Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

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.

Sucking the mop

June 15, 2020

Richard Pryor didn’t much like Chevy Chase, and he probably wasn’t fond of the rest of us honky-honkies either.

Anyone besides me find it ironic that black Americans have taken on yet another shit job — cleaning up the mess that white folks have made of this country?

The place is definitely a fixer-upper. Not exactly that “shining city upon a hill” that ol’ Death Valley Dutch babbled about as he rode off into the sunset. Even the neighborhood slumlords are giving it the side-eye, grumbling about property values.

Plus the people who wrecked it are still living in it. Hell, they still own it. Stripping the dump like a chop shop parting out a hot car, too. Selling everything, furniture to appliances, bathroom fixtures to copper wire. You want to watch your step when they start pulling up the hardwood floors. Take a header into the basement en route to mopping the crapper and they’ll sic the dogs on you for trespassing.

I was a janitor a couple times. Once after breaking a window in my junior high school, and again after dropping out of college. Spend a little time cleaning up after entitled white folks and you will get good and tired of them and their bullshit, even if you’re entitled white folks yourself.

Thing is, entitled white folks who are pretend hippies playing janitor can always go back to college. Get a haircut and a career. Drop back in, start being part of the problem again.

It’s harder to quit being black, though. Or so I’ve heard.

For quite a while now I’ve been trying to write something thoughtful about the ongoing upheaval, but as entitled white folks I don’t feel qualified. Plus, as regulars here know, I was not, am not, and never will be smart.

As a sprout I was so dumb that I bought the whole “E pluribus unum” bit, all that melting-pot hogwash. Never noticed the asterisk referring to the fine print (*Whites only). It took a good long while for me to realize that a lot of the folks stoking the fire, washing the pot, and mopping the deck had to come and go by the back door while I was digging their music up front.

I didn’t even figure out that my old man was a racist until I was in high school. This is either a testament to his efforts to conceal his bias for fear of passing it on to us kids or more evidence that I was a self-absorbed little prick who didn’t notice much outside the confines of his own skull.

Eventually I caught on, though. And I suppose this means that anybody can, given enough time and patience.

But corporate America’s mad dash to “woke” marketing notwithstanding, it seems to me that white Americans are running out of the former, while black Americans have long since exhausted their supply of the latter. They haven’t given up on the place, the way so many of us have, but this time they’re not just cleaning it up for the white folks.

Just ask Charles M. Blow at The New York Times:

It is exhausting and infuriating and maddening to be forced to fight, always, for what for others is free. It enrages, when you realize that you’re still fighting the same fight that your parents fought, and that their parents fought.

It is an everyday struggle to neither fall into despair nor explode in anger.

So, these people are in the streets, having their moment and having their say. And America would do well to listen and not try to silence them or soothe them.

In fact, America listening and responding to these protests, respecting them, is one of the healthiest things the country can do, because as protester Kimberly Latrice Jones said at the end of her viral video, “They are lucky that what black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.”

• Extra-Credit Bonus Reading: Jon Stewart has popped back up to say a few smart things, and just in time, too. He’s written and directed a film, “Irresistible,” which debuts on June 26. But in his chat with David Marchese at The New York Times Magazine, he talks about much more than that.

Ride or hide?

March 19, 2020

The Soma Double Cross in townie configuration.

Larry and Pat O’B have been discussing the merits of forgoing outdoor cycling for the moment.

There is some merit to the idea of giving it a miss, especially in Italy, where the toll has been particularly fierce and the authorities want everyone indoors save for brief food-gathering expeditions and other critical tasks.

That sort of lockdown has yet to come to Albuquerque. And I’ve been hobbled for nearly a month. So naturally I’m itching to ride.

But. …

Yesterday I walked for a half-hour, covering a little more than a mile, and that felt nice too.

So, I’m thinking that despite what you see on social-distance media about cycling being The Next Big Thing® (always with TNBT®, our people), it might be politic to ride the trainer indoors and save the outdoor cycling for business trips. Like, say, rides to the grocery.

It’s good PR. And it comes with a couple of side benefits.

One, unless you’re me, you are unlikely to fall off your own two feet and become an unwelcome burden to an already-overtaxed medical-industrial complex.

And two, unless you own a cargo bike and a pair of thunder-thighs, it will curb the human impulse to hoard. The average Joe/Jane can only carry so much in a basket or a backpack.

Thoughts? Sound off in comments.

Going nowhere fast

October 19, 2019

The leaves are changing faster than what remains of Il Douche’s mind.

Ever been stuck in the mud, or the snow?

You get out of your rig to evaluate the situation, consider your options, and compute the probabilities. Eventually you arrive at a conclusion.

“Well, shit.”

Everyone else is motoring gaily along and yet here you are, mired to the hubs in a mess of your own making.

“Well, hell.”

And, no, I’m not talking about our national political quagmire, though, yeah, that too.

“Well, fuck.”

This was simply a matter of me taking my eye off the seasonal ball for a second, and suddenly, boom, here it is, half past October and I haven’t ventured beyond the city limits more than a couple of times all year.

Thus there was something of a piling on, envy-wise, this week.

Old Town Bike Shop’s John Crandall and his wife, Kathy, rolled through town on a short motor tour of the Southwest. The neighbors headed north for a weekend in Taos. And Herself, a confirmed non-camper, sallied forth with a friend to overnight with the Sierra Club at Chaco Culture National Historical Park before Il Douche’s pals decide to strip-mine, drill, or otherwise frack the place all to hell and gone.

“Well, goddamnit all anyway.”

This last was particularly irksome. The Chaco junket had come up in casual conversation some time back, but I have the memory of a Mac 128K and some data gets overwritten in fairly short order.

Suddenly the trip got scrawled on the calendar in the kitchen and I found myself pressed into service as quartermaster officer, furiously inspecting, rejecting, and selecting neglected bits of this, that and the other. Camp stoves and cookware; sleeping pads and bags; and various creature comforts of our modern age (the BioLite PowerLight is a charming little torch/lantern/charger combo, particularly so when paired with SiteLights.)

All for a trip that I was not taking.

You know how your dog looks at you when you’re loading up for a car trip? Imagine my expression as we muscled all this gear into the companion’s Honda CR-V. Things they thought they needed and things I thought they needed — including two bicycles, because of course they were taking bicycles too and there was no bike carrier on this auto.

Like Rufo’s little black box in Heinlein’s “Glory Road,” the thing had to be bigger on the inside than the outside. I should’ve taken a picture. Sardines in a can have more elbow room.

The spartan Camp Dog, featuring the North Face Expedition-25, at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2016.

I was not consulted as regards the tent, and when I caught a glimpse of the companion’s eight-person (!) tent in its sack, I knew immediately what Private Pyle’s body bag must have looked like. Especially if they stuffed Gunny Hartmann in there with him.

There was no time to dig out the old North Face Expedition-25 and provide instruction on setup and takedown, so I kept my lips zipped. But I’ll bet that cavernous sonofabitch got cold last night.

Me, I was toasty in the old king-size with a couple of unauthorized cats. Today is shaping up to be sunny and warm, and I have a new review bike to ride, a Cannondale Topstone 105.

But I’ll be riding it on the same old roads, and you what they say about familiarity.

 

A sinus of the times

April 21, 2018

“Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to have a Kleenex, would you?”

The local allergists must be making money hand over nose.

Between the wind and the drought my snout spent most of this week looking like an undercooked calzone. Or maybe it’s auditioning for the latest addition to the “Alien” canon in which the beast blasts out of its victims’ faces instead of their chests.

I have not sought medical attention for fear that the whitecoats would wish to keep me, to study. “Hm, maybe evolution is bullshit after all.” Instead I’ve been self-medicating with various pills and potions, irrigating the ol’ calzone with saline solution, and periodically steaming it like a pierogi.

Shit. Now I’m hungry for some reason. Maybe not.

Naturally, I’ve been trying to exercise through this, which is like drinking Sterno to quell that nasty ache in your liver. It’s not too bad while you’re barreling along, strafing buzzworms with snot rockets, getting the blood pumping, but back at the ranch it’s all Kleenex and Carmex, sniffling like a Trump capo getting done to a turn on Bob Mueller’s grill.

Night before last God decided He wanted to be John Bonham for a while and played the drum solo from “Moby Dick” on the neighborhood, all night long, using nothing but wind and whatever wasn’t solidly nailed down.

Cooler weather followed and thus I spent yesterday indoors, returning El Rancho Pendejo to a habitable state in anticipation of Herself’s triumphant return from a five-day confab in Virginia, because I know what’s good for me and an ass-whuppin’ isn’t it. God and John Bonham aren’t the only folks who know how to swing a stick.

Dognition

January 27, 2018

Laying down some hot tracks in the cerebral cortex. Or not.

No Bike Day at the Capitol for Your Humble Narrator. Instead, it’ll be Bike Day in Duke City.

Herself is slowly getting past that cold, though she still has a cough.  She’s made it to work the past couple of days, but is skipping her usual Saturday workout class, the way I’m skipping that trip to Fanta Se.

Goddamnit, he’s set up another checkpoint in the hallway.

Hoping to dodge contagion I’ve been kipping on the far side of our sprawling compound, which annoys Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), who is deeply suspicious of any departure from standard security protocols.

My practice has likewise been upended, and I’ve felt slightly off all week, even more so than usual. Not sick, but not biking, not blogging. Creatively constipated. Irritable. There’s sand in my oyster, but no pearl.

I’ve been trying to get some ignition in my cognition by fiddling with GarageBand, but can’t get any kind of rhythm going (rimshot).

OK, so that wasn’t bad. The oyster bit was OK, too. Maybe I’m on the road to recovery. If not, at least I can get out on the road. …