Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Spanky's Get Together



I got together with a group of current and former University of Denver friends at Spanky's last night, an "urban roadhouse" just to the west of the DU campus.  Since the university is on summer break, the place was kind of slow, which made for good and attentive service, even if most of us were sticking with the happy hour burgers.  From left to right in the photograph above is first of all Joe, who works several days a week at the DU Bookstore, which is now run by Follett Higher Education Group (which unceremoniously laid me off from the store exactly one year to the day from when I started, per the outsourcing agreement the University of Denver negotiated, but let's move on).  The rest of the time Joe teaches at the Art Student's League of Denver and also works on his own artwork. Next is Mark, a familiar face to all who read this blog, and who works at the University of Denver's Academic Commons (why can't they just call it the library, for God's sake?).  Mark will soon be off to cruise the Baltic.  Next to him is Owen, Joe's brother, who worked for many years in the DU Bookstore's computer department, then for Follett when the store was outsourced, and who now works for the University of Denver's Technology Services Department.  Good for you, Owen. Next is Wally, who also worked for the bookstore when it was part of DU, and who still works there under the Follett regime two days a week - at least until classes begin in the fall, when his hours will ramp up.  And finally, next to Wally, is Darrel, who for many years was the DU Bookstore's Accounts Payable Manager, and who after the store was outsourced worked as the office manager for DU's Chemistry Department, until retiring a few years ago.  Darrel and his wife Linda are from Iowa, and they recently spent a month in Oceanside, California, living the good life, before Darrel and his grandson Joel  took a road trip through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  Me?  I worked.  What's wrong with this picture? Good to see you all again, guys.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Steve Raymer Appears At The Tattered Cover Bookstore



Steve Raymer, a National Geographic photo journalist for 25 years, appeared at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lower Downtown Denver last night to talk and present a slide presentation on his new book Somewhere West of Lonely:  My Life in Pictures.  Raymer was a 22 year old lieutenant in Vietnam, and later went to school at the University of Wisconsin and won several awards for his photographs.  One day he got a call from National Geographic for a job interview and was hired, he was told, because of his unique way of looking at the world.  And I must say, he is a good speaker and a great photographer, and I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation.  After his career with National Geographic, Raymer taught at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, but still traveled with his wife throughout the world on photo adventures and has published a number of photography books.  Talk about a dream job.  Great to hear you speak, Steve.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Demon Crown



I am currently reading Demon Crown, the latest adventure novel by James Rollins.  I was able to snap up an advanced reading copy of the book, and finally got down to reading it this past week, long after the book was released.  As usual, the world is threatened from an ancient scourge, and the Sigma Force team, whose headquarters is located beneath the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.,  is the only hope for the survival of the world.  This time the cause of the plague is a piece of amber collected by James Smithson, founder of the Smithsonian, which contains prehistoric wasps that will destroy the planet if not stopped.  A Japanese World War II veteran who wishes to restore Imperial Japan launches an attack using these wasps on Hawaii.  Can Hawaii be saved, or will the United States be forced to destroy it to save the world?  Buy the book and see.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuk Tuk Possibilities



As regular blog readers know (and are probably sick of hearing by now), I am planning on retiring from my job as the bookkeeper of a local Denver bookstore chain at the end of next month.  And as the time gets nearer, I have to ask myself if I really want to retire?  Perhaps I just want to do something different for a while. And once again I began to think about being the owner-operator of a tuk tuk, the ubiquitous 3 wheeled taxi found throughout Asia, especially in India.  I checked the internet (always a source of reliable information) yesterday and found that someone tried to introduce tuk tuks into Denver in 2015.  I don't know if they are still in business or not, but from the photographs I have seen, they made a big mistake - the tuk tuks they were using were brand new, with no character at all.  I personally think what people would really go for is riding in a tuk tuk like the one in the photograph above, parked permanently at the Denver Zoo.  Hell, maybe the zoo would sell it to me for a bargain price.  I am a member, after all.  Fame and fortune here I come.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The All-Star Break



This is baseball's annual All-Star break, the mid-point of the season, and tonight is the All-Star game, this year being played at Washington's Nationals Park.  It is a time when the best players in baseball are honored by being voted in to play, and the remaining players get a 3 or 4 day break.   And as of today, the Colorado Rockies are a mere 2 games out of first place, with a .531 winning percentage.  Back in my home town of Chicago, the north side Chicago Cubs are in first place by 2 and a half games with a .591 winning percentage.  Meanwhile, on the south side of Chicago, where I grew up, the Chicago White Sox are 19 games out of first place, with a .347 winning (or is it called a losing?) percentage.  As my sister Susan - quite a White Sox fan herself at one time - recently said, "and you are surprised why?"   But hey - we still have the last half of the season to play, right?  Miracles can happen.  Especially on the south side of Chicago, right? Right?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Some Welcome Rain



As I recall (which is an iffy proposition for me these days), it was a pretty rainy spring, and people here hoped it would lessen the danger of forest fires this year.  Fat chance.  Toward the end of spring the rains stopped and the temperatures shot up, and lately it had been in the upper nineties every day. Until yesterday. While it was sunny and 97 in Denver on Saturday, yesterday it was in the 60s and rained much of the day. There are currently 4 forest fires burning in the State of Colorado, and the rain has been a great help to firefighters.  And so nobody's complaining.  Not even me, which is saying something.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Shout Out A "Say Hey!" To Jon Gray



Jon Gray pitched like an ace in the Colorado Rockies' victory over the Seattle Mariners last night, which is only fitting, since that was what he was supposed to be in the first place.  However, after struggling with his command, he was sent down to the Triple A Albuquerque Isotopes just a few days after I took the above photograph of him on Photo Day.  He was recalled just yesterday, and pitched great.  I suspect that even just a few weeks in Albuquerque must have put the fear of God into him, and he will do his damnedest to stay as  far away as possible from there.  The Rockies, by the way, are only 2 and a half games out of first place, and have a good chance of making the playoffs again.  Go figure.