Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Watching Paint Dry

After the DU Bookstore closed tonight, we all had to wait for the sales figures to upload, the annual inventory to post, and then print the reports and close out the month of June. It is just like watching paint dry, but a lot less interesting. It gives you a lot of time to think. You often find yourself asking why you didn't join the French Foreign Legion when you were younger. I'll bet Chad is really nice this time of year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inventory Day at the DU Bookstore

It is inventory day at the University of Denver Bookstore - the day we all stay at the store until 10:00 P.M. or so, making sure everything gets counted. After that it is the job of the Bookstore's accounting staff to put together all the figures and balance everything for the university within the next two weeks. It is a lot of work to do in a short period of time. It is a good thing I am an expert at manipulating data and making things up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dee is Back!

Dee is back looking out for customers after Brittney had her baby today - two weeks early - and she refused to come in to work afterwards. Brittney gave her word she would not have her baby before the start of the new fiscal year (July 1st), but she went and had it early anyway. Would it have hurt her to wait three days? In any case, Dee is a trooper and came in on a moment's notice to help us out.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday at the Zoo

Sunday my sister Susan and brother-in-law George drove into town for a photo expedition to the zoo. The afternoon started inauspiciously - the shutter on Susan's camera appeared to be damaged, and most of the animals wanted to either hide in the bushes or show us just their backsides. After a few hours George sat down on a bench and announced that he needed beer. After a little negotiation, we compromised and headed for Il Vicino for pizza and beers. Sometimes you just have to give a little - plus, he treated!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Weekend at Last!

The weekend at last! After doing some Saturday afternoon chores, it was time to head downtown on the light rail to the Wynkoop Brewery for a couple of beers, taking the camera along so I could photograph everything that caught my fancy. Photography is a great way to relax - all you have to do is concentrate on what might make a good photograph. You wind up forgeting all the troubles of the past week. I often wonder, though, if you are a professional photographer, are you still able to get away from your troubles by taking photographs?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Inspirational Quotes for the DU Bookstore

Wally has worked at the DU Bookstore for many years. I told him about my blog and that I wanted to take his photograph and get an inspirational quote from him to put with it. Wally is quite a fan of Winston Churchill and belongs to the Denver chapter of the Churchillian Society, so I naturally expected a quote from his hero. However, he instead quoted Jean Giraudoux, the French diplomat, playwright, and novelist. The quote: "Only the mediocre are always at their best." I assume he was directing his quote at his fellow bookstore employees. Trish, knowing Wally is a Winston Churchill fan, gave us her favorite Churchill quote: "When you're going through hell, keep going." Since the purpose of these quotes is to inspire the Bookstore employees, I assume she was talking about the Bookstore. I told you she was trouble.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Buzz Around the Bookstore

The Bookstore is all abuzz about the possibilty of a television series that would be a thinly veiled account of the doings at the University of Denver Bookstore. Everyone seems to agree that George Clooney would be the natural choice to play me. Not only because of the close physical resemblance, but also because we share the same mannerisms and personality. I am convinced that I'll be getting a call any day now to come over to Italy to give advice on the roll he will play. However, once fame and fortune come, I'll still do the blog and remember all the "little people" I met on the way up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Great Idea!

Here we all are having a meeting about the upcoming inventory. But take it from me, the Finance Manager of the DU Bookstore, inventories are boring. However, after I took this picture, it reminded Jan (seated far right) that her daughter, Jaclyn, has suggested to a family friend - a movie producer no less - that the Bookstore would make a great reality TV series. My boss, Tristy, said no way. But I say it's a great idea! Perhaps it should be a thinly veiled, fictionalized account, like "The Office." I think "The Bookstore" would be a tremendous hit. And so I say GO FOR IT JACLYN!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Noah - Bookstore Stockroom Coordinator

Noah is the stockroom coordinator at the DU Bookstore. His wife will soon be giving birth to their second child, and he will be on parental leave for 10 weeks, as will Brittney, who will also soon give birth to her second child (see previous day's post). Both Noah and Brittney entered into verbal contracts that the births would not take place before July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year. Brittney is keeping her part of the bargain, but Noah's wife is threatening to break the contract and give birth a few days before the 1st. The Bookstore could lose some compensation for a replacement if the baby comes early. If this happens, we will pursue legal action - a contract is a contract after all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Valarie's Last Day at the Bookstore

Today was Valarie's last day at the University of Denver Bookstore. As luck would have it, the fire alarm went off during the afternoon, so we all got to go outside and enjoy the day for a little while. Thanks for pulling that alarm, Val! It was also the perfect photo opportunity - this was the first time in recent memory I was able to photograph the Bookstore's employees outside the store. Above, from left to right, are Wally, Brittney, Valarie, and Flo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Sunday Bike Ride

Denver is a great city for bike riding. I remember talking with a DU student years ago. He was depressed because the professor teaching his field of study at the Graduate School of International Studies was leaving, and he had to move to Paris to finish his studies. Yes - Paris, France, not Paris, Texas. He told me he loved to bike in Denver and hated to have to settle for living in Paris. Of course, having to have 5 or 6 roommates in order to be able to afford an apartment with one closet sized bathroom probably didn't help his attitude, either.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Coors Field

I took a walk around the Ballpark Neighborhood Saturday night. The Colorado Rockies have closed off the upper left and upper right field stands (the $12 seats) at Coors Field for every home game they play, unless they think it will be a sellout (and they never believe they will have a sellout). The daughter of a bookstore employee tried to take her adopted son to the game a few weeks ago. The only available seats were $50 each, so they turned around and went home. Of course, if the Rockies had not closed off those two areas of the stadium, they could have gone. When the Rockies were in the World Series a few years ago, tickets for the game were not offered at the stadium - only on the internet, where additional fees could be charged and no ticket-sellers needed to be hired. The team wound up - through design or incompetence I don't know - selling all of the tickets to scalpers, who resold them for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Is this simply out-and-out greed or good business sense?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wisdom From Bill

I asked Bill if I could take his photograph for my blog and maybe give me his opinion on what was happening at the Bookstore - maybe even give me some advice on what course to follow. Bill is a pretty sharp guy, and I respect his opinion. Val, the Operations Manager, will be leaving the Bookstore after Monday; Annette, the General Merchandise manager, left the store a week ago today, and we have also lost Larry, Joe, and John over the past several months. Bill's response: "I have to catch the bus." Another brilliant metaphor from Bill! It fits right in with my philosophical musings of a few days ago. And so, properly inspired, I have decided that yes, I too shall "catch the bus." Thanks Bill!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dave Beaumont - Marketing Coordinator Extraordinaire

Dave Beaumont is the marketing coordinator at the University of Denver Bookstore, as well as the supply and food buyer. He is the person we have delegated to market the Bookstore to the world and reverse the sales decline the Bookstore has been experiencing. I personally feel we should get a written guarantee, but currently we are still in negotiations. However, he does seem the picture of confidence. In the above photograph he is standing next to the Bookstore's new video signboard.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reflection Time

It's after work - time to reflect on the events of the day and what it all means. Why are we here, what are we meant to do, are we here for some greater purpose? Should we strive for something better, some greater goal, some greater happiness, or be satisfied with the way things are? And what will become of Brad and Angelina? Will the answers suddenly become clear?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer at DU

Summer has returned to the University of Denver campus. The ponds have been refilled, and waterlillies are floating on them; families with small children and people with dogs are wandering about, and a large satanic cult is forming circles on the quad in front of Sturm Hall and practicing its black art. There is no better time of the year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Return of Trish

Due to dropping sales, the University of Denver Bookstore has not been able to hire additional cashiers during its busy periods. But because of the loss of five people over the past few months, the store has brought back Trish to help out. Trish: wily, secretive, evil. She fits right in.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Dreary But Very Bovine Afternoon

A very gray Sunday afternoon in Denver, but the Bovine Metropolis added a touch of color to the scene. It is amazing what you can miss if you don't wander down the alleys sometimes.

Back to the Art League of Denver Art Show

A little less rainy today, and so the Art Student League's sidewalk art festival was packed. Being in a residential neighborhood, the atmosphere was low-key and pleasant. Even though there was no photography, the art was interesting, the weather gray but dry, and the beer was only $3.00. How could you go wrong?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Art Student's League of Denver Art Fair

Today was the first day of the annual Art Student's League sidewalk art festival at Second and Grant in Denver It was a drizzly kind of afternoon, but everyone was in a great mood. Lots of people, lots of art, but no photography. What gives? Not a real art form?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lunch With Roddy

I had lunch with Roddy, the University of Denver photography professor and resident philosopher today. I presented him with the only first edition of my book, "The Journey Home, Returning to Chicago." He was properly impressed, especially after I autographed it for him. He even bought lunch. If I had that book back, I could retire today. In any case, Roddy begged me to include his photograph in this blog, so here it is. Not nearly as good a photo as one of Roddy's, but as you can tell, it is indeed Roddy.

Annette's Going Away Party

Today was Annette's going away party at the University of Denver Bookstore, although technically she is not going away until Friday. She also seems pretty damn chipper about the whole thing. I'm sure within a week she'll be asking, "I wonder what's happening at the DU Bookstore now, I wonder what they are thinking at the DU Bookstore now, I wonder if my ex-employees Marty and Doug are screwing around again right now? Well, Annette, eat your heart out. In the photo above is Chris, Annette (the traitor), Patti, and Flo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On the Other Hand...

I mentioned yesterday that it was a sad day because Val, the University of Denver Bookstore's Operations Manager, gave her two weeks notice. However today, Val, at least, seemed pretty chipper. Too damn chipper if you ask me. "It's not my problem anymore." Okay fine.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Sad Day

It was a sad day at the University of Denver Bookstore. Val, one of the hardest working employees at the store, resigned her position this afternoon. Annette, the Textbook Manager, has also resigned to take another position. Two more employees, John and Larry, have retired, and Joe, another Bookstore employee, has moved back to Kansas with his wife. I have to wonder what will happen when all the dedicated, hardworking employees have left, leaving us with what?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday in Pet Friendly Colorado

I spent the day Sunday in Fort Collins with my sister Susan and her husband George. They have a cat named Mighty Aphrodite and two dogs: Tu-Tu and Blackberry. The dogs are penned up in the kitchen and go crazy when you enter the house, running around, jumping up against the gate, letting you know that they are absolutely wild about your visit. The cat, on the other hand, will bat your hand away and start hissing in a meanacing way if you try to pet her. My sister says it is because she is 15 years old and crabby about it. In cat years I think that makes her about 105, so I guess I can sympathize.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


It is finally summer here in Denver, and that means all the annual street festivals have begun. The People's Fair is happening this weekend in Civic Center park, and the Larimer Square Sidewalk Art Festival is taking place this weekend, too. It is good to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and see just how many really strange people there are out there, especially here in Denver. I assume they have all come from California, like our co-worker Bill at the DU Bookstore.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Textbook Buyback Time!

It is once again textbook buyback time at the University of Denver Bookstore. All the students are selling back their textbooks before heading home, getting cash and heading off to celebrate the end of another school year, like the fellow directly upstairs from my condo, who has been singing a drunken version of "Country Road, Take Me Home," at the top of his lungs every Saturday night the past five weeks or so. Never let it be said that DU students don't start their celebrations early enough. Helping us with this buy, as always, are Chuck and Jason (the other Chuck) from Nebraska Book Company. They are both full of good cheer (probably happy to be away from Nebraska and that other Nebraska, South Dakota). They are great to work with, not the least of which is because they buy us beers. Chuck is a Nebraska Salt Dogs fan, and Jason a Sioux Falls Peacocks fan. Those two baseball teams are fighting it out for first place in the Flat, Hot, but Humid Midwest Prairie League. Chuck (left) and Jason (right) are pictured above.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I just finished up my photo project for Roddy MacInnes' Color Photography class at the University of Denver. My finished project was a "Blurb Book" titled "The Journey Home, Returning to Chicago," a photographic essay about my return to my native Chicago after 30 years (available at for a nominal $50 or so). It was a critical success and financial disaster. To add insult to injury, I got a $125 red light camera ticket in the mail. Oh well, it was a fun trip, anyway.