Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Almost Made It All The Way To Pluto Tonight At The Prairie Fest

Prairie Fest 2012 Vendor Free
The entry to the Prairie Fest re-boot looks way different than the past few Prairie Fests, with no vendors on either side of the sidewalk. And beyond.

I did not realize, til I got there, that part of today's Prairie Fest Experience was a tour of the planets.

Near the entry to the planetary tour I ran into Olive the Prairie Dog and the young lady Olive keeps on a leash, Debra Young, who told me I should listen to the Planetary Guide's planetary spiel.

But, I knew my Adult Attention Deficit Disorder was in high gear and that listening to anything that took over 20 seconds was not a good idea.

Olive's leashee told me that the trail all the way to the freeway was strewn with planets, with Pluto being the final sun orbiter on display.

A Pair Of Tandy Hills Stroller Pushers
And so I took off on a tour of the planets.

Imagine my disappointment when I got to where I thought Pluto should be, to find Neptune. With no Pluto to be seen.

I was later told Pluto had lost its planet status.

I am a bit uncertain why the Tandy Hills is embroiled in this Pluto planetary brouhaha.

I don't think I've ever seen so many people out walking on the Tandy Hills' trails as I saw tonight. I know I've never seen moms pushing babies in strollers before.


I overheard 3 different people remarking about their surprise at the views they were seeing. I actually heard one guy remark that the skyline looks beautiful from here.

This said at the location I regularly snap a picture of downtown Fort Worth and use verbiage something like "looking west at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth."

Fort Worth's Finest On The Tandy Trails
If I remember right, I'm being a bit sarcastic and a tad ironic when I use the "stunning skyline" verbiage. This guy tonight truly thought the view showed a beautiful skyline.

I must admit, the lighting was good. I should have taken a picture, but bemusement overtook me.

Last year I was sort of appalled at the number of Fort Worth police at the Prairie Fest. It seemed very excessive for such a peaceful event.

This year I only saw two Fort Worth police officers. A pair of lady cops. And this pair was not just leaning on their cop car dipping donuts into coffee, they were out patrolling the Tandy Trails looking for evildoers.

All in all, methinks this re-thought Prairie Fest was well thought out.

Next month maybe misters need to be a cooling option. And, for sure, by the HOT time of the May Prairie Fest.

The Tandy Hills Are All Greened Up & Ready For Prairie Fest 2012 Part One

In the picture you are looking at the vast prairie atop Mount Tandy on the eastern edge of the Tandy Hills Natural Area, where, in a couple hours Prairie Fest 2012 Part One will begin.

I expect to arrive, with my picnic basket, some time between 4 and 5.

On my way to the top of Mount Tandy, today, I saw Prairie Fest signage installed, pointing the way to the Tandy Hills.

I have not heard from Elsie Hotpepper regarding if she is going to be at the Prairie Fest today. I will have a jar of peanuts with me in case Elsie is there and is in need of a feeding, which is usually the case at these type events attended by Elsie Hotpepper.

So far it is not too HOT. Only 73 degrees. I suspect it will be in the 80s by the time the Prairie Fest bands begin making noise. Maybe I should bring a bumbershoot with me to provide shade.

I learned last night that Fort Worth native, MKB, currently exiled in Tacoma, is returning to D/FW for a visit in July. July is much too late for MKB to be attending any of 2012's Prairie Fests.

But, MKB will be in Fort Worth just in time to have fun in the Trinity River at one of the Rockin' the River Inner Tube Happy Hours.

I forgot to mention, today I was back in light as a feather mode zipping up the Tandy Hills, which would seem to indicate that that which had been ailing me has completely abated. I am pleased about that.

Prairie Fest X3 Part 1 Today At 4 On The Tandy Hills


Come celebrate your connection to the natural world!

EVENT  HOURS: 4 PM - Dusk

STAGE  SCHEDULE
4pm  Matthew Broyles
5pm  Barbara Taylor
6pm  Trinity Dogs
7pm  Ginny Mac

SOLAR-POWERED  BY: The Solar Shuttle, North Texas Renewable Energy and that big ball o' fire in the sky.

DISCOVERY  HIKES  FOR KIDS  &  FAMILIES: 4 - 6 PM.

Led by the amazing Earth teacher, Heather Foote, of Prairie Keepers. This one will fill up fast so arrive early.

Discovery Hikes sponsored exclusively by Whole Foods Market.

PRAIRIE-WILDFLOWER  HIKES: 4 - 6 PM

Walking tours organized by the Google of Wildflowers, Suzanne Tuttle, of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and led by Master Naturalist volunteers.

FOOD  &  DRINK:
Chadra Mezza & Grill will offer samplings from the Mediterranean-style menu made famous at their venerable restaurant.

Good Karma Kitchen will be serving vegetarian and vegan options out of their famous food truck named, Lucy.

New Belgium Brewing and Rahr & Sons Brewing beers/ales will be available at the Chadra tent.

IMPROMPTU  PRAIRIE:
The big open space that used to have vendors is now your personal playground for kite-flying, frisbee throwing, dog-chasing and picnicking.

The Final Day Of March Dawns With Birds Chirping & 100% Humidity With Prairie Fest 2012 Part One Later Today

Looking through the bars of my patio prison cell on this final day of the 3rd month of 2012 all I can see in the pre-dawn darkness is a swimming pool looking unnaturally blue.

We are still at 100% humidity at this opposite of a desert part of the planet. Chilled, this morning, to 64 degrees.

The predicted high for today has been dropped a degree, to 89.

That chillier temperature should make for a more pleasant Prairie Fest Part One, starting at 4 this afternoon on the Tandy Hills, which will be rocking to the sound of music.

I have my windows open this morning and I must say I am enjoying a rather complex symphony courtesy of a variety of birds who are sounding very happy. The birds must like high humidity.

I think I will go swimming now to try and cool off before it gets any hotter.

Friday, March 30, 2012

On The Tandy Hills Looking For Wildflowers While Feeling Like A Bloated Pig

That Is Not Wild Asparagus Growing On The Tandy Hills
Today, on the Tandy Hills, it became clear to me that whatever I brought back with me from Arizona, that gave me a really bad headache and other aches for a couple days, then slowly abated, is still with me.

As in, usually I go up the Tandy Hills light as a feather blowing in the wind. Today I plodded up the Tandy Hills feeling like a bloated pig being led to slaughter.

Not that I really know what a bloated pig feels like. It's just a guess on my part.

My mom called me Wednesday night and informed me that my sister got sick after I left Arizona, and my favorite brother-in-law relapsed, requiring a doctor's visit, where meds were prescribed. My mom and dad, with their superior immune systems, did not catch this particular ailment.

It is already a week since my now ailing sister and I hiked to the top of Piestewa Peak. On that hike I was still in light as a feather blowing in the wind mode. I could not have done that hike, last Friday, feeling like I do this Friday.

If I'm still feeling like I'm in ailing mode tomorrow, I will need to re-think my plan to go to the Prairie Fest. I would not want to start an epidemic.

I've been getting messages about tomorrow's Prairie Fest on the Tandy Hills.

Methinks someone forgot to send the Tandy Hills the message that tomorrow is the Prairie Fest, because the Tandy Hills is being unusually sparse with its wildflower display. Although, the top of Mount Tandy was quite a bit more colorful today than a couple days ago. But there was nary a bloom on Lost Sunglasses Ridge.

Boris & Natasha Comment About Fort Worth's Pravda While We Get Gritty Without Air Conditioning

A couple times yesterday I blogged about a really weird propaganda puff piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that claimed that Tim Love's new eatery had given new life to the, apparently, dying Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

I opined that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram operated more like a government mouth piece than a real newspaper, comparing the Star-Telegram to the Soviet Union's party paper Pravda, opining...

One thing I will say in behalf of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, as compared to the Soviet Union's Pravda. I don't think Pravda printed comments from comrades pointing out the absurdity of Pravda's propaganda. If a comrade commented they likely were sent to the Gulag.

The above paragraph generated amusing comments from CatsPaw, Steve A and Boris & Natasha....

CatsPaw said...
Comrade, you are seeing krasnaya! Let no Crackpottsylvania no goodniks' fiendish plans go unremarked. Keep banging your shoe on the table. Spasibo. Da svidaniya. And yeehaw.

Steve A said...
How do you know those Startlegram commenters are not on their way to a long visit to Huntsville as I write this? Durango, you still around? Durango? Hello?

Boris & Natasha said...
Regarding not getting sent to the Gulag when you criticize Fort Worth's version of Pravda; in Fort Worth, where could we get sent that is worse than where we already are?
________________________________

Mitchell Schnurman's Star-Telegram propaganda piece titled Love's eatery has given new life to river vision continues to be commented on. Below is a comment from someone who just does not seem to understand why so many people complain about so much in a city that is the envy of the world, which has another commenter explaining why it is Fort Worth citizens are cranky about the way Fort Worth operates....

shermrob
Unfortunately the comments on this article are the standard for Star-Telegram readers.  Out of fifteen comments, only three of them were on the positive side and the other twelve are the usual complaining about getting anything nice in Fort Worth regardless of who is trying to do something good for the city.

yakami11

City should really ask the citizens who pay for all of their dream projects what they want instead of telling citizens what they will do and get. I bet you would see much nicer comments if tax payers were asked, What would you like in your city.
_______________________________

I forgot to mention one really really odd bit of information in the Star-Telegram's Tim Love Woodshed propaganda puff piece. Below is an excerpt from the paragraph containing the really odd bit of information...

Granger wouldn't OK air conditioning in the restaurant, because he wanted a gritty, authentic feel and a natural connection with the river.

So, in the above we learn that J.D. Granger, the man with no experience running a big construction project, who was given the job of running the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, as a favor to his Congresswoman mama, so she would be motivated to get federal funds for Fort Worth's equivalent of a Bridge to Nowhere, is also a restaurant entrepreneur who was able to use his dictatorial powers to ban air-conditioning from a Texas restaurant, because everyone knows if you don't have air-conditioning it helps give you a gritty, authentic feel and a natural connection to an extremely polluted river.

Granger nixing air conditioning generated yet one more amusing comment to the Star-Telegram propaganda puff piece....

md
"Granger wouldn't OK air conditioning in the restaurant" Granger is stupid.
___________________________

Granger is stupid? That seems a bit harsh.

Methinks there is way more that is stupid about this entire mess than J.D. Granger.....

This Morning Is Finally The Final Friday Of March With Tomorrow Being The Final Saturday & Prairie Fest 2012 Part One

Stepping outside to my secondary viewing portal on the outer world, in the pre-dawn darkness, on this final Friday of the 3rd month of 2012, confirms that the pool illumination is in malfunction mode.

My air-conditioner malfunctioned and now this? How much hardship is one person supposed to bear?

Currently at my location the pre-dawn air is chilled to 68 degrees. And, according to my computer based weather monitoring device, it is foggy again this morning.

Fog so far from the ocean and any other large body of water always seems very odd to me.

Today is scheduled to heat up to 84 degrees. Tomorrow we are currently scheduled to hit 90 for the first time, I believe, this year.

Since tomorrow is the final Saturday of March, it is Part 1 of 2012's three-part Prairie Festival.

Tomorrow I currently plan to go hiking on the Tandy Hills in the noon time frame and then return at 4 in the afternoon, which is when the Tandy Hills turn festive with the start of Prairie Fest. I expect there to be a large crowd of revelers reveling.

I may go to the Tandy Hills today, weather conditions permitting. Before I do that I am going to go swimming as soon as Mother Nature decides to provide some natural illumination.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Down The Rabbit Hole With Fort Worth's Moribund Pravda Giving New Life To A Dying Vision

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram gets curiouser and curiouser.

I think curiouser and curiouser is a line from Alice in Wonderland. Which is a bit appropriate, I guess. Isn't Alice's Wonderland accessed down a rabbit hole, with Wonderland being a place where all is backwards?

Sort of like the Wonderland that is Fort Worth.

Earlier today I opined about a rather bizarre propaganda piece in Fort Worth's Pravda, known as the Star-Telegram.

Pravda means Truth, in Russian. Pravda rarely printed the truth, Pravda usually printed propaganda, as in bizarre articles in support of the communist regime's goofy schemes.

When I looked at the online version of Fort Worth's Pravda, a short while ago, the propaganda piece I'd opined about earlier had grown to be more prominently featured.

Just the title of the article is Alice in Wonderland Down the Rabbit Holish.

Love's eatery has given new life to river vision

Let's think about that title for a second. Love's Woodshed Smokehouse eatery has given new life to the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle? Really? Has the Star-Telegram had some articles about the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle being moribund? As in dying?

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is in such bad shape that a little restaurant next to a muddy, polluted river, outside of the area that the vision originally was seeing, has somehow breathed new life into the barely breathing Boondoggle?

Such a claim is bizarre, even for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Pravda Propaganda Purveyor.

Apparently I am not the only one who is thinking the Star-Telegram is sinking to new lows.

The Lone Star Telegraph blog has opined about today's Star-Telegram TRVB propaganda with Star-Telegram gives away free advertising. The Lone Star Telegraph sometimes mentions my blog. I've been asked more than once who is behind the Star-Telegraph. The answer is I don't know. I've been told it is a guy named Moe, along with several others. I know no one in Fort Worth named Moe.

And then there is an email on the subject of today's latest S-T Propaganda, from Fort Worth's Gail Galtex, who said, in part....

I was writing to tell you about this article in today's paper but just noticed that you beat me to it, haha.  Barf. Glad I finally decided to cancel the sorry Fort Worth Star Telegram paper a few weeks ago.  This story confirms that I did the right thing.  The three-page glowing propaganda story a few weeks ago about how wonderful Kay Granger is made me want to barf too.  

And then there are the comments today to Mitchell Schnurman's Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda. Below are some of the comments.......

StBns
If you sit back long enough and look at this endeavour the little light indicating sweetheart backroom deal comes on. Also...Tim Love's food is unimaginative and overpriced. But I suppose some people enjoy that kind of stuff.

whitepeaks2002
Anyone who thinks this is going to be awesome dining in July/August (if not before) is simply fooling themselves. The people with big bucks always flock to the new unusual venues initially, but it's simply a matter of time (and weather) until the elite crowd, drifts to the "next big thing". All that will be left at The Woodshed will be a lot of sweaty college kids...probably the ones that work there.

When I read about people changing the course of a river, I still shake my head. Changing the natural flow of water is against the law of nature and will ultimately cause major problems. I wish all the people who are so insistent on building businesses on the river would go back and look at Montgomery Wards on 7th St. (now Montgomery Plaza) when it was under water up over the second floor, stemming from flooding in May of 1949. The entire area was completely submerged. Men were navigating the area in boats from the Trinity river up past University Drive. If you've never seen the pics or footage, you should Google it.

whitepeaks2002
Also, you've missed it if you haven't seen the river during the Texas hot summers... very slow moving water smelling stagnant....the trees on the banks filled with nesting birds, smelling of bird poop and inundated with flies...with trash of every description, tree limbs, logs and tons of miscellaneous debris piled up like mini-log jams at the overpass at University Dr. near the Zoo. Yeah...classy.    

Chris Danger
Lake Benbrook was built to make sure an event like the '49 flood wouldn't happen again..

formaldehyde
See "Restaurant owners irked by no-bid deal with celebrity chef Tim Love" by Barry Schlacter in this same paper on November 26, 2011

fwcpc
"The TRV aims to move a river, reclaim acres of waterfront land near downtown and attract the development to pay for it" Mr. Schnurman is correct in describing this as a development project. Unfortunately it is our tax dollar that is paying for the work of moving the river. This project was cleverly disguised and sold as a flood control project. It is true the overall project is required for flood control in the event THE EXISITNG FLOOD CONTROL LEVEES COME DOWN TO ALLOW FOR DEVELOPMENT. This information is clearly presented in the Corps of Engineers 1,000 page study of the project and yet mayor Kay was able to push and win taxpayer funding. It is no wonder Tarrant County has the 22nd highest property tax rate in the nation (16 of those higher counties are in New York and New Jersey). This project may well prove to be a nice enhancement to the city but was presented in a very dishonest manner.

justfuninfw 
The food sucks and the service is terrible.  Fortunately the prices are too high too.

relic37
No A/C and the humidity of a nearby river - summer evenings should be delightful! 

blaneatt
First of all the food is unbelievable...second, the view is beautiful...third, the ambiance is relaxing and comfortable...fourth, they have live music (Blue Hat) http://www.facebook.com/Blueha... on the patio...this family friendly band will play next weekend on Saturday 6:30 to 10:00 pm. This place is amazing and shows that in Texas...people can get it right!!!! By the way, the pulled pork is to die for!!!

mpound17
I know I am not the only one here that sees irony in your regrettable use of the word "pork" in praising this particular result of yet another typical city hall backroom deal. The only thing getting "pulled" here is the taxpayers chain. What a scam.
____________________________

One thing I will say in behalf of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, as compared to the Soviet Union's Pravda. I don't think Pravda printed comments from comrades pointing out the absurdity of Pravda's propaganda. If a comrade commented they likely were sent to the Gulag.

The Final Thursday Of March Marveling At Fresh Bizarre Fort Worth Star-Telegram Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Woodshed Propaganda

Looking out my primary viewing portal on the outer world on this final Thursday of the 3rd month of 2012 it appears to be very very dark this morning prior to the arrival of the illuminating nuclear sky orb.

My computer based weather monitoring device, this morning, is telling me at my location it is currently 61 degrees and foggy, with 100% humidity, heading to a high today of 81.

Changing the subject from my favorite one to one I find vexing.

That vexing subject being Fort Worth's propaganda purveyor that calls itself the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

This morning the Star-Telegram published a piece of propaganda titled "Love's eatery has given new life to river vision" written by a supposed reporter who appears to be a publicity agent for the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and J.D. Granger, named Mitchell Schnurman.

The propaganda piece starts with...

If the Woodshed Smokehouse is any indication of what's ahead for the Trinity River Vision, maybe they could start digging that bypass channel a few years early. How will Fort Worth ever wait? The Woodshed is so good, so soon, that it gives the river project a jolt of new energy and even gives government a good name.

Yes, how will Fort Worth manage to wait for the un-needed flood diversion channel to protect the town from a flood? It seems to me, since this is such an important project, that it should be fast tracked, rather than built in the extremely slow motion way that Fort Worth is accustomed to building its public works projects.

The Woodshed is so good that it gives government a good name? A government entity, operating without openness and transparency, gives government a good name? The Woodshed gives the river project boondoggle a jolt of new energy? A restaurant built southwest of the area touted as the location of the TRV Boondoggle project has somehow given a jolt of new energy to the boondoggle? Really?

Apparently the Woodshed Smokehouse has taken in almost a third of a million dollars in its first month of operating.

Schnurman says....

Eventually, the water district will net several hundred thousand dollars a year, to be funneled into trail improvements and other river uses. That's great, but this was never about maximizing restaurant dollars, which is why some early critics had it so wrong.

I do not recollect any of the Woodshed/Granger critic's criticisms having anything to do with maximizing restaurant dollars. I believe the criticisms had to do with this being a backroom deal giving one specific restaurateur a sweetheart deal without allowing other local restaurateurs the option of competing. That and building a restaurant outside the "Uptown" development area seemed to stray far from what had been, previously, the "Vision."

They complained that J.D. Granger, executive director for the TRV Authority, hadn't asked for bids before signing a 10-year lease with Love. Texas law doesn't require competitive bidding for the water district, and that's fortunate, because Granger wasn't buying gravel for a riverbed.

I thought that previously the Star-Telegram revised its earlier version of how this sweetheart Woodshed deal came about, taking J.D. Granger out of the equation and claiming it was a Tarrant Regional Water District deal, not a J.D. Granger good ol' boy scheme. The Star-Telegram really should make an effort to keep track of its propaganda.

He was trying to prove that river development could be a big-time winner in Fort Worth -- that a prime location on the water might be worth three times more than land a few blocks away. Do that and stoke some pent-up demand, and a decade from now, the tax base would soar and the TRV economics would work.

The above is fascinating. Now the Star-Telegram, via Schnurman, is propagandizing us that the Woodshed deal was part of a brilliant scheme hatched by that savant, J.D. Granger, to prove that river development could be a big-time winner in Fort Worth. And that a location on the river might be worth a lot of money, proving, a decade from now, the tax base will soar and the TRV economics would work.

So, the TRV Boondoggle has been underway for quite some time. A lot of earth has been moved. A lot of businesses have been stolen via eminent domain abuse. Yet, even though all that took place prior to the building of the Woodshed Smokehouse, this restaurant was needed so that J.D. Granger could prove that river development could be a big-time winner in Fort Worth????

Yes, that really makes an awful lot of sense.

I need to go swimming now and experience the real world rather than the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunting For Sesame Seeds In Arlington's International District's Cho Saigon

A Field Of Bluebonnets In Arlington's Veterans Park
This morning I decided I wanted to make myself a Chinese type stir fry for my noontime feeding.

Checking supplies I saw I was suffering from a shortage of the type things I need to replicate Chinese food.

Before today it had been a long while since I'd been in the part of Arlington I've called Chinatown, in the past.

Today I realized the part of Arlington, along Pioneer Parkway, that I call Chinatown, would more properly be called Arlington's International District, due to the fact that while there are Asian grocery stores, featuring products enabling the cuisines of various Asian nations, like Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea and, of course, China, there are also grocery stores featuring Middle Eastern food products.

Arlington International District's Cho Saigon
And Russian food products.

And Mexican food products.

And even American food products.

Like the Jack in the Box next to the Cho Saigon grocery store I visited to stock up on my Asian ingredients.

On the way to Arlington's International District I got gas. So, I called my mom and dad to tell them I got gas. They were not home. What a surprise.

After getting gas I went to Arlington's Veterans Park to try and un-kink my kinky legs with some salubrious walking.

After Veterans Park I headed east to the former Chinatown. It takes awhile to find stuff at the Cho Saigon. There are dozens upon dozens of soy sauces to choose from. A long treasure hunt to find sesame oil.

No use asking anyone who works there where anything is located. The helpless hunt makes it funner. Eventually I found the sweet chili sauce I wanted. I gave up on finding sesame seeds.

The stir fry I concocted, after I got back to my abode, turned out quite tasty. Baby bok choy is a good stir fry ingredient, as are oyster and shitake mushrooms. And red peppers.

The Tarrant Regional Water District's Muddy Board Report 2011 Vision

In the picture you are looking at the cover of a publication I found in my mailbox this morning. Actually, I found two copies of this publication in my mailbox this morning.

The publication is Board Report 2011 from the Tarrant Regional Water District.

It is currently 2012. Not 2011.

I do not recollect receiving, previously, in the mail, Board Reports from the TRWD, for years previous to 2011.

On the cover it says that the report is "A clear vision for  a substantial and growth-oriented future."

Looking through Board Report 2011 it appears to be a slick propaganda piece touting the alleged virtues of the Water Board.

I did not see any mention made regarding the Tarrant Regional Water District's branching out into the restaurant business in cahoots with J.D. Granger and his Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and Celebrity Chef Tim Love and the controversial Woodshed Smokehouse.

In the Board Report there is a lot of verbiage about saving water, water restrictions and the Lawn Whisperer.

There is no mention made of the volume of water sold to gas drillers by the TRWD to frac Barnett Shale natural gas wells.

I find the water restrictions really bizarre in the TRWD zone, what with all the millions of gallons of water taken out of the system to be polluted with chemicals and then injected into gas wells.

I recently spent 10 days in the Sonoran Desert.

North Texas, and the area served by the TRWD, is not a desert.

The region may occasionally suffer from droughts, but it is not a desert.

So, how is it that in the Phoenix Metropolitan area there are so many water features? Like town lakes, such the Tempe Town Lake, built without the help of J.D. Granger and his earmark-happy Mama, and with actual signature bridges? Or Scottsdale's Waterfront?

Fort Worth might want to send a task force to Tempe and Scottsdale to see how towns which wear Big Boy Pants manage to create such developments, while Fort Worth is stuck in its Little Boy Knickers, relying on a corrupt congresswoman, (who got this corrupt town earmark money favors, in exchange for her little boy getting a job managing Fort Worth's bizarro water feature project), hinky funding mechanisms and never, God forbid, never, a public vote approving taxes to raise funds to build the pathetic little water feature, its unneeded flood control channel and what used to be signature bridges across the unneeded flood control channel.

And how is it the Phoenix metropolitan area, in a desert, a dry, hot desert, manages to manage its water supply without putting the public on Water Restrictions?

Is it because the Phoenix Regional Water District, or whatever that area's government water management agency is called, does not divert any of its water supply to gas drillers pumping millions of gallons of water into  gas wells?

All the water I saw in the Phoenix zone looked clear and clean. I saw no dirty looking Trinity River type water flowing. Why is that? I saw very little litter in that dusty, windy part of the planet. Why is that?

It is all very perplexing.

And in addition to all I've already mentioned that perplexes me about this issue, I am also perplexed as to how the Tarrant Regional Water District justifies spending what must be a large sum of taxpayer money, on this self-serving propaganda publication.

The Final Wednesday Of March Dawns Dark With News Of Fort Worthington Bluebonnets

Looking through the bars of my patio prison cell at the outer world on this final Wednesday of the 3rd month of 2012, I can see the lights of the pool are not on, thus making the pre-dawn darkness appear darker than the norm.

I hope the lights being out in the pool are simply a timer switch issue and not a dead light bulb issue requiring a partial pool draining to repair.

Currently the temperature in Fort Worth and Phoenix are only one degree apart, with Fort Worth being the the hotter town. temperature-wise only, at 62.

The humidity in Fort Worth remains high, at 86%. With my air-conditioner back working the humidity is not bothering me when I am in my interior space.

Speaking of Fort Worth, I got an amusing blog comment this morning from someone named Anonymous telling me about yet one more thing in Fort Worth causing spasms of Green with Envy syndrome in other cities...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hiking The Slightly Muddy Tandy Hills Admiring Fort Worth's Iconic Downtown & Bluebonnets": 

Fort Worthington Bluebonnets?
Years ago the Worthington Hotel in downtown Fort Worth commissioned Texas A&M to create a new variety of Bluebonnet that is/was a lighter shade of blue. I think it was named the Worthington Bluebonnet and all other cities were, of course, green with envy over Fort Worth's very own variety of Bluebonnet. Whatever became of that Bluebonnet I cannot tell you. 

The Bluebonnets I found yesterday, blooming bright atop Mount Tandy, appear to maybe be a lighter shade of blue than the Bluebonnet norm. Could these be a patch of the fabled Worthington Bluebonnets that cause spasms of Green with Envy Syndrome in towns that don't have their own town specific brand of Bluebonnet?

Fort Worth really needs to think about dialing back on its incredible specialness that is making way too many towns way too envious.

I think it is time to go swimming now, in the pre-dawn, light-free pool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hiking The Slightly Muddy Tandy Hills Admiring Fort Worth's Iconic Downtown & Bluebonnets

The Stunning Skyline Of The Downtown
 Of The Museum Capital Of The Southwest
I was back on the hills of the Tandy Hills Natural Area today for the first time in weeks. The hills were still a bit muddy in places from last week's heavy rain.

The wildflowers are being a bit more sparse than I thought they would be, what with all the rain.

Today was my first look at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth since I learned that Fort Worth's arty aspects are the envy of many other older, larger cities.

I must concede, that, just like New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, Seattle, Moscow and countless other cities, the iconic skyline of Fort Worth is recognizable world-wide, with constructions as well-known as the Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Space Needle and Eiffel Tower.

It really is no wonder that Fort Worth draws art lovers from all over the world to experience the brilliance of the Amon Carter Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the triumvirate that collectively makes Fort Worth the Museum Capital of the Southwest.

And soon, when the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle becomes clear, in addition to being the Museum Capital of the Southwest, Fort Worth will also be the Vancouver of the Southwest.

Imagine the waves of out of control envy that will bedevil cities, far and wide, when Fort Worth becomes the Vancouver of the Southwest.

Mysterious Un-Natural Arrow Point To What?
I can hardly wait.

Changing the subject to something else that makes Fort Worth the envy of the world. That being the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Part One of the 2012 Prairie Fest takes place this coming Saturday. From 4 PM til the sun goes down there will be music, wildflower hikes, plus food & drink from Chadra Mezza & Grill, Good Karma Kitchen and New Belgium Brewing and Rahr & Sons Brewing.

Today, on the Tandy Hills I saw the arrow you see in the picture, spray painted on the ground. This did not seem very natural too me. There were additional flags stuck in the ground, in addition to the one you see in the picture.

A Bed Of Bluebonnets Glowing Blue
Marking off what? I could not help but wonder.

Mother Nature was also marking her territory, with the State Flower of Texas, the Bluebonnet, being the wildflower most abundant.

Changing the subject from something blue to getting  cold.

The A/C fix-it guy fixed my A/C today. So, I'm ready for a HEAT wave.

While I Was Out Of Town Fort Worth Again Became The Envy Of Other, Older, Larger Cities


I've been out of the Dallas/Fort Worth news orbit for less than two weeks. Somehow, during that short absence, Fort Worth's Fort Worth Weekly got infected with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda virus.

That being verbalizing, in print, the absurdly weird idea that anything in Fort Worth is the envy of other, older, larger cities.

Just the "envy of" verbiage makes me cringe.

Below are the first three paragraphs from this week's Fort Worth Weekly cover article titled Second Annual Visionary Awards....

Here’s a conundrum: How can Fort Worth have such an incredible array of art-related institutions and not be an “art town”? (At least not yet.)

Yes, there are arty aspects of the Fort that are the envy of many other, older, much larger cities. The tri-headed brilliance of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Kimbell Art Museum, and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth make Fort Worth the museum capital of not just Texas (sorry, Dallas; sorry, Houston; sorry, Austin) but arguably the entire Southwest.

So why isn’t Fort Worth considered an art town? Why would an established visual artist tell an up-and-comer seeking career advice to go to Dallas? (Names have been removed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.) Are Fort Worthians simply too enraptured by their Cowtown heritage to care about anything not bovine or floral, forcing progressive artists out of town?

I'm thinking that maybe Fort Worth is not considered an art town, or, really, even considered, by most Americans, to be a town they know anything about, because Fort Worth really is not on the American radar screen.

Example.

Flying back to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, from Phoenix. At the terminal, prior to boarding, the announcements are along the line of "Zone 3 Flight 348 to Dallas now boarding."

While taxi-ing, prior to takeoff, the pilot announces that due to a tailwind we are hoping to land in Dallas a few minutes early.

About a half hour before landing the pilot informs the passengers that we are about 200 miles out of Dallas, where the temperature, in Dallas, is 64 degrees. Upon landing we get a welcome to Dallas.

Fort Worth was not mentioned once during the flight.

Same thing happens when one flies to Seattle. You hear no mention of Tacoma, even though the airport is the Seattle Tacoma International Airport. However, the population of Tacoma is barely over 200,000, while Fort Worth's population is approaching 800,000.

Regarding Fort Worth's "art" scene.

Well, I admit I am a very poorly educated, ill read moron, so it really is no mystery why I'd never heard of Fort Worth's museums prior to moving here.

I do recollect, soon upon moving here, being in downtown Fort Worth,  wondering where Sundance Square was, well prior to learning there is no Square in Sundance Square, and being amused by signs pointing to the "Cultural District," wondering why in the world would a town designate an area as its Cultural District?

I think a really good measure of how far below the national radar Fort Worth flies is the fact that there really is no iconic image of Fort Worth that anyone, anywhere, sees and instantly knows it is Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Stockyards sign does not count, because of the dead giveaway of having the town's name in that particular, sort of, iconic image.

The Fort Worth Weekly article asks "why isn't Fort Worth considered an art town?"

Well.

Have you looked at the town? Really looked? And compared what you see to what you see in towns that have a more elevated reputation?

I'm guessing a town that might be thought of as an "art town" might pay attention to something as basic as landscaping. Other big towns, with which I'm familiar, pay attention to the aesthetics of how their town looks.

In the Phoenix metro area every freeway exit that I saw is landscaped. Roads are landscaped. The entire area  is landscaped.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, the freeway exits to the town's only well known tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, are un-landscaped, weedy, littered eyesores.

This type thing, that being littered eyesores, are not the type thing that causes envy in other, older, much larger cities.

Or so it seems to me.

The Final Tuesday Of March Dawns With Another Clear Blue Sky Morning In Texas

I looked out my primary viewing portal on the outer world at about the same time the nuclear sky orb was arriving to begin its daily lighting and heating duty on this final Tuesday of the 3rd month of 2012.

I have double-checked today to make sure I've got the day correct.

It is already 60 degrees at my location this morning, 3 degrees warmer than my previous location in the Sonoran Desert.

The splitting headache and overall misery that had me miserable the past two days seems to have abated overnight. So, this morning my mood is matching the cheerful chirping I am hearing through my open window.

Speaking of spending time in the Sonoran Desert. I expected to return to Texas having gained a bit of weight.

Instead the opposite happened.

I don't quite understand why, due to the fact that I was consuming copious amounts of food of the sort I don't usually consume. Like dessert. pies, cinnamon rolls, candy.

And various types of potato chips. And a lot of french fries.

And hamburgers.

Changing the subject from my eating disorder to something else.

My swimming pool warmed itself to a very comfortable temperature in my absence. I went swimming in the morning and the afternoon, on Sunday and Monday. I thought some afternoon pool lounging might get rid of yesterday's headache. But, it didn't.

I think I'll go swimming right now before it gets any hotter.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Dizzy Sickly Headachy Walk Around The Green Grounds Around Fosdic Lake

I think I must have picked up a germ or two lately.

I've been not feeling all that well ever since I got back to Texas.

I've had a lot of potential germ exposure lately.

Multiple restaurants, church, crowded airports and airplanes.

My favorite brother-in-law sick with an undiagnosed ailment.

Dozens of retired people.

It's a well known fact that exposure to retired people is putting yourself in harm's way, in the same manner as visiting a day care with dozens of sickly little kids.

I am now on my second day of having a headache. My vision is blurry. I'm a mess.

But, I did manage to drive to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake for the first time in awhile.

As you can see, via the picture, Oakland Lake Park is being very green today.

One thing about North Texas, it is quite a bit greener than the Phoenix Valley of the Sun zone. Greener in the sense of greener vegetation, not greener in the sense of being more environmentally responsible.

I must muster the energy, soon, to opine about the issue of water use restrictions as practiced in a desert and as practiced here, where there is a lot more water, and it is not a desert.

But, right now, I am going to need to lie down for a bit and hope the feeling of being dizzy dissipates.

Up Well Before The Sun On The Last Monday Of March

The Shadow of the Skinny Dipping Thin Man is up way too early on this final Monday of the 3rd month of 2012.

I got in the vertical position around 5 this morning. If I were still at my mom and dad's this would be 3 in the morning.

It is currently 62 degrees at my mom and dad's, 3 degrees warmer than my current location where the humidity is at 80%

I have had my windows open all night. My A/C is not functioning correctly. The A/C repair person will be repairing my A/C today.

I had a headache all day long yesterday. I do not remember the last time I have suffered that particular malady. Elsie suggested this was caused by 10 days of Hotpepper withdrawal. I do not think this diagnosis is correct because I heard from Elsie Hotpepper every day I was not in North Texas. So, I did not experience any Elsie Hotpepper withdrawal that I noticed.

I think the day long headache may have been caused by system shock caused by returning from a scenic wonderland, with clean air and water, to a desolate zone, with significantly less clean air and water.

Plus that vexing humidity.

I may go swimming this morning before the illuminating sky orb arrives. But, before I do that I must do something for the aforementioned Elsie Hotpepper.

UPDATE: Oops. Elsie Hotpepper informed that today is Monday, not Friday, so I time traveled back 4 days to the correct day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Walking With the Village Creek Indian Ghosts

An Ethereal  Village Creek Walker
It seems as if it has been weeks since I've walked with the Indian Ghost who live in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington.

So, I visited them today.

The small parking lot for the Village Creek Natural Historical Area was about a third full. Not the level of park parking lot activity I've been seeing in parks the past 10 days.

In the picture of the pair of paved trail walkers walking the paved trail today, I am 100% certain the one on the left is a living human. I am not 100% that the ethereal spectre on the right was not an Indian Ghost vision walking beside the guy.

I don't know if the Village Creek Indian Ghosts were able to sense I'd recently been walking with the Ghosts of their Apache enemies to the west. I suspect not.

I am not a big fan of today's humidity whilst walking. Between the humidity and the lush greenery, walking in North Texas today was very jungle-like.

Village Creek Dam Bridge
There was still a lot of water running through the Village Creek Dam Bridge today. I could see that last week's flood got very high, via the mud markers left behind.

I went swimming this morning and was very pleased to find the water much warmer than when I last got wet in it.

This afternoon I had an encore swim with some poolside lounging. It was so pleasant I forgot about the humidity for a minute or two.

I rarely get headaches. I did not get a headache in Arizona, no matter how strenuously my parental units strained me with their hyper-activity.

But, today I woke up with a headache. And it has lasted all day long. Reaction to Texas? To humidity? To bad air pollution? To a combo of factors?

Very vexing.

Up Late The 4th Sunday Of March Seeing No Palm Trees Or Cactus

Looking out my primary viewing portal on the outer world, on this 4th Sunday of the 3rd month of 2012, I can see no cactus or palm tree.

I do see trees with way more leaves than I saw the last time I looked out this particular primary viewing portal on the outer world.

Spring sprung while I was gone.

I suspect I will be seeing some wildflowers today, though none are visible from my current location.

I did not hit the horizontal nocturnal position, last night, til around 2 in the morning. I don't remember the last time I was in the vertical position, so late, or awake, for so many hours, having gotten vertical very early Saturday morning.

This morning I think I will go swimming in a non-heated pool.

I am 100% certain I will be the only one in the getting wet, with no group of well-seasoned ladies emulating Esther Williams.

Back In HOT Humid Texas After Ten Blissful Days In Arizona With My Mom & Dad & Sister

The Sun Sets On My Visit To Arizona
I have made it back to Texas. Leaving a place where the humidity was 18%, arriving at a place where the humidity is 78%.

I'm feeling like I've been hit with a wet blanket.

I turned the A/C on as soon as I walked into this place.

I've been going to bed early in Phoenix, by 10pm Central Time. Currently I am up way past midnight, Central Time.

I had myself a fine time in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport this evening. I somehow got my sister flustered when we got to the airport, which had my sister on the wrong level. When I disembarked from my sister's vehicle, she told me to take the elevator to level two to get to the check-in level.

But, by the time I was inside the airport, what my sister had told me had changed, in my mind, to take the long elevator to the third level. I then walked the long third level past one restaurant after another, lugging a laptop, a backpack and a big check-in piece of baggage.

This was exhausting.

Eventually I found a flight of stairs that took me to level two. From then on the rest of the process went well, except for forgetting to take my camera out of my pocket.

I've never been in a plane following such a long line of other planes waiting to take off as I did tonight. I felt like we spent more time waiting to takeoff than we spent in the air.

The flight back to Texas seemed to go way faster than the flight to Arizona.

I'm a bit on the tired side, but I'm all wired up.

By morning I should know if it nice to be back. Or not.

I will say, right now, I am back in Texas freshly annoyed over how many things are so totally craptacular here.  And freshly vexed as to why this is the case.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Visiting The Leaf & Feather Farm Birds Planting Bougainvillea With My Dad

Bougainvillea At The Leaf & Feather Farm
What you are looking at in the picture is some Bougainvillea.

This particular Bougainvillea was found at the Leaf & Feather Farm, south of Maricopa, out in the Sonoran Desert.

I do not know how my sister and mom and dad find these remote locations. It is sort of unsettling. But, they seem to know where they are going.

Most of the time.

The Feather part of the Leaf & Feather Farm refers to birds. The farm has a lot of birds. Most of them exotic birds. Check out the Leaf & Feather Farm website to learn why they have so many exotic birds, in addition to exotic plants.

These Pretty Birds Did Not Speak To Me
The drive through the desert was quite enjoyable today. We saw a herd of wild horses near the Wild Horse Casino, which is why the casino is so named, due to all the wild horses milling about.

When we started today's desert excursion the tire sensors indicated we had a low inflation problem. This caused a slight outbreak of worry, that eventually abated.

At the Leaf & Feather Farm my sister and I met Snowball. A white pretty bird.

Snowball's mom and dad gave the bird up for adoption at the Leaf & Feather Farm due to neighbor's complaints about the bird's squawking being too noisy. We first met Snowball when his (or her) dad was in Snowball's cage, holding him (or her).

Snowball's Mom & Dad Playing Bird Ball
Snowball's mom was also there. She told us about Snowball, how she (or he) lived 15 years with a Korean lady, who taught Snowball Korean. I don't know how long Snowball lived with his (or her) new parents before moving to the Leaf & Feather Farm.

As we were preparing to leave I saw that Snowball's mom and dad had taken her (or him) outdoors to play ball. I wandered over to the ballfield and asked if  I could take a picture.

Obviously the answer was yes.

My mom got her rare Bougainvillea and my sister got an Easter Egg Emu bush. We'd seen these the week before at the Papago Desert Botanic Garden plant sale. I did not think we'd find this Australian plant at this nursery in the Sonoran Desert and remarked to my sister if it was there she would need to buy one.

The Easter Egg Emu bush was the first plant you came to as you drove to the plant zone of the Leaf & Feather Farm. So, my sister got one. And then my mom did.

Leaving the Leaf & Feather Farm we were soon back in Maricopa where we found one of those cool McDonald's restaurants we've been finding all over Arizona. I got another of those Filet O' Fish Sandwiches I always have a strong hankering for. After awhile my favorite brother-in-law showed up. He seems to often show up at the McDonald's we happen to happen upon.

Mom & Dad's New Bougainvillea Blooming Bright
After another drive through the desert I found myself back at my mom and dad's in Sun Lakes, where my dad and I had fun planting the Easter Egg Emu plant and the Bougainvillea. Desert dirt did not seem all that much different than dirt I've dealt with in non-desert locations.

After my dad and I finished the plant planting my mom made us chicken noodle soup, with cheese and crackers and lemon meringue pie. Those Meyer Lemons in the backyard are a gift that just keeps giving.

My sister is due to return in a little over an hour to drive me to the airport so that I can fly back to a non-desert, high humidity, no wild horses, part of the planet.

My Last Morning In Arizona Swimming With The Sun Lakes Ladies

This morning I decided to have one more swim with the Ladies of Sun Lakes before I depart this part of the planet.

However, this Saturday morning there was only one Sun Lakes Lady in the pool.

I decided to forgo going in the Lap Pool because I saw that the bald Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan had Jane with him today and the pair were stirring up quite a wake, which I felt was best to avoid.

So, I walked back to my lounge chair and did some warm up lounging before getting into the Chat Pool. The Chat Pool is what you see below my feet. The Chat Pool is not heated.

I was in the Chat Pool, for a couple minutes, when the Sun Lakes Lady, who you see in the Big Pool, got out to ask me if I knew the pool I was in was not heated. I told the Sun Lakes Lady what I did know the Chat Pool was not heated, that I got in the Chat Pool before getting in the HOT Big Pool, which then made the HOT Big  Pool feel super HOT.

The Sun Lakes Lady said she'd try that next time.

I am now out of the pool, back at my mom and dad's, waiting for my sister to arrive so we can make the trek across the desert to Maricopa, which apparently is the town in Arizona which has cornered the market on Bougainvillea bushes.

My mom has just left me with a super hot cinnamon roll which she says I must eat because I did not eat my second egg this morning. I just accept these type things and no longer question the logic.

My sister has now arrived, so it is off to Maricopa we go, hopefully to return with a Bougainvillea bush.

The Fading Shadow Of The Arizona Thin Man The Morning Of The 4th Saturday Of March Hunting Bougainvillea

In the picture, in the lower right corner, you can see part of the Shadow of the Arizona Thin Man, looking out his primary viewing portal on the outer world on this 4th Saturday of the 3rd month of 2012.

It is currently 61 degrees at my current location, heading to a predicted high of 85. Later today I will likely be heading back to my current home zone, in Texas, where for the second day in a row it is colder than my current location, at 53 degrees, heading to a predicted high of 83.

I suspect it is significantly more humid where I am heading than where I am now.

I also have reason to believe, due to reports I have received, that the landscape of North Texas has decided to put on a Super Spectacular wildflower display this year.

Next Saturday, on the Tandy Hills, part 1 of Prairie Fest 2012, takes place.

Weather permitting, I am thinking I will be checking out Prairie Fest 2012, Part 1.

Next Saturday should be the coolest, temperature-wise, of the three part, 2012, Prairie Fest. Part 3, in May, should be quite warm. Likely there will be some sort of eco-friendly cooling devices. Perhaps out of school kids armed with spray bottles.

I think I may go swimming again this morning. My mom and dad are driving south to Maricopa to go to a nursery to get a colorful Bougainvillea bush. Maricopa is about 30 miles south of the Phoenix metro zone. Apparently there are no Bougainvillea bushes available for sale in the Phoenix metro zone. Or maybe they are a dime cheaper.

I have been breathing and sleeping so well here in Arizona, I am sort of not looking forward to re-adjusting to consuming seriously polluted air that clogs up my respiratory system and makes my eyes water. But, that is a really small price to pay to get to experience the wonders of Texas.

I am particularly looking forward to returning to a place where the people are properly inflated, instead of this strange Arizona zone where most of the people appear to have had the air let out of them. Deflated people may be a bit more aesthetically appealing to look at, for some, but, during the course of my exile in Texas I have grown to like seeing my humans inflated. I guess I've just gotten used to the fact that everything is bigger in Texas.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Had Myself A Fine Dinner Time At The Ahwatukee Sweet Tomatoes Tonight

Ahwatukee Sweet Tomatoes At Sunset
As you can sort of see in the picture, the sun had mostly set for the evening by the time we left the Ahwatukee Sweet Tomatoes tonight.

I have never seen a Sweet Tomatoes as busy as this one was tonight. And this is the biggest Sweet Tomatoes I have ever seen.

Come to think about it, I have only seen the insides of one other Sweet Tomatoes, that being the one in Arlington, Texas.

Unlike the Sweet Tomatoes in Arlington, the one in Ahwatukee, in addition to being bigger on the inside, also has an outside covered patio, cooled with misters.

We sat in the outside covered patio area. But there was no need for misters.

My mom and dad and I arrived far in advance of my tardy sister and my favorite brother-in-law. That worked out well, because we were able to secure seating in the seating scarce restaurant.

Tonight I found out that it is no longer true that I don't eat dinner. I consumed far more than any of the others in my party of puny eaters. The only thing most of my party seemed to consume, with any sort of relish, was when the Chocolate Chip Cookie Boy came by with small platters of hot out of the oven Chocolate Chip Cookies.

My Sister Smiles While My Favorite Brother-In-Law Smirks
While I Administer A Gentle Scolding
My favorite brother-in-law began eating the hot out of the oven Chocolate Chip Cookies prior to finishing the non-dessert items on his plate. I felt compelled to issue a gentle scolding about this egregious behavior.

And then I remembered the poor guy was ailing and yet he mustered the energy to come to Sweet Tomatoes to have dinner with his favorite in-laws.

After about an hour of trying to eat as much as I possibly could, it was deemed time for me to stop indulging in my new found eating dinner pleasure.

The drive back to Sun Lakes was in inky black darkness. I was able to navigate, without co-navigator help, the return to my mom and dad's homeport. It took me about 10 days to learn this. No one has ever said I am a quick study. This would be an example of that.

My Final Friday In Arizona With An Extra Exhausting Schedule Plus Sweet Tomatoes

Lounging Pool-Side With The Esther Williams Wannabes
Today is my last full day in Arizona. It is only 3 in the afternoon and I've already had me a day.

I was going to break today, so far, up in to separate bloggings, but, I decided, instead, to just write one long-winded blogging, of today, so far.

With pictures.

My sister was scheduled to pick me up at 9. So, at 8 I decided to go swimming, again, with the well-seasoned ladies of Sun Lakes.

The swimming and early morning pool lounging went well with the warm temperature, which has now risen to 82 degrees by mid-afternoon.

Palm Tree Surveillance
I was enjoying lounging in the sun when I looked up at the palm trees to see one that did not look right.

Can you spot the odd palm tree in the picture?

Near as I can tell, Sun Lakes security feels the need to keep an eye on the well-seasoned ladies in the pool and so they've mounted high-tech security devices, disguised as a palm tree.

Sneaky.

As I walked back to my mom and dad's I saw my sister had already arrived. We all discussed the later today plan to go to Sweet Tomatoes, and then my sister and I were on our way to Piestewa Peak, among other things.

Piestewa Peak used to be called Squaw Peak. Squaw Peak was renamed to honor Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, who was the first American Indian woman killed in combat and the first female soldier killed in action, in the Iraq War, way back in 2003.

Piestewa Peak aka Squaw Mountain In The Distance
Piestewa Peak, at 2,608 feet, is the second tallest peak in the Camelback Mountains.

Since around 1910 the name Squaw was used to reference this peak. It was also called Squaw Tit Mountain. Some considered the name Squaw to be derogatory.

I can't imagine why.

Over the years efforts were made to change the name from something other than Squaw or Squaw Tit. A Native Navajo State Representative, Jack Jackson, in 1992, began submitting bills to change the name.

Changing the name of Squaw Mountain generated a lot of squawking. Eventually the American Indian Movement got involved, wanting to change the name to Iron Mountain. Finally, on April 17, 2003, within a month of Lori Piestewa's death, the name was changed.

Busy Parking Lot With A Lot Of People
With The Air Let Out Of Them
I am drawing a blank as to how it was we left the freeway and were suddenly at a parking lot at the base of Piestewa Peak. I was surprised at the large number of cars parked.

I am used to going to parking lots for hikes in Texas and finding few cars.

My sister has hiked on Piestewa Peak previously, with my other sisters, and others. My sister indicated she'd never made it to the summit. The summit is reached with an elevation gain of 1,190 feet in 1.2 miles, so it was easy to believe my sister had never made it to the summit.

My Sister Way Ahead Of Me On Way
 To Piestewa Peak Summit
But, just like how my sister tricked me into a bad bet regarding Susan Lucci and Dancing With The Stars, I was suckered into a bad bet again, betting my sister she could not make it to the summit.

In the picture can you find my sister way ahead of me, past the Saguaro?

My sister hiking at such a fast pace should have clued me to the fact that she is in way better shape than I was led to believe.

We ran into many bikers, hikers and joggers on the Piestewa Peak Trail who looked like they'd had the air let out of them. Everywhere I go in Arizona I see people who appear to have been deflated.

The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail sees thousands of hikers a week. Quite a few of those hikers do not make it all the way to the summit. But, even though the trail is much more difficult than it looks, many hikers do make it to the summit.

Heading Toward Camelback Mountain
Including my sister and me.

Unfortunately without photo documentation due to my camera battery going dead, with the backup battery back in the vehicle.

From the top of Piestewa Peak we could see the McDowell Mountains, the Superstition Mountains, Tabletop Mountain, the Harquahala Mountains, the Papago Mountains, Pinnacle Peak and Four Peaks. Plus other Peaks and Mountains the names of which I have forgotten.

The hike down Piestewa Peak was much easier than the hike up. This is often the case with these type things.

Soon we were back on the road again, with my sister taking me on a driving tour of Old Phoenix, north of downtown. Very cool mansions. Then it was on to the Arizona Biltmore where we wanted to have lunch. But we could not find the Biltmore In-N-Out Burger.

We left the Biltmore and drove on to the Phoenician in Scottsdale. Still no In-N-Out Burger.

Camelback Mansions
Eventually we reached the base of Camelback Mountain. Some call this Sugarloaf. I have no idea why because the mountain clearly looks like a camel with a hump.

We drove up towards the top of the hump, towards huge mansions built into the side of the mountain. The only thing I've ever seen remotely like this is on the Hollywood Hills.

We left Camelback Mountain to drive through downtown Scottsdale. It was a hopping busy place on a Friday afternoon. I was impressed with all the restaurants, galleries, patios and the over all look of downtown Scottsdale.

I forgot to mention that before we drove through downtown Scottsdale we drove by my step-niece's house, which is very close to downtown Scottsdale.

We did not go into my step-niece's house, because my sister has no key, unlike the situation which got us into trouble with my nephew and our unscheduled inspection of his house.

In The Picture I Am Not Feeding The In-N-Out Birds
We left Scottsdale and headed to Tempe where we finally found an In-N-Out. It was very busy, but there was no line to order my Combo #1, which is a Double-Double with fries and a drink.

We found outdoor seating where I was warned not to feed the birds.

Tempe is a college town and this In-N-Out is near ASU. So, the place was packed with college kids. Most of whom appeared to have had the air let out of them.

Post-burgers we headed south, passing wrecked giant windmills and watched a dustdevil do a tornado like spin above the desert. Eventually we made it back to my mom and dad's, where mom brought me celery stuffed with something made with jalapenos and asked me if I could find the nearest Midas Muffler location.

I found the nearest Midas Muffler. Mom and dad have been gone well over an hour, to get their oil changed at Midas Muffler.

Tonight we are off to Sweet Tomatoes. I think I already mentioned that. Have I also mentioned I usually don't eat dinner? I guess not....

A Warm Morning In The Valley Of The Sun On The 4th Friday Of March With A Cacophony Of Tweeting Birds

The view from my primary viewing portal on the outer world on this 4th Friday of the 3rd month of 2012 looks about the same as the view yesterday morning and the morning before that.

Tomorrow the morning view will also likely be the same. And then the morning after that there should be a drastic change in the view from my primary viewing portal on the outer world, if all goes according to the current schedule.

The sun has now arrived in the Valley of the Sun and has already heated the air to 61 degrees, making this the first morning I have been in Arizona that is warmer than my regular location north of being deep in the heart of Texas, where it is only 45 degrees this morning.

I am not exactly sure what today has in store for me. I have heard hiking on a mountain mentioned. I am not quite certain where this mountain is. I have heard Sweet Tomatoes mentioned. I may go swimming with my Esther Williams wannabe ladies this morning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Having A Superior Arizona Lunch After Driving To Globe On The Old West Highway

A Solo Saguaro With A Mountain Background
I never tire of desert scenery. I am particularly fond of Saguaro cactus. I have been fond of Saguaro cactus as long as I remember. I saw many Saguaro today on the drive to Globe, in addition to the solo one in the picture.

My sister was given the driving duty today, which afforded me more lookability.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the glare of the sun impacted the on the move picture taking. I probably should have rolled down the window. In my defense, I am exhausted and not at all thinking clearly.

It is beginning to become borderline embarrassing the number of times I have been told that some question I am asking has already been asked and answered. This happened multiple times last night with my nephews and again multiple times today. And, again, in my defense, I plead exhaustion. That and I am not getting my usual high dose of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

My Sister's White Knuckles On The Steering Wheel
I am guessing that my current reduction in aerobic stimulation is causing some level of oxygen deprivation to my brain cells, hence the memory problem and not thinking of something so rudimentary as rolling down a window.

Pictures taken with the camera aimed out the windshield appear not to have suffered too greatly from the sun glare problem.

Below is an example of a picture taken through the filter of window glare. Even with the glare you get a good idea of how scenic the scenery was today on the way to Globe.


My sister drives way faster than I do, pushing my mom and dad's tire's cornering ability to the limit, over and over again, as we careened around the twist and turns of this particular mountain road, known as The Old West Highway.

Besh-ba-Gowah Pueblo Archaeological Exhibit
I don't know how this happened, but at one point in time my mom and dad's car dealer must have gotten some sort of alert that my sister was testing the outer limits of the vehicle's abilities, because a call was received from the dealer, telling my mom and dad they needed to bring the vehicle in to have a failed sensor replaced. It was spooky.

Eventually we passed Superior, and then Miami, which finally led to Globe. In Globe we eventually made it to the Besh-ba-Gowah Pueblo Archaeological Exhibit. This is a reconstructed 14th century Salado Indian ruin.

On the way to Globe we saw several billboards inviting us to the Pickle Barrel Trading Post, promising that we would not believe what's inside.

My Dad & Sister Outside The Pickle Barrel Trading Post
So, of course we had to stop to see what we would not believe. But first we had to wait until the Pickle Barrel opened at 10am.

When the Pickle Barrel Trading Post opened we ceased checking out the stuff outside the Trading Post and joined the throngs inside.

I saw a lot of stuff inside the Pickle Barrel Trading Post, but I saw no Pickle Barrel. And, despite the billboard's indicating otherwise, I was able to believe what was inside the Pickle Barrel.

Pickle Barrel Tradingpost Website
When we were kids, my brother and I were rockhounds. We would have had ourselves a real fine time hounding the cool rocks for sale at the Pickle Barrel.

Globe reminded me of other mining towns I have visited, like Lead, South Dakota, Rosyln, Washington and Bisbee, Arizona. In the case of Lead and Bisbee, big open mines, clearly visible. In the case of all three, ramshackle houses clinging to steep hills, with colorful downtowns.

World's Smallest Museum In Superior
Eventually we left Globe and headed back towards the Valley of the Sun, via the Old West Highway.

Beginning in Globe, lunch began to be discussed. We drove by Chalo's Casa Reynoso restaurant, in Globe, but it had not yet opened.

Eventually we made it to Superior. We toured the downtown of Superior. It looked familiar, as did the outlying parts of Superior. I would later learn why Superior looked familiar.

When we left downtown Superior, and got back on the Old West Highway, we saw a restaurant that looked interesting. We pulled into the parking lot behind a motorbike gang, to learn the restaurant is called the Buckboard City Cafe and is the home of the World's Smallest Museum.

My Sister & Dad (Blocking View Of Mom) In
The Buckboard City Cafe
I think it was on the Buckboard City Cafe menu we learned that the Clint Eastwood movie, The Gauntlet, was filmed, I assume, in part, in Superior.

Later I learned other movies have used Superior's scenery for movie scenery, like Oliver Stone's U Turn, How The West Was Won, Skinwalker, The Prophecy, The Salena Incident, Blind Justice and others.

I rather enjoyed the Buckboard City Cafe. The waitress promptly arrived with menus. It took us awhile, well, my mom, to decide what to order.

I had the Cheezburg. It came with fries or soup of the day, which was split pea and ham. I opted for fries.

After what seemed like a really long time the waitress arrived with the vittles. This was one of those times when a long wait was not vexing. Even though we were starving.

On the table there was a bottle of really hot hot sauce. I wish I could remember the name, but, like I've already indicated, I am having memory issues. Suffice to say the name of the hot sauce was clever and I put it on my fries.

I think the hot sauce acted as a bit of a substitute for aerobic stimulation, because I felt a bit more alert for a short duration.

Antique 1984 Compaq Computer
When we left the Buckboard City Cafe we toured the World's Smallest Museum. Let's just say the curator chose some interesting items. Like a 1984 Compaq computer. I am currently typing on a laptop version of a Compaq computer, built in this century.

After we left the World's Smallest Museum the ride back to the Phoenix metro zone seemed to go real fast. Eventually I found myself, once again, in a 99 Cent Store. I was not tasked with finding turkey legs.

Tomorrow my sister and I are hiking to the top of a mountain, the name of which I can not currently remember.