Monday, September 25, 2017

Ocean Wins Again With David, Theo & Ruby

What is going on here?

Certainly not a scene taking place in Wichita Falls. Or Fort Worth. Maybe the Texas Gulf Coast.

This is one of three photos sent yesterday from the phone of my little sister who lives in Tacoma.

The only text accompanying the photos said "The Ocean Wins Again..."

Since my nephews David and Theo, along with niece Ruby, took their parental units to the Washington Pacific Coast, to the town of Seabrook for a final summer fling, this would seem to likely mean this is the Pacific Ocean we see Theo dodging waves in.

David likely did no wave dodging due to his extreme shark fear. I recollect trying to convince David there were no big sharks in Birch Bay, and whilst doing so I may have mentioned there are big sharks, maybe even of the Great White variety, when you get closer to the ocean, such as what one finds on the Washington Pacific Coast.

The text informing us that the ocean had won again was in reference to the walled sandcastle fort Theo and I built last month at Birch Bay, along with some canal digging by Ruby and a little dredging help from David.

Theo and I thought we built our sand castle's walls high enough to hold back the tide.

We were wrong. The tide won. Eventually.

Below we see the trio of David, Theo and Ruby working on a Pacific Ocean circular sand sea wall. This appears to be much smaller than that which Theo and I constructed on Birch Bay. I see no hope of the ocean not winning against this sand sea wall.

I suspect the Pacific Ocean water is a bit cooler than that which we swam in in August at Birch Bay.

It appears above the ocean has already breached the sand castle's sea wall, well before the arrival of the incoming tide. Clearly engineering help from an uncle would have been helpful with this project.

But, even with an uncle's expert sandcastle wall building help, the ocean still probably would have won in the end....

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Last September Sunday Fall Biking Around Lake Wichita

It was to Lake Wichita I rolled my non-motorized wheels today on this mighty fine last Sunday of September, first Sunday of Fall.

The route to Lake Wichita is via the Circle Trail, which crosses Lake Wichita Dam about a mile and a half from my abode. It is almost another mile across the dam, then a gravel trail around the perimeter of Lake Wichita Park til that trail returns to the current southwest terminus of the Circle Trail, in the shadow of Mount Wichita.

From Mount Wichita the Circle Trail runs along the north edge of Lake Wichita. I stopped at one of the trail overlooks which looks over the Lake Wichita marshland to take the picture you see above. From the point of this overlook it is about another half mile to where the Circle Trail is once again on top Lake Wichita Dam.

The handlebars pushed into strong headwinds today. That makes for amping up the aerobically induced endorphin stimulation.

Yesterday I got my aerobically induced endorphin stimulation via once again hiking multiple times to the summit of the aforementioned Mount Wichita.

I hope if the Lake Wichita Revitalization ever gets into actual motion that the plan is altered to using the dredged lake bottom to make a few more mountains alongside Mount Wichita, creating a sort of Wichita Mountain range.

Mount Wichita was made from that which was dredged from Sikes Lake, way back late in the previous century. Sikes Lake is several miles distant from Mount Wichita. It seems it would make sense to use that which is dredged from the Lake Wichita lake bottom to make some new nearby mountains, with no need to haul the mountain material but a short distance.

Anyway, fun bike ride today. I may be using my motorized vehicle device to haul my bike to the D/FW zone this week, I think. I do not know if there will be any wheel rolling, what with the weather prediction currently being possibly wet...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Short 25-Story Tower Changing Fort Worth's Skyline

A couple days ago I saw the headline you see here, Reaching the top: See how new 25-story office tower is changing Fort Worth skyline and thought to myself here we go again with some fresh Fort Worth Star-Telegram Chamber of Commerce-ish propaganda.

If the downtown skyline of an American city, with a population over 800,000, can be changed by one short office tower, the fact that that town must have a rather pitiful skyline seems rather obvious.

Over the years one has to admit the Star-Telegram has scaled back on some of its embarrassing propaganda. It has been a long time since I have read in the Star-Telegram that some perfectly mundane thing in Fort Worth was causing spasms of envy in towns, far and wide.

Long ago I compiled instances of this in a webpage titled, if I remember right, Fort Worth Causes World To Be Green With Envy.

Below, from the aforementioned Star-Telegram article about Fort Worth's dramatically changed skyline, we see a screencap photo documenting how this stunning low rise has altered the town's skyline.

From the article we learned the new low rise will top out this week, and be completed and ready to be occupied sometime next year. It takes a lot of time to build stuff in Fort Worth. Likely due to the extreme geological challenges.

Last month I was in one of America's west coast towns. That town has had dozens of actual high rises, higher than 25-stories, added to its skyline in the past couple years, with dozens more under construction. I highly doubt any of that town's multiple legitimate newspapers have had articles about any random one of those high rises changing the town's skyline, even though said skyline has dramatically changed.

Why does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram not ever focus on the town's actual areas which need some attention, rather than puff pieces about an office tower supposedly changing the town's skyline?

Like doing some actual investigative journalism into all the problems with what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. Would one not think a town's one and only newspaper would want to do some investigating into why their town is currently hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Such as what is the current status of the three simple little bridges, whose construction began years ago, constructed over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Or what about that imaginary island. Why does the Star-Telegram not weigh in about how embarrassing it is to the town's already not great image to label something which is not an island, never will be an island, an island? Let alone call it Panther Island.

Last month I spent time in two towns with much smaller populations than Fort Worth. Both towns, Tacoma, Washington and Chandler, Arizona, have multiple, large, well done, heavily used, public pools Why does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram not editorially opine regarding Fort Worth lacking in this type amenity?

Again, last month I was in multiple Washington and Arizona town's city parks. All had running water and modern restrooms. And no outhouses. Why does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram not editorially opine that it is high time for Fort Worth to invest in and modernize its city parks?

The Star-Telegram may have dropped its embarrassing green with envy verbiage. But the Star-Telegram still has a penchant for referring to some ordinary thing in Fort Worth as being world class, when the sad fact of the matter is nothing in Fort Worth is world class. But for some reason the Star-Telegram believes it is important to delude its few readers into thinking such.

Having the most outhouses per capita of any major American city is not a world class thing to be proud of. Having the most streets without sideswalks of any major American city is not a world class thing to be proud of.

Why does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram not editorially opine on actual real Fort Worth issues which need addressing and fixing? But instead wastes time telling its readers nonsense about a short office tower changing Fort Worth's skyline.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Theo, Ruby & David Seabrook Leap Into Fall

Theo, Ruby and David leaping from summer into a Seabrook pool.

Summer of 2017 went by fast. Real fast. I was in Arizona when this year's version of summer began sizzling at temperatures north of 120.

A few days after summer began I drove back to Texas, still sizzling, via the Southwest route through New Mexico and El Paso.

I was back in Texas five days when I got the sad news my dad was finally resting in peace.

August 8 I got on a little jet in Wichita Falls and flew to D/FW to get on a bigger jet to fly to Seattle. The week in Washington was both the happiest and the saddest week I've had in a long time.

Above you are looking at three of the reasons that week in Washington was such a happy one. That is Theo, Ruby and David leaping into a body of water. Til that week in Washington I'd forgotten how fun it is to be an uncle.

Yesterday, one of Theo, Ruby and David's parental units, my little sister Michele, told me, via email, that the kids had taken the family to Seabrook for an end of summer, start of fall, fling.

I had no memory of where or what Seabrook was, so I Googled "Seabrook WA" to quickly learn Seabrook is a new, large, planned community town type thing on Washington's Pacific Coast, north of Ocean Shores and Copalis. My memory told me north of Copalis the coastal highway goes inland, getting away from the coast. If I remembered right the highway had to bypass the large Quinault Indian Nation.

So, how was Seabrook on the coast if I remembered no coastal highway north of Copalis til the road got around the Quinault Nation?

I opened my antique Microsoft Street Finder Map App to quickly have my memory refreshed that a coastal highway continues past Copalis, to the south end of the Quinault Nation at Moclips. Seabrook is between Copalis and Moclips.

There is a Seabrook Facebook page, among many other Seabrook websites.

It was from the Seabrook Facebook page I figured out this was the Washington coast town my sister Jackie mentioned to me the last time I was in Arizona. Why Jackie brought Seabrook up, I do not remember. Maybe I asked when last she'd been on the Washington coast, what with us talking about Birch Bay. What I do remember is Jackie saying they stayed at this town on the Washington coast, north of Ocean Shores, which she said was like that town in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show, like the town was a movie set, all pretty and perfect.

Looking at photos of Seabrook I can see why The Truman Show crossed sister Jackie's imagination.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Successful Wheel Surgery At Wichita Falls Bike Stop

The white thing you see in the foreground is part of my motorized vehicular transit device.

This morning, after several days of procrastinating, I got around to driving my injured bike a couple blocks to my neighborhood bike doctor, at the Wichita Falls Bike Stop bike shop.

My bike was injured on Sunday. Well, more accurately, on Sunday I realized my bike had a serious problem. I was having myself a mighty fine time rolling around the MSU campus, and then Sikes Lake, when I got a little too adventurous speeding up part of the Sikes Lake dam's spillway.

The bike behaved oddly as I zipped up the cement embankment. And then I soon found myself annoyed to be hearing an unnatural noise at every rotation of the rear wheel. I hobbled back to my abode where I discovered the bike's rear wheel had four broken spokes and a rather pronounced wobble.

It is likely the bike's spokes broke long ago, whilst mountain biking, with some combination of factors causing Sunday's additional wheel bending.

This morning, when I took the injured wheel to the bike doctor, the initial prognosis was not good. The damage was severe. It looked like there had been more than one serious impact to the wheel. The hub had additional issues. Til he got the wheel into surgery the bike doctor would not know if it could be saved, or if it would need to be totally replaced.

Two hours later the bike doctor called with the good news that he was able to save the wheel, that it was back being true as it spun around.

I was pleased and quickly traveled the couple blocks to get the wheel out of the hospital and back reunited with its tube and tire and bike frame.

Over the years in Texas, til being in Wichita Falls, I have not had good experiences with bike shops.

I also recollect not liking the bike shop in Mount Vernon, I think it was called Skagit Valley Sports. But I don't remember why I did not like that place. I do remember liking the bike shop where I bought my long lasting Schwinn Moab mountain bike, in Bellingham. I think the place was called Fairhaven Bikes.

I do remember why I developed an aversion to D/FW's Bicycle, Inc., what with multiple incompetence incidents and just real bad customer service, as in waiting so long to get waited on one felt like one was in the DMV trying to renew a driver's license.

One incident with Bicycles, Inc. also involved getting a wheel trued. I dropped the wheel off at Bicycle, Inc's Bedford store, which was quite an inconvenient distance from my abode. When it was finally my turn to verbalize my bike woe I was told I would need to leave the wheel and it would be ready in, if I remember right, five days.

Five days later I returned to Bicycles, Inc. The wheel had not been fixed. I was a bit offput and was told they'd fix it right then, to come back in an hour. And so I did. Got the wheel, got it home, re-installed the tube and tire and then began to suffer a series of flats, over and over again. Til I realized the Bicycles, Inc. bike mechanic had neglected to install the liner which protects the tube from the spoke nipples.

Today the Bike Stop bike mechanic made no such mistake. Instead he told me the old liner was so old it fell apart upon removal, and so he stuck on a new one.

Today was my second good experience with the Wichita Falls Bike Stop. In addition to their website the Bike Stop is also on Facebook.

If I decide I need to get a new bike I am just about 100% certain I know where I will be getting it...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wichita Falls Blue Sky After Powerless Night

Yesterday in the late afternoon time frame, sometime around five, unpredicted stormy weather arrived in the form of wind, rain and lightning bolts.

Soon after the arrival of the unpredicted stormy weather the electricity went into on and off mode, short bursts of no power.

And then around six the power went off and stayed off until after nine.

Yesterday was the first time since I've been in Wichita Falls the power grid has gone into malfunction mode. Such was a frequent occurrence at my previous Texas location in Fort Worth.

Yesterday's downpour poured down the most rain I've seen since I've been at my current location. By the time the sun finished its daily illumination duty I could see my abode was pretty much surrounded by a moat.

Eventually I tired of sitting in the dark and sought out my hip waders so as to make my way through the moat to my motorized transit device in order to drive to Walmart, if possible.

It was a dramatic journey through deep water, at times. Police acted as traffic lights, using flash lights. This looked sort of dangerous, what with visibility so poor and what with lightning bolts striking in every direction.

Eventually I made it to Walmart, where too much water had caused one entry to be closed. Inside Walmart most of the leaks had a bucket in place to catch the water. Thunder always seems extra loud when inside a Walmart. Last night the Walmart was eerily quiet, except for the extra loud thunder booms.

This morning I walked over to the Circle Trail to see if Holliday Creek was still in raging torrent mode like I saw last night. Nope. By morning Holliday Creek was back in slow mosey mode, which you can sort of see via the photo documentation above.

More storming is in the current 7 day forecast. I am hoping the forecast is wrong...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bug Free Mount Wichita Summit Hike

Til today it had been a long time since I found myself strenuously hiking to the summit of Mount Wichita.

Was it way back last winter, when the summit turned out to be so icy cold and windy, that I decided hiking the only mountain in town was no longer a mighty fine fun thing to do?

Or was it getting too many bug bites way back when last spring sprung which caused the bloom to fade off the Mount Wichita bloom?

Maybe it was when once again bike riding became my primary source of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation that I ceased with the mountain climbing.

I probably should keep some sort of diary, or record of some sort, in order to be able to answer such important questions as when last I hiked to the summit of Mount Wichita.

Today I did manage to take a picture which does justice to how steep the slope to the summit of Mount Wichita is.

That photo doing justice to the steepness was taken on today's second assault on the Mount Wichita summit. This is on the west side of the mountain.

Today's first assault on the Mount Wichita summit came via the eastern trail to the top. That trail has had some wildfire activity, starting at ground level, burning all the way to the summit, part of which you can see below.

I have no way of knowing if this was a man caused conflagration, or if the burn was the result of a lightning strike.

Via the view from the summit, which you see below, you are looking southeast at Lake Wichita, and you can see a little of the aforementioned burn zone, near the bottom of the mountain.

One of the reasons I was in hiking mode today was due to the fact that getting aerobic stimulation via the biking mode was not available, due to the fact that the bike is in need of a doctor's care. The rear wheel had a bad reaction to a steep cement slope at the Sikes Lake spillway on Sunday, rendering the wheel wobbly. That and breaking four spokes.

Due to a recent outbreak of multiple bug bites I covered myself in anti-bug spray prior to going mountain climbing today. This turned out to be not needed because a bug grounding wind was blowing hard. I like it when a bug grounding wind is blowing hard whilst mountain climbing, but not so much when riding a bike.

My bike should be out of intensive care tomorrow. I hope....

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Rolling My Wheels Past Midwestern State University Desegregation American Idiocracy Reminder

I enjoy rolling my bike's wheel on the MSU (Midwestern State University) when school is not in session, such as a day like today, which is Sunday.

With the children not in school it makes for a much less busy, less congested college campus, hence easy peaceful wheel rolling.

Today I came upon a couple things I had not come across before. One being the fountain you see my handlebars looking at.

Spouting fountains are usually a pleasant restful thing to enjoy for a moment or two. This MSU fountain was no exception to that pleasant restful rule.

After a minute or two of listening to and looking at the fountain I looked to my right, which was to the south, to see a Texas Historical Marker.

What piece of history could this be marking, I wondered? So, I hopped back on board my bike and rolled its handlebars south for a closer look at what this historical marker had to say...

Midwestern University Desegregation

In 1948, Emzy Downing and James O. Chandler, both graduated from the African American High School in Wichita Falls, Booker T. Washington High School, applied for admission to Hardin Junior College, a division of Midwestern University. The Board of Trustees denied their admission. In 1950, with encouragement from local NAACP leader Professor C.E. Jackson, Willie Faye Battle, an honor graduate, applied by mail for admission to the two-year nursing school at Hardin Junior College. She was accepted, but when she and Professor Jackson went to the school to complete the application process, she was denied admission. Subsequently she was accepted to Prairie View A & M University.

In the Fall of 1951, Ms. Battle along with Maryland Virginia Menefee, Helen Muriel Davis, Golden E. Mitchell White, Carl Lawrence McBride and Wilma Jean Norris were encouraged to apply in person. Each applicant received rejected letters in the mail. Following this incident, a meeting was held between the University Board of Trustees and Representatives of the Texas State Council. Alternative solutions were discussed such as a college at Booker T. Washington High School or Midwestern paying the tuition for African American students to attend African American colleges. These alternatives were rejected and a suit was filed in United States District Court, the first of its type. Initially, Battle et al. v. Wichita Falls Junior College Dist., was decided in favor of the students, but, with Appeals and Injunctions, the final decision came through the Supreme Court in 1954, following the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Ruling, the first African American students were enrolled in the Summer of 1954.

Well, we Americans have come a long way since the 1950s. Yet somehow, with the ascendancy of the American Idiocracy, we seem to be falling backwards. Hopefully, this latest iteration of the American Idiocracy will soon cease being ascendant and American Democracy will be back being ascendant....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wichita Falls Circle Trail Handlebar Encounter With Bug Eyed Robot

Yes, those are my bike's handlebars you see here, looking as if they are in some sort of communication with a red bug eyed robotic device.

What the handlebars are actually looking at is one of the bike repair stations on the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

If I remember right I have previously mentioned that Wichita Falls is an extremely bike friendly town. These ubiquitous bike repair stations are an example of this.

This instance of a Circle Trail bike repair station is located in Hamilton Park. Today's bike ride took me on the Circle Trail to Haiti, then the Nassau alley to Sikes Lake, then through the MSU campus, eventually to Harrison from whence a couple other roads take me to the aforementioned Hamilton Park and back to the Circle Trail which I roll all the way back to my abode, making for a multi-mile circle around the Circle Trail.

I returned to my abode to soon learn I had suffered another instance of incompetence. I once again forgot to add water to the rice cooker before turning it on and leaving it to cook without supervision. The rice cooker turns itself off when it detects an incompetent human forgot to add water, so no harm done, except to my confidence in my competence.

Tree, weed and grass pollen are supposedly high. But so far I am not in bad allergy mode. Knock on wood...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Is DFW's Madame X In NYC's Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum?

The day before 9/11 I got a text message informing me that the party sending the message was heading to New York City. I was advised not to reveal this sensitive information. Or to blog about the fact that this person was leaving Texas with NYC as the destination.

As such is what I was advised I shall not name who it was who advised me not to mention NYC was to be this person's location this week. Or the identity of this person.

And so, I shall refer to this temporary New Yorker as Madame X.

Madame X verbalized some nervous trepidation about going from the relative sedate calm of her irregular Texas location to the center of the known universe, New York City, a town which never sleeps, unlike a town like, well, Fort Worth, which rarely wakes up.

I had my phone in mute mode so I did not realize til late this afternoon I had received an urgent text message from Madame X, including the photo you see above, with text simply saying "NYC is stressing me out. Dunno how much more I can take. I may be having a nervous breakdown. Or pizza for dinner."

When Madame X and I communicated about her going to NYC, prior to her departure, with Madame X verbalizing her nervous breakdown fears, I suggested she Google Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum and have their emergency number entered into her phone in case she was in dire need of a straight jacket.

So, what with Madame X not indicating via her text message what it is we are looking at in the above photo, I have no way of knowing if this is the view from her hotel. Or Madame X's room in the Bellevue Psychiatric Asylum.

I suspect clarity on this issue will soon become clear....