Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

‘Welcome to Albuquerque’

February 14, 2022

The Sandias as seen from Juniper Hill Road NE.
Not pictured: reckless motorist or knife-wielding maniac.

Boy, the folks at Visit Albuquerque must hate seeing Simon Romero’s byline in The New York Times.

Unless they all got shanked by the Psycho on the Bike-o.

Just another weekend on the mean streets of The Duck! City.

Macintoast

February 5, 2022

Macintoast, yum yum eatum up.

Progress marches on, towing me along behind it like a water skier who refuses to leave shore. You can practically hear the skis dragging across the lakeside gravel.

I’ve been noticing various hitches in the gitalong of my 15-inch 2014 MacBook Pro, which is the workhorse here at El Rancho Pendejo (“Your Gateway to Giggle City!”).

And as usual, the problem lies not with me, but with everybody else.

WordPress, The Washington Post, Esquire, and other stops along my daily dawdle all have been pissing on me from their considerable technological height, proclaiming that the MacBook’s 5-year-old OS (High Sierra, 10.13.6) and equally antiquated browser (Safari 13.1.2) are so 15 minutes ago, which as sayings go is likewise about as au courant as “Twenty-three skiddoo!”

It finally became so irksome that I felt compelled to take hold. WaPo and Chazbo Pierce’s site had both gotten as creaky as a geezer’s knees in February. And WordPress wouldn’t even let me swap headers on the blog, which is pretty basic stuff.

In a support chat I could sense the Happiness Engineer’s forehead bouncing rhythmically off the keyboard.

“Safari 13 is several versions behind the latest versions so I suspect that may be what is causing the issue,” s/he typed. “I would recommend that you try to access the site through a different browser such as Chrome if you’re not ready or able to update the Macs yet for whatever reason.”

Well, sheeyit. High Sierra is as good as it gets around here, Scooter. It’s on everything newer than mid-2012. And Google is evil no matter what they claim to be.

Still, it is winter, and I am retired, and also slightly bored. So I decided to do a little tinkering.

Not on the Main Machine, mind you. My testing bench would be the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro, the ’Book I use for road trips if I’m sleeping indoors. The 11-inch 2012 MacBook Air gets the callup if I’m tenting it.

First I paid a visit to my old buddy Mozilla, and hey presto, Firefox 96.0.3 works like a charm. But Firefox is awful needy — “Can I be your default browser? Please? Pleasepleaseplease?” — so I thought what the hell, let’s just bump the OS up a notch, see what happens. Can’t sing, can’t dance, too fat to fly.

I’ve been hinky about this shit ever since a long jump from Snow Leopard to Mavericks gave my 2009 iMac a brain bleed. But High Sierra to Mojave is only one little hop, just a year between releases. So I gave the boot drive a once-over with Disk Utility, downloaded a fresh copy of Mojave, and let ’er buck.

And so far, so good (knocking on wood). The 13-incher is my kitchen Mac when I’m not on the road, because I don’t like sitting down first thing, and anyway I have coffee to brew, breakfast to make. And as you see, all is smooth like Irish butter on homemade bread.

Rise and shine

November 7, 2021

Time for coffee.

Fall back. As in, fall back into bed for another hour.

Or, you can just not get up. Which is what I did.

Herself arose as per usual. Miss Mia Sopaipilla doesn’t know from time changes, and she will parade up and down the hall giving out with “Reveille” until someone — almost always Herself — gets up, marches into the kitchen, and pours some chow into her bowl.

I’m not a morning person, no matter what time it is. I like this bed. I paid for half of it, and I’m gonna get my money’s worth, thank you very much.

As long as someone feeds the cat. Jesus. Sounds like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Louie Gohmert doing the nasty out there.

Not so hot

November 5, 2021

The wisteria is calling it quits for the year.

The mornings are brisk around here lately. Upon arising I find myself compelled to don pants. This will not do, not at all.

This is one of the few downsides of living snuggled up to the Sandias. Come fall the sun doesn’t peek over the mountains and through the trees until 9:30 or later, which causes Miss Mia Sopaipilla to burn the early morning hours hunting a toasty napping place that does not yet exist as such.

Here comes the sun. “About time,” grouses Mia.

The geezers I ride with a couple days a week likewise search for that sweet sunny spot. There has been some debate as to whether rides should continue to begin 9-ish or be delayed a tad to minimize the need for extensive layering.

It’s not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature swing in the course of a 90-minute morning outing, which fills the jersey pockets to overflowing with wind jackets, arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, skullcaps and whatnot. Jersey zippers rise and fall with the terrain.

Our location here, at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the shadow of the foothills, often causes me to believe it’s colder outdoors than it really is. Yesterday I rode the Jones south on the foothills trails and inside 10 minutes I knew I was ridiculously overdressed. Nevertheless I persisted, because there wasn’t much I could do about the long-sleeved jersey and I didn’t stuff any short-fingered gloves into a pocket before leaving.

I found myself riding with a distinct lack of competence, confidence, style, and grace, dabbing on pretty much everything that wasn’t a nice flat sandy patch, and swearing a lot. After a series of miscues on mild obstacles I lost my mojo entirely and tried to focus on simply avoiding injury. This was nearly as irksome as wearing pants in the morning.

After an hour of embarrassing myself I called it quits and headed for home. I should probably get back out there right now and seek redemption.  But I’m thinking about dialing it down to a road ride. Maybe I should wait until we fall back before I fall off.

MacArthur, parked

September 28, 2021

Pitter-patter on the patio.

Huh? Whuh? Rain?

Sheeeeeyit, it must be autumn for reals.

Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.

The weather widget says 64° at 2 in the peeyem, which is quite a departure from the usual around these parts at that time of day.

It makes for fine napping weather if you have the time for that sort of thing, which Miss Sopaipilla does.

What the hell? She wasn’t expecting a congratulatory phone call from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and neither was I.

Shit. I should’ve taken a nap too. No wonder I keep missing out on the genius grants.

 

Something might be gaining on you

September 11, 2021

It’s been a long, long road.

While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and the dying.Erich Maria Remarque, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

I didn’t have much to say on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and a decade further on down the road I feel even less inclined to hold forth on the topic. A bunch of people got dead, maimed, or insane; another bunch got rich, famous, and powerful; and the rest of us went shopping.

Did we learn anything from the attacks and what Charlie Pierce calls “our blind, feral response?” Doubtful. We check the rear view every 10 years or so, but that’s just reflexive, like glancing at a TV as you pass.

Anything good on? Nahhhhhhh. Same ol’, same ol’. Hey, who wants to go to the mall?

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.