Archive for the ‘Bibleburg’ Category

Rise and shine

January 8, 2022

If you sleep in, you miss stuff like this.

Marriage, freelancing, and New Mexico gradually turned me into a morning person, kinda sorta.

I spent the bulk of my newspaper career working nights on various copy desks scattered around the West. Clock in around 3 or 4 in the p.m., clock out when the presses start running at stupid-thirty. If you’re lucky, there’s a bar still open somewhere.

But when Herself hitched her little red wagon to my jackass in Fanta Se there were accommodations to be made. I was on the usual night shift at The New Mexican, but she worked like normal people, running the B. Dalton Bookseller in the DeVargas Center.

She was asleep when I came home; I was asleep when she went to work. We saw each other at dinner and sometimes on the weekends, if I wasn’t chasing commas or racing bikes. Our wedding vows may have included the endearment, “Shut the fuck up, I’m trying to sleepI”

In case you’re wondering, kids, this is how you make a marriage work.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla insists on sunlight as soon as it becomes available, if not sooner.

In 1991, when my mom developed a hitch in her gitalong and we moved to Bibleburg to deal with it, my routine went out the window. Herself found more retail work, but I was trying to freelance, and the first thing you learn in that racket is fear. You fear that the last dollar you earned will be the last dollar you earn.

So I said yes to every job, worked a lot, and all the time, not just from afternoons into the dark of the night. In point of fact, I was compelled to embrace the early morning hours.

It wasn’t awful. Not nearly as bad as I remembered from having a paper route. For starters, I was working indoors, and I was writing the news, not sidearming it onto stoops.

Nor was I restricted to a copy desk, where the routine is … well, routine. Daily editorial meeting, editing copy, writing headlines, sizing photos, writing cutlines, laying out pages, drinking dinner, overseeing pasteup, proofing pages, taking a quick look at the paper hot off the presses as they began rumbling up to speed, and going home.

Going freelance took me off that daily merry-go-round. When the deadline was every other week, or once a month, I found I could squeeze the work into my life instead of my life into the work.

Yeah, I worked almost every day, and at all hours of every day, but I did it in bite-sized pieces and a lot of different flavors. Cover an early morning Tour stage for VN.com, go for a ride. Write a column for Bicycle Retailer, do the grocery shopping. Edit some copy for Inside Triathlon, drink a beer (editing triathlon copy would make a stewbum of a Seventh-day Adventist). Draw a cartoon for VeloNews. And so on.

True, I was not always at my best in the early morning hours. Old habits die hard. And Mom had her own routines, which included wandering the house at night while chatting with the voices in her head (yeah, that shit runs in the family). But you get used to it, or at least learn to manage it.

Eventually she passed, leaving only one of us to argue with his invisible friends. And the mornings got a little easier, whether sunup came in Weirdcliffe, Bibleburg, or The Duck! City.

My paying chores have drifted away one by one, but the mornings have not. Herself rises earlier than ever, working four 10-hour shifts as a librarian for Sandia National Lab. But I insist on sleeping in, until 6 a.m. if I can manage it, before dragging the old bag of bone splinters and bad ideas out of the sack and into the kitchen.

Somebody has to make breakfast and inspect the sunrise, make sure God’s on the job. Some days one wonders.

Early morning watermelon at the foot of the Sandias.

Mall rats

December 19, 2020

The Citadel’s logo. Herself worked there during our first tour of duty in Bibleburg, at the Eagle’s Nest.

Remember shopping malls?

They were becoming a Thing about the same time that I was. Bibleburg being behind the curve on pretty much everything (“a cemetery with lights,” as one newspaper colleague would come to call it), my town didn’t get a proper enclosed mall until 1972, when I had relocated to Alamosa to lower academic standards at Adams State College.

In the late Sixties our “mall” out east of Constitution and Academy was the Rustic Hills Shopping Center, which had a small enclosed area with a typical strip mall attached on the west side, with a liquor store, a pinball arcade, Tandy’s, 7-Eleven, and like that there. Major tenants were (I think) a Gibson’s on the eastern corner and a Safeway on the western end. In between was … well, not much that I can recall. I got there by bike, via a dirt path paralleling a drainage ditch.

There was a Duckwall’s. A Roffler’s Sculpture-Kut shop where a Mexican barber told me he could cut my hair in such a way that my parents, teachers, and swim coach would never know I was turning into a faux hippie unless they took a whiff of my personal fragrance (Eau de Ditch Weed). A western-wear shop where I acquired through dubious means a black, flat-crown Resistol a la Lee “Liberty Valance” Marvin that, with the addition of a band of silver conchos, went nicely with the rest of my Woodstock-wannabe garb. No, don’t ask; just thank Cthulhu that no photographs survive.

Until 1972, when the Citadel Mall sprang to hideous life, with its acres and acres of parking that in the first heavy rain flooded residential basements for miles around, anyone wanting to experience an actual enclosed mall had to motor up to Denver, where Cinderella City was the Big Kahuna. Not just a whim, a destination, particularly around Christmastime.

The Citadel and the Chapel Hills Mall, which opened a decade later, arguably helped croak what little downtown Bibleburg had. Now, neither is exactly crushing it, the pack rats are stripping malls’ carcasses nationwide, and “everybody knows” that you can’t have a vibrant modern city without a thriving downtown. So it goes.

The ‘best’ cities for bikes?

May 7, 2019

I’ve lived in all three of these cities. I didn’t ride much in Tucson, because I lived way out north on Orange Grove Road, and it was hotter than hell. Swimming was my primary activity down there. Well, to be strictly accurate, swimming was tertiary, behind drinking beer and eating Mexican food.

People for Bikes has released its annual list of the best U.S. cities and towns for cycling, and once again Colorado leads the way, taking the top two steps on the podium (Boulder and Fort Collins). Eugene, Ore., snagged the bronze.

My old hometown of Bibleburg managed 12th, while the Duke City rolled in with the laughing group at … 240th?

I’m not a data nerd, but speaking as someone who has logged a few thousand miles per annum in both Bibleburg and ’Burque, I can’t say that I see such a vast cycling-quality chasm between the two. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The kicker may be that these city ratings reward “rapid progress.” Sayeth the People for Bikes: “We recognize hardworking cities that are implementing quick-building techniques to improve biking in their city.”

I haven’t hit the streets in Bibleburg lately to gauge their progress toward velo-nirvana, and maybe ’Burque is stuck on New Mexico Standard Time. We’ve been kind of busy being unemployed and killing each other lately.

But my admittedly casual observation is that we have about four times as many bike paths and trails, a metric shit-ton of cyclists of all types, more bike shops than you can shake a pedal wrench at, plus a considerably larger number of people commuting by bicycle and better weather to do it in.

And the annual BikeABQ bike swap crushes it. Two of Herself’s friends bought bikes there over the weekend, we sold one, and former BRAIN tech editor and first-time seller Matt Wiebe said the swap was bigger than he had expected.

Where does your hometown land on the list, and how does its ranking fit with your own observations? Sound off in comments.

Metro Monday

January 15, 2018

We have here some pictures of cute kitty-cats. …

A couple items no chamber of commerce likes to see cuddled up together on the front page:

“Tourism sector’s impact expanding.”

“2017 homicide total leads three-year spike.”

… because pictures of cute kitty-cats are proven to take the sting out of bad news. I read it on the Internet.

Headlines like these are among the reasons why I’m glad I don’t work in tourism or law enforcement. It must be a bitch, coaxing the rubes here for a visit only to mop them up later somewhere along the Mother Road.

It’s gonna be tough for the Duke City to become a “world-class community,” whatever the hell that is, if the locals keep croaking the visitors and everybody can read all about it in the daily blat.

Maybe the city can contract with Sandia National Labs to develop some sort of nuclear street sweeper, a disintegration beam to erase the corpus delicti before the scribes can tally a body count.

“Bob who?” replies the desk sergeant with a quizzical expression. “Nope, nobody by that name in the blotter. We haven’t had a homicide reported all year. Maybe he moseyed on through and up to Bibleburg. They’re killing ’em like crazy up there.”

Air Subaru flies again

October 4, 2017

Bibleburg, as seen from the overlook at Palmer Park.

Another week, another flight aboard Air Subaru. This time it was back to Bibleburg to clear some stuff out of the garage at The House Back East™, which is to have a new proprietor by close of business Friday.

We’re talking your basic high-speed up-and-back, so apologies to the many Bibleburghers I missed during my whirlwind tour.

I was able to visit our old friend and former tenant Judy, who’s now living in a senior center off Lower Gold Camp, and looking fit despite a bad fall that required surgery, some aftermarket parts, and a whole lot of rehab.

Looking stormy this morning off the side patio.

Too, I caught up with John Crandall and the rest of the gang at Old Town Bike Shop, where we spoke of Tim Watkins, another recent victim of gun violence.

Then I beat it back to the Duke City in time to vote in Tuesday’s election, sign closing documents for THBE™, and score a half-bushel of freshly roasted green chile, some of which went almost instantly into vegetarian quesadillas for Herself and Your Humble Narrator. A green chile stew is to follow directly, as the weather is said to be turning damp and chilly for a couple of days.

And now, after piling a couple thousand miles onto the odometer in two weeks, it’s time to give the old hunk of junk a break. The Subaru could use one, too. So it’s back to human-powered transportation for a spell. Look for me on two feet and two wheels for the foreseeable future.

Greatest Hits of 2016: A Nobel cause

December 27, 2016

• Editor’s note: As the year winds down, I’m taking a page from the mainstream-media playbook and reprinting a handful of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. This one was published in the Jan. 1 edition.

Chez Dog, now under new management.

Chez Dog, now under new management.

Nobel? No way! Prizing
bicycle people and that
peaceful, easy feeling

“And I know you won’t let me down.” — Jack Tempchin, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”

By Patrick O’Grady

The bedside clock showed 4:20 when I woke, and I thought groggily, “Yes, please.”

It was in the realm of possibility, after all. I was in Colorado, where 420 is not just a time of day, but a state of mind.

Unfortunately, instead of stoned, I was merely rocky, awake far too early in an undistinguished hotel after a backbreaking week spent emptying and cleaning our old house for its new owners.

A little of the old whacky-tobacky might have been just what the doctor ordered for this extended hump down memory lane, which had caused me to set aside my lucrative professional career (making stuff up) for the low-rent amateur gigs of my youth (cleaning other people’s real estate and lugging their possessions around in a van).

I had brought a bike along with me from New Mexico, but this was a bit of wishful thinking on a scale that abandoned simpleminded optimism for the rarified heights of blithering idiocy.

We’re talking December here, in Colorado Springs, with leaden skies, a bitter wind and icy roads. And with the wife minding the store back in the Duke City, there was simply too much work for one person to do before our real-estate deal went down.

So the only cycling I did during the entire trip was in Albuquerque — first, to the rental outfit to pick up a big white Chevy Express van, and then home again when I dropped it off. Seven miles total. Half of it downhill.

>> Click here to read the entire column.

The road home

December 12, 2015
The road home, as seen through the windshield of a Chevy Express van stuffed to the ceiling with excess property.

The road home, as seen through the windshield of a Chevy Express van stuffed to the ceiling with excess property.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (MDM) — After getting the traditionally late start — O’Grady Standard Time is more than a few hours behind whatever you’re using — I rolled into Duke City at dark-thirty on Thursday with the last of our bits from Bibleburg and a killer backache.

And as of 4 p.m. yesterday, the former Chez Dog and its mortgage payment are in the hands of a 21-year-old student teacher. Now, if we can just get rid of the other two houses, I can finally achieve my dream of living in a van down by the river.

There will need to be a chiropractor’s van parked nearby, though, if I plan on lifting anything heavier than a cooler or a camp stove.

 

 

Sunset in Bibleburg

December 8, 2015
The sun retreats down an alley near Chez Dog.

The sun retreats down an alley near Chez Dog.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — One of the reasons posts have been few and far between lately is that Chez Dog is changing hands on Friday, and someone had to make the journey north to prepare the place for its new owners.

Guess who?

So I rented a Chevy van last Friday and motored back to The Old Home Place®, and I’ve been peeling the joint like an onion ever since.

Happily, the bulk of our proud-ofs are already in the Duke City. We mostly relied on thrift-store items to furnish the joint for our Airbnb guests. But a couple bits of furniture are nice enough that I wanted to bring them back to Albuquerque, along with my professional archives — 26 years’ worth of VeloNews and 23 of Bicycle Retailer. I should’ve had the movers fetch them along last year, but as you know, I will never be smart.

So I’ve been delivering items like some disheveled Santa Claus to various thrift stores, the Springs Rescue Mission, and Bike Clinic Too. If I can’t find a taker for our La-Z-Boy love seat, which folds into a nice single bed, I’ll take that to Habitat for Humanity.

The garage is emptied and swept, the basement is likewise barren, and the kitchen is down to the few bits one person needs for food preparation and service. The second bedroom holds a dismantled queen bed awaiting its new home, and the master bedroom will be in a similar state right after I have my java tomorrow morning.

Then we play “What Fits Into the Van?” Everything that doesn’t will get piled in the middle of the street, soaked in gasoline, and set on fire, and I will strip down to some strategic and very minimalist blue paint and dance around it and then. …

Uh, did I say that or only think it?

Actually, what happens next is I give the joint a quick wash and brushup, then piss off to a motel in preparation for a heavily laden, slow-motion cruise to the Duke City on Thursday.

I’ll miss the place, and the people. Don’t make the mistake of judging Bibleburg by its fools, knaves, charlatans, false prophets, homicidal lunatics, small hat sizes, pint-size Elmer Gantrys and John Galt wanna-bes. Those people are everywhere; that their headquarters is here is an unfortunate accident of history.

There are some fine folks living in the shadow of Pikes Peak, and one of these days they may build a city here. It’s a fine place for one.

Black Friday indeed

November 27, 2015
A screen grab from video at the scene of a shooting rampage in Bibleburg.

A screen grab from video at the scene of a shooting rampage in Bibleburg.

“Black Friday” got a whole new meaning in Bibleburg today.

It’s certainly too early to speculate about motive, and probably too late to do anything about the shite job the Founders did on that Second Amendment, though we do have options in that regard.

But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that for sure a whole bunch of folks got shot, again, and taking off our shoes at the airport, letting the NSA peek in our digital windows, and keeping Syrian refugees on the other side of the Big Water don’t seem to be keeping Americans safe from terrorism.

I bet a few people within rifle range of that Planned Parenthood center felt terrorized today. That’s one product we don’t need to import from overseas. Not even for Black Friday. We make it right here at home.

• Late update: The Dumbass is strong in this one. From The Gazette: “There was a moment this afternoon when a man walked up to the scene with a handgun strapped to his waist and ammunition vest around his chest. He appeared to be asking police if he could help. Officers told him to leave immediately because appearing at the scene while wearing firearms and that equipment was a bad idea.”

55? Do I hear 60? 65?

November 7, 2015
The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

I’d like to run away from home. But which home?

There’s the one in Bibleburg, which is under contract. The prospective buyers would like a couple electrical and plumbing issues corrected before the deal goes down, and while they seem to be minor items at casual glance, our plumber has a second home in Hawaii.

Then there’s the one in the Duke City, which has a slight in-law infestation that can’t be eradicated by the usual pest-control outfits. People would talk, especially the ones being eradicated. (Editor’s note to in-laws: I keed, I keed.)

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Alas, furthermore, moreover, and too, deadlines loom, with words, cartoons and video all very much in demand and yet proving elusive for some reason(s).

Add a soupçon of inhospitable weather — my God, I’ve actually taken to wearing pants, and indoors, too! — and it’s no wonder a paranoid misanthrope might get the feeling that some stealth contractor is adjusting the walls inward during the night, while Realtors®, repairpersons and relatives harry me through my dreams like the coyotes Herself and I heard singing last night as we walked The Boo.

The only possible solution is — yes, you guessed it — a great big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. It cures everything. I even got a cartoon done while it was cooking.