Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®

April 2, 2020

Well, it seems sports podcasters have finally caught up with what Charles Pelkey and I were doing all those years at Live Update Guy.

With everyone staying home and the athletic world as a whole looking a lot like the middle 75km of a flat Tour stage, they’ve resorted to (wait for it) Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®, a LUG specialty. As Caroline Crampton writes at Nieman Lab:

“As well as covering how players and support staff are handling the situation, [The Anfield Wrap] is dipping into comedy, history and broader fan culture. Iain Macintosh, chief executive of Muddy Knees Media — best known for The Totally Football Show and other associated podcasts — spoke of similar plans. His team just has “an inexhaustible supply of new feature ideas,” he said. “We’re not trying to replicate what we did before, because we can’t, but rather see it as a chance to go through all those things that we’ve talked about doing that, you know, real life has got in the way. Now we can get them out there and give them some air.” That includes a forthcoming “Pundit World Cup” as well as film reviews, documentaries, and quizzes.”

Maybe it’s time to revive LUG as a podcast. With no irksome bicycle racing and TV images of same to cramp our creative style, we could really focus on just making the whole thing up.

Doing time

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia knows how to be jailin’.

In his loosely autobiographical novel “Homeboy,” ex-con Seth Morgan had a character offer some advice for a new fish worried about doing time.

“The time does itself,” schooled Smoothbore. “You jist got to live with it.”

A few pages closer to the penitentiary, the narrator elaborated:

Jailin’ was an art form and lifestyle both. The style was walkin’ slow, drinkin’ plenty of water, and doin’ your own time; the art was lightin’ cigarets from wall sockets, playin’ the dozens, cuttin’ up dream jackpots, and slowin’ your metabolism to a crawl, sleepin’ twenty hours a day. Forget the streets you won’t see for years. Lettin’ your heart beat the bricks with your body behind bars was hard time. Acceptin’ the jailhouse as the only reality was easy time. Jailin’.

Staying at home, social distancing — these aren’t jailin’, but they’re not exactly freedom, either. Sure, the cell is a little bigger, the guards a little less visible, and the food better. Still, you’d rather be out on the street.

But listen to Smoothbore. Let the time do itself. Live with it.

With any luck at all, you have a short stretch and an agreeable cellmate. You know — someone who doesn’t mind doing the laundry while you stretch out on your bunk and listen to the latest thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: The bargain-basement broadcasting continues. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic,recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the Mac and iOS versions of GarageBand. Other sonic adornments come from the iMovie and GarageBand sound libraries.

Let’s eat!

April 1, 2020

We should be good for a couple more weeks now.

My first grocery trip in more than two weeks was blessedly uneventful.

The parking lots were sparsely populated. A few customers were masked and gloved. And all of us were doing the Alphonse-Gaston routine in the aisles.

“After you, Alfonse.”

“No, you first, my dear Gaston!”

I was surprised to be able to find everything on my list, and doubly so to find everyone bearing up so well. A tip of the Mad Dog chef’s toque to the staffs of Keller’s Farm Stores and Sprouts Farmers Market for keeping the shelves stocked, the checkouts running, and their chins up in trying times.

April, no foolin’

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is on guard against April fools.
“That’s cat food, right? Right?”

March came in like a debt collector and how delighted we are that it has finally fucked off.

Blue Monday

March 30, 2020

Monday, Monday, so good to me.

It’s not just the sky, mind you.

Every Monday, rain or shine, sickness or health, the blue trash and recycling trucks that work our cul-de-sac toot their horns for the two little girls next door, who jump up and down in the driveway, shrieking with delight.

The drivers don’t have to do this. It’s not part of the job description. But they do it anyway.

So in case you’re starting to wonder whether any hope remains … I’d say yeah. It rolls by twice every Monday in a big blue truck.

May we have your liver?

March 29, 2020

“A census taker once tried to test me.”

While sipping my morning java and traipsing idly around the Innertubes I happened upon this at the Bob’s Red Mill site.

Out of fava beans?

And we just got our census forms in the mail.

If Chianti is on backorder too, I’d say life is busy imitating art again.

Just ankling along

March 28, 2020

Hey, when you have extra daylight to burn, you might as well break out the matches.

I haven’t shot any video for Adventure Cyclist lately because a bicycle reviewer with a broken ankle isn’t much of a cyclist, let alone a touring cyclist. And we viejos get rust in the cranium if we don’t keep buffing away up there.

So here’s a little mental exercise for me and a little cheap entertainment for you. I can proclaim without fear of contradiction that it’s worth every penny you’ll pay for it.

Beaned

March 28, 2020

The ornamental pear is blooming … just in time for the morning low
to dip below freezing again.

We’re not down to eating the backyard foliage like Spike the Terrorist Deer. Not yet, anyway.

But it has been about 10 days since our last grocery trip, and we’re having to get creative.

Last night I was scrounging around in the pantry like an old bear fresh from hibernation and thought: “Hmm. Must be something I can do with canned beans other than make emergency burritos.” This is the kind of burrito you make when you don’t feel like going through all the rigamarole involved in making a proper pot of frijoles.

Which I was not. It was my birthday, f’chrissakes.

So I hit The New York Times Cooking site. This is well worth the price of a subscription to The Old Grey Lady. It’s not geared strictly for the condo chef with an eight-burner Wolf gas range and All-Clad out the arse. You’ll find plenty of pantry possibilities too.

And whaddaya know? I unearthed one perfectly suited to my supplies: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake.

I made a few adjustments. Didn’t have any mozzarella, so I used Monterey Jack. Also, I tossed a generous dollop of cilantro-jalapeño salsa in with the tomato paste, and added a pinch of smoked paprika to the spices.

And when it came out of the oven I sprinkled it with some coarsely chopped cilantro and a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Herself contributed a side salad and that was that.

Ali Slagle, who provided the recipe, also offers a snazzier black-bean version. We may try that one down the road. We’re flat out of Jack now, but we still have some sharp Irish Cheddar.

Dog duty

March 27, 2020

Of course, every minute felt like an hour, so I’m saying I did 66 hours on the sonofabitch.

Made it. Sixty-six minutes and change on the Cateye CS-1000. Winning!

So. Much. Winning.

The playlist included selections from “Powerglide” (New Riders of the Purple Sage”) and “Waiting for Columbus” (Little Feat).

No one who hangs around here should be surprised that the set included “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and “Old Folks’ Boogie.”

And thanks once again to everyone who lit a candle on my virtual cake.

66(6)

March 27, 2020

“Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am,
I’m only sleeping. Asshole.”

I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by Miss Mia Sopaipilla singing me “Happy Birthday.”

At least, I think it was “Happy Birthday.” It sounded a lot like “Mrow yowr rowr myowww erroww mrow yowr rowr meeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwww.” But I’m not much of a crooner myself and so who am I to be critical of another amateur’s warbling?

It goes without saying that when I woke her up a couple hours later, I was the bad guy.

Meanwhile, someone has promised me birthday pancakes. But she’s in her office yelling at NPR so I’m not holding my breath.

Still, I am on top of the earth and I don’t work for the government, as Thomas McGuane has said. So, later, the 66-minute birthday ride. Right after those hotcakes.