Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hipster Heaven



As long as the subject of LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) came up in yesterday's Blog, I thought I would mention something about Denver's Union Station, mainly so I could use the above photo.  Union Station was remodeled into quite the people zone a few years ago, and now features hip restaurants, bars, boutiques, and even a branch of the local Denver bookstore chain that I work for.  The old ticket office has been turned into a place to order drinks, and most of the main hall has been turned into a very comfortable cocktail lounge.  It is a great space for people-watching and to just hang out.  Plus, it is just a short light rail train ride from home.  How great is that?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Up On The Rooftops



Rooftop bars are all the rage in Denver these days, and LoDo  (Lower Downtown Denver) is where all the action is on Friday and Saturday nights, although you certainly can't tell it from the above photograph..  I took that photo of the rooftop deck of The Tavern Downtown on my way to the light rail station, after attending the Oktoberfest Festival a few Fridays ago.  Of course, it was still relatively early, and I assume the patio would get much more crowded later on.  One of the big issues a few years ago here in Denver was that all the bars and restaurants close at the same time (2:00 A.M.) on Friday and Saturday nights, leading to traffic jams, public brawling (not to mention public urination), and occasional shootings.  The proposed solution was to have staggered closings, with some places staying open until 4:00 A.M., just like in Chicago. However, the idea was never pursued.  Perhaps the City Council members couldn't stay up late enough to do the needed research.  If so, I feel your pain.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cubs Lose! Cubs Lose! Holy Cow!



Last night I watched the Cubs and Dodgers play the final game of the National League Championship Series, which the Chicago Cubs lost by a score of 11 to 1 (the game was not nearly as close as the score indicates, by the way).  The Cubs did not look good, and will not be repeating as World Series champions this year.  It looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers will probably be facing the New York Yankees in the series, unless Houston can make a comback.  Yawn. Nothing like watching the top two fat cat teams in baseball duel it out with their high paid mercenaries.  Oh well, hopefully it will be my south side heros, the Chicago White Sox, in the World Series next year.  White Sox  color commentator Steve Stone practically guaranteed it in his last broadcast of the year, and I am holding him to it.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Free Beer AND A Cubs Victory At Old Chicago



I had burgers and beers with my friend Stuart (seen in the photograph above) at the Old Chicago Restaurant in beautiful, exotic Lakewood, Colorado last night.  Stuart had a coupon for a free second beer, to encourage people to come out and support the Chicago Cubs, who were in danger of being eliminated from the National League Championship Series.  And I am happy to say it worked.  The Cubs won and will continue their struggle to reclaim their World Series title tonight.  Now, if they decide to give out free beer every night, the Cubs return trip to the World Series is assured.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The October Mutts Of The Month



I am featuring not one, but two mutts of the month for October, both of them seen in the photograph above peering out from custom made holes in the fence surrounding their yard.  They live in a fairly ritzy house on the east side of Washington Park here in Denver (the side with a great view of the mountains), which I passed during my walk around Washington Park last Saturday.  I imagine they probably have matching dog beds, matching sweaters, and matching food bowls, too.  Life is good for pampered pets. I'll check back in December to see if I can get a photograph of them poking their heads out wearing matching Santa caps. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Paradise Valley



I recently finished an advanced reading copy of Paradise Valley, the latest book by mystery writer C.J. Box. Box usually writes a series featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, but Paradise Valley is a stand alone mystery novel featuring North Dakota chief investigator Cassie Dewell.  Dewell is on the trail of a truck driver/serial killer she has been tracking for the past three years, and she lures him to North Dakota, with drastic results. This is an exciting story, and features a dramatic finale in Yellowstone National Park.  I heartily recommend it.  Pick up a copy at your local bookseller NOW!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Celebrating A Non-Anniversary



Today, October 16th, was the day my ex-wife Lisa and I got married in Golden, Colorado back in 1982. We separated in 1987 and were divorced the following year, evidently not destined to live happily every after.  Lisa now lives in San Francisco and we still exchange e-mails once in a while. I always remember this day fondly, even if it is a non-anniversary.  In any case, I took the above photograph on our honeymoon, standing in front of the Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado.  We stayed at a condo in Silverthorne, Colorado called Timber Ridge, part of a complex called Wildernest, and drove over Independence Pass to Aspen for the day.  It was really nice staying in the mountains, and I have often been tempted to go back again for a long weekend.  I recently checked the internet (something we couldn't do back in 1982) and typed in "Wildernest."  It took a few minutes to realize that the Wildernest I was looking at was in Southern India (I have to admit I am not quite as sharp as I used to be).  I tried again and found the Wildernest in Summit County, Colorado, but they wanted almost $400  for a three day stay (a one bedroom condo, no less).  Forget that!  And you wonder why I am divorced?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Walk Around Washington Park



I was planning to drive up to the mountains to check out the fall colors, but waited too long. There has been a lot of snow up there, and unfortunately those golden aspens are now well past their peak colors.  And so instead of driving up to Breckenridge and Boreas Pass, I decided to take a walk around Washington Park Saturday afternoon. The trees have started to change colors here in Denver, and it is an easy walk to the park from my condo.  It was a mild fall afternoon and made for a very pleasant stroll.  I took the above photographs as I made my way through the park, and made a detour to check out the shops a few blocks away on Old South Gaylord.  This street is a block long business district with a number of locally owned shops and restaurants, and holds a lot of memories.  One of my favorite places here was Hemingways, a bar and restaurant popular with the University of Denver crowd,. which was forced by the Hemingway family to change it's name.  It is the same place as before, but is now called Max's Gill and Grill.  I know it still has a South Florida motif, but I haven't been there in years.  I wonder if the Hemingway family made them take down the photographs of Papa that used to line the walls, too?  One of these days I intend to check it out and see. Meanwhile, it was back to the park and the short walk home.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lunching With Peter At Pepper



I had lunch yesterday with my office-mate Peter at Pepper, a Chinese restaurant just down the block from the bookstore where we work.  Peter is the Accounts Payable person for the 4 store chain, while I am the bookkeeper.  Peter is, like many people I know, camera shy - probably in the witness protection program, too, like so many others I know - and the photograph on the left is the best I can do.  The store we work at is located on East Colfax Avenue here in Denver, and Peter lives in southwest Denver, so he commutes each day on the Colfax Avenue bus, which some people have referred to as "the rolling asylum."  I personally think riding that bus would be a fascinating look into a different world.  Peter not so much - he just grumbles about it.


Next door to Pepper is a tattoo parlor, and there was a huge line to get in yesterday afternoon, which extended all the way down the block. Peter asked somebody at the restaurant what the deal was with that, and was told they were doing $20 tattoos, hence the big crowd.  When we got back to the bookstore, Peter asked some of the younger employees if this was a good deal or not, and one of them told him she paid $100 for a small tattoo on her ankle.  And so it evidently was a very good deal, if you wanted a tattoo, that is.  I myself would gladly pay $20 not to have a tattoo, and think it a tremendous bargain.  But this does give me an idea.  If it costs you $10 per tattoo, and you charge $25 for it, your fortune will be made.  Still another idea to supplement my retirement income.  I wonder if these kids would like Chicago White tattoos?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Still Another Senior Moment - Or Is It Just Nostalgia Gone Wild?



I have been going to various chain stores here in Denver  looking at range ovens for my sister Susan and my condo down in Stuart, Florida.  I went from place to place looking for the best deal on a gas range, and when I finally found the right one and called a branch of the store down in Florida to place an order, I was asked whether the connection was liquid propane or natural gas.  I had to call the condo complex's office down in Florida to answer that one, and was told - to my great surprise - that all the stoves in the complex were electric, not gas.  That tells you, for one thing, how long it has been since I last used that stove.  But why was I so sure it was gas?  My only answer is that the condo was what I consider our last family home.  So much so that I confused the stove in the condo with the one in our house in the south side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago, where I grew up.  I know for damn sure that one used natural gas.  Maybe Doug - my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker - was right when he referred to me (jokingly I assumed) as "crazy old man Hoyt." And so therefore, nostalgia freak that I am, I am featuring a photograph of my mother proudly sitting on the railing in front of that house in Brainerd she loved so much. And I definitely now realize that I need to retire pretty soon with at least a few of my marbles left.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Forget About The Zombies? No Way! Well, Maybe...



As regular blog readers know, Denver is beset by a serious zombie problem.  In fact, every year a special day is set aside for them, when they can stroll the 16th Street Mall and just be themselves.  It turns out that this "zombie festival" was this past Saturday.  I usually go downtown to take photographs each year, like the photo above that I took last October, but .this year I completely missed it.  My office-mate Peter, who also attends this event every year, almost missed it too, but caught a reference about it at the end of a local newscast the night before.  Oh well, I'll just keep my camera with me at all times, in case some of these zombies happen to wander into the bookstore where I work.  Goodness knows, East Colfax has it's characters, so it wouldn't be surprising.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tis The Season! Or Is It?



I spent last night going to various stores looking for a new gas range oven for the tenants in my condo in Stuart, Florida (don't ask).  My travels brought me to the Lowe's Home Improvement Store in some desolate, hellish south Denver suburb, where the first thing I saw was an absolutely huge Christmas display.  On October 10th, no less.  I personally think that is much too early, but then again I am turning into quite the curmudgeon these days.  Just for fun I decided to google the phrase "tis the season," and I wound up getting a definition from urbandictionary.com.  And it turns out their definition is "the period before Christmas that can range from October through December 24th."  And so I stand corrected.  This is indeed the Christmas season, after all.  Have you finished your shopping yet?  Better hurry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The First Snow Of The Season





Monday Denver received it's first snow of the season.  It usually arrives around this time of year, so it is nothing unusual, but after a weekend in the 70s and 80s it was still a shock to the system.  As I was heading downstairs and through the clubhouse of my condo building, I saw steam rising from the pool.  I knew the water was warmer than the air, but I still don't think it was a good day for a swim.


I got in my car, and headed to work through the snow.  The weather forecasters said we received 2 to 6 inches, with the higher totals to the west of town, but since the ground was so warm, the snow melted as soon as it hit the pavement - at least here in central Denver.  I had the radio on, and the traffic report said that University Boulevard was closed between Exposition and Alameda due to downed power lines.  I thought to myself, "hey, wait a minute, that's right where I am."  No wonder I was stuck in traffic.  I wound up having to make a detour and wait in still another line to make the turn back onto University Boulevard, which of course made me late for work.  And let me get this straight - I own a condo in Florida, but rent it out and live here?  The mind boggles.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Calm Before The Storm



It was a beautiful weekend here in Denver, but by the time I left work Sunday afternoon it was getting dark, and a strong, cold wind was starting to blow.  It was dusk when I took the above photo of the boathouse in Washington Park.  The boathouse, by the way, was remodeled a number of years ago, and is now rented out for events.  One such event (most likely a wedding reception) was going on while I was walking around the pond. I just hope the guests brought their coats.  It was starting to get pretty chilly.  The weather forecasters were predicting Denver's first snowstorm of the season on Monday, and for once I believed them.  And they were right, too.  As I write this on Monday morning, I am gearing up for a trip to work through a winter wonderland.  Bah humbug, I say.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Deja Vu All Over Again...




Wasn't I just here?  Yes!  For the second weekend in a row, I attended a soccer game with my friend Mark, who as everyone now knows works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (known as the library to the people of earth).  Last week the Colorado Rapids played the Montreal Somethings, and this week the Rapids played FC (Football Club) Dallas.  And for the second week in a row the Rapids did not lose (the game finished as a one to one tie).  I wasn't planning to go to another soccer game this year, but Mark got tickets from a co-worker for free, and when I hear the word free, I can't resist.



It is fall, of course, and so there was a chill in the air, but not too bad with a coat.  After the game, as we were walking through the stadium and through the parking lot, I noticed just how many young children were at the game.  Far more than I see at Rockies games, in my opinion.  Soccer is very a very popular sport in schools and youth leagues these days, and kids are far more likely to play soccer than baseball.  Does that mean the youth of America will desert baseball when they grow up?  I certainly hope not. Although if so they would probably stop playing all that loud, horrible music at Coors Field, and go back to songs that won't threaten  your hearing, so I guess it might be considered a mixed blessing.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stopping By To Visit Wally (And His Pets)



I stopped by to visit my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker Wally at his home last night and talked with him about what's happening at the DU Bookstore (Wally still works there) as well as all the trips he and his wife Linda have taken recently.  Since Wally didn't feel in a photographic mood, I took a few photos of his dog Sailor and cat Stella, just to have something to put on the blog.  They are both really nice animals, and very friendly, but whenever Wally and Linda go out of town, they have to hire a pet sitter, which to me would be a pain, but that's just me.  In any case, Wally is a homebody, and much prefers to stay home and read in his library or do some woodworking in his workshop, which used to be the garage (as his wife Linda likes to frequently point out).  In any case, for somebody who doesn't like to travel , Wally and Linda have done a lot of it this summer and fall - a trip to Cape Cod to stay at the family summer home, a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard to attend a wedding, a trip on the Queen Elizabeth II to Scandinavia for a family reunion/cruise, and  a trip to the Colorado/New Mexico border for a day trip on the Cumbres and Toltec Narrow Gauge Railway, which Wally seemed to like best of all.  In any case, he is done with trips for a while (he hopes), and glad of it. Back to the woodworking shop.  Good to see you again, Wally!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Discussing The Cubs Chances At Old Chicago



I had burgers and beers with my friend Stuart (seen in the photograph above) yesterday evening at Old Chicago, where we discussed the chances that the Chicago Cubs will return to the World Series.  Now that the Colorado Rockies have lost their one game playoff to Arizona, and the Chicago White Sox  finished the season mired in the lower division, the Cubs are the team of choice during the playoffs for ex-Chicagoans at the Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom here in Denver.  The Cubs started off slow this season, and were 6 1/2 games out of first at the All Star break.  However, they finished strong and stand a good chance of going all the way, proving once and for all that winning the World Series last year wasn't the first sign of the Apocalypse.  Donald Trump getting elected president was, of course, the second sign, but I won't get into that.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Feeding The Giraffes. For Free!



I went to the Denver Zoo this past Friday afternoon after the software at the bookstore where I work crashed, and it was suggested I just take the afternoon off and come back Saturday.  That worked for me, since it was a really beautiful fall afternoon, and I wound up visiting the Giraffe Encounter.  And I was shocked, truly shocked, to see that feeding the giraffes was actually free.  They used to charge you $3.00 or so for a handful of grass, but Friday they just handed it to you and let you walk right up there. Was this just a Friday afternoon thing, or a permanent change?  Regardless, it let people who wouldn't otherwise do it get up close and personal with the giraffes.  Talk about a win-win, as we say in the business world, when our software isn't crashing.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Friday Afternoon At The Zoo



I went to the Denver Zoo this past Friday afternoon, after the software system crashed at the bookstore where I work, and stayed down most of the day.  Since I didn't expect to be spending Friday afternoon there, I did not bring my Nikon single lens reflex camera, with the long lens, and so had to make due with the camera I had. As always, the lions were more than willing to pose for me, but I couldn't get as close a photograph as I wanted.  I would have jumped over the fence to get a better shot, but the last time someone something like that, they were banned from the zoo for life.  Now I ask you - is that fair?  What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Final Game Of The Regular Season



Each year I go to the final Colorado Rockies game of the season.  Not only is it the last chance (usually) to go to a baseball game for the year, but after the game the players walk around the field to thank the fans for their support and toss souvenirs to them.  I took the above photographs this past Sunday, but since it was pretty cold out, most of the players wore their jackets, so I didn't know who they were.  For all I know, it was the grounds crew dressed in Rockies gear tossing those trinkets into the stands.  Most years this is the last game the Rockies play, but for the first time in years they have made the playoffs.  The Rockies will play a winner take all game Wednesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks to see who moves on to the National League Division Series.  I have little hope they can win it, but I have been wrong before, and so "Go Rockies!"  There - I've said it, despite my reservations about their chances.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Sports Doubleheader Weekend





My friend mark and I took in both a Colorado Rapids soccer game and a Colorado Rockies baseball game this past weekend, and lived to tell about it. Saturday night we went to see the Rapids play the Montreal Impact, and the Rapids (solidly in last place) actually won the game 2 to 0.  Mark (seen in the photograph on the left) has not seen the Rapids win a game the entire year, and so it was a major surprise for him.  Mark, as regular Blog readers know, is obsessed with soccer, but won't seek treatment for this "soccer bug."  What can I say?



Sunday afternoon we went to see the Colorado Rockies play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final game of the regular season.  We sat out in left field, as seen in the photograph on the right, and I must say it was more like a spring training outing than a regular baseball game.  Both teams are in the playoffs, and seemed to be resting their regular players for the upcoming contests.  The entire lineup for both teams turned over 100% over nine innings, and I'm not even sure some of those players were actually part of the team.  I suspect they were fans who won some kind of contest.  They certainly played like it.  The Rockies lost 6 to 3 in a game neither team seemed to care about.


And a final word about security.  At Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies mainly employ laid back retirees to check tickets, guide people to their seats, and enforce the rules.  And so I was shocked to see the type of security employed by the Colorado Rapids.  I guess soccer fans are a much more rowdy bunch, but I was surprised to see this type of force, as seen in the photograph on the left, which shows the arrest two young miscreants.  I am not sure if they wound up in soccer prison, were thrown out of the game, or just beaten and released.  I suspect they must have tossed their chewing gum on the concourse, which should be dealt with harshly, but perhaps not that harshly.  Be sure to e-mail your complaints to the Colorado Rapids organization.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Ghost Notebooks



I just finished an advanced reading copy of The Ghost Notebooks, a novel by a fellow named Ben Dolnick. The book is not scheduled to come out until February, and so you better write the title down if you want to read it when it comes out.  The book starts out pretty good, and is the story of a young couple named Nick and Hannah who move to a small town in upstate New York where Hannah gets a job running a small historical museum.  Slowly she realizes the place is haunted, and the story goes on from there.  I liked the story up until the last few pages.  I thought the ending, which revealed the "horror" the book has been leading up to, was pretty lame.  It was not a believable ending at all, even for a ghost story, and was in fact a bit preachy.  On the bright side, there is still 4 months to go until it is published, so Ben still has time to come up with something better.  Let's hope he does.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Final Friday Of September


I attended the Final Friday event at the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) last evening, and  was happy to see that the museum has some new exhibitions for the fall, including Stampede: Animals in Art, which features a wide variety of art from the museum's permanent collection, including the quirky photograph featured on the left.  It is a fun exhibit to see, but there was a negative aspect to the evening, too - the Ponti Building (the North Building) is scheduled to close for remodeling for two years starting this November, and things are already being removed.  I knew there was going to be a major remodeling and expansion of the north end of the complex, but didn't think it was going to happen this fast. As a result, there are no longer hors d'oeuvres served on Final Fridays.  Palettes, the restaurant on the first floor of the Ponti Building, is now empty, and I assume this is where the treats have been coming from.

The North Building, by the way, is where the more traditional art is displayed, while the Hamilton Building is where the modern collection is kept. And the biggest donors to the Denver Art Museum's modern art collection are Vicki and Kent Logan, who are featured in the Stampede exhibit in the painting featured on the right.  And I must say that a lot of the art the Logans donate is truly weird.  And I mean truly, truly weird. Perhaps this is because they lived in San Francisco for a while, or maybe it is because they now live in Vail, and the altitude has affected their brains.  Of course, that is just my opinion, and the modern art curator for the museum and many, many others think the art is great. After all, I am just a simple kid - a 64 year old kid, but a kid at heart - from the Brainerd neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where we like to be able to understand our art, and preferably be able to plug it in.  And by the way, if you want to learn more about the Logans, check out http://www.denverpost.com/2006/10/05/dams-best-friends/.


To illustrate my point, the photograph on the left shows Frankie, the husband of Heidi, one of my former University of Denver co-workers, posing next to one of the Logan's gifts, titled Made In China.  I want to emphasize that I actually like a lot of modern art, but some of it is just too strange, and you have to wonder about the huge amounts of money paid these pieces.  I can just imagine the conversation the Logans had the day one of them brought this piece home.  "You bought a what?  Where will will we put it?  And why?"  "The patio, of course!" "No way in hell.  Let's donate it to the Denver Art Museum.  They'll take anything.  Even this"  This makes me want to take art lessons after I retire, and then drive up to Vail  and show up on the Logan's front doorstep, artwork in hand.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Christopher Kimball Makes An Appearance



Christopher Kimball made a noontime appearance at the bookstore where I work this past Tuesday to promote his new book Milk Street.  Kimball was the host of America's Test Kitchen for many years, until a bitter feud with management ended his run there.  ATK, as it is known, instituted a lawsuit against Kimball, and so it appears that cooking shows are not as serene as they might seem.  Perhaps Chef Ramsey is the norm rather than the exception. In any case, I had never heard of Kimball until Tuesday.  Just as I was going to lunch, my office-mate Peter asked me to take a photograph of him.  I was, coincidentally, on my way to heat up my Banquet Spaghetti and Meatballs frozen dinner, and so I thought what the heck, go ahead and snap a picture.  Of course, after taking the photograph, I had to sneak my lunch past Kimball for fear he would see it and sneer at my low-brow food choices.  If only I had brought my frozen Michelina's entree, I could have walked past Kimball proudly.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Watching Soccer With Mark At The Three Lions





I went to The Three Lions ("A World Football Pub") with my friend Mark last night to have burgers and beers and watch a soccer match between the Colorado Rapids and the Dallas Something-Or-Others (as you can tell, I'm really getting into this soccer thing).  The Three Lions is just down the street from the bookstore where I work on East Colfax Avenue here in Denver. The Rapids did not look so hot, and were behind 2 to nill, as they say, 5 minutes into the game, which is how the match ended.  The Rapids are solidly in last place, but Mark tells me they could still make the playoffs, which start at the end of next month.  Weird.  And what is a soccer pub doing on Colfax Avenue, once called America's "longest, wickedest street"?  On the other hand, what isn't on Colfax these days, soccer pubs being one of the tamest.  In any case, wait until next year, Colorado Rapids, as we Chicago White Sox fans seem to say too often.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can The First Snowfall Be Far Behind?



It has been cold and rainy here in Denver since Saturday, and more of the same is predicted through the end of the week.  It has already started snowing in the mountains, and I think there is a good chance we will be seeing our first snowfall very soon.  Snow in Denver in September is not unusual, and the average first snow is in October, which amazingly enough is only 4 days away.  In keeping with the spirit of things, I am posting a photograph of (from left to right) my sister Susan, mother Mary, and me, taken during a snowstorm in 1983 in front of Printemps Denver, which had recently opened on South Broadway here in Denver.  If you know Denver at all, you know that South Broadway is not all that upscale, and was much less so back then. How somebody convinced a famous Paris department store to put a branch there is beyond me.  Granted, it wasn't there long, but still. I am glad I never met that salesperson, because I would probably still be making payments even today on London Bridge (not the famous one, or the one in Arizona, just a London Bridge). And probably from London, Ontario, not London, England, too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rain Rain Go Away



That is what we used to chant when I was a kid back in the Brainerd neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, and I feel the need to start chanting it again.  It has rained for 4 days straight, and has been cold as hell, too. We are not used to that in Denver.  Normal conditions here are drought or semi-drought.  I know people in Seattle thrive, even though the place gets 360 days of rain a year, but this is not Seattle.  Enough already!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Oktoberfest - Part II


As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I went to Oktoberfest on Denver's upper Larimer Street Friday night. The festival takes place Friday through Sunday, both this past weekend and next weekend as well, but I decided to go Friday night because the weather bunnies predicted horrible weather for Saturday and Sunday.  And in point of fact, they were right.  Friday, the first day of fall, was warm and pleasant, but both Saturday and Sunday were cold, wet, and miserable.  In any case, in addition to plenty of beer there were lots of food booths at Oktoberfest, including the one in the photograph on the left.  And in examining the tee-shirt of the fellow grilling the hamburgers, I realized that the booth was being run by The Goods, the restaurant right next door to the bookstore where I work.  The chalkboard sign in front of the bookstore claims that they serve the world's greatest hamburgers, so I imagine they are at Oktoberfest trying to get the word out about that.



And in addition to food and beer, there was music on two stages.  The photograph on the right is of a "poka" band performing Friday night.  While I was there, I had no idea they were playing polka music.  It sounded just like loud rock and roll music to me.  It wasn't until I looked at this photo and noticed the word "poka" on the drum that I realized they were supposed to be a polka band.  What ever happened to the um-pah style of music played by musicians in lederhosen and wearing funny hats?  Out of style, I guess.  If it doesn't appeal to the hipsters these days, it is gone.  Where is Frankie Yankovic when you need him?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oktoberfest!



I decided to make a detour during my walk after work Friday night to the light rail station and check out Oktoberfest on upper Larimer Street.  Oktoberfest here in Denver runs Friday through Sunday both this weekend and next, but since the weather was predicted to be cold and rainy both Saturday and Sunday, I decided Friday night was the best time to go. Not surprisingly, the streets were filled with young hipsters, who seem to celebrate any special holiday whatsoever.  I was especially surprised that so many hipsters took the Colorado Rockies' Opening Day off this past April to celebrate in the ballpark neighborhood, but as far as I could tell, nobody was watching the game, just hanging out on patios and rooftop bars, and drinking beer.

And in fact, that is what they were all doing last Friday night, too.  There were booths set up where people could buy huge glass steins of beer (at a huge price, too, I might add), and people either hung out in the street and drank, or else sat down in two huge tents to imbibe, one of which is seen in the photo on the right.  What I want to know is why the festival is called Oktoberfest if it doesn't even take place in October?  I checked and found out that even in Munich, the event this year starts on Saturday, September 16th and ends on Tuesday, October 3rd.  I understand the need to have these festivals when the weather is still nice, but why not just call it Septemberfest instead? The internet (which is always accurate, by the way) states that the first Oktoberfest (which celebrated the wedding of Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria) was in October, but to take advantage of better weather conditions, the starting date of later festivals was moved back to September, and the October part lopped off.  I still say it should be Septemberfest, even if you can't put a "k" in it.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ouija - Origin Of Evil



I was selecting photographs for the blog the other day in my computer files, and wound up selecting the above photo quite by mistake.  I am not sure I have ever posted it, but I do remember taking it, pasted on a wall on on Sherman Street during a mid-summer bike ride.  What does it mean?  Is it advertising a movie, a video game, or just a political statement by some wacko fringe organization?  Of course, these days, the internet answers every question under the sun in just a few seconds, and so I googled it and found out it was indeed a horror movie that came out last year.  And was it any good, a bomb, or the scariest movie of all time? For that you will have to google it yourself.  My work here is done.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The First Day Of Fall



Today is the first day of fall, and the days are definitely getting shorter.  Just a few weeks ago, it seemed I could walk from my workplace to the light rail station at Union Station in Lower Downtown Denver, and get home before the sun set.  Now it tends to get dark before I even reach downtown Denver, as can be seen in the photograph above.  And it getting cold in the mornings and evenings, too.  I myself am not happy about that.  I have always believed that warm is good, cold is bad.  But then again I am an eccentric from the South Side of Chicago, so what do I know?  All I do know is that summer is over.  Bummer.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Memory Killer



I just finished reading The Memory Killer, a mystery novel by J.A. Kerley.  I read an advanced reading copy of his previous book, The Death Box, liked it, and when looking for a new book to read, looked to see if he had a new book out.  In point of fact, he had two books published since the one I read, and I decided to get both of them. The Memory Killer takes place in Miami, where the hero of the story, Carson Ryder, member of an elite Florida crime fighting agency, searches for a serial killer.  I think these books are great, and I was very surprised to find that his next book in the series will only be coming out here in the U.S. in digital form. Evidently he is much more popular in the UK, where his new book will be coming out in traditional form this December.  What's the deal with that, anyway?  In any case, pick up a copy of The Death Box or The Memory Killer- you'll like it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Running Into Doug





I ran into Doug - my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore coworker - at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on South Colorado Boulevard here in Denver Sunday night.  I needed a large map of India right away (and who hasn't been in that situation before, right?) and the local bookstore where I work was out of them, forcing me to shop at a hated rival.  In any case, I walked in and saw none other than Doug having coffee with a friend at the adjoining Starbucks.  Doug was one of the textbook buyers at the DU Bookstore when I worked there as the Finance Manager, and remained at the store as the sole textbook buyer after Follett Higher Education Group took over operation of the store. Doug retired a few years ago after tiring of the 16 hour (or so) workdays and now works 2 days a week as a magician at The Wizard's Chest, a Denver institution. Unfortunately, Doug does not want his photograph taken any more - at least by me - and therefore I have to dig into the archives to find photographs I took of him a few years ago. I came up with a DU Bookstore collage that I made while taking a photo class at DU.  Doug can be seen in the upper left hand corner, his face superimposed on a cow, and also being strangled by then marketing coordinator Dave and textbook buyer Mary.  I wonder why Doug won't let me take his photograph anymore?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

East Side - West Side



As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I spent part of the afternoon this past Saturday at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, which is the suburb just to the east of Denver.  Since it was still early when I left, I decided to hop on Interstate 70 and head to Golden, which sits up against the foothills west of Denver, for a few hours, too. Golden is a former gold rush town founded in 1859, and is protected from the rest of the Denver metropolitan area by the butte seen in the top left photograph above.  Golden is one of my favorite towns, and is filled with historic homes and neighborhoods  like the one in photograph on the top right.  One of the things I like best about the town is that the owner of the 1880s era home in the photograph on the bottom left decided to put a beer garden (seen in the bottom right photo) in his back yard.  It is called the Golden City Brewery, and is the second largest brewery in Golden after Coors.  The place is packed with neighborhood residents, students from the Colorado School of Mines, and visitors like me, all enjoying a late summer afternoon surrounded by the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  How great is that?

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Cherry Arts Festival



The Cherry Arts Festival was held this past weekend at Stanley Market, a shopping complex in the Stapleton neighborhood (located in both Denver and Aurora, Colorado), and so I thought I would drop by and check it out Saturday afternoon.  The Stapleton neighborhood is on the site of the former Stapleton International Airport, which served Denver for many years and was a mere 6 miles away from downtown Denver.  City fathers decided that this was WAY too convenient, and moved the airport close to the Kansas state line, to the joy of cab drivers throughout the city. But I digress.  The Stanley Marketplace is located in the old Stanley Aircraft Corporation building, and is actually a lot of fun to visit, with all kinds of locally owned restaurants and bars, not to mention two brewpubs.  And it is technically in Aurora.  Imagine - something fun in Aurora.  Unheard of!  In any case, the art fair was held both outside and in the center's exhibition space, a former airplane hanger.  The crowd was good-natured and happy, and included a lot of young families, as befits suburbia.  However, it was not nearly as crowded as the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which sponsors this festival, too.  But who cares - it was a very pleasant afternoon, there was a lot of photography on display, and so it was a win-win day for all.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Parallel Universes






As I have frequently mentioned, I walk from work to the light rail station at Union Station in Lower Downtown Denver as often as I can.  It is good exercise, but even better people-watching.  I alternate the route I take, walking down Colfax Avenue (15th street) one day and 17th Street the next.  These streets, running parallel to each other and only two blocks apart, couldn't be any different.  Although the businesses are becoming more upscale, Colfax is still a street of homeless people, the poor, the desperate.  It is still pretty seedy in a lot of spots, despite areas that have been gentrified, like the block where the bookstore where I work is located.  In the photograph on the left is the famous (or infamous) Satire Lounge, a dive bar that has been there for almost 50 years or so. And still seedy after all these years.




Just two blocks away is 17th Street, and the entire 2 mile stretch I walk is filled with trendy restaurants and bars, boutiques, refurbished Victorian homes,  and brand new apartment complexes for the young, hip population that frequents the area.  The street is always filled with people bar hopping, walking their dogs, and just hanging out.  Amazingly enough, very few homeless people are in evidence. They are evidently more comfortable on Colfax, in their element.  There can be no greater symbol of the haves and have-nots than walking these two streets.  And will this dichotomy get better or worse in the future?  I know how I'm betting.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Downtown Scene



I walked downtown from the local Denver bookstore where I work both Thursday and Friday nights, a distance of about 3 miles.  It really isn't much of a workout, but better than nothing.  When I got to the 16th Street Mall, the place was hopping, both nights.  I was not surprised about Friday night being busy, but it seemed to me that people were in weekend mode on Thursday, too.  Since I live across the street from the University of Denver, I am used to students in party mode on Thursday evenings.  Classes are Monday through Thursday at D.U., and so they let loose on Thursday nights and head to the mountains (especially during ski season) Fridays.  However, it seems to becoming a trend everywhere now.  I wonder if this is because so many people work part-time jobs now that the 3 day weekend is becoming more common. Less hours, no health care, and the only benefit being that 3 day weekend.  The good along with the bad, I guess..

Friday, September 15, 2017

The September Mutt Of The Month



The September Mutt of the Month, seen in the photograph above tied up in front of the Denver bookstore where I work, did not like to have his or her photograph taken.  I kept trying to get a close up portrait, but it kept turning it's head, refusing to look me in the eye.  I find that very suspicious - what is it hiding?  In any case, I went for a short walk and took the above photo from a distance when I was heading back inside the store.  Just what makes this dog so nervous?  Certainly not me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Daily Commute



I am still taking the bus to work in the morning whenever I can, and then walking the 3 miles in the evenings to Denver's Union Station to catch the light rail train home.  Often I have to change trains at the Broadway Station, where I took the above photograph the other day.  You may not realize it, but you are looking at one of hottest properties in the City of Denver.  before the great recession, the area south of here was going to be the trendiest neighborhood in the city, and among the new businesses was going to be one of Robert Redford's Sundance Theaters.  When the big crash happened, the plans were dropped, and the space has remained undeveloped.  Now there is talk about starting to develop the property, but since the only thing that seems to be built here these days are apartments, that dream neighborhood with a coveted movie theater is probably off the table for good.  Sigh.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricane Damage Update - Good News!



At least for me, anyway.  It sounds like the Florida Keys have been leveled by Hurricane Irma, and my heart goes out to all those people who are now homeless thanks to that horrible storm.  For me personally, however, I found out yesterday that the damage to my sister and my condo in Stuart, Florida was wildly exaggerated. The damage consists only of a damp carpet, and nothing more.  How wonderful is that?  What is basically our family's last home is still standing with virtually no damage.  And sunset over the St. Lucie River, just a short walk from the condo, is still as beautiful as ever.  We are so lucky.  Of course, that hellish Hurricane Jose is still out there in the Atlantic, lurking around, but nothing new there, as regular Blog readers know.  But for now, I definitely count our blessings.