Friday, February 28, 2014

A HOT Last Day Of February In Texas Biking Arlington's River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trails

This morning when I had my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session the outer world was being heated to 41 degrees at my location.

Now, with now being a few minutes past three in the afternoon of the last day of the second month of 2014 the outer world has added 40 degrees to this morning's 41, with both my computer based temperature monitoring device and my smart phone temperature monitoring device telling me we have hit 81 degrees.

This can't be healthy for living organisms, this back and forth with the temperature extremes that seems to have become the Texas norm.

However, even though we froze for a few days, after the last hot spill, the freezing has not seemed to have affected the incoming spring greening up process, as witnessed by the picture you see here of my bike's handlebars looking at a lot of green whilst sitting on a River Legacy Park mountain bike trail.

Yes, I had myself a mighty fine time, again, today rolling my wheels for a mile or two or twelve in River Legacy Park.

Judging by all the fellow wheel rollers I saw today the River Legacy Park mountain bike trails have grown quite popular.

A busy day on these trails used to occur only on Saturday and Sunday. Today an Arlington mountain bike cop was on the trails.

Issuing tickets to those not wearing the required helmet?

I have no idea.

I was not stopped for any mountain bike trail infraction. I think my only possible trail ticket generator might be for pedaling too slow, judging by all the speed demons who asked to pass me.

During the couple minutes it has taken my to type this blogging we have added two more degrees to today's totaling. 83 degrees. At my old home location in Western Washington this would be considered a horrific heat wave.

In Texas 83 degrees presents a pleasant opportunity to open the windows....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Walking Around Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake With A Smart Phone Making Me Feel Less Stupid

After 24 hours, give or take an hour or two, using a smart phone is not making me feel as stupid as it made me feel yesterday.

My only real remaining vexation is I don't see how people manage to type text on a touch screen so rapidly.

I am a total fumble fingers when it comes to typing on a touch screen. I can not detect it getting better with practice.

Today I took the first phone "selfie" of myself, which became a new vexation in addition to the typing text vexation.

It is easy to aim the phone at oneself. What is not easy is holding the phone with one hand whilst trying to touch the take a picture part of the touch screen.

I do not think taking "selfies" is going to be something I'm going to be doing with any regularity.

Years ago, way back in the last century, my first digital camera was a now antique Casio brand taker of very bad photos. That camera's one novel feature was one could spin the lens around and aim it at oneself, which I used to take pictures of myself at some special places.

Just a sec, I'll go find one of those antique Casio "selfies" I took way back in the previous century.

That is Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah behind me in the "selfie". I do not remember who that is standing beside me.

I forgot to mention, in that photo at the top, that is Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park in Fort Worth, Texas behind me.

I'd had myself a mighty fine time on my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session this morning, enjoying the sub-freezing air. When the noon time time rolled around I felt the need for a walk in the then semi-chilled air.

Very pleasant.

I don't think I've ever seen so many Fosducks in Fosdick Lake before. I think I said the same thing the last time I saw the Fosducks. The duck population appears to be in the 100s. That is a lot of ducks. I forgot to bring them any duck food today, but there were a couple other humans who were more considerate than I, tossing vittles to the throng of quackers.

Back to the subject of the smart phone. Yesterday I could not figure out how to get a photo off the phone and on to my computer, other than the convoluted method of emailing it to myself. I figured there had to be a better way. I figured correctly.

A little Googling told me to plug the provided USB cable into the phone then open "Notifications".

Notifications? I had no idea what that was. Additional Googling told me to swipe the screen from the top to bring up "Notifications". After doing so I saw the notification that a media device was attached.  A folder opened which was just like the way I used to get pictures off my old Olympus camera.

So now I'm thinking I'm not going to be hauling my digital camera with me all the time, because the phone is now a suitable backup should a photo op arise unexpectedly.

Just remembered, I need to go check in on a Puerto Rican cat I am babysitting....

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today A Smart Phone Has Been Making Me Feel Really Stupid

I don't know why I find it slightly disturbing that if I don't do some blogging by some point in the afternoon I start getting emails asking me if I am okay.

I thought I had done some blogging today. But then when I was asked a couple times about my state of okay-ness I remembered it was on another blog I'd blogged, not this one.

Today started off cold and stayed cold. Despite the cold I had myself a pleasant hot tub hydrotherapy session this morning, with one quick dip in the cool pool to cool down from the too hot hot tub.

A visit to a doctor mid morning in Hurst threw me off my usually tightly scheduled schedule today. That had me doing a walk around my neighborhood today around noon, where I found myself walking into my neighborhood cell phone store where I got my first smart phone.

Figuring out a smart phone has had me feeling stupid for hours now. I don't remember the last time I felt stupid for hours. Usually the feeling stupid bouts only last a few minutes, not hours.

After I got the phone I walked to Miss Puerto Rico's to do a cat check and call the island to learn that my cat sitting duty has been extended to March 7.  From Miss PR's I called my mom and dad and sister in Arizona to give them my new phone number. All I got were answering machines.

Later I was driving to Walmart and tried to call the Tacoma Connie D. Somehow my mom answered. I have no idea why my smart phone did something this stupid. I suspect user error.

Mom told me they called me back using the number I'd left on their answering machine, but some woman they did not know answered. Apparently the last two digits were difficult to understand in the voice mail I left. From mom I learned the reason why my sister was not answering her home phone was because she is in Vegas celebrating her first husband's sister's 50th birthday.

When I got back from Walmart I decided to see if I could figure out how to take a picture and send it to someone. How difficult could that be? I take pictures all the time and send them all over the world.

So, I took the picture you see above, of the beautiful view from my patio outlook on the world.

Due to my smart phone stupidity I thought the USB cable that came with the phone somehow transferred photos to my computer. So, I plugged that cable into the phone and my computer. The computer recognized a new device, did some install thing, but nothing happened. Several minutes later I figured out that the USB cable was charging the phone's battery and had nothing to do with photos.

It took me awhile to find where to  find the photo I'd taken. At one point during this process I found myself watching short videos of myself making all sorts of disgruntled faces. Apparently I had turned on the video camera whilst fiddling with the camera section of the smart phone.

Eventually I found something to click on which brought up all sorts of options of where to send the photo I'd taken. One was emailing the photo. I thought, how hard can it be to email the photo to myself?


I have never been a text messenger. Typing an email address into the smart phone was painfully excruciating. None of my digits seem to have a good level of dexterity when it comes to hitting a  key on a touch screen. Just figuring out how to add the @ to an email address was very challenging to this particular smart phone challenged person.

Eventually I successfully entered my primary Google account info and somehow did some auto-sync function which also suddenly popped up what looked like an email with the above photo in the body of the email. After some more excruciating email address typing with multiple errors and re-dos, I  successfully sent the photo to myself.

I suppose eventually I will get used to using a smart phone.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Am Innocent Of Being A Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup Butchering Murderer

If I remember right I have mentioned previously that I get a lot of email about rattlesnakes and the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup due to a webpage I made of my one and only visit to that Roundup in, I think, 2002.

This time of year the volume of rattlesnake email picks up because the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup takes place the second weekend of March.

The emails basically come in two flavors. One flavor being those asking me how they can purchase some of my rattlesnake products and the other flavor being those taking me to task for murdering innocent rattlesnakes.

Today's email about rattlesnakes was of the taking me to task for my rattlesnake murders flavor, a screencap of which you are looking at above, with the text of the message below...

Dear Sir or Madam,
I understand you people have an annual event known as rattlesnake roundup and that a great deal of unnecessary suffering and crulety occurs.  It seems to me that this is out of place in a civilised society and that it might be an idea for you to find something else to do in your free time.

There must be any amount of things you could be involved in rather than butchering snakes.  Might I suggest you get a life rather than destroying it.

Yours sincerely.
Chris Penfold.

Most of the anti-rattlesnake murdering emails come from the UK, near as I can tell. I don't know if "crulety" is the Brit way to spell "cruelty" or if "crulety" is a word whose meaning I do not know. And is it a Brit thing to put a period after ones name when one is using ones name in signature mode?

And then there was this one from a lady not wanting to buy any of my rattlesnake products, but instead wanting to know if I buy the rattlesnakes and where she should take the rattlesnakes she has caught in order to sell them....

Hi! I was needing some information on the rattlesnake round up. Do you purchase rattlesnakes? If yes, then what does someone who has caught rattlesnakes need to do and where do they need to take them?

Thank you,
Victoria Urteaga

And then there is this one, another chastising me for being a rattlesnake murderer. These type messages all seem to come from the same boilerplate....

Dear Sirs,
I understand you people are involved in an annual snake killing event known as roundup that takes place in your part of the world, ie. Southern States.  How about showing some compassion for once in your murdering lives?

George Ashley-Cooper

The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup has grown rather controversial, in other parts of the planet, like the UK, and also here in Texas.

I don't know for sure that this year's Roundup will take place in Sweetwater.

I Googled "Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup" to find my webpage about the event to be in the #1 spot, ahead of the official Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup website. I checked on the official Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup website and saw it has not been updated with this year's Roundup info.

Has the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup been cancelled?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Finding Campsites On The Tandy Hills

This morning during my hot tub hydrotherapy session the session was held under a sky covered with fast moving clouds. No wind was blowing on the surface, at my location, which made it seem odd and oddly hypnotic watching the fast moving clouds, high above.

The clouds are being blown in in preparation for the predicted precipitation that is predicted to arrive later today or at least by tomorrow morning.

With rain incoming I thought it sounded like a good idea to get in one more high speed hill hiking session before the arrival of mud.

So, I drove myself to the summit of Mount Tandy, on the east side of the Tandy Hills Natural Area and hiked to the west side of the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

A short distance from the cable fence which marks the boundary on the west side of the Natural Area I came upon the abandoned campsite you see above. The abandoned campsite looked to have been recently lived in, judging from what looked to be fairly fresh burned remains of a campfire.

To the north of this abandoned campsite, a few hundred feet, I came upon the remains of another abandoned campsite.

The first abandoned campsite was fairly close to Ben Street and not a long haul over difficult terrain to get to the spot where one was hauling in ones camping material. The second abandoned campsite was more secluded and would have entailed a lot of effort to haul in ones camping material.

I'm assuming these were the campsites of homeless people.

Last April a Fort Worth cop showed up just as I was ready to leave the summit of Mount Tandy. The cop asked me if I'd seen any homeless camps in the east side of the Tandy Hills. I told the cop that the east side was not a likely location for homeless camps, but that I'd seen campsite setups on the west side of the trail that leads into the park from View Street. The cop told me there had been multiple home break-ins in the area and he thought it might be homeless people doing the break-ins and using the Tandy Hills as their hangout.

This seemed unlikely to me.

I have never noticed a "NO CAMPING" sign anywhere in the Tandy Hills zone. Is it some sort of crime to do so?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Today Marked My First Successful Biking Of The Entire Gateway Park Mountain Bike Trail

That squiggly line you see on the drawing on the left represents Gateway Park's mountain bike trail.

Til today only one time previous did I roll my wheels over the entire trail. That one time previous did not go well. As in I had a lot of trouble with a lot of what seemed to be, at that point in time, steep climbs and trick curves.

After that first bad experience when I biked the Gateway Park trails that biking would entail about a third of what you see on the map.

My initial pedaling of the Gateway Park trails was soon after I got a new bike, which I got after about a two year biking hiatus followed my previous bike being stolen.

On Friday I was very surprised to discover that the more difficult parts of the River Legacy Park mountain bike trails, that I have avoided ever since the Gateway Park initial experience on the new bike, were now a piece of cake.

By piece of cake, I mean easy. Easy and fun.

So, today I decided to take my new helmet and roll my wheels over all the Gateway Park trails that you see on the map.

And once again I was very surprised. That which vexed me previously was another of those piece of cake experiences today.

Above my handlebars are pointing towards a section of the trail which you see represented in the middle part of the map above.

Gateway Park is only about four miles from my abode, slightly further than the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington and half the distance to River Legacy Park.

Methinks I will now be having myself a mighty fine time frequently getting aerobicized on the entire Gateway Park mountain bike trail.

Endorphins are addictive. They really should be regulated by the FDA.....

Miss Puerto Rico Has Returned To Puerto Rico So I Am Back On Cat Sitting Duty

On the left you are looking at yester evening's half hour before sunset view from Miss Puerto Rico's lookout on the outer world.

At the point in time I was looking out on the outer world from Miss Puerto Rico's Miss Puerto Rico was boarding a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina for the final leg of her latest return to her home island.

Seems like I was on catsitting duty just a week or so ago, because, well, I was.

The day Miss PR flew out of town, a couple weeks ago, the air was freezing with snow falling and the roads slippery. That day was about as bad as winter gets in Texas. And now, just a short time later the weather has turned almost summer-like, rendering sitting outside looking at the view from Miss PR's to be a non-chilly, enjoyable experience.

It is a sad reason Miss Puerto Rico returned to her home island a week after returning from visiting her mom and dad for a week. Miss Puerto Rico got one of those calls no one wants to get, with that call telling her that her mom had passed away. At 88 years Miss Puerto Rico's mom had lived a long, happy life.

Last night I think Tasha, she being the cat who I am babysitting, was in mourning mode, because a couple times she had bouts of very mournful, loud, meowing.

Usually Tasha acts irritated that I have invaded her space, but lately she has been being more friendly, coming out of her hiding space to see me. I think this may because she knows I'll give her one of her special treats.

Currently, unless plans change, I am on catsitting duty til March 4.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Saw No New Hoodoos Or Meerkats Today On The Tandy Hills Before Treasure Hunting At Town Talk

Heading West On The Trail Back To Ben Street
That is not a Tandy Hills Hoodoo you see rising from the steep trail you see in the photo on the left. That is a human appearing to be imitating a meerkat. Why this human was appearing to be imitating a meerkat I do not know. I thought it would be rude to ask.

For the first time ever I parked on Ben Street on the west side of the Tandy Hills Natural Area for my bout of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation via fast hill  hiking.

The trails on the hills on the west side of the Tandy Hills seem to be steeper than the hills on the parts of the Tandy Hills I usually hike.

All in all I had myself a mighty fine time hiking the hills today.

There was one major disappointment though.

No new Hoodoo.

After an hour, give or take a minute or two, I was off to Town Talk for my regularly scheduled Town Talk Treasure Hunt.

Today I got to bags of Clementine oranges, Wasa crackers, extra sharp cheddar cheese, Etorki hard sheep's  milk cheese, a ham, chicken legs, organic prepared horseradish, tomatoes, cabbage, sauerkraut and other stuff I am not remembering right now.

What I am remembering right now is I am hungry and it is time for lunch....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Having Myself A Mighty Fine Time In Arlington Biking The River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trails

Today I returned to River Legacy Park in Arlington for the first time since I got my bike's wheels rolling again.

Today also was the first time I've rolled my wheels on all the trails I used to roll my old bike on.

The couple times on the River Legacy Park mountain bike trails with my new bike I have avoided a long section of trail due to the fact that I had trouble on a couple of the climbs  with my old bike, as in trouble with the thing that holds the gear mechanism in tension going slack at the worst possible time, pretty much throwing me off the bike.

I'd been feeling very mountain bike worthy of late at Gateway Park, so today I decided to once again roll over the climbs that vexed me at River Legacy Park.

This was a good decision. I was surprised at how well the new bike handled that which the old bike balked at. At one point I made a mistake and took the wrong option at a junction, going the red arrow way, with the red arrow indicating the trails had an extreme challenge or two. It was at the bottom of an extremely steep drop I realized I was on an extreme trail. And then I was further surprised to find I was easily able to pedal up the next extremely steep climb.

This had me wondering if I am now able to handle the EKG and Fun Town sections. I tried EKG when it first opened, years ago, and quickly had to bail. Later I walked the EKG section and about had a heart attack due to the steep climbs and getting confused by the maze of trails.

When River Legacy Park first allowed the building of a mountain bike trail  the initial trail was a bit boring, few climbs and drops. It was one convoluted four mile loop. I would pedal the loop three times to get in 12 miles. It was sort of boring, twisting and turning and having to pay close attention to avoid hitting trees.

And now, years later I don't know how many loops have been added. Five? Six? Seven? There are loops off of loops. Loop bypasses. Loop connections where you can take a shortcut from one loop to another.

Several sections of new trails have been added since I last pedaled River Legacy. I have no idea how many miles of trail there now are. It would not surprise me if the miles totaled 20 or more.

And then there was the new signage, which you see in the photo at the top, where my handlebars are indicating, by pointing to the left, that that is the direction they wanted to go.  That would be the Prairie Loop to the left, with the Prairie Loop Bypass to the right.

Every few hundred feet there are the 911 signs you see in front of my handlebars. Each 911 sign had its own location identifier, as in the one above is PL 5, which I assume means Prairie Loop 5.

I have been on the River Legacy Park trails when an emergency medical team has been in the process of rescuing someone. Most notoriously a few years back in the aforementioned EKG section where a woman was injured due to wrecking on those treacherous trails.

These 911 signs seem to be a real good idea to me. The River Legacy Park mountain bike trail  system has grown so big, with so many junctions and trail options that I can see where it would be very difficult to explain to the 911 rescue people from whence you need rescuing.

More than once I have helped a confused hiker who found him or herself disoriented a few miles into the trails. Methinks it would be a mighty fine idea to add directional arrows pointing the direction back to the starting point parking lot. Useful both to bikers and hikers.

I suspect I shall be returning to River Legacy Park again soon. I have never seen the trails in such good shape. And the weather currently is being wheel rolling perfect. That will likely change in the near future...

Global Warming Has Me Swimming In February In Formerly Chilly Texas

Even though the outer world was only heated to five degrees above freezing, this morning, for the second morning in a row, I had myself a mighty fine time swimming in a slightly too cool pool, photo documented on the left.

Due to the pool being slightly too cool I did cycle in a couple hot tub hydrotherapy sessions.

I have not seen any info anywhere explaining what it was that was in the air yesterday which hugely diminished visibility for several hours. No reports of big wildfires or dust storms.

The reason a cool pool bout was doable the past couple mornings is because the average temperature for the past couple days has been well over 50, despite this morning dip to near freezing.

Today is supposed to be another warm one, if the temperature predictors are correct in their prediction.

So, with the sky being a clear blue and the outer world getting warm, I am heading to Arlington to River Legacy Park to attempt to roll my wheels on the mountain bike trail, start to finish, for the first time since I got a new bike.

By start to finish I do not mean all the trails. I stay off the scary sections that are beyond my pedaling capability.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Some Mysterious Force Left Me Feeling Powerless In Texas Today

Being powerless wreaked havoc with my finely tuned schedule today.

Before I became powerless I had a mighty fine time during my hot tub hydrotherapy session which became more of a cool pool session when I discovered the pool was no longer too cool to stay in it too long.

About a half hour before noon, about five minutes before leaving my abode, with the summit of Tandy Hills as my destination, the power went out.

As soon as I had a good view of the outer world I could see and feel what might be causing problems with the Texas power grid. As in, extremely windy with strong gusts.

As I was driving west on Bridge Street, at the point where the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth usually comes into view, today I saw nothing, due to a haze of smoke or dust or something else.

From the summit of Mount Tandy, looking west across the old wagon train trail which leads to where the west begins, that being the aforementioned downtown Fort Worth, you can see that the bevy of Fort Worth skyscrapers is ghosted out by whatever it was that was blotting out the sky.

Despite the questionable air that I was breathing I had myself a good time doing some high speed hill hiking.

After I finished with the hiking and drove back towards my abode I could see the power outage had spread, with more traffic lights not working and stores dark. I re-entered my abode about a quarter past one. I was hungry. I was not the only one who was hungry with no way to make lunch.

After many minutes of hemming and hawing I took off with a neighbor or two to Walmart to get ourselves picnic fixings so as to have a picnic lunch with the Indian ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I don't remember when I last had a picnic. Maybe it was way back in August of 2008, at Bay View State Park, in Washington. That picnic was not a good experience. Today's picnic was a good experience.

And when I got back to my abode the power was back on, which was also a good experience.

Where Is Fort Worth's Missing Forward Thrust?

Yesterday something had me wondering about something regarding the long dead Kingdome in Seattle in my old home state of Washington.

Googling led me to the Wikipedia article about the Kingdome which then led me to the Wikipedia article about elections which took place in King County, known as "Forward Thrust".

Seattle's Kingdome debacle was the biggest boondoggle I ever witnessed til I moved to the Boondoggle Capital of the World, Fort Worth, Texas. The Kingdome was one of the Forward Thrust propositions.

When I read the Wikipedia Forward Thrust article it brought to mind the bizarre Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price quote I read yesterday in the Star-Telegram, where Mayor Price informed us that the Trinity River Vision is extremely popular with most of the citizens.

I then asked if Mayor Price based this extremely popular comment on the overwhelming approval given by voters for the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. And then remembered there has been no public vote on this public works project which has abused the legitimate concept of using eminent domain to take private property for the common good, leading to at least one business going under, that I know of, in the path of the un-funded, un-needed Trinity River diversion channel, which I learned yesterday will not begun to be dug for years, even if funding is found.

So, how come it is that a place like King County puts multiple propositions on a ballot, as in, in the 1968 Forward Thrust election seven of the twelve propositions passed, followed by another election in 1970 where four of the failed measures failed once again.

Now, why is it that citizens in a democratic part of America, like King County, are allowed to vote on multiple propositions, while voters in my current location on the planet are not allowed this democratic privilege?

There is an ironic comparison between one of the King County propositions and the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. The Forward Thrust Rapid Transit measure failed both in 1968 and 1970. The Rapid Transit measure failed even though Washington Senator Warren Magnuson had secured an almost $900 million federal funding earmark, with getting that money predicated on the King County voters voting to fund $440 million.

So, in Washington you had federal money already secured, with the public allowed to vote on the project, and voting no, while in Texas you have a project no one has been allowed to vote on, which has abused eminent domain, with over half the project's projected funding coming from federal dollars which have not been allocated.

And people wonder why I think the Trinity River Vision is a Boondoggle.

In Fort Worth's "Cultural District" there sits an old building. I think the name for it is Will Rogers Coliseum. The first time I was in this building it reminded my of my first school, Roosevelt Elementary, built soon after Teddy Roosevelt ceased being president early in the last century.

There is talk of replacing the decrepit Will Rogers Coliseum, which is where the rodeos take place during Fort Worth's Stock Show. But nothing seems to come of the talk. How come there is no noise made about possibly having Fort Worth's voters vote on a proposal to replace this aging structure? How come such votes do not take place here?

Does the Good Ol' Boy & Girl network that runs Fort Worth operate with no knowledge of how things are done in more progressive parts of the planet? The Trinity River Vision really is not that big of a project, compared with public work projects under way in other locations in America. How come the Good Ol' Boy & Girl network that runs Fort Worth does not understand that you don't start up something like the Trinity River Vision without having the funding mechanism in place?

I think it is fairly safe to predict that if those three "signature" bridges do get built they will be crossing dry land for a long, long time, with no flood diversion channel built under them.

Is it too late to put the TRV Boondoggle to a public vote? Or is it just known that the locals will not vote to tax themselves to build a Boondoggle of this sort?

But, remember the party line is that this project is extremely popular. And provides much needed flood protection. And economic development. If that is true, would not the voters be fools not to vote to fund this bizarre project to get it built as quickly as possible so the citizens can start enjoying this thing that is very popular with them.....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rolling My Wheels At Gateway Park Again Before Leaving Town Talk With Way Too Many Dollars

Those are not my handlebars hovering above a green lake you are looking at in the picture.

Those are my handlebars hovering above a green Trinity River in Gateway Park you are looking at in the picture.

I had myself such a mighty fine time rolling my wheels at Gateway Park yesterday I decided to go for a repeat today.

As you can see clouds have returned to North Texas. Along with fog.

Yesterday's temperature was a record breaker at my location on the planet. I think 84 was the degree we reached. With so much warmth heating up the outer world I was able to have my first real swim of the new year, this morning.

After a few miles of rolling my wheels, since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to visit Town Talk. I got myself a few interesting items, such as sirloin burgers, a Cuban root vegetable called, I think, Malanga, garlic naan and chili sauce.

Checking out of Town Talk was an adventure today. The checkout lady forgot to clear the previous transaction. That added $234.63 to the $12.40 worth of stuff I bought. Neither of us noticed before the card was swiped. Unable to undo the transaction the checkout lady re-did my transaction, did the transaction like I'd given her cash in the amount of $247.03 and gave me the $234.63, in cash, that had erroneously been deducted from my card.

I am not used to paying for stuff the old-fashioned method, using actual money. I'll likely figure it out.

Betsy Price Thinks The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Is Extremely Popular Along With Other Nonsense

That is Clyde Picht you are looking at on the left. Clyde Picht is a former Fort Worth City Councilman. Clyde Picht showed up in a YouTube video I watched this morning, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an article titled Fort Worth council OKs $6.63 million for Trinity Uptown bridges.

In the video Clyde Picht  opinionizes about the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

The Star-Telegram article about the Trinity Uptown bridges is classic Star-Telegram propaganda, spewing the party line and doing no actual reporting of the journalistic sort.

For example.....

“It is a game-changer for Fort Worth,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “It changes the face of Fort Worth. It brings a whole new level of development downtown. It extends out to the north side and pulls those two areas together. It is extremely popular with most of the citizens.”

What is the "it" to which Mayor Betsy Price refers? The three bridges? Or the entire Trinity River Vision Boondoggle? That same "it" is extremely popular with most of the citizens?

How does Fort Worth's mayor know the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is extremely popular with most of the citizens? Does she know this because of the overwhelming approval given by the voters in a public vote for this public works project?

Oh, that's right, there has been no public vote for this public works project.

And then there is this gem....

The bridges are a beginning phase of the Trinity Uptown project, which includes creating a 1.5-mile-long channel of the Trinity River to form a 33-acre lake, an 800-acre island and waterfront development on the city’s north side.

The bridges are a beginning phase? The Trinity River Vision has been boondoggling since the start of this century and we are only now at a beginning phase? The 1.5 mile flood diversion channel forms a 33-acre lake? Didn't that 33-acre lake long ago shrink to being about a 12-acre pond?

And then there are the following two baffling sentences...

The vision depends on Congress to provide about half the $910 million needed to complete the project. Still, Price said, building the bridges first makes sense because it’s cheaper to build on dry land than on water.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle relies on federal money being provided to cover half the project's cost? That is some farsighted vision, basing a project on money that likely will not be provided. How would you sell Congress on voting to fund this boondoggle? A boondoggle touted partly as a flood control plan, which is not needed, because federal dollars and the Army Corps of Engineers built levees well over a half century ago which have prevented the Trinity River from flooding in the downtown Fort Worth zone for decades.

And Betsy Price parrots the party line with the it's cheaper to build bridges before you add water idea.

Elsewhere in the article Fort Worth's senior capital programs manager, Mark Rauscher, says the bridge projects are expected to go to bid in May, with construction starting in July, with bridge completion taking about three years.

Three years?

So, we are looking at 2017 as the earliest these three bridges will be crossing the non-existent flood diversion channel that is waiting for federal money before it can be dug?

And people wonder why I think the Trinity River Vision is a Boondoggle.

Below is the YouTube video I referenced above...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Enjoying 82 Degrees While Watching Fort Worth Fire Weather

We're having a heat wave, a Tropical Heat Wave.

Well, the heat is blowing in from the south, which is the direction of the Tropics, so I guess I may be using poetic license to call this hot 4th Tuesday of the 2nd month of 2014 a Tropical Heat Wave.

Based on the info gleaned from my computer based weather monitoring device I am thinking rather than a Tropical Heat Wave the proper name for today's weather condition is Fire Weather.

I do not recollect being on a Fire Weather Watch before.

It seems like only a week ago, give or take a day, that the temperature at my location on the planet was about 70 degrees colder than today.

I never got to experience these type weather swings during my years of living in Washington, where the temperature is always moderated by being so close to a big mass of water called an ocean.

Looking at the forecast it appears that the Fire Weather will likely be leaving by tomorrow, with the arrival of incoming precipitation in rain form,.

I like my precipitation coming in rain form, rather than frozen form....

Rolling Through Fort Worth's Gateway Park For My First Mountain Bike Ride Of 2014

I finally successfully managed to have myself a mighty fine time on a mountain bike ride for the first time this year.

On Sunday I had intended to go on a mountain bike ride on the mountain bike trails at River Legacy Park, but I was running late, so I opted to go to the much closer Gateway Park.

But, when I got to Gateway Park and pulled my bike out of the motorized bike hauling device I was appalled to find the rear tire flat again.

Unlike the previous flat, which lingered un-inflated for months, I had the needed repair material ready for another tube fix.

Somehow in addition to the big rusty nail which caused the previous flat there was also a tiny little prick of a thorn stuck in the tire, causing the new tube to go flat.

So, today I went back to Gateway Park and managed to successfully pedal the mountain bike trails, including rolling past the location of the big rusty nail that began all this flat tire trauma.

The Gateway Park trails are in great shape. Best I have ever seen them.

I saw some new signage today which perplexed me. That is the perplexing sign below. Note the arrow pointing the mountain biker to pedal to the left? That trail to the left only goes a short distance before running into Randol Mill Road, or whatever it is that Randol Mill Road is called on the north side of Gateway Park.

This trail spur goes about 30 feet then makes a steep dip and then a steep climb up to the road. And then goes where? I have no idea. This seemed a bit dangerous to me. The picture below shows you why this seemed a bit dangerous to me.

You can see how steep the trail is. And you can also see what you might run into if you pedaled fast enough to make it up that steep climb.

Obviously I did not follow the direction of the pointing arrow, instead opting to continue on the trail I've pedaled many times previous, leading to the cliff overlook you see in the first photo above.

I am not the world's most observant person. An example of this is the fact that in the past two weeks I have twice been up close and personal with my bike's rear tire. However, I did not notice until I was lubricating the chain last night, after fixing the flat, that the tread on the rear tire is worn pretty much bald. No tread. No traction providing nubs. Bald.

Why is the rear tire bald whilst the front tire looks new?

Very perplexing.....

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Tandy Hills President's Day Hike With A Toppled Hoodoo

I was back on the Tandy Hills today for my annual President's Day hike.

Hours before my annual President's Day hike I had my annual President's Day hot tub hydrotherapy session with the added bonus of having my first successful swimming pool bout of the new year, with two pool dips of duration long enough that actual swimming took place before escaping back to the warmth of the hot tub.

On my last visit to the Tandy Hills, two days ago, I came upon what I thought was Tandy Hills Hoodoo IV.

Tandy Hills frequent hiker Stenotrophomonas then informed that there had been rises and falls of Hoodoos that I had not seen, with Stenotrophomonas estimating that the Saturday Tandy Hills Hoodoo was Hoodoo number VIII or IX.

Well, whatever number that Saturday Hoodoo was, by President's Day it was a toppled Hoodoo, the remains of which you see above.

A forensic exam of a couple of the previous fallen Hoodoos made me think the destruction was manmade, due to the fact that the boulders from which the Hoodoos had been constructed had been thrown around, helter skelter.

A forensic exam of this latest fallen Hoodoo seems to indicate it toppled by natural means, with the boulders appearing in order on the ground, toppled likely by the means by which Stenotrophomonas thought the Hoodoos have toppled, that being either from the wind or fracquakes. We have had a lot of wind blowing lately. And fracquakes, though I don't know if any have shaken the Tandy Hills zone.

Anyway, I had myself a mighty fine time on this mighty fine President's Day with about an hour of high speed hill hiking.

And now I am hungry.

My annual President's Day lunch is in the oven. Chile relleno casserole, corn bread with diced poblano, cole slaw and beans. Everyone knows this was George Washington's favorite lunch, hence it being on my President's Day menu....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Getting Drizzled While Learning About New Hoodoos & Contemplating My Non-Existent Rattlesnake Selling Business

I had had no weather predictor's prediction warning me, so it came as a surprise to step outside for my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session to find myself in a dense fog being pummeled by incoming drizzle.

I think the dense fog and drizzle added a nice moisturizing touch to the hydrotherapy session.

The fog and drizzle had lifted a bit by the time I took the photo you see here from the vantage point of my elevated patio view.

I am hoping the fog lifts and blue sky returns by the time I drive to River Legacy Park to pedal the mountain bike trail.

Speaking of trails. Yesterday I mentioned yet one more Tandy Hills Hoodoo resurrection. I thought this to be Hoodoo IV. I was not too surprised to hear from Stenotrophomonas that I was erroneous in my Hoodoo count.

Stenotrophomonas frequents the Tandy Hills far frequenter than I frequent them.

This is what Stenotrophomonas had to say....

Stenotrophomonas has left a new comment on your post "Another Saturday Tandy Hills Hoodoo Resurrection Before Going To Town Talk With Connie D":

I think that's at least Hoodoo VIII or IX. There's been several short lived hoodoos and then some modified ones. There was a hoodoo Thursday afternoon that may or may not have been exactly the one there Saturday. It's probably the wind, or maybe very small fracquakes that have destroyed most of the previous hoodoo incarnations. Surely if the Hills were full of mad Mormon scoutmasters, one of us would have caught them by now. 

Changing the subject from Stenotrophomonas and Hoodoos to rattlesnakes.

The  super-controversial Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup is next month. I won't be going. One visit was enough to last a lifetime.

Due to this being the Rattlesnake Roundup time of the year I am getting requests for rattlesnake products and other rattlesnake related questions. Why my Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup webpage causes people to think I sell snake products, I don't know. More often than not the requests for my non-existent rattlesnake products come from the UK or Germany.

This morning's attempt to buy one of my rattlesnake products came from a surprising location. Below is the message from a customer...

I am a skull collector looking to add a rattlesnake to my collection.  I would prefer to get a whole snake. Is it possible that one of the hunters would be able to send me a whole skinned snake. I would pay for shipping and all. You can e mail me or call me at 425.530.XXXX.

Area Code 425? Is that Houston I thought to myself. I then Googled "Area Code 245" to learn...

Area code 425 is a telephone dialing code in Washington for the suburbs north and east of Seattle, particularly the Eastside, extending east to North Bend, north to Everett, and south to Maple Valley. 

Washington? My latest rattlesnake customer is from Washington? Why could he not simply get on I-90 and head east to Eastern Washington and go hunt himself a rattlesnake?

I remember once when I was a young lad, my brother and I were exploring cliffs at Sun Lakes State Park in the aforementioned Eastern Washington. A park ranger showed up and advised my brother and me that we would be well advised to high tail it out of there due to the fact that the ranger had spotted several rattlesnakes a short distance from our location.

Til that moment in time my brother and I did not know that rattlesnakes were anything we might encounter in Sun Lakes State Park.

I wonder why no locale in Eastern Washington has a Rattlesnake Roundup? I suppose an insufficient supply of rednecks and an over supply of well-educated sorts with a high level of common sense might have something to do with there being no Rattlesnake Roundup in Eastern Washington.....

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another Saturday Tandy Hills Hoodoo Resurrection Before Going To Town Talk With Connie D

I was back on the Tandy Hills on this 3rd Saturday of the 2nd month of 2014 and once again I found the Tandy Hills Hoodoo has once again risen from the grave, making this latest iteration Tandy Hills Hoodoo IV.

Tandy Hills Hoodoo IV looks to be a bit tipsy, what with its biggest component being its midsection, with the base nearly as narrow as the top.

By tipsy I did not mean the use of the word which indicates alcoholic inebriation, but rather the meaning of the tipsy word which indicates some object appears to be a bit precarious, as in, easily tipped over.

Today I saw a greater number of Tandy Hills hill hikers than any other previous day, other than a Manly Men Wild Women day or a Prairie Fest day, those being days when the hills are infested with hikers.

I had three unleashed dog encounters today, from three different human contingents. All the dogs were friendly, but I really do not like getting dog swarmed when I am basking in the glow of endorphin bliss.

Saturday started off with an extremely salubrious hot tub hydrotherapy session that I think was of a vigorous enough nature that it went aerobic and thus induced some endorphins. Today's high speed hill hiking definitely induced more endorphins.

By the time I got to Town Talk, post-Tandy Hills, I was at an extremely high level of blissful endorphin sedation.

I expected to see Fort Worth's Connie D today at Town Talk due to an email I got last night from Facebook in which I was informed that Connie D  had mentioned me on Facebook, as follows...

Connie wrote: "Fun! I am running by Town Talk tomorrow if it kills me. I haven't been in a year and Durango Jones posts about what he gets have been driving me crazy."

Connie D's Facebook comment mentioning me and Town Talk was in reply to a Facebook post by Mr. Old where Mr. Old mentioned that for Valentine's Day Mr. and Mrs. Old had lunched at the new Waters seafood restaurant before going treasure hunting at Town Talk. The Olds are a very young couple for having such an old name.

As for Town Talk, I did not find Connie D among the treasures today.

I did not have much luck with the Town Talk treasure hunting today. I only got a couple blocks of sharp cheese, a bag of sirloin burgers, a bag of granola, a pack of chorizo and maybe a thing or two I am forgetting right now.

I may be back to check on the newly resurrected Tandy Hills Hoodoo tomorrow. Then again I feel drawn to the River Legacy Park mountain bike trails....

Dallas & Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggles

I know Fort Worth propaganda-izing history revisionists claim that the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision was coming into view before the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision.

However, it was soon upon my arrival in Texas, in late 1998, that I became aware of the fact that Dallas voters had approved a Trinity River Vision Plan.

I think it may have been as late as early in the next century I was surprised to see a big headline on the front page of the Sunday edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram trumpeting something like "Trinity Uptown To Make Fort Worth the Vancouver of the South."

Huh? I remember saying to myself. It was not long before the "Vancouver of the South" propaganda was dropped.

Til this morning I did not realize the extent to which Dallas and Fort Worth are still sharing mutual Trinity River Visions, both of which, in various ways, are in boondoggle mode.

This morning, in the Dallas Observer print edition, in a blog article titled Dallas' Incredible Shrinking Lakes I learned that the Dallas' Vision's lakes, which I previously thought were big, have shrunk to pond size, just like Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision's little pond.

Below is part of what you will read in the Dallas Observer's Dallas' Incredible Shrinking Lakes article...

White Rock Lake, just for grins, is 1,015 acres. Based on what I heard yesterday, the Trinity River lakes we voted for in downtown in 1998, when finally built, will be one lake, 20 acres, 10 feet deep.

Oh, and the money for it is mostly gone. Even to dig the 20-acre thing -- pretty much what people in West Texas call a cattle tank -- the money will have to be filched from other accounts.

But the money for that toll road on top of the river, the one that will cut off downtown from all the parks they're supposed to build? Goin' strong. Don't worry about that money, man. It's in the bank.

Those are the main take-aways from a City Council committee meeting yesterday on the status of the Trinity River project. Yeah, 20 acres, a lake small enough that it could be closed by one family with diarrhea, not to be gross about it, but you get what I mean. Not a lake. A pond. In July a body of water that small and that shallow in downtown Dallas Texas is basically a saucepan.

May I share with you the part that I found sort of hilarious? Originally we were supposed to have more like 300 acres of water in three small conjoined lakes along the Trinity, but you have to remember that those lakes were designed in two phases.

First they were designed on a napkin by a political ad agency in 1998 trying to think of some shit they could put in the TV ads to get people to vote for a toll road that nobody needed or wanted. In the second, later design phase, the lakes were redesigned by former Dallas Observer columnist and Mayor Laura Miller for something she called "The Balanced Vision Plan," evoking a quality for which she was not known here.

Since then, according to yesterday's briefing before the council's Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee, some actual engineers have been looking into it, and they found out four things:

1. The old bridges across the river have piers that sit on mud instead of going down to bedrock, so if you dig out a lake around them the bridges will fall down (not good).
2. If the lakes get any closer to the river than 200 feet, the federal government will require the city to build actual dams between the lakes and the river at huge expense (not possible).
3. If you dig deeper than 10 feet anywhere in the river bed, you punch through the clay cap and get into sand, and all the water will leak out as fast as you put it in (shit).
4. There's no water anyway. The river doesn't have enough water in the summer; the lakes will evaporate; you have to fill them from water wells; the wells cost $1 million apiece.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Dysfunctional Valentine's Day From Texas

I saw that which you see on the left on Facebook a couple minutes ago, courtesy of Tootsie Tonasket, aka Aunt Alice.

It amused me.

I thought the "U SOUND LIKE UR MOTHER" and the "OK 4 YOUR AGE" hearts were the most amusing.

I was listening to the radio this morning, The Bert Show on 102.9 FM. One of the male members of The Bert Show has been whining about Valentine's Day all week, opining it is not a real holiday, but instead a Hallmark manufactured holiday in which he chooses not to participate.

So, the other members of The Bert Show's cast sort of ganged up on the anti-Valentine's Day guy, including bringing Bert's kid into the ongoing psy-oping of the anti-Valentine's Day guy.

The anti-Valentine's Day guy's argument against Valentine's Day was that he showed his love muffin how much he loved her all year long, that making a special fuss on a manufactured holiday was just unseemly and unnecessary.

I am paraphrasing. It's not like I was taking notes.

Anyway, the only part of the anti-Valentine's Day guy's argument which seemed a bit bogus to me was the claim that it was a holiday manufactured by Hallmark.

Maybe the anti-Valentine's Day guy was just using Hallmark as a catchall for the entire give a gift on a special occasion industry.

I remember, decades ago, in grade school, on Valentine's Day, everyone would make a big envelope by stapling two pieces of construction paper together. Classmates would then stick Valentines into the big envelopes.

If my memory is serving me correctly it seems like we made the Valentine cards ourselves from more of that aforementioned construction paper. I don't remember buying any sort of Valentine card of the Hallmark sort. I don't think I would have willingly spent any of my very meager allowance on such a thing.

And now, decades later, I still do not willingly spend any of my very meager allowance on Valentine's Day cards....

Rolling My Wheels Past Arlington's Interlochen Canals Wondering About Fort Worth's Phantom Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Canals

My handlebars and the rest of my bike took me on a tour of Arlington's Interlochen neighborhood today.

Those would be the aforementioned handlebars you are looking at in the photo, pointing towards one of the Interlochen canals.

Seeing the scenic Interlochen canals always brings the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle to mind.

Are canals still part of the plan for the TRV Boondoggle? I have no idea.

If canals are part of the Vision, does anyone have any idea when one might be seeing the Vision's canals?

How come I don't ever hear of anyone but me wondering why there is no timeline completion schedule type information regarding the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle of the sort that existed for previous public works projects I have witnessed in parts of America that operate like a full functioning democracy where the people get to vote on the public works projects they pay for?

Changing the subject from boondoggles to something else.

Today was my first successful bike ride of the new year. An extremely windy bike ride. It  felt good to be back rolling the wheels of a non-motorized device.

The current forecast is for day after day after day of temperatures in the 70s and 80s. I suspect there will be some more bike rides in my immediate future. That and maybe some actual pool time.

This Morning I Learned I Do Not Belong In Texas

This morning I learned from Nurse Martha, via Facebook, that, apparently, I belong in Massachusetts, a state which I have never visited.

I learned this on a website called by making some choices on a page titled What State Do You Actually Belong In?

The choices were a list of items in picture form, like which baby do you prefer. Which actor? Which scenery? Which TV show? Which movie quote? Stuff like that.

How my answers led me to Massachusetts is a mystery to me.

However, the final summing up, the screencap of which you see above, was spookishly accurate, describing me as tough as nails and not afraid to tell people what I really think. And that this particular trait can work for or against me at times, but that really does not matter because, apparently, I am a unique person who does not care what others think. I am also as humble as I am rambunctious and could maybe beat Connecticut in a fist fight.

I don't recollect ever being in a fist fight before. A bitch slap, or two, or three, yes. But no fist fights....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Enjoying A Warm Fort Worth Fosdick Lake Fosduck Tortilla Feeding Frenzy

Fosduck Flax Seed Blue Corn Tortilla Feeding Frenzy
I was not the only one having a mighty fine time today walking around Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park.

In addition to humans enjoying the relatively balmy weather the Fosducks were seeming particularly quack happy today.

I brought flax seed blue corn tortillas with me today to feed the Fosducks. I did not much care for these tortillas and worried the Fosducks might also have an aversion.

Instead of an aversion the flax seed blue corn tortillas pretty much caused a feeding frenzy, quickly drawing in ducks from all corners of Fosdick Lake.

Previously, when I fed the Fosducks pieces of whole wheat bread, they seemed almost to treat that treat with disdain. Certainly not a feeding frenzy.

The fact that the Fosducks went ravenous over the flax seed blue corn tortillas had me pondering if maybe the Fosducks were illegal alien ducks, flying from Mexico across the border, without proper paperwork, with tortillas seeming more like the native food they were used to, than gringo whole wheat bread.

Anyway, I was quite pleased to be back in the outer world attired in shorts and t-shirt without getting cold.

The next few days are supposed to get borderline hot. As in the 70s, maybe low 80s. Methinks I shall be doing some high speed Tandy Hills hill hiking for the next several days.

A Hot Tub Hydrotherapy Session With Beef & Biscuit

In the photo you are standing with me on my patio viewing platform on the outer world from whence I am zooming in on the location of my hot tub hydrotherapy on this Thursday the 13th, day before Valentine's Day, on another blue sky morning in North Texas.

Due to freeze related issues I had not had a hot tub hydrotherapy session for several days. Without hydrotherapy the outer world frigidity causes my aged joints to ache.

The hot tub hydrotherapy quickly abated my aching joint woe this morning.

Due to the return of normal weather I was feeling sort of gungho to have myself some high speed Tandy Hills hill hiking today. Then I thought that it might take a day or two of not freezing for the Tandy Hills to dry up. And so I think I will do  some faux hill hiking at Oakland Lake Park today and hope to remember to bring the Fosducks some duck food.

Changing the subject to something else.

Decades ago whilst I was preparing to leave home to go to college my mom insisted I learn a few skills. Like  ironing. I never actually used that ironing skill, so that lesson from mom was not needed.

The skill I did end up having a use for was learning the basics of cooking.

Mom thought it a good idea for me to learn how to make four basic recipes. Of those four I only remember three of them. Beef Stroganoff, Sweet and Sour Chicken.

And Beef & Biscuit.

I have not made Beef & Biscuit for decades.

A couples weeks ago I was talking to my Arizona sister when she made mention of the fact that Beef & Biscuit was on her Super Bowl Party menu.

Being reminded of Beef & Biscuit and totally not remembering how to make it had me asking my sister for directions. The directions were fairly simple. One of the absolutely necessary ingredients is a green pepper. I acquired three green peppers on my last visit to Town Talk.

And so, this morning I've done the prep work for making Beef & Biscuit. Only my version is Turkey & Biscuit.

Lunch should be tasty today. If you've been invited, don't be late...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blue Sky Returns To A No Longer Freezing Texas

After day after day after day of gray, as you can see, via the view from my patio viewing platform, blue has returned to my location on the planet, along with an outer world heated to above freezing.

My SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) mood should soon dissipate.

I hope.

Due to the outer world still freezing when the sun came up this morning I once again aborted my regularly scheduled, much needed, hot tub hydrotherapy session.

Miss Puerto Rico is due to return today. She made it to San Juan yesterday, hoping to get out of town early by waiting on standby, hoping to not get stuck in today's ice disaster freezing up the southern part of the east coast.

However, Miss Puerto Rico was not able to get out on an earlier flight, and so had to spend the night in a San Juan airport hotel, inside the security perimeter, thus not easily able to have a fun night on the town.

Miss Puerto Rico's route back to D/FW goes from San Juan to Miami,  then a plane switch to get to Orlando, then another plane switch back to D/FW, with arrival on the ground in Texas scheduled for just before 5 this afternoon. I suspect flight delays will have Miss Puerto Rico returning much later than she hoped to return.

Which means I remain on cat sitting duty til further notice.

Speaking of flying somewhere.

Mr. and Mrs. Galtex are back in the air, heading to Portugal again. Seems like they just got back from Portugal, because, well, they did just get back from Portugal.

I have noticed that more often than not when the Galtex's leave town the sky turns blue. I suspect this is just some sort of freak coincidence.

But, I have also noticed that more often than not when the Galtex's return to town the sky turns gray, usually for a short duration. Again, likely just some sort of freak coincidence.

I called my mom yesterday to lament my SAD condition. Mom  told me that today the Phoenix zone is predicted to get into the 90s today, breaking the temperature record. I told my mom her temperature bragging was unseemly. Mom told me she was not bragging, just stating facts.

Are the record breaking temperatures in Arizona why we are warming up here in the way too often Arctic-like Texas?

I hope it lasts....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seattle's Big Bertha Boondoggle vs. Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

What you are looking at on the left is part of a tunnel which a machine nicknamed Bertha is boring under downtown Seattle.

Bertha came to a grinding halt a couple months ago. And then when she finally began grinding again, four feet later she overheated and stopped again.

And now Bertha has been grounded for what may be months due to problems with clogged clutter heads and a damaged main bearing seal.

Are we now at the point where this $3.1 billion project might be referred to as Seattle's Big Bertha Boondoggle?

Some are already comparing the Seattle project to Boston's notorious Big Dig Boondoggle whose original $2.8 billion dollar cost ended up being $22 billion.

The current state of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel replacement project and its current potential boondoggle status got me comparing Seattle's Big Bertha Boondoggle to Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

I would guess that the Seattle project will fairly quickly get back on track and out of its current boondogglishness. As you can see, the Seattle tunnel project has already resulted in some impressive engineering, already having tunneled one-tenth of the tunnel's 1.7 mile distance, before Bertha stopped.

The Seattle tunnel boring only began in the last year, and already one sees more accomplished than well over a decade of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

The Seattle tunnel project addresses an actual serious problem. That being the fact that the Alaskan Way Viaduct could collapse in an earthquake, causing great loss of life. The Alaskan Way Viaduct was badly damaged by the Nisqually Earthquake, earlier this century.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was originally propagandized as being a much needed flood control project, to protect downtown Fort Worth from a flooding Trinity River, by building an un-needed flood diversion channel, so that levees built over half a century ago, could be taken down.

So, unlike the Seattle tunnel project addressing fixing a real problem, the Fort Worth TRV Boondoggle addresses a non-existent problem, because downtown Fort Worth has not flooded in over a half a century, due to the protection afforded by those aforementioned levees.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is also an economic development project, developing a blighted area north of downtown Fort Worth with a little lake, maybe some canals, housing, restaurants, other commercial developments, plus one of the world's premiere waterfront music venues, along with this century's first drive-in movie theater and summer time's Rockin' the River Inner Tube Happy Hour Floats on the pristine Trinity River.

Seattle's Alaskan Viaduct Replacement Project also has some economic development aspects. Such as upgrading the Seattle waterfront's seawall along with taking down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, opening up an area for a new waterfront promenade.

I wonder which town's massive public works projects will be completed first? I wonder which town's massive public works project will be successful? I wonder which town's massive public works project will get national and international attention of the positive sort? I wonder which town's public works project might gain lasting fame as a classic boondoggle?

I bet you can guess what my answers to the above questions would be.

Spencer Jack Sees Dean's Pies Instead Of Seeing Dick & Jane Run

This morning in my incoming email I saw incoming from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my favorite nephew, Jason, with the message in the email saying....

Spencer Jack's first grade reading assignment was to read the book "Dean's Pies". He learned that people named "Dean" dream of eating a lot of different types of pies.

So, what's the big deal about this Dean guy dreaming of pies and this book being Spencer Jack's reading assignment?

Well, those who know me well know my full name is Durango Dean Jones, with those who know me well usually referring to me as Dean, not as Durango.

Then again, it is also true that those who know me well sometimes also refer to me as Durango, or Durango Dean, or Mr. D.

As evidenced by this "Dean's Pies" book it would appear that first grade literature has evolved from the seeing Dick chasing Jane up a hill type books I read as a first grader.

I don't think I reached such an elevated reading level, as Spencer Jack's, til I was at least in 4th grade.

The text on the two pages Spencer Jack is holding up for us is...

Dean lies in bed. He dreams of pies. He dreams of apple pies, peach pies, and cherry pies. He dreams of cream pies, custard pies, and lemon pies. He dreams of pickle pies, carrot pies, and bean pies.

Pickle pies, carrot pies and bean pies? This particular Dean has never heard of those three type pies. The pickle pie sounds particularly disgusting.

Spencer Jack's book's Dean should be also dreaming about blackberry pie, rhubarb pie and key lime pie, because those are some of this particular Dean's favorite pies....

Monday, February 10, 2014

Another Special Weather Statement With Freezing Rain & Snow Again Falling On North Texas

This morning my computer based weather monitoring device is flashing red. I clicked on the flashing red to see the dreaded "SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT" announcement.

I clicked on the "SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT" to learn that the National Weather Service is once again predicting incoming icy cold, this time coming in from Nevada.

Last week the weather predictors missed the mark on their prediction, with the predicted snow falling in amounts more copious than predicted, resulting in extremely slippery roads, which were not predicted.

So, even though the forecasters are forecasting just a little sleet along with a little snow, with only a fraction of an inch accumulating, with most roadways and city streets remaining warm enough to remain wet, I am going to assume the forecasters may be off in their forecast, once again, and so I will refrain from driving anywhere tomorrow, lest I find myself in a repeat of last week's slippery icy scare.

Below is the aforementioned SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT....





Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Cold Texas Bike Ride To Check In On Miss Puerto Rico's Jeep & Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread

Those are my bike's handlebars parked in front of Miss Puerto Rico's Jeep that you are looking at in the picture.

Today I decided to try and get myself some aerobic stimulation with its resultant endorphins via a bike ride around my neighborhood, hence part of the bike ride passing by Miss Puerto Rico's Jeep.

My morning hot tub hydrotherapy session went well. I sort of enjoyed getting my hydrotherapy in a gloomy foggy mist. A gloomy foggy mist always adds good atmospherics.

The bike ride did not go as well as the foggy hydrotherapy.

Too cold.

I had several layers covering several areas, but any area left exposed, cheeks for example, got way too cold. I only rolled my bike wheels a mile or two before deciding I really did not need any additional endorphins today.

And now changing the subject back to the aforementioned Jeep.

I had never ridden in or driven a Jeep before experiencing Miss Puerto Rico's. Upon first riding exposure it took me about a minute to wonder why anyone would want one of these noisy contraptions. And then on my first summer HOT ride in the Jeep I asked why the A/C was not on, to find myself being told that the Jeep does not have A/C.

Who buys a vehicle in this climate without A/C? Who sells a vehicle in this climate without A/C?

All the time Miss Puerto Rico has had the Jeep she has not switched it into 4 wheel drive mode. She is always saying she wants to go off roading somewhere where the 4 wheel drive mode would be used. I have suggested a location or two, but nothing ever comes of it. I think the furthest this Jeep has ever traveled is Dallas.

I must go make lunch now, something to warm me up, as in jalapenos and cheese cornbread with chili on top. That should warm me up....

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Warm Walk In Fort Worth's Quanah Parker Park Before Finding Mango Coconut Yogurt

I parked at the Quanah Parker Park parking lot on my way to Town Talk today and had myself a mighty fine walk for the first time in a few days.

Since I was walking at Quanah Parker Park that would make the body of water you see in the picture the Trinity River.

The Trinity River was flowing so clear today I could see the river bottom as the water flowed slowly by. But, I saw no fish or any other living creature swimming in the temporarily clear water.

Today I was not the only person at Quanah Parker Parker enjoying the respite from our recent visitor from the frigid north.

Town Talk was back to its Saturday norm, number of shoppers-wise, from last Saturday's pre-Super Bowl frenzy.

The most interesting thing I found today at Town Talk was a case of mango-coconut yogurt. That flavor combo sounds good to me. I also got a case of strawberry Power yogurt. Power yogurt is real thick, Greek-like, loaded with protein, hence the power-ful name.

Since it is currently being relatively warm in the outer world I think I'll go over to Miss Puerto Rico's to attend to my cat-sitting duty and to sit outside enjoying Miss Puerto Rico's elevated view of the world.

A Hot Tub Hydrotherapy Session Combined With A Texas Temperature Above Freezing Has Alleviated My SAD Symptoms

24 hours ago, looking at the ground 30 feet below my patio viewing platform, that ground was white, covered with snow.

That white snow is now mostly gone, replaced by a soothing shade of brown.

The temperature currently is only two degrees above freezing, heading to a high somewhere in the mid-50s on this 2nd Saturday of the 2nd month of 2014, if the temperature predictors are correct in their prediction.

Due to the temperature being at a relatively balmy one degree above freezing when the time of my regularly scheduled morning hot tub hydrotherapy session came around I decided it was hot enough for my first hydrotherapy session in three days.

The hot tub hydrotherapy session greatly alleviated my SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) sad situation.

I am hoping to experience additional SAD alleviation today by going on a hike, walk or bike ride prior to going to Town Talk.....

Friday, February 7, 2014

North Texas Remains A Snowy Icebox On The First Friday Of February

As you can see, looking down to the ground thirty feet below, from my outer world patio viewing platform, we are still not rid of snow at my location on the planet.

However, the snow has removed itself from the roads, for the most part, so, currently driving on those roads is not the treacherous nightmare it was yesterday.

But, snow is forecast as possible again today, with a possible repeat of yesterday's slick debacle.

I am now on my third day in a row of not getting my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session. The lack of aerobically induced endorphin stimulation is starting to take a toll, as I seem to be slipping into SAD, as in Seasonally Affected Disorder.

Yesterday when I had my snow driving slip and slide to ALDI my intention had been to also go to Walmart, needing as I do an inkjet cartridge. But in ALDI I was told that Eastchase Parkway was a vehicle strewn mess on the Walmart side of the I-30 freeway. Even so, I almost risked it, not realizing til I almost got home how slippery that hill that leads down to Walmart would have been. I think I dodged a bullet on that one.

This current winter in Texas may be the worst since I've been in Texas, worse that the icy mess that greeted Super Bowl week a couple years ago. We still have plenty of winter to get through before the arrival of Spring on March 20.

I am thinking I may get myself some firewood today. I've only lit a fire in my fireplace one time previous.

I think a nice roaring fire might help break me out of my bout of SAD.....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

North Texas Snowstorm Causes Me A Scary Slippery Two Hour Roadtrip To ALDI

In the picture you are looking at the snowy view from Miss Puerto Rico's elevated viewing platform on the world.

I walked over to Miss PR's over the snow covered ground without slippery incident.

I then walked up to Albertsons to get Fort Worth Weekly, again without slippery incident.

I saw no vehicles having slippery incidents on the snow covered roads.

And so, with me having a strong hankering for a hot pot of chili I decided road conditions were just fine for a short drive to ALDI to get myself what I needed to make a hot pot of chili.

I decided wrong.

I saw I had a problem when I saw the east side of the John T. White Road overpass over I-820 when I saw about a dozen vehicles in slipping mode trying to head west up the slight incline to cross over the freeway. When I saw all that slippage I knew I had to find another route back, if I actually made it to ALDI.

The only serious slippage, for me, pre-ALDI, was at the right turn on to Cooks Lane. When I got past that I saw the road ahead was being sanded, which made smooth sailing the rest of the distance  to ALDI.

Leaving ALDI I took the Ederville Road route home. That was slow going. There is one long downhill slope on this route that had me worried til I saw it was no problem.

I had some serious slipping by a QT gas station and again at the next stop light. After that I was back on a road that had been sanded, the I-30 overpass. I thought I was home free by the time I drove through the Albertsons parking lot.

And then I turned left on to Boca Raton, the road I'd driven slip-free on when I took off for ALDI. As soon as I turned on to Boca Raton I knew I was in trouble, because I was slipping and I saw a lot of other vehicles stuck and slipping, with a Fort Worth bus stuck at the top of the hill.

I had no steering control. I could go a slight distance and then lose control. I went til I could go no further because I was getting too close to a car trying to get up the hill. I got out and helped them, convincing the driver to slide in reverse back down the hill and try to get up it again by staying on the center of the road.

That worked. I now had a clear shot at the entry to my driveway. But, I again lost control with my right wheels ending up on the grass median between the road and sidewalk. That grass median gave me traction, so I was able to get to the bottom of the hill and the driveway entry.

I thought I was home free. But then when I turned into the driveway I lost control again. By that time I was shaking from the stress. After about 10 more minutes of slipping and sliding I successfully parked.

I am thinking what is happening in the D/FW zone today may be one for the history books.

Snow Is Falling On North Texas On This First Thursday Of February

Stepping out into the outer world on my patio viewing platform was a step of a duration only long enough to snap a photo of the snowballs falling from above.

Actually the falling ice was not in snowball form, the flash of the camera made it look like snowballs.

What actually is falling is snow in the flurry form, just as was predicted to be falling today.

I think it goes without saying that I will not be engaging in my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session this morning. In addition to the falling snow the additional weather information provided by the graphic below provides an additional reason as to why a hot tub hydrotherapy session does not seem like a good idea this morning.

16 degrees with the wind and humidity making that 16 degrees really feel like no degrees at all.


I do not remember being this cold in Texas during the previous winters of my Texas exile.

On a positive note, I think the Mountain Cedar Pollen problem has gone away. At least it has for me. I made it through the night, last night, without the need to spray anything into my breathing apparatus.

I do not know where, or how, I will be getting my much needed endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation today. I suppose I could go up and down the three flights of stairs which lead to Miss Puerto Rico's abode, if the steps are not slippery from snow....