Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

Banzai, buckaroos

May 2, 2021

A letter from the January 1975 issue of National Lampoon, published after 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onada finally surrendered upon being relieved of duty by his former superior officer.

May. May? May. Jaysis.

Anybody prepared for May? Don’t look at me, Skeezix. Sure, there’s this whole spring fever/summer vacation vibe in the air. And I’ve had a double armful of Kindly Old Doc Pfizer’s Gen-U-Wine Bug Blaster.

But I can’t say I’m champing at the bit to embrace Society again.

Maybe I’m going to be like one of those Japanese soldiers who stayed bunkered up for a couple-three decades after World War II ended. Those dudes maintained focus.

“War’s over? Says who? The Emperor? Yeah, right. Keep digging, Shimada.”

Mondaze

April 19, 2021

The skies looked promising to the north.

Well, consarn it all to hell anyway, we did not get the promised rain turning to snow Saturday night, though it was gray and chilly around here until midafternoon Sunday.

El Rancho Pendejo stays deceptively cool on a cloudy day, so by the time we’d finished our chores and stepped out for a bit of exercise, we found ourselves dressed for conditions that no longer prevailed.

“We could’ve worn shorts,” Herself sez to me she sez as we jogged up a short hill. And she did not lie. I was seriously overdressed, wearing pants, a hoodie over a T-shirt, and a ball cap. The hoodie came off fast. Smartwool glove liners that I stuffed into a back pocket before leaving stayed there.

Jogging upward through the cacti.

That was then. This morning the furnace clicked on promptly at 4 a.m., which is about when Miss Mia Sopaipilla decides breakfast should be served (“Meow. Meow? Meeeeeowwwwwww!”) Four hours later it just clicked on again. The furnace, not Miss Mia, who having enjoyed a delicious meal is napping cozily in the Situation Room.

More chores. For instance, coffee must be brewed, twice. Since our coffeemaker went south Herself uses the Chemex at Mia-thirty while I crank up the ancient Krups espresso machine an hour or so later. The last of the bread gets toasted. Old loafer bakes new loaf.

Out goes the trash and recycling for pickup. Brief yet cordial salutations are exchanged with neighbors and dogs. Something has shit in the cul-de-sac. Not a dog. Be on the lookout, etc.

As the temperature inches upward the lawn gets one of its twice-weekly drinks, which feels increasingly stupid with the Rio looking like a sand trap on the devil’s back nine. Time to help a landscaper make his truck payment? Probably. You don’t have to water rocks, or mow them, either.

Anyway, this old wasicu is too stove up to do a rain dance. The gods would just chuckle and avert their eyes.

“Hey, we told you to go to the desert, not to stay there. You get your wisdom and then you get the hell out. Who said anything about lawns, golf courses, and swimming pools? Not us, Bubba.”

Spring broken

March 1, 2021

There’s the signpost up ahead … you’re about to enter the McDowell Zone.

Can you be both stuck and unstuck, at the same time?

Dern tootin’, podnah.

Case in point: Last year, I had planned a March trip to McDowell Mountain Regional Park, to (a) get the hell out of here, and (2) get the hell out of here.

Well sir, God, He got wind of those plans and had Himself a good old hee, and also a haw. And the next thing you know I had a broken ankle, a dead cat, and a strongly worded suggestion from the State that I (and everyone else) stay put while the Plague sorted itself out.

So I was what you call stuck.

Now, a year later, we have a vaccine. And by “we,” I mean … well, what I mean is that there is a vaccine, and some other people have gotten it. But I haven’t. And I don’t know when I will get it.

Thus I am, you might say, unstuck. Which means I’m stuck.

Which in turn means that you get the needle. Because yes, yes, yes, it’s time for another medicinal 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: Once again we go to the Comedy Closet for this one, using a Shure MV7 mic and Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Music and sound effects courtesy of Zapsplat with an Apple loop or two from iMovie and GarageBand. House call by kindly old Doc Firesign. Now just turn your head and cough.

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.

A salty Dog

January 7, 2021

Avast, sunrise off the port bow!

This must be what it feels like to be in the brig after a failed mutiny. Or on deck and in the grip of an obsession, like a one-legged sailor chasing a white whale.

If it’s jail, we built the cells and hired the guards, who’ve been off playing pinochle somewhere, giving the inmates the run of the joint. The whale? Raised it from a pup.

How in hell does anybody get any work done? License plates stamped, kujira sushi rolled? After burning all of my daylight monitoring yesterday’s debacle via NYT and WaPo, trying and failing to finish a job that had nothing to do with a riot goin’ on down in cellblock No. 9 or going fish-fish-, fish-fish, fish-fish-fishin’, I finally threw in the towel and devoted myself entirely to the porthole.

We watched a few minutes of PBS NewsHour during dinner. Holy hell, has that wee beastie ever lost most of its teeth and talons.

Afterward I went back to NYT, watching “live” as the national legislature reconvened for its mutt-and-crowbait show. A few of them acted like they’d gotten the message, emphasis on “acted.” Others, mmm, not so much. Shut that shit off when Lindsey Graham was called to speak. Showered, didn’t feel any cleaner, went to bed anyway.

Woke up at 3. Herself finally bit the bullet and got up when Mia stormed the bedroom 4-ish. I managed to drift back into some interesting nightmares and finally crawled out of the sack around 6.

“Is he dead yet?” I sez to her I sez.

“Nope,” she sez to me she sez.

“Impeached?”

“Nope. Just beaten.”

Ho, ho, etc. He is not beaten. They are not beaten. Hey, screw, here’s your plate! Where’s my sushi?

Just farting around

November 13, 2020

The Big Fella must be letting Baby Jeebus fingerpaint again.

One thing about cycling in the desert — it’s tough to reacclimate to the chilly weather that even residents of the fabulous Duke City must endure from time to time.

Checking the training log yesterday I noticed that I’d been on foot a lot lately, either hiking or jogging (yes, I’ve started that back up again, in an extremely cautious, limited, and sissified fashion).

I seem to have a lot of bikes around here for some reason, so I thought I’d grab one and go for a spin as a change of pace. But what to wear?

All my kit is about a thousand years old, but at least there’s plenty of it, so sorting through the pile burns a bit of daylight, if there is any.

Old favorites included a long-sleeved Descente jersey that dates to the Nineties, some lightweight Pearl Izumi tights that are nearly as old, and a pair of threadbare Smartwool socks. Items from this millennium included bib shorts and a short-sleeved jersey, both from Voler; long-fingered Pearl Izumi gloves; a Sugoi tuque; and my Shimano SHXM700-S G Gore-Tex clodhoppers.

It was an imperfect ensemble, as per usual. In addition to looking as though I had just rolled out of a time machine I was underdressed for downhills and overdressed for climbs.

Still, it beat the mortal nuts out of hanging around the office awaiting dispatches like the one Herself just delivered, about how the White House staff has taken to burning incense in quantity to mask the nostril-searing stench of Il Douche’s fast-food-and-fear farts.

Three weeks

October 13, 2020

Miss Mia bags it. “Wake me when it’s over, or when it’s dinnertime, whichever comes first.”

Miss Mia Sopaipilla has the right idea here.

I was following her lead earlier this morning. Herself arose at stupid-thirty, as is her practice. I remained abed, head buried ostrichlike under the covers, hoping that if I just stayed under wraps for a while everything that annoyed me would go away.

Nope.

I got out of the sack three weeks too early. Give or take a couple months of lawyering.

Is it really three weeks until we get our next chance to roust this crime family? I’d give a healthy organ to see a “Cops”-style perp walk, with a disheveled Don Cornholio frog-marched to the paddywagon in guinea tee and cuffs. But this may prove elusive since La Hosa Nostra has spent the past three years and change packing the nation’s benches with capos, soldatos, and other reliable associates.

“It’s a fair cop, but society is to blame.”

“Right, we’ll arrest them instead.”

TGIFuhgedaboudit

October 3, 2020

Santa may not be squeezing his fat ass down my chimney at the moment, but with a sky that blue, who cares?

Some Fridays I send no thanks to God.

The press brays about another delivery of magic beans from the Orange House. My main MacBook Pro develops a bloat I can’t doctor and must be shipped off for emergency surgery. Sue Baroo the Fearsome Furster goes in for a radiator transplant. And WordPress shanghais me into its pain-in-the-ass block editor.

All this being said:

At least I don’t have to edit any bean-delivery stories for The Daily Disappointment-Fabricator. (“Just who says ‘he tested positive,’ anyway? Same guy who’s been lying about anything and everything since he was whelped?”)

I have a backup MacBook Pro. Not as powerful, but hey, at least it’s not swelling up like a poisoned Russian dissident.

The Furster is 15 going on 16. Of course she’s gonna have occasional meltdowns. They’re still cheaper than a monthly payment for the car I don’t want to buy anyway.

But WordPress? Fuck those guys. This block editor eats shit out of a hipster’s thrift-store fedora. It makes me want to run away from the news, my second-best MacBook, and my credit-card statement, and go for a nice long bike ride.

See ya.

Ash hole

September 8, 2020

The iPhone camera didn’t care for the conditions, and neither did we.

With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, we’re on the fast, winding descent to fall, the election, winter, The Fear, and the decline and fall of western civilization.

And now here’s Patrick with the weather!

We got a surprise visit from someone’s wildfire smoke last evening, probably Santa Fe’s. Though it could’ve come all the way from California or Colorado, where my sister reported from Fort Fun that clouds of noxious smoke from the Cameron Peak Fire turned day into night.

“We have also had lots of ash falling,” she added.

Here we got only smoke, which made the setting sun look like the devil’s fiery bunghole. The pic doesn’t begin to do it justice. It was as red as the business end of a plutocrat’s cigar as he’s telling you to clear out your desk and hit the bricks.

This morning the sky has an odd, flat, metallic sheen, and the Duke City is enjoying an air-quality alert, though we don’t have to cut it with a knife and chew 20 times before swallowing the way they do out to Californy. It must be tough to sell real estate when so much of it is floating around in the sky.

‘We’ll be right back after this message. …’

July 15, 2020

Down time.

The question very much not on everyone’s mind is: “Whatever happened to Radio Free Dogpatch?”

My little podcast was ticking along nicely there for a while, with episodes popping up semi-regularly since the first of the year.

Then the broken ankle took me down in February, and The Bug® put the boots to me in March.

And that, as they say, was that.

A podcast, even a low-rent, one-man, half-assed model like mine, takes time. Thought. Quiet.

It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.

All those things were suddenly in short supply when Herself joined me in working from home.

If any of you have been doing likewise in lockdown, you know the drill. Zoom meetings. Phone calls. Speakerphone calls, with voices that often fail to harmonize with the ones in my head. Skypeing. Messaging. Texting.

And it all starts at stupid-thirty, ’cause Herself is an early riser. By the time I crawl out of my coffin around 6-ish she’s already brewed the coffee and fed the cat, and is two-three phone calls into her day.

Which is rigorously planned. She has a List. Items will be checked off same or she will know the reason why. Any gaps that appear unexpectedly between chores will be filled with … more chores. Herself is a Tasmanian devil of relentless functionality and accomplishment.

Me? I just, y’know, kinda, like, fuck around, an’ shit. See what happens. If anything.

Ho, ho. Too bad for me. Her gig is the one that makes it rain around here. My contributions to the general fund have become a little less laughable since I started collecting Social Security in April, but next to her mighty fiscal Niagara my revenue stream remains the dribbling of a very old dog with prostate issues and a bladder stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

Shucks, the podcast never brought in a dime anyway. In fact, it sent dimes out, in the form of dollars. Many, many of them. An essential worker it is not. Like Adolf Twitler’s “presidency,” it is primarily a cash-burning vanity project.

So if anybody is going to STFU around here for a minute, or even for months, well … it’s gonna be Radio Free Dogpatch.

I take solace from learning that I’m not the only voice to develop a little situational laryngitis in The New Weird Order.

For instance, parents who podcast are finding it tough to get their Ira Glass on with herds of unschooled munchkins free-ranging around the home studio, according to Caroline Crampton of the “Hot Pod” newsletter (scroll down).

Writes Crampton: “[F]or those who work in audio and need to edit for long periods, or record links and tracking to the highest possible standard that the moment will allow, there’s the extra challenge of finding the space and quietness to do that.”

The short version, from one anonymous podcaster: “Take after take just gets nuked.”

(Insert sound effect of Trinity atomic blast here. Oh, wait, we’re doing text now, not audio. Never mind.)

Happily, my primary distraction is not a horrifically bored, runny-nosed, ankle-biting, boundary-testing expense that a dozen or so years down the road will call me a fleshist at my own dinner table for not pledging some of my hard-earned Imperial credits to the Robot Liberation Army. She’s an income-generating asset, and right now, too.

So if Herself screams “GRILLED CHEESE! GRILLED CHEESE!”, she’s gonna get some grilled fuckin’ cheese from yours truly. We call it a quesadilla around here, but still, whatever you wanna call it, she’s gonna get it.

Radio Free Dogpatch is not the new toilet paper. It may be in short supply, but that doesn’t mean the punters are throwing hands over it at Libsyn. If I have something to say, I can always slink off to where the old toilet paper is, close the door, and squeeze out a quick blog post.

And yes, I’ll turn on the ceiling fan and wash my hands afterward.