Posts Tagged ‘Herself’

Like rain falling on the city

February 17, 2018

The sky is crying.

It was gloomy around here the past couple days, and not just for the obvious reason. The weather finally turned and we got something like a half-inch of rain; a long, steady soaking.

Something seems dreadfully wrong
with this picture.

Even the normally stoic Turk grew unsettled, first spending an unusual amount of time under the bed, and then following me around like bad news.

This morning he was finally back to his routine: yowling outside the bedroom door when he’s decided that I’ve logged enough shuteye; jumping into bed for a brief cuddle; and finally nodding off as the sun crept over the Sandias.

Herself is easing back into business as usual, hitting her workout classes and fencing with the taxman, whose clammy hand is even less welcome in our pockets than usual.

Mia performs her one-cat show “Sit Like a Cat,” based on a poem from the Ted Kooser-Jim Harrison collection “Braided Creek”:

We should
sit like a cat
and wait for the door
to open.

And the unflappable Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who came to us from the same shelter that gave us Mister Boo, continues to provide some much-needed comic relief. The other day it was zazen on my drawing stool; this morning it was mortal combat with a long-forgotten toy mouse.

Me? You’d think I should be chronicling some velo-business for fun and profit, what with CABDA just concluded and Frostbike, NAHBS and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo ongoing.

But I’m not, so maybe I’ll go for a ride instead.

• Editor’s note: Gassho and deep bows to one and all for your condolences following the passing of Mister Boo. Sifting through the piles of photos and videos depicting the sprightly young Boo of days gone by, and seeing the pleasure his presence provided beyond our own household, helped us remember the good times, bright moments that often fade under the harsher light of day-to-day caregiving.

Oh, SNAP

February 14, 2018

Mister Boo needs a bib. And a brain transplant. And a butt plug.

It’s Valentine’s Day. The Turk’ sounded Reveille, Herself gave me a kiss, Mia offered a series of head bumps, and The Boo laid a turd in the kitchen as I was fixing him a delicious snack.

Got a bit of it on your chin, there, didn’t you, old fella? The party, it never stops.

Speaking of defecation, I see the Swamp Thing wants to take a crap on SNAP. Given the fiscal discipline displayed by this lot I expect those “Harvest Boxes” are likely to contain nothing more nourishing than IOUs.

Maybe they can be printed on rice paper. We can pretend it’s cake.

 

Up in the air

February 2, 2018

The Steelman Eurocross on Trail 505 north of Elena Gallegos.

February took a while to get rolling.

Herself was scheduled to jet up to Colorado for a weekend with some gal pals. Being of a frugal nature she had wrangled the cheapest flight possible, which meant we had to be at the Duke City launch pad at 5 a.m., an hour I find abhorrent.

Naturally, when she got up at dark-thirty she learned that her American Airlines flight to Grand Junction via Phoenix had been canceled, and that she had been bumped to a 9:30 departure. Back to bed, if not to sleep.

When next she arose, at 5:40, she found that as she dozed AA had instead booked her on a 6 a.m. Delta flight through Salt Lake City. And had she been at the airport at that moment instead of wandering El Rancho Pendejo in her robe, why, that would have been just swell.

A call to customer service saw her flight shifted yet again, this time to an AA-Mesa tag team that sent her through Dallas-Fort Worth. Yes, to get to Colorado from New Mexico — call it 300 miles as the crow flies from Duke City to Function Junction — you have to visit Arizona, Utah or Texas first.

And thus, through the miracle that is modern air travel, a mere seven hours later, before anyone could say “You could have driven there faster,” which I did, there she was.

My day likewise featured its detours. Hal Walter and I had been planning a podcast that would take a jaundiced view of sport ahead of the Super Bowel, but like Herself we encountered a series of breakdowns, false starts and changes of direction.

When I do audio (rarely) I use the 2009 iMac, which has tons of storage, memory out the wazoo, and the best mic in the house, a Shure SM58 routed through a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface.

But when I cranked it up I found that Call Recorder wanted an update, and so did Skype, and once I’d made them happy Hal told me that he’d quit using Skype because his crowd was all about the Google Hangouts, Slack and whatnot.

Ay, Chihuahua.

I recalled reading that Jason Snell at Six Colors had spoken well of Zencastr, a service that occasional and undemanding podcasters like us can use to record their local audio at good quality without jumping through all the hoops that an old-school double-ender requires.

So Hal and I both signed up with Zencastr and started rooting around under the hood, banging on this with our stone clubs, and sawing on that with our flint knives, all while hooting dolefully, and before long Hal drifted off into a side project and I said fuck it and went for a ride.

Which turned out to be just the thing for a leaky brain-pan. I found a new-to-me trail that was just barely navigable on a Steelman Eurocross. My reflexes had dulled to a blunt edge that could not hurt me and I rode bits that would have confounded me had I been of sound mind.

If I’d kept going, who knows? I might have wound up in Colorado. And quicker than Herself did, too.

Dognition

January 27, 2018

Laying down some hot tracks in the cerebral cortex. Or not.

No Bike Day at the Capitol for Your Humble Narrator. Instead, it’ll be Bike Day in Duke City.

Herself is slowly getting past that cold, though she still has a cough.  She’s made it to work the past couple of days, but is skipping her usual Saturday workout class, the way I’m skipping that trip to Fanta Se.

Goddamnit, he’s set up another checkpoint in the hallway.

Hoping to dodge contagion I’ve been kipping on the far side of our sprawling compound, which annoys Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), who is deeply suspicious of any departure from standard security protocols.

My practice has likewise been upended, and I’ve felt slightly off all week, even more so than usual. Not sick, but not biking, not blogging. Creatively constipated. Irritable. There’s sand in my oyster, but no pearl.

I’ve been trying to get some ignition in my cognition by fiddling with GarageBand, but can’t get any kind of rhythm going (rimshot).

OK, so that wasn’t bad. The oyster bit was OK, too. Maybe I’m on the road to recovery. If not, at least I can get out on the road. …

Going to pot

January 24, 2018

Irish penicillin. You knew the Irish were one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, right? True fact. The Tribe of Danny Boy.

Yes, that is a pot of chicken soup in its larval stage.

Herself has crashed and burned on the living-room couch to the stylin’ sounds of KUVO-FM (“Community, Culture, Music”). The Boo is sacked out in his kennel after a long night of behavior I’d rather not revisit while preparing food. And Turkish and Mia are dozing in their respective sunny spots in the master bedroom.

Only I remain awake to tell the tale. And I’d be on the nod too, but someone has to cook and clean and keep the cats out of the damn’ soup.

The grand Wazoo

January 14, 2018

The Bloo Wazoo in rigid 700c trail-bike mode.

Everybody in Albuquerque was on the trails today.

And why not? It was nearly 60 degrees. Seriously. In January.

I was slouching around El Rancho Pendejo, doing bits of this and that — retaping the handlebar on my Soma Saga Disc, giving the cats a good airing, lunching on some leftover farfalle with sausage, mushrooms and peas — when I noticed the day was slipping away from me.

Or, more accurately, was reminded of it.

Remember seven-speed freewheels? They still work.

“I thought you were going to ride your bike,” intoned Herself, who was in full-on chores mode and eager to see me on my way, as filth and clutter trail me like Homeland Security.

And so I did.

I’d planned a longish ride on the Saga, but instead took the Voodoo Wazoo for a short spin on the southern foothill trails, between ERP and I-40.

Stripped of its townie regalia and sporting a pair of 700×42 Continental CrossRides the Wazoo is almost the perfect rig for these trails, even given the tallish 38×28 low end; it’s easy to forget that’s all the granny I’ve got, which can be an issue at stall point on a dusty, twisting, narrow, occasionally rocky trail packed with pedestrians bearing dogs off leash and babies in backpacks and whatnot.

But all were in an expansive mood, it being nearly 60 degrees in January, and everyone was yielding trail to everyone else, Alphonse-and-Gaston style, and we all forgot for a short, sweet while that our Republic is in the tiny hands of the criminally insane.

Recycled 3: The best of ‘Mad Dog Unleashed’ 2017

December 28, 2017

• Editor’s note: Since my Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column won’t survive into the New Year, I’ve decided to resurrect a six-pack’s worth of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” screeds between now and then. This is No. 3, and it fits in nicely with Khal’s comment under the previous installment.

Herself aboard one of her two remaining bikes, a Soma Double Cross, at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park.

How to sell cycling when ‘street smarts’ keep buyers indoors?

“What are you doing to create great experiences?”—Tania Burke of Trek Travel during the 2017 Bicycle Leadership Conference

By Patrick O’Grady

Herself instructed me to sell her road bike the other day.

The timing was both good and bad. The good: Sport Systems down on Montgomery was getting ready to host the 23rd annual BikeABQ bike swap.

This sounds like a craft brewery inviting the local moonshiners to set up their stills in the parking lot, only with more methodical beards and less random gunfire. But it’s a fund-raiser for BikeABQ, so good for them.

The bad: It seemed counterintuitive to surrender a perfectly rideable bike going into Bike Month, unless it went to someone who might actually ride it.

Plus this bike is a golden oldie, a 48cm Cannondale R800 2.8 from the fabulous Nineties. Made in USA, bought from Old Town Bike Shop in Colorado Springs. Eight-speed 105 group with STI. Possibly the oldest bike in the garage, which is saying something.

Still, she hardly ever rode it in the Springs, and her only contact with it here has involved bumping into it while getting into or out of the Honda.

Herself claims it was scary to ride the road in the Springs, which it was, and terrifying to ride it in the Duke City, which it can be. So off it goes, or so we hope. One more hook in the garage for me.

This won’t leave her bikeless, in case you’re wondering. She still has a Soma Double Cross that has logged a lot of hook time since we moved to Albuquerque, and a Barracuda A2T mountain bike she occasionally rides to hot yoga/TRX classes. Call it a mile each way, about half of it on a shared-use, off-street, paved trail.

I often ride there and back with her, and we both try not to think about the ghost bike we see en route.

Here be dragons. I don’t mean to pick on Albuquerque and Colorado Springs here. I’ve ridden the road in both places and lived to tell about it, if only because most motorists never get to read this column.

But experience doesn’t keep me safe from the inattentive, impaired, inept or insane. If they can get Michele Scarponi and Yoann Offredo, they can get me, and probably you, too.

The autos just keep getting larger and more complex—see Bill Vlasic’s April 12 story in The New York Times about the clamor for supersized SUVs that are smarter than their drivers—while the roads mostly stay the same size.

When and if the roads do get bigger, they attract more and bigger autos. You could be excused for thinking a 2011 Honda CR-V is a “small” SUV until you see one garaged next to an ’05 Subaru Forester. Neither is something you’d like to have parked on you while you wait for the ambulance.

There be a drag. Now Herself is a smart person, into fitness, with a goodly amount of disposable income until I figure out where she’s hidden it.

Yet here she is, selling one-third of her bikes, leaving the second third idle and the third third nearly so. And for what? Indoor exercise classes. Hot yoga. In Albuquerque, where the average high temperature is 67 degrees and we enjoy 278 days of brilliant sunshine per annum.

You’d have to point something a lot scarier than a Lincoln Navigator full of texting drunks at me to drive me into a room full of sweaty yogis on a sunny May day.

But I’m in the minority, judging from the proliferation of sweatshops like Herself’s Hot Yoga Infusion studio, Life Time Fitness, CrossFit, SoulCycle or Peloton Interactive, the last of which claims to have nearly a half-million users, according to Lauren Goode’s April 25 story at TheVerge.com.

Getting buzzed. We bicycle types do a lot of handwringing—and rightly so, given the grim stats in this magazine every issue—over how to corral that ever-more-elusive customer.

We seek out experts who bludgeon us with buzzwords like “ecosystem,” “community” and “continuum,” or chastise us for selling “products” instead of “experiences,” and damn few of them, too.

Peloton will sell you a 135-pound bike that goes nowhere for $1,995, then charge you a subscription fee of $39 per month for one year to ride it while staring into a monitor. That may be one hell of an experience, but it sounds more like exercise to me.

And I always hated gym class, with its jockstraps and Desenex and bewhistled authority figures hollering all the time.

Fly like an (AMC) Eagle. For me the most memorable experiences are to be found outdoors, where my parents told me to go whenever I was being a pain in the ass, which was most of the time, and still is.

I liked it outdoors. I still do. But it’ll take more than MarketSpeak® to sell that experience to strangers when even family isn’t buying.

Maybe we’ll get some relief once Silicon Valley gets bored with “smart” SUVs and self-driving cars and starts focusing on the newfangled flying models.

Then again, maybe not. I mean, I’ve seen the way these people drive on the ground.

• Editor’s note v2.0: This column appeared in the May 15, 2017, issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

It’s all a blur

July 2, 2017

Eastbound on I-40, way too early in the morning.

This is how I feel when I get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning: cloudy, out of focus, poorly composed.

This is why I rarely get up at stupid-thirty on a Sunday morning. Alas, this particular Sunday morning Herself needed a lift to the Greater Duke City Cosmological Airport; she and a sis are paying a call on Herself the Elder in Tennessee, which is a right smart drive for anyone who isn’t marginally employed, like her chauffeur.

My rule of thumb regarding travel beyond the city limits is simple: If the trip is under 2,000 miles and doesn’t cross any oceans, it’s Air Subaru for me. Oak Ridge is a piddling 1,400 miles from here, and damme if I’ll submit to the tender mercies of Benighted Airlines for a short hop like that.

Now I’m back at El Rancho Pendejo, and The Boo and I are both out of sorts, our routines having been upended. Not quite as badly as Alejandro Valverde’s, though. I guess he ate shit in yesterday’s Tour opener and needed a bit of time on the surgeon’s workbench afterward.

Acid test

March 26, 2017

The back yard is flowering up at light speed.

As I fought my own losing battle with seasonal allergies on Friday it was a pleasant distraction to see Darth Cheeto and Paul “Lyin'” Ryan sound “Retreat” and skedaddle off into the swamp, their shit-stained tails tucked between their legs.

The weather here has abruptly become more seasonable, which is to say less awesome, but Herself and I got out for a 40-minute trail run yesterday. Her pink “Bernie” shirt accessorized nicely with the blooming foliage while my wheezing was just another instrument in the symphony of shortcomings that is the U.S. health-care system (albuterol inhalers just plain cost too fucking much, even without additional tax cuts for the rich).

For a guy whose stash box once made Walgreens look like Baskin-Robbins I have developed a surprising reluctance to take drugs, for anything, even asthma and allergies. Non-Drowsy Claritin-D 12 Hour (pseudoephedrine sulfate) reminds me of decent speed for the first couple of hours, but after that it’s all like, “Dude, where’s my cognitive functions?”

That said, when I saw I was down to my last two tabs I was all like, “Whoa!” and toddled off to the Walgreens for another box.

That shit don’t be cheap, neither. And you can’t just pull it off a shelf. No, you must negotiate with the pharmacist to get it (thanks, meth-heads). But once you show the whitecoats that (a) you have all your teefers; (2) aren’t furiously scratching any open sores; and (III) aren’t twitching like you just got tased by the John Laws, why, all you have to do is fork over the $23.99 for 20 tabs.

Shit, that’s about what I used to pay for acid in the good old days (dealer’s discount). It was loads more fun than Claritin-D, and I don’t recall my nose running, either.

A nose for news

March 1, 2017
Paper! Get your paper here!

Paper! Get your paper here!

Woke up around 3 a.m. feeling as though I had spent the night snorting chain degreaser, convinced my brain had liquified and was seeping out of my snout onto the pillow.

Further sleep proved elusive as Herself arose to shower and the bathroom iPad commenced making news noises. It seemed King Donald the Short-fingered had not actually ordered anyone executed during his performance before the Congress, and the media were as usual focused on packaging rather than content. A golden chest overflowing with excrement is still a box of shit, no matter how many air fresheners are working overtime in Pundit Glade.

Jesus. These people. They install a low bar in the Dark Alley of Presidential Address Expectations, and when Beelzebozo manages to clear it without twisting a cankle they all go rushing after him to see where such Statesmanlike Leadership and Gravitas will take us next and boom! Down they go in a heap, and what oozes out of their bandaged skulls and onto the Innertubes afterward looks worse than what was coming out of mine until I swallowed a Claritin-D 12 Hour and a couple-three-four mugs of hot caffeine in various flavors.

Wipe your noses, shitheads. Try not to use your sleeves.