Archive for September, 2013


I never watched James Gandolfini in the Sopranos, but I’ve enjoyed him in every movie role in which I’ve seen him.  Too bad he died so young — I’m about his age, and I feel young, in spite of what you youngsters in your 20’s and 30’s might think.  His character in Enough Said was totally believable, understated and funny.  His character was the perfect complement to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, the main character in the movie.  I enjoyed their conversations, and their inability to talk, sometimes.  Reminded me of the difficulties I’ve had in the past expressing my feelings.

Capitol Ave

Capitol Avenue View from the Railroad Depot

Last week, I spent most of my time working in Cheyenne Wyoming.

I flew into Denver the morning after torrential rains fell on the area.  Denver and some cities north were under flash flood warnings.  I drove on some streets with a little standing water, but made it to the little town of Wheatland, Wyoming for my first job.  It rained the whole way.  The next morning at breakfast, I heard the Big Thompson River had overrun !-25 and the interstate was closed south of Cheyenne.  Good thing I’d made it north of Cheyenne.  The drive to Cheyenne was uneventful, though it rained the whole time.  Just to let you know, I spent five days in Cheyenne, and it rained until the fifth day, when the sun finally came out.  While I was there, the flooding in Colorado had closed three highways leading back to Denver and flash flood warnings eventually were declared for areas around Cheyenne.

The reason I called this blog entry The Two Cheyennes is because of the differences in character between the southwestern (including downtown) and the northeastern sides.  Southwest Cheyenne was the historical part, with old houses, old motels and hotels and local restaurants giving the area character.  Northeast Cheyenne was like anywhere else in the country — big box stores and chain restaurants.  When I wanted a place to stay or eat, I kept to the southwest side.  When I needed to stock up on pop (Walmart) or mail a package (Office Depot), I went to the northeast side.

I had some free time on Sunday, so I did some sightseeing, ending up at Capitol Avenue, having the city’s historic railroad depot on one end and the state capitol on the other.  While I was downtown, I came across the Capitol Grille, in the Plains Hotel, which was a block away from the train depot.  The Capitol Grille served the best food I’d eaten while in Cheyenne (and I’d had some good food).  I walked into the hotel lobby and talked with the desk clerk.  I learned a little about the history of the hotel and more importantly, the room rates were about $40 cheaper than at the Holiday Inn Express where I’d been staying.  Well, when my work in Cheyenne was extended another day, I decided to spend the night at the Plains Hotel and had dinner again at the Capitol Grille.  After dinner, I stepped outside for a short walk, which ended up across the street at an old movie palace.  I decided to see The Lone Ranger and find out if it really was as bad as the critics said.  I thought the movie was better than they let on….  So, next time I find myself in Cheyenne, I know where I’ll be staying at and eating, right from the start.

The last day of my trip, I drove east into Nebraska, then south into northwest Kansas.  By then, there were flood warnings for cities along the South Platte River in Nebraska.  The river flows through Denver and northwest to Nebraska, catching all the water dumped on Colorado that week.  When I crossed the river, Highway Patrol and bridge engineers were inspecting the bridge, making sure it was still safe.  The river was flowing just a couple of feet below the pavement.  I’m glad I got across, because it afforded me the way to get back to Denver.  After finishing work in Kansas, I was able to drive back to Denver without crossing high water or using damaged roads.  I got lucky.


Recently I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the animated films I’ve seen.  I’ve found them formulaic, one-dimensional and not very funny (Planes).  So I was pleasantly surprised I enjoyed watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 this weekend.  The movie started out with a recap of the previous film, so anyone who hadn’t yet seen the first could understand why an island would be covered with giant food items.  In addition, the back story added new information which introduced the new characters in this film, who seemed to me to be a cartoon version of Steve Jobs and an assistant.

This movie wasn’t one-dimensional, in that the animation contained action in the background when the characters at stage front were saying their lines, and the humor in the film was aimed at both kids and adults.  But, the film wasn’t two-dimensional, either — it was 3D!  I know that’s nothing special these days, but the effects were fun to watch without an upcharge to my movie ticket (have I mentioned this was another free advance screening?).

My daughter said the movie was predictable because she was able to tell who the bad guy would be right away.  True, it wasn’t hard to figure that out, but I took pleasure in the many puns and slapstick humor, and the way the film skewered CEO’s and corporations.  I enjoyed the movie, overall, and feel other parents taking their kids to see it will find something to like, too.


When I was a kid, I remember watching Formula One racing because I was a fan of Mario Andretti.  But, I was a kid, and aside from Mario, I didn’t know anything about the sport.  So this movie was educational, for me.  I had no idea who Niki Lauda and James Hunt were.  The movie was about a scientific, methodical driver and his rivalry with a fun-loving, hard-living driver.  The film was grainy and scenes chaotic, which fit the time period.  I liked it.

Strange Day

Posted: September 12, 2013 in Random Thoughts
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So, it started raining hard just before I got to the airport.  Good thing I’d decided to use my hard case instead of the soft duffel bag for my clothes.

I was taking my usual nap on the flight to Denver, when the flight attendant’s voice woke me asking if there were a medical representative on board the plane to go to a certain row back behind me.  I opened my eyes to see all the folks in front of me craning their necks to see what was going on.  Never one to follow the crowd, I kept my eyes straight ahead.

Not much later, the plane hit some turbulence, and a woman walking down the aisle tripped and fell on me.

Apparently, the medical emergency on the plane had been taken care of, because when the plane landed, everyone got up out of their seats and filed out as usual.  As I walked off the ramp into the airport terminal, I saw a man fall over while he was walking.  I was about to go over to help, but someone else had seen the same thing and asked if he were OK.  He said yes, and feeling slightly embarrassed, wouldn’t let anyone help him up.

Found Denver in a state of panic after getting the rental car.  They’d had some rain overnight and were experiencing flash floods.  Water was ponding everywhere.  Luckily, I was able to get to the Interstate using roads that were only slightly pooling.  The rain was coming down hard for some time, but I finally drove out of it.  Remembered the last time I was in Colorado, unusually hard rains caused flooding then, too.

In Wyoming, I passed a sign saying “Wreck Ahead”, and pulled into the left-hand lane to steer clear of flashing lights ahead on the right shoulder.  There wasn’t exactly a wreck when I drove by, but a semi that had been gutted by fire, which spread to the trailer it had been pulling.  Remembered the last time I was in Wyoming, driving by flashing lights around an RV which had flipped over into a ditch.  It was raining that time, too.

And it seems I can’t escape the company of a fly.  Everywhere I’ve been today, there’s been a fly in the room that won’t leave me alone.  Wish I had carried a fly swatter with me….