Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Fathers and sons: Going the distance

November 2, 2018

Harrison “The Blur” Walter hits the creek crossing at the 2018 Colorado cross-country championships. | Photo: Hal Walter

Kicking off his interview with John Cleese last week, Marc Maron talked briefly about being invited to play guitar alongside Slash and Jimmy Vivino while hosting a benefit show for The Blues Foundation and The Americana Music Association.

Maron plays, but not at that level, and noted afterward: “The thing I always seem to learn over and over when I am around real musicians is they have committed their lives to a magical art. I am always amazed and excited at how consistently they nail songs and take you on that journey.”

Hey, I can dig it. Now me, I’m a professional rumormonger, which is to say that I get money to mong rumors, mostly by writing, occasionally by cartooning. And after more than a few decades of practice, practice, practice, which has yet to get me to Carnegie Hall, I can mong a quick rumor with keyboard or pen at the drop of a hat full of cash.

And a very small hat it usually is, too. More of a cap, actually. The sort one might find on a pint of Jameson or a bottle of Advil.

But podcasting? It feels like typing with boxing gloves, or drawing with a banana.

So, yeah, I get it when Maron — who is a podcaster, among other things — says of his hobbyist guitar-playing: “I can show up, and I can play, but I’m gonna clunk up something … that is not my craft, that is not my art, that is not my form. …”

Which is the long way around to saying that yes, we have another episode of the distinctly unprofessional and gratuitously hobbyist Radio Free Dogpatch on tap. It is quite literally an amateur hour, and you might need the Jameson and Advil to get through it.

In this one I chat at some length (and some distance) with my old comrade Hal Walter about his son Harrison, who just wrapped his first year with the high school cross-country team.

It was an up-and-down season for the 14-year-old, and he didn’t qualify as a varsity athlete for the state championship meet, held last Saturday in Bibleburg. But as an autistic athlete it seems he was eligible to race an event for special-needs kids.

Now, Hal prefers to keep Harrison in the mainstream whenever it’s possible and practical. But Harrison had been talking all season about going to states, and while he hadn’t made the varsity cut, he did have a strong finish to the regular season.

This left his dad with a tough call to make. Give it a listen.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface plugged into a a late-2009 iMac, using Ecamm’s Call Recorder for FaceTime, which apparently will not survive Apple’s transition to macOS Mojave. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand. The background music is “Matador’s Entry” from ZapSplat, and the race-day audio was stripped from a couple video clips forwarded by Hal Walter.

Running off at the mouth

October 19, 2018

Keep running, big fella. The first ton is the hardest.

Yup, it’s that time of year again.

Something about vile weather, a lack of paying work and the fact that I have all this goddamned technology cluttering up the joint drives me right into the cold mechanical clutches of podcastery.

I don’t know why. I’m a writer first, a cartoonist second, and a back-alley videographer third. An editor if nobody else is available and the pay is medium-heavy. So it’s not as though I lack for creative outlets.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never earned a dime from podcasting. It’s playtime rather than paytime.

Things might have been different had I gone into radio instead of print. Today I’d be working a couple late-night shifts a month at some whistle-stop public radio station and living in a van down by the river. For recreation I’d be pitching upper-case typos at my betters on social media, spraying graffiti on an overpass by the light of a pallet fire, and guzzling cheap gin from the bottle.

Whatevs. In any case, I was glancing back through my training log and noticed that it was full of running for some reason, so I thought it might be fun to let my pie-hole out for a short jog.

And thus, for no good reason other than just because, it’s time for another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch:

• Technical notes: I recorded this episode using a Shure SM58 mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, plugged into a late-2009 iMac. I read my script into Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, then edited the audio in Apple’s GarageBand, where I had already built the intro/outro music out of a bunch of Apple loops. The intro/outro telephone voice is also a GarageBand deal, one of a bunch of vocal presets you can select while recording directly into GB. The running sounds I captured on Trail 365 using a Tascam DR-10L digital recorder clipped to my waistband with a lavalier mic attached to my collar.

Killer diller chiller

October 15, 2018

It was chilly enough down here at the foot of the Sandias. Up at the top, where Herself and friend Kelli were, it was downright wintry. Photo | Herself

The temperature was in the 30s this morning when I decided to go for a run.

Rogue killers trying to shove me off by subtly inflicting a chill that blossoms into pneumonia? Who knows?

I bundled up and got after it anyway. Tights, tuque, the works. A fella can’t burn daylight, however feeble, just chillin’.

 

Days decrease, and autumn grows

October 10, 2018

Yesterday’s clouds were a harbinger of mildly unpleasant weather,
the sort one expects in October.

It’s that time of year again.

This morning, instead of going straight to The New York Times to see what deviltry Cheeto Benito has been up to while we slept, I cued up Weather Underground to find out what Thor has in store for us here in our little corner of the Duke City.

Also, I was wearing socks. And pants. O, the humanity.

I already miss my summer routine. Reveille at oh-dark-thirty as Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) leaps into my rack. After a brief exchange of the usual courtesies it’s up and into the Columbia shorts, guinea tee and Tevas for the trip to the kitchen, where I burn an English muffin for Herself, pour a cup of joe for myself, and top off Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s kibble.

Next, open the sliding glass doors and a kitchen window. Fresh air reminds me we have two cats who haven’t mastered the flush toilet. But the litter box will have to wait. First, the news. One foul chore at a time, please.

With the international, national, regional and local butt-nuggets exhumed, examined and expunged, and a second cup of coffee to wash down a snack of some sort, it’s time to generate a bit of bloggery and/or paying copy before embarking upon some healthy outdoor activity.

Here we have another indicator of the relentless passage of time, as reliable as falling leaves. Come autumn, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News and Adventure Cyclist reduce their frequency of publication, and my income stream — hardly a raging torrent, even in the heart of the cycling season — becomes more of a dribble, the last warm sip from summer’s water bottle.

I delivered the video teaser of my Jones Plus SWB review to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, and yesterday the November “Shop Talk” cartoon went off to BRAIN. Now I’m fresh out of other people’s bikes to ponder, and there’s just one more ’toon to draw for 2018.

And that healthy outdoor activity? Come autumn, it’s as likely to be a run as a ride. This year I started jogging again in July; this lets me sort of sneak up on my knees, give them time to grow accustomed to the idea that we enjoy this sort of thing, before winter winnows our options.

It’s a useful fiction, one that keeps me in shorts a while longer.

Sailing over the Sandias

October 3, 2018

It was a warmish, slightly humid day, which must be fine for flying.

I was running through here earlier in the day and never thought to look up. Mostly I look down, for tarantulas, buzzworms and drunken Republicans.

This afternoon I cranked up the Vespa for a short runaround, just to keep the battery topped off, and as I putt-putted toward the Menaul trailhead I noticed orange windsocks fluttering in the parking lot.

Looking up, I saw a hang glider cutting didoes over the foothills, so I pulled over and snapped a couple pix with the old Canon S110.

Looks like fun, doesn’t it? But so does riding a cyclocross bike on Sandia singletrack, until you have that unexpected get-off.

There are lots of pointy bits down here on Planet Albuquerque, and as luck would have it I found one while running through this very area this morning.

A terrorist shrub stabbed me in the left shoulder blade with a broken limb as I lumbered through a rocky patch on Trail 365, my gaze focused on the water-scoured trail, which is studded with toe-grabbers, ankle-twisters and face-planters.

Maybe I would have been safer aloft. We’ll never know. I don’t even get big air on the bike.

Recycled: The ‘best’ of ‘Mad Dog Unleashed’ 2017

December 26, 2017

• Editor’s note: Since my Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column won’t survive into the New Year, I’ve decided to resurrect a six-pack’s worth of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” screeds between now and then. Read ’em and weep. Or giggle, or roar, whichever you prefer.

Shoes for industry!

1. Sailin’ shoes make a mutt’s little feet bark

Well, the good thing in the first race blows, and right away Hymie commences to notice that his shoes seem full of feet, for there is nothing like a loser in the first race for making a guy notice his feet.“Tight Shoes,” by Damon Runyon

By Patrick O’Grady

Writing a column that’s even marginally about bicycling in January, with the walls closing in like plastered adobe wolves, feels like running in too-small shoes.

I was still stewing over the November election, having bet on an also-ran after picking back-to-back winners, and as Damon Runyon has taught us, there’s nothing like a loser to squeeze a gambler’s shoes.

It didn’t help that my new running shoes actually did seem full of feet, though they were my usual size (9 U.S., 42 Euro). In fact, like the undersized brogans Hymie Minsk and Rupert Salsinger wore in Runyon’s short story “Tight Shoes,” they were pinching my puppies quite some, though I hadn’t even kicked anyone in the pants with them yet.

Not for lack of temptation, mind you. But I was afraid that once I got started I’d never be able to stop. A fella could wear out a couple dozen pairs of kneecaps kicking all the asses that had it coming.

I’d start with the people who design shoes. If you ever find footwear that won’t underwrite your podiatrist’s next ski vacation in the Swiss Alps, buy all you can afford, because you will never see that particular model again. Not in this lifetime.

Then I might move on to the dog, who has deduced from observing me that it’s OK to poop indoors. I occasionally joke that as a freelancer I work from a home “orifice,” but it’s actually starting to smell like one.

And finally, there’s that other mutt, the ugly orange cur who’s crapping all over the Oval Office. Definitely on the bucket list for 2020. But I don’t think a size-42 shoe is going to get within field-goal range of his big butt anytime soon. Not unless that’s the size Vladimir Putin wears.

Old dog, new trick. As it turns out, our veterinarian says our dog has an excuse for his misbehavior. In addition to simply being an old fella, Mister Boo is showing some early signs of senility, kidney disease and control issues.

The orange mutt has a few of these problems as well, especially the latter, though his vet says he’s just fine, with “astonishingly excellent” lab-test results and “extraordinary” physical strength and stamina.

But between you and me, I’ve seen his vet. There’s another mongrel I wouldn’t take to a dogfight even if I thought he had a chance to win.

Meanwhile, back at cycling. … But we were talking about cycling here, and shoes—well, I was, anyway, until you wandered off, looking for something to read.

And as regards cycling, mostly I don’t, not in January, anyway. It’s too cold outdoors, and too dull indoors. (Plus the brown truck keeps coming around, and I ain’t talking UPS here, if you get my drift.)

So when the sun shines I take a quick spin around a short circuit I’ve worked out for evaluating touring bikes, and when it doesn’t I might do a little cyclocross for auld lang syne. But mostly I run. It’s quick, it’s good for you in a real bad for you sort of way, and as Richard Pryor said in “Live In Concert,” you never know when in real life you might have to.

“If somebody pull a knife on you and you can’t pull out nothin’ but a hand with some skin on it, your intelligence ought to tell you to … run!” he said. “And teach your old lady how to run so you don’t have to go back after her ass.”

She’s got legs. I don’t have to teach my old lady to run. Herself doesn’t ride much, even in good weather, but she runs a couple-three days a week year round and has finished a couple half-marathons.

I can’t kick her ass, either, and not just because I can’t catch her. Even trying wouldn’t be prudent. She’s seven years younger than I am, gets up real early, and knows where all the knives are. And if I try to run from her, she’ll catch me.

The other day she dragged me out on a grotesquely cold morning for a run that started way too soon and way too fast and that’s when I noticed that my new shoes seemed to be full of feet for some reason.

And she knows how to use ‘em. Afterward I was stumping around El Rancho Pendejo like Long John Silver, raving about going back to the store that sold me these too-small shoes and applying them to a few tailbones with vigor and malice aforethought.

Herself snorted, and suggested that if I ever joined her at the yoga studio, or even stretched something other than a metaphor now and then, maybe a little jog wouldn’t hobble me with plantar fasciitis, which sounds like the Italian for “Donald Trump’s gardener” but is actually some sort of painful heel injury.

I replied that if she wanted a well-heeled man around the house she should’ve married the orange mutt instead of the green one.

And now for some reason my ass hurts nearly as much as my feet.

• Editor’s note v2.0: This column appeared in the February 2017 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

11 o’clock blues

December 12, 2017

Say ‘ello to my leetle fren’, Espeedie Zapatas.

As I finished yesterday’s run I entered El Rancho Pendejo to wild applause and cheers.

I grinned, threw both hands in the air, and finally bowed before remembering that I’d left KUNM on to deter burglars and some pissant orchestra on “Performance Today” was stealing my thunder.

Well, it wasn’t as though I’d set a PR anyway.

And don’t believe your lyin’ eyes. No matter what that photo shows, I was not running in shorts. Well, I was, but they were under tights, and I was rockin’ two long-sleeved tops plus a tuque and gloves, too. I may be crazy, but I’m not insane. Cold out there! Colder than a ticket-taker’s smile at the Ivar Theatre on Saturday night.

Speaking of emotional weather reports, the forecast remains uncertain in Alabama. Talk about putting the vise grips on our mental health. I’m old enough to remember when we sent short-eyes to jail instead of the Senate.

No turkey, but a trot

November 24, 2017

Black Friday me arse. Here in the Duke City we’re expecting blue skies, a high near 70, and no bloody shopping.

Another Thanksgiving done and dusted. A thousand thank-yous to everyone who continues to pop round to the rumormongery, if only to see whether I’ve croaked and left them a slightly used bicycle or two or three.

Posole verde on the fire.

We kept it light this year. Neither family nor friends were in attendance (we phoned Herself the Elder, my sister, and our former Bibleburg tenant Judy) and thus the kitchen drudgery was nothing out of the ordinary.

I cooked a simple posole verde based on a recipe by Rodrigo Bueno, Herself whipped up a raspberry cobbler, and that was that. No leftover turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and whatnot for snacking purposes, but the post-feast cleanup was greatly expedited.

Before sitting down to eat we went out for a short and leisurely run, neither of us having legged it around and about for a while. It was a gorgeous November day, with temps in the 60s and nothing but blue sky overhead.

Indeed, it was so pleasant we gave the cats a good airing, too, and they spent the rest of the day snoozing in their respective towers by a window.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), keeps an eye peeled for Rooski ratfuckers.

Ordinarily we watch “Home for the Holidays” on Thanksgiving, but this year we opted for a few episodes from season two of “Baskets,” a weird little series starring Zach Galifianakis. It’s not for everyone — especially now, since disgraced weirdo Louis C.K. is one of the co-creators and producers — but it’s definitely … different.

Elsewhere, there’s nothing different about the way special counsel Robert Mueller is pressing his inquiry into the Rooski ratfucking of the 2016 elections.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla favors a sunny spot underneath the yard art.

The Old Wise Heads speculate that Mike Flynn has rolled over and begun chirping canarylike arias, which is generally what happens when the laws have you by the short and curlies and wish to grab hold of someone a little higher up the criminal chain of command.

It’s probably a tad early to give thanks. But may we please have a few indictments neatly wrapped and under the tree by Christmas, Santa baby?

April showers (March edition)

March 28, 2017

‘Twas a fine soft day at El Rancho Pendejo.

Boy, can I pick a day for a birthday ride or what?

Yesterday, three hours of cycling in spring kit; today, 40 minutes of trail running in tights, long-sleeved polypro, rain jacket, tuque and woolen glove liners.

But hey, I’m not complaining. This is the upper Chihuahuan Desert and we’ll take all the aqua fria we can get and then some.

Plus I got to watch the neighbors’ 2-year-old splashing happily in the puddles, and heard the first hummingbird of 2017 while walking The Boo. It’s all good.

 

Chow dog

December 26, 2016
From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

Christmas Day was one chilly sonofabitch, with a nasty bit of wind, so naturally Herself and I decided to go out for a short run, reasoning that we could do anything, no matter how sucky, for a half hour.

You will recall that I have “run” exactly once since May, while Herself pounds ground a couple days a week and did a half-marathon back in October. So imagine if you will an elderly, portly Irish setter chasing a young border collie over hill and dale.

After such a massive caloric expenditure I felt compelled to prepare a pot of pre-Mexican hominy stew, and this morning topped that off with a mess of pan-fried potatoes, hickory-smoked bacon, eggs over easy, English muffins, coffee and tea.

And now I feel slightly sluggish for some reason. Probably the bonk. I should eat something.