Bar tender

June 26, 2014

Ride To Work Day is to the serious cyclist as St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve is to the serious drinker — amateur hour, a grim reminder that bars aren’t for everyone.

I generally pick an obscure route and an off-peak time for my cycling on this particular day, but I was both lazy and pressed for time yesterday, and used part of a heavily used bike path to get from point A to B and back again.

As I was on my way home from a pleasant outing in the hills I nearly centerpunched a noob riding on the wrong side of the path in a blind corner just past a clusterfuck of an intersection that’s already plenty dangerous for anyone who’s actually paying attention.

No harm, no foul, but still, damn. It’s nice to see new folks on bikes, but it sure would be nice if they saw us grizzled old veterans, too.


Creative class warfare

June 21, 2014
The Turk' enjoyed some backyard time while I cleaned a bike in honor of the summer solstice.

The Turk’ enjoyed some backyard time while I cleaned a bike in honor of the summer solstice.

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Just ask the Turk’, who enjoyed a little outside time in the Mad Dog Media Botanical Gardens, a.k.a. “Weedpatch,” as I washed a bike in honor of the solstice.

Shortly thereafter it began raining off and on, with thunder for flavor, and the feline outings, bicycle riding and Old North End Garage Sale took back seats to working and earning.

Speaking of which, I can see I’ve been going about the latter activities all wrong. Clarity is so 15 minutes ago. If a guy could only learn to deploy with a straight face semantically null phrases such as “further leverage,” “cultural and creative assets,” “place of choice,” “launching new ideas” and “preserving our rich cultural heritage,” why, People of Money would write us fat checks for doing absolutely nothing beyond talking authoritatively and incomprehensibly out of our asses.

Toward that end I’m pleased to announce the formation of the Caramillo Street Collective for Creative Obfuscation, whose sole purpose it shall be to talk shit for money. I know, that sounds an awful lot like what I already do, but trust me, this is a radical departure from business as usual at Chez Dog. It’s a means of further leveraging my cultural and creative assets from my place of choice to launch new ideas that preserve my rich cultural heritage.

Somebody owes me $20K now.

• Speaking of talking shit: Here’s Timothy Noah on the ethics of dog-crap disposal.

I got your ‘partial zero emission’ right here

June 18, 2014

A Subaru Impreza that’s belching cigarette smoke from the driver’s window is hardly a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle,” which is marketing bullshit anyway. It’s either a zero-emissions vehicle or it isn’t.

PZEV sounds like the sort of stealth fart we used to call a “one-cheek sneak.” Elevate half the butt slightly above the plastic chair and let fly as the teacher pauses in mid-lecture to take a breath.


I found myself stuck behind this PZEV shit (that’s an audio pun, son!) while riding my Vespa over to the scooter shop for its annual maintenance and a minor repair. Interesting how the de rigueur carry for a lit cig’ these days is out the window. As much as the fuckers cost you’d think the addicts would want to keep all those expensive carcinogens inside the car where they can get full value out of each nicotine stick.

But what do I know? I shed that particular vice three decades ago, when a carton of Marlboros cost less than a Subaru.

Still, if ever there was a bad week to quit smoking, this was it. Smack in the shitter goes Iraq, with all the usual suspects slithering out from under their rocks to flicker their forked tongues for fun and profit — including Dickless Cheney and his carpetbagger kid, who’s so overfed and under-taught that she couldn’t even queer a Wyoming election properly. Some 4,500 Americans dead in her daddy’s imperial fantasies and yet the cyborg sonofabitch walks the earth unfettered.

Plus Herself has been road-tripping again, leaving me in charge of quarters. The Augean Stables is what that is. Bowls to fill, litter boxes to empty, Boos to walk twice daily — did you know you have to pick up the dog shit now?

Well, here, anyway. In DC they put it on the Sunday shows and on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal.

• Extra Credit Bonus Shit That Pisses Me Off: Eagle, another anonymous stop along the Interstate 70 Industrial Tourism Sacrifice Zone, is creating fun stuff for visitors to do. Bibleburg is angling for gilded turds in the old five-ringed toilet, hoping to display same for ham-and-eggers shuttling between Six Flags Over Bethlehem and the American Opinion Bookstore.

All et up with the dumbass

June 13, 2014

Jesus H. Christ, how does Sen. Babbleyap McCrankypants (R-Off My Lawn) keep getting on TV? You’d get a smarter interview from a plastic plant at a nursing home. Or a sack of hair outside a barbershop that caters to the feeble-minded. Or a bag of Chinese hammers at Walmart.

You get the idea.

This bellicose plastic sack of wet war dreams never met a meat grinder he didn’t want to stuff someone else’s kid into. You could scrape enough stupid off his dumb ass to make a six-pack of Louie Gohmerts with enough left over for two Scientologists, a Fox News anchor and the DMV of your choice.

And I would like nothing better than to see some deceased grunt’s mom give him a roundhouse dick-punch with a roll of Kennedy half-dollars in her fist, just plain pop him like the pimple he is. Arizona and the nation would be better served by a Magic 8-Ball full of old Pat Buchanan columns.

Trails and travails

June 12, 2014
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc atop a descent leading to Bear Creek Terrace.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc atop a descent leading to Bear Creek Terrace.

The three Ws — work, weather and writer’s block, overlaid with a thick coat of pollen — are conspiring against me this week.

I’ve accomplished a few small tasks, but the process has reminded me of being chased in slo-mo through a nightmare by something large and toothy. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it can be some days to corral 850 words that dollar up on the hoof, or scrawl a semi-funny cartoon. That Watterson fella is like the cops — never around when you need him.

I did manage to shoehorn one two-hour ride in between chores and thunderstorms. It was one of my patented weirdo cyclo-cross outings that took in bike paths, city streets, sandy single-track and lots and lots of hills.

I was full of albuterol and Claritin-D 12 Hour, so the time passed quickly, as it will. But the rain has been tough on the trails hereabouts, especially if you happen to be riding a cyclo-cross bike.

Still, it’s better than being on fire, or heading up the VA, or having your ass kicked by a Lipton Legionnaire.

I’ve not had a chance to follow up on the Old Guy kit, so bear with me. It’ll probably be next week before I have any definitive answers on cost, availability, online store, and what have you. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I plan to flog that Bianchi around some more. It’s wearing a set of 700×38 Continental Speed Rides now and is ever so much more comfortable to ride, even on Friday the 13th.


Calvin and Hogges

June 7, 2014

Bill Watterson, creator of the fabled and much-missed “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip, got back in the game for a while this past week as a guest artist for the Stephan Pastis strip “Pearls Before Swine.”

The famously reclusive Watterson, who sent Calvin and his stuffed tiger sledding into history in 1995, collaborated with Pastis in part for fun and in part to help raise money for Parkinson’s research, according to Michael Cavna of The Washington Post.

Pastis did the writing and some of the drawing, turning Watterson loose in the middle panels. And both apparently had a wonderful time.

“I had expected to just mess around with his characters while they did their usual things, but Stephan kept setting up these situations that required more challenging drawings … so I had to work a lot harder than I planned to! It was a lot of fun.” Watterson told Cavna.

As for Pastis, he said: “It’s just massive … the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

New jersey

June 6, 2014
Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

No Chris Christie jokes, now — though we are gonna be talking about new Fat Guy jerseys.

Several of you have expressed an interest in reviving the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter Racing Team kit, and yesterday I emailed the fine folks at Voler to get an idea of the process and expense.

They replied straight away, and it seems they still have at least some of my original designs on hand.

So, the question is, do we want to revive one of the old designs, or come up with something entirely new for the 25th anniversary edition?

We’re looking at an order-due date of Aug. 4 and a shipping week of Sept. 22-30. Price is unclear at this point — I’m guessing we’re looking at a cost of $55-60 per jersey, but that is a dramatically uninformed opinion. I’ll speak with one of the sales guys next week and should know more then. Obviously, the more we order, the less they’ll cost.

In the meantime, feel free to chime in with your opinion as regards design: yellow original, multicolored second edition, or an entirely new jersey.

Road to ruin

June 3, 2014
Libertarian Interstate. Q. How many libertarians does it take to patch a pothole? A. More guns!

Libertarian Interstate.
Q. How many libertarians does it take to patch a pothole?
A. More guns!

I often wonder why folks call themselves “conservatives” when they don’t seem particularly interested in conserving things, like roads that don’t look like the Ho Chi Minh Trail after a bit of roadwork by B-52s.

Bibleburg has no budget for pothole repair — that’s right, I said no budget for pothole repair — and pulled a $2 million emergency appropriation from city reserves in response to a deluge of complaints from the hordes of gummint-hating, free-market patriots who wanted to know why The Pothole Fairy hadn’t left any hot mix under their American-flag pillows.

Months later work has begun on what streets division manager Corey Farkas concedes is “a drop in the bucket of what we need here.”

Because freedom.

June bugged

June 1, 2014
The Old Guy got a radical kit makeover for the Giro.

The Old Guy got a radical kit makeover for the Giro.

You ever get the feeling someone hit the fast-forward button on your own personal reality? Lately it seems as though I’m stuck in a high-speed loop — wake up, snag a cup of mud, plunk down before the iMac, and then suddenly it’s bedtime. Repeat ad infinitum.

For instance, how the hell did it get to be June already? The Giro just wrapped, and the Dauphiné starts next Sunday? What is it, racing season or something? Next you’ll be telling me the Tour’s just around the corner.

Consigliere Pelkey and I had a high ol’ time calling the Giro over at Live Update Guy. He solved the never-ending software problem by getting a colleague to build him some, and it worked just swell. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but you don’t need many of those for the sort of one-ring circus we run.

That tent folded this morning. Tomorrow I have an Adventure Cyclist deadline, and Thursday my Bicycle Retailer contributions are due. In between we have Herself’s mother and sisters in residence at The House Back East™, so, yes, my dance card is all filled up for a while yet, thanks for asking.

Also tomorrow, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off in San Francisco, and the usual oracles are predicting bits of this, that and the other.

I’m hoping the elves of Cupertino have been busy stomping bugs in Mavericks, because the old iBeast has been acting out now and then since I pulled the trigger on the OS upgrade (our fourth, after Herself’s MacBook Pro, the Mac Mini we use to stream video, and my MacBook Air). Those newish machines are all ticking along without incident, but with the 2009 iToad I’ve seen hard crashes that can’t be force-quit away; mystery reboots not ordered by Your Humble Narrator; and other oddball ailments that have me spending way too much off-the-clock time discussing diagnoses with kindly old Doc Google.

Right this moment all is well, but boy, does Mavericks ever use a metric shit-ton of whatever memory you have installed. I have 12 GB in the iThing, and more than once over the weekend Activity Monitor reported that 11 of it was in use.

Meanwhile, the 2006 MacBook limps along just fine with Snow Leopard and 2 GB of memory. Go figure.

Must be May …

May 27, 2014
Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

… I finally got Herself out on a bike.



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