Sunday, October 31, 2010

Me & My Shadow On The Tandy Hills With More Four Loko

That is me and my shadow on the Tandy Hills again, on this Sunday Halloween in Texas. I tried anew to find the mysterious Witchey Tree, to no avail.

I saw no snakes today. A variety of birds was singing a pleasant cacophony of melodic tweeting. I saw no human on the hills today.

But, I did see a blimp. But not on the Tandy Hills. The blimp was hovering over the Ballpark in Arlington and the Cowboy Stadium. I could not tell if it was a Goodyear blimp. It seemed an odd thing to see, making clear how close the Ballpark/Stadium District of Arlington is to my location, and to the Tandy Hills.

I think Game 4  of the World Series starts up some time after noon. And the Dallas Cowboy's game starts up well after the World Series game starts. Today will be Arlington's biggest test of moving traffic in and out of the play zone.

Due to the extremely pleasant temperature, all my windows are open. I have heard no cheering coming from the east. I hope this does not mean that the Rangers' fans are having nothing to cheer about today.

I found another empty can of Four Loko today. This one was way to the west of the ones I found yesterday, stuck on limbs on the Tandy Highway. Today I took one of those Tandy Highway Four Loko cans, stuck a stick in it, and stuck it on the Tandy Shrine at the top of Mount Tandy.

With the Four Loko can on a stick I was able to read the ingredients. Caffeine, Taurine, Guarana and Alcohol. Hence the name. Four things to make you loco.

Who is wandering around the Tandy Hills, slurping down these potent beverages and leaving the cans behind? I think we can eliminate me, Stenotrophomonas and Don Young as suspects.

Halloween 2010: Legend Of The Tandy Hills Witchey Tree Update

Don Young promised a Halloween Update on the Witchey Tree. That Update arrived as promised.

To re-cap for those unfamiliar with the Witchey Tree...

Legend has it that back in the 1960s, that being the period of Don Young's formative teenage years, the Tandy Hills was used as a sort of Lover's Lane, by natural spirits of that era.

One hapless couple on a very, for them, hapless Halloween of, let's say, 1968, drove down what is now the main trail from View Street to the Tandy Hills.

Looking for a place to park his VW van, the male half of the couple mis-judged the hills and found himself careening down one of the western hills, out of control.

The van smashed into a tree, seriously damaging it. The girl half of the pair was decapitated, the boy seriously injured, dying within a few years, some say of both a broken body and a broken heart.

The van was left to rust, as it was deemed too difficult to tow it out of the Tandy Hills. There are several vehicle corpses on the Tandy Hills.

The damaged tree continued to live, but was all disfigured. It became known as the Witchey Tree. Some considered it haunted.

Over the years Tandy Hills foliage grew up and made access to the Witchey Tree and van difficult.

On this Halloween of 2010, Don Young had the sad duty to report that the Witchey Tree has died. The weird growth that had sprouted from its decapitated trunk lived for over 40 years.

On another note, sort of related, the Friends of the Tandy Hills Natural Area website has had a makeover. Check it out. And you'll be able to read all of today's Prairie Notes #47: Vote the Environment, including shocking news about the possible demise of the Prairie Fest and more about the Witchey Tree demise.

Up Early On Halloween Morning With The Texas Rangers First World Series Win & Promises Of A Haunted Update

You are looking out my bedroom window at a pre-dawn view of Halloween on a Texas Sunday morning.

It did not get as close to freezing last night as the night before, and is a relatively balmy 52 out there right now. Swimming should not be as shivering an experience this morning as yesterday.

The Texas Rangers have now won their first World Series game, beating the New York Yankees 4 to 2, last night in the Ballpark in Arlington. If Texas wins again today, the series will be tied.

Don Young took umbrage at the notion that I might have been questioning his credibility regarding his tale of the haunted Witchey Tree. An important Halloween update on the haunted tree is promised for today.

I see the sun has decided to arrive. The birds seem particularly excited about its arrival today.

I don't know which I want to do tonight. Go Trick or Treating? Or be bored out of my mind watching baseball?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hiking The Tandy Hills With Snakes & Four Loko

Hiking the Tandy Hills is such an educational experience for me. Often in very unanticipated ways.

Like today.

In several locations in the Tandy Hills someone has decorated a branch with an empty beverage can. It was a can unfamiliar to me.

I examined one of the cans, up close, to see the beverage was called Four Loko. 23 1/2 ounces with 12 percent alcohol mixed with Guarana and Taurine, which are stimulants. I think caffeine might also be in the mix. Which is also a stimulant.

When I was back at my computer I Googled "Four Loko" and was surprised to learn it was in the news.

Not in the news due to being overly consumed on the Tandy Hills, but for being overly consumed at two Universities on opposite sides of the country.

New Jersey's Ramapo College and Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, in my old home state.

Central Washington University is where I graduated from. It was strange to Google for info and have that college pop up. Pop up due to nine freshmen requiring hospitalization after drinking Four Loko, along with other booze.

I need to go to Wal-Mart to get milk in a bit, along with a returning of some books to the library, which, miraculously, is open. I am going to look for Four Loko at Wal-Mart.

I forgot to mention. The picture above of the Four Loko can was taken on the Tandy Highway. As soon as I stuck the camera back in my pocket, two humans popped in to view. Startling me. Human encounters are rare on the Tandy Hills.

I chatted a bit with the humans. I think I startled them too. It was a guy and a girl pair of humans. This was their first time on the Tandy Hills. And they were new to the area. I told them they were going to have a lot of fun figuring out the maze of trails and finding all of them.

Before the human encounter I had another snake encounter. I was not fast enough, again, to get a picture. This snake encounter was near the bottom of the south trail that takes you down Mount Tandy to the Tandy Highway. It was a green snake, with darker green markings, about 2 feet long.

Ironically, just yesterday, when I hiked the wild west side of the Tandy Hills, I did so because the temps were cool, thus, I erroneously thought, slowing the movement of any slithery reptilian creatures. I do not hike on the wild west side of the Tandy Hills when it's HOT.

The temperature was 70 when I left here to go hiking. So, I guess I learned today that cold-blooded snakes can move fairly fast at a lower temperature than I realized.

My Ex Searching For Me & Sending Me Wiener Dog Halloween Jack O' Lanterns

Seconds ago I saw incoming email on my second monitor, subject line: "Your Ex Has Searched For You."

Obvious spam. I know for certain my "Ex" is not searching for me, because she already knows where I am.

In fact, just this morning my "Ex" sent me the cute picture you see here, of Bean the Wiener Dog and her Halloween Jack O' Lantern.

Bean has a sister named Rosie the Rat Dog. I don't know why I did not get a picture of Rosie with her Jack O' Lantern.

Maybe Rosie was a bad girl this year and did not get her annual Jack O' Lantern.

Rosie and Bean have a new sister, whom I have not met. Her name is Tillie. I believe Tillie is also a Dachshund, aka Wiener Dog.

Did Tillie not get a Jack O' Lantern either?

Shivering After Swimming While Wondering How The Duo Bush First Pitch At The Ballpark In Arlington Texas Rangers World Series Game Works

It is the day before the last day of October. I think that makes tomorrow Halloween.

As you can see, looking out my bedroom window, today is a nice weather Saturday morning, unlike last Saturday, when tornadoes touched down in my neighborhood, lightning struck, thunder boomed, rain drenched and my bike was stolen.

It was in the low 40s when I went swimming this morning. It is over 2 hours later and I am still sort of shivering.  I do not remember having a shivering episode, like this, previously.

Unless I count the time I learned a certain someone referred to me as her second husband. Thinking of that can still cause a shiver.

The Texas Rangers need to beat the San Francisco Giants today or they will be behind 3 games to 0 in the World Series. If the Rangers lose today and tomorrow then it will still be able to be said that the Texas Rangers have never won a World Series game.

Today's game starts around 4. This means I need to get my Tandy Hills hike in early, so as to be able to be at the Ballpark in Arlington in time to see the Bush's throw the first pitch. I think that is today. How do both Georges throw the first pitch? Can't there only be one first pitch?

I must go find some more clothes to put on. Or take another extremely hot shower.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hiking The Wild West Side Of The Tandy Hills Searching For The Witchey Tree

Today I hiked the wild west side of the Tandy Hills. A location on the hills much less traveled.

I don't think I've been on the west side of the View Street main trail since January 2, when dozens of Wild Women and Manly Men, including the Queen of Wink and Princess Annie, went on a big group hike.

It is easy to find oneself off trail, meandering through the prairie, on the wild west side of the Tandy Hills.

This is the part of the Tandy Hills where Don Young claims a van went out of control, back in the 60s, killing a young woman and leaving her boy friend crippled. I may have that backwards. I have never been able to find the remains of the van or the witchey tree

Don Young seems to be a fairly credible guy, but on this Tandy Hills Legend of the Witchey Tree Halloween Story he seems a tad sketchy.

I have received some more confusing Halloween information. Sunday, October 31 is Halloween in most of the civilized world. But, due to it being a Sunday, and Dallas/Fort Worth being the Buckle of the Bible Belt, the pagan ritual of Halloween can not be practiced on Sunday, so, unless one is a practicing pagan, one does ones Halloweening in D/FW on Saturday.

I don't know how credible my latest Halloween source is. But, it sounds plausible to me. I think, just to be safe, I will do my Trick or Treating on Saturday.

Is It A Happy Halloween Day In Texas?

I got up late, due to sleeping well, under covers for the first time in a long time, due to the temperature dropping to only 9 degrees above freezing last night.

I have not skipped my morning swim in awhile. This morning I am skipping it. Not due to the semi-icy conditions, but due to the fact I am running late.

There were 2 Happy Halloween emails in my inbox this morning. Does this mean today, October 30 is Halloween?

I'm thinking I am of the erroneous notion that Halloween is on the last day of October, not the day before the last day.

I think I will go to the Tandy Hills again today. I currently have no bike ride option. I liked hiking in the chilly air yesterday. Today it should be even chillier.

UPDATE: I have been informed that today is October 29, not October 30. And that Halloween is also not today, but is on Sunday, October 31. So. I have 2 days to get my Elsie Hotpepper costume ready.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fort Worth's Tandy Hills Is Finally Getting A Sanitary Sewer Line

In the picture you are looking north on the Tandy Highway, under the canopy of the Tandy Forest in the Tandy Hills Natural Area, today, around noon.

Prior to noon today I heard from my #1 Informant about all matters Tandy. I'll refer to the Informant as DY.

DY sent me a PDF file containing disturbing information that seems to indicate the Tandy Highway is about to be disturbed, again, by the Fort Worth Water Department.

550 feet of 50 year old 6-inch clay pipe is going to be replaced by 8-inch PVC pipe.

I am a little unclear as to where this pipeline is located.

The PDF document says the location of the proposed sewer line parallels a portion of the dedicated road right-of-way which is located adjacent to an old road access for the park. Is that old road access referencing Tandy Highway?

A trench, 4 to 6 feet deep, will be, well, trenched. The City Forester (a Fort Worth city position I'd not previously heard of) has reviewed the alignment and says there will be minimal to no impact on trees in the park.

I like the subject line at the top of the document, saying in part, "Recommendation for the use of parkland for the installation of a sanitary sewer line."

Is the existing sewer line unsanitary?

It is going to be interesting to see what a big mess this turns into.

On a totally non-sanitary sewer related note. The mysterious 20 foot, or longer, metal cable, that on Tuesday had migrated part way up Tandy Mountain, has now disappeared.

It Is Almost November & I Am Shivering From The Texas Cold & The Rangers Losing Their First World Series Game

It is the morning of October 28, which means it is 4 days until November. And Christmas is less than 2 months away.

We are rapidly approaching my least favorite time of the year.

I think it got down in the 40s last night. The pool was the coolest it has been since last winter. I stayed in it for quite a long time. And now I'm shivering as I type.

The Texas Rangers did not win their first World Series game last night.

Elsie Hotpepper sent me a link, this morning, to a funny local (to Texas) TV report from whatever the name is of the home ballpark of the San Francisco Giants.   Didn't it used to be Candlestick Park? What became of Candlestick Park?

On Sunday we will be having Perfect Storm conditions in Arlington. For the first time both the Ballpark in Arlington and the Cowboy Stadium will be full of fans at the same time. Plus, due to it being the Halloween time of the year, I suspect Six Flags Over Texas will be open too.

I have not had confirmation that Miss Puerto Rico made it successfully back to Texas.  She had 3 different airports, on the way back, in which she could have had herself an incident.

Lunch is at 1. Barbecued pork chops. Don't be late.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Feeding Miss Puerto Rico's Cat While Updating My Texas Rangers World Series Faux Pas

You are looking at the late Wednesday afternoon view from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony.

It was a good choice, on my part, that I returned to check on the cat, Tasha, once more, before Miss PR's midnight return.

The food bowl was a bit low.

The cat was in full yowling mode. I don't know if I was being scolded about the low supply of food in her bowl, or my failure to give her one of her special treats when I was there this morning.

In a short while, in San Francisco, the Texas Rangers are looking to win their first ever World Series game. The World Series is a baseball tournament for you who do not follow American sports. There are only Canadian and American teams that can play in this tournament. I do not know why it is called the World Series.

It'd be nice if Havana and Tokyo had a team in the Big Leagues, what with both Cuba and Japan being big fans of baseball.

On a related note. Long ago I made a webpage about Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. Yesterday a guy named Mr. R. Hicks sent me an email.

Subject line: You might want to change this

"Behind the Titan Hyper Coaster and the top-rated Texas Giant Wooden Coaster, that would be the Ballpark in Arlington where the cellar dwelling Texas Rangers play." 

Oops. I quickly fixed that little faux pas.

And then quickly checked the Ballpark in Arlington webpage for other unfortunate faux pas incidents. I only had to make a couple changes to that one.

When I talked to my mom a couple days ago she told me I really should go to one of the World Series games, due to the rarity of such an opportunity. I guess mom forgot I don't like baseball. That and how would I get a ticket? Aren't they sold out?

Finding A Bike On Fosdic Dam & Deer Poachers

This afternoon I found myself growing weary of being a melancholy baby, so I took off for Oakland Lake Park for a hopefully hopefilled walk around Fosdic Lake. I was feeling momentarily better, and then the trail came to the east end of Fosdic Dam.

Where I saw a bike. All alone. No human in the area. It was an older bike. Why was it in this location? Did someone steal it and then decided to leave it? All it did for me was put back in the front of my consciousness something I was trying to bury.

Before going to see Fosdic Lake today I'd been up to Southlake, Hurst and Bedford. I went bike shopping at Bicycles, Inc.  Even though I do not like Bicycles, Inc.

Bikes have changed a lot since I last looked at bikes. New type brakes was a major difference.

On the way to Southlake I returned an urgent call to Tootsie Tonasket. Tootsie has gotten herself into a bit of a sticky pickle. It involves poaching a deer, false accusations, squatters, evictions and all sorts of other mayhem that is confusing to me.

Well. Miss Puerto Rico gets back to Texas around midnight. I guess I'll go over  to her place to make sure I've not forgotten to do anything I was supposed to do. Like feed the cat. Which I did forget to check on when I was over there this morning.

Big Boys In Tulsa Plotting Texas Town Attacks

A few minutes ago Elsie Hotpepper sent me the link to the below video.

It is an amusing video.

But will likely only be amusing to others, like me, who live in the Barnett Shale zone and who see the nefarious shenanigans of the Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drillers and the various government agencies and entities the gas drillers have corrupted, co-opted and compromised to the detriment of the citizens living in the killing zones. I mean drilling zones.

Setting Off Alarms In Fort Worth With Pollution Burning My Eyes

You are looking out my window at the sun starting to brighten the surroundings on the morning of October 27.

Is Daylight Savings Time not due to end soon? I want it to get bright earlier than the current situation.

I had an incident over at Miss Puerto Rico's last night. When I enter her abode I have to turn off the security alarm by entering a 4 digit code. The 4 digit code is very similar to my debit card PIN.

Last night I entered my debit card PIN. This caused the alarm to get alarmed. After a few seconds of being very alarmed I entered the correct code and all became calm.

Can one ever grow weary of watching GASLAND the movie? I have no idea. Elsie Hotpepper seemed to be having herself a real good time at last night's gala affair.

Speaking of pollution. Something in the air is irritating my eyes this morning. It is being very annoying.

It is bright enough out there for me to go swimming. So, that is what I am going to do, in full anticipation that it will be chilly, due to it being 57 degrees out there currently.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On The Tandy Hills Witnessing The Eve Of Destruction & Getting Chased By A Panther

It is starting to seem like utter chaos every which way I turn. I'm starting to feel like I am sitting right on the edge of the eve of destruction.

Stenotrophomonas had forewarned me about the shocking sight I was to see today on top of Mount Tandy.

But, words can never prepare you for the eye witness experience.

Mother Nature may have had some hand in the destruction of the Original Tandy Hills Shrine.

But. I am almost 100% certain that Mother Nature does not steal golf balls.

I am thinking that maybe the Tandy Shrine is now an abstract free form piece of guerrilla art, rather than the more structured sculpture it was before falling victim, again, to vandals.

Further down Mount Tandy I found the mysterious long cable has now migrated from the base of Mount Tandy and is now sitting at the end of the trail that leads to the top and the Tandy Shrine.

As I neared Tandy Highway, today, and the end of my hike, dogs that live behind a tall cyclone fence, high up the hill, let off a cacophony of barking the likes of which I have seldom heard. One of the dogs was barking in that way that sounds as if was really scared, almost crying.

A prowling panther crossed my mind. I picked up a big rock and hurried on my way. When I got to Tandy Highway the barking was louder and almost seemed violent, with the crying dog now adding a whimpering aspect.

And then, totally suddenly, the barking and crying ceased.

I thought, either the panther got its prey and shut the dogs up. Or it sniffed fresh meat on its side of the cyclone fence. So, I made like a road runner, out of there.

Why Bother Caring That It Is Yet One More Sunny Day In Texas?

October 26 is starting out as another sunny day in Texas. Sunny does not match my current disposition, which is cranky.

I am in a heavy duty why bother mood.

I thought maybe going swimming would lift my spirits back to a more healthy state of mind.

It didn't

It was in the mid 50s when I hit the cool pool. But the cool pool was not as cool as the air temperature.

I swam for a very long time.

I just heard from Elsie Hotpepper, inquiring about tonight's Gala GASLAND affair. Why would Elsie consult with me as to what she should wear to something? That's just silly.

I learned this morning that Gar the Texan has made it safely back to Texas from his beer-fueled, wobbly jaunt all over Europe. It seems there are large parts of Gar the Texan's jaunt that are not well remembered, but documented with cell phone photos.

I must try and do something constructive now, but I don't know if I can, because to do so I'll need to be past this "Why Bother?" mood I am in.

GASLAND Tonight In Fort Worth With Josh Fox

Be at 217 E. Broadway in Fort Worth, tonight, for a Reception at Lander's Machine Shop Art Gallery, where you might meet me, Elsie Hotpepper and Josh Fox, the director of GASLAND the movie.

GASLAND will be shown at 7:00.

Never before seen footage, shot in Texas, will be screened.

There is an after the screening party which Josh Fox will attend and at which there will be snacks and beverages.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hiking The Tandy Hills With A Fallen Shrine, Yellow Flags With Theodore John & Ruby Jean

Today I was shocked to find that Tandy Shrine II is yet one more victim of Saturday's wild, windy, wet storm. It appeared Mother Nature lifted the Shrine from its foundation and carried it about 30 feet. I probably should have rescued the Shrine from its watery grave, but that seemed like an awful lot of bother.

On the way to the Tandy Hills I drove west on Boca Raton and saw the wind damaged Woodstock Apartments. I don't know if has been determined if this was done by a tornado, or not. I saw several roofs ripped totally off.

Back to this morning and talking to my mom. I forgot to mention that mom told me the names of my incoming new relatives. Twins. I thought it was a pair of boys. But it is one of each variety. I'm not quite sure if, technically speaking, I will be these twin's uncle, with the twins being my nephew and niece. I'm sure, somewhere, there are rules and regulations and guides to determine such things.

What I do know is, according to my mom, the boy's name is Theodore John, with the girl being Ruby Jean. It might have been Rudy Jean.

Back to the Tandy Hills. The last time I hiked the hills I came upon a pair of very un-natural blue plastic flags stuck in the ground in the Natural Area. Today I saw several more, with these new flags being yellow.

Felt-penned in black on the flags is a number and the initial "TWU."

Texas Weather Underground? Texas Water Users? Texas Wesleyan University?

This is not the first time flags have mysteriously been planted on the Tandy Hills.

It was just about perfect hiking the hills today. A good wind blowing, temperature in the 80s. The hills mostly dried out from the Saturday deluge.

In Fat Fort Worth Texas With Durango Obese & Banning Cheese

Yes, it is true, as you can clearly see, I have put on a few pounds.

Am I happy about that? No.

Am I on a diet? Not really.

Am I considering getting lapband surgery? No.

Am I going to start getting more exercise? Like going on really long bike rides? No. Swim more? No. Hike more? No.

Will I lose the extra weight? Yes.

Will it take long to lose? No.

What am I doing to lose all the extra girth? I quit buying cheese at Town Talk.

Cheese is the source of all my blubber.

A really nice benefit of carrying extra heft is I no longer need a belt to hold up my cargo shorts or jeans.

I almost forgot to mention the actual reason I'm fessing up to being a fatty boy. I started yet one more blog. I don't know how this one is going to go. It may be a dud like my Roadtripping Blog. Or it may be a non-dud like this one you are reading now and my TV Blog.

The new blog is called DurangObese.

When I thought of the name, I thought it amusing. Now, not so much.

In Texas Working With A Dying Asian In Dubai To Build Orphanages

Every few days I get an email plea for help. With me getting millions of dollars if I help.

I like to be a helpful person. But how many more millions of dollars do I need?

It started off only being Nigerians that I'd help, but now the needy have spread all over the world.

With people in the wealthy nation of Dubai lately sending me a lot of needy pleas for help.

I wish I could reply in a positive ways to all these pleas, but I am being selective about helping. The pleas has to have a really high pathos level combined with a healthy dose of altruism in order to get me to accept those millions of dollars.

Like the plea I got this morning from Mr. John Lalwani, dying of cancer, wanting me to help make his dying wish of funding orphanages come true. Of course I will help with this one. I love helping orphans.

Below is John's plea for help....

My name is Mr. John Lalwani, a real estate agent in Dubai. Am Asian and am dying of cancer. I have been on medical treatment after which it was confirmed by my doctor that I have cancer in 2009. I want to donate the sum of 24.5 Million Dollars to you in which 80% will be for helping me achieve my final wish on Earth by funding orphanage homes, help the needy and widows of your choice. I saw a profile of you on the net. After praying to God to make you the one for this assignment, I decided to contact you.  I want you to respond back to me only through my personal email address as soon as possible for more information if you are interested. 

God Bless You
Mr. John Lalwani

If you are an orphan in need of a home, let me know. I'll try and get you a place to live as soon as I get my money from John.

October 25 Mom Call Talking About Texas Tornadoes & Taos

It is the morning of October 25. You are looking out the bars of my patio prison at a nice clear semi-blue sky day in Texas.

I just got off the phone with my mom. No. I did not get gas. Mom called last night and left a voice mail. I did not hear the phone ring due to it charging due to Elsie Hotpepper talking to me til the battery went dead last night.

My mom and dad have an incoming aunt of mine arriving in Phoenix today at 3. Tomorrow they are heading to New Mexico, to Albuquerque, where all my dad's siblings, except my favorite aunt, will be.

I asked my mom why Albuquerque? She did not know. I asked why not Taos? Mom did not know anything about Taos. So, I told mom about Taos. They'd already planned on going to Santa Fe on their way back to Phoenix. Now Taos has been added.

The news of our Saturday tornado action had reached my mom. Which is why she called. I was surprised the news of my stolen bike had not reached Phoenix.

The pool was quite pleasant this morning. I see a Tandy Hill in my future today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Calling 911 With A Dry View From Miss Puerto Rico's, A Cop Visit And The Queen Of Wink & Me Going Around The World

24 hours ago this was not what the view from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony looked like.

So far, this Sunday, at least at my location, in Texas, there has been no heavy duty storm action, like we got blasted with yesterday, despite the prediction of a possible repeat.

I called 911 this morning, after which a Fort Worth Cop quickly showed up to take my van vandalism/bike theft report. I am not sure, but I don't think a report was made.

Apparently there is a ghost's chance in hell that the culprits might be caught and my bike recovered.

I know nothing about the science of police work, but it would seem there must be some system of checking pawn shops.

I was impressed with the high tech equipment in the cop car. I'd not seen that before.

Since there is quite an outbreak of the type break-ins that broke me, I would think decoys could be set up to trap the bad buys. How hard would that be?

Awhile back I watched an astonishing police operation from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony. At least a dozen police cars showed up, with a lot of cops running around. The culprit was caught,  handcuffed and bent over the back of a police cruiser.

The crime? Shoplifting a box of disposable diapers and a pair of socks from a Dollar General store. This seemed a bit of overkill, disproportionate to the crime.

My bike and the damage to my van costs quite a bit more than some diapers and socks. How many others have been the victim of the same car prowler?

Anyway, the visit with the cop was quite nice. In the end he said he'd be on the lookout for a bright yellow K-2 bike.

Feeling despondent, on my way back from Pantego and Dalworthington Gardens, I called the Queen of Wink. Her royal litany of woes made mine seem puny. I guess that made me feel better. I must begin to work on our audition video for The Amazing Race. We feel due to my good navigational skills, the Queen's superior intellect, my inherent charm with natives and the Queen's flirtatious nature, we should be able to zoom around the world to an easy first place finish.

As long as no mountain biking is involved. I don't do mountain bikes anymore.

After we win and get our million dollar check we will be holding a party. You, who will be invited, know who you are.

Finding Wildscapes Under A Barnett Shale Drilling Operation In Pappy Elkins Park In Dalworthington Gardens

With no bike to ride I decided to go to Veterans Park to do me some walking and contemplating. The Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drilling Rig is back making noise for the apartment dwellers who used to lived in a quiet peaceful location across from Veterans Park.

I really was not too much into the walking today. I'm feeling a bit downtrodden, or trodden down. One of the residents of the aforementioned apartments had mentioned, to me, a nearby lake. I tried to find the lake after that. The resident wondered if the gas drillers were going to be sucking water from the nearby lake. Between my last attempt to find this mysterious lake and today, I consulted a map. I found the lake easily.

The lake is in Pappy Elkins Park. I do not know if it is Pappy Elkins Lake. I do know you can fish in the lake. I do not know if you can eat the fish you catch. I also know you are forbidden to wade or swim in the lake.

As you can see, the shale drilling operation is right next to the lake. A road took me right to the gas drilling operation.

From the up close perspective the drilling operation appears further from the apartments than the perspective from Veterans Park. But it certainly is no where near 800 feet distant. 

Now, where it gets sort of interesting is Veterans Park, and, I assume, the apartments, are located in Arlington. Pappy Elkins Park, and, I assume, the gas drilling operation, are in Dalworthington Gardens, which is a tiny town surrounding by Arlington. So, with the gas rig in one town and the apartments in another, do the distance rules not apply?

Now, looking at the above photo, make note of the brown item, in the lower right, in front of the supposed sound barrier that surrounds the drilling operation.

Now we are right under the brown item, with the gas drilling tower hovering above. The sign says "DWG Wildscapes." Now, isn't that ironic? A Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drilling Operation sits were Pappy Elkins Park had a Wildscape, similar, I assume, to Veterans Park's Xeriscape.

Above is a map from which you can figure out how to get to Pappy Elkins Park if you are in the area and want to see a lake you've not seen before.

Sunday Morning In Texas Recovering From Saturday's Storm & Other Damage

It is early Sunday morning, October 24. You are looking at the moon trying to shine through some foggy fast moving clouds.

Saturday's storm did some serious damage near my abode. Several apartments in the Woodstock Apartment complex were destroyed. It is not known if this destruction was due to an isolated straight line wind burst or a small tornado touching down.

I believe I was sitting in my vandalized van, waiting for the rain to let up, listening to the tornado sirens blare when the damaging wind struck.

The Woodstock Apartments are on Boca Raton Boulevard in East Fort Worth.

We are scheduled to possibly more severe storming today.

Severe storming is matching my mood. I have to call the police. I did not do so yesterday after the storm started up.

Yesterday's stolen bike trauma has me feeling the most violated since August 20, 2008, the day I escaped a month of abuse in Tacoma that had me feeling psychologically violated.

I don't know if I'll go swimming this morning. I forgot to take my swimming suit out of the rain. I know I won't go bike riding this morning. Or later today.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In Texas Watching Saturday's Big Bolts Of Lightning Through A Heavy Downpour

You are looking at an extreme downpour from the vantage point of Miss Puerto Rico's balcony, today around 3.

I saw some of the biggest, thickest bolts of lightning I've ever seen, followed by some very loud booming, that set off a lot of car alarms.

Which had me wishing I had recently had a car alarm go off scaring off bike thieves. I am currently back locking my steering wheel with a club. I should never have stopped with that habit.

Tootsie Tonasket called soon after the rain let up enough that I was able to escape Miss Puerto Rico's. Tootsie Tonasket had her own set of woes that made mine seem less woeful.

The slow dripping that is going on out there now is reminding me very much of a winter in Washington day.

I am guessing the worst of the storm is now over. I do know for a fact that I will not be going on a bike ride tomorrow.

Saturday's Van Vandalism, Stolen Bike, Torrential Downpours & Tornado Sirens

This is not being a Good Saturday.

Very stormy.

In more ways than one.

Around noon I headed out of here to go to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake.

When I opened my van door I saw a piece of plastic on the floor. I wondered what it was and where it came from.

I then got in the van to see that the steering wheel had been moved to the low position. I thought this odd, but started up the vehicle and took off.

I'd only gone a couple blocks when I looked at the steering column and saw it'd been broken.

Someone tried to steal the van.

But, it was locked, no window had been broken like the previous attempted theft incident.

About halfway to Oakland Lake Park I had a sudden impulse to turn around to check on my bike.

My bike was gone. Thieves stole my bike.

I got to Oakland Lake Park and tried  to see how it was the thieves broke in. I found nothing.

I called the police. The operator could not figure out where Oakland Park was, in order to direct a cop to my location to make a report. I said I'd call again when I got home.

But, events intervened that have kept me from calling the police.

I was soon off the phone to the police when it became clear a bad storm was brewing. By the time I got to the van all hell had broken loose. Heavy wind, heavy rain. As in real heavy rain. I turned on the headlights. They were stuck on high beam due to the damage.

The drive back here was real slow due to all the water on the road and very low visibility When I got back here I sat waiting for it to let up when the tornado sirens went off.

I've not heard the tornado sirens in a long long time.

Eventually the tornado sirens stopped and I made it back under cover.

During lunch I saw the local weather guys in full court storm press. A lot of possible tornado action out there.

I decided to put off calling the cops til tomorrow, due to it raining real hard out there.

I'm trying to make lemonade out of this stolen bike/vandalism incident, but it ain't easy.

The Texas Rangers Antler & Claw Past The New York Yankees To The World Series

You are looking at a screen cap from this morning's Dallas Morning News.

Last night the Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees, 6 to 1, winning the best of 7 American League Championship for the first time, which put the Rangers in the World Series for the first time.

The Rangers beat the Yankees 4 games to 2. The Yankees are the winningest team in baseball, with 40 American League Championships and 27 World Series wins.

The odd use of the word "claw" in the Dallas Morning News headline is because of something the Rangers do. "Claw" and "Antlers." A couple days ago someone tried to explain "Claws" and "Antlers" to me, but, I didn't get it. But, apparently a lot of others do get it.

The Rangers fans directed a lot of heckling at Alex Rodriguez. I can not remember for sure, but I think Rodriguez was playing for the Seattle Mariners, then the Texas Rangers paid him an obscene amount of money to play for them. But then Alex did not like Texas, which somehow had the New York Yankees taking possession of him.

The one and only time I attended a Texas Rangers game, at the Ballpark in Arlington, they were playing Seattle. I do not remember if Alex Rodriquez was playing for Seattle or Texas at that point in time. I do remember calling my mom when Rodriquez was up to bat to tell her I was at a baseball game.

Alex Rodriguez was the last out, last night, striking out, to give the win to the Rangers.

A Dark October 23 Morning In Texas

You are on Miss Puerto Rico's balcony, last night, looking at a very stormy sky. I was hoping to get some pictures of lightning bolts. But no predicted Thunderstorm, or even rain, materialized at my location.

Lightning bolts are predicted for today, too. I suspect I shall see none and hear no booming.

Meanwhile up in the Pacific Northwest, the first big storm of the stormy season is scheduled to hit later today, with high winds, a lot of moisture and the first big snow of the season (in the mountains, not the lowlands).

I have not heard from Miss Puerto Rico since her arrival at her home port. The last I heard was a call from San Juan during her 3 hour wait to get on a little plane to fly to Ponce.

It is 7:18 on the morning of October 23 and I am seeing no incoming illumination shooing away the darkness, thus enabling a well-lit morning swim. I suspect we are under heavy cloud cover, hence the lingering darkness.

I have no idea, other than swimming and working on webpages, what lies ahead today. The short term future will be determined by how inclement or un-inclement the weather is. If it is un-inclement, I think I will go on a bike ride.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thinking About Connecting The Tandy Hills To Gateway Park With A Bridge & A Tunnel

Above is a map showing Gateway Park and the Tandy Hills Natural Area, known to Microsoft as Tandy Hills Park. I've long known that Gateway Park extended to the I-30 freeway, as shown on maps. Same with THNA.

What I had never thought about before is the fact that the part of Gateway Park that abuts I-30 is on the south side of the river. As in, outside the developed part of Gateway Park. As you can see, looking at the map, a large chunk of Gateway Park is on the other side of the river, not accessible from the developed part of the park.

So, today I went hiking on the Tandy Hills. I wanted to get a view of the undeveloped part of Gateway Park. That is the view in the above photo. You can see a change in the tree-line. That is where the Trinity River is.

Now, this south of the river part of Gateway Park appears to be very heavily wooded. I know the Trinity River Vision's vision has somehow expanded to Gateway Park and includes making a possible link, via tunnel under the freeway with the Tandy Hills.

At River Legacy Park, Arlington has built a very nice bridge for hikers, bikers and bladers, across the Trinity River. Now, I know Arlington is a much larger, much wealthier town than Fort Worth,  and can thus afford such extravagant public works projects.

But, I think it'd be a real good thing if Fort Worth built a bridge across the Trinity River to connect with the currently inaccessible parkland. And then build that tunnel connection to the Tandy Hills. Maybe the existing culvert could be used. Or, better yet, build a distinctive looking bridge over the freeway, connected to the Tandy Hills. The sort of bridge that makes passerby think they want to get off the freeway and walk across that bridge.

I know such a thing won't happen. Fort Worth sets its priorities on other things. Like building the world's premiere wake boarding venue, so that all the citizens of Fort Worth can enjoy the extreme sport of wake boarding.

A Kid Locked Out Of A Fort Worth Library Seeks Wi-Fi Refuge On The Ground

You are looking out my windshield, which is why the picture looks a little unclear.

Is that a homeless person sitting on the ground?


I had a couple books due tomorrow. So, on my way to the Tandy Hills I dropped the books off. Of course, since it is Friday, the Fort Worth Library East Regional Branch is closed.

As I pulled into the empty library parking lot I saw the kid sitting on the grass, headphones over his ears, laptop computer sitting on the ground.

Why this kid is not in school, I do not know. Is Fort Worth closing its schools on Fridays, like the library?

The library wi-fi must remain up and running, even when the library is closed. This was the only reason I could think of why the kid would be sitting on the ground with his laptop.

Or, since this was before noon, was the kid erroneously sitting there thinking the library was going to open?

A Full October 22 Moon & The Texas Rangers May Get In The World Series Today

You looking at the full moon last night from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony.

Viewing the passing humanity from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony can be entertaining. Last night was particularly loony, maybe due to the full moon.

Will the moon still be full and causing lunacy tonight? When the Texas Rangers might possibly win one more baseball game, thus putting them in the World Series for the first time?

I don't think I will be in attendance for tonight's game.   I may go over to Miss Puerto Rico's and listen to the cheering.

It is already October 22. Time is zooming. I don't like this phenomenon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Village Creek Natural Historic Area Is Carpeted In Leaves

As you can see, a lot of leaves have fallen on the trail in Village Creek Natural Historic Area. The leaves made a satisfying crunch noise when walked over.

I do not remember Pacific Northwest leaves being crunchy when walked over. I do remember Pacific Northwest leaves being wet and slippery.

I had me a frustrating morning of annoying little problems. Mostly computer related. I was in need of something relaxing, hence a nice, slow pondering walk in one of my favorite parks in Arlington.

I've always thought that the first freeze of the fall had to happen for the leaves to start falling. We have definitely not had a first freeze of the year here in Texas, I say, as cold air from the A/C blows down on me. I must be remembering wrong about the leaves going into heavy duty fall mode after the first freeze.

Or maybe Texas trees are designed differently than Pacific Northwest Washington trees.

Global Warming Is Heating Up My Pool

I am really shaking up my regular routine this morning. So, no, that is not the sunrise view from my patio this October 21 Thursday morning.

What you are looking at is the sunset view from last night from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony.

I am on cat sitting duty while Miss Puerto Rico is out of the country and back on her home island.

I am starting to become a believer of the global warming concept.

Last year. And the year before, I remember that by the 1st of October it was a bit bracing to get in the swimming pool. I could last 10 to 15 minutes before retreating to the hot tub. We are currently over 2/3rds through October and the water in the pool is not yet bracing. I have had no impulse to escape to the hot tub.

I think I'll do some hill hiking on the Tandy Hills today as part of my ongoing program to reduce my girth so I don't have to have lapband surgery.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Following Edible Arrangements Across The D/FW Metroplex

Today I was in Southlake. While I was in Southlake I went to Sprouts Farmers Market. I got a lot of good stuff. More Ruby Red Grapefruit and Fuji Apples from Washington.

On the way back here I turned off Davis Boulevard to head south on Precinct Line Road to ALDI Food Market. All the way down Precinct Line Road I was behind the truck you see in the picture.

A truck delivering Edible Arrangements of fruit. With a personalized license plate that says, "DO FRUT." Why the license is missing an "I" I do not know.

I took this as yet one more omen that it is a good idea to make an obesity blog. When I was behind the Edible Arrangements truck, this made sense.

An earlier obesity blog omen caused me to make the obesity blog this morning. It is not yet ready for prime time. The new blog's name is DurangObese.

At the time I made DurangObese, that seemed clever. Now, not so much.

Oh well. I am stuck with it now.

It Is October 20 & The Texas Rangers Are 1 Game Away From Being In The World Series

As you can see, standing with me out on the patio, we have a little cloud action on this, the morning of October 20.

It is a relatively balmy 63 this morning. I am waiting for the sun to add a bit more brightness before I take my morning pool dip.

The Texas Rangers are only one game away from being in the World Series. I do not detect the level of mania here of the sort that infected the Pacific Northwest the year the Seattle Mariners were in the playoffs for the first time. I think the New York Yankees were involved at that time, too. Or maybe it was a California team.

If I recollect correctly, and I likely don't, the Texas Rangers are doing much better than the Seattle Mariners did. I think the year was 1995. Maybe later. Maybe earlier. I am almost 100% the Seattle Mariners were never only one game away from being in the World Series.

I do remember that the Mariners were making noises about leaving Seattle due to not liking playing in the Kingdome. But the voters turned down funding for a new ballpark. And then the Mariner's miracle season happened, coming from way back, winning game after game and then getting in the playoffs and suddenly there was political support all over the state for funding a new ballpark. And thus Safeco Field was born.

I remember big crowds greeting the Mariners at Sea-Tac upon their returns to Seattle. Are big crowds going to greet the Texas Rangers at D/FW International Airport? The Kingdome could not hold all the people who wanted to watch the Mariner's playoff games. Huge numbers of fans stood outside the Kingdome during the games. Was a Jumbotron set up for them to watch the game? I don't remember.

Since I have been in the D/FW zone I don't think any of their professional sports teams has done well. Maybe the Dallas Mavericks basketball team has won a championship. But I don't recollect it. I know the Dallas Cowboys have been way more hapless than the Seattle Seahawks ever since I have been here. And yet they still call themselves "America's Team." America likes winners. I don't think the Dallas Cowboys is America's Team anymore, if they ever really were.

It is bright out there now. Time to go swimming.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Rain On The Tandy Hills While I Check Out The Original Shrine

It has been awhile since I accessed the Tandy Hills via the top of Mount Tandy.

The Tandy Shrine has tripled in size. Tires have been added. And a kid's toy lawn mower. And 2 black plastic garbage bags, stuffed full. I did not look in the garbage bags.

I think I may be overdoing it in my quest to try and get in shape for running The Amazing Race with the Queen of Wink. I am feeling more than a little exhausted.

The rain that was forecast to fall today, has not arrived. Nor have clouds. I was hoping a good rain would clear the air of whatever is polluting it, that is making my eyes burn.

It is 84, right now, at almost 4 in the afternoon. The pool was noticeably warmer this morning. It should be even warmer tomorrow morning. If I muster the energy to find out.

Speaking of morning, this morning, before 6, there was a very loud boom. I expected to hear sirens, but did not. I've asked others if they heard the big boom. Others have. All say it sounded like a big explosion.

I just got interrupted by Miss Puerto, calling to confirm tomorrow morning's exit to Puerto Rico plan. I hope it all goes drama free with no police involvement.

It Is A Dark But Not Stormy October Morning In Texas

It is a dark, but not yet stormy October 19 morning. I was awakened an hour or two ago by a very loud boom. It was not thunder. More like a shotgun blast.

Today the prediction, from weather forecasters, is for a 30% chance of wet stuff hitting the ground. My prediction is we will stay dry today in my zone of North Texas.

A few days ago Betty Jo Bouvier sent me a video showing the Seattle skyline growing from the 1950s to a new skyscraper due to be open for business in 2011. Before the video zooms in to the new skyscraper the perspective is from out in Seattle's Town Lake, known as Elliott Bay.

You can go watch the video here. Click the "Full Screen" option on the lower right. Then you'll be able to see the Space Needle pop up in 1961. Seeing the Kingdome pop to life and then death was sort of sad. That building had a very short life span.

I wonder what a similar video shot from the location of Fort Worth's future little Town Lake, showing the evolution of Fort Worth's skyline would look. Sort of sleepy, I suspect.

Anyway, it is being sort of warm this morning. 67 out there while I wait for the sun to provide some illumination so I can see my way to the pool.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No Rain Has Fallen But The Trinity River Is Rising

I showed you this same view of the Trinity River on Saturday. At that point in time the sandbar was way bigger. Today, crossing the Beach Street Bridge over the Trinity I saw that the river has risen.

How can that be?

We have had no rain. Though some is predicted to fall tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow.

The river has risen so much it is about to re-float some inner tubes that have been dry docked. Maybe J.D. Granger is reading this in time to send out a rescue team to get the inner tubes before they go back into float mode.

I turned around from the inner tubes, and slowly disappearing sandbar, to look east to the Trinity Dam/Bridge, to see a white pickup truck sitting on the middle of the dam, above where the whirlpool was whirling strong before the water went low. I figured due to the rising water, the whirlpool must be back.

A white pickup truck. My one longtime reader knows I have a really bad history with white pickup trucks. So, I decided to bike on down to the truck and see if I could find myself in some sort of interesting situation.

Oh. It is a Tarrant Regional Water District white pickup. This seemed a bit less nefarious than an Express Energy Services white pickup.

A guy with some power tools was doing I do not know what. He was on the phone with someone, sounding a bit concerned. I thought if I stopped by the truck, with the worker guy right there, that I might get to ask what he was doing. But, he never got off the phone. I stood there taking pictures for a couple minutes and then continued on my way.

Even though the Trinity River was quite a bit higher than it was on Saturday, the whirlpool had not returned. I do not think any water was making it through the dam. Thus the rising water on the one side of the dam and shrinking water on the other side. This must be what the Tarrant Regional Water District guy was working on.

On Saturday I saw that DANGER sign on the next dam upriver, saying that "maintenance was in progress." No similar sign was on the Trinity dam outside Gateway Park.

Interesting to me that we have a river here that you, apparently, can turn on and off. Except when it is in flood mode.

The only other river I have lived up close to was the Skagit River in Washington. The Skagit River really does not have the off and on feature that the Trinity River has.


There is a really rugged, wild section of the Skagit beneath Gorge Dam. If you are having fun playing in that section and you hear sirens, you need to make it quickly to high ground, due to water being released. If you have seen the movie, Parallax View, you have seen how scary the Gorge Dam can be. The Trinity River seems fairly benign in comparison.

Except for those J.D. Granger inner tube floats.

I Was Ordered To Stop By The Fort Worth Bike Gestapo In Gateway Park Today

It has been awhile since I have run into Fort Worth Police in Gestapo mode. So, I guess I was due.

Around 4 this afternoon I went to Gateway Park, intending to bike to the Trinity River for a photo opportunity.

As I pulled into the Gateway Park parking lot, the one by the rugby fields, accessed via the entry from Randol Mill/East 1st Street, I was startled to see a swarm of dozens of Fort Worth cops on bikes.

This created a very odd scene. It was some sort of instructional situation. I had no idea Fort Worth had so many bicycle cops.

There was bike cop activity all over the parking lot. It was a pain to drive through it.

Upon my return from the Trinity Trail a van drove on to the parking lot. This had the cops hollering "car" over and over again. Even though it was a van.

So, I loaded my bike up and decided to exit via the road that runs around the perimeter of the parking lot. This seemed the logical exit to me.

I was following the pair you see through my windshield. Make note of the group in the distance to their right.

As I got to that group I slowed way up, expecting the Gestapo to get out of my way.

Instead, one of the Fort Worth Gestapo actually raised his hand in what looked like the Heil Hitler Nazi salute and ordered me to STOP.

I did so, whilst giving the guy a what the hell shrug of my shoulders look.

I really did not know where to go to get out of there. A barrier runs the length of the parking lot. You can see that in the picture at the top. I had to get around that. But at the other end of the barrier was the Gestapo Group you saw in the first picture.

I decided to turn around and see if I could get through that other Gestapo Group.

I was successful.

Now, I'm thinking, this is a public park. I had every right to expect to drive in and out without my egress and ingress being impeded on by the Fort Worth Gestapo on two-wheelers.

If a group of civilians took over a Gateway Park parking lot in this manner and ordered a Fort Worth Gestapo police car to stop, what do you think would happen?

Now, this particular parking lot has a gate. The Gestapo could easily have closed that gate. I would have been perfectly happy to park in the more distant parking lot and peacefully pedal through the parking lot with the swarm of Fort Worth Bike Gestapo. They were creating a hazard in that parking lot, which I feel they had no right to create.

Someone should have ticketed them.