The ‘Boogie’ man gonna getcha

October 23, 2014
"Full Tilt Boogie," by Hal Walter

“Full Tilt Boogie,” by Hal Walter

My man Hal Walter of Hardscrabble Times has a new book out. “Full Tilt Boogie” covers a lot of ground, but then so has Hal.

A journalist, runner, world-champion burro racer, ranch hand and foodie who lives in the Upper Boondocks of Crusty County, Colorado, Hal is also the father of an autistic child, Harrison, and the book gives us a glimpse into how he manages all of this without winding up in a Nudie jacket with wraparound arms, playing lonesome country tunes that only he can hear for an audience that only he can see.

“Full Tilt Boogie” can be had in a variety of ways. You can await an old-school dead-tree edition or a digital version from Vook, or contact Hal directly via email or Facebutt and get a special-edition PDF that has more pix than these others.

Perhaps best of all, you can pay what you please, a la the Live Update Guy/NPR revenue model. I think you’ll find his story a worthwhile investment.

• Extra Special Boogie Treat: Here’s a little something to get your feet moving on over to PayPal: Catfish Hodge’s legendary 1973 album, “Boogieman Gonna Get Ya.”

One, two, tree

October 18, 2014
The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big silver maple back in Bibleburg is quite a sight come fall. Also quite a bit of work. It’s a rare year in which we don’t get more than a dozen 32-gallon bags of leaves off the auld fella.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

But it’s worth it, because that tree sits on the south side of The Old Home Place®, and keeps the afternoon sun from cooking us like a pair of rotisserie chickens.

We have some class of a maple here in Duke City, too, but a much smaller model, on the east side of Rancho Pendejo™. It’s further along in the leaf-shedding process, but tidying up its droppings should be a damn’ sight easier on the lower back.

This also suits me right down to the ground, because frankly I’d rather be riding a bike than raking leaves. I’ve been discovering the wanderings of Trail 365 north of here, and it makes for some fun riding on the old Voodoo Nakisi. I surprised a couple of mountain bikers in a blind corner the other day and one exclaimed, “Nicely done,” clearly thinking I was on an actual cyclo-cross bike instead of a MonsterCrosser® with a triple crankset and 700×45 Panaracer Fire Cross tires.

Actually, check that, I’ve dialed the front tire down to a 700×42 Continental CrossRide. So I guess I am a manly man after all.

 

Bloody hell

October 17, 2014
Sure, it's a little blurry. So was I.

Sure, it’s a little blurry. So was I.

This is either my impression of Ebola sweeping the nation or a quick iPhone shot through the windshield while zooming past Santa Fe on the latest 12-hour U-turn from Duke City to Bibleburg and back.

The maple in the front yard has commenced the annual leaf dump.

The maple in the front yard has commenced the annual leaf dump.

The Old Home Place® still stands, and I had a chance to chat with several of our former neighbors while trying to see how much stuff I could cram into a Subaru Forester without actually causing its rims to bottom out on the driveway.

This took my mind off what blithering eejits we’ve become over this Ebola business. Seems you don’t actually have to have the disease to shit yourself over it.

Tell you what, though. I get sick in Texas, I’d rather see a barber than a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital sawbones.

Moving in, on, and around and about

October 9, 2014
The main living area at Rancho Pendejo. A couple Brangoccios will soon adorn that far wall.

The main living area at Rancho Pendejo. A couple Brangoccios will soon adorn that far wall.

Rancho Pendejo is coming together, bit by bit, inch by inch.

The Pink Room is now Livable Green, as is the master bedroom. The living room is likewise livable, but not green, with the furniture more or less arranged, some works from my old college pal Michael Brangoccio on the walls, and the home-theater setup ticking along nicely, serving up Blu-Ray, streaming video via Mac Mini, and KUNM-FM. And the kitchen is open for business whenever I’m inclined to cook, which lately is not often. Folks actually make edible grub here, and it’s been fun playing culinary explorer.

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits the Cibola wilderness.

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits the Cibola wilderness.

We’ve also been exploring the local trails, which are abundant, eclectic and accessible pretty much from the front door.

The excellent Tramway bike path can be found just a couple blocks west on Comanche Road. And there’s a bike lane on Comanche itself that runs most of the way west to the North Diversion Channel Trail. The Paseo del Norte trail will get you there, too, but there are a few hiccups along the way.

Just a couple blocks east is Foothills Trail 365, a short stretch of which makes a nice out-and-back run for Herself. I’ve been hiking around and about there, jogging the uphills to see how the knees feel, and yesterday I took the Voodoo Nakisi out for a short exploratory ride on the trails that fan out from 365 and stumbled across the entrance to a bit of local wilderness, all of three miles from Rancho Pendejo. Fat city.

We got a light rain last night, and there’s more of the same in the forecast, so I’ll probably give the trails a rest today, maybe have a whang at the Tramway instead. It goes without saying that neither of the two bikes I brought from Bibleburg sports fenders. Duh.

R.I.P., Lori Cohen

October 7, 2014
"Lori "Doc" Cohen.

“Lori “Doc” Cohen.

My friend Lori Cohen went west on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

“Doc” was my chiropractor, and she spent a lot of time and energy saving me from myself, so much so that she tried to get me interested in yoga to lighten her load a bit (sorry, Doc).

We shared a wide variety of interests — food and the preparation thereof, exercise to burn off the attendant calories, Santa Fe, Vespas, lefty politics, snark, and so on.

The final stage of her illness came on as we were beginning the transition from Bibleburg to Duke City, and I wasn’t able to give Doc as much attention as she deserved, having given so much of hers to me over the years.

But I did drop by on the day she was selling her beloved blue Vespa LX 150, to take it for a short test ride, make sure everything was in working order, and see how she was bearing up.

After I rolled the Vespa back into her driveway, Doc said she wanted to take a final spin on the scoot. The cancer had brought her quite a bit of pain, and limited her use of one arm, so I wasn’t eager to sign off on the ride, noting that if anything got horribly sideways her longtime friend and caregiver Jeff Tarbert would beat the shit out of both of us, but mostly me.

But Doc wasn’t going to let that final opportunity pass her by. She climbed aboard, twisted the throttle and putt-putted off up the hill. She didn’t fall off until Saturday.

My thoughts are with her many friends and family.

Best. Cat toy. Ever.

October 2, 2014
All it takes to entertain Miss Mia Sopaipilla is a pile of wrapping paper the size of a former Amazonian rain forest. Thanks, Mayflower!

All it takes to entertain Miss Mia Sopaipilla is a pile of wrapping paper the size of a former Amazonian rain forest. Thanks, Mayflower!

Shhh! (Part 2)

September 29, 2014
The Turk grabs (what else?)  a catnap on a bit of furniture we bought from the previous owner of Rancho Pendejo. It won't last.

The Turk grabs (what else?) a catnap on a bit of furniture we bought from the previous owner of Rancho Pendejo. It won’t last.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) doesn’t know it yet, but his repose is about to be disturbed yet again.

The movers are supposed to show up with all our crap today, and you know what that means: the terrifying sounds of Unauthorized Personnel Operating Within the Perimeter.

Sigh. And we had just gotten back to what passes for normal around here, if your idea of “normal” includes a small satchel full of soiled clothes, no cooking/eating gear, and less furniture and electronica than one might find in the average Motel 6.

Shhh!

September 28, 2014
The Erna Fergusson Library has rows of tables with power strips for the techno-fortunate who fetch their own machinery hither and thither.

The Erna Fergusson Library has rows of tables with power strips for the techno-fortunate who fetch their own machinery hither and thither.

Today my “office” is at the Erna Fergusson Library on San Mateo. I pulled the early shift at the Northeast Heights Satellite Coffee outlet, because a day without a breakfast burrito is like a day without sunshine, and then moved over here to free up some parking space for the caffeine-deprived. I’d have used the Juan Tabo branch, which is closer to Rancho Pendejo, but it’s closed on Sundays.

The phrase “your tax dollars at work” has become a punchline for eons, but I doubt it’s funny to the three dozen or so folks who were queued up outside in the hot sun, waiting for the library to open at 1 p.m. Most of them were in the line to use the facility’s computers. Having mine in a messenger bag — two of them, actually — I felt slightly yuppified and ostentatious.

Imagine doing without the Innertubes and computers in this day and age. If you want to go low tech, that’s one thing; but having to is something else, especially if you’re trying to find, oh, I don’t know, a job or health care or child care or something.

 

Tales and trails

September 27, 2014
Looking north on Trail 365. Apparently the construction of some newish houses (not ours) required a detour via pavement to the west.

Looking north on Trail 365. Apparently the construction of some newish houses (not ours) required a detour via pavement to the west.

Still trying to get everyone settled in (and settled down) at Rancho Pendejo. Amazing how difficult that can be when most of your earthly possessions are somewhere on the road, in the custody of others, and the cats spend the wee, small hours hunting remorselessly for a cozy basement that is six hours north of here.

You want cacti? We got cacti.

You want cacti? We got cacti.

I’ve been using Satellite Coffee and the Juan Tabo Library as temporary offices while we await the installation of the Innertubes. Don’t have to tip as frequently at the library, but the coffee and breakfast burritos aren’t nearly as good.

I took a break from work this afternoon for a short march around a trail just east of our new digs that warrants further inspection by bicycle.

Herself has run a bit of it, but all I wanted to do today was just stagger around outdoors for a while, collect a little free vitamin D. I’m still running a fairly significant sleep deficit, and taking a cyclo-cross bike out on an unfamiliar trail bordered with various cacti seemed exceptionally stupid, even for the Irish.

Bienvenido a Nuevo México

September 26, 2014
The view from Tramway, on the descent to Interstate 25.

The view from Tramway, on the descent to Interstate 25.

I managed to squeeze in my first ride as a born-again resident of New Mexico yesterday.

Nothing special, just an hour or so riding the Tramway bike path north from Rancho Pendejo, peeping out the terrain, getting a feel for things. We’re just a couple of blocks from the path, which links up neatly with the Paseo del Norte trail about 20 minutes up the hill. Other east-west feeder routes abound, and I hope to explore them directly.

I think this is Sandia Peak, as seen from the base of the road to the tram.

I think this is Sandia Peak, as seen from the base of the road to the tram.

Lots of folks on bicycles out and about, most of them roadies, though there’s also some class of mountain-bike trail network in the area that I’ll inspect at some later date. Right now, the old plate is full to overflowing with chores and annoyances.

For starters, we have no Innertubes at the new place, and won’t until Oct. 3. This forces me to play “Hipster In the Coffee Shop,” a role for which I am far too unhip.

Also, and too, the cell service is only slightly evolved beyond the log drum, smoke signals, or two tin cans linked by a waxed string, so using the iPhone as a mobile hotspot is right out. One bar on the iPhone does not a data connection make. Coupled with the dearth of Innertubes this renders communications a bit, shall we say, spotty.

Likewise, we have almost none of our shit — the movers won’t show up for another four days or so, so we’re getting by with some stuff we bought from the previous owner and whatever we could cram into the rice-grinders.

Speaking of which, two of our three critters have more or less successfully made the transition via Subaru to new quarters. The lone holdout, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), spends the wee hours walking the battlements, inspecting the perimeter, and issuing challenges to foes only he can see.

As did Herbie Goldfarb in “The Milagro Beanfield War,” I find my brain going all foamy, like a vanilla milkshake, from lack of sleepzzzzzzzzzzz. …


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