Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fisherman's Wharf And Noah's Coffee

I got a cup of coffee at Noah's Coffee Shop in downtown San Francisco this morning and brought it with me on the streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf. I asked the cashier at the shop if it was connected to the same Noah from Denver, Colorado, and described him a bit. She replied "Yeah, yeah, that's the sadistic SOB all right. Tell him to go to hell for me the next time you see him." Wow! I know Noah is a little rough on his stockroom employees, but he must really be something else when he out in San Francisco supervising his coffee shops. Who woulda thunk it?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinatown, My Chinatown!

I visited Chinatown in San Francisco this morning. It was very much like entering a foreign country - the people, store signs, and goods for sale all seem so different. Chinatown in San Francisco is like a small village - everyone appears to know each other and everyone gathers on street corners to talk. Older men and women spend their days in the park, gossiping and playing cards. Even among the shopkeepers, people seem more important than profits. It sounds to me like it is time to send these guys to DU's Business School. That will help to get their priorities straight.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wine Country Safari

Today I drove up to Muir Woods, north of San Francisco, to see the giant redwoods. Afterwards, I drove up to Sonoma to visit the wine country. I stopped at one of the oldest wineries in the State of California - Sebastiani's - to see what the wine tasting experience is all about. The only thing I know about wine tasting is from an old commercial featuring Paul Hogan, who starred in the movie Crocodile Dundee years ago. In the commercial, he watches a group of people standing around a table, sampling a bottle of wine, and afterwards spitting the wine into a bucket at the same time. "Blimey, that must have been a bad batch," says Paul. I learned today that nobody actually spits the wine out anymore. They drink it all down. In fact, the winery actually CHARGES FOR THE WINES! What a shock! In Denver, nobody charges for wine tastings. "Crappy, but free" is a very popular comment during these Denver tastings.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Big Sur

Time for a nocturnal tour of Big Sur, heading down California 1 on a Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle. Just south of Carmel, the road is nothing but steep hills and hairpin turns. Time to kick out the jambs, push the outside edge of the envelope - 80, 90, 100, 120 miles per hour, riding without a helmet, one slip and lights out forever - an adrenaline rush so strong, it is more powerful than any hallucinogen. Oh - wait a minute - that was Hunter S. Thompson. I actually came down in a rented 4 cylinder KIA. But it was more or less the same experience.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Merry Churchillians

Here in San Francisco there are constant reminders of Jack Kerouac, the author of "On The Road" and leader of a group of hippies called "The Merry Churchillians." This was a group of flower children obsessed with the memory of Winston Churchill. My colleague Wally, who I work with at the DU Bookstore, was a member of this San Francisco group back during "The Summer of Love," and is still is obsessed with Churchill to this day. Now of course, the Churchillian Society is a very proper organization, and has annual meetings at such places as the Drake Hotel in Chicago and the Hotel La Dee Dah in Boston, but they can never erase the fact that they started out as a bunch of hippie freaks. Deal with it, guys.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Haight & Asbury

Today I arrived in San Francisco and immediately started exploring it's various neighborhoods. I even visited the corner of Haight and Asbury, where my colleague Wally spent time as a "Flower Child" during the "Summer of Love" so many years ago. I find it very hard to imagine Wally as a "Flower Child," and even harder to think of him as a part-time lingerie salesman (I'm sorry, Wally, I mean "scarf" salesman). Sometimes nostalgia can be really really scary.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Old Farts of Oman

I have a desktop calendar that I keep in the kitchen titled 1000 things to see before you die. I tore off yesterday's page and saw that today's thing to see before you die was the "Old Farts of Oman." Why would I want to see them when I work with lots of old farts at the DU Bookstore? Then I looked again and saw that it actually said "The Old Forts of Oman." Still not interested.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is Wally A Former Hippie?

Wally - pictured above providing his inimitable customer service - surprised me quite a bit this afternoon after I mentioned that I would soon be traveling to San Francisco. Wally told me that he had attended San Francisco State and lived in San Francisco during the "Summer of Love" (1967 to you youngsters). I asked him if was a hippie back then, and he said no - he had short hair and a part-time job in a women's apparel store selling "scarfs" (by which he probably means lingerie). But seriously - attending San Francisco State and living in San Francisco during the "Summer of Love" and not being a hippie? No way! Wally then told me he left San Francisco State and quit the job in lady's lingerie after that summer to join the navy. He requested he be stationed in the Bay area, and he actually did wind up being sent there. Groovy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Checking In With Noah

Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Coordinator, wants to become a professional poet after he gets his bachelor's degree later this year. I, on the other hand, only want to travel the world and get paid for it. Time to get real, Noah! Feel free to use me as a role model.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A New Job Goal!

My new literary hero is Bill Bryson. He travels the world - walking, hiking, taking trains and buses - and then writes about his experiences. Not only that, he makes a lot of money doing this. This is EXACTLY what I want to do with the rest of my life. Who did he bribe to get that gig?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brittnie And John

Brittnie (on the left in the photo above) and John (on the right) are work study and non-benefited employees, respectively, at the DU Bookstore. Neither one seems to fazed with all the changes about to take place at the store. "Bring it on," both of them say. Way to go, guys!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking Good!

There was a DU Bookstore staff meeting at 8:30 this morning. I took a photograph of the meeting that included Tristy, the current Bookstore Director, and Sandy, the clothing and gift buyer. Both said they did not look good this morning, and would have me killed - or words to that effect - if I put it on my blog. However, Tony (in the above photo on the left) and Marty (on the right) both felt that they were looking very good this morning, and agreed to let me take their photograph instead. When I started to take it, however, they seemed to also want to take my photograph with their phone cameras. Maybe we were all three looking good this morning.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The rumors were true! The University of Denver has decided to outsource the DU Bookstore. The store will be leased out to a private company starting February 29th. What a way to go after 148 years as an independent entity. I wonder if this will have a negative effect on pledges by DU Bookstore employees to the University of Denver's Ascend campaign? Nah!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Quick Copy Center Has An Open House

The Quick Copy Center - now located in the University of Denver Bookstore - had an "Open House" this afternoon, and celebrated with cookies, punch, lemonade, and Jack Daniels Old Number 7, among other refreshments. Pictured above are the Quick Copy staff - Ceci and Tony. We have not had cookies at the Bookstore since a DU author's reception many years ago, when the DU Bookstore staff kept eating all the cookies and the caterer kept refilling the platters, resulting in a bill of over $1,000. I am happy to report that Ceci and Tony guarded the cookie supply closely this time, slapping the hand of any employee going anywhere near the tray. Way to go guys!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everybody's a Critic

Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore, will only allow me to take her photograph these days with most of her face covered up, as in the photo above. It is hard not to take this as a criticism of my photography. My sister is also very critical of the photographs that I take of her. She has stated many times that I am a great zoo photographer, and should never ever take another photograph of a human being again. Talk about left-handed compliments.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Four Weeks Until Spring Training

Today was a cold, windy, snowy, just plain depressing day here in Denver. But cheer up everyone! Spring training is only 4 weeks away. Can summer be far behind?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

At the Zoo

I hate to complain, but I went to the Denver Zoo today and found out that some zoo members are more equal than others. I wanted to take photographs of the giraffes, but if I did I would be shooting right into the sun. Then I looked at the opposite side of the yard and saw a number of people on a deck, taking photographs and hand feeding some of giraffes. I and a small angry mob looked all through the empty giraffe building, trying to figure out how to get up there. It was obvious that to do that you would have to go through a gate, through a closed door to a back room, and then up a staircase to get to that deck. How do those guys rate special treatment? Not that I'm bitter. Fine, I'll just take photographs of the lions instead.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Go Broncos!

My friend Stuart and I went to Brooklyn's across from the Pepsi Center for beers and burgers tonight. The place was packed, since the Denver Broncos were playing the New England Patriots in an NFL playoff game. This past week all you heard about on the news were the Broncos and Tim Tebow. I'm not saying Denver is obsessed with football or anything, but I do remember, years ago, television reporters interviewing John Elway's grandmother in the month of May, asking her how she though the season would go. The game started, and the Broncos were 14 points behind within 2 minutes. The place emptied out quickly, and Stuart and I went to see the Denver Mammoths lacrosse game. It was, unfortunately, lacrosse, but at least The Mammoths won.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Checking In With Ceci

Ceci works as both the Coursepack Coordinator for the DU Bookstore and as the Assistant Manager of the Quick Copy Center. The Quick Copy Center was thrown out of Penrose Library this past summer and told never to return. The DU Bookstore built a new location for it inside the store, and there will be an open house for the new Quick Copy Center this coming Wednesday. Ceci is very excited about this. I imagine they will be having wine and cheese, dancing in the evening, and that it will be a formal affair (tuxedos required). And if not, I would like to know the reason why.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hail To The Chief

Marty - pictured above - has just been appointed Acting Director of the DU Bookstore. As of February 1st, he will be replacing Tristy, the current Director, who will become the Budget Director for the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Marty is definitely up to the task, taking naps every afternoon in his office to make sure he is well rested and ready for action. Come to think of it, Marty has been taking naps even before his appointment to the Acting Director position. What foresight!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Carol Says Goodbye

Carol has been working at the University of Denver Bookstore now for the past two months, first in the stockroom helping to check in and stock textbooks, and then as a cashier on the sales floor during the first two weeks of classes. Since the "rush" period is over, today was Carol's last day at the store. Ordinarily she would be back helping us out in March, just before the start of the spring quarter, but now that the store will most likely be outsourced, it is uncertain whether we will be able to hire temporary employees anymore. Thanks for everything, Carol!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Noah's Goal Is In Sight!

Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Coordinator - is taking a class on mid-twentieth century "objectivist" poets this quarter at the University of Denver, and is only several classes away from getting his degree. Noah's goal after graduation is to get a full-time job as a professional poet. This is a growing field in today's new economy - there are now official state poets, official city poets, even official highway department poets these days. There might even someday be store poets at Wal-Mart. Check it out, Noah!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Pepsi Panic

Dave B. - pictured above - helped out on the DU Bookstore's sales floor today, ringing up textbooks on the cash register. In fact, he was so busy that he missed placing the 4 P.M. Pepsi order. Evidently the Pepsi order can only be placed on Mondays, so Dave will have to wait until next Monday to reorder Pepsi products. This means the Bookstore could run out of Diet Pepsi, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Diet Mountain Dew by the end of the week. The DU Bookstore staff (most of them are addicted to these drinks) is already getting nervous. Nothing is more frightening than a Diet Pepsi junkie not being able to get their daily fix. They get very surly, even more so than usual, if that is even possible.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's Wrong With Holiday Music?

Last Friday night was Epiphany, and yesterday was Orthodox Christmas. In other words, no more excuses to not take down the Christmas tree. However, before we close the door on this Christmas season, I want to know why everyone at the DU Bookstore complained so much about holiday music in the store? Granted, we might have heard "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "I'm Not Getting Any Presents For Christmas " one too many times, but on the whole I thought the music was rather nice. The worst complaints were between Christmas and New Year's Day. By rights I think we should have extended the holiday music until yesterday, but even the Muzak lady I dealt with seemed to think that was a little too much. Go figure.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Free Day at the DAM

It was an extremely dreary day here in Denver. Fortunately, it was also a free day at the Denver Art Museum, and so I decided to take full advantage of this and spent the afternoon there. The modern art on exhibit is fascinating, although often difficult to interpret. And in some cases, perhaps that is for the best.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cindi From Athletics

Cindi - pictured above - works for the University of Denver's Athletic Department, and helps coordinate the purchase of books for athletes on scholarship. Cindi also makes sure everthing is done according to NCAA regulations, to prevent the university from being reassigned to the Central Siberian Conference. Now that I think about it, I believe Colorado College has recently joined the CBC. In any case, great working with you, Cindi!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Return of Brian

Brian has returned to the DU Bookstore, helping us out during the first two weeks of classes. Brian's wife Pat also is working at the store. A few days ago, she told us that Brian could not work this past Monday - the official New Year's Day holiday - because he had to deal with real estate matters (Brian is a realtor). I asked Brian if the real estate matters involved either the Rose Bowl or the Orange Bowl. "The Orange Bowl," replied Brian. Just as I thought.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nebraska's Competitor Is Here!

A competitor of Nebraska Book Company - our main used book supplier at the DU Bookstore - is here buying back textbooks this week. Joe - pictured above - has been buying textbooks for many years. He is a friend of Chris, our sales representative. Faithful readers will recall that Chris and his wife Kim (also a rep) were last at the Bookstore during the first week of fall classes at DU, and got into a huge fistfight in the middle of the sales floor with Chuck and John, the Nebraska Book Company representatives. It only ended when Kim knocked Chuck out with a vase. John dragged Chuck out the door and immediately drove him to Reivers, a local sports bar, where he was successfully revived. The miracles of modern science!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lorrie From Connect-To-One

Lorrie is the DU Bookstore's representative from Connect-To-One, one of two buying groups the Bookstore belongs to. Lorrie is helping us out on the sales floor during the first week of classes. If the rumors are true and the DU Bookstore is soon leased out, this will be the last time she helps us out. Thanks for everything, Lorrie!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pat Returns!

Pat has returned to the DU Bookstore to help out on the sales floor during the first few weeks of classes. Her husband, Brian, will also be helping out at the Bookstore, starting tomorrow. Pat says Brian couldn't work today because he was busy with his real estate business. More like bowl game business, if you ask me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

I drove up to Fort Collins to celebrate the New Year with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George this afternoon. We watched the Denver Broncos lose their third game in a row but still make the playoffs. I wonder if this means people won't come up to me in the street anymore - like last night - and ask if I've heard the Good News about Tim Tebow. I can only hope.