Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Rocket Grrrls

November 23, 2020

Check the speed on the Cateye. I wasn’t that slow all day long,
but I was pretty damn close.

The weather has taken a seasonal turn. Yesterday I waited overlong to get out for a ride and the wind bullied me, getting all up in my grill no matter which direction I was headed.

The nice thing about riding a cyclocross bike on a day like this is that it gives you more options for dodging the breeze. So I swapped pavement for trail and trail for pavement as necessary for a little over an hour, jinking this way or that if the wind or some maskless eejit loomed large dead ahead.

When I got tired of playing meteorological and virological hide-and-seek I headed for home through High Desert. I had glimpsed what I thought was a pair of roadies behind me as I ground along in too big a gear past the Bear Canyon Trailhead, and figured they’d hang a right on Spain, but nope.

It was two women from the Rocket Grrrls squad on either ’cross bikes or gravel bikes, and they passed me on the short climb to Wilderness Estates, where a short connector trail leads to the Embudito Trailhead and the pavement that takes me back to El Rancho Pendejo.

They were on fire, too. Rocket Grrrls indeed. I didn’t bother to get off to check for flats or rubbing brake pads. I’ve ridden with Karen Hornbostel, Mari Holden, Dede Demet, Alison Dunlap, and Katie Compton, if only briefly and without distinction, and I know when I’ve been chicked.

‘Beer’ me

November 16, 2020

The only fake beer worth drinking.

When the gub’nah announced The Clampdown v2.0 on Friday I didn’t think much about it.

Seemed obvious it was coming, the grownup equivalent of your mom delivering a dope-slap to the back of your head for acting the fool. I can see one of those coming a mile away and my mom’s been dead since 1995.

Since I’ve actually been minding my manners during The Plague, following Michelle’s Big Book of Rules and whatnot, I figured to just keep on keepin’ on. No dope-slap for me, thanks all the same. Lookit me, all like being a good boy, an’ shit.

I’d done my chores, gotten outdoors for a bit of essential aerobic exercise, and endured the gub’nah’s weekly video tongue-lashing. It was definitely beer-thirty. But I was out of my preferred fake ale, and so, with some spicy tacos and taters on the dinner menu, I figured I’d toddle down to Total Wine and fetch me some more.

Total Wine is your basic one-stop shop. They have my Clausthaler Dry Hopped and Herself’s La Vieille Ferme rosé. Zip in and out like a great big road runner. Meep meep!

Assuming you’re popping round at some oddball time and day, that is — not at 3:30 on a Friday just as the gub’nah is announcing that come Monday, the retail drawbridge will be pulled up and the moat restocked with alligators, piranha fish, and electric eels.

Holy hell. The parking lot looked like Shea Stadium during that 1965 Beatles concert, and inside was worse. Plus they were completely out of my near-beer.

I managed to escape with my Subaru intact and motored on over to Kelly’s Liquors in the Mountain Run Shopping Center, the second of just three options for Clausthaler Dry Hopped in the Duke City, Wholeazon Amafoods being the third.

That parking lot was a hair less batshit, but only thanks to greater capacity; it serves an entire shopping center, with a Smith’s, a Walgreens, and all manner of other retail opportunities. But there was a big ol’ boy standing at Kelly’s door directing traffic in and out of the shop, of which there was plenty.

I took a deep masked breath, shot to the cooler for a case of hoppiness, paid, and beat feet. On the way to the Subaru I heard the big fella respond to a question about what might happen come Monday with, “Naw, we’re an essential service.”

Boy howdy. I’ll drink to that. As long as the gub’nah will let me, that is.

Bag pipe and boots

November 1, 2020

Where the wisdom at? That’s what we’re out here for, right? Say, anybody hungry besides me? This fasting business sure gives a fella an appetite.

And yea, they did wander in the desert for 40 days and nights, or until lunchtime, whichever came first.

The weather was nice enough for cycling yesterday, but we decided to take a hike instead, and that was pretty a’ight too. Lots of maskless eejits about, which was not so nice, and goes a long way toward explaining why New Mexico hospitals are not lacking for customers.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo, we found our westward next-door neighbor had devised a COVID-compliant candy-delivery system in case any trick-or-treaters decided to roll the viral dice come nightfall. It was basically a long section of PVC, wrapped in colored lights and angled downward toward a bucket; he dropped the goodies in the upper end, the kiddos bagged them from the bucket. Pure genius. I should’ve taken a photo.

We kept our lights out and restricted candy distribution to his grandkids and the two squirts belonging to the eastern next-door neighbors. Our clientele included two cats, one cow, a fairy, a princess, and Wonder Woman. Everyone got the same treats, sealed in individual Ziploc bags with some cartoon decorations by Your Humble Narrator. Small-s socialism at its finest in the ol’ cul-de-sac.

Later we enjoyed a fine blue moon with red Mars for company. The moon was more impressive, which I considered a good omen, until the local pendejos started in with the gunshots and fireworks. Mars won’t give up without a fight.

Keep your hiking boots where you can find them in the dark. We won’t always have a full moon to light our path through the wilderness.

Draught for a drought

October 31, 2020

Man, you just can’t beat the clouds in New Mexico, even if they occasionally snow on you.

Seven inches. I measured it, with a steel ruler.

No, not that. The snow. The landscape drank it the way a wino chugs a short dog.

You’d be surprised how quickly an Albuquerque lawn can drink seven inches of snow. Maybe not.

Winter’s drive-by with its record snowfall and low temperature meant I had to crank up the furnace two days earlier than last year. There’s something final about the sound of that Trane XR80 groaning back to hideous life; every time I switch the thermostat from “Cool” to “Heat” I feel as though I’ve just driven a stake through the heart of summer.

The streets cleared quickly — after 133 vehicle crashes and 31 injuries, nobody wanted to be on them, not even the snow.

But if you were afoot and kept your eyes open it wasn’t awful. I went out for a couple hourlong walks and by Friday it was warm enough for a ride, in long sleeves, knickers and tuque.

Anyway, we’ve got a stretch of 60-something and sunny on tap, so it looks like the landscape is back on the wagon after slamming its cold one.

Unhorsed

October 26, 2020

Don’t get wisterical. It’s just a little snow.

We were on something of a weather carousel here this morning, a slowly revolving lazy Susan serving up blue sky, clouds, rain, sleet, and snow. Don’t like what’s set before you? Patience. Another option will be coming around directly.

Eventually, ol’ Suze coasted to a stop … on snow.

Oh, well. It was bound to happen eventually. It’s October, f’chrissakes. Cyclocross season in an ordinary year, which this is not, with the Giro just wrapped and the Vuelta ongoing.

I got my cyclocross in yesterday before the weather went all to shitaree, rolling south on the foothills trails past Copper and back again.

No running, thanks all the same. Not even a hike-a-bike. The weather was cool, but the ground was dry, alarmingly so, and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t ride on my trusty Steelman Eurocross.

Alas, as Thomas McGuane has written, “sometimes a man needs to be afoot to keep from going broke, get down and go to his tasks, instead of posing on the horse. …”

So today, no horsing around. I pulled on some long pants, grabbed the push broom, and herded some snow off my driveway. Yippee-ki-yay, etc.

Two weeks

October 20, 2020

Flush twice, it’s a long way to Leavenworth.

Hard to believe, innit? Wasn’t it just the other day that we were all sitting in front of our TVs as the election returns began unfolding like the wings of a giant vampire bat, or maybe Rodan the Flying Monster, and we began discussing our options for the next four years?

“Ireland?”

“No, too damp. I’d start drinking again for sure.”

“Canada?”

“Too nice. We wouldn’t fit in. I wouldn’t, anyway.”

“Argentina?”

“Hey, if we wanted to while away the hours around a bunch of old Nazis we could just move back to Bibleburg.”

Now, suddenly, here we are, two weeks away from our last chance to chase Adolf Twitler and his Brown Noses out of the White House before they finish gutting the place like crackheads stripping a squat for its copper wire.

I was running a couple errands yesterday and took another glance at our neighborhood polling place as I passed. The line was even longer than on Saturday, this time stretching all the way around two sides of the strip mall and out of my sight as I barreled down Montgomery in the usual thundering herd of honking land yachts.

I chose to interpret this as a good sign. No, not the land yachts. The line. Angry people ring other people up, write letters to the editor, and vote.

I choose to hope — yes, there’s that word again — that this time the right people are angry for the right reasons.

Yeah, yeah, I know. “Hope in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up faster.”

Still, what the hell else can you do? Unless you like living in a Tom Waits song.

Out out out!

October 17, 2020

No disrespect intended to the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service, but this absentee ballot is being hand-delivered.

We have voted the rascals out. You’re welcome.

Yesterday we voted ourselves out, for a quick five-mile march through the foothills.

Walking the Dog. Photo: Herself

It was a brisk morning, and we didn’t get out until noonish, because the sun doesn’t clear the Sandias at Rancho Pendejo until sometime after 9 and we’re rarely in a rush unless Herself has a long list of chores to be accomplished, which come to think of it is almost always.

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator boots have broken in nicely after about 20 miles of light hoofing, and this morning I planted one of them in Adolf Twitler’s oversized fundament, metaphorically speaking.

It’s my second try at kicking his fat butt; let’s hope this time it helps do the job.

If the boots get ’er done, I’ll buy a second pair, because it seems that every time I find footwear that suits my dogs, that model is instantaneously discontinued and replaced with some Nazi bondage gear.

There’s always the stick, of course. But I don’t think the SS boyos will let me anywhere near Adolf if I’m waving Ol’ Hickory around and screeching about going all Andy Jackson on his ass.

 

Above it all

October 15, 2020

Now that’s what I call getting some big air.

The view from the Candelaria Bench Trail is pretty spectacular. I can only imagine what it’s like a few hundred feet above it.

Herself and I were slouched on the back patio at El Rancho Pendejo, airing the cat, birdwatching, and enjoying our respective tasty beverages when I spotted a rara avis over the Sandias.

We haven’t seen many aeronauts this year, not since The Bug® came to town. This one was definitely not making a maiden voyage — he or she stayed aloft for the better part of quite some time, cutting didos above the Candelaria Bench Trail.

Apologies for the poor image quality. I sold my Canon DSLR a while back and the point-and-shoot I grabbed just can’t bring ’em back alive from a distance.

 

It’s a wash

October 7, 2020

The Granite Face on the Whitewash Trail is no place for an elderly fella with a dodgy ankle. But I’ll probably hike up the sonofabitch anyway.

Once I saw a young man yell “look” in the lobby and let his prick hang out; he closed his overcoat then and tried to run out the door, rather swirled clumsily in the revolving door. One woman screamed but most people shrugged.  Depressing. He needed help. A lock on his zipper for beginners. — Jim Harrison, “Wolf.”

Faced with the ceaseless weenie-wagging that constitutes our national politics it’s easy to forget that the world remains a remarkable place.

Yesterday during a brief hike in the Sandia foothills my iPhone hooted. It was a text from Apple advising me that it had received my MacBook Pro, shipped the previous day, and that the agreed-upon repairs would commence directly.

It was not that long ago that I would have had to wait until I got home and checked the answering machine to see whether the typewriter repairman had gotten around to my Royal manual yet.

Of course, my hip pocket was a quieter place back then, what with no mobile phone and a wallet that bordered on the anorexic; no matter how I stuffed it with money it always vomited it up somewhere.

And if I’d wanted to snap any photos during the hikes I was mostly not taking I would’ve had to pack along the Pentax MX camera I had acquired in a trade with an iffy acquaintance. I got the camera, some cash, and a bit of the old nose whiskey, and he got my S&W .41 Magnum (I was slightly overgunned at the time).

Later this gent would draw a short stretch at Club Fed in Texas, not far from where Apple is resolving the shortcomings of my MacBook. Not for anything involving the .41 Mag, or me, happily. Last I heard he had become a respectable citizen and taxpayer, a credit to society, just like Your Humble Narrator.

Time passes, and things change. For instance, it was probably fortunate for me that I shipped my MacBook in when I did. Just this morning MacRumors noted that this mid-2014 edition of the venerable 15-inch laptop will be added to Apple’s list of vintage and obsolete products come Halloween.

The 13-inch model I’m using to create this post is already on the list, as are all the other Macs in the house, save the iPhones and iPads. The 2014 MacBook Pros are supposed to remain eligible for service indefinitely, says MacRumors … “subject to parts availability.”

Boo. …

Equinot yet goddammit. …

September 21, 2020

Me and the Voodoo Wazoo on the homebound leg.

The last day of summer? C’mon. Didn’t the Tour just wrap on Sunday, f’chrissakes?

C’monnnnnnnn. …

OK, well, then, since it is the last day of summer, with all that implies (impending winter, the ongoing cooling of the Universe, entropy galloping along unchecked toward inert uniformity), I decided to do something I haven’t done all that much this year, and that was ride the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

It practically goes without saying that I was on a rigid chromoly frame and fork, with rim brakes, 700c tubed tires, and electronic/hydraulic nothing. Unless you count the thousand-year-old Cateye Velo 8 cyclocomputer on the handlebar.

Mostly sunny, temps in the 70s, everybody in the vicinity just having a high old time. Sure, winter, entropy, and all that, but still, damn. I’ll take it.