Archive for the ‘Air travel’ Category

Sailing over the Sandias

October 3, 2018

It was a warmish, slightly humid day, which must be fine for flying.

I was running through here earlier in the day and never thought to look up. Mostly I look down, for tarantulas, buzzworms and drunken Republicans.

This afternoon I cranked up the Vespa for a short runaround, just to keep the battery topped off, and as I putt-putted toward the Menaul trailhead I noticed orange windsocks fluttering in the parking lot.

Looking up, I saw a hang glider cutting didoes over the foothills, so I pulled over and snapped a couple pix with the old Canon S110.

Looks like fun, doesn’t it? But so does riding a cyclocross bike on Sandia singletrack, until you have that unexpected get-off.

There are lots of pointy bits down here on Planet Albuquerque, and as luck would have it I found one while running through this very area this morning.

A terrorist shrub stabbed me in the left shoulder blade with a broken limb as I lumbered through a rocky patch on Trail 365, my gaze focused on the water-scoured trail, which is studded with toe-grabbers, ankle-twisters and face-planters.

Maybe I would have been safer aloft. We’ll never know. I don’t even get big air on the bike.

Night moves

September 27, 2018

I call this one “Bored Man at Sunport with iPhone Camera.”

You don’t even have to be on the plane for air travel to suck.

Herself was wheels down at the Sunport around 10 in the peeyem last night, and her luggage took a while to show up, as it will, which meant we were motoring home around the time I usually devote to inspecting the inside of my eyelids while beered-up Burqueños cap each other over right-of-way issues.

I saw one helmetless eejit on a crotch rocket thread various needles at about 20 mph over the posted limit, using all the eastbound lanes on I-40, without signaling, right in front of two cops working a traffic stop. I’m surprised the backup officer didn’t shoot him. Hell, I wanted to shoot him myself.

Anyway, we weren’t lights-out until midnight, morning comes early with a pair of cats in the vicinity, and a darkly comic opera is anticipated at the Senate Judiciary Committee, so if I were you I’d be prepared for all manner of outré behavior in this space today.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

• Late addendum: Jaysis, it’s worse than I had feared. To call this hearing a shitshow is to libel shitshows. Primate houses have a keener sense of the distinction between order and ordure. They’re quieter, too.

Route 66

February 9, 2018

Up in the air, Junior Birdman.

When it’s 66 degrees in February — 66! — you get the hell out of the house, chores be damned.

There was all manner of human-power transportation going on out there this afternoon. People cycling. People running. People walking. People walking dogs. Big people carrying little people.

You are cleared for landing on runway … well, actually, it’s a trail, but go ahead, put ‘er down.

And people flying. Not in airplanes, or like Superman, but still.

I noticed the hang gliders drifting around the Sandia foothills as I rolled away from El Rancho Pendejo, but soon got engrossed in my own little outing and forgot all about them until I was cresting a hill on the way home.

Zoom, there one was, right overhead, and if I’d had an actual camera with me instead of a phone, why, you’d be looking at a closeup of him right now.

Instead, you have to settle for this miserable phone shot of him preparing to land while his buddy continued to bank lazily overhead. I will never be smart.

But you knew that.

Up in the air

February 2, 2018

The Steelman Eurocross on Trail 505 north of Elena Gallegos.

February took a while to get rolling.

Herself was scheduled to jet up to Colorado for a weekend with some gal pals. Being of a frugal nature she had wrangled the cheapest flight possible, which meant we had to be at the Duke City launch pad at 5 a.m., an hour I find abhorrent.

Naturally, when she got up at dark-thirty she learned that her American Airlines flight to Grand Junction via Phoenix had been canceled, and that she had been bumped to a 9:30 departure. Back to bed, if not to sleep.

When next she arose, at 5:40, she found that as she dozed AA had instead booked her on a 6 a.m. Delta flight through Salt Lake City. And had she been at the airport at that moment instead of wandering El Rancho Pendejo in her robe, why, that would have been just swell.

A call to customer service saw her flight shifted yet again, this time to an AA-Mesa tag team that sent her through Dallas-Fort Worth. Yes, to get to Colorado from New Mexico — call it 300 miles as the crow flies from Duke City to Function Junction — you have to visit Arizona, Utah or Texas first.

And thus, through the miracle that is modern air travel, a mere seven hours later, before anyone could say “You could have driven there faster,” which I did, there she was.

My day likewise featured its detours. Hal Walter and I had been planning a podcast that would take a jaundiced view of sport ahead of the Super Bowel, but like Herself we encountered a series of breakdowns, false starts and changes of direction.

When I do audio (rarely) I use the 2009 iMac, which has tons of storage, memory out the wazoo, and the best mic in the house, a Shure SM58 routed through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface.

But when I cranked it up I found that Call Recorder wanted an update, and so did Skype, and once I’d made them happy Hal told me that he’d quit using Skype because his crowd was all about the Google Hangouts, Slack and whatnot.

Ay, Chihuahua.

I recalled reading that Jason Snell at Six Colors had spoken well of Zencastr, a service that occasional and undemanding podcasters like us can use to record their local audio at good quality without jumping through all the hoops that an old-school double-ender requires.

So Hal and I both signed up with Zencastr and started rooting around under the hood, banging on this with our stone clubs, and sawing on that with our flint knives, all while hooting dolefully, and before long Hal drifted off into a side project and I said fuck it and went for a ride.

Which turned out to be just the thing for a leaky brain-pan. I found a new-to-me trail that was just barely navigable on a Steelman Eurocross. My reflexes had dulled to a blunt edge that could not hurt me and I rode bits that would have confounded me had I been of sound mind.

If I’d kept going, who knows? I might have wound up in Colorado. And quicker than Herself did, too.

Gasbag

October 8, 2017

No snow here yet, but the trees know it’s fall.

No, not that one.

Last night Herself and I were walking The Boo around sunset when I noticed an object in the northwestern sky.

“If that’s a balloon,” I observed, “it’s not tethered. That sucker is on the move.”

And so it was. The gasbag sailed right over El Rancho Pendejo at dark-thirty, bound for the East Mountains and points east, as part of the 22nd America’s Challenge. I hope the pilot got over the Sandias without incident. There’s more than gold in them thar hills. Yogi and Boo-Boo would dearly love a pic-a-nic basket, especially if it’s delivered.

Meanwhile, as you can see from the photo up top, the trees are turning with all possible haste. And there’s a winter-storm watch in effect for the Front Strange.

Lucky for us we’re residents of the Duke City, where we’re looking at a sunny stretch of 60s and 70s.

 

It’s all a blur

July 2, 2017

Eastbound on I-40, way too early in the morning.

This is how I feel when I get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning: cloudy, out of focus, poorly composed.

This is why I rarely get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning. Alas, this particular Sunday morning Herself needed a lift to the Greater Duke City Cosmological Airport; she and a sis are paying a call on Herself the Elder in Tennessee, which is a right smart drive for anyone who isn’t marginally employed, like her chauffeur.

My rule of thumb regarding travel beyond the city limits is simple: If the trip is under 2,000 miles and doesn’t cross any oceans, it’s Air Subaru for me. Oak Ridge is a piddling 1,400 miles from here, and damme if I’ll submit to the tender mercies of Benighted Airlines for a short hop like that.

Now I’m back at El Rancho Pendejo, and The Boo and I are both out of sorts, our routines having been upended. Not quite as badly as Alejandro Valverde’s, though. I guess he ate shit in yesterday’s Tour opener and needed a bit of time on the surgeon’s workbench afterward.

‘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.

Two wheels good, four wheels bad

October 17, 2016
Some people call this "morning." They are misinformed.

Some people call this “morning.” They are misinformed.

It was four wheels this morning. Bad.

Herself is off to Tennessee for a combo business/pleasure trip (a lab-librarians’ powwow in tandem with a visit to Herself the Elder), and then she’s zigzagging home via Colorado and Utah (running a half-marathon and maybe camping with a gal pal).

The leaves may be falling, but the roses are hanging on.

The leaves may be falling, but the roses are hanging on.

Thus Your Humble Narrator was required to rise at dark-thirty to chauffeur ‘Er Ladyship to the Duke City airport.

I dislike driving anymore. I particularly dislike driving before the second cup of coffee, in the dark, surrounded by deranged ‘Burqueños who thought “the “Fast & Furious” flicks were drivers’ ed.

Still, we got there, and I got back, and there was this lovely rose waiting for me just outside the kitchen window.

It ain’t all bad, this early-morning stuff.

 

Bluesday

January 26, 2016
There's a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn't matter, I'll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

There’s a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn’t matter, I’ll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

The Crud is undefeated and still champeen. It finally got Herself, the last holdout in the Maryland Four, and as I understand it the past couple of days have been as unpleasant as a close working relationship with Ted Cruz.

She’s on her way home as we speak, and I hope she (a) left The Crud back in Maryland, and (2) in her weakened condition doesn’t collect another bug from the pressurized aluminum test tube busy folks use as transportation in these modern times (que viva Air Subaru, baby).

Freelance rumormongers don’t get sick days. We don’t work, we don’t eat. Especially if we’re too busy barfing to cook.

Deep doodoo

January 24, 2016
Nope, no snow up there.

Nope, no snow up there.

Thirty-six inches: That’s the final tally from Maryland, where the digging out has commenced.

"It snowed how much? Where? Let's never go there."

“It snowed how much? Where? Let’s never go there.”

Adding insult to inundation, the gut rumble that started working its way through the kinfolk beginning with the brother-in-law has so far claimed 75 percent of the clan, with only Herself spared (so far).

Meanwhile, the mom-in-law’s flight back to Tennessee got croaked by the storm, so Herself the Elder is enjoying a little extra recovery time before clambering into an aluminum tube full of fresh viruses for the trip home.

This whole clusterfuck was intended to give her the chance to inspect a couple of properties with an eye toward relocating somewhere down the road.

I bet the trip made Albuquerque look like the Garden of Eden. The place has its warts like any other, but the snow rarely arrives three feet at a time and the only time anyone ever shits themselves is at the thought of living in Maryland.

"'Maryland,' you say? Sounds like Hell to me."

“‘Maryland,’ you say? Sounds like Hell to me.”