Archive for the ‘Bloggery’ Category

Rock ’n’ roll

December 31, 2022

Your Humble Narrator on the job in 2015. …

I’ve done a number of questionable things for money, but the only one with any staying power was journalism.

Earning power? Well … not so much. Especially after I left the newspaper to hang out my own shingle back in 1991.

Still, like crucifixion, it gets you out in the open air. Here’s your rock, there’s your hill, what’s your hurry?

I finally left that rock at the bottom of the hill about this time last year, and I can’t say I miss rolling it. Both rock and hill had shrunk over the years. But so had the pay. And the people who owned the hill at any given moment still seemed to think they were doing you a favor by letting you roll that rock.

“Well rolled indeed!” they’d exclaim as you reached the summit, gasping for air. “Sign here. And here. And here. And here. Yes, payment 30 days after publication as specified in the contract. Did we mention we’ve rewritten the contract? No? Well, we have, in Cretan Linear B this time, and I’m afraid we can’t cut you a check until you’ve scrawled your X on that old bottom line.

“Oh, dear, rock’s rolled down the bloody hill again. Be a dear and fetch it, won’t you? And do have your attorney or shaman or whomever look over that contract. Ta.”

Lacking professional support I eyeballed that contract myself and came away thinking the rock looked pretty good right where it was. It still does.

Doesn’t mean I’ve quit rolling rocks altogether, of course.

… and off it, as 2022 limps to a long-overdue finale.

Many years ago, between paying trips up and down the hill, I acquired my own tiny mound on the Innertubes and in my spare time nudged the odd pebble up its gentle slope. Strictly for giggles, mind you; if I were to charge admission it would feel like work.

I think I started blogging on AOL in the mid- to late Nineties; for sure I was doing my own self-hosted thing on a succession of small-time ISPs by 1999. The Wayback Machine has a capture from December 2000 that shows a visitor counter which started tallying the rubes a year earlier.

So, yeah. I’ve been at it for a few years, and I’m not giving it up. Not this year, and not next, Dog willing and the crick don’t rise. The bells and whistles come and go — the cartoons, the videos, the podcasting — but the blogging remains.

Who knows? It may just be The Next Big Thing.

But even if it isn’t, my thanks to all of yis who have gathered upon the hill — and who keep gathering, against your better judgment — to watch Your Humble Narrator perform his one-man, dinner-theater production of “Bowling with Sisyphus.”

I know, it’s only rock ’n’ roll. But I like it.

Snot takes

December 11, 2022

Old MacGoblin had a bot, AI AI Ohhhhhhh. …

Hold your water. I’m not dead yet, you ghouls. The dead haven’t the pipes for the lugubrious lung-butter lullabies I’ve been performing nightly for the past couple of weeks.

So, no, this post was not written in memoriam by ChatGPT in goblin mode with art by Lensa AI. It is not about the Tripledemic, the World Cup, who’s gonna die in “The White Lotus,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Me Me Mine), Harry and Meghan, Brittney Griner, Ye, or Elon Musk.

What is this post about? you ask. It’s about time I posted, is what it’s about. The Kleenex has been getting all my hot takes lately and you lot have probably begun speculating about whether I left yis any bicycles, and, if not, the location of my final resting place in case you should find yourself in the neighborhood and in need of a vengeful wee.

So, yeah. You’re a bit early for the reading of the will. Please, have a seat. And pass the Kleenex.

Piece of Cake

April 7, 2022

OK, I know you folks floating around out there in the Innertubes are dying to know all the deets about the exotic life of the retired velo-scribbler.

So, hold my fake beer and dig this:

Yesterday I went to Lowe’s for some lawn soil to spread over the recently seeded bare patches in the yard and gave ’em a good watering, then mowed the healthier bits of grass. Later I cooked up a big ol’ pot of jambayala.

This morning I toasted and tea’d Herself, who has a full day at the lab. Then I fed and watered Miss Mia Sopaipilla, giving her a few head-bumps in a sunny spot for dessert, and emptied her litter box.

Next I got a loaf of bread going and set about watering a few shrubs and one tree out front, using SuperDuper! to back up The Main Mac to an external drive, downloading an OS update, and washing the breakfast dishes (two cups of strong black coffee and one of strong black tea will lead to multitasking).

And now the garbage is going out. Boom! You can’t stop me, so don’t even try.

I hate to go all Hollywood on you little people like this, but I figure the few of you who still have jobs deserve to know how I’m pissing away your Social Security contributions on my rock-’n’-roll lifestyle.

A new day

January 4, 2022

The Universe put on quite the display this morning.

A thousand thank-yous to everyone who had kind words for me on the occasion of my retirement. May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

In my decades of distinguished service to cycling journalism I rose from lowly VeloNews cartoonist to lowly Bicycle Retailer and Industry News cartoonist, so of course there will be no gold-plated Garmin, no pension. I shall have to get by with the Socialist Insecurity and an occasional surreptitious dip into the purse of my lovely bride, who was making a career while I was making a shambles. Woe, etc.

Today, by way of celebration, I treated myself to a turkey-and-swiss sammich, a leisurely hour on the bike, and some light blog maintenance. Living the dream.

It’s been a quiet week at El Rancho Pendejo. …

February 26, 2021

The wind sketches clouds across the skies west of the Sandias.

It’s been a quiet week, as Garrison Keillor used to say of Lake Woebegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

Pink skies to the west.

The weather has returned to something a little more favorable for hiking and biking, and the National Weather Service forecasts a spring that should be drier and warmer than normal.

In fact, we’re already into allergy season here. Junipers and elms. Honk, snurk, hawwwwk, ptui, etc.

Two of the four people we know who have been looking for work have found it, so, yay. The jobs may not be ideal, but neither are the times. So it goes.

I am not looking for work, but it seems to have been looking for me. Adventure Cyclist asked if I wanted to dash off a little sumpin’-sumpin’ that is not a bicycle review, and we’ll see how that goes. Having been without a column for a while now, I’m kind of out of practice as regards busking for bucks.

It’s much easier to do that here, where I’m both organ grinder and monkey, all at once. Out there in the workaday world they expect you to dance to their tune, when they’re hiring at all.

The sky’s the limit

January 22, 2021

And the skies are not cloudy all day? Where’s the fun in that?

My man Hal Walter hasn’t been writing a ton lately. But when he settles down to it, he does a job of work.

His latest can be found over at Substack, a platform that helps free-range weirdos like Hal and me crank out whatever for a small fee. But you needn’t reach for your wallet quite yet — you can have a look around without signing up for a newsletter subscription.

I’m not certain that email newsletters are the way to go. Not for me, anyway. Unlike Hal, I’m fairly comfortable with the WordPress platform, and I’m not really interested in trying to make money off this little one-ring circus of mine.

Anyway, does anyone really need another newsletter cluttering up the in-box? That’s pretty much all I get anymore, or so it seems. I have to scroll a long way down the in-box to find an email from an actual human being.

Hal’s Substack presence is very much a work in progress — at the moment, it’s a blog without the email newsletter. But while you’re waiting on the mail, you might pop round to see what he’s nailed to the wall.

 

On autopilot

November 24, 2020

Meet the Blog-O-Mat 9000. Same great (lack of) taste, less filling.

“Meet GPT-3. It has learned to code (and blog and argue).”

Cool. I guess I can take the rest of the day off.

Brother, can you spare a dime*?

October 15, 2020

“Can ye spare some cutter me brother?”

In comments Shawn wonders whether we accept donations here at Ye Olde Chuckle Hut.

The short answer is “No.”

I’ve thought on it for the better part of quite some time, because everyone likes to get paid for work, especially if they are me. And a blog, even a dime-store model like this one, is work.

Also, there are expenses. They’re not massive, but still, yeah, money goes out. None comes in.

Nevertheless, I’ve resisted setting up a subscription model, or a tip jar, for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost: The blog and its various side projects constitute a hobby, not a job. I’ve had jobs, and frankly I can’t recommend them. They suck all the joy out of work. And for what? A little bit of money.

Since 1991, when I left the newspaper game and opened my own little free-range rumormongery, I have cashed checks more or less regularly and outlived a number of publications that wrote them. 

Over the years editors and publishers occasionally proved irksome, as they will, because they are running what they believe to be businesses, not open-mic’ nights in some dank basement.

Thus the blog, which commenced sometime in the Nineties, I guess, possibly at AOL. A window to shout out of. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

At the blog I got to be not just a cartoonist, writer, or editor, but all of these things, plus photographer, videographer, podcaster, and publisher. The last four involved something of a learning curve (and still do), and a student really shouldn’t expect to get paid.

As The Patrón told Doc with a shrug in “Sweet Thursday,” “You have to pay to learn things.”

But not here. If you learn anything here, which seems highly unlikely, take it with my compliments (and a grain of salt).  The bike magazines, God love ’em — the ones that survive, anyway — haven’t caught on yet; they’re still paying me. And so is Uncle Sammy, until he gets the camps built. Direct your extra pennies to some worthy cause.

* The sharp-eyed may notice that the coin changing hands above is a quarter, not a dime. That’s inflation for you.

Rolled another one

February 27, 2020

Eric “Nohand” Crapton takes his solo. | Photo by Herself

One of the interesting aspects of occasionally wandering away from straight writing into “multimedia,” by which I mean short videos, podcasts, and what have you, is seeing how one thing can become another if you use a big enough hammer.

It’s not always a better thing. But it’s inevitably something different. So what we have here is a podcast that grew like a weed, a wart, or a boil from a couple of short blog posts.

When I blew up my ankle last Friday my instinctive reaction was to write a long blog post about the first time I did that, in 1983. I was a depressed 29-year-old fat bastard who had just quit one job in Oregon for another in Colorado, and suddenly, boom, there I was in a walking cast, on crutches, 1,400 miles from my new home.

A fiberglass foot makes it tough to drive stick. Hell, I couldn’t even load the truck. Stairs were involved. Plus I had two dogs who were nearly as ill-mannered as I was.

And then there was the time I broke a collarbone midway through a long-loop mountain-bike race. Lemme tell you, that shit will affect your finishing time. My cyclocross training proved useless. Couldn’t even shoulder the bike and run. Couldn’t drive then, either, and it was a long haul back to Bibleburg from Gunnison.

Happily, in both instances, I got by with a little help from my friends. Until this last time, when I was on my own.

Golly gee, Mister Dog, what happened then? There’s only one way to find out, sonny, and it’s not by reading — you gotta listen to the latest episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure Beta 87A microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music was assembled from various loops in GarageBand by Your Humble Narrator, while the various sound effects were gleaned from G-band and the iMovie effects bin.

Limping into the new year

December 31, 2018

Tonight’s the last night for holiday lights.

The finish line is just around the corner. If we can just stay on our feet — never a sure thing — we’ll make it to 2019.

It’s been a week since I took my little tumble on the trail, and in that time I’d neither run nor ridden, reasoning that my crumbling temple of the soul needed a little quiet renovation.

Besides, it was cold out there. Snowy, too, and windy, with ice in the shady spots and everything. One of yis up north must have sent your miserable climate down here for a change of scenery.

Thus the cycling was right out. I’d managed a couple short, limpy walks, favoring that dodgy left knee, but skipped the resistance training ’cause my right mitt looked like a couple bucks’ worth of ground round. With a good thick bandage and heavy gloves I could shovel snow, and that was fine. Lifting weight with an actual purpose, don’t you know.

FInally, today everything seemed more or less in order, and as it started to snow again I tottered out for a short run. It felt weird at first; if you’ve ever tweaked a knee you know the feeling, the reluctance to put any serious weight on it, your stride having strayed, your mojo gone missing.

But gradually I loosened up and settled back into something like a rhythm, and while I pussyfooted around the icy patches I was able to shake off a few flakes of rust. When I got back to the ranch I even treated myself to a little quality time with the dumbbells.

No, not those dumbbells. I’m talking weights here. I’m still hoping to see the other dumbbells in the dock here directly. It’s gotta be Mueller Time one of these days.

As for the rest of yis, I hope to see you slouching around El Rancho Pendejo come the new year. Keep your heads in the clouds and your feet on the trail, and we’ll all join up on the flip side for another lap around old Sol.