Why I’m Choosing Denver over San Francisco

Earlier this morning, I tweeted out something I had said to a friend last night at the Startup Denver Female Entrepreneurs meetup.

Vowed to @jonrrossi that I am never ever ever getting back together with #SF . #Denver has my heart completely!

I was talking about my upcoming trip to San Francisco to attend the LAUNCH Festival Mar. 4-6 and how I wanted to get TAOpivot‘s name out in San Francisco. Jon looked at me as if I had grown a second head: “Now WHY would you want to do that?”

No, I’d never think to move back to San Francisco. I’m visioning a branch of TAOpivot out there eventually, but I wouldn’t move headquarters from Denver at all.

Explaining where I’ve lived before to others as I meet them out here, people oftentimes seem confused as to why I’d choose Denver over San Francisco. And when I try to explain why I moved here, it’s even harder for me to articulate.

P1090378My four years spent in San Francisco were a mixed bucket. Mixed blessings. I moved out there right after college, bright-eyed and hopeful. I soon found the job market there highly competitive and, at every job I applied to, I felt I was an outsider coming in.

I was lucky to have a few friends who lived in the Bay Area to make my move a smoother transition; also have relatives out there, so that didn’t hurt either.

Still, during those four years, I always felt on the outside looking in. I had many wonderful experiences learning about life there; but I also learned that San Francisco wasn’t my place to establish my base. I didn’t feel a sense of community there.

And rent was just so damn expensive.

I fell in love with Denver in late 2008, when I traveled here on a whim to see Dir en grey‘s last concert on their US tour. The concert was advertised as being in Denver, but was actually at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood. I mulled over my decision earlier that week, wondering if I was being crazy for going to a place I’d never been to before and all by myself.

I went ahead and booked the tickets and flew out to Denver. I studied the RTD system and got around town via the buses. I noticed people were different in Denver: at the concert, the fans were actually nice to each other. We moshed a little and I accidentally hit someone during the concert; I apologized and the person said, “Oh, don’t worry about it.”

The previous week, when Dir en grey was in San Francisco, I was clawed in the face by another fan because I was taking “her” guitar pick that Die (one of the members) had thrown out. Also, the fans in SF just seemed more rabid and self-serving.

That was the only aspect I had noticed on that short trip to Denver, the kindness of strangers. But it was enough to move me past the tipping point and make me start looking at graduate programs in Denver. I wanted a ticket out of San Francisco after that; due to circumstances that came up in 2010, I had to stay longer in SF than I wanted to.

Sip n Paint, January 2013.
Sip n Paint, January 2013.

But in August 2011, I finally got to Denver as a resident. And I don’t regret the decision at all; in Denver, I have found the warmth I’d longed for in San Francisco. I have found the sunshine, the mix of urban, suburban, and even rural life in the surrounding areas outside of Denver proper. I have found my community and really feel at home here. I like going to events and running into people I recognize from other areas of my life; I like that small-town feeling I grew up with, without all the vicious cliques and gossip. I like being anonymous when I want to be in certain parts of the city.

Also, Denver’s cost of living is so much more affordable than San Francisco ever will be.

So, for the long story of it all, this is why I’ll always choose Denver over San Francisco. West Coast can have the fog lovers scratching by in close quarters; I’ll take Denver’s sunshine and happy people anytime.

Daily Post Day 51: Music That Cheers Me Up

Copyright Dir en grey

Those who follow me via my blog, Twitter, or Facebook should be familiar with my love for the Japanese rock band, Dir en grey. If not, you will be familiar with them (at least a tiny bit) after this post.

Today’s topic asks what kind of music cheers me up when I’m feeling down. Despite depressing, morbid lyrics (mostly in Japanese), Dir en grey’s music calms me down and sometimes even causes me to drift off to a peaceful sleep.

Something about the rhythms, the melodies. The sadness, torture in lead singer Kyo’s voice…it speaks to me. Even in my darkest times, listening to Dir en grey calms me down and helps me get back to rational thinking.

The power of music is amazing to me.


Daily Post Day 27: Music on a Stranded Island

Today’s topic:

If stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one music album with you, which would it be? What is it about this music that never gets old for you?

Desert island? Deserted, perhaps?

I’d bring along one of Dir en grey’s albums with me. Perhaps their most recent release, UROBOROS. The music always brings new life to my creative process and has a great mix of emotions throughout all the songs (though most emotions are the darker ones).

Somehow, Dir en grey’s music always calms me down, despite the fact that, to outsiders, their music sounds “too angry”.

Equation: Music + Writing = Focus

Since I have been working on essays lately (for graduate school applications), I have found myself only able to focus when I listen to certain albums on my iTunes. In general, these albums are all-around good for writing of any sort (my novels, short stories, and essays):

1) Dir en grey – Withering to death.
2) Dir en grey – UROBOROS
3) Dir en grey – VULGAR
4) Lady GaGa – The Fame
5) Drip – Identity Theft
6) La Roux – La Roux

I’m most able to concentrate and get my work done with Dir en grey albums, though. I can’t quite explain it, but I’m under the impression that there’s some sort of algorithm that they use in their album track lists to make people zone in (or zone out). I’ve found that the three albums listed above have served best in my writing endeavors, though.

For the longest time, I thought I could only focus on writing/doing work with classical music on. Guess I was wrong!

Glass Skin

This is the new song from Dir en grey; again, they never cease to amaze me. “Glass Skin” is another sad, mellow song following the single “DOZING GREEN”; my favorite part of “Glass Skin” is the guitar part in the chorus. It’s so eerily painful yet beautiful to listen to.

Here are the translated lyrics (courtesy of the official translation, and of Dir en grey LJ Community):

My vision begins to blur
The glass sky, the color of the wind
The merry-go-round playing alone
I wave
My somehow faded voice is more important to me than my guilty conscience
Tomorrow I sleep, leaving myself behind
Emptier still than any tears of comedy
Left to be just taken
Left to be just damaged
Here…

In the dark morning, I pretend the window to be a picture frame
I wake my sleeping skin and press my hand against this wet piece of picture
Spring blossoms and the petals fall, giving life to the river
Swaying from side to side, where will you go?
I put my hand on the heavy and closed door
The remains of the parade
The silence laughs along with the fact that I won’t be sleeping again tonight
Emptier still than any tears of comedy
Left to be just taken
Left to be just damaged
Here, let there be love…
The joking-dancing seasons endlessy hurt
Left to be just taken
Left to be just damaged
And to be melted by the dreams I hold out

I bleed as my way fo compensating everything to you
How heavy is blood?
Happiness and sadness lies to close
The hand that will be born tomorrow, will be simply pure and nothing else
I can barely see you now with all these tears

Emptier still than any tears of comedy
Left to be just tken
Left to be just damaged
Here, let there be love…
This is a ferris weel, where I can look down and see you from
The melody that just comes crumbling down is also so sweet and beautiful, it’s frightning
The shadow exposed by the sun is branded into my memory
and it touches my heart than any shallow words combined