Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

Jailhouse rocks with turkey

March 11, 2017

I’m goin’ down. I’m goin’ down, down, down, down, down.

I’m still not very interested in what I have to say about anything, possibly because I just wrapped one deadline and am wrangling another.

Plus the weather has been, in a word, top notch (OK, so that’s two words, but you get the idea). So I’ve been spending a whole lot of my free time outdoors. Yesterday I ran in the morning and rode in the afternoon. Fat city, is what.

So while I slack, feel free to kick back and sing along with some of today’s greatest hits, unearthed between bouts of work and play.

• If You Don’t Have a Dime, Don’t Do the Crime: Deep-pockets offenders can buff the rough edges off their jailhouse stays in Southern California. Says a guy paying $100 a night for a 90-day stretch for driving while smacked (it was his third DUI): “I’m really happy I was able to come here. But you need the money to do it.” Everybody sing!

• Make America Gravel Again! The cash-strapped folks in Omaha City Hall have been “reclaiming” some crumbling roads — if your idea of reclamation involves helping them crumble all the way down to gravel to cut upkeep costs. Kids quit riding their bikes on one street after the asphalt was torn out, said one retiree living next to what is now a dirt road a block from a busy Starbucks. “During the summer, it’s just a dust bowl,” she said. Everybody sing!

• It’s Nobody’s Business But the Turks’. Seems Mike Flynn was working for two turkeys at once during last year’s pestilential election. Which one came first? Sounds like a turkey-and-egg tale, or maybe a porno. Everybody sing!

No foolin’

April 1, 2016
The 2009 iMac, resurrected (however temporarily) for service as a podcasting tool.

The 2009 iMac, resurrected (however temporarily) for service as a podcasting tool.

Consider this your shelter from the storm that is April Fool’s Day.

Here at Mad Dog Media we do the perpetual tee hee, 24/7 and 365. As George Carlin noted on “Carlin at Carnegie Hall”:

“I am a professional comedian. As opposed to the kind you see at work all day long.”

To be honest, it’s been something of a pro-am week here at Ye Olde Gagge Factorie. I had professional obligations to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, and despite being sidetracked by the death of one of my favorite authors I managed to, as we say out here in the West, “Git ‘er done.” It was not unlike shitting a full case of broken whiskey bottles.

During rest intervals I reacquainted myself with the ins and outs of podcasting. This was strictly amateur hour.

Longtime victims of the blog may recall that I’ve dabbled in audio a time or two, but it’s been a couple years since my last episode of Radio Free Dogpatch. I even pulled the link off the site. It felt like driving past the same shuttered storefront every day.

GarageBand '11, v6.0.5, had a dedicated "Podcast" option. The "improved" version, not so much.

GarageBand ’11, v6.0.5, had a dedicated “Podcast” option. The “improved” version, not so much.

I started out recording with Felt Tip’s Sound Studio, an application I got for free, I think, maybe with a hardware purchase from Other World Computing. Then I tried Audacity, another gratis bit of software, and finally moved over to Apple’s GarageBand, which I considered the least user-friendly of the three. But it comes with every Mac, so there you have it. And there was a dedicated “Podcast” selection in the startup menu, plus you could pull jingles and other sound effects out of the library it shared with iMovie.

Well, that’s all history. If anything GarageBand is even less user- and podcast-friendly than it was before. And I’m a couple years dumberer. So, yeah, there was a little bit of the wailing, the gnashing of teeth and the rending of the garments as we became reacquainted. It was like running into the smartypants kid from high school, the one you hated, and finding out that he had landed a job providing a service you needed.

Once I got back up to speed with recording myself as a solo act, I studied up on adding additional voices (and no, not the ones in my head).

The fun part was learning how to record a Skype call and import the audio into GarageBand. Any old scribbler has spent a fair amount of time recording phone interviews, but a painstaking transcription traditionally followed and the quotes gleaned thereby were worked into what we used to call “a story,” or “copy,” as in, “O’Grady, where the fuck is my copy? News editor has a two-inch hole on D42 and the slot man is drunk again.” Journalism 101, right there in the tar pits, next to the brontosaurus.

Here at the FutureFair a modern Bozo (or Bozoette) wants to add the actual audio from that chat to a podcast. It’s a breeze, thanks to the brainiacs at Ecamm. Their Call Recorder records both sides of the Skype call directly to your Mac, and a widget lets you split the recording into individual tracks. Another widget converts those files into mp3 and you drag them sumbitches into GarageBand for editing. It’s easier than slipping a fabricated quote past a drunk slot man.

Anyway, my man Hal Walter and I did a short test drive yesterday. The wheels didn’t fall off, and nothing exploded, so our next attempt will be an actual podcast. No foolin’. Don’t touch that dial.

 

Wild, wild life

September 29, 2015
That's what I call an ex-dove.

That’s what I call an ex-dove.

Between episodes of “Attack of the Booger Monster” it’s been National Fuckin’ Geographical lately around El Rancho Pendejo.

Yesterday afternoon I was slouched in the office, trying feebly to generate some paying copy with a skull full of Claritin-D 12 Hour, when I heard a bass thump! in the living room and assumed another dipshit dove had augured into the picture window by the cat tower.

It was a marvelous night for a moondance.

It was a marvelous night for a moondance.

Well, close. A falcon had chased a dove into the window and was sitting on the lawn, plucking the dumb sonofabitch like a harp, while the cats watched with professional curiosity. No photo of the raptor at work, alas; I went for a camera but he took off with his dinner before I could make a Kodak moment of it.

Then last evening I took a few snaps of the post-eclipse supermoon, having intercoursed the penguin the night before (check those ISO/f-stop settings, kids). We had a few shooting stars to keep Luna company when it was all red in the face, too. Quite the night.

Today I felt capable of a short bike ride for professional purposes — the reviews don’t slow down just ’cause I do — and afterward I treated myself to a second dose of green chile stew. I’m hoping it succeeds where the Irish penicillin failed. It’s a rare bug indeed that can withstand the one-two punch of chicken noodle soup and green chile stew.

 

System maintenance

November 16, 2014
Enchiladas de Herrera from El Bruno's on Fourth.

Enchiladas de Herrera from El Bruno’s on Fourth.

Downtime. Hasn’t been much of that sort of thing around here lately.

If you haven’t moved for a dozen years or so, it’s something of a shock to the system, like waking up in a strange room with the notion that you’ve been misbehaving again. The police may or may not consider you “a person of interest.” Nothing is where it should be — groceries, banking, your favorite ride.

Little disruptions abound. Walls without art, windows without shades, a wife with a job that no longer permits working from home three days a week.

Things need doing, and all of them take more time than they did back home. Just where the hell are the English muffins in this Bizarro World Whole Foods, anyway? Not where I’d put ’em, that’s for sure. The eyeball doc says Mister Boo needs another procedure? Put the English muffins back, we’re all gonna be eating dog food for a while. The city won’t pick up glass for recycling? No wonder the bike lanes are full of it.

Oh, the humanity. Caninity. Velocity. Whatever.

Then, suddenly, a pause for the cause. Nothing needs doing. Well, not right now, anyway. So there’s time for a short ‘cross-bike ride through the desert, a fiery platter of enchiladas de Herrera from El Bruno’s Restauranté y Cantina, and our millionth viewing of “Blazing Saddles” in honor of David Huddleston, a resident of Santa Fe.

How ’bout some more beans, Mister Taggart?

HTFU?

July 25, 2013
uisce beatha

There stands the glass. …

Outrage repeated ad infinitum is like an overlong intervals session. At some point you come up off the saddle and then sit right back down.

I’m not even in the saddle for the news about Stuart O’Grady and the rest of them from 1998. I’m back at the house, with the bike on its hook, and looking longingly at that unopened bottle of Bushmills in the kitchen. My performance-enhancer of choice for longer than I care to remember, even if I could.

So, instead of me struggling to gin up an anemic burstlet of apoplexy, how ’bout we take a trip down memory lane to August 2007, when “Friday’s Foaming Rant” still bestrode the narrow cycling world like a Colossus?

Postage due

April 17, 2013

Random observations on a snowy Wednesday:

• Sloth apparently has a genetic component. So, now, in addition to everything else, you can blame your parents for making you a lazy fat bastard.

• It doesn’t matter if you get shot by a loony. What matters is how many lawmakers might lose their jobs if even a watered-down bit of gun-control legislation were to pass Congress.

• Great idea, bad optics. I’m all for Denver making 2014 “the year of the bike,” having lived there for a few years that weren’t. But if you’re going to argue that bike-ped programs should be among your top budget priorities in a tough economy, it’s probably a good idea to not let a Denver Post scribe snap a staged photo that makes City Council look like a bunch of kids enjoying spring break on Mommy and Daddy’s dime.

• Seen descending a slushy Bibleburg hill: An Audi driver motoring one-handed with a cellphone clamped to her right ear. The very personification of the Angel of Death.

The worm turns (59)

March 28, 2013
"I'm HOW old?"

“I’m HOW old?”

“You’re 57, right?” my friend inquired.

“Hell no,” I replied. “Try 59. March 27, 1954.”

He didn’t believe me. Neither did I.

But it’s true — I turned 59 on Wednesday, the night of the Worm Moon, the first full moon of spring.

We didn’t make a big deal of it. Herself and I had already enjoyed our group birthday dinner out with friends. And anyway, 59 is kind of a bullshit birthday, don’t you think? I mean, it’s good to be on the right side of the lawn and all, but The Big One is a year off, and for that bad boy I want something special: a freshly cloned body to house my exquisitely twisted brain. Say, something in the mid-20s chronologically, as that’s about when I began to start showing the hard mileage.

That’s not to say I disliked my 30s, what I can remember of them. And hitting the “big” three-oh didn’t bug me at all. I got off work at The Pueblo Chieftain, had a quiet beer or two at the Irish Pub, and went home. I’ve gotten crazier than that on the job.

Forty I did not like for some unknown reason. There was a party. I was the pooper. That shit put a stop to the parties, I can tell you.

Fifty? Meh. The AARP gets you by the plums with a downhill pull and that’s that.

But 60? That’s gonna be the shiznit. You lot better start saving your pennies for my birthday body, as I expect the cloning procedure to be expensive, even with Obamacare. I’d like to have some hair in places other than my nostrils, ears and shoulders, maybe do without the vision correction, and be hung a little better, and ain’t none of that shit covered, not even for Democrats.

iBike 2012: Tools, not toys

September 26, 2012
2013 Bianchi Volpe

The venerable Bianchi Volpe gets another makeover for 2013, including a nifty powder-blue hue and retro decals.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — The times, how they do change.

Once upon a time my bicycle sprang from sound racing stock — first steel, then aluminum and finally carbon fiber and/or titanium — and the gearing was as manly as the showers at Paris-Roubaix. 52/42 and 12-21 constituted the standard until I moved to Santa Fe, where I was informed that 53/39 and 12-23 were better suited to the hillier terrain.

The fabled straight block came out for pan-flat time trials, of course, and for truly insane climbs one kept a cogset with a 25 or even a 27 handy.

Tires, naturally, were 700×25 — sewups for racing, clinchers for training — though I kept a pair of 28s around for one race that involved a half-dozen miles of dirt-road climbing, and for no good reason occasionally used 19s in a race against the clock.

But this was long ago, and that man is no longer with us.

Today if the bike is not steel it’s probably not mine. And the gearing — good Lord, the gearing! — has devolved to 46/34 and 12-28 on some machines. Two sport triple-ring cranks and mountain-bike rear derailleurs.

Tires likewise have ballooned. 700×28 is now a minimum rather than a maximum, and the max has gone all the way to 700×45, though the sweet spot lies somewhere between 32 and 38.

And the coup de grace? Racks and fenders. Got ’em on three bikes. Oh, the humanity.

There were lots of utilitarian machines like mine at this year’s Interbike show, from the likes of Co-Motion, Bruce Gordon, Yuba, Pashley, Velo-Orange, Bianchi, Opus, Volagi and others. And more companies are tooling up to hang useful bits on them, such as racks and fenders, panniers and trunks, bells and whistles.

What’s behind all this? Beats me. Maybe folks are sick of watching unrepentant dopers perform impossible feats on otherworldly machinery. Perhaps someone figured out that the Adventure Cycling Association has 45,000 members. And don’t forget Peak Oil — it might be nice to have something to ride to work when the last well starts farting dust.

All I know is, if this is a trend instead of a blip, I like it. A guy gets tired of staring up at lug nuts while inhaling a snootful of fragrant particulates.

Free at last

August 27, 2012

When a guy hasn’t had an actual job for 21 years, a long stretch of actual work comes as something of a shock to the system. I had a number of perfectly good reasons for quitting that last job, and “actual work” topped the podium.

Still, a man must earn, and thus I spent the last 11 days on the clock, and ain’t I glad that’s over. Now I can get back to viewing with alarm, peeing on various wingtips and riding the damn’ bike.

Today I played catch-up on the chores that had gone begging while I was locked to the money teat. I bought a metric shit-ton of groceries (including ice cream); treated myself to a new pair of running shoes from Colorado Running Company; went for a short jog; and got my old eyeglasses repaired while contemplating some new cheaters (I’m feeling a bit like Mister Magoo after an extended bout of pixel-pushing).

Tomorrow I’ll get back to business around here. I understand the Republicans are playing One-Handed Spit-In-the-Carpet in Florida. Won’t that be fun?

 

Shiteurday

July 14, 2012

Oy. Long day on the job for a variety of reasons, and no, don’t ask.

Nice to see Bradley Wiggins try to lead out Edvald Boassen Hagen for the stage win, but I’m still having trouble warming up to ‘Is Lordship for some reason.

Maybe it’s racial memory. He is English, after all. But then I always liked the Beatles, Stones, Python, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc.

Maybe it’s his manner with the sporting press. Pro athletes often forget that if they didn’t get any media coverage many of them would be wearing paper hats and throwing packets of spuds at strangers through a drive-up window, or standing up to their hips in something nasty with only a shovel for company.

Nah. It’s the sideburns. That shit has to go. Wiggo’ makes Bob Roll look like James Bond, f’fucksake.