Archive for the ‘Bloggery’ Category

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.

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.