Fire works

May 16, 2022

Pine shadows.

It was already 70° when I got up at 6 and the sky looked wrong.

The wind spent the night blowing things open, over, around, and down. It wasn’t the usual thundering roar, reminiscent of life in a 9-by-40 singlewide next to the railroad tracks; more like a conversation at the next table that you’re trying not to hear.

“No, no, no. First, you cut off the head. Then the arms and legs. Bag ’em up separate. Easier to carry.”

Last night’s eclipse, which we could not see, was accompanied by a “Health Alert Due to Blowing Dust,” which we could.

We had forgotten to turn on the bedroom humidifier before retiring, and when I arose my snout was having flashbacks to the glorious days when my friends and I supercharged our Saturday nights (and occasionally Sunday mornings) with a blend of Russian vodka and Peruvian marching powder.

The Duck! City hasn’t updated its air-quality widget since Friday, so I lack the deets. But I’m certainly getting the general drift of things. It’s not a great day to be a woodland firefighter, for instance. That big mother up by Las Vegas is only getting bigger, and it’s got a few smaller ones to keep it company.

Here’s NMFireInfo:

Dry thunderstorms in the afternoon will likely cause very active fire behavior and increase potential for fire spread. The fire is expected to remain active, with critically dry fuels and near-record temperatures.

Oh, good. I can’t wait for Memorial Day weekend. Where the fireworks stands at? FreeDumb®, etc.

Treinta y dos

May 12, 2022

Still sharing the same bench after all these years.

Today Herself and Your Humble Narrator celebrate 32 years of holy macaroni.

O, how they laughed Back in the Day®. “It will never last,” they said. “She is a Woman of Quality while he … well, I mean, just look at him.”

I had a brief moment of fear some years later when she had the Lasik surgery, but as luck would have it enhanced eyesight does not always mean sharper vision.

And now here we are, against all odds, 32 years later and still ticking like a fine Swiss time bomb. Timepiece! I meant timepiece!

The usual massive celebration is under way. We kicked it off by singing the “Happy Anniversary” song, then broke fast with coffee and avocado toast. Someone had to take a Zoom meeting (not me). The same someone had to drop her CR-V off at the Honda shop (a noncelebratory blinking warning light, the prelude to a mechanical fishing expedition).

With an eye toward today’s bloggery I resolved a trio of niggling MacIssues without assistance. If only rebooting a Honda were so simple.

Later there shall be a Feast at an undisclosed location. I will not be cooking and Herself will not be cleaning up. And the vet emailed to report that Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s bloodwork was “amazing.” These are all the gifts we require, and more than one of us deserves.

And the hits just keep on coming

May 8, 2022

A map of the Cerro Pelado fire and the surrounding area.

Well, this ain’t good.

While we’ve all been watching the big fire up by Las Vegas, a smaller one is stealing a march on Los Alamos as the predicted gusty winds drive the flames onward. The county and LANL are to be bumped from “Ready” to “Set” in the Ready-Set-Go evacuation protocol.

From InciWeb:

“Southwest winds are expected to be even stronger tomorrow and unseasonably warm, dry, and windy weather is expected to continue well into next week. Weather and fuel conditions are favorable for rapid fire growth, and in addition to the very steep and often inaccessible terrain, firefighters will be challenged by potential for extreme fire behavior, especially in areas where winds and topography align with the fire.”

We’re starting to get smoke here in The Duck! CIty, maybe from the Bear Trap fire down in the Magdalena Ranger District. Unless we have a fresh fire start somewhere in the neighborhood that I haven’t heard about.

Let’s all be careful out there.

Happy Mother’s Day

May 8, 2022

This one goes out to the Supremes, those muthas.

TGIF?

May 6, 2022

“Go ahead, open that door and reach in here. Make my day.”

It’s Little Old Lady Day here at El Rancho Pendejo, and each of us has a vieja to wrangle.

Herself gets to take Herself the Elder out for a salon cut and perhaps some medium-light snackage. And I, as you can see, got to take Miss Mia Sopaipilla to the vet for her regular checkup.

I thought I’d scored the easy duty. But as you know, I will never be smart.

Shortly after we arrived at the vet’s another customer roared in with a pair of infernal hounds, one of whom was going full Baskerville. This did not improve Mia’s mood — she does not care for cat carriers, cars, doctors, or dogs — and by the time a vet popped round to attend to her, well, she was puffed up to about six times normal size and hissing like a vampire who was a couple quarts low.

So, instead of the simple drive-by doctoring I had been expecting, I found myself choosing between rescheduling (and perhaps sedation) or letting Miss Mia chill out for a while in the felines-only ward, to see if she might turn back into a mild-mannered elderly cat instead of Bastet with a Hulk overlay and a side of rabies. I picked Door No. 2 and headed for home.

Now I’m almost 100 percent certain that if I get all kitted up for what looks to be the last decent day for cycling before what firefighters and weatherpersons are predicting will be “at least four days of wind, dryness and hot temperatures,” why, that is when the phone will ring. It will be the vet, who will tell me that she is off to Las Vegas because it’s safer to fight fires than Miss Mia.

Looks like a hot time in the old town no matter how you slice it.

Talking shit

May 5, 2022

A samurai in a latrine; outside, his three attendants hold their noses. Coloured woodcut by Hokusai, 1834. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

I stumbled across an item from the Poetry Foundation, “Haiku on Shit” by Masaoka Shiki, in my virtual wanderings and thought it a delightful departure from the daily shit monsoon, against which a parasol, a wetsuit, or a subterranean bunker are no defense.

Chop some wood, do you good

May 1, 2022

Remember, kids, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

R.I.P., Neal Adams

April 30, 2022

The Batman got a chance to feel what it was like to be me in 1969. From “The Secret of the Waiting Graves,” drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, story by Denny O’Neil, © 1969 National Periodical Publications, Inc.

The inimitable Neal Adams has finally stepped away from the drawing board. He was 80.

Adams was, in a word, a legend. I devoured comic books from my early childhood through college, from Superman to the X-Men, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers to Mr. Natural, and I’d never seen anything like his art. When Adams took on a character, he nailed it.

“Yeah, that’s how [insert your hero here] is supposed to look,” I’d think. And if some other artist took over, I’d be all like, “Nope.”

Adams helped put the dark back in the Dark Knight, a.k.a. The Batman; made the Green Lantern-Green Arrow series actually worth a look (a not inconsiderable chore); and fought Frank Frazetta to a draw when it came to depicting Conan the Barbarian.

The Batman may have been his crowning achievement, but Adams didn’t limit himself to Gotham City. He drew for both DC and Marvel, tackling Deadman, the X-Men, the Avengers, Superman, even the gleefully blasphemous Son O’ God Comics for National Lampoon. He was like the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara, with a pen in each of his one thousand hands. And like Chickenman, he was everywhere.

He was also a pain in the ass, which as you may imagine only further endeared him to me. He worked to see that creators were treated better than Manpower temps and helped win some long-overdue recognition for “Superman” visionaries Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, without whom we’d all have been stuck reading “Archie” comics … another title Adams had a hand in early on.

Peace to him and to his family, friends and fans.

Strictly for the birds

April 29, 2022

The hummers and quail are lightening the mood around here.

The hummingbirds are back. And this looks just like an Audubon photo of one, the same way I look just like Jason Statham if you see me backlit at sunset, from the other side of a four-lane street with a sizable median. It’s possible that you left your specs in the pub after a half-dozen boilermakers, a vicious beating, and perhaps a stroke.

The grasses in Elena Gallegos Open Space are an ominous shade of tan.

It’s been a quiet week around El Rancho Pendejo. Herself just got her second Plague-B-Gon booster and is recovering nicely after enduring a sore arm and some drowsiness.

As for Your Humble Narrator, despite relentless seasonal allergies exacerbated by smoke-laden afternoon breezes I found the weather stellar for cycling. Actual tan lines are in evidence. I managed 105 miles last week and would be on track to repeat that this week if I hadn’t veered off road three times, twice on the bike and once on foot.

When riding trail I strive mightily to avoid nicking any trailside rocks with a pedal. One good spark in these dry, windy conditions and we’ll be grabbing the go-bags and cat carrier and hightailing it for … for … for where? Is there anyplace that isn’t on fire and/or out of water?

All aTwitter

April 26, 2022

My final tweet, from New Year’s Eve 2017. Didn’t cost me shit.

OK, pop quiz. if you had $44 billion lying around doing not very much you would:

  1. Feed the hungry.
  2. House the homeless.
  3. Buy Twitter.

I guess I get it, kinda, sorta. I mean, I like toys. I just bought a canister stove for my occasional camping adventures; MSR said they didn’t have the bits to modernize my Bronze Age RapidFire, then offered me 30 percent off on a new burner. So, ’ray for MSR and for me.

But Twitter? Maybe Elon has the bits to fix that hot mess, and maybe he doesn’t. He can certainly throw bales of cash at it until he tears a rotator cuff or finds some other shiny object to money-whip until boredom sets in once again.

Me, I don’t even want to use Twitter for free.