July 23, 2014

Friend Bart, who knows a thing or two about off-road vehicles (and who has a Jeep CJ from about 1948), says I should get a Toyota—not a Jeep—because they are better and more durable vehicles.

He is right about that. But the 4Runner is as ugly as a baboon's ass and—absent radical customization—has a visual soccer-mom quotient in the neighborhood of my stupid Buick Enclave.

Bart is a clever and perceptive person. I can't believe that he thinks I'm interested in buying the better car.

I'm interested in being a macho stud. Bring on the Bigfoot high-lift suspension.

Of course, I'll need a stepladder and a chiropractor to get in the cab....

July 23, 2014

I have so much backed-up blogging to do, and most of it probably won't happen, so a bunch of good stories will go unreported.

Right now, I would like to comment on the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado. Most cities use zoning regulations to push the dispensaries into industrial zones, so you don't see weed shops on Main Street. I did see some very cheerful bicyclists weaving down a street in Crested Butte and proclaiming the benefits of herbal moments.

From my brief experience in Colorado, I can report that the most visible result of legalization is that there's a better than 50:50 chance that your restaurant waitperson will be stoned out of their gourd. We encountered many exceedingly cheerful and slightly forgetful servers.

But the weird thing is that service was excellent. The wait-kids hustled and seemed to really care. In a very chipper, carefree sort of way.

No complaints from me.

July 23, 2014

I need a Jeep. Actually, I don't need a Jeep, but my gonads do. Now that we've discovered that testosterone therapy significantly elevates your risk of heart attack, a Jeep seems like the only sensible alternative.

Also, things are starting to break on my 5-year-old General Motors Buick Enclave (testosterone rating: minus 42). It's in the shop getting new front struts, a new steering gear bushing/linkage, and a new power steering pump, plus two recall fixes. After less than 50,000 miles. This so does not surprise Buick that my service guy filled out an online form and they agreed to pay for the repairs, even though my warranty expired, subject to a $100 deductible for each fix. I wonder how much other stuff will go bad that they know about and I don't.

Not that Jeeps have the greatest mechanical reputation. Or maybe they do, but their parent Chrysler definitely turns out some smelly dogs. Jeeps were awful in 2007 and 2008, but it looks like they've fixed things up since then. So maybe stuff won't fall off too soon.

If it's not one thing, it's a Buick.

July 23, 2014

Mark Trail. It used to be deer; now it's Cape Buffalo.

July 16, 2014

We Jeeped up Ohio Pass today. That's a shot of part of it to the left. The valley below the pass is simply spectacular and hosts some gorgeous ranches. We had a small picnic lunch on a side trail that abuts a wilderness area.

Crested Butte and its surroundings have to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Since it's at almost 9,000 feet, it can take a few days to get your lungs straightened out, but after that it's clean air, blue skies, cool temperatures, tumbling streams, and astounding landscapes. Last night we drove up to the little settlement at Gothic and beyond; it took our breath away. Or maybe it was the altitude.

A few days ago we drove over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and took in the views. Jeanne jaunted off on a short 1.5 mile hike. Although she regularly walks five or six miles in the morning back home, this was a different equation. It took her a full bottle of water and 45 minutes to regain her full composure. Meanwhile, I stayed behind at the trail head and looked at birdies through binoculars. Good decision.

Tomorrow off to Ouray, then we turn toward Texas a couple of days earlier than we planned. We have a lot of irons in the fire back home and we need to (mixed metaphor alert) tend our sheep.

July 10, 2014

Okay, so. We're in Colorado for a few days, seeing our lovely daughters and like that. Today Jeanne said that she would like to drive over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Fine.

We get in the car and drive down to Gunnison, and I take a turn in what I believe is the right direction. Jeanne is pecking at her iPhone. Mapquest tells me to turn around. Who am I to argue? It tells me to drive ten miles back the way I came. Really? I must have forgotten where the canyon is. Now turn right. Right? Golly, must have forgotten a lot since I moved to Texas. So I do as told, following directions on dirt roads turn by turn, mile by mile.

After more than an hour the Mapquest lady announces that we have arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Only we're actually a mile or so past Taylor Park Lake, which puts us, oh, maybe 100 miles from the canyon. So I kept driving and we had lunch in Tincup.

It was a lovely drive, and I don't really mind the wild goose chase. We can go to the canyon another time. With a paper map.

June 30, 2014

I've been on a diet, and I have lost 24 pounds, mainly by watching calories and portions. Then I hit a hard plateau. Meanwhile, Friend Bart was losing an equal amount of weight on a different diet. He avoided sugars and fast carbs—bread, potatoes, rice,and like that—and refused to eat anything that anyone advertised, which I take to mean avoiding processed foods. So I decided to give that a try to see if it would bump me through my roadblock. I dropped bread, bran muffins, and anything else that looked like a grain or a potato. I ate the innards of tacos, but not the tortilla. I wasn't eating much added sugar or processed foods to begin with, but if I encountered any I avoided it. Basically, I've been eating meat, eggs, fruit, veggies, and gin.

I've been doing that for eight or ten days. I put on four pounds.

This morning I'm eating a carb-loaded high-fiber banana muffin.

June 26, 2014

Hillary's book was number one on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list last week, and it will be number one again this week. Oddly, it was number 13 on Amazon's sales list last week, and is number 28 (with a two-star rating) today. Amazon's list includes both fiction and non-fiction, while the NY Times list is only non-fiction. If you pull the fiction out of the Amazon list, Hillary is number six. Amazon sells about 29% of all printed books and more than half of all e-books, so it's hard to believe that they do not reflect the marketplace.

Is it possible that the NY Times jiggers its numbers?

The publisher shipped a million copies of the book. It looks like it will sell around 300,000 and the other 700,000 will be sent back. Her advance was $14 million, which works out to $47 for each book that the publisher sells wholesale at $21 or less. Good deal for her.