Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The armed and psychotic ex-ranger who telephones death threats to the former best friend who hooked up with his GF when he was in prison... the abrasive narcissist with pot but no groceries and outstanding pay day loans... the confused high school drop out... the Mexican family man... the laid off Oxycontin withdrawals... the ex-marine trying to find a way beyond the Democrats and the Republicans who writes heavy metal songs about things he hates... the white, vegetarian Naropa University student with money and a sex drive... rock star gossip and the potentially sketchy website the Portuguese netlabel owner is sending me to sign up on... the king soopers where the strippers buy their groceries at 3 am... the DUI and your totaled car the week you are evicted... muckraking impotence... political betrayal... tattoos... concerts... alcohol and you... America.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here is the story of the snow:

Just before Halloween a large snow storm dumped 3-4 feet on the foothills and about 2 feet in Denver. Many schools were closed and the radio told people not to go to work if they can avoid it. This is the story of going to work in the snow.

The night the snow began to fall, before the temp had dropped and it was still a light rain / drizzle, I went down to the shop and learned how to attach snow plows onto 3/4 ton and 1 ton Chevy trucks. There are maybe 15 or so such trucks at the building services company I work for. Once they were attached we drove all the trucks to the gas station to fill them up in preparation for a long night. Then we went home.

Due to some trucks breaking down, I did not work the first night, because there were not enough trucks for me to drive one. So I had it off and got a lot of sleep in. The snow fell that night, all the next day, all the next night, and much of the day after that.

The next day I came into the shop at midnight. This is what my car that had been parked on the street the whole time looked like when I went to go drive it.

At the shop I got into truck 29 and followed my supervisor to an office park in the Denver Tech Center. I hopped into his truck and got a quick lesson on how to plow snow, check for curbs with a shovel, how to back drag, etc... With that I went to work and plowed the whole lot and then the back lot. Then I plowed it again. And then I plowed it again. Forwards, Backwards, Forwards, Backwards, etc... Used about 3/4 a tank of gas in 9 hours of driving around this one lot.

Here is the truck:

After all that I went to another office park and plowed it.

Our company for snow does three main things. The first is it has plows that plow. The second is that it has big sander trucks that dump a magnesium chloride "ice cutter" onto the pavement which works to melt the snow and keep it from refreezing. The third is that it has shovel teams who clear the snow off walkways and stairs so people can walk into and from the building.

By the time I was about done plowing this next lot I got instructions over the radio to head back to the shop. One of the shovel teams was all out of ice cutter and I was sent to go get some more for them. I dropped my truck off at the shop and picked up another truck which already had 10 100 lb barrels of this stuff sitting in its bed. Then I drove back to the job and dropped it off. Then before the 13.5 hour shift without a break or lunch was completed I helped shovel and throw this ice cutter down for a while. You can distribute the ice cutter by hand by taking the lid off the barrel, picking up a lot of the chemical and putting it onto the lid, and then walk around with the lid like a tray throwing the chemical onto the walkways.

You want to be sure to use work gloves and not your personal nice warm gloves to do this because the ice cutter can bleach your clothes / gloves if it touches them and and can also start to burn them.

Then went home and slept.

The next night I returned to the shop at midnight and picked up a truck. Plowed the first lot I had origionally plowed 3 times for a fourth time and then drove to another lot and plowed half of it while another truck plowed the other half.

After this I had off to go play a show in ft collins, which was a story in itself. Then there was Halloween and I dressed as a skeleton and went dancing.

Last night I was back in to do some snow clean up, with bob cat loaders and the one tons. Where the snow drifts the plows made were very large in certain lots and spilling over far onto the parking spaces the bobcat would scoop them up in big chunks and dump them into the one tons. These trucks have beds that raise up so you can dump their contents, kind of like a dump truck. We'd then drive to a back, not so much used area of the lot, and make these really big piles of snow / ice / slush.

This pile here is about 8 feet high

Here's how such a pile gets made:

The one ton on the left has returned from elsewhere in the lot with a bed full of snow a loader has dumped into it. Here he is backing up into the pile (the bright lights on the left side of that image are his headlights. Once he dumps, a second loader (visible on the right side of the photo) consolidates the load scooping it into a tall mound that takes up less of the parking lot.

News articles about the storm: