As usual, my Halloween celebration this evening was a rather subdued affair. I have lived in the same location for almost 25 years now, and have NEVER had a single Trick or Treater. Probably because I am known in the building as that crazy old guy who lives down the hall. You would think that on this one night of the year people would want a big scare. Go figure.
I went to El Diablo - a trendy Mexican restaurant here in Denver - this Halloween Eve to witness their first annual skull auction. The skulls were artistically decorated and would have been great conversation pieces, but I was hoping the artists would have provided a short biography of the person whose skull you were purchasing. As we all know from watching Antiques Roadshow, "provenance" can greatly add to the value, with Exhibit A being the skull of poor Yorick (Antiques Road Show Episode 27). Alas, the artists choose not to provide this valuable piece of information, and so I left empty handed. Perhaps the next skull auction will be more open-minded..
Tony, the DU Bookstore's Copy Center Manager, is getting his Halloween costume ready for this Wednesday. Tony plans on coming to the Bookstore as me this Halloween. However, he is worried about scaring the Ricks Center children who will be trick or treating at the Bookstore that day. Don't worry Tony! They are young and can still take a good scaring without any permanent harm.
Marty is a "Facebook Friend" of the University of Denver Bookstore. He is also the Textbook Manager for the store. However, I am not sure someone can be a "Facebook Friend" of the DU Bookstore and also be a Bookstore employee. I will have to check the Facebook Rules of Friendship to be sure. It would be a shame if I had to expunge Marty. After all, he has a wife and young child to support.
Darrel stopped by the DU Bookstore yesterday afternoon to check out the Bookstore's Grand Opening festivities. Darrel was the Accounts Payable Manager for the DU Bookstore for 10 years, and is now the Budget Officer for the University of Denver's Chemistry Department. On his way out of the store, I persuaded Darrel to have his photograph taken for the Bookstore's Facebook Page. That makes him a "Friend of the Bookstore" in Facebook parlance. And I assume that a Facebook friend is like any other friend - if the Bookstore is short of cash and needs a loan until payday, I'm sure Darrel will come through.
The DU Bookstore is having it's Grand Opening Celebration this weekend after a major remodeling, and in the spirit of the occasion, both Carol (in the photograph on the left) and Ceci (on the right) agreed to let me take their photograph for this Blog. I have been asking each of them to let me take their photo for about a year now, and almost fainted dead away when they agreed. I snapped the shot quickly in case they changed their minds. Now that they have seen the above result, I am sure they will want to be photographed again soon. When is the next Blue Moon?
It snowed last night here in Denver, and today was a gray, depressing, typical winter's day, even though it is technically still fall. Washington Park (see photograph above) was deserted, except for the occasional solitary walker. Naturally today was my day off from the DU Bookstore, and so by necessity it was devoted to catching up on things that needed to be done at home. I just hate doing that. Wasn't is just a few days ago that we were celebrating the 4th of July? Does time move faster at altitude? What did Einstein say about that?
A number of years ago I did a photo project featuring the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver. I have a photo collage from that project on the wall of my office at the DU Bookstore (it won't fit anywhere else). At the time I took those photographs, the Lower Highlands was still a bit of an iffy neighborhood. These days a national magazine has named it one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the country. There is even a "bookstore" there called Williams and Graham that is actually a speakeasy down in the basement. It is so trendy you have to make a reservation to sit at the bar. I wonder how my old Chicago literary heros like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Studs Terkel would react to a "reserved" barstool. Not well at all I suspect.
Tony, the Quick Copy Center Manager at the DU Bookstore, mentioned to me this afternoon that he was very concerned about the increase of crime in Aurora, Colorado, where he has a home. I mentioned to Tony that the City of Denver has been working to gentrify the East Colfax Avenue part of Denver for years now, and has been trying to push all that crime across the city line into Aurora. And it has worked! Aurora just needs to follow Denver's example and push all that crime to the east of its section of East Colfax. In just a few months it will all be Kansas' problem. Glad I could help, Tony!
Jordan is Apple Computer's student representative at the University of Denver, and he spends a lot of time here at the DU Bookstore not only selling Apple products, but also giving instruction and advise to DU students, faculty, and staff. I have suggested to Jordan many times that he persuade Apple to have a 50% off sale, in order to capture the valuable "cheapskate" market, but he doesn't seem to go for that idea very much. Speaking for the cheapskates of the world, I can only express our severe disappointment.
I had burgers and beers tonight at Jordan's Irish Pub with my good friend Stuart. Jordan's - as regular Blog Readers know - is just across the street from the University of Denver, which both Stuart and I attended several years ago (okay, maybe more than several). However, the talk was very little about the "Ascend" campaign DU is promoting and more about the fate of the San Francisco Giants and their attempt to return to the World Series. Don't worry, Chancellor! I'll keep on trying to get Stuart to donate to his beloved Alma Mater. As for me, I'm tapped out. Sorry about that.
I got home tonight after having dinner with my friend Valarie and I'll be damned if there wasn't someone parked in my parking space - an expensive late model Acura, no less. I am always hesitant about having somebody towed, least they take out their revenge on my classic 1987 Honda Civic, so I parked 5 blocks away and walked back home. On the way I passed the Cable Center, where a big wedding reception was taking place. I was tempted to crash it, since I've heard that those bridesmaids really go for sophisticated men about town such as myself. However, the entrance was guarded by an armed off-duty Denver policeman. It seemed like too much of risk just for a couple of free beers. They were probably only drinking Pabst Blue Ribbons anyway, the cheap buggers.
Speaking of the DU Bookstore's Stockroom, we have a major infestation of giant spiders back there. They come crawling down from the ceiling to find something or someone to eat. In the photograph above, I am trying to get a hold on the problem.
It turns out that Noah, the Stockroom Manager at the DU Bookstore, was suffering from "Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease" last week. Of course, everyone at the Bookstore is confusing it with "Hoof and Mouth Disease," which is no doubt a related illness. In any case, this virus has been going around the elementary school where Noah's wife teaches and where his two daughters attend class. As Noah puts it, three of the four people who live in their house go to that elementary school every day, but only he catches the damn thing. I still say Noah shouldn't rule out leprosy.
The Academic Commons - the University of Denver's thoroughly remodeled library - is set to open this January. Originally the exterior was to be finished before the presidential debate at DU, but this goal was not met. Thank God the President - who has a phobia about unfinished construction projects - did not notice this. Rumor has it that his entourage quickly pointed out points of interest in the opposite direction whenever President Obama came close to glimpsing the project. "Look over there, Mr. President! Is that Mitt Romney guzzling a beer with those frat kids?"
John, a fellow DU Bookstore employee and dedicated University of Denver chemistry student, tells me the cardboard cutout of Stephen Colbert on display at the store is freaking him out. It stares at him all day long, and whenever John moves, Colbert's eyes follow him. John feels this is a form of harassment and is planning on e-mailing Colbert to let him know and to threaten legal action. Good luck with that John!
Noah returned to work at the University of Denver Bookstore today and is doing just fine. Personally, I was convinced that he would be calling in sick from the Leper Colony on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai. A number of DU Bookstore staff members, including myself, assured Noah last Friday that he had leprosy - absolutely no doubt. However, his doctor did not concur. In fact, his rash has almost disappeared and everything is back to normal. Hard to believe our medical diagnosis was incorrect. Go figure.
Time is up for the Colorado Rockies. They finished the year with 98 losses, the worst record in team history. On the positive side, it was much easier to get tickets this season. As Cub fans are so fond of saying, wait until next year. I also thought time was up for my wristwatch a few days ago. I had dropped it on the floor and it stopped working. Fortunately I was able to get it fixed, which is good news considering the memories this watch has. It was given to me one Christmas years ago by my brother-in-law. My mother immediately declared it to be the ugliest watch she had ever seen. The following summer, when I went down to Florida to visit her, she insisted on buying me a Timex watch to replace it, with instructions to only wear my old watch in the presence of my brother-in-law. A few years ago I dropped the watch in Oakwood Cemetery in Chicago. By the time I noticed this and drove back, the gates to the cemetery were closed. I went back the next morning, and it was still there where I had dropped it. Nobody had wanted it. In fact, Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, once wanted to know if I had gotten it free by subscribing to a magazine. On the bright side, I never have to worry about getting it stolen. Take that, Rolex owners.
I went to Renegade Brewing here in Denver tonight for the tapping of its barrel-aged Belgian Strong Ale. I expected speeches, the cutting of ribbons, and the flowing of beer from the keg after it was tapped. Instead, there was nothing. The Belgian Strong Ale wasn't even on the chalk board menu. After ordering my second IPA, I asked the bartender about the tapping of the Belgian Strong Ale. "Yeah man," he replied in a whisper. "Do you want a splash or a taste?" "A taste," I replied, in an equally horse whisper. So that's how it is, I thought to myself. A top secret brew available only to those in the know. Insiders like me. The beer was indeed very strong. The largest serving is in a snifter, necessary to keep Denver's beer affectionados from having a couple of pints and then heading home aimlessly in four different directions. In any case, Renegade is a great brew pub, located just north of the Santa Fe Arts District, and packed with beer lovers of all ages. Keep up the good work, guys!
Noah, the University of Denver's Stockroom Manager, cleaned an aquarium a few days ago and developed a skin rash on his hands. He went to the doctor this afternoon to have it treated. Noah thinks this is just a simple matter. Now I don't want to be an alarmist, but to me it looks like he has leprosy. All the signs are there. I know about these things. I've seen the movie Papillon. This Monday we'll find out if Noah returns to work or if he calls in sick from the leper colony in Hawaii. Just kidding! Leprosy has been treatable since the 1980s, so no problem! And I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
Marty is back working at the DU Bookstore after attending the wedding of his niece, Jody Marie near Ojai, California. The wedding took place in a scenic grove located just below the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (the bride and groom have to be Republicans, don't you think?). Marty tells me that the Reagan Library is the new home of the Berlin Wall. It just goes to show that Californians will buy anything. No wonder the state is so far in debt. I hate to tell the Reagan people, but I suspect they didn't even get all - or even most - of the wall in this deal. Kind of like in Arizona years ago when a developer thought he was buying "THE" London Bridge and got "A" London Bridge instead. Buyer beware, I always say.
Astute readers of yesterday's Blog have pointed out to me that the gulf stream is actually thousands of miles away from Halifax, Nova Scotia and that it does indeed get a little chilly there in the wintertime. Sorry about that. I was confusing it with Bermuda. In any case, Wally and Linda, I hope you haven't put down any money on a house there yet. If so, definitely bring a jacket.
Wally, a DU Bookstore employee for many years, returned today from a family get together on Cape Cod. While there, Wally visited the Yellow Umbrella Bookstore in Chatham and was very impressed, which to me means it must have a large collection of Winston Churchill books. Wally also reported that Cape Cod is actually a peninsula, not a cape. Wally speculates that early settlers couldn't spell peninsula and decided to go with the much easier "cape" instead. He will be researching this theory over the next few weeks and I will report his findings on this blog. Talk about a scoop! Wally is also still in the process of convincing his wife Linda that they should retire to Halifax, Nova Scotia, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Cape Cod. Linda feels that Halifax might be a little on the chilly side. Nonsense Linda! The gulf stream warms the city and creates an almost tropical year round climate. Trust me on this!
Tony, my friend and colleague at the University of Denver Bookstore, tells me that he and his son biked 12 miles yesterday on the Sand Creek Bike Path, which Tony tells me is located in the northeast part of Aurora. I asked him what is out there, and Tony replied "nothing," which confirms everything I've ever thought about Aurora, northeast or not. That nothingness extends all the way to Chicago, if anyone cares to keep on biking. Most people, however, turn back sooner or later in a desperate attempt to return to civilization. As Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland, "there is no there there." Keep cycling, but avoid all that ruralness, Tony!
The fences are down, all the trailers have been removed from the parking lot, and the University of Denver's Ritchie Center, as well as the rest of the campus, is back to normal after hosting the first Presidential Debate of 2012. The debate, DebateFest, and the 3,000 journalists who descended on the University of Denver are now just a memory. And in the future, when all these visitors - not to mention the millions who watched the debate on television - remember this experience, they will say to themselves "You know, that was a really nice university where they held that debate. What was it called again? CU? That's right - CU Denver. Let's send our kids there.
Today was the first Saturday in October and therefore a free day at the Denver Art Museum. As usual, cheapskates throughout the Denver Metropolitan Area ( I am their leader) gathered at the Museum to soak up as much culture as they could. Last month I couldn't help but notice that many of the galleries were closed on first Saturday. This month, however, most of the galleries were open once again. Thank God for that. We cheapskates want to get our money's worth, after all. Good going DAM people!
Ana Silvia and Joe returned from Honduras tonight after a successful attempt to avoid the first Presidential Debate of 2012 and the hype leading up to it. It seems the people of Honduras are far more interested in the daily murders of their citizens in that gang-infested country than in the fate of Big Bird. All went well on their trip, except for the fact that when they left at the beginning of September the temperature here in Denver was in the nineties and when they returned it was snowing. A dramatic shock to the system, almost as great as the potential end of PBS funding. Welcome back Ana Silvia and Joe!
The Presidential Debate at the University of Denver is over, as is the "DebateFest" held in conjunction with it. Unfortunately, I did not run into Tom Brokaw or Brian Williams or any other major media personality around the neighborhood over the past few days, and yesterday I was so busy at the DU Bookstore's booth at "DebateFest" that I didn't even have time to look for them. However, I did overhear several people in line in front of the booth mention that a Swedish "radio news team" was wandering all over campus interviewing people. I think this is the same outfit that claimed they were a television news crew a few days earlier. Rumor has it that these guys were across the street at Jordan's Irish Pub last night "working" on their story. Sounds highly suspicious to me. Where is the Secret Service now that we need them?
Today the first Presidential Debate of 2012 took place between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney here on the University of Denver campus, and in conjunction with that, the University sponsored DebateFest - 5,000 people getting together to watch the debate on a huge outdoor screen. The DU Bookstore had a booth at DebateFest today, and who should show up at it but Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Not only that, the Governor was more than happy to be photographed in front of our booth. As everyone knows, the Governor has been both a great mayor of Denver and a great Governor of Colorado. However, most importantly, he started the Wynkoop Brewery in Lower Downtown Denver and helped launch the microbrewery industry in this state and possibly even the nation. Thanks Governor! America's beer drinkers salute you.
Or is it out? No matter. The barricades have gone up in front of my building, the Secret Service is doing its security sweeps, and tomorrow Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will face each other in 2012's first Presidential Debate at the University of Denver's Ritchie Center. In addition, DebateFest will also take place at DU, where 5,000 participants will watch the debate on a huge outdoor screen. Over 3,000 journalists are expected on campus tomorrow. In fact, a customer at the DU Bookstore - a second generation Swede - ran into a Swedish news team roaming around campus today and wound up giving them an interview in Swedish. A Swedish news team? Wandering around the DU campus? Does this sound like a boondoggle to you too? Nice work if you can get it.
Gina - the retired former Manager of the DU Bookstore's Quick Copy Center - is heading back home to Phoenix tomorrow now that the average daily temperatures there have cooled off to a mere 100 degrees. Gina tells me she would have stayed for "DebateFest, " to be held on the University of Denver campus this Wednesday in conjunction with the Presidential Debate, but has to attend a homeowner's meeting back home tomorrow. Gina, like me, was looking forward to seeing 5,000 DebateFest attendees drinking beer, watching the Presidential Debate on an outdoor screen, and debating politics among themselves. Unfortunately, the university has decided that the event will now be alcohol free. Talk about 5,000 lost photo opportunities. It makes a person cry.
I never thought I would do a blog, but everyone kept asking, "what does David N. Hoyt think about this, what would David N. Hoyt do in a situation like this, how does this effect David N. Hoyt?" And so I intend to post a daily blog, and being an avid photographer, will take a daily photograph and post it here.