Cat on a cold gravel roof

October 17, 2018

Last night, when I was up on the roof at dark-thirty in a howling gale, using a headlamp and a handsaw to edit a pine whose flailing branches were making Freddy Kruegeresque noises on our ductwork, I sez to myself, I sez, “What the world really needs right this minute is another cute cat video.”

You’re welcome.

San Luis

October 17, 2018

Apropos of nothing in particular we have this lovely Andy Mann video in which the country around the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve serves as the stage for “San Luis,” by Gregory Alan Isakov.

I stumbled upon this at NPR’s “World Cafe” while clambering down various rabbit holes, hoping to escape the wind.

Song of the wind

October 16, 2018

An east wind scours the Sandias (wind not pictured).

I decided against ’crossing it up today, and hoo-boy, was that ever a rare smart move.

The wind had its own idea of a good time, and I found myself grinding into the teeth of it aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, underdressed and overgeared.

If I’d been on a Steelman with its 36×28 low end I’d have turned around, I shit thee not. But the Voodoo has that 22T granny ring, and you bet your ass I was using it, early and often, as the cold wind raged from the northeast.

Working my way around the Elena Gallegos trails I encountered the occasional hiker bundled up like a sherpa summiting Everest. It wasn’t that cold by the numbers, maybe the mid-40s, but the wind was making a liar of the thermometer.

It reminded me of a ’cross I did back in Colorado, with the wind completely off the charts. Occasionally some poor sod would shoulder his bike for a run-up and get spun around like a weathervane.

I was surprised nobody got screwed right into the ground at that race. But it was probably frozen solid, and I remember how hard it was to pound in the rebar while setting up the barriers.

Meanwhile, back in ’Burque, the tailwind was so fierce on the homebound leg that I had to ride the brakes. True fact. I actually got home before I even started the ride and nearly ran into myself coming out the front door.

Here comes the sun?

October 16, 2018

Gimme heat, stat! Thermostat, that is.

Um, not so much.

That’s not Old Sol smiling down upon us. That’s a hallway light shining upon the thermostat, which I was compelled to use this morning to crank up the furnace for the first time this fall.

This unseasonably cool, moist weather is supposed to stick around for a bit, so I may have to do a little solo cyclocross today to roust myself from torpor, get the heart rate up, and avoid the kitchen, where the food is.

Chilly days bring with them the temptation to gobble everything that isn’t under lock and key, and it doesn’t help that Kelli made a pan of delicious banana bread that’s just sitting there on the counter, cooing, “Eat me, fat boy.”

Last night we dined on leftover green chile stew straight out of “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook,” with massive side salads, tortillas and chocolate. Today I may whip up some pasta al cavolfiore from the “Moosewood Cookbook.” It’s a favorite of Herself’s in just about any kind of weather.

But it is a belly-packer, and so I’d better sweat a little before dinner. The only pudgy white guy Herself lets live indoors around here is The Turk.

Killer diller chiller

October 15, 2018

It was chilly enough down here at the foot of the Sandias. Up at the top, where Herself and friend Kelli were, it was downright wintry. Photo | Herself

The temperature was in the 30s this morning when I decided to go for a run.

Rogue killers trying to shove me off by subtly inflicting a chill that blossoms into pneumonia? Who knows?

I bundled up and got after it anyway. Tights, tuque, the works. A fella can’t burn daylight, however feeble, just chillin’.

 

Soggy doggy bloggy

October 14, 2018

We’ve been enjoying a pleasant off-and-on rain, and by “we” I mean “not the Balloon Fiesta people.”

Welp, the Balloon Fiesta people have another year and a day to get their traffic problems sorted, because their final launch of 2018 got rained out this morning.

What does a balloon aficionado do when there is no ballooning to be had due to inclement weather? Beats me.

I know what a cycling scribe does. He stays inside and blogs.

Well, this one does, anyway.

Fiesta or fiasco?

October 11, 2018

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail (from Feb. 2014).

It seems the best way to get to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is … by balloon.

Or is it?

Motorists and park-and-riders have suffered mightily this year, getting stuck in traffic and/or at bus stops, reports The Albuquerque Journal. With a record 21,000 park-and-ride tickets sold, the problem was “sheer volume,” according to Dennis Christiansen, Fiesta coordinator of traffic and P&R.

Added Fiesta executive director Paul Smith: “We have a limited number of access points to and from the park. We are kind of landlocked here. We have a reservation (Sandia) to the north, a neighborhood to the west, and AMAFCA (flood control) channels on two sides.”

’Tis a puzzler, to be sure. Until one considers that a bike path parallels one of those channels — the North Diversion Channel Trail, which runs straight into Balloon Fiesta Park, where a bike valet service awaits.

Neither the Journal nor the Fiesta mentions this transportation option, though I was riding that trail to that park before I even lived here. I tell ya, we don’t get no respect. …

Days decrease, and autumn grows

October 10, 2018

Yesterday’s clouds were a harbinger of mildly unpleasant weather,
the sort one expects in October.

It’s that time of year again.

This morning, instead of going straight to The New York Times to see what deviltry Cheeto Benito has been up to while we slept, I cued up Weather Underground to find out what Thor has in store for us here in our little corner of the Duke City.

Also, I was wearing socks. And pants. O, the humanity.

I already miss my summer routine. Reveille at oh-dark-thirty as Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) leaps into my rack. After a brief exchange of the usual courtesies it’s up and into the Columbia shorts, guinea tee and Tevas for the trip to the kitchen, where I burn an English muffin for Herself, pour a cup of joe for myself, and top off Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s kibble.

Next, open the sliding glass doors and a kitchen window. Fresh air reminds me we have two cats who haven’t mastered the flush toilet. But the litter box will have to wait. First, the news. One foul chore at a time, please.

With the international, national, regional and local butt-nuggets exhumed, examined and expunged, and a second cup of coffee to wash down a snack of some sort, it’s time to generate a bit of bloggery and/or paying copy before embarking upon some healthy outdoor activity.

Here we have another indicator of the relentless passage of time, as reliable as falling leaves. Come autumn, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and Adventure Cyclist reduce their frequency of publication, and my income stream — hardly a raging torrent, even in the heart of the cycling season — becomes more of a dribble, the last warm sip from summer’s water bottle.

I delivered the video teaser of my Jones Plus SWB review to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, and yesterday the November “Shop Talk” cartoon went off to BRAIN. Now I’m fresh out of other people’s bikes to ponder, and there’s just one more ’toon to draw for 2018.

And that healthy outdoor activity? Come autumn, it’s as likely to be a run as a ride. This year I started jogging again in July; this lets me sort of sneak up on my knees, give them time to grow accustomed to the idea that we enjoy this sort of thing, before winter winnows our options.

It’s a useful fiction, one that keeps me in shorts a while longer.

No laughing matter

October 9, 2018

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.

Waiting for Columbus

October 8, 2018