Monday, December 31, 2012

Marty Shows Off His Thinking Cap

Marty, the Textbook Manager of the DU Bookstore, shows off his "thinking cap" in the photograph above, which was taken recently by Tony, the Bookstore's Copy Center Manager.  Marty wears this cap when he needs to be especially creative, such as when he is working on his new web site,  Marty promises to have his web site - promoting his guitar/mandolin/zither lessons and  the services of the bands he plays for - up and running by the end of the year, which, as I write this, is exactly 10 hours away.  Good luck with that Marty!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Speaking of Van Gogh...

Speaking of Van Gogh, one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings is "The Drinkers," which is part of the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I took the above photograph of my sister Susan expounding on the merits of the painting years ago, when we both lived back in that toddling town.  I think I like the painting so much because it reminds me so much of my formative years back in Chicago.  Nostalgia still lives!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Afternoon With Vincent

My friend Valarie, sister Susan, and brother-in-law George (from left to right in the photograph above) and I went to see "Becoming Van Gogh" this afternoon at the Denver Art Museum (affectionately known as The DAM).  We agreed to meet at the entrance to the museum, but Valarie, Susan, and George arrived at the north entrance while I waited at the south (correct) entrance. After a quick cell phone call, the three of them headed to the south entrance.  While I waited for them to arrive, I watched none other than Toulouse lautrec greeting visitors to the museum.  He looked pretty good, too, considering he can't be a day under 140.  Naturally, by the time Valarie, Susan, and George arrived, he had disappeared.  I told them who they had missed, but they just rolled their eyes and ignored me.   I am NOT seeing things, guys.  At least not this time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bill Pays A Visit

Bill, the DU Bookstore's former Operations Coordinator, paid a visit to the Bookstore this afternoon to say hello and to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Bill is enjoying his retirement immensely, taking bicycle rides in the Napa Valley, skiing in Aspen, playing the roulette tables in Monte Carlo, cruising the Mediterranean in his yacht, or at least pursuing leisure activities similar to these.  In any case, it was great to see you, Bill!  Keep having fun, and don't worry about us wage slaves here in the trenches.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Victoria Returns!

Victoria has returned to the DU Bookstore to help us out during the Winter Quarter "Rush" period.  Since she last worked at the Bookstore, Victoria has earned a degree in Geographic Information Systems from Metropolitan State University, and did an internship in Oregon with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  After working for 6 months in the Oregonian wilderness, she was offered a full time position with the agency.  Next month, after working "rush" at the DU Bookstore, she will start her new job with Fish and Wildlife, but has decided to commute to her job from trendy Portland.  As Victoria puts it, you can only look at all those deer for so long. A little bit of wildlife can go a long way.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day!

Today is Boxing Day, the day traditionally set aside for giving gifts to servants and the less fortunate.  The question is, in giving gifts to your servants, do you also give them the day off, or not?  Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager (pictured above), as well as the rest of the stockroom crew, feel this is not a relevant issue for them.  I strongly disagree.  What if  you win the Power Ball Lottery and buy a huge house on the French Rivera, overlooking the Mediterranean,  and need a staff to run it?  Noah responded that he doesn't need servants, he has a wife.  That settles the issue as far as he is concerned, at least until his wife reads this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To All

Merry Christmas everyone!  I celebrated the holiday today by cooking a turkey dinner for my sister Susan, brother-in-law George, and friend Stuart.  I intended to take a photograph of the three of them for this Blog, but between cooking and acting as host, I just forgot.  And can you believe no one reminded me to take one?  Which is why today's Blog photo is one of my famous self-portraits.  Deal with it, Blog readers!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is all about family, and I have been thinking a lot today about Christmases past.  I came across several photos of the Christmas of 1964, when my mother and father and sister and I lived in the Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago.  Those were happy days, all of us together and living in that wonderful house on Aberdeen Street .  My mother loved the place so much it was hard to persuade her to go on vacations.  Several years ago I went back to the old neighborhood after  44 years.  I am happy to report that it is just as nice as ever.  I put together a "Blurb" book, "The Journey Home: Returning to Chicago," chronicling my experiences on that trip ( ), and I never fail to get a warm glow whenever I look at it.  It is so nice to have all those wonderful memories.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Marty Promises Action

Marty, the Textbook Manager at the DU Bookstore, continues to work on his web site - - and has promised it will be operational by the end of the year.  I asked him which year, and he stated emphatically that it would be ready by the end of this year.  The site will promote Marty's guitar lessons and the services of the several bands he belongs to.  Marty also told me that there will be a disclaimer stating that he no longer teaches either the zither or scuba.  But those happen to be the two things I am interested in!  What a bummer.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wally Reminisces

Yesterday I brought a package to be shipped to Toledo "Next Day Air" to Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore.  At the very mention of Toledo, Wally was transported back to the days when he worked on an ore boat sailing the Great Lakes.  Toledo was one of their regular stops, and a "bum" boat would always come out to meet them, selling every item imaginable, including beer.  The ship's cook asked Wally to buy him a case of Schlitz, since he was preparing lunch and couldn't leave the galley.  Wally did just that, not realizing the cook had a bit of a drinking problem.  The cook proceeded to go on a major bender, depriving the crew of their meals.  Everyone wondered how the cook could have possibly got hold of all that booze.  Wally, of course, being no fool, wondered out loud the same thing. Later on, Wally served on either the Star of India (a full-rigged sailing ship) or the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway (I can never remember which), and you can rest assured he never made that same mistake again.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Changing Health Care Plans

I recently needed to change health care plans, and asked Tony, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore (seen in the photograph above) the name of his doctor.  Originally, I had asked Wally, another DU Bookstore employee, the name of his physician.  Wally told me that his doctor is one of two brothers who share a medical office here in Denver, but that he can never keep their names straight.  One is a general practitioner and the other is a proctologist.  In a situation like that, if you make a mistake when making an appointment, it could be a big one.  In addition, Wally also mentioned that his doctor has a degree in music, as opposed to something a little more practical, like medicine.  Fun is fun, but I think I will stick with Tony's recommendation.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joe Is Back!

We last visited with Joe (pictured above) at the Art Students League of Denver's annual Summer Arts Festival, where he had a booth displaying his artwork.  Joe is a monotype artist and an art teacher, and also helps out in the DU Bookstore's stockroom, as well as on the sales floor, during "rush" periods.  Joe is quite talented, and his artwork is featured at Denver's Zip 37 Gallery, as well as at other art galleries around town. Be sure to check out his blog at  Joe's brother Owen also works at the Bookstore, but prefers not to be photographed.  Perhaps another sizable bribe is in order.  This could get expensive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheryl Visits the Bookstore

Cheryl, who works at the DU Bookstore during our "rush" periods, stopped by the store today to say hello and buy some snacks.  At first Cheryl wasn't very enthusiastic about having her photograph taken, but Trish, another Bookstore employee, encouraged her to pose for the camera.  Trish has also convinced a number of other Bookstore employees to be photographed for this blog, although Trish herself steadfastly refuses to let me take her picture.  Time to resort to sheer bribery, I guess.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Bookstore Accounting Office Annual Holiday Lunch

Today was the annual DU Bookstore Accounting Office Holiday Lunch.  Of course, only two of us still work in the Bookstore's Accounting Office, but why should that stop a great tradition?  In the photograph above (from left to right ) are, in the back row, Chris, Darrel, and Flo, and in the front, Brittney and her daughter Addison.  Of course, Addison has never worked at the DU Bookstore.  However, when Brittney was Addison's age, her mother put her to work at the Fort Lewis Bookstore in Durango, Colorado, and look how well she turned out.  Brittney seems to think it might be best to wait a few years before Addison and her son Conner enter the workforce.  Okay, be that way.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Mozambique Corner

My friend Valarie's daughter, Cheyanne (third from the right in the photograph above), joined the Peace Corps this past fall and is now a teacher in Mozambique.  She first went to the town of Namaacha, in the southern part of the country, for training.  I am pretty sure that is where the well-known musical, "The Man of Namaacha,"  was set.  Regardless, she is now training teachers at a college in the Homoine District of Mozambique.  Plus, she now has her own blog:  You should definitely check it out.  Way to go Cheyanne!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vincent And Me

I visited the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) this afternoon for the first time since becoming a member a few weeks ago.  Although it was a very chilly day outside, it was quite pleasant  inside the museum, viewing all the new paintings and exhibits that have been added since the last time I was there.  Although I joined the museum in order to buy discounted tickets to the "Becoming Van Gogh" exhibit, I think it was a good idea to join anyway.  Plus, I was told by the person selling me the membership that there is an open bar for members every Friday night.  I sure hope she wasn't just saying that to make the sale.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Robin And Caitie Host A Christmas Cookie Party

Robin, my good friend and former Hatch's Bookstore co-worker (in the photo on the right) and her daughter Caitie (on the left), hosted a Christmas cookie decorating party last night, which was a huge success.  Even I - not known as a master chef - baked two dozen chocolate chip cookies, with a little help from the Pillsbury Baking people.  However, I couldn't help but notice that I was the only one who brought beer.  Aren't cookies and beer still a cherished holiday tradition?  We have GOT to keep these hallowed traditions alive.  I know I will certainly do my part.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Not A Creature Was Stirring...

All of the students have gone home for the holidays, and so the University of Denver campus is very quiet these days. Even many of the DU staff members have disappeared, taking time off to enjoy the season.  It is a happy time of year, but also a sad time too, since there are so few people left to corral into having their photograph taken for this Blog.  I guess that is what they call the "Christmas Blues."  I wonder if Cindy Sherman has the same problem?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ashley Stops By!

Ashley, who was a work study student at the DU Bookstore for four years, stopped by the store this morning to do a little shopping.  In point of fact, she set off an alarm that brought every employee in the Bookstore to the Computer Department to see what was going on.  Frankly, I have to admit, Ashley always did want to be the center of attention when she worked here, and probably was just looking for an easy way to greet everyone in the store at the same time.  Currently, she is very close to earning a Masters Degree in Biology  from the University of Denver, and hopes to eventually get a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, the better to figure out her former co-workers. Way to go Ashley!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Charlie Visits The DU Bookstore!

Charlie, a former DU Bookstore employee, paid a visit to the store this afternoon to say hello, and says he is really enjoying retirement.  He is doing a lot of traveling and is also helping take care of his granddaughter.  We asked him if he wanted to work for the Bookstore during our "Rush" period next month, but he just laughed and walked away.  I think that means no. What?  Have you forgotten all the fun we used to have during the first week of classes?  Regardless, it was good to see you again Charlie!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The British Bulldog Rocks!

The last time I was in this restaurant / tavern it was called The Punch Bowl, a bar whose history dates back to 1904.  Back then, patrons would bet on prize fights that were held in the bar by throwing money into a punch bowl.  Several years ago, the place was remodeled and renamed The British Bulldog.  I must say, they did a great job with the remodel, keeping all of the historical elements, but still making the place look and feel very trendy.  As an added plus, the bartenders and wait staff are all very cheerful and friendly, and the place has the feel of a neighborhood bar - a modern day Cheers.  Congratulations, Bulldog People!  Keep up the good work!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bri Works Toward Her Goals

Bri is not only a DU Bookstore employee, but also a student at the University of Denver, majoring in both English and Communication.  She is minoring in Japanese and Hebrew, and hopes to become a translator, possibly with a Japanese publisher of anime comic books.  Once Bri achieves that goal, perhaps she could move to the editorial side of the business. If so, how about a comic book superhero who works at a college bookstore?  You could call him "Dr. Hawk," a superhero who uses his great powers for truth, justice, and lower textbook prices.  Sounds like a winner to me.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Matt Keeps Busy

Matt, a DU Bookstore employee and a Computer Science / Studio Art student at the University of Denver, is keeping busy these day working two jobs.  Matt is specializing in Video Game Production, and hopes to go into that profession after graduation.  Matt, once you start working in that field, try to get all those Ms. Pac-Man machines back into the restaurants around town.  I haven't seen one in years. What is the deal with that?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Valarie!

Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore, and I celebrated her birthday today with dinner and a movie.  And no, I am not crazy enough to mention which birthday.  We first went to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall, which was really great fun to see, and then had dinner at Applebee's.  Over dinner, I mentioned to Valarie that like James Bond in Skyfall, I too was worried that I have lost a step.  Valarie replied that she has always noticed quite a similarity between James Bond and me.  I was so glad to hear that.  I have also noticed that similarity, but thought I was just imagining things.

Friday, December 7, 2012

John Returns From The Glorious South

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, returned this week from a Thanksgiving visit to his home in Georgia.  He and his family spent part of his visit on a farm, riding horses and enjoying the rural Georgia countryside. I asked John if there were any old antebellum plantations in the area, but evidently General Sherman  took care of most of those during his famous "March to the Sea."  Fortunately, John tells me that Georgians are no longer bitter about that - "at least the educated ones, anyway."  Just what does that mean? We Northerners have all seen Deliverance too, you know.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Happy St. Nicholas Day from Santa, everybody!  This year everyone who has been good will get a Christmas carp.  Everyone who has been bad will get two Christmas carps.  Just deal with it, kiddies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Quest For Accuracy

Tony, the DU Bookstore's Quick Copy Center Manager (pictured above), told me today that Marty, the store's Textbook Manager, has been telling people that today, December 5th, is St. Nicholas Day.  This is not true.  In point of fact, St. Nicholas Day is always celebrated on December 6th.  Marty has been all excited lately about the Christmas season and the Christmas traditions of his favorite city, Prague, and seems to have gotten confused. However, in fairness to Marty, presents might sometimes be exchanged on St. Nicholas Eve.  Plus, a second round of presents is then exchanged on Christmas Day.  Talk about "win-win."  Book my flight to Prague immediately!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Excited About The Holidays

I asked Marty today if his new web site,, was online yet.  I thought he was having someone design it, but Marty tells me he is putting it together himself.  Look for it sometime in 2014. In any case, Marty was waxing nostalgic today about Prague, his favorite European city, and its holiday traditions.  Evidently everyone there receives gifts on both St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) and on Christmas Day.  Plus, it is a tradition in Prague to celebrate Christmas Day with a Christmas carp.  Yum!  Marty hopes he and his family can visit Prague over the Christmas holidays next year.  If you do, Marty, try really hard to avoid that carp.  Perhaps a McDonald's will be open.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The 2012 Santa Claus Pub Crawl

I attended the 2012 Santa Claus Pub Crawl here in Denver this past Saturday.  It started out in the early afternoon at Fado's Irish Pub in Denver's LoDo neighborhood.  It was a surreal experience to say the least - lots of guys in Santa suits hanging out at the bar, drinking beer, and not doing much crawling.  These guys were settled in for the afternoon.  I came back at 4:00 to see the "Running of the Santas," and it was a great disappointment   I envisioned the streets being closed and 1,500 men and women in Santa suits racing to the finish line.  Instead, it was a handful of twenty-somethings in Santa caps who sprinted across the street and then walked the rest of the way to the Ginn Mill on Larimer Street for evening libations.  Another illusion shattered.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sergio Appears On The Blog At Last!

Sergio is an engineering student at the University of Denver and has worked at the DU Bookstore since September.  He agreed to be featured on my Blog after being persuaded to do so by a number of other Bookstore employees.  I am of course very flattered that these employees spoke so highly of my Blog and told Sergio what an honor it is for him to appear on it.  However, I couldn't help but notice that most of the employees extolling my Blog refuse to appear on it themselves.  What's up with that?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Emilie Joins The DU Bookstore Team!

Emilie started working at the DU Bookstore in September and is originally from Minnesota.  In fact, the other morning Emilie, Trish (also a Bookstore employee), and a customer were at the front desk of the store and discovered that they were all from the same part of Minnesota.  They then spent a bit of time discussing the glories of the state.  I myself have never been to Minnesota, but I do know the state is notorious for its cold and snowy winters.  Not only do you have to plug in your car every night so it will start up the next day, but every morning you have to get up early and thaw out the cows.  What a drag!  No wonder so many Minnesotans live here.