Archive for the ‘Things that don’t suck’ Category

The bee’s knees

March 3, 2021

Somebody tell the bees and the trees that it ain’t spring yet.

Actually, you can’t see their little knees — do bees even have knees? — but the little bastards sure are buzzing away up there in our backyard maple, which is already budding out.

So is the ornamental pear by the master bedroom window.

The pear thinks it’s spring too.

I haven’t budded out, but I have bugged out, for a pleasant two-hour loop that took in some of the bike paths I avoided in Year One of the Pale Horseman. The forecast called for a high in the low 60’s, so I figured why not?

For openers I rolled down Paseo de las Montañas to Indian School and thence to the I-40 Trail, which took me to the North Diversion Channel Trail. This trail has been blocked for a while north of Comanche as the Water Authority engaged in a bit of valve rehabilitation, whatever the hell that means.

Heading north on the NDCT I passed through Balloon Fiesta Park and worked my way over to Interstate 25 and Tramway for the half-hour climb to County Line Barbecue. Tailwind, mostly, so yay. Nevertheless, records failed to crumble beneath my thundering wheels. No prizes were awarded.

I stayed on Tramway for the trip home. Usually I dick around a little bit on the side streets to the east but I felt like scaring the shit out of myself for no good reason.

I’m going to insist that the State install a flyover exit for bicycles only at Comanche so I can make the left turn without (a) getting stuck for three-four rotations in the turn lane (the arrow refuses to appear for bicyclists), or (2) getting run over and killed to death.

There’s a pedestrian bridge just south of the intersection, but getting to it almost certainly would involve (2) because nobody ever even slows down for a right turn at Comanche and Tramway, much less stops to gauge the oncoming traffic. When the YMCA goes belly up I expect it to be replaced by an auto body shop and an EmergiCare.

Empowering the nomads

February 28, 2021

Ryan Pohl building batteries in the boonies.
Photo: Nina Riggio | The Washington Post

Here’s an interesting story: We’ve wondered from time to time about what we’re going to do with all the batteries from these cool new toys everyone thinks will save us from ourselves. Ryan Pohl has a few ideas on that subject.

Pohl is repurposing depleted electric-car batteries to power the off-the grid wanderers who winter at Quartzsite, billed as “the RV boondocking capital of the world.”

There are no plug-ins out there, so the nomads mostly power their rigs using fossil-fueled generators. What there is is plenty of sun. And with solar panels, some used Nissan Leaf batteries, plus an assist from Pohl and his mobile workshop, these wanderers can get a little greener.

And now for something completely different

December 12, 2020

“Yeah, I’m wearing clothes. So what? So are you.”

After the events of the past few days I’m thinking we can all use a photo of a Shih Tzu wearing her poofy winter duds.

Happy trails

September 3, 2020

The Elena Gallegos Open Space was awash in goodwill on Wednesday.

Maybe it was the abrupt change in temperature from “hot as balls” to “ooh that’s nice.”

During a short ride around the Elena Gallegos Open Space yesterday morning everyone I met was in high spirits. Not a sourpuss in the lot.

Cyclists, equestrians, hikers, moms with kids, dog-walkers — everybody was smiling as though the Republic were ticking along like a fine watch instead of missing on three of eight cylinders, leaking vital fluids, and badly in need of a front-end alignment.

I haven’t been riding the trails much during the Year of the Bug because once everyone who could work from home was working from home, well … it seemed that a lot of them were not exactly working from home. Not unless their homes were on the range, where the deer and the antelope — and Your Humble Narrator — play.

With a dodgy ankle I doubted my ability to excel at “Dodge the Noob,” so mostly I abandoned the trails for the roads, though occasionally I’d hit some short, wide, low-traffic trail to cleanse the old velo-palette.

But six months later I’m more or less myself, or someone very much like him. And yesterday I didn’t have to dodge anyone. The thundering herd seemed to have thinned a bit, and those who remained didn’t give off that displaced-gym-rat vibe. Earbuds were very much not in evidence. Mostly I yielded trail, of course, even when I had the right of way. But occasionally people who had the right of way even yielded to me.

Cheery greetings were exchanged, munchkins on strider bikes applauded, horsemanship admired. Even my battered Voodoo Nakisi drew some appreciation.

“Doing some cyclocross, hey?” asked one guy after I complimented his dog, some class of burly curly black wonderpooch. I explained that my bike was a 29er with drop bars, your basic monstercrosser, just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails, and then headed for the barn.

It was a random sample, not a scientific poll. Pundits will not cite it as evidence of a trend going into the November election. But I found it comforting. For an hour or so, anyway.

A pearl of great price

May 12, 2020

Thirty years ago today.

Himself: “And to think they said it would never last.”

Herself: “That was us.”

• THIS JUST IN: Hey, whaddaya know: Three decades later, the clothes still fit!

And 50 percent of us is still hot!

Breaking trail

April 28, 2020

Looking north along Trail 365 from below Piedra Lisa Arroyo, just east of Camino de la Sierra.

Closer to home, just south of Comanche.

Yesterday I took a brisk three-mile hike on the circuit that did for my ankle back in February.

I skipped the part of the loop where the actual injury occurred. Seems like there are more and more people out every day, as the temps inch upwards into the 70s and above, and I didn’t want to brush up against any plague carriers.

But damn, didn’t it feel nice to get off the asphalt and concrete for a change?

Signs of the times

April 10, 2020

A sign at the Copper trailhead breaks down social distancing for users, among other things.

Your intrepid bicycle reviewer took another test ride Wednesday — and in clipless pedals, too.

Again with the winning! So. Much. Winning.

The ride included a detour intended to help Herself the Elder decode a TV issue — or try to, anyway — and while I waited for Herself to arrive by auto to deliver supplies and provide translation services, I rolled east on Copper to the foothills trailhead to see what was what.

The small parking lot was full to overflowing, and a John Law was parked down the street, which made me wonder whether The Authorities were taking a tally of trail users with an eye toward declaring the open space off limits.

A little light shining in the darkness.

Probably not. Any trails closure would be impossible to enforce without cavalry, claymores, and helicopter gunships.

And the gendarmes have plenty of other things to do, like corral teenagers who apparently take the playlist at a party a bit too seriously, chase copper thieves, and argue with jailers who refuse to book suspects.

But there were a couple of new signs about social distancing and curve-flattening posted alongside the golden oldies about staying on trails, fetching trash home, and cleaning up after Fido. So, like the rest of us, The Authorities are doing what they can given the circumstances.

Back to Herself the Elder’s place. Herself had still not arrived, so I rolled down the street a ways, thinking I’d see if there were some way to loop around to the Dark Tower without using Copper.

And then I saw the sign. “Free Masks.” Someone was going above and beyond, with no thought of reward. There may be hope for the species yet.

Blue Monday

March 30, 2020

Monday, Monday, so good to me.

It’s not just the sky, mind you.

Every Monday, rain or shine, sickness or health, the blue trash and recycling trucks that work our cul-de-sac toot their horns for the two little girls next door, who jump up and down in the driveway, shrieking with delight.

The drivers don’t have to do this. It’s not part of the job description. But they do it anyway.

So in case you’re starting to wonder whether any hope remains … I’d say yeah. It rolls by twice every Monday in a big blue truck.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

It’s loud and it’s tasteless

March 20, 2019

Sorry, it does not come with fries.

Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry, step right this way!

It’s the first day of spring, and nothing says “spring” quite like a change in wardrobe.

Unless you’re in Colorado, in which case “spring” says “snowshoeing to the liquor store.” Or in the Midwest, where it means “building an Ark.” (The Bible is not particularly helpful here. What the hell is a cubit, anyway? I don’t see any “gopher wood” down at the Home Depot, either. Do I have to go to Hobby Lobby for that?)

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

But yeah, everywhere else, wardrobe change. And have we got a deal for you. Mad Dog Media and Voler have teamed up on their first-ever Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter Spring Jersey Sale!

See, we figure you’ve put on about 15 percent over this long, cold winter. So we’re helping you take 15 percent off, and the easy way, too, by buying something. It’s The American Way™. And it’s cheaper than snowshoes, liquor, and kitty litter for the bottom of that Ark.

Just pop round to the Mad Dog corner of Voler, deploy the Secret Code — OLDGUYS15 — and surrender your money, personal data, and the final tattered remnants of your self-respect.

G’wan, y’fat bastid, take the plunge. Join the team. You need the kit, and we need the laughs. Also, and too, the money. Don’t make me stop the Internet and come back there. We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town, beep-beep.

Offer good until April 1, when the usual foolery will resume.