Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rockledge, Lake Grapevine, Costco and a Camera

Well, I've had me a good day. It started off with French Toast topped with Lemon Curd and went uphill from there.

Oh, I forgot about my YouTube distress. I guess I blocked that out and went on to have that good day thing happen.

So, I went up to the Southlake Costco for the free sample lunch. It was being real good today due to all these vendors were pushing Super Bowl goodies. Everything from Meatballs to Chicken Wings to Fajitas to Hot Damn Tamales to a new Kirkland Signature brand energy drink that made me gag.

After Costco it was off to Lake Grapevine and Rockledge Park to do some hiking along the beach. There are a lot of big boulders which makes for good exercise. There were a lot of people there today, due to the warm temperatures. Lots of bikers, hikers, boaters and guys fishing.

I saw one disturbing scene of 3 grown men with a group of little boys. They were high up on the cliff. There used to be a fairly good trail along there, but the flood of a few years back did a lot of erosion damage. Now, it is just scary. I turned on my camcorder and aimed it at them, expecting one of the kids to fall.

To get around a washed out part, they had the kids sliding down a makeshift trail, one guy at the end of the slide and another down below, I assume to try and catch a kid if he fell too far.

I shouldn't be too judgemental, I guess. I was known to put my nephews in danger, a time or two, when they were little, but never like this. I do remember nephew Joey and me hiking up Sauk Mountain in the Skagit Valley when the trail was covered with ice and it was snowing, lightly. We made it to the top. Joey brought up that nephew in danger incident when I saw him this past summer. He remembers it fondly. I remember it as what the hell was I thinking?

I forgot to mention. I finally got a new camera. Today Costco had the Canon one that I wanted. I'd narrowed my search down to a Canon and a waterproof, shockproof Olympus. The battery for the new camera is charging. I probably won't get around to figuring it out til tomorrow.

Today's pictures were taken with my video camcorder. I see something, shoot a few seconds of video and then extract the "picture" in Windows Moviemaker. It works fairly well, as a stop gap measure til a new camera could be found. Which it was, found I mean, at Costco.

After Costco I went to Sprouts Farmers Market and got all sorts of good stuff. Including giant Texas Red Grapefruits. I was down to only 4 remaining of the huge supply of grapefruits my mom and dad imported into Texas from Arizona with them, earlier in the month. I still have lemons and oranges from the mom/dad delivery.

It got warm today. I have the windows open. It's time to close them. The sun is starting to set. It goes down fast here.

We're Sorry, This Video Is No Longer Available


YouTube is worthless in the help department. Yesterday I uploaded a video to YouTube. It took way longer than usual to process. When it was done and I clicked on it I got the message you see on the left, telling me the video I just uploaded is no longer available.

I deleted what was no longer available and uploaded again. Same result. So, I uploaded the video via this Blogger program's video upload. That also did not work.

This morning after wasting an hour trying to figure out what was wrong I asked someone else to try and view the video on their computer. It worked.

So, it's some problem on my computer? I deleted the temporary internet files. Ran the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware program that fixed a YouTube problem when I was up in Washington last summer. This time this was not the fix.

I tried the video in Firefox and Google Chrome. Same "unavailable" message.

I looked in YouTube's useless Help Center. Under "error messages" I found the "We're Sorry" message. YouTube said this message occurs if the uploader (me) has deleted the video. Or if YouTube has removed it due to it being in violation of terms of use.

I did not delete the video and it was not in violation of terms of use.

Then I found that about half of my videos bring up the "We're Sorry" message. About half work fine. So, if it's something on my computer causing the problem, why do some work?

It's vexing and has wasted way too much time this morning.

I've got to get out of here, away from this computer. I think a walk by water would be salubrious. I'm guessing Rockledge on Lake Grapevine would be the best for that purpose. It'll be in the 60s. I won't go swimming. Oh, great, the YouTube video I made of Rockledge at Lake Grapevine, that one still works for me.

Is there a good alternative to YouTube? If so, please let me know.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30 Roller Blading at Quanah Parker Park

Today is a perfect example of how I've come to be slightly addicted to at least one aspect of Texas.

And that aspect is the weather.

Two days ago we were covered with a sheet of ice and the temperature, when the sun came up, was 20.

That was Wednesday.

Today is Friday. I did still see some ice in a couple places, today. But today our temperature, here in Fort Worth, got to 65. I doubt any ice lasts til the sun goes down in a few minutes.

So, today I was able to go roller blading at Quanah Parker Park in shorts and t-shirt. And I overheated. Not to the remove the shirt point. But, close.

I took video of blading today, held the camera at eye level. YouTube is processing it right now. When I saw the video I saw I need to clean the lens. I've not done that before. If you watch the video below, you'll likely also notice I need to clean the lens.

I need a new video camcorder I've decided. The one I've got is sort of antique. I think I bought it back in 2004.

Okay, YouTube is having a hiccup and keeps saying the video I uploaded is "No Longer Available For Viewing." This seems to happen a lot anymore with YouTube. It sort of makes one want to find an alternative to YouTube.

The YouTube video below still is not working on my computer, but I've been told it works on other people's computers. I've no idea why. I'm deleting my "Temporary Internet Files."

Senior Citizens & Screaming Kids at Zorro's Buffet

I went to Zorro's Buffet today for lunch. It was good. Friday is seafood day. I had a lot of shrimp. Apparently I am funny when I separate the shrimp from its shell. A lady one table over couldn't quit laughing. I did not find anything funny. I found it messy.

There were at least 3 tables with screaming kids today. I don't like listening to screaming kids. How come you have to get training and a license to drive a car, but no training or a license before you reproduce? That is just wrong.

Another thing that was just real wrong today at Zorro's Buffet was this. Towards the end of the Zorro's stay I glanced down at the receipt. To my shocked eyes I saw I'd been charged for one "adult" and one "senior."

I believe I must have been the "senior." Due to the other adult not possibly looking like a "senior."

So much for my delusion that I look like a vital, youthful, young lad. Apparently I'm a grayed out, grizzled geezer. And due to that, today I saved a buck.

I want a refund. In the meantime I'm going roller blading. I don't know if senior citizens should be roller blading.

Big Downer For Big D

Big D as in Dallas. Another Big D, that being Denver was in the #1 top spot in a new Pew Research Center national survey that asked Americans where they'd like to live if they could.

San Diego was #2, with Seattle in the #3 spot.

Detroit was at the bottom of the list, with only 8% of Americans wanting to move there. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Minneapolis also did not do too well, occupying the bottom 5 positions with Minneapolis doing the best of that group with 16% thinking that town was a place they'd want to live.

It seemed to me that Dallas did pretty well, coming in at #16 with 24% of Americans saying they would like to live there.

Fort Worth was not on the list, but the actual question asked if they'd want to live in a particular city or its surrounding area.

Fort Worth does not like thinking of itself simply as an area surrounding Dallas, and why would they, what with Fort Worth being the envy of cities and and towns far and wide causing a widespread green with envy epidemic.

I first learned of this Pew Research Center survey in this morning's Dallas Morning News. The headline was "Big Downer for Big D," with the sub-heading being "So Americans rank us just mediocre, huh? Well, y'all don't know squat."

The article is amusingly tongue in cheek, both pointing out good things that are in Dallas, and making fun of some other things that have to do with Dallas, like their hapless football team. That doesn't play in Dallas.

I don't know if the hard copy edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had an article about the Pew Research Center survey. I saw no mention of it on their online version. That paper tends to keep this type information from its readers due to it sort of contradicts the party line about Fort Worth being the Center of the Known Universe causing that envy epidemic problem I mentioned above.

I also saw no mention of this survey in the online Seattle P-I. But they are used to being at the top of such things, so it's no big deal. Had Fort Worth been near the top we would have likely had a city wide celebration, like we had when an obscure Washington, D.C. lobbying group put Fort Worth on a list of America's supposedly most livable communities. Tacoma/Pierce County was also on that list. But had no city wide celebration. Because they knew it was a bogus award.

Zombie Problem In Austin Texas

The capital of Texas is having some sort of Zombie problem.

Sort of like the plot line of the current season of 24 on Fox, some sort of terrorist type pranksters hacked into the network that controls roadway warning signs in the Austin zone.

I don't know if a War of the Worlds Orson Welles type panic ensued in Austin, with people seeking escape from the Zombies.

I doubt it. Austin is a pretty sophisticated town, from what I've seen. I'm pretty sure most Austinites know there is no such thing as a Zombie.

Now if these terrorist type pranksters hack into the network that controls Fort Worth's roadway warning signs, with a Zombie warning, well, here you might have a few people panicking.

I remember when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas, February 1, 2003, the roadway warning signs had a message of the sort that would not have crossed my mind as possible til it happened. That event seems so recent, but it's already 2 days away from being 6 years ago.

If I remember right, an hour or so after the Shuttle disaster the signs said something like "Watch For Falling Space Shuttle Debris." I vaguely recollect seeing people looking up, watching for falling debris, long after the explosion. When people started finding pieces of the Space Shuttle is when the sign was changed to the message you see in the picture.

I found no debris, and unlike a lot of people I did not hear or see anything that morning. I was laying on the floor reading the paper and drinking coffee, totally unaware that something very bad was happening above me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Seven Summits On 7 Continents & Mount Baker

You never know when a day begins if you're going to learn anything new that day. Or not. More often than not it's not. Today was a learn something new day.

Earlier today I blogged that my ol' high school classmate, Karen, finally remembered who I was. What a relief.

I'd mentioned something about making websites and Karen then mentioned that her daughter, Danielle, had a website. And gave me the URL.

So, I went to Danielle's website and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she is a news making record breaker. At 20 years old, on June 2 of 2005, when she reached the summit of Mount Everest, Karen's daughter became the youngest person to have climbed the tallest mountain on each continent.

Antarctica is a continent. I'm assuming a mountain must have been climbed there too.

Looking around Danielle's website I learned she was inspired to climb by growing up looking at all those mountains that surround those of us blessed (no longer me) to live in the northwest. Particularly looking up at Mount Baker, which was the first mountain she conquered. With her dad, if I understood correctly.

I've said before I've climbed Mount Baker. But, when I say that, I more mean I've climbed on Mount Baker. But I've never climbed to the top of Mount Baker. That would be scary. I'm an acrophobe. I think the last time I "climbed" Mount Baker was with nephew Joey. Here's a webpage with pictures of that "climb" and Mount Baker.

Canton First Monday Trade Show Starts Today

Who wants a Fried Pie? I'm partial to an Apricot Fried Pie. I've only had one once. At Canton's First Monday Trade Days Flea Market.

When I first learned of the existence of Fried Pies it sounded like a bad thing to me, like when I learned they fry turkeys here.

But, just like I learned with Fried Turkeys, Fried Pies are a good thing. And not greasy. Just tasty.

Today is the start of February's First Monday Trade Days in Canton. The Trade Days are held the 4 days before the First Monday of every month. The First Monday in February is February 2, which makes all of February's First Monday Trade Days take place in January, beginning today.

I have gone to Canton for the First Monday Trade Days 3 times. It is fun but exhausting. I've never seen the entire thing. It's just too big.

You can rent electric carts to haul yourself and your purchases. They are sort of like the electric carts you see at Super Wal-Mart. But there they are mainly used to haul super big people around the Super Wal-Mart. In Canton you see all sorts of people, of all sizes, driving around in the electric carts.

That's a pair of Canton shoppers tooling along at walking speed in electric carts in the photo on the right.

I've not been to Canton for a couple years. The last time was the First Monday Trade Days before Christmas. It was very crowded. I webpaged what I saw that day.

Maybe I'll head east this weekend and go to Canton.

The Case Of The Mistaken Identity

My longtime reader may remember me mentioning, a few days ago, a little incident with something called Facebook that had one of my classmates from high school, Karen, trying to figure out who I was.

Karen went through so many initials trying to narrow it down. Then she finally got to my correct initials. Six of us had the same initials. One by one Karen picked the wrong name. At one point she eliminated me and another "D" and said she'd finally figured it out. That I was the guy you see in the photo.

Yikes! I thought. That guy in the photo was a nice guy. But a real doofus.

At this point in time I was thinking to myself that either my appearance has changed drastically or that Karen has met so many people through the years that some, like me, have fallen out of her memory.

Now, to be fair about it, I'll admit that that picture that I use at the top of my blog doesn't look all that much like me. I was down at Enchanted Rock State Park, it was February, windy and very cold when I snapped that picture with my very old Casio digital camera that cost an appalling, now to look back on it, $599. That camera was bought back in the last century, so you can imagine how low wattage resolution wise it was.

When Karen was making all those guesses as to who I was, I assumed, in addition to the Enchanted Rock photo, she'd also seen the slide show that runs on the right side column of this blog. But she hadn't.

Karen returned yesterday, well-rested, from 3 days in Seattle, and last night realized she'd misread one of my earlier replies, then looked at the blog again, then saw the slide show, then recognized me.

Karen said her next guess would have been David Sutton. I doubt Karen would remember this, but at our 5 year class reunion a guy named Ray was lamenting about how when he first came to our school, in grade school, he was picked on and nicknamed "Nipples." Karen overheard part of this and thought it was I Ray was complaining about. Karen began to sort of chastise me for my bad behavior when Ray told her, "No, he was the only one who stuck up for me." To which I said, "Yeah, it was that weasel, David Sutton who called him Nipples."

I wonder what became of David Sutton? I saw him once, in the late 70s or 80s at this disco called Duffy's. He sat with our group and was being all Mr. Friendly. I think he was talking about being in the army. After about 10 minutes I told him to go sit somewhere else.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dallas Morning News' Ice Storm Delivery

Well. I was wrong. In the blogging previous to this one I said I didn't think my Dallas Morning News paper would be able to be delivered this morning due to the coating of ice on the roads.

I was wrong. It arrived. Almost on time. Usually the paper thumps my front door between 6 and 6:30. This morning's thumping occurred about 7.

The sun is up. I am able to look out my window now. Hours of the furnace blowing hot air has melted the ice off the window.

I'll see if I can revive my comatose camera long enough to get an Ice Storm picture....I'll be right back, hopefully with a photo....

Well. That didn't work. My camera appears to be unable to be revived.

So, I used my camcorder to take video and extract a picture. Those never turn out too good. This time was no exception. But you can see the white ice that covers our roofs here in Texas this morning.

I think I'll layer on some clothes and venture out to see if the road out of here is drivable. If not a meeting at noon will likely have to be cancelled.

Well. I'm back from venturing outside to check on how bad it is. I made it to my vehicle to find it covered in ice. The road appears to have about an inch of ice covering it. I saw two vehicles moving, very very slow, on the road. It is quiet out there, almost eerie. Usually it is quite noisy.

Ice Storm Paralyzes North Texas

I doubt I am going to be seeing my Dallas Morning News paper this morning.

It is 21 degrees right now at 6am. I can not see out my bedroom window due to it being covered with ice. Frozen stuff was hitting it for hours last night, making a tinkling noise like a muted wind chime.

Schools of all types, grade schools, high schools, colleges and universities are closed today, or opening late, across North Texas, .

My town, Fort Worth, had 366 wrecks between 8am and 8pm, with 207 of them taking place between 6:30 and 8pm.

In Dallas a man fell to his death on a bridge over the Trinity River when he slipped after getting out of his car after a wreck.

A Crowley man was killed when he slid into a tree near East Loop 820.

The weather has not been kind this year to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. On Tuesday most of the Stock Show, including the carnival midway, shut down early, or did not open at all. Even though the Stock Show shut down on Tuesday, Stock Show officials say they will open today, regardless of weather conditions. Which does not make a whole lot of sense, due to Wednesday starting off way worse than Tuesday, temperature-wise and ice-wise.

There have been some flights cancelled at D/FW Airport, most by American Airlines. I have a Puerto Rican flying in today on American Airlines. I won't be going to the airport to provide taxi service.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Texas Ice Storm Cometh

We are heading into what weather service meteorologists are predicting may be the worst Ice Storm we've had here in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone since February 24, 2003.

The temperatures dropped below freezing early this morning. The ground is wet, with more wet stuff falling.

We'll likely be covered by a very slippery coat of ice by Wednesday morning.

The Tuesday evening commute is going to be dicey and icy. DART in Dallas is already having rail delays.

There are already school closures. I just got an email canceling an Arlington Chamber event that was scheduled for tonight.

I made it out and to the Post Office. So far the roads have not slicked up. But there was ice on the stairs and the handrailing, making it a little difficult to navigate.

I found some funny comments on the Dallas Morning New website regarding our incoming Ice Storm...

Henry Hill said---
Now we get another chance to see how Texans can't drive in icy conditions. I love watching them go by me sideways on the Bush Turnpike. If you can't drive on it then stay home so you don't ruin someone else's day.

To which Bobby Joe said----
Henry - If you are on the Bush Tollway, those aren't Texans you are seeing, they are Yankees, Californians, etc. Just like you.

To which Texans Can't Drive said---
Bobby Joe Texans are the worst drivers I have every seen! end of story.

And then Dallas Driver said---
I love how the Yankees criticize Texans winter driving skills. Try searching You Tube for ice driving. Now, that's entertainment. Yankees sliding all over the place. Besides, North Texas doesn't have an army of road clearing equipment. Only a couple dozen sanders for the bridges and overpasses.

Which caused fmlsr to say---
I am a dang yankee that cant find I-35 north and today i am not going to go hunt for it either. smart ppl stay home and watch the dummies slip and slide down the road.

And, finally, Tired of the Yankees said---
I find it very interesting how people who are not from Texas say bad things about Texans - how we are rude, can't drive, etc... Honestly, if it's that awful here - get out of here! No one is making you stay! Go back to wherever you came from. Or could it be that life back there is not all you crack it up to be?! Life around here would sure better once you are done, that's for sure!

Less Than Half Of Lessie Alvarado

That is Lessie Alvarado on the left. Lessie lives in Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is a town east of Arlington, west of Dallas. In the photo Lessie weighs 305 pounds.

Nowadays, Lessie Alvarado is truly living up to her name. As in there is way less of Lessie. She now weighs 140 pounds. Less than half the size she was at her biggest. Lessie's weight loss accomplishment is detailed in People's cover story this month, featuring people "Half Their Size."

What motivated Lessie to lose the weight, you can't help but wonder.

Well, during a family trip, with her two kids, to Six Flags in San Antonio, Lessie was all excited to get on a particular ride. She climbed aboard, but the ride would not start, due to Lessie being too big. She was told to get off the ride, which she did, with tears flowing, while the other theme parkers gawked and whispered, adding to Lessie's humiliation, while her husband and brother comforted her. And the kids enjoyed the ride.

In addition to People, Lessie has also been featured on Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight and the Today Show.

Lessie got to her 305 pound high by sneaking in extra fast food meals. Or she'd sneak in a buffet and then a few hours later her husband would want to go out to eat and Lessie wouldn't admit she'd already eaten. That would be a pattern that would pack on pounds.

Lessie continues to lose weight. Besides eating sensibly and nutritionally, Lessie also took up kickboxing to help with the weight loss. That is the "new" Lessie on the right.

I don't know what type ride Lessie was trying to enjoy that wouldn't start due to someone weighing over 300 pounds. One of those that you go upside down in? A bumper car? I don't know.

I've only seen a BIG person have a "can't get on the ride" type humiliation once. It was at a McDonald's. The BIG person wanted to sit at a high table with high stools. This BIG person tried and tried to pull herself up onto the stool, pulling hard on the table to try and pull herself up. The table being to tremble. I had to insist she stop, lest she injure both of us.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I should have encouraged her to keep trying, hoping that the table would come crashing down, injuring both of us, with us suing McDonald's for having such dangerous stools and tables.

I think if I had trouble sitting on a stool, I probably would have foregone the chocolate shake, quarter pounder with cheese and fries and started my diet right then, continuing the diet til I could easily sit on a stool.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gar the Chunky Texan & Contagious Obesity

Earlier today I blogged about going up to Turner Falls with Gar the Texan. Later in the day, Gar took exception to the accuracy of what I wrote.

I had suggested that, due to his butter loving German wife, Gar the Texan had packed on a few pounds and was no longer the skinny Gar the Texan in the Turner Falls pictures.

Gar claimed, "I weigh the same now as I did then."

I then asked for photo documentation with a date/time stamp.

Gar the Texan then pointed me to the picture you see above. To my observant eyes it appears he has packed on quite a few pounds since I last saw him. Even his hair has gotten bigger.

Meanwhile, I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a very short time today. He mentioned some UK Scientist saying that obesity can be contagious. Rush can be so far behind the times. That news has been out there since 2007.

Obesity is not contagious in that there is some virus or bacteria that you catch. Rather it is contagious in that you tend to pick up the bad (or good) habits of those with whom you associate. I did not gain any weight when I was in Tacoma for a month last summer. I had done some heavy duty immunity precautions to prevent any dire weight gain during a month of being exposed to bad habits and obese people.

When I used to hang out with Gar the Texan he was skinny. I would worry about hanging out with him nowadays, what with that obesity being contagious thing. And I do like butter. I had me some today at Sweet Tomatoes. On real good whole grain bread.

Sweet Tomatoes is a very healthy eating type restaurant, that is also tasty.

Unlike my usual buffet haunts, like Zorro's Buffet in Fort Worth, where at least 30% of the patrons appear to be obese, I saw not a single plus-sized person at Sweet Tomatoes today.

An Ice Storm is predicted to be here by morning, with up to an inch of ice. Which means I won't be going anywhere until it melts. The National Weather Service Ice Storm Warning ends at noon on Wednesday. I'm stocked up and can survive 2 days of being stuck.

I hate it when that happens.

Turner Falls In Winter With Gar The Texan

I was scrolling through Picasa looking for pictures of Mount Rainier to go along with one of a Volcano Eruption Evacuation Route sign, when I came upon pictures taken up in Oklahoma, in January, at Turner Falls Park.

The pictures include ones of the illusive Gar the Texan, who does not use photos of the real him on his blog. I understand that several years of marriage to a butter-loving German has added some poundage to the skinny Gar the Texan we see in these photos.

In the first photo Gar the Texan is climbing down some steep stairs at the Turner Falls Castle. This very eccentric, well, castle, was built during the Great Depression.

The day that Gar the Texan and I went to Turner Falls Park in Winter, on the way north, he had the worst case of the vapors I'd seen him have. A Whopper at Burger King revived him. But, even after the revival I was concerned as to what he'd be able to do at Turner Falls Park, due to a lot of climbing and hiking being involved.

There is a cave high up the cliff beside the falls. Gar the Texan was determined to get into that cave, because we'd seen people in it when we looked down on the falls from the overlook. I am a bit of an acrophobe, though my acrophobia is very situational, as in it makes no sense. Get me at the Grand Canyon and I can climb out on some precipitous ledge and not be queasy. But if you mix a waterfall into the steepness, I get wobbly.

So, I followed Gar the Texan higher and higher as we climbed the Turner Falls cliff. The effort came to a point where I did not want to go further, but Gar did, climbing through a hole and then into the cave.

To celebrate his triumphant rock climbing and spelunking, Gar the Texan climbed a pinnacle high above the falls and let out some sort of primal scream that had me, for a second, thinking he was having another case of the vapors.

Honey Creek is what flows over Turner Falls. The water comes out of an underground spring a short distance away. It is very clear water. In summer the water gets nice and warm. In winter, not so much. But there is more of it in winter, making for scary rapids above the falls.

I have not been back to Turner Falls Park since the visit with Gar the Texan. I have been up to Oklahoma, a time or two, and have driven by the exit from I-35 that quickly leads to Turner Falls.

All year long the Turner Falls pages on my Eyes on Texas website are the most visited. Why? I do not know.

Cooking Oatmeal In Texas & Waiting For An Ice Storm

I'm blogging while I wait for my rice cooker to finish making steel cut oats. Did you know a rice cooker works great for cooking oatmeal? I didn't either, til I tried it. You can make grits in the rice cooker too. For you Yankees, grits is this thing us Southerners like with breakfast, or just about any ol' time. Grits is made from corn meal. It's pretty much tasteless, so you melt butter on it or syrup or honey or sorghum or cheese or anything that seems like it'd taste good.

It is a gray, foggy, drizzly Monday here in Texas, with a potential Ice Storm for Tuesday and Wednesday, with the temperature below freezing and with wet, likely frozen, stuff falling. I do not like Ice Storms. I had a butt bruising fall in my first Texas Ice Storm that was my biggest bruise ever, til a few years after that, when I had my worst roller blading fall ever.

I need to get another battery back-up, so a trip to Fry's Electronics in Arlington is on today's agenda. I'll see if my new digital camera is at Fry's. I bought all the parts, for the last computer I built, at Fry's. Fry's is good at making it easy to return stuff that doesn't work right, like my last laptop that blew up soon after being turned on.

After Fry's it's to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch. I like Sweet Tomatoes.

I just heard the rice cooker click off. Breakfast is ready.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ancient High School History

I've previously mentioned that a couple days ago, while looking at a thing called Facebook I inadvertently sent out a thing called a "Friend Request" to some names I recognized. I only actually knew 3 of the people to whom I sent one of those "Friend Requests."

One of the 3, who I actually knew, has been trying ever since to figure out who I am. This amuses me. She keeps sending me initials. Like are you MO? FC? SW?

This identification problem has caused both of us to dig out our long buried high school annuals. Or yearbooks. It's been so long I forget what they are called. I only have 3 of them, somewhere along the way I've lost my Freshman yearbook.

So, this morning I started looking through the yearbook from my Senior year, thinking there might be a picture of myself and the person who doesn't know who I am. I found numerous ones of both of us, but never in the same photo. Near as I could tell.

But, what was unsettling was reading the things people wrote in my yearbook. A lot of it made no sense to me, because I couldn't remember what they were talking about, about things I did or some wanted me to do. Were those years so painful I've blocked the memory? Or is it a function of time? Since I can't remember, I don't know the answer.

After I was done looking at the Senior yearbook I looked through the Junior one. That got even more confusing. Most of the people writing comments sign with only their first name, leaving me clueless as to who they are. Apparently I went to various places with someone named Laurie. On one of those occasions, apparently we were at the home of someone named Sue. For some reason a smacking noise was made and Sue popped around the corner all excited because she thought smooching was going on.

Another comment was from Beth. I remember Beth. I don't remember the incident Beth commented on, about me being a good sport taking someone named Lila to some prom/ball thing. along with Beth and some guy who's name I've already forgotten. I've no memory of going to a dance thing with someone named Lila.

I do remember Linda and I knew what she was talking about in her comment about Linda and me sitting in the front seat of my car for way too long, unaware that the windshield had been broken and we were sitting on glass.

A running theme in all these comments is the majority seemed to feel I have a good sense of humor. And repeatedly I am being advised not to ever change. But then there was one who commented that I had changed so much that year, and for the good. I don't remember changing. I do remember sort of being my mouthy self all the time, where earlier I only acted like that to the ones who really knew me.

Many commented on a fun event that happened to me my Junior year that gave me some bad boy notoriety that I'd never had before. That may have been the point where I decided to be my mouthy real self all the time.

In my Sophomore yearbook the comments really made me realize where the term sophomoric comes from. The Sophomore yearbook is the only one where I saw a comment from the Facebooker, Karen P.F., who can not remember me.

Apparently a friend of mine from grade school had spoken of me. In her comment in my Sophomore yearbook, Karen P.F. said that she ".....really had fun this year and one of the reasons is because I met you! I was scared of you at first and felt dumb, but after Wendy talked about you all the time I had to get to know you---glad I did!!!......"

Okay, now I know who Wendy is. Wendy and me were practically neighbors. Sometimes I rode her to school on my bike, with her sitting on the handlebars. Later we often rode the bus together to high school. And by the time I was 16, and had a car, I'd, ever so often, give Wendy a ride home. But, Wendy and I had a very, well, sarcastic sort of way of talking to each other. She'd make fun of me, I'd make fun of her. I can't picture her speaking of me in a way that would want someone to get to know me.

An example of Wendy sarcasm is what she wrote in my Sophomore yearbook..."Dearest (ooops, I can't type my name, that'd give Karen P.F. too good a clue) Let's start over....

Dearest X,
I don't know how I could have managed to complete the year without seeing your shining smile and knowing that your presence was not too far away. You really made my year and I don't know how I managed all the others without you. Your really a great guy. Good luck in absolutely everything. May the sun always shine on your path.
Just me,

I remember exactly where the above was written. We sat next to each other in the back of the room in Geometry. All year long we bickered. I remember when I read what she wrote, I pointed out that "your" is a possessive pronoun and that she should have used "you're." In grade school I always got straight A's. Wendy usually got straight A's. I think she thought I was smarter than she was, so correcting her grammar was really annoying.

The last I saw Wendy was in 1991. She was looking real good. If I remember correctly we spoke pleasantly to each other. I actually don't remember for sure if I talked to Karen P.F. on that occasion. I do remember talking to her brother.

Okay, it is time to put these ancient annuals away for another couple decades, unless Karen P.F. comes up with some more initials for me to decipher.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Still Freezing In Texas

Okay, I know I've whined about it before, but I'm in a whining mood, so I'm gonna whine about it again. As in the schizophrenic weather of Texas is so annoying.

Yesterday was so warm I had my windows open and was tempted to turn on the A/C. Then today it's back in the DEEP FREEZE. I think our high for the day was 34. I think it was freezing when I went hiking on the Horseshoe Trails on Lake Grapevine after shopping at a super crowded Costco, that had more people cramming the aisles than when I was there before Christmas.

Where is this recession I keep hearing about?

Well, okay, other than all those shoppers, lots of cars on the road and restaurants with lots of cars in the lots, I did see some signs of the bad stuff that's going on. I saw a Circuit City with its going out of business sign. I saw the Alan Young GMC dealership with its empty lot, due to GMC shutting it down and taking the cars. I saw a lot of people having a free lunch eating Costco samples today. Including me. Yes. Hard times.

These cycles of HOT & COLD are wearing me down. It's like that torturous month I spent last summer in Tacoma, miserably shivering the entire month, for more reasons than the temperature. It took me quite some time to recover from that month last summer. Bouts of cold, like today, bring back the pain, sort of like post-traumatic stress syndrome, I suppose.

Well, the heater just came on, so warm air is now blowing down on me, giving me temporary relief from the cold. For now.

I need a tropical vacation. I hear Puerto Rico is nice.

A Tale Of Two Cities: Fort Worth And....

No, not Fort Worth and Dallas. I'm talking about Fort Worth and Seattle.

One of the many things that makes living in a new location interesting is noticing how differently things are done.

Like Public Works projects.

Both Seattle and Fort Worth have projects in the works that involve water.

In Fort Worth the water project involves changing the Trinity River, obliterating two forks that join at the north side of downtown, making the confluence into a little lake, taking down the flood levees, building a flood diversion channel and some canals where housing and restaurants will be built, along with 3 new bridges.

Seattle's water-related project involves tearing down what is known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct, that being an elevated section of Highway 99 that runs along Seattle's downtown waterfront. The Alaskan Way Viaduct is of a similar design to San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway that came crashing down in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The Alaskan Way Viaduct was damaged during Seattle's last earthquake.

There has been one public vote in Seattle regarding replacement options. That vote did not settle the issue. Because it is a state highway, the state got involved. After a lot of debate the governor decided on a $4.2 billion tunnel option.

In a classic example of how differently things work up north, Elizabeth Campbell filed an initiative to prohibit replacing the viaduct with a tunnel. The Initiative was coincidentally named Initiative 99, like Highway 99. This initiative was filed the same day Governor Christine Gregoire and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Executive Ron Sims announced the agreement to build the $4.2 billion tunnel.

Campbell has to get 17,968 signatures to have her initiative either adopted by the city council or sent to a public vote. Campbell thinks the tunnel option is ridiculous, preferring a cable-stay bridge over Elliot Bay.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, what is known as the Trinity River Vision has not been put to a single public vote. Though a lot of people think the vision is a boondoggle, there has been no attempt to force a vote, via petition or any other means. Fort Worth has snagged some pork barrel bucks, due to the machinations of Congresswoman Kay Granger, who's son runs the Fort Worth Vision, in what many consider an outrageous example of nepotism.

In these new, leaner times it is likely the Federal dollars will be cut from Fort Worth's Bridge to Nowhere. Unless, I would guess, Fort Worth's citizens finally get to vote and approve of the project, including taxing themselves to build it.

And then there is a third city. Dallas. Also with a Trinity River Vision. The citizens of Dallas have voted and approved of their vision. The first of 3 signature bridges is under construction.

I'm guessing Dallas is going to see its vision turn into a reality long before Fort Worth's Town Lake sees its first boat or the first car drives through Seattle's mile long $4.2 billion tunnel.

Unless another earthquake knocks down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, forcing a fast fix.

We're Freezing Again In Texas

That's the view from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony late Friday afternoon. It was an 80 degree day. Very pleasant. I had the windows open and was tempted, at one point, to close the windows and turn on the air conditioner.

I was almost back believing in Global Warming again.

But then this morning we are back in a deep freeze, as in it is only 30 out there at 10 in the morning. Brrr. The furnace is back on.

I was not successful in getting a new camera at the Arlington Costco yesterday. I'm able to temporarily revive my current camera out of its drop-induced coma to take a picture or two, like the one from Miss PR's balcony. And then it dies again.

I think I'll go up to the Grapevine/Southlake Costco today to see if my new camera is there. That Costco is a lot nicer than the Arlington one. It's more like one you'd find in Costco's homestate of Washington. Which makes sense due to Southlake having the D/FW Metroplex's highest percentage of transplanted Yankees, as in customers who have been in a West Coast Costco and thus have a higher quality expectation.

It's the same for the Southlake School District. The parents are used to non-Texas school standards and so they make their expectations known to the school board. And so Southlake has top-rated schools.

I read this morning that Gar the Texan has temporarily given up reading children's sci-fi type books and is instead taking someone's advice that he read some non-fiction. So, apparently Gar the Texan is now reading "Columbia History of the World." He is rushing through history, currently he's at the part in the World's History where the continents form and life begins.

Gar the Texan has a long ways to go. It's my hope that by the end of this book he will be able to talk about something other than computers, religion, Harry Potter and German beer. I hope it doesn't shock him too much when he gets to the part where he realizes his beloved Germans were bad boys long before World War's I & II.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Priority Mail Myth

Yesterday I mentioned my newfound disdain for the delivery reliability of the U.S. Postal Service. I mentioned a package that someone sent me over 2 months ago, via Priority Mail, that had not arrived.

I also mentioned unsuccessful attempts to call my local Postmaster to complain. Well, today I got through.

The person I talked to put me on hold while she went to see if the package was there. She was back on the line within a minute, telling me that the package was there, that a delivery attempt had been made December 24.

I was here December 24. That was the day that I got a note from my mailman telling me he was sorry he was unable to deliver a package. That's the time I successfully called the Postmaster, he told me the package was there, so I went and got the package. A box of Christmas cookies.

The Priority Mail package that I got today, cost $9.80 to ship from Washington to Texas.

It seems to me there is not much of a priority to Priority Mail if the priority is so lax as to allow a package to languish for so long on a shelf with no attempt to deliver it. Or return it to the sender.

So, I opened the package. It was several Christmas gifts, all wrapped. It was like having Christmas all over again. Out of it I have a nice Washington calendar. I'm looking at a snowy Mt. Spokane ski lift right now, with the lights of Spokane in the distance. It doesn't make me homesick. It looks cold.

Facebook Friends Fiasco

A couple days ago I was reading the Only Child Syndrome blog when the Only Child mentioned that she was finally provoked to check out Facebook. She had been an early user of MySpace, but grew tired of MySpace when it was co-opted by teenagers and trashy webpages with way too much going on.

I went through a MySpace phase a couple years ago, moved to do so by Tootsie Tonasket. She was having some problems (they've gotten worse) with her son and the mother of her granddaughter. I had fun making up a bunch of characters. It was amusing having all these people interacting with fake people.

Two of the characters, Durango & Igor, used pictures of me. I had Igor being a 34 year old Dallas cop. One thing led to another and soon Tootsie Tonasket's son was making threats to Igor. Which led Igor to cause the son to believe Igor had been in contact with the Wenatchee police regarding the threats.

Which all sounds ridiculous, but had the son, he ain't too bright, telling his mother he was going to turn himself in to the Wenatchee police before they arrested him. His mother was then able to tell the wayward son that she could get Igor to stop this, if the son would shape up. And that's what he did, for awhile. And he was grateful to his mother and treated her better. For awhile.

So, anyway, after reading what the Only Child said, I decided to check out Facebook. Well, before you can do anything in Facebook you have to set up an account. The steps in that process have you listing your birthdate, where you went to school, what year, I forget what else.

And then the setup process comes to this part where people from your high school years show up. I thought I was supposed to click on names I knew. I only recognized 4 of them. So, I clicked them, not realizing this sent the person something called a 'Friend Request."

One of the Friend Requests went to someone named Jeff Kenoyer. I recognized the name, but had no memory of the guy. He sent a message back asking who I was, how he knew me and why I wanted to be his friend. This felt vaguely embarrassing.

Then I got another reply from one who I actually do remember, Karen Fisher. Since I'd made myself younger than reality during that setup thing, she said "Hey. We were not in the same class. Are you from Burlington?"

To which I explained how it was I came to send out that Friend Request thing, and that some of the info in my Facebook profile isn't true, due to me not thinking I'd be using this Facebook thing, so why bother worrying about making every little detail accurate. That and I like being 15 years younger than my actual age.

Anyway, last night Karen made a series of amusing attempts to figure out who I am. I pointed her to this very blog, but apparently I look so much different than I did in high school that I am not recognizable. This pleases me. I had no idea!

To figure out who Jeff Kenoyer is, I had to find my high school yearbook. I was pretty certain they'd made it to Texas with me. I was right, all but the Freshman one. I've no idea what became of that one. When I saw Jeff Kenoyer's face, I recognized him as someone I'd seen before.

I'd not looked at a yearbook in a long long long time. It all looks so dated now. I guess that makes sense since it was a long long long time ago. That's Karen and her twin Keith, above, scanned from the yearbook. Apparently they were voted "Most Dependable" by my class. I have no memory of voting on such a thing. I don't remember if they were dependable or not. I do remember they were both cheerful and nice people.

What a world we live in now. Way back in high school if you'd told me that in 2009 we'd have an African-American President, that I'd be in Texas, walking distance from where Lee Harvey Oswald is buried, sitting at something called a computer, writing something called a Blog and scanning a picture out of my high school annual, well, little of that would have made any sense to me. Though I would have thought the info about the black President to be cool.

I wonder if Karen will figure out who I am today. I suspect not. I have never been a memorable person....

Caroline Kennedy Affair?

The Dallas Morning News had not arrived by the time my morning coffee had.

The lack of a newspaper had me laying on the floor reading that book I've mentioned earlier, that being "Sons of Camelot: The Fate of an American Dynasty." It's a good book. I had no idea how bad the behavior was of some of Bobby and Ethel's offspring.

I remember John Jr.'s infamous photo in his magazine George were he posed as Adam, nude, with an apple above his head and chastised two of his cousin's, Michael the Statutory Rapist, and Joe, as, "Poster Boys For Bad Behavior." The Poster Boys For Bad Behavior is the chapter I read this morning.

However, despite currently reading this book about bad Kennedy behavior, I'm still not quite able to believe this morning's fresh Kennedy scandal. That being that the actual reason Caroline Kennedy withdrew her bid to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, was that she'd been told if she didn't withdraw, her supposed affair with New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger would be exposed.

The alleged affair has been reported on Fox News and MSNBC. Sulzberger is in the midst of getting a divorce after being married to Gail Gregg for 33 years. Caroline is married, with children, to Ed Schlossberg.

That's a photo of Sulzberger above.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

HOT Hiking January Tandy Hills Day In Cowtown

We're in the 80s today, this 22nd day of the New Year, in Texas, in what some British newspaper called the United States of Obama.

The check I mentioned in a blogging earlier about the Post Office, showed up today. I got it on my way to the Tandy Hills around noon. That's today's view of beautiful downtown Fort Worth. This view is actually from a vantage point outside of the park, out in the zone where all the broadcast towers are.

On the way out of the park I saw that someone had dismantled the Tandy Hills Shrine, removing it from the trail and tossing it all in the grass. I was appalled at this senseless destruction of a living piece of ever growing guerrilla art. It can and shall be rebuilt.

But not today. I was in a hurry to get the hiking done.

Being an exercise addict is not all it's cracked up to be. It's like an annoying addiction. If I don't get my fix, I don't feel good. It's a living hell having a monkey like this on your back. I don't know how to get the monkey off my back. There are no 12 step programs that I'm aware of. There should be, because there are a lot of people out there, like me, with this addiction.

I took the Island Girl to the airport. Again. This morning.

A couple hours later, I got a call from Miami asking if I am mad at her. Then another from San Juan with the same question. I'm expecting a 3rd call from Ponce with the same question. The answer is "Duh." I let the calls go to voice mail.

I'm heading out in this blistering heat, again, to head north to Washington Mutual, then further north to Sprouts Farmers Market. I have room for one passenger in my vehicle if you want to come along.

Problems With The United States Postal Service

Up til recently I thought people who complained about Post Office competence were being totally unfair. With me thinking the Post Office does an amazing job of delivering so much stuff.

Up til recently, as far as I knew, I'd never not received something sent to me, or had someone not receive something I'd sent.

But, in the past several months I've had 2 packages not properly delivered. In that the mailman leaves a note saying that he was sorry he was unable to deliver. The note tells you to sign it if you want to have another attempt to deliver made. Or pick it up yourself.

I've tried the 'sign the note for another delivery attempt' option before. The note just stays in my mailbox. Ignored.

My mail room has a separate area for parcel deliveries. The mailman is supposed to put the package in a parcel box and leave the key in my mailbox. Apparently that is extra work and it's easier to leave a note.

I called my local postmaster to complain. I was told the problem was chronic and that he was old school which took pride in doing the job right, but a lot of the new younger mailmen were slackers.

About a month ago I learned someone had mailed me a package with around $250 worth of stuff inside. What stuff, I don't know, she wouldn't say. When I was asked if I got the package it was already a month since it had been mailed. It's now been another month. No package.

Calling the Post Office, now, I get an answering machine. I don't know how I managed to get the Postmaster on the line the previous time I called to complain.

And now this morning I learned that a check I've been expecting had been mailed to me, at my P.O. Box. It is a large check. I have not seen it. This vexes me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

High Tandy Hills Hiking Temps, Big Mammal Encounters, Tootsie Tonasket & The Island Girl Returns

That's the view from the Tandy Hills, a couple hours ago, at about 4 in the afternoon, looking west towards downtown Fort Worth and Interstate 30. It was 75 when I went hiking. We are in the 70s the next several days.

The picture was taken with my miraculously brought back from the dead camera. It remains alive.

I was in the Tandy Hills zone in the late afternoon due to agreeing to deliver a party, who insists on not being talked about in my blog, to a doctor's appointment. The appointment was supposed to take about an hour. Which meant I hiked for about an hour.

I had a scary encounter with a large mammal in one of the more isolated areas of the park. I heard loud noises, I first thought it was an armadillo, which I've never seen in the Tandy Hills, but I'm well used to the noise they make as they rut about for bugs to eat. I hear them all the time at Indian Village Creek Natural Historic Area.

As I got closer to the source of the noise I knew it was not an armadillo, it was too loud. I began to be concerned it might be one of those wild hogs I've read about.

And then I saw what it was. A man clearing some brush. We exchanged a few words and then my phone rang.

It was Tootsie Tonasket wanting to tell me the latest chapter in her soap opera. The short version is she had her son arrested on outstanding warrants. The son had been getting drunk and threatening Tootsie. Tootsie's husband has moved out to his own rented house a few houses from Tootsie's. The son moved in with his dad. And now is in jail. There were more details but I can't remember them, due to my attention deficit disorder problem. Or blessing.

Tomorrow I once again deliver an Island Girl to the airport for a sober return to the land of her birth. I enjoy the early morning jaunts to the airport. Why? I do not know.

My Olympus Camera Has Come Back From The Dead

A few days ago I blogged about dropping my Olympus camera, breaking it, and my search for a new camera, with the 2 finalists being an Olympus waterproof, drop damage resistant, weather proof camera and a top-rated Canon.

So, yesterday I picked up my damaged Olympus, thinking I'd take out the rechargeable batteries. But, before I did that, for some reason, I thought I'd try to turn the camera on again.

It came on as if nothing had happened to it. I took a picture as if nothing had happened to it. After I'd dropped it there was a real bad grinding noise when the camera tried to open. The display would not light up. Pushing on the shutter button did nothing.

I can only speculate why the camera is back working. Here I was going to buy a new Olympus, that was supposed to be harder to break. But apparently my, once more alive, current Olympus, has some sort of magical repair itself ability.

Or maybe when I dropped the camera some part of the inner mechanism was wrenched out of alignment, but held in tension by a spring, or something. Then while sitting idle the tension slowly put whatever had wrenched out of alignment, back into place.

I'm going with the magical repair itself option. We'll see how long the newly healed camera continues to work. It likely is a temporary return from the dead.

Are You In With Starbucks Free Coffee Call For National Service?

Minutes ago I was doing the secret behind my flexible, youthful body, that being yoga on a big inflated ball. I listen to the radio while I do this.

There was a new Starbucks ad that struck me as, well, wrong. While seeming to be altruistic.

The Starbucks ad said Starbucks was getting behind President Obama's Inaugural Speech call for community service by joining forces with something called HandsOn Network.

Starbucks is suggesting the good citizens of America answer their new President's call for service by giving up 5 hours a week to community service.

And, if you do your 5 hours between Wednesday, January 21, as in today, and Sunday, January 25, Starbucks will reward your good service by giving you one free cup of coffee. Not a Frappaccino, not a Mocha, not any of those other fancy coffee drinks Starbucks sells, that I've seldom bought, even though I'm from the coffee mad Seattle zone.

Directly from Starbucks...

How to Participate at Your Local Starbucks

Visit Starbucks:
You can join the “I’m In” campaign, part of the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment to community involvement, when visiting a local participating Starbucks beginning Wednesday, Jan. 21 (and continuing through Sunday, Jan. 25). Stop by the “I’m In” display featuring community pledge cards, pick up the card, and fill it out with your five-hour commitment to volunteer.

Pledge Five:
Place the “I’m In” sticker from the pledge card on your lapel, signifying your pledge, and take the card with you as a reminder to keep the effort going. As a thank you, each customer who pledges five hours of their own time will receive a complimentary tall cup of brewed coffee.

Track Success:
Customers can log on to to record pledge hours, find local volunteer opportunities via the HandsOn Network, track hours pledged-to-date, and receive updates on the campaign."

I don't know, maybe this is Starbucks doing a good thing. But something about it struck me as sort of a cheesy marketing ploy. I think if the ad had simply said Starbucks had allied itself with the HandsOn Network and were encouraging people to volunteer, suggesting people go to Starbucks' website for info on how to volunteer. And not had the free cup of coffee thing if you do your 5 hours in the next 5 days, then it would have seemed like a totally altruistic thing.

Or if Starbucks pledged some monetary donation to some good cause for every 5 hours of community service, that would have seemed like a good thing.

But the idea of doing 5 hours of community service and going into a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee for free, well, I might do the 5 hours, but I wouldn't bother with the coffee.

I remember years ago, Burger King had a promotion where you got a free Whooper if you'd go to the counter and say "Whopper beat the Big Mac." I was able to get myself to do this once. But something about it was embarrassing to me. Even though I actually do think the Whopper beats the Big Mac.

Now, I'm off to do 5 hours of community service so I can get a cup of coffee...

Public Airport Intoxication: Part Two, The Seinfeld Moment

Well, I really had me a day, yesterday. A totally absurd day. The most absurd part was a Seinfeld moment, well minutes, that had me running for 45 minutes, covering miles of two D/FW Airport parking garages. I'll get to that later.

So, you may remember, yesterday I took someone to the airport who proceeded to get arrested and jailed for public intoxication.

The party in question was heading to an island in the Atlantic, where the arrestee's 83 year old mother was going to pick her up.

So, the arrested was quite panicked as to how to let her mother know not to go to the airport. Several calls were made from the jail cell to various people trying to get the recipient of the call to call the mother. However, the cell connection from the cell was so bad, no one could make out much of the calls. And I don't speak Spanish. So, how could I call the mother.

At some point the arrestee was able to get ahold of someone on the island and told that person to tell the mother that the arrestee was sick. The person on the island somehow then told the mother that the arrestee was sick and in the hospital. Which is sort of true if you stretch poet license to its limits.

I got the number of the jail. Called, explained the situation. I'd been getting constant phone calls from the arrestee. Little of which I could understand. The jailer said he'd put the arrestee on a land line. Before that could happen the arrestee called again. I said I'd head that way and see if I could cause a release to happen.

The jail is not inside the airport. It's on a side road to the east about 3 miles from the main airport freeway. I found the jail. I talked to the jailer. He said the arrestee had not sobered up, under the legal limit, almost 9 hours after the arrest. I was appalled.

The jailer put the arrestee on a jail phone. I felt like I was in a prison movie. The arrestee was in a panic, worried her mother would have a heart attack thinking she was in a hospital. The arrestee begged me to get her out of there. I said I'd see what I could do.

I talked to the jailer, asked if the almost sober arrestee could be released to me. He said he'd go check on the current condition. He came back and said he could release the now sober arrestee.

It took a half hour to process us out of there. That is when it was learned that the 3 pieces of carry-on bags and a jacket, were back inside the airport.

The jailer gave me a number to call to make sure the items were there. I got an answering machine. The jailer told me Lost and Found was in the C2 section of the C terminal. I'd dropped the drunk off at C31 that morning. C31 is a long ways from C2. It's a big airport.

While I was trying to call Lost and Found the newly released jailbird called her mother. The cell phone had a good connection once it was out of the cell. I don't know what cover story was told the mother. I didn't care at that point.

So, we head back into the airport. I easily park right across from C2. I barged the line at the ticket counter and asked the agent where Lost and Found is. Right behind us, through security, she said. So, we had to show our driver's licenses and she printed up what looked like boarding tickets.

I was not happy having to go through security. I hate that part of flying. And I was not prepared for it. As in I was wearing baggy pants held up by a belt. But I made it through with only one slight moment where it would have been embarrassing. I was going commando, also with no socks.

I started to feel like I was in an Amazing Race episode. I found Lost and Found. Explained the situation. The Lost and Found lady, Tiffany Washington, said that type stuff is not brought there. I used my considerable powers of charm, and Tiffany made a lot of phone calls and located the missing items. They were back at baggage claim for C31.

We went back to my van, left that parking garage and headed for the C31 parking garage. Unlike C2, the C31 entry level was full, so I go to the next level, then the next. Find a spot, park, hurry to the C31 baggage claim. We find the stuff behind a locked door. A lady opens it. All is there but the jacket.

We grabbed the stuff and hurried out of there. Crossed over to the parking garage. I quickly walked to where I thought the van was. It was not there. I was totally baffled. We walked around for a bit, re-traced steps, all to no avail.

I then told the recently drunk one to stay put and I'd run through the garage. I proceeded to do so. It was sort of fun. I was told later I looked like a cartoon character. I thought I had checked out every possible location in that garage. So, I ran to the next garage. I quickly figured out, after running through 2 levels, that there was no way that could be the location.

Ran back to the C31 garage. Found the freshly sober one, who had asked an airport employee for help and was given a number to call where they'd send someone to drive you through the garages looking for your vehicle. I thought that sounded ridiculous, but I took the number.

I said to the sober one, I think I made a mistake, thinking we'd had to go up, to find my van, but then I remembered that when I left the full level, the road went downhill, before re-entering the parking garage.

So, I ran down a level, then another. I was pretty sure I was on the right track, but I was calling that rescue number anyway. As I hit option #1 on the phone tree, I spotted my van.

I called the arrestee/jailbird/drunk/sober one and said stay put, I'll be right there.

It was an uneventful drive back. 121 had backed up 183, so I exited at 157 and took a right on Trinity Boulevard to get back here with no more traffic jams.

The starved arrestee/jailbird/drunk/sober one had not eaten, so I drove through Jack in the Box, then back to her place, where I hauled up the baggage and poured the rest of the liquid, that had caused the trouble, down the drain.

I needed a good symbolic gesture.

And then I was out of there. 20 minutes later I got a call telling me she found the missing jacket, stuffed into one of her bags.

What a happy ending to a sad, sordid, pathetic story.

Today's Obese Outhouse Joke

Regarding yesterday's incident where an intoxicated wannabe flier was not allowed to fly, but was instead allowed to spend the day in the airport jail, well, Gar the Texan opined regarding the absurdity of being so harsh with someone who is a tad tipsy, due to the tipsiness potentially presenting a hazard to the other fliers once they are in the air and facing some potential problem, where it'd be best if everyone were stone cold sober.

While at the same time, an obese person, who it would logically seem might present just as much a safety hazard, if not worse, to their fellow fliers in case of an emergency, is allowed to fly. Sometimes after having to purchase a second seat to hold all their girth.

As usual, Gar the Texan, with his extremely highly evolved thought processing, seems to be making a valid point.

I truly would not want to be seated next to either a drunk or an extremely obese person. Either would be uncomfortable and a potential safety hazard, particularly if I had the window seat, in both an emergency and a restroom call.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Hazards Of Public Intoxication At D/FW Airport

That is the morning view of part of the enormous Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Or, as Fort Worth would prefer it to be called, Fort Worth/Dallas Airport.

I was there this morning, real early. To deliver a person flying out of the country.

On the way to the airport the person flying was consuming a liquid beverage. I thought it was some liquid breakfast of some sort.

But, by the time we got to the terminal I began to think that the liquid breakfast had a high alcohol content. It was so early in the morning I thought there was no way the person flying would be drinking a liquid breakfast with a high alcohol content.

I got the person flying through the terminal door and I was on my way home.

About 5 minutes after getting back here, that'd be about 15 minutes since I left the airport, I got a call. The person flying had been stopped from getting on a plane, charged with public intoxication and brought to the airport jail to sober up. I really was not able to understand much of what the person flying was saying.

So, I called back. A man answered. It was the jailer. The phone had been taken away from the person flying. He told me the person flying was going to be held until sober and a fine was paid.

Hours later, the jailer must have returned the phone to the person flying, because I got a garbled, bad connection call, asking me to call the person flying's mother to tell the mother the person flying was sick.

I reminded the person flying that I do not speak Spanish and even if I did, telling the mother that the person flying was sick would likely worry the mother more than the person flying not showing up at the appointed time.

About an hour back I got another call. Another bad connection.

An hour or so later, another call, this time I could make out that the fine had been paid. $210. And that the person flying would be released in an hour or so.

I then called the jail for directions. The jail is not at the airport.

I guess I'll head that way, but I'm in no big hurry to rescue the person who was formerly flying.

So, that's been my day. Up at 3am, dealing with public intoxication. And now another trip to the airport zone.

I need to find a better class of persons flying to deliver to the airport. I delivered Gar the Texan to the airport once. I don't think he was drunk.

Seeing West & Clear At The Fort Worth Omni Convention Center Hotel

The best Fort Worth blog, about Fort Worth, that I've seen, definitely isn't mine. The best that I know of is called West & Clear. So named after the two like named forks of the Trinity River, which become one on the north end of Downtown Fort Worth.

A rather scenic confluence that will be obliterated if the Trinity River Vision ever becomes clear.

Awhile back I verbalized my disdain over Fort Worth's new Omni Convention Center Hotel.

West & Clear are fans of the new building. They verbalize their appreciation of the new Hotel here. They also mention my disdain for the Hotel.

I've not seen the inside of the new Hotel. I probably will like it when I see it. My only problem with the building is all those huge balconies sticking out from the sides that look like scaffolding from the distance. To my architecturally untrained eyes they look goofy. And dangerous.

Other than that, I like the look of the building, the way it matched sleek modern tower with the stone-faced non-tower part. The shape looks slender, vulnerable in the wind, like a sail on a ship.
If only someone had said no to those balconies. I fear someone will fall from one. Or jump. Or drop something, injuring someone below. Causing a lengthy closure, like what happened after drownings in the Water Gardens, while a fix to the dangerous balconies is found.

I hope I'm wrong.

You At 50: AARP Video

The American Association of Retired People (AARP) had a contest titled "U @ 50." The below video won 2nd place. It is quite good. Very clever. The video was submitted by a 20 year old.

The Bush Regime Ends Today

I suspect there will be some partying today, around the world, with the end of the Bush Regime finally here.

I hope George slept well on his last night in the White House. I did. After yesterday's insomnia bout, this morning I slept in til past 3am.

I needed to be up early today. I have to take a Puerto Rican to the airport so she can fly to Miami, then San Juan, then Ponce, where her 82 year old Mom will pick her up to take her to her hometown of Coamo.

Coamo, Puerto Rico is known for its hot springs. And being the location of a big battle during the Spanish-American War. Miss Puerto Rico does not know that that war is why her island is part of the United States. I find people not knowing such things to be perplexing.

By the end of today George Bush will be starting his exile in Texas. I think he is heading to his ranch in Crawford, not his new home in Dallas.

I'm considering today to be the actual start of the New Year.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day Insomnia in Texas & Naked Bart Simpson

I have been up since about 2 this morning. I went to bed early. I did not have any nightmares, like during my last insomnia bout, where I was chased by 6 monster women trying to eat me.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning in effect til 6pm. A Red Flag Warning means the conditions are right for wildfires, as in it's dry and windy. So far, I smell no smoke.

For the past few days, AT & T I-verse has been having all their pay to view channels running free. That meant what appears to be a couple hundred versions of multiple HBO, MAXs, Showtimes and others were viewable and recordable.

Consequently I watched large parts of Suburbia and The Simpson's Movie. Maybe too much uninterrupted Homer wrought havoc with my ability to sleep. Or maybe it was that extremely long, Bart, full frontal nude skateboard scene.

Anyway, so far it's been a rather low energy Martin Luther King Day. Usually I celebrate by doing something altruistic. Right now I can't remember an example.

I read my Tacoma nephew's blog this morning. They are all sick. I have not been sick in a long time. Sleepless, yes. Sick, no. When I was up in Tacoma I tried to instill in those boys and their parents the salubrious benefits of washing their dishes with hot water and soap. I warned if you don't do this you risk getting all sorts of viruses and bacteria.

Now, I wash all my eating equipment in extremely hot water, with extremely potent dishwashing soap, to the point that I reach hospital level sterility. Hence that not getting sick thing. Maybe, now, with this most recent bout of ailing, those Tacoma nephews of mine will finally take heed of their uncle's wise advice.

And right now I don't need to hear from you boys, bragging about how easily you can fall asleep. All day long.

Fort Worth's Endangered Marvel of Modernism

At the north end of Fort Worth's downtown there is something known as Heritage Park. When I moved to Fort Worth, Heritage Park was the first thing I saw in the town that impressed me as a good thing.

Heritage Park was supposed to be a sort of memorial to the founding of Fort Worth. It was a complex set of stairs, catwalks, overlooks and water features.

You may have noticed I used the past tense "was." Because for well over a year the city of Fort Worth has had Heritage Park surrounded by ugly cyclone fencing. And "Closed Signs."

Go here to see the current sad state of Fort Worth's Heritage Park.

The excuse given for this civic neglect is that people were scared to go in the park due to homeless people hanging out there. And its water features were expensive to maintain. There has been no attempt, as far as I know, to fix this park that has become an eyesore, yet one more blight on Fort Worth's self image as a town that is the envy of other towns, far and wide.

Heritage Park is adjacent to a police building. It would seem that regular patrols could have easily been made of the park. Better lighting could have been installed. Along with surveillance cameras.

Seattle has a similar park, called Freeway Park, considered a precedent setting park of the same nature as Heritage Park. Freeway Park had some crime problems. Seattle fixed the problem. Freeway Park did not close. Go here to read the Wikipedia article about Seattle's Freeway Park and how Seattle modified the park to make it more secure.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has released their annual list of Endangered Marvels of Modernism. Heritage Park, in Fort Worth, is on the list.

" Boston City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
" Estates Drive Reservoir, Oakland, CA
" Heritage Plaza, Heritage Park, Fort Worth, TX
" Kaiser Roof Garden, Kaiser Center, Oakland, CA
" Lake Elizabeth, Allegheny Commons, Pittsburgh, PA
" Manhattan Square Park, Rochester, NY
" Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks, Kent, WA
" Miller Garden, Columbus, IN
" El Monte, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico
" Pacific Science Center Courtyard, Seattle, WA
" Parkmerced, San Francisco, CA
" Peavey Plaza, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN


As far as I know, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was our first President frequently referred to by his initials, as in FDR. I assume this came about due FDR's long last name having 3 syllables.

I know some people, like Richard Nixon, refer to FDR's cousin Teddy as TR, but I don't know if Teddy Roosevelt's contempories did.

FDR's successor, Harry S Truman, did not become known as HST. The S between Harry and Truman is not the first letter of his middle name. Truman's middle name is a middle initial. With no period after it. Why, I do not know.

Truman was followed by a President with a long last name, but he did not become known as DDE. Instead he was known as Ike. Ike was Dwight David Eisenhower. Ike sounds better than saying DDE.

Ike was followed by JFK. Who was followed by LBJ. LBJ had a fairly short last name. But I think people liked the sound of saying JFK and so they segued easily into Lyndon Baines Johnson being LBJ. It worked great for anti-war chants, as in "Hey Hey LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?"

LBJ was to be our last President known by his initials. Nixon followed him and while there were some instances of him being referred to as RMN, it just did not stick. Mostly, I suppose, because Nixon is a nice short name with a punch to it when said aloud, like Hitler.

Nixon was followed by Ford. Again a short name. Then Carter. Again short. I think Jimmy Carter's middle name is Earl. That'd make him JEC. That just looks weird. Jimmy Carter was followed by Ronald Reagan. I do remember seeing Reagan referred to as RR a time or two, but that definitely did not stick. It was just way to easy to say Reagan, a good short name, like Nixon and Hitler.

Reagan was followed by Bush. No need to call him GHWB. Bush was followed by Clinton. Again a nice 2 syllable name that has a punch to it, so it was Clinton, not WJC. That would have looked to much like the initials for Water Closet.

Of course, Clinton was unfortunately followed by another Bush. Who was never referred to as GWB, but sometimes the, to be retired tomorrow, Bush was referred to as W.

Tomorrow the world breathes a sigh of relief as W is replaced by Barack Hussein Obama. I'm fairly certain he will not be referred to by his initials. BHO sounds too much like HBO. And if you take the middle name out you are left with BO. And that definitely would not sound Presidential.