De la lluvia a la nieve

April 29, 2017

Stucco, wisteria, evergreens and snow.

Well, we went from rain to snow overnight — not much of it, it’s true, but still.

I was glad to not be Herself’s librarian pal from Colorado, who popped round for a visit en route to Arizona only to find her auto’s heater had crapped out as the weather worsened outside of Santa Fe. Also, and too, her windshield scraper seemed to have vanished mysteriously.

Good times. Maybe not. Anyway, she probably won’t need the heater or the scraper in Sedona.

We may not need them here much longer, either. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be in the low 60s, with 70s on tap for a few days afterward.

Unstuffed

April 28, 2017

In my last post I mentioned that we live in a desert, by which I meant an actual desert, the Chihuahuan.

Soon we will be living in a consumer desert as well, if Herself has anything to say about it.

Her elder sister and niece have been earning some pocket money hawking items on eBay, and their enthusiasm for the activity has proven contagious. Herself has begun working our overgrown unused-goods orchard like an undocumented immigrant, plucking low-hanging fruit like her unworn Oakleys, my still-functional Flip UltraHD camcorder, and our fifth-generation iPods for sale to the slavering hordes of bargain hunters at large on the Innertubes.

She also required me to drag her old Cannondale R800 down to this weekend’s BikeABQ bike swap at Sport Systems, where the 23-year-old machine is certain to fetch dozens of dollars. If anyone in the vicinity needs a low-mileage, made-in-USA, 48cm road bike, this sucker is the last nickel bargain in America.

There’s all manner of crap cluttering up El Rancho Pendejo, and none of it is safe. Soon, if we’re not careful, we’ll be forced to go out and get … more stuff!

Monsoon season

April 25, 2017

My bucket runneth over.

It rained all day, which is a good thing, and not just because we live in a desert, either.

Nope, I had things to do, and still have, among them a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and a bicycle review for Adventure Cyclist.

Thus it was best that I be confined to quarters and required to pay attention.

Elsewhere, the deluge — no, not the rain, but the shit monsoon that is the reign of King Donald the Short-fingered — continues unabated. His family crest should be a tiny hand stirring a golden toilet with the motto, “L’merde, c’est moi.”

So we’ll ignore that fool and link instead to an interesting read from Cormac McCarthy on the unconscious and its distrust of language. Hardly anyone gets killed horribly in it, but I’ll tell you, he makes me feel like a haunted house.

R.I.P., Michele Scarponi

April 22, 2017

The hits just keep on coming. This time it’s Astana’s Michele Scarponi, struck and killed by a van while training near his home in Italy.

The roads are getting scarier by the day, and one wonders whether it’s just the fabled “economic uncertainty” that is kicking the pins out from under the bike biz. Uncertainty about whether you’ll return alive from a ride may be playing a role, too.

Coincidentally, I’ve been practicing the Zen of Grant Petersen lately, occasionally riding the bike on short errands wearing street clothes, sans helmet. Not that a helmet would provide much protection if I got centerpunched by one of the reckless, oblivious assholes who somehow got licensed to drive in Duke City.

The trails look better every day. Out there it’s mostly operator error that does for you. Though I do know one guy who got hit by a truck on a trail once. …

Lights, camera, inaction!

April 19, 2017

The Specialized Sequoia, rigged for bikepacking, en route to a loop around the Elena Gallegos picnic grounds.

I don’t know how a dude with no visible means of support (beyond a wife who works at a national lab) manages to stay too busy to blog.

Somehow I get ‘er done, though. Or not, depending upon whether you enjoy regular bloggery.

The Co-Motion Deschutes, a made-in-Oregon touring bike that won’t break the bank.

Mostly I’ve been playing Quentin Ferrentino again, shooting video for Adventure Cyclist.

In front of the camera:

The Specialized Sequoia, which is a wrap, both print and video reviews having been shipped to the home office in Missoula;

 And the Co-Motion Deschutes, which I’m reviewing and videotaping as we speak, with a deadline of May 1.

The news I have been assiduously avoiding, though it was impossible to evade Orange Julius Caesar’s misplacement of an entire aircraft carrier attack group and his announcement that with his help the GOP triumphed in last night’s election to replace Tom Price in Georgia (one Twitter wag noted that OJC’s confusion was understandable in that the candidate with the most votes didn’t win).

But enough of that shit. Back to bikes.

The Sequoia review will be in the May issue, while the Deschutes will have to wait for the August-September edition. Once that review gets filed I get a break from velo-evaluation — unless Management unearths something interesting at the Sea Otter Classic, which starts tomorrow.

Why, I may even get to ride some of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

The first Noble Truth

April 14, 2017

Another good sit. Not on the cushions, mind you, but still.

All life is suffering.

R.I.P., J. Geils

April 12, 2017

I don’t want the blog to turn into an obit column, but I felt compelled to note the passing of John Warren Geils Jr., the guitarist behind the J. Geils Band.

You may recall the band’s Eighties hits — “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks,” and “Freeze-Frame” — but I stumbled across them in the Seventies, my initiation likely being the live album “Full House,” which I still have on vinyl.

There were a bunch of keepers on that one, my favorites being “First I Look At the Purse,” “Pack Fair and Square,” and “Whammer Jammer.” Magic Dick could do magic for real — dude could make a harp sound like a sax.

Charles P. Pierce, who has his own recollection of the band, found another keeper online, “Floyd Hotel,” from 1973. As usual Peter Wolf and Magic Dick play starring roles, but Geils contributes a few worthy licks on slide. And keyboard player-songwriter Seth Justman tinkles them ivories right nice too.

“Take out your false teeth, mama, I want to suck on your gums.” With lines like that you can almost excuse the stagewear and hairdos. Hey, it was the Seventies, what can I tell you?

‘This customer needs service’

April 11, 2017

A United customer-service agent faced with an overbooking situation prepares to “re-accommodate” a passenger.

Not content to settle for losing/destroying its passengers’ luggage, delaying/canceling their flights, or simply leaving them stranded well short of their “final destination,” United has taken customer service to a whole new level undreamed of by Samsung, Comcast or your friendly local DMV:

Just kick the shit out of the troublesome sonsabitches.

C’mon. You knew it was coming. United specializes in employing the unemployable, the sort of authority-mad misfit who can’t make it as a mall cop, Klan enforcer, or presidential press secretary.

Sooner or later one of United’s goons was going to segue from daydreaming of the good old days euthanizing puppies in Leach Field, Alabama, to siccing the dogs on some passenger who not only didn’t want to get boned, but wouldn’t even pull his pants down on command.

As usual, this pissy attitude trickles down from the top. CEO Oscar Munoz should be sentenced to flying coach for a few years to see how long it takes him to become “disruptive and belligerent,” and if he were to be “re-accommodated” by a size-13 boot to the balls, well, I don’t expect many United customers would shed a tear.

But y’know what? Fuck us and what we think. United stock actually closed up after all this bad noise. America’s commercial airlines are enjoying record profits (United made $2.3 billion in profits last year). Overbooking flights pays off.

So shuddup, siddown and enjoy our in-flight entertainment: a gladiatorial match featuring four passengers selected at random. If you’re lucky, we won’t “re-accommodate” you at our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, the way we just did your luggage.

Rocks ‘n’ rollin’

April 8, 2017

Everybody must get stoned.

My man Charles Pelkey will be kick-starting the Live Update Guy machinery tomorrow for Paris-Roubaix, so all y’all should bounce that way to say, “Allez.”

We gave the software a bit of a test-drive today and all seems well. As for the race, it looks to be a dusty one, and while Tom Boonen seems the sentimental favorite, the cobbles have no sentiment atall atall.

Meanwhile, King Donald the Short-fingered is looking all thumbs after his Feat of Strength in Syria. We warn the Russians, the Russians warn the Syrians, and hey presto! Twenty-four hours later Assad is back to business as usual, albeit with conventional weapons.

It’s like the worst ass-kicking movie, like, ever:

Don: Hey, Vlad, it’s Don.

Vlad: What up, bruh?

Don: I’m headed over to that punk Bashar’s place to teach him a lesson. Just giving you a head’s up, I know you’re tight and all.

Vlad: No worries, bruh, thanks for the call.

(click)

(30 seconds later)

Bashar: Hello?

Vlad: Yo, Bash’, Don’s coming over to kick your ass.

Bashar: Good time for it, I was just stepping out to the Home Depot. Need some more Roundup. He’ll have to settle for pissing on my lawn or something.

Vlad: Ha ha ha, yeah. Spell his name on it or something. Probably wrong, too.

Bashar: Ha, yeah, for sure.

Vlad: OK, see you.

Bashar: Laters.

 

Boom-boom, sailor?

April 7, 2017

Mr. Ivanka of Hollywood models the latest beachwear during a visit to Iraq.

Darth Cheeto donned his big black helmet yesterday and — after advising any Rooskies in the vicinity to take it on the Jesse Owens — ordered a barrage of ship-launched cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield, in retaliation for a chemical-weapons attack said to have killed 80 civilians.

Foreign Policy magazine and more than a few politicians of all stripes have questioned the thinking behind and legality of the strike. Congress, naturally, is sprawled on the couch, watching cable news and gobbling popcorn, happy to have someone else in control of the remote while occasionally shouting, “This show sucks!”

These things are always “targeted” strikes “in the vital national interest” and not at all acts of war, of course. And it goes without saying that they have nothing to do with bolstering anyone’s sagging poll numbers, or drawing the One Big Eye away from legislative failures, broken promises and tensions within the Praetorian Guard. Nor could there have been any messaging in the timing of the attack (while hosting President Xi Jinping of China at Mar-a-Lago).

I guess this is why Mr. Ivanka of Hollywood was modeling that stylish Kevlar-blazer combo in Iraq yesterday. The Chinese apparently have yet to supply the matching handbag, but you can’t have everything, y’know. War is heck.