Picnic

May 24, 2017

The Soma Saga Disc with a light load at the tippy-top of the La Cueva Picnic Grounds.

The whim of the editorial calendar has left me, briefly, with nothing that needed doing, and since nothing is what I do best, I’ve been doing it, and plenty of it, too.

Yesterday, just because I could, I slapped an overnight load on the Soma Saga Disc and went for a two-hour ride to see how it felt. And it felt pretty damn’ nice, is what.

I have a rolling route through the ’burbs that I favor for bike tests, and despite having 15 extra pounds for company I was enjoying the ride. On a whim I took a detour up to the La Cueva picnic grounds to see how I’d fare with a low end of 30×34 (call it 24.3 gear inches, more or less). And that felt pretty OK, too, though I was down to 3.5 mph at one point (that’s one steep little hill).

Alas, the chores are sneaking back into the picture. I have an All-City Space Horse Disc to review, and that Bicycle Retailer deadline has crept around again, too.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, of course. Imagine my suffering.

Weiner joke

May 19, 2017

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our national affairs when an Anthony Weiner story comes as something of a relief, an amusing little rest stop on the Highway to Hell.

Of course, it isn’t. It was during the investigation into whether Weiner had shown his — well, you know — to an underage girl that then-FBI chief James Comey announced he was snuffling around in The Hilldebeast’s in-box again.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

In related news, there is no truth to the rumor that the former Democratic congressman will move to Las Vegas to begin a new life as a porn star and change his name to Anthony Dildo.

Bear with me here

May 17, 2017

Peak load: Restoring the Internets the Western way. Photo: Hal Walter.

Ever have the Innertubes go out on you? Irksome, innit?

You ring up your service provider, if you remember its contact info (the Innertubes are down, remember?). If you don’t, then you get to pursue a long and painful search for same via tiny smartphone screen before enjoying an extended stint on hold, being reminded over and over again how important is your call.

After a few days of this someone who gives the name Nathan or Monica but sports an accent reminiscent of the Subcontinent pops up to lend you what you suspect is a very long-distance hand indeed, oh my goodness yes.

And you begin turning on and off or unplugging/replugging bits of this and that; rooting around in dark corners of your computer that, like a rough neighborhood, family gathering or all-hands meeting in an economic downturn, you’d prefer to avoid; and chanting magical yet remarkably futile incantations like “Fifteen-inch MacBook Pro, mid-2014, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR3, OS X Yosemite, yes, I’ll hold.”

Anything to eat in here? Nope. Photo: Hal Walter.

In the end, of course, you find yourself curled, unshaven and filthy, on the floor, in a puddle of your own tears, cradling your phone and its fading battery as though it were a dying baby bird, wailing, “I have to have my Innertubes! Do you have any idea what’s going on in Washington? Neither do it!”

Well. Suck it up, snowflake. That’s a day at the beach compared to what my man Hal Walter endured the other day to get his Innertubes barfing out the 1s and 0s again.

Hal texted me to announce that his Innertubes were blown, something that occurs even more regularly in rural Crusty County than it does in more civilized environs. Being a wag of no small renown, I quipped, “Dude. It won’t do. Did a b’ar eat your dish?”

Well. Yeah, as it turns out.

It’s not a dish on the house, which is how we used to get our Innertubes when we lived just west of Hal’s place outside Weirdcliffe. There is a tower, which sits atop Bradbury Ridge on Bear Basin Ranch, and it is powered by a solar-battery setup (the tower, not the peak).

Some of the guts of this line-of-sight wireless setup reside in what looks like an Igloo cooler, which to a bear looks like a pizza-delivery guy’s shitbox Toyota Tercel does to thee and me. The bear tried to find the delicious pizza inside the shitbox, but the innards proved undercooked, and off he trundled, leaving behind a cooler whose security had been dramatically compromised by bite marks in opposite corners, and whose contents soon would be done to a turn by the notoriously vile Crusty County weather.

Thus, instead of unplugging bits of this and that in the comfort of his own home, Hal found himself hauling 100 pounds of new batteries up to the tower via pack burro while a tech-support dude who was decidedly not from Delhi refreshed the coolers’ innards.

“They like to use coolers because they protect the batteries from extreme temperatures,” says Hal. “However, there is some discussion of a metal box. Our wildlife officer agrees with me that the bear likely had previous experience with ice chests.”

• Late update: The man himself chimes in with an on-the-scene report.

Top dog

May 16, 2017

Well, I confess I’m at something of a loss here.

I’d trot out the “If Hillary/Obama disclosed classified information to the Russians. …” trope, but why bother?

I’m starting to think that if King Donald the Short-fingered were to be videotaped having sex with a Russian wolfhound atop an American flag, in the Rose Garden, at high noon on Memorial Day, Lyin’ Ryan and The Turtle would shrug their shoulders, mumble, “It’s just the president, screwing the pooch again,” and get back to the business of stripping the Republic for salable parts. Never you mind that the dog is on top.

Maybe when Cheeto Benito is headed home after his first big international trip we can turn out the lights, pretend we’re not home.

Watermelon at sunset

May 14, 2017

Looking south from Trail 365.

As the weather warms up, picking a time to walk Mister Boo becomes something of a crapshoot (haw).

The auld fella doesn’t like the heat, so mornings would be ideal, if he didn’t enjoy sleeping in after a medium-heavy breakfast. Evenings would be second best, but with only the one headlight he doesn’t see the road any too well.

Yesterday we walked him pretty much right at sunset, and it being nearly 80 (!) outside he was something of a sluggard on the way up the road to the foothills, but on the way back he let ‘er rip, running a full block back to El Rancho Pendejo.

Maybe he was inspired by the view? Looks like the boonies, but it’s all of two blocks from the house.

More hot air

May 13, 2017

I can’t decide whether to ride my digital bicycle or my goddamned steam bicycle today. P’raps Cheeto Benito has a suggestion?

 

‘An excess of stupidity’

May 12, 2017

As Samuel Johnson once said of Thomas Sheridan, “Such an excess of stupidity, sir, is not in Nature.”

So, by now, even the dumbest, sheet-wearing, Stars-and-Bars, piss-on-the-fire-and-call-in-the-dawgs peckerwood has to know that the cheese has done slid right off King Donald the Short-fingered’s cracker, right?

Even a John Birch bedwetter whose head has been up his ass since Earl Warren fronted for the Supremes can see that the Tangerine Tyrant is long overdue for a stylish canvas blazer with wraparound arms and a corner table at the Rubber Room for himself and all those voices in his head, yeah?

Seriously. Anyone who’s spent any time around Alzheimer’s patients, drug addicts or the criminally insane have seen this behavior before. There is something dreadfully wrong with him, and yet nobody capable of frog-marching him to the screw factory for rethreading has shown any interest in stepping up and performing the necessary laying on of hands.

The hacks running today’s Grand Old Party seem perfectly content to let a lunatic hurl inflammatory and actionable idiocy from the White House like a monkey flinging his own dung in a primate house, as long as he continues to have a pulse and one hand not too busy with masturbation to sign whatever they set before him.

He also makes a lively distraction from their efforts to dismantle the Republic and sell off its parts.

“Mama, what’s ‘health insurance?'”

“Never mind, honey. Just watch the funny orange man.”

Judas Priest. What does a guy gotta do to get impeached around here? Oh, yeah, I remember now.

Rain, rain, go away. …

May 10, 2017

We drove out of that to ride the Paseo del Bosque and whaddaya know? I didn’t even need knickers, much less the rain jacket.

Yesterday I laid down my hammer and sickle and took time out for a refreshing spin with Friend of the Blog™ Pat O’Brien, who with his lovely bride Sandy popped round to see what’s what in the Duke City.

I didn’t document this major tourism event with photography, because frankly I didn’t think we’d get ‘er done. It was raining when Pat arrived in his manly Toyota Tacoma to pick me up for the drive to the Paseo del Bosque’s Alameda trailhead, and the forecast was grim indeed.

But my iPhone photo above depicts the worst of it. Down by the Rio the weather was warm and windy, and we did the full lollipop, riding south, then curving in a northeasterly direction to Rio Bravo before returning to the bosque trail for a (mostly) tailwind-supported return.

We were both aboard Somas, naturally. Pat rode his Saga whilst I piloted the old Double Cross, freshly equipped with SKS fenders just in case. This, and the fact that we both carried rain jackets, is almost certainly why the clouds didn’t open up during the ride.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo I learned that a deluge had struck DeeCee, washing away the stain on democracy that was Jim Comey. King Donald the Short-fingered, alas, remains perched atop his golden throne, his personal roll of Constitution toilet paper close at hand. Here’s hoping it’s a harder rain gonna fall on his crooked highway before much longer.

What in the Sam Hill?

May 7, 2017

The Sam Hillborne recovers from its efforts in the sunny entryway at El Rancho Pendejo.

Yesterday was a Rivendell kind of day. The trails are usually crawling like anthills on a weekend, and the roads were busy, too. Plus I didn’t feel like doing anything of a serious nature, having chores on the schedule.

So Sam Hillborne and I pooted around on side streets and the Tramway bike path for a spell, just keeping the legs loose.

Some nitwit impatient to make a right turn honked at me as I proceeded through an intersection, with the light and pedestrian crossing signal working in my favor, and I reflected once again how concealed carry is a bad idea on a bicycle, if only for the sag a Ruger Model 3701 puts in a jersey pocket.

Afterward I mowed the weeds and retrieved some video from the old Canon ZR500 MiniDV camcorder, which Herself is eBaying along with a few metric shit-tons of other lightly used and heavily forgotten items cluttering up the nooks and crannies at El Rancho Pendejo.

The process of acquiring video from an old cassette camcorder is time-consuming and irksome, but proved rewarding in this instance. I unearthed some ancient footage of an elderly Chairman Meow and a very young Turkish, back when we still thought he was a she. So stay tuned for a short video trip down memory lane.

At ‘cross purposes

May 5, 2017

When it comes to taking a tonic for what ails you, there’s nothing like a little sand in your craw.

After yesterday’s health-care debacle I prescribed myself an antidepressant: 90 minutes on a Steelman Eurocross cyclocross bike, doing laps around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The old beastie still performs (I’m talking about the bike here). Reynolds 853 tubes; Shimano Ultegra eight-speed STI; 175mm RaceFace 48/36 cranks and a 12-28 cassette; Mavic Open Pro SUP rims with Dura-Ace hubs, DT spokes and Michelin Jet tires; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, augmented by Froggleg top-mounted levers; Cinelli Eubios bar with Off the Front tape; Ritchey stem; Time ATAC pedals; and a RockShox boingy post wearing the usual Selle Italia Flite saddle.

Riding a racing bike after a steady diet of touring machines felt seriously weird at first, but it started getting good to me after a half hour or so. Nearly slid out in one sandy hairpin — that rear Jet is starting to look like a slick — but happily, I did not require medical attention, as cyclocross and crashing are both pre-existing conditions.