Cooking, cameras and cutbacks

Ol’ Blue Eyes observes the paparazzi from the brick patio.

December days are like a short fuse. You light one at dark-thirty every morning and before you know it, boom! It’s bedtime.

The backyard maple crowds a shot of sunrise peeping over the Sandias.

It remains a constant source of astonishment how little a guy with no job can accomplish during one of these speed runs.

I’ve been revisiting a few recipes (among them Martha Rose Shulman’s orecchiette with basil-pistachio pesto and green beans) and sampling some new ones (a minestrone from “Dad’s Own Cookbook” by Bob Sloan was particularly well received).

I’ve also been playing with a new camera, a Sony RX100 III, after hearing nothing but raves about the series from pros and amateurs alike, including my man Hal up Weirdcliffe way, who has an RX100 base model. These shots came from the new toy.

Too, the Adventurous Cyclists and I have been chasing down review bikes for the new year, with varying degrees of success. And I just finished a “Shop Talk” cartoon for the January 2018 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, which for the first time in a couple decades will not include a snarky “Mad Dog Unleashed” column by Your Humble Narrator.

Money is tight in the bike biz these days, and I’m not the first person to feel the pinch. Nor will I be the last.

Via Twitter, a reader expressed sympathy but not surprise, to which I replied, “The surprise is that it took so long for the damn’ dogcatcher to throw his loop over me. Send Milk-Bones and plenty of ’em, they gave me a real big cellmate. Looks to be part Neapolitan mastiff, part Baskerville hound.”


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18 Responses to “Cooking, cameras and cutbacks”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    At least Herself is collecting a check from the Evil Empire. Whew…

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Sorry about the reduction in free-lance work. If they paid you what you are really worth, it probably wouldn’t matter if there were a few less billable hours. You can’t find reliable and talented snark and humor generators and artists just standing around in the Home Depot parking lot looking for a day long gig!

    I just got a RX-100 base model. Image quality and low light performance is top drawer and maybe as good as it gets in the point and shoot category. Ergonomics are not so good for a ham handed old bastard with limited fine motor skills. You can push lots of buttons by mistake if you are not careful, especially that movie button. Plus watch that pop up flash on top. I will always use the included lanyard to avoid dropping it. If you haven’t used it yet, Sony’s on line user’s guide is worth a look see as the included booklet said in the first paragraph. Of course I skipped that on the first read.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, it’s no biggie. I saw it coming a long ways off, and it ain’t like they’re getting a cherry, because I’ve been downsized before.

      I figure that about 2 percent of the audience will cheer, and another 2 percent will jeer, and the rest will be all like, “Patrick O’Grady who?”

      I always use a lanyard on these cameras, being the King of the Spazmos, especially with the left hand and its two bum digits. Hal says it’s hard to go wrong with the green Auto function, but he has a couple tricks he’s picked up from a pro shooter that I’ll pass along when I next get a chance to chat with him.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Although the ergonomics aren’t the best, I can adapt and plan on keeping this beauty. My last Sony, like you I think, was a Mavica. I have been on the Canon train a long time. So, I have just started getting to know this camera. I am going to get this accessory to make it a little easier to hold on to the little bugger.

      I would be very interested in any tips Hal has. I have also settled on the green auto function for now. And, I really like the control ring for zooming.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    PS: I forgot to ask if Velonews put their nose under your tent door flap sniffing around to see if a “Friday Foaming Rant” or two might be for sale.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nope, no inquiries from the People’s Republic. I don’t hear much from that neck of the woods lately.

      Anyway, it’s time for a new generation of snarkmeisters to sally forth. Fresh perspectives, don’t ya know. Meanwhile, I had plenty fun, and I got paid for it, too.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Obsolescence sucks. My better half retired this fall and they are trying to get her to flunk retirement and go back. Meanwhile, I changed jobs at the factory as my services were about as in demand as a mechanic who works on Edsels. Sigh. Time to move on.

    “The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell.”
    ― Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      At least the womenfolk are in demand, hey? Lucky us.

      I’ve been cranking away at the fake news since 1977, not counting the year I did at the Colorado Springs Sun between colleges, and only got laid off once.

      And I’ve had regular, dependable freelance work since ’91, so I’m not awfully upset.

      I’ve been one lucky sonofabitch, is what. And now I have some extra free time on my hands. Why, I might actually commit some bicycle touring.

  5. David Watts Says:

    Patrick, I always totally enjoyed your snarky MDU columns in BRAIN, back in the day when the postman brought them into the shop, especially in the dead of winter when there wasn’t much more to do than make darts to shoot out of the air gun at empty bicycle boxes, and with the radio up a little too loud. I could also catch up on all the other MDU columns and news from the better half of the season when we couldn’t do much but work 15 hours a day. Sorry to hear of the downsizing. Glad, though, that you are enjoying the new tiny technical marvel to bring us cat, trail and other photos. Those, and stories here every couple of days make up for the MDU loss.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, David. It was a lot of fun (well, for me, anyway; not always for the audience, advertisers or management). And it lasted a helluva lot longer than any of us expected.

      The cartoon will continue, for now, anyway. It’ll be fun to see how much trouble I can get into with that means of expression. It’s been a while since I thought of myself as a cartoonist instead of a writer.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    So have they permanently killed the MDU columns?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Seems so, K. It definitely wasn’t “mission-critical.” The column had a readership, but I have no idea of the size of my audience. It had its critics, too, and you always hear more from that crowd than from the other.

      What it came down to, basically, is that the mag is short of income, which means fewer pages, which means less space for stuff. Since it’s a magazine devoted to reporting retail and industry news, something had to give, and “Mad Dog Unleashed” was deemed expendable.

      I thought about severing relations entirely, but decided it would be fun to hold onto the cartoon. As I noted above, it’s been a long time since I thought of myself as a cartoonist, and it might be fun to revisit that medium, devote a little skull sweat to it.

  7. larry brown Says:

    Miss you already.

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