Archive for the ‘I knew only confusion’ Category

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

Old dog, no tricks

December 18, 2017

Forward, into the past: Riding 26-inch wheels with a suspension fork.

Yesterday I had occasion to remind myself what an utterly incompetent mountain biker I am.

A neighbor mentioned that he’d been riding his mountain bike during the recent cool spell and asked if I’d be interested in joining him, so out of an abundance of caution I lubed up the 1995 DBR Axis TT and took it out for a short trial spin on the singletrack around the Embudo dam.

Hitting the trails on a Sunday afternoon is almost always a bad idea, but my neighbor wanted to ride today, and I hadn’t experienced the old dust-buster with its 26-inch wheels, eight-speed XT/Sachs/SRAM drivetrain, and RockShox Judy SL fork in quite a spell.

After a few klicks I was reminded of why. The wheels are too small, the top tube is too long, and I find suspension confusing, like Australopithecus confronting an ATM.

In short, I was blundering along like a Republican under an FBI grilling, and it didn’t help that the trails were filled to overflowing with hikers, bikers, dog-walkers and dog-runners on bikes. I want to be funny for reasons of my own choosing, especially if there is an audience.

So if the neighbor and I make it out today I’ll probably ride my Voodoo Nakisi MonsterCrosser®, which shares a comforting rigidity with its owner-operator.

Speaking of me, I ain’t going anywhere. It seems a few of you took yesterday’s post to mean I was surrendering the blog. Nope. It was the “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that got put down, not this old hound, which remains very much at large. Thus you may expect me to continue barking to no particular purpose in this space for the foreseeable future.

You can’t spell ‘harass’ without ‘ass’

November 19, 2017

The Mud Stud is not exactly the most enlightened of males. In fact, he’s a pretty dim bulb on most matters.

Some of the lads wandered a bit off topic in the previous post, toward the cascade of revelations about just how many of us appear to be dicks.

The sheer number of recent revelations feels overwhelming, until you consider how long women have been enduring a thumping of one kind or another.

In this country women didn’t get the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 (it was Tennessee, presently home to Herself the Elder and Herself’s younger sister, that tipped the scale).

Inequities remained and continued, of course. Today, women still earn less than men. Forbes says the Fortune 500 has more women CEOs than ever before, but that’s not saying much (32). Women hold just 8 percent of the top corporate spots in the U.S., according to CNBC.

In government, we find all of 21 women in the Senate and 84 in the House.

And of course, if you’re talking about simple condescension, or a good old-fashioned beatdown, men have the edge there too.

Then there’s sexual harassment.

I’m willing to bet that we all know at least one person who’s been the unwilling target of unwanted attention. In my newspaper days I knew two people — one woman, one man — who were stalked by their supervisors. To management’s credit, both perpetrators were disciplined, one by a swift sacking.

These creeps were creating toxic environments for at least two employees and had to go. But newsrooms, like cop shops, are rough-and-rowdy places, with an us-against-them atmosphere, frequent booze-addled socializing outside the workplace, and a lot of raw language. Plenty of torrid romances bloomed — editors with reporters, reporters with photographers, and ad salespersons with their clients.

And of course the publisher was boinking all of us.

So where do we draw the lines between acceptable, frisky, risky and abusive behavior, especially at the workplace? What merits a “Oh, go fuck yourself, Ed, you’re drunk” and what mandates a pink slip?

I look at Al Franken and I see a comedian who made a stupid joke. I look at King Donald the Short-fingered and I see a self-confessed serial abuser. Plenty of built-in bias in that evaluation, to be sure, but there it is.

Am I wrong? If so, what’s right? I’m particularly interested in hearing from the women in the audience on this one, because I’ve never been sexually harassed, on the job or anywhere else.

Unless you count the time the giant African-American crossdresser in the red miniskirt hooted at me as I was cycling through Denver’s Cheesman Park back in the Eighties.

“Oh, honey, let me ride it, let me ride it!” s/he squealed. I don’t think s/he was talking about my bike.

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?

 

My brain hurts

June 24, 2016

Clearly, the Universe is hellbent on putting satirists out of business.

First, the Brits tell the EU to go pound sand.

Second, Floyd Landis will be fronting a whacky-tobacky enterprise, dubbed “Floyd’s of Leadville.” Cheech and Chong must be shittin’ themselves. I guess someone else already cornered the whiskey, beer and synthetic-testosterone market. (Pro tip: Never get high on your own supply, Floyd old scout.)

Third, Comrade Eeyore says he’ll vote for The Hilldebeast. Bernie Bros everywhere ring up Floyd.

My brain hurts.

Chaos theory

August 14, 2013

“Out of order, chaos.”

That phrase rumbling through my skull woke me up way too early this morning. Naturally, I thought it a bit of profundity, the Universe addressing me while I slept.

“Remember this,” I instructed myself, and went back to sleep.

I remembered. And this morning the first thing I did (after getting coffee, of course) was to give a good hard twist on Mr. Google’s decoder ring, hoping to find out what the hell the Universe was talking about.

Well, it appears that the Universe was having me on, as usual. Seems my snoozing cerebrum had managed to flip a quote from an NPR story I heard yesterday about one of two female Type 1 incident wildfire commanders, the first to attain that lofty rank.

“Think of us as 911,” Jeanne Pincha-Tulley said. “We’re really good at taking chaos and making order out of it. We’re used to taking complicated and making it work.”

Leave it to a so-called journalist to (a) get the quote wrong, and (2) come down squarely on the side of chaos over order.

• Editor’s note: This is my 1,200th post on this free WordPress blog, which in a dreamscape ruled by chaos means absolutely nothing.

All the news that fits, we print (part three)

December 2, 2012

While I was focused on the sale of our “local” daily newspaper to yet another out-of-town right-winger I overlooked reports that the owner of Velo magazine and VeloNews.com, Competitor Group Inc., has likewise been sold — to another venture-capital outfit, Calera Capital.

As with the sale of the Gazette to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, I know nothing about what this may mean for Velo/VeloNews.com’s readers and advertisers. Based on a casual glance at its website, Calera, like Anschutz, appears to have a wide range of financial interests, from banking to forest products to truck stops. Unlike Anschutz, it appears to have had no interest or involvement in media prior to this purchase.

The reports remain unconfirmed by corporate spokescreatures, save for one anonymous insider who told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that “it’s a done deal. …”

More as (or if) I hear it.