Cookies gone from downtown, and soon, no more pianos

The other day, we were walking downtown, and I wondered out loud how a store that sells cookies can survive. Are there enough people buying cookies to support an entire store that sells nothing but cookies? Sure seemed like a stretch.

Turns out running a successful cookie store is tough-going, and Mrs. Fields Cookies is closing down.

What’s going to take its spot at the highly visible corner of Tejon and Kiowa? Good question. The Gazette story says the building’s owners are in talks with “national tenants” about taking over the whole corner. Sheesh, hope it’s something good and viable. And, as much as I enjoy a good drink, we probably don’t need another bar on that stretch.

I’ve also wondered who buys pianos? How do piano stores stay in business? Sure enough, yet another downtown casualty: Pianos New and Used is also going out of business.

Bad news for downtown. Hate seeing businesses that can’t make it, but times change, and maybe pianos and cookies can’t survive by themselves. We’ll wait patiently to see what replaces them.


Styx in Colorado Springs: B-plus

For some reason, Styx has never been on my radar. It’s possible that I might have been too young to fully appreciate sophisticated lyrics like

Just remember that it’s a grand illusion
And deep inside we’re all the same

I didn’t really have a lot of existential angst in the late ’70s. Mostly, I just wanted to play kickball and for that girl whose name I can’t remember now to like me. I also thought it would be pretty cool to be Batman.

So when I learned Styx was coming to Colorado Springs, I didn’t get too jazzed about it. Until my workplace gave me some free tickets. For the record, I love free stuff. Thanks, workplace!

I admit that I went with the intention of mocking. I intended to mock the crowd and the band. Hahah, they’re all old!

But Styx kind of rocks. Good energy, excellent showmanship. They seemed like a bunch of guys having a lot of fun and putting on a great show. Did not expect that. I guess I expected something sad. Only complaint was the Pikes Peak Center stopped selling drinks like at 9 p.m. What gives, PPC?

Some random observations:

  • Tommy Shaw looks like a little Richard Branson.
  • At some point in the show, someone who looked like Drew Carey came onstage to play with them.
  • The smell of marijuana wafting through the crowd was probably medicinal. Possibly for glaucoma.
  • Clothing that fit you in the early 1980s might not fit you now.
  • If you’re buying a Styx concert shirt in 2011, there’s a good chance you have too much disposable income. (Although in the spirit of full disclosure, I bought a Motorhead shirt and a Black Sabbath shirt last year. I am not allowed to wear them in public.)
  • Felt comforted by all the balding men in the audience. But Tommy Shaw, who’s nearly 80, has inexplicably thick, luxurious hair. Seriously, God, WTF?
  • Toddlers didn’t seem to care for Styx much. Many were sleeping.
  • The revolving keyboard was entertaining, but I kept expecting him to fall off the platform (and break a hip!), but it didn’t happen.
Late 1970s.

In the late '70s, I was apparently a Kiss fan. (I also apparently enjoyed rabbit's-foot jewelry and giant orange handbags.) At any rate, Styx was maybe a little too sophisticated for me.

Tommy Shaw, Richard Branson.

Styx frontman Tommy Shaw looks a lot like billionaire jetsetter Richard Branson.


Discount River Rafting in the Royal Gorge

We go rafting every year in a different spot in Colorado. Last year we did the Royal Gorge, and while they made us wear dorky helmets, unlike the other locations, it was really fun! It was quite a bit more rough (which explains the helmets) than some of the other places, and we even went in August when the water is lower and ther rapids more mellow! So in June, it’ probably really rocks (har).¬†

Groupon is selling a deal¬†today for rafting in the Royal Gorge with Echo Canyon River Expeditions. It’s a good deal because rafting is kind of expensive.

Since a wetsuit is included in this deal, and you need one in June, we’ll probably try to go in June this year. You should, too!

River Rafting in The Royal Gorge, Colorado

River Rafting in The Royal Gorge, Colorado

The pigeon is my enemy

I’m not an unreasonable person. Most of the time, anyway. So when I discovered pigeons living on my home, I said, “Cool. Pigeons.”

Now I see that these birds have repaid my indifference by shitting all over my car. I gave these birds the benefit of the doubt the first couple of times. Maybe they got ahold of a bad batch of whatever it is these birds eat (burritos?), and maybe they just couldn’t hold it till they got over something a little less important than my car (like my neighbor’s car).

My car is bad-ass. Sure it’s old and a little junky. But it’s fast and sleek and strong. It impresses women and intimidates men. My car is a Presence. But coat it in bird shit, and it really takes away from the splendor. I sense that these birds understand that, almost like they’re trying to teach me a lesson about vanity and aspiration: I’m just a dumb, poor kid from a Fountain trailerpark, and I should just drive a Hyundai and be happy with it.

Well, screw you, Pigeons. I went through a lot to get that car, and I’m not going to let you humiliate me. Consider this your eviction notice. Because I’m a gentleman, I won’t shoot you or poison you. But you’ve menaced me (and the cats) for the last time. Soon, I will crawl up to your nest and remove it, placing sharp stainless steel spikes in its place. I might even get a plastic owl.

I gave these birds a chance to coexist peacefully, but now I see that this cannot be. Game on, Pigeon. Game on.

Bird pooping on my car

Really? This is how you repay me for my kindness, Pigeon? Nice.

Bird poop on my car

And on the driver's side, even. Nothing on the passenger side? Are you trying to tell me something, bird?

Bird poop on my house

I see you also have no problem shitting on my home. Outstanding.

Pigeons nesting in the eaves of my house

I know where you live, Pigeon. You live right under there, back in the darkness. But not for much longer.


Yes, you. You better start looking for a new home, Pigeon.



Maiden voyage!

We thought it would be fun for my birthday to take the trailer on its first trip, so we loaded everything up and headed to my favorite fishing spot, Deckers.

The trailer wasn’t 100 percent completed yet, but we decided to give it a shot anyway. A test run, if you will. We also looked at it as an opportunity to see how everything works and to see if there’s anything else we need to do. It was also an opportunity to test out my new fishing rod, the Sage Vantage 590.

A few things we learned:

  1. Tying the leader to the tippet is kind of hard. I kind of caught a fish, but when the knot failed, so did the catching of said fish. Next time, fish. Next time.
  2. There’s a bunk bed in the trailer that has to go. We bumped our heads no fewer than a dozen times on this damn thing, and so the next time I’m around it with a screwdriver, it will be removed. Storage be damned!
  3. In the woods, cupcakes are better than real cake.
  4. Flushing the Sanitation Equipment Visa 248 Deluxe Portable Toilet took some getting used to. Good thing nobody had to poop.
  5. When debating about whether to turn the heat on, in freezing weather, it’s probably a good idea to just go ahead and turn the heat on.
Getting the trailer hooked up

Hooking up the trailer is pretty easy. It's light, so it's adjustable by hand, and also, I am superb at backing up.

Travel trailer interior

The top bunk, where the blankets and pillows are stored, is really just a place to knock your head. It's going to be gone soon.

Interior travel trailer

Adrienne built a nest at the front of the trailer while I was out fishing. Comfy.

I built my nest in the trailer soon after landing.

I enjoy a good nap, too. This is my nest, on the other side of the camper.

Happy birthday

No, this isn't the Blair Witch Project. It's me and Adrienne, with light from my birthday cupcakes!

Birthday cupcakes, 2011

Adrienne made awesome cupcakes for my birthday. They had coconut and sprinkles. Perfect.

Birthday cupcakes, 2011

Despite the warmth of the birthday candle on my cupcakes, I still needed a hat (made by my friend Andrew Long, who chose journalism instead of hat-making for some reason).

After dinner and the cupcakes, we played cards by candlelight. Adrienne also wore a hat, but it was store-bought.

After dinner and the cupcakes, we played cards by candlelight. Adrienne also wore a hat, but it was store-bought.

Travel trailer maiden voyage, 2011

Mmmm. Salad.

Travel trailer maiden voyage 2011

For dinner, Adrienne made a LOT of food. Here's the corn. We thought we'd have a camp fire, but with fire restrictions, we had to make everything in the oven. Turned out great.

Birthday trip to Deckers, Colorado, 2011

In addition to the corn, we also had chicken and mashed potatoes.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

One of the nicest things about camping at Deckers is that the water is right at the site, so you can hear it always. It's very soothing.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

This is an OK way to spend a birthday.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

Our campsite, right on the water.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

The Jeep pulled the trailer pretty well. Some slight sluggishness on the hills, but you know what? Go around me, Mr. Fast-Pants.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

Morning coffee at the campsite in Deckers.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

Dinner at Deckers, with chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, chips and wine.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

The trailer. Still needs a little bit of a paint job, but for a 40-ish-year-old trailer, he's looking pretty good.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

The stove presented a little bit of a challenge. The oven has a pilot light. What about the stove? We couldn't find a pilot for it, so we just lit the burners as needed. Everything worked great, though.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

The cushions came out great, too. Now if someone would just fix that floor.

Camping trip, Deckers, Colorado

The light blue worked a lot better than the dark brown. Should have used a glossier paint, though, which would have been easier to clean. Lesson learned.