Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Maxine's Halloween Hiking Tale To Stehekin With Smoky Bears

Time has been busy flying way too fast, what with tomorrow being the start of 2017's version of November.

For months now, beginning in early June, I have been feeling a bit discombobulated. I find myself losing track of this that or another thing.

Like I'd not heard from Maxine since about a week after I got back from Arizona last June.

I knew I'd not heard from Maxine due to the fact that every fall Maxine hikes over Cascade Pass to Stehekin, after which I get a report, allowing me then to get to enjoy, vicariously, going to Stehekin, which is one of my favorite locations I have been to. And the Courtney Ranch in the Stehekin Valley, one of my favorite places in which I have consumed vittles.

Long ago, late in the last century, prior to broadband and the resulting lesser need to make photos small, bytesize wise, I made three webpages about a Lady of the Lake boat trip to Stehekin. There is a general page about Stehekin, which mentions a lot of bears. Another page about Hiking in Stehekin. And another about Eating in Stehekin.

Last year I made Maxine's annual Stehekin tale into a blog post on my Washington blog titled Maxine's 2016 North Cascades Adventure Trek To Stehekin. Last year's Stehekin report from Maxine included a lot of photos.

This year's Maxine Stehekin report included only one photo, which is what you see above. In Maxine's 2017 Stehekin report, below, you will read reference made to the fact that the air was smoky. And there was an encounter with two bears, which you can find, if you look close, in the above photo. Due to the photo being so smoky I used a photo filter to filter out some of the smoke.

And now, Maxine's 2017 Hike to Stehekin...

The hike up to the pass was hot and smoky. One of women in the group broke her wrist in 2 places the week before but was determined to hike in with us. She had overpacked and  really had a struggle, fortunately her 30 ish son was hiking in too and took part of her load so that helped her immensely.

We had lunch at Doubtful Falls, everyone took off their boots and soaked their feet. Delyn slipped on a wet rock and fell on her right shoulder really hard, fortunately it was just a bruise. We were packing for 2 nights on the trail so all packs were heavier than usual, makes for a more arduous hike.

We saw 2 big black bears in Pelton Basin, thankfully far away. We hiked to a nice campground at Flat Creek. The 2nd day was only 4 miles, we stayed at Bridge Creek campground.

The weather was hot and so some of the younger people in our group (in their 50’s) slept outside under the stars. A mouse ran over one of them. We stayed 3 nights at the Stehekin Ranch. It rained a little and the wind shifted so there wasn’t any smoke. I got a massage, a banjo player stopped by one evening and jammed with the Lauri the Mandolin Player.

I kayaked on Monday and ate pie every night for dessert.

The hike out was 16 or 17 miles.  Originally Delyn and I wanted to go in a day early and spend the night at Pelton Basin and take a side trip to Thunder Basin (I think that’s what it’s called, a little valley surrounded by waterfalls), but somehow the whole group ended up going in a day early, I may have opened my big mouth. The campsites are on a first come first serve basis and the sites that would have worked better for our plan were taken. It all worked out, but a 14 mile day followed by a 4 mile day is kind of silly.  The woman with the broken wrist decided to take the ferry out, I think  the body takes a lot of energy to heal.

Can’t wait until next year for more multi night back packing trips. We hiked up to Cutthroat Pass October 8th hoping to see fall colors and everything was covered with snow.  I saw more people than  I have ever seen before out on the trail. There was a big article in the Seattle Times about best places to hike for fall color the week before and I think that was the reason we saw so many people. There were a few people using Micro Spikes, like a crampon that goes over your shoes. I thought I had every possible piece of gear but shoot, one more thing I may need.

There was a big storm on the 18th and 19th of  October followed by snow in the mountains.  A man from Bellingham hiked up Sauk Mt during that time and died. I tell you that mountain is haunted. I haven’t heard the details yet, so can only imagine what happened.


Yikes, another Sauk Mountain fatality. My worst Nephews in Danger incident took place on Sauk Mountain, when Spencer Jack's uncle, who is also my nephew Joey, and I, hiked to the summit of Sauk Mountain in a mild snowstorm, with ice coating the trail switchbacks near the top. I was being terribly irresponsible. We should have turned back when the trail got icy and the hiking got dicey. But, we were having a mighty fine time, and that top of the mountain kept pulling us higher...

Happy Halloween From Zombies David, Ruby & Theo

That is Zombie David on the left, Zombie Ruby in the middle, which makes that Zombie Theo on the right.

When I was in Tacoma last summer I quickly learned how fond David, Theo and Ruby are about zombies.

My second day in Tacoma I found myself in a Tacoma community center where David, Theo and Ruby were taking some sort of immersive, intensive Lego oriented class.

I was never clear as to the Lego aspect of this class. But each day when we retrieved the kids from the Legos they were armed with multiple papers on which what looked to me like pixelated drawings, made with large pixels, which rendered images which to my eyes all looked the same.

However, when one of the kids, usually David or Theo, would show me an image and ask if I knew what it was the only time I was right was if I said it looked like a zombie. Like I said, all the images looked the same to me, but apparently some were non-zombies. Things like lions, tigers, bears and snakes.

Spending quality time with David, Theo and Ruby was the first time this century I have spent quality time with pre-teenage kids.

I had no idea so much has changed regarding a kid's world. I don't think zombies had been invented when I was a kid.

When I was a kid we had cartoons like the Flintstones, Popeye, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, the Mickey Mouse knock-off known as Mighty Mouse, the Jetsons, the Roadrunner, and others.

Each morning I was in Tacoma I joined David, Theo and Ruby for cartoon viewing. The cartoons seemed a bit disturbingly dystopian to my sensitive nature. Each morning we watched this one "cartoon" where we joined in a battle against evil monsters, helping a good guy superhero. At multiple points during the battle the good guy superhero would stop the action, turn to us and implore us to help with the spell he needed to cast to thwart the evil doer/

We were told to stand, to do this, to do that. When I just sat there watching in amused amazement, David, Theo and Ruby got upset, imploring me to join in with the effort to help the good guy superhero thwart the bad guy. And so I would find myself joining in with the casting of the spell.

I felt as if I had joined a cult.

And then there was Mindcraft, or Minecraft, or some such name. This was a video game played on Amazon Kindles. Played by David and Theo. An interactive game with their two Kindles connected via wi-fi.

My first morning in Tacoma I found myself caught between David and Theo in a Kindle battle caused by this aforementioned video game.

Suddenly Theo cried out that David had stolen one of his hearts. David did not deny the theft, quickly telling Theo it was his fault because Theo left his heart unprotected. Theo demanded David return his heart.

David then told Theo that he could not return Theo's stolen heart because he had already buried it in his Garden of Eternal Memories.

Theo accepted the futility of retrieving his stolen heart. And the game proceeded.

And then it happened again, with Theo crying out David had stolen another of his hearts. Again David told Theo it was Theo's fault for leaving his hearts unprotected.

I then found myself sucked into this bizarre world when I found myself saying to Theo that he had been warned by David to not leave his hearts unprotected. I then found myself imploring David if there was any way he could see his way clear to getting Theo's stolen hearts out of his Garden of Eternal Memories and returning them to his little brother.

David said it was possible, but it took a lot of effort and would require the acquisition of a variety of difficult to acquire magic spells and potions.

I walked away.

Happy Halloween, one and all, especially my favorite Zombies, David, Theo and Ruby...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Nurse Canecracker's Halloween One Night Stand

I saw that which you see here last night via Facebook.

The caption accompanying the photo said...

"One Night Stand".

It took me a second or two or three to get that which was the "One Night Stand".

Very clever.

That is Nurse Canecracker costumed for Halloween as "One Night Stand".

I know Nurse Canecracker is scheduled to go on a Caribbean cruise sometime during the late fall time frame. I do not know if it was during this Caribbean cruise Nurse Canecracker attended a Halloween party as a "One Night Stand".

I last saw Nurse Canecracker last summer, on August 13, at Birch Bay, a few miles south of the Canadian border.

Betty Jo Bouvier had chauffeured Nurse Canecracker north from their Skagit Valley home location to visit me for the first time since early in the last decade of the previous century.

I shudder at the thought of how old I will be if another couple decades pass before I visit again with Nurse Canecracker and Betty Jo Bouvier.

I have no way of knowing if Nurse Canecracker plans to do any active trick or treating whilst in "One Night Stand" mode. Or if this was just Halloween attire being tested for use on Tuesday at home in Mount Vernon, getting ready to greet the hordes of little beggars. Or party attire for floating somewhere between Caribbean islands.

Spencer Jack's Hillcrest Mount Vernon location is about two blocks from Nurse Canecracker's home location. I hope Spencer Jack goes trick or treating at Nurse Canecracker's and photo documents Nurse Canecracker's "One Night Stand"....

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Seattle Seahawks Honor Karl Knapp With #76 Seahawk Jersey

All afternoon, this last Sunday afternoon of October, Chris and Sheila have been posting photos, on Facebook, from the Seahawk football field, in Seattle.

Literally, from the field, from the sidelines, and out on the field.

Chris and Sheila fairly frequently attend Seattle Seahawk games, usually due to the fact Sheila's dad has long had season tickets, center field, near ground level.

Ever since it happened, last month, I have wanted to tell a particular story, but it was not my story to tell. But, today I think it is okay to do so.

Last month Sheila's brother and her dad watched the Seahawks win yet one more football game. Sheila's dad, Karl, in his 88th year, had been in failing health, but this did not stop him from enjoying watching the Seahawks, or going to the Muckleshoot Casino with his favorite daughter.

Well, after the Seahawks won that game last September, when Sheila's brother and Karl made it to their car in the Seahawk parking lot, Karl collapsed and died.

What a way to go.

And now a month later, from Chris, on Facebook, the photo you see above, and the following...

For those of you who are not friends with Sheila on FB, her parents were Seahawk Season Ticket holders since 1975. Today the Hawks Organization honored him by giving the family a Seahawk Jersey with the Knapp name on it, and let us have sideline passes on the field. Her dad passed away in September. RIP Karl

Chris and Sheila have been modeling a variety of Seattle Seahawk garb, from the field, this afternoon.

Chris and Shelia live in Kent, a couple blocks from where one of my relatives used to live. When staying in Kent, visiting Chris and Sheila was my go to place when I was in need of sane, normal conversation.

Almost 12 years ago, Halloween weekend of 2005, I went to the best Halloween Party ever, at Chris and Shiela's next door neighbors. My relatives who lived two blocks away did not attend...

Final October Sunday Bike Ride To Wichita Falls MSU Santa Train

Today, this last Sunday of October, the temperature in the outer world was warm enough, unlike the previous couple days, to facilitate a comfortable bike ride without need of excessive insulating material.

So, I rolled my wheels through my Caribbean neighborhood and then left Nassau for a loop around Sikes Lake, before crossing over a not busy Midwestern Boulevard to do some uncongested, mostly student-free, touring of the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus.

I was doing my wheel rolling, having myself a mighty fine time, when suddenly I was startled to see Santa Claus waving at me from a train.

Three days before Halloween, about a month before Thanksgiving, two months before Christmas, and Santa is already doing his business in Wichita Falls.

I stopped, got off my bike, aimed the handlebars at the shameless Santa and photo documented that which I saw.

It was not just Santa and his train. On the grounds all around Santa there were other Christmas displays getting ready for the apparently already beginning Holiday Season.

I remember last year when these things began showing up, with me having no clue what it was, being new to town. Soon to learn this is an annual Holiday Season display. It is quite an elaborate operation. Many of the displays have animated illuminated aspects.

I would imagine setting all this up is quite time consuming, and difficult, hence beginning the process even before Trick or Treating is done for the year.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Where In The World Are Ruby, Theo, David, Blue & Eddie?

Last night I got a text message on my phone asking...

Where in the world are your niece and nephews and poodles?

Along with the photo documentation you see here.

That would be Theo on the left, holding the poodle, Blue, David in the middle, and Ruby on the right holding the poodle Eddie.

I examined the photo documentation trying to determine the location. I was fairly certain it was not any location in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. Goose Rock in Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey island? Seemed doubtful, as that would be a long drive from Tacoma. A location above Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula? Again doubtful because the body of water appeared to be too wide.

So, texted back with my guesses and soon received an answer...

Beautiful weather today, mid 60s. Kids had a day off school so we headed to Fort Worden, just outside Port Townsend. So much fun.

Well, Fort Worden would also be a long drive from Tacoma, but not as far as Goose Rock. Fort Worden is located at the northeast corner of the aforementioned Olympic Peninsula.

If I remember right the last time I was at Fort Worden and Port Townsend was with David, Theo and Ruby's cousin Joey, who is also Spencer Jack's uncle and my second oldest nephew. Joey and I took our bikes to Fort Casey, on the opposite side of Admiralty Inlet from the Fort Worden side.

We rolled our bikes on the ferry to cross over to Port Townsend and biked to Fort Worden. We were having ourselves such a mighty fine time we almost missed the last ferry crossing of the day.

By the time we got back to our vehicle parked at Fort Casey the park gates were locked with a note from the ranger telling us to come knock on his door and he'd let us out. And so that is what we did. Apparently this happened frequently, people crossing back to Whidbey Island after Fort Casey locks up for the night.

I was amused when I went to Google "Fort Worden". I typed "Fort" and got as far as "W" when Googled added "orth" making the search "Fort Worth". I backspaced and changed "Worth" to "Worden", and thought, now that is ironic.

Fort Worden was an actual fort. Fort Worth was never a fort. It was known as Camp Worth. I don't know what early local propagandist puffed up Camp to Fort. But, this may be the earliest example of Fort Worth hyping something into being something it is not.

Sundance Square where there was no square. Trinity Uptown to turn Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South. Panther Island where there is no island. Panther Island Pavilion where there is no pavilion. An iconic downtown where there is nothing iconic. Well, you get the drift.

A town named after a fort where there has never been a fort.

From the Wikipedia article about Fort Worden we learn about three actual forts actually doing what real forts do, you know, guarding something...

In the 1890s, Admiralty Inlet was considered strategic to the defense of Puget Sound in the that three forts -- Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, and Fort Casey -- were built at the entrance with their powerful artillery creating a "Triangle of Fire" to thwart any invasion attempt by sea. Fort Worden, on the Quimper Peninsula, at the extreme northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, sits on a bluff near Port Townsend, anchoring the northwest side of the triangle. The three posts were designed to prevent a hostile fleet from reaching such targets as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.

Fort Casey on Whidbey Island is the biggest of the three forts. Massive bunkers built into a bluff, with huge guns at various locations. Dark tunnels leading to underground chambers to explore. Over the years I spent many hours exploring Fort Casey, with my siblings, and later with my four oldest nephews.

I think I would have myself a mighty fine time exploring Fort Casey with nephews David and Theo and niece Ruby. However I think David might get a big concerned in some of those dark, spooky tunnels. David is very cautious...

UPDATE: Three new incoming photos with explanation text explaining "as per your blog post"...

Ruby looking spooky in one of the Fort Worden underground bunkers. I think that is Theo behind Ruby.

Ruby, Theo, David and Eddie, with Mama Kristin behind them, in one of the Fort Worth tunnels. I don't know where Blue is. Likely with photo taker, Mama Michele.

In the blog post I mentioned that it would be fun to take David, Theo and Ruby to Fort Casey to explore that fort's complex of tunnels and underground bunkers. But that David might be a bit cautious, as is his nature. Above it appears David is being a bit cautious in a Fort Worth underground bunker, worried as to what he has gotten himself into this time...

UPDATE: Reading back I see I typed "Fort Worth" when I meant to type "Fort Worden". If David were in a Fort Worth fort bunker, if such existed, I think he would have good reason to be very worried...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Dana Loesch Top 5 Famous Mullets Gar The Texan Omission

Friday afternoon I saw that which you see here on Twitter.

A Twitter Tweet where someone Dana Loesch via something called Dana Radio ranked the Top 5 Famous Mullets, along with Honorable Mention Mullets.

I know who a few of these mullet heads are, well, actually, all of them, except for Dog the Bounty Hunter and Danny McBride.

What appalls me is why is the most famous Texas mullet head is not on either the Top 5 or Honorable Mention mullet list?

I refer, obviously, to Gar the Texan, the famous West Texan who sported one of the most elaborate mullets in mullet history, a mullet which lasted for years after mullets passed their prime way back in the previous century.

I used to have an illustrative photo of Gar the Texan in long haired mullet mode, but I don't know where it is. If I find it I shall be sure to share it...

How Cool Forbes Ranks Fort Worth With Molly The Trolley

I saw this Seattle ranked nation’s No. 2 coolest city — just behind this West Coast rival article this morning in the Seattle Times, which I found amusingly interesting.

Now, if the Texas town I lived in previous to the Texas town I currently live in had been ranked #2 in anything a city wide celebration would be declared by the town's mayor, which is what happened earlier in this century when some obscure Washington, D.C. lobbying group listed Fort Worth as being a Top Ten Most Livable City, with the criteria being something to do with having neighborhoods develop as urban villages, or some such thing.

Tacoma also got this imaginary prestigious "award". Soon there after I had reason to visit Tacoma's then deputy mayor. I told him Fort Worth had a city wide celebration after receiving this prestigious award. The deputy mayor laughed and said you're kidding, aren't you?

Nope, I'm not making this up. Are you saying Tacoma did not have a city wide celebration?

No. said the deputy mayor, we just politely thanked them and then forgot about it.

Now, should Fort Worth be ranked #2 in anything the town's propaganda purveyor known as the Star-Telegram would headline an article full of embarrassing puffery touting their imaginary iconic town, such as what happened a couple weeks ago, which we mentioned in a blogging titled Imaginary Iconic Fort Worth Downtown Opens New Little Hotel With Molly The Trolley.

Now, when you think about it, shouldn't a town  be considered one of the coolest towns in America when its downtown public transit consists of a bus made to look like a trolley, then called Molly the Trolley?

The first few paragraphs of the Seattle Times cool town article are instructive as to how a big city newspaper, wearing its big city pants, covers such a thing, as opposed to Fort Worth's embarrassing excuse for a newspaper of record...

What a bummer, Seattle; we’re No. 2.

San Francisco is officially cooler than Seattle, according to Forbes and Sperling’s Best Places, which found that the former was “crushing” the competition when it came to restaurants, world-class museums, sports teams, good hiking and reliable mass transit.

Seattle, however, trumped all other contenders when it came to, yes, coffee and beer.

“Seattle won on this front with 83 coffee shops, coffee roasters & craft beer breweries per 100,000 residents,” according to the 2017 edition of America’s Coolest Cities, published on Thursday.

The article also had a graphic showing the location of the top 10 coolest cities in America.

Shocking. No Texas town is in the Top 10 coolest. Not even Austin.

Austin does show up on the full list of Top 20 coolest towns, coming in at #13 coolest.

According to Forbes, the west coast dominates in coolness, which is not too surprising to me, having been in all those towns and finding them all quite cool.

Dallas has always seemed sort of west coast cool to me. Making me surprised Dallas is not on this list of cool American towns.

The entire list of 20 Coolest American towns...

1. San Francisco
2. Seattle
3. San Diego
4. New Orleans
5. Portland
6. San Jose
7. Los Angeles
8. New York
9. Boston
10. Denver
11. Charleston, S.C.
12. Honolulu
13. Austin
14. Miami
15. Madison
16. Houston
17. D.C.
18. Las Vegas
19. Orlando
20. Tampa, Fla.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Throwing Thursday Back To Burlington June 1997 With The Jones Boys

Or was it June 1998?

I do not remember for sure, but my limited mathematic calculating skills tilt the year to being 1997, due to the nature of the occasion of the picture, and who is in the picture, and the year that particular person was born.

The particular person in question was born in 1979, in June of that year. That particular person would in the following decade become the proud papa of Spencer Jack, which renders that particular person my nephew Jason.

Who would have thought when this picture was taken that a decade later I would be returning from Texas to find myself chasing a toddler named Spencer Jack around Bay View State Park?

Those are the Jones boys lined up in the backyard of 1027 Washington Avenue in Burlington, Washington, the backyard of the house I grew up in.

We were in that backyard near the end of the event which saw Jason graduate high school, which took place outdoors, at the B-EHS football field. Jason's family sat in what was/is known as the visitor's grandstand on the north side of the field. I remember this as being one odd graduation, what with it being outdoors, and yet still noisy.

Though my memory of this day does not recollect it, due to the photographic evidence you see below, mom and dad were among us graduation attendees.

At that point in time mom and dad lived half the year in Arizona, in Yuma, and in Washington when it got too hot in Arizona. In Washington mom and dad's summer residence was at Lake Cushman, in a deluxe cabin on a golf course, which their eldest daughter, Clancy, built for them.

By the mid 1990s Jason's dad, my little brother Jake, bought the house we grew up in and lived there, with Jason and his little brother, Joey. That all soon was to change for a variety of reasons.

I forgot to mention, that line up of Jones boys at the top is the aforementioned Jake on the left, with Jason next to Jake, with me next to Jason, with Joey next to me on the right.

I did not see Joey this past summer when I was up in Washington. When we were in Lynden, saying goodbye to dad, Joey was up in Canada catching salmon. Joey's grandpa would have approved of Joey fishing rather than being in Lynden, what with Joey being the one who has embraced the family fishing gene he inherited from his grandpa.

I last saw Joey in October of 2015, at a McDonald's in Grapevine, Texas. In 1997 had you told me that in 2015 I would be seeing Joey at a McDonald's in a town in Texas my feeble imagination would not have been able to conjure a scenario where that made any sense. And yet such is what came to pass.

And still really makes no sense...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Visit To DFW & Arlington's Little Vietnam Listening To WBAP Hate Radio Morons

Today was the day of my regularly scheduled doctor visit to the DFW Metroplex.

The drive from Wichita Falls to DFW and back was a mighty fine one today. Except for driving into the blinding bright early morning early rising sun.

Not a single cloud did any sun blotting today, that I saw.

It had been two months since I'd been to Little Vietnam in Arlington. Needing fresh supplies of Asian necessities, such as hoisin sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce, rice noodles, jasmine rice, bok choy, ginger, mint, sesame oil, jicama, dragonfruit, and other stuff I am not remembering right now, I got my vittles at the Saigon Cho Market, and then drove to the heart of Little Vietnam a short distance east, to pay my respects at the Buddhist shrine you see above.

For awhile, whilst driving 360 from Hurst to Arlington, I listened to an insane talk radio moron on WBAP named something like Chris Salcedo. He comes on before the King of the Hate Radio nonsense spewers, Rush Dimbulb.

Today I could only listen to a few minutes of the guy who comes on before Dimbulb. He was literally screaming hissing nonsense, rattling on about the great divider, resident Obama, he can't force himself to call him President Obama, refers to Obama as the Occupier of the Oval Office. This guy is so dumb and spews so much idiotic nonsense. It's appalling.

Listening to this miscreant today one got the idea he doesn't understand Obama is no longer the American president, has not been for something like ten months. Replaced by a moron who is an embarrassment to most American's. And the World.

I think it is trying to defend the indefensible, that being Trump, which is making the right wing nut job radio hate speaker spewers spout even more idiotically than their moronic idiotic norm.

Ten minutes, of the local DFW WBAP hate monger, then Dimbulb came on, ranting more coherently, with a more original, literate mastery of the English language than the idiot who comes on before him, who bills himself as a "Liberty loving Latino, unlike those left wing Latinos, he loves this country."

See what I mean. Total idiot. Over compensating for something. Insulting the majority of American Latinos. I don't know what the Mexican/Latino term would be equivalent to being an Uncle Tom type, but that's what crosses my mind listening to this guy for the short durations I can stand it. That and classic Little Man Syndrome.

What is WBAP's excuse for airing this type idiotic hate speak? Does it bring in a lot of local advertising dollars? Are there actually a sufficient supply of ignorant morons out there who listen to this type nonsense without being offending by the wanton stupidity?

Sadly, real sadly, after years of exposure to the Idiot Class, via Facebook, it is all too painfully obvious to me that America's Idiot Class is BIG, hence us currently living in an Idiocracy. Until, hopefully, Trump is removed, but even then, all these idiots will still be among us.

Some with radio talk shows...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wichita Falls Halloween Nightmare On Ellingham Street

A few days ago I was returning from the downtown Wichita Falls library, heading south on Taft Boulevard, when I came upon a Halloween scene the likes of which I do not remember previously seeing.

On Saturday I rolled my bike's wheels to that aforementioned Halloween scene intending to photo document that which I had seen whilst driving by.

However, it should have occurred to me, what with a strong wind blowing, on Saturday, and a predicted incoming severe storm, that that Halloween scene would be deflated and stored safely from the wind. Which is what I saw when I rolled to the Halloween scene location.

Then yesterday on my way back from ALDI, driving my motorized means of vehicular motion, I drove by the Halloween scene again, saw inflation was back in force, so I took the picture you see above through the driver's side window.

Then, an hour or two later, having not liked the vehicle based photos, I rolled my bike back to the Halloween scene location hoping to do some better photo documentation. Which is what you see below.

The photos do not do justice to this Halloween scene. My camera could not capture all of it in one shot.

Where does one find a giant inflatable black cat such as we see above?

I think the orange trailer had some sort of motion detector, because when motion was detected the trailer's door opened and a ghoul poked its head out the door.

I have seen other elaborate Wichita Falls Halloween displays, but none as big and varied as this one. The others I have seen seem to stick to a theme. Such as a GIANT spider crawling off a roof to an elaborate GIANT web.

I think the year was 2005, October of, I was up in Washington, staying at Clancy & Fancy's in Kent. Clancy & Fancy's next door neighbors at that point in time were a pair of fun loving gals named Mo and Margo.

Mo and Margo went all out for Halloween, with an elaborate themed display in their front yard. Sort of pirate themed, with skeletons, some of which moved when motion was detected. If I remember right there was a screaming sound effect, a big spider that dropped suddenly near the front door, a treasure chest which mysteriously opened out of which an eerie fog spewed and a skeleton glowed.

2005 is a long time ago, over a decade, so my memory of Mo and Margo's Halloween scene may be a bit faulty, with pieces missing. I remember taking video of it, but due to the darkness, that video did not turn out well. The video may still exist on this computer. But, I do not feel too motivated to look for it. That always turns into taking way too long due to finding multiple other videos to look at that I barely remember.

A few more looks at the Wichita Falls Halloween Nightmare on Ellingham Street...

If you want to see the Wichita Falls Halloween Nightmare on Ellingham Street with your own spooky eyes, you will find it at the intersection of Taft Boulevard and Ellingham Street, a short distance north of the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus.

One Degree Above Freezing Friday In Wichita Falls Texoma Zone

It appears that Fall sweet spot of no longer needing air conditioning to cool the air to a comfortable temperature, or the reverse of A/C to warm the air, is about to end, if the prediction for Friday is correct.

33 degrees.

Math and arithmetic is not one of those things I excel at, but I am almost 100% 33 degrees is one chilly degree above freezing.

I guess it is that time of year I go on my annual hunt for where I stored my long underwear...

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...