Friday, August 31, 2012

John Makes Plans

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, has a career goal of becoming a history teacher.  He is hoping to enroll in classes at the University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education in the next year or so, and get a Master's of Education degree.  As for me, I am hoping to muddle through the next few years until I am eligible for early social security.  Both are noble goals, as anyone will agree.  Good Luck John!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Another Tattered Cover Book Signing!

I went to hear Louise Penny discuss and sign copies of her new book, The Beautiful Mystery, tonight at the Tattered Cover in Lower Downtown Denver. The place was packed.  I enjoyed her talk and intend to pick up some of her books at the Denver Public Library.  The last book signing I went to was at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, which is located somewhere between Denver and the New Mexican border.  The place is depressingly rural and overrun with speeding cars in a big hurry to get nowhere. The whole experience made me very nervous.  In any case, congratulations Louise on avoiding Highlands Ranch!  You must have a very good agent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Multicultural City

I know I  make fun of Denver quite a bit, calling it a small town when compared to cities like Chicago, but the truth is that Denver is becoming quite a multicultural city.  I reflected on this the other day as I biked past an Ethiopian church, where a memorial service was just letting out.  This diversity makes the city a much more interesting place to live.  Even the much maligned - by me - Californians have made Denver a more interesting place than it was back in 1981, when I moved here.  Of course, we did have to suffer through a decade or so of "Valley Girls" and "Valley Girl Speak."  What ever happened to them, by the way?  Did they move back to California?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Living The Good Life

Darrel and Chris, former DU Bookstore Accounting Office employees, are now living the good life working at the University of Denver's Chemistry Department.  The office is modern, spacious, and is stocked with gourmet pretzels.  Pretzels?  Well, whatever floats your boat, I guess.  In any case, glad to hear that life is going good for you guys.  Come visit us at the Bookstore sometime!  

Monday, August 27, 2012

The USA Pro Challenge

Sunday I went to see the finish of the USA Pro Challenge, a series of bicycle races that took place this past week throughout Colorado.  The race yesterday featured individual riders trying to finish with the fastest time.  At each curve, an official would first blow a whistle and wave a flag.  Then a police motorcycle would rush by, followed by the bicyclist, who in turn was followed by a speeding SUV, supposedly the rider's support vehicle.  I looked inside one of these "support" vehicles as it passed.  It appeared to be filled with laughing, partying teenagers.  Is this really a "support" vehicle, and if so, what kind of support do they provide?  Or are these simply random teenagers who put advertising decals on their cars and then sneak onto the track behind the riders?  If so, there ought to be a law.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy 43rd Susan & George!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George celebrated their 43rd anniversary yesterday at Kaos, the beer garden/pizza place on South Pearl Street in Denver.  It seems like just yesterday that they got married at the justice of the peace in Evanston, Illinois, celebrated at the Cape Cod Room in the Drake Hotel in Chicago, and then borrowed the family car for their honeymoon, sending my mother, father, grandmother, and myself home to the southern suburbs on the Illinois Central Railroad.  Don't worry guys, we made it back just fine - eventually.  Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

High On Pueblo

Maria, a former DU Bookstore employee who received her Masters in Library Science degree this past June from DU, is all excited about moving to Pueblo, where she will be starting  her new duties as a Librarian and Associate Professor at Colorado State University - Pueblo.  Maria has found a great apartment that is centrally located - 2 hours from Denver and 4 hours from Santa Fe, New Mexico.  That is centrally located here in the West.  Good Luck Maria!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Speaking Of Poets...

Dee, who works at the DU Bookstore during the start of each quarter, stopped by the store yesterday to say hello.  In addition to working at the Bookstore during "Rush" periods, Dee also works for the Spirituals Project, a non-profit organization located on the University of Denver campus that celebrates the music and history of spirituals in this country.  Like Noah (the subject of yesterday's Blog), Dee is also a poet.  Plus - and this amazes me to no end - Dee also knows all the lines of the original Made-for-TV Ironside movie, starring Raymond Burr ("That isn't a man in a wheelchair - that's Ironside in a wheelchair."). What a poet!  Way to go Dee!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Eye For Poetry

Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager, is seen in the photograph above trying to keep his eyes from closing as my camera's flash goes off.  In addition to working at the University of Denver Bookstore, Noah is also a poet. He used to write poetry and do readings at coffee houses such as Stella's, located on South Pearl Street here in Denver.  However, Noah tells me he doesn't have time for this anymore now that he has two children to help care for. Ever the helpful sort, I have a great suggestion.  In Wales it is a tradition to compose poems on the weekend and recite them to your co-workers the following Monday.  This would work really well in the Bookstore's stockroom, and I'm sure Noah would have a very receptive audience.  Extra points if the poems are in Welsh!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Postcard From Jan!

The DU Bookstore staff received a postcard today from Jan, a Bookstore employee who recently resigned in order to move to Omaha, Nebraska.  The postcard shows a typical Nebraska scene, confirming everything I've ever heard about the state.  Jan, in addition to taking care of her mother, is now working part-time at the Creighton University Bookstore.  I assume Creighton is just a short horse and buggy ride away from home, as is everything in Omaha.  Great to hear from you, Jan!    

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Churchill & Gandhi - And Wally?

Wally, my friend and colleague at the University of Denver Bookstore (see photograph above), is a member of the Churchill Society, an organization devoted to the life and writings of Winston Churchill.  Wally also belongs to the  local  chapter's book club, which is currently reading the book "Churchill and Gandhi."   As far as I can tell, Churchill and Gandhi met in South Africa many years ago, when they were both young hotheads, and evidently got into a big fistfight - something about the "Gem of the British Empire" versus the "throwing off of the English yoke." They were never on very good terms after that, and the rest, as they say, is history.  In any case, the next item on the book club's list is "Churchill Cooks Italian," or something like that. Can't wait to see those recipes!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beware The Mermaid Barbie Virus!

I got an e-mail from my ex-wife Lisa yesterday.  It simply said "For David" and was a link to a web site.  I don't hear that much from my ex-wife these days, so I clicked on it to see what Lisa had sent.  I instantly recognized (I'm smart that way) that the site was all in Polish.  This is pretty strange, I thought, but clicked on the tab to enter the site anyway.  In the center of the screen was an image of Barbie as a Polish Mermaid (with a tail that lights up, I might add).  Although I clicked on the image, nothing happened, so I backed out of the site, and only then noticed that in parenthesis, next to my ex-wife's name, was a different e-mail address.  She had not sent the link.  Oh Oh!  A trick!  How do people do this?  I later learned that the image was a video, and I was supposed to hit the play button to view it.  Thank goodness I am often so inept with computers.  Would I have gotten a  virus if I had viewed the video?  I don't know, but today I updated my virus software to make sure I am protected in the future from the Barbie, Ken, GI Joe and dreaded Betsy Wetsy viruses.  Stay Vigilant Blog Readers!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Big Thank You To Colorado Rockies Management!

The Colorado Rockies Baseball Organization is doing their very best to stop drinking and driving.  I bought a beer last night at the Rockies game for the first time in several years and it cost me $7.25.  If I had decided to have a second, it would have cost more for my beers than for my ticket.  If the average couple goes to the game and has two beers each, it will cost them almost $30.  If they decide to have a third, they will most likely have to raid Juniors college fund.  Talk about a good way to discourage drinking!  Thanks again, Colorado Rockies Management, for doing your part so unselfishly!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wait Until Next Year!

I took the "Light Rail" train down to Coors Field this afternoon to see the Colorado Rockies play the Miami Marlins.  The train was packed.  Evidently the Denver Broncos were playing an exhibition game at Mile High Stadium, and most of the passengers were on their way to see football, not baseball.  At the Mile High Stadium stop, everyone got out.  The only person left in the car besides me was an old wino, drinking wine from a bottle inside a brown paper bag.  Upon closer inspection, the wino appeared to look a lot like Jim Tracy, Manager of the Colorado Rockies.  If so, he was late for the game, too.  Don't worry, Jim!  Losing 100 games for the first time in Colorado Rockies history is nothing to be ashamed of.  Besides, it's not even your fault. Let's Play Two!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beer, Beasts, And The Beagle Boys

Marty (pictured above) is the Text Buyer for the University of Denver Bookstore, and is also the bass guitar player for the band "Flock of Beagles," also known (at least to me) as the "Beagle Boys."  The band is playing tonight at the Art and Ale Brew Festival (light on the arts, heavy on the suds) at the Wildlife Experience, located in a no man's land southeast of Denver on the road to Parker, Colorado.  The band will be playing from 6:00 until 10:00 tonight.  Mention this blog to Marty and he will be happy to buy you a beer!  Or three!  Let the good times roll!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

California Bound!

A group of DU Bookstore employees, friends, and family members got together tonight at the Great Northern Tavern in God Knows Where, Colorado to say goodbye and good luck to Tristy, the former University of Denver Bookstore Director.  Tristy (on the left in the photo above, next to former Bookstore employee Chris) is off to California to become the Bookstore Director at Cal State Long Beach.  She has rented a condo three blocks from the beach and two blocks from the university, and is all ready for fun in the sun.  Don't be surprised the first time the surf is up and half the store calls in sick, Tristy.  Best just to close the store and join them.  Be sure to pack your surfboard!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back To France - What A Bummer!

I rang up a sale today here at the DU Bookstore for a student who will be graduating from the University of Denver this Saturday.  He was pretty bummed out about having to leave Denver and return to his home in the South of France.  This reminded me of another student I knew several years ago who was transferring to a university in Paris, and who was also pretty disappointed about having to leave Denver.  These are only two examples, but it is obvious that Denver has something that appeals to Europeans:  is it the many parks, the trendy neighborhoods, the miles of bike paths, the lively nightlife, the nearby mountains?  Perhaps it is the art scene here.  Even our alleys and gutters are covered in artwork.  Eat your heart out, Paris.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Academic Commons

The University of Denver's Penrose Library is being remodeled into the "Academic Commons," and in addition to an entirely new interior, it will be given a more traditional exterior facade, to match the rest of the buildings on campus.  Construction plans have been revised to finish the exterior part of the remodel first, just in time for the first Presidential Debate this October 3rd.  It has been rumored that the sight of unfinished construction projects makes President Obama go berserk, so rest assured, that will not happen here.  But for God's sake, don't let him go inside!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Congratulations To Valarie!

Congratulations to Valarie (see photograph above), who starts her new job today at the Jefferson County Action Center, an organization that helps people in need in the western suburb of Lakewood, Colorado.  Valarie believes her work should have meaning and make a difference in other people's lives, which is a very admirable thing, and I wish her well in her new career.  This is in contrast to me, who is in it for the bucks.  In my defense, however, I must explain that I need every cent I can get to maintain my villa in the South of France.  Think of all the people I keep employed over there.  Europe is in trouble, and I am there to help.    

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good Luck Cheyanne!

Cheyanne, on the left in the photograph above along with her mother Valarie, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will leave for her 27 month assignment on September 25th.  When Cheyanne applied, she was told the Peace Corps desperately needed volunteers fluent in French, which she is.  Therefore, she was surprised to lean that she has been assigned to work in Mozambique, a former colony of Portugal where they speak - you guessed it, Portuguese!  Cheyanne does speak Spanish, too, so I imagine the Peace Corps folks probably figured Spanish, Portuguese, how much difference can there be?  Don't worry, Cheyanne.  I'm sure they know what they doing.  Good luck to you! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Great American Brewery Tour

Today was the Great American Brewery Tour.  In the photograph above are Valarie and her daughter Cheyanne, Linda and Darrel, Chris and Jim, and me.  Valarie, Darrel, Chris, and I all used to work together at the DU Bookstore, and we decided to spend today touring the local microbreweries.  We started with a guided tour of the Dry Dock Brewery in Aurora, Colorado (which is just east of Denver and as far as I can tell,  just west of the Kansas State line).  We then went to the Copper Kettle Brewery just up the road, where we decided that guided tours are great, but so is just sitting at a table drinking beer.  Afterwards, Valarie and Cheyanne and I went to the Great Divide Brewery at 22nd & Arapahoe Streets  in Denver for another guided tour.  We were told on that tour that the used barley is given to farms in Northern Colorado to feed to the cows.  No wonder those cows up there look so happy.  I've noticed they even smile at you when you pass by.  Those California cows have nothing on them.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Full Summer Mode

Dee, who works with the Spirituals Project here at the University of Denver and who also works during rush periods for the DU Bookstore, is in full summer mode.  She stopped by the Bookstore today to say hello and to see the new location for the Bookstore's Quick Copy Center.  Dee seems to be enjoying these temperatures in the 90s and 100s that we are having here lately and is dressing appropriately.  Dee, as seen in the photograph above, is giving her opinion on the Bookstore remodel, the state of the university, and the state of the world in general. You Go Dee!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Small Town Denver

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  Denver is a small town.  For years I used to wander  the streets of Chicago, and never ran into anybody I knew outside of my own neighborhood.  In Denver, I run into people I know all the time.  This evening my friend Stuart (see photograph above) and I were having burgers and beers at the Teller Tap House in suburban Lakewood when Carol, my co-worker at the DU Bookstore, and her husband, walked up to our table to say hello.  This is actually a very nice thing about Denver, although I worry that people might think they can wander into any bar anywhere in the world and have a better than even chance of running into me there.  And this is simply not true, is it?  I mean really, is it?  Certainly not every bar, anyway.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Pit Master

Last Sunday was the Big Denver Barbecue Block Party on Curtis Street in downtown Denver.  Two solid blocks of downtown were filled with barbecue trucks and trailers.  These vendors were not only from Denver, but from all over the country, and each had a plaque stating the name of the "Pit Master."  Personally, I would not care to be known as "The Pit Master."  It sounds too much like the villain in one of those Superhero or Wizard movies.  In any case, there didn't appear to be any Gordon Ramsays storming around among these chefs.  They all appeared to be a pretty mellow bunch - all that country music, fire, and grease probably calms them right down.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big Changes For Tristy!

Tristy, the former University of Denver Bookstore Director, has accepted a position as the Bookstore Director at California State University - Long Beach. Yes, Tristy is giving up the simple life here in Colorado for that California lifestyle.  I can see her now, rollerblading along the Venice Beach Boardwalk,  running toward the ocean with her surfboard, cruising Santa Monica Boulevard in her BMW convertible (time to get rid of that Chevy Pinto!). Good luck to you, Tristy!  Don't forget us little people here at DU!  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Congratulations To Maria!

Maria, a former University of Denver Bookstore employee,  has been hired as an Associate Professor and Librarian at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado. Maria graduated from the University of Denver this past June with a library science degree, and wasted no time in getting her career started.  Of course, the down side is having to actually live in Pueblo, but as Maria puts it, when the choice is between living the good life in Pueblo or being homeless in Denver, Pueblo starts to look pretty good.  Congratulations and best of luck to you, Maria!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

30th And Wyandot And Why-A-Not?

No doubt about it, the Highlands Neighborhood just west of downtown Denver is the latest hot spot for Denver's in-crowd.  Lots of fancy restaurants, trendy bars, and expensive condos and townhouses.  I biked up to the Highlands this afternoon and stopped at Z Cuisine, on the corner of 30th and Wyandot, hoping to have an absinthe and a beer (the house special) at the restaurant's famous Bar a' Absinthe.  Unfortunately, the restaurant is closed on Sundays, so I had to settle for taking a self-portrait in front of the building, which features photographs and drawings of some of the restaurant's more famous clientele.  Another missed opportunity to mix with my fellow beautiful people.  What a bummer.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kaos Reigns Supreme!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George drove into Denver from Fort Collins this afternoon to visit the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) and to have dinner at Kaos, the beer garden / pizza restaurant on Old South Pearl Street.  The traffic was so bad, they arrived quite late, and demanded to be taken to Kaos immediately. Sometimes beer  - especially happy hour beer - is the only remedy for traffic nerves.  I know this from the bottom of my heart, even though I mostly just walk everywhere I need to go.  This is what I call empathy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cheryl Survives Year End!

Cheryl (pictured above) is the Budget Officer for the University of Denver's Center for Teaching and Learning, and once again has survived another year-end close.  DU's fiscal year ends June 30th, which makes for quite a stressful summer for DU's Budget Officers.  Cheryl came through with flying colors.  Let Fiscal Year 2013 spending begin!  Congratulations Cheryl!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Two Guys Wedding Planning

Marty (pictured above), my colleague at the DU Bookstore, returned to work yesterday after attending a wedding in rural Montana.  Coincidentally, I also attended a wedding in rural Oregon a few weeks ago. Both weddings took place alongside an old barn, in a beautiful rural setting.  Marty - an old married guy - and  I -  an old divorced guy - don't read Modern Bride as much as we used to, but evidently rural weddings are quite the thing these days.  It occurred to me that with our recent experiences - what I call the "vision thing,"  - we could start our own wedding planner business.  I could find the rural locations, Marty could supply the money, Marty's wife could put together the "cutesy" touches, and we could hire Doug - the other DU Bookstore Book Buyer - to talk to brides about their flower options.  We could all make a fortune.  Hey Blog Readers!  Be the first to sign up for our services and we'll give you a special rate - whatever you want to pay!  Talk about a deal!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Presidential Debate

The 3rd Presidential Debate between Barach Obama and Mitt Romney will be held at Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus this October 3rd.  Three hundred DU students will be allowed to attend.  Unfortunately, no staff or faculty will be admitted.  I believe the exact words of the Secret Service representative were "Oh My God No."  Sounds like our reputation has preceded us.  In any case, if I decide I do want to attend, I might have to reprint my forged Chicago Daily News press credentials.  They fall for it every time.