Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bookcases and Memories

The bookcases in my apartment hold books I have collected since I was in college, and hold souvenirs and photographs I have accumulated over my lifetime. They all hold special memories for me. but what happens to them when I am gone? Roddy, the photography professor at the University of Denver, found a photo album of a woman from North Dakota at an antique store in Denver, and has set about making an extraordinary photo project about her life, and it's significance. Will we all be so lucky?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Year End Meeting

The DU Bookstore Management Team had it's year end meeting with the Vice Chancellor today. We discussed the financial results of the Bookstore for the past year, and then it was drinks all around. As long as you have your second set of books locked safely away, life is good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eating Mexican at Brewery Bar II

My friend Stuart and I had Mexican food at Brewery Bar II tonight, a Denver fixture for many years on the corner of 1st and Kalamath. The food was great, but afterwards I suddenly remembered that I can't eat Mexican food anymore. In any case, Stuart is off to White Plains next week on special assignment for his company. I think they are planning to loan him one of those campers you pull behind your car, so he can set up in the parking lot and get an early start each morning.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mr. DQ

There was a silent film once - a German film as I remember - that featured a man in Berlin who made fun of a clown performing on the streets in order to make a living. As the years went on, this man experienced horrible tragedies in his life. At the end of the film, he himself was a clown, performing on the streets of Berlin in order to survive, and he was happy he had that. Which is one very good reason I will never make fun of Mr. Dairy Queen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brittney Returns (Kind Of)

Brittney has returned from parental leave (kind of) after having her second baby. She is coming back to work at the DU Bookstore three days a week, and taking parental leave for the other two days. As I have mentioned before, in China women go into the breakroom, have their baby, and then come out and finish their shift. That is why they will soon be the number one economy in the world. But in any case, it is still great to have Brittney back.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remembering 1995!

The year 1995 has been a significant factor this day. First, I gave a copy of a photograph I made many years ago to Charlie - a Bookstore employee - that showed Coor's Field being built (and which opened in 1995), along with some ghosts of baseball's past. Then, I made a presentation of awards to two employees - one of whom is my boss - awarding them for being Bookstore employees since 1995, the year Coor's field opened. There is a significant meaning to this, although I can't think what.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Playing Hooky

Nothing like taking the day off and going to an afternoon baseball game. Ken Burns, the film producer who is to baseball what the pope is to Catholicism, was in the audience, and saw the Colorado Rockies fall behind 10 to 1 before coming back to beat the Atlanta Braves 12 to 10. The victory gives hope to everyone that they can come back from behind in their lives and actually wind up winning. Not bloody likely, but fun to think about nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Portrait of a True Eccentric

Time for another self portrait, this time centering on feet. I have lived in this building for 23 years, and have never once set foot in the pool. On the other hand, many of the undergraduates who live in this building have climbed up to the 5th or 6th floor and dived right in, regardless of the peril. I guess the older we get, the more we understand our mortality.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nina Returns!

Like many of our employees, such as Flo, Chris, Pamela, and many others whose names escape me now, Nina worked at the Bookstore a number of years ago, and immediately knew she had made a mistake after she left. Nina - like the others, and much like Ronald Coleman in Lost Horizons - fought her way back to the DU Bookstore, where life is an endless Shangrila. Nina is the new Operations Coordinator at the Bookstore, and is happy to be back after a brief 20 year absence. Welcome back Nina!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Susan and George Celebrate Their 41st!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary today at the Golden Fine Arts Festival, with an extended stop at the Golden City Brewery's beer garden. Susan and George got married back in 1969 at the Justice of the Peace in Evanston, Illinois. Afterwards, we all had lunch at the Cape Cod Room in the Drake Hotel, on the near north side of Chicago. As I recall, Susan and George then borrowed our car to go on their honeymoon to Wisconsin, and my mother, father, grandmother and I all took the Illinois Central home. Fortunately my cousin Betty was able to pick us up at the train station in Homewood, or it would have been a very long walk home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More About Larimer Street

Not only does Larimer Street have a chic nightclub district (top photo), it also extends onto the University of Colorado at Denver campus. Located at the end of the street is the Tivoli Center (bottom photo). It was once the home of the Tivoli Brewery, and was later a shopping center. It is now the student center for both the University of Colorado at Denver and Metro State College, as well as the home of the Denver Film Festival. I have a lot of memories of this place. I remember going to dinner several times there at a restaurant called Kailua's with my then wife Lisa. Kailua's had a Hawaiian theme and featured a huge screen showing endless videos of surfers riding big waves. I got seasick a lot there. We also went to Morton's of Chicago there for our anniversary. Instead of bringing you a menu (with prices, I might add), they rolled a cart up to your table and showed you the actual steak they would cook for you if you ordered it. I was very surprised when they brought out an actual live lobster, flaying about, and asked if you wanted to have it boiled alive. Back in the days of the Coors Classic bicycle race, my brother-in-law took my mother and sister to see a criterion bicycle race that went around the Tivoli Center. It was about 100 degrees outside and my mother was not crazy about it. In fact, up until she passed away - even with a bad memory - whenever I pointed the building out and mentioned that race, she remembered it vividly. It wasn't exactly a happy memory, but it one she never forgot.

Larimer Square

Another Friday night bike ride, winding up once again in Larimer Square. When I first moved to Denver, this was the only even remotely interesting block in the entire city. Now Denver has all kinds of great neighborhoods and places to go. Except that now I'm getting too old to bother going. Life is definitely unfair.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dinner With Valarie!

I had dinner with Valarie tonight. She loves her new job and is also going back to school at Metro to get her degree in Communications. She also does not feel the least bit guilty about leaving the DU Bookstore and piling all her work onto me. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Carl Hiaasen

I went to hear Carl Hiaasen speak at the Tattered Cover tonight. He was promoting his new novel, "Star Island," which takes place in South Beach (the trendy part of Miami Beach), and he gave a very entertaining speech. The villain in the novel is a photographer - a paparazzi - and during his talk Carl also went on to disparage bloggers and tweeters. While I was waiting to get my book autographed, I wound up waiting with a group of book dealers, all who each had maybe 10 or 20 books to be signed. So there I was, in Carl's presence, right after he had to sign maybe 2,000 books that he would get no money from, asking him to let me take his photograph (because he is a famous author) for my blog. I think at that moment we truly bonded. At least he looked gracious.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Photograph of Jan!

I have been trying to take a photograph of Jan, the assistant to the DU Bookstore's clothing and gift buyer, for the past month. Every time I asked, she told me me she didn't have her makeup on, and to wait for another day. Today she finally relented, doing her Vanna White imitation while showing off the I-Pods we have for sale at the Bookstore. The I-Pods can be used to download e-books, which will eventually eliminate regular textbooks entirely. Talk about supplying the bullets for your own execution.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tim Dorsey

I recently completed my collection of Tim Dorsey mystery novels. Tim writes about a serial killer with a heart of gold, named Serge. In addition to being a serial killer, Serge is also a fan of Florida history and nostalgia. I recommend Tim's novels to everyone I meet. I wonder if that's why I can never get a date?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Life Lesson

Another Sunday, and I once again I biked downtown to the 16th Street Mall. I spotted a remnant of the Cow Parade Art Project from a few years back, and decided to take a self-portrait. It remineded me of a wise remark once made by the comedian W.C. Fields - "sometimes you just need to take the bull by the tail and face the situation." As you can see from the photo, I am not facing the situation yet, but those are wise words nonetheless.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Night at Jordan's

I stopped in at Jordan's Pub around the corner Saturday night for a couple of pints (Imperial Pints, no less!) after working 6 days this week at the DU Bookstore. During the week I spent much of the time doing my Floor Manager duties, and had to spend Saturday doing the Finance Manager stuff (cooking the books, etc.). Valarie, who was the Bookstore Operations Manager, left for bigger and better things, and I am now having to do her work for her. She still refuses to help, either. Hopefully we can get together for a beer this week so I can thank her again for my promotion.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Gift From Charlie

Charlie is a retired Gates Rubber Company executive, as well as a big sports fanatic. Just to keep busy, he works at the DU Bookstore during our rush periods, at the DU hockey games during the season, and at the Avalanche and Nuggets games, too. He recently asked me the year I was born (1953), and a few days later gave me a baseball card from my favorite team, the Chicago White Sox. The card is the same age as I am, but in much better shape. You art majors out there will recognize that it is a portrait, not a photograph. It is a baseball card from a time when quality, not mass production, was important. It is a very generous gift indeed. Thanks Charlie!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Drinks With Stuart!

Stuart and I went to Old Chicago in Lakewood tonight to celebrate starting his new job as a technical editor up in Boulder. He gets an Eco-Pass so he can take the bus up to Boulder every day, and commute back to reality in the evenings - if you consider Lakewood reality. Stuart seems to think the view from the rooftop bar in Lakewood rivals the views on the Greek island of Santorini. Stuart also thinks the Cubs are a pretty good baseball franchise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Communist Plot

Dan Maes won the Republican primary for governor yesterday. Voters decided in favor of crazy instead of dishonest. Thank goodness we still have a choice! Maes has stated that the Denver bike sharing program is more or less a Communist plot, and will destroy our freedom. Even the bicycles are red! The program is in fact very popular - while riding my bicycle I have seen all kinds of people on these bikes all around town - fellow travelers, no doubt. I guess sometimes Communists do have good ideas.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Makeup Again!

I was going to post a photograph of Jan, one of the Bookstore's assistant buyers, today, but for like the 100th day in a row, she didn't have her makeup on, and I had to improvise. Instead of a photograph of Jan, I have to show a photo of myself editing my digital photographs, saving them to a CD before my computer explodes. Not my fault - talk to Jan!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A 60th Anniversary

My friend Stuart gave me a wallet sized photograph of his parents on their wedding day in 1950, and wanted me to make it into an 8 X 10 photograph without all the flaws. I was happy to do it. Being married for 6o years is quite an accomplishment in these days of frequent divorces. Imagine spending your entire life happily with your soul mate. How could a life of wealth and privilege come even close to that?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Really Hot Day

It was a very hot Sunday afternoon. I was out biking today and really felt the heat. Even McLough (pictured above) was feeling the heat. And by the way, who the hell names their dog McLough?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Harvey & Me

Many years ago Jimmy Stewart made a movie called "Harvey." It was about a Denver man called Elwood P. Dowd, who was friends with a 6 foot tall invisible rabbit (a "Pookah"). Coming out of Jordan's, a local watering hole, the other night, I actually ran into Harvey. He was as big, white, and awe inspiring as in the movie. I was so amazed at the sight of him that I commissioned the above abstract portrait. And yes, I am cutting way back now. On the other hand, in the movie, Harvey turned out to be real.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another First Friday!

Tonight was the first Friday night in August, and the crowds were heavy on Santa Fe Drive. All kinds of people of every age crowded onto the sidewalks and packed into the hundreds of art galleries. You could feel the energy on the street. The art was almost secondary to the party-like atmosphere. Personally I think it all has to do with free wine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Marty Interviews for Textbook & GM Manager

Marty interviewed for the position of Textbook and General Merchandise Manager today. It is the first time I have ever seen him wear a tie. It was frightening. It was like seeing a person clearly for the first time. Can he do the job, or will he wind up being a quivering mass of indecision, like me? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A New Trainee!

The DU Bookstore's newest work study student is Bweza, and she is being trained by Bill, the Operations Coordinator. Bweza will be a freshman this year at DU, and hopes to someday become a doctor. She is the second work study student who both wants to work at the Bookstore and who intends to become a doctor. I'm not exactly sure what the connection is. I wonder if they both intend to go into psychiatry?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer at the University of Denver

Summer is usually very slow at the University of Denver. The Bookstore is a hub of activity, of course, trying to receive and check in all the millions of boxes of books that need to be on the shelves before the fall quarter begins. But out on the campus, things are slow. There is of course the occasional tour group, here to tour the university to see if it is the place they might want to attend school. Each one of these kids is worth maybe $160,000 in future income to the university, so we at the Bookstore have to make them feel very welcome. No kicking them in the backsides when they look at a piece of clothing, and then throw it on the floor. We'll just have to wait until they are actually enrolled.

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Inspiring Life

I went up to the Beaver Creek Art Festival yesterday with Valarie. It was a long drive and because of that, I learned a lot about her life story. It was truly inspiring. At a very young age, she opened an art gallery on Old South Gaylord in Denver, and wound up owning the Capitol Hill Bookstore on Colfax while raising two small children. She is still absolutely fearless in following her dreams. Truly an inspiration for the rest of us.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Checking Out the Artwork

I went with Val to Beaver Creek to check out the annual art festival there. Val found many items she wanted to buy, and I found many photographic ideas I that might be able to emulate (steal). Most of the artwork was a little pricey, although one of the artists offered to sell a painting Val was particularly fond of for the discounted price of $800. Fortunately no intervention was required to stop the transaction.