Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Oh, Atlanta

January 29, 2014

Man — talk about things that suck. And no, I’m not talking about the State of the Union, though, yes, that too, come to think of it.

No, I’m talking about Ragnarok coming to Atlanta.

I’ve always heard that the traffic in Atlanta made Chris Christie’s arteries look like the wide-open spaces, but still, damn.

I was mystified, shortly after my family was transferred from Ottawa, Canada, to Randolph AFB, Texas, to see school and pretty much everything else canceled the two times in five years that it snowed (about a gram’s worth each time).

But I didn’t have a driver’s license, or any urgent tasks to perform, so I suppose my ignorance was excusable. Plus a guy could pretty much walk or ride a bike everywhere on base, so the potential for fatal collision and/or extended naps in Dad’s Cad’ was greatly reduced.

Gee. Y’think suburban sprawl ain’t all it’s been cracked up to be?

Special delivery

January 23, 2014
There better be a check in the sonofabitch if I'm gonna go out to the mailbox.

There better be a check in the sonofabitch if I’m gonna go out to the mailbox.

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.

That means no more floods, please. Let’s stick to manmade disasters for a change, shall we?

Snow day

December 4, 2013
GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

Eight degrees. Snow. And a variable wind that exacerbates the least attractive qualities of both.

I’m already sick of winter and it’s not even winter yet.

I think I may have a problem here.

Well, if I do, I’m not the only one. And while this storm system seems to have settled in for a long stay, there are short-term distractions available.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon simmering up a big pot of chicken stock, using a 4-pound fryer and four extra drumsticks, a leek, an onion, a turnip and a couple of carrots.

We used some of the meat for dinner (quesadillas) and breakfast (a simple hash that also involved eggs, potatoes, one Big Jim chile and part of a green bell pepper, plus some chopped scallions, thyme and parsley). Most of the rest will get used this evening in a chicken noodle soup, though I’ll reserve a bit for a mess of chicken chilaquiles tomorrow.

Between stints at the stove, I broke out the old iPad, downloaded Apple’s GarageBand app, and taught myself how to create a minimalist podcast on an iOS device instead of a giant MacBox. This is what I like to call “thinking ahead” rather than “dicking around,” since I usually take an iPad with me if I’m able to escape the weather, the kitchen and the office for a short bicycle tour. It’s nice to be able to handle all the usual chores on the road, though for updating a WordPress blog like this one an iPad leaves a great deal to be desired.

Also, I’d like to try a slightly more elaborate podcast that includes a Skype interview with my old friend and colleague Hal Walter, who still lives up Weirdcliffe way. Hal’s main computer is a Mac Mini, which lacks a built-in microphone, but I think he has an iPad, and Skype, so with a little cultural exchange we should be good to go without resort to log drums, smoke signals or semaphore flags.

The last leaf on the tree

October 21, 2013
If we had a pumpkin, there'd be frost on it.

If we had a pumpkin, there’d be frost on it.

Those first few cold days sure get a fella’s attention, and not just due to shrinkage, either.

A spate of subfreezing temps pretty much wrote finis to our fall foliage display, carpeting the sidewalk with defunct leaves, reminding me of a Tom Waits song, and inspiring Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) to take up winter quarters in a subordinate’s lap. Miss Mia Sopaipilla likewise reopened her seasonal penthouse atop the fridge.

Unlike the cats, Mister Boo adores chilly weather. It makes a peppy puppy of the little one-eyed stinkbug, who in the heat of summertime is about as frisky as a union ditch-digger being paid by the hour.

Me, I stand firmly with the cats. I got my fill of cold-weather cycling during 10 years of racing cyclo-cross, and once I abandoned that foolishness I usually did without the pedaling on damp, cold days but kept the running bits. Turns out they’re easier without a bike. Who knew?

Alas, since my knees began grousing, the running is out, so it’s either ride the trainer (barf), go back to swimming (puke) or ride the damn’ bike regardless of the temperature. It’s what you call your basic “First World problem,” for sure.

The leaves dropped like flies, and walking the Boo made a fine rustling sound.

The leaves dropped like flies, and walking the Boo made a fine rustling sound.

And y’know what? It’s not so bad, riding on a cold day, a lesson I relearn every fall.

Yesterday I chose medium-heavy kit — wool socks, leg warmers, long-sleeved jersey and henley, long-fingered gloves and tuque — and spent a pleasant 90 minutes riding the Voodoo Nakisi in Palmer Park, inspecting a few trails I haven’t visited since monsoon season began. Some are in pretty poor repair, though the city and volunteers have been doing what they can to put them back in order.

Last night’s light rain probably helped make them a bit more rideable — it left a crust of ice on our deck but likely tamped down the loose sand that blankets the trails after every heavy storm.

I might just have to get back in there today. The best thing about a brisk fall Monday is that most of the other sluggardly fat bastards are either at work or sleeping off a 24-hour case of Bronco fever.

It was a dark and stormy night

August 7, 2013
Sure beats being on fire.

Sure beats being on fire.

It’s official — Bibleburg has set a record for consecutive days of rain.

Twelve straight days of rain is a lot here. The chamber boyos brag that we have 300-plus days of sunshine per annum, but that’s a case of printing the legend a la “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” We do have our dark and stormy periods, and not just in local gummint, either.

So, yeah. Three bikes in the garage are now sporting fenders, because here at Chez Dog we insist that all brown stripes be restricted to underwear.

Hammer time

August 3, 2013
My custom Nobilette

The better-than-ever Nobilette.

The weather gods have been toying with me lately.

No matter what time of day I finish my chores, that’s when the rain starts. All I have to do is look at a bit of cycling kit, or envision the door to the garage, and it’s like thunder! Lightning! The way it loves me is frightening! I better knock (bam bam bam bam) on wood. …

But Thor must have been in a meeting or on an early mead break this morning, because I slipped out for a couple of hours and just made it home before he clocked back in and started swinging that soggy ol’ hammer again.

Highway 24

Looking east from Highway 24 near Marksheffel.

I was aboard my only custom bike, the Reynolds 853 Nobilette, which underwent a bit of a transformation on Thursday down at Old Town Bike Shop. I decided to swap out the industrial-looking Race Face compact crankset for a prettier and more functional Sugino XD2 triple, and finally found a handlebar that I like (a wide, short-reach, shallow-drop Torelli). While we were at it I picked out a stem with a little less rise to it than its predecessor.

Everything else remains as is: nine-speed Ultegra with bar-cons; Mavic Open Pros, Ultegra hubs, and Soma New XPress 700×32 rubber (made in Japan by Panaracer);  Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis with SwissStop Viking pads and Cane Creek levers (reg’lar and top-mounted). The saddle is a Selle Italia Flite, of course. The pedals are Shimano XT. And yes, it will accept a rear rack and fenders.

The next thing is to swap out the Giant stem and Ritchey post for some L.H. Thomson bike jewelry. But that will have to wait for the next time a spare dollar rolls around, if ever.

Meanwhile, the Nobilette is better than ever. I took it out east for a short shakedown cruise that got even shorter when I glanced over one shoulder to gauge the weather. Man, you can see company coming a long ways off from Highway 24. Storm clouds, too.

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.

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.

Breaking news: It snows in winter

February 20, 2013
Boo and Herself

Banzai Buddy Boo and the Islamic terrorist holding him hostage.

Check this strange beverage that falls out from the sky, as Tom Waits once growled. Snow, and in winter, too. Who knew?

Mister Boo loves the stuff. Herself took him out for a quick trip around the block and “quick” is the operative word here. The Boo took four corners a sight faster than Davis Phinney ever did, and maybe Danica Patrick, too. His Nipponese ancestors must have hailed from the top of Mount Fuji. He looked like a bug-eyed little snowplow bounding up the sidewalk.

Not so Miss Mia Sopaipilla. The little minx slipped through the open door as I was taking a picture and instantly thought better of it, hanging a 180 and jetting back inside to criticize my weather-management skills.

Being a Russian blue, Mia’s family tree may be rooted in Stalingrad, or perhaps Siberia. But just ’cause you’re from there doesn’t mean you have to like it. You don’t see me hanging around Annapolis, after all.


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