Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Thousands are sailing

December 8, 2018

Hm, we seem to be on something of an Irish-music kick here.

They’re sailing in the other direction these days, at least some of them. Zio Lorenzo and The Professor are settled in Italy and not missing Sioux City one iota, unless I miss my guess.

And now our friends Mike and Liz are bidding adieu and relocating to Lyon, France.

We had them over for green-chile stew last night and caught up. They’ve bought an apartment there, the house here is for sale, and come springtime they will be well positioned to observe Le Tour in its native habitat. Stage 8 will be right in their backyard, or arrière-cour, as we say in le français.

Novelist and poet Jim Harrison thought highly enough of Lyon to write, “If I were given the dreary six months to live, I’d head at once to Lyon and make my way from bistro to bistro in a big stroller pushed by a vegetarian.”

The place suffers from a dearth of New Mexican-style green-chile stew, however, and thus we were compelled to revive them after the house-hunting excursion. We couldn’t find a vegetarian with a two-seater stroller to push them home, though.

Badaboom, badabing

November 30, 2018

Maybe we need to get Mexico to build us a new Wall.
This American model isn’t getting the job done.

This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I could use a couple of bucks to tide me over until the end of the month.

 

(F)ART in a skillet

November 13, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

“Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more,” sez Albuquerque to BYD, the outfit behind the famous Little Electric Buses That Couldn’t.

Regulars here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut know the story of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, a.k.a. ART, which has become something of a nutty cluster of fks, as Charlie Pierce might say.

See, our city fathers once dreamt a grand dream of running electric buses down the middle of Central Avenue in order to something something something, possibly because they’d eaten too much posole right before bedtime, or maybe it was the worm in the mescal.

But the buses supplied by Build Your Dreams — which should rebrand to IYD (In Your Dreams), or perhaps BYOB (Bring Your Own Buses) — apparently make my 1996 F-150 look like a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

“You don’t need a mechanic, you need an exorcist,” a frustrated dealership mechanic said of that fiend-ridden Ford, which began rattling itself into bits and pieces about 30 seconds after I drove it off the lot.

I never test-drove an exorcist. Instead, I sprung for a ’98 Toyota. But I expect that not even Fathers Karras and Merrin, with an assist from Kiichiro Toyoda and Toshirô Mifune, could chase the boogeymen out of BYD’s buses, which are said to suffer from brake failures, problems with operable range and battery life, and electrical issues that multiplied upon inspection like flies on hot horseshit, the all-natural substance at the heart of BYD’s marketing strategery. Also, there remains the basic underlying issue of demonic possession.

And so the alleged buses are being returned, assuming they can make it past the city-limits sign without exploding like a penguin on a telly.

To replace them, the city has ordered up 10 new, non-electric buses from a “well-established American company that makes buses all the time,” says Mayor Tim Keller. Why nobody thought of this earlier remains a mystery, especially since it will be a year and a half before the replacement buses can be delivered.

“Obviously, we are very concerned about what we’ve been put through as a city by BYD,” Keller added. “I think down the road, we’re interested in being fairly compensated for [how] we have been misled on these buses.”

A BYD spokescreature, who declined to be identified because the Great Old Ones had not authorized it to speak with the media, said cryptically, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” This is R’lyehian for “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu has many lawyers.”

Cat on a cold gravel roof

October 17, 2018

Last night, when I was up on the roof at dark-thirty in a howling gale, using a headlamp and a handsaw to edit a pine whose flailing branches were making Freddy Kruegeresque noises on our ductwork, I sez to myself, I sez, “What the world really needs right this minute is another cute cat video.”

You’re welcome.

Song of the wind

October 16, 2018

An east wind scours the Sandias (wind not pictured).

I decided against ’crossing it up today, and hoo-boy, was that ever a rare smart move.

The wind had its own idea of a good time, and I found myself grinding into the teeth of it aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, underdressed and overgeared.

If I’d been on a Steelman with its 36×28 low end I’d have turned around, I shit thee not. But the Voodoo has that 22T granny ring, and you bet your ass I was using it, early and often, as the cold wind raged from the northeast.

Working my way around the Elena Gallegos trails I encountered the occasional hiker bundled up like a sherpa summiting Everest. It wasn’t that cold by the numbers, maybe the mid-40s, but the wind was making a liar of the thermometer.

It reminded me of a ’cross I did back in Colorado, with the wind completely off the charts. Occasionally some poor sod would shoulder his bike for a run-up and get spun around like a weathervane.

I was surprised nobody got screwed right into the ground at that race. But it was probably frozen solid, and I remember how hard it was to pound in the rebar while setting up the barriers.

Meanwhile, back in ’Burque, the tailwind was so fierce on the homebound leg that I had to ride the brakes. True fact. I actually got home before I even started the ride and nearly ran into myself coming out the front door.

Here comes the sun?

October 16, 2018

Gimme heat, stat! Thermostat, that is.

Um, not so much.

That’s not Old Sol smiling down upon us. That’s a hallway light shining upon the thermostat, which I was compelled to use this morning to crank up the furnace for the first time this fall.

This unseasonably cool, moist weather is supposed to stick around for a bit, so I may have to do a little solo cyclocross today to roust myself from torpor, get the heart rate up, and avoid the kitchen, where the food is.

Chilly days bring with them the temptation to gobble everything that isn’t under lock and key, and it doesn’t help that Kelli made a pan of delicious banana bread that’s just sitting there on the counter, cooing, “Eat me, fat boy.”

Last night we dined on leftover green chile stew straight out of “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook,” with massive side salads, tortillas and chocolate. Today I may whip up some pasta al cavolfiore from the “Moosewood Cookbook.” It’s a favorite of Herself’s in just about any kind of weather.

But it is a belly-packer, and so I’d better sweat a little before dinner. The only pudgy white guy Herself lets live indoors around here is The Turk.

Killer diller chiller

October 15, 2018

It was chilly enough down here at the foot of the Sandias. Up at the top, where Herself and friend Kelli were, it was downright wintry. Photo | Herself

The temperature was in the 30s this morning when I decided to go for a run.

Rogue killers trying to shove me off by subtly inflicting a chill that blossoms into pneumonia? Who knows?

I bundled up and got after it anyway. Tights, tuque, the works. A fella can’t burn daylight, however feeble, just chillin’.

 

Soggy doggy bloggy

October 14, 2018

We’ve been enjoying a pleasant off-and-on rain, and by “we” I mean “not the Balloon Fiesta people.”

Welp, the Balloon Fiesta people have another year and a day to get their traffic problems sorted, because their final launch of 2018 got rained out this morning.

What does a balloon aficionado do when there is no ballooning to be had due to inclement weather? Beats me.

I know what a cycling scribe does. He stays inside and blogs.

Well, this one does, anyway.

Fiesta or fiasco?

October 11, 2018

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail (from Feb. 2014).

It seems the best way to get to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is … by balloon.

Or is it?

Motorists and park-and-riders have suffered mightily this year, getting stuck in traffic and/or at bus stops, reports The Albuquerque Journal. With a record 21,000 park-and-ride tickets sold, the problem was “sheer volume,” according to Dennis Christiansen, Fiesta coordinator of traffic and P&R.

Added Fiesta executive director Paul Smith: “We have a limited number of access points to and from the park. We are kind of landlocked here. We have a reservation (Sandia) to the north, a neighborhood to the west, and AMAFCA (flood control) channels on two sides.”

’Tis a puzzler, to be sure. Until one considers that a bike path parallels one of those channels — the North Diversion Channel Trail, which runs straight into Balloon Fiesta Park, where a bike valet service awaits.

Neither the Journal nor the Fiesta mentions this transportation option, though I was riding that trail to that park before I even lived here. I tell ya, we don’t get no respect. …

No laughing matter

October 9, 2018

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.