Category Archives: Town

Fee Fi Faux

I do love to wander about taking random photos of whatever catches my eye. This area is famous for it’s natural beauty, but there is also the charm of it’s fakeness (not sure if this is a word).

For example, if one gets a permit and has technical rock climbing experience, one may climb the sheer cliff faces at Garden of the Gods. In lieu of that, anyone may try their hand at climbing this artificial rock slab. No permit is needed and there are no warning signs of impending doom. (Plus it’s both easier and quicker than technical climbing).

This could be a tree (after the developers have had at it), or perhaps it is a new way of stacking firewood. But no, it’s neither. This claims to be art, and is part of the arts in the street program (who knew?). And it’s for tourists and locals alike

These faux rock formations are being installed at a new play area. It recreates the feel of rock formations, without the pesky realism and danger of actual rocks. Oh imagine all the fun that children will have playing on these (or not).

It’s not just civic organizations that go for the unnatural look. These homeowners decided against a lawn (really not a terrible idea) and instead populated their yard with these rather attractive plants. It breaks up the monotony of a rock yard, and gives it a bit of style, so this is the only spot of faux nature that does something useful. It’s an improvement, unlike the art on the street tree (try again city).

A walk in the park

I know that I most often take pictures of places in the city. But the city is part of the larger county, and this is not all totally developed (yet). I knew this park existed, my favorite dog friends often go there to run, but I had never taken the time to visit. So today was the day for it.

The area where the town sits was originally a tree-less prairie, but along the ridge in the northern part of the county, there has always been a pine forest. And this bit was designated as a park (which explains why there are still trees and there aren’t fancy houses in view).

The skies had been smoke-filled the day before (with smoke imported from California), but the winds shifted and there were the blue skies and fluffy clouds of summer.

The park features walking trails, a dog park, and a little pond (no fishing allowed, but the fish will break the surface and stare at one). Also present were chipmunks, and they proved to be quite a hit with any of the young persons who were there.

And why was I at this park, on this day, at this place? Why some dear friends were getting married in the gazebo that juts out into the lake (that’s not them in the picture, just some random tourists). It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, with a beautiful ceremony to tie the knot. And then it was on to catered food, (one does get hungry strolling in the park), music and wedding cake, a perfect end to a perfect day.

New artist

So now you might be wondering, what was the recent gallery opening about? And why did I feel impelled to go?

This piece was the first one created by this artist for the local “art on the street” project , and it has always been my favorite (I actively hate some of the work of other artists). It has been here for a couple of years and I am amazed by the number of my friends who have never noticed this and don’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the statue was vandalized by some jerk last year, and this is actually the second version. The artist came to town to fix this, and decided that he liked the place so well, that he and his family moved here from Korea. So now I guess that makes him a local artist.

This is this years’ selection for “art on the streets”. And because one does not have to put any money in the parking meters on Sunday morning, I was out and about to take this new photo of these amazing steel Betas. It was rather breezy and they were moving in the wind, as is proper for fighting fish.
So besides making massive sculptures, he also does smaller pieces, like this tiny tree (it did not have a tiny price tag). This tiny gallery is the perfect sort of place to show small art. (Not sure if it is the perfect sort of place to sell art). But there we all were, seeing and being seen, drinking cheap wine and admiring the art.
I did love this piece, and after a glass of wine I had a few fangirl words with the artist (and I hope that he understands English, or maybe it’s better if he doesn’t).

I had found out about the gallery show from an article in the local newspaper, and this mentioned that the missus of the artist did fiber art. Well, so do I, so I wished to meet her. But we do very different sorts of things, and I guess I am not a fangirl, but I definitely approve of following one’s muse. I hope that she and the family like this town, and that they continue to be local artists, because we need great art for the streets (wait a minute, that brings tourists, so maybe not).

More signs

I do love the whimsy of signs, just a brief announcement of something, anything that gives one a snippet of information or direction. Now that proper gallery openings are allowed, I had popped in to see the show of a new resident (more later). By proper gallery opening, I mean there were nibbles, cheap wine and no masks, just what one expects. And signs.

This was the entrance to the gallery, referencing a rap song from the past, so I would guess the gallerists to be in their 40’s.

Rather useful information, and I am sure the persons inside got tired of repeating this to passersby.

This looks to have been posted by a trout, or perhaps a friend. I am unaware of any fish actually living in the creek. And like many signs, it appears to have been ignored.

This sign was the best of the lot, as well as being the most cryptic. Walking on the sidewalk is what one does, I suppose this indicates to walk one’s bicycle, the other two images were more mysterious, but I eventually decided that they referred to skateboards and rollerblades. I doubt if this is legible or obvious as one rolls along, but it’s an interesting graphic. Nice try, city.

Lizards

There was recently a spell of hot weather, perfect for basking.

These two were enjoying the heat on my front steps after emerging from the oregano jungle.

I’ve seen this one before, perhaps I am getting the side-eye because this is probably not a lizard, it’s a skink (but, nobody cares what a skink is, they are all lizards to everyone not a biologist).

This one, however, could clearly be described as a lizard, most likely the dreaded roof lizard.

This one is possibly not a lizard, it could be some sort of dragon (maybe?). And heedless of the danger to life and limb, these tourists are casually strolling by. It must have already eaten, as it never moved. As I said, it was perfect weather for basking, so I found myself wishing for some air conditioning and a very cold beer.

My Local

I know that I have posted about the genuine imported English pub across town. I only go there for very special ($$) occasions. And I remember posting something about fancy beer taps two years ago. None of that applies to this place, the local saloon. What they do offer is friendly service. I’m not a regular, but after not being able to come in for a year, she still remembered my favorite bevvy, and what I liked to eat. So what sort of place is this?

It was originally a somewhat fancy pub, but that was a number of years ago. It has gotten a bit shabby over time.

It is an interesting place, there is an outside patio extension for smokers, but a certain type of smoke is prohibited.

I don’t know why this sign is necessary in the ladies, and I am not sure that I want to know.

There are no fancy beers on tap here, and please notice the fine wine selection in the cooler. The decor is the standard sort of sports bar thing: lots of televisions showing various sporting events, which no one appeared to be watching, signed athletic memorabilia, and neon signs advertising various kinds of beer. What is not visible, is that they offer great bar food. Among other things they serve green chile covered hamburgers (my favorite), beefy quesadillas, and something called “pork wings” (perhaps this is why pigs no longer fly). “Pork wings” (whatever they might be) were so popular that they were sold out on this day, perhaps I shall find out what they are on my next visit, when my political drinking group meets again next month.

Men about town (Part 2)

Years ago I wrote some little posts about statues of men that could be found around town. Now that the town has grown, there are new statues of men. I found these rather interesting because the previous lot were mostly erected by the city as a point of civic pride. But these new ones are all on private property and I presume that they reflect the interests of the company that put them there.

I hope that this one is recognizable to all Americans, why it’s George Washington holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence. And of course his picture is on the one dollar bill (see your wallet for details).

Less easily recognized is Thomas Jefferson, a frumpy picture of him can be found on the two dollar bill (which is hardly ever used, except by eccentrics). He was a natty dresser and is shown holding a copy of the Bill of Rights.

I was quite surprised by this statue of Ronald Reagan, his informal dress and pose made him quite popular for selfies (also his face is not on any money) (yet).

Lincoln is another president who is easily recognized (after all, he does appear on the five dollar bill). He is sitting here contemplating the Gettysburg Address, his most famous speech. Because he has such a friendly pose, it was also popular to sit on his lap for selfies. But this is not the only Lincoln statue on site.

I’m sure by now that you’re wondering what these statues are in aid of. Why it’s part of an enormous sporting goods store. On this end the animatronic Lincoln is endlessly reciting the Gettysburg Address, while on the other side an animatronic John Elway (an American football player from the past), is going on about something. And in between these two is the Ferris Wheel and taxidermied animals of every sort, just what one expects in a shopping experience. I did go in to purchase new swim gloves, but in spite of having a vast inventory, they had never heard of such a thing. Oh well, perhaps I shall need something sporty from them in the future (I don’t need any selfies).

Alley Cat

I suppose that I should have realized that when I saw the perfect parking space, open right in front of the door of the shop, that the store would be closed. But, I had parked, and plunked my hard-earned money into the parking meter, so I had better find something else to do. And a quick look around took me down the alley.

There aren’t any alleys in my neighborhood, the developer did not want to waste any space for trash cans and such, but our tiny downtown was laid out when such amenities were popular.

Who could resist such a sign (except those like myself who are against tattoos, however artistic). There is also the painted blue brick border that shows that this is no ordinary alleyway.

I suspect that these two buildings were originally stables, converted to garages at a later date. They are both currently art galleries, and of course they have been shuttered for months. I have occasionally been to art events in the past (cheap box wine and a few nibbles) at the one gallery, before it was all done up.

And where did I end up? Why here of course. Because they had opened up at the same time as the other shop closed. It’s styled as a speakeasy of old, and is quite popular with the millennial set late at night (when the parking meters are turned off). So I enjoyed a quick bevvy (I didn’t want my parking meter to run out) in solitary splendor, then it was off to home, lest I ended up regretting something (like a parking ticket).

New Dumpties

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

There are a variety of explanations offered up as to the meaning of this rhyme, it’s a drink of brandy boiled with ale (sounds awful), a short and clumsy figure, or various persons, but the true origins are unknown. The real mystery is how the King’s horses were expected to do the job.

There is some mad artist in town who is enamored of these anthropomorphic eggs, and I assume that Mr. Humpty Dumpty was his inspiration.

This nattily dressed figure is in fact, sitting on a wall, but it seems unlikely that he might be seriously injured from falling off of it. So, he’s pretty safe sitting here and it’s just a short ride to the nearest hospital (but quite a bit farther to the nearest stable should the need arise).

Located nearby, again sitting on the walls are the newest of his fellow Dumpties. Careful Pizza Man, you might drop that pie on some unsuspecting tourist.

This Dumpty seems to have been out fishing before settling in to his perch high above the street. Be careful Mr. Fisher-Dumpty, I’m not sure if it is legal to keep a fish that small, and where are your shoes?

I’m not sure about this fellow. Because he’s wearing breeches, waistcoat and a wig, perhaps he is a time-travelling barrister (we don’t get too many of these here).

This is from a book I read as a child, and it supposes that the rhyme is a riddle, and one is meant to guess that HD is an egg (and a rather old-fashioned egg at that). But whatever, I just enjoy seeing the various iterations of this figure and I hope that the artist never gets tired of him.

10 Second Tourism

Malls were once the thing, a temple to shopping and a sign of modern times. But, modern times have passed and now going to a mall is more of a creepy experience. My fitness instructor was wearing the most adorable, sparkly shoes and I decided that I must have a pair just like them. So I was off to the half filled, dark and half-shuttered mall nearby. There, located next to the defunct Sears was a play area for children. Of course in our current era, children are not allowed to do the dangerous things that we did as children, so as a play area it seemed rather lacking to me. However it is a great 10 second introduction to local tourist attractions. (Overall, a great time saver).

Here is the state flower (Columbine), a local park (Garden of the Gods), and the cog railway that goes to the top of the mountain (currently, not in service). If one goes to the top of the mountain, one can see the next state (if one so desires) and eat a high altitude donut. I myself have done this once, many years ago.

And here it is, the local mountain! In all of it’s shrunken glory, it should take well under a half a minute to climb to the top, take selfies, and be done.

The river winds around to our favorite bighorn sheep. The real thing can be elusive to spot, and they often turn their backs on people, but this one is ready for the selfies with very short persons or children. So there it is, an almost instant and painless tourist experience. And without the hordes of other tourists, it is easy to photograph, with plenty of free parking (not available at an actual tourist site). Plus one can purchase sparkly shoes and other non-essentials right nearby.