Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Mirror, mirror

January 7, 2019

Mirror, mirror, on the bar; who’s the loony in that car?

I got back on the bike on Saturday for a short spin to blow the ol’ carbon out of the cylinders.

The roads were crusty and dusty, where they weren’t wet and/or icy, so I needed something with fenders (the Soma DC) plus winter tights and a truly ancient Pearl Izumi hi-viz jacket. Seriously, this Day-Glo duster must date to 1994 or thereabouts. It’s old enough to be living in our basement (if we had one) while we paid off its college loans. “B.A.” stands for “barista’s assistant?” Who knew?

There were lots of hi-viz jackets and tights traversing Tramway, so I guess everyone was as sick as I was of huddling indoors or shoveling snow. But boom, come Sunday, we were back in the icebox and I decided to go for a squishy run instead of a second ride.

This time we got rain, which was a nice change. Don’t gotta shovel no rain.

Speaking of shoveling, I see Wally O’Steele hopes to lie straight to our faces in prime time tomorrow, eliminating the middleman (the “fake news”).

I don’t believe that the networks’ news departments are obliged to broadcast fiction — that’s the purview of their entertainment divisions — so p’raps the usual filters will remain in place.

Or maybe Comedy Central could air this piece of performance art, with Garrett Morris on a split screen, riffing on an old “Weekend Update” bit from “Saturday Night Live.”

It’d be a two-fer — delivering news for the deaf from the dumb.

• Late update: The networks blew the call, from James Fallows.

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.

Rocking out

December 29, 2018

“Would you mind either cranking up the heat a smidge or fetching me a blanket? Thanks ever so much. Also, some delicious snacks would be nice.”

Now here’s a fella who knows what to do with a 9-degree morning. A couple medium-heavy breakfasts, a bit of grooming, and then a nice long snooze.

 

Aw, fog it

December 26, 2018

A quick shot out the front door.

The weather went abruptly and lightly sideways this morning.

We’ve had a bit of everything today, from light snow to rain to sleet to fog, while up north travelers are intercoursing the penguin on a nasty stretch of Interstate 25 at La Bajada. Getting up that hill in evil weather is trouble enough. For getting down, what you want is skis. Or perhaps to stay home.

The various wounds are healing nicely, thanks for asking. Since the weather seems ill-suited to vigorous outdoor exercise I believe I shall award myself a rest day.

If the knee requires ice I have some in the refrigerator. No need to go out looking for it.

The last time I did that I wound up with my left communications digit in a bright blue splint.

Speaking of falls, Austin Murphy (you may remember his writings about HWSNBN Back in the Day®) has gone from working for Sports Illustrated to driving delivery for Amazon. He serves up a good read about how that package gets from Jeff Bezos’ magic kingdom to your doorstep. And yes, like HWSNBN, occasionally these guys have to pee in a bottle. Just not the way you think.

Santa Protection Factor

December 23, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is … frightful?

I hope jolly ol’ St. Nick remembers to slather on the SPF 50 when he brings all my toys to the Duke City. Unless he wants his snoot to get redder than Rudolph’s.

King Holly, King Oak

December 21, 2018

It’s a maple, not an oak, but it will have to do for now.

“You were just starting to get into your groove,” the dog-walker said apologetically as I yielded the trail, interrupting the run I had just begun.

More of a rut than a groove, I thought. I run this trail pretty much every Monday and Wednesday, and then lift weights afterward. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, I ride. On Fridays, I brood. Especially when the Friday in question happens to be the shortest day of the year, followed by the longest night.

If I ever actually found a groove and was getting into it, I mused, it would probably be something like the groove on an old vinyl LP, spiraling in at 33 1/3 rpm toward the black hole in the center. Stairway to heaven? More like highway to Hell.

Now ruts I know. I had been in an actual rut the day before I encountered the dog-walker, climbing Trail 341 counterclockwise on my second-best Steelman.

Anyone who saw me lurching upward in the 36×28 might have thought me a lost, loopy roadie, Trail 341 being a narrow, serpentine climb, sometimes featuring actual serpents; rocky where it isn’t loose, fenced with cane cholla, with a couple-three blind corners, no passing lanes, and the occasional rut just to keep things interesting.

But I was in the best mental health I could summon in December, especially this December, and as I said, it was my second-best Steelman. Plus I was climbing, not descending, which lets me ease into trouble rather than diving in headlong.

I had been descending Trail 341 when one of these ruts caught me unawares back in July 2017. I was aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, which with its plump Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Roads is ordinarily more than a match for this short, not particularly technical descent.

But my mind had wandered, as it will, and it didn’t wander back until after I had bitten the dust, grabbing a handful of cholla as I went down.

“What the hell are you doing?” my mind asked.

“Oh, shut up,” I replied, yanking spines from my left hand. “This is your fault.”

“What, I told you to yardsale in a rut?” my mind chortled. “I was just trying to get a little work done while you were dicking around. Jeez, I can’t leave you alone for a minute.”

Ever since taking that little digger I’ve ridden Trail 341 as a climb instead of a descent, though the neighborhood Singletrack Sanitation Service has ironed out a few of its nastier wrinkles. It leaves me in something of a metaphorical rut, true, but it’s a problem I don’t need to solve; a nettle I don’t care to grasp.

Especially in December, when there’s never enough sun to really warm your bones, and what there is of it hangs low in the sky, either blinding you to the path or cloaking it in shadows.

My rides and temper shorten with the days. I get up in the dark and by the time I‘ve gotten a handle on current events — what has the Arsehole-in-Chief managed to shit on today? — it’s dark again and time to go back to bed. This makes for unsettling dreams.

Dreams. The ancient Celts saw the solstices as battles between twin kings, Oak vs. Holly, warmth and light pitted against cold and dark.

Neither king is ever truly vanquished. The Holly King is ascendant as the old year wanes, but as the new year approaches the Oak King reclaims the throne.

It was a murky morning as this year’s winter solstice came to Newgrange, and the Oak King did not make an appearance. But this doesn’t mean that the Holly King has finally triumphed. The struggle continues.

And I recall another Irish legend, who once said: “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle. Grasp the nettle.

• Editor’s note: I had planned to make this an episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, but various ruts kept tripping me up. At least you can give a listen to the music I had in mind for the background — “King Holly, King Oak,” from Johnny Cunningham via “Celtic Christmas,” a Windham Hill sampler I’d forgotten I owned. And happy solstice to you.

Chile in here

December 22, 2017

I was a Sabo-Cat walking a dog this morning.

Twenty-something when we walked The Boo this brisk winter morn. Yow, wow, ow, zow, etc.

Naturally, I wore my Wobbly watch cap to keep ice off my dome. Later I plan to brew a batch of my famous green chile stew to repel any sniffles, flus, and pneumonias trolling the neighborhood for the unprepared and ill-fortified. Even Che found smashing the State a formidable task when his pipes were clogged.

Singing up the sun

December 21, 2017

It’s not moonrise, and those are not pikes. But still.

Betimes I fear the Ó Grádaighs intercoursed the penguin when they fled County Clare for Americay.

Were we still on the auld sod we’d be kings, or druids, lighting bonfires, rubbing up against the mistletoe and singing up the dawn on solstice instead of watching helplessly as brigands, highwaymen and landlords make off with every salable item in the Republic.

Well, maybe not. We’d probably be on the dole, trading our excess offspring for drink and stealing the neighbors’ pigs.

Still, damme if I feel like singing up the dawn on this side of the pond this morning. ‘Tis only the rising of the moon will have me tuning up so.

White Christmas

December 25, 2016
I'm thinking we won't need to break out the Acme Atomic Snow-blower™ for this one.

I’m thinking we won’t need to break out the Acme Atomic Snow-blower™ for this one. Photo inspired by the works of Michael Brangoccio.

Well, a kinda-sorta white Christmas, anyway. We do what we can. Happy happy joy joy to the lot of yis.

Phys ed

December 23, 2016
Jogging in a winter wonderland.

Jogging in a winter wonderland.

As longtime visitors to the DogS(h)ite know, I will never be smart.

Still, “never” is an awfully long time. Especially now that a study indicates that running “seems to require a greater amount of high-level thinking than most of us might imagine,” or so says Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times.

The study, published in a neuroscience journal, found that the brains of competitive distance runners “had different connections in areas known to aid in sophisticated cognition than the brains of healthy but sedentary people,” Reynolds recounts, adding: “The discovery suggests that there is more to running than mindlessly placing one foot in front of another.”

Well. Shit. Naturally I laced up the old runners straight away and toddled off for my first jog of the winter.

And … nothing. Bupkis. Still as dumb as a stump.

Still, I’ll probably keep after it. At least running gets you out in the open air. Like crucifixion.