Archive for the ‘Snow’ Category

’Round about midnight

September 9, 2020

The dread Crusty County Snow Spiral of Doom. Photo by Hal Walter

A wind-driven rain blew us right out of bed last night about three hours after lights out.

I say “last night” because it was still dark. But it was just after midnight. And it sounded as though Poseidon was power-washing the house, or maybe shot-peening it, which probably doesn’t do much to harden stucco against the elements.

As I will never be smart, this was about the time it occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken down the various bird feeders hanging around and about El Rancho Pendejo, maybe cinched down the cover over the gas grill, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

But this morning, all the feeders and the grill cover remained in place. The only damage was to the plastic footlocker we use to store the cushions for our patio furniture; that sucker got blown over and one of the gas struts FUBARed.

The cushions, as you might deduce, got wet.

I estimate that we got a foot or two of rain, but since it was coming in sideways at warp 5 it only amounted to a quarter inch or so. We can expect more of the same later today, it seems. And with the weather widget showing 43° at 8:48 in the ayem it’s about as warm as it’s going to get.

About 12,000 Burqueños lost power last night, and the problem persists this morning. Khal S. reports that he and a few thousand of his fellow Santa Feos were back to kerosene lanterns, wood heat, and carrier pigeons too. Up north my man Hal Walter was likewise back to a traditional mountain lifestyle (freezing to death in the dark), and woke up to snow; the icing on the cake, as it were.

All in all, it seems a good day to stay indoors and listen to Miles Davis. Even if it’s not ’round about midnight.

Not a fan

April 13, 2020

First, the rain. Then, the snow.

Well, it was pretty easy to do the ol’ social distancing today.

The fog crept down the foothills like something out of a Sherlock Holmes movie, followed by the rain, and finally, the snow.

A fan. I’m not a fan of this fan, either.

Well, it was “snow” only in the sense that it involved fat white flakes falling, but nothing stuck around long enough to be shoveled. It certainly wouldn’t have kept a Belgian off the bike. I don’t think anything can.

But it did the trick for me. I rode the trainer for 45 minutes, which I hate, and then did a little light resistance training, which also, too, and likewise.

Still, anything beats watching our national “leadership” act more like Al Capone than Al Schweitzer. These pendejos couldn’t organize a beer run for a frat house if the liquor store were downstairs.

White Thursday

November 28, 2019

The view from the Main Portal at stupid-thirty.

… the well-known precursor to Black Friday.

Bombcyclonesnowpacalypticarmageddonado*

March 14, 2019

We’re burning the furniture and roasting the slower neighbors while we wait for the Red Cross to airdrop emergency supplies.

* a.k.a. “bum cyclone.” Everybody sing! (To the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” from “Mary Poppins.)

Bombcyclonesnowpacalypticarmageddonado
Winter’s piling record-breaking drifts on Colorad-o
If you have some snowshoes to the pub you all may wade-o
Bombcyclonesnowpacalypticarmageddonado!

Fiddler on the roof

February 24, 2019

Who’s dumber, the guy who built the house with the flat roof
or the guy who bought it?

When I write my doctoral dissertation on snow removal it will be titled “Flat Roofs Are Stupid.”

White-line fever

February 20, 2019

Base camp at the overflow area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2004.

It’s been a chilly, damp winter in Albuquerque, which isn’t saying much.

Still, it grates after a while, and never more so than during February, a month that is simultaneously too short and too long.

Herself has been to Costa Rica, the neighbors just fled to Mexico, and some other friends beat feet all the way to France.

And yet here I sit (no, this is not a poem, and it is specifically not that poem), rattling the bars on my window of opportunity and losing arguments with the voices in my head.

I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February, and I was getting set to do it again when I realized, “Hey, I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February. Why don’t I turn it into a podcast?”

Which I did. This is it. You’re welcome. Now hand me the snow shovel on your way out, would you? I want to smack myself in the head with it.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Editorial notes: The “Mad Dog Unleashed” column headlined “On the Road Again: Frown Lines Search for a Few Tan Lines,” which is my onion at the bottom of this bitter pot of bitch stew, first appeared in the February 2004 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. My line about February having roots in the French “febrile” is, as you may already know, complete and utter bullshit. The Cactus Cup has returned to McDowell Mountain Regional Park since that 2004 column — this year’s edition is slated for March 8-10. And finally, did you know that Peter “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, pedal steel player for The Flying Burrito Brothers, was also a visual-effects artist and stop-motion animator who worked on “Gumby?” Neither did I.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, the pedal steel riff that closes the episode is from Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever,” as performed by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their eponymous 1971 album. The background music is “Trapped” from Zapsplat.com. And the rewind sound is courtesy of TasmanianPower at Freesound.org.

Degrees of difficulty

January 22, 2019

It wasn’t what I’d call warm on Saturday, but the Big Yellow Ball was out in a blue, blue sky, so I had that going for me, which was nice.

Hmph. After six consecutive days of healthful outdoor exercise I thought I’d award myself a day of rest yesterday.

Should’ve kept an eye on the weather wizards. ’Cause today, it’s snowing again. Bah, etc.

Happily, I wrapped and shipped the latest “Quick Spin” video to Adventure Cyclist on Sunday, so I won’t have to check the integrity of those Jamis fenders today. Instead, I can go for a short run in the snow, see if I can find a new place to fall down.

And it could be worse. It could not be snowing in January, and come June I would be bitching about being on fire.

Or I could be an unpaid federal employee standing in line near the Trump International Hotel in DeeCee, waiting for some free food.

Radha Muthiah, president of the Capital Area Food Bank, tells The New York Times that her organization has had to reassess its targets, which now include people “making upward of $60,000 a year.”

“What was more interesting than the number were the types of calls: individuals who had never had to request food,” she said of those contacting the food bank. “Many had donated, but had never expected to be on the receiving end.

“What this experience is showing them is that so many of us live paycheck to paycheck. Any time of emergency — whether a medical emergency or something else — how quickly one can become vulnerable.”

Some federales are hunting other work, whatever they can find — babysitting, driving for Uber, substitute teaching. This may or may not keep other Americans from landing those jobs.

Notes FDA employee David Arvelo: “Who’s going to hire me not knowing how long I’m going to stick around?”

One common thread running through all these stories involves infernal combustion: people who suddenly can’t afford gas, insurance, car payments, whatever. The humble bicycle looks awfully good by comparison. Unless, of course, it’s snowing.

Limping into the new year

December 31, 2018

Tonight’s the last night for holiday lights.

The finish line is just around the corner. If we can just stay on our feet — never a sure thing — we’ll make it to 2019.

It’s been a week since I took my little tumble on the trail, and in that time I’d neither run nor ridden, reasoning that my crumbling temple of the soul needed a little quiet renovation.

Besides, it was cold out there. Snowy, too, and windy, with ice in the shady spots and everything. One of yis up north must have sent your miserable climate down here for a change of scenery.

Thus the cycling was right out. I’d managed a couple short, limpy walks, favoring that dodgy left knee, but skipped the resistance training ’cause my right mitt looked like a couple bucks’ worth of ground round. With a good thick bandage and heavy gloves I could shovel snow, and that was fine. Lifting weight with an actual purpose, don’t you know.

FInally, today everything seemed more or less in order, and as it started to snow again I tottered out for a short run. It felt weird at first; if you’ve ever tweaked a knee you know the feeling, the reluctance to put any serious weight on it, your stride having strayed, your mojo gone missing.

But gradually I loosened up and settled back into something like a rhythm, and while I pussyfooted around the icy patches I was able to shake off a few flakes of rust. When I got back to the ranch I even treated myself to a little quality time with the dumbbells.

No, not those dumbbells. I’m talking weights here. I’m still hoping to see the other dumbbells in the dock here directly. It’s gotta be Mueller Time one of these days.

As for the rest of yis, I hope to see you slouching around El Rancho Pendejo come the new year. Keep your heads in the clouds and your feet on the trail, and we’ll all join up on the flip side for another lap around old Sol.

Phoning it in

December 27, 2018

Is this the weirdest message you’ve ever seen from a telecommunications company or what? Maybe the ghost of my mom is haunting the joint.

With CenturyLink on the fritz throughout the Great American West today — man, someone somewhere must’ve tripped over The Main Cable — I was compelled to rely on my 6-year-old, one-fuggin’-bar, AT&T iPhone 5 for intel.

I had to recharge the sonofabitch about every 45 minutes during the 14-hour outage, and couldn’t get much accomplished even with a full battery, but hey, them’s the breaks. Here’s your laptop, there’s the door, where’s your Starbucks? Verizon was sideways for a while too, which sidelined Herself’s newer iPhone 7 during a grocery run that came up light on a few staples as a consequence.

You might not have heard about CenturyLink shitting the bed, since it mostly affected Flyover Country, and the company sure as hell wasn’t going out of its way to let anyone in on the story, especially its paying customers.

But take it from me, as communications technology goes, a 16 GB iPhone 5 in 2018 is right up there with the smoke signal, semaphore flags, and log drum.

The good news? Blizzard warning.

Voodoo economics

December 3, 2018

The first “real” snow of this not-quite-winter.

We got what I’d call our first real snow yesterday, probably because I had to drive Herself to the airport (the Universe is always on the lookout for ways to snatch a knot in my ass).

As real snows go it was fairly unreal, and the New Mexican sun was already dealing with it as I dropped her off and headed for home.

Elsewhere, Charles P. Pierce was occupied bringing light, heat and a metric shit-ton of knot-snatching to the legacy of George H.W. Bush.

I’d been trying to decide whether I had anything worthwhile to say about Poppy’s passing. There was no shortage of hagiography from the usual suspects, who seemed relieved to yap about something other than Il Douche shitting the national bed.

But all I could think of was “voodoo economics,” the one-two punch Bush v1.0 laid on Dutch Reagan’s fiscal acumen, such as it was.

When he transitioned smoothly from delivering that pop in the chops to joining the Gipper’s team as veep, I thought, “Fuck this guy.” And it seems ol’ Chazbo was thinking along similar lines. He summed up Bush v1.0’s political career as an extended exercise in “cheap theatrics … the pragmatic insincerity, the subcontracting of the hatchet job to a hired hand, the willingness to play a role, no matter how clumsily, in order to keep and maintain power.”

Quoth Charlie:

You will recall that, in 1980, he’d said the last sensible thing any Republican has said about the snake-oil that is supply-side economics. He called them “voodoo economics,” and he was dead-right. But he signed on as Reagan’s vice president anyway and, by 1988, he was getting up at the Republican National Convention and butching himself up by borrowing an idiotic line from an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Read my lips. No new taxes!

As an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, Bush v1.0 didn’t need to descend to this sort of back-alley play-acting. Furthermore, as an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, he had a duty to call his party out on its descent into theocracy, willful ignorance, and fascism, but he never even cleared his throat, much less spoke up. Perhaps staff was unable to dredge up a suitable bon mot from the popular cinema, or he was all worn out from signing pardons for anyone who could rack him up like a second-hand suit over the Iran-contra scandal.

If you think that’s unkind, you should revisit Hunter S. Thompson’s thoughts on Bush v1.0, as I’ve been doing the past couple of days. In “The Scum of the Earth,” from his book “Generation of Swine,” HST wrote:

He has the instincts of a dung beetle. No living politician can match his talent for soiling himself in public. Bush will seek out filth wherever it lives — going without sleep for days at a time, if necessary — and when he finds a new heap he will fall down and wallow crazily in it, making snorting sounds out of his nose and rolling over on his back and kicking his legs up in the air like a wild hog come to water.

That the current occupant of the Oval Office makes Poppy look like a combination of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Pliny the Elder is no excuse for the ongoing failure of national memory. Props to Charlie Pierce for continuing to serve the Republic as that voice crying in the wilderness.