Archive for the ‘Bloggery’ Category

‘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.

Back to business

January 23, 2017
The Turk contemplates the New World Ordure.

The Turk contemplates the New World Ordure.

Thanks to one and all for minding the store in my absence. Turns out I needed more than a day off, so I took the weekend.

Herself’s friend Leslie popped round from Colorado and the two of them joined the women’s march in Santa Fe (sorry they missed you, Khal and Meena).

Me, I stayed home, with The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Albuquerque Journal, Twitter, Mother Jones, The Nation, Charles P. Pierce and the blog all held in abeyance.

I listened to a lot of music — Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Miles Davis, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven — sat zazen, went for a run, read some poetry and a bit of E.B. White, oversaw the menagerie, scribbled a bit of paying copy.

More later as I ease back into the routine.

Ass, grass or gas: Nobody rides for free

November 9, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when I start ringing up editors to inquire whether come the new year they will keep flinging good money after bad by continuing to accept contributions from Your Humble Narrator.

This process always involves a bit of give and take — the editor explains what s/he wishes to take from me, and I tell the editor where and how I plan to give it. A good old time is had by all, often at the top of our lungs, and before long the spreadsheets, knuckle-dusters and restraining orders are set aside and we all go back to earning our meager livings.

bite-meAnd meager is all I ask. My needs are simple, not unlike myself, and I retain no illusions about the freelance rumormonger’s position on our long list of must-have items in the 21st century. (Hint: It’s more than a couple of folds down from the top of the page.)

Today, there is no more writing, illustration or photography — it’s all “content,” and a smart fella can get that anywhere.

Just ask Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and Innertubez gazillionaire. Now one of the guiding lights behind a newish venture, Medium, Williams has moved beyond the 140-character limit in search of “thoughtful, longer-form writing,” says Matt Richtel of The New York Times.

Well, not all that far, perhaps. To be sure, Williams wants more characters for his new enterprise, but he’s offering the same level of compensation — to wit, nothing. Writes Richtel, 745 words into this paean to long-form work: “A few writers are paid, with their work solicited by a small editing team, but most are not.”

Do tell.

Medium employs some 40 folks; I assume that they are taking home paychecks, though being an Innertubez gazillionaire, Williams — whose personal fortune recently ballooned by nearly $2.5 billion, thanks to his 10.5 percent share of Twitter — may not require anything so mundane as compensation for whatever it is that he does.

Well, I do, and thus you should not expect to see my byline over at Medium anytime soon.

I don’t object to writing for free. In fact, I’ve done and continue to do plenty of it.  I kept a journal for a decade or so; covered cycling for free at The New Mexican (where I was paid for editing) just to get it in the paper; and have been blogging gratis for longer than I can prove (the archives back at the old home place date to 1992).

But it seems Williams is after something a little deeper than the product of a guy who is interested primarily in keeping the old editorial muscles loose by jotting down whatever comes to mind, just for the hell of it, without interference from editors, publishers or advertisers. Though precisely what that something is, the story never quite says.

There is chin music aplenty, however. Long form. Rationality. Nourishment. Holistic. The one thing that seems certain is that whatever it is that Williams wants to sell, he is not willing to buy.

Sounds irrational to me, even assholistic. Hey, yo, Williams! I got your long-form nourishment right here, pal.

We’ll be right back after this word from. …

April 27, 2013

A couple of you were wondering whether I had recently added advertising to the old blog. Nope. It’s still purely a labor of love on this end.

But it appears WordPress does, and I finally saw one of them myself last night when I checked the blog via iPad.

I had forgotten that WordPress reserves the right to ad-slap us now and then. The service is free, after all, so I’m not inclined to complain — and happily, there is an easy workaround. All I need to do is send the wizards a few drachmas and they’ll leave us be.

Meanwhile, it was 70-something here today and I sallied forth on the Jones for another get-acquainted session, this time taking in a few smallish hills. You’ll be pleased to learn that gravity is still in session, along with its opposite, comedy.

And boy, do those big wheels like to roll downhill. I could have parked my dogs on the bars, laced my hands behind my head, leaned back and enjoyed a bit of shuteye.

The morning after

November 7, 2012

After a late night and far too little sleep I had to get cracking on paying chores this morning, so I’ve been unable to crack wise about the abject failure of the Elefinks to accomplish much of anything in Election 2012 beyond spending other people’s money.

Look for snark to resume sometime this afternoon or evening. And thanks for playing.

Forward, into the past

November 20, 2011

It’s been 20 years since I had the traditional five-day, 40-hours-per-week job, and as those of you still manacled to same at wrists and ankles might expect I don’t miss it.

I quit for a reason. More than one, actually. Walking out of The New Mexican for the final time felt like taking one of those endless beer leaks after a long ride in an old truck on a bumpy road. Total relief.

O'Grady at The New Mexican

I don't recall which job I held at The New Mexican when this mugshot was taken — I went from copy editor to assistant sports editor to assistant feature editor to feature editor in less time than it takes to say, "Why the hell am I still working here?"

To be sure, there are (or were) perks — health insurance, 401(k), two days a week off, sick leave, paid vacation and The Company buys your gear and puts a roof over your workaday head. But otherwise it pretty much sucks. I know, because during most of my 15 years as a newspaperman I was keeping a journal — you know, sort of an analog blog that nobody else gets to read.

So, having hard evidence that doing journalism eight hours a day, five days a week is like volunteering to get a daily pepper-spraying from Lt. John Pike, why in hell would I agree to go back to it? Especially considering that this time around, I don’t even get the perks because I’m an independent contractor and hellbent on remaining one?

Larry’s wife knows the answer. As for me, I’ll just note that when lost both senior editor Charles Pelkey (involuntary retirement) and web editor Steve Frothingham (fled like a rat out of an aqueduct back to a former employer, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News), there was nobody left to ladle sludge out of the old VeloBarrel and onto the readers’ titanium-and-carbon-fiber plates save Your Humble Narrator (and Lennard Zinn’s daughter Emily, who recently clambered aboard as a part-timer).

So when The Company came a-callin’, I picked up the phone, even though we have Caller ID.

Call it equal parts stupidity (“Well, shit, someone has to do it,” a knee-jerk reaction common to journalists) and avidity (“There’s a pink slip out there somewhere with my name on it and I’d better start stockpiling fiat currency if only to save money on toilet paper.”)

All this is the long way around to telling you that if you see anything outrageously defective on from Saturday morning to Wednesday afternoon during the next month or so, while The Company shops for iEditor 4.0, you’ll know whom to blame.

And if the bloggery gets a little thin around here, well — you’ll know whom to blame for that, too.