Friday, May 22, 2009

Denver, 2nd Anniversary: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

**This post is possibly the longest one ever, mostly since Friday was a busy day**

Friday morning was more splitting. JB, Kathy, Eilbroun, Colleen, and I went to the Hammond’s Candy Factory for a tour. It was really pretty impressive. Every single thing they make is done by hand, and 90% of the machines they use (for adding air to candy and heating it and stuff) are from the 1920s and 30s! They spend 11 months doing Christmas candy, and 1 month doing Valentine’s and Easter. They mostly do hard candy, but do chocolates as needed (they don’t keep nearly as long). I took a ton of photos of the candy-making process, which was just so fascinating. They make 2,000 pounds of candy 6 days a week (closed on Sundays), and operate at ½ staff on Saturdays and Mondays, since employees get two sequential days off each week (and they work in 85-100 degree conditions! Yikes!). You could try a bunch of things, and I wasn’t really sold on any in particular. The ribbon candies, lollipops, and filled candy canes were the neatest, in my opinion. I bought a piece of fudge (which was more like a giant truffle!), and JB had a peanut butter finger (which he likened to a "giant peanut butter ball") and an orange-cream barber pole.

this is how they make ribbon candy!

he's making barber poles

this lightens the color, all you do is add air!

this is the chocolate line


Colleen went to the Celestial Tea Tour, and the rest of us went to meet the other groups for lunch at Mr. Sushi in Littleton. Emmanuel swears that it’s the best sushi ever. While the pieces of fish are quite large, it’s not the best place ever in Jonathan’s or my opinions. There were probably 12 or so of us at lunch, and I was the only one not to order miso soup or sunomono salad, so my entrée came first. I got the shrimp yakisoba, which was a semi-spicy stir-fried dish with noodles and veggies. It was pretty good. JB got the chicken teriyaki, and we split a Philly Roll (cream cheese and salmon). The teriyaki sauce was great, and I added some to my rice (which somehow came as a side to my noodle dish, LoL). I tried some of Kathy’s Ace roll but it had tempura in it so I wasn’t a huge fan. Andy had some great-looking eel, and Vanessa got a SkyDiver roll… with tuna, salmon, crab, and a ton of stuff.

Emmanuel and the boat

my shrimp yakisoba

JB's chicken teriyaki and sunomono salad

Kathy and I split from the group, as they were headed to the Coors Brewery for a tour; she had been before and since I don’t drink beer I didn’t really care for a brewery tour (plus I’ve toured a microbrewery before). Kathy and I were planning to drive up to Boulder for the Celestial Tea Tour that Colleen did, but as I called to confirm they weren’t booked, they informed me they were closing at 3pm instead of 4pm… which meant we wouldn’t make the final tour. So we figured that we’d hit some botanical gardens, as there’s one in Littleton and one in Denver, both with special exhibits going on. Well, we tried the one in Littleton first, and since it was a complete bust, we opted not to go to the one in Denver. There were no flowers, no clear pathways, and when we finally found the administration building to get a map, we found out that several “exhibits” were off-season, including the corn maze and pumpkin patch (although we should’ve guessed).

We asked about other area attractions, & were directed to the local US Corp of Army Engineers building. So we trekked over there to find a friendly park ranger. Since the station was on a big lake, we asked about renting canoes or something, which he said was pretty much prohibitively expensive. He recommended Bear Creek Lake, about fifteen miles away, so we took off for that. We get there and ask the attendant about options. She gives us a pamphlet, we decide we’ll rent kayaks or paddleboats, and go to pay the entrance fee. The attendant then says the only thing open right now is waterskiing… everything else is closed until Memorial Day. So we leave that place. We get out to the main road and see a sign for Red Rocks.

at the Army place, they had a mammoth skull!

So we spent the next couple hours seeing the amphitheater and hiking one of the trails. We were both in shorts and sandals, so we couldn't do anything too rough. We were able to see some great sites, and I'm glad that we ended up there in the end. It was really hot, so we stopped for ice cream on the way out of that area at Blue Cow Eatery, a very local place with friendly servers. I had a vanilla milkshake and Kathy has a chocolate malt. Both were prety good, and the menu looked pretty neat too, if anyone is every up in Morrison, CO, hehe.

we ran into a wedding taking place!

this is the Sinking Titanic rock

This is 9 Rocks rock

The amphitheater and the view!

A view of the city from the top of Red Rocks Amphitheater

We met up with all but one of the other groups for dinner at the Hard Rock Café. JB and I split a The Big Cheese (burger) and fries. Delicious. From there we went to the Denver Museum of Art, since it’s open until 10pm on Friday nights. There are two buildings, and one was already closed (at 5pm), but we were able to complete the other building (4 floors), so that was cool. I was pretty bummed that the Sculpture Deck was closed, since I enjoy their uniqueness.

this is a hygrothermagraph, it measures the humidity in the museum

Jim Dine's "Wheat Fields"

I forgot to mark down what this work is

this was a creepy face that screamed weird things

Sandy Skoglund's "Fox Games" - a large installation piece

there was a video running in one room, the voices didn't match the characters

Rachel Lachowicz's "One Month Late" is made of lipstick and wax, and shows the obstacles women must overcome

This piece fascinates me. "Four Purple Velvet Bathrobes" by Beverly Semmes illustrates the concept that :a woman can never be too thin, too tall, or too rich." At the same time, it shows flowing and puddled water.

another fascinating idea. Mona Hatoum's "Untitled (Wheelchair II)" marks the idea of one trapped person forced to depend upon yet injure another.

My jaw dropped at this one. Fred Wilsons's "Untitled (Atlas)" has the weight of the classics (European and American only...) on his shoulders, while he stands on top of an African volume.

Who knew Andy Warhol did Native American works?

um, wow. Daniel Sprick's "Release Your Plans"

Karen E. Kitchel's "American Grasslands: Crop, Lawn, Pasture, and Prairie"

William Acheff's "Pueblo Trilogy"

Vanessa and Emmanuel just bought a house, so they had a housewarming party on Saturday. The house itself is fairly big, a 3/2.5 that’s two stories with a basement. They also have a ton of closets and a decent-sized fenced backyard. The theme of the party was Olympics, and each of eight teams had four players for six different events. I was one of two or three referees, and JB played for a team with Jim, Vivian, and Eilbroun. I had a great time, as I got to explain how to play Battleship eight times and make sure that nobody was cheating. I was amazed at how many people had never played the game, since I think of it as a staple along with Monopoly, Life, and CandyLand. Overall, Olympics took like five hours and was a great time. We went for Chick-Fil-A after that and then just hung out.

Eilbroun learning ladder golf, Vivian learning washers

JB practicing washers (it's like tossing a beanbag in a hole but harder)

Eilbroun and Vivian playing Battleship

Kathy and Steve playing Battleship

Andy and Tony playing Battleship

We had a 1:40pm flight back to San Jose, and I was really hoping we’d get to Clement Park that morning to see the Columbine Memorial. It didn’t happen, as we ended up needing to get a lot done before meeting up at 11:15 to carpool to the airport. We did get to have Qdoba for lunch again, which I was really happy about. The plane left on-time and I was able to upload another 450+ pictures to my computer, and begin the organizing and editing process. After we landed, it was a whopping 94 degrees out, and the apartment was sweltering. It was just the end of a heatwave though, as today it was back to the mid-70s.

more Denver pics:

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