Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Strange beverage

March 16, 2014

The sky is crying.

The sky is crying.

Oh, ’tis a fine soft day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ninety-three percent humidity is good for the skin after a long day spent drinking watery green beer with a few thousand of your closest friends followed by a nap in a shamrock-colored puddle of pee under the old F-350.

I managed to skirt the no-fly list once again and am squatting in the Charlotte airport awaiting the next pressurized aluminum tube full of viruses bound for Chicago, where I understand the climate is likewise good for preservation, especially of things like wooly mammoths, Ben and Jerry’s, and other frozen goods. Just as well, as I’ll be chilling there for at least a couple of hours before catching a Ford Tri-Motor for Bibleburg and Chez Dog.

Skipped the final day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as two days gave us a pretty good look-see at all the touring bikes that weren’t there and I like to rassle my travel arrangements early, especially when I have so little say in how they get made and turn out. If some TSA dude is gonna beat on my kidneys with a mop handle I want to get it over with early, is what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Deme is in Detroit, where he reports he is sipping a Miller Fortune.

“All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it,” he adds.

I recommended a chaser of Listerine, or perhaps some Park Tool chain cleaner.

“That’s next,” he said.

Strange bedfellows

May 9, 2013
Two cats, one bed

The Turk’ and Mia cuddle up on a damp, chilly May day.

You know it’s a damp, chilly day when Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and Miss Mia Sopaipilla decide to share the same bed, which just happens to sit on a shelf in Herself’s bathroom, directly under a heater vent.

The Turk can be a troublesome bedmate. Being groomed by the big galoot is like being run over again and again by a Velcro steamroller, and his long, furry carcass generates enough heat to hard-boil an egg.

Mia finally decided she had had enough and shifted quarters to the blanket on top of the bedroom bureau. Turk, meanwhile, relocated to my lap, which goes a long way toward explaining my appalling lack of productivity today.

Hell, you try getting anything done with a 16-pound cat sprawled across your lap. Anything besides paying attention to the cat, that is.

• Addendum: Consigliere Pelkey and I are live-updating the Giro d’Italia again this year. You can catch the act at Live Update Guy or Red Kite Prayer, whichever best floats your gondola.

Storm of the century!

April 9, 2013
Snowpocalypse

I’ve seen bigger blizzards at Dairy Queen.

Or not.

A meteorologist must feel kinship with the Denver Broncos on a day like today. First, the big buildup — and then, the even bigger letdown.

We’ve not given up hope for a little moisture, mind you. The National Weather Service is still predicting snow showers, but the dumper has been dialed back to a dribble. And if this wind keeps up it will all end up in northeastern New Mexico anyway.

Naturally, the schools are all closed. Small wonder the nation’s supply of idiots is constantly on the rise.

When I was a sprout they wouldn’t close the schools if they were on fire and full of serial killers. And we had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow. Real snow! Not this global-warming shit that looks like a drunk redneck took half a can of white Krylon to his plastic Christmas tree.

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

April 8, 2013
Hey, bud!

Hey, bud!

It’s probably a good thing I snapped a pic of our apricot tree this afternoon, when it was still a balmy 60-something and sunny.

Shortly thereafter sprang up from the north a blossom-shredding, sandblasting wind that would have done credit to “Lawrence of Arabia.” I ventured into it, briefly, to take out the trash, and spent the next half hour scouring Wyoming’s topsoil from my nostrils using a melon baller.

Next up is the rain, with snow on deck. Tomorrow should be about 40 degrees less enchanting than today, which is probably just as well, as I have journalism to do and being confined to quarters serves marvelously to sharpen one’s focus on the task at hand.

Glory road

March 29, 2013
Voodoo child.

Voodoo child.

I didn’t get to ride my age this year. Not in miles, kilometers or even minutes.

In fact, the whole first quarter of 2013 has been a little sketchy, ride-wise, thanks to bugs, chores, the natural Irish predilection toward sloth blended with storytelling — say, did I ever tell you the one about the Mighty Dugan?

No, let’s not get started down that particular path. There be dragons.

But today, after wrapping up a bit of video for the folks at Adventure Cyclist, I straddled the Voodoo Nakisi and hit the trails in Palmer Park. It was a casual ride that lasted nearly two hours, which for me these days is something of an expedition.

The afternoon was 60-something and sunny, if a bit breezy, and I must have been just tired enough to not give a shit if I fell over, because I was easily cleaning obstacles that ordinarily confound me.

I stopped at one intersection to pull off the knee-warmers and up rolled a couple of young gents on double-boingers who likewise were having a fine day on two wheels. They professed to be astounded that a gentleman of my years would be riding a cyclo-cross bike on Palmer Park single-track, and I confessed that while it appeared to be your standard unsuspended steel drop-bar bike, it was in fact a stealth 29er with a triple ring and 700×43 tires and thus not so much of a much.

Did the wheels stand the strain? they asked. To be sure, I replied. Built by Brian Gravestock himself they were, using Mavic Open Pros from this millennium and Hügi mountain bike hubs from another. Brian says steel bikes are making a comeback, they confided. I agreed, and with that we went our separate ways.

Back at Chez Dog a neighbor’s landscaper said he’d seen me on the bike and that I looked “like a young man.” He was trying to sell me some yardwork — successfully, as luck would have it — and I forgave him the Good Friday falsehood.

Unsprung

March 20, 2013
The first day of ... spring?

The first day of … spring?

If this is the first day of spring, well, you can have it, with my blessings.

The weatherpersons have predicted a high of 53, but I think they’re into the MMJ. It’s 1 p.m. and I can still see my breath out there (and no, this is not because I drank my breakfast).

We’re enjoying the usual good news/bad news combo plate this morning. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a package of gun reform legislation, and some person or persons unknown shot and killed the executive director of the state prison system at his home.

I expect a lot of folks are reaching for the old equalizer before answering the doorbell today. If I were a Jehovah’s Witness I think I might take the day off.

Hail, hail, the bang’s all here

June 7, 2012
Hail

Ice, ice, baby. …

Interesting weather around the ol’ rancheroo lately. One minute it’s hotter than the proverbial hubs of Hell and drier than a popcorn fart, and the next the trees are all sideways and the hail is bucketing down like Someone tipped the bed on a celestial gravel truck.

I don’t even want to think what the trails look like this morning. And from the look of things out the office window, there’s more on the way.

Just as well, I suppose. An unholy convergence of deadlines means I’ll be logging some hard miles in the office chair over the next couple of days instead of sluicing through the goo. And me with three befendered bikes in the garage, too. Oh, the shame.

Meanwhile, I’d say something filthy about what took place in Wisconsin on Tuesday if Charles P. Pierce hadn’t already said it, funnier, better and faster, too. What say we all move to Italy and sponge off Larry and Heather until the Republic comes to its senses?

Doggy Pop and the Stooges

April 13, 2012
Soma Double Cross in touring mode

The Soma Double Cross in touring mode.

After the deluge earlier this week, I reconfigured the Soma Double Cross as a fendered kinda-sorta touring bike instead of an unfendered kinda-sorta cyclo-cross bike. Naturally, conditions have been dry and windy ever since, so much so that today I became a pedestrian rather than gnaw on the gentle double-digit zephyrs.

The weather wizards say all this will change over the weekend, but I’ll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, the fenders stay on as a Stooge-like double-finger to the eyes for the gods.

Speaking of the Stooges (nyuk nyuk), the Farrelly brothers’ tribute to Nyukledom opens this weekend. I’ve seen two reviews, one from a man, the other from a woman, both basically going “Awwwww. …” Cute? The Three Stooges? Nawwwww. I think I can wait for the free library DVD on this one.

Right now we’re up to our bowl cuts in “Boardwalk Empire,” which gets off to an awfully slow start for the uninitiated, and “The Wire,” which was just so goddamn motherfuckin’ good that we watchin’ them shits again, yo, a’ight? Maybe this time we won’t need the subtitles.

Foggy Friday

April 6, 2012
The cruelest month

Things are all fogged up around here today.

“April is the cruellest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot. The quote arises unbidden as I watch the weather change from sunny to snowy to sunny again, and finally to a chilly shvitz of fog — all in less than a week.

Appropriately, April also brings the cruelest race, Paris-Roubaix. And while I no longer help cover such sport for vampire capitalists, I plan to get up way too early on Sunday and lend a paw to my friend and colleague Charles Pelkey over at Live Update Guy.

Charles will be on deck at dark-thirty, as usual, but I won’t plug in until the race is well under way. In the meantime, give us your picks for the V in comments. Tom Boonen is obviously a fave, but with filthy weather in the forecast and no Fabian Cancellara it could be anyone’s race. T.S. Eliot was right.

S-brrrrrr-ing!

March 20, 2012
Spring flower

It's a tough row to hoe, being a flower in March.

The first day of spring and whadda we get? Thirty-friggin’-four with wind from the north at 26 mph, gusting to 41.

As usual, this is my fault. Last week, when we were enjoying an unseasonable stretch of 60- and 70-something temps, I connected hoses to faucets, watered the lawn and — worst of all — put a new battery in the Vespa. Imagine my embarrassment.

Best of all, the wind is peppering us with tree pollen, and allergies have me by the snotlocker with a downhill pull. Snork. Gluck. Hawk. Ptui. Repeat as necessary.

This means that instead of riding my bike in shorts and short sleeves, as I did all last week, I will be slouching here at the computer, searching for things that piss me off to elevate the old heart rate.

Like this item about House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Ayn Rand), who claims his “budget” will strengthen the safety net for the poor, disabled and elderly. Uh huh. The “net” to which he refers concerns the fishnet stockings Granny will have to wear while pole-dancing to pay for her blood-pressure meds.

Or this one about employers demanding that prospective employees give them their Facebook user names and passwords so they can go snooping around to see if you enjoy calling their favorite Randite nutsack a zombie-eyed granny-starver. Yo, Mister Human Resources, I got your job right fuckin’ here.

And finally this one, about a self-appointed vigilante who guns down a 17-year-old kid armed with a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea … and isn’t charged with shit, not even littering. Now and then I think about selling the family arsenal. And then I think again, because guys like this are roaming around, packing. Jesus wept.


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