Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shivering One More Time Under A Blanket Of Texas Snow

Just as predicted, this fifth morning of March snow blankets the outer world at my frigid location on the planet.

I ventured out, briefly, to take the picture you see here, looking over a snow covered  lounge chair through my patio prison bars to the snow covered hot tub.

It seems like a long time since I had myself a pleasant early morning soak in that hot tub.

Back in the era of global warming, before the arrival of this modern era ice age, March was the month when swimming in the un-heated pool always became doable.

Below are the current Texas weather  conditions, gleaned this morning from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I am seeing a bright, clear blue sky from my vantage point. Definitely not "mostly cloudy" as indicated above.

25 degrees? I've read nothing about those 25 degrees being a record breaker. It seems that those 25 degrees should be a record breaker for this formerly warm part of the planet.

This winter has been the most wintry winter in Texas since I have been in Texas. My memory of wintry winters in Washington is fading, but I think this wintry winter in Texas may be the worst winter, wintry weather wise I have ever experienced...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fresh Western Washington Warm Weather Humble Bragging While Texas Braces For Another Arctic Blast

With yet one more bout of freezing rain scheduled to arrive in North Texas today, I found fresh weather humble bragging in my email this morning, from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason.

Email subject line: Warm winter bringing out the tulips early at Skagit Valley Tulip Festival | Weather Blog | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

The email had a link to a KOMO TV News story, screencapped above, and below, about Western Washington's balmy winter and the early blooming of flowers which usually wait for the arrival of Spring, flowers such as daffodils, which you see above, currently blooming in the Skagit Valley, and tulips, which you see below, currently blooming in the Skagit Valley.

Below are four paragraphs from the KOMO TV News online article about the tulip's blooming and Western Washington's balmy winter.

Walk around the Puget Sound area and you'll notice trees starting to bloom and perhaps the whirr of a lawn mower or two, even though winter still had a solid 3-4 weeks left in its reign. 

Seattle finished up February as the warmest on record, on the heels of a very warm January (and record-warm December) as well, and the early spring-time weather has in tandem brought out the first signs of spring.

That applies to the tulips and flowers that normally bloom in April for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. With the warm winter this year, they too are getting a bit of a head start. 

"The warm temperatures have definitely affected the bloom time of the tulips," said Jeannette DeGoede with Tulip Town.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a month long event, with staging locations all over the valley, places like Tulip Town and Roozengarde.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival attracts over a million Tulip Tourists to the valley every year. These are real tourists, not imaginary tourists of the six million sort Fort Worth propagandists claim visit downtown Fort Worth annually.

The Tulip Traffic is a jammed up nightmare at times, though I understand efforts have been successful on mitigating that problem since the last time I experienced the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, back in 1998.

So, people in Western Washington are mowing their lawns and seeing colorful blooms sprouting out of the ground, while here in the formerly warm South, a new cold front is blowing in.

With snow again predicted....

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Damp Drizzly Early March Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts

I do not remember when, prior to today, I was last in Arlington to walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Yesterday something caused me to harbor the now apparently erroneous assumption that this first Tuesday of March was going to be a clear blue sky day heated into the 70s.

Instead this first Tuesday of March is being a stereotypical Western Washington winter day of gray foggy drizzle with the air warmed into the 50s.

You can sort of tell how dreary this day is being via the view above from the lookout which looks out over the currently mostly brown Village Creek Blue Bayou.

Other than the absence of warmth I enjoyed walking with the Indian Ghosts in the extremely damp outer world.

After I was finished communing with nature I was off to ALDI and Walmart to get some vittles in anticipation of the incoming fresh slipping  from sub-freezing temperatures mixing with rain once more potentially turning North Texas into an icy mess.

I heard on the radio a few minutes ago that the latest  incoming Arctic Blast will be announced with thunder booms, starting some time later today. Or in the middle of the night.

I have a fresh supply of earplugs do deal with middle of the night thunder booming.

In the meantime, it is time for lunch.

Peanut stir fry, with egg foo yung....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Watching The Alamo For Santa Ana On Texas Independence Day

Today, March 2, 2015 is Texas Independence Day, celebrating that day, way back on March 2, 1836 when 59 "Texicans" signed a document declaring the separation of the Mexican state of Texas, from Mexico, creating a new nation, called Texas, which lasted about 10 years as an independent republic before opting to become one of the states of the United States.

I do not know how I will be celebrating Texas Independence Day today.

Watching one of the movies made about The Alamo would seem a good way to celebrate Texas Independence Day.

Long ago I watched the 1960 version of The Alamo, with John Wayne as Davy Crockett.

Two months ago, in January, I watched the 2004 version of The Alamo, with Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett.

I suspect the 2004 version of The Alamo is more historically accurate than the 1960 version, although the 2004 depiction of Mexican general, Santa Ana, seemed a bit odd, making him to be a bit of a martinet buffoon, which maybe he was, for all I know.

Santa Ana did lose, after all, rather spectacularly, shortly after the rout at The Alamo, in the Battle of San Jacinto, with Santa Ana captured and agreeing with Sam Houston's demand that all of Texas be made independent of Mexico.

Hence Texas.

Had Santa Ana prevailed at the Battle of San Jacinto where would all us Texans be now? In Mexico?

I suspect that Texas was destined to become part of America, one way or the other, eventually, the same way California, Arizona and New Mexico were lost to Mexico.

Anyway, if you have not watched the 2004 version of The Alamo, you might want to give it a Texas Independence Day viewing. The battle scenes are well done, as war movies go, at least to my eyes, which are not all that fond of war movies...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Weather Related Visual Humble Bragging From Oregon's Cannon Beach

Continuing with today's theme of weather related humble bragging. That which you see above comes via a web insta-cam from my Scott cousin, currently residing in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Which would seem to make that Cannon Beach you are looking at above, which would make that the Pacific Ocean on the left.

After seeing the above picture I Facebook commented that, "This Oregon Coast photo is causing me Ocean Envy. I think I have only seen the ocean once this century. Way back in 2004. At Ocean Shores....."

The above scene  is quite dramatically different than the scene I am looking at from  my computer room window, where remnants of snow and ice remain under a cloudy gray sky, with no ocean for hundreds of miles.

I was fairly certain I was looking at Cannon Beach in the picture, but to confirm that such was the case I inquired of my Scott cousin if that was the Cannon Beach rock. My Scott cousin then informed me that that rock is Haystack Rock, of which there are many on the Oregon Coast. So, I am a little confused. Is the name of this formation Haystack Rock? Or are all such geological formations known as haystack rocks?

What I do know for certain is the Texas tamale known as Elsie Hotpepper visited Cannon Beach a couple years ago and came away from that visit obsessed with Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, with that rock seeming to follow Elsie Hotpepper all over Texas and beyond.

I believe Elsie Hotpepper is planning a pilgrimage back to Haystack Rock this coming summer. I hope Elsie takes me with her so I can visit my Scott cousin at his Cannon Beach location....

The Texas Deep Freeze Prompts Weather Related Humble Bragging From Washington

Incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad this morning.

Subject line: Pics from the Banana Belt.

I referenced my old home zone, the Skagit Valley, as being Western Washington's Banana Belt very recently, as in, maybe yesterday.

The text accompanying the pics----

Beautiful day in the PNW. Snapped some photos en route to work this morning after hearing national radio syndicated reports of the Dallas Snow/Ice storms causing havoc.

I have been enduring a lot of weather related humble bragging from my old home zone during this Arctic period of extreme winter in North Texas, something that only rarely happens in the moderate climate  of my old home zone, where the temperature is moderated by this massive body of water known as the Pacific Ocean, that is, until an Arctic Blast decides to come south from Canada via the Fraser River Valley, bringing a chill to the Puget Sound lowlands.

Three samples of weather related humble bragging from Washington from the past 24 hours...

First, from Betty Jo Bouvier, also known as the Wild Woman of Woolley, as in Sedro-Woolley, a town in the Skagit Valley....

D, sorry it is so cold and snowy there. It is lovely here, mowed the lawn already in February.

And then this from Miss Chris, from the south of Seattle suburb named Kent...

Spring day in Washington today. A bit on the chilly side, but when the sun and Mount Rainier come out - it's a great day!

Finally, from Aunt Alice, also known as Tootsie Tonasket, weather related humble bragging from Eastern Washington...

Sunshine here nephew with a side of wind. May get to 50'ish. Sorry you have to suffer with snow, ice, brrrr cold. Poor baby.

Regarding the weather related humble bragging from Miss Chris, at my current location no matter how brightly the sun comes out I can see no mountain no matter in what direction I look.

One of the charms of Western Washington is the scenic wonder that happens after endless days of gray and rain, when the sky clears and the mountains come out, topped, in winter, with the white of snow, with the air and sky having a sort of crystal clarity, which you can sort of see in Spencer Jack's dad's picture above.

Speaking of things I do not ever see in Texas. In that aforementioned picture, in addition to the beautiful clear blue sky there is also something in that picture I never see in Texas.

A casino.

The Swinomish Casino and Resort to be precise.

The Skagit Valley has two big casino resorts. Which have two of my all time favorite buffets, with the Swinomish Casino having my all time favorite seafood buffet.

With no catfish allowed....

One Year To Build A Floating Bridge While In Fort Worth It Takes Four Years To Build Three Bridges Over Nothing

No, that is not some sort of artist's rendering of a Trinity River Vision Boondoggle bridge you are looking at here.

What you are looking at is a pair of floating bridges crossing Lake Washington from Seattle to Mercer Island.

Mercer Island is a real island, not an imaginary island of the sort to which Fort Worth builds bridges.

The bridge on the left was built in one year, opening to traffic on June 4, 1989.

Yes, you read that correctly, this bridge was built in one year. And, obviously, unlike the Fort Worth Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing, this bridge was built over water. Actually built on water, what with that floating thing.

That train you see crossing the bridge is a Link Light Rail train, heading towards Bellevue, Redmond and the Microsoft campus. This particular link of the Link Light Rail system was approved by voters in 2008.

That approved by voters thing is what caught my attention when I read the Wikipedia article about Link Light Rail after a fellow former Pacific Northwesterner asked me if I knew what the current status was of the Seattle zone's light rail projects.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has never been voted on by the local voters. Due to lack of funding this project relies on federal handouts, courtesy of J.D. Granger's mama, Kay, who recently somehow sent $17.5 million more of those federal dollars to her boy's playpen, under the guise of the money coming from the Army Corps of Engineers, for some supposed flood basins about which no one knows anything.

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision had been the result of a public debate and a public vote the result likely would not be the embarrassing slow motion boondoggle we now see, with three simple bridges taking an astounding four years to build, with no project timeline for the rest of the project, such as the digging of the ditch over which the bridges are being slowly built.

I have extracted five paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about the Seattle zone's Link Light Rail. These five paragraphs are a very instructive example of how things happen to get done in progressive, democratic parts of America....

In November 1996, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties approved increases in sales taxes and vehicle excise taxes to pay for a US$3.9 billion transit package that included $1.7 billion for a light rail system, including Central Link and Tacoma Link. Over the next several years, debates raged over various issues surrounding the Central Link line.

Sound Transit's Phase 2 plan, under the name of ST2 (Sound Transit 2), is the plan for the second phase of Link Light Rail expansion. ST2 was put before voters in November 2007 as part of the "Roads and Transit" measure, which included hundreds of miles of highway expansion along with the light rail, but failed to pass. Sound Transit then put another ST2 plan on the ballot in November 2008. The measure passed by large margins. The plan will extend light rail to Lynnwood Transit Center in the north, S. 272nd St. in Federal Way to the south, and Downtown Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center to the east.

Northgate Link Extension is a future extension of Central Link partially approved by voters in November 2008. It will connect the University Link project currently under way to a central University District station, Roosevelt, Northgate, and points north. Once Northgate Link Extension is complete, the major urban centers of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, the University District, and Northgate will be connected via light rail. It is a top priority for Sound Transit as it will add over 40,000 daily riders to Link Light Rail by 2030, easing pressure on the Interstate 5 corridor.

Proposition 1, the measure on the ballot in 2008, included extensions of Central Link north to Lynnwood Transit Center, via the stations described above and Jackson Park, Shoreline, and Mountlake Terrace. The ballot measure also includes funding for a study to develop possible routes for a future extension of Central Link to Everett. As the extension to Lynnwood Transit Center will be finished in 2023, it can be assumed that an extension to Everett would not be completed until well after that year. An extension to Everett would require a separate, future measure.

In November 2008, voters approved the construction of an East Link light rail line connecting the city of Seattle to Mercer Island and the Eastside communities of Bellevue and Redmond as part of the Proposition 1 measure. This line will split from Central Link just south of the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle, extend across the I-90 bridge express lanes through downtown Bellevue and serve the Overlake Transit Center, including Microsoft headquarters.

What a concept. Voters voting to approve various measures, with public debates thrown into the mix, influencing the decisions made as to how to move forward. With a project actually moving forward in a timely fashion.

And the result?

A complex public works project coming to fruition, with the public enjoying the benefits of that for which they voted.

No local Congresswoman's unqualified son hired to direct the project so as to motivate his mama to secure pittances of federal funds.

A project with a project timeline, with actual construction goals, publicly stated. A pubic works project which authentically integrates public opinion into decisions made, not make believe "user requested amenities" of ridiculous sorts of the type The Boondoggle claims results in their fairy tale nonsense, like the Gateway Park Masterplan.

Four years to build Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Longer, by far, than it took to build the world's newest floating bridge. Longer than it took to build Grand Coulee Dam. Longer than it took to build the Empire State Building. Longer than it took to build the Panama Canal. Longer than it took to build Disneyland.

After well over a decade of Trinity River Vision nonsense what has The Boondoggle seen of its myopic vision?

Rockin' the River Happy Hour Floats in the polluted Trinity River. A tacky music venue bizarrely named Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island, where there is no pavilion. A beer hall called The Shack. The first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century. Plastering a plethora of signage in all sorts of location, now touting the imaginary Panther Island.

And those bridges, those three very ordinary, very small bridges, being built over dry land, with The Boondoggle's misleading propaganda claiming this construction method is being used to save money, with the ditch under the bridges dug later, when the truth of the matter is there currently is no funding to dig the ditch.

All Ma Granger has been able to come up with of late is $17.5 million, supposedly to dig some flood control basins, supposedly currently being dug, because J.D. Granger said that money he got from his mama and the Army Corps of Engineers was going to be quickly put to use, and it is supposedly those flood control basins those federal dollars are intended for....

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Freezing Fort Worth Slippery Rain Walk On The Last Day Of February

Sometime after noon on this last Saturday of February I left my abode not knowing if I would be able to successfully traverse the field of ice that carpets the ground between my exit and my mailbox.

I soon found that my intended route to the mailbox was not a good idea, slick as it was with a thick coating of ice.

I then found a more circuitous route, over the snow covered lawn, that eventually got me to what turned out to be an empty mailbox.

I then decided to amp up my adventure level and slide my way up the hill to Albertsons.

En route to Albertsons I watched multiple instances of vehicles unable to get sufficient traction to move.

I forgot to mention, upon entering the outer world I quickly discovered that which was not seen by me via looking out my windows, that being that the predicted freezing rain was falling on top of the snow, thus greatly adding to the slipperiness.

Due to that falling freezing rain, when  I decided to try and capture on video some of the vehicular sliding action I had to find cover from the freezing rain first, under a tree. You can see the resulting video below, of the aforementioned wheels slipping, along with sleepy sounding commentary.

In addition to wheels slipping and sleepy commentary, in the video you will also see my boots crunching through the snow on my way back from Albertsons, with a panoramic view of my neighborhood Winter Wonderland...

Record Texas Snowfall Keeping Me From Town Talk This Last Day Of February

That which you see here was the big headline this morning in the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on this last day of the second month of 2015.

Prior to moving to Texas from the moderate climate of the Western Washington zone of the Pacific Northwest this was not the type headline I thought possible in the Dallas/Fort Worth part of Texas.

I was to learn my pre-conception about D/FW's weather was erroneous soon upon arrival in the little hamlet of Haslet, at the far north end of Fort Worth.

I had left Washington six days prior, with rain falling heavily til I crossed the Cascades into Eastern Washington.

When I arrived at my new location in Haslet I was appalled to find rain falling harder than I had ever experienced in Washington, with flooding seeming to be inundating the landscape everywhere I looked.

About a week later I was in the Fort Worth Stockyards, at the now defunct Riscky Rita's all you can eat Mexican food lunch buffet. When I arrived at the Stockyards, and entered Riscky Rita's, the temperature was pleasantly in the 70s.

When I had had my fill of Riscky Rita's Tex-Mex I was shocked upon exiting to the outer world to discover the temperature had dropped a lot of degrees, with a strong wind blowing making it feel even colder.

This was my introduction to the concept of the Wind Chill Factor.

I remember running to get to my vehicle to escape the cold.

That night the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. We did not know how to turn off the water to the barn and the pool. We did not know what we needed to do, other than keep faucets dripping.

By morning my introduction to the Ice Storm concept had arrived, coating everything, including the two cows in the pasture, with a layer of ice.

I was mortified that I'd somehow gone from the Banana Belt climate of the Skagit Valley to what now seemed to me to be what living in Alaska must be like.

And then a few short days later the temperature returned to being in the 70s, which was my introduction to the Texas weather concept of extreme weather changes within short time frames.

Which brings me to the present, February 28, 2015. Once again rendered immobile by a coating of slippery ice covering much of North Texas.

I won't be going to Town Talk today....

Friday, February 27, 2015

Just Say No To The Torture Of Tarrant Regional Water Boarding

Oh my.

A YouTube video all about putting a stop to Tarrant Regional Water Boarding, also known as TRWD Corruption.