Sunday, October 22, 2017

Wichita Falls Circle Trail Opens Up Wichita Bluff Nature Area

On Friday an incoming email told me the long awaited completion and opening of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area had arrived and was ready for its closeup.

And so, yesterday, that being Saturday, with thunderstorms and possible tornadoes, along with grapefruit size hail and gusty wind on the potential weather menu I decided to check out the new scenic extension of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

Let's just get my take on this new development out of the way before we proceed.

I give this addition to Wichita Falls a big thumbs up, four stars and job well done to whoever designed and executed this.

The email I got on Friday told me the newly opened section of the Circle Trail was about 1.5 miles. I think it was longer than that, judging by the hour it took to walk to the trail's current termination.

The entry sign you see above is at the east end of the newly opened trail. The trail terminates a quarter mile, or so, from this eastern entry. You can see where preparations are being made to continue the Circle Trail extension to connect to Lucy Park.

In the next photo we are at the west end entry, seeing a group heading towards the Nature Area's parking lot.

A surprisingly large number of people were checking out the newly opened Nature Area, what with it being a blustery threatening weather type of day.

This new trail section is unique to the Wichita Falls Circle Trail in that the trail  in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area has elevation gains and drops.

Today was the longest I have walked in months. I think my ankles and feet may be complaining soon. In the above photo we are near the entry, on one of several side trails from the main trail, with one of the ubiquitous Wichita Falls swinging benches. That is one of two covered areas you see on the left, which one comes to whilst walking the trail. Providing protection from sudden inclement weather. And the sun.

Eventually the Wichita River comes into view. Several overlooks, with benches, provide rest stops with river views.

Such as the Wichita River overlook you see above.

Above is the second covered weather protector structure. This one is near the east entry to the Nature Area.

One of the aforementioned side trails, leading to yet one more swinging bench overlooking the Wichita River.

And yet one more example of swinging benches accessed by a side trail from the Circle Trail, with these two looking in opposite directions.

And here we are heading up the trail to the parking lot at the west end, Seymour Highway, entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. As you can see, the sky is a bit threatening. Though no actual threat materialized during the time period I experienced this new Wichita Falls Nature Area.

I'm hoping the success of this new section of Circle Trail instigates an impetus to close the couple gaps remaining which keep the Circle Trail from being a true circle.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mom Takes Virtual Trip To Thailand

Checking email this morning I saw that which you see here, incoming from Arizona.

Message in email...

Took mom to Thai food for lunch. She loves it.

David, Theo & Ruby's maternal parental unit, my little sister, Michele, left the kids behind in Tacoma to fly south to see mom for a few days in the Phoenix zone of Arizona.

David, Theo & Ruby will be flying south to the Phoenix zone next month during the Thanksgiving time frame, to spend some time with their grandma. There is some talk of myself also being there.

I was last in Arizona on August 22. That day, prior to taking me to the airport, mom asked where I would like to go for lunch. I said, I don't care, McDonald's is fine with me.

No, said mom, let's go to a restaurant with a printed menu. How about Chinese, mom suggested. I then said Thai sounds good.

What? Tie? Mom replied.

Yeah, Thai, said I.

To which mom replied again with a variation of what's Tie?

To which our chauffeur, my second littlest sister, Jackie, explained to mom I was referencing Thai food, as in Thai food like you find in Thailand.

Oh, said mom, I don't know of such a place here.

Nor did my sister Jackie.

But, somehow sister Michele found a Thai restaurant in the Phoenix zone and took mom there, where mom learned she liked Thai food.

I am thinking that maybe if I do go to Arizona next month there might be a chance I would get to go to a Thai place, in addition to having turkey...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Creepy Elsie Hotpepper Message About Fort Worth Slaughterhouse Hotel

The creepy message you see here was sent to me via Miss Elsie Hotpepper.

Apparently a deal has been finagled between the city of Fort Worth and a hotel developer to develop a new Fort Worth Stockyards hotel on the site of the long closed Swift Armor slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant.

I do not know if it is Elsie Hotpepper who thinks it sounds creepy to stay at a hotel built on a slaughterhouse grounds, or if someone sent Elsie this message, which she then forwarded to me.

However, due to the well known delicate nature of Elsie Hotpepper I suspect it is she who finds this hotel to be potentially creepy.

Personally, I don't find this all that creepy and I don't think it would bother me to stay in this hotel.

Now if this had been the location where Fort Worth conducted its hangings back in the days when locally such punishments took place, well, that might be a bit creepy.

Ever since my eyes beheld the location of the former Swift Armor operation I thought it to be one of the most interesting things I have ever seen in any town anywhere, wondering what caused this? And why has this rubbled mess not been cleaned up, what with it being at the location of what I thought then was the town's only tourist attraction?

I long ago made a webpage about that rubbled mess which I called The Stockyard Ruins.

When I first saw that which I came to call The Stockyard Ruins I thought they looked like what photos of Berlin looked like at the end of World War II.

A day or two ago I asked someone if they knew how these buildings came to be such ruins. Not realizing til a few minutes ago that I had already asked that question and years ago got an answer, from someone named CM Waring, which I then added to the info on the webpage about The Stockyard Ruins...

The Stockyards Ruins were victims of arson fires, 2, in 1971 and 1973. The amount of animal fat in the buildings left the fires unable to be extinguished. They just let it burn out. I was long interested in how the ruins got in the state it's been for decades. I had to do plenty of digging to get that info, and I couldn't tell you where I finally found it. It was not easy.

A few years ago a FOX TV show called Prison Break used part of The Stockyard Ruins, turning one of the ruins into a Panama prison, complete with barbed concertina wire, guard towers and military vehicles. This is also photo documented on my The Stockyard Ruins webpage.

I wonder if the Armor Hotel will actually get built on the site of The Stockyard Ruins. Or will it turn into yet one instance of Fort Worth vaporware?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

DFW Strikes Out In Amazon HQ2 Opening Play

This morning I learned via the Seattle Times As Amazon’s deadline for HQ2 bids closes, speculation on winner heats up article that yesterday was the deadline for metro areas to submit their bid to be considered as the location for Amazon's second headquarters.

This second headquarters thing continues even as Amazon continues to gobble up downtown Seattle. Yesterday I read Amazon has taken over the old Bon Marche/Macy's building, site of a HUGE former department store.

The article in the Seattle Times included info about Amazon's criteria for its second headquarters, along with info about what metro areas have the best shot.

A paragraph about Amazon's HQ2 criteria..

Amazon has, however, detailed its wish list of amenities for a second home — perks like a highly educated workforce and a place with a flexible transportation network.

Oh oh. A highly educated workforce and a flexible transportation network would seem to eliminate one candidate which the Star-Telegram thinks should be a shoo-in. We mentioned this particular Star-Telegram delusion in a blogging last month titled Searching For Dozen Reasons To Lure Amazon To Fort Worth.

That delusion continued this morning when I saw what you see below in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Star-Telegram's DFW makes its pitch for Amazon HQ2. Is your city in play? article includes a Star-Telegram produced propaganda video. In the video the Star-Telegram shows various locations in DFW being pitched to Amazon.

In the video guess which location the Star-Telegram pitches first?

If you guessed the first pitch went to that industrial wasteland of an imaginary island screwily misnomered Panther Island, you guessed correctly. Since nothing actually exists on the imaginary island the Star-Telegram used animation to illustrate that which likely will never be, but also included actual video of hapless souls inner tubing in the Trinity River.

Yes, I'm sure Amazon will see tube touting as a big selling point. It is not too difficult for an info/tech savvy company like Amazon to find out most people think the Trinity is too polluted to get wet in, and that Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision (and Panther Island) is what is known in the tech world as vaporware. Vaporware which has developed a well earned reputation as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Blurb from Star-Telegram touting the imaginary island and likely future Superfund site, that is if Trump does not totally destroy the EPA...

Leading sites in Tarrant County include Fort Worth’s Panther Island, the future Trinity River development north of downtown, and 800 acres in Grapevine that is part of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

These two are the leading sites in Tarrant County? As if there are a lot of other sites considered? That open acreage north of the airport seems like a sane candidate. Lots of nearby amenities, including that airport.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times article also speculates which metro areas are in the lead for the Amazon HQ2 prize, using data from an economist from something called Moody Analytics. A Texas town comes in #1 by this Moody analysis. You can go to the Seattle Times article to see the entire Moody list and some of the determining criteria, but here's a blurb that will reveal which Texas town is Moody's #1....

Mark Zandi took a different approach. The economist for Moody’s Analytics, along with colleague Adam Ozimek, lined up 29 sets of data designed to match Amazon’s preferences.

To gauge a city’s business environment, Moody’s weighed things like metropolitan credit ratings, tax systems and employment growth rates. For quality of life, they used measures of the school dropout rate and arts establishments per capita.

Shake the cocktail, and Austin, Texas, came out No. 1, lifted by a low tax rate and strong job growth.

What a shock. Fort Worth is not on the list. Even with Fort Worth's impressive flexible transportation network. Amazon must not have heard about Molly the Trolley...

Throwing Thursday Back To 2006 In South Dakota Black Hills & Wall Drug

I saw this a couple days ago on Facebook, via my Aunt Jane, who I think shared this via my Aunt Judy. I am guessing Aunt Judy took the picture.

The text along with the photo...

Yet another October gathering--this time in 2006 on neutral turf in the Black Hills of South Dakota. What a great time we had when we met there for several days. We decided it was the first time since Arlene married in 1949 that the siblings had all slept under the same roof. — with (left to right) Shirley Slotemaker, Mel Slotemaker, Hank Hershberger, Arlene Barry, Ruth Hershberger, Jack Slotemaker, Gerry "Mooch" Slotemaker and Jane Slotemaker.

I sort of remember when mom and dad went to the Black Hills for a sibling reunion. But, I remember no details. This was the same year in which Spencer Jack's dad got married for the first time, in April of 2006.

Mom and dad did not attend those nuptials. My recollection of the reason why they did not attend the nuptials of their only grandson to get married (so far) was they did not want to make the long drive north from Arizona at that point in time. Maybe this was because they knew they would be making an even longer drive later in the year, to South Dakota.

I sort of remember asking mom and dad, post their trip to South Dakota, if they visited Wall Drug when they were in the neighborhood. I do not remember if the answer was yes, or no.

Visiting Wall Drug feels almost mandatory once you are within a couple hundred mile radius of that location, due to all the signs enticing a visit with all sorts of enticements, like nickel cups of coffee and ice cream cones for a dime.

I know mom and dad would not pass up an ultra cheap cup of coffee with an equally cheap ice cream cone...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Running To Mount Wichita Summit Not An Option

On my way to ALDI this morning I opted to detour slightly south and west in order to do some mountain climbing on my neighborhood mini-volcano, aka, Mount Wichita.

Upon arrival I quickly saw I was not alone in deciding today to do some mountain climbing.

As I drove to the parking zone the group you see on the mountain were at its base, preparing for their assault on the summit.

About the time I turned off the device which mechanically rolls my vehicle's wheels the pair you see at the summit began running towards the peak. And ran all the way.

Without stopping.

I was appalled.

Looking at Mount Wichita it somehow looks as if it should be easy to run to the top. I thought so the day I first climbed the mountain. I arrived that day, and just like today, saw a guy running to the top. I walked around the mountain and then when I felt sufficiently warmed up, I began to run up the same trail I saw that guy zoom up like an antelope leaping across the prairie.

I lasted maybe 15 feet before I doubled over, hands on knees, trying to catch my breath.

I have yet to figure out why it is so difficult and so endorphin inducing aerobically stimulating to hike to the summit of Mount Wichita. I have hiked countless mountain trails in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Colorado.

And never had those trails kick me in the gut like Mount Wichita does.

Maybe this is an age related malady. Next time I am in Washington I need to get to Deception Pass and hike to the summit of Goose Rock. That should let me know if it is an age related, out of shape thing. Or something else. Goose Rock is about a dozen times taller than Mount Wichita. The trail base is only slightly above sea level. Sections of the trail to the top are steep. I have hiked to the top of Goose Rock dozens of times.

By the time I got to the Mount Wichita summit that group I saw heading up upon arrival was heading down. The lady on the right did not feel as if she could make the descent whilst vertical, and so she employed a slide down the hill on her bottom method. I had not seen this done before at this location.

Imaginary Iconic Fort Worth Downtown Opens New Little Hotel With Molly The Trolley

I saw that which you see here, a couple days ago, an editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Downtown hotels? Check. Now how do we get around?

Now, before we proceed, I know it might seem as if I, well, sort of give Fort Worth a hard time, making fun and mocking various things about the town.

Most of that making fun and mocking is caused by what I have seen ever since I arrived in Texas as the bizarre Chamber of Commerce style propaganda nonsense the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spews about the town it serves poorly as the town's pitiful only newspaper of record.

To be real clear. I think Fort Worth is a perfectly fine town with a perfectly nice downtown and a few perfectly nice parks. A town with some good museums and a fun tourist attraction in the form of the Fort Worth Stockyards.

But, the Star-Telegram's tendency towards hyperbole regarding Fort Worth is annoying and I don't think serves the public responsibly, giving those who don't know better a false opinion about the status of their town.

Which must be totally confusing when such a person visits for the first time one of America's, or the world's, actual modern, progressive towns, with modern amenities, such as modern public transportation. And modern restrooms in their city parks. And sidewalks alongside their streets. And downtowns where so many people live that there are items such as grocery stores, department stores, live theater and a plethora of restaurants.

And convention centers where real conventions take place, flooding a town's downtown with thousands of visitors and filling a town's downtown hotel's thousands of rooms in dozens upon dozens of downtown hotels.

And then there is Fort Worth.

So, we have this editorial which triggered my latest bout of finding the Star-Telegram's propaganda to be annoying. The impetus for this editorial is the apparently stupendous fact that a small 114 room Fairfield Inn has opened in downtown Fort Worth.


And that new hotel will soon supposedly be followed by six more new hotels, downtown, adding a whopping 1,000 rooms.

Again, whoop-de-doo.

Let's go through this editorial looking at some of the choice bits of propaganda nonsense...

This influx has the potential to further redefine our iconic downtown. And it comes just in time.

These seven hotels have the potential to further refine Fort Worth's iconic downtown? Seriously? Iconic? You in other parts of America, or the world, is there anything about Fort Worth which is even remotely iconic to you, which you recognize as being Fort Worth when you see it? Other than the possibly "iconic" Fort Worth Stockyards sign at the Stockyards?

This redefinition of Fort Worth's downtown comes just in time? How is that? Well, the next paragraph tells us...

As XTO Energy prepares to relocate the majority of its workforce from downtown Fort Worth to Houston, we’ve got an opportunity to continue the thoughtful approach stakeholders and planners have engaged in with respect to downtown.

So, how does yet one more corporate entity bailing on downtown Fort Worth get somehow mitigated by new hotels being added to Fort Worth's downtown?

I tell you it is one absurd paragraph after another. And so the next is...

Our wonderful mix of old, which is evident in our building facades and brick streets, and new — Sundance Square’s redevelopment — is unique.

Unique? Have these people been to any other town's downtown? The mix of old and new and the Sundance Square redevelopment is unique? What does that even mean? Are the Fort Worth, well Star-Telegram and the downtown proselytizers, ever gonna drop this embarrassing "Sundance Square" nonsense? It makes no sense to continue to refer to part of your downtown as such. Just stop it.

And then the next paragraph...

Our vibrant, livable, walkable downtown is unmatched by our neighbors to the east.

Vibrant? Livable? Unmatched by the neighbors to the east? A typical dig at Dallas, born of Fort Worth's well deserved civic inferiority complex. Downtown Fort Worth is livable? The relatively few people who live there have no downtown grocery store, no department stores, no vertical malls. Limited public transportation. Has the Star-Telegram been to downtown Dallas since way back when Amon Carter made his last visit?

Skipping ahead a few paragraphs...

The hotels bring the prospect of more people — and more business — to Fort Worth, enabling many to experience all downtown and beyond has to offer.

All downtown Fort Worth has to offer? Like what? I've been to many a big city downtown. There are some nice elements to Fort Worth's downtown. But, it ain't nothing special. And how does the Star-Telegram get the gall to spew this type nonsense when something like Heritage Park lingers on as a boarded up embarrassing eyesore homage to the town's storied history, at the north end of this unique downtown few tourists visit?

The following two paragraphs are so embarrassing...

More concerning is our ability to effectively and affordably move visitors throughout downtown and to show them what lies beyond the center. From the Museum District to the Stockyards, there is opportunity to connect visitors with our cultural touchstones. But using public transportation to reach these places is far from ideal.

Molly the Trolley, the bus that looks like a trolley that was first introduced in 2009, as of August is charging patrons to ride around downtown. The move was met with opposition from some area business leaders. A planned shuttle called Dash will take riders from downtown to the West Seventh area, also at a cost. Both charge $2 for a single ride or $5 for the day.

Fort Worth's cultural touchstones? I have been to downtown Fort Worth many times and somehow have never seen or touched any of those cultural touchstones.

Molly the Trolley? Yes, you in grown up parts of America and the world, Fort Worth has a downtown transit system consisting of a bus made to look like a trolley. I have seen this and it is much more embarrassing in person than simply reading the words "Molly the Trolley".

The big city downtown of which I am as familiar as I am with downtown Fort Worth is that west coast city named Seattle.

Seattle is smaller, population wise, than Fort Worth, but its downtown is HUGELY bigger. Public transport in the downtown Seattle zone consists of a subway under downtown with multiple underground stations. With bus transit on the surface. A monorail connects downtown to one of Seattle's 'cultural districts', known as Seattle Center. And there is a real trolley or two or three, running on rails. There is an enormous downtown convention center which dwarfs downtown Fort Worth's, both in size and in number of conventioneers. The Seattle downtown has dozens of hotels, new ones being added regularly, without the local media making absurd proclamations about such being anything of out of the ordinary significance.

And, unless it has changed since I was last transiting around downtown Seattle, it is free to use the buses to get around downtown. And that downtown covers an area which transposed to a map of Fort Worth would be as large as Fort Worth's puny downtown extended all the way to the Stockyards and what Fort Worth calls its Cultural District, and West 7th.

I tell you, the differences between a modern progressive liberal city and a backwater, non-progressive ill-liberal city are stark, including the quality of their newspapers...

UPDATE #1: We were curious as to how many hotel rooms there are in downtown Seattle, compared to downtown Fort Worth. Well, according to a Seattle Facts website called Visit Seattle there are 13,265 rooms available in downtown Seattle, with 10,099 available within an 11 block radius of the Washington State Convention Center.

Meanwhile, according to the Star-Telegram's editorial, "And speaking of those conventions: When a significant event comes to Fort Worth, the current stock of accommodations — or about 2,500 rooms — is sold out."

About 2,500 rooms in all of downtown Fort Worth, which sell out during those few times a significant event comes to Fort Worth?

Maybe the Star-Telegram should focus less on the opening of a small downtown hotel and more on why so few significant events come to downtown Fort Worth, and why so few people choose to live in that iconic downtown.

UPDATE #2: Look At Fort Worth's Industrial Wasteland Boondoggle Location For Amazon HQ2 for another look at the delusional Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda about downtown Fort Worth, including links to a look at downtown Fort Worth being a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Shadow Of The Sikes Bike Thin Man Getting Goosed

This morning I rolled myself on a long bike ride, wearing sweatpants to keep out the semi-cold.

This evening, when the sun was in set mode, I rolled myself on a shorter bike ride, wearing my warm weather biking attire.

By morning the chill will likely have returned.

As you can see, via the photo documentation, the late in the day setting sun casts a golden glow in North Texas.

When I stopped to take a picture of the Sikes Bike Thin Man no other people showed up in the photo.

Accurate photo documentation of Sikes Lake this evening would have documented the throngs of people out having themselves a mighty fine time in the extremely pleasant weather.

Accurate photo documentation of Sikes Lake this evening would also have documented the throngs of geese behaving much more actively than they behave in the morning.

Hundreds of birds, mostly geese, make Sikes Lake their home. At times the flocks of geese act very territorial, like they resent sharing the paved trail. Some will make a stand, waiting til the last second to flutter away from the incoming bike.

There are often fishermen and women fishing in Sikes Lake. Evening seems to attract a lot more line casters, hiding in the shadows of the trees and bridges, I assume so as to better trick the fish to bite their hooks.

The paved trail around Sikes Lake is illuminated. There are multiple emergency alarms posted around the lake. Along with multiple gazebos with drinking fountains. And a modern restroom facility. In other words, not every town in Texas is as backward as that Texas town I lived in prior to moving to Wichita Falls...

Thinking About Riding My Bike To Mount Vernon To Visit George Washington

My handlebars at the location you see here may have you guessing I flew my bike to Washington, D.C. and then pedaled the short distance from downtown to visit George and Martha's famous house named after the town I lived in in Washington before arriving in Texas.

Now that you're making me think about it, George and Martha's last name is the same as the name of the state I lived in prior to arriving in Texas. What a  pair of coincidences.

I used to live in Mount Vernon, Washington, and George and Martha Washington also lived in Mount Vernon, only in a state called Virginia.

Anyway, that is not Mount Vernon, in Virginia, my handlebars are pointing towards. That is Sikes House in Wichita Falls, on the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus. Sikes House is where the university's president resides, not the American president.

I took a roll around Sikes Lake this morning, which is adjacent to Sikes House, then crossed Midwestern Boulevard to the MSU campus, eventually leaving the campus to head east to a big neighborhood with dozens upon dozens of big mansions, many of which mimic other famous American homes, such as Jefferson's Monticello, Madison's Montpelier, Jackson's Hermitage and Trump's Mar-a-Lago.

I made that last one up.

I should photo document some of these mansions. It's the biggest collection of such I have ever seen outside of Beverly Hills in the Los Angeles zone. One or two of them have State of Texas Historical Markers.

My favorite mansion I roll by looks as if it was inspired by, or designed by, if such were possible, Howard Roark. One would have to be familiar with something called The Fountainhead to understand what I am talking about.

Well, enough about that. I wonder if it easy to ride ones bike from downtown D.C. to Mount Vernon? To be clear, I'm talking about biking to the Mount Vernon in Virginia, not the one in Washington...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lake Wichita Dam Drink Discovers Misbehaving Utility Box

Today in the noon time frame, with the outer world chilled, or heated, depending on ones temperature expectations, to a degree somewhere in the high 50s low 60s range, with the air in pretty much dead calm no wind mode, I decided rolling my wheels on the Circle Trail to the Mount Wichita mini-volcano seemed like it would be a mighty pleasant mighty fine time.

And it was.

Near the Lake Wichita Dam's spillway I opted to stop to hydrate.

This stop was at the cyclone fence enclosure you see above. The cyclone fence enclosure encloses a manhole type thing which is an access to what looks to be a device which opens a giant valve, likely to release excess water from the lake should the need arise.

Someone, likely bratty children, has tossed dozens of large rocks inside the enclosure. But those rocks seemed to do no harm.

However, there is a box mounted to the fence inside the enclosure which was wide open, exposing the switches and electronics which reside inside the box. This did not seem like an intended steady state for the status of this box.

I doubt one of those aforementioned rock throwing brats climbed inside this cyclone enclosure, what with such entry blocked by the three rows of barbed wire you see in the photo at the top. So, misbehaving brats is not a likely explanation for the open utility box.

I hope someone re-secures this box before some dire act of Mother Nature somehow zaps it and causes the electronics to open the valve that drains the lake, with Wichita Falls waking up to find a dry lake.

Then again, an accidentally drained Lake Wichita might speed up the seemingly stalled Lake Wichita Revitalization Project, which seems to be doing its revitalizing real real slow...

1956 Fort Worth Trinity Floodway Vision

Yesterday my favorite D/FW ditzy dame, Elsie Hotpepper, directed me to that which you see here.

The caption accompanying the photo...

Dedication of Fort Worth Floodway Project of the West and Clear Fork of the Trinity: Estil Vance, Joe Hogsett, Jim Wright and Col Harry D Fischer (April 5, 1956) 

Does this photo document the fact that what we now know as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision actually began way back in 1956, well over half a century ago, rather than a more recent starting date, early in the beginning of this new century?

In other words, has America's Biggest Boondoggle been boondoggling along since 1956, in various ever changing forms?

In its current form, when it began, before evolving into being a sponsor of river floating beer parties, what used to be called the Trinity River Vision touted itself as being a much needed flood control project combined with being a much needed economic development project.

One would think the 1956 version of the Fort Worth Floodway failed. Thus requiring this "update" of the Fort Worth Floodway.

But there has been no floodway failure in the downtown Fort Worth zone ever since those levees were built and paid for by the rest of America, way back in the 1950s.

However, downtown Fort Worth does regularly flood in the West 7th zone. But what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle does nothing about that particular flooding problem...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Wichita Falls Blue Sky Leads Me To Fort Worth Boondoggle's Signs To Nowhere

What you are looking at here is one of the bluest skies I've seen since I've been in Seattle.

Used to be, reliably, the bluest skies I ever see are in Seattle, and the hills the greenest green.

But this last visit, not so much, til my last day in Washington when the sky cleared of smoke and the deep blue sky returned along with the mountains. But, with the lowlands not all that green due to a lack of incoming water.

My local blue sky is scheduled to darken later today with a cold front arriving along with lightning strikes.

Prior to the incoming frigidity I decided to go on one more HOT bike ride, rolling my wheels around Sikes Lake to MSU and Hamilton Park.

MSU (Midwestern State University) accommodates me quite politely. With special signs marking spots reserved for parking my bike. I don't know why they use my middle name rather than my first name. I suppose fewer letters makes the signs cheaper to make.

Speaking of wasting money on signs. And who isn't?

Couple days ago Elsie Hotpepper told me she spotted a bizarre big directional sign on Interstate 30 south of the Fort Worth downtown, directing drivers to "PANTHER ISLAND PAVILION".

Where there is no island and the pavilion is a sad shack stuck on the banks of the Trinity River.

Why would America's Biggest Boondoggle waste even more money on even more senseless signage, one can not help but wonder?

Are those big billboards still up touting PANTHER ISLAND BRIDGES IN MOTION, near where American's Biggest Boondoggle installed that bizarre million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can at the center of that roundabout near where The Boondoggle has been struggling to build one of those bridges for years?

Progress in motion. Apparently The Boondogglers have no sense of embarrassing irony.

I took the above photo way back in February of 2015 and blogged about all the bizarre Boondoggle signage I came upon whilst walking in the area of the imaginary pavilion on the imaginary island and the imaginary world class urban music venue. I blogged about this at that point in time in a blogging titled Taking A Look At The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Products.

And now, apparently The Boondoggle has installed a sign on the I-30 freeway directing people to that non-existent pavilion on that non-existent island.

American's Biggest Boondoggle has been boondoggling along for most of this century.

Does anyone know, or care, how much money The Boondoggle has spent on all its propaganda? The signage, the websites, the quarterly mailing. Who has the contract to produce all this useless propaganda? I suspect the culprit is a crony of J.D. Granger or one of the other members of the nepotism riddled gang whose fingers are in this public trough.

Anyway, nice bike ride today. Thanks MSU for the reserved parking...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mr. Prickley Finds Grandpa Simpson On Facebook

This morning when I checked in on that bastion of highly evolved social interaction known as Facebook I was amused to see a comment from one of my pseudo Friends, who I refer to as Mr. Prickley, making reference to my irascible nature, telling me in my old age I have become a left wing Trump version of Grandpa Simpson.

What a horrible thing to say about the lovable father of Homer and Grandpa of Bart, Lisa and Maggie.

I really don't know what possible reason Mr. Prickley had to suggest such a thing.

I may have suggested that Mr. Prickley's Dudley Do Wrong persona wore on my nerves with the relentless detailed debating of subjects where it seems sort of obvious the debaters had not the slightest real clued understanding of the subject being debated. With opinions firmly anchored in stone, not to be sculpted free with any amount of informed reasoning.

But Grandpa Simpson? I can not remember the last time I have been so offput. Okay, that's not true, I do remember the last time I was so offput. It was last night.

Anyway, this morning was the first I've been called Grandpa since last summer.

I was having myself a mighty fine time in Tacoma's wave pool in, I think the name was Kindle Park. Maybe spelled different than the Amazon book reading device.

So, Theo was going all over the pool with me, hanging on as we dodged waves whilst waiting for the Big Kahuna to come crashing towards us.

About an hour in to the wave pooling a classmate of Theo's started tagging along. I forget her name, but it was obvious she had a first grade crush on my nephew Theo.

During one of the respites when the big waves ceased for a short duration Theo's girlfriend asked him if I was his Grandpa. Theo said no, he's my Uncle, not my Grandpa, Theo said with a you silly girl tone.

If I knew then months later the subject would come up I would have asked Theo's girlfriend if I reminded her of Grandpa Simpson...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Long Shadow Of The Mount Wichita Thin Man Witnessing Possible Duck Genocide

That is the Long Shadow of the Mount Wichita Thin Man you are looking at here.

Yesterday during that time of the day when the sun begins to make its slow exit to the west I decided to roll my motorized wheels to Lake Wichita Park to park in the shadow of Mount Wichita prior to climbing the grueling hike to the summit, where the long shadow photo was taken.

The mosquitoes seemed to be more active at this time of the day, with several of the critters invading the interior space of my vehicle. I do not know yet if any successfully got a blood donation from me.

It should not be too long now til the outer world temperature dips below freezing, thus putting an end for the year of the biting insects terrorizing the population with stealth attacks.

This early evening visit to the top of Mount Wichita was the first time I have seen a motor boat motoring over Lake Wichita. And that motoring was done at high speed, looking, at times, almost like a hydroplaning level of high speed.

Above, that spot of white out in the lake is that aforementioned hydroplaning fast boat zooming east on Lake Wichita. This photo was taken soon after I was mortified to see the boat aiming at a flock of ducks, collected together like an island. The boat plowed right into the heart of the duck island. When the wake cleared I saw no ducks.

Like I said, I was mortified.

But, I think the ducks may have ducked, literally, in time, with the boat, I hope, not killing any. A short time later, a distance to the east of where the flock had been hit, a new duck island appeared. Had the ducks transited under water to emerge safely at a new location? I don't know. But that's what I told myself happened. But, I would not be shocked to find a collection of duck corpses washed ashore in the coming days.

What sort of monster would plow a boat into a flock of ducks peacefully minding their business? I suppose it's a derivative of the same type monster who does the same murerous behavior to humans collected on a city street, with the murder weapon a truck or van or car.

And now, some minutes later after the boat assault on a flock of ducks, let's look westerly from the summit of Mount Wichita.

It might be scenically interesting to view the sun actually setting whilst viewing such from the Mount Wichita summit. But, one would definitely need a flashlight to illuminate the treacherous descent back to ground level.

Or a full moon...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is Indoor Plumbing An Imaginary World Class Fort Worth Luxury?

When one goes out for lunch at a restaurant in a modern American city one expects such restaurant in such city to have indoor plumbing.

One does not expect, in a modern American city, to see an amenity, such as indoor plumbing, touted as a feature, along with hamburgers and hotdogs.

And then there is that modern world class city of Fort Worth, implausible future home of Amazon HQ2..

I have been asked a time or two from people from other locations, well, west coasters, if Fort Worth is really as backwards as I describe it.

As in is Fort Worth really a town with city parks without running water or modern restrooms? With no public pools? With miles of streets without sidewalks? With a downtown ghost town? With no real newspaper? With wanton corruption and bizarre lunacy in instances such as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, more commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle?

When I am asked such questions, I have to be honest, and tell the asker that yes, Fort Worth is as backwards as I describe it.

For instance, there really is only one location in Fort Worth which is remotely unique and remotely tourist attraction worthy. That being the Fort Worth Stockyards.

And in the Fort Worth Stockyards one finds multiple examples of Fort Worth's backwardness in the indoor plumbing area which gives one a good idea as to why Fort Worth is known as the Outhouse Capital of America.

I am not sure, but I think maybe BIG BALLS OF COWTOWN may no longer be in business. But, while those BIG BALLS were in business, and if they still are, BIG BALLS lets its customers know they can expect to find Indoor Plumbing inside instead of an outhouse out back.

And the Cadillac Cantina is proud to let you know they have Indoor Restrooms in addition to drink specials.

For the final two examples I do not remember the names of the establishments. One of which features the Indoor Restrooms feature and drink specials, along with some special air conditions.

And another which proudly features Indoor Plumbing along with fried potatoes and hot dogs.

Is there any other town in America where one can find this type thing in one of the town's tourist attractions?

Even downtown Fort Worth is sadly lacking in modern public facilities to facilitate the comfort of the few tourists to visit that underdeveloped space. Even when the impossible to find Sundance Square finally appeared as a plaza, after decades of confusing the town's few tourists with its non existence, Sundance Square Plaza has no modern restroom facilities.

Sundance Square Plaza does not even have that Fort Worth standard non-modern world outhouse option.

So,  is it any mystery why Fort Worth's favorite son, J.D. Granger, uses any form of outhouse he finds, when the need strikes, no matter how primitive it may be... 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

J.D Granger Wears T-Shirt Anonymous Finds Incomprehensible

A couple days ago I mentioned I had suffered a Multiple Blog Comments Publishing Faux Pas.

Among those blog comments was one from way back in early August from someone named Anonymous...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Heading North To The Smoky Pacific Northwest Without Elsie Hotpepper":

There's a Star-Telegram pic of J.D. Granger at the final Rockin' The River event of 2017. 

Granger is in pic #32 wearing a stupid tee shirt that is incomprehensible to me.

Rockin' the River at Panther Island Pavilion, August 5, 2017


I think I can read, for the most part, what is written on the tee shirt which Anonymous finds incomprehensible...


I think what Anonymous may be finding incomprehensible is the fact a grown man in an imaginary position of authority, being the pseudo Executive Director of a quasi public agency known as the Trinity River Vision Authority, would wear a tee shirt which basically informs us he does not get out of the Trinity River when he needs to relieve himself after excess beer consumption, because that of which he relieves himself flows to Dallas anyway.

J.D. Granger is talking about urinating in the Trinity River whilst floating on an inner tube, drinking beer, listening to music emanating from a shed propagandized as a pavilion on a chunk of land propagandized as being an island.

In other words, Rockin' the River at Panther Island Pavilion.

Now, if J.D. were to decide to exit the river when he feels the need to urinate he could avail himself of one of the lovely outhouses his agency has installed on the banks of the Trinity River. These may be the most luxurious outhouses in all of Fort Worth. They are surrounded by concrete enclosures, which almost disguises their outhouse reality.

As I scrolled through the photos to which Anonymous directed me, searching for the one of J.D. Granger's tee shirt, I also saved a few other photos for documentation purposes to show people in other parts of America, and the world, and Amazon, that which passes for a mighty fine time in Fort Worth.

Above is the first photo one comes to in the Rockin' the River at Panther Island Pavilion, August 5, 2017 article. In the foreground a couple heading to the river, with the male half proudly sporting a tank top properly paying homage to the American flag, with the message "BACK TO BACK WORLD WAR WINS".

Behind the couple we see throngs of floaters contributing to the flow of polluted river water making its way to Dallas.

A closer look at some of the River Rockers, in the not crystal clear water of the Trinity River, many with future Dallas river water in hand.

And above we get a look at that stunning architectural wonder known as Panther Island Pavilion. I do not know which world renowned architect designed this iconic symbol of Fort Worth.

That is the imaginary island, known as Panther Island, upon which the beautiful pavilion sits. Currently the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, more commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, is struggling to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to that imaginary island.

One day, far in the future, a ditch may be dug under those three bridges, with the Trinity River diverted into the ditch, creating what Fort Worth propagandizing illusionists pretend will be an island.

I am fairly certain it would be accurate to say the majority of the people who live in Fort Worth are appalled at the idea of using the Trinity River for water recreational purposes of the float on an inner tube sort. Multiple times the Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats have had to be cancelled due to dangerously elevated e.coli levels, among other pollutants.

One would think, if Fort Worth had actual city leaders, actually leading the city in some semblance of sanity, that those city leaders would see it as a sad commentary on Fort Worth's lack of fun, outdoor recreational opportunities, what with so many locals willing to inner tube on a polluted river while drinking beer listening to music emanating from a river side shack.

And here we have one of those aforementioned supposed city leaders, J.D. Granger, working on helping contribute to the flow of water heading towards Dallas...

Monday, October 9, 2017

Joining Throngs Of Mountaineers Braving Almost Frigid Cold To Conquer Mount Wichita

Yesterday, if I am remembering correctly, and sometimes I do, I made mention of the fact that it seems there is a temperature sweet spot where Texans are much more prone to outdoor activity than when the temperature is not being so sweet.

We are currently in that temperature sweet spot. Not too hot, not too cold.

Hence today upon arrival I saw multiple people making their way to the summit of Mount Wichita. By the time I got out of my vehicle and in photo taking mode, the first group had conquered the summit.

That temperature sweet spot today was 76 degrees when I made my way to the summit of Mount Wichita. From that summit viewpoint I could see a lot of people enjoying the Circle Trail in various ways, just like yesterday, walking, jogging, biking and skateboarding. I saw no roller bladers today

I did see two recumbent bikes. I have never ridden one of those. Sometimes they look fun, sometimes not. On the Circle Trail a recumbent bike might be fun. Where one deals with hills and traffic, not so much.

The North Texas temperature is currently scheduled to get not so sweet. As in tonight's low is predicted to be 46, tomorrow's 44.

44 degrees is only 12 above freezing. That's cold.

This seems earlier than the norm to be tempted to switch the temperature control device from cooling mode to heating mode.

Multiple Blog Comments Publishing Faux Pas

Last night I checked in on my Blogger account looking for a previously published comment in the "Published Comments" section.

I then clicked on the "Awaiting Moderation" option and immediately saw there were a lot of comments awaiting moderation which I had not seen before.

When someone makes a comment to a blog post Google sends me an email. I open the email, read the comment, and if it is appropriate to do so I click on "Publish Comment".

But, I had not seen these comments, due to, I guess, being a bit distracted.

The comments faux pas period appears to be from June 7 til June 25. And then again from August 8 til August 22.

During those time frames I had limited contact with the Internet. And when I did have contact with the Internet it was not a leisurely contact.

Hence missing seeing incoming emails, among other things.

So, last night I hit the publish button on a lot of previously unpublished blog comments from the likes of Steve A, Cowtown Crude, Prairie Paintbrush, Unknown, Connie D., Bulletholes, Aunt Jane, Kat, Cousin Scott, Stenotrophomonas, Scott Bodenheimer, Lena H., Gale McCray, Ram, Others, and, of course, Anonymous.

I am mortified regarding this inexcusable ineptitude.

This is my worst blog comment scandal since years ago when a blog comment frenzy broke out due to Gar the Texan being all Mr. Fussy Pants over a controversial sinkhole near his old hometown of Wink, way out in West Texas, with me losing control of being able to moderate the frenzy of comments fast enough for them to maintain any sort of logical order.

One of the blog comments which I had not seen until last night was an amusing, embarrassing comment about one of my favorite amusing embarrassing subjects, that being the amusingly embarrassing J.D. Granger.

The J.D. Granger amusing embarrassment is fodder for a separate blogging, likely to appear real soon....

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Catching Fish With Egrets Biking On Lake Wichita Dam

If I remember correctly, yesterday I mentioned I was tired due to a tiring loud long thunderstorm the night previous which had hampered my ability to be peacefully horizontal, rendering me tired, real tired, all day yesterday.

But today, the morning of the second Sunday of the third to last month of 2017 I found myself not tired when I got vertical after a long night of peaceful slumber and disturbing nightmares.

And so, fully of energy, I decided to get myself some endorphins via aerobic activity by rolling wheels against the wind on the Circle Trail, heading south to Lake Wichita Dam, where I saw the lake level has somewhat fallen, thus making it easier for a flock of egrets to assemble on top of the dam's spillway to facilitate the easy catching of fish funneled over the spillway.

Multiple humans were also seen, joining the egrets in the fish catching thing. Also, unlike with the egrets, with two of the humans I saw a successful catching of fish, with the species appearing to be either perch or sunfish or both.

Judging by the throngs joining me today on the Circle Trail, biking, roller blading, skateboarding, jogging, walking, fishing, and pushing baby carriages, we are at that temperature sweet spot where Texans are more willing to engage in outdoor activity, weather babies that they usually be.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I also saw mountain climbing to the summit of Mount Wichita, which apparently has already dried out from yesterday's deluge. However, something looked oddly flattened about the top of Mount Wichita which had me momentarily wondering if it had suffered a height reducing lightning strike.

Tomorrow I will likely go for an up close look at the summit of Mount Wichita to see if the summit has suffered some sort of reduction calamity...

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wichita Falls Sleep Robbing Thunderstorm With Lili Von Shtupp

I'm tired.

Not tired for all the same reasons as Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles, but tired nonetheless.

Night falls, sleep is fleeting, and then morning arrives. And I'm tired.

Last night, around midnight, bright lights began to flash, with loud booms booming about the same time as the bright lights flashed.

Rain poured down providing background music for the light and sound show.

I do not know how long the flash booms and downpouring went on before deciding to cease. By morning the outer world appeared to be mostly dry and the sky mostly blue.

An hour before noon I decided to roll my handlebars to the Circle Trail to get a look at Holliday Creek to see if once again Holliday Canyon was being over run with high water. Well, last night's deluge did not cause the creek level to rise to the level it rose to earlier in the week, but there was some rapid action, which you see my handlebars looking at above.

The right bar end on the handlebar is pointing at an egret at creek's edge looking like it thinks it's about to have fish for lunch.

The egret should have come home with me for lunch. I would have shared my tuna fish sandwich...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rolling Circle Trail To Lucy Park Past Wichita Falls Giant Mushrooms

With the return of blue sky and dry ground today I activated yesterday's aborted, due to a soaking rain, plan to roll my wheels on the Circle Trail, north to where the Circle Trail leaves Holliday Creek to enter Williams Park, before continuing on along the Wichita River.

I figured the Circle Trail would be under water, as in flooded, due to its proximity to the Wichita River, which has been in the local news of late for bad behavior, such as flooding Lucy Park.

Well, I got to Williams Park, which clearly had seen some flooding, and then I arrived at the Wichita River, which clearly had also been doing some flooding, including covering the now dry Circle Trail, leaving only a thin layer of Utah-type redrock-like dust behind.

I forgot to mention, at multiple locations along the way I came upon giant mushrooms. On the third instance of seeing such I stopped to photo document the giant fungi, which is what you see above. I am fairly certain these are not some variant of Psilocybin Mushrooms, also known as Magic Mushrooms.

In my old home zone of Western Washington, Magic Mushrooms are a popular, free to harvest, natural organic item of vegetation, like blackberries, only more medicinal and difficult to harvest.

I did not know Magic Mushrooms grew in Texas until several years ago when I attended a protest event in Fort Worth hosted by Elsie Hotpepper at a newly opened restaurant which had a nefarious association with what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. The protest that day, near as I could tell, entailed ordering food and drink from the restaurant's menu and then complaining about it.

Anyway, at that protest, for reasons I no longer remember, one of the protesters told me about how she grew her own tobacco to make homemade cigarettes, one of which she smoked as she told me about her healthy organic farm. Where she also grew Magic Mushrooms.

Enough with the Magic Mushroom digression. Continuing on with today's bike ride.

What with the Circle Trail not being flooded I opted to continue on, thinking there was no way the trail would be clear of water and mud all the way to Lucy Park. When I got to the Wichita Falls waterfall which is becoming known as Frequently Dry Falls, I was not too shocked to once again find Wichita Falls' signature waterfall turned off. The last time I saw the artificial falls, up close, it was sort of dribbling, not really in waterfall mode. Today it was totally dry, falling water-wise.

In the view above I climbed up on rocks one is probably not supposed to climb on to take a picture looking back at the Wichita River, the new bridge across the falls, and my bike.

As you can see the Wichita River is currently running strong with that Utah-like redrock color I am fond of.

Soon after leaving Frequently Dry Falls I entered Lucy Park, pleased to see the recent flood has completely left the park. And the suspension bridge across Wichita River no longer being flooded. The suspension bridge appears to have suffered zero damage from its recent bout of being hit with too much water and flotsam.

I rolled the Circle Trail loop around Lucy Park and then began my long roll back home. Stopping, eventually, at the location of the original Wichita Falls on the Wichita River. The original falls was destroyed by a flood way back in the late 1800s.

The grand total of miles rolled today was over 20. The longest bike ride I have ridden in quite some time. I think I had myself a mighty fine time, but I'm not quite sure. We shall see how I feel in the morning...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Watching Wichita Falls Water Wheel In The Rain

What you see here was installed in the last month, give or take a day or week or two.

A Wichita Falls Water Wheel.

No, this is not the latest Wichita Falls electricity generating facility.

It was not long after I arrived in Wichita Falls that a long ago Wichita Falls temporary resident known as Captain Andy told me about what he thought was a unique Wichita Falls feature. With that feature being the disguising of traffic control electrical boxes with various disguises, mostly, from what I have seen, derivations of Japanese pagodas.

This new traffic control electric box disguise is at the intersection of Maplewood and Lawrence, near ALDI, Walmart and directly across the street from the newly opened P:anda Express Chinese fast food joint.

Changing the subject to those drops you see on the right side of the windshield, drops out of the range of the rapid sweeping motion of the windshield wiper.

Rain is once again falling in copious amounts, The flooding from the last bout of copious rain has not yet abated, and now we are getting a fresh dose. Along with some lightning strikes and thunder booms.

Today, prior to the rain arrival, my plan was to roll my bike wheels north on the Circle Trail til I could roll no more, due to reaching the part of the Circle Trail flooded by the over full Wichita River.

I am hoping this latest bout of stereotypical Pacific Northwest winter weather ends before I get SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) again, like I suffered from last week...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Photo Mystery From Favorite Nephew Jason's Estranged Aunt

I do not know what to make of this incoming which came in a few minutes ago from Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason....


Received this photo from your eldest sister at 5:20 pm Skagit time via a text message.  

Photo was accompanied by the words, "Your dad needs help!"

It has been many years since I have heard from my estranged Aunt.

I chose not to respond for a multitude of obvious reasons.

I did forward the photo to my brother, and yet to here a response on the matter.

He normally can provide logic to ease my family abnormality happenings.

He told me he was unavailable for conversation tonight, busy with his domestic room mate at a gaming establishment.

Maybe his company provided phone sensors such exposing pictures and he didn't receive the forwarded lewdness.

I just thought I'd email you my concerns:

What help may my father need?

Why in the world did your sister after years of not speaking chose to send me this tonight?

I'm hoping you can provide insight to calm my rattled nerves.


Where Is All This Wichita Falls Water Coming From?

With rain in copious amounts once again in the forecast I decided to have myself one more long bike ride before the possible deluge arrives.

Once again I opted for rolling my wheels to Lake Wichita Dam and the loop around Mount Wichita.

As soon as I got on the Circle Trail today, with Holliday Creek coming into view, I was surprised to see the creek is still running a lot of water through Holliday Canyon.

Where is all this water coming from? Days after the rain ceased.

This morning I learned Lucy Park is flooded due to the Wichita River trying to move more water than it is used to moving. Holliday Creek enters the Wichita River downstream from Lucy Park, so the Holliday Creek flood is not contributing to Lucy's flooding.

I saw a disturbing photo of the Wichita River running higher than the pedestrian suspension bridge which crosses the river in Lucy Park. I hope this has not done serious damage to that fun bridge.

Continuing on with rolling my handlebars around Lake Wichita.

As you can see, Lake Wichita, at this point in flooding time, is very close to the Circle Trail. That is Mount Wichita you see in the background. Mount Wichita does not appear to be in any danger of being surrounding by a flooding Lake Wichita. So far.

Strong thunderstorms are also in the forecast for later today. I hope those do not materialize. The recent thunderstorm with its accompanying long power outage seems way too recent to be wanting to see a repeat.