Good Sports

Well, it’s not like one can attend a sporting event (unless one is a cardboard cutout). Even if a bunch of tiny tots wishes to get together and play a sport, it’s just not happening. In lieu of this, here’s a not entirely unsatisfactory substitute, pinball.

How about the classic American pastime of baseball? My brothers and me played baseball all summer long when we were kids, and completely obliterated the grass in the backyard (which makes mowing quite easy). I did watch baseball until I got rid of cable tv, so I suppose I don’t miss it. (Apparently they held a World Series this year for the many cardboard fans.)

From the vintage look of these machines I would guess that this sport is not currently popular (except among cardboard persons).

The other sport that I usually watch is ice hockey, and I typically go to a couple of games each year.

Hockey has also been around as a sport for quite a while, my brothers played alley hockey but I didn’t (and I never got the hang of hockey skates).

But supposing one didn’t want to see a sporting event, but wanted to see their favorite band (too bad for you).

There’s a game for that too.

Or how about the pinball wizard from the 1975 movie “Tommy”? it doesn’t have nearly the features of the previous game, but it does make all the proper pinball noises.

And then there are the grandfathers of pop music, with a rather elaborate machine that celebrates their early years. But wait a minute, there’s a “kiss meter” right next to this. Maybe it means that Kiss rules! (or not as the case may be).

These substitutes are now available to play, at least until 5 pm Friday, when everything goes into hibernation.

Up Close

Back in the spring (during this past century) I made a post about looking out over the town and the sorts of things one might see (if one had telescopic vision). I took a drive over to the the other side of town, and got a closer look at these sights that I had mentioned.

It was a fine, smoke-free summer day when I took this photo. One can see the numerous antennae atop the mountain that gives a connection to the outside world. Not visible is the military base that is a mile inside the mountain, right across from the giant Army base. It was possibly a secret at one time, but lots of people have worked there over the years, so it’s not much of a secret at this point.

Right at the end of this rather expensive neighborhood on the north end of town is an active quarry.

It’s a huge operation, as they are slowly moving rock from the site into the many building projects going on in our city. I have seen clouds of rock dust when they set off the explosives (really, it’s worth watching), but I don’t think I would care for this in my backyard.

Here is the fabulous downtown as seen from the south. Once upon a time it was the mercantile heart of the area, but now it is mostly bars and restaurants (some of them are even open).

And from the west it looks pretty much the same. The houses in the foreground are built atop mine tailings from early gold mining on the other side of the mountain.

So basically the locals have been turning the mountains inside out for over a century, and they are still at it.

Trees

There are a lot of the usual sorts of trees about town; there are avenues of elms leading to downtown, cottonwoods and mountain ash by the streams and river, aspens here and there, and lots and lots of pines, Scotch, Ponderosa, Mungo, etc. and of course Colorado Blue Spruce. Then again, if one looks closely, there are a few other species to be found.

For example, here are some “palm” trees located just outside of a cowboy bar. Easy to care for, these trees require no water and are quite sturdy.

I’m not sure what sort of tree this might be, perhaps it is something tropical.

Although this looks rather like an ordinary pine at first glance, it is actually a cell phone tower, which is quite a different species of tree. And it is very useful to have around.

With the leaves turning yellow on the top of this tree, it almost seems like it might be Fall. However this a a special grove of aluminum aspens, it’s not commonly found in nature, so they are perpetually the same.

So far no birds have been fooled by these trees, by a few people were horrified by the way these aspens had been trimmed. I guess that shows how much people love trees, whatever the kind.

Halloween

When I was young, Halloween was only a holiday for children. Shops only sold child sized costumes, there was nothing for adults except to buy candy to hand out. Some people in my neighborhood even gave out homemade treats like popcorn balls, or nickels wrapped in wax paper. As me and my brothers did not have school the next day, I thought it was the greatest holiday ever.

When I was a young adult, I convinced M to put on a costume made of cardboard (that could cost no more than 50 cents), and we would go over to friends’ for “trick or drink” . Our friends considered it quite odd, but they would provide alcohol on demand.

At some point has Halloween become a holiday for adults, with costume parties, etc. If everyone is going to do it, what’s the point, so I haven’t dressed up in years (and years). But, today’s newspaper said the tourist spot was having skeletons in the shop windows, so I decided to rush over across town. And here are a select few.

I did have to fork over a dollar to park (1 hour), so this wasn’t exactly free entertainment.

Some of the merchants were handing out candy to costumed kids, so there were a lot of people milling about, but the best show was over by this skeleton. There were persons from the opposing political camps waving banners about and insulting each other, in a bit of street theater. But as my parking meter was about to expire (and I did not want to spend another dollar), that was it for today’s visit (skeletons are much more interesting that the Christmas decorations which are soon to follow).

Art on the street

One doesn’t have to go to the museum to see art (which is good as the local museum is currently closed), it can be found on the streets, which also saves the cost of admission. 😉

If one needs to see a giant pumpkin, why here it is. And it is conveniently located about half a block from the creator’s house. (It would be a b$#@+h to move).

Even the telephone box sports some art, like this picture of a parked car, which is right next to a parking place for one’s car. (Not shown is the parking meter for said car, which allows 6 minutes for a dime).

And then there is this bit of art, which represents, uh, yes, one of those.

These steel cut-outs of birds are part of the signage for the alternative free newspaper offices. The tilework is by the same artist who created the pumpkin.

And all of this art is located right there next to each other on one street corner, available for free viewing (except for the 10 cent parking charge, daily, from 9am to 10pm).

Past and Present

I had to visit the big city, and it was to a part that I don’t normally go past. I usually come to the city for a specific reason: the airport is there, perhaps I’ve come to buy fabric, books or food, or I’m there for a hockey game. But on this day, there I was at a former military base and I realized that the last time I was there was in 1976 (how is it even possible that this was 44 years ago?). I had come to the city for a professional meeting, and my brother was stationed there for a school.

My brother lived in a barracks just like this one (if not this very one). It is currently in use as offices, and is being overshadowed by the massive construction going on nearby.

The higher the rank, the better the house. My brother started out as your average private, and ended up a Master Sergeant.

But the base was de-commissioned in 1999, and is now a medical hub for the area. And of course the building continues.

As soon as one section is up, they add another bit.

I do love to capture reflections, all the wonky lines mirrored against the rigid forms of modern construction. And I hope this area retains something of the spirit of the wonky ghost lines of soldiers who trained here in the long ago past.

Finally Fall

I had gone across town to an actual meeting and was wending my way home, when I noticed that there was one of the last farmer’s markets of the year going on. There wasn’t much in the way of produce, but there were the essentials: coffee, butter and dairy, bread and baked goods, all from local tiny businesses. It wasn’t very late, but the sun was already setting, reminding us that summer is going fast.

And of course there was a bit of the local music scene there as well. As long as one plays for free, there is always a place to perform. But enough of this, I had to rush home.

Because I had left my car in a parking lot as the new key didn’t work, and I was in race to pick it up before the night set in. I was hiking across the park as a shortcut to my destination (which is a fairly bad idea except on the trails). Yet it was a beautiful night. One can see the line of cottonwoods and mountain ash that grow along a stream changing into their fall colors. This gives one yet another sign, summer is really over.

Neon Night

When I go to the pub, as it is imported from England, everything is quaint and vintage (even the new bits). But on this night I was not off to the pub, it was ’round to the bar with some like minded friends to talk politics. And a proper bar needs some neon signs (sadly, bar stools have been outlawed).

I loved that they had hung these two signs together, Coors, a Colorado beer, with it’s triangular indication of mountains and a triangular piece of neon pizza. And the pizza from this bar is freshly made to order and quite good so it’s an appropriate indicator.

I suppose this sign appeals to the patriot opposed to them there foreign beers. I was born in the shadow of their brewery, and have perhaps drank my share of this product when I was younger, but I can’t say that this is my favorite today. (I do like me a foreign beer).

Any bar has to have sports memorabilia, because presumably beer is the beverage of choice for sports fans. I am not a football fan (or a Bud Light fan), but this is a rather attractive bit of neon.

So one of the other breweries made in the state had this lighted sign supporting the ice hockey team. It’s readable, but doesn’t have the minimalist charm of the neon signs. I don’t suppose that any of these signs influence a person to try their wares, but it wouldn’t be a proper bar without them.

Fall

The equinox is here, even though it hardly seems like there was a proper summer. It’s the official birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (and others), so a Happy Hobbit Day to you all. And here are the first signs of fall.

The first of the scrub oak leaves are turning, next, those traitors will exit the trees and fall in the driveway, just waiting for me to tidy up (it might be a long wait).

There are Virginia creeper vines by the front sidewalk. And they live up to their name by their gradual attempt to take over everything. These ones by the rocks have turned yellow, a sure harbinger of what’s to come.

This bit of creeper has climbed up into the pine where it makes a nice contrast to the green (I did mention that this stuff is unstoppable).

The trees across the street are losing their leaves and soon the wind will bring them to my driveway also. I suppose that it is comforting that the season is changing, perhaps this year will be over before we know it. And we can move on to the uncertainty of next year.

Signs

I like the variety of signs shopkeepers choose to advertise their business. Who wouldn’t want to eat at a place frequented by a sheep (or is it a goat?). The hand-written notice on the window lets one know that they are open.

I also like inadvertent signs, like this bit of graffitti. Perhaps “Tents” is a band, or is it just an enigmatic sticker someone made? I don’t know, but someone else with a marker was compelled to answer.

Then there are the ancient signs, faded, but faintly visible still. I have no idea when this business was here, it’s been a bar for the past 30 years or so.

This sign was a lovely invitation to enter (or at least it was those many years ago when it was first put up). Gadgets! Gizmos! and Electronics! Just the sort of place to offer a vision of the future, now it seems incredibly quaint. But it is still here to remind us of another time.

That brings us to the present, and the Alien in the shop window. Safely behind glass, one hopes that this is not a sign of the times. Or maybe it is.