Fixing The Sewer

December 21, 2013 by ·  

Front Hoe and Sewer Hole

A Hole To The Sewer

    Is there anything worse than a clogged toilet? No. When your toilet backs up you are transported back to the dark ages. If the worst parts of humanity are spewing up out of your crapper and a plunger doesn’t fix it, you have to start shoveling, and I’m not talking about snow. Before you know it a plumber is snaking hundreds of feet of steel cable down a pipe that has never seen the light of day and the next thing after that, there’s a front hoe and an eight foot hole in your yard in the middle of the night.

House and Sewer Hole

Inside The Sewer Hole

    Digging a hole for the purpose of repairing an underground pipe is art and science. The science is figuring out where to dig while the art is knowing how to dig. The guy operating the hoe had a very delicate touch and dug a very sharp edged hole large enough for two guys to work in.

Digging A Hole To Sewer Line

Men At Work

    They worked well into the night and finished up the following morning. After they left, you would never have know they were there, other than the fact that the basement toilet was now fully operational. It was just another day at the office for them and just another photo op for me. Cheers!

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Planet Sub In Denver Colorado

December 15, 2013 by ·  

Planet Sub Denver view from street

Street View Of Planet Sub In Denver, Colorado

    Denver has a new place to eat and it’s called Planet Sub. It is so awesome I don’t know where to begin so I will just tell it as I’ve experienced it. I have lived in San Diego for the last eight years but I moved back to my hometown of Denver four weeks ago. As soon as I realized I’d be moving back to Denver I started looking for work and that is how, six weeks ago, I came across Planet Sub. They were opening a store on the 16th Street Mall and were looking for rock stars to work there. I’m a rock star so I applied. After all, the location of this new sub shop is at 16th and California, right in the middle of downtown which is where I wanted to live and work.

Planet Sub Denver front view

Inside Planet Sub

    I got a call back in a couple of days at which point I had to make an admission that I’d never had to make before; I didn’t live in the city where the job is but I’ll be there in 2 weeks. I was ready and willing to work but was not geographically able to work. Amanda, the woman on the other end other the phone was very understanding and told me to call back once I got into town. As soon as my 1100 mile road trip to Denver ended, I called back and spoke to Mike, the Denver development manager for Planet Sub.

Planet Sub Denver menu view

The Menu And Registers In Planet Sub

    Less than a week after landing back in Denver, I had an interview at the still under construction site of this new eatery. In the weeks that had passed from my learning about Planet Sub to the day of my interview I did a lot of homework. This is a place that places the emphasis of the quality of their food in tandem with the enrichment of the lives of their employees and customers.

Planet Sub Denver

Inside View Of Planet Sub

    So I went in for my interview and met with Mike and Patrick, brothers that have both been working for Planet Sub for many years and whom were both tapped to leave their native Kansas City to facilitate the opening of the first Planet Sub in Colorado. The meeting went very well and eventually Rocky, the owner of this Denver franchise joined in to see what I was made of. I was taught to have a hardy handshake and Rocky must have been taught the same thing because we locked hands and squeezed as if we were trying to create diamonds with the carbon between our palms.

Planet Sub Denver Mezzanine

The Mezzanine Of Planet Sub

    I was offered a job and I accepted. Over the next few weeks I went in a few times to go over the employee handbook, meet other employees and have training. Three days ago, on Friday the 13th, we had our grand opening and we have been going full throttle ever since. We make our bread from scratch and we serve beer; do you need any more incentive to head down there and say hi to me? I didn’t think so. Cheers!

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Denver Has A Greek Amphitheater

December 9, 2013 by ·  

Greek Amphitheater Denver At Night

Amphitheater In Civic Center Park

    The Denver Capitol Building and the City and County Building are separated by Civic Center Park. In the center of the park is a Greek amphitheater and a fountain that are connected by a large paved walkway. I was in the park last week to photograph Christmas lights and to get reacquainted Downtown Denver. I arrived just after sunset, before the Christmas lights were turned on so I indulged in a little blue hour photography. The yellow lights of the amphitheater were a great contrast to the deep blue of the soon to be dark sky. After I was done, I headed to the 16th Street Mall to check out the ice rink at Skyline Park and then retraced my steps back to Civic Center to get some shots of the lights on the City and County Building.

Allen Tupper True Art In Denver Greek Amphitheater The Trapper

Allen Tupper True Art In Denver Greek Amphitheater The Prospector

Denver Greek Amphitheater Front

Looking North From The Greek Amphitheater

    The amphitheater and the walkway run north and south through the park so the capitol building, on the east side of the park, the city and county building on the west side and Downtown Denver to the north can all be seen from this central location. There are two 1920 paintings created by Allen Tupper True within the amphitheater that were completed in 1920. Above, on the left is the work titled, “The Prospector” and the other, pictured on the right is titled, “The Trapper.” According to 15 minutes of internet research, they have both been restored twice; in 1976 and in 2008. The photo in the center sits between these two pieces of art, facing north towards downtown so you can see Republic Plaza, the tallest building in Colorado in the background of all three photos. The Denver Art Museum was behind me and the paved walkway along with the north end of the amphitheater is in front of me. For all you artistic snobs out there, the center photo above is the skene (tent) whilst the other two are the parados (passageways). Do you see the two light poles flanking Republic Plaza? For the next photo I walked to the north into the orchestra area, towards the other end of the amphitheater.

Downtown Denver From Greek Amphitheater

Downtown Denver Seen From Civic Center Park

    Above we see much more of Downtown Denver framed by the lights of the Greek Amphitheater as I walked towards the northern border of Civic Center Park. Up ahead there is a fountain that is disabled during winter but still provides a great foreground to what is around in the park year round.

Civic Center Park

The Fountain In Civic Center Park – Downtown Denver

    Continuing my walk through the park I ended up at the aforementioned fountain. In all fairness, this is not one giant amphitheater; it is a proper amphitheater to the south and a fountain with a Greek structure to the north, which is pictured above.

Greek Amphitherater and Capitol Dome

Denver Capitol Dome Seen From Civic Center Park

    From this vantage we are looking at the fountain, along with the Denver Capitol Building and amphitheater in the background. All of these photos were taken after sunset, that’s why at the top of the post I referred to me indulging in blue hour photography. As you can see, the sky is has a very deep blue color once the sun is down, before the night takes hold.

Greek Theater In Downtown Denver

Looking East From Civic Center Park

    Above we can see the top of the Denver City and County building (sans Christmas lights) in the background, McNichols Civic Center building in the midground and the Greek amphitheater in the center. There is some mysterious art in the arches of this structure that can be seen at the top of the photo.

Greek Amphitheater Upward View

Upward View Of Art In The Greek Amphitheater

    I had to leave this magnificent area to shoot the Christmas lights of the city. On this same night I ice skated at the rink in Skyline Park and took in the lights at the Denver City and County Building. It was a good night and it assured me that I’d done the right thing by returning to Denver after being away for eight years. Cheers!

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Denver Capitol Building

December 7, 2013 by ·  

Dowtown Denver Capitol Building From Civic Center Park

Downtown Denver And Capitol Building

    Denver has a capitol building with a dome covered in gold and granite steps that sit a mile above sea level. Unfortunately the dome is currently going through an extensive renovation, so people are not able to walk up the inside or even see it. The last time I walked up there was in 1999 so I was looking forward to walking those steps again but alas, I was denied. The renovations are needed; the building is over 100 years old so in addition to stripping lead based paint and rust from the structure, 72 ounces of brand new Colorado mined gold will be pressed into gold leaf and applied to the dome. The work will be completed early next year and when it is, I have a feeling that the saying, “shine like the top of the Chrysler building” will be replaced with, “shine like the dome of Denver.” That’s my early prediction, so place your bets now.

Denver Capitol Building Mile High Step Marker

Denver Capitol Mile High Step Markers

    Denver is known as the mile high city because it sits one mile above sea level. The granite capitol building is right at that vertical point in space. There is a spot on the west steps that shows you exactly when you are one mile above sea level. Actually, there are three. In the photo above you can see two brass markers as well as words carved right into the granite steps. The mythology of Denver says that the top marker had been stolen many times so city leadership had the spot marked with immovable words chiseled into the steps. In 2003 it was discovered that the first two markers were not quite at the right place so a third was added, a couple steps lower. I have it in my head that I’d like to go back to take more photos but I’d like to bring some brass cleaner with me to clean the marker up a bit. Hopefully, it’s not illegal to clean up city property because I would hate to have a swarm of men in black tackle me to the ground for polishing a mile high marker.

Denver Capitol Building West Steps

Denver Capital Building West Steps

    Even though the spiral staircase leading up to the dome is closed, you can still go inside the capitol building during the week during regular business hours. I didn’t go inside on this day. I’ve not been in there for 14 years so I can wait a little longer, until the golden dome is open and gleaming. Besides, my actual mission was to photograph the Christmas lights on the City and County building and the ice rink at Skyline Park so being able to get reacquainted with the capitol building at sunset was just a pleasant bonus. Cheers!

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Cupola Cam In Downtown Littleton

December 5, 2013 by ·  

Littleton Cupola Cam Greeting Site

Cupola Cam Greeting Site In Downtown Littleton

    I happened across something interesting the other day whilst preparing to take pictures of the Christmas lights in Downtown Littleton. I found a sign outside the Littleton Municipal Courthouse that said the spot I was standing at was the “Official Cupola Cam Greeting Site.” I was intrigued by the sign because it said it is a greeting site, not a meeting site and of course “cam” is the universal abbreviation for “camera.” What was I looking at and what did it mean? It turned out the answer was staring me right in the face. I have no idea why I know, but I know what a cupola is; it’s the small structure that you see on top of churches, clock towers and courthouses. I took a gander at the cupola on the courthouse in front of me and noticed there was a camera next to it. Without ready access to the internet and having the Christmas light photos on my agenda I snapped a few photos so I would be able to do some research later.

Official Cupola Cam Greeting Site In Littleton

Littleton Municipal Courthouse’s Cupola Cam

    The City of Littleton has indeed installed a camera on top of the courthouse and it is called, “Cupola Cam II.” It can be very easily accessed from the City Of Littleton’s Website and you can even control the camera by instructing it to point any one of 24 prepositioned places. You can’t maneuver the camera by hand but you can point it all around Littleton and then zoom in and out to your heart’s desire. If you select the “Official Cupola Cam Greeting Site” location, the camera will aim and zoom in on the spot where I took the photos for this post. So, you can take yourself down there, give a loved one a call and have them aim the camera at you as you wave or hold up a sign. It’s really neat to get a bird’s eye view of the entire front range so I very highly recommend that you check it out. Cheers!

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Ice Skating At Skyline Park

December 3, 2013 by ·  

Skyline Park Ice Skate Rink 16th Street Mall Denver

Southwest Airlines Rink At Skyline Park

    Skyline Park is in Downtown Denver, on the 16th Street Mall. It is three blocks long, half a block wide and is the venue for many different events and activities throughout the year. When it is not a host for special occasions, it is a nice place to take a break from your daily grind or from shopping at the mall. Right now, during the Christmas season it is home to an ice skating rink that is free and open to the public. I learned how to ice skate when I was young but in 1995 I discovered inline skating so almost 20 years ago I gave up the ice for the road. I’ve only ice skated a few times since the 1990s so I was excited, albeit a little nervous to try out this rink. So, on an unseasonably warm yet windy day, I headed out to ice skate in the middle of Downtown Denver.

Skyline Park Ice Skate Skating Rink 16th Street Mall Denver

Skating At Christmas On The 16th Street Mall In Denver

    I ended up making two trips to Skyline Park that day; once to skate and again to take photos. After I left for the second time I headed over to take photos of the Christmas Lights on the Denver City and County building so it was a very enjoyable day. After all these years I’ve managed to hold on to my ice skates so I brought them with me which saved the $2 skate rental fee. I just showed up, laced up my skates and hit the ice. I skated for about an hour, until my ankles started begging for mercy. I did fall down one time but I swear it wasn’t my fault; as I rounded one end of the rink a very strong gust of wind pushed against me, taking away my forward momentum and causing me to crumple to the ground.

Skyline Park Ice Skating Rink 16th Street Mall Denver D&F Tower

D&F Tower And Southwest Airlines Skate Rink

    The Southwest Airlines sponsored rink will be in place until the middle of February so you still have plenty of time to head down there for some winter sports fun. The rink is on Arapahoe Street just off the 16th Street Mall, right in the middle of all the action and very near the light rail. Having photographed the beachside ice rink at Hotel Del Coronado the last couple years I’ve become a fan of outdoor rinks in unique locations. This rink, sitting amongst the skyscrapers of Denver certainly qualifies as one of the most unique places in the country to have a skate. Cheers!

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Denver City and County Building Christmas lights

December 3, 2013 by ·  

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights 2013

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights

    The Christmas season has officially arrived in Denver and mercifully, the winter weather has not. If the weather psychics are correct that’ll all be changing over the next few days but yesterday it was sunny and warm enough that I didn’t need a jacket or a beanie until after the sun went down. I arrived in Downtown Denver and Civic Center Park about an hour before sunset with two specific things on my agenda; to ice skate in Skyline Park and to photograph the Christmas lights at the Denver City and County Building. I was able to do both and even though I skated before I went to the City and County building, the photos from the ice rink will be in my next post. I really like how Denver embraces Christmas because it doesn’t conform to what the rest of the country does at this time of year which is to blend every December celebration into one big holiday. Denver decorates its buildings and holds a parade to celebrate Christmas, not some generic collection of holidays. I love Denver!

Denver City and County Building Christmas Lights Straight Up 2013

Under The Christmas Lights In Denver

    As it turned out, I arrived much earlier than I needed to. I incorrectly assumed the lights would be turned on at sunset, but they were not turned on until almost an hour and half after sunset. My original plan was the go directly to Skyline Park to ice skate, then go to the City and County building to take photos, go back to the ice rink to take night photos and then jump on the light rail to head back home. I wanted to make photographing the ice rink the last thing I did because it’s very close to the light rail while the City and County building is not. Alas, my journey ultimately consisted of skating, going to Civic Center Park to wait for the lights, going back to the ice rink, returning to Civic Center with the now lit Christmas lights and then going back to the light rail to head home.

Denver City and County Building Christmas Lights Up Close 2013

Christmas Lights In Denver

    There are a lot of people taking a lot of photos of everything these days so it’s becoming more and more difficult to be original. Instagram and iPhones have the general population believing they take good photos and that their photos are adding something to the ethosphere, but they’re not. It’s cool that people are sharing where they’ve been in a way that’s more accessible than a traditional slide show but you need to remember that just because you can drive a car doesn’t mean you can be a mechanic.

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights Full View 2013

Denver City And County Building At Christmas

    Either way, I had a great time spending and afternoon and an evening in Downtown Denver. Civic Center Park, The 16th Street Mall and everything in between was my playground for the first time in almost a decade. I am so glad to be back in Denver that I may just have to run for mayor. Below is a video version of this post. Cheers!

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Historic Downtown Littleton Christmas lights

December 2, 2013 by ·  

Downtown Littleton Main Street Christmas Lights

Main Street Christmas Lights In Littleton

    I have been away from Denver and Colorado for eight years so I am very anxious to see some familiar places. There really is no place like home and Denver in all its Mile High glory will always be my home, no matter how much time I spend away. Fortunately for me, it is the Christmas season so the entire metro area has decked their halls with decorations and their trees with lights. I grew up in Littleton, a suburb southwest of Denver, so heading to their Downtown Main Street District to see the Christmas cheer was at the top of my to-do list. It’s not a huge area but it is a very traditional American main street and all the businesses are local. I found out that there is a Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants Association (HDLM pronounced “Hoodlum”) that meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 8am in the Town Hall Arts Center. It always makes me happy to be in a community that retains its identity by supporting local businesses instead of replacing everything with a Wal-Mart. The photo above shows a westward view of Historic Downtown Littleton and the Christmas lights on Main Street.

Downtown Littleton Christmas Tree Main Street

Christmas Tree In Littleton

    On this particular day I was not in downtown Littleton to shop, I was there to see the Christmas lights. One of the best things about this area is that it is very pedestrian and bicycle friendly so I was able to ride my bike up the South Platte River Trail directly into downtown and lock my bike right on Main Street. There are bike racks all up and down the street as well as at the nearby light rail station so bike parking is not a problem. The Denver metro area has done a great job of ensuring that alternate forms of travel such as biking, skating, taking the bus or riding light rail have been able to grow and have kept pace with new roads for cars. As such, I am enjoying every sunny day I can out on the trails before winter finally drops the temperature too low to comfortably bike around. I rode and took the photos for this post yesterday, the first day of December and it was almost 60 degrees before the sun set!

Downtown Littleton Christmas Tree Plaza

Christmas Trees In Historic Downtown Littleton

    At the west end of Downtown Littleton is what I suppose you would call the official Christmas tree for the city. It is in a grassy area at the intersection of Main Street and Santa Fe Drive. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving there is a candlelight walk along Main Street that ends with Santa Claus and a contest winning child turning on the lights and officially starting the Christmas season. It is so good to be back in Denver, amongst evergreen trees and mountains; even the soon to come snow will add some joy to a season that I have not been able to properly enjoy for eight years. A California Christmas with decorated palm trees on the beach just isn’t the same as a Colorado blue spruce after a light dusting of snow. Cheers!

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