Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

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.

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.