Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

This blows

January 22, 2015

Ah, jaysis, the banshees were howlin’ last night at Rancho Pendejo.

The winds commenced just past bedtime and have yet to abate. ‘Twas like trying to sleep in a 1972 Ford Econoline van with four bald retreads, a vacuum leak and a couple cardboard windows bouncing down a dirt road with a payload of galvanized duct, empty Coors cans and snare drums.

The cats were yowling like devils and the fireplace screen was flapping like Lindsey Graham’s gob and the wind chimes sounded like each and every one of the sonsabitches was being played by an itty bitty Quasimodo who’d gotten into the blue meth.

The Boo, naturally, slept right through it all. He’s asleep right now, the one-eyed little slacker, in his donut next to my iMac.

I may just curl up next to him. Right after I drive a letter opener into both eardrums and shoot a little smack.

Hail, hail, the hail’s all here

May 21, 2014
Hands down the worst hailstorm I've ever seen.

Hands down the worst hailstorm I’ve ever seen.

Well, that was a spot of fun. A massive hailstorm just roared through and beat the mortal shit out of every tree in the ‘hood.

Check out the size of those hailstones. Mind you, this is after they've melted a bit.

Check out the size of those hailstones. Mind you, this is after they’ve melted a bit.

Our house looks like Odin was displeased with dinner and threw his salad at it. The House Back East™, likewise.

I’m no arborist, so I have no idea how well, or if, our silver maple will recover from the pounding it took. Damn, I love that tree, too.

True to form, the sun is now out and it’s sandals-and-shorts weather.

 

On the sunny side of the … alley

May 14, 2014
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

Colorado being Colorado, we’re cycling through a wide range of weather possibilities this week — cloudy, sunny, chance of thunderstorms, plague of toads; you get the idea.

Speaking of cycling, there’s a new bike in the garage. It’s a Bianchi Zurigo Disc, and it’s slotted in right behind the Salsa Vaya for review in Adventure Cyclist.

This is not your granddaddy’s touring bike. In fact, if you were to mistake it for a cyclo-cross bike, you’d be forgiven, in part because it’s named in honor of the 1967 ‘cross worlds in Zurich (won by Renato Longo of Italy) and in part because, well … because it’s a bloody cyclo-cross bike.

The $1,799 Zurigo has an aluminum frame and carbon fork, knobby Kenda Kwicker 700×32 tires, and a SRAM Apex 10-speed drivetrain (48/34 up front, 11-32 in back). But it also has eyelets for mounting fenders and a rear rack, so a quick-and-dirty, lightly loaded tour is not out of the question.

I hope to get one of those in here directly, if weather and work permit. We have something of a full plate here in Dog Country from May through July, and a little road trip would do wonders to flush out the headgear.

Got them Suburban Snowsick Blues

May 12, 2014
It was a mother of a Mothers Day at Chez Dog.

It was a mother of a Mothers Day at Chez Dog.

The weather has been, shall we say, unsettled.

One minute a fella’s cycling around and about wearing little more than a bit of team kit marinated in sunscreen, and the next he’s huddled over a furnace grate in a snowmobile suit, Ruger Mini Thirty locked and loaded, ready to repel a terrorist yeti raid on his bacon and beans.

I made my preparations on Saturday, whipping up two steaming tureens of Southwestern fare, the first of a pork-and-potato-laden green chile stew and the second of pinto beans with onion, garlic and chipotle chile. To say the atmosphere has grown heavy indoors since would be an understatement of epic proportions.

The weather wizards were shrieking about inches and feet of white stuff, but this latest resurrection of winter proved to be not so much of a much. What little we got was heavy and wet, to be sure, and at one point I had to venture out with a broom to flog it off the tender branches of the young Canadian red cherry in the back yard.

This morning we have gray skies, temps below freezing, a stiff wind, and flurries, which is to say it’s May in Colorado. It caused me to compose a protest song in the style of Mr. Robert Zimmerman, though it’s tough to be musical without guitar, harmonica or talent. Still, I had a whang at it in an email to a friend and colleague in the mountains.

How much snow have you got there?
They said we’d get it everywhere
But mostly, down here below
the worst was that the wind did blow

It sucked, actually
Real cold
Movin’ t’Arizony

(squee honk blaat hoot snort honk twee)

 

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.


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