It started with this guy, the King Trumpet mushroom. (I assume he is male, because he is a king).

I had used the mushrooms in my dinner, when I noticed the bag these came in. I decided that King mushroom was a rather snazzy figure, and started to wonder who made the choice to have an anthropomorphic design to explain and sell this product. (Sadly, there were only ordinary mushrooms in the packet). So I decided to look around to see what other anthropomorphic designs I might find.

I was lucky to find that I had saved this container to use for storage, because Mr. Peanut was killed off by his company! Yes, some genius decided that a peanut with a monocle, gloves, cane and a top hat (spats are not pictured here) was not the proper salesman to flog their product, so they declared him dead (although as an inanimate cartoon figure I am not sure if this is even possible). Oh well, he lives on in my heart (and pantry).

I am happy to see that the Kool-Aid man, a staple of my childhood, still lives on (and cherry remains my favorite flavor).

I took this picture at the grocery store, because the sweet cereal that I do eat uses a cartoon character, instead of this friendly fellow. Because the last thing one wants when sitting down to breakfast, is a bowl of grumpy cereal.

But the winner of this contest of mascots has to be the King Trumpet mushrooms. Because they don’t just have one smiling figure, there are also all of his friends. Perhaps they are on the way to a party, or are running a race, whatever. They are happy to see one, and I expect I shall purchase them again (and not the ones that come in a plain package.)


I bought this little sketchbook the last time I was in London (and who knew that it would be soooo long until I can go again).

I use my sketchbooks for a couple of purposes. It is an aide-memoire to things that influenced me: I re-watched Vertigo, saw a documentary on slavery and made a visit to the National Gallery. I sketched this horse there in the crowded gallery, surrounded by hordes of tourists milling about. The words attraction, suicide, duplicity, domination and desperation were used in the BBC description of Vertigo (not quite how I would describe it).

I noted a couple of ridiculous words that I saw on signs: “pedestrianize and wealthify”. There are addresses I wanted to find, and I especially recommend 1a Princeton Street.

Hogarth’s rather ugly dog, which he included in his self-portrait. I sketched at the museum and later inked it (because it was Inktober after all).

I started this drawing on the flight home, and didn’t have time to include Pteri until now.

The sketchbook is still unfilled, and I still carry it around sometimes. Here’s a bit of the local scenery. Perhaps I shall finish it off someday, or it may be destined to remain as is.

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.


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.

The Mountain

I am a flatlander by birth, when I saw my first mountain in real life I was rather frightened by it. But over the years I have become accustomed to the mountains, and I love to look at how the light changes them. And having a mountain nearby makes it easy to navigate wherever one might be in town, one can always find one’s bearings.

I wasn’t too far from my house, but it’s a slightly different view than the one through my front window.

Downtown near the motorway the mountain looks rather shrunken.

I was in the middle of town on this day and the mountain was engulfed in a cloud. It looked as though it was being eaten (perhaps by aliens riding and hiding in the cloud).

And I can’t resist the occasional glorious sunset over the mountain, even though I have lots of these shots taken over the years. On this day I was on the eastern edge of town, driving away from the sunset, but I could see this in the rear-view mirror. I pulled over quickly to photograph this, and seconds later it was gone.

Today however, the mountain is a total mystery, as it has disappeared in the snow and fog. Tomorrow it will reappear in it’s newest iteration, lovely and different in its’ own way.

Sunday in the Park

Yes, I know that I have posted pictures of this before, but there is not much new going on right now, so here it is again. My friends like to walk around this park, and had asked me to go, so I said yes. It looks like unspoiled nature in the pictures, but of course there were scads of people milling about. There was even a number of professional climbers scaling the rocks. But, it was lovely day in December, perfect for the bazillionth pictures I have taken here.

Today I actually found a parking spot near here (a minor miracle).

It’s all natural in the park, they don’t remove dead trees or weeds, I mean native vegetation.

There are several paved paths that meander through the park, and of course I have done this anti-clockwise loop many times.

The sun goes down early this time of year, so this was enough fun for me and I was off for home.

Back at home, here was Fawn, waiting for me to fetch her some water (it has been awfully dry). Who knows what sort of adventure I will have next Sunday (it will probably involve knitting).

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.


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.

random bits of life