Friday, September 22, 2017

Theo, Ruby & David Seabrook Leap Into Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Successful Wheel Surgery At Wichita Falls Bike Stop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wichita Falls Blue Sky After Powerless Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bug Free Mount Wichita Summit Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midwestern University Desegregation

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

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

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wichita Falls Circle Trail Handlebar Encounter With Bug Eyed Robot

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

David's 9/11 Happy Birthday Sushi Feast With Raw Scorpions

Last night nephew David called to thank me for that which the postal service had successfully delivered from Texas to Washington for his 9/11 celebration of turning nine years old.

Today some photo documentation of David's Happy Birthday arrived, with the only text explanation for the photos being "David's birthday choices" and "But he still hasn't eaten the scorpion he got at the fair".

The second photo is the one with David holding his un-eaten scorpion.

I did not know David's taste for seafood had expanded to include desert based seafood type creatures.

The fair referred to as the source of David's scorpion would be the Washington State Fair, also known as The Puyallup. (pew-el-up for those who don't know how to pronounce PNW tribal names).

The Puyallup takes place a short distance from David's home zone of Tacoma. In fact I think the city borders of Tacoma and Puyallup likely meet at a point or two. I think it is the Puyallup who operate the big casino which is in Tacoma.

David's Scorpion
Yesterday I mentioned the possibility the next time I'm in Tacoma, of David taking me to the Muckleshoot Casino Resort so as to experience that casino's Friday night seafood buffet, forgetting at that point in time, about the Emerald Queen Casino right in Tacoma.  I am fairly certain the Emerald Queen is a Puyallup operation. I know for certain I have had myself a mighty fine feeding at the Emerald Queen's seafood buffet.

I may remember a mighty fine Emerald Queen seafood  feeding at their buffet, but I recollect liking the Muckleshoot Casino's seafood buffet better, and have indulged in the Muckleshoot buffet version more frequently, likely maybe because its Auburn location is close by during times I stayed in Kent.

Now the absolute best, in my experience, seafood buffet-wise, in a Washington Casino, would be the one to be had far to the north of David's Tacoma location, up in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, where there are two large casino resorts, one operated by the Skagit tribe, that being the Skagit Casino Resort with its The Market Buffet, the other by the Swinomish.

Both have excellent buffets, with the Skagit one on Bow Hill being the one I have likely partaken of more than any other anywhere. But, the seafood buffet at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge is the absolute best, seafood buffet-wise. The Swinomish do oysters the way my mom did oysters, back when mom did such things as fry oysters.

Speaking of seafood, back to David's Happy Birthday yesterday, let's take a look at the third photo delivered to Texas documenting David's 9 /11.


Sushi. How many nine year olds ask for sushi on their birthday? The above photo was the one with the text telling me these were "David's birthday choices". I can make out the Super Marina Plate of sushi, but I can not identify the pie type on the right, or the liquid product on the left.

Knowing David I doubt the pie type is something as mundane as pumpkin pie. Maybe it is something like sweet potato buttermilk pie. As for the liquid product, I have no guess.

Searching For Dozen Reasons To Lure Amazon To Fort Worth

A few days ago Amazon let the world know they are thinking about building a second company headquarters. HQ2, at some location other than Seattle.

Having recently eye witnessed Seattle in Amazon boomtown mode I can see why Amazon would think it a good idea to open a second headquarters. I don't know how much more booming Seattle can take before bursting, traffic and otherwise.

And then we have sleepy Fort Worth, a town which does nothing fast. A town which has been boondoggling along year after year with an ineptly engineered public works project the public has never approved, known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or America's Biggest Boondoggle.

A few days after the Amazon announcement I was amused by a typical Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda article about the subject, a screen cap of that article's headline is what you see above, "Amazon headquarters in North Texas? Let us count the ways".

 The first paragraph...

It is easy to rattle off a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live — world class museums, the Trinity River trails, the world’s largest honky tonk, Joe T. Garcia’s — to name just a few.
Really? It is easy to rattle of a dozen reasons why Fort Worth is a great place to live? And these four examples of the alleged dozen reasons are your examples?

World class museums?

What town wearing its non-provincial big city pants refers to anything in its town as "world class"? World class? As opposed to what? National class? State class? County class? Yes, it is true, Fort Worth has a couple well regarded museums, brought to town early in the previous century after the wives of some local oil barons visited New York City, then returned to Cowtown pouting to their husbands that Fort Worth needed some museums if it was ever gonna be a town of culture. And so Amon Carter, and others, bought some artwork, built some museums in an area upwind from the rancid smelling Stockyards slaughter zone, and called this area the Cultural District, to differentiate it from the rest of the town which lacked culture.

The Trinity River trails?

Yes, in Fort Worth there are paved trails along many miles of the Trinity River. As the Trinity River flows alongside those trails, for the most part, it appears to be more of a big ditch than a river. And the water in that river ditch is murky, polluted, nasty. Not fit for fish, or fishing. This is not a river of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to seeing. Nor are the Trinity River trails of the sort those working in the current Amazon headquarters are used to biking, blading and jogging on. Few trees, few if any, amenities. The Trinity Trails are no Burke-Gilman, in other words, words which those who work in the current Amazon headquarters will understand.

The world's largest honky tonk?

Does the Star-Telegram really think Billy Bob's is a big selling point making Fort Worth a great place to live? Or a reason a corporate headquarters might consider moving to Fort Worth?

Joe T. Garcia's?

Okay, one of the four reasons cited I agree with. I am not aware of there being any restaurant like Joe T. Garcia's being located anywhere near the current corporate headquarters of Amazon. Or anywhere in Washington. Joe T. Garcia's is one of the go to places I take any visitor who has never been to DFW or Texas before.

I can not help but wonder what the rest of the dozen reasons are which the Star-Telegram thinks make Fort Worth a great place to live.

One can not be the town's lifeless downtown with zero downtown department stores, with zero downtown vertical malls. How many vertical malls are in the downtown of Amazon's current corporate headquarters? How many department stores? And then there is that sprawling attraction known as Pike Place. Does Fort Worth have anything like Pike Place? Well, there was the Santa Fe Rail Market, but that only lasted a couple weeks.

Has Fort Worth fixed Heritage Park yet? After years of being a boarded up eyesore at the north end of the town's downtown, across the street from the country courthouse. A town which can not upkeep a park dedicated to its heritage really does not seem like much of a viable candidate to which a world class corporation would want to locate.

One of Amazon's new headquarters location criteria is easy access to outdoor recreation. Well, there are no real mountain trails in the DFW neighborhood. There are no ski resorts a short distance away. No cruise ships or ferry boats docking anywhere nearby.

Like to walk? Most Fort Worth streets have no sidewalks. Don't most world class cities with world class museums have world class sidewalks?

Fort Worth is particularly ill served by city parks. Most of which lack modern plumbing. And modern restrooms. Yet proudly sport an astonishing variety of outhouses. World class outhouses.

I recently spent time in Tacoma and Chandler, Arizona. Both towns, much smaller than Fort Worth, have multiple public pools. Pools with wave features and lazy rivers. Fort Worth has no such thing. But, the town does have happy hour inner tube floats, with music, in summer, in the polluted Trinity River.

Speaking of America's Biggest Boondoggle. Maybe if that ill fated much needed flood control economic development scheme had been actualized the way things get actualized in actual world class cities Fort Worth would currently be making use of its new fake waterfront, little lake, canals, whilst driving across its three little bridges connecting the town's mainland to an imaginary island.

And, if in 2017, the Trinity River Vision were something someone, like Amazon, or anyone, could actually see, maybe Amazon might consider making its $5 billion investment on that imaginary island.

Wouldn't that be something...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Good New Circle Trail Bridge Over Dribbling Wichita Falls

A week or so ago I read somewhere that the long awaited completion of the new Circle Trail bridge over Wichita Falls had been completed, and was ready to be crossed.

That and the upgraded, widened Circle Trail relocation under the I-287 freeway was also ready to be ridden.

And that Wichita Falls was once again turned on and falling water into the Wichita River.

So, needing to return books and get some new ones, this morning I took myself to downtown Wichita Falls, to the library to conduct some book business.

After which I removed my bike from its temporary back of the truck location and rolled my wheels from the library over the easy streets of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls, through the MPEC parking lots til I got to the Circle Trail.

By the time the 287 freeway came into view I could see the new trail was ready and waiting for me.

Soon after crossing under the freeway I got off the bike and took the picture you see of my handlebars aiming toward Wichita Falls and the new bridge over the falls.

I was not the only person visiting Wichita Falls today, as you can see below.


In the above location I am standing on the east end of the new bridge over Wichita Falls, looking west at a group of moms at the other end of the bridge. The moms were a trio of smokers who were pushing their kids in roller strollers. Smoking and pushing kids in roller strollers seemed sort of contradictory to me.


Wichita Falls did not seem to be falling at full falls today. The falls seemed sort of to be in dribble mode. When I first got near to the falls I thought they were turned off because I was not hearing the waterfall roar I have heard previous times when visiting Wichita Falls.

The Wichita Falls upgrade to the Circle Trail is a nice improvement. Now if only those three missing pieces of the Circle Trail's circle could be filled in, that would be a real good thing...

9/11 Anniversary Of 9 Year Old Nephew David's Birthday

On this day 16 years ago America and the rest of the world woke up to find America under attack.

Since that day America has been a nation perpetually at war, to varying degrees.

American children born after 9/11/2001 have never known an America which is not an America at war.

My nephew, David, is one of those children. 9/11, is David's birthday.

Today David is nine years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!

That is David you see above, sidled up to a fish bar, enjoying a libation whilst waiting for his order of calamari and tempura fried jalapeno rings. This fish bar is located in Tacoma, at Point Ruston.

I've never known a kid to be as big a fan of seafood as David is. During the course of my week in Washington last month I saw David consume the aforementioned calamari at Point Ruston, dungeness crab at Duke's in Tukwila, a big bowl of steamed clams at Birch Bay, and on various non-restaurant seafoodings I saw David smacking down smoked salmon, sushi, cod, oysters on the half shell and razor clam strips.

Next time I'm in Tacoma maybe I will get to take David to the Friday seafood buffet at the Muckleshoot Casino Resort for a Happy Birthday feeding...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rolling Over MSU Paved Trail Maze Finding Colorful Mustang

I saw that which you see here this Sunday morning during the course of taking my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood.

Sunday is not a school day, which makes Sunday a good day to ride my bike on the maze of paved trails (aka sidewalks) one finds on the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus.

Today one of those paved trails took me to the colorful horse you see here, standing on its hind legs. I believe this horse is a Mustang. You see variations of this all over Wichita Falls.

A Mustang is the MSU mascot.

I would think a Bicycle would make for a more appropriate MSU mascot. I don't think I've seen a live horse since I have been in this town. Not even in the 4th of July parade.

Wichita Falls is a bike friendly town. One of the more bike friendly towns I've ever biked in.

The Texas town I previously sort of lived in, Fort Worth, was not a bike friendly, or pedestrian friendly town.

Leaving my abode in Fort Worth I had to drive somewhere to find a decent paved trail to roll my bike wheels on.

Leaving my abode in Wichita Falls I am just a few feet from the Circle Trail, which is a paved trail about ten feet wide. From the Circle Trail I can opt to roll through the maze of paved alleys which course through my Caribbean neighborhood, usually taking the Nassau alley option to get to the paved trail which takes me to the paved trail which rolls around Sikes Lake.

That was the route I took today, to Sikes Lake, then crossed Midwestern Boulevard to roll around the MSU campus paved trails.

On an entirely different note. Usually I am mostly immune to getting bug bites. Currently my immunity seems not to be working. At this point in time I have five big bug bites. I do not think they are mosquito bites. I have not had one of those since I have been in Texas. I used to get mosquito bitten in Washington, so I know what those bites looked like. Maybe Texas skeeters are a different, bigger version which leaves a different, bigger bite mark.

I have just added bug spray to my shopping list...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

David Columbia River Piloting Theo & Ruby In Eastern Washington

Til yesterday I did not get around to asking about the Labor Day Weekend at Lincoln Rock State Park, which was the Eastern Washington camping location David, Theo & Ruby opted to take their parental units to for the last weekend before the start of the new school year.

The route to Lincoln Rock State Park is over Stevens Pass. That is not David driving over Steven Pass you are looking at here. That is David piloting a boat on Lake Entiat. I do not know if David stopped the car at the Summit of Stevens Pass to partake in the summer activity of mountain biking via using the ski chair lifts to access mountain bike trails.


Theo & Ruby look totally okay with David piloting them at high speed on Lake Entiat. Lake Entiat is also known as Rocky Reach Reservoir. Rocky Reach Reservoir is a lake caused by the damming of the Columbia River by the Rocky Reach Dam.


Here we see Mama Michele & Ruby being towed at high speed by David.

Seems like just yesterday the parental units of David, Theo & Ruby were screaming at me to go no further out to sea with David & Theo in the extremely shallow waters of Birch Bay. Whilst above we see Ruby wild wave riding in the deep waters of one of the biggest rivers in the world with one of those formerly overly worried screaming parental units.


David, Theo & Ruby told their parental units they wanted to go camping at some point in time during the summer. The kid's parental units are not fans of the old fashioned primitive method of camping, so they opted to use the Washington State Park's new Glamping option of camping in a fully furnished cabin, complete with kitchen and bathroom.

The kids were successfully convinced they had gone camping whilst staying in a fully furnished luxury cabin. I am sure no one will disavow them of this notion anymore than anyone will let them know the truth about Santa Claus for a few more years.


I eye witnessed the new Washington State Park cabin option way back in 2008 when I met Spencer Jack for the first time, at Bay View State Park. Those cabins looked a bit more primitive than the one David, Theo & Ruby camped in in Eastern Washington.

Did it create any controversy when the state went into competition with the state's motel industry, I wondered, when I saw all the cabin options at Lincoln Rock State Park. Maybe the cabins are a private concession type deal. Such is not unheard of in the Washington State Park system.

I don't know if post 9/11 security overkill one can no longer take oneself on a self guided tour of Rocky Reach Dam. That dam has the best fish ladder I have ever walked beside, watching salmon and other fish struggle against the current to get themselves past the dam.

Just Googled to see if one can still tour Rocky Reach Dam to learn the answer is yes, according to the Wikipedia Rocky Reach Dam article...

The project is located on the Columbia River on Highway 97A, seven miles north of Wenatchee. The visitor center shows films describing the Columbia River. The "Look a Salmon in the Eye" exhibit from (May–September) is a fish viewing room. The Powerhouse includes exhibits on the fourth floor. The Rocky Reach dam is near the Lincoln Rock State Park a short distance upriver. The Rocky Reach Dam was featured on an episode of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, hosted by Mike Rowe.

I don't know if Theo & Ruby took brother David to Rocky Reach Dam where they were able to look salmon in the eye. David has some issues with some creatures which live in water, such as sharks and crabs, particularly Dungeness crabs.

However, I have heard David speak favorably about salmon, including verbalizing wanting to go fishing for salmon. But, I don't know if David knows how big those salmon fish can get, so looking one in the eye may explain why I saw no photos documenting David in the Lake Entiat Columbia River salmon infested water...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tacoma's Visible Point Ruston Thea Foss Waterway & Fort Worth's Invisible Trinity River Vision

If you are in Fort Worth, or one of its surrounding burgs, looking at that which you see here, you might be thinking it is some sort of new advertisement for the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, what with mention made of Waterfront Condominiums, Waterfront Apartments, Shopping & Dining and a 2017 Sunfest & Summer Concert Series, along with Valet Parking.

Well, you would be wrong if that is what you thought. Not even America's Biggest Boondoggle is (so far) brazen enough with its absurd propaganda to tout such, what with the Boondoggle apparently unable to even manage to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

No, this is a screencap from the Point Ruston website. Point Ruston is a free market private sector developer development on the Tacoma waterfront which has transformed a former industrial wasteland into a booming residential area and tourist attraction.

All done without employing, as project director, the unqualified son of a local congressperson to motivate the congressperson to secure federal funds to fund the project.

Tacoma's Point Ruston development at the north end of the Tacoma waterfront, and the Thea Foss Waterway development on the south end of the Tacoma waterfront have perplexed me ever since I visited them last month.

Perplexed me because it got me wondering how does such development take place in one town, while another town, Fort Worth, flounders along for years, trying to develop an industrial wasteland, whilst operating under the pretext the project is a vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme.

Yet, in Fort Worth, this "project" is not so vitally needed that the public is asked to support the project, you know, with money, but instead Fort Worth asks for charity in the form of federal funds in order to have sufficient capital to try to actualize their imaginary vitally needed flood control economic development project.

If Fort Worth's pitiful vision were actually viable wouldn't the free market come along and cause it to happen, such as what has happened at both ends of the Tacoma waterfront, during the past nine years, nine years in which little has happened, that anyone can see, with Fort Worth's embarrassing Trinity River Vision?

Soon after I returned to Texas, last month, I found myself freshly appalled by a new instance of Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda regarding America's Biggest Boondoggle. I blogged about this in Fresh Bridge Boondoggle Nonsense. A paragraph from the Part of Fort Worth’s Main Street closes as work revs up on Panther Island bridges article...

The private sector is interested in investing in the project. Last year, a Dallas company confirmed that it had bought nearly 2.5 acres on what will become part of Panther Island at Fourth and Main Streets for a 300-unit apartment community that is expected to cost $55 million. The development, Encore Panther Island, would be the first privately-funded development for the project.

The Boondoggle has spewed this "private sector interest" propaganda for years. Including mentioning, for years now, a Dallas company building an apartment community. After all these years the Trinity River Vision is still nothing anyone can actually see. If it were viable to build an apartment community why is it not under construction? If the Trinity River Vision is actually viable why is there not a lot of private sector building going on, such as what has taken place in Tacoma over the past nine years? And in other locations in America, locations which are actually economically viable and not a foolish poorly executed pipe dream?

Like I have already said, more than once, perplexing. And pitiful....

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ruby Takes Me To Seattle's Amazon Spheres

If I remember correctly yesterday I mentioned that I had been thumbing through the thumbdrive I took with me last month to Washington, returning to Texas with the thumbdrive full of photos, which I am now getting around to blogging, if the photos seem share worthy.

On August 14, returning to Tacoma after several days up north, at Birch Bay, Ruby directed us off I-5 to downtown Seattle, seeking burgers and pizza, which I earlier blogged about in Seattle Dick's Deluxe With Good Pay & Benefits & Long Lines.

When we exited I-5 I expected to soon be seeing the multi-billion dollar Amazon campus under construction, because ever since that construction began I have read it referred to as being the South Lake Union location of said campus. This long confused me because the area I thought of as South Lake Union had long been developed. And I knew there was no way eminent domain was being abused in Seattle to take existing property in order to build a corporate campus, which is what I have seen happen in corrupt towns in Texas, such as Fort Worth and Arlington, to build things like the Radio Shack corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Worth (quickly to go into failure mode in yet one more embarrassing Fort Worth boondoggle) and the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington.

So, after we left Dick's, Ruby directed our driver to the actual location of Amazon's headquarters. I had mentioned I would like to see the Amazon Spheres. The actual Amazon location turned out to be closer to Seattle's downtown core than South Lake Union.

To get to Amazon Ruby directed us south under the Seattle Monorail, south towards the aforementioned Seattle downtown core, and Westlake Center. Before we reached Westlake Center Ruby had the driver turn left, the left again, heading back north towards South Lake Union, with the Amazon Spheres soon appearing.

Ruby directed the driver to pull over and let she and me out of the vehicle to get a closer look at the Amazon Spheres and part of the Amazon corporate campus, under construction. Which explains why you see Ruby, above and below, in front of the Amazon Spheres.


Everywhere you look in Seattle, currently, you see construction cranes. I do not know if the two towers behind Ruby are part of the Amazon campus, or are new residential towers. Residential towers are sprouting up all over the downtown Seattle zone.

Eminent domain was not abused in Seattle to enable Amazon to build its corporate headquarters. But an old motel, I think maybe a Travelodge, but I am not sure, had been used by the city as a housing place for homeless people. Amazon needed that property, bought it, and then, instead of heartlessly booting the homeless, opted to use multiple floors of one of Amazon's new towers as a homeless shelter, providing services and help getting out of that homeless situation.

The homeless situation was the worst thing I saw when seeing Seattle in its current boomtown mode. Homeless encampments are shockingly visible, as one drives I-5 though downtown Seattle. One gets a good look at the homeless encampments when traffic on I-5 is in traffic jam mode, which is frequently the case.

The next time Ruby takes me to downtown Seattle I hope she is able to take me inside the Amazon Spheres...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

David, Theo & Ruby Take Me To School With Giant Blackberries

Moments ago my phone made that noise which indicates incoming.

This particular incoming turned out to be some photos of my nephews David and Theo, and niece Ruby.

There was no text accompanying the photos, so it was left to my sleuth like deductive ability to discern what I was seeing.

The first photo, a sort of group hug, really provided no good clue.

But, the next photo did.


I am fairly certain what we are looking at above is David, Ruby & Theo leaving home on the first day of the new school year. It was the Lowell School shirts which provided the primary clue.

And then we have some photo documentation of the trio of fruit pickers, holding what appear to possibly be baskets of freshly picked BIG Pacific Northwest blackberries. I can not tell for sure what strain of PNW blackberries these are, Himalayas, or Evergreens. Perhaps a new strain of which I am not familiar.

These look as if they'd make some mighty fine blackberry pie or cobbler.


And then we end with Theo taking a big bite out of one of the BIG blackberries.


Theo shared a fondness for blackberries with his favorite uncle. Theo was also the only one of the trio with no strong aversion to Walmart...

Bud Kennedy Reporting For Star-Telegram From Fort Worth Of The North

Yesterday I saw that which you see here on Facebook. A posting by a Facebooker named Bud Kennedy sharing the fact that he has been away for a few days in Vancouver, B.C.

The place Bud Kennedy is away from is Fort Worth, Texas, where he can usually be found at a local restaurant or somewhere in the offices of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bud Kennedy has multiple "journalist" roles. Among them he is the Star-Telegram's food critic, reviewing restaurants. Bud Kennedy also operates as one of the Star-Telegram's propagandists, serving as a mouthpiece for the bizarre good ol' boy and girl network which runs Fort Worth in what is known as The Fort Worth Way.

Put another way, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is not a real newspaper in the way most other towns have a newspaper covering local news with what is known as journalistic integrity. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram operates more like the old Soviet Union's Pravda, spewing the "party" line.

An example of this is the way Bud Kennedy and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, over the course of the current century, have covered the ongoing pitiful debacle known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or, America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Way back when this century started, soon after I arrived in Texas, well before I realized that the Star-Telegram was not a real newspaper of the quality sort I had been reading for decades whilst a resident of Washington, I remember one Sunday morning, opening the Star-Telegram, laying it on the floor, which was my usual reading position back when I still read a hard copy newspaper, getting prone with a hot cup of coffee, opening the newspaper to see a GIANT headline screaming TRINITY UPTOWN TO TURN FORT WORTH INTO THE VANCOUVER OF THE SOUTH.

What fresh ridiculous hell is this I remember laying there and wondering.

What could possibly turn Fort Worth into any semblance of Vancouver? Have any of these people actually been to Vancouver? A town with mountains hovering above it, with large bodies of water surrounding it, with a big scenic river running through it. A town which held one of the most successful World's Fairs ever held, Expo 86. And a Winter Olympics.

What could possibly be done in scenery challenged, clean/clear water challenged, Fort Worth, which could turn it into anything even remotely resembling anything in Vancouver?

And then I read about the "plan" to divert the Trinity River into a channel, thus creating a little lake and canals, which would result in a "waterfront" feature where residential and restaurant and retail developments would develop.

Oh, and three signature bridges.

There was no talk, at the time, about an imaginary island being part of the original vision. Or rockin' the river happy hour inner tube floats. Or an imaginary world class music venue. Or an ice skating rink. Or the first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century. Or a (long failed) wakeboard park lake. Or hiring a low level deputy prosecutor, with zero project engineering experience, as the executive director of the "vision".

The Star-Telegram breathlessly told its readers about this vision to transform Fort Worth. And as the years have passed, with no transformation, with the project evolving into being an embarrassing boondoggle, overseen by a local congresswoman's unqualified son, the Star-Telegram continues to operate as an irresponsible cheerleader for this blighted vision, failing even to report responsibly on the more obvious failures such as the multiple problems regarding the construction of three simple bridges intended to connect the Fort Worth mainland to that aforementioned imaginary island, built over dry land, awaiting the digging of a ditch to go under the bridges.

When I saw Bud Kennedy was in Vancouver I wondered to myself if being in Vancouver he spent any iota of a moment remembering his part in foisting the ridiculous Fort Worth as Vancouver of the South propaganda on his newspaper's readers, when all these years later that vision has become a BIG nothing to see, while the real Vancouver has continued its dynamic growth as one of the gems of the west coast.

So, I Googled "Trinity Uptown Fort Worth Vancouver of the South" to see what, if anything, came up. Well, several instances of the blog you are reading right now came up. Along with defunct links to Star-Telegram articles. And a link to something called the Fort Worth Forum, the Trinity River Vision section of a forum apparently dedicated to what would seem to be the rather limited subject of Architecture in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Forum link went to the first page of many pages which have accumulated over the years of the Fort Worth architecture aficionados discussing the Trinity River Vision. This discussion starts in 2004.

2004.

Thirteen years ago.

Below I gleaned some of the comment posts from way back in 2004. The posters are, ironically, quite excited about this wonderful vision which they think will quickly be transformative for Fort Worth. As the years have gone by I suspect some level of disappointment has set in. I have previously been told that some who participate in this Fort Worth Forum have been offput by this particular blog and its tendency to clearly indicate Fort Worth is way too often a naked emperor preening about its imaginary beautiful clothes.

And now a select few comments from the Fort Worth Forum...


Posted 15 June 2004 - 09:35 PM
I saw nice TV coverage of the trinity river vision meeting. Very positive, sounds like they have a quick timeline 6-8 year? Also was confused to Fox4 allusion that canals would be constructed to allow boating from Stockyards, and Cultural District to Downtown? Also nice teaser article in the S-T today about the kayaking in the river.

Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:10 AM
I hope they update their website now. And it's good they have a time frame, I was beginning to think the project was dead after not hearing anything for a year. But I'm so glad it's not, that section of town is going to be booming in a decade or so...just watch.

Posted 20 June 2004 - 09:37 AM
Fort Worth: The Vancouver of the South?

Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:05 PM
I absolutely love the plan. I think that the plan gives the city the chance to get national recognition, while also providing a strong incentive for a dense, highly populated and interesting urban environment that most cities would be very envious to have. Do you notice in the plan how the river and lake corridors would preserve prominent views of the county courthouse from long distances?

Posted 21 June 2004 - 08:38 AM
Personally, I'm extremely excited they're using Vancouver as an example. Has anyone here been there? I have, and they've done incredible things with their waterfront and downtown area, and if we use that as a model, we can't go wrong.  And what's this about rowhouses and whatnot? I was under the impression that the city/committee/whatever was stressing not just dense but highrise residential. That was one effect of Vancouver's waterfront-HIGHRISES!!! One more thing, I hope the final name for this district isn't "Trinity Point". It sounds like some cheesy retirement community or something. I think it should be called Uptown or Town Lake, something that defines it as a unique, diverse district rather than one consolidated project.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Getting Stuck With David, Theo & Ruby In Fishtrap Creek With Crawdads

I took a lot of pictures last month whilst in Washington. All those pictures came back to Texas on a thumbdrive. Today I was thumbing through the thumbdrive again and found some more photo documentation I felt share worthy.

The photos you see here were taken Saturday, August 12. We were in Lynden to do that which we had come to Lynden to do, after which we went to Aunt Judy's.

After an hour or two or three at Aunt Judy's, David, Theo & Ruby directed me and Uncle Jake, along with their parental units to Lynden's Fishtrap Creek Park.

Lynden's Fishtrap Creek Park holds many a good memory for me. Memories such as the Annual Lynden Fishing Derby, with our Grandpa Porter being a derby instigator, and thus somehow guaranteeing his grandkids got a fishy prize no matter how successful they were at the catching. I remember one year getting a fishing pole and reel with which I fished for many years following.

After Grandpa Porter left this Earthy Coil the good people of Lynden installed a new pedestrian bridge across Fishtrap Creek. Made of wood. With a plaque installed in rock on the south bridge entry dedicating the bridge to the memory of Dr. James Porter. Many, many decades later that wooden bridge no longer crosses Fishtrap Creek, gone, along with the memorial to Grandpa Porter.

So, back to present day, 2017 Fishtrap Creek. That is Theo you see at the top, crossing the creek. Theo and I had been having ourselves a mighty fine time playing on the elaborate, massive playground installation which tantalizes kids and the young at heart near the banks of Fishtrap Creek. Theo and I took a break from the playground to venture to the creek. Theo asked his uncle if he could take his shoes off and go wading. I am an uncle who only rarely says no, so Theo was soon wading in the crystal clear water.

Soon joined by mama Kristin and sister Ruby.


I do not know where David and mama Michele were during this wading episode. Had David been there what happened soon after mama Kristin began wading would have been memorable, due to David's morbid fear of water creatures like crabs.

And lobsters.

Kristin and Ruby were not long in the water when Kristin let out a piercing shriek, followed by a loud announcement that she had almost stepped on a sea monster with giant claws. Due to that aforementioned crystal clearness of the water Theo and I were soon able to see what Kristin had almost stepped on. A creek creature which looked like a mini-lobster, which we could see did have giant claws. Uncle Jake soon informed us that it was a crawdad, an alien species which had invaded Washington waters from muddy southern locations. I do not know if the giant claws were some sort of evolutionary thing caused by exposure to clean water, or those giant claws were the norm for crawdads.

Kristin made a feeble attempt to catch the crawdad, to no avail. The frisky creature soon made its escape downstream.

Like I think I already said, before getting in Fishtrap Creek Theo and I did some playground climbing.


Theo was able to navigate this cable balancing task, while I failed. Note in the background that somewhat tall yellow structure.


Another, somewhat cockeyed look at that somewhat tall yellow tower structure. This tower structure, which for me turned out to be a Tower of Terror, had multiple levels, accessed by a maze of bridges, ladders and contortions not designed for the full sized.

At the final level of the Tower of Terror one comes to the dark entry to a tunnel. This tunnel turns into a twisting, turning slide back to ground level. Again, not designed for the full sized.


I got stuck part way down the slide. Stuck in total darkness. With kids piling up behind me. Eventually I was able to wiggle my way down the chute, with great effort, after what seemed many minutes I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

After I extracted myself and returned to being vertical I tasked Theo with posing at the tunnel/slide exit for photo documentation purposes, which is what you see above, with Ruby looking on.

Towns in Washington sure do have some nice parks. Through which clean water flows. With no signs warning not to eat the crawdads...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Rolling To Wichita Wires With No Hot Dogs

This Labor Day morning I decided to do some laboring via pushing my bike's pedals in circles for an hour or two.

My route today took me first to Sikes Lake where there were more people enjoying that waterfront venue, and its flocks of geese, than I've seen any day previous.

Then I left Sikes Lake via crossing Midwestern Boulevard to the campus of Midwestern State University, which was abandoned, for the most part, except a lot of guys engaging in some sort of exercise like routine whilst wearing what appeared to be football uniforms. This exercise engagement including a lot of shouting and whistle blowing.

The shouting and whistle blowing wreaked havoc with the peace and quiet I had been enjoying.

I rather enjoyed rolling around the largely abandoned university campus.

Eventually I came upon something I had not seen before whilst rolling around this location. I refer to that which you see above. I am assuming this is yet one more piece of Wichita Falls art, in sculpture form.

No identifying plaque was attached to the tangle of lines. I am opted til informed otherwise to call this work of art "Wichita Wires".

Looking at Wichita Wires right now, in picture form, not the in person view, I am wondering if this is some sort of abstract depiction of a tornado.

On what is known locally as Terrible Tuesday, one of the most deadly, destructive tornadoes ever to strike the world struck Wichita Falls back on April 10, 1979. twisting by Sikes Lake and the south end of the MSU campus.

Ironically, coincidentally, when I returned to my abode today, right at noon, the tornado sirens started screaming. Usually testing the sirens happens on Wednesday. Maybe today's lengthy siren blasting was some sort of Labor Day homage.

No hot dogs today for me on this Labor Day. Chinese is the food theme for me today...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Lake Wichita Dam Spillway Art Egret

Lately, well, twice in the past week, it seems like I can not roll my bike's wheels around Lake Wichita without being surprised by a work of art suddenly popping into view.

A few days ago, as I neared the Mount Wichita pseudo mini-volcano, a giant steel flying fish sculpture appeared before my rolling eyes.

And now today, Sunday, the day before Labor Day, that holiday originated by liberals who believed workers needed a special day off, I once again rolled my wheels to Lake Wichita, and once again I found myself suddenly seeing a work of art.

This time it was an egret painted on the south side of the Lake Wichita Dam spillway.

The artist creating this work of art was also athletic in addition to being artistically creative. To reach the location of this new egret the painter had to get him or herself or themselves over fencing designed to prevent easy access to the dam spillway.

Or maybe the artist just took advantage of a low lake level and walked onto the spillway directly from the lake, where there is no barrier stopping anyone from doing so.


Above you see one egret located a short distance from the spillway. Further out to sea, I mean, lake, a group of egrets maintains a fishing line near a row of old piers, which are all which remains of the Lake Wichita Pavilion.

I have no way of knowing if the artist was inspired to paint the spillway egret because of the flock of egrets which are regularly located at this location, on the lake, near the spillway.

I wonder if the currently solo spillway egret will remain alone, or will the artist or artists, return to paint an entire flock?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

David, Theo & Ruby's Tacoma Tin Man Little Free Library

The homage to the Wizard of Oz's Tin Man you see here stands in front of David, Theo and Ruby's house.

My Tacoma nephews and niece are operating what is known as a Little Free Library.

The Little Free Library concept began in the United States in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin when Todd Bol installed on his lawn a little library which looked like a one-room schoolhouse.

The Little Free Library soon became a national, then global sensation, now with registered Little Free Libraries in all 50 American states and 70 nations around the world.

The Little Free Library is headquartered, logically, in its birthplace of Hudson, Wisconsin. Via the official Little Free Library website you can find all the information you need to start up a Little Free Library at your house in your town.

The Little Free Library is also on Facebook. And there is a Free Little Library article in Wikipedia, from which I gleaned most of the information I gleaned about the Little Free Library concept.

David, Theo and Ruby told me there were several Free Little Library installations in their neighborhood, in addition to their Tin Man.


On the early evening of my last night in Tacoma, last month, the poodles, Blue and Eddie, convinced David to convince Mama Kristin to take us on a walk. On that walk we came upon one of their neighborhood's Free Little Library installations. This one was themed to be gas or power meters of some kinds. David checked out a book.

Shortly after visiting the power meter Free Little Library we came upon a neighbor who had simply arrayed a lot of books on their lawn, adjacent to the sidewalk, free for the taking by any passerby. David and Mama Kristin picked up several books at that location, later checking them into their Tin Man Free Little Library when we returned home.

David told me about some of the other Free Little Libraries in their neighborhood and described their themes. The only one retained by my memory was the Lego Free Little Library. David, Theo and Ruby have a thing about Legos which makes any mention of such, in any form, memorable to me.

Tacoma's well designed streets make for excellent Free Little Library locations, what with sidewalks on both sides of the streets, and with grassy, landscaped medians between sidewalk and street, at most locations.

A town without sidewalks would not be suitable for a Free Little Library.

Such as Fort Worth, Texas.

There are some sidewalks on some sides of some streets in that forlorn Texas town. But, most of the town is sidewalk free, including most of the part of that town I lived in for way too long.

However, in a town which is predominantly semi-literate there likely would not be much demand or desire to install Free Little Libraries, even if sidewalks facilitating pedestrians were available...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Riding Skagit Electric Ferry To A Real Guemes Island

I saw that which you see here via Facebook. Apparently the Skagit County ferry fleet is ceasing being diesel powered, and is going all electric.

There is only one ferry crossing in the Skagit County fleet. That crossing connects Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island, with Guemes Island.

Guemes Island is one of what are known as the inner San Juan islands, along with other small islands located to the east of the larger, more well known, San Juan Islands.

During my time in Washington, last month, I marveled more than once at the crystal clear water, into which one could deeply gaze, or wade in without fear of getting polluted, but with some fear, for some, of getting pinched by a dungeness crab.

I saw no signs on Washington waters warning people not to eat what they catch, or not to touch the water.

I did see some Tsunami Evacuation Warning signs, including one on the door of our Birch Bay condo.

If you look at the photo, above, of the new Skagit Electric Ferry, those are real islands you see across that body of unpolluted water.

A real island is surrounded by a real body of water.

Not a manmade ditch.

Fort Worth's propaganda purveyors, for several years now, have been referring to a desolate chunk of land as "Panther Island".

Where there is no island.

Yet there is a lot of signage directing the town's few tourists to the imaginary island and the imaginary pavilion on the imaginary island.

I have no clue as to why so few Fort Worth locals do not seem to find this pitiful example of a demented emperor wearing no clothes, to be as embarrassingly stupid as I find it to be.

Maybe the Fort Worth locals are immune to the town embarrassing itself after so many instances of doing such.

One day, far in the future, maybe in the next decade, or the decade following the next decade, a ditch may be dug under three simple little Fort Worth bridges being built in slow motion, pre-ditch, over dry land. And then water from the polluted Trinity River may be diverted into that ditch, thus sort of surrounding that aforementioned chunk of desolate land with a narrow band of water.

But that desolate chunk of land will still not be an island. Referring to it as such only provides more laughing stock material for those visiting Fort Worth from more, well, reality based locations on the planet.

One tourist to another. Have you found Sundance Square yet? Other tourist responds, we think it's that little plaza we found downtown. Tourist asks other tourist another question. Have you found Panther Island yet? Other tourist responds we have no clue what that might be. What is wrong with this town the other tourist asks? I dunno, but the Stockyards are kind of cool....

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ruby, David & Theo Thea Foss Waterway Uncle Walk Vision

Earlier this month, on the way to the airport, David, Theo & Ruby took me to the downtown Tacoma museum zone where we went book shopping in a University of Washington bookstore, to find a book about Washington to send to Boston to David, Theo & Ruby's cousin Kwan.

After completing the bookstore task, along with something called Cake Pops from the adjacent Starbucks, David, Theo & Ruby led us across the Bridge of Glass to the Thea Foss Waterway.

I usually incorrectly refer to this waterway as Theo Foss, likely due to one of my favorite nephews being named Theo. However, Thea Foss was a Tacoma mill operator over a century ago, operating her mill in what is now known as the Thea Foss Waterway.

The Thea Foss Waterway was part of the Commencement Bay Superfund site. The final Superfund cleanup was finished in 2006. After the cleaning was complete an entity called the Foss Waterway Development Authority Board took over.

At the time of my previous visit (August 2008) to the Thea Foss Waterway a couple residential developments had sprung up, along with office space and restaurants and a marina. The promenade/esplanade, at that point in time, was maybe a mile long. In 2008 there were some water features, mostly tied into the Museum of Glass.

By the time of my recent walk along the Thea Foss Waterway, in August of 2017, multiple new water features, and other features, have been added. Along with several more residential buildings, and restaurants. And the promenade/esplanade has been extended under one of Tacoma's actual signature bridges.

That signature bridge comment is what is known as a dig. Directed at one of Fort Worth's ongoing embarrassments. That being referring to three simple little bridges slowly being built over dry land as signature bridges. Those Fort Worth bridges are being slowly built as part of a project overseen by the Trinity River Vision Authority.

The Trinity River Vision Authority has been boondoggling along during the same time frame as the Foss Waterway Authority Vision, only with the Tacoma vision you have this alien to Fort Worth concept known as, well, a successful, mostly completed, project.

With the Tacoma project coming about without using the property stealing technique so popular in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, known as abusing eminent domain.

Let's take a walk with David, Theo & Ruby and see some of what Tacoma has built during the time frame Fort Worth has dawdled.


Added since my last visit is the water feature you see above, on the promenade/esplanade near the Museum of Glass. Water flows down those glass tubes.


Here you see Ruby at the far side of the above oval area, playing music on one type of instrument, whilst Theo & David make louder music on some giant chimes. That blue water is part of the Thea Foss Waterway, now used as a marina, among other uses.


And now David, Theo and Ruby, and their parental units are about to walk under that aforementioned Tacoma signature bridge, built over water, in way less than four years. Fort Worth's pitiful little bridges began construction way back in 2014, with construction sputtering off and on, originally with an astonishing four year construction timeline, recently stretched to some year in the 2020s.


Above David is in the distant lead, leading me, Ruby & Theo up the stairs which lead to the Museum of Glass and the Bridge of Glass.

The Theo Foss Waterway is at the south end of Commencement Bay, at the far south end of the Tacoma waterfront. Several miles to the north is an equally impressive waterfront development, known as Point Ruston.

Pont Ruston did not exist during my visit to Tacoma in 2008. I blogged about Point Ruston whilst I was in Washington, including video, in a blogging titled Point Ruston Ruby, Theo & David Surrey Survey Of Tacoma's New Waterfront Development.

I likely will be blogging a followup blogging about Point Ruston, due to being freshly appalled at the slow motion nonsense of Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, bizarrely touted as a vital flood control/economic development scheme, so vital it has been dawdling along in slow motion most of this century, taking property by abusing eminent domain, depending on federal dollar handouts to pay for the ongoing debacle, attracting zero real private investment.

And then there is Tacoma's Point Ruston. And the Thea Foss Waterway...