abert’s squirrel. Some are pretty and fun to watch, like mule deer. Others are big and have big teeth like mountain lions and bears. Every so often, you’ll see newspapers announcing the sighting of yet another animal, as if it were earthshaking news or cause for great alarm. In truth, these animals are here around us all the time. (Imagine if mountain lions had a newspaper that announced it on Page 1 every time there was a “human sighting.” Egads!) They eat, sleep and, yes, shit in the very woods where people like to hike and jog. It’s their home. And, yes, they act like animals. When people are stoopid and do things to attract wildlife, often it’s the animals that pay the price. So learn about Boulder’s wildlife before you go into the mountains. It’s not just about keeping you safe from them, but also about keeping them safe from you.
Xtreme sports — It’s an obsession. If you’ve never run more than 100 miles over mountain passes or gone base-jumping or gone helicopter skiing, you’d better get off your ass. In Boulder, jogging was passé in the early 1990s. Here if you want to brag about your athletic prowess, you’d better be ready to talk about more than racquetball. In Boulder, reaching retirement age means having more time to prep for your next Mount Everest expedition. There are 80-year-olds in this town who still climb 14,000-foot peaks and lots of grandmas who compete in triathlons. So put that tennis racquet in your closet, and grab your ice ax and crampons. We take outdoor sports seriously in this town.
Yoga — The only time you’ll see someone from Boulder Weekly balanced on his or her shoulders is when they’ve had too much to drink and have passed out backwards off their bar stool. That’s not exactly an asana, but it does take real effort. Yes, yoga is a way of life in Boulder. How else can you explain the boutiques selling designer yoga apparel or the millions (OK, that’s a slight exaggeration) of studios that offer yoga instruction throughout the city. From hot Bikram yoga to kinds of yoga that we here at Boulder Weekly can neither spell nor pronounce, Boulder has everything for those who want to twist, stretch and balance their way to healthier bodies and minds.
Zen — Boulder is the Buddhist capital of Colorado. From Naropa University and it’s Buddhist-inspired approach to higher education to the Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center to The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, Boulder offers an abundance of opportunities for people to learn about Buddhism and put what they learn into daily practice, whether their interest lies solely in meditation or whether they want to put on saffron robes and start living the dharma. (See also “Alternative.”)
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