Archive for the ‘Bidness’ Category

‘Thank you very little’

June 13, 2018

What we have here is an unholy convergence of people who are too lazy to golf, people who are too smart to spend their own money fleecing them, and people who are desperate to bring the Duke City a few jobs, even if they cost nearly $5 million of the public’s money and suck.

C’mon. We got golf out the wazoo for the chumps who enjoy spoiling a good walk. And everyone who likes to eat, drink and play games already does that, with their phones, in their cars. Our streets are their driving range. “Duck, hon’, here comes a GMC Titlist.”

This thing will follow the Beach Waterpark and the ART debacle into the Malodorous Dumpster of Bad Ideas and all the wrong people will make money. Ask any economist:

“Politicians dangle incentives because voters want them to. And voters want them to in large part because politicians say that incentives make a real difference. ‘The dirty big secret,’ said Greg LeRoy, the executive director of the group Good Jobs First, ‘is that they don’t.’ ”

Office spaced

December 29, 2016
Hemingway sent cables; I just hook 'em up.

Hemingway sent cables; I just hook ’em up.

Now and again I am reminded that shit doesn’t just happen.

I was grumbling the other day that the iCrap-crazed Cloudniks at Apple no longer give a damn about modular, upgradeable desktop systems and the power users who love them, probably because I have spent far too much time staring at a desk that is topped by a veritable clusterfuck of computer hardware — a 15-inch mid-2014 MacBook Pro cabled to an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock and thence to a Dell 27-inch monitor, a RAID array plus a couple other storage drives, an Apple SuperDrive and a cheap set of Logitech speakers that really need to go because they have all the sonic excellence of a 1965 GE P-1810A transistor radio.

Then I read this, and this, and I think I’m finally starting to get a feel for why Tim Cook is all like: “Fuck those bitches and their desktops. Whatsisname down in the basement is tasked with that project and if we have to we’ll trot him out and show the world what people who give a shit about desktop computers look like. Dude makes the stapler guy from ‘Office Space’ look like Michael Fassbender.”

Man at work

September 2, 2016
Your Humble Narrator in the salad days, covering a race in Bibleburg.

Your Humble Narrator in the salad days, covering a race in Bibleburg.

While cranking out a column and cartoon to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the launching of the good ship Bicycle Retailer and Industry News back in 1992, it struck me that I was approaching a milestone of my own — as of today, I have been a full-time freelancer for 25 years.

That is not a typo.

After quitting my seventh and final newspaper gig, at The New Mexican up Santa Fe way, I raced the Record Challenge in Moriarty on Sunday, Sept. 1, 1991 (56:43 for 40km, a personal best), and the very next day I was up north in Bibleburg, trying to figure out how a burned-out newspaperman might pay for his bacon and beans.

I had three things going for me. One, I had been freelancing cartoons and light journalism to VeloNews since March 1989, and I began doing more of that, helping cover (now-defunct) races like La Vuelta de Bisbee, the Casper Classic, and the Cactus Cup, and lending a hand with copy-editing and production up in Boulder.

Two, Marc Sani at BRAIN wanted a comic strip for his brand-new industry magazine, and before long I was writing some stuff for him, too.

And three, Herself and I were living rent-free with my mom, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and required oversight. So we’re not exactly talking Hemingway-in-Paris here; we had a roof over our heads, three hots and a cot, and a small allowance for serving as live-in help while my sister managed Mom’s finances from Fort Collins.

At first I could and did work for anyone. But eventually the VeloNews and BRAIN gigs led to other work in the bike biz, and after a while that’s all I did. It’s hard to believe, but a guy could actually earn a semi-OK living scribbling for bicycle magazines, and eventually, bicycle websites. Who knew? Not me. Not until I had 15 years of newspapering under my belt, anyway.

Today I work for BRAIN and Adventure Cyclist, period. It’s not exactly heavy lifting. I get to make shit up for the one and play with other people’s toys for the other. I should be paying them, not the other way around.

You guys, of course, get the dubious benefits of 40 years’ experience for free. You’re welcome.

 

Dislike

August 26, 2016
You see any pie up there? Yeah, me neither.

You see any pie up there? Yeah, me neither.

OK, I admit that I don’t understand business, beyond the basics (buy cheap, sell dear).

That said, how does giving $10 million in state economic development funding to Facebook — yes, that Facebook, the one worth $350 billion — constitute good business for the state of New Mexico, which faces a projected shortfall for the current budget year of $458 million?

The deal to bring a data center to Los Lunas would also, according to the Albuquerque Journal:

• Guarantee Facebook 1.5 million gallons of water per day.

• Reimburse the sixth most valuable company in America for up to 75 percent of gross tax revenues from the center’s construction and operation.

• Waive property taxes for more than 30 years.

All for “up to” 300 construction jobs over seven years and 50 “permanent” jobs, which we know are anything but as restless gazillionaires in search of a better deal make struggling localities scrap like dumb dogs over an old bone.

As I said, I don’t understand business. And I know New Mexicans need jobs. But wouldn’t Los Lunas be better served in the long run by courting companies that love us for what we are, and might still respect us in the morning?

 

Fat Guy Friday

November 27, 2015
The new, bigger-and-better-than-ever (but mostly bigger) Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter jerseys, available now at Voler.

The new, bigger-and-better-than-ever (but mostly bigger) Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter jerseys, available now at Voler.

Hey, you! Yeah, you … what are you doing there, with one jaundiced eye on the monitor and the other bleeding gravy into your Cheerios? It’s Black Friday, man! You’re supposed to be duking it out with someone over a two-buck “smart” toaster at Best Buy.

Not into it, hey? What are you, some sort of communist? How about proving your U-nited States of America American™ bona fides by ordering up one of these fine Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter jerseys? For you, today only, no charge!*

* A small shipping and handling fee of $77 per garment applies.

Unreal estate (a continuing series)

October 9, 2015
Pikes Peak as seen from the temporary HQ of the Mad Dog Media Whirled Hindquarters.

Pikes Peak as seen from the temporary HQ of the Mad Dog Media Whirled Hindquarters.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — Oh, lawd, we’re just burning up that ol’ country road lately. First to Sin City, and now to to Galt’s Gulch, where they’ve got theirs and by God and Ayn Rand you’d better get yours.

Chez Dog, pictured shortly after the hailstorm that welcomed me back to the 'hood.

Chez Dog, pictured shortly after the hailstorm that welcomed me back to the ‘hood.

It being fall and all we decided it was time to check up on the Old Home Place©, in part because we like to have the storm windows in place and the furnace in working order when the snow flies, and in part because our helpers with Project Airbnb decided they were over it with a couple clients still queued up in the hopper.

So here I am, back in the libertarian laboratory, comfortably ensconced in a Hilton property on points after a couple days of fix-’em-up around Chez Dog™.

One of our summertime guests had decided to augment the airflow through the joint by removing several of the glass panels in the old aluminum storm windows. These are self-storing bits, mind you — slide ’em up to let a cooling breeze flow through the screen during the heat of the day, slide ’em down to preserve interior warmth come evening — but no, apparently they had to be removed entirely. Probably the same knucklehead who wondered why the air conditioning that we don’t have wasn’t working properly.

So those have been cleaned, lubed, repaired as necessary, and replaced. The thermostat has been reprogrammed (should’ve dusted it for knucklehead prints). And the joint has been otherwise spic’d, and also span’d, and our latest guest is in residence. I’ll tidy up after him in preparation for the next lot, which arrives middle of next week, spend a couple days committing cycling journalism, squeeze in a bike ride or two or three, meet with a painter about the back deck, and then fire up the rice rocket for re-entry to Planet Albuquerque.

With all this going on I haven’t had much time to pay attention to the news, which is probably just as well, because I already have grave doubts about the state of the Republic and shit like this and this and this is not exactly easing my mind.

Thank God for Elvis Costello.

 

Sin City, here we come

September 14, 2015

Suit up

July 16, 2015
At left is the original kit; at right, version 2.0.

At left is the original kit; at right, version 2.0.

The glorious day has arrived: The Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter jerseys are available for sale now via the Mad Dog Media store at Voler.com.

Big thanks to Patrick Ribera-McKay and Ralph Juarez at Voler for doing all the heavy lifting. I just sat back, and watched, and lit Cuban cigars with thousand-dollar bills.

This is a Produce On Demand deal — production will take seven business days, so it’s not quite like ordering up a 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant on Amazon Prime Day. But considering how long I’ve taken to get around to this little project, another week of unfulfilled craving will seem like a stroll along the beach I plan to buy with my profits.

I’ve already ordered mine, an original yellow model. I still have a first edition of that one, but I never wear it for fear of falling — flesh heals, but Lycra doesn’t.

Rest day

July 13, 2015
Time to exercise something other than my fingers on a keyboard.

Time to exercise something other than my fingers on a keyboard.

Whew. Some folks hate Mondays, but I’m telling you, any day I don’t have some undone chore leering over my shoulder is a very good day indeed.

Those of you who have actual jobs (my condolences) with regular days off (you sonsabitches) may not appreciate how sweet it feels for a freelancer to have a 24-hour period during which absolutely nothing of financial consequence needs doing. It’s like finding a Benjamin in your jeans while doing the laundry, pulling a goathead from a tire to find it still holds air, or hearing a lawyer say, “No charge.”

In a word: Fantastic.

Oh, there are a few items that will require a smidgen of my attention:

• I should hear from Voler today about the online store through which our fondest dreams are to be realized (yours, a new Fat Guy jersey; mine, obscene, unheard of and uncountable wealth).

• The Boo remains in recovery from dental work, and the meds are disrupting his regularity (I fear for our brick floors).

• And we’re still a one-car family, so I snoop around now and again to see if there’s anything out there that’s worth the trip to a car lot for one of those conversations (“Mr. O’Grady, what will it take to get you into this fine pre-owned automobile? Just let me talk to my manager. …”).

But mostly I plan to ride the bike. Blue skies, smiling at me … nothing but blue skies do I see.

Editor’s note: Looks like “Bloom County” is coming back. Getting better all the time. …

Editor’s note the second: Himself speaks with The New York Times.

Tailoring Thursday

July 2, 2015
The new designs in AMP (which I believe stands for Airies Micro Plus, the same fabric used in Adventure Cycling Association jerseys).

The new designs in AMP (which I believe stands for Airies Micro Plus, the same fabric used in Adventure Cycling Association jerseys).

Fabric samples for the revived Old Guys kit from Voler, just in time for the Fourth of July. God bless America.