Saturday, July 31, 2010

The View From The Cheap Seats

It was another Colorado Rockies victory tonight. It was against the hapless Chicago Cubs, but it still was a win. I was sitting in the cheap seats with my friend Stuart, a lifelong Cubs fan. When the Cubs lost the game in the bottom of the 9th inning after a leadoff home run by the Rockies, Stuart took it in stride. He said he expected it. That's the way Cub fans are, and have been, since their last World Series victory in 1907. As the Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko once said, "you win some, you lose some, but with the Cubs, you usually lose some."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Charlie and Donna Help Out in the Stockroom!

This is a really stressful time at the University of Denver Bookstore. Millions of cartons of books arriving every day, having to be unpacked, counted, entered into the computer system, and then put out on the shelves. We can't do it without additional help. Fortunately, we have a number of temporary employees, like Charley and Donna (pictured above), who help us through these difficult times. They are even enthusiastic about having their photograph taken. Go figure!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reflection Time

Another evening for reflection time. My apartment is directly across the street from the Ritchie Center. The Ritchie Center is part of the University of Denver, where I have worked for 26 years. That is over a quarter of a century at the same job, not to mention living in the same building for most of that period . Is it time for a change, or is this where I am meant to be for the rest of my life? Will National Geographic ever call? What is the deal with them?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Working With Owen

I spent the day mailing out books to the students in the Executive MBA Program. There were maybe 10,000 sets of books to sort, package, and mail. Ordinarily, Val, the Operations Manager, would do this. But because she left the store to take another position, I HAD TO DO IT! BUT I AM NOT BITTER! In any case, I had to leave the rarified office of the DU Bookstore's Finance Manager and mix with the "hourly" people. Today I shared Owen's workspace. He is the person responsible for returning the textbooks that don't sell and for stocking the shelves with books for the next quarter. It is quite a workout - a benefit for which we should charge.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm Not Bitter, But...

Tonight I went to buy $12 discount tickets for the Saturday night Cubs game at Coors Field. Evidently this was a "classic" game and not eligible for the $12 King Sooper's special price. I guess "classic" games are against opponents that have not won a National League pennant since we dropped the bomb on Japan. In any case, I bought the regular priced cheap seats (with a $3.00 "classic" game premium and a $3.00 handling fee per ticket). Once again, I am not bitter, but I think baseball fans need to know that Rockies ownership eats their young and parks their Rolls Royce's in handicapped spaces. On the other hand, at least I have "cheap" tickets. If you go to the box office on the day of the game, they laugh at you if you want the cheapest seats. The Rockies close off most of the cheap seats, unless they think there will be a sellout. And they never think there will be a sellout, the pessimistic bastards. But I am not bitter...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yay! Life!

I opened the Bookstore this morning, which meant I could leave early and go for a late afternoon bike ride. On the way home, along the Cherry Creek bike path, I discovered this message (see photo above). A message from a local Denverite, or perhaps a message from a higher authority?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Sunday Afternoon Bike Ride

It was a beautiful day, so a Sunday afternoon bike ride was certainly in order. It was definitely an afternoon with a Scottish influence. I passed by the Tilted Kilt, where the waitresses wear an abbreviated kilt, which is part of an outfit that resembles a Scottish bikini (the traditional costume of the Scottish serving wench, as I understand it). And then, on the way home, there was a circle of bagpipers in Washington Park, playing their hearts out. Some had on the traditional kilt, others had on shorts and tee-shirts, but there was definitely a Scottish atmosphere. I will have to discuss this creeping Scottish influence with Roddy, the Scottish born professor of photography at DU.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dragon Boat Festival

I was going to take some photographs of the Dragon Boat Festival and post them on my blog, but then I met Darrel, his wife Linda, and his daughter and her adopted son, and decided to use their photograph instead. The Dragon Boat Festival is the hottest festival in Denver, no trees in sight, a steady 90 degrees the whole time. But a dry heart, so it seems like Paris in April.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Night Funk

Another Friday night, and I bicycled downtown to check out the action. I walked my bike down the 16th Street Mall and wound up in front of the Rock Bottom Brewery (motto: you've hit Rock Bottom). They had a great band in front of the place - I think it was called Jakarta 1-2-3. The name sounds kind of like an Asian action movie, but what do I know? When I arrived, everyone shouted "Mr. Funk!, Mr. Funk!" I wanted to stay, but as I told the crowd, "I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep" (with apologies to Robert Frost, of course). Just another Friday night in the life of a blogger.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Lost Photo Opportunity

For the second time in about a week, I asked Jan if I could take her photograph for my blog. She refused both times, saying she did not have her makeup on. Whenever I ask Wally to take his photograph, he never tells me no, because he hasn't put his makeup on. What's the deal? Instead, I have to post a very bad photograph of myself going about my Thursday night chores (in this case, returning books to the Eugene Field Library). I look old, bald, and slighly crazy in this photograph. I'm not really old, bald, and slightly crazy, am I? This is all your fault Jan!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Greetings from Valarie!

I had dinner at the Edgewater Inn with Val tonight - she is doing very well indeed and wants to say hello to all her friends at the DU Bookstore - even the crazy ones, which is most of the staff, as far as I can tell. Val even suggested that I - me! - might be a slight bit eccentric. Nonsense, I say. Just look at my blog - is this the work of a crazy person? I mean a really, really crazy person.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Robyn and Donovan

Donovan is the Bookstore's computer store manager, and Robyn is his assistant. They are pushing Apple pretty hard this year - laptops, desktops, ipads, ipods, etc. They consider PCs the evil empire, and selling Macs is a blow against it. Of course, computer people are crazy - they smile a lot to cover it up.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jamie Helps Out!

Jamie is helping out at the Bookstore this summer while Brittney is on parental leave. Brittney, as you may recall, insisted on taking 10 weeks of parental leave, instead of just having her baby and coming back to work after the weekend. In China, the women have their babies in the breakroom of these huge factories located there, then strap them on their backs and finish out their shifts. That is why China is such a great industrial power and we are 20 zillion dollars in debt to them. But I digress - Jamie is doing a great job processing the invoices and helping out on the sales floor, and we're happy to have her.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dinner in Fort Collins

I had dinner tonight with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George up in Fort Collins. Neither of them wanted their photograph taken because they "look too old." All I can take are photographs of the pets (two dogs and a cat) and the garden. There is too much vanity around here these days to suit me. Thank goodness the pets aren't nearly so vain. Pictured above is Tu Tu, which is short for the name of a Buddhist monk he was named after. I wonder if the monk is vain about his looks, too?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cooling Off Time

It was 103 degrees today in Denver, and Confluence Park was filled with people trying to cool off in the water. I remember seeing ducks land in that water and dissolve in front of my eyes like they had landed in an acid bath. Hopefully they have cleaned up the water since then.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Night Zombie

It's Friday night and Denver's zombie population is out for a night on the town. In the photograph above, a zombie assists the valet in putting the top up on his classic Lincoln convertible. I just take 'em, by the way, I don't explain 'em. All I will say is that we've had an awful lot of Californians move here lately.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Homeless in Denver

Homelessness in Denver is a big problem. In the past 24 hours I met two homeless people who tried to shoplift from the DU Bookstore, and also met a man who just got out of prison yesterday and wanted money to stay somewhere overnight, instead of on Colfax. It is really a shame that in this country so many people have to live on the edge. We didn't see too many homeless people around DU until the light rail opened. Now they can take the train down here, try to steal books, and then go back downtown and sell them to "enablers" like Big Dog Books. It is a pretty scary thing to think about - there but for the grace of God goes you. That's why I give money to the Denver Rescue Mission whenever I can. It is more of an investment than a donation. You never know if or when you will need them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Dog!

Yesterday evening right before the Bookstore closed, a street person came into the store and tried to steal 2 textbooks. Our security person - Patti - watched her on the security camera and confronted her as she left the store. After questioning, she said that she stole the books so she could resell them at Big Dog Books, a bookstore at 13th & Market Street. Big Dog Books, according to her, does not require any ID and does not ask any questions. Both she and her companion, lurking outside the store, were handcuffed and arrested by the Denver Police after they were found to be on probation and had used syringes on their persons. Life can be really hard for people, and you have to wonder what can be done for them? On the other hand, people shopping at Big Dog Books must often say to themselves, "These prices are really low. How do they do it?" Now you know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beer and the Meaning of Life

A long damn week and it is only Tuesday. What do you do when you are 57 years old and you don 't know what to do with the rest of your life? In other words, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. I guess you go to the bar around the corner (Jordan's in this case) and befriend the bartender. After a couple of Imperial Pints (20 ounces each) I guess it doesn't matter any more. One thing I did learn today - don't drink and blog!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Love Piano!

I went for a Monday evening bike ride tonight. I biked from the University of Denver to the 16th Street Mall, and then walked down the mall to Market Street. I passed the "Love Piano," which had a yellow chair in front of it, which reminded me of Julie, a fellow photography student who took photos of the blue and yellow chairs along the 16th Street Mall. I also biked up Market and Walnut Streets north of LoDo and then came back down Blake Street. Along the way, I took another one of my world famous "Bike and Front Door" photographs in front of a local business. If it works in Europe, why not here?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

North of LoDo

The neighborhoods north of Coors Field are fascinating. Lots of brightly painted buildings housing small businesses, lots of warehouses converted into trendy condos, as well as lots of brand new luxury condos. Biking through this neighborhood is always fun. Crossing the Union Pacific railroad tracks, there are old storefronts obscured by trees and vegatation that upon closer inspection have been turned into homes, with chairs scattered all about for the residents to use. One business I passed had a Union Jack front entrance. I am sure there is a reason for this - I just don't know what it could be. On the other hand, there are a lot of artists around here, which I think explains a lot.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Old South Pearl Street "Brewgrass" Festival

I attended the 2010 "Brewgrass" Festival on Old South Pearl Street this evening. I really enjoyed it, which was a good thing, since I was right up front with my bicycle, and couldn't leave - the crowd was too huge. Not that I am assuming anything, but a medical marijuana store was conveniently located only 10 feet from the stage. In any case, as the announcer said, it is good to finally know what Santa does in the off-season.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Night Bike

Friday night is a great time to bike from DU to downtown Denver and back. There are lots of people walking the 16th Street Mall, people are streaming into Coors Field, there are bands playing in front of Katie Mulligan's and the Rock Bottom Brewery, and lots of people watching opportunities. I really like the "Little India" look.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuart Celebrates a New Job!

Stuart and I celebrated his new job tonight, after a long period of unemployment, at Jordan's, home of the imperial pint. Stuart and I have been friends since he worked for me at Hatch's Bookstore in the University Hills Shopping Mall in Denver. I remember a discussion once, when we both worked there, where he said "Hey, call me anything, call me Stinky if you want." Big mistake! From that moment on, Joanne, who also worked at Hatch's then, would say "Here comes Stinky and his Stinkmobile" whenever he would drive up. Ah, those were the days!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Life After The DU Bookstore

There is life after the DU Bookstore! Having been at the store for 26 years, I can't believe it, but Val insists it is true. Valarie has been gone for two weeks and has not looked back. She is happy and doing well. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Darrel's 60th!

Darrel, the Bookstore's Account's Payable Supervisor, celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday, which is quite a milestone. Let's face it, Darrel is no kid anymore. It will be years (almost 3) before I reach that advanced age. Good luck Old Timer!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Beer Gardens Are Great!

You can't go wrong spending a holiday afternoon at the beer garden. When my sister was a little girl, my parents would take her along with them when they went to the beer garden in Glenwood, Illinois. When everyone got up to dance, she would go around the tables and finish drinking the beers the dancers left. No one will be surprised to learn that she still is very fond of beer. The Golden City Brewery is housed in the founder's garage, and the beer garden is in the backyard of his house in Golden. He must have a very understanding wife. Although turning the backyard into a beer garden makes perfect sense to me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Barbecue

Roddy, the University of Denver photography professor, had a 4th of July barbecue Sunday evening. It was a pretty rainy night, but there were enough dry periods for some sparklers and "snakes." Then the neighbor from across the street came over with some old bottle rockets (possibly Russian in origin) for us to shoot off. One of Roddy's guests did the honors, shooting the bottle rockets onto the various roofs of the neighbors. Fortunately the rains started again and any small fires were quickly extinguished.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cliche Photograph # 7 - Coors Field Fireworks

This was the first time in years I did not go to the Rockies annual 4th of July fireworks game. Instead, I stood across the street and took photographs on a tripod. I was not alone - there were families, couples, street people, and behind me at a rooftop bar, a very loud group of what we used to call yuppies. Remarkably the fireworks looked exactly the same outside as inside - the main difference being you didn't have to pay $50 to watch the Rockies lose.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Photography and the Meaning of Life

I had lunch with Roddy, the University of Denver's photography professor today. We discussed the usual stuff - photography, the future of the book business, the meaning of life, etc. I think we pretty much nailed down the "meaning of life" thing. I'll be happy to share it - just send $20 (to cover expenses) along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to David Hoyt in care of the DU Bookstore and I'll send it along.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

26 years and Counting

There was a presentation of gifts to both Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator, and me in the DU Bookstore's breakroom this afternoon. Noah has been at the Bookstore for 10 years, and I have been at the store for 26 years. I started out as the Trade Book Buyer and Floor Manager, and am now the Finance Manager, and as of today, the Floor Manager once again after almost 20 years. I guess that is what people mean by going full circle. My gift was a very nice University of Denver clock that I will place on my bookshelf. For my 15th anniversary, I received a University of Denver pocket watch. I like getting watches and clocks for these anniversaries, because it makes you think about all the time that has gone by, and also what you should do with what time you have left.