DB on Vacation

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Two views of San Antonio, blocked by your blogger and a Daily Bulletin. It’s hard to take a selfie that gets a newspaper into the frame, but I did my best! Above, I’m at the Alamo; below, along the River Walk. I wore my Franklin BBQ T-shirt from my Austin vacation for some Texas flavor.

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On vacation

I’m off this week for a visit to — why not? — San Antonio, Texas. I’ll have a column Wednesday, written last week from items left over that really needed to get in, but otherwise you probably won’t be hearing from me. I’ll check in a time or two to see if anyone commented, though.

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Column: St. Louis’ Gateway Arch was ahead of the curve

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For Wednesday I’m writing my column on the 50th anniversary of a national monument, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, with which I’m fairly familiar. Here are a few extra photos.

Above, the Arch is framed in an entranceway to the Old Courthouse. (I was exiting on my June visit, saw someone taking a photo and quickly took one myself.)

Below, a view from under the Arch, which is 630 feet high and the same span wide.

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And, below, a family snapshot from 1968 of your young columnist on his first visit. My legs, like the Arch’s, are bare.

Have you ever been to the Arch? If so, leave a comment and tell us about it.

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Moving in

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Monday is our first day in our new office, 9616 Archibald Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga. Boxes are everywhere and people are getting oriented, getting their computers hooked up and unpacking.

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As with our old office, I managed to get two adjoining cubicles: one for storage and memorabilia, the other for work. At this point, they’re still virgin territory, a blank slate on which to write.

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We use laptops, technically, but for office use hook them to a standard keyboard and monitor. It may seem confusing, but it’s simpler to have various Internet windows on one screen and my column (or, for reporters, their story) on the other. This is the view from my chair.

If I turn around, though, there’s a window onto Archibald. Our old, bunker-like office infamously had no windows. Our new office is a clear win in that regard.

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We’ll have an open house in a few weeks once we’re settled in but before it goes to seed.

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Notes on a move

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Having cleared off much of my main desk on Friday, on Monday afternoon (after writing much of Wednesday’s column, because deadlines never stop) I tackled my second cubicle, on which I keep various tchotchkes: commemorative items from local events, strange gifts and the like. See above.

Newsroom types call it Dave’s Museum and suggest I put up velvet ropes and charge admission. They also suggest I organize it, which I never made time to do.

And now I have to pack it or toss it. I’m doing a little of each. I tossed two military Meals Ready to Eat that someone gave me. I tossed a Debbie Acker real estate ad that described her as “a name you know and trust.” I tossed a couple of Mike Antonovich’s famous Christmas cards.

And, with some heartburn, I tossed all my Daily Bulletin reporter notebooks, the ones I take on assignment and use at my desk, going back to around 2002. All along we’ve been officially discouraged from saving notebooks, but I kept mine, and a couple of times they came in handy, including earlier this year, when I found my interview notes with Archie Wilson from years ago. (Shockingly, I found them within about one minute.)

By and large, though, the notebooks just take up space. Unless I have a change of heart and rescue them from the trash bin, they’re gone too.

But most of the tchotchkes will be moved. Including the ampersand. And the Festivus pole.

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Wall of ideas

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We’re cleaning out, packing up and moving our office, as noted in Sunday’s column. I’ve got two adjoining cubicles to deal with in the coming days. Among the items: these two whiteboards, on which I would note column ideas.

Most of the potential ideas above were scribbled down 5 or 10 years ago, and only a very few were ever written and erased, or semi-erased. The board below is newer and its ideas are more like a year old. Clearly a whiteboard is not the best place to write ideas if they’re going to remain there semi-permanently. What can I say, I do cover news, and stray ideas tend to fall by the wayside.

For a clean slate (literally) for the new office, I erased both boards. But by posting these photos, at least the ideas are here if I need them. That is, if I can read them, and then remember what they mean.

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What’s in a name?

Readers tend to ask me the same general questions, namely, ones that might occur to anyone (do I work at home, what’s my favorite column, how’s the paper doing, did you grow up here, etc.). But now and then a question seems to come out of nowhere.

For instance, there was the woman who, after a book signing in Pomona in February, asked conspiratorially, “Are you really bald or do you just shave your head?”

This brings us to last week, in a Q&A in Rancho Cucamonga, where a man threw a very original Q at me: “Is ‘David Allen’ your real name or a pen name?”

After a couple of seconds of gaping at him, I replied, “Because ‘David Allen’ is such a glamorous and exciting name, it can’t possibly be real?”

“It’s a yes or no question,” he said defensively. (It’s not, though, is it?)

For the record, it’s my real name. I’d like to think that if I wanted a pen name, I could come up with something a little more exotic.

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