Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Light Rail Update!

I read on the Internet yesterday that Denver's Fast Tracks Rail Project will soon be starting construction on 4 new light rail lines, including the "Gold Line" to Old Town Arvada and Wheat Ridge, Colorado.  I was anxious to mention this to Doug, my co-worker at the DU Bookstore, since I could swear he told me that this particular rail line was planned to go right through his house.  Either that or the tracks would run right beside his house, kind of like the old hotel where Jake and Elwood lived in the Blues Brothers movie.  After I mentioned this to Doug today, he told me that no, the light rail line wouldn't go near his home, although sometime in the future his house might be condemned to make way for an urban renewal project.  So Doug is okay - at least for now.    

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Souvenir, But From Where?

I bought a souvenir at the Old Kennedy Schoolhouse when I was in Portland a few weeks ago.  The Kennedy Schoolhouse was  a Victorian era school that has been transformed into a complex of restaurants, a playhouse, and a hotel.  The souvenir (see photograph above) is actually a bottle opener, which I bought to give to my sister and brother-in-law upon my return.  However, on closer examination, it is actually made in China.  Of course, what isn't these days, but still, is it really a souvenir of Oregon?  Perhaps it is simply a souvenir of the new global economy, which we all love so well these days, what with outsourcing and all.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

At The Zoo

As Simon and Garfunkel used to say, it's all happening at the zoo.  The Denver Zoo was packed today - it was damn tough to find a parking space.  However, it was still a lot of fun, although some of the animals (unlike the cheetah in the photograph above) were hiding in shady corners where they could keep cool and not be seen.  In cases like that, I think the zoo employees should go into the cages and give the lions and tigers and bears - and whatever else - a few pokes with a stick to liven them up and give zoo visitors a bit of a show.  Any volunteers?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Darrel Checks In

Darrel, a former DU Bookstore employee now working at the University of Denver's Chemistry Department, visited the DU Bookstore yesterday morning and gave his stamp of approval to the remodel currently going on at the store.  Darrel is a proud homeowner who spends much of the weekend doing yard work.  He now reports that he will have to replace not one but two furnaces in his home.  I'll bet condo living is looking better and better to both him and his wife Linda these days. Feel free to check out the condos in my building, guys.   It might be "Party Central" for University of Denver students, but there is a lot less yard work.  Just don't jump off the balcony into the pool - we banned that last year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dogs Doing Time

Wally, my colleague at the DU Bookstore (pictured above), picked up his dog Sailor at a women's prison here in Colorado yesterday.  This was the third time Sailor has been sent up - a three time loser.  The women there train dogs over a three week period, hopefully turning over a well trained pet at the end of the period.  The first time Sailor was sent there was after Linda - Wally's wife - fell down on the sidewalk, injuring her head, while taking Sailor for a walk.  As Wally put it at the time, "Linda doesn't remember what happened and the dog isn't talking."  Let's hope the third time is the charm for Sailor.  Next time he might get life.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rock Star Status

Noah, the DU Bookstore's hard-working Stockroom Manager, was featured on this blog quite often a few years ago, not least because he was one of the few employees willing to let me take his photograph.  In fact, a woman at a church social once came up to him, mentioned seeing him featured on this blog, and felt Noah was it's star.  It was Noah's 15 minutes of fame - of a sort.  No need to thank me, Noah, happy to do it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Remember "Downtown," Petula Clark's old song from the 1960s?  It is occasionally played on the Muzak system at the University of Denver Bookstore, where I work. Well, I took her advice and headed down to Denver's "LoDo" neighborhood this evening.  I was originally going to attend an author event at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, but when I got there, the crowd was very sparse.  In fact, it was so sparse that the author would be able to remember your face - and possibly ask you questions - during the event.  It would have been very hard to sneak out of there without buying the book, and so an evening walk around the neighborhood seemed a much better alternative to this cheapskate. Another money-saving tip for you faithful readers!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Jobs - What A Concept!

There are quite a few filling stations from the 1930s and 1940s in southeast Denver that have been converted to other uses - flower shops, restaurants, even upholstery shops.  I walked past the old service station in the photograph above this evening.  It made me think of my recent trip to Oregon, where all stations are full service and self-service gas stations are banned.  My cousin almost got into a fistfight with one station attendant when he tried to fill up his car, not being familiar with Oregon's state laws. In addition, I stopped at one station out in the countryside that was a combination service station and gun shop ("Team Glock" said the banner on the side of the building).  But still, the result is more jobs and less corporate oil profits.  What a concept!  What a state!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting The Bird

I took a photograph of a bird drying out its wings the other day in Washington Park.  I had no idea birds even did this.  Am I to understand that each time a bird takes a dip in the lake, it has to air out its wings?  Perhaps living the good life in Denver's Washington Park has spoiled the wildlife living there.  More and more ducks and geese are appearing in the park these days.  Once they stop there on their way south, they wind up never leaving. Good weather, lots of food, plenty of water to play in.  Kind of like a lot of Californians who have moved here lately.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Self-Portrait With Frank

I took a photograph of myself with Frank, the Cigar Store Indian, in Denver's Writer's Square this afternoon.  I know his name is Frank, because the Cigar Store Lady came out to see if I wanted her to take the photograph, and told me his name.  I am beginning to remind myself of the idiot in William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" these days,  because whenever I hear a name, I go into a reverie about people I have known with that same moniker.  This afternoon I immediately thought of Frank White, the husband of one of my mother's old high school friends.  Frank weighed between 200 and 300 pounds, and his wife, Margaret, always referred to him as "Baby Foo" - why I don't know.  In addition, long before the cartoon character Charlie Brown existed, Frank was famous for having the scrawniest Christmas trees in the Chicago area, whether for economic reasons or to better display each ornament, I also don't know.  A "Frank White" Christmas tree had real meaning back then in Chicago.  Take that, Charlie Brown!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back To Boulder!

I decided to drive up to Boulder this afternoon to see an art show on the Pearl Street Mall.  It wasn't until after I parked and started to walk around that I realized that I hadn't been in Boulder for years.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it was all the giant roosters I saw the last time I was there - standing around, staring at me, spying on me!  The roosters are still there (see photograph above), but they seem much less threatening now.  I think they call that maturity - or possibly sanity.  At last!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Beer Bike!

As part of the effort to promote Colorado tourism, severely hurt after publicity about so many destructive forest fires in the state - and yes, we still do have a few trees left - I have taken it upon myself to point out some of our great Colorado tourist attractions, especially popular with Australians these days.  Not only do we have something like 10,000 microbreweries in the state, we also have beer bikes, too!  Groups of up to 16 people can pedal from brewery to brewery, sampling all that Colorado microbreweries have to offer.  Just the thing tourists - especially Aussie tourists - are looking for when on holiday.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kaos Is The Answer!

Kaos might be the answer, but what is the question?  For all you Australian readers, the answer is a gimme.  Cheers Mate!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meeting The Author - In Highlands Ranch?

I drove to a God-forsaken place called Highlands Ranch - on the outskirts of Denver - tonight to hear author James Rollins talk about his new book, Bloodline.  I learned several important things: first, most roads have now finally been paved in Highlands Ranch, and second, the Tattered Cover knows its market.  Instead of having the author speak in downtown Denver, they had him speak out here, and the place was packed.  In a way, that is not surprising, since there is little else to do in Highlands Ranch.  Even the churches are packed on a Wednesday night. What is surprising is that the motorists all drive about 90 miles an hour out here.  Everyone is in a big hurry to get somewhere, which is ironic, since there really is no place to go. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Darrel!

Darrel - the DU Bookstore's former Accounts Payable Supervisor - and I had lunch at Mustard's Last Stand (across from the University of Denver) this afternoon, celebrating Darrel's 62nd birthday.  Darrel is doing very well as the Budget Officer for DU's Chemistry Department these days, and is learning lots of new skills.  Lunch was very good, although I have to say that those martinis in the paper cups Darrel bought me seemed pretty watery, to say the least. It really wasn't just water, was it Darrel?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marty Returns!

Marty (pictured above) - a DU Bookstore colleague - returned to the Bookstore this morning after a business conference in Oakbrook, Illinois and told me he spent his one free night at nearby Yorktown Shopping Center.  This was the mall where I managed a Waldenbooks for 5 years, from 1976 until 1981.  I was just out of college at the time, and living the good life out in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Although I'm pretty sure I mentioned Yorktown to Marty before he left, he didn't remember, and had no idea of my connection to the place.  I guess that means they took down the 30 by 50 foot portrait of me that used to hang in the center court.  How quickly they forget.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On The Other Hand...

As opposed to Dee - who was the subject of yesterday's post - Valarie, onetime Operations Manager of the University of Denver Bookstore, is not crazy - to put it mildly - about having her photograph taken.  As loyal readers will recall, her standard response, after I have taken maybe a dozen photographs of her, is "that one is not quite as horrible as the others."  In any case, I took the above photograph during a walk with Valarie in Denver's Washington Park yesterday.  After the walk, we went over to Kaos, the beer garden on old South Pearl Street, for pizza.  "What? They have food here, too? Wow, this place is going upscale."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Visit From Dee!

Dee was in the DU Bookstore a few days ago buying supplies for her department.  In addition to working at the Bookstore during rush periods, Dee also works for The Spirituals Project, an organization that puts on performances that showcase spiritual music and the history behind these songs. My friend Valarie and I attended one of their performances last year and it was awesome.  Dee is always ready to have her photograph taken, which as far as I am concerned is an excellent quality to have.  I don't have to give her 3 weeks notice so that she can properly prepare, which seems to be the norm these days - and I am talking about both men and women here.  Go figure.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Big Change Ahead?

Wally (AKA Walt), my friend and co-worker at the University of Denver Bookstore, would like to retire to Halifax, in a house near "the docks," where he can watch the ships come and go and spend the long winters reading in a cozy den.  Personally, I think that would be a great idea, and have even offered to help him move.  However, his wife Linda does not seem to be enthralled with the idea. She actually thinks Halifax might be a bit cold in the winter (nonsense!) and that it would be too far from friends and loved ones (it is only a short hop from Boston, where her daughter and many relatives live).  Come on, Linda, get on board!  Just don't forget to plug your car into an electrical outlet each night (don't worry - just a local tradition).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stuart Celebrates His 58th

Stuart and I celebrated Stuart's 58th birthday at Reivers, on old South Gaylord Street, this evening.  Reivers used to be - and probably still is - a hangout for DU students back when Stuart was in graduate school at the University of Denver and I was the manager of Hatch's Bookstore at the University Hills Mall.  Back then Stuart, who also was a part-time Hatch's employee, was affectionately know as "Stinky."  I remember Joanne, another DU student and Hatch's employee, looking out the window of the store each afternoon and shouting "Here comes Stinky in his Stinkmobile!" as Stuart drove up in his car to work the evening shift.  A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since that time, although I can't help but notice that we are still drinking in the same bar after all those years.  Talk about a rut.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Highly Suspicious Conference

The OACAC is holding its 2012 conference here at the University of Denver,and with an acronym like that, it has to be a government organization.  However, a number of the attendees have come into the DU Bookstore and stated that they are an international organization of guidance counselors, working with students transitioning from high school to college.  Yeah, right.  This afternoon, one of the conference  participants had a really hard time telling me what the acronym for his organization stood for.  I suspect OACAC is a front for the CIA.  Granted, most of the men and woman at the conference seem to be unassuming and middle-aged, but that's exactly what you want in a spy.  You never see them coming, and then boom! Don't try to tell me I'm wrong.  I've read enough spy novels to know what I'm talking about. .   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Economy Is Back!

The economy is finally roaring back, at least here in Denver.  I base this assessment on the size of the crowd dining at Bistro Vendome in Larimer Square this evening (on a weeknight, no less).  When you are willing to spend good money on pricey French food like canard - that's duck, people! - happy times are indeed here again.  Plus, during my bike ride this evening, I actually found loose change on the streets.  A year ago, you would get into fist fights trying to pick it up, but today it was there for the taking. I even saw a tourist lighting a cigar with a $10 bill.  What more proof do you need?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Roadshow Madness

My sister Susan tends to give me very esoteric gifts, such as the piece of art pictured above that I received for Christmas several years ago.  This past Christmas I received an antique goose, which I keep on my living room bookcase.  Since I am no expert, the next time Antiques Roadshow returns to Denver, I intend to bring them both in for an appraisal.  I fully expect to be told they are priceless - "I can't believe I am actually holding one of these marvelous treasures."  Let the bidding begin!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival - Day 2

I went back to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival here in Denver today, and - Surprise! -  it actually did not rain.  I visited every booth featuring photography this afternoon and was very impressed - these guys are good!  I also could not help but notice that there were a lot of dogs at the festival today, many doing disgusting, dog-like things. Next time bring plastic bags, people!  This is Cherry Creek, after all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Walk On The Wet Side

This weekend the Cherry Creek Arts Festival takes place here in Denver.  Although today started out sunny, it soon clouded over.  As I was perusing the one of the booths, it started to rain, and quickly became a deluge.  Within 15 minutes, 3rd Street was a raging river, and tents, garbage, pets, small children, etc. were floating past me. As soon as the rains started, the artists closed up their booths.  After the rains stopped, I had assumed they would reopen, but most didn't.  The ones whose booths were in the middle of the newly formed river, I can understand, but even the booths that could be reached without a boat stayed closed.  I took a peek into one, and saw a lone artist sitting on a stool in his covered tent, drinking wine straight from the bottle, reflecting on life and art.  Wait until next year, guys!      

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rain At Last!

The rains have arrived in Denver at last, helping to put out all those pesky fires burning across the state.  Now, of course, people are starting to worry about mud slides, flash floods, contaminated water supplies, etc. etc.  Television reporters have begun talking about the dangers of the "Monsoon Rains."  Are these guys disaster freaks or what?  Time to send them all to a 50s era bomb shelter for a "time out."  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Can Go Home Again!

Thomas Wolfe was wrong - you can go home again!  All you have to do is make a reservation on Travelocity or Expedia or whatever web travel site your prefer.  As for me, I was very happy to get away from all that cool and rainy weather and get back to the hot and humid weather of Colorado, and all the fires that accompany it.  Perhaps a preview of my next life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

People Love Us Here!

Today is the 4th of July, and time to head back home to Denver.  On the way back to the airport, I stop and do a little sightseeing in this state's biggest city.  People seem to love us here!  There is a Hoyt Arboretum, several Hoyt Streets, a Hoyt Realty Company, and my favorite - the Hoyt Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant. However, we do prefer to remain anonymous.  The first time you hear someone say "There's One!  Get 'Em!"  you realize that anonymity is not a bad thing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Hoyt Family!

What a friendly and innocuous bunch!  Why do we have to keep the Hoyt Family gathering secret and take these ridiculous  precautions?  My cousin John must be crazy - even crazier than I am, which is saying something.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Ocean!

At last we arrive at our destination, a large home along a windswept coastline.  After getting settled, we toast the health of the Hoyt Family Clan.  Many of these family members I have not seen since 1968, but I recognize them all instantly.  I even recognize the mother of the groom, who was 3 years old the last time I saw her.  Hoyt's never change.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Caravan

Today's post - and the following two - were necessarily delayed due to the need for a complete communications blackout - no cellphones, Internet, anything that could be traced.  The location of the Hoyt family reunion is completely secret.  Saturday night I attended a Hoyt Family wedding in the countryside.  It took place under an old oak tree, next to an ancient barn.  The scenery was spectacular - although rural - and everyone had a great time. The next day a 3 car caravan drove through primeval forests, along twisting, winding roads down to the sea, careful to make sure no one was following.  And we were successful!