Archive for the ‘In the neighborhood’ Category

Going viral

March 24, 2020

The Menaul trailhead, shot from a social distance.

Beyond hoarding beans, buttwipe and bullets, people don’t seem to be taking The Bug seriously in these parts.

Or they didn’t on Sunday, anyway.

When Herself and I bicycled over to the Dark Tower to deliver some vino to Herself the Elder, we passed three trailhead parking lots that were jam-packed and overflowing onto neighboring streets.

Call me crazy, but this seemed like antisocial distancing to me, on a par with slow dancing in a burning building, the New Mexican equivalent of sunburned bro-brahs wearing bikini babes like earbuds during spring break in Florida.

Maybe the authorities were watching, too. Maybe our crowds were not out of the ordinary.

Because come Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham went on TV to lay down the law. Or the advisory, anyway.

The nut graf? Keep your distance, preferably behind closed doors.

“There are a lot of people out and about,” she said. “This creates risk. This creates exposure.”

The Piedra Lisa trailhead, which looked like the drop-off lane at an elementary school.

I created a few exposures myself with the old iPhone camera, and here they are, all shot from a proper social distance, if only to avoid an ass-kicking (“Hey, man, whatchoo taking pictures of, huh? You work for my old lady?”).

And when I got back to El Rancho Pendejo I created another podcast.

Yes, yes, yes — it’s a socially distant, viral 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: I recorded this episode with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic straight to the MacBook Pro, using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand. The background music is “Buddy,” an iMovie jingle. The other sound effects were liberated from the GarageBand loops library. And those musical references? The musicologists among you will be familiar with “Highway to Hell” (AC/DC); “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin); “Happy Trails” (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans); “Get It While You Can” (Janis Joplin); “The Last Waltz” (The Band); and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” (Johnny Cash). These are not necessarily the folks who wrote the music, but the ones who came to mind as I was writing the podcast.

Rebooted

March 11, 2020

If spring hasn’t quite sprung, well, it’s thinking about it.

It was a pretty pleasant morning yesterday in the Duke City, so I bit the bullet and ventured out for a short walk around the flattest parts of our neighborhood, which made it a very short walk indeed.

I did a bit with both crutches, and a bit with one, and a bit with none; chatted up a few neighbors who wished to plumb the depths of my stupidity; and finally headed back to the rancheroo for a spot of lunch.

Then I pulled off the Darth Gimp boot and its Vasque Clarion companion, leaned back in my chair, and put both dogs up on a footstool to rest awhile.

Just out of reach. Like a cat.

Not until I settled in and got comfortable did the smoke alarm go off.

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

Etc.

So I put on the Darth Gimp boot and its Vasque Clarion companion, levered myself out of the chair, crutched into the entryway … and it stopped.

“Turkish, are you fucking with me? I asked. The question seemed relevant, if a tad mystical.

For starters, as all cat people know, your cat will never assign you some vital task until you are settled in and comfortable.

Second, the night Turkish died, as Herself and I were settling into bed, and I rested my right hand on the spot where our big, big boy would usually lounge for a bit, the bathroom light suddenly turned itself on, and then off.

Now there was this. And it wasn’t lost on me that I had instructed that my old comrade’s remains be cremated.

I crutched into the kitchen for a fresh battery, because why the hell not, and the smoke detector started up again. So I returned with the battery and a small stepladder, and — praying there wasn’t a giant, pissed-off, blue-eyed spectral cat in a cloud of smoke up there somewhere  — made the swap without incident.

Turkish always liked the high spots.

 

I got some wild, wild life

February 21, 2020

“Take a picture, here in the daylight, oh oh.
They got some wild, wild life.”

Herself had buggered off to Florida for a bit of R&R, and Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Force) was in his quarters, decoding vital transmissions from HQ (which appear on the underside of his eyelids), when his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, bypassed the chain of command to inform me that we had a muj’ inside the wire.

Little fella — I know, I know, how binary of me — hung out for the better part of quite some time, touring the patio, napping under our bedroom window, and finally scooting up a backyard tree and into the arroyo.

Maybe his old lady was out of town too? Checkin’ in; checkin’ out, uh huh. I got a wild, wild life.

 

Meanwhile, in the Course of human events. …

July 20, 2019

“Don’t tread on me … especially with those knobby tires.”

Herself and I were out for our morning constitutional when we rolled up on this lollygagger here.

Gopher snake? Bullsnake? Beats me. I check for rattles, and if I don’t see any, I go all like, “Ooo, cool-lookin’ snake.”

This vagrant wasn’t loitering in a median, soliciting contributions, though the practice retains the usual protections, no matter what (or if) Trudy Jones thinks. And in fairly short order he (or she) had drawn quite a throng of admirers — two cyclists, a roofer, and a gent with two kids in his truck.

After a while, the roofer persuaded the snake — without resort to cops, courts, fines, or confinement — to abandon the right of way for safety’s sake. And we all — cyclists, family, roofer and reptile — went back to enjoying Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Badaboom, badabing

November 30, 2018

Maybe we need to get Mexico to build us a new Wall.
This American model isn’t getting the job done.

This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I could use a couple of bucks to tide me over until the end of the month.

 

What’s for breakfast?

November 20, 2018

Back In the Day®, when the cops decided to grab some shuteye during a shift, they called it “cooping.” But this Cooper’s hawk isn’t napping on the job. He’s up early and inspecting the menu from our backyard maple.

I saw this when I stepped out to shoot the sunrise this morning. Our bird feeders have become a bird feeder.

Winning: a meditation on the midterms

November 9, 2018

Remember how it feels to lose?

We ought to keep that in mind when we win.

The only people who should be dancing in the end zone are the cheerleaders. And they’d best be full of Gatorade, ’cause this game is only at halftime.

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another Friday Afternoon Club(bing) from Radio Free Dogpatch. But you won’t need the performance-enhancing drugs to get through this one. You’ve probably stayed clean through longer political ads.

“Democrats eat babies.” This one features a heavily Photoshopped image of a smiling Nancy Pelosi with a platter full of tiny arms and legs, a hammer-and-sickle bib, and barbecue sauce smeared over her lips.

“Republicans boink babies.” Well, we won’t need the Photoshop for this one.* But still, you get the idea, right?

* Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Comity only goes so far around here.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand. The background music is “Tiny Town” from ZapSplat, and the “National Emblem March” was performed by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band.

Bloomin’ marvelous

May 11, 2018

The daffodils and tulips have come and gone, and now it’s the irises’ turn.

The plant life hereabouts doesn’t seem to have gotten the word about our record heat and drought.

The roses on the back patio are doing as well as ever, and maybe better.

Roses are exploding on their trellis, the irises are going full tilt, and the lawn — well, it actually looks kind of like a lawn.

And those little green apples that God didn’t make? Well, somebody did. We’re gonna have a metric shit-ton of those inedible sonsabitches to contend with here directly.

Good thing we don’t have a Triffid. Judging by the way everything else is coming along, our little cinder-block wall sure wouldn’t restrict its movements any.

Nossir, that sucker would be striding around and about the Greater Comanche Foothills Yacht & Cricket Club, snatching up the neighbors and their pets, lowering property values, and making Republicans of the survivors.

Everything’s rosy

September 3, 2017

Winter may be coming, but it ain’t here yet.

We’re getting a burst of late roses here at El Rancho Pendejo. Red, pink, yellow. The works.

The four-day (!) Labor Day weekend has been a rousing success so far. Herself and I went for a short trail run on Friday. On Saturday she performed yoga while I did 90 minutes of hills on the Bianchi Zurigo. Afterward I burned a couple slabs of defunct bovine and served ’em up alongside some spinach fettuccine topped with smoked salmon and asparagus in a shallot cream sauce. Herself provided a refreshing green salad. Teevee was watched, and chocolate eaten.

Today there was more yoga and cycling (the latter on the Sam Hillborne, just rolling around eyeballing some of the top-shelf real estate over by the tram). Afterward the neighbors popped round with baskets full of homegrown goodness — tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers — that went nicely in a salad alongside the leftover moocow from yesterday, plus some mashed spuds. Also, and too, ice cream.

We are neither on fire nor under water, are unlikely to be deported, and there are no inbound missiles of which I am aware.

Is this the winning we’ve heard so much about? If not, why, then, it will have to do.

And now, it’s time for ‘Kiddie Korner’

December 4, 2016
When I was a kid it was all stuffed animals and special chairs. But the neighbor kid likes to play with Apple TV remotes, Magic Keyboards and mice.

When I was a kid it was all stuffed animals and special chairs. But the neighbor kid likes to play with Apple TV remotes, Magic Keyboards and mice.

The ‘hood is about to get a new resident. One of the neighbors is majorly preggers, as in due any second now, and since she and her husband already have one on the deck, Herself and I have become part of a small army of folks drafted into service as amateur anklebiter monitors in case the deal goes down in the wee small hours.

In loco parentis, as it were, with an emphasis on the “loco” part.

The one underfoot is a cute lil’ munchkin, freshly hatched when we first viewed the property that would become El Rancho Pendejo, and we’ve watched her go from wide-eyed newborn to astoundingly sentient being in two short years. She and mom pop round for regular visits, mostly so the kid can see Mister Boo and lay curious hands upon bits of technology that some careless person leaves lying around where pretty much anyone, no matter how short, can glom onto it.

In a couple months I expect she’ll be editing my columns, unless she gets distracted by her new little sister.

Elsewhere, my man Hal Walter is soliciting recommendations for a budget Windows laptop. His son, Harrison, is addicted to the game Minecraft, and I guess the PC world beats Apple at this sort of thing.

I know even less about Minecraft and Windows than I do about everything else, especially children and the care and feeding thereof, so if anyone out there has some suggestions for Hal, feel free to leave ’em in comments.