Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spotting The Potential

She sat there at the table looking out the window
Feeling like the loneliest woman in the world

The cup of coffee in front of her growing cold
As she thought about the different life she could have lived
If she had only learned to spot the potential

Some opportunities offer the chance to win
Some opportunities almost guarantee you'll lose
Everything's a risk so you have to learn to calculate the odds
And the potential that everything could go wrong
Or possibly right

There's Not A Title For This Picture

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Modern Trap

You will strive to learn all that you can learn
You will work as hard as you can work
You will push, you will provoke
You will drive yourself as fast and hard as you can drive

To achieve what? The longest obituary, the most generous will?

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Month At The Lakewood Museum Of Discarded Art...

Boondogglers Are Gonna Boondoggle...

There you go...the new Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center, only 146 days until the projected opening date. Looks...monolithic, no? 

The design is intended to evoke an image of wings, it essentially being a wing added to DIA.

I can almost hear the comments around the room during the design phase..."It's not an addition to the airport, it's a new wing of the airport...get it? planes have wings, and the hotel/transit center is a new wing..."

DIA, which is the enormous circus tent like structure directly behind the monolithic wings, was designed with the intention of evoking an image of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

I'm sure you see that, and not an enormous white circus tent.

That design must of been chosen because it's a little hard to see the Rocky Mountains themselves all that well from DIA, the airport being located on the prairie about 25 miles northeast of downtown Denver.

The 519 room hotel comprises the lion's share of the building, along with a 26,000 square foot conference center, a large public plaza with restaurants and areas to relax, and of course the transit center where you can catch the light rail for a brisk 35 minute ride into Denver (well, you'll be able to do that when the light rail lines are finished, not Jan 1st 2014 as originally projected, but about another year down the road - in the meantime, you can take the bus).

In November of 2014, the Denver City and County Auditors office released a report that was critical of DIA's management of the South Terminal Redevelopment Project (STRP for short), and claimed the final cost of the hotel and transit center was going to come in at around $730 million, considerably more than the original $500 million budget.

For the hotel alone, the auditors stated the cost would total close to $599 million.

The report was lambasted by the staff at DIA, with a published defense that claimed the audit was a politically motivated attack on DIA and the current city administration by the City and County of Denver's auditors.

I'm trying to follow that logic...the City and County of Denver employs auditors who are tasked with auditing City and County of Denver operations, including capital improvement projects such as the STRP...they do their job...and suddenly the auditors are engaging in a politically motivated attack...got it.

I will use the DIA management's own published numbers for the STRP's total expected costs to determine if indeed there is malice afoot,

Hotel and transit center:        $580 to $586 million
Other capital improvements: $78 to $81 million
RTD rail line costs:                $56 to $58 million
Total:                                     $714 to $725 million

So...publishing a report stating the total cost will reach $730 million is an attack...right.

What is interesting about the latest numbers that DIA has published is that they also published the preliminary estimates that were used to sell the bond issue alongside the new estimates. 

Originally, it was $500 million for the hotel and transit center, $0 dollars (as in, zero) for "Other capital improvements," and $26 million for RTD rail line costs.

So...a $526 million bond issue projection results in a highly probable $200 million dollar overage by DIA's own count...nothing to get excited about there.

BTW, when I state "bond issue," I am referring to General Aviation Revenue Bonds, which are sold by DIA to fund airport related projects. DIA sold $1.6 billion in GARB's in 2013 and 2014 - an amount which was added to DIA's already considerable debt load.

Of course, all DIA will have to do to buy down that debt is raise the parking rates, increase what airlines pay to use the airport, squeeze concessionaires a little more, and maybe ratchet up the airport sales tax rate a percent or two...the average traveler will barely feel the bite.

All that aside though, the one thing that I cannot fathom is...how in the hell is a 519 room hotel with a 26,000 square foot conference center coming in at $580 to 599 million dollars? That's over one million dollars a room. 

519 three bedroom, two bathroom homes with attached two car garages can be built for less than 15% of that, including the cost of land and permits.

On the topic of land, It's not like they had to buy any more of it for the project - DIA covers an area of 53 square miles (that's twice the size of the city of Manhattan, BTW, and it doubled the area of the city of Denver when it was acquired from Adams County in 1989), so there is plenty of land there for expansion.

And you know, it being a City and County of Denver project, I'm certain the permits were fairly easy to get.

Do hotels cost this much to build everywhere? Let me check out other recent hotel construction projects. To the Google!

Let's see...the single largest Marriott hotel in the world was completed in Indianapolis in 2011. It has 1,005 guest rooms, and is part of Marriott Place, which has a total of five Marriott hotels (which are all connected to each other and the Indianapolis convention center). 

The new large Marriott hotel has literally four times the conference room space (104,000 square feet) of the new DIA hotel (26,000 square feet) along with 3 restaurants and one of the largest ballrooms in the world. 

So, it's bigger than the new DIA hotel. Much bigger.

Especially when you factor in the other hotels that are part of Marriott Place. Man o' man, that must of cost billions!

Nope. The total cost for the entire Marriott Place, and I mean all five hotels, in 2011?

$450 million. Total. Yes, total - that includes the cost of the 622 room Marriott across the street, and three other smaller Marriotts.

The rebuttal to the City and County of Denver's auditors report did include a comment alluding to the "higher building material and labor cost in the Denver area," so maybe I should compare apples to apples. 

How about if I use the single most expensive privately owned building ever built in the state of Colorado for comparison?

That would be the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Denver. It is 45 stories tall and boasts 766,487 square feet of usable space. It was completed in 2010 for $350 million, a few coins more than $456 a square foot. 

The new DIA hotel is 14 stories and a total of 433,000 square feet of usable space. A little bit of math here...580 million divided by 433,000...equals $1,339 a square foot.

Holy cow. Someone is getting rich off of DIA. Or more likely, richer.

And without the expense of buying the land, the huge benefit of an extremely stream-lined permit process, and apparently, a major city agency's protection from the evil forces of the City and County of Denver Office of the Auditor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Painfully Obvious

It's great to be excited about life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hooray! The Drought Is Over...Man, That Was One Hot Week!

Last week the state officially declared the drought was over. 

Immediately following that announcement came the first ninety-degree plus day of the year, followed by several more. Almost a weeks worth. But today the heavy clouds moved back in and right around 7:30 in the evening a hard rain fell for a bit over a half hour.

Which was nice, as I was getting concerned I might have to water my lawn for the first time since October of 2014.

Monday, June 22, 2015

All Out To Get You

This guy I know
Is certain everyone is out to get him
Tells me they're digging up his past
In hopes of finding incriminating evidence
Of some of the darker deeds he has committed

Each and every time I see him
I tell him he's getting extremely paranoid
And that not many people, much less everyone
Are even aware of his existence
Much less out to get him

But he insists, he swears
That there are people everywhere taking note
Of everything he does, everything he says
I try to get him to relax, tell him he's flipping out
While I try to get him to lean in closer

To the microphone

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Long, Long Day

Swami Vivekananda's Intuitions

All the misguided, misinformed, mislead
Doing everything they can to create a world they can comprehend
Or at least tolerate
Unable to understand
That the world does care to be recreated to suit
The visions of deluded, irrational, misanthropes
Still they rail, rant and rave
For the chance to set things right, set things
Never once considering for even the slightest moment
That it is not the world that needs to be comprehended
Or needs to be tolerated
It is them

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Rock Will Always Roll Back Down The Hill

Mankind fumes about the state of the planet while Time and Nature laugh like drunken hyenas. The arrogance of mankind must be the single greatest source of amusement for the powers that be. The human race struts across the face of the earth full of hubris, declaring itself the master of all it surveys, seemingly blind to the obvious temporary state of it's existence. A deafening crescendo of angry voices declare that we are destroying the planet with our decadent, wanton befoulment of the environment, while the ghosts of a million extinct species scream in reply, "No you fools, you will never destroy the planet - the planet will destroy you."

Nature and it's ally Time always win. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

There's Always A Little Under The Surface

He'd said something
Or maybe it was just words to the effect
She noticed one thing
The delivery was spot on perfect

They spent the whole of the evening
Talkin' about chances never taken
They were not looking for any deep meaning
Just a chance at a dream before waking

She liked the feeling
Of being someone's special someone
Never intended to be so revealing
Never intended to peel every layer of the onion

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Make Up Your Mind, I Haven't Got All Day

                   Good thing the city got the medians mowed while they had the chance...

First order of business for the day, open the front door

It had rained all night, but it was barely a drizzle now

Birds are in the trees, chirp, chirp, chirping away

A squirrel makes it's way across the telephone line highway

The couple from down the block are walking their dogs

An early morning jogger plods on by

It's a grand morning, even without much sun

So what's it going to be cat, are you going out or not?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

He Thought He Knew Exactly How They Felt

He was once in the habit of attending the funerals of suicides

Just so that he could tell their coffins he knew exactly how They felt
Alone, unsatisfied, betrayed, disconsolate, angry
Of life, of people, of trying, of failing, of not being 
Of watching the scum of the earth win 
Of watching wonderful people lose

He would stand there
 Why it wasn't his funeral

Why hadn't he been the one to 
Jump off the bridge
Throw himself into the ocean
Put a gun to his head
Swallow the rest of the pills in the bottle
String the rope over the rafters
Run the hose from the exhaust pipe
Drive right through the guardrail
Step in front of the train

One day it occurred to him 

That since he hadn't done any of those
Hadn't even considered doing any of the them
Then it was rather obvious
That he didn't really know how they felt

So he stopped going to the funerals of suicides

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Results Of A Six Week Rain

Here in Colorado, it has rained everyday or night for about six weeks straight, resulting in a doubling of the average spring rainfall. 

It has been a nuisance in some ways, as some areas of the state experienced serious flooding. However, it has been overwhelmingly beneficial for the most part, as the rain has filled nearly every reservoir to the brim, as well as replenished groundwater sources.

Of course, it has also resulted in some serious plant growth. My lawn has never looked this good, and the foothills that comprise the western border of Lakewood are greener than ever.

The street medians have become quite overgrown though - that picture above is of the median just down the block from my house - city employees started mowing yesterday, but it looks as if they ran out of gas about halfway through that particular stretch. Or maybe the weeds and grass beat the mower back...that is some tall and thick weed and grass.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Oh Yeah...I Was Supposed To Remember This Advice & Apply It

Many years ago I was given a few words of sage advice from an old man. Advice that I promptly ignored and forgot about completely until I was reminded of it today.

The words of advice were; 

   The key to living a healthy and happy life is remembering that half of all joy in life comes from developing your mind to the best of your ability, and the other half of all joy in life comes from developing your body to the best of your ability. If you only do one and not the other, you will only ever know half of the joy that is possible in life.

Or words to that effect - difficult to remember verbatim.

Guess I better start working on that.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Motivating Factor

If she had anything that could be described as a burning desire, it was a burning desire to get caught up. She couldn't fathom why it was so difficult to get caught up, but it seemed to always be the brass ring just out of her reach. There was so much she wanted to get done, stuff to get rid of - but she never seemed to be able to get any of it done, never seemed to be able to get rid of anything.

At times it seemed to her that the more she got done and the more stuff she actually got rid of, the more things would suddenly pop up that needed to be done, and the more stuff would just...accumulate.

What really frustrated her was the fact that she never felt like she really had much going on at any one time, and that being the case, she should have plenty of time to get everything that needed to be done, done.

She tortured herself thinking that having nothing much else going on was a part of the problem - since nothing was pressing and there was nothing that absolutely had to be done, there was just no incentive, no compelling motivation.

One day it occurred to her that what she needed was a reason. A reason that was undeniably, unquestionably, incontrovertibly...right.

It was only a few days after that thought had popped into her head that she stumbled across what she believed to be the perfect reason. It was so simple - all she needed to do was...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sketches In Ballpoint Pen From May 28th & June 4th 2015

I was asked the other day if I had a foot fetish. Actually, no, I was told the other day that I must have a foot fetish - by a friend who was looking through one of my sktechbooks, 

The thing is, I don't. I have a line fetish, See, feet have a lot of lines - folds, creases, ridges, etc.. and for reasons far beyond the keen of my intellect, I enjoy drawing lines. Lots and lots of lines. 

Hence all the feet, hands, and lips. All of those parts have myriad lines.   

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TD's Hand, Ten Days Later

           Kids, learn a bit about the safe handling of knives before you start cutting into an avocado

The bandages are off, stitches out, and movement has returned to all fingers. The fingers are still a bit swollen, but it's just a matter of time before they are back to normal. 

TD is going to have one heckuva scar as a reminder to get a tetanus shot at least once every ten years.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

If The Doctor Mentions "Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting" It's Probably Serious

A buddy of mine is scheduled to have open heart surgery in about two weeks. He is approximately the same age as I am, and quite close to the same height & weight. I actually thought he & I were about the same in terms of physical fitness and overall health, but apparently we are not.

The wild thing is, this will be his third open heart surgery - the first operation was 14 years ago.

Makes one feel very, very lucky. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Horrible Man & Excellent Man

In a park near the waterfront, the most powerful evil being on the planet was sitting next to the most powerful good being on the planet one pleasant Spring morning. The sun was yet to burn off the early haze that seemed to screen the sky, and dew still coated the grass. 

As they watched the strollers and joggers, the dog-walkers and the bike riders, both of them sipped on hot coffee and nibbled on scones. Powerful Good Being enjoyed a delicious white chocolate chip scone while Powerful Evil Being savored the taste of a ginger-orange flavored scone.

"So. let me ask you something that has been on my mind for awhile," Powerful Evil Being said to Powerful Good Being between bites. "Why is it you devote so much time and energy to thwarting my evil plans day-in and day-out, while ignoring the actual evil actions of brutal tyrants and thuggish dictators, manipulative terrorist masterminds and mentally unstable if not actually criminally insane autocratic despots?"

Powerful Good Being looked at Powerful Evil Being for a long hard minute and then replied, "Well, it's fairly simply Duane (Powerful Evil Being's first name is Duane, and the two had been on a first name basis for quite some time). See, the normal, non-superpowered inhabitants of this planet, they have no chance against you - com'on, you can lift the tops off entire mountains and toss them half a mile."

Powerful Evil Being smiled a little upon hearing the back-handed compliment, but then retorted, "Yeah, but it's not like I'm repressing millions of people, denying them basic human rights, or forcing them to believe what I think they should believe under pain of death - all I ever try to do is steal all the gold in Fort Knox or the Mona Lisa, and you know, that's just stuff, not murderous ideology."

"Yeah," said Powerful Good Being, 'I get where you're coming from, but the thing is, everything those dictators, tyrants, despots and even the criminally insane do are things the normal, non-superpowered inhabitants are easily capable of either preventing or taking care of themselves. None of those dictators, tyrants, despots or even the criminally insane have superhuman powers - they live and die just like the rest of them. It's my view that the normal inhabitants have to take responsibility for the horrible members of their own tribe, if you will, themselves - I'm not a babysitter."

For a few minutes Powerful Evil Being sipped his coffee and enjoyed the ginger-orange scone, then said, "Okay Stan (Powerful Good Being's first name was Stanislaus, Stan for short), I understand. I guess I have somewhat of the same philosophy, except I think I wouldn't mind just once being able to attempt a robbery at an art museum without having to deal with you."

"Not gonna happen," replied Powerful Good Being. "Not in your wildest dreams."