The Gentrification Blues

February 11, 2015

Your moment of Zen

February 11, 2015

Ah, Jonny, we hardly knew ye. Even after 16 years.

I saw this coming a while back. His was a fine line to walk with an impossible burden to bear — being both a comedian and a newsman at the same time. He knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway.

And Jon Stewart was very good at it, for a very long time.

But it had become clear that he’d lost his enthusiasm for professional multiple-personality disorder — Am I a comedian? A newsman? Something else entirely? — and the nightly performance anxiety must have been withering, with acolytes and assholes alike hanging on his every word.

The targets of his barbs will be cackling with glee and flinging a few feeble darts of their own in his direction as he departs. That will be irksome, but not as irksome as wondering who — if anyone — can follow Jon Stewart’s act.

What, now we have to start paying attention to the real news? That shit don’t be funny, yo.

• Editor’s note: The video up top may be Jon Stewart’s first interview. It’s a clip from the special “George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy,” which first aired in February 1997. If you’ve never seen it, check Kindly Old Doc Google. You probably won’t find the entire thing in one place, but there are bits here and here and here.

Mister Boo, unplugged

February 7, 2015
You only thought you knew how to sleep.

You only thought you knew how to sleep. M’man here is pro.

Apple, Samsung and Hanes

February 2, 2015
What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

Is the Super Bowl finally over? No, I see we’re still second-guessing coaches, lip-syncing sharks and that crucial, botched call — Nationwide’s decision to run that dead-kid ad instead of throwing it into the trash.

We didn’t watch any of it here at Rancho Pendejo, not even the ads. Herself was on a mission from God to clean up the joint, and I was doing a job of work, hammering away at a video review of the Novara Mazama for Adventure Cyclist and trying to troubleshoot ongoing technical glitches with the old iMac.

At 6 years of age, this ‘puter may be nearing the end of its useful existence, though a 15-year-old G3 “Pismo” PowerBook is still ticking right along with all its original equipment. Not so the iMac. Its optical drive croaked a while back, and ever since I “upgraded” to Mavericks I’ve been enjoying occasional and inexplicable freezes that force me into an irksome hard reset that occasionally costs me a bit of work. Kindly old Doc Google tells me I’m not alone in my suffering, and this is one of the reasons I’m dragging my feet on the Yosemite and iOS 8 upgrades.

Last night after a weirdo crash that left both monitors black, but with a moveable cursor, I booted into Safe Mode, which runs a few diagnostics, then said fuck it and booted again, this time into the Recovery HD, and ran Disk Utility.

The hard drive “appears to be OK,” says DU, so I repaired permissions and called it good. This morning nothing was on fire or defunct, which is better.

Now if Samsung will get around to installing a new drain pump in our 5-month-old washing machine, we’ll really have it going on. The goddamn thing has been on the sidelines for a week and I need to upgrade my undies to something a little, um, fresher.

 

‘Cross purposes

January 30, 2015
Miss Mia Sopaipilla inspects the weather outside and pronounces it frightful.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla inspects the weather outside and pronounces it frightful.

Looking a little cyclo-crossy out there today. Ordinarily I’d be right out in it, but Friday is the day I always braid my nose hair.

You should have heard the wind that blew this stuff in last night. It sounded like Sarah Palin farting through a bugle in a tin washtub full of nitroglycerin and live ferrets. I had to use some cardboard wedges to stop the bedroom kiva screen from rattling like a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition Velcro’d to a chainstay on a Duke City trail.

Speaking of cyclo-cross, the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships are coming up this weekend in the Czech Republic.

The video studio at the Rancho Pendejo Center for the Deforming Arts.

The video studio at the Rancho Pendejo Center for the Deforming Arts.

Those of you who have cable TV may be able to watch the race via Universal Sports Network, but the rest of us will have to dance around our computers in bear skins and feathers, shaking rattles and sprinkling chicken blood around and about as we try to make various pirate feeds and VPN dodges work as well as watching the fucker through opera glasses from a Land O’ the Free rooftop.

In the meantime, I’ve filed my print review of the Novara Mazama with the fine folks at Adventure Cyclist and am hard at work pushing pixels around for the video review, a chore that has been complicated more than somewhat by the weather.

Oh, well. I have my nose hair to keep me warm.

• Preview of coming attractions: I have the new Soma Saga Disc touring bike in-house and ready for review. It’s a beaut’, isn’t it?

The latest iteration of the Soma Saga touring bike, this one with disc brakes and a dynamo headlight.

The latest iteration of the Soma Saga touring bike, this one with disc brakes and a dynamo headlight.

Hold my beer and watch this!

January 28, 2015

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.

How ’bout them Mazamas?

January 21, 2015
There's snow in them thar hills.

There’s snow in them thar hills.

See that? No, not the nifty red Novara Mazama — the non-blue sky.

Yup. It started snowing on me during today’s ride. Snowing! And in late January, too. Who knew?

Naturally, I kept riding. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, and deadlines are deadlines. That Mazama review for Adventure Cyclist ain’t gonna write itself.

But when I got home I didn’t sit down at the iMac. Nossir. I got right in the kitchen and whipped up a steaming pot of posole.

Did I mention it’s snowing?

In unrelated news, we watched the State of the Union last night, as is our habit. The prez — when he wasn’t giving off a strong subtextual whiff of “Fuck all y’all!” — reminded me of the future Sen. John “Bluto” Blutarsky trying to rouse the Deltas with stirring oratory.

But the prez wasn’t speaking to Delta House. He was addressing Omega Theta Pi.

 

Cogito ergo dum

January 18, 2015
The culprit.

The culprit.

I will never be smart.

I’m riding the Soma Double Cross on Tramway this afternoon and on the speedy big-ring drop to Interstate 25 I suddenly hear this high-pitched whine coming from what I’m certain is the front wheel. Sounds like a brake shoe rubbing up against the tire, or maybe Jimmy Olsen’s watch calling Superman. Zee zee zee zee zee.

As this can only end badly on a fast descent, I stop — not once, not twice, but three times — to try to diagnose the problem. No joy. But then, as I turn around at the bottom for the climb back up, the noise stops.

Well, OK, then. Ain’t much bad can happen to me at 10 mph. So on I pedal in blissful ignorance.

Until I shift back into the big ring, get out of the saddle to stretch, and hear it again — zee zee zee zee zee.

A light bulb sputters on, about a 20-watter. I’m running the biggest tires this bike will take, 700×38, and I bet the rear tire is heating up and expanding and rubbing up against the front-derailleur mech. Genius!

Well, maybe not so much.

The Double Cross doesn’t have one of those bulky new Shimano mechs that intrude into the rear triangle the way the NSA does into your life. It sports a svelte old Ultegra model.

And, as I found when I got home, it also has a front-derailleur cable that somehow got itself bent inward, and the cable cap was rubbing the rear tire whenever I shifted into the big ring.

So if you’re ever riding with me and wonder what the funny noise is, don’t worry — it’s just the air leaking out of my head.

 

 

Hello, sweetheart, gimme rewrite

January 15, 2015
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, so he subscribes to our digital product. So what? You have any idea where he's making me ride?"

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, so he subscribes to our digital product. So what? You have any idea where he’s making me ride?”

Merrill Oliver of The New York Times digs into the day’s big story: “Why the hell am I riding a bicycle in freezing temperatures, on icy, sandy roads and trails lined with cacti, at altitude, with some bald-headed asshole in Albuquerque?”

 


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