Duke City blues

August 5, 2014

Looks like Justin St. Germain’s NYT essay has found an audience back in Albuquerque, where the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce opines that violence is bad for the bottom line.

The perception that the local coppers are trigger-happy goons has punched a few holes in business development, chamber boss Terri Cole told The Albuquerque Journal.

“People who wanted to visit Albuquerque or start a business here didn’t do either,” she said. “Clearly that creates challenges for making Albuquerque the type of place where people want to start a business or raise a family.”

Indeed. You may recall that Hemingway wrote of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” rather than “A Bullet-Riddled Shithole.”

The FBI crime stats make for an interesting read, too.

• Late update: In related news, Herself is off on another house-hunting expedition, this time after pulling a full shift at the new job. She’s starting to remind me of Ruby “The Ant” Archuleta from John Nichols’ “The Milagro Beanfield War.” I might have to come up with a new sobriquet for the little woman. The Herminator?

 

Unreal estate

August 3, 2014
Apologies to Chuck Jones. No bull.

Apologies to Chuck Jones. No bull.

Oh, the Universe is a funny old place.

Once upon a time I hardly thought of Albuquerque at all, other than as a place to drive through en route to somewhere else. Then, sometime in the past few years, Duke City became an occasional cycling getaway; closer than Fountain Hills, cheaper than Santa Fe.

And now the sonofabitch is in my thoughts more or less constantly, like one of those work-related cocktail parties your spouse drags you to without having the common human decency to slip you a mickey first.

“You’ll have a wonderful time.”

“No, I won’t.”

“Well, that’s too bad, because you’re going and you might as well try to enjoy yourself.”

Herself has been in residence in Albuquerque since Friday, the thin edge of our family wedge, house-hunting with a vengeance and filing detailed, illustrated reports with Your Humble Narrator. As a consequence I have peeked in more strangers’ windows this weekend than a CIA drone, but the only thing I’ve learned is that some people should not be allowed in a Lowe’s with an idea and a credit card.

No, that’s not true. I also know that the rozzes are apparently shooting everyone except the bratchnies tolchocking homeless vecks to death, and that if it keeps raining Albuquerque is in line to be home port for the New Mexican Navy (no jokes about adobe submarines, por favor).

So I’ve instructed Herself to focus on properties above the high water line, and I’m shopping for razor wire, machine guns and a Nadsat-English phrasebook.

Print window

August 1, 2014
A study in black and white.

A study in black and white.

Got myself a new multifunction printer. Came with a cat and everything.

When shopping for electronica one must consider whether the device can bear the weight of a largish feline on cool days. Miss Mia Sopaipilla, for example, likes to toast her po-po on our DSL modem. And Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), pretty much sits wherever he wants, because he can. Paws that look like tennis balls studded with X-Acto knives lend one a certain air of authority.

So while I was stalking the aisles of Best Buy I was thinking: “Will that feed tray snap off if the Turk uses it as a springboard? Is the top uncomfortable enough to send Mia elsewhere for a nap?” That sort of thing.

Thus I went with the Epson XP-810. It’s a cute little dickens, $129.99, accessible via wifi whether you’re using a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, and the only thing that makes me nervous cat-wise is the tray that catches completed print jobs, which sticks itself out like a big black tongue the first time you use it.*

Herself has already blasted plenty paperwork through it, and so far the cats have largely ignored it, though the Turk is slightly annoyed that it takes up some of his prime napping space. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations.

* Turns out you can push that rascal right back in, and it’ll pop out again — brazzzzzzz! — next time you print something.

Soggy Dog

July 31, 2014
wet-stones

One of the many puddles surrounding Chez Dog. If I can just figure out a way to link them up, we’ll have a moat.

Nobody who lives in an alpine desert should ever complain about rain.

That said, fuck this noise. Seriously. I left Oregon for a reason, and this is it. Rain alla goddamn time. I thought I’d spilled some salad in my lap the other day, but it turned out to be moss growing on my … well, the less said about that, the better.

The tipoff? No olive oil. And the cucumber wasn’t peeled and sliced.

In unrelated news, the exodus proceeds, albeit at a snail’s pace. Herself bid farewell to her old job yesterday and leaves for Duke City tomorrow. She will be our LURP whilst I remain (as per usual) a REMF, puttering around behind the lines, telling bullshit war stories everyone’s already heard a thousand times, and mostly getting in the way.

We haven’t found new quarters yet, but we’re talking loan with a banker recommended by longtime Friend of the DogS(h)ite Khal Spencer (a thousand thank-yous, K). What with loan applications and new-job paperwork to process it’s a hell of a time to have had to surrender “our” multifunction printer to Herself’s former employer, and so I’m hunting a new one in my spare time, of which there is none.

Anyone have a recommendation for a reasonably priced, compact, all-in-one, print/fax/scan combo device? I haven’t had to buy one in years and am completely off the back, tech-wise. Sound off in comments, please. And thank you.

Shark. Fin.

July 28, 2014

Laptop-OverWhew. Another Tour is in the bin, and just in time, too.

Vinnie “The Shark” Nibbles arrived in Paris with his lead and skin intact, two Frenchies made the podium for the first time since the lads raced with wooden rims, smoking cigarettes, and Charles Pelkey and I called the sumbitch from start to finish at Live Update Guy. Thanks to any and all of yis who popped round to watch us flail. If you enjoy that sort of thing, we’re gonna be doing it again for the Vuelta a España.

Now I can finally relax a bit, if your idea of downtime is immediately banging out a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer, shooting and editing a video for Adventure Cyclist, and wrangling a herd of tradespeople — movers, plumbers, arborists, painters, bankers, and Realtors™ — in preparation for our impending move to Albuquerque. Fuck me running, if you’ll pardon my French.

Herself will be southbound directly, taking up temporary quarters in Duke City as she starts the new gig, while I remain behind at Chez Dog, dealing with deadlines, managing the menagerie and assisting the house-hunting process from afar with my usual wit and wisdom.

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Hate it. Ug-ly. Sucks. Nope. Nope. Nope.”

It doesn’t help that we’re out of practice, having stayed put for 12 years. Too, we’ve been extraordinarily lucky as regards house purchases, having dealt exclusively with friends and relatives thus far. Still, eventually we’ll find a place we like, accumulate some soul-crushing debt, and that will be that. We’ll be New Mexicans again.

¡Que triste es la vida loca!

Take that, Graham Watson

July 21, 2014
Sorry, but I couldn't find a peloton to drop behind this lot.

Sorry, but I couldn’t find a peloton to drop behind this lot.

Missing the Tour de France on this second rest day? Me neither. But here are some sunflowers just in case.

Oh, yeah, I'm gonna get her for this.

Oh, yeah, I’m gonna get her for this.

Herself is road-tripping again, leaving me in charge of quarters, a change of management that Mister Boo finds repellent. The bug-eyed little weirdo is accustomed to constant attention from Herself, a.k.a. That Lady Who Gives Me Things, and when I’m down in the weeds doing a job of work he occasionally feels deprived.

I feel his pain, particularly when someone sends me photos of a delicious Aspen breakfast after I’ve just inhaled a dollop of yogurt, an English muffin and a cup of Joe.

We’re not in Albuquerque yet, but we’re inching ever closer. We’ve opened negotiations to turn The House Back East™ into a full-time rental, which would solve some logistical issues with running an Airbnb op’ from six and a half hours south. And in about 10 days Herself will relocate to temporary quarters in Duke City and take up her new gig with a bit of house-hunting on the side.

So Mister Boo has some more tough rows to hoe. And I anticipate further dispatches from The Breakfast Club.

Hump Month

July 16, 2014
nob-hill-sm

If I were to find work in this neighborhood, would I be justified in calling it a Nob job? No, don’t answer that.

I know, I know, the term is “Hump Day.” But it’s gonna be Hump Month around here, and maybe even Hump Quarter, because Herself has gone and landed a new job — in Albuquerque.

Ay, Chihuahua.

It will be a homecoming of sorts. We met and married in Santa Fe, but left New Mexico for Bibleburg in 1991 to take care of my mom, who was developing Alzheimer’s and had begun acting nearly as outlandishly as me. We’ve lived in Colorado ever since, either here (twice) or in Weirdcliffe (once).

We’ve been in residence at the ultra-chic Chez Dog in the upscale Patty Jewett Yacht & Gun Club Neighborhood for going on 12 years now — 12 years! — and I figured we were all done moving, that my years of rocketing pointlessly around North America like a turpentined ferret had finally come to an end.

I’ve lived in two countries, 11 states and 18 towns that I can remember, and in several of those towns more than once. Hell, I’ve lived in five different houses right here in Bibleburg. And the appalling state of three of them is none of my doing, no matter what you may hear from the few neighbors who survived.

Well, looks like we can toss No. 19 up there on the Big Board. Some people around here insist on having actual jobs, my shining example to the contrary notwithstanding, and next month Herself starts work as a technical librarian in electronic resources and document services at Sandia National Laboratories.

And me? Well, God willin’ and the creek don’t rise — which it appears to be doing as we speak — I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing since 1989, to wit, annoying the readers, staff, advertisers and ownership of various bicycle publications. My primary residence will always be a Mad Dog state of mind.

 

The accidental Tourist

July 14, 2014
Bianchi Zurigo Disc

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, kitted out for light touring.

The downside of following the Tour de France for fun and profit is that one has fewer suitable rationales for skipping the daily ride.

When guys are falling off at 60 kph on wet descents, breaking bones, and then getting back on the bike and continuing for another 20km or so before finally caving, “I feel too fat for Lycra today” seems a feeble excuse for staying home.

So, though the skies were an ominous shade of gray, once my day’s labors were more or less complete I kitted up and went out for a short leg-stretcher.

The Templeton Gap trail was closed, so I kept riding north, only to find the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail likewise shut a bit further along. So I spent the rest of my ride dodging various road projects, potholes and velocidal motorists until it finally started to rain, then did my best Tony Martin impersonation all the way home.

And I finished with the rubber side down, too, which makes it a whole lot easier to do it again tomorrow.

I’ve cracked many a joke about Alberto Contador over the years, but all kidding aside, the man does help bring a race to life. I think we’ll miss his damn-the-torpedoes style during the remainder of this Tour.

A Giant among men

July 7, 2014
This stretch was one of the fast downhill bits of our old 'cross courses.

This stretch was one of the fast downhill bits of our old ‘cross courses.

Stifling again today, with the high somewhere in the mid-90s and the promised rain nowhere in sight.

It was already 80-something as I stepped away from the iMac and started slathering on the sunscreen after a bracing few hours playing second-chair tuba in the Live Update Guy Symphony Orchestra during stage 3 of the Tour de France.

What a fella wants after all that chin music is a bit of the old bikey ridey, and a little shade to do it in, so I rode south past Colorado College and America the Beautiful Park to Bear Creek Regional Park, where the Mad Dogs used to run their cyclo-crosses back in the day.

The shade is spotty over there, especially if you climb westward through Bear Creek Terrace toward Gold Camp Road, which I did. Then I zipped down 26th Street into Old Colorado City and turned east, toward home.

Nobody would have mistaken me for Marcel Kittel, who I figure can play The Batman anytime he wants to. I’m sure Ben Affleck would be happy to step aside, especially if Marcel has gotten his bad self up to speed.

It’s only a model

July 6, 2014

I think I’ve figured out how the Limeys Yorkies have managed to turn out these insane crowds for the Tour.

Prime Minister David Cameron conspired with industry to simultaneously lay everybody off and evict them from their flats, then gave each of the poor sods a free pint and told them, “Right, you lot, now go stand over there and yell at the nice cycle fellows, and we’ll give you another.”

The smart money in today’s nine-climb quad-snapper was on Peter Sagan, but he was unwilling to chase down his pal Vincenzo Nibali in the finale, and thus we have Nibbles in The Big Shirt and his buddy Wolverine in the green, and also the white.

Charles Pelkey and I were at it again over to Live Update Guy, but I wasn’t able to chime in often, having other chores and not being much of a multitasker.

I did, however, contribute a couple bits of trivia: Mr. F.G. Superman, a.k.a. Bicycle Repairman, a.k.a. Michael Palin of Monty Python, is a native of Sheffield, where today’s stage concluded. Also, the comedy “The Full Monty” was about a clot of idle steelworkers turned stripper in that very same town.

Tomorrow brings a 155km stage from Cambridge to London that looks like one for the sprinters. And on Tuesday, the Tour finally gets round to visiting France for stage 4, a 163.5km leg from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille Métropole with a couple of category-4 climbs.

Wednesday is crunch day. Nine sectors of cobbles along the 155.5km road from Ypres to Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut will separate the sheep from the goats. Everybody must get stoned.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 182 other followers