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March 27, 2020

“Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am,
I’m only sleeping. Asshole.”

I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by Miss Mia Sopaipilla singing me “Happy Birthday.”

At least, I think it was “Happy Birthday.” It sounded a lot like “Mrow yowr rowr myowww erroww mrow yowr rowr meeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwww.” But I’m not much of a crooner myself and so who am I to be critical of another amateur’s warbling?

It goes without saying that when I woke her up a couple hours later, I was the bad guy.

Meanwhile, someone has promised me birthday pancakes. But she’s in her office yelling at NPR so I’m not holding my breath.

Still, I am on top of the earth and I don’t work for the government, as Thomas McGuane has said. So, later, the 66-minute birthday ride. Right after those hotcakes.

(Not) the Tour de France

March 26, 2020

Tom Waits for no one.

But somebody’s still thinking about it:

“Professional cycling reacted with a mix of cautious optimism and scepticism after the French sports minister, Roxana Mărăcineau, confirmed that together with the Tour de France organisers ASO, her officials were exploring ways of running a scaled-down Tour with restrictions on spectator access this summer even though the country is currently in lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Uh huh. I don’t see Live Update Guy cranking up the rusty machinery for this one. But I’ve been wrong before. …

Zoom ’n’ shrooms

March 26, 2020

Some driveway artiste was trying to cheer up the passers-by, if any.

I had a Zoom video chat with the BRAINiacs yesterday. My first! Look at me, being all like hep to the jive an’ shit.

The meeting was late in the day, and I burned a whole lot of daylight indoors doing whatever the hell it is that I do around here lately, so instead of kitting up for a ride to the Dark Tower to resupply Herself the Elder I went out for a brisk half-hour limp around the ’hood.

You can see company coming a long ways off out here in the Sandia foothills.

Distancing was social, and I seem to be limping faster, so, yay.

After the Zoom session I test-drove a couple new recipes that met with Herself’s approval: mushroom quesadillas and arroz verde.

For the quesadillas I used flour tortillas and Monterey Jack rather than corn torts and mozzarella. Also, I baked them in the oven instead of frying them in a pan.

For the rice I went with a blend of mild/hot Hatch chile instead of poblano and jalapeño.

Them was the ingredients I had on hand. And y’know what? It did not suck. Didn’t take any pix because I was too busy eatin‘ them sumbitches.

The Zoom thing was cool, too. I got to see some people I haven’t seen in a while, and nobody sneezed on nobody.

• Meanwhile — confusion reigns over whether bike shops are “essential.”

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?

Bike shops are essential

March 25, 2020

Albuquerque’s Two Wheel Drive is shut down, but a FaceButt post says they’re “investigating the potential of allowing repair pickups and more. Per shut-down protocol, no promises at this point. …”
—Photo lifted from the TWD website

Auto shops are essential, but bike shops are not?

We beg to differ.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order designating some New Mexico businesses as essential and others, eh, not so much, could use a little gentle tweaking. Thanks to Khal S. and the League of American Bicyclists, we can suggest that bike shops be given the all-clear to operate, even if only in some greatly reduced fashion.

Says Ken McLeod, LAB policy director:

“The League of American Bicyclists has received several requests for advocacy support to make sure that bicycle repair shops are designated as essential businesses in New Mexico and other states. … The League of American Bicyclists believes that bicycle repair employees are within the essential workforce described by federal guidance released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. That guidance says that the essential workforce includes ‘Employees who repair and maintain vehicles … that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.’ We think that the correct interpretation is that bicycle repair employees fall within that description. Clarifying that by explicitly including bicycle repair shops as essential businesses would be helpful so that they can continue serving the needs of people who depend upon bicycles for transportation or find bicycles preferable as a low-cost transportation option in this time of crisis.”

LAB has created a campaign page for people to direct messages to the governor on this issue. Ken, Khal and I urge you to circulate the link as you see fit.

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

Antisocial distancing

March 21, 2020

The outside is still there. We’re just not making as much use of it lately.

No child likes homework. And damn few adults like working from home full time, once they’ve given it a whirl.

Oh, sure, some of us are cut out for it. Truth be told, without the option to work remotely, some of us wouldn’t be remotely employable.

So as you noobs open your laptops on the kitchen counter, launch Skype, and settle into The New Normal, remember the Old Abnormal. We’re still here, in our three-day beards, unbrushed teeth, and soiled yoga pants, taking regular meetings with the voices in our heads.

We pioneered this shit. Homesteaded it, you might say. And we like it.

So, welcome to orientation.

First, the bad news: The voices in your head are not the ones you’re used to hearing around the water cooler in the office.

The good news? You can tell them to shut the fuck up and they won’t rat you out to HR.

Yes, it’s another 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: It’s another bargain-basement broadcast. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, and skipped the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder in favor of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. The intro music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the iOS version of GarageBand on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Angry shouting and background music (the latter by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions) is courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library. Cash register by kiddpark at Freesound.org. Herself was voiced either by Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks, or Rosario Dawson, I can’t decide.