Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

Unmasked

February 17, 2022

Some faces should be covered.

The guv has decreed an end to New Mexico’s mask mandate.

Going forward, anyone looking like this is probably a bank robber who can’t afford a car.

Dropping the Peloton

December 16, 2021

OK, so this is only one story, but still — is anyone surprised that another pricey indoor-exercise phenomenon may have gone kerblooey?

Quoth The New York Times of the once-mighty Peloton:

The pandemic status symbol, which customers once waited two months to get their hands on, may soon become the modern equivalent of the 1990s NordicTrack: a high-priced piece of exercise equipment that becomes a glorified clothing rack, cluttering up a home until it is sold or dispatched to the curb.

Signs of its cultural downfall are hard to ignore. Sales of Peloton’s stationary bikes and treadmills fell 17 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2021, and the online resale market is flooded with used bikes selling at a discount.

Those of us who have real bikes* and ride them outdoors have seen this buyer’s remorse before as we pedal around our neighborhoods with one eye peeled for hidden treasure at the garage sales.

The Fitness Flavor of the Month (stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights, etc.) may be rockin’ around the Christmas tree, but chances are it will drop right out of the Hit Parade by Valentine’s Day. Goodbye, laundry room; hello, eBay. This exercise shit is hard! Who knew?

Those of us who have real bikes* and ride them outdoors, that’s who.

Dodging pickups and potholes, patching punctures, ducking and moving, bobbing and weaving, wearing all manner of kit through all four seasons — it’s so … random! Also, fun. Plus, like crucifixion, it gets you out in the open air.

Of course, some of Peloton’s plummet can be attributed to the stir-crazy dashing back to their gyms, where for a small consideration they can ride other people’s exercise bikes indoors. This explains much about the state of the human condition at present.

* E-bikes not included. See “Fitness Flavor of the Month.”

And now for the rumors behind the news

December 5, 2021

This photo has nothing to do with the blog post. I just like it.

This morning I awakened, cracked one eye, gauged the light levels in our bedroom, and guessed the time to be 6:33 a.m.

It was 6:35. Boom. Close enough. The ol’ temple of the soul is back on track after two days of the Pfizer Pfeebles.

Coffee and the news. I see via my former employer The New Mexican that some douchebags are tearing up the Nambé Badlands. My old riding buddy Dave Kraig, who is very much not a douchebag, is on the case with the Friends of the Nambé Badlands.

Down here, meanwhile, Herself saw someone throwing an unread bundle of 20 Sunday Albuquerque Journals into the recycling bins near the Lowe’s on Juan Tabo. When I was a paperboy the idea was to throw the papers onto readers’ doorsteps so that the readers could throw them in the trash. Division of labor, don’t you know.

FInally, up in Colorado, the latest in a seemingly endless invasion of out-of-towners is trying to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is the dormant Cuchara ski area. Good luck with that, fellas. I hear they’ve been in touch with my man Hal Walter about doing a burro race. How about adding a “Little 500”-style gravel race in which all the competitors have to ride Range Rover Evoque bicycles? Electrify them sumbitches to bring ’em up to date and you’ll have a little sumpin’-sumpin’ goin’ on.

No. 9 … No. 9 … No. 9. …

December 3, 2021

I haven’t been up there since breaking the ankle.

Got my booster this morning. Easy peasy roll up your sleevesie. I’ve burned more daylight waiting on a No. 9 breakfast burrito at the Golden Pride drive-through.

Of course, a No. 9 might be more effective against the newest variant — some Irish bug called the O’Micron — so I’ll try a couple of those too, just to be on the safe side.

In the meantime, after getting stuck I filled the bird feeders and went for a stroll through the foothills to collect a little free vitamin D. I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income, goddamn it, I’ll take all the free shit I can get.

To be honest, a nap sounded pretty good. But it was 64° in the ol’ cul-de-sac, and my rule is “Sun’s out, guns out.” The weather can’t stay like this forever, unless it does. It’ll make the chile real mean.

 

And the uniform of the day is. …

August 17, 2021

Some faces should be covered.

Face diapers for everyone!

I’ve been wearing mine for a while now. I like to think of it as a community-beautification project.

Still, Jesus H., etc. Afghanistan’s up the spout and all its daddies are ducking for cover, the West’s faucets are running dry, and Paris Hilton has a cooking show. Truly these are Dire Portents of the End Times.

But seriously, folks. …

August 13, 2021

Windscreen trumps Mac screen.

Read the news or ride the bike?

I think you know the answer to that one.

In fact, the news has been so reliably vile lately that I’ve been logging 100-mile-plus weeks. That’s not a lot for a serious cyclist, but then being serious about anything other than humor is overrated for anyone who hopes to remain (or become) happy. Or so says Arthur C. Brooks at The Atlantic.

I’d like to ask him, “Are you serious?” But I’m afraid he might not laugh.

Meanwhile, the fourth and final round of The Visitation, scheduled for next week, has been canceled. One of Herself the Elder’s nieces decided that travel was too risky since Delta started grabbing everyone by the snotlocker with a downhill pull.

And who can blame her? Not me, Skeezix. When I stroll into a retail op to do a little bidness and see two-thirds of the clientele and half the staff wandering around with their faces hanging out, despite headlines like this, I’m inclined to think that The Dumbass, like The Bug, remains very much among us.

The Dumbass just might be worse than The Bug. We have weapons to fight The Bug, if people will simply agree to use them. But our traditional defenses against The Dumbass — like the news, which under new management has other priorities — no longer seem efficacious, if they ever were.

And once you’re all eat up with The Dumbass, you’re vulnerable to any number of opportunistic infections, from Rand Paul and Marjorie Taylor Greene twerking on “Dancing with the Stars” to “More [guns, coal mines, lifted diesel pick-’em-up trucks, insert your favorite idiocy here]!!!”

Jesus H., etc. By the time Bennu finally lands like an errant tee shot from God’s one-iron there won’t be anybody left to take it seriously, or even humorously. OK, so maybe one guy. He’ll be yelling “FAKE NEWS!” as the giant asteroid comes in hot like the fabled Million-Pound Shithammer.

Could be worse. …

August 2, 2021

August slipped in wearing its gray flannel suit.

Sixty-four degrees at 8 a.m., with a monochromatic sky and a forecast that would have Noah muttering, “Not again,” as he reached wearily for the red phone next to his spyglass and Mae West.

“Hello, San Diego Zoo? Two of everything, please, chop-chop. No, no delivery necessary. I’ll pick ’em up. Just truck ’em up to Hot Springs Mountain and keep a sharp lookout for a real big boat.”

Welcome to August.

It’s not what I expected, frankly. With The Visitation on hiatus and my calendar remarkably free of to-do items I had been pondering a brief escape from the sodden Duke City to air-dry the old brain-case.

Fewer deer, more roses.

But the weather is proving uncooperative, and it seems silly to drive somewhere else to watch it rain when I can do that right here at home.

Especially since travel involves either a cheerless motel room that was no bargain before the daily rent shot into the mid-two-hundies (plus you can’t find one anyway), or pitching a tent in a flaming puddle full of vampire bugs, shape-shifting cooties, and hobos who wish all these slumming hipster dickheads would just dig into their Hilton points and piss off so they could enjoy their mulligan stew and squeeze in peace.

Masque of the Dread Breath

Well, at least we’re back to the face panties again, hey? Some of us, anyway. The checker was not up for casual banter as I hit the Sprouts to replenish the larder, possibly because The Great Remasking seemed to be a few faces short of a full team effort at 9:30 on a gloomy Sunday morning.

I had noted some diamonds on my windshield during the drive to the grocery and was hoping the actual tears from heaven would hold off long enough for me to sneak in a quick ride without fenders or jacket.

Sure, we need the moisture. And no desert dweller should bitch about rain, unless he parks his shopping cart in an arroyo. But I’m just enough of a hipster dickhead to need the ride, too.

With the deer rustling their own grub up in the hills we were getting a rerun of roses in the yard, so, yay. But the murky mornings and low ceilings recalled Corvallis, Oregon, the only place I’ve ever lived without a bicycle.

The clouds sagged all the way down to the ground in that burg. The moist walls of my tiny apartment closed in around me like hungry freegans swarming a Whole Paycheck Dumpster and the firewood steamed before it burned in the cheap tin wood stove.

A neighbor’s ducks loved that climate, quacking contentedly outside my bedroom window. I drank a lot.

Horses for courses

Back home, with the groceries put away, I took another glance at the sky and decided to go for it. I used to race cyclocross, I thought. I’ve covered school-board meetings. I can do anything for an hour.

I felt another drizzle tuning up as I approached the base of the short climb to the tram. So I swung around and headed back south, weaving Tramway and a network of foothills avenues into a rolling 20-miler. It was just the ticket. Smoove like butter and dry as a good martini.

Today — eh, not so much. The rain started before I even left the house.

I thought about taking the day off, but I ride with a small group of graybeards on Mondays and Wednesdays, and had already committed to the meetup. I had a feeling they’d be out in it, and it was unfortunate that I had mentioned my fondness for cyclocross in their presence.

So I left the New Albion Privateer parked and pulled a Steelman Eurocross down from its hook. A cyclocross bike for cyclocross weather. A man must carry on.

Sharp-dressed man

I stuffed a jacket into a jersey pocket to make sure the rain stopped, but it didn’t work. Didn’t matter, either. The rain continued, but never turned into a frog-strangler; it was barely even chilly, though I kept my arm warmers on. The jacket stayed in its pocket.

And yes, the geezers were all there. And yes, the Steelman drew many admiring glances. So yes, I’ve fooled ’em again.

At one point as we took shelter under a tree there was a short discussion about cutting a climb and subsequent descent from the usual route. It ended when one of us (not me) observed, “Well, we’re already wet, so. …”

So on we rode, taking the downs along with the ups.

It made me wonder what I’d been missing by not riding a bicycle in Oregon. I mean, I was gonna get wet anyway.

It never rains, but it pours

July 28, 2021

It looks like feckin’ Ireland over by the Menaul trailhead.

We New Mexicans should probably apologize to the Pacific Northwest for stealing their climate.

But hey, you left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, so. …

Puddles on the Duke City trails are as rare as original thought in government. (See the latest iteration of publicly funded downtown stadiums for privately owned sports teams.) This in a town where we have a six-pack of dudes — half of them part-time — to plug holes in the bike paths along which the homeless pitch their festive tents.

Standing water on a Duke City trail in July? Truly these are dire portents of the End Times.

In DeeCee, meanwhile … well, the less said about that, the better. But can we at least agree that a few more Republicans would be on board the Investigation Train if the treasonous fucks who invaded the U.S. Capitol, pounding a few John Laws along the way, had been socialist, gay, people of color, or any combination thereof? You know: Democrats?

Jesus H., etc. In Hell Mao is all like, “Damn, and I thought I had a cult of personality going on.” But this feels more like the Israelites and their golden calf, only with “Christians” and a plastic pig from the Dollar Store rattle-canned with metallic-gold Krylon.

This sort of behavior failed to amuse either Moses or the Lord, as I recall. Doesn’t do shit for me, either.

Speaking of things that are a monkey or two short of a full barrel, I see we’re back to wearing our face panties.

Bernalillo County is tagged orange, with a “substantial” level of community transmission, so the CDC would like us to cover up when visiting indoor public spaces, shots or no shots.

Oh, good. I was already sick of seeing smiling faces and understanding the speech emerging from same.

The bright side is that in the past two weeks a half-dozen family members from far and wide have been able to visit Herself the Elder before the portcullis drops again, as seems likely. So, yay, etc.. May yis all be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

The meaning of life

July 15, 2021

We enjoyed quite the early morning rainstorm today, with thunder and lightning. Makes for one hell of an alarm clock.

Busy, busy, busy. Even a slacker has to take hold now and then.

We have a dispersed conga line of kinfolk snaking through El Rancho Pendejo, all of them from Herself’s side of the family, come to visit Herself the Elder between plagues.

The first of four visitations occurred yesterday; some very nice folks out of Texas, who took time away from a visit to Pagosa Springs to pop down and say howdy. A bit of tidying up was mandated, because somebody around here is remarkably untroubled by clutter (not Herself).

Round two commences Sunday with more visitors from the Lone Star State (Herself the Elder was born in Nacogdoches back in 1933). Then Herself’s eldest sis pops in from Maryland for a week starting Wednesday. Finally, yet another Texican niece drops by sometime in August.

Meanwhile, The Work goes on, as it must. I banged out a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News yesterday, learning in the process that the Outside+ Global AdventureStuff Conglomerate had snatched up a couple more properties, Pinkbike and CyclingTips.

This, as Monty Python has taught us, “brings us once again to the urgent realization of just how much there is still left to own.”

Me, I’m still a rental. And something of a fixer-upper, too. Still, I’m open to offers. …

We’re open, but Dave’s not here, man

July 1, 2021

Chance of rain, but not much of one.

New Mexico is “open” again, whatever the hell that means.

Also, apparently you no longer have to toss your mota when pulled over by a chota, though the officer may have a few pointed questions regarding the expired plates on your auto, your lack of insurance for same, and the stolen ATM in the back seat.

Of course, you can’t actually buy the mota here legally because, like, nobody can remember where they left the fuckin’ paperwork, man.

Things darkened up a bit on my ride, but I never needed the fenders I didn’t have.

And when I motored down to the grog shop this morning for a selection of bottled alternatives, I observed that most folks in newly “open” New Mexico were keeping their face-holes closed to the general public. So I did likewise.

Outside the boozeatorium, meanwhile, my fellow primates were busy proving Darwin wrong.

On my way there I saw a westbound motorist casually swerve into the eastbound lanes on Comanche to hang a left into a driveway, rather than pull a sloppy U at the next cutout like every other drunkard in Duke City.

On my way back I saw a truck full of Natural Light Seltzer — bearing the legend, “The Seltzer You Never Saw Coming” — blow through the red at Menaul and Louisiana, at least two seconds late.

Ho, ho, etc. I not only saw it coming, I was expecting it. I always look both ways and count at least three Mississippis before I proceed on the green. I am in no hurry to discuss my CV with St. Peter.

Made it home alive, set a loaf of bread to baking, and then pissed off for my first bicycle ride this week. It was pleasant indeed to swap climates with the Pacific Northwest for a short while — neither the A/C nor the sprinkler system has come on for days — but Paddy needs his sunshine.

In other news … oh, hell, there is way too much stupid shit going on in the news for a small-time operator like me to face stone cold sober. Maybe tomorrow I’ll pick a pile and roll in it.