To be, OR not to be

August 21, 2019


Well, here’s one more reason not to visit Denver in November.

 

Maple syrupy

August 20, 2019

Even a faux Canadian like me can appreciate the maple leaf, especially when a whole bunch of them shade the house as the temps inch into the upper 90s.

Sticky out there today. Eighty by the time I finally got out on the bike around 9:30. Much warmer by the time I got back. Much, much warmer.

All praise to the shade tree. It’s enough to make a druid of Franklin Graham.

The path of least resistance

August 17, 2019

Shade: One of the upsides of following the Paseo del Bosque south toward Rio Bravo.

Yesterday’s ride sort of got away from me. But in a good way.

I felt like riding a light bike for a change, and since I hadn’t been aboard the Nobilette for a while, it got the callup. And off we went to the Paseo del Bosque.

Now, my usual practice is to roll out and down Tramway, slip under Interstate 25 onto Roy, then bear left at the roundabout on 4th to Guadalupe Trail, which meanders over to Alameda and thence to the bosque trail. This prelude takes around an hour because as a elderly gentleman of semi-leisure I am rarely in a hurry.

The clouds are pretty, but don’t do much to damp the UV on the homebound leg.

From the Alameda parking lot I spin casually down to Interstate 40, nodding, waving, and smiling to no particular purpose at all the stone training faces floating grimly over aero bars like participants in some penitente balloon fiesta.

At the interstate underpass I’ve generally had enough of that, so I pull a U and head for the barn. This is good for about 40 miles, depending on which route I take home.

But yesterday, being on a sub-30-pound bike for a change, I pressed on past the interstate, down to Rio Bravo Boulevard, where the curious can ride an extra-credit loop that tours ’Burque’s industrial underbelly. This I skipped, my curiosity in such matters having been satisfied some time ago.

Joyless watt-watchers notwithstanding, the Paseo del Bosque is one of Albuquerque’s jewels. It’s as flat as flat can be, a real rarity in these parts. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a slight headwind down and a tailwind back.

I was lucky, and so I didn’t even notice I was doing a half-century until I was coming up on Juan Tabo via Bear Canyon Trail. At the end of the day I wound up with 54 miles under my bibs.

Perhaps best of all, I missed the news that Dealie McDealio is shopping for another land of opportunity. I’d recommend that Greenlanders stick with Denmark until they can arrange for independence. Dude is a notorious slumlord who won’t even keep up the property he’s managing now.

Trails and tribulations

August 14, 2019

The Paseo del Norte path, from just east of Rio Grande Boulevard.

Fine cycling weather around here lately, if you don’t mind hot and humid.

Yes, I said “humid.” For New Mexico, anyway. We’ve had a couple real frog-stranglers lately, the sort where you throw the doors and windows open to let the cool fresh air in, and then close them again a few minutes later because it’s coming down sideways and the furniture is getting power-washed.

Anyway, the idea in August is ride early to avoid heat stroke and/or hypothermia and (possibly) electrocution. That’s quite a list of things you don’t need. Throw in random gunfire and drunken drivers or some combination thereof and you can have yourself an honest-to-Dog life-changing experience on the ol’ two-wheeler.

The path alongside Jerry Cline Park, which leads to the Paseo de las Montañas trail.

The pix are from Sunday’s ride to the bosque and back via an oddly efficient hodgepodge of high-speed highway, rural roads, bike paths and multilane avenues. It being a weekend, I saw nearly as much dumbassery on the bike paths as on the mean streets, but that’s on me. I knew better, but I rode the bike paths anyway.

Yesterday was much nicer. All the dipshits were in their cars or cubes and I had a marvelous time herding a Soma Saga with a bike overnight’s worth of weight around and about. And up, too, because there’s a lot of that around here. I was a full three minutes slower than usual climbing Tramway with that weight. Three minutes! I could’ve been late for something! Happily, my schedule is a blank slate.

Today I finished renovating the Voodoo Nakisi. New Velocity Cliffhanger/LX wheelset from Rivendell, nine-speed cassette, chain, and chainrings (two of three); a brake swap (off with the old Cane Creek SCX-5’s, on with the even older Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, outfitted with new Kool-Stop pads); and finally, a new front derailleur cable. Soon, the new front derailleur, but not right this moment.

From time to time I like to remind myself what a rotten mechanic I am by performing some simple chore slowly and badly, which helps me justify hauling another, more difficult project to the shop so the pros can handle it.

But I survived the test ride, which weakens my argument. The Comptroller of the Household is small but fierce.

The long-neglected Voodoo Nakisi, my go-to trails bike,
finally gets a little love.

Gimme shelter

August 14, 2019

Doomsday bunkers are making a comeback!

Boy, that’s a stunner, hey? The same folks who can pay cash for an RV that costs more than your fixed location and a Caribbean island stocked with preteen girls to drive it around on are springing for upscale hobbit-holes in case Ginger Hitler fumbles one of the various crises on his plate between cheeseburgers.

According to The New York Times:

The 12 apartments in Mr. Hall’s Survival Condo, as he calls it, begin at $1.3 million. When he started selling the condos around 2011, he said, all the units sold within months.

To Mr. Hall, and to many in his field, this is a calling, not just a business. “I’m saving lives,” he said during a recent visit to his bunker, the exact location of which he insisted be kept under wraps. He entered the building’s elevator as it began its long descent into the earth. “To me, this is something to feel good about.”

Uh huh. Especially the part about “representatives of the Saudi Arabian military, who have asked him to draw up plans for an on-site heliport and underground mosque.” You want to frisk those dudes for box-cutters before giving them the code to Watership Down, Bubba.

When we got transferred to Bibleburg from San Antone the folks looked at a house with a bomb shelter, just northeast of the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD complex. This felt not unlike Wile E. Coyote deploying a parasol to ward off the falling boulder.

Can you imagine all these rugged individuals sharing a shelter, however well appointed? Better bro-deal one of the smaller units to a couple of cutters from the local Level 1 trauma center, because every HOA-board meeting is going to end in a gunfight.

Meanwhile, in the back of the bus. …

August 12, 2019

Have we got a job for you. …

Bus we mus’? Maybe not.

The two companies ’Burque has dealt with while trying to improve its mass-transit system are facing charges that they failed to follow through on their end of wage-and-benefit deals, according to The New York Times.

BYD we’ve discussed before. Now New Flyer, the outfit the Duke City turned to after its deal with BYD wound up on blocks, faces a fraud complaint in California.

Says the Times:

In a 2012 proposal to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for an order of up to 900 buses, New Flyer said it would create more than 50 full-time positions that paid $11 to nearly $50 an hour.

New Flyer won the contract, worth about $500 million. But the company did not pay the wages it said it would and misrepresented the value of the benefits it was providing, according to pay stubs and corporate reports recently unsealed in the fraud case.

“It was a commitment — it matters,” said Madeline Janis, the executive director of Jobs to Move America, the nonprofit group that filed the complaint against New Flyer in California state court. “This case is about holding a huge company’s feet to the fire. … They make deals with public agencies and promise whatever, and think they don’t have to follow through.”

Is it just me, or does the invisible hand of the free market seem to spend a lot of time jerking off the rubes?

Paint it bleak

August 8, 2019

When you’re out of tune and singing off key, volume is not the answer.

Sounds like Fats Nightingale’s Healing Schmealing Afflict the Afflicted Tour went about like we expected.

He performed his greatest hits: “Be Quiet,” “Fake News,” and “Sleepy Joe Biden,” but if he’s been working on any new tunes, he kept them to himself.

There were just two stops on the tour, but some critics felt that was two too many.

Noted one observer: “Imagine Carrot Top in a suit, with a couple hundred extra pounds of blubber and a head full of ketamine. That shit wouldn’t even play in Vegas, much less Dayton and El Paso. He needs to get back in the studio and work on his act.”

The sky is crying

August 6, 2019

Look what snuck over the Sandias when
the weatherperson wasn’t paying attention.

The weatherman must have missed a memo while compiling today’s forecast.

That “20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon” turned out to be 100 percent, and by 7 a.m., too.

It reminded me of the Yiddish proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.”

Last week I logged nearly 150 miles on the bike, and come Sunday evening the legs were lobbying for a bit of R&R. So although Monday was a beautiful day for the old bikey ridey, I checked the forecast for the rest of the week and said, “OK, I’ll take today off. Haul the glass to the recycler, put a new chain and cassette on the Voodoo Nakisi, whip up a bowl of hummus. And tomorrow I’ll do a nice, long ride.”

Get bulletproof backpacks on the cats? Dream on. I can’t even get them to stop napping in front of a window. Worse than sitting with your back to a door.

Ho, ho, etc.

Tuesday dawned warmish, bleak and breezy, and soon I had to close all the doors and windows I had just opened because the vertical blinds were clattering like skeletons dancing the Charleston.

It was the flip side of Sunday, when, after Saturday’s deluge, I added fenders to Herself’s bike and a rack trunk full of rain gear to my own.

Naturally, the only water we saw on our ride was confined neatly to roadside puddles and ditches.

Man plans, etc.

Dark mornings breed dark thoughts, especially for a lifelong news addict. For example, did you know that the hot back-to-school item is a bulletproof backpack?

Look for them at big-box retailers everywhere. I recommend shopping online until you get one, and maybe even afterward. See if you can find a new congressperson while you’re at it, one of those action figures, not the kind that just sits there between massacres, cashing checks while the NRA pulls its string.

“Thoughts and prayers … thoughts and prayers. …”

Speaking of which, I could use a few of those myself. The sun has finally made an appearance, and even though I don’t have my bulletproof backpack yet, I’m going out for a ride.

Gravity and its opposite, comedy*

August 4, 2019

Looking down toward the valley from just below the tram.

Herself wanted to do a 30-mile ride this morning, so I laid out a loop east of Tramway that took in a few of the “fingers,”  a scattering of popular short suburban climbs that rise from the northbound rollers toward the open space east of us.

Grind up, fly down, next finger. You get the idea.

As suburbs go, this one ain’t half bad.

We were not breaking any speed records, and we skipped more than a few fingers, as Herself is a 95-pound recreational cyclist on a 23-pound steel cyclocross bike, while I am a feeble old fart on (in this case) a 31-pound steel touring bike (before I strapped the Arkel TailRider full of spares, tools and rain jackets onto the rear rack).

Anyway, this young roadie comes roaring up on us as we were doddering along, and I’m expecting the blank fuck-you-I’m-training face, but what we get is a hearty greeting and a brief give-and-take before he rockets up the road.

A little further along, here he comes again. “I’m really not stalking you!” he shouts, then zooms off.

And again, a bit later: “OK, now you’re stalking me!” Zip, etc.

I’ll confess that I found this oddly cheering. There may be hope for the species after all.

* Stolen from Nino the Mind-blogger via The Firesign Theatre’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong.”

Rumble thy bellyful

August 3, 2019

King Lear would be freestyling on this afternoon’s rain, yo.

There’s a whole bunch of the boom-boom-boom going on around here today.

But lucky for us, it’s only thunder. And the only thing raining on us is, well, rain.

Who was first to the “thoughts and prayers?” I had Ted Cruz in the office pool.