Archive for the ‘Just mumbling along’ Category

Give ’er a hand

January 5, 2012
Garden of the Gods

Pikes Peak peeks out from behind the Garden of the Gods.

One nice thing about quitting a pain-in-the-ass job and not being pissed off all the time is that I find myself noticing the little things again, now that the red haze of homicide unrealized no longer clouds my vision.

Case in point. Having shot a Velo-sized hole in my wallet I’ve spent a couple of days test-driving grocery stores that are not Whole Foods to gauge the extent, quality and price of their organic offerings. Yesterday it was a Safeway, today a King Soopers. Neither was particularly impressive, barring a real steal on Greek yogurt at the King Soopers.

As I walked into the Safeway some pretty young women of color were walking out, weaving around an elderly white man in a motorized wheelchair. One complained, “I’m hungry.” Another said, “So eat, nigga!” The poor old boy in the wheelchair did a slo-mo double-take, wearing the sort of expression you might expect from a pro-lifer who just saw an abortion-clinic janitor pitchforking defunct fetuses into a Dumpster.

Then today, going into the Soopers, I noticed another attractive young woman who seemed very pleased with herself, strutting along as though she were a model on a runway. I’m guessing her mood had something to do with the dusty, perfect imprint of a left hand on her right butt cheek. That’ll put some spring into the step of just about anybody, even a 57-year-old underemployed rumormonger of the cycling persuasion.

Speaking of which, between bouts of people-watching I squeezed in a nice 90-minute ride today. Goddamn shiftless disloyal Fenian bastards. Can’t hold onto a part-time job for more than 22 years and yet they have the cheek to insult the working man with bouts of casual cycling during business hours.

Slow news day

October 23, 2011
Turkish bags some rays

Turkish has almost come to terms with the New World Order, which requires him to wear a leash outdoors. Almost.

Seems like it’s either feast or famine in the ol’ VeloBarrel. Last week it was nothing but heartache; today, it’s been mostly nothing. I wrote up the men’s World Cup in Tabor (having overslept and missed the women’s race), posted some results and an Andrew Hood piece, and … well, that’s about it. Bor-ing.

There are things going on, of course. There are cyclo-crosses from coast to coast, the Pan American Games, the Japan Cycle Cup Road Race, but because we are short on staff, free-lancers and travel money my in-box remains appallingly free of dispatches from the front. Only Agence France Presse chimes in from time to time, and that lot mostly speaks Frog: Le Belge s’est imposé en solitaire lors de la seconde épreuve dimanche, à Tabor (République Tchèque). Parti très tôt, dès le quatrième tour, il a laissé derrière lui un groupe incapable de s’entendre pour refaire son retard.

C’mon — we saved you guys from the Nazis and you can’t give us a race report in U-nited States American? And who are you callin’ a retard? Merde. Where’s my big ol’ Google translation hammer?

Between bouts of doing not much Herself shaved my dome, Turkish got some quality time in the sun and I whipped up some tuna salad for lunch. And if my in-box doesn’t go ping! real soon I’m gonna grab a bike and enjoy what looks to be one of our last few really nice days before a winter storm blows in.

Sayonara, September

September 30, 2011
Fall leaves

A bit of color in the Old North End.

Judas Priest. How did September slip away so fast? Was it that week in Vegas? Confusion caused by allergy meds? Could it have been downsized along with everything else?

Whatever. Tomorrow it will be October, and I’m betting we get our first snow before Halloween. The furnace just clicked on at midday and the thermostat is set at 67 degrees. Sheesh. Close the doors, shut the windows, batten down the hatches.

It sure is pretty out there, though. Fall will always be my favorite time of year, even though it means hunting up my comfy samue pants for around the house, and arm/knee warmers for outside of it.

It’s a dog’s life

August 26, 2011
Buddy after his bladder-stone surgery

Buddy after his bladder-stone surgery.

I signed on for a couple extra shifts in the VeloBarrel during the Vuelta and (Not) The Tour of Colorado, and also have been chiming in mornings at Charles Pelkey’s newest venture,, so I’ve been scurrying about like a roach on a griddle the past couple of days.

Being a professional slacker who hasn’t had a full-time job since the fall of 1991 it always comes as a shock to my system whenever I actually have to work anything close to a full week. How the hell did I do it all those years? How the hell does anyone do it?

Every aspect of the literary and artistic life suffers as a consequence. Grocery trips become hectic affairs instead of leisurely noshing expeditions, and mealtime the equivalent of filling the tank at a Conoco. The quality and quantity of training declines. The liquor tab takes on Pentagonesque dimensions.

But at least no one has cut me, and I’m not wearing a cone. There’s an upside to everything.


May 4, 2011
Pikes Peak in May

The big hill still packs a chill, no matter what the calendar says.

We have a bad case of the brain cramp going on around here today. I had to pick up Herself at the Bibleburg Interdimensional Airport at 10 p.m. last night, we didn’t hit the rack until about midnight, and neither of us slept for shit, thanks to seasonal allergies that have triggered massive tsunamis in our respective snotlockers. So this morning we both had jet lag and I didn’t even get to go anywhere.

I tried half-heartedly to pay attention to the news, which has become even more Pythonesque lately (“And now it’s time for the Medicare card in your wallet to explode.”). But I lost interest in bad imitations of good comedy and decided to ride the bike instead, shoot a little video of some of my favorite trails in Palmer Park.

Alas, that went sideways as well — the video, not the riding — and by the time I realized that my cinematography was a few Cecils short of a DeMille I’d run down the batteries in my Flip Video, so there was no take two without plugging the bugger into the iMac back at the ranch.

So I stuffed the Flip into a jersey pocket, bagged a few more trails sans video, then headed for home, where the beer is. Was. And I feel much better now, thanks. Tomorrow is another day.

Of Flanders and fences

April 3, 2011

No ride for Your Humble Narrator today. See Tour of Flanders. Damn’ fine race. I was able to watch the last 40km live via streaming video courtesy of Eurosport, with almost-English-language commentary from Sean Kelly, and it was a nail-biter right to the finish.

When I wasn’t posting words or pictures I was wrestling with our backyard fence, which is somewhat the worse for wear after one too many windy springs. A couple uprights have gone rotten underground and the bugger flaps like Glenn Beck’s blubbery lips when the wind is from the right quarter, and last night it was a howler. Beat the living snot out of downtown and kept us awake most of the night. It was so bad that a neighbor wondered whether a plane was plummeting to earth somewhere nearby.

Anyway, the fence is a wreck, I hate fence work, and the dude we usually hire to do things I hate has hurt his back and thus is unavailable to make my cushy life even easier. So today I braced the sonofabitch with a couple of 2x3s and then guy-wired it down, using some 14-gauge looped around the uprights and thence to tent pegs pounded into the turf. That ought to keep it in the neighborhood for as long as it takes for our guy to heal up.

Meanwhile, after record-breaking heat yesterday it’s presently snowing sideways from about six different directions at once, yet things remain on fire. Springtime in the Rockies.

And now the rumors behind the news

March 30, 2011
Robin in the maple

It's a little brisk yet this morning and this guy is looking pretty puffy.

Thanks, all, for the birthday wishes. I was buried in deadlines and only now have I been able to rear my ugly head.

Looks like all the usual skullduggery has continued unabated in my absence. NBC News avoids reporting that its owner, General Electric Co., earned $14.2 billion in profits last year but paid no federal income tax (having just signed off on my returns, I can assure you that Mad Dog Media paid through its cold, wet nose).

Steve Benen makes a “Star Wars” reference (“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”) in noting Joe Klein’s apprehension at the “vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers” queuing up to race for the GOP presidential nomination.

And Fox News VP Bill Sammon is full of shit to the sideburns.

Those are the highlights so far this morning. No doubt there will be others. But they’ll have to wait until after I enjoy a nice, long, skull-flushing bike ride.

The new old normal

January 17, 2011
Racing back to the ranch.

I shot this at sunset out of the driver's-side window. Kids, don't try this at home. Or in your car.

We’re back on track here in Dog Country. The most pressing deadlines have been met, a weekend in the VeloBarrel logged, and the exercise regimen has resumed after a stretch of too many miles behind the wheel and too few in the saddle.

Naturally, the weather had gone to hell during my absence — snow on the roads and ice on the trails had me second-guessing my decision to skip a stop at McDowell Mountain Regional Park outside Fountain Hills, Arizona, on the way home from California.

Oh, well. I’d probably have logged about one decent trail ride and then spent the remainder of my desert sojourn frantically cranking out the word count in some wired java shop, half asleep from trying and failing to nod out on the ground in the old Eureka two-man. That first day of camping is always the worst.

And anyway, the credit card was beginning to pulse and glow in my wallet; wisps of smoke periodically leaked from my hip pocket and I thought it might be wise to take it home, air it out a bit, let it heal.

So, yeah. I celebrated homecoming with a splashy run through the goo on Friday, rode for an hour on Saturday, then for 90 minutes on Sunday, and today — well, today was one of those days that makes me wonder why I don’t live someplace where the weather is a tad less psychotic.

It was sprinkling early on, so Herself and I bundled up for a short run. This seemed wise until about 30 minutes in, when the sun popped out and we both started shedding layers like snakes with leprosy. I was sweating like old dynamite and jogging along with a rain jacket in one hand and my hat in the other, gloves having been stuffed down the tights I wished I had left at home.

The sun being out, I considered a ride, but a squint in the ’fridge disabused me of that notion. It was back in the Subaru and off to the Whole Paycheck, where I tallied a personal best — $258, most of it basics rather than larks’ tongues, wrens’ livers or jaguars’ earlobes.

Like I said, we’re back on track here. Can y’smell what the Dog is cookin’?

No frost on the punkin

October 29, 2010
Lacking arboreal elegance in the backyard, I've installed a bit of performance art. It will perform as soon as I find some playing cards to clip to the spokes.

Lacking arboreal elegance in the backyard, I've installed a bit of performance art. It will perform as soon as I find some playing cards to clip to the spokes.

Ah, Colorado. Twenty degrees yesterday morning, 50 today. We’re looking at a high of 70-something, and good weather is in the forecast (mostly) for the next 10 days. Is it any wonder our rose bushes are seriously confused, budding out in October?

Normally we’ve had at least one round of moderately unpleasant weather by Halloween, but two rounds of slightly subfreezing temps hardly qualify.

This is good news for Democrats come Tuesday’s midterms, as conventional wisdom is that we’re all too fearful of inclement weather to venture outdoors on Election Day, preferring instead to huddle communally in our organic hemp houses, chuckling as NPR sacks its uppity conservatives, teaching our kids to be gay and e-mailing detailed aerial photos of nearby military installations to Al Jazeera.

It’s also good news for those of us who have backyards bereft of trees. A neighbor has a young maple she’d like to get rid of before it cracks her sidewalk, and since we seem to be enjoying fine weather for transplantation, we may adopt it. The yard looks naked without trees, as if somehow there is more of it to mow.

If a tree falls …

October 26, 2010
Another one bites the dust.

Another one bites the dust.

We were here when it fell, and we heard it. The last tree standing in our back yard has been sawn down and hauled away in chunks.

Turkish loved that crabapple tree, and so did Miss Mia Sopaipilla. It was fine for climbing, and occasionally held a toothsome squirrel or two.

The Turk enjoying the view in 2007

The Turk enjoying the view in 2007

We two-legged sorts were less enamored of it — it shat bitter green apples all over the yard each fall when it was in sound health — but it was lovely to look at until fire blight carried it off, as it did the smaller ornamental apple next to the driveway.

Before that it was either aphids or a bacterial infection that did in the small stand of black walnuts by the fence. These were a favorite of the late Chairman Meow, who used them to access the pergola over the deck, so she could keep an eye on things. She always did like heights.

I miss the Chairman, and I miss the trees, too.