The dump is closed for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2021

Never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving? Where you been, kid? On the Group W bench?

We almost always close this dump on Thanksgiving; for a little while, anyway. Think of it as a friendly gesture. Gives you a chance to have a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, maybe a nap, before Officer Obie calls and all the after-dinner fun begins.

While you wait for the phone to ring, how about having a little singalong? If you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud. We’re just waiting for it to come around, is what we’re doing. …

• In related news: Our patron saint of Thanksgiving is getting married. Congrats to Arlo and his bride-to-be, Marti. May their one big pile be better than two little piles.

All is well

November 24, 2021

It’s nearly kickoff time for the 2021 Cavalcade of Consumerism, so grab yourself a sammich and a frosty beverage and settle into the La-Z-Boy for the Big Game.

The NPD Group advises us that 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey yearn for the door-busting, clerk-trampling, no-holds-barred combat of Black Friday, in which sleep-deprived, half-frozen fatties who spent Thanksgiving night camped outside a Lubbock Best Buy do it hand to hand over dubious bargains on giant TVs that will watch them like famished zopilotes and suggest other must-have items based upon their observed activity, if any.

“Damn, another ad for Weight Watchers. And Planet Fitness. Who has the time? Pass the Fritos and bean dip.”

NPD doesn’t explain their survey methodology, but you know they didn’t ask for my thoughts, because 100 percent of me would rather stuff an angry ferret down his bibs than head for the trough on Black Friday to see what the Waltons are serving to the sneezers and wheezers (there’s still a plague going on, you may recall). Let ’em make their bacon out of the NPD’s dummies.

We plan a muted Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo. Herself will collect her mom from The Facility and we will do a late lunch —  cider-braised turkey thighs with taters and apples, stir-fried succotash with edamame, some class of a green salad, and Herself’s famous lemon bars. The ladies will enjoy a dram or two of wine, while I make do with a bottle of fake beer.

I bought the fixins on Monday to avoid the rush. There were just two cashiers at Sprouts and the queued natives were restless. If we get through the weekend without gunplay it will be a holiday miracle.

Buckle down

November 23, 2021

This spring has sprung.

So I’m Just Riding Along (JRA) on Sunday when I hear a tiny rattle down and to the right.

No, not a midget buzzworm. They’ve all flown south for the winter. The buckle failed on my right Sidi Whatever. A spring went south and the ratchet lever was flipping back and forth like Kyrsten Sinema, to no evident purpose.

The venerable Sidi cyclocross shoes.

The Sidis are Dominator 5, if memory serves. Not my oldest pair — those would be my Sidi cyclocross shoes, pre-clipless. And I have another pair of Dominators that predates numerology. I’m pretty sure they were just “Dominators.” Who knew there would be so many sequels?

The buckles still work on my ODs (Original Dominators). Not so the hook-and-loop straps. Those break loose and flap like Tucker Carlson’s gums.

Alas, the OD’s buckles are non-transferable. The caliper straps are not simpatico. Thus I had to order up some replacement buckles — which at $18.99 were only slightly pricier than the tab for shipping them to El Rancho Pendejo. So it goes. ’Tis a wonder such spare bits remain available at all.

Meanwhile, the Dominator 10? Be prepared to shell out $329.99, my friend. The good news is, they will probably outlive your feet.

On the edge of the desert

November 20, 2021

Cup No. 3.

It’s not often that I go for that third cup of coffee. But dammit, when it’s 30°-something as a fella struggles out from under the covers, he just might need a triple hit of Arabica. Ether for the carburetor, don’t you know.

I’m better now. Of course, it’s warmer now. Both inside and out.

“Haven’t you ever heard that no news is good news?”

We start our mornings with a 50-50 blend of French Roast and Black Lightning from Aroma Coffee in Santa Fe. It’ll set your gherkin to perkin’, especially after Cup No. 3.  Bzzt bzzt bzzt.

Still, it’s pretty lightweight as drug habits go. There was a time when mornings required something with a little more authority — some coffee, a couple of red beers, and a bump or two or three — but the nights were longer back then. We didn’t hit the sack at 9 p.m. Sometimes we didn’t hit it at all.

Now we have mornings where burrowing back under the covers seems the only sensible course of action. Coffee will not repel the daily assault on your senses by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and your hometown rumor mill. It’s like sending a hamster to croak a Kodiak bear.

Still, as you know, you read the news with the drugs you have, not the drugs you might want or wish you had at a later time. If those don’t work, try the covers.

Forked again

November 18, 2021

I didn’t eat it with my new fork.

In the Year of Our Lord 2021, when one blows up a Hippie-Tech rebuild of a Rock Shox Judy SL cartridge fork there will be no miraculous resurrection.

First, because there is no more Hippie-Tech to rebuild the rebuild. Second, because there are no kits for the rebuilding. The rest of the world has moved on from the simplicity of yesteryear to today’s fancy-schmancy, carbon-fiber, disc-brake, boingy-boingies, with their dropper posts, their 110mm of travel, and their ultra-plush five-figure price tags.

But not here. No, sir. We believe in keeping the old bits operating, especially ours.

Thus, the 1995 DBR Axis TT, like its owner-operator, has gone rigid. Soma Fabrications supplied the Tange Infinity fork, Zach at Two Wheel Drive performed the install, and I handled the test drive with my usual style, élan, and grace, which is to say I managed to not fall off.

Born to run

November 13, 2021

Harrison Walter (center) signs a letter of intent to run for Colorado Mountain College. His dad and coach, Hal, is third from the right.
Photo: Joy Parrish

My man Hal Walter recently arranged a small signing ceremony for his son, Harrison, who will be running cross country and track for Colorado Mountain College next year.

Harrison is on the autism spectrum, and so making the leap from high school to college may involve more gymnastics than it did for thee or me. Writes Hal in his Substack newsletter:

It’s been a long run for Harrison, who began his scholastic running career in middle school cross-country and track at Custer County, and then continued into high school. Seven years in all. In the first few years we didn’t know what direction he’d run when the gun went off — or if he’d actually run or melt down. We’re still working out the transition to college. He may be splitting his time in Leadville between online and in-person classes, and doing some workouts next fall with his old team — and coach — here in Westcliffe.

A tip of the Mad Dog mortarboard to Harrison and Hal for a job well done.

And speaking of jobs well done, Hal recently announced that he would be stepping down from MetaFaceButt to spend more time with his Substack newsletter. You can subscribe to that here.

Happy Veterans Day?

November 11, 2021

Roll another one. …

Speaking as one of the “countercultural peaceniks of the 1960s and 1970s” who was fond of “illegal, mind-altering drugs,” I’d like to say, “Right on, man,” to the veterans who have been advocating their use in the treatment of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression stemming from their military service.

Writes Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times:

Researchers are still trying to understand the mechanics of psychedelic-assisted therapies but they are widely thought to promote physiological changes in the brain, sometimes after just one session. On a psychological level, the drugs can provide a fresh perspective on seemingly intractable trauma, giving patients new tools to process pain and find inner peace.

Lord knows they put me through a few changes. And while I can’t claim to have achieved inner peace, I did manage to find my path.

Jose Martinez got a later start on a much harder road. After losing both legs and his right arm to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, and enduring 19 surgeries, ceaseless pain and an addiction to opioids, the former Army gunner became an evangelist for psychedelics.

“And now I understand what I’m actually here for in this world, which is to make people smile and to remind them that life can be beautiful even when it’s not so easy,” he said.

“Not so easy” doesn’t begin to describe it. They tell me Charlie don’t surf. But Jose does. That’s beautiful.

The path is the Way

November 9, 2021

Light traffic, muted colors

I hate to do this to those of you who are wrestling with actual November weather. But oh, was yesterday ever a fine day to ride the ol’ bikey-bike down to the bosque.

It was a little late in the season to catch the prime fall colors, but there was a flash or two here and there.

Traffic was light on the Paseo del Bosque trail, so instead of heading south past I-40 to Mountain and heading home via the mean streets, Indian School and whatnot, I pulled a U at the interstate — pulling off the arm and knee warmers — and enjoyed a double dose of the auto-free environment.

Then I enhanced the experience by riding the Paseo del Norte path, the North Diversion Channel Trail, and the Arroyo del Oso/Bear Canyon Trail. Hey, you got all this bicycle infrastructure, why not put it to use?

The whole trip added up to a little more than 40 miles and made a nice change of pace from the usual dawdling about in the foothills. I enjoyed my departure from the norm so much that I did it again today.

No, not the 40-mile bike ride. Today, I went for a run.

Rise and shine

November 7, 2021

Time for coffee.

Fall back. As in, fall back into bed for another hour.

Or, you can just not get up. Which is what I did.

Herself arose as per usual. Miss Mia Sopaipilla doesn’t know from time changes, and she will parade up and down the hall giving out with “Reveille” until someone — almost always Herself — gets up, marches into the kitchen, and pours some chow into her bowl.

I’m not a morning person, no matter what time it is. I like this bed. I paid for half of it, and I’m gonna get my money’s worth, thank you very much.

As long as someone feeds the cat. Jesus. Sounds like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Louie Gohmert doing the nasty out there.

Not so hot

November 5, 2021

The wisteria is calling it quits for the year.

The mornings are brisk around here lately. Upon arising I find myself compelled to don pants. This will not do, not at all.

This is one of the few downsides of living snuggled up to the Sandias. Come fall the sun doesn’t peek over the mountains and through the trees until 9:30 or later, which causes Miss Mia Sopaipilla to burn the early morning hours hunting a toasty napping place that does not yet exist as such.

Here comes the sun. “About time,” grouses Mia.

The geezers I ride with a couple days a week likewise search for that sweet sunny spot. There has been some debate as to whether rides should continue to begin 9-ish or be delayed a tad to minimize the need for extensive layering.

It’s not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature swing in the course of a 90-minute morning outing, which fills the jersey pockets to overflowing with wind jackets, arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, skullcaps and whatnot. Jersey zippers rise and fall with the terrain.

Our location here, at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the shadow of the foothills, often causes me to believe it’s colder outdoors than it really is. Yesterday I rode the Jones south on the foothills trails and inside 10 minutes I knew I was ridiculously overdressed. Nevertheless I persisted, because there wasn’t much I could do about the long-sleeved jersey and I didn’t stuff any short-fingered gloves into a pocket before leaving.

I found myself riding with a distinct lack of competence, confidence, style, and grace, dabbing on pretty much everything that wasn’t a nice flat sandy patch, and swearing a lot. After a series of miscues on mild obstacles I lost my mojo entirely and tried to focus on simply avoiding injury. This was nearly as irksome as wearing pants in the morning.

After an hour of embarrassing myself I called it quits and headed for home. I should probably get back out there right now and seek redemption.  But I’m thinking about dialing it down to a road ride. Maybe I should wait until we fall back before I fall off.