A user’s manual for conquering Albuquerque
The last four years of my life have been spent as an itinerant police reporter. I’ve traveled the world: Alamogordo, Oklahoma, Belen.
A partial list of mental health services
Because you never know when your bad chemicals may go on parade
The University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center (2600 Marble NE, 272-2800) offers a “full spectrum” of mental health and psychiatric care for citizens of New Mexico. According to hospitals.unm.edu, the center was established in 1967 and is the largest community mental health provider in the state with telehealth and telemedicine links throughout our communities, schools, corrections facilities and more. In 2008, the center admitted nearly 1,500 patients, while outpatient clinics experienced more than 190,000 visits, so they probably know their business.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Where to get a pet
Finding the next Nemo, Felix, Desdemona or Mr. Sprinkles
Sometimes you move from one city to another and show up a cat short. Cats are angry beasts and will run off when they sense something is personally unacceptable. Sometimes a significant other leaves and takes them. In either case, it’s important to move forward and quickly replace those missing kitties and pooches. Most importantly, you should adopt shelter pets. There are plenty of good animals waiting for homes. There’s no need to buy a $2,000 Mongolian vole hound when a perfectly fine mongrel can be had for less than $100. Hell, my cat Scoop Satanica ran me 10 bucks at a lucky sale at the Humane Society. She has, of course, since racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and lost man hours.
When you need somebody, not just anybody, to extinguish the flames engulfing your car
Sometimes the police are necessary. I remember back in college I had some neighbors who threw a screaming kegger / vomit party every night of the week. They asked me to simply come over and tell them if they were being too loud. One time they savagely killed a goat. I found the police to be a better option. They will come over any time day or night, with guns, and tell the neighbors to be quiet. It’s a pretty good deal, needless to say. That so many police substations are memorials to fallen officers is worth noting and appreciating.
Politics as usual
Public servants and the most direct ways to harass them
Here they are, your beneficent elected officials. Call them often and tell them what a great job they are doing. They love to hear from their constituents.
Should you become lost, just remember: The mountains are to the east.
For the truly new-to-Albuquerque, some explanation of how this town is laid out is necessary. While I was doing my research, I found there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the Trumbull and La Mesa neighborhoods, an area that’s been rebranded the “International District” in recent years. Locals once referred to it as the “Warzone.” I used to deliver pizzas in the neighborhood and never had a problem, so I’m sentimental about it and understand why residents of these neighborhoods resent the label. Of course, only the truly sub-moronic criminal element would mess with the pizza man, and here’s why: Pizza joints comp the local police with free pies. Anyone who screws with the pizza guy also screws with the boys in blue.
Try your luck
When odds are you’re looking to gamble
Personally, I refuse to gamble unless there are short people and horses involved. A jockey friend once told me that it’s a sucker game. Well, with God as my witness, I am that sucker. There is no better day than one spent at a horse track—the fresh air, the beautiful animals, the chain-smoking old men inside playing the simulcast races. Ah, sweet: looking through the program to find the oddly named creature to wager my two dollars on and then yelling as he or she runs the mud track, the trumpet music, the ridiculous jockey uniforms, the old Mexican men and their long-toed boots.
Walk on these wild life refuges
Three nature-filled trips that are close to home and far from ordinary
Get out and see some wildlife before it’s all gone. New Mexico is home to seven federal refuges, two of which are fairly close to Albuquerque. Visit fws.gov/southwest/refuges/nmrefuges.html for a full list of federal preserves in New Mexico.
And now, comrades, a section on credit unions
If member-owned, not-for-profit banking spikes your interest
Open an account at a credit union. They’re the closest thing this country will ever come to socialism. Ah, socialism. Some have membership requirements. Call to find out.
If it ain’t been in a pawn shop, you can’t play jigs, reels and strathspeys on it
Where to buy, sell and trade
Sometimes a person needs a couple of bucks to get through.
There are always banks, loan sharks and parents. Title loan businesses advertise being able to help a person make it to payday or borrow money to go on vacation. Of course, they don’t mention that interest is so high, the borrower may end up rolling bidi cigarettes in a shop in Karachi.
That leaves you with the old standard: the pawn shop. (Some of the title loan joints are trying to pass themselves off as pawn shops, by the way.) I recently traded a set of wedding rings for bagpipes, wedding rings not being an item that is transferable to the next fiancée. It turns out diamonds aren’t forever. But bagpipes are.
Two first-edition paperbacks of Breakfast of Champions can’t be wrong
Ah, the recycled life—thrift stores, resale shops and vintage clothing boutiques. Where else can one procure a bowling shirt, a used copy of Lolita and a Herb Alpert record in one stop? Spend a buck or two at these joints and defeat the big-box bullies.
The Piano in a Factory at National Hispanic Cultural Center
Zhang Meng's whimsical film about a father's attempt to build a piano for his daughter in the wake of his unending marriage.
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