Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mozambique Moments

Cheyanne, the daughter of Valarie, my friend and the former DU Bookstore Operations Manager, and Cheyanne's roommate (seen in the photograph above) are magnets for the kids living in the Homoine District of Mozambique.  Both Cheyanne and her roommate are Peace Corps Volunteers, working on a college campus teaching students to become teachers.  More importantly, they are good will ambassadors, befriending the people of Mozambique, and making friends for our country.  Check out Cheyanne's Blog at www.timeinmozambique.blogspot.com. Good going guys!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Another Triumph!

My friend Marty, who like me was recently laid off by the DU Bookstore (now run by the Follett Corporation), played guitar with his band "The Fifty-Two 80's" last Thursday at a benefit concert for Runyon Elementary School.  It was a tremendous success and they quickly raised the 4 million dollars they were seeking (Littleton, Colorado must be a very affluent town).  Or maybe it was 4 thousand.  That is not my point.  The point is, the Fifty-Two 80's have ANOTHER GIG.  It will be at the Bannock Street Garage (bannockstreetgarage.com) Saturday night, May 18th.  Perhaps they will even offer free beers with every oil change.  As they say, be there or be square.  Or do they still say that?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The "W" Line To Golden Is Up And Running!

Yesterday I rode the "W" train to Golden, Colorado.  The line opened to the public Friday, and Saturday all rides were free - my favorite price!  I walked from the light rail station to downtown Golden and along the way saw rabbits, deer, and other wildlife running free.  Golden is still very much a small town, and everyone there seems to be very friendly.  Whenever I started to cross a street, cars would immediately stop to let me pass.  Coming from the city, that was a little bit unnerving at first.  I kept wondering what they were up to.  In any case, I stopped at the Golden City Brewery (the second largest brewery in Golden) to have a beer, and the place was packed.  Evidently there was some sort of biking event, and many of the patrons were wearing makeshift capes (or in one case giant butterfly wings) and having a beer.  Remember, I said that people in Golden were nice.  I didn't say they weren't weird.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Celebration!

Linda playfully tells me she is going to grab my camera and smash it if I take another photograph, as she and Wally and I celebrate the end of my 29 years of service to the DU Bookstore at Jordan's Irish Pub last night.  And now?  Perhaps I will go back to the villa in Provence.  My servants there say they miss me.  Let the good times roll!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Noah Ponders His Options

I took a photograph of Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager - pondering his Friday night options this afternoon.  Noah is an accomplished poet, and tonight is the 24th annual Poetry Rodeo (PODEO) at the Mercury Cafe (http://mercurycafe.com).  In addition, Noah's brother Zack, a former DU Bookstore employee, is playing drums for a "funky blues band" at Local 46 (http://local46bar.com), a well known bar and music venue located at 46th and Tennyson Street here in Denver.  On the other hand, Noah could just stay home with his wife and two kids and do nothing.  I know how I'm voting.  Good luck with that decision, Noah!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dee Promotes The Annual Poetry Rodeo

My friend and occasional DU Bookstore colleague Dee stopped by the store today and is very enthusiastic about the 24th Annual Poetry Rodeo - PODEO - taking place this Friday night, April 26th, at the Mercury Cafe in downtown Denver (http://mercurycafe.com).  The event goes from 6:00 P.M. until 1:30 A.M., so evidently poets like to party very late.  I asked Dee if there would be Limericks involved, and was told there would be if I decided to get up on stage and recite them.  "There was a young barmaid from Wales..." Well, perhaps not THIS Friday.  See you tomorrow Dee!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rock For Runyon Tomorrow Night!

Marty - the former Coursebook Manager of the DU Bookstore - and his band are playing a benefit concert for Runyon Elementary School tomorrow night (Thursday, April 25th) at the Platte River Bar and Grille (www.theplatte.com), located in exotic Littleton, Colorado.  The photo above shows Marty playing guitar at the last benefit concert for Runyon, held at Toad Hall a few years ago.  Back then the band was known as Rampage.  The name was later changed to Mad Cowabunga, then to Supergeezer, then back to Mad Cowabunga, and now appears to be "The Fifty-Two 80s."  But a little indecision about the band's name will not stop them from putting on a great benefit concert, hosted by none other than CBS4 weather guru Dave Aguilera.  It will be the social event of the year.  The "Cat's Meow," as we hipsters say.  Be there!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Monday Afternoon Crew

Kevin and Taina (in the photograph above) are the afternoon crew here at the DU Bookstore, and both are students at the University of Denver.  Kevin is a Culinary Arts major, and Taina is majoring in both Biology and Psychology.  Although Taina was originally going to attend medical school, she has decided to work for a non-profit organization after she graduates this June. I personally am glad that Taina has decided not to purse a career in psychology.  We have far too many psychologists running around these days.  If you stand up, a psychologist will tell you why you stood up.  If you sit down, they will tell you why you sat down.  The only way you can confuse them (a piece of advice courtesy of the old Bob Newhart Show) is if you crouch.  It works for me every time..

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Nightcap With Valarie

After enjoying an evening out with the "Gang Of Six" Saturday night, my friend Valarie (former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore) and I had a nightcap at Patxi's, where Valarie had left her car earlier in the evening.  Talk soon turned to her upcoming trip to India this December to attend a wedding and do some sightseeing with her daughter Cheyanne. I intend to experience their trip to India vicariously, so I was a bit disappointed when Valarie told me she wanted to concentrate on seeing various Buddhist sights, including the Bodhi tree (under which Buddha attained enlightenment). To me that seems a bit too rural an adventure.  However, Valarie assured me that she still wants to see some cities, too, including Varanasi, one of the oldest, holiest, and most alien of Indian cities: people bathing and praying in the heavily polluted River Ganges, funeral pyres on the ghats along the banks, thousands of pilgrims roaming the city, touts on every corner.  Now that's a vacation!.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pizza At Patxi's With The Gang Of Six

Yesterday our monthly or so "Gang of Six"  got together for pizza at Patxi's, a new pizza place here in Denver that originated out of San Francisco.  How can you go wrong with Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza and Goose Island beer (imported from Chicago, of course).  Afterwards Chris (in front on the left in the photograph above) and Jim (in front on the right) had us over for dessert, the second time in a row they have played host and hostess.  Of course, Chris and Jim's house is centrally located, whereas mine, about two miles away, is slightly off center.  Chris used to work at the DU Bookstore in the accounting office.  Darrel, in back on the left, used to be the Accounts Payable Supervisor for the Bookstore, and Valarie (in back in the center) used to be the DU Bookstore's Operations Manager.  Linda, in back on the right, is Darrel's wife.  Darrel and Linda are originally from Iowa, and have been married since they were 18.  Darrel plans to ride in the famous Ragbrai Bicycle Ride Across Iowa this July from Council Bluffs to Fort Madison, and is being trained by Jim, who is quite the cyclist.  For some reason, Linda refuses to ride along or even set foot in the State of Iowa in July.  What's the deal with that?  What indeed...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Visiting With Tony

Tony is the manager of the Quick Copy Center at the DU Bookstore.  He took over the position after Gina - featured in yesterday's post - retired.  Tony is a member of the Living Waters Church. I remember my old boss Bob Hatch and his family were members of the Living Waters Tabernacle, and asked Tony if it was the same church.  Tony said no, and told me that there are a lot of places with Living Waters in the title.  This is true -  there are even Living Waters beauty salons and car washes.  Bob Hatch owned the Hatch's Bookstore and Hatch's Card Store chains when I worked at the Hatch's Bookstore in the University Hills Mall here in Denver.  He always referred to me as "you rascal."  My then wife Lisa asked me what I did that was so rascally,  but I couldn't say.  Evidently you can sometimes just look at a person and know instinctively that they are a rascal - the type that in later years starts a Blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Quick Trip To Denver

Gina, the retired former Manager of the DU Bookstore's Quick Copy Center, came up to Denver for a few days on family business, and stopped into the store to say hello.  Gina now lives in Arizona, and timed her visit to coincide with one of the snowiest weeks of the year.  "It's cold - I'm outta here tonight" Gina told us as she was leaving.  I asked about the upcoming summer in Arizona, and she told me that you quickly get acclimated to the 130 degree temperatures (a cool 110 at night).  Good luck with that, Gina!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beers With John And Trevor!

I had a couple of beers last night at Reivers - the legendary restaurant and bar on South Gaylord Street here in Denver - with John (in the photograph on the left) and Trevor (on the right).  John is here on business from Lincoln.  I asked him what's new in cow-infested Nebraska.  His answer: nothing.  Surprise! Trevor is a former University of Wyoming Bookstore student employee and now works as an accountant in downtown Denver.  Trevor lives in the Uptown neighborhood, just east of downtown, and tells me it is hard to get used to all the noises of the city after living in Laramie for so long.  Really? What about that wind howling across the plains 358 days a year?  The other 7 days the wind is drowned out by the noise from the football stadium.  In any case, welcome to the (relatively) big city boys.Thanks for the beers!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dee Stops By!

Dee stopped by the DU Bookstore yesterday in full winter mode to say hello and to pick up a new computer printer.  In the photograph above, she seems a bit discombobulated by the 8 inches of snow we just received here in Denver, not to mention the bitter cold afterwards.  Nevertheless, she is as feisty as ever and ready for the next big storm, which is predicted to strike this very evening. Glad to see you are wearing your  Harry Potter scarf, Dee. You will need it.  Springtime in the Rockies!  What could possibly be finer?    

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Monday Morning Crew

Holly (in the photograph on the left), and Trish (on the right) are the Monday morning crew at the DU Bookstore.  They are always at the front desk first thing in the morning, cheerfully greeting everyone who comes into the store, in contrast to me, who strolls in later half asleep after a long weekend.  Holly is a student at the University of Denver and is ecstatic about being featured on this Blog for the first time.  Trish, as frequent readers know, has been on the Blog many times before.  She tells me that being on this Blog is one of the greatest experiences of her life - or words to that effect, anyway.  Thanks for your support, guys!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Happy April 15th Everyone!  Today is Tax Day, the day we get to send in our tax dollars to help keep our government running in the smooth and efficient manner we have come to expect.  I personally find that doing taxes is also great entertainment.  I myself have spent the past two weekends thoroughly engrossed in preparing my returns. Now they are done and in the mail.  The only down side is that we will all have to wait an entire year to do the whole thing over again - unless we're audited, of course.  In that case, let the good times roll!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Women's Day In Mozambique

Cheyanne (in the photograph above on the left) is the daughter of my friend and former DU Bookstore Operations Manager Valarie.  Cheyanne and her roommate Theresa (in the photograph above on the right), are Peace Corps Volunteers in Mozambique.  They are working on a college campus there training future teachers.  Last Sunday they joined in celebrating Women's Day in the local village. Evidently women do most of the work in Mozambique - cooking, cleaning, caring for the children, even when they also have jobs outside the house and their husbands don't.  On Women's Day the husbands do all the cooking and cleaning and the women celebrate all day long with song and dance.  Cheyanne also reports that her school was closed Monday so that everyone could rest up after the celebration.  What a great idea!  Why can't the University of Denver be closed, for example, on the day after Mardi Gras?   I'm definitely writing the Chancellor about this tomorrow!  Be sure to check out Cheyanne's Blog at www.timeinmozambique.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday Morning With Bri And Emilie

Bri (in the photograph on the left) and Emilie (on the right) work the morning shift at the DU Bookstore on Fridays, and just like our colleague John, have aspirations to become teachers.  Bri was originally planning to teach English in Korea, but has since changed her mind due to the recent tensions with North Korea (although in my opinion, you are safer in South Korea than here, considering Colorado Springs has been declared a potential target, and accuracy is not exactly a North Korean strength).  Emilie is on a waiting list to teach English in France. France is definitely very nice, but places like Paris can be pricey.  We once had an employee at the DU Bookstore named Aziz, who was originally from Algeria.  He lived in Paris for several years, but liked living in Denver a whole lot more.  In order to afford Paris, he had to have something like 10 or 12 roommates, and that was for a studio apartment. In comparison, he felt he was living like a king here in Denver, and he could afford a car, too. After moving to Denver, he bought a car for $500, got full insurance coverage, and a month later got back thousands when the car was destroyed in a hail storm.  What a country!  Good luck guys!

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's The Deal With Country Clubs?

A week or so ago I mentioned that the Denver Country Club was featured in a local television station's report on restaurant health department inspections and it was found to have a number of violations.  Now it turns out that Cherry Hills Country Club was also found to have numerous health code violations.  What's up with that?  I must say, however, that I am starting to believe those rumors that John Elway, the Hall of Fame Denver Broncos quarterback and a member of Cherry Hills, always brings a McDonald's bag with him whenever he goes into the bar at Cherry Hills.  You don't get to be a Hall of Fame quarterback by being stupid.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Goodbye Calculus And Hello Ukuleles!

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, has dropped his calculus class and will have a lot of free time on his hands until he resumes his teacher education studies this summer.  John plans to spend this time learning how to play the guitar.  I suggested to him that once he masters the guitar, he should also learn to play the ukulele.  A few years ago we had a group of employees at the store who started a ukulele band, and they would frequently serenade Bookstore employees in the store's breakroom.  Eventually, however, they decided to disband.  I guess fame and fortune just went to their heads.  In any case, do consider putting the ukulele band back together, John.  I hear there is a lot more money in that than teaching.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yes - Another Retraction

Last week I reported that it was Joe's last day, and he would not be back working at the DU Bookstore until June.  In the spirit of journalistic integrity, I must report that this turned out to be untrue, as the above photograph shows.  In point of fact, Joe will be working three days this week.  He tells me the Bookstore's Assistant Manager made a last minute request for him to stay on this week.  Personally, I think Joe just likes to be featured on this Blog and keeps telling me it is his last day because he knows I will take his photograph.  It kind of reminds me of an employee we had at the Bookstore many years ago named Val.  Val was a cashier at the store, and as I recall, we had three separate going away parties for her.  She just kept coming back, and I actually wound up buying her three going away gifts.  Being a cheapskate, that is something I tend to remember.  I believe Val is currently holed up somewhere on the Pacific Northwest Coast with her loot.  And by the way, Joe, we don't do going away gifts anymore.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baseball Is Back!

Baseball is back at last!  Opening Day at Coors Field was last Friday (see photograph above), and the Colorado Rockies are currently in first place. Good news indeed, although the team they swept this past weekend - the San Diego Padres - finished second to last in the standings last year, beating out only the last place Rockies. This is a truly great opportunity for sports fans everywhere to place massive bets with Rockies fans. Fortunes can be made!  However, better strike now while the iron is hot - the next opponent for the Rockies is last year's World Series Champion, the San Francisco Giants.  Reality is just around the corner.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Photo Opportunity!

I took a photograph of Shannon (in the photograph above on the left) and Ceci (on the right) at the big party last Friday night at Jordan's Irish Pub, just across the street from the University of Denver.  Shannon is the wife of Marty, the former Textbook Manager of the DU Bookstore, and Ceci is the former Course Materials Team Lead for the store.  Shannon is always up for a Kodak moment, but Ceci, not so much.  At first Ceci told me she could not have her photograph taken on Wednesdays, and that was quickly followed by Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  I decided that showing up on her doorstep over the weekend might be a bit too pushy, so photographs of Ceci on this Blog are extremely rare.  In any case, in the festive spirit of the evening, Ceci decided to let me take a photograph of her and Shannon. A truly magic moment.  I'll see you next year for your 2014 photograph, Ceci!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reminiscing At The Bonnie Brae

I went to the Bonnie Brae Tavern for pizza and beers last Friday night with Wally and Linda (see photograph above) and their friend Tom.  Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, Tom, and Marty, the former Textbook Manager at the Bookstore, all used to work in downtown Denver at Media Play, the long gone book and media outlet.  Media Play used to get a lot of funky people coming into the store from Denver's 16th Street Mall, so the store would keep the bathroom, located in the basement, locked.  One day Marty, who was in charge of the bathroom key, the lucky devil, decided to keep track of customer requests.  He was asked to unlock the bathroom 70 times, and asked book related questions 7 times. This points to an inevitable conclusion - if they had just charged for every bathroom visit, Media Play might still be in business today.  A golden opportunity missed.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Marty Party!

A group of us got together with Marty, former Textbook Manager of the DU Bookstore, last night at Jordan's Irish Pub, located kitty-corner from the University of Denver campus.  Marty is alive and well (pictured in the center of the above photograph being Marty) and is looking forward to his band's benefit concert at the Platte River Bar and Grill (www.theplatte.com) on Thursday night, April 25th.  I looked at the bar's events calendar, and it just says "Fullmoon Thursday."  You guys didn't change the name of the band again, did you?  Marty's band, currently known (I think) as Mad Cowabunga, was also once known as Supergeezer and as Rampage.  Although the band might be having a mid-life crisis, that does not stop them from playing good music and having CBS4 weather forecaster Dave Aguilera host the benefit concert for Runyon Elementary School.  It will be the biggest event in Littleton, Colorado, that night, and you can just imagine what that means.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Noah's Monthly Book Review

Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager (seen in the photograph above stocking magazines) is back with his famous monthly book review.  Noah is currently reading two books:  Red Planet Blues, a noir style mystery novel by Robert J. Sawyer that takes place on Mars (yes, Mars!) and The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner, a 4 volume collection of this prominent late 20th Century poet's work.  To paraphrase Noah, the Mars book stinks and the 4 volume collection of poetry is great.  You don't think the fact that Noah is himself a poet influences his opinion, do you?  Nah.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Adieu Until June

Joe is once again leaving the crass, commercial, profit-oriented business world to enter the rarefied world of art.  When not helping out at the DU Bookstore,  Joe teaches at the Art Students League of Denver and is also a very talented Monotype artist (check out Joe's Blog at www.squishtoid.blogspot.com).  Joe plans to be back in June to help the Bookstore prepare for the start of the summer quarter.  Good Luck Joe!  Think of us back here in the real world!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pat Says Goodbye Until Fall

The Spring Rush is over at the DU Bookstore, and so yesterday was Pat's last day at the store as a temporary cashier until the Fall.  She plans to return to her day job, working as a trainer for the Women's Vision Foundation (www.womensvision.org).  Pat and her husband Bryan (a Realtor) both work at home.  However, Bryan insists that Pat's office be on the first floor and his on the second, to avoid the kind of spatula fights seen on TV commercials between a couple who share an office in the kitchen.  Spatula fights are very common these days and can be very dangerous. So dangerous that local police don't dare publish any figures.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Defeated, But Not Conquered by Calculus

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, tells me there is a big difference between being defeated and being conquered, by calculus or anything else.  If you are conquered, you are "owned," and John is definitely not "owned" by anything.  He has discovered, as the rest of us have, that calculus is a foreign language not easily learned.  John has decided to drop his calculus class here at the University of Denver, which is a shame, considering how much we all use calculus in our daily lives.  Even my bank now requires that I calculate the derivatives of random numbers to access my account.  Good luck with that, John!  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter In Fort Collins

I spent Easter Sunday up in Fort Collins with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George (see photograph above).  Fort Collins is growing by leaps and bounds these days.  Not only is it a major college town, but it has become a mecca for Californians.  They sell their little bungalows in California for 2 or 3 million, sneak across the Colorado border, and then build huge mansions in Fort Collins that could give Downton Abbey a run for its money.  This is a really good thing, since it provides recent Colorado State University graduates with many job opportunities: maid, butler, chauffeur, gardener, footman, you name it. This place truly is a modern day Shangri-La!