Archive for the ‘Kvetching’ Category

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.

 

Power to the pee-pole!

May 1, 2016

RFD-BugI was casting around this morning for some appropriate socialist content to post on International Workers Day, but May Day 2016 seems light on revolutionary news.

So instead, here’s the latest edition of Radio Free Dogpatch, in which the proletariat (portrayed by Mister Boo) is oppressed by his bladder.

And remember, kids: When you’re smashing the State, don’t forget to keep a smile on your lips, a song in your heart, and a mop within reach.

Useful links

• Manzano Animal Clinic, which did the surgery.

• The New Orleans Jazz Festival, which did not.

• Elvis Costello. This Elvis has mos def not left the building.

• Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Good God, are they still at it?

• Recipes: None worth mentioning this week. Whenever Herself hits the road, I generally give myself a break from semi-elaborate cookery.

 

55? Do I hear 60? 65?

November 7, 2015
The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

The road goes ever on and on, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

I’d like to run away from home. But which home?

There’s the one in Bibleburg, which is under contract. The prospective buyers would like a couple electrical and plumbing issues corrected before the deal goes down, and while they seem to be minor items at casual glance, our plumber has a second home in Hawaii.

Then there’s the one in the Duke City, which has a slight in-law infestation that can’t be eradicated by the usual pest-control outfits. People would talk, especially the ones being eradicated. (Editor’s note to in-laws: I keed, I keed.)

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup.

Alas, furthermore, moreover, and too, deadlines loom, with words, cartoons and video all very much in demand and yet proving elusive for some reason(s).

Add a soupçon of inhospitable weather — my God, I’ve actually taken to wearing pants, and indoors, too! — and it’s no wonder a paranoid misanthrope might get the feeling that some stealth contractor is adjusting the walls inward during the night, while Realtors®, repairpersons and relatives harry me through my dreams like the coyotes Herself and I heard singing last night as we walked The Boo.

The only possible solution is — yes, you guessed it — a great big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. It cures everything. I even got a cartoon done while it was cooking.

Son of Unreal Estate (a continuing series)

October 21, 2015
Yeah, yeah, right, welcome, thanks, whatever.

Yeah, yeah, right, welcome, thanks, whatever.

BIBLEBURG, Colo. (MDM) — Heeeeeeee’s baaaaaaack. …

After an Airbnb guest raised doubts about how well the Chez Dog furnace was working, and a maid service said the clothes dryer was mostly a clothes tumbler, it was back to Bibleburg for Your Humble Narrator.

Heading for Taos.

Heading for Taos.

Our most recent guest checks out this morning, after which I’ll dash on over and cast a bloodshot eye on the situation. I suspect that the furnace issue has something to do with folks who insist on trying to operate a programmable Honeywell thermostat that they understand about as well as I understand the GOP, but the dryer could be an actual, you know, like, thing, and stuff.

This trip saves us the cost of the maid service this time around (just call me Hazel) and gives me a shot at resolving any other issues our real-estate agent thinks may need attention.

Plus the trip let me have lunch at Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe in Taos and dinner at The Margarita at Pine Creek in Bibleburg. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Tell you what, though. As I was leaving the Duke City yesterday, motoring past all those colorfully clad cyclists scarfing up the endorphines on Tramway, I felt distinctly like Tom Sawyer sentenced to whitewashing while the other kids played. Even more so now that it’s raining. …

Site gag

October 2, 2015
The Embudo Trail parking lot at the top of Indian School Road.

The Embudo Trail parking lot at the top of Indian School Road.

OK, so last night I actually slept through the night without coughing myself awake a couple dozen times. Our long national nightmare is over, I thought.

And then the Samsung clothes washer croaked in the middle of a load for the fourth time in a year. Naturally, the Samsung warranty expired last week, after one drain pump and two circuit boards. Now we’re at the mercy of the Best Buy Geek Squad, which may be able to see us (wait for it) Tuesday.

So what I wanna know is: Which one of you wisenheimers has a Patrick O’Grady voodoo doll stuck full of pins?*

* Yes, I know, at least it’s not stuck full of bullets, as are many of the residents of Roseburg, Oregon. Don’t expect to see any action on gun control until some sicko shoots a brand new baby iPhone, much less by Tuesday. Until then, if anyone offers to sell you a Samsung clothes washer, you have my permission to shoot them.

Sermon on the mountebanks

September 24, 2015
The foothills by the Piedra Lisa parking lot.

The foothills by the Piedra Lisa parking lot.

Swear to God: I’d turn Roman Catholic in a hot Noo Yawk minute if Pope Frankie could get Dorothy Day to roust this capitalist cold the hell out of my atheist carcass.

The bug has been having a high old time with me, plugging my nose-holes with colorful sludge, like a box of Crayolas left in the sun. Too, there is a cough that must have the neighbors wondering if a pride of lions has begun hunting deer in the ‘hood. Sleep is measured in minutes rather than hours, and snark, bark and spark all are at perilously low levels.

Come midmorning, after watching the pope squander his Jesuitical subtlety on our elected representatives, I dragged what remains of Your Humble Narrator out for a Frankensteinian walk along the trails I should be running or riding, this being the second day of fall, and a beauty, too. Just check out the blue in that sky. It’s one of the few colors that hasn’t come out of my nose.

 

Waiting to inhale

May 7, 2014
"Uh, sir, you're supposed to inhale, not chew."

“Uh, sir, you’re supposed to inhale, not chew.”

Having enjoyed the tender mercies of military medicine as a child and the early days of HMOs as a young professional, I should be long past being surprised by the behavior of anyone working in what we jokingly refer to as health “care” in this country.

Still, even I can be taken aback from time to time. This morning, for example.

Our neighborhood doctor’s office was absorbed by a corporate entity a while back, and since has undergone the usual transformation, acquiring a “Brazil”-style voice-mail system, a shitload of attitude and a mania for following orders, as long as they don’t come from a patient.

For the purposes of our tale you should know that I’m a lifelong asthmatic, diagnosed around age 8 in Texas. And I like to hit the old albuterol inhaler a time or two before exercise, the way you might squirt a bit of ether into an old carburetor before firing up your ’54 Chevy. Last year, while getting a bum knee examined, I mentioned that I’d had trouble getting an albuterol prescription refilled and the doc grumbled, “We have to test for that, and I don’t have time today.”

Test for that? I’m only been asthmatic since 1962. The Air Force sawbones who diagnosed me is presently pushing up the daisies that are making me wheeze. “No, time, no time,” he said, scurrying off like a roach on a griddle.

Next time I saw him, concerning a tenacious case of Snotlocker Surprise, he had the time. “Wow, you really do have asthma,” he remarked, and wrote the ’script. No shit, Doctor Fuckin’ Welby. I examine the package upon pickup: One inhaler, “no refills, dr. auth. required.” Fuck me. Well, what the hell, I only use it before all the bike riding I’m not doing anyway.

Last week I noticed I was about two weeks away from running out of the stuff in one of the worst allergy seasons in recent memory and rang up the doc’s office to get a refill. Ha, ha, etc. The robot says doc doesn’t do that any more — patients are to phone the pharmacy’s robot, which will in turn ring up the doc’s robot, which will tip off the doc, who will OK the refill, whereupon the doc’s robot will give a thumb’s up to the pharmacy’s robot, which will call you when your prescription is ready for pickup.

None of this ever happens, of course, and my follow-up phone calls to both doc and pharmacy prove unproductive, like a bad cough.

So I pop round to the doc’s office, and that’s when it all goes pear-shaped.

The receptionist wears the expression of a intake officer at the county lockup. “Name! First name! Date of birth! When were you last here! Who did you see!” So right off we’re already enjoying each other’s company. I’m expecting the back room and the bullet-nosed flashlight at any moment.

And it got worse. The doc I saw was apparently not the one who wrote the ’script. That person works in another office. The robot spoke to her. She did not reply. Nevertheless, you were telephoned and informed that you must be seen before any drugs will be issued to you. You must see, you vill see Ze Doktor!

Um, no, Brunhilde. I couldn’t pick this ’script-writing phantom of whom you speak out of a lineup at gunpoint. I saw the dude, not her. Nobody ever called me or my wife — not him, her, or anyone else, including your robot. And no, I don’t need to be “seen,” what I need is some albuterol.

About this time someone in scrubs inserts her long and snoopy proboscis, like Brunhilde blessedly bereft of any glimmer of knowledge about the situation, and confirms that ja, ja, I must, I vill see Ze Doktor! Ve are only following orders! At no point, mind you, has either of these “health-care providers” apologized for inconveniencing a customer. I say “customer” rather than “patient,” because neither had either inquired about my actual health.

“Can you breathe? Sir, are you having an asthma attack? Your face seems to be swelling ominously and turning a fiery red. …”

And at that point I may have inquired whether my getting a simple prescription refill without physician intervention might free up Scrubby’s time for treating an actual sick person in dire need of her mad skillz, and she may have suggested that I seek my medical care elsewhere henceforth, and I may have praised her for providing the first sound medical advice I’d ever received from her organization, and proclaimed that I intended to take it straight away, while adding that under new ownership what once was a friendly neighborhood doctor’s office had become as penetrable as North Korea with the sort of customer service one expects from a pimply teenage malcontent stocking shelves at a K mart scheduled for closure and demolition.

Take a deep breath, you say? I got 17 more of ’em left in this inhaler.

The path of most resistance

October 26, 2013
The streets are safer, even with a light coating of leaves.

The streets are safer, even with a light coating of leaves.

If you ever wonder why so many Americans have so much trouble making their government function, just watch them making a shambles of another shared space — the infinitely simpler bike path.

I nearly got crashed twice yesterday — first by a pair of knucklehead roadies in team kit who cut across my bow in Goose Gossage Park, exiting the bike path for the street without bothering to check for oncoming traffic, and a few minutes later by some helmetless dipshit on a beater road bike careening down the wrong side of a sketchy slope coated with sand and pea gravel.

Mind you, these incidents constituted the cherries atop a turd-cake that included the usual ingredients — oblivious strollers three abreast, untrained dogs sans leash, and fleawits wandering across the path without checking to see whether they might be about to violate the laws of physics by trying to occupy the same space at the same time as a 180-pound Irish-American on a 30-pound touring bike traveling at 15 mph.

The offenders invariably wear the blank, bovine gaze of a feedlot cow doomed to wear a soggy bun, a slice of pickle and some processed cheese “food” in the afterlife. And yet some of us we marvel at the popularity of Rupert Murdoch’s various entertainment outlets, which shove a similarly toxic product at the feeble-minded through the flat-panel windows in their living rooms.

How hard can it be to walk, run and ride to the right, pass left, and keep your fucking eyes open?

A tomb with a view

October 18, 2013
True, it's only a dusting, but still, it's a hint of bigger things to come.

True, it’s only a dusting, but still, it’s a hint of bigger things to come.

There was a thin coat of snow on the Tomb of Chairman Meow when I arose this morning. I blame Obama.

It’s a bit early for this sort of thing, frankly. For starters, the leaves are still on the trees. And a casual check of the Innertoobz indicates that the first snow in these parts generally holds off until a week before Halloween.

Naturally, Herself is out of town on business, so I had to make my own coffee, police up the litter box, and dab the dew from Mister Boo’s delicate little feetsies after his morning constitutional. Oh, the humanity.

The weatherperson says we’re supposed to be back up into the 50s and 60s over the next few days. But what has s/he done for me lately?

Hi-def’, where is thy sting?

October 8, 2013
I had a little fun shooting the video of the Jones bike. There's plenty of room for gadgetry on that 66cm H-bar; I was going to add a flower vase, but ran out of hose clamps.

I had a little fun shooting the video of the Jones bike. There’s plenty of room for gadgetry on that 66cm H-bar; I was going to add a flower vase, but ran out of hose clamps.

In comments, Patrick O’B. asks whether I’m having trouble deciding which bike to ride since adding a nifty Jones rigid-specific 29er to the Mad Dog fleet.

Nope.

I haven’t been on a bike of any type for a week — a terrorist wasp nailed me in my left ankle during a hike last Wednesday, the sonofabitch swelled up to the size and shade of a ruby-red Texas grapefruit (the ankle, not the terrorist wasp), and I have whiled away the hours since full of Benadryl and bad ideas, trying to get a metric shit-ton of work done with my shoeless left leg propped up on a box.

And the weather has been picture-postcard, Chamber of Commerce, fall-in-Colorado perfect, too.

Gah.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff got its closeup today.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff got its closeup today.

I did get out for a short while today. The ankle looks more or less like an ankle again, rather than a botulistic bratwurst, and I needed to shoot a bit of HD video for an online review of the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, having just wrapped production on a Jones video. So I spazzed around in Palmer Park for an hour, playing Quentin Ferrentino with a couple of dusty old Hero 3 Black Editions.

The Adventure Cyclist gang and I met with the GoPro people at Interbike, but only editor Mike Deme walked away with one of the new Hero 3+ dinguses, though I thought I batted my eyelashes most fetchingly at the product guy. Bitch.

So I had to make do with obsolete technology in my latest projects, and as usual it is the little people — you, the viewing public — who must suffer.

Still, that makes two videos in two days. Stick that in your hobbit-pipe and smoke it, Peter Jackson.