Mountains, marijuana and "The Shining" hotel were three of the first things that popped up in my head last year when I first learned of a wonderful journalism opportunity in Colorado.
I sat in my then-South Dakota home giddy with possibilities that waited in the Centennial State. As an outsider, the Front Range is usually what people think of first when Colorado is mentioned. The second, in my opinion, is the legal weed, especially us journalists who write about it. The third, well, that's up for debate.
For me, it was The Stanley, an inspiration for Stephen King's popular horror novel that later was made into a popular film, "The Shining." It's a good movie with a great actor, and when I come across it when flipping through TV channels, I stop and watch.
Who doesn't like a crazed Jack Nicholson yelling and running around in an empty hotel? I'm not the only one. A U.S. map floating around online that has more than 50,000 social media shares caught Colorado on the Web's attention. It's the U.S. map of horrors. Zoinks!
A horror movie labels each state, and "The Shining" represents Colorado. Some of the movies listed wouldn't scare serious horror-movie fans, but that's OK. To be fair, some states don't have much to pick from. I'm looking at you, North Dakota, and the "Leprechaun" movie that represents you.
I've been in Colorado Springs for roughly eight months and haven't made it to Estes Park to tour The Stanley. It's on my Colorado bucket list, along with taking in a show at Red Rocks and hiking Pikes Peak. The hotel's website lists two tours, including a night ghost tour. Spooky. Sign me up.
Estes Park is roughly 140 miles from Colorado Springs and from what I hear from my co-workers, a lovely place to visit. Who wants to carpool?
To see which other so-called horror movies represent each state, visit my blog at blogs.gazette.com/ontheweb.
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One of the most popular smartphone photo-taking apps around is Instagram. Do you Instagram? I do. Follow me at DaltonWalker1. I promise, I don't post food or memes.
Instagram is so popular that Facebook bought it. Thousands of people are on it and I can't think of many places better than Colorado to take full advantage of the app. If you're on Instagram, please include #csgazette when posting a photo on your profile. The hashtag allows the photo to filter to The Gazette's collage Web page dedicated to your Instagram images.
The page allows users to see what other people post and links back to Instagram in case you want to follow them. It's a quick and neat way to show your talent or to see the beauty of our backyard, filter or no filter.
Visit the collage here.
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Now that I have the attention of all the amateur photographers out there, be sure to enter in one or both of The Gazette's photo contests. We are looking for a "Quintessential Colorado" photo and already have almost 800 entries.
Two winners will each receive a $500 gift card to Mike's Camera and the top photos will be featured in the newspaper.
Winners who are Gazette subscribers will also get a $100 Visa gift card. The contest ends June 30, so get photo snapping.
Here's how to enter your photo and to see a gallery of the entries.
The other contest is a little more fun. We're challenging readers to re-create old photos and send them to us by June 30. Basically, find an old photo of yourself and take an updated version of it and send both to us.
The winner receives a $100 Visa gift card. The prize doubles if the winner is a Gazette subscriber.
Here are some re-created photo examples, courtesy of The Gazette Life staff, and info on how to enter the contest.
Have a Colorado on the Web idea? Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @Gazette-Dalton