Best place to make that final phone call before you hit the trails (when they’re open)

Corner of Hyde Park Road and Gonzales Road

Take a spin up Hyde Park Road toward Ten Thousand Waves or the ski area and you'll often see a car or two pulled over onto the gravel just after Gonzales Road. There they sit. Waiting for drugs. Or maybe not.

Lest the wild-eyed tales of a mountain man living in the piñon and dealing mad-ass weed at that corner gain further traction (SFPD is working its way up there on a Plaza-patrolling Segway as we speak and may arrive by press time, depending on how long it takes to charge one of those freak-mobiles), it's actually because Cell Phone Corner is the last reliable place to make a mobile phone call before you disappear into the wild, semi-wild, or your sweet house from upon the balcony of which you may look down on the town and say, "Self, we've done well for ourselves. How should we give back?"

We live in a place pockmarked by holes in cell coverage that are alternately understandable and maddeningly inexplicable. The latter can drive us to apoplexy, but this is the former. It's one spot in your life that you know what to expect and can plan for it. That's oddly calming. So, take a minute to pull off the road next time you're rolling by, stop the engine, roll down the windows and call your mother or your kids … or your dealer, because there's not one hiding in the trees and you may get harassed by Officer Segway if he arrives to find you looking all suspicious and expectant and pre-high. (Matt Grubs)

Best random weed deals texted to your phone

New MexiCann
1592 San Mateo Lane, 982-2621

Here at SFR, most of us like cannabis, and have collectively hit up every dispensary in town. Of course, there is a range of quality and products to choose from, and we have a whole actual "best of" category for dispensaries. So, readers, this isn't that. This is a celebration of a digital relationship that has resulted in cheaper weed.

New MexiCann Natural Medicine sends certain customers texts announcing special deals like $10 off. You just have to show them the text. If you combine this with some of the other daily deals they have, you can end up with some pricey goods at a great discount. And let's be honest: Weed, whether it's purchased illegally or semi-legally, is way too fucking expensive. Dispensaries say their prices are competitive with the black market, but it's not much better. So any time we get one of those texts that say "Hey You! Yes You! We Miss You! Come into New MexiCann and get $10 Store Credit this week only!," it's a welcome overture.

Bonus: New MexiCann takes used cannabis packaging back. We saw one guy walk in with an entire trash bag full of the plastic waste. And yeah, maybe most of it will end up in a landfill, but it's the thought that counts, right? (Aaron Cantú)

Best way to spend $15,000 in public campaign finance funds

On your business … or toner. So much toner.

Santa Fe is one of many cities around the country that is trying to get the right system for public financing of campaigns for city office. It's an ongoing experiment. As it stands now, candidates have to raise seed money and essentially prove their viability before getting either $60,000 to run for mayor or $15,000 to run for City Council.

Local businessman Eric J Holmes did that. He showed up for candidate forums and interviewed more than once with SFR. He also spent $11,334.59 on campaign material—at his own businesses. Holmes co-owns several printing and imaging shops and, we presume, gave himself a stellar deal on campaign signs. There's no provision in city code preventing that, so why give money to the competition, right?

Holmes kicked back about $1,600 of unused campaign money at the end of his unsuccessful run for the District 4 seat on the council. He came in third in a field of three.

Then there's perennial candidate Marie Campos, who spent more than $4,000 at Amazon on printer toner and paper and other campaign-related supplies. She provided itemized receipts to the city clerk and appeared to have a heck of a printing operation going. On Election Day, volunteers stood outside a downtown polling place with hand-painted signs.

Democracy is neither perfect nor pretty. (MG)

Best local puppet artists—yeah, puppet artists

If you scoffed at the idea of a special nod to puppet artistry, you've clearly never seen the work churned out by local husband-wife team Damon and Sabrina Griffith, aka Flying Wall Studios. In fact, a recent exhibit at the NO LAND gallery space off the Plaza exhibited the painstaking levels of creativity and craft that goes into building puppets; the Griffiths have done it all, from album covers and performances to helping craft the characters for The Love that Would Not Die, a Santa Fe-born puppet musical created by their fellow local puppet aficionado Devin Ludlow. Now, we're not saying that some of the puppets aren't plenty creepy, nor do we expect everyone to get it—but from a sheer artistic stance, the Griffiths' works are at turns gorgeous and profound. (Alex De Vore)

Best ghost

The nurse at the barracks at CSF (can a ghost die?)

One of the first things new College of Santa Fe students were always told during orientation was that the barracks were haunted. The recently demolished WWII-era hospital barracks made up a good chunk of the campus. They housed the cafeteria, chapel, classrooms and art studios—and, supposedly, a headless nurse and the occasional high-and-tight soldier.

In a recent Facebook post's comments (because Facebook groups are the closest things we have to an alumni association), one alum relays the basic story: A soldier "went mad one night and shut off the power. A nurse that was working there was checking to make sure everyone was all right when he attacked her with a scalpel. When the next nurse did a walk-through, they didn't find him, but they found her head in a toilet or something like that."

Another then commented: "I heard the guy was bouncing her head on the roof of King and if you were on the third or fourth floor at the dead of night, you could hear the bouncing." (King Hall wasn't around during WWII, of course, but King was spooky af so I'm down with this story anyway.) There were also stories about tunnels under also-spooky Alexis Hall, dead priests roaming St. Mike's, and the requisite theater ghost; in 12 hours, the Facebook post had over 100 comments about spirits. When your school doesn't exist any more, Facebook activity is the best gauge of alumni enthusiasm, and this was a significant level.

Now that the barracks are gone, Nurse Medina and her buddies are probably looking for new digs. Whoever occupies whatever gets built in the barracks' old spot, just know about your guaranteed house guests. (Charlotte Jusinski)

Best rants on the DOH’s stupid cannabis regulations

Zeke Shortes
Sacred Garden, 1300 Luisa St., 216-9686

The number of people with medical cannabis cards in New Mexico has surged in recent years, and this has happened in spite of the state's arbitrary rules, surprise announcements and general thinly veiled contempt for the whole thing. Everyone's suffered because of it, but we at SFR have adopted a cynical appreciation for Sacred Garden owner Zeke Shortes' rants every time the cannabis program does something puzzling or downright shitty.

For example, the guy tried to have a cannabis dinner party last October that the health department ruined at the absolute last minute because of some rules violation. However legitimate the complaints from the health department may have been, the way the dispensary was notified—an email at the last minute, after weeks of preparation and promotion—was obviously shitty.

Then, in June, the Health Department sprung an out-of-state CBD and hemp ban. Its advisement came in a letter to dispensaries on June 7, without warning or public hearing. It caused a slight amount of chaos among the dispensaries, but officials have remained stoic and unengaging with some who've tried asking for more of an explanation. "Total bullshit," Shortes concluded. (AC)

Best champion of local teens who worked her ass off for a million years and is now taking a much-deserved rest from the madness

Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt

At 11 years old, I was new to Santa Fe and terrified of leaving my home. But a fortuitous afternoon spent in a Warehouse 21 silkscreen workshop would change the course of my life forever. Throw a rock in Santa Fe and you're bound to hit at least one W21 alumnus, throw another and you'll hit a person, place or thing that owes its very existence to the nonprofit teen arts center. This is not hyperbole—Warehouse 21 saved and saves lives.

But it's not like these things happen without effort—oh no—and it's not like we can forget former W21 executive director Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt, even if she did finally retire after more than 20 years keeping the place afloat. Gallegos y Reinhardt has impacted so many lives and been the catalyst for so many creative endeavors, you'd need a novel to touch on all of them, but it's important to remember that she always did so with a smile on her face and love in her heart. Thank you, Ana, sincerely—there are quite literally hundreds upon hundreds of people out there whose lives you made better, and we will always love you for it. (ADV)

Best public garden you had no idea existed

Quaker Friends Meeting compound on Canyon Road

On the south side of Canyon Road, between El Zaguán and The Compound, there is a carriage gate with the number 630 above it. The gate might be closed, but give it a try—if it's daytime, chances are it's unlocked. Head inside and you're cocooned in the adobe walls and flowering gardens of the historic Olive Rush estate, now the Quaker Friends Meeting compound.

The gorgeous adobe buildings, mature plants and shade trees are charming enough, but you'll also find plenty of comfortable lawn furniture, a swing set and sometimes a little tent—and it's all open for you to read a book, meditate, reflect, have a sibilant hang-out friend date or do anything else that's low-key. It's not for frisbee or loud music, and occasionally 12-step or faith-based groups use the space for meetings; but, as long as you're considerate, this is the perfect spot to sprawl in the sun or the shade, listen to your headphones or get some writing done. Maybe you'll meet a fellow pensive friend, or maybe you'll stay gloriously alone. There are few prettier settings in which to do either. (CJ)

Best local beard that probably eats other beards for breakfast

Jared Weiss

We were already into painter Jared Weiss and his work before he did the cover art for our 2018 Santa Fe Manual, but the longer we hung out at his studio space discussing his process, the more fixated we became on his beard. A full and fluffy hang-down number, it's clearly the result of years of hard work, a glorious testament to facial hair ownership and, we assume, a living, breathing entity to which Weiss feels a deeper love than most might muster for anything. Sorry, Weiss' family—ya burnt. We salute you, Jared Weiss' beard. May all other beards cower 'neath your shadow and burn with envy over thy length and volume. (ADV)

Best Facebook group for getting people riled up about shadow governments and pizzagate and stuff

Santa Fe Bulletin Board

We'll admit right away that we had to leave the Santa Fe Bulletin Board Facebook group, so we really don't know what they've been up to lately, but our departure was a long time coming. A broad (obtuse?) potpourri of alarmist ideas shouted full-volume into an online echo chamber with admins who'd seemingly rather its members be xenophobic and racist than fucking swear once in awhile, it's the kind of group that freaks out over inoffensive art works and publicly harasses members with different opinions. Honestly, it might as well be called Santa Fe Riler-Uppers or the like and a glorious car wreck-esque example of the downsides of social media playing out in real time—not to mention a repository for flood videos this week.

We certainly look forward to whatever indignant shock is spread throughout the page once its members and admins read this—but thankfully we'll never actually see those posts. Bye, Felicia. (ADV)

Best record store because there are tones that vinyl makes that you can, like, feel even if you can’t, like, hear them, bro

Lost Padre Records
304 Catron St., 310-6389

There have been record stores in Santa Fe before. There have actually been record stores here since always. But there has never been a tried-and-true, new 'n' used monument to all things vinyl quite like what we now have with Lost Padre Records. A killer collection from a true vinyl buff curated to fit the tastes of the townsfolk regardless of taste—and remaining affordable—is no small feat, nor are proprietor George Casey's future plans for a larger inventory, in-store concerts from traveling acts and who even knows what else yet. Vinyl vets and turntable newbies take note—the shop you've always wanted has arrived. (ADV)

Best mind-reading consignment store owner

Catana Lopez
Bohemiac, 3918 Rodeo Road, 570-4000

The second or third time I walked into Bohemiac, the cozy consignment store with eclectic home goods, unique clothes, designer treasures and handmade art, owner Catana Lopez was behind the counter. We barely knew each other (and we still don't). But she looked at me from across the room, squinted her eyes, then suddenly said: "I have something for you."

She disappeared into the next room, and came out with a black Theory coat that probably retailed for about $300. "Try this on." I did, and I couldn't believe it; it was just my style and size. I paid about $75 and promptly wore it out to a bar, where I was complimented on it before I even took my seat.

Lopez opened Bohemiac in January 2016, and her eye for style is something you just can't teach. She explains away her skills by saying, "I just listen"—clothes are a cosmic expression of who you are, she says, and if she can get a sense of who you are, she knows what you should wear. She's a conscientious buyer as well, stocking her racks only with stuff that shoppers actually want.

So if you have "nothing" to wear and your closet depresses you, pop on down to the Southside and just stand in front of Lopez. She'll probably find you something good in a minute or two. (CJ)

Best nice guy musician whether you’re into his music or not

Jono Manson
The Kitchen Sink Recording Studio, 528 Jose St., 699-4323

Jono Manson is huge in Santa Fe and in Italy, so when he valiantly offered to help me move an absurdly heavy speaker cabinet during a band practice late last year, I was kind of shocked. Oh, it's not a reflection on Manson as a guy—more an experience-born assumption based on the world of rock stars at large and the kind of people who would probably take a look at the equipment and feign a back injury then leave. Not Manson. Instead, he's too busy running one of the most popular studios in town, The Kitchen Sink, performing across the country and in Europe and ready with a smile and a handshake along with a sincere desire to know how the hell you're doing. (ADV)