Saturday, July 31, 2010

101 Texas Degrees While Visiting Fosdic Lake, Port Aransas, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, South Padre Island & The Brazosport Area

As you can see, on this the last day of July, we have hit the predicted temperature of 101. The HEAT has melted the humidity out of the air, so there is no Heat Index saying the temperature feels hotter than it is.

I had intended to get outside and make my way to the Tandy Hills around 3. But, there was little breezing going on, and the sun had already heated it up out there to 100, so I decided to go to my favorite reading spot at Oakland Lake Park and read for awhile, while glancing up at Fosdic Lake.

It seems every Saturday there is something happening at the Oakland Lake Pavilion. Today it was some sort of party, part of which involved smacking a pinata hanging from a tree.

A surprising number of Texans were out in the HEAT aerobicizing. But, not wimpy me. I was under shade enjoying reading. I'd tell you what book I'm reading, but it's sort of embarrassing, so I won't.

I was in need of a peaceful break because the morning had been spent virtually visiting the Texas Gulf Coast. I went to Port Aransas, but did not see the Songbird of the Gulf Coast, Alma Squillante.

The furthest south I made it was to Harlingen. Cool town with a lot of palm trees and parrots. I also like Corpus Christi. I need to move back near saltwater.

I enjoyed South Padre Island. I can see why this is where Elsie Hotpepper heads whenever she gets a hankering to find a new husband.

And then, heading back north, almost to Galveston, I visited the Brazosport Area, where good fishing and beaches can be found, but I caught none and did no swimming.

I did have a really good swim really early this morning though. And likely will have another one tomorrow morning on the first day of August.

Getting HOT On The Last Day Of July In Texas While Thinking About Deception Pass

We are looking down at my pool, from my patio, in the picture. As you can see the sun has not yet arrived on this last day of July. I think I'll head down to the pool in a bit for a moonlit skinnydip.

We are scheduled to hit 101 today in the temperature department. But right now, before the sun shows up to heat up the place, it is only 80, so I've got my windows open and cooling this place.

If I were up in my old home state of Washington today I would be heading out to Whidbey Island to Deception Pass State Park for the picnic party celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the opening of Deception Pass Bridge.

Deception Pass State Park was my Tandy Hills when I lived in Washington, either hiking from Rosario to the lighthouse or parking by the bridge and hiking up Goose Rock. Great hiking with great scenery the likes of which I've not found in Texas.

I hear the birds starting up their morning salute to the arrival of the sun. It's like each morning they are so surprised that the sun has shown up again that they burst into a chirping celebratory cacophony.

It's time to go join the birds and chirp at the sun while I swim.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Hot Adding Balls To The Tandy Hills Shrine On Top Of Mount Tandy

The Tandy Shrine at the top of Mount Tandy in the shadow of the Fort Worth Space Needle continues to grow. It is now way larger than the original Tandy Shrine, at maybe, currently, 50 feet long.

Today I saw a pile of golf balls artfully arranged at the west end of the Tandy Shrine. A long line of rocks leads to the artfully arranged golf balls that sit right at the east entry to the Tandy Hills Natural Area, under the cable gate.

I am guessing that there is some clever symbolism regarding the rocks and the golf balls that escapes my limited imagination.

And that I may have ruined the clever symbolism, today, when I added another pile of golf balls, putting the pile on top of a disk golfing disk.

I don't know what was different about today than yesterday and the day before yesterday, but today I was in the mood to get really HOT and reap the salubrious benefits of enjoying the Tandy Hills Sauna/Steambath.

I got what I wanted, oozing what seemed like gallons of water, but was likely not as voluminous as it seemed.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to heat up to 101. I don't know if I'll be in the mood for the Tandy Hills Sauna/Steambath tomorrow.

The Last Friday Of July With A Moon For The Misbegotten In Texas

What does "Moon for the Misbegotten" mean, I found myself wondering when I stepped out on my patio, under cover of semi-darkness, and saw a piece of the formerly full moon hanging over head, on this, the last Friday of July of 2010.

We are scheduled to be HOT here today in my zone of North Texas. Currently it is only 78, so my windows are open.

I hear nary a bird chirping or a cicada cicadaing this morning. It is sort of an eerie quiet. It is dead calm out there with the only noise being the splashing of water from the pool fountain and vehicular noise coming from the I-820 freeway.

I fear this strange silence portends for a possibly odder than the norm day.

So, I think I'll go swimming and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are We Finally Going To Have Some 100 Degree Days In Texas

I did not know the forecast had changed from incoming isolated rainstorms, with a slight chance of thunder, to no clouds, nothing but sun, for the next 7 days.

With the air finally warming up to over 100 starting on Saturday.

My power bill tripled this month. Due to, I assume, the A/C running. I suspect the next power bill will take another leap upwards.

Heavy Drinking While Hiking Heavy Thinking About Escaping Texas

I did not feel like overheating today. So, with the temperature being 91.3, with a Heat Index of 94, and not a lot of wind, I opted out of hiking the Tandy Hills and opted, instead, for the shady trails at Village Creek Natural Historic Area.

In the picture it looks like I'm talking on the phone. But what I am actually doing is imbibing in my drinking problem of consuming copious amounts of water, all day long and into the night.

I don't know how many gallons I'm drinking daily.

The only animal I saw today, while walking in Village Creek Natural Historic Area, was one squirrel. I saw a few dead cicadas. I heard birds, but saw none.

Formerly, Village Creek Natural Historic Area was the site of my most snake sightings. And my one and only gar fish encounter. Numerous armadillos. One bobcat. And an elderly lady in a mu mu who claimed to have had a cougar encounter.

Does it not look peaceful, cool and serene under the canopy of the Village Creek trees? The tweeting of unseen birds can be a bit unsettling and spooky. This was a killing zone. Who knows what, and how many, tortured spirits lurk about in the trees.

Betty Jo Bouvier, the Wild Woman of Woolley, told me today that I need to have some fun and get out of my routine. That it would be good for me.

Betty Jo is sort of right. It has been 2 years since I have been out of Texas. Two years. This is the longest I have gone without a Texas break.

I can't even remember the last time I was outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone. Maybe it was the last time I left Texas, 2 years ago.

I don't know what has gone wrong with me. I seem to stay within about a 20 mile radius, with some unseen force field stopping me from going further.

Maybe I am escaping during sleepwalking episodes. I have made note, of late, of unexplained miles being added to my odometer.

I'll have to ask my therapist, Dr. L.C., what she thinks about my routine issues. I suspect she'll just tell me to go do some saloon hopping with Elsie Hotpepper.

Chilly Last Texas Thursday Of July Up With The Sun Thinking About Split Pea Hummus

You are out on my patio with me, drinking coffee, and watching the sun light up the place on the last Thursday of July.

It is borderline chilly outside at 75. It is almost like winter is arriving early.

I am going to try and go swimming in a few minutes. I hope the water has not chilled too much.

Complete change of subject from the sun and swimming to hummus. I got a big bag of yellow split peas at Sprouts Farmers Market yesterday. A couple weeks ago I learned whilst watching Top Chef that hummus can be made from split peas.

So, a big batch of split peas cooked overnight in the slow cooker and now await me Vita-Mixing them into hummus. I hope it works.

It is very likely that after the workout involved in Vita-Mixing split peas into hummus, and other ordeals, I will need a good dose of endorphin stimulation from aerobicizing myself on the Tandy Hills mid-day.

Meet me at noon at the top of Mount Tandy if you want to go hiking with me. See you there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visiting South Padre Island, Cheap ALDI Milk, Fosdic Lake Shade & Tootsie Tonasket Raids

I don't remember when I got up this morning. I do remember going swimming. The water has become colder. I'm starting to think we aren't going to have any real 100 degree days here, except for those muggy humidity caused Heat Index 100 degree plus days.

This morning I took a virtual trip to South Padre Island. I'd not been there before. I believe this is where Elsie Hotpepper goes whenever she's got a hankering to find a new husband.

Around noon I went north to Southlake, then south to Hurst. Since I was in Hurst I went to ALDI. Milk is now $1.19 a gallon. What is happening to the price of milk? Are cows being milkier?

A little after 3 this afternoon I decided I needed outdoor exposure, so I headed to Oakland Lake Park to gaze out at Fosdic Lake from my favorite shaded picnic table. Gusts of wind made it quite pleasant, though a couple times I lost control of the items I had spread in front of me, like notebooks, books, camera cases and a cell phone.

Tootsie Tonasket called me during my picnic table commune with nature. Tootsie is an entrepreneur at heart. But her ideas on how to make money can be a bit dicey at times. Without being at all detailed, suffice to say that Tootsie is pondering whether a certain Nevada business model might find success in Washington. I told Tootsie I thought not.

Tootsie and her tribe have been cleared of all charges regarding that deer poaching incident that led to a raid on Tootsie's tribe, with all arrested and hauled off to jail except for Tonasket Tribe Leader, Tootsie. I don't remember if I mentioned this incident on this blog, it may have been on my Washington Blog that I blogged about this shocking scandal.

I'll go see if I can find the blogging about the Tootsie Tonasket Raid.

Okay, I see there were two bloggings about the bad doings in Tonasket...

Okanogan Sheriff Gestapo Stormtroopers Terrorize Tonasket Washington Family


Tootsie Gets Raided by the Tonasket Gestapo Stormtroopers Again

I've had myself a day, I should be more tired than I am. I likely will sleep well tonight and get up real early and do it all over again tomorrow, creature of habit that I be.

Up Early On The Last Wednesday Of July In The Vancouver Of The South

The last Wednesday of July has dawned with a nice shade of blue with puffy cotton balls. It is only 76 degrees this morning, so once again I can have my windows open.

Have I mentioned previously that this never happened during my previous Texas summers?

Strange news in the Seattle P-I this morning. Seattle and the state want to ban new houseboats and restrict the existing ones. Due to the houseboats having some sort of bad impact on salmon.

How can you ban houseboats in Seattle? That's like banning the Space Needle. Or coffee.

I wonder if Fort Worth is going to allow houseboats on its magnificent tiny Town Lake and canals if the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle ever comes to any sort of watery fruition.

I remember early on in the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram saying that the Vision's Boondoggle would turn Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South.

I don't remember if there are houseboats in Vancouver.

Turning Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South would take a lot more than a little lake, it'd take a couple of really big lakes. And you'd need to add some tall mountains. And really amp up the educational level of the locals.

Somehow I don't see this happening.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspired By A Texan Panhandling Guitar Man I Am Thinking Of Begging With Bongos

You are looking at my driver's side rear view mirror. What you are looking at is a blurry, leathery, cowboy hat wearing, guitar playing panhandler.

I'd been to the bank. I've finally mastered the new, ultra high-tech Chase ATMs and have now successfully deposited checks 4 times in a row without incident.

After I left the ATM I went to Town Talk. I got some good stuff. Then it was on to the Beach Street Wal-Mart Supercenter.

When I reached the intersection of Beach Street and the 121 Airport Freeway a yellow light stopped me. A guitar playing beggar man was strumming on the median. He quickly assessed that I was not rolling down my window to give him any change. But others did.

The light was almost green before my internal light bulb turned on and I got out my camera. I thought it'd make a cool picture using the rear view mirror. It probably would have if my rear view mirror and window had been cleaned sometime in this century.

It was about 90 when the guitar strumming panhandler was busy doing his shadeless begging. I would think there would be easier ways to make a buck than strumming a guitar under the HOT sun on a semi-busy street. The guitar strummer is quite a distance away from the homeless shelter on Lancaster Avenue.

I wonder where he goes when the sun goes down?

Maybe guitar playing panhandling pays real well and he's got himself a fine place to live. He did seem to be semi-well dressed. And his cowboy hat was quite nice.

I do not have a guitar, but I do have bongo drums. I'm thinking I might go do me some bongo drum panhandling tomorrow. I need to think of a shady intersection.

Washington Mountain Cowboys & A Returned Iraq Soldier

No. That is not a group of Texas cowboys huddled around a fire somewhere in the Piney Woods region of Texas.

These particular cowboys and cowgirls set up camp about a week ago in the North Cascades of Washington State, after a 4 hour horse ride from their launch pad somewhere near Winthrop at the eastern end of the North Cross State Highway.

The cowgirl closest to the camera is also known as the Scrabble Queen of Washington. There is no Wi-Fi deep in the Cascade Mountains, so I had a brief respite from getting beaten at Scrabble.

Speaking of Washington girls, but not of the cowgirl sort. Today I called Miss McP. I'd not been able to reach her for quite some time. Miss McP moved to Oklahoma about a month before I moved to Texas. We have known each other since we were little kids. And at one point in time we shared a domicile.

Today Miss McP answered her phone. Only to say she could not talk right then because she was getting off a plane in Denver, to get on another plane to fly to North Carolina. She said she'd call me back when she made it to her next gate.

So, Miss McP did call back and we talked until she had to board her next plane. The airport was being very noisy, but I did manage to learn that Miss McP is flying to North Carolina to see her son who has returned from a year in Iraq. This was not his first tour of duty in Iraq. Also in North Carolina are Miss McP's 3, or is it 4, grandkids.

To me it seems very wrong to send a kid, with 3 or 4 kids, to Iraq. I think if a president decides, or in the Iraq case, deciders, that we need to invade some random country for specious reasons, that that president can only do so if his own kids, who are old enough to be in the military, are enlisted and sent to the war zone along with the thousands of other kids the president is sending off in harm's way. This type caveat might have a sobering effect on the judgment of a president who might not otherwise think all that soberly.

Of course, this type rule would not apply in World War II type war situations.

I must go play Scrabble now. And then have lunch.

The Return Of The Texas Moon With Incoming Rain & Lovebirds

The sun somehow got up before I did, this last Thursday of July. When I made it out to my lit up balcony I was pleased to see that some of the light was being provided by the long missing moon.

I have my windows open, again, this morning. It is only 73 degrees cold right now at about 7 in the morning.

I am skipping my morning swim today for a variety of reasons.

Betty Jo Bouvier is thinking about blogging, but is reluctant due to the erroneous notion she does not have anything to blog about. Betty Jo is known as the Wild Woman of Woolley. She frequently has accidents involving explosive fires. She tours California wineries on a Segway, is currently in wedding planning mode, obsessively shops for shoes and yet somehow thinks she does not have anything to blog about.

My lovebirds, Albert and Alice are out on their branch, cooing. I think they are being happy because the cicadas are not making any noise. That and the birdseed I left them on the table on my patio. The Queen of Wink gave me a Texas-themed birdhouse last year. Maybe I should set it on the table for Albert and Alice to take up residence.

The National Weather Service amped up our chance of rain to 60% for today. Yesterday we had a 30% chance of getting wet. About 4, yesterday afternoon, the temperature did suddenly drop about 15 degrees and a few drops of water did fall. But not enough to get anything wet. At least in my location.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Having Myself A Good Time Overheating On The Tandy Hills

You are looking west towards the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, from a vista high atop one of the many Tandy Hills, today, the last Monday of July, at approximately noon.

Right now, at about 2 in the afternoon, it is 93.6, with the high humidity Heat Index making it feel like 100.

When I went hiking, to get my much needed endorphin fix, it was barely 90 with the Heat Index making it feel like 97.

To me it felt like 110. Or HOTTER. There was no wind, and so no Wind Chill Factor to counter that vexing Heat Index.

Today I overheated, even while running four 18.9 ounce bottles of water through my personal radiator.

I do have to say, the metabolic process that causes water to ooze from every pore, to ooze until it's like you've become one big moving water leaker, well, it really is like being in some natural sauna/steambath.

Very addictive.

But, today, I did overheat. And now I'm back under the protective cover of air-conditioned comfort.

Tarrant County Divided Way Elects Chesapeake Energy Propaganda Minister Maleficent Julie Wilson

Interesting incoming email from Don Young with shocking news about the Tarrant County United Way and one more example of the Chesapeake Energy Blitzkrieg Takeover of Tarrant County and its environs......

OMG! Julie Wilson, The Most Hated Woman in Fort Worth, has been elected to the Chair of the United Way Campaign in Tarrant County (Fort Worth) for 2010. That's right, the Joseph Goebbels of Chesapeake Energy, has bought her into the top charity in the USA.

That is Herr Wilson out of uniform in the picture.

This woman has done more to destroy the natural world in north Texas than all the urban sprawlers of the past 20 years, combined. Evil is the word that comes to mind, Nazi-style. If you are a fan of old Disney movies, Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty, might ring a bell.

If this makes you mad as Hell you may want to email, Tim McKinney, President and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County:

As for me and my house, not a penny will go to the UW as long as Julie Wilson is involved.

Betty Jo Overheats In Washington While I Am Cool In Texas

As you can see, sitting out with me on my patio, the last Monday of July is dawning with a slightly muddled blue sky.

That muddling blue likely will turn more gray later today. The prediction is for a 30% chance of rain. Usually that seems to mean it will rain. More often than not, rain with extreme prejudice, accompanied by gusts of wind and strikes of lightning.

It is 79 this morning, so I've got my windows open again.

Meanwhile, up in Washington, Betty Jo Bouvier, the Wild Woman of Woolley, spent the weekend in the south Puget Sound zone, in Puyallup, where Betty Jo apparently overheated.

This is what Betty Jo had to say about her HEAT misery, "Well we survived the hot weather of our trip. I would have liked to have died. It was something like 85 or 86 degrees. Ugh. It is still muggy out at 9:35. I think it is about 68 degrees right now, feels pretty good though."

68 degrees? If it got that chilly here I'd feel compelled to either turn on the furnace or burn some logs in the fireplace.

My pet lovebird doves, Albert and Alice, are back on their home branch, cooing away, again this morning. Albert and Alice seem to get real happy when the sun returns for one more day. I know that is how I feel about it too, but I do no cooing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rick Wants To Know About A Wink Texas Roy Orbison Sign

It really is with some slight reluctance and a little trepidation that I bring up a Wink, Texas potential controversy.

It seems just about any Wink related subject can erupt into controversy, spinning off in the oddest directions.

The worst case being the brouhaha that erupted over a totally innocent question about the Wink Sinkhole. Eventually that brouhaha led to the entity known as Fubbolu making clear what a twisted, demented, hypocritically strange nutcase she is.

I don't know if today's blogging about a Wink subject is brouhaha worthy. I suspect not.

A guy calling himself "rickvandiver" commented on a posting from way back in June of 2009 about Wink's Roy Orbison Festival.

"rickvandiver" commented, "How can Wink have a sign that says original homesite of Roy Orbison when he was born just south of Vernon in the Greyback community?"

Now, I think I do not need to go to Wink's go to source for all matters pertaining to Wink, that being the Queen of Wink, to answer this question.

Wink is not claiming that Roy Orbison was born in Wink. Wink is correctly claiming that Roy Orbison lived in Wink. And so the Winkites have erected a primitive sign at the location of the Orbison homesite.

I think it may be the use of the "original" word that is a bit confusing.

The Wikipedia blurb about Roy Orbison and his stay in Wink and his eventual departure from the town is a bit amusing. But I don't know if ardent Winkites will find it so.

From Wikipedia...

"Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas, the middle son of Orbie Lee Orbison, an oil well driller and car mechanic, and Nadine Shultz, a nurse. Both were unemployed during the Great Depression, so the family moved to Fort Worth for several years to find work, until a polio scare prompted them to return to Vernon. To find work again, the family then moved to the town of Wink in West Texas. Orbison would later describe the major components of life in Wink as "Football, oil fields, oil, grease and sand", and in later years expressed relief that he was able to leave the desolate town."

I think I've heard Wink native, Gar the Texan, describe Wink in a similar manner, that he was relieved to leave the desolate town.

I really don't see how modern day Wink is all that desolate. Kermit is close by. Odessa and Midland are a short drive from Wink. In Roy Orbison's day there was nothing to combat the desolation, like TV, the Internet or cell phones. So it really was desolate, in Roy's day, I suppose.

I really don't get what Gar the Texan was complaining about, regarding Wink being desolate, since much of the Wink desolation had ended by the time Gar the Texan became a practicing Winkite.

Looking At The Village Creek Alligator Pond & Pondering What I Need To Do To Get More Obese

It is around noon in the picture, where you are sitting on a picnic table with me, looking at the Village Creek Natural Area's Alligator Pond.

This formerly was an area where water flowed, but something has diverted the water flow, which has caused the previously big pond to slowly get choked with green growing things.

A couple months ago, before the pond became almost totally choked, I was almost 100% certain I spotted 2 small sized alligators snapping out of the water. At what they were snapping, I do not know.

I saw no alligators today. The only critters I saw were 2 humans. I howdied the humans. One was an ornithologist. That means she was staring intently at birds in the trees. She reminded me of Jane Hathaway on the Beverly Hillbillies.

None of the birds she was staring intently at seemed nearly as interesting as my new pet lovebirds, who are still sitting out on a branch by my patio, still cooing. I have named them Albert and Alice, after an infamous pair of Washington lovebirds.

I cooked a big batch of beans overnight in the slow cooker. I thought I'd turned it off in the middle of the night, but what I'd actually done was set it on low. Consequently the beans were very well cooked by this morning. I amped up the big pile of cooked beans with other good stuff.

I am working on making sure I have a steady caloric stream so that I stabilize this weight loss thing I've got currently going on. I know it is caused by too much activity, too much energy expended to stay cool. And the heat sort of stifling my appetite.

As a consequence of this perfect storm of metabolic forces, I am now skinnier than I was 2 years ago when I was in Tacoma, shivering constantly due to my lack of sufficient insulative adipose tissue. I was so jealous of all the obese people up there who did not have the shivering problem. But, I just could not bring myself to eat what the obese eat in order to achieve that obese goal.

As in, I have never eaten a doughnut with multi-colored sprinkles on it, ever. And I do not intend ever to do so. I don't care how skinny I get. No doughnuts with multi-color sprinkles for me.

And now it is time for the Bean Concoction I made this morning, along with baked cheesy bread. My goal is to fatten myself up by the chills of winter, so that I am swimming pool ready.

A Pair Of Texas Lovebirds Living On My Balcony

This morning I was hearing no annoying cicada mating calls, but I was hearing some up close dove cooing. I do not know if dove cooing is a mating call. I do know it is less annoying than a cicada cacophony.

After I came back from swimming, putting my swimming suit out on a chair on the patio to dry, I looked up to see a pair of lovebirds had taken up residence on a branch very close to the balcony railing.

I thought they'd fly away by the time I got my camera.

I was wrong. Not only did they cooperatively pose, the pair has remained perched in the same location all morning.

All the rain in recent times has turned the usually hot and brown climate of North Texas sort of sub-tropical, with way too much humidity, a lot of lush greenery. And a lot of birds happily chirping.

I think I'll take off in a bit, going to the Post Office to mail a letter to my favorite Auntie, that is months overdue. And then on to Village Creek Natural Historic Area for a walk in the shade with the Ghosts of all the Indians who's lives were ruined and made miserable by invading undocumented illegal aliens called Texans.

I never tire of repeating that "invading undocumented illegal aliens called Texans" line.

The Last Sunday Of July In Texas Thinking About Las Vegas & Crazy People

In the picture you are out on my patio looking at the last Sunday dawn of July 2010. The days of July 2010 seem to have disappeared very quickly. And now there are only 7 left.

We are almost downright chilly this morning. Only 76 degrees out there.

The water in the pool was noticeably cooler yesterday. Which was a good thing. It had been bordering on being too warm and losing its refreshing quality.

I hear no cicadas making their mating noise this morning. I don't know why they have to make so much noise going about that particular business. What if humans behaved similarly? It would be very unseemly.

Yesterday I saw fresh evidence of the mental illness of a nutcase I am so well rid of. I'm embarrassed I ever tolerated this particular individual. But, I guess I'm glad I have a tolerant nature. Up to a point. What is befuddling is that, apparently, there are others who do not see the obvious absurdity of this particular idiot's pathological lying. Even though, in the past, these particular others have made obvious, via joking about it, their awareness of this particularly peculiar idiot's peculiarly particular warps. Very perplexing. Yet, somehow, somewhat amusing.

Okay, enough with being cryptic.

I learned yesterday that rooms are costing over $500 a night at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. At Luxor, where I only paid $69 a night when I was last there, rooms now go for over $150. The last time I stayed at Excalibur, with my oldest nephews, I paid $49 a night. Excalibur is currently $129.

Buffets used to be a cheap loss leader to keep you in the casino losing money gambling. No more. No $5.99 lunch buffets. More like $16.99 at the cheapest.

The price rise in Las Vegas seems far ahead of what would be accounted for by the nominal inflation we've experienced the past 10 years.

Perplexing. But even though it's perplexing, I am in the mood for a Vegas trip. And the Rio buffet. I don't care if it's now over 20 bucks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Walking & Talking To The Queen Of Wink At Fosdic Lake About Going To Las Vegas

I was walking along, singing a song, around Fosdic Lake at Oakland Lake Park, when I decided to try and call the Queen of Wink.


Once again I got voice mail. I don't bother leaving a message.


And then, just as I was passing a sitting opportunity, my phone rang.

It was the Queen of Wink calling back. From Wink. So, I sat at the sitting opportunity and talked to the Queen of Wink til my phone started making rude noises at me.

Before my phone started making rude noises I had a long discussion with the Winkitian about Las Vegas. This long discussion about Las Vegas made me want to visit that town. I've not been to Vegas since April of 2006. And that was only to switch planes.

For some reason I am very very tired. And a bit headachy. Had I gone saloon hopping with Elsie Hotpepper last night I would have an explanation for being very very tired and a bit headachy. But, I have no explanation for my dire condition.

I must cease blogging now.

Hiking & Biking In Washington With Jeremy & My Other Nephews

You are looking at my nephew Jeremy, aka JR, sometime in August, back in the previous century, on a suspension bridge across a glacier melt creek, on the Schrieber's Meadow trail up Mount Baker, in my old home state of Washington.

Jeremy and several others were taking me on a hike for my birthday. I don't quite remember how that came about, because this is a rather difficult hike and most of these people were not hikers.

When we reached the suspension bridge Jeremy balked. It took a lot of convincing to get him to cross it. In the picture you are looking at Jeremy's triumphant crossing on the way back down the trail. Obviously he had conquered his fear.

As you can see it was a very foggy hiking day. We only made it to the base of Mount Baker, did not make it as far as the Railroad Grade, that being the moraine carved out by a glacier. If Jeremy had a problem with that suspension bridge he really would have hated the Railroad Grade.

That would be me sitting on a log going through my backpack, with my little sister on the left.

I had a lot of mountain fun with Jeremy and my other nephews when I lived in Washington. I remember a cross country skiing adventure with Jeremy's older brother, Christopher, on the east side of Mount Baker, we got high up on some logging roads and had a very adventurous descent.

A time or two I took my nephews on adventures where I think I may have been not exhibiting good uncle judgment. Like one time nephew Joey and I hiked to the top of Sauk Mountain in the Skagit Valley in a snowstorm. It was very icy. Anyone reading this who knows Sauk Mountain is likely cringing at the idea.

I remember just recently Joey's mom emailed me pictures of herself at the top of Sauk Mountain. She told me Joey told her he and I had done that hike. I told her not to ask Joey about the details of that hike because it'd likely lead to me getting scolded, even though the statute of limitations had run out.

My nephew adventures became known as Nephews In Danger after I made a Christmas calendar using pictures of our adventures and called it Nephews In Danger.

In the picture where Christopher and Jeremy are holding chunks of ice, we'd hiked to the Ice Caves, which you can see behind the nephews. This is a yearly phenomenon that you access from the Mountain Loop Highway north of Granite Falls. The snow melts and forms these big caves. There are enter with caution signs. I think entry may now be banned due to there having been a death or two due to falling ice. But, if it's way below freezing, the danger is minimal. So, we explored the Ice Caves.

The best adventure I ever had with Jeremy and his brother took place in September. The snow had melted off the parking lot at the end of the road that leads past the Mount Baker Ski Area. From that parking lot you can easily walk out on Mount Baker. Or climb to the top of Tabletop Mountain. Or hike a number of other trails.

We hiked to the top of Tabletop Mountain, where I took my all-time favorite picture, the original of which I have been unable to find, which perplexes me very much.

That is Mount Shuksan behind Jeremy and Christopher. Christopher is looking south towards Mount Baker. Jeremy is contemplating throwing a snowball at me.

You get to the top of Tabletop Mountain via a series of switchbacks. As a kid I had a memory of seeing this and it looking so strange, seeing people walking up this mountain.

As the years passed I would think of this and think it was something I had imagined. And then, well after I was on my own, I was back at Mount Baker. And there I saw what was what I thought had been an imagined thing, but it was real.

Hiking to the top of Tabletop Mountain, with Jeremy and Christopher, was the first time I had done so. As you might guess from the name, the top is very flat. At the western side it slopes down and is covered with ice, also known as a glacier, or at least very heavy snow.

That is Jeremy watching his brother go over the edge of the ice/snow/glacier. Christopher had not anticipated, nor had I, how fast that slope would shoot him down the slope.

He asked me about 10 times if he should do it. I saw no real danger. When he shot out so fast and went so far, I was a bit worried.

But then it looked fun. So Jeremy and I followed his brother, with Jeremy first and me following down the glacier. That is Mount Baker that Jeremy is body skiing towards.

When I lived in Washington Jeremy also went bike riding with me frequently. I remember one fun time when Jeremy and his cousin, my nephew Joey, rode our bikes from Tracey Owen Park at the south end of Lake Washington, on the continuation of the Burke-Gilman Trail, all the way to the St. Michelle Winery. Where we locked up our bikes and took the tour.

Another memorable bike ride with Jeremy and his brother was from Larrabee State Park on Chuckanut Drive, pedaling the Interurban trail into Bellingham. This bike trail is an old train route. It is adventurous in a couple places. Jeremy balked. But then un-balked. This trail ends at the Alaskan Ferry Terminal in Fairhaven.

As we were leaving the ferry terminal, a cop pulled us over.

We were given free ice cream tickets to reward us for wearing our bike helmets. So, we went to the ice cream shop in Fairhaven and had ice cream cones.

I really do miss Washington sometimes. Like now. And. I miss my nephews sometimes. Like now.

I remember when I moved to Texas my sister telling me she thought it might be hard on Jeremy not to have me to call up, to come down, and do stuff with him or talk to about what's on his mind.

I remember my mom and dad being here in Texas, October of 2001. The Afghan Invasion was underway. We were driving along and for some reason we called Phoenix, where by then my nephew and his brother and parental units had moved. Jeremy answered, he was home alone. This was being the first time in his living memory his country had gone into war mode. It made him understandably nervous.

I did not see Jeremy again in person until February of 2004. And then again in April of 2006.

I need to go to Phoenix.

Celebrating Goober Twin Birthdays While Thinking About Saloon Hopping With Elsie Hotpepper While Cicada Mate

You are looking at the very deep blue view from my patio a little before the sun fully rose this next to the last Saturday of July 24.

It being July 24 it is the Happy Birthday of the Goober Twins, Big Ed and Wally. Big Ed is 47, while Wally turns 67 today. Due to some sort of complicated genetic difference the twins aged at different rates, starting from the time they were birthed, decades ago.

I thought about going saloon hopping with Elsie Hotpepper Friday night, doing the hopping in her Bartmobile. But, I was too tired for a long night of Hotpepper saloon hopping.

Maybe I'll be more energetic tonight.

I was not the only one in my D/FW Metroplex zone of Texas to make note of yesterday's storm causing a quick 20 degree temperature drop that was quite refreshing. Steve A was pedalling his bike in the Alliance/Gateway zone when the temperature drop hit him.

Steve A's bike speedometer/odometer has a thermometer. I did not know that was an available option. It's like me and cell phones. I've fallen way behind the times.

It is only 78 out there right now at about half past 6. Something has gotten my herd of cicadas all riled up. I've seldom heard them in such a mating frenzy. The Angelina Jolie/Marilyn Monroe/Elizabeth Taylor (in her prime) cicada equivalent, must be being busy flirting in the Magnolia trees that surround my pool.

The cicadas have now gone dead silent, replaced by birds tweeting. A bug must have gotten lucky with Jolie/Marilyn/Elizabeth.

The sun has now almost totally lit up the place. Time to go swimming for an hour or two.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Late Friday Afternoon Texas Thunderstorm Rumbled In After I Got Back From Wimberley

This afternoon I took a virtual trip down to Texas Hill Country, to Wimberley.

Soon after I was done with my Wimberley trip the sky began to darken. Soon after the sky darkened I started to hear thunder rumbling in the distance.

You are looking at the view from my patio soon before that dark cloud started sending down an awful lot of water, along with some lightning bolts.

Upside of this latest storm, it dropped the temperature from the 90s down to the 70s. So, off with the A/C, open with the windows.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for my zone of North Texas. I don't think it rained enough to do any flash flooding, at least in my location.

Oh oh, I thought the storming was over, but a big boom just rattled my cage. I saw no flash, but the strike had to be close to rattle my cage that much.

I've heard from the Queen of Wink. She'd gone missing. Again. Due to both technical electronic issues and due to going undercover, once more, in her ongoing San Antonio Top Secret Operation.

Schizophrenic Tandy Hills Hiking With Yellow Fuzzballs

It was in the high 80s when I hit the Tandy Hills before noon today. It was a very schizophrenic day, hiking temperature-wise.

With the wind being in minor gust mode I was hiking along, enjoying a bit of a Wind Chill Factor. Then the wind would stop and the Heat Index would kick in. It felt like going from the low 70s to the low 100s, back and forth, over and over again.

I have been churning out webpages of late. This is something I'd not done much of in awhile. I was a bit rusty at first, but then my memory of HTML kicked in and I eventually reached hyperspeed about 2 days ago.

Betty Jo Bouvier opined, again, that I need to go to Phoenix, to see my mom and dad. And my youngest nephew. My youngest nephew has been on my mind again today. His name is Jeremy, with a middle name of Ryan. So, he has always been JR. Though I've always called him Jeremy. I don't remember ever calling him JR, but everyone else does.

I was in Phoenix for 10 hours in February of 2004. My mom and dad had not yet moved to Phoenix. This was the first I'd seen Jeremy since 2001. We all went to a happy hour at some Phoenix place before going to an In and Out for my best burger ever and then sticking me back on a plane.

While at the happy hour place Jeremy and I went out to the parking lot and took turns on his skateboard. Jeremy asked me if I'd come to his high school graduation that June. I said I would. But I didn't make it. I felt guilty about that at the time. But, I don't recollect getting a graduation announcement. I likely did, though, I just don't remember.

I've no idea what the name is of the yellow wildflower I snapped a picture of today. Yellow Fuzzball? Frizzy Yellow Green Balls?

A HOT July 23 Morning Thinking About Swimming & My Nephew's Heart

As you can see from the July 23 morning view from my patio the majority of the sky is blue with a little wispy cloud action.

I opened my windows in the middle of the night. A cooling breeze blowing in from the outdoors is so much nicer than the A/C blowing cold.

It is not 7 am yet, and already 80. Almost time to close the windows.

I did not go swimming yesterday due to my attempts to try and break free from my repetitive habits.

This morning I've decided that breaking free of my repetitive habits really is not high on my priority list. So, I'm going swimming in a few minutes.

My sister called me last night and told me the details of my youngest nephew's heart condition. I felt a lot better after talking to her. What an ordeal they have been through.

I do not recollect if I've previously mentioned my disdain for the medical business. My one and only up close and personal experience with that business was shocking, disgusting, appalling, maddening and turned me, long ago, into one who thought the entire business needed a complete makeover.

My nephew's experience with the medical business completely reinforced my extremely negative opinion of how that business operates too much of the time.

It's time to go swimming now.

I have no idea where I am going to take a virtual trip to today.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walking The Bayous Of Village Creek Thinking About The Big Thicket & My Nephew's Ticker

No, you are not looking at a bayou somewhere in the wild wonderland of the Big Thicket National Preserve out in East Texas.

What you are looking at is a bayou in Arlington called Village Creek, located in Village Creek Natural Historic Area. This area should be named Indian Village Creek Natural Historic Area, but the Indians were wiped out of their village and out of the area's name by incoming undocumented illegal aliens called Texans.

This morning, like I said earlier I would, I took a virtual trip to the Big Thicket. Interesting part of Texas. UNESCO designated Big Thicket as a Biosphere Reserve. There are 85 types of trees, over 1,000 flower plant types, almost 300 types of birds and, disturbingly, more than 50 reptile species. Including alligators.

Leaving Big Thicket, I got gas on the way to Village Creek. So, naturally, I called my mom to tell her I got gas and how much it cost. I talked to my mom during the entire walk under the Village Creek trees.

My mom had 2 family news items. I found one upsetting, the other not so much. The not so upsetting news was mom told me one of the incoming Tacoma Twins is a boy. I've not quite figured out if this incoming boy will be my nephew. Or not. It's very confusing.

The upsetting news was also nephew related. My youngest nephew, one of 2 who lives in the Phoenix zone, in his young 20s, is having heart problems. Going to a doctor quickly had my nephew sent to a heart specialist. He's been fitted with some device to help control the rapid heart beating while tests are being done to figure out what is wrong.

My mom was a tad sketchy on details, so I called my sister, but got no answer. It's so strange. I've got all these out of shape, semi-old, unhealthy relatives, about whom it would not shock me to hear a heart problem had developed, but to be told that my ultra-skinny, skateboarding, easy-going, youngest nephew has something wrong with his heart, well, that just does not seem right.

I'm thinking for several reasons, I need to take a trip to Phoenix.

ESPN Broadcasting Super Bowl From Downtown Fort Worth Parking Lot

The next Super Bowl will be played in Arlington in the new Dallas Cowboy stadium. It seems like only yesterday history's worst case of eminent domain abuse was being used in Arlington to kick people out of their homes, stealing their land, to build a stadium.

And now that stadium, built so shamefully, will shamelessly host a Super Bowl

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, a town that also has a tendency to abuse eminent domain, has its own Super Bowl stuff going on.

Yesterday Fort Worth's goofy mayor, Mike Moncrief was not pouring purple kool-aid into the Trinity River or shooting guns in downtown Fort Worth. Instead of those noble type activities, the dishonorable mayor was announcing that, uh, the parking lots, known as Sundance Square, will be used by ESPN as the location of their coverage of the Super Bowl taking place about 20 miles to the east.

Mayor Mike breathlessly opined, "It will transform our city from this day forward. It's one of those places along the road that help define our city. I believe ESPN was looking for a unique setting, a setting that made a Texas statement. And Fort Worth says Texas. This will give international exposure to millions of people and raise the curiosity not only for our city but for North Texas."

Oh. Where do I begin? A cable network broadcasting from a downtown Fort Worth parking lot will transform Fort Worth? Helping define the town? International exposure to millions? Raising curiosity about Fort Worth's parking lots?

And then Ed Bass, the man behind so much that is not quite right in downtown Fort Worth, who the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said helped bring about a renaissance of downtown, with the Sundance Square project, focused on what Bass seemed to think was an Old West theme, due to Fort Worth being a favorite haunt for the Sundance Kid and the Hole in the Wall Gang and other nefarious sorts 100 years ago.

Bass said, "Why did they come here? Because this is where the action is. And ESPN is coming to Fort Worth because this is where the action is."

Butch Cassidy and the Gang came to Fort Worth because it was a notorious lawless zone with its Hell's Acre area of bordellos, saloons and gambling joints. Not because it had a reputation as Action City. Now, modern day Fort Worth remains a bit of a lawless zone, as compared to other towns in America, but I doubt ESPN chose to come to Fort Worth because it has a mayor who does dirty deeds, that would land him in prision if he was not being mayor in a lawless zone, where criminal acts of conflict of interest are permitted without fear of punishment.

Then the Star-Telegram says, "With the Chisholm Trail parking lot's famous mural of longhorn cattle being herded by two drovers as a backdrop, viewers worldwide will see a slice of history in modern Fort Worth and learn why its motto is "Where the West Begins." Football fans across the world tuning in for ESPN's coverage of Super Bowl week in February will get a huge taste of downtown Fort Worth and its historic Sundance Square."

Famous mural of longhorn cattle? Famous with who? Historic Sundance Square? What is historic about a bunch of downtown Fort Worth parking lots being called a square? Now, when I've opined about the goofiness of the "Sundance Square" nomenclature before I've heard from the Sundance Square marketing director explaining to me what an amazing project of building restoration and preservation the Sundance Square project is. That its scope extends far beyond the network of parking lots.

But. Historic? The local propaganda describes Sundance Square as an Entertainment/Shopping District. I don't know of any other big city downtown in America that is not an Entertainment/Shopping zone.

But, Fort Worth is the only city in America, with a population over a half million, who's downtown does not have a single department store in its "Shopping District". No Neiman-Marcus, no Nordstroms, no Penneys, no Macy's, no Dillards, not even a Sears. There is a store where you can buy a cowboy hat downtown, however.

I wonder if the ESPN people checked out Heritage Park, where Fort Worth began, just a short distance north of the famous mural ESPN is going to be broadcasting in front of? I guess the Heritage Park eyesore must sit outside the 16 square block of renovated/restored structures that encompasses Sundance Square.

Isn't the Super Bowl broadcast on one of the networks? ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX? Would not the logical spot to broadcast your coverage of a sporting event be where the sporting event is taking place, not in some random downtown's parking lot? Is ESPN not allowed to infringe on the network's broadcast rights? Which likely include using the stadium as a backdrop?

I'm thinking this ESPN Super Bowl broadcast from Fort Worth deal is yet one more time where the good ol' boy network of goofballs who run Fort Worth are hoping magic is striking that will finally cause the rest of America to be able to recognize something in Fort Worth. A better plan would have been to use the Fort Worth Stockyards. At least it's a unique location, unlike downtown Fort Worth's parking lots and that famous mural looking down on that historic square.

One thing I am grateful for this morning. This ESPN news would seem to have been a perfect opportunity for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to break out its patented "Green With Envy" verbiage. As in, towns far and wide are green with envy because ESPN is coming to Fort Worth. Or Fort Worth is the envy of other towns because ESPN will be broadcasting from a downtown Fort Worth parking lot.

Instead, the verbiage was a bit more sophisticated, words like "famous" and "historic" used to describe objects that are neither famous or historic. But, this is much less cringe inducing than the Star-Telegram's green with envy verbiage. I consider this progress.

A Clear Blue July 22 Morning In Texas Heading To The Big Thicket

As you can see from the view from my patio, the sun is up, the sky is blue.

I was up before the sun was, this morning, but I did not make it outside to take a picture til after the sun arrived.

I am working at trying to be less of a creature of habit, hence the tardy picture of the view from my patio. And the fact that I am choosing to forego my regular, habitual morning swim.

There was some extremely good mockworthy material in this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The mocking will need to wait for another blogging.

I have no idea what I am going to do today. Except for a virtual trip out to East Texas, again, to the Big Thicket National Preserve.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sitting Under A Fosdic Lake Tree Trying To Talk To The Queen Of Wink After Visiting Marshall Texas

I ended up being a bit sore from Sunday night's fast running, due to downpours. I seem to have compounded this with Tuesday's Tandy Hills hiking.

So, today I had myself a really good swim, an activity which seems to make the aches and pains way less achy and painful.

By 11 this morning I was feeling no need for an additional endorphin fix. So, for my fresh air fix, or my fix of what passes for fresh air in Fort Worth, Texas I went to my favorite picnic table, overlooking Fosdic Lake in Oakland Lake Park.

I brought a book along, but prior to reading my intention was to call the Queen of Wink. Because the Queen of Wink told me to call her. I always do what I am told.

But the Queen exercised her Royal Prerogative and refused to answer her phone. So, I opened my book.

I was in the shade of several trees, with a pleasant breeze, quite a nice circumstance for doing some book reading.

Previously to heading to Fosdic Lake I had headed east to the Piney Woods Region of Texas for a virtual visit to Marshall. Interesting town. Both Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson went to school there. It was a hub of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. And a hub of the Confederacy in the 1860s. And Marshall puts on one of the world's most spectacular Christmas displays called the Wonderland of Lights.

It is currently 95 with a Heat Index of 100 in my zone of Texas. Two years ago today I was in a state of shivering shock, having spent an icy night in a Tacoma Basement Dungeon. Oddly, right now, it is 95 in Fort Worth. In Tacoma, right now, just reverse those digits. It is 59 degrees in Tacoma.

59 degrees is closer to 32, and freezing, than it is to 95. How did I ever manage to live in that brutal climate? I do recollect wearing shorts far less frequently in Washington, than I do in Texas. And I had a lot of long sleeve shirts and sweaters. And long pants, lots of long pants. And sweat pants. And long underwear. I do not clearly recollect if I ever went shirtless in Washington. I'm sure I must have gone swimming a time or two without being in a wetsuit.

If I remember right, tonight, 2 years ago, my sister got home from work and insisted I help walk the dogs at Point Defiance. It was brutally cold, I had a sore throat and my eyes had not yet adjusted to the extremely clear sparkling air and water. Brutal.

I must go find video of that brutal icy walk along the beach at Point Defiance...

July 21 In Texas Thinking About Snow & Swimming

No. That is not the morning of July 21 view from my patio.

I was stopped from taking a picture this morning of the view from my patio, due to the fact that when I turned my camera on it told me to charge the battery.

Actually, what it said was "Replace Battery Pack". I'd not seen this message before.

What you are looking at is the view from my patio last winter, around Christmas, if I remember right. A very rare foot of snow fell on North Texas.

Hard to imagine that possible in our current status of going over 100 every day, Heat Index-wise.

I find it difficult to believe, right at the moment, that I continued taking a morning dip in the pool all winter long. But I did. Often a very quick dip, then a fast run for the hot tub. I don't know if I am going to continue this bizarre practice this coming winter.

I'll be heading to the ice free pool in a little bit, after the sun finally decides to arrive. The early morning, very dark sky was still missing the moon this morning. Where has the moon gone?

I think I'll do me some virtually tripping to the East Texas Piney Woods zone again today. To Marshall. A town with an interesting history.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Virtual Tripping To Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal To Chinook's At Salmon Bay With Some Womenfolk

Right about this time, 2 years ago, I was making a tired arrival in Seattle with a very sore throat, hoping the clear, good smelling air of the Pacific Northwest would have my damaged by Barnett Shale respiratory system back quickly working. It didn't work out that way. I had a sore throat for the next 2 weeks.

So, yesterday I had been instructed to make a surprise visit to Seattle, to go to Chinook's at Salmon Bay at the Seattle Fishermen's Terminal, with the instructions coming from Betty Jo Bouvier, aka the Wild Woman of Woolley. Miss Linda R., who I'd not seen in many a year, though I have talked to her on the phone, since I've seen her in person, was to be there.

Linda R. is very reclusive, well, actually busy. She is hard to get to agree on a meeting time. Or so I've been told. It has been years since I tried to get her to meet me anywhere. That is Linda R. on the left, with Betty Jo in the middle.

You may recognize the third one in the trio if you watch LOST closely. Bethenny Jane. That's her Internet stage name. That I just made up.

Betty Jo just emailed me this picture, taken yesterday, asking me "Well...where were you???"

I was going to say I didn't know why she was asking me that, since it was I who took the picture. Then I realized that made no sense since it was Betty Jo who sent it to me, so obviously I did not take it.

Now, you Texas people looking at this picture, who have said to me it always rains in Seattle, but who have never been there, make note of the lack of clouds in the sky.

You in Fort Worth reading this, make note of the Town Lake that the fishing boats are floating on. The Town Lake is called Salmon Bay. Salmon Bay is connected to the Ship Canal and Ballard Locks which connect Puget Sound with Lake Union and Lake Washington.

I do not know how all these manmade water projects came to be. They are quite large. And don't involve any flood control, except for controlling the water in the Ballard Locks. I'm fairly certain none of it was the result of any Vision, Pork Barrel Earmarks, or a local Congresswoman's son being put in charge to build the project, with no experience doing such a thing.

If I've said it once, I've said it twice, Texas, well, Fort Worth, is like a whole different country from the one I used to live in.

Two Years Ago At This Very Minute I Was In A Plane Heading To Washington

In a couple hours it will be 2 years since I saw the view in the photo. That is not a stormy wild ocean you're looking at. You are looking north, towards Mount Baker over the Sea of Peaks of the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

A few minutes after this picture was taken I was landing in Seattle, around 9 pm, if I remember right, picked up by a pair of poodles.

Since it is 7 pm Central time, right now, where I was, precisely 2 years ago, was, I think, Albuquerque. I did not have to switch planes, we landed to pick up new passengers and get rid of others.

I remember today, 2 years ago, was HOT here in Texas, just like today. In the high 90s, with the Heat Index in the 100s. I remember overheating checking in at Love Field.

When I arrived in Seattle and exited the terminal, the first thing that struck me was that it was so COLD. When I got to where I was staying, in Tacoma, I was led down to a dungeon like quarters in the basement. It was very cold. That night I laid in bed shivering. When I could shiver no more I got out of bed and searched for more blankets. Eventually I was able to layer enough blankets on top of me to stop the shivering.

I really never did warm up that entire month in Washington. I remember 2 days before finally escaping the frigidity, I was in a Safeway with an enormously obese woman. It was cold outside, yet that grocery store seemed to have its air-conditioning running. I remember the shivering started again. Of course, I got no sympathy from the enormously obese woman, blessed as she was with a natural warming blanket, like a whale's layer of blubber.

Just a second, I must go check what the temperature is in Seattle right now...70!

I have my A/C set at 82, 70 is very chilly.

After several nights of cold terror, spent shivering in that Tacoma dungeon, I discovered a third floor loft which the dungeonkeepers thought was too HOT for human habitation. They'd even added two high-tech air-conditioning window units in the hope of making the loft habitable.

I asked if I could move from the dungeon to the loft. Permission was granted. The temperature gauge on the A/C units said it was 81, cooler than I keep it where I am right now. So, finally I was able to sleep without shivering.

A couple days after my arrival my mom and dad arrived. I proceeded, apparently, to ignore them, while they proceeded to devote a lot of time to processing an awful lot of raspberries.

Time flies. I can't believe it is 2 years since I put myself through that living hell of entire month in Washington. How did I get talked into that? I think I've blocked that memory.

Hiking The Emerald Forest Of The Tandy Hills With Wildflowers, Recovering Queens, Gar The Texan's Erudition & Smart Phones

You are looking at a trail deep in the Emerald Forest of the Tandy Hills, around noon, today. This particular trail is found after you cross the dried up Tandy Falls, where nothing is currently falling, at the end of the new Tandy Highway, that the Fort Worth Water Crew made passable.

Speaking of falls, this morning on another blog I blogged about Nooksack Falls. I mentioned Nooksack Falls a couple days ago. Due to it causing me bad nightmares.

I returned to the Tandy Hills today for my salubrious aerobically induced endorphin fix because Stenotrophomonas informed me that Sunday's downpour did not pour down on the Tandy Hills.

Yesterday I mentioned being perplexed by a sign in the Village Creek Natural Historic Area that made no sense to me.


The entity widely believed to be the most erudite person ever to have come from Wink, Texas, Gar the Texan, made sense of that sign for me.

Gar said, "The Golden Gate Bridge is a water crossing. It's a high water crossing; as in it's way up there. You aren't going to get wet crossing the water. A low water crossing also crosses water, but it's low. If the water rises too much, you're going to get wet. Anyway, it's not the water that is high or low. It's the crossing."

I think the rains of June and July and the high humidity have caused a slight resurgence of wildflowers coloring up the Tandy Hills prairie.

I don't know what I'd call the color of this delicate wildflower that was blooming solo, no relatives seen. I guess I might call the color faded lavender.

I heard from the Queen of Wink this morning. She has been laying low while she works out the kinks in her Top Secret Operation. She's had some computer issues. Even royalty has computer issues.

But, I suspect the Queen of Wink is the first queen anywhere using her phone to use Facebook.

Miss Puerto Rico got one of those new smart phones that can access websites, show movies, take movies, make movies, watch TV, do email and all sorts of others stuff.

Except it seems a bit weak on the classic phone operation.

As in, on Sunday, Miss PR got paged. When she went to call the number her new smart phone would balk at the 5th or 6th input. After she tried several times I asked if she wanted to try and make the call with my antique cell phone. She was able to make the call with no further problems. Using my extremely outdated un-smart phone.

It Is A Very Dark Moonless Morning In Texas

As you can see, the view from my balcony is looking out on the very dark morning of a very dark night, while I drink very dark coffee after waking up, early, in a very dark mood.

What has become of the moon? I can see stars twinkling through spaces between puffy clouds. But no moon. I have seen no moon in at least a week.

Yesterday I said I chose to go back to Village Creek Natural Historic Area to do my historically natural walking, due to me assuming the Tandy Hills got a heavy dose of water from the same downpour that got me soaking wet on Sunday.

However, I heard from Stenotrophomonas, he being one of the close monitors of the Tandy Hills, due to living in a location that makes monitoring easy, that the hills received nary a drop of the deluge that dropped so much wetness on me.

The Tandy Hills is less than 4 miles west of my location. Amazing how a storm as wicked as Sunday's only hit a very small area.

I guess I am off to the Tandy Hills today. But, before that happens I'm going swimming. If the sun ever decides to make an appearance.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Perplexed By Danger Low Water Crossing on Village Creek Today

Due to Sunday's unexpected extremely wet downpour I didn't think the Tandy Hills would be a good plan for my daily endorphin fix.

So, it was back to Village Creek Natural Historic Area again. Just like yesterday, despite it being cooler, barely in the 90s, and despite being mostly in the shade, I managed to get almost as soaked as I did in last night's downpour.

It would be helpful if the air was moving a bit. Not as extremely as last night's sudden burst of gusts, but a little wind would be a good thing.

I had not noticed the sign you see in the picture before. Is it new? It may have always been there, for all I know. I can be very un-observant.

Behind the sign you're looking at Village Creek and one of two dam/bridges that cross it.

Now, I admit I can be a bit dense at times, so maybe I'm being dense about the message on the sign, "DANGER LOW WATER CROSSING".

What does that message mean? The danger comes when the creek floods and goes over the dam. At that point a danger sign would make sense. If it said "DANGER HIGH WATER CROSSING". As in crossing the bridge.

The park is always closed when the water goes over the dam/bridge, so basically when you can see the sign it's of no use, because the creek is running a normal flow.

Change of subject to Elsie Hotpepper. EH has seemed a tad sad of late. I'm thinking she is in dire need of doing some saloon hopping. With the hopping taking place some place tropical.

Are The People Voting On Big Dumb Boondoggles In Fort Worth & Seattle? If Not, Why Not?

If I remember right I think I've mentioned previously that I find it interesting how differently democracy is practiced in my current location of Fort Worth, Texas, compared to my previous location in the Seattle, Washington zone.

Both towns have big public works projects underway. In Fort Worth the project is known by various names, such as Trinity Uptown Project, Trinity River Vision or simply as That Big Dumb Boondoggle.

In Fort Worth the people who live in the city have not been allowed to vote on That Big Dumb Boondoggle.

Meanwhile, Seattle may have a boondoggle of its own in the making. That being the multi-billion dollar plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bore tunnel under downtown Seattle.

In Seattle there is growing opposition to the tunnel, coming from various sources.

Now, to show you how differently issues are dealt with in Seattle, compared to Fort Worth, I've taken an article from today's Seattle P-I regarding the opposition to the tunnel. I have substituted "tunnel" with "Trinity River Vision" and "Seattle" with "Fort Worth" and changed Seattle's mayor Mike McGinn to Fort Worth's mayor Mike Moncrief and changed the price tag from $4 billion to a measly $1 billion.

Now, read this and ask yourself why you would never read such a thing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram....

With big questions about potentially huge cost overruns, skeptics are gaining steam to torpedo the Trinity River Vision in Fort Worth.

Some groups want voters to have one final say about the Trinity River Vision -- before it's too late.

The Trinity River Vision is expected to cost nearly $1 billion to construct. But a consultant for the Fort Worth City Council says there's a 40 percent likelihood it'll cost more than that.

With that new ammunition, some Fort Worth groups -- such as the Sierra Club and Real Change -- are pushing for a new referendum that would stop the project unless city taxpayers are protected from cost overruns on the state project.

If that referendum gets enough signatures, Mayor Mike Moncrief -- who does not want Fort Worth on the hook -- says he supports a citywide vote.

Meanwhile, council members say there's still time for a compromise.

A Texas Falling Down Sunday Night Storm & Monday Morning Blue Sky Norm

That is not the Monday morning, July 19 view from my patio you are looking at. It is the Sunday early evening view from Miss Puerto Rico's.

I was not aware of any forecast for anything wet, on Sunday. I was peacefully minding my serene business, sitting out on Miss PR's balcony, when suddenly a really clear rainbow popped in to view.

With me on one of the very rare occasions when I did not have my camera with me. It was starting to get real windy. I decided to run back to my abode to get my camera so I could get a picture of the rainbow.

I got back to my abode, got the camera, and exited my abode to find rain falling. Hard. By the time I got back to Miss Puerto Rico's I was soaking wet. Totally soaking wet. I removed what I could of what was wet, whilst still maintaining some modicum of propriety.

Then all HELL broke loose. Lightning striking, wind gusting, rain downpouring. The picture above really does not do justice to the viciousness of Sunday's surprise storm.

When I exited Miss PR's, to make my way back here, it was a wet, muddy, slippery journey.

Keyword, slippery.

As in I slipped and fell. My camera case got covered in mud, but the camera stayed safe. Which is why it is kept in a case. To protect it from my tendency to slip and fall inconveniently.

Today, that day being Monday, July 19, has dawned calm, as you can see in the picture of the view from my balcony, with a blue sky and a pleasant temperature of a relatively chilly 76.

I'm going swimming now. I hope I make it to the pool without slipping and falling.