Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Lawsuits - Yet

Robert, Mikki, and Matthew (from left to right in the above photograph) are student employees working in the DU Bookstore's stockroom during the winter break, checking in textbooks needed for the start of the winter quarter. Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator, likes to keep the stockroom cold enough to hang meat in. As you can see, all three are bundled up in order to stay warm. None of them say that there are any health issues to speak of, and none plan to sue - yet. I'd hate to see Noah, married with two small children, get sued. There would probably be a lot of paperwork if his wages were garnished.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Closers

Dave B. and Wally are two of "The Closers," the DU Bookstore employees who work the late shift at the store during the winter break. They are both tough, resourceful, and willing to beg anyone passing by the store to "please buy something, please buy anything!" That's exactly what we like to see. Never let humiliation get in the way of getting the job done, we like to say here at the DU Bookstore.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ice Palace

The Cherry Creek Mall here in Denver is featuring "The Ice Palace," from the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, as the centerpiece of it's Christmas display. The display has posters advertising the movie everywhere, not to mention non-stop clips from the movie on numerous video monitors. Not only does the mall get a ready made theme for it's Christmas display, but it probably receives a sizable kickback for all the advertising. I'm not sure if this should be considered a further commercialization of Christmas or a complete sellout of the Christmas spirit. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's the Holidays!

It's the holiday season once again! It has been said by many that "Old Man Hoyt knows how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possesses the knowledge." That is a very true statement, and I just hope that those three damn spirits don't come back again this Christmas Eve.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

I always have mixed up "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, with "Black Tuesday," the day the stock market crashed in 1929. The two concepts are diametrically opposed - the blackest day of the free market economy versus it's most optimistic sales day. In any case, "Black Friday" is the day the Christmas buying season begins, with people wandering around the city (like in the photograph above) dressed in Victorian garb and singing Christmas carols. Everyone is filled with Christmas cheer, at least for the next five weeks or so. As I recall, when I was a young lad, people dressed like this the year round, and were cheerful every day of the year. Maybe my memory is just fading, or perhaps it was just a south side of Chicago kind of thing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day!

I went up to Fort Collins today to spend Thanksgiving with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George. They worked like manics the entire day and finally got the dinner served. After the dishes were done, they sat around the table and discussed how exhausted they were. Both of them made sure I knew that I would be cooking the Christmas Day dinner. That's fine with me. I have no trouble with sitting down at the dinner table after everyone has been served, putting my face in the plate, and catching a little shuteye.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hot Pink DU Snuggies Have Arrived!

Robin (in the photograph above) is modeling one of the new Hot Pink DU Snuggies. We at the DU Bookstore think it will be a tremendous seller, making up for that slight drop in textbook sales we are experiencing. I, for one, intend to wear mine to the next quarterly meeting with the Vice Chancellor. They can't fire you for being crazy, thank God!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pizza Pizza!

Today was the last day of the DU Bookstore's book buy, and the Nebraska Book Company buyers bought pizza for all of the store's employees. However, Chuck let me know, confidentially, that if the decline we experienced this quarter continues, they will go back to simply buying us 99 cent frozen dinners from Safeway. I actually kind of like the Swedish Meatball Entree, but the line to use the single microwave oven in the break room goes right out the door. Thanks for everything, Chuck and John!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Subway Situation

The University of Denver Bookstore has a new competitor - the local Subway Sandwich Shop, believe it or not. The local Subway has teamed up with a used textbook company, and is buying back textbooks during finals week in direct competition with us. DU Today (Motto: We Still Have a Bookstore on Campus?) did a feature article on the Subway book buy, and felt it was a wonderful way for DU students to sell their their books and have lunch, too. They pay much less than we do, but I guess perception and publicity will always trump facts. In any case, we were considering having Subway cater the Bookstore Holiday Party - we spend many thousands of dollars on this - but now, forget it. Eat your heart out, Jared!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Retraction!

The DU Bookstore was open today - Sunday - in order to buy books back from students. The Nebraska Book Company is doing the buy for us, and Chuck, after reading my blog about their buy, felt that he needed to set the record straight. He told me that in point of fact, the Lincoln, Nebraska Parade of Lights is sponsored by Allis Chalmers, and the tractor Santa rides into town is also manufactured by them. In addition, Santa actually spends the holiday season at the feed store, not the fertilizer store. However, whenever I think about Lincoln, Nebraska, I think about fertilizer, so maybe that's where I made my error. Sorry about that, everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gin and Sin!

I read in the paper that "Gin and Sin," a bar at 39th and High Street in Denver, had closed. I drove up there to commemorate the loss of that urban legend, but when I got there, the sign on the building said "Jezebel's Juke Joint and Brothel." Perhaps I just misread the article in the paper, and "Gin and Sin" was simply what the place served. In any case, the newspaper article said that many people had tried to make a go of it in that location, but failed. The Post stated that the reason for the failures was that the place was haunted by ghosts, and that these ghosts drove everyone away. I have no intention of calling into question the veracity of the Denver Post, but we who have been trained in real estate issues can easily recognize that 39th and High Street is not what you would call a "AAA" location. In any case, I have never seen or felt the presence of a ghost, although I have had drinks on several occasions with a 6 foot tall invisible rabbit (a "Pookah") named Harvey. Curiously, he only seems to show up after I have finished my third pint of beer. "Sure, I'll Stay and Have One More Pint!" has been my response in these situations.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Spirituals Project

Dee, who works part-time at the DU Bookstore, is also the Coordinator for the Spirituals Project at DU. She gave tickets to Valarie, Valarie's friend Maryanne, and me to attend their annual Winter concert tonight. It was a combination of speakers, video interviews on a giant screen, and spirituals. It was an excellent show! Great job Dee!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Donna Helps Out!

Donna is helping out during the book buy period at the DU Bookstore, and will also help out checking in textbooks next month, too. Donna is a very hard worker, and unlike most of our regular staff, is awake most of the time. Welcome aboard, Donna!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chuck And John Are Back!

Chuck and John, the DU Bookstore's Nebraska Book Company reps, are back at the Bookstore to buy back textbooks from DU students, now that the end of the fall quarter is here. They will be at the Bookstore until next Tuesday. I assume they will not be here Wednesday because they want to get back to Lincoln, Nebraska in time for the Massey Ferguson Fertilizer Parade of Lights. It is the biggest event of the year in Lincoln. It is very similar to the Parade of Lights here in Denver, but instead of decorating parade floats with lights, they decorate cows. The cows, decked out in spectacular lights, are paraded down Lincoln's main street. At the end of the parade, Santa arrives driving a John Deere tractor, and sets up shop in the Fertilizer Store during the holiday season. Welcome back, Chuck and John!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Recently being appointed the Floor Manager of the DU Bookstore, in addition to my other duties, I have had to spend more time on the sales floor, often at the cash register when there were no customers in sight. Looking around the store, I realized that there are four photographs of the DU Bookstore from years ago. One is of a student in front of the Bookstore when it was located in Carnegie Library, which has been long since demolished. I started working for the DU Bookstore when it was located in Carnegie. The sign in the above photograph - "Books - Recreational Reading" - brings back many memories. I was a mere slip of a lad when I started working there - just a child. How did I get so old so quickly?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dinner at Parisi's

I had dinner with Valarie, Darrel, and his wife Linda at Parisi's tonight. Parisi's is a well known Italian restaurant in the West Highlands neighborhood of Denver. It was a very nice evening, but once again I got so involved in the conversation I forgot to take a photograph. I had planned to have the waitress take a photo of the four of us, but didn't remember until after leaving the restaurant, when Valarie complimented me on my restraint in not bringing out my camera. Big mistake on her part - I was able to get a photograph of her next to her car (the one with the "Impeach Bush" window sticker).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anna Silvia & Joe

I had my friends Anna Silvia and Joe over for dinner tonight. Being the great chef I am, I decided to get Chinese takeout from the Red Coral Restaurant here in Denver. The food was good, but what I want to know is, why do I get such strange fortunes in the fortune cookies? The fortune I got tonight said "He that can't endure the bad will not live to see the good." The last time I got Chinese food the fortune told me that "I would travel a long hard road before I found true happiness." Those are not fortunes - those are curses. Do they grab special fortune cookies from under the counter when they see me come in? What gives? Does anyone else get "fortunes" like these?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dinner With Susan and George

I had dinner with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George up in Fort Collins tonight. I took 7 photographs of them after dinner. My sister told me I have a reputation of purposely making people look bad, and of the photos I took, the picture above was the least objectionable. As far as I can tell, Susan looks exactly the same - exactly - in each photo. I think I am going to switch to landscape photography.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taina & Matthew

Taina and Matthew are both student employees who work in the DU Bookstore's stockroom. Taina does not like to have her photograph taken, saying she takes a poor photo - she is wrong, of course, but there is no convincing her. She agreed to let me take her photograph in order to be "a good sport." No doubt she knows how well known my blog has become, and is looking for her 15 minutes of fame. Matthew is always ready to have his photograph taken. He wears a different hat every day - some quite eccentric looking. I assume he wears them because Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator, likes to keep the place cold enough to hang meat. Also, Matthew has mentioned that when he wears the more outlandish hats, no one will sit next to him on the bus, and then he can stretch out a bit during the commute.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The View From Kaiser

I went to an eye appointment at Kaiser's Franklin Building this morning. It was a very dismal, gloomy day - why do people like the fall, anyway? This facility is a large high rise medical building - connected to St. Joseph's Medical Center - and it is very much like being in a hospital. Most of the people here this morning were elderly, dealing with declining health, just as my mother did before she passed away. Steve, the optometrist who I went to see, was a really nice guy, and at the end of the examination told me that all was okay with me - medically. "What the hell does that mean?," I thought to myself. I stewed about that all day. Then, around 5:30 P.M, right before I was about to leave work, I remembered that I had asked Steve about glaucoma, and he had given me some additional tests to make sure all was okay. I realized then that he was distinguishing glaucoma from general eyesight issues. He was NOT calling me crazy, at least not out loud. Maybe I am too sensitive.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Robin Makes It To the Blog!

Robin has finally made it to my blog. She didn't even know I had a blog until Roddy, the University of Denver Photography Professor, mentioned it to her. I find this hard to believe, since my blog is the talk of the Bookstore. In any case, Robin is a work study student who assists in the Bookstore's computer department. She knows everything there is to know about computers and software, and is an asset to the store. I attribute her lack of knowledge of my very popular blog to her intense concentration on her duties at the store.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Charlie Joins the Bookstore Crew!

Charlie has worked for the DU Bookstore as a temporary employee for a number of years. He worked at the Heckman Pioneer Shop at Magness Arena (which the Bookstore used to run before we were unceremoniously thrown out) before that. Charlie has the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever met, as compared with the surly attitude of the rest of the staff. He has been hired to work 3 days a week at the Bookstore on a regular basis, which will help a lot when all of our work study students insist - can you believe it? - on going home for the holidays. Welcome Aboard, Charlie!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The DU Bookstore's Student Employees Step Up!

The DU Bookstore is hiring more student employees than ever, and they are doing a great job! Often they are running the sales floor by themselves, like Anna, Bweza, and Kyla (pictured above) did today. This is a good thing, since our rather aged full-time staff does not seem to have the same energy. Often we find them sound asleep while standing straight up - whether at their cash registers or computer terminals. I feel bad having to taser them, but that' s what you have to do in today's competitive economy. Otherwise, they would wind up sleeping in the store all night. It's the right thing to do.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time and Memories

I received my current watch as a Christmas gift from my brother-in-law a number of years ago. My mother was visiting from Florida at the time, and pronounced it - in private - the ugliest watch she had ever seen. The following August, when I came to visit her in Stuart, Florida, she hadn't changed her mind. One day when we were walking in the Treasure Coast Mall, we passed a Walgreen's Drug Store and she announced that she was buying me a new Timex watch, and to pick one out. I wore that watch until it gave up the ghost years later. I only then started to wear the "ugly" watch again. Last April I was wearing that watch when I lost it in Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago, taking photographs on the "Confederate Hill." This place is the mass grave of 5,000 Confederate soldiers who died from disease and neglect at the nearby Camp Douglas prison camp. I didn't realize I had lost it until I was driving away. I thought about not going back for it, but finally decided to turn around and look for it. The gates to the cemetery were closed for the night by the time I returned. However, the next morning the watch was still there, right where I had dropped it. Now I wonder if the watch might be haunted. One of these days I expect to see one of those long dead Confederate soldiers looking back at me where the clock face should be. In any case, I recently had to replace the watchband and two batteries, at a cost of $85 (the price of 3 Timex watches!). As a natural cheapskate, I hesitated to pay it for a minute, but then told myself the memories were worth the cost.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Free Day!

Today was a free day at the Denver Art Museum. The placed was packed with my fellow cheapskates, taking in all the new modern art on display in the Hamilton Wing. There was a time when I didn't care much for modern art, but over the years I've changed my mind. It is by far the most original and thought-provoking work being done these days, not to mention just a lot of fun to look at. But where have all the photographs gone? Put them back!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nina is Still Positive!

I had lunch with Nina today. She is enjoying her job at the DU Bookstore very much, and still looks forward to going to work each day. She is an inspiration to us all, having such a positive outlook on life. It makes me, a pessimist by nature, and counting the days until retirement, ashamed of myself. Still, I think of the fun I might have had in the French Foreign Legion, enjoying the warmth (115 degrees at noon), the camaraderie (ex-cons from every part of the globe), and the beautiful scenery (desert as far as the eye can see). Oh well, I can do all that when I retire.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Penrose Library

It was recently announced that the University of Denver's Penrose Library (behind the pretty fall trees in the photo above) will undergo a $30 million dollar renovation starting this coming March. The plans are to remove all those dusty, pesky books and make Penrose into an "Academic Commons," a gathering place for DU students, staff, and faculty. The university intends to store all those obsolete books off-site. Anybody who wants one can simply place an order, and they can have that obsolete object from the past within months. You gotta love progress!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Marty Settles In

Marty has settled into his new job as the DU Bookstore's General Merchandise and Textbook Manager and is diligently working on his spreadsheets. He, along with the rest of the Bookstore's Managers, are currently preparing for the quarterly meeting with the Vice Chancellor. It is Marty's job to reverse the declining sales trends at the Bookstore and make sure we begin to see sales increases from this point forward. Hopefully the University will not dismiss the sale of medical marijuana completely out of hand.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Noah Returns!

Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator, has returned to work after approximately 20 weeks of parental leave. He will take his remaining 20 weeks of parental leave starting in January, by which time child number three should be coming along. Talk about sitting in the catbird seat! Welcome back, Noah!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jamie is Back!

Jamie is back at work a week after an emergency appendectomy. Jamie insists that this was not an elective surgery. In any case, I told her if she wants a week off, next time she should just fill out a vacation request.