Archive for the ‘Bloggery’ Category

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.

The day after

November 23, 2018

Chicken cacciatore as envisioned by Emeril Lagasse, a gent of Canuck-Portagee extraction but a Cajun by temperament.

As is often the case, Turkey Day was not turkey day at El Rancho Pendejo.

Longtime inmates of the asylum will recall that we generally cook something other than the usual on Thanksgiving, and yesterday was no exception.

I went with a pairing from our greatest hits — chicken cacciatore a la Emeril and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame from Martha Rose Shulman — while Herself contributed a delicious apple crisp from Diane Kester via Allrecipes using local apples supplied by a colleague.

As I rooted through Thanksgivings past it struck me that this iteration of the Dog Blog recently reached its 10-year anniversary. As hard as it may be to believe, it was in 2008 that we shifted over from the old self-hosted WordPress model so that all y’all could contribute comments, and those comments have been part of what makes the place hop.

Anyway, while I was zipping around and about in the Wayback Machine, and just ’cause I could, I snatched up 10 years’ worth of Thanksgiving posts for your amusement, a little waddle down the Memory Lane Buffet. Grab a tray, click the link, and help yourselves.

Get your moldy-oldie Thanksgivings right here.

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.

‘I’m not dead yet. …’

March 27, 2018

Sixty-four, Bog help us all. The lyric “When I get older, losing my hair / Many years from now” no longer applies.

I’m not that handy mending a fuse, and Herself doesn’t knit sweaters by the fireside. Still, just last Saturday we were doing the garden, digging the weeds. Who could ask for more?

The 64km birthday ride is going to have to wait, though. The weather appears to be taking a turn for the worse. If I’m lucky I may be able to manage 64 minutes of running before the rain comes.

En pointe

January 9, 2018

Let’s dance.

Blogging is a sort of ballet, a piece of performance art originally done largely by amateurs.

But what if you don’t feel like keeping yourself on your toes?

Happily for me, I have you to keep me hopping. But my man Hal Walter has a smaller, less boisterous audience over at Hardscrabble Times, and he’s been wondering whether the game is worth the candle.

We have similar professional backgrounds, Hal and I. And we both dove headlong into the so-called “gig economy” long before it was cool and as a consequence have wives who outearn us six ways from Sunday.

But we find ourselves in wildly different situations at the moment.

Hal rattles around the rarified boondocks of Crusty County, Colo., whilst I reside in the tony suburbs of the Duke City. Hal keeps burros; I keep cats and what Herself claims is a dog. Hal mostly runs, and occasionally rides; I do it the other way around.

And Hal has an autistic son, while I do not.

That may be the kicker right there. A kid “on the spectrum” can be a real time-suck, and something of an unexpected and ongoing expense, and so Hal naturally feels compelled to devote the bulk of his attention to (a) his son, and (2) feeding the beast that dollars up fastest on the hoof.

This would not be his blog, in case you were wondering.

I hate to see it lying fallow, and say so now and again. But Hal replies that feeding the beast and shoveling up the mess afterward turns his brain to mush and leaves him with little left to say for free at Hardscrabble Times.

Where little is said, there are few to listen, and if the house is full of empty seats when the lights come up, well, shit, why bother to put on your red shoes and dance the blues?

So here’s my question: What brings you to a blog like mine or Hal’s? How many of these shops do you visit while making your daily rounds and what do they have on tap? Is it all about the words or do some folks do compelling photos, audio and video as well?

And if you like something you see on this blog or any other, do you comment, and then spread the word elsewhere?

Holler back at me in comments.

A new dawn

August 18, 2017

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Thanks to everyone for chiming in with their thoughts about El Bloggeroo, as we say down here south of the border.

I particularly liked Herb’s notion of going 30 days without a post mentioning … well, you know. That guy.

So, let’s! Starting today. For the next 30 days, anyone craves the latest news, analysis and commentary on that particular topic will have to look elsewhere while we air out the joint. Smells like bronzer and Coca-Cola in here.

 

Bear with me

August 16, 2017

It’s all downhill from here. That itty bitty green stripe in the distance is the bosque.

More distraction: Sick of being a spectator at our latest national disaster, I hightailed it to the hills yesterday.

It was a short ride, just 25 miles, but a hilly one, meandering up and down the foothills streets before tackling the star of the show, the short, steep climb to La Cueva picnic grounds.

There’s bears in them thar hills.

The road surface is what we like to call “heavy,” which is to say the chip-seal is mostly thick tar and old boulders. But the views are pretty damn’ fine and well worth the effort to get there.

School having started, there was mostly no one at La Cueva but me. One young gent, who was backpacking his kid up and down the trails, said he was maintaining a wildlife camera up there. He’s getting plenty of bear pix, but no cougars. Might check the bars down by the university, I thought.

The lack of cougars aside, it was nice to take a break from that ruptured sewer line disguised as the news that leads to my MacBook, and thence to the overworked leach field in my head.

And speaking of news, let’s: I can write all day long about the walking, talking Superfund site farting Mickey D’s into the ordinarily rarified atmosphere of the Oval Office like some malignant tuba, but you folks can get better, smarter stuff elsewhere, and plenty of it, too. I’m starting to feel as though we already enjoy an overabundance of words on this topic and rather than picking the scab over and over again we might be better served by taking action to resolve the problem.

So what do you come here for? Politics? Bike stuff? General yuks? Filthy language? Pet pix? Let me know your preferences in comments. But do keep in mind that it’s my shop, and I’m likely to stock many of my favorite products no matter what the customers crave.

Bug music

July 15, 2017

Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.

Blogging is like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to do it, even after an extended break, but the longer you give it a miss, the less inclined you are to get back after it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of bad noise out there lately, and I’ve had to direct a fair amount of my own in other directions, so the bloggery has suffered. Appy polly loggies, droogies.

We watched Ron Howard’s 2016 Beatles documentary on Hulu the past two evenings (made a miniseries of it, we did) and while no new ground was broken, it was a fresh reminder of how quickly the lads got tired of being The Beatles.

I can dig it, as I occasionally get tired of being me, and without nearly the amount of pressure The Beatles endured. There’s a lot less screaming when I get down to work, is what I’m saying. Unless you count the racket coming from Your ‘Umble Narrator, that is.

Anyway, today I have declared a Beatlethon. We kicked off with “Abbey Road,” followed by “Revolver,” and at the moment “Rubber Soul” is blasting out of the stereo. On deck: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” followed by “The Beatles,” a.k.a. The White Album.

We may or may not get to “Let It Be.” I may just let it be.