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This week's pick for best band is the cool Sun House Healers

I hated high school. No. Really. I hated it. I was fat, short, my hair was permed, it smelled like chlorine and I had a crush on a guy who only liked tall, skinny girls with beautiful hair.

I was a swimmer, so my neck was the size of a tree trunk, and one boy said I had a sweet spirit. He obviously didn't know me too well.

Last week, as I was skimming through a small, local independent weekly paper, I noticed its ballot for the publication's annual "best-of" contest. This sent me reeling into the past. A past that I have been working oh, so hard to forget.

This is why: yearbooks.

Yup, the contest reminded me of that little survey everyone took in the spring, and the survey's winners would be in the yearbook. It rated all the cool things in Salt Lake — cool movie theaters, cool shops where all the skinny tall girls with beautiful hair bought clothes to impress the boy I liked, cool places to get cool music, blah, blah, blah.

And then, my high school survey rated all the cool people — who is most likely to succeed, who is most likely to be rich, who is most likely to be famous, who is most likely going to stay tall and skinny and who is most likely to be popular all his/her life. Only the popular people cared about this dumb survey.

My knee-jerk reaction in high school was to put myself down on all the blank spaces, but then, like the lemming I was, I filled in the spaces obediently because, deep down inside, I wanted to be just like everyone else.

So, as I read this weekly publication's "best-of" blah, blah, blah thing, I initially wanted to put my name down in every single blank space. But I held back. I read further down the list of hottest places in town and thought perhaps I should make my own ballot, but instead of its being a popularity contest, I'd tell you who I think the best bands are and where I think the best places are to hear them. Democracy schmemocracy.

This week, my pick for best/coolest band is the Sun House Healers.

My husband and I and our friends Kate and Adam listened to them while we were in the parking lot of the Hogwallow Pub. We could hear them quite well.

The reason we were in the parking lot: The Hogwallow Pub doesn't serve hamburgers. At least, they weren't on the menu. Initially, we had found a table in the back of the pub by the fireplace, but because we didn't want pizza or hot dogs, we decided to leave and then come back. We didn't have money for the cover fee but didn't realize that this would be a problem. We had originally come before 9 p.m., when it was free.

So, we went to the Porcupine Grille to eat dinner and, at around 9:30, we returned to the cozy pub, only to realize we couldn't enter.

But the parking lot proved to be a great venue. We managed to get in a good amount of entertainment without looking too weird.

We would sit in the car with the windows rolled down for a bit, then we would stand around casually looking as if we were trying to decide whether or not to enter the place, then we would try to look as if we had been in and were just talking by our car.

If there had been a waiting line and we had all been carrying Rocky's ingenious orange flags, we would have been less conspicuous.

The Hogwallow Pub is actually a great place to go after a hard day. It's not seedy, and if we had been in the mood for pizza or hot dogs, we would have stayed and eaten and listened, because we liked our table by the fireplace.

Now that we know what to expect, I'm sure that my husband and I and Kate and Adam will probably go there again.


E-MAIL: lu@desnews.com