Archive for the ‘Plague’ Category

Doing time

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia knows how to be jailin’.

In his loosely autobiographical novel “Homeboy,” ex-con Seth Morgan had a character offer some advice for a new fish worried about doing time.

“The time does itself,” schooled Smoothbore. “You jist got to live with it.”

A few pages closer to the penitentiary, the narrator elaborated:

Jailin’ was an art form and lifestyle both. The style was walkin’ slow, drinkin’ plenty of water, and doin’ your own time; the art was lightin’ cigarets from wall sockets, playin’ the dozens, cuttin’ up dream jackpots, and slowin’ your metabolism to a crawl, sleepin’ twenty hours a day. Forget the streets you won’t see for years. Lettin’ your heart beat the bricks with your body behind bars was hard time. Acceptin’ the jailhouse as the only reality was easy time. Jailin’.

Staying at home, social distancing — these aren’t jailin’, but they’re not exactly freedom, either. Sure, the cell is a little bigger, the guards a little less visible, and the food better. Still, you’d rather be out on the street.

But listen to Smoothbore. Let the time do itself. Live with it.

With any luck at all, you have a short stretch and an agreeable cellmate. You know — someone who doesn’t mind doing the laundry while you stretch out on your bunk and listen to the latest thrilling 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: The bargain-basement broadcasting continues. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic,recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the Mac and iOS versions of GarageBand. Other sonic adornments come from the iMovie and GarageBand sound libraries.

April, no foolin’

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is on guard against April fools.
“That’s cat food, right? Right?”

March came in like a debt collector and how delighted we are that it has finally fucked off.

Beaned

March 28, 2020

The ornamental pear is blooming … just in time for the morning low
to dip below freezing again.

We’re not down to eating the backyard foliage like Spike the Terrorist Deer. Not yet, anyway.

But it has been about 10 days since our last grocery trip, and we’re having to get creative.

Last night I was scrounging around in the pantry like an old bear fresh from hibernation and thought: “Hmm. Must be something I can do with canned beans other than make emergency burritos.” This is the kind of burrito you make when you don’t feel like going through all the rigamarole involved in making a proper pot of frijoles.

Which I was not. It was my birthday, f’chrissakes.

So I hit The New York Times Cooking site. This is well worth the price of a subscription to The Old Grey Lady. It’s not geared strictly for the condo chef with an eight-burner Wolf gas range and All-Clad out the arse. You’ll find plenty of pantry possibilities too.

And whaddaya know? I unearthed one perfectly suited to my supplies: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake.

I made a few adjustments. Didn’t have any mozzarella, so I used Monterey Jack. Also, I tossed a generous dollop of cilantro-jalapeño salsa in with the tomato paste, and added a pinch of smoked paprika to the spices.

And when it came out of the oven I sprinkled it with some coarsely chopped cilantro and a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Herself contributed a side salad and that was that.

Ali Slagle, who provided the recipe, also offers a snazzier black-bean version. We may try that one down the road. We’re flat out of Jack now, but we still have some sharp Irish Cheddar.

All hope abandon, ye who exit here!

March 25, 2020

Happy trails or highway to hell?

What’s a safe social distance?

I’ve been discussing this with a few folks away from the blog, and consensus is proving elusive.

So let’s discuss it here.

First, some ground rules: Mind your tone. Respect others’ opinions, even when you disagree. Cite authoritative reports to support your arguments, with links, when possible. That should about cover it.

Keep in mind that this is my little shop here and I’ll run it as I please. Bad behavior will not be tolerated, and I’ll decide what’s bad.

Now then: We’ll start with me, because see previous paragraph.

I may be an unusual case study. I’ve been working from home since 1991, and am presently recovering from a broken ankle, so my contact with the general public has been and continues to be limited.

Herself and Herself the Elder get some analog FaceTime through a closed window.

We haven’t been to a grocery in a week and probably have at least another week’s worth of pretty good eatin’ on hand. I decided against physical therapy for the ankle because that’s just one more point of contact. We have indoor (or backyard) exercise routines we can use to minimize loss of fitness and alleviate boredom. And we haven’t had a dog to walk since Mister Boo shoved off.

That said … since breaking the ankle during a trail run on Feb. 21, I have taken four walks around the ’hood. Herself has done a couple-three runs since becoming a home-worker on March 16. And we have cycled to the Dark Tower four times to resupply Herself the Elder, who has been on a no-shit lockdown for longer than any of yis, because her assisted-living home is full of at-risk elders. No one gets in; no one gets out. Deliveries and pickups are made at the porch.

Now, I consider this fairly reasonable behavior. If I were 100 percent, I might consider longer recreational road rides, but I would be concerned about injury, because clearly I have trouble staying upright on two feet. The hospital doesn’t need to see my dumb ass right now. Trail rides would be right out, because (a) I’m not 100 percent; (2) riding trails poses an even greater risk of injury, and (III) some sections are too narrow and spiky for minimal social distancing.

As for running? Hee, and also haw, etc.

However, I deem the cycling to and from the Dark Tower to be of comparatively low risk. The side streets we use are mostly wide, with light traffic, so social distancing no es una problema, as we say south of the border. And since I’m not exactly crushing it these days, our speeds are low.

But even this may seem like too much personal and societal risk for some of you. So I’m tossing it out there for discussion — what are you doing to help keep yourself and others healthy, physically and mentally?

Going viral

March 24, 2020

The Menaul trailhead, shot from a social distance.

Beyond hoarding beans, buttwipe and bullets, people don’t seem to be taking The Bug seriously in these parts.

Or they didn’t on Sunday, anyway.

When Herself and I bicycled over to the Dark Tower to deliver some vino to Herself the Elder, we passed three trailhead parking lots that were jam-packed and overflowing onto neighboring streets.

Call me crazy, but this seemed like antisocial distancing to me, on a par with slow dancing in a burning building, the New Mexican equivalent of sunburned bro-brahs wearing bikini babes like earbuds during spring break in Florida.

Maybe the authorities were watching, too. Maybe our crowds were not out of the ordinary.

Because come Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham went on TV to lay down the law. Or the advisory, anyway.

The nut graf? Keep your distance, preferably behind closed doors.

“There are a lot of people out and about,” she said. “This creates risk. This creates exposure.”

The Piedra Lisa trailhead, which looked like the drop-off lane at an elementary school.

I created a few exposures myself with the old iPhone camera, and here they are, all shot from a proper social distance, if only to avoid an ass-kicking (“Hey, man, whatchoo taking pictures of, huh? You work for my old lady?”).

And when I got back to El Rancho Pendejo I created another podcast.

Yes, yes, yes — it’s a socially distant, viral 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: I recorded this episode with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic straight to the MacBook Pro, using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was in GarageBand. The background music is “Buddy,” an iMovie jingle. The other sound effects were liberated from the GarageBand loops library. And those musical references? The musicologists among you will be familiar with “Highway to Hell” (AC/DC); “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin); “Happy Trails” (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans); “Get It While You Can” (Janis Joplin); “The Last Waltz” (The Band); and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” (Johnny Cash). These are not necessarily the folks who wrote the music, but the ones who came to mind as I was writing the podcast.

What part of ‘meow’ don’t you understand?

March 24, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla, The Last Cat Standing, briefs staff on the emergency measures she has ordered, which for some reason are heavy on
cat-food acquisition and litter-box maintenance.

It’s early days yet, of course, but so far our lives have not been radically altered by the governor’s stay-at-home edict.

Even before The Fourth Horseman rode his sneezy hayburner into town we were mostly homebodies. Herself got up at stupid-thirty four days a week to pull a 10-hour shift at the Death Star, and by the time she came home she was rarely in the mood to go out to do … well, pretty much anything.

So I would cook dinner, we would watch something on TV, and then it was early to bed because see “getting up at stupid-thirty,” etc.

After the guv gave us the word yesterday, I cooked dinner, we watched something on TV, and … well, you get the idea. One of us still gets up at stupid-thirty, too. Guess who.

We maintain our respective hobbies, of course. Herself eBays bits of this and that, for us and for friends. And as you see, I continue to operate my little one-ring nonprofit, the Cirque du Sowhat.

Meanwhile, Miss Mia Sopaipilla remains firmly atop the org chart. Somebody has to be in charge around here, and it’s never gonna be me.

STFH

March 23, 2020

The Last Tango in Albuquerque. For now, anyway.

Well, kids, there you have it: Stay the (You Know What) Home.

 

It’s a coverup!

March 23, 2020

The Omega Cat

March 21, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla mans (cats?) the battlements.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla, The Last Cat Standing, checks the southeast perimeter for any sign of Spike the Terrorist Deer.

Things are greening up and budding out, and staff seems preoccupied with other matters, so Mia stands the watch.

In addition to the wine delivery we had a couple of packages to drop off at USPS, so I strapped a Wald basket on the rear rack of the Soma Double Cross.

One never knows. The sneaky sonofabitch might like cat food.

Meanwhile, staff kitted up for another wine run yesterday afternoon. We chatted briefly with Herself the Elder via phone, next to her closed bedroom window, and then scurried back to El Rancho Pendejo as a light sprinkle began.

We saw quite a few cyclists on the Tramway bike path, in some cases moms herding mobs of children.  I think of being on lockdown with a herd of bored and restless rug monkeys, and I wish I’d been kinder to me sainted ma, who was sentenced to life without parole as a housewife and mother.

Elsewhere, I see our “leaders” have been up to the usual, which is to say not much barring high crimes and misdemeanors.

It really is long past time for the press to quit covering what Chazbo Pierce calls “the daily briefings from the Coronavirus Superfriends,” which have devolved into miniature campaign rallies for Il Douche, free telemarketing for his only product, bullshit.

There is no breaking news to be had at this surgical theater of the absurd, and responsible journalists should take the time to suck it up, watch the comedy, pluck the rare diamond from the dung, and pass the stone, with an addendum tallying the ratio of facts to lies. No diamonds? No distribution. See James Fallows at The Atlantic for more. I like James so much that I ponied up for a subscription.

In other news, United Airlines is cordially invited to go fuck itself. Jesus. These people are completely without shame. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I would rather pay to push my Subaru uphill into the wind, wearing roller skates and this goddamn ankle brace, than fly United for free.

Getting some ZZs

March 20, 2020

Just a lil’ ol’ band from Texas that’s been around for a half-century.

When I was allegedly attending college at the University of Northern Colorado in Greality we enjoyed a weekly bit of low-key debauchery called the Friday Afternoon Club (or FAC).

A Netflix documentary — “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas” — brought this weekly skull-flush to mind. And this morning I dashed right on over to the Apple Music store and scored a digital copy of a 1973 album I already own in vinyl, “Tres Hombres.”

There. Global economy rescued by Your Humble Narrator. You’re welcome.

If you’ve shut yourself away and need something to do, why not try tapping your toes? Join the club!