Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision's Cowtown Wakepark To Be The Premiere Wakeboarding Facility In The World

Soon after I hit the publish button, this morning, on the blogging about the new lake I found last night, at a location on the Trinity Trails where the Trinity River Vision is apologizing, over and over again, for the mess it is making of the Trinity River, I got a comment from one of my favorite frequent sources of good information, the agent who calls herself cd0103.

cd0103 pointed me to a website, suggesting that this might explain the new lake. It took about one second of looking at the website cd0103 pointed me to to realize cd0103 had pointed me in the right direction.

Above is the artist's rendering, from the aforementioned website, of the aforementioned lake. Below is a picture I took last night of the same aforementioned lake.

Just when I think the Trinity River Vision can't get any weirder, it does. I believe J.D. Granger, and his crew, have topped the Trinity River Inner Tube Happy Hour lunacy with this lake.

What is the lake all about you can't help but wonder?


It will be called Cowtown Wakepark. I'll let the Cowtown Wavepark website and J.D. Granger help illuminate this for you....

"Cowtown Wakepark has also received the exceptional support from the Trinity River Vision Authority, the organization responsible for revitalizing the Trinity River in Fort Worth. The Executive Director, JD Granger, states: “Cowtown Wakepark will be one of the shining stars of the dynamic improvements happening on the Trinity River right now. We are very excited to have teamed up with the best people in the field of wakeboarding and we are working diligently to help make Cowtown Wakepark the premiere wakeboarding facility in the world. We want everybody in Fort Worth to be able to experience the fun of Wakeboarding, and Cowtown makes it affordable for everyone in Fort Worth to take up the sport.”

So, J.D. Granger wants all of the 700,000 plus citizens of Fort Worth to experience the fun of Wakeboarding? And, at $25 to rent a wakeboard and ride it, J.D. thinks that this is affordable for everyone?

And it has now become one of the goals of the Trinity River Vision to make the premiere wakeboarding facility in the world?

How is the water in this lake kept clean enough to swim in?

What I am also wondering is how has this been paid for? Apparently the Cowtown Wakepark is a private business, working in cahoots with the Trinity River Vision. Did Cowtown Wakepark pay to have this lake made and the new trails around it? Or is that out of the TRV budget?

And, if it is possible to make a big lake like this, obviously swimmable, if people are going to be wakeboarding on it, why not instead make it a big swimming hole that those Fort Worth kids currently locked out of Fort Worth's swimming pools can go swimming in on a hot summer day?

The City of Fort Worth is closing all its public swimming pools, while the Trinity River Vision is building a swimmable lake for the rather small niche sport of wakeboarding? Is it only me who thinks this seems just a bit nuts? And by what process did the Trinity River Vision get into seeing things like wakeboard parks?

I think J.D. Granger should hold his next Inner Tube Happy Hour in the new Cowtown Wakeboard Lake.

And then, as Stenotrophomonas poetically suggested, float on down the river with Mayor Mike til they reach the big whirlpool swirling behind the Trinity River Dam/Bridge by Gateway Park.

Snakes & Wildflowers Coloring Up Fort Worth's Tandy Hills

The first of October is tomorrow. On this, the last day of September, there are still wildflowers coloring up the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Today it was the pink wildflower you see in the picture that decided it was the right time to bloom.

Until this year I had never seen a snake on the Tandy Hills. And then months ago I saw a skinny green snake slithering on the Tandy Highway.

Then a month or so ago I saw a 6 foot long snake slither up a Tandy Hills tree.

And now, today, I saw a gun-metal gray snake about 3 feet long, sunning itself. This snake was doing its sunbathing on the trail that is the first right after the first right on the main trail off View Street.

I did a little foot stomping which woke the snake from its sunbathing slumber and got it slithering out of my way.

It is not very warm today, low 80s. I don't know how cold it has to get for the reptiles to get in slow motion mode.

And what is behind this epidemic of snakes on the Tandy Hills?

The Trinity River Vision Is Underway With A Lot Of Signs

A couple days ago I was biking the Trinity Trails when I came to a detour sign, with the trail blocked. The day after I saw the detour sign I was driving on Northside Drive when I saw a sign telling me that the Trinity River Vision was underway.

At the time I did not make any connection between the Trinity Trail detour and the Trinity River Vision.

Last night I biked the Trinity Trail again, with my goal being to take a picture of the sign you see above. I did not know, when I started last night's bike ride, that I was going to find myself right in the middle of the Trinity River Vision in "progress." For want of a better word.

I was amazed and a bit appalled at the amount of signage the Trinity River Vision has installed along the Trinity Trails. I lost count of the number of detour signs.

Like the detour sign above, pointing left. Do you see any other option? Straight ahead was up a steep bank. To the right was an erosion barrier. The paved trail clearly takes a turn. Why the detour sign? How much money did all this signage cost the flush with cash Trinity River Vision? This was not the only nonsensical detour sign on the trail.

There were also multiple signs from the Trinity River Vision asking to be pardoned for making a mess.

Above we are looking at some of the mess the signs are referring to, looking out at a new lake next to the Trinity River. I do not believe this is the touted Town Lake that is the centerpiece of the Trinity River Vision. This new lake has paved trails around it. The trails connect to the existing, pre-detoured, Trinity Trail, but currently access to these new trails is blocked. Hence the detour.

Another view of the mess and new lake or pond or whatever it is. That thin line of blue you see on the far side of the "lake" is the Trinity River.

Yet one more nonsensical TRAIL DETOUR sign. With the next sign seeming even more nonsensical, as you can see below.

Why is the Tarrant Regional Water District sticking a sign on the Trinity Trail saying "NOTICE TRAIL MAINTENANCE TO BEGIN"?

This sign was east of the area where the Trinity River Vision is making its mess. Even though this sign was outside of the mess zone, there is yet one more Trinity River Vision detour sign ahead, which you can see above the "C" in the Tarrant Regional Water District sign.

Who got the sign concession deal with the Trinity River Vision and the Tarrant Regional Water District? Another one of Kay Granger's kids?

Getting Wet Against My Will Courtesy Of Gas Drillers & The Trinity River

In the picture I am standing under the pipe tunnel I showed you a couple days ago. The pipe tunnel transports water, over the Trinity Trail, that is being sucked from the Trinity River by Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drillers.

When I saw this operation a couple days ago it was still being assembled. Last night the operation was in operating mode.

Above you see the water sucking pump's thick straws sticking into the Trinity River. The Trinity River is running real low, surprisingly low, after running high as recently as last Saturday.

Above you are looking at the point of this particular blogging. Water leaking across the Trinity Trail from the pipes sucking water from the Trinity River.

I do not recollect seeing any billboards admonishing the gas drillers to check for leaks, like the multiple billboards suggesting that citizens fix their leaky toilets.

What totally annoyed me about the Trinity River leak on to the Trinity Trail was the fact that, as I biked over it, my bike tires flipped spray from the leak directly on to me.

I choose not to join J.D. Granger in his Trinity River Inner Tube Expeditions. I do not want Trinity River water on me. I did not appreciate having Trinity River water spraying on me last night.

With the Tarrant Regional Water District so concerned about wasting water from the Trinity River, I can't help but wonder how they monitor the water being sucked from the river by the gas drillers? I suspect there is zero monitoring going on.

But, the TRWD Toilet Police are ever vigilant.

Up Late On The Last Day Of September In Texas

Looking out my bedroom window with me you can see I am up after the sun on this, the last day of September of 2010.

I overdid the bike riding last night, pedaling more miles than I had intended, which had me staying up late, watching Survivor and Hell's Kitchen.

With Hell's Kitchen over stimulating me due to all the shouting, with the over stimulation having me reading til the sleep impulse kicked in, some time well after midnight.

I have only blogged 1 of the 3 pieces of blogging fodder I acquired on last night's bike ride. I will try and get to the other 2 this morning.

In the meantime I am not going swimming this morning. Cutting the swimming will get me back some of the time I lost by not getting up at my usual early hour.

I do believe I will escape from here some time around noon to hike on the Tandy Hills. They should be dried out by now. I hope.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trinity Falls Dries Up And Spawns A Potentially Dangerous Whirlpool

I saw something on Northside Drive yesterday that caused me to want to ride my bike, tonight, from Gateway Park to get some pictures. Well, I got way more than I intended. I am not referring to pictures, I am referring to blogging material.

The thing I went to check out on Northside Drive will have to wait til tomorrow to be blogged about. Along with another thing I came upon tonight that thoroughly disturbed and disgusted me. No, it was not an increase in the number of Homeless People. It was something worse. As in an unwanted dosing with Trinity River water.

The thing I am blogging about right now, that I saw on tonight's bike ride, was profoundly disturbing.

As you can see in the above picture the falls over Trinity Falls, outside Gateway Park, is no longer falling. The Trinity River has fallen so low that the river is now flowing through a channel under the dam/bridge.

No big deal. That is what you are thinking, aren't you?

Well, look at the next picture and think some more.

A very big, very noisy whirlpool forms when the Trinity River runs low at this location. This impoundment of the Trinity River is used as a boating location, with a boat launch tethered on the north side of the dam.

Recently the Trinity River Vision, in conspiracy with the Tarrant Regional Water District, has been leading people to believe that it is safe and sane to go inner tubing, and swimming, in the Trinity River.

A few years ago Fort Worth suffered a horrible tragedy when 4 people drowned in the Whirlpool feature at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Fixing this problem, and paying for resulting lawsuits, cost Fort Worth a lot of money.

In the aftermath, in a bizarre overreaction, Fort Worth's swimming pools, like those in apartment complexes, were forced, by the city, to do totally unnecessary alterations to their water circulating systems, to supposedly prevent similar tragedies to what occurred in the Water Gardens.

Meanwhile, in the Trinity River, it being a river now in competition with the Guadalupe and San Marcos River as a destination inner tubing venue, there is a HUGE WHIRLPOOL swirling. I suspect each of the Trinity River dam/bridges have similar HUGE WHIRLPOOLs swirling during this low water period.

Somehow that whirlpool I saw swirling tonight seems way more dangerous than anything I've seen swirling in any Fort Worth swimming pool.

This is very perplexing to me.

In Texas Dipping In To Chilly Water On The Next To Last Day Of September

Morning of the next to the last day of September, 2010, dawns bright and semi-chilly at 60 degrees.

I heard from the outgoing Washingtonians last night as they made Amarillo by evening. They did not eat the 72 ounce steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.

And now I've heard from Amarillo this morning as the outgoing Washingtonians head out of Texas heading into a bright red morning sky.

I watched a smart phone demonstration yesterday that has me now seeing why I might want one. Previously I thought a smart phone seemed like a lot of bother.

Yesterday, when I left Mercado Juarez, I headed west on Northside Drive, wanting to see if I could make sense of something I saw the day previous while biking the Trinity Trails. My curiosity was more than satisfied by what I saw. It will require another bike ride on which I hope to get some good pictures.

In the meantime I am going swimming in some chilly water.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Incoming Washingtonians Having A Fine Time Getting Lost In Fort Worth Looking For Mexican Food

It was like a leg of The Amazing Race, trying to follow route directions, but getting hopelessly lost, for the pair of Washingtonians navigating to meet me for lunch at Mercado Juarez, in Fort Worth, today.

Relying on their phone-based GPS location locator, the address for Mercado Juarez was entered. The incoming Washingtonians were on I-287, heading north.

The GPS should have told them to continue on 287/35, exit at Northside Drive, and head west 1/4 mile to Mercado Juarez.

Instead, the GPS had the Washingtonians exiting from 287 on to Commerce, heading in to downtown Fort Worth, then taking a right on Main Street, heading north to take a right on Northside Drive.

Mercado Juarez is a bit hidden by trees when you come at it from the west. So, the pair of Washingtonians drove right past where they were to meet me, continued on, under the freeway, which should have been their exit zone and then proceeded to head east, into a Fort Worth neighborhood.

I was then called, just as I was exiting 35, on to Northside Drive. From what I was initially told, I thought they were to the west, so I said I'd head towards them. But, as I kept getting more information, I was totally confused as to where they could be.

I was told they'd driven under 287. Huh? In my mind, that had them far north, forgetting that at the Northside Drive location the freeway is 35/287, til 287 splits off and heads towards Amarillo.

When I realized what was meant by 287, I realized they were east of the freeway. I told them to head back to the freeway, that I was coming towards them. I was barely under the freeway when the Washingtonians came into view. I then followed them to the Mercado Juarez parking lot.

All in all, it was a great episode of mis-direction.

It was great seeing the Washingtonians. I'd not seen them in a long time. Both were looking very good. We had a great lunch and fun visit. And then it was time for them to program their GPS to try and guide them to Amarillo. I gave some verbal directions and hoped that that helped.

Like many Washingtonians, this pair takes their boat with them wherever they go. Texas was no exception to that rule.

Due to their traveling incognito, I did not want to take a picture of the Washingtonians. But I did snap a picture of them pulling back on to Northside Drive, on their way to 287/35.

When I was a Washingtonian I never pulled my boat behind me. My boat was an inflatable raft.

Woke Up By Audio Ads & Computer Woes So I Went Swimming

I was up way before the sun this morning. I did not get around to taking a picture of the morning view from my patio til well after the sun lit up the place.

The past 3 days I've been plagued by a bizarre computer invasion where random audio ads interrupt what I am doing. Ironically, I have only recently been running anti-virus software and now that I am, this is the first seriously annoying thing I've had to deal with.

Last night the audio ad woke me up at 1 in the morning. I shut the laptop lid to kill it. When I woke up the computer this morning it went into non-stop ad mode. Researching the woe, yesterday, I knew to look at what processes were using up the CPU. I saw explore.exe was the culprit. Killed it. Killed the ad.

I then ran two scans, one of Malaware Bytes and one of Microsoft Security Essentials. MSE found something called FakeYak. Malaware Bytes found two other bad things. Just yesterday neither found anything.

So far, all is working well. But, I don't trust it.

I just heard from my incoming Washingtonians. They have made it through Houston's morning traffic and are heading north on I-45. Expected arrival a bit before noon. We'll see how that works out.

While my computer was being scanned I went swimming. The water temperature has dropped significantly in the past couple days. I'm finding it hard to believe I get in that water all through the winter. But, I have photo evidence indicating I have done so.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biking Fort Worth's Trinity Trail With Homeless People And Water Pumpers

I took a sunset bike ride out of Gateway Park tonight, on to the Trinity Trail. It was quite a bit chillier than the last time I pedaled the Trinity Trail. In the picture above I'm at the end of tonight's bike ride, standing on the dam/bridge that makes Trinity Falls, looking west, under the Beach Street Bridge, across the Trinity River, at the Fort Worth Mixmaster.

Before I saw the sun set I pedaled west about 6 or 7 miles. At one point I was surprised to see big trucks ahead. They left a cloud of obnoxious dust as they cockroached out of sight. And then I came upon part of what the occupants of the trucks were working on. A big new water sucking operation on the Trinity River. The biggest water sucking pipes I've seen yet. That is the pump below.

Practically every day I am annoyed by a billboard admonishing me to save water by getting a water saving toilet. Do all the water wasting toilets in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex "waste" as much water in a year as these water sucking operations "waste" in a day?

I pedaled under the I-35 bridge, across the Trinity, for another half mile or so. I wanted to take a picture, if I could, of the Mercado Juarez Cafe on the north side of the river. I found no vantage point that afforded the opportunity to take a good picture, this was the best I could do, with the Mercado Juarez being the white building, on the left, surrounded by trees. I am currently scheduled to meet a pair of incoming Washingtonians at the Mercado Juarez tomorrow. I had been erroneously informed that this was to take place today.

A short distance past where I took the picture of Mercado Juarez I came to a surprise. The Trinity Trail is being upgraded, with new cement. It does not seem all that long ago that the current trail was opened. A cement trail will be an improvement. I could not figure out how the detour worked, up over the levee, or what? So, I turned around.

When I turned around I saw, hovering above the Trinity River Levee, a mountain of pavement debris. I assume this mountain is made up of the old, now replaced Trinity Trail. What is it with making these type piles here? The mountain of litter where the Gateway Park trail joins the Trinity Trail is still in place, weeks after being built.

I thought I was done with this blogging. I forgot to mention tonight's homeless people. There was a group of 6 or 7 under the Riverside Drive Bridge. This was a co-ed group. They seemed quite settled in, with blankets and sleeping bags. They will need the blankets tonight.

So will I.

Gar The Texan's Birthing Trauma At Turner Falls Park In Oklahoma

I was looking on my computer for pictures of Fort Worth's I-30/I-35/I-287 Mixmaster to no avail when I came upon a folder full of pictures from Turner Falls Park.

Turner Falls Park is one of my favorite places I've been to in Texas. Only it is in Oklahoma. A short 60 miles, or so, north of the Red River border.

The crystal clear water of Honey Creek is what falls over a cliff, making Turner Falls. Turner Falls shares tallest waterfall in Oklahoma honors with a waterfall called Natural Falls. Natural Falls is in Natural Falls State Park in the Ozark Mountains part of Oklahoma.

In Turner Falls Park you will find the aforementioned waterfall and crystal clear creek. You will also find the remains of a castle, some caves, some cliffs to climb on, trails to hike and cabins and campsites to stay in.

In the picture, above, you are looking at Gar the Texan trying to relive his birthing trauma by climbing through a hole in one of the Turner Falls caves. I do not remember if Gar the Texan got stuck, or if he successfully birthed himself from the cave. I do remember being very surprised that Gar the Texan was being so adventurous, at great heights, with nary a sign of a case of the vapors.

Wildflower Wildscapes & Snake Skin At Arlington's Veterans Park

A few days ago I made note of the fact that, apparently, Fort Worth is no longer mowing the grass in some of its parks, Oakland Lake Park, for instance, which, unless it has been cut today, is currently a weedy hayfield.

Village Creek Natural Historic Area is still closed due to flooding. My fall back park, today, was Veterans Park in Arlington. One would think, looking at the picture above, that Arlington has joined Fort Worth in not mowing its park grass.

Well, one would be wrong to think that. What we are looking at is a large section of the open grassy area that is being left to vegetate in its natural state, which today meant a lot of flowers on vines.

Veterans Park has an area called "Wildscape." It is a very well done, wooded zone, with a maze of trails, creeks, thick with trees and foliage. And plenty of benches and a gazebo, or two, to enjoy the cool shade. If you live within easy striking distance of Veterans Park, in Arlington, you really owe it to yourself to give it a walk through.

And, if you have your own yard to tend, you can get a lot of good ideas, in the adjacent Xeriscape, of how to grow plants native to Texas that use much less water than some of the plants you might buy in a nursery.

I am a bit of a snake-a-phobe. I have never seen a snake in Veterans Park. But, today, while walking in the Wildscape, I was crossing the creek and looked down to see a thick, long snake skin in the water. I assume the skin did not travel far from its owner, and that owner was likely still in the neighborhood.

But, I really did not feel in too great of snake danger, due to the fact the cool temperatures would have a snake slithering at a greatly reduced speed.

Only 20 Degrees Above Freezing In North Texas On The Last Monday Of September

You are looking out my bedroom window at the dawn of the last Monday of September of 2010.

I had my windows open last night. Some time after midnight it got so cold I had to crawl under the blankets for the first time in months.

It is currently 52 degrees. In Seattle, right now, it is 11 degrees warmer, at 63.

It is a bit ironic, for me, that this cold front has arrived this morning, due to the fact that I have an incoming pair of Pacific Northwesterners who I had previously told to brace themselves for some HOT, humid misery when they passed through these parts.

Dallas finally won a football game, so did Seattle, so they are on track to play each other in this year's Super Bowl in Arlington. I have not bought my ticket yet.

This morning is likely going to be the first morning in a long time when getting in the pool may be a bit bracing. I will know in a few minutes, after the sun completely lights up the place.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Am Behind Bars In Texas Again After Returning From Glen Rose & Applying To Be On The Amazing Race With The Queen Of Wink

I am back behind bars this Sunday afternoon in Texas. As you can see, laying with me on a chaise lounge, out on my patio, looking through the bars, the fog eventually lifted and a somewhat blue sky is the result.
For now.

Before the clouds finally parted, thus allowing some heating, it got down to 62. And very breezy.

Nonetheless, I needed a break from spending this morning down in Glen Rose, by Dinosaur Valley and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, so I decided to brave the clammy cold and go on a bike ride.

First stop, Chase Bank, where I am proud to say, for the first time since Chase installed their new ATMs, I successfully deposited a check without incident.

Then it was on to Village Creek Natural Historic Area.

Closed. Due to flooding. Again. I decided against driving to River Legacy Park and finding it also closed, so for that reason, and the fact that I realized I was way under-dressed for a bike ride in such extreme chilly conditions, I aborted and came back here.

Where I learned I may be getting incoming from Washington, tomorrow, via Houston, en route to Amarillo and a date with a big steak at the Big Texas Steakhouse. If the logistics work out, I am having lunch tomorrow in the Fort Worth Stockyards with a pair of Pacific Northwesterners. That'll be nice. It has been awhile since I spoke Washington. Over 2 years. I don't know if I can speak Washington, anymore, without a Texas accent.

The latest iteration of The Amazing Race starts up tonight. The Queen of Wink and I are applying to be on The Amazing Race. The Queen will be the brains, doing anything that requires math or any other higher level thought process. While I perform, mainly, as the navigator, due to my uncanny navigational abilities. When our audition video is finished I will put it on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Foggy Sunday Swimming In Fort Worth

It is a foggy Sunday, this morning in my zone of North Texas. I suspect the fog is due to yesterday's rain.

The sun is currently trying to pierce through the fog. The birds are in welcome the sun tweet mode, with a sort of air of panic in their tweeting. I suspect the fog makes the birds nervous, what with fog being a bit unusual in these parts. Some of the younger birds may never have seen fog before.

Just opened my blinds. It is lit up out there enough to see that this is the thickest fog I've seen since I've been in Texas. This is on the ocean where-is-that-foghorn-coming-from-to-help-me navigate thickness of fog.

When I took the picture of the foggy pre-dawn view from my patio, I picked up my swimming suit and towel to find that the fog has completely re-dampened them. Which means I must search for a dry alternative swimming suit. And then go swimming. As in right now.

I can not recollect the last time I went on a foggy swim.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Trinity River Litter Flood In Fort Worth

That is the Trinity River you are looking at. Those are not white birds floating on the Trinity River that you see in the picture. That is litter you are looking at.

Rain fell in copious amounts last night, finally ceasing sometime past one this afternoon. I grew tired of being cooped up inside, like a stereotypical winter day in the Pacific Northwest, so, around noon, I drove the short distance to Quanah Parker Park to take a walk under an umbrella.

Quanah Parker Park is on the southern banks of the Trinity River.

The Trinity River flooded a few weeks ago, courtesy of Hurricane Hermine, with the highest water I've seen since I've been in Texas. That flood left an astonishing amount of litter on the Trinity's banks in its wake.

One would have thought that North Texas had been power washed clean of litter from the Hermine Flood.

One would have thought wrong.

The Trinity River is back in flood mode, likely not as severe as the previous flood. But, I was appalled and astonished at the amount of litter and debris floating down the river today.

Where does all this junk come from and how did the litter supply get replenished so quickly?

I made a video of the Trinity River Litter Flood. You can watch that below. Make note of what you see floating by at the 1:27 mark. It appears J.D. Granger lost something...

Free Admission Today For Fort Worth's Cultural District Museums

I met a Texan this week who spent 7 years exiled in Seattle working for Boeing. She hated the cold, wet weather. Today in Texas she is experiencing her Washington nightmare, because this rain dripping on us today is like a typical fall/winter day in Western Washington.

I don't know if it will let up enough to go on a walk.

I could go to Fort Worth's goofily named "Cultural District" and do some free museum walking today. This particular Saturday is National Museum Day.

So, today the "Cultural District's" 8 museums are free of admission charges from 10am til 5pm.

And the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, aka "The T" is providing free transport between the museums in the "Cultural District."

I have never been to the Kimball Museum. I've not been to the new Science and History Museum. Nor have I been to, nor had much desire to see, the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. I have been to the other museums in the "Cultural District."

I think. I know my favorite has been the Amon Carter Museum. And I really like the architecture of the Modern Art Museum. The art, not so much.

So, maybe I will take off and join the museum throngs today for some cultural walking.

Hacking My Way Through The Grass At Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park

It is looking like I won't be hiking, biking or walking anywhere today, due to a lot of rain coming down this Saturday morning. Combined with lightning, strikes of which cut my morning swim short.

Last night, about an hour before the sun left for the day, I went to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake.

I don't walk much on the paved trail at Oakland Lake Park, other than to get across Fosdic Lake Dam. I like walking on the grass.

A couple weeks ago I aborted walking at Oakland Lake Park, due to the uncut grass, and instead went to the Tandy Hills.

Last night I was surprised to see that the grass at Oakland Lake Park has still not been cut. It is now basically a hayfield awaiting harvesting, as you can see in the picture.

My guess is that the grass is not being cut due to cutting the grass not being in the city budget for August and September, due to the fact that normally the grass is not growing, not green, but instead, totally brown by mid-summer.

It was in the city park's budget to do a lot of, what seemed to be, unneeded cement work, to the paved trail at Oakland Lake Park, in August and September.

And now one needs a machete to walk on the grass at Oakland Lake Park.

Up Late Saturday Morning After State Fair Of Texas Deep Fried Frito Pie Nightmares

I was up late last night, which caused me to get up late this morning, well after the sun got up, as you can see by looking out with me from my bedroom window.

It is Saturday, today and Sunday are days when one is supposed to sleep in, if one is in being conventional mode. Which I usually am not in.

Rain came down hard during the night, accompanied by flashes of light and booming thunder. This disturbance did not last too long.

The State Fair of Texas got off do a dry start yesterday in Dallas. There were long lines waiting to try Deep Fried Frito Pie. There were no reports this morning of public intoxication due to Deep Fried Beer or Deep Fried Margaritas.

Last night, before I got dark, I felt the need to walk. So I went to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake. I did not like what I found there. More on that later.

In the meantime, I am going swimming.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On The Way To Village Creek Noting That Chesapeake Energy Had Nothing To Do With Killing Wapato Lake

Coming up on noon I was worn out from spending too much time in San Antonio.

I decided to take off to the River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trails.

On the way I changed my mind and instead headed to the Village Creek Natural Historic Area and Bob Findlay Linear Park Pioneer Park Trails, to oxygenate my tired brain by bi-pedaling at high speed.

On the way to Village Creek I take a left from Cooks Lane on to Brentwood Stair Road. At the northeast corner of that intersection there is a Chesapeake Energy pond that is somewhat the same color as the pond you see in the picture.

The pond in the picture is Wapato Lake in Tacoma. When I was in Tacoma, summer of 2008, Wapato Lake was in the news, due to a chemical mistake. The intention had been to add something to kill the algae and clear the lake's water. Instead too much chemical was added, which had the effect of making Wapato Lake ultra-clear.

And murdering all the fish that lived in the lake. And revealing a stolen car. Or two.

No fish have died in the Chesapeake Energy pond. It is a manmade pond. I don't know how many birds have landed in the Chesapeake Energy pond and had themselves a what the hell moment right before they died.

The past few weeks a pump sits beside the Chesapeake Energy Brentwood Stair Pond, with a black pipeline running from the pump to Cooks Lane. You see the black pipeline on the west side of Cooks Lane, but I've not figured out how it gets across that road, from the pond.

I have also not figured out if water is being pumped in or out of the Chesapeake Energy Brentwood Stair Pond.

I do know for certain that Chesapeake Energy had nothing to do with the Wapato Lake disaster.

Morning Of September 24 After Spending The Night Behind Bars Under The Texas Stars

You are looking at the view, early in the morning of September 24, soon after I woke up from my night of sleeping under the stars, behind the bars of my patio.

I do not remember the last time I spent a night outside with no cover. This may be the first time in Texas.

Spending the night outside, in Texas, does not quite have the same appeal as spending a cloudless night outside in Washington. Texas has a more interesting collection of critters that have the potential to disturb ones night's sleep.

However, none disturbed me last night. No lizard or snake slithered into my sleeping bag. No cockroach walked across my face, that I know of. No bug bit me. No squirrel checked me for nuts.

Today, the State Fair of Texas starts up in Dallas. Every year I intend to go to the fair. It's a really big state fair. But every year, but two, since I have been in Texas, the days to go to the state fair dwindle down, without me managing to arrange to attend. This year I am going to make an effort not to let the state fair days dwindle down to none.

I really want to have myself some Deep Fried Beer and a Deep Fried Frito Pie. I think this may help with my ongoing attempt to gain weight.

In the meantime I think I will go swimming, which really does not help with my weight gain program, since it burns calories, rather than add them. It's a conundrum.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Mysterious Tandy Hills Baseball Cap

Except for going swimming early this morning I was trapped indoors until I escaped, finally around 5 this afternoon. Around 3:30 I tried to log in to Facebook to play Scrabble to exercise the dormant side of my brain.

But, Facebook was in system crash/down mode. I then blogged about the Facebook woe and a couple minutes after that I found that my blog was on fire with hits from distraught Facebook users all over the world.

I really don't get the attraction of Facebook. Except for Scrabble. Did these people who are so dependent on Facebook not have an email network before Facebook came along?

Anyway, when I escaped here I went to Town Talk and got sushi and then headed to the Tandy Hills to do me some hiking. It was very breezy and very pleasant.

Tandy Shrine II has now had a baseball cap added to its eastern horn. I do not know if this is some sort of tribute to the Texas Rangers, or what.

Above you can see the newly added baseball cap on its horn perch. This new shrine has survived several days now, without toppling over.

I pay no attention to baseball unless I happen upon it accidentally. One of those accidents happened yesterday when someone told me that the Texas Rangers are doing well and are heading to either the World Series or the playoffs or both. And that Seattle beat the Rangers a couple days ago, which was a bit of a damper, due, apparently, to the Seattle Mariners being a bottom dwelling losing team.

I have gone to a Texas Rangers game, a few years back. They were playing Seattle. I was more interested in checking out the Ballpark in Arlington. I think I lasted til the 7th inning when I could take it no more.

It is time for some sushi now. You can get sushi at the Seattle Mariner's Safeco Field ballpark. Can you get sushi at the Ballpark in Arlington?

September 23 Facebook System Crash Upsetting Users World-Wide

UPDATE: As of 4:12pm, United States Central Time, Facebook is back working from this location.

I needed a break from too much time spent making webpages, so I went to see if anyone of my Scrabblers had Scrabbled on Facebook.

When I clicked on Facebook's login I got the hourglass wait icon and went off to do something else. When I got back I saw the "This webpage is not available" message you see here.

So, I then Googled "Facebook Down" to learn that Facebook has suffered a system-wide crash, this Thursday, September 23. I suspect a cyber attack from someone who finds Facebook annoying and symptomatic of the dumbing down of the entire world.

Apparently Facebook being in malfunction mode has Facebook's users in a panic all over the world, being deprived of using Facebook's highly evolved methods of communicating, users are having to resort to using Facebook's mutant cousin, Twitter.

I think what I will resort to, rather than Twitter, is going on a bike ride.

The 2nd Day Of Fall With A Full Moon Shining Bright Over Texas

No need to wait for the sun to arrive to light up the place this second day of fall of 2010. As you can see, a full moon is sitting on the roof next to my chimney, which only last night erupted with a rainbow.

That chimney sees a lot of celestial activity.

I was cranky last night after a sudden downpour ruined my attempt to go on a sunset bike ride from Gateway Park, in search of some salubrious aerobicized solitude and Fort Worth homeless people.

When I got back here I saw my DVR was in record mode. So, I watched Survivor, followed by Hell's Kitchen. Hell's Kitchen was especially hellish last night.

Being overstimulated by an especially hellish Hell's Kitchen had me up til past midnight, last night, reading a book I got whenever it was I went to a Fort Worth library and successfully found it open.

The book is "For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb and the Murder that Shocked Chicago." The Leopold/Loeb murder of Bobby Franks is a rather well known crime, from way back during the Roaring 20s. But, the movie version did not really tell the real story, in all its shocking horror. Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 "The Rope" did not even use the real names of the killers. I believe there is a second, later, movie version, that may have been more accurately based on the real story.

As far as I know I've only known one sociopath of the ilk of Leopold/Loeb. That particular sociopath has not killed, as far as I know, her particular sociopathic bend is the "Thrill of Thieving and Lying," which has gotten her in trouble with the law a time or two, with a conviction or two and some jail time.

I like the True Crime genre. Particularly books telling the story of a crime from a different era.

The sun is almost due to arrive. The birds should already be in tweet mode. I may be miscalculating the time of the sun's arrival. It has been getting later every morning since sometime way back in June.

Going swimming is in the immediate schedule, followed by being a webpage making machine all morning long til my easily worn out brain needs a rest.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wicked Fort Worth Downpour Aborts Autumn Equinox Sunset Gateway Park Bike Ride

As I drove towards Gateway Park, tonight, I saw a couple somewhat menacing clouds which had wet stuff falling from them, but not making it anywhere near the ground. The trails of evaporating rain drops was clearly seen against the clear blue sky over downtown Fort Worth.

I got to Gateway Park, got my bike out, started loading it up. And then I felt a sprinkle. And then the wind picked up, very strongly. And then a downpour started pouring down with big plops of wetness. I quickly loaded the bike back up.

I sat and watched the downpour for a couple minutes and then decided to bail. I was barely out of Gateway Park, heading east on Randol Mill Road when dryness returned.

So, I decided to go biking at Quanah Parker Park. As I drove in to Quanah Parker Park I could see the sky had cleared over Gateway Park. Nothing looked too malignant skyward above Quanah Parker Park.

Yet, I had barely parked and it happened again. Apparently the Gateway Park Storm was heading east and I was back in it.

I took the picture you see above, out of my windshield, looking west, from the Quanah Parker Park Parking Lot. You can see the size of the rain plops. And you can sort of tell it is being windy.

So, I bailed on Quanah Parker Park. The rain poured all the way back here. I waited a couple minutes for it to let up a bit before I made my fast dash for this interior space. And now the sky is back clear and all is calm, just a short time later.

Above you can see the rainbow that shot out of my chimney shortly after the rain stopped. As you can see, the rainbow did not make it all the way to a pot of gold on the ground. It just sort of dissipates in the sky, just like those rain entrails I saw coming out of clouds on my way to Gateway Park.

So, I did not get my sunset bike ride. But, I did get to have fun in one of the stranger storms I've enjoyed in Texas.

Thinking About Taking The TRE & DART Train To The State Fair Of Texas To Have Deep Fried Beer

That is me, stuck in a gondola on the Texas Star Ferris Wheel at the State Fair of Texas, in Dallas. The Texas Star is 212 feet tall. Some claim it to be the tallest Ferris Wheel in the Western Hemisphere, others claim it is only the tallest in North America.

All I know for sure is this is one big Ferris Wheel.

I don't know if the current Texas Star is the original, or a second or third or fourth generation Texas Star, but, I do know that in 1955 one of the Texas Star's gondolas, full of students from the Memphis Texas High School marching band, broke from the top of the Ferris Wheel, careening to the ground, killing only one of the students.

The State Fair of Texas starts this Friday, September 24 and runs through October 17.

It has been a couple years since I've gone to the fair. I'm thinking I may go this year. I have me a hankering to try me some Deep Fried Beer and a Deep Fried Margarita. I must remember to bring I.D., due to the need to be 21 to buy the Deep Fried Booze.

The last time I went to the fair I paid 10 bucks to park in a remote parking lot, east of the fairgrounds, with transport to the fairgrounds provided by a TRE (Trinity Railway Express) train.

I am thinking this year, rather than drive to Dallas, it'd be funner to take the TRE, since there is now a DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) line that goes to the fairgrounds. I have a TRE station, it being the Richland Hills station, almost walking distance from my abode.

So, who wants to go ride the Texas Star with me and get inebriated eating Deep Fried Beer?

The First Day Of Fall Has Arrived In Texas

As you can see, looking out my bedroom window, the sun is starting to arrive on this, the first day of fall, September 22.

I thought fall always fell on September 21 and spring on March 21. I must be remembering wrong.

The birds are tweeting an exceptionally loud racket this morning. They must be overly excited about the arrival of fall.

I know I'd tweet if I knew how, so excited am I, that we are finally putting the scorching Texas summer of 2010 behind us. Now, we can look forward to the first freeze of the year.

I am heading north today, to the Southlake zone. While I'm up there I think I'll be going to Sprouts Farmers Market. I've not been there in awhile.

I am a little sore from overdoing the mountain biking. I'm thinking maybe a day of recovery is needed. I tend to overdo things. That is one of the minor downsides to having a minor case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Now that the sun has lit up the place, I think I'll go swimming and see if that helps with the soreness recovery plan.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Last Night Of Summer With A Mysterious Blue Vertical Cylinder In Fort Worth

I am trying to get in shape for my upcoming bike riding expedition with the Queen of Wink. It's a daunting, exhausting process. I seem to be making progress.

This afternoon I was excessively exercising my cerebral functions. That happens so rarely, when it does happen, it can get me all hypered up.

So, with me all hypered up I took off to the Tandy Hills sometime after 6.

I was hoping to get a good sunset picture of the sun going down on Fort Worth on the last day of the summer. But, I was too early and the sun was hanging too high.

One of my intentions in returning for a rare visit to the Tandy Hills was to haul yesterday's discovery of a mysterious blue vertical cylindrical object, from deep within the Tandy Hills, to install it at the top of Mount Tandy, as the biggest part of the Tandy Hills Shrine.

But, when the mysterious blue vertical cylinder came in to view, tonight, I saw that it had grown horns. I believe the mysterious blue vertical cylinder has now become Tandy Shrine II. I do not know by what means the mysterious blue vertical cylinder grew horns. But it really seemed like something that should not be messed with.

And so I did not. Mess with it.

It would have been a bit of a labor to haul the mysterious blue vertical cylinder to the top of Mount Tandy. I was going to balance it on my shoulders, shifting it from the right shoulder to the left, back and forth, when one side got tired.

It is now coming up on 7:30, with the sun now in final descent mode. Now I would be able to take a good sunset picture from the Tandy Hills.

So, it is goodbye yellow summer sun for 9 months. The next time the yellow sun of summer returns I am thinking I will likely be seeing it in Washington. There will be a large gathering with whom I may feel compelled to gather with. On a farm in a barn with BBQ. Washington BBQ. Smoke from the wood of a Cedar, not a puny Mesquite bush.

Thinking About Biking The Newly Re-Opened River Legacy Mountain Bike Trail With The Queen Of Wink

Last night I saw a lot of mountain bikers in the mountain bike parking lot at River Legacy Park. When I was done biking I drove through that lot and saw that the chain closing the trail was now open.

I knew the River Rats had worked on the trail on Saturday, but the description of the amount of damage and the amount of water remaining, led me to think it'd be a long time before the River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trail re-opened.

Well. As I so often am. I was wrong.

I checked out the DORBA (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) website this morning and saw the River Legacy Trail is open. For the most part.

The EKG and Fun Town sections are still under a lot of water. I do not bike either of those parts of the trail, due to it being too extreme and beyond the mountain biking skills that I currently possess or want to possess. The names of some of the challenges in Fun Town give you a clue as to why I avoid them, names like Granny's Heart Attack, Lost Lunch Gulch and Ball Breaker.

I'd been warned on the DORBA River Legacy page to look for big holes on the Prairie Loop. The big holes did not bother me, but I did not like how the vegetation has gone virile due to all the water. This seems like prime ground for critters like Copperhead snakes, which I have seen at River Legacy previously.

I was surprised by how dried out the trails were, for the most part. There were a few slightly tacky parts, but nothing so tacky that mud stuck to my wheels. In one spot water was still over the trail, but a short bypass takes you around it. There are currently big ponds were none existed before, and the existing ponds are filled to the max, at times coming to the edge of the trail.

Overall, I was surprised at what good shape the trail is in and that it is back usable so soon after being under so much water.

The Queen of Wink is going biking with me.