Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today I Am Recovering From Last Night's Potato Roll & Snake Nightmare Caused By Maxine

On the left you are looking skyward, looking west past the speared security fence which keeps me semi-secure, with this location being near where my mechanized vehicular transport device is parked.

As you can see blue sky is not the dominant theme at this point in time at my location on the planet.

For more reasons than one I opted not to roll the aforementioned mechanized vehicular transport's wheels anywhere today to a location where I might get myself some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

One reason for no wheel rolling is fairly obvious. As in a threatening sky with some precipitation already precipitating, though not in amounts even remotely precipitous.

Another reason for no wheel rolling is I got myself some mighty fine endorphin induction action early this morning, via a slightly cool pool.

But, the main reason I am opting for no wheel rolling, hiking or biking today is an incident which occurred last night when I found myself having a bizarre nightmare which involved Maxine and myself having a serious issue over potato rolls and butter.

In the nightmare this seemed to be at a Ukrainian crisis level of serious.

At one point in the nightmare somehow the potato rolls and butter got involved with a big snake.

When I saw the big snake coming for my potato rolls, butter and me I gave it as hard a kick as I could muster.

But, in reality, what I found out that I was kicking, upon instantly awakening, was the wall  on the west side of my bed.

A consequence of that wall kick is it somehow hurt my right knee. I thought a hot tub hydrotherapy session this morning would abate the woe.

It did not.

Climbing a flight of stairs is currently slightly problematic. So, pedaling a bike or hiking hills does not currently seem doable.

I am sure I will quickly recover from this latest nightmare related malady, as long as Maxine and her potato roll and butter aggressive ways stay at bay....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Unreliable HostGator Is Down Again While Evening Primroses Blow In The Wind By Arlington's Village Creek

Not happy in Texas right about now. Found out a few minutes ago, when trying to send an email to Elsie Hotpepper, that my formerly reliable website host, HostGator, is down, again.

The last time this happened was back in November, but, even though that is about a half year ago, it seems like yesterday.

I can't email via my domain, but I can blog via Google, which is what I am doing right now.

Early this morning I managed to have myself a fairly mighty fine time via a hot tub hydrotherapy session, combined with three cool pool dips.

A few minutes before noon I rolled my mechanized wheels to Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area to visit the Indian ghosts who haunt that location and to get down on the ground to take a picture of my favorite Texas wildflower, one I believe is called the Evening Primrose.

I saw my first Evening Primrose late in the last century. I was heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone to check out the concept of moving there. Somewhere southeast of Amarillo, driving on Highway 287, I started seeing patches of what looked to be a very delicate pink flower. After many miles of the pink patches I stopped along the road for a closer look.

At that point in time I did not realize wildflowers like this colored up the Texas landscape for a brief time every year, at some time after winter turns into spring.

As you can sort of tell, via the picture above, the Evening Primroses were blowing in the wind today. As was I....

A Trio Of Kids Tip Toeing Through The Skagit Valley Tulips While Spencer Jack Has A Root Beer Float At The Fidalgo Drive-In

No, those are not a trio of kids frolicking in a flat field of Texas wildflowers you are looking at on the left.

That trio of kids are frolicking in a field of tulips in what are known as the Skagit Valley Flats, in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley in Washington.

I have never met this trio of kids. I don't know if this trio of kids know they have an uncle who lives in a place called Texas.

I found this tulip picture this morning on the blog on which this trio of kid's caretaker poodles, Blue and Max, chronicle the ongoing adventures of Theo, David and Ruby, in a blog post titled Tip Toeing Through The Tulips, or something like that.

If you click the Tip Toeing Through The Tulips link you will see many more photos of the trio of kids frolicking in the flowers.

The Skagit Tulip Festival is at the half way point, running the entire month of April, with events all over the valley, in addition to the 100s of acres of blooming flowers.

Over a million visitors come to the Skagit Valley each year for the Tulip Festival. This creates traffic mayhem.

A blurb from the Skagit Tulip Festival website...

The sun is shining and the tulips are blooming and people are coming from all around the world to see the flowers. 

Back in the early 1980s I lived in West Mount Vernon, around the time of the first Tulip Festival. Worst traffic mess I've ever lived through. The traffic mess has greatly improved over the years, turning some roads temporarily one-way, signs pointing to alternative routes, tour buses to get visitors out of their cars, helicopters overhead to monitor the traffic flow and events all over the valley to take some of the traffic away from the tulips.

If you're going to this year's Skagit Tulip Festival be sure to go to Anacortes to Spencer Jack's dad's Fidalgo Drive-In and have yourself basket of Pubhouse Battered Cod, Puget Sound Clam Chowder, a Dungeness Crab Sandwich, a Tillamook Bacon Cheddar Burger and a Root Beer Float made by Spencer Jack.

And then return to the Skagit Flats for some more tip toeing through the tulips....

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Risking Rolling My Wheels Over Fort Worth's Mallard Cove Park's High Pressure Natural Gas Pipeline

Last night we were warned that the temperature could possibly dip to the freezing zone.

I was under blankets last night for the first time in awhile, but, when I woke up my temperature monitoring devices this morning, I saw that the pre-dawn temperature was several  degrees above freezing.

Yet somehow this morning there appeared to be frost on the roof that I gaze upon during my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session.

Due to that predicted freeze I did not think I'd be in the once again cool pool this morning. But, after getting too hot in the hot tub I thought I'd take a quick cooling dip. And found the water in the pool was way less cool than the air.

Around noon I drove to the post office to mail a letter to the IRS in Austin. Then I headed south to Mallard Cove Park to roll my bike's wheels. That would be Mallard Cove you are looking at above, with the coolest looking rock picnic table I've ever seen, in the foreground.

In the picture on the right you are looking at my handlebars pointing at one of the many natural gas pipeline warning posts stuck in the ground in this particular park.

Last Wednesday I rolled my wheels around Mallard Cove and blogged about it, and asked a question about the Fort Worth signature benches installed in this park.

That question generated an interesting blog comment from someone named Dub Kennedy...

Dub Kennedy has left a new comment on your post "Rolling My New Tires To Fort Worth's Mallard Cove":

"I have never seen anyone sitting on one of these benches. How much do they cost, I can not help but wonder?"

I'm guessing that Chesapeake or some other energy company picked up the tab for this park.

I have little doubt that natural gas pipelines run underneath this so-called park. I say so-called because a parcel of land with nothing more than concrete trails doesn't make a park in my opinion. 

Another so-called park similar to Mallard Cove park was built near the Rockwood golf course in northwest Fort Worth and was paid for by natural gas producers. I know for certain that at least one gas pipeline runs under that park.

Well, Dub is correct, in that there is a Chesapeake installation just outside the west end of this "park", along with 18 or 19 GAS WARNING posts stuck in the ground  inside the park, marking a pipeline route. Plus one HUGE curved pipe stuck in a cement block, which I assume is gas related.

Below is a closeup view of the warning post my bike's handlebars are pointing towards.

I can read the words "HIGH PRESSURE" near the top of the GAS WARNING post. Is this non-odorized highly pressured gas?

Dub says a parcel of land with some paved trails does not a park make.

I agree with Dub that a parcel of land with some paved trails does not make a park, but, in addition to the paved trails Mallard Cove Park has those aforementioned benches, plus the also aforementioned rock picnic table, plus the never before mentioned gazebo-like covered picnic table structure, plus wide expanses of grassy weeds, which are infrequently mowed and some rather stately old big trees.

And giant prickly pear cacti, as in the biggest patches of prickly pear cactus I've ever seen. Not that I've done all that much prickly pear cactus hunting....

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Am Really Looking Forward To The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Sunday Funday With Award Winning Beer

Yesterday I blogged about the latest Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Update mailing in a blogging titled The Trinity River Vision Spring 2014 Update's Perplexing Propaganda.

I went a bit long-winded in that blogging, which caused me to not mention a thing or two. And then today I realized I'd not paid any attention to a separate part of the four page mailer, that being an insert which is the Panther Island Pavilion 2014 Events Calendar.

First, from the TRVB Update, yesterday I did not mention the news that the Trinity River Vision is going to be (according to the blurb's headline) "Bringing Culture to Cowtown", by bringing opera to the Coyote Drive-In. Apparently the Fort Worth Opera is working with the Coyote Drive-In to "bring opera right to drive-in patrons' car speakers".

It really is this type thing which has made Fort Worth the Best City in America.

And in more Trinity River Vision Update news we also learned The Yoga Project-Riverside Studio opened in January.

Over a decade ago, back when the Trinity River Vision was first seen, who could have predicted way back then what we'd be seeing from the Trinity River Vision in 2014?

Yoga, opera, a brewery, a wakeboard lake, an island, a pavilion, a music venue, a drive-in movie theater and inner tubing happy hour parties in the Trinity River.

This really is all quite breathtaking.

Yet somehow perplexing at the same time.

Wasn't flood control part of what was originally touted as being core to this particular vision? You know, a much needed plan to prevent damaging floods where no damaging flood had occurred for well over half a century, because after the last bad flood massive levees were built which have done their job ever since.

On the flip side of the 2014 Events Calendar, which is what you see a scanned image of above, we learn that Rockin' the River is returning for its fourth year. With this year adding a fireworks show at the end of every Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float.

And for the Fourth of July Fort Worth's Fourth of July Festival is back once more at Panther Island Pavilion, with more fireworks, and with any luck this year the Trinity River levees won't catch fire.

We also learn that the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is "excited to announce a NEW weekly Sunday Funday summer series at Panther Island Pavilion" featuring "tubing, food trucks, music, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and stand up paddle boards".

Since Sunday Funday runs from 1 - 6 pm, what with it being Sunday, and what with Fort Worth being part of the Buckle of the Bible Belt, shouldn't some sort of non-denominational church service be part of the Boondoggle's Sunday Funday?

In addition to Sunday Funday we also learn "Award winning Panther Island Brewing will be serving several of their beers on the site." On Sunday.

This brewery is barely open. How did it already win an award?

In other event news we learn "Waterboard pro, Shane Bonifay is coming to Cowtown Wakepark to hold a clinic! It's an experience that you can't pass up."

Oh, I really think it won't take much effort on my part to pass on this experience.

Today At Fosdick Lake In Oakland Lake Park Whole Wheat Tortillas Were Blowing In The Wind

 In the picture we are standing on the west side of Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park in Fort Worth, Texas.

Since we are on the west side of the lake you can likely intuit that we are looking east, at the Fosdick Fountain and a duck in mid-air.

You may also intuit by looking at the fountain, and the direction the water is blowing, that a strong wind is blowing from the north.

If that is what you intuited you intuited correctly.

A strong, very strong, cold, very cold, wind.

At some point in time during the middle of the night the National Weather Service issued a Freeze Warning for North Texas. I installed the AccuWeather app on my new phone, which, until I figure out how to make it stop, I guess I'll be getting weather warnings in the middle of the night. Yesterday, during the day, I was getting multiple Tornado Watch Warnings.

A freeze in the middle of April? I don't think this has happened during any of my previous Aprils in Texas. Will a freeze wreak havoc with the wildflowers and all the freshly born green foliage?

Today I remembered to bring the Fosducks and their Geese Overlords whole wheat tortillas.

It took a few practice tosses to figure out how to deliver the tortillas. I had to get upwind from the birds then throw the tortilla feed into the wind which then delivered the bird feed back to the birds.

The geese seem to be bully birds to the ducks. Eventually everyone who wanted a tortilla got a piece of one, I think.

Changing the subject from feeding ducks to something else.

I managed to have a good swim this morning. The air was chilled at that time to 47 degrees, which was one degree warmer than it is now, post-noon. The water in the pool felt to be a lot warmer than the air.

I suspect I may be bailing on swimming tomorrow and opt out for a hot tub hydrotherapy session instead, if it really is freezing in the morning.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Trinity River Vision Spring 2014 Update's Perplexing Propaganda

This morning I opened my mailbox to find the eagerly anticipated Spring 2014 Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Update.

The TRVB Update was too big for my scanner so on the left you are seeing only part of the Update's cover.

If I remember right I've wondered before how much these full color TRVB Updates cost to publish and mail.

The Update is chock full of interesting propaganda, I mean, information, some of which I don't think has anything to do with the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Like the news that construction of something called McMillan Plaza is moving along quickly. Or that the wait for the Airfield Falls Trailhead is almost over. Or that the trail around the Marine Creek Reservoir is almost complete.

The TRVB continues to attach the Panther Island label to various entities. Like Panther Island Brewing is opening on the non-existent island.

This bit of TRVB Update news had an amusing J.D. Granger quote which had J.D. saying "Panther Island Brewing is exactly the type of business we want on Panther Island. We want businesses that create a special culture, identity and excitement for the district."

We also learn that Panther Island Ice got a cool review, with that cool review, near as I can tell, coming from the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Update. Apparently the ice rink was an enormous six week success and will be coming back next year half again bigger and with a mechanized ice smoother.

The most confounding item in the TRVB Update was on the cover of the publication, that being the "news" about bridge construction.

"Panther Island bridge construction will officially begin this summer! The three new signature V-pier bridges will be located on Henderson Street, North Main Street and White Settlement Road. The bridges will be finished by late 2017 - early 2018. Building the bridges now - on dry land - will be cheaper than constructing them over water after the bypass channel is created."

Okay, first off, are we supposed to collectively forget that long ago the TRV Boondoggle dropped the plan to build "signature" bridges designed by some renowned bridge architect? Dropped because the signature bridges were too expensive.

There is nothing "signature" about these V-pier bridges.

Three or four years to build these bridges over the non-existent, imaginary, un-funded, un-needed bypass channel?

Construction will officially begin? When did construction unofficially begin? The start of construction of these bridges seems to be a constantly shifting target.

If the bridges ever do get built methinks they will likely end up being a monument to hubris, an example of what can happen when you try to build a public works project the public has not been allowed to vote on. Or maybe the water-free bridges will become some sort of internationally recognized symbol for a boondoggle, finally giving Fort Worth something internationally recognized.

In small, hard to read print, below the easy to read Bridge Construction info we learn "Local firm Freese and Nichols led the overall bridge project design and is engineer of record. Rosales + Partners of Boston, Massachusetts are responsible for the TRV bridge architectural design. These are the same firms that designed the award-winning Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial pedestrian bridge."

Award winning Tilley bridge? Was this an ultra legit award giving entity which handed out this award to this bridge, of the same status as the award giving entity which recently awarded Fort Worth the honor of having the best downtown in all of America?

I was not at all impressed with an up close look at the Tilley bridge. It appeared cheap and shoddy to me.

Now the newly redone, nearby 7th Street Bridge across the Trinity, now that is one good-looking bridge.

Who designed the 7th Street Bridge? Couldn't that designer design a similar look for the TRV Booondoggle's three currently non-signature bridges? Bridges like the 7th Street Bridge could really be a signature look for Fort Worth bridges.

And finally, regarding the bridges, another quote from that gift who keeps on giving, J.D. Granger...

"This is such a monumental phase of the project.  We are already 20% complete with this project, but the bridges will be the first part of the infrastructure people can physically see taking shape and going vertical."

It has been over 10 years and the project is only 20% complete? I am not good at math but at this pace is it expected to take 40 years to bring this boondoggle to fruition?

The bridges will be the first part of the infrastructure people can see? What about all the property destroyed by eminent domain abuse in the path of the project? That was all quite clearly visible......

Sidewalk Nightmares: Fort Worth's Aim To Be Walkable

On the left you are looking at a screencap of part of an article I read yesterday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled Sidewalk dreams: Fort Worth aims to be a walkable city which I found to be a bit confounding.

A snip from the article...

Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton said the city can encourage developers to build more sidewalks and connect developments with schools through various incentives.

“We have a chance to impose our will — if you will the bully pulpit — on developers and tell them here is what we want — we want sidewalks that are six feet wide,” Shingleton said as an example.

Now, why is it up to developers to develop Fort Worth's sidewalks? Do developers develop the roads the developments use?

How is it that other towns manage to have sidewalks on both sides of all the roads that run through their town? Like Tacoma. In Washington. I've walked all over Tacoma. I do not recollect ever walking anywhere in Tacoma where I was not walking on a sidewalk, a nice, wide sidewalk, usually with a strip of landscaping between the sidewalk and the road.

This same sidewalk reality exists in many other towns in which I have walked. Fort Worth is actually the first time I have ever experienced a town which is so sidewalk challenged. Well, there was the time I walked around in Algadones, Mexico and noticed there were few sidewalks. If I remember right I have opined about this perplexing problem previously, that being the Fort Worth sidewalk shortage, not the Algadones sidewalk shortage. This is the first time I've mentioned the Algadones sidewalk shortage.

In addition to learning about Fort Worth's sidewalk dreams, in this article I also learned about something called the Blue Zones initiative which somehow is a vision for walkable healthy cities. And then regarding this Blue Zones project thing there was the following disturbing paragraph...

The Blue Zones project in Fort Worth is headed by Julie Wilson, who said they received over 800 applications for the initial 18 staff positions to run the five-year initiative, and they are still accepting applications.

Julie Wilson? Is she not the controversial lady who used to be the chief propaganda shill for Chesapeake Energy? 800 applicants for 18 jobs? Are these paying positions? If so, how much is being spent to pay for the 18 Blue Zone staffers? And from whence is the money coming? Could that money not be better spent building sidewalks?

Why doesn't Fort Worth do something revolutionary, well revolutionary for Fort Worth, and put a sidewalk building bond issue on a ballot?

In Fort Worth you really do not need to waste money doing any sort of study to figure out where to build sidewalks.

Fort Worth's beleaguered walkers have already determined where the sidewalks need to be. To find out where a sidewalk needs to be all one needs to do is drive a Fort Worth road, Bridge Street or John T. White Road, for example, and make note of where people have worn a path in the dirt along side the road.

That is where you need a sidewalk.

No study needed.....

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Photo Documenting Tandy Hills Hoodoo Engineering Before Finding Uncle Oinker's Gummy Bacon At Town Talk

Even though I'd been on the Tandy Hills on Friday I decided to do some hill hiking again today, prior to my regularly scheduled Saturday Town Talk treasure hunting.

Yesterday I mentioned finding a new Hoodoo on the Tandy Hills and also mentioned that the main Hoodoo at Hoodoo Central was still standing, although looking a bit different than the version I saw the previous Saturday.

Yesterday's Hoodoo mention brought a comment and a question from Stenotrophomonas with that Stenotrophomonas question asking if I took a picture of the Hoodoo.

I had not.

The Stenotrophomonas comment....

Stenotrophomonas has left a new comment on your post "Today I Found A Hoodoo Fertility Symbol On Fort Worth's Tandy Hills":

Strange... I was in the Hills Thursday and the perennial hoodoo, that stood so precariously Saturday, was a mere stump of its former self. And then apparently restored to its previous delicate balance in this strong wind. Did you get a picture? Some new guerrilla art seems to be evolving near the Tower - look about 100 feet north of the entrance. 

So, sometime after Stenotrophomonas saw the fallen Hoodoo on Thursday, it had been resurrected by the time I saw it the next day. Who is behind these Hoodoo feats of rock engineering one can not help but wonder?

You can see, via the closeup Hoodoo view below, what I mean by feat of rock engineering. Note the balancing act and the little stabilizing rocks. It would seem this construction would be time consuming.

Even though the Hoodoo is a marvel of rock engineering, how does it manage to keep standing what with the powerful gusts of wind that have been hitting it, yesterday, and continuing today?

After admiring the Hoodoo I was off to Town Talk in search of Uncle Oinker's Gummy Bacon.

Mr. Galtex told me about finding Uncle Oinker's Gummy Bacon prior to leaving Texas for a Boston break. I told Mr. Galtex I was unable to find the Gummy Bacon on my last Saturday TT Treasure Hunt.

Mr. Galtex, I think while still in Boston pigging out on Boston Cream Pie and Lobster Rolls, then gave me precise directions as to how to locate the Town Talk Gummy Bacon.

And so, today I found Uncle Oinker's Gummy Bacon, as you can see photo documented below.

Strawberry Flavor! Four slices, which you can view via the viewing window.

I did not realize til I saw it in person that the Gummy Bacon is a candy product. Even though the Gummy Bacon was cheap, as in 2 for a buck, I resisted the temptation. Well, actually, I am not much of a candy consumer. And bacon flavored gummy candy with a strawberry twist really has no appeal to me.

Having said that it seems a bit odd to say I got a lot of maple yogurt today. That also sounds not all that tasty, but it actually is.....

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today I Found A Hoodoo Fertility Symbol On Fort Worth's Tandy Hills

 I was back on the Tandy Hills today for the first time since last Sunday's downpours.

I found a couple new Hoodoos today, along with finding that the Hoodoo at Hoodoo Central, located at the north end of the trail which leads to the Tandy Hills from the park on View Street, is still standing.

One of the new Hoodoos is a different style Hoodoo than the other Tandy Hills Hoodoos.

One of those new Hoodoos, which you are looking at in the photo, may be some sort of symbolic celebration of spring type thing.

The reason I think this new Hoodoo may be some sort of symbolic celebration of spring type thing is due to the fact that this new Hoodoo erection appears to be some sort of primitive, rock-based, phallic fertility symbol.

Fertility symbols are common in many primitive, and not so primitive, cultures, being representative of the renewal represented by the arrival of spring, what with the return of green to the landscape, along with a plethora, in Texas, of colorful wildflowers and critter babies being born.

With just over two weeks to go before the annual Prairie Fest, this coming Saturday, April 26, the Tandy Hills have amped up the wildflower production and have ratcheted down the brown, with the greening of the Tandy Hills' trees, as you can see photo documented below, a view south, viewed today, by me, high atop one of the unnamed Tandy Hills.

Just a short time ago the primary color one saw at this location was brown. Now green dominates the landscape.

The last couple times I was hill hiking on the Tandy Hills I was bugged by a lot of bugs. Today's hill hiking was pretty much bug-free. Did that storm on Sunday blow the bugs out of town? I hope so. I prefer my Tandy Hills hiking to be bug-free.

What with the outer world being heated yesterday well into the 80s and only slightly chilling overnight, early this morning I had myself a mighty fine time getting much needed hydrotherapy in the no longer too cool pool, without needing to resort to the hot tub for shiver prevention.

I had my windows open this morning. This afternoon the outer world is again being heated into the 80s. I am resisting resorting to turning on the air-conditioning. I suspect my resistance may not last long...