Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Harbinger

July 7, 2020

We’re headed for the red zone.

Last night’s fiery sunset was a glimpse of things to come.

The weather wizards say we’re in for a run of hot weather, with temperatures inching up this week toward triple-digit highs by the weekend.

“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat,” we quip.

Ho, ho, very funny, says meteorologist Andy Church. Not.

Clouds for now … but not for long.

“This heat, especially in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, with these types of temperatures this early, this high, is a pretty rare event,” Church told the Albuquerque Journal. “It is going to be a dry heat, but we know that doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference. We’ve got no clouds and little shade.”

And we’re light on river water, too.

The Bernalillo County Water Authority announced in early July that it would stop pulling drinking water from the Rio Grande, which is looking less and less like a river every day, and rely on groundwater throughout the summer.

Water resources division manager Katherine Yuhas told the Journal this type of shutoff usually doesn’t happen until August or September. It is also anticipated to last longer than in wetter years, she added.

“A lot of the snow sublimated, and we didn’t get the runoff we had expected,” Yuhas said. “With these dry conditions, the water authority wants to be off the river.”

Say, just how many horsemen are there in the Apocalypse these days, anyway? It seems to be staffing up.

Fire, works

July 5, 2020

Looking back toward ’Burque from just beyond last month’s 5-acre blaze.

Yesterday Herself and I hiked up to the site of last month’s smallish foothills fire and pressed on a bit further for a peek at some of the as-yet-unburnt open space beyond.

It’s pretty up there. Great spot for young miscreants to engage in unsupervised experimentation with this, that, and the other. That’s what we would’ve used it for when I was a teenager possessed by various devils, anyway.

The Voodoo Nakisi parked along one of the zillions of trails in Bibleburg’s Palmer Park, circa 2013.

Our spot was Palmer Park, in Bibleburg. We called it “The Bluffs,” and it was where we went to act the fool, on foot, aboard bicycles, and finally in cars.

Never set the place ablaze, though. Not that I recall, anyway.

There’s a ton of short hikes like Sunset Canyon here in the foothills, and don’t I wish I had explored a few of them before FUBARing my right ankle, because there is generally a bit of scrambling involved.

The idea of finding myself sprawled in some rock garden with a freshly rebroken ankle, awaiting a visit from some carnivore that is decidedly not an EMT, is not my idea of a good time.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo we lunched on some leftover chicken chili with some blue corn ships and some grated Irish cheddar on a bed of rice.

Dinner was also a rerun, a second round of faux pizza I cobbled together using two Vicolo corn-meal crusts topped with some leftover pasta sauce (kind of a New Mexican arrabbiata), grated mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano, and chopped Applegate sweet Italian chicken sausage.

We’ve been trying to watch “Dark,” which is engrossing in a “Stranger Things” meets “Lost” kind of way, but it’s just too .. well, too dark for us at the moment.

Getting lit for the Fourth.

So instead we had a go at “The Florida Project,” a quirky little slice-of-odd-life kind of film that will feel familiar to anyone who’s ever stayed the night in a sketchy tourist-town motel and caught a glimpse of the regulars who are definitely not there for the fun of it.

As H.I. observes in “Raising Arizona,” it ain’t “Ozzie and Harriet.”

The evening’s entertainment concluded with the annual fireworks extravaganza put on by our neighbors to the west, who’ve been bringing the boom for their kids and everyone else’s for a couple decades now.

It was a socially distant version of their usual Fourth of July celebration. Also not exactly “Ozzie and Harriet,” but nevertheless a welcome reminder that life, quirky as it is, goes on.

Ooooooh … ahhhhhhhhh. …

Glide path

June 28, 2020

“On your left! On your LEFT! ON YOUR LEFT, GODDAMNIT! AIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!”
2018 file photo by Chuck Jagermeister

Turns out it was a glider pilot who augured in yesterday near the Menaul trailhead, a spiky area from which Herself and I have collected ouchy souvenirs of various ground-level mishaps.

“Get the tweezers, Bactine, and whiskey, hon’, we got a long day ahead of us.”

View, with alarm

June 27, 2020

Herself enjoys the view from the topside
of the Sandia Peak Tramway in 2016.

It’s a pretty view, a’ight.

Pretty enough to get me into a Sandia Peak Tram car with 19 other dummies in plague season?

Nope.

I wanna get up there, I’ll ride the ol’ bikey bike up the other side. It’ll hurt like hell, and it’ll take a lot longer than 15 minutes.

But at least I’ll know where I’ve been, and how I got there.

Fire on the mountain

June 26, 2020

As we left a line of firefighters began working their way up that hill from the left. Must’ve been fun doing it in the dark last night. Maybe not.

Somebody, man, god, or devil, got careless with combustibles here in the ’hood last night.

Details are elusive, but somehow a hillside about a mile from us got lit up at stupid-thirty last night, while we were abed.

The smoke-eaters must’ve gotten right on top of the thing because the evacuees were all back in their homes in a matter of hours. And this morning things seemed to be in the mopping-up stage.

Not what you like to see as the weather heats up ahead of a Fourth of July weekend. In fact, not what you like to see, period.

The temperature is testicular

June 22, 2020

Smoke from various Southwestern fires is pooling down by the Rio.

Boom! And just like that, it’s officially hot as balls here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut.

We hit the century mark this afternoon, according to our Acu-Rite weather gizmo.

I got outdoors while the temperature was a frosty 84 degrees, so I didn’t explode like an unpierced spud in a microwave. I’m still not running, but a six-mile hike is a fine means of making a motheaten carcass carry its own weight for a couple hours.

Incidentally, if any of yis who commit pedestrianism have not yet tried trekking poles, you might consider giving ’em a whirl. I scored a set of Gossamer Gear LT5 poles when they went on sale earlier this month, and they give me something to do with my hands other than gesticulate while arguing with the voices in my head.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, they help buttress the bum ankle as I stumble up and down the rocky Sandia singletrack in my quest for the wily endorphin.

Alas, when I turned around up near the wilderness boundary a cloud of overcooked forest was obscuring the view. On a clear day it’s no trick to see all the way to Mount Taylor and points west.

Something else that’s not so hot: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been canceled for this year. That’s a solid-gold kick in the ’nads for bidness and gummint. A study of the 2019 fiesta estimated the economic impact at $186.8 million, with a corresponding shit-ton of tax revenues for the city, county and state.

Smoke gets in your eyes

June 8, 2020

How many horsemen does the apocalypse have these days, anyway?

Most mornings I get a fine clear look at the Sandias as I shamble around El Rancho Pendejo, opening windows to air out the joint.

Today? Not so much.

New Mexico Fire Information and InciWeb both report a handful of fires in our fair, dry, and windblown state. One of them, Los Charcos, is just down the road a bit, on Isleta Pueblo. There are three more down in the Gila National Forest, plus some more in Arizona, and the Duke City has issued a health alert for this morning. Our gentle 45-mph zephyrs should send the forest exhaust elsewhere by this afternoon.

Los Charcos was human-caused. Happily, it — unlike the humans and their megadrought — is nearly under control.

And the windows? They’re closed.

Water logged

June 2, 2020

The rain was bucketing down last night, and we have the bucket to prove it.

It rained like a mad bastard here last night, with lightning strikes aplenty and one thunderclap that sounded like the SWAT team triggering a flash-bang before hitting the door.

The cacti got a charge from the evening’s rain.

The weather probably kept the cops and citizens from doing it hand to hand again downtown, as they did on Sunday night. Call me simple, but I don’t see how setting Dumpster fires and trashing the KiMo Theatre advances the Revolution.

Nor do I believe one achieves peace through superior firepower. The Albuquerque Police Department apparently broke out the flash-bangs, tear gas, and rubber bullets in honor of the occasion, saying some miscreant fired on them.

But hey, this is Albuquerque. If you don’t hear gunfire when the sun goes down, that just means everyone’s busy reloading.

The journalism performed in honor of the hullabaloo was so comically inept that it’s hard to get any sense of what actually went down. Much noise, very little signal.

Why, it’s enough to make a fella open up one a’ them whatchamacallits? Social-media accounts! I hear they come with cute kitten videos and everything.

And now for something completely different

June 1, 2020

“If you want anything done in this yard you’ve got to meow
until you’re blue in the mouth,” says Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

We’ve been cocooning a bit, I suppose.

It’s not easy to watch America doggedly screwing its head even further up its own arse, especially while striving to make some novel observation about the practice. The bon mot proves elusive. So we’ve turned our gaze elsewhere.

The back yard has needed work for a while now, and it’s been getting some. Weeds pulled, vines excised, lilacs pruned, pond rock and red mulch laid down, balky gate repaired, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

In the process we discovered a few new aches and pains along with an old faucet and four sprinkler-system heads we didn’t know we had. They could be part of some prehistoric irrigation network; for sure there are a couple real anachronisms on the other side of the yard, metal jobbers buried in the pine duff like the plungers on land mines.

We’re not great with roses, but occasionally we get lucky.

The apple tree by the kitchen window has had the schnitz. All the neighbors say it’s never been worth a damn, and we’re starting to agree, though Spike the Terrorist Deer, that notorious outside agitator, seems fond of its bitter, undersized fruit.

So that will probably come down directly, along with a Siberian elm that is more than a match for my skills with a shovel and bad language. Probably have to take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

The neighbors with the little girls have partnered with another couple up the street to form a collective of sorts. Between them they have five munchkins to educate and entertain, and they share other interests as well, so it seems a great leap forward.

The gang performs a daily bicycle/scooter rodeo that relies heavily upon our steep driveway for a launching ramp, so we’re making our own small contribution. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Elsewhere in the cul-de-sac, a four-legged neighbor went west. Daisy was a sweet old Lab who, with her cousin Gunner, served our little community as a combination of early warning system and welcome wagon.

Gunner is deaf, and a bit shy, but Daisy had been known to stride into homes like a Monty Python bobby, as if to enquire, “Wot’s all this then?” Their human has already arranged a new companion for Gunner, a black Lab pup tentatively named Henry.

Beyond our immediate ’hood, Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home has undergone a round of Bug® testing, and the all-clear has been sounded, though the lockdown remains in force.

Last Friday we delivered a load of Asian food for the joint. Pre-Bug®, Herself had been taking her mom out on Fridays for a bit of shrimp fried rice, and we decided to revive the practice as a take-out deal after Daisy and Gunnar’s person said he’d been doing something similar for his mom.

Then we thought, “Why not spread the wealth a bit?” From each according to his ability, etc. So everybody got some, including us, because I am a sucker for a six-pack of gyoza and pretty much anything else I don’t have to cook.

Speaking of wealth, when the light is right we can enjoy what the previous owner of El Rancho Pendejo called “the golden hour.” Once the day’s chores are finished we park ourselves on the back patio with frosty beverages in hand, admire our handiwork (such as it is), and hope to pan a little color from the dung as it all runs downhill.

The golden hour. “Well done, Yahweh,” as Doc Sarvis once said.

Fulfill your destiny, Burqueños

May 27, 2020

“I’ll need $6.5 mil’ for improvements to your feeble industrial park.
I trust that won’t be a problem?”

The bad thing about being a former copy-desk guy is the questions you don’t get to ask assistant city editors and reporters.

Here are a couple of examples:

Raytheon shuts its operation near the Sandia National Labs-Kirtland AFB complex in Albuquerque, where it employs 200 people as an arm of Raytheon Missile Systems, based in Tucson. In the service of consolidation their work is going elsewhere, along with the paychecks for same, and Raytheon has returned $850,000 in state economic-development funding, the company announces.

Meanwhile, Amazon proclaims that it is building a “fulfillment center” on the west side. In a press release, Bernalillo County says it will kick in $6.5 million for “a regional public infrastructure improvement project” to encourage “future development” in the Upper Petroglyphs Industrial Park.

Bad news, good news, yeah? The basic ingredients for any publication. Add some filler to hold it all together — cute kitten videos, celebrity breakups, the latest dispatches from the phone of Adolf Twitler — and you’re good to go. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Well, maybe. Me, I’d kind of like to know, without having to Google it, what sort of work the Raytheon people did (it involved microwave and laser weaponry, apparently); what the average salary was; how they feel about the loss of their jobs; and what their next steps might be.

I’d also be interested in learning how many people the Amazon warehouse will employ, what they will do, and what they will earn; what the county can expect to get for its $6.5 million investment; and whether someone has calculated that Albuquerque’s economic future involves herding boxes, not making zap guns.

I’m guessing that some of the newly idled Raytheon employees will not be a good fit for an Amazon fulfillment center. Unless Darth Bezos is planning a little Death Star project on the side.