Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting The Job Done!

Kelsey (on the left in the photograph above), and Bri (on the right) are the morning crew Tuesdays and Thursdays at the DU Bookstore, and they are getting the job done, ringing up sales, answering the phones, and preparing shelf tags for next quarter, among other duties.  Plus, they are never too busy to pose for a Blog photograph.  Thanks guys!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fine, But What's Happening In Mozambique?

Actually, quite a lot.  Cheyanne - the daughter of my friend Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore -  is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique.  In the photograph above, she is standing in front of a typical Mozambican hut.  Most PCVs live in huts just like this (and by the way, I just love that abbreviation for Peace Corps volunteers: "Watch out!  I see a PCV at 3:00 o'clock."  But I digress).  Cheyanne writes in her Blog that she and 20 other PCVs spent the weekend in a small hamlet inland from the college campus where she teaches.  After dinner they all went to a bar and danced, surrounded by a circle of very silent Mozambican youth.  Not wanting to put on a floor show for the crowd, she chased after them one by one and insisted on dancing with them.  Talk about a chip off the old block.  That is EXACTLY what Valarie would have done in the same situation.  Read all about Cheyanne's adventures and view her great photographs at

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sergio Soldiers On

Sergio, a student employee at the DU Bookstore and a University of Denver engineering student, is keeping very busy these days finishing up his end of quarter projects. After classes end, he hopes to spend spring break unpacking and shelving textbooks here at the Bookstore in preparation for next quarter.  Not only will he avoid a costly spring break vacation, he will also get a great workout stocking the shelves.  With all these benefits, Sergio should be paying us instead of the other way around.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow In Denver - What A Concept!

Tony, the Copy Center Manager at the DU Bookstore - is a native Coloradan and is not fazed by a little snow now and then.  Tony lives in Aurora (a suburb of Denver), which received about a foot of snow yesterday, and the storm didn't change his routine at all.  He went to church, drove his son to a relative's house, and ran various errands.  However, he feels that people in the Denver area have lost the ability to drive in snow.  This might well be true, but there are good reasons for this.  For one thing, Denver has not received very much snow over the past few years, and people aren't used to driving in it anymore.  Plus, 10 million or so Californians have moved into the state recently, and most of them have never seen snow before.  They tend to slow down, look up at the sky, and try to make sense of it all.  Kind of like the people in Siberia last week who witnessed a meteor flying across the sky.  Give 'em all a break, Tony.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Photographer Joel Dallenbach - Role Model For The Meek

I went back to the Victoria Myhren Gallery on the University of Denver campus yesterday to take a second look at the current exhibit - Joel Dallenbach: Sidewalk Stories.  Dallenbach is a street photographer here in Denver, and he is fearless.  His street photographs are great- each one tells a thousand stories, and nothing will stop him from getting the shot he wants.  In fact, one time he was taking photographs on the street, got into an argument with an unwilling subject, and wound up with a horrendous black eye.  Not only did he take photographs of his injury, but he kept taking photographs throughout the trip to the emergency room.  He only stopped shooting when the nurses threatened to give him a second black eye to match the first.  An inspiration to all us wannabe street photographers.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Computer Guy For A Day

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, was "computer guy for a day" yesterday, while Owen, the regular computer salesman, was on vacation.  In addition to knowing a lot about computers, John also likes older things, too.  Instead of a wristwatch, he uses a pocket watch instead, as seen in the photograph above.  A few years ago, when my famously ugly wristwatch was being repaired, I also used a pocket watch for a week or so.  Another Bookstore employee, known for being a bit of a curmudgeon, thought that was hilarious.  I asked what was so funny about it, and he said nothing, if we were back in 1875.  I guess some people just have no respect for either tradition or the past.  Keep using that pocket watch, John.  Way to go!

Friday, February 22, 2013

"The Catnip Way"

Marty - the DU Bookstore's Textbook Manager and a very gifted guitarist - played a benefit concert last night at the Cable Center, located here on the University of Denver campus.  However, that is not the subject of today's Blog.  The big news is that Marty is on a diet, which he calls "The Catnip Way."  As I understand it, it is inspired by the products of Hartz Mountain (the pet food company) and involves eating lots of birdseed and catnip.  Marty has already lost 17 pounds in just one and a half weeks.  If he survives, I think I might give the diet a try, too. After all, I'm sure Marty wouldn't lie about any of this.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roddy - Living The Good Life

I attended an opening reception tonight at the University of Denver for a new photography exhibit: Joel Dallenbach: Sidewalk Stories.  As soon as I walked in, I ran into Roddy - the DU Art School's photography professor - and took his portrait in front of the photographs his class took on their recent trip to London and Paris.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Roddy taught a photography class this past November that took place in those two cities, and will be teaching another photography class next month that takes place in San Francisco.  And to think he actually gets paid for this!  But I am not jealous.  At least not much.  Although, talk about "sitting in the catbird seat."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Promotion For Matt

Matt - pictured above - is a student employee at the DU Bookstore, and is substituting for Owen - the Bookstore's Computer Department Team Lead - while Owen is on vacation.  Matt is majoring in Computer Science and Digital Media Studies at the University of Denver, and will graduate this June, so he is well qualified to help out in that particular department. Hey Matt, how about a 50% off sale on everything in the department?  That will bring the crowds in - even cheapskates like me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gretel Ehrlich Speaks

I went to hear Gretel Ehrlich talk about her new book, "Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami," tonight at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lower Downtown Denver.  Ehrlich, a devoted student of Japan, visited the earthquake and tsunami devastated Tohoku coast of Japan several months after it happened, and this book is about her experiences there.  It was a horrific disaster, leaving 300,000 people homeless and almost 30,000 dead, and was compounded by the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.  The talk was well attended, and I was very surprised to see that so many people in the audience knew each other.  Everybody entering the room greeted and hugged the people already there, including the author.  One reason was that the author is from Wyoming, and some of her family were in attendance.  In addition, I ran into a friend of a friend and learned that many of the people who attended tonight are in the book business. I don't know if they are all fans of the author, or buying autographed copies to resell, or both, but I was amazed that there are still so many people left in the book business.  That is good news indeed.  Death to Digital Books!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Catching Up With Noah

People have been asking me why Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager - hasn't been featured on my Blog lately. They want to know what's new with Noah these days, what has he been doing outside work, is he writing any new poetry, and has he attended any exciting poetry related events recently?  And here are the answers: nothing, very little, no, and no.  Thanks for sharing, Noah!  I guess raising two kids - named Adelaide and Sydney after Australian cities - takes more time than one would expect.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another DAM Art Lesson

I went to the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) today to see the new Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit.  It made for a very enjoyable afternoon.  In addition to her paintings and drawings, there was also a short film about her life put together by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  When she was young, Georgia O'Keeffe first gained fame with her abstract paintings.  The art critics loved them, and insisted they were expressions of O'Keeffe's powerful sexuality.  O'Keeffe was horrified, and stated that this was definitely not what these paintings were about.  In response to this, she began painting more realistic images, such as pears, instead.  Then O'Keeffe started painting giant flowers.  The critics loved these paintings, too, and insisted that they were VERY sexual in meaning.  After that O'Keeffe moved to New Mexico and started painting cow skulls, and was finally able to confound the art critics. You might say she had them "buffaloed."  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The News From Mozambique

As faithful blog readers know, my friend Valarie's daughter Cheyanne (on the right in the photograph above) is serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique, instructing students on how to teach English to local children.  Cheyanne is also writing a very fascinating blog ( about her adventures there.  In her latest post, she describes the trials and tribulations of picking up a package at the post office (a 4 hour round-trip ordeal).  Her mother Valarie - the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - wanted to visit Cheyanne in Mozambique to see and experience where she is living, but Cheyanne thought it might be a little bit too rough for her, what with having to sometimes walk miles in the rain on mud covered roads, ride buses crammed to the rafters with people, eat chicken foot soup to avoid insulting people, etc. etc.  They have decided to meet in December in India to attend a wedding instead.  I myself say Valarie should try eating chicken foot soup here in Denver at least once a week, just to get an idea of some of Cheyanne's experiences.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mad Cowabunga Gets A Gig

Marty - the DU Bookstore's Textbook Manager - announced today that his band, Mad Cowabunga, has a gig Saturday night, March 9th at the Bannock Street Garage ( Be sure to stop by and get your oil changed while listening to their set.  Just kidding!  I don't think they do car repairs anymore - at least not at night.  In any case, Marty plays guitar for the band, and wants me to get the word out so they can pack the house. In addition to featuring the band on his website (, Marty's wife Shannon thinks the band should have a Facebook Page.  In my opinion, that is so yesterday.  Handbills, that's the ticket!  Haven't you guys ever seen the Blues Brothers Movie?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wally Reminisces

I mentioned to Wally - my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore - that James T. Humes, the author of "Churchill - The Prophetic Statesman," was speaking that night at Denver's Tattered Cover. Wally - a huge Churchill fan - told me he was reading that particular book right now, and that Humes was once a visiting professor here at the University of Denver. Humes was given an office on campus in Columbine Hall, and moved in along with all his Churchill books and memorabilia.  However, he didn't keep regular office hours.  That turned out to be a big mistake, since later that year the university tore down Columbine Hall - along with Hume's office contents - to put up a parking garage.  Humes was understandably upset, but actually I think he should have been happy that the building wasn't torn down with him in it, too.  Of course, if that had happened, DU might very well have named the parking garage after him.  Talk about immortality.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  Although I am not Catholic, my mother was, and attended St. Anslem's Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago when she was a child.  I took the above photograph a few years ago in front of that church, holding a photograph of my mother in her First Communion dress.  Since I wasn't raised Catholic, Lent never had much meaning for me, although it is an important event for many Catholics.  I remember once many years ago Annette, the General Merchandise Manager of the DU Bookstore at the time, gave up beer for Lent.  Talk about getting serious about religion.  It was a very traumatic 6 weeks,  at least for the rest of the staff.  As I recall, Annette was a bit on the crabby side during that period, but still got through it.  Although I must say, she never seemed quite the same afterwards.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Checking In With John

John - a DU Bookstore employee and a student at the University of Denver - is working towards getting his teaching certificate. He tells me he spent last weekend studying chemistry and pet-sitting for a co-worker.  John said the dog - a boxer - growled at him at first, but he won it over by bribing it with treats. John said it was actually a really sweet dog, but he refused to stay overnight with it, just to be on the safe side.  I know what he means. Years ago I was bitten by my Aunt Babe's boxer Ginger.  As I recall, it weighed about 500 pounds, had glowing red eyes, and stared at you with a fierce intensity while growling and baring its sharp, pointed teeth.  Of course, I was only 4 years old at the time, so I might be mis-remembering a few of the details. Perhaps I'm confusing it with Cujo, Steven King's devil dog.  Nevertheless, I am sure they were very similar.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Wrath Of Dee

Dee - a part-time DU Bookstore employee and an important member of the Spirituals Project here at DU - stopped by the Bookstore today to say hello, and as the photograph above shows, she was in full winter mode.  She was also pretty upset with the Microsoft Corporation.  I don't know what Microsoft did, but I strongly advise them to never do it again.  As all of us know at the DU Bookstore, you should never - and I mean never - incur the wrath of Dee.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Usual Suspects

Chris hosted a hugely successful dinner party last night at her home here in Denver.  In the photograph above are (from left to right) Valarie, Jim, Chris, Darrel, and Linda. Valarie, Chris, Darrel and I all used to work together at the DU Bookstore, and the discussion over dinner included Bookstore remembrances, current movies, and craft beer.  We also discussed Valarie's upcoming trip with her daughter Cheyanne to India, where they will attend a wedding and then spend 2 weeks sightseeing.  Valarie says she prefers staying in one location and taking day trips, but that might not work in a country the size of India.  I've made it my job to convince her of the joy of overnight trains.  Be sure to pack only what you can carry on your back, Valarie.  That is the key to travel happiness.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Donovan Visits!

Donovan - the DU Bookstore's former Computer Store Manager and the current Technology Sales Coordinator at the Auraria Campus Bookstore in downtown Denver - paid a visit to the DU Bookstore yesterday to check out the Bookstore's new look.  He was very impressed with the remodel that was done over the summer, especially the new computer department.  Donovan was quite the gung-ho salesman when he was here at DU.  Often people would come in for a pack of gum and would walk out with a $2,000 MacBook before they knew what hit them.  Glad to hear things are going so well at Auraria, Donovan!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lakewood Colorado - The New Paris?

I drove out to Lakewood, Colorado - a suburb of Denver - last night to have burgers and beers with my friend Stuart (see photograph above). We went to Old Chicago, and the place was packed.  In point of fact, it was more crowded than many bars and restaurants I have been to lately in Denver.  Stuart says this proves that Lakewood is the "New Paris," a gathering place for artists, writers, and everyone else looking to relive that exhilarating 1920s scene.  In my opinion, the entire city gathers together in one place every night to find refuge and a little bit of cheer in a sad, bland, soulless city.  And I mean that with all due respect.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Not Making This Up!

Dave Barry spoke at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lower Downtown Denver last night, and it was a tremendous success.  The place was packed, and with good reason.  Dave Barry has a wonderful sense of humor that makes his appearances a real treat.  Not only that, he is also very wily.  Most authors appear at the appointed time, speak for a while, and then sign books.  At this point, I usually get up and leave.  However, Barry obviously has the ability to see through a devoted cheapskate's plans.  Last night he showed up half-an-hour early and announced he was going to come into the audience and sign books right where we sat.  What are you going to say when he walks up to you and offers to personalize the book in your hand?  When he walked up to me, I told him that of course I wanted him to personalize the inscription .  He wrote "David, stay sane" and then signed his name on the title page.  His book is titled "Insane City," so I am sure he wrote the same thing in everyone's book, right?  Although I must say he did look at me pretty strangely as he handed the book back to me.  Probably just my imagination.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Morning Crew

Emilie (in the photograph on the left) and Trish (on the right) are the morning crew at the DU Bookstore most days.  Emilie (against almost everyone's advice) has become an official follower of this Blog.  Trish has steadfastly refused to have her photograph taken for this Blog for the past year or so, but finally agreed to have it taken today, most likely because I have such a horrible cold and she felt sorry for me.  This has given me a great idea for future Blog postings.  The more miserable I am, the more likely people will let me take their photograph.  I have always been told you have to suffer for your art, and now I realize it is absolutely true.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kelsey Returns!

Kelsey, a student employee at the DU Bookstore, returned to the University of Denver this quarter after a semester abroad in Israel.  Kelsey studied in Haifa, and was able to tour most of the country during her stay, with the exception of the southern part of Israel, which was constantly being shelled (no sense of adventure, in my opinion).  Kelsey noticed that each region of Israel has its own distinctive identity and character.  A former Bookstore employee who moved to Israel a few years ago seconded this opinion when he decided to move to a suburb of Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem, which he felt was too Orthodox for him (this from someone who once wanted to be a Rabbi).  In any case, I tend to believe that deep down everyone (with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey) is the same.  And before you cranky New Jersey people get all bent out of shape,  that is an old Woody Allen joke, so go complain to him.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Weekend Of Movies

I watched three movies in three days this weekend, if you include Monday as a weekend day (and it is my Blog, so I will) and four movies if you count the movie I saw last weekend.  All took place in Southwestern or Southern Asia and were recommended to me by my friend Valarie.  Two of the movies (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Monsoon Wedding) took place in India, which coincidentally is where Valarie and her daughter Cheyanne plan to attend a wedding at the end of the year.  After watching these two movies, I must admit I am very envious.  India looks like a fascinating country.  I think it will be well worth a visit, despite the crowds,  the hassles, the erratic weather, and the general atmosphere of chaos everywhere you go.  And that's just when you change planes.  Good luck planning out your trip, Valarie and Cheyanne.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pizza At The Bonnie Brae Tavern

Wally - my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore - and his wife Linda (seen in the photograph above) treated me to pizza and beer Friday night at the Bonnie Brae Tavern after we attended our co-worker Carol's Opening Night Reception at the SPARK Gallery.  I hadn't seen Linda for a while, and wanted to talk with her about Wally's plans for their retirement.  As faithful readers know, Wally would like to retire to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He envisions living in a converted warehouse down by the wharf, sitting by the fireplace reading his books, occasionally looking out to sea, while his wife Linda is out driving in the frigid Halifax winter weather, buying groceries, running errands, paying bills...  In the evenings Wally envisions dictating his memoirs to Linda, who would be devotedly taking down his words at the writing stand he has already built for that purpose.  I told Linda it sounded like a great idea, but I don't think she is convinced.  Linda told me if I thought it sounded that great, maybe I should go to Halifax with Wally instead.  On second thought, perhaps it's not such a great idea.  In any case, thanks for the pizza and beer, Linda and Wally!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Out On A Limb

Carol, our friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, is also a very talented artist and is exhibiting her work through February 24th at the SPARK Gallery (9th and Santa Fe here in Denver).  Last night was the Opening Reception for her new show, "Out on a Limb," and most of the DU Bookstore gang was there, including Wally and his wife Linda, Brittney (the Bookstore's Assistant Manager), Patti and her friend Linda, Customer Service Associate Trish, and former Bookstore employee Ceci.  We all went there to support Carol at her Opening, and we did a bang up job of it, standing around in front of her etchings, cheerfully blocking them from the view of paying customers.  Glad we could be there for you, Carol!  Check out Carol's work at

Friday, February 1, 2013

Robert Crais Visits The Tattered Cover

I drove over to the Tattered Cover last night after getting off work at the DU Bookstore in order to hear mystery writer Robert Crais talk about his new book "Suspect."  The place was packed.  Fortunately, I was able to find a seat in the second row, although it was kind of cramped.  An older lady was seated directly in front of me.  I had my knees back as far as they could go in the narrow second row, but they still kept touching her coat, which was draped over the back of her chair.  Each time my knees touched her jacket, she turned around and gave me a look that would stop a wildebeest in its tracks.  I was very pleased to see that Crais' talk and autographing session was such a success, but the entire time I kept wondering whether any minute the lady in front of me would turn around and take a swing at me.  I decided not to buy the book, opting instead to leave quickly and avoid a fist fight.  On the bright side, I can always buy the book on the internet for six dollars in another month or so.  Still another advantage of the World Wide Web!  It not only gives you low prices, but you can also avoid ugly incidents!