Dire portents of the End Times

April 13, 2021

I had a ton of Hawaiian-style shirts once, before I checked my privilege as a second-rate copy editor at a third-string newspaper.

Gosh. Another fashion option out the window.

I guess I’ll have to go back to my top hat and tails. Mahalo, pendejos.

Aren’t some of us just kind of stretching a bit to find things that piss us off? I mean, I was a Maoist, f’fucksake, and even we were less easily enraged.

We were also less nattily attired. But god damn it, nobody ever accused us of being “fashionable embodiments of the history of American colonization, imperialism and racism.” ¡Venceremos!

Let’s go get stoned

April 12, 2021

“Smoke ’em if you got ’em,” says the governor. After June 29, that is.

Just remember what Brother Ray said:

Ain’t no harm to have a little taste
But don’t lose your cool and start messing up the man’s place

Purple haze

April 12, 2021

The lilacs exploded more or less overnight.

Our yard has suddenly decided that this is not a drill — it’s spring, for reals.

The daffodils and tulips are popping up. The lilacs and holly are flowering. The ornamental pear has already flowered.

Our backyard maple greets the morning.

The maple and wisteria are leafing out.

I even had to mow the damn lawn yesterday.

Perhaps best of all, it’s not too hot. Yet. This morning, when I rode home from downtown after dropping the Subaru at Reincarnation for its annual checkup, I needed arm warmers and knickers for comfort’s sake.

The ride was so pleasant I added a bit of extra credit/scenic detour mileage up Bear Canyon from Juan Tabo to the Embudito trailhead. What the hell, I was riding a cyclocross bike, and there were no pressing matters awaiting my attention.

The guys at Reincarnation weren’t taking five for any bike rides or flower-sniffing, though. That op’ was hoppin’. After a year of living cautiously it seems some Burqueños are ready for a drive that lets them get out of third gear.

Coasting into climate change

April 11, 2021

Sandia Peak Ski Co. wants to build a mountain coaster as a hedge against climate change. And who can blame them?

Well … plenty of people, it seems.

“Ski areas have found it very challenging to be dependent on winter alone,” notes Sandia Peak president Benny Abruzzo in a chat with the Albuquerque Journal. And the U.S. Forest Service seems supportive of the project.

But the Journal says the majority of responses during a public comment period have been less so, and a random sample indicates that they do not lie.

“If we built a mechanical bull ride at the top of the Sandias, yes, more people may go up there, but at what cost to the land/view?” one critic quipped. No, not me.

Every time I hear of a project like this I’m reminded just how little I understand about business. How does Sandia Park Ski Co. expect to make bank on this deal? A casual glance at mountain coasters in Steamboat, Gatlinburg, and Branson tells me that tickets are cheap — $16-$20 a rider — but I’ll bet construction and maintenance dollar up on the roof right smart.

Maybe there are enough sedentary bucket-listers to make a dog like this hunt in a town where Topgolf is considered economic development. Ride the Tram, ride the coaster, ride the rental car back to the motel. Whoop, watch out for that fairy on his bicycle. What’s for lunch, hon’? I really worked up an appetite clenching my butt-cheeks on that coaster.

But frankly, it doesn’t seem very imaginative. The Duke City has thrill rides aplenty, with infrastructure already in place.

For instance, anyone who craves a hair-raising vehicular experience in Albuquerque need only take an automobile for a spin on I-40 when the motorcycles are in bloom.

Bench press

April 9, 2021

The rocky wash leading to the bench between Comanche and Candelaria.

The old red flag was flying again today, so instead of cycling Herself and I scrambled into the neighboring Sandia foothills, working our way along bits and pieces of the Candelaria Bench Loop.

Herself bouldering upward. There’s a bit of singletrack off to her left but it’s a slippery sonofabitch.

It’s only a four-mile hike, but there’s a fair amount of vertical at the beginning and the end, much of it on crumbly gravel switchbacks lined with sharp rocks and cacti.

After the first steep, loose climb east of Comanche we stuck to a stair-stepped, boulder-studded wash that was a whole lot more fun than the narrow singletrack I took a digger on last year, slamming my left thigh into a big round rock.

Oddly, the winding descent to Trail 365 near Candelaria seemed less challenging than I remembered.

Once I met another hiker on that stretch who said she simply sat and slid down some of the steeper sections (glissading, for the aficionados among you). I’ve done this a time or two myself, but never on purpose, or without consequences.

Didn’t happen today, to either of us, so yay, etc.

And we didn’t see another single solitary soul, either. Unless you count the three circling crows who seemed to be tracking our cautious movements downward and providing an appropriate soundtrack. Haw … haw … haw.

Herself inspects the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area
from the Candelaria bench.

Green Hills of Albuquerque

April 8, 2021

Descending Tramway Road to Tramway Boulevard.

Down, down, to Goblin-town, you go, my lad!

Well, not exactly. There’s some gobblin’ at the corner of Tramway Road and Tramway Boulevard, all right, but it involves barbecue at The County Line.

The place smells wonderful when your snotlocker works, which mine mostly does not, thanks to seasonal allergies (oak, cottonwood, juniper, mulberry, grass, etc.).

Between being all boogered up and tweaking my lower back the other day I have been in something of a mood. Maybe watching part one of the Hemingway documentary on PBS last night helped a bit. Wasn’t anyone pulling a couple hundred bits of shrapnel out of my legs in an Italian hospital, and I’ve managed to hang on to my first wife, too. So, yeah, winning, an’ shit.

True, global literary fame has proven elusive, but that’s not exactly a surprise. My agent warned me against titling my debut novel “A Farewell to Arfs.”

Saddle up, buckaroos

April 6, 2021

Longtime Friend of the Blog Hal Walter got a little teevee time on the Tube of You recently when Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, popped round to his place with a videographer in tow.

Nancy wanted to chat about burro racing, which Hal has been doing for more than 40 years, winning seven world championships along the way. So naturally he had a few thoughts on the topic.

The video is a three-parter. The first is up top, and you can catch the others here and here.

Nesting

April 6, 2021

Through my office window I’ve seen this dove refurbing an old nest.
Now she’s in residence.

I knew I heard a hummingbird. We saw the little buzzbomb yesterday having a long drink at the feeder out back as we sat down to dinner.

Well, sir. Now it’s spring.

Out front, a dove has refurbished a wind-battered nest atop the wisteria. Same dove as last year? Beats me. I asked, she didn’t answer.

The rest of the world’s ills notwithstanding, I am very much enjoying getting up, making coffee, and checking the news to find out that nobody I know has bothered to collect and distribute the wit and wisdom of the previous occupant of the Oval Office.

That’s one bird whose song we can do without. Until the judge says, “Will the defendant please rise?”

Sprung

April 4, 2021

The ornamental plum lit up more or less overnight.

The Easter hare has delivered a basket of hard-boiled huevos.

Our weather widget reported 65 degrees by 9:30 this morning with the high expected to approach 80. Yesterday we topped out at 79, and it felt marvelous. It was the first day this year that I was able to start and finish a ride in shorts and short sleeves.

The foliage has exploded. You name it, it’s blooming, or trying to. Wisteria, ornamental plum and pear, maple, holly, lilac, and daffodils.

My snotlocker is paying the freight, but it’s tough to complain when you’re wandering around The Compound during the first week of April in shorts, sandals, and sunscreen.

 

April Fool’s Day is for the birds

April 2, 2021

Miss Mia is on the lookout for April fools.
Either that or birds building a nest on our roof.

April Fool’s Day has been consigned to the rear-view mirror, so it’s safe to navigate the Innertubes again.

Like St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day is for amateurs. Pros do their drinking and fooling year-round without regard for the calendar. Some of the marketing ploys soiling my in-box yesterday were weaker than watery green beer filtered through the kidneys.

I had no time for foolery yesterday. There were menus to devise, groceries to be purchased, bread to bake. Also, Herself’s CR-V required some attention from the Honda grease monkeys down on Lomas; this required me to engage with Albuquerque traffic, which is thick with fools year-round.

Why anyone would buy a new car in this burg remains a mystery to me. You might as well haul a sledgehammer down to the dealership and give your new ride a couple stout whacks before you roll off the lot, get used to the idea of driving a dentmobile like everyone else.

While parked at the curb in my own ratty beater I took a squint at this blog and saw that — in the mobile version, anyway — it remained buggered by WordPress and its filthy Gutenberg block editor, foisted upon the unsuspecting customer base by knaves, cutpurses, and coders who cannot be adjusted by sledgehammer, more’s the pity. So once I got back to El Rancho Pendejo I had to dive into the Classic editor and replace the text and image in the “Playing with blocks” post.

And all of this on a beautiful spring day, too. High in the 60s. Instead of a long bike ride I had to content myself with a 45-minute hike-slash-jog, which come to think of it was not half bad.

And that’s no foolin’.