Category Archives: Town

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.

Box art

Because this is a tourist destination, there is a lot of street art to be seen. Quite a lot of it is juried-in sculptures, but the street scene also includes the common phone router box. And someone got the bright idea to wrap up these eyesores in printed art, which is really quite brilliant. One can look at them when stopped at the many traffic lights, or should one happen to be strolling along. These bits of art add a tiny splash of color to the streets.

This enigmatic gentleman will watch as one sashays down the avenue.

This winter scene was customized by a passing bird.

This artwork depicts a solitary fisherman, enjoying the quiet of nature. Anyone who has ever gone fishing knows that as soon as one decides on the perfect spot to fish, someone else will come along to fish in the same spot. It’s inevitable.

This scene is even more idyllic (and untrue for the local area). In spring (like right now), nothing has greened up yet, and when the winter snow melts, the creeks do more than “babble”. But it is a lovely image, perhaps it is of somewhere else (note to tourists: please go there immediately.)

These beasts can be seen nearby in the foothills, at least for now (until the city permits a massive apartment complex to be built in their home).

Whether it’s a slice of life or an artistic fantasy. I do appreciate the effort every time I spot one of these.

Steel Town

The place where I live has always been a tourist destination, sometimes there are more tourists, sometimes (almost never) there are less. Industries and jobs have come and gone, but tourism remains.

But in the town south of here, industry was always part of the fabric of the place. The first steel mill was built in 1881 to make the steel rails need for the D & RG railroad. This company was bought out in 1893, and the mills kept on running until 1982. Only some interesting buildings remain as a reminder of this past, and the town now seeks to reinvent itself as a tourist destination (good luck with that).

I would love to be able to wander around the site and get better photos of the place. We should all “decide to be safe”.

Some bits of the plant have been torn down, but a lot remains because it is contaminated with asbestos and will probably stay until it falls to complete ruin. The busy motorway runs right past this place.

This beautiful administration building sits alone and empty, waiting to become a museum. Someday.

The downtown has lots of funky old buildings from the days when there was money in town.

You know how I love reflections. And in this picture one can see both the reflection of the lovely former Elks hall, and inside the building, where there is an oak telephone booth. The past is still present and the town has not been trod on by the forces of progress, like my town.

And what was I doing going south? Why I needed to buy tamales from the best place in the state.

Signs

I had ended up in this part of town because the restaurant I wished to go to was closed for dining, they only had take-away. And the second choice was closed as well, but the third one was open for business. Success! It was a cold day, but after lunch I did take a brief stroll, looking in the many closed shop windows, and admiring the signs as I walked along.

This looks to be an electric meter, and I presume that the stickers are advertising local bands, but really, I have no idea what it all means.

I found this one to be rather specific (and I suspect that it is against “vapers”: persons using electronic cigarettes). My handy dictionary defines vapor as moisture in the air; especially visible floating moisture, as light mist. Also smoke and fumes. It would be a powerful sign that could deter the forces of nature.

I’m sure that this sign will stop something: it’s from the police.

But of course this was the best sign. And as signs are meant to be obeyed, I immediately complied.

Downtown Buddha

When one goes to our tiny downtown area (much beloved of politicians and real estate interests), one of the more unusual stores is the Buddha shop. It caters to all of one’s Buddha needs (which must be rather extensive). I was going to a nearby shop, but there was plenty of parking spaces on this particular day, so I took a few quick snapshots (this is my apology for the poor quality of the pictures).

And besides the regular Buddhas for all the Buddhists out there, one can also purchase Hindu gods (you’re not buying the actual god, just an image).

Buddhas come in either laughing, contemplative or praying models.

And they are available in a choice of finishes, whether one needs a gaudy gold or plain matte statue.

Wait a minute, the next shop window display aren’t exactly Buddhas. But they have become objects of veneration, so I suppose that any of them counts as something to worship too.

This is the only Buddha at my house, the drinkable kind, and perhaps it leads to Nirvana, or something like it.