And now, please join me in singing our national anthem.
Yow. Straight from Lycra to neoprene in one fell swoop.
It’s a bracing 12 degrees outside, and the few inches of snow were of the annoying variety — light enough to broom, but glazing slowly upward from sidewalk level, so I actually had to shovel for a change.
Well, we’ll take water in whichever form it chooses in these parts, as long as it arrives in reasonable quantities.
Over at Teh Twitters yesterday a gent praised a non-rant I’d written way back in 2002, saying it was one of his “all-time favorites.”
I had forgotten about it — these things vanish from my consciousness about a nanosecond after I hit the “Send” button — so I looked it up, and y’know, I kinda liked it myself. Even an old blind dog finds a tasty Milk-Bone now and then, it seems.
Written when we still lived in Weirdcliffe, it was prompted by a reader’s complaint (one of many, actually) that my stuff was too negative, which it can be. That my VeloNews.com column was christened “Friday’s Foaming Rant” didn’t help. A label like that tends to set a certain tone, and when I wandered off the Rantinista reservation other critics would jeer, “Call that a rant?” You can’t win.
But if two of us liked it, it must not be entirely lame, so here it is, reprinted in all its faded glory for your entertainment.
It was health care and then some today as Mister Boo, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and Miss Mia Sopaipilla traveled en masse to the vet for exams and injections.
Turk’ and Mia are not fans of the infernal combustion vehicle, and thus the Subaru rang with yowls of horror and threats of vengeance as we motored swiftly toward our tripartite appointment. Only the unflappable Mister Boo remained at peace (until the vet laid hands upon him, whereupon the mild-mannered little fella promptly transmogrified into the Hound of the Baskervilles).
Back at Chez Dog the cats rebounded quickly, but the Boo — having performed a four-mile walk before his harrowing experience at the hands of veterinary medicine — found himself in need of a power nap. And who can blame him?
I’m feeling a bit stuck myself, but you can’t sleep off a vet bill.
It’s easy to forget how many people ride bikes in this town until we get a sunny, 60-something day in January.
I slipped out for a 90-minute ride at midday and Holy Mary, Mother of God, you’d have thought we’d hit Peak Oil and left it bleeding out at roadside. Everybody and his grandma, from itty-bitty kids to grizzled graybeards, was gaily flogging a two-wheeler from Hither to Yon, no doubt hoping to burn a few calories before ingesting many, many more during the Broncos-Patriots feetsball game.
Despite a short stint as an assistant sports editor at The New Mexican in Santa Fe, I am not a fan of the feetsball, which is the polite way of saying that I don’t give two runny shits about a multibillion-dollar industry that temporarily shifts Americans’ homicidal instincts away from actual warfare and toward commerce by encouraging young gladiators to mutate their bodies with drugs and scramble their brains with high-speed collisions.
Cycling has its own issues in that regard, of course. But not the way I do it.
And at least you can watch televised pro cycling for more than 15 commercial-free seconds at a stretch (on a pirated Belgian feed, anyway). That’s how I spent my morning before throwing a leg over the Bootleg Hobo’s top tube. Plus you can be pretty certain the Organization is selling (and the spectators drinking) a higher-quality beer.
A classic Robert Crumb print, “A Short History of America,” now adorns a wall in the Mad Dog Media nerve center, thanks to the generosity of Herself the Elder.
I’ve shown her this one, but am withholding his (ahem) more outré offerings. Not everybody is ready to get Zapped.
One down, two to go. I forgot we also have a Mac Mini in need of an OS upgrade. But the cute li’l Cupertino doorstop only has 2 GB of memory, which is the bare minimum, so I’ve ordered up some mo’.
The MacBook Air install went smooth like butter. The whole process took a shade over two hours, with a long-ass download, a couple-three restarts and six app’ updates. But that’s my newest machine, a mid-2012 model, so it should be open to new experiences; the Mini dates to mid-2010, and the iMac to 2009.
The Air is for lightweight road trips when an iPad won’t cut the mustard. For heavy duty I haul an old black MacBook, ’cause it has software I don’t care to upgrade, like Word and Photoshop and all the other high-falutin’ gewgaws, thingamajigs and comosellamas a fella likes for professional rumormongery of the finest quality. That beast is too long in the tooth to run Mavericks; it’s pegged at Snow Leopard.
The Mini is for watching TV at Chez Dog, and I back up work-related items to it whenever I get The Fear (I also use SuperDuper and Time Machine with an external Firewire drive for regular clones/backups).
And the iMac is The Main Device. It’s how most of the Mad Dog media is generated, save for the cartoons, which get done the hard way — drawn in pencil, then inked, and finally scanned into a superannuated 1999 G4 “Sawtooth” AGP Graphics Power Mac, where I apply color using Classic mode and a full CMYK version of Photoshop (4!) that I got for free with a scanner about a thousand years ago. Hey, it still works.
I thought I might do the iMac today, too, but wimped out. Paranoia strikes deep, as the fella says, and I’d like to fiddle with the Air a bit to make sure it didn’t lose a kidney to Somali pirates or something during the operation.
With cyclo-cross nats over and a couple of deadlines beaten into submission, I finally have a bit of downtime, and as nature abhors a vacuum, the to-do list is filling up like an open bar at a press conference.
First and foremost, of course, is cycling. The weatherperson says we have an extended stretch of fitty-sumpin’ ahead of us, so, yeah, time to sweat a little gravy. I have a review of the Cinelli Bootleg Hobo due in a couple weeks, and just got hold of a Kona Sutra, which is next up in the Adventure Cyclist pipeline.
Then there’s grocery shopping — seems some fat bastard has eaten everything in the house — and last but not least, I should perform a spot of computer maintenance.
Anyone out there upgraded their Macs to Mavericks yet? I’m thinking of making The Great Leap Forward with the two Macs that can handle it, the iMac and MacBook Air, but the tales of technological horror I read online give me pause.
Herself has successfully updated her MacBook Pro, but she is beloved of the gods. Me, not so much.
Chapeau to all the folks who are taking stars-and-stripes jerseys home from Boulder, especially Bibleburg’s very own Katie Compton, who racked up title No. 10 at Valmont Bike Park on Sunday.
Our politically and spiritually unhinged community is home to some top ’cross talent, for reasons that elude me. There’s six-time U.S. ’cross champ Alison Dunlap, who used to live right here in the Patty Jewett Wild Democrat Preserve and can often be seen towing a trailer full of offspring at a pace that makes grown men weep.
And of course there’s Ms. Compton, who seems so genteel and mild-mannered when buying a bottle of wine at Coaltrain, yet come race day can be seen methodically ripping off people’s legs, eating them, and then using the bloody bones to club lesser riders out of her path.
With two such exemplars of the discipline in residence, you’d think some bright person would have had the idea to duplicate Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park down here in God’s Country™, where men are men and so are the women, only more so.
Alas, the Free Hand of the Market is too busy jerking off to fantasies of an Olympic museum, a “multipurpose” stadium and a visitors center for the U.S. Air Force Academy, which already has one.
You know — places for looking at things, instead of actually doing them.
As one-half of the executive team that operates The House Back East™ Bide-a-Wee Vacation Home & Money Laundry, I have yet to encounter a guest who longs to visit museums, stadia and visitors centers.
What they want to do is tackle the Incline, Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, and Manitou Springs. They want to do stuff, not just look at it. And some of them want to do it while blazing a fatty.
But don’t tell that to the local leadership. They turned this place into Six Flags Over Bethlehem and now it’s all about The Five Rings To Rule Them All, the feddle gummint’s saggy ol’ sugar tit and state-supported fantasies about what a bunch of old white guys think will get the money train chugging through town again.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “spectator” as “a person who sees or watches something without taking an active part; onlooker.”
Yeah, that’s just what we need.
No, I’m not talking about the Belgian national championships (which is basically a second world championships, and which Sven Nys crushed today). I’m talking about today’s elite men’s and women’s USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships at Valmont Park in Boulder.
The Twitterati say the wind is up and the temps are down as Katie Compton and Jonathan Page prepare for their title defenses, and you can catch the action as it happens via streaming video starting at 11 a.m. this morning.
Here’s hoping mic’ jockeys Dave Towle and Colt McElwaine go a little deeper into history today when calling out the names of the greats — elite titlists like six-time champ Alison Dunlap and five-timer Laurence Malone deserve their fair share of the shout-outs.