Boiling in the bosque

June 9, 2017

We’re getting a few of New Mexico’s signature puffy clouds late in the day, but mostly it’s blue skies and red hot.

We’re enjoying a stretch of summery weather in the Duke City, and I am ever so glad I chose a career in rumormongery rather than landscaping.

The neighbors have a crew in, reshaping the back yard to make it a pleasant playpen for their anklebiters, and from a safe distance this looks an awful lot like work, especially when the temps inch into the 90s.

See those hills off in the distance? Yeah, I pretty much had to ride back there.

I got a late start on my ride Wednesday and by the time I had climbed back from the bosque to El Rancho Pendejo I was feeling not unlike a rotissery chicken but didn’t smell nearly as appetizing.

Still, it was worth it. The ride was nearly all downhill along the Paseo de las Montañas bike path and Indian School to downtown/Old Town, where I headed west on Mountain (a “Bicycle Boulevard”) to the Paseo del Bosque.

The winds were cooperative — mostly blocked by the bosque’s cottonwoods while riding north and providing a distinct assist on the Paseo del Norte trail and Osuna/Manitoba. Only on the short southbound stretch of the North Diversion Channel Trail did I face a headwind. Life is suffering, as the Buddha has taught us.

That Space Horse may be a tad small at 55cm, but it’s comfy for a couple-three hours. Especially if you get an earlier start and don’t sweat all over the poor little pony.

Busy, busy, busy

June 8, 2017

The president was riveted by Comey’s testimony.

And not just me, either: While we were all entranced with “The Comey Show,” the House GOP was continuing the Lord’s work, which is to say hotwiring the Republic and tooling on over to the Thieves Paradise Chop Shop.

Look for that crowd to redouble its efforts before it comes out that the real Donald Trump croaked back in the Eighties while horning lines off Russian hookers three at a time and this bozo is an old KGB pro with a new face.

I’ll confess that I only watched a little of Comey’s testimony. As soon as Little Marco’s earnest, sweaty mug popped onto The New York Times video feed, I kitted up and shot out the door for a bike ride before it got too bloody hot here, too.

I wonder who was tasked with holding the elephant tranquilizers for Don Clementino while his piggy little eyes took it all in. Probably President Bannon. I bet he even pre-chewed ’em for the poor little tyke.

And now for something completely different

June 5, 2017

This is how a tech editor and former WorldTour mechanic rigs a bike for a 3,000-mile ride. Photo liberated from Nick Legan’s blog, Rambleur.

Adventure Cyclist tech editor Nick Legan is fixin’ to start the Tour Divide.

In case you were wondering, this is entirely unlike logging two-hour rides on loaner bikes around Albuquerque.

As we speak, Nick’s headed to his start in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. But before he hit the road, he posted a peek at the bike he’ll be riding and some of the gear he’s taking along.

Me? I’m still doing those two-hour loaner-bike rides around Albuquerque, thanks. This keeps me within cellphone range of Herself in case I augur in or stroke out; ensures that my food and water will be served hot and cold, respectively; and spares me the humilation of rolling up to the Tour Divide start only to drop to my knees and squeal: “Do I gotta? Maaaaaammmmmmaaaaaa!”

Pampers, stat!

June 1, 2017

At the Wet House, President Arthur Curry vowed to sign the 2032 Paris climate accord, calling the U.S. exit in 2020 “water over the bridge.”

Lakota: “Take courage, the earth is all that lasts.”

King Donald the Short-fingered:Hold my Coke and watch this.”

Jesus wept. I don’t want every single post on the blog to be about this pig-ignorant son of a bitch, but Lord, does he ever make it difficult to blog about anything else.

Which is probably exactly the way he likes it. “Lookit me,” squeals the giant toddler as he shits in the sandbox again, knowing he’ll be long gone before it starts to stink.

Memorial Day 2017

May 29, 2017

Mementos from wars fought by other men.

What a strange time to be honoring those Americans who’ve sacrificed everything — lives, fortunes, sacred honor — on the altar of freedom.

We’ve thanked them for their service by installing as commander-in-chief a creature who has sacrificed nothing. Not his life, which he still lives mostly as he pleases. Certainly not his fortune, about which we know next to nothing. And sacred honor? Puh-leeze. He has none.

Since he has no shame, we must bear it in his stead. Shame on us.

As a child I desperately wanted a uniform. It’s probably the only reason I submitted, briefly and without distinction, to a tour of duty with the Cub Scouts.

What I really craved was a uniform like my dad wore to work on Randolph AFB, that tan U.S. Air Force summer kit. But the old man gave me a stern talking-to about that, explaining that uniforms were something to be earned, not bought.

Harold Joseph O’Grady certainly earned his kit, beginning with flying Gooney Birds out of New Guinea during World War II. So did his brother, Charles Declan O’Grady, tail gunner in a B-29, also in the Pacific Theatre.

Mom’s dad served, too, in WWI, but of him we know next to nothing. Both grandfathers were long dead when we kids came around, and neither of our parents were inclined to discuss their respective early histories in any real detail. It was as though they had never existed apart from each other.

Children of war and depression, they ensured that their offspring would have an easier row to hoe. We didn’t get the best of everything, but lacked for nothing, especially when it came to education, from kindergarten to cap and gown. We didn’t get any little million-dollar loans, but neither I nor my sister had to sweat the college debt that cripples today’s youngsters trying to find their way in the world.

And a good thing it was, too, because neither of us has exactly killed it on the golden-toilet scale used to measure success and failure. Sis has spent her life helping people navigate the murky waters of our social-services system. I, as you know, was a minor cog in the fake-news machine before deciding to hang out my own shingle as an artisanal purveyor of free-range, non-GMO, sustainably sourced, gluten-free, 100 percent organic designer bullshit.

Neither of us followed in our father’s footsteps. But we’ve known men and women who served, from World War II through the apparently endless war in Afghanistan. And the least of these stands head and shoulders above the preening back-alley huckster who purports to command them between pep rallies, nest-feathering, and rounds of golf played from the cart. Stamina!

We owe these people a debt, and we keep reneging on it. In this, at least, we are well represented in the White House.

R.I.P., Gregg Allman

May 27, 2017

Jesus. You step away from the Mac for a minute and some fresh horror rears its ugly head.

I first heard the Allman Brothers Band in 1971, in Alamosa, and their music has been part of my mental soundtrack ever since.

The album “A Decade of Hits 1969-1979” may be the best stationary-trainer disc ever, though I expect Gregg wasn’t much for the sweaty solo spin to nowhere special. Come to think of it, neither am I. It just ain’t my cross to bear.

“Eat a Peach,” “Live At Fillmore East,” “Idlewild South” — man, that’s a lot of music. Ain’t but one way out, man. And it leads to the whipping post.

Horsing around

May 27, 2017

The All-City Space Horse Disc Apex, up against the Wall of Science.

New bike in the house — the All-City Space Horse Disc Apex (yeah, I know, that’s a mouthful).

Space Horsing around in the foothills.

I wrote up a rim-brake Space Horse in 2012 and didn’t expect to see another, but Adventure Cyclist tech guru Nick Legan got swamped and kicked this bad boy my way. So we’ve spent the past few days getting acquainted.

It’s a touch small for me at 55cm (the ’12 model was a 58cm), but I rocked the 55cm Steelmans for the better part of quite some time so I figure we’ll get along just fine.

And how d’ye like that color scheme? Kinda reminds me of Bridgestone in the mid-1980s, or maybe the Team Panasonic Raleighs from that era.

 

 

Picnic

May 24, 2017

The Soma Saga Disc with a light load at the tippy-top of the La Cueva Picnic Grounds.

The whim of the editorial calendar has left me, briefly, with nothing that needed doing, and since nothing is what I do best, I’ve been doing it, and plenty of it, too.

Yesterday, just because I could, I slapped an overnight load on the Soma Saga Disc and went for a two-hour ride to see how it felt. And it felt pretty damn’ nice, is what.

I have a rolling route through the ’burbs that I favor for bike tests, and despite having 15 extra pounds for company I was enjoying the ride. On a whim I took a detour up to the La Cueva picnic grounds to see how I’d fare with a low end of 30×34 (call it 24.3 gear inches, more or less). And that felt pretty OK, too, though I was down to 3.5 mph at one point (that’s one steep little hill).

Alas, the chores are sneaking back into the picture. I have an All-City Space Horse Disc to review, and that Bicycle Retailer deadline has crept around again, too.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, of course. Imagine my suffering.

Weiner joke

May 19, 2017

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our national affairs when an Anthony Weiner story comes as something of a relief, an amusing little rest stop on the Highway to Hell.

Of course, it isn’t. It was during the investigation into whether Weiner had shown his — well, you know — to an underage girl that then-FBI chief James Comey announced he was snuffling around in The Hilldebeast’s in-box again.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

In related news, there is no truth to the rumor that the former Democratic congressman will move to Las Vegas to begin a new life as a porn star and change his name to Anthony Dildo.

Bear with me here

May 17, 2017

Peak load: Restoring the Internets the Western way. Photo: Hal Walter.

Ever have the Innertubes go out on you? Irksome, innit?

You ring up your service provider, if you remember its contact info (the Innertubes are down, remember?). If you don’t, then you get to pursue a long and painful search for same via tiny smartphone screen before enjoying an extended stint on hold, being reminded over and over again how important is your call.

After a few days of this someone who gives the name Nathan or Monica but sports an accent reminiscent of the Subcontinent pops up to lend you what you suspect is a very long-distance hand indeed, oh my goodness yes.

And you begin turning on and off or unplugging/replugging bits of this and that; rooting around in dark corners of your computer that, like a rough neighborhood, family gathering or all-hands meeting in an economic downturn, you’d prefer to avoid; and chanting magical yet remarkably futile incantations like “Fifteen-inch MacBook Pro, mid-2014, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR3, OS X Yosemite, yes, I’ll hold.”

Anything to eat in here? Nope. Photo: Hal Walter.

In the end, of course, you find yourself curled, unshaven and filthy, on the floor, in a puddle of your own tears, cradling your phone and its fading battery as though it were a dying baby bird, wailing, “I have to have my Innertubes! Do you have any idea what’s going on in Washington? Neither do it!”

Well. Suck it up, snowflake. That’s a day at the beach compared to what my man Hal Walter endured the other day to get his Innertubes barfing out the 1s and 0s again.

Hal texted me to announce that his Innertubes were blown, something that occurs even more regularly in rural Crusty County than it does in more civilized environs. Being a wag of no small renown, I quipped, “Dude. It won’t do. Did a b’ar eat your dish?”

Well. Yeah, as it turns out.

It’s not a dish on the house, which is how we used to get our Innertubes when we lived just west of Hal’s place outside Weirdcliffe. There is a tower, which sits atop Bradbury Ridge on Bear Basin Ranch, and it is powered by a solar-battery setup (the tower, not the peak).

Some of the guts of this line-of-sight wireless setup reside in what looks like an Igloo cooler, which to a bear looks like a pizza-delivery guy’s shitbox Toyota Tercel does to thee and me. The bear tried to find the delicious pizza inside the shitbox, but the innards proved undercooked, and off he trundled, leaving behind a cooler whose security had been dramatically compromised by bite marks in opposite corners, and whose contents soon would be done to a turn by the notoriously vile Crusty County weather.

Thus, instead of unplugging bits of this and that in the comfort of his own home, Hal found himself hauling 100 pounds of new batteries up to the tower via pack burro while a tech-support dude who was decidedly not from Delhi refreshed the coolers’ innards.

“They like to use coolers because they protect the batteries from extreme temperatures,” says Hal. “However, there is some discussion of a metal box. Our wildlife officer agrees with me that the bear likely had previous experience with ice chests.”

• Late update: The man himself chimes in with an on-the-scene report.