Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

Denver homeowners! In media renovation? Get help and get on TV!

Rescue Renovation, a brand-new DIY Network show, is specifically looking for Denver homeowners who want help getting their renovations finished up. This press release from High Noon Entertainment gives all the details:

Stuck in the middle of your home renovation project?
Don’t know what comes next?
In over your head?

Share your struggle and get some help!

Producers at High Noon Entertainment are searching for Denver-area homeowners with stalled-out home renovation projects for the next hit DIY Network show. Homeowners chosen to appear on the show will share their incomplete, flawed and never-ending renovation with DIY Network’s contractor in order to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong and formulate a plan to turn the project around. DIY Network’s Stud Finder 2009 winner Kayleen McCabe and her expert team will spring into action and get to work, using tried and true renovation methods as well as some new modern twists to help the homeowners finally complete the project in 48 hours.

If your grasp of remodeling exceeded your reach, we’d love to hear from you!

Of course, there are some basic requirements you have to meet in order to qualify.

  • You must live in the Greater Denver area (Fort Collins to Colorado Springs OK), and…
  • have started, but have not finished, a remodel of one area of the home (demo stage preferred).
  • You must also have a compelling story about why you started the renovation and why you can’t proceed (this is the bit that makes for great TV!).
  • You must have an appropriate budget already set aside for the renovation (Rescue Renovations will help with labor and know-how).
  • And, very importantly, you need to be enthusiastic about being on TV and are ready to enhance your skills and finish the project once and for all!

If this sounds like you, this might be a great way to get your head back above water and yourself and your family back into a finished, beautifully renovated home. Email “Rescue” at “” for an application and for more information. And don’t forget to visit High Noon’s website, linked above, for more info about the people producing this new show.

Amazon to Colorado Associates: “You’re Fired!” continues to demonstrate their willingness to play the bully and to take hostages in their business dealings. Remember when they attempted to strong-arm the publisher Macmillian into pricing ebooks their (Amazon’s) way by deactivating the BUY buttons on all of their (Macmillan’s) authors, a tactic whose main victims were authors (who lost sales and possibly future publishing contracts thereby) and Amazon Associates affiliates (whose links suddenly were all broken), neither of whom had any say in the pricing scheme Amazon was supposedly protesting?

Not having yet learned how stupid it is to hurt the public whose opinion you hope to sway, Amazon have done it again. On March 8, they closed all Amazon Associates accounts owned by Colorado residents (some of whom aren’t even Colorado residents anymore, real smart there Amazon, there’s an extra helping of failsauce on your failburger) because they didn’t like the recent Colorado tax legislation:

In response to recent legislation in Colorado (HB 10-1193), has sent a letter to its affiliates in Colorado informing them that the on-line sales giant will no longer be advertising through businesses in the state that that make money by referring buyers.

In order to close a $1.5 Billion budget gap, Colorado Democrats this session have passed a law that would make it possible to collect sales taxes on on-line purchases by creating an economic nexus between state residents and on-line retailers.

The bill, which was part of a package of tax measures aimed at increasing revenue, originally sought to create a nexus between the state and on-line retailers based on their ties to local affiliate websites, which link to products. The bill was ultimately altered due largely to fears that retailers like Amazon would simply cut ties to Colorado companies that make money by referring buyers.

(Huffington Post, “Amazon Reacts To Colorado Internet Sales Tax Measure By Firing Its Colorado Associates.“)

So. Let me get this straight. To begin with, Amazon think they have as much right to influence Colorado legislation as do Colorado constituents, despite them not being Colorado constituents. Strike one. And they attempt to exert this right to influence Colorado legislation by essentially firing all their Colorado affiliates, and telling them that if they don’t like being fired, well, they should pressure their Colorado legislators into repealing HB 10-1193. Strike two. And they tell their Colorado affiliates this not back when the new bill was in the works, when a campaign of phone calls to legislators might have been a useful thing to organize, but instead on March 8, well after the new bill became law–and several hours after actually killing all the hostages. I mean the Associates accounts. Such that on March 8, with no warning, a whole bunch of Coloradans found themselves with broken links and a loss of revenue. Strike freakin’ three.

Given that HB 10-1193 was altered so that it would not affect affiliate referrals, why did Amazon still decide to fire their affiliates and yet still sell products to Colorado residents? Seems like, if you don’t want the burden of all that extra paperwork involved in either “collecting sales taxes or provid[ing] a summary of people’s web purchases in the state,” you stop doing business in that state so as not to be subject to that burden anymore. Why hurt an entire class of Colorado resident whose hurting gets you nothing but a loss of their good will? It would have made as much sense for Amazon to stop selling books by say, Connie Willis and other authors living in Colorado, and say that Colorado’s legislators “forced” them to do that.

Clearly, Amazon know better than to cut off their nose to spite their face. Thus they opt to spite their face by cutting off other people’s heads.

And for even richer irony, Amazon want you to think they oppose HB 10-1193 because it hurts small businesses. Newsflash: Amazon hurt small businesses by killing all Colorado-based Associates accounts.

There is, no doubt, a valid argument to be made against HB 10-1193. There are several arguments, ranging from “Not more tax-and-spend! Get out of my paycheck, big government!” to “Aren’t sales tax on online purchases prohibited by federal legislature?” to “Sales tax in any form is regressive and no state should levy it.” There are also arguments for HB 10-1193, such as “Online retailers, by not having to charge state sales tax, have an unfair advantage over local retailers, which advantage they enjoy at the cost also of everyone living in the state who relies on local infrastructure getting the funds allocated from sales tax in the state.” As I say, there are arguments in either direction.

But I’m not going to get into those arguments. I’m going to just point out the inarguable: Amazon think they are entitled to get their own way in all things, and are quite content to use hostage-taking tactics to get their way, hurting the very people who they ought to have sought as allies. Look, Amazon have actually managed to piss off opponents of HB 10-1193. That’s stupid of them.

I made very little with my own Associates account. I believe I had about $3 in there before they instituted a quarterly fee and reclaimed my meager earnings for themselves. And I had changed all my own Associates links into IndieBound Affiliate links back when Amazon, over Easter weekend 2009, suddenly delisted all search rankings for GBLT-related material as being in the “adult” category (because Heather Has Two Mommies = gay pr0n, right?) and subsequently tried to blame it on some dude in France. And the Macmillian incident only increased my resolve to close my Associates account. I aspire to be published by a Macmillian subsidiary myself, and I dislike having the validity of my links subject to sudden piques of Jeff Bezos’s temper. March 8, Amazon spared me the bother of closing my account myself. Amazon, you are dead to me. Good night, sweet prince. By which I mean “good riddance, you jerk.”

(Have you tried IndieBound, by the way? IndieBound helps you find books at, or refer people to, local, independent booksellers who actually have a stake in Colorado’s well-being! Unlike Amazon, who don’t even appear to have a stake in books!)

But I seriously feel for all those individuals and small businesses in Colorado for whom the Amazon Associates program provided a non-trivial portion of their revenue.

The Seasonal Vultures of Retail Leasing

It is a fact universally acknowledged that any retail space left vacant for a sufficient length of time must be in want of a seasonal discount store. Where the co-op used to be, there bloomed the Boulder Democratic Headquarters last year. Where Ross used to be in Diagonal Plaza before it moved down to Walnut, there blossoms the annual (or biannual, or perennial) Sniagrab (“Bargains Spelled Backwards!”).

And in the former downtown location of Borders Books, we’ve got Spirit.

Spirit at the old Borders

Spirit at the old Borders

Notice the “Cafe Espresso” sign still on the wall. I’d make a Hamletonian lament along the lines of “funeral meats not yet cold,” except, of course, they are. They are so cold. And they’ve been reheated by the warm summer sun. And the flies and crows have long since had their way with them. They are compost.

Not to be outdone, Halloween USA has taken over the ex-Circuit City.

Halloween USA at the old Circuit City

Halloween USA at the old Circuit City

This has been your official warning that, yo, Halloween is coming. Get ready, y’all.

Game on Versus Game On!

After much careful thought and deciding that my anger at 9news was misdirected, I’m withdrawing this post.  I’ll simply do strike through to ensure the post remains as a record of my writing.

Why?  After talking with Damon over at the original Game On! I came to the conclusion that my attempt at trying to poke 9news into actually responding to me/the social media world was two things.  One is that it was filled with a bit too much vitriol and probably soaked in a bit of bitterness.  And two is that it was probably hopeless.

9news has reached out to me once in regards to a news story via DM on twitter.  I responded and then gave the person some ideas on how they could be involved with the twitter/social media world.  I received no response back to those overtures.  They were not filled with ill intent.  I simply gave ideas.

No response.  Therefore (and based on others in the twitter world I’m not alone) I’m giving up on trying to reach them through the means of the social media world.  It’s become quite clear they don’t (at least at this time) intend to use the tools and services that are in the here and now.

My apologies to 9news for the chip in my shoulder feeling the below article featured.  It was not something I’m particularly proud of as a writer/blogger.


Aaron DeLay

Denver, be the judge. See the following blog posts about a name situation that’s come up between two stores. One is Game On, recently founded by a young man who lost his mother to tragic circumstances. 9news covered this story for their news broadcast and promoted the store.  Read the below blogs to get the full, complete and total story before you read my opinionated reaction.

Damon’s Blog about the issue and Game On!’s blog about it.

In the other corner is Game On! a store founded seven months ago and has been working aggressively in putting their image out into the community. They’re online, they’re twittering, facebooking and everything else you should be doing in the social media world.

In the middle of this is 9news. A station which has not uses twitter in a effective manner and for the most part ignored the social media (as far as I can tell). I have a simple question for 9news. Did you google “Game On” and “Denver”? Cause I did and guess what I found?

This. What research did you do on this story? I understand the underlying emotional impact this young man has experienced and the point of this story. I’m not upset about that. What I am upset about is for all the claims you make about being the best in the business, award winning, most watched and everything else…you couldn’t have one person verify that indeed this is the only store with the name “Game On”? Took me five seconds.

I don’t want to jump the shark (I’ve done that far too many times in my lifetime) but I’d like to know that someone thought this through or at least knows about the long and arduous journey Game On! has been on to make it where they are.

Maybe I’m writing this in anger (there’s a very good chance) but I’d like to see 9news exhibit better skills and talents in running a story.

Hopefully 9news has a opinion on this.

The other issue that I’m leaving alone for now is the name issue. The stores share near exact logos and names. This will need to be solved, but I’ll leave that up to the management at both locations. Hopefully something can be worked out.

The Amtrak Pioneer Line: Back From The Dead?

Squee #1 – Amtrak are considering reviving the Pioneer line which used to run between Denver and Seattle (discontinued 1997). Imagine that – Denver Union Station actually serving more than one long distance train route! Wouldn’t that be something? Just four years ago, I heard no common knowledge beyond “Rail travel is dying, enjoy it while you can.” I get wistful looking at those signs in the Union Station tunnel naming and dating all the routes that are no more. The idea of any Amtrak route being raised from the dead fills me with more delight than I can adequately express. And that the route under consideration serves the Denver area? Squee indeed!

Squee #2 – Boulder City Council are urging Amtrak officials to alter that old line a bit. The Pioneer used to run through Greeley, but considering all the local support surrounding FasTracks and the much-anticipated Boulder Transit Village, they suggest the revived Pioneer run instead through Boulder. Direct rail travel from Boulder to Seattle? OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!1!1!!!eleven!

I done saw it in the Daily Camera (also in the Colorado Daily, for more detail, via Twitter feed AmtrakNews) where the sole commenter as of this moment is voicing support for the reinstated line but not for “regular Amtrak trains through Boulder.” I’m not quite sure why. Do they fear the noise and congestion of 20 TRAINS DAY, I SAID TWENTY MILLION TRAINS A DAY, SINGING A BAR OF ALICE’S RESTAURANT– Dude, chill. You got any reason to expect the Pioneer will run more often than the California Zephyr, which is to say once a day in either direction? You think that’ll add any significant hullabaloo to the existing freight traffic that passes daily through town on the BNSF? Or maybe they worry that Boulder will suddenly host a super big amount of car traffic as the new Amtrak Mecca? I am confused. Enlighten me.

As for me, I totally support an Amtrak stop in Boulder. Do you? Squee here! Don’t you? Explain!

And We Did It All For The Smart Grid

As you probably know, Boulder will be the first Smart Grid city in the U.S.

As you possibly did not know, ’cause I certainly didn’t know until just now a minute ago when the robo-call came in, portions of Northeast Boulder will experience an interruption of service tomorrow, Thursday May 14th, starting around 12:30 PM.

How Northeast? Think roundabouts where the Bolder Boulder 10K starting line is. Remington Post, sure. Diagonal Plaza? Alterra/The Atrium? Eagles Nest and the various units on O’Neal? Dunno.

Prepare to do something non-electric, go elsewhere for your wi-fi and A/C fix, or just gloat that you’ll be at work anyway and won’t notice a thing. Me, I’ll be taking a nice walk around the block, maybe bring the socks I’m knitting with me. After all, the weather’s supposed to be lovely.

Shouting out: Did you get a robo-call today? Write in and tell us so, and roughly where you live. No, don’t give out stalkeriffic personal data; just give an intersection or something. Comment anonymously if you like. It might be cool to try to predict via Super Blog Community Powah! exactly how wide the area affected should be.

Real Estate Tax Assessments

Today I spoke with a few of my friends about their property tax assessments.

Jefferson County recently sent out their assessments for this year.  Ours went up by a ridiculous amount and I had to ask a few of my friends whether they had seen similar increases.  They all reported the same thing.  Their assessments were raised by $50,000, $60,000, even $150,000 from the previous year.

Needless to say, we are all going to appeal.

The question is – why?  Given what we all know to be a major drop in real estate values, why would Jefferson County have picked this year to increase our assessments by such large amounts.

We all came to the same conclusion – they need the money….  I think this is also why there are so many police cars out their handing out speeding tickets.  They need the revenue.  And they are taking it out on us.

Real Estate and New Home Construction in Denver

Yesterday I spoke with two of my friends from my Karate Dojo.  One is a realtor and the other owns a new home construction company.  I just wanted to get a feel for how the economy is affecting their businesses.

The realtor told me that he is as busy as ever, but the average closing price is much lower than at this time last year.  Last year, his typical home sale was in the $200,000 – $300,000 range.  This year it is much closer to $100,000.  He says that many of the home buyers are first-time buyers trying to take advantage of the $8,000 stimulus checks being cut by the federal government.

My other friend’s construction business has been at a standstill for the last several months.  He is barely hanging on.  However, he did say that he has a new project beginning in a month.

I plan to keep my ear to the ground and report on what other business owners in the Denver area are telling me about their businesses over the coming weeks and months.

Stimulus Money Hits Denver

A good friend of mine who is a realtor in the Denver area told me that one of his clients received an $8,000 check from the Federal Government only two weeks after closing on his new house.

I believe that the Stimulus and Recovery package that President Obama recently signed provides for $8,000 to be paid to any first-time home buyer. Apparently, the Federal Government is getting that money out pretty quickly.

A few announcements…

Hey Denver!  How you be doing?

I wanted to jump in here and announce that AMC Theatres has given me a great chance to do some blogging, vlogging, intervewiing, twittering and all kinds of fun stuff for the upcoming “Best Picture Showcase” going on on the 21st of Feb all day at Westminster Prom and Highlands Ranch 24.  30 bucks gets you five films for review before the Oscars.  Cool, huh?

Well, I’ll be at the Westminster Prom doing live blogging, twittering, vlogging when I can and whatever else I can to take advantage of being able to report on a local event.  Who knows, maybe we’ll have a streaker or something.  You never know in the crazy town of Denver.

Well, odds are not in my favor on the whole streaker thing.  But I could pay a guy…

You’re welcome to seek me out, email, comment or whatever manner of contacting me suits you (no stalking please, I do have scruples) so we can meet up, discuss and hell, even vlog if you’re up for it.

Also, the Denver Metblogs Vlog project is still alive and kicking.  I rendered a instro (see below) and will be working on putting together ideas and thoughts for that part.  You’ll see a video from me here in the next few days on that topic.  So, you have my sexy hot mug to look forward to here in the next few days.  That’s motivation enough to check back or even add us to your feed readers.

Ok, at least give us a chance?

More to come in the next few days.

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New Fancified Intro:

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